I’m sharing my home-made toddler recipes (but don’t tell Archie)

archie   When I had our three children, many moons ago, I cooked all their meals from fresh as the jars and packet meals on sale weren’t exactly the most appetising things going (much as they are today)  I cooked fresh baby meals for our first grandson and have been doing the same for our second (that’s him on the left!)

Babies and toddlers are surrounded with new experiences each andevery day, so introducing new flavours and textures to their mealtimes is normally quite easy.  I’ve put together a collection of some of the recipes I prepare regularly for Archie and they’re available for you FREE!

Simply pop your name and email into the box on the right and you’ll get instant access to some of Archie’s favourite meals!  Look out for more in the future …..


Investing your time wisely – building an online business ….

clock Have you been investing your time in learning all you can about building an online business?  I was lucky: having found my mentor back in 2009, I’ve personally invested many hundreds of hours over the last three years, learning every aspect of what it takes to build an online business from the very start. Nothing has been left out, from getting my head around HTML, WordPress,autoresponders, driving traffic to my sites, creating my own products – and I have enjoyed every minute (although there have been times when I wondered if I’d ever get there!) I’ve attended seminars, webinars and built up relationships with people following the same path as me.

There are those who take action – and there are those who don’t. The ones who don’t are usually the people who say that internet marketing and successful online businesses don’t work. Those who’re willing to spend their  time learning and implementing are the ones who reach their goal. You HAVE to make sacrifices if you want to win. What these sacrifices are will differ from person to person. When I began online, I gave up watching tv to concentrate on learning the skills I needed. Four years on, I still watch very little tv and spend most of my “me” time on my laptop, still learning and implementing!

Of course, we never stop learning. The very nature of an online business means that nothing stands still, you constantly need to learn new skills if you don’t want to get left behind. I’m now moving forward and beginning to incorporate new strategies on my sites – and I’m looking forward to seeing how they work for me. Nothing can beat putting something together and watching it come alive on your website at the click of a mouse!

Taking the time out to learn is something which you should take seriously if you want to succeed online. Take every nugget of good information you find and make use of it – find yourself one or two successful people who are doing things you like and learn from them.  Soak up their input and knowledge and then utilise this in your own business.  Having a mentor is, for me, a vital part of any success  so you may find you have different mentors for different strategies, ie, a mentor who is your number one g0-to for traffic, or social media and so on.  Learn from the best and be the best!

It’s a hard fact of life but unless you’re willing and committed to investing your time and effort into a business, you’re likely to fall at the first post. Get yourself in the right mindset, make your plans, set your goals and GO FOR IT!





* A version of this article originally appeared on my site reachsuccess-online

Keep Calm and Shop Online …

If you’re fed up of battling the pre-Christmas crowds already but need to find the perfect card for a birthday or new arrival, or you’re fed up with cold hands and need some cosy new gloves, sit back in the comfort of your armchair and head on over to handmade-inhampshire


Keep Calm and Shop Online

Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin soup

Now that autumn’s well and truly here, home-made soup is just the thing for a tasty, warming lunch or supper. Here’s an easy recipe and if you’ve never cooked with pumpkins before, it’s easy.  Roasting both the pumpkin and the garlic gives a great taste.There are plenty in the shops right now; choose the small varieties as they are so much tastier.  I get ours from our local fruit farm – it’s great watching them grow in the fields during the summer, knowing we’ll be enjoying them in the cooler months!


(Serves 6)

800g pumpkin, seeded and cut into slices

2 carrots, chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 ½ tbs vegetable oil

1 large potato, cubed

1 litre water

2 vegetable stock cubes, crumbled

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

250ml double cream




Preheat the oven to 220c/Gas 7

Place the pumpkin slices and the garlic cloves in a baking dish or a roasting tin.  Drizzle with vegetable oil and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes.  The pumpkin and garlic should be soft but not blackened.  Allow to cool slightly, then remove the flesh from the skin. Crush the garlic into a paste

In a large saucepan, bring the water together with the crumbled stock cubes to the boil.  Add the potato, carrots and onions and simmer for about 30 minutes, until soft. Add the parsley and crushed roasted garlic.  Add the roasted pumpkin flesh and gently simmer for another 10 minutes.  Puree in a liquidiser or food processor until smooth.  Return the soup to the saucepan over a low heat, stir in the cream and seasoning to taste.

Serve with fresh crusty bread and enjoy!


Our new estore is now open!

handmade banner If you’ve read more than a couple of the posts here on justmoms, you’ll know that I’m  always busy crafting away at some project or other – and always have done! Finally, after being badgered by family and friends to get some of these crafts online, our new estore is now finally open!

www.handmade-inhampshire.com is currently stocked with a wide range of hand- crafted greetings cards for all occasions, hand-knitted fingerless gloves in the softest wool, buntings, peg memo boards, scented sachets ….. and we’re working on new items to put on the site.

