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    Two of Everything                                                                                                                                                                        

    Two of Everything: June 2012

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Our first week at Coombe Mill

If you've been reading my blog or seen our Facebook page recently, you'll know that at the moment we are on holiday at the rather fabulous Coombe Mill.  Despite a week of largely wet weather, we have been making the most of the outdoors, and everything the farm has to offer us!  This is the first holiday The Daddy and I have had in four years so it is a hugely welcome break, and it is brilliant to be able to spend lots of time together as a family, whatever the weather.

Without doubt the best bit of the holiday so far has been the morning feed run.  Each morning at 9am sharp, Farmer Nick or Farmer Ted (and sometimes Farmer Fiona!) arrive at the car park with the tractor and it's trailer to take the children round to visit the animals.  On the first day, Little Miss was a bit nervous so I carried her most of the way round, but our Little Man was straight in there:

By the second day, Little Miss was feeling much braver and insisted on walking everywhere (and whenever she wobbles over she seems to find a pile of goose poo to land in...)

The pigs are a particular favourite:

And today, for the first time, Little Miss allowed me to put her down in the goats' field:

She also tried to feed the goat, but offered the leafy branch to it's bottom.

We went up to the top field today, to look for the deer and were rewarded with this:

And this (excuse the blur, my camera's auto setting and my limited photography skills weren't up to it!):

We have discovered that our 19 month olds can walk a lot further than we ever thought possible.  Little Miss has a penchant for sticks:

And Little Man for all things tractor:

And that we like finding flowers to give to Mummy:

We really are having the most wonderful time.  Now if we could just have a bit of sunshine for next week...?

I'm linking this up with Country Kids at Coombe Mill and Multiple Mummy's Family Frolics.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Gallery - Hands

When I saw this week's 'The Gallery' theme, I knew immediately which photo to use.  This is a picture of my baby boy, 2 days old and weighing a tiny 3lb 14oz, holding hands with his Daddy.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Meal Planning Monday

My meal planning is a little different this week as I am on holiday with my little family at the lovely Coombe Mill.  So no veg box this week, just a trip to the supermarket.  And oh what a trip.  (You can read a bit more about it here ).

Having intended to do a big shop on our first morning (yesterday) at Sainsbury's, I actually ended up in Asda later in the afternoon.  I haven't been there in  looong time and couldn't find half the things I was looking for!  And I've remembered why I do my shopping online - pushing a massive trolley full around a supermarket (I had to get nappies too!) is not my idea of a good time.  Thank goodness I ended up doing it on my own because it took me ages...

So as a rough guestimation, I'm aiming for these meals this week, but it really depends what happens as the week progresses:

Salmon fillets with new potatoes, broccoli and asparagus 

Some sort of beany-tomatoey-courgettey concoction with rice

Chicken breasts (hopefully barbecued if we get enough sunshine!) with broccoli, potato wedges and corn on the cob

Quorn Sausage pasta bake

And hopefully, if The Daddy manages to pull his fishing finger out, some trout or maybe even salmon straight from the river!

So what are you eating this week?  I'm heading over to Mrs M's to have a look.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sick, sick and more sick

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from travel sickness.  My earliest memories of long trips in the car are of a yellow bucket, which went everywhere with us and with good reason; both my brother and I made regular use of it.  I remember once making it all the way home, only to decorate the garage door as I headed for the drain...  I think I was about 12 at the time.  I can manage these days without actually being sick but I do have to drive everywhere to stop myself feeling like my stomach has parted company with the rest of my body.  

A few months ago we travelled to John Lewis, about 45 minutes away from us, and just as we arrived home Little Miss was sick.  We didn't think much of it and she didn't seem too bothered, although she had been asleep minutes earlier.  A friend at my twins group assured me that children don't get travel sickness at this age, so I put it to the back of my mind.

