I am in the middle of moving hosts with the blog and things may seem a little topsy turvy right now but hopefully when it’s all done the site will be easier to navigate and a lot prettier 😉

Please bear with me and thanks for continuing to read and support my blog. You know I love you for it.

Gaming for kids – yay or nay?

On a recent trip to a local restaurant it was really nice to see lots of families with young children enjoying a peaceful meal. Everyone seemed happy and content but on closer inspection I noticed that nearly every person (children included) was more or less attached to an electronic device. Mums and Dads on iPhones catching up on social media or playing candy crush or similar whilst children played on all sorts of gaming pads from leapfrogs to iPads to I don’t know what!

Now I’m all for a relaxing meal but is this right?

I am definitely guilty of using my smartphone too much as is my OH.. I’ve even occasionally become a little attached to a game or two ( Temple run amongst them ) but I try not to let it eat into family time. Izzy is yet to get into gaming or electronic devices – she is only 21 months so that’s probably the only reason we have avoided it thus far but she definitely is picking up on how things work and knows to press the home button to get the screen to light up.

It may sound as if I’m against gaming – I’m not.

From a lot of things I’ve read lately there are definite positives to tablets/gaming pads etc. There are lots of educational games and apps around which have shown a marked improvement for some children in subjects such as maths and spelling. Even our local school which has an excellent reputation gives out tablets to the pupils for use at home. I have nieces and nephews as young as 3yrs old who have mastered games which would have me stumped.

Things have certainly changed since the days of the Spectrum when I was younger – we didn’t ever play for very long but this may have been due to the 30 minutes or so loading time for each game. Technology advances are a little scary aren’t they?

How do you feel about children and gaming? Do you see the benefits? Do you have set rules/screen time allowances for your little ones?

*this post contains paid content

Some things that I love

I’ve decided to join in on But why mummy why “Some things that I love” linky for the first time mainly because its good to focus on the positive things that happen each week.

Something I read:

Since returning from Britmums I’ve read a lot of blog posts from people that I met and people whose blogs I have followed for some time. I’m trying to take the time to actually read blogs regularly.
I’ve also been re reading Goodbye pert breasts by Ben Wakeling and Shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which is one of my favourite books ever.

Something I watched :

I watched Behind the Candelabra this week and its such a funny,interesting film – I recommend it. It’s all about Liberace and stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon who are both incredible in it.

Something I wore:

Last weekend I was admitted to hospital and whilst there realised I had no decent PJ’s that fit my swelling belly so my mum took it upon herself to buy me some very cool ones covered in giraffes. They are very comfy and fun. I’ve worn them a lot this week. I’ve also been rocking a DVT stocking but I can’t say I’ve loved it.

Something I listened to:

When I first got pregnant Bon Jovi had just released the song Because we can and I loved listening to it feeling happy and excited about being pregnant. I’ve listened to it again this week and Izzy has been dancing to it and its made me smile.

Something I can’t live without:

This may sound like a cliche but I couldn’t live without my family. From my little family of OH, Izzy and bump to my mum, dad and siblings I have found their help and support to be incredible these past few months and I know that I am incredibly lucky to have them. I get calls or texts from my sisters each day whilst my mum is just always there when I need her.

Making simple food taste special – chicken #1

I love quick, cheap and easy ways to make plain food such as a chicken breast taste really good.
Don’t get me wrong I thoroughly enjoy spending hours in the kitchen working on complicated dishes but more often that not I don’t have the time and at the moment definitely not the energy for it.

Every time I create an easy way to make my food taste that little bit extra special I’m going to share it on here, it may not be every week or even every month but I will try to do as many as I can.

Last night I had chicken breasts to work with and not an awful lot else as the big monthly shop is tomorrow but I wanted something tasty. I found a simple recipe for a lemon butter sauce in my latest Jamie Oliver mag and decided to make something that would work well with it so..

Chicken, Basil and Garlic parcels

You will need:

Chicken breasts (1 per person)
Approx 2 large basil leaves per breast
1 garlic clove per breast
Olive oil
Tin foil

Preheat oven to gas mark 5.

Place your chicken breast in the centre of a large square of foil, pour over some olive oil and top with basil leaves,clove of garlic and seasoning. Make a parcel out of the foil, place in a baking tray and bake for approx 20 minutes. I say approx as breast size varies a lot and you obviously need to check its cooked. I use a meat thermometer to do so.





