The Ordinary Moments | tiny builders

Monday, 25 May 2015

These three beautiful little people have spent the whole weekend helping their daddy to lay our new driveway and they've loved every minute of it.

Carrying blocks, filling buckets with sand and chippings, pushing the wheelbarrow, tapping blocks down into place; they were so pleased to be given an important job to do. Ayden especially. He was in charge of fetching the tiniest blocks. When he got fed up of fetching, he spent ages making them into a house for his turtle figures.

Dan is a builder by trade, so they're used to him pottering around doing things in the house. Being allowed to help with something is so exciting to them; especially if they have their own important job to do. It's really cute.

They've hardly been near the TV or iPads all weekend, which is great, and have spent plenty of time outside in the fresh air. 

Once the blocks were laid, after a celebratory pizza and a movie, we went outside to test the new driveway and zoom round on scooters. Daddy included!

I love that they're happy to help and they're learning something new at the same time - always asking questions. Always! And they've helped to build a part of their home. A pretty good way to spend the weekend, I'd say.

What we're watching | the retro edition

Friday, 22 May 2015

Netflix on the iPad

After yesterday's post about perfect picnic food and the lovely, sunny bank holiday weekend ahead, I appear to have cast some murky curse and the weather has done a swift u-turn.

So, by way of an apology, I thought I'd cover you in the event of a bank holiday washout. To fail to plan and all that...

Should it all go a bit wrong and a picnic isn't on the cards, I'll be tucked up under a blanket watching Netflix until the sun decides to make an appearance.

Sometimes you just fancy reminiscing over things you used to enjoy years ago. Your favourite breakfast cereal as a kid, an album that never left your tape deck, fluorescent cycling shorts and a crimped side-ponytail. Just me? 

We've discovered some retro gems on good 'ol Netflix for the whole family to enjoy. So, if you're stuck indoors and need a few hours distraction, look no further.

Lost in Translation. This doesn't feel like it should be a 'retro' choice, but it was released 12 years ago! Feels like yesterday (sigh). Watching this the other night took me back to my early-20s in an instant. This was, and still is, one of my favourite movies. A true classic.

3rd Rock from the Sun. I found this funny as a kid, but it's hilarious now. I expected it to be one of those series that's not as good as you remember it; but I find myself giggling away at all the jokes I was too young to understand the first time round. Brilliant.

Cinderella. Having recently taken Meryn to see the new Disney Cinderella movie at the cinema, we were thrilled to see this pop up on Netflix. We haven't sat down to watch it yet, but we're both excited to see the original animated version. Meryn hasn't seen it and I haven't watched it for years, so we'll be overruling the boys this weekend and curling up under the pink blankie to enjoy it.

Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style. Zack and Kelly. Slater and his pecs. Need I say more? Pretty sure I had this on VHS after taping it off the TV. Fairly certain I could recite the whole script... It's just as awesome as I remember it; though Dylan and Meryn didn't seem overly impressed. Pfft. What do they know?

* spot the pinkie in the photo above #fail

Perfect picnic food

Thursday, 21 May 2015

It's sunny. I'm British. It goes without saying I'm planning a picnic for this bank holiday weekend. And a BBQ. It's also likely we'll get the paddling pool out.

If you have similar plans, I have a belter of a recipe for you.

A picnic loaf

Sure to steal the show at any al fresco dining occasion, ladies and gents I give you... the picnic loaf.

A friend of mine told me about these little beauties last summer. After a little research, I'd knocked up my own. And it didn't disappoint. Life changing, some might say. Just plain tasty and looks pretty impressive is probably more accurate.

It's so easy to do, I can't really pretend this is a proper 'recipe'. Just get yourself a loaf of crusty bread (your preference), unsliced obviously. I went for a wholemeal, crusty, batch type loaf. Just make sure it's not too flat; you want to be able to cram as many layers in there as physically possible. Trust me.

Slice a thin piece off the top of your loaf and set about hollowing it out. Here's where you can come over all 'Nigella' and save the bread from the inside to make breadcrumbs for something else.

Leave a small amount of the soft bread inside the crust, but make sure you've hollowed it out enough for the fillings. 