Yesterday we were travelling to our holiday destination, Coombe Mill in Cornwall.  Two hours in, just past Bristol and thus far entertained by Spot and The Gruffalo on DVD, Little Miss decided to announce that she had, in fact, definitely inherited the car sickness gene.  Luckily we were only 5 minutes away from where we were intending to stop for lunch, but this time she was far from ok about it.  Traumatised would be a more accurate description (she has a touch of the drama queen about her on occasion).   We had to strip her off jolly quickly and of course had a suitcase full of clothes to change her in to.  Job done we went to have some lunch as she was clearly now very hungry having lost what was left of her mid-morning snack.  We managed to find some Odour Remover spray in the shop next to the cafe (someone was smiling down on us), so The Daddy set to work on her car seat while I took both children to the play area.  This was rather interesting, as Little Miss absolutely did not want to walk and Little Man absolutely did want to go on every swing and slide in sight.  So I had to sit her on my hip and give Little Man a hand into the swing, up the steps to the slide...  I also had stop him charging towards the stream several times...  By the time The Daddy returned my biceps were burning and I was ready for a lie down in a nice quiet, dark room.

The calm after the storm
When we arrived at Coombe, we decided to leave her car seat intact until today, when we could buy some biological washing powder to (hopefully) get rid of the smell.

And what a good job we did.

Today we headed off to Sainsbury's to do a Big Shop.  We had had an early start and much excitement as we went with all the other children staying here to feed the animals.  We set off in a bit of a rush and 10 minutes into a rather twisty journey...  Yep, you guessed it.  And this time it was projectile.  She was covered, and this time there was no suitcase of clothes to re-dress her from.  In fact, we had no spare clothes whatsoever - and then we discovered we didn't even have any wipes.  So we headed to Sainsbury's anyway and had to buy her an entire new outfit (which I was quite pleased about as I'd had my eye on that particular t-shirt for a while!), and even a man doing those balloon animal thingys wasn't enough to stop her screaming while we stripped her sicky things off her.  The only thing that did that was Spot, on DVD, as we headed back to Coombe, sans Big Shop.  

Well, she'd been sick on two jackets as well, she needed another one!
And Little Man?  Well, he seems to be ok.  And he has been a total angel while we've been cleaning his sister up, too!

So now we have the task of finding some way of stopping the sickness when we go anywhere.  Does anyone have any pearls of wisdom for me?  Do you have travel sick children who you've managed to cure?!
(And I know, we need to take a change of clothes EVERYWHERE!)         

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Roast Tomato Sauce

I ended up with a plethora of tomatoes this week, so decided to make some Roast Tomato Sauce to use some up.  I made this for the first time one day last year when I first started making meals for us and the children together.  I noticed that when they were first moving from mashed up foods to pieces, they found it easier to eat things if they were wet.  Things like fish were better with some sort of sauce (although now they'll quite happily eat it how it comes!), and I was on a quest to find ways of making food that was really tasty without needing any salt.  So, this sauce is great with white fish and rice, but you can put it with anything really.  This quantity makes enough for two adults and two toddlers, but it's easy enough to halve or double.

500g tomatoes (cherry ones can be left whole, large ones cut into eighths)
3 fat garlic cloves, left whole with the skins on
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180c.  Put the tomatoes, garlic and thyme in a small roasting tin.  Drizzle over the olive oil and give the tin a shake to get everything covered in the oil.  Roast in the oven for 40 minutes (don't be tempted to stir or shake it during the cooking time, as the caramelised juices can end up burning on the bottom of the tin).

Leave it to cool for a bit then remove the thyme stalks.  Squeeze the soft garlic out of its skins into a blender, along with the tomatoes and all the lovely juices.  Pour 3-4 tablespoons of boiling water into the roasting tin and give it a stir to get any sticky juices off the bottom, then pour this tomatoey water into the blender too.  Blend until smooth.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Yummy Mummy Meme

Last week I tagged Emma from The Mini Mes and Me in the 'How and when do you find the time...' meme, and now she's tagged me back with this Yummy Mummy Meme.  It was started by Busy Bee Mummy Bex, and is about the 'Yummy' side of being a Mummy.  Oh dear.

