I didn’t get my act together in time to make a sponsored gift guide for Mother’s Day this year (March 11th 2018 if you were wondering). These are all the things I myself would love to receive for Mother’s Day. It’s basically an elaborate post it note to my husband Richard. This is what I like (insert big flashy arrow here). I’ve already scored a couple of hours for an afternoon tea with my 7yr/o which I planned, shopped for, and booked myself and I am really looking forward to. Of course no material thing compares to the love and adoration of my wonderful angelic children and perfect husband, but here are a few things you (YOU RICH) could buy me just to say ‘we might not say it a lot, but you’re totally bossing this whole mum thing’. 😉

  1. Benefit roller lash mascara.

I’ve been binge watching Jeffree Star videos lately (girrrl) and he is living and dying for this mascara so now I want it too.

2. A cutsie or funny travel mug.

Not that I’m ever that sort of organised mum who thinks far enough ahead to have a coffee prepped in a stylish to-go reusable coffee mug but I would like to have one on the side that looks pretty so I can pretend I am. I love this one from ‘Be.’ but I think they’re in Australia, and I haven’t checked their shipping.

mum fuel travel mug

Photo credit: Be. living and homeware website.

3. A pretty spring scarf.

Anything sort of light and airy. This is one he might not think of because I don’t wear them often but they’re great to chuck on and I feel like they disguise my belly a bit. They are also oh-so-feminine so that’s nice too. This one is £25 from Monsoon.

S

photo credit: Monsoon website

4. A cake stand

I saw some lovely ones in Tesco but now I’m totally lusting after this wedgwood one with a gold trim. It’s my daughter’s birthday in March and we are having a princess afternoon tea so this present is *essential*. While there, just as well get some lovely little cake plates from John Lewis to go with it really.

cake plates

Photo credit: John Lewis website

5. Basically anything from the Lush shop

 

If all else fails a big bunch of bright flowers from Morrisons will do the trick lovely. Or you can order from Prestige Flowers. Don’t give me chocolate (I’m on a diet, obvs) or wine because I don’t really like it & I’m happy to just drink your gin, or vouchers (totally not thoughtful and lazy). Oh unless it’s make up vouchers and a lot of them for posh make up then I can completely understand.

 

MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOUR.

 

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

PIN IT FOR LATER

 

Date Night – do you do it or do you think it’s overrated? It had been 2 years since me and my husband had been out on our own without the kids. If you’re a married maid like me I’m sure you can appreciate how rare a nice date night is. So, we booked a table and a babysitter and went out for a slap-up meal.

10 year wedding anniversary

In two months’ time I will have been married for 10 years. Like most people, we’ve been together longer, so it’s 13 years altogether. We used to go out a lot. We’d go to the cinema all the time, we even had monthly passes. We’d go out to eat together just if we fancied and with both of us working and just one cat to take care of it was easy to do. We went out with our friends every weekend. Things have changed on that front since having our children and it hit me a couple of weeks ago that it had actually been 2 years since we had been out together!

We went out to a local Italian restaurant. I had been there before with friends but Rich had never been. We knew it was within running distance of the house. It worked out well that we could walk there and back and both have a teensy drink too. I wanted to wear something nice and make a bit of an effort but it was cold and as my mum used to say ‘You can’t make a silk purse of a sow’s ear’ so I wore jeans as usual and just put extra eyeliner on.

That thong, th-thong, thong, thong

It was in the getting ready that my contemplation began about the term date night. It really was not like dating at all. It started in the daytime, making sure the baby didn’t nap too long. I started getting ready at 5pm so that I could do the baby’s bedtime. Instead of wine and music and thongs I struggled with a pair of spanx, which I’m now convinced are too small for me. Realising he could probably find my naked body in a line up with a blindfold on I realised the futility of the spanx and thought I’d rather enjoy my meal so took them off again. Already it was more like a scene off Bridget Jones than anything else.

