Fussy Eaters

If we are honest we all have those things that we said we would never do as a parent. I had a few myself and I have broken them all! One of the biggest things for me was fussy eating. I vowed that I wouldn’t have fussy eaters, that I wouldn’t bend to the will of a toddler regarding food! It’s ok, you can laugh. I find it funny too.

I was adamant with my plan first time around. Pinky was nearly 6 months old when we started weaning. Earlier that recommended I know but she was sitting up at 4 months and milk really wasn’t satisfying her anymore so I made an executive mothering decision and started weaning. Simply because she is my baby and I know best… Mostly.

We started simple with some baby porridge and Weetabix. The heath visitors hated this, they wanted her to be weaned using the Baby Led method. For those of you reading who are unfamiliar with this method the theory is that you give your baby soft finger sized food, such as a stick of steamed carrot (not boiled, that sucks all the goodness out… Heaven forbid!), and you let them gum it to death. Eventually they learn to swallow the little bits rather than spit them out. Also babies have a really strong gag reflex so they are unlikely to choke on small bits as long as they have managed it themselves and you haven’t dictated the chunk size.

This process scares the life out of me! I appreciate that to date (*touches wood and everything else superstitious) the girls have both managed this well and haven’t come to any harm however I was much happier giving them puree to start with and working up to the solid food. They soon learn to eat all foods, solid and puree and it all worked out fine. Perky was weaned using both puree and solids from day one because she had an insatiable appetite (check her baby pictures… that girls rolls had rolls!)

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Rolls on rolls! 

But back the fussiness. Both Pinky and Perky have been given a huge variety of foods from the first day I started weaning them. I haven’t worried about potential allergies because I figured the probability was pretty low and if they do have allergies I am not going to know unless they are exposed to something anyway. So I cracked on. I thought I was doing a good job. Nothing seemed to phase either child and they both eat most things. Perky is even a fan of relatively spicy food, nothing too hot but certainly full of flavour. There are some things that they genuinely dislike such as raw tomatoes, cooked peppers. I think that is fairly reasonable and to this day don’t worry about it.

Then the age of two arrived for Pinky and suddenly she wouldn’t eat anything I made her. Things she had previously eaten were refused. If it wasn’t beige and devoid of flavour she wouldn’t touch it. I started to worry, panic even, that my poor baby girl was going to starve. It’s ok… You can laugh again. I started to cook her special meals, came up with fun names for food so she would eat something of some sustenance other than plain pasta and cheese. I tried hiding vegetables, which never worked not once. I tried savoury muffins but she hated them. This went on for a long time, easily a year to eighteen months. I started weaning Perky during this process and found myself cooking three separate dinners. One for Perky at the same time as something beige for Pinky, then dinner for myself and Hubby. The girls would eat at about 5pm and we would eat once they were in bed. It was ridiculous.   Once Perky was about 16-18 months old both the girls were able to wait a little longer for their dinner so I merged theirs and ours together. I really didn’t want to have to cook two different meals and I knew that it is actually recommended to all eat the same and normalise food anyway. I would love to have done this sooner and I know people that do but I really didn’t want to eat at 5pm and equally I didn’t want two grumpy, miserable children under my feet whilst I tried to cook a dinner for 6pm that at least one of them was probably going to refuse to eat anyway.

Eating together has revolutionised our meal times and my attitude to their eating. Pinky is coming out of her fussy phase now she is nearly four. I know she isn’t really fussy as she eats everything at nursery, why do they do it to us? She eats most things with us now and she loves the social side of it, she likes telling her Daddy all about her day. The thing that has changed the most is my attitude towards it all. If she doesn’t eat it then fine. I am not making anything else just for her. If she only eats a plate of rice, then fine. She isn’t going to go hungry and she doesn’t look like she is lacking in vitamins, as she will likely have got them through other meals that day. Some days this is really hard to do, I want to feed her and make sure she isn’t hungry but then I realise she simply doesn’t always need a huge toddler sized meal. I have hungrier days and then days where I eat less. She eats when she is bored sometimes like I do, that is a far worse habit than saying no to food when you simply aren’t hungry.

