10 ‘Basic’ musts for Autumn!

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I adore Autumn… it is the season that makes my heart sing and is the gateway to the most wonderful time of the year. I don’t know what it is but whenever I picture my childhood, it is always enveloped in a crisp autumn day. Maybe its because I’m an autumn baby? Perhaps its because its filled with celebrations which conjure happy family memories for me.

Whatever the reason- I’m an autumn lover and proud! I love nothing more than the cosy outfits and steaming hot drinks!

Are you like me? Come on, I know you are really…. are you a basic autumn b*tch? (pardon the language!)

Well…. if you don your uggs with pride whilst sipping a red, hot PSL then read on and see how many of these autumnal MUSTS you will be ticking off this year…

  1. Make a beautiful autumn vegetable soup and curl up with a loaf of tiger bread and enjoy!
  2. Get those cosy bed socks on- you know you’ve been waiting all year to get them out or, if you’re honest, you’ve most probably been wearing them since August- I have!
  3. Sit in the garden with a steaming mug of tea and watch the leaves fall from the trees and listen to birds tweeting away to each other- breath it in!
  4. Get those wellies out!!!! It is now the season where it is acceptable to wear your Wellington boots as a fashion statement! Go forth and wear those wellies with pride!
  5. Celebrate the first ‘woolly hat day’ of the season! Get your padded jacket, Uggs and blanket scarf ready, pick out the perfect wooly hat and strut your stuff! For extra ‘Basic’ points, snap a selfie and Insta it!
  6. T’is the season of PSLs, Pumpkin Spice Lattes to those who have been living under a rock, so head to your local coffee shop of choice and grab yourself a mug of the hot nectar of the autumn Gods!
  7. Candles, candle and more candles! Oh, did I mention candles? Light ALL the candles! Fill your home with the sent of ‘conkers’ (WTAF????) and the glow of a thousand tea lights- snuggly, autumn nights rock!
  8. Buy a pumpkin! Ever since I grew up and realised that pumpkins were the way for Halloween lanterns and not turnips (!), I also began to follow the mantra ‘A pumpkin isn’t just for 1 night, its for a whole season!’
  9. Cinnamon it up!!!! Porridge for breakfast? Add a sprinkle of cinnamon! Apple pie for pudding? Add a sprinkle of cinnamon! Ice cream for a treat? Add…. you get the idea!
  10. Got those wellies or Uggs on? Now go forth and kick up some autumnal leaves!!! Who says jumping in leaves and puddles is just for kids? Autumn fun is for everyone!

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I’ve already made a good start on the list- check out my Insta @confessionsofatryhard to keep up with progress and feel free to tag me in your autumnal Instagram snaps too!

I’ll try hard not to indulge in too many PSLs… is that even possible?

Until next time,

Mrs T Xx

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A life well captured

As you know, last October our Little Miss T joined the world and made our hearts swell to a size we never knew existed. Since then, my private Instagram feed has changed from cake, cats and cups of tea to nothing but Little Miss T (and the odd cake!). If you follow my confessionsofatryhard Insta page then you will also know that I’ve been trying to capture the humour in the frustrating moments too!

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A major frustration at the moment is that my wonderful iPhoneSE with oodles of memory is FULL!!! In order to capture that special giggle on camera I have to delete about 50 pictures and by then the moment has passed- agggghhhh! It got to the point the other day that I couldn’t access emails on my phone because it just didn’t have the brain power to run the app! Fortunately, I found the time to plug said phone into the computer and download the 16,137 photos (!) that were clogging up the poor phones memory and things have been a lot smoother since, thank goodness!

I just can’t help it though….the time is flying by so very quickly and I just want to capture all of those ‘nothing’ moments before it’s too late. Little Miss T has changed into a whole different person before our very eyes these past 10 months and I cherish every moment I have with her.

