What to look forward to as your children grow

Watching your children grow can be bittersweet, I love watching them grow and become their own little people with their own likes and dislikes, but I often feel sad that another phase is over and they are growing too quickly. The truth is I love a baby, I love the cuddles, the smell, the kisses and I even love the excitement of labour (not the pain), but like any other human I find them exhausting, draining and I have often missed having to give up such a big part of me. I don’t feel guilty for these thoughts anymore as I have every right to feel like this and being a parent to small children is relentless and hard at times. I now savour the time I do get a break from being a mum, which is rarely, but it’s ok as they will only be this young once and one day things will change, not to how they were before children, but they will change as they grow with a new set of challenges. I’ve written a list of what I have to look forward to as my little ones grow to full fledged teenagers.

The things I will look forward to as my children grow. 

  1. No more toys in the living room. This has got to be one of the things I look forward to most. My living room is filled with plastic junk and no matter what I do with the stuff it always looks un-kept and cluttered. The day I say goodbye to Toot-toot will be a good day.
  2. No more nappies or reminding someone to go for a wee. Nappies are a complete ball-ache and after that’s done you have the fun job of potty training to undertake. I can’t wait to be done with buying nappies, nappy sacks and nappy rash cream.
  3. No more changing bag! I love bags and even love my changing bag (I’ve had a few), but I’m looking forward to the day of not having to remember to take my purse out to put in my handbag for work. I have so many beautiful bags that’s rarely make an appearance these days.
  4. No more dummys. Not everyone goes down this route but I would love to turn up to work and not find a stray dummy in my pocket and having to do the dummy hunt behind the cot every night.
  5. Go out for a meal and eat my dinner hot. I try to take my kids out for meals so it becomes normal for them and they are pretty well-behaved, but it’s stressful and I usually end up eating my meal cold. God forbid you have a long wait and a screaming hangry toddler.
  6. Lay-ins! I know some people are early risers and I applaud you, but I’m five years into parenting and am still not an early starter. My children are great and generally never wake until 7am and sometimes even 8am at the weekend, but I look forward to the day of having to wake them up.
  7. Not having to persuade them to eat their food. Meal times with our oldest can be exhausting as she has a limited diet and is an extremely fussy eater. I hold onto hope one day she will just eat normally and I won’t have to bribe her.
  8. No more bath toys. Bath toys are ruining my life, the mould when water gets stuck, the space they take and the intruders in my bath tub when I’m trying to relax.
  9. privacy. The day will come when I get pee in peace, bath on my own and not have to dress in front of an audience. As this day comes the children will probably putting up their own boundaries of privacy away from me.
  10. No more school run. I enjoying having a chat with other mum’s, but as of next year I’ve got a much longer walk to school and I expect I will probably be late most mornings. It will be lovely when the day comes that I can pack them off and say goodbye.
  11. No more having to dress small people. I look forward to the day that the children can dress and coordinate themselves. Miss J can dress herself with most clothes but her style when left to her own devices often resembles a pink marshmallow. Mr T on the other hand just prefers not to wear clothes at all.
  12. They can feed themselves. Some days all I seem to do is try to fill my children with endless supplies of food yet all I hear is ‘i’m still hungry’. Life will be good when they just feed themselves.
  13. Freedom again to be husband and wife. As the children get older I know it will be easier to leave them and that is something I look forward to most, I can’t wait to spend time with just my husband again and be a couple for date nights.
  14. Getting my bed back. First thing when I wake up the kids are in our bed jumpy all over us and often Miss J finds her way into our bed at night. It will be nice when our bed is just ours again.
  15. Saying goodbye to Peppa pig and all those other terrible programs. I can’t wait to not watch kids TV, but I worry it will probably be replaced by some other rubbish.

