World Book Day 2018

Well hello World Book Day.

Although Ella was at nursery for last years, I think I either forgot (bad mam!) or it slipped us all by.

I’m going with the latter. To preserve my parent pride.

Why oh why does World Book Day fill me with dread? I love books!

This year, however, there is no escaping (even despite the storm). There’s a note on the nursery door and I’ve discussed it with a fellow mam.

I just wish I was crafty. And had the time and energy to pour into making this perfect for Ella.

But my lack of craft and working full time already has the odds stacked against me.

And I’m trying in vain to be a more positive person.

There’s no such thing as time.

Time is what you make it.

All quotes from The Secret audible book, a book I listen to every day at the moment to keep some mental stability in my utterly chaotic life.


So this year I’ve panic procured  a store bought costume.

Little Bo Peep.

My reasoning is that she loves books about animals. She plays the Orchard game of matching the animals up (and she’s bliddy clever at it too).

This allures from the fact that mammy ran rings around the Character Costume display in Asda and this was one of the only 2-3 years left.

It was a Saturday night – which subsequently meant the rails had already been ransacked during the day.

But I hate to miss an opportunity – especially one where I’m alone in retail premises with potential costumes presented to me.

My current state of mind would have me leave it until the very last minute.

So I grabbed Bo Peep (which I’m glad I did as Storm Emma and The Beast From The East has hindered any other shopping opportunities).

I’d originally had Belle’s costume from Beauty in the Beast in my basket. But after an internal debate in the chocolate aisle, I marched back and swapped it.

Bo Peep and her sheep may be less common than Belle and surely more Book-worthy??

It was only once I’d paid for the costume that I realised Ella does actually have the Beauty and the Beast story. It’s in one of her Usborne Xmas advent calendar books.

I’m not so sure we have Bo Peep in literature format in our abode.


Never mind. Time will tell and if anything she has another costume to prance around the house in.

However, she’s probably going to endure ut twice over.

The nursery was still open today and I was one of those parents who was like ‘ive bought it now – you’re wearing it!’

And even though she changes nurseries next week, the new nursery might be of the same opinion as the old: postponing it until next week so everyone can make it.

I’m going to start planning next year’s World Book Day now.

All ideas (and crafter’s) welcome.

Love Missuswolf xxx



Finally … A Successful Trip Out With A Toddler

Plessey Woods Day Out With A Toddler

Finally I can share with you all a successful trip out with a toddler.

Hoo-feckin-ray – bout time.

Please don’t stop reading if you’re used to my woeful tales of disaster.

These did still occur.

Just at the end of the day, altogether at home.

Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that my trips out with a toddler don’t always go to plan.

So Saturdays tend to be when the three of us spend time as the complete Wolfpack .

And cooped up in the house just doesn’t cut it if you want to remain married and a (fairly) sane parent.

You’ll recall our Saturday morning bacon Sarnie outings back when Ella had not long been on the planet.

The days of sitting sipping coffee and snaffling sarnies in semi-peace at Crusoe’s or Tynemouth Park  

Or do I have rose-tinted glasses on?

Yeah she couldn’t move. But I don’t think I appreciated it as I was so tired and in a mental fog.

The fog has lifted and been replaced with physical exhaustion. Which actually seems to be getting better as she’s not running away as much.

It’s now reverting back to a mental battle. A battle of listening (or not) to instructions.

So on this particular Saturday adventure,  it took us to Plessey Woods.

I realised we were last here in the Autumn in All The Eighteen Month Olds.

Free parking, fresh air and not far to drive.

We donned on our wellies, duffel coats and hats and off we trundled in the car.

Hurrah. No falling asleep en route.

So far so good on our trip out with a toddler.

Out we jumped from the family mobile. inhaled the crisp February fresh air and the three of us walked hand in hand like a modern-day Vonn-Trapp Family.

Plessey Woods Days out with a toddler

It was cold, but milder than it had recently been.

The Little Lady held both our hands as we crossed the carpark, performing that old one-two-three weeeeeeee swing up in the air.

We got to the field opposite the park and The Man broke free. He started running across the slippery mud and towards the bare trees.

The trees we had played under back in Autumn collecting conkers.

I couldn’t believe that it was a full four months since we last visited here. Time really does fly when you’re (having fun) busy raising a toddler.

The Man picked up a stick and used it against the make shift xylophone.

Plessey Woods Toddler Days Out

Of course the Little Lady copied, giggling away.

Oh My.

This is wonderful.

This is what it must feel like to be the perfect parent and have things go to plan.

I’m not used to this.

It ironically puts me on edge.

Waiting for the punchline.

The Man picked up another stick and threw it in the air.

Almost as if we had a dog, and our little version of a terrier went running after it. The Man threw another stick and it landed upright in the mud.

I mean – what are the chances?

We edged our way further along the field and we came towards the Owl statue.

‘Owl! Owl!’ shouted The Little Lady.

Proud mam moment. She recognises the Owl.

Oh this is going FAR too swimmingly.

As she approached the owl with such excitement and trepidation, her little feet and their clambering pace did not create enough resistance between her wellies and the gloopy mud.

Down she went.

Hands and knees, welched into the brown, goeey earth.

‘Ooops a daisy’ I said in my best cheery voice, only to kneel down and lose my footing and end up pushing her further into the mud.

Parent. Of. The Year.

Which The Man took his greatest pleasure in pointing out to me.

‘What you doing? You’re pushing your daughter further into the mud!’

Oh Am I? I hadn’t realised. Maybe I’ll push you into the mud.

