Shopping for a large family

Shopping for a large family

I think the key to shopping for a large family is bulk and planning! I tend to split my shopping into various trips. I pay a yearly membership to Costco so that I can buy alot of our shop in bulk. I buy toilet rolls, washing powder, fabric conditionor, cleaning products, nappies and baby wipes. I also buy things like ketchup, seasonings, tea bags, coffee and rice. Costco also have really nice meat, their pork belly in particular and I find it hard to resist their caremilsed onion sausages! On average my shop at Costco comes to £80-£100 and that would last me at least 6 weeks. The problem with costco is that they always have loads of other stuff that I want to buy but shouldn’t.  You know, the sort of stuff that makes Mike sweat when I start browsing,  pillows, candles, coffee machines, throws (you can never have enough throws),  books and home decorations. can guarentee that regardless of how quickly Mike wants to get around and tries to steer me away from anything that is not on my list, if there is a bar b que, tool set or ‘boys toy’ on offer it will add an extra hour to our trip! I find taking a list always helps me stick to what I really need and also means I don’t come away forgetting any essentials. Once I left without nappies and loo roll but instead had two paddling pools and a football goal! Next stop is Aldi where  I stock up on all our cupboard essentials like crisps, biscuits, cereals, squash, tins and pasta etc. I also buy their prosecco, wines,  cheeses and ham. This leaves my regular ‘pop in’ to Co-op or sainsburys for milk,  bread, fruit and veg much less of a burden. I can preach this, but I really need to stick to it myself. As much as I know I should do it and on an organised month I am religious, I also have months where I spend £200 more than I need to because I leave it all to the last minute and run into sainsburys, hungry and with no plan of action! There are also weeks/months where I can get my a#?e to the supermarket which is when sainsburys delivery gets used. Speaking of the continence of delivery, I am really tempted to try one of these fruit and veg delivery services where they deliver you a box once a week….does anyone have this?  What are your thoughts? I have mentioned in previous blogs I tend to cook alot of big pot dishes such as Curries, pasta, shepherds pies, lasagne, chilli, stews, they all work out cheaper than buying ready prepered food for us as a big family.

Recipe for perfect kids

Recipe for perfect kids

​I totally won my kids over today! Today I have been honoured with ‘ the best mum in the world ‘ and ‘absolutly amazing ‘ They have hung all their clean washing up and put it away for me, Cleaned their rooms and fed George. They had a shower without asking them,  and now as i type this we are cuddling on the sofa. The secret?  Well it was so simple I can’t believe it is taken me so long…… OREO COOKIE MILKSHAKE 2 x packs of oreos Half a tub of vanilla ice cream Milk added depending on how thick you like it. (just half that If you don’t have a mini tribe like me!) All wacked in the blender (sorry I didn’t get a chance to take a photo before my angels inhaled two glasses each!) Anyway….. Viola! Happy kids!!! YOUR WELCOME (she takes a bow)