The things I will not look forward to as my child grows

  1. No more pushchair for carrying my shopping bags. The day I say goodbye to my pushchair will a sad day as it has helped me on many a shopping trip. I’ve had seven in total and finally found my perfect one (Mamas and Papas Armadillo City).
  2. When the cuddles start to disappear it will be tough, but I live in hope as they become adults, again the cuddles will follow.
  3. Holding their hands. I love walking along and holding my children’s hands, but Miss J is keen to pull away as soon as she sees her friends at school.
  4. Letting them out and having curfews. I was a nightmare and I’m dreading trying tot find the balance of giving them freedom that is fair and also safe.
  5. Finding dirty plates in their rooms. I don’t know why, but most teenagers seem to do it and it’s something my husband still does today which drives me crazy.
  6. Moody teenagers and backchat really fills me full of dread. I was such a ‘Kevin’ as a teenager and from Miss J’s diva strops she has now I can see her being a challenge.
  7. Being eaten out of house and home. With teenage growth spurts comes teenage superfast metabolism and I’m guessing if these children grow like weeds as I did then my food bill will be going through the roof.
  8. Mum’s taxi. I hear it often from parents of older children and living a good 15 minuets away from anything and a rubbish bus route I expect I will be doing lots of driving about.
  9.  Homework or getting them to sit down and focus enough to do it. I hated homework at school and am not looking forward to trying to motivate someone else to do it,

Parents of older children do you have anything else you can think of?

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How to help someone with depression who won’t ask for help

I’ve been asked a few times how you help someone struggling through depression, especially when they seem to not want help themselves. It’s a tricky one and not one I have all the answers to, but I want to say what has helped me most.

I am great at pretending that I’m ok, but the closest to me can often sense when I am struggling. I often go on the route of shutting myself off, not writing, staying off social media and not replying to messages. I shut down and by doing this I am cutting myself off and making the problem worse. The whole time I am screaming from the inside for someone to ask if I am ok.

I find it much easier to write than talk and my friends know they are more likely to get a response over text than and phone call, but at times I can be very brief and dismissive. When depression is kicking me down I feel I lose the ability to speak, to explain and ask for help. It’s scary and very isolating to feel like you want to scream, but are too scared to do so.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just to turn up, be patient, empathetic and let them open up naturally. Ask if they are ok, but care about their answer and give them time to express. Not everyone is the same, but by taking the steps to ask if someone is ok, you are helping and giving them a chance to open up.

With depression I often have felt paranoid and thought people have been talking about me, mocking me and bitching about what a burden I am. There is nothing worse than feeling like a burden to someone and it makes me shut down immediately, feeling worse off than when I started. Be reassuring, without patronising and be honest and open up about your own feelings. By sharing your own experiences you are helping them not feel so alone. Loneliness and depression go hand in hand.

If a friend or loved one is struggling with depression don’t just offer an open door, you need open the door for them, pick them up and ask them if they are ok. You are not intruding, you are showing them love that they need and a chance to share their problem. It’s not easy and can be lots to take on, but the gift you can give to someone by being open could save a life.

We have a responsibility as a society to help others, show them love and respect. We all get caught up in our own lives, but take a moment to ask someone if they are ok and listen intently to their response. Pick up on clues in their behaviour and remind them they are not alone and never will be. Your friendship is a gift.

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Vote for the community nursery of the year

Vote for the community nursery of the year and win

It’s a tough decision that many of us mum’s have to make when we return back to work after maternity leave. Finding a nursery that works for you as a parent and also will be the best option for your little one is not something you enter into lightly. I’m sure if you had to make this decision that you walked around plenty of nurseries, trying to weigh up the pros and cons and most probably had a little cry leaving them on their first day. Soon those days saying goodbye become a little easier and the pick-ups become even more exciting, wondering what new little things that they had learnt that day. You have to trust your nursery by leaving your precious child with them so you can do the other job that you need to do.

When Miss J was a baby we looked around a few nurseries and decided to use a local childminder as it fitted around my work hours better. For us it was the perfect fit and my daughter was perfectly looked after. When I decided to return back to work for the second time once Mr T was 1 we again had the tough choice of what would be best for. We looked again, juggled care and asked friends to help, but eventually we decided that I would work around my husbands shifts. I often think Mr T misses out on the fun of interacting with other children, but for us now this is the best fit and financially works much better for us.

