Friday, 23 January 2015

My new favourite sandwich

This, my friends, is what's known as a sandwich game changer. And if that's not a thing, it should be. Trust me. It's that good.. 

There are few rules when it comes to sandwich making if you ask me. The more filings and flavour combinations the better.

Obviously I didn't invent this sandwich, but it's a new one for me and might not be one you've thought to try before... so I'm sharing the sandwich love :)

I've tried this on all manner of breads but nothing tops the humble bagel. There's something about the slightly chewy but crisp texture of a toasted bagel that just works. 

So, once you've lightly toasted and buttered your bagel, add a thin layer of houmous to one half, followed by thin slices of avocado. Top this with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add two slices of crispy streaky bacon (I had to use ham in the sandwich photographed, because we were out of bacon, and its definitely not as good). On top of this you want to put a fried egg (little tip - break up the egg yolk as its frying so it isn't quite as runny when you bite into it). Whack a dollop of sweet chilli sauce on top of the egg and you're done. Sandwich perfection, right there. Enjoy!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

♡ Little bits #12 ♡

1. And so it begins... 2015 has good things in store, I can feel it :)
2. Me and my mama ♡
3. Loved taking my two little cubs to see The Lion King on stage. I worked with the press team for the original West End production nearly 15 years ago (wow, that's depressing) so it has very special memories for me. They loved it.
4. Taking photos is a part of my everyday life, but I never print them. This year I'm making an effort to print my favourites for the whole family to enjoy, not just me as I flick through my phone. So I'm starting a scrap book. It's taking me a while to get into the swing of it because it's not something I've ever done before, but I can tell I'll love it once I get going.

5. What makeup brush mama? What Laura Mercier concealer palette? Monkey!
6. A lot of chocolate was harmed in the making of these cookies. Keep your eyes peeled for the recipe. It's a good 'un.
7. Mama's night out. And on a school night too. Mine's a frozen margarita :)
8. Post tantrum cuddles with my tiny one. And an apparent addiction to leopard print.

Hope you're all having a great week!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Diagnosis: Mumnesia

I write this just after encountering a particularly dramatic toddler meltdown. My 20-month old spent a few (loud) minutes this morning in the hallway, sat on his new nemesis 'the thinking chair'.

All because I wouldn't let him eat his sister's strawberry chapstick.

I'd forgotten about this bit of parenting. It seems I'm suffering from mumnesia.

I've been here before alright. My first born Dylan would bang his head on anything he could find. In pure rage. Not particularly hard and the tantrums were usually short-lived but, being my first baby, the head banging really upset me. I needn't have worried. This phase soon passed and was replaced by throwing things at his baby sister for no apparent reason. Every cloud....

(He's eight now and a very polite, gentle, lovely boy by the way).

Meryn on the other hand, could never be bothered with the rage; but boy could she whinge. She's still pretty good at it actually. 

It wasn't so much a tantrum, but more a long, whimpering Academy Award worthy performance. Followed by the need for lots of cuddles; which was fine by me.

So which toddler tantrum style is Ayden going to roll with?

So far I'm seeing a dash of diva and a hint of hissy fit, but he's never too cross for a cuddle.

It's funny. Even with a gap of five years between Ayden and Meryn, I was well-prepared for everything a newborn brings - and really looking forward to it all - but I'd forgotten so much. Milestones, teething remedies, the specifics of weaning, how often I'd forget the little red book at health visitor appointments. And the toddler tantrums. I'd definitely forgotten about those.

So, despite the apparent mumnesia, it seems I need to root about in the darkest corners of my brain and find the other bits I'd forgotten. Like how to look anything other than gobsmacked when Ayden throws himself face down on the floor and thrashes his little limbs around like a complete nutcase. And how to keep calm and choose my battles. Maybe it's not the end of the world if he doesn't eat my homemade Italian casserole with the rest of the family and would prefer to squash the butterbeans between his fingers before feeding them to the dog. 

I'm also going to try and forget that he took the set of 'pems' (crayons) that Santa brought him and created quite the toddler masterpiece on my painted doorframe. 

I remember having quite an impressive repertoire of distraction tactics when Dylan and Meryn were toddlers. Better get those out again then. And the wine. Whoever invented 'dry January' clearly didn't have a 20-month old!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Gaga for Bobo

Ok, I'm bored of winter now. As I write this, ice balls are plummeting from the sky, shooting down my chimney and, despite two jumpers, woolly socks and my cosiest pj trousers, I'm still bloody freezing. So I'm consoling myself with a cuppa and a spot of SS15 online browsing. 

The new Bobo Choses collection dropped this week and it's a corker. Enough to transport me from dreary January drudge to balmy, beachy summer evenings... for five minutes at least.

