Marmalade cake

We had a lazy stay at home day today. Didn’t even need to go out to the shops as I’d ordered our food shop online. The only contact with the outside world all day came in the form of our tesco delivery driver (which was no bad thing seeing as Lucy is refusing to wear trousers, nappy or knickers at the moment and was wearing her big sisters Mr Tumble t-shirt, complete with ketchup stains and my woolly winter hat). 

The girls had been in the garden, sat and read books, done drawing and played with their toys. Busy little bees! 

I’d bought the ingredients to make a marmalade sponge pudding/cake and today seemed a good a time as any to bake it. Whenever I am in the kitchen and whatever I am doing, Lucy will always appear by my side. She looks up at me and says ‘I want to come up’ meaning she wants to sit on the counter top so she can see what I am doing and get involved. And of course, as soon as ‘cake’ was mentioned, Ella appeared too and there just isn’t room for them both on the worktop these days. 

So, I managed to keep them placated while I weighed out all the ingredients, then I set down a tablecloth on the kitchen floor and laid it with the mixing bowl, wooden spoon and all the pre-weighed ingredients. Then both girls were able to join me on the floor to help make the cake. We had great fun mixing, pouring, shaking, beating the eggs and of course, scraping the bowl. 

They enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs for tea, in the garden. Followed by their delicious marmalade cake (still warm from the oven) with custard. Delicious, clean bowls all round! 

The cake recipe, for those that want it can be found here:


Half Term Fun – Stick Man

After our epic journey home from London on Friday afternoon/evening, the girls slept reasonably well. Thankfully they were up around 7am which meant I had time to bath them and make them vaguely presentable before our big day out with Granny!

My mum arrived at 9am and we set off and caught the tram from East Didsbury to Media City, Salford Quays. We were off to see a stage production of ‘The Stick Man’ at The Lowry. It was organised by Ella’s nursery so there were lots of familiar faces in the audience and good to see people as it’s been half term. I was a bit worried how Lucy would be as she’s never been to the theatre before although I was pretty sure she would enjoy herself.  And she did, both girls got stuck in clapping and enjoying the performance, especially the bits where audience participation was required.  And with the performance only being an hour, it was soon over.

We had a quick lunch in the cafe and Lucy enjoyed her first cup of tea – well it was mine until she stole it!

Lucy and a cup of tea


Since ITV and BBC re-located to Salford and Media City, the area around the Lowry has been completely transformed.  Just outside the BBC building at Media City is a lovely landscaped area of teletubby-like hills, sculptures, trees, and plants.  It’s a lovely, green and peaceful space.  Most excitingly it is now also the home of the Blue Peter garden – complete with pond, allotment and beehive.  All open to the public with benches for sitting on and plenty of space to take a picnic if you wanted to. So we had a lovely time in the sun exploring it all whilst waiting for our tram home.

Daisies in the Blue Peter Garden Blue Peter Emblem In the Blue Peter Garden Selfie in the Blue Peter Garden Ella, Lucy & Granny in the Blue Peter garden


A lovely day out and a lovely end to our busy week xx

Half Term Fun – ‘Rollerbowl’

Friday was the day we were travelling home.  My plan was to set off after lunch so both girls could nap and then with a couple of scheduled stops we should be home by 5.30-6pm. That gave us the morning to do something before we headed for home.

The weather was awful – windy, cold and very wet.  We needed an activity to fill the morning, not too far away, indoors and that we could all take part in.  I don’t know what made me think of it, but I found myself googling ‘bowling alleys’ and before too long we were heading out the door to ‘rollerbowl’ Romford!

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We had a great time, Ella loved choosing her ball and pushing it down the slide and she gave the same enthusiastic and excited cheer whether she’d knocked down one pin or all ten (she managed one strike!).  Lucy started off seemingly enjoying herself but became more and more unsure as the game went on and Ella ended up taking her last two goes.  Ian and I also enjoyed ourselves,

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I was mostly impressed by my winning score of 110 (beat Ian by miles!).  On the whole, it was a success and something we can do at home next time the weather is bad and we want to go out and do something.  After the game had finished, we returned our shoes (the design of which hasn’t changed in the last 30yrs) and headed to get some chips.  We ate the chips in the car on the way home – a real treat!

