Thursday, 30 January 2014


Yesterday's post edited for today. Once again the week or weeks have flown by and suddenly I haven't done Toddler Thursday, Food Friday, Silent Sunday or much of any other posts that I had intended for ages... I have them in my head I just haven't been able to put them down on here...

I have listed more items on Ebay and responded to posts on Facebook selling items so fingers crossed (I have joined 3 groups with the sole purpose of selling some things and then leaving) things will start to improve soon. ZC is also in a better routine thankfully. Well, she's actually in a routine! ;)

I have been concentrating on Toddler Thursday with IP today and DP has kept me on track with it (he asked me and her this morning what we were doing).

I previously intended to consider starting planning, advertising, researching, etc, both the potential of starting a small business from home - Quinton Crafts (making amongst other things, nappy cakes) - and I had thought about volunteering options. Welllll decluttering has stalled a bit at the moment and I haven't changed how I view things enough. I am still looking at things thinking 'I spent money on that so maybe I can reuse it for x'. Even DP said the other day 'why not just bin it'.

I sorted through my craft cupboard a few weeks back and at the time thought 'Am I really going to get round to doing x y or z' and now I'm sat here thinking it's very unlikely. I/we (DP & I) had always said that I would look at the possibility of getting a job or focusing on starting a business when both our children are at school ('full time'). IP is due to start 'Precoce' (preschool) in September but I will still have a 1 year old ZC... So I suspect I have at least 3 years before both children are not at home 'all day, every day' (using the phrase loosely, we're rarely at home all day every day).

I had planned to do this in a different post but this is my 'after' sorted craft cupboard... The 2 top boxes are 'Xmas' projects and sewing, that was when I thought am I actually going to use this stuff? The other box is nappy cake items, the caddy is stuff to do with IP on 'Toddler Thursday'. The drawers are nearly empty and the box has 'supplies' in it. Well that's the other thing I did recently, went through our present drawer and I have masses of wrapping paper but also masses of present bags... So I am hoping to really think about things, like do I know what I plan to buy for presents in the near future and if I do, how will it be wrapped? 

The stupid thing is, I literally got rid of a big pile of things a while back and the next day replaced it with more - that is utterly ridiculous! So what am I going to do about it?

  • I am going to go through my 'craft' cupboard again and get realistic (this is amongst other areas).
  • Mentioned yesterday: I am going to schedule in time to write blog posts as I do miss it. (not entirely sure how this is going to work as I have Krav Maga on a Thursday night and it finishes at 9:30pm so the chances of me writing a post afterwards... I guess I'll have to be mega organised?! ;))
  • I am going to put everything down at 10pm and start heading to bed, so that I may actually stand a chance of getting to bed at a decent hour...
  • We're also planning a major 'sort out' of all our stuff. We can't get into our storage room ('cave') at the moment which for the size of this apartment is ridiculous. So DP is going to help me by bringing boxes up and then I can sort through them... I hope to make a good start before then but we'll see.
  • And unless something is virtually brand new I'm not going to worry about selling it. I have enough items that are brand new to sell on ebay/ facebook without worrying about things that have been half used! So my welly boots I've worn on 3 holidays are going to be recycled but the nearly brand new Dr Brown electric steriliser is going to be sold... When, annoyingly, I can get onto ebay! :/ (I was writing this yesterday and trying to log on and it wouldn't let me. It has now :))

I am also pleased that virtually all my 'orders' have arrived so I'm feeling a lot better in terms of what I wear, my protective gear for Krav Maga has arrived so I don't have to keep saying I haven't got it on (I get disapproving looks, it's dangerous if I forget to say and I already have to ask to speak English) and we all slept pretty well last night. I of course put this down to myself and ZC wearing green amber but it's probably nothing to do with that...
(The lady in this picture I think is the assistant class 'leader')

So I am feeling reasonably good but there's still a long way to go and I haven't forgotten about my blog, it's just my daughters, home and life takes priority. But I do miss writing so really hope to 'get to it' sometime very soon! :)

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


Apologies that this is going to be a poorly written post because it's late but I wanted to tell you about my thoughts today....

I did start writing another post but I'll worry about that later. Today my cleaner, not for the first time has commented that we have a lot of 'stuff' in a smallish apartment and she's right. This made me realise I really need to take decluttering to a new level. I have a pair of welly boots I NEVER wear. I have worn them I think on 3 'holidays' at a festival. My husband tried to tell me I would wear them again and then agreed that I should just recycle them... So when I next get the chance, I hope tomorrow, to start deloading my home of extra 'stuff' aka clutter...

And tonight I have just posted an item on Ebay to try selling the items bought recently that are virtually brand new and cost a lot. Those are the only things I am going to spend my time actively trying to sell...

My other decision for the day is I'm going to really try to put everything down at 10pm and go to bed... Hence why I say this will be poorly written because it's already 10:40pm! But whatever I'm doing that is so important will still be there tomorrow...

Lots more to tell but it can wait. Oh and I really hope to start scheduling time to write posts properly because I miss it...

I will make a conscious effort that I don't have to keep worrying about clutter so I can spend more time with my gorgeous girls... 

I just had a crazy idea I might try... Is it possible for a parent to live with only 100 items that are their own?...

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Toddler Thursday Week 2:

Ok this is really annoying... I am exhausted and have already written this once so I apologise if this doesn't make as much sense... :(

I started researching yesterday what I could do for Toddler Thursday as I had already had some ideas but didn't want to 'use them all up' at once... I knew I wanted to use Rainy Day Mum's website as Cerys gave me some great help and hints and her site inspired me to actually create 'The Adventures of Mamma'.

Then this morning came. And IP wanted an activity & I was tired and grumpy... ZC woke me at 4am onwards rather than the usual 5am. :( Soooo I quickly grabbed the Christmas cards. And hunted for IP's new scissors. Couldn't find them so I cut whilst she 'helped' but she seemed to enjoy the sticking as much anyway:

Then I needed a lunch for her and thought we'd try this but with a bit of variation (different cutters):

Lastly we had half a banana left that was 'past it's best' so I decided to try mashing it up and it turned out IP loved that it was like 'baby food':

Then for dinner I was exhausted but we needed to eat so I quickly heated some Uncle Ben's rice in the microwave & persuaded IP to try stuffed tomatoes. She wasn't thrilled but I got some dinner into her:

This was my dinner:

Lastly credit where it's due: I was chuffed to pieces that DP actually remembered 'Toddler Thursday' when he rang this evening... (He's gone out after work) :D 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Toddler Thursday & Food Friday combined.

I know, I'm cheating a little by combining them. But ZC had vaccines on Wednesday and didn't sleep very well Thursday evening which means that DP & I are still trying to catch up and my new bedtime of 10pm... Well I've not written this post yet and it's 10pm! (And we're half way through an episode of 'Strike Back' on tv, despite my resolution last year not to watch so much tv) so forgive me for cheating a little.

My activity with IP for today was cooking her tea - 'Toddler Tea' as we call it - so that's why it counts as Food Friday as well. 

And the recipe was 'Spaghetti Pesto Nests' taken from a book containing finger foods for babies aimed at Baby Led Weaning.

She was supposed to be breaking the spaghetti in half...

Parmesan and pesto

Pesto mixture, includes phili instead of the tofu

Cook the spaghetti, drain then add to the pesto mixture

If you want the full details of the book I do plan to check and add but feel free to message me.

I guess IP got overtired because the spaghetti was going to be her lunch but she threw a wobbly so I suggested a sandwich.

She seemed to enjoy spreading...

But apparently doesn't like carrot...

ZC had a particularly sleepy, not happy day so IP 'comforted' her with a hand.

Spaghetti pesto nests! :)

I also printed off colouring sheets for her...

She seemed to quite like them! ;)

Then eventuallyyyyy after I sat eating tea that she decided she didn't want, she suddenly decided she wanted her own! :D Thank GAWD!


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Announcing Toddler Thursday!

I realised at the start of the new year that I already have less than a year before IP starts at the Luxembourg equivalent of preschool, called Precoce. When I realised this I started a mild panic, as at the time she'd had 2 full weeks almost, at creche just before Christmas and I was just beginning to feel things might be getting on track with ZC but I wanted to make the most of the 9 months approximately that I have with IP before she goes to Precoce - they start the September after their 3rd birthday and we hope that she'll be able to cope with virtually full time hours (and if she can't then she'll be napping a lot when she's home so I still won't have time with her).

Particularly in the last week I have come to realise what a well behaved and lovely little girl she is.

Then whilst she was playing with DP over Christmas I had an idea...

'Toddler Thursday

I am going to try to do at least 1 activity with just her every Thursday. I have asked creche if ZC can go from 6 months old (which will be from March time), so she can go on a Thursday for me to have the time with IP (& she already appears more sociable so I think she'll appreciate it anyway). Coincidentally (and I am sure it was a coincidence as DP was away on Tuesday this week and she's seemed more tired than usual so I think her routine played a big part) she woke up this morning and asked first DP if he could play then when he said no he had to get ready she asked him if I could play with her. He said yes later and then when she came running in I said about today's activity...

I have various activities in mind and most importantly I thought I'd try to blog about them to give myself the kick to complete them and also to keep some form of 'diary' for later (& of course if anyone needs ideas).

Having said that, I hope that the reason I'm sooo tired today is due to other things - too much sugar from chocolate for one thing because right now I am planning on trying to make not only mine but also both girls bed time earlier! :D (IP was rubbing her eyes at 7pm - her bed time is normally 7:30 & Dadda was due home 7:20 and as ZC had 'jabs' yesterday she's slept wayyy more than normal anyway).

This does mean however that until ZC becomes more stable & potentially independent I am going to try to give myself a break from 'stressing' about stuff at home. It's going to be hard (I know that contradicts itself) because I am a natural stress head and worry about everything but I realised this week that I will never get this time back with IP whereas I can do bits at home as and when and worry about it properly later. I tried to have a rest when both girls were napping today and was thinking of some more 'radical minimalism' in our bedroom (we have a chair that I realised we don't really use but there's nowhere else I can really put it and that set a whole chain of thoughts off) so I doubt I'll be able to literally not stress over stuff but I do hope to not pile on the pressure of 'it must be done NOW' at least for a while.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

2014: A new year so new goals?

As the term 'resolution' implies you'll probably not stick to it, the latest term I hear a lot is 'goals'. I haven't made specific 'goals' and they're nothing new for me but I realised today that I have been consciously trying to implement them in the new year and for a reason so I thought I'd share them with you:

I realised on Sunday that I was seriously unbelievably moody - one minute I was crying, the next angry, the next sad, the next happy. And that's not who I want to be. I felt trapped, like I hated my life but didn't know where I wanted to be instead. I didn't want to leave and I love my family and friends, I just felt fed up. I also do not want to have to take medication as I never have before, I'd rather take natural steps first (and then if I have to I know I've done everything). So what could I change?

1. I realised my diet (on Sunday in particular) was appalling. When I remembered to eat (so my blood sugar levels had probably plummeted, which on top of feeling tired anyway, is not good for me) I was grabbing a bit of chocolate and a coffee to stay awake and give me energy. Yeah, well done Mamma, that's really sustainable and gonna help!

So as we had an overload of chocolate over Christmas and as we had very little 'good' food at home I raided the recipe books and did a quick vague sort of meal plan for the week, including food for me & food for IP that was healthy enough, quick and hopefully vaguely interesting. I collected the food shopping yesterday.

Yesterday I felt better. I still have a long way to go but I did feel better. I ate 3 'meals'. So far today I've not done as well but I'm getting there... (and my plan this afternoon is to 'clear up' our fridge & do any prep. for recipes)

Another 'issue' 2 is IP is small for her age and doesn't seem to be eating or drinking much at all. This isn't helped when my diet and habits are not only appalling but I don't make time to encourage her but I worry still that she doesn't eat or drink. So I attempted to cook an exciting meal for IP with her but she decided she wasn't interested afterwards which was a tad frustrating - I had to seriously 'coach' her for half a hour non stop to eat her lunch but she ate it well and she did eat something for her dinner (2 or 3 babybels, a few mouthfuls of her actual dinner of tuna on muffin & about quarter of a banana) so that was positive.

3. I don't like that I keep shouting at IP or resorting to the tv - over Christmas in particular everyone else had started saying 'IP your mother is talking to you' and she would just completely ignore me, which was really getting on my nerves. Yesterday I realised she's actually way 'better' than I give her credit - I could hear her moving toy boxes and assumed she was making a mess so was saying if you are you're in trouble... Nope, she switched 3 toy boxes over yesterday! (started with dress up in the LR, then she wanted duplo so I said put the dress up away, then whilst I was saying don't make a mess she was putting duplo back and getting arts & crafts out). I had always assumed that as she's 2 and a half it was due to that and it probably largely is but actually I need to give her more credit and count to 10/ take a deep breath myself. I also need to let her have a lot more independence I think... (but that's a whole different topic)

Yesterday afternoon she asked to put the tv on and I considered it. I was sooo tired and we still had a while before DP was due home (and then he was late but he's got a big day today so ya' know, I can't really have a go). But I said no and we played with her duplo a bit instead... I had a routine in mind for the week and wanted to start implementing it so figured the first time she asks for the tv I can't very well give in, as nothing will ever change if I do that. I often feel tired, that isn't likely to change any time soon. So yesterday was our day of taking the recycling but I had already done it so we collected shopping etc instead. I am thinking of making Monday 'take recyling & get money from the cash point' day except that they're in 2 opposite directions, but...

She was also unbelievably helpful with her baby sister - she asked what her outfit said - 'Keep calm & cuddle me' (from a friend) - then held her arms out to cuddle and when she went to bed for her nap wanted to cuddle & kiss ZC. Delaying ploy or not, I was happy she doesn't hate her sister, cos I do worry and I know DP considers it.

4. Self Image - Tied in with the moods, I have watched and plan to attend a martial arts class - Krav Maga - to kill at least 3 birds with one stone and I now know probably 4... 1. 'me' time. 2. exercise 3. getting aggression out andddd I discovered 4. It's in French so hopefully I'll improve that as well! (I chose this because the police here apparently attend and more importantly I loved martial arts in the UK and need something regularly where I am shamed into working hard).

I have ordered some new clothes as I was still wearing maternity stuff because it's what I had - my jeans for example fit because of the stretchy waist band but I had a mixture of maternity tops and baggy tshirts from trying to breast feed. As luck had it, c&a - ie not expensive - had some tops that suited me so I picked up a few in different colours.

5. Return to blogging regularly. I actually miss it and I also find it frustrating that there's sooo much I want to post about and never get the chance to write them! So I hope to consciously start doing this again soon. ZC is getting bigger by the day - she's now 3 months officially and I noticed a decline in her this week which in turn is actually positive - she's currently on medication that stops working as she gets bigger/ gains weight so as I wasn't sure if it was helping or not, it obviously is because she's gained weight so needs her dosage increasing! Anyway as she hopefully settles more into a routine, sleeps until 7am better and gets used to 'life' hopefully I'll get more time...

Oh also we need to look at sleeping. Our apartment isn't big enough for ZC to have her own room and I am just now realising how much of an impact it has on my sleep. With IP she went into her own room fairly early coincidentally and it meant I didn't wake up every time she snuffled but also she didn't wake up whenever we breathed. I have only just realised how much of an impact ZC being virtually next to me has on my sleep but also I daren't put her in the same room as IP in case they then disturb each other...

6. The last part will probably be the hardest for now. I think I am going to try putting anything 'extra' on hold. That doesn't mean don't do things as I doubt I'll ever achieve that but I have a HUGE long list of areas of my home that I want to go through and declutter, I haven't finished Project 333 for the 3 of us girls, the kitchen is a mess, I want to declutter my 'craft' cupboard, do lots of projects with IP & make room in said cupboard for cleaning supplies (which in turn would help, I hope, our cleaner). But knowing I have a massive long list plus secondary items like going through my emails is becoming a major burden on my mind. So I'm going to try to improve how I feel first, hopefully so it all becomes second nature - ie if I eat properly and attend exercise classes hopefully I'll naturally find it easier not to shout/ sleep better/ have more energy and then worry when I have the chance, about doing things.

Also I realised last week that IP will start 'preschool' (precoce) in September and we planned to send her as full time as she could cope with (she still has a good nap if doing lots) so I hope to be able to spend some quality time with her and I don't want to be stressing at her because I have lots to do on my list and I'm being moody. We believe IP has benefited from going to creche because she was always very shy and seems much more confident since going. I think ZC is already a lot more 'chatty' so would benefit from going to creche so she can meet new people, get used to different adults looking after her and also the structure (The thought of IP going almost full time to preschool if she hadn't previously been to creche terrifies me).

So do you have any new years resolutions or goals? And have you started them?

Monday, 6 January 2014

DIY Toy box labels & other finishing touches.

Now if you have any ounce of 'craft' about you, you do not need to read this. To me it is quite simple and easy to do. It's the extras that aren't (simple & easy) and I haven't had time to do those yet. But just in case, as I am often told, I am doing a disservice to myself in assuming these things are easy, I decided this evening to quickly tick an item off my list & I may as well do a quick round up:

I first saw the idea here. Agesssss ago I searched for how to make a toy box label or something along those lines and found The Cottage Mama and that was the first time I read a blog I was actually interested in! :)

Just to clarify, I also got a tip via Baby Sensory (Jane who runs the Newbury class is awesome by the way!) that, buying cheap laminating sheets from somewhere like a £ land store and then you put the item into the sheet, you lay a tea towel over it & then iron it, does the same job as an expensive laminating machine...

I have since made the most basic labels - pictures stuck on with sticky back plastic onto the plastic toy bins This evening I am just printing some more labels... I need to sit down and decide later exactly what I'm doing and how much effort I plan to put into the labels in future because they change fairly often (this is often the case - that I 'plan' to do stuff *sigh*). For now...

First up is a 'dressing up' box label:

I google 'imaged' Doc McStuffins dress up & printed a picture of the dress up set that IP has been given. Then wrote 'dress up' in a word document, outlined in dark purple because IP's room colours are dark purple with a hint of brown, for 'The Gruffalo' & now also Doc McStuffins...

I then added an 'arts and crafts' box to keep her crayons & colouring books, etc in...
I have made the words much smaller & cut them small enough to go in the middle of the heart.

Puzzle pieces for 'games' in general...
And again, the word 'games' is small enough to fit in the centre.

And yes, you  may notice from the pictures below that I have gone the whole hog and used recycled paper!

Trains also inspired me that if I can get some solid wood or similar, I will show my husband that girls can do anything boys can do - aka make a train 'table'! But that's for another day...

Some items don't need a whole new label, just new wording to match the rest:

And I also printed photo's and words for their drawers whilst I thought about it:

Which reminded me to add ribbon to the hangers I bought ages ago:


Toy boxes:

Chest of drawers:
(Excuse my rubbish photo, I was trying to get it done quickly before IP came back into her room)

At the moment we have a mini grand piano in the living room, a box of baby toys & various bits dotted around for ZC, IP's wishbone bike, a play kitchen & then each week a box - currently she wants to play with her 'dress up' stuff - featuring Doc McStuffins (that I plan to make a doctor's kit to add bits to it) & a ladybird dress, received for Christmas. Kitchen 'accessories' are currently 'on holiday' because otherwise she gets distracted but also they end up all over the place. I have also had a sort out of all the stuff she didn't play with...

And last but not least, this January I have 'properly' implemented a '1 in, 1 out' policy on all their toys. So a few bits of dressing up clothes have come out the box, some train track set & some dolls bits recently. I probably could have taken more out but with the busy-ness of Christmas, New Year & visitors, I need to give myself a bit of a break...


Firstly, the photo I've changed "The Adventures of Mamma" to is taken from our walk over Christmas on The Gruffalo Trail which I plan (please note the word 'plan' - keeps coming up, *sigh*) to write a full post & include all the awesome photo's my wonderful husband took, in, later on.

Secondly, I have just realised how appalling my grammar was in the post about 2014 but I was trying to write and get it posted quickly, as I attempt to 'keep track' of 2 daughters under 3 years old & get back into some form of routine, as well as including updating my blog. Not brilliant when I know other blog writers keep it all on track, but hey, I'm not perfect ;)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hellooooo 2014!

A very speedy catch up and hello to 2014!

I haven't been really writing posts for 3 months now, ZC is 3 months on 6th January and then she finally decided to sleep from her 11pm bottle to her 7am bottle 2 nights running. Well, she was slightly unsettled the first night as it was NYE but the important factor for us is that she didn't wake screaming at 5am...

So I am hoping to be able to return to some form of normality again! That means getting on top of things at home -
My current to do list includes:

  1. Make/create a thank you present for someone - it will be included in due course on here!
  2. Reply to various emails (& *groan* that leads me on to sorting out my email inbox AGAIN - I have 17 pages and it's getting ridiculous!)
  3. Take donations to wherever they're going - in an attempt to get them out of our apartment I am seriously thinking of taking them to our local recycling centre. I had planned to take what was useful to a local charity 'Giving at lux' which matches items up to people who need them but like I say, I keep meaning to find the drop off point and haven't as yet, so...
  4. Ebay items - an equally large pile that includes the spare pediatric 'sleepcurve' mattress to IP's cot bed, needs to be sold on Ebay. That said, I am planning to wait for now as we figure I'll get more money if I wait... (And thinking about it, if I can last that long I may just go to the summer car boot sale)
  5. Various DIY crafts - toys for IP & crafts to do with her
  6. Bulk cooking - we're ok at the moment but the meals my awesome Daddy cooked won't last forever & I figure part of getting back into routine is including this...
  7. Project 333 for all of us girls - I've started this (thank you ZC for rather helpfully going thru clothes every 3 months!) but we need to catch up on washing so I haven't finished at all... I do currently have several bags of clothes waiting to go and ZC has all IP's hand me down's plus they both got more clothes over Christmas so I definitely need to par down. Whether I stick to 33 items is another matter BUT I certainly managed it last time with IP & ZC is maturing nicely so in theory we probably could...
  8. Paperwork/ - it's currently hidden by Xmas cards but there's so much random paperwork and 'junk' around!
  9. Filing/ - having reduced our filing down considerably last year, I want/ need to go through the filing box again rather than just putting it all away when it doesn't need to be...
  10. sort our shelves - as above, there's SOOO much junk. Also IP can now reach higher... (and I doubt it'll be long before ZC decides to crawl)
  11. photo's - I started sorting them on my laptop but need to finish. And I was also in the process of deleting the rubbish.
  12. laptop - as above... I used to do an annual audit between Christmas & NY but now it's taken up with family I think I'll have to re-position it during the year...
  13. I can't say names but my husband set me a challenge to buy an entire outfit for myself made under my kid's names. I have achieved the first part, I need to finish it AND I may need to lose some weight which relates partly to point 20...
  14. take items back to shops - bought before Xmas
  15. finishing touches to IP's room - labels etc. Some of her toys have gone 'on holiday' for a week so she actually plays with all her toys, a '1 in 1 out' policy has pretty much been implemented on her presents
  16. a few other bits that mostly fit into these OR I can't put the actual details due to names etc ;)
  17. Catching up and writing blog posts! ;)
  18. Using cloth nappies on ZC now I feel I can cope with the idea of extra washing ;)
  19. Doing some more volunteer work - I hope to help Serve the city, as mentioned above I wanted to donate items to Giving at Lux & I have emailed about a helpline that wants English volunteers...
  20. And today I have just enquired about a sports class! I am viewing from Monday I hope, Krav Maga...

I also noticed this post on a blog I read regularly and plan to try to implement part of it. The reusable bags, the shopping list paper, the best route to buy stuff on & I need to get back into the habit of taking IP and library books back... Having just done a quick google search, our local farmer's market is on a Wednesday. That's when IP is at creche all day so it certainly won't work doing both a library visit and a farmer's market trip in the same day if I plan to take her... (More thought required)

Another idea I have read on the above blog is donating hair. As I never know what to do with my hair so currently I just tie it up, I am thinking of doing the same...

Anddd I am waiting for the creche to reply as to whether ZC can go from 6 months old - April time - so that I can spend some one to one time just with IP as she starts 'pre school' (Precoce) in September. I'd like to do at least 1 dedicated activity with her on a Thursday - crafts, cooking, whatever but not just go to a playgroup... We'll see... I have 2 lined up and I of course plan to document it all here...

So apologies for the lack of photo's & posts but the littlest lady wants a bottle & then we're heading out... I have a separate list of blog ideas so I guess I'll be busy! ;)