Bobo is up there with my top three favourite brands to dress my children in. The design is always original and imaginative, with bags of personality. Just like my three wild ones.  

Here are my top picks from the collection:

Ghost print jumpsuit. £35, Cissy Wears. I just know this will suit Ayden perfectly. He has a couple of Bobo jumpsuits and I love the slightly over-sized fit. This one has little ghosts all over it. Love, love, love.

Watermelon print baby shorts. £20, Cissy Wears. I don't think I even need to explain this one do I?

Grey Petit Monster dress. £28, Cissy Wears. I love all my children in grey. Actually the whole family is pretty mad for marl. This dress is effortless for summer. Perfect to throw on with flip flops for a day at the beach. 

Watermelon romper. £35, Monkey McCoy. It's those watermelons again. Combined with the softest terry towelling fabric and I literally can not resist. I mean, how cute is this? 

Mr Peep long sleeve tshirt. £28, Scandinavian Minimall. This is right up Dylan's street and will look great on him. I like that he'll be able to get some use out of it in the cooler months too. 

As predicted, I love pretty much the whole SS15 collection. No surprises there. What are your favourite items?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Confessions of a non-runner

I'm not a runner. I wish I was. But it doesn't come naturally to me at all.

My husband on the other hand will run for 10 miles quite happily. Because he wants to! Uch. I can't ever imagine a day when I choose to run that kind of distance.

What I have noticed is that, although I'm crap at it (at the moment), I'm a better person when I run. This hit me like a tonne of bricks on Sunday. 

I hadn't run for weeks. Who am I kidding... months! And I wasn't feeling good about it. I'm very much motivated by guilt. When my husband runs, I feel like a complete sloth in comparison, so will usually haul my lazy ass out the door. After a (literal) kick up the bum on Sunday I headed out for a 3km run. Not particularly far, but better than nothing.

The first half was amazing. I felt fantastic. Free. Elated. Alive. Happy. The rest of it sucked, but I have to focus on the first bit if I'm ever going to get out there again.

The part that has really stuck with me is how I felt for the rest of the day. We all know that exercise makes you feel happier, but running seems to give me more motivation in general. I have ideas after I've run and I want to get up and do things.

It's finally dawned on me that to be the best version of me that I can be, I need to run. And I need to remind myself of that next time the lazy little troll in my head tries to tell me otherwise. 

So I'm getting out the big guns. Four fail-proof motivational butt kicks that should help to keep me on track.

A workout buddy. I told you, I'm motivated by guilt. The only surefire way to get me moving is someone else telling me that they're doing it. Sad, but true. My husband has declared 2015 as the year he runs a marathon. That's not going to happen for me, but his training should motivate me to at least up my 3km to 5km. Maybe even 10.....

Instagram guilt. Most mornings I've had a cheeky scroll through my Instagram feed before I've even managed my first sip of coffee. So, tapping into that guilt factor again, I've discovered some revoltingly fit people to follow whose early morning runs/spinning sessions/beach yoga help to take me from 'can't be arsed' to 'still can't be arsed, but I'm going anyway'.

Plan, plan, plan. I talked yesterday about making more of an effort to plan out my weeks. I intend to include workouts in that. I'm far more likely to get out if I've written it down and decided when I'm going in advance. For January, I'm combining running with Yoga with Adrienne's 30 Days of Yoga programme; so that's daily yoga routines in the morning and (hopefully) three runs a week. 

Have a goal. I'm not going to do anything stupid like sign up for a half marathon, but I would like to push myself a bit. Who knows, I might surprise myself. My goal is to run 10km this year. I'd never consider aiming for that before but, for some reason, for the first time this year I thought... why not!? 

For now, I'll stick to my trusty little 3km route, but you'll be the first to know when I tip the 5km.

What motivates you to get active? I need all the help I can get.

Monday, 12 January 2015

♡ Little bits of our Christmas ♡

Long overdue, but I'm back. And determined to work harder to fill my tiny corner of the internet with memories and ramblings. 

I loved blogging last year and, at times, felt like I'd found my groove with it; posting regularly and with content I was really proud of. Where I fall down is lack of planning. Actually, my lack of planning lets me down in lots of areas so, yes you guessed it, I'm starting 2015 determined to do something about it. And this time I mean it. Honest. I've even bought a time planner, so it's bound to happen, right?

So, Christmas happened. Months of preparation and, just like that, gone. But it was great. Two weeks of uninterrupted, family time. Movies, chocolate, wine, cuddles, presents, laughs and cheese. Oh, the cheese. 

Here's some of the best bits.

