Guest Post: I Wish I’d Tried Harder

Today I’m happy to have Ami from Through Ami’s Eyes on the blog talking about a topic that is really important to me; the struggle to breastfeed. As someone who had problems with this personally, it’s great to hear from someone else!

When Pickle was born almost 3 years ago it was a pretty difficult time. I had to be induced and was kept in hospital for the week whilst they were trying to move things along due to my blood pressure. When he was born he was quickly whisked away as he had a strange rash and it turned out that the doctors were worried he had an infection. He wasn’t able to maintain his temperature and his blood sugar levels were all over the place. This obviously caused me and hubby a huge amount of stress and worry and I remember about an hour after he was born the midwife trying to get Pickle to latch on. This was were our journey to breastfeed started and ended.

We tried for about 15 minutes and he just wouldn’t latch on. I remember getting really flustered and hot and questioning why he wouldn’t latch. He was clearly hungry as he was trying but just couldn’t get it. I was tired, emotional and worried about our little baby being poorly so trying for that short amount of time and in that moment I asked for a bottle for him. He took to that so easy and was quickly glugging the milk down. After that first bottle I then didn’t really think about trying to breastfeed him again and in hindsight I really wish I had tried harder.

The first three days after Pickle was born was filed with tests, heel pricks after every feed, twice daily trips to NICU for pickle to be given antibiotics, talks of lumber punctures, more doctors than I could keep count of…to say it stressful was an understatement. Each and every time the midwives came to ask me how I was and if I was breastfeeding or if I wanted to try again I just brushed them off. All I wanted was to know how much pickle had drunk in his last feed so that I could let them know so that they in turn could check his blood sugars were okay. I just wanted the best for my baby and for him to be okay so we could go home and start our new lives together.

We eventually got home and settled in. I didn’t really think much more about breastfeeding until recently. I was listening to my friends talking about the bond they made with their babies when they breastfed them and how they loved it and couldn’t wait to do it again if they had another. I couldn’t join in as I have never experienced what it was like to breastfeed. I didn’t know that feeling and that bond. Had I done wrong by pickle for not trying harder? Was he suffering emotionally or physically because I hadn’t tried harder? My rational mind says no but I still have a creeping doubt that maybe I should have tried harder.

In saying this through, at the time bottle feeding was the right thing to do for us. Hubby was able to feed Pickle, we were able to monitor his intake to check his sugar levels and it actually turned out that pickle suffered with silent reflux that meant he needed special milk anyway so even if I was breastfeeding him I would have had to have stopped when we got the diagnosis or I would have had to have given him medicine before each feed. I know that it was the right thing to do and I don’t regret our decision but I can’t help but wonder sometimes what it would have been like to breastfeed Pickle.

I’d love to know if you felt like this? Did you regret not breastfeeding? Did you not get a choice? Let me know in the comments.

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National Tea Day

Did you know that today was National Tea Day? I didn’t until just recently and neither did my sister Natalie, who is pretty addicted to tea. Today she’s guest posting for me about why she loves tea!

National Tea Day

Today is National Tea Day, which I didn’t know existed, but being British it makes perfect sense; shouldn’t this be a National holiday?? The British are famously a nation of tea lovers, however to most people this is milky ‘builders tea’ which has a large sugar to tea ratio. I’ve never been a fan. In fact, I never used to like tea at all. I can remember trying my first cup of herbal tea at college where i was studying holistic therapies with a group of middle age fruity tea lovers. Going for a cup of tea on our breaks meant going for a fruit infusion which I knew wasn’t popular or common due to the servers offering milk and biscuits with the fruit tea, neither of which were necessary or complimentary. How I have gone from there, to hoarding tea like there is a nationwide shortage of it is a mystery to me. I think that the growing popularity of fruit and green teas has meant that these days there is something for everyone, and the availability of this in most cafes and restaurants means that you can easily avoid coffee without having to resort to a sugary cold drink. There is a huge selection at supermarkets along with a small amount of great speciality shops. Not only has the availability of flavours expanded, but so has the trend for stylish tea wear; from cast iron tea sets, to antique tea sets.

