There is a new love in my life. I'm becoming more attached each day. I'm starting up think I can't live without it. It's my slow cooker.
There are so many reasons for this growing attachment. It is super easy to bung loads of ingredients in after breakfast and let it cook itself whilst I run around after the children. Who wants to finish the bath and bedtime routine and then start peeling spuds at 8pm! Husband is rarely making it home to help with bedtime so anything which gives me more time in the evening is a godsend.
But there is another big attraction. I have been avoiding carbs after 2pm for the past few weeks to help shift the baby weight and the slow cooker allows me to create really filling meals without carbs. Casseroles with butternut squash, swede, celery, carrots and onion taste amazing and I don't miss my beloved carbs too much.
Tonight is pork with apple, leeks, carrot, swede and onion. Add some vegetable stock and a glug of white wine and 8hrs later voila! It may be lazy cooking but this winter it will be worth it's weight in gold and give me my evenings back for a few nights a week. It is fair to say I'm loved up.
Linking up to Word of the week #WotW with thereadingresidence.com
To celebrate a Halloween the lovely people over at Aldi challenged us to create some spooky veg characters with the fresh foods they sell in store. Great idea, I don't need much of an excuse to go shopping.
I do confess I don't often shop at Aldi purely because our closest store is a half hour drive away but I have heard such good things from so many people. So it was a bit of an adventure to check out the East Grinstead store and purchase our ingredients.
We decided on the spooky hummus devil as Little E loves hummus and dips. We spread the hummus in a face shape then added veggies to create the face. Little E's favourite bit was the wonky sweet red pepper nose! It was really easy to do and she only needed a little bit of help cutting the veg.
The spooky devil face looked great and made a very yummy dinner. I was very impressed with the value offered by Aldi. The experience shopping there reminded me of shopping on the continent, no frills but that is where you make the saving.
You can find lots more spooky Halloween recipes on the Aldi website
We were sent Aldi shopping vouchers to buy our spooky fresh ingredients but all opinions are our own.
If I hide and cover my eyes you won't be able to see that I am wearing your boots illegally. PS I meant to put them on the wrong feet.
Linking up with #wickedwednesdays over at brummymummyof2.co.uk
We have a tooth! Husband and I went away for the weekend and came back to see a little bottom tooth peeking out of Little I's gum. She has been incredibly dribbly so we were keeping an eye out for it but it surprised us by making a stealth appearance whilst we were away. Little E cut her first tooth around this time so she is following in her Big Sis' footsteps!
We have been following the Cow & Gate 5 step weaning programme and have discovered lots of new tastes this week including advocado (so, so) and cauliflower (big thumbs up). But the winner is definitely toast. She can't get enough of it, esspecially with cheese on top.
Singing is a new pastime. If you sing she joins in with her baby babbling. She even copies hand and arm movements. We are a hairs breath from waving and clapping.
Little E is loving helping out and regularly 'takes charge' administering Little I's bottle. She can nearly hold it herself now and just needs a little bit of help keeping it upright. This is my favourite picture of the week:
10yrs with Husband. Brighton for the weekend. No kids.
Today I wore an underwired bra for the first time in over 8 months. I am pleased to report they still work, I no longer have weird flat pancake boobs which start somewhere under my armpit and meet in the middle. I have a proper cleavage!
I was concerned the second round of breastfeeding would leave the boobies beyond help but it is astonishing how a little bit of scaffolding can restore them to something resembling their former glory.
I'm not professing for a second that they are pert, but the minute my silhouette had definition in the mirror I felt different. I would say more like my old self but there is no such thing as my old self anymore. I am the same person but different, better in most ways, but with a few battle scars to show for all this baby growing malarkey.
So the underwires are staying put and I salute them (despite the fact that they really are uncomfortable). They make me feel more like me which can't be a bad thing. And who knows I may even get beeped at by a white van man and whilst I'll shake my fist at him in feminist rage I'll secretly be praising the person who invented the underwire.
Linking up to #pocolo at vevivos.com
We were very lucky to be invited to spend a day at Diggerland. I'm not gonna lie, Husband was the most excited closely followed by Little E. Our nearest Diggerland is in Kent so we set off last Sunday on a surprising mild October day for a quick drive round the M25.
We arrived at a surprisingly tarmaced car park (free) with a proper entrance reception. I am not gonna lie. I was expecting a churned up field or such like and was wearing wellies but normal outdoors shoes would have been fine. Some women were even wearing heels...
Diggerland does pretty much what it says on the tin but they have been very clever about it. Obviously there are a LOT of diggers but they have converted lots of them to make really fun rides for adults and kids. It isn't just about the digging.
