16 Jul 2014

Weaning Recipe: Porridge Fingers

Little Chunk loves porridge but since he's been refusing to be spoon fed I've had to find an alternative for him. I came across this recipe in the book 'Weaning Made Easy Recipes' and he loves them!

2 tbsp oats (not instant oat cereal or jumbo oats)
2 tbsp milk (breast, formula or whole milk)

Preparation time: 5 mins
Storage: Best eaten straight away
Servings: 1 for a 6 month old baby, for older babies just add an extra spoon or 2 of each ingredient

1. Mix the oats and milk together on a microwavable plate. Form the mixture into an approximate rectangle with the back of a spoon.
2. Cook in the microwave for 90 seconds
3. Leave for a few minutes to cool down and firm up and cut into fingers.

You can also add dried fruit such as sultanas, raisins, chopped apricot or chopped prunes. To make an apple and cinnamon version, grate a quarter of an apple into the mixture and add a pinch of cinnamon. After microwaving for 90 seconds turn over and cook for an extra 30 seconds. For Banana fingers, add half a small mashed banana and cook for 90 seconds, turn and cook for a further 30 seconds.

So far we've tried both the plain and banana versions and LC loved both of them!

15 Jul 2014


Mr M and I consciously chose to start weaning Baby I at 17 weeks, he was sitting up unaided, showing an interest and started waking during the night again for a feed. With him being so young we started with purees and despite my best intentions I used shop bought purees instead of making them myself. This was for 2 reasons, firstly convenience - I wanted to ensure he was ready for food before spending hours chopping, boiling and blitzing loads of fruit and veg. But secondly because on the occasions when I pureed veg that we ourselves were having, Baby I refused to eat them. At the same time as giving him purees, I was also giving him fruit or veg from my plate to play with. Everything was going in his mouth anyway so it may as well be food right? Very little actually went in his mouth but he loved playing with it. Because of this, once he was able to feed himself I still chose to give him some puree to top it up, after all he was used to having a fair bit of food from his purees. Recently however he's started refusing purees so it looks like we're going down the Baby Led Weaning route from here on which means I'm on the lookout for some tasty recipes we can all eat. I refuse to cook separate meals for Baby I! I'm currently working my way through recipes from a book called 'Weaning Made Easy', some of the recipes are pretty tasty (albeit in need of extra seasoning for my portion) but I've discovered a website called weelicious which I'm hoping will give me some more exciting ideas!

13 Jul 2014

The Week That Was: Captured #4

1. Monday was a busy day with a trip into Newcastle, shopping for a birthday gift and a new changing bag after the calpol disaster the week before. We didn't manage to find a gift but we came back with a new handbag for mummy and a little backpack for Baby I's changing stuff. I was feeling lazy when we got home so ordered a pizza, nom nom!

2. On Tuesday we went for a long walk using the baby carrier, Baby I fell asleep on the walk and didn't even wake up when I took the carrier off. Later we baked a White Chocolate and Lemon Mud Cake birthday cake for my Aunty. I was a little unsure as to how successful it would be as the sponge sank after it came out of the oven but it turned out to be delicious!

3. Wednesday Baby I was ill but despite that suddenly discovered how to crawl! I wasn't quick enough to catch him on camera unfortunately. It was my Aunty's birthday and Baby I had fun playing in an empty cardboard box while I wrapped presents then we went off for a family dinner at my Aunty's house and lots of cake. Baby I ate Chilli for the first time and tried his first white chocolate button (from the cake) and loved it but shhhhh don't tell the Health Visitor ;-)

4. Thursday I discovered I need eyes in the back of my head, I left Baby I alone for 30 seconds and found he's managed to get from the living room to the hallway all by himself.

5. It was Baby Sensory again on Friday and now Baby I knows how to crawl it was a nightmare keeping him in one place. We also attempted to get a nice group photo with some of his little friends, as you can see it was quite a challenge! After class we met more friends for lunch then came home to prepare for 'Mummies Night' at ours - it's the first time all the mummies from our baby groups have managed to have a girls night and it turned out to be a little messy!

6. Saturday was spent recovering from Mummies Night. I've discovered a hangover and Mummy duties without Daddy is not fun! But nothing a peanut butter and beetroot sandwich couldn't sort out and I somehow managed to wear my little chunk out!

7. Sunday was miserable weather so we were pretty much housebound. Baby I is getting pretty fast now and I spent most of the day chasing him round. He was extremely proud of himself when he managed to get from the living room to the dining room and under the table before I could catch him!!

Silent Sunday #11

11 Jul 2014

Recipe: White Chocolate and Lemon Mud Cake

I found this fab recipe for White Chocolate and Lemon Mud Cake on Lemonylovesbaking.com and made it for my Aunty's birthday.

According to Lemony this amount of batter will fill three 22cm sandwich tins. You can then slice the sponges in half to create a six layer cake. However I only had two 23cm sandwich tins so used those instead, when I took them out of the tins they were too thin to slice in half so I only had a two layer cake.

