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The last few days before Christmas

These last few days are mad, everyone running around trying to tie up loose ends before the big day. Looking for some kind of resolution in the chaos of the whirlwind so that you can just relax and chill out with family and friends on Christmas day. For that reason I decided not to book our calendar up with much during the run up, we already have Hydrotherapy (or so I thought – duh broke up for Christmas) and Physiotherapy on Thursday. This gives plenty of time to finish anything last-minute jobs and tasks, such as post parcels, write last-minute Christmas cards from unexpected sources, buy the last few presents (then subsequently be in for their delivery).

With that in mind we wandered to the park Monday (with firm instruction from any couriers to leave our packages in our preferred safe place). It was a really wet day out so Ariella wore her all in one waterproof which given the other parents were having to dig deep to find something to dry off the playground proclaiming loudly “Mummy forgot your waterproof” I think it was a good call, this normally does not happen for me! Without the fleece liner in it’s actually pretty mobile, you can easily fold it down to fit in a handbag. This is why Polarn o Pyret market it as season variable (perfect for our unpredictable weather here).

Lunch this week I wanted to try a few different recipes as I was getting quite bored with the same combinations. I found a recipe online for Lemony Fish Bites, a simple method which if you have covered things with bread crumbs before you’ll recognise. If you want to give them a try yourself I’ve linked the recipe above, Ariella liked them. I think they were surprisingly easy to do as the Cod I purchased had the bone removed and also the skin had been removed already. This meant that really it was just a matter of dipping in each bowl and then frying. I’m sure you could bake them if you preferred rather than frying.

I don’t know why everyone seems to do this but the Christmas deadline really makes you want to clear out any old jobs that have been sitting around for a while. One of which was sorting through Ariella’s outgrown clothes. This is something that I used to have to do a lot more frequently than I do now, when she was outgrowing clothes sizes from Newborn/One Month, 1 – 3 months, 3 – 6 months, 9 – 12 months, 12 – 18 months then 18 – 24 months. The first few months it felt like she had just arrived and we were already shipping out her clothes from the drawers. I remember fondly keeping back  few outfits that had sentimental value to us and selling the rest for another parent to enjoy on Ebay. You really don’t get much for the clothes, even the designer clothes online but It felt reasonable to give those clothes a use.

I had stored up things from over a year ago, Christmas 2015! Probably 9 – 12 months onwards. We are now in the 2 – 3 year range, although some things from 18 – 24 fit fine still but I won’t buy anything in that current range now. We are keeping all of this though, I feel that any other siblings should have their own newborn clothes so that they too can have a special box of memories of things I identify as “theirs”. Ariella’s drawers now look as they did long before her arrival, neat, tidy, organised. This pleases me, I do love an organised home as I feel it gives me the ability to hold an organised mind. I must try harder to keep this so!
On Tuesday we needed to play Postman, I had a few parcels to send and thankfully everything arrived in time to do so. I think I may have mentioned in a previous post that this year two of my deliveries (although it’s now looking like three) have gone missing? The rest of the year I can’t even think of one time that my parcel has wandered off. Picture me with a huge parcel in my hands, two parcels in a big side hold shopping bag and Ariella strapped to my front in the Tula as I walk down to the post office. If someone had been around to take my picture I would have asked them to! It was all in the careful knowledge that my efforts would be rewarded with a foot long sandwich from Subway after.

Tuesday afternoon there was a chill in the air, but we decided to catch up with one of my friends and her son at the park and to check out how the birds were getting on.

I forgot to say another job on the list of tasks was building the IKEA kitchen that is our gift to Ariella for Christmas. I wanted it pre built as there was little point in wrapping it, so for now it’s hidden in the Study, I’m so pleased with it. It took some time to build even with the two of us doing it, but it’s a great height for Ariella and I’m sure she will enjoy it for years to come. If you are still looking for ideas for your toddler at Christmas please check out The ultimate Montessori gift guide on Fridabemighty.

Wednesday I thought we had Hydrotherapy in the madness of all the letter’s I receive I had just auto pilot entered a lump of dates into my calendar on my phone. We didn’t have it, which I realised when we got there and were told it wasn’t on today. But never mind, the trip out settled Ariella and when we got home she had a major nap. She had been really unhappy all day, it was only during the evening that I noticed she has some more teeth coming. Finally the gaps between the front and back teeth are starting to fill out, but it explained why she was grumpy and why she had started to expect her milk and bottle again.

We don’t have any of the bottles in the kitchen anymore, so we haven’t given in at all with this. I’m sure once those teeth are through she will be back to her normal self. In the afternoon we baked some mince pies! I didn’t make my own pastry, I could say this was because it’s quicker and yes it definitely is in my view. But it’s mostly because every time I make my own pastry it looks like some of rerun of the days where I used to make play doh food (or my mum’s home-made version of it). I loved doing this with Ariella, it really did make us feel very festive and set the mood for the rest of the holidays. Little hands can really help with cookie cutters, when she got bored she could go off while I finished up. One thing she made sure of was that she got a taste straight after they came out the oven!

Today we had Physiotherapy as expected! It went really well, Ariella is making progress and progress is always good! We have a few things to concentrate on, lots of work with standing and sitting. At the moment Ariella isn’t able to reliably get back down from standing, so we will work on getting in and out of this position with her and hopefully by our next appointment things will have progressed again. Our physiotherapist is going to be running a few of the Hydrotherapy session so it will be good fun to see her more regularly!

Tomorrow I have not one single thing in the calendar booked in. Blissful!

