Sunday, 30 July 2017

To My Beautiful Baby Boy, You Turn One Very Soon!



Baby. Sweet, Sweet Baby,


You have only days left until you turn an entire year old. How has the time gone by so quickly? How have we already had 360 days together? How have the moments & milestones added up to today?




Your sweet little toes are tucked under my ribs & your little cheeks are snuggled into my side. You must be dreaming about feeding because you alternate smiles & suckling while you sleep. Oh, those sweet little lips, how I could kiss them again & again.


The day we learned that you would be ours brought so much joy to our lives, Daddy & I, your big brother & sister couldn't be more excited. You completed our family.  


We waited as you grew, trying out names, picturing whether you'd be a little girl or boy. And then you were here. You were this tiny 7lb 13oz bundle with no instruction manual. We didn’t sleep for days because we watched you breathe all night. You were just too precious to turn away from.





That first month was a blur. So were the next three. You loved the bath tub, started to giggle & rolled over with ease. These little things made us so proud. The months continued to fall from the calendar. You crawled, cried, stumbled & cruising. You ate foods & nursed, gave kisses & played peek-a-boo. And now we are here, crossing off day 360 – rounding out your first trip around the sun.





I wish you so much happiness throughout your (long) life that it brings tears to my eyes. I promise to allow you to be whomever you truly are – & aid you in any way toward pursuing your dreams. You will make so many mistakes, & so will I. I promise to apologize throughout those mistakes & always work toward being better for you – & for me.




I know that we have years of sports, & dress-up, hormones, & dating ahead of us…. BUT not today. No, not tomorrow either. I have learnt just how fast this whole childhood is going to disappear & I want to live it with you, at your pace. I will not rush you into things, or dream too far into the future. I will walk barefoot on the grass with you; I will take bubble baths & let you splash everywhere. But today, in this moment, I will cry the sweetest tears as I see how you have grown; I will try to capture this moment to remember forever.





My sweetest love, I will always be here to hold you. I will rock you as long as you allow. I will always worry, but will also support you. My love will never falter or drift, for you, my little one, are a part of my heart. ❤️


Love you so much my little darling,


Mummy ❤️





Saturday, 22 July 2017

Recipe- One Pot Cajun Chicken Pasta



One pot dinners – I LOVE them!

Especially speedy pasta versions. Perfect for getting dinner on the table before the kids start having an after-school hunger meltdown!

This one has piles of cajun chicken & chorizo all cooked together in a creamy tomato sauce. I like to add plenty of veg such a spinach, peppers & fresh tomatoes too. Because, hey, who doesn’t like getting one over on the kids & making them eat extra veg without even thinking about it! 

This quick Cajun chicken one-pot is a winner for the family dinner table. Cajun spiced chicken in a creamy tomato sauce – with pasta & extra veg. With just 10 minutes prep time & 25 minutes cooking time, that's a double winning in my eyes! 



Ingredients- Serves 4

  • πŸ”Ή1x Tbsp Olive Oil
  • πŸ”Ή1x Regular Onion, peeled & chopped
  • πŸ”Ή1.5x Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
  • πŸ”Ή2x Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • πŸ”Ή75g (2.6 oz) Chorizo, cut into small chunks
  • πŸ”Ή2x Cloves Garlic, peeled & minced
  • πŸ”Ή½x Red Bell Pepper, deseeded & sliced
  • πŸ”Ή½x Green Bell Pepper, deseeded & sliced
  • πŸ”Ή½x Yellow Bell Pepper, deseeded & sliced
  • πŸ”Ή200g (2.5 cups) Dried Pasta Shapes
  • πŸ”Ή1x400g (14oz) Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • πŸ”Ή480mls (2 cups) Chicken Stock
  • πŸ”Ή60ml (¼ cup) Double (heavy) Cream
  • πŸ”ΉLarge handful of Fresh Baby Spinach
  • πŸ”Ή10x Fresh Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
  • πŸ”Ή50g (1/2 packed cup) Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • πŸ”Ή 2x Tbsp Freshly Chopped Parsley 

