Friday, 19 August 2016

Pastel Jellies

We're midway through August and even though the weather finally seems to be picking up, there is already a sense of summer being on its way out.
The shops are filled with September school supplies and summer sales have almost finished, making way for Autumn coats and woolly jumpers.
Despite all of this I'm determined not to head into the mindset of Summer being over and enjoy what's left of these sunny days with our two boys.
These warm and lazy August days are my favourite part of the summer and we are spending as much time as we can exploring the local greenery, playing out and having lots of picnic tea times.
Now that we're all a little more settled into family life as a four, the little guy and I have even been managing some creative time on an afternoon, so of course we have been putting our aprons on and getting into the kitchen.
Whatever else he is doing he will always put it aside if I ask him to help me make something -
I love that he loves baking and cooking, and now that he's not my only little one it feels like it's something we can always come back to just to re-connect and spend some quality time together doing.
When we had some quiet time last week, the little guy and I had a little summer party together listening to some summer tunes and eating sweets while little E had a long nap.
Ever since I started making milk jelly a couple of summers ago I have been dreaming of making some pastel coloured jellies.
I got a bit inspired after seeing the gorgeous colours of "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and of course the famous Mendl's patisserie with their pastel coloured cakes (Which I'm sure I'll be making soon..!)
 I adore pastels, but I also love the summer memories that I get from seeing these pretty colours together;
Ice-cream sodas and candy floss, sunshine and sandy toes, long summer days, beach huts.
They remind me of the plastic bowls of Neapolitan ice cream we used to eat in the garden as kids, playing on the beach after ten sticks of pink and blue and yellow sugary rock, the jelly shoes we all wore, sherbet sticks and hands covered in pavement chalk.
These little jellies are made of summer-time memories and are perfectly easy treats for kids (and adults!).
They are super simple but look so effective and special.

I've made these using miniature moulds from the ever reliable Tala which I picked up in Sainsbury's;
not only are they a very cute traditional jelly shape, they have handy lids on the top, which help to release the jelly (this is equally helpful when making layered jelly in case you forget which colour you've done first!) and on the bottom- for storage and on-the-go jelly of course.
(For any mums out there, these can double as handy snack pots for the little ones!)
I've had a few people have asked me about quantities regarding how much condensed milk to use, I have tried different amounts but really it depends on how sweet you want the jelly to be!
I have a sweet tooth so these are the amounts I use to keep the jelly sweet and not tasting of the gelatin- I think it would also be lovely to add a flavour essence like rose or peppermint!

Milk Jellies
You will need:
Powdered Gelatin sachets
1 Tin of Sweetened Condensed Milk
Boiling water
Jelly Moulds
Food colouring ( I used Wilton Gel Colouring)
To make the milk jelly simply add one sachet of the gelatin powder to 1 pint of boiling water, when it has dissolved pour in 1/4 of the tin of condensed milk stirring well.
You can then add any colour you like, bearing in mind it will be milky coloured!
Remember to let the jelly cool before adding to another set layer.
Milk jelly sets much quicker than normal jelly- in around 20 mins - so if you forget while letting it cool and it becomes lumpy or set, just warm very gently in a small pan until liquid again and then use as normal.
As you can see these really are very quick and simple to do and make for a fun afternoon activity.
The little guy and I loved these, they're definitely a favourite make and one we'll be doing again.
It took a lot of persuasion to stop him diving onto them before I had taken a few photos!
This one is a sweet fiend and he absolutely loves jelly;
this is a great make for kids to do, just let the mixture cool before letting them get creative with different shapes and colours!

