Flowers from my Garden

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The Stuff of Life

When my father passed away a couple of years ago my mother, although happy he wasn't suffering anymore, was thrown into the shock of being and living on her own after 50 years of marriage.  So this Spring she sold her house and bought an apartment in a small warden assisted living complex where her friend, who was also widowed a few years ago, moved.  She is so much happier now with many facilities at her convenience, activities, outings and new friends to be made.  The building is literally on the beach too so fantastic south facing views everyday where you can watch the sun rise and set.

Packing up her life was a major challenge for both of us, it wasn't as simple as packing her suitcases and calling the removal firm.  Downsizing to a much smaller place meant letting go of some of her belongings.  I was quite surprised how easily this came to her and wondered about my own precious memories that I could not imagine having to part with.  So it has made me think of the future, something I try not to do too much in advance, having lost family members way too early and always appreciating the age I have got to, the health I still have and the new little girl in my life.  Having her has magnified how fast life is flying past too, I have not changed in looks or anything else in the last 2 years, she has gone from being in the womb to flying out into the world and changed from the newborn to the toddler and all the developmental life milestones in between that she has achieved.

I find it very hard to part with anything but a couple of years ago I did have a little clear out of "things"and now cannot remember what those things were which begs the question, apart from photos and items we want to pass on to our children, is it all just the clutter and the stuff of life.

Moving day for mum and me was exhausting but now the move is complete, the packing is unpacked and life has become fuller for her once more - she probably will not miss the "stuff" and will make some new memories in the Autumn of her life.....

image courtesy of Pinterest

Learning... Nature or Nurture??

I taught Toddler Chick to "give to mama" a while ago, things she manages to grab that I thought I'd put safely out of her way, books that now have teeth marks affectionately embedded in them (I still have keepsakes from my son with his teeth marks in - I keep it all!!) & most important of all, the TV remote! 

She does like to share, she insists on handing anything and everything to me, then I have to give it back, then I get it back again and so it goes on and I love it.  I hope she learns more caring & sharing as she grows, this may seem simple to some but I do wonder how much is what I am showing her, the qualities I would like her to possess as she grows or how much is just her nature anyway. 

She went through a, thankfully short, phase of wanting to scratch & pinch with those laser sharp nails of hers.  My immediate solution was to remove her hand from whatever piece of skin she had targeted and then ignore the behaviour, she lost interest fairly quickly when nobody acknowledged her behaviour.   I have waggled my finger at her too at times & told her to be nice rather than say no but putting a positive slant on such behaviour is not easy when all you want to say is ouch!

I prefer to believe that babies don't have nasty streaks in them, surely its learnt behaviour or is it??  TC wasn't shown how to pinch & bite, it just came with the package.  I think they also do these things as a way of experimenting, what happens if I do this, what reaction am I going to get from mummy??   By the same token TC softly strokes my arm, so sweet and something she has, I hope, got from the wonderfully tender times we have spent together or is it just her nature??   She's an assertive little character and I hope this is her natural nature, we'll see in years to come :)

What do you think, nature or nuture or maybe a bit of both??


Capturing the Bits in Between the Rain

doves nesting in our tree

a rare sight this month but gorgeous whilst it lasted

rain, at least the ducks & geese were happy!

today, currently all blue skies

A Few of my Favourite Things (of Mummy's!)

I have a very naughty inquisitive, lively toddler, its all good, I do love it but lately she's ramped up the need for destroying playing with my things.  I've resigned myself to most of it... wanting to take my (clean) pants from the pile of clothes waiting to be put away on over her trousers (and sometimes her head!), supergirl style, trying to put a hair elastic to make her own ponytail like mummy's, putting on my sunglasses, mostly things she sees me doing and wants to copy.  She was found yesterday with my electric toothbrush and a wipe cleaning the toilet bowl, how many times do I need to tell Mr J to put the lid down :)) 

Mornings are spent careering around the house, asking for keys from the front door, car keys, mobile phones, TV remotes, chasing the dog, etc.  Her new "skill" is opening my office cabinet draws which is full of paperclips, noticeboard pins, bluetac, sellotape, packing tape and the like, so now the drawers have elastic bands on them until I can get some drawer locks!

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 She has a definite passion for anything she can use as a bracelet or ring on her little fingers (sparkly toe-rings being a favourite), my watch, my bracelets, sellotape roll, elastic bands, cookie cutters!  Maybe a budding jewellery designer on my hands??  I have not let her see me put my make up on yet as I really don't want my expensive makeup smeared on her face or anything else until I can show her where it all goes, e.g. lip gloss on the lips!

"bracelets" and stuff!
 I've put all my nice stuff in storage and got some replacement items that aren't so precious, e.g. sunglasses and reading glasses.  When she has moved forward in maturity I can get them all out again and hopefully be secure in the knowledge that they remain intact and still useable/wearable!  I've even put off getting a new mobile, she plays with Mr J's old mobile which still works somehow without the sim card.  All these things can wait, who cares if people snigger at my year old mobile and plastic sunglasses!

