Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The power of blogging - thoughts from a blogger's child

It recently occurred to me that whilst I am now a blogger, it is also true that  I am a blogger's child.
You see, whilst my siblings and I grew up, my mother (who was a writer amongst many other things) wrote a weekly post for a parenting website about the funny things that happened in our family life. As you can imagine, a house filled with four children and an eclectic selection of pets was certainly plenty of inspiration for her. It was called 'Nesbit Road'.

At the time, I confess I didn't pay too much attention to what was written - the posts were created over the course of my teenage years and I think I must have been paying more attention to friends, parties and the Backstreet Boys- but Mum did occasionally check in with me to make sure I didn't mind if certain stories were published. This was over ten years ago and the blogosphere didn't have quite the same reach as it does now (and there was no Facebook or Twitter), so I usually said yes.

After the blog ended, Mum spent some time pulling together the posts for us all into a book. She'd written the posts over seven years and created a 166 page memento for us all - a lot of posts(!). And when I received it (I think I was in wedding planning mode at the time) I thanked her and set it aside to be dipped in and out of at a later point.  I didn't realise then how cherished this book would become.

Since my mum passed away three years ago, that book has become one of my favourite books on my book shelf. It's something I read when I want to laugh at the silly things that happened when growing up or when I'm feeling teary and just want to hear her voice - it's funny how powerful writing can be. It's something I read when I just want to remember. Remember my mum.... and the quirky things that used to happen on a fairly regular basis back in 'Nesbit Road'.

This all got me thinking about the power of blogging and how positive it can be for us, our children and our families. In writing about parenting, the big issues and the day-to-day, we are autobiographers of our family lives - witnessing, capturing and preserving. I know there are many debates around digital footprint, content copyright and over-sharing but the simple act of writing about your family life (whether to share or not) is a positive one.

In this digital age where children will grow up with thousands of pictures and videos of their childhoods, it's important to make sure that you are present there too. Writing captures our tone of voice, our humour, our observations and moments of family life that your children may not be able to recall.

Whether they log onto your blog in years to come, find a notebook or even pick up your book, I can guarantee they will smile when they read your words. They will hear your voice and recall moments that were long forgotten. They will remember.

So to all you bloggers, keep writing and being inspired by your family and those silly moments. Enjoy that bit of time you spend reflecting and writing about your day and how life really is for you this week.

And to my favourite blogger of them all, my mum, thank you.

 photo signature_zpscfe28285.png

Sunday, 12 July 2015

My Sunday Photo

A weekend spent in Longleat forest. Too many pictures to choose from but this is my favourite!


Friday, 3 July 2015

Friday night dinner: the best guacamole ever

Last week, whilst creating a Mexican feast for the hubby's birthday, I found the recipe and made what I now call the best guacamole ever. It's so good, it may become a Friday night staple...

I'm sure most people know how to make guacamole but I thought I would share the recipe as it's that tasty!

All you need is:
4 ripe avocados
1/2 red onion
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 lime
a handful of coriander
some spring onion, if you fancy as a garnish

Just chop the avocado, tomatoes and onion. Mix together. Add lime, pepper and coriander to taste.

We had ours with nachos. Perfect with a cold beer.

I'm off for round two...


(Original recipe found here)

 photo signature_zpscfe28285.png

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Dinner for one? Baked eggs in avocado recipe

The month of June in our household has meant a lot of late nights working for OH as well as a trip away. I have been on full-time bath and bed-time duty and so by the time I get round to making some dinner for me, I just want something on my plate as soon as possible - cue eyeing up the cereal cupboard....

But this week I have been inspired and have found a rather tasty, healthy and (most importantly) easy recipe which I wanted to share - Baked Eggs in Avocado.

Super simple and very easy to make.

All you need is:
1 avocado
2 eggs
salt and pepper
paprika/cayenne pepper
salad (whatever is in your fridge -  I've used tomatoes, basil, feta cheese and spring onion)
balsamic vinegar

All you need to do is:
- preheat the oven to 220 degrees (fan)
- halve the avocado
- place the two halves in a baking dish or ramekin
- crack one egg into each of the avocado halves ( be careful to keep the avocado upright and try and pour the yolk in first - this can get a bit messy)
- season with salt and pepper and paprika
- bake in oven for 15 minutes or until the egg is cooked through
- top with salad and a splash of balsamic vinegar

And voila! A tasty, simple, summer dinner. Enjoy ☺️

For more information about this recipe click here
 photo signature_zpscfe28285.png

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Breaking the blogging silence


So I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently... in fact, it's been a few months. Not on purpose but, as I'm sure other bloggers will know, blogging can often be put at the bottom of the never ending to-do list. 

It's been an exciting few months though! We've moved house and I'm now back at work (in a new job) and have been getting to grips with juggling being a mummy, working and life in general. Abigail is now walking and keeping us very much on our toes. She's also starting to talk with new favourite words dog, duck, ball and shoes (or dooos). It's amazing to see her grow and to watch her personality shine through. Although I didn't realise the terrible twos can start at fifteen months!! 

