Category Archives: Personal & Family

Posts about me, my life and whats going on

Pancakes are for life

Not just for Shrove Tuesday and don’t let it catch you out as Pancake day is Tuesday 16th February 2010.  Yes indeedy it is time to pour the milk, crack the eggs, whisk with flour, flip, fill and eat – nom, nom, nom! 

Don’t take my word for it, allow me to introduce you to Lyle, he’s the guy that makes Golden Syrup don’t you know?  Anyway Lil’ H and I didn’t manage to make the Pancake training session Lyle’s Golden Syrup held down in London due to us being in Cheshire and Baby G being so wee still.  However the everything you need to make pancakes kit and new website with Emma Forbes showing us the inside track taught me everything I needed to know when it comes to pancakes and to not have to throw the first or two one away (the pan isn’t hot enough says Emma!) head over to www.welovepancakes.co.uk and swot up!  There is a step by step guide to pancake making  and loads more that will get you in the spirit for this years flipping fabulousness.  Heads up from me there is now an alternative to the, whilst iconic, still sticky, tin of syrup with the new Squeezy Syrup a no drip, no mess (disclaimer:  not guaranteed if used by over excited toddlers!) easy to use bottle.

Pancakes aren’t an annual event at Lancaster Towers they are a regular favourite as they combine a really easy & fun toddler activity.  My best advice is weigh out and measure everything in advance it’s super easy for a toddler to pour, tip, crack & whisk the mix together.  Also best left overnight to relax its an activity that can cover an afternoon shift by making the mix and also late morning making lunch together.  I’ve mentioned before about how involving my H in cooking positively increases the quantity consumed (I own one picky eater already hoping Baby G won’t make it a pair!) and pancakes are a clear winner for this.  Even spinach gets eaten in a cheese, ham and spinach pancake combo as first seen on My Daddy Cooks!  Here is H and I making pancakes together and him sitting down to eat them with the assistance of his digger fork – count the “get my toddler to eat” tricks!

 

Don’t forget: Pancake Day 2010 is Tuesday 16 February – don’t let it creep up on you and get prepared with exciting recipes and new methods to impress your friends and family.  For the complete “Four Steps to Perfect Pancakes”, advice, recipes, tips and more visit www.welovepancakes.co.uk.

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Babies cry but…

Is it harder to love a baby that cries a lot?

Isn’t that just one big mother of a question right there?!  It’s huge!  I love this question!  I‘ve been asked this question and would like to share with you why, why I’ve been asked and why I love it.  Now if you read my blog but don’t follow me on Twitter then the last time I really blogged about my life as a new mum to Baby G was her birth story post however if you were following me on Twitter back in November & December you would have definitely been aware of some dark times here at Lancaster Towers, you may even have heard some crying and if passing seen floods of tears flowing from the door!  We are now in a good place and Baby G is a delight but for a while there things were seriously, seriously tough.  I mean like proper “considering-going-back-to-work-full-time-and-getting-a-nanny” tough!

Baby G is 15 weeks old now, so here’s a quick rundown of how those first few months with two have been. 

The first three weeks with two

Weeks 1, 2 & 3  At the beginning all was good with Baby G, breast feeding well, waking once or occasionally twice in the night to feed, sleeping most of the time.  Lil’ H adoring of his new sister but he was struggling with the change to his family unit.  His night time sleep went out the window.  My poor little guy desperately trying to make up his mummy time at night I think.  He went from sleeping through the night from being just a few months old to waking multiple times a night.  As a result of his poor sleeping his tiredness saw his behaviour spiral downhill.  Desperate to not be telling him off but everyone’s shattered, patience and best intentions have left the building and he’s being, well frankly naughty, so guess what?  He was being told off and frequently and that just made me so sad.  I kept thinking I did this to him, I knew this was all his emotional reaction to the change,  I now know and can see how hormonal a time it was too.  So positive mummy time dropped to an all time low and we spent the best part of a month in one very hideous viscous circle!

