Farming, Happy Pills & Flapjack!

Welcome to my crazy and wonderful life, buckle up dear reader and prepare to be dazzled by the disorganised chaos of a frazzled farmers wife!
I am a mum of three wonderful, intelligent but very busy littles, who, at times are as wild as hawks, possibly semi feral but are on the whole fantastic kiddos with great manners when it counts and hearts of gold.
My littles are: my biggest little, a ten-year-old VERY pre-teen girl. My middle little who is a 7-year-old boy and my sensitive quieter one of the three generally picked on by the other two. And finally, my littlest little my three-year-old wild child… he came into the world exactly as he intended to continue, early (3 months), very busy, dramatically as possible and headstrong!
I am 30 something and live in gorgeous Mid Wales. My children are bilingual attending the welsh unit of the local primary school and I try badly to remember my GCSE welsh to try to read to them or talk to them! We live on a little farm and life is full on and chaotic, never a dull moment here! My husband is the most hard-working man I have met, they don’t make them like him anymore! He in many ways is old beyond his 30 odd years but has the most amazing skills as a mechanic, farming and at bodging! He acts big and tough a typical farming guy but really is very knowledgeable and caring and bakes a fantastic loaf of bread.
To escape my crazy life and help feed my constantly starving brood I run my own cleaning business and I clean for 4 lovely households and also a stunning large country house self-catering holiday let called Abernant House, where between cleaning I like to flounce around and imagine myself as lady of the house!
To many sane people this would be more than enough to be getting on with but no, no I like to go that extra step closer to exhaustion so I have started to follow my dreams and dive further into my passion of cooking by becoming a private chef specialising in vegan gluten and dairy free food. Cooking is my me time my happy place, all I think about is food and my own health issues and allergies lead me to my new cooking style.
I also have a vegetable garden, it is organic, mostly grown from seed and hard work… well in my usual style it is ½ of a field so no small garden.
A lot has lead me to this point, health issues and setbacks both mental and physical have taken their toll leaving me dosed up in a daze of prescription medication and bedbound at the worst point several years back. Self-loathing, comparing myself to others and self-pity became my norm. I was bitter and stuck in a black hole. Why do we as women do this to ourselves? Why do we nit-pick compare and belittle not only others but ourselves? Why has it taken until my 30’s to feel comfortable in my own skin and like a good mother and capable professional? Of course, don’t get me wrong I am still often fuelled by happy pills, coffee, that little inner voice telling me I’m not doing well enough and gin, wonderful fantastic gin BUT I am me! I am happy in my skin C-section belly, health issues and all.
There is no such thing as perfect in life or perfect parenting! It really is about finding what works for YOU and YOUR wonderful family no matter what that looks like. Do you want to know a truth I wish I had learnt long, long ago? Other people’s opinions are just that, the opinions of others and nothing to do with you. Secretly we are all full of self-doubt, fear of failure and possibly losing our sh*t but we all hide it as best we can to seem “normal” and the “perfect” family.
Some days I’m a earth mother domestic goddess, with clean tidy kiddos and home, dog walked, home cooked meals and cakes, my days work completed and shopping done with three little angels in tow, and other days… I’m a mess! My fibro is flaring or my anxiety is through the roof. The kids miss the school bus as despite a full night’s sleep I feel like death, the dog is running wild in the yard and won’t stop barking the kiddos are grumpy, fighting and surviving on fish fingers, chips and beans and the snack cupboard… Littlest little has discovered my money saving bulk buy 10kg sack of porridge oats and has decided it is the perfect “rubble” for his toy bulldozer and my house is a tip! And I just want to cry- But it is ok, give yourself a break mam! Life happens nothing has to be perfect people understand more than you realise as often it is the same for them or they too have been there before. Be kind to you, spend time with the kiddos and things will get better, they grow up so fast and when they look back at their childhood they won’t remember how often the house was spotless, how often bread was homemade or how clean they looked but they will remember how we are, our moods, our time we give etc.
I shall stop waffling now and leave you with my favourite, quick easy and very customisable flapjack recipe! If you do fancy seeing more of my crazy and wonderful life and delicious food then please pop over to my Instagram page @cariad374 and say hi.
Flexible family friendly flapjacks
100g maple syrup/honey
200g dairy free spread
100g soft brown sugar or coconut sugar
250g porridge oats, gluten free
100g plain flour, gluten free
A lined 23cm square tin
A large saucepan
Pre heat the oven to 160°c or gas mark 3. Grease and line your tin and set aside.
Weigh the syrup, dairy free spread and sugar into the large saucepan and heat gently until melted.
Mix together the dry ingredients and pour into the saucepan. Mix well and pour into the prepared tin.
Spread out and level the flap jack before placing in the oven and baking for 25-30 mins or until a lovely golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool in it’s tin on a wire rack before cutting into squares when cool.
Get creative! Swap the flour for something interesting like kinako flour or add in up to 200g of dried fruits, nuts, seeds or chocolate. A little tip is to warm the juice of and orange in a pan with the dried fruit to plump it up. Citrus zest added is great and Chocolate drizzled over the top is even better


By Samantha Hughes for Mam Cymru

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