180g white chocolate (Lemony recommends using Green & Black’s if you can but I just used a supermarket own brand)
350g butter
590g white caster sugar
375ml whole milk
300g plain flour
100g self raising flour
3 large eggs
zest of 1 large lemon

Jar of good quality lemon curd

Ganache Icing
150ml double cream
300g white chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 160C/ 140C fan assisted.
2. Grease and line 3x22cm loose bottomed sandwich tins.
3. On a low heat, melt together the white chocolate, butter, sugar and milk in a bowl over a large saucepan of boiling water.
4. Pour into a larger mixing bowl and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Whisk in the eggs and lemon zest until pale and fluffy. Fold in the sifted flour and divide equally between tins. The batter will be runnier than a normal sponge.
4. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
5. The sponge should be golden and will spring back to the touch when cooked. You will find that the sponges on the bottom will take longer that the ones on top.
6. Leave the sponges to cool in their tins.
7. Split the cakes and fill with the lemon curd – you should use the whole jar. As I mentioned above I only had 2 layers but still used a full jar of lemon curd between the 2 layers ;-)
8. To make the ganache, simply break up the chocolate into a bowl, heat the cream in a saucepan until its just reaching boiling point. Then pour over the chocolate and stir until melted.
9. Leave to cool and wait for it to reach a spreading consistency.
10. Ice the cake first with a thin layer of ganache and leave somewhere cool to harden and seal the cake.
11. Carry on and ice all over with the remaining mixture any way you fancy, you can be super neat or make it look quite textured.

I had planned to decorate with white chocolate fingers around the side and white chocolate buttons on top but as it ended up being 2 layers it wasn't quite as tall as I expected so I used to chocolate buttons all over.

I have to admit I was a little worried about the cake as it seemed to shrink when I took it out of the oven so didn't have high hopes for it. But I was worried for nothing, the cake was lovely, light and fluffy and tasted delicious. Even Baby I had a taste and approved ;-)

6 Jul 2014

The Week That Was: Captured #3

Monday was a pretty full day. LC and I went swimming at our local pool, they run a class called Swim-a-Song that we both love. It teaches water safety using nursery rhymes. I was terrified of the water as a child so want to ensure Baby I is comfortable and confident in the water. We didn't have time to go home for lunch so had a picnic in the car on our way to Bounce & Rhyme.

On Tuesday my gorgeous little man discovered he likes fruit! It was a huge milestone for us, previously he'd refused to eat fruit and I thought he didn't like it. Now I know it was just that he struggled to hold the fruit but now he's got the hang of it, he's a little fruit monster!

Wednesday was one of our favourite classes, Piccolo Music! Baby I and I both love it as it's not the same old boring nursery rhymes and the ladies who run it are very lively and enthusiastic. We're gutted it's not on over the summer holidays! After that we met some of our friends at the park for a picnic.


It was the Aldi Baby Event on Thursday and my chunky monkey rode in the trolley for the first time, like a big boy. Where has my baby gone?!

Friday was Baby Sensory and my little chunk was moved up to the big boys class. It was a charity morning with Cowboy theme, Yeehaaa!!!

On Saturday we had planned to go to the Chilli Festival but the weather wasn't too great. We ended up going to one of our locals for some drinks, it was the landlady's birthday and her daughter had arranged a huge party. It was a brilliant evening and LC enjoyed the live music from inside the pub :-)

Sunday was a bit of a disaster with a very unhappy little boy! Lots of tears and tantrums so it was hard work. And to top it all off I dropped my changing bag, there was a bottle of calpol inside...  calpol comes in glass bottles :-( So I ended up with a very sticky bag, I've had to adopt a very stylish new changing bag until my proper one is back in action!!

Silent Sunday #10

30 Jun 2014

The Week That Was: Captured #2

So I had good intentions of doing 'The Week That Was: Captured' every week as I think it's great way to keep a diary but after the first post, things got a little crazy and Mr M went back to work. I'm finally getting into a routine though and will hopefully be able to do this every week now.

1. On Monday morning Little Chunk and I decided to trial using our fab Boba Baby Carrier on my back, rather than the front which we do all the time. It was a little difficult maneuvering a small person onto my back and strapping him on by myself but we got there in the end, I'm hoping with practice it will get easier! It's so much easier walking the dog with LC on my back, I can see my feet and where I'm walking and bend down to pet Bella. With this new found freedom we managed a 3 mile walk around the fields and tracks near our house. I'll be fit in no time if I keep this up and will have one very happy dog!

2. Tuesday we tried a new baby group. I think LC is still a little young for it as it was aimed more at Toddlers but he found himself a slinky and seemed to enjoy playing with it.

3. Wednesday was a fairly quiet day for us consisting of another long walk with LC on my back and playing at home. Baby I was more interested in the bottom of his toy truck, figuring out how it works, perhaps he's going to follow in Daddy's footsteps ;-)

4. We drove down to Middlesborough on Thursday with my cousin, she had a meeting to be at but couldn't get there on public transport. As a thank you for the taxi service she took me to Sweet Treats for the most amazing waffles! I love this pic of LC, his expression is priceless!!

