Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Foodie Sundays...

My children are definitely not known for their culinary tastes and love of trying new things.
I hope it maybe reassures you to know that we eat more than our fair share of Potato Waffles and cheese toasted sandwiches.
I realised a long time ago that food was a battle I was most unlikely to win.

Anyhow, one sure way to get them to at least attempt something new is to cut it into tiny pieces, put it on a stick, and get someone else to serve it to them. I love how they're a whole lot less suspicious of a stranger giving them snacks than their OWN MOTHER.

We were invited to the Tesco NI food fair in Custom House Square, a couple of Sundays ago, by the lovely people at Graham's Bakery. It is an annual event open to the public, and totally free, which showcases some of the best local food suppliers. The busyness of it had put us off in previous years (it was a bit hectic!), but with bigger children, less likely to get trampled on, we attempted it this year.

Here are some snaps of our day, if you'd like a look...

Making Smoothies with Bike-power!

Slightly random to have an animal attraction at a food fair but, y'know, who are we to argue?
Don't they just look DELIGHTED to be photographed with that Alpaca?? ;)

Life is good when there is cake. Making your own? AWESOME!

We tried lots of new things (my favourite was the Glenisk berry smoothie, Mr M loved the Honey Irish Whiskey!), rolled our own Swiss roll, and left with a bag of goodies.
If you're local I'd definitely recommend a trip next year, but go early and prepare yourself for crowds.

Happy tummies = happy faces though, eh?

E x

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Friday, 19 September 2014

Love the Little Things #26

Today I mostly have the cold.
Which we know in woman-terms is actually a whole lot more like the flu. Such martyrs we are!
Anyway, in true feeling rubbish style, I shall do four schoolruns, a pile of ironing, write a bit, make tiny people lunch, nip to the shops, read 354 stories and perform at least one search for random craft objects. All powered by Lemsip.
It's all hilarious until the paracetamol wears off, isn't it?

Today, as is the norm on a Friday, I'm linking up with (the birthday girl!) butwhymummywhy for #littleloves. Do pop over and read the rest of the lovelies linking up.

This week, the little things that we have:


One of my very best bloggy friends, Sian from The Adventures of a Potty Mouthed Mummy, wrote a hilarious post this week on Parenting Tricks Gone Wrong. I read it aloud to Mr M and we chortled heartily, with that happy nostalgia that only parents of older tots can muster.
If you have a newborn and are already being lulled into signing up for baby swimming lessons, or buying the fanciest bouncy chair on the market, read this first - I urge you!

I also ADORED There is Something Special about Mr Tumble by the incredibly witty Californian Mum in London. Elfa explores the mysteries surrounding Mr Tumble in this post - Why are he and Justin never seen in the same room? Why do we never know his first name? Why has he recently moved from a country manor, and now resides in a terraced house? This really made me giggle, and is one for all of us whose TV remotes are at the mercy of the CBeebies generation.


GBBO - is anyone NOT watching this? Pastry week resulted in making me really crave a pastie (I've never eaten a pastie in my life!), and feel a little bit sad for poor Martha. It all went a bit tits-up for her this week didn't it?
And she is only 9. Bless.
(DISCLAIMER: If you haven't watched it yet this is not a spoiler! Watch and see!)

Stuck in Love - Chick Flicks are not normally our bag, but this was quirky and really sweet.


A trip to a local food fair (groan! My 'mades' are crap. Can we make this section 'Eaten' next year Morgana? I'd be amazing at that! :) )
Anyhow, we went in search of free food last Sunday afternoon, and find it we most definitely did!
(More on this next week!)


Hats! For all the girls...

Comfy dresses and heritage prints...

Vintage tops and khaki...


Time outdoors...

Special achievements. Particularly amazing since this little one has been struggling so much with anxiety lately. She is such a smart cookie, but sometimes that brings pressures of it's own, doesn't it? I think the reassurance of her teacher has helped this week. Sometimes you have to hear it from those outside of your Mummy and Daddy I guess!

New friends. This week I met the lovely Avril from School Gate Style, for coffee and a chat. It was possibly not the wisest move to rendezvous with a shopping queen in a department store. Things were tried on and wish-lists were made!

And that was our little week!
I'm really hoping that the dry-spell continues this weekend. It has been such a lovely September so far!
Whatever you are up to, have a lovely one, won't you?

Right - Lemsip my friend, I'm coming to get you!

E x


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Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Book Shop...

