Archive for My Little People

Bake-free Tuesday

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , on 06/09/2011 by Jen Healey

Today I have not baked anything yet!  I might have to use up the couple of dough-logs that I have left over in the fridge to abate my withdrawal symptoms to bake some biscuits.  Flippin’ Great British Bake Off, I’m sure my cakey-bakey obsession is being fuelled by my watching it, twice a week.

I did make some biscuits both yesterday and the day before however.

Sunday it was the quadruple chocolate beauties and yesterday it was the plain biscuits, which turned out more crumbly with softer butter and a dough that was worked a bit more –

Okay so they are not all uniform in size or colour, but they are yummy and I can’t believe that it has taken me until I am 30 years old to discover the wonder that is baking!  I used to love spending time at my grandma’s house ‘helping’ her to bake her cheese biscuits, mince pies and tea cake.  I always think of her when I bake, which has become everyday at the moment.  It is a lovely way to spend any bit of kitchen-time I can snatch that isn’t doing the everyday little tasks; loading the washing machine, dishwasher, tumble dryer, cooking meals etc.

Baking is more than therapeutic, it is my new addiction.

Although, I don’t really mind that much about not managing to bake today, as it has been a bit of a tiring day.  It was Bethany’s first day at a new school and I was so anxious for her to have a good day along with feeling very excited for her, as it appears to be a lovely little school.  I was so pleased that I almost clapped as I watched her file out with a proper bounce in her step and she was beaming – wonderful stuff.

Also, as my little boy is one on Thursday, I took a quick trip to Leamington with him this morning and spent a good chunk of cash in the Early Learning Centre and Clintons.

Which doesn’t sound like that much really, but I have been up and on the go since 5:45am.  So I’m off to bed early-ish, as I’m more busy tomorrow.



Cookies or biscuits?

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , , on 02/09/2011 by Jen Healey

It seems, after a quick search, that the only difference between cookies and biscuits is the Atlantic, the Americans calling biscuits over there – cookies and soft leavened bread a biscuit.  Whereas, here in the UK, the word cookie and biscuit seem to be interchangeable.  However, my baking efforts yesterday (1st September), identified as cookies in the recipe book (Bake – Rachel Allen, again), definitely seemed more like biscuits in my opinion.  They tasted very differently to the chocolate chip cookie flop I made on 30/08/11, which were chewier and not as crumbly as these ‘cookies’, which I felt sat squarely under the title of ‘biscuits’.

As you can see, some were more golden than others, as I was running late for a dentist appointment and the batch on the lower shelf could have done with a bit longer baking.  But they tasted pretty good, which is what counts.

Later, when I’d been to the dentist and run a few errands, I got a bit creative with some white chocolate –

I certainly don’t expect Michel Roux Jr to call offering me a job (scary), but I thought they looked pretty good, it was fun too.

Of course Bethany had a go with decorating whilst the chocolate was still warm –

Hubby is enjoying being a chief taste-tester for my obsession with baking.  Today I’ll be attempting a chocolate cake – eek, fingers crossed we don’t have another foodie flop!

Lastly, something I can’t help but mention (in a dorkily-funny way) is that when I’m uploading these pictures of biscuits, the computer says ‘crunching’.  Tee hee.



Proper Buttercream

Posted in Fledgling Foodie File, Food, Homemade, Journal with tags , , , on 02/09/2011 by Jen Healey

My second batch of fairy cakes (baked on Wednesday 31st August), made using Rachel Allen’s Bake recipe book, had a buttercream filling/topping made by heating milk, sugar and egg yolks carefully and adding this custard to softened butter and vanilla flavouring.

This is the plate of cakes that I assembled –

This is the plate of cakes that Beth assembled –

I think she did really well.

Here’s the one that ended up on the kitchen floor –

…proving that you shouldn’t run with cakes (I’ll know better next time – kidding!).

And this is the one that never got a topping –

Well, I had a hot drink and they hadn’t cooled yet!  I’m only human!