At this point, what you put in is pretty open to interpretation, but mine went a little something like this:

Spread pesto over the base of the hollowed out loaf, then add the following in layers:

  • Prosciutto
  • Roast red peppers (I used the jar variety, but you could roast your own in advance)
  • Smoked cheese slices
  • Rocket
  • Slices of salami
  • Cheddar slices
  • Tapenade
  • Baby leaf spinach

Repeat the layers if you still have space.

Spread a little more pesto on the base of your bread lid, pop it back on top and wrap tightly with cling film. Keep it in the fridge until you are ready. Slice and serve.

Let me know what you think if you try this. I can't wait to make another one.

10 steps to a happier me

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Roald Dahl quote

Grumpy days. We all have them. You wake up bloody miserable, for no apparent reason, and you can choose to wallow in it (pissing off anyone you come into contact with in the process), or you can come out fighting.

I tend to go for the latter option 99% of the time. I'm not a wallower and hate feeling grumpy, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve to lift me out of my funk. I don't do all of them - no one has time for that! - but doing one or two will keep me going 'til wine o'clock ;)

1.  Music. Nothing cheers me up like turning on my favourite playlist. Loud. And singing and dancing around the kitchen. Preferably with my little people dancing away alongside me. This Spotify playlist is a fail-safe option if you need to raise a smile, and fast.

2.  Food. Nothing too naughty. It'll only make me feel worse when the post-doughnut guilt sets in. But I do like to make myself something yummy to shake off the grumps. Plus, if I'm feeling miserable, it usually dawns on me that I've skipped a meal, which is probably half the problem.

3.  Lists. I'm not a natural organiser. Unless I make an effort, I'll just flit from day to day, remembering things at the last minute and forgetting a few along the way. Despite being my default setting, its something I dislike about myself and it makes me frustrated. If I take the time to make lists and plan my week I'm so much happier. 

4.  Bath. I'm a shower girl (no choice with three kids and only four minutes to myself each day in which to wash!), but I do love a good bath. Preferably with a Lush bath bomb, a glass of wine and a book. Zero to chirpy in 60 seconds.

5.  Giggles. No one makes me laugh like my husband. He's bloody hilarious and can cheer me up in no time. Listening to my babies giggling is just as effective though. Baby giggles could solve most of the world's problems surely?

6.  Friends. I left the house yesterday evening feeling pretty frazzled after a super-rushed bath/bed fiasco. Ten minutes into a cinema and ice cream date with my bestie and I felt like a new person.

7.  Yoga. At the risk of sounding really smug and annoying, yoga really does make me happy. I'd say running does too, but I bloody hate it. Until I get back... then I feel great. But yoga is something I enjoy before, during and after. It makes me feel significantly happier physically and mentally. I've said it before, but Yoga with Adrienne is amazing. Check her out :)

8.  Declutter. See point 3; I'm not a natural organiser. So yes, I have many drawers / cupboards / shelves that are in regular need of decluttering. Seriously, I don't know what happens to them! If I make time to tackle an area of my house, I feel way better afterwards. 

9.  Paint nails. As shallow as it may be, making the time to paint my nails makes me feel great. I may have hastily applied make up, a houmous-stained t-shirt and a bird's nest on my head, but at least my fingers look good.

10. Movie and cuddles. The no-brainer. Nothing cheers me up like curling up on the sofa with my little family, under a blanket, with a funny movie and a box of chocolates.

What do you do to cheer yourself up?

♡ Little bits #23 ♡

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Little bits of our life lately

1. Duplo fruit for breakfast :)
2. Dan and I watched Lost in Translation. God, I love that movie. I haven't seen it for years, despite it being one of my all-time favourites, and it didn't disappoint. Love, love, love it.
3. Hands down, best smoothie recipe ever. And healthy too.
4. Enjoying the sunshine in nanny's garden.

Little bits of our life lately

5. Hands up if your mornings look like this too ;)
6. Shopping with a toddler. Exhausting. And almost not worth the effort. Almost.
7. Friday night party night for this little flower fairy. Wearing one of our favourite outfits and her new unicorn necklace.
8. I asked Ayden if he was enjoying the chocolate fountain!

If you're not already following me on Instagram, please head over for more little bits of our life (

Meal planning #1

Monday, 18 May 2015

My meal plan

I like to pretend to myself that I meal plan every week but, if I'm honest, it's pretty sporadic. At best. There's usually a rough idea of what we'll eat each week, but it tends to go out the window because I haven't got all the ingredients, or fancy something else.

