Monday, 5 October 2015

Proudly introducing the next grandchild

All children are a blessing and being involved in the next generation is even more of a blessing. I am fortunate to have my grandchildren living to minutes round the corner to be involved in their lives on a regular basis, seeing the love and pleasure on their faces as you walk into their house, having them to stay overnight, it is an amazing experience to be involved in. I think all four grandparents are going to be called upon a wee bit more when Spud comes along in February next year. Spud is Fifi, Bob, Minky and Dinky's little brother/sister and I will give you my daughter's first thoughts.

the first picture of Spud 

About 3 weeks ago, Mum popped in for a minute, and, in the way that only Mums can, asked me if I was pregnant, as I was apparently looking a little fat. ( My daughter is built like a starved stick and she had a grapefruit sized lump, I DID NOT tell her she was looking fat I told her she was looking pregnant. )  I assured her that, no, I certainly was not pregnant, and had just put on a little weight.
After she left, something was niggling away at me, and so I did a few minor mental calculations, and then a pregnancy test, just to make sure, you understand.
Well, it turns out that we are expecting baby number 5. You’d honestly think, that, after 4 kids, I’d be able to tell when I am pregnant, but obviously not, as, when we went for a dating scan this week, we discovered that I’m 17 weeks pregnant. Spud is due 8th March.
What a shock, to put it mildly. The air was well and truly blue in our house that night! This baby was not planned, as you can probably guess, but now that it’s sunk in, and we’ve got our head round the idea, we’re both excited, and more than a little bit terrified! Fifi is very excited, and can’t wait until baby is here, while Bob is not quite so enamoured by the idea, but he’s coming round to it. Minky and Dinky haven’t got the faintest idea what’s going to hit them, although I’m not sure us adults are quite sure what’s coming either!
Luckily, with the twins still being so small, we’ve still got some of their baby things, so won’t need to get much, and, while we only have three bedrooms, they’re all decent sizes, so we’ll be able to squeeze another in somewhere. The cars big enough (just) to fit us all, and we have two cars anyway for the odd occasion that we need an extra seat or two.
I’m currently telling myself that 5 can’t be that much more difficult than 4, surely, and, after managing newborn twins, a singleton will be dead easy, right? It still feels a little surreal really, I’ve had absolutely no pregnancy symptoms at all, no sickness, heartburn, pain, anything, so even though I’ve seen Spud during the scan, it could almost be happening to someone else. I’m sure once it gets a bit bigger and starts kicking and punching it’ll feel more realistic!
Practically, I’m not entirely sure how we’ll manage, hubby works at a local holiday park, meaning that March is when he starts to get busier again, which isn’t great timing, but with Fifi and Bob getting more and more independent, and, of course, the closeness of devoted grandparents (and the odd CBeebies session) I’m sure we’ll all be fine.
As someone wise told me recently, a baby brings more love and joy than it ever does stress and hardship.

That last sentence is very true, I can't wait for Spud to arrive and have the pleasure of the totally dependant new born snuggles again. 
Had to laugh as Fifi has worked out that the twins will always be the twins and that this one will be on his/her own so mummy will have to have No6 to keep No5 company!! 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Project 365 week 40

Not a good week but most of it my own stupid fault.

Firstly can I ask you to do me a favour please. I have done a post for Pampers UNICEF Vaccines, and am asking nicely, could you please  click this link and for everybody that clicks through I get 3 vaccines donated. Nothing in it for me, but lots on it for children worse off than ours. Thanks people.


Yesterday I had ducked under something and stood up to soon and hit my head, sort of thing I have done dozens of times before. I rubbed my head and carried on ( as you do). But by just after lunch today I started getting really really nasty shooting pains through my head, had blurred vision and thought I was going to be sick. So one of my colleagues (M) phoned my supervisor and tok me down to A&E. Luckily enough it was quiet and I got seen quickly. Was told I had concussion and was sent home with this leaflet and told to take painkillers.


