Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A simple Hungry Caterpillar Cake

So as you may have seen in my previous post, for Zachary's first birthday I made a hungry caterpillar cake.

As with all my cakes my first port of call for inspiration was pinterest, I have learnt now though that what is on pinterest is not to my standard and not to be disappointed with my outcome afterwards!

As I wanted it to be simple (due to having some walls being knocked down next to the kitchen) I tried to not look at the big amazing cakes too much!

The sponges I made in advance, just a basic vanilla mix, I have started using vanilla bean paste instead of extract recently and love the more intensive flavour.

The day after I put some raspberry jam and vanilla butter between the 2 layers. Then I covered in white ready roll icing (which hurrah I managed to put on without any tears or crinkles)!

I'd bought a small pack of ready made icing colours and basically mixed some colours together to make a mottled/marbled look.

The caterpillar was made by simply rolling into balls and then shaping them by flattening them down slightly.

And then with the other mixed up colours I made up lots of small circles using a cutter, and with a little water stuck them onto the white surface. 

I stored in a cardboard box, I learnt from my cake making friend never to cover in cling film (which is what I always used to do).

It tasted lovely, and got demolished quite quickly!

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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Zachary turns one (post over a month late)!

So on the 6th May our little baby boy turned one!

One already! How can that be?

He really isn't so little anymore either, he's a tall and stocky lad, just like his Dad and oldest brother.

I know it's cliche but this past year has flown by and is all a bit of a blur!

Zachary is such a happy soul, you know if he's crying that there is a problem.

So content with the simplest of things.

His favourite toys are balls, and cars. He's often found with a ball in his hand or chasing one!

He's been so good with feeding, taking to solids probably much earlier than he was supposed to really, but it worked for him. I fed him up to around 7 months too which is the longest I have breast fed any of the boys, after that we transitioned him to his own bed rather than his next to me crib. It took a while for me to get evenings back due to him clinging to me most evenings and waking most times we tried him in his cot. Now though he is brilliant, he loves his sleep so much that he will have around a 3 hour nap in the day which the other two boys rarely did, some mornings we might be lucky enough to get a lie in off him-shame the other two don't though.

He adores his older brothers and loves following them around the place, the biggest smiles are always saved for when we pick them up from school, it melts my heart every time.

He is saying a few words now too, mama being his first, followed by dada, Alex (Ala), Sam (lala), hiya, and his first word to an object being Alexa haha. Since his birthday he has least 'ba' which is either ball, book, back, or balloon, and has perfected 'more, more' whenever there is a sniff of food or rustle of a packet!

He's been steady on his feet for ages, standing alone for quite some time, but only started proper steps around 12 months, since his birthday he has got more and more confident. He now walks unaided (with a few little falls on his bum) and if he falls he is straight up again!

For his birthday we kept it pretty simple, the weather was gorgeous, and as we were having walls knocked down at our place we couldn't have people over. So we opted for heading to the local Zoo for the day. My parents and brothers joined us too, we had a picnic and the all important birthday cake before introducing Zac to Cotswold wildlife park, somewhere we have enjoyed visiting for many years (even as kids ourselves).

I made a big vanilla sponge and filled it with jam and buttercream, I've always wanted to make a hungry caterpillar cake for a 1st birthday so this was my theme.

The cake was delicious if I say so myself. 

It was so lovely to enjoy a summery birthday, with the rest of us 4 having birthday's in Nov and Dec it was a real novelty.

We went to my parents for a BBQ and more cake afterwards, and it was the end of a perfect first birthday.

Just can't believe that is the last of the baby days, and last of  the baby firsts! *sob*

Thursday, 25 January 2018

3rd Child syndrome

Oops, I've just been updating a couple of bits of an old post as the links weren't complying with something as I've just had a quick flick through some posts of mine to realise that I really haven't written about Zac much at all, if anything other than his birth!!!

Feeling a bit guilty for that I must admit and definitely a case of 3rd child syndrome.

Life with three kids (and lets face it the hubby is sometimes like a fourth haha) is just so busy and full on that I just don't get much time to write anymore.

Zachary is nearly 9 months, which is just unbelievable in itself!

So before I forget or loose the scrappy bit of paper with important dates on I thought I'd type down a few bits I've missed on the blog!

At around 3 and 1/2 weeks he rolled a couple of times from his front to his back, I think this must have been a complete fluke though as it didn't happen for a long time after that. He was a super sleepy baby in the day at this age...night times maybe not so much!

At about 4 weeks old we had the first smiles, some in the bath and them some for Daddy! At at 6 weeks old we were treated with the big gummy grins especially after waking up.

