Adventures in babywearing

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I was looking through some old photos earlier and it struck me just how awesome babywearing was for us on holiday.

When Clauds was 7 months old, my uncle and cousin came to stay.  We did the touristy things, which included visiting Temburong National Park.  This was essentially a boat ride, some walking, another ride in a smaller boat, some more walking, some lunch in the jungle, another boat ride, a huge walk through the jungle, climbing several hundred steps, climbing some 50m up a canopy walk, a quick booby, another boat ride, a dip in a beautiful waterfall, complete with ‘doctor fish’, and a lot more walking.  It was no place for a pram!

It was one of those things that you wouldn’t necessarily think you could do with a baby, but we did.   I suppose because I wear Amy every day, I forget just how easy it makes life, and the amazing things you are able to do that you couldn’t be able to with a buggy.  The pictures describe it far better than I could in words:

 

 

 

 

 

It makes our little jaunt around Thailand at 3 months post-partum look rather tame, in comparison!

 

That calin bleu has seen the world… ♥

Growing up…

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And boy are they growing up fast!  I feel like Claudia is almost a teenager nowadays!

She is now going around nappy-less during the day and is very excited to use the loo on her own, her language skills are better than ever and most of her sentences are grammatically correct (that’s my girl, lol) and she is even able to tell the time, some of the time!  She can work out the hour and whether it’s ‘o clock’ or ‘half past’ which, frankly, surprised me as I thought she was just guessing but she’s proved me wrong there!  I can have almost a proper conversation with her and she will often sit and listen to me explain something (either answering a question of hers or explaining why we can’t / have to do something) before repeating it back to me.  It was not that long ago at all that she would just ignore me and carry on with whatever she was doing but there seems to have been a real shift in her mental processing recently and she’s working things out more and more.

She’s also pretty good at the odd sum here and there.  She has obviously learned ’5 and 5 is 10′ from the tv somewhere but often if I say “we need 1 / 2 / 3 more” she’ll be able to tell me the total of things we need.  She also did up two of the buttons on her pyjamas tonight after insisting that she do it herself!

That said, she has also taken to walking around the house with the unused toilet seat insert on her head so maybe we won’t apply to MENSA just yet ;)

Even ice creams don’t stop her striking a pose

Amy is coming on in leaps and bounds too.  She is walking loads more (her record is 6 steps at the moment) and she’s standing up without having to pull herself up too.  It seems to make her a lot happier to be able to get around like the rest of us, even if it’s only for a few staggering steps.  She’s also pointing to things (on purpose), shaking her head when she doesn’t want something and only once did the sign for ‘food / eat’.  Her vocabulary includes ‘Mama’, ‘Dada’, ‘booboo’ (booby), ‘buh’ (ball), and ‘Baba’ (Claudia).  She also says ‘duh’ a lot whilst pointing at dogs and ducks, but I’m not counting that one as she uses that very same noise as her ‘look at the thing I’m pointing to’ noise.

She’s nursing as much as ever (if not more, she’s teething at the moment) which makes it funny to think that, when Clauds was this age, she was no longer breastfed.  I can’t imagine Amy giving up any time soon and god only knows what kind of hell she’d give us if I stopped giving it to her!  She climbs the stairs with ease and has perfected that funny ‘super-fast, manic crawl’ thing they do before they are able to walk properly.

Watching them interact is ridiculously heart-melting.  I sit there some days and can’t believe my luck – two beautiful healthy babies playing together is almost more than I can bear.  Of course, it’s not all fun and games as Clauds is still only 2 and hence will often push Amy over for no reason, resulting in tears all round and me repeating ad nauseum the reasons why it’s not nice to hit.  I do feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall at times but I doubt that she’ll be doing it forever so it’s just a case of waiting it out and hoping that she doesn’t cause Amy too much damage in the mean time.

All is forgiven, however, when she says things like “this is my family.  Want a hug and a kiss?  I love you SOOOOO much”.

Pizza Cupcakes

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Ok so the name makes me feel a little queasy but I thought we’d do something a little different for lunch today.  Whenever I ask Claudia what she wants for lunch I get “mmmmm…  Oooh!  I know!  Toast and jam!” as a reply, so today we ventured into the world of ‘using up whatever’s left in the fridge”.  It was great fun, Clauds loved getting involved, and it was something a little bit different too.

