Past, present and future

I don’t often reblog posts (in fact this is the first ever) but this post captures exactly what I’ve been thinking myself about the world my daughter is growing up in and I couldn’t have written it any better. Many thanks to Emma.




We were first introduced to Charlie on Christmas Day when she was only 3 weeks old. We were having Christmas Dinner at my husband’s Aunty and Uncle’s house. We had no idea that his cousin’s dog had just had a litter of puppies, or that these gorgeous little pups would be joining us for Christmas Day!

My husband nursing three week old Charlie.

My husband nursing three week old Charlie.

After spending the whole day nursing these adorable beanie baby puppies (I actually have no recollection of Christmas Dinner at all I was so distracted by the pups!), it was understandably impossible to refuse the offer of ‘Free to a good home’. So, a few months later on Valentine’s Day, we brought Charlie home and she became the third member of our tiny family.

After watching many of the Dog training programmes on TV such as Cesar Milan’s ‘Dog Whisperer’ and ‘Dog Borstal’, we were certain that we knew exactly how to train our new puppy and ensure we became the ‘Pack Leader’. How wrong were we?!? Training our new adorable puppy was MUCH harder than we expected. She didn’t do as she was told! What was that about?!

We passed!

We passed!

So we started taking her along to puppy training classes. Now that was an experience I won’t forget in a hurry! (This is the part of the post where I wish I knew how to write comedy. Each dog with it’s own crazy personality, completely unaware that it’s supposed to do as it’s told, some bolting out the door during ‘recall’ or collapsing on the floor wanting it’s tummy tickled when learning the ‘sit’ command – hilarious!) But with a lot of help and support from an experienced dog trainer, we started making progress with Charlie’s training. She was most definitely Top of the Class (in our opinion!) and each week and month she improved my heart swelled with pride as she developed into a warm, friendly, loving and obedient dog.

Enjoying the Lake District

Enjoying the Lake District

For the first two years of Charlie’s life, she really was our ‘little girl’. She came on holiday with us, we enjoyed long walks in the Lake District and we even started setting up an agility course in the garden for her. We didn’t have children at the time and all our attention was on her.

Then, on Thursday 9th December 2010 (Charlie’s 2nd birthday) our REAL ‘little girl’ arrived. It certainly took a little while for Charlie to adjust to the change. She had no idea what to make of this tiny human being that made these high pitched noises at all hours of the day and night! Not only that, where had all her regular walks gone? Suddenly her 2 hour runs down by the river had been replaced by a 15 minute jaunt to the supermarket to pick up more nappies and SMA. Poor Charlie!

And now we are four!

And now we are four!

The arrival of our daughter really was something we all had to adjust to very quickly, but Charlie’s warm and friendly nature meant we didn’t need to worry about her bonding with our new baby. The older our daughter has become, the more fun Charlie has had with her (even if the fun is slightly more one-sided in our daughter’s favour!). They are now best of friends and can often be seen nose to nose under the dining room table, working out what mischief they can get up to next!

Best of friends

Best of friends

The Bare Necessities of Life

Since I’ve started blogging, I love the fact that our camera is always handy and within reach to quickly capture those gorgeous ‘one-off’ moments of family life.

I was just in the kitchen making tea when I heard my husband and daughter singing along to some music they were listening to. When I peaked my head round the door I caught this gorgeous moment:

It made me fall in love with them both all over again. They are both my bare necessities in life.


Number fun with my toddler

My daughter loves playing with numbers, whether it’s singing counting songs, finding numbers on signs when we’re out and about or watching ‘NumTums’ on CBeebies! Her enjoyment in learning is something I want to encourage and never want her to lose, so any activity I do with her I always want it to be ‘child lead’. Although I have included here some ideas and activities I do with her as a way to engage her and start her off.


I sometimes use these large foam numbers with Mairi when playing these number activities, but you could also flash cards or just draw large colourful numbers on A4 paper.

We sing nursery rhyme songs such as ‘Five Little Ducks’ or ‘Five little speckled frogs’ and hold up each number as we sing.

Three little ducks went swimming one day...