My head is still killing me still got blurred vision and my head hurts like hell when ever I move it. Normally watch the gruesome twosome on a Monday evening but could not face having to deal with them the way my head was feeling, the pain killers were just not touching it. So hubby suggested he would drive and we would take Bob to gymnastics and daughter would deal with the babies instead.So we dropped him off and had a walk up the estate, fresh air did not help but did not make it any worse either.
Had a lovely sunset over Arran as we were coming back into the village.


Can not take the pain any more, feels like my brain is trying to escape from my head, it feels hot inside my head and I still can't do a thing. Luckily we have a fab GP Practice and I managed to get an appointment for the same day without any problem, no explanation needed to beg one, there is always one available it seems. Told me the headaches could last a week or more and gave me even stronger painkillers. Reckons there was inflammation due to the injury and that is what was causing the heat. Sadly I can't take anti inflammatory tablets, so will just have to ride it out.


Visit day, have to say I had no notion for going the way my head was feeling, but I took paracetamol and got on with it.Probably should not have been driving but hubby does not do motorways.  As we were getting nice sunsets we decided to drive up to Whitelee Wind Farm and get a picture of a turbine at sunset. We went into a small place called Eaglesham to pick up a few caches and spotted this bus stop.  Have shared a sunset picture this week so decided on this instead. 


Well what can I say, have been saying to daughter for a while I thought she may be pregnant again. She is built like a starved stick and never has bulges any where, and she had a bulge. So she finally did a test which came back positive, and once her and hubby had got their heads round the news they told the children after yesterdays scan. Fifi is over the moon, and has decided as this one will be on its own as the twins will always be a pair then mum should have another one soon after to keep this one company.....
Bob is not so sure about it, he loves the gruesome twosome to bits but sometimes they are a bit much for him.  I am sure once he has got his head round it he will be fine. 

Meet Spud as he/she will be forever known on the blog, name picked by Bob. Daughter is seventeen weeks. 

Meet Spud


Have been on a work related course the last two days. Not quite sure at this stage it is what I expected but I will do the second half of the introductory course later in the month and see how it goes. There are many avenues I can take this down and as I have always enjoyed learning then may well find it a nice challenge for the brain.   You were going to get a picture of our groups work of  "art" when we were brain storming for one of the sessions held up by one of the tutors but I have no idea where the picture went after I pulled it off the phone, just cannot find it.
Some days you just can't be bothered to make or eat a proper meal, and so tonight we had rolls and burger with home grown lettuce and tomato.


We got sent through a few books and masks this week to promote McDonald's joining forces with Roald Dahl Literary Estate to encourage family reading time in the UK. McDonalds have just launched their "Happy Readers Initiative" and over the next six weeks will be giving away millions of books containing excerpts from some of Roald Dahl’s most loved stories in their Happy Meals.

I love the illustrations I have to say, and for me personally feel these can make or break a children's book. 

McDonalds Happy Readers Initiative

Friday, 2 October 2015

Pampers UNICEF 10th anniversary 1 pack = 1 vaccine campaign

Pampers are a household name, their products used and loved by parents everywhere. This year as in previous years they are using that to their advantage and helping to make a difference in parts of the world where people are not as fortunate as ourselves. For 10 years the Pampers® and UNICEF partnership has had only one wish: to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus everywhere!
This year is no different, and so their campaign goes on.

Pampers tell us
Maternal and newborn tetanus may not be a disease that you’re familiar with, but it affects families in some of the poorest areas of the world and occurs when newborns are infected as a direct result of unhygienic birthing practices. Once newborn tetanus has been contracted there is no real cure and it still claims the lives of 49,000 newborns every year, which is equivalent to one baby’s life every 11 minutes.                                                                                                                                            Since the Pampers-UNICEF “1 pack = 1 vaccine” campaign began in 2006, thanks to the support of parents just like yourself, we’ve helped to eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus in 17 countries. This means that an estimated 500,000 newborn babies have been saved and a vaccine has reached a mother and her baby every second.  However, there are still 21 countries where the disease remains a threat.

You can see the work they are doing over on their youtube video.

