Coping with losing the extra hour in bed when you're a parent

The 5 stages of coping with the loss of the extra hour in bed now you’re a parent

Chances are you’ve seen some posts starting to pop up on Facebook about how the clocks are going back this weekend.  Which is normally seen as something to celebrate seeing as it, in theory, gives us an extra hour in bed on Sunday morning.

Unless of course you have young children who have absolutely no concept of time.  

In that case, the extra hour is something that we remember fondly from our pre-children days, and then start to dread as we prepare ourselves for a good few weeks of really unreasonable wake-up times while the kids adjust.

So, in an attempt to bring a little humour to the situation, here is my guide to the things we parents think and say during the 5 stages of coping with the loss of that extra hour in bed:

The 5 stages of coping with the loss of the extra hour in bed

 

Denial

“The kids aren’t actually awake.  No, they can’t really be awake yet.  It’s 4.30am, they’re just stirring.  They’ll settle back to sleep in a minute.  If I just shut my eyes and go back to my dream then the kids will do the same, that’s how it works isn’t it?  I mean, they’re not properly awake anyway”

 

Anger

“Damn.  They’re properly awake.  Are you actually kidding me?!   For the love of God, it’s 4.30am!  And why do they always have to call for me?  Shout for Daddy instead for once!”

 

Bargaining

To your other half (after you’ve shaken them awake):
“If you get up with them today I’ll do all the cooking and cleaning for the rest of the week”

To your children (after you’ve stumbled into their room):
“If you just stay quietly in bed and look at books for an hour you can watch Peppa pig and eat chocolate buttons for the rest of the day”

 

Depression 

“Argh, this sucks.  I don’t want to get up yet.  It’s so dark out, and it’s so bloody early the heating hasn’t come on yet so I’m freezing.

*quiet sobbing*

Oh God, it’s so early that Cbeebies isn’t even on yet ”

 

Acceptance

“Looks like it’s going to be a 10-cups-of-coffee kind of day.  Right, let’s get up and get the first cup going.  Then stick the Sarah and Duck DVD on for the kids.  At least they might go to sleep at a decent time tonight!”

 

Do any of these things sound familiar to you?  

Or are you one of the parents who actually prepares for the clock change by adjusting bedtimes etc all week?  I’ve never been organised enough to actually do that!

Friday night in

A great Friday now vs 10 years ago

You might have seen this great post that’s been popping up in various places this week.  It’s from a cup of Jo and it’s all about life (particularly life for parents) in Sweden.  It’s a great little read about the things they do differently over there.

One part that I loved was the writer’s description of the much-loved Swedish tradition of ‘fredagsmys’, which basically translates as ‘cozy Friday’.

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From what I understand, it’s a really big ‘thing’ in Sweden for families to get into their comfy clothes, order pizza and all curl up on the sofa together on a  Friday night.

Which just sounds amazing to me!  Pretty much a perfect Friday night.  Which has got me thinking about how my idea of a great Friday night has changed in the last 10 years!

A great Friday night 10(ish) years ago:

  • Cheesy music blasting through the house while me and my best friend start getting ready to go out.
  • About an hour of choosing something to wear, straightening our hair, doing our make up.
  • All while drinking copious amounts of Archers and lemonade
  • A quick dinner of something and chips, mainly eaten in the hope it might absorb some of the alcohol.
  • Jump in a taxi and head to town.
  • Spend the night drinking and dancing our way down Wind Street, maybe ending up in Time/Envy or Flares.
  • Head home for some late night toast, seriously sooo good after a night out!

A great Friday night now:

  • Kids in bed at a decent time.
  • Spend 2 minutes chucking on joggers and a hoody.
  • Enjoy the luxury of drinking a whole cup of coffee or tea while it’s still hot.
  • Jump on the sofa and spend the night eating homemade pizza and catching up the week’s tv.
  • Head to bed at a decent time to hopefully get some sleep before the toddler wakes up needing cuddles!

How about you?  Have I just given away how sad I am these days?  Have I now just given away how old I am by saying that? Do the kids still say ‘sad’?!  What’s your ideal Friday night like these days?!

You Baby Me Mummy
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Amazingly tasty chocolate cake

It was my husband’s birthday at the start of the month, and I wanted to make him a cake because, well, CAKE!

