Peak Mum Moment

I wanted to write an inspirational post in honour of it being international Women’s Day. Y’know; about being proud to be a woman and making a difference etc etc. 

What happened though was that I had the  messiest, most difficult time feeding my very own little lady her dinner tonight. She insisted on poking her tongue out after every other mouthful and basically made the action of washing her hands in her food bowl before throwing said hands in the air thus creating a confetti effect of macaroni bolognese. 

And then I had to jump back into work mode, as I’ve been working from home today. 

Oh and I cooked dinner.

HAVOC!!


Being a working mum ain’t easy. Being a working mum and working from home is like…the ultimate test of nerve, wits and patience haha…

I’m grateful that my other little (pug) lady was around to help me clean (read: eat) up the mess. 

I’m grateful that I have my own home in which to be a working mum within.

I’m grateful to have been blessed enough to have a little one, and to have the opportunity to raise a sassy, amazing little girl. 

I’m grateful for my own sassy, amazing mum. 

And I’m grateful for marrying an incredible man who supports me in my every effort to do awesome things. 

Peace and much love to all!

Kx

Baby Food Recipe: Chicken and Chickpea Curry


The concept of giving our little one her first taste of curry raised a bunch of questions; mostly around should you give curry to a baby and what happens to their poop.

As I tentatively tried out this recipe on Adelyn, I found that she seemed to really enjoy the creamy and new flavour (I guess it’s like chicken korma), and we didn’t notice any discernible difference in her poop haha…I opted for a mild curry powder from the supermarket as a gentle introduction to the flavour.

Adelyn will have to get used to a bit of spice anyway so that she can fully appreciate the delicious Malaysian cuisine she’ll be growing up with – and we don’t plan on raising a spice-adverse bubba.

And guess what? Babies love flavour! Don’t forget that a lot of the time it’s a whole new experience for them, every time you offer a taste of something new.

Knowing that this recipe is packed with Vitamin A & C (sweet potatoes) fibre and folate (chickpeas) and protein (chicken) too means you can be reassured that it’s also good for the little ones too.

This recipe should make enough for 4 generous portions.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken thighs, diced
  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1-2 shallots, diced
  • 1-2cm nubbin of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1tsp mild curry powder
  • 200ml coconut milk (TIP: use a big can and save the other half to add to porridge!)
  • 200ml water
  • 1x 210g can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • Generous handful of spinach, washed and finely chopped.

Lightly fry the chicken and shallots in a saucepan, then add the sweet potato. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes, then add the trio of flavour – garlic, ginger and curry powder to the pan and stir well to coat evenly.

Add the coconut milk and the water and bring up to the boil. Then pop in the chick peas, reduce heat slightly and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the chicken has cooked fully and the potato is tender.

Add the spinach towards the end of your cooking time.

Blitz to the consistency your baby likes (above was half blended and half mashed). Goes great with some steamed cauliflower or pitta bread as finger food!

Freezes well.

Enjoy! Kx

Oh Tantrums Have Arrived


I am now covered in tears, snot, semi-masticated apple and crumbs after dealing with my very first toddler meltdown. 

All because I dared to take a bite from my apple which I’d let her hold. 

How did I cope? 

  • Picked her up for a cuddle
  • Put her back down again as the screaming was REALLY loud in my face
  • Tried to give her the apple again to appease her apparent anger
  • Picked up the apple bits off the floor after she threw it in annoyance
  • Tried waving the alarm remote control dongle thing that she’s been eyeing up for ages at her
  • Sang really loudly 
  • Gave her her Bunny (poor Bunny is now just as messy as I am)
  • Gave her her favourite snack which stopped her cries for all of 10 seconds till she decided she didn’t like it anymore – then I knew I was in trouble 
  • Turned to the usual comforter int he form of my milk…

And peace is restored. For now…

Baby Weaning Recipe: Creamy Chicken & Courgette

I’m going to be honest here and say I’m not finding it easy to balance all of the different responsibilities I have now, in y’know, life.