No more. It's time to get strict. 

Partly inspired by the lovely Kerry, who blogs at Oh So Amelia, and posts a weekly meal plan (also a source of recipe inspiration), but also because I find myself wasting things. I threw away a whole (yellow) broccoli and a forgotten bunch of spring onions from the back of the fridge last week (sorry mum). I hate that.

This time I've decided to plan our evening meals, but not which day we'll have them. I think this might be key to the whole 'don't fancy that tonight' problem and might help me stick with it. 

Let's do this. 

This week's culinary delights will be:

  Tarragon chicken with asparagus and rice
✚  Bacon and jalapeno mac and cheese 
✚  Homemade fishcakes and salad
✚  Sausage, red pepper and butterbean casserole
✚  Vegetable stir-fried rice
✚  Beef chilli enchiladas

I've only posted six meals to allow for the inevitable 'shall we pick up steak for tonight?', or 'mummy, pleeeease can we have pizza?'.
I'm fascinated by other people's meal plans, so if you write similar posts on your blog please leave the links below so I can have a nose :)

The Ordinary Moments | summer dreaming

Sunday, 17 May 2015


I was looking through my photos this morning and came across this one of Dylan. It's one of my favourites of him. He looks so happy and just beautiful. He's such a busy little boy, its not often he actually sits still and just relaxes. At least not without an iPad in his hands. I love how this picture captures a rare moment of calm for my handsome little whirlwind. Plus it reminds me of last summer.

It was taken after one of many late afternoon trips to the beach. Because we live so close to the sea, we wait until everyone else has started to pack up and make their way home and then we get to enjoy pretty much the whole beach to ourselves. We also get to watch the sun setting, while the little ones run free on the sand (without having to worry that they'll get lost in the crowds of people). Even better are the days we take a picnic tea with us and sit on a blanket, chatting away and eating sandy sandwiches. Perfect.

The few days of glorious sunshine we've had recently have made me really excited for the warmer months. That and the limited edition bottles of Strawberry Pimms in the supermarket this morning.

What gets you excited for summer?

My (alternative) morning routine

Thursday, 14 May 2015

My (alternative) morning routine

I'm a complete YouTube junkie. Seriously. It's a problem. I would pick YouTube over TV any day of the week (apart from RuPaul's Drag Race, that doesn't count). So many amazing, talented people making videos about their lives, their interests... I love it.

Some of my favourite videos to watch are morning and evening routines. Being a bit of a nosey parker, I love seeing how people go about their everyday lives. But I've noticed these videos are usually pretty relaxed and tranquil. Leisurely mornings spent stretching out on a yoga mat, sipping (hot) coffee and flicking through a magazine, followed by 15 uninterrupted minutes to flawlessly apply makeup, before leaving the house calmly to go about their day.

Haha. They should see my house in the morning. 

So, I thought I'd sum up my morning routine. You know, just to compare...

