Ice, Ice Baby

This has to be the best press release I’ve ever received. And the most cackles I’ve ever made in an office full of people. First, before you start reading, start by playing this video. Ready? GO

 

Welcome to Snowballs, a range of underpants designed to keep a man’s testicles at the optimum temperature for sperm production and fertility. Seeing as I’m on something of a “please god can I finally have a baby, oh please come on it’s not fair” kick, these have taken some of the sting out of the tail.

And the tale. No less than four more pregnancies announced in the last two weeks. I am so fucking happy for these wonderful people. They are really wonderful. I am also fucking miserable. Now I respect my fertility fighting friends far more than I ever did before. This is, as they say, something you can only understand if you are totally immersed in it yourself.

So, to lighten the mood and get you cackling, and to inspire those ladies and gents out there who are also muddling along against fertility, here is the video for Snowballs AND some Vanilla Ice to wash it all down. Get that booty shakin’!

The Doodle Doll

About a month and a half ago, Tabitha drew the most awesome doll ever. Then she drew on the reverse so it looked like a three dimensional character from a cartoon, cut it out and handed it to me with an expression of total pride. I was blown away. I’m 40 and I can’t draw as well as she can at the age of 6!

Then I read an article in Ideas Magazine which talked about a lady called Stacey and her business, The Love Bucket, where she makes Doodle Dolls. These are accurate and identical copies of your kid’s drawings made into gorgeous, felt dolls. Some of the whackier drawings actually turned into the best dolls. Well, I think so anyway.

I had to get this Daphne drawing made into a Doodle Doll. I knew T would adore it and I was soooo excited about seeing it made real. So, I scanned in the pic, sent it to Stacey and POOF the doll was made. I would like to add here that it was one of the easiest things I’ve done this year, the rest of my admin and making has been fraught with kak. In this case I sent the scan, she sent her bank details, I paid her, the doll arrived. And it all happened in under a month, which is superb when you consider how she makes these dolls by hand.

This is a picture showing you the drawing beside the doll:


Today the Doodle Daphne Doll arrived and here is Squidge with her. She is SO happy with her she even made me strap Daphne in the car so she was safe while we were driving. I have never seen her so in love with a toy before. MELT!

Want a baby? Eat Papaya

fertility foodA recent study held by the University of Karachi has shown that papaya has a ton of health benefits. One of these is the fact that it can boost fertility in both men and women.

So, ladies, haul out the papaya and stuff it into fruit salad, supper and salad and get your system up and running. Not only will you be adding some baby oomph to your body, but it can help with other issues like diabetes, cancer and hypertension.

Fuck that, let’s just grow a bloody papaya tree in the kitchen!

Here are some awesome Papaya Recipes for you, just to get you on the way to a big baby belly. WHOO!

 

Little Diva: Twist and curl

cute girls hairstyles guideThis hairstyle looks amazing and is quite tough to get right. Well, it is for me anyway. I struggle to keep Squidge’s hair in that twist for any length of time, her hair is so fine and curly that it untwists itself really easily. Fortunately, there is the wonder of hair spray and spray-in conditioner. A light blend of the two tends to hold the stray hairs down and the twist in place.

With this style you need: hairbrush, a rat tail comb, a hair band and a bobby pin, patience…

  • Brush the hair free from knots and tangles and then use the rat tail comb to divide the hair along the middle of the head. Don’t include the hair from the sides, just a section in the middle of the head that’s parallel to the ears.
  • Clip this section out of the way
  • Pull the rest of the hair back and twist it into a bun. If you need a great tutorial on how to do this go here.  If you don’t have time to do that, my secret is to tie the hair into a pony, separate the hair into two strands, twist them in my hands until they start pulling inwards and then twist them around each other and the hairband until they make a perfect bun, and seal by tucking the ends into the hairband and using a bobby pin to hold them secure.
  • cute girls hairstyles guideNow take the hair you clipped away and brush it into one length and start twisting. Twist it in the direction you want to go!
  • Twist it down past the ear to the bun you just made, wrap it around the bun and seal with another hairband and a bobby pin.
  • Spritz with a dash of hairspray
  • Ta da!!!

It’s Oh So Quiet….

Yes, it has been VERY quiet here on the site. I’m sorry. Half term is always a juggle a minute and I have been trying to keep work and gorgeous child happy. Sort of successfully.

This past two weeks, 12 days to be exact, I have also been fighting two of my personal demons – my weight and my smoking. I have always been a thin person and eaten whatever I liked, but pregnancy and a bad diet and stress soon helped me recover from that and I’ve been getting steadily bigger over the past two years.

