Rushing about with class bears and cameras: we’re all at it

We’re back. A week of lounging, swimming, eating and sleeping in Portugal (Timmy the class bear included, pictured) has done the trick: Misery Guts is (temporarily) less miserable, I’m (temporarily) less tired and BB is bursting with memories of ice cream licking and swimming pool splashing. The addition of Timmy to our party has certainly caused a stir among Mumsnetters. After my last post about class teddy bears having a lot to answer for – and letting the side down in spite of myself by taking the damn thing on holiday to snap in various enviable locations – featured as Mumsnet’s blog of the day, the Twitterati went mad. It seems we’re all at it – rushing around with kids, class mascots and cameras in tow in a bid to illustrate action-packed accounts of the bear’s stay at our house at a day’s notice. It’s like having homework all over again. Needless to say I haven’t actually written up Timmy’s diary entry or printed out the pictures yet – like homework, it’s still hanging over me to do. […]

By |May 28th, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Reviews, Travel|0 Comments

Happy free-from Easter!

Following on from my last post about free-from sausages and how going without gluten and dairy doesn’t mean going without per se, it turns out the same can be said for chocolate. And Easter eggs. Until six months ago health food shops were alien to me: the sort of places that emit the same waft as you pass by the door (what is that smell? The ryvita? The flax?) and are piled high with daunting looking bags of unidentifiable brown stuff. Until I went in with a list written by my nutritional therapist and actually knew what I was looking for, that is. Admittedly chocolate was not on that list, however one cannot help but notice bright shiny chocolatey-looking packaging amongst the aforementioned unidentifiable brown stuff. And so I discovered Booja-Booja, which not only sells luxury chocolates and seasonal treats like Easter eggs (made in Kashmir and filled with truffles, pictured) but ice cream too. […]

By |April 16th, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Reviews|0 Comments

By’eck! I’ve just eaten a squasage

That’s right, a squasage. Also known as a square sausage. That’s what gluten free sausage brand Heck have been busy making in time for the barbecue season, because it doesn’t fall through the rungs of the grill only to be burned to a crisp and lost forever, or roll off the side of the barbie onto the grass (pictured). We haven’t dusted down our barbecue yet, so I’ve been eating mine between two soft and thick slices of (gluten free) bread. It may not look like a traditional sausage sandwich – as BB was fast to point out – but it tastes just the same and makes spreading the ketchup even easier. When embarking on Project No Nasties last autumn I thought living free-from would also mean going without, but when it comes to sausages I’ve found an ever better offering than the standard shelves. […]

By |April 14th, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Recipes, Reviews|0 Comments

Things the troops could do with: cupcakes made by a 2-year-old

I know Easter is more than a week away, but BB and I have been busy making chocolate shredded wheat nests in time to send to her uncle who’s currently serving in Afghanistan (pictured). I realise there are probably more urgent – and useful – things the troops could do with than a batch of varying sized cupcakes made from breakfast cereal by a two-year-old (decent coffee and new socks are repeated pleas from my brother), however there’s nothing like a taste of childhood either. I also realise, with the temperature hotting up out there, that sending chocolate-based treats probably isn’t the best idea but I’m buoyed by the fact that when her uncle was stationed in the very same camp I sent a piece of her 1st (chocolate) birthday cake in mid-August and he said it was the best thing he ever tasted (although this probably isn’t saying much given the regulation ‘food’ which makes up their staple diet). […]

By |April 9th, 2014|Family life, Food, Parenting, Recipes|2 Comments

Guest post: healthy meals that don’t bust the budget

I couldn’t survive without my slow cooker. Whoever invented them deserves a medal. It doesn’t matter how cheap the cut of meat (pig cheeks make a mean chilli) if you cook it long enough you’ve got at least two separate – healthy – meals everyone will love that doesn’t bust the budget (Saturday night’s pulled pork, pictured). So for everyone who has a slow cooker lurking in the back of the cupboard which hasn’t seen the light of day for a while, or if you fancy the idea of slow cooking in the oven but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, I’m delighted to bring you a guest post from mum-of-two and keen cook Susan Jameson offering top tips on how to prepare great tasting, money-saving family meals: […]

By |March 31st, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Money, Parenting|0 Comments

Nairn’s oat biscuits up for grabs!