It’s a very simple recipe (I hesitate to even call it that, it’s so simple), but here’s what we did:

 

Oil a muffin tin and squash down slices of bread to make the base of the ‘cupcake’ (we removed the crusts first)

Next, add your fillings.  We chose sweetcorn…

… ham…

…and mushrooms, although you can obviously use anything you have laying around.

Next we added a dollop of cream cheese to each one…

…sprinkled with oregano (for that ‘pizza’ flavour!)…

… and topped each one off with an egg.

 

Next, shove them in a pre-heated oven (ours was about 200C)…

 

… have some celery if you can’t stand the wait…

 

… and voila!  Lunch!

And it’s as simple as that!  The only thing I regret is not having bigger muffin tins, the egg spilled over and made it a little tricky to remove the ‘cakes’ from the tin, but with some handy fork-work, they were out in a flash.  The girls enjoyed them and I find they always enjoy something more if they’ve helped to make it themselves.  Definitely one I’ll try again.

 

 

 

 

How to make a half-decent birthday cake if you’re a rubbish baker like me

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Oh boy.  I have been thinking about Smoosh’s birthday cake for weeks now, trying decide what on earth to make.  I decided to make instead of buy for once but I am utterly rubbish at cake-decorating so it had to be something easy.

I debated doing the awesome rainbow cake smothered in Smarties, then thought about doing the chocolate finger cake but in the end decided to go with a big number 1.  It’s the easiest number to make and, well, why not, eh?

So I went with Swiss rolls, cut to shape and slathered in frosting.  Simple in concept but, did I mention what a rubbish decorate I am?!

First things first: recipes.  I used a strawberry and mascarpone Swiss roll recipe from the BBC website and a frosting recipe which I adapted from this recipe at Can You Stay for Dinner?  I have copied the recipes below for ease of reference.

For the strawberry filling:

  • 1 packet strawberries, hulled and sliced, plus extra to decorate
  • 1 packet raspberries
  • splash orange juice

For the sponge

  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 80g/3oz caster sugar, plus extra for finishing
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • 80g/3oz plain flour
  • pinch salt

For the mascarpone cream

  • 250g/9oz mascarpone
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the whipped frosting

  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 250g butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1/2 tub whipping cream
  • 1/2 tub double cream

First I made the sponges.  I doubled the recipe above to make two as I didn’t have a big enough baking tray to make a long enough roll so I made two and butchered one.

Preheat the oven to 190C and line a baking tray with baking paper.  Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until they resemble a mousse (about 10 minutes), fold in the water and then sift and fold in the flour and salt. Be gentle with it so as not to knock too much air out of it.  Smear it over the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until it is just coming away from the edges of the tin.  Turn it out and leave it to cool. (If you’re me, do this twice).

Whizz up most of the berries in a blender with the orange juice and set aside for later.  I left mine overnight.

Mix up the mascarpone ingredients and smear over the cooled cake(s) – there was enough for two from the original recipe.  Drizzle the berry mix over the top.

Very carefully roll into a tube.  This was the bit I was most worried about but, even after the cakes had sat overnight, they didn’t crack and actually rolled pretty nicely.  If I say so myself.

Having assembled both of my rolls, I hacked one to pieces until I had something that resembled a ’1′.  I got the angle a bit wrong but I filled it in with extra slivers so it didn’t matter too much.  Plus the family got a little treat of the offcuts, but shhh!

Now for the frosting.  I have used the recipe on ‘can you stay for dinner’ before and it was amazing!  I would never have thought to use flour in a frosting but it’s very light and airy (not unlike whipped cream) and I thought it would go well with this cake as there is a fair amount of creaminess inside it.

So you’re essentially making a roux and adding it to buttercream.  Mix the flour into the milk and cook until thickened.  Leave it to cool completely, meanwhile, whisk the butter and sugar together until it’s white and fluffy.  When the roux is completely cool, whisk the two together for a few minutes until completely incorporated.

Now I decided to go an extra step into decadence and firstly add more buttercream than their recipe calls for, but also add actual cream to the mix.  So I whipped the whipping- and double cream together until stiff and just folded it all into the frosting mix.  Nom.

