Saturday, 24 January 2015

Wholemeal Banana Muffins


These make a perfect wholesome treat for when the cupboard is bare.

They're absolutely delicious - they never last long in our house!

Ingredients

Makes 12 small muffins

1 Medium organic free range egg
½ tsp Vanilla bean paste
55g Unrefined golden caster sugar
1 Large, ripe banana, well mashed
55ml Coconut oil, liquid consistency
85g Wholemeal flour
½ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate soda
¼ tsp Ground cinnamon
Pinch sea salt (omit for under one years)
A hand full of oats
12 Baking cases

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan. Line 1 muffin tin with small baking cases.

2. Beat the eggs and sugar together until thick, stir in the banana and coconut oil.

3. Sift on the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt (if using). Then add the vanilla extract and bran left in the sieve, to the bowl too.

4. Stir together until just combined.

5. Spoon into cases (around 2/3 full) sprinkle some oats on top, and bake 12-14 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch. Remove and cool.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Wholemeal Honey and Vanilla Cake


This cake is quick, easy, relatively healthy, and a fun one to make with small children.

I think it's really important not to fall into the trap of giving your toddler sweets or processed snacks. Toddlers who get used to eating healthy snacks are more likely to continue the same habits later on in life.

However, it would also be wrong to make sweets the forbidden fruit, and risk your toddler craving them all the more, and gorging on them whenever he could.

I'm always surprised by how sophisticated Ernie's palate can be - we let him eat food from our plates - he finds it much more interesting than his own meal, and we find that we can entice him to eat more this way.

When baking with Ernie in mind I try to cut out undesirables as much as possible, but there's always going to be an occasion for sheer uncompromised treats.

This cake is a happy medium, it has a lovely flavour and a very moist texture - is perfect for a child's tea party, 1st birthday, or simply a fun baking activity.

Ingredients

Makes two cakes

For the Sponge:

125g Wholemeal plain flour
80g Golden unrefined caster sugar
40g Honey
125g Unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Organic free-range eggs at room temperature
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tsp Vanilla bean paste

For the Curd:

You can buy a jar, or make your own following my recipe here.

To Decorate:

75g Raspberries
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, line a 8x8 inch tin with baking paper.

2. Put all your ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth.

3. Pour into the tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

4. Leave the sponge to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and allow to cool to room temperature on a rack.

To assemble...

Cut out four circles of cake. I used a cookie cutter, but you can use a glass or do it by hand.

Spread half of the yoghurt on to the base sponge, and arrange some raspberries in a circle on top.

Spoon the curd over the layer of raspberries, and top with final layer of sponge.

Dollop the rest of yoghurt onto the middle of the cake and pop some more raspberries on it.

Repeat with the second cake or let your toddler have a go!




Thursday, 8 January 2015

Slummy Mummy Makeup


I recently heard the saying “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”

Being a stay-at-home mum is an amazing job. I love it!

However, it's all to easy to fall into a beauty rut, and feel nothing to do with the outside world, let alone ruling it!

Changing nappies, constantly cleaning, endless piles of laundry, and so much more (I won't bore you with) - can cause you to lose your focus.

It turns out motherhood can wreck your looks way beyond the pitfalls of pregnancy.

Are you still in your pyjamas in the afternoon? Has it been months since you shaved your legs let alone your armpits?

Anyone can fall into that rut, even Betty Draper had her down days, and no one should fault a woman for it. 

When you don't have a reason to leave your house all day, it's hard to find the inspiration (let alone the time) to fix your hair and make-up. 

On the flip side though, I sometimes find myself in the rather embarrassing predicament of getting a bit carried away getting ready - only to be embarrassed about how ridiculous I'm going to look when I take my child to the small town supermarket.

It's funny watching my husband do a double take when he walks through the front door.

There's definitely a happy medium to be had, above all else, it will help to keep you feeling sane - it's no mean feat being a homemaker - so when you start feeling more slummy than yummy mummy, a little makeup, and getting changed out of your pyjamas can be all you need to start feeling better.

If this sort of frustration sounds familiar, it's time to take a moment for yourself - to at least have a shower and put some slap on. You'll be surprised how quickly the rest all falls into place.

My 5 minute makeup can make a huge difference to my mood, and inspire a more productive day.

So I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down the very basics, whilst taking into account the fact you probably couldn't care a less sometimes.

You really don’t need to do a lot to look half decent...

Starting with cleansed and moisturised skin...

- Even out your skin - I like to use a BB cream (and save foundation for special occasions) if you need to conceal any blemishes apply concealer where needed and try dusting over a little Bare Minerals Blemish Remedy - I like this as it sets your cover up in place, helps to heal at the same time - and doesn't really feel like an extra layer.

