Baking together

A big first this week, Joss and I baked together for the first time. Whenever we go to town we pop to a popular coffee shop I won’t name and Joss gets an oatmeal apple and raisin cookie. We decided to have a bash at our own minus the apple (it was a just using what we had in the house kinda day!)

Lots of weighing and mixing followed, a bit too much cinnamon was tipped in but we love it so that worked out ok, and in fact the end result was as good as the cafe version if not better!

Here’s Joss doing some mixing


And the finished product


What do you think? Good enough to eat?

35-49/365 Joy in the Mundane

Third row down third photo is my (slightly frivolous) What’s the Story this week. It features two of my joys, an old object refound, and vintage too. This necklace was a gift from Alex for my 24th Birthday from my fave little vintage store in Newcastle, it’s sparkly and retro but it’s heavy design gives it a ‘tough’ feel. I have way too much costume jewellery but when I changed jobs and found I had a smart enough wardrobe but it had no edge I got out my old leather jewellery case and remembered this beauty was in there. Joss spotted it straight away “pretty necklace Mammy” so I just had to wear it again, we’ve barely been parted this week! The first photo on the fourth row is my Small Steps… photo, Joss has started taking independent steps outside without holding my hand all the time, she’s growing up!


Ten things I learned before 30

I am a slooooow learner, some of the life lessons folks have before they’re say 10 years old bypassed me completely with others I was a bit late to the party. Here’s my rundown of ten things I learned before I hit 30 some deep and philosophical, some not so much, and my ten things I want to achieve before 40!

Ten things I learned before 30

1 – Life is about moments, not things (yeah, deep)

When I was 21 I got my first break following a long internship, paid employment whilst living at home. After savings (learned this one early, very sensible!) and board and lodgings I had a lot of cash to burn, and hitting the MAC counter to the tune of a hundred quid at a time, Waterstones Wednesdays and hanging out in All Saints and Reiss was a moneypit year for me. I enjoyed it, really enjoyed it, and am glad I was fortunate enough to experience a more louche lifestyle, but quickly realised what I really wanted was my own place, and to get out and enjoy life more. Nine years on and one mortgage and baby later my ‘money pits’ look very different, and yet I now hate to shop, preferring to spend time seeing the world through Joss’ eyes instead.


2 – Don’t judge anything or anyone by their cover

This works on two levels, at the sharp end just give folks a chance and at the lighter end, I read about the TV series Girls for a year before I saw the first episode, yes sir, that claptrap was not for me, I freaking love it now!

3 – Learning to deal with disappointment sucks, but is worth exposing yourself to

Learning this at ten when everyone else did would have saved me a lot of heartache but life doesn’t always work the way we think it should. Sometimes life doesn’t match up to the picture perfect in my head, my response was often childish, the weather changed my plans, unexpected bad news came, I missed the bus, my child’s birth was not as I imagined, that one hit me hardest, how can you help a child navigate life’s disappointments if you react angrily yourself? A hard lesson still learned daily…

4 – The only thing worse than having a spider/fly/moth in your room is losing the spider/fly/moth in your room



5 – The thrill of the tattoo gun is addictive

The noise of the gun, fresh ink, choosing something awesome, the hot pinching pain, I think I love the process as much as the end result, hooked.

6 – Becoming a mother is nothing like I thought it would be and yet the best thing I have ever experienced

This whole blog is testament to the journey


7 – It’s OK to start over

See number three, I don’t always get it right, it’s OK to dust it off and move on

8 – Better to speak up in the moment then think of your best comeback an hour later

True dat, again, still learning


9 – If in doubt shake it out

Bad days begone, bring on the trumpets, dance like no-one’s watching


10- It doesn’t pay to live a life of all work and no play

Whether it’s 80:20, 20:80 or 50:50 that suits you best, your work life balance is your own business, take breaks, make no apologies for needing a break, another toughie but you can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself

And ten broad things I want to achieve before 40 in no particular order:

1 – Make some good savings for the future
2 – See more of the world with my family
3 – Help Joss to enjoy a good book
4 – Learn to declutter
5 – Bake better bread
6 – Maybe buy a house and sell our flat
7 – Take the next step in my work life
8 – Take some time out from work and study
9 – Learn yoga
10 – Say yes to more things

Owl goes to London

This week I headed back to the Big Smoke for work for the first time since I had Joss. It felt strange but familiar and I felt guilty to go but pleased to get my teeth into work, a trip of dichotomies then! Thankfully I made it back just before the bigger stations closed due to flooding and severe weather warnings, a trip to hospital followed on my return after an ear infection turned nasty, but it seems like we’re back on track again today, so I thought I’d share the project I set myself.

When I was pregnant with Joss I undertook a ‘tour of the UK’ presenting findings from a big research study I’d been working on, I kept a photo diary for her and this time I’ve decided I’m going to take a different toy of hers travelling with me for company each time, photographing the sights along the way, so this first one is Owl goes to London:

Happy as a pig in…water


A trip to the Farm at the end of the street this weekend and of course little pig had to come to see his bigger, real life counterparts too.  Joss had me in absolute stitches, she was hooting and giggling at a big Tamworth boar scratching on a fence post, it was funny, but not that funny; when she finally got her words out and shouted “piggy dancing!” I saw the funny side too and almost fell over because she was so tickled by it. 