Neither Mr T or I can profess to be great photographers or lovers of being in front of the camera so when she was 2 months old we decided that we would like some professional photos of the 3 of us taken so that we could look back and not cringe too much! We didn’t really fancy any of the ‘cocoon’ type ones that seem to be popular at the moment (no offence!) and opted for very natural and relaxed look instead. A local photographer, Bethany Sunners, whose work I had long admired through Facebook, had space and we fell in love with the moments she captured for us.Beth LogoHowever, by 8 months old LMT had changed so much that we wanted to capture this stage of gorgeous ‘not a new born, not a toddler-ness’ too and, again, we turned to the ever lovely Beth. This time it was just LMT in front of the camera and she shone! Her cubby cheeks and gappy teeth caught our hearts and squeezed them tight all over again and I love that we got to capture her little serious poses on film too!

I’ll soon be back to work and I am forever grateful of the amazing times I’ve got to spend with my girl but I am also desperately sad that they are coming to an end. As my return to work fast approaches I am trying to keep a positive mindset and not let the black clouds ruin our last few weeks of lazy mornings and drawn out lunches. I’ve tried to do some special things that we have enjoyed and might not have the time for in the future. I want to soak up the ‘us’ bubble that we’ve created. So this week LMT again stepped (or shuffled!) in front of Beth’s lens but this time she was accompanied by me! We had a beautiful ‘Mummy & Me’ session outside by the river- it was a glorious hour filled with lots of cute cuddles and giggle. Don’t get me wrong, as you’ve already read, I’ve millions of pics of LMT either on her own, with her daddy or random selfies with me in too but this shoot was special. When Beth asked, I jumped at the chance and we now have some stunning pictures that capture the special bond between me and my girl that we’ve lovely and carefully nurtured over the past 10 months. We’ll never get so much time together again just her and me and that’s a sad thought to lament but I’ve loved every second of it- highs and lows, and I can’t wait to keep capturing and watching my amazing, strong-willed and giggly girl grow and tackle the challenges and fun times ahead.

Beth blogI don’t know about you, but I honestly think that us mums are so often the ones capturing the memories that we are left out of the pictures. As someone who is tackling being a mum without a mum, I know it’s definitely true that sometimes we have to put the camera down and remember to actually be in the moment but there is something truly special about looking back at those moments that have gone forever.  Please trust me, if you get the chance to have a ‘Mummy & Me ‘ style shoot, go for it! I’m not a lover of being in front of the lens but I didn’t care, I focused on my girl and had fun- it was magical.

Until next time,

Mrs T Xx

 

 

 

Just when I thought it was going to be one of ‘those’ days…

So today was just a little ‘try’ing to say the least!

I don’t know about you but since I’ve become a mother, I’m more determined to make the most of every day and do things that will make us happy, spend time with the people who matter the most and remember to breath along the way!

This week we’ve had colds and slobbed about in P.J.s a lot so today was the day we were going to break out and enjoy the sunshine!

It started easy enough at 6:30am with a SnapChat selfie of Little Miss T and I…she cried when I nipped to the loo but that’s normal these days….she cried when I turned my back to close the bedroom door, not quite what I was expecting…and she cried when I sat her in her Jumperoo so that I could butter my toast, ONE OF THOSE DAYS! Great!

It was all going to be O.K. though, I’d been mega organised and placed a Saino’s order the night before so I knew I had to look reasonably presentable and I knew I had to give the kitchen a quick wipe over and spray a little air freshener by 9am just incase they rocked up on time- dressed, cleaning and shopping done by 9 BOSH! Killing it! All done with one hand too…remember that baby that cried whenever I breathed? On one hip all.of.the.time!

It was during my prep for the Sainsbury’s delivery that the reality of what a crap day it was going to be really hit home and dreams of a lovingly prepared lunch munched with friends in the sunshine began to fade. I went to move the pram so that the order could be carried to the kitchen but it wasn’t there….neither was the car seat…neither was the baby carrier…how the hell was I going to meet any of the people I had plans with? I’ll let you imagine the swear words that filled the air at this discovery…along with a screaming baby…yeah, stupid me, I’d left the room again!

