16 months update

Clara is almost 16 months old, and her little, or should that be big, personality is really starting to shine through.

It’s hard not to compare her to Izzy, but while they do share some similar traits, they are both quite different and Clara has an amazing personality all of her own. Sometime, I worry that with Izzy’s confidence and energy, Clara will never get a look in, but instead she is really started to assert her independence and show Izzy that she is not the boss!


I’ve been really bad at keeping up to date with the monthly update, so this is actually a three
month one – here’s an update of her development from 13 to 16 months old.


  • Clara got her first pair of shoes – and from that moment she hasn’t stopped running around! Three months ago she was just taking her first wobbly steps but now she is confident on her feet. She loves wearing her shoes and when we are getting ready to leave the house she likes to get her shoes from the kitchen and go sit on the bottom stair ready to get them on.
  • Clara had her first – and second – sleepover just before she turned 14 months old. Both times she was absolutely fine, although I did get huge hugs the next day!
  • Our little star took part in her first ever vlog, for Pampers. As part of this, she also painted freely for the first time, which she seemed to like (although apparently paint doesn’t taste very nice!)
  • Unfortunately, Clara also had her very first trip to A&E after somehow ripping a flap of skin inside her mouth. She was fine, we just wanted to be on the safe side, but hopefully we won’t be going back there for a while. *Frantically looks around for some wood to touch*.

Her favourite things 
Whether its playing the harmonica or the piano, Clara loves to make noise! She has started to learn the actions to some songs, including Round and Round the Garden, and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (though she usually misses out her shoulders!). Ring-a-roses is another firm favourite, which she likes to play with me and Izzy.

She has also started showing an interest in the television, and loves watching In the Night Garden. We call her our little Maka Paka as she is very good at tidying up and likes to clean everything with wet wipes!

Her favourite toys at the moment are dolls and cars – she likes to give ‘Baba’ hugs and a bottle of milk, and she will lie on the floor pushing the cars around ‘brum, brum’.

Big sister, little sister 
Clara and Izzy love each other so much – we really couldn’t ask for more. However, Izzy likes to take over and tell Clara what to do, and Clara is now starting to challenge her. There have been a few tears and falling outs over toys, and Izzy can be quite rough with her. She always forgets that Clara is a lot smaller than her! She is very good at being a big sister though, and encourages Clara in a very condescending motherly tone. At the soft play they love to play on a climbing frame with two small sides. They sit at the top and Izzy says ‘Ready, steady…’, then Clara shouts ‘Goooooooo’.

She suddenly went from showing no interest at all in animals to being very aware of them – pointing and shouting whenever she sees a dog or a bird in the street. She’s also discovered our fish tank and she has had lots of fun visiting some animal parks over the summer holidays. However, she really doesn’t like it when dogs go anywhere near her – she starts to cry and tugs my leg until I pick her up – yet she was fine with this goat!

Clara insists on feeding herself. All the time. Which gets very messy. However, we are very lucky as she will eat most things and she’s very good at trying new foods. She loves chilli and curry, and at nursery the ladies are very impressed that Clara always clears her plate! Now she knows where we keep the snacks she often gets a plate or bowl, then goes to the snack cupboard and takes out a packet of Pom Bears, which she has recently discovered. Then she quite likes to go and hide in the play tent to eat them, I think so she has some peace and quiet!

Finding her voice
Clara is becoming a lot more vocal, although most of the time it is in the form of various ‘oohs’, ‘aahs’ and ‘eehs’. She has started to form some word though, calling her sister ‘Iz’ or ‘Bel’. She will clearly say yes, no, there, hello, bye bye, go, ta, baba, Mama, Dada, Clara, ball, dog. She knows that a cow says ‘moo’, which is really cute.

Little poser
As soon as I pick up my phone or camera, Clara pulls this crazy face, screwing up her cheeks and eyes and doing a huge grin. She will often grab my phone and grins manically at it, trying to take a selfie. I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed, worried or impressed! We took her to get some professional photos taken last week, and she was properly strutting her stuff – she was channelling Zoolander in there with the blue steel looks.


