• Gizzi Erskines Pineapple Cake


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    So I am massive fan of Gizzi Erskine’s recipes. You will often see my blog/instagram/twitter adorned with goodies from her various books. Over the last year I have paid quite a lot of attention to her sweet sections and have been feeding everyone around me with her pies, tarts and cakes. For those of you not familiar with her work, I thoroughly recommend you google this food goddess and make yourself familiar. (I love and cook a lot from her Skinny weeks and weekend feasts book):

    So from her Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic book came this little gem:

    Pineapple cake with Lime-soured cream frosting.

    Easy to construct, even easier to demolish. This cake should come with a Mojito and be served on a beach whilst you are having a pedicure. But as this is a mums blog,  you know really I have whipped this up whilst my small one sleeps, praying she does not wake up.

    La recipe:

    200g softened butter, plus extra for greasing

    200g light muscovado sugar

    4 large free range eggs

    200g self-raising flour

    1 teaspoon of baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice (1 of each)

    225g tin of crushed pineapple or finely chopped with juice

    1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

    zest and juice of one lime

    For the lime-soured cream frosting:

    200ml soured cream

    Juice and zest of 1 lime, plus extra zest for decoration,

    100g icing sugar

    200ml double cream

    The method of this cake extraordinaire:

    Preheat your oven to 170c/gas 3. If you use an Aga like me, refer to the Aga cookbook. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then sift over the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice and stir in. Finally stir in the pineapple, vanilla extract and lime zest and juice.

     

    Pour the cake mixture into the tin, pop into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The cake is ready once you can slide a skewer into it and it comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer it carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the frosting, mix together the soured cream, lime zest and juice and icing sugar. Whip the double cream and gently fold into the soured cream mixture. Ice the top of the cake thickly with the icing, and decorate with lime zest.

    Now enjoy, devour and do let me know if you make it,

    Ali x

     

     

     

     

  • We made it to four months


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    So we have both survived so far. Four months have whizzed by in a Twin Peaks manner. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and a real test of my sanity. But I bloody love it.

    Motherhood is like being in the girl guides/brownies. You have to pass and experience all these tests but without the badges at the end.

    So far we have done:
    Newborn: Passed with a few physical injuries: Jelly belly, eye bags, stretch marks etc
    Colic: Passed with a new wrinkle and a loathe of winding.
    Teething: An ongoing test that requires nerves of steel and a sense of humour.
    Sleep Deprivation: Having to redo the test every night.

    These moments are quite frankly nuts, but I guess all the best things in life are right. RIGHT!
    Being a single mum so far has been good. The occasional pang of sadness at other peoples family photos, the often pang of jealousy at the fact that I am unable to provide her our own home yet. But the reassuring moments of pure an utter joy of having a kid that adores you and is suddenly babbling away at you and trying to turn into a moving gremlin.

    Though I do believe each mum should be rewarded with a bottle of wine at the end of the month for surviving. It is the little things,

    Ali x

  • Monochrome madness


    I love black n white things on Phoebe. It is neither dark or depressing. In fact I think it brightens her face up. There are some fantastic things you can buy for babies and kids on the internet. A lot of which I got my inspiration from sellers on Instagram.

    We have a nice collection of monochrome clothes. These are two of my favourite buys. The vest from www.sidneyboo.co.uk and the reversible camera dress from Etsy.

    Ali x

  • One in a melon


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    Anne Geddes eat your heart out. I am watermelon mad. So Phoebe has been subjected to my passion and is now the owner of some watermelon shoes that I decorated.

    Thank you Ebay for the cheap canvas baby shoes and fabric pens,

    Ali x

  • Nutella Crepe Cake – Mums edition


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    Baking, cooking, eating and feeding. I love to do it. If I had more time, money and the metabolism of a twig I would probably bake something every day.

    I also have a small baby and she does not care about my goodies yet so time is an obstacle.
    So I made the lesser time Nutella Crepe Cake.

    I bought ready made crepes (22) This saved me hours of making crepes that are of the same size and thickness. If you can do that, google sweet crepe recipe and go for it.

    1 Jar of Nutella, A large pot of double cream, and things to decorate. I chose strawberries and Galaxy to grate on top.

    It really is such an easy thing to create.

    I placed Nutella in microwave for a few seconds to soften. Whipped the double cream and gently mixed in three large spoons of Nutella.

    I then placed one crepe down and spread Nutella only on the bottom one. Then I layered each crepe with a large spoon of Nutella Cream, Building it up. I then piped the remaining choc cream on top added strawberries and grated Galaxy on top. This then needs to go in the fridge for at least an hour before serving as it nicely binds the flavours together. Can be made the day before if kept in an airtight container but I believe it to be better made on the day. Use a sharp knife safely to slice.

    Really is that simple. A dessert extraordinaire. So you chocolate lovers weep and thank me when you have tried it,

    Ali x

  • Teething joys….


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    Teething at three months. Yeah thanks for that baby gods.