So by buying  Pampers to use on your own children you are helping those less fortunate.  Every pack bought buys another vaccine  I know as a grandparent there is only one thing more amazing than having your own child, and that is seeing that child grow to become a parent and joining in with the magic of grandchildren. Some of these mothers are being devastated by the death of their own children and will never get to see them grow up and have children of their own.

So this is where I need you, my readers to join in as there are ways you can help out even if you do not buy nappies any more.

Firstly for every body that clicks through to  reads this post they will donate 3 vaccines, so please please share it with all your friends, the more the merrier, thank you.

Secondly - why not go and watch the short video they have made called Wish - a delightful video of little ones attempts to blow out their birthday candles. and for every person that views it Pampers will donate another one vaccine. You can view it here, and once you have finished watching it give it a share and they will donate another vaccine.

Thirdly Pampers are asking you to share a picture of your own child across social media, a new one, an old one, it wont really matter, all you have to add is #PampersUNICEF and they will donate another vaccine. 

So think about it if every one of you has donated three vaccines just by being her, watches and share the video donating another two, and then pops a picture of you own child up for a sixth one how amazing would that be? 

I am also asking for you to share this post far and wide, much further and wider than you every have done. Share it for me on your Facebook page with every one of your friends, and ask them to share it with every one of their friends and lets help those well off than our own. 

A Blessing for the Wedding

Some days in family life can be just magical, and this was one such day. The only downer was that some of the family could not make it due to a late minute change of time and them having to work. Daughter No2 had got married back in June, you can read about that here if you missed it, but they were wanting a church blessing as well.

It was a small ceremony, just direct family on both sides.
It was a lovely ceremony with R (nephew) doing a reading and O (niece) playing Bridge Over Trouble Water on the flute. Then it was the turn of Fifi and Bob to do their reading, they read A Lovely Love Story which you can read here if you want.

But just as they started to read Minky decided to fall off his chair and hit his head on the chair on front, so I scooped him up and took him out so he did not disturb the reading and so their mum did not miss it. After a damp cloth and a biscuit he sported a nice egg but was fine regardless.

The Minister, Fiona, did a lovely ceremony, very light hearted and fun. Then time for some photographs. There was no professional photographer, just family with phones and cameras. This led to some fun as the poor people getting their pictures taken did not know which way to look, and there was a fair amount of unintentional photobombing going on.

O despite being only fourteen did a great job of organising groups of people for the pictures and it was all very relaxed. I know the Bride and the Bridesmaids wore their dresses but it was quite informal.

with nephews and nieces

Groom's sister and family

casual with the older children

wrong time to stand in the way

the hapy couple

with Bob

we are family we can hug now

Groom's Parents

Minky was for off every chance he got

Ex huby and I

the whole group

lovely niece/aunt moment

Ex hubby and his partner

Groom's mother gains some height

Fiona the Minister gains some height

all the nephews and nieces

O getting some organised pictures

boys being boys

Fifi keeping Minky amused

So after the photos were over we all piled into the cars and headed to The Bothwell Golf Club for a meal. Very nice it was too, a big back room to ourselves meaning we could make all the noise we wanted and not worry about others.

at the Bothwell Golf Club
Like all good places that welcome children there was colouring to be done, thought Minky spent most of the time emptying the box and crayons and using it to play peek a boo.

Dinky doing some colouring

After the meal the boys were typical boys play fighting on the floor and generally keeping themselves amused. Dinky was very cute as she kept going over to R who had to stop his play fighting give her a cuddle at which point she would giggle and run back to her mum and then do it all over again.

Back when they had the wedding I had brought the top layer of the cake up the road as it had not been cut and it was placed in the freezer as was the next day. It was brought along to be eaten and very nice it was too.

top layer of wedding cake 

Daughter had also brought along some Tunnock's Tea Cakes, well the factory is just round the corner so why not?  This led to a lot of light hearted bantering over the correct way to eat one. My Ex just bit into it as was, this led to all us woman saying no you turn it upside down and eat the biscuit bit first, then eat the mallow and lastly the chocolate. The men all disagreed and said you just bite them. This conversation then led onto eating Jaffa cakes, most of us woman agreeing upside down biscuit first then the orangy bit and chocolate. How do you eat your tea cakes? 