*I use flavoured salts, often smoked but on this occasion I used a pink pepper salt so I didn’t need pepper as well. Flavoured salt will transform your food – I currently have 4 different types and my favourite is Maldon smoked sea salt. They are more expensive than normal salts but seem to last forever as you need such a little bit.

*I also use smoked garlic for this kind of dish, I tend to pick mine up from markets or food festivals but they smell them in most supermarkets now.

*If you don’t have basil try this with any fresh herb that you have at home.

To serve your breast remove from foil and leave to cool slightly then slice and arrange on plate – I topped with lemon butter sauce.

Lemon Butter sauce

Melt 125g butter in a pan and then whisk in the juice of 1 lemon and season. Pour over your chicken or fish. Easy peasy lemon squeezy – couldn’t resist that.

I understand this is far from gourmet cooking and that a lot of you will cook like this all the time but for me a simple addition like garlic and herbs makes a huge difference to my food and I hope it helps some of you in some way.

I think the beauty of this is that the chicken tastes so good that you can serve it with a very basic side salad and a stuffed pepper and still feel like you have eaten a really good meal:


The roasted garlic tastes amazing by the way.

What do you do to make your food taste special?

My Breastfeeding Journey

I’ve just read that it’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Week and I thought I would share my breastfeeding journey with you. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject as for me breastfeeding wasn’t as easy or come as naturally as I had hoped but I think it’s always nice to read different people’s stories and opinions.

Before my daughter was born I was very keen to breastfeed, I knew all the benefits for both the baby and for me some of which I will list on here further on and of course it just seemed like the most natural thing for a mother to want to do.

I was a little naive and assumed that immediately after birth my baby would nuzzle in and suckle away – this does actually happen for some people I’m sure and I really hope it does for me next time. Unfortunately it didn’t happen that way, although we had immediate skin to skin contact and some help ( nipple pinching ) from my midwife my daughter didn’t seem fussed. I assumed she was just worn out from her (probably traumatic) journey into her new world and so I just continued to try but try as I might she would not feed so I hand expressed for day 1 and 2.

Just born:


On day 3 ( still in hospital) she had lost over 10% of her birth weight and I was told that unless she put on a certain amount of weight and started feeding I couldn’t go home. I felt like such a failure. Here was something that my body does naturally and I couldn’t get it right. Out came the hospital double pump and I spent the next 24 hours without sleep trying to plump up my little un. It worked but as she still wouldn’t feed from me the *horrible ( *totally lovely actually) midwives made me stay in hospital for 5 whole nights until they were satisfied that I could ( and would ) pump regularly and feed my baby using a teeny syringe. This was a really hard time, I was exhausted from labour and having a newborn with no help at night from my partner or family and it would have been easy to just give up but I really wanted to feed

On my last night in hospital I was very weepy and feeling lonely and an older midwife who I hadn’t met before came and sat with me on my bed, she gave me a hug and told me I was doing everything right and then she told me a secret. Before she told me she pointed out that this was not NHS advice and really she shouldn’t say but it had worked for her daughter – what was this magic piece of advice I hear you say? Nipple Shields. I was sceptical but on the way from hospital with my newborn tucked in my babasling I hit Boots and bought an electric breast pump and a pack of nipple shields.

Just before we left to go home ..don’t I look happy?


On our first night at home at six days old my daughter fed for the very first time from me using these wondrous nipple shields and she pretty much didn’t stop for days and it felt amazing. I remember feeling so lucky and proud to be feeding my child. She was always a fussy feeder and most times would only feed with a nipple shield unless she was super tired – I guess she got used to the feeling. I continued to express and it meant that when she was a little older my partner could give her a bottle of breastmilk at night when I was really tired. I always loved the times we spent feeding especially when she got older and would reach up a hand to touch my chest or hold my hand. Some of my favourite memories are of us feeding.

At about 4 months Izzy had a lot of problems with constipation and some bowel issues ( going 16 days without a movement became the norm) and we had to see a consultant. We were encouraged to try giving some formula each day to see if it made a difference and whilst it did make a difference she began getting harder to breastfeed. I really wish we had tried some other options but at the time with a child who was in horrific pain I just listened to the doctor. It was only 1 formula feed per day but at 6 months she just plain refused to feed from me. I didn’t seek advice at the time and wish I had but I continued to express until there was in milk left at about 8 months so she carried on having a breastfeed by bottle each day for that time which I’m glad about. The time when I was exclusively pumping was the hardest. I was determined to provide milk for my child and would spend hours each day attached to the pump sometimes for a depressingly small amount of milk. I tried lactation teas and fenugreek but it seemed my supply was gone.

