Here is a selection of some of the recent stuff featured on the home page. Some of it comes from MUM STUFF: Because Mum Knows Best (available from Amazon below!). Some of it's fresh in to Mum Stuff towers.

If you have some stuff to share or god forbid, we've got some of our stuff wrong, send us an email and we'll do what needs to be done. Good stuff!

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Mother's (fun) ruined

Some authority in high up places has finally decreed that it is absolutely no good to drink any alcohol at all while pregnant. This isn't as a result of new research.. the Royal College of Obstetricians still suggests that up to 4 units a week, roughly two small glasses of wine spread over a couple of days (ie not all at once!) is fine.

Confused? Probably. That's because this new advice was released so as to end confusion!

Personally, I'm pregnant and I won't drink early in pregnancy but in the later stages, when the baby is fully developed and simply putting on weight, I'll indulge in a drink or two if the occasion supports it.

I can understand that medium to large amounts of alcohol damage babies. That's why I'll only have one small (ie 125ml) of lowish alcohol wine (no more than 11%abv)at a time.

Frankly, the list of things you can and can't eat while pregnant is getting so insanely long, it's getting hard to find anything you can actually eat or drink. If you avoid danger foods, then fatty foods, then salty or sugary foods, there really is sod all apart from chicken and veg and fruit that you can eat. It may be ok for Geri Halliwell to exist on a steamed chicken breast, but not me matey!

Henley Standard talks about Kids Chaos

Town's appetite growing for next month's food festival
By Richard Reed

FINAL PREPARATIONS are being put in place for the second Henley Food Festival — with a host of new features confirmed for the two-day event.

Following the success of last year — which saw an estimated 15,000 people flock to the Market Place — organisers have launched an initiative to get future foodies interested in what they eat.

There's nothing like sticky fingers - and eating the goodies as this little girl discovers.Kids Kitchen Chaos, organised by committee member Steff Cromack, promises to be a fun-filled introduction to youngsters about the importance of food and eating well.

Children will be able to design and paint their own plate, with help from The Kiln Ceramic Cafe, which will also be running a competition to win £50 worth of gift vouchers.

Youngsters will also be able to try their hand at decorating gingerbread men, making two-minute trifles and fruit cones.

There will be cookery workshops with Splatt Cooking, and demonstrations from Carolyn Robb and Morag Cuddeford-Jones. Jennie Delbridge will host a question and answer session about family nutrition and a touch and taste table and children’s entertainment will be laid on.

Easter Nonsense

Having an easter party for a group of toddlers sounds like most people's worst nightmare.

And it is, pretty much. Paint, chocolate, bits of paper and glue. Chaos.

The thing is, it's just about the same defcon one level of destruction to get one toddler to do paint and paper craft, as it is to do five. So I decided to hold a party for five wriggly two-and-a-half year olds and get it all over and done with at once. With the added bonus that four other sets of parents really, really owe you so that's four favours you can call in down the line. Hurray!

Here's a strategy for an easy - albeit messy - easter party.

Egg decorating - You can do this in all sorts of ways, with paint, with dye (boiling a red napkin in a pan with the egg was my Gran's favourite) or with pens. But first of all make sure the egg is a) hardboiled - about 10 mins at a simmer and b) cold! Because I'm doing this with toddlers, I'm limiting decorative equipment to felt tips or it could get a bit slippery and messy.

Egg rolling - Once your creations are dry, you can have an egg race down the nearest hill. The winner is the one who reaches the bottom first and/or has the least cracks. Provided you've used non-toxic decoration (eggshells are porous) and haven't rolled them through a cowpat, you can always eat the eggs afterwards.

Choccy egg hunt - what every child looks forward to, naturally. Hide eggs, let children loose - what could be simpler. With littler kiddies who may not have the best searching technique and don't quite understand the concept of divvying up the spoils, you may want to supervise and give each toddler their own area of garden/house to search so everyone gets the same number of eggs.

Easter crafts - using the templates below, cut out coloured card and let the kids loose with paints, glitter, other paper shapes, stickers to decorate. You can hang the results up as a mobile, or stick them to a longish piece of paper (the inside of cheap wrapping paper is good) to make an easter mural.

Top tip: If you don't have much in the way of wipe clean surfaces, buy one of those one-off dining tablecloths and when you've finished just gather the whole thing up and stick it in the bin. If it's all paper-based, you can even recycle.





Here are four templates for traditional easter shapes. They look all funny and stretched here for some reason, I don't know why! (Hey, I'm no webmonkey!) But, if you click on each picture, it will take you to the web page that holds the cut out template. Just print it off and chop, chop... note that the bunnies and bunny head are actually on the same document. When the link takes you to the same website both times. It's not because I've made a mistake, it's that there are two pages to the pdf!


Papier Mache and Fred MacAulay

Hello to all the listeners of the Fred MacAulay morning show on BBC Scotland. How’s the weather up there in my old home toon?

When I was on his show, Fred decided to put me on the spot for a recipe for Papier Mache which went clean out of my head. Now retrieved, here it is for your enjoyment. No doubt there are umpteen versions of this, so if you’ve got one that works better, feel free to let me know here.

If you want to know more about Fred on Fame Academy, scroll down a bit to the bloody great poster in the middle of the page and click on that!

