Goals For 2013

Last year, on this date, I posted my goals for 2012. Looking back over that list I was really pleased with how I did.
I find that "resolutions" always seem to carry a lot of pressure, and I've just always felt are quite throw away and not very serious.
Goals, aspirations, ambitions, targets, objectives, whatever you choose to call them, are now going to play a big part in my life at the start of a new year. Sometimes life can become to routine, too similar and it can become quite frustrating. I rarely get time to be me, to switch off from being mummy, even as I write this, at 10:30 on Wednesday, my shoulders are tense and my ears pricked up waiting for Harry to wake up.
My craft projects, which I completed last year gave me a release. I was Lauren as I pinned the cushion together, as I sewed the binding onto the binding, and as I cut out every 2p sized circle of felt for our Christmas trees.
As I attempted to make sausage rolls, mince pies and Salmon quiche I was excited at the end result, achieving something I had always wanted to, even though it's only food and not a make or break promotion with a big company.
I digress.
So, 2013 will involve simple yet achievable goals.

For years, since I have attempted and failed at a photo a day project.
I'm not giving up in my quest to one day succeed with this task. So for 2013 I will try once more BUT I won't put pressure on myself to upload everyday, or set up another blog. The logical way of doing it seems to be the same way Lucy (Dear Beautiful) runs her project, that being an "Our Week In Photos" style set up. I see this as being a relaxed yet organised and structured way to do the project.
So once again: Complete a 365 Project.

I'd like to keep up with the craft work I have started and  would like to make a lot more, for us and other people. Homemade gifts seem to really be appreciated by our mum's at least so I will make a real effort to make birthday and Christmas gifts. I'd also like to concentrate on decorating and updating our bedroom. I want to do this as much as I can by making things myself with photo items, cushions, wall art and other decorative items.
Keep up with crafts: redecorate bedroom using items made by me and make presents for birthdays and Christmas.

Following on from last year, I would still like to make my own jam and chutney. This may even link well with my second goal of homemade presents. A hamper of jams and chutney made by my own fair hands, what a lovely present that would be.
Make chutney and jams.

To get me out of the house, away from being mummy/wife for just an hour, I would really love to learn a new skill, or at least attempt one. I won't even put pressure on myself to join the college or similar, even a one off workshop would count.
Learn a new skill and/or attend a workshop.

I also want to set myself some short term goals too. Whereas with the others I have all year to do them but with these I am only giving myself until the end of April.

Go for a walk (not including the walk to Preschool) once a week.
Take the boys to the park twice a month (might not sound like much but it's a big step for me as I have a real phobia of the park)


It's Never Too Late...

...to buy new decorations for the tree.
Despite Christmas almost being over we visited the garden centre again today so I could purchase a new bauble for Harry. Yesterday Charles decided to grab Harrys little snowglobe from the tree and pass it to Harry. It was all done innocently of course, he was trying to show Harry how beautiful the snowglobe was but predictably the snowglobe ended up smashed and left a lovely watery glittery mess on our sofa!
I was quite upset as this was Harry's first personal bauble, and my mum bought it for him to celebrate his first Christmas, so I immediately wanted to find a replacement, even if it wasn't going to be identical.
Typically all of the "Harry's" had gone and despite there being other personalised baubles around, none featured his name or even his initial.
I wasn't leaving the garden centre without a replacement of some kind for the smashed bauble and fell in love with an adorable donkey standing on a bauble.
I decided that I would use lead piping I had at home to write Harry's name on the bauble.
I also fell in love with a really cute Reindeer holding on to a glittery W. I am a sucker for anything with our surname initial so had to by it.
Both look very at home on our beautiful tree.



Trying To Feel Christmassy

I started my Christmas shopping at the end of October. Being a housewife it's a case of buy presents as soon as you have the money.
Obviously this is good as it means I don't have to run to my husband and ask him nicely for money so I can buy him some presents, but it also means that come December, I have hardly any shopping to do and therefore feel a tiny bit deprived of Christmas spirit.

