Tag Archives: Kids

26th March 2015

10 Things To Consider Before You Travel With Small Children

10843724_1518629858409350_1182248532_n1. Start a countdown to your holiday, by all means. But fully expect the holiday to be mentioned 63 times a day for the remainder of the countdown. And fully expect to regret starting the countdown by the middle of day one.

2. Spend some time creating a pack of activities to keep your little one entertained during the flight. But don’t be disappointed when they spend more time prodding the seat-back TV, pulling the arm-rest up and down, or removing the earphone plug of the unsuspecting passenger next to them on repeat.

3. Always pack a spare change of clothes. For both of you.

4. Feel free to pack a cute little backpack or roll-along for your little one. Just make sure that you have a spare hand to carry / drag it, as the novelty of having their own bag will wear off within five minutes of arriving at the airport.

5. Packing a healthy meal in your hand baggage is a lovely idea. It will ward off the hunger when your small person tucks into all the best bits of your meal and leaves you with a dry bread roll and wilted salad.

6. Pack books, snazzy earphones, and magazines in your bag. You will need them for approximately 32 minutes, before turbulence wakes your child up from their nap.

7. If your child is travelling on your lap for a long-haul flight and you currently enjoy feeling your arms, make the most of that sensation. You will soon be fantasising about it at 40,000 feet.

8. It is well worth heading to the gym before your flight to prepare yourself for carrying your own bags, your children’s bags, and your children of various sizes and weights. You will be expected to do all this down a narrow plane aisle, without hitting anyone on the head with a child’s trailing foot.

9. When you reach your destination, get ready for people to clock the amount of luggage you are travelling with and laugh. A lot.

10. If you are travelling to a different time zone and don’t like coffee, start practicing to like coffee now.



24th March 2015

Who wants to be my virtual colleague? (we can chat, drink coffee, and wear our pyjamas)

0060b060acf811e2b39c22000a1f8adc_7Back when I was in my early twenties, in the days when I was responsible for little more than a leather handbag, I had a boss who was brilliant, but totally eccentric. My colleagues and I would ping emails back and forth along the lines of ‘is this for real?’, ‘why is he cycling through the office, I can’t think over the noise of his squeaky brakes!” and “is it time to go to the pub yet?”

And these little messages kept us sane.

Now I’m a parent, I often miss the camaraderie of colleagues and wish for a similar arrangement at home.

I’d love to be able to ping a message to a colleague when the toddler dunks the TV remote in a pint of water and receive the instant reply: “Yes! I saw it too! Shall we escape to the pub and discuss it over a mug of pinot grigio? SOMEONE needs to take the blame for this!”

I’d like to meet someone in the kitchen after dealing with a 9am toddler tantrum and whisper in hushed tones about what an APPALLING start to the day it had been, as I took out my frustrations on a tea bag. I’d then mouth WISH ME LUCK as I turned to walk out the door.

I’d like to ping an email over at lunchtime when the baby is refusing to nap and I am out of ideas. I’d say: “Meet me in 10 in the cleaning cupboard, I NEED TO VENT!”

I’d like to sit down with a mug of caffeine for a natter with a real life adult in a (Peppa-Pig-fuelled) quiet moment. I would say: “I’ve barely sat down all day and have an appointment with the play-doh in 10 minutes. How’s your day been?” and we would chat for a few minutes, before running off to mould monsters out of multi-coloured dough with renewed energy and patience.

I would like all of these things – those quick messages, those snatched chats in the kitchen, and those rushed coffees in quiet moments – and I’d like it all on tap, every day.

But short of moving my children to a commune, this is never going to happen.

So on the days we don’t make it out the door for some much-needed adult company, we parents make do with virtual support networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, and blogs just like this, sharing stories, asking for advice, and sometimes even posting pictures of the day potty training went very wrong or the time the dog got involved in finger painting.

And at least we can do it in our pyjamas I guess.

Anyone fancy joining me for a virtual vat of caffeine?



9th October 2014

The Sod’s Law of Parenting

i-live-in-a-madhouse-ruled-by-a-tiny-army-that-i-made-myself1 – When you want one baby wipe, a clump of 10 will come out the packet. When you want 10, they will come out individually, folded up to make life as difficult as possible.

2 – When you only take one nappy out with you, your child will poo twice.

3 – Your child’s spill-free beaker never leaks at home. Put it in your bag and it will leak. 

4 – Your baby will wake frequently through the night at home, leaving you feeling like a zombie.  Send them to Granny and Grandad’s for the night and you can guarantee they will sleep right through.

5 – If you discover a new favourite foodstuff at a friend’s house or restaurant and fill the fridge with the new favourite foodstuff, your child will suddenly no longer like the new favourite foodstuff. It is guaranteed.

6 – This also applies to DVDs. Buy them the DVD that they sat transfixed in front and they will suddenly decide it isn’t worth their attention.

7 – If you ask a child if they need a wee before a long journey, they will say no. They will then ask for a wee five minutes later. Every time.

8 – If you have a clear out of some old toys to sell, your child will suddenly rediscover an old toy that they couldn’t possibly part with it. Same applies for passing old toys down to younger siblings.

