Hello, and i guess a very late Happy New Year! I've been taking some time out this month, post Christmas to work on a few projects, care for Wren and get ready for her Christening. It's been super hectic, and i can't believe in a week or so we'll already be in February! Crazy!
I've got Seven new things to share today, as Wren has been Seven months old for almost a month... where the time is going i'll never know!
O N E - Wren has five teeth. FIVE! Three along the bottom and two at the top. I always thought it would be super bizarre seeing those gums filled with milky whites, but she just gets cuter and cheekier looking by the day. She has been so great with them too, almost zero fuss made, and for now, she's resisting biting! Thank goodness!
T W O - I don't think i was involved in the conception of Wren at all, she 100% resembles her Dad. Which luckily, is great, he's pretty nice to look at. She has the widest eyes, exactly the same colour and shape as Calum and she is just every inch his daughter. I am so lucky to have two of them!
T H R E E - Wren is almost eight months old and is still exclusively breast fed. This girl loves the boob and will not wean! We've tried a ton of different foods, form puree to Baby led, and she just doesn't seem interested. She loves to play with the food, and explore the textures, but so far only with her hands but thats ok. She is getting exactly what she needs from me.
F O U R - We've had a few trips to the doctor lately as poor little bird hasn't been too well. Turns out she's a bit deficient in Vitamin K, so we're on some medicine to top her back up. I'm also taking lots of leafy greens and vitamins myself to make sure she really is getting all she can!
F I V E - I have enrolled Wren on the list for our local nursery! Already?! Yep... already. We live in a small town, so you gotta be fast or you're last. it's still unclear if/when/how often she will have to go, but i'm excited for her to be with her friends, friends she will move up the ranks with and eventually attend school with. Part of the reason i just love our small community.
S I X - Although Wren can quite expertly sit, she isn't on the move yet. She's quite content reaching for the things she needs from her perch. And if she wants to get somewhere she'll wiggle her little legs and shuffle right along if the floor proves slippy enough.
S E V E N - I am convinced, CONVINCED she can say Mama. It's maybe more a mumumamamumumamam... but there is a mum in there somewhere and being that she's with be 100% of the time it can only be directed at me, right?
Motherhood is such a joy, and i truly believe that this was the job i was born to do. This little person my husband and i created is the light of our lives, and so many others. We have been truly blessed with a fantastic little girl and i am already excited for what her eighth month will hold.
'Tis the season for hearty stews, red wine and great company! So with that said, here is a really easy slow cooker stew recipe perfect for Sunday lunch!
1 lb Stewing beef, lean
1 Bay leaf bunch, tied.
bunch of baby carrots (Larger ones chopped)
1/4 cup Flat parsley
2 cloves Garlic
2 Potatoes skin on, chopped.
1 Leek, chopped
2 Parsnips, chopped
2 tsp Thyme, dried
1 Yellow onion, medium
2 1/2 cups Beef Stock
3/4 tsp Black pepper
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Red wine
60g Beef Suet
125 g Plain Flour
2 tea spoons of Dried Parsley
1 tsp Baking Powder
Flour all the pieces of beef lightly, and add to the pot with the chopped Onion, Garlic and Leek
Stir together and add the beef stock, wine, remaining veg and herbs.
Season with salt and pepper and turn on a low heat and cook for six hours.
After five hours, you can add your dumplings to the top to cook for the remaining hour.
Mix all dry ingredients including herbs to a large bowl and gradually add water. Make sure not to make the mix too wet. Seperate 8-10 balls of dough and roll them in your hands before placing on top of the stew. Cover and cook for the last hour.
(Again, as always, if your gravy wont play ball... there is always Bisto powder you can add to thicken that guy up a little)
So, it's here. Already. Oh time, you cruel beast. Wren turned six months old on November 25th, yes that may also have been black Friday, but quite frankly all i could think about on Friday was WHERE HAS ALL THE TIME GONE? Thinking that i only have another six months of complete alone time with Wren before i go back to work gives me the worst anxiety i've ever had. I just can't.
So that brings me to my baby girl today. Six months old, beautiful, funny, cheeky and full of life! As i started at five months with 'five new things' Wren was up to, i thought i would do another feature each month. More for me than anything, it's a good way to remember without forgetting to write it all down.
O N E - Still only two teeth (that i can see) however there has been a lot of Sophie (the giraffe) chewing! She slides the toy from left to right along her top gums, which leads me to believe that there may be some nasties about to poke through. Here's hoping she copes like the trooper she was with the first set.
