Thursday, 29 July 2010

Bake It! Lemon Squares

Bake It! baking club

Amy over at Cooking , Cakes & Children has started a new club called Bake It! . She will be hosting it monthly and setting a new recipe for us to bake each month. For the amateur cook like me this sounded quite fun and I just couldn't wait to take part.

The bake it challenge that Amy set this month was lemon squares.

Want to see my attempt?

I promise you they tasted better then they look! For the recipe and to see what they should actually look like head over to Amy's blog where she's put a linky up for all the other entries. I look forward to next months bake it! :)

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


I have some many photos that reflect nature and I guess I've used nature in both my holidays & a novel idea gallery posts.

What comes to your mind when you think about nature? The first thing to pop into my head was trees. So I went to my local park which is just jammed pack full of them to take some snaps.

'Tree, gather up my thoughts
like the clouds in your branches.
Draw up my soul
like the waters in your root.

In the arteries of your trunk
bring me together.
Through your leaves
breathe out the sky.'

by J. Daniel Beaudry

Monday, 26 July 2010

Millets Maize Maze

On Saturday we were invited by some rather lovely people to come and have a day out at the Maize Maze at the Millets Farm Centre in Oxfordshire and to celebrate it opening for the summer.

We had a fantastic day with some fantastic people (Pippa , Catherine , Paula , Gayle , Vic and their families) . The day started with some briefing on the day ahead by one of the members of staff (who were all very friendly & welcoming!) I unfortunately had to miss this as Oli was more interested in playing in the huge sandpit with Top Ender & Baby Boy. Pippa did fill me in with the necessary safety information about how we raise our flag if we get lost in the maize maze.

Top Ender & Baby Boy

We took to the maize maze with Gayle & Moo , we did get lost at a couple of turnings.

Oli leading the way

Moo & Oli

Spot Gayle!

After completing that one we took up the challenge of a more difficult/longer maize maze where we bumped into Vic , TB & Alex . I say bumped , we saw TB waving from the top of a slide. Oli was rather insistent about going up the stairs to go down the slide himself (with some help from Mummy!) I do have video footage of this but will share in another post once I figure out video editing. Do head over to Pippa's blog though for video footage of me & Top Ender crawling though a bale of hay (I apologise in advance for the bottom view!) .

You're going the wrong way boys!

We were treated to a freshly made lunch , the chef from the on site restaurant who put it together came and spoke to use about the ingredients which are either grown on site to use or sourced locally. The egg sandwich I had was delicious along with the chocolate muffin. We took a slice of lemon cake home which we shared after lunch yesterday , it was simple divine.

Just outside the maize was some a circus skills workshop (the theme for this years maize maze is clowin' about) . Oli watched open mouth whilst they juggled and span diabolos in the air.

The courtyard was packed full of fun activities from trampolines , floor games to a large bouncy castle which Oli & Moo had fun bouncing on.

Teaching Oli how to play noughts & crosses

Me & TB on the carousel - I've never been on one before today

TB wanted to push the pram - I wasn't going to say no!

We kindly got given a voucher which gave us a free punnet of strawberries from the pick your own fields. Something else I've never done before either. It was rather therapeutic to be hunting out on the perfect red ones to pick. I did get rather ocd with making sure mine were totally red and I was quick to snap at TB who wanted to steal my biggest one! Please remind me when it's the right time to plant some strawberries as I would love to grow my own!

We topped the day off by visiting the farm shop to purchase some yummy watermelon and homemade apple juice.

Thank You to Hallane , & all the staff for a wonderful day out! We already plan on returning before summer is over.

If your interested in visiting the Maize Maze then visit the website where you can see details of opening times and entry prices.

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Are you like me and trawl search engines for voucher codes to use on products/services you want to buy?

Well now you don't have to hunt all over the place for those essential discounts, Voucherhub have them all in one place for you.

Voucherhub is straightforward and easy to use , It was a simple to use website which has that welcoming feel to it. I was able to go straight to the restaurant vouchers section to find a code for La Tasca which was the restaurant we wanted to use a code for.
But If like me your a eBay addict then there's eBay voucher codes which you can visit here. Or how about ASOS , online clothes shopping is becoming more & more popular so how about getting in on it by using a asos discount code here.

The one that really got my eye was the dominoes discount codes , we are BIG pizza fans in this house so will be checking this section often for new discount codes.

If you wanted some help with how to use VoucherHub then there's a tutorial which will tell you all you need to know about using the website.

My Tips : , and subscribe via email so that way you get quick and easy access to all the popular vouchers.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat

The lovely people at Graco sent us have a shiny new carseat in the form of the new Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 to try out. I was quite excited when it arrived , as much as Oli was when he saw a huge box which before meanie Daddy threw into the recycling it was a boat , spaceship and most importantly a tunnel.

We waited until Daddy was home to put the head support on and adjust the straps. It was quick & simple to put into the right position for Oli's age. The head support is easily adjusted as is the seat recline which can both be done with one hand.

I feel more reassured that Oli will be safer using this carseat then our old one as the nautilus has many safety features such as the side impact protection , lock off mechanism and a five point safety harness.

