Today, we had another day in the garden. Some chill time and lots of fun with an #activity or two! Happy Sunday.

Daddy and I moved the old patio and rubble (which will have to live in our garden until the recycling centres open back up) and I think we’ve hidden it rather well. If you spot it I’ll be most impressed.

Where the rubble had been is now where you can see the outdoor dining area. It’s been out of action all winter, which we wouldn’t have used in any case. It’s opened the garden up even more now we’ve cleaned it all! It’s amazing how much space this garden has.

When we bought the house, the garden was full of stuff: rockery, pond, vege patch, pagoda and a 10ft greenhouse. It made the garden feel quite small, it’s amazing what a bit of hard work and a little vision can achieve. I knew this garden had the potential to be a perfect family space.

I cut the grass, tidied up some more of the bushes and watered everything. Whilst the kiddies played this game... they love it. But they do get rather competitive!

What activities have you been up to today?

#mummyphotoaday

Today, we had another day...

We made the most of the day today and it feels good! Whilst Daddy finished off the final 13 patio slabs (which look incredible), I sorted the garden.

I pruned all the bushes, weeded the flower beds, got rid of a lot of thorny weedyness, painted the potting shed door and filled an entire green bin. 😂 I even trimmed the grass edge with grass scissors.

I am loving the garden more and more. I hope that the sun keeps on shining so that we can get it looking how we want before Summer. Making the most of #lockdown. It was lovely as our neighbours on either side, both over 60, offered advice and help today. Deano nearly ran out of sand and one neighbour dropped some over the fence. It’s nice to have a sense of community even though we are all in our homes.

We’re looking forward to playing in the garden tomorrow and making the most of this space.

#mummyphotoaday 
#myhousethismonth #mygardenthismonth

We made the most of...

We have joined the rest of the country and made a #rainbow design in our living room window. The kids have drawn one on a piece of paper and also used window felt pens to design a 🌈 on the pane itself. It looks pretty. The kiddies are very happy with them. They lit up when the neighbours asked for them to make them rainbows for the window.

I love this part of the front garden, you can just see the flowers are about to bloom any day now. Daffodils are hiding in amongst the tulips, hyacinths full of a deep purple, the Heather has come up a nice reddy purple too. By the front door there is a sea of purple from the aster (I think that’s what they are). Can you see the beautiful Camellia to the left of the kiddies too? It’s about to bloom with its bright pink flowers. The yellow Jasmine is just starting to grow on the right side of the kiddies, can you see it climbing up the wall?

There’s so much going on. It looks beautiful. I don’t remember it looking this pretty last Spring. Maybe I didn’t pay much attention. Or maybe these things have grown from random seeds I planted last year and forgot about. I can’t remember what I planted though 🤦🏼‍♀️ Does anyone else do that?

Have you seen many rainbows in the window of people’s homes?

#mummyphotoaday

We have joined the rest...

A very happy birthday to my first furbaby, Rambo. He is 13 today. I can’t believe he’s been in my life for 13 years, we’ve done so much and seen so many places. It’s gone so quickly.

He is so good, his temperament is just perfect. He’s not a yappy dog. He barks to mark his territory but that’s it. When the kids were toddlers, they would pull his fur out in clumps and he would just lay there. He cleans the other pets in the house and always makes sure the kids are safe at night time. It’s so cute. He’s such a loving, fatherly dog.

This little man is my follower at the moment; more so than normal. He follows me everywhere. If I’m on the loo, he will sit at the bathroom door staring at me. When I’m in the bath, he pushes the door open and sits next to me and stares. Right now, he’s currently snuggling under the duvet.

Let’s hope we can go and explore somewhere new in the summer, with amazing views and miles of countryside. Our favourite.

Thanks for all the adventures Rambo 🐾 and the snuggles! We love you lots.

A very happy birthday to...

I wonder what is going through their tiny minds right now? Do you think they consider things like we do? Do you think they #dream of what’s going on? The kids seem to be taking it all in their stride and albeit they are sad they can’t see their friends, they seem to be just getting on with it.

Whereas, I go through waves of different feelings. I’ve discovered I’m at my best when I just take each day as it comes. When I start to think about things globally, or the time period of lockdowns and when the kids are going back to school... that’s when I start to feel worried and glum.

I worry that my employer will soon say “sorry Sonia we’re not paying you anymore as you’re homeschooling”, or the worry that I’m not teaching my kids correctly and they’re missing too much of their education. Or the impact of isolation on the kiddies at this age, making friendships and building rapport with people.

I hope these are worries over nothing. And I know all of the kiddies in the world are in the same boat. But, as a parent you can’t help but worry.

