This is one of those cakes (I mean ‘loaf’ – waaay healthier) that will answer all your needs: having your in laws over for tear? Needing to use up a few sad looking courgettes festering at the bottom of your vegetable drawer? View Post

Perfect Weekend Apple Bircher Muesli

I’ve finally realised that the art of an epic breakfast requires 30 seconds of preparation the night before which on 1-2 hours a sleep at the moment (thanks Sonny!), is just about all I can muster up. And when that preparation involves chucking handfuls of ingredients in a bowl that really you just happen to have in the cupboard and swishes (not a word) of milk, I’m on board. Think of the below recipe as a guide; you can easily substitute almonds for the sunflower seeds, for example.

Mix together roughly 100g porridge oats, a handful of raisins, a handful of sunflower seeds and a few ground cardamom pods. Then grate an apple into this mixture (don’t peel the apple – win!), add 150 ml of a milk of your choice (I like almond milk) and a good swig of apple juice (optional). Then simply cover with clingfilm overnight and stumble into the kitchen the next morning, uncover and tip on a dollop of yoghurt, coconut flakes, the leftover grated apple and any fresh fruit you happen to have (berries are a winner).

Best enjoyed with a big brew <3

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10 Things I’ve Learnt About Men*

Sam and I have been married for coming up to 4 years and known each other for 15 (we met at school though haven’t been together exclusively since then…) and yet I still learn new things about him everyday, and never more so now that we are embarking on this one stop party train called parenthood. I started compiling a mental list of ‘learnings’ about him and it began to grow – so partly to remind myself of the things that make him ‘him’ (in other words that he doesn’t really mean to leave empty cups of tea everywhere) and also because I’m sure that some of his traits are universal to all men, I thought I would share it on here. So yes – this post contains HUGE generalisations plus a lot of first world problems but take a read and let me know if any of these things ring true to a particular special male in your life. Oh, and I hope some of it might even bring a wee smile to your lips too…

1. They mean what they say

When he asks me, “is it OK if I go out tonight?”, I reply “yes”, but underneath I often really mean “ummmmmm, you were out last night and I was counting on you to do bath and bed time tonight”. Why do we do it? In contrast, when I ask him something, he will reply straight up. For example: Me: “Does my hair look greasy?” Him: “yes.” That being said….

2. They’re sometimes shit at communication on the go

Whereas I feel like I’m constantly updating him on my whereabouts (I seem to always be texting saying something along the lines of “2 minutes away!”), I sometimes find it’s 7.30pm, I need reinforcements, I need wine, and I need him but no real idea where he is (inevitably just busy at work and not checking his phone). I do sometimes just wish he’d text me to update me how much longer I gotta hang in there. Any other men out there kinda bad at touching base just when you need them?

3. Men and women cope with tiredness *differently*

When I’m underslept I find that I get sensitive to *everything*, whereas Sam just goes kind of silent and spends A LOT of time staring at his phone. He literally just stops talking and retreats into a screen and mumbles every so often. And when he is SUPER tired because he lets me drive.

4. They’re not good at compliments

Maybe this really is just Sam (insert emoticon with weird diagonal frowning eyebrows) but getting my dude to say summat complimentary is almost as difficult as wiping 4 day old weetabix off Jack’s breakfast table. That is, pretty bloody tough. That said, when he does comment on something, it is special and I do tend to turn into a lovestruck teenager.

5. They don’t like nagging but they do like direction

I find I can pretty much ask anything of Sam if I do it in a ‘chilled’ way, but if I fall into a ‘moany’ tone (my words, not his), it’s a bit more tricky. That said, I recently heard the phrase “if they’re nagging, then you’re lagging” which I now love (and totally agree with – ha!) though needless to say when I regaled Sam with my new line he didn’t agree!

6. They just don’t have same attention to detail in the home

I’m certainly not a tidy person but it’s the small things that I seem to pick up on that Sam just doesn’t (or does but chooses to ignore?) Finished loo rolls, one discarded sock and beer bottle lids…please just throw ’em away my love.

7. They love live sport

There is literally nothing Sam enjoys more than sitting down with a cup of tea to watch some sport (preferably alone). My equivalent is reading a magazine whilst nibbling on dark chocolate. What’s yours?

8. Daddy is still a bit more exciting than mummy

He just is. And I’m totes OK with that. My relationship with my children is different to theirs with their dad – and that’s the way it should be.