Method

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) & add the onion. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften.
  • Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning on the chopped chicken breast, then add to the pan. Heat for 5-6 minutes until the chicken is sealed on all sides.
  • Add in the chorizo & garlic then fry for a further two minutes, until the chorizo starts to release it’s oils, then add peppers. Stir, then add the pasta shapes, tin of tomatoes & chicken stock. Bring to the boil, stir, then place a lid or some foil over the pan. Turn the heat down & let the pasta simmer for 15 minutes. Check & stir once or twice during this time.
  • After 15 minutes, remove the lid & test the pasta. It should be just cooked (if it isn’t, cook for a couple of minutes more with a splash of boiling water if needed). Stir in the cream, heat through for a minute then turn off the heat & stir in the spinach. It should wilt very quickly.
  • Sprinkle on the sliced tomatoes, grated cheese and parsley, then serve.                  
  • Thursday, 20 July 2017

    Cheers To 10 Years, Happy Anniversary!



    I used to be a romantic. I remember reading every fairytale growing up.I believed in love at first sight, the magic of a first kiss & happily ever afters. Then I got my heart-broken… no not broken, squashed, stomped on & kicked to the curb like day old rubbish.


    Granted that first time around I now know was not real love. I was very very young & more in love with the idea of LOVE then the person at the time. I made a lot of bad decisions & I paid the consequences. I was bitter & very much anti- LOVE. And then I met a man who would literally sweep me off my feet. LITERALLY!!! ❤️


    I guess what they say is true, when you are not looking for love you will find it. I certainly was not looking to MR.B for a relationship, he was my best friend & have been since I was 13 years old (he was 14years.) But he was looking, he saw me, he persevered & didnt give up, it took him a while to woo me so to speak, a good 4 years infact! But it didn't stop him… well lets just say my life has never been the same. πŸ˜‰


    We are yin & yang. He likes romantic comedy & I am a thriller/action kind of gal. (Kinda joking about the romantic comedy part, kinda notπŸ˜‚) He is happy sitting home quietly on the couch & I am a let’s go dancing girl. He has to have the TV or radio on at all times & I enjoy the quiet, reading my kindle. And yet… we work!


    MR.B is my best friend. He is my rock. He can complete my sentences but knows how much I hate that so he won’t. He reads me better than I read myself. He lifts me up when I am down & grounds me when my head is in the clouds. He not only puts up with all my crazy "Spur On The Moment" type antics, he gets a kick out of them. He loves me for me. Fat or skinny, long hair or short… doesn’t matter to him.


    He makes me laugh! That last one is worth repeating… HE MAKES ME LAUGH.

    He also annoys the hell out of me, spends WAY too much time in the bathroom getting ready, he is super OCD about EVERY little thing (good in a way, but also bloody annoying!) & if he buys another watch I may just have to leave him. But you know what… I love that about him. It makes him not perfect.(But you still better not buy another watch!)


    I use to be a romantic… now I would say I am a realist who enjoys being romanced. There is a big difference. You see fairy tales only show you half the story. They never show you what happens after the big fancy wedding. (Still waiting for this to happen guys, times a ticking MR.B get a move on!πŸ’πŸ˜‚) They don’t show financial struggles, people dying & you certainly don’t find relationship struggles.


    No our life is not a fairy tale. But it is OUR life & one I would not ever change for anything.


    I love you my darling…even more than I did 10 years ago when you forced me to change my mind! (LOL) Thank you for being my cheerleader, my life coach, my partner. Thank you for making me look at the glass as half full when I am certain it is half empty. Thank you for calming my fears, wiping my tears & giving me a good kick in the rear when I need it.


    I love you more than yesterday but less than tomorrow. I am not sure where this crazy magic carpet ride we seem to be on is going to take us next, but I do know there is no one I would rather get rug burn with than you! WINK WINK! πŸ˜‰


    Happy Anniversary!!! πŸ’


    Love you lots my love πŸ’•





    Wednesday, 19 July 2017

    A Letter To My Darling MR.B On His Birthday



    To My Darling MR.B,


    Today you enter your 28th year of life! We get to celebrate YOU & that makes me so happy. You never like to be in the spotlight nor do you love attention, so that's what makes today especially fun. Since we aren't a couple that is big on PDA (translation: you aren't - I TOTALLY am ...I thought I would openly 'gush' over you because that's what birthdays are for!


