The Mental Health Post

So I did a Vlog late last night which is on the Youtube channel, (Which I’m still sorting). It’s the first one I’ve done and it’s so close to my heart.

The Christmas Photoshoot

Possibly the most decent photo, sigh.

 

Today I was feeling brave, John is away this week for training (a fairly regular occurrence) so it’s just me, the girls and the dog. I thought to myself wouldn’t it be lovely to get a proper Christmas photo of the girls together to mark Maisie’s first Xmas as a sister and Luna’s first Xmas full stop. Last year (Maisie’s first Xmas) was a bit rubbish due to me having HG so I wanted to do things properly this time.

The start of the day

Both girls woke up in great moods and I thought “great, I’m on to a winner, I’m going to get some bloody lovely photos taken at the photo place in Tesco” and John will be all “wow you’re the bestest, have some wine!” Okay maybe not quite like that but it would be nice anyway. I had sort of pre-planned this anyway when I bathed the girls last night I really washed their hair and dried it and brushed it all nice. I waited until we were almost ready to leave this morning before putting them in their Xmas clothes and again brushed Maisie’s hair, I even felt smug as I packed the hairband, brush and spare tights in the bag to ensure she would still look nice if she feel over or whatever, (I don’t know why I don’t ever learn about smugness and parenting).

Before we leave

Before we go I do a quick impromptu photoshoot on the sofa to test the water, the photos aren’t great but the girls were happy enough, great I think the photographer will capture a nice one for sure. Leaving the house is somewhat stressful with Maisie trying to roll in Pumba’s bed and Luna having a meltdown because I left her on the mat on the rug too long while sorting the pushchair and the dog thinks he’s coming so he’s going mental running around under my feet. After some tense words (ok maybe shouty words, I get the kids out the house, the dog in the house safely bribed with a dentastick and we head off to the shop. Now the photo shop is in Tesco which is a couple of minute’s walk from my home (both a blessing and dangerous), except with a toddler in tow who refuses to go in the pushchair it’s more like 15-20 minutes to the shop.

Arriving

We eventually arrive and it’s a bit busy, luckily they have a colouring station to I release Maisie to do her worst whilst I wait patiently to speak to the lady for these photo’s which takes a little while. Meanwhile Luna is getting that glazed tired look, but I remain optimistic, Maisie remains in her designated area and is not destroying anything. I tell the woman I want a nice Xmas photo of the girls on the special offer they’re doing, unfortunately because Luna can’t properly sit up unaided yet all the props have to be removed which is a bit rubbish but never-mind, the photo will be worth it. The woman sets up a little beanbag for Luna with a throw, I quickly brush Maisie’s hair and chuck her headband on and it’s time to do the photo’s.

The Shoot

I stick Luna down, who by now just see’s the bright lights as some trippy thing to stare at such is her tired glazed-ness, and set about trying to convince Maisie to sit nicely next to Luna with her arm around her. Have you ever tried to convince a not quite 2 year old to sit nicely in a certain pose and smile for a photo? Suddenly flashbacks of Luna’s newborn photoshoot come back to my mind, how Maisie did whatever the fuck she wanted and we had to heavily bribe her for most of it. In fact in the only decent photo’s with all of us in Maisie is holding a pot with blueberries. I tell myself that was 5 months ago now, she’s older she can do this.

Except she can’t, she barely stays still long enough to get a photo, she keeps pulling off her headband, she pokes Luna in the face or pulls her hood down then walks off. I’m bribing with all I’ve got, I even pull out the big guns that sprinkles the elf will tell Santa if she isn’t a good girl (desperation is a terrible thing). The photographer says to look at what she’s taken and Maisie can play and have a break and we can try again. I have a look, there’s maybe one that’s ok, she’s half smiling while going to take her headband off, Luna is just staring with a glazed expression with a double chin, the angle is not very flattering for her.

So I decide to try again but this time get Maisie to hold Luna because she loves doing that and being a big sister. So I carefully use my utmost fun mum voice and tell Muj we’re just going to do a couple more photos and would she like to hold Lulu? “No” fuck it. I tell Maisie to go sit on the beanbag Luna was on (the kid loves a beanbag) so off she trots and I dump Luna on her and try again. Maisie is out of fucks by now and we manage to get one or two photo’s before she’s pushing Luna away and Luna is trying to sit up to the camera. At this point I admit defeat, the woman shows me the photo’s I pick the best one out of them (no smiles obviously) for the photo prints then I have the job of picking 10, yes 10 photo’s for the photo CD.

