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Sunday 11 November 2018

Homemade Christmas Gifts To Impress

I'm ashamed to admit it, but many of the homemade cakes, bakes and boozes I make don't make it out of the house. Especially the food. I swear, from the moment it goes in the tin, it dwindles by the minute.

So, Christmas really is my opportunity to share some of the products of my labour. Recipes for jams and chutneys in particular result in such a large number that there's plenty to go around and you can't beat the feeling of pride you get, handing over something you labelled yourself.

Here are a few ideas for edible homemade gifts you can make for your friends and family this Christmas.

1. Spiced Cranberry and Fig Chutney

Sunday 23 September 2018

8 Ways To Engage Your Children With The Natural World

Engaging children with the natural world can mean so much more than just a trip to the park or an episode of Mr Bloom. But it doesn't have to cost you a week at Center Parcs either. Here are 8 low/no cost ways to encourage your children to engage with the natural world.

Saturday 8 September 2018

How To Make Homemade Sunshine Vodka

That's it, ladies and gents: summer is over, the kids are back to school and the shops are already filled with pumpkins. Autumn is here. But it's not too late to fake it. Bring back that summer feeling with this delicious Sunshine Vodka liqueur. This is an easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy recipe that you can even tailor to your own choice of tropical summer fruit.

Sunshine Vodka with a splash of lemonade

Sunday 2 September 2018

How Parenting Is Teaching Me To Learn Again

With Little O starting school this week, I've been thinking a lot recently about my own learning journey. He is just starting out on his, whilst mine feels a bit like the limited service the local bus provides our village. What's more, Little O has started asking the most interesting questions. Especially about how things are made.

"Mummy, how is bread made?" "Mummy, how do you make a car?" "Mummy, how do you make ice?"

Some of the answers I know. But some, I don't. It's easy to make something up for pacification's sake, but shouldn't we instead feel inspired to find out the real answer?

Wednesday 20 June 2018

How To Make Homemade Cherry Bakewell Liqueur

I absolutely cherry bakewells. They're sort of half cake, half tart and go exceptionally well with a cup of tea. I was looking for a new liqueur recipe to make as, though I already had some rhubarb and orange gin and some sunshine fruit liqueur in the cupboard, I wanted to make something a little smoother and sweeter with rich red berry flavours. 

This cherry bakewell liqueur recipe is one of my simplest liqueur recipes and is a satisfyingly boozy take on the real thing. 

Sunday 10 June 2018

Don't Grow Up Too Quickly, My Darlings

I'm going to hold my hands up and admit I cried over a buggy today. No, it didn't roll over my toes - I sold our travel system. And it felt like the biggest milestone yet.

I know it's just a thing, a machine, a collection of metal bits and pieces but there are some huge memories attached to those spokes. Like how I needed to have the car seat at just the right angle to get it to lift out properly. Of feeling pretty damn pleased with myself for fitting three big bags of food shopping in the basket underneath. Mum's first solo trip with it as a Grandmother, down the road. And how it eventually served to transport two little beating hearts instead of just one (hush now, ovaries. Hush.)

Sunday 8 April 2018

Top Tips For Baking With Your Children

Baking with your children always feels like such a good idea to begin with, doesn't it? There's something wonderfully wholesome about donning an apron and showing them how to make food. And if that something happens to be sugary and buttery, then we've already fast-forwarded in our minds to the post-bake sample session that with any luck will involve a hot cup of tea and two minutes peace. To me, that's the point of no return.

Top Tips For Baking With Kids - Mummy Wales Blog

The actual process of baking with children though? That's a minefield fit to test the courage of even the bravest soldier. Luckily for you, I've a few brilliant tips from my blogging buddies to hopefully make the experience more #instabaker than a scene resembling the aftermath of a natural disaster, with the attitude to match.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Why I Want My Sons to Know My Welsh Heritage

If you are born in Wales, grew up there, learned the language at school, went to a 'jambori', ate ponchmeip, watched S4C and got soaked to the skin on school trips to Welsh outdoor activity centres but don't have a Welsh accent, does that mean you can't call yourself Welsh? I don't think so. 

