• Valentine’s Day with Organix


    Valentine’s Day with Organix

    Yes, I may be currently spooning Chase from Paw Patrol but it does not mean I can’t spread the love. Especially via the stomach.

    Organix have provided me with some Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day recipes for you to do with your little ones. They are seriously cute, easy and a sure way to make your partner erm allow you to have a peaceful Lush bath.

    Or eat them all for your self. Hey am a massive believer in self love first.

    I have shared three recipes for you to peruse. Hope you enjoy them.

    Valentines day with organix

    Organix ‘Hearty’ Valentine’s Breakfast

    A tasty breakfast made with love for Valentine’s Day, why not get your little ones to help make this for a loved one.

    There are lots more tasty family recipes at www.organix.com

    Serves 2 little loved ones!

    Not suitable for freezing

    Suitable from 12mths+

    Prep time: 20-30mins

    Ingredients

    • 2 eggs

    • 2 slices of wholemeal bread

    • A little unsalted butter to serve

    • 4 baby plum tomatoes

    • A couple of pieces of strong card

    • A few elastic bands

    • 2 wooden spoons or sturdy wooden skewers

    Method

    Egg hearts:

    * Hard boil the eggs in a saucepan covered with water for 10 minutes.

    * Run each egg under a cold tap quickly so they are just cool enough to handle, then carefully crack the shell and remove.

    * Whilst the eggs are still warm and flexible, place in the middle of a folded piece of card. Use the handle of a wooden spoon or a sturdy wooden skewer to very carefully create an indent along the long side of the egg, then carefully wrap elastic bands around each end of the cardboard to hold in place on the egg. This should create a heart shaped egg. Little ones can help with this if guided. Leave for 10 minutes to take shape.

    * Use a sharp knife to cut the heart shaped egg into slices 1cm deep, from the top of the heart to the bottom.

    Toast hearts:

    * Whilst the eggs are shaping, use a small heart shaped cutter to cut out the middle of your slices of bread. You can get creative and cut several hearts if you like. Then toast and butter your bread.

    Tomato hearts:

    * Cut the top third off a plum tomato on a sharp angle, then repeat on all 4 tomatoes. Pair the larger pieces up together to form two heart shaped tomatoes.

    * Cut each piece of tomato in half sideways to give a flat side, so that 2 heart shapes can be assembled from each pair of tomato pieces (rounded side up, cut side down).

    To assemble:

    Place a heart slice of egg in the heart shaped hole in the centre of the toast.

    Decorate with the heart tomatoes, heart shaped bread cut outs and remaining egg hearts around the plate.

     

    valentines day with organix

    Organix Secret Strawberry Heart Muffins

    These wholesome muffins are filled with a hidden strawberry heart centre. “The beauty is finding a surprise strawberry heart in the centre of these lovely muffins – they are filled with love! Try serving with dollop of yoghurt.” Organix recipe team. Organix tip “These muffins are a great wholesome snack. For a sweeter treat, you could use lighter-weight white flour and replace the oats with more flour.”

    Makes 12 muffins

    Suitable for freezing

    Suitable from 10 months

    Dry ingredients • 100g oats • 300g sprouted whole grain spelt flour (or standard whole wheat or plain white flour if you prefer) • 3 tsps baking powder (or use self raising flour instead) • 50g desiccated coconut Wet ingredients • 2 large eggs • 20 small strawberries, hulled • 1 ripe banana • Juice and zest of 1 orange • 60mls melted coconut oil, melted butter or vegetable oil (whichever you prefer) • 60mls maple syrup • 1 tsp vanilla extract Secret heart centre • 12 small whole strawberries, hulled • An extra sprinkle of desiccated coconut for each muffin

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cases.

    2. Combine all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

    3. Blitz together all the wet ingredients in a blender until smooth.

    4. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredient mixture. Mix together lightly with a fork to keep in as much air as possible. Chop the additional 20 strawberries and then lightly stir through the mixture.

