Brand New Piglets and Hard Work



This lovely lady is Nelly, she lives at the Farm at the top of our street and I have watched her get bigger and bigger over the last few months. She had these beautiful piglets two years to the day that I went off on maternity leave and a year to the day that I returned to work following maternity leave.

She looks tired, though I have one, not a brood, I know how she feels!

This is a post about my year as a working mam. I have selected pins from my Back to Work Wisdom board that I share with other mums making that journey back!

I realised early on that for us there wasn’t a choice about going back or not, and that at some baby groups where we’d been together for the year there was a divide between the soon to be working mums and those who were staying at home. I have a clear feeling about this and the judgements that can go on behind it; as far as I am concerned all parents are working parents, it’s hard work whatever the setting when you were up all night with a teething toddler or a preschooler that’s full of cold.


I also worked hard personally to shrug off a) guilt, having to work made that one easier, and b) possessiveness about a child that I loved so fiercely I found it hard to share. This helped:


I explored flexible options, but knowing my child, and knowing how it had been to do uni work with a newborn and then a toddler I knew this was unrealistic (and not something I aspired to!)


But then nor was this!


What worked for us was working through naps, and if work couldn’t wait until bedtime it was something I would commit half an hour to or nothing. For that half an hour I felt better about working when I got Joss set up with an activity in the same room, lego, sorting toys, puzzles or books, whatever she was into at the time, I could keep a close eye and get a few emails done. If she needed me or was whingy I downed tools as soon as possible, and came back to them at a better time, I’m not saying it’s easy to work this way, but its what I found worked best.

I saw this in a magazine and thought it made a strong, delegatable and manageable household cleaning guide, above all it’s realistic! I’ve been doing this for a month now and it works for us and takes off the pressure of coming back from work in a fug and wondering where to start when yesterdays dishes preclude being able to cook for the family the next night.


It’s possible to keep on top of it and then do a big spring clean twice a year, but this helped too if I was being hard on myself:


As did remembering that as well as being a wife, mother, student, employee and colleague I was still ‘me’ in some way shape or form, and so I try to treat ‘me’ nicely, uncritically and give myself the occasional treat along the way :)



My Low Sugar ‘Pack a Punch’ Toddler Flapjack Bars


We love to eat these snack bars and adding flour means they hold together with less crumble so they’re really portable too. These are apricot and raisin but they are lovely with dates, prunes or dried berries too! Honey keeps them chewy but can be omitted for even less sugar. Why ‘pack a punch?’ Because they’re chock full of dried fruit and banana to keep you going on a busy day!



100g butter (toddlers could often use the extra fats but you can use light spread for grownups)
100g soft, stoned dried apricots chopped roughly
30g raisins
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
Large tablespoon self raising flour
2 tbsp honey (or fresh apple juice if preferred)
250g porridge oats


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
I make this in one pan, transferring into a silicone tray, if using an ordinary flapjack tray grease with additional butter.
Warm the butter in a saucepan and add the honey or juice, warm gently for a minute to loosen the honey, then turn heat off.
Add the chopped apricots and raisins, and mashed banana and mix well
Measure out the oats and mix self raising flour through them
Tip floury oat mix into the pan and mix well so the oats start to soak the moisture and look golden, the flour should all mix through.

Tip the mix into your flapjack tray and spread out, pressingly gently with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

Take out to cool, when cool turn out and slice into bars. Store in an airtight container and eat within 3-4 days.


Tasty Tuesdays on

Polarn O. Pyret Comes to Fenwick Newcastle

Yesterday Joss and I visited the latest UK Polarn O. Pyret (PO.P) concession to hit the UK, here in Fenwick Department Store in Newcastle.

Having previously bought PO.P online or been lucky to get bits sent from overseas I’m delighted to have this Swedish brand on our doorstep. PO.P make fun clothes that kids can play in, and that grow with them. She’s been wearing a pair of their block colour leggings for months now so we know they last!

When we arrived in store we perused the concession and got some great advice from the staff on sizing and layering up for cooler spring weather, they were friendly and had great brand knowledge. We had a look at some of the latest stock, and as it was 25% off for the first weekend stocked up on a few bits and bobs, it was hard to choose as the new colours and stripes are right up our street!


Functional and bright, it was this stock that I really liked:


These are our purchases:


We loved the blogger pack we were given too, sweet, the party pack will come in handy for a certain someone’s 2nd Birthday!


And finally in action, down on the farm and off-road, functional kids wear at its best, warm, adaptable and comfy with no compromise on style!



Finally, as this blog takes an eco focus, look out for PO.P ECO branding instore and online for organic cotton, it’s beautiful and there’s loads of choice!

