#whatwedidthisweek – This week has been a really tough week.
This week has been one of those weeks where I’ve regretted my decision to work full-time. It’s only a temporary measure and ends in the middle of July, but at the moment I’m so tired that I wish I could fast-forward to July.
It’s also frustrating as I’d much rather be here blogging my butt off but hey we all have bills to pay.
We seem to be ending our days at the moment by putting on music and having a bit of a boogey before winding down with a game of some sort. We have a version of headbands, but the one we have has glasses that you attach the cards to and each person has to guess what animal or person they have. It’s my least favourite game of Isabelle’s as she cheats something chronic. We have coloured glass doors on one of our units so she either looks in glass on the unit or looks at her reflection in the TV and then pretends (badly) that she doesn’t know who her character is and strings it out for ages. I’ve hidden this game away for the time being as one day it will be quite fun.
The weather has been pretty pants this week with lots of rain and wind.
My biggest is going to turn eighteen next month.
Eighteen years old!
I thought looking after a baby was difficult, but sorry to say it but having a teenager is way harder. All those hormones and teenage mood swings.
World Book Day
It was World Book Day on Thursday and having just watched Alice Through the Looking Glass we thought Isabelle would like to dress up as Alice. However, she opted for the Queen of Hearts so she could say ‘Awf with her head!!’.
Saturday was Rainbows morning which wasn’t as fun as she thought it was going to be. Her friend wasn’t there so she was a bit reluctant to stay. We should have made the most of having daddy home with us this weekend, but as I’ve been so tired and achy I’ve been a bit of a hermit this weekend.
We did get out with the dog today and Isabelle had a really good time jumping in all of the puddles. Charlie (the dog) didn’t look too thrilled as he’s a bit of a wuss when it comes to water.
Isabelle was soaked inside her wellies and everything but she had a good time, and they will dry.
Bespoke Children’s Illustrations from Scarlett, Tulip & Co.
Bespoke Children’s Illustrations from Scarlett, Tulip & Co. It was only the other day whilst attempting a bit of decluttering that I wondered what I could or would do with the ever-growing masses of drawings and artwork that Isabelle produces. She draws every single day, and I’m completely loathed to throw them away, especially now that she puts so much detail into them.
Mermaids are the thing that she’s drawing at the moment, with lovely long tails with amazingly detailed scales and big booby shells!
Anyway, the purpose of the post is to highlight this amazing new business that was featured in our local paper where local Artist, Sim Dagger inspired by daughter Scarlett recreates your child’s drawings into a bespoke watercolour painting or pen and ink drawing which can be treasured forever. I think you’ll agree that these are pretty special.
Over to Sim, Helen, and Scarlett……
Who are you and where can we find you?
Hello, We are Scarlett, Tulip & Co, a small family business based in Exeter run by Sim Dagger, an Illustrator and Graphic Designer, and his partner Helen Kidney. They are joined on board by Scarlett-Ivy their 5-year-old daughter and Tulip the family cat. You can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/scarletttulipandco/ and on Instagram @scarlett_and_co or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What gave you the inspiration to start your business?
Sim came up with the idea one day when he found a monster drawing that Scarlett had created in one of his sketchbooks, he decided to draw his version of her monster next to it. He didn’t think too much about it but when he showed it to Scarlett she was so excited by it, he decided to share it on his FB and IG accounts. People loved the idea and asked if he could do some for their children. He offered a few to Scarlett’s friends and shared these on FB again the children and parents were so excited by this we decided to set up a business offering this service.
We called it Scarlett, Tulip & Co as a thanks to Scarlett for inspiring us, and she thought it would be a great idea to include her pet cat Tulip in the name too. Sim and I are the Co J.
When did you start the business?
We are a very young business, We started the business on the 12th January this year, Sim has been an illustrator and a designer for over 10 years and has a particular interest in children’s illustration and design.
What do you offer?
We offer families a chance to turn a favourite piece of their children’s artwork into a treasured piece of art that can be kept forever.