This estore truly is a labour of love and it’s great to finally have a solid outlet for the things we make.  Our items are unique, one-off pieces which means that you won’t find the same card or the same pair of gloves in the estore.  So much stuff is mass-produced these days and who, honestly, wants to give a card to a loved one which another few hundred people have access to?  There can’t be many of us who haven’t received the same card for a birthday (we had three identical cards for our wedding many, many moons’ ago!) and this can be a real disappointment, especially for youngsters.

handmade collage So, over at handmade-inhampshire, you’ll find modern, unique designs to suit everyone – please feel free to browse.  Personalised orders are welcome; just contact us via the estore contact page and we’ll do our best to help

Fertility problems?

baby scan It’s a sad fact that many women (and men too) suffer from the heartbreak of fertility problems.  If this is you, or you know someone who’s in this sad situation, head on over to http://myfertilitymentor.com  

Here, you’ll find information on natural ways to boost fertility and a valuable free ebook filled with info and facts.  Leah has been researching and working hard on this subject for quite a while and I’m proud of what she’s achieved.  Make sure you read her “About” page to get an insight into her reasons for setting up her site.

Take a look at Leah’s site and perhaps this could be the first step to achieving your dreams of parenthood …..




The Adventures of Tooki ….

If you’ve got children who love reading, then why not take a look at this book? My good friend Maggie Gee’s niece has designed the website for the book and I think she has done a pretty neat job!!! There’s no affiliate link of any kind to this, just wanted to help promote the site :) Go take a look …….

tooki book


Autumn? Yep, its on its way ….

Portchester Castle

Portchester Castle

.. a great castle to visit

.. a great castle to visit

Well, we were spoilt here down south with some beautiful summer weather this year which extended right into the end of August and the beginning of September. Thoughts of an Indian summer drifted through our heads but then, as always, our hopes were dashed when we were bombarded with rain, wind and a nasty drop in temperature! Autumn has definitely hit us here, although the sun is shining today and it’s warm enough to go without a jacket. But hubby and I made the most of the good weather and headed just down the road to Portchester Castle – a stunning place to visit, right on our doorstep!

Son-in-law made a good move and bought a new digital SLR camera, perfect for capturing shots of Archie as he grows up! He’s produced some stunning pictures and can’t wait to see what else he comes up with ….

leah and archie

Inquisitive Archie!

On the crafting front, I’ve been busy (as always) and have been working on some hand-coloured cards, using my Promarker pens which I love! I’ve used designs from Lili of the Valley and Saturated Canary, two of my favourite sites for both rubber and digital stamps.  None of the cards below are finished yet …..

Design from Saturated Canary


Design from Saturated Canary


Stamp from Lili of the Valley

Cards will be available for purchase soon, so look out for details


work in progress

Working on this at the moment – stamp from Gorjus


 baby card

Work in progress – stamp from Lili of the Valley


Home-made Blackberry Jam

It’s blackberry time down here on the south coast, so what better way to use this lovely free fruit than by making blackberry jam which you can enjoy when the cold winter weather arrives? Here’s an easy recipe for you:

Home-made blackberry jam

• 900g blackberries
• 900g granulated sugar
• knob of butter

Put the fruit into a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan. Add 50ml of water and 1½ tbsp of lemon juice. Bring to the boil.
Lower the heat, then simmer for 15 minutes until the fruit is soft.
Tip in the sugar, stir over a very low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn up the heat, bring to a full rolling boil, then rapidly boil blackberries for 10-12 minutes, until the setting point of 105C is reached.
Remove from the heat, skim off any excess scum, then stir a small knob of butter across the surface (this helps to dissolve any remaining scum). Leave for about 15 mins so the fruit can settle. Pour into sterilised jars, label and seal. Delicious!!

The Sacred Truth – review of Lush’s face mask & Miranda Soap

The Sacred Truth Ok, so normally I LOVE Lush products. I love their ethos and the fact they are against animal testing. Having used a selection over the last few months, I’ve been so pleased with them but I’ve never bought one of their face masks. When I saw this one, The Sacred Truth, I thought I’d give it a whirl, as it seemed to be specifically aimed at women my age!

lush image

Lush’s image from their website

As usual, Lush delivered in record time (yes I know there’s a Lush store nearby in Cascades, Portsmouth, but I don’t always get time to head over there!!) and I was really looking forward to trying out the mask. When I opened it, though, I have to admit I was immediately put off by the smell! The photo Lush puts on its website for this mask looks so tempting but this just doesn’t do anything for my sense of smell. Anyhow, I’d bought it so it was only fair to try it out. The actual product did make my skin feel really soft and smooth but the smell!! Even to try and improve my skin won’t tempt me to use this regularly, unfortunately ……. The Sacred Truth

But on a brighter note, I also bought some soap at the same time; and this definitely made up for the disappointment of the mask. I could smell it as soon as I opened the box and I just LOVE this – miranda soap Called “MIRANDA”, this gorgeous scented delight is made with whole fresh kiwi fruits, exotic fruit and flower essential oils and I can’t get enough of it. It lathers well and the fragrance just lasts and lasts. At £3.40 for 100g, the slab was large enough to cut into two. Lush say “This soap was inspired by Carmen Miranda, who used to have a huge hat of fruit. Our soap used to look like that too, but these days we’ve reshaped it and hidden the fruit-shaped pieces inside. First we make two bananas, two oranges and six cherries out of soap – then we hide them inside the block. See which ones you get in your bar”. Well I certainly got one of each fruit in my block!

