Toddler update – 23 months old

Dear baby girl

Mama has been really slow in posting your toddler updates here.   You are days away from turning 2!

The last month has seen incredible growth spurts.  Didn’t Mama just do a big shop for your clothes recently? I think we’re going to have to wear them quick as I suspect they won’t fit you for too long.


You are at your chattiest in months.  We hear new words every day.  I don’t know how you know Peppa Pig and Iggle Piggle as we hardly have the telly on at home.  Just this afternoon when you woke up from your nap, you pointed at Mickey Mouse and said MamaMouse.  I’ve never heard you say that!!

You still love nursery.  You have lovely carers and friends.  Recently we were advised that your table manners were slipping.  Apparently you were refusing your food, removing your bib and rocking your chair during meal times.  :-)

We had granddad over for a visit a few weeks ago, and we paid him a visit in Ireland just last week.  You had a ball getting to know him.  You’re still not a great flyer, but then again the air pressure on the plane over and back even affected Papa, and you’re just a little bear.

You’re a very sensitive bear, and cry at a drop of a hat.  You don’t like to be told ‘no’.  Mama has started spelling words out when speaking to Papa, much to his amusement, so that you don’t pick up on words such as car, raisins, popcorn…

Little girl, we love you very much, and look forward to celebrating your birthday week with you. xxx



Toddler update – 22 months

Dear bear, happy 22 months.   Two months to the Big Two.

This month saw us go on our family holiday to Bordeaux.    You were really excited about the trip, so much so that you stayed up all night! Which made for a very tired bear on the plane.

2014-09-15 07.31.30


We spent as much time as possible down at the beach (which wasn’t too long as it fairly hot).    We did come across a lovely playground set on sand! near Lacanau lake.  I don’t know who had more fun – you, me or Papa!

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2014-09-17 18.19.55

You now know your mind more than ever.   You are an extremely independent little bear and wants to do things her way.


This month also saw you fall sick.  Mama and Papa took turns minding you at home whilst you recovered.  It was a stressful time for all, but we pulled through.   Your gums have been bothering you too, but there doesn’t seem to be sign of any new teeth.

Baby girl, you are now much happier in nursery since your recent move from the baby room to the toddler room.   You get on well with your carers and your little friends in nursery.

You are quite the singer.  Your favourite tunes are still Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Row Row Row Your Boat, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Yankee Doodle Came to Town, and a song you learnt in nursery, called the Hello song.

You have a lot of new words but the one that still melts my heart is Mama, which you don’t say very often!  You say bed, milk, apple, book, the names of your nursery friends and carers, and today, I may have heard you say your name – it sounded like ‘Ibol’..


This time last year, our year together at home was coming to an end as we started settling you in at nursery.   You were so tiny!



Happy 22 months, little girl.  Mama and Papa love you very much.  xxx


Spicy meatballs

Spicy meatballs have slowly become a weekday favourite in our household.  I used to make pasta and meatballs back in the day, but found it was a time-consuming recipe.   Fortunately,our new favourite dish hardly takes any time at all.  Whilst the meatballs are cooking, I get a quick sauce on and peel courgette strips/ribbons to serve the dish with.  It couldn’t be any easier (hint hint, Hubby!)

Ingredients: (serves 2)

A) Meatballs

  • 400g lean lamb mince
  • 1 large egg
  • a handful of mixed herbs (parsley, chives, sage), finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Fry lite (olive oil)

B) Sauce

  • Fry lite (olive oil)
  • 1 brown onion, peeled a chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 x 400g canned tomatoes
  • 1 medium courgette, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

C) Courgette ribbons

  • 2 to 3 medium courgettes
  • Fry lite (olive oil)


  1. To make the meatballs, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until combined
  2. Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees
  3. Line a baking tray with foil and spray with Fry Lite all over
  4. Make small meatballs (around 16 or 17) by taking about 1 tbsp mince mix and rolling them between your palms and arrange them neatly on the greased foil
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  6. Meanwhile, heat a pot on the stove, spray some Fry Lite and sauté the onions for 2 minutes, followed by the garlic for 30 seconds
  7. Pour the tomatoes from their cans into the pot along with the diced courgette, add the cumin and paprika and leave to cook for 20 minutes
  8. Once the meatballs are cooked, transfer them into the tomato sauce and leave to cook for 8 to 10 minutes
  9. Check for seasoning before taking the stove off the heat
  10. To make the courgette ribbons, use a peeler to peel the skin vertically, on an alternative basis i.e. peel one green strip, leave the next one on, peel the next strip etc
  11. Once the skin has been peeled, continue peeling the courgettes into ribbons, vertically all around
  12. Heat a frying pan and spray some fry lite before giving the courgette ribbons a quick toss in the heat (literally 30 seconds)
  13. To plate up, pile on the courgette ribbons, and top with meatballs and sauce