One of my first career ambitions was to work in a nursery and I spent a week doing my work experience in a local one. I really enjoyed the job and loved interacting with the children, but it was exhausting and something I decided wasn’t best for me. I really do admire anyone who has the energy and patience for the job.

Chemist.co.uk have had the foresight to see how important a nursery is and have asked us to nominate. The shortlist is now here and voting is open! Vote for your most deserving nursery and help them win a fantastic prize. By helping out you will also be in the running to win a £50 voucher (every week in May) to spend at chemist.co.uk. I’ve just placed an order for some fantastic bits for me and the children and will hopefully be doing a review shortly.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. We received a voucher in exchange for this post but all opinions are my own.

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center parcs woburn forest

Center Parcs Woburn Forest Review

Woburn Forest

Our trip away to Center Parcs Woburn Forest was jammed packed with fun despite the weather being a tad unpredictable at times. As a family this was our first trip to Center Parcs and something I had been keen to try out for a few years and the timing seemed perfect now Tristan was old enough to get involved in some of the activities.

center parcs woburn forest swimming

Accommodation

We only live locally in North Bedfordshire so Woburn seemed like the ideal choice for us. It’s the smallest of the parcs, is only a few years old and it takes under 30 minuets to get door to door. We booked into a 3 bed executive lodged which accommodated four adults and two children happily. The open plan living with small children was ideal and the dishwasher and maid service made things that bit easier. All rooms had a TV and all three rooms had an en-suit (two walk in showers and one hydrobath). We had an outside BBQ that we didn’t use and also a sauna. We took along our Amazon firestick as the TV is a bit limited and if like us your children are small then you probably will spend a fair amount of time in the lodge in the evenings. WiFi in the lodge and around the parc was really great and I never had any issues connecting any devices. Remember extra dishwasher tablets as they leave you three and also remember cot bedding as this won’t be provided.

Center Parcs Lake

Getting about

We decided to book a lodge which was in the outer area (395 Oak) as from looking at the map it meant we would be at the end so would only have a neighbour one side, but it still looked close enough to the water front. We hired two bikes between us all which was handy for nipping back and forth, but generally we walked. Woburn has some big hills so bear it in mind if you do plan on lots of bike riding with small children. One of the bikes we did rent out was an electric bike, you still peddled, but it gave you an extra turbo boost for hills and was so much fun to ride. Our walk to the swimming pool was a bit longer but easily manageable with a five year old.

Pony Ride
Pony Ride

Eating out v’s eating in

I think it goes without saying that eating out can get expensive with a family of four. We ate out once whilst we were there at the Pancake house for lunch, it was good, but it wasn’t cheap. Center Parcs does have an option to order in and you can book deliver slots from 3pm and they have a large selection of food, but again it is much more expensive. For us we prefered to spend what we had saved on activities so we cooked in the evenings and made packed lunches. I did a click and collect food shop from Tesco on my way to Center Parcs and picked up odd bits from the supermarket in the parc. The supermarket isn’t cheap, but fine for a few odd bits. There is nothing stopping you from leaving the parc and going to a local supermarket and picking up extra food and alcohol.

Pancake House
Pancake House is worth a try.

Activities for children

They have some great activities for children and Miss J especially loved the Mad Hatters Tea Party, this was for three hours and we were able to leave her there and go for a swim. Miss J and Mr T also enjoyed a Teddy Bears picnic and Miss J fulfilled her dream of riding a pony and hasn’t stopped talking about it since, They run a crèche so you can also put the children in and head off to the spa to relax.

Teddy Bears Picnic
Teddy Bears Picnic

Activities for adults 

Besides bike riding the only other activity we did was the kayaking, we could have done much more, but we had so much fun with the children we didn’t feel the need to disappear off. Next time I will make sure I spend some time at the Spa though.

