Festive Mincemeat Flapjack Recipe

This time of year there's something really comforting about curling up with a cup of coffee (or tea!) and a hearty slice of flapjack. The mincemeat in this gives quite a bit of sweetness which plays beautifully against the buttery oats. Enjoy!


* Jar of mincemeat (at least 400g)

* 150g caster sugar

* 275g rolled oats

*200g butter

* 3 tbsp Golden syrup

* 150g chopped nuts

*100g plain flour

Add all of your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Over a low heat melt butter and golden syrup together - add to the mixing bowl and combine well.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Spoon in three quarters of your oat mixture and press down to fill. Add 400g of mincemeat on top, spreading evenly. Add the last of the oat mixture on top of the mincemeat layer and evenly firm down.

Bake for approx 45-50 minutes on gas mark 4 or until golden brown. Cool, cut into squares and serve.




Meandering........on a Saturday at the Stonehouse Brewery

So, who else has been feeling hot, hot, HOT? Well a few weeks ago I was whinging about the weather, so it's been nice to see cloudless blue skies - but WOW - it's probably a bit too hot for me and definitely too hot for littley who has been kind of grumpy since the temperature has gone up and up!

I blame our pale skin - we're just not made for the Summer. Mr M on the other hand is from distant Italian extraction, so has dark hair, eyes and just adores the heat (as long as he's sitting outside in it!)

Anyway, I digress, but basically my Mondays have been too hot for meandering anywhere, unless it's to the freezer to get an icecream.......so on Saturday afternoon we closed the cafe and hubby, littley and myself resolved to do something nice, just us.

Our usual haunts were all packed, and as we headed back towards home (a bit hot and put out!) we pulled into the Stonehouse Brewery (www.stonehousebrewery.co.uk) to have a little investigate - plus it was the day before Fathers Day and Mr M (already a big fan of this place) fancied a beer!

Having never been before, it was a real little gem to find on a hot afternoon. There were picnic benches with umbrellas (essential shade) and the bar itself was lovely and cool, and you can look through right into the brewery to see where all the brewing beery magic happens.

Littley quickly found some little friends, and was busy cartwheeling all over the grass, checking out the fruit trees, exploring and saying hello to the resident hens and two very fine looking cockerels, whilst we had a cheeky afternoon drink.......all in the name of research obviously!

It was such a nice change, and to see the bar also does food occasionally, means we'll have to go back soon! It felt really good to be supporting such a cool Oswestry business, so its definitely made it onto our list of places to go locally on a sunny afternoon.

Have fun, until next time -

Katie x

Monday Meandering - 5th June, Scrapbooking

Well, our Monday Meanderings could've started on a better day - torrential rain - grim! So instead of the jaunt I had hoped for, we opted for Plan B, and settled for a cosy afternoon at home as littley was a bit grumpy too!

So, how to fill a rainy afternoon in June? Well a good dose of Disney for a start - we chose 'Lady and the Tramp' - mainly because littley LOVES it when the Siamese cats do their song, and it's a good excuse to eat a bit of popcorn ;)

Then we continued working on a scrap-booking activity we'd started a week or so ago after we came home after our little break in beautiful Pembrokeshire. Scrap-booking for yourself, or with your anklebiters is such a lovely was to keep momentos (how often have you said you're going to keep that cinema ticket or greetings card or whatever only for it to disappear into the Recycling bin by accident??)

I lived and studied in the States while I was at Uni, and created a scrapbook then too, and it's so lovely to look back on, and re-visit the details I had forgotten.

Apart from providing a 'physical' place for photos etc, it's also a lovely way (as its being made and afterwards once completed) to chat through memories or 'favourite bits' of the special occasion or holiday. It's often really lovely to hear your little ones share their highlights and memories, as they often remember fondly things you'd forgotten about or hadn't really noticed at the time. My daughter apparently loved the beach (obviously) but also REALLY loved staying up later than usual and the comfy sofa in the caravan!!

