Thursday, February 24, 2011

From the ashes...

I'm having a hard time of it lately.  Or so I think I am.  I have had sinusitis where you feel your head is as tender as a melon that could be destroyed into smithereens by a sledgehammer and I have had infection after infection in my jaw and teeth that has just rendered me a zombie even before the cocktail of antibiotics given to me to help fight this all off.

I have had a scan now on my jaw and I'm hoping that soon it will all be over (never I have I looked forward to having my gum ripped open and a bone graft before) and I feel like my sinuses are behaving somewhat as I think the antibiotics (even though not given for that) have worked there too.

I woke up one morning all happy as the sun was actually shining and I could breathe and BAM! I came down to breakfast for the kids and a soul destroying melancholy cast it's shadow over me. I became this twisted, narcissistic, grumpy old woman who was happy at nothing and angry at everything.

I shouted, I cried.  I went to bed early every night.  I just about functioned enough to do what was necessary around the house and with the kids but hated every minute of it.  I feigned indifference and pretended nothing was wrong but the torrent of tears soaked into my pillow every night begged to differ.

Two weeks later, I am fine.  Everything is fine.  No more tears, no more anger.  I have thrown off the cloak of PND successfully again and emerge a winner albeit shattered and almost broken after several gladiator like rounds in the Colosseo of my mind.

I beg you, someone...anyone....please tell me when this will end.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Usborne books and Project 65 - The Veteran's Charity

Can you help me raise money for my favourite charity Project 65 - The Veteran's Charity?  It's very easy...all you have to do is this...

Whoever buys their Usborne books for children from me from now until March 14th will not only benefit from fantastic gorgeous books suitable from birth to age 11+ but I will donate ALL my commission to Project 65.

Why not have a look at what Usborne have to offer by looking at their website and make sure you take advantage of their Easter Special.  2 fabulous activity books with over 600 stickers for only £6.99 saving £3.99 to keep your kids busy over the Easter holidays!!

They also have a fabulous craft book for Mother's Day (and even one for Dad's day!!) at only £4.99!!

For these and more special offers please drop me a comment with your email address. PLEASE NOTE COMMENTS WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED!!  You will be emailed back  regarding your query and that only. I will never use that email to contact you again unless it is about an order you have placed or question you have asked.  Otherwise feel free to send me a tweet or DM on twitter @teamleila 

If you have anything specific in mind, I can search the catalogue for you.  All I need are age ranges and your requirements.  Don't forget that Usborne also do fantastic story books including the classics, languages, arts, history and so much more. Usborne also has books which assist with the Key Stage 1, 2 and 3 teaching curriculum. 

Don't forget Usborne make great gifts too!  Whether it's for new babies (cloth books, bath books), pre school or activities they have something for every occassion.

Books can be posted to UK, ROI and BFPO addresses.  Books will be ordered on March 15th to reach destinations by the final week of March. Postage will be considered based on weight and destination but will be reasonable! Payments can be made via PayPal, bank transfer or cheque.
Please tell all your friends too! Remember the more orders I get, the more I will be able to donate.  Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

We're getting saucy with The Sauce Kitchen...

I am always grumbling that I don't have enough hours in the day to do what I want.  This is mostly directed at my love of cooking as by the time I've done the housework, written a few articles and got the kids sorted, I have no more energy to start preparing dinner from scratch.  

I worry about buying sauces off the shelf as I think they have too many artificial ingredients in them and whilst I understand the use of them for speedy cooking, I have found a better, more nutritional and TOTALLY natural alternative to fill your freezers up!

Welcome to The Sauce Kitchen founded by Patrick and Kate Limpus and Sarah Moore who set about trying to find a better alternative for our meals by experimenting with totally natural ingredients to create the perfect dish with.  As a mother, Kate Limpus wanted the sauces to only contain ingredients that you could find in the kitchen at home.  The sauces are frozen into individual portions which makes for absolutely no waste at all so you ensure the (very little) money you spend on these sauces, you use every penny of it up!

The boxes come in handy sizes to fit in the freezer and if you doubt my boast of no artificial ingredients, just take a look at the side of the box and see for yourselves.  They also have handy tips on using the sauces so you hardly have to think about what you're going to cook, they do it all for you!!  Their brilliant new website The Sauce Kitchen is complete with recipes, top tips and so much more! I absolutely urge you to have a look to get more ideas of how you can save time and money when it comes to making meals for individuals, couples and families!!

The sauces are named after family members and also friends.  My personal favourite is Libby's Lovely Tomato and Oregano.  The subtle hint of oregano with a deliciously rich tomato sauce reminds me of when my parents used to make pasta for us as children. 

You can find Libby's Lovely Tomato and Oregano and check out all the other tantalising varieties on the website or at Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Ocado at fabulously low prices. 

To celebrate these fabulous new frozen sauces, The Sauce Kitchen and The New Ice Age have given me 3, yes 3! prizes to give away.  You can win 4 boxes of your choice of sauces to cook delicious and nutritious meals with at home and there's no rush to use them as they will keep nicely in the freezer!

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is the following:

  1. Follow Momma Leila's Blog
  2. Follow @SauceKitchen and @TheNewIceAge on Twitter
  3. Comment below that you have done the above with your Twitter ID please
And for an extra entry tweet the following!

I've entered to WIN delicious sauces from @SauceKitchen with #MommaLeila & @TheNewIceAge #competition

 The competition closes Friday 25th February at 4pm and winners will be announced shortly after!  To help you with your choice of sauces, I will be putting up a few short reviews of some of my favourite sauces to tempt you over the next few days!  Happy tweeting and GOOD LUCK!!

The Sauce Kitchen is also founder of  No Waste Please, We Are British where you can find even MORE information on the fight to bring order to British Kitchens and to make sure we are using every bit of the food we find in the best possible way.  Why not have a look to see how you can help your purse and help reduce waste.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Book of, moan and filler...

I love that movie National Treasure 2: The Book of Secrets. It's the usual mix of adventure, comedy and touches on interesting historical bits that I have yet to figure out whether even a smidge is true or not but for the moment am content with Nicholas Cage doing his bit for his country and family name ;o)

The *idea* of a book of secrets is intriguing.  Something that holds untold stories of scandal maybe? Not sure but what I want to know is there a Book of Secrets for parents? I mean come on, there is obviously NO manual on childbirth and rearing and if I had just one question to ask of the book it would be this.

**Where the HELL is the switch that turns my children from angelic to demonic and HOW do they turn it on??!!**

As the title suggests, this is just a moan blog, a filler if you will.  I had a nice day with my kids yesterday.  Sofia was at school but when she got home she was well behaved, I made dinner whilst the two of the them played nicely and watched some tv together.  P was out at a works thing so after feeding them I took on the task of bathing them.  Mikey is at an age where if I leave him alone he could cause trouble (climbing, falling etc) so I bathed them both together whilst all the time praying they would be ok and behaving and guess what..they was incredible.  No hitting, splashing, crying or anything!  We finished, dried off, got dressed and dried hair.

I believe they lulled me into a false sense of security.  It was over but how? I didn't even turn my back! The pretty smiles and swishy clean hair became gargoyles of naughtiness and foot stomping tantrums within a nano second.  Time slowed and instead of being in the arms of Nicholas Cage (ahem..), I was now walking alongside Keanu Reeves in Constantine where water slows to a drip..drip..drip...surrounded by fire and brimstone and nasty little hell creatures!

It took a further hour to get them to sleep.  I was nearly in tears with anger and upset.  Thoughts raged through my head of taking toys off them and no treats for a month and I too stomped my foot (metaphorically) until they slept.

Then I looked at them.  Pink cheeked and eyelashes fluttering whilst taking tiny breaths in the land of fairydust, rainbows and nice dragons.  The switch had been flipped again and I kissed them both gently.

Do you think Nicholas Cage would go on an adventure with me?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Ice Wall comes to Manchester...

As a Mumbassador for The New Ice Age whose aim it is to "show you just how convenient, beneficial and healthy the frozen food option can be for you and for your family", I decided to meet the team who came up to Manchester to promote the campaign with their fantastic Ice Wall!

The Ice Wall in Exchange
The New Ice Age is a fun and informative site about all the uses of frozen foods created by The British Frozen Food Federation and has fantastic tips, hints and interesting facts all about using frozen foods and indeed they also have some fantastic competitions and hugely informative blogs so make sure you have a look at  for clever ways to save money whilst using healthy frozen foods for the family. 

The Ice Wall was first launched in London where massive blocks of ice holding hundreds of food items were put together as a wall on display for the general public. 

This year it came to Manchester where in the early hours of a freezing cold saturday morning (Jan 22nd), the crew were setting up the huge blocks of Ice in Exhange Square near the Printworks.  I ventured down around nine in the morning and had the pleasure of meeting Lauren and Rachel, the fabulous girls of The New Ice Age who had quite wisely brought extra pairs of socks and gloves to keep warm whilst standing outside all day!

This year, the Ice Wall had a massive twist.  Instead of different foods being encased in the ice. It was money!! Hundreds of pounds in notes, coins (all covered in plastic of course) and even some mini coloured capsules containing the BIG prize of £200!!!!  Basically passers by were encouraged to have a guess of how much money the Ice Wall contained.  The people with the closest guesses were invited to come back and...have a go at chipping away at the ice to win the money!  You might think this was easy but some of the entrants took it all very seriously, taking time to try to *add* up what they could see inside the wall.

I spent the morning hopping from one foot to another (it really WAS very cold) and chatting to passers by about the Ice Wall and taking my cue from the girls, I tried to get lots of people to enter to come back and have a go!! 

An entrant wins some cash!

The correct answer is the equivalent to how much an average family of four could save by using frozen foods for a year instead of the fresh alternatives and no, I'm not going to tell you, but you can find out by reading all about it on the website!

If you want to learn more about what The New Ice Age are all about and find out how you can reduce waste in your kitchen and indeed help your food budget go to The New Ice Age and sign up for fantastic features, more campaigns and incredible competitions.  You can follow them @TheNewIceAge on Twitter and Facebook!

Why not comment below and tell me what your favourite frozen food recipe is and which frozen food product do you buy most in your house?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How many babies?...

So this time last week, I became an auntie again!  I already have a nephew who is nearly seven years old but now have the tiniest, most cutest and delicate little niece with cheeks the size of tennis balls!!  Her brother finds her a wonder, wants to play football and Ben 10 games with her but has been told he has to have a little patience!  She is gorgeous, with lovely black hair and big big eyes, she is as serene as her name suggests and at the moment, she sleeps all the time!

I remember the stories my mother would tell me of when I was born.  Apparently my brother wanted a playmate to rough and tumble with.  We also have a big gap of six and a half years between us so when I did come into the world, he somewhat went into a mood with my mom and walked off!  Upon being asked why, he said "I asked for someone to play with, I want to play football and wrestle with, this baby is bald, tiny and can't even speak!"

I'm not sure how long it took him to understand that some babies are indeed born with little hair and small but some thirty odd years later, we get on quite okay ;o)

For my two there is only a gap of two and a half years between them.  I get a little jealous when I hear that my sister in law takes my nephew to school and only has a tiny baby to deal with when I had a period of time tearing my hair out with two babies and trying to potty train the eldest just after Mikey was born.  (I was supposed to train her earlier but I quickly became very heavy and big and couldn't do anything!).  I felt the days go by in a haze of hectic madness trying to keep two fairly young ones from being bored and possibly killing each other.  Now of course that Mikey is just over two, Sofia is in school and life is alot easier to manage!

We originally had wanted a gap between the two children we had *planned*.  We thought four or five years would be good and I would still be under forty so any possible issues with health might just be okay.  Obviously the plan didn't go down very well but looking back and now seeing my sister in law with a seven year old and a new born, I don't envy her and I'm really glad things turned out the way it did.  I don't think I could have coped with the sleepless nights and all the other issues surrounding young babies when I had my eldest at a stage where my personal freedom was so much.

Don't get me wrong, it works fabulously for other people and I think it's great and wholly admire anyone who can have more children at whatever stage! However for someone like myself with very little physical or mental stamina, it's worked out just right for me when I sit and think lucidly about it.

My mother went to a fortune teller the other day.  Whether or not you believe, she told my mom some freaky things.  One being that she's just about to become a grandmother again or that she has already become a grandmother but she sees one more grandchild at some point. 

My sister in law is adamant she will not have anymore (she doesn't know about the fortune teller's prediction).  I scream inside my head and shout no, no, NO it will NOT be me.

It will NOT be me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Part 2 of the Maclaren Journey

Well I don't think I could rave anymore about the Maclaren Quest Zodiac!!  Getting Mikey in it in the morning to take Sofia to school is quick, easy and with usual Maclaren style, the raincover is VERY easy to get on!

Yesterday we went to the Trafford Centre and with two children, I really needed to make sure Mikey stayed in his buggy.  I wondered if he would as it wasn't the usual big clunky pram I would always take him out in.  With no winter coat he had even more room for manouevre and was very happy to stay in there being wheeled around whilst he watched everything going on.

He was comfortable, I could put his nappy bag on the handles and there is even a little bag to put on the back of the buggy to put a couple of essentials in if needed!!  I felt that I wasn't getting in anyone's way either as it was a busy day in the shopping mall.

All in all, I would absolutely without doubt recommend the Maclaren Quest Buggy to any mother out there.  It is suitable from 3 months on, is nippy, lightweight and very stylish especially if you're a zodiac lover!!

It is reasonably priced and be sure it will last a very long time as is built with the solid reputation of Maclaren behind it.  You can find Maclaren on Facebook at!/maclarenbaby and on Twitter at Why not pay them a visit and choose your Maclaren today!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Does size matter? Part 1 of my Maclaren Journey...

My son is only two years old but he is built like a warrior of stocky proportions.  He is quite tall (or long, whichever you want to call it) and broad shouldered, so much so that I have to buy him size 3-4 tops!!

He has, as you would imagine, outgrown the pram and the buggy we had.  So on my travels for a new buggy, I asked the lovely Maclaren Baby UK ( for a recommendation on a wider buggy that he could be comfortable in.

Hence the arrival of a Maclaren Quest Zodiac buggy on my doorstep two days ago!!  This is typical of Maclaren style, lightweight, solid and nothing to faff with! You take it out of the box and voila! You can use it right away!  It is every mother's dream!

The Zodiac is a lovely navy blue colour with a silver constellation pattern inside the hood and stars on the chair and it also comes with a comfort pack (headrest and shoulder pads) that is tailored to your child's starsign so we have the ever fierce scorpio on ours!

What had worried me was of course how it would be when Mikey was sat in the buggy.  Would he be squashed (his shoulders mainly) and would his legs be hanging midair off the seat.  My prayers have been answered.  The chair of the buggy is nice and wide providing comfort for my lad to fit in quite easy even with a winter coat on.  The back is very sturdy with four reclining positions which keeps your child's back nice and straight whether sat up or lying down. (Some buggies do not provide enough support I have found in the past).  The seat also can be adjusted to give comfort to the calves so legs are not hanging over awkwardly.

The fantastic thing about the Maclaren Quest is that it is definitely usable for many situations.  It is in my opinion a rock solid buggy that you can take anywhere.  As far as size which was my biggest worry, it absolutely fits the bill for my son and I could not have asked for a better buggy!!

Part Two coming soon....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


How wonderful is Twitter? Not only do you make very lovely friends and meet some highly interesting people but you get to win some fantastic prizes like these awesome Lollicakes that I received in the post today!!  These are round balls of chocolate cake covered in a layer of icing and dipped in hundreds and thousands and all on a lolly stick!!

Five rainbow coloured lollipop cakes (two have been eaten already!!)came to me via Royal Mail special delivery in lovely packaging and each wrapped in cellophane tied with a pretty bow!!  They are delicious little treats and fun for all the family.  My children have already given their total approval!

Why not follow them on twitter to be in with a chance of winning some for yourself and have a look at their website too!!

Thankyou Lollicakes for my yummy prize!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Food, glorious food...

Whilst in my local supermarket the other day, I had a wander down the chilled meals aisle.  For a split second....JUST a split second mind, I considered getting something for my son from there.   I hadn't cooked and needed something to give him for his dinner as he doesn't like pasta like my daughter does.

I picked one up (ok, perhaps it was more than a split second...) and had a look.  Not only did the big chunks of fish lurking underneath the lumpy mash make me shudder and almost vomit but when I looked at the price, I nearly had a coronary!!  Three pounds for the tiniest meal that wouldn't fill Mikey's tummy if he even gave it a second glance and so then it got put back with another shudder and a swift exit from that aisle.

I will admit as babies I did give both my children some variation from the little jars that you can buy especially porridge or rice pudding but I quickly stopped buying as the cost mounted up and the fact that I didn't think my children were getting enough nutrition from a tiny pot that had a shelf life of just under two years.  These were quickly binned in favour of a hand blender and I pureed my own foods for them until they were old enough to eat solid *chewy* food.

I loved the fact that I knew what was going into their foods, how fresh it was and that I could freeze portions for another time and that my purse wasn't feeling the heavy burden of the pound coins flying out of it!

Again this is another personal comment as I know with all the kinds of things going on in our lives, moms/dads don't always have the time to cook from scratch and as they are labelled so, these jars/packs are there for our convenience and ease of living.  It would be better if they were easier for our pocket though!

If anyone has time (5 mins to prepare and 1 hour to cook), and has a baby they are giving puree food to, why not try sticking a drumstick, half a carrot, potato, and any other veg you want, a handful of lentils and rice into a pot. Cover with water, add a teaspoon of tomato puree and cook. You can add flavouring as you wish or not.  This will puree into many meals for your little one and you can freeze the excess to give you peace of mind that you have a nutritional meal for your little one after you've had a very busy day and it's easier on your budget!