It was a lovely day, fab company, so relaxed and informal with much conversation and laughter going on. All the children were so well behaved and a pleasure to have there. Daughter went away with the children about 7pm, and the group wound down and the rest of us left for about 8pm. But as the happy couple and my ex and his girlfriend were staying in a hotel just round the corner from our B&B we all went back to their for a few more drinks and more conversation, We left them too it at about 11pm. 

The Freerange Family

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Pampers Wonder Week of Deals

Do you still have babies or children in nappies? Then this offer may well be of interest to you. Pampers are running some amazing offers starting on October 1st at 10 am. They are featuring golden deals for golden sleep from the UK’s biggest retailers. This offer only lasts for a week, so be quick and grab yourself a bargain before you favourite store runs our. 

So I hear you ask what does that entail? Well basically they will be offering amazing online deals in
conjunction with selected online retailers to bring you  unmissable prices on their range in sizes 1 - 6**. Offering you a chance to stock up at special prices and get them delivered from a retailer of your choice.

Anything that allows you to save money when you have children is in my opinion a good thing. Babies can cost a small fortune. so why not go across to their website and have a look for yourself? 
 Three simple steps, a) choose the retailer you wish to purchase from
 b) click the deal that appeals to you and
c) click through to the site to complete your purchase.

The website is designed to be very user friendly, leaving you with more time to enjoy your little bundles of fun, They are not only doing nappies they are doing their wipes as well. Lets be realistic you don't even need a baby in the house to buy wipes, we carry them in the car, in our rucksacks, I have some in both my work bags and even though I do not have children full time anymore I would not be without wipes. 

Pampers are currently working with Jasmine Birtles, an internationally recognised finance expert, financial and business commentator, journalist, TV and radio presenter.  who’s passionate about simple ways to save pounds – to help you make the most of retailer deals, and know when to splash and when to save.

Jasmine’s top tips:
1.       Buying in bulk might seem like a big investment up front, but making a larger one-off payment can reap big rewards over time
2.    The best bulk deals can often be found online & can make shopping a lot easier! Spend time finding the best online deals and then relax whilst your bulk order gets delivered direct to your door
3.     Did you know you can get big discounts bulk-buying nappies and wipes? Several supermarkets have offers on Pampers nappies and wipes if you bulk-buy right now. 
4.       When it’s gone it’s gone with most special offers in supermarkets, so keep an eye out for these deals – purchase things like extra bedding for a cot gifts for friends little ones, or anything else and store them for later
5.     Try and avoid buying products in bulk you haven’t used before; stick to tried and tested products for your family like Pampers and Fairy!

So what do they have on offer I ask you hear?

All of the product offers & pricing are at the sole discretion of the retailer, but you’ll be able to make the most of offers like the below:

       Amazon               Up to 50% off your first pack when you subscribe and save**
       Asda                      Pampers Baby Dry giga packs are 3 for £39*
New Pampers Baby-Dry Pants jumbo packs are 2 for £18*
       Boots                    Buy 5 essential packs of Baby Dry or Active Fit for £30*
Pampers New Baby jumbo packs are 2 for £14.50*
       Ocado                   Buy 6 essential packs of Active Fit or Baby Dry and get 3 free*
Pampers New Baby jumbo packs are 2 for £14*
       Morrisons           Buy 10 Baby Dry essential packs & save £25*
Buy 8 Active Fit large packs and save £30*
Buy 2 essential packs of New Baby-Dry Pants for £12*
       Tesco                    Spend £50 on Pampers nappies & wipes & get £10 off your shop*
New Pampers Baby-Dry Pants essential packs are £6*
       Waitrose             Buy 5 carry packs of Active Fit or Baby Dry for £15 and save £10*

Half Price Fairy Non Bio*

So what are you waiting for? I do not usually encourage my readers to leave my blog. but please feel free and do so, but mind and hurry back.