At present I have enough tea to last me a few years. This doesn’t mean that i will stop buying tea for the next few years, I have a collection that I steadily add to because I cannot stop myself from buying tea of unusual and interesting flavours. Don’t get me wrong, I love the basics. I mostly drink flavoured green teas from Twinings – they’re an institution, you can’t go wrong with them. But I also have a collection of loose teas that I try to drink less frequently; they’re more expensive than tea bags and require more effort to diffuse before drinking. I’m particularly a fan of T2, a speciality tea store company with a few stores in England. I visit the shop on Tottenham Court Road in central London and rarely leave without buying at least one tea. Their tea comes in bright square containers and they sell a massive range of flavours. They sell a good range of traditional tastes, including high end green teas which come at an extra cost but they also sell some fun desert flavours – their caramel tea is simply delicious. Also in London is Postcard Tea which is a tiny shop you can find on Dering Street in Mayfair, not far from Oxford Circus. They only sell tea from farmers with very small plantations, so the tea is fairly rare. Of the tea I’ve bought the taste is incredibly delicate and unusual. I try to add to my collection when I travel too, tea tends to be the main thing I bring back from holidays these days. My favourite acquisitions so far has been coconut black tea from the Caribbean and a small pot of loose tea I bought from Angelina which I bought when i visited Versailles during a recent trip to Paris.

Although drinking tea is done daily and usually without much thought, I think it is worth considering taking the time to at least once go for afternoon tea, an activity which I feel is becoming more popular. It’s worth finding somewhere that has a good selection of teas on offer so that you can pair your meal with a variety of blends to accompany your cakes and finger sandwiches. Okay, so this meal isn’t all about the tea, but I think there’s something about finger sandwiches and miniature cakes being paired with teas, that are brewed in beautiful tea pots, which is worth experiencing.

Are you a tea drinker? If you are, what is your favourite?

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Meal Plan Monday: Devon Mama

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week we have Hayley from Devon Mama writing about what works for her family!

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I’ve never been the best at meal planning. My mum used to do it and in my head I linked it to constantly eating the same meals; week in, week out. I’d have a rough idea of what I wanted to eat for the week and buy things that I thought would cover me but that was about it.

When I moved in with my (now) husband we lived in the middle of a town so meal planning wasn’t necessary. It started our habit of just ‘popping to the shops’ on a daily basis. When we moved out of the town to a nearby village, it was almost worst, now we drive past the supermarket four times each day; to work, home for lunch, back to work and home again. It’s just too easy to whip in.

Recently however we’ve realised it’s a habit we need to kick. We’re wasting time, food and money. We end up with food we don’t need, a constant supply of chocolate and a never-ending rotting heap of veg in the depths of the fridge. I spent a lot of time putting off a meal plan because of my past experiences of it at home but I know I’d been tarring all plans with the same brush. My meal plan doesn’t need to be same-y and I love a list so it started to really appeal.

I put my first meal plan in a long time together last week and (I don’t want to sound too smug) it was a real success. Our shopping bill for the week went from £100+ down to just £35. Now, I know that’s not feasible in the long term, we don’t go out much so nice food is one thing that we don’t want to compromise on, but the first week was based on food we had in the cupboards and freezer. I did a quick list of what major meal components we had already and planned accordingly.Devon Mama

Last week our shopping bill was £60 for the week. We didn’t scrimp, there was plenty of meat, fresh veg and treats and every meal passed the husband test! I should qualify here that we don’t have to buy formula and we buy nappies in bulk from Aldi every couple of months, so that’s a cost we don’t really have to deal with. Having used up the majority of the freezer and cupboard, I’ve been getting my inspiration from other Meal Plan Monday posts, Pinterest and throwing in some old favourites along the way.

So is meal planning working for us? Yes! It’s given us structure, saved us lots of money already and forced me into a new routine. I actually enjoy routing around on the internet and in the cupboards for inspiration, running ideas past my husband and putting together a plan for the week. I get a huge satisfaction from getting to the end of the day and knowing what dinner is going to be rather than racing home from work and throwing something quick together, often something unhealthy. I get even more satisfaction from getting to a Wednesday night (I shop on a Thursday) and seeing the fridge practically empty! Is it something we’ll carry on with? Definitely!

