Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Healthy Blueberry and Cinnamon Muffin Recipe

What's better to do on a wet and very windy afternoon than a spot of baking? When I picked the kidlets up from school this week, it was blowing a gale and it was the kind of weather where an umbrella is useless. The rain was too fine and the brolly just blows everywhere. So we scurried home and set upon a spot of baking. I had been promising Finbob (my resident baker who is absolutely obsessed with baking and cooking) that we could make muffins for a while but we currently don't have a proper oven whilst we're awaiting to see what we're going to do about our kitchen renovations, so I was a little dubious as to how they would turn out!

I found a healthy recipe online for blueberry muffins and adapted it for the ingredients we had in the house. Elodie and Finlay have been obsessively scanning everything in sight this week, with our sugar smart app scanner from Change4Life. Unfortunately it hasn't quite had the intended effect because instead of horror they squeal with excitement when they find something in the house with lots of sugar in! Nevertheless, it's making us all more aware of how much sugar there is in everything and so I opted for a healthier muffin. 

We're currently using a combination microwave and I wasn't sure you can properly cook muffins in there but they actually turned out OK. A little on the dry side but if you're using a normal oven, these would be perfect for brightening up a grim January day! 

                   

 



Healthy Blueberry, Cinnamon & Banana Muffins

150g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
75g medium porridge oats
75g light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150ml skimmed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 ripe banana, mashed
200g blueberries

Makes 10-12 muffins

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 C/fan 180 C/350 F. Line a muffin tin with cases.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then stir in the oats and sugar. In a separate bowl beat together the egg, milk, vanilla and oil and then pour into the dry ingredients. Stir together and add in the mashed banana. It doesn't matter if it's lumpy, just that all the flour has gone. We used an electric mixer but you can do by hand (the mixer in our photo was my husband's Nans and is still going strong!)
  3. Gently fold in 2/3 of the blueberries. Spoon the mix into the cases and scatter the remaining blueberries over the top. 
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown.



You can also freeze them in a freezer bag for up to 3 months, defrost overnight in the fridge for a quick breakfast the next morning.




Sunday, 31 January 2016

Twisty Swings and Garden Games - The Ordinary Moments

A bigger garden was part of the reason we wanted to move in the first place, part of the reason for the long search and the project-doer-upper that we now find ourselves in! We wanted a bigger garden for the children to have space to run around in and make dens. It is a lovely garden, I admired it today and remembered why we fell in love with the house in the first place. The outlook from the back of the house is pretty with lots of green, something we didn't have in our last house and it's something I want to take full advantage of........I just don't know where to start! I've never been green fingered, we were lucky that my parents came to clear out the garden and transform it from a jungle when we moved in but there's still a lot to be done and I don't really know in which order to do things.

So I pottered around a bit this weekend, pulling up this and that- pondering what to do and chuckled to myself as I watched the little people enjoying the garden and creating their own games.
They have invented this new game where they have to twist around the swings (an amazing Christmas present to the children from my parents) and then run to the end of the garden to see if they can beat the twisting swing. It's such a simple little game but one that was bringing them such joy and was such fun to watch! It was the kind of moment I want to bottle as it's something so simple, we'll probably forget about it soon.




 
I am been gung Ho garden pinning this week, trying to find inspiration (you can check out my Garden Love Pinterest Board here) to transform the garden. There is side section, completely overrun with brambles at the moment, that I'd like to turn into a vegetable patch and give the children a patch each to grow whatever they'd like. We had an unsuccessful attempt at growing patio vegetables in our last garden and so I'm hoping the pinning like billy-o can equip me to have another go this time.

 

I'm thinking this might be a half term project to start and a-goodness-knows-when-project to finish but hopefully we'll have something on our table for the summer months!! 

Anyone with advice, suggestions for creating a vegetable patch from scratch....please share!! 


Mammsaurus HDYGG

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Ordinary Moments 'Dancing with Jackson and Bowie'

It is becoming very apparent that our little 4 year old boy is in love with music of all kinds, and this makes me so very happy. He likes nothing more than popping CDs on and dancing round the house. We bought Elodie and him a CD player the Christmas before last but only he plays with it really. He has finally learnt how to hold CDs properly and not scratch them (something he hasn't yet accomplished when playing with Daddy's record player!)

