Friday, 21 November 2014
So, how've you been this week then?
I'm starting to feel a little bit festive. This has a lot to do with the fact that it's full-on Nativity/Christmas choir rehearsals for the kiddos at the moment and we can't make it through a dinner time without a squeaky rendition of Away in a Manger.
Annie is a teddy bear, and Noah a soldier. Make of that what you will.
We're all about the modern interpretations round these parts.
So I bought our first packet of mince pies and have been drinking hot port at every opportunity.
If you can't beat 'em and all that...
Still no shopping though - I think next week I may blitz it. The credit card will be weeping, won't it?!
Today I'm linking up as usual with Morgana at butwhymummywhy to share all the lovely little bits of our week.
This week, the little things that we have:
Two of my absolute favourites Hurrah for Gin and Brummymummy of 2 had me really giggling this week with The seven stages of sleep deprivation and The Lost Art of Conversation. If you are new to reading blogs, these two are definitely ones to follow. They are the loveliest girls, who really tell it like it is, and are absolutely hilarious every single time. Have a look!
And I also loved Morgana and Esther's posts about preparing for Advent. I had been thinking of doing something more alternative than the usual choccie Advent calendar this year, but these two ladies have given me further inspiration. Watch out in the next couple of weeks (and all through December) for the Little Wood Christmas countdown!
Annie got a Frozen karaoke machine for her birthday, so we've mostly watched her twirl a lot whilst singing 'Let it Go'. She also has mastered the art of playing the Ukulele at the same time.
It's all very tuneful, I'm sure you can imagine.
I made Toffee Apple scones again to photograph them for this recipe post (finally!)
And I've also been making little floral displays in old tin buckets, to brighten the days until the Christmas decorations are unleashed...
Greys and Blacks. My Winter wardrobe is definitely in full swing!
This bag. It's the perfect size for all my Mummy things, and at £10 how could you go wrong?
I met my gorgeous friend Karen from Making memories in the chaos mid-week for a morning cuppa. Would you just check out the hot chocolate...
I had total drink envy and am going back ASAP for one.
Sunday pizza with my favourites...
(Annie was there too, just too engrossed in Peppa to have a photo! The things we do for a quiet lunch!)
Finding old photos - when I have a spare ten minutes I love flicking back through my phone gallery. It always makes me smile. This week I came across this picture, taken by Eva in the Summer. The weather was beautiful at home and we were just about to go on holidays.
I could so do with some of that sun right now!
And that was our little week!
This weekend we are going to make the artificial Christmas tree purchase, after spending last Saturday avo doing the rounds of every retailer we could think of. I like to make a proper, invested commitment to a search, lovely readers, lest the perfect tree escape me.
I know, #weirdo.
Anyway, we have it narrowed down to two - one totally bargain one, and one a complete luxury.
No prizes for guessing which I'm after.
Will Mr M convince me otherwise? Will we make it out of the shop without at least one child knocking something breakable over?
These are the sort of cliffhangers I know you come here for folks.
Never let it be said that I don't keep you on the edge of your seat now! ;)
You can catch up with our weekend antics, if you'd like, on Facebook and Instagram.
And I hope you all have a lovely weekend, whatever you are up to!
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Thursday, 20 November 2014
If you've been following Life at the Little Wood for a while, you'll know that I'm certainly no great shakes in the kitchen. My cooking skills are often limited to what my children will actually EAT, and Mr M tends to whip up the fancy weekend dinners.
But there's something about baking that really appeals to me. All that weighing and sifting and mixing is therapeutic, and I love the accuracy of it and the cosiness of my kitchen.
I have made a Summer version of these scones before, but last week I thought I would try something a bit more in keeping with this time of year.
And what's more Autumny than Toffee Apples, right?
For the scones:
1lb self-raising flour
Pinch baking powder
2oz Caster Sugar
4oz butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
50ml double cream
1 egg beaten with 1tbsp water (to glaze)
For the toffee apple compote:
6 medium sized Cox apples peeled and diced
2oz Golden Caster sugar
1tsp ground Cinnamon
To make the scones:
(You can find a picture tutorial of this here)
-Preheat oven to 170C
-Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in sugar.
-Using fingertips, lightly work in butter until mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs.
-Add egg, cream and enough milk to moisten. Mix well until a soft doughy texture.
-Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll until approx 2.5cm thick.
-Cut out and place on a greased baking tray and brush the tops with the egg glaze.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking half way through.
To make the compote:
- Melt butter and sugar over a medium heat, until it starts to go golden and caramelise. Stir often, and watch for it burning. Don't worry if it clumps together at first, the apple juice will dissolve this!
- Add Cinnamon and stir.