Devon Mama

Devon Mama is run by ; Hayley – a 30 year old mama, wife and recovering sleep addict. Living with my husband, baby and the world’s bounciest dog in rural Devon, I can usually be found attempting to cook, Googling everything and embracing the strange new world that is parenting. Add in a house with ‘a lot of potential’ and a return to my ‘real’ job as a Company Director and it’s organized chaos at the best of times.

You can follow our adventures here:

https://devonmama.com

https://twitter.com/devon_mama

http://instagram.com/devonmamaonline

http://pinterest.com/devonmamaonline

http://facebook.com/devonmamaonline

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Work-Motherhood Balance Secrets

Trying to balance work and motherhood is no easy feat. As a working mum, there are all sorts of factors that play into the transition from being a working professional to being a mum to, eventually, becoming a working mum. Scheduling, exhaustion, still-fluctuating hormones and just wanting to be with your baby can make going back to work a lot tougher than it might seem. In some cases, a career change and finding something more flexible instead of going back to the job you had before maternity leave might come as a better solution. If you are interested in pursuing a different career path, today’s job search sites like uk.jobrapido.com can be especially helpful with finding a job. In case you are looking for a freelance position, check job openings also in bigger cities like Birmingham, for example, as you might find more options available. With the right balance, work can be a great social outlet, intellectual boost and a source of happiness outside your home.

Here are a few secrets to help you find the work-motherhood balance that works best for you.

Be true to yourself

First and foremost, be true to yourself. What makes you happy day to day? What are your career goals? Family goals? If you are honest with yourself, know your priorities and give yourself space to change and grow, making the transition back to work will be easier and more organic. Stay true to yourself and be sure you also pencil in time for yourself, even to simply relax and hold your baby or take a bubble bath and reflect on how you are doing.

Be proactive

Being proactive will help you feel and be more prepared. If you have any concerns or curiosities about how something will work, take the steps to figure it out before the transition. For example, are your curious about how to manage breastfeeding? Find out in advance where you can pump at the office and the schedule you’ll have to work with. Or perhaps you are concerned about childcare and costs? If your partner works or perhaps needs a free hour twice per week, plan ahead. Choose the right childcare provider, whether through a daycare, family-in-law, neighbor or babysitter that you know you can trust.

Involve your partner

Open communication is key. When you come home from work at the end of the day, having a household that is in sync will allow you to put the focus at home on your family instead of figuring out how to make your home run more smoothly. Work with your partner to figure out schedules, who gets up during the night if (realistically, when) your baby cries and other tasks like household chores and errands. Working together to meal plan, set out clothes and anything else that you can get done in advance can make hectic mornings run smoother so you can spend a couple extra minutes holding your baby instead of trying to find a pair of matching socks.

Give and get: Flexibility

A company that is flexible for new mums can often make the transition smoother, and it is surely appreciated. Knowing you have some wiggle room in case, for example, you need to pick your child up at daycare early takes some stress off at the office. As you get this flexibility at work, be sure to reciprocate it. If this means later hours some nights or on the weekends, be sure your company understands it is a two way street. This way, everyone feels respected and appreciated.

At the end of the day, knowing what is right for you and your family is what matters. Be flexible and stay in tune with yourself and your family. Going back to work will be tough, yes, but that will not take away from your power of being a loving, supportive and engaged mum.

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Meal Plan Monday: Mummy to Dex

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week we have Nicola from Mummy to Dex writing about what works for her family!

meal plan monday

Before our little baba was growing in my belly, we did not meal plan at all. We mainly lived on takeaways and ready meals and I rarely cooked from scratch. More often than not, I would buy blindly in the supermarket and decide on the night what I would cook. I would always forget to get meat out to defrost and when I did remember, I would change my mind or find I didn’t have the right ingredients, meaning the meat was left in the fridge for days on end before it finally went off. We were always chucking meat away and fresh ingredients were left in the fridge to rot.

I started meal planning half way through my pregnancy when I was signed off sick with SPD. I had nothing better to do than to sit and create a month’s worth of meals and then go online to order the food from Morrison’s. I took great joy in looking up new and exciting recipes and ordering the right amount of food to make them. I haven’t looked back since.