We create gorgeous bespoke artwork for families to keep forever based on their children’s drawings. We create “one-off” watercolour paintings and pen and ink drawings that are supplied professionally mounted and framed in a choice of wooden frames. We also offer an unframed option for those who wish to frame the artwork themselves.
We take a child’s picture and Sim reimagines them using watercolour paints or simple pen and inks to give them his own twist, whilst ensuring that the artwork still retains the childlike essence of the original picture. We explain it as not being an attempt to improve the already talented artwork a child has created; it’s a collaboration between the unfiltered creativity of the child’s mind and then reimagined in the equally childlike mind of the illustrator. Sim begins by sketching his imaginations, and sends photographs of the process at each stage to ensure people are happy with the direction of the artwork, when he has approval from the family, he adds the paints and inks to complete the painting or drawing.
We can work with any image, from any age, our youngest artist so far was 2 years old, and we have created a vast range of paintings and drawings so far, including a dinosaur world, fairyland, a maniacal princess, family portraits, and even a zombie with fire coming out of his head. One painting had a more poignant reason behind it such as a drawing a boy did of his granny who had just passed away.
We can also create bespoke artworks as presents for children based on their interests. For example, we created an illustration of a car for a little boy who loved cars, Sim was able to add a picture of the little boy driving the car, personalising it by adding his initials to the number plate. If you have an idea get in touch and we can chat about what we could create for you!
As you can see, they are pretty amazing.
I may have to choose one of Isabelle’s mermaids to be painted for our Family Wall.
#whatwedidthisweek – Monday was my first day back at work having had the half-term holiday off with the kids. It was a bit of a shock when the alarm went off as I always sleep really badly the night before I go back to work. The day just went downhill from there as my computer didn’t work (a bit of swapsies went down in my absence) so a few cups of tea later and a bit of a catch-up and it was time to leave. Phew!
See you on Wednesday (impromptu day off on Tuesday).
Tuesday was my birthday and I was hoping to keep quiet but my not-best mate, Facebook blabbed about it to everyone! Anyway, I had the day off and did some work in the morning (my choice) and then Chris took me for a lovely lunch at Five Guys.
The burgers were enormous and the cajun fries were moreish. There was no attractive way to eat the burgers as they were so big that you could hardly get your chops around it to take a bite. I would definitely never recommend it for a first date situation. We even had a weekday daytime beer to wash it down.
The rest of the day was a flurry of people and lovely presents including The Unmumsy Mum Diary which I’ve just started reading and I’ve bought a ticket to a Night Out with the Unmumsy Mum at the Puerto Lounge, Exeter. We then might have popped into the local pub for a couple of drinks (on a school night).
It was a lovely day even though I would have loved to have stuck my head under the pillow with a giant bag of Monster Munch.
I took part in a Twitter chat and won some beauty goodies which came in the post. I love getting things in the post even when I’ve ordered them and I know what’s inside. I like to shake it and prod it to guess what’s inside!!
On Saturday Isabelle went to Rainbows and got a badge for World Thinking Day. Apparently, this means that she’s good at thinking. Haha!
Isabelle’s friend came back with us afterward so it was a great opportunity to try out Pancake Kebab Recipe. These were really easy to make and you can just give the pancakes and a selection of fruit to the kids to construct. They both really enjoyed them, and even better you can batch make them and freeze them for future yummy breakfasts.
Saturday night was watched Bad Neighbours 2 which wasn’t as good as the first one, but still worth a watch.
Sunday we started off the day with American Pancakes with Crispy Bacon and Maple syrup. I’ve never tried it before and it was a bit strange with the sweet and salty mix, but I kinda liked it. The afternoon was a trip to the pitch to watch Ryan in all his glory. It’s been a while since I watched one of his games as now that he’s nearly eighteen, it’s just not the same. It’s way more aggressive and the language and there are only so many times that I can put my hands over Isabelle’s ears to block out the F’s and C words being flung around.