So, not a problem you might think, just change your plans, people can come to you, you can get the bus…people already had other plans, there is only 1 bus and I had no pram!

Eventually, I sucked it up, wiped my brow and thought ‘What Would Alibongo Do?’. I remembered a spare baby carrier a friend had lent me, scrambled through the shed to find my backpack, sweated (hotter than hell today) and looked up the bus time… I had 20 mins to get our sh*t together!

I spread some tomato puree and chucked some leftover roasted veg onto a pitta bread, topped with cheese and grilled for a minute (I carted the baby in her bouncer into the kitchen to avoid another scream…FML), remembered to grab a change of clothes, nappies and some toys and popped them in the backpack and splodged some suncream onto the baba. Winning at life right here people!

Only one job left…. figure out how to put the bloody carrier on!!!! Is it just me or does anyone else find it like a heat of the Krypton Factor putting one of those things on?!

So, baby safely sun-creamed, sun-hatted and secured in the carrier, door keys found and sanity somewhat restored we trundled to the bus stop…ah… buses cost money! I literally had 2 minutes until the bus arrived and the village Post Office only does cash by counter service…wouldn’t you know it…woman in front had 12 bloody parcels to weigh and post! 12! We just about made it onto the bus and I could have fallen asleep- it was only 11:30am!

Needless to say, we survived, the sun shined, I had a cake and cuppa, friends came, we laughed, Little Miss T loved her pitta pizza and charmed everyone and a lovely afternoon was had by all!

I was close to tears and almost texted people to cancel at several points this morning but I didn’t. I kept going, I tried hard to find solutions to problems and I succeeded…I’m sure there’s a moral in there somewhere!

Ever had a day like ours? How did you overcome the FFS moments?

Until next time,

Mrs T Xx

Why should I use my vote?

So today is the deadline to register to vote- have you? (Click here to go straight to the site)

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I’ll be voting and I don’t mind telling you that, as always, I will be voting Labour- I have many, many reasons why but this post isn’t a party political one- it is an urgent one.

I URGE you to vote.

Of course I’d love you to vote the same way as me but who you choose to vote for is none of my business, that’s between you and the ballot box BUT for all of our sakes, VOTE.

If you really need a reason to do it, here are 10…

  1. It’s free- you’re not charged for putting your X in the box.
  2. We are lucky to have to right to vote- so many people around the globe are disenfranchised. And I’m not just talking about in 3rd World countries either-  did you know that in many USA states you must have photo ID to vote? Just imagine how many people this caveat excludes! This is something that could quite easily happen here too if some of the rumours are to be believed!
  3. No right to complain- your vote is your voice! If you don’t use it to have your say then do you really have a right to complain about what the government does?
  4. Have a say in where your hard earned cash goes- this is your chance to dictate where your taxes are spent. Yes, I appreciate you can’t just say ‘I want my money to go to the NHS’ but you can weigh up the manifesto pledges and decide which best matches your desires.
  5. The sense of righteousness- how can you be smug if you don’t vote!
  6. You don’t live in a dictatorship- Democracy shouldn’t be taken for granted! As futile as people think they are, the House of Lords often acts as our buffer against a dictatorship’ish (YES it’s a word!!!!) leadership. What if none of this existed here though? Could you imagine if you were just told what to do and how to live your life all of the time?
  7. People literally died to give it to you- do I really need to go over this again?! Especially you ladies out there- click here to find out more in a very child-friendly manner.
  8. Representing your age group- under 35’s are traditionally the most underrepresented age-group in the UK voting system and they are often the subject of some of the most ruthless policies- I wonder how the politicians get away with that? Oh yeah…. you don’t register to vote!
  9. It’s quick- LITERALLY TAKES 2 MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!!
  10. You count- don’t be fooled into thinking your vote won’t make a difference- even if you have no desire to vote for any party, leave your ballot blank and pop it in that box- YOU COUNT!!!