We all spent the first half of December ill in someway and with my husband working a lot, including weekends, it feels as though we haven't had much time to do anything fun and Christmas related as a family.
We have made cards, gift tags, pictures and a few decorations but I felt we were missing out on things outside of the house.

Yesterday {Wednesday) Charles had his Christmas party at Preschool and Father Christmas visited, due to this we decided to not take him and Harry to a Grotto this year. We want to avoid him seeing too many Father Christmasses so he doesn't ask questions as to why some of them sound or look different, and lets face it, Harry is hardly missing out as he doesn't understand it all yet.

For the last 15 minutes the preschool children sang for the parents, we thought this would be Christmas themed but it wasn't so much as Charles was upset as he thought he would be singing on the stage but instead was just sat on a chair, as a result he decided to not sing at all.
As I drove us all home I thought that this was my opportunity to now do something with the boys which involved Christmas.
I dropped my husband off and simply went to a local garden centre to look at their lights. We were there for around half an hour if not more, even though the display was only small but I was mesmerised by the beautiful decorations, mostly looking at some wondering how Kirsty Allsopp I could recreate it.

I chose to buy the boys a decoration for the tree each. As a special gift just for the sake of it but also to say sorry for hardly putting any effort in this year.
I take comfort in knowing that next year will be the first year Harry will understand about the Father Christmas tradition so it will be my chance to redeem myself.





The Waiting Place



Charles Sings Jingle Bells!

It's only fun to ride one horse....wayhey!


Future Radio Presenter

At 3 years old he's already a pro at using a mixing desk and with timing. Daddy is very proud.


There's This Boy...

There's this boy, blonde hair, blue eyes, cute turned up nose and pouty lips. I first met him 17 months and 3 days ago.
He stole a part of my heart that I didn't even know was there for the taking. I thought another boy had all of it, and that it wasn't big enough for another to come along and have a piece too.

I adore this boy. Everything about him. Just thinking of him makes me go a little silly and gives me butterflies.

But part of me feels sad. Sad for this boy. Sad because the first few months he was in my life are now a blur. Everything felt so crazy and there was so much going on. Although he completed our family and was able to slot in perfectly, I had this feeling the whole time that he wasn't meant to be.
I still get that feeling, like he's going to be taken away from me.
I can't do anything to bring those days back. If I could I would. I would embrace them and soak them in.
I would do a better job.

Sometimes I feel sad for this boy because I compare him a lot to his older brother.
I know it's a natural thing to do but he's his own person, and I shouldn't do it.
I constantly worry about his speech. He says a few things, but his brother was saying a lot more when he was his age.
I blame myself for that, because I forget I need to teach him, and I don't have as much time as I did with his brother.
Yet this boy has the best ROAR you've ever heard. And says "tickle tickle" in the cutest way.

He's happy, he smiles a lot (although he also has one of the loudest screams ever) and is very sociable.
He is also the best dancer I have ever seen. He will dance to anything, even the sound of the sewing machine. He has the most fantastic rhythm and knows how to move every part of his body.
At the same time, he's a real mummies boy and would happily spend all day using me as a dummy and a drink if he could.

There's this boy who makes me so happy just by looking at me. Just by giving me a simple cuddle sometimes whilst he's in the middle of playing tells me he loves me and that he still needs me, and hasn't forgotten about me.

Sometimes he looks at me, or does something which makes him sound or look identical to his brother and I just melt. I realise how lucky I am to have these two people in my life.
Two the same, yet two so different.

There's this boy who has made my biggest boy so happy. He screams in delight and excitement when we collect his bigger brother from preschool. They sometimes cuddle and end up in a heap on the preschool floor, laughing.
He searches for his brother as soon as he wakes up in the morning.
They are best friends, and make each other so happy.

