Baby update – 16 months

Dear baby girl, you turned 16 months old a few weeks ago but Mama didn’t get a chance to post your update earlier.

It’s been a month since you started walking and you take confident strides.



You are wary of steps and take your time contemplating your move.


  • Sleep – 7pm to 7am on a good night, except when you’re teething or sick
  • Food – you have a healthy appetite and are happy to feed yourself with either a fork or spoon.  Mama no longer feeds you your Weetabix.  You do it all by yourself and refuse to be spoon fed
  • Pearly whites – 6
  • Milk – you have 3 to 6 oz in school (over 2 feeds), 5 oz before bedtime and 4oz for breakfast
  • Temperament – you are very sensitive, wary of new faces, still cry when we laugh (!), and cry to get your own way :-) .  IMG_5951
  • You have started to become affectionate, giving us hugs when we put our arms out to you
  • Words – just one, ‘up’, but you now say it when you want to be carried or lifted out of your highchair

Little bear, you spend a full day at nursery, five days a week.  You do lots of activities – singing, dancing, arts and crafts and sometimes even baking.   You run into nursery when Papa drops you off, and your eyes light up when Mama comes to pick you up in the evenings.  Now that the evenings are longer, we have been spending plenty of time playing in the garden, especially after nursery.  You are our budding gardener.


You’ve had your lovely little friends comes over for play dates, which also involve fun and food for both kiddies and parents alike.  Mama sometimes wonders who has more fun at play dates?



Little bear, you enjoy reading books.  You favourite current reads are the Mr Men series.  You still love your stacking cups and lego bricks, but have very little interest in cuddly toys.


Remember that we love you, baby girl.  You bring lots of joy to both Mama and Papa.

Happy sweet 16 months, Sydney Bear.  Lots of love, Mama xxx


Meal plan w/c 31 March 2014

We’re back to meal planning again now that work is no longer chaotic.


  • Meatless Monday – oven roasted vegetable medley with pesto: Sweet potatoes, courgettes, mushrooms and bulghur wheat
  • Tuesday – salmon, puy lentils
  • Wednesday – chicken fajita
