Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas blogging break

I don't know if you have noticed but lately I have found it difficult to find the time and inclination to blog.

I love writing blog posts, when I have something to write about. Currently my life consists of breast feeding, changing nappies, avoiding sick, praying Fred will sleep and going to baby groups. Jamie and I aren't even getting much time together because every time we have an evening free we are either battling to get Fred to go to sleep or I fall asleep as soon as he does. (not ideal- although for the last two nights Fred has slept for 6 hours at a time!)

Please don't misunderstand me, I LOVE having Fred and doing all of the above baby things (well most).

In order to write I need something to write about and the baby free time in which to write it. I am currently quite short of both of those things.

This is going to be our first Christmas as a family of three. I'm excited to have a good amount of time together and with our extended families. We leave for our Christmas South coast tour (both sets of our parents live on the south cost but about over 100 miles apart) tomorrow afternoon, straight after Church. Before then we have to pack more then we have ever packed before. 

Baby = stuff and more stuff

SO the long and short of it is I'm going to have a guilt free break from blogging over the Christmas period. 

I have signed up to a blogging course in January so I can return with more inspiration and passion for my little space.

Fred and I wish you a merry and blessed Christmas and will hopefully see you in the New Year.

The Chester Saturnalia Parade

Thursday evening, Jamie, Fred (asleep in his pushchair) and I went in to Chester City Centre to meet some of Jamie's young people and explore the Christmas market. I can highly recommend the mulled apple juice.

While we were there, out if nowhere came 30ish men dressed as Roman soldiers, carrying lit torches and shouting. We decided to follow them, who wouldn't?!

It turned out they were re-enacting the roman festival of Saturnalia, a festival in honour of he Roman god Saturn who, according to Wikipedia, was an agricultural god. 

Things like this are part of why I love Chester, It is such a spontaneous City with random events happening throughout the year.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Preparing for Christmas

We are almost half way through Advent, that is shocking to me because I haven't even got an advent calendar! I'm blaming Fred for making me so dis-organised. I do somehow have all my Christmas gifts prepared (yes I am gloating a little).

Advent is important to me and many other Christians because it reminds us to prepare spiritually for Jesus coming to earth again, it is also lovely that it ties in with the run up to the celebration of Christ's birth. 

Advent for me is an essential part of Christmas, without advent and the reminder that we are living in expectation of what is to come, Christmas becomes a hollow, food and drink fueled present fest. 

Don't get me wrong I LOVE food (especially Christmas food, Christmas Cake is so good! I can eat a ton of Marzipan and roasted vegetables though not together), drink (sadly I won't be able to drink much this year because of breast feeding but I am going to have a couple of glasses of mulled wine - the drink of Christmas Champions) and presents (I LOVE opening presents! and giving presents, it makes me happy). But Christmas is much MUCH better when it has meaning, and is less self centered.

My Husband, Jamie, for every day of Advent is tweeting a way that we can prepare for and celebrate Christmas that is less selfish and will bless others; because realigning ourselves with God and his plan for us means we are more concerned about being a blessing to other people; over and above our own personal gain. 

You can follow his tweets with the Hash tag #ChristmasRhythms or you can check out the Tearfund Rhythms website. HERE As well as Jamie's tweets they have many ideas of ways to make Christmas more special and less consumer driven. All good things if you ask me.

I don't often do serious posts. but so many bloggers are blogging about gift ideas and festive makes and I don't feel I have anything to add to that strand of conversation. I feel so often we get wrapped up in the physical preparations that we forget to stop and remember what its all about.

Thanks for reading. Just because no blog post is complete with a photo of Fred here is the two of us in our accidentally matching Christmas outfits. (I was very embarrassed)

Monday, 2 December 2013

An Autumnal Walk

I feel like I have missed out on some of the joys of Autumn this year, because of the joys of Fred. 
This weekend we went for a little Autumn walk, the colours were bright, the air was crisp and I was with my two favourite people.
Thank God for seasons, walks and family.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


I don't remember any of my Grandparents, my Mum's Mum was my last living Grandparent, but my memories of her are very hazy and possibly based on photographs. 

I have always hoped it would be different for my own children. At some point during my teenage years I tried to make my Dad promise not to die until he had met all of my children (I have no idea how many I imagined having). My Dads age worried me, and I had grown up with my niece's and nephews having more grandparents then they could ever wish for. I wanted my children to have a similar experience and relationship with their Grandparents as my nieces and nephews have had.

Well it seems that wish of mine has been granted. Fred has four very doting Grandparents :)

Jamie's parents came to visit a week after Fred was born, they helped with the upkeep of the house and spent much time cooing over our beautiful little boy.