* Delivery charges may apply, see retailer for more details
Pampers packs included varies by retailer, all pricing is at the sole discretion of the retailer
Pampers Sensitive and Pampers New Baby Sensitive Wipes
3514 females aged 18-55

This is a collaborative post.

3514 females aged 18-55

Monday, 28 September 2015

An afternoon in the kitchen with Bob.

The grandchildren and I have not done any baking together for a while. Fifi manages to do baking at home by herself and now the twins are older Bob and his mum usually do some one day a week as part of Bobs home education so little need for me to do much with them. But last week I had gone to watch the twins while their mum did a few bits and pieces and was then coming back up the road to bake. So Bob came with me, was a brilliant afternoon with laughs at his mad antics.

We did two types of baking, Bob friendly and some stuff that wasn't. This is important for him as we feel he needs to learn how to make food with ingredients in that he is not allowed so he learns to handle the products safely.

So as hubby and I had been out blackberry ( bramble) picking on Wednesday first off all we decided to make something with them. So I peeled some pears and Bob chopped, we then added pears and blackberries to the pan and cook them up ready to make crumble. We made two crumbles, one gluten free one not but both dairy free.

Pear and Blackberry crumble

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20
Serves: 4


  • 2 oz vitalite
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 2 pears
  • 8 oz blackberries
  • 4 oz gluten free self raising flour
  • or 4 oz Self Raising flour


Peel and chop pears
Place pears and blackberries into a pan with a small amount of water and cook for five minutes.

Preheat oven to 170 oC (Fan) or 180 oC (none fan)

Rub marge and sugar into flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs
Place cooked fruit mix into a shallow baking tin and top with the crumble mix
Cook for approx 20 mins until browned.

Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

Note - we used home made custard with coconut milk for Bob and I.

blackberry crumble
crumble with soya cream

Lemon Cakes

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10
Serves: 6


  • 4 oz vitalite
  • 4 oz sugar
  • zest of a lemon
  • juice of a lemon
  • 1 mashed banana (egg substitute)
  • 8 oz gluten free self raising flour


cream butter and sugar.
add lemon zest and mashed banana and stir well
stir in flour and lemon juice
cook in batches in cake maker ( makes 20 small) , or alternatively at 160 oC for 12 mins ( makes 12)


eat plain
or make a lemon drizzle topping

lemon cakes

Bob grated the zest off of the lemon.

zesting the lemon

 I love to eat lemons so I was having a suck at what was left and Bob asked for a bit, so being the nice grandma I am I gave him a bit.

its a bit sour

Once we had cleared all Bobs items out of the way we set about making an adaptation to a cake I had seen on another blog a few weeks back. Helen made this chocolate orange birthday cake and I had to give a version of it a try.

Orange and chocolate cake

Prep Time: 30 mins plus cooling time,
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Servings: 8


for the cake
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 4 oz dairy free margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz self raising flour
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract

making the jelly

for the centre
  • one orange jelly
  • half pint water

the ganache

for the topping
  • 250 ml soya cream
  • 250 g dark chocolate

  1. Make the jelly according to the packet but only use half pint of water. Pour into a sandwich tin to set

  1. Cream margarine and sugar together
  2. add eggs and vanilla
  3. stir in flour and add a small amount of water if too thick.
  4. Split into two greased sandwich tins and cook at 160 oC for approx 15 mins until cooked through

  1. break chocolate into small pieces in a bowl
  2. heat cream to nearly boiling point
  3. pour over chocolate, leave to sit for 2 minutes and stir until chocolate is combined.
  4. leave to cool.

Once jelly is set and cake is cooled remove jelly from tin and place on one half of the cake. Sandwich together and top with cooled topping. Decorate with slices of tangerine.

nicely layered

ready to eat

While we were at it we also cooked up some more blackberries, strained the liquid off and made it up to a pint, then made a home made jelly with vege set. Popped the blackberries in and left them to set. Very nice they were too.

blackberry jelly

The Freerange Family