So, in conclusion-VOTE!!!!!!

I’ve tried hard to convince you but now its down to you!

See you on the other-side of May,

Mrs T Xx

Safe Sensory Play for 0-6 Months

As an Infant/ KS1 teacher of 10 years I’m highly aware of just how important play is to learning and development and as a new mum I want to expose my precious treasure to as many different types of play as possible!

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Yes we sing, read, visit playgroups, the library, park and even go to Baby Sensory every week but I also want to enhance Little Miss T’s experiences when we’re at home too.

She has the essential hoard of wooden and, dare I say it, plastic play equipment that seems to appear from nowhere once a baby is born but I want her to also have a chance to get messy and stimulate those senses!

Easy, you would think, but before babies are weened it’s actually rather tricky to expose them safely to messy and sensory play of the kind that looks creative and fun. So as a starting point I’ve compiled a list (and linked back to any relevant bloggers) of some of the things Little Miss T and I have had fun with-

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  • Bubbles!

Bubble machines are fab if you can get one (ELC has excellent ones!) but a good old pot of bubbles works a treat too! We’ve tried blowing them outside on a windy or sunny day and enhanced bathtime with them- mess free and baby won’t yet be able to grab at them quickly enough to get the solution on their hands so they’re super safe! LMT loves watching how the light and colours dance on them as they float about!

  • Soggy spaghetti!

Boil it up, rinse under cold water and then pop into a messy play tub (or your baby bath/ washing-up bowl) with a splash of warm water. Rather than putting this out to touch with hands I stripped LMT to her nappy and sat her in it- she’s able to sit and hold her head up really well now but even when teeny she could sit with my support or lie in it.  Top tip- do it in a warm room and keep your eyes peeled so that they don’t stick some in their mouths if you’re not ready for them to eat solids yet- LMT loves putting everything in her mouth at the moment but during these kind of activities she seems to chill out and just squidge about with her feet!

  • Balloons!

Whilst they’re still gummy and toothless balloons are great fun! LMT likes to lie on her tummy and reach out for them or bash the balloons on the ground. Watching  them bounce and float around is fun too! She also loves looking through them and seeing the world in a different colour! Top tip- don’t blow them up too big so that they still have some squidge to them, little ones can handle them much better then.

  • Sandwich-bag painting!

The idea from Pinterest is that once the paper and paint is secure inside the sandwich bag, you tape it to the table or ground in front of the little one but this has never worked for us as LMT likes to pull everything to her mouth! This activity is still perfect as I don’t have to worry about paint covered hands being stuck in her mouth yet she gets to feel the squidgy texture, watch the colours combine and create something too! If you’re worried that the paint might seep out then simply tape the edges of the bag or use edible paint rather than shop bought. Top tip- paper goes soggy and tears so card is a much better option! 

  • Gloop!

Or Oobleck as you might see it called. This is simply magical! Combine 2 cups of corn flour with 1/2-1 cup of cold water and mix. Just like with the soggy spaghetti I let LMT sit in it and she enjoys trying to grab at the mixture (it changes between a solid and a liquid). At this stage I’ve always left it its natural colour but as she gets older I will add food colouring to change it up a bit. Top tip- despite its liquid appearance, gloop can often go hard (part of the awe and wonder if it) so I wouldn’t advise poring it down your sink during clean-up!

  • Jelly!

Super easy and it smells divine!!! Hartley’s crystals are the best as they are sugar free and use natural colourings so should they ingest some then you know it’s as safe and as healthy as jelly can be! An alternative is to use a sachet of Vegi-gel and make your own natural coloured jelly up. We’ve used this for several activities including the favourite- sitting in it- but also inside sandwich bags with other objects in there such as buttons, sequins, pasta twists and glitter!

  • Ice cubes!