Baby Led Weaning

Baby Led Weaning

Baby led weaning…..lets talk about this for a moment. This is a new concept for me. All my children were fed straight from a bowl, to their mouths, on a spoon (or sometimes direct from a pouch) by me. When Charlie was younger he choked on everything.  Sometimes he brought it up himself, sometimes he needed a firm pat on the backand, and on one occasion our good friends, (who happen to be a doctor and nurse) had to hang him upside down to help bring up the offending food.  That period of parenting left me mentally scared. After that, Mike and I chopped up his food into the tiniest pieces until he was about seven!!! I had to logically tell myself that if he copes ok at school then I should leave him to get on with it himself at home, but even then I struggled. I carried this paranoia with me during Libby and Georges early years. Even now my heart stops when i see a toddler eating a banana, sausage or a whole grape. And now it is time to wean Arthur and I dont know what to do. Arthur is quite independent and likes to grab the food/spoon himself which can make feeding him a little frustrsting. Lets be honest, with an independent baby, a toddler and four older children, BLW is probably the more convenient and obvious option. I can’t tell you I agree or am doing it to avoid having fussy children or children prone to allergies. All of my five who were weaned ‘traditionally’ are far from fussy.  They eat anything from roast diner (even the brussels) to jamaican hot curries to oysters, cockles, olives and even liver! Food is a big part of our family. We socialise around food, We enjoy eating out, cooking and trying lots of different cuisines and I think that has had a bigger impact on their food choices than how they were weaned (but i am open to suggestion). We have a rule in our house… can not say you do not like something or do not want something unless you try it first. Back to BLW, From what I understand, you put a selection of food in front of them and let them feed themselves. I love the concept and it fits in with our family values of encouraging independence and choices. The Problem is my anxiety levels go through the roof at just the thought of it. So recently I compromised and I did let Arthur feed himself… rice and pureed food. I popped Arthur in his highchair and let him loose with the rice and a spoon. Well, i put the spoon in his hand but that was swiftly given to the dog who was waiting patiently by his highchair, then he dived in hands first. The food was in his hair, over the highchair and even inbetween the plastic strap clickers (you know what I mean if you have ever had to clear the aftermath up!) After a mammoth cleaning session and a bath in the kitchen sink I decided to re think my strategy. I am going to try a mummy led dinner again tonight and see how that goes. But I would really like to try more BLW. Does anyone have any tips on what foods are good for babies to eat on their own wihout risking heart failure (mine that is). I feel like after having six babies you are expected to have all the answers, but things change so much and each baby is so different. HELP! I’ll update you with our progress over the next week. Wish me luck!

Saint Nick popped in for a cuppa!

Saint nick popped in for a cuppa

​Deck the halls! We have had a really special,  festive weekend full of friends,  wine,  mince pies, sausage rolls, tinsel, The Pogues and Santa Claus! Back in November I looked into which Santa to take the kids to visit. I looked into local garden centres, National trust venues and shopping centres. I know most of them are great experiences but when you have 5 children they are also really expensive. It got me thinking,  how much would it cost to bring the big guy to us!? I hit Google and found a company called Hiresanta. They sent me a few videos of different Santa auditions and the relevant price for each Santa. Obviously, the best,  most realistic was the most expensive….. And typically the one I set my heart on. The price tag for our Santa came at a wopping £300, but,  considering I was going to spend £100 for 2 minutes with a half decent Santa at the local garden centre, I thought I’d give it a go.  He didn’t disappoint! The children were absolutely blown away (and so were the adults). Turns out our Santa was a professional actor with credits such as Eastenders, The Bill, Frost, Londons Burning and Casualty just to name a few. He spent two hours talking to the children,  listening to each of their presie lists and told them a lovely Christmas story. We are definatly going to book again for next year. Some of the older kids were suspicious but he was pretty convincing and left even the most defiant believers wondering….. Could he be!? So I can confirm we are now officially in the Christmas spirit! If you can get a few friends together and split the cost it is a great experience and a chance to make special memories that last forever. It’s also a great excuse for the parents to get together with a few bottles of wine and let a jolly man in a suit entertain the children for a couple of hours. Only one problem, Santa left his belt on my bed!…. Try explaining that one too the kids 😆🙊🎅 HO HO HO!!!! 🎅

Chicken Pox help 

Chicken Pox help 

Looks like Chicken Pox is doing the rounds again 🤒 I have to share an amazing medicine that relieved my boys and ended their misery.. My four older children have all had ‘the pox’ and one caught it off another. First Charlie (very mild and over in no time), Libby was the last to get it and it didnt really effect her either.  Then there was the twins, in the middle and it was worse than I could imagine! They had spots everywhere, their bodies, their eyelids, mouth, lips, absolutly everywhere. They were in agony, one evening they didnt sleep at all, wriggling, itching and crying.  I tried all the creams and drugs they offered but nothing worked. I cant remember who it was that suggested it, whether it was advice given on Facebook or an answer to my desperate google searches but the suggestion was OATS. Oats that you can buy from any supermarket. I took an old pair of tights, filled the foot with oats and wrapped it around the bath tap.  I let the bath run through the tights, warm water but not too hot. It ran out like a milky liquid and as soon as the boys got in there was instant relief. That was the beginning of the end of Chicken pox for them, the relief wasnt just instant, it also lasted hours.  As soon as they felt uncomfortable again I would run another bath. Your babe may not get it as bad and,  like Charlie and libby,  probably cope fine with a bit of camomile lotion. For anyone whose children really suffer, I hope this helps you as much as it did for us! Lots of Love xxxx

My Last Week of November

My Last Week of November

Its been a while since I wrote a totally self centred blog post with no point to it at all.  A post that is completly unhelpful, except to let me use it as a diary…so that when I look back one day will be able to remember that week in November 2017.  Lets start with George.  This kid is growing into the most charismatic, gorgeous  pain in the arse I have ever come across.