Disclaimer: I did not receive payment for this post, I really like the brand and would recommend it, it’s one we’ve worn before!

A Many Years in the Making Patchwork Cushion

For way to long I have had a small set of offcut patchwork strips from a project that I may never finish.

I have the top of a kingsize patchwork throw complete but have yet to baste and quilt it.

I had loads of projects on the go but wanted to FINISH something!

Inspired by my patchwork loveliness Pinterest board and with a £1.00 cushion inner I finally put the strips together and made and finished a project in a day



I’m a beginner and found this relatively easy, it’s a basic envelope close so no buttons and I took the measurements for the back from this post the rest I just sort of made up as I went along!

Outtakes from recovery

We have had a rough week, one ear infection for her, tonsillitis and fevers each for Daddy and I, I have learned a lot about myself and about parenting.

This sticker was a little ironic given the Doc gave it to her on diagnosing a chronic ear infection!


It’s tough being ill with a tot, I have felt pretty pushed to my limits this week after a few nights of very little sleep and a few days of shivering, running hot and cold. We’re almost out the other side today and so we took a trip into town. Would I have made that trip if I didn’t have a toddler that had been stuck in all week? Probably not, you find reserves you didn’t know you had, when your child asks to see the dinosaurs (at our local museum!) you go to see those dinos!

There was an opportunity for some dressing up too!


I’m loving Mamageek’s Outtakes linky, y’know, it doesn’t matter how blurry I always love to see a photo of Joss smiling, and now I have a reason to share this! My smiley fairy princess spinning inside a tent hence the poor shot!


Any tips on getting through an illness with a tot would be much appreciated, I’ll mentally ‘pin’ them for next time!

Docrafts Creativity Magazine, a Gorjuss Review

This recent post I did about getting started with craft suggested that craft magazines could be a really good starting point for inspiration and free materials, they usually come with at least one freebie and ideas inside for makes, for under a fiver you get a good weeks worth of crafting and ideas to keep coming back to again and again.

I jumped at the chance to review the new Creativity magazine last month. The theme was Gorjuss, by Santoro, whose whimsical slightly dark illustrations I love.


The magazine

This is what arrived in the post, the March 2014 edition of Docrafts Creativity Magazine complete with three brilliant sets of materials and a set of vouchers for money off further materials:


The Materials


The March 2014 edition came with three freebies:

  • A Forever Friends DVDROM of printables
  • Gorjuss ribbon pack in lovely dusky colours
  • Bellissima A6 decoupage and paper pack, again in dusky pinks and blues, I really like that the decoupage pieces and tags are pre-cut to pop out for ease and speed



I love that Docrafts Creativity magazine contains a great mix of card making as well as other crafts including ideas for makes for kids, cakes, scrapbooking and jewellery making. There is something for everyone, from step by step beginners guides which hold your hand right the way through a project to more advanced projects like the Gorjuss box on the front cover. I really enjoyed the article on using mixed media to create unique storage, like this bobbin box:


The Make

I decided to put the Gorjuss ribbons and Bellissima pack together to make this little Birthday card for a friend, using some of the ideas from the mag for inspiration, and some bits from my own craft materials, I really liked the colours and the two freebies complement each other really well:


Happy crafting folks!

Disclosure: I received the March issue of Creativity magazine for the purposes of reviewing and all opinions are my own

Crash and burn

Real Life

This blog is currently being quarantined, with a chronic ear infection for our poor girl and flu for Daddy and I this book seems appropriate:


If I am being honest we are not doing very well, being poorly at the same time is less than ideal and it feels like we are surviving each day rather than living, consequently I will be taking a few days off blogging but hope to be back before long. The time off work has given me some time to take stock, I think I’ve probably been overdoing it especially the last push to get my dissertation finished, so rest will probably recharge our batteries and do us all the world of good!

Blog life

Naturally a quiet week, although my washi tape post was popular, as was my post about our experience of visiting Paris two years ago



This post by Oliver Smile has kept me going, the description of surviving illness with a child is hilarious!

- See more at:

NatStatWeek 2014 – tools

National Stationery Week, who knew?

Here’s my round up of faves from my trusty pen roll, when you work with stats and code data you need colours in your life! I love these little pegs, very handy for crafting!



These Stabilo fineliners are a must for coding data, lovely true colour ink, mine are short stubby ones and they’re in all my handbags in a rainbow of colours!


I carry one or two highlighters everywhere again for coding or for Joss to scribble with!


Obviously with a toddler these are now a must!


And washi is a big thing at the moment too:


Do you have tools of the trade that you can’t live without?