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I thought I was winning with Perky; she eats even more things than her sister did at her age. She is approaching two and again we have the fussy signs starting. She is starting to turn away non-beige food. She likes full flavoured foods less and less. She is having some hungry days and some days where she barely eats anything. It is about to start all over again but this time I know it is nothing I have done wrong. I have never made her an alternative meal until I find something she will eat. I have never tried to make her eat more than what she wants. I have exposed her to ridiculously huge variety of foods and flavours. But still the phase is starting. All I can hope is she will get over it quicker than her sister did as we have some really good eating habits firmly in place this time.   But if it lasts a few years then fine, I don’t feel guilty and I don’t worry she is hungry like I did with her sister. I have learnt from past mistakes and I think as a mother sometimes that is all we can do. I have definitely not caused the fussy eating this time and yet I have fussy eaters. Like I vowed I wouldn’t… So naïve!

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20 Wishes for 2017

I have recently posted about my blogging goals for 2017, but with a huge sigh of relief, as we wave goodbye to 2016, I thought it would be nice to write about my 20 wishes for 2017 as I was kindly tagged by Hayley at Devon Mama.

I love writing posts like this every now and again because it gives me a chance to get to know a little more about other bloggers and also because it gives me a change to find out more about myself. A way of really evaluating my life and what I like or dislike. I like to put a lot of thought into these things as it can be very cathartic.

My Five Family Wishes

  1. I really hope that come September of this year Pinky starts school and settles quickly. I know it is going to be a huge phase of adjustment and I am expecting it to be a difficult for her because she can shy away from new things at first.
  2. On the same note of schools I hope Pinky gets offered a place in one of our top choices. The schools are so over subscribed in our area there are no guarantees.
  3. I want to spend more quality time together at the weekends as a family of four. Often we can be really exhausted by Saturday but even if it is just a nice walk I want to make that time special. Days out and about are so much nicer than being sat at home. Not that our time at home is wasted, we bake, we do puzzles, we read. I would simply like us to get out and about more. The girls are both at such good ages to make the most of this too.
  4. I would like Hubby and I to spend more time together just the two of us. This is a hard one to do with kids but it is all about making the best of the situation you are in. I wrote about our Date Nights before and much of that is about making a particular evening (Friday for us), when the TV stays off, phones get put down, we have a meal without the girls and we chat about our weeks. We are usually asleep by 10pm as we are both so exhausted from our respective busy weeks but it is special time where we concentrate on each other. I want to do more of that, perhaps start a monthly date night where we actually go out. This is HUGELY dependant on my in-laws though so it may be unfair to suggest.
  5. I want to spend more time with Perky when Pinky is at preschool/school. Perhaps start a toddler group such as dancing or music we can do together.

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My Five Personal Wishes

  1. I want to be more confident in myself. I know most people who know me will see me as a fairly confident person but that isn’t always the case. I want to feel less anxious about how people perceive me and just be me. If people don’t like it they don’t have to stick around.
  2. I want to worry less. I take a lot of things to heart and waste my time thinking about things and people that aren’t worth thinking about. I think it is natural to worry about certain things; finances, the children’s health, my parenting ability. But these things can take up 100% of my brain capacity some days and that isn’t OK.
  3. I want some more ‘me’ time and when I get it, I want to enjoy it. I don’t want to spend the little time I get sat on the sofa wondering what to do with myself.
  4. I want to try and keep a couple plants alive this year. I could very genuinely kill a cactus and I would like to rectify this if possible!
  5. I want to perfect my ‘style’. I have quite a mismatch of clothes at the moment, which is fine, but not all of it feels very ‘me’ anymore.

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My Five Blog Wishes

  1. I want to go self-hosted. I have been putting this off as I wasn’t sure what I wanted or how to go about it properly with minimal hiccups but I think I am ready now.
  2. I want to be more focused with my writing and have a few more posts scheduled so I can organise myself.
  3. I want to start utilising social media a bit better with promoting the blog. I am already exploring scheduling tools and seeing which ones I like the most.
  4. I want to get to grips with Vlogging. Especially in regards to my baking.
  5. I want to push my boundary’s and see what happens.