After

Admittedly I could have left it but I felt so guilty that we had wasted so much of this woman’s time and she has gone out of her way to help me before I felt obliged to stick with what we were doing to I picked my photo’s for the CD, sorted the kids while the woman worked her magic, paid my money and left cursing myself, my optimism and my smugness.

Then of course Maisie hadn’t forgotten about her bribes, of course she bloody hadn’t so I had to go buy those, and walk home trying to find some positives, and do you know what, I’ll be wheeling these photo’s out when they’re teens to embarrass them so that’s a win, and hey I got to tell you guys about my experience, because who wants to read about some smug mum that got the perfect photo of her perfect kids for their perfect Christmas, right?

I’ve put some of my favourite photo’s below, I would love to see your photo fails too!

This one is my favourite, the way she just casually cover’s her sister’s face :’D

The Poop Story

Every Parent has a poop story to tell, I think it’s like part of the becoming a “proper parent” initiation. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had my fair share of shitastrophe’s in my time as a parent already. Many an outfit has been binned as it’s gone beyond saving, we almost contemplated binning the car seat once, but it cost a bundle and with a heck of a lot of cleaning it came out fine. Anyway, when it comes to Maisie it’s been a while since we had a poosplosiondue to her pretty much doing adult poo’s these days (still won’t try on the toilet much to my upset at the foul smell and mess at each change though).

This morning as I was on the floor with Luna I was occasionally getting the odd whiff of poo, I did the cursory bum sniff and check but nope, nothing, so I figure one of them is crop dusting the area and probably working up to a little brown treat for me.

I pop Luna in her Jumperoo and stroll to the kitchen to make a tea, followed by the snack demon, who I send off on her merry way with a banana to keep her quiet for a while so I can tidy up a bit.  10 minutes goes by and I hear Luna really straining, now Luna struggles a bit with constipation so I get her on the change mat on the living room floor and undo her nappy to give her a bit of room to do her business, and cheer the kid on to do her business (not how I envisaged parenthood but when does it ever live up to the picture in your head). With some good pushing and my cheer-leading she gets the troublemaker, I congratulate her like she’s just said her first words and it’s “Harry Potter” or something. As I reach for the wipes I notice bits of banana all around the mat which have started browning nicely (you can see where this is going), I sort Luna out and pop her on her play-mat and set to picking up the bits of banana, muttering under my breath as the floor has been really REALLY thoroughly cleaned yesterday. I think I’ve got all of it when I notice another slightly bigger bit on the floor, perfectly rounded, as I pick it up I realise it’s quite hard and it doesn’t look like banana, in fact it looks like shit, I stupidly take a sniff. Yes, yes I am holding a perfectly round marble of shit. I had even squeezed it to begin with amazed at how hard that bit of banana was before the horror dawned on me. It’s at that moment Maisie jumps on my back whilst I’m half bent over kneeling on the floor inspecting actual faeces in my hand and the poo goes flying out my hand and rolls along the floor to under the sofa, I panic and am reaching under the sofa for this little brown ball of horror. After a frantic few minutes I have retrieved it, very firmly (maybe shouty in my panic) told Maisie to get back and go in the playroom while I dispose of the “poo poo”.

I have of course cleaned the whole area, but I don’t know which kid was the ninja pooper and how and when did they do it? I feel it must have been Maisie as Luna is at this point still in a sleepsuit so how the hell would it escape that? Also how did it get out of the nappy and get so perfectly round? Did Maisie roll it like play doh? Was this before or after her banana? I feel sick, I don’t want to know, yet I do. I am now fearful of what lays ahead when Maisie decides she will properly try potty training, in fact I may go on a little holiday away and leave her to daddy!

I’m also out of wine, it’s a bad day all around.

Do you have a poop story? I would love to hear it!

The scene of the crime

Mombie’s Quick Chocolate fix cakes

I say it on everything but this recipe is so easy, that’s my style of cooking/baking, bake off queen I am not, but maker of quick tasty treats, yep that’s me. I will get round to posting other recipes that take a little longer soon, the thing is when you’re a mum of two under two, with a hubby that works long hours and a mad dog, and a love of crafting, it’s hard to fit everything in.

These are fab because unlike most rice crispie/cornflake chocolate cake these don’t contain actual chocolate but they still give you a fix if you need a little something and can’t face the shops and they’re only 4 ingredients (unless you add more). You’ll see in my photo’s I have used branded items, I rarely ever buy branded but all of these were on offer and worked out cheaper than the supermarket own brand so use whatever you have.