Here we go.

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Well, The Daddy goes in to the children to get them up and change their nappies at about 7.30.  I have the monitor next to my side of the bed and that's what wakes me up most mornings.  So usually the first thing I do when I wake up is try to remember what day it is, then try to work out whose nappy The Daddy is changing (he always does them in the same order!) so I know if I've got two minutes to wake up or ten!  I throw on some clothes and peel my eyes open to get my lenses in, then I'm straight on with Mummy duties, starting with making breakfast.   

Do you shower daily? Are you an early morning shower or evening bath type?
I either jump in the bath with the children at their bedtime, or get up early before they do so I can have a shower first thing.  

Do you wear make-up daily?
Erm...  That would be a no...  I put some on if I'm going somewhere there will be people I know, like twins group (!) but if I'm just going to the supermarket or the park I don't bother.  I'd rather have an extra 5 minutes in bed!  

What's in your make-up bag?
*sniggers* don't have one...

When you're having a slummy mummy day what do you normally wear?
I have a really cheap pair of jogging bottoms which are so comfy - but MASSIVE.  I've recently lost quite a bit of weight and they are falling off me!  Think I need some new ones, probably about 3 sizes smaller...  Having said that, we go out most days so this doesn't happen very often - I try to make a bit of an effort!

Nails - how often do you get them done?
Erm...never?  Maybe for weddings...  Before I had the children I taught 3 year olds so usually had my hands in sand/glue/paint and goodness knows what else, so not much point in getting my nails done! 

Your top tip for tired eyes?
Go to bed early!

Are you a Starbucks or a Costa Coffee kind of girl?

Costa - on the account that we don't have a Starbucks close by.  The Daddy is obsessed with his Costa cappuccinos and has to have one every weekend!

How many children do you have/want & why?
I have two - my twins.  The Daddy has two other children who are much older, and he will be 50 next year so he definitely doesn't want any more!

Where is your favourite place to shop for babies/children's clothes?
I love Mini Boden - lots of really interesting and unique clothes for little ones.  

My gorgeous twosome in their favourite Boden t-shirts
I also like Sainsbury's clothes - they have some lovely things at really good prices, and GAP jeans and shorts are fab.   
(See, this question I can do - the children's clothes are sooo much easier than my own!)

Flats or heels? Your everyday shoes are...?
Flats, every time.  Heels KILL me and I only ever manage about an hour with them, probably because I'm not used to them.  I can just about stretch to a wedge.  At the moment my everyday shoes are my Birkenstocks.  

I'm tagging:
Belfast Mummy

The Crumby Mummy
The Mummy Adventure
And I'm fairly convinced they're all far yummier than me!!

Please post the rules.
  • When answering the questions, give as much detail as possible. It’s all about the finer details, people!
  • Leave a comment on here (BusyBeeMummyBex BlogSpot.)
  • Tag three or more people and link to them on your blog.
  • Tweet #yummymummy when sharing on twitter

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Gardening with toddlers

I used to do lots of gardening back in the day.  I had my own little house with a garden which I spent ages developing, and it was just getting established when I met and then moved in with The Daddy.  He had a much bigger house, but the garden (both front and back) had been 'bachelorised' to within an inch of it's life, with black membrane and gravel!  We knew we were going to move though, so I left it and when we got to this house it was a blank canvas.  And then I got pregnant.  And the following summer I had two small babies who were being weaned.  And this year I have my hands rather full with two toddlers, and one of the wettest summers (so far) on record.   It's a little frustrating, but as they get older I know I'll be able to get gardening again, and get them to help.  

Last week we were given some tomato and mint plants by a friendly neighbour.  "They'll need to go in bigger pots," she told me.  Ok.  Well I don't have any pots, so on Saturday we went to the local garden centre and bought a tomato grow bag and one pot for the mint.  It rained all day, and again on Sunday, so when the sun came out on Monday we finally got into the garden for the first time in ages.  It was gloriously hot and I even had to take the children's vests off (well, you never know how warm it's going to be at the moment!!)  I had hoped to do this when I had an extra pair of hands, but it wasn't meant to be.  The tomatoes needed to go out and so did the children!