We roughly spend around £250 a month, that’s to feed two adults and one baby which does include formula and nappies. In a typical month I’ll get two Morrison’s deliveries of around £100 each and may end up doing a few top up shops towards the middle and end of the month. I usually make meals like spaghetti Bolognese, chicken curry, burritos, paella, a range of pasta dishes, stir fries and fajitas. For breakfast I choose four options and alternate them, things such as porridge, peanut butter on toast, shredded wheat, crumpets and pancakes. Lunch is usually something simple like a sandwich, omelette or something I’ve batch cooked and thrown in the freezer like pinwheels or sweet potato burgers.meal plan monday

The first benefit of us meal planning was the amount of money we started saving. We were having on average four takeaways a week, costing around £15 a go. Over the past 13 months we have saved close to £2500 by limiting takeaways to one per week as a treat. We are also no longer throwing away food which was a huge waste of money.

This leads me on nicely to another plus for meal planning. We very rarely throw food away nowadays, which means a less stinky bin in our apartment and us helping the environment that little bit more. I always felt extremely guilty letting good meat go to waste, now the only things that go in the bin are the scraps Dexter inadvertently drops on the floor when he is being fed.

Thanks to meal planning, we now have a much healthier diet due to eating a more varied diet of different fruits and vegetables. I am a sucker for offers and order fresh produce that is on a special deal meaning we try lots of different things, most recently, persimmons for the first time.

Finally, I love the organisation of it all. Before the month starts, I print off a calendar showing us what we are having for dinner each night. This means I can see what food I need to get out of the freezer and check if I need to pick up any additional fresh bits from the local supermarket. It also gives me great satisfaction to cross off when we have finished a meal.

All in all, meal planning has been a massive change for the better for us. It has helped keep our budget under control during those months of zero maternity pay and has meant we have eaten healthier than we have done for many, many years. I recommend it to anyone who is willing to try it.

 

Where to find us:

 

Meal Plan Monday: Savings for Savvy Mums

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week I’m handing over to Eleanor from Savings 4 Savvy Mums.

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To Plan or Not to Plan – That is the Question!

It is widely advertised that we should all make meal plans if we want to make savings when it comes to our food bill. However, many of us do not (me included) but why not? Is it the child in us stamping our feet, saying I can do it my way? Is it that we can’t be bothered to think that far in advance? Is it simply we don’t have time or are there other reasons why we don’t create meal plans?

The reasons for creating a meal plan are well known. Reasons like, it is healthier, it is cheaper, it gives you the opportunity for a more diverse diet, make it very appealing. I for one have on may occasions sat down and spent a while creating meal plans. I am by nature a creature of habit so I have only ever worried about the main meal because breakfast and lunch are always the same. Since having children I started off with good intentions but still we have the same things for breakfast and lunch. As with every change I try and work with myself in the vain hope that something will stick. For example when trying to loose weight there is no point me banning all chocolate as I would never be able to do that. I had carefully thought about meals I wanted to try and make and meals that we often had so that we had a bit of variety throughout the week. With my meal plan created, my shopping bought, I was ready to put my meal plan into action. So what went wrong?

Quite simply life did! When cooking I follow one simple rule – nothing that takes longer than 20 minutes. That is about the length of a recorded Postman Pat, Octonauts etc so I know that my daughter is not getting up to anything she shouldn’t. I find the problem with a set plan is that it does not take in to account my daughter’s mood or what we have done that day. Obviously, when all goes to plan, no traffic, no tantrums, no emergency stop for the toilet, the meal plan works a treat and even takes away the stress of the treaded questions, ‘So what’s for dinner?’ But as those of you with toddlers know those days are few and far between. With limited time, a suddenly ravenous toddler and a baby, who has somehow decided tea time is the best time for her bottle, I usually end up reverting to form and cook whatever comes to hand first – I’m sorry to say it usually comes out of a jar.

Most people use meal planning as a way to lower their food bill. Trying to reach the elusive £50 weekly shopping bill escapes me every week. Even with a meal plan, I did not find I was able to get under £50, let alone under £40 – the ultimate goal! Ignoring other essentials such as nappies, detergent, cat food and dare I say it a couple of bottles of wine, I still cannot get my shopping bill to £50. What is more frustrating is I am not a huge ‘see an offer and buy it’ person, so the main reason for having a meal plan does not seem to apply to us as I don’t save any money.

