time flies when you're being a mum

Super Simple and Suitable for Babies

02 Sep, 2014

Is there anything that a bit of stock can’t make better? Soup, stew, or adding a bit of je ne sais quoi to your quinoa or cous cous! Now, I’m a bit of a fan of organic and I try to make sure everything we eat organic*. Ordinarily I use Kallo organic stock cubes for convenience  but…the taste just can’t compare to making your own. Chicken is my favourite stock, but as it takes hours and hours to make, today I thought I’d bring you DIY organic vegetable stock. In as little as an hour you could have you’re own gorgeously healthy stock, ideal for risotto, stew, Bolognese, soup…you get the picture!

This recipe is actually an adaptation from Annabel Karmel’s Baby & Toddler Meal Planner, which means it’s ideal for weaning but also means it’s low salt and super healthy for adults too!

*That doesn’t mean I don’t fall off the wagon and drink a bit too much and then binge on Chinese food, that’s not what I’m saying. I guess it’s more of an 80/20 principle (80% organic and local where possible, 20% rubbish).

DIY Organic Vegetable Stock

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 1/2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/2 leek
  • 175g mixed root vegetables (I’ve got swede and butternut squash here)
  •  25g unsalted organic butter
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • some fresh parsley and a bay leaf
  • a pinch of black pepper corns
  • 900ml water

Ingredients for DIY Organic Vegetable Stock Recipe - this is also suitable for weaning. Click here for recipe: http://mumsdays.com/organic-vegetable-stock/

We get a large veg bag each week from a local supplier called North East Organic Growers in which we get the usual root veggies (carrots and potatoes), plus some leafy greens (this week included basil, which I was excited about!) and other in season yummy things (such as Wet Garlic, which you can see in action in this Brazilian Steak Sauce). I do my best to use it all up but invariably we are left with bits and bobs so vegetable stock is an ideal way to use up any leftovers…so don’t feel you have to stick to the above ingredients rigidly! Also, I find it hard to find organic herbs, so it’s not 100% organic unfortunately!

Instructions

1. Melt the butter and cook the onion for a few minutes then add everything else

DIY Organic Vegetable Stock Recipe - this is also suitable for weaning. Click here for recipe: http://mumsdays.com/organic-vegetable-stock/

2. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour

DIY Organic Vegetable Stock Recipe - this is also suitable for weaning. Click here for recipe: http://mumsdays.com/organic-vegetable-stock/

3. Strain the stock using a sieve so you can squeeze the veg for any more juice (and to add a little more texture to your vegetable stock!). I keep this in the fridge in one of those left-over soup pots for up to a week.

DIY Organic Vegetable Stock Recipe - this is also suitable for weaning. Click here for recipe: http://mumsdays.com/organic-vegetable-stock/

Now go forth and make your food yummier!

How do you make your Vegetable Stock? Any secrets to share?!

Do leave your comments below, I love to read them all! xxx

Come and join the conversation in the Mums’ Days Facebook Page!

I’m linking in with lovely Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesdays…

 Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

01 Sep, 2014

Back in May you might remember I did a wee tour of our house and tips for moving house, How to buy a house and sell your old one, because we had just put our house on the market. Well a few months later and it’s still on the market but actually I’m secretly a bit pleased because it’s putting off the inevitable…the actual moving bit. It’s stressful right?

Well, after Ella saw that we were thinking about moving, it inspired her to put together her tips for moving house, having recently gone through the trauma herself! Here are her observations of what makes a move stressful and how to avoid the pitfalls!

Tips for moving house – Things That Make it Stressful

Guest post from Ella Oakes

Everyone wants to be happy, especially if they are about to experience a major change in their life. However, most people still find the process of moving to a new home incredibly stressful. Even if they have thought of everything, new problems can pop up.

