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...

My favourite pics from March #MummyPhotoADay - a massive thank you to everyone that took part. We have had a lot of new members this month and it’s been really hard picking my favourite 9! There are now over 4,000 photos to choose from.

All photos are tagged, but from left right:
📷 @cultivatingdelight
📷 @newmummyblog
📷 @confessionsofacrummymummy
📷 @houseofbaughs
📷 @sahrazade
📷 @otisandus.blog
📷 @_lisaslife_
📷 @socalshopgirl384
📷 @descendants_of_war

I’ve really loved seeing photos from @anywaytostayathome, @the_mummy_editorial, @freyalexandra, @becsbrewtifullife & @canonjacq.

All you have to do to join in is add #mummyphotoaday to your caption and the keyword of the day... I’m very excited to see what April has in store for us. Lots of fun “Stay at #Home” themed photos!

Thank you to everyone that joins in 📷

My favourite pics from March...

The kiddies had a lot of fun playing in the bath today. Swimming pools are closed, it’s too cold to get outside in a paddling pool so we put our swimming costumes on and pretended!

The kids had loads of fun making sparkly bath water and foaming soap shapes with @kidsstuffcrazy products. It’s amazing how fun products like this can keep the kiddies entertained for hours.

They literally played in the bath for an hour. The water had gone cold by the time they got out. It was the perfect indoor fun activity, especially as it was wet outside today.

If you’re homeschooling and self isolating with young children why not make a fun bath and invite the kids to make a mess with whatever you have in the bathroom! We also tried to make our own bubble bath using washing up liquid and #citrus juice - it wasn’t a nice smell 😂 the kiddies will try again in the week.

You can get the Magical Sparkle bubble bath and Foaming Soap from Kids Stuff Crazy at @superdrug - check out my review on the blog. #linkinbio

#mummyphotoaday 🧼

The kiddies had a lot...

Top 5 recipes that take under 30 minutes to cook

Strapped for time? Don’t fancy slaving away in the kitchen for long? Check out these five delicious recipes which can be cooked in 30 minutes flat. And when we say 30 minutes, we mean 30 minutes from start to finish – or even less. That’s faster than ordering a takeaway!

1. Mexican Beef Taco Lettuce Wraps with Taco Fries

Want to make taco night healthier for your loved ones? Feast your eyes on this recipe. The lean minced beef is stir-fried with onions, sweet peppers, and a homemade taco seasoning. Simply add into Little Gem lettuces and top with your favourite taco toppings.

Prepare in:10 mins

Cook in:20 mins

Serves:4-6

INGREDIENTS

· McCain Taco Fries

· Use 2/3 packet of taco seasoning (alternatively, you could or make your own. Just mix 1tbsp of cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, celery salt and garlic powder)

· 300g lean beef mince

· 2 tsp chilli powder

· 2 Little Gem lettuces

· 1 onion, thinly sliced

· 1 clove of garlic, crushed

· 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced into strips

· Olive oil low-calorie spray

· Low fat sour cream

· Grated cheese, pickled jalapeños, chilli flakes and fresh coriander to serve

METHOD

  • Cook McCain Taco Fries according to packet instructions. Set aside.
  • In a pan, sauté the onions, pepper and garlic until softened.
  • Combine the mince, seasoning and chilli powder. Fry until brown.
  • Using a few sprays of low-calorie oil, cook the potato slices until crisp and drain on kitchen paper. Season with more taco seasoning.
  • Serve the beef on the lettuce garnished with the cream, cheese, jalapeños, coriander and a few chilli flakes powder (optional).

2. Kale and Chickpea Indian Curry

In this dish, we’ve swapped the traditionally-used spinach with kale. It’s hard to think of a veg that’s more nutrient-packed than this one. Not only is it delicious, kale is a super green we should all try to include in our diets more often.

This curry is a wonderful, super-quick mid-week dinner, crammed with creamy and voluptuous chickpeas and kale in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. The coriander seeds give the whole dish a zingy lift. Why not mop it up with hot wholemeal chapatis?