I normally make a nice simple chocolate cake which is basically a variation of my 2, 4, 4, 4 fairy cake recipe, with a chocolate buttercream topping.  It’s good cake.  But I wanted something a bit more special this year.

So I hit google, and really quickly found this recipe for the best chocolate cake recipe (ever).  And fair do’s, it is definitely the best chocolate cake I’ve ever made!

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The original recipe uses cups, which actually makes it so easy to make.  I highly recommend buying a set of measuring cups, I love mine!  But for the UK readers out there I’m including the translated measurements to make life easier.

So here is my take on Robyn’s best chocolate cake recipe:

What you  need (for the cake):

  • 250g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 400g (2 cups) caster sugar
  • 90g (¾ cup) cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk
  • 110ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml (1 cup) hot, black coffee water

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 180º C.  Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
  2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl and mix it all together thoroughly.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil and eggs to the flour mixture and mix together until well combined.
  4. Make a cup of hot, black coffee and carefully add it to the mixture.  Mix well.
  5. Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  7. Cover the cake with Chocolate buttercream icing.

What you need (for the buttercream icing):

  • 340g (1½ cups) butter, softened
  • 120g (1 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 500g (5 cups) icing sugar
  • 120m (½) cup milk

What you do:

  1. Add the cocoa powder to a large bowl and whisk it through to get rid of any lumps.
  2. Cream together the butter and cocoa powder until they’re well-combined.
  3. Add icing sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 100g ( 1 cup) of icing sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. Mix it well each time you add some.  Repeat this until you’ve added all the icing sugar and milk.
  4. If you think the icing seems too dry, then add a little more milk, and if it seems too wet then just add a little more icing sugar until you get the consistency you want!
  5. Sandwich the cake together with just about a third of the icing, then use the rest of the icing to cover the top and sides of the cake.

Things to note:
This recipe does make a lot of buttercream icing, you might not need to use it all!

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Cuddle Fairy
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Super simple cheats’ risotto

I’ve often said over the years that there’s no way I could ever do the Atkins diet – I love my carbs way too much!  Give me pasta, potatoes, rice or bread and I’m happy!

One carb-heavy dish I really enjoy is risotto, but we don’t tend to have it that much as it can be a bit of a faff to make.   I mean, it can be quite therapeutic, standing and gently stirring a steaming pan of rice and stock, but I don’t often have the time to do that.  And, well, it’s not quite so therapeutic doing that with a toddler trying to climb up your legs the whole time!

So I offer you an alternative – my super simple cheats’ risotto.

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I made this for lunch the other day and was really pleased with how well it turned out.  It’s so simple and requires minimal supervision which is great when you have kids around, or just aren’t in the mood to babysit a saucepan!

So here’s the recipe for my lovely simple risotto:

What you need:

  • 1 cup of arborio rice
  • 2 cups of hot stock (about 500ml)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of soft cheese (I used the garlic and herb version for extra flavour!)
  • Handful of frozen peas

What you do:

  • Put the rice and stock in a saucepan, cover the pan and turn the heat on really low.
  • Cook the rice for about 15 mins, giving it a quick stir every 5ish minutes.
  • At the end of the cooking time, stir in the peas, butter and cheese.
  • Enjoy!

It really is as simple as that.  The butter and soft cheese give it the lovely creaminess that is associated with classic risotto, and make it really yummy!

simple risotto recipe 

This is a truly tasty risotto, just as it is, but it would also work really well with a few other ingredients thrown in.  I’m thinking chunks of roasted chicken would be great, or maybe some leeks and salmon.  Hmm, I think there might be more risotto recipes on here in the future!

So how about you?  Are you a risotto purist, recoiling in horror at this suggestion?  Or are you happy for any suggestions that might make your life easier!

Cuddle Fairy
Thoughts my children have when I make a cup of coffee

5 thoughts my children have when I go to make a cup of coffee

Did you know that yesterday was international coffee day?  A wonderful day I’m sure you’ll agree!  Although, every day is coffee day around here.

The thing is, children seem to come with an in-built radar that detects when you want to have a nice hot drink.  They seem determined to make it as difficult as possible for us to make a coffee or tea, and then make it damn near impossible to drink it while it’s actually still hot!

Here I give you 5 thoughts that I’m sure my children have when I go to make a cup of coffee.

5 thoughts my children have when I go to make a cup of coffee

 

1) Look, Mummy’s going in the kitchen.  I’d better ask for a biscuit/some chocolate/a drink.

