A new year, a new look!

IMG_3035

So, my blog baby ‘The Spirited Puddle Jumper’ has a new look, and a new home, after I decided to bite the bullet and *gulp* become self-hosted. I am loving the new, sleek look, although knowing me I will probably end up tweaking it a few more times before I am totally happy with it! I’m thoroughly looking forward to being able to use plug-ins now (no one seems to tell you when you’re a new blogger that wordpress.com is crap for this), and can’t wait to use recipe cards, Rafflecopter and a whole host of other techy loveliness that will enable me to make the most of this little space of mine.

I almost can’t believe what a blogging nerd I’ve become – if you had asked me a year ago would I be wrestling with code, hosting sites and the aforementioned plug-ins, I would have laughed in your face! It’s become the most unlikely hobby of mine. That’s not to say I’m any good at it yet- if you’re not naturally tech-minded (raises hand), never, EVER try and have a go at exporting your blog and becoming self-hosted yourself (*cough*). It nearly caused me to have a nervous breakdown on Wednesday afternoon after I realised I’d completely ballsed the process up and needed some outside help. Thanks to my pal Alison, (I love you!) I was pointed in the direction of the technical saviour that is Jo, The Geek Fairy, (I love you too!), who managed to curb my mild hysteria and get me right back on track. I can never thank her enough!

So here we are…

After a few days going AWOL I can’t wait to get started again. This year I’m looking to up my family posts and make some videos, continue to write more about interiors (I great joy of mine), and improve my photography skills with a couple of great photo projects. I also want to branch out and discover some new blogs, and maybe get involved with one or two new linkys to challenge the creative juices- if anyone knows of any new ones, or ones I may not have heard of, then please do holler!

 

Here’s to fresh starts, and an exciting blogging year! x

A Recipe! 15 Minute Thai Prawn Curry

008

There are oodles of recipes for Thai curries out there, but I haven’t come across that many before that are super-speedy, and that don’t require some element of ‘faff’. We love a curry, but often after a busy week and when it comes to Friday night, there is the temptation to just order a takeaway, rather than having the bother of slogging away in the kitchen. Well, we have that worry no more, for we have adapted our favourite Thai prawn curry, and have got whipping it up in 15 minutes down to a fine art- and you can too!

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 shallot (or half an onion), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 125ml coconut milk/cream
  • 75g sugar snap peas
  • 85g large cooked and peeled prawns
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • small handful coriander, chopped, to serve
  • Noodles or microwave sticky Thai rice to serve

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan.
  2. Add the shallot and garlic, and stir-fry for 1-2 mins.
  3. Add the curry paste, coconut milk and 50ml water. Let this simmer for 2 mins.
  4. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 1-2 mins until they begin to soften.
  5. Add the prawns, soy sauce and lemon juice and heat through.
  6. Stir in the coriander and serve straight away with the noodles or rice.

Linking up Honest Mum Vicki and ‘Tasty Tuesdays’

The First Day (Take Two!)

003

On Monday we chartered familiar, yet also unfamiliar territory, for it was Sasha’s first day at preschool, joining her elder brother.

When it was Freddie’s first day 15 months ago, I felt a bundle of nerves (although trying not to show these!) and it was a BIG DEAL him going- he suddenly seemed so grown up and I wasn’t used to not having him around. It took us all a little while to adjust, and was a big parenting milestone. This time around, I’ve felt slightly guilty that it hasn’t really played on my mind too much that my little girl will also be going to preschool, and that I haven’t worried at all about leaving her, even though I did with Freddie. Whilst I knew he was ready for new adventures, it did fill me with some angst leaving my first born with people other than family. It doesn’t mean I don’t care or worry about my baby girl though- I guess the preschool is now so familiar to all of us, the staff, the routines, we all just instantly feel more comfortable. She has the HUGE confidence booster of her brother going with her, or being there already when she arrives (which was much needed on the third day this week, when she was a little clingier leaving me. As soon as she saw F sitting for a story on the carpet, she let go of me, and happily trotted on over to her brother).

I am so proud of how Sasha has coped with this new transition this week- no tears as you might expect, and big smiles on collection, before a stream of chatter about what she got up to in my absence. I am equally proud of her brother, who has really looked after her each session and introduced her to all of his friends, although according to preschool the novelty of having little sis hanging around when there are ‘train routes’ to be travelled and ‘castles’ to be climbed with pals, could be wearing off just a tiny bit… :-)

I’m confident that she’ll soon find her own path, and her own friends and interests there, as well as the shared ones with her big brother.

