Love the Little Things Week #8


Still deep in summer reading mode! I’ve started reading One Step too Far by Tina Selkis – I thought I’d better give myself an Emily Barr break! This is the third of three that my Kindle recommended to me when I’d finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, the first being The Husband’s Secret by Lianne Moriarty (bit pants) and the second being Emily Barr’s Sleeper – neither of which were in the same league as Gone Girl in my opinion. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel about this one – apparently it has a serious twist to it!

Blogging-wise I really enjoyed Emma’s Who Decides What a Successful Blog is Anyway?, Lucy’s Jolly Good Sport and thought Sian’s Bully was really brave and honest.


I started watching my latest offering from LoveFilm – Now You See Me:

Now you see me

This essentially seems to be an American, big screen version of Hustle. I always enjoyed a bit of Hustle – total ‘check your brain at the door’ lighthearted entertainment so I’m looking forward to the rest of this!


At the weekend I was out with the JJ (see Sunday’s coming Ordinary Moment!) and just happened to notice this unusual top from Phase Eight as we were leaving John Lewis:

(I think I might be slightly more ‘curvy’ than the model!!). With a sizeable reduction in the sales I thought there was no harm in trying it on and ended up buying it. It’s great with leggings and I always love an unusual piece of clothing – asymmetrical skirts or something with a little novelty to it so this was right up my street!


After mentioning the fact that I’ve been loving Mr Probz Waves as a total feel summery song this year I started thinking about my own summer anthems of past years and I’ve had a little nostalgia fest! Who didn’t love Ace of Base All That She Wants?!! Any song that talks about lying on the beach and having fun is alright in my book (but I definitely don’t want another baby 😉 ). Then there was Lola’s Theme by the Shapeshifters, Summer Breeze by the Isley Brothers and, for me, there was this little spate of fab tunes from 2000 which remind me of my ‘big’ wedding (the first one!) – the best bit of which was dancing the night away with my besties (which probably says something about the fact that the marriage was doomed!!) – Woman Trouble by Artful Dodger, Don’t Call Me Baby by Madison Avenue and Lady Hear me Tonight by Mojo. Here are some of my all time Summer faves for a bit of a blast from the past:


I went a bit mad this week in my spare time and decided to try my hand at three new things – firstly, due to my current avoidance of wheat and craving for cake I knocked up these banana oat muffins:

Wheat free Banana Oat Muffins

I wasn’t expecting the children to be interested, but they confounded me by nicking a couple off the cooking rack – a sure fire sign of success!

Secondly I wanted to try out some ‘overnight oats’ – a new discovery for me – and attempted this ‘apple pie’ version (I added some strawberries):

Apple pie overnight oats

This has oats, greek yogurt, almond milk, apple and pinch of cinnamon. I enjoyed it but for my sweet tooth it could have used a little honey. The next day I made the same base but added some honey and then in the morning mixed in some banana and pecans and it was so yummy and filling!

Lastly I wanted to continue my pursuit of healthy eating and I remembered a good tip from The Fat Tummy Club book which really advocates soups as the way forward. I know soup is often thought of as a winter food, but the Fat Tummy Club has a lovely recipe for a Portuguese chicken, mint and lemon soup which receives rave review and ticks that summer food box too.

portuguese lemon and mint chicken soup

I halved the ingredients as I only wanted two portions for my work lunches but this came out (for me anyway!) basically a risotto, not a soup! I was worried that it might be a bit overpoweringly lemony for my tastes but actually I did quite enjoy it and it was great to be able to jar it up for work – really very easy!


My boys have been bonding this week – when I got up for work this morning I could hear EJ calling to his brother from the cot which was cute. JJ slept right through it! I can see them having the same kind of relationship as my nieces used to, with the youngest always wanting the eldest to be there as a playmate and the eldest sometimes wanting a bit of space!

JJ had his transition to school sessions at big school this week. It didn’t start off too well to be honest – at nearly 5 he was clinging on to my leg and crying whilst 3 year olds gleefully ran past him without a single look back at their mums! Once I left I knew he was going to be OK because I had a sneaky look through to the playground and he was smiling and riding a bike!

I was very happy to finally have got my act (slightly) together and sent out invitations (OK, created Events on FaceBook I admit it!) for both kids’ birthday parties! Now I just have to figure out what I’m going to need for each (and EJ’s is only three week’s away – eek!).

On Tuesday I had an impromptu meet up with one of my good friends and her boys after JJ asked if we could invite ourselves round to their house when I picked him up from pre-school. It turned out she was going into town to take the kids for a sneaky ‘child friendly’ tea and so we all met up and the kids ate together and ran around like loons whilst we had a lovely catch up.