- Add chopped apple and simmer over a medium to low heat for 10-15 minutes, until apple is cooked and soft and coated in a honey coloured glaze.
- Allow to cool (it will be VERY hot!)
When scones and compote are cool, carefully cut a circle in the top of each scone, and fill with compote. You might want to press it down, depending on how well filled you want them to be.
Serve with butter or whipped cream and some tea!!
This batch headed straight to Mr M's work as a Monday morning treat, but after the feedback I'll definitely be making more. And adapting it to include more festive flavours too, as the Winter approaches!
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Wednesday, 19 November 2014
I know this is perhaps a bit of a cop-out on the old blogging front as it's not strictly new material, but it occurred to me that if you are new to Life at the Little Wood, you might have missed out on some earlier posts that you might enjoy. So I have rounded up some of my favourites for you, and some that have been popular with you all as well.
In January I'll have been at this blogging caper for a whole year. In the 10 months so far I have written 162 posts which have been viewed into the hundreds of thousands of times.
That's a lot of words. And a lot of people.
The intention of this little space for me was never to gain a following or court popularity, and I tick on in my own little way. I'm certainly not a 'power blogger', nor one who has reached the heady heights of mega success. Some of my blogging peers are exceptional writers and beautiful photographers and they, very rightly, hold those top positions.
But for whatever reason you choose to come here too. To share my thoughts and a little of our family life. And I think we maybe cry together sometimes, or tear our hair out, or laugh at ourselves, or share our frustrations. The community that is joined by this page is what it's all about for me really. It was never the intention, but it has lifted my head so many times. It makes me smile constantly.
So thankyou. Once again thankyou.
And I hope you find something to make you smile today too...
These continue to be some of the most viewed pages on Life at the Little Wood. Particularly our build story, and our kitchen tour. You'll find all posts about Little Wood grouped together under the 'Our Little Wood' button in the sidebar archive. I'm hoping to update these a little in the New Year with fresh photographs and decor updates.
Lovely Becky from The Spirited Puddle Jumper and I are also planning on collaborating on a new interiors project in 2015, so if you love to see pretty home things and seek a bit of inspiration, keep your eyes peeled for that!
Back in the Summer, I wrote a post about travelling with kids. It was a one-off Summer piece that broke up my little blogging hiatus. I think lots of you must have been in the same boat (perhaps quite literally!) as it was very popular at the time.
More recently All Our Little Flaws and Another Morning have struck a chord with some. It's so lovely to hear that people feel similarly. It makes me feel that perhaps my worries aren't so random after all!
The write-y ones
Creative writing was never really my thing through Uni and I envy those who have this amazing gift to craft stories and poetry beautifully. I gave it a go though in When and An Ode to the Class Birthday Party. Little poems that I hope you can maybe relate to in some way.
And I imparted my words of wisdom (I say this with the ultimate amount of irony!) to those earlier on the parenting spectrum in Things I wish I knew when they turned two.
You're very welcome. ;)
Some of my favourites are some of the less viewed posts, or ancient ones that I wrote when I was young and fresh, right back at the beginning of this little blog. I still really love Puttin' on the Glitz, The Patience Test and Fake It till you Make It, and refer back to them often, when I need reminded to be brave or to be thankful for every little blessing that has found its way to me.
If you read something new today and enjoy it, I'd really love it if you'd take two seconds to leave a little comment, either here or on Facebook or Twitter. I appreciate each and every one.
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
I found this little quote on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and it really struck a chord with me.
I think most people that meet me for the first time would assume that I am a decent person, a good egg - at least I hope they do anyway.
I have never been the most confident person, or the one to hold everyone's attention in a crowd, but I am sensitive, a loyal friend, an encourager of others.
And I'll be the first to tell you that, even in your struggles, you're doing a damn good job.
But sometimes, even when we don't want it or seek it, conflict lands at our door, doesn't it?
We find ourselves defensive, guarded and under attack.
And in these times this little quote holds true.
A very kind blog reader complimented me recently on my positive outlook and sunny disposition. I'm not always like this, lovely readers, let me assure you. Mr M and the little three get their fair share of un caffeinated grumpiness first thing most mornings. And I have my bad moments too - those dark days when you feel a bit of an emotional mess, and the paranoia swirls and mounts.
Don't we all have those days?
And on those days, the ones where you find it hard to see the wood for the trees, sometimes your resolve to be that sweet, kind, ball of positivity just cracks a little. You absolutely want to shout and rant and be unreasonably mean to those close to you, the ones who are always first in the firing line.
And I think that's OK too, from time to time, for none of us is perfect. Human nature dictates that we will all have our off-days, and admitting that is not doing a disservice to ourselves, merely making us more relatable, more honest.