Given that I’m trying to eschew gluten (and the type of gluten found in bready things) I’ve been consuming rather a lot of oat biscuits lately. When I first went hunting for them in the supermarket I expected to find a choice of two, possibly three different options. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There’s been an explosion of oat biscuits apparently led by category stalwart Nairn’s, whose range includes everything from seedy and fruity to biscuits to biscuit breaks (aka breakfast biscuits) and a raft of gluten-free varieties. I’ve been dunking, spreading, dipping and munching my way through them for weeks now, and in a bid to share the love I’ve teamed up with Nairn’s to offer one reader the chance to win three lovely boxes of the stuff. […]

By |March 28th, 2014|Competitions, Food, Health, Reviews|0 Comments

Specks get into the most annoying crevices no matter how well I rinse the damn thing

I am sick of our cafetiere (ok, I know there are greater problems in the world). And I don’t even drink coffee. No matter how well I rinse the damn thing before putting it in the dishwasher after Misery Guts has left for work, by the following morning specks of coffee have still managed to work their way into the most annoying crevices of everything else in the dishwasher, like the teats of BB’s beakers. I’m so fed up with picking them out I think it’s time to join the rest of the coffee-drinking world and invest in a no-mess home coffee machine in time for Misery Guts’ birthday (I’m banking on him not reading this post, obviously). The only problem, apart from the fact that I don’t drink coffee and couldn’t tell you the difference between a skinny latte and a macchiato, is that I have no idea where to start. And Misery Guts is exacting when it comes to his morning coffee hit. […]

By |March 19th, 2014|Family life, Food, Money, Parenting, Reviews|0 Comments

Crushed: a healthy snack you’ll love too

You can always rely on a mumpreneur to find a solution to a problem. One vexing me lately is what to give BB to eat on the go when we’re charging between home and Talking Tots or the supermarket and nursery. Bored of snack packs of apple and grapes from Tesco and constantly being harassed for Milky Way Magic Stars, I’ve been on the hunt for something in bright packaging that looks like a treat akin to magic stars, but isn’t. Cue Crushed (pictured). Technically designed for hard-to-please seven to 11-year-olds, these Ella’s Kitchen-style pouches of 100% fruit contain no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives and come in apple and banana and apple and strawberry flavours. With screw-top spouts there’s no mess and no spoon, perfect for on-the-go consumption – in our case the pushchair. […]

By |March 5th, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting, Reviews|1 Comment

Gluten and dairy-free Paleo pancakes: it CAN be done

With Project No Nasties still going strong (I’m doing my best to avoid gluten, dairy, caffeine and anything generally considered not very good for you, excepting Haagen-Dazs in light of last week’s special consignment) I’m determined to still enjoy pancake day tomorrow. How hard can it be? The plan is to substitute plain flour for gluten-free flour, and milk for soya wholebean instead (pictured). I think I’ll be on my own: Misery Guts turned his nose up at the mere mention of soya milk, and I have resolved not to foist my own diet lifestyle plan onto BB, so hers will be made using the traditional ingredients. But for those of you interested, here’s my recipe for the batter: […]

By |March 3rd, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, Parenting|0 Comments

Tiramisu flavoured Haagen-Dazs: the queue starts here

Haagen-Dazs is adding to its Sensations range of super indulgent ice cream with a Tiramisu flavour. Now I’m not a fan of Tiramisu as a rule (cheese in dessert is a no-no for me) but when the opportunity arose to taste test the new offering which hits the shelves in March (pictured) it would have been rude not to. Sensations is the right name for the sub-brand. We’re talking pockets of gooey coffee and chocolate syrup and cookie dough-style pieces of tiramisu-ey cake in a really intense ice cream, and there’s so much packed in to the pint-sized tub you get a taste of it all in every scoop. I daren’t look at the fat and calorie content, so I didn’t (you’ll have to find that out for yourself). […]

