Toddler update – 19 months

Dear little girl, happy 19 months! I ask this all the time, but where does the time go?  Look how little you were, this time last year!


You are absolutely loving nursery.   You are still in the baby room, but it won’t be long before you move on to the next class.

You know your mind, what you like, what you don’t like and get very upset when you don’t get your own way! That said, tantrums pass in a matter of minutes and you’re full of fun and mischief again.


We’re having a lovely summer and spend pretty much every evening after nursery playing in the garden.  You see us water the plants with the garden hose, and you insist on helping.  You are fascinated with the solar lamps Papa bought for the garden.   Needless to say, some of them end up in your toy basket.


You are still very affectionate, offering us hugs and kisses and calling us Mama and Papa which never fail to melt our hearts.

You now say bye bye, night night, in addition to Mama, Papa, up, hat, yes, no and your keyworker’s name.

The biggest development in the last week is you’ve started singing, and in tune too.  You hum to wheels on the bus and twinkle twinkle little star.  In fact you replaced all the words to wheels on the bus with Mama (Mama mama mama ma, mama ma…) and Papa (Papa papa papa pa….)

You have a healthy appetite, and still enjoy vegetarian food which is what you are served in nursery.  You do eat chicken and fish with us at home.   Your favourite fruit is strawberry.   You also like cream crackers and Rich tea biscuits!


These are your key points at 19 months:

  • Sleep – 8pm to 7am
  • Milk – full fat, around 450ml a day
  • Pearly whites – 2 bottom, 4 up, plus a further 4 growing (2 up, 2 down)
  • Nappy size – 4+
  • Mobility, walk, run and at speed

We love you very much, little girl.  Stay well and happy always xxx


Toddler update – 18 months

Dear Sydney Bear, you are 1.5 years old now.   You have well and truly outgrown your baby-ness, which propelled Mama to rename your posts to Toddler updates.

We had a very busy month in May.   You and Mama stayed home whilst Papa was away on trips.   We bonded really well – we read books, watched your favourite DVD countless times,  tidied up the garden and you also ‘helped’ Mama cook.

A few weeks ago, Mama bought you a little car to play out in the deck.   You laugh in glee when we push you round and round the deck.   The car has a little storage compartment, where you stow away your worldly belongings – Lego blocks, spoons and half eaten breadsticks.

IMG_6154One recent Sunday, we went to the 100 Aker Wood to visit Pooh’s playground.


We saw Pooh Bridge, but didn’t throw any Pooh sticks.


We had a lovely picnic – baguette, salads, strawberries, trifle and jelly.

Speaking of strawberries,  this is now your favourite fruit.   We have some growing in our garden, and you help yourself to the very ripe ones.


You continue to have a good appetite, and are happy to share our plate when we dine out, which we don’t do often these days, preferring to cook and eat in the comfort of our own home.

Papa taught you to give high-fives, and recently you’ve started becoming very affectionate with us, lavishing us with endless hugs and kisses.



May and June spelt sleep regression for you.   We don’t know what it is, but you’re unable to settle down until past 8pm and waking up several times during the night.   Perhaps it is too warm, or you’re teething, but hopefully this is just a phase, and you’ll revert to your 7pm to 7am sleep routine soon.

We think we’ve heard you utter Mama and Papa.   Your vocabulary is still very limited – up, hat, ouch, uh-oh, yeh (yes), neh (no), shoes (shssss), but you continue to sign well – milk, eat, up, hat, shoes, more, please, thank you, bye…

These are your key development points at 18 months:

  • Appetite – fantastic
  • Milk – around 16 oz a day
  • Pampers – size 4+
  • Pearly whites – 2 bottom, 4 up, another two molars growing, albeit slowly
  • Sleep – 8pm to 7am, with a few interruptions
  • Mobility – steady on your feet, you love running away from us!

Happy 18 months, little bear.   We love you so much. xxx






Meatless Monday – mushroom risotto

This evening, we enjoyed a lovely home-cooked mushroom risotto.  Whilst the theme was Meatless Monday, I wanted a degree of ‘meatiness’ to the dish, and topped it with enoki mushrooms I bought via Ocado last week.  I can’t believe we waited this long to have asparagus this year, which I served as a side to the risotto.   I’ve posted variations of this recipe previously.


