Posted in Diary

We’re Coming out of Lockdown!

I cannot believe it! We are finally going to be free from this dreadful lock down. The government has decided that we can meet up with friends and families again, and if we follow the stages laid out by them we should be back to normal by JUNE 2021.

I can’t say that I fully believe their pledge, but I am ready for the freedom to begin. It has been soo long since we last got to see my parents and grandparents, and I’m really feeling alone.

When we first went into lockdown anxiety bloomed and depression set in. We were alone. My support network were stripped from me. And because of the technicality of having a lodger in my house I wasn’t eligible to go and see my family as a bubble. My Nan who I saw every single week for lunch, no matter what, was suddenly removed from my weekly routine, and I could only speak to her on a video call when we got a chance. I miss our lunch dates we used to have. I miss my mum and I miss being able to get out of the house and having other people helping me with my very active toddler.

We are so excited to see our family, but more importantly I am excited to be able to get out of the house, and make memories with Isabelle that doesn’t involve the house. The first thing I want to do is to take her to the Zoo. She has been begging me for the last 2 months, so I think that is definitely the first thing we should be doing. (Don’t worry there will most definitely be a video and blog about it!). I can’t wait to see her face as she gets to go to these amazing places that we used to go to almost monthly.

She’s also super excited to be able to go swimming again, an activity she used to do on a Saturday morning with her Nanna. Indoor soft play, and just in general seeing all of her friends again.

You see us adults tend to forget just how hard the children have had it. I’m not on about the teenagers – I see hundreds of them every day at work in groups when they shouldn’t be and being a general nuisance – but the younger children. The ones who aren’t allowed to go out on their own, who don’t have a mobile phone to be able to contact their friends, the ones who can’t yet read or write, who are only just learning about the world. They had their friends stripped from them. Their weekly routines turned upside down. All with no understanding of why this is happening.

Yes we are excited that the pubs are opening back up, and that the shops will finally be opening their doors to us. Yes we are glad we can go out for a meal again in a restaurant, but our children have had it much harder. Being taught at home by your parents is no fun matter, for either party.

We are coming out of lockdown, but I honestly think the first couple of months should be a celebration for the children, BEFORE we celebrate in the pubs.

HEY let’s take the kids out and then have our friends over in the evening! Or let’s take the kids out with our friends. I know that’s what I will be doing. My best friend and I are already planning our first outing which is going to end in a girls night in, with the kiddies having a sleep over at one of our houses.

Let me know what you’re most looking forward to coming out of lockdown.

Do you have any plans already?

Much love

xoxoxox

Posted in food

Chocolate Heaven Cake

Who doesn’t like a chocolate cake?

While we are stuck in another lock down, we need a pick me up, and this cake has definitely been that for us. It is very light, and moist, and the flavour is intense and just delicious. With a dark chocolate and white chocolate ganache to fill and top the cake, this cake really does hit the spot when you are in need of that sweet treat.

I have always loved a chocolate cake, and the best part was always that I would help my mum in the kitchen to make one. The recipe that I have used today is actually from Mary Berry, as I have lost my mums recipe and am in need of replacing it as soon as possible. (I haven’t got the heart to tell her I’ve lost it). What I think makes anything you cook and bake taste even better is when you make it with your mum, (or daughter/son), and I definitely think this cake tastes better for me and Isabelle compared to everyone else who has tried it.

So here is my take on the Mary Berry recipe that I have adapted for us, and made the only way I know how. (I only used the ingredients she gives, I didn’t follow her instructions).

Ingredients

  • 250g Self Raising Flour
  • 250g Butter / Margarine
  • 250g Caster Sugar (I used Brown Sugar)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 tsp cocoa powder (Isabelle did 6, I didn’t really mind, and it tasted great so she must know something)

For the Ganache’s

  • dark chocolate (we used the sharing bag of Bournville chocolate buttons)
  • White Chocolate (We used the sharing bag of dairy milk white chocolate buttons)
  • Single Cream (we were supposed to use double but single cream was all we had)
  • Icing sugar (I have no idea how much I just did it by eye)

When you cook and bake all the time, or a lot, measurements tend to go out the window. Usually I try to take a note of how much ingredients I am using but sometimes it is nearly impossible.