1. I took my little ballerina to see The Nutcracker as a pre-Christmas treat and it was wonderful. She sat on my lap, mesmerised by the whole thing. It's lovely to spend some time one-on-one with each of my little ones. It's not often I get chance to do it, but I want to make sure I take each of them on a 'mummy and me date', of their choice, a few times this year.
2. Dark chocolate and mint m&ms. Amazing. That's all.
3. Loved watching this bunch of loonies skating about on the ice. It was their first time and they loved it. 
4. Off to a Christmas disco. Could they look any more grown up!? 

5. Date night margarita. Mmm could do with one of those right about now...
6. Figgy the elf returns. I loved watching Ayden following his big brother and sister every morning as they searched for Figgy. He loved it.
7. Baby vs ice cream. Guess who won.
8. We're big BabyLit fans and loved reading this book over Christmas. 

9. Discovered this delightful drink over Christmas. Like Baileys, but waaaay better. I recommend.
10. Baby + Elmo = true love ♡
11. Christmas cuddles with my little ones. Add gingerbread and its pretty much perfect.
12. Roller skates from Santa were a big hit this year. We spent a few chilly, sunny afternoons trying not to fall flat on our faces. I say we. No chance you're getting me in a pair of roller skates!

It definitely took me longer than normal to accept going back to reality this year. I'm not sure why, but even last week, with the kids back in school, I was still leaving it until the very last minute to get out of bed and start the morning chaos. 

I managed my first run of the year yesterday though and felt so much better for it. It gave me the kick up the bum I needed and I'm feeling far more motivated because of it. 

...that planner might come in handy after all.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Shit! The Elf!

So I'm sat here while the baby is napping writing myself a list of ideas for our annual game of 'hide the elf' and it occurred to me that it might be nice to share the ideas. You never know, it might be useful to other people too.

If you're not familiar with the Elf on the Shelf it's basically a stuffed elf that arrives from the North Pole on 1st December and reports back to Santa every night on who's been naughty or nice. A festive spy! The fun bit is that he arrives back at your home each day in a different place and the kids have to find him.

We jumped firmly on board the Elf on the Shelf train last year. I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of it before and loved the idea so Figgy, as named by Dylan and Meryn, arrived with a bang and we had great fun. For the first few days. Then my lack of planning came back to bite me and I spent most evenings panicking and trying to come up with a funny/clever/festive hiding place for the bloody elf.

Fast forward 12 months and I'm going in prepared! Figgy, I'm coming at you with an arsenal of ideas, you little imp you.  

So here you go. You don't have to necessarily follow them in this order, but there's one for each day of December up until Christmas Eve. You're welcome ;)

1. Elf arrives with a token gift for the children and a letter from Santa. Last year the gift was their advent calendars, but the elf could also bring a new Christmas decoration for the tree, some festive PJs, or a Christmas book or DVD.

2. Elf makes friends with the other toys. Maybe he plays cards with Woody, or Monopoly with Barbie… 

3. Some of the toys are not so sure about the new addition. Elf finds himself gagged, taped to the wall and surrounded by a semicircle of toy soldiers. 

4. Elf makes himself spaghetti with maple syrup and sweets - a la Buddy the Elf.

5. Elf takes a shower.

6. Elf has a mini-marshmallow snowball fight with the other toys

7. Reuse those mini-marshmallows and Elf can take a toy bubble bath in them the following day.

8. Elf photocopies his bum. 

9. Elf gets locked out and is found peering in the window.

10. Elf turns up in a toy car with some passengers

11. Elf helps himself to the biscuit tin. Smear crumbs over his face and clothes for added authenticity.

12. Elf zip wires from the top of the Christmas tree to a light fitting/door knob/fixture in the room of your choice.  

13. Elf is caught helping himself to milkshake in the fridge (stripy straw optional).

14. Elf makes snow angels out of flour.

15. Elf spells out the number of sleeps until Christmas with Cheerios.

16. Elf tapes streamers or wrapping paper across the kids' bedroom doorways.

17. Elf does 'Frozen' and makes an Olaf from marshmallows. Insert optional note 'Do you wanna build a snowman?'. I predict this one goes down well!

18. Elf plays the games console or watches TV with another toy.

19. Elf brings a treat for the family pet.

20. Elf catches a cold travelling back and forth from the North Pole - find him in his sick bed surrounded by tissues and calpol sachets.

21. Elf draws Rudolph noses on family photos and is caught sharpie in hand.

22. Elf makes pancakes for breakfast (with mini ones for him).

23. Elf takes pictures of a toy Christmas party he has hosted and is found looking through the photos.

24. Elf writes 'I'll miss you' on a noticeboard / mirror / note and leaves a small parting gift.