Papier-mâché is a handy, gloopy substance made with newspaper and some household cooking ingredients that you can use to mould round any object. When it dries it becomes a ‘shell’ of the object that you can then turn into anything you fancy. Obviously, if you make a shell of a cup then you’ve made another cup, but using something as anonymous as a balloon means you’ve got a couple of semi-circles to use for anything. The only limit is your imagination.

Papier-mâché paste Always use 1 part flour to 3 parts water. Whisk a cup of flour with a cup of water and mix well. Add another two cups of flour and beat out the lumps. Bring to the boil in a pan. Keep stirring. Don’t cook it too hard or long or it will be too thick. Cool and store in a covered container in the fridge. It lasts almost a week.

Many kids of my generation used wallpaper paste for papier-mâché. This as it turns out, was a bad idea as apparently it’s quite toxic. To use: Tear newspaper into smallish strips and squares. You can use largeish bits to cover big areas but don’t make them too big or it isn’t as strong.

Brush paste onto the object you’re moulding; for example, a balloon can make a piggy bank or be cut in half when set to make two bowls. Layer on the bits of newspaper. Wait until one layer is dry, then repeat. Three to four layers is usually enough for a small object; if it’s big or going to get a lot of handling (like a plate or piggy bank) you could need up to eight. Because of the drying time in between layers and coats, it can take a few days to finish the whole project. It’ll teach ‘em patience.

Top tip: Don’t be tempted to dry it next to a radiator or in an oven. It’ll either go a funny shape or burst into flames. To get rid of the balloon, simply pop with a pin through the hardened paper. If you want the mould to remain whole, you can just leave the balloon inside, or make a small nick somewhere and try ‘hooking’ it out with a skewer or chopstick. If you are planning to cut the mould in half, then you can easily remove the balloon afterwards.

Unless you like the newsprint look, you’ll want to paint the object. To make sure paint doesn’t soak in, prime it with 2 parts PVA glue to 1 part water for bright colours. White emulsion works better if you’re going to paint it in white or pastel colours. Once that’s dried, you can start painting. Acrylic is best and doesn’t smudge if you want to varnish it. Of course, you don’t need to varnish it but it helps the item last longer and gives kids one more thing to get on with before they bother you for something else to do. To varnish, mix PVA glue with about as quarter as much water as in the primer. It goes on cloudy but dries clear. Cover it a few times, allowing drying time between coats.

Silly Slime

Kids love nothing better than stuff that goes squelch or splat. This is great just for the hell of it because it’s so easy to make and mess around with, but it’s also a handy accessory for any gross-out plans at Halloween.

Mix 1 cup of cornflour with 1 cup of water. Use your hands to mix it until it is a smooth texture. You can make it thicker and gooier by adding a second cup of cornflour. Kids love adding food colouring or paint to make it even more gruesome.

Provided you don’t mind staining the clothing (food colouring is nearly impossible to get out of fabric) you could try this trick: fill a plastic freezer bag with green-coloured silly slime and drip some red colouring around it once it’s in the bag – don’t try to mix it in, you want it to come out all streaky.

Tie the bag tightly so that the contents are secure and the bag is strained. Attach it with some thread (choose one that’s difficult to spot) to a shirt button at roughly stomach level. When a suitable time comes you need to get an implement that’s sharp enough to puncture the bag but not enough to puncture you too. A cocktail stick is good. Make a gap in the shirt where the bag is, and ‘stab’ yourself with the stick. Squeeze both hands to your middle while groaning and writhing and peek through halfclosed eyes at horrified faces witnessing what appears to be green and red ectoplasm leaking from your ‘wound’.

If you’re feeling very adventurous, you can make some with an eggy yellow tinge and put small dollops onto cling film and twist the ends. Glue it to your forehead with some Pritt Stick and watch as people go green when you burst your ‘pustules’ in their face.

Lava lover
Baking soda and vinegar madness, this volcano is good fun to make at home for no other reason than you can. It makes a great background for small plastic dinosaurs and it'll blow the teacher's mind if the kids have to do a geography project.

Mix together 600g plain flour, 400g salt, 4 tbsp veg oil, 250ml water and a few drops of green and red food colouring. It should eventually become a smooth dough that's a murky, rocky brown sludge colour. Yum.

Using an empty fizzy pop bottle - about a litre should do. Fill it to the top with warm water and 6 drops of washing up liquid, then add a few drops of red food colouring. Now, you have to shift. Cover the bottle quickly with the dough, forming a mountain shape. Go up to the top, but don't cover over the end. Pour 2 tsps baking soda in the bottle, pour the vinegar over the top and ... Krakatoa time!

Old Wives' Tales
Why are they called 'old wives' tales? Well, old wives were mums and mums always have to have the answer. However, not all the tales are spot-on in the truth department...

Carrots make you see in the dark
While the vitamins in carrots are beneficial for eyesight, there's nowhere near enough in a portion to have any impact. This was a myth spread by the British Army during the Second World War. The rumour was that airmen were eating lots of carrots and that's what gave them an uncanny ability to hit German targets in the dead of night. What they were in fact doing was trying to cover up the development of their fab new toy: Radar.

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