Even though our breastfeeding journey was far from simple I am so glad we did it. I know that I provided the best start I could to my childs life. I am not anti formula at all in fact Izzy still has a bedtime bottle of growing up milk but I know that for me (not everyone) breastmilk is what I wanted to give my child and its what I hope to do this time around too. In fact I’m aiming for a year – I am fully aware this may not happen.

Benefits for baby

*less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
*fewer chest and ear infections and having to go to hospital as a result
*less chance of being constipated
*less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life
*less chance of developing eczema

Benefits for mum

*lowers your risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer
*naturally uses up to 500 calories a day
*saves money – infant formula, the sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be costly
*can help to build a strong bond between you and your baby

This time around I am going into this eyes wide open – I know it’s not always easy. I will seek advice and help if I need it straightaway from someone qualified to give it. I’m lucky to have met a wonderful friend and breastfeeding pro ( @midwifetomum on twitter) who I know will be an amazing support to me. I will try my very best and not feel guilty at how long I feed for. I am hoping to not need nipple shields but I will certainly have some ready just in case.

I cannot wait for that first feed. This time I will get photos of this special time.

How was breastfeeding for you?

Dear Baby..Wednesday Words

I have decided to link up the first time to Wednesday Words a linky which is run by Emma of Crazy with Twins.

This is poem of sorts written to the baby residing in my belly.

Dear Baby

You have been part of me for 20 weeks
It sounds like such a short time
But we have grown attached shall we say?
I think about you most of the time and
I already don’t know what I would do without you
It hasn’t been easy
We have already had more tough times
Than is fair

You are worth every minute
I just can’t believe we are only halfway
Through this long journey
Your sister can’t wait to meet you and
I think you are going to be the best of friends

Every day your little kicks get stronger
As I feel you getting to know what your body can do
I can’t wait to see your face
To hold your hand
To stroke your soft skin

For now I wait patiently ..or not
To see who you are
Whose lips have you got
Are you just like me or do you follow your daddy?
Will you be quiet and calm or loud and funny?
Whoever you are and whatever
You may be
Know that you already you are loved
More than you will ever really know

Crazy With Twins

Pregnancy cravings.. Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Isn’t it always the case that when you really want something it always comes a time when you can’t have it?

Since I’ve been pregnant the food/drink items I have really fancied include:

1.Pimms -I’m not a big drinker but when the Summer finally started to show itself this year the first thing I thought of was Pimms. I love Pimms. I missed it so much when pregnant with Izzy and will look forward to a long glass of it after baby 2 arrives.

2. A soft boiled/poached egg – cooking an egg to a dry hard state isn’t that appealing.

3. Chocolate mousse – I have an awesome recipe for mousse which unfortunately includes raw egg whites which are of course a no no.

4. Mr Whippy! No explanation needed really.

5. Red bull – I drink this so rarely ..normally only after a really bad nights sleep as I’m not a coffee fan but obviously I wouldn’t consider drinking it when pregnant. It’s not something I would ever imagine myself craving but my OH had a can this week after a night shift and the smell of it made me want to drink it SO badly.

Isn’t this annoying?

I am however getting quite good at creating or finding pregnancy friendly options. Coming up on the blog soon is egg free carbonara..a non alcoholic drinks special and for now an egg free mousse which I have been promising to post for agessss so finally here it is:

Bump friendly chocolate orange mousse

You will need:

175grams marshmallows
275 grams dark choc – probably better to use a high quality choc but I used asda basics.
75ml of warm water
300ml double cream
75grams butter
Zest of one orange – if you don’t like the texture of zest you could avoid this and add 1/2tsp extra flavouring
1tsp of orange flavouring


Put all ingredients except cream and flavouring in a pan over a low heat and melt slowly stirring as needed. Remove from heat.

Whip your cream and fold into cooling chocolate mixture, adding your flavouring at this stage also. Spoon into 6 ramekins and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.

Serve straight from the fridge either plain or top with fruit and/or cream. Seriously addictive.