A little tip here – if you’re going to leave this overnight in the fridge, it will be rock hard when you come to use it the next day.  *ahem* Just saying…

So, back to the cake.  Now it’s a ‘simple’ case of smearing your frosting over the top.  This was harder than anticipated as, every time I used my spatula, I ended up taking the top layer of cake up as well (apparently it formed a little crust or something), but eventually I got it to lie even.

Then decorate.  This should be the ‘fun’ bit (and indeed I stocked up on loads of cool-looking decorations like mini marshmallows, hundreds and thousands, glitter, silver spray etc) but I didn’t want to just dump them all on top and make it a big mess so I went with colouring some frosting red (well it was meant to be red but it came out more ‘raspberry’. Not necessarily a bad thing, given the filling) and piping around the edge of the ’1′ to seal it.  I don’t have a proper cake board so I just covered a lazy Susan in tin foil and made do.

Then I added a few ‘bows’ and an ‘Amy’ and stuck on a few pre-made sugar roses and some red glitter.  I’ll add some of the left over berries at the last minute tomorrow.

And voila!  That frosting recipe will likely leave you with a fair bit left over (I reckon I could have iced a half dozen cupcakes with what I didn’t use!) so feel free to go a little easy on my amounts there but I’m pretty proud of my lil’ old cake.  I think Smoosh enjoyed it :)

 

Sleep

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Ok so Smoosh and I are still co-sleeping.  It makes life easier when it comes to the night feeds and, frankly, I like it. It’s like having a lovely, snuggly teddy bear right next to you when you wake up in the middle of the night.

That said, it isn’t without its disadvantages!  The fact that, if a nipple gets within a foot of her face she’ll be rooting for it; the fact that she sometimes snores almost as loudly as my husband; the fact that she’ll often want to nurse just because I’m there, rather than actually needing it.  Space isn’t an issue as we have a lovely super-king sized bed but it would be nice to be able to stretch out for one.

Well, the other day, for the first time in over 11 months, for the first time since her first night on this earth (half of which she spent in my arms, looking up at a very shocked Mummy; the other half of which she spent in a plastic cot next to my bed while I tried, and failed, to sleep),  Amy slept in her own bed.  In her own room, even!  That nursery that I was so desperate to decorate before she was born now has an occupant!

I took the side off her cot and pushed one of our big ‘armchairs without arms’ next to it so I could essentially cosleep in her cot.  Not permanently, just until Boob had sent her to sleep, then I could creep out.  I figure, the more time she spends in that room, the more familiar it will become.

It worked.  I have so far managed to put her down for two naps up there and one night.  Last night she came into our bed at about midnight as she has a cough and was waking often (and, as it turns out, nursing often too… *yawn*) but the fact that we had a successful night in her own room means that she’ll be out of our bed before long.

I’m torn.  I love having her in there but at the same time, the ‘give her a bottle and leave her to get herself to sleep’ option is sorely tempting; especially as that’s exactly how Claudia was, and still is.  She has always been a “good sleeper” (in that she goes down without me, without a fuss and sleeps for a long time) and, while Amy is easy to cope with in that a boob will solve pretty much anything, it doesn’t stop me dreaming of the days when I used to put baby Claudia to bed with a bottle at 7pm and she’d sleep through till 8 the next morning.

I have to admit, I’m rather hesitant about even mentioning that my parenting methods don’t leave me all glowing and happy 24/7.  It seems like these days, if you decide to do something like breastfeed, or cosleep, or even use a sling instead of a pram; you have to portray a constant image of perfection or you’ll get the “Well you chose to XYZ…”.  And really, who has the time or patience to counter that argument?  Certainly not me.  Yes, I chose to do those things, just like every other mother chose to do what she’s doing, but it doesn’t mean it’s without its hardships and it doesn’t mean I can’t have a whinge once in a while, just like the next gal.

So yes, I adore cosleeping and yes, I will miss it; but I can’t say it won’t be nice to not wake up with a sore shoulder from nursing a poorly baby for half the night in an awkward position.  That said, she really is growing up too fast…

Breastfeeding in public

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I recently read this excellent blog post by Mums are Not Always Right about breastfeeding in public.