I've done things like this with 3- and 4-year-olds a million times, but never with 19-month-old toddlers; it really is a whole different ball game.  Trying to make sure they didn't eat the soil was interesting, and Little Miss has decided that plants exist for her to pull the leaves off...   

She already has a leaf in her hand and we haven't even started yet...
I gave them the job of putting some stones in the bottom of the pot to act as drainage for the mint.  They spend ages moving these stones around the garden so this was right up their street.  Then I just had the little issue of getting them to stop so I could actually get some compost in...

They were then fascinated when I filled the watering can up to give everything a good drink!  They kept wanting to put stones in with the tomatoes though, and Little Miss tried to put the empty plant pots back under the tomatoes.  But of course, that's where they came from!  Next shopping trip I must get some children's watering cans, and I'm planning a little digging area in the garden which will be just for them.  Hopefully by the time I get round to it Little Man will be less inclined to put everything in his mouth!

Here's everything all planted up and finished.  I had to grab this shot quick as they'd had enough and wanted a snack!

Fingers crossed we'll get some tomatoes, and I put some of the mint in my Broad Bean Risotto - yum!

Have you had any experience of gardening with small toddlers?!

I'm linking this up with 'Country Kids' at Coombe Mill.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monday, 18 June 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Today the veg box arrived a little later than normal.  Luckily we had stayed in as we finally have a sunny day here, so we went out in the garden to plant some tomato plants.  It came while we were having a mid-morning snack (and that's rice cakes with peanut butter, or Little Miss will throw a paddy) so once we had finished we set to exploring.  

Here are some things we have discovered this week while exploring the veg box:

  • Little Miss can say 'mushroom' (not bad for 19 months)
  • Little Man isn't as keen on raw broad beans as he is on cooked ones (although they were both fascinated to see what was hiding inside the pods)
  • Mummy now has more tomatoes than she knows what to do with (Abel and Cole put a free extra box in!) and is going to have a mammoth roast tomato sauce cooking session (I might put the recipe on here if I remember to take pictures!)

Here's what we're having this week:

Homemade fishfingers, potato wedges, broccoli and sweetcorn - these fish fingers always go down a storm - they're so much nicer than bought ones and they really don't take very long to make at all.

Broad Bean risotto - I'm not sure about the wisdom of making risotto in the week with toddlers round my ankles, it's not like it's something I can prepare in advance!  We'll see - I haven't actually made a risotto since I was about 20 and it was a complete disaster so who knows what might happen (although I'd like to think I know a little more about cooking by now...)

Salmon with pesto, new potatoes, asparagus and broad beans - yum.  I'm making pesto from scratch - Little Man loves it, and thinks it's great fun watching me make it in the food processor!

Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Curry with rice - what's a week without curry?  An empty one, in my book...

Beefburgers and salad - this is a recipe from Lisa Faulkner's 'Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter' - it's such a lovely book and she signed my copy at The Good Food Show last Friday!  (Actually, it was my second copy - I didn't realise she'd be there so I had to buy another one!!  Oops!!)  I may add some roast tomato sauce to this - better than ketchup anyway!

We are off on our holidays at the end of this week, so no veg box antics for a couple of Mondays.  I'll still be planning my meals as we're going self-catering and I might do a post as we will have wifi.  That's if I can do it without The Daddy realising I am spending precious holiday time blogging...

I'm heading over to Mrs M's to see what everyone else is eating this week.


A rare day off - The BBC Good Food Show

It isn't very often I have a day off from caring for my little ones.  I breathe a huge sigh of relief when Friday night arrives and I can hand over some of the responsibility to The Daddy for the next two days.  Every once in a while I manage to get a day to myself (well, at least until the children's tea time anyway), usually at the weekend, but last week The Daddy took Friday off work so I could go to The BBC Good Food Show with my lovely Aunty.

