Tuesday, 31 May 2011


It's half term this week, and for Eden and I this means our usual 'hang-outs' of the library, parks, swimming pool and soft play centre will be much busier than what we're used to. Add to this that the toddler groups aren't running, it occurred to me that I needed to think up some alternative activities to keep the both of us occupied this week. So we're having a 'messy play and craft' week at home.

Eden turned 18 months yesterday - she really is just like a sponge the way she soaks up learning experiences, and I find it very rewarding that I'm the one teaching her everything (or almost everything) she knows. Today, we learnt all about our hands. We started the day by making handprints out of homemade salt dough (like play dough but you can bake it so that it hardens like clay and you can then decorate and keep it). Eden has far from perfected the art of handprints from paint (she's just too wriggley and doesn't 'get it' yet), but she really enjoyed our salt dough session.

We then moved on to me drawing around our hands with felt tips - again she really engaged with this activity, pointing out her fingers on the page.

We finished off with some nursery rhymes using our hands - Eden's good at 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' and 'If you're happy and you know it Clap Your Hands'.

All in all a very enjoyable morning with my little girl :)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Smell the roses

It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses we must plant more trees. 
George Eliot

Wandering around my neighbourhood the other day, I noticed that a lot of gardens around here have roses, they're all in flower at the moment and look so beautiful.

This led to the decision to plant 3 or 4 roses along the currently empty border in our front garden. So this afternoon, we took a trip to a local nursery (a much nicer experience than visiting a garden centre) to pick up some roses.

We've picked a yellow flowering one called 'Peace' and 2 others, one is pink and one is scarlet.

I'll be leaving a space in the border, as in a couple of years time I'd like to have a go at taking a hardwood cutting of my Dad's new 'Eden' rose (our daughter's name is Eden Rose). I've heard that propagating plants in this way is quite difficult, but I'd like to give it a go.  

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Friday, 27 May 2011


I'm now on Facebook! You can 'like' my blog on facebook by clicking here. I'll be posting updates on there everytime I do a new blog. I'm also branching out into the blogging world and will be starting some reviews and giveaways soon, so facebook is the ideal way to make sure you don't miss out. The facebook link is also at the foot of the blog page (see below!)

Recipe: Apple and Butternut Squash Curry

Personally, I'm not one to follow recipes, I much prefer to invent my own, with mixed results! Last night was one of my better inventions, worthy of a blog post as it was delicious and I'll definitely be making it again. Here's the recipe if anyone would like to try it themselves (let me know what you think if you do....)

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 apple, peeled and cut into small chunks (I used a dessert apple)
1 onion, sliced chunkily
3 cloves garlic, sliced or crushed
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 dessertspoons korma curry paste
2 tsp ginger puree
Handful of sultanas
500ml vegetable stock

Heat the oil in a pan, fry the onions and garlic until lightly cooked.
Add the sweet potato, squash and apple and saute for 5 mins.
Add the curry paste and ginger, and give it a good stir.
Add the stock and sultanas, bring to the boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and tender.
Serve with warmed naan bread.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Start of a new week

Today I'm very excited that this is the first Monday, and the start of the first full week, living in our new house! Moving house is exciting anyway, but we've been waiting 7 weeks since relocating from Southampton, and a further year before that with our lives semi-on-hold (as much as we tried not to, it was inevitable to an extent).

Being a mostly stay at home Mum, or, 'Operations Manager of the Strickland Household' as I like to think of it, I have lots of plans for daily activities for Eden and I. There's the usual toddler groups to join, and new Mummies to meet in the area. I haven't managed to get along to any yet, with all the work on the house that I've been overseeing these past few weeks. Eden loves being outside and going to the play park, and so I'm looking forward to taking her there regularly when we have a free morning or afternoon. I've joined the local library too, which is another place that Eden and I will be visiting regularly.

I've missed my messy play activity times that I like doing with Eden at home and will be starting them up again this week with plenty of new ideas floating around of things we can do together. I think time at home is going to be really fun for us now that we're giving Eden a free-run of every room in the house. She can help me clean for a start! In our old house we couldn't let her run around upstairs or down, partly as it wasn't safe, and partly because we had constant house viewings and we just wouldn't have been able to contain the destruction she makes in every room!

I've really missed my slow cooker (!) and have been super organised this morning and planned our meals for the week ahead. We have a slight adjustment to Eden's daily routine in that we're planning to sit down together for our evening meals when Luke gets back from work at 6pm, rather than me giving Eden her own meal at 5ish everyday.

When Eden naps everyday over lunch I intend to use the time to build up my freelance business as a Dietitian/Sports Nutritionist. My work is really important to me and I want to dedicate more time to it now that we've relocated and settled.

And finally, I have the garden to work on - it'll be much easier for me to potter out there once the lawn's laid and Eden can play outside.

So lots of plans of things I want to do. I'm so thankful that we have our lovely new house and I'm looking forward to settling in and living life here.

Friday, 20 May 2011

And we're in!

