There are lots of things I wish I did more often with Pickle. Being a stay at home Mom, you’d think I’d have all the time in the world to go and feed the ducks, or to spend a morning getting creative with paints or cosy afternoons baking lovely little cookies or fairy cakes. But in reality, we hardly ever do these things. I honestly don’t know where the time goes… and although it doesn’t really take very long to whip up a batch of scones, the thought of the clean up afterwards makes it seem like a much bigger (and off-putting) task. I think that’s why we usually spend so much time outdoors – not only is the fresh air good for us, but unless we have an absolute disaster, it usually doesn’t involve hours spent cleaning up afterwards. We all know cleaning is not my forte…
Recently, we received a wonderful Messy Me Designs splashmat to put to the test, and suddenly, the idea of baking seemed much more manageable! Messy Me make easily wipe-able, oilcloth mats that can be used on any surface (floor, table. counter-top) which makes cleaning up an absolute doddle. In perhaps a throwback to the last few weeks of my maternity leave, I thought it apt to try making a batch of flapjacks like I made to eat during labour (even though, I didn’t have a single bite in the process of birthing Pickle!) with the addition of a layer of apples to use up some bramleys I had leftover from making a crumble. I took some inspiration from this apple crumble flapjack recipe from Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen – thanks, Charlotte! As you can see, someone decided to help me peel the apples themselves… by taking some mini bites out of it!
I’ll be honest, it took me a while to ease into the baking process with a toddler. To start with, there were a few winces and quick grabs to stop bowls flying or to catch a handful of oats before they were scattered with force in every direction. But I just kept reminding myself that it’s nothing a quick wipe of the mat and a vacuum can’t fix, so took a deep breath and let him go to town. And I’m really glad I did, because it was so obvious he was having a whale of a time.
I thought about pre-weighing out the ingredients but then I realised that pouring things onto the scales would probably be half the fun for Pickle! And I don’t think you can go that wrong with flapjacks so if the ratio of ingredients was slightly off, I don’t think it’d really matter.
It’s a really good job we did have the mat, as Pickle didn’t quite grasp the concept of stirring within the bowl – he just kept wanting to scoop everything out. Typical. With some guidance though, we eventually had a nice flapjack mixture. I poured half of it into a ceramic dish, then topped with some apples and raisins that I’d gently warmed up in the pan, and then topped off with the rest of the flapjack mixture.
I mean, it looks pretty delicious, right? I think I overloaded the recipe with more apple than recommended, which made it quite gooey once it was cooked but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing! After popping it in the oven, the clean up afterwards was fairly straight forward. It was easy to pick up the mat so that I caught all the oats and apple peelings and could pour them straight into the bin and then a quick vacuum to suck up some strays, and the lounge looked as good as new. More than just being an easy-to-wipe surface, the mat allowed me to relax a bit more without having to worry about getting stains on the carpet. Actually, let me rephrase that… even more stains on the carpet.
Our carpet is an absolute state. If there is one interior design tip I would give to anyone thinking about children in the future: don’t have carpet in any room you think you might feed a child in the future. Trust me. You won’t believe the amount of food that gets dropped, thrown and then subsequently mushed in. I’ve lost count of how many evenings I’ve spent on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor to no avail. I vacuum about three times a day and it still looks like I haven’t bothered, and sometimes, vacuuming just seems to embed the grime further. It’s truly grim. When we first started weaning, I bought some wip-eable table cloths in the hope that would help to protect the carpet but in all honesty, there were too big and flimsy and were almost more of a pain to wipe clean than the floor. The best thing about the Messy Me mats is that they’re just the right size. Perfect to pop under a highchair with ease, covering the main ‘danger zone’ without needing to fold it to fit into your dining space and they’re study enough to withstand food thrown with the force of a fussy toddler.
I wish we’d known about Messy Me mats sooner, to be honest. Although I’ve used our splashmat here to make flapjacks, we use it three times a day underneath the highchair at every meal, and the peace of mind is a godsend. I don’t where I’d be without it, now! The range also includes easily wipe-able highchair inserts, bibs, aprons and these pretty cool clutch bags and mini mats which are perfect for neatly carrying change supplies around.
Having not had a little clutch bag like this before, I can’t quite believe how much space it saves me! Being able to keep a couple of nappies, a stash of nappy sacks and some wipes all together rather than stuffing them in a bag loose has even enabled me to take a smaller backpack out with us. I no longer feel like I’m heading out on an expedition every time we leave the house – again, wish I’d have gotten one of these sooner!
The clutch bags are made with the same wipe-able oilcloth, it’s hard wearing and really practical whilst looking stylish – definitely not something you’d mind tucking under your arm en route to the baby change. Us parents need to get a bit of glamour in our lives somehow, right? Even when we’re changing nappies.
Whether you’re after something to protect your floor during meals, a way to make arts and crafts more manageable or looking to streamline your baby change bag, I can wholeheartedly recommend Messy Me Designs and their lovely products. Especially if it gives you the courage to attempt baking flapjacks – I may have to turn this into a more regular thing. SO DELICIOUS.
Disclaimer: we received a Messy Me splashmat and clutch bag for the purposes of this review. All opinions and ideas are my own, and as always, 100% honest.
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