Lellow Sumbarine

The Bear is growing up way too quickly.  The baby-ness is fast disappearing.  We don’t spend enough time during the day to notice the gradual shifts in her behaviour and vocabulary.  Instead it is all a bit binary.

The Bear’s grasps of words is endearing.  Blanklet instead of blanket, cubumber instead of cucumber and our favourite, lellow instead of yellow.

The Hubby played Yellow Submarine on the iPod yesterday which prompted a spontaneous sing-a-long by all.

We all live in a Lellow Sumbarine, Lellow Sumbarine, Lellow Sumbarine….

Please Bear, I know you’re keen to grow up but can we just hold on to Lellow for just a bit longer?

 Taking the biscuit…

We received an email from the Bear’s nursery last week reminding us to provide them with patch tested, well labelled sun creams ahead of imminent warm weather.

I obliged and the Bear didn’t have any bad reactions to the new cream (a factor 50 from Boots).  Hubby delivered said cream during the nursery run yesterday morning.

I was in a training course at work this week where coffee breaks meant tucking into lovely biscuits. I didn’t get to finish them and tucked the pack away in my bag.

Hubby SOS’ed me whilst I was on the train home yesterday evening to ask if I could collect the Bear from nursery as he was stuck in traffic. Luck was on our side as I just happened to be 15 minutes away.

I was delighted to see the Bear.  After a lovely cuddle, we set off hand in hand. As we turned the corner, she started crying, insisting we turn back for her new sun cream. There was no reasoning with the Bear. The new sun cream is for school, Mama will get you one for home. Noooooooo, waaaaahhh. She was inconsolable. So we turned around, me knowing full well that school was closed as I saw someone lock the door and drive away.  We ended up sitting on the nursery steps for 5 minutes whilst the Bear had a full blown tantrum.  I couldn’t connect to Uber either. With no other choice, I stood up and told her firmly that I was going home and started walking. Cue screams. 

Then I remembered the leftover biscuit in my bag… 

It worked a treat. Sun cream forgotten. Tears stopped. All was well again. 

The next time you politely decline the offer of that extra biscuit, think again.  Don’t underestimate the healing powers of a lemon puff! 

Gochujang Cabbage

I’ve hooked on kimchi, though the Hubby not so.  I wanted to recreate my new infatuation in this dish, sans the fermentation and hopefully meet with the Hubby’s approval.  A very tasty dish, Hubby went back for more.

Serves 2, cooking time 5 minutes

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Gochujang paste, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 cups of shredded Chinese cabbage
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat sesame oil in a non-stick pan
  2. Sauté the ginger for 15 seconds, followed by the garlic for another 15 seconds
  3. Add the Gochujang paste, give it a quick stir and toss in the cabbage
  4. Stir well for 2 to 3 minutes, put the lid on for another minute
  5. Remove the lid, add the water, vinegar and season with salt and pepper
  6. Garnish with a dollop of Gochujang paste
  7. Serve with steamed rice


Chai spiced,vanilla rice and chia pudding

This dessert was inspired by Indian vermicelli pudding which my aunt used to make.  Though slightly healthier, it definitely delivers in taste.

Serves 2, cooking time approximately 25 minutes minutes

  • 750 ml almond milk
  • 250 ml water
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 100g arborio rice, washed
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp sultanas
  • brown rice syrup to taste
  • a handful of toasted cashew nuts, blueberries and strawberries
  1. Heat almond milk and water in a small pot over low heat
  2. Once simmering, add the teabags and remove from the heat
  3. Leave teabags to steep for 3 to 4 minutes before removing them from the pot
  4. Return the pot back onto the stove over low heat
  5. Add the rice, chia and vanilla extract seeds and gently stir
  6. Leave to cook for 18 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  7. Once cooked, remove to the heat
  8. Add the sultanas and brown syrup to taste
  9. Serve with toasted cashew nuts, blueberries and strawberries



Meal plan w/c 4th April 2016

I’m on a mission to empty out the fridge before ordering groceries online.  Back to work tomorrow after having had two weeks off.  Hopefully all these meals will come together nicely.

  • Monday – leftover Mediterranean chicken, pasta
  • Tuesday – salmon, ratatouille 
  • Wednesday – chili con carne, brown rice
  • Thursday – steamed cod with ginger and spring onion, rice
  • Friday – leftovers

Baked brown rice risotto

I was a late bloomer where risotto was concerned.  My love for this dish was kindled after eating it at a dinner party hosted by a Maltese friend almost a decade ago.