There's this boy who I don't talk about enough, and I don't create special time for. But I will change that.
I'm making a promise to this boy that I will change and make and effort to do proper things in the afternoon. Like swimming, walks and dare I say it, go to the park.

There's this boy who means the world to me. And although this may come across like he is my favourite, he isn't, I love both of my boys equally, but I feel I have a lot of making up to do.

There's this boy.
Called Harry.
And he is amazing.



Easy Mince Pie Rolls {Recipe}

A few years ago I embarked on the challenge to be the perfect Christmas housewife and decided I had to make homemade mince pies.
I didn't really eat mince pies before, well I did but they had to be hot with lots of extra thick cream. But I'd seen a recipe from Kirstie Allsopp and as she is one of my idols I had to give it a go.

I failed.
The pastry didn't cook well and it all ended up a big soggy yukky mess.
And so I gave up.

Then this year I decided I couldn't let pastry get the better of me, and successfully made Sausage Rolls.
Well, I thought, if I can make sausage rolls then I can make mince pies.
And two days ago as the ingredients were dropped off by my jolly Sainsburys driver I set about completing my perfect Christmas housewife challenge.

You need:
Puff Pastry (I used a block)
Flour for sprinkling
Egg wash

I decided to keep it simple and basically wanted to follow the same process as the sausage rolls.
Rather than the sheets of pastry I had a block of puff pastry (this wasn't what I ordered but this is what Sainsburys had substituted me with) so I first cut it in half, put some flour on my work top and rolled the pastry into a rectangle.
I then spooned mincemeat along the top of the pastry (leaving a cm gap from the edge to make it easy to roll) and then rolled the pastry up, leaving an inch at the bottom of the rectangle, brush on some egg and then fold and press so that the pastry sticks together.
Flatten the roll slightly and brush along the top with egg wash. I used a fork to do this and scored the pastry slightly.
Once this is done then slice the roll into portions. I got around 6 pieces from the roll. Then put the mince pie rolls onto a baking tray (I lined my tray with greaseproof paper which worked really well)
Place in a preheated oven (200 degrees) for around 20-25 minutes.

Serve hot or leave to cool.

With the other pastry I decided to experiment and made squares, in one corner put a couple of teaspoons of mincemeat and then folded the other corner over, almost like an apple turnover/Samosa. These were obviously equally as yummy, and probably a little easier to eat as they were easy to hold and didn't have as much of the mincemeat pouring out.

Christmas Housewife Challenge: PASSED



Stolen Moments

I wrote this post on my phone last week and then completely forgot to upload it. As I snuggle on the sofa with Charles right now, whilst Harry plays on the floor, it seems really appropriate to publish it.

Being a mummy to two boys can be very busy. Can be? I mean, is always very busy.
Days of relaxing on the sofa are long gone and are replaced with chasing the boys around the house, making them drinks, food, trips to the toilet, nappy changes, tidying the house and doing washing as and when I can.
The only time I sit down is when feeding Harry, (or if I'm on the toilet!), I don't even sit down to eat my lunch!

Quality time with the boys together is easy, but one on one is hard. Although I have time to myself with Harry in the afternoon it is spent clock watching. I'm hoping that after Christmas I can give myself a kick up the bottom and actually DO something and GO somewhere during this time. So far the most we have done is a couple of shopping trips to a neighbouring town, but still I'm constantly clock watching.

Harry rarely naps so one on one time with Charles is almost unheard of.
I have to steal moments whenever I can. Like sending Harry to bed first so I get an extra 15 minutes with Charles. On a Monday I leave Harry with my husband whilst I take Charles to school and those 5 or 10 minutes alone is amazing.

I sometimes hope for him to have a restless night, just so I can go into his room and read him a story, talk about things we've done in the past (like holidays, days out and similar), and to give him a "tickle back". Although this time is only successfully lovely if Harry remains asleep throughout.

