♡ Little bits #30 ♡

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

1. Overcoming little fears is exhausting. A well-deserved nap after conquering his fear of swimming.
2. Pizza with my lovely niece. 
3. If he's rocking a man bun, he means business.
4. Living on the edge.

5. Two'nage Mutant Ninja Ayden.
6. Out strollin'. He loves being able to run free without having to worry about the road and cars. Even better if we're heading towards the beach!
7. My beautiful little lady off to a beach party.
8. I made this little video all about us.

9. "I a lucky boy, mummy". Enjoying our last day just the two of us before the start of the summer holidays.
10. My handsome boy sporting his first short hair cut.
11. My littlest and my biggest ♡
12. Making the most of the sunshine while it lasts.

What shall we do today? | The Ordinary Moments

Monday, 27 July 2015

Ayden walking

Sometimes, it's the simple things that make you happy isn't it? A good movie, a hug, beans on toast, sitting in the garden in the sunshine listening to music.

Like so many other parents and grandparents, my head is full of ideas for how to entertain my three children over the summer holidays. We're only a week in and already we've been to the cinema, had a sleepover, gone to the beach, spent a day at sports camp, baked cakes, gone swimming, with numerous trips to the park in between. 

But, a lot of the time, the best days are the ones you don't plan. 

On Saturday we woke up to glorious sunshine and decided to make the most of it. After breakfast we got ourselves out the door as fast as we could (before it decided to rain!) and just walked. 

We stopped to talk to the horses, we chatted, we took a quick detour to the beach, sang songs, laughed, collected sticks and pebbles, bumped into some school friends, played in the park, then went home for coke floats in the garden. 

Lots of little unplanned moments that added up to a great Saturday. And I couldn't have planned it better.

What did you get up to this weekend?

Family walk

Snip snip | The Ordinary Moments

Monday, 20 July 2015

This was anything but an Ordinary Moment for Dylan.

This was Dylan's first ever proper haircut. At age 8! He's been to the hairdressers many times for a trim, but always kept the same long hairstyle. This time, it all came off.

I've been trying to convince him to cut it for a while now. Just for a change. I didn't want to force him into it though. He loved his hair long and didn't want to change it, which was fine by me.

All of a sudden, he decided to go for it. Just like that. He was the same about learning to ride his bike. Didn't want to do it. No. Not going to try. Then, one day, "please take my stabilisers off daddy, I'm going to ride my bike today." And he was off. Just like that.  

His hair hasn't been this short since he was a baby and it used to naturally sit in this awesome mohican style. 

So, we took the plunge on Friday. Out came the clippers. Off came the hair. 

He loves it and can't stop checking himself out in the mirror! I love it too, but I can't believe how much older it makes him look. It actually made me a bit tearful (pathetic, I know).

Just like that, eight to 13 in ten minutes flat. 

Dan's Oreo Milkshake recipe

Friday, 17 July 2015

It's not often my husband emerges from the kitchen and presents me with something he has made. The occasional beans on toast. An annual Mother's Day roast. Anniversary steak and chips. All of which, I'm very grateful for. But this. This is on another level.

I didn't see it coming and to say it was delicious is a colossal understatement. 

This is Dan's Oreo Milkshake.

A couple of you asked for the recipe after I posted the photo on Instagram. So, as promised, I quizzed the milkshake master and can now share his wisdom with you ;)

I must admit, it's only a few ingredients and a blender. Hardly a Blumenthal-esque concoction, but he assures me the ratio of cookies to ice cream is critical. 

Who am I to argue...?

You will need: 

(1 serving)

6 Oreo cookies (5 for the shake and 1 to crumble on top)
2 scoops vanilla ice cream (Dan is of the opinion that Haagen Dazs vanilla makes a superior shake)
200ml milk (more if you prefer a thinner consistency)
Squirty cream

Put all your ingredients, aside from the cream and the one extra Oreo in your blender. Blitz until smooth. Pour, top with squirty cream and crumble your last cookie on top. Enjoy and try not to think about the calories. It's worth it.

Hmmm I might try making this with a spoonful of peanut butter added to the blender next time. I'm wild like that!

Let me know if you try it.

My Get the Glow picks

Thursday, 16 July 2015

I mentioned last week that my book of choice for the month has been Madeleine Shaw's Get the Glow

I've been following Madeleine on social media for a little while now so, as soon as the book arrived through my door, I couldn't wait to get stuck in.