We all enjoyed this recipe..we gave Izzy a small amount in a ramekin and she LOVED IT.


Does my bump look big in this?

It’s getting to that stage in my pregnancy when I start to moan that nothing fits and if it fits I look fat.

My stomach is ..big. My face is starting to get rounder. My ankles are cankling already and my right leg is swollen. It’s not a good look. Add to that I am now wearing a thick white stocking due to a DVT scare last weekend and I bet you are thinking I am one hot mama hey? It’s really not that bad. In fact on most days I quite like my pregnancy shapes..especially my blooming chest but on some days I feel bleurgh.

Luckily this time around I am pregnant at a time when maternity wear is cool. Of course Kate ( as in Royal Kate ) is pregnant so all the major brands have hurriedly created some really pretty maternity lines just at the right time for me ..Woop!

So far I have jeans, tunics, vests, bras and I am on the look out for some dresses and if my leg decides to stop swelling maybe even some maternity shorts luckily I’ve been offered quite a few products to review otherwise I would be broke.

I need to find something special but not too extravagantly expensive for a wedding in September when I will be blooming nicely at 7 months..any brand recommendations? I am definitely planning flat shoes but with the UK weather and my increased size I really do not know what kind of dress to buy.

Were there any items of clothing you wish you had been able to buy when pregnant? Did you like your pregnancy shape? Anyone else have any DVT scares?

A recent bump and Alex from Madagascar at the Britmums Live 2013 conference:


*this post contains paid content

Watch the pennies…

I love spending money. I really do. I’m not a spendaholic or a massively obsessed with brands but I like shopping – who doesn’t?

It always seems that there is something I need to buy whether it be new shoes for my child,maternity clothes for me or a birthday present for someone in my rather large extended family.

Mostly I love to be able to buy good food to experiment with and create recipes and well it all adds up. As a family we have been looking at ways to cut back or to make some money from junk ( someone’s treasure apparently) which is cluttering our house. We have tried boot sales – getting up at stupid o clock doesn’t really appeal and the usual online auctions etc and most recently we tried one of the newer ways to sell your stuff via Music Magpie. We used the sell your DVDs option and made about £10 on a few which we hadn’t watched in quite a long time so basically money for nothing in my opinion. You can also sell CD’s, laptops, mobile phones and clothes amongst other things so its quite varied.

Cutting back is something we are always doing in one way or another. I like to use every scrap of food we buy and this saves us a fortune. Luckily we are both naturally pretty thrifty and love a good hunt around the charity shops and I’m getting quite good at hunting deals down on bargain sites or using vouchers. We do indulge occasionally as does everyone but cutting back 75% of the time definitely eases the guilt.

What websites/bargain hunting tips do you recommend for someone looking to save some pennies or to clear the clutter?

*this post contains paid content

Simple Suppers – Cheese and Potato Bake

After a few days away last week I returned home to a sack of potatoes which I really needed to use up and it just so happens I’ve had such a craving for cheese and potato pie. I really didn’t fancy the fuss of making pastry tonight and also I am currently on strict orders to take it easy so I made something quick and simple which my mum made a lot when I was growing up – cheese and potato bake. I adapted it from the basic recipe my mum passed on and it was delicious.

Cheese and Potato Bake

8/9 medium sized potatoes (peeled and diced)
1 red onion (diced)
200g mature cheddar (grated)
75ml of milk
25ml of single cream
1tsp of crushed peppercorns
2 tbsp of butter
1tbsp of herbs (your choice – I used rosemary & thyme)

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4.
Put your potatoes in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and drain.
Sauté your onions in a tbsp of butter until soft. Heat your milk in a small pan or microwave and add to your potatoes, butter, pepper and cream and mash thoroughly. Mix in your onions and 150g of cheddar along with your herbs and spoon it in to a cazuela or large ovenproof dish, top with remaining grated cheese, some sliced tomato and a few basil leaves for decoration and bake for 25-30 minutes.




This was a really comforting, tasty meal. Fairly cheap to make and really quick and easy.

I served this with tinned chopped tomatoes and bacon – yum.

This fed 1 hungry pregnant lady, 1 hungry 6ft man and 1 hungry energetic toddler with a chunk leftover for someone’s (mine) lunch tomorrow.

Izzy enjoyed 🙂


Let me know if you try it 😉