So, whilst I'll still turn to Pinterest for a life lesson or two, and strive to be that person of integrity, I'll always be honest here too - admit when I'm struggling or being a grumpy cow, or when I've dealt with things badly.
I'm no angel. I haven't got life, or marriage, or friendship, or parenthood sussed just yet. There's always a curve ball, always a storm to calm.
But the great thing about life, about people,
Is that sometimes, if you choose to believe the best in them, encourage and support.
We all might just get a little bit closer to the person in that quote. We all might be better people.
And wouldn't that be something?
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Friday, 14 November 2014
It's been a funny old week this week. I haven't felt particularly inspired to do anything, least of all tackle the tsunami of ironing that greets me every time I open the airing cupboard.
Really must get to that.
But at the same time it has been all sorts of busy, with the kids back to routine, and the weekends rapidly filling up too. Holidays are coming y'all! :)
As ever on a Friday, I'm linking up with lovely butwhymummywhy for #littleloves.
This week the little things that we have:
I used to read a lot of magazines, but since discovering blogs just over a year ago, I've saved myself an absolute fortune. There is such a wealth of writing out there, from current affairs to family life, fashion to interiors, recipes, to those posts that make you weep with laughter. If you don't already use it, I'd really recommend Bloglovin' as a reader. You can gather all your favourite blogs in one place and ensure that you don't miss new updates. Trust me, you'll not buy half as many magazines as once you did!
This week I have read some lovely things in the blogosphere. Check them out if you can!
Complicated Gorgeousness The difference between us
3 Children and It The Teenage Guide to Instagram
Californian Mum in London Mommy Speed Dating in the UK
And then the Fun Began On Piracy and other party themes
The last episode of Peaky Blinders. I'm distraught that it's over! If you haven't watched it, I'd really encourage a catch up with the first two series. Even the music in it is amazing, and Mr M really wants to develop a whiskey drinking habit now, in order to be as cool as Cillian Murphy. :)
After a brilliant two weeks of this section, I have failed miserably this week. My creative spark must have been overused over half term. I will have the promised Toffee Apple Scone recipe up next week though - I realised when I looked at my pictures that I had no good ones of the finished article, so am going to make more and photograph them properly this weekend.
Mr M and the kiddos are obviously devastated that they're going to have more to eat now!
Sparkly collars and girlie dresses...
Cosy layers, and this new bag. I'm absolutely loving it!
Giant blanket scarves - Winter is definitely coming!
Our first Costa festive hot chocolate. Obviously, in the name of market research we tested out the full range. Our favourite by far was the Orange hot chocolate - amazing! The White Choc one was a bit of a let down though - it tasted just like hot milk. And I so wanted it to be nice!
Birthday celebrations for this girlie...
Late night magical forest walks...
And that was our little week! You can catch up here with more random little bits from Little Wood, if you missed them earlier in the week.
Have a lovely weekend!
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Wednesday, 12 November 2014
The day has come, as I knew it probably would.
My only-just seven year old is in love.
The little boy who, up until recently stuck his tongue out at the notion of girls (apart from those created via MineCraft you understand). The one who was casting off the notion of a life of wedded bliss in order to be a chief exec at Legoland. The other man in my life who only had eyes for me (actually, make that the only one - Mr M can still have his head turned by Julia Roberts. Pah!)...
Has fallen for another.
It all began with a bit of very secretive note writing last week. As he tried to get it into his bag without me seeing, I joked that it was a love note, and waited for the normal 'URGH, no waaaay!' response. But instead, a coy smile and a barely noticeable nod.
And that's enough to stop you in your tracks right there.
He wouldn't tell me who it was for of course, made me promise not to tell his daddy for fear he should laugh. He did eventually come clean with him and Mr M dealt with it admirably.
He'll be the very best teacher when it comes to lessons in love, that man of mine.
But, wow. How did we get here so fast?
One minute you are contemplating which vegetable purée will have the least staining potential, Googling the medical consequences of sleep deprivation and examining the contents of nappies. And the next you are discussing Valentines cards and unrequited love.
I'm really not prepared for this.
And I haven't yet found a self-help book for those love-afflicted under 10's.
Eva suggested channelling the wisdom of Austin and Ally (apparently PopGirl is where all the cool kids go for their advice these days) and Annie helped LOTS by chanting 'Noah's got a girlfriend' for a good ten minutes (There were tears. And a spell in her bedroom.)
But I was at a loss.
We chatted about it again last night, and he admitted that someone he confided in had told her the origins of the anonymous note, in the playground at break.
He cried. And told the teacher.
Poor Mrs Jackson had her work cut out that day.
