Hare We GoGo!

Following on from the hugely successful GoGoGorillas! In 2013 and GoGoDragons! In 2015, Norfolk based children’s charity Break has again teamed up with Wild in Art to deliver a mass participation public art sculpture trail. 

For 11 weeks during the summer (24th June- 8th September) you can hunt out 50 hare sculptures in the city of Norwich and 18 around the beautiful county of Norfolk.  There are a further 164 baby hares, or leverets, that form the learning programme of the project, called GoGoCreate.  Schools (including Cawston Primary Academy, Lyng Primary, Hainford Primary, St Faith’s Primary to name a few) community groups and sports clubs have decorated their own baby hare and you can find them all over Norwich.

Norwich and Norfolk have so much to offer and you can use the hares to help you plan a summer of days out.  From the beach at Great Yarmouth, Cromer or Hemsby to the Norfolk broads where you can take a cruise on the water.  You can cycle, walk or have a picnic whilst exploring what our wonderful city has to offer. 

Inevitably over the summer holidays there are things that you need to do and that’s not always easy with children.  Having something like the GoGoHares trail keeps the children occupied making going into the city and getting jobs done a lot easier from hunting for a super hero to laughing at a funny bunny!  It’s great fun for all the family.  You can get yourself a copy of the GoGoHares map from The Forum, Norwich and tick them off as you find them and if you’re feeling flush you can bid for your favourite hare at the charity auction on 11th October.

For more information visit GoGoHares

 

 

My Nanny’s Shortcakes

When I was younger we would go to my Nanny and Grandad’s house every Saturday morning, and without fail my Nanny would have made shortcakes.  Now my Nanny was far from a baker, in fact she was actually rubbish at cooking anything, vegetables were always boiled to a pulp and she once went to the supermarket asking the fishmonger for mong-e-trout!She was however the only person I know who can eat a whole box of Magnums and still want more and was the queen of Mars Bar Cake and Shortcakes!

When I moved out, my mum (who is an amazing cook, taught by her Nanny!) gave me a recipe book with all of my favourite things in, as well as her go to recipes.  Nanny’s Shortcakes were right at the front!  The taste and smell remind me of really happy times with two of the most important people who have shaped my life.

Ingredients:-

  • 1lb of self raising flour;
  • 2 oz marge;
  • 3 oz caster sugar;
  • sultanas;
  • egg;
  • milk;
  • extra caster sugar to dust the top.

Method:-

Put flour, sugar and marge into a bowl and rub together (like you would for scones) until there is no marge left.  Add a handful of sultanas.  Crack one egg into a separate bowl and make up to 1/2 pint with milk.  Add to the dry mixture and mix together.  It can be quite wet, but that’s ok.

Put onto a lined baking tray and flatten with a spatula or knife.  Sprinkle caster sugar over the top and bake for 15-20 mins (until brown).  Sprinkle more caster sugar on the top when it’s taken out of the over and still hot.  Let it cool (but not too much as they are delicious hot) and cut into pieces.

The corners are by far the best pieces to get and we’ve had many fights over them.  I even remember my Nanny seeing us pull in her drive and her hiding a corner in the kitchen drawer so she’d get one as we would always take them all!

They are best eaten on the same day, which lets be honest, isn’t really a problem is it?!

 

 

Summer Infant Pop ‘N’ Sit Portable Booster Seat

Now that the sunshine seems to finally be here we spend a huge amount of time in the garden and eat outside whenever we can.  We very rarely have a mealtime when someone doesn’t spill a drink, outside it doesn’t matter – I love it!

We usually take the highchair into the garden, which isn’t ideal but obviously not a huge problem.  However, I’ve found a great solution without having to do this.  The Summer Infant Pop ‘N’ Sit booster seat is great and so far we have used it in the garden, indoors, at friends houses and even to have a picnic in the woods.

It’s brilliant, Milo is safe and secure and he can eat or just play with toys on the tray.  I can’t tell you the amount of times that we’ve been out for lunch or in a coffee shop and there’s been no highchair and I’ve either had to have leave Milo in the buggy or balance him on my knee (which is not ideal with an 18 month old who wants to be independent).  The seat has straps so you can attach it to any adult chair so he can be at the table as well – problem solved!