I think you already know my views on this. I am not one to shy away from posting photos of me feeding my girl(s). I don’t understand the mentality either; ok you are flashing a bit of flesh and occasionally someone might get a glimpse of nipple if they’re trying hard. Is this obscene? No, If nipples are ok in lads’ mags but it’s ‘obscene’ if one is spotted doing what it was made for then, as you say, something is seriously wrong.

Some people hedge their bets and say “as long as you are discreet”. There is certainly a huge market for products that help women to feed discreetly; from nursing tops to apron-style covers. Feeding in a carrier or wrap is a good way to stop a passerby getting an eyeful but my question is this: why should breastfeeding only be acceptable if it’s discreet? I must admit I disagree completely; a woman should not have to be discreet. It’s not always possible to be discreet. Some women have big breasts which make it awkward to position a baby discreetly; some women have latch issues, some babies won’t tolerate a cover, some women find it awkward and some women just plain don’t want to cover up. Now I’m not saying that all lactating mothers should be allowed to walk around topless, of course not, but if breastfeeding is only acceptable in public when it’s ‘discreet’ then it we are excluding a huge number of mothers from feeling comfortable feeding outside of their homes.

You'd never even know I was feeding.

When I feed my child, I am not sitting there, daring someone to challenge me; I am not flaunting the fact that I am successfully breastfeeding where others could not, I’m not rubbing it in anyone’s face or spoiling for a fight. I’m sat there praying nobody gets a flash of my nipple as my child wrenches off to have a look around; I’m hoping my milk doesn’t end up squirting across the room; I’m praying nobody comes over and asks me to move because, much as I know my rights, I am rather vulnerable sat there with my breast out and don’t really feel in a position to fight them over it so I’d probably just meekly move.

13 months old. How old is too old?

I wonder if it’s more acceptable to see a newborn baby feeding than an older child? How old is too old; where is the cut-off? I know a lot of women see anything over 6 months as ‘extended breastfeeding’ even though biologically speaking, it is closer to 3. The WHO recommends “up to two years of age or beyond”, and no, that’s not just for “poor Africans”. It provides comfort as well as nutrition and does have value beyond a year; think of all the antibodies, stem cells, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial bacteria contained in breastmilk; not to mention the calming effect it has on mother and baby. There’s nothing wrong with comfort feeding and, contrary to popular cultural belief, being “used as a dummy” is actually not a bad thing! Older babies have just as much right to feed in public as newborns, indeed most breastfeeding laws around the world state a child “of any age”.

Comfort food

As for the photos. People say “why do you feel the need to share photos of a private moment between mother and child?”. Well aside from the fact that “why the hell shouldn’t I?” there is the simple fact that the more something is seen, the more normal it becomes. Breastfeeding, although touted as ‘best’ (another issue I get fired up at. It’s not ‘best’, it’s the biological norm), is not seen often. How often do you see women breastfeeding in public? The more we get out there, the more the younger generations will see it as normal and eventually it won’t even be an issue; noone will bat an eyelid.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I shall continue to post my breastfeeding photos to Facbeook; not because I’m a lactivist (although I suppose I am), not because I am spoiling for a fight or I feel I have something to prove. I’ll do it because I think it’s important that people see breastfeeding as something normal, not something shameful or something that should only be done in private.  For the same reasons, I shall continue to breastfeed in public as and when my daughter needs me to. I hope one day that people will look back in amusement at just how ridiculous we were to find something that is fundamentally human so unacceptable.

Let them eat cake (a recipe in pictures)

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So today I had an epiphany. We had a bottle of Guinness in the cupboard! It’s been ages since I made Guinness cakes so Claudia and I knuckled down, raided the cupboards and got to work on our newest creation – Guinness cupcakes.

I’ve made them before but never had a toddler help. It was a great way to waste an hour and she always loves helping me in the kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can or bottle of Guinness
  • 250g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 75g cocoa
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 150mls sour cream (or 142ml tub)
  • 275g plain flour
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 200C.

Pour the Guinness into a pan, cut the butter into pieces.

Add the butter to the pan and allow to melt. Don’t let it boil but heat the mixture for 5 minutes or so. Add the cocoa and sugar to the pan. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, measure out the sour cream and vanilla extract…

add the eggs…

…and mix!