    5. Place a spoonful of mixture into the bottom of each case, then place one of the 12 whole strawberries, point end up, into each case, then cover with more mixture so that the strawberry is covered. Finally sprinkle with a little desiccated coconut.

    6. Bake for approx. 30 minutes until golden and the base of the muffin sounds hollow when tapped.

     

    valentines day with organix

    Organix Love Heart Biscuits

    You and your little one will certainly win some hearts with these delicious valentine biscuits.

    Organix Top tip

    Cooking with your little one is a great way to help your baby to learn to love good food. Give your little one some of the biscuit dough and let them cook to their heart’s content. They will love to squeeze it and squash it, and most of all they will love to bake biscuits with you that they can share with you! There are lots more tasty family and baby recipes on the Organix website. www.organix.com

    Makes approx. 35 biscuits depending on the size of the cutter

    Suitable for freezing

    Suitable from 10 months

    Ingredients

    • 300g ground almonds • 50g dried sour cherries • 100g coconut oil (or butter if you prefer and happy to include dairy) • 60mls maple syrup • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    Method

    1. Preheat oven to 180°C, 160°C fan, Gas Mark 6, then combine the ground almonds and sour cherries in a large bowl.

    2. Gently melt the coconut oil over a low heat in a pan. Remove from the heat and add the maple syrup and vanilla extract, stirring together. Then pour this liquid over the ground almonds and stir thoroughly to form a soft dough.

    3. Divide the dough into two balls. Place each ball onto a sheet of parchment paper, press down, then place a second piece of parchment over the top. Roll the dough out between the sheets of parchment to about 5mm thickness. Place onto a flat baking tray, then pop into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. (N.B. The parchment paper prevents the dough sticking to the rolling pin and makes this super easy. The freezer makes the dough firmer and easier to cut. Don’t miss these steps!)

    4. Remove from the freezer and use heart shaped cutters to cut out biscuits. Use a spatula to carefully lift the biscuits onto another lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the tray, then transfer to a cooling rack.

    5. Roll up the left over dough and repeat the process, rolling out between sheets of parchment and freezing for 10 minutes before cutting out. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

    Biscuits can be tied with ribbon or placed in a beautiful tin to give to a loved one. Or little ones can simply give them out to their ‘bestest friends’. The dough can be frozen in a ball in a freezer bag, defrosted in a couple of hours and rolled out. Or the baked biscuits can be frozen in a tub, and defrosted in less than an hour. If dairy isn’t a problem butter can be used instead. If nuts are a problem you can replace the ground almonds with plain flour or gluten free flour. As flour is drier than almonds you may need a little extra oil to bring the dough together.

     

    Hope these recipes give you some inspiration for the special person or friend in your life. I will be baking with Phoebe and eating them all up. As I mentioned before. Love thy self!

    Head over to www.organix.com for more ideas and to see what’s in store.

  • Halloween outfits


    Halloween

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!! Okay it is the second most wonderful time of the year!!!.

    Halloween is coming, the air is getting eerie, playlists are getting their spook on, the shops are adorned with fake cobwebs, costumes and teeth rattling goodies. For some it is a time they can stuff their faces with sweets and blame it on the trick or treaters. For me, a large part of it is the clothes!!! Finally I can channel the teenage goth in me and project it onto my “not quite old enough to dictate what she wants to wear toddler”.

    This was also a great opportunity for me to show support to some great parent run businesses I discovered through Instagram, to get creative and put together outfits on a budget and to get my needle and thread out (okay get my mum to do it).

    First of all I would like to share with you two shops I discovered through Instagram starting with Bloody Nora Pam:

    phoebe

    Bloody Nora Pam are husband and wife co-creators Emma and Adam. For so long it had been a dream of theirs to create beautiful apparel and after learning that life is short they realised very quickly that this adventure needed to begin. The name of their shop is inspired by the most beautiful and amazing person that they have ever known and tragically lost too soon. Adam’s brother Josh died suddenly aged 24 due to sepsis. His love, light and positivity inspired them to create clothing that spreads positive messages and lifts people’s spirits in the way he did. Money from every item that they sell is also donated to the UK Sepsis Trust in honour of Josh.