I dont call him a pain in the arse lightly.  I am a mum of six, i feel like i have a patience level to rival a reception class teacher. But George is a whole new type of toddler.

He will scream to get what he wants, yet remember to thank you with total sincerity if you give in to him. He will push and push and push me until I shout at him, and then will put his arm around me and ask if I am ok.

So, as a little xmas presie to myself…and George, I have booked him into nursery a couple of mornings a week.

I’m not going to lie, my intention was two FULL days.  But the nursery teacher suggested it might be a little much to start with so we agreed on the morings… until January!

If I doubted whether I was doing the right thing, the wink, high five and about-turn we both participated in when I left him on his first morning, made me certain he needed it as much as me. He has loved it! I have loved it! and it has given me a chance to spend more time with Arthur and appriciate my time with George more.

The nursery teachers loved him. He had played nicely with the other children, joined in with the activities and was so polite. They even told me he is a credit to me….a credit! It felt amazing when she said that.

Then he went home and ripped my £100 roll of Sanderson wallpaper off the wall! Charlie has started a new school two weeks ago.  I have been conscious of how i will cope with school run logistics when the twins start high school for a while.  I started some tentitive research last month and was surprised when our school of choice happened to have a space availible for Charlie to start straight away and Libby in January.

The new school is everything charlies old school is not. It is a small village school with a one class intake and strong christian values.  So far, Charlie has settled in like a dream and it is as though he has always been there.

The twins turned eleven!!! I honestly can not believe how quickly time passes by.

Having children is like a constant reminder of this.  No huge celebrations this year.  I did offer them a big party as it will be their last year at primary school but they werent interested.

I actually think they are worried I might show them up on the dance floor….which I would.  The problem is, I actually think I am the coolest mum ever and the kids are proud to show me off.

The reality is that they think I am a total embarrassment and actually mc-ing to DJ Luck and MC Neat is not quite the crowd pleaser it used to be!? Note: @indenialmum!

Instead Harri had some friends over for a sleepover (I still tried to play cool mum….I even let the watch ‘Swearing Peppa Pig’). Mikey is off to Kidzania in a couple of week to continue his quest to become the next Richard Branson. My Christmas decorations are up, they have been for two weeks…standard.  I am the biggest fool for Christmas that ever there was!  My ultimate aim is to recreate National Lampoons decore extravagance with Home Alones class….you see the look I am going for?!

My News:

I turned to the dark side.  It is amazing what looks you can create when you trust your hairdresser!  When she suggested a dark balleage i wasn’t convinced…but i let her work her magic……..

I am so pleased with my new look.  If you are local to London, check out Laura at Lalo….she is even a stylist to the Stars!

My Modern Mum Event went Live this week….there will be a blog about this over the weekend. In short, I have organised a night out for local-ish ladies to come and meet local businesses ran by hard working women and hear what they have to offer. It is a chance to network, socialise and have a great night There will be chances to meet lots of beauty industry pros who will be ready to pamper us aswell. Today I am suppose to be out beating on a shoot with the kids and hounds. After my nightmare night with Arthur and a whole two hours of sleep….I bailed! Instead, I put an xmas movie on for the kids, put George and Arthur down for a nap and I have a Blissful Bath waiting for me.

I also made a kick-ass pate this week. I have a freezer full of offal from our pigs, lambs and cow.  We like liver and bacon, but not even a family my size can consume that much! This is the recipe I used.  I used pig liver instead (by accident) but it was lush with a crusty bread, chutney and a Baileys. How has your week been…..are you ready for a Merry December? Love Kate Xxxx As always, if you have enjoyed my self regarding post, please share