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My Five Hopes and Wishes for the Year

  1. I want this year to be less of a rollercoaster. We had some huge highs last year; we stayed at Claridge’s for my birthday for example. But with those huge highs came huge lows!
  2. I hope we can stick to our goal of ‘being bold’. It is something Hubby and I both agreed we would do. Try and do more things that make us nervous and uncomfortable… Aim high.
  3. Ok this is a cheesy one and completely out of character for me…. Each year Hubby and I get closer and closer. We have our good and bad days but at the end of it all I am happier now that I have ever been and that increases all the time. I want that to continue throughout this year too.
  4. I want to help Hubby find a hobby. He has played golf and it has always helped him relax. He is working so hard now to support us as a family I am conscious that as much as I need a break he does too. I find baking very therapeutic; I want him to have a regular escape too.
  5. I want the girls to continue to be the best of friends. They are so close and love each other so much. They comfort each other when needed and they are each other’s rock. I want that to continue to grow.

 

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So those are my wishes for 2017. I hope you enjoyed reading them. I would love to know what you wish for the most this year….

Amy at The Smallest of Things

Sarah at Ups and Downs Smiles and Frowns

Maria at Happy Mummy

Rachel at Coffee Cake Kids

Jess at Tantrums to Smile

Kayleigh at Little B and Me

Bethany at Being Mummy

Samantha at Bespoke Buckley

Nicola at I am Crabstix

Ruth at Top Five Mum (I thought as the sections were split into five this would appeal to you) X

 

I Need Your VOTE (please)

Gooooood Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night everyone!!!! How are you all? Well that’s 2016 done. I’m in the ‘thank goodness for that!’ camp. How about you?

This is a very different type of post for me….. I need your vote! The Tribal Chat blogger awards are open and I would be thrilled/ecstatic/over the flippin’ moon if you would vote for me. Of course normally I would let fate take its course but in the interest of being more bold this year (one of my goals) I thought I would partake in some shameless self promotion.

There are plenty of categories and I am not completely sure which category my blog fits into; potentially there are a couple of suitable ones. I would love to win the foodie award because although I concentrate on baking mostly I have really enjoyed making some special recipes for the blog. If you are unsure what I do please check out my Christmas Brownies, Iced Gems or my Salted Caramel Fudge posts.

I would also love to win the best writer category, as that is why I started blogging in the first place, to rediscover my love of writing. It has taken me a while to gather confidence in my writing again but I feel some of my best work is always the stuff I am most nervous to push ‘publish’ for. Especially the case with Bonding with Bottle Feeding and Science: Is it right this time?

You can vote for me once in a maximum of three categories. The rules are further explained HERE, which also has the link to the voting page with a list of all the eligible bloggers. This is kindly being run by Mummy in a Tutu and Sponsored by Maryland Cookies (OMG yummy!)

You don’t have to be a blogger to vote, just willing to take a little time out of your day to make my day. Actually winning is likely going to make my year so no pressure!

Thank you in advance. My apologies for the New Year begging, normal service of cakes and parenting will soon be resumed.

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2017 Blogging Goals

With 2017 just around the corner I have been evaluating the blog and planning where I want to take it. It took me a long time to really get into writing again; it used to be a huge passion of mine when I was younger. I found myself at a cross roads in my life about 9 years ago and I had a choice to make; Medicine or Journalism. I chose to train as a nurse and whilst I don’t regret that decision it hasn’t exactly panned out how I expected. Perhaps that is why I have finally embraced the blogging journey more this year. Although I started it in 2015 I had no confidence left in my writing style or my voice. I had spend so many years writing evidenced based essays, dulling my own opinions that weren’t supported by medical evidence I found it hard to write about a simple opinion. I have many opinions and I base most of them on experience and knowledge that I have gained in my lifetime. I am happy to admit that they are just my opinions and do not make me right, but may also not make me wrong. In nursing and medical teachings you cannot have an opinion or take action without ramifications if what you do or say doesn’t have recent scientific evidence to back it up. This is what keeps patients safe but it is also what squashed my writing passion. 2016 has been about getting that passion back and rediscovering my ‘voice’.