  • 2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes (retain soaking liquid)
  • two knob of butter
  • Fry lite spray
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 to 3 springs of fresh thyme
  • 200g arborio rice
  • 500ml to 750ml water (you can use stock)
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • a bunch of mixed mushrooms, cleaned and prepped (chopped, halved – as you wish)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, halved


  1. Heat a medium pot on the stove
  2. Add a knob of butter, spray the pan with Fry Lite
  3. Once the butter starts to foam, add the onion, celery, garlic and leaves from 1 spring of thyme
  4. Sprinkle some salt onto the pan, and on a low heat, sweat the ingredients for 2 to 3 minutes
  5. Then add the rice to the pot, stir around for a minute
  6. Add a ladle of water to the pot, stir once or twice and leave the water to evaporate
  7. Continue adding water, one or two ladles at a time, stir and leave water to evaporate.  Repeat until rice is almost cooked (about 20 minutes), then add the porcini mushrooms and soaking liquid
  8. Stir and leave to cook until the cooking liquid is all but gone
  9. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper
  10. Put the lid on and turn off the stove
  11. Heat a gridle pan, add a knob of butter and cook the mushrooms and remaining sprigs of thyme for 3 to 4 minutes until cooked.  Season well with salt and pepper and remove the pan from the heat
  12. Serve the risotto with the grilled mushrooms, with a good squeeze of lemon juice


Of treats and crackers…..

This morning, the bear and I went to mass at our local parish church.   A year ago, this hardly took any effort.  The bear was just a baby then, and she’d fall asleep at the start of mass at 9 a.m. as soon as the first hymns were sung.   No such luck these days.

Please don’t judge me.

I found a pew a third of the way back (but not near the exit, those are naughty pews :-) . We are hopefully a few months aware from there).   I sat near the aisle, and placed the bear on my knees.   As soon as mass begun, I felt her fidgeting.  I came prepared.   I opened the zip of her nappy bag,  took out the bag that contained what I hoped would keep her occupied for the next 50 minutes.   Rice crackers.   At the risk of committing blasphemy, they were God sent.  I felt eyes on the back of my head each time I offered the bear one.   The treat worked.  She happily munched away and sat on my lap for the duration of mass.   Not a peep out of her.

We chatted to a mum after the end of mass.   She praised the bear for being so good during the service.  I confessed about the treats.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one.   There was a dad with three young kids in front of us and he had a big carrier bag on the floor.  I took a peek.  He had colouring books, crayons, cookies, breadsticks.  Fancy lugging a picnic to mass.    Our priest once said, religion is caught, not taught.   He is very tolerant of young families but does urge parents to take the little ones out for a break if they got too boisterous.

Afterwards, we went to the shops to buy a few necessities – which included a brand new pack of rice crackers for next week!


Book of the month

I inherited my love for reading from my father.   When I was in school,  I read every book I could get my hands on in the library.  Childhood favourites were the Trixie Belden series,  anything by Enid Blyton, Black Forest Summer by Mabel Esther Allan, White Boots by Noel Streatfeild,  Grimms Fairtytales (this was a family favourite), and many more which has fallen through the cracks of my memory.

Then when I graduated from college,  I just stopped reading.   I blame years of studying for exams.  I suddenly wanted to be free of books and texts.

Just before I started this blog, I took an interest in cooking and all things food related.   Which started my love for cookbooks.    Since the bear was born, I’ve stopped buying cookbooks.   Our meals are now quick, easy and repetitive.  I do believe this is temporary.  The cookbookworm in me will resurface someday.

Since I went back to work after a year’s maternity leave, I’ve been downloading kindle books and reading them on my daily commute.  I started off with thrashy novels, the ones where I didn’t have to commit to reading, every story was predictable and eventually blended into one.  It made the journey go quicker, but I couldn’t remember much once I got off the train.

Thankfully that was just a phase and in the new year, I made an effort to be more selective with my choice of reads.  I started off with Ahead of the Curve by Philip Delves Broughton (which I tried reading at home during maternity leave, but it just didn’t happen).   Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg followed soon after, which, now being a work mum, I found to be very relevant.  I must admit, these two reads inspired me to pursue further qualifications which would be beneficial for work.   Therefore, for the eight weeks that followed, my trusty textbook served as my daily travel companion.

Once I passed the first module, I rewarded myself with a book I have been looking to read after stumbling upon The Daily Connoisseur blog.  This is my book of the month:  Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L Scott.   What a delightful read.   It’s a Saturday afternoon, we have music in the background, the telly’s switched off,  the bear is calmly playing with her toys whilst I get a chance to type this post.  For that, I have Madame Chic to thank!

The bear, who is 18 months old is showing signs of having caught the book-bug.  She doesn’t let me read to her though as she makes a grab for the book in my hand.  Instead, she looks at each page and babbles away – I suspect she’s making up the story as she goes along!

I hope to fit in another quality read in June amidst preparing for the next exam module.   Any recommendations?