Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Abel and Cole Organic Boxes

For the last five weeks every Wednesday has seen a box of organic fruit & vegetables delivered to our door by Abel and Cole. For £20.00 (including delivery) we receive 3 types of organic fruit and 7 seasonal vegetables, one of which is always potatoes and I have to say they all taste incredible.

I'm not a faddy food person, kale crisps and quinoa have passed me by but I do understand and appreciate the difference eating organic produce has to our bodies and to the farmers that grow these foods in challenging times and conditions.

I, like many other people have always been under the impression that organic food is overpriced with a short shelf life. Lots of the organic food I see in supermarkets always appears more damaged or bruised than their non-organic counterparts and until now I could never justify the price for food that would often end up being thrown away. Since starting to use Abel and Cole we have thrown away less than half a cabbage, that's it - and only because our fridge decided to start freezing it! It had sat in the fridge for over two weeks and there was no breakdown or wilting at all.

I wanted to wait a few weeks before reviewing these boxes to make sure that the selection remained consistently good and it really has been. Of course we still need to buy the occasional extra produce from the supermarket, we cook all our meals from scratch and there is always at least two vegetables in every meal, but since using the boxes our overall food bill has not increased.

Our fourth box was free (we only paid for the delivery) and each week we have been sent an extra little item to try, along with recipe cards and meal suggestions. We have until Monday to make any changes to our box - changing the size, type or replacing an item that we don't like, and the box is delivered by 8am every Wednesday. We leave last week's empty box out to be collected and recycled by the driver and payment is taken out of my account once the box has been delivered.

Abel and Cole don't just deliver organic fruit & veg, they have a whole range of dairy, meat, fish, bakery and cupboard essentials. It's as if they are an online supermarket - a lovely one! Items that need to be kept cool are delivered in a wool insulated box with ice packs. Last week we were sent some free yogurt to try and I purposefully kept it in it's box to see how cool it would be. When I got home from work it was still beautifully cold.

Abel and Cole provide a whole range of organic boxes, or you can make your own box from their vast range of products. They offer seasonal items to cover times like Easter & Christmas and we will definitely be looking to use them for our Christmas lunch this year.

I have not been compensated for, or asked to write this review. I was pleasantly surprised at how good a product this is and I wanted to share it with my readers.

Family Fever

Monday, 30 March 2015

Cocktails and coastal walks

It's been a while since I have done a weekend post, mostly because our weekends have been spent tucked away indoors while the weather outside does it's worst to the garden. I think once the clocks go forward you can really believe that Spring has arrived, you get a burst of energy and start getting out and about a bit more.

We had a lovely early date night on Friday starting with Happy Hour in a cocktail bar in Southampton. Sipping mojitos made us reminisce about our holiday to Cuba. Hopefully we will be able to get another trip to Varadero in before any babies arrive! We weaved our way through town and had supper in Oxford Brasserie, Sion tucked into Skate wing while I had braised rabbit. Completely satisfied we grabbed a cab outside and were home with a cup of tea in hand before the clock struck 10!

Our early night meant that when we woke to a drizzly, grey Saturday we had a light breakfast then headed straight to the gym. I'm working through the Couch to 10K app and after three weeks in I'm starting to notice a difference to my stamina levels. I'll be happy to be able to run 5km without stopping - anything more than that will be a bonus!

Saturday afternoon saw the pizza cooker get a dusting down when I cooked fresh pizzas for our friends. We sat in the conservatory while their triplets played happily in the garden and living room. Their fascination with Sion's Minion helicopter meant this little guy got left behind.

A text to let them know Derrington would be safely returned on Sunday quickly turned into a text conversation holding him to ransom for a bottle of gin!

Sunday was once again grey and dreary, but we dug out the waterproofs and headed to Lymington in the New Forest for a stroll around the shops. Sion found a bargain or two in the charity shops, I found some candles for not so much of a bargain (although they do smell AMAZING!) and we had a deserved drink in a quayside pub.

We dropped Derrington home to an excited little boy (and a relieved mum & dad) before heading home to roasted chicken and veggies in front of a Sunday night film...they may have also been a cheeky slice of Vienetta to ease us into another working week.

This week I will be working extra hard to get work done in a short week, heading to the gym three nights in a row, packing for our Easter glamping trip and driving to Somerset...how about you?