T W O - Wren has been sleeping in her own room since November 20th and it has been a total game changer. We don't wake her up when we go to bed. She sleeps uninterrupted till 5.30am where she ceremoniously fills her nappy to the point of needing immediate assistance. She does however go back to sleep until at least 7 and sometimes 8. I'm forever thankful for her love of naps and sleep!
T H R E E - Weaning has Begun, i think the date was November 11th, making Wren slightly under 6 months. We've decided to take a very, very, relaxed approach to weaning. We are not doing one way or another way religiously, we're just going with Wren and what she wants. Ultimately Wren is still getting all she needs from me through breast feeding and she will continue to do so until we, her and I see fit. We have introduced a few foods to Wren at dinner time each night before her bath and she is having marvellous fun playing in it and smooshing it all with her hands. Maybe next month some will have actually passed her lips!
F O U R - Babbling. Ba, bah, bah, baba, blah baaaaaah. Over and over, and it's the sweetest sound i ever heard!
F I V E - We can sit up, well almost. Wren isn't one for lying around these days. She prefers to sit, reach and try to grab patterned carpet, her toys, books and then oops... she topples, but we'll always be there to catch her. She's getting the hang of her balance super quick and i'm sure she'll be shuffling her bum along the carpet in no time.
S I X - The seeming dog pant from last month has graduated to a weird inhaling through her gums. It's kinda like a laugh, but like an old lady laugh, an old lady with no teeth that sucks their bottom lip in at the bottom... oh a funny little bird, she is.
I think that month 7 will be a real big shift. There might be food consumed, there may be movement and i really R E A L L Y hope that the 5.30am poop explosions will have stopped. That, would be great!
Wren took a super long nap today, so i took the opportunity to get some more Christmas decorations made for the mantle in the living room. My last post on how to make some tree decorations from dried oranges, went down so well, i decided to do it again with a difference. (if you missed it, you can catch up with it here.)
This time round, i made a garland for the fire place. I followed the same procedure as last time, slicing and drying my fruit on a low heat in the oven for around three hours. Now, i maybe forgot about these oranges as they are a little on the brown side, but you know what? That actually helped when i was stringing them together, little crunch helped us along nicely. I've also used some lemon and lime slices here too, Those guys wont need as long in the oven.
So, pre heat your oven to 100C (should take minutes)
Slice your fruit
Place on a grill tray so the heat can get to both sides
Bake for approx 3 hours (careful not to burn smaller/thinner slices)
After the fruit is dry and it's cooled down, you can get threading. I decided to use a stick of cinnamon at each end to secure my loop and knot. I then made a small hole with scissors at each side of the fruit slice (you can hopefully make that out from the photos) and got threading. One large slice, one small and repeat until you've threaded nine slices. Then, tie on another cinnamon stick. Now this garland is obviously made to fit my fireplace, not all fire places are the same size so you may need to thread on a few extra or a few less.
After i had tied on the middle stick i threaded another nine slices of fruit in alternate sizes before looping one last stick on the end and looping round again.
There you have it. One super easy, super effective homemade and C H E A P Christmas decoration. FYI these things go for like £25 in the garden centre and i made this for around £3, if that.
Now my living room smells lovely and so can yours! If you've got any questions fire them my way!
Evening guys, just a quick one tonight. If you're struggling with what to cook for dinner or what to make for lunch (if you're not in the US celebrating thanksgiving) tomorrow i've got a simple but yummy Yellow Split Pea Soup recipe comin' at'cha. This delicious recipe is not only Vegan, but super good for you as yellow peas are rich in fibre and potassium! Fun fact time too, the Swedes traditionally enjoy a bowl of this soup every Thursday and this is why big bags of the peas are sold in IKEA... who knew?!
For the Soup -
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1-1/2 cups chopped carrots
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1-1/3 cups dried yellow split peas, rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock (or water + ½ tsp sea salt)
¾ cup water
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley or dill, divided
In a big pan, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Add your onions, your carrots and pepper. Cook, for around 10 minutes until vegetables are soft. Stir in the rinsed peas and stock. Bring the pan to the boil then reduce the heat to low. Cover with the pan lid and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes or until peas are really soft. Using your hand blender or food processor), whisk up until the soup is smooth then return to the pan and stir in half the parsley or dill. Simmer, for 5 minutes to blend it all in and you can thin the soup with water if it's too thick. I recommend serving with your favourite bread, smothered in butter!
So there has been an influx of Christmas gift guides hitting the blogging scene this past week, 'cos y'know, there's only around four weeks to go! Isn't it crazy how quick November has come in?! Anyway, i figured it was about time i put together a quick guide for some bits and pieces i think the Mums, Wives, Girlfriends, heck, maybe even Boyfriends might like this Crimbo.
