Thursday, 28 August 2014

Crafting with the DryNites team

Last week I joined the DryNites team at a Camden craft studio Tea & Crafting, a beautiful little studio set up in 2009 by Jane Gois that immediately makes you want to pull out your knitting needles and get creating.

I had been asked by the DryNites team to come and participate in some craft whilst discussing the very important issue of helping our little ones to become dry at night.  The princess's journey to becoming dry at night was simple, I put her in knickers and at just 2 years old she would get up to go to the toilet, we rarely had accidents.  Little man's journey however has been very different, although he is dry in the day we are still working on the night time, that means finding positive solutions to help him through this stage of his journey.

Tamara Melvin, former finalist in The Great British Sewing Bee, has created a series of craft projects aimed at highlighting age appropriate influences at night time and normalizing the bed wetting phase .  Joining forces with DryNites and with the support of child psychologist Emma Kenny, Tamara hopes to promote understanding of the bed wetting phase and encourage parents to talk about it and realize it is a normal part of growing up.  What most people don't realise is that 1 in 5 of all five year olds wet the bed on a regular basis, it is not something that disappears after they become preschoolers.

One Tamara made earlier

There are two fun projects which 6 other bloggers and I had a go at.  The first was a lamp that children can use to guide themselves to the toilet at night. We were asked to bring in a few of our child/ren's old toys which would be used to decorate the base making the lamp really special for them.  I loved the Scooby Doo collection that one of the other bloggers brought with them, though had they been mine as soon as I found out they were to be painted I would have put them straight back in my bag!

It's amazing how dedicated we all were to creating lovely pieces to add to our children's room.  With little man in mind I probably chose the worst colour combination possible.  Thankfully he loves the finished product.

What was also great was the open discussions we as mothers were able to have with Emma, Tamara, Jane (also mothers) and the DryNites team about potty training, bed wetting and how to get through those periods that can sometimes be a stressful time for both parents and children. 

Emma engaging us in discussion

After a lovely lunch break and more conversation we went back to work and completed our second project, a pin board for the children to input photos or notes of the special moments in their day.  Most parents brought with them colourful bits of fabric to create their pin boards, I brought one of Little Man's old cot sheets to add some sentimental value.  Should you want to try out any of the craft projects yourself you can download the instructions here.

The projects were lots of fun to make and Tamara has some great ways of involving the children.  We were sent away with some very useful information about getting through this period as well as some great DryNites products to try.  I was very much a fan of huggies pull-ups when we started potty training and am also a fan of DryNites products and use them with Little man regularly.  Little man can have the independence of putting on his DryNites pants before bed and can have a relaxed sleep and because we still co-sleep I can rest assured that I will not wake up in a wet patch wondering if I'd had a toilet dream ;) and should we forget his pants and end up with a wet bed the DryNites bed mats offer that extra protection for the mattress whilst keeping the little one comfortable.

For more information on DryNites products, to order a sample or to purchase click here.

I took part in the crafting and received a goody bag for the purposes of this post.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


This week the prompt was brief, I haven't had the time or energy to write anything recently but really wanted to join.  Whilst watching twilight with the teen, a film I absolutely love, I finally got a slice of inspiration and wrote this short poem.


In the faces of stangers I see you.
For a fleeting moment I am met once again by that gaze,
the one that would change my physical form, 
I would become liquefied in a memory.
For a time, a time measurable by mere mili-seconds.
You play in my mind.
A favourite song on a scratched cd
just before those 3 imperative words.
We missed a note, wrote in short hand,
ran out of ink in our brief romance.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

Baking has to be one of my favourite things to do where cooking is concerned but I have never managed to master a great looking Victoria Sponge cake, still haven't, but what I have managed to do is create a great tasting one.  I made this one for little mans birthday and was very proud of the taste, so here is the recipe should you choose to give it a go.

For the cake:
200g flour
200g sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp baking powder
3 drops vanilla essence

For the filling:
100g butter, softened
140g icing sugar, sifted
drop of vanilla essence
340g quality strawberry jam (I used bonne maman)

For decorating:
cooled boiled jam (apricot is best apparently but I used strawberry)
1 pack of ready to roll icing
icing sugar to stop the rolled icing sticking
icing pens

In preparation for baking I washed my hands and surfaces I purchased a couple of sandwich tins from the £1 store which I greased and lined with baking paper and set the oven to gas mark 5.