Little E was just over a metre which meant she could take part in all 18 rides. Yes, all of them! It was so refreshing to be able to say 'Yes, you can go on everything! Even that big spinny thing!'. For a few of the rides she had to sit on an adults lap but that wasn't a problem as Husband and I were raring to go but it could be a problem if you have 2 children and only 1 adult. If they are under 80cm there really is no point in going as they will be bored stiff and upset about not being able to go on anything. Luckily Little I is still young enough to find watching everything from her pram or our arms fascinating. You can check out the ride restrictions for different heights here
There are 3 kinds of attraction:
Little E really liked the rides and drives but wasn't much interested in the digging! In fact after 1 go she had enough. I suspect if she was a boy or slightly older that would be a different story!
One thing which really stood out for me was the attitude of the staff. Everyone was fantastic. The staff in the Dig Inn couldn't have been more helpful and the staff manning the rides were friendly and helpful even when Little E kept crashing her car the staff were patient and actually walked around the course with her! Fantastic customer service.
The dancing digger show was a bit of fun. It was short but the kids loved it, esspecially when they pretended the digger was going to tip over. Again the enthusiasm of the staff made it into something a bit special.
We ate at The Dig Inn, the on site eatery. It is themed aptly like a greasy spoon cafe and offers all day breakfasts, burgers and jumbo hotdogs alongside freshly made rolls and jacket potatoes. It was very reasonably priced (the meal for the 3 of us was £16) and served to our table promptly. The quality was good (not greasy!) for the price and considering we were at a theme park it exceeded my expectations. The portions were big. Husband couldn't eat all his hand cut chips which is saying something. The dining area was impeccably clean and you can see the food preparation area from the restaurant and it was spotless. If we go back we'd eat there again without a doubt.
The whole park was very clean and tidy. The pathways are concrete so my wellies were a bit redundant but it got me into the spirit of the place! The toilets were clean and, the most important test, the baby change was immaculate. One of the cleanest baby tables area I have ever used out and about. Considering the park is based on mud that's impressive!
Entry to the park isn't cheap (£19.95 per person on the door, bit cheaper if pre-booked online and free if the child is under 90cm) but when you consider the amount of machinery they have there and the cost of fuel to run them (plus the insurance costs which I imagine are huge) you can see where the money is going. The only downside is the additional costs such as the bumper cars, coin operated kids rides and the mini kids cars. Whilst they are a small part of the park they really aren't necessary and it is confusing to kids when some stuff is free and some isn't. We had a small child continually asking us to go on them not understanding they cost extra. I'm kinda of the mindset that you either charge a flat entry fee or you charge per ride. I'm not a fan of mixing them up.
Because we went late in the season queues were non existent so we spent about 3hrs at the park. I imagine in the holidays it would be packed and, like any theme park, you'd spend a lot of time queuing. Also there was very little shade so be aware if you go on a hot day. The rain held off so we didn't venture into the indoor soft play but it looked good with a bouncy castle and would provide some much needed shelter if the heavens opened.
Overall we had a great time and Little E has not stopped talking about it! We would definitely recommend a visit on a quiet day for something a little bit different.
To find out more visit diggerland.com
We were sent tickets for Diggerland free of charge for the purposes of this review but all opinions are our own.
This week backwards commando crawling has been perfected (she still gets stuck under furniture which is quite funny) and now she can sit herself up from lying down by rolling on her tummy and by pushing herself onto her knees, like she is going to crawl then sitting back on her heels. Very clever.
Now she is such a little wriggler she uses her cot as a playground. We regularly find her upside down. This is a bit of an issue because the head end of her cot is elevated to help her reflux. So essentially when she spins around her legs are in the air...
We definitely have 'Mama'! Admitantly it is only when she is really upset and she is calling me back into the room but it is very clear and has intent. Little E is now trying to teach her to say her name!
And how cute does she look in her dressing gown! It is Husband's favourite outfit but it makes her look so grown up.
She has fallen in love with a peek a boo book called Teatime Baby which my Gran bought her. She laughs her head off and pulls the book towards her to peek through the hole at the baby. She also like to turn the page (along with chewing and shaking the book).
First time in the big trolley seat! A little wobbly at first but a big improvement from the screaming we were experiencing trying to get he to lie in the baby seat. She kept turning around and grabbing at the shopping though Little E was on guard warning me if she got hold of contraband goods.
Fun turning 21 again...
I am very excited to announce we have been chosen as ambassadors for Cow & Gate's new 5 step weaning programme!
I combination wean my babies so we follow the traditional spoon feeding route but I also give them finger foods with most meals to develop their coordination and self-feeding. The 5 step weaning plan is an incredibly easy to follow step by step guide to traditional weaning and already it has given me new ideas to try out with Little I such as avocado, cauliflower and salmon. I'm amazed I didn't think of them before but they aren't my favourites so that is probably why!
You don't have to register but if you do you can create your own tailored weaning plan and track your babies likes and dislikes. You get money off coupons too - who doesn't love a coupon!
We will be trying out lots of recipes from the plan over the next few weeks including the goodies we have been sent so keep an eye out for them.
You can find out more and join in at cowandgate.co.uk/five-step-weaning-plan
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.