I believe in tomorrow...

We've been taking advantage of the Bank Holiday weekend to finally sort out the garden (how terribly British). Our next door neighbours may have laughed at our meager tools for the job ("That's not a shovel, that's a spade, THIS is a shovel!") but they did kindly jump over the fence with their hedge cutter and do some pruning for us.

We're planning on laying some turf to replace the gravel area in the next week or so and so must of the work has been on filling the old pond and working on turning it into a rockery. There were also tons of weeds to pull up and decisions to be made about what to do with the terraced beds we have.

I support Working PARENTS

I actually wrote this post a week ago and then forgot to type it up properly! I was pretty incensed when I wrote it, today, I'm calmer but just as passionate. This sort of out-dated attitude in the workplace is detrimental for all parents and I believe it is only by talking about it can we start to challenge these negative behaviours.
Today, I’ve been inspired by this post by Alice Weightman about how we need to talk more about working fathers. It is something that I am particularly passionate about, as my husband has been on the receiving end of remarks and treatment that, if made to a woman, would be considered discrimination. And yet it is accepted as perfectly reasonable behaviour toward fathers in the workplace.

Picture the scene.

Fun for Free Challenge

How much can you do for free in your local area?

I'll admit, I have been daunted by the prospect of having no cash to put aside for activities. It means that even reasonably priced ones like Toddler World at Wycombe Rye Lido are not viable right now. More pricey soft play centres, especially if they include a bus trip there, are definitely out. As is the cinema, bowling and swimming.

But then, the other day I was having a really good catch up with my best friend at the park and she turned to me and said that she liked how my children can find pleasure in simple things and not have to be entertained constantly. At the time, Ollie was sat with us rooting in the grass (probably for bugs, probably for eating) and Lily was dancing under a tree with falling blossom (I wish I'd got a better photo). I hadn't thought about it before but I realised she was right. My children are happy with a trip to the park, or the library and we have a lot on our doorstep to take advantage of.

Little Firsts

It's exciting times here in the Kirsch household as Ollie finally takes his first (unaided) steps and learns to stand on his own! In the last week we've also had his first haircut, first football match and first donut so it's all go here right now.

It sounds so very cliched. But I can't quite take in how fast he is growing. His character is shining through more and more every day. His mischievousness, his sense of adventure, his desire to make people laugh.

We made... Pitta Pizzas!

The best thing about making these scrummy pitta bread pizzas is that it doubles up as a fun morning activity AND lunch. Win win in my opinion. Plus, I love pizza and these give you a nice crispy base and the taste of a freshly made pizza. Yum.

They are also really, really easy. Especially if you buy the pizza sauce ready made, we got ours from Sainsburys but I'm pretty sure you can get them in most supermarkets. If that fails, then using tomato puree would probably work!

You'll need:
Pitta Breads
Pizza Sauce
Choice of toppings (ham, mushrooms, peppers, pineapple or whatever you fancy)

Pann Mill Open Day

Last September Lily, Ollie and I discovered the lovely Pann Mill in Wycombe. It's a real local treasure - we drive past it almost every time we go to town, it's situated at once of the entrances of the Rye and it is an ongoing restoration project which satisfies my interest in all things historic.

Today they held one of a series of open days. You can visit the working Mill for free, view the wheel and the operations inside, grinding flour (which you can then buy) and peruse a number of stalls they have available for raising money for the restoration project.

Hot Mama Style with Eden Shopping

Just last week I had a meltdown in the middle of a shop after struggling to find anything I felt good in. So imagine how happy I was when I was asked to feature this great style advice for summer from the fabulous guys at Eden Shopping Centre in High Wycombe. This comes just in time for their Summer Digital Showcase starting tomorrow and running for a week. So why not grab some inspiration and hit the shops for summer?
H&M Off the shoulder top £7.99
Here at Eden Shopping Centre we’re big fans of Stephanie’s Our Cherry Tree Blog, and so naturally we were delighted when she invited us to write a guest feature to celebrate Eden’s upcoming Summer Digital Fashion Showcase.

Lost in fantasy?

Today, I was struck (temporarily) speechless by this report on the Huffington Post about a Headteacher of a private school who claims that Harry Potter (and similar) books are 'damaging' to children.


It shocked me on many levels. Firstly, I can't work out why any teacher would appear to discourage children from reading anything. The benefits of reading are well-researched and well-known. Millions of pounds are spent every year in order to encourage children to read. Reading regularly improves logical thinking skills, language, communication, memory, knowledge, concentration, imagination and writing. I could go on.

Baking Days

I've said it before and I know I'll say it again and again but baking is one of my favourite activities to do with the kids. Maybe it's because it's something I know how to do and so replicating it as a baby and toddler activity isn't too stressful, or maybe it's just because I love cake, in the end does it really matter?

We started early this morning with some 'Raspberry Buns' from a recipe book that once belonged to my Mum. It's a Homepride cookery book that was given to her by an older friend and so I'm the third generation to be using this book. It's well loved and so many of the recipes come with happy memories for me.

Time for an adventure...

Today is a sit in the garden and read sort of day!