Mum. Wife. Daughter. Colleague. My time to just be in my own head to blog has been minimised to “if and when Adelyn naps at the weekend and I’m not catching up on sleep” (i.e. not all that often).

There’s a pressure I’m putting on myself to give both Adelyn and Work my full energy as I’m invariably in the presence of one or the other, so it involves lots of rushing around and many attempts to ensure efficiency.

I just woke up from a 1.5 morning nap of my own (she’s still going) and was stunned to see how much brighter my complexion looks just thanks to getting some more damn sleep. Ahhh…

And yet – I am still diligent about making food for Adelyn. Even though at the grand age of 1 she can eat what we eat, just a bit more smooshed up, I’m still preparing meals for the week for her so that I know she’s got home-cooked lushness even when I’m working.

This meal came about as a result of having a bunch of odds and ends in the kitchen, brought together in a moreish garlicky white sauce. It did involve a few pots and pans to have things on the go at the same time but the end result is both nutritious and comforting – Adelyn couldn’t get enough!

Ingredients:

1 potato, peeled and cubed

1 chicken thigh, skinless & boneless

1 courgette, washed and finely grated

2 florets of broccoli

1 small clove of garlic

1 tbsp sweetcorn, chopped

15g butter

15g plain flour

350ml milk

  • Preheat the grill and put a saucepan of water on to boil.
  • Lightly oil a roasting tray then grill your chicken thigh for about 12 minutes, turning over halfway through.
  • Put the potatoes and broccoli into the saucepan and boil for 10mins till soft, then drain and leave to cool slightly.
  • Get a small saucepan and just lightly stir-fry the grated courgette for a couple of minutes, so that it’s softened slightly.
  • To make the white sauce (and I might have my suggested amounts a bit off above as I tend to make this by eye, so I do apologise and will update once I get a better handle on the amounts!) get another sauce on a medium heat and melt your butter in it. Add the flour gradually, stirring all the while. It’ll “honeycomb” – i.e. bubble slightly and resemble honeycomb. Take it off the heat so that you can then better control the viscosity as you gradually add the milk to the pan – keep stirring to minimise it clumping too much. You should end up with a mixture of the consistency of decent custard.
  • Finely grate the clove of garlic straight into the mix, along with your chopped sweetcorn, then pop back onto a medium heat to thicken a bit more so you have a creamy, thick texture going on. Season with a little black pepper if you feel so inclined.
  • Now to combine everything. Lightly mash the potatoes and broccoli mix, then add the courgette. Pour in the white sauce and give it a stir to combine. Tear the chicken into fine strips with your fingers and just break or chop into little pieces.
  • Then it’s up to you if you need to blitz it to a puree, blend it to a chunkier consistency (as in the photo above) or leave as is if your bubba has taken to chewing!

Family Friendly Outings: Flat Iron, Henrietta St

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The Flat Iron steak, with sides of Roast Aubergine and Dripping Cooked Chips – served with Peppercorn Sauce*

Environment: This is the only Flat Iron I’ve been to and I hear it’s the biggest of the three locations. Beautiful frontage, with a window to have a nose at the Butcher butchering away and the ice cream counter at the front (more on that later). You can just about wheel a Bugaboo around in there, if you don’t mind being glared at by other patrons. They don’t take reservations though so if you’re hungry and heading there with a little one in tow, you might want to plan to get there shortly after midday to get a table. They’ll only seat you if all of your party are present too.

There’s a tempting bar to wait at, should you find yourself waiting for a table and you’re not, y’know – breastfeeding. Ginger beer for me then…

Facilities: The grown-up loos are located downstairs, but there is a changing table in the disabled toilet to be found on the ground floor. Please note that no matter how nicely you ask (we tried!) they are unable to provide hot water in which to warm milk with. Health and Safety *rolls eyes*

High chair: your standard wooden high chair.