So let’s get to it:

Ingredients at the ready

Ingredients

50g (2oz) Butter

2 TBLSP Golden Syrup (I sometimes add a tiny bit more purely because I love it)

50g (2oz) Hot Chocolate drinking powder

50g (2oz) cornflakes (or whatever cereal you want to use)

 

Method

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pan on the hob on a low setting.

Add in the drinking chocolate powder (ideally sifted not the end of the world if not)

I’m not going to lie, this does not look overly appetising here….

Add in the cornflakes and stir until fully covered.

Remove from heat and spoon the yumminess into some fairy cake cases (makes about 12). You can leave to set on the side or pop in the fridge to speed up the process.

You can add other things to these, in my photo I’ve added some cake decorating chocolate beans because I found them in the cupboard, marshmallows would probably be tasty too although not too much as it’s quite sweet already. Let me know if you add anything! Enjoy.

 

Oh and I made these yesterday morning at 9am, it is 8pm and I’m eating the last one, having warned my husband on pain of his genitals not to eat it earlier! They’re very moreish

Sex after Kids

So it’s a bit of a taboo subject, especially for us Brits but I’m going to talk about *whispers* S-E-X. Not in a kinky way, and mum if you’re reading this I’m sorry to break the bubble that the girls weren’t an immaculate conception 😉

Before
I found myself thinking tonight how sex in a relationship changes, I mean lets face it in the earlier days it’s new and you’re discovering each other, what the other likes, doesn’t like, maybe they have a weird fetish, I don’t know; I’m not judging (you know, so long as it’s legal). It’s natural that over time the sex will change a bit but the biggest change will be after kids. It’s not always things you’re expecting either.

After
For example, when I was pregnant I figured once that baby (first baby in this case) had busted out of downstairs ruining my once neat and tidy foof, I wouldn’t be wanting to DTD (do the deed) for many, many months afterwards. However, seeing my husband transformed into a dad, seeing him dote on his girls, and be so hands on and attentive, that is sexy as fresh chocolate fudge cake to me. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t walk out of the hospital gagging for it, but I was not expecting the aphrodisiac that is a hands on dad. In fact, since becoming a mum I look at celebrity dads in a whole new way, if I see a celebrity dad being all hands on (as I think every dad should be) I get all hot under the collar, it also helps that dad’s like Chris Hemsworth is a day’mn fine Thor.

The Hubby
Also I figured my hubby would be a bit emotionally scarred at having witness me shit myself whilst pushing a watermelon from my vajayjay and simultaneously turn a giant bath into a bath of bloody horror. Not to mention the weird boobs, the jelly belly and all the other joys that come with the post baby body, but he felt the exact way I did which was a bonus.

Obstacles
The hardest thing is the tiredness, and I  also worried about feeling self conscious but I realised I grew another human (a pretty cute one at that), my body doesn’t offend my husband  (and if it did I’d knee him in the balls) so I embraced it. Yes maybe I wouldn’t be rocking a sexy Ann Summers number for some time (if ever) but to be honest, the end game is nakedness so who cares?

The Reality
Spontaneuity is somewhat harder when you have kids, it’s not like you can have a lazy sunday morning roll, or an after lunch quickie is it?
Before kids, I might slip into a sexy number maybe light a candle or two something like that to let my husband know that it’s going to go down. After kids, he knows I’ve got big plans if I’ve shaved my legs, even then that can be a bit of a stretch, especially now it’s winter.

The Fear
There’s also the fear the first time you “do it” after giving birth, will it hurt? will it feel the same? will it feel different to him? I’ve had two babies, two large babies (Luna was 9lbs 10oz!) both naturally in a very short time frame, while it’s taken it’s toll on my body in all sorts of ways, luckily, the Magic that is a Hooha means it really can stretch and go back to normal (provided you keep at those pelvic floors). If you’re yet to do the deed for the first time after a baby, or you’re pregnant with your first, my tips, relax, take it easy, if it hurts then stop and try again another time. My top tips for dads that are a bit blue down there, get up and do night feeds (if bottle feeding or expressing) if not then change the nappies, rock the baby to sleep, let her nap in the day, give her breaks, the more energised and like herself she feels the better your chances are of getting lucky, also the better your odds of her not suffocating you in the night with a pillow.

Everyone Else
Sex after babies especially is a taboo subject, the main place i found it talked about was on the birth boards of the mummy forums I joined when pregnant with each girl. I found there was always one bragging about how she didn’t even graze with her 10lb’er and she was doing it a few days after her baby was born, then there were others who still haven’t 10 months after giving birth. I think it depends on how well you recover emotionally as well as physically, how supportive and understanding your partner is and how well your baby sleeps.