7 weeks after picking up the keys, we moved into our new home yesterday. It's lovely to finally be in after waiting so long - not just the 7 weeks since we've moved up, but the 15 months since we put our house on the market. I've been pottering around tidying up and Eden's sleeping well and going to sleep easily here. Hopefully this weekend we can finish putting the new kitchen cabinets in place, although we have to wait a week until we can get the new work surface cut and placed. We had a celebratory takeaway curry last night, and until the kitchen's in, it'll be easy meals everyday! I love our new home though, and it's so enjoyable making it our own.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Real Nappy Week

Well, I've been very good recently at resisting temptation and haven't bought Eden any new cloth nappies for ages. However, having moved house to a new area we will have some money to claim back from the council incentive scheme here to use cloth nappies, which is well worth doing for cloth-nappy lovers like us.

With this in mind, I bought Eden a new Universal Gen-Y cover that arrived yesterday. This is currently the top rated cover on diaperpin.com. She looks super-cute in it. I like it so much I've ordered her another one, selling 2 of her other nappies that we don't get on with to pay for it. Eden likes the 'shish'. 

When we first started cloth nappying Eden at 6 days old (17 months ago) we used a prefold system that we got from freecycle. Although it was all brand new and we were extremely grateful for it, it was boring white, as prefolds were at the time. The two-part fitted and prefold systems tended to only offer white, or if you were lucky, plain colours, no patterns unfortunately. I soon got hooked on the prettier pocket nappies and all-in-one types that offered a variety of colourful patterns and designs. In our own collection our prefolds were put away at the bottom of the drawer and replaced with the 'exciting' patterns and designs out there.

However, over the 17 months that we've been cloth nappying, I've watched the market for cloth nappies really take-off, which has been fantastic in promoting all the benefits of using real nappies! As cloth nappies have gained in popularity in recent years, and continue to do so, there's loads more variety in designs and styles out there. As a family, we're slowly going back to the prefold system we originally started out with recognising the benefits that come with this type of real nappy system, albeit now with pretty wraps to add to our 'collection'.

This coming week is real nappy week, promoting the benefits of using real nappies. In my own experience I've come across many Mums who have misguided ideas about modern cloth nappies. We've come a long way since terries, nappy pins and soaking in napisan! The idea that it's 'hard work' I guess is down to individual ideas of what hard work means - but to me the 10 seconds it takes to load the machine and 5 minutes to hang them out, twice a week, isn't hard work at all. There are ways around the issue of perceived messiness, and I find cloth nappies no less convenient than disposables. The thought of having something soft, cute and natural next to my daughter's skin is far more preferential than a paper, plastic, chemical combination, and despite the temptation to buy lots of new pretty nappies, cloth nappies do work out a whole lot cheaper than disposables.

Yes, some people may think we're a little strange to use cloth nappies, let alone write a blog post about them, but for me and my family, we just think they're great and I wish more people would give them a try. Here's hoping Real Nappy Week will help 'Share the Secret' of the modern cloth nappy.

Bit of a slow week

This past week we haven't done a lot on the house ourselves as we've just been waiting to get the central heating and double glazing sorted, which has been slow and frustrating at times! We've also had a carpenter in to replace the bottom 3 stairs that had split and were a bit dodgy underfoot. Luke's begun to put together the kitchen units, although we can't fix them in the kitchen until the gas people have finished. There's also been some minor adjustments needed to the electricity fittings we had placed a few weeks ago to meet standards.

This morning we ordered the remaining carpets, booked to be fitted this Wednesday. But before then we have the carpenter coming back to replace some of the floorboards broken from the gas work that had been done.

So all in all quite a frustrating week. On the plus side, Eden's played really well, and napped in the day, in her new bedroom. I've continued to dig the border in the back garden in anticipation for some more plants and vegetables. I kind of want it to be perennial plants along there but think we're going to have to make space for the tomatoes that I've grown from seed and will need planting out soon.

We're slowly getting there and we're hopefully on the home straight now.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Story cubes

I'm a big fan of Red Ted Art's blog, which has so many great ideas of crafts to do with children. Inspired by Red Ted Art, I made these story cubes back in January for Eden, she happened to be really ill at the time and sleeping a lot so they didn't take long to make. The aim is to roll the cubes, and tell a story with the pictures. Although too young to tell a story with them herself just at the moment, Eden has a little bag that she keeps them in, and she loves examining the cubes one by one, and building towers with them. I'm sure we'll enjoy them for many years to come.

6 week update

The end is in sight!

We have central heating and double glazing going in this week. The kitchen is arriving today and the carpet fitting is booked for next Wednesday!

Not long now....

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Eden's finished bedroom

She loves it!

This weekend's work

We've decorated the living room this weekend. Originally I just wanted to get the window wall decorated because that's where the new radiator is going, but as it didn't take us long we thought we'd do the whole room.

It works well setting little goals to complete in a certain time period - it keeps us focussed on tasks and is all the more satisfying when we complete those goals. It was great to have completed the living room today!