We finished off the day with a roastie. It’s been a while since we had a roast and it was absolutely delish.
#whatwedidthisweek – How was your week?
*This post may contain affiliate links which means that I receive a small payment should you click the link and make a purchase at no extra cost to yourself.
These little pancakes are so cute. You can make a batch up and freeze, and then you can take a few out the night before for breakfast.
Pancake Kebab Recipe
Isabelle had her friend over to play today so it was the perfect time to test these out. Apologies for my none too professional maple syrup drizzle. I think I need a bit more practice!
To make the pancakes you will need:
135g Plain flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Caster Sugar
130ml/ 4 1/2 fluid oz milk
1 large egg
2 Tbsp melted butter, plus extra for cooking
You will also need:
Short Wooden kebab sticks
2 Kiwi fruits
A few Blueberries
Approx 8 Strawberries
Maple Syrup to serve
Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl and add the salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the milk and melted butter.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together then lightly whisk until well combined and lump free.
Make this mixture a little in advance as it works best if you put it into the fridge for a while.
Melt some butter in a frying pan and if you’re confident put a small amount of mixture in small blobs to make small bitesized pancakes. If not you can either use a squirty bottle or a round biscuit cutter to get the correct size.
Slice the fruit ready for construction.
Once all the pancakes are made you can make up the kebabs alternating pancakes and fruit or you could give them to the kids to make how they like.
Spicy Carrot and Lentil Soup. The best bit of the cold weather are the scrummy soups, casseroles and home comfort food. I love a big bowl of soup, and it’s a great thing to make in advance, freeze and take out for work or a meal when you’re super busy.
What you will need:
600g Carrots, washed and grated
140g Split red lentils
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Litre hot vegetable stock
2 Teaspoons Cumin Seeds
Pinch of Chilli flakes
Heat a large saucepan and dry-fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, or until they start to jump around the pan and start to smell yummy.
Add the oil, carrot, lentils, stock and milk to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 mins until the lentils have swollen and softened.
Whizz the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth, but can be left chunky if you prefer and serve with naan bread and a dollop of yoghurt.
Really easy to make and totally scrummy.
For all of our other tried and tested recipes, pop over to our Recipes Page.
*This post contains affiliate links which means I may get a small payment at no cost to you if you click and make a purchase.
#whatwedidthisweek – It’s half-term and the alarm clock is set to OFF!
It doesn’t mean that we get a lie-in but it’s so much nicer not waking up to the sound of the alarm and having to immediately jump out of bed and get ready. Non-alarm days or weekends we’re usually woken up by Isabelle climbing over us so it could be a misplaced arm, let or elbow that awakens us.
It was a great start to the week as the sun was shining, albeit the wind was biting. Up we got at a leisurely pace and off we went to Wildwood Escot for a day of Creepy Crawly Welly Walking, walking in the woods, and eating flapjack (which I’ve posted separately about).
We were really lucky with the weather as the following day it poured down with rain so we headed off to soft play in Exmouth. If you’ve been to Exmouth before then you will know that when it’s cold – it’s flippin freezing there! Isabelle had a really lovely time. We bumped into several people from school including Isabelle’s teacher. It ended with the filling in of an accident form as Isabelle got herself a lovely slide burn on her back and her arm.
We finished off that day with MacDonalds and a trip to a local farm shop where the Ostrich took a slight liking to me and followed me backward and forwards. I tested this theory by running up and down and it copied me. I only received a couple of odd looks.
Wednesday we had a lazy day at home and made cupcakes and Carrot and Lentil Soup.
Thursday we met up with a dog walker friend who is hopefully going to have Charlie when we go on holiday in August. This will be the first time that we’ve left him so I’m a bit nervous as I don’t want him to think that we’ve left him. He had to meet the other dog that will be there at the same time as him to make sure that they would get along. I knew that Charlie would be fine as he’s such a friendly boy. He’s never shown any aggression to any other dogs or people and just loves to play so I knew that he would be fine.