Listed below are the problem areas which can make the process stressful as well as how you can resolve them…

Tips for moving house - Things That Make it Stressful and how to avoid them! - http://mumsdays.com/things-can-make-move-stressful/

Image credit: Claude Boucher

Unaccounted furniture or belonging

During a move, one common scenario people experience is where one or more of their belongings end up missing. This can be due to how busy each household member is while they are packing their belongings. They often focus more on getting everything ready before the movers or removalists arrive. It is only when they start to unpack they realise something is missing.

It is difficult keep track of everything if you have too many things to do and worry about, so it’s a good idea to list down furniture, appliances, electronics and other items in a checklist. Having this can ensure no one has to worry about leaving any of their stuff behind (or working out which box it is in!).

Moving too many things at once

Having to move so many belongings during the day of the move is both a hassle and expensive. It can take up much of the removalist’s time transferring everything to and from the vehicle. You might also need to rent a larger van in order to accommodate all of your belongings. This can translate to an expensive bill at the end of the move which can ruin the mood on your first day at your new home.

One good way of minimising your belongings is to sell the pieces you don’t use anymore or to give it away to relatives. This can be hard for some to do. However, imagine how easy you can make the day of your move if you have fewer things to worry about. You’ll also feel good in knowing the item you sold or gave away is going to make someone else happy.

Despair in leaving your old home

Not everyone is happy about changes in their life, including a new home. Your kids are the most likely to be affected by the move. Most children find comfort in what is familiar and a part of their daily routine. A new house, school, shops and neighbourhood can be a negative experience for them. On the other hand, teenagers or adults might be unhappy with the decision to move. This can be due to the amount of things (friends for example) they will leave behind.

For many people, they are required to move to another location due to career or financial reasons. In any case, always stay positive throughout the process of relocating to another house. This can help lighten the mood for your children. Another way to soften the negative impact of relocating is to understand why certain family members are not happy with the move. Doing this can help you find a good way to ease their worries.

The first night

Despite how well everything is going with transferring your belongings to your new home, there is still a chance the first night is going to be stressful. This is natural as you and your family will need to have everyone’s belongings organised at this time. There is also the chance of the travel time from your old address to your new one is tiringly long.

A good tip to follow on your first week is to relax and take a load off. You do not need to have all of the furniture, appliances and heavy electronics in their place within the first couple of nights. This should be a time when you and your family should celebrate the new beginning.

Unpack only the essential items you need for the night and the following day. This may include extra clothing, blankets, pillows, and toiletry and kitchen utensils. Consider taking them out to dinner or order takeout from a local restaurant. This is a better alternative than having to cook dinner since unpacking the utensils you need might be more stressful than required.

You can make the experience of moving to a new house as stress free as possible by following the steps above. Always stay organised and be supportive of everyone during the move.

Thanks Ella!

I’ll try to remember this when the time does actually come…!

What are your tips for moving house? Is there anything you would recommend to help keep moving as stress free as possible?

I love to read your comments so please do leave them below….

Come and join the conversation in the Mums’ Days Facebook Group!

 

9 reasons to visit!

29 Aug, 2014

When I think of Manchester I think cool, hip and happening. I’ve only been a few times in my life but, despite being a former Brummy, I was amazed by its size. When my best friend, Alex, and I first started our events business in 2009 we met loads of cool people working in the tech/digital space from Manchester, the BBC had just moved there and I remember feeling like Manchester was like the Silicon Valley of the UK and the place to be!

And yet I still haven’t been back…a few years (and a baby) later, and Hotel Direct have asked me to think about Manchester from a totally different point of view – as a family destination. I have little doubt of the pull Manchester has for the families who live in and around the area. I believe they are spoilt for choice! But for those of us who have to travel, would you consider a city break there?

Having had a look around at what’s coming up over the next month for both individuals, those young folk that used to be me, and for families, there are loads of one-off events to tickle your taste buds for a weekend or longer if you have littler ones!

Before I get onto that though, one of the most exciting things for me, as a former transport engineer, is you can also travel in the city for free on some bus routes!! You don’t even need a ticket. Now, that’s a service!

Anyway, onto the upcoming events…

September events in Manchester

11-13 September – The Superbyte Festival (£30 advanced tickets, 18+ only)

For the gamers of you, which if you ever played pacman, is basically all of us, there is a Retro gaming Festival called The Superbyte Festival. It celebrates everything low-tech and involves art, visuals and music into the wee hours…so more of a date weekend than family fun but still interesting!

18-29 September – The Food and Drink Festival (prices vary for special events)

If the press is to be believed, wherever you go, you’ll find foodie/drinkie things going on from Street food, cheese and chocolate fests and general hubub in Albert Square, which hosts the festival Hub, to an edible mushroom hunt complete with outdoor cooking!

19-21 September – The Ramsbottom Festival (prices vary for the day you wish to visit)

A full scale festival at Ramsbottom Cricket Club, this is one of the last music festivals of the season and if you’re feeling brave you can go for the full weekend and camp…I’m not! Alongside the music, there’s a bunch of events specifically for the family. The shadowplay looks particularly wonderful!

9 things to do in Manchester as a family (although 2 are without the kids!): http://mumsdays.com/manchester/

Image courtesy of Just So Festival

Everyday activities in Manchester to enjoy with kids

All lovely and interesting events, but what of Manchester when it’s not pulling in the exciting, large events?!

I have looked to my Mum friends on the Mums’ Days Facebook wall, of course, to see what they recommend to do with the kiddies…so aside from going to finally meet my lovely friend, Ellie, they’ve come up with an array of wet/dry/free/not so free options!

  1. MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) – Free entry and loads to look at in an enclosed space – that is my new Mecca with this toddler tear-away!
  2. Manchester Museum – Free entry and a natural history museum that is part of the University. I suspect kids will get cleverer just being near it.
  3. Legoland Discovery Centre (£9.95 per person over 3 or £12 for a parent and 3-5 year old – be sure to pay in advance ONLINE!!) – I’ve always wanted to go to Legoland, I think it’s the Civil Engineer in me…and there’s even a sleepover option where you get to play with all the stuff until 10pm (…with 25 of your friends).
  4. Sea Life Centre (£9.95 per person over 3 ONLINE price) – I love sea life centres, they are really magical for little ones.
  5. Trafford Centre (free but bring your credit card) – if you can convince your other half to take the kids to Legoland or the Sea Life Centre without you, you can hop across the way to the shopping centre…!
  6. Heaton Park (free) – I think the key to any successful city break is to have maybe 1 organised trip planned per day and then have time planned for just tearing around. Heaton Park is apparently perfect for this with 2 play areas, a sand pit, petting farm, tram and boating lake. Perfect for some less organised fun!

9 things to do in Manchester as a family (although 2 are without the kids!): http://mumsdays.com/manchester/

Image courtesy of Visit Manchester

What do you think? Has that tempted you to take a trip to Manchester? Or have we missed your favourite Manchester destination?

Do leave your thoughts in the comments below! And if you’re planning on enjoying a trip to Manchester without the car, click here for tips on travelling with toddlers for a city break.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Hotel Direct, all words and thoughts are my own. 

Thank you, as ever, to the Mums – Abi, Alison, Amelie, Ellie and Emily – on the Mums’ Days Facebook Wall for your recommendations!

Mums’ List 26

Aug
29th
2014

I’ve completely lost track of which week we’re on for Mums’ List! I think it’s 26…anyway, thank you SOOOOOO much to Aby from You Baby Me Mummy for her wonderful hosting while I was on my holidays – she did a much better job than I ever do!!

Real Life

Well, after the world’s best holiday followed by worst day coming home on Monday that finally ended at 1am when we walked through our front door, this weeks been lovely but with the inevitable tinge of sadness to not be on holiday anymore!

We had a wonderful day on Wednesday with lots of my family – mum, brother, aunty, cousin’s son, and my gorgeous nephew and his mums, who were visiting for the week. It has reminded me how I just don’t see them enough, this beautiful little boy is growing in a flash and he’s not going to know his cool aunt!!

We went to Belsay Hall and Castle, which I’d never been to before, and it was absolutely stunning. If you get chance to go before the end of the summer, do. The last of the flowers were blooming and, as we ate our picnic in the sun, I had this amazing feeling of the final glimpse of warmth before Autumn sets in…gosh I am feeling a little melancholic! Anyway, Reuben loved running around with the big boys. He probably ran about 2 miles, I’ve never seen anything like it!

Mums' List 26

Blog life

Ironically, despite working really hard prior to setting off to make sure I had enough blog posts to continue blogging everyday while we were away, fully expecting to hit the ground running when I got back, I’ve really struggled to get in to it. So since being back and I haven’t managed to blog daily anyway!

I’ve come back feeling guilty. Guilty for being a rubbish friend, sister, wife, mum because I spend so much of my time, energy and brain power on my work. I think the main thing I’ve realised since being away is that when it comes to blogging I’m not focused enough. I fanny about, which takes up a lot of time! I need to work on being more efficient and better time management. I think I say that every week, don’t I?!

Inspiration

My lovely friends and family who I’ve been neglecting…I can change, I promise! xx

Your Turn!

How has your week has gone? Please do link in your lists (or any other list posts you’ve written this week)!

To join in the linky pop this badge on your post (make sure you copy all the code and paste it into the HTML section of your blog – you can delete the bit after the badge that says “see more at…” I don’t know why it does that!), add your link below and don’t forget to go and see some of your fellow linkers and comment! For more info, see the Mums’ List rules here.

Mums' Days
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Portugal!

Aug
28th
2014

28 Aug, 2014

Well, we’re back and Portugal was amazing! So now I have the obligatory, modern-day slide show for you ( I figured a photo post would be a nice way to ease me back in after 2 weeks off…!).

We set off for our afternoon flight in high spirits. A little bit of bread, a little bit of a film and the flight to Portugal passed relatively painlessly.

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Once we arrived in Faro it was about 8pm by the time we set off in the hire car and Reuben promptly fell asleep. After a few detours (and some yelling!) we found our lovely villa, which was just past the town of Lagos. But, oh horror, there wasn’t a cot!! So we had to set up a mattress on the floor and hope for the best. Thankfully Reuben was tired enough not to bother about the lack of bars and nodded off again with a little milk.

Then we found the cot in a cupboard no one had noticed. *slaps forehead*

He coped well with the bed that night and we all enjoyed Reuben appearing in the morning so we never did bother putting up the cot (although I was sorely tempted on the last night after he discovered he could open the door and I found him yelling in Gabby’s room – Gabby still fast asleep – at 3am!).

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Then it was our first day and that’s where all the days start to melt into one…we explored our villa in the light, then the little village, then the shared pool in our court yard, then the surrounding beautiful beaches.

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

The view out the back of our villa as the sun rises – Gabby’s on the balcony outside the kitchen

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Exploring the village 

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Exploring the pool (that’s the baby one!)

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

The beautiful beach of Beliche (which is a right climb to get out of!) – Gabby and Mike are off for the first and only surf of the trip because there weren’t any waves!

After the first few days I don’t know what we actually did! Each day naturally followed a pattern of leisurely breakfast, trip and lunch out, return sometime in the afternoon to play in the pool, dinner at home.

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Leisurely morning…

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

…complete with den building

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Trip out…to the zoo on one of the days

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Trip out…to the beach on another of the days

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

And then back home to the pool…

Boring? Nope. It didn’t matter one jot. We were just there together, enjoying the perfect Portugal weather and not having to think about anything else. I loved the space and freedom and privacy of having our own place. Not a kids disco in sight! And, it was heaven.

Linking in with lovely Hannah over at Make, Do and Push…! xxx

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