Kayaking
Kayaking

Swimming Pool

My favourite thing about the whole of Center Parcs has to be the pool, it really is great and it’s so easy to spend three hours in there with no idea of the weather outside. The children loved all the swimming and were thoroughly exhausted at the end of the day. I’m glad we did go with my parents so we could take turns watching the children and enjoy the outside rapids and water slides. Miss J was a big fan of the children slides and Mr T loved the wave machine. We found afternoons were quieter by the pool and would go after Mr T had his nap. The changing area is full of large family changing rooms and the lockers can be locked with your electric wristband which also opens your lodge.

Wildlife

On one of our days we got stuck in with horrible rain and spent the morning watching wildlife, We had plenty of squirrels, ducks, pheasants and even a dear to keep us entertained. The animals are all very friendly and used to children. I recommend taking some bird feed out with you and letting the children get involved.

Will we go back? 

We will definitely be heading back again and would ike to explore the other parcs too in the future. It really is the perfect family break and a great way of getting outside and appreciating all that England has to offer.

Exploring at Woburn Forest
Exploring at Woburn Forest

 

 

 

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Becoming a mother made me forget who I was

Becoming a mother made me forget who I was

Becoming a mother made me forget who I was and it was tough. I had to give up so much including my sleep, my full-time wage, jeans that fit and my perky boobs. The person I am today almost five years into motherhood looks very different to the lady I used to know. My make up isn’t done with the same care to attention, my clothes are more comfort than fashion and my hair is in desperate need of a trip to the hairdressers. Why did I lose myself in all this and become ‘just’ mum. Have I lost my true identity and become someone I feared?

The truth is my identity has changed and has not be lost, I have adapted, changed and evolved. I am now superhuman as I can cook a baby in nine months, nourish them with just my milk for six months and survive on little sleep.

Days before children were spent at either work, my bed or the local pub, it was all pretty meaningless and time was just a stop-gap until I started my real life. I know motherhood isn’t for everyone, but for me it was my purpose and my reason to grow.

I now spend my time juggling between being a mum, a worker, a home keeper and a role model and in honesty I do them all pretty well. I have learnt to divide my time (not always well) and priorities so I can give the very best of me. Time off is now appreciated, my days are filled with laughter, my heart is always full and my time is precious.

Becoming a mother made me lose my old self and discover a new self. I am better than before, smarter, happier, determined and focused. My family are my driving force and everything before just seems like a distant dream. My life before becoming a parent was enjoyable, exciting and often dangerous, but my life now has purpose and it’s helped me grow.

Becoming a mother made me forget who I was, but I gained so much more in return.

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Mental health awareness month - Borderline personality disorder

Mental health awareness month – Borderline personality disorder

Last month was maternal mental health awareness week and I got an amazing response from my blog post of my battle with postnatal depression, maternal mental health awareness week is part of mental health awareness month so I thought I would share my experience with borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is still not really talked about and still has a massive stigma attached, people often don’t understand it and it’s something people don’t like to admit that they have. Like everything on this blog I am open about my personal struggles, but I do struggle to write about BPD myself, so I will try to do it justice by being open and honest.

BPD has affected me since my teenage years, but was only diagnosed in January after a suicide attempt. It is thought that around 1 in 10 people diagnosed with BPD will complete suicide, many more will attempt suicide. People really don’t like talking about this and it makes people very uncomfortable. For me I just wanted to end the pain I was feeling in that moment not necessarily end my life, but like most stuff BPD related I act on impulse. Many people who suffer with BPD also self-harm and it’s something that has effected me mildly on and off since my teenage years, again this is something I find very difficult to talk about and so do others.

Since I can remember I’ve had a real fear of abandonment and have taken extreme measures in relationships to stop that happening, which has made things worse and often left me alone. My emotions can me very intense from very happy to very sad and can change quickly. I can start the day feeling elated and end the day with negative, dark thoughts. It’s like being on an emotional rollercoaster and I struggle to predict my own moods. Antidepressants do seem to have made this much more balanced than it used to be, but the dark, intrusive thoughts do creep back in.