 

2) Hmm, Mummy’s clearly trying to do something in the kitchen.  I think she needs me to go in and squeeze myself in the gap between her legs and the work surface.

 

3) Ah, Mummy’s coming back with her hot drink; now’s the time to cling to her legs and ask to be picked up.

 

4) Ohh, Mummy’s just sat down with her drink.  I’d better ask her to go and get me a biscuit/some chocolate/a drink.

 

5) Right, Mummy’s just about to start drinking her coffee, this is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for to tell her that I need a clean nappy.  Mwah ha ha ha.

 

Are your children the same?  Or have you discovered a secret to having a hot drink in peace?! 
Fairy cakes 2 4 4 4 recipe

Simple fairy cakes (the 2,4,4,4 recipe)

A fair few years ago, before I really started doing much cooking or baking for myself, I watched in slight amazement as my sister made fairy cakes without even glancing at a recipe.

I remember thinking that she must be some kind of baking genius to have memorised the exact amount of ingredients that she needed.  Then she explained that all she did was weigh the eggs she was going to use and then use double that amount of each of the other ingredients.  So simple!

And when I went to bake fairy cakes with my son a while later I found that there’s an even simpler method for making them.  

The 2, 4, 4, 4 method!

 

simple fairy cakes recipe 2 4 4 4

Basically, the recipe consists of 2 eggs, then 4oz each of flour, caster sugar and butter.  Really nice and easy to remember!

In case you’re like the me of a few years ago and are new to the world of fairy cakes, here’s the full recipe:

 

What you’ll need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4oz (110g) self raising flour
  • 4oz (110g) caster sugar
  • 4oz (110g) butter

 

What you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • Pop 12 cake cases onto a baking tray
  • Cream together the butter and sugar
  • Mix in the egg and then stir in the flour
  • Spoon the mixture out into the cake cases (about 2 teaspoons of mixture per case!)
  • Bake for about 12 minutes, until they spring back slightly when you press them
  • Leave to cool

 

Make them pretty:

  • Now, I don’t have exact measurements for the icing, but this is how I go about making it
  • Grab a bowl and tip in about 10 teaspoons of icing sugar.
  • Add a TINY amount of water and mix it in.
  • Add more water little by little until you get the consistency you want.
  • I like my icing to be good and thick so it doesn’t just run off the top of the cakes!
  • Spoon some icing on to a cake and then top with sprinkles, smarties or whatever else you fancy.

 

There are tons of variations you can do of the basic fairy cake, but this simple recipe is a great place to get started!

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Welsh rarebit

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for bara brith and in the post I mentioned that, despite living in Wales for 15 years, I’d never had it before.  Well it’s the same for for Welsh rarebit.

Actually, that’s not 100% true.  I have had this before, just not in Wales.  The one and only time I’ve had it was in northern France.  Obviously!  It’s a bit of a thing over there apparently, and I did like the novelty of being in France and ordering a ‘welsh’!

In case you’ve not come across it before, welsh rarebit is basically just a variation of cheese on toast.  My husband and I made it for dinner last night and it was really easy to make and really tasty. So, on to the recipe!

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What you need:

  • 225g strong cheese such as Cheddar or Cheshire, grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of english mustard (or two if you want a bit more of a kick)
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • Pepper (a good few grinds of the pepper mill!)
  • 4 tablespoons of beer, stout or milk
  • 4 slices of toast (thick bread is best for this)

What you do:

  1. Put the cheese, butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, flour and pepper into a saucepan.
  2. Mix it all together well and then add the beer (or stout/milk, whatever you’re using).
  3. Stir it over a gentle heat until it’s all melted together into a pretty thick paste.
  4. Take off the heat and leave it to cool a little bit.
  5. Toast the bread while the cheese mixture is cooling slightly.
  6. Spread the cheese mixture on the toast and brown under a hot grill.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Things to note:

  • You’ll most likely want to make this once, and then tweak the recipe to suit your tastes.  We thought we’d most likely add a bit more mustard next time.
  • There are a few options to change this recipe up a bit, my husband put sweet chilli sauce on top of his and it was really tasty!  We also thought this would work as a topping for tuna melts.

If you like this recipe, you might also like this one for slow cooker sweet potatoes, where we ended up making a sweet potato tuna melt!

Cuddle Fairy