However, his latest fascination is to watch music videos on you tube over and over again. He is developing his own unique music taste and has developed some quirky dance moves to top it off! His favourites at the moment are 'The Jackson Five' and anything by Michael Jackson, he is fascinated by the change in Michael Jackson from a young boy to an adult and by his dance moves. Although I did hear him announce to a friend that Michael Jackson died from taking 'too many vitamins'! 

It has pleased Mr M and I that he's also taken a massive interest in David Bowie, following his sad death. We've bought the greatest hits and listened to it on the school run every day. Finlay's favourites are 'Rebel, rebel' and 'Changes'. Even little Orla is now parading round the house singing "Rebel, Rebel- your face is a mess!" (Which is a little inappropriately for a 2 year old to be shouting at the top of her voice!)

Mr M and I were treated to Finlay's very own dance performance this weekend where he announced that his dance was called 'There's a Star Man' and that he was 'Ziggy Stardust'. We really had to stifle the giggles when he came out in full makeup (Elodie had given him a makeover) and wearing his Darth Vader costume. But we couldn't fail to be impressed by his break dancing to The Jackson Five's 'ABC'! I was laughing so much that I couldn't video the performance but he'd also pulled the  blackout curtains round (to add atmosphere) and so it was hard to see. He has the most comical of dance moves, a cross between a Tina Turner/ Freddie Mercury-esque movement with a proper wiggle of the hips!

Later, when he'd returned to his normal self and lost the Darth Vader costume, Finlay came to find me and said "could you take a few photos of my dancing now?" How could I refuse? I didn't need to be asked twice, although I found it a tad tricky to take photos of the boy wonder moving so fast so they are not the best shots. But they capture an 'ordinary moment' of a boy loving his music. I am so excited for him, excited for all the wonderful songs out there in the world that we are yet to introduce him to and I wonder if this is the start of something big. Maybe he'll be always be immersed in Music and it will eventually become his dream career? Either way, I am loving the music obsession and looking forward to all the moments of music we can share together in the future.







 



Friday, 22 January 2016

List of Lovely Things on the web #January Round-up


Way back when I started this blog, it was going to become a visual record of all the lovely things in the world. That was the main reason for the title of my blog, because I was forever writing lists of things on the back of receipts and filling notebooks. My friend, Louise and I used to keep a 'bag of ideas' under our beds when we were at University. A paper bag full of making ideas, photos, and projects that we hoped to one day complete. Unfortunately, that bag is now somewhere in the loft with ideas, yet to be started!

In the time of social media, there are so many brilliant things that people make, create and post and although we are all aware of the negative effects of social media, I felt I wanted to celebrate the beautiful and interesting things that I see both in real life and online.......anything from an amusing video to the wonderful talents of makers and crafters out there.

So I've started a new post, one that I hope to do monthly where I store all the lovely things that I hope to showcase and not forget!

A little aside: Please note that I have not been paid or asked to promote these products in any way - I just like them!

Lovely Things in January

BOXES1. All my favourite things.....vintage, snail mail and handmade are packaged in this fantabulous subscription box service that is on my list to try for 2016! They package up super cute gifts full of surprises and post them out to you. Each month follows a theme (Janaury's theme sounds fab - DONUTS!) I think it's such a brilliant gift idea too and I know many lovely ladies in my life who might just be getting this as a birthday pressie this year.................

http://luckydipclub.com









2. My little people are obsessed with measuring themselves! Finlay is always annoyed that his shadow is taller than him in the sun! What a better way for children to measure themselves than with these eco-friendly height charts from Madame Chalet. You can't beat a bit of nostalgic decor to brighten kid's bedroom walls!


















3. As you will know from my previous house moving post, I am drooling over anything kitchen related in the hope of one day getting a new kitchen to replace the yellow monstrosity in our new house. And what better to decorate a new kitchen with than a Tangerine Dream caddy from Mini Moderns. I love the colours of their kichenware.



















