Category: General

Starting Nursery at 1 Year Old

So Daddy has started a new job (yay!) but unfortunately this new job means he can no longer work from home on Friday’s, the weekday I work an afternoon shift. This means that we’ve had to think about putting both kids into nursery for a full day on a Friday. No big deal, right? That’s what I thought…

I always said I wouldn’t put my kids into nursery under two years old, and I didn’t with my daughter, she started this time last year after just turning two. However, I started working part time in September last year and now I don’t really like the thought of not working, even though it is only 16 hours per week, it gives me an ‘escape’ and more importantly, some pocket money! This means that our son, who turned one in February, will have to attend nursery with his big sister so I can continue to work.

Billy

Billy has always showed an interest in the nursery setting every time we drop off or collect Violet so I hadn’t been all that worried about him starting. We had his first half hour visit yesterday where I got to stay with him and talk to the staff whilst he had a little explore. He was a bit cautious at first, clinging onto me and checking I was still there before he moved or touched anything but by the time the visit was nearly over, he had come out of his shell a bit more. This made me feel a bit better about the whole thing and I was quite looking forward to visit number two!

Visit number two today meant that I had to drop him off and leave him for an hour. So off we headed this afternoon, backpack nearly the size of him and the biggest smile on his face walking with his sister. This smile lasted around five minutes sadly as when we got there he was ushered into the baby room and he quickly realised that Mammy was leaving without him and the screaming began. We literally live across the road from the nursery so Violet and I headed home for a peaceful lunch and quick tidy up; well as much as I could manage in that hour. As the time passed the more nervous I became, constantly checking my phone to check the time and for missed calls from the nursery. This then turned into comfort eating as my anxiety started playing hell with me. This is a normal feeling for any parent right?!

An hour later we headed back to the nursery only to be greeted by a staff member who immediately explained that he had cried for the FULL hour and they couldn’t settle him at all!! I felt awful! She suggested that another hour stay be booked in this week to see if he will come around a bit better tomorrow. But now I’m panicking that he might not settle into nursery at all and I’ll have to quit my job and be a SAHM again- the horror! I love it really but I’m quite enjoying having this pocket money which is currently putting me through my driving lessons!

By the time he came out of the room he was beetroot red, sweating, slavering, he looked bloody terrible! He did have his 12 month Imm’s yesterday though so I’m kind of hoping it could have been something to do with the after effects of those (4 horrible, horrible jabs!) and not just that he was utterly pissed off that his Mam had left him in a strange place with unfamiliar women and twisty babies!

It got me thinking that it could possibly be his age? Maybe I’m doing this at the wrong time for him? When babies are younger they don’t realise as much what’s happening around them and when they’re a bit older they think it’s fun as they get constant play with other kids. But at Billy’s age it’s like he just knows that he’s being left and I’m hurting his feelings; proper Mammy guilt going on here, can you tell?!

Please tell me this gets easier?? How old was your little one when they started nursery? How long did it take them to settle?

Mother Hermit xx

New Year, New You; ‘Inspiring’ Film Watchlist

If you’ve read my previous post ‘New Year, New You; ‘Classic’ Film Watchlist’ you’ll know that I’ve set myself a challenge to watch at least one film per week, preferably ones I’ve never seen before. It’s going quite well so far but I’ll mention the films I’ve watched in my round-up post at the end of the month.

new-year-new-you-bundle-d

So here’s my watchlist for ‘Inspiring’ films I really want to watch;

Bridges of Madison County

‘A National Geographic photographer (Clint Eastwood, who also directs) arrives in Madison County, Iowa, to cover a story about the Roseman Bridge. He stops to ask directions from a bored housewife (Meryl Streep) whose family are away, and so begins a romantic love affair.’

Joyful Noise

‘Musical comedy starring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. In an impoverished Georgia town, the death of gospel choir director Bernard Sparrow (Kris Kristofferson) sparks changes in the lives of two of the choir’s members. Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah), Sparrow’s second-in-command, is named as his replacement – but Bernard’s widow, G.G. (Parton), a wealthy benefactress of the church, believes she should have been given the position. These two formidable women lock horns over the direction of the choir as it heads towards a national competition.’