So for now I’m trying not to think negatively. Trying not to think more than 1 day ahead (except maybe planning Easter Sunday dinner) and I’m trying to keep smiling. So my babies keep smiling.

Keep calm and carry on. Isn’t that the saying!

#mummyphotoaday

I wonder what is going...

This afternoons activity with Daddy looked like lots of fun: they gathered sticks and the kiddies built their own pile of firewood for a camp fire. They then sat around the fire pit to test whose camp fire would flame up the best!

Isla created a very structured camp fire, logical and a pattern to where she placed her sticks. Noahs looked more sporadic but covered a wider area.

Neither camp fires took fire, it was quite windy. So the kiddies enjoyed a hot chocolate and marshmallow around their piles of sticks.

They had fun though and that’s the main thing. I’m loving all of these practical tasks they’re doing with Daddy.

I’ve been waiting, all day, for someone to tell me it’s all a dream and we are still going to Dubai. But, unfortunately, no one jumped out screaming April #fool and alas, we are still at home. I’m gutted.

Lots to look forward to though and right now it’s about focussing on our main objective: stay at home at all times, unless to buy essential food & walk the dogs! I have actually loved being at home everyday. It’s my favourite place.

#mummyphotoaday

This afternoons activity with Daddy...

“We are very excited to try out this new food from Forthglade, it smells woofing delicious” 🐾 Straight from the doggies mouth!

I am very excited to announce that I am a new ambassador for @forthglade. What does that mean? Well, I get to try out the products and tell you all how good they are and get special offers and discounts for my followers too!

It’s such a strange time with lockdown, however finding out about Forthglade couldn’t have come at a better time. When I went to get our usual dog foods in the supermarket it had all sold out. So, resorting to online orders seemed a very natural thing to do to ensure our furbabies are fed.

This food is a minimum of 75% meat or fish and is free from junk. With Snoopy, he has a tummy condition which means we have to be careful what he eats, it’s perfect. We will keep you posted on what they thought! 🐾 #gifted

“We are very excited to...

🌼 April is here and along with it comes another set of photo keywords for #MummyPhotoADay photo challenge.

We should have been flying to Dubai today, so my insta squares would have been very different to what they now will be. I’m expecting to see lots of Spring colours and stay at home families instead this month.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #mummyphotoaday so I can comment and share my favourites throughout the month.

Does anyone have any creative stay at home plans for April?

🌼 April is here and...

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The best waffle ideas for breakfast

The best waffle ideas for breakfast

I am a huge fan of waffles but we've never had them at home before, as we didn't have a waffle maker - but now we have this fabulous VonShef rotating one, we will never look back. Breakfast at the weekends are now complete with waffles for all the family. Delicious. Here are our favourite waffle ideas from bank holiday weekend. VIEW the POST

Making Mum the perfect Gin cocktail for Mother’s Day #recipe

Making Mum the perfect Gin cocktail for Mother’s Day #recipe

I love this VonShef Boston Cocktail set, it's stylish in the brushed gold look and it comes with a recipe book that has some delicious cocktails in it. As Gin is my favourite tipple, I chose the Cucumber Cooler cocktail recipe and it is delicious. It's the perfect drink to rustle up on Mother's Day. VIEW the POST

Making the best vegan gravy over the Christmas period

Making the best vegan gravy over the Christmas period

Daddy has mastered the vegan gravy recipe by Jamie Oliver and this year he made a big batch up just before Christmas so that we could freeze it. It is the yummiest gravy I have ever tasted that I am confident even meat eaters would find it delicious. It's a win win as everyone can eat it. VIEW the POST

Vegan gravy for Christmas dinner

Vegan gravy for Christmas dinner

Vegan gravy for Christmas dinner - This is the most delicious vegan gravy, in fact gravy, I have ever eaten. You must try it! - onions, carrots, celery, dried porcini mushrooms, olive oil, bay leaves, rosemary, red wine / port, cranberry sauce, Plain flour, Marmite, Tomato puree, red wine vinegar, vegetable stock , Peel the onions, then roughly chop along with the carrots, celery and porcini. ; Place in a large pan over a medium heat with a splash of oil and the herbs. Fry for around 25 minutes, or until turning golden, stirring occasionally. ; Add the wine and cranberry sauce, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, or until sticky and caramelised. ; Stir in the flour, then add the Marmite, tomato purée and vinegar. ; Pour in the stock, then bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for around 10 minutes, or until thickened and reduced.; Pass ...