Hope you're enjoying these last few weeks of summer with your sweeties


Newborn Essentials

Our little E is now over the 12 week mark, technically meaning he is no longer classed as a "newborn" (*sob*)
The time really has flown by and like everyone says when they welcome a new family member, it's as though they have always been here.
Although we all enjoyed those lovely quiet few weeks of being in our own little bubble, having another energetic little person to care for meant we had to settle back into our normal routine fairly quickly.
Thankfully our littlest is a very chilled out happy chap. He's most happy when he can see everything, just like his big brother, and will sit quietly just listening and looking. He really is very content but also very smiley and giggly!
We took him for his first cinema outing last week to see the BFG and he was so good; I was worried he wouldn't like the noise and was prepared to have to leave but he actually watched most of the film and made funny noises when he saw the giants faces.
It's been a completely new experience, having a newborn and another child to care for.
Joe had to go back to work after a month so thankfully he was here to help out during those first few difficult weeks.
It's all gone by so fast though and I've been surprised that although there are a fair few difficult moments looking after two young children alone, it's been a pretty good transition and I absolutely love being with my boys.
They are both strong and grow very fast, the little guy has needed new clothes and shoes over the last few weeks, simply because he has shot up this summer and I have just finished putting all little E's newborn clothes away.
We're still a bit disorganised but it's a happy kind of chaos...
It's been quite a different experience becoming a mum for the second time and although each pregnancy, birth and baby are different, there's nothing like experience to help you along the way.
Part of the reason I think little E is quite relaxed is that we've already done this before so aren't as stressed about it all!

With that in mind I thought I'd put together what have been some of my newborn essentials these last three months, hopefully some mums-to-be or new mums out there might find them helpful.
Most mums know they'll need piles of nappies, cotton wool and wipes so I've just included some that aren't so obvious that I've found great second time around.

1. I'm usually raving about how great Coconut Oil is but I'm going to say it again; it is great. So far I've used it to fend off nappy rash, improve cradle cap, moisturise the little one's and my own skin and for baby massages. There are so many uses for this lovely natural stuff and I love this one by Kokoso baby- it's the perfect size to pop into your bag and you don't have to worry about it being anything other than 100% organic coconut oil.
2. I never bought any bottles first time round as I was determined to feed the little guy myself which I did without too many problems; I've done the same this time round and can honestly say it's been much easier, however little E seemed to have a lot of trapped wind in the early days and has always got hiccups! Overfeeding him tends to make it worse and a bit sick, so I  tried giving him some cooled boiled water in one of these Dr Brown's bottle's which are designed to prevent air being swallowed, and it seems to do the trick. I know in the early days, bottles or dummy's are not encouraged but I only started trying him with the occasional drink after a few weeks when he was well established at feeding and these seem to be very good!
3. Hydration. Need I say more?! Feeding a baby gives you the most unquenchable thirst; there are bottles of water all over our house! Joe bought one of these Brita fill & go water bottles a few weeks ago and I have been stealing it ever since. I love that they filter your water and are also really slim and light enough to keep in the changing bag.
4. I've mentioned Faye & Lou muslin's before as I bought some first baby round and loved them. This time they were kind enough to send me some to use with little E and I am still just as impressed; Over the last three months they've endured countless uses and washes and are still gorgeously soft and vibrant. There are muslins on sale anywhere that sells baby clothes but I still think these are a seriously worthwhile investment, if you want great quality that lasts.
5. The little guy never took to a dummy and I didn't expect little E to, however using me for comfort seemed to just be making him too full and he'd often be crying as though he had tummy ache. I'd heard a lot about these natural rubber dummies and they came highly recommended by the lady in the shop who had used them with her own daughter so I decided to give these Hevea ones a try. Little E took to it straight away and it just helps him to doze off if he's full. They are all natural and very soft; as they are made from natural rubber they need to be replaced every two months as they start to break down and peel a bit, but I'm happy to do that it for the benefits of it keeping him content and not having any nasty plastics in.
6. Again, unlike his brother, this one loves anything silky. We gave him a little blanket like this with silky edges and he loves holding it and having it near his face!
7. I always thought nursing pillows were a bit unnecessary and that they were just expensive pillows but I have been proved wrong as this little Snuggle up pillow has been really handy; although I was sent this I would definitely buy it again- We use it every day and I take it up to bed for night feeds. It's so soft and he has snoozed happily on it since he was born; he also loves sitting up on it now so that he can see everything. It has a lovely soft cover that is also removable for easy washing.
8. I bought this Bowron sheepskin for our first little guy whostill loves it and it has been used just as much with little E. These really are another good investment; although he is now four the little guy loves it that much he was reluctant to share it with his baby brother!
It has fit into most of the prams we've had and I also used it for them both in their baby rocking chair. Bowron Sheepskins are sanitized but can be put in the washing machine, which I have done a few times without any problems. They are brilliant for keeping little ones warm and cool and are really good for when they're feeling poorly as they help to regulate body temperature.
9. The Baba Sling has been great with both of our boys; I find it really comfortable to wear and little E sleeps very happily in it and is always cosy. It's made of lovely soft strong cotton and the shoulder has nice thick padding to stop it rubbing. I love slings but I never loved the idea of the outward facing carriers so this one has been perfect for me- I love having him all bundled up next to me!

