28.11.13

Never Enough

Not good enough.
Not knowledgeable enough.
Not pretty enough.
Not thin enough.
Not funny enough.
Not trustworthy enough.
Not talented enough.
Not big enough.
Not nice enough.
Not strong enough.
Not wise enough.
Not bright enough.
Not eloquent enough.
Not cool enough.
Not popular enough.
Not special enough.
Not perfect enough.
Not important enough.
Never ever good enough.
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19.11.13

Mulled Cyder/Cider | Recipe

mulled cider
Two Sundays ago we visited a lovely pub in the village of Horning in Norfolk. When we walked into the pub I noticed, immediately, a cauldron looking thing on the bar with Aspalls Mulled Cyder. We went to our table, I visited the ladies room with Charles, and came back to find that my wonderful husband had ordered me a Mulled Cyder without me even needing to let him now that it was what I wanted (5 husband points awarded)
Oh. My. The taste was amazing. I went on to order another and, well, my new favourite drink was born.

The following day my husband popped out for supplies and came back with a bottle of Aspalls Cyder. I knew what I wanted to make but didn't know if I had all of the ingredients, a lot of recipes online suggest vanilla pods, cardamom, star anise, all of which I didn't have.
So....I made it up.
It's so simple and easy, and very very tasty.

You will need:
Half a bottle of Cyder or Cider (I highly recommend the Aspalls Cyder for this)
1 lemon wedge
1 lime wedge
1 orange
Some grated nutmeg
Half a cinnamon stick
2 dessert spoons of caster sugar
half a teaspoon of Allspice.
(these ingredients make enough to fill two wine glasses)

Cut your Orange into quarters, squeeze the juice into a saucepan and then add the orange quarters to the pan. Add the lemon wedge, lime wedge, and caster sugar and stir until the sugar is almost dissolved. Add the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg and continue to stir until you can smell that wonderful Christmassy scent.
Mmmmmmmm.
Add the Cyder (half a bottle) and leave for a couple of minutes until it starts to bubble.
Serve in a glass with a wedge of orange. 
It's as simple as that.

mulled cider
mulled cider
mulled cider
mulled cider

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com
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16.11.13

Hello Again

In 2009, when Charles was only around 5 months old I visited my doctor to talk about feelings I had been having.
Not post natal depression, but anxious feelings which were strong, unbearable at times, and involved clear, very vivid images in my head. A lot of things I haven't shared because some of them are quite disturbing and heartbreaking.

One of the images which prompted my visit to the doctor was of Charles being run over.
I was walking along a road with him, and the path was narrow and I think this is what caused the images to appear. I panicked at the cars driving past us so close, and in my head I pictured his pushchair going over and him being run over.
It was so clear, and so graphic, that I can still see it now.

Charles has always been quite good when it comes to road sense and car parks. He has tried to run away a few times when he was little but would never get far. He understands that he needs to stay close to the car and now will talk to me, or hold my leg, when I put Harry in the car so that I know he is close by.

I'm only now letting Harry walk places, rather than being stuck in a pushchair, and on Friday I decided to take him to a retail park so we could buy some bits from Argos.
We were able to park right outside the door so it was easy for him to walk in, and for us to walk back to the car as I knew I would have a couple of big bags.
It didn't quite go to plan as he ran away from me, into the road, ignoring my calls of him to stop and come back, instead just giggling.
30 seconds earlier he would have been hit by a car.
Thankfully there was nothing coming.
I put down the bags on the path and ran after him, but it felt like I was going in slow motion. I didn't even look to see if a car was coming, but I prepared myself for impact.
I prepared myself for the image of my son underneath a car.
I saw him under a car. So graphic.
I saw myself sat cradling him.
I saw myself at hospital with him.
These images going round and round and round.

But nothing happened.
No impact. Nothing. No cars. Just us in the middle of the road and a few people over on the path walking along slowly and watching.

Why don't people help? Why would people choose to stand back and watch a mother desperately trying to catch her child and possibly save him from a car? Why would people choose to want to watch a 2 year old get run over than to take a chance at maybe offending me by helping me out?
I wouldn't have been offended, I would have been incredibly grateful.

I'm not blaming people. It wasn't their fault. But I'm surprised everyday by how selfish we are sometimes.

As we got into the car Harry just laughed at me. He clearly didn't understand how serious this could have been.
He certainly didn't know what was going on in my head.
Those images still going round, added to the images from 4 years ago which decided to join me again.
I felt and feel angry at him for running.
I felt and feel angry at him for not understanding.
I felt and feel angry at myself for trusting him.
I felt and feel angry at myself for thinking he was responsible enough to not need to hold my hand, or to be on reins or in a pushchair.
I'm angry at myself.

I sat in the car shaking, unable to drive. Just trying to calm my mind down and to realise that he was safe, in the back of the car.
I eventually drove away, still shaking, but still seeing those images.
I shouted at him, he laughed, he didn't understand.
But I was still replaying those images, so vivid.
Even now, it's as if it happened.