5. Friday I got out of the shower to find LC sitting up in his cot playing with his teddy, waiting for me. Too cute not to share! We had a pretty full day of Baby Sensory, where we found out LC will be moving up to the big boys class next week, then had lunch with our friends Sally & Emily. Another lovely meal at the Hastings!

6. Saturday we tried a new Bounce & Rhyme group at a local library. It was just a small group but LC loved the songs!

7. Sunday was rest day for Mummy!  Baby I went to visit Aunty M where he was spoilt rotten, while I spent some quality time with my other baby. Bella was in her element playing on the beach :-)

Silent Sunday #9 29/06/14

23 Jun 2014

Recipe: Hummingbird Bakery Carrot Cake

For my Mother in Law's birthday, I let her choose the type of cake she wanted secretly hoping she would request a chocolate cake. She asked for Carrot Cake and I was a little nervous about baking it for her as I've never tried a carrot cake before. This recipe turned out to be pretty simple and the end result was lovely and light and very tasty. Definitely a one to make again sometime!

My little Sous Chef prepping the ingredients
300g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra to decorate
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
100g shelled walnuts, chopped, plus extra to decorate

Cream Cheese Frosting
600g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g cream cheese, cold

1. Preheat the oven to 170C and line bases of 3 20cm cake tins with greaseproof paper
2. Put sugar, eggs and oil in a bowl and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed.
3. Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts by hand until they are evenly dispersed.
4. Prepare the mixture into the prepared tins and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
5. Make the cream cheese frosting by beating the icing sugar and butter together until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy but do not overbeat as it can quickly become runny.
6. When the cakes are cold, put one cake on a stand and spread about one-quarter of the cream cheese frosting over it with a palette knife. Place a second cake on top and repeat. Top with the last cake and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides. Finish with walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnamon.


5 May 2014

The Week That Was: Captured #1

So here's my very first Week that Was...

1. Lovely long walk at our local Nature Reserve, culminating in Bella the Dog taking a swim in the pond
2. Day 2 started with Little Chunk attempting to feed himself porridge. He loves the stuff but struggle a bit to actually get it in his mouth!
3. Started with a visit from friends and then a long walk at Seaton Sluice with the dog
4. A little more successful self feeding of porridge!
5. A full day out, starting in Seaton Sluice Harbour, a trip to Titlington Mount and ending up in Alnmouth, again on the beach
6. The sun was out so out came the Pimm's and the sun promptly disappeared! Nevertheless we enjoyed a jug or two with a BBQ
7. Woke up to find Little Chunk the wrong way round in his cot, feeling very proud of himself!

8 Apr 2014

Lottie Mcphee's Whitley Bay

My aunty recently had a few Living Social vouchers to use for Lottie Mcphee's in Whitley Bay so being the dutiful niece I am, I agreed to help her use them ;-) The deal was for 2 drinks and 4 cupcakes but as piggy as we may be sometimes, not even we could manage to eat 2 of the delicious cupcakes by ourselves so we brought the spare ones home for Mr Matt and my uncle. On our first visit I had a 'Victoria Sponge' cupcake as I'd given up chocolate for lent, the cake was lovely and moist I loved the mini Jammy Dodger on top, although it was a little soggy if I'm honest...

I particularly liked the vintage china they served our tea and cupcakes in/on.

We went back again the next week as the vouchers were due to expire, it's such a hard life! This time I opted for the Amaretto cupcake, I'd given up on giving up chocolate by this point and besides there was only a drizzle ;-) Plus I like the think the strawberry on top made it kind of healthy!! ha ha

The Living Social deal was very good value and I will definitely be snapping up a few vouchers myself next time they're on sale. I will however be returning for tea and cake even without the deal, the cakes themselves are light and moist and while I'm not a huge fan of butter icing normally, they're so beautifully decorated it's difficult to resist!

7 Apr 2014

Recipe: Hummingbird Bakery Blueberry Muffins

I made these for Mr M yesterday and he loved them! They were lovely and light and tasted so good :-)

Makes: 12 (according to the recipe but I got 18 out of it!)
Cooking time: 20-25 mins

360g plain flour
370g caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
375ml buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
70g unsalted butter, melted
250g blueberries (I only had 150g and there were still plenty in each muffin)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C (325F/Gas Mark 3)
2. Put flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and beat on slow speed with an electric whisk. (My electric whisk was broken so I mixed by hand and it was fine!)
3. Put buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract in a jug and mix to combine. Slowly pour into the flour mixture and beat until all the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Pour in the melted butter and beat until the butter has just been incorporated, then turn the electric whisk up to medium speed and beat until the dough is even and smooth (alternatively put some elbow grease into and beat by hand!)
5. Gently fold in the blueberries until evenly dispersed.
6. Spoon the mixture into paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins, or until golden brown. Leave the muffins to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.