Isabelle had a playdate with a friend in the afternoon so I had a bit of a catch-up with sorting washing and a little bit of blogging.
Friday was another dodgy weather day so Isabelle invited one of her friends over to play. It was the first time that her room wasn’t turned upside down and inside out. They sat and played pony hairdressers.
On Saturday we went to the cinema to watch the Trolls movie which we hadn’t got round to watching due to illness/being busy. I gave her a choice of pic n mix or Ice cream, and she chose ice cream. She opted for a two-scoop tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. What flavour did she want? Phish Food, Caramel Chew, Double Chocolate Brownie? Nope, she wanted vanilla. Really said the man serving. You just want vanilla? He tempted her into having one scoop of vanilla and one caramel honey.
The film was fab so we need to get it on DVD.
Today we went to Budleigh Salterton Beach with the pooch. The whole beach is just pebbles, no sand.
It’s really difficult to walk on pebbles as they move so running is almost impossible.
Charlie wasn’t keen on the beach to start with, but I think it was because the waves were quite fierce and they make a lot of noise going back and forth over the pebbles. We walked down as far as the nudey beach, and thankfully there were no nudists for Isabelle to point at and laugh at (luckily for us).
By the time we made it off the beach, it felt like we were walking on fluffy clouds.
I feel like a bit of an expert on this topic as we’ve probably experienced the rough side of a cough and cold with our daughter more than the average mum and dad.
I say this not in a competing kind of way, but having Isabelle has changed so many things about what I used to believe was the ‘right way’ to look after a child.
Ryan was never a sickly child, slept and eat well.
We never avoided people with sniffles and were never really that phased when we turned up to the nursery and yet another notice was on the door notifying us of the latest illness going around.
Isabelle changed all of this.
We truly believe that you could sneeze across the road from Isabelle and she would catch a cold.
I hated it when I went to baby/toddler group and there were always children with coughs and colds as we knew that she would get them.
It irked me when family and friends would visit with a poorly child or ill themselves knowing that she would get it.
I can imaging you rolling your eyes at this point, but Isabelle never gets just a cough or cold. It was always to the extreme.
She would be poorly for days on end, none of us getting much sleep at night due to the crying, coughing, and ultimately the projectile vomiting when she couldn’t control the cough.
She’s been given inhalers, antibiotics, and steroids to help ease her symptoms mostly not helping at all. We know the signs a mile off by now so we know what’s in store for us.
So I pass on our baton of wisdom in all things ‘Cough and Cold’.
No milk. I know this one isn’t possible when little ones are little little, but milk is claggy in the throat and can sometimes promote coughing as it thickens the phlegm. Also milk sick is so gross smelling and a nightmare to get the smell out of carpets.
A nice calm bathtime routine. Adding a chamomile teabag into the water or a few drops of lavender oil to relax them and also open up their nasal passages.
No running. I know this sounds like a funny one, but Isabelle would have the most awful coughing fits if she had bursts of running around or being silly, so the run-up to bedtime has to be quiet play.
Open the windows – Even if it’s a freezing cold day. Open the windows during the day in your child’s bedroom to let some fresh air through. Alternatively, you could get a dehumidifier.
Menthol vaporiser – We have a plug-in one that we got from boots which we put on about an hour before Isabelle goes to bed.
Raising the mattress – When they have a cough and cold lying flat is not the best thing for them so put something underneath the mattress so that they are slightly raised. I also give Isabelle an extra pillow for the same reason.
Vick’s Vaporub – Don’t be shy go for the massive tub. We get through loads of this which we apply to Isabelle’s back and chest. We also read on a forum to put it on the bottom of her feet and leave her socks on so we did this as well.
Water – Make sure that your child always has access to water so that they can at least try to help themselves by having a drink during the night.
Isabelle can’t seem to control her breathing very well when she has a cough and a cold and is quite often sick as a result of her panicking when she’s struggling. She now knows to get out of bed. If we can direct the sick away from the bed at least she can get back in without having to wait for the whole bed changing dance.
