Can Cook, Won’t Cook (Very Often) (Project 366 – Day 33)

  

I really envy those people that find cooking therapeutic/satisfying/fun or whatever. To me it’s just a chore. When I put my mind to it I’m not a bad cook, I just find it so dull and feel like my time could be better spent elsewhere, rather than in the kitchen, so I usually take the easy option and cobble together fail proof meals that take minutes rather than hours. Old faithfuls like cottage pie and spag bol. 

But once in a while I will make a complicated Middle-Eastern rice dish or an Algerian favourite of my husband’s, such as the dish in the photo above. It’s my husband’s absolute fave and it actually tastes a lot better than it looks or sounds. 

The main ingredients are 1 small onion, 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, 3 chicken pieces on the bone, 3 medium potatoes, 2 eggs and usually chick peas (but I didn’t have any in so I missed those out). 

First of all the onion is chopped, the garlic is crushed and they are lightly fried in olive oil in a medium sized pan. Then the chicken is added to the pan for a couple of minutes, along with salt, pepper and ground mixed spice to taste. Water is then added – just enough to cover the chicken – bring to the boil and then simmer for around 20 minutes. 

This is the weird part (well I think it is) – while that is going on peel the potatoes and cut into chips. Sprinkle with salt and then fry in oil (or use some other healthier method). Once cooked transfer to a frying pan and pour 2 whisked eggs over them. Then fry. (Yep, you are making a chip omelette. Told you it was weird.)

Once the chicken is cooked throw the chip omelette into the pan and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Once it’s dished up some fresh lemon juice really adds to the flavour. 

I know it sounds odd to our sensible British pallets but it’s actually pretty tasty, honest. Calorie-wise we’re probably talking thousands though so be warned if you ever happen upon this dish. (Highly unlikely unless you’re planning a trip to Algeria!)

Pre- Birthday Excitement! (Project 366 – Day 32)

  
Look at what a lucky girl I am this year! I have all of these cards and gifts to open in the morning. And to make it even more exciting I haven’t a clue what a single one of those presents is!

My husband isn’t usually great at getting organised for things like birthdays but this year he’s made a real effort and there are even cards in that pile from each of the kids. I really don’t mind what the presents are or how many there are and I’m sure there’s nothing flashy, but I’m just so appreciative that a huge effort has been made. 

When I was younger my mum always used to love receiving cards with lovely verses inside and if she was ever choosing a card for someone she would take an age picking one that conveyed the message she wanted to give. I didn’t understand, I barely read the cards and was all about the presents. But now I really get it. I can’t wait to read those cards in the morning. 

My Baby is 1 in 100 (Project 366 – Day 31)

  
Shout out to Zaki who was born with a heart defect but has always been perfect to me ❤️. 

February is congenital heart defect awareness month. If you would like to donate to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund please text Wear16 and the amount to 70070. We are forever grateful to them for what they did for Zaki ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️.

Why are Toys So Ugly and Noisy?! (Project 366 – Day 30)

  
I do love the Fisher Price Jumperoo for the 5 minutes it gives me to go to the loo or make a coffee but why must it be so UGLY and LOUD?! Even without the god awful sound effects turned on, it makes such a racket when the baby jumps up and down in it.

And it’s not just this toy, it’s most toys. Most of the awful plastic ones that my kids seem to gravitate towards anyway. I try to guide them towards the lovely wooden Brio type but massive plastic fire engines (yes complete with a ner naw sound) win out every time in this house. 

These kids just have no taste!

How to Persuade a Toddler to Eat Veggies? (Project 366 – Day 29)

Omar used to eat anything and everything. When he was weaning I made some repulsive concoctions and he gobbled it all up. Then when he turned 2 he suddenly got fussy and started slowly eliminating vegetables from his diet. Now the only veg he’ll entertain are carrots and sweetcorn. Luckily he still eats all fruit and salad but it really winds me up that I have to hide peas and broccoli in his meals to get greens into him. 

  

 

Has anyone got any tips on how to get him to start enjoying veg again? The health visitor advocated the hiding method and said it’s very common for children to become fussy around his age but I really want to nip it in the bud.  

I’m pretty sure my husband doesn’t help matters by supplying him with his favourite stinky cheese and onion crisps on a regular basis either. Grr. 

And Relax… (Project 366 – Day 28)

  
My big boy has gone off to sleep at his nannie’s, so I took the opportunity to get a manicure (the pincer nails had to go) with just the baby in tow (luckily he slept for most of the time) and then once he was in bed for the night I got cosy in my bed with Russell’s book. 

The inspiration for both the manicure and the reading of a non-children’s book came from my absolute favourite blogger, Cash Carraway (The Comeback Mum) who posted her fancy nails and book of choice on Instagram and made me all envious. If you haven’t already, please check out her blog. It’s everything I want from a blog – honest, funny, sad, beautifully written and with some great beauty recommendations chucked in to boot. 

Anyway, I’m so pleased with my nails and my brain feels more alive from just having spent a little bit of time reading something for me. I love my kids with all my heart but I’m so glad of some relaxation time when I manage to get it. 

The Mama That Raised This Mama (Project 366 – Day 27)

  
I persuaded my mum to let me take her photo for Project 366. But she didn’t like any of the pictures I took so I downloaded an app called Perfect365 and airbrushed her! With one tap the app gave her a full face of make up (she was wearing none) and whitened her teeth! Who knew this was possible?! What a time to be alive! 

Anyway, this is my good old (airbrushed) mum and she’s golden. She’s the main reason I can’t move away from this little town I live in. She helps a lot with childcare and my boys would miss her so much if we moved away. As would I. 

Plus, on the day I took this photo she paid me two compliments. 1 – she told me she’d read some of my blog and enjoyed it and some parts made her laugh. 2 – she said my hair never looks greasy. I was overjoyed to receive both counts of such praise! (Although deep down I know she’s biased about the blog and my hair looks like an oil slick half the time.)

Like all mums with their kids, mine does my head in sometimes but I know I’m so lucky to have her so close by. She’s a genuinely kind person and she’s put up with a lot of crap from me over the years. She’s one in a million. 

I didn’t appreciate what she had done for me or what she felt for me until I became a mother myself and when that feeling hit me I instantly felt racked with guilt for all the worry I’ve put her through and all the times I’d been a total cow. 

If you’re stalking me again, sorry mum. Sorry  for all the terrible behaviour. And thank you. Thank you for never disowning me and doing me loads of favours all the time and basically keeping my life ticking over. 

Some of my friends have been less fortunate than me on the mum front and it’s so sad that some women are blessed with children they don’t value. The damage a crappy parent can do is immeasurable. But on the flip side, those friends are amazing mums themselves, determined that their kids will have much lovelier childhoods than they did. 

Here’s to my mum and all the other mums who do their best.