Jam drop cakes are in the oven, the sun is deciding whether to come out from behind the clouds, the washing is hanging out to dry and the rest of the house is presentable. So we're lounging in the garden with some books and teddies.

This is my kind of adventure. What's yours?

Cuddle Fairy

Review - Whizz Kidz Soft Play

Soft play centres can come with a pretty bad reputation. I don't know many adults who would choose to spend time there willingly. Personally, I don't think they're that bad. Sure, they're noisy and often overpriced but sometimes they can be a pretty good way of entertaining the kids. In our area there are a few which come recommend but we've only ever frequented one or two.

Until yesterday, when we were introduced to Whizz Kidz in Thame.

The day I cried in Primark

Today I cried.

In Primark.

Properly cried, trying to hide it from the other bargain-hunting shoppers who I hope had better things to do than stare.


We made... Cereal Box Cameras!

I often browse through Pinterest for baby and toddler friendly craft ideas but, like I've said before, I have some issues with the so-called 'easy' projects and toddler friendly craft ideas you can find there.

And so my love-hate relationship with the little red pin button continues and I have lost count of the projects started that end up in the bin. I'm still learning to come to terms with the fact that failing to produce Pinterest-worthy pins doesn't mean I'm failing at motherhood, being a housewife, or just life in general.

But then there are the days, where I find something and think "I can do that!" then, I actually do it! Yep. A spur of the moment decision for an activity after a morning out at bible study which actually turns out to be pretty good. If I do say so myself.


Hot on the heels of last week's Candid Cuddles link-up where I shared some of my recent favourite Lily quotes, Lily amused and delighted us today with this gem.

As it turns out, we found out that she actually meant 'waitress' but that was after a confusing conversation about what she meant when she said there was a naturist on Mr Tumble...

Now that is a scary thought.

Little Hearts, Big Love

Our wonderful weekend

We had a really lovely day today. The rest of the weekend has been peaceful, a trip to the library on Saturday, church on Sunday. Today was for fun.

We headed out to the High Wycombe May Fayre, something we've been to for the last couple of years as it's always a nice, family friendly event. It's held at Holywell Mead on the far side of the Rye but if you cross the park then there is also a small funfair and together they make for a pretty good day out.

I can't quite get over how much Lily has changed in a year. Ollie is still too young to have his face painted but Lily couldn't wait to have hers done and chose this bright neon butterfly, a bit different to last year's tiger option!

With faces painted and after a walk round to check out the various stalls, tombolas and cheerleading display we had a lot of fun running across the football pitches to the fun fair. I'm not used to running and so was surprised I didn't need a sit down at the other end.

The funfair was token operated and cost £10 for 12 tokens. Most rides were two tokens per person and the bumper cars were three tokens per car. I wasn't expecting Lily to go on as many rides as she did - she isn't usually so brave. Having overspent on the rides we sensibly cut back on ice cream. I felt a bit bad, but am hoping that Lily won't remember not having ice cream when she instead looks back and remembers the fun she had on the rides and the hook a duck.

Ollie got in on the action and enjoyed his first little train ride. He had much more fun at the play park where he could crawl around on the pirate ship and go down the slide.

I always find that after a really great weekend it's hard to get back into the swing of things and so I'm reminding myself of my promise to be grateful as I head into next week. I'm glad it will be shorter than normal and that I have simple activities planned to keep everyone happy. We'll be doing some cooking and baking tomorrow, working and nursery on Wednesday and Friday and will be at our usual toddler group on Thursday mornings. By that point I know I'll be ready for another quiet weekend and I'm already looking forward to it!

A Grateful Heart

If you've been reading my blog for a bit, you may have noticed a slight undercurrent of worry about our family finances. We're not in dire need. We don't live in poverty. Instead we're in the awkward position that many Mum's find themselves in when the cost of childcare exceeds their wage.

It's tricky. I want to work, love my job and am a big believer in the benefits of my children attending nursery. On the other hand, no one really wants to work for nothing and it is increasingly disheartening to find ourselves struggling each month to keep our heads above water. We've cut right back on days out and expensive activities, can't afford for the kids to attend any classes and are as thrifty as possible when it comes to our weekly shop.

With this worry hanging over me I have found it difficult to be positive in these last few weeks. Something a friend picked up on and helped out in a truly wonderful way on Thursday.

Their really kind act reminded me that I have so much to be grateful for, and that I should have more faith that everything will work out for the best.

I have no idea what that will be right now, we're yet to make a decision about me staying in work. But I know that when we do decide, it will be OK.

With that in mind, I've decided to concentrate on all the things I can be grateful for.

-My husband - bank holidays are an extra day with him home and every day he isn't at work is a better day.
-My children.
My Mum and sister. Always at the other end of the phone.
Friends. Every single one of them. Old ones, new ones, ones I haven't spoken to in a while.
A roof over my head.
Food in the cupboards.
A bank holiday Sunday where the sun is shining.
A church, a place of refuge.
A good book, and time to read it!
A garden with space for hanging clothes out to dry.
Netflix, and most specifically, the Good Wife which Matt and I watch every night. Because we are so cool. Ahem.
My faith, it gives me hope for the future.
My job, at least for now I have the choice and that's better than nothing.

Cuddle Fairy