How I get stuff done with a baby 

How I get stuff done with a baby 

One of the most common things I get asked as a mum of thousands of children is ‘ how do you get anything done with a baby? ‘ The answer is really simple, at home, behind closed doors, we call it ‘ the cage’ on the outside you call it a playpen! You could stress yourself out, intent on baking cookies with your 9 month old who cant even eat properly yet. Or spend hours with play doh that your toddler would rather eat than play with. Or try and get jobs done with a year old on your hip. All this is lovely of corse, memory making and learning but don’t let the ‘perfect mum’ give you shit for needing to get stuff done, especially when you have older children that still need your attention. When George was a baby I used the playpen to keep him safe. that I could go and start dinner, sort the washing out, help the others with homework or simply chill out for 10 minutes without the worry that Libby might start feeding him like one of her dolls or the dog didn’t lick his face after giving their doggy bits a chew. As he has got older and started to crawl and walk I put a couple of his favourite toys in their and let him play. Not only does this give me time to get stuff done it also teaches him how to play without me, gain confidence and problem solve. Obviously, before you start judging me I’m not talking about putting him in the cage and popping out for a few vodkas at the pub. I’m usually in the next room or running up and downstairs constantly checking on him. By doing this when I need it it leaves me calm quality time to spend when I do sit down and bake cookies and play with the play doh (😂😂😂 whatever, he is 15 months, I have years of that to come) when I play blocks, helping him climb in and out of his toy car or play who can scream the loudest. My point is, don’t try and be a martyr, it doesn’t hurt them to play on their own for a while while you do whatever you need to get done or just sit down with a cuppa. I have done it with all of mine. [wpvideo 7BZcta29]

Happy New Years……Resolutions? 

Happy New Years Resolutions

​2016 has been an exciting year for me.   My new addition, George has given me his first giggles, crawled, taken his first steps and become a fully fledged toddler. watch my beautiful sister in law get married on one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.I spent a fantastic weekend in Dublin with some of my favourite girls. found out we are expecting baby number 6 and started my Modernmum blog. I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me throughout my blogging experience.😘 I have met some wonderful new people through this journey and still feel it is only just beginning. Looking forward to seeing you on the other side…2017! 🎊🎉 I was chilling in the bath earlier,   thinking about what my new years resolutions will be for 2017. I’ve never made NY resolutions before (mainly because I know I’ll never keep them,  why add pressure!?) But this year, I feel like I want to challange myself,  to see if I am capable. So here it goes….

-Being pregnant I’m not about to put pressure on myself to lose weight,  however,  baby is due in April.  By next Xmas I would like to be pre pregnancy weight. #goals

-Stop convincing myself Libby’s messy bun is an acceptable school hairstyle.   Actually start brushing and tieing it up neatly every morning.

-Take George to more toddler groups and less coffee shops.

-Start working at a desk rather than on the laptop infront of the TV.

-Always make sure the kids have lots of paper/supplies for homework projects.  They get so embarrassed taking in a scrappy bit of A4 when little jonny looks like Monet has done his homework.

-With the children,  sign up to at least three charity fundraisers.

-Stick with this blogging lark, I am really enjoying it and maybe even double my followers (feel free to share away😘)

-Get my arse into gear and make sure we have turkeys here in the summer.  Next Xmas we will be supplying your Xmas dinner) -Laugh more,  love more and try harder. So what’s your news years resolutions?  Or like me in the past,  do you just not bother? Happy New Year, Lots of Love Kate xxxx