…and I’m also secretly hoping that preschool means there will slightly fewer requests for painting, as opposed to the current daily ones (see above pic)! ;-) 

 

Linking up with Katie at Mummy, Daddy, Me and ‘The Ordinary Moments’

Siblings – January

012 015013

This is a big month for these two sibling-wise. Sasha started her first days at preschool with Freddie this week, joining him for 2 afternoons, and then they both do one morning together. She is doing well so far, and we’ve been especially proud of how F has looked after his little sister- showing her where her peg is and how to hang up her coat, where the toilets are, and introducing her to his friends. When I came to pick them both up at the end of their Monday session, Freddie ran up excitedly to me and said “I helped Sasha wipe her bottom, but I couldn’t pull her trousers up!”. That’s true brother/sister love for you eh?!

Apart from the one or two daily scraps over toys/what’s going on the telly/who does or does not have their teeth cleaned first, they are getting on really well. It’s now much easier for us in terms of them entertaining themselves, and each other- I feel a bit of a spare part sometimes! Now they will go off and play with their Peppa figures and make up all sorts of imaginary games for ages, which is really great to see (and the stuff they come up with is bizarre! There’s no lack of imagination in this household!). They are also getting better at sharing and taking turns.

It has been really quite challenging at times with a 15 month age gap, but now having one so small is starting to pay off and it really feels like having twins a lot of the time, in terms of their shared interests and ability to properly play with each other now. Would I recommend it? Yes, but it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, or for lovers of sleep!

 

Linking up with Lucy at Dear Beautiful and ‘Siblings’

Home Styling: Mid-century kitchenware

Set of 4 1960s Vintage Soup Bowsl and Matching Plates

Recently I’ve been having a mahoosive love affair with mid-century kitchenware- honestly, it’s the sort of love that would mean that I could have a house full of the stuff, and would run out of space displaying it, no matter how big my kitchen could be! In my shop, I’ve been stocking several bits and pieces, but my problem is I always want to keep them for myself- I have to be ruthless in order to have anything to sell! As we head into 2015, mid-century (so stuff from roughly 1933-1965, although people still seem to count 1970s too) is the sort of homeware/ kitchenware I want to be sourcing and stocking more of. There seems to be more demand for it right now, which is fine by me as a small business owner, although maybe not so much if you’ve always loved it and felt original for doing so! I inherited some lovely pieces from my Nan, and have kept some/sold some. I was looking at my kitchen shelves whilst working the other day (I know, the perils of working from home means I can suddenly be distracted by the most obscure thoughts!), and have the urge to rearrange them with some of my collection.

Whether it’s Meakin, Pyrex or Catherine Holm, the right piece(s) displayed can really brighten up and become a great talking point. There are some great online shops stocking some lovely pieces at the moment (including mine, natch). I always find it amusing that only 10 years ago a lot of this stuff would be considered ‘dated’ and ‘naff’ (although maybe you still feel that way!), yet now it’s hot, hot, hot in the world of interiors. I have my eye on getting some pink Pyrex dishes (swoon!) and I LOVE the TG Green sugar, coffee and flour barrels in the above pic- I really, really would like a ‘Cookies’ one of these for our kitchen.

I have a Pintrest board that you can follow for some of my favourite mid-century kitchenware collections.

Here’s what’s on my lust-list right now:

Retro 70's  Hornsea Saffron England Sugar Jar/Pot Kitchen storage Brown Color Mid Century Decor

Hornsea Saffron England

Retro English 70's Large Set of Jars Tea Coffee Sugar Storage pots Daisy pattern in orange yellow kitchenware Crown Devon Potterry

Crown Devon Pottery

J&G Meakin Studio 1965  Aztec Coffee Pot

J&G Meakin

Gorgeous J & G Meakin Studio Dish and Lid  -  'Topic' Design 1967 -  Tureen Scandi Flowers

J&G Meakin

Mint Condition 1960s/70s Pyrex Casserole Dish

Pyrex (available to buy in my shop!)

Mid Century Elizabethan Portobello Milk Jug Orange, Pink and Brown. £14.99, via Etsy.

Elizabethan Portobello

Catherine Holm.

Cathrine Holm

Pyrex

Do you have any mid-century kitchenware?

Sasha at 2 years 8 months

009

Blimey, has it really been 4 months since I did one of these? I love that I’ve started these little records of both Freddie and Sasha- I hope they will be lovely to look back on when they are old enough to read. I have (probably crazy) visions of still writing this blog until they are adults, and then I can print off all these ‘X at ….years’ posts and put them into a book for them to have on their 18th birthdays. :-)

Tomorrow S starts preschool- such a big moment, yet it doesn’t feel quite as momentous as it did with Freddie (the downside of being the second child!), possibly because she is used to hanging out with F and his friends at the start and also because we attend the attached playgroup every Tuesday morning. Everything just feels more familiar, and I’m hoping that this will stand her in good stead.