    First off, I'll just start by saying that you are the absolute best person I know. You are caring & welcoming ... non judgmental & forgiving ... steady & strong. I have had the privilege of being around you for awhile now & you are the same today as you were 14 years ago when our friendship first began; the same sweet man with a quiet yet strong presence & a warm heart. 


    You have the innate ability to get along with literally ANYONE, which is such an admirable trait (and one that I certainly am still trying to acquire)  


    You are an encourager by nature. You believe in people & support them, regardless of circumstance. This has always been true in our relationship. There have been many dreams & ideas that I have chased over the past 14 years & you ALWAYS supported them. Not only did you support me, but you listened, gave your input & encouraged me every step of the way. Thank you ... I love you for that. 


    Your positivity is infectious! You see the glass 'half full' & always choose to see the good in every situation. It's hard to find someone that's always in a good mood (even in the wee hours of the morning!) ... but I appreciate it so much!


    You are the most humble human I know. You have every reason not to be (don't make me list them all), yet you display humility & kindness in every situation. I am witness to it daily and it's one of the MOST attractive qualities about you. 


    You are such an incredible father to our 3 beautiful children & it's an absolute DREAM to watch you with them. I knew early on in our relationship that you would be an amazing dad, but you're even BETTER than I could have ever imagined. They look at you with stars in their eyes & nothing makes me happier than to know they can always feel secure in you & your love. 


    The world needs more men like you in it, you are such a blessing in our lives & the lives of so many. I am so thankful every day for you, our friendship & the little family we have created. So today, on your special day, I hope you know you are loved BEYOND measure...deeply & forever!


    Happiest of birthdays, my love & cheers to many more...


    Love You Lots


    Gemma xx πŸ’  





    Tuesday, 18 July 2017

    Lessons They Miss Out Of Your Pre-Natal Classes



    Lessons they miss out of your Pre Natal Classes. 


    At least I think they miss them off, but as I went to exactly 0 - I wouldn't know. Still, if I were to rewrite the curriculum, this is what we would learn instead. 

     

    Lesson 1-     πŸ™„ How to politely accept a strangers incorrect advice. 2 weeks of training your face from a blatant grimace, to one of serene acceptance. Dickheads are the second constant of life Im afraid. 

    Homework : Practise your serenity by not using your mind to stab people that ask you questions ' You not had it yet?!' 'Get your sleep NOW, you'll never sleep again' ' Don't you know what you're in for...?' Etc etc. 


    Lesson 2 -       🚷 How to change your Facebook settings to private, so inconsiderate family members cannot announce any part of your journey to the world BEFORE YOU DO. We are doing all the hard work, growing this babe - do NOT take any of the small joys away from us. Tag me and die, ArsenhΓΆle. 


    Lesson 3 -     🏩 The Art of Hospital Bag packing, followed by - the reality of what is going to happen to those knickers you packed. Freebies include - washing powder that works on blood, tissues for random crying and a menu for the local takeaway. Because fuck cooking when your fanny feels like roadkill. 


    Lesson 4 -      πŸ—― Great Swear Words To Use In Labour, points for creating your own, and making one long word from several. 'AssTitsWankFuckBitchShitCunt' was a fave of mine, as well as ' Ow you Bastard-Bitch'.  Followed by 'Design your own, sorry Midwife, I didn't mean it' Cards. To be sent anytime from a day, to three years after birth. I'm sure they'll remember you. 


    Lesson 5 -      ☕️ Mindfulness. A whole hour dedicated to doing absolutely fuck all useful, but calling it mindfulness so we don't look lazy. This hour will be thought about ALOT once baby departs from womb and follows you everywhere. Including the doorstep for your five minute bit of vitamin D everyday. 


    Lesson 6 -     ✨ Affirmations. No I'm actually serious with this one, every new mum, first time mum, second, third fourth - every mum that had a bad experience, every mum that is nervous. ALL OF THEM. Need to be told before going into this, that they can do it. They are strong they are amazing. They should trust themselves to do it, they shouldn't feel shame if things change. Birth is amazing, not something to fear. πŸ’– 


    Feel free to forward this to the head of the NHS. 

    Or your local Health care provider.