    Experiencing a teething baby is a little like being in a relationship with Jekyll and Hyde. This happy smiley baby goes from happy to screaming in 0.2 seconds.

    Red cheeks, dribbling, chewing at everything, disturbed sleep, questionable nappies, poking fingers in the mouth too far and then gagging. I am telling you if you can survive teething you can survive anything.

    *enrolls on a climbing Mount Kilimanjaro expedition*

    I am thankful for drugs. I thought I would be more into only using natural remedies and really just rely on using frozen muslins and teethers and singing songs of distraction but NO we need all the drugs too. I need my sanity to survive and spending 24 hours a day with her is exhausting already. Doing it when she is in pain and looking at me with the saddest eyes when I am giving her a cold muslin to chew on. Not worth it. Especially when teething goes on for YEARS.

    So I would like to take a moment to thank Boots for providing me with the bottles and boxes of magic that given us a moment of respite from the nasty gum aches,

    Ali x

  • My hips don’t lie


    Now that I have a 10 week old baby do I have to care what my body looks like?

    There are moments when I look at myself and feel fiercely proud at my war wounds I have collected after growing Phoebe.

    There are moments when I look at myself and shudder.

    I have a scar that is pretty epic. I gained a few tiny stretch marks above the scar after I had her. That felt pretty mean seeing as I thought I had escaped stretch marks. My breasts are softer and in no way pointing in the direction they used to. But then I was expecting cocker spaniel ears so not too many complaints there. And I have a soft pouch above my scar that feels a bit like jelly.

    I feel like my ‘I just had a baby’ pass is close to expiring and that I should probably re introduce exercise and dieting into my life but then CAKE… Mums love cake. Mums love going out and meeting other mums for food. This always leads to cake.

    Maybe I need to extend this pass for a few more weeks until the cake novelty wears off. If that is even a thing,

    Ali x

  • All about the quotes


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    I am a quote obsessive. This was naturally going to pass onto my child via her clothes. A lot of people ask me where I get her tops from. It is really very simple. Ebay. The hub for buying anything and the kitchen sink.

    I find a seller selling personalised baby grows and ask them for whatever word splurge I am in the mood for.

    They do not need to be expensive. I usually pay around five pounds per baby grow. This has been one of my fave things to buy for her so far as it feels so personal to my loves. I open her drawers and it is like a homage to my youth,
    Ali x

  • It started with a jab


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    Phoebe is now 10 weeks old, motherhood has been the most wonderful kind of exhausting. She gives so much more than I deserve and every day a little piece of me adjusts to the fact that she is all mine.

    I don’t give myself enough credit and I have martyr tendencies. Babies can be bat shit crazy and sometimes trying to understand Phoebes emotions is like trying to read a book backwards.

    I have been calm throughout most of the journey so far and have taken the night feeds, the cries and the poomageddons with a smile and gentle approach.

    Then this needle bearing protection entered my child’s thigh and I lost it. Firstly I couldn’t watch. I felt sick and pathetic at the thought of her being jabbed.

    Then came the post injection offerings. A fever was all we got at first. This was saved by Calpol. But then as well as her being a bit unsettled, she got a cold. Then I got the flu.

    This was the first time I found myself getting upset and exhausted by her. This was the first time I realised that it was just me and her. Of course my parents were fantastic and offered themselves but I felt responsible and experiencing the being ill but not being able to be ill moments were wiping me out.
    Babies don’t care if you are ill, they don’t make you hot honey and lemon tea. They don’t sleep more to give you the much needed rest. They need you just the same, and with us both poorly we were both desperate for tlc.

    I had the breakdown that was much needed whilst we were in the park. It was loud, it was snotty, I had winged eyeliner reaching my ears and my sunglasses repeatedly slipped off my face. Then I stopped crying and took a deep breath and realised that I was human. That no two days were ever going to be the same. That she won’t thank me for a very long time, and maybe she never will but this little blob in mini me outfits needed me. That she wouldn’t judge me if I occasionally found it exhausting. And I felt better. I own a tiny human. I don’t want a medal. I don’t even expect to sleep till she is 30. I am probably going to cry many more times in her life and that is okay.

    Thank god for concealer,

    Ali x

  • Bedtime brilliance


    IMG-20150204-WA0004-574x1024This picture I have featured here is of Phoebe aged five weeks. After weeks of her not wanting to sleep in the crib, and a tired me resorting to putting her in the rocker or building a fort out of my arms and pillows and barely sleeping for fear of crushing her, I was lent this contraption.

    This is called a cocoonababy. It is mildly expensive and it slightly resembles that of an inflated sanitary pad but this is now my bed time pal.

    It is like a hug and with a soft strap you place round them and a soft tube that rests under the bend of their legs. Phoebe started sleeping in her crib again.

    If you like sleeping without a baby on you and you have a baby that is not a fan of the big space of a crib then I really recommend you invest. (until they can turn over),

    Ali x