This is not what i ordered

“Be-Bop-A-Lula

She's my baby”



My Blog

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  • Letters To Loved


     

    letter to loved

     

    I love to write, I love letters. I even try and set up pen pals through Instagram.

    I still have all my letters that I got from pen pals as a teen, letters discussing tears, pot noodles and dorm room frolics from my friends at university.

    Kept in a box with the scent of Snake Bite Black and first kisses. Those memories will remain for as long as I can keep them.

    Long live the pen and ink, May your words be forever posted through the slits of homes and opened by fingertips. I mean swiping beautiful words from friends/loved ones is just not the same is it.

    So when the fabulous mama and fellow letter lover Charlotte Peach created Letters To Loved my sentimental and quite retro heart jumped for joy.

    Total bonus that she is also a seriously badass illustrator too.

    I had a chat with Charlotte and she told me all about Letters To Loved and why she created it. She also kindly sent me some of her stationery and it is pretty exquisite in a totally going to use it and save it for my grandchildren kind of way.

    She also sent a picture she created of my first meeting with Phoebe (See a few images below). Did not shed a tear, nope. Not even a bit (totally blubbed)

    Part of Letters To Loved is contributions from other parents who write letters to their loved ones. I sent one too –  it felt quite emotional writing it and raw but somewhat therapeutic too.

    I mean, I share a gazillion words on social media about parenthood, writing a letter directly to the little lady in my life just felt so right.

    But first read about this wonderful lady and her brilliant idea.

    letters to loved

    Charlotte Peach – Letters To Loved

    Why I started Letters To Loved

    Letters To Loved started as a collection of letters to my daughter. When she was a baby I had all these things I wanted to say to her, things I kept making mental notes of to remember to tell her or teach her, things I wanted to make sure that she knew, and as remembering things was not one of my fortes as a sleep deprived first-time mum, I decided to write as much of it down as I could remember. I found it cathartic. It helped relieve a lot of horrible anxiety I had as a new mum, as well as being a good way to capture the intense feelings I had for her. Feelings I didnt want to forget and wanted her to know that I felt.

    It also lead me to read other people’s letters, throughout history through to modern day. I wanted to start a collection where they were all in one place and see if it inspired other people to enjoy writing letters to their children as much as it did me.

    letters to loved
    The Style

    I have a ‘thing’ for good stationery – I think it replaced my ‘thing’ with shoes! But I think some letter writing stationery, although incredibly beautiful, can make everything feel a bit formal and stuffy. So you end up with lots of stunning things to write with, great for when you want to rsvp to the queen, but until then are tucked away in a drawer somewhere. I wanted the Letters To Loved stationery to feel great in terms of quality and design, but also styled in a way that you want to pick it up and use it right away. And if you make mistakes so what? I’ve worked with Laxmi Hussain on a lot of the branding for the company and the collaborative process has been great.
    In terms of the artwork I produce, that’s another way of capturing memories and feelings in a similar way to a letter. Many of the styles are about stripping back the noise around images we have of loved ones so that all you see is the beauty in the simplicity of that moment. Simple lines with very little detail around them, helps you see the connections between for example a parent and child, the simple way someone is held and I think it helps you reconnect with how you felt in that moment.
    For example the picture of my daughter and I came from a photograph taken in the hospital shortly after she was born. The photo is quite clinical and grey, with a Sainsbury’s bag full of snacks in the background. With all that filtered out all you see is the line of my arm around my tiny little bundle that I can’t stop looking at – a moment of calm and pure love with my daughter.

    What’s coming next

    I’d love to keep Letters To Loved 2017 going throughout the year. Each month I’m collaborating with illustrators and designers to create themed, limited edition luxury letter writing sets. The designs of each theme will reflect a new motivation for sending the letter and all profits from these editions will go to a different charity http://letterstoloved.com/2017-a-year-of-letters/

    I’m also going to introduce lots of new products too, as well as more exciting collaborations with different artists and small brands

     

    My Letter To My Loved

    letters to loved

     

    To my Phoebe Cecily Violet

    A million words I could say to you.
    The beat to my heart.
    I hope you know this is all about you.
    I didn’t think we were meant to be.
    You proved me wrong.
    I didn’t think I needed you.
    You showed me I did.
    I thought I was okay before you.
    You made me realise I wasn’t.
    I was never very good at patience.
    Now I am bordering on being a saint.
    I didn’t know a child could make you feel like that.
    You make me feel everything.
    I didn’t know happiness felt like this.
    Now it is all I know.
    I thought I was always going to be alone.
    Now I will always have you.