Anyway, the conclusion of this story is that we are now firmly back on the 'Girls Smell' train of thought. It's as well that heartbreak is so simple when you're seven - nothing a bit of Kindle-time and a cuddle won't solve.
And honestly? Truthfully? I'll encourage that for as long as possible. Enjoy being the love of his life.
For one day I know, all too soon,
He'll be skipping off into the sunset with one who loves him wholly. Kindle and cuddles long forgotten.
And my heart will be the one that's all sorts of broken.
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Tuesday, 11 November 2014
I often marvel at how this blogging malarkey is a lot like having a one-sided chat with a really good friend. We bloggers leave our mark, write what's going on with us, and people are kind enough to read it and not think we're entirely Cray. (Sometimes.)
So I thought, if you fancy a cuppa, I might fill you in on what's going on in the less newsworthy parts of Little Wood these days. Lucky you eh?
Help yourself to a cream bun while you're at it...
So, my Annie turned five this week. Jeepers Creepers. FIVE.
I realise that, theoretically, it is the next logical step after four, and clearly I knew it was coming, but it just seems so much older, doesn't it? A baby no longer. WEEP!
Apart from when it comes to wiping her own bum. Then 3am yelling-type alarm calls are still perfectly acceptable it would seem.
In other news, we have been on the hunt for an 'almost-real' Christmas tree (I say 'we' ; Mr M is very much a silent partner in this endeavour. As he is with most things that involve spending the Moola).
The story thus far is that we have loved and lost.
After three days of research and finally spotting a gorgeous one in The White Company (with 25% off too!), we checked-out too late, and weren't they only pissing sold out. There may have briefly been a heated discussion over who was supposed to order it, but I'm attributing no blame here, lovely readers. Nope. No way.
Suffice to say, however, that the Mr is now embroiled in the search too, and suddenly very willing to drive me to various Garden Centres to peruse their pines.
Isn't it dark so early these days too? I swear it didn't get light at all today.
Seasonal Affective Disorder anyone?? Bleugh!
Anyway, I've been lighting so many candles that our house does kind of resemble a seance at times - a festive one, if there is indeed such a thing.
Cinnamon is my home fragrance of choice from September to, oh, June? Then we have a brief spell of Lemon Lavender for the Summer.
You'll sleep better tonight knowing that little nugget I'm sure!
Speaking of candles, my top tip is to stock up in IKEA - £1.65 for 100 tea lights peeps!
Do, however, be on your guard, lest you come home with 313 candles, a lantern, a storage basket and 6 picture frames.
Take it from one who knows.
On the bloggy front I've been super busy in the last few weeks, not only with freelance writing commitments, but also in producing new content for this little space. When I took my break for the Summer I wasn't sure at all whether I'd ever come back to writing again, but the rest from it was actually exactly what I needed and Life at the Little Wood has really blossomed since September. I'm loving it more than ever, and most of all for the community that has developed around it.
Your comments, chat, 'Me Too's!', best wishes, 'likes' and general loveliness honestly, truthfully make my day. I wish I could invite you all for tea and cake, I really do!
Style-wise I have had a few new updates, but mostly have been rediscovering my old Autumn clothes. (Does anyone else do the seasonal wardrobe change over? Oh to have enough space for the whole years worth of clothes in one place. The actual DREAM.)
I still feel a bit of a plonker taking outfit pictures for Instagram. Safe to say modelling was never going to be a career choice. But I do like to share where I've got lovely things from, so I'm sucking up my awkwardness in light of the greater good. I love seeing what other people are wearing too, and just that general celebration of being a girl. You can be assured though, that I am my own worst critic and do constantly imagine people rolling their eyes when they see my ugly mug appearing in their IG feed AGAIN. If you are one, I really do apologise. :)
Phil and Philomena are on the rampage at the moment. Well, in as much as Pheasants can. By nature they are the Mr Bean of the bird world - not exactly known for their rock star behaviour. But they do have suicidal tendencies, and like to keep me on my toes when it comes to the old Emergency Stop practice on the main road.
They are loopy, but I love them for it.
The raucous squawking, not so much.
Oh, and we have a black bunny family too! The brown ones are all like 'WTF', and tend to leave them out of the group herbaceous border munching.
There's a bit of racial discrimination going on there if you ask me.
It's as well for Fluffy, next door's cat, who being all inclusive and all, isn't too fussed on the colour of her breakfast. Otherwise there might be some sort of rabbit civil war happening down here.
As it is, the brotherhood of Bunny will generally prevail, given threat of a feline nature.
Honestly City-dwellers. You really don't know what you're missing.
Aww, bless you for making it to the end of this ramble. Have another bun.
Anyway, how have things been with you? Good, I hope?
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