9. They like to stay up late

Don’t get me wrong; I dream about staying up with a bottle of wine, getting slowly tipsy whilst watching a film before flopping into bed with my loved one. The reality: a frantic and silent teeth brushing, a breastfeed and then a good twenty minutes of rocking to sleep before I dive into bed to catch 45 mins of sleep before Sonny is awake again. (he’s going through a super bad patch of sleeping as you may have seen me moaning about over on my Instagram)

10. They do flippin’ love us

We drive them crazy at times with occasional nagging and weird modes of communication, and they sometimes send us a little cray cray by leaving all sorts of bodily hair (oh wait, I definitely do that too….) everywhere and staying up past our bedtime, but shit the bed, they do love us.

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So that’s it – my 10 ‘learnings’ on this weird and wonderful old thing of mine called a relationship. This is a bit of a different blog post for me – it’s a lot more personal – so I hope you enjoyed it. Writing it certainly made me realise how much we actually in common, just often expressed in different ways…

Thanks for reading as ever and leave me a comment to say hey / share your experience – I’d love to hear from you.

Emma x

*ok, maybe just mine but maybe some of them remind you of a special male in your life..!

 

DAN KIERAN

This week I talk to the lovely Dan Kieran, author of 11 books (including one of my all time favourite books, The Idle Traveller, Crap Towns, Idle Pleasures and I Fought The Law), travel writer (Guardian, Times, Observer, Die Zeit) and CEO and co-founder of the publishing platform unbound.com. Dan’s also just had a baby girl so his answer to #3 might be subject to change…

Hi Dan, how’s it going? Congrats on the new arrival! Tell me……

What gets you out of bed in the morning? 

It’s when my thoughts are clearest, so ideas really. Poking them, finding connections between things and trying to pull them apart.

Whats the first thing you do once you are up?

Suppress the urge to look at my phone. I’m not always successful.

Tea or coffee or ‘erb?

Always tea.

Fry up or healthy?

Healthy fry up? Scrambled eggs and salmon is my favourite.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Being alone.

When are you happiest?

Being tickled by my wife and children. Adults need to be tickled.

What makes you angry?

When people with power and privilege turn their opinions into laws and policies that damage the lives of those with neither.

In the last year you have become…

Comfortable in my own skin.

If you can pass one piece of advice on to your former self, what would it be?

You’re going to have the time of your life. Stop worrying and enjoy it.

And finally, crunchy or smooth? (peanut butter)

For 30 years I was crunchy and then I tried smooth and preferred it. There’s a lesson in there somewhere!

Thanks Dan – now go and grab yourself a cuppa and some *smooth* peanut butter on toast. Check Dan out at unbound.com or Google any of his awesome books to grab yourself a copy.

When Emma posted about Jude’s reflux I was, in typical mama pride way, just soldiering on, ‘making-do’ with him in pain. Neither of us expected the huge response to our reflux plea and I am happy to say that so much of your advice has helped made Jude more comfortable. So firstly, a humongous thank you to everyone who spent the time to give Jude incredible reflux advice. 

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10 Tips On Getting Out And About with 2 Small Kids

My journey of becoming a mum of two small ones started off something like this ( that is, spending evenings in my pants knee deep in teeny tiny pieces of spaghetti desperately resisting making *that* phone call where you beg your other half / mother / neighbour / ANYONE to come over to offer some sort of assistance as soon as umm, physically possible). The idea of showering and generally sustaining myself seemed like a huge task and I would feel quite anxious running up to the days where I had the two of them (three out of five weekdays). Fast forward five months and a good few “learning experiences” later (manoeuvring a double buggy during rush hour on a packed tube with a hungry newborn and an extremely overtired toddler is not a good idea…the sweat droplets were real), and whilst I’m still very much winging it and taking each day, heck each MINUTE as it comes (we found a beer bottle lid in the kids’ bath the other night…WTAF?!), I feel like I’ve learnt a lot over the past 20 weeks. So here’s 10 things that have helped getting dressed, out the house and generally mothering two whilst still having fun when out in the big wide world easier 🙏 :

1. Transportation

Obviously this depends on the age of your little ones, but when Sonny was a newborn I always went for the buggy + sling combo as he would just effortlessly attach onto my front (I use the close caboo) and end up falling asleep. Now Sonny is getting older and more wriggly (five months), he is a little big for the sling facing inwards and outwards there is a recommended time limit, and well, to get him onto  my back without another adult pair of hands requires a little more practice.  So now Jack tends to walk and Sonny goes in the buggy and I use the double buggy when I *have* to – it does my head in as it is crazy heavy (people go to offer with a limp hand and I have to politely explain that they will need their entire body weight). I’d also like to give the buggy board a go as I think Jack is *just* about at the age where he wouldn’t just find it hilarious to run off all the time and it would certainly get us around quicker (though I can’t say I don’t like the meandering…. that’s for another post!) Oh, and I always take reins too.