6:00am  Rudely awoken by a little voice. "mummy.... muuuum-aay.... MUMMY!"
6:01am  Stumble from bed to smallest person's room.
6:05am  Change smallest person's nappy and try to convince him he wants to go back to bed and cuddle for a while.
6:10am  Remove smallest person's fingers from my nose/ears/eyeballs, try desperately to keep eyes closed while offering iPhone as a distraction. Fail miserably.
6:12am  iPhone disabled for 15 minutes. Crap.
6:15am  Joined by other small people for cuddles. There were five in the bed. This soon descends into chaos. Fighting over who gets to cuddle mummy (Ayden is pretty possessive at the moment) and small people insisting they are "starving!" and must eat RIGHT NOW.
6:30am  Admit defeat and accept that I am in fact getting up.
6:35am  Coffee.
6:40am  Breakfast time at the zoo. Three hungry mouths to feed. How can they inhale a bowl of weetabix so fast? I can barely keep up with the "can I have more please mummy" requests. Don't they know the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet?
7:00am  Lunchboxes. Every morning I ask myself why I didn't do it the night before. Speedily assemble inspired Bento-style lunchboxes, complete with pinwheel sandwiches, fruit wearing googly eyes, cupcake cases filled with colour-coordinated snacks and freshly squeezed orange juice. Haha. Not really.
7:15am  Coffee.
7:20am  Attempt to shower in peace. I'm only shooting for three, maybe four minutes of time alone in the bathroom... 
7:21am  Small person enters the bathroom "for a poo". Posh aromatherapy shower oil effects severely diminished.
7:25am  Admit defeat and leave small person to poo in peace.
7:30am  Usual combo of skinny jeans, black vest and slouchy jumper in tact, I attempt to put makeup on. Realise I forgot to do my 20-minute energising morning yoga routine again. Vow to 'make sure I do it tomorrow'.
7:35am  Head downstairs to see what the screaming is for. Turns out small person has decided to change the channel. Other small person is not impressed and is sitting on sibling trying to wrestle the remote from their hand. This is not going well. For either of them.
7:40am  Divide and conquer. Both small people in their rooms for 'quiet time'. Not particularly quiet, but less violent.
7:45am  Smallest person is bored of CBeebies and wants out of his highchair. All hell is about to break loose.
7:50am  Yep. Hell.
8:00am  Smallest person, embracing new freedom, has made his way upstairs and is trying to steal big brother's shoes. 
8:05am  Smallest person has soiled himself. Nappy change.
8:10am  Finish cold coffee.
8:12am  Get small people dressed. Notice another hole in another school jumper. Aargh.
8:25am  Realise I've only applied left eyebrow. Fill in other eyebrow.
8:30am  Small person has removed his shoes and socks. WTF!??
8:32am  Once I'm confident no more items of clothing will be removed, gather together lunch bags, book bags, guitar, kit bag, pushchair, keys, wine... haha, I joke.
8:35am  Realise small person should be in gym kit. Not uniform. Crap.
8:40am  Not only has smallest person found a crayon and 'decorated' the kitchen floor, he's also done another poo. Too much weetabix.
8:42am  Warp-speed nappy change. Got to be a record.
8:45am  Last-minute tooth brushing. Eeeee.... aaaaaah.... move your tongue.... don't bite the brush.... spit. Times three.
8:50am  First school bell! Leave the house sharpish and leg it round the corner to school. Commend myself for choosing a house so close to school.
8:55am  Negotiate with 8-year old for a hug and a kiss (apparently its "not cool"). Take other small person to her classroom. No negotiating necessary this time :)
8:58am  And breathe.
9:00am  Home. Knackered.

Maybe I'll make a video of this too. I think it would be fun.

The best smoothie recipe known to man

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Chocolate cherry smoothie

So I'm sat in the hairdressers, flicking through a magazine, waiting for my turn at the wash basin... suddenly, there it is. The game-changer. Simple, classic and completely inspired. Simply the best smoothie recipe you will ever come across. 

Now, I can't speak for your personal smoothie preferences but, to my mind, you'd be hard pushed to top this one. 

Chocolate and cherries. Boom. Quite possibly one of the finest flavour combinations ever conceived. And it's dairy-free to boot (me and milk do not get on). You may think I'm being dramatic. I urge you to give this a try. You will not be disappointed.

You will need:
Almond milk
Cocoa powder
Frozen cherries
Half a frozen, sliced banana
Chia seeds

All the quantities here are 'to taste' really but, as a rough guide, I used a cup of almond milk (the Rude Health brand is by far my favourite), 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder and a cup of frozen dark cherries. This all went in the blender with the frozen banana slices (freezing the banana slices gives a lovely creamy consistency to your smoothie). Blend until smooth and stir in 2 tbsp of chia seeds right before you want to drink it (if you put them in and leave them for any length of time they go a little jelly-like, which is not my cup of tea. They're fine if you drink it straight away though). 

You could also use chocolate almond or coconut milk, instead of adding the cocoa powder yourself, which makes it even more convenient. I'm all for making life as easy as possible in the mornings.

So there you have it. Channelling a retro blackforest breakfast vibe, with a modern healthy twist, this recipe is so ingenious, I cannot believe I didn't think of it myself. 

Let me know what you think if you try it.

♡ Little bits #22 ♡

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

1. After his tummy bug, this little one spent a lot of time sleeping. It's not often he stays still long enough for me to just stare at him, so I took full advantage. Serious lash envy!
2. Hey cheekbones, I'm coming for ya'!
3. These salopettes. Just, ♡.
4. Two of my beautiful boys.