Joining in this week with Magic Moments and What's the Story?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

New growth

Well it would seem that everywhere I look in the garden there are new signs of life. The climbing rose that I carefully pruned (hacked down in a fit of anger) seems to have survived the Winter. It pulled off the old trellis from the wall so we need to put up a new one before it has a proper growth spurt!

In the back garden I rearranged the Spiraeas and fuschia bushes before they started to grow again. This Spiraea seems fine now, although the fuschias are no more than twigs right now. I'm hoping this is normal and the leaf buds will soon appear?!

We've also started to refresh pots with new bulbs and plants ready for the Summer. Some lily bulbs that I planted two weeks ago are already starting to show themselves.

I was very kindly sent some complimentary strawberry plants, wildflower seeds and a mushroom growing kit from Sutton Seeds last week. The strawberry plants arrived bagged in a box with their roots bare so I found myself emptying the strawberry planter of last year's plants, lining the side holes and replanting the old & new plants in fading evening light. I think I did the right thing though - we've had gentle rain for the last two days so they should be well watered in now.
The wildflower seeds have been mixed with a little compost and spread over our bare patch of earth at the bottom of the garden, I'll be keeping a close eye out over the next few weeks to spot the first seedlings, by the Summer it should be a bank of colour!

Finally we've been able to sit out and enjoy the first few days of gentle Spring sunshine. The fairy lights have been strung through the old tree and we're already starting to see new growth on the trees and shrubs that we didn't cut back. I think our new area is going to be just the spot to enjoy the last of the afternoon sunshine!

This weekend will be a weekend to enjoy the garden, rather than work on it! I need to buy a Clematis or two to work their way around our new archway and empty the pots of last years seeded herbs. Nothing too strenuous! I'll also be looking out for signs of the first mushrooms from our growing kit. An unfortunate incident involving next door's cat, a window sill and the mushroom kit means it's had an adventurous start in it's growing life, but I'm ever hopeful!

I was sent a selection of products free of charge from Sutton Seeds which I have used and highlighted in this post. All opinions and words remain my own.

Joining in this week with the fabulous How Does Your Garden Grow?

How Does Your Garden Grow

Friday, 20 March 2015

Tell Tales in aid of The Christie

Today is International Day of Happiness. Countless people over the years have tried to quantify what is needed to make people happy. We all know that money doesn't buy you happiness (although, of course it helps) but fundamentally the most important thing to bring happiness to people is a connection to others.

I think that happiness breeds happiness too. I get more pleasure out of doing something nice for another person than doing something nice for myself. Reaching out and connecting with another human being, whether a smile, a conversation or and action makes me happier than being left in my own company. Sadly our lifestyles now almost encourage an isolation, everything is done on line, virtual conversations and story telling, even books are becoming phased out in favour of a sterile electronic object.

Perhaps it's time today, to change that. It's rather apt that my Step-Mum sent me a book that a dear friend of her's has worked had to put together in aid of The Christie Hospital in Manchester. Tell-Tales is a collection of stories written by women, each story is anonymous and tell of the challenges of day to day living. There's a complete rainbow of styles and subjects, but each is written as if the author is telling you the story over a coffee, you get a real sense of connection with each author.

Sally Clegg & Sharon Goddard the joint editors, write a wonderful introduction explaining the development of the book. I especially love the following lines;

"Everyone has a voice, but not everyone has the courage to use it, to tell their tales with honesty and conviction...We hope to entertain you and to make you reflect on your own lives and experiences as you share ours" 

A group of women got together and told stories that made them happy. They decided to support and encourage each other to write stories for a book that would make other people happy. The money raised would touch the lives of countless people living with cancer, to help bring a little happiness into their lives. Each and every person that buys the book will feel happiness through connecting with the authors and the people that it will help. One simple act can reach out, touch and impact so many people. I think this book may have shown me how easy it is to find happiness.

Tell-Tales is being launched at Marple Library on the 21st March at 2pm, when it will be on sale for £5.00. After the launch it will be available in local outlets in Stockport, Marple, Marple Bridge, New Mills and High Lane for £7.99. You can also buy it directly from the publishers Troubador using this link.

This week there can only be one Word of the Week - Happiness, I hope you all find it this weekend.

The Reading Residence
Post Comment Love

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Garden Update March 2015

A few weeks ago we looked out of our conservatory at the garden and realised it needed A LOT of work! The grass had slowly grown so much over Winter that next door's cat had made a little cat alley way through it and the brambles were once again threatening to take over.