It folds and fits into a carry bag and fits easily under the buggy.  I keep ours in the boot of the car, so I’ve always got it with me.  Let’s be honest, you never know when you might need it.

The Good Bits:-

  • Lightweight, folding frame sets up in seconds, perfect for feeding or playtime
  • Detachable, dishwasher safe tray
  • Includes 3-point safety harness and chair safety straps for use on adult chair
  • Convenient carrying case makes this booster perfect for a day in the park, at the beach, or trip to a friends house
  • Up to 3 years, max 15 Kg

Being Nit Picky:-

  • When Milo is sitting in the chair with the tray on, he can push it off which is not ideal when his tea is on it!

If you’re looking for something to take out and about to make life a little easier when it comes to eating and playing safely, or just something that means you can drink a hot drink uninterrupted, then this is a great buy.

 

 

 

*Affiliate Link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.

 

Disclaimer – This is a personal blog, all opinions and views are my own.

Sparham Pools

There are so many beautiful places right on our doorstep that our children adore. As a mother of six it’s about economising and making our own fun and this is an excellent example.

Sparham pools (located just into Lyng) is a wonderful nature reserve that consists of a walk of around a mile (it takes us about 45 minutes) with gorgeous scenery and wildlife. The walk to the pools is an adventure for the children over the bridge past the mill with the expanding fields and valley laid out before them. You can extend the walk all the way to Lenwade (which is around a 4 mile return walk) along the Wensum Way and see the young lambs running free, eat the sublime Fish and Chips (as long as you remember the correct opening night) and walk off all those calories on the way back. There is some off-road parking if you’re not lucky enough to be able to walk there but the walk isn’t suitable for buggy’s so get your carriers on if you have a little one.

During past walks the children have been lucky enough to see deer, herons, swans and even an adder slithered between us. There are little boardwalks over some marshes, jetty’s into the pools and all these things inspire the children’s imaginations.  We’ve taken picnics and the children have paddled in the shallow water. There are cows grazing with warnings clearly marked.  You can take dogs, but there are parts where they must be on a lead.

It’s brilliant to see the children outside taking in all that nature has to offer reaping the benefits of fresh air and exercise, having them use their imaginations and the time and opportunity to chat.  So if you have a spare hour, take a walk and enjoy this local beauty spot, you will not be disappointed.

What do you do without a vehicle (and it’s half term!)

When our faithful family fun bus (aka Ford Tourneo Transit) decided to die on us my heart sank.  5 days until the children finished school for Easter and there was no way I wanted to be without a car for half term!

Well we’ve now been without the fun bus for nearly 2 weeks, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.  With the horrible, cold, rainy weather over the Easter weekend it was fine to not be able to go out anywhere.  We managed a few walks to just get some fresh air, and no one was really bothered about doing anything more.  However now nearing the end of the first week of half term, I can tell you that I am really not loving the fact that we cannot all go out together.

There’s been a few trips with Mr H taking his van and me taking our Clio, but that still means that we have to leave someone (it’s always the oldest) at home.  Most of the time he wouldn’t have wanted to come with us anyway but we did have a few family meet ups and days out which we’ve had to cancel.  We’ve

Why is it when you don’t have the means to go out, you want to go out all the more?  I love being at home, as do the children, we’ve done crafts, built dens, had picnics, watched films and walked to the park but there are jobs that need to be done out of the house.

So today is Happy Thursday – according to Mr H – he woke up with a real spring in his step and decided that today we would clear out the garages, make lists and get rid of ‘stuff’.  I can honestly say that we wouldn’t have done that if we’d had the fun bus, so I guess there are some pluses to not being able to go out.   I’m not really sure what the fun bit is yet though, I seem to have just made more piles of ‘stuff’ which need sorting out!

I really hope that we have the bus back before the weekend, because I’m not sure I’m ready for a Happy Friday, Saturday and Sunday!!

What do you do when you can’t get out and about?

And Then There Were None – RIP Bob

This week Bob (the guinea pig) died.  I’ve not always been a big Bob fan as I felt he was a bit of a sex pest, but I was actually quite sad.

You see what I didn’t realise in my ‘oh yes lets put all our pigs together and have baby pigs’ moment was that as soon as the sow has given birth the male pig will get her again (when I say get her, you know I mean impregnate her).  Honestly, I don’t even have any words for this.