He loved bath time, I think part of this must have been because when he was tiny the weather was really quite hot (feels like forever ago since summer now though) I was giving him baths quite frequently to cool him and make it more comfortable for him. Alex and Sam love bath time with him too, although a bit of a squeeze if they all want to get in at the same time!

At 8 weeks he did he first full night from about 10ish to  6.30, and by 10ish weeks this was most nights (unfortunately this was very short lived much to my disappointment)!

At 15 weeks he rolled from front to back, a day before 4 months old he mastered back to front and also sitting unaided for the first time!!

As he is one of my boys, and a Spencer boy at that I did decide to wean early at 19 weeks ( I know lots of people cringe when I say that), I've weaned all 3 of the boys early as they simply were starving! You know yourself if they are ready for food, Zachary was getting extremely angry at dinner time and was trying to grab anything he could off our plates. I just stuck to simple baby rice for quite a few weeks though. This made him so much happier, although unlike his brothers it made no difference to the night time wake ups and feeds.

By around 23 weeks we really knew that we had him as he no longer stayed in the same place as he got around the lounge with shuffling and his newly perfected rolling, always after the boys hot wheels as opposed to his own toys!

At 25 weeks you could see he was eager to crawl, up on hands and knees and launching himself forward when possible, at 27 weeks the commando crawl was happening and just a week after he'd discovered there were more rooms to explore other than the lounge (eek)!!

Not content with just crawling at 28 1/2 weeks he decided that standing himself up using the bath tub handle would be a fun thing to do too! Just to make bath times even more interesting I think!!

He's a strong lad so at 29 weeks he was able to sit up from a crawling position.

Now the next bits aren't so exact on the dates as A. I have no idea how many weeks he is now and B. we've been so busy I've forgotten to jot things down. Thank goodness I like to use facebook etc though!

I was super excited that one of my children said 'mama' first the other two were definitely 'dada' so I've rubbed this in a little to James who is a little put out by it haha. Such a magical moment, but I do wonder when it starts to change (like now if the older two say Mum constantly it grates on me haha).

He was up against the sofas at 7 months, although happy to just stand up rather than cruise.

At 7 and 1/2 months he tried to say Hiya.

At 8 months he climbed the stairs...I'd like to say with an adult behind him, I'd like to say I watched him do it, but in all honestly he snuck up when the lounge door was left ajar, the boys were supposed to be keeping an eye on him for 2 minutes whilst James and I were on an important call in the office. I've never panicked so much in my own home, the hall was dark, the boys oblivious to the fact he's even got out the room! I ran upstairs to the dark landing and still couldn't hear or see him, then I really panicked!! Sam then found him in Alex's room  (also dark) with a small piece of Lego in his mouth just to top off the bad parenting award! Needless to say a stairgate was bought quickly after that!!

At 8 1/2 months he's now trying to say 'dada' although it's normally just one big 'daaa' or 'dud'. We've had a few bab and lala type sounds too, and it's very cute when he's chatting away to himself.

He's such a good tempered baby, and generally only cries when there is really an issue of hunger, tiredness or pain (downside to an active one is they always seem to bump themselves into things). He is so active though as spots an open door, a little crumb (or not food but something else small to pop into his mouth!) stairs from a mile off, so really have to watch him. He's opening cupboard doors etc now too so will be ordering so door locks.

I'd say the only thing we've yet to master yet is a proper routine, not sure if it's the school routine that has made it harder for him to fall into his own routine or just that's his way of keeping me on my toes. He often sleeps at different times of the day most days so I never really know what to expect, like for example today he's still asleep in his pushchair from our morning school run (nice to sit on sofa with the laptop for a change though), sometimes he won't sleep until after lunch, sometimes he won't sleep in his cot and only my arms.

In the past 4 or 5 months I think I can count on 1 hand how many times he's slept through, he likes to wake and be cuddled in our bed! He does usually go back to sleep straight away though, up until 8 months I'd still been breastfeeding at night when he woke but I decided to try and stop and see if it made any difference. Actually since I stopped feeding him at night he seems to be settling down quicker when he comes in and will then sleep until the morning. In fact he loves a lie in! Sometimes I'm sad to see our breast feeding journey end (without me planning on it) and in other ways I'm glad, a couple of weeks ago I started to get mastitis symptoms so just decided it wasn't worth the pain and to just stop after I'd cleared the blockage!

He's such a cutie and really gaining his personality now, I just wish he'd slow down a little!! Can't imagine our family without him.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Making paper snowflakes and Vileda review

Wow, life has been utterly hectic lately!

I always find this time of year manic, not just from the usual Christmas lead up with school performances and extra activities, but from it being 4 out of 5 of our birthdays within 3 weeks. We gave the boys a party each, which for me means more cake making because I never just make things easy for myself. But if all that wasn't enough this year we also had a nasty sickness bug which wiped out at least one of us for over a week (James was the only one to escape!) and also a friend's wedding too!