We had a really fabulous day.  There were lots of stalls with different food and drink to try and buy (although as I'm doing Weight Watchers I had to behave myself a little bit!), and I managed to get fixed up with a stash of tasty goodies for The Daddy's Fathers' Day present.  We had tickets to see The Hairy Bikers on the main stage and they were really good; highly entertaining, and it was quite bizarre being able to smell what they were cooking (including when they burnt the bacon) - you don't get that on the TV! 

A few weeks ago I bought Lisa Faulkner's book, 'Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter', so imagine my surprise when I discovered she was going to be doing a book signing that afternoon!  Then imagine the pain in my ankles when I realised I didn't have said book with me and I had to kick myself quite hard (wearing Birkenstocks.  Ouch.)  I went to buy the book again and was overtaken by my Aunty, who offered to buy it for me and she would have my other copy.  I went along to the signing and Lisa was totally lovely, and really quite energetic considering she had been on the Masterchef stage most of the morning and was due to be there most of the afternoon too!

Felt a bit daft confessing that I'd bought her book twice.  Oops.  Can tell I don't meet celebrities very often...  Anyway, I'm going to be making her beefburgers next week so they'd better be good!   Here she is on the Masterchef stage with Shelina Permaloo, who won Masterchef this year:

Apologies for the blur - I was standing at the back!
Shelina made the most amazing-looking and -smelling fish curry, but I was too busy listening to them chatting away to take enough notice of what she was putting in it to actually replicate it!  Fingers crossed for a book soon...

We were shattered by the end of the day, having been on our feet almost the whole time, and this wasn't really helped when I got on to the M6 proper, rather than the M42 so I could get on the toll.  Birmingham at rush hour is noooo fun.  By the time I had dropped my Aunty off and got home, the children were tucking into their bolognaise and pasta (Thursday's leftovers, and you wouldn't believe how much they ate...), so all that was left was to give them a bath and put them to bed.  I had to squeeze in lots of extra cuddles because I'd missed out on them all day!

I'm linking this up with Emma's brand spanking new linky 'Monday Me' at The Mini Mes and Me.


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Silent Sunday / 366

Love All BlogsTheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Thursday, 14 June 2012

How and when do you find the time to...

I've been tagged in this meme by the lovely Belfast Mummy.  It was started by Sex, Drugs, Rocker and... Stroller and now it's my turn!

Here are the rules:
Please post the rules.
When answering the questions, please give as much detail as possible!
Leave a comment on Sex, Drugs, Rocker and...Stroller
Tag 3 or more people and link to them on your blog.

Tweet tweet tweet #howdoyoufindthetimetomeme

Here are the questions...

How and when do you find the time to... your laundry?
This is a bit all over the place to be honest!  If the children's clothes don't look dirty I don't wash them, or I'd spend my entire life washing!  I usually end up putting a load on in the evening after they've gone to bed, forget about it until I'm ready to go to bed, then end up having to deal with it when I should be going to said bed.  Oops.  I usually do a load on a Saturday morning which will involve the children's sleeping bags and their sleep time cuddly toys - need a quick turnaround on that one...  We used cloth nappies until they were 16 months old and I really don't miss the washing involved with that!   

....write a blog post?
Either at lunchtime when they're having a nap or in the evening after they've gone to bed.  And I've had a lot of very late nights since I started blogging, especially sorting out the technical stuff...  Yowsers I am so not a techie...

....look after yourself...i.e. wash your hair, paint your nails, take a bubble bath etc?
Bubble bath?  What's one of those?????!!!!!  I tend to either jump in the bath with the children (they think me washing my hair is hilarious, and the shower head is the best toy ever invented) or I get up early for a shower before they wake (luckily they don't wake until about 7.15).  I don't always manage to dry my hair though - sometimes I have to let it dry on its own then I look like a scarecrow for a couple of days...  I occasionally paint my toenails but have to do it so quickly it looks a bit rubbish, and Little Man was so confused by them the other day he tried to pull them off...   