So me in my, oh the piggies can live happily every after altogether left Bob with Tabby (who became known as the Wonderpig) when the baby pigs had arrived, not knowing what he was doing.  Tabby then went on to have another two litters and Bob was banished to ‘Camp Boy’ and we had separate hutches.  Poor Tabby could be left alone.  Bob fathered 13 pigs!  Every time I looked at him I felt cross, which is totally ridiculous I know.

Slowly over the last few months our pigs have been moving on (dying) until Bob was the last pig standing.  Clearly he wasn’t very well as he’d lost a lot of weight and he looked lonely, even though he had two rabbits for company.  So I took pity on him and he moved indoors and he became King Pig.  He was four, which in pig terms is pretty good.

Last week when Spring appeared I decided that Bob should have some fresh air and moved him back outside.  That and he was incredibly smelly!  Mr H laughed and said that I had sent Bob outside to die and every morning I was so relieved to hear his squeak when I went outside.

However, on Monday there was no squeak and he was lying on the grass dying, but not dead.  What do you do?? I wrapped him in a towel and brought him indoors.  There was nothing I could do as I had to get the children to school so I put him in a shoe box snuggled up.  I’d always found the pigs dead, so this was unknown territory for me.  I kind of hoped by the time I got home, he would be dead.

I’m a complete sucker for animals, let’s not forget that Bob was an impulse buy along with the rabbit on the way home from my brother’s house.  On school run I’ve come home with a baby pheasant and a kitten, I’m sure they see me as a soft touch.

Thankfully when I got back from school run, Bob had moved to the hotel in the sky.  He had pushed his nose through the hole in the side of the shoe box and was holding on with his teeth.  Poor Bob!

In true child fashion, the children said “oh no poor Bob” and then asked what was for tea.  Clearly I’m more traumatised by having pets than them.

RIP Bob.

 

 

It’s Mother’s Day

This Sunday is Mother’s Day –  for me that means a guaranteed lie in, breakfast in bed and not having to cook lunch or tea.  It’s a day where I get to be looked after by my children.  When the children were younger it was Mr H who had to do the looking after but now our children are older, they love being ‘mum’.  It’s fun for them I suppose, because it is just for the day, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be so keen if they had to do it regularly.

For me, it’s a welcome guilt free break from the day to day responsibilities of being not just a mum, but also an adult.  Life is crazy at times and is unbelievably fast, it’s easy to forget that you need time to stop and recharge so you can function.  In our house weekends are busy with football matches and being chauffeur to teenage social lives, with very little time to actually stop.  I’m not complaining, I love my busy (sometimes chaotic) life and wouldn’t want it any other way.

The new trend this year is all about self care, mindfulness, meditation and being happy on the inside.  The feel good stuff, that makes so much sense when you’re reading it but (for me) soon wears off.

How many times have you heard how important it is to look after yourself? after all you cannot pour from an empty glass! Little guilt free moments of kindness to yourself can make a huge difference to your mental and physical wellbeing. Like taking a relaxing bath instead of a quick shower to soak your tired body.  Getting a takeaway one night instead of having to cook dinner.  Taking your friend up on her offer to look after the children whilst you nap, read or just do nothing because how many times have you actually said “no, it’s ok”?!?  Clicking online so you don’t have to drag reluctant toddlers or children around the shops.  Following the children to bed and reading a book or catching up on some sleep!

Simply things, that can make it feel a tiny bit like Mother’s Day every day (because wouldn’t that be a treat?!?) and that we don’t feel guilty about. Mum guilt plays a massive part in my life from what food I give my children to eat every day to do I do enough with them, we don’t need anything else to make us feel guilty about.  I’m pretty sure I never read anything about mum guilt in the baby books!  Once a week I go to an adult choir (oh yes indeed, think Glee not Songs of Praise) which means that Mr H puts the children to bed and I just go.  There’s no guilt, the children are with their Dad and I sing my little heart out!

Some days I feel like Wonder Woman and can take on the world, other’s I’m more of an Elsa and just need to “let it go” and make things simply.  If the only way I’m going to get to drink a hot drink is by stopping at Costa when I’m doing the shopping, then mine’s a hot chocolate thanks!

Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!

 

It’s A Snow Day

The Beast from the East has arrived and today has been a Snow Day!  I cannot tell you how happy this has made me (not just because there’s no school run) but because for years all Felix has wished for is snow.  He asks for it for his birthday and it’s always on his Christmas list.  I had even considered getting a snow blower just so I could make his wish come true!