Method

  1. Line 2 cake tins with greased proof paper, and preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Cream the sugar and butter together
  3. Add in flour and mix
  4. Next add the rest of the ingredients, leaving out the cocoa powder, and mix well. I use an electric whisk to do this to get as much air into the mixture as possible.
  5. Add in the cocoa powder and continue to mix until the batter is smooth and airy.
  6. split mixture into 2 and pour into lined cake tins.
  7. put into oven for 20-25 mins until cooked all the way through.

Tip: Don’t open the oven door until the cake is cooked as it will spoil the rise.

To Make the GANACHE

  1. Melt the chocolate (you are making 2 ganaches, one white chocolate and one dark chocolate so melt the chocolates separately)
  2. Mix in 2 tbsp of single cream. You are looking for a thick cream consistency, continue to add cream by tbsp until it reaches this consistency.
  3. Add in 2 tbsp of icing sugar.
  4. Mix well – this will cause the creamy texture to toughen a little.
  5. Decorate on cake. White chocolate in the centre of the sandwich and dark chocolate on the top.
  6. ENJOY!!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, if you have any questions feel free to contact me and ask me anything. I am always happy to help.

Much Love

If you wish to see my car crash of a tutorial please see my video below.

Posted in Diary

My New Years Resolution for 2021

The end of the year is near and we all start to reflect on the time gone by and things we want to change in the future.

This year has been particularly hard for many of us, we have been in lockdown multiple times (and most of us still are). We have been unable to see our family and friends which has been taxing on many of our mental health and wellbeing.

We have all had to change the way we live in order to try and stop this virus that we have become “scared” of.

No matter, another year is over. We are all another year older, wiser (well I hope) and different to the person we were at the beginning of the year.

I started 2020 in a relationship with my little girls dad, and I’ve ended the year single and much happier for it. I have grown as an individual and started to discover who I am without being defined by the person I am with.

With so much happening this year I’ve decided that I am going to make some new years resolutions to help me be a better version of myself.

Making my goals

I have made 5 goals this year. 3 of which kind of work together and 2 which are separate.

When making resolutions or goals it’s good to think about 3 categories, family life, yourself, career or life goals.

I like to think that I have covered these in my 5 for 2021.

Goal 1 – have a healthier lifestyle

This is the number 1 new years resolution for many. It includes things like dieting and exercising more.

For me this goal is just simply to ensure that I am making healthier choices and not spending too long sitting down.

Goal 2 – spend quality time with Isabelle

This is a no brainer. Our children grow and change so quickly that we should be making the most of the time we have with them.

I dont mean that I want to go out and spend money on things to do together, what I mean is simply just making every moment we have together special. Be it a picnic in the garden (or the park), a walk through the woods, or a trip to the beach. I am not intending on spending lots of money on things to do just to really enjoy the things we do together.

With this goal I also want to make sure that I am taking pictures and creating memories. I am not going to focus purely on photographing everything as I want to enjoy the things we are doing but just taking a couple of photos to put into a scrap book to remember the year together.

Goal 3 – look after myself better

Depression has got the better of me over the last year, what with the pandemic and trying to adjust to single parenthood. This has resulted in me forgetting to actually look after myself. Simple things like washing myself or just taking some time out to relax (even on the days my little one is at her dads).

So in 2021 I am going to make sure to look after myself more.

Goal 4 – stick to my plans and post regularly

This is a big one. I have a dream of earning money by writing and talking and getting out of the retail industry, but to do that I have to stick to my plans. And boy do I have some big ideas and plans of things to share with you all.

My intention is to post 3 times a week (monday, wednesday, saturday), and with these posts will come a video to accompany it. Well this is my plan, but I am still yet to try this out properly. And until I get my new laptop the videos wont be able to be uploaded as my current one takes 3 days to do so.

