pixie does

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Sunday, 19 November 2017

A little life update | Learning to Drive & YouTube

Our week in pictures

YouTube

This week has seen me return to YouTube. I've been missing it for ages, but just recently I really began to miss it. I don't have a decent vlogging camera (I'm using my iPhone 8 plus) but didn't want that to hold me back. The first video I filmed was a toy review of the Thomas the tank engine MINIS motorised track (also reviewed on the blog here) and the 2nd video was a proper follow-me-around style vlog, I'm hoping to do one each of those a week, not that I live a particularly exciting life :P 

Driving

This coming week also see's me starting to learn to drive at the ripe old age of 38! I had a few lessons when I was 19 and loved it, but I moved away to go to uni and didn't pick them back up again. But now I'm home full time with the kiddies, I feel really disconnected and stuck by not driving, so I'm determined to learn and to nail it, I've even picked out a little car (a 2007 Volkswagen Polo - we'll see if it's still for sale if and when I pass my test). I'm going to be having a 1 hr lesson one week, and the next week I'll have 2 lessons (1 x 1 hr and 1 x 2 hr) as my driving instructor only works every other Saturday. I'm really hoping I get on as well as I did when I learned when I was 19. There's so many things I want to do, I want to be able to just jump in the car and go to IKEA, or Dyffryn Gardens, or visiting family/friends etc.

Baking - new traditions

I've started baking with Squidge each weekend too, he loves helping :) It's nothing fancy, all we've done so far are Betty Crocker cake mixes, lol, but I want to do lots of other fun things too - we've started with these as they're dairy and soya free.

How's Dot?

Dot is doing great. We've now been exclusively breastfeeding for 3 months which I'm really proud of as I never managed it with Squidge. He's thriving and sits between the 75th and 91st percentile lines. He's really big for his age... clothes-wise, I've started buying size 6-9 months clothes as he's outgrowing his 3-6 months size, despite him only just being 3 months old! I did save all of Squidge's old clothes for him, but all the 6-9 month clothes are shorts and t-shirts as Squidge was 8 months old when in that size making it Summer!

I'm still not getting much sleep. Dot did do about 10 days of sleeping through the night when he was 7 weeks old, but since then he's only done it once or twice and he's now 13 weeks old. In all honesty, I don't mind getting up in the night to feed him - the thing I find most frustrating is it taking me an hour of getting him to sleep and putting him down, to actually get him to stay asleep, On a typical night I'm getting to sleep about 1:45am - then I'm up again about 4am and 6 or 7am. But I've gone back to falling asleep while feeding him at 4am and waking up 2 hrs later with him asleep laying across my lap with my arm under his head... not good really... I'm freezing as I'm not under the covers, and Dot then wakes as soon as I put him down in his cot.

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Monday, 13 November 2017

Thomas & Friends MINIS Motorised raceway

thomas & friends minis motorised raceway

Last week Squidge came down with a virus, boo, yet another illness on his poorly streak. He stayed home from nursery on Friday and while we were at home we had an exciting delivery. The lovely people over at Fisher Price had kindly sent us the Thomas & Friends MINIS motorised raceway to review! Lucky Squidge!

setting the toy up

Being a bad blogger, I don't have any pictures of the box, I know, very bad blogger! I did however video the unboxing and first impressions which is now on YouTube (embedded below).

the instructions

The set comes with 2 x Thomas & Friends MINIS - Thomas and James. You need to make sure you have 3 x AA batteries and a small phillips screwdriver to be able to put this together. In the box was an assortment of parts, a couple stickers and a picture-led instruction sheet on assembling it.

the loop-the-loop

Once I put the video camera down, I managed to put it together in about 10 mins - it was really simple to follow the instructions, but I'd recommend a grown up putting it together if you have toddlers.

As soon as it was put together, Squidge instantly loved it. He kept saying to me 'such a cool toy mummy!' and even said at one point that it was his new favourite :) The toy/pieces felt really well made, very solid. You flip a switch at the bottom and the track starts moving to take the trains up the vertical slope. Then depending on which way you have the track-router set at the top, the trains will go down one of 3 routes - one turns them upside down, one loops the loop and one is an 's' shape. Squidge's favourite was the loop the loop (or, doop da doop as Squidge says).

close up of cranky

He played with this for hours and loved switching the track to send them off in different directions. He didn't get frustrated with it, just played happily. The only thing we didn't like about it was the loud clicking noise it was making - as time went on it happened less and less - I think something was getting jammed, it seems to have passed for the most part now anyway.

One of the really nice things about this if you're considering getting it as a Christmas present, is that the little trains (MINIS) in the Thomas & Friends MINIS advent calendar will all work with this. We've already bought that for Squidge, so I think by the time Christmas arrives, the motorised raceway is going to be very busy!

trains whizzing around the track

The RRP for this toy is £44.99 (although Smyths has it on offer for £24.99 at the moment!) and is suitable for children aged 3+.



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Sunday, 29 October 2017

Smokey vegetable rice | Dairy free

smokey vegetable rice

As Dot as a cows milk protein allergy, I've cut out all dairy from my diet, and as a precaution, soya too (they often react to both). What it's meant is that I'm cooking a lot more meals from scratch, which is great! I've struggled to find good recipes online for dairy and soy free that's non-vegan, so I've been making a lot of meals up. I thought I'd start sharing some of them on here in case it helps to inspire anyone else.

Ingredients

1 cup/portion of basmati rice
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1 large white onion, diced
2 slices chopped ham or any other meat you like (chicken thighs work great in this)
handful of halved baby plum tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
knorr vegetable stock pot

Method

1. Cook the basmati rice with the vegetable stock pot
2. Heat up some oil in a frying pan, chop the onion and start cooking. Once the onion is just starting to brown, add the paprika
3. Half the tomatoes and add them to the onions, and add the meat, add more oil if needed, and season well with salt and pepper
4. When the rice is cooked, drain it and add it to the frying pan, combine it until all the rice has changed colour to help absorb the flavour, and serve

I really liked this with some white pepper on top, and a little squirt of Hellman's full fat mayonnaise (dairy free, but obviously contains egg).

Don't be afraid to add more smoked paprika, it doesn't have too much heat, but it packed with lovely smokey flavour. I created this recipe to use things up in the fridge, so you could add anything to it. It'd be lovey with broccoli and red pepper too. I've also made it with a couple cloves of chopped garlic, that worked really well too.
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