Add the chocolate mix from the pan, mix a little more.

Then add the flour and mix one last time.

Prepare some paper cases (counting them several times of course)

Add the mixture. Make sure it’s all there and check it once more, just to be sure.

Put in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes then carefully push a square of cooking chocolate into the centre of each cake as a nice gooey surprise.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes more. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean (obviously insert it into the cake rather than the square of chocolate or it’ll never come out clean!).

While they are cooking you can make a simple cream cheese frosting. I double the normal recipe as the single is never enough. This also allows a little extra for ‘mishaps’ (i.e. greed!). I will list the ingredients for the doubled recipe. You will need:

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 180g butter, softened
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients until smooth. Make sure the mixture is up to scratch with frequent taste tests.

Now comes the tricky bit – convincing your toddler to wait while they cool! This caused many tantrums as, despite asking over a thousand times in the two hours between making these cakes and dinner, the answer remained “yes but after dinner”. Who can blame her though, they look so delicious!

I know these are not exactly a healthy snack for a young child but she had so much fun making them. The chocolate surprise and macho beer-iness was appreciated by the husband, chocolate is always a winner with mummy and Claudia loved the icing and little heart sprinkles; they went down a treat!

Reflections, 6 months on…

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I can’t believe she’s 6 months old already, the time has just flown by and I am so proud of my little Smoosh. The weirdest thing is, I’m still on a high from her birth; I didn’t realise just what a difference there would be in post partum feelings. While I obviously adored Claudia, with Amy it’s a more visceral reaction: I need to be with her, I need to smell her and I need feel her close to me. I could spend hours just sniffing her head. With Claudia I never had that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her to pieces but with Amy it feels more deep-rooted and instinctual somehow.

I have also found the transition from ‘pregnant’ to ‘new mother’ far easier. Now part of that might obviously just be down to the fact that I’ve done it once before but I really struggled after Claudia’s birth to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t pregnant any more. There was no ‘process’, I felt like I was still waiting to have my baby, even though she was there in my arms. It’s a tough thing to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it but I do think there’s a lot to be said for pushing your baby out as I didn’t have even a hint of that this time around.

I still can’t quite believe I managed a VBAC, I mean really how the hell did that happen?! I recently read back over my birth story and got all emotional; I’m still reeling from the fact that I had no drugs, no interventions, nothing. Just me, a husband, a baby ,a stressball and a whole lot of swearing ☺ I was thrilled that I was able to have the birth I had wanted as I was worried that I would end up needing pain relief and, not wanting to go with opiates it would have been straight from the gas to the epidural. Which I didn’t want as I was worried it would be a downward spiral to another C section, blah blah blah. As it turns out I was perfectly able to labour with no pain relief aside from squeezing a little juggling ball, breathing and visualising numbers as my darling husband read them off the monitor to me.

Me, the person who cries when she stubs her toe!

If I was a religious woman I would be saying that God was with me that day. But I am not so much as slightly religious; I fully believe that it was luck, preparation on my part and the fact that the poor hospital staff were so busy that they simply didn’t have time to give me those unnecessary interventions and checks. It was just a raw, instinctual process that resulted in the (rather speedy) arrival of a perfect, healthy baby.

In fact, the whole thing has made me really want to do it again. Not the pregnancy (I couldn’t cope with another; emotionally or physically) or the baby. Just the birth. Is that weird? I actually really enjoyed it! I mean yes, I suppose it must have hurt (not that I remember any of it hurting, oddly. The power of oxytocin!) but it was never the sort of pain that left me feeling like I couldn’t cope. In fact at no point did I even consider pain relief aside from wanting a shower right at the end, despite them offering me drugs a few times early on. Don’t get me wrong, I hadn’t ruled it out, I just didn’t need it at that moment; I never felt like the contractions were overwhelming me even when she started coming and they were one on top of another. Then it was just a case of hanging onto the bed and riding it out, it was such a primal thing that I really had very little control – I decided early on to surrender to my body and relax into it and the ‘cavewoman’ in me truly emerged!