    Thank you for picking me PC
    I am yours today, tomorrow and forever.
    Mama A x

     

    Head over to the Letters To Loved website for a peruse and also her instagram.

    So many pretty words and pictures. The stationery is pretty phenomenal too.

     

  • Letters To My Fanny – Book Review


     

    letters to my Fanny

    Book Review – Letters To My Fanny by Cherry Healey

     

    I always believed in Mallory Towers. Heck I wanted to go there so badly, I begged my mum to look up boarding schools for me.

    Obviously I assumed all played lacrosse and had girls named Mary-Lou and Gwendoline there just waiting for a midnight snack and a prank or two.

    As a young girl,  Enid Blyton captured my mind and transported me to a place I so badly wanted to be a part of.

    I think I, amongst others, read Are you there god, it’s me Margaret and immediately did the “I must, I must, I must increase my bust”. It did not work for many a year.

    A nation of girls wept with laughter, and cringed with embarrassment at Forever. Ralph staining the minds of teens for a very long long time.

    Judy Blume grasped that teenage angst concept and pelted it into reality. She shared the reality of teen problems and made us not feel alienated. And she did it so well.

    These books stayed with me, they came from school to college to university to flat, to house, through puberty, to adulthood. They reside on my shelf just waiting to be passed on to my daughter like a rite of passage.

    Here darling, let your mind be filled with words that will ease you through the waiting for your period stage. The why don’t boys like me? and the what to do next part.

    Then I became an adult and though my book obsession never eased, it was filled with Voltaire, Douglas Coupland, Hunter S Thompson and such.

    There was a void though. A hole that needed filling. Yes my knowledge was savvy. My book shelf ticked all the right hipster boxes. Hell I could recite Valley Of The Dolls to you and discuss A Confederacy Of Dunces with great emotion.

    Where was that book, that book that made going through all the creepy adulthood things seem so normal ?

    Yes I let a little wee out, when Frank Skinner wrote about his mouth toilet paper collection bit. However it was not enough, he was a man. He couldn’t understand really.

    Then Caitlin Moran opened up the floodgates. No not the sheet staining, stab me in my womb gates. She flooded pages upon pages about the trials and tribulations of being a woman. About growing up a woman. Her pages were virtually a giant pop up vagina shouting “SEE WHAT I HAVE HERE”. and it was appreciated. Truly.

    Then I did that thing, where I did a little whoopee and a baby was born. My whole life as I thought I knew it was transformed into something resembling Twin Peaks mating with the Gilmore Girls but they cried a whole lot more and instead of coffee it was always about wine. Always!

    The search was on again for some words. Words that understood. Words that were not there to vanilla up the body ruining, heart breaking my god my body has just died a death, but I love my tiny human. Real words.

    Cherry Healey – Letters To my Fanny. This was it. The book I needed.

    She understood why I prayed for pubes and then tied the two in a bow. She got why I kept sanitary pads waiting and waiting for my period then the disappointment ruining it all.

    She birthed two humans and her body was put through the rigours of pain, change, emotions, exhaustion, sadness.

    And she penned it so well. She wrote a book like she was having  the best conversation with Enid, Judy and Caitlin and it was in Mallory Towers and they just understood real life.

    The real nitty gritty life. The no filters, raw, it hurts, it is disgusting, hard, it is magical. A life that so many experience but do not dare to discuss or share or simply cannot find the words.

    So if you are a woman, you have a vagina, or you have delivered a child like Ripley releasing that Alien then I can not recommend this book enough.

    In a time where feminism is riding high but woman are still treated with such disregard in so many aspects of life, it should be treasured when a great book discovery is made and words have the potential to unite.

    I mean, we are women hear us roar. Or for those who have birthed, we are women hear us scream, howl, cry, tuck our Naff Naff style C section bumbag pouches in.

    Cherry Healey – Letters To My Fanny is available on Amazon to buy and the super mama herself is also on Instagram.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Valentine’s Day with Organix


    Valentine’s Day with Organix

    Yes, I may be currently spooning Chase from Paw Patrol but it does not mean I can’t spread the love. Especially via the stomach.

    Organix have provided me with some Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day recipes for you to do with your little ones. They are seriously cute, easy and a sure way to make your partner erm allow you to have a peaceful Lush bath.

    Or eat them all for your self. Hey am a massive believer in self love first.