While away we kept a little diary of what we did each day, and we chose postcards or picked up leaflets as we went along ready to stick in our book at home.

Like most people I guess, I take all of my photos on my phone, so uploaded them to Snapfish (via their app - other providers are available!!) and got them printed and sent to our home ready to stick in too.

We've nearly completed our latest scrapbook now. Littley is keen to show her grandparents and will be taking it into preschool too, and its a great way for her caregivers to ask her about her experiences and enhance her learning further.

Roof Garden News

Hi Folks, 

Well I know lots of you viewed the video I did about announcing our fab roof garden news (the one in which I was constantly harrassed by our cat!!) and I promised a blog to follow shortly, so ok, this isn't exactly 'shortly' but I got here in the end!!

Just before me hubby, littley & I went away for a break we received word from The Santander Foundation that we had been awarded a grant to create a roof terrace garden at Baby Bird. The space will create additional indoor (and outdoor!) seating, along with a growing space so we can start using our own produce and a fun outdoor playspace for littlies.

Designs in Mind will also be creating a bespoke piece of artwork for us, in consultation with the Baby Birder community :)

Along with this, we'll be asking local mums to volunteer as we get the garden up and running, and access a free 'Mums in Control' course that we'll be hosting with the fab Louise from the 'Society of Self Esteem' on nutrition and self esteem.

I'm so excited about this project and hope you guys will enjoy all of the future developments too. We're aiming to open the space as soon as possible!!

Love, as always, Katie

PS) Been nominated for the Bizmums Creative Mum Award, Bizmums Inspirational Mum and HSBC Foward Ladies Start-up 2017! Eeek!! Exciting times ahead!!

Monday Meandering Resumes

Hello lovelies, where does the time go? It's officially 4 months until my 'baby' starts school, and eventhough I'm sure she'll be fine,I'm really not sure that I am! In so many ways she is ready for adventures that come with going to school, but inside of me I still carry those long dark, rainy nights of feeding and nappy-changing at all hours! Singing whilst rocking her while she screamed like mad, battling with reflux after feeds or spending hours driving aimlessly around the back roads of Oswestry to get her to take a nap...........all the time wondering if I'm doing a good enough job as a Mum, particularly with running Baby Bird too!

So it's bittersweet that it is again the time of year that we begin closing on Sundays &  Mondays and resume our Monday Meandering blogging. From September littley will be school, so from June we'll be closed Sundays and Mondays (although we'll still be available for Birthday parties!) and I'll be spending this (now limited so doubly precious time) with my hubby & littley on Sundays and Mondays will just be mummy-daughter days, which will be lovely, but numbered!

I'm planning to blog about our Monday Meanderings ( like I did last year), and recommend new (and old favourite!) places to visit, things to do.......and this year share crafts and recipes inspired by our travels! I hope you'll read along with our exploits, and maybe share some of them with your own families,

Katie xx


Hypnobirthing - one family's story

Here a mum shares her experience of hypnobirthing......................

“I was searching for a positive birth. So many people tell you horrendous birth stories in our society it makes us think that giving birth will be the most painful experience we might ever go through. There is however a huge amount of inspiring support out there to assist you through it and help you to ward off other people’s negativity and to achieve an experience worth cherishing.

When my husband and I first heard of hypnobirthing we knew that the focus on birth being a natural, positive experience was right for us and so we booked onto a course with Louise without hesitation.

Louise’s classes are small, personal and well-coordinated so that each partnership in attendance is given the support and resources that are suited to them. Louise teaches a range of meditation, use of birth affirmations and relaxation techniques to give you a selection of tools to help you as and when needed; you are not expected to do all of the techniques all the time during labour but it is hoped that you may find one or two useful options to help you to maintain a positive frame of mind when it matters most. Louise has extensive knowledge and experience in this area and is able to back up her teaching with real-world examples and the physiological factors that are at work-my husband is a scientist and was particularly interested in how the techniques ‘really’ worked.