Every time there was “talk” of snow he would get excited and then nothing appeared.  The last time we had enough snow to actually make a snowman he was a small baby, so he’d never actually seen proper snow.  I bought a sledge two years ago, just in case, and it’s sat in the shed waiting to be used.

The squeals this morning were brilliant, and he was out in the garden with the others early (the early when 9 o’clock feels like tea time!).  He spent hours outside and all I could see was happy smiley faces.  It was absolutely freezing, -4 in fact, and they all just kept playing.

I bailed quite quickly because I have to be honest I’m not a big fan of the white stuff.  I hate being cold and the glare from the snow plays havoc with my eyes.  I end up with pink vision and a blinding headache so in fact I am the Snow Grinch!  Thank goodness that Mr H is a complete child and he was up, dressed (with his Christmas socks on!) and out before the children.  I’m sure if I told him it was Christmas dinner for tea his life would have been complete!

The best things about a Snow Day.

  • Everyone/Everything Stop – you can’t go out, you have to stay at home and relax.
  • The Novelty Factor – The fact we probably won’t get snow for another 5 years makes it even more exciting.
  • Children At Home (not ill) – It’s the weekend, but on a weekday and no one is ill.  The downside is, for the rest of the week you’ll have no idea what day it is!
  • Hot Chocolate tastes so much better when you come in from the snow – snuggling in a blanket, by the fire, watching a film eating popcorn (picture perfect!).  The reality is probably lots of moaning about feeling cold and wet.
  • Doesn’t it look pretty – you suddenly have a new appreciation for the view.

The Worst Bits

  • Spending 20  minutes getting children ready to go outside (waterproofs, wellies, coats, scarf, gloves, hats) for them to go outside for 30 seconds and come back in wet and cold.  Repeated every hour all day.
  • The mess – the numerous amount of wet clothes and hats left all over the place and puddles of wet snow which no matter how many times you clear up, you still stand in.
  • It’s so cold – Obvious, but actually surprising when you go outside.
  • It’s exhausting – once you’ve played in the snow, got wet and come in again, what do you do next?
  • Suddenly you have no food – You realise that you can’t actually get to the supermarket and that you have no food.  Unless of course, you were prepared!!!!

Wherever you are, I hope you’ve had some of the white stuff and been able to get outside and embrace your inner child.  Tomorrow we will probably all be moaning about it, but for today, it’s great!

 

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Not That Fancy

Whilst I like to think of myself as quite trendy (does anyone even say trendy anymore!?) I like shopping and try to keep up to date with fashion, just lately I’ve just not been feeling it.  On a recent school run the children were singing and chatting (arguing and pushing) and they started singing ‘who am I’ (apparently it’s a real song!) and my daughter started to say who I was.

She’s 37, she has her hair tied up, she doesn’t wear make-up ( I do, but not regularly or enough for anyone to really notice) and then she said, and she’s not that fancy – WHAT? What on earth does that mean???? I asked her, and she just said the same, you’re not that fancy.

I’d be lying if I said that this didn’t bother me a bit.  I love the way children can be very black and white about things, and always think they say it as it is.  Well, that means that I’m not that fancy!  What does it mean to be fancy, is it the clothes? shoes? make-up? jewellery? car? Is it all about appearance?

I’m quite a ‘lazy’ person when it comes to make-up, if I have time or can be bothered then I’ll put some on but some days I don’t.  I wear clothes that are comfy, but I like to think not frumpy and quite on trend and if I’m going to be chasing after children then heels aren’t really my first choice!  When I do get dressed up and put on make-up, it makes me feel really lovely and is always noticed, but realistically, I couldn’t do that every day.

Today  I met a dear friend for a long overdue cuppa and catch up.  I’ve know her since my pre-children days and we have children similar ages.  She always looks lovely and today was no different.  She had make-up on -but not loads, clothes right on trend – but not too young, and even though she has 4 children, looks well rested and fresh faced and is always cheery.  If she wasn’t so nice and my friend, I’m pretty sure I’d want to poke her eyes out.