Goal 5 – finish my crafting projects

I love to make things, I crochet and cross stitch and sometimes even sew or do paper crafts. However my enthusiasm to start a new product quickly dwindles and I end up with half started or finished with new products being started.

Before I start any new projects I am going to restrict myself to only finishing my projects I have started. And I am so excited to see what I have hiding in my craft boxes.

Happy new year!

So happy new year everyone I am so excited to see how many of my years goals (or resolutions) I am going to complete and stick to.

Do you have any goals? Did you manage to stick to your goals last year? Let me know and let’s see what we can achieve together in 2021

Happy new year!!!

Much love

Emma xx

Posted in Diary

A day in the life of a Newsagent Supervisor

Photo by Tim Samuel on Pexels.com

Nobody ever talks about what it’s like to work in retail. Why? I don’t know, maybe it’s a fear of losing their job and upsetting their boss, or it’s just because they don’t want to relive the experience. I’m going to change this, I am happy to share my experiences with you so that you can see what it’s really like to work in retail, why retail workers complain about their jobs but also love it.

You will find weekly updates on my vlog channel, but for today here is an introduction to my A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A RETAILER series.


Why does working in retail automatically give everyone the right to think they can treat you with no respect? They complain about every little thing, they dont even give you a chance to explain.

“This product was £1 last week why has it gone up to £1.50” before I can answer a demand to speak to the manager.

The truth of the matter is, I AM the shift MANAGER so your stuck talking to me. Also that product was cheaper last week as it was on promotion. This week is another product.

Then we get the same people every day walking into the store claiming they have “forgotten” their mask. I just look at them like “funny, its every time you come to this store that you have “forgotten” your mask”. Or we get the opposite, someone coming in thinking they have the right to abuse our one way system and demanding that everyone wear their masks despite the fact they arent wearing theirs properly.

And let’s not get me started on the news delivery customers. You get your newspaper delivered to your house, cant you just be grateful it turns up at all, rather than ringing to tell me that you wont be paying for delivery today as your paper was 10 mins later than yesterday?

A. The staff I see on the weekends are different to the staff who deliver during the week.

B. You will be paying for delivery as your newspaper was in fact delivered.

C. As long as you have your paper by 9am (baring in mind we open at 7am) I think that we should call that a success

Another thing that grinds my gears, is when the shop has just been unlocked. Not open, not set up ready for trade, no, just the front door being unlocked and then idiots decide it is their right to be served 1hr before store opening. On a sunday. Has noone heard of sunday trading hours? I cannot serve you because it will be illegal, I will not serve you as my job is worth more to me than 1 poxy paper.

What most customers don’t understand, is that we don’t get treated great by our head office. We are forced to work long hours, we have no overtime pay. We are forced to work Christmas day and customers have the cheek to claim that it is wrong yet STILL COME TO THE SHOP on CHRISTMAS DAY! We get no break at all. So when someone comes in feeling hard done-by because something is not quite what they were expecting, it’s no wonder we literally roll our eyes and sigh. Sorry Karen but a chocolate bar which is broken is not a problem, you’ll only break it to eat it anyway. *inserts fact palm emoji*.

I’m looking forward to opening up this segment of my blog, as I work 3 days a week and every single shift I has is completely different to the last. Look out for my vlogs and live posts as something happens or is fresh in my mind.

I hope you enjoy what is to come as much as I am going to enjoy showing what it’s really like to be a retail worker. ESPECIALLY during this time of the year.

Much love x

Posted in Diary

A Day in the Life of Mum

Being mum can be a little bit monotonous sometimes. We have the same jobs to do, and we usually end up with the same results. Having children brings a lot of chaos, mess and energy. It often leads to a lot of laughter, and fun, but also you can end up with stress.

When having a child the first thing you have to remember is that YOU CANNOT CONTROL EVERYTHING. Even if you try to control something, more often than not that little monkey will have a plan of their own which scuppers anything you have already thoughtfully and lovingly planned out.