4. I am kicking myself that I missed out on one of my favourite stores The Makery's, stocking filler kits this Christmas! I didn't realise they had increased their stock so much, so I'm pinning this as a definite for next year! But I was also intrigued by their handmade lampshade kit as we have so many new lampshades needed for our new house, that I might give making my own one a whirl!

 


5. My 2016 resolution is to finish a scrapbook that I started in 2014! I have reams of printed photos looking for a scrapbook home and so I'm on a mission to look for cute and quirky scrapbook materials. And as a lover of all things stationery, I am loving this new stationery shop 'The Daydreaming Doodler' who sell gorgeous delights such as these Macaron Eraser's or check out their page for vintage-esque pencil cases.


 

 







6. Lastly, is this fabulous video that made me giggle out loud! Having been 'an upstairs neighbour' and been told off for making too much noise walking around on wooden floorboards (!)......I wish I had had this video to hand! Check out this short film to enterain you in January.





So that's my round up for January! What lovely things have you found to kick start your 2016? I'll be adding more lovely things to my Pintrest Board 'Lovely Things' here.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Briefest of Snow Days

Finlay has been praying for snow (to both God and Father Christmas!) for the last year and a bit! So
he was ready to explode when we woke up to a light dusting on Sunday morning! I've almost been praying just as hard as him because I couldn't wait to see his little face brimming with excitement. And he didn't disappoint, I've never seen him get dressed so quickly, even excitedly obeying my suggestion of two pairs of socks 'so my feet will stay toasty' he said!

It was gone by lunchtime but there was a whole morning of snowball fights with Daddy (Orla found a cute little hideaway behind a wall to save herself from the onslaught of snowballs). It was lovely to see them all enjoying the larger garden, I'm excited to see how the garden takes shape with each new season and provides us with the space to make more memories. I am dreaming of camping outside, toasting marshmallows, BBQs, water fights and picnics.

Orla took to the snow better than I expected, both of our other two didn't like it at her age. But she was moulding and sculpting and throwing snowballs with the best of them!

Despite us only having a sugar coating of snow, it was still magical. I am a big fan of the white stuff and would like just a little more before winter is out so that maybe we can try some sledging? Finlay has started praying for that already! And it's even more super special when you can retire in a toasty, snug house, curl up under blankets and sip hot chocolate.








Linking up with the lovely Clarina's Contemplations for #SavouringtheSeason

The Big Silence and a House Move

 There  has been a really big silence around here on my poor little blog. It has literally been the busiest few months I think, of my entire life. Some things are best left for another post but needless to say, the house move and a super busy month at work just meant that, sadly, blogging went out of the window for a few weeks, which I'm disappointed about in hindsight. I look back on all the stress and think....I should have blogged about all that and it might have made it easier to deal with at the time.

The house move was a lot of 'we're moving', 'no we're not' which was ever changing on a daily basis. We spent a few weeks with everything packed, not knowing if we 'were to stay or go' and lots of frantic emails to our buyers. When we finally got the go-ahead, we ended up moving on a Wednesday! A Wednesday! Who moves on a Wednesday? Anyway, it was very stressful as it was back to work the next day, we survived until the weekend when we attempted to get our lives back on track.
 
The house still feels a little strange, it still has an odd smell (despite the variety of scents and air fresheners I've tried!) But we're loving more space and the children are particularly loving the bigger garden.  It needs a fair amount of work, perhaps more than we realised. But that will take a fair old while and I'm looking forward to all the choosing and designing. But, in the meantime here's a little sneak preview of the quirky features of a new house, some that made us fall in love with it and some that we can't wait to rip out and be rid of! More house update posts coming soon!

I love the fact that the house is so light and airy and strangely, the hallway is one of my favourite parts of the house!




 But I cannot wait to get rid of the bathroom and kitchen! Everything is yellow!




Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas Roundup 2015 and getting ready for 2016

 I always find it difficult to write about Christmas. It's my favourite time of the year but it's all tinsel and sparkle and then over and done with so quickly that it's hard to put pen to paper to actually describe what happened. I've realised that I need to be a much more 'in the spur of the moment blogger' otherwise the posts remain in my drafts folder and never see the light of day! I'm too much of a snippety snippet kind of blogger, I start posts and write little snippets of our daily lives but don't always finish them.

Christmas Eve followed the usual traditions with us spending the day 'getting ready' and wrapping presents and with a mini church service where Squidge relished being an angel! After Church, we headed home to decorate our gingerbread houses (thanks to Nana buying the Tesco's 'Decorate your Own' version, I was rescued from the usual gingerbread faff.) However, these are our only photos of the houses standing up as they crashed down shortly after!





Later, we popped the mince pie, milk and carrot out for Father Christmas, said goodbye to the Elves and searched the sky for Santa's sleigh. We struggled with this a bit as we couldn't work out the app this year, and so settled for a plane instead! 

Christmas Day arrived with a flurry and the kidlets didn't do too badly with a couple of wake ups around 4.30am but an eventual get up time of 7am. Stockings were opened and devoured on our bed and then we tiptoed downstairs to see if Father Christmas had been. There were some burnt pancakes at some point in the morning and then we eventually made it out the door off to Nanny and Grandpas (taking all our presents with us to show the grandparents!) 

Since we've been married we've taken it in turns to go to my parents on Christmas Day and then our in laws on Boxing Day and then swap the following year. It means, as a result that we've always been looked after at Christmas and never had to cook the dinner or host- it's been bliss but I know that it will have to be our turn soon! We're in synch with the brothers and sisters though, which is perfect as cousins and siblings get to celebrate together! This will become more chaotic as the years go on!



More presents, yummy dinner (Christmas dinner is truly my favourite meal!) and a film later and we were all shattered but ready to do it all again on Boxing Day. Baths and new Jim- Jams were in order for the Littlies (our little ones don't feel it is a proper adventure unless we have a bath at the grandparents and get into our car in their PJs!)

After our two busy days, the rest of the holiday was spent playing with lovely presents and trying to get our new house in order. I am intent on unpacking the last of those boxes!! Poor Mr M had endless days of putting up picture frames and shelves but it's beginning to feel a bit more like home now.

We're looking forward to a few days away in the Cotswolds with some of our oldest friends to celebrate New Year and then it's back the work-school-nursery chaos! 


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

5 reasons why you should leave the toddler behind when you move house (and other packing tips.)

I'm I feel like we're living on a knife edge. We're still not 100% sure we're moving at all but I'm packing regardless! If exchange all goes well, it looks very likely we will be moving  next week. Eeek! Moving next week, that sounds totally bonkers! We are not ready! Time to get my packing skates on most definitely!

However, packing with a toddler is proving fruitless. Mr M wanted us to pay someone to pack but I quite like the idea of packing and using it as a chance to have a good 'ole clear out, or at least I thought I liked the idea of packing, until I actually started. So to keep my spirits up through what potentially could be the most stressful time of our lives, I compiled a little list of why you shouldn't make the mistake that we did and move with toddlers.

1. Toddlers don't understand the difference between a hill and a mountain of boxes.
Therefore you spend a large amount of time removing them from teetering on the top of a pile of boxes, if your nerves weren't shot before, they most certainly will be by the time you're done with rescuing the toddler from precarious positions. 

2. Toddlers can't read your organised label system.
It doesn't matter to them whether your colour coded and numbered labels show that DVDs go in the box, toddlers know best and therefore they really feel that grapes and socks should be in the DVD box too. 

3. Toddlers do not understand the point of a 'First Day Essentials Box.' 
As someone who considers Pinterest the source of all their knowledge, I have been introduced to the packing phenomenon that is the 'First Day Essentials Box'. (The amount of pins on this will truly astound you!) My toddler thinks this box is there to be unpacked and repacked. After the third time of re-rolling the toilet roll and trying to cram the wet wipes back into the open packet, I have given up and decided that this family can survive without a 'First Day Essentials Box'. Plenty have gone before us on this moving adventure and they didn't need a 'First Day Essentials Box' so we shall darn well do the same (after all this is what the local shop is for!)