All the birth sites are right – you actually can do it! Who knew? It’s always been one of my greatest fears, as I’m sure it is for others – “the agony of childbirth”- and that is a testament to how it is portrayed in our society, I think. I viewed it as “the most painful thing I will ever do, but worth it to have a family” and honestly, my C section recovery was far, far, FAR worse! Ok, obviously that’s birth too, but the point I’m trying to make here is that a natural, drug-free birth is really not as painful as films and the media make it out to be. At no point was I lying on my back screaming “give me the drugs!”: ok I may have been moaning like a porn star but that was just my body taking over and pushing away the pain and it was surprisingly effective.

I have never felt more empowered. I hate that word as it has real hippy connotations but it’s true; no other word adequately sums up how I felt after that birth. I even texted a friend saying “I feel like superwoman!” and I did. I honestly felt like there was nothing I could do after that and I couldn’t stop smiling.

I still can’t.

Having that VBAC has put a lot of my demons about my c section to rest. I still feel sad that I didn’t get to experience this first time around (and for next to no good reason) but it’s not the overwhelming bubble of anger and sadness that it once was. It’s amazing what a difference it can make, really…

So thank you, little Smoosh, for being born. Thank you for doing all the work for me so all I had to do was hold on and enjoy the ride. And I really did enjoy it, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. It was the most amazing moment of my life, my greatest achievement and nothing else I do will ever make me feel as powerful and human as that day did.

Making Banana Bread: a Toddler’s Perspective

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You will need:
4 bananas
Some plain flour
Some sugar (we used brown and white)
Some raisins
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder


Step 1
Put bananas in a bowl and mash. Get frustrated because mashing is difficult. Let Mummy do most of it and then wave the masher around, effectively spreading banana over the widest variety of kitchen surfaces.

Step 2
Add flour. It doesn’t really matter how much as you’ll add more later. Stir with a spoon. Pick up the spoon and let the mixture dribble off the spoon, preferably onto the floor as well as into the bowl. Attempt to eat the mix. Get frustrated when prevented from doing so and fling more mixture around.

Step 3
Add raisins. This is the best bit! You can vary between grabbing big handfuls and picking them each out individually.

 Stir in the raisins. Marvel at how they seem to disappear into the mix. Add more.

Step 4
Check on your sister.

Step 5
Add a teaspoon or so of baking powder and 3 eggs. Attempt to eat the eggs. When asked not to, try to sneakily touch the eggs without Mummy noticing. Learn what “yellow ones” are. They’re called yolks. Giggle and call them “silly jokes”.

Stir in the eggs and notice how the mixture goes really sloppy. Smell the mixture. Note that it smells like apples. No, wait, bananas; it smells like bananas.

Step 6
Add sugar. Notice how sugar comes in two colours: brown and white. Mix it in and watch it disappear.

Step 7
Add more flour until it looks a bit more like cake mix. Stir.

Watch it fall off the spoon again. You will notice that it isn’t as dribbly as before but don’t be deterred – it can still be flung around effectively when the right amount of enthusiasm is applied.

Step 8
Pour into a loaf tin and try to accept the fact that it has to cook before you’re allowed to eat it. Put it in the oven for about 20 minutes (or until a stick comes out clean when poked into it).



Step 9
Watch Mummy attempt to clean up. Laugh.

Step 10
Get frustrated at the fact that the cake is in the oven and out of bounds. Cry.

Step 11
Rejoice! Time is up, let Mummy get the cake out of the oven.

Step 11

Eat a bit. Ask for some more. Finish the bit you’ve got and pose nicely for a photo.

Festivities

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I am finally getting slightly into the swing of Christmas. I am fast becoming slightly obsessed with starting traditions for the girls and I had a bit of a brainwave for a nice memento – baubles!

I bought some ‘soap bubble baubles’ from Amazon (which arrived in the least eco-friendly packaging I’ve ever seen – half a roll of bubble wrap each and an enormous box!), got my embossing bits out and went to town.

I did Claudia’s first as I know how babies tend to clench their fists when you try to do anything even vaguely handprint-y and she had great fun. She couldn’t understand why the ‘paint’ had no colour!

Anyway, it was easy as pie – wipe the embossing ink over the child’s hand, sprinkle over embossing powder, tap/dust off excess and get the heat gun going on it. I used a different colour powder for their names (all colours chosen by Claudia) and I suppose you could decorate them with anything but I do like the idea that their handprints will be immortalised (on very fragile glass).