2017 is going to be about pushing my own writing boundaries and seeing where it takes me. 2017 is about being bold and being daring.

Only this morning I read a post by Aby at You Baby Me Mummy in which she said ‘If your goals don’t make you feel uncomfortable, they aren’t big enough.’ Read her full post here.

Well my blogging goals for 2017 are making me feel uncomfortable. I am already doubting if I will be able to achieve the sort of things I want. I believe success is subjective. I already feel like my blog is successful because I have achieved what I initially wanted. I hoped to find my confidence again, in both my writing and myself. I have done that. I wanted to explore my passion for baking in a blogging form. I have done that. I wanted to find a little piece of myself that made me feel more than just a mum. I have done that. My stats and numbers may not be huge, sometimes that bothers me but ultimately I know that doesn’t matter and that isn’t why I started blogging in the first place.

With that said part of my goals are increasing my social media followers. I finally feel ready to shout my blog from the rooftops. I am proud about most of my writing and I have begun to realise that some of my best work are the posts that make me the most nervous to push the ‘publish’ button.

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First up I want to increase my Instagram following. This is my favourite platform by far; I love the variety of photos you can find. Flat lays, interiors, children; crisp white tones to slightly blurred or colourful images. My biggest sense of community comes from Instagram and I have virtually met some amazing women on there who I feel I have genuinely come to know without ever having met face to face. We exchanges messages regularly and they are always there for support if I need it. You all know who you are!

I have been reading various blogs and have found some really useful advise on hashtags which help increase followers and the whole community feel. One of the best blog posts is by Katy from Hot Pink Wellingtons about hashtags for parent bloggers read it here. Talya from Motherhood: The Real Deal also has a very helpful post on hashtags.

I have also found THIS post by Colette at Going on an Adventure blog and THIS post by Gin the Mystery blog really helpful to increase followers.

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I recently took the plunge and started a Facebook page for the blog. I have been putting it off as I really don’t understand Facebook as well as I do Instagram and Twitter. I still don’t really understand how to increase your followers but I am more comfortable with that. Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine has written a post about it that explains it is really hard but just persevere… Well I will! I’m sure in time followers will come but for now I am enjoying the support offered by lots of blogging groups and another way of connecting with new bloggers.

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Now for the big goal…. The one making me the most nervous… Vlogging! I want to give it a go but am at a total loss of where to start. I have been toying with the idea for a long time but am really struggling with the confidence to take the plunge. Helen at Just Saying Mum is a huge part of my inspiration to just get on with it. She has written a beautiful post on her vlogging decision and I can relate to so much that she says. I found a few helpful posts from some of my favourite vloggers on hints and tips of getting started. Rebecca from Mrs Meldrum has written a great post on her vlogging equipment. Although some of what she uses seems pretty advanced for a beginner I can see the use of it all in the long run. Alex from Bump to Baby has written a really helpful beginners guide, which includes things like ‘Don’t hate your voice.’ This is a huge thing for me, which may seem like a silly thing for someone who wants to start vlogging. I have found Alex’s advice incredibly helpful and I can relate to a lot that she has said about getting started with vlogging.

I am not exactly sure when I will plunge into the vlogging world but I feel it needs to be sooner rather than later or I risk never doing it.

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The final thing I am going to do in 2017 is physically put myself out there a bit more, into the blogging community. I want to attend a couple of blogger events and seminars. First up is the Lucky Things Meet Up at the end of January. Sunita from Lucky Things Blog has arranged a bloggers meet up (her second one) which aims to inspire and connect like-minded people. I am really excited to be going but also a little nervous to be meeting so many new people all at once. This is hugely out of my comfort zone as I usually stick to groups of two or three people at once. I look forward to meeting everyone going but please be patient with me if I seem a little quite; I’m not being rude, just a little shy.

Does anyone else have any plans for 2017? The year is long and I would love some more suggestions of goals and ambitions.

 

My Top Instagram Food Pictures 2016

Having seen a lot of ‘Instagram Best Nine’ posts recently I couldn’t help but join in. I did it last year too so how could I resist seeing the difference.