The Bucket List

‘In The Bucket List, a corporate billionaire (Jack Nicholson) and a working class mechanic (Morgan Freeman) find their lives thrown together when they end up sharing a hospital room. Both at a crossroads in their lives they come to realise that they have two things in common: a desire to spend the time they have left doing everything they ever wanted, as well as an unrealised need to come to terms with who they are. So before they, as the expression has it, “kick the bucket”, the two men will support each other in realising their dreams.’

Cake

‘Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick and Sam Worthington star in this drama from director Daniel Barnz. Claire Bennett (Aniston) is a victim of chronic pain who often has to resort to illegal measures to get the pills she needs to relieve her symptoms. As she struggles to deal with her own issues, pushing away the people who are trying to help her in the process, she becomes intrigued by the suicide of Nina Collins (Kendrick), a member of her support group who ended her life by jumping off a freeway overpass. When Claire starts to suffer from hallucinations of Nina she decides to get in touch with the woman’s widowed husband Roy (Worthington). While developing a bond with Roy, Claire starts to make discoveries about Nina’s suicide… The cast also includes Adriana Barraza, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Mamie Gummer and Chris Messina.’

The Blind Side

‘Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) knows little about family. Less about football. What the homeless teen knows are the streets and projects of Memphis. Well-to-do Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) knows little about his world. Yet when she and Michael meet, he’s found a home. And the Tuohys have found something just as life-changing: a beloved new son and brother. This real-life story of family and of Michael’s growth into a blue-chip football star will have you cheering with its mix of gridiron action and heartwarming emotion. Share the remarkable journey of the college All-American and first-round NFL draft pick who was a winner before he ever stepped onto the playing field.’

You can buy all of these titles here or keep an eye out on my Twitter feed as I’ll be running another competition where you could be in with a chance of winning this whole bundle on DVD!

New Year, New You; ‘Classic’s’ Film Watchlist

So this year I’ve decided that one of my “resolutions” is to start watching films again.

Since a young age I’ve always enjoyed watching films and as I grew up I took utter pride in building my DVD collection. Unfortunately, probably since having kids, that DVD collection has been gathering dust in the loft and apart from the occasional trip to the local cinema, I rarely watch films. Which makes me pretty sad because I love curling up and having a little cry over a good film!

Cinema

This is why I’ve decided to set a challenge for myself to watch at least 1 film per week. I’m aiming for 2 or 3 really, but one’s probably a more realistic start! I’m also aiming to watch more of the films I haven’t seen rather than one’s I have seen and then collate a monthly post full of those I’ve watched and what I thought.

So here goes my first watchlist for the Classics (I haven’t seen any of these!);

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

” “I was born under unusual circumstances”. And so begins The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: a man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story, set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any mans life can be. Directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett with Taraji P. Henson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Julia Ormond, Benjamin Button is a grand tale of a not-so-ordinary man and the people and places he discovers along the way, the loves he finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.”

The Colour Purple

“Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple is a richly-textured, powerful film set in America’s rural south. The Color Purple marks a new, more mature colour in Spielberg’s artistic palette. It is an exquisitely crafted, landmark film that will be treasured and talked about for years to come.”

Gone With the Wind

“Epic romantic drama based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer-winning novel set during the American Civil War. Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) often uses men to get what she wants, but is unable to get the one man she truly desires, Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard). She soon meets her match in the roguish Captain Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and in the war itself which destroys the genteel way of life she has always known. With determination she rebuilds her life from the shattered remains the Union Army leaves behind. Despite its sometimes troubled production (director George Cukor was replaced by Victor Fleming, with Sam Wood brought in when Fleming’s health failed), the film won ten Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress.”

Dial M For Murder

“Grace Kelly and Ray Milland star in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller adapted from the play by Frederick Knott. Former tennis pro Tony Wendice (Milland) hatches a cunning plot to get rid of his socialite wife, Margot (Kelly), when he discovers that she has been having an affair with author Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). Wendice blackmails a corrupt former schoolmate into murdering her, but the man bungles the job, and Margot, having killed her would-be assailant in self-defence, then finds herself under suspicion of premeditated murder…”

The Towering Inferno

“A huge glass tower block, touted as the tallest building in the world, bursts into flame on its opening night. An all-star cast includes Steve McQueen as Michael O’Hallorhan, the fire chief determined to get the blaze under control, while Paul Newman stars as embarrassed architect Doug Roberts, trapped inside with fellow guests Fred Astaire, Richard Chamberlain and Robert Wagner. ‘The Towering Inferno’ became the biggest of the Seventies cycle of disaster movies, which began four years earlier with ‘Airport’.”