It’s become a bit of a running joke between us, I’ve NEVER seen her in trainers or even flat shoes.  We are completely different people and on any other day, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid but today I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a little meltdown.   I know my body grew a PERSON just over 12 months ago (and 5 previous to that) and that’s amazing BUT you know I think it’s ok to be a bit body stress after having children, because sometimes that the actual reality.

When I left my friend, obviously I went a bought a new jumper, because that’s going to make everything better, and phoned Mr H.  God love him, he is marvellous and did try to say the right things but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t feel it.

So I now have the motivation (after a mini meltdown in Lidl) to completely cull my wardrobe, which is long overdue anyway as I do have an obscene amount of clothes (half of which I’m sure don’t even fit).  I’m going to fall in love all over again with my new mamma body.  I don’t want to be fancy, just happy with what I’ve got!

 

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) – Don’t Ignore Itching!

I’ve been very luck with all my pregnancies, they’ve all been text book with no major issues and although I don’t especially enjoy being pregnant, I’ve never really had anything to complain about.

My last pregnancy was probably the most enjoyable of them all.   I had an anterior placenta (when the placenta is attached to the front wall of the uterus, or womb, rather than the more usual position on the back wall nearest the spine) which meant that I didn’t feel as much movement from the baby, and would often go all day without feeling one movement.  but I soon realised what was ‘normal’ movement for this baby.   I didn’t crave sweet things (which I had with the other pregnancies) and was eating a lot less than pre-pregnancy.

I’d just reached 32 weeks when I had the most unbearable itching, during the night, mainly on my legs and hands and I couldn’t sleep.  It felt like my skin was alive, I was literally scratching myself silly.   It would become more bearable during the day and I began to question whether or not I was in fact going mad (that’s not unusual during pregnancy!)  It became so bad that I had taken some Piraton to try and ease it and the next morning when I called to check with my Midwife that it was safe.  The Midwife wanted to take some bloods and also monitor the baby’s movement as it had decreased.  By the end of the day I had been diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy –   which until then, I’d never heard of.

ICP is a liver disorder unique to pregnancy and is also known as Obstetric Cholestasis (OC).  Normally bile acids flow from  your liver to your gut to help you digest your food.  In ICP bile acids don’t flow properly and build up in your body instead.  There is no cure, but should disappear once your baby is born.   It affects 1 in 140 pregnant women in the UK,  I’m not lucky enough to win anything but apparently I am lucky enough to get this!

Although the symptoms of ICP were frustrating for me, especially the itching, they were essentially harmless.  However for the baby the main complication with ICP is stillbirth.  It’s not actually known why but is thought to be because of the increased bile acids.  I had blood tests twice a week to test my liver function and measure bile acids, scans to check the baby and monitoring of the movements.  I was given Vitamin K supplements (because ICP can affect your absorbtion of Vitamin K which is important for blood clotting) medication to reduce the bile acids and aqueous cream with menthol to ease the itching.

I had completely lost my appetite and had actually started to lose weight instead of putting it on (I would’ve seen this as a plus, if I wasn’t growing a baby!) I wasn’t ill as such, I just felt a bit unwell but more than that, there was the worry of whether I would actually get this baby here safely.  At every scan or appointment I would just think “the baby is ok right now, let’s deliver now, just in case”.

As soon as I reached 37 weeks  (the baby would be considered full term) I was induced as this was the safest option for the baby.  I had to be in hospital with an IV and constantly monitored.  I had a liver scan to check that no permanent damage had been done, which it hadn’t and would need no further treatment once I’d had the baby.

The birth was fast and uncomplicated but afterwards my mini man was taken to the NICU because of breathing complications, which was to be expected as he was premature.  I haemorrhaged and needed surgery.

The itching did continue for a few weeks, but nothing like what I had experienced when pregnant.  Six weeks after birth I had my bloods rechecked and my liver function was back up and rolling.

Once you’ve had ICP there’s a high chance of getting it again in subsequent pregnancies (between 60-90%) although it’s thought not to be so severe as the first time.  Research has shown that with medication, monitoring, blood tests and induction pregnancy with ICP carries no higher risk than a non-ICP pregnancy.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has more information about obstetric cholestasis, including what it means for you and your baby, and the treatment that’s available. You can also get information from the British Liver Trust.

The charity ICP Support provides information about ICP. You can also watch their video about ICP (OC) featuring mums and clinical experts.

Do Not Ignore The Itching!