Lamb bone broth

I didn’t knew Ocado sold lamb bones until I placed an order with them over the weekend.   I made a pot of bone broth, and the timing couldn’t be better as I’m feeling under the weather.  After a week in Bordeaux, I had every intention of resuming my healthy eating plan.  Unfortunately, all good plans to do so will need to be shelved for a day or so whilst I let my body dictate to me what it needs to recuperate and recover.  For now, it is a bowl of lamb bone broth, and I added a handful of cooked egg noodles for the comfort factor.



  • 2 litres of water
  • 500g lamb bones
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 brown onion, peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • a knob of ginger, peeled
  • 1 to 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 celery sticks, washed and cut into large chunks
  • a handful of whole black peppers
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • a good handful of chopped spinach to serve


  1. Place all the ingredients, bar the spinach, in a large pot
  2. Place on the stove and simmer over a gentle heat for 3 to 4 hours.  Skim off excess fat/foam
  3. Serve with freshly chopped spinach, and if you fancy a bit of carbs, some cooked noodles would be a nice touch


Bordeaux – Part deux – Chateaux and vineyards

During our trip to Bordeaux, we did a few drives through vineyard towns, namely Margaux and Pauillac.   I lost count of the number of Chateaus we saw.   Some buildings were majestic, reminiscent of mini palaces, others slightly subdued, almost akin to old convents. Regardless, we were awed by the beautiful landscape that greeted us with every corner and turn in the roads.    Alas, with the bear in tow, we were unable to commit to tours of the vineyards.   Perhaps in future, when she’s older and of wine-sipping age :-)









Bordeaux – Part 1 – the beaches

We recently holidayed in Bordeaux, having developed a love-affair with France in the past year or so.   The weather couldn’t have been kinder to us.   A daily trip to the beach became the norm.  Sometimes for an hour, sometimes more, toddler-tantrum permitting :-)


Lac d’Hourtin




Carcans plage

IMG_6684The bear happily playing in the sand.


There was even time for beach-yoga!


Sunset walks were enjoyed by all.



Toddler update – 21 months

Dear little bear, happy (belated) 21 months.

This has been the most difficult month for us in w while.     You went through big changes in nursery, moving from the baby room to the toddler room.   You missed the comforts of the baby room as well as your fantastic key worker.  Whilst you kept a brave face in nursery, once you got home, you cried non-stop, hysterically and were inconsolable.  Your sleep was interrupted, and you threw endless tantrums.  You stopped giving hugs.  You stopped blowing kisses.  You didn’t like the changes imposed on you, throw in some serious teething as well and it made you a very unhappy little girl.

We comforted you as best as we could.  In the midst of it, we went away on a long weekend to France, and spending quality time together as a family helped, though there were still plenty of tears and tantrums.  So much so that we didn’t really snap many photos whilst away.

Thankfully, you turned a corner last week.   You started enjoying nursery again, running into your class excitedly in the mornings.  You still throw tantrums, but they are not as full blown as they were a few weeks ago.  Our happy little girl is back!


We stayed in our usual accommodation in France.  There was a heated pool, and we decided to take you swimming.  We hunted high and low for a swimsuit and eventually bought one in the Aqualud shop in Le Touquet.   Mama bought you Hellow Kitty floats.   Though you were all set, you hated the water and screamed your lungs out when Papa took you into the pool.   We have a video of you protesting, which may make an appearance at your 18th birthday party :-)

Little bear, you have grown so much physically in the last few weeks.  Your size 18-24 months clothes are just right, but you’ve outgrown pretty much everything else which is quite a surprise as we’ve always had to go one size down for your clothes.

This is a photo of you at 9 months, this time last year!


You continue to have a great appetite.   You are happy to share Papa’s breakfasts at the weekend – scrambled eggs, wilted kale/spinach and avocado.

You have many words.  Yellow, doggie, ball, bird, red, flower, pen, up, down, all done, more, teeth….

You love singing.   Wheels on the bus, Old MacDonald, Row row row your boat, Wind the bobbin, Tommy thumb, Hokey Cokey….

The summer is coming to an end.   We’ve been to the park many times and your favourite is the slide.  You now fly down solo, which means Mama and Papa no longer have an excuse to slide down with you.  Boo.

Baby girl, we hope you will continue to settle well into your new class in nursery.   May your molars not hurt you much. May you always be happy and content.


Lots of love, Mama xxx