It's silly to some, I know that. And I wish my brain didn't work this way, but it does.
I can't filter it out and I've tried, I'm trying, I'll continue to try but the feelings just over take and really, there's nothing I can do.
I can't get rid of it.
I am given time apart from the feelings, a break from them, but then they come back.
It's just something I have to live with.
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15.11.13

Pinecones: When Autumn Met Christmas

This year we are making as many Christmas decorations as we can. Some will be made by just me, and some will be made with the help of the boys. We want our tree to showcase the different things we can make ourselves.

One of the easiest and prettiest things we {I} have made so far are these glitter pinecones. We actually collected two big bag fulls from a local woodland and plan to do lots of different crafts with them.
The first craft I did, the glitter is far too pretty to be thrown around and ruined/wasted by the boys, is super easy and just requires pinecones, glue and glitter.
I didn't want to have the pinecones all the same so either dipped them in glue and then sprinkled the glitter on top or painted glue on and then sprinkled the glitter on.
I don't recommend dipping or rolling the pinecones in the glitter as the glitter tends to then get all clumpy and also loses it's sparkle.
Once you've sprinkled the glue on it's best to spread the pinecones out on a tray and leave to dry.

These will now live in a heart bowl and also in a glass jar with some fairy lights.
I think the great thing about these is that although they are perfect for Christmas, you COULD just have them as a pretty household decoration.
Our jar with the fairy lights has been on the table since I made these 3 weeks ago. It's beautiful if you want low lighting and to set a relaxing atmosphere.

The glue is just a strong craft glue from B&Q and I bought the AMAZING glitter from Ebay, the pack is really quite big and little goes a long way.


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12.11.13

Mulled Wine | Recipe

mulled wine recipe

Oh yes, it's getting all Christmassy here today.
I haven't really appreciate Mulled Wine much before. We've purchased bottles of cheap Tesco Mulled Wine but we'll buy one bottle and then soon be bored. This year I thought about making our own. I think making your own just makes it a little bit special. Knowing exactly what you are drinking, controlling your flavours, making it as fruity as you like or as spicy as you like. And of course, choosing your own red wine. After a bad experience with red wine 10 years ago at my school prom I'm very picky about what I drink.
It's also super easy to make, and features such cheap ingredients that you can use in other drink recipes or of course in baking.

After searching the internet for a Mulled Wine recipe I got fed up and confused by different recipes from different chefs so I decided to just make it up as I went along.

You will need:
1 Lime
1 Lemon
1 Orange
Red Wine
130g Caster Sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Whole Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon of Allspice

Peel your lemon, lime and orange. Make sure the peel is in nice big chunks. Add the peel to a saucepan, discard the lemon and lime (or cut up and freeze) and put the orange to one side.
Grate a quarter of the nutmeg and add it to the saucepan along with the cinnamon stick and a small level teaspoon of Allspice.
Add the Caster Sugar to a saucepan and add a little of the red wine, and squeeze some orange juice into the pan too, and boil until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the rest of the red wine and simmer for 3 minutes.
Then, serve in a glass with a slice of lemon, and watch It's a Wonderful Life.

mulled wine
mulled wine
mulled wine
mulled wine
mulled wine
mulled wine
mulled wine
mulled wine
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5.11.13

Limoncello {Recipe}

You will need:
5 lemons
Bottle of Vodka-1 litre
750 g of Caster Sugar
500ml boiling water

Grate the lemons, try to just get the rind and not the pith. Put the zest into a jar and pour in the vokda.
Cover the jar tightly with cling film and put to the side for a week. You need to stir this everyday, I just used to whirl the bottle around and it gave the desired effect.
After 7 days, take another jar and put in the Caster Sugar, pour over the boiling water and stir until all of the sugar has dissolved.
Next pour over the vodka and the zest, giving all of the ingredients a good stir. I had to use two jars as I didn't have one big enough for the whole of the mixture.
Again, cover tightly with cling film and leave for a week. Stirring, or whirling, every day.
Then, 7 days later pour your Limoncello in a bottle and tahdah! All done.

Once made the drinks last around 3 months.

Recipe fills two 2 litres bottles with a tiny bit to spare.

When life gives you lemons, make Limoncello!


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1.11.13

Sandringham Estate Woodland and Gardens

When we visited Sandringham Estate almost 2 weeks ago I didn't expect to fall in love with the gardens as much as I did.
Our plan was to just visit the house and the church and not to bother with the gardens but the beauty of it all just sucks you in.
We wanted to just keep walking, and would take the longer route around if we could. The mass of space created this really relaxing, calming atmosphere.
You couldn't help but to walk around and dream of what life would be like if this was your space, or to walk around and imagine The Queen walking her dogs around, and even to imagine little Prince George toddling around on the fresh green grass.
There were so many places around the gardens and woodlands to sit and enjoy and soak in the beautiful views surrounding you.

One of my favourite places to sit was near a lake. Looking over the water at the house and the surrounding trees reminded me so much of Beauty and The Beast.
I've never been into that fairytale dream of one day being a Princess, until we visited Sandringham.
It only costs £12 to go to the Estate, Museum and Gardens and they have a lovely tea room situated in an old stable. The lemon drizzle cake is out of this world!
I urge everyone to visit, it's such an amazing house with beautiful ground, you can't help but to feel overwhelmed by every single part of it.

And it's very romantic if, like us, you choose to go there for a date day.

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