Toffee Flapjacks with a Milk Chocolate Truffle Topping

When I saw Jenny, from Mummy Mishaps, theme for this months I Love Cake was toffee I thought of the perfect recipe. Toffee Flapjacks.
Whilst thinking up my recipe I felt I wanted to make it extra special and to do that I needed to incorporate a chocolate topping of some kind.
This is when I remembered the super easy and super yummy truffle recipe posted by Holly at Recipes From a Normal Mum last Halloween. I made truffles similar to these, well following the recipe then rolling them in nuts and sprinkles for Harry's Christening.

With the ingredients delivered from Good Ol' Mr Sainsburys I set to work straight away.


For the flapjacks:
125g butter or margarine (I used Stork)
100g soft brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
250g rolled oats
Toffee (I used a pack of Sainsburys Basic 200g)

For the topping:
200g milk chocolate
200ml double cream
I also added some seasame seeds to mine 

Melt down the butter, sugar and syrup until all combined. 
Add the rolled oats to the liquid and stir until the dry ingredients are completely coated.
I decided to use cake cases to bake my flapjacks in rather than to make a huge slab.
I tried two different ways of adding the toffee to the flapjack mixture.You can either:

Soften the toffee by rolling it in your hands (whilst still in the wrapper) then (removing the wrapper obviously) add these to the flapjack mixture and stir until combined with the other ingredients.
Or, the way I preferred.
Spoon the mixture into cake cases. Then, take a rolling pin, flatten out the toffee and lay it on top of the flapjack mixture.

Bake in a preheated oven, 180 degrees, for 15-20 minutes. Remove and leave to cool.

Whilst the flapjack is cooking you can make the topping.
Take a saucepan and add the double cream and chocolate. Mix until the chocolate is melted. This will need constant stirring as it can burn easily.
Turn off the heat and at this point I added sesame seeds and mixed.
Then, add to a jug and place in the fridge to cool. I left mine for approximately 3 hours.
Once cooled you can then pour it onto the top of your flapjacks. 
Then leave over night to set.

Serve and enjoy!



Personal Goals

Following my appointment yesterday to work through my anxiety I was asked to come up with a goal. Something I'd like to achieve in 2 months.
This 'something' has to involve facing a fear and facing my anxiety, and we've decided to go with me taking the boys somewhere alone, which yes I do now as you've seen by previous posts but this is working on places I am scared to go to for various reasons, or staying somewhere longer than usual (because I let my anxiety take over and end up leaving)

It seems I have further things to work on than the anxiety, which I'll post about separately and if/when I'm ready.

At the time I couldn't think of anything to achieve. It's typical that your mind goes blank at moments like this isn't it.
Since being home I've had a real think about it and come up with three things I want to achieve.


I will set deadlines once I feel ready.



Just Another Brain Dump

So on Wednesday I have another appointment to try and deal with this anxiety creature currently residing in my head.
I want to feel excited about this appointment. Other appointments I've had have been an hour long. In that time we've talked about a lot, but still had a lot of area untouched. You can imagine my annoyance at this appointment on Wednesday being limited to half an hour.
It's also pretty clear that any past notes that have been made with previous staff members won't be making an appearance.
So in half an hour I have to talk about everything I've already talked about. Everything I haven't been able to fit into one hour, I now have to squish into 30 quick little minutes.
This ultimately means I will also have to decide which of my issues is most important.
Which one affects me the most?
They all do.

The anxiety.
The birth, still.
The feeling of being worthless. Which is a tough one to explain because I know I'm a good mother. I know I'm a good friend. I know I'm a good wife. Yet I think, I know in fact, that everyone else think differently. It's obvious.

I feel like everyone is waiting for me to breakdown. To totally lose it.
How many times do people want to ask me how I'm coping with two boys?
It's not even a regular question, like a general interest.
But more of a tilt of the head, "how are you coping? You look tired, run down, and like you aren't coping? My goodness, aren't you fat. Comfort eating? Your hair looks crap." #people don't say these things but you can tell what they're thinking.