Jesting and parental disgruntlements asides, all was made well with a couple of swipes of a wet wipe.

We trundled along the ‘Billy Goats Gruff’ bridge.

And made our merry way to the drums and the Ogre house.

We crossed over a couple more bridges, went up and down some steps and back round again.

And jumped in muddy puddles.

Plessey Woods days out with a toddler

All without incident.

There were a lot of dog walkers out and Ella, although loves dogs, can be vary wary.

Some owners picked up on this and gently brought their dogs over, asking if she wanted to stroke them.

I bent down and stroked the dog first to show her that they were being friendly. ‘Look, they’ve come to say hello!’

And she slowly copied.

She’s a cautious soul, which I think is inherent from myself.

So thank you to the lovely dog owners who did this for her.

She waved goodbye to them. ‘Bye-Bye Doggy!’

A rather tired Little Lady had to then be carried back to the car (by The Man – so that he got covered in mud by her wielding wellies and not me hee-hee).

I sat in the back with her. The Man had to pull my wellies off for me and put them in the boot as they were caked too.

He then did a lap of the carpark to clean his. The car had recently been cleaned and I was getting ancy at the thought of (more than usual) mess.

The return journey involved me singing nursery rhymes and pointing animatedly at a book. We were picking up fish and chips and I wanted her to stay awake to eat them and then nap afterwards.

Brockwell Fish and Chips Lunchtie special

I know it looks like I’ve already taken a bite out of my fish cake. I hadn’t. I’d had to cut some off for Ella to try. Then decided to take a picture. Photography skills at its best.

By the way – our Chippy Lunch was from the Brockwell Chippy and a total bargain. £3.25 for chips, fishcake (the man got a jumbo sausage) a mahoosive bread bun and mushy peas. The man also got a Diet Coke and the two meals and drink came to less than £8. How amazing is that?? (not an ad just an appreciation for a bargain).

So off we went, into the sunset to snaffle our chippy lunch. Birds a singing and faces a smiling.

I’d like to say The End and They A Lived Happily Ever After.

But no.

Later that day, as the sun crept towards the horizon and cast shadows on our living room, a de-robed doll was being fed spaghetti.

She was de-robed as her outfit was in the wash due to a collision with Coco-Pops milk.

The doll was now enduring (or I was at least – mess palpitations) a worse fate in the fact that her white unattachable outfit was now stained orange.

Then came two events at once.

While The Little Lady was in the bath, to my absolute horror, I spotted a wasp on her bedroom floor.

Now let me get one thing straight.

I am TERRIFIED of the feckers.

I’ve never been stung so this only fuels the anxiety.

Where had it came from?

I’d had a window open that day to air our bedroom and I’d been in the loft.

Maybes it had fallen from the loft.

And that it was the Queen wasp. Starting her nest amongst our suitcases, Christmas decorations and miscellaneous shite (good luck with that pet!)

I froze.

‘Oh. My God!’

‘What?’ came The Man’s voice from the bathroom.

‘There’s a wasp in Ella’s room!’

‘Eh what? Oh no!’

‘I know! Argh – I can’t go in there. It’ll get me.’

‘Well you’re going to have to.’

‘Can’t you …’

‘No – because I’m going to have to deal with this shit.’

What, Ella in the bath? I’d rather swap.

As I stood sweating just staring at the black and yellow pointless insect, I heard something else that made me freeze.

‘Ella, you’ve pooed in the bath!’

By shit, The Man had meant actual shit.

Christ, I thought things had been too good to be true.

My brain sprang into action. I needed to kill the wasp first as The Man was now going to have to bring Ella through to the bedroom earlier than scheduled.

I dashed downstairs, grabbed the can of magic insect killer spray, ran back up the stairs and took aim at the wasp which thankfully, was still on the floor.

I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed, the whole time waiting for it to make its move and zoom at me, taking aim with its awful tail and stinging me all over in fury.

But it didn’t.

The magic spray was working. It stopped walking along the floor.

I suppose it must’ve been injured to start with as it had made no attempt to fly under my watch.

The whole time The Man had been shouting at me to hit it with something but I was building up my courage, picking my moment.

Which was now. I grabbed a book off Ella’s shelf and dumped it on top of the wasp. For extra measure, I stood on it.

God I’m an awful person.

I would never do this to a spider or a fly. Or any other insect. But wasps are evil, they are the devil.

The Man was now eager to bring in a towelled Ella to get her ready while I went on my next mission; scoop poop out of the bath.


So there you have it.

No matter how successful a day you think you’re having in one aspect of your parenting life, there’s always a counter-balance.

The wasp incident was just the universe being mean.

But at least I had a successful trip out with a Toddler for once.

Love Missuswolf xxx




Toddler Tantrums – Lowering My Expectation of a ‘To-Do’ List

Toddler Tantrums

Toddler TantrumsToddler Tantrums

I’m sad to admit defeat – the prospect of a Toddler Tantrum has lowered any expectation I ever have of getting through any ‘To-Do’ lists I now write.

How is it that you can experience such intense feelings of love for such a small person, which are then counter balanced with intense feelings of frustration??

This post is not too dissimilar to Fenwicks-Window-Gate (read more here).

I’ve come to realise that this is why I’ve stopped making so many plans.

So many to-do lists.

I once was (I’d like to think) a super organised person.

Now I’m a forgetful frisson whose idea of organised is that everyone has been fed and watered.

The old me would have scoffed at such an achievement.

I’m a person who is immensely satisfied when items are ticked off a list as done.

So as that infrequently happens nowadays, I’ve actually stopped making lists.