But first, a quick disclaimer. I'm not following the Get the Glow plan religiously (*hangs head in shame*). Yet. I know its probably easier in the long run if you jump in feet first and just go for it. But I didn't want this to be another failed attempt to make changes in my diet. I want this to be a gradual, positive adjustment that helps me to make healthier choices and feel my best.

I made the switch to almond milk a long time ago, and I don't eat a great deal of other dairy, so I didn't have to worry too much about cutting that out of my diet. But also, I'm not going to beat myself up over a Ben & Jerry's relapse, or cheese at Christmas. Seriously, no cheese at Christmas would be torture.

Sugar is the big change for me. I don't eat loads, but I need to reach more for the raw cacao protein balls and less for the Hob Nobs. Sigh.

So here are the first few picks from the book that have got me excited. The ones I've tried, tested and will definitely make again.

Turkey Meatballs in Homemade Tomato Sauce, with Courgetti. This one had me worried if I'm honest. Turkey mince didn't really appeal to me and it looked less than appetising at preparation stage. Also, I don't like courgette. Obviously a no-brainer for my first pick from the book! I needn't have worried. This was seriously tasty. The meatballs were slightly drier in texture than their beef counterparts would be, but still tasted great. I made my usual simple tomato pasta sauce, which is basically shallots, garlic, tinned tomatoes, sea salt and pepper - except I softened the shallots in coconut oil, instead of my usual olive oil. Also, I heated the courgetti through a little in a pan rather than serving it cold as the recipe suggests. I was really pleasantly surprised at the results. Seems I like courgette if it's in spaghetti shape. Who knew?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls. I actually pinched this idea from ViviannaDoesMakeUp, who used the recipe for Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cake, but rolled the mixture into bite-size balls instead. They're perfect for seeing off those pesky mid-afternoon sugar cravings. Sweet enough to satisfy, and healthy to boot.

Chickpea and Red Lentil Dahl, with Coconut Cauliflower Rice. This was an absolute revelation. So much so, I can't wait to make it again. The dahl was full of flavour, filling and the perfect antidote to Friday-night curry cravings. Again, I was a little sceptical about how well cauliflower rice would work as a substitute to my beloved basmati. But this, cooked in coconut milk, was amazing. I may have got a bit too excited at the blitzing stage and turned it more into cauliflower mush than rice, but flavour-wise it was a real winner. I've just got to restrain myself with the Kitchenaid next time.

So these are my top three picks from the book so far. I'm making the Mince Beef with Lettuce Wraps this week and am currently soaking oats for tomorrow morning's Bircher Muesli. I'll let you know how I get on with those.

Waterbabies | The Ordinary Moments

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

One sunny evening last week I sat on the sand watching these two in the water.

Meryn has always been her daddy's little water baby. They all love the sea, but Meryn especially will spend hours jumping the waves and never seems to get tired of it. She would choose to go in the sea over most things. I on the other hand, can't think of anything worse. Unless we were in the Maldives. That's different.

I love that they have something they can enjoy together.

It was so peaceful on the beach on this particular evening. Dylan was at a friend's house for tea (possibly why it was so quiet!), so Ayden and I played in the sand while Meryn had a surfing lesson with daddy. She's not sure about the board yet. She likes the idea of it, but gets nervous about actually standing up. Can't say I blame her.

I'm sure by the end of the summer, she'll be out-surfing her daddy though ;) 

Overcoming little fears

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

This is a little boy who has just worked hard to overcome a fear, come out the other side and is enjoying a well earned snooze. 

Like his big brother and sister, Ayden went to swimming classes as a baby. From just a few months old, I would take him every week. And he seemed to enjoy it; as much as a baby being dunked in tepid water can enjoy it...

I can't really remember why, but we stopped going after a couple of months. I've heard it's quite common for babies who once loved swimming and being in the water to change their minds about the whole thing once they get a little more independent. It happened with Dylan for a while. Just like his big brother Ayden decided he didn't like 'wimming' anymore and that was that.

I didn't really push it, figuring he'd grow out of it eventually. But also, I didn't want the 'fear' to get any worse. 

Yesterday I decided we were going 'wimming'!