You can find all of these films here but make sure you keep an eye on my twitter feed as I’ll also be holding a competition very soon to win all five of these films on DVD!!

 

 

 

Give The Gift of Film For HER This Christmas- Plus a Giveaway!

Christmas shopping can be a nightmare! I’m just about finished but trying to get those last few bits for everyone can be a huge stress- especially for the women!

Are you still looking for that perfect Christmas gift for the lovely ladies in your life? I don’t think I’ve ever met a female who doesn’t like to curl up and watch a good film. So why not give the gift of film? With just two weeks to go, have a look at these fantastic DVD’s from Warner Bros; (Oh, there’s a giveaway at the end too!)

WBChristmas

Me Before You

Ahhh, I’ve read the book but haven’t actually seen the film yet. If it’s anything like the book you’ll totally need the tissues out for this one! I wouldn’t mind receiving this for Christmas!

“Thea Sharrock directs this adaptation of the novel by Jojo Moyes. Emilia Clarke stars as Louisa ‘Lou’ Clark, a quirky, cheerful waitress who suffers a crisis when she loses her job. Struggling to find a position in her area of expertise, Lou reluctantly applies for a job as a carer for a wheelchair-bound man called Will (Sam Claflin). After a motorbike accident left him paralysed, Will has found daily tasks difficut and often wonders why he tries to carry on, but when Lou enters his life, both lost souls find common ground and help each other see the light at the end of the tunnel. The cast also includes Jenna-Louise Coleman, Charles Dance, Matthew Lewis and Janet McTeer.”

The Intern

I went to the Cinema with my sister to see this one and absolutely LOVED it! I love all films with Anne Hathaway and with the help of Robert DeNiro this film will make you laugh out loud and quite possibly make you shed a tear- but just a little one! I would happily add this one to my DVD collection to watch again and again.

“When Ben Whittaker (De Niro), a 70-year-old widower, becomes bored with retired life he decides to return to work, seeking an internship at an online fashion company, owned by Jules Ostin (Hathaway), that runs a senior intern programme. Ben gets the position and as he adjusts to his new surroundings he makes a good impression on his new boss with whom he forms an unlikely friendship.” 

In The Heart Of The Sea

This isn’t one I’ve seen or read the book for but OMG I want to watch it so badly! So many people have recommended it to me- I’d love to receive this one!

“Ron Howard directs this action adventure based on a true story which is recounted in Nathaniel Philbrick’s book and was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’. In 1820 Captain George Pollard, Jr. (Benjamin Walker) leads a crew, including First Mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), Second Mate Matthew Joy (Cillian Murphy) and cabin boy Thomas Nickerson (Tom Holland), on a whaling voyage aboard the Essex. While hunting the men are attacked by a huge male sperm whale and find themselves shipwrecked and stranded at sea. They attempt to make it to dry land but will any of them survive? The film also stars Brendan Gleeson, Michelle Fairley, Charlotte Riley and Ben Whishaw as Herman Melville.”

Wizard of Oz

Now this is a classic everyone will love- you can’t go wrong! I don’t have this in my DVD collection and I do love a musical so I wouldn’t complain if I received this for Christmas!

“Classic musical adaptation of the L. Frank Baum novel starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley. A tornado whisks Dorothy (Garland) and her house from Kansas to Munchkin City, squashing the Wicked Witch of the East upon landing. The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) vows revenge, while Dorothy sets off on the yellow brick road to see the Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan), hoping he can tell her how to get home. On the way she makes friends with a scarecrow (Bolger), a tin man (Haley) and a cowardly lion (Lahr) – all of whom have specific reasons for wanting to meet the magical Wizard. With the Wicked Witch out to get her, will Dorothy ever get home again?”

How To Be Single

Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie and Leslie Mann- with that line up you just know that this is going to be one hilarious film! My sister went to see this without me, which I’m not at all bitter about. Okay, maybe a little. She should probably buy this for me to make it up to me, yeah?

“Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson star in this romantic comedy based on the novel by Liz Tuccillo. The film follows a group of singletons, including Alice (Johnson) and Robin (Wilson), in New York City as they each learn how to make the most of their status.”

Hopefully that’s provided you with some inspiration- what woman wouldn’t want all of these films to have a DVD binge night?! I know I certainly would!

If you’d like to take a look at these DVD’s along with many other titles you can find them on HMV.

Giveaway

I have a set of the above DVD’s to giveaway to one lucky reader! That means you could win a copy of Me Before You, The Intern, In The Heart Of The Sea, The Wizard of Oz and How To Be Single! All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and retweet the post at the top of my profile using #WBChristmas (pinned post) to be in with a chance of winning! You’ll have to be quick though as this competition ends at midnight on 19th December- Good Luck!

Mother Hermit xx

 

 

Christmas Gift Guide for the New Years Resolutions

New Year. 2017 is nearly here! We probably all know at least one person who set themselves New Years Resolutions- probably the same ones every single year too. Whether it’s to lose weight, join a gym, be more organised, quit smoking; it always happens and a lot of people probably don’t even last until the end of January. I can say this because I’m totally one of them.

So what better way to help someone on their resolution journey than gifting them something which will help them get one step closer to achieving their goal?

Fitbit Flex

This is the perfect gift for those who want to try and lose weight, start a healthier lifestyle or just be a little bit more active each day. I’ve had my eye on these for a long time and have just received one as a gift from my other half for our anniversary- never mind him, I’m totally in love with this!

It’s probably the most basic and cheapest of the Fitbit range but it’s perfect for what I want. It tracks and counts your daily steps, your calories burned and even tracks your sleep, all to an app. You can set it to track your sleep before bed each night and when you wake up in the morning it will show you how well you slept; how many times you were restless, how many times you woke up and how long you were actually asleep. Pretty cool huh?

You can also input your daily exercise, water intake and set your own daily goals- totally personalise it for you.

You can find them in Argos and they’re currently £59.99.*

ECigs and Shisha Pens

Giving up smoking. This is probably still the most popular resolution of all and with all of this change happening with horrible packaging and higher prices, I think this is a certain for a lot of people this year!

Vapelux of London

So the alternative is an Ecig or Shisha Pen. I know a lot of people who have successfully given up cigarettes by using these but I never realised the options available in the Shisha Pen Liquid! From cookies, doughnuts, all sorts of fruit flavours to menthol and tobacco flavoured- the selection is unreal. You can also get each liquid in different strengths of nicotine which I’m guessing depends on how addicted the user is, how much they smoked per day and how long they’ve kicked the habit; starting on the highest strength first and working your way down to nicotine free.

Sounds like the perfect gift for those wanting to kick the habit for good!

Organiser for 2017

I’m obsessed with Busy B stationery and have a planner for everything as I’m a serial list-writer! Even to the point where I’ll write something I’ve already done on a list, just so I can mark it off as done! Sad, I know.

This beauty is Busy B’s Family Diary for 2017 which I have in already and I have to say it’s amazing! If you can’t get yourself and your family organised using this then I don’t know what can help you. It has room for every family member so you can keep track of who’s doing what and when every single day of the year- absolutely perfect for us being a family of two adults, two young children and two dogs.

Busy B don’t just have family diaries though, they have planners to suit absolutely everyone, travel planners, one-page-a-day diaries, calendars; anything you can think of they have it. And who doesn’t love stationery right? Have a look for yourself here.

Alcohol Free

This isn’t one I would probably consider because I’ve got two kids under 3 and hardly get a chance to have any alcohol, but there’s no chance I’d give up the few chances I do get. Nope. Not an option.

However, if you know someone trying to cut back a bit or even kick it all together, what about a recipe book on Mocktails? Maybe you know someone who’s pregnant and craving the taste of their favourite cocktail? This looks like the perfect gift…

When I was pregnant with my second, for the first few weeks after me finding out I was craving the taste of Becks. No idea why because it’s not something I ever drink! Maybe they’d prefer this alcohol free Becks…

Yeah, me either, I’m just here trying to provide some ideas!