Finding time to put the meal plan together can be difficult as when I am not with my children, I am working. I suppose as soon as I have one put together I can then repeat it until we get bored. I have found programs like ‘Eat well for less’ helps coming up with meal ideas that look really tasty on a small budget and have tried a few. The problem with some of the recipes is that they always assume you have some ingredients already in the cupboard, as I am no great cook this is never the case so I end up buying packets, tins and jars of things that I then only use the smallest amount from. My other problem with planning all these homemade meals is that when I don’t get round to cooking them or the ingredients have gone off before I have used them, I feel like a failure. As with all mothers, mummy guilt occurs enough without me adding to the problem.

My general attitude to what to cook comes under two headings, what have we got in and what will my daughter eat? I can see how a meal plan would help with this, it would ensure I always had the correct things in and I could plan in advance meals that my daughter likes. However, meal planning is just not for me, I am not being a petulant child thinking I can do better, nor is it really that I cannot be bothered to do it. Quite simply when I have created it I find that life gets in the way, I then forget all about the meal plan and just revert to the cooking I find quickest and easiest. As with every other aspect of parenting my mantra at the end of the day seems to be – must do better! So it is with meal planning, I must do better and sticking to it and when it all goes wrong and I have run out of food there is always beans on toast!

Bio:

I’m Eleanor, one half of Savings 4 Savvy Mums. We are a parenting based blog that offers money saving tips, tricks and bargain deals, with a dash of parenting advice thrown in. As well as our blogs, we have a growing community of Penny Pinching Parents who like a good bargain, and who share their own tips within our Facebook group.

Meal Plan Monday: Edinburgh Life with Kids

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week I’m handing over to Laura from Edinburgh Life with Kids!

Meal plan Monday

I’ve always been a fan of Meal Planning. Through working out what we eat in advance, I’ve found that we save money and end up with a lot less food waste. It also takes away the hassle of thinking what to cook each day – everything is always there ready to go. By heading to the supermarket once a week (instead of everyday) I also save time and energy – which is always a bonus!

In the past, I’ve always sat down and planned the week ahead. Whilst this has generally worked for us, there has been the occasional hiccup. On weekends that have been unusually busy we’ve sometimes just not had the time. This has resulted in weeks that are just chaos.So we decided to try something a bit different:

Instead of working on a week by week basis, we decided to plan the entire month at once. Writing the shopping lists for each week in one go. I was tempted to also just book online food deliveries as well, but actually quite like the half hour I spend in the store each week. But all the planning was completed a month in advance.

To start with, I decided that each week needed a pattern. We would have a type of soup on Monday, salad on Tuesday, Stir fry Wednesday, and so on. I’m sure you get the idea! This gave me a really clear framework and I found it made thinking of what to eat easier.

The problem was – we got fed up with this pattern after two weeks. Mondays were just a bit rubbish!

I also switched focus to try an include more protein in my diet rather than just losing weight (I want to increase my muscle to fat ratio). When a neighbour loaned us the ‘Lean in 15’ book by Joe Wicks – it was time for a change!

We decided that the initial idea had been a good one. We had saved time in the previous weeks so simple re-jigged the next two weeks just using the one recipe book. For those familiar with the format of the book, it’s actually divided into two types of meals so provides variety. I know what days I go to the gym (and need carbohydrate meals) so this made planning a lot easier too.

We’ve enjoyed this approach greatly. We’ve eaten loads of new meals and tried new things – and not spent a great deal of time planning!

I had to work this past weekend but my shopping list had already been written. This has resulted in me feeling a lot less stressed about the week ahead as I haven’t really had to think about anything. My husband had a really clear shopping list – and thankfully, hasn’t diverted from it that much.

The downside I guess, is that it doesn’t really cater to whims. Last night, I really wanted to have a take out. Like really wanted one.

But we already had food in and this would’ve been a colossal waste. I suppose this could also be viewed as a good thing given that we didn’t then waste money on a take out. But I’d still quite like to have some crispy beef!