    I have shared three recipes for you to peruse. Hope you enjoy them.

    Valentines day with organix

    Organix ‘Hearty’ Valentine’s Breakfast

    A tasty breakfast made with love for Valentine’s Day, why not get your little ones to help make this for a loved one.

    There are lots more tasty family recipes at www.organix.com

    Serves 2 little loved ones!

    Not suitable for freezing

    Suitable from 12mths+

    Prep time: 20-30mins

    Ingredients

    • 2 eggs

    • 2 slices of wholemeal bread

    • A little unsalted butter to serve

    • 4 baby plum tomatoes

    • A couple of pieces of strong card

    • A few elastic bands

    • 2 wooden spoons or sturdy wooden skewers

    Method

    Egg hearts:

    * Hard boil the eggs in a saucepan covered with water for 10 minutes.

    * Run each egg under a cold tap quickly so they are just cool enough to handle, then carefully crack the shell and remove.

    * Whilst the eggs are still warm and flexible, place in the middle of a folded piece of card. Use the handle of a wooden spoon or a sturdy wooden skewer to very carefully create an indent along the long side of the egg, then carefully wrap elastic bands around each end of the cardboard to hold in place on the egg. This should create a heart shaped egg. Little ones can help with this if guided. Leave for 10 minutes to take shape.

    * Use a sharp knife to cut the heart shaped egg into slices 1cm deep, from the top of the heart to the bottom.

    Toast hearts:

    * Whilst the eggs are shaping, use a small heart shaped cutter to cut out the middle of your slices of bread. You can get creative and cut several hearts if you like. Then toast and butter your bread.

    Tomato hearts:

    * Cut the top third off a plum tomato on a sharp angle, then repeat on all 4 tomatoes. Pair the larger pieces up together to form two heart shaped tomatoes.

    * Cut each piece of tomato in half sideways to give a flat side, so that 2 heart shapes can be assembled from each pair of tomato pieces (rounded side up, cut side down).

    To assemble:

    Place a heart slice of egg in the heart shaped hole in the centre of the toast.

    Decorate with the heart tomatoes, heart shaped bread cut outs and remaining egg hearts around the plate.

     

    valentines day with organix

    Organix Secret Strawberry Heart Muffins

    These wholesome muffins are filled with a hidden strawberry heart centre. “The beauty is finding a surprise strawberry heart in the centre of these lovely muffins – they are filled with love! Try serving with dollop of yoghurt.” Organix recipe team. Organix tip “These muffins are a great wholesome snack. For a sweeter treat, you could use lighter-weight white flour and replace the oats with more flour.”

    Makes 12 muffins

    Suitable for freezing

    Suitable from 10 months

    Dry ingredients • 100g oats • 300g sprouted whole grain spelt flour (or standard whole wheat or plain white flour if you prefer) • 3 tsps baking powder (or use self raising flour instead) • 50g desiccated coconut Wet ingredients • 2 large eggs • 20 small strawberries, hulled • 1 ripe banana • Juice and zest of 1 orange • 60mls melted coconut oil, melted butter or vegetable oil (whichever you prefer) • 60mls maple syrup • 1 tsp vanilla extract Secret heart centre • 12 small whole strawberries, hulled • An extra sprinkle of desiccated coconut for each muffin

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cases.

    2. Combine all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

    3. Blitz together all the wet ingredients in a blender until smooth.

    4. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredient mixture. Mix together lightly with a fork to keep in as much air as possible. Chop the additional 20 strawberries and then lightly stir through the mixture.

    5. Place a spoonful of mixture into the bottom of each case, then place one of the 12 whole strawberries, point end up, into each case, then cover with more mixture so that the strawberry is covered. Finally sprinkle with a little desiccated coconut.

    6. Bake for approx. 30 minutes until golden and the base of the muffin sounds hollow when tapped.

     

    valentines day with organix

    Organix Love Heart Biscuits

    You and your little one will certainly win some hearts with these delicious valentine biscuits.

    Organix Top tip

    Cooking with your little one is a great way to help your baby to learn to love good food. Give your little one some of the biscuit dough and let them cook to their heart’s content. They will love to squeeze it and squash it, and most of all they will love to bake biscuits with you that they can share with you! There are lots more tasty family and baby recipes on the Organix website. www.organix.com

    Makes approx. 35 biscuits depending on the size of the cutter

    Suitable for freezing

    Suitable from 10 months

    Ingredients

    • 300g ground almonds • 50g dried sour cherries • 100g coconut oil (or butter if you prefer and happy to include dairy) • 60mls maple syrup • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 180°C, 160°C fan, Gas Mark 6, then combine the ground almonds and sour cherries in a large bowl.