     Or just print it off for your pregnant mate. She'll see the funny side soon, I promise :) 


    πŸ’–x





    Friday, 14 July 2017

    My No F*cks Given Guide To Housework



    Sometimes, when all your f*cks have been given there just aren’t any leftover for the other shit, especially housework. You might have run out of f*cks due to your kids being ill, getting peeved at the other-half for not pulling his weight, hungover maybe? Or perhaps it’s just Monday. Either way, if you need a day off, don’t fret! Here’s my “no f*cks given” guide to dealing with it.

    1. The Laundry. 



    Fuck. That. Sh*t! Laundry is the devil of all housework chores. It’s the one thing that no matter how much you do, you can never do enough. It lingers as if to constantly remind you of how shit you are at keeping house. Leave it. Just let it pile up in a dark corner somewhere, you never know, husband might decide he’s finally ran out of boxers & put a wash on. Failing that, you can be safe in the knowledge that there are clean clothes somewhere & everyone will survive for at least two days.

    2. The Bathroom. 



    Are you expecting guests? Is the plumber due? Are you planning on hosting a party in there? No? Then give no f*cks. The toothpaste in the sink can wait, as can the endless amount of random toys in the bath. If you’re a mother to boys with a poor aim (I hear ya’) that’s nothing a bit of spray bleach and oust won’t fix. Leave the hard stuff for another day & pour yourself a cuppa.

    3. Vacuuming.



    Urgh! Look, being hunched over for long periods of time is bad for your back so unless it’s an absolute given that it must be done, you’ll be doing yourself a favour by giving no f*cks. So what if you have stray raisins under your couch, or hardened playdoh lurking in the corners. Children live in your house, they’re simply leaving evidence of there presence.

    4. Cooking. 



    When you’ve had a shit day or not rolled in until 8pm due to attending  kids clubs for the past 4 hours, your f*cks could have diminished into nothing. This is why Just Eat was invented. I’m certain it’s the brain child of a non-f*ck giving mother who decided to help us all out. Order a curry, pizza or both. No one will hate you because you couldn’t be arsed to cook that spag-Bol.

    5. Washing up.



    Admittedly if you go more than 24 hours without washing up, you will find yourself short of mugs. And that’s no good because coffee. All the coffee! However, if you’re on your last precious f*ck, you don’t want to be giving it to a pile of dirty dishes. Instead you can either  a) invest in paper plates and plastic cups from Poundland or b) get someone else to do it. The kids for example, to earn pocket money or your S/O to earn a nag-free night.

    6. Picking up kids crap. 



    Not actual crap, but toys n’ stuff. Why bother? Absolutely under no circumstances can f*cks be given on a no-f*ck-giving day to wasting your damn time! Because that is essentially what you’re doing. You pick shit up, kids tip shit out. You wipe pen off the windows, they draw on the door. You lose your shit, they laugh in your face. Ignore the lot of it. Your lounge floor will be a sea of paw patrol toys and Lego but who cares? The kids are having fun, and you need a coffee.

    7. Cleaning the kitchen.



    Handprints on the cupboards? Stray bits of food under that table? Mess left out by your OH? F*ck it. If the other members of your household aren’t going to pull their weight, you’re out. You’re not their slave. No body will notice anyway, at least not the hubby.

    8. Polishing.

    A most tedious task. And bad for your health too (apparently). On a day like today be kind to nature & give zero f*cks about the ten-thousand spiders taking up home around your fireplace. Give no f*cks to the inch-thick dust on your windowsill or the sticky hand prints on the tv. If you leave it there long enough, it will almost look like its part of the decor. Perfect for a free way to decorate come Halloween.

    Your welcome.

    Gemma Xx


    Tuesday, 4 July 2017

    Recipe- Spanish Paella With Chicken & Prawns



    Easy Spanish Paella with Chicken & Prawns is a one skillet supper that’s simple yet anything but ordinary.

    This Paella is fresh, filling, full of tongue-tingling Spanish flavor, & yet, so easy. After the prep work of chopping a few ingredients, the dish came together in under 30 minutes & in just one pan = less washing up, bonus! Take my word for it – different doesn’t have to mean difficult.