5. We have some new books, and they're already firm favourites. Check out what we're reading at the moment.
6. Well, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago.... Happy birthday to me ;)
7. Cookies and cream layer cake. Seriously good. Seriously bad for you.
8. This pretty little lady is a dab hand with the wooden spoon. She loves Sunday morning baking.

9. Someone didn't want his photo taken.
10. Looking back at photos from last year for my scrapbook. This is one of my favourites from 2014. My lovely family.
11. Loved watching Cobain: Montage of Heck. I'm a huge Nirvana fan and it gave a fascinating and very honest insight into Kurt's life. 
12. Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then always be a unicorn.

The Ordinary Moments | my little baker

Monday, 11 May 2015

Cookies and cream layer cake

We're big fans of cake in this house. Any excuse to whip up a batch of cupcakes and I'm in!

Meryn has definitely inherited my love of baking. Up until recently she'd sit and watch me, ask a million questions, do a bit of stirring and scrape the mixing bowl clean. This time she wanted more baking responsibility. With baking responsibility comes great power. So, I ignored my inner control freak and took a back seat.

Meryn baking

Not one to do things by halves, we took on one of the most ambitious cakes I've ever made. A cookies and cream, triple layer cake, with mascarpone frosting. No brainer.

Meryn did a great job. She made the whole thing herself, with minimal input from me. Although I did tidy up the frosting after she'd iced it... couldn't help myself.

Cookies and cream layer cake

She's really keen to learn more, so we'll probably take on some savoury recipes soon. I was pretty useless in the kitchen until I reached my 20s and I like the idea of my children learning how to cook from a young age. Plus it's nice to spend time with them teaching them something new. 

At some point it'll be acceptable for them to make me dinner right??

Hey Mickey, you're so fine | the perfect spring jacket

Friday, 8 May 2015

Soft Gallery Miki sweater

I'm completely in love with this Soft Gallery jacket. 

Well, it's more of a zip-up sweater actually, but the shape and cut make it the perfect cover-up for warmer weather. So it falls nicely into the jacket-shaped hole in Ayden's wardrobe. Ayden's pretty taken with the Mickey-esque mouse print too.

I struggle to find lightweight, spring/summer-appropriate jackets that I like for Ayden. Usually I go for a hoodie or whip out the trusty Indikidual banana raincoat that I oh-so-wisely sized waaaay up on when I bought it last year. Yup, still going strong 18 months later. Score. But this; this is perfect.

We only have a couple of Soft Gallery pieces. The ice lolly dress from SS14 and the beautiful bow leggings, which Meryn usually wears for ballet. The material is always super soft and, with such unique prints, the Danish brand is fast becoming one of my favourites. 

I picked up this jacket from the always awesome Quinn and Pip and just have to convince myself that I do not need the sweatpants to go with it. Absolutely not. 

Ayden in his Soft Gallery Miki sweater

Soft Gallery Miki sweater

The Ordinary Moments | ♡ family

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Family photo polaroid

One of the things I love most about keeping a scrapbook is that it makes me look back at the thousands of photos I take. Before starting my Project Life album I'd print one or two to frame and that was that. 

Feeling a bit ambitious, I decided to print a load of photos from last year so I could include them in my album - mainly special occasions and some of the more memorable moments of the year. I can't wait to do a spread for Ayden's first birthday party, when this photo was taken. 

It's one of my favourite pictures of Dylan and Meryn with their cousins, Charlotte, Rhydian and George. They get on so well and love each others company. There's a few years between them, but they have plenty in common and have the best time when they're together.

They only live 25 miles down the road, but it's amazing how much time can pass between seeing them. It's awful really. They come to stay most school holidays and have done for years, but they're growing up fast and I'm not sure how much longer they'll want to be doing that for... hopefully a few years yet.

I find it hard to believe that Charlotte is 18 this year. She's still my 4 year old niece surely!? Just way taller... and totally beautiful.

I have so many memories and photos of my children enjoying time with their cousins and now I have somewhere to put them all, so we can all enjoy looking back on them. When they're all grown up and too cool to come for a sleepover. Waaaah! I can't bear it!