    2. Gently melt the coconut oil over a low heat in a pan. Remove from the heat and add the maple syrup and vanilla extract, stirring together. Then pour this liquid over the ground almonds and stir thoroughly to form a soft dough.

    3. Divide the dough into two balls. Place each ball onto a sheet of parchment paper, press down, then place a second piece of parchment over the top. Roll the dough out between the sheets of parchment to about 5mm thickness. Place onto a flat baking tray, then pop into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. (N.B. The parchment paper prevents the dough sticking to the rolling pin and makes this super easy. The freezer makes the dough firmer and easier to cut. Don’t miss these steps!)

    4. Remove from the freezer and use heart shaped cutters to cut out biscuits. Use a spatula to carefully lift the biscuits onto another lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the tray, then transfer to a cooling rack.

    5. Roll up the left over dough and repeat the process, rolling out between sheets of parchment and freezing for 10 minutes before cutting out. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

    Biscuits can be tied with ribbon or placed in a beautiful tin to give to a loved one. Or little ones can simply give them out to their ‘bestest friends’. The dough can be frozen in a ball in a freezer bag, defrosted in a couple of hours and rolled out. Or the baked biscuits can be frozen in a tub, and defrosted in less than an hour. If dairy isn’t a problem butter can be used instead. If nuts are a problem you can replace the ground almonds with plain flour or gluten free flour. As flour is drier than almonds you may need a little extra oil to bring the dough together.

     

    Hope these recipes give you some inspiration for the special person or friend in your life. I will be baking with Phoebe and eating them all up. As I mentioned before. Love thy self!

    Head over to www.organix.com for more ideas and to see what’s in store.



About Me

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A little bit of me

About this blog

Why I am doing it

I thought long and hard about starting a blog. Knowing that there are some fabulous reads out there I wondered whether I should jump aboard the written ship. Then I thought about my role or my position as a single mother and how my experience may benefit to be heard. So, I am Alex a 34 year old single mother. I did not choose this role but I am in it and winging it one typo at a time. I will share, I may even scare but I hope that my words will bring comfort, solace and maybe even some inspiration and amusement to those that read it. “If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” - Milton Berle

TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs TOTS100

Music

What I listen to

I live and breathe music as though it runs through my veins. Music has always been a passion and for three years was a job. I will often make reference to it in this blog. My tastes are eclectic and read like a David Lynch script but my mind is the same so it fits. A few of my Faves. Pearl Jam, The Sonics, Louis Prima, The Pixies, The Dwarves, The Damned, NIN, Faith No More, Connie Francis, Wanda Jackson, Counting Crows, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Nina Simone, Metallica, Foo Fighters, RHCP, Sonic Youth, Pantera, Portishead, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, The Who, Pink Floyd, Chet Baker, Howlin Wolf, Rage Against The Machine, Type O Negative, Nirvana, Mother Love Bone, Petula Clark, Silverchair, Soundgarden, The Cramps, Misfits, New York Dolls, Buddy Holly, ELO, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. To name but a few.

Movies

Some of my faves

I love movies, I immerse myself in them, escape momentarily. Asking me to choose my favourites is a little Sophie's Choice. Here are some of my loves. Amelie, Leon, The Crow, The Lost Boys, Girl Interupted, Virgin Suicides, The Craft, Empire Records, True Romance, Face Off, Heathers, Beetlejuice, Pans Labryinth, Ferris Buellers Day Off, Labryinth, The Rocky Horror Show, Legend, Wayne's World, The Big Lebowski, Withnail And I, Ghost World, Poltergeist, The Birds, The Shining, O Brother Where Art Thou, Fried Green Tomatoes At Whistle Stop Cafe, City Of God, Clueless, My Girl, All the Die Hards, Juno, Rosemarys Baby, Harold And Maude, Chocolate and Elf. Now excuse me whilst I go and weep at my forgotten loves.

Food

Glorious Food

Another passion of mine. Those who say nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, never really ate. I spent most of my youth eating to live and then my adulthood living to eat. I love to bake and am a total an utter feeder. I make things for other people, often things I do not like. Something beautifully perverse about watching people enjoy your creations. I will add some of my offerings onto this blog. Sharing is caring. Though I am not liable for any weight gain.



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