#Recipe – Peanut butter surprise cupcakes

Skippy sent us two tubs of their yummy Peanut Butter: Super Chunk and Creamy. We love Peanut Butter cupcakes, funnily enough I do not like it straight out of the jar (unlike my husband). It is delicious in cupcakes and muffins though. So, Hubby has been making Super Chunky toast, whilst I have been busy baking. This is my fun recipe with a surprise centre!  …

Peanut butter and surprise jam centre cupcakes

Peanut butter and surprise jam centre cupcakes

- A yummy cupcake will a jam centre - The cupcake: soft butter (left at room temperature), brown sugar, Skippy Peanut Butter (Super Chunk or Creamy is good), Eggs (Beaten), Vanilla Extract, Plain flour, Baking powder, Milk (I always use Full Fat), Jam (Strawberry jam works best ), Topping (if you fancy a bit extra): Cream Cheese, soft butter, Icing sugar , Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180 degrees, gas mark 4. Add the butter, sugar and peanut butter together in your KitchenAid and mix until smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla, keep mixing. Sift in the flour and baking powder, whilst mixing this in add the milk gradually. ; Put one teaspoon of the mixture into all of the cupcake cases. Then spoon one teaspoon of jam on top. Using the rest of the mixture, cover the jam. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top (adds a bit of crunch). ; ...

Kebab sticks and vegetable burger

Kebab sticks and vegetable burger

Kebab sticks and vegetable burger - - Kebab Sticks: an onion (chopped into big chunks), pepper (chopping into big chunks), courgette (chopping into big chunks), mushrooms (quartered ), Vegetable burger: brioche bun, Halloumi, aubergine (about 1 cm thick), mushrooms (sliced), tomato, rocket, Kebab sticks: Cut the courgettes, peppers, mushrooms and onions in sizeable pieces ; Add to the kebab sticks and drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and cracked pepper and oregano ; Grill in the ultimate grill, on high, for a few minutes until golden brown; Vegetable burger: Slice the halloumi and aubergine into 1cm thick slices and drizzle with a little olive oil and season ; Slice the mushrooms; Grill the vegetables for a few minutes, on high, until golden brown; Grill the Halloumi, on high, for about 45 seconds; Grill the Brioche bun, on high, for about 20-30 seconds; Stack it up, adding tomato and ...

The indoor BBQ – Autumnal vegetarian burger #TurnOnYourCreativity #GrilledByBreville

I love quick and simple food, that can be cooked in minutes and tastes delicious. In a busy, working, family it is essential.  So when I was asked to team up with Breville to create a tasty quick meal, I couldn’t resist. I cannot turn down a challenge and this one was a lot of fun – I was asked to make a one minute video showing you how to recreate my little indoor BBQ. So I thought of my favourite vegetarian burger and hey presto. …

How to make an award winning Waffle tastic breakfast!

How to make an award winning Waffle tastic breakfast!

Andrew James has added a fabulous volcano waffle maker into his fabulous baking range. It literally makes the largest volcano shaped waffles, which are yummy! We love to break them up and cover them in fruit, syrup and cream. Delicious for breakfast and the maker is award winning, so why not tell the kids you're making an award winning breakfast?  VIEW the POST

Easy waffle batter mix

Easy waffle batter mix

This is a fabulous batter mix recipe, perfect for waffle makers or those making waffles a different way. It is yummy! VIEW the POST

Cooking vegetarian with HelloFresh recipes this Spring

Cooking vegetarian with HelloFresh recipes this Spring

As many of you know I am not very creative in the kitchen. If you said to me can you cook "cottage pie", I would be able to do it. If you said to me "can you cook dinner tonight", I would panic. I wouldn't be able to think about what recipe to choose, what goes well with each other. That's where HelloFresh comes in and their extensive range of recipes.  VIEW the POST

A Num Noms kind of Chocolate Cake #Nationalchocolatecakeday

A Num Noms kind of Chocolate Cake #Nationalchocolatecakeday

What better way to celebrate National Chocolate Cake Day (27th January) than to bake our very own chocolate cake. Inspired by Isla's love of Num  Noms. We received a hamper of goodies to decorate our cakes and a Series 4 deluxe pack of Num Noms. Isla was very, very excited. Below is Isla's creation (one vegetarian and one not):  VIEW the POST

“Have a Mary Berry Christmas” gift ideas and banana loaf recipe

I couldn’t help but sing have a Mary Berry Christmas to myself when I started writing this review. I have really missed Mary Berry in Great British Bake Off this year, so seeing this new range cheered me up. I Just Love It have a personalised Mary Berry collection with everything from mugs to bread bins. Everything for the bake off/baking fan this Christmas. …