New Kitchen

New Kitchen

When we moved to the farm three years ago It was a wreck. Mike had just finished the refurbishment at our old home and just as we were starting to enjoy it he asked if we could go and view this ‘bit of land with a house’ he had seen. It was a complete dump! a tiny four bedroom house that the estate agents were describing  as ‘unliveable’. But, we could both see the potential and given that it could offer us a life we dreamed of (and the fact we both have a screw lose) we took the plunge. I will write a post about ‘surviving an extension / refurbishment’ but for now I’m just going to brag about my kitchen. I say ‘brag’ because after living with a tiny ‘unliveable’ kitchen for over two and a half years and then a building site for another three months I feel like I earned it. I can’t offer much advice on how to cope with having a new kitchen fitted because, quite frankly, I’m not sure I did cope! Our builders were great and made sure I always had a cooker and a sink (most of the time).   Although,  I won’t lie,  we became great friends with our local restaurants over that three months! I ll let you know how I got my perfect kitchen….  I knew I wanted a country kitchen that was in keeping with a home on a farm but anyone that knows me will tell you there is a bit of a Essex girl in me fighting to get out and that girl loves a bit of glitz and glamour. So I’m going to say the look I settled on was classic, country glamour. I Googled and looked through pintrest to get an idea of what i wanted. There were a few things I knew I needed to include before the planning started : -The Amtico flooring that I have throughout the rest of my downstairs was a must for the kitchen.   We love to entertain and the kitchen is always the hub of our house. With five kids, six dogs, a husband that loves shooting and given where we live we need a hard wearing floor that doesn’t show every speck of dirt. Our Amtico Tradional Oak Spacia is perfect for that.  It is so easy to keep clean and always looks smart.  I ordered this off the internet, if you go into your flooring shop and ask for a quote you are likely to go into cardiac arrest! -I love stone worktops.  Granite, marble, Composite, Quartz, I love them all!  I don’t love the price but I do think it adds something to a kitchen, and as long as you don’t pick black (a mistake I made in an old house) it is easy to keep clean and always looks lush. -I bought a rangemaster induction cooker when we moved into this house.  Given that is was only a couple of years old and we were on a budget  I had to keep it.  Once it had a professional clean looked fabulous. Induction for anyone that doesn’t know is an instant heat hob that is heated by a magnet.  Food doesn’t burn onto it so its really easy to clean and if you put your hand on the hob it doesn’t burn you (great for the kids and husband) . -My fridge/freezer is Fisher and Paykel.  They were the only manufacturers that had a fridge/freezer that had a water dispenser but didn’t loose the space inside the fridge to store the ice and water tank.  With a family of seven, soon to be eight we need as much room as possible.  The Ice drops straight into a drawer in the freezer section. So again, the kitchen had to be worked around that. found a local kitchen supplier (Cathedral Kitchens, Sanderstead) who did a great job at planning the kitchen.  I knew roughly how I wanted to lay it out but he suggested the curved units and building a unit around the fridge. I gave him a budget and a rough idea of what look I wanted and he showed me what he described as his ‘kitchen that never dates’.  He has been selling it for years, a Crown kitchen in the Heathfied range. I knew I wanted copper accessories and when I was shown the copper handles I knew they would be the perfect finish. The kitchen units and handles came in at a great price.  If you think that the local independent kitchen shop is going to be expensive, go and check it out, I think you might be surprised. I’m an online budget shopper so I had fun searching for a few bits… Our two worktops are solid wood which I ordered from Worktop Express online.  They were so much cheaper than any shop or local supplier and the quality is really good.  At the price I paid a few people questioned what they would actually look like but my builder said they are great quality. The three lights over my island I ordered off Ebay for £39.99 each and they are a talking point of the kitchen.  In the evening when we are all sitting around the Island having a drink, the lights (on a dimmer) really create an atmosphere. tractor stools were from Melody Maison online and cost £54.50 each.  They add that rustic farm feel to the kitchen. My two copper effect radiators were £100 each off an Ebay heating shop, a total bargain and a bit different from an average radiator. The focal point of the whole kitchen has to be the Island worktop.  I rang various people from online companies to local people and I was quoted anywhere from £5,000 – £8,000 for this. It was money we didn’t have but a part of the kitchen I wasn’t prepared to compromise on.  What made it even harder was that mike wanted an edging to the stone that nearly doubled the price. I called a local company to us who store their own stone in a huge warehouse.  I couldn’t believe my luck when they showed me an off-cut, big enough for my Island. The only problem was, because it was granite, a natural stone, it had some slight orange markings.  This meant it would be hard for them to sell, but with my copper finish I thought it would look great and  As it happens you could barely see it. managed to get my Island worktop, made and fitted for under £3000!  If you live in the South East and would like more details on this company feel free to email me. and a small wash sink in the island with a boiling water tap, a total necessity for any new kitchen (tea and coffee on tap…literally and no kettles taking up worktop space) my kitchen came together! Unfortunately, dispite having a fantastic decorator, by this stage money was tight and I decided to paint and paper myself.

