Sunday, 10 April 2016

Hot Chocolate Dates {The Ordinary Moments}

I suppose part of the reason I write this blog is because I'm clinging onto memories of the children being littlees. I often think I'd love to bottle these moments and store them in a cellar like the BFGs dreams and then I could take them down and re-watch the memories whenever I felt like it. I am hoping that this blog will become that kind of beautiful-memory-visual-time-capsule like the emotion balls from the film 'Inside Out' but also somewhere where we capture the reality of life with 3 (soon to be 4 children!)

One thing I desperately want to savour and cling onto is our children's request to have one on one time. We've made a promise to them that we'll spend one day with them on their own a couple of times a year. So, a kind of date with Mum whilst Dad looks after the others and then a date with Dad and Visa Versa. The date doesn't have to be anything particularly magical, it's simply just about spending time and focusing on one child completely and making them feel special.

So far, I've had my dates with Pip and Bean and they both chose to go for a hot chocolate and cake and just have a chat! How sweet are they?! It was a lovely, special time as they rambled on about what they'd been doing at school and whatever was filling their little heads that day. Bean chose his hot chocolate date to be at my all time favourite cafe/ nursery which we have moved a little way from now but I was chuffed he still remembered it and wanted to go back there. We pottered around the nursery first and chose a couple of plants for our new garden, a new succulent for my ever expanding collection (succulents seem to be the thing I am pinning the most at the moment?!) before heading inside for a Guinness and Chocolate cake (Bean adored this)! Bean found an old, vintagey looking vegetable garden book and we spent some time planning what we would grow in our vegetable garden once we get it cleared. Bean chose vegetables that looked pretty, I was veering towards veg that mentioned it was easy to grow and not attractive to bugs! The two often didn't match up so who knows what we will end up growing!




Pip chose for our hot chocolate date to be at a cafe in Beckenham which has the best little bookshop next to it (aptly named the Beckenham Bookshop) she likes the fact that they have books out you can read and browse and I picked up a fair few ideas for her next birthday or Christmas presents! 


I know they won't always want to spend time with us and won't always relish our company and so I really wanted to bottle this moment. Their happiness at having mummy time and listening to their ramblings and gaining their thoughts on their life at the minute was priceless. 


Monday, 29 February 2016

A little announcement.....

We're expecting baby number 4!

Are we stark raving mad or up for an adventure? I'm not sure yet but I'm looking forward to the journey ahead!

After I wrote this post (clearly I was still post pregnancy hormonal from our third) Mr M and I focused on moving house and any talk of a new baby went out of the window. We even got rid of a fair amount of baby paraphernalia when clearing out the loft (although we kept a few crucial items). So it was quite a shock when we discovered (2 days before we moved in) that we were expecting baby number 4.

The shock took over for a few weeks, thoughts ran to how on earth were we going to manage 4? How were we going to afford 4? Would 4 fit in the new house? It seemed in those early days of pregnancy that the children were running wild. Every bad day we had where they bickered or tantrummed, Mr M and I would just look at each other and mouth "how will we cope with 4?" But now I just have that mixed feeling of excitement coupled with anxiety and hoping that everything will be OK. It's still early days (18 weeks) but I'm so excited to meet the new little addition and start our lives as a family of 6!

The children are thrilled with the news and have taken to kissing the baby every night. They keep discussing where it will sleep and what to call it (we have votes for Baby Bowie and Elsa so far!) and Elodie is firmly in pink camp whereas Finlay is crossing everything for a brother!

It's been a slightly rocky road in terms of scans and the baby's health but we've reached the 18 week mark and I feel ready to share baby number 4 with the world. We're just keeping everything crossed that it will be healthy and well and will join us in the summer for a whole other adventure to begin!

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Big Visit to the City

Ever since Mr M moved offices to the more central location of the swish Canary Wharf, we have promised the kids we would visit to see the view. We finally got around to it this weekend and decided to go for it regardless of the cloudy weather.
It was really rather surreal being in a huge but deserted office in the City, although I was thankful that there was no one around to watch our terrors make themselves completely at home in the office! I generally wandered around after them, removing any trace of them having been there! They played on the phones, tapped on the computers, pretended to post letters and found whiteboards to doodle on (I'm not sure that I cleared off their little pictures so that might have been a surprise for someone on Monday morning!)

The view was still impressive (despite the clouds) but the children were far more excited by the posh toilets and a stamping machine! You can't win them all! 

We had planned to wander the river but it was freezing so we opted for a cafe lunch of toasted sandwiches instead before heading home. Upon arrival, E+F promptly set up an office in their bedrooms and played 'going to work' where they wrote letters to each other all afternoon.

Fin-Bobs clearly loved his time at Daddy's office because he has convinced himself that we are visiting every week. I had to break the news to him that it wasn't going to a weekly trip. The only thing that cheered him up was finding his pass from the day, which he goes around 'scanning' on our door frames to pretend to let everyone in!

It's nice for all of us to put a place to the name and have somewhere in mind to imagine when Daddy goes to work.It's funny really, how enthralled they were with the whole experience, it's the same when they have visited me at work, they just want to do what we do and are desperate to do big, grown up things. I remember being the same way when I used to visit my Dad at work when I was little - it felt like I was entering a big grown up world with big words and important documents and where it felt super special to little and looked after and shown off to all of my Dad's colleagues.