    The children absolutely loved it! Gracie-Mae even stated that all she will be eating is Paella when we Holiday to Spain next year! 

    Ingredients- Serves 4

    • 2-1/2 cups Chicken Broth
    • Pinch of Spanish Saffron
    • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
    • 2x boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped
    • 6oz Mexican chorizo
    • 1 shallot or 1/2 onion, chopped
    • salt & pepper
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
    • 1 cup long grain white rice
    • 6oz large prawns, peeled then deveined and chopped
    • 1/2 cup frozen peas
    Method

    1. 1. Bring chicken broth & saffron to a boil in a small saucepan then turn heat to low & place a lid on top to keep hot.
    2. 2. Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat then add chicken, chorizo & shallots, season with salt & pepper, then saute until chorizo & chicken are cooked through, 5 minutes, breaking chorizo up as it cooks. Add garlic then saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes & their juices, paprika & cayenne pepper if using then saute until tomatoes are softened, 3 minutes.
    3. 3. Add rice & hot broth to skillet then stir to combine & bring to a boil. Place a lid on top then lower heat & simmer until rice has nearly absorbed all the broth & is just slightly al dente, 13-15 minutes. Stir in prawns & peas then place lid back on top and let skillet sit off the heat for 5 minutes. Season with more salt & pepper to taste then serve.
    4. It really is that simple! 



    Please Don't Judge My Parenting!



    I think I’m a pretty easy going person. Those who know me would agree. I’m pleasant to be around, easy to work with, supportive when I need to be & a good friend.  I say this because I think they are important qualities to have & I value them when I meet others who share them with me. The last thing I ever want to do is hurt someone by something I say.

    Which brings me to the topic I want to discuss …

    Honestly, I truly do not understand why people, mostly women, feel the need to judge other women when it comes to parenting. I do not understand the purpose of it nor do I see the reward in comparing parenting skills & making judgments about others. It bothers me when women do this to each other because I think it’s hurtful and wrong.

    It happens all the time.

    No one knows your children like you do. No one lives with you around the clock to see what goes on in your house like you do.  No one has the right to tell you you’re parenting incorrectly or make judgmental comments about the way you teach, discipline & interact with your children. Your children are no one’s business but yours. (Unless you’re neglecting or physically abusing them – that’s different.)

    End of story.


    It doesn’t happen often to me. Thankfully, in fact, it is quite rare. Nonetheless, every now & then, I’ll be out with my children bouncing, distracting, warning, counting to three & trying to appear sane. My number one goal is getting from point A to point B with the least amount of failing, zig-zagging, & whining as possible when a stranger pops out of nowhere to criticize my parenting.

    My most recent encounter with a disapproving outsider was certainly more of a passive-aggressive demonstration of disapproval than anything else. Though, I’ve also experienced the anything else.

    Today I took Isaac out in the pram for our daily power walk (great exercise for busy Mum's!) which 9/10 ends with me taking him to the park to explore around, stretch is little legs & have a play in the swings. 



    We had only ventured out for a mere 5 minutes when some stranger lady with a child of her own was crossing paths with us, this particular Mum gave me a very disapproving look (I was completely puzzled by this, so just gave my awkward smile of acknowledgment, as you do.) As she started to walk past us she muttered loud enough for me to hear, 'that's good Parenting ignoring your own child!'

    I stopped in my tracks a little, I was going to turn around & give her 2 barrels worth! But I didn't I kept my cool, bit my tongue & carried on walking. Her only reason that I can think of for her to even come out with such a horrid remark, was that I was wearing headphones, just the one & on low, so I had a beat to power walk to, but just the one so I can still interact with my 11 month old in the pram. Not that I feel the need to justify myself, because I know i wasn't doing anything wrong & in no way shape or form had I or would I ever ignore my children!

    So Mums out there, think before you talk. If you genuinely care & want to help someone by offering advice of your own, be sensitive in the way you share it. You are not the Mum of all Mums, the specialist Mum, the be all & end all of the Mum world. You are no different than any other woman out there who is trying their best to raise their children. If you’re genuine in wanting to help … just be nice.

    And that, my Mum friends, is where I stand.

    Instead of tearing each other down, let's start building each other up ❤️️