I know a couple of friends talk about it behind my back. They think I fake at being happy. I fake at coping. They don't think I'm doing well.
They think I lie about how much the boys get on. Secretly Charles is an evil brother who punches, bites and pushes his baby brother.
Totally untrue. Well, he has his moments but doesn't punch as he doesn't no how to (ie we haven't taught him that!) And in reality it's the other way round, Harry is rougher than Charles. But they are just doing what every sibling does. It's not real fighting of course. None of it is malicious.

This links me well with my next "issue"...
Paranoia. I've always been paranoid. Always. But not like this. It's much more heightened.
I guess paranoia and anxiety are closely linked and almost pretty much identical in most ways.
The paranoia I definitely a mutation of the anxiety.

With this new development, or maybe it was always there and I just didn't realise, I do wonder what is next.
I've been lucky to dodge depression but I'm really worried that if this isn't tackled soon then depression will be the next thing to hit.
There's only so much I can do to help myself and at the moment I can't help but to feel a little, well a lot, let down by the Wellbeing Service for not holding my hand.

Part of my issues stem from feeling abandoned and not very important. Being forgotten about. So far the Wellbeing Service have just fuelled these feelings by forgetting about me.
Not a great start let's be honest.

Goodness knows how long this will go on for.
Until I'm better.
Until I feel I can cope.
Until I'm in control.


Unreasonable Meltdown

Today a friend gave birth to a baby boy. I am really happy for her. I am.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a bit funny about her birth. I still have those issues towards pregnant women and women giving birth, having an easy labour.
I will get over it and if I don't then it doesn't really matter.
Anyway, I digress.

I sold our travel system to this friend.
The car seat, the carrycot, the chair and the chassis. And I bought a pushchair with the money.
I thought I was ok at selling these. They took up far too much room, in the house and in my car.
It was heavy and I wanted to use a buggy board so with Charles adding that extra weight I would never be able to push them.

I just wanted something lightweight.
We don't plan on having any more children so it's not even like I need the car seat to use again.
It's lovely that all these items will get reused and will be looked after. They've gone to a good home rather than to the tip.

So why, tonight, when sitting in the bath, did I burst into tears?
I had a major feeling of regret.
Tonight or tomorrow another baby will be carried from the ward, to the car, driven home, carried from the car, into his new home, placed on the floor, unclipped from the seat and cuddled.
The baby will be unclipped from my seat. The seat I brought my boys home in.
This is where it's utterly ridiculous. My feelings I mean. 
We used that car seat to transport both boys from Central Delivery Suite to our car. We then transferred them to another car seat to drive them home. We preferred the other carseat, a fixed one, in this particular car because the Mamas and Papas carry style one slipped around on the leather seats too much and felt a bit too unsafe. It was fine in our other cars.

Why do I feel so funny about someone using that seat? She paid me for it. So it's not even mine.
It's not only the seat though.
It's the carrycot, the memories I have of pushing the boys around in it. Watching them sleep as I pushed them around. Stopping for people to look in and coo at my newborn babies.
Wrapping them up all snug and warm, adjusting the base so they can have their head raised if needed.
Deciding whether or not they would be forward or rear facing on each trip with the pushchair.
Pushing it and talking to them both. Looking straight into their eyes.

I felt silly telling my husband of my little outburst.
I knew/know it's a silly thing to cry about and that there isn't any point in us keeping these things but I guess its a realisation that my boys are getting bigger and that I will never have a need for those things again.
I won't get to experience the excitement of bringing baby home in that carseat again.
Comparing photos of my children (if I was to accidently have anymore) in the same carseat.

It's silly. Totally silly. For me to feel this way.
And unreasonable.

As my friend makes her new memories with these items, deep inside them, surrounding her baby boy, are our memories too.
The memories we made.
With our baby boys.




Being a stay at home mum, housewife, whatever term you choose to pin on me, there is a sort of expectation. You can do everything. You have to do everything. You almost have no choice.
You can watch two boys, stop them from eating play-doh, stop them from hitting the cat, hitting each other, running up the stairs, whilst also cooking tea, sorting the washing, ironing....and you are expected to do all this at the same time.
Sometimes I feel only the things I have failed to do in a day are what is noticed. The things I succeeded in doing go unnoticed. Almost like there is a check-list and the things I have managed to achieve are written in such a faint pencil that it's almost like they are not on the list. In thick, bold, right at the top are those few things I didn't achieve.