Are you a serial New Years Resolutioner? What’s yours for this year?

Mother Hermit xx

 

This is a collaborative post with Vapelux

 

*Prices correct at time of writing this post on 5th December 2016.

 

 

 

Santa’s watching…

Ah the magic of Christmas. It’s back with me full force now I have kids, especially as my daughter will be three in January and now has a bit more understanding of what’s happening and who the famous Santa Claus is. I’m not going to lie; I’ve been taking full advantage.

Earlier this year, around Summertime, my daughter was still heading to bed every night with a bottle with at least an ounce of milk in, routine more than anything as it was getting to the point where she’d take it to bed and fall asleep without drinking it. Obviously, this resulted in her bedsheets smelling rather foul in the morning and that would add another load of washing to my already ridiculous washing pile. I attempted to convince her that she was a big girl now and no longer needed to take the bottle to bed, but she wasn’t having any of it and the tantrums she was throwing before bedtime just weren’t worth it; so, she kept the bottle.

She also had her dummy, pacifier, plug, whatever you want to call it, that thing that shuts her up for five minutes, every single day. This one got on my nerves, the older she was getting I just couldn’t stand to see it in her mouth all the time. The dribble and not being able to understand what she was saying, which then resulted in frustrated tantrums from both of us, was just far too much to handle. I love seeing babies with dummies in, they look super cute and I love the comfort they provide, but heading on 2.5 years old it just starts to get in the way of things.

This is where the fat man stepped in. Not my other half, Father Christmas, aka Santa Claus or Santy to us North Easter’s.

My daughter came home from nursery one day asking some questions about said fat man; they must have mentioned it within the session. So, I showed her some pictures and generally explained the jist of it in toddler lingo- “If you’re a good girl he’ll bring you some presents!” Well her face lit up like a Christmas tree and I had a lightbulb moment; the classic threat of ‘Santa’s watching’.

The next day I decided to go for it and told my daughter that Santa had been on the phone and said that she’s getting such a big girl that she no longer needs milk in a bottle to take to bed and should start having milk in her cup with her supper. At first she didn’t seem too convinced, so I explained to her that Santa is always watching and that he would know if she was being a bit naughty and not listening to him. Harsh maybe but my word it worked! After the usual bath routine, we headed up the stairs, read her story and that was it; no kick off’s, didn’t ask for it more than once and ever since then she’s always asked for a small cup of milk with her supper. Done. Bottle gone.

The next day I decided to push my luck slightly and try to get rid of the dummy! As we sat down to breakfast I told her that Santa had been on the phone again and told me how proud he was of her for ditching the bottle but he’d been watching and thought that she was such a big girl, she no longer needed her dummy during the day. This one she pulled a bit of a face at and looked a little worried, but she then handed me her dummy with an “okay Mammy” and seemed to forget about it. This one is obviously a bit more difficult for her as she’s used to having it whenever she feels upset or tired, but I’m pleased to say that she’s come so far and with the help of my rather crafty ‘Santa’s watching’ threats, she now only has her dummy for bed time.

So, if you’re trying to get your little one out of some bad habits, give it a go, you just might be surprised at how well it works.

And remember, Santa’s watching…nicholas-1817081_960_720

This post was first featured on MeetOtherMums.com

Win a Mathmos Neo Lava Lamp!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, last month you’ll have seen my review of the Neo Lava Lamp from Mathmos. Well now’s your chance to get your hands on your very own! Just follow the Rafflecopter link below and complete the steps to enter! Good luck 🙂

Neo4

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full T&C’s can be found on the Rafflecopter webiste. Competition ends 11.59pm on 14/11/16. Prize sent directly from Mathmos.

Heading Back to Work

When I went on maternity leave with my daughter I had every intention of returning to work part time after I’d spent a good nine to twelve months off with my baby. Having spent those first few months together, practically just my daughter and I alone every day, the idea of going back to work just didn’t appeal to me at all and quite honestly started to get me really down. I decided to forget all about it for a couple more months and told work that I’d be taking the full twelve months leave I was entitled to. As I spent more and more time with my daughter, watching her grow into the beautiful little character she was becoming, work became even further from my mind.