As I wrote in my previous post My Instagram 2016 I loved the best nine but because it was based on number of likes theses weren’t reflective of my favourite. I thought I would do my own! This is actually harder than it sounds, trying to pick my favourite nine photos from a whole year! Naturally I had to separate them into two categories ‘Family’ and ‘Food’. I have done a lot of baking and cooking this year and I am very proud of some of my creations so I really wanted to pick my Best Nine Food Photos.

Top Food Photos

I was so proud of this cake! It was a chocolate sensation and I already have something even more chocolaty planned for next easter!

Coffee, Ameretto, chocolate Ameretto biscuits. Saturday night 👊🏼 #lovelife #homebaking #instamum

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What a Saturday Night treat! These biscuits are some of our favourite and they are so quick and easy to make I can do it in under 20 minutes. (Shhh! Don’t tell Hubby he will want them all the time).

Homemade pizzas for dinner 😋😋😋

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Ok, so I know this is the only non cake picture and maybe I should have included more food, or perhaps I shouldn’t have included any? But I am hungry just looking at this pizza! Good job its on the menu this week!

Lime and chocolate macaroons for watching GBBO later 😋

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I can not watch Great British Bake Off without a sweet treat in hand! These macarons were filled with a lime curd surrounded by chocolate ganache… They were AMAZING! Even if i do say so myself.

Gin & Elderflower Macarons as suggested by (and dutifully delivered to) @klakey1 😋

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After posting about the previous macarons I had various suggestions of flavours given to me, the one i found most intriguing was the Gin & Elderflower… So what else could I do? I had to try and make them! I made a Gin Jelly for the middle and an Elderflower Buttercream. Delicious!

Aren’t I a good wifey! Aren’t I! What an amazing cake filled with smarties 😉  This was actually really good fun to make and far easier than I expected.  Chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream coated in sprinkles.

Fireworks biscuits for tonight 😋

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These were the start of my ‘festive’ baking.  I love how bright they are!

How could I go empty handed when visiting two of our favourite Uncles? Well I couldn’t! I had to gift them some chocolate macarons.  I taste tested…. They were up to standard!

Gingerbread Christmas Tree decorations! Seriously yummy! 😋😋😋

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Finally, some Christmas baking.  These were such good fun to make and design I had to include them.  They didn’t make it to the tree!

I am really looking forward to lots more Instagram posts in 2017.  I will definitely be doing another Food Roundup next year although it really is hard to keep it to nine!

 

Elf on the Shelf: Week 3

Well Sparkle Heart (seriously Pinky did that have to be her name?) has been with us a little while now and it is starting to show….! The cheeky madam seems to have had a little party for one on Friday night!

Day 15:

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Day 16:

Naturally on Saturday she was a little hung over! So she decided it was best just to sit and watch the girls play rather than getting up to mischief.

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Day 17:

Back up to her old tricks again of irritating me whilst making the girls laugh… She was found sledging down my precious Christmas Tree! She knows no one is allowed to touch my tree other than me!

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Day 18:

Next up in ways I can annoy Mummy whilst making it fun for the girls… Light swinging! I mean seriously Elf!

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Day 19:

This morning Sparkle Heart delivered the girls letters from Santa.  They loved them!

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Day 20:

We found Sparkle Heart chatting to her new best friend, Mr. Snowman (imaginative I know!)

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Day 21:

Sparkle Heart bought the girls some lovely new toys to play with; a food set for their kitchen.  She also discovered that she isn’t the only elf in the house…. Shock! Horror!

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My Instagram in 2016

You may have seen recently on Instagram lots of people posting their ‘2016 Best Nine.’ It is calculated by a website using your username taking the most ‘liked’ pictures into account. Last year was the first year I did the ‘Best Nine’. I instantly loved the idea I knew I would be doing it again next year.

So first up: Here are my 2015 Best Nine.

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I still love all of these photos.  But I knew I wanted to post more in 2016.  I wanted to average one a post a day, which as you can see I achieved.

Here are my 2016 Best Nine.