You could spend all day cleaning up baby and toddler sick, administering regular spoonfuls of Calpol, changing countless nappies and working of calories with the amount of times you have taken your toddler to the toilet. You could feel so drained, stressed, tired and emotional and just want to crash out, or have a cuddle, or be told what a great job you've done at caring for your children that day. But instead all that is highlighted is the fact that.....you didn't load the dishwasher.

Despite being totally busy and not having time to eat or drink at all that day to load the dishwasher, lets not forget that as soon as the dishwasher door is open there is a small baby hand reaching in, go-go-gadget stylee, grabbing the sharpest knife in the cutlery department, bringing it out whilst in slow motion you shout "nooooooooo" and go to grab for said knife, risking slicing your own hand just to save the baby from stabbing himself in the mouth with it or waving it around like a crazy fool!

You try to make dinner way in advance, so it's ready dead on 5.30/6/6.30. Something that would normally take 20 minutes to prepare takes 2 hours, because whilst you are slicing mushrooms, chopping up an onion, wiping tears away caused by the onions, mixing up ingredients, cooking the mince, washing your hands, you have other things to sort out. Changing a nappy, oh he wants milk now, damn he's been sick, clear the sick up, clear the baby up as he's just smeared the sick all over the floor with his hand. The baby is playing with the bin, he's eating food he's got out of the bin, he's covered in yogurt from a yogurt pot he's managed to grab from the depths of the bin. You need to get him changed. The baby is crying, the toddler is crying, the baby has messed up the toddlers train track that it took him ages to build, the baby doesn't want to be shut in another room, the toddler gets shut in another room with the train track, now the baby wants to be held, the baby wants to look out of the window, the baby doesn't want to be held, he wants to get on the floor, as you go to put him on the floor, he wants to get up again. He stands on the floor. "ooooooo! cupboards!" He runs to the cupboard, opens the door. "oooooo soy sauce! that's messy!" He grabs for the Soy Sauce, go-go-gadget stylee, you run for the cupboard, everything is in slow motion, "nooooooooooo" you jump through the air, crash onto the floor, almost catching said Soy Sauce but you miss it, just at it hits the ground, spilling everywhere. The baby splashes in the soy sauce, laughing, clearly seeing the pain in your eyes, outfit now covered in soy sauce. You clear up the baby, he head's straight for the soy sauce spillage and again splashes. Damn. You clear up the soy sauce but the baby is still covered, again, and leaves a trail of soy sauce all over the floor. You clean him up. 
He now wants feeding.
You sit on the sofa to feed him before attending to the remainder of soy sauce on the floor.
The door shuts and you realise your husband has popped home for a toilet break.
All he see's is a pile of messy clothes NOT in the washing machine, a spillage of some kind NOT mopped up, peelings and packets on the worktop and food half cooked, NOT tidied away in the bin or ready to be eaten.
All he see's is you, sitting on the sofa doing absolutely nothing, because you can guarantee that as soon as he walks in the baby will stop feeding so you really will just look like you are lazying around and not stopping to do the most important job of the day.

I've lost count of the many times someone has said "I wish I was a stay at home mum so I could sit around and watch Jeremy Kyle (cringe!) and This Morning"
Yes, because that's all we do. I always get to sit, silently, watching This Morning, with a hot cup of tea. Undisturbed.
I don't sit there trying to watch it, with a baby hanging from my leg wanted to play, with a 3 year old asking for "Rhyme Rocket, Mister Maker, Rhyme Rocket, Mister Maker, Mummy can you turn this off? I need to watch Toy Story. No not that Toy Story, the train one, the train Toy Story"
Then, once you put Toy Story on, exhausted from pausing This Morning and getting no further than the titles and simply just wanting to see what Holly Willoughby is wearing that day (or is it only me who does that?), you child walks away, into another room.