It's typical how we spend our whole childhood's trying to be more grown up then we are and then when we're all grown up, we long to escape work and return to our childhoods!



Thursday, 18 February 2016

Dreaming of Inspiration

Holidays for the last few years have meant one thing to us: time to be inspired. As our busy weeks blur into busy months, we relish that time together to be inspired by new places but also time and space to be energised by books, music and new conversations. Our inspirational place for the last few years has been Ireland. We are in no doubt that it's one of the most magical places to holiday in, particularly with young children but it's made more special for us because that's where my family is from. My great auntie used to say that Achill Island off the West Coast of Ireland was the most beautiful place in the world because it was the last place on earth that God created and I can hardly disagree.

We are lucky in that we can stay in my parent's lovely house on the river with a traditional town on the doorstep. Everyone has their own little story in the town, like the man from Yorkshire who has been fixing up his old boat for years. We love holidays where there's people to meet, stories to hear and space to be just us. For the last few years the children have made scrapbooks of our holidays, I love that scrapbooks are a re-discovery of adventures when you return home. Now that we are collecting memories here, I am excited about more paintings, more sand-swept sculptures and scribbles of adventures and collections of happy times to look back on when we are all grown up.

There is one little problem with Ireland and that is tendency for horizontal rain! We are lucky that our little ones don't mind the rain, they'll go in the sea despite the cold and enjoy beach combing in rock pools and splashing about in the sea regardless of the weather. They can't wait to learn how to surf!

If I had one wish for my little ones, it would be that they could see more of the world and embrace new environments. We'd love to do more travelling as they're now at an age when they are quizzical and they delight in hearing about other countries and their stories. I think the greatest gift we could give them would be to experience new food, languages, music, different views and landscapes.

Elodie received a globe for Christmas and marvelled at how small England is and how many places there are to discover. Her head is full of stories from far flung lands and she spends her days filling notebooks about all the wonderful adventures she hopes to have.


Finlay's head is full of planes, the children have never been on a plane and he delights in building them from Lego. Finlay is longing to be inspired by the joy of the journey.

In Mr M's head is the need 'for peace and quiet', he is dreaming of gained time away from the daily referee and battle of life with small children and a chance to escape from commuter trains and early starts. 

In Orla's head is plenty of sand to eat, the joy of water to lap around her toes and time with her brother and sister to make mischief and sand dens.

And in my head is the hope to squeeze as much adventure out of these days. Life is short. I have itchy feet and a restless head. In my head is dreams of chasing the sun and planning our own mini getaway. One day we hope to take the kids out of school, take ourselves out of work and travel for 6 months, anywhere we fancy, learning a little more about our world along the way. But for now, I am inspired by the promise of new sights and new sounds and I am inspired by the recording of memories and the hope to capture the time together and bottle it, before they grow too big..............


 This is my little entry into the Mark Warner #MarkWarnerMum/ #MarkWarnerDad 2016 Family Ambassador scheme. Find out more about how you can enter here.

Running in Lavender

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Marshmallow Krispie Treats for Valentines Day {The Ordinary Moments}

It's been a lovely, quiet weekend around here. Elodie has had the snuffles and with a big week coming up for her with 3 dancing exams, we thought it best to rest in the house today. Plus it was a terrifically grey and wet Sunday so no one felt like venturing out in the rain. Instead, there was a mammoth Lego building session and a quick bake for Valentine's Day.

If you're looking for a super easy bake for Valentines, this hands down is the simplest recipe you'll ever find! Given that we have no proper oven (awaiting our kitchen renovations) we needed a fridge bake fit for the school Valentine's bake sale! Sprinkled with pink edible glitter, these marshmallow Krispie cakes looked the part! (Recipe Below).

Later in the afternoon, Elodie insisted that the whole family sat down to watch a film. We gladly agreed but hadn't realised that every time we got up to go the toilet or leave the lounge we'd be subject to an ear bashing! I was constantly reminded that this was to be 'a family Valentine's' film' which meant us all cuddling squished onto one sofa under a blanket. It was so cute though, that she valued that time and I couldn't help thinking a time will come when she won't want us there, so we must make the most of it! I have been reminded though, that marshmallows and 3 children under 7, do not mix with a furry blanket. So be warned: these are delicious but horrendously sticky! Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Ingredients Serves: 12 
  • 50g butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g marshmallows
  • 100g crisped rice cereal
  • Heart Marshmallows (optional)
  • Edible Disco Glitter
  • Red food colouring

Prep:5min  ›  Cook:5min  ›  Extra time:1hr50min  ›  Ready in:2hr 
  1. Grease a 22x33cm (9x13 in) tin with butter or use cake cases.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the vanilla extract and a tiny amount of red food colouring (to make it pink). Melt the marshmallows into the butter, stirring. Add the cereal when the marshmallows have melted; stir until cereal is coated. Quickly pour into the prepared tin or add to the cake cases. Use a sheet of greaseproof paper to press the mixture down flat and evenly into the tin.
  3. Sprinkle with edible glitter and add a heart marshmallow on top (optional).
  4. Let set for 2 to 3 hours and cut into squares.
  5. Enjoy!


    Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me for the Ordinary Moments.

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.................

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. If you have any ideas for my February Round Up, please let me know!