This week… 14-20 September

Izzy was in school for half days this week while she settled into Reception class. The highlight of her days has been lunchtime, unsurprisingly! All she wanted to tell me about was what she had had to eat. Twice she got a sticker for eating all her dinner. She has made some new friends and in the space of 5 days received 4 invitations to birthday parties! On Friday she brought back some homework – some colouring and reading, plus some words to a song that they are learning for the harvest festival. She has settled in amazingly, although the real test will be how she manages with full days as she has been exhausted this week! The weekend was mainly spent at the soft play, as Izzy had a birthday party on each day. We are starting to think about what we are going to do for her birthday – we considered hiring out a hall and an entertainer, but I think that’s going to be too expensive. We also considered just having a small party at home but Izzy really wants to invite her school friends. So it looks like a soft play party for the third year running! All I know for sure is that she wants a Ninjago cake…

2015-09-18 13.42.28

Izzy and Clara have both had huge growth spurts lately, meaning that their clothes are all on the small side. Plus the weather is getting decidedly more nippy so its time to sort out the kid’s winter wardrobes. We headed to George at Asda and they have got loads of lovely clothes in. I love that its such good value for money, but then we always end up spending a fortune as there are so many nice things. They also had a sale on so we bought some summer clothes in bigger sizes for next year. These were my favourite outfits that we came home with. I gave Izzy the option of having the same as Clara (tartan skirt with tights from £7, long sleeve t-shirt from £2.50, and purple cardigan £5) but she picked this dress instead (from £8), which matches Clara’s skirt.


This week on the blog…  

  • We have had a few great opportunities come our way this week, so Izzy, Clara and I are looking forward to trying out and reviewing some awesome-looking products over the next couple of weeks.
  • I was also invited to my first ever brand event, but unfortunately I can’t make it. Hopefully there will be more opportunities coming up!
  • I’ve joined up to Amazon Affiliates to hopefully start making some money from my blog, to cover hosting fees etc. Has anyone got any experience using Amazon Affiliates and any tips/advice for me? I don’t want to compromise the integrity of my blog by filling it with adverts, so I’ve been careful to only advertise products that I really recommend, or that are on my wish list, and also to make it very clear when an affiliate link is being used.

How to Make: an aquarium cake

A friend and I made this cake for our other friend’s 30th birthday. And, if I do say so myself, it is pretty epic. There is a long standing tradition of buying each other fish themed gifts, a running joke of sorts, so when it came to deciding what cake to make, we knew it had to involve fish somehow.


When I trawled the internet, I couldn’t find any examples of such a cake to follow. We could find lots of fishy-themed cakes, but surprisingly, there isn’t a Pinterest board for ‘Cakes containing actual real live fish’. There should be. It would be awesome. So after a lot of consideration (and some sketching of ideas) we decided the best way to do it would be to put the fish in a vase in the middle of the cake. Don’t worry, we also provided Casper (the fish) with a nice roomy fish bowl where he now resides after his cake adventure!

The birthday girl absolutely loved it and we had loads of fun making it – we just kept laughing the whole time. Mainly because we were impressed by our own awesomeness. So here’s how we made it.

*Please note, all the links in this post are Affiliate Links, which when clicked on will direct you to Amazon.co.uk. This means that if you click on these links and go on to buy the products, I will receive a small amount of commission.*

What you will need

For the sponge cake:

  • 675g butter (225g per layer)
  • 675g caster sugar (225g per layer)
  • 12 eggs (4 per layer)
  • 3 teaspoon vanilla extract (1 per layer)
  • 675g self-raising flour (225g per layer)
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder (1 per layer)
  • 9 tablespoons of milk (3 per layer)
  • A 12 inch cake tin

For the filling:

  • Jam
  • 400g butter
  • 800g icing sugar
  • Vanilla extract

For the decoration:

Making the sponge cake
We made three layers of sponge cake. As I only had 1 cake tin, we made the cake mixture in three batches, hence why I have split the cake ingredients above into the correct measurements per layer.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and line the bottom of the cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract.
  3. Whisk in the eggs, adding a little flour if the mixture starts to curdle.
  4. Add the rest of the flour and the baking powder.
  5. Lastly, mix in the milk if needed, to thin out the mixture.
  6. Add to the cake tin and cook for 25-30 minutes. Check with a skewer or knife and if it doesn’t come out clean, bake for a few more minutes before checking again.
  7. Repeat to make all the layers of cake.
  8. Once all the sponges have cooled, place a small bowl or round cutter in the middle of one of the sponges and cut out a circle to make a donut shape. Make sure that your vase will fit in the hole.
  9. Place the donut shaped sponge on top of the other layers of sponge and use that as a guide to cut. This will make sure that the holes are all lined up when you assemble the cake.


Making the filling

  1. Mix the butter, icing sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract together until fluffy.
  2. Sandwich together the layers of sponge cake with jam and butter cream, using a small amount of butter cream on the top layer of sponge (to help the icing stick).