9 – The baby can cry all day long and the toddler can whinge all day long – but when Daddy walks through the door, they will smile and giggle.

10 – If you make a cup of coffee, they will wake up from their nap.

11 – They will sleep in on a nursery or school morning – but be up with the sunrise on the weekend.

12 – They will be sat quietly, with full attention on an activity – until you answer a phone call and they start screaming, bouncing on the sofa, spilling their drinks, and begging for your attention.

13 – If you put them in a white top, it will have a suspicious stain within minutes.

14 – The day you forget the buggy rain cover is the day it will rain.

Can you add anything to the list?



3rd September 2014

Dear Disappointed Person,

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I’m sorry that you find it tough getting used to the idea that I am happy with my two boys. I’m not pretending I am happy with a false smile on my face – but I am totally happy, wholly happy, wouldn’t-change-it-for-the-world happy that I got the combination of two consecutive boys.

What I wished for when I was pregnant is irrelevant (but for the record, I was desperate for a boy the first time and totally undecided the second). The point is that the very instant the doctor handed me my second boy, all pink and warm and squirming in my arms, I couldn’t imagine anything else. And whether he had been a boy, a girl, or in fact an alien, I would’ve been totally happy with my lot.

I am sorry that you have to ask constantly when we are planning to have a third child in the hope we get to add pink to our collection of newborn clothes. One day you may get your wish – but if you don’t, rest assured that I will not spend my life wishing I could swap my child.

When a picture of a scan or newborn baby is shared on the internet of a second, third, or fourth child of the consecutive sex, please try and hide your disappointment. Don’t cover your anguish by joking that the couple will have to try again soon to get their wished-for girl or boy. Believe me; jumping into bed is the last thing on their mind.

Don’t make jokes about the father of girls being disappointed he never got his boy. He couldn’t imagine anything else but his brood of girls, who have him totally wrapped around their little fingers. And don’t joke to the mum of boys that she is totally outnumbered and must crave a little girl time. She adores her energetic pack of little men (and likes the chance to escape to girly escapades when they head out with their Dad).

When families share the news that they are expecting a different gender to their existing children, you may want to congratulate them on winning the jackpot and having ‘the perfect family’. Go ahead. Their family is perfect. as the family of three girls, or four boys is perfect. How perfect that we are all so perfect!

I’m sorry that you find it tough getting used to the idea that I am happy with my two boys. Go pour yourself a large G&T and relax.

Love a Mum of Boys

 



1st September 2014

5 x DIY Wrapping Paper Ideas For Kids

Run out of wrapping paper? Try  one of the ingenious and adorable ideas below…

Links to the blogs and websites that came up with the ideas are below each photo (I wish I could claim the ideas myself, but was too busy browsing the card and gift wrap section of our local department store). In Dubai, where wrapping paper generally costs more than the gift inside, these ideas are going to come in even more useful.

1. Colour Me

What you need: White paper, a set of colouring crayons, sticky tape, and the words ‘Colour Me’ (if you are really stuck, you could just pick the crayons in your child’s set that look the newest and include just two or three).

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Found on the Greek blog www.misswebbie.gr

2. Potato Prints

What you need: White paper, watercolour paints, and a potato – I love the idea of turning a craft activity with the kids into something useful.

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Found on the blog http://innerchildfun.com

3. Photo Paper

What you need: Brown paper, printed photo, and string. This idea would be great for a grandparent’s gift – choose a picture of the kids (raid the photo frames if you are really stuck and replace them with new prints) and slide it quickly under the string to secure.

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Idea found on Etsy.com

4. Road wrap

What you need: Brown paper, black paper, white chalk/pen/tippex, a toy car, and glue/strong tape. This is probably my favourite idea for little boys. Toy cars can be purchased for next to nothing in pound shops and charity shops (or invest in something snazzier as part of the gift). It’s so simple and so effective – and if your house is like mine, there are gazillions of the cars lying around that Stanley wouldn’t miss, so I could prepare it in a last minute panic too.

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Found on the Greek blog www.misswebbie.gr

5. Paint splatter

What you need: White paper, watercolour paints, and optional string and bow. This idea is so simple that I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. We are always throwing away sheets of  paper boasting colourful messes of paint – so from now on, I’m going to keep them in a stash to wrap up gifts for Stanley and Wilfred’s friends. It looks surprisingly good when you add string and a bow too.

WATERCOLOURS

Found on Pinterest

Let me know if you try any out!



10th August 2014

5 Healthy Recipes for Kids

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The readership of this blog has grown quite a bit since I posted this ditty about having a second child (it’s not the first time time something has ‘gone viral’ in our house, but thankfully there was no need for 3 bottles of Calpol and 12 packs of nappies this time round). So thank you everyone for visiting; you are most welcome in these parts.

As so many of you are new to the blog, I thought it might be nice to recap my favourite 5 x healthy recipes posted recently on the blog – and as the weather isn’t so brilliant today, maybe you could spend some time with the kids in the kitchen instead. Happy cooking.