....spend time with your other half?
My dad comes to babysit every so often at the weekends so we can go out for dinner which is really precious time!  In the week, some evenings after the children have gone to bed The Daddy goes to the gym or, now the nights are lighter, fishing.  But we do have the evenings to ourselves.  We have had a bath/bed routine since the children were 6 weeks old - we've always put them to bed by about 7.15 and once they're in bed that's where they stay.  It meant we got our evenings back fairly quickly, which we desperately needed in the early days! fun stuff with your LO?
All the time!!  They are the main priority during the day, even if it means I don't get other things done.  We go out most mornings - twins group once a week, a trip to the supermarket, the park or our local play cafe and I'm going to start taking them to the library (they're obsessed with books!)  When they were younger and having milk feeds it was more tricky - I couldn't really feed them on my own if I took them out so I tended to pop out to somewhere close by so I could be back in time for their next feed, or sometimes I might go further afield if I had a helper with me!  The first year with twins is really tough, it's definitely more flexible now.  

....spend time with family?
My dad lives just round the corner so we see him a couple of times a week (he was my lifesaver in the first couple of months, he came round every day to help with feeds), and my aunty comes over most Friday afternoons.  I have a brother who lives 2 1/2 hours drive away, with his wife and 4 month old baby, so we don't get to spend time with them as much as I'd like.  When they come to visit we make the most of it, and my two love their baby cousin to bits!!

....socialise with friends?
Most of my friends live a long way away so I don't get to see them all that much.  My bestest friend, and the children's Godmummy, comes to stay whenever she can.  I've started to build a new network of friends since becoming a SAHM and we all have twins.  We go out for a meal occasionally and leave the boys in charge of the children!  

....prepare an evening meal juggling a baby/toddler bedtime routine?
When the children were babies I would get our meal ready after they'd gone to bed.  It did mean we ate fairly late but it was the only way round it.  By the time they were about 9 months old and were eating meals themselves, I was getting fed up of preparing food for them then having to start all over again after they'd gone to bed.  So The Daddy decided he would try to get home from work by 5.30 so we could all eat together, and that's what we do now (luckily he works 15 minutes away).  I get ready what I can while the children have their lunchtime nap.  

....deep clean your house?
Deep WHAT????!!!!!!!!!!!!  I do a quick flick round with a duster and the hoover when I can (Little Man LOVES the hoover, he even has an exact replica of my Dyson...)  The bathrooms and kitchen are a weekend job when The Daddy is home with his extra pair of hands. the food shopping?
I mostly shop online.  I have a veg box from Abel and Cole and use Ocado for everything else, then we pop to the supermarket in the week to pick up any bits and bobs (like milk, which we get through litres of!)    

....bulk ironing?
Ooh no, no, no!  Put it in the tumble drier and shake it, baby!  The Daddy irons his own work shirts (although I have a theory that he sneaks them out of the house to be washed and ironed by his mum...) 

I am tagging
Multiple Mummy
The Mini Mes and Me
Fiona at Coombe Mill

Pan-fried Hake with Chorizo and Bean Stew

This appeared in my 'Meal Planning Monday' post this week and it turned out really well, so I thought I'd put it on here.  It's based on a meal I had in a restaurant a few weeks ago; they used butter beans in their version, whereas I have used haricot beans (Baked Beans beans...).  The hake goes really well with it, it's quite a meaty fish with enough flavour to stand up to the smoky chorizo.  This serves two adults and two toddlers.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
60g chorizo (you can always add more if you're not watching salt levels)
couple of sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 jar passata
1 tin haricot beans, rinsed and drained
3 fat hake fillets, about 150g each

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and saute until it is translucent.  Add the garlic, chorizo, thyme and paprika and continue to saute until the chorizo begins to release its oil.