Louise talks about using personal cues to help you to reduce anxiety in the more difficult moments of labour, for example I found the scent of lavender and rose geranium essential oils to be really comforting. My other personal cue was the use of music, which really helped me during my labour. And finally, I really liked the birth affirmations that reinforced the concept that birth is a powerful, beautiful experience that all mothers have been through. With Louise’s help, my husband and I crafted a mini-script combining birth affirmations and relaxation techniques that helped us into the necessary state of tranquillity. As with all things, the more you put into something the more you will get out of it, my Husband and I really worked on the techniques so that when the big day arrived I felt well prepared for what was about to happen.

My labour brought a few complications and I was eventually induced in Wrexham Hospital. The whole experience had the potential to become really stressful as this was not what I had hoped for, however I was able to stay on top of the anxiety with the support of my family and by using the techniques that I had practiced. After about 8 hours in the labour suite (and 24 hours in total at the hospital) I gave birth to our beautiful baby boy at 7.30 in the morning. The final stages were intense, but I managed to have the drug-free, natural birth that I wanted just by using my breath, a TENS machine and a positive, optimistic outlook. When my baby was placed on my chest, it was the most wonderful experience of my life.”

Louise Jenkins of Bump.Birth.Baby runs Hypnobirthing classes at Baby Bird Cafe. You can contact her with your questions or to book on: 07798 843808


Making the Most of those Moments, with Romella Jones

Do you have an ongoing to do list – whether written down that you tick off or just a mental one? Do you ever get it fully cleared?!  No! Nor do I! In fact more seems to go on the “to do” list than gets cleared off sometimes! Just like the washing basket!

So I know when people go on about how you must have some “me time” or “meditate” for 30 minutes, its met with a reply of yeah right! 

But think, if you have a wind up watch if you don’t stop to rewind it then it stops. With the water filter jug, if it’s not refilled there’s no fresh water to drink! So it is with your mind, body & spirit as well.

You need to find time to stop and just be - a human being not a human doing! This is where I can help. Let me share some simple tips for you to squeeze into a jam packed day of parenting and work! Honestly it can be done!

Do you breathe? Everyday? All the time? Then we can use this constant breathing to relax and bring ourselves into balance. 

Next time the kettle boils I want you to stand next to it & do nothing else (close your eyes if you are able). Place your hands on your solar plexus (below ribcage, tummy), take a deep breathe in and out. Then allow your breathing to flow normally and feel your body as it breathes in and out. Notice your shoulders dropping, your body relaxing and your mind clearing. Just focus on your breathing. You may like to repeat a phase such as “I am calm” or “I am OK”.

Repeating this exercise whenever you are boiling the kettle or literally have a minute to yourself (before the school run, in the shower, preparing food etc) can really help keep your stress level lower and get to a calm spot.

Take it moment by moment. For more ideas why not sign up for my free 21 day video program to create family calm (www.facebook.com/createfamilycalm ) or my free Meditation success program (www.facebook.com/romella101

Or for more tips and tools check out my FREEBIES page on website www.createfamilycalm.co.uk/free

Plus I’ve written a book called “Balance and Calm Toolkit for Frazzled Mums”, available from Amazon for £7.99. It has 160 tips and techniques, each that only take a minute or five to bring you from frazzled to calm and in touch with your inner Zen!

Yours calmly, Romella – Chief Calm Creator – Create Family Calm www.createfamilycalm.co.uk


Journey of a Mummy-author by Lorna McCann

On Thursday March 2nd, children and their parents all over the world will be celebrating their love of reading to mark 2017 World Book Day.

And, here at the Baby Bird Cafe we’re excited to be getting involved with the fun as we will be welcoming Shropshire author Lorna McCann to do a reading of her new children’s book, Wendy and the Biscuit Tree on Monday, February 27, at 1pm.

