Friday, 28 January 2011


Big C handed me a little insert from The Guardian called "Quick and healthy breakfasts".
Here's the list:

  • grilled sourdough with ricotta and herb paste
  • fruit salad in cardamom and lime syrup
  • sweetcorn cakes
  • grilled pink grapefruit with star anise
  • bircher muesli
  • mushrooms with sourdough croutons
  • irish oat porridge with banana, mango and coconut milk
  • chickpeas on toast
  • congee
  • braised eggs with tomato, spinach and yoghurt.
The sad thing is that none of these things looks even remotely appealing to me.  If you do fancy one of them though, the recipes are on this link

So anyway, I do like a bit of variety at breakfast time, and the idea of being stuck in a rut with the same boring breakfast every day is terrible to me.  I also like to try to include one of the 5-a-day in breakfast.
So here is my list of tasty breakfasts:
  • cereal - yes, we do have it, especially if I'm having a tired or struggle-to-get-out-of-bed morning, but I try to vary it, and also to include a handful of fruit, even if it's just a chopped half banana or handful of raisins.  My absolute favourite is Kellogs Start, but I'm also happy with Bran Flakes or Corn Flakes or their shop brand alternatives.
  • toast - again, this is one to alternate with cereal on days when doing anything more interesting is a challenge, and preferably with a piece of fruit or glass of orange juice to accompany.  I have mine with marmite, jam or marmalade.
  • toast with either fried mushrooms and scrambled eggs, or tinned tomato and bacon.
  • eggy bread (with cinnamon) and slices of apple lightly fried in butter (yum!)
  • pancakes (with fruit or stewed fruit)
  • scotch pancakes (as above)
  • porridge (with fruit stirred in) - I'm not averse to Oat so Simple, and have had a bit of a Readibrek craving just lately too.
  • Fruit smoothie.
  • Fruit salad with yoghurt and a sprinkle of toasted oats.
  • Fresh bread with home-made nut butter (made with cashew nuts, sunflower oil and honey mashed up in a pestle and mortar) and sliced banana.
  • Of course the traditional Scottish or English breakfast sometimes on the weekends
  • Sausage or bacon butties
There, I feel much better now!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Not sleeping...

So I'm spending a lot of time awake in the middle of the night at the moment.  A combination of needing to go to the loo, baby having a good wriggle, Braxton Hicks contractions and... and this is the worst culprit... dreadful pelvic pain is meaning that I am often awake in the wee small hours.  It gets to the point at around 5am when I am in so much pain that I cannot keep still.  I know that if I stay in bed I won't go back to sleep, and am more than likely to be disturbing Big C, who has a full day at work in a high pressure job to get through - while I get to relax at home with Little C and take a big long afternoon nap.  So I'm getting up.

But what to do with myself at 5am?  I check my e-mails, look at a few blogs, but essentially I feel that I am wasting an hour or so when I could be doing something more constructive (while my men are asleep!).  If I went upstairs into the study instead of through to the sitting room I could be working on some writing, or getting some Scout training validated or planned.  If I had everything ready and it didn't involve digging noisily around in the craft area, then I could get on with some of the hand sewing on one of the many craft projects that I have on the go.

So there we are - a resolution.  I've another 6 weeks before baby's due to arrive.  I'm certain that I'll be up early on quite a few mornings out of those 42 - so I'll get some crafty things ready, or get upstairs and do some work, instead of gravitating to the sitting room.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Ahh, now that's better!

The turn of both the year and the weather has cheered me up no end.  The snow and sheet ice has finally gone, leaving January frosty weather, and even this morning no frost at all!  Don't get me wrong.  It's not that I dislike snow - it's just when it hangs around for six weeks and doesn't go away.  Finally this week I have been able to take Little C out for a walk every day, either on foot or with the pushchair.  He gets so excited whenever it's time to put on boots, coat and hat, it's wonderful.

We've also managed to get out in the garden to play (Little C) and clear up some of the detritus that has been under snow since November.  

I've got high hopes for a beautiful garden this Spring and Summer, but am also conscious that I have a baby on the way in March, so I'm largely relying on perennials, bulbs and shrubs which have survived a harsh winter.

We made a beautiful ice decoration, for which I found inspiration on one of my favourite blogs, Border Stories, here and here.  

They are so easy to make.  You basically get a shallow container (plant pot saucer), lay string around or through the middle, put in a couple of decorative items, pour on some water, and leave overnight on a cold night which is going to be below freezing.

The next morning you take it out of the saucer and hang it up somewhere until the weather warms up enough to melt it - mine lasted about 24 hours until we suddenly had a day above freezing, but I'm already to do it again when the temperature drops once more.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Making stuff for little people

Here are my latest two projects:

The first is a knitted toy tiger, another pattern from Jean Greenhowe which is for the new baby when it arrives in a few weeks.

Because it uses doubled up double knitting yarn and fat needles it's really chunky and very quick to knit.  I'm really pleased with the result and thinks he looks dead cute.

One of the first knitting patterns that I ever followed was for this knitted rabbit from "Easy Baby Knits" by Claire Mongomerie.  I never bothered with the tension square (does anybody?) and I used cheap very bright coloured wool instead of whatever was recommended.  But it was for Little C on his birth, and it has been in his cot with him (one of only two soft toys he has in there) ever since, and eighteen months on is very much loved.