One of the great joys of childhood, in my opinion anyway, was the discovery of reading, and the totally simple pleasure of a good book. My younger years were full of Roald Dahl, Famous Five, Little Women, Nancy Drew. And then later Saddle Club and Sweet Valley High - do you remember those?  I read the classics too of course, but nothing gripped me quite like those stories which seemed relatable. Or the ones with the lives that my young mind aspired to. Or tales of crazy adventures, scary encounters and big romances.
I've always loved seeing the world through another persons eyes. The way their imagination opens up and draws you in.
It's a gift to be a writer, and one as readers that we are fortunate to share in.
Life lately has got in the way big-style, with my dedication to literature. Children will do that, won't they? But a love of books, and the written word, is something that Mr M and I really want to pass on to our little three. Far from it being something they have to do, or that school requires, we'd love it to be something they seek to do. And I know we're totally fighting against the pull of all things technology here, but in those precious quiet moments when the homework is complete, and the day's activities are done, we are aiming for fifteen minutes book-time each day.

A very wise man once said to me, back in my early teaching days; 'Bring them to the book Emma, and let the story do the work' , and it has always stuck with me. So, with that in mind, a couple of weekends ago, we did just that...

It's amazing how the simple act of choosing a new book (and the subsequent coffee shop trip!) can be so exciting for a child. I hope they never lose that innocence. I hope the smell, and sight and hushed tones of a book shop are always as fascinating for them.
And I hope the stories do the work.

Like they did again and again for me.

E x

Linking up today with lovely MummyDaddyMe for The Ordinary Moments.

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Monday, 15 September 2014

A Birthday Wish List...

I have a birthday approaching.
And I'm soon to be on the slope-to-40 side of my 30's.
I'm in denial, because just yesterday I was 21 and thought 40 was ANCIENT.
What folly! Clearly my young, line-free, totallynaturalandcolourunaided brunette head was mental. Because 40 is merely a skip and a jump from 30, right? It's like one and a half dog-years (or something like that), and feels like it too.
I've been living, right here, in these flirty thirties for five years now, and I can tell you with absolute certainty - blink and you'll miss them.
I guess it's because by this stage in life we've got down to the serious business of getting on with living, haven't we? Life becomes less about getting where we need to be, and more about just being there.

Our teen years are all about bloody-well surviving the school/Uni palaver, with a liver still intact, body art decisions that we won't live to regret, and some semblance of credibility attached to a piece of paper with results scrawled on.
In our twenties we find our place in the world, hunker down into life, get a bit stressed about the right time to get hitched, have babies, develop careers.
Basically the twenties involve a lot of stress.

And then come the thirties.

Five years ago, I was a bit devastated to hit the ripe old age of Three Oh. To me it symbolised the serious period of life. The one where we'd start to read The Times of a Sunday, and get overly interested in Politics (told you I was mental. To be clear - this will never happen.)
But a far-cry from that, these past few years have been the very best yet.
I've watched my kiddo's grow and develop (and welcomed Miss A at 31).
We have designed and built our dream home, and are so happy in it.
I have chucked in the career that, truth-be-told, I wasn't that happy in at all, and now do something that I thoroughly enjoy.
We still stress of course, (I think perhaps I do a bit more than average) but for the most part, life is kind. We are fortunate, lucky, blessed.
And with that comes a new confidence that the teens and twenties didn't possess.
A devil-may-care, let's-give-it-a-whirl, what's-the-worst-that-could-happen kind of attitude.
It still shocks me that I feel that way - years of being timid take their toll on a girl - but truly, this is not a Dress Rehearsal people. Life is for the living.
You'll not find me bungee jumping off a cliff (tbh you'll not even find me ON a cliff - heights are not my biggest love, that's for sure!), but my thirty-something self WILL take on that opportunity, WILL challenge herself and think 'I can totally do that', WILL family-selfie-the-hell out of Instagram, because as one of those famous female icons once said (don't you love my factual accuracy here?), 'You'll never be as young or as beautiful as you are right now'.
How I wish I'd captured my twenties with that same spirit. And a really good camera-phone.

So, what do I wish for in this year of thirty-six?
Well, I wish for health for us all. I wish for happiness. I wish for a year of peace, surrounded by the people I love.
(I also wish for something in tan leather from Mulberry, if I'm being totally honest.)

But most of all, 

I wish for nothing more than exactly what I have right now.

E x

Mama and More

All About You Link & Pin Party

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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Blackberry Picking...

We are so fortunate to live in a pretty spectacular place, surrounded by gorgeous countryside. Sometimes we forget that there is a full-on, nature-made playground right outside our door. But this weekend, with nothing more pressing to do, we decided to go for a wander and pick some blackberries. Snacks on tap and everything! :)
If you'd like a little look at our day, scroll on down...

Eva and Annie's outfits are by M&S (how amazing are the hats?!)
Noah is wearing Mini Boden and Next.

Mr Heaney said it best I think. I love that the very simplest, uncomplicated activities of childhood are the same for us as for his generation...

'Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's. '

from 'Blackberry Picking' by Seamus Heaney

How beautiful our world is.

And how privileged we are to spend peaceful afternoons with stained hands and purple tongues.

E x

Linking up for the very first time with gorgeous Katie, over at Mummy Daddy Me, for The Ordinary Moments.

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