This morning I decided to give Charles a shower, he needed a hair wash too, so I sent Harry downstairs and had a lovely 30 minutes with Charles. We laughed, he cried (hates having his hair washed, which isn't helped when he applies shower gel to his washed hair rather than to his body, hense then needing another hair wash!)
As he got out of the shower he grabbed his underwear and a jumper and came and asked if I would dry his hair. I had planned to let it dry naturally but took the opportunity to steal a little bit more time with him.

As we finished he went downstairs and I headed for a shower. He called up to me "I love you mummy".
It was almost like he appreciated that stolen moment as much as I did.


Sky News and Me

When I woke up on Thursday morning I was in a real down mood. Weeks of broken sleep and poorly boys in some form had got to me, and as a result sent me into an emotional, anxious mess.
It was also the morning I was to meet my new therapist. My fourth therapist in a year, so understandably I was feeling anxious about this too and ready to be let down.
As it turns out, the therapy session was really positive, something I'll write about separately, and once I left my appointment I parked up for a bit to catch my breath, listening to my Ellie Goulding album which is always sure to put me in a good mood.
And then I went home.

My husband had a meeting in the city so wasn't going to be home until around 1.30/2. My mum had been looking after the boys for me but left for work at 12.
I was feeding Harry and noticed a Twitter notification on my phone.
A few dms and a telephone call later and I was scheduled to be interviewed by Stephen Dixon the very next morning. A cameraman was due to arrive at my house at around 8am and I would go LIVE on Sky News at 8:40am. I would be talking about my birth experience with Harry and about the campaign to introduce screening for Vasa Praevia at the 20 week scan.

My mum was shocked and told me to really think about it first.
But I couldn't. I had to say yes.
When I was 15 I had my school work experience working with adults with head injuries and brain damage.
I loved it so much that I volunteered in school holidays and whenever else possible.
My A Levels then got in the way and I had to give it up but the feeling of giving up my time to help people, or sharing my time I should say, was amazing.

I'm never going to run a marathon.
I'm never going to jump out of a plane.
But I could go onto national news and talk about this campaign, this condition and my experience.

I didn't feel too nervous. I guess part of me thought they wouldn't turn up, or that they would drop me in favour of someone else.
But at 8am the Satellite Truck arrived.
This was happening.

I had a phone call with a lady at Sky News, running through what we would be talking about, whilst the cameraman set up.

The cameraman was amazing. Such a lovely guy and really put me at ease.
If I'm honest, I was quite looking forward to wearing an ear piece and pretending to be Holly Willoughby for a while.
I was an A Level Media student, and for our GCSE coursework was the Floor Manager for our Christmas school broadcast so this all fascinated me.

With my earpiece in and a microphone clipped on I sat on the sofa, camera in front of me.
Then I heard a voice;
"Hi Lauren. Can you hear me?"
"yes I can"
It was a very weird experience. Especially to think that there were people in London who could see me, just sitting in my lounge, yet I couldn't see them.

I then became nervous.
I was shaking.
I find writing about Vasa Praevia and Harry's birth quite easy, it doesn't matter if I cry, no one can see me. But this was a different level. I was talking about it, to a lot of people.
3 people(ish) spoke to me through the ear piece, and then I heard the item my interview would be coming off the back of.
The piece was about Henry Samat, a baby boy who lost his life due to undiagnosed Vasa Praevia.
My eyes filled with tears and I told the cameraman that I couldn't listen to this, he told me there was no way of switching it off so I distracted myself and then heard the words:
"Here you go Lauren....."
I was on.
Looking at the camera was hard, when talking to people I don't always look them in the eyes, or look at them at all, I look around, I don't know why. Nervousness maybe? Or just habit?
But it's weird looking in a camera. It felt a little, well, silly.
I didn't know whether or not to smile, I tried to relax but then didn't want to look like I had rubbish posture and didn't know what to do with my hands.

I felt like I stumbled over my words quite alot, I wasn't sure how much detail to go into or how long I had to talk, so I kept it brief, whilst trying to give as much information about our experience as possible.
There was also a delay so when I stopped talking, there would be 2 or 3 seconds until I then heard Stephen reply.