Overall, planning ahead has been successful. I think going ahead I’m more likely to plan two weeks ahead rather than four. But for people who know their routine, and have a good idea of what the month ahead holds. I’d really recommend this approach!

where to find me

edinburghwithkids.com – A Scottish Lifestyle & Parenting blog

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Thanks so much Laura! We’ve tried the same meals for each day of the work but we got bored really easily too! 

Meal Plan Monday: Living with a Jude

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week I’m handing over to Alice from Living with a Jude!

Meal plan Monday

My Meal Planning Initiation

So, you may have seen last week that I challenged myself to clear the cupboards in a bid to stop wasting food. It dawned on me one day that our kitchen cupboards are always full of food yet I would regularly claim there was nothing available for dinner. I’d then nip down to the shops to buy more even more stuff! I have a habit of food shopping on a daily basis which has the benefit that I typically only buy exactly what I want for that day but in reality it’s a ridiculous waste of time and leads to me having a daily stress about when I’ll make it to the shops.

So, to continue with my attempt to save money and time, I have taken up the notion of meal planning. Planning – something I’m historically useless at but something I’ve always wanted to master. With three children, two jobs and a household to run it’s a bit of a no-brainer that I should utterly embrace something as simple as meal planning so I’m not sure why I’ve never managed it, how hard can it be? Plan what you’ll eat, buy the food, cook the food, eat the food. Non?

My eldest child is Jude, he has severe learning disabilities as well as autism and is the basis for me starting my blog. He loves order and routine (as do most children) but strangely he copes pretty well with the odd hiccup along the way. I guess he’s learnt to cope well from having such a haphazard mother like me. Here he is last week trying on his new headphones:

Living with a Jude
I need to try meal planning primarily to save time. I rarely have time to do anything, drown in daily household chores and literally never sit down to rest until my head hits the pillow at about midnight each night, usually with a toddler lying on said pillow alongside me. Here is my little shadow of a toddler:

Living with a JudeSo here is what I have planned for this week:

Monday – Spaghetti bolognaise. This is a favourite amongst us all. I make it using veggie mince such as Sainsbury’s or Tesco own brand or Linda McCartneys, all found in the freezer section. I love this stuff, it’s so versatile.

Tuesday – sweet potato stew with chilli and peanut sauce. This meal is amazing, I could literally live on the sauce alone and it’s so simple to make. I’ll prepare it in the middle of the day after work and then just keep it simmering until we’re ready to eat.

Wednesday – lentil/veg curry, rice and samosas. Again, another dinner I can make in advance and eat as and when we all traipse back home. Jude and Emmeline eat at about 5pm, Elsa at about 6pm when she returns from school and then we eat later on at about 8pm when we can enjoy the peace and quiet together.

Thursday – Chip night! I shouldn’t admit this online but every Thursday we eat take away chips haha Joe laughs at me as I always make a big salad to go with mine just to ease the guilt.

Friday – Toad in the hole, steamed vegetables and gravy. A new favourite of Elsa’s so I’ll make it as a Friday treat. I use Linda McCartney, Vegi Deli or VBites sausages most often. I can make a big batch of this and not have to worry about faffing later on. I’ll just keep our dish part cooked and stick it back in the oven later on.

Saturday – Chinese sweet and sour noodles, vegetables and cashews. I love noodles and making on them at the weekend saves me craving a take away treat!

Sunday – roast dinner. Joe cooks on a Sunday, well sometimes. He makes a really fab roast dinner so as of now, I’m deeming Sunday his cooking day!

So, I’ll let you know how this goes. I’m going food shopping Monday to buy all the relevant bits and hopefully this list will stop me worrying each day and panic buying random dinner items.

If you’d like to find out how I do then have a look at my blog or Facebook page this week:
www.livingwithajude.co.uk
Facebook – www.facebook.com/livingwithajude
Twitter – www.twitter.com/alice_soule
Instagram – www.instagram.com/livingwithajude

Ooh I love the idea of chips every Thursday. Maybe we should adopt this one!! Thanks so much Alice. 

Meal Plan Monday – Mummy Times Two

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week I’m handing over to Victoria from Mummy Times Two!