I am surprised by the strength of feeling on the side of the grandparents. I hope she won't mind me sharing, but a couple of times during my pregnancy Marion, Jamie's Mum, told me she hated children and it was a miracle her children survived. I have since realised that this was a little tongue in cheek; but as a hormonal and irrational pregnant person, I worried she would find Fred a nuisance and not want to spend time with him. 

It turns out she is completely in love with Fred and a very proud Gran who is excited about shopping for Fred's Christmas presents.

My parents visited a couple of weeks later when I had myself more together so we were able to go out and do things together. We still took it easy with many relaxing afternoons. Fred spent many hours draped over my Dad's belly, it seems it is the perfect shape for sleeping babies.

My Mum threatened to take Fred home a few times. I don't blame her, he is a cutie.

 Unfortunately both sets of Grandparents live many miles away, and even though we have always made a concerted effort to visit and contact our parents regularly, it is hard on them and us that they are so far away. Having Fred has highlighted this, because he changes so much even day to day. I feel bad that they are missing out and will only get to see him a few times a year. 

One thing that has and will greatly help is Skype. We used to talk about many things over skype, now it has turned in to the Fred show :). My Mum tells me off if she cant see him.

I love it, and so do they.

We will be visiting both families over Christmas. Something Jamie and I are really looking forward to. It will be wonderful to see Fred interacting with our families.

If you have any advice about maintaining a healthy long distance grandparent- grandchild relationship I would be grateful for your input.

Friday, 22 November 2013

6 weeks after giving birth

It is safe to say that my life has changed dramatically in the last 6 weeks and so has my body, the next two photos are the before and after. The first was taken the day before I was induced, the second taken yesterday, just over 6 weeks after giving birth.

To be honest, I'm quite surprised that my body has sprung back so quickly! I am eating more than I have ever eaten. Last week when Fred and I had colds all I did for 3 days was sit on the sofa watching day time TV (yes I am ashamed that I watched 60 minute makeover 4 times in one week!) and eating huge amounts of chocolate while I felt ridiculously sorry for myself. Somehow I still lost 1 pound of baby weight! Maybe I should be a pin up for breast feeding. Fred does eat A LOT, that has got to burn many calories : )

I do have a few stretch marks around my belly button, but hopefully they will fade with time.

Anyway enough about me, Fred is recovering well from his cold and we have recently discovered the joys of 'baby wearing' Fred loves it and will usually fall asleep within minutes of being in the sling. 

It is also pretty nice being the carrier, having him all snuggled up and happy on your chest.

Photos from my phone

I received this beautiful blanket in the post. It was made for Fred my lovely friend Kayleigh, I absolutely love it and I'm sure Fred will too!

I had a lovely day out and managed to have my hair cut, all thanks to my friends Abbie and Jen who helped look after Fred.

To cheer me up last week, when Fred and I were both ill, my mum sent me a little card of flowers. So cute and a really nice idea!

Cute, I am. Hmmmm!
I'm still trying to get a good photo of him in his Yoda hat, kindly knitted by his ultra talented Aunty Vicky.

Fred is now a member of the library. He is well on his way to being a genius :)

The return of 'photos from my phone' shows that I have been getting out more, until recently all of the photos on my phone have been of Fred. 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Sale on at People Tree

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will know that I try to shop responsibly, this includes trying to buy clothes that are either from charity shops or are fairly traded. This is sometimes pretty difficult because I have a limited clothes budget and finding particular things you need when charity shop shopping can be almost impossible, so I refuse to beat myself up about shopping in Next or New Look for things every now and then.

When there is a great sale on a People Tree I get excited and go shopping guilt free! People Tree is a pioneer in Fair trade and environmentally friendly fashion. Which can sometimes mean the clothes are a little out of my price range. But they currently have a mega sale, free delivery on orders over £30 AND a cheeky extra 10% off the sale price!

Here are some of my favourite finds...
This really cute cat T-shirt is only £16.20 down from £45! and it has cats on it, what more do you want?

 This dress is more expensive at £43.00 (it was £60) but it is green, has bicycles on it and the model obviously feels sassy.
And look at this sausage dog scarf! perfect for cheering you up on a cold day, only £20.16 reduced from £32.