The snow day just about tipped me over the edge when I thought either Sam's party would have to be cancelled or no one would turn up...thankfully though we carried on and enough could make it!

So after all those very busy weeks, I was quite glad when the Monday came around and the boys school although not fully shut (they'd said if it was too dangerous to come in not to worry...I didn't fancy a 50min round trip with the buggy in the snow) we took advantage of a possible lazy day in the warmth.

We were all shattered, especially Sam who was still getting over the lurgy and his birthday. By mid morning I'd actually had enough of them and thought we should at least try and do something festive...I'd been in full on birthday mode up until then!

I decided it had to be something very quick and easy. So we made good old fashioned snowflakes from white paper.

It's something I used to love doing as a kid, and still fun to do now as you never quite know how it will turn out.

Simply get a square piece of paper, fold into a triangle, and fold again to a smaller triangle, and then for a third time.

Open up the third fold.

Bring both side of the triangle to the middle fold and cut off the excess paper.

Now the fun part, cut your design.

Alex had free reign and did his own thing, Sam was more frustrated (due to tiredness) and needed more help so I drew some simple triangle shapes for him to cut. With his snowflake I made less folds too, for ease of him being able to cut it.

Look online if you want a more challenging design too.

Once they'd finished we layered them in so much glue they went soggy lightly put some PVA glue on them and sprinkled with some glitter. We couldn't find silver glitter so made do with some bronze coloured one.

Most people would cringe doing this sort of thing at home with the glitter, but it's super easy to tidy with the right tools.

We had a Vileda 3 Action Broom to try out, now normally I'm not a great lover of brooms as I find they don't pick up the small bits of leave a bit of a trail behind them.

Once the boys had finished and there was the mess of the paper, glitter, and their snack all over our kitchen floor (which is a horrible vinyl...) I was thinking that the broom wouldn't be great if I'm honest as I never have much luck with brooms.

But this one was different, because of the 3 different brushes within the broom head it picked up everything really well and with ease. Even most of the glitter moved with it, and we all know how hard it is to get rid of glitter!

So if you're in need of a cleaning aid this Christmas this broom is brilliant for the quick jobs after crafting, baking, or when you get that call from an unexpected visitor saying they will be round in 5!

This is especially handy for us at the moment with Zachary crawling, I don't always have time to grab the hoover so can do a quick clean of our kitchen and hallway if need be (which quite frankly with 3 boys and a husband in the trade it's always needed)!

The broom was given to us to review but all thoughts and opinions are true and our own words

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


Oops, it seems I failed to keep it going with blogtober!

I've decided linkys aren't really for me anymore as I just do not have the time, and any time I may have I am often too tired to think straight let alone type anything readable.

Time is definitely something I which I could have more of right now.

I have so many tasks I would like to do.

And never get around to finishing them off properly, or even starting in some cases.

Some things that I'd like to get done are:

A photo wall

We have a lovely big plain wall on our stairs that is crying out for some artwork.

I've pinned many photos of them on pinterest, and James obviously must have remembered.

It was our 10 year anniversary (of being together not married) back in Sept and James did a bit of a treasure hunt around the house to the end present of lots of frames, and a 'let's fill them with the last 10 years' note.

After returning the original frames he bought (not because I didn't like them but because I thought Ikea ones would be easier to match year after year as we add to them) came the task of slowly trying to work through the thousands of photos on our Onedrive.

This is why the whole thing has been halted as we really do have so many photos, and we really haven't kept on top of them, probably since having Sam!

 I have literally spent hours deleting the rubbish ones, and putting them into folders so that it loads quicker, as much as I just like them all chronologically ordered year by year rather than by event!

I think I've got to about 2013/14 fully done...but it's so easy to be distracted and go down memory lane!!


We've been in this house for nearly 3 years and even areas we have done are crying out for a freshen up.

That said the lounge is a priority as we have ordered some new sofas from DFS.

 Although our current one isn't old it is just too small for us now, we bought it in our old home and it's never really fit our look or our growing family in the new house.

It will be so nice to have a bit more space when snuggling to watch a film together, rather than one of us ending up on the bean bag!

Also when we have visitors we will actually have some seating!

There's not much to do decor wise thankfully, just a freshen up and possibly paint the gloss, we have ordered new carpet from carpet right, and want some new radiators, and James being an electrician wants to change the lights as we aren't happy with what we have now.

The other room that needs doing is Zachary's, we planned on doing it before he was born but ran out of time, then thought we'd wait until we knew whether it was a boy or a girl.