Creating that Autumnal theme in the kitchen with Wayfair #Recipes

Creating that Autumnal theme in the kitchen with Wayfair #Recipes

Wayfair challenged me to spruce up my kitchen ready for Autumn. I love a challenge and especially ones like this where you get to make a real difference to a room. Trending colours for Autumn are orange and teal, two of my favourite colours and that inspired the products I chose. Great products at great prices. Don't forget to check out my family friendly recipes below too... VIEW the POST

#Recipe – Rye hot cross bun loaf

#Recipe – Rye hot cross bun loaf

Did you know that the government recommends we eat 30g of fibre a day? One way to do this easily is to up the intake of Whole Grain. I am a big fan of overindulging at breakfast time, when I do eat breakfast that is. When I came across this hot cross bun loaf, I just couldn't resist it. It's a great family friendly breakfast recipe too. It is really yummy with margarine at breakfast, or a nice dollop of Jam. Don't forget the cup of tea too! VIEW the POST

Cooking with the kiddies and fun recipes in Ella’s Kitchen recipe book

I love cooking with the kiddies and when we were sent the new Ella’s Kitchen Easy Family Cookbook, we had to try out some fun recipes. Ella’s Kitchen challenged us to make our favourite recipe from the book and the kiddies found it so much fun. The orange cookbook is one of 4 in the range and they are brilliant for kids and people like me, who have no idea what to cook for dinner! …

A Spring time vegetarian stew #CookinginStyle

A Spring time vegetarian stew #CookinginStyle

I was asked by belling.co.uk to think of a recipe that reflects my own unique cooking style. I love cooking recipes where it can be thrown into a stew pot or wok and left to simmer over hours, developing a tasty sauce that is perfect for dipping a tiger loaf into. So it didn't take me long to think about my new favourite vegetarian stew recipe, which you can put a Spring twist on too now that the weather is warming up a little.  VIEW the POST

Dr Oetker sugar and spice Easter nest biscuits #recipe

Dr Oetker sugar and spice Easter nest biscuits #recipe

This is a brilliant recipe for adding a little spice and fruit to your Easter baking. I like the recipe as it's a subtle drop of spice and yummy currants, the decoration is fun for the children and you can have these finished off within the hour. Isla enjoyed decorating the biscuits and eating the chocolate icing too, who wouldn't? Dr Oetker have many Easter recipes online if you want to try some Easter baking with the children this weekend. VIEW the POST

Baileys pancake recipe – for the grown ups #dontmindifIBaileys

This is a great recipe for a grown up alternative! The kiddies had chocolate spread, banana and also a little strawberry sauce. Mummy’s favourite is lemon and sugar. Daddy loves Bailey’s and I thought this recipe would be right up his street – especially with the added banana’s and walnuts. This is a fantastic recipe for any dessert, a great one to show off if you are hosting too.  …

A wholesome breakfast that is oater this world!

A wholesome breakfast that is oater this world!

This is an advertorial post with Quaker Oats. Quaker Oats recently sent us some fabulous oats, some of which had been all the way to space and back. We love porridge for breakfast, you can do a lot with it too. Like adding fruit or baking the oats to make breakfast flapjacks. One thing I love doing at the moment is making overnight oats, they are so easy to make and they taste gorgeous straight from the fridge. Perfect for the dash to work or before the school run. VIEW the POST

Vegetarian cottage pie – baked like Mumma used to make

Vegetarian cottage pie – baked like Mumma used to make

It is that time of year when you want meals that fuel your body with warmth, like central heating. That is exactly what this vegetarian cottage pie did for us at dinner time last night. Daddy came home to the waft of dinner swirling it's aroma around the house and it tasted delicious to boot. It reminded me of when I was a child and my Mumma used to make meals like this. VIEW the POST

Butterkist Salted Caramel Popcorn Cupcakes

I have been really lucky to recently receive a big box of Butterkist popcorn, my favourite is Butterkist Toffee flavour. I don’t really like any of the other flavours. But that was before I tried the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Mallow. Incredible! With all this popcorn, it made me have an idea of baking with them – so we made some Salted Caramel Popcorn cupcakes. I love the way they look like little boxes of popcorn.  …

Week 2 – Gingerbread biscuits recipe #GBBO

Week 2 – Gingerbread biscuits recipe #GBBO

After watching Great British Bake Off, week two, last night, it has really got me in the mood for biscuits. I was sent some really interesting information from VoucherBox: The Great British Save Off, which has a yummy recipe and also a cost chart so you can see where you can save some money on buying the ingredients for the biscuits.  So I saved a bit of money and also made these delicious gingerbread biscuits.  VIEW the POST