So, what I decided to do was a Challenge. I entered a competition, along with a bunch of other equally insane people, to completely change my diet and exercise and achieve the best body I can. It lasts for 98 days and asks that I walk away from every single ounce of refined sugar on the planet. That means saying goodbye to cakes, chocolates, pizza, hamburgers and and and…

I’m not going to lie, it has been incredibly tough. Right now I am sitting here and gagging for something sweet, but instead I am probably going to drink a glass of water and do some exercise. This is the first time I have ever been so determined and I really don’t want to give up.

When it comes to smoking this is also a first. I have gone cold turkey. There is not a patch or a pipe in sight. And today, day 12, sees me grappling with those urges and taking it all one day at a time.

So, these two things have kept me pretty occupied for the last while. But the new term has started, new hairdos have been made, and I shall start popping these beauties up on the site. WISH ME LUCK!

Little Diva: Twist and Plait

cute girls hair easyThis cute girls hairstyle name had us giggling away like mad this morning. Well, I was giggling but when I played the song, Twist and Shout, to Squidge she soon got the joke. This is a very easy and cute hairstyle that’s perfect for manic Monday mornings. You don’t need longer than five minutes from start to finish and, yes, that includes the brushing out of tangles and swearing under your breath.

This particular girls hairdo was invented by us and is really just a bunch of cool hairstyles smashed together into one.

You’re going to need a rat tail comb, spray/water, a brush and a hairband.

Brush the hair out using a spray (or a spray-in conditioner or detangler) and then, using the rat tail comb, part the hair from the middle of the ear to about 1/4 up the head. If you look in the pic below, you can see how the hair is pulled up and away from the ear in two directions.

cute girls hairstyle easyDo this on both sides of the head and brush the rest of the hair into a loose pony at the bottom. This just keeps it out of the way while you twist. Clip away the left side and start on the right. How tightly you want your twist, or how soon, is up to you. If you separate the strands close to the front, then your twist will start really early on. I preferred to create the illusion of pulled back hair here, so I just twisted the entire hank of hair into itself. Like this:

cute girls hair easy

Ask your little one to hold the right strand and then twist the left. When they reach the middle, twist them around each other until you get down to your loose pony. Again, ask your little one to hold this while you separate the hair from the loose pony into three and start a French braid.

cute girls hairstyles easy

As you can see in the image the twisted hair disappears under the braid. To do this, just braid the hair to the neckline, ask your daughter to hold it, then take the twisted hair and slip it under the hair at the top of the French braid. Pull it down until you reach the three strands of your braid, blend it into one of the three strands, and complete the braid.

Ta da! Done. Easy as pie and lots of fun. Although there are points when you wish you had more arms…

 

 

Victoria sponge cupcakes with Nutella filling

victoria sponge nutella cupcakesYesterday I broke my 40-year cupcake curse. Well, not really 40 years, I wasn’t baking at 6 months old, obviously, but it sounds more dramatic.

Anyway…

Yes, I broke my cupcake curse and made no less than 12 gorgeous, perfect cupcakes that tasted amazing. YAY! So, in honour of this moment I am sharing the recipe that made me flawless cupcakes.

Note: Put Nutella in the fridge for a good 2-3 hours first

Ingredients:

225g butter softened (I bunged it into the microwave for about 30 seconds

225g caster sugar

225g self raising flour

4 medium eggs (they must be medium or the mixture tastes too eggy)

2 tsp vanilla extract

victoria sponge nutella cupcakesMake it up

  • Preheat the oven to 200 C and get those all important silicon cases ready and waiting. I was told that a neat little trick is to give the insides of the cupcake cases a little wipe with oil or butter to stop the cakes from sticking and it worked a treat.
  • Now blend the sugar and the butter until they are really, really creamy. We don’t have a blender/cooking fun instrument so we whisked it by hand. It takes longer but is kind of great for arm muscles I reckon.
  • victoria sponge nutella cupcakesOnce the mixture is super creamy and light add the four eggs one at a time. I’ve found that the trick to making the mixture light and fluffy is to really beat the mixture thoroughly after each egg. We whipped it for ages each time (Squidge also found this hugely entertaining so that’s a bonus) and the resultant cupcake mixture was so frothy it was amazing.
  • Now drop in the vanilla extract and stir it in carefully with a metal spoon
  • Do the same with the flour – fold it in with a metal spoon until thoroughly blended. I think that you have quite a bit of leeway here as I let Squidge do most of this (she wanted to!) and the mixture didn’t fail or flop.
  • Once that’s all neatly made, drop one to one and a half tablespoons of mixture into each case. We have a variety of different silicon case sizes so how much you put in will depend on that really. Add your teaspoon of Nutella and then cover it up with another tablespoon of mixture.
  • victoria sponge nutella cupcakesI also made some with a dollop of jam and some with a swirl of honey
  • Pop them into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown
  • Wait for them to cool (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, yeah RIGHT, wait for them to cool. Oh, oh, hahahahaha)
  • EAT

I have found that, even with cooling the Nutella prior to dolloping, it can drop to the bottom of the cupcake and not form that lovely and beautiful filling thing that you dream of. I have googled this issue and found several different options. The first is to make it icy cold (check), and the other is to roll your filling in a bit of flour. Oh yes!