If you are not a size 10 you can get a goody bag, with 4 items of clothing and an accessory for only £35!
You can't return or exchange the items you get, but after reading the reviews I think it is a good gamble! I would do it in a heart beat but they don't have a pack available in my size : (

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lego; lets build

This advert makes me excited for the many years of fun we have ahead of us. I'm not wishing time away, but thinking of the future is helping me to get through Fred's first cold. I am feeling really sorry for him and myself. On well, it won't last forever!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Jamie's Giant Jaffa Cake (Recipe)

Jamie loves Jaffa cakes.
Mcvities don't use fairly traded chocolate so Jamie can't eat them (he has given up eating non fair trade chocolate)
I have been planning to make him this giant Jaffa cake for his birthday for almost a year. It was a challenge, but it turned out pretty well so I thought I would share my recipe.

Orange Madeira cake (adapted from the best of GBBO Lemon and poppyseed Madeira cake):

250g Plain Flour
1 Tsp Baking powder
Pinch of salt
225g unsalted butter
200g Caster sugar
1 orange
3 large eggs

20 cm round cake tin

Orange jelly:

Two packs of orange jelly 
1pt water

Chocolate top:

300g of plain or milk chocolate

Method for the sponge:-
 Cream the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the zest of the orange and beat for 5 minutes.
Gradually beat in the whisked egg, and the the juice of the orange. Gradually fold in the flour with a metal spoon.
Transfer to the tin, and spread evenly, bang the tin on the work top to get rid of any air bubbles then bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for an hour or until golden and springy.

For the orange Jelly:
Make up both packs of jelly using only 1pt of water so it sets harder then usual. Leave to set in a round bottomed dish. Getting the jelly out of the mould and on to the cake is the most tricky part of this recipe. I warmed the jelly from beneath by putting it in a hot bath of water then up ended the whole thing straight on to the top of the cake. It didn't end up central on the cake but it did stay.

For the chocolate top:
Melt the chocolate over a saucepan of water, then leave the chocolate to cool to almost room temperature. Spread over the top of the cake and jelly whilst praying the jelly won't melt. 
Leave to set and voila you have a Giant Jaffa Cake!

Jamie was very happy with his surprise Giant Jaffa Cake and enjoyed his Birthday cuddles with Fred.

Monday, 4 November 2013

It takes a whole village...

Having Fred has helped to further my understanding of community and its importance. As well as our family and our friends we have an extended family, our church family.

The day before I was induced some of the women of the church got together to bless me with another awesome baby shower. This baby shower was really quite poignant because I felt so loved and accepted by the church family, and the excitement of welcoming the new baby in to the church was almost palpable.

I had a lovely afternoon, eating cake, sharing pregnancy stories and opening mountains of presents!

Since giving birth Jamie, Fred and I have been extremely blessed to have our main meals provided for us for 4 whole weeks, the first week my house group took the reins then our church family took over for the subsequent 3 weeks. It has been wonderful not to have to worry about meal planning and food shopping. 

Frankly some days I don't know how I would have eaten without this wonderful version of meals on wheels.

Even though our family all live over 200 miles away, we have a great network of friends and church family that already actively support us and even more importantly love Fred to bits. We have managed to get to church for the last two weeks, the best thing is seeing the joy a baby can bring to people of all ages. I am so thankful for this community and I hope I can be a blessing to them also.

Friday, 1 November 2013

What a difference a baby makes...

Wow Babies are demanding!
 Fred is the most amazing little person, he makes the best noises and faces.

When Jamie went back to work, it was a bit of a shock for both of us. I tried not to wake Jamie at night and then quickly burnt out, loosing patience with Fred, Jamie and Myself. It has been a couple of weeks now though and we are slowly getting the hang of it. I know now when I need to wake Jamie for help, also some evenings Jamie looks after Fred while I get a head start on sleep.

We are getting the hang of the reusable nappies, we have had a couple of accidents and are using disposable at night for now. It makes me feel better to know that every reusable we use is one less nappy in land fill.

Fred eats A LOT; breast feeding is going really well, thank goodness, the only issue is that he sometimes uses me a bit like a dummy, and can feed for hours at a time. Google tells me that this is because he is going through a growth spurt. He is certainly growing very quickly, he is already in the next size up in baby grows.

I'm recovering well from my C-Section. The scar is healing really well, it currently looks like someone has drawn on my with a red biro, it is also very low down; I could still wear a bikini and no one would see it. I have lost a lot of the baby weight already, I put that completely down to breast feeding. It makes me really hungry and thirsty!

My favourite thing about  Fred is the cuddles when he is falling asleep. 
he smells great, even though we don't bath him that often! 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Money off at Splosh

Thanks to An Almost Mrs I can am able to pass on to you a great offer for your first order of splosh. 
Splosh provides an eco-friendly alternative to most house-hold cleaners, and drastically reduces plastic waste.

Take a look at my previous post about splosh  for more info.