Being Mum Food Lifestyle

Wagamama & Children

Today’s morning activity with Ariella was supposed to be “Animals and Biology”, great I thought I shall just take her to a local farm. She has some Holtztiger wooden animals which I get out along with her Melissa and Doug wooden farm puzzle normally but I thought it would be great to take her to see REAL animals.

If you have never come across the Holtztiger brand I highly recommend it, their’ pieces are crafted in Europe handmade from native maple and beech wood finished with quality wood stains. They are absolutely BEAUTIFUL and you can add to your collection so they make great birthday and Christmas presents. Ariella started the day pretty slowly, as anyone watching my Instagram will have seen.

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What’s Cooking – Gluten Free buttermilk pancakes with a maple pecan and apple syrup

Gluten Free PancakesIt was pancake day yesterday in the UK, which was a perfect time to use up some left overs I had. I’m trying out some gluten free recipes at the moment for health reasons. This recipe was awesome and I can’t quite believe I’ve been making terrible pancakes until now, I love this recipe as it makes the thick american style pancakes using self raising flour instead of plain flour.

Makes six medium sized pancakes

Firstly the syrup:

  • 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 3 apples cut into slices
  • 85g pecans halved
  • 175ml maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar

For the pancakes:

  • 100g gluten free self raising flour mix
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 x eggs beaten
  • 284ml buttermilk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 25g of unsalted butter

To keep the pancakes warm while you make them you can use a baking tray lined with baking paper in a low heated oven.

Now what do I do?

  1. Cut and core the apple, remove the skin if desired and cut the apple into quarters.
  2. Heat 2tsp of butter in a pan, add the maple syrup, pecans, brown sugar and the apple quarters, stir and leave on a medium heat.
  3. You want to start by sieving the flour and salt in a large bowl, then make a well in the centre. Whisk in the buttermilk and about 75ml of cold water in a separate bowl or jug, slowly whisk the buttermilk mixture into the flour bowl.
  4. Next slowly add the beaten eggs into the flour mixture small amounts at a time until you have a smooth batter.
  5. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat with two teaspoons of the butter. Let the butter melt then spoon three tablespoons of batter into the pan one on top of the other to create each pancake. One pancake should be three tablespoons of batter.
  6. Turn on your oven, a low temperature just enough to keep the pancakes warm.
  7. Check the bottom of the pancakes, once they have turned golden brown flip them to do the other side.
  8. Once browned on both sides place the pancake onto the oven tray and into the oven to keep warm then repeat the steps.
  9. Add more butter to the pan as you repeat the pancake creation process if required.

Once all the pancakes are made and the apples are soft but still formed you can serve the pancakes stacked and add the topping of syrup.


What’s Cooking – Prawn and Crab Linguine

Back last year I  ate at a really lovely italian restaurant, I don’t eat meat but I do eat fish so I ordered their Prawn and Crab Linguine. I actually had not tried crab up to this point but I was pleasantly surprised, the dish was amazing and soon as I was home I wanted to recreate it using some guess work and researching recipes online.

King Prawn and Crab Linguine

What do I need? (Serves Two)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 x shallots, diced
  • 10 x King Prawns, shells and veins removed (I actually add more than this as we love them but just add an amount you are happy with)
  • 100g White crab meat (I tend to buy the tinned crab meat but you could use fresh)
  • 8 x Cherry Tomatos, halved (again add as many as you personally like)
  • 1 x Red Chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 x Garlic clove crushed
  • Half a lime juice
  • Dash of white wine or Rosè if you prefer
  • 1 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 300g linguine, fresh or dried is fine
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Rocket leaves to garnish the bottom of a pasta bowl
  • A sprinkle of parmasan

If you have dried linguine you want to start by boiling salted water in a large pan, if you have fresh you can do this while the shallots are softening.

Next fry the shallots, cherry tomatoes, garlic in the olive oil on a medium heat until they are softened. Add the king prawns, chilli, lime juice, white crab meat, wine and reduce for around five minutes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Cook the linguine as per the instructions, drain and put back into the large pan. Add the reduced sauce into the large pan with the linguine and stir in the sauce.

Take your pasta bowls and add some rocket leaves to the bottom, plate the linguine and finish with a small amount of parmesan. I used finely grated cheddar in the picture as an alternative but parmesan is best!

I usually serve with the wine that I used in the dish as I find this tastes the best, personally I like to use a nice Saugvignon Blanc.

Pre Baby Recipes

What’s cooking – Halloumi Couscous salad

Now I have more leisure time on my hands I have been trying to hunt down some new recipes to try. It’s all to easy to get yourself stuck in a rut, eating the same meals each week purely because those are known to be good.

I should also mention that I don’t eat meat, I wouldn’t really call myself a true vegetarian as I do eat shellfish and fish. My husband on the other hand does eat meat, so I try and balance that where I can.

So this evening we tried a new recipe called Halloumi Couscous Salad, I modified the recipe slightly as I did not make my own couscous. I bought some lovely ready made Moroccan style couscous from Tesco which was awesome, my husband rated this highly and he really enjoyed the cranberries and raisins they add.

Everything else was followed as described here at the BBC Good food website. You pretty much just add small tomatoes, I found on the vine to be the best flavour and also courgettes to bulk the recipe out. We also ditched the mint in the dressing, so I can’t say whether that is nice or not but I’m not a huge fan of mint myself.

What we are both great fans of however is Halloumi cheese and I’ll be sure to show you my Halloumi stacks which I do as an alternative to burgers shortly.

This recipe is one that we are going to put on our list of favourites, why don’t you try it out and let me know what you think below?