The second project was a bit of bodyshop repair work on Little C's Christmas present.  We got him this cardboard car from the Early Learning Centre.  We figured it was inexpensive and just the fun of painting it would provide hours of fun and entertainment, even if the car didn't last.  Bear in mind that the recommended age range of this car is 3-6 years.  Little C has some difficulty climbing in and out, so it got a bit battered.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Toddler development

I just had to share a few of the gorgeous things Little C has been saying just lately.  I love the way his mind is constantly busy trying to make links between things and working out what everything is called and who it belongs to.  Here are a few of the latest:

He has a pop-up Thomas the Tank Engine book, but was a little rough and a cow's head came off.  He was very worried about it: "Mooo, sore" for some time.  I took the book away and said that I would try to fix it, but over the next few hours, a sad face occasionally appeared, accompanied by "mooo, sore".  This morning I proudly showed him my repair, but as he looked at it, patting the repaired head, we were still treated to "mooo, sore" as he remembered the disaster of the previous day.

He knows that there's a baby in my tummy.  Looking at the enormous expanse of stomach this morning he pointed his little fingers at my tummy-button - "baby button"!  You can't argue with that...

Just a week ago we had dinner at the pub with our friends Gemma and Steve, and for the first time Little C was able to name somebody apart from Mummy, Daddy, Tara, Nana and Grandad.  We definitely had Stebe and Memma (who were tickled pink).  At the swimming pool yesterday morning we saw Steve, who told us that Gemma was still in bed, enjoying her day off.  This morning Little C was obviously still thinking about this.  Out of the blue a little voice looked up from his book to tell us, "Memma... bed"

Oh yes... he is gorgeous... and I'm so proud every time I look at him, and every time he pipes up with something new.  What a star!

I know that he's only 18 months old (tomorrow - eek!  Where has the time gone?), but I've also noticed a) his love affair with books already - long may it last, and b) he's showing an interest in letters and numbers.  I thought I'd harness this while it's there and have made some letter shapes out of cardboard.  

They are 8x6cm, and I've painted numbers one colour, and consonants and vowels different colours.  I've also, perhaps unconventionally, gone for capitals rather than lower case to begin with (I plan on adding lower case later), and when talking about the letters we use phonic sounds rather than letter names.  At the moment he is most interested in C (for Car), D (for Daddy) and M (for Mummy).  I don't quite know what we'll do with them yet, apart from playing matching games and just talking about them and playing with them.  I guess I'll just follow his lead.

I just got a cardboard box and opened it out, marked in lots of 8x6cm rectangles (Little C helped by drawing all over the cardboard at the same time, I made sure we had two pencils!).  Then I drew out a capital letter in each rectangle and cut them out.  I started by using scissors, but quickly changed to a craft knife (with plenty of layers of card and a plastic mat underneath so as not to scratch the kitchen work top).  Once all were cut out, I just painted them.  I have them in a shoe box, which I now need to decorate and entitle "The Letter Box".

Friday, 14 January 2011

A flurry of winter

I don't want to write much today as I'm feeling a little blue.  

I hate to be negative, especially about what is supposed to be such a magical experience.  But I admit it.  I find pregnancy something of a struggle.  

This time I'm finding it even harder than last time, and I look at the next seven and a half weeks before my due date stretching before me and sigh.  That's seven and a half weeks of struggling to get up the stairs; of waking at 5 in the morning to go to the loo for the second time in the night, and not being able to go back to sleep because my pelvis and hips hurt; of not being able to crawl around on the floor with my 18 month old, or carry him very far.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Chocolate butterfly buns

It's still cold, snowy, icy and beautiful out here.  What else is there to do but get on and do some baking?  After all the Christmas gluttony has made short work of all those extra treats, and when it's cold and you're pregnant who wants to start the New Year on a diet or health kick?

Recipe for Chocolate Butterfly buns

110g margarine
110g caster sugar
2 eggs
85g self raising flour

Butter icing:
60g margarine (I needed a little more than that)
110g icing sugar
85g cocoa powder (I used drinking chocolate powder and needed less than this)


Friday, 7 January 2011

My latest list

I'm a list maker.  Some people write lists and then write lists of lists, and never do anything with them.  Some people don't understand list writing.  Some people relish lists, tables and spreadsheets.  They make them feel just a little bit of control over this crazy chaotic thing that we call life.  I'm one of the latter.

Just lately it's been getting me down a little bit that I don't contribute anything financially to the household.  Don't get me wrong.  I adore being a full time mum. But when Big C is reluctantly dragging himself out to work with a heavy heart each morning, I kind of wish that I could do more to lighten his load.  Looking after a toddler full time though, and being 7 months pregnant with number two (and finding it heavy going at the moment), as well as all the shopping, housework, laundry and cooking, don't leave much time or energy for consistent efforts at money making.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Sand Adventures

A trip to the beach and an unexpected lorry on our return made for a wonderful New Year's Day.

I do have lots of photos of Christmas.  But you all know what too many presents, family enjoying themselves, lots of food and a toddler getting a little bit overexcited look like - so I thought I'd jump straight to New Year.

Big C has commented a few times over the last couple of days about the quality of the light.  It's true, after the Solstice on the 21st the light does seem so much clearer, and up here in Scotland the time of sunset seems to extend so dramatically for those first couple of weeks.  Life really is filled with hope for the beginning of a new year.  It helps of course that things have warmed up enough to melt at least some of the snow (though I think further cold is expected over the next few days).  I can really see why beliefs that centre around the turning of the seasons are held, and festivals celebrated that focus on seasons and nature.

But... being almost 7 months pregnant and with a 17 month old toddler, and temperatures rarely getting above freezing, and thick snow or ice all over the place, it turns out that over the past few weeks I have been horribly cooped up indoors.  Big C realised this, and with a day off work today for the first time in a couple of weeks, decided that it was about time we went out somewhere.  This being Scotland though, and Hogmanay, it turns out that not much is open.  We spent a little time thinking about it, and checking websites, and then made the snap decision to go to the beach!