Meal plan Monday

Why Meal Planning Would Not Work For Us

The Other Half comes from a family who meal plan, his mum is super organised. As children their meals were planned in advance, the shopping was easy and there were no arguments at the dinner table as everyone knew what to expect. It’s a tempting prospect, and under normal circumstances- if I could ever work my way round my incredibly disorganised mind – one that I would be very tempted to try. After all, there’s little that frustrates me more than thinking what to cook each day, that everyone will want to eat.

There is however in our house a very good reason why meal planning would never work, and why it’s not a route I would ever choose to go down. Number One (my eldest) has Asperger’s Syndrome, which for those of you who haven’t come across it before is a type of Autism. She like many individuals on the spectrum, loves routine and finds change both stressful and difficult.

On the surface, that sounds like a great reason to have a routine with our meals, right? After all, she would love nothing more than if we always had chicken on a Monday, or Pasta on a Wednesday. The order she craves in the world would be there set in stone. Her life and mine by default would be easier. Well, most of the time at least…

You see the problem with creating a routine – any routine – is that we can’t guarantee that life will always work that way. There are days when meltdowns are rife, when I would love nothing more than to wrap my daughter up in the protective bubble of routines, but I have to plan in other ways for her future. You see life by its nature is unpredictable; there are holidays, days out, power cuts, and trips to friends. A million reasons why any plan I create will have to be deviated from. A million reasons why for us it’s better not to start a routine in the first place.

I want my daughter to have independence, to reach her potential and part of that is about learning flexibility. I have to prepare her for real life, and for us that means incorporating as much structured change in her life as we can, making her meal choices as varied as we can and keeping her life as real as we can.

If that means, I have to think each day what I can cook, and if that drives me a little (or a lot) crazy, it’s a small price to pay.

Mummy Times Two

where to follow

Mummy Times Two
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

It’s really interesting to read a completely different perspective on meal planning. While I think it makes my life easier, this clearly isn’t the case for Victoria and her family. Thanks so much for sharing with us! 

Meal Plan Monday with Katykicker

Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week I’m handing over to Katy from Katykicker!

Meal plan Monday

I’m a busy working mother of one. I am self employed (yay!) and my husband works 12 hour shifts. This means that we have an unusual routine at times. We have three different types of day. One where my husband is on nights, one where he is on days and one he is not working at all. To try and combat some of the issues that come along with having disorganised days I like to meal plan.

What I love about meal planning

Meal planning is super convenient for me. It takes about 5-10 minutes to sit down and write out our dinners for the week. I can take in to account my husband’s shift pattern and how much time I am going to have on any given day. On the days when my husband is at work from 6am – 6pm I like to use the slow cooker. If my husband is home for the day I like to cook more time intensive meals as I’ve got someone to help with our daughter Daisy.

Meal planning saves us time. It means I can prep some meals in advance, and freeze them. This cuts down on washing up and time spent prepping vegetables etc. Meal planning also saves us money as it keeps us away from the takeaways – which is where we used to waste a lot of money. To top it off meal planning keeps us healthier. I am able to spend a little time researching healthier options for our favourite meals. We buy lean cuts of meat, cram our dinners with lots of vegetables and I make sauces by scratch to save on added salt and sugar.

Our daughter is on a dairy and soya free diet. Meals that are suitable for her can be rather expensive and while I don’t mind the odd baby food jar I love to cook from scratch. I am able to adapt our dinners to suit our daughter too saving money and time once again. For example I will make a cottage pie using dairy free spread in the mash and then we have our own individual cheeses for the top – Daisy’s cheese is made from coconut!

Katykicker

My top tips for meal planning

– Make a list of any fridge items that need using up before you write your meal plan. This cuts down on wastage and saves money.
– Keep your freezer well stocked to save energy and avoid buying takeaways.
– Batch cook when you have the time/effort/money. This allows you to have a meal on hand if guests stop by unexpectedly.
– Keep a good stock of kitchen staples. For me this includes frozen meat, vegetables, herbs & spices, flour and pulses.
-Try new recipes. It can be a little boring if you just eat the same meals over and over again.

I love the convenience of meal planning. I can sit down once a week, when I have time, and plan the entire weeks meals. It means I don’t have to worry about finding something at the last minute each day and when I start the day I know what needs to be done. I save a lot of money for my family and we eat better too.

where to follow!

These tips from Katy are great! I love how she meal plans to make more time for her and her family, as well as saving money at the same time.