Farewell sleep, hello colic

Weeks 3-8           I had a moment of clarity amongst the fug of breastfeeding tiredness and could see the number one way to make some improvements was to tackle H’s sleep.  Bottom line was we wouldn’t be tolerating this if G hadn’t arrived so it was time.  There were two issues firstly he wouldn’t go to sleep by himself, insisting mummy/daddy stayed or he’d be out of bed and out the door.  Then there was the night waking multiple times a night.  I prioritised the night waking on the grounds it would have the biggest positive impact on his tiredness and therefore his behaviour.  We got the stair gate out and put on his bedroom for the first time ever and used aromatherapy and Indigo child essences (both which I still use).  During the day I introduced “The Sleep Fairy” and her chocolate coin incentive programme!  The premise was simple, Mummy had called the sleep fairy, she would watch over Lil’ H and if he slept in his bed all night she would leave a chocolate coin.  Lil’ H and I made a reward chart by drawing and cutting out and sticking on pictures and photographs a reward chart.  It has been invaluable to have a photo of Hugo asleep in his bed, he so clearly understood what we were asking him to do.  He loves going on the little steam train at Brookside so a straight week of sleeping in his own bed and a ticket to ride he would have! 

First night – when it came to bedtime I stayed with him whilst he went to sleep, 2am he woke, crying “Mummy” and rattling the gate, joy!  I went to him hugged him over the gate told him he was safe and told him to go back to bed.  He didn’t, I did.  I then simply spoke to him through the monitor and said Mummy would scare the sleep fairy away if she came into his room.  This was met by silence!  Quickly followed by the pitter patter of feet back into bed!  The sleep fairy came and left a coin and a very proud and not so tired boy awoke the following day.  Night 2 similar but I never went to him just spoke to him.  Night 3, the wheels fell off and I had to go into him and but of course there was no coin from the fairy in the morning L That was that though, the fairy came for three weeks and then had to be “dismissed”.  Which we did by her leaving a chocolate coin, a special present and a magic fairy wand, this is important because if we need to call the fairy back which we have had to a few times we use the wand when we are going to bed and ask her to help H sleep in his own bed.  To date it has been very effective – the Sleep Fairy and her chocolate coin incentive programme rocks! 

During all this Baby G had been a dream, breastfeeding well, sleeping well, napping well.  Toddler sleep issues resolved, make way for Baby crying issues.  It came from nowhere when G was about 3 weeks old this crying started late afternoon say about 4:30pm ish and I would get her to sleep, like to totally floppy arm asleep, put her down and seconds later eyes wide open hysterical screaming.  It was colic.  That was my worst nightmare a baby with colic and it just got worse.  It was for a few hours in the early evening which go longer ‘til it was pretty much 6 hours straight ‘til 10:30pm when she’d be fed and go to sleep and then be put down exhausted.  Then it started to start earlier and earlier and earlier and eventually it was ALL DAY.  I timed it to go to the doctors one day she cried for 5 hours between 9:30am and 4:30pm and solidly without sleeping from 4:30pm until 10:30pm.  Baby G cried for just over 11 hours that day and that was a “regular” day.  She didn’t feed well, she cried, got wind, her tummy hurt, she cried more – yet another vicious circle.  I had the infacol, the Colief, the gripe water, the Gaviscon, the massage pad, a pal on Twitter was sending reiki, the white noise of the hairdryer was rescued with a white noise CD (which is great and we still use).  I’d cut out wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol, I’d seen breast feeding consultants and tried most bottles (Baby Born Free have all the latest on BPA Free, were hugely supportive and deserve a thank you!)  But Baby G was still crying it was getting worse if anything, if something did work it almost never worked again there was no consistency, no pattern, preferences or routine were emerging.  My hair was going greyer I swear visibly by the day, the stress lines were deepening and arriving at a pace.  I didn’t want to go out, it was so exhausting and difficult to visit other people, I was frightened she would just scream the place down, family or good friend or not I didn’t want to be observed struggling with my Baby.  I was in yet another very hideous spiral, this time one of very real and total panic.  Life felt like a tent with no pegs in a hurricane.  I don’t believe any child is “easy” they all have their moments and challenges and it just might not be whilst they are babies but it was only now that I understood what all the conversations I heard amongst my ante & post natal groups with H were about.  Only now did I “get it”, this was the nightmare they were all going on about!