Now nearly 6 months later, the room is more of a dumping ground than a babies room! I've so many boxes of baby things ready for the loft or to pass onto friends.

We've a patchy wall from tester pots and furniture than needs tweaking!

Zachary is growing out of this next to me crib soon for sure so this is something that needs doing NOW really!


I've made headway on this already as I've sold most of my maternity clothes this past week.

I just wish the rest of the family could tidy up and sort through their bits a bit more as there's only so much I can sort through!

James has so many wires and cables for random bits of technology so I am hoping he has a good sort through it all soon!

Time to create

I've actually had a few crafting chances this past week as Zachary has slept longer.

But I do need to create more time so that I have enough stock for the 2 school Christmas markets I'm doing in Nov.

Time to write

My blog has slipped, I know that!

I feel I've missed out so many moments to record, the little things I know I'll forget.

The boys have completed a term at school and Zachary is nearly half a year old already!

Sometimes I wish I could just pause time, get all the boring house jobs sorted and enjoy our family time together!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Blogtober: Date


I'm sure that's word I used to know the meaning of

My mind's a little hazy as it's been so long!

It's funny, people say you should still date when you have kids, and yes, whilst I agree, it's not always as easy as that. 

Since we have 3 kids, one of which still feeds off me, and parent's who still work full time, baby sitters isn't something I feel we can ask for regularly, I always feel guilty. 

Guilty I'm leaving the kids (despite ALWAYS wanting some more 'me' time, and guilty for whoever is looking after the kids for us as it is taking up their time!

We can never win as parents can we!

I think the closest thing to a date recently, is when James and I escaped the house one evening for a meal with some of his family, but we took Zachary with us. It was nice to dress up a bit for a change though. Nice to be out of jeans and t-shirt which are probably stained in something baby related!! It was also the first time I'd worn heals in a VERY long time.

Looking back 10 years ago, our relationship had just started, as we were 17 it mainly consisted of somewhere our parents could take us, or we could walk to, and of course afford!

I think we basically went to the cinema and then a few months later when we turned 18 the pub for a sizzling meal, a pint or in my case a southern comfort and lemonade (a drink I've not had in ages)!

We did used to hop on the train to London or Cardiff for something a bit more extravagant if we had a good pay cheque! 

We've never really done anything too extravagant as never had the money too. In fact the only nights we've spent away from the kids are nights we've stayed after a wedding or our mini moon!

The most 'out there' thing we did when Alex was little was a night on the dry slopes learning to ski, we didn't learn much but it was a good laugh. 

In the coming years I can't wait to hopefully go on more dates. 

I am hoping that having children young means that we can enjoy our early 40's and catch up on some of the fun we missed in our early 20's. I look at my parent's who had me at 22 and my brothers 3 and 6 years later and look at where they travelled to kid free the past 10-15 years, and I hope that James and I can be the same. 

I'd love to travel more of the world, and who better to do it with than my favourite date (I know pass the sick bucket).  

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Blogtober: Car

As you may have read in my 1st Blogtober post, I don't drive. 

So although technically I own the car (well lease) I actually don't drive at all. 

I NEED to start lessons again, I had them when I was 17 and then just stopped, no real reason in particular, I just paused to take me AS levels and then never went back. 

Probably the biggest mistake really as I am kicking my self in the foot with it now. 

As much as I love walking as I think it really is good for the fresh air an obvious health benefits, it also has the obvious downsides such as walking in all weathers and everything taking so much longer. 

As the boys grow up I am also finding weekends to be a bit of a pain, the calendar fills up with parties, and football matches/training and then James throws a curve-ball and says he has to work the weekend! 

Then I have to rely on the help of others, which I always feel a little awkward about. 

So before I am 30 (which gives me just over 2 years) I will re-apply for a provisional license, I will get behind the steering wheel, conquer my fear and lack of confidence and driving!! 

Only problem is I have to learn in our beast of a car, when I'd much rather be driving something a lot smaller!!

My husband on the other hand has had plenty of cars in the 9 years he's been driving, a Corsa (sporty and drank fuel £££ on insurance so got a ...), Aygo (cheap to run, traded for...), Focus (mint condition, got written off by an old lady just days after owning it), Astra (was cheap when we needed a car after months of not having one, died shortly after but practically rolled into the car shop where we bought...), Citroen C5 (lovely car but had loads of mileage...), Insignia estate (did well for while but like all vauxhalls seemed to die with age...), old Scenic (from our friends that moved to France, temporary car to get to the hospital in when Zac was due, and thereafter a work car whilst the insignia wouldn't start)! We now have 2 cars the same, one black and one sliver and automatic  Hyundai i40 estates(which is what I am supposed to learn to drive in)!