Since last Summer I had wanted to clear the bottom third of our garden and make a little woodland seating area but the brambles had long taken hold and we decided to wait until things died down over the colder months before tackling it. Annoyingly I forgot to take a "before" picture, but this is one I had snapped last Spring - 

and this is the kind of idea I was going for - 

So we cleared all the brambles, laid liner and bark with a border, planted primroses, laid stepping stones, built furniture and put up lights...all over two days! It was such hard work, but this is what it looks like so far...

There's still work to do. I need to clear more roots & brambles, two fence panels need replacing, more lights need to be put through our tree and I want to sow lots of wild flower seeds on the cleared area, but I can see how it's going to look in the Summer and it makes me happy! I'm going to keep taking photos every few weeks so that I can see the difference as the wild flowers take hold and the spring vegetation starts coming back.

In the rest of the garden we need to tackle our mammoth hedge (I think we might get professional gardeners in...it's about 4 metres high now!), clean the back yard area up and replant a herb garden. I've got strawberry plants arriving and I'm growing my own mushrooms. We learnt last year that our patio is just too hot to grow vegetables easily so I've planted lots of lily and gladioli bulbs instead.

What plans have you got for your own gardens this year?

How Does Your Garden Grow

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Chocolate & Raspberry Cake

When someone with 30 years service retires there is only one cake you can present to him on his last day. His love of chocolate was legendary so chocolate ganache was also called for. Certain that he would share it with other people I made sure there was an element of "healthiness" to it by including raspberries - as decoration and to flavour the fresh cream filling. I give you my Chocolate and Raspberry Cake. 

Ingredients - Based on 3 x 7" sandwich tins

For the Cake

190g Butter
190g Dark Chocolate
4 tsp Instant Coffee
140 ml Water
110g Self Raising Flour
10g Plain Flour
40g Cocoa Powder
0.25 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
420g Caster Sugar
3 medium Eggs
6 tsp Vegetable Oil
95 ml Buttermilk (or sour cream with a little milk to loosen)

For the Ganache

75g milk chocolate
75ml cream (not straight from the fridge)

For the Raspberry cream

250ml double cream
35g icing sugar
75g fresh raspberries

Extra raspberries to decorate


Preheat the oven to 160C Gas 2-3. Grease and line your sandwich tins with baking parchment.

Put the butter, chocolate, coffee and water into a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the chocolate has melted. Take off the heat and leave to one side.

Sift both flours, cocoa & bicarbonate into a large bowl, stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre of the bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the eggs, oil & buttermilk. Add this egg mix to the flour, along with the chocolate mixture. Stir until completely combined.

Evenly split the mixture into the three tins and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before assembling.

To make your cream whip until you can form soft peaks. Sieve in your icing sugar and continue whipping until you have firm peaks. Gently break apart your raspberries into 3 or 4 pieces and fold these gently into your cream. Use the cream to layer between each cake.

To make the ganache break your chocolate into small pieces an place in a small, clean bowl. Melt over a pan of simmering water. Once melted stir in your cream and combine well. If your cream is cold this will thicken very quickly to a consistency like mine. If you want to have a pouring consistency it is important to allow your cream to come to room temperature before adding to the chocolate. As your chocolate and cream mix cools it will thicken. Keep checking it and once it coats and sticks to the back of a spoon you can pour this over your cake. If you want a thicker consistency just wait a little while longer before spreading over your cake. Finish decorating with raspberries.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Bake With Maria: When Less is most definitely More...

Back in January I went to London for a fish cookery lesson that was brought as a gift for me. Unfortunately it left my companion and I hugely disappointed. There were 20 attendees is a space more suited for 10, only one hob was used, meaning that if you weren't the person cooking at that time you just had to watch and the resulting 3 courses were shared between everyone. I didn't realise that one sea bass could comfortably feed 20 people...I was right - it didn't! There were people in this class that had paid £100 and I'm sure they left as disappointed as us.

Luckily for me, my next experience of a class completely changed my perception of group classes and made me see just how fantastic they could be. Let me introduce you to Bake with Maria.

I first met Maria Mayerhofer late last year when I was invited to her baking lab in St John's Wood, London for a Christmas party. I ate a huge amount of traditional Christmas cookies and cakes and was excited to be invited to try one of her classes. She provides a full range of classes both in the evenings and at weekends. I booked onto her Introduction to Pastry class one Wednesday evening. 

When I arrived I was introduced to Marianne, who would be taking the class and we spent a little time getting to know the 5 other participants over tea and carrot cake.