Week 8                 By the time Baby G was eight weeks old she had the six week check, all was well, I’d been prescribed the gaviscon and I had returned twice because “my baby cries all the time”.  I wasn’t dismissed to say I was would be unfair, Baby G was checked out and I was told she was fine, it would pass but to come back if I continued to be worried.  I was worried, worried it might never stop, even my mum started to say “do you think there is something wrong with her?” Family and friends would visit – arriving with their knacks, tricks, secrets, songs and rhymes and declare “oh give her to me I’ll settle her.”  Part of me is proud of G that without exception she saw everyone off and didn’t settle for a single one of their secret-special-fail-safe baby–charms!  I had seen an osteopath when I was pregnant and I had taken Baby G along when she arrived.  I was back there on an emergency appointment to see if anything had changed or could be helped or preferably fixed.  I was running out of routes to explore, next step was going to have to be… I was all out I didn’t have an next step – wait until she was 12 weeks old and allegedly all this colicky screaming would stop that 12 week milestone was a lifetime away.  The osteopath was just lovely and listened and examined Baby G, placed her hands on her head and said, almost immediately, “this baby has an ear infection”.  In my heart of hearts I didn’t really think I’d get an answer from going to the osteopath, I was just dealing with such an alien situation it made me feel better to be doing something, doing anything, I just wanted her to stop crying.  “This baby has an ear infection” I was blown away there was a possible answer, now I feel guilty that wasn’t on my radar as an option, could I have know?  Should I have know?  Oh my God I could have an answer and one that is treatable – I was excited, inappropriately pleased my baby might have an ear infection because if she does we can treat it and she won’t be in pain and she won’t be crying for unknown reasons anymore.  Baby G had her a full osteopathic “MOT” and treatment and then we headed straight back to the doctors.  I called en route as it was gone 5pm telling them I wanted someone to look in my baby’s ears tonight.  The doctor looked in her ears and confirmed.  Calpol and antibiotics were prescribed.  Calpol and 20 minutes later I had a different baby.  We had seen her smile before but we didn’t see it very often, we didn’t know that she is a smiley girl and she is.  Just look!

Happy smiley girl

Best friends are allowed

So that is why my best friend asked me “is it harder to love a baby that cries a lot?” I love that question because I knew the answer without thinking, I love the fact that I knew without stopping for a nano second, I love the fact that the question made me really think about the first few months with Baby G.  I love that question because it says so much about the strength and openness of both our friendship and the people my best friend and I are.  It’s a friendship I am incredibly proud of .

So what is the answer to the original question “is it harder to love a baby that cries a lot?”  The answer is simple “No” but there are far fewer moments to recognise, reflect and feel that love because all of the attention that is demanded and exhaustion created by the crying.  It is harder to have those moments of calm and quiet and it is those moments when you gaze at your sleeping baby and get to experience rush of love for your child flood over you.

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Here comes my frock meme!

Having recently spent time going through the thousands of photo’s I have for the recent favourite photo meme, I dusted off (literally) my wedding album.  Without a doubt THE most expensive photos I own containing photos of  THE most expensive things I have ever bought – flowers, shoes, cake etc.  Mr L and I got married on the August Bank Holiday weekend in 2003, the weather was sunny and warm, it was a FAB day.  I loved my wedding.  I loved the preparations, the day itself, the honeymoon, actually especially the honeymoon, oh and the champagne and cake how could I forget they were bloody gorgeous too!  Oh yes and that whole marriage thing with Mr L isn’t bad either 😉  