BPD affects people in different ways and sufferers usually have problems with impulse control, there are continuing studies into why this part of the brain seems to be wired differently with BPD sufferers. Often PBD sufferers will have an eating disorder, for me I binge eat, I binge so much I physically feel sick, I know if I could be sick I would force myself to be, but I am unable to (I have a strange phobia of being sick and am sick very little even with a sickness bug). My impulse doesn’t stop just at eating it also is a problem with spending, which I am learning how to control. Often drug addiction and alcohol can be become problems for BPD sufferers and it’s something I am very aware of, I did have a mild problem with prescription drugs and have used alcohol in the past to numb emotions, luckily I don’t actually like the taste of alcohol.

With PBD I feel lots of paranoia, this is constant and even amongst good friends, I am forever trying to rationalise these thoughts and worry about what others think of me, It’s pretty exhausting, but I’ve made good progress at coming to terms with this. Questioning these thoughts has helped me understand them better.

Many people still think BPD is a lifelong mental condition and there is no cure, I know I did when I was diagnosed. Luckily with so many advances in treating mental health over the last twenty years there has been a talking therapy developed to help BPD suffers called dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), which is a form of the better known cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) that is specialised for BPD patients. I started DBT recently and have found it really helpful, I hope to write a blog post once I have learnt more.

Unfortunately many people with BPD often feel empty and alone and I think the fact that this disorder like many other personality disorders are not talked about just makes the problem worse. Don’t be scared by someones condition, be mindful, open and always caring. People with BPD usually always have great empathy which to me is my greatest personality trait. I understand people and appreciate people for who they are and am great at listening and trying to help people.

Many people with BPD are also diagnosed with another mental disorder at the same time like depression, addiction, eating disorders and anxiety. It might not seem like it at the time but having more than one mental disorder can help work out what care will work best for you.

I hope I have been able to describe how BPD has affected me, but my experience may be different from someone elses, to learn more look at the Mind website  for a full list of symptoms. Keep spreading the love and do everything you can to help mental health awareness month be as powerful as it can be.

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Stupid things I said before children

Stupid things I said before children

I said many a stupid thing before children and I hear many other pre-child women say the same, I just nod along politely and smile as I know one day they will reflect on their old naive selves and laugh. We really believed we wouldn’t shout at our children in the park like ‘that’ mum or feed a child that horrible junk from McDonald’s. When I looked after my friends children I always thought I was going to be the best mum and it wasn’t really that hard, the thing is, that it is easy to be the best mum when you only have to do it for 24 hours, but when you are parenting every day it’s not such an easy job. You soon realise you have to adapt to your child, the circumstances and that you have to pick your battles wisely. Parenting is a relentless and exhausting and we had to back track on those stupid things we said before children.