Stopped expecting to get shit done in my life.

I was setting myself up for a fall otherwise.

You can’t be disappointed if you haven’t raised an expectation.

But on Saturday, I had some shit to get done.

I had items I needed to buy for a relative’s big birthday and items for a night in at my friend’s house.

These aren’t huge things to accomplish but throw in the mix taking a Toddler to get her feet measured and a lunch outing as the three of us, I really was expecting too much.

I was like ‘let’s all go for lunch, get Ella’s feet getting measured and buy all the bits and bobs on my list.’

Oh no.

We left our house on that utter dreary drizzle of a day. The weather alone set the tone.

The car tootled along through the pools of surface water to a lovely local town called Morpeth, whereby three-quarters into the journey Ella promptly passed out.

Any of you who watch my Insta Stories know my relationship with Car Nap. It started summer 2017 and has continued into 2018. I’d rather sit in a car with a napping child than tend to the beast if one should dare rouse her early.

So the first fifty minutes of our three-hour parking limit was spent sat in the car at Morpeth Leisure Centre.

The weather was too awful to go for a ‘lovely drive’ to nowhere and our lives weren’t worth living if we woke her too early.

Once the small person who dominates our lives woke up, her royal Highness was in a bit of a post nap fettle.


Just what you feckin want when you’re about to go for lunch.

May as well have just woken her up when we arrived.

We trooped (I carried) a whingey child, who refused to have her hood up in the rain, into Weatherspoons.

We sat by a lovely fire, which would have been relaxing had we not had a toddler in tow.

The crayons and colouring in did not distract her. The other toddlers on the nearby tables did and they seemed to all be in co-hoots, copying each others screeches to see who could be the loudest.

The arrival of food only briefly took her interest. Before she remembered she was in public and now was the time to act up.

I’ve become the parent I swore I would never be.

I stuck Mickey Mouse on You Tube on my phone and slid it across to her, while still scoffing on my noodles.

Technology is the future right?

I’m just giving her an educational head start?

One day she may be in a job that heavily relies on a mobile??

Who am I kidding. The digital nanny is the only way we get to eat in public at times.

Cue trying to leave and a tantrum is thrown. Who knew the simple act of putting a coat on is classed as torture by a toddler?

A swift exit ensued and we stomped to the shoe shop.

Where, fair play to her, she sat very still as she had her feet measured. I almost went from harassed mam to gushingly proud mam.

But obviously that doesn’t last long.

As the young lad is merrily strapping away at her feet, she burps in his face.

I’m mortified.

She’s proud of herself.

The Man is pretending to browse the shoes on the racks.

And the poor sales assistant tries his best to smile it off.

I try to distract from the fact my child has just expelled gas in another human’s face and point to a pair of shoes I spied.

He scurries off to find her size while I start putting her shoes back on.

Big mistake.

She did NOT want her shoes back on.

In Toddler Land this is obviously a valid excuse for a meltdown so cue another episode of ‘no no NOOOOO’ while thrashing about with every limb, red-faced.

And that was just me.

The sales assistant returns without her size. To be fair, her feet haven’t actually grown and by now I’m too stressed to consider panic-buying another pair.

By this point she’s whinging so loudly I just scoop her up, throw lots of verbal apologies and thanks at the sales assistant and hurry out of the shop.

Like Fenwicks-window-gate, we didn’t have a pushchair. It would’ve been too much of a battle getting her in and out. More fool us though as she wanted to be carried everywhere.

And I just wanted to go home.

So we did.

Minus me doing any of my jobs.

I’ve learnt to inhale deeply through the dissatisfaction.

A couple of hours respite at home (where the angel mysteriously replaces the devil) and The Man offers to take her to softplay.

So I can get my shit done.

Which I did.

In utter peace.

Slowly perusing shops.

Soaking in the bizarre sense of loneliness I’d craved all day.

And the ability to concentrate on one task at a time.

Once I’d recharged my batteries I headed to join the two-thirds of our wolfpack at the softplay.

And found my sense of humour and fun had been restored enough to go down a mahoosive bouncey slide.

I no longer get shit done. But I’m learning to not give a shit.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Photo Credit: Patrick Fore – Unsplash

Video: My own

James and The Birthday Balloon

James and The Birthday Balloon Missuswolf

I’ve kindly been gifted a copy of James and the Birthday Balloon by Nicola Rowley to read with Ella.

Nicola J Rowley Missuswolf

Nicola read to her son within weeks of him being born.

Nicola and I have a few things in common; we love writing and we love to see the enjoyment our children get from reading books.

I’m keen to support my daughter’s interest and love of books while at the same time supporting up and coming author’s.

This is the second book in the James and the … series following on from the successful first book James and the Amazing Gift.

James and The Birthday Balloon Front Cover Missuswolf

Although aimed at 3-7 year olds, it is a very engaging picture book, so Ella was able to interact with the imagery.

She may not understand much of the story yet, but she recognises items in the illustrations.

For example, she will point at the balloons and say ‘balloons!’ in her excited little voice.

Likewise for the tree and the flowers.

She has a habit of sitting listening to me read to her and then halfway through, she pulls the book out of my hands. And sits and reads it to herself.


Not word for word. Or any of the words for that matter.

But in her own gobble-dey-goo language.

And it was no different with this book.

She sat and listened, looking at the pictures. Her little voice would squeak ‘Balloons!’ ‘Tree!’ ‘Flowers’.

At times, she even turned her head to watch my mouth pronounce the words.


So on that note, even though it’s aimed at 3-7 year olds, the book does engage younger children. It encourages them with their recognition of imagery – such as the balloons, tree and flowers.


The book also encourages random acts of kindness. Which I think is an extremely powerful thing to do. We live in what can be such a cruel world at times and we need to spread love, kindness and positivity.

We need to empower a new generation that is thoughful and selfless.

By creating stories like Nicola has in her James and the … series, she is teaching children the importance of kindness and friendship.

There’s also a message of reasurance to children too if they need to attend hospital.

James and The Birthday Balloon Missuswolf

Children have fears and going to hospital tends to be one of them.

Although Ella doesn’t understand the messages in this book just yet, I feel they are very important ones for her. So we will continue to read the book and, as she develops, I can’t wait to watch her understanding of it change.

The paperback version of this book also features a free audiobook -narrated by none other than TV’s Dr Ranj Singh. Children will recognise his voice from his show on Cbeebies.

James and the birthday balloon Dr Ranj

And you can be super pleased that your purchase of the book also goes to helping a worthy cause. £1 from every sale goes to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which provides care and life-saving treatment for children in south London and beyond.

Check out Nicola’s website too where you can download FREE colouring sheets from the illustrator of her books.

What an awesome idea!

Take them with you to restaurants. That’s where I need distraction activities the most. So these colouring sheets will come in handy for my hangry-low-attention-span child.

A fuzzy-feel-good piece of fiction with positive messages. The kind of messages that wouldn’t go amiss if we adopted them in the adult world too.

Smaller Images JBB (3 of 3)

~Where to Find Nicola J. Rowley~

Nicola J Rowley

James and The Birthday Balloon Front Cover Missuswolf

Love Missuswolf xxx

Missuswolf’s Online Clothing Collection 

I’m super excited to share with you the project I have been working on over the festive season – Missuswolf’s Online Clothing Store.

Warrior T-Shirt Missuswolf


Yup, that’s right. I’ve pulled together a little clothing collection. Massive eeeek!

There is a range of T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, hoodies and Tote Bags that feature words that I love playing around with.

Warrior Natural and Pink Tote Bag Missuswolf

And would you believe that the idea came to me as I sat watching Harry Potter (in my pj’s drinking gin – ooooh the glamour) on NYE??

I was thinking about how I wanted a t-shirt or sweatshirt for next Christmas that shared my love of Mince Pies. Or Sprouts. I’d had a browse on the good old t’interweb and couldn’t find what I was after.

So I looked into designing my own.

Out of nowhere all of these phrases popped into my head. The Christmas Cracker Collection was born in minutes and was the first range I designed (so get ahead of the game for 2018 and get yours now).


What followed just escalated with words and phrases I use on my blog and across Social Media to refer to, well, my general life I suppose.

Meet The Collection:

Warrior – Womenswear:

The Warrior theme was inspired from my days at a Pregnancy Yoga class.


Warrior Sweatshirt Grey and Pink Missuswolf

The word ‘Warrior’ was used amongst my fellow mothers-to-be to describe ourselves and our journey. The group of ladies I met there stuck together through maternity leave. We referred to ourselves as Warriors. We battled through pregnancy and birth. Until we faced our greatest battle of all.


There was a sense of empowerment amongst us females in the class who were growing these little humans.

And in the days following their births.

We continued to call ourselves Warrior’s. As we powered through the turbulent Motherhood Journey together.
Warrior Grey and Black Hoody Missuswolf

The Warrior hoody is comfy yet empowering. Just how Motherhood and Femalehood should be.

Comfortable and powerful.

The Man – Menswear:

I fondly refer to my other half as ‘The Man Who Lives With Us’.

The Man Who Lives With Us Missuswolf

I’ll be chatting away to Ella and I’ll say ‘There’s daddy – you know – The Man Who Lives With Us.’

It’s kind of stuck in my vocabulary.

My way of teasing The Man.

The Man Who Lives With Us T-Shirt Missuswolf

There’s a part of me that feels I need to explain this phrase and a part of me that just things, meh, what the hell.

I’m feeling playful and going with meh.

Feral – Childrenswear:

When you’ve just had one of those days in Parentland.

The Little Lady T-Shirt Missuswolf


The house is upside down.

You’ve been to the park and had to rugby-ball your child and pram home (pinched that phrase from a friend).

The Little Man Dark Blue T-shirt Missuswolf

You have a little person who is incessantly whinging.

You attempted a nice family meal out. But spent the time chasing a child while you developed a serious case of indigestion.

And you can only liken their behaviour to that of being Feral.

Feral T-Shirt Missuswolf

Welcome to the collection of little tees for your little people.

Christmas Cracker Collection:

I love Sprouts.

I love sprouts t-shirt Missuswolf


And Mince Pies.

Lover of Mince Pies T-Shirt Missuswolf
What better way to share my love of these than to emblazon them on t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodys??

Sprout Lover green t-shirt

Wear them to the shops to purchase your beloved sprouts and mince pies, or for hibernating at home whilst snaffling them.

Sorry I ate Sprouts T-Shirt Missuwolf

There’s also a collection of tote bags. To carry your pies and sprouts home in.

Sprout Lo

Why not get ahead of the game for Christmas 2018 and grab your festive top now?

Then again, Sprouts are not just for Christmas – why not purchase a Sprout top to wear with pride while snaffling your Sunday Dinner?

The collection is now live and can be viewed here.

So – there you have it. A wild night in on NYE has produced one of my most productive projects to date and I’ve loved every minute of it!

£1 from the profit of every sale will be donated to the Children With Cancer UK charity.

I would love it if you sent me a picture of yourself with your purchase. I will feature them on my website under Follower’s Faves (or something similar to that).

Thanks again for all your support – here’s to the next chapter.

Happy New Year and Happy Shopping  🙂

Love Missuswolf xxx

Christmas Story Collection

As mentioned in my previous post on What I Put In a Christmas Eve Box, I thought I’d give you a run down of the books I’ve collected so far for Ella’s Christmas Story Collection.

Christmas Story Collection


My intention is that the books she received for this Christmas will be put away until 1st December next year, when I’ll get them out in the lead up to the main event.

Another little tradition I will also be repeating is the Book Advent Calender.

I purchased 12 books from a local lady who supplies Usborne books. I responded to a Facebook post in the July and paid just £13. The books were then beautifully wrapped and dropped off the night before the 12th December.

You can read further details on the Book Advent Calender Blog Post.

Christmas Story Collection

Christmas Story Collection Missuwolf


Paddington and The Christmas Visitor

This purchase was part of the theme for 2017’s Christmas Eve Box. The book was £3 from Marks and Spencer’s, with £2 of it going to the NSPCC’s Childline.

A lovely little story that gives you all the fuzzy feels inside and makes you feel even fuzzier that, by purchasing it, you’re donating to charity too.

Paddington Bear Theme Christmas Eve Box

Dear Santa

Ella already has the Dear Zoo books so it felt like a no brainer to get her this as part of her Christmas Eve Box. My dad gave us some money to buy some gifts for her and this was one of the things we bought.

Dear Santa Christmas Story Collection

It’s a Hardback book throughout which is ideal for her age group.

This book also has little flaps that you lift to reveal the present underneath. Great for learning. However Ella has a knack for ripping flaps in books. So I currently have to watch her like a hawk with this one.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Ah this book.

The picture’s are very nostalgic to me. I used to watch the film version of Mickey’s Christmas Carol all the time when I was a child.

This book was given to Ella by her grandma for Christmas. When I realised what it was – I was overwhelmed. Particularly as it came with the DVD too. I’d been thinking about this  and had briefly mentioned it at work. But not to family. So it was a complete surprise.

Mickey's Christmas Carol Christmas Story Collection

It has a Hardback cover with paper pages in-between. It tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge through the Disney characters. It certainly pulls on the old heart-strings when it comes to Tiny Tim.

Ella loves anything to do with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol will always be a timeless classic for me. I hope it becomes a timeless classic for Ella too.

Ella – Santa’s Secret Elf

Santa’s Secret Elf was a surprise purchase. A lot of my purchases these days are planned and I rarely impulse buy.

Ella Santa's Secret Elf Christmas Story Collection

We took a trip to Azure Garden Centre in Cramlington one Sunday at the end of November. For the past few years, The Man and I have loved roaming the Christmas Section there.

It’s even better now there’s a little person in tow. Often we’re stuck for means of entertainment on a Sunday for The Little Lady that don’t involve softplay hell.

A garden centre is a good all-rounder. Lots to look at and explore both inside and out. There’s usually some form of pet area, generally with an aquarium, that provides lots of sensory. And there’s always yummy food.

So a couple of trips in the lead up to the festive period are perfect. When we went, it wasn’t very busy so you could browse properly. Well, I use browse in the loosest term possible I suppose. Who browses with a one year old?

Christmas Story Collection Dear Santa Ella Santa's Secret Elf

It was there we came across one of those rotating book stands that featured personalised books of Santa’s Secret Elf. I couldn’t find Ella’s at first as it was tucked away. She spied me picking it up. Cue whingeing all round the garden centre as she wanted to hold it.

It’s another hardback cover with paper pages throughout. I reluctantly gave in and was anxious as she ferociously flicked through it. I was terrified she would be her usual destructive self and rip the pages.

I eventually wrestled it from her and hid it before paying and going home with it down my coat.

The story is about the child swapping places with an elf and going on an adventure in the sleigh with Santa, who is blissfully unaware. There is a section at the back to draw yourself as an Elf and write your name on the parcel labels too.


Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note – this post contains affiliate links. I only endorse products that I’m interested in and genuinely want to promote. Plus they help keep my website running. Thank you xxx

What I Put In A Christmas Eve Box

The thing to remember with Christmas Eve boxes is that they are personal to you and your family.


There are no right or wrong things to put in one. You don’t even have to do a Christmas Eve Box. What makes each family tradition special is just that – it’s special to your family.

2017 was the second year I had done a Christmas Eve box.

The first year, Ella was only nine months old. I was on the last legs of maternity leave; emerging from a fog of sleeplessness and scrupulousness.

Money had been tight and I was just at a total loss at what to buy her.

Which ultimately made me feel rubbish.

So this year, I invested a bit more thought.

One thing that I kept consistent was having a Christmas Eve Box Theme.

Last years’ was Peter Rabbit; I bought a special edition little soft toy and a Peter Rabbit book. I wrote a little message in the front cover of the Peter Rabbit book. I made it very personal about it being Ella’s first Christmas with some lovely words from mammy and daddy.

This year, I jumped on the Paddington Bear Bandwagon from Marks and Spencers.

Paddington Bear Theme Christmas Eve Box

I bought the book ‘ Paddington and The Christmas Visitor’. It was only £3 – with £2 of that going to NSPCC’s Childline. So super happy that my spends on Christmas are also going to a charitable cause.

I also bought the Paddington Bear soft toy from Marks and Spencer’s too.

I’ll list the rest below for ease of read and jot down a little explanation to next to each.

But first.

The actual Christmas Eve Box.

Where is it from?

A small business that I’ve followed for about four years on Instagram called Made With Love and Little Kisses – @Little_kissesxx

I first bought a lovely decorative heart from this business when we moved into our house in Blyth. I’ve bought a couple of canvases and decorative hearts from here over the years, for presents as well as the house.

Last year, I bought Ella’s Christmas Eve Box as well as her Bauble for the Christmas Tree.


Here’s what 2017 consisted of:

  • Paddington Bear Soft Toy
  • Paddington Bear and The Christmas Visitor Book: The intention is that this will form part of her Christmas Story Collection that I get out every December.
  • Dear Santa Book:  She already has the Dear Zoo book so this seemed fitting to buy her. It was one of the presents we got her from my dad who had given us some money to choose her some presents. Again, this will make the Christmas Story Collection

  • Ella – Santa’s Secret Elf Book: This book we found at Azure Garden Centre in Cramlington. We go there a couple of times in December when they have their decorations up. (FYI –  if you don’t already know it, Garden Centres are great places to take kids. Especially at Christmas. Decorations to look at, play areas to burn off energy in. And they always have lovely food. Not a bad jaunt out.) There was a stand full of personalised books, so I picked one up to put away for Christmas Eve. Yet another book for the Christmas Story Collection

  • Iggle Piggle Soft Toy: Ella loves In The Night Garden (actually so do I. I find it therapeutic. Anybody else? No? Just me then?) We’d bought various small toys of the characters and decided to spread them across the Christmas Eve Box, Stocking and Presents. (This may sound like she’s spoilt, but I promise you she’s not. I’m quite frugal with what I buy her for Christmas. Everything has to have a purpose – whether it be something she’s genuinely interested in, or that I’m buying from a small business, or money from an item goes to help raise money for charity).

  • Santa’s Magic Key: This was made by one of my colleagues, again supporting local businesses.
  • Reindeer Dust: Bought from the same colleague who made the Santa’s Magic Key.
  • Hot Chocolate Powder with Marshmallows: (Although still a bit young for them, they looked pretty and thought I could snaffle it instead. With some Baileys in.) As above, bought from a colleague.

Christmas Eve Box Santa Key, Reindeer Dust and Hot Chocolate

  • Pyjama’s: When I was researching online what to put in Ella’s Christmas Eve Box, this seemed to be a given. I’d spied these immense pj’s in Primark online that were Minnie Mouse Twinning one’s (Minnie Mouse is another Ella obsession). Unfortunately, Primark stocked them everywhere but the UK. What’s the deal with that?? So George at Asda got my business instead. I bought her some Minnie Mouse Woven Red Shirt and Bottoms. They had great reviews online and looked festive. I bought myself Minnie Mouse pj’s with fleece bottoms from there too. So we were ever-so-slightly twinning.


  • Small Gingerbread House: Bought this as a last-minute panic buy from B&M’s when I thought I didn’t have enough (which actually goes against everything I was working toward this Christmas. Admittedly I got swept up in the chaos of a quick festive shop. I’d gone in looking for a couple of stockings and batteries and came out with a few bits more. Actually, some tealights and car air freshener so really not that bad. Minus the stockings though. I was too late). Anyway, the Gingerbread House looked super pretty though on top of the Christmas Eve Box
  • Penguin Chocolates: Marks and Spencers: Just because she’s obsessed with chocolate. And these looked cute and tasty. Plus I can help her eat these 😉

And finally.

This year we purchased a Santa Plate.

Again, following my support of small businesses, I scrolled Etsy and came across Peggies Paintbox. Granted, I did this about nine days before Christmas so I was pushing my luck. But the lovely Helen painted it and dispatched it right in time for Christmas.

Santa Plate Christmas Eve

And it looks awesome.

I’d love to hear what you put in your Christmas Eve Boxes as I’m always keen to get ideas for next year.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note – this post contains affiliate links. I only endorse products that I’m interested in and genuinely want to promote. Plus they help keep my website running. Thank you xxx

Why Online Food Shopping Is The Best Invention Ever

Online Food Shopping Missuswolf

I’ve always tinkered with online shopping. But now I’m a parent it honestly is the best thing that’s ever been Invented.

You see, I’ve come to realise that I lack patience anyway in shops. Other people getting in the way of the tops I want to look at, the shoes I want to try on or the cake I want to drool over really tests my character.

Throw in the mix a toddler who wants to pull anything breakable off the shelves and is a milkybar button away from a knee-buckling tantrum.

It’s all just too much.

Since Ella was born, I’ve tried to order a food shop to arrive every Sunday night. This stemmed from having a section and being unable to lift things. I’d order enough milk, nappies and wipes to see us through the week alongside the usual groceries.

Online Food Shopping missuswolf

This continued throughout maternity leave as I’m all for an easy life and this indeed made my life much easier.

Bath, bottle, bed then ding-dong. Sunday night food delivery.

It kept the rest of the week free for me to doddle around baby groups and boot camps. Alleviating at least one stress in my life.

So this has inevitably continued when I’ve gone back to work. I have even less free time now and I refuse to spend it battling with other people and a toddler in the shops.

My free time is precious and I’d rather be out in the park or woods – the better version of me spending time with Ella.

Pretty good mindful routine right?

So why on earth did we agree to do our pre Center Parcs food shop in store with a toddler this week??

Firstly, I grossly misjudged the amount of stuff we needed and got a small trolley.

With no child seat (she wouldn’t have sat in it anyway).

Well. The Man Who Lives With Us put her in the trolley. Obvs she loved it. Whizzing around the sock aisle (as again- aaaaaalways need socks). Living her best life.

Then the first tremors of rebellion.

She wants to get out.

I suppose rightly so really.  The items need to go in their respectful place. The trolley.

So far so good. Until she decides to help put the items in the trolley.

Then it’s a case of lifting her up, only to hand her the multi pack of crisps (that were at the correct height to begin with to go in the trolley), to then be thrown in full pelt. Making crumbs of crisps.

The beige tea aisle involved aeroplane role-play diving into the freezers. Why ever not?

Obviously the triggers for that ever-brewing tantrum took place in the alcohol aisle. So fitting as that’s the only antidote that will see you through this. Yet you spend your time terrified the hurricane you birthed is about to set free every drop of alcohol that is jailed inside a glass bottle.

The final kick in my motherhood ass is no doubt the checkout.

Unloading the sodden trolley not quite as quick as they scan them through. Too proud to accept ‘a hand with packing’ when it’s quite clear that I need all the help I can get. The Man has The Little Lady restrained while I’m profusely sweating trying to pack the bags and hoy them in the trolley.

Once upon a time I would’ve been embarrassed. Now I can barely conceal my rage and frustration.

This kind of stress would not have gone down if I’d ordered online in the comfort of my home in my PJ’s.

‘Well that was feckin stressful’ I fume as we stomp out the store.

And try to squeeze it all in the car.

Again, if we’d done this online we could’ve packed the car all at once at home. In a more streamlined, logistical fashion.

But hey-ho it’s done now.

Except when you’re halfway down the motorway and realise you’ve forgotten nappy bags, coffee and peppa pig yoghurts. Oh and to post your Auntie’s birthday card.

I’m all for an easy life. And sitting on my backside at home in my jarmies, I have all the time in the world to browse and shop.

With no distractions.

So I don’t forget anything.

And most importantly.

I keep my sanity.

Love Missuswolf xxx

Images from Unsplash

Pregnancy: Stretch marks, Spider Veins and Varicose Vein Treatment

Varicose Vein Treatment Missuswolf

The Human Body truly is amazing.

It has ways of healing itself, expressing pain and the ability to show physical or emotional reaction when there’s something wrong.

The body responds to external and internal factors.

Take stretch marks. The tiger stripes that emerge when your skin is pushed beyond its elasticity. The marks are there. They fade in time. But they serve as a reminder of the journey you took. Whether it be the transition from childhood into adulthood, the miracle of growing another human being in your body or a huge weight loss. They can appear.

These seem to be the hardest to treat of them all. Prevention rather than cure is always the emphasis on stretch marks. They inevitably fade in time. Laser therapy could be an option to alleviate the aggressive ones. However, it doesn’t completely remove them. The process only makes them less noticeable.

As discussed in my previous post Finding Sanctuary in a Tub and a Saviour in a Bottle, I do have them. Mine are on my thighs and hips. However these weren’t through pregnancy. These were from adolescence.

And because of this, I rather went to town on lathering creams and oils into my bump, hips and thighs.

Spider Veins are another example. Again, I have a sprinkling of these on the tops of my thighs and again, they weren’t through pregnancy. Causes of these could be a number of things; heredity, adolescence or an occupation that either involved a lot of standing or a lot of sitting. Who knows. They are there. They’ve been there a while. These are seen as cosmetic and as such, I would not be able to get varicose vein treatment on them on the NHS in England.

Brief pulses of light, know as lasertherapy, would be the varicose vein treatment for spider veins.

For thin, red veins closer to the skin’s surface, a pulsed dye laser would be used.

For the deeper blue and purple veins, a laser with a longer wavelength would be required.

A solution that shrinks the veins is injected with a tiny needle and the spider veins should disappear after about eight weeks.

I’ve not ruled out having varicose vein treatment on my spider veins. It’s something I would consider in the future.

Actual varicose veins are not something I have suffered from.


I imagine I may in later life. My grandma suffered from them a fair few years ago and she had them removed by surgery – which is known as litigation and stripping. There are also varicose vein treatments that now involve laser therapy and sclerotherapy.

Which is good to know.

As I’m queasy when it comes to anything to do with veins. I like to know there are options available now that don’t involve surgery.

I may have escaped lucky with my pregnancy with the The Little Lady but who’s to say that I’ll be as fortunate in the future?

I may get more stretch marks.

My spider veins may increase.

I may develop varicose veins.

So it’s good to know there are treatments out there and various options available should I need them.

Love Missuswolf xxx

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Image from Unsplash


Fresh Air and Paddington Bear

Fresh Air Paddington Bear Missuswolf

I’m doing Mindful November over on Instagram (with @Mamas_Scrapbook and @Blom_cards) and when I saw today’s post was Fresh Air, I had a smug-mam moment about it.

‘Ooooh this fits perfectly in to today’s plans and even rhymes. I can be a lyrical genius on Insta and pull off an awesome post’.

Obviously- the exact opposite has happened.

Of course it would.

The Man Who Lives With Us had warned me it would.

You see, today’s Insta Square was going to be our trip to Fenwicks Window to see Paddington Bear.

I was going to get that all important #makingmemories picture of Ella wrapped up in a hat and gloves, staring mind-blowing at the red and blue clothed bear in the window.

What happened couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I’ll start as far back as leaving the house.

I don’t currently have a winter coat. There’s my yellow nana coat that’s past its sell by date festering in the garage. As I CBA to step foot in shops these days, my new winter coat is on order from Dotty P’s. Delivery due this week.

So off I venture into the garage to rescue the yellow nana coat. Of course Ella wants to follow. Why not? Who doesn’t love a good forage in a garage in the feckin freezing cold.

Cue Little Lady running full pelt out of the front door and landing flat on her face. The position she fell in was both comical and heart breaking at the same time.

There were tears. There was a heated exchange of words with The Man as to who was to blame (even though we weren’t ‘blaming’ each other as ‘accidents happen’. Eye roll).

Thankfully, no cuts, bruises or blood loss. After all that my coat looked shite anyway.

So off we troop, me in a grey jumper dress and a long cardie (that will no doubt be recycled and worn for next weekend’s girl date to York FYI).

As we approached town, of course she falls asleep.

Cue The Man driving around the West End for a bit then playing car-park-hopping until he found the right one.

So once we’d picked a side street in Shieldfield – the Little Lady woke up and off we trooped into town.

Minus the buggy.

For some reason we thought we’d leave that in the garage too. As she ‘likes to walk everywhere these days’.


It’s a short walk, followed by a carry, followed by running off in the opposite direction, to another carry. Lather, rinse repeat that one.

And we’ve both got shit backs too so why we do this to ourselves is beyond belief. It even entered the conversation to buy a ‘lighter buggy’ while we were in town today. We didn’t even get as far as entertaining that daft idea.

We hadn’t even got to Northumberland Street and The Man needed a wee.

So did I.

We agreed he would wee in Pacific as I went to Primark to buy a hat and gloves for Ella (as yes, we forgot these too). I would then wee in Fenwicks and then ta-da – window time!

As Ella wrapped her vice-like legs (she is freakishly strong) around me for yet another carry, a part of her felt warmer than normal.


Nappy leak.

On a grey dress.

I mean, the thought had slightly entered my head as we left that she may need a change as she’d downed two bottles of juice.

But no.

I live life on the edge.

I decided to risk it.

And I Never Learn.

If thoughts like that appear – ACT UPON THEM.

You will regret it later.

I decided to quickly dash into Primark to get the forgotten clothes. Hat, gloves and socks (aaaaalways need socks) chosen, The Man caught up with us. He stood in the queue while I went hunting for toilets near the Costa in Primark. Zilch. Couldn’t find any (thought there had to be some near food facilities??)

Aaaanyway purchase made and a mad dash into Fenwicks was had. Dodging the frantic Christmas shoppers and the Saturday Dawdlers, we jumped into a VERY packed lift. That went down. Then up.

And we got out on the wrong floor.

By now my frustration sweat was appearing but I was trying to appear cool as The Man was getting even more agitated than he already was (he hates how busy Town gets. And frankly so do I. So this was a disaster from the start).

Baby Changing facilities eventually located (on the other side of the store to where I knew the toilets were), where a full on outfit change for Ella ensued.

Her vest and tights were wet. But the dress she had on didn’t go with the spare tights so I had to change the whole outfit.

I was devastated that her pretty burgundy dress and cream tights, an outfit I chose especially for her to see Paddington in, were now replaced with a bright pink and red Minnie Mouse Dress and tight combo. I mean, it’s lovely don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t the idyllic image I’d envisaged (nothing ever feckin is in motherhood – I should have also learnt this by now too!)

Facilities exited, The Man located – who by now is Hangry as he’s had no breakfast. Nup  – me neither mate – shall we get some grub?

As I so obviously know Fenwicks better than him (rarely there) we turn into the Saturday Dawdlers. Everywheeeeere is busy.

I had the bright idea of Greys Quarter.

Fifteen-minute-waits in every restaurant.

Right. The Decision was made.

To quickly see the window and head home, with the idea of grabbing some food from somewhere on our journey home (another Saturday afternoon Maccy D’s drive through no doubt).

Oh no no no.

There was no quickly seeing The Window. The queue was at the bottom of Northumberland Street.

The Man nearly died when this realisation hit.

In order to save his sanity and our marriage, we quickly ran by it on our tippy toes.

All the while Ella looking the other way.

Too much of a nosey parker people-watching to stare at a bear stood in a window.

Big. Fat. Waaaaaaaaah!!

So – no, we didn’t have the patience to deal with town on a Saturday a mere few weeks from Christmas with a toddler in tow.

We sidled along Northumberland Street to head back to the car. Frankie and Benny’s is our fave haunt and luckily the one near Pacific wasn’t busy. Table straight away and no waiting. Hoo-feckin-rah.

A rather relaxing lunch with a surprisingly well-behaved Ella (although there were several attempts at climbing out the high chair. I turned into the parent I swore I never would and shoved Mickey Mouse Clubhouse repeats on my phone).

As we left F&B and made our merry way back to Shieldfield, playing pass the parcel with a I-will-not-wear- my-hat-or-gloves Ella, The Man attempted to say those words.

The Man: ‘Well, I don’t really want to say it but -‘

Me: ‘Oh yes you do – you can’t bliddy wait!’

The Man: ‘Told You So!’

And he had.

The whole car journey into town that this was not going to turn out how I had in my head. And I had known that. And even agreed that what I had planned wouldn’t be perfect.

But it was faaaaar from perfect – if you class perfect as everything going according to my plan.

It was much better.

As we had an afternoon that we can look back on and laugh (and learn from!) Ella was just happy to be out and about with her mammy and daddy in the fresh air.

And at the end of the day.

That’s all that matters.



Love Missuswolf xxx

Image above is the only one I have today of being in the Fresh Air. And there most certainly is no Paddington Bear.