I used to plan almost every inch of my day out before having Belle, but after the first few months, despite the fact that I had kept to a routine I learnt that a routine is literally the ONLY thing I could control about my day. Children have no concept of time, they have no concept of how long something takes to do, or of the consequences of their actions. What looks and sounds great on paper is something that a child might not even understand of want to do.

So here is a small insight to a

“normal” day:

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

6:30am – Chaos begins. Belles runs into my bedroom full of life and determined to have that morning cuddle in mummy’s bed before getting up and ready for the day. So in she gets and we have this wonderful sleepy cuddle as we slowly wake up. (by we I mean me.)

7am – Time for us to get dressed, do our teeth and brush our hair (basically just get ready for the day.) I let Belle choose her clothes for the day for when she finishes school and then we migrate downstairs.

7:30 – 8am – Breakfast time, usually a bowl of cereal and a slice of toast for my little one (and if still hungry a banana). For me a cup of tea and slice of toast.

8-8:30am – a couple of cartoons as I clean the kitchen ready for the rest of the day, and then its coats and shoes on, and then we’re off to school.

9am – a little more cleaning of the rest of the house, then a nice sit down with a cup of tea and watching some news. I will also have a shower, do my hair/makeup, so I feel like myself. This is the only time of the day I get to myself so here I like to relax.

11:30am – leave to go and collect Belles from nursery.

Midday – Lunch and a wind down from school for half an hour.

12:30pm – time for some afternoon activities. Anything from baking, lego/duplo, dolls house, arts and crafts. Just whatever I feel like doing for the day with Belle. Occasionally it will be us leaving the house for the day to visit friends or family members, which stops us both from going stir crazy.

During this whole period my house will be destroyed. It will look like a tornado has hit, or like I haven’t even bothered with the house for the last week. It bothers me yes, but as long as Belle is having fun that is what matters.

5:00pm – Dinner time. I start this around 4/4:30pm and then always aim to sit down for dinner at around 5pm. The timings are approximate but the goal is there.

From there on it is our bedtime routine, which consists of a bath which lasts about half an hour. 3 books to read together, and then a song before going to sleep. Once Belle has gone to bed that is when I tidy up any left over toys from the day, clean the kitchen once more, and settle down to write my blog.

My Time with Belle

I love the time I get with Belles and I try to cherish every moment I get. She goes to her dads 3 nights of the week due to my job and the mum guilt I feel is so strong that I feel bad for wasting a day with her. My ultimate goal every day is to have a lot of laughter and things to do so we can have quality time together. Even when we have a movie day and sit in front of the TV I try to make it as special as I can, Popcorn, blankets, and a few little games that we can do.

What I want you all to realise is that no matter how much you want that clean and tidy house, for a child a clean and tidy house is torture. Let them mix their toys up, it encourages their imagination. Let them empty the entire contents of a toy box or drawer – how will they learn about anything if they always have to think about being tidy.

I do have rules in my house, and one of those rules are that if she wants to play with something new and stop playing COMPLETELY with the toys she already has out, then the current toys have to be put away first. However if she was playing with her dolls house and decided that her Lego people wanted to move next door and interact with her dolls house, then GO FOR IT BABY! I love to see a child play properly using their imagination and working out how things can fit together.

The time we get with our little ones is so short that we can’t worry about the mess that they bring, and the state of the playroom/ living room/ bedroom. We should be focusing on them and how their little brains work, encouraging them to do more, and being there for them to help them become the person they are inside.

My role of mum is the most important role that I will ever have. What I decide to do with my little girl shapes her future. I read with her as much as she wants me to, and I join in with her when she is playing. I use arts and crafts and baking to break up monotonous activities, such as TV. I want her mind to be stimulated so she constantly learns.

This is how I run my house. It is definitely going to be different from everyone else, but also similar in some aspects. We are all different and every child is different aswell. Only you as the parent will know what stimulates your children the most, and your daily routines will echo this.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Much Love

xx