These days, when I’ve an ankle-biter to contend with, oven-c0oking wins hands down.  This baked risotto dish is a keeper.  One that requires minimal prep or stirring.  I was unsure of using brown basmati rice but it turned out lovely, much like bulghur wheat in consistency.  Packed with veggies and ‘shrooms, the dish was declared a winner by Hubby. The Bear, on the other hand, insisted she didn’t like courgettes, but managed a few decent spoonfuls before giving up and asking for some milk before bed.

Serves 2, plus some leftovers.


  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium courgettes, quartered and diced
  • a handful of kale, washed and trimmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat
  2. Sauté the courgettes for 3 to 4 minutes
  3. Add the kale to the courgettes and cook for 2 minutes
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool

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  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • a spring of thyme
  • 140g basmati rice, washed and soaked in tepid water for 30 minutes, then drained
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • 3 frozen stock cubes (homemade stock, frozen)
  • a handful of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes – reserve liquid
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees celsius
  2. Heat oil in an oven-proof pot (I used a Dutch oven) over medium heat
  3. Sauté onion with a pinch of salt for a minute before adding the diced celery
  4. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the garlic and thyme.  Stir for 30 seconds
  5. Add the rice, stir gently for a minute
  6. Add in the water and stock
  7. Put the lid on and bake in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated (if it hasn’t, leave it in the oven for a further 5 minutes)
  8. Remove the pot from the oven using oven gloves and place it on the stove over a medium heat
  9. Add the cooked kale, courgettes, porcini mushrooms and soaking liquid (mind the grit at the bottom of the bowl!) to the pot
  10. Stir to combine and cook for 2 to 3 minutes
  11. Season with salt and pepper
  12. Serve with grated parmesan and a good squeeze of lemon


1st quarter round up

We’re almost through the first ninety one days of the year.  I’ve been consciously mindful of my life of late, rather than living on auto-pilot.  Here is a recap of the first quarter of 2016.

The Bear

The Bear is 3 years and 4 months old now and growing up very quickly.  I signed her up for Baby Ballet in early January.  She did enjoy dressing up and looked adorable  in her ballet outfit but didn’t really take to the teacher nor the lessons and ended up looking out the window or sometimes lying on the floor! We’re going to try another class in April, a drop in, pay as you go which gives us the option of pulling out if it just isn’t right for her.



The Hubby ruptured his Achilles tendon in early February and is now into week 7 of his recovery.  He opted out of surgery, favouring the conservative healing method.  He had his cast removed two weeks ago and has been wearing a special boot since.  We’ve just seen his consultant and figure it will be another few weeks before he can begin his course of physiotherapy.


If you’ve been following this blog for a number of years, you would know of my fear of driving.  Since Hubby’s foot injury, I’ve taken over the driving but have kept it fairly local.  I am very fearful of motorways and dual carriageways and haven’t driven on the former nor intend to for a while, much to Hubby’s dismay! But we’ve been managing ok so far.


It has been relatively cold still for any decent gardening to be done.  I ordered vegetable seeds from moreveg online and have tomato, courgettes, cucumber and french bean seedlings growing indoors.  Once mild weather is here to stay, I’ll transfer them to the vegetable plot and hopefully enjoy some lovely harvest later in the summer.



There are days when I struggle with energy to cook after a long day/week and we opt for take-aways.  Sadly, options are quite limited where we live and the food never is good value for money.  That said, I’m not a superwoman and it is a case of if needs must.  A few mum friends recommended some good recipes for easy week-night dinners.  I found lamb chipolatas in M&S recently and cooked our first (believe it or not!) bangers and mash.IMG_7951.JPG

I’ve just ordered a slow cooker which I hope will serve us well.



Recent reads on my Kindle:

I’ve been a bit slow on the reading front as dropping off the Bear to nursery involves getting a later, busier, standing-room only train which has no room to swing a cat let alone read.


I tried lunchtime yoga in the city twice but that came to a stop once I started getting to work late post nursery run.  I discovered Yoga with Adriene but just haven’t figured out when to fit the work out in as yet.  I do my best to attend a local pilates class on a weekly basis but this is as structured as it gets.  I gave up treats (sweet and savoury – bar cream crackers) for lent (6 1/2 weeks) and I am ashamed to admit that I missed them very much! That said, despite the take-outs, we’ve been making a conscious effort to keep moving and be mindful of maintaining a healthier lifestyle.  The Bear keeps us busy and constantly on the go (though at a much slower pace for Hubby given recent foot injury).


We’ve had some time off work over Easter and had to cancel our visit to France.  It hasn’t been all that bad staying at home.  It is nice to have a break from the awful commute on the tube during rush hour, to be able to meet friends for a coffee and catch up and for the Bear to spend a shorter day at nursery.  Hopefully holiday planning will resume later this year.

We’ve had a busy quarter and managing well with the unexpected turn of events.  Here’s to a second quarter filled with better health and hopefully warmer weather!