Fast forward six and a bit years and that day is all memories and memorabilia.  Being truly honest its not often recalled and very rarely looked at.  I have my memory box with all the stationery, the cards, our place settings, a few leftover favours, the speeches, a few pressed flowers and some bits of confetti.  I also still have my wedding outfit – my dress, shoes (Gina’s if you were wondering!), veil, tiara (but of course!) – all cleaned and boxed up.  In the immediate post wedding days I’d had this thought that if I ever had a daughter, which of course I now do, she’d like to see my wedding dress.  I never thought I’d pass it on for her to wear it more maybe to play dressing up in it. 

Now here we are in 2010.  I sit in my home, which is no longer home to two but four, my home which is filling up with bright plastic shit toys and “stuff”, at a rate faster than I can ever see the declutter process making any significant impact on.  Now here in 2010 when I look at my wedding outfit I see space and cash!  I see space potential using my “maximise your property” hat, trained by home improvement and makeover TV shows and through my eBay eyes I can see some significant £’s!  It got me wondering have I lost touch with the romance of my wedding, of creating modern family heirlooms and heritage?  Or are they unrealistic ideas in modern times anyway?  Would either me or Baby G when she becomes Girlie G get anything special from her playing with it, would she ever really want to and would I ever really let her?  Hmmm.  Is there a middle ground to keep the shoes, veil & tiara and flog the frock?  Hmmm, I wonder. 

So me and my dress.  Together on show for just one day only over 6 years ago.  It feels like an airing is long overdue!  So here it is, me in my wedding dress with my Dad in those few last single minutes.

Me & My Dad - the final single moments!

My wedding dress – should it stay or should it go!  Experience?  Thoughts?  What do you vote – keep it or sell it? 

My wedding all came long before I started blogging and the same for many others but you know what I’d love to see some “Blogger Brides” so I’m going to create this post into a meme and this is the first of the “Here comes my frock” meme!  Made up by me for me, because I love a good wedding! 

To start the ball rolling I am going to ask the following beautiful brides to share their wedding frocks and any story you choose to share about your dress and or day, where is now and in the spirit of all good meme’s to pass it on, if you tweet tag it #herecomesmyfrock so we can see get a stream of them all! 

As with every meme I do, play if you can and if you too want to be tagged consider it so!

Karin over at Cafe Bebe because she encouraged me to get my finger out and write this post!

Bec at Beetroot and Gherkins and Bumbling for being intrigued on Twitter!

Laura at Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy

Andy’s wife over at The life of Wendy Wife! 

And Snaffles Mummy

As with every meme I do, play if you can and if you too want to be tagged consider it so!

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Wordless Wednesday

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Bloggers for Haiti

The situation in Haiti is terrible to watch, the images too tragic to see.  So I don’t watch.  I can’t watch.  But I can’t ignore it either.  The most constructive way to help from overseas is to donate to support the charity efforts which in already financially challenging times can be difficult, but please if you can, donate whatever you can afford.  Simply click this link and donate to Bloggers for Haiti

The link takes you through to the JustGiving website which is raising money for Shelter boxes going to Haiti, you can read full details on the JustGiving page Bloggers for Haiti aimed to raise enough for one box costing £490 when I left my donation funds has been raised for seven boxes, the cumulative total of many donating what they can afford which is just AMAZING.  Clearly with an estimated 1.5 million homeless the more that can be sent the better to help provide shelter and survival equipment to victims of the disaster.
Devastation in Haiti
Bloggers are working together to help raise funds for the relief effort, if you can help spread the word then please do.

You can find out more and make a donation here.

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This weeks ENJOYING food!

At Lancaster Towers this week I am dieting, as I was last week, I started on 2nd January and this baby weight has its days numbered! I have enjoyed eating creamy mushrooms and I thought I would share the recipe, the word recipe is an overstatement by the way, with my #twiet buddies. Continuing through the family Lil’ H has thoroughly enjoyed making and eating Annabel Karmel’s “Bang Bang Chicken” and Baby G has been chuffed to bits with Aptimel, 6floz, 6 x per day!