I am a nightmare for wallpaper! I love it and every room in my house has at least one wall papered. Because the French doors all open up to our garden and fields I knew I wanted something which brought outdoors indoors.  A tree theme preferably in a green that would set off perfectly with the copper and cream. After browsing the net I found Sanderson Waterperry, Its not cheap at approx £44 a roll, but It was only for the one wall and I have Sanderson wallpaper in my lounge and the quality makes it worth it. One of the things I hadn’t thought about when we were doing our kitchen was how much it would bring us back together as a family.   Now instead of everyone going of into seperate rooms we all spend time together, playing,  cooking, eating or just chatting in the kitchen. If you want any more details on the kitchen or our fabulous builders,(S.W CONSTRUCTION 07956161721) who I can not rate highly enough please email me

Day 10 – Sink or Swim 

Day 10 - Sink or Swim 

Today is that day. The day after you have a baby that is sent to test your true strength. Today, Arthur is ten days old and this Is the day that is throwing everything at me, goading me, trying to break me. Well, its midday and I haven’t reached for the gin.  Instead I’m laying in bed with my beautiful daughter watching trolls, enjoying a (hot) coffee and writing my blog. So guess what!?  You didn’t beat me!! I’m made of stronger stuff than that!! It started at 2am this morning. I woke up and popped to the loo, only to be greeted by the sight of a mouse running across the bathroom floor. I screamed at Mike but he seemed to deem his sleep more important than dealing with little Jerry in the bathroom. The mouse had dissappeared anyway so that had to wait till the morning to sort out. Then at 4am George (our 20 month old) wakes up. The poor mite had been been sick in his cot. He came in and snuggled in between Mike and I, then continued to be sick every ten minutes until 9am. Obviously I made sure it was aimed on mikes side of the bed,  resulting in him crashing Charlies room. At 4.15am Arthur woke up for a feed. Ninja style, I managed to catch sick with a towel whilst breastfeeding AJ and making sure at no point I cross contaminated. At 6am I went downstairs to make a coffee and let the dogs out. Through bleary eyes I saw one of the dogs had escaped and was high-tailing it across the field without a care in the world. I chucked on the nearest shoes (mikes size 11 work boots) and dragged my feet out, into the garden and across the field to chase the Bullmastiff, who I’m pretty sure would have been waving a middle finger at me if she had one!

Once she was safely indoors I went upstairs with my coffee and settled back into bed to feed again. Arthur had just  latched on when libby ran into the bathroom chucking her guts up. This is when I had a word with myself. I had two choices. I could crumple into the bed, crying into my sick smelling sheets. Just give up, admit defeat, open a bottle of prosecco and after 10 years of being a non smoker….spark up. Or Pull myself together and work out what needs to be done. Stay calm, realise I can only do what I can do and If I start the day like this there might be a glimmer of hope. So, I finished feeding Arthur, ran a warm bubble bath, stripped the beds and chucked the sheets in the washing machine. I explained to my three older boys that I really needed there help and asked them to make their breakfast, tidy the kitchen and fed the animals. Usually this would be met with a moan but because they saw George was unwell,  they jumped to attention and helped without any questions. George is like a little celebrity in our house. The kids adore him and put him on a very high pedestal.  In fact,  if Mike or I tell him off we usually have to explain ourselves to the older kids.

Libby and George jumped in the bath and I washed Libby’s hair and rinse the smell of sick off birth of them. I put George back in his cot for a nap / play / whatever he wanted to do to buy me an hour or so.   As it happens, the early start was staying to affect him and he went back to sleep for a couple of hours. Libby sat on my bed watching Game Shakers (one of the most irritating programmes ever)  but if it keept her happy it would make my morning easier. Then I managed to clear all my washing away,  bleech the bathroom,  vacuum and freshen up my bedroom and make poached eggs on toast!  WTF! Even I didn’t expect to get all that done! By now the sheets are ready and I took them out of the tumble anf make the bed. I had a shower and washed my hair. I cuddled up with Libby with another coffee and I sat back and watched Trolls!

By now Arthur is due another feed and George is just waking up. All this before midday! Now I feel on top of the day,  nothing can bring me down. Now, I don’t like to show off,  parenting can be hard,  especially with a newborn. But today I rocked motherhood, today didn’t beat me! Today,  I’m winning 🏆 If you enjoy reading my blog please share the love amongst your friends. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email or word of mouth, sharing is caring 😘 Love Kate