After having a good conversation with my partner and working out our finances, both if I returned part time and if I didn’t return at all, it turned out that after travel and childcare costs, working at that time just wouldn’t be worth it. The thought of working to pay for childcare, someone else spending all of that time with my child and the thought that I might miss important milestones in her life, just didn’t sit well with me at all. So the decision was made and although we would probably struggle financially some months, I handed my notice in to terminate my working contract altogether.

Now, I don’t think in any way at all deciding to be a full time, stay at home mother is an easy option. I’ve seen a lot of people spout their opinions on social media that being a stay at home parent is ‘lazy’ and how people just do it for benefits. I understand that sometimes this can be the case but not always and it’s unfair to be judged like that. We weren’t entitled to any benefits at all because my partner had a wage which was ‘adequate’ in the eyes of the benefit system, to cover the three of us. Lazy though? Really? Whenever anyone has the audacity to ask me “What do you do all day?!” I like to answer by simply sticking two fingers up in their face. They’ve clearly not spent an hour with a toddler in full tantrum mode, never mind a day! Some days are harder than others and when I think of my old job sometimes I’d prefer to be back there in the office talking to angry customers than feeling the wrath of my toddler in said full tantrum mode!

By the time my daughter was sixteen months old I began toying with the idea of looking for part time work to enable me to have a few hours out of the house child free, having something for myself and to help contribute to the household income to take a little pressure off my partner. Typically, when I had decided to go for it and apply, I found out that I was pregnant again with baby number two, our son, and work was once again the last thing on my mind as I focussed on raising my daughter, preparing her for being a big sister and enjoying my pregnancy!

Now my son is six months old and my partner has the flexibility to work from home, it made sense to start looking again, especially to get some pennies in for, dare I say it, Christmas! On a usual weekly trip to our local supermarket a couple of weeks ago I noticed a sign advertising numerous part time opportunities and I decided to go for it! Being called for an interview was a bit of a shock if I’m honest, even though I’d applied I wasn’t expecting to be asked in, but the interview itself was a bit of a breeze. I’ve never been so relaxed for a job interview and the hour of adult conversation without my kids being involved was amazing and I actually enjoyed it- even though I was being interviewed for a job! I walked home afterwards and didn’t get very far before I received a phone call offering me the job- hurrah indeed!

I haven’t started yet and have a few more days before training but I’m excited, which kind of makes me feel a bit bad. It’s not that I’m looking forward to having the time away from my kids- okay well maybe a little- but the feeling of having something for me, being able to do four 4 hour shifts each week where I’m known as Vanessa and not Mama is quite appealing to me. I’m sure my kids won’t mind too much when it comes to the bit of extra money I’ll have to spend on them anyway!

Mother Hermit xx

This post first appeared on www.meetothermums.com

My Autumn Kitchen Wishlist

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ve probably realised by now that I’m a massive lover of cooking and eating food. I’m also a huge fan of gadgets and as my kitchen is my favourite room in the house I love to buy new bits and pieces and gadgets for it and being a busy mammy I want things that will make the food-prep routine just that bit easier! Recently I’ve found loads of new things I’d like to try and as the dark nights are drawing in and the casserole and soup season is creeping up I thought I’d put together a wishlist of what I’m after- well wishing for! (Massive hints if the other half is reading this!)

Joseph Joseph Dot Water Bottle

Joseph Joseph Dot Hydration-Tracking Water Bottle, 600 ml - Green
Image Taken from Joseph Joseph website

Okay so this first one isn’t exactly a ‘cooking gadget’ but it is an amazing gadget. I’m in love with all things Joseph Joseph so it’s difficult to choose just one thing but when I noticed this one I fell in love all over again! As I’ve just returned from my holidays (about 3stone heavier) I’m wanting to get back into the healthy lifestyle, eating better, exercising more and the all important making sure I drink enough water each day. I’m totally rubbish at this part. I always lose track of how much I’ve drank and usually don’t drink enough. This Dot Water Bottle has a hydration counting lid which enables you to keep track of your daily hydration goals as it displays a new dot every time you refill so you can keep track of how much you’ve drank. Pretty amazing right? And what’s even better is that is comes in 4 gorgeous colours and only costs £10.00! I NEED one! You can grab yours here.