Creamy mushrooms (serves 1)
Simmer 200g sliced mushrooms in a non-stick frying pan with 6tbspn of hot vegetable stock for 4-5 mins, until the liquid has almost evaporated. Stir in 40g of low fat soft cheese, Philadelphia Light in this house. Heat through for a couple of minutes. Serve on toast for breakfast or mix into 60g cooked pasta with steamed veg and chopped lean ham or chicken for lunch.

Bang Bang Chicken
Ingredients:
1 boneless chicken breast
skinned 3 slices wholewheat bread
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
2 tablespoon plain flour
1 egg, beaten
vegetable oil

Directions: Cover the chicken with waxed paper and flatten with a mallet or rolling pin, then cut breast lengthwise into approximately 4-6 strips. Make bread crumbs from the slices of bread in a food processsor. If you are using the parmesan and parsley, mix these together with the bread crumbs in a bowl. I use parmesan because I always have it in and don’t use Parsley because I never have it in ;-)! Dip the chicken into the flour, then into the egg, and finally into the bread crumbs. I make this recipe in big batches and freeze the “Bang Bang Fingers” in foil at this point. To cook (if frozen defrost thoroughly first) fry in oil for 3-4 minutes each side until golden on the outside and cooked through. Drain well on paper towels and then serve.

Enjoy!

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My Themeword 2010

I wanted, and have been attempting, to write a New Years Resolutions post as the new decade approached.  But I’ve been really struggling with it.  There is so much I would like to do and achieve.  As I started to compile the list it quickly felt so big I was ready to throw the towel in on the lot and the post got saved as draft and abandoned for another day.  If I can’t write the damn post I’m never going to achieve the resolutions in it! 

I discovered blogging and tweeting this year and want to do more and be better at both!  I also want to lose weight – of course and let’s not forget the other annual entries – work less, earn more, spend less, do more exercise, be more patience, swear less, watch less TV, spend less time on the PC, cook from scratch more, not drink during the week  … hang on Mr L is shouting me – A glass of wine you say?  Oh yes please!  … Save as draft!

That is how I got to 12th January with no post about my thoughts, goals and intentions for the new year and new decade.  Then I came across #Themeword (god bless twitter!) via Erica Douglas who created the #themeword meme in 2007.  To participate, all you have to do is just think about one word that you would like to describe your new year.  Allegedly your #themeword can unfold in unexpected ways!  So here goes …

My Themeword for 2010 is ENJOYMENT. 

I am going to ENJOY the now in 2010.  I’m not going to do things I don’t ENJOY or give time to things or people I don’t ENJOY.  Life is too short and my family and time with them too precious.  I want to ENJOY food and still be able to ENJOY smaller clothes!  I want to ENJOY my freelance work.  I want to ENJOY time with my children especially whilst they are so little.  I want to ENJOY time as a family.  I want to have time to ENJOY by myself.  Now whilst I hate laundry I do enjoy it being all done and my home clean and tidy, to get another cleaner would probably suggest I headed back to the workplace – so sadly I’m not off the hook on domestic chores, just to explain some of the small print I’ve made up for myself!

This is a meme so I am going to tag a few folk but if like me resolutions feel too much to commit to consider yourself tagged!  What’s great about this meme is if you don’t need a blog to post your thoughts, if you just tweet you can still join in!  I’d love to know what the following folk would have as their #Themewords

Jordan Fleet
Sarah Walters
Clare at Love Maternity
Claire over at The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Wendy over at The Life of Wendy Wife
Dany at Tums2Mums
Bec over at Beetroot and Gherkins
Muddling Along Mummy
Violet Posy
Stefanie Hopkins
Bumbling Along

Search #themeword on Twitter to see everyone who has been Tweeting their #themeword.

Happy New Year!  Please feel free to post or link to your own themewords in the comments below!

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