    Halloween outfits

    With a fantastic Halloween range of “support your local ghoul gang” merchandise out, including adults and kids t-shirts, patches and tote bags, you can show your spooky solidarity.

    If ghoul gang is not your thing, then they also have an “eliminate girl hate” range and a Bloody Nora Pam badge from which they give all profits to the UK Sepsis Trust.

    I love the fact that they took an important message and integrated Halloween into it, and I can slightly goth up my child but it is still childish and appropriate.

    The fact that what they are doing comes from great tragedy but they are turning it around and raising money for the Uk Sepsis Trust is fantastic.

    Head to www.bloodynorapam.co.uk to be part of the ghoul gang.

     

    Now onto Skeletots:

    halloween outfits

    I have had a long-standing relationship with Skeletots. Phoebe has been wearing their dresses since she was six months old. I have been obsessing over their awesome prints forever. I believe they may have been one of my first bought via Instagram shops.

    Claire created Skeletots as she wanted alternative baby wear to be more freely available. With a love of skulls, roses, cats, black, leopard print and bows, Claire has an Etsy shop that will please any parent looking for something well made but a little different.

    halloween outfits

    The cat dress from Skeletots Phoebe is wearing, is just the right amount of spooky for a toddler and the right amount of goth for me. Teamed up with some trusty boots, black clothes and cat ears, Phoebe is looking just Purrrrrfect.  Of course these beautiful clothes are not just for Halloween – no gimmicks, well made and cute enough for all year round

    Head on over to http://www.skeletots.co.uk

     

     

    halloween outfits

    DIY and Halloween on a budget:

    I like to think getting creative is one of my things, I live and breathe for the slightly different, the adventurous, the bold, the sweet. Give me a theme and I am a walking talking  Pinterestbot.

    Now I am also a single mum who has not yet returned to work so I need to mostly shop realistically and without making my purse weep ( of course sometimes my purse misbehaves and falls into the arms of a really nice but slightly pricey shop)

    The combination of the two means, I am often looking for ways of creating with bargains. It also means I can beg my mum who is the mistress of making, to sew up my thoughts into whimsical and wonderful outfits for Phoebe.

    halloween outfits

     

    As seen in the picture, Phoebe’s outfit is in homage to The Ghostbusters. Obviously the original, because the new one is quite frankly enough to make any ghost/human want to be sucked up and put in a box.

    I discovered oversized £2 jumpers in the back to school section of ASDA. Then I searched on Ebay for some cheap Ghostbusters patches and voila Phoebe’s Ghostbusters jumper which cost me £5.50

    The leggings were on sale from www.zulily.co.uk which sells a variety of American clothes at a fraction of the price. Ghosts and bats again fitting in with Ghostbusters and Halloween.

     

     

    halloween outfits

    I will often search on the internet for deals, buy from sales for the next year and customise or put an outfit together. I will usually go to pound shops to buy accessories as they are cheap but usually right on point with things like Halloween. The skeleton bag in the picture is from the local pound shop.  The cost of the items make it a little easier when they are met by a bulldog toddler who cares nothing about money.

    Though I usually avoid buying items from Asia on Ebay because well, we have all seen the pictures of their pictures versus their reality, but they do make good socks and tights so I do sometimes turn to them when I need those accessories. (The Frankenstein says Relax top is also from Zulily )

    Hope my ideas have given you some inspiration. Enabling me to exercise my inner goth comes to the fore at Halloween but of course I often channel this look at any time of year !! I’d love to hear any of your ideas and secret sources too.

    xx

     

     

  • Cook healthy, Cook happy


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    Cook Healthy, Cook Happy.