Kitchen Craft Cast Iron Book Stand (Lakeland)

Kitchen Craft Cast Iron Book Stand
Image Taken from http://www.lakeland.co.uk/

I’ve been looking for a kitchen book stand for months and haven’t actually found one that I knew for sure I wanted until I came across this gorgeous cast iron one in Lakeland last week. I absolutely love to cook but I don’t usually follow recipes, I alter everything- except my Mam’s recipes. This would be perfect in my kitchen so I could stand all of my Mam’s old recipe books on whilst I’m cooking. As all of her recipes were handwritten I’m usually too scared to have them out incase I ruin them by splashing ingredients all over them. This one is £24.99 too which I think is a total bargain- you can find it here.

Panasonic Combination Microwave

Microwave Oven NN-DS596B
Image Taken from Panasonic Website

Okay, why do I not already have one of these?! These little beauties really are the future. As I mentioned before I’ll be starting my healthy eating from next week and these combination microwaves would be absolutely perfect to accompany me on that journey!

“Experience fresh gourmet meals with minimal effort thanks to the Panasonic Steam Combination Oven. The oven boasts Turbo Steam, a healthy way to cook food while preserving vitamins, and Panacrunch which evenly cooks food to perfection, making it perfect for low-fat grilling. Cooking fresh and healthy food has never been so simple.”

You can understand from this quote taken from the Panasonic website why I need one of these, yes? It sounds amazing and they look gorgeous, it would fit in my kitchen perfectly. The turbo steam technology sounds fantastic as I always steam my vegetables but can sometimes forget about them and steam them just a bit too much. Not only does that result in me eating mushy veg for me dinner (great for the baby who’s currently weaning, not so great for me- I have teeth), but it also worries me that all of the goodness has been sucked out of it by that point. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of Panacrunch but it sounds good doesn’t it? Obviously you don’t have to be on any kind of diet to have one of these beauts in your kitchen but knowing that you can cook a meal without all of the usual unhealthy cooking methods being involved is brilliant, especially as a mother, it would give me that bit extra peace of mind knowing how healthily (and quickly!) their dinner has been prepared. You can find all of the Panasonic Combination Microwaves here.

Morphy Richards (48280) Fastbake Breadmaker

Image Taken from Amazon.co.uk

Now I had a breadmaker years and years ago when I was around 18 or 19 and moved out for the first time. Obviously making bread wasn’t really what I had on my mind at that time so it never got used and eventually got thrown away. I try not to eat too much bread these days as it all sits around my middle- but I’m just too addicted and have to give in to a slice or two every now and again. My Mam has always been amazing at making bread and bread loaves and I’m now starting to get the itch for it. Memories of waking up in the morning to the smell of fresh bread, I want those memories for my kids too. This one came up on my recommended items whilst I was browsing on Amazon.co.uk. I was surprised to see that it can bake a loaf of bread in under 1 hour which is a bonus for busy parents and it’s only £59.28 on Amazon at the moment instead of £119.99! You can find it here.

Tefal Easy Soup Maker (Lakeland)

Tefal® Easy Soup Maker
Image Taken from Lakeland Website

Another one I found on Lakeland is the Tefal Easy Soup Maker. I have an addiction to soup, honestly, it can be the hottest day of the year and at the end of the day all I’ll want to do is snuggle in front of the television with a mug of hot soup- homemade is best. Which is why I totally NEED this soup maker. I love to make soup from scratch but I always end up making a huge pan of it and no one else eats it so I have to freeze it all then eventually throw it away when Gareth buys a pizza which is the size of the moon and we need to make more room in the freezer! That’s why this one is totally perfect as all you need to do is chop your ingredients, fill the maker, choose the settings you wish (chunky, smooth etc) and then set it away. You then have soup and according to the reviews I’ve read this will make about 2 decent sized mug fulls- couldn’t be more perfect for me, especially with the autumn coming. Another bonus is it’s only £52.39 and you can find it on Lakeland here.