I do wish sometimes there were an extra couple of hours in the day (the plea of all parents). There's nothing I would love more than to spend my evenings writing, reading, tweeting, linking, liking and sharing - but the reality is by 7.30pm I'm really good for very little apart from watching a bit of Netflix and pretending to listen to my husband. 

So I've been more of a blogging observer. Keeping up to date with my favourite bloggers and enviously tracking #britmumslive (maybe next year).

This summer I will definitely make more of an effort to post, even if it's just a few words. These summer evenings do make the days feel that little bit longer, don't they?

In the meantime, I thought I'd pass on a few Netflix recommendations for those of you who, like me, are curled up on the sofa by 8pm...*

1. Grace and Frankie - I confess I didn't have high hopes for this but found to to be genuinely heart-warming and hilarious! Roll on season two...
2. Chef's table - so I'm working in food and hospitality PR now and I saw this as a bit of research but it was really interesting learning about chefs Massimo Bottura and Dan Barber. One for the foodies. 
3. Once Upon A Time - it's amazing how they link all the fairytales a together
4. The Good Wife - always good to watch an American law drama
5. Pretty Little Liars - a guilty pleasure but it's so good!

*Netflix has in no way sponsored me to write this post and I can guarantee my husband's list of recommendations would look very, very different. In fact, our profile looks like a confused mix of gritty dramas, indie comedies and a few episodes of Peppa Pig thrown in for good measure!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Now we have a one-year old


So it's official, we no longer have a newborn baby. I can no longer count my daughter's age in weeks or months (well, I can try months for a bit longer but will likely just get that weird look as friends put their mental arithmetic to the test and attempt to make sense of what I have said) and can now say I have a one-year old. And wow what a year it has been. 

Timehop shows me pictures of my post-birth self cradling my tiny sleeping daughter on this day last year. Oh how far we have come since that newborn haze,  surrounded by muslins and pillows! 

Today I have an explorer on my hands. Crawling round our new home (yes, we finally moved!), unpacking bags, climbing the stairs with already too much ease (supervised!) and reaching higher and higher for things she should not have. A is already very observant, and today for the first time, I saw her pretending to have a conversation on her baby phone full of laughs and 'no, no,no!' Now might be the time to start watching we say in front of the B-A-B-Y...

This milestone has me thinking about the past year and what I advice I would give myself or indeed anyone with a newborn now.  A couple of tips spring to mind:

  • get comfortable: whether it's the sofa, rocking chair or your bed, settle in for lots of cuddles with your little one and get to know them. 
  • eat and drink plenty: you need to keep your energy up! But don't go overboard on cake, your body really needs the good stuff right now.
  • take lots of pictures and videos: capture as many moments as you can.
  •  forget dieting and trying to lose weight: give yourself a break, you've just had a baby! It took nine months to make your little one, why wouldn't it take at least nine months for your body to get back to normal?
  • try not to do too much too, too soon: this can be particularly challenging if you've only recently started maternity leave and are still adjusting to life without meetings and spreadsheets. Take each day at a time as you learn to live with your baby and handle all the practicalities. 
  • cherish every moment: even when it feels like you will never sleep or shower again. You will.

Now, what does life with a toddler look like? *Gulp*

Sunday, 25 January 2015

It's time to get moving

2015 has started off as a fairly active year over here at The Changing Bag. We are about to move house and our little girl started crawling during the festive period (after weeks of trying to persuade her to crawl using a wide range of toys and remote controls it was in fact a novelty dancing Christmas Tree that gave her the inspiration to move forwards). Other parents warned us about the 'fun' that we would have in store when A started crawling but, much like the rest of parenting advice, I didn't fully comprehend what they actually meant. Here are few ways in which life has changed with our mobile baby:

1. We have had to find new homes for our shoes.
2. Toys now fill the spaces where our shoes were.
3. The coffee table now has to stay clear because that glass of water will end up on the floor.
4. After four years of living in our home, we are finally using the kitchen door.
5. Hoovering must be done everyday or she will find those crumbs.
6. If the DVDs aren't spread across the floor they are in the wrong place. We are reminded of this every morning.
7. The stairs make excellent drums.
8. A doorstop I didn't even realise we had is the most fascinating of objects... move over Elmo.
9. Plugs and wires must be hidden. Charge your devices after 7pm.
10. That spot wedged between the table and the sofa is the perfect place to hide.

So in amongst organising a move, sorting through our belongings and starting to pack we are also trying to keep up with our daughter who keeps taking off with anything that she thinks she can't have. It's time to rally the babysitters I think. Here's hoping the next month will go smoothly and we can settle in before it's time for walking.

 photo signature_zpscfe28285.png

And then the fun began...