Add the tomatoes and passata with a good grinding of black pepper.  Bring to the boil, pop the lid on and then turn the heat down as low as you can (I used a diffuser mat).  Leave to simmer, really gently, for a couple of hours.

After this time, add the beans then continue to cook for a further 45 minutes.

When it's nearly time to eat, heat a frying pan until it's really quite hot (I didn't get my pan hot enough so no crispy skin this time!)  Fry the hake, skin side down first, for about 5 minutes each side (although this depends how thick your fish is).

We had this with homemade pitta breads, and I had planned to add a handful of chopped up spinach to the sauce at the end, but I forgot...

They really do eat what we eat!  They loved the hake.  

Bread  + beans = dipping...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Supermarket Trolley Debacle...

Today I have visited my local Sainsbury's with my twins.  I like Sainsbury's, they have lovely bread, a helpful fishmonger and fantastic children's clothes which are a complete bargain.  It was raining, and as I ran to fetch a trolley in which to deposit them straight from the car, I hoped and prayed to find one which we would be able to use.  I had to go four deep to find one which had both straps for both seats, the others had at least one of their straps missing.

So I went to complain.  Again.  For the EIGHTH time.  Yes, on no fewer than 7 previous occasions I have trekked to customer services to point out that they have unsafe trolleys - on one of these occasions I even spoke to a manager who later phoned me and assured me that new straps had been ordered.  "Would you like to speak to the manager?" enquired the 'helpful' young man behind the counter today (it is he who I have reported it to on several of these occasions).  Well, no.  I don't want to stand here waiting for him to make his way down from his little office to tell me how very sorry he is and that something will be done about it.  I have a finite quantity of time in which to shop, get home and make lunch, and put both my children to bed for a nap before I am treated to a double meltdown.  Unless you want to come with me and deal with said meltdown?  I took a deep breath, smiled and declined his offer, pointed out I was in a hurry, and said I would just like for it to be sorted out.

Yesterday at our twins group we mums were actually having a conversation about how difficult it can be going shopping with twins, and none of the supermarkets came out favourably.  There are rarely enough twin trolleys available, some mums spoke of having to trek round the various trolley bays dotted around the carpark to find one, and then when they are available they are often not in correct working order or are filthy dirty.  I once tried to put my two in one of the baby seat trolleys at Waitrose - I used nearly half a pack of wipes cleaning the things up before I would even consider putting the children in.  I went to tell them about it and, to their credit, the next time I went to use them they were all clean.

And then there are the shops you have to negotiate with the double pushchair.  Mothercare was mentioned, as was Next - I absolutely cannot get round Next children's department with my pushchair, and mine is an inline, tandem one, not a side-by-side.  I don't bother going anymore unless I'm on my own - it's like some sort of warped Crystal Maze challenge.

I wonder if these shops could remember that we are there to give them our money?  Surely it would make sense to make that as easy as possible for us?


Monday, 11 June 2012

Meal Planning Monday

This morning I decided to get a bit more organised with the veg box exploration, so I got some plastic bags ready and asked the children to help me put the loose veg, like the carrots, into the bags.  It was a bit of a hit!  It definitely curbed the dropping and they were very good at it.  I'm going to do it like this again and hopefully they'll get into it.  Now if I can just get Little Man to stop sampling the wares...

Here's what we're having with the contents of the veg box this week:

Roast chicken with baked potatoes, carrots and peas - this was last night's dinner, and there was no veg left from last week's veg box!

Broad bean and chicken pilaf - a Good Food recipe which I found while searching for broad bean inspiration.  I was going to peel the beans (Little Miss still has no molars and struggles with things like skins on veg and fruit) but I've just podded them ready for later and they're so lovely and green I'm not going to bother.