Firstly we were given our recipes for the evening along with plenty of pens to take those all important notes! We were encouraged to ask lots of questions, Marianne was obviously very knowledgeable and a brilliant pastry chef. She gave us lots of tips and advice to help us easy make both sweet and savoury pastry.

We spent the evening working in pairs, there was plenty of high quality equipment to go around and more than enough space. Classes are limited to 8 people so there will always be room to work comfortably. 

We learnt to make a lemon tart, peach & almond tart & a savoury galette using pastry that we had made from scratch. Marianne would take us through each stage first then we would be let loose in our pair to replicate with pretty good results! We cooked everything ourselves (except for the frangipane) and tried lots of different techniques within each recipe.

As well as Marianne, there were two other brilliant assistants making sure we had all the ingredients to hand and the equipment was quickly washed up so we could reuse them. This meant that we were always learning and doing, rather than waiting for something and the class ran smoothly and to time. We got to take everything that we had made home with us, including our batch of sweet pastry. Maria thoughtfully provides boxes so there was less chance of breakages! 

As I headed back to Waterloo to get my train, carrying my two boxes of goodies I was amazed at the difference in style, content and quality of the two classes. Bake With Maria classes range in price from £85 to £145 - my Introduction to Pastry Class is £105 which I thought was really good value for the level and quality of teaching that you receive. I can't recommend this enough and after my macaron disaster this weekend I'm pretty sure what my next class will be!!

A full calendar of Maria's classes can be found here. The Baking Lab can be found at 81 Loudoun Road, London NW8 0DQ.

I was invited to try one of Maria's classes free of charge in return for an honest review.

Family Fever

Friday, 13 March 2015

Reverence - My thoughts

  1. 1.
    deep respect for someone or something.

On Monday morning I woke to find a number of posts on my Facebook feed regarding a police officer based in my home town. He had passed away the previous day suddenly, aged 52.

The few posts I first saw quickly turned into post after post, tribute pages were set up, donation sites linked, talk of a memorial walk started and were soon confirmed. The volume and strength of feeling was immense.

You may think that there were so many comments because he was a police officer and was know for catching lots of criminals, breaking massive drug rings or saving lots of lives but that wasn't really the case. He had indeed won an award for rescuing an old lady from a house fire, but even this wasn't really mentioned. Maybe people were just jumping on the grief bandwagon, the latest cause to be a part of, but that wan't true either.

No, he was being honoured and remembered and loved because he smiled. He smiled at everyone, from every background, every age, his oldest friends to complete strangers. He was a community police officer, "a bobby on the beat" and he was as much a part of the town as the buildings around him. He would chat to everyone, always engaging and interested, no-one beneath him. He took time to listen to people's concerns, he made sure that children knew him and trusted him as someone to talk to, be protected by.

The fact that he often had to deal with angry, aggressive people never stopped him from treating people with respect, I read that when he was arresting someone he made sure to agree to personally delivery the present that this man had on him to the intended recipient, that was the sort of person he was.

People seem to fear death, it's finality, the possibility of things being left unsaid, of not making your mark on the world.

Just by going about his daily business he made a mark on hundreds and hundreds of people. It wasn't that it was because of his job, or even in spite of his job. Just because it was so intrinsically part of him, he lived his life without even realising the impact he had.

There are very few people in my life that I truly revere, perhaps a few individuals who have battled trauma or illness and have survived, become better people. I revere him, not for his rescue or his job, but for the man he was.

The man who smiled at everyone, chatted to anyone, made time for people.

The walk is on Saturday and I won't be able to make it. But as my tribute to him I will make sure that I smile and chat to a stranger every day. I have no idea of people's stories, of what they are dealing with but neither did he. His smile and words helped so many people, maybe for that brief moment in time, maybe for longer. The least I can do is to try and do the same.

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Chocolate & Hazelnut Shortbread

I don't know about you but I always need to have a little sweet something in the house, just ready for that little sugar hit in the evening. These chunky shortbread biscuits are perfect - crumbly, sweet and oh so easy to put together. This recipe will make about 16 biscuits and they will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container - I use a large kilner jar as my cookie tin...it helps me keep track on how many are left!!


150g plain flour
75g cornflour
pinch salt
75g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter, chilled & cut into cubes
50g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
50g whole hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Sieve the flours, salt & sugar into a large bowl, add the butter cubes and rub through using your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the  chocolate & hazelnut pieces and bring the mix together until it forms large clumps. This is a very "short" mix and so will not come together into one large ball. Place the large clumps into a freezer bag and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan.