- Highlight - I like to use a liquid highlighter like Soap & Glory Hocus Focus or RMS Living Luminizer, absolutely everyone should highlight, it will leave you looking 10 years younger and like you have perfect skin. Use it to accentuate cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, inner eyes, under the arch of your brows, temples, and your Cupid's bow.

- Sculpt your brow - With the correct shade of Anastasia's DipBrow Pomade, and an angled brush, no matter your brow shape, you can subtly build volume, and dimension. This will instantly leave you looking polished. The eyebrows are one of the most important elements of the face. A perfectly groomed and shaped brow is the most powerful, non–invasive way to define and enhance your features. FACT.

On a regular day, when I'm not experimenting, or trying to impress ;p,  I don’t do an eye. I don’t wear eyeliner or eye shadow,  really—those are the most time consuming.

- Curl your lashes - and apply a couple of coats of mascara, I'm loving Boots SEVENTEEN Falsifeye HD Mascara. It's only £6.99, and rivals some of my high end formulas. You could, if you're no leaving the house, skip mascara altogether . Curling lashes alone will make you look more awake, and for an extra wide eye'd look - get them tinted (blue/black) and apply some nude eyeliner to your waterline, I love Sephora'sLong Lasting Kohl Pencil in Infinite Beige.

- I don't always wear blush, my cheeks are naturally quite flushed - but if you like a rosey look you can brighten cheeks with some cream blush, something like M.A.C. Cremeblend blush in Posey - and to truly save time you can apply it to your lips too.



Monday, 5 January 2015

Split Pea Soup


We love a good Jamie Oliver recipe in our house.

I'm pretty sure we've got all his books, well, not his latest Comfort Food extravaganza - I'm going to wait until the indulgences of Christmas are well and truly behind me before investing in that one.

If you managed to watch the accompanying TV series you'll understand why.

This heart warming soup is from Jamie does... Sweden, and it's well worth making.

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 Sticks of celery, trimmed and finely diced
2 Onions, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 Teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 Teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
500g Dried yellow split peas, thoroughly washed
250g Piece of cooked, smoked ham, the best quality you can afford
1.5 Litres chicken stock, preferably organic
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Mustard of your choice, to serve
Crisp bread, to serve

Method

1. Get a large pan on a low heat and add a good lug of olive oil. Once hot, add the celery, onions and dried herbs and cook for 10 minuets, stirring occasionally, until soft but not coloured.

2. Add your washed peas and ham, pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer over a medium low heat, then pop the lid on and cook for around 50 minuets, or until the peas are lovely and soft. Use tongs to pull out the ham and move it to a board. Chop and shred it up, discarding any rind and fatty pieces. Roughly mash the peas with a potato masher to give a nice texture, then str in your shredded ham. Have a taste and season with salt and pepper.

3. Divide the soup between your bowls, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, and serve with a good dollop of English or Dijon mustard on the side to pimp the flavour and some nice crisp bread for dipping.


Sunday, 4 January 2015

Mint Choc-Chip Cookies


I can't take any credit for these. They're a Nigella recipe, and my husband baked them - but I did do a good job eating them all up - boy are they good!



Friday, 2 January 2015

Drusillas!









Drusillas is widely regarded as the best small zoo in the country - and I can totally see why. We just got back from a fantastic day out there, just the three of us, and it's definitely worth the hype.

After a rather disappointing trip to Monkey World in September - which sort of put me off the idea of visiting Zoo's (as much as I love animals) they all seemed pretty depressed :(. 

But we needed a day out - it's only an hour away from our house - and luckily we all loved it.

The fact that Ernie could walk around and gaze at all the animals made my day.

Another bonus was  that it wasn't too busy - so we were able to 'ooh' and 'ahh' at all the animals for as long as we felt like.

It proved to be the perfect place for a little one. He could pretty much run free - and the epic adventure playground had enough age appropriate apperatus. 

The overall highlight for Ernie was the baby-friendly trampoline in the playground - and the meerkats... as for me - Hello Kitty's house of course!


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Favourite Childhood Books


As much as I love buying new children's books - there are so many great ones around, Julia Donaldson is a hero in our house, her books are simply the best - but there's something magical about sharing books with your child from your own childhood. 

You can't beat a good trip down memory lane - I'm so lucky that my mother kept mine.

Ernie really enjoys being read to - it's our favourite pastime - although more often than not he wants the same book over and over again!

Do any of these look familiar to you too? What were your favs?

Orlando's Home Life by Kathleen Hale 


The Brambly Hedge Treasury by Jill Barklem


Who's Been Sleeping In My Porridge by Colin McNaughton


The Jumblies by Edward Lear


Ant & Bee books by Angela Banner


Babar and Father Christmas by Jean De Brunhoff


The World of Beatrix Potter


Haunted House pop up book by Jan Pienkowski



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