Flying with emotional baggage 

Flying with emotional baggage 

So something I talk about regularly is my mental health. I’ve had anxiety since childhood and I’ve suffered with PND for a while now but something I don’t talk often about is my fear of flying! Following a bad experience 7 years ago I haven’t flown since. At the time I didn’t really think about flying until I grew up and started thinking about things like my honeymoon (I don’t think Pat would be too impressed with old Bognor!) or the kids first holiday! I can’t let that fear be shared onto them and I certainly can’t stop them from seeing the world. Pat and I pride ourselves on being knowledgable and accepting of different cultures but what good was it to the kids if they were stuck on Butlin’s holiday parks forever? 
I was very lucky as a child and my parents took me on some crazy travelling adventures and I want that for the kids. So a few months ago we booked tickets for us to go with my friends to Spain. It’s hardly anywhere trendy like Budapest or something but it’s a short flight and I shall be solo parenting so for me it’s brave! 
I’m not as nervous as I thought I would be. I’ve been side tracked with packing and organising things because I’ve never flown without my parents so I’m rather distracted! But I’m putting on a brave face for the kids because 2 hours of mad anxiety is worth it for a two week well needed get away. 
I shall drive everyone crazy with pictures but I don’t care ✌🏽

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

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A day out to the Riverhall Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks

A day out to the Riverhall Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks

When you have two children under two you’d think that finding different places to spend the day would be easy (oh how I was wrong) but without venturing up to the big smoke things can be really tricky. Also for my own sanity if I have to keep visiting the local park anymore than twice a week I think I’ll end up having some kind of mental breakdown. There are only so many times you can make small chat with fellow mums and take boomerang videos (you know the ones plastered all over everyone’s Instagram of your toddler going down the slide. We all do it, you know it, I know it. I’m guilty).

As a rule I’m not a very tolerable person. If employees are rude i’m not likely to rush back to spend my pennies (mamas on a budget of course!). I live in Kent (broken applause) and sometimes I forget what a beautiful area it is. So with the kids Nan and I took them to visit the Riverhall Himalayan Gardens which is located in Sevonoaks. I usually reserve judgement of new places but blow me down I actually had a laugh. And we only had 1 tantrum from Delilah (small victories count when you have a drama lama for a daughter).

We ventured around the den building area where Delilah explored and created her own little space whilst Nan and I enjoyed a nice walk pushing Indie in the buggy, up by the bluebells it was very hilly and bumpy so make sure you have your mountain style buggies with you. (I admit I forgot my bungee cords and campfire building set but luckily all it took was some sturdy pairs of wheels.) It was so lovely to get Indie out and let him enjoy the fresh air and it allowed Delilah to burn off that forever lasting energy (where the hell does it come from?!). Also if you keep your eyes peeled in the summer holidays and weekends (around 2-4pm) you might even spot the Yeti! Let’s all be honest though, that poor bloke or woman cavorting around in that costume just after midday is definitely not being paid enough. We salute you Yeti-thing.

The adventure playground was in another league in comparison to the local swings and to see Delilah’s little face light up in excitement was unreal. Even I got a little bit excited seeing some of it, and I’m not ashamed to admit how many kids I ran past aiming for the HUGE slide myself. We felt safe for Delilah to run free in the play area and just go crazy! There was also plenty of benches for you to have a pit stop and scroll through Instagram and pretend that you aren’t completely counting down the very last minutes until bed time so you can catch up on Hollyoaks. JUDGE ME SEE IF I GIVE A FFFFF.

We took a stop around the Himalayan hedge maze (mainly for me and my obsession of mazes). I was hoping to “accidentally” lose the kids in the maze just for like, a minute, to get a break. No chance. Delilah was this crazy ninja blur, only occasionally stopping to scream “MUM” in my face before tearing off down some other twists and turns. One can dream. (disclaimer I love my children, i’m just honest).

Entry was really affordable at £8.25 for an adult ticket and under fours free (loud applause) it was a bargain! They also offer season tickets which I recommend if you loved it as much as we did. Dogs are welcome also and I recommend wearing sensible shoes but if you forget they have a delightful selection of wellies that other people have worn you can borrow for free. I’m now lost in my own mind imagining an entire family inside the ticket area going “OH NO. OUR SHOES! WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THEM!”, laughing at each other’s socks. That’s when the wellies are produced and we all get the same sinking feeling whenever we visited a bowling alley as youngsters. Errrrrm….no thanks. I’ll go barefoot. Be one with nature and all that.

river1

At the moment they are running a bluebell walk which is absolutely stunning. Bluebells are really special to me because I used to go for walks with my granddad behind their house and pick bunches of them and bring them home for my Nan. Since he died I’ve always felt a special connection to them and it reminds me of a happy memory. We met up with photographer and good pal Emily Brown took who some snaps of me and the kids. It created a beautiful backdrop for the pictures which went STRAIGHT on my Instagram (thank you!). Emily took my lovely maternity shot and was and still is fabulous to work with. She is so good at getting the children to engage with her and enjoy it as well, nothings a chore for her not even a stroppy Delilah! I truly recommend her for nice natural photos especially if you are like me and dislike the whole cringe matching denim tops posed family portraits. She actually takes a decent picture of you and your little monsters looking, well, not like monsters.

