Thursday, 21 January 2016


'Describe blanket in three words?' I asked Stuart tonight, mockingly.
I wont even repeat his reply for it is far too explicit for my little family Blog.
But you get my point.
You see ,'Blanket' has been torturing us for several months now. It has become a third member of our family. Well, almost.
It accompanies us everywhere - we don't or rather, wouldn't, dare leave home without it, the consequences would be too great. 
We keep a mental note of it's whereabouts at all times, just like a small child, and it's accounted for at bed time which simply would not be the same without it, 
i'm talking World War 3. 

Now that Eva is talking, she has started to request Blanket. More often when she is tired, but lately it has been all the time, Tescos, the park, while eating breakfast....
I wouldn't have so much of a problem with her constant Blanket request if only Blanket was still pink, still fluffy, still hygienic looking. But the last fifteen months haven't been kind to Blanket and have worn it out until it looks nothing other than a dirty old tea towel.
One Eva insists on bringing everywhere with her.

Blanket wasn't always grey, it didn't always have holes and didn't always have it's own unique smell . My mum insists on washing it every time it frequents her house, and has to casually  ignore Eva's requests for it while it spins away blissfully in the washing machine. 

I can't help having a bit of a soft spot for Blanket. My own Grandma knitted it and it is the first item Eva became attached to. I'm partly to blame (or largely to blame, if you ask Stuart) for the obsession, as I carted  it around with us from Eva was just weeks old. I'll happily admit, I might have  encouraged it at the very beginning.
I find it adorable when Eva calls out for Blanket and searches all the rooms upstairs until she finds it, I love how she keeps it in our bedroom drawer and I love how she runs her fingers through it and will bury her head into it when she's tired.
And equally, I love how much Stuart detests it- It is hilarious.
What I don't love however is how rapidly it's turning a shade of charcoal grey.

After a visit from my Grandma who said 'I'll never knit with grey wool again'  (It was in fact once pink) she said she would knit a replica in the exact wool. And she went away, and she did, and how naive were we to think she would be fooled?! 
Not a chance.

Who knows what the future has in store for Blanket, but for now, I can't see it going anywhere but Eva's arms anytime soon- well, except Nana's washing machine.

Does your little one have a comfort toy/blanket?! Please share any stories/experiences I would love to read them!


Friday, 15 January 2016

Cosy Shepherd's Pie

I have been going on and on for months about starting a health kick. Every single Monday see's the start of my new 'healthy eating' regime. I mean, every single Monday.
It begins swimmingly in the morning with a cup of hot green tea and by lunch time i'm quite literally raiding the cupboards for any last remaining sweets that may be lingering around from Christmas.
I'm that desperate i've even resorted to Orange and Strawberry cremes, and if that doesn't scream desperate... I just don't know anymore.

I have been eating horrendously since pregnancy, I am so aware of it yet I don't have the motivation to do anything about it- just yet. It's dull, dark and drizzly January, it's cold.
Also the big aul fact, it's now been two years since I found out I was pregnant. 
I have no excuses.
In my defense I truly believe January is for cosying up, and being surrounded by all  of your home comforts. It's a tough enough month to get through, is it not? I'm quite happy to remain wrapped up in pjs hibernating in the evenings while indulging in some home cooked dinners and trying to finish Orange Is The New Black. 
I'll dust off the Nutri Ninja and jump back on the health wagon come February. 
I promise.

This evening I decided to make a Shepherd's Pie, based on the 'Cosy Cottage Pie' recipe from the Ella's Kitchen cookbook, 'the red one'   It is the ultimate comfort food. 
Shepherd's Pie has always been a childhood favourite of mine. It makes me so nostalgic and reminds me of cold winter evenings, the walk home from school in the dark, changing out of my uniform and having (multiple) bowls while watching Neighbours. 
Those were the days.

I've followed the Ella's recipe several times now, but slightly tweaked it each time and I think we're finally happy with it. Of course you can alter the recipe yourself, adding in more veg as you please.

500g of lean mince meat.
900g of potato diced
2 carrots diced
1/2 sweet potato diced
1 onion diced
350ml beef stock cube (I use two cubes for extra flavour)
A table spoon (or more) of Worcestershire sauce.
2 tablespoons of tomato puree.
Ground cinnamon 
splash of whole milk.
Grated cheese.

  • Heat the pan (I use fry light spray) and soften the carrots/sweet potato and onions in a pan. When soft, begin to crumble in the mince meat. When nice and brown, drain out any excess liquid.
  • Add a generous splash of worcestershire sauce and two table spoons of tomato puree and finish by sprinkling in some cinnamon (or pouring in. I am convinced this is the secret behind a tasty shepherd's pie!) 
  • Pour the stock in, bring to a simmer and cover for 40 mins (uncovering after 20 mins)

  • Meanwhile boil the potatoes in water with a pinch of salt, drain when soft and begin to mash. Add a splash of whole milk (or butter) for creamier mash. I also added half a Knorr garlic flavour pot for extra flavour. 
  • Fill your oven dish with mince and veg, layer with mash and follow with a generous helping of grated cheese.

Pre heat your oven at 200oC, pop your dish in and wait 25 mins (or until the top is nice and golden!)

Quick, easy, fuss free but delicious!

It even passes the little Eva taste test!


Thursday, 14 January 2016

One Year!

This week marked A New Mum Without A Manual's very first Birthday! A whole entire year, which is quite alarming as I'm still (painfully) in denial that Eva is now 15 months. Give over already, I hear you cry, but I am adamant that pregnancy altered my hormones for good. If i'm not gurning over quickly time is passing by, i'm weeping over the television- and it's Gogglebox. Always Gogglebox.

If you are a reader of my Blog, thank you so much. I really mean it. 
I had originally set out for A New Mum Without A Manual to be a little online journal, documenting our first year, our journey into parenthood. Something for Eva (and us) to look back on in years to come, and possibly a guide if she ever becomes a parent herself. However, i've ended up talking to other mums on and offline and really enjoyed sharing experiences. The ups and downs, tips and tricks and of course the fails- because what is life without them?!

So thank you for commenting, offering advice and sharing in my woes or even just for taking the time to read. I really appreciate it.

Below are just a few of my favourite photos from the last year, and here's to many more! 


© A New Mum Without A Manual

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