Oranges & Lemons

Before starting a family my husband and I were happy enough with our set-up: a two bed flat in the part of town we've wanted to live in since moving here. A great neighbourhood with lots of cafes, indies, charity shops as well as having a wonderful community feel. The place was quite draughty and the kitchen was like a shoe-box, but we didn't let that stop us! The price felt like the best we could do for such a desirable area, so we snapped it up...

The dream came crashing down (slight exaggeration) when we brought our little bundle back from hospital and realised our home wasn't quite perfect for having more than the two of us.


Back then, the kitchen not having a door wasn't a problem, we cooked and did the dishes when the other was out of bed. With a baby this didn't work. The baby was sleeping in our room at the end of the hall but the noise of making tea or the slight clatter of dishes would wake her. This did not feel good when it took so long to get her down and when she *really* needed to sleep. We had to get creative, or should I say we had to tiptoe around, and not do proper cooking or have hot drinks whilst she was sleeping. We felt very cheeky if we dared bring the kettle into the living room to make a cup of tea. Trying to coordinate her nap times with our own mealtimes felt difficult at a time where it was hard to muster up the energy to think about eating anyway so we really didn't appreciate this when we realised what we'd done to ourselves! This also meant having a limited amount of things we could have for dinner, which was a complication that just felt unfair!

Now we're almost 9 months on, she sleeps more deeply and stirs less easily so we're that bit less worried about her waking but I still daren't fry anything when she's sleeping. The zzz's are too precious... We are learning how to cope better with the situation though. We tend to eat things that we can cook in the oven or if I have had time to make a slow-cooker meal, it really sorts us out. There are also salads (it's a kind of resolution for us to eat more salads this year) which we can prepare in the living room or just cheese, crackers, dips and snarky bits which are lazy-day dinners. Alternatively we also eat with Clem when she's having her supper at 5ish, and then have a little something if we're hungry later on. Still can't get enough of the old tea though, need ways to make more cups of tea..

Another not-so-great aspect of the flat is the tiny bathroom without a bath. Again, before we had bubs we didn't mourn the lack of bath, though it would have felt like a bonus. But on my return from the hospital what I wouldn't have gave to have a long, healing soak! A long shower just didn't cut it. Also, I didn't realise that once free-time was a thing of the past how much I'd long for a bath after a long day as a way to really de-stress, maybe with a glass of wine..This is now an absolute must for the next place we end up in! Apart from how nice a bath is to relax, it would have been lovely to be able to bathe with Clem and make bath times more special and a time for some skin-on-skin when it's difficult to get in winter, when all you want to do is wrap up warm. We are managing, and Clem has her tummy tub bath which she is enjoying more now than ever, but I will definitely remember for a potential next baby, the benefits of having a tub! Can I add to this, that the only bathroom next to the bedroom is not a great idea..just so I don't forget.

One of the best things about our flat despite all I've written so far, is the size of the lounge. We like to say it's 'American' sized, because everything is bigger (and better?!) there. It has plenty of space for Clem to crawl about and doesn't feel too squished with the two sofas and the dining table, high chair etc. we're really grateful for the space, as whereas in other parts of the flat, there's not enough room, the living space is actually quite relaxing mainly due to it feeling more open, with room to breathe as it were. It's also really important to us for Clem to have space to move about, which is why when she started crawling at seven months we pushed the furniture to the side of the room to create a big open space in the middle of the room so she can have free reign;-)





I wanted to do a more adventurous post today but at the end of a long, rainy Saturday I feel it might not be the day for it!

Instead I have this really simple recipe for what I gave Clemie for dinner this evening. It's simply red pepper and rocket sauted in unsalted butter, with an egg scrambled in.

Usually I would add some herbs or pepper for a bit of extra flavour, but with the sweetness of the red pepper and the pepperiness of the rocket, it's perfect as is. Clementine wolfed it down, so it must have been good, though as I taste everything I give her to make sure it's tasty, I can say that for sure.

Plus, the added bonus of this meal is the vibrant colours of the veggies which apart from knowing my baby is eating something nutritious and full of antioxidants✔️✔️✔️✔️
makes a grey day a little bit brighter <3







Tonight I made one of my favourite puddings, baked rice pudding. It was so easy to make, I made it whilst I had the babe strapped on in the carrier!

I based my recipe on the BBC food recipe to allow myself not to measure anything, for time's sake (and because measuring ingredients is so tedious) plus, I tend to like my rice pudding very rice-heavy. I'm just that type of gal!

It turned out so beautifully and the rice had just the right consistency. I think I'll be having some tonight and is it bad to eat it for breakfast too?!

It was so simple to prepare, it will be a constant temptation to make again and again...

As I used only my own approximates, here is a rough recipe and method:
  • 200g short-grain pudding rice
  • 300ml pint single cream
  • 600ml pint full-fat milk
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • A few knobs of unsalted butter, and some for greasing

Method:
  1. Wash the rice under cold water and place in the ovenproof dish (I skipped this step!) Heat the cream, milk, caster sugar, vanilla extract and a nutmeg in a saucepan over a medium heat until gently simmering.
  2. Dot the butter over the top and place in the oven for 1½ hours, stirring after the first 30 minutes . If the pudding is still runny, put it back in the oven and keep checking it every 10 mins to check if it is ready
  3. The pudding is done when it has thickened up to a creamy consistency, and the rice is soft ( I lthe rice with a wee bit of a bite so I make sure I don't leave it in too long
Tonight it took 6 times rocking bubs before she would fall asleep. My nose was running and tickling as I was feeding her to sleep in vain. I ate my dinner in three stages, shovelling lamb rogan josh ready meal down my throat at 9pm (the latest she's been to bed since the early days) with her crying in the monitor and through the door before going back to try again.

Egh.




Let's have more salads in 2016..

Health not DETOX!


I made this vegan mushroom and spinach bolognese today taken from the A Girl called Jack blog. It is really tasty and definitely nicer than the sum of it's parts (like most recipes?!) I made it without salt so Clem could eat it too. Good to have in the recipe repertoire for the 'early days' as I'm firm about wanting us all to eat the same thing as a family.

Clementine 8 months today and standing for the first time in her cot this morning. She is so proud of herself and we are so proud of her.
I love a good rummage in a charity shop, and walking away with something I've paid hardly anything for; picking up something that is either useful or beautiful and unique. Hopefully all three! Today in the spirit of thankfulness which is something I want to be more prominent for me in 2016, I sing the praises of the humble charity shop- they clothed me all the way through university, and now are clothing my baby girl, while at the same time helping those in need. For this, I am thankful.

My finds today aren't the most exciting, but are wintry items for hubs and bubs, coming to less than a fiver for both!

A granddaddy cardie for hubs from the new vintage-style YMCA shop

This fleecy baby gro is pink (not so great) but in really good condition and will be very warm for bubs for the chilly nights. Only 95p!

We now have a standing baby, as of yesterday! She pulled herself up on a cardboard box for the first time on New Year's Eve and today I caught her pulling herself up on the sofa and even standing hands-free for a split-second. Look ma, no hands! Perhaps she wanted to give a standing ovation to almost-eight months well-lived in 2015, to usher in a New Year of firsts.

Inspired by an Amazon box




Our happy little girl on New Year's Day