As we came to the end Stephen asked after Harry and stupidly I responded
"He's really well, although he's not very well at the moment"
I really hope that people know that I meant that he is doing really well development wise and so on but is poorly. I felt really silly after watching it back.
I also asked my husband to go and get him, we had wanted him on  my lap or in the same room but he was too unsettled and as soon as I sat down with him he stuck his hand down my top. Although, one thing I am yet to do is breastfeed on National TV so it's a shame I couldn't add that to my list.

Once the interview finished I burst into tears. The feeling was overwhelming and I felt maybe I had let down the whole campaign by not saying the right thing.
Then in my ear I heard a voice saying I had done really well.
Although we were now off air London could still see me.
And hear me.
How very embarrasing.

I was then asked to do a few prerecorded bits, I think I messed these up so much that they weren't shown but still it was a cool experience.

Am I glad I did it?
Would I do it again?
Would I recommend it?

The Sky team were absolutely amazing and I've felt so well looked after by having tweets and emails from the team to thank me.
Without their support before, during and after the interview I probably wouldn't have done it.

The odd thing was that it only hit me that night that I had been on Sky News.
We watch Sky News everyday.
And not only that, my family in Somerset saw me.
And my lovely internet friends saw me.
And my beautiful friend Sarah recorded the show so she could see me.

I can't believe how completely supportive and amazing my internet friends were and seeing their tweets and messages after the piece made me feel on top of the world.

My real life friends didn't bother to watch. But that's fine.

I know that my piece and my tweets following meant at least 3 people then went on to Google the condition and although 3 isn't many, it's still an achievement.

If you saw it, or look at the photos, I promise I'm not really as grumpy as I looked.



Crashing into a Wall

Sometimes things can really get on top of you. You feel like life is going at a much greater speed than you can handle, you can't keep up but in an odd way you seem to be about to smash into a brick wall. You have no control.
The wall is just coming, and coming, closer and closer.
And at some point you are going to just smash right into it.

The results of the crash are just as daunting as the crash itself.

No one else seems to see you going at this speed.
In fact it hardly seems like anyone see's you at all.

Will they even notice when you do crash?
Maybe that's the other scary thing, they may not notice.

And then you are even more alone that before.


Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes {Recipe}

One thing that's exciting for most of us at Christmas is the food. I've said before that I'm not a HUGE chocolate fan, I prefer sweets or crisps, but Christmas I tend to indulge a little more than usual, although by that I mean I'll have 4 chocolates from a selection box rather than 2! I know what you're thinking, I'm a rebel.
One chocolate that I can never ever ever resist is....a Ferrero Rocher. Oooooo, aren't they lovely.
Now Ferrero Rocher's are also the only chocolate I can eat lots of in one go. I *might* have polished off a pack of 10 a couple of weeks ago.

Thinking to the end of the school term I want to get gifts for not only Charles' keyworker, but also the other staff members at his preschool because every single one of them is lovely.
I thought about getting cupcakes made but it would completely break the bank (small budget) and I didn't want to buy 8 boxes of chocolates.
And what better than Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes!

150ml Vegetable Oil
170g Self Raising Flour
2 Eggs
150g Caster Sugar
40g Cocoa Powder
100ml Full Fat Milk
Ferrero Rocher

First mix together the oil and eggs in a bowl, gradually adding sugar until all combined.
Then add your flour whilst mixing.
Add the cocoa powder and milk and mix.
One all the ingredients are combined devide between cake cases. I was able to make 15 cakes using the same units as above.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 175 degrees.
Once baked, leave for around 5-10 minutes.
Once they have cooled slightly scoop a hole in the middle of the cake, discard (into your mouth) the scooped piece of cake and add a scoop of Nutella (you could use anything, I thought Nutella worked well though). Then simply add a Ferrero Rocher to the top and you are finished!