2. Try to think ahead

What I mean by this is that when the toddler is happy, it’s a good idea to feed /change/ generally show some attention to the baby (!) You won’t get much other time. Same goes for attending to mama herself. Any spare moment you have, I really recommend using it to eat, drink or pee (yes, peeing with two is IMPOSSIBLE).

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

I’ve wasted far too much time dawdling at the bottom of stairs staring aimlessly, hoping for someone to stop and help. These days I pretty much holla at the first person who passes to do anything from direct me out of a parking spot to take a quick snap of my crew to watch the kids whilst I dash to the loo (see #2). I’ve also been known to totally latch myself on to people for entire tube journeys when I think they can help further down the line (insert monkey emoticon covering eyes)

4. Avoid any extreme weather conditions

Umbrellas / rain covers / sunhats are just one thing too many in my books for an afternoon out. That said, however prepared you are, you will never be ready for the UK weather. Once I left the house with a thermos flask, sun cream, and raincoats for the boys. And I STILL felt too hot and Sonny still got wet. I kid you not. (forgot the raincover didn’t I?!)

5. Use bribery… and be ok with that

Let them eat cake, basically. And by them, I mean the toddler. It doesn’t really matter does it? Let’s just focus on keeping the peace. And on that note, my favourite snack is an apple (takes them ages to eat) . So just remember – chocolate rice cakes before 11am are totally ok.

6. Keep it simple

For us, spending half the day in the house and half the day out the house seems to work really nicely. And we tend to keep it real simple when we do venture out. If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that we’re not huge fans of baby groups, so a trip the supermarket, the library or the garden centre are some of our favourite activities.

7. Go it alone

Venturing out solo with just my brood always seems to works best and everything goes much smoother – plus you can walk along singing Old McDonald without feeling awks about it (we sang that SO loudly the other day)

8. Remember your essentials

Snacks, books, phone charger (seeking out plug sockets in public spaces is not a fun activity). Plus I always try out bring out a hairbrush, perfume, hand cream and a red lipstick – applying any of the aforementioned will feel like a mini spa experience in the middle of the possible mayhem.

9. Quit whilst you’re ahead

I’ve learnt this the hard way. If you’re doubtful about whether you can just nip to get yourself a(nother) coffee in time before the toddler starts to lose it out of tiredness, you should probably forego it. However important caffeine is (and we all know it’s CRUCIAL), it’s not worth the melt. down.

10. Have fun with your procreation

This is why you created them after all, isn’t it? So get out there, see the world, and enjoy it. Just don’t forget your lipstick. Or the snacks. Or the wet wipes. Or the sling. Oh…..

Sorry if the above seem obvious (they didn’t seem so obvious at the time…) and I hope they can be of some help. Let me know in the comments below what your top tips are for getting out and about with your brood.

As ever, thanks so much for reading.

Emma xxx

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Delicious Coconut Berry Smoothie

I’d always been more up for eating my fruit and veg rather than whizzing them up – so smoothies had never really appealed. That is, until recently since I have been discovering the joys of my magimix (you may have seen me reference this in this recipe and this one!), since I have come to think of them as an afternoon snack or as a dessert (they can contain a fair bit of fruit sugars) and since I’ve realised that smoothie-making is actually an amazing way of using up slightly tired fruit and veg on the verge of being left to rot at the back of the fridge…

So here’s one I tried this weekend for an afternoon treat, and it went down a storm – with Jack too.

Ingredients
  • 1 handful of goji berries (I really love the crunchy taste these give so deliberately don’t blend for too long)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of frozen raspberries (Can be fresh but frozen are so handy to keep stored up in freezer and give the smoothie a super cold, fresh taste)
  • 1 drop of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of tahini (optional – but gives a lovely, nutty taste)

Method

Whizz it all up 🙂

Multivitamins For Kids – Yes or No?

First things first, I am not a medical professional. Anything but. What I am though is a mother navigating the parental minefield who, a little confused following some recent GP advice, a little reluctant to administer more ‘stuff’, took to my little corner of the internet, to the ‘instamum’ community, to do what I desperately wanted to do: just hear from another mama or two. View Post