  • I will not bribe my children to be good. I will literally bribe my children for anything including ten minuets peace.
  • I will always make sure my children are neat and tidy before leaving the house. One thing I’ve never been able to stand is snotty noses and messy hair, but now if the children are out the door and we are on time we are winning. Miss J has also discovered ‘fashion’ and will dress herself in some terrible mismatched outfits.
Fashion
  • I will set boundaries and go to the toilet and bath on my own. LOL this is something I have failed at in every way. If I’m in the toilet I am never alone and often my daughter will ask if I need my mummy nappy (pad). Bathtime is like a strange hot tub party from college days, lots of naked people and most probably some bodily fluid be bathed in.
  • I will not use a dummy once they turn one. I was always adamant that past the age of one my children would not have a dummy as it looks ridiculous and is lazy parenting. Again I have failed at this and Miss J had a dummy until three and Mr T is still a dummy addict at two. Having a dummy means he sleeps, he has comfort and I get some peace. I couldn’t care less what anyones opinion is on this now.
Dummy addict
  • I will not breastfeed in public without a cover. I have happily breastfed my child anywhere and everywhere including in a church, a farm and even in the middle of a football match. If a baby needs feeding just go ahead and feed.
  • I will not swear in front of my children. This started well for me until Miss J turned into a diva at three. She knows some swear words, knows they are not to be used and knows that mummy isn’t perfect and has said them before. unfortunately it isn’t a reality for a child not to hear a swear word so my moto is to teach them its naughty and that mummy is sometimes naughty by saying them.
  • I will not shout at my children. I hate shouting, but unfortunately at times I am the shouty mum, I’m not saying it’s right, but we are all human and parenting is tough. Again I try to explain my actions and I am always first to apologise if I am not happy with how I behaved.
  • I will cook them fresh meals and if they don’t eat it they will go hungry. This started so well with Miss J then she decided she hated everything besides chicken nuggets. Mr T just eats whatever he can get even if it is off the floor or from the cats bowl.
mmmm chocolate
  • We will do lots of creating and making. I am artistic, but I am also a control freak. We start off so well but then it quickly turns into me getting stressed and someone crying. We leave all that to school unless I feel optimistic enough to try again.
  • I will not let my child watch too much TV. My child is babysat by the TV, she still talks, is intelligent, can role play with toys and her brain is not mush.
  • I will still have time for myself. For a long time I didn’t and it was hard, but finally I do have time for me again and I love it. I don’t get as much time to myself as I thought I would though and that’s fine as it won’t be forever.
  • I won’t dress like a mum and will still do my make-up. I still try to wear nice clothes when I have somewhere decent to go, but if it’s school run and chores I will be in jeans and my converse. Again I wear make-up, but unless I have somewhere to go it’s nothing fancy.
  • I won’t let my child sleep in my bed. We have pretty much broke this habit besides the odd night, but for a good year Miss J only slept in our bed and Mr T always ended up in our bed to breastfeed for the first 9 months. Four in a bed isn’t comfy, but it sure is cosy.
  • My living room will still be tidy. My house looks like a unicorn pucked in it, full of sparkles, purple and pink. My living room resembles Toy ‘R’ Us and is rammed full of cheap plastic tat.
  • If that was my child screaming in a restaurant I would take it outside. I’m sorry but I take my children out for lunches and sometimes an early dinner, but if they act up I can’t do much about it. They need to learn and the only way is letting them out in the real world.

What silly things did you say before children?

 

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Maybe baby number three?

Maybe baby number three?

We have one of each a perfect pigeon pair, yet still we get asked if baby number three will come. It’s a question I still ask myself  lots and even I’m not 100% sure on what the outcome will be. Every few months a new baby is born in my friendship social circle, I have baby showers and christenings filling up my weekends and my Facebook feed is full of squishy gorgeous little newborns and my womb is aching for baby number three. At the age of 29 motherhood and everything baby is in full swing and I cannot, not see it. I am forever feeling friends babies kick in their mummy’s tummy’s and getting to cradle a gorgeous ball of sweet-smelling, squishiness and even my own baby (two a few days ago) still resembles a baby at times. Mr T is in a fresh baby grow and having cuddles before bed is literally my favourite moment of the day.

Will this feeling fade when all my friends finally stop having babies, we again get our weekends back and are able to socialize without a children’s party of soft play in sight? Am I just a broody person and no matter how many babies I have I’ll never not stop wanting another one more? I think maybe now my youngest has turned two I am feeling a little lost, I know a year will pass in a heartbeat and he’ll be waving me off and starting pre-school and I’ll have the feeling of an empty nest. They really do grow up so fast and before you know it they are their own little people, with their own likes and dislikes and they stop needing you quiet as much. When you spend so long being a mum, at home with these babies, jumping to their ever need it becomes a bit odd when you’re not needed in the same way.

So will baby number three ever be on the cards? Maybe, hopefully, I’m not certain, but I love the idea of having one more baby. I don’t feel done and have always imagined my life with three children. Right now though it’s a big no, I might be broody and long for baby cuddle’s, but I have some beautiful friends babies to cuddle to fill in for now. When both the children are in school and we feel maybe our family needs one more little person then I hope it will be an option. We may get to this point and decide we are happy, content and not want to go back to all that a new baby entails. Who knows what the future will hold for us as a family, but right now we are a family of four and are the perfect balance.

