Before I had children, I had images of me and my little angels sat at the table mixing ingredients, laughing over the flour making clouds, each if them having a spoon of cake mixture to lick clean and lots of fun sprinkling toppings on fairy cakes. I repeat… Before I had children. 

Toby is now 2 and starting to develop an interest in cooking, as well as honing his skills through imaginative play. It’s lovely to see and armed with a copy of Wren Kitchens’ Little Kitchen Big Ideas recipe book, we chose something to cook.

Pinterest – and more frequently Instagram – show picture perfect scenes of beautiful culinary creations, smiling children having the time of their lives and a well-lit final products against a wooden backdrop with a single flower laid delicately to one side. These photos are undoubtedly beautiful and in many ways inspiring, but as a less than Pinterest perfect mama, they sometimes leave me feeling deflated and lacking in the creative department.

Wren Kitchens appreciate that not only is there a lot of pressure (albeit from ourselves) to portray this perfect image, but also that getting children to eat their 5 a day can be very difficult. With this in mind, they’ve created a Little Kitchen hub. This online hub features tips, tricks and recipes from real families and their A Kitchen Lived In campaign is showing that the real life, messy, cluttered meal times doesn’t have to be stressful, even if it’s not Pinterest worthy!

We chose a cauliflower base pizza from the Little Kitchen Big Ideas book. With Toby excited about mixing eggs, I grated the cauliflower then he mixed the ingredients together and picked some toppings for his pizza.

Toddlers aren’t the most patient of creatures, so whilst the food was cooking we drew some pizzas, which was a great opportunity to practice colours, shapes and how to hold a crayon correctly. Where I’d usually spend that time trying to clear up the mess, I realised that it was a chance to spend some time with Toby and at the end of the day, that’s more important!

I don’t think I took enough moisture from the cauliflower after softening it, so the base was a little soft but the flavours were lovely and Toby seemed to enjoy his cream cheese, tomato, ham and mushroom pizza.

The ‘perfect’ photo for social media might look a bit like this:

Cooking With Children // Little Kitchen's Perception vs Reality. In the Pinterest and Instagram world, close-ups, flat lays and picture perfect scenes are the winners. But these don't show real life, so Wren Kitchens are showing the reality behind these 'perfect' pictures

But the reality of a lot of mess, an apron thrown on the floor and discarded crayons, looks more like this:

Cooking With Children // Little Kitchen's Perception vs Reality. In the Pinterest and Instagram world, close-ups, flat lays and picture perfect scenes are the winners. But these don't show real life, so Wren Kitchens are showing the reality behind these 'perfect' pictures

I’m not a Pinterest mum, even my framed, staged or planned photos are average at best, but whatever you like to see on social media, however you parent, whether you’re a great cook, a wonderful artist or neither, it’s fine! We’re all doing the best that we can and if ‘perfect’ pictures inspire you then brilliant, but if they make you feel like you’re failing in any way then just remember that they never tell the full story, just the prettiest part of it.

Do you feel pressured by the social perception of parenthood? What is cooking with children like in your household? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

**This is a collaborative post, all words and opinions are my own and I wasn’t paid to write it.**