When you’re dating you’re trying to get a measure of someone else. Trying to find a snapshot of that person’s life and seeing if you would fit well together sharing life. When you’ve been married for ten years you couldn’t know a person more. I would just feel like a twat trying to do flirty conversation with Rich, he’d look at me stupid. Also there’s nothing I can ask him about himself that I don’t already know. I could chart out this man’s bowel movements. I know he likes football, I know he’s kind and caring. We’ve spent the last 13 years side by side. I know what he’s capable of. Equally, he can tell if I think the person two tables over is being too loud, if I don’t like the food or I’m trying to stifle a laugh at someone who just tripped over. More than this, I can’t hide from him if I am bored out of my wits with the conversation!

A shared sense of humour

Luckily for me, I married good and this fella makes me laugh so much (when we get chance to actually finish a sentence or two between us). We had a nice time and after -I must admit- an initial sort of ‘oh shit what am I going to say’ when I realised I had no fall backs, I relaxed into it and enjoyed myself.

We were only out for two and a half hours, and as I’m sure is quite normal we had one of two little beings still awake when we got home but it was totally worth it and it definitely filled up my cup. Walking home I thought I would rephrase ‘Date Night’ to ‘Keeping in Touch night’ and he was already talking about planning the next one so I can’t have been too boring either!

Date Night

 

If you liked this post, you might like to read one I wrote about how me and Rich work as a team even though I’m a SAHM.

Having children is a wonderful experience no doubt about it, but when it comes to our parenting we all have doubts and fears that crop up from time to time. Having just got through all the ‘when are you having another one?’ comments from friends, family, and strangers in shops, let me give you the inside scoop on the stuff nobody talks about openly…

1. When you’re pregnant at some point you will cry that nobody will love your eldest anymore.

They will and they do, trust me. Babies are cute, but they don’t do much. Your eldest is probably developing at an incredible rate learning amazing new skills every day and becoming their own person and family will be just as interested in this as they always have been *whilst* doting on the new baby as well. You will find friends eager to include your eldest in the whole thing, talking to them about being a big brother or sister and maybe even putting a little something in with the baby’s gift for them too. Friends rock.

2. You will worry if you can love the second child as much as your first.

You absolutely will. Love is an amazing thing that you cannot measure out into jars or share out like skittles, and mum’s are awesome at it! You will have that rush of love every time you look at your second just as you do when you look at your first baby, and it will knock you off your feet.

3. You will be just as excited about development milestones

Watching a tiny human learn how to crawl and walk never gets old. You may have heard other parents blithely say it all blurs into one on your second baby and yes, you may not be able to remember exactly how old they are in weeks and hours but it won’t mean you feel any less invested in their physical and mental and emotional development. It’s all joyful second time around too, and you have another tiny person to celebrate it with too!

4. You will have a ‘what have I done?’ moment

Nobody really says this out loud but I’m sure we’ve all been there. I hold my hands up and say I definitely have. Some days are just harder than others and there might come a time where you’re stood outside the car wondering how one of you is supposed to get two of them and the shopping out, and in which order. It does get easier, promise.

5. Your heart will swell when you see them together

When you see your eldest trying to comfort your crying baby, or the two of them cuddled up on the sofa or playing a game together, something in your soul will go off like a firework in a way you never even knew possible.

Parenting is hard, whether you have two children, or one, or six, but there is always some beauty to be found in amongst it. A sibling bond is an amazing thing to feel part responsible for helping to cultivate. If you are pregnant on your second, don’t kick yourself for having these type of thoughts – you won’t be the first or the last. Siblings are awesome!

 

My breastfed baby had a cow’s milk protein allergy so I had to switch to a dairy free diet. I ate dairy free for approximately 18 months which was around when my baby was slowly able to tolerate dairy products. These meal ideas are dairy free, really easy to make, and full of goodies for nutrition which you need lots of mamma! Don’t worry if you don’t like salad, there are lots of healthy things you can eat.

5 simple dairy free meals for breastfeeding mums: 

1. Turkey Meatballs

High in protein (the building block for growth) and low in fat.