By |February 24th, 2014|Family life, Food, Parenting, Reviews|1 Comment

Recipes your toddler (and you) will love

I’ve suffered my triannual anxiety attack in which I fear we’ve come to rely too much on sausages and potato waffles and the same meals on the same day of each week. In a fit of renewed I-must-get-more-vegetables-into-BB I went in search of a new cookbook featuring meals I know she requests seconds of at nursery (when her little friends are sat beside her happily tucking in) like spaghetti carbonara and chicken curry but won’t touch with a barge pole at home. Nestled between the River Cottage baby and toddler cookbook with quinoa this and spelt that (too poncey pretentious for me) and the obligatory Annabel Karmel recipes (always far too time consuming) I found The Baby-Led Weaning Recipe Book by Felicity Bertin and Emma Ogden-Hooper. As an advocate of baby-led weaning but with a toddler who now refuses to suck the tips from a tree of broccoli or peel the layers off a sprout I discovered a book packed full of normal, simple family recipes like cottage pie and fish cakes all with a healthy portion of ‘hidden’ veg. […]

By |February 3rd, 2014|Books, Family life, Food, Health, Reviews, Weaning|2 Comments

‘I’m guilt-ridden and torn between two roles’

Guilt-ridden, torn between two roles and overlooked. This is the current state-of-mind of working mums according to research revealed by The Work & Family Show this week. Apparently 80% of new mums feel guilty about going back to work and leaving their child in the care of others, and childcare responsibilities still fall on the mother’s shoulders even when both parents are working. I suspect this study is only scratching at the surface of the mental state of working mums today, who if anything like me are on a constant treadmill of trying to run a household and raise children while at the same time earning enough money to ensure the smooth running of that household and maintain a career. […]

By |January 31st, 2014|Family life, Food, Health, News, Work life|0 Comments

Happy Birthday crummy mummy!

It’s official: confessions of a crummy mummy is one today and I’ve been blogging for a whole year (if anyone fancies sending me some cake, or better still, some champers, please feel free). A lot can happen in a year, as a quick flick through the archives has revealed: Twelve months ago today, in my very first post, I declared time on the milk bar and began a five month task of giving up breastfeeding. This was surprisingly straightforward and culminated in me mourning the process far more than BB, which I recorded for posterity by composing my first poem since my schooldays – An Ode to BB. There have been funny times, like the day BB woke from a nap having fashioned an exquisite bouffant while sleeping. […]

By |January 20th, 2014|Breast feeding, Family life, Food, Reviews, Travel|4 Comments

I’m going on a bar hunt…and other interesting stories

Only five sleeps to go until the big day! Which means it’s time to concentrate on stocking fillers, and you can’t beat a good book. Or app book (yes, there really is such a thing). These are my top three: 1) We’re Going On a Bar Hunt: A Parody by Emlyn Rees and Josie Lloyd  (RRP £9.99) Think ‘we’re going on bear hunt’ for adults, and instead of daddy carrying baby on his shoulders, he’s got a squiffy mummy instead. […]

By |December 20th, 2013|Books, Food, Reviews|1 Comment

Dreaming of a…German Christmas market

There’s nothing like a German Christmas market to get you in the festive spirit. I don’t mean a German Christmas market in England, I mean a proper one. In Germany. BB and I spent last weekend sampling the best West Germany has to offer, namely in the city of Trier and the cobbled streets of Bernkastel-Kues (pictured). I saw it as a bit of a rite of passage for her: as a forces child I spent a number of formative years living in Germany, and the Christmas markets of Trier and Bernkastel are a lasting childhood memory I’d like her to have too. We’re talking wooden huts quite literally decked with boughs of holly, sausages sizzling in great big pans and the unmistakable smell of mulled wine and sugared almonds wafting through the streets. We weren’t sent on the trip for the purposes of review, I just thought you’d like to know about it because there’s still time to hop on a plane and sample it for yourselves. […]

By |December 13th, 2013|Family days out, Food, Reviews, Travel, Uncategorized|2 Comments