Line your trays with baking parchment. Lightly flour your rolling surface and roll out a small portion of your dough at a time to 1cm thickness. Cut out using a 3" diameter round cutter and gently place your circles onto the tray, with at least a 1cm gap between biscuits. Put the off cuts to one side and repeat using more fresh dough, until you only have off cuts remaining. Loosely combine these off cuts, chill for 10 minutes and repeat the process. 

Once all your circles have been cut bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. If you are using more than one tray at a time, swap shelves after 10 minutes to get an even bake. You want the biscuits to be very light golden brown. When cooked keep on the tray for 5 minutes to firm slightly, before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cold, place in storage tin or mouth! #CookBlogShare

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Bissell Steam Cleaner Review

I think Spring may finally have arrived, despite having plans for the last two weekends we have still found the time to get out in the garden and clear the mass of overgrown weeds and move our bikes back into the shed after our week away in February, these jobs though have created A LOT of mud!!

Luckily for me I was offered the use of the BISSELL Vac & Steam All-in-one cleaner for a week to test it out on our hard floors. This cleaner was so easy to set up. It comes with two Microban mop pads that need to be fitted to the base, the base then clicks onto the main cleaner body. The water reservoir is filled to the marked point and you are all set. There are no hoses or connectors needed.

There is a handy guide on the side of the cleaner that helps you complete the initial set up and first steam and the operating buttons are on the handle - vacuum, low steam and high steam. One of the brilliant features of this cleaner is that it's dual action. It will vacuum up debris and steam at the same time. Dry Tank Technology means that any vacuumed dirt stays dry in the collecting tank allowing easy removal.

The Vac & Steam can be used on most hard floor types. I tested it in my bathroom, kitchen and conservatory with a range of debris to see how it would perform.

BATHROOM - Our bathroom floor was already pretty clean (obviously!) although Sion had recently shaved his head and despite cleaning up hair inevitably gets missed. The Vac & Steam easily collected fine hair shavings and removed marked areas on the lino. Because I only used the light steam the floor dried very quickly as I was cleaning.

KITCHEN - I purposely dropped some food crumbs and sauce onto the kitchen floor before cleaning and they were all removed without any problem. By our back door we store our bin and there was a (frankly disgusting) patch of marked and dirty lino that wasn't removed by lightly wiping with a cloth. I used the HI steam function on this area and after 30 seconds the floor was much cleaner. It's worth noting that steam cleaning kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria, so I knew this area was properly dealt with.
CONSERVATORY - Our conservatory is more like a glorified boot room. We stored our muddy bikes in there, our wellingtons and garden equipment so you can imagine the state of it after a day's digging. The Vac & Steam whipped through it! The only marks it couldn't lift were small circles of staining from the legs of our dining table, although in the past we have only been able to remove these using bleach.

So would I recommend the BISSELL Vac & Steam? Yes I would. If the majority of your floors are hard it is a brilliant peice of equipment, the power of a cyclone vacuum cleaner and a powerful steamer combined into one has to make sense. You lose nothing by combining the two functions and it is light and easy to use. I personally have more carpets than hard floors so for me the Lift-Off Floors & More cleaner would be more suited.

The BISSELL Vac & Steam 1132E is available direct from the BISSELL website for £149.99 with free delivery.

I had the use of a steam cleaner for one week for the purpose of review, all thoughts and opinions remain my own
Family Fever

Monday, 9 March 2015

Blog on Cymru

What a busy week last week was! A trip up to London to take part in a Bake With Maria Pastry Masterclass (SO good - review and details to follow!), a late night chocolate cake baking session ready for a colleague's retirement on Friday and a quick dash along the M4 to get ready for the first ever Blog on Cymru in Cardiff on Saturday.

This was my first ever Blogging Conference/Event and I'm not ashamed to say I was pretty nervous. 

Luckily I had arranged to meet Lina (Cookies & Cwtches) & Kate (Willow Makes Three) beforehand as we were all travelling in from Barry. They carried on holding my hand (metaphorically!) all day and I don't think I would have enjoyed the day as much without them - thank you ladies!