Coitus Interuptus
There are nights when maybe we are going to get a little frisky and then one kid wakes, and then the other (Coitus interuptus) and by the time you’ve calmed them down, the mood is well and truly gone and you’re shattered, not always I’ll add, interruptions like that are something you kind of adjust to I think.

Noises
Noises, oh noises, lets face it, no one loves a porn star in reality, but then it’s nice to let your partner know they’re doing a good job, or a very good job, depends on where you’re at. At the same time there’s that worry of “shit, lets not wake the kids.” Sometimes you do get caught in the moment (noise wise) luckily, so far neither kid has woken, Muj still sleeps in a cot as does obviously Luna so we haven’t had any wanderings in while mummy and daddy “snuggle”, I am awaiting that day and I promise I will update accordingly.

In Summary
For me, sex since kids, it’s better, maybe it’s because it’s not as often because we’re tired which makes it more special, maybe it’s because I found my husband even more attractive seeing what a great dad he is, maybe it’s me accepting my body more and being comfortable in my own skin. We’ve also reached a stage I think where he has seen me at my very worst with labour and we can both laugh about it. I don’t agree with having a baby to fix a relationship, that will never work, but if you have a great relationship, and you withstand kids (especially the newborn phase) it does make things better, so long as you don’t stop trying, as sometimes, you become parent’s and the lovers/marriage thing gets left behind.

Oh and don’t listen to what everyone else says they did or worry about when or how much, do what works in your relationship and don’t worry about comparing figures.

Foof/Vajayjay/Hooha = *whipers* Vagina

Date night with the hubby

Mombie’s Easy Peasy Peppermint Creams

Get in my belly!

Mint, I love it! Can’t get enough of the stuff, and around Christmas it becomes socially acceptable to have more of it (after eights, matchmakers, peppermint candycanes, Mojito’s-ok mojitos are whenever but drinking is more socially acceptable). So if you’re in need of an easy festive fix like me then peppermint creams are a quick and easy one.

Ingredients

250g Icing Sugar

1 Egg White

Peppermint Essence (not much)

Dark Chocolate – I used 70% cocoa as I’m not a massive fan of dark chocolate and didn’t want it too strong and I used 2/3rds of a bar and still had some left over.

Method

Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add some of the egg white and a few drops of peppermint essence. Stir and add more egg white until you reach a play dough like consistency, have a cheeky taste of your mixture too and more essence if desired, I put a good little splosh in mine as like I said I love mint but you may want to be a bit more subtle (I’m not great at subtle).

Roll the mixture into small balls and slightly flatten into discs (bonus points if you bother to shape them), my mixture made about 18.  Place on some baking paper out of the way.

In case you didn’t know what a ball looked like….

In a separate bowl melt your dark chocolate, you can do this either the old fashioned way over a saucepan of boiling water (more washing up) or zap in the microwave. Because I’m lazy I zapped mine, it took probably 60 secs-80 secs stopping every 20 seconds to stir and ensure it didn’t separate.

Cover your peppermint creams in chocolate, I both smothered some and drizzled on others, depends on how much chocolate you want. Leave to set for a good 5 hours, I made mine in the evening and left overnight.

You can also leave the creams bare without chocolate too, I want to experiment with mine at some point with toppings etc and I’d love to hear/see anything you try!

Enjoy! As you can see, they met the toddler seal of approval.

A strange kind of broodiness

So in the early summer of 2016, Maisie was reaching that age where she was actually getting interested in the world around her and the kid went mad for ducks, I would take her to all sorts of places to get a fix of a duck, if we took her to the local wildlife park, her favourite bit, not the monkey’s, the penguins or giraffes, nope the ducks!

Where it all began, she’s so small and bald <3

I’ve always loved ducks myself and I found myself really wanting a couple of pet ducks, at the time we lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere with a huge back garden and our landlord was happy for us to have some ducks. So i researched breeds, their temperment what each breed needs, how big they are, how easy to train etc etc. I did my sums on building them a run, a bath, a house, how much food was, how much straw etc was. We even went to a poultry auction to get a feel for what ducks were around, how much they were going for etc.

Getting another fix

I had the names picked out too, we were going to have;
Harry Quacker
Voldeduck
Sirius Quack
Dumbleduck

Look at Harry Quacker and Lord Voldeduck

Then I realised, if we got ducks we would be committed to living in our house for a long time (and it had a good few issues) and it would mean no babies for a few years as the ducks would be my responsibility and I knew I wouldn’t be able to care for them properly whilst pregnant and with a kid and a mental dog.
Weirdly I wasn’t too worried about the dog with the ducks, although he likes to chase a chicken and a duck, once he had gotten used to them (I had a plan for that too) they would totally own him.
But that nagging thought of no babies for some time hit me, and I had my realisation (with another perfect moment while out for lunch with Muj) that I wanted another baby, more than I want ducks.