You can now save £5 on a starter pack of splosh with the code F9D201
 That brings the price down to around £8 for the 4 bottle starter pack, 

So if you read my previous post and thought splosh sounded like a good idea but never got around to ordering it, now is your chance hop on over to

Thursday, 24 October 2013

4 Year Anniversary

Four years ago today I married my best friend.
We embarked on a life-long adventure to discover more about each other, serve God and find out what that means for us as we go.

This year has been our most adventurous yet. 
We went to Cambodia
Jamie survived Pneumonia despite my unsympathetic nursing, and we found out we were pregnant the same week!
We now have another person coming along for the ride.
I love you Jamie, seeing you care for Fred and managing through the tiredness has made me love you even more.
Here's to many more years and so many more adventures ( I'm not sure about any more children though ;0) )

Monday, 21 October 2013

Easy Spicy Pepper Soup

One of the reasons I love autumn, is the re-introduction of soup in to my diet. A week before Fred arrived I had a pack of red and yellow peppers, so I decided to try making soup.

It turned out really well so I thought you might be interested in the recipe, it made 4 large bowls. 

You will need approximately:

4 sticks of celery roughly chopped
5 red and yellow peppers
2 finely chopped carrots
1 chilli
1 1/2 pints of water
A vegetable stock cube
3 tablespoons of natural yogurt
a teaspoon of paprika 
salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 180 degrees, while you chop and prepare everything. 
Roast the peppers until soft and slightly brown, about 15 minutes. 
Fry the celery, carrots and chilli in a large sauce pan, with a little oil.
Add the roasted pepper, water, stock cube and paprika to the sauce pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until the carrot is very soft. 
Whizz up with a hand held blender, add the yogurt then salt and pepper to taste.  

Monday, 14 October 2013

Great British Bloggers

While Things are going to be a little quiet around here I thought I would share with you some blogs I like to read. I have been readying blogs for years, far longer then I even considered blogging for myself. But for the longest time I didn't know how to find British blogs, they didn't come up on google when I searched and to be fair I probably just didn't know enough about blogging to know where to look.

Since becoming more involved in my own blog and interacting more on twitter I have found some great British blogs, and lovely bloggers. So in no particular order this is a little run down of some of my favourite British blogs.

* Domestic Sluttery is a life style blog written by a group of cool ladies topics include design, recipes, fashion, holidays, reading, cocktails and much more. I have been reading DS for a long time now and regularly recommend it to people.

* The owl and the accordian is written by Vicky, she lives on the south coast and blogs vintage finds, design inspiration, crafts and more. Every post is beautiful.

* Kat got the cream is written by Kat (naturally), her lifestyle blog covers crafting, bargain hunting, design and other fun things. I also recently won a blog competition for a beautiful tea pot from her. It made my week!

* Little green shed is written by Lou, she blogs with beautiful photos of her family, days out, simple pleasures and design inspiration.

* A thrifty Mrs is written by El, She and her husband live frugally but also have fun with it, she shares recipes, money saving ideas and useful links and finds from around the web.

* A Saucy Stitch is written by Giddy aunt Lola, she has 5 kids, is a charity shop queen and maker / crafter of good things.

* A girl called Jack is written by Jack, who after finding her self with not enough food or money to feed herself and her child she decided to write cheap recipes and and to campaign the government for a fairer approach to the benefits system. 

Happy reading :) 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The baby is here!

I am excited to introduce you to Fred Michael, he arrived on the 3rd of October at 2.31am. After a long an arduous failed induction of labour he entered the world via c-section. He is perfect, he has Jamie's nose and feet, my chin (poor boy) blue beautiful eyes and a great pout.

We are having to take things slowly and gently, because of the c-section, which is unusual for me but just as well because so far Fred is a bit of a night owl. Jamie and I are knackered and it's only been just over a week!

I will try and blog at least once a week from now on, but it may start of slowly as I am not doing much! The arrival of Fred does mean I can cross off another of my 30before 30 challenges :)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

A baby shower celebration and customised onesies

Last Sunday Rachel and Abbie organised and hosted a lovely baby shower for me.

I had a lovely afternoon, there were presents, cakes and games. 

One of the best things was customising vests, onesies and sleep suits. 
People bought various sizes of the various baby clothes. 
Rachel supplied us with templates, bond-a-web, and cool fabric.

We traced a shape on to the bond-a-web, ironed it on to the back of the chosen fabric, cut the shape out, peeled off the bond-a web and then ironed the fabric on to the clothing.

The results are pretty awesome! 
Have a look for your self...

Thank you so much Rachel, Abbie and my lovely friends for a great afternoon!