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I like all of these photos, of course I do but they are all from the last month roughly. Since this website takes into account your most ‘liked’ pictures I can at least see that my account has obviously continued to grow month on month. This is positive for me to see but I don’t think these are my 2016 Best Nine so I thought I would pick Nine of my own that are my ‘Best’ regardless of likes and comments. Then I realised that I couldn’t stick to just nine because some of my baking pictured are my favourite so I am splitting this into two categories: Family and Food. I will do the Family pictures in this post and the Food pictures will follow later in the week.

Family Best Nine

This is one of the least ‘flattering’ photos I have of Perky but her whole face exudes happiness.  I absolutely love it!

This was taken at RHS Wisley which is one of ur favourite places to go.  Pinky thought this little gazebo looked like a witches house so she had to go in and have a look.

How could I not include with one… Her expression makes me laugh every time! As does the caption.  She used to ask some crazy stuff!

I love this of Perky and Daddy.  They had just gone down a huge slide together, her big sister was too much of a wimp to have a go but Perky kept asking for more!

Too cool for school 😎 #mysundayphoto

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The caption says it all… Look at that attitude.

This was taken on our summer holiday in Menorca.  This had to make my top 9 as it includes all of us, we all look happy (because we were) and we are all looking at the camera.  All parents can relate to how hard it is to get this shot!

This really does just sum them both up!

Exploring #wisleygardens today and I lost my camera to this budding photographer 💕

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This had to be included.  Pinky really began to find a passion in photography this summer, I basically lost my camera.  Her favourite things to capture were flowers and as you can see here things like height difference were not going to get in her way.

This is a recent post but I love it.  Over the past (nearly) two years these two have become closer by the day.  Yes, they bicker and fight, what can feel like all of the time, but they are also each others comfort.  They turn to each other for reassurance.  They give each other their biggest smiles and no matter what has happened that day they always give each other a good night kiss and cuddle.  So when I managed to capture them walking hand in hand chatting away, how could I not share it?

I have really enjoyed writing this and going through my Instagram to choose my favourite photos.  It was unbelievably hard to pick just nine.  I am definitely going to do this again next year (but I may have to pick a few more than nine).

Dear Perky

Dear Perks,

You little monkey! I could just eat you, you are so cute! Your personality is growing by the day. You are funny, you are strong willed, you are grumpy but you are kind. You wind up your sister constantly and I know you do it on purpose. I’ve seen that look in your eyes!

You give the best cuddles and are so affectionate. I love that you will sit and snuggle for ages and just not move. You suck your thumb (sorry about that, that’s my fault) but you are relying on it less these days. Please don’t loose your sense of humour, I love that you make us all laugh daily. You have biggest, most infectious smile.

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You are a little singer. At every opportunity you sing, you even ask for more drink whilst singing! (You aren’t even 2 yet!).

You eat absolutely everything as long as it has lots of flavour, curry is your favourite meal. But you are starting to get a little fussy. I hope you snap out of it.

I know you miss your sister when she goes off to pre-school but I think we have fun. Soon she will go off to school and we will have even more time together. We are both going to miss her but I hope we can make the most of it. She had all that time just her and me but I think you get the better deal. You have always had to share me but when she goes off you will be 2 ½, you will be able to appreciate what we do, when we go for coffee you will be able to have cake and not just sleep in the pushchair. When I try and think of fun things to do just the two of us you will be able to give me ideas. I always felt guilty that you never had me to yourself but now I don’t. You definitely have the best of me. You have an experienced me, a less tired me (as long as you sleep at night), you have a more relaxed me.

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There are things I would change if I could but what is the point on dwelling on things outside of our control. I’m sorry if we go to the park too much but it is close, free and you seem to enjoy it. I’m sorry if I get cross when you and your sister fight, it simply drives me crazy. I’m sorry you don’t have any of your own friends but rather the siblings of your sister’s friends. I’m sorry you don’t go to nursery, I know you would really enjoy it. I’m sorry we do everything your sister wants to do, you will get a choice soon.

I know these are little things and you will never remember them anyway. I hope one day I can forget too.

I love you with every fibre of my being. Please don’t ever stop giving me those cuddles.

Mummy X

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This post originally appeared on Meet Other Mums where I am a regular blogger.