It didn't start well. He clung to me like a baby koala. Arms and legs wrapped tight and his head buried in my neck. He stayed like that for at least 20 minutes. Only surfacing to ask to go home, squeak a bit and then tuck his head back into my neck.

It was tempting to give up and go home. Especially when he started wailing because someone splashed him. But we stuck with it, and I'm so glad we did.

As with most toddler-related problems, distraction worked wonders. I decided to divert his attention to the grates in the wall of the swimming pool... we had a good look inside to see if we could spot the turtles. Everyone knows that's how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get into the swimming pool!

After ten minutes or so of turtle spotting, he'd loosened his vice-like grip around my neck and was letting me spin him round in the water a little bit. So we started singing and splashing a bit more. By the time it was time to leave, he was smiling, laughing, splashing and running around in the shallow end.

One small step for mummy. One giant splash for Ayden.

♡ Little bits #29 ♡

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

1. My husband disappeared into the kitchen one evening and came back with this. He's a keeper!
2. Look at that little face. I could squish him.
3. Sharing five apps that I can't live without. Well, I can, but I don't want to.
4. As if we weren't hot enough... 90 mins of baby gym should help (!)

5. My little book worm. Meryn loved Matilda so much, she's re-reading it herself. And we have a marvellous Matilda cushion to give away if you want to check it out.
6. My little bookworm is also a little water baby. She never gets cold or bored. Just like her daddy.
7. Play Bean Boozled, they said. It'll be fun, they said.
8. A sombre post one, but this quote sums it up perfectly.

Learning to dance with the limp | The Ordinary Moments

Sunday, 5 July 2015

A sombre one today, but I didn't want the day to pass without acknowledging my feelings and marking them in some way. 

My way of dealing with things is usually to distract myself. And that's what I've done. Filled my day with the ordinary family moments that make up a typical Sunday. Running, playing, Sunday lunch, singing in the kitchen. The usual chaos of our family life.

But this very day six years ago was anything but ordinary. It was the day I lost my dad. And the quote in the picture above sums it up better than I ever could.

No matter how much time passes, no matter how many days there are now between each 'bad day', it's always there. An ache. But you learn to live with it.

Today I showed Ayden a picture of my dad. He never met him. I told him it was gramps. He touched the photo on the screen and said "I love gramps".

Little man, he would have loved you too.

What we're reading | the summer selection | + GIVEAWAY

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Meryn reading

Even though the Xbox and iPads are well loved in this house, all three of my children still adore their books. Thanks to the Tom Gates series, their enthusiasm seems to have reached a new high and they're devouring a new book every couple of days. The other day, I peeked into Ayden's room at bedtime to find Dylan sat next to his cot reading Stickman. Yep, proud mummy moment for sure.

I have great memories of curling up on my bed as a kid to spend hours reading a new book. Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton were my favourites. When Dylan was only a couple of years old I picked up a box set of Roald Dahl books - very premature, yes, but I was so excited to be able to share my favourite books with him.

Fast forward a few years and they're ready to appreciate the stories, so we've been working our way through the series. BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda have been their favourites so far. So much so, Meryn is re-reading Matilda herself. So I guess that would be her book choice for the month. And who can blame her? It's one of my favourites too. 

I thought I'd start including my book of the month in these round ups, just in case anyone's interested. I'd include Dan's too, but all he reads about is online articles about surfing and building. Snore. (p.s. bear with me - I'll get to the details of the giveaway at the end of the post :) )

Get the Glow

Get the Glow. I enjoy jumping on the fad diet train as much as the next person, but the thing about Madeleine Shaw's book is that there's nothing faddy about it at all. She's all about making healthy choices, feeling the best you possibly can and do-able, delicious food. No ingredients that you have to traipse to the ends of the earth to find. Just heaps of flavourful food and inspiring ideas. I seriously can't put this book down.

Jurassic World: Dinosaur Field Guide

Jurassic World: Dinosaur Field Guide. After a family date night to see the movie, we have one dinosaur obsessed eight year old on our hands. He had many (MANY) questions after the film and an insatiable appetite to learn all there is to know about dinosaurs and become a 'pole-an-tologist'. This book is just the ticket for any little dinosaur enthusiast and helps me out with those in-depth questions I just don't know the bloody answer to!