We caught up with Lorna earlier this week to talk about her new book writing ventures and here’s what she had to say……

‘Writing a book or becoming a published author has never really featured particularly high on my bucket list.

It’s true, I’ve always loved writing and for many years it has been my profession as a former journalist and now a self-employed PR professional but it’s never been a dream of mine. Climbing Mount Everest, yes, becoming a forest ranger, yes, but penning a book, no, not so much!

It feels rather funny therefore to be talked about and referred to as an author. It’s all happened rather accidentally and the catalyst - becoming a mummy!

The latter, I might add, wasn’t accidental. I absolutely did want children and thankfully I was blessed with two amazing boys who have changed my life forever.

Every day since they were born has been filled with fun, laughter, love, tears, noise, chaos and more recently mud! Some days there have been more tears than laughter, others have been noisier and more chaotic but every day, without fail, there has been love and there has been lots of mud!

For me, parenting presents major challenges on an almost daily basis but I’m finding my way, albeit slowly! However, recently I did learn one of my biggest lessons yet and that is if you make a promise to your children - you absolutely have to keep it and here’s why:

For one, it demonstrates a commitment from you to them. Secondly it shows them you can be trusted. Thirdly, it indicates respect. And finally, if nothing else, kids have amazing memories and they won’t ever let you forget if you don’t keep your word.

It was in fact a promise to my two boys that kick-started my accidental journey to becoming a mummy author.

Like most parents, I began reading to my children at a very young age. Surrounded by an ever advancing technological world I was determined that they would grow up loving books, enjoying reading and using their imaginations. Together, we must have read hundreds of books and when we don’t have books we make up our own.

And, the tale of Wendy and the Biscuit Tree (my recently published book) was just that - a story I made up one day because I didn’t have a book to hand. Little did I know at the time that the new found adventures of Wendy and the magical biscuit tree would become their all time favourite story.

The boys often asked me what Wendy looked like, how big the biscuit tree was and what kind of biscuits it grew. And so followed my promise to them that I would turn my imaginary tale into a picture book we could all read together.

The boys were elated but I, on the other hand, had no idea exactly how I was going to make that promise come true. All I knew was that I had to make it happen and if I was going to do it I ought to go about it properly.

It goes without saying that the process of self-publishing can be a tricky path to navigate and rather daunting to say the least. But, I was fortunate enough to meet editor Sue Miller, who heads up the wonderful Team Author UK - a new collaboration providing a variety of professional services to independent authors.

Sue gave me the confidence I needed to step into this unknown world and before long I’d penned a first, second, third and final draft of the book, teamed up with the fabulous illustrator Holly Bushnell and was well on the way to getting my first ever book published.

From start to finish the process took around nine months and in November last year I received my first batch of author copies and my book went live on Amazon.

And so the day arrived for me to tell the boys I had fulfilled my promise and hand them their very own copy of Wendy and the Biscuit Tree. They were, thankfully after all the hard work, more than made up to receive their special book. And as for me, well, it was a moment I won’t ever forget!

Since that day, it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve met lots of other self-published authors who have been quick to encourage me with my new venture and I have attended charity events, Christmas fayres, nurseries and schools to read my book. I’ve had people send me photos of their children going to bed reading Wendy and the Biscuit Tree and messages to say copies have been sent to the other side of the world.

It’s all been rather amazing in an accidental mummy-author kind of way and I really cannot thank everyone enough for their support!

I’m now in the midst of finalising my latest book reading tour to celebrate World Book Day 2017 and I’m delighted to have been invited by Katie to attend the fabulous Baby Bird Cafe on Monday 27 to do a reading at 1pm. So if you’re about in the Oswestry area why not pop in, say hello and have a cuppa. I’d love to meet you and share my story Wendy and the Biscuit Tree with your little ones! I’ll also have copies of the book with me on the day for those wishing to purchase a signed copy, priced £7.99.

See you there! x