    Last week I dipped my hands into the world of healthy vegetarian and vegan cooking. Quite literally, there is a lot of hand rolling involved.
    Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to bake/cook. I do it when I am stressed, relaxing, for peoples birthdays. Hell I do it whenever I can use the excuse to whip my trusty old mixer out.
    Sadly, with great cake comes great calories and my hips certainly do not lie anymore.
    Enter Fearne Cotton and her new cookbook “Cook Happy, Cook Healthy”. Now we all love and respect a mama that can cook and bake whilst fending off a child or two, screaming “mama where are my raisins” or “I did a poo, see?”
    This is exactly what she has done. A cookbook filled with recipes that are realistic, easy (so far) and mostly child friendly.
    Oh did I mention, they are healthy. I mean like roll me in coconut oil, because me and my truffle shuffle are about to rediscover my 20 year old waistline, healthy.
    Coconut oil, Coconut Palm sugar, Chia seeds, nut butter. These are all ingredients I had heard of but assumed were covered in cobwebs in the back of a health store whilst Chris Martin wept over the organic soy beans.
    Coconut oil, Coconut Palm sugar, Chia seeds, nut butter. Let me tell you, I am fluent in them now, not only do they taste good but I am sprinkling seeds on my porridge, squeezing juice out of nuts like a student after a freshers disco and rubbing coconut oil pretty much everywhere.
    Happy happy healthy me.
    Back to fearne’s recipes. like an excited child I was eager to try as many recipes as I could. I made Almond butter, Spiced chickpeas, Quesadilla, Lentil, haricot and veg soup and her cashew and apricot biscuits. All of these went down a treat, most of these were shared by my toddler.

    I am going to share her Cashew and Apricot Biscuits recipe and the rest, well I think for £9.99 from amazon you would be silly not to see for yourself. A big thumbs up from me.

    CASHEW AND APRICOT BISCUITS:

    Makes 12-14 Biscuits

    60g Coconut Palm Sugar
    60g Coconut Oil
    50g Raw unsalted cashew nuts, finely chopped
    50g unsulphered dried apricots, finely chopped
    100g white spelt flour, sifted
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
    Pinch of sea salt
    1 tsp vanilla extract

    METHOD:

    Preheat oven to 180c/160c fan350f/gas mark 4 and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

    Place the coconut palm sugar and coconut oil in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until very well incorporated and creamy.
    Put the chopped cashews and apricots into a separate bowl checking there aren’t any large chunks and combine with the flour, baking powder, chia seeds and salt.

    Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and thoroughly combine. Once everything is incorporated, drizzle over the vanilla extract and use your hands to form the mixture into a ball. It may seem a little dry at first, but keep on kneading and compressing the dough with your hands until it all comes together, add 1-2 drops of water and continue kneading. Don’t be tempted to add the water too early though, as the flour needs time to absorb the moisture as you knead.

    Take a heaped teaspoon of the doll and roll it into a ball. Place on a baking tray and flatten out gently into a neat 3/4cm thick round biscuit shape. Continue with the remaining dough, leaving a 2-3cm gap between each biscuit. Place both trays in the oven for 8-9 minutes until the biscuits are a shade darker and rough textured on top. They burn easily so be sure to time them. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for about 10 minutes and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. They will be soft at first, but will become crunchy as they cool.

    Do let me know if you make them, I have made four batches now and imagine many more in the pipeline.
    I am sure Fearne would like to know too.

    igfearnecotton
    OffcialFearnecotton.com

  • Turning One


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    To my darling daughter,

    We did it. We survived.

    This beautiful year. A never ending marathon.

    And what a year it has been.

    I never imagined I would be typing this post so soon. It seemed a second ago you were a skinny legged newborn sleeping on my chest. A second ago that I was experiencing colic and spending most of my day bouncing you up and down like a 90s rapper.

    You grew, you learnt to eat, move, chatter.