1. Place all the cake ingredients into a bowl and whisk until the mixture is smooth and soft.  I gave mine an extra mix with a wooden spoon to ensure it was the right consistency.

2. Share equal amounts of the ingredients into the sandwich tins spread evenly and place in the oven for 20 minutes until golden, turn out onto a cooling rack.


3. Mix the butter until smooth and creamy then gradually add the icing sugar and vanilla extract.

4. Place the creamed mixture on the bottom of one of the sponges and top with jam.  Place the other sponge on top.

not very attract but I'm sure you'll do better!

5. Boil and cool a small amount of jam (enough to cover your cake) and spread over the cake, this is to hold the icing.


6. Dust your surface with icing sugar to thinly roll your icing out. once rolled place over your cake smooth and trim.

7. Use the pens to decorate to your desire.

In the end I had a happy little boy, happy guests and a teenage daughter that told me it tasted better than the shop bought ones, and those of you who have teenagers know they don't give compliments easily!

Tasty Tuesdays on

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Silent Sunday

Birthday Party Play Zones (ideas on how to organise a garden party for young children)

I started a part time summer job in a sports shop which so far has been good but tiring, this does mean that I get two fewer days to do fun things with the children.  As such I've made sure that when we do have an activity day we really make the most of it.  

On Tuesday little man celebrated his 3rd brithday there was very little family there as most of his cousins are living abroad or away for the holidays so we decided on a garden party with just a few special friends.  I must say that planning a party is much easier when there are less than 10 children invited.  

Little man helping me make his cake

I grabbed some bits from the pound shop for treats and snacks as well as plates and cups, made a few sandwiches and had two cakes, (one shop brought one home made).  Mum helped out with a few of her bajan fish cakes and mixed some juice and I set up our little garden with different play zones.

These were the zones:
1. Bounce Zone with Thomas the Tank Engine bouncy castle which we got for a great price online at Debenhams.
2. Ball Pit
3. Colour Zone with paper, paints, scissors, colouring pencils/pens and crayons.
4. Build Zone with Lego on a blanket for the children to sit and build.
5. Ball zone which consisted of 3 footballs for the children to grab and go, admittedly there was not enough space for a game of football but they still managed to entertain themselves with the balls at some point.
6. Sand and Water Play Zone.

Partners in Crime

Little man was so pleased to have his friends around, especially his partner in crime, who's mum Connie and I have been friends since childhood.  When the two of them get together, which really isn't often enough, they have such a giggle, much like Connie and I.

Me, princess and my mum all ended the day felling like the party was exactly what we wanted it to be, little man had fun with his friends, the adults relaxed and had a good chat and everyone at some point managed to smile, who wouldn't smile when there is outdoor fun and cake?

His simple homemade victoria sponge cake

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 1 August 2014

So U Think I'm Crazy

I finally got the chance to see the whole of the Know Your Mind community group production 'So U Think I'm Crazy'.  I spoke to the writer and director Ekanem Hines after the performance and told her as I'd enjoyed the play so much I would write a review on my blog.  

The thing is how do you begin to review such a outstanding production and do it justice?  Not only did the play have a fabulous cast that really brought their characters to life but it also covered imperative information on the topic of mental health and the pressures mental health service providers are under because of the cuts.  It also touched on the police stop and search policy and how it can sometimes discriminate against black youth, especially black males.

Ekanem has written a brutally honest play that expresses the raw emotion that is felt by not only those who have to access the care but also those who are the care givers.  Her heartfelt production comes from a place of deep understanding having not only worked in the profession as a social worker in mental health and child protection but also through her personal experience of being a carer for someone in her life.  This really is a must see.

Ekanem held a Q&A session after the performance, one of the actors were asked how they connected to the character they were playing he responded saying, "I want to tell the story for those who are unable to tell it for themselves."  

We sometimes forget to listen for the voices that struggle to be heard and this play helps us to do this.

If you are interested in supporting the Know My Mind team with their work bringing awareness to the struggles within the mental health system you can find them via any of the options below.