Three little ducks went swimming one day…

Mairi likes to trace each of the numbers with her finger. This will help her when it’s time to start learning how to write the numbers.


I use objects around the room and ask her ‘How many cuddly bears can you see?’ then ask her to find the number. We have a huge celebration when she gets it right!

I’ve tried asking Mairi to put the numbers in order or ask questions such as, ‘What number comes after four?’ but it’s a bit too advanced for her just now. She’ll probably get it when she’s a bit older.

Obviously when playing with toddlers it never works out how you’ve intended. Mairi decided that it would be much more fun to kiss through the number holes!




Home made chicken nuggets – tasty!


I was so proud of myself this evening for making home made chicken nuggets for the first time! I’ve always wanted to try them out. I’ve never been tempted to buy the frozen variety of chicken nuggets that you can buy in the supermarket. In fact I’m not a fan of any kind of processed food – at all! To me it’s tasteless, nutrition-less and full of junk that shouldn’t be going any where near my family’s mouths! The problem is so many kids LOVE chicken nuggets. So I figured if I could make my own, then my daughter won’t need to feel deprived of a universal children’s favourite food.

My daughter has never been keen on eating meat. She enjoys sausages and bacon, but whenever she’s tasted any other meat she’s just spat it out. So tonight was the first time she actually ate chicken! In her own words she said, “Mmmmmm, nice nice nice nice nice niiiiiiiice!” So I think she liked it!

I based my recipe on the one I found here but I prefer to use egg instead of melted butter for coating the chicken.

Home made Chicken Nuggets

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets
  • 125g dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian dried herbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Plain flour for coating the chicken
  • 2 eggs beaten

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Cut the chicken breasts into 3-4 cm chunks.

To make the breadcrumbs I just blitzed up some fresh brown bread. I rarely have stale bread in the house for making bread crumbs so I find fresh bread is just fine.


Mix together the bread crumbs, dried herbs, thyme, parmesan and salt.


Next, dip the chicken in the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumb mixture. Make sure the chicken is really well coated. Place all the nuggets on a baking try and bake for 20 minutes.


I served them with home made chips and peas. I prefer to make my own chips and I don’t like to use a deep fat frier. Shallow frying them in sunflower oil for me is preferable because it means I’m always cooking our chips in fresh oil.


These chicken nuggets were definitely a huge hit with my family. They can easily be frozen too which then makes it a really quick and easy meal for another night.


Sometimes it all becomes too much…


I love watching my daughter sleep. It fills me with calm and peace.

She always has an afternoon nap, usually in her bed, but today she decided to crash out on the sofa. At first I thought she was just messing about trying to avoid having to go for a nap, and maybe she was, so I just played along. She was saying, ‘No! Mairi sleep on chair!’ So I said, ‘Okay, close your eyes then.’ She asked me to sing, which I did – Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, then within a minute she was asleep.

Don’t you just love toddlers!


A toddler’s alternative to watching TV

My daughter is a typical child who loves to watch TV, so I’m always trying to think of different ways to occupy and entertain her so she’s not always sat in front of her favourite programmes! Whatever activities I do with her, it’s important for me to make sure they don’t cost too much and are really easy to take out and pack away.

'Stick Stick' a great toddler activity.

‘Stick Stick’ a great toddler activity.

Mairi enjoys using glue (and making a mess with it!) She calls it ‘stick stick’. At first I started buying lots of different crafty things for her to ‘stick’ with, such as sequins, stickers, mini foam shapes etc. but I was finding that it was costing a lot of money for her to play ‘stick stick’ and she was more interested in just playing with the glue rather than producing a piece of artwork. So I decided it would be much cheaper if we just used small bits of torn coloured paper.

I have lots of scrap coloured paper and card that I’ve used for card making.

Scrap card making paper

Scrap card-making paper

I just tear them up quite small. Mairi enjoys this part too! And then I store them in an old butter tub labelled ‘Torn Paper’. That way it’s easy for me to tidy the activity away once she’s finished.



Easy to keep tidy.

Easy to keep tidy.

I then give Mairi a large colouring in book that we bought at a Pound Shop. That way she can enjoy doing her ‘stick stick’ and then do some colouring in too if she wants.