NEVER let them in your bed. We know only too well what happens when they’ve been sick in their own bed and thinking that it’s an easy option for them to climb in with you only results in nobody having anywhere to sleep!
We’ve also tried nasal sprays which she didn’t like at all so we keep them as a bit of a last resort to be used only with bribery.
Get some balm for their noses which get sore and red from all the nose wiping. It’s like a plaster, they love to have something to put on.
For coughs, we give Isabelle ice lollies which she loves, but it also soothes her throat. If she’s not eating we can make them from fruit so that she’s at least getting some nutrition in her.
All the cough medicine that they are able to have. When things have been really bad we’ve been told by our doctor to give Isabelle an antihistamine to make her sleep.
During the day create a space where they can sleep if they want to. Isabelle won’t go to bed but if she’s comfortable she might at least close her eyes.
Have a selection of easy to play with toys. No jigsaws or complicated games which will end up in them getting ratty.
DVDs or TV for them to watch. Whilst you don’t want them stuck in front of the TV all day some little ones can’t seem to cope with much else.
Don’t expect them to sit and eat huge meals. When Isabelle is poorly she never wants to eat so we let her choose from a selection of things such as fruit, crackers, toast, yoghurts, etc so that she can pick what she wants and is more likely to eat it.
Olbas Oil on a flannel over the radiator and then dot a few drops around the room.
Honey and Lemon – Make them a cup of warm honey and lemon. Putting it in a fancy cup with a straw usually works for Isabelle.
Kids’ magazines always cheer Isabelle up. Isabelle’s favourite part is of course the toy on the front and it’s possibly the only time that she’s interested in the stories and activities inside the magazine as well.
Another good one is to be armed with an iPad or phone with some good kids apps. Isabelle is currently into kids youtube watching the unwrapping of ‘Blind Bags’. The voices totally drive me nuts but as each one only lasts about 4 – 6 minutes they’re tolerable in small doses.
We were sent ‘That Book’ – The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep. It was quite a long book and I’m sure that it might work on a child who stays in bed, lying down in bed and doesn’t talk all the way through, but it made me tired, and she did go to sleep quicker than usual.
We also received some finger puppets which at the moment have prime pillow space in Isabelle’s bed along with bunny.
We do all of this whilst trying to avoid the sneeze spray so that we don’t end up getting it ourselves. It NEVER works, one or both of us always comes down with it so make sure that you have a cupboard full of remedies for yourselves as well. Chris seems to like the Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray whereas Ryan opts for the Nasal Stick.
Wildwood Escot – We used to be frequent visitors of Escot when Ryan was younger so it’s nice to be invited to take Isabelle, especially as she seems to quite like mud, walking in mud, squishing in mud, poking sticks in mud……..just mud.
We started off in the Anglo Saxon Village which was really cool. It was all set out as a proper village with a kitchen area, bedrooms, fireplaces and is used as part of the Camp Wild setting which offers holiday camps for children aged 7 – 12 years.
The Welly Walk
This February half term they have Creepy Crawly Welly Walks running twice a day which is definitely worth going on. We had a lovely guide who showed us some rather strange-looking dried animals and skulls. Isabelle didn’t seem phased by the flat squirrel or hedgehog.
We stomped through the park to a pond where we dipped to see if we could find any creepy crawlies lurking underneath. We found some little ‘slug-like’ bugs on the leaves and further on we found some frog spawn which Isabelle thought looked like snot.
You know the saying that you learn something new every day?
Well at Wildwood Escot they have a deadly predator laying in waiting.
It doesn’t have claws, sharp teeth and it doesn’t growl.
It’s called Hemlock Water Dropwart and is poisonous if eaten.
We then took part in making mud creatures using mud, twigs, leaves, and anything else that we could find on the ground.
Isabelle made a squirrel, a squirrel house with a fire outside the front, and an antenna on the top for the TV.
It was amazing seeing all the other children using their imagination to make creatures including an alien and a fairy.