Here is how our little lady is faring up at 2 years, 8 months:

  • Loves trying to balance on one leg “watch me, watch me!” she says.
  • Has reverted to biting Freddie/us again if she has one of her epic tantrums. Which of course we are obviously not too happy about. Despite being a cheerful, loving little thing, that temper is still there- she literally shakes with rage if she doesn’t get her way, and I can have days with her when it all feels like a battle. Here’s hoping the ‘terrible twos’ are on their way out soon!
  • She has two new back teeth, which I suspect may have exacerbated the new biting phase. We’ve had some red cheeks here, but no complaints. Sasha is pretty hardcore when it comes to illness/pain, and it takes a lot for her to actually tell us there’s a problem or act unwell, we have to be quite vigilant. I’ve started on a big day out, before realising half way on the train that she’s had a raging temp- she seems fine until I feel her!
  • Likes having her back scratched, Fireman Sam (and acting out ‘rescue scenes’ from this with Freddie), playing ‘Pop up Pirate’ and ‘Hungry Hippos’ (awesome Xmas presents!), walking everywhere,
  • Still will often have a daytime nap, although never in her bed. If she has napped, we can guarantee that it will take on average 5 trips upstairs to put her back to bed. Favourite excuses right now include “my covers are wonky”, “I need a POOOOOOOOO!”, “My pillow is not right”, “I want a book in my bed”, “This book is toooo scary” and “my baby is looking at me funny”! I figure all that walking back up and down the stairs is good exercise…
  • Giving me a cuddle and saying “What a lovely, squishy, Mummy!” which I’m taking as a compliment, not that I’m carrying too many post-Christmas pounds!
  • Is able to name most letters of the alphabet now, and can point out her name, and Freddie’s name if it ever appears anywhere.
  • Has gone off eating cheese, which is really annoying as it’s a useful snack! She’ll still have it grated in hot dishes, but has even gone off the previously lauded cheese sandwiches. The love of grapes is still going strong though!
  • Is still hilarious, easily one of the funniest people going, she makes me laugh all the time, what with her deliberate facial expressions (see photo above!) and funny phrasings- she is definitely blessed in this department!

and finally…

  • We think she’s going to be left handed, as she has a strong preference for using her spoon and crayons in this hand. Any ‘lefties’ or parents of ‘lefties’ have any advice when it comes to teaching left-handed children to write? I know we’re a little way off here, but would be good to get some tips in advance, it’s a bit alien to me!

 

Teaming up with ‘Mummy Daddy Me’ and ‘The Ordinary Moments’!

Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity is the Butlins Official Charity for 2015!

Butlins Charity Great Ormond Street Hospital

One of the things I was proudest of blog-wise in 2014 was being selected out of hundreds of applicants to be a Butlins Ambassador for the coming year. As I’ve mentioned previously, I wasn’t by any means a fan before I signed up, but now I can safely say that I’m a total convert, having been on a brilliant break to Bognor, and especially now I seem to find out more and more about the good work for charity that they do.

So… I am delighted to announce that the charity Butlins Official Charity for 2015 is the AMAZING Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity!

Butlins aims to raise £150,000 for the charity in 2015 and will be encouraging guests and teams to raise funds to help bring hope to Great Ormond Street Hospital’s young patients and their families.

Founded in 1852, GOSH and is one of the top five children’s hospitals in the world. It has more than 240,000 patient visits each year, ranging from new-born babies to 18-year-olds, often caring for patients with rare or complex conditions, who are too ill to be treated locally or who need particular specialist care.

 The hospital’s charity raises money to fund redevelopment of buildings, pioneering research, vital equipment and essential welfare services. Money raised will go towards much needed new equipment and also fund one of the hospital’s play workers. The hospital’s play team provides innovative strategies to make the child’s experience of hospital as stress-free as possible, helping them find a way to cope and ensuring they don’t miss out on being children. However, Butlins’ relationship with GOSH started many years ago: back in 1938 Butlins day visitors were charged a shilling to come onto resort, with all that money going to the hospital, while in 1965 The Variety Club – sponsored by Sir Billy Butlin – donated a hydrotherapy pool to the hospital’s Department of Physical Medicine. In 1977 Sir Billy donated funds to purchase the UK’s first paediatric CT scanner at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

 As well being able to donate by text, online or when booking a break, Butlins guests will also have a chance to get involved with the partnership during fundraising activities on resort during the year.

 Said Dermot King, Butlins MD: “We are delighted to be able to continue Sir Billy’s legacy and have the opportunity to put a modern spin on this incredible tradition, working with a wonderful charity that share our ethos of putting families first.”

 Tim Johnson, Chief Executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity said:  “We are thrilled to be starting the next chapter of our relationship with Butlins with this exciting new partnership. As well as funding life-saving equipment, the money raised will make a real difference for our young patients by funding one of the hospital’s play workers. The play team provides vital support to families, helping children prepare for procedures, providing distraction and bringing fun and smiles where they can.”

I’m pleased as punch that Butlins will working with such an amazing place, and I can’t wait to help raise awareness of all the good work that GOSH does as part of my ambassador role!

To find out more visit www.butlins.com/gosh