This apparently works brilliantly with fruit fillings, chocolate chips and all sorts, so give it a bash.

Heidi over at One Feisty Mama says that she just swirls the Nutella into her mixture (when she bakes her Nutella Cake) which spreads the chocolate evenly throughout and tastes amazing. I used this trick for the honey filled Victoria sponges (which were inspired by Silky’s moon biscuits from Adventures of the Far Away Tree) and they were scrummy with pockets of honey.

There you go. Victoria sponge cupcakes with Nutella filling (or any other damn thing you please). And the ingredients are sooooo cheap and easy, this is my kind of recipe.

Little Diva: The gorgeous hair of bows

cute girls hairstylesThis hairdo totally captivated both Squidge and I when we saw it on the Adopt a Do site yesterday. It looks amazing! So we both thought it would be the perfect choice for Crazy Hair Friday at school today.

I did end up practising it a bit yesterday afternoon and sadly didn’t have the required hairpin that Mindy recommends so it was a little bit harder than it should have been.

For those of you who have girls with curly, fine hair, this do is best created with damp hair (not wet!) and then by twisting the strands before looping them through the hairpin to make them easier to manage. It is actually quite easy once you’ve got the hang of it (and if you have a proper hairpin – note to self: get some) and really, really would be brilliant for weddings, parties and general fun.

cutegirlshairstylesIt isn’t the most robust style, though. In spite of using a very tight French braid, one of the bows kept falling out. In the end it stayed looped on one side while popping out on the other, a little frustrating. And I don’t expect her hair to come back from school looking anything like this. In fact, I imagine it has already started coming loose even though I used hairspray.

I am not sure if this is because I used the wrong hairpin and stretched the braid too much though, I think it might be. Anyway, this hairstyle looks really complex but is rather easy to achieve. It is, however, time consuming and your little one will have to sit completely still as you thread. I recommend a book/TV/something to keep them occupied while you make it.

I am particularly proud of this one, I really love it.

Little Diva: The adorable twisty two

cute girls hairI am still struggling with twisting hair. It is incredibly frustrating and yet it delivers such awesome results that I have to keep on trying to get it right. I mean, just look at this hairstyle! It’s so chic and gorgeous and Squidge just loved it. It is one of the best cute girls hairstyles in my repertoire now.

Again, I was inspired by Adopt a Do, but what she makes look easy I find really tough. I think that the reason I struggle is because (other than my two left hands) Squidge’s hair is so fine and tangly. It seems to untwist itself as fast as I twist it! Again, plenty of spray in conditioner and hairspray (I use the John Frieda one that isn’t sticky and awful) tends to fix the problem.

cute girls hairIf your little one has the same kind of hair as Squidge, then this style is pretty much perfect. Once you have the hair twisting to your demands, it really does keep those tangles at bay. Although I have to confess that this particular cute girls hairstyle didn’t withstand the demands of school.

I really must start taking pics of how her hair looks at the end of the day so you can see how well each one copes! Happy hairdos!

cute girls hair

Little Diva: The heart hoops

cute girls hairstylesThis hairstyle is sadly not shown as well as it should be in these pics. I do apologise, I have no idea why I managed to get everything except Squidge’s hair in focus here. I think it was One Of Those Days. Probably brought on by the fact that it hasn’t stopped raining for a month and my brain is likely turning into some kind of mush/mushroom.

This hairdo is gorgeous and it was also taken from Adopt A Do as her styles are still rated as among the easiest and most versatile in my books. You’ll notice that the heart hoops at Mindy’s site are a lot thicker, but Squidge’s seem more, well, tame and this is because Squidge’s hair is very fine and curly.

We often start a style only to realise about halfway through that it just won’t work with thin, fine hair at all. My hair used to be like Squidge’s but it is now very thick so I have no worries about that changing in the future, but for now, all the posts on this site will be ones that work for little girls with fine locks and plenty of curls.

cute girls hairstylesWhile these heart hoops aren’t necessarily as lustrous as those on Adopt a Do, they are definitely cuter than cute and, I promise, one of the easiest hairstyles to make.  You will need to really get your daughter’s hair completely knot free and keep it a bit damp throughout to avoid those frustrating tangles so common with fine hair. I find that using a spray in conditioner (I always rave about Vosene so feel free to insert your choice here) makes a huge difference.

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