Here we are again

Posted in Astronomy, Food, Journal, TV with tags , on 24/08/2011 by Jen Healey

It’s 6:15am and I’ve been up for nearly an hour already.  This is not an isolated incident either, it has been this way since I have stopped feeding my little boy in the mornings.  Yes, I’m weaning him off breast milk finally, he has had a couple of weeks longer than Beth did after all.  It appears that when the sun gets up, so does my son (yawn).  Previously, I’d stumble through to his room and take him back to bed with me, where I would feed him and read until my body and brain decided that we were ready to get up.  But, obviously he is not going to tolerate me trying to wake up this way without a feed.  Therefore, so that he doesn’t wake the rest of the house and I don’t succumb to his demanding my milk, we are up.  This is the lot of a parent, you don’t get to sleep when you want to, you sleep when your children let you.  Sleep deprivation, as I’ve said before, is a form of torture.  Ok, it’s nothing like the early days, when they wake you every few hours, but I like to sleep in the mornings and get up gradually…  I miss it.  I’m a bit grumpy when I’ve not had much sleep, and today this is compounded by my sore throat.

I think that I’ll treat myself to a lovely sit-down when Jakey takes his nap later, rather than do my usual ‘what-can-I-do-with-this-time’ mad rush to get some job or other done.

That said/moaned about, I actually like spending these (relatively) quiet couple of hours just me and my little boy.  Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m not one of those moms who wishes away the school holidays, I love having my daughter at home everyday and I really treasure the 1:1 time I spend with her (at least once a day – bedtime story time).  However, when both my lovely children are up, I can sometimes feel that, when giving attention to one, the other one is feeling left out.  That thought makes juggling the day a bit tricky and I can’t help but think that, since Jakey arrived in our little family, Beth must be feeling a bit like she’s having to get on with doing things on her own a lot more.  But, I guess I have to learn to let go a bit more, as I can’t be there for her every second of every day for the rest of her life, however much I might want to be, for both my children.

The other benefit to getting up with Jacob, is that he doesn’t dictate the television channel that we watch, so I’m free to watch Ken Hom with his ‘singing oil’ and Ace of Cakes, or if I’m not too sleepy, the Universe.  I would be in trouble if I had to try to find something to watch early in the morning without my beloved sky box!

Well I’m off to play with Beth, as it took me until nearly 10am to get this post finished.  Another hazard of being a parent – you often don’t get to finish what you started, in one sitting at least!

So much for having a nice quiet sit-down, I’m so full of it!


Work tomorrow!

Posted in Journal with tags on 02/05/2011 by Jen Healey

My maternity leave is officially over!  I am to return to the rat race in the morning, the day-job beckons!  However, I fully intend to maintain a post a day here, as well as maintain my tweets and online bookshop too.  Not bad for a working wife and mummy.  I’m really proud that, together with my husband, I have started a business during my maternity leave and maintained daily writing practice too.  Not bad eh? 

I am not entirely heartbroken that I’m back to work tomorrow, as my little baby boy will be cared for by my hubby (AKA: Daddy), so they will get to spend time together and have fun in the day.  As I now work 9-5, when I get home I get to take over with the children in the evening and do bath and bedtime – which is much better than when my daughter was little and I worked late shifts and nights. 

I have not been to work since last summer, so I am feeling a bit rusty, but I am assured that I will not be chucked in at the deep-end and will have plenty of updates and training to attend before I am expected to take on too much of a caseload.  However, that conversation with my manager was quite a while ago and who knows what has changed since then, this is the NHS after all. 

If there’s not been too many changes in my absence, I’ll be spending the majority of the morning in a meeting, probably trying not to fall asleep – not because I’m anticipating it to be a snoozefest, but it will be in a warm room without any children to keep an eye on, ideal for a very tired mummy to grab some zzzz.  Although, realistically, I’ll probably be that friggin’ anxious that I’ll be sat rigidly, trying to soak up everything I can about the service as it is now – under new management.  I’ll be re-learning my job again, great. 