In a mixing bowl, combine turkey mince, cooked onion & garlic, breadcrumbs, one beaten egg and dried herbs. shape into balls and cook on a baking tray in the oven for 20mins at 180°C

2. Spaghetti Bolognaise

Use wholewheat pasta to feel fuller for longer.

Fry onion, garlic, beef mince or Quorn. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and stock made with a beef knorr stock pot (dairy free). Simmer until sauce has thickened. Serve over wholewheat pasta or spaghetti.

3. Mashed avocado on white bread.

A very quick but tasty lunch, white bread provides calcium and the healthy fats in avocado may help with milk production.

Mash an avocado and spread straight onto toasted white bread, no butter needed! Serve with fresh carrot sticks. (Top tip – keep any unused avocado in a tub in the fridge with a piece of chopped lemon to prevent it going brown.)

Avocado

4.Peanut butter bagel with chia seeds

Nuts will help you feel full while chia seeds are calcium superstars. Buy from your local supermarket, no need to visit a special health store to find them. Simply sprinkle about a tablespoonful over a bagel spread with peanut butter. If avoiding peanuts, swap for mashed banana – it’s nicer than it sounds! (chia seeds are also nice sprinkled over porridge).

chia seeds

5. Parsnip and carrot soup

Root vegetables are full of fibre which will help you feel full and keep you regular. Use pre-chopped veg and chuck in the slow cooker to make it even easier.

Fry onion and garlic in a saucepan with a little olive oil, add 3 each chopped parsnip and carrots and about a litre of dairy free stock. Add a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger and a teaspoon of mild curry powder. Cook until the vegetables are soft and blend with a hand blender. Serve with fresh bread and dairy free spread (vitalite is nice). dairy free soup

I hope these five easy dairy free meals have given you some inspiration. If you’ve only recently gone dairy free, it does get easier! What’s your go-to quick dairy free meal that’s easy to make? Let us know in the comments.

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dairy free meals

Except the days when it’s not and I feel more like staff. The tired list of tasks on replay in my mind. Planning to spend time with my daughter when the baby naps. Wondering when the best time will be today to have a shower. Not speaking to another adult for an entire day. Being a stay at home mum should be easy, but sometimes it’s just hard.

Everything’s Fine.

Ask me how I am and I will say good, because things are good. My husband goes to work every day to a job he enjoys, he earns a good wage and I quit work 7 years ago to stay home and raise our kids. Together we’ve made a nice home, we have nice friends, we go to church every Sunday as a family. There is nothing ‘wrong’. I will tell you things are good because they are, and because I can’t quite put my finger on what isn’t.

 

 

Everything's Rosy, Thanks!

 

Homeschooling my 7yr old and caring for my 15month old baby means my days are busy and filled with the over-riding sense that not one of us is quite getting their needs fully met. If I’m singing with the baby my 7yr/o is watching YouTube. When I’m teaching my daughter, the baby is pulling my trouser leg for attention. When I’m cooking or cleaning, they’re both watching Peppa Pig. If there is any pause in the day I can guarantee it is some kind of meal time. Meals which take me time to make (and I hate cooking) then battle with my daughter to eat and at the end throw most of the food away anyway.

Feeling Valued

My list of tasks -usual stuff like laundry- conflicts with the real reason I’m home which is to spend time nurturing my kids. Chiding myself that I even want to waste time on the house while simultaneously feeling the most accomplished I have all week when it’s mess-free. Feeling resentful that such menial tasks are my only way of feeling valued. Breastfeeding a toddler to sleep whilst typing one handed.

Things are good, overall. But sometimes the day-to-day can get me down. It goes without saying that I am so grateful for my family. I thank God for them every day, lots and lots of times a day.

I don’t have much to moan about when my life’s biggest stressor is whether or not to brave the supermarket with two kids in tow. But I seem to have managed it anyway! There are much bigger things to worry about but sometimes it’s just harder than it looks from the outside looking in. I can kindly give myself the grace to say that is OK, and you can too.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday