Friday, August 23, 2019

More thing to remember about parenting


11 months - Taking great delight in trying to feed us your food.

Then a torrent of language developing:
  • Saying quack when playing with ducks 18/3/2019
  • Saying Hiya, and up, signing for milk and food 2/4/2019
  • Saying teddy and baa for sheep 13/4/2019


Being able to cuddle us back at 13 months

13 months -  Words: Up, Quack, Daddy, Teddy, Baa, Hi, Bubble, mumumum, gone, granny, car, cup, banana, ball, hat, scarf
Signs: milk, food, all finished, quack, where's it gone

First steps on 12 may in France at granddads house whilst dancing to music. Tumbling across the living room into Mummy's arms chasing a rustling wrapper as Grandad encourages you on.

14 months - Words: owl, rabbit and flower, signs nappy

Walking round great granny's garden, being shocked when I throw the ball for you, laughing with glee as I lift you to make you kick the ball to great granny. Great granny being so pleased because you kept leaning out my arms to give her hugs and kisses and wanting to be carried by her. More gales of laughter as we play boo with great granny through the branches of the willow tree and she scampers through them tossing them out the way and roaring at you as you laugh.

You running with glee down the oak gallery at the Vyne making the room guides laugh on a day out with Uncle Martin, Mummy and Daddy.

16 months - asking for cuggles when you want be picked up, giving soppy kisses and saying aww whilst we hug, just like we do to you. Asking to take teddies to bed and for stories.

Words: Up, Quack, Daddy, Teddy, Baa, Moo, Hi, Hiya, Bye, Bubble, Bubby (Mummy), Gone, Granny, Car, Cup, banana, ball, hat, scarf, flower, rabbit, owl, giraffe, nappy, story, cuddle, shoes, floor, door, uh-oh/ohdear, Please, Ta, keys, bath.

Signs: milk, food, all finished, please, quack, where's it gone, nappy, sleep.

Waving at Mummy or Daddy if they're sleeping to try and get their attention, trying to open their eyes for them.

I'm so enjoying watching you develop your personality and character, your curiosity and telling me about what you're thinking even with your limited language, when you're just remembering bubbles or dogs, when there are none nearby to look at.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Fixing cracks, tears and elephant skin in fondant icing

I'm in the middle of icing Lydia's 1st birthday cake, and in the interests of time, I got Tom to buy me some pre-coloured fondant icing to cover the cake from a local supermarket. This stuff dried out very quickly when I rolled it out, probably due to the amount of food colouring in it to make it the blue colour.



So when I draped it over the cake, I got the dreaded elephant skin cracks around the edge of the cake despite my best efforts.

A LOT of Googling later, and it turns out you can make a paste of fondant and a small amount of water, and use this like polyfilla or royal icing to fill the cracks. Using a palette knife you smooth it on and scrape it off. Some people call this 'gunge'. I used it to fill the elephant skin cracks in the fondant around the edge of the cake, and in some cracks in the sides where I'd not eased out the folds of fondant very well.

The smoothed cake edges, no elephant skin!





I got a kind of smoothed buttercream look which was fine for this cake. Might not be so good if you need a pristine wedding cake for example, but better than nothing.

Sharing in case it helps someone else out!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

How to talk to your daughter about her body by Sarah Koppelkam

A friend passed this on to me and I thought it was brilliant:

How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: Don't talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don't say anything if she's lost weight. Don't say anything if she's gained weight.

If you think your daughter's body looks amazing, don't say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

"You look so healthy!" is a great one.

Or how about, "You're looking so strong."

"I can see how happy you are -- you're glowing."

Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

Don't comment on other women's bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

Don't you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don't go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don't say, "I'm not eating carbs right now." Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that's a good thing sometimes.

Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you'll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn't absolutely in love with.

Prove to your daughter that women don't need men to move their furniture.

Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

Pass on your own mom's recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It's easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don't. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.
~ Sarah Koppelkam

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A few more things to remember from the first year or so of parenthood

At 5.5 months we lie together in bed gently touching each others faces. When we are playing boo, you're able to remove the muslin from you're face. Little did I know teaching you this would mean you'd never wear a hat again...

The grumpy grimace face of trying food for the first time. Trying to eat hands free, carrot dangling like a cigar.

The gurgles sounding more like words, more distinct. Grinning when daddy gets home.


At 6.5 months, sitting up playing, over reaching for your toys and folding right over at the waist. Your little Bollywood dancing hands, twisting at the wrist. Your arms and legs wiggling madly in whole body excitement at yourself in the mirror


At 7 months, kissing your food, lips smacking at every bite, daintily lifting little finger.
Tipping your head on one side coyly, being cute, trying to get people to smile at you.
Recognising special people, reaching out to them. Starting to wave.

Being able to make you belly laugh by kissing your tummy, or clapping your feet together or turning you upside down or mnumming your cheeks

Saying good morning to the baby in the mirror everyday. Sitting up to peer out your carseat or buggy.

Missing feeding you lying down in bed and being cosy together now you're in your own room.


At 8 months, gently running your fingers through my hair as you feed, smiling happily.

Making faces at guacamole and curry but coming back for more

At nearly 9 months, just about clapping, delayed waving a few seconds after someone actually leaves, taking every hat off, pulling herself up on your hands or bars of the cot. 


At 9 months, backwards crawling, especially getting yourself stuck under our bed or the armchair. Studying the pages of books intently then trying to eat them. Declaiming your food. Waving goodnight to daddy whilst you feed.

At 9.5 months, proper crawling at high speed.


At 10 months, waving and clapping completely sorted now. Occasionally standing up on your own when cruising the furniture and toy in hand. Sometimes special noises of 'Ba' for balls and books, 'mumum' for food, 'nanana' when singing to yourself. Kissing yourself in the mirror.

I can remember the time before these pillow fort feeds with your cheeky grin in the gloom and "nahnah" when you wiggle off deciding one boob is done and it's time for the other, the painful and yet not painful pinching of your exploring other hand on my neck.

Absolutely gleefully and violently clapping the face of mummy or daddy to get them when they pick you up after a day apart.

Missing the cradle by the bed.


We're approaching your first birthday rapidly. You're a bit under the weather today, a bit of cold and fever hopefully nothing serious. So you've been feeding more and needing cuddles, and you had tea watching TV on the sofa with daddy. A while a go, Tom and I were talking about what it is to be a parent.  The absolutely fierce love for your child, like no other kind of love, and you can't fully explain it. Perhaps you can only understand if you have child of your own in the future.  

It makes us think about how our parents must feel about us. How they were with us when we were babies. And how grateful I am to them for all the times they looked after me when I was poorly when I was little. Because it's hard even though you want to do it. How much joy babies bring. The joy of watching your friends and family play with your child. How you can feel so content and happy whilst feeling knackered and bored in the middle of a random 4am feed.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Knitting for other people's babies...

...whilst gazing at my Willow Tree ornament that Mum got me for Christmas.

It's called "Our Gift" and I feel all sappy when I look at it.

I also feel pretty damn strongly that every new baby I hear of needs a handmade something to wrap around it so it knows it's loved. I pray for the kiddo and their family whilst I knit, and having had one of my own now knit practical solid colour cardis, jumpers and hats rather than gorgeous but useless booties that don't stay the fuck on. And no more stupid double breasted cardis. Parents don't have time to be doing up that crap. 1 down another 5 to go! #knitting #tweet #blog #babies #handmadeeverytime



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