    I gave you more Calpol  than I imagined I would and months 9 – 11 were a teething haze.

    You taught me patience but we have had lots of times when I would cry because I was so desperate for you to go to sleep and you would just want to hang with me like a drunken friend who doesn’t know when to leave a party.

    We spent our days playing and being silly, buying you more clothes than you need. Exploring everything that is new to your eyes and both behaving as silly as each other.

    You gave me eye bags that have eye bags, that carried extra eye bags incase the other ones ran out. You have ruined my back from bending over the cot and patting you repeatedly before I crept out of your room like a rookie burglar.

    You made me realise who and what was important to me and to let the silly things go.

    I taught you words and you mimicked me with the eagerness of a puppy.

    Most importantly, you taught me love like I never knew before and for that I am eternally grateful to you.

    Happy Birthday Phoebe Cecily Violet, Here’s to the next year,

     

    Mama Ali xxx

     

  • The parents alphabet


    The parents alphabet

    A is for Abs. Remember them?
    B is for bottle or boobs. The thing one person will always have an opinion on.
    C is for Calpol. Say no more.
    D is for dreaming. Dreaming of a whole nights sleep.
    E is for eyeballs. The thing your baby will love to poke first thing in the morning.
    F is for farting. They do it a lot. They love fart noises.
    G is for grandparents. Or life savers.
    H is for hormones. The things that make you go from normal to bat shit crazy in 0.2 seconds.
    I is for Iggle piggle. No avoiding that little blue bugger.
    J is for jam. For when you pretend to feed them a healthy meal but sometimes jam on toast creeps in.
    K is for kisses. The things that make it all worthwhile.
    L is for lie ins. Just joking, wrong list.
    M is for mama. You will hear that name in your dreams and sometimes nightmares.
    N is for nightime. Something you didn’t realise was so precious, pre baby.
    O is for olbas oil. That and snuffle rub. The signature scent of your baby.
    P is for poo. Poomageddons. Poonamis. Your life is taken over by poo.
    Q is for quaking. That thing you do when you hear them move or cough in the night.
    R is for running after. The thing you will do a lot.
    S is for soft play. The place where germs breed but your child can go crazy whilst you pretend to watch.
    T is for teething. The reason why parents drink.
    U is for using your clothes to wipe up snot.
    V is for vagina. Poor poor vagina.
    W is for wine. Your new best friend.
    X is for xylophone. Anyone still own the stick?
    Y is for yoghurts. The ssh pudding.
    Z is for zombie. Not just for the walking dead.

  • Survival


    How to survive motherhood:

    Drink wine.
    Laugh at the stressful days.
    Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
    Drink wine.
    Don’t expect every day to be the same.
    Pat yourself on the back occasionally.
    Drink wine.
    If you need a cry when tired, do it.
    See your friends when you can.
    Drink wine.
    Know that you are not alone.
    Have some you time when possible.
    If there is no wine, drink that dodgy christmas liquor in the cupboard.

  • 9 Months


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    9 Months.
    This milestone hit me hard. The last haul before turning one. Buying 9-12 months sized clothes stung and I have found myself longing for the tiny Phoebe days. Just longing mind you, wouldn’t want to go back to the zombie hormone days.
    Phoebe has become quite the performer, she knows how to make you laugh and pulls questionable but cute faces.
    Words have started with weeeee, hi,mama,baa baa, hiya, ola (dog) and daddad (grandad)
    She is my child so her being a chatter box was a given.
    She has got the moves like Jagger, if Jagger was a drunken one legged horse. Bum shuffling everywhere, crawling when she has to and manoevering like Stig from Top Gear in her walker.
    Every day a new thing develops and it is amazing watching her change.
    Though on the 9 month of still not sleeping through, I could occasionally put her in the kennels for the night.
    That’s it now. The final countdown.

    Ali x

  • Baby bag workout


    No time or money to join the gym? A clingy baby who won’t let you do yoga in the garden? Your baby weight getting you down?

