Recipe: Love Heart Biscuits

Yesterday, Bird and I made love heart biscuits. They were a lot easier to make than I thought they would be and look really nice, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you. We got the recipe from a book called Ready, Steady, Bake: cooking for kids and with kids, which I really recommend. It’s my favourite recipe book by far – there is so much simple, delicious stuff in there. I’ve just copied the recipe here and added my own thoughts in italics.

You will need:

  • 125g Butter/Margarine
  • 85g Icing Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • Red food colouring (a few drops)
  • Strawberry extract (A few drops)
  • Vanilla extract (a few drops)
  • 285g Plain Flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (Gas 4). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Beat the better and icing sugar using electric beaters until creamy. Add the egg and beat. Transfer half the mixture into another bowl. Add the food colouring and strawberry extract to the first bowl, then beat well. We didn’t use the strawberry flavour because we didn’t have any, but the biscuits were still lovely.
  3. Add vanilla extract to the second bowl and beat well. Divide the flour between each bowl and mix. Make sure the mix is quite stiff, not sticky. Mine was sticky at first, which made the next step impossible. 
  4. Roll the portions between sheets of baking paper to 5mm thick. Cut shapes with a heart shaped cutter. Using a smaller cutter, cut hearts form inside larger shapes. Swap inner shapes. This step should be quite easy. If you’re having trouble cutting the shapes or moving them about without them squidging (like I did!), try adding extra flour.
  5. Place on the trays and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

I found this quite a simple recipe to do and the biscuits were utterly delicious! We’ll definitely be making these again, and perhaps be trying out with different shapes and colours as well. Happy baking!

Reasons To Be Cheerful – Week 11

  1. Yesterday I had a soak in the bath with some gorgeous-smelling bubbles which was very relaxing. It felt extra good because the bubbles were on special offer so saved some pennies there too!
  2. Baby Turtle has settled down a lot more and no longer objects to sleeping in her cot.
  3. Today I made biscuits. The last time I made biscuits was many years ago and they were a disaster. I am proud to say that today’s batch was not at all disastrous and Little Bird enjoyed helping out. Pictures to follow!

Have a fabulous week!

Mother’s Day Meme

Describe motherhood in three words. Tiring. Scary. Wonderful.

Does your experience differ from your mother’s — how? I’m sure we had very different experiences! My mother raised my sisters and brother as a single parent. When I was born she went to work and my father took care of me. The opposite of me and mine! We also parent in quite different ways, which I think is in part due to the different times that we had our children in.

What’s the hardest thing about being a mum?  Having to keep going when I’m really tired or unwell.

What’s the best thing? My children growing into their own people, becoming individuals and showing their kindness and creativity. The fantastic, uninhibited imagination of children, and when they share and play together.

How has it changed you? It’s changed me a lot. I care more deeply about things. I consider things more carefully before making a decision. I have become a happier, kinder person in order to set a better example for my children.

What do you hope for your children? I hope that they will find people that love them and things they enjoy and that they will be happy in whatever they do.

What do you fear for them? I worry that my mental illness may affect them as they grow up, that it may cause them to resent me for not being as good a mother as I could be, or worse that they will suffer as I do. I worry that society’s traditions and ideals will drag them down.

What makes it all worthwhile? Cuddles and kisses. The faith that my children have in me, even when I’m doubting myself.

I’m tagging any parent that would like to give this a go! If you’d like to read the original meme, it can be found at more-than-a-mum.com

The Crazy Mum Returns

I’ve been away from the blogosphere for a while. I’ve tried writing posts, but somehow it hasn’t worked out. This is about my fifth attempt at writing this post. I’m struggling with a lot of things at the moment. I don’t want to sound like I’m having a whinge, but I do want to try and be honest. I hope that if anybody reading this feels, or has felt, the same way, my honesty will help them, even if it’s just to know that they aren’t alone.