Another outing to feed the ducks

Luna is beginning to reach a similar age that Maisie was when the duck lust started and I was thinking about that the other night (during a night feed) and once again the duck broodiness hit. However, we no longer live on a farm, we live in the middle of suburbia with a tiny garden and I just about cope with a toddler, a baby, a needy dog and a few fish. Our income is down to John’s salary and it’s not practical, but still I have that broodiness for Harry Quacker and Voldeduck.
Sometimes I dream about that big lottery win, and we have a nice house (not too big, think of the cleaning) and I finally have my ducks. I am also pleased to find that this time there was no worry in the finality of no babies for some time if we were to acquire ducks.

For now, I will keep getting my fix with visits to the nearby pond, for now, and yes, I get a weird fix through Sarah and Duck on CBEEBIES….

 

One day ducks, one day.

DIY Christmas Potpourri

If you follow me on social media you may be working out that I am somewhat of a fanatic of Christmas, I love all things related to Christmas, I’ve been loving some of the Christmas potpourri in garden centres at the moment but the cost in most is crazy. So I’ve made my own, I’ll be honest I will mainly be using this for a garland (to keep out of reach from small grabby hands) and I will chuck some cinnamon sticks in too, so apologies for the slapdash arrangement. I’d love to see photo’s of anyone that completes this.

My little helper displaying pine-cones in bags

There’s two main parts to this potpourri, pine-cones and orange slices, so lets start with the easier one, pine-cones!

Collect, treat and bake pine-cones so they are nicely opened (info on this can be found in the Christmas wreath tutorial). Once cooled pop in a ziploc bag with a few drops of your favourite Christmas essential oil. leave to infuse for at least a few days. If like me you do not own any Christmas essential oil, you can buy some cheap online and it’s still cheaper than buying one pot of the scented pine-cones in shops and it’ll last for ages!

Orange Slices

The orange slices are a bit trickier, slice oranges a few millimetres thickness, place on kitchen roll and gently try and press as much juice out as possible. pop the slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper and put in an oven on low (mine was about 110 degrees) to mix it up a bit I popped some cloves in some as well, it made the house smell glorious while baking!

Turn every half hourish and bake for 2-3 hours or until they are dry. Obviously the thicker you cut the longer they will take, but do not turn up the temperature as they will just burn rather than dry.

I then popped all of the slices in a ziploc bag with some more cloves and will keep them there until ready to use.

 

And done, all for cheap! I’d love to see anyone’s displays

Mombie’s Apple Pie Bites

I love to bake and cook, I’ve said that a few times already but I’m also a bit lazy so unless I’m making cheese straws (recipe to come soon) I generally don’t bother making my own pastry, I’ve done it a couple of times but honestly ready to roll stuff is just so easy. So whenever I make chicken and veggie pie, Cornish pasties or beef wellington I tend to have some leftover pastry so I whip up these apple pie bites and my hubby goes mad for them, as does the toddler.

So happy to have treat.

They’re pretty versatile too, I’ve made them with puff and shortcrust pastry and I just use whatever apples are in the fruit bowl at the time.  You’ll notice there’s no measurements because its really just shove it all in type of recipe and you can adjust it to your personal taste.So here’s how I made today’s ones;

Ingredients

1 Apple

Pastry (I used puff today but you can use shortcrust too)

Demerara sugar

Cinnamon

Butter

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan assisted) and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Roll pastry to a couple of millimetres thickness and cut into triangle shapes. sprinkle one side with demerara sugar and cinnamon (I’m quite generous with my sprinkling).

Getting generous with the sprinkling

Peel apple and cut into segments, pop one segment at the bottom of your triangle with a knob of butter and roll up, folding in the ends. Don’t worry about any sugar on the outside or butter leaking it just caramelizes and adds to the scrummyness.

I’m a bit heavy handed with the butter as I quite like it when it leaks and caramelizes.

Pop on the tray and brush with milk (you can use a beaten egg but that seems like more work to me) and bake in the oven for 12-15 mins until nice and golden in colour.

Muj waiting impatiently for the bites to cook.
Yummy!

Remove from tray and leave to cool a little and enjoy. I made 5 this morning and they were gone within minutes!

Going, going
Gone!