4. Toddlers do not like strange men
If your toddler is anything like my toddler, you will know that toddlers are territorial. They only like the people they know in their house and do not take kindly to visitors. Especially visitors that seem to be moving their toys in boxes and refusing to take their boots off in the house. We had one poor removal guy come to look round the house to give us a quote and my toddler told him to take his 'wellies off now' and walked around the house saying 'Bye bye now, thank you, bye bye now!'

5. Toddlers love boxes and bubblewrap!
If you think a toddler is going to actually let you seal a box and label a box (let alone pack it), you are sorely mistaken. The tape and bubble wrap is for toddlers only and preferably to be stuck all together in one big ball of mess. The labels are perfect for sticking all over the DVD player and the box is for the little den they want to make, oh and that box too is also for their den, and so on and so on!

Jeez Louise, it is going to be a very long week!





Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Candlelight Capers! How to make candles to brighten an Autumnevening. #Busy Doing Life

Autumn. My fantabulously favourite season. We don't celebrate Halloween, not keen on the ghouls and the ghosts side of things but we normally carve a pumpkin and make pumpkin pie and have a little party to celebrate the season anyway. The pumpkin shortage was real in this neck of the woods - there were none in sight! We searched high and low for a pumpkin all weekend and nearly opted for a watermelon instead but decided to make candles as an alternative!

With our house move rapidly approaching, it looks like Bonfire Night will be a little more low key for us this year, we usually have a firework party but we may visit a display for the first time instead. So it was nice to have some family time and some mini Autumnal celebrations to set the season rolling!

Toffee apples are a norm for us to make at this time of year but we thought Squidge would fare better with chocolate covered apples and so we covered apple slices with chocolate and sprinkles, popped in the fridge until set - deliciously simple and scrummy! But as you can imagine with an almost 2 year old - the mess was something else! I will be finding those sprinkles for weeks!




Pip was really keen on doing apple bobbing, Bean was less keen on putting his face in the water (not a surprise really, given he doesn't even like having like having his hair washed) but I couldn't believe Squidge's bravery, she has to get involved in everything! The Malteser game was just as much fun, they were each given a straw and timed to suck 10 Maltesers from one plate to the other before they can scoff them. A lot harder than it looks!




























I am only just understanding the excitement of scented candles! Pip and Bean are forever making potions and perfumes in the garden and so I said we could try our hand at making our own candles. It's a lot easier than I thought and if you'd like to try, the instructions are below. I think they were more excited by the thought of staying up late and taking their candles outside at night time (they have not yet twigged that it's getting dark at 5pm at the minute!) Their little faces as they proudly carried their candles was a picture and we managed to avoid burning anyone's fingers, which was a bonus. We found an essential oil combination  to flavour our candles called ' Autumn Air'  from the lovely blog 'hello natural'  It really conjured up the feeling of Autumn and it turned out to be a lovely way to remember the season and something that we'll try and do every year.

To make the candles, stock up on wicks and wax at HobbyCraft. We also bought some plastic moulds there but I think next time, I might try making them in tea cups.

Step 1: Cut a wick 2in longer than the depth of your cup or mould. Tie one end to a pencil and rest the pencil across the cup so the wick hangs down in the centre.
Step 2: Put candle stubs or wax in an old pan. Put this in a larger pan with an inch of water in the bottom. Heat gently until the wax is liquid, then turn the heat off.
Step 3: To add colour, add a small cut off piece of crayon and add to the pan ( we seem to have tons of these lying around!)
Step 4: For scented candles, add a few drops of essential oil, then pour the wax into the mould.
Step 5: Leave to harden, then trim the wick until 1cm is left. Leave for at least 24 hours before lighting and then that's it! Enjoy savouring the season!
 
 
 
 
 
 
*All words and opinions are my own and I was not sponsored for writing this post - I just love HobbyCraft!

Linking up with the lovely Claire at the Free Range Family with her fun #busy doing life linky

And Clarina's Fab (I'm so pleased it's back) Savouring the Season





The Freerange Family