Every trip to the toilet is accompanied by a child, or both children. Hairwashing, drying and styling is rolled out over 3 days. It's a real luxury if all three are done in one day.
Infact hairwashing almost becomes a thing of the past. Rather than every third night, as it once was, it's more like every third week.

When friends, fellow mothers, can't even acknowledge the hard work you put in on a daily basis. The hard work that they moan about when they are at home with their child/ren for 3 days out of 7 (the other 4 spent at work) then you can't help but wonder who does actually understand.
Who does notice the hard work you really do?

I haven't even mentioned the fact that when you are poorly people think you are just able to relax on the sofa all day, feet up....because obviously the children will understand and help you out. Of course they don't. You have to get on with it. This makes for a completely separate post though!

I love being a stay at home mum, I really do.
There are so many benefits but then there are the negatives which people don't take into account.
The lack of adult company, the occasional feeling of loneliness, and the lack of understanding for what you actually do every single day. The fact that your job is unpaid. The fact that you are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months of the year. You don't get holiday time.
Me time? What's that? For me, me time would involve getting to have a wee in peace. Or a bath. Oooo a bath in peace, with a book. A distant memory.

I'm not complaining about my job. Yes, its a job. It really is a job. It's bloody hard-work. Work, see, its a job.
But sometimes, a bit more understanding, acknowledgement and just someone noticing the fantastic jobs you've done that day and the things you've sacrificed.

(Please be aware that the above are exaggerated scenarios and although may have happened in real life in some shape or form, are not actually real)


Heveningham Country Fayre

On Sunday we'd planned on having a day out and picnic at Thetford Forest. Last minute we changed our plans as we remembered the Country Fayre at Heveningham. We wanted to go last year but Harry was days old so it wasn't convenient.
The weather forecast was shocking but we decided to risk it, armed with wellies, raincoats, waterproof ponchos, umbrellas and raincovers. Thankfully we took those things with us because it rained on and off all day but we had a fantastic time.
We visited the small funfair when we first arrived. Charles, my husband, my mum and her partner had a go on the Dodgems, then Charles went on the teacups with my mum. We then let him go on the bungee trampoline. My husband and mum were concerned incase he was too small for it. I knew he'd be fine because Jenny, aka Mummy Mishaps, had posted about Burton doing similar earlier this year.
Charles loved it and we all had little panics when he was elivated ridiculously high in the sky....and then we would all start laughing.
He then went on the rollercoaster. It was his first time on one by himself. We thought for a minute that he may hate it but he loved it! They had to stop to let the other boy off as he was shouting "stop train stop" but then it carried on with Charles as the only passenger.
We then made our way back to the car for the picnic. On the way to the car we stood and watched Morris Dancers. I love Morris Dancing and could have  watched them for hours.
Once we'd finished our picnic the rain started again so we headed back to the arena and to the food court for a look around.
I love the food courts at these kind of events, especially when they feature crepes....which this one didn't!! But thank goodness they were located outside. Phew!
Inside the food court though we tried some local fruity wine (Rhubarb...yum!!) and I discovered Munchy Seeds. I urge you to check out their website and the Chilli mix. Amazing!!
We then went for a coffee and sat and watched some shows in the main arena. The weather was still all over the place. We walked around the arena, visiting the stalls and the craft tent.
We stood and watched some fun dog racing then left at 5pm.
It was a lovely family day, great atmosphere and fantastic community feel.
We certainly won't let the rain ever scare us off again.




First Birthday Celebrations

So Harry turned one last Thursday. I was in denial about it at first. How could my baby, my newborn baby, now be one. The year had gone so quick.
We'd planned for my husband to take the day off work and for us to go out as a family. We've done that the past 3 years for Charles. My husband was very poorly the Monday and Tuesday and ended up taking those two days off work, not good when self employed. As a result he had to then catch up on a lot of orders and therefore couldn't come out with us on Thursday.
I was sad about this but it can't be helped and I'm not angry at him for it in any way. It was lovely to have Charles take his place almost, if he hadn't have been with us then I would have felt quite lonely and sorry for myself (and Harry of course)
I don't believe that birthdays should just be celebrated on the one day and tend to stretch things out for as long as I can. A minimum of 4 days for the boys is appropriate in my books!