I cant believe we're already over the newborn stage; time has just flown by! But although I'm sad we're leaving the early days behind us I'm really looking forward to the next stages, watching him grow and learn and do so many things, all of which is such a privilege to do.We're so blessed to be able to do this journey with our beautiful boys.

Hopefully you might have found a few of these baby buys helpful;
We'll soon be heading into the next baby stage of sitting, toddling and weaning so if you have any tips or tools, drop me a line!

N.B Kokoso Baby, Faye & Lou and Snuggle up Pillows Kindly sent me these items however all opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Bloom & Wild

This Spring I've had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of Bloom &Wild's Wildflower Collective meaning I've been able to experience some of their stunning letterbox bouquets over the last few months.
I first came across Bloom &Wild via Instagram (where they share some beautiful pictures!) and loved the idea of being able to send flowers so easily without worrying about someone being in to receive them!
Obviously I wanted to try out Bloom & Wild and was keen to see how their flowers would fare being sent by royal mail-
I sent some pink roses to my sister who was away in Scotland and I was told they arrived beautifully packaged and lasted much longer than expected!
I did blog about my experience back then with Bloom & Wild as I love sharing great companies via our blog, so I was thrilled when they got in touch to ask if I'd like some letterbox flowers of my own.
Everything about a Bloom & Wild delivery is special, from their elegant box to the individually wrapped flowers inside finished off with their signature gold ribbon.
Despite arriving in an ordinary way, their flowers are anything but.
Although their boxes are slim they contain the most perfect stems which just get prettier and last so well.
What I love about Bloom& Wild's flowers is the simplicity of their bouquets;
they aren't huge arrangements which arrive filled out with busy foliage and too many other varieties of flowers, they just use beautiful blooms and complement them without all the fuss.
Their bright pink Peonies for example, were the main attraction in the Eloise bouquet but bright pops of yellow were added to really make them stand out which I just loved.
The Florence arrived just in time for the Chelsea Flower show which inspired this gorgeous arrangement of stocks, snapdragons and spray veronica;
the whole thing looked as though it had just been scooped out of an English Wildflower garden and smelled so beautiful!
Having Peonies in the house was a lovely treat this spring, especially the big blooming pink Peonies at the centre of The Belle.
Over the last few months we've been getting used to being a family of four so it's taken me a little longer than I anticipated to share these gorgeous blooms with you, but even though these particular bunches are not available this season,Bloom & Wild have gone and created even more stunning flowers for you to brighten someone's (or your own!) day with including some seriously pretty mini posies with contain little jars for you to make up your own little displays with.
I was already impressed with Bloom &Wild but having had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of their lovely letterbox flowers I am even more so by their quality and designs.
Well done Bloom&Wild
They're blooming marvellous!

N.B I was kindly sent some of Bloom & Wild's Letterbox Flowers as part of the Wildflower collective however all opinions are entirely my own.

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