Food: Ah the food – this is what you’re coming here for! My eyes are often bigger than my stomach – so when the flat iron steak was placed in front of me, I wilted a teensy bit if I’m perfectly honest BUT it was actually a great size to enjoy – as you’ll want to partake of the sides on offer and have space for that freebie ice cream at the end of your meal. Actually – looking at the photo, it looks substantial so perhaps I had my husband goggles on as I know he would want to demolish this x3.

So the flat iron (US) steak, aka the butler’s (UK) or oyster blade (Aussie/Kiwi) steak – to be found in the shoulder. It’s a cheaper cut, thus the most excellent price point. Rich in flavour and delicious when eaten Medium/Medium-Rare (cooked any more and I expect your jaw would be in for a bit of a workout).

The chips were crisp and more-ish – as you should well expect as they’re cooked in beef dripping! And I loved the creamed spinach over the aubergine. Went really well with the steak, as did my fave steak sauce – Peppercorn.  At £10 for a flat iron steak, including a little pot of salad leaves – I’ve not felt the need to try the other cuts that they also have on offer  yet.

This is also the only branch that gives you a free ice cream cone at the end of your meal, just take your receipt to the counter on your way out and they’ll give you a scoop. Salt Caramel, dunked into dark chocolate shavings – oh my. There’s a whole history to it too – I believe historically there used to be a fella who would give out ice cream in this part of Covent Garden, so Flat Iron have honoured his generosity.

Overall: I’m going to say this because I am one – there were a hilarious amount of Asians in there both times I’ve been.  What can I say – we love good food at good prices! I’m a fan of Flat Iron – the service is friendly, even on New Years Day. The food comes quickly – perfect for is your infant is having one of those days. I wouldn’t place it as an immediately family friendly restaurant however, because of the no-hot-water thing. Also because you have mini cleavers on your table, so watch those tiny wandering hands if they’re within grabbing distance. If you have slightly older children though, the whole family will be able to enjoy an affordable steak, with free ice cream to boot – what a treat!

*photo courtesy of my dear friend Lucy – because I have not gotten the quick snapping of food thing down yet mostly because I am hungry a lot of the time, as is Adelyn!

My First Day Back At Work

Last Pre-Working Mum Selfie

Let’s live-write this experience, shall we?

0104 – crying for milk feed. Mmmm sleepy cuddles.

0244 – crying AGAIN. WTF not even two hours since last feed. Remind self to treasure sleepy cuddles. Can she sense she’s about to be getting less milk?

0304 – what I should wear for my first day back…?

0525 – can hear her mewling. Go back to sleep baby it’s 35mins too early and I’ll miss you but I’m not ready for cuddles yet.

0555 – KS asks me what time it is. Then we ponder the merits of calling in sick. (Note to employers – I’M SO JOKING)

0610 – marvel at the luxury of being able to get ready without an audience as MiL takes Adelyn and KS has gone to make his breakfast.

0614 – bring her back upstairs to keep me company anyway (Adelyn, not the MiL). Contemplate dressing smart for first day back but it’s cold out so double leggings and slouchy jumpy it is. Jazzing it up with some hoop earrings that I can actually wear today without fear of being yanked.

0640 – sit down for breakfast and entertained watching someone else deal with the squawks/spoon swipes/when-she-pushes-food-back-out-by-sticking-out-her-tongue.

0655 – bye bye to Papa. Commence play time!

0725 – getting sad again. My “little sister” at work tells me she’ll make baby crying sounds in the office if I miss Adelyn too much. Makes me smile. Must remind self to live in the NOW and not mope.

0748 – OWW forgot I had hoops on till Adelyn made an enthusiastic grab at one during cuddle.

0800 – MiL says I can go get dressed now. Have to explain that I am dressed. She manages to keep face neutral.

0830 – cry my way through putting Adelyn down for her morning nap. She looked at me like I was crazy – this was actually helpful. Breaks my heart to think of her waking up and finding I’m not there. Oh god want to cry again FFS.