I knew plenty of the names of attendees and I follow a lot of their blogs, but I didn't know THEM! When you're a small scale blogger you (or at least I) hold the bloggers with a big following in such high esteem you're almost too afraid to introduce yourself and I have to admit I was too nervous to say hello to Victoria of VeViVos of Emma of Crazy With Twins to name a few, I did however grin manically at them whenever I caught their eye!

The day was organised so brilliantly, the welcome really was welcoming, with a very funny truth or lie quick game...these were Laura's for me to choose...

There were two question & answer sessions on brand engagement and making the most of your social platforms which I found very useful as well as a hands on photography session run by Lucy from Capture by Lucy  which was absolutely brilliant. I've realised its fine to use your smart phones to take blog photos, as long as you have good lighting and time to edit the photos - this is one I managed to take on the day that represents my blog

It was the Keynote Speech that really made me sit up and listen. Karin told us all about Embracing Happy, taking time at the end of each day to sit back and think of three things that made you happy. Once you do this every day for at least 30 days you've formed a habit and it should be easier. She is starting an Embrace Happy Blogger Challenge and I'm pretty sure I won't be the only one joining up! All the details can be found on her website, there is also an Embrace Happy Facebook group.

And of course the goodie bags, what can I say? These were incredible, so many great brands being hugely generous, that I'll be writing about and engaging with these brands  for a very long time!

So what did Blog On Cymru teach me?

It's OK to step outside of your comfort zone and be a little scared sometimes
Stats are not everything!
Different people follow you on different channels, you need to target your posts, tweets & photos to take advantage of that.
Good light changes everything!
My About Page needs some work

Most of all...

Blogging is a community. As soon as you start blogging you become a member, but it is up to you how big your community becomes. You may only want to engage with people in your immediate geographical area or blogging genre, you may only want to be a part of the Twitter or Instagram community; or you may want to engage with people all over the world, across every blogging genre and every social platform. Only you decide how big your community becomes, because to get people engaging with you, you need to make the first move.

Thank you Laura and Blog On Conferences for making my first event such an enjoyable one. Manchester is the next venue, unfortunately all ther tickets are sold BUT Blog On is coming to Winchester on Saturday 3rd October - Early Bird tickets are now on sale and I made sure to buy mine as soon as I heard it was happening! 

Joining in this week with Magic Moments and What's the Story?

Thursday, 5 March 2015

What makes a Mum?

What makes a Mum? Simply giving birth to a child? Or is it more complicated than that?

I myself was only raised by my Mum until I was seven years old, then my Gran took on the "Mum" role. My Dad met a wonderful lady who was his partner until he passed away and she also became a mothering figure in my life.

Let's not forget the Mum of my best school friend who always gave the best hugs and made sure to make our favourite for tea, as well as acting as a buffer between my Gran and I in the "teenage years".

Then there's the older female friends who give the type of advice your mum would give, admittedly usually over a glass of wine. They've wiped my tears, held my hand and fawned over Sion as any proud mum would.

All these women, and others, have in their own unique individual way, been a Mum to me. Some for a passing moment, others for years. I wouldn't be where I am without them.

I want to join the Mum Army. I feel like a Mum. I know how exhausting, and rewarding, and tough, and funny, and chaotic and loving being a Mum can be and I want it so much.

On the surface I am a successful 36 year old woman, with a good career and lots of lovely things. But I don't identify with all the other suited and booted career women. I'd give it all up for that little blue line.

Last year I was watching the Twitter feed for BritMums Live after getting the all clear from my consultant to start trying for a baby again. We had fallen pregnant immediately the first time and I had no reason to doubt it would be the same again. I had visions of me attending BritMums with my own babe in arms and I brought my ticket early.

There is no babe in arms, or even babe in belly. I'm still utterly convinced that we will get pregnant. There's just no telling when. Almost certainly not in time for this year's BritMums. So how can I even attend something so geared towards Mums and Pregnancy if I not a member of the club?

In my mind I am a Mum-In-Waiting. I just don't know if other women would accept that, or think of me as a fraud or a wannabe? Is it OK to identify with Mums more than a child-free woman? Is it even normal to feel like this? I don't have any answers to any of this and it unnerves me. I am powerless to this situation, I have to just let it play out. What will be will be, and all those other platitudes. 

For now I'll continue what I'm doing, keeping healthy, happy and relaxed. Loving my nieces and nephews, being the best Auntie I can be. Learning from all the wonderful mums in my life, being grateful for what I have rather than resentful about what I don't have.

My name is Carrie, I am a Mum-in-Waiting.

Linking up with