As it's a 3 in 1 it's suitable from the age of 9 months to 12 years so in reality it grows with your child. So with purchasing the nautilus you're instantly getting a bargain because you don't have to make another purchase when the next stage comes around. Don't worry about dirty seat covers - they easily come off and can go in the washing machine.

We've yet to fit the nautilus as Daddy's been at work with the car , but it will be fitted this weekend ready for a bloggers event that we are going to.

In the mean time it has replaced Oli's usual living room chair , he has been making good use of the integrated cup holder which is a fantastic bonus to the seat as it should stop me having to constantly reach round to grab drinks from him and the floor.

It also didn't take him long to discover the hidden storage in the arm rests , I fear this is where I'm going to find future missing objects.

To find out more information about the Graco Nautilus and other Graco products visit

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A Novel Idea

The prompt for this weeks gallery was 'A novel idea' . I thought I would struggle with this one until I looked back through my old photos and found a album packed full of images that represent my all time favourite book.

These photos that I took were from a garden I visited a few years ago. I was the only one their that day , it was quiet apart from the sounds the doves & ducks were making. It did feel rather magical at the time and I totally got lost in the moment whilst walking around exploring. I will one day visit the real gardens that provided the inspiration for the book.

Can you guess what my favourite book is?

It's The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Can I Have A Holiday?

How do Woman that juggle children , careers & studying do it? I've not even quite got the career bit going and yet I still feel like I'm taking on the world.

I have been writing endless cover letters to go out wit my CV to potential jobs , have I heard anything back? Nope. I'm guessing the long break after having a baby may be a put off. This is no big worry as money seems ok at this time , I don't have a clue how we've lasted this long with being a one income family but we've coped. Maybe I'm better at budgeting then I thought I was!

It feels so wrong to complain! it's not like I've got multiple children to look after or even school age children which brings more responsibilities (lunchboxes & ironed school uniform -I do fear it!) . But what is getting in my way is life. I have a rather demanding one year who wants attention 24/7 and that includes night times so yes I am a zombie during the day.
If I'm not battling with Oli for him to eat/sleep/chill then I'm cleaning a constant mess or cooking.. How do you do it all? Am I not alone in wishing for a pause button?

I didn't blog at all over the weekend as it just felt wrong too pour words into this when I should be pouring words into the essay I should be doing. The essay which has to be in at midnight tonight. The essay that is currently sat in Microsoft word with only 100 words and that's the title and the essay question.

But what am I doing instead of writing this essay , I'm blogging. I'm sat writing this post. Sat putting words into this (we all need a outlet to moan!) . As well as many other reasons Blogging gives me a sense of calmness and seeing your lovely replies to my random ramblings turns this :( into this :)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The £9.50 Sun Holiday Challenge

For a bit of fun I was challenged by The Sun to buy something more exciting with £9.50 then a fabulous holiday.

We're not ones to turn down a challenge so we happily accepted but it was only when the £9.50 arrived that we truly struggled to thing of something. What is exactly more exciting then a holiday?
We searched the Internet for ideas and we trawled town for what seemed like hours in the hunt for something that excited us more then a holiday.

We even asked total strangers and the reply we got was that there isn't anything more exciting then a holiday , especially a holiday that only costs £9.50 . What great help they were.
So we decided to think outside of the box , to me what excites me more then a weekend/week away? The answer was staring me straight in the face.

This to me is more exciting then a holiday...

Watching my Son play with his toys , so we took the £9.50 and bought Oli some new toys with it. Watching him play happily with them was both exciting for him and us. Which to me is money well spent.

Could you buy something more exciting then a holiday with £9.50?

Of course we will be collecting the vouchers , as a family on a budget you cant go wrong with a £9.50 Sun holiday. Start collecting your tokens now!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

What Is It?

This weeks theme for The Gallery is 'Can you see what it is yet?'

My silly camera wouldn't take photos of my original ideas so I had to settle with whatever the camera could take a close up photo of. I've took 3 photos in 3 different rooms of the house. Hope I've not made it to obvious/difficult!

I'll add the answers to the comment section later on this evening

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Eating Out With A Toddler

Walking into a restaurant and we grab a table for three , we grab a highchair and sit Oli in it. We order a round of drinks whilst Oli sits quietly , maybe even crayoning.
We then order food, we grab meals that are not food to go or something I could eat with my hands. A proper meal in which I could use both a knife & fork. We order Oli something which he could eat with his hands or a spoon. We eat as a family , we talk in a relaxed atmosphere and then once dinner is finished we order a pudding. We then go home all satisfied with smiles on our faces.

If only..

This is what really happens..

Walking into a restaurant and we grab a table for three. Oli's already playing up as he clearly doesn't want to be in there, he would much rather be running around.
We grab a highchair and attempt to put him in it , he screams and kicks. We give him crayons and toys but he throws them on the floor. If we give him any kind of food that also joins the crayons on the floor. This continues until we either grab something in the form of a sandwich which we barely have chance to chew , we eat at lightning speed just so that we can get out and get Oli home or we don't grab any food , we just give up and go straight home.

