11/365 Joy in the mundane – a sunny freebie

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Popped into Pret for a cuppa on our way home from town, they were just closing, Joss wanted a biscuit so one of her fave oat and apple cookies made its way into a paper bag, when I got home I unpacked our shopping and found two of these in the bag, a random act of lovely kindness!

10\365 Joy in the mundane – Nice post

Bills, junk, uni letters to be actioned, bank statements etc it’s not often I get ‘nice post’ so it was a treat to receive my prize from Janine at The Birth and Baby Network’s brilliant advent book giveaway.

The book is Wonderful Wildlife and is a gem for my little animal lover.

Enclosed was a treasure, a fab Where’s Wally postcard, I just love how busy and colourful it is, can you spot him?!

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Music to work to

Took a canny little trip through youtube today, and realised that my eclectic taste comes out most when working. Today’s musical assortment was a bit more dance than I’d go for, but it started with the Girls soundtrack (Hannah and Elijah dancing to I Don’t Care kills me) but I like a bit of bass when I work:

Icona Pop – I don’t care (I love it)
Rudimental – Feel the love
The Knife – Heartbeats
Calvin Harris – Feel so close
Swedish House Mafia – Don’t you worry child
MGMT – Time To Pretend
Hot Chip – Ready for the floor

Somehow Youtube suggested Voodoo Child which I love and so that took me off onto a more laidback vibe taking in The Fugees, Goo Goo Dolls and onto Audioslave…

And so it was that 13,000 words of dissertation emerged over two days solid working, my reward? Am rationing episodes of Girls as I’ve almost finished Season Two so I may have to afford myself a sneaky peek at the next episode tonight!

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The New Granny’s Survival Guide by Gransnet

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As a researcher with an interest in the lived experiences of women and families Mumsnet books are a goldmine of secondary data to analyse in the first instance, and a source of great humour, advice and support in the second!

It was with great interest that I read about the new Gransnet book The New Granny’s Survival Guide, as the role of women as both mothers and grandmothers is something that has come up in my research, and interested me in my personal life.

I remember sitting down with both my own mother and mother in law in the early months following Joss’ birth and telling them about how I found it hard to know what to say when people asked me about becoming a mother, people would ask me ‘is she good?’ ‘are you enjoying it’ all the right things to ask I suppose, but their questions didn’t help me to navigate how I was feeling, instead talking with more experienced mothers gave me a better frame of reference; I guess I wanted them to say I was ‘doing it right’!

I was lucky to receive a copy of The New Granny’s Survival Guide, by Gransnet, to review.

I suppose I read this book through the lens “what’s different about being a gran to being a mam, and what can I learn from this journey that the older generation are on, in relation to my daughter?” When Joss came along her Daddy and I became aware that although we had just become a family of three (plus dog) we had a much wider family for Joss to gain support, love and wisdom from, not just here in the UK, but from our family in Holland too.

Having my grandmother, her great-grandmother here for the days following her birth made the occasion all the more special, my little girl shares a name that’s very close to that of her great-grandmother, and she is looked after a day a fortnight by each of her grandparents, so we were all navigating new relationships in a way none of us had probably anticipated amidst the excitement of the arrival of our precious girl.

I suppose Gransnet’s Guide for Granny’s is akin to what Mumsnet’s “Why did Nobody Tell Me” was for me, a tongue in cheek look at the collective wisdom of Grans, and support to navigate a new role, with lots and lots of ideas for play and supporting childcare at all ages. It recognises that especially in relation to health and wellbeing some of the guidance about care for children has changed a lot over the years, and raises the importance of trying to ‘go with the modern flow’ – yes spoon fed weaning was de rigeur, now baby-led weaning is encouraged, babies were encouraged to sleep on their front and now it’s feet to foot on their backs, and it’s easy to say ‘it never did you any harm’ but urges caution and encourages letting go and enjoying a relationship with grandchildren without worry, let the parents do that!

A fun read and good reference tool for some of the ‘sticky issues’ that might arise when providing care either informal or on a more regular basis, I’d think this would make a lovely gift for a new Gran (or Grandma, or Nan)!


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7/365 Batch cooking to get ahead

I’m picking up the pace on my uni work and most naptimes and sleeptimes are spent writing so I’ve tried to get ahead with some cooking to give myself a head start over the next few weeks. This recipe makes 10 bean burgers for the freezer.

Warm a 400g tin of kidney beans and a 400g tin of cannellini beans for 3-4 minutes and drain. Set aside and grate two large carrots and finely chop three spring onions. Cook the carrots and spring onions gently in some spray oil and a clove of garlic until softened. Mash your beans together with a potato masher or ricer leaving some beans whole but mostly mashed (I prefer not to blend as I like a chunkier texture). Mix together with the veggies and a teaspoon of paprika and season to taste.

Once cool add a tablespoon of flour to bind and scoop out ten portions of the mix, making into a ball with your hands and then flattening to a chunky burger shape onto clingfilm or foil. Parcel up the ten burgers and freeze to enjoy later.

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What’s the story?

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What’s going on here then? Well I think I’ll call this photo “Clonkers Bonkers” sadly for poor Jossy this week brought in both a new year and her first accident, a bang to the head following some crazy running around on a very wet and windy day. Stuck in the house she ran in circles shouting ‘spinny thing’ (just something we made up…) and slid headfirst into the kitchen step, up came a goose egg and a now yellowing bruise to follow.

Now I think we did pretty well to get to 20 months with a lot of “slow down, be carefuls!” and no accidents, but it was only a matter of time.

This photo shows a safer mode of play, literally well cushioned, sat on her upside down potty with all her toy people and animals piled in, now if only she’d stay still in there…