By the end of shoot the kids had had enough and weren’t playing ball because lunch time was approaching. Delilah was rubbing her belly yelling “I HUNGRY MUMMA!”. She is indeed her mother’s daughter. We took a break in the Riverhall Cafe where mine and Nan’s eyes lit up once we saw the selection of home made cakes and scones. My diet briefly went out the door at this point and we snacked on cake and coffee whilst the kids munched down. Silence lasted an entire ten minutes and it was GOLDEN. But if you want to bring your own picnic spread there are tons of picnic benches and good spots to bring a blanket with you.

They also provided free water for everyone (including dogs!) and next to the cafe they had a wendy house with activities and toys for kids which was so ideal. They had a little shop as well of really cool little things where I had to physically restrain myself from grabbing armloads of cutesy shop-junk and haul it over to the till.

Overall, 10/10 day. Spot on. What matters really is my kids had fun, and I had fun. Sometimes you forget as a parent what it means to “have fun”. You have to sit back, take the piss a bit and enjoy the little things. Like stank wellies, and beautiful bluebells.

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

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Edited by Ellie Jones- contact us for any editing needs. 

This post is for Riverhall Himalayan Gardens and Emily Brown photography and the opinions in the post are all of my own.

Gingerbread men (women, children, dogs, cats etc etc)

Gingerbread men (women, children, dogs, cats etc etc)

As Christmas is fast approaching I wanted to do some baking to make my home smell all lovely and festive (disguise the smell of shitty nappies more like). With my sister, dad and two best friends being lovely red heads it inspired me to get my apron on and whip up a lovely batch of ginger bread cookies. Also Delilah loves baking with me. From mixing the ingredients together, counting the spoonfuls out (good practice for when your child decides out of nowhere to count to five and in the midst of your sleep deprivation you find yourself sobbing uncontrollably) and stamping out the shapes with cutters to decorating with hundreds of sprinkles, icing, chocolate chips and marshmellows. It occupies her and lets her get her messy outbursts out and done with in a good way!

You will need for 24 (one for every day of advent fa la la lahhhhh) biscuits:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g butter
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • Add lemon juice for a pregnancy morning sickness relief, works a charm (oh my god it was a blessing I swear) or replace the ginger with cinnamon if you aren’t a fan of ginger
  • Baking tray
  • Baking sheet
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Rolling pin
  • Cutters, I got mine from a pound shop and lets be honest it’s not exactly Nigella but it works!
  • A little helper (optional)
  • Decoration (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven 190’C/Gas mark 5
  2. Put the flour, ginger and soda into a bowl (mines a lovely mason cash, 100% recommend) and rub in the butter
  3. Add the sugar and stir in the golden syrup and egg to make a firm dough
  4. Roll out to about 5mm thick and cut out your gingerbread men or any other shape you fancy. If you fancy baking anything inappropriate bring it on!
  5. Pop in the fridge for 15 minutes to ensure they keep their shape
  6. Put a sheet of baking paper on a tray and evenly space out the biscuits, bake for until golden brown (about 10-15 minutes). Keep your eye on them whilst your little one licks the spoon because after an excited Delilah starting creating wall art work the first batch didn’t turn out so great. You can also keep left over dough in a lockerzip bag and freeze for up to a month (defrosted and follow next steps)
  1. Leave to firm up for a couple of minutes before placing on a wire rack to cook
  2. Once cool decorate with icing, sprinkles, marshmallow and any other decorations you wish!
  3. Leave washing up and mess for your partner to deal with whilst you drink the largest glass of wine you can find.
    Happy baking!

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

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Editor- Eleanor Jones. Contact us if you require edits on any writing

My very first post and intro to BLW

My very first post and intro to BLW

Eeeeeekkk!… I can’t believe this is my very first post!

Hello! Welcome to my blog. I’m Sophie and my tots keep me pretty busy.

This is Delilah she is currently 1 and half she may look adorable but she is one sassy princess who rules the roost.

delilah-christening

and this is Indiana! He is four months old and pretty chilled out as babies go. I cant wait to start feeding him some yummy goodies. For now hes on a pretty solid milk diet.

indie

This blog is mainly going to focus on baby lead weaning. ‘What is that?!’ you’re thinking. Well, it’s actually not as messy and daunting as you may think. (Although it can be messy. But in a hilarious Baby-With-Pasta-On-His-Forehead kind of way.)

So you’ve survived (winged) motherhood to 5/6 months and you’re ready to start the adventure of weaning? Where to begin? Say good-bye to sloppy purees and say hello to the new age method of weaning that creates advanced eaters and non-fussy babies! By giving your child foods they can hold in their hands, to feel the textures and taste things by getting involved in the eating process.

When you blend foods you crush down all the nutrients and create a standard texture. As a child I was incredibly fussy and was worried when it came to feeding Delilah she would refuse everything I put in front of her. My mum weaned me in the nineties where you weaned babies at a mere 3 months on baby rice, purred fruit and veg then onto jars of fishermans pie which still works really well for some mums but for me it wasn’t the answer.

So I went out on a limb (and a fruit slice) to try this alternative method and a year on we have a healthy toddler who has a wonderful appetite. Happy eaters all round!

I never thought weaning would be one of my favourite parts of parenthood but I love it, I love baking treats with and for Delilah, I love making new meals and getting my family to try new things and I love filling their bellies. I have lots of recipes and ideas and wanted to share them to help other mums, food lovers and friends. So hence the creation of this space – a place where we can all cook together!

Love Sophie, Delilah and Indiana x

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Editor- Eleanor Jones. Contact us if you require edits on any writing.