Pom Pom gets the grumps

Pom Pom gets the Grumps. Ayden's pick for the month is one of my favourites too. Pom Pom is a cute panda who wakes up one morning in a bad mood - don't we all - and it seems he's set for one of those days. Its beautifully illustrated, super cute and a great story for helping little ones understand those big emotions they sometimes find hard to control.

You're probably wondering what the giveaway is by now! I was lucky enough to team up with House of Fraser to offer you the chance to win a marvellous Matilda cushion from their Roald Dahl bedding range. The cushion is shaped like a book, with a quote from the story inside (see images below). Perfect for any little book worm. You can see more of the range here

To enter, just comment below to tell me what your child's favourite bedtime story is at the moment. A winner will be chosen at random after the closing date.


Images: www.roalddahl.com

Terms and conditions:
- UK residents only
- Ends at midnight on 10 July 2015
- The winner will be announced on Twitter and Facebook
*We were lucky enough to be sent a cushion from the Roald Dahl range in exchange for this giveaway.

5 apps I can't live without

Thursday, 2 July 2015

My iPhone 5s

A bold statement, yes. Maybe 'could live without, but would prefer not to' is more accurate.

My phone is never more than a few feet away from me. It's jammed packed with photos and music, so I don't have dozens of apps stored on it. I've tried to narrow it down to a few that I really use on a regular basis. I've also deleted a lot of the time-sapping game / puzzle apps that I foolishly downloaded after caving under intense social media peer pressure. I couldn't stand the amount of time I'd spend mindlessly tapping away at my screen, only to become irritated and want to hurl my beloved iPhone out the window. RIP Hayday.

So here are the chosen few. The apps I use every single day, without fail:

Instagram. An obvious one, but I couldn't not include it. Of all the social media apps, this is by far the one I enjoy and reach for the most. I love having a little glimpse into someones day. I'm @kate.plus by the way, if you fancy popping by :)

Facetune. I have a lot of photography apps, but this is probably my favourite and most used. I use it to edit my Instagram photos before uploading them - usually just brightening and the occasional filter (or two). Special mentions also go to Afterlight and A Beautiful Mess, which are two other photography apps I like to use.

Headspace. I talked about my new found love of meditation in a post last week. I've tried a couple of apps, but this is by far my favourite. The style is very relaxed and informal. Taking 10 minutes out of my day to use this app definitely has a positive impact and I hope it's something I stick with.

My Fitness Pal. I'm trying to be good at the moment... she says after scoffing four cranberry and white chocolate chip cookies. Let's gloss over that bit. This app is a really user-friendly way to keep track of the things you eat and how many calories you're consuming in a day. It also allows you to log exercise and how many calories you've burned etc. Some days I forget, but I'm trying to use this daily as it really does help me to stay on track.

Snapchat. A new fascination for me. I'm not too great at snapping myself yet, but I like checking out the people I follow. It's probably one I should delete, for fear of developing an unhealthy fixation but, for now, it's a keeper.

What apps do you use most? Let me know in the comments below :)

Am I forever broody?

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Two of my beautiful babies

People ask me if we'd ever have another baby and I genuinely can't answer. Then I'm usually met with bewildered faces... like I've completely lost it. Maybe I have.

When I became pregnant with baby number three I found some people's reactions odd, but not surprising I guess. A lot of people just don't want more than one or two babies, and some none at all. And I get that. Each to their own. But I've always wanted a big family and I don't feel 'done' yet.

Which got me thinking... will I ever feel done? Let's say we decide to try for a fourth baby; will I stop feeling broody then? Or am I forever broody?

I follow a few mums with large families on Instagram and Twitter; their lives fascinate me. I find something really comforting about a huge kitchen table full of food and smiling faces. (Let's just pretend all mealtimes go smoothly, with zero tantrums, lobbing of broccoli or pudding blackmail).

I guess this post may have something to do with how I'm feeling at the moment. My first baby is nine this year, my little girl will move up to juniors in September and my baby boy is a proper twonager. 

I love every minute of watching them grow. Seeing their personalities and characters develop. Watching their relationship with each other too. It's more wonderful than I ever imagined - my eldest two are the best of friends and absolutely adore having a baby brother (and he absolutely adores all the attention they give him!).  

So here I am. Mummy of three beautiful children. I couldn't ask for more. Could I?