0845 – nearly miss the train. For once am grateful for Southeastern Rail delay. Looking like slightly deranged bag lady with my layers and puffy red eyes.

0859 – just realised have got my headphones on but not actually playing any music. This doesn’t bode well for my attention span.

0907 – ugh this feels like a break up where you start crying at anything that reminds you of them. Should probably turn off James Bay’s sad songs. Geez. Ooh Bruno Mars can cure all blues! 

0915 – have been back to office many times over my Leave. First time coming back in as official Colleague – daring to let myself feel excited at being part of a Team again. Get your game face on – LET’S DO THIS

0919 -£6 effing 20p for a peak time single?!?!! WTF.

0922 – quick check in bathroom to make sure am less deranged looking.

0930 – let the work begin!

1045 – sweetest hubby sent flowers to the office for my first day – such a thoughtful surprise.

1430 – interesting sitting through training sessions for tools I helped create or processes I helped develop haha

1625 – full on refresher day. Knackered. Must get Outlook and Skype set up again.

1630 – ooh where’d that Pandan cake come from?

1645 – 10,144 emails. Actually less than expected considering it’s a year’s worth. 

1650 – Marked all as read LOL

1657 – Time to leave for train. Huh I can’t zip up my coat – boobs have apparently gotten that full

1658 – hah can still do the 75 steps at Waterloo East *victory dance*

1723 – Good Lord this feels like the slowest train ever.

1753 – home

REUNITED! (I swear she was happier about it than she looks)

Kx

Apricot and Apple Oaties Recipe

These crumby little bites are perfectly sized snack for little ones, full of nutrition and home-baked so you know there are no weird preservatives in there.

They’ve gone down a treat whenever I’ve offered them at play dates. Think of them as a healthy version of a flapjack, only no way near as sweet. Admittedly these are maybe not sweet enough for the adult palate but watch your kid get crumbs EVERYWHERE as they get their nibble on with these.

I’ve been using a porridge oat mix that Tescos have recently brought out which combines oatmeal, oat bran and wheat bran, but using oatmeal will also do nicely. Oat bran on its own lends an especially crumby and almost malty taste – try and see what suits your family.

Apricots are a great source of Vitamin A (for healthy cell growth and immune system), fibre (keeping things *ahem* moving) and potassium (maintains blood pressure). Their natural sweetness combined with that of the apple mean you can bake without having to add sugar.

I make a bigger batch of Apricot Purée than necessary as a teaspoon goes really nicely in porridge for the little ones. I like to think of it as jam that hasn’t been made out of refined sugar so is therefore safe.

Ingredients:

150g oatmeal, oatbran and wheat bran mix

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp coconut oil, warmed to liquid form for ease of mixing

3 tbsp water

1 apple, peeled and grated

For the apricot purée 

100g dried apricots*

200ml boiling water

  • Start by making the apricot purée – pop the apricots into a small saucepan, add the boiled water and bring back to the boil. Lower to a simmer for about 7 mins and then take off the heat. Leave to cool a little before pureeing in a blender (you can make the oaty mix whilst it cools down)
  • Preheat your oven to 200C and lightly oil a brownie tin or something of a similar size.
  • Combine the oaty mix with the bicarbonate of soda and give it a little stir. Add the coconut oil and the grated apple and stir.
  • Purée the apricots (if you haven’t already) and add approx 120g of the purée to the mix (pot up the rest of it and keep it in the fridge). Add the water a tablespoon at a time till you have a nicely formed mixture that holds together. Just leave it to rest for a minute or two.
  • Pop the mixture into the prepared brownie tin and gently coax outwards to cover the tin. You’ll have a thin layer that should nicely spread out.
  • Bake for 20-25 mins, until golden on top and coming away from the edge of the pan.
  • Leave to cool before cutting into little squares – my brownie tin is square so I go for 5×5.
  • Keep in an airtight container for up to one week.

* For my own peace of mind I use organic and naturally dried apricots; these are darker in colour as a result of not being treated with sulphur dioxide.