I long so much to go out for a meal in the evening at a local pub like we did when Oli was a little baby. I cant go out for lunch during the day simply because I cant deal with aggro and stress it causes. When people suggest meeting for a coffee I have to make up some kind of excuse as the only coffee I can do is when it's in my own home when Oli is free to run wild.
I fear being in any situation where I have to stop with the pram/sit down in public with him , he just doesn't like to be still. Could this just be another phrase which he should grow out of? Will I soon get that sit down family meal in a public place?

Monday, 12 July 2010

Letter To A 15 Month Old

Dear my darling Oliver ,

Yesterday you were 15 months of age , 3 months have gone since your 1st Birthday. It has simply flown by! I remember those butterflies I had in my stomach when you were turning 1 , When I just still couldn't believe that I was a Mother let alone a Mother to a 1 year old.
Those butterflies have returned not because of how quickly you're growing up but because of the new stages we are now experiencing. I can no longer refer to you as a baby , you are now a Toddler. A walking , talking Toddler.

Yes I am now coming to terms with that I have a full blown toddler on my hands. I have packed away the baby gros now that your in big boy Pjs , the babyish toys have also gone now that your into your cars and figurines and I'm even starting about redoing your bedroom. See I cant even call it your nursery as that just doesn't seem to fit anymore.

You're developing such a sense of humour which is where I can see you being just like your Daddy. You find it funny to turn your head around so we cant see you and then you reappear saying boo. This may be such a small thing to you but this fills my heart with such warmth to see you communicating with us in such a way.

Exploring seems to be your new obsession. You just want to roam wild , I can see it in your eyes. When the door opens you run at lightning speed to get a glimpse at what is outside , you even try to escape and I know those tears you give us whenever that door shuts is pure dissapointment at not having your chance to explore what is out there, despite my promises of "I will take you to the park later darling" you just dont understand. You run crazily around the house , you let everyone know it's yours. Was that why you did a wee right in the middle of the living room? Were you marking your territory?

Your smile seems to be getting wider each day with each new discovery and challenege. You are the light of my life and this stage you're at is hard work but I wouldnt change it for anything. I'm enjoying exploring the world like you are with fresh new eyes.

I love you lots



Friday, 9 July 2010

John Lewis Christmas Preview

I was invited along with a few other mummy bloggers to the John Lewis Christmas preview. We got to see the Christmas collection face to face. No being sent catalogues, John Lewis took us over to London. Wined (orange juice) and dined us (yummy prawn cocktails) and showed us the many beautiful things lined up for Christmas in real life.

Christmas trees & snow!

Where to start? Well I could tell you about the shiny new flip mino camcorders we were given as we walked in to film the day. Unfortunately I didn't get any video footage of the day (try juggling a drink, camera, mobile & cupcakes all at the same time!) but be sure to keep a eye on for the other bloggers videos/posts.

The tour started at fashion , Oh John Lewis how you teased me. I was reminded of a wardrobe I had pre-mummy years. The cashmere jumpers were simply beautiful, so soft but so unpractical with a one year. I was excited to hear they were getting in gstar , one of my favourite clothing brands. Too be honest I never knew John Lewis even sold clothes. When I thought of JL - toys & home ware came to mind.

We were then taken to home ware where we got to try out the new 3D TV experience , kitchen equipment - I'm trying to persuade the OH that the pink kettle/toaster will go nicely in our kitchen.

We got to look at the Christmas decorations and yes trees. I was quite impressed at the tree which looked incredibly real but wasn't. That may just be a perfect investment what with a baby/toddler running around the house. I have to admit to falling in love with a chair , it had many different coloured buttons and I was told it could come in any many different colours - it has been added to my wishlist along with the bed which is fit for a Queen.

Further on upstairs was toys, children's clothes and nursery furniture/accessories. Looking around gave me some great ideas on what to do with Oli's room. They had some wallpaper which at first glimpse I was mentally dressing Oli's room in.

We got to ask the keybuyers for John Lewis questions about the the items they choose and Sandy bought up the question of what will be the big thing this year and one of the answers was the pony which moved and was big enough for children to sit on - I would be lying if I didn't say its been added to my Oli's Christmas list.

Such a beautiful sledge cotbed , we have one similar to this and I highly recommend them , it will see you through the baby/toddler years to the first bed and then get be reused for the next one which is what we plan on doing.

Sandy admiring the tree.

We then went on to the gift section , I loved everything I saw right down to the mugs. I was so impressed with the breville cupcake maker that it might be bought just to sit next to my egg & toast maker. We were shown a homemade fudge kit and I just kept thinking what a great Christmas present it would make for someone. We were surrounded by cupcakes so it would of been rude to of not eaten 1 or 7.
Had to giggle at MTJAM who admitted to nearly knocking down a display , I'm pretty sure she was trying to create a distraction whilst her husband did a runner with one of the many gorgeous sofas on display.

Emma & Kelly sharing the days experiences on camera.

Big thanks to Steve , Tim & the rest of the guys who provided us Mummy Bloggers with a fantastic day!!

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