In the morning my mum came over and as with every Thursday morning I went to Jo Jingles with Charles.
We were only gone an hour and only have 3 sessions left and I didn't want to miss out on a class so late on.
 Before we left for Jo Jingles we opened Harrys cards and he was presented with his presents as he walked into the lounge.
When Jo Jingles had finished we went via the balloon shop and Charles chose Harry a helium balloon and picked up 6 party poppers. One each for his two friends coming over the following day and two for him and two for Harry. I love that he thought of getting one for Harry despite him being too young to use them.

As we got home Harry was asleep on my mum. My husband was in the house, as was my mums partner, and they were watching the Olympic Torch Relay through our town. We had literally just driven where the torch was then going.
My husband went back to work and then my mum and her partner left shortly after Harry woke up. Charles helped him open his presents from my mum and her partner. One present was an inflatable paddling pool/ball pool and my mum blew this up before she left.

Once the house was clear I made up a picnic, got the boys and myself ready and we went for a trip to the zoo. I thought it would make a nice change to have some food there.
It was really hot as we left but driving just 5 minutes down the road I was shocked at how cloudy it was. It was still hot though. As we sat eating our picnic by the Rhinos it started to rain a tiny bit. It was such a pathetic attempt at raining that we just stayed sitting down eating.

We went for our usual walk around the zoo, this time collecting the stamps on the sheet so we could be rewarded with a medal at the end of our quest.
We took the train ride around the zoo and at one point the boys sat together in the carriage with me sitting opposite them. It made me feel so tingley and goosebumpy seeing these two gorgeous boys sitting there with their arms round each other.
I also let them spend a while on the park. Well up until some silly boys came along and were almost harrassing and stalking Charles. At one point one of the boys pushed him slightly out of the way and I immediately told him off. I tend to not say anything normally but I am getting fed up with feeling like I shouldn't tell other children off even though they push my child. The boy annoyed me further so I said to Charles that we would leave because the other boys were very naughty and with that we walked off to see the lions.
Harry was getting hungry and irritable so we sat on the huge section of grass we had picniced on early and I fed Harry (openly! very openly!) whilst Charles ran around. I then, for the first time, let Harry go. I just laid on the blanket on the grass watching as my two boys interacted with each other, communicated together and then came towards me to attack me or give me a kiss and a cuddle.
At one point I became totally lost in this bubble and forgot where we were.
Before we left we visited the Giraffe House as it's Harrys favourite. Charles had decided he wanted to sit in the pushchair and at one point Harry was stood on the buggy board.
We stood in the Giraffe House for quite a while, watching them and exploring the information boards in there and then we left and made our way to the gift shop.

Charles wanted to buy Harry a Giraffe teddy for his birthday, we'd planned this for weeks, so we went inside and found a gorgeous fluffy one which Harry took to straight away.
We then headed home and waited for my dad to arrive. He came round at just after 6. Harry was asleep on the sofa and totally missed his Granddads visit.

Harry woke up around 7.30 and didn't end up going back to sleep until 11.45. He was so busy playing in his inflatable car!

Friday we had a little party with 2 of my friends (one being one of Harrys godmothers) and their two children who are Charles' age and one baby who is 6 months younger than Harry. I served chips, pizza and sausage rolls for lunch to make a change from boring cheese sandwiches.
Saturday we went swimming in the morning with my mum and then in the afternoon went shopping for food for our family day out and picnic the following day.
Sunday we visited the Heveningham Country Fayre (more about that in another post) The weather was pants but we braved it anyway and were so glad we did as we had an amazing time. We went with my mum and her partner and used it as an extension to Harrys birthday and as an alternative to a party.
One of the best bits of the day was when Harry was in his pram, Charles was stood on the buggy board and we'd used a raincover to shelter them from the rain. Charles was making Harry laugh, proper belly giggles it was so cute and had me in tears. Harry in return kept grabbing Charles' face and kissing him.

We came home and all felt completely knackered but had an amazing few days celebrating a very special boys big day.


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