Decorating the cake 

  1. Roll out approx 2kg of blue read-to-roll icing and drape over the top of the sponge.
  2. Smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles, and then use a small knife to neatly cut around the bottom of the cake.
  3. Carefully pierce a small hole in the middle of the sponge cake, and use that to create a cross shape – you can then fold the icing down into the middle of the sponge cake.
  4. 2015-08-29_15.20.38[1]Mix a small amount of icing sugar with water and use that to stick the Smarties around the bottom of the cake, to make the gravel. We used a disposable piping bag to make it a bit neater.
  5. Roll thin strips of green icing into plants, and use these Sea themed Cookie Cutters to make shapes of fish and other sea creatures. We then used a cocktail stick to draw on details, and added a small piece of black icing for the eyes.
  6. Pipe on some of the white icing mixture to make the bubbles.
  7. Shove leftover blue icing and Smarties into your four year old’s mouth because your Husband is about to take her out for a couple of hours and he just whipped you on the leg with a towel and deserves the ensuing hyperactivity. (This step is optional.)

Assembling the cake 

  1. Sterilise the vase by putting it in the dishwasher or wash with hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Empty the bag containing the goldfish and water into the vase. Only do this when you are ready to present the cake, so that the fish isn’t spending too long inside the vase.
  3. Unveil and then wait ages for the fish to swim above the line of the cake so you can get a photo. And don’t poke it with a long-handled spoon. Just, you know, in case you thought that was a good idea.

*Kizzy, Izzy and Baby is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.*

This week… 7-13 September

We had a fun-packed week as I was off work and wanted to make the most of the last few days of the Summer holidays before Izzy started school.

We got arty, with Izzy making bowls from air-drying clay and Clara getting messy with paint. We baked cupcakes – though these were all eaten before I took any photos! – and made pancakes. We read and coloured and spent hours building lego. All the things I love to do with the kids but just never seem to have enough time.

Izzy dressed herself for a trip out to the beach, with velour Cinderella gloves and a bat girl cape – she was pretending to be a superhero as she ran across the sand and tackled the assault course in the play park.

Daddy and I got thoroughly beaten by Izzy at bowling – she got 130 points to my pitiful 82! And of course she wouldn’t let us forget it!

The big news this week has been Izzy starting school (read more here). To celebrate her first day we went out for a nice family lunch while she told us all about it. Clara wolfed down an entire kids meal of sausage and mash – except for a single pea which she seemed to take offence to. Izzy of course had to have spaghetti.

Sunday’s plan to go swimming fell flat when we got there to find the children’s pool was closed. So the back up plan was deployed and we ended up at the softplay instead. Which is bedlam on a Sunday morning! It was cute watching Izzy push Clara around in the little tykes car, though not so cute when she pushed her face first into the ball pool!

This week on the blog… 

First day at Infant School

We now officially have a school-aged child. On Friday, Izzy had her first day at infant school. She woke up at a reasonable time (7.20am  – which is pretty reasonable for a 4 year old!) and came out of her room wearing only her pyjama top and squealing ” I’m a schooler! I can’t believe I’m actually going to big school today!” She was so excited she wanted to get dressed straight away, and was ready a whole hour before we needed to leave the house. Which of course meant that I had to redo her hair three times as she was looking bedraggled before the rest of us were even ready.

At least we had plenty of time for the ‘first day at school’ photo, and the beaming smile on her face pretty much sums up her feelings that morning.

When we arrived at school, she was impatient to get to her class, but then went quiet when we got there. That didn’t last.

We left her, feeling proud and a little sad, and when we returned 3 hours later she was happy but exhausted. She made new friends and played with old ones (from preschool), explored the school and checked out the toys and games, and played outside in the playground.

I wasn’t worried about her at all. She has been going to preschool for the past 2 years and nursery before that, so she has no issues adjusting to new surroundings and spending time away from her parents. She is confident and outgoing (OK, bossy and chatty!) and knew quite a few kids in her class already. She has also met her teacher a few times,  including earlier in the week at a home visit, where she insisted on showing the teacher her bedroom!

She is more than ready for school and all the wonderful things she will learn. Still, it was an emotional day.

Starting school isn’t just a huge milestone for Izzy, its a pretty big thing for her little sister too. Izzy got my undivided attention for the first year of her life, and then for the next 2 shared me with work. Then Clara came along. Clara hasn’t had the same attention. Even with Izzy in preschool, our days were restricted and planned around drop off and pick up times, usually only giving me enough time to do the shopping or housework and hope that Clara would nap.

Now, we have two whole days just the two of us, to go to toddler groups and swimming and play dates with other children her age, rather than her desperately trying to keep up with the big kids. She can actually play with toys without her big sister taking over and ‘helping’ by pointing out how she is doing the puzzle wrong, or not playing with the Duplo properly. We will be able to read the books she wants to read and sing the songs she wants to sing.

We will both miss Izzy, but we will also be enjoying some Mummy-Daughter time.

I can’t believe I have a “schooler”. I don’t feel old enough to have a school-aged child. The dark circles under my eyes and the frown lines tell a different story, but I definitely don’t feel old enough for this!

what katy said

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