That said, I do plan to treat myself to either an iPhone or a Windows phone soon, so I can keep up with my online stuff when I get a bit of time to myself during the day.  Plus, it will be useful to use at home too, as my hubby has discovered blogs and twitter too, so hopefully less fighting over the laptop!  If any of you lovely people out there are aware of any super deals or pros & cons to help me decide which one to go for… please drop me a comment or two.  See you tomorrow evening, after work… eeeep!

Shining Star

Posted in Journal with tags on 13/04/2011 by Jen Healey

My daughter is wonderful.  She surprises me every day with her uncommonly kind and loving personality, and by sharing with me what she learns at school.  I could hug her all day everyday.  That is the main reason that I get so angry when I feel she is being mistreated, as mentioned in earlier posts, or that her general awesomeness is not being recognised.  Today, however, I feel that my perspective has been vindicated.  My little girl has been awarded Star of the Week again!  Despite poking another child in the back with a pen (and earning herself a red card for it)!  It’s only been a month since she was last given it!  Yes I’m over-using exclamation marks, but I’m so pleased and proud.  She deserves it. 


Return to the playground

Posted in Journal with tags , on 09/04/2011 by Jen Healey

It is becoming clear to me that school never ends (Bowling for Soup are right), as a parent you have to return to school and of course the fickle playground.  Some days I am quite sanguine about the cliques of pretentious parents who play the ever-popular game of one-upmanship which, for the record, fucking sucks.  NOT because any child is better than mine, they most certainly could never even come close, she’s the most loving, kind, caring and sweet little girl you could ever hope to meet.  I am fiercely proud of her, you may have guessed, as is every parent of their child.  I do not, however, behave in the vulgar way I observe on a weekly basis.  For example, you may have read in an earlier blog post, that my daughter was awarded ‘Star of the Week’ recently.  Yes I was bursting with pride, but it only spilled out at home and here.  I did not loudly projectile vomit the fact all over the parents of other children at school.  That is crass and a bit pathetic. 

Today I took my children to a party at a gymnastics club in Rugby and overheard another child saying that they have another party tomorrow, held by the parents of a little girl in my daughter’s class, whose name I hear regularly.  My little girl states that this other child (who was also at today’s party), is her best friend.  I have, therefore, recently suggested to the mother that she and her daughter come round to my home for a coffee and a play-date, or I would have the child round for tea after school one day maybe.  I was met with the comment that they are busy and that would be nice maybe in the school holidays.  She stated, “That sounds really bad doesn’t it?”.  I reassured her “Not at all, I’m about to be pretty busy too, as I’m returning to work in May”.  We left it that I would pop my contact details into the reading folder of the child, via school, so they could let me know when would be a good date.  Foolishly thinking that she actually meant it.  However, after hearing that there is a party being held by this busy family and my daughter has not been invited… you can see where I’m going with this. 

Now I feel like a sad loser who is trying to be friendly with someone who is not interested.  I’m thirteen and not being chosen for the netball team all over again.  I am feeling like that a lot at the moment and it makes me want to crawl under a stone and stay there.  Am I so fundamentally unlikable?  Dull?  Abrasive?  What is it?  Do I offend?  Or, horror of horrors, don’t they like my little girl?  If not, why not?  I guess my paranoia is showing a bit today, I’m tired too.  It’s just one of those treacle days when I feel like I’m trying too hard and it’s exhausting. 

I am now presented with a dilemma on Monday at hometime, when the hyenas begin to circle on the playground.  Do I hold my head up high and keep on being sociable with these mini-groups of people, with whom I have very little in common with?  Or do I revert to type and sit on the bench at the edge of the playground and shrug on my comfy old “fuck-you” approach to it all?  The latter is preferable to me, but it probably isn’t just about me anymore.  How would that affect my daughter being included with her little classmates? 

So I’m back at school, on top of all the grown up concerns, bills, daily chores, blah blah blah and having to go to work!  Big, sweaty, brown corduroy pants, piled up in the midday sun. 


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