I’d definitely give this soap 10 out of 10 for both cleansing properties but mostly for the smell. As you can tell, I really, really like how it smells!!!!

Watch Me Grow! – Month Two

watch me grow banner


By now, your little one will be able to recognize the most important people in her life – her parents! You’ll notice that she responds differently to you than to other people. And you’ll be rewarded for all the hard work you put in as a parent by the heart-tugging smiles your baby produces.



At around two months, her eyesight is improving and she’ll be able to focus with both eyes and track objects in her field of vision. noahs ark mobile

We bought this wooden mobile for Archie’s nursery :)

It’s time to stimulate your little one’s senses, by hanging mobiles up in different shapes and designs, over her cot or on a playgym which she can lie under. Make sure any hanging mobiles are well out of reach of your baby! She’ll soon be trying to make a grab for these, although she won’t be able to hold onto any object for very long …

Your baby should be able to hold her head up now, as her neck muscles have developed rapidly. She’ll enjoy being bounced up and down whilst being held firmly and this is the perfect time to introduce her to new sights, sounds and experiences.

Babies learn through play, so forget the household chores for a while and spend time playing with her. Keep a selection of suitable toys, such as brightly coloured rattles, which she’ll learn to associate with both colour and sound. Don’t feel silly singing songs, nursery rhymes or just dancing round with your baby! These are the fun things that bond you and help create a loving family unit. Make sure your partner joins in too and also spends time alone with your little one. If one parent has to work full-time, sometimes it can feel as if they are missing out on so much – so start building special routines into your day which allows them to be a hands-on parent!

Find out more here .

Just love the smell of lavender …

fresh lavender

….. and I’m surrounded by it at the moment with bunches of it hanging up to dry, ready to put into the hand-sewn drawer sachets and sweet hearts for the upcoming fayre and also to go onto our online store ……

Scented sachets - rose, home-made citrus potpourri & lavender

Just some of our scented sachets – rose petal,  home-made citrus potpourri & lavender

A good wife always knows her place!!

I found this piece hidden away in my scrapbooking box:  I think I was going to do a page on it but it still makes me smile/cringe/bristle when I read this …… “The Good Wife’s Guide”  published in Housekeeping Weekly, dated 13 May 1955 – clearly the era to have been the perfect housewife in!!

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead even the night before to have a delicious meal ready on time for his arrival.  This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking of him and are concerned about his needs.  -never mind about yours!

*  Prepare yourself. Take fifteen minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives.  Touch up your makeup. Put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking.  He has just been with a lot of work-people - you can guarantee he’ll come in & find you sitting down!!

*  Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him.  His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide iterr, so your totally mind-numbing day at home doing housework is just parr for the course…

The Perfect Housewife

“If I cover it with icing, he’ll never see the burnt bits”

*  Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives -  simply shifting clutter from one place to another

*  Over the cooler months of the year, you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by.  Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order and it will give you a lift too.  After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction - oh really?

*  Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet – try locking them in their rooms??

*   Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him - you know your place …

*  Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours - really??

*  Make the evening his.  Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you.  Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax - oh honey, I’m so glad you had a good time at the strip club

*  Your goal: try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit – 

*  Don’t greet him with complaints and problems – no, just listen to all of his

*  Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out at night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day – that’s ok, honey, you stay out as often as you like


Hi honey, I’m home!!!!!


*  Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for himArrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice – hm, he could get too used to this

*  Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity.  Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness.  You have no right to question him -  makes me wonder how we’ve been married for 33 years????

*  A good wife always knows her place” –  yeah, as an equal!


It’s hard to believe that just a few short years’ ago, this was how women were expected to behave as a married stay-at-home housewife,  whilst hubby brought home the bacon – which entitled him to rule the roost.  Thank god times have changed and most marriages are a partnership.  I know which decade I’m glad to be living in – how about you?


Archie’s First Birthday!

It’s hard to believe that our grandson Archie (Leah & Si’s son) turned one last week – where has this last year gone? My lovely daughter and son-in-law have embraced parenthood and are wonderful parents to a delightful little man, who changes each and every time we see him.  We celebrated his birthday at the weekend with a small family celebration.  Happy Birthday Archie :)


Archie, Leah & Si

Archie, Leah & Si