My depression is getting worse, I think. There are times where I can’t face anything, so I just sleep, and I feel like those times have been more frequent lately. When I am awake I am often very down, don’t know what to do with myself, or panicking about nothing. I hate that feeling of anxiety, and I get it more and more lately. Sometimes I panic for a reason, like money or being late, or most often, using the telephone.

I’ve never really liked the telephone. It’s always made me a bit nervous. I’d rather talk in person or even better, communicate in writing. I’m quite shy and I always seem to stumble over my words on the phone, so I’d rather avoid it. Recently though, it’s been worse. I’m no longer a bit nervous about it. I’m scared. I panic when the phone rings, and I can’t bring myself to make phonecalls. I don’t know exactly what I’m scared of. With companies, I am often scared they’re going to spring a surprise bill on me. With personal contacts that they will remind me of something I have forgotten or failed to do, that they’ll think badly of me. I forget or fail to do a lot of things, usually because I’m too busy being miserable. I can’t tell them this though, which means to them I just look lazy or stupid. All of that aside though, I am just really frightened of talking on the telephone. To anybody. I wish I didn’t have a telephone.

Something else has cropped up lately as well. I don’t know what it is. Paranoia, I suppose. Fear. I’m frightened a lot of the time. Thoughts just come into my head and then I’m frightened. On the way to one of our parent/child groups, we go down some concrete steps. This would not have caused me a problem before. I would have walked down the steps, and warned E to walk carefully so as not to fall and hurt herself. Now, suddenly I’m thinking about how easy it would be for me to fall and hit my head, and what would happen to me. What would happen to Bird and Baby Turtle without me there to guide them home. Then I am walking down the steps in fear, taking every step with utmost care, holding tight onto the railing. This isn’t the only example of this kind of thinking. What if a car swerved while I was walking on the pavement? What if I accidentally dropped Baby Turtle? I know we mothers are natural worriers, but it’s not normal to be scared like this all the time, is it?

I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want to be depressed or anxious, or scared going about my daily life.

I finally plucked up the courage to call the new doctor. This was a victory, because:

  1. I used the telephone.
  2. I didn’t chicken out when I was put on hold
  3. Seeing a doctor is scary even without the telephone part, especially after the last time.

The receptionist was very apologetic when she told me there were no appointments available. I could call again the next morning, or take a pre-booked appointment. I took a pre-booked appointment for the end of the month. If I’m feeling brave I’ll try and get an earlier one and cancel the one I don’t need.

I hope this will be the beginning of getting better. I hope this doctor will help me, because I don’t know what I will do if they won’t.

Because this post is pretty miserable, here are a couple of positive things about the last couple of weeks:

  • We now have a dining table so we can have nice family meals together in the evening. I think it helps us all bond, which is very much appreciated as I often find it very hard to feel close to my children when I am down.
  • I have a Thorntons ‘Love Fudge’ Easter egg waiting in the cupboard. I am looking forward to devouring it when the time comes.

I hope you are all doing well!

Reasons To Be Cheerful – Week 8

I’ve missed a couple of weeks of this due to moving house and having very little access to the internet, but I’m back again now with reasons to be cheerful!

  1. We’ve settled into our new home and it now takes me 15 minutes to take Frog to school and get back, rather than 1 hour, saving me about 90 precious minutes of my day.
  2. My favourite baby product, CJ’s BUTTer Creamy Lotion, is on special offer at the moment.
  3. Yesterday we reconnected with some old and very good friends and it was great to spend time with them again.
  4. I won a nappy in a Facebook competition. It arrived this morning and was coincidentally in my favourite colour.
  5. Tomorrow we’ll be off to Ikea to buy Baby Turtle a proper cot now that we have more space, and I’m looking forward to setting it all up nicely for her.

Have a fabulous week!