A Day Bursting With Pride

If yesterday was summed up into one word it would be "Proud".
It was a busy day. Charles went to Preschool in the morning, always a rush! And then in the afternoon he was due to have his preschool boosters.
I was dreading the day. I had very little sleep, in fact for a long time I've been coping on very little sleep and it's now starting to catch up on me. Sunday night though I was faced with a very awake baby who just kept wanting to play, who wouldn't go to sleep without a boob in his mouth.
Charles has had a slight cold the past 2 weeks, I worried that his school photo would be taken with a streaming nose. I really wanted to stay with him, to be ready to be on nose wiping duty, but also to tell him to smile. I worried that he would be too shy or go all silly and we'd end up with a photo of him with a straight face.
I almost told the preschool not to worry about having his done. Afterall, I didn't want to buy any because I can take photos of him in his uniform at home. I have some lovely ones from his first day in particular.
Knowing his key worker has a child too I thought I didn't need to mention the nose wiping if needed and surely someone could get him to smile, and if not, it didn't matter when I didn't want to buy them anyway.

The whole morning I kept wondering what he was doing. Was he now having his photo done? Was he smiling? Was he sat being quiet and grumpy?

The time came to collect him. I was suprised to be greeted by his keyworker with an envelope.
Look at these! These are his photos!!
Inside this envelope was a sheet of paper with passport sized proofs.
As we looked at the four photos together she sounded as proud as me. He was smiling in all of them, and more than that, he was POSING.
I had absolutely nothing to worry about.
I was bursting with pride and had to hold back tears until we reached the lane where I grabbed him for a cuddle and told him how proud I was and started to cry.
I looked at the pictures he had painted at school and in there was a perfect rainbow...perfect for a three year old anyway!
"It's beautiful isn't it, mummy. Of course it is, mummy, I made it"
He skipped and ran home, thoroughly enjoying his morning at school, chomping on the small stick of rock all children were given as a reward.

I couldn't be prouder of him. And I couldn't love his preschool anymore than I do.

I felt awful when we got home. Here was my boy, on a high from his amazing morning, having his "cool photos taken because I am cool" (his words) and in 2 hours time we would be taking him for his injections and causing a meltdown and screams and tears.
I prepped him as much as I could, and he seemed to understand what I was saying.
He ran into the doctors surgery, kept singing and playing whilst we waited for his name to come up on the board.
As soon as his name beeped onto the board he ran down the corridor towards the nurses room. He still seemed quite excited and I felt sorry for him with the shock that was coming.
He sat on my husband knee and the first needle went into the top of his arm. We prepared ourselves for a scream.
I looked at him and he was smiling, with a slight giggle.
The three nurses all laughed and said they couldn't believe he didn't cry, but that he definitely would with the second because it is the worst one.
So, in went the second one. He flinched a little and then....nothing.
No tears, no screams.
Everyone cheered him and told him what a brave boy he was.
He got a sticker and was able to choose a bag of Magic Stars or Buttons.

And off we went home.
He didn't complain at all and jusr kept reminding me that he is a "big brave boy".

As he ran into preschool today he headed straight for his keyworker and proudly showed off his plasters stating "I didn't even cry!".
She was proud of him and told him he was so brave and so grown up.

And the fact that she is proud of him too, makes me even more proud.


Peppery Parmesan Potato Wedges {Recipe}

I love potato wedges. Simply because I think they make a great alternative to chips and can be served in many different ways. I love how the are suitable for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Served with Salad, Chilli or Pie.
Earlier this year I posted a Cajun Potato Wedges recipe.
Today I think I may have beaten this recipe. In terms of flavour and ease of making them.

Using just one potato you can get a portion for one person.
Before I used olive oil and heated my wedges in the microwave before adding the flavouring and then transferring into the oven.
I wanted to reduce the time needing to cook and reduce the methods of the potato being cooked.
So, I experimented and shockingly, was really pleased with my first attempt and will be making more to serve with dinner tonight!