1 – Frozen Yoghurt Covered Blueberries (click here for recipe)

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2 – Chocolate Muffins with hidden vegetables (click here for recipe)

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3 – Healthy Pizza Muffins (click here for recipe)

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4 – Easy Pancake Breakfast Muffins (click here for recipe)

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5 – Healthy Chocolate Mousse (click here for recipe)

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21st July 2014

Healthy Pizza Muffins

I’m always looking for ways to get vegetables into my two-year old, so handing him a healthy pizza muffin that contains no less than six different hidden veggies is my kind of a good idea. I found  this recipe on a website called Super Healthy Kids, but adapted it to make bigger, fatter muffins. They make amazing lunchbox fillers too – you can freeze them in batches, pulling one out to defrost the night before nursery or school. And if your little people love the flavour of pizza, they will adore the flavour of these too!

This recipe comes in two steps – the veggie filling and the dough itself.

Step 1 – Make the Veggie Filling

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Ingredients:

Jar of your favourite tomato pasta sauce
2 cups of chopped vegetables (carrot, pepper, mushrooms, onion, courgette, and tomato)

Recipe

1. Chop Vegetables
2. Saute over low heat for 3-4 minutes
3. Blend with the pasta sauce

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Step 2 – Make the Dough and Construct Muffins

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Ingredients

2 cups wholewheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup very warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/4 rapid rise yeast

Recipe

  1. Combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the warm water and oil together and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until well blended for about a minute. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky. Knead on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic. This will take about 4 minutes.
  2. Place your dough in a large, lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rest for 30 minutes in a warm, draft-free place.  The dough should almost double in size.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured work surface.  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a ½-inch thick rectangle, about 12 by 10 inches.
  5. Spread 1 cup of Veggie Sauce over the dough, leaving a ½-inch boarder around the edges. Sprinkle with grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese.
  6. Roll the dough gradually into a large, fat sausage.  Slice into 8-12 slices and place each piece into a greased muffin tin.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and cooked through the middle.

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Let me know if you try them!



12th July 2014

How to dress boys for formal events

I don’t like seeing little boys in suits for formal events. It creeps me out a bit. I like little boys to look like little boys, not little men. They need to be comfortable – after all, they need to be able to skid across the dance floor on their knees to a hit from the 1980’s and play chase with their cousins across a manicured lawn. For our sake too, it makes sense to put them in something a little less formal – when they stuff 20 cakes into their mouths at breakneck speed, followed by a few cocktail sausages dipped in ketchup and egg mayonnaise sandwiches for good measure, it’s nice to be able to leave them to it without worrying about the dry cleaning bill.

So if you’ve got a wedding, christening, anniversary do, or other formal event this summer, here’s a few ideas on how to dress your little boys…

OUFIT 2

1. Trilby Hat, £4.99, H&M (click here)

2. Striped Linen Shirt, from £7, Next (click here)

3. Flat Front Shorts, £12.95, GAP (click here)

4. Striped Sandals, £12.95, GAP (click here)

OUTFIT 1

1. Bow Tie, £8, Mamas and Papas (click here)

2. Striped Shirt, from £40, GANT at John Lewis (click here)

3. Navy Chinos, from £8, Debenhams (click here)

4. Navy TOMS, £23, Office (click here)

OUTFIT 3

1. Navy V Neck Jumper, £49, Ralph Lauren at John Lewis (click here)

2. White Polo Shirt, £3, Mothercare (click here)

3. Beige Chino Shorts, from £7, Next (click here)

4. Slip-on Sneakers, £14.95, GAP (click here)

Are you heading to a formal event this summer? I’d love to see a picture if you try out one of these looks!



6th July 2014

Breakfast Idea: Easy Pancake Muffins

I’m always looking for inspiration for quick, easy and healthy breakfasts. We get a bit stuck in a toast, cereal, and fruit rut (although we do love pancakes at the weekend when we have more time, especially this easy recipe by Jamie Oliver). So when I found a recipe for oven-cooked Pancake Muffins on the blog Family Fresh Meals, I couldn’t wait to try them. They can be cooked  in batches at the weekend, and then handed out first thing in the morning for breakfast throughout the week (or even grabbed on the way out of the door if you have a late riser!).

The beauty of these muffins is that you can fill them with anything. I chose to stick to blueberries and raspberries – but I will be trying sausage, cheese, bacon, and banana soon. They taste just like pancakes, with a heavy, quite sticky consistency (don’t expect a fluffy cake!) but they are far more convenient than standing over the hob cooking batches of pancakes in your pyjamas!

Oh and the ingredients list Batter Mix – I am sure you can also use homemade batter (check my recipe here) but I wanted to stick to the original recipe, so bought ready-made. Let me know if you try it homemade!

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Ingredients:

2 cups batter mix
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
Optional fillings

Recipe

Preheat oven to 350’C.
Whizz the batter mix, milk, eggs, and maple syrup together until smooth.
Pour into muffin cases (right up to the top) and then drop your fillings into the mixture (we went for blueberries and raspberries, both sliced into quarters).
Pop into oven for 20 minutes, checking they are ready with a skewer (it will come out completely clean when they are done).

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Let me know if you try them!