Prep:5 mins

Cook in:25 mins

Serves:4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 plum tomatoes or 200g plum tomatoes
  • 800g/2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 200g kale, chopped

METHOD

  • Over a medium heat, warm the oil in a pan. Once it’s piping hot, add the mustard seeds and the cumin seeds.
  • Stir for a minute, then add the diced onions.
  • Sauté the onions for 15 minutes until they start to brown, then add the garlic.
  • Cook together for four minutes then add the tomatoes. Stir and leave to simmer for a few minutes. Add a little water if needed.
  • Combine the crushed coriander, green chilli, chilli powder, turmeric and salt, and simmer on a gentle heat for roughly 10 minutes until the tomatoes start to create a thick masala sauce.
  • If sauce hasn’t thickened enough, turn up the heat.
  • Insert the chickpeas and stir to coat them with the masala. Add a dash of water leave to simmer for a few minutes.
  • Combine the chopped kale, a handful at a time, stirring frequently. Cook for five minutes until kale is soft and tender.
  • Garnish with the sliced chilli and serve with some fresh plain yogurt.

3. Beef Noodle Chinese Stir Fry

If ever there were an easy stir-fry, it’s got to be this beef noodle version. This classic stir-fry combines rump steak and fresh vegetables. Just add in your favourite vegetables and it becomes the ultimate clean-out-the-fridge dish! Oriental cooking made easy.

Cook in: 30 mins

Serves:4

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g pack egg noodles
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 350g rump steak, trimmed of fat and cut into strips
  • 1 large leek (or 2 medium leeks), trimmed and sliced
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce

METHOD

  • Cook the noodles as per packet instructions, then drain. Place in a large bowl and toss with the sesame oil. Set aside.
  • In a wok, warm one tablespoon of the oil. Stir-fry the beef for three minutes, then combine with the noodles.
  • Heat the remaining oil and stir-fry the vegetables for roughly four minutes.
  • Place the beef and noodles back in the wok with the soy sauce, oyster sauce and Worcester sauce. Stir-fry over a high heat until really hot.

4. Macaroni and Cheese

This time of year, it’s all about bringing on the comfort foods. And nothing screams comfort more than a creamy bowl of mac and cheese. It’s ideal for busy weeknights. Best of all, it’s packed with delicious Cheddar cheese and is ready in less than 30 minutes.

Prep in: 10 mins

Cook in: 20 mins

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 25g butter
  • 10g flour
  • 425ml whole milk
  • 300g cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 450g cooked pasta

METHOD

  • Cook pasta according to instructions
  • Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan. Once butter has melted into the oil, add flour and combine.
  • Cook gently, beating flour and butter together for about three minutes until smooth.
  • Gradually add milk while continuing to whisk. Bring milk to a simmer, stirring often.
  • Once milk as thickened a little, stir in some of the shredded cheddar cheese, a handful at a time.
  • Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne. Taste and add a little salt, if you fancy.
  • Add cooked pasta to sauce making sure it’s covered completely by mixing it again and again in the cheese sauce.
  • Move to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot grill and brown.

5. Super-Quick Spaghetti Bolognaise

What pasta dish could beat the Italian classic spag bol? Not only is this recipe incredibly delicious, but it’s super-quick to make, too! Whether you’re new to cooking or a dab hand in the kitchen, this easy version of the Italian classic can be home-cooked from scratch and enjoyed by the whole family.

Prep in:15

Cook in:15

Serves:4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 450g minced beef
  • 1-2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 230g spaghetti
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

METHOD

  • In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions for a few minutes, stir-frying until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  • Combine the minced beef and cook for around eight minutes.
  • Add the oregano and tomato paste, mixing well with the meat.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and parsley then bring to the boil. Season with the salt and pepper.
  • Turn the heat down to low and cook for roughly 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Drain and serve and garnish with the sauce and cheese.

When you have a seemingly never-ending list of things to do, the last thing you need is to spend hour upon hour in the kitchen. Hallelujah for these five sub-30-minute meals. They’ll help you get food on the table fast.

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