Lots of fun either in a sandwich bag or simply on her high chair tray. When using the sandwich bags I’ve also added splashes of food colouring to them before freezing just for a little variety and interest.

We’re just about at the first tastes stage of weening so LMT is beginning to explore food- if you’re going down the purée route  then the leftovers of these can also be a great sensory play resource and it will ease your sense of guilt over the waste when they don’t like or refuse to eat something! Bonus! 

Have lots of fun stimulating those senses and be sure to let me know how these activities work for you- we’re always on the look out for new twists to old faves!

Until next time,

Mrs T Xx

Why I’m ok with Daddy getting the giggles

So Little Miss T is just over 5 months old now and her hearty chortle warms my cockles but it’s not usually me who manages to earn a good belly laugh from her- it’s her daddy! 

At first it really bugged me that I spent all day with her and yeah, I got plenty of gummy grins and the odd chuckle but the real, long lasting and heart felt giggles only appeared when Daddy was about. 

All he had to do was make a silly noise or shake the nappy bag (!) and out would pop the most glorious sound and there I was doing a multitude of silly dances, songs and faces, blowing raspberries on her tummy and moving Heaven & Earth only to be greeted with what was really a noisy smile! What was I doing wrong? Why couldn’t I get her to giggle too? 

But my view on the giggles all changed last month when I was upstairs and could hear the 2 of them giggling and cooing away downstairs and my heart burst with love and pride.

This is THEIR ‘thing’!

I get the morning smiles, goodnight cuddles, moments of awe and wonder day after day and if this is the part of it that Mr T gets then I’m ok with that! 

There’s many things he’s been excluded from during our journey into parenthood, not on purpose just they way nature makes it and if this is something he gets to have that I don’t then who am I to be bitter about it? 

I’ll keep my morning smiles and goodnight cuddles along with the joy that I feel whenever I hear the 2 of them giggling together and Mr T can keep the giggles- I think that’s a fair trade, don’t you? 

What would you trade your partner for or are you happy to let them have their own ‘thing’ too?

Until the next giggle fit,

Mrs T Xx

Things that boil my blood (and eggs)

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Grab a cuppa….we could be here a while!

I should tell you now that this post includes a recipe for some delicious baked eggs, if you would like to skip my moaning and jump straight to the food (I wouldn’t hold a grudge) then click here to go to the lovely Rachel Khoo’s original recipe.

Now, you know me, I’m not one to moan BUT….!

Having been on a rather long journey towards motherhood I’ve managed to tot up a disturbing number of gripes about the subject before, during and after my eggs have finished baking (tenuous food link!).

So, Mr T and I have been married for 8 years this May and have just welcomed our first little bundle of joy, Little Miss T joined us in October and (just FYI) was conceived completely naturally dispite the fact we have been a child-less, married couple for quite a few years.

This childlessness was partly by design and partly due to nature.

My mother passed away (you will know the details from previous posts) the same year that Mr T and I got married. This left us with a huge amount of healing to do but also with a house to sort (hoarder!) and sell on- it eventually took almost 5 years to get through (the house that is) and was such a tiring  process that the thought of going through it pregnant/ with a young baby was hard to contemplate and so we kept putting starting a family off until the house was sold despite half-heartedly trying from time to time. Don’t get me wrong, if it had happened for us during this time then we would have been over the moon but it just didn’t.

Even once this obstical was out of the way, making the final decsision to whole-hartedly commit to staring a family took us some time. We love holidays and socialising so we spent a while giving it a go and then when it didn’t happen we just went on holiday and thought ‘oh well, at least we can drink and spend whatever we want without a worry’.

This all changed New Year 2015. We were in Las Vegas living the highlife, sipping beer at 9am whilst popping dollars into the BlackJack machines and we both agreed, that whilst living said highlife was mucho fun, we both wanted more and so Little Miss T’s journey into this world began and my long list of annoying comments began to grow! Continue reading