    I have the solution. Baby in a bag. Works those core muscles and eliminates those bingo wings.

    Call 1800-ifonlyitwasthateasy for your bag today. Baby not included, terms and conditions apply.

  • 7 months


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    Starts singing “looks like we made it”

    Well hurrah, another month, another milestone reached. Still here to tell the tale and am none the wiser.

    The baby weight has gone. And by gone I mean still here, and by still here I mean it is never leaving me, we are destined to be together forever. *sobs into a teeny weeny slice of Victoria sponge cake*

    People who say sleep is for the weak, need to have a baby. I think they would maybe adjust that saying to ‘sleep is a bloody miracle and oh god I miss it so much’

    My little baby has grown in all directions and is currently sporting the “I eat food but cannot crawl, Stay Puft Ghostbusters look”

    But quite honestly she is just edible looking.

    That is until you meet the I eat real food poos. These poos often wake me up in the morning. Like that feeling of having a tea or a coffee but bleurgh disgusting, I am only feeding you rose petals from now on kind of feeling.

    Her teeth are appearing and her interest in every thing I am doing has reached the ‘I hide things I do not want her to eat whilst I am eating it stage’.

    She occasionally waves and high fives and has learnt to clap…… with her feet. What can I say. She is my child she was bound to be odd.

    The sleep deprivation associated with teething can get in the bin, alongside the nappies but all in all we still like each other and that is an achievement.

    High fives all around,

    Ali x

  • Gizzi’s Cherry Pie


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    “This must be where pies go when they die.” -Dale Cooper

    You must be a lover of Twin Peaks to fully appreciate and respect this pie. This pie is famous to every David Lynch worshipper like me. Not only is it famous but man it tastes damn fine.

    So naturally I use my fellow Twin Peaks fanatic Gizzi Erskine’s recipe because this girl knows how to do it.

    I am going to include her full recipe, I however have a teething baby and a late night (non hang)over that has knocked the wind out of me, so will be cheating and using ready made pastry. I have made this pie twice with homemade pastry and twice with ready made. both delicious. If you have time. Go for it.

    Recipe:

    Makes 8 slices: 20 minutes, 1hr rest and cooking time up to 1hr.

    For the pastry

    300g plain flour
    2 tbsp icing sugar
    ½ tsp sea salt
    170g butter, unsalted and chilled
    170g cream cheese
    1 free range egg

    For the filling
    1 kg pitted frozen sour or sweet cherries,
    235 g caster sugar, if using sour cherries, 140g if using sweet
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 star anise
    1/2 orange, juice only
    3 rounded tbsp cornflour

    Ice cream or cream to serve

    To make the filling, mix the cherries with all the remaining ingredients. Let the mixture stand for 20 minutes, then stir once more. Pop into a large pan and then bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid the cherries makes become as a light syrup. Remove the spices and leave to cool. And chill in the fridge.

    To make the pastry pop the flour icing sugar, salt and butter into a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the edge and cream cheese and blend the dough until it forms a ball. Remove from the processor and knead very briefly to smooth out, divide in two, then chill both portions in the fridge for an 1 hour.

    Preheat the oven to 190C. Roll out half the dough to line a 23cm pie plate or shallow tart tin. Roll out the second half of the dough to form a circle to cover the tin. Put the circle on a sheet of baking paper and chill both the dough-lined tin and the circle in the fridge until needed.

    Pile the cherries into the lined pie plate until it becomes a gently swelling mound.
    Brush the edges of the pastry crust with egg, then lay the pastry lid on top. Trim the edges, then crimp together firmly. Cut a hole in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape.

    Bake for 40 minutes until the thickened cherry juices bubble up through the central steam hole. If the pastry is darkening too rapidly, cover loosely with tin foil. Serve the pie warm or cold, with white chocolate ice cream or cream.

    This recipe is so easy and is a firm favourite in my house. Let me know if you make it,

    Ali x