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Having a long-distance relationship can be pretty agonising. Especially in the beginning of a relationship. You know, when things are hot and heavy and you want to spend every minute in their arms? And instead you are chatting on the phone and feeling heart-broken. Thirteen years ago, after six blissful weeks together, Husband/then-Boyfriend went back to London and I stayed in San Diego.

A letter of love

We then spent 10 months apart before I was able to move to London. Oh, those 10 months. We squeezed in three visits in that time. We spoke every day on the phone. We emailed. But it was tough. But Husband did something special in the beginning of our long-distance relationship. He wrote me a love letter. And not just any love letter. The mother of all love letters. I think it was that letter that kept me steadfast. It is quite a leap of faith to move across the world for someone. To give up your life, your friends, your job.

Husband still sometimes writes me sweet, silly poems. But nothing will compare to that first letter. Nor do they have to. Our life is more than words on a paper. Though they are nice. Our life is now the realisation of that letter.

This week's theme for The Prompt is 'a letter...'; pop on over to MumturnedMom for more posts on this theme.

 

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House of Fraser press day2

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to view the Spring/Summer 2015 Press Preview at House of Fraser. I got a little sneak peek of the gorgeous fashion that will be available online and in shops in January/February 2015. I completely ignored the men's clothes and went straight to the womenswear.

Biba didn't disappoint with its usual gorgeous and bright colour scheme, plus lots of golds.  And there were some gorgeous handbags. Biba, Lulu Guinness, Ted Baker, Dickins & Jones and Label Lab. Oh, the handbags. So lovely, so free of porridge stains and those little raisins that have fallen out of their boxes.

Hello snakeskin bag next to leopard print skirt!
Hello snakeskin bag next to leopard print skirt! Come to mama.
Feathery goodness
Feathery goodness
Headphone handbag! Practical schmactical.
Headphones! Practical schmactical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favourite pieces came from Label Lab. A brand that I'm not familiar with, but whose clothing seemed made for me. Tops were slouchy, with a Scandinavian touch. Lots of greys and yellows. I like clothes that are comfortable, but I still like to look a bit edgy. I'm not ready to dress like a pensioner, despite my various aches and pains. And there was a gorgeous dark grey biker jacket. If only I had a handsome and kind husband who would surprise me with such an item. if only. Biker jackets seem to be a hot item for Spring/Summer 2015, so don't pack yours away in the back of your wardobe this winter.

Before I left, I had just enough time to coo over the sweet Liberty-print dresses and tops for little girls from Little Dickins & Jones. Can't wait for Spring!

House of Fraser SS15

 

Fashion Friday on MummysGotStyle.com

House of Fraser invited me to their SS15 Press Day. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

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IMG_6299

I have previously written about my children's struggles with eczema. After various anti-fungals, steroids and antibiotic creams, Aveeno was the only thing that cleared up my children's skin. So I was thrilled when the kind people at Aveeno sent some moisturising creams and bathwash for me the children.

We were also sent the lovely new book from Aveeno, Bye Bye Dry Skin!, which is the first in the series of The Dry-ventures of of Ellie & Eddie. This first book explores what can trigger dry skin as well as how lovely it is on your skin to have a soothing bath and then be covered in cream. Moozles was able to read it all by herself, and read it to Dubz. At six, Moozles understands the importance of creams in helping to combat her eczema. Dubz doesn't really understand, but he does love it when I rub cream on his arms and legs.

Pop on over to the Aveeno website, where you can download the book for free and help your little one feel more at ease with their itchy skin.

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This week I am linking to Tried & Tested and ToddlerApprovedTuesday.

 

We were sent some Aveeno and the 'Bye Bye Dry Skin' book for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

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Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal

Although I enjoy baking, I am not much of a cook. I can make about 10 things well, but am not one to try new things. But recently I have become a Paragon Books book buddy. Which means that Parragon send me a book every month to review. I decided to receive cookbooks as I am keen to widen my repertoire. After all, what kind of SAHM expects her husband to do most of the cooking? *looks around sheepishly, whistles, looks down in shame*

October's book is Great British Cooking. Husband was very excited to see this book. Just the kind of food he loves. I decided to make Toad in the Hole as it is one of those British dishes that British people term as 'comfort food'. I think I may have tried it once at my in-laws' house, but can't quite remember. But I know that neither of my children have ever had it. Not only did they love it, but it was so easy to make. Moozles has asked for it again for dinner tonight (I made it yesterday). But I have told them that I will make it again at the weekend if they really want it.

There are some other yummy looking British recipes in the cookbook, including Beef Stew with Herb Dumplings, Neeps & Tatties and Treacle Tart. I will be making those very soon. If you fancy making Toad in the Hole, check out my amended recipe below (as Husband will testify, I am mentally unable to follow a recipe and I always amend them).

Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal

Toad in the Hole

115g/4 oz plain flour
big pinch of salt
1 free-range egg, beaten
300 ml/10 fl oz milk (I use Lactofree)
400-450g/1 lb good-quality pork sausages
1 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
white pepper

Grease a 20x25cm/8x10inch roasting dish. Preheat oven to 220C/425F.

The batter is made by mixing the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, add the egg and half the milk. Stir until smooth. Then add the rest of the milkand beat. Leave to stand for about 30 minutes.

While mixture is standing, it is time to cook the sausages. Place the sausages in the  dish, prick them and sprinkle with pepper and oil. Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove sausages from oven and pour batter over them. Return to oven for 35-45 minutes  until golden brown. Serve with peas, as Husband informs me that is the traditional way.

Technically, this should serve four people. In my family, it actually serves two or    three.

Great British Cooking with a Californian Gal

 
Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

 

 

I was sent 'Great British Cooking' for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

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Boring My Kids

Children benefit from attending school, socialising, reading, attending clubs and taking part in sports and activities. Children also benefit from computers and television. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But something that many parents forget about is the power of boredom. Yes, my children take part in organised activities. But I also give them stretches of time where they have to make their own fun.

Moozles, who is six, has always had a tough time playing on her home. She has always wanted to play with me, or have me right by her side. We have had to work on her independence, on her thinking about what she would like to play. At two years old, Dubz is easier. He just sits on the floor and plays with whatever catches his fancy. And yes, sometimes I will offer baking or crafts. But often, I tell my children to figure out what they want to do. 'I'm bored', Moozles sometimes cries. Husband's favourite comeback? 'Only boring people feel bored.' True dat.

Nowadays, children go from activity to activity. And when they're tired or bored, they just sit in front of the television. Don't get me wrong, I let my children watch television, but not all the time. And occasionally I let them play on the iPad. But surely this generation of children will miss out on what we gained in our youth. Figuring out what we like playing. Figuring out what is fun and what is boring.

There's a helpful article in Psychology Today about boredom. Many parents today seem to think that something bad will happen if there child does not have a fun activity to do. But what will happen to those children when they grow up? Do you want a generation of adults lacking in any imagination? Who will imagine and design the next smartphone or even a Walkman (do you remember those? How amazing was it to listen to your tapes on the go?)?

But anyway, do your children a favour. The next time they look bored, or ask you to organise a fun activity, tell them to go make their own fun. There could be books they could be reading. Games of horsey to be played and turning stools into race cars. After all, only boring people feel bored.

Boring My KidsBoring My Kids

 

 

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My Sunday Photo

Husband has glue ear that he never outgrew. So we thought it likely that one, or both, of our children would have similar issues with their hearing. Moozles has had glue ear on-and-off for the past two years, since she was four. She had her adenoids out on Thursday. They also put grommets in both of ears.

Moozles was so scared to go to the hospital. She rarely goes to the doctor, apart from her various ear/hearing appointments. But within 45 minutes of waking up from the operation, she was smiling and eating a biscuit. So much worry for nothing. Such an ordinary moment that made me feel so happy.

My clever, sweet little girl. Who often doesn't hear in class, but still manages to do so well. Maybe now she will raise her hand up when the teacher asks a question. Maybe now she will brush her teeth and get ready for bed when I ask. I am not too hopeful for the latter.

 

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Baking with Betty Crocker

Normally when we bake, we bake from scratch. The downside of this is that little Dubz never gets to join in. The thought of having to measure everything, while making sure he doesn't tip flour and sugar all over the flour--it does not appeal. So when Betty Crocker sent us some cake and cookie mixes, I thought this would be a good chance to bake with BOTH of the kids.

First off, we made some brownies. Dubz poured in the oil and water, and he loved mixing it all together. Moozles helped him by holding the bowl. I am not sure what they enjoyed more: licking the spoons or eating the brownie after it had been baked.

Baking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty Crocker

I wish I had seen the recipe for these Christmas Tree Brownies before we made ours. These are just too cute!

Betty Crocker Christmas Tree Brownies Recipe

We also made the white chocolate chip cookie mix. These were so easy as all you needed to do was add water. We combined everything, then made half of the mixture. I put the other half in cling film, and left it in the fridge. I made that half the following day, and added dark chocolate chips. I would like to say that I ate the second batch of cookies with my family. But I didn't. I ate them. All. By. Myself.

Baking with Betty Crocker Baking with Betty Crocker

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, as Moozles recovered from her adenoidectomy, we made a vanilla sponge cake from scratch. I then let her use the Betty Crocker icing to frost and add sprinkles to her heart's content. It wasn't the kind of cake you'd find on Bakerella but Moozles felt proud. Sometimes, baking isn't just about a masterpiece. It is about the time spent together. Making something, that makes you feel happy. And proud.

Baking with Betty Crocker Baking with Betty CrockerBaking with Betty Crocker

 

 

Running in Lavender

 

We were sent some boxes of Betty Crocker cake and cookie mixes, as well as icing, for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

 

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