We set off for home about 1pm….and arrived back at 19.35 after only managing to drive 50 miles in the first two hours.  The girls were very good, they slept, had snacks, watched DVD’s and they were both very good when we stopped for tea.  A trip to M&S at Hilton Park and a picnic in the boot of the car which they both loved!

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We were soon home, pyjamas on, girls in bed and a well earned glass of wine for mummy.

Half Term Fun – Afternoon in the forest

Thursday we were hoping to go and see my brother, sister-in-law and our new nephew.  However, Ian and I were both up in the night being poorly so we had to change our plans.  The morning was spent very quietly at home, entertaining the girls while we both recovered.  Luckily they were quite happy to sit and watch a film or two and thankfully neither of them were ill.

By 3pm we were feeling well enough that we needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air.  We decided as the weather was lovely to have a short walk in Epping forest, only a 10 minute drive away.

We took the buggy this time, Lucy was happy to sit in it initially and once we were in the forest she toddled off happily.  Ella was again refusing to walk far so when she found a tree to climb and a log to sit on, we happily joined her and let both girls play in the leaves.  Ella did some ‘making’ (piling leaves together or using a stick to ‘mix’ them) and Lucy entertained us by being a roaring lion and tickling daddy.

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We were definitely feeling better by this point! We didn’t stay long but were glad we’d made the effort to leave the house and do something.

Half Term Fun – Science Museum

We only had two full days to spend in London.  We were hoping to visit Ian’s work and see the pad and helicopter but unfortunately the aircraft was out of service so we will be arranging another trip down soon.  Can’t wait to see the views from the heli pad and Ian wants some pictures of the girls with the helicopter, in their flight suits that granny made them for Christmas.

If we didn’t have the girls with us it might have been more difficult choosing what to do with our limited time but we knew it had to be somewhere easy to get to, fun and engaging for them.  After a quick look online, the Science Museum was decided upon.  Near to the tube (with only one line change for us) and plenty to see and do.

We were staying a 10 minute walk from the tube and (after a long discussion!) chose not to take the pushchair and have both girls walk as the distances we would be walking weren’t too far.  We packed the sling for when Lucy wanted to nap or got tired so one of us could carry her and both girls wore their backpack reins. Ella is more of a problem than Lucy in that some days she will walk places fine and other days she wont. She has no sense of danger, is unpredictable (she will run off or suddenly just change direction) and therefore needs an adult 1 on 1 with her at all times. She is also heavy and less easy to carry if she gets tired or refuses to walk (which happens a lot) and is now too big for the pushchair (Ella would normally quite happily use the buggyboard – a godsend – but we need new fixings to attach it to our new pushchair).

Today was a day where Ella wanted to stop or sit down. A lot.  And she wasn’t in the mood for cajoling, bribery or distraction, which sometimes work when she’s being a reluctant walker.

The walk to the tube took us nearly 20 minutes and that was with Ian carrying her some of the way.  And because Ella was being carried, Lucy wanted to be carried too.  Thankfully the tube journey was nearly an hour so we all had time to sit down and recharge our batteries!  We carried both girls when we changed lines as it was so busy as well as there being steps and escalators to negotiate (although Ella and Ian ended up at the back of a crowd of people and as it was quieter, she was able to have a go getting on and off the escalator and did very well).  At our destination, South Kensington, there was a 5-10 minute subway walk to The Science Museum. Lucy was fairly happy to walk but again, Ella kept stopping and just sitting down – not ideal when it was so busy.  I think at this point we were regretting not bringing the pushchair along! In the end, poor Ian ended up carrying her again. We were both relieved to sit down and have some lunch when we arrived at the Science Museum.