So there you have it, that’s my kitchen wishlist for autumn- I could go on forever but I’ll leave it at those 5 for now 🙂

Mother Hermit xx

 

*This is a collaborative post*

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Billy, 6 Months Have Passed…

I honestly cannot believe that I’m sat writing this, my son Billy is now 6 months old exactly. You know when you’re pregnant and people always say things like “Make the most of every second” and “They’ll be teenagers before you know it”, those comments that have you giving them a sneaky eye roll because you’re simply sick of hearing it. Yeah well I now know that they only say it because it’s true! Billy is my second child so I’ve experienced it all before, having a newborn and then what feels like a few weeks later they’re in a walker feeding themselves and blowing raspberries at you (that’s what Billy is doing right now LOL), but this time everything seems to have gone by even quicker!


Billy was a water baby, born in a pool in the Birthing Centre on 20th February 2016. (I’m yet to write a post of my birth experiences but that will be coming soon so i’ll not go into it here) As he was born in the water and gulped quite a bit before the last push, he was very mucusy and spent the first week or so bringing up every single drop of his milk and all of the excess water he had taken from the pool. This sent us into a bit of a worrying phase as we really thought he had reflux. Fortunately though after the first week, maybe week and a half, everything settled down and by 4 weeks old he was having 8oz bottles of formula per feed and only waking once during the night.
By the time we got to around 10/11 weeks we quickly found that the formula just wasn’t enough for my growing boy. His sister was exactly the same at this age. We tried him on 9oz bottles but after 8oz he wouldn’t take any more milk but would still give us his hungry cry. I managed to hang on until around 12/13 weeks and then introduced baby rice twice per day. I was making the usual 8oz bottles but using 1oz to mix with a few scoops of baby rice in a bowl and spoon feeding him that once in the morning and once in the afternoon. This worked a treat and he took to the spoon straight away, and the rice obviously which after two weeks was changed to baby porridge as the rice was no longer enough by this point!


Now his feeding routine is usually something like; An 8oz bottle of formula with a slice of toast and some fruit in the morning, another 8oz at snack, a full pot of savoury food, and full pot of sweet and an 8oz at lunch time, another 8oz at dinner time, another 8oz after his bath with 2 fromage frais and some snacks (fruit & veg sticks, fruit puffs, crisps etc) in between all of this. I couldn’t tell you what he weighs, I haven’t taken him in a while as as you can probably tell, I’m not worried about him in that way at all! I appreciate that people might be reading this thinking I did the whole weaning thing far too early but I knew what was right for my baby- every baby is totally different and what worked for mine won’t necessarily work for another.
Sleeping wise he’s perfect. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m so calm and laid back with the kids that they’ve both been excellent sleepers, or I’m just really lucky. He goes down between 8/9pm and wakes between 7/8am and doesn’t get up at all during the night. Although this might change soon as we’ll be moving him into his own room next week! Quite a scary thought as I love being able to hear him breathing and see him through those little bars on his cot during the night, but it has to be done- I need to be able to put the light on at bedtime!


Development wise he’s getting there. He loves lying on his playgym and rolling around all over the living room floor but isn’t keen on tummy time and pushes himself straight back over. He uses his feet to push himself backwards in some weird launching pattern and actually manages to get quite far- but this is on his back LOL. He loves being in his Jumperoo and if you’re following me on Instagram you’ll have recently seen him practically taking off in it! He’s also just started going in his walker and although we’ve had no movement yet he’s trying his best to get it going! He’s now in his highchair at mealtimes which makes the whole feeding mixed with baby led weaning so much easier and he sat up on his own for the first time while we were at a picnic with my fellow North East Bloggers a few weeks ago!


Billy is such a happy and placid little boy who is always giving you smiles and giggling away at his big sister. Everyone often comments that you forget he’s there because he’s not a pick of bother and never makes a noise unless he’s really hungry or blowing raspberries at you. Or his new one of “Ba ba ba ba ba ba….”. He’s recently started teething properly though which is an absolute nightmare because I hate that I can’t help him with the pain. I’ve started filling his dummies with water and freezing them which seems to be working a treat as he can bite down on the teat which is full of ice! Hopefully he’ll cut his first one soon and the rest will swiftly follow.


So that’s my boy in his first 6 months. A beautiful little boy who is fast building his own cheeky character and developing his own little personality which I am utterly besotted with. The bond he has with his sister already is incredible and I cannot wait to see what happens within the next 6 months!


Mother Hermit xx

 

 

 

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