Exploring the park
After the welly walk, we went to explore the rest of the park. There are some amazing climbing trees with really gnarly intertwined branches.
It was a lovely sunny day but the wind was quite biting so unfortunately, we didn’t see the squirrels, but we saw the Lynx being fed by the keeper. There was one at the back, and we finally spotted the other one which was hiding in the giant tree trunk in its enclosure. They really are beautiful. I could just imagine one curling up on your lap.
The Wild Boar were all foraging for food and some were outstretched in the sunlight.
We went over to the Death Slide and Isabelle was really up for having a go. That was until she reached the top and looked over the edge, and then we came back down again. Ha ha. I was totally going to show her how it’s done but I had to help her back down the steps!
I really wanted to go and watch the Otter feeding, as they’re really interesting. They obviously know exactly what time feeding time is as they were all by the door that the keeper comes in whining in unison and running around as a group waiting for their food.
The otters were given a selection of food including turkey meatballs and cherry tomatoes which were thrown all around the enclosure so that they had to look for it. They work really fast at getting the food!
A hanging type basket filled with straw and bits of food was hung up so that they had to rummage through the straw to get the food. It was really funny to see them find something like they were dipping into a lucky dip, run over to the water to wash it before eating it.
We spent some time in the outdoor play area where there are plenty of things to climb on, and then had a go on the rope swing where I very nearly took out a child. Oops.
Coffee and cake are usually quite high up on the list of things to do on a day out but we opted for flapjack which was so yummy and chewy (big thumbs up).
Isabelle found a tree where there were loads of wine bottles hanging. We told Isabelle that that’s where the witches lived and that they hung the bottles on the branches when they finished the wine.
There are loads of picnic tables or open grassy spaces around the park which is what we would usually do in the nicer weather.
Wildwood Escot is the place for you if you like being outdoors where the kids can explore, use their imagination and play.
Wolves are moving to Wildwood Escot shortly which we can’t wait to go and meet. Wildwood Escot is a registered charity and your admission is treated as a charitable donation. You can support this further by adopting an animal to help ensure that the animals are cared for and fed as they should. It also ensures that the park can be looked after for years more enjoyment.
#whatwedidthisweek – After last week’s coughs and colds finally lifting, normality and routines have been restored.
As it’s half term next week this week has been a bit of a drain waiting for our week off.
We haven’t really done very much aside from the usual round of dog-walking, cooking, school run, and all the usual housey stuff.
As Isabelle wasn’t at school for most of last week we had a surprise Valentine’s School disco sprung on us on Thursday. Isabelle had a great time. She made up dance routines with her friends and they’d made a pact to all wear pink! One of her friends broke the ‘rule’ so she was mad with her. So young yet so grown up.
It SNOWED! On Saturday. I tried to take a picture but it was so fine that you cant see it in the picture.
Isabelle went to her second session of Rainbows on Saturday which she seems to like so I think we’re going to sign her up properly. We have the magazine for the uniform which is awful. I can cope with the top and the zip-up hoodie, but the wide-legged jogging bottoms are awful, so I think we’ll get the tops but pair it with leggings.
We also made these Aquabeads false nails which Isabelle really enjoyed making. Unfortunately, they didn’t stay on for very long so some are missing, and I’m pretty sure that the dog might have eaten a couple as well.
Isabelle hasn’t been out on her bike for ages so we thought we’d go along the river and get ice cream (yep come rain or shine).
It was a disaster. She learned to ride her bike in the summer but as she hasn’t been out on it for ages. She was so nervous and wouldn’t let Chris let go of her so it was short-lived, and we didn’t get anywhere near the quay to get icecream.
We’ve spent the rest of today in the warm playing and watching TV whilst the boys are out at football.
The best bit is knowing that for the next week our lives won’t be dominated by the morning alarm clock.
You can keep up to date with what we’ve been doing each week by clicking on the Family Life tab at the top of the page.
*This post may contain affiliate links which means that I receive a small payment should you click the link and make a purchase at no extra cost to yourself.