Pan-fried hake with chorizo and haricot bean stew and spinach - this is loosely based on a meal I had in a restaurant a few weeks ago - it was delicious so I'm going to give it a whirl, with obviously only a small amount of chorizo because of the salt... (update: I've posted the recipe now, here)

Cheesy broccoli quiches with potato wedges and salad - I first made these for the children at Christmas and they really enjoyed them so I'm going to make another batch.  It involves making cheese pastry from scratch and I'm rather wondering about the wisdom of choosing to do this mid-week...  I rarely do things by halves... (update: pics on facebook - they worked really well, but I didn't sit down all day!)

Spaghetti bolognaise - no explanation needed except I try to cook this for a good three hours, makes it much tastier than a quick 20 minutes.  I'm doing a big batch so I've got some left to freeze too.

This weekend we had Turkey and Apricot Burgers, my entry for the Britmums 'Lean on Turkey' competition.  I can really recommend them; they were delicious, even though I do say so myself!

I'm heading over to Mrs M's to see what everyone else is eating this week.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Trip to the Farm... And a Muddy Puddle...

Today, finally, the rain lifted and we were able to get out of the house once more.  We decided to go to the local farm to see the animals and have a ride on the swings.  The first thing Little Man says when we mention the farm is "wee, wee!" (swings), followed closely by "trrrrrrrrrack!" (tractor).  We've been visiting this farm quite a bit recently, introducing the children to some real animals (beyond our cat), like the ones we might see when we go on our holiday to Coombe Mill in a couple of weeks (the first time we went, one of the sheep bleated right next to Little Miss; it made her jump a mile and she cried for ages.  She's a bit more used to them now!).

The Daddy packed the bag up while I got ready (a shower in peace - bliss!)  They were both very excited and we decided to take their LittleLife backpacks and let them walk round instead of using the pushchair.  

Not long ago I read a post by Multiple Mummy called 'Walking with toddling twins. What was I thinking?".  Indeed.  My heart went out to her as I read about her journey to and from school to collect her older son, with 'props' (dolls' pushchairs, in this case) - things like this really are twice as hard with twins, and on your own, too?!

Well today I was with The Daddy so I thought it would be fine.  Silly me.  For most of the first half hour Little Miss refused to walk and I had to carry her round, and Little Man wasn't much better either.  They're really getting a bit heavy now to carry for any length of time, and because we didn't have the pushchair, there was nowhere to dump the bag either!!
But they enjoyed a ride on the tractor:

seeing the rapidly growing piglets with their mummy in the barn:

 watching the calves in the field:

and having a chat with the Shetland ponies:

It started to get very warm so we had to take their jackets off, and then Little Miss decided she didn't want her backpack on any more so it had to be carried.  Along with her.

We headed to the tractor yard but before I knew it, moments after I took this photo, Little Man found and fell into the only muddy puddle in the yard.

He just walked, lemming style, straight off the little mesh platform and into a good three inches of mud and water.  Great.  You can always rely on a boy to find the mud...  He stood there rubbing his hands in the mud while The Daddy tried to whip wipes out of the bag (I was covered too by now), so I grabbed him and headed for the sinks.  Cue much excitement and flinging muddy water around.  Oh how I longed for the pushchair and small, non-mobile children...

His jeans were thoroughly smeared but of course there were no clean clothes in the bag (as I mentioned above, The Daddy packed it but did I check to see if we had clean clothes in there before we left? Er, well, no...)   He was quickly popped into a swing to distract him from rubbing his (now clean) hands in The Mud:

(I would just like to point out that I am not an anti-mud mummy - far from it, we just weren't really equipped to deal with it and he still likes to put everything in his mouth including, if necessary, muddy fingers...)

Here's Little Miss having a giggle on the swing with her daddy:

Next, we ordered some lovely buttery crumpets from the tea shop and ate them in the sunshine:

And then the children had a wander round the picnic area, checking everyone out!

Nothing is ever simple with small people, especially twin small people, but they had a lovely time and it was so good to be out in the fresh air again!  I don't think I'll be taking them on my own without the pushchair any time soon though...  Maybe when they're about 12?

I'm linking this up with Coombe Mill's Country Kids and Multiple Mummy's Family Frolics.

Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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