I know I was like this as a toddler, my own Mother regales me with tales of what a "shocker" I was so I'm neither surprised or unhappy about my own girl being a lively, wonderful!, exhausting, funny, delightful, cute, demanding, great little mini person with her own mind!
TC is starting nursery a couple of days a week all too soon, there she will get more structure to her mornings, I do hope she misses her time with mummy, the pretend tea parties, the painting & drawing, the swings, running through puddles, picking strawberries, icecream at the beach - it has been a whirlwind 22 months and I wouldn't have missed a minute.

p.s. I have never ever used my own toothbrush to clean the loo ;)

Good News, Bad News, Good News?

Yesterday I had my Noddy car aka my Nissan Micra serviced, I do it but it does remind me of Noddy's car, except Noddy had a convertible.  I did love Noddy, Big Ears and the Noddy car - Noddy was probably what Peppa Pig is today.   I chose the car because I needed something more reliable with a newborn and well I do love ferrying me & Miss TC around in it.  

I have some lovely memories of car journey's of a time gone by with a baby boy, of summer days and day's out.   I absolutely love having a baby in the car.  Even driving past some places pulls me straight back to my first mummy days.   I seem to raise good travellers, no fuss in the car, they see it as a little adventure, traffic means nothing and the destination sometimes a surprise.   A few toys and a well-stocked homemade snack box always helps too of course!

The good news:  the service went well, nothing wrong with the car, hooray!

The bad news:  it still cost me £408.00! 

The good news:  as I had only done 6000 miles in it, we tootle around a couple of counties in it and take the train if we are going further afield,  I had apparently "saved" £400 by not having it serviced last year (it had a complete service before I bought it) and they gave me an extra litre of oil and RAC roadside assistance for free so I can now cancel my AA membership.
So, good news.... I think :))

It was an interesting drive back home on the coast road with a 60mph wind making the car shake and TC giggle.

The waves were crashing against the sea wall showering the car with spray and salt.  Windscreen wipers on to clean the glass only to  find one of the things that shoots out screenwash on the windscreen wasn't working (on the drivers side of course) and the back one either blocked too or out of screenwash!! 

Didn't I just have this car serviced ?!?!?  


Tasty Power Energy Snack

This is a favourite of mine, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are nutrient powerhouses and make great little snacks.  For this very tasty power energy snack take ½ cup of sunflower seeds and ½ cup of pumpkin seeds and gently dry toast them, (you can also add maybe ¼ cup of sesame seeds too if you wish) moving them around so you don't burn them .  I love my Vision Corning Glass pans, I much prefer them over stainless steel, I used a small frying pan here.

Take the pan off the heat and add ⅓ cup of brown linseeds,

then take 1 generous tablespoon of Marmite (more or less to your own taste) & add to the seed mix.  The glass pans retain a good amount of heat which is usually enough to sufficiently "melt" the Marmite but if you need a little extra heat, make sure it is a very low heat setting.
Continue to move the mix around gently until all the seeds are coated with the Marmite.

The mixture should be cool enough to form into small balls or put the mix into a small bowl to nibble on, I like to do both.  Pop in the fridge for a ready, healthy, tasty snack.  Beware these are very more-ish!

I could not resist buying the fab special Marmite Jubilee edition last week!

For nutritional information and health benefits of this snack, pop over to my very new Food & Health blog @ 


Jubilee Baking

With the Jublilee celebrations nearly upon us, I had long ago thought of what I would bake for our street party.  We had a very successful party for Will & Kate, the sun shone all day even though it was merely April and the food, drink, music (we had a band!) flowed freely.  Catching up with all my neighbours and meeting new ones was a bonus.  TC was only 9 months old at the time and not walking so spent the whole day being passed around, you know how it is with babies! 

The whole street are all contributing to a communal buffet table and bbq as before, but as there will be a lot of food food (buffet stuff) I've decided to do cupcakes with lashings of buttercream icing and some mini cakes, a lot easier for everyone to nibble on and especially good for the kiddies who won't want to sit and eat for too long!   We have a lot of bunting for the garden and union jack serviettes and paper plates, but I will not do the plastic glass thing, only a crystal flute will do! 

So I have Vanilla Blueberry & Raspberry Cupcakes and Mini Double chocolate muffins -  I don't think we need another blog cupcake recipe here, I'm using the Hummingbird bakery version but a classic Victoria Sponge recipe also works well. 

For the mini muffins I used Sainsbury's Belgian Chocolate in Milk and Dark, excellent creamy chocolate, a few pieces found their way mysteriously into my mouth! 

gorgeous melted chocolate

a few of the mini morsels
I've made 24 cupcakes and 30 mini muffins and will make some nibbles and cucumber sandwiches just before the start. 

I am very much looking forward to the celebrations, TC will be running around this time, how time has flown this last 13 months!  Just let's hope the weather stays fine or there will be a few soggy sandwiches and cakes!

Wherever you are celebrating I wish you all a lovely time.