Later little pig joined us for lunch and took a dip in her water cup, and then it was home to dig out the other farm animals and continue the fun and games.

A Lovely Love Story

This walk has a story to it, when I was 14 I started walking here with my mam in preparation for my Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. By the time I was 16 this was a place I’d come to just get some space, and when I was 17 and got together with Mr B we came down here every time we met up at mine for a walk, or a picnic, or just a chat. Three months into our relationship as we started this very same walk he surprised me with an eternity ring, he later admitted he just liked the ring and had no idea of the symbolism but hey, it obviously was meant to be!

We moved into a flat down here 5 years ago and got Tobydog, so started to walk this 30 minute loop every morning and night, and soon we were making it round in 20 minutes, we’ve done it ever since, and in 2011 he proposed on the grassy knoll over looking the Tyne. In May 2012 we took our darling daughter for her first ‘path walk’ – I was terrified, was she too hot, too cold, did she needs more layers, was I going to be a good mother… Almost two years on she loves coming out here almost as much as we do, lots to see even on a rainy day when I took some of these snaps! Consequently I never want to leave this place, so many good memories! #lovelylovestory

Share the Love: Valentine’s Linky


Valentine’s Day is upon us, the feast of St Valentine associated since the High Middle Ages with courtly love. My Mam used to do something special on Valentine’s Day when we were children, either a heart shaped cake or a treat after dinner, it’s something I have fond memories of. Here’s a secret *whispers* I have never, ever received a secret Valentine card, I also think it’s a classic card sellers holiday, but I do however like the idea of a Valentine treat either for yourself, a loved one or both!

This is an ad-hoc one off linky, open until the week after Valentine’s Day for you to share a lovely love story post, it could be about if and how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, it could be about your love life, the love of your life, a pet, your children, anything really, as long as it’s a #lovelylovestory

Please use the #lovelylovestory hashtag on twitter and I’ll retweet and share your posts, read and comment on each others, and share my linky button if you like! I’ll be back with my own lovely love story very shortly!

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Toys of the past!

I’m 30 next month and true to my 80s kid roots I’ve been reminiscing over some childhood photos, I always come back to the toys that feature in the pics, retro chic! Once I get thinking about Hamble and Jemima, Alf, Harry and the Hendersons, Thundercats…that’s it, you’ve lost me!

About ten years ago Mr B bought me a repro Carebear after my toys came to a sad end (loft insulation man took them by mistake, bye bye lovely memories) it’s now Joss’ prized possession:


So this post is a rundown a ‘toys I’ve loved and lost but remember fondly’ if you will!

My top five rundown in TOTP style (do the presenter’s voice, you know you want to!) starts with Polly Pocket, frustrating though it was that Polly’s only movement was to bend in half in the middle I used to love these little cases, I’ve always been a sucker for compacts!


Then in at four there were Keypers, we had a snail and a swan given in a bumper pack of hand-mi-downs, I vividly remember my excitement at these, so good!


In at three, Cupcake Dolls and Strawberry Shortcake, these were scented and every now and again at a really unexpected time if I get a whiff of a really artificial synthetic strawberry smell I’m suddenly six years old again!


A controversial entry at two, around since the 60s with a heyday in the 90s I don’t care, (I love it) my Skip-it brings all the kids to the yard:

And finally this week’s new entry straight into number one, it won’t be everyone’s favourite but it’s mine, My Little Pony, can’t wait for Joss to get into these!


Disclaimer: I am now raising a child who I don’t believe should only play with the classically ‘girls’ oriented toys that I did and am a fervent supporter of the Let Toys be Toys campaign!


I used to be one of those folk that loved to shop, lived to shop in fact, then I had a child and a) it stopped being fun and b) suddenly life was about moments not things and c) money was tighter to.

Now I love to do food shopping instead, we don’t have a car so do it daily, and it seems Joss is partial to a trip to what she calls Laldi as well. We chat about food, what we’ll have for lunch, choose fruit and talk to the person at the checkout, boring everyday stuff but a world of opportunities if you’re not yet two and spot raisins on the belt!

I wish I had a decent photo for this post, but this will do, she grabbed her toy bag yesterday, popped it on her shoulder and said “have a nice day, bye bye!” When questioned she said she was going shopping, then tired of that and wanted a carry in the bag instead!


29 – 34/365 – a round up for my Joy in the Mundane Project 365

Catching up on a few days now!

29/365 – homemade mini pizzas, these vanished in about 30 seconds for lunch one day last week!
30/365 – I watched the Joss and Daddy show while they were behind the ‘TV’ daddy made from a box and some clingfilm, hilarious!
31/365 – a rare snap of Joss getting a piggyback (or just jumping on my back shouting horsey!)
32/365 – A nonchalant walk with piggy on the nicest day all week
33/365 – A rare night out, no hangovers please!
34/365 – And finally a surprise, and my What’s the Story photo, you may remember this post from earlier in the year, I never fail to be surprised by our little yarden, I had planted snowdrops three years ago and forgot about them, nothing ever came of them and so the pot was popped to one side ready to be planted with something else later. I was surprised to pop out today to put some rubbish out and see green shoots from the old pot, snowdrops! Along with lily of the valley they are my favourite flowers and so this weeks ‘Joy in the Mundane’ series ends on a high!