First up in todays gift guide, is Gift sets!! Many a persons go-to for an all rounder of a Christmas present, the gift set offers lots of lovely sized products, packaged in wonderfully Christmassy boxes (which are fab for keeping afterwards) and generally are super worth while purchasing as you get a taste of lots of different products for the price you might pay for only one! I found this lovely Almond Gift Set from Womens Perfume L'Occitane to be a great all rounder for a Christmas gift, I've tried all of these products and i especially loved the shower oil - post leg shave, this stuff is perfect! Being a mum, my hands always need moisturised as i wash them so often and they're super prone to drying out, the little hand cream in this set is not only the perfect size for a gift, but its great to toss in the changing bag and transfer to my handbag on the rare occasion i'm out without Wren. Not only do L'Occitane make some of the best smelling perfumes, soaps and skin products around, they make a cracking gift set! And bonus, most of them are packaged is lovely Christmas boxes, so you don't even need to worry too much about the wrapping... check out this Christmas Bauble set for example. Now being a Wife, Sister, Mother and general perfume loving female, i would love a gift like this! So there's three bases covered already! Now, i wonder if any of my family will read this?... hint hint guys!
A bit of an Alternative to the generic glossy wrapped present is a magazine subscription. Most people, when asked, will struggle to think of what they want for Christmas. And most will forget that each month they spend a few pounds on their favourite magazine. So, why not take on that small monthly spend for them? Sign them up to their favourite fashion, food, home or lifestyle mag. Plus, it's the gift that keeps on giving, for a year at least, and it will be a nice little surprise each month when it drops on the mat too.
Sites such as Newstand offer hundreds of magazines, for one off purchases or subscriptions. Anything from the most popular to the most obscure. Whatever your gift receiver is into, there is something up there for them!
Since becoming a mum my Skincare routine has somewhat... simplified? I now wash with soap and apply a facial oil. Every morning and every night. My skin has never been better, even with the eye bags. Do you know someone who could do with a bit or r&r this Christmas? Do they have a busy lifestyle and could benefit from slowing down a little? Why not treat them to a bit of a face intervention with the Herbivore Botanicals range? It is lovely and gentle, uses natural ingredients it's plant based, organic and food based... so basically, you could eat it. I wouldn't advise that it would taste too good, i'd stick to the Turkey, but you get the idea!
I've recently discovered Nathalie Bond. An all natural, organic skin care and candle range founded by Nat and her husband Andrew. After having her baby, Nat made the decision to stop using all products that were packed with synthetic chemicals and developed her own range of skincare that is 100% organic. The range uses essential oils and natural butters that can all be sourced sustainably. Not only is this a fabulous brand and product for anyone, but Nat and Andrew also give a percentage of their profits to World Vision helping children in some of the poorest communities in the world. So buy something from Nat and you'll be giving a little something back to children who need it most, this Christmas.
I've been following Rebekah over at Lines and Current for sometime and i've made a good few purchases from her online range. You'll notice that in lots of my photos i wear my ODA ring as it rarely leaves my thumb. Recently, Rebekah has launched a new range that includes Petra, the pendulum drop ball earring. Simple, sleek and stylish. I love them, if you know someone who's like me, who likes their jewellery to be understated then this is the range for them. "Jewellery, for girls who don't wear jewellery" is the perfect way to describe it, and you'll get mega brownie points for getting them something they'll love this Christmas. Thank me later, guys.
If you're looking for a little stocking filler, this chocolate from Ocelot is the perfect gift. Made right here in Scotland, more specifically Edinburgh. Ocelot is a company run by couple Matt and Ish. Previously both working as chefs they left their jobs to pursue their dreams and have produced some delicious chocolate along with some cracking art work used for their very stylish wrapping. Anyone would be lucky to receive a bar in their stocking this Christmas, i for one, hope i do. Check out their wonderful flavours and make sure to read their careful instructions on how to properly eat and enjoy your little brown squares of goodness.
So we've covered gift sets, jewellery, skincare, chocolate and now i guess it's only right to cover the home makers. These gorgeous Linen Napkins from Also Home are the perfect gift for any proud homemaker, they're rustic yet stylish and will look wonderful on any Christmas table. There are loads of great items on their site and you will be sure to find something for that house proud person in your life. I can't stop looking at their gorgeous ceramics, who doesn't love a new mug for Christmas?
Hopefully you've now got the little cogs in your brain working away, filling it up with ideas for what to get those special people in your life. If not, then maybe you've now got some ideas of what you'd like for yourself!