Hooray For Boobies! (A Breastfeeding Meme)

1. Why did you choose boob over bottle?

I don’t really feel like it was a decision. I just wanted to breast feed, despite most of my family (myself included) being bottle fed. The only reason I switched to bottles after a while with my first two is because I had concerns about their health, and I wish that I could have had more faith in my body and managed to nurse for longer. This time around I am really glad to still be nursing and wouldn’t have it any other way. I think if I had known before what I know now, I would have continued with breast feeding and not needed to use formula.

2. How long did you breastfeed or are you planning to breastfeed?

With my first two, I only managed a couple of months each. This time we are at 7.5 months and I have no intention of stopping until Baby Turtle decides she no longer wants to feed from me. Personally, I hope this is not for a long time as I love feeding her!

3. What is the best thing about breastfeeding?

The intimacy of holding her close to me, and having her drink the milk that my body has provided for her. Also now that she’s older, the way her face lights up a bit when she sees my breast.

4. Did you have to overcome challenges on your breastfeeding journey?

We have been really lucky. The worst I’ve had to deal with is sore nipples in the early weeks and around four months when she had a growth spurt. The soreness cleared up quite easily with some Mother’s Balm from Neal’s Yard Remedies that I was bought as a new-mum gift.

5. Who supported you the most with breastfeeding?

My partner has been great, and also a lot of women I’ve spoken to on parenting forums. I think it’s hard for some of my family to be as supportive though, just because they have no experience of breast feeding and don’t really ‘get’ it.

6. How did you feel when you first breastfed in public?

With my first I didn’t breast feed in public at all! I expressed milk and took a bottle out with me. By the second time I wasn’t embarrassed any more and now I feed wherever I am. I am proud of my feeding, and while I do it discreetly, I won’t shy away from giving Baby Turtle milk when she wants it. I’m lucky to have never had any negative reactions. Most of the time people don’t even notice she is feeding, even when they come up to coo and stroke her hair!

7. Have you been questioned for breastfeeding?

Not really. My family don’t really understand it. They seemed to think I was a little mad for having no routine and not knowing when she’d next want a feed. They accept that it works for us though. I expect that I might get questions as Baby Turtle gets bigger and if she chooses to feed later into toddlerhood or pre-school age. I’m not particularly worried about it though. I love nursing and will just answer questions honestly.

8. Has breastfeeding made you feel different about your body?

Yes, it has made me appreciate my body a lot more. I feel a real sense of pride in that my body is providing for Baby Turtle as she grows (and for Frog and Bird sometimes if I express milk!) and in the closeness we share when she feeds. It has also made me think a lot more about how I look after myself. I think much more about what I eat and drink because in essence it is also what Baby Turtle eats, so it’s making me more healthy in my effort to keep her healthy.

9. What do you wish you had known before making the decision to breastfeed your baby?

I wish that when I was feeding my first two I had known to have faith in my body’s ability to produce enough milk for them. I wish that I had known that even if my supply was lowered, it could be replenished if I persevered using formula just to top-up when necessary rather than switching completely.

I am tagging

Any boobie mum that would like to give this a go!

Reasons To Be Cheerful – Week 6

  1. In less than two weeks, we will be fully moved into our new house. No more worrying about stairs, lack of space or bothering the neighbours. It’s also given me an idea for a blog-hop I’d like to host.
  2. I went to parents’ evening and Frog’s teacher spent the time mostly saying how bright, hard-working and attentive Frog is. I’m so proud of her.
  3. I have bought some new duvets and bedcovers and they are gorgeous. I love new bedding! Looking forward to snuggling down in our new home!
  4. My last reason, with the risk of sounding really soppy, is my other half. He is passionate, sensitive, helpful and handsome. He is always there to support me, even when I’m being an idiot, and I feel very lucky to have him.
To link in with New Bloggers Fortnight over at Mummy From The Heart, this week I would like to share with you a blog I have enjoyed reading recently. Sarah at FluffyDumplings.co.uk blogs about her experiences as she tries out cloth nappies, and can also be found on Twitter @FluffyDumplings.
Have a great week!

Cloth nappies, mixed race hair and crafty mummy chatter