Potatoes (for my experiment I used one medium sized potato)
2 tablespoons of parmesan
2 tablespoons of natural breadcrumbs
1 egg

First chops your potatoes into wedges. I keep the skin on mine.
In a bowl mix up one egg.
In a seperate bowl, mix together parmesan, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. I used big chunks of peppercorns and sea salt.
Roll the potato wedge into the egg mix, then transfer it into the dry mix and cover well. Then place on a baking tray.
Do this for all wedges.
Place in the oven at 200degrees, for 25-30 minutes, or until the wedges are cooked.
Remove from the oven and serve.

I sprinkled a little more Parmesan on mine and served with mayo.



Forgetting Breastfeeding Achievements

When I was breastfeeding Charles everyday seemed like an achievement. On the 14th of every month I would cheers my boobs and celebrate another month done. I wanted to get passed 14 months with Charles, simply because my mum breastfed me and my twin brother for 7 months so it seemed to beat that I would need to double it to make it fair!
We ended up reaching 18 months and then I fell pregnant with Harry and my milk supply lowered and I was in pain.
It just so happened that Charles stopped all by himself.
It broke my heart but still I'm so proud of what we achieved.

This time my goal was simple.
18 months. I am putting pressure on myself, which I know a lot of people frown upon and think isn't good but it is for me. It's important for me to reach this goal.
I guess I'm a bit OCD about certain things.
I like that Harry was born at 39+6 and Charles at 40weeks. Although would have preferred it to be exactly the same but for obvious reasons (if you've read my birth stories) Harry may not have been delivered safely.
I like the boys to have the same things. And feeding them both for the same amount of time satisfies this silly *need* of mine. Although I wouldn't stop at 18 months, I would/will carry on because I would have done the same with Charles had he not have chosen to stop.

Every month on the 5th I say a quiet woohoo for Harry being a month older and give myself a pat on the back.

Last time I seemed to have a lot more support from people. People couldn't praise me enough, which is good when it can be full of doubt and criticism from most other areas.
This time people just don't mention it. It's fine. But I'm the kind of person who every now and then just needs to be told I'm doing well.
Harry isn't amazing at eating meals so I know that most of what he is getting, most of what is making him strong, most of what is making him healthy, is coming from me. From my milk.

I took photos all the time of Charles feeding. My husband had to take photos whenever I fed in public, just for me to look back on and say "I did that!" Yet now I have very little in terms of photos and it upsets me.

I am forgetting my achievements, forgetting to treasure and record this thing that I love doing, and mostly because I feel like it doesn't count now.

Maybe people expect me to still be feeding which is why it isn't an issue.
"You did it before so why wouldn't you be doing it now?"*shrug*
I imagine that's what people think.

But now I'm going to shout it loud. Because any day could be my last day of breastfeeding. Ever.
And that day really will break my heart.

We have just 2 months to go until we reach the same length of time I fed with Charles.
This makes me very happy.
Ultimately it's up to Harry when we stop, I'm happy to keep going as long as he wants and needs my milk.

So...yay Harry and yay my boobs for **16 MONTHS OF BREASTFEEDING**



Old School Cornflake Tart | Recipe

I was always a fan of school dinners. I either had a mixture of school cooked dinner, packed lunch or I went home for lunch.
High school would normally involve us all having a slice of pizza and a cheeseburger in the break, then home for something light or nothing at all. It was a nightmare to queue up at lunchtime and the school had a silly system so it was easier to eat a bigger meal at morning break.

The food cooked at Middle school was, now looking back, a mixture of junk and yummyness. They occasionally had a really nice flan. I remember it so clearly and wouldn't know how to recreate it! In those days too we were also served Jamie Olivers nemesis....Turkey Twizzlers. I'm not ashamed to say that actually, I quite liked them. The flavour was always quite nice. They were something like 20p per Twizzler and I would spend the majority of my £1.50 on as many Twizzlers as I could, with also a lump of mash potato and dessert, if I could afford it.
Some desserts I liked and some I didn't.

It seems, through various discussions, that everyone has vivid memories of school dinners, specifically desserts and there is one in particular that comes up as a strong favourite.
Cornflake Tart.
I used to mix it up a bit by having chocolate custard poured over mine rather than the normal custard. Rebel, I know.

This week I all of a sudden fancied one and looked into how easy they would be to make.
They are super easy! Literally anyone could make one.
And I did just that.

I used a ready made sweet pastry case from Sainsburys
200g Strawberry Jam
115g Cornflakes
135g Golden Syrup
70g Butter or Margarine (I used stork)
40g Dark Brown Sugar

Firstly, take your sweet pastry case and place it in a quiche dish to ensure it will keep it's shape during cooking.
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Then gently fold in the cornflakes until they are all coated in the syrup mixture.
In a separate saucepan, gently warm up the strawberry jam. You don't want it too hot.
One this is warmed, pour/spread onto the pastry case. Making sure there is a nice, evenly distributed layer.


A Day at the Farm

Back in July we visited one of my favourite places in this area. Wroxham Barns. I have happy memories of going there with my mum, dad and brother when I was younger.
My mum used to hire out a craft space and sell her lovely glass painting and ceramic plates and my brother and I would spend almost all day in the Junior Farm. The staff got to know us and we would be allowed to help out where we could.

We took Charles a couple of time in the past but this was the first time Harry went. Annoyingly my SD card only had 14 photos available so I was limited in the photos I could take.

We all got to bottle feed a lamb which was fantastic as always. I was teamed up with Harry and Charles was teamed up with my husband. Both boys did a fantastic job at keeping the bottle still and making it easy for the orphan lamb to have his/her milk.
The boys also enjoyed feeding the goats, cows, donkeys and sheep. I was the only one who chickened out and couldn't quite bring myself to have my hand slobbered on.

We had a lovely day although with prices going up and changes to the layout we didn't enjoy it as much as hoped.




As Their Relationship Grows...

It's amazing watching my children interact.
Over the past 14 months it's been a real treat to see how they react to each other, how they communicate, how they seem to understand each other more than we do sometimes.

I've definitely seen a change in their relationship not only as Harry has become a baby-toddler but also since Charles has started Preschool. They seem to appreciate each other a lot more and like being in the same room a lot more.

Playfighting has become a big activity recently. Before they would both attack me but now they are quite happy to just roll around with each other.
I used to worry about this. Mainly worrying that Charles would hurt Harry BUT it seems it's the other way round. Harry is really quite rough, and their isn't too much difference in their weight so he can easily hurt Charles. The main difference is that Charles has understanding of what may hurt and what not to do, whereas Harry isn't quite at that stage yet and thinks nothing of pulling your ear or sticking a finger up your nose!

Last week my mother in law stayed over one night and the next day the duvet was still in the lounge. Whilst I was cooking tea I could hear a lot of laughing and looked in the lounge to see that the boys had opened the duvet on the floor and were playfighting on it.
Charles told me it was ice and they were slipping onto each other because of it.




Sometimes Being a Brother...

Quote by Marc Brown


Walking Home From Preschool...

It has it's advantages. Not only the exercise of course. The fresh air. The chance to chat about how Charles' afternoon has been.
But also, the fact that the lane we walk down is home to lots of Bramble.
Today I greeted Charles from preschool with his cardigan and a freezer bag. On the way home we picked lots of Blackberries, armed with a stick to knock away the spiders and their webs.
Charles was able to grab some of the blackberries but his main responsibility was to hold the bag open.
I wished I had a stool or something with me as the best berries were up high and we couldn't quite reach them. In hindsight I should have just lifted Charles up.

When we got home he showed his blackberry treasure to daddy, washed them and then shared them with his brother. They were gone within a matter of minutes!


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