I had marinaded a lamb steak earlier in the day with olive oil, dried oregano, crushed garlic and fresh lemon juice. I’ve never done this before and I wasn’t convinced that something with such simple and few ingredients would be anything to write home about but I have to say it blew my socks off! I grilled it on my George Foreman and it tasted absolutely amazing – just like the taste of Greece – the taste of summer. I can’t rave highly enough about this although I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who will be well aware of the awesomeness of this classic combination.

I’ll leave you with this little quote my lovely sister put up on Facebook last night – and frankly, I’ll be happy if I only ever use quotes by the Cookie Monster from this day forward:

Cookie monster mindfulness

Happy Friday Little Loves!



Blogtastic #WoTW

My word of the week for The Reading Residence #WoTW this week is:


I have managed to publish five posts this week (this one being number 6!) which must be a record for me. I also figured out how to schedule a pre-written post and I joined in with five linkys. I realise that this is a pretty modest achievement compared to some but I’m quite pleased that I managed to find the time given that working part time and looking after the kids when I’m not there fills most of my hours!

Its a really nice feeling to get up some kind of momentum and keep running with it and I’ve finally accepted that not every post has to be lengthy, witty or packed with amazing facts and insights (I can save that for every other post *Anne Robinson style wink*). Sometimes its OK to just post a picture or a nice quote or a recipe.

At the same time it helps to feel like part of the blogging community and know that you actually have readers who are interested in what you have to say (and also provide some pretty fab and interesting reading matter themselves).

So that was my blogtastic week – whether I can keep up the momentum next week… who knows?!


On cyber relationships and online communications

It’s a funny thing but, having only been blogging for 4-5 months, I realise that I now have a load of new friends through this endeavour as well as feeling like I am part of a dynamic and fast-moving enterprise which is quite exciting in itself. Obviously I have also been living partially in cyber-space for as far back as the introduction of Friends Reunited (remember that? Part of the dark, distant past of the social networking world!) and I jumped into FaceBook with both feet (bypassing the likes of MySpace and Bebo) a long time ago too.

Its interesting to see how different people like to use the available social networks (or just not bother using them at all). FaceBook usage has definitely changed over time with people who may have been regular users to begin with getting bored and dropping away to the occasional peep in through the door to see what’s going on. Others have a profile but never visit and then there are those who update a status once in a blue moon but never provide any real insight into their lives.

My mum and dad regard social networking with suspicion – wondering why on earth we want to share personal information with people in this way and worrying about issues of privacy and identity theft.

Personally I find the immediate and accessible nature of communicating in this way to be a massive positive in my life. With other friends from real life who live a long way from me (on the proviso that they fully engage with the medium) it is a way of maintaining a week to week relationship with a real working knowledge of what life is like for them (even if we haven’t managed to see each other for months or even years). We all live busy lives and sometimes we just don’t have the time to engage through other media when the quick status update or Messenger check-in allows us to touch base without getting into a full blown conversation. Of course there are times in our lives when the sound of a friend’s voice is the only thing that will do. My time with new-born babies springs to mind as a point in my life when I have crumbled somewhat and I knew that my best and oldest friend (who also experienced parenthood before me) would be there at the other end of the line to talk me through my (temporary!) panic and depression.
But on the whole, with life ticking over on a relatively even keel, I am happy to engage with my friends through the medium of cyberspace on a daily basis.

Before you suck your teeth in and shake your head wondering what kind of loser I really am, let me just point out that I engage with people in the real world on a daily basis too – I see my family every week and engage with work colleagues and friends who I have made locally through the parenthood experience regularly so its not like I’m sitting in a darkened room on my own with just a flashing cursor for company.

What I do find though is that it is easy to make friends online when you can see exactly what kind of person someone is from the way they write, the thoughts that occur to them and the way they choose to put it across. There is an immediate sense of “this person is on my wavelength”. Meanwhile others may criticise or completely fail to understand where you’re coming from, assuming that the online medium is some form of crutch for those who are socially inept or incapable of forming a ‘real’ friendship.

I think social networking is particularly useful to those of us with small children who’s ‘spare’ time (bah ha ha!) is precious – letting us share our photos and experiences – both good and bad with a wide range of friends (some of whom will know immediately and exactly where you’re coming from and might be able to offer some empathy or helpful advice at times of uncertainty). It is not about lonliness, it is not some sort of ‘cry for help’, it is allowing yourself to be absorbed into and engaged as part of a community. It does not replace face to face relationships, it is all about sharing and allowing others into your life.

Apologies if this post is preaching to the converted. Until recently I assumed that we were pretty much all singing in the choir on this one but apparently not! If you disagree and think I’ve got it all wrong, please comment and tell me why.