Living in the south of England for over a decade means I've lost much of my North West twang, but I am still Welsh, born and bred, and will always consider myself as such. It is easy to make false assumptions about my origins though because, well, I just don't sound Welsh. Sometimes it feels like that part of my identity is fading from view but it's so important to me that my boys know their mother's heritage.

Saturday 17 March 2018

How to Make Homemade Rhubarb and Orange Gin

Rhubarb can be a tricky vegetable to know what to do with. It's sharp, tangy flavour is often muted by oodles of sugar in a crumble and even then, it can be too sharp for some delicate palates. But by combining it with the citrus sweetness of orange in this rhubarb and orange gin, I think the vegetable has at last found it's partner in crime.

I had had a bag of rhubarb in my freezer for some time, waiting for my decision on what to use it for. I didn't have enough in weight to make a wine, but it also felt a bit if a cop out to make a dessert - in which case, I then would have had to much of the stuff.

In the end, I took it to Facebook: rhubarb and ginger jam or rhubarb and orange gin. And, of course, the latter prevailed.

Tuesday 13 February 2018

'O' Is For Optimism - Finding My Blogging Niche

O is for Optimism - finding my blogger ni

I've been having a bit of a blog crisis recently. Perhaps crisis isn't quite the word, but it's definitely some sort of general re-evaluation of purpose.

If you talk to any blogger, they will tell you that a blog needs a niche. "What need do you fill?" "What does your blog do?" It's a really good question, one that has had me tossing ideas into a metaphorical waste paper bin rather frequently on my commute to work recently.

The problem is, it's all been done before. The Unmumsy Mum broke the mould when she first started blogging about real motherhood, when suddenly a million mums across the country rejoiced in their emancipation, in mutual acknowledgement of the fact that motherhood isn't all cotton buds and cuddles. That sometimes it's a bit hard and more than a bit shit.

Monday 29 January 2018

Advice From A Geriatric Me

Time goes so fast. Before you know it, it's evaporated like a wisp of smoke. Sometimes I forget it's 2018. I can still remember worrying about the millennium bug and if Dad was going to get off the phone in time for me to dial up the Internet.

I realise this even more when I glance at my to do list and see items on it initially pencilled in weeks ago. When will I ever be able to tick them off? Then I start to wonder if I'm worrying too much about the future and if I should be more considerate of the here and now.

Advice from 80 year old me

What would an 80 year old me have to say about it? What would she tell me to do? Nobody wants to reach their twilight years full of regret. Maybe now is the time to listen to that older and (I hope) wiser me. But what would she say if she was sat next me, probably giving me that look Mum used to give to me, the one I now give to the boys. The knowing look. The 'I'm making a point' look. I think the first thing she'd tell me to do is:

Friday 12 January 2018

The Mother Next Door

The coiffured banker's wife puts the children to bed, then sits alone in her mansion waiting for a husband who'll be home late again. Her fingers are painted and her handbag Dior, but she risks more than a broken nail if she questions his absence.

She must have the perfect life, thinks the new mum who sits sobbing in the dark, desperately searching the internet for an answer to why her baby won't stop crying. She tries to comfort him, but he seems to sense her anguish and the misinterpreted rejection cuts deeper into her fraying inner strength.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

How To Make Homemade Spiced Apple Vodka

Apples and cinnamon - what a match made in heaven. And whilst this liqueur needs some time to mature for the flavours to infuse as deeply as possible, there's no denying it's worth the wait. And it's so easy to make too!

In liqueur-making, apples can be combined with brandy, gin and even rum, but I love the sharpness that comes from a vodka blend. This recipe will make about a litre of the finished liqueur and stores well in a cool cupboard.