Thursday, 27 December 2012

9.51am Four Years Ago... life was changed forever as Big Muddle entered the world and took her first breath.

Today she inspires me with her boundless joy, amuses me with her endless wit and makes me amazed at my own capacity to love another person so much.

Happy birthday, my beautiful firstborn girl.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Food!

As Abel & Cole delivered all our yummy food before we were even up this morning (!) I'm knee-deep in food prep for the big day!

Tonight we'll be having a big fish pie before Nana Muddle, Big Muddle and I go to the candlelight carol service. I've always done a 'one-pot' dinner for Christmas Eve and used to do lasagne, but last two years I've done fish pie and it always goes well.

Tomorrow breakfast we'll have sausages, grilled tomatoes and eggy bread, made with ciabatta slices and duck eggs (nom!) to keep us going in the long morning slog!

Then the main event is prawn, pomegranate and grapefruit salad (from this year's Christmas Good Food mag) followed by:

I've bought a ready-made roulade for pud, as I'm not a big pudding fan anyway, I'd rather have at the cheese board! As you can see, the menu contains many components that can be prepped beforehand (red cabbage in particular can be made up to a month in advance and frozen) leaving me free to enjoy plenty of the day with the kids!

Nibbles for the evening if/when we get hungry will be mini pies (from the Co-op's very impressive Christmas range) and these Baked Stilton Mushrooms

I'd like to wish all of you a very happy Christmas, and a healthy and prosperous 2013!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Daddy Muddle's Birthday Bouquet

I'd seen the idea of a 'man bouquet' on pinterest, and thought it looked really fun. I usually get Daddy Muddle a tankard or similar for his birthday because...well he's flipping hard to buy for and his birthday being so close to Christmas its impossible to think of anything particularly original!

Most of the ones I'd seen done though were with whisky miniatures or similar, and given that Daddy Muddle only drinks single malt, well, I was looking for something along a more budget-friendly option! So I decided to go for childhood favourite sweets! Pretending the subject had come up on a forum I frequent I asked him about his favourites a while back and jotted them down. This is the finished item:

As you can see he has a very sweet tooth! I can tell you though, I do NOT want to giftwrap one of those ever again!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Santa Steam Train

Last Saturday we took the girls to the Great Central Railway in Loughborough for one of their 'Santa Special' services. The GCR run refurbished steam trains at various events through the year, and even the stations are restored to a bygone age.

We've been on the Santa Specials since Big Muddle's second Christmas (after a disastrous first meeting with Santa!) and we love it. The grown ups get a mince pie and sherry and the kids get a drink, cookie and a chocolate Santa, as well as their Santa presents.

Big Muddle's Zingzilla book

Baby Muddle's 'Sing a Song of Sixpence' book and jigsaw set

They have an entertainer (who's puppet Big Muddle stole!) and Santa comes back through the train to have pictures taken with the children after he's given out the gifts.

Its a puppet!

Very pleased with her cookie!

All in all its well worth while. I've really got my eye on one of their grown up dining services though, for some vintage luxury, but that will have to wait a while yet I think!

I don't think she was that frightened of him, honestly!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Cinderella, you shall go to the ball!

On Saturday, Grandad Muddle took Big Muddle and I to Nottingham Theatre Royal to see their pantomime for this year, Cinderella.

The cast included Sheila Ferguson from The Three Degrees as the Fairy Godmother, John Partridge of Eastenders fame as Prince Charming and the Grumbleweeds, who I didn't know, Big Muddle certainly didn't know and even Grandad Muddle scratched his head to remember! However, it was the latter who really were the stars of the show, I can't remember the last time I laughed so much!

The performance was fantastic, great effects including a flying horse and the costumes were stunning. Sheila Ferguson's solo was fab, Big Muddle said, "she sings vevee vevee beautifully"!

Because the Grumbleweeds were the main comedy duo, it did leave the Ugly Sisters with more of a sinister edge, so Big Muddle was a little scared of them, but that's really the most negative thing I could say!

It's my first panto in a long time and we'll definitely be looking into booking for 2013's performance of Peter Pan!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Random Giving

Today we both gave and received in the Christmas spirit.

This morning we took a bag of food donations to our newly set-up local food bank. I find it incredibly hard to deal with that there are people that are going without basic groceries, and I want to instill into the Little Muddles that it is so important to be aware of, and look after, those who are less fortunate. We spent little over a fiver in Sainsburys and got plenty of store cupboard basics. I'm sure they will be of use to someone. I'm hoping to make the donations a regular monthly, if not fortnightly, thing, as its such a simple thing to do that makes such a difference on your doorstep.

We also received delivery of my Secret Santa present, organised by a forum I'm a member of. I couldn't believe how much care and effort my Santa had gone to. As well as three presents just for me, the girls each got a gift of a handmade crocheted tree decoration and a chocolate Santa lolly. I received a lovely bar of chocolate, a pack of glittery felt sheets, ready and waiting for Christmassy crafting, and a beautiful needlecord handmade roll for crochet hooks. I was overwhelmed by the generosity.

I think 'random' and charitable giving adds so much to the Christmas spirit, I know I've ended the day feeling very festive indeed!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas...all wrapped up!

Yes, that's why I've been awol from the blog for so long! In order to get this finished everything has been terribly neglected, the house is more cobweb than home, the children run feral and the cat has left in search of a full food bowl.

But it is more or less there now. Obviously I can't share with you as yet the contents of the glittery parcels, but I will definitely do a roundup after the big day!

On Saturday me and two friends had our second, and last, co-op crafting day for our hampers. This is positively the BEST way of making Christmas hampers, I would highly recommend it! It's so much more inspiring and motivational than doing it on your own and it's soooo much fun to actually be able to catch up with my mummy friends without the little wonders interrupting every five minutes!

I'll leave you with the words of my ridiculously sensible Big Muddle, when taken to see Santa this Sunday:

"Yes I do like chocolate, but I don't want lots or I will feel poorly"!!

She is far too old for her years sometimes!