Something that does worry me about the thought of a third child is having to deal with postnatal depression, I’m very much aware that it is possible I could get PND again and the thought of that terrifies me. I would imagine I would notice the signs quicker and seek help, but I worry putting my family in that position again would make me feel selfish. I wonder if I want another child because I feel I missed out on so much with Mr T from suffering with PND for almost two years of his life. It’s not something I would take lightly and having a third child would be a huge decision for us. I am a planner, but this is something I cannot plan right now, I guess we will just have to see what happens in the future.

Does anyone else get the same feelings? I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this subject.

The first steps of getting help with postnatal depression and anxiety

 

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Easy peasy chocolate cake

Easy peasy chocolate cake

I love this chocolate cake and I have been using the same recipe for years and it never fails to disappoint, it’s so moist, indulgent and so easy to make.

Ingredients: 

175g Self-raising flour

2tbsp Cocoa powder

1tsp Bicarbonate of soda

150g Caster sugar

2 Beaten eggs

150ml Milk

150ml Sunflower oil

2 Tbsp Golden syrup

Butter Icing:

125g Butter

230g Icing sugar

3 Tbsp Cocoa powder

Milk

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F gas mark 4). Grease two 7 inch sandwich tins.
  2. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and mix well.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs, milk, oil and golden syrup (tip: put spoon in hot water before, so the syrup slides of the spoon easier).
  4. Separate mixture evenly into both sandwich tins and cook in the oven for 25-30 minuets. Use a knife to check its cooked through then transfer to cooling rack (tip: if in a rush remove a draw from your freezer and let cake cool super quick in fifteen minuets).
  5. For the butter icing cream the butter in a bowl and sieve gradually the icing sugar and cocoa mix. Add a little milk if it’s too thick.
  6. Cut off a section of the risen top on one of the cakes and put to one side, Use butter icing to sandwich cakes and a pallet knife to spread.
  7. Decorate by breaking up the left over cake and placing to the side with butter icing and add a toy digger to the top.
  8. You could use any type of chocolate pieces to decorate, but I used M&S cookie dough bites and M&S smothered honeycomb.

There you go, the easiest, effective and tastiest chocolate cake.

Happy baking!

Easy peasy chocolate cake

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Healing life lessons you need to know

Life lessons are something we all learn and I feel I have learnt more in the past two years than I have in the last 29 years of my life. Postnatal depression has been horrible, but it has also opened my eyes to see the world through a whole new light. I have discovered mindfulness, have become a happier and calmer person (still a work in progress) and I have become a great mum. I thought I would list a few healing life lessons that I have discovered and that I think can be appreciated by anyone at any age.

  1. You need to feel pain before you are strong enough to grow to your full potential.
  2. At times you are left with the choice to walk away and you have to take it.
  3. Stop worrying about peoples opinions of you and as soon as you stop you will be free.
  4. Every experience will teach you important life lessons to help you grow.
  5. Look after yourself first and others second. If you forget to take care of yourself you will burn out an you are no good to anyone.
  6. Some people are just not good people, cut them out of your life, don’t try and change them.
  7. Try not to think about what you don’t have, but what you do have. Your life is far more fulfilled than you know.
  8. You are your own worst critic, you may have failed, but don’t let those negative thoughts in and stop you from fulfilling your dreams.
  9. You can survive the darkest of days. When you are at you lowest and feel like you can’t go on remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new start.
  10. Don’t live your life in the past. Remember and cherish memories but look forward to making new ones. You can’t go back so don’t spent too much time living in the past instead of enjoying the present.
  11. Judge people by their actions, not their words.
  12. Be adaptable. Life changes and sometimes plans have to change to work with it.
  13. Don’t avoid your feelings, address them, make sense of them and deal with them.
  14. Be present in the moment. Take a step back, breath in and feel it.
  15. Failure is important and something we need to go through so succeeding is more rewarding.
  16. Having your heart broken will show you the importance of true love in the future.
  17. Apologising is as important for you as the person you apologise to. To say sorry and mean it is healing.

Excepting my life and these lessons has helped me heal and become a more positive and happy person. I would love to hear some of your life lessons you have learnt?

 

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