After lunch we headed for the basement, which is where I’d been directed by the lady on the desk as we’d arrived.  Lots of things to see and do for pre-schoolers.  We headed to ‘The Garden’ – an interactive exhibit full of exciting things for little people.  Water play (which is a favourite play activity of both girls), climbing, sorting, building, music, lights and problem solving.  They both had great fun in the water, built lots of towers and did lots of playing.

At the Science Museum

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After they had explored everything, we headed upstairs to the ‘Shake bar’ for ice-creams which were delicious.  Lucy was then in need of her nap by this point so we popped her in the sling and wandered back to the tube to head for home.

Lucy was soon asleep snuggled against me, Ella was also very tired but we managed to keep her awake until we’d changed lines and then she and Lucy napped all the way back to our stop.

We had a quiet evening and were planning to head back into London again the next day to possibly meet up with my Brother, Sister-in-Law and our new nephew/cousin.


Half term fun…

It’s been half term this week.  We’ve had lots of family fun and an action packed week. Ian’s shifts meant he also had a few days off, so we decided to make the most of spending time together and head down to London for a few days.

We left home around 7pm Tuesday evening after getting the girls ready for bed with the expectation they would soon fall asleep in the car.  They were rather over excited by the Mr Tumble DVD we put on for them however and neither of them dropped off before 10pm.  We arrived late but had everyone in their beds and settled by midnight.

We are lucky that there is room for us all to stay with Ian when we go to see him, although the 4hr+ journey means we haven’t travelled to him very much.  You always have to add on at least an hour to the expected journey time just for having the M25 as part of the route… It’s a lot easier and makes more sense for Ian to hop on a train and travel home to us for his days off – a journey that only takes him 2 hours.

I’ll break down our week of fun so this doesn’t turn into a mammoth post but we visited the Science Museum, Epping Forest, re-lived our youth at ‘Roller bowl’ and had a trip to the theatre back in Manchester with Granny…

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Posts on all the above activities coming very soon!

Happy Holidays everyone x

Lucy is 2!

Our littlest lady is growing up very fast.  This week she turned two and we had a lovely celebration with some of our family and friends to mark the occasion.  Thankfully the weather held up and we were able to spend time in the garden.  Children and adults had great fun on the trampoline, slide and in the sensory multi-coloured rice play!

I’d decided against any party games as the children invited are all so young – just provided lots of activities, toys, food and books for them all.

garden bunting slide and bunting garden party sensory rice play

The adults loved the rice play as much as the children and babies did!sensory multi-coloured rice play

multi-coloured rice sensory play

Lucy and blake sitting on a bench

Unfortunately the birthday girl was a little under the weather as she was recovering from a virus but she managed to stay happy and bright for the afternoon.  It was lovely to have so many friends and family there to help us celebrate – thank you to all who came along.

Lucy had requested a ‘plane cake’ for her birthday, so I had spent most of Friday evening baking, icing and decorating her cake.  I think it fulfilled her brief quite well (thank you to Pinterest for all the ideas!).  The top tier was chocolate with chocolate ganache and the bottom tier was vanilla sponge with buttercream – both delicious!…

2nd birthday plane cake

Instead of cupcakes, I also made some plane and cloud biscuits to go with the cake theme…

cloud shaped biscuits

She enjoyed having everyone around and got some lovely presents – a new doll and pram were opened at the party for her to play with…

Lucy and her doll pushing her new pushchair

She really enjoyed everyone singing ‘happy birthday’ to her!

mummy and lucy

We didn’t do a lot on her actual birthday – she opened her presents and as the weather was awful, we watched her new ‘Planes’ DVD and had a lazy day. She still wasn’t 100% so we didn’t venture out anywhere and Ian left early afternoon to go back to work.  She was much better by the evening and then slept for 14 hours!  We had some lovely birthday rainbows in the evening…


It would also seem from my ‘Timehop’ app that May 18th has been a busy day in the history of our family – 2011 we bought Ella home from Alder Hey following her heart surgery, 2012 we completed on the house and got the keys and 2013 Lucy was born. Lots to celebrate for years to come.


So, once she was better, I decided now she was 2 we could mark this milestone by taking the side off her cot.  She seemed to like the idea and with a bit of giddiness and fussing at bed time, she was soon settled in with her new duvet and cover (thank you Granny & Chris). After a bit of getting out and being put back to bed again she seemed to sleep well. We will see what bedtime tonight brings!…

Lucy in her bed sleeping toddler

Happy Birthday Lucy Lu! XxX

Easter weekend 2015

A whole bank holiday weekend of family time. For once, no work for either of us, which meant all play, all weekend!

Good Friday was spent indoors as the weather was wet and miserable.  We watched a film with the girls, made yummy chili for tea and just had a generally lazy day.

On Saturday we went to Ian’s Aunt and Uncles for the obligatory Easter Egg hunt.  Ian’s cousins were there along with granny (Ian’s mum) and great grandad too.

Ella and Lucy had great fun seeing everyone, searching for their eggs and (most importantly), eating them!IMG_2732 IMG_2739

The egg hunt was a whole family affair as both girls needed help and guidance to find them all (and to stop unwrapping and eating them as they went along!). IMG_2782 IMG_2786 IMG_2770 IMG_2766 After the hunt, we had a lovely roast dinner and ate yet more chocolate. Was lovely driving home in the early evening through the scenery of the Peaks and it still being light.

Sunday morning we spent sorting out the back garden after the freak winds earlier in the week had damaged our 100yr old garden brick wall.  A section from the top of the wall had fallen into our flowerbed below, bringing with it the trellis and ivy that was attached to it.  picture of garden wall

It turned out to be a bigger job than expected and necessitated us borrowing half the neighbourhoods green bins to clear away all the ivy, trellis and debris (thank you to numbers 48, 65, 69 & 52!).   Ian was hoping he’d be able to repair the wall himself, but decided as there’s more to do than expected and he’s not up here enough at the moment that we’ll get somebody in to do it.  Hoping to have the garden looking respectable for Lucy’s 2nd birthday party in May, which I’ve already started planning for!

Ella was hard to please on Sunday – she’s not been 100% for a couple of weeks and was really grumpy Sunday morning.  A call from my friend Nicola had us an invite to a local farm and we had a lovely lunch and afternoon there.  Arrived as the sun appeared and we sat out and ate lunch then went to feed the animals.  Both girls and Daniel had a great time, enticing all the animals with their buckets of carrots.  We saw lambs, cows, goats, horses, donkeys (my favourite – although not Ella’s after she had her half full bucket of carrots half inched by one of them!).  After seeing and feeding the animals, it was ice-creams all round and half an hour in the play area before heading home with two tired girlies.  Really looking forward to Daniel’s birthday party there in a couple of weeks time.

Monday was another lazy morning as Ian travelled back early afternoon to work the night shift.  Us girls spent the afternoon in the garden in yet more beautiful weather before tea, bath and bedtime.  Ian called us from the Royal London helipad at bedtime and we got to FaceTime a helicopter – such amazing views over the capital up there and a lovely clear evening to take them in.  Hoping he has a quiet but steady night shift and we will see him when he is home again in 10 days time.  picture of Royal London HEMS helipad IMG_4007

Living Arrows 2015 {7/52}

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday and with Ian (still) being away, we spent the weekend with my mum.  This included a trip to the farm where we saw a lamb being born, some very little piglets, had a ride on the miniature train, fed the animals and played in the playground.

And in a room full of adults and children who were older than her, Ella was the only person to allow this to happen (twice!)….


Photo Credit: Aunty Izzy

She said it was ‘tickly’!  Made my day xx

Living Arrows

Living Arrows 2015 {6/52}

I am really lucky to have both our mums to call upon to help out with weekend childcare. With Ian being away and with me working shifts including weekends, I am reliant on all the help I can get. Ian’s mum collects the girls most Friday afternoons, meaning I can work late Friday and know they are being well looked after. Last weekend the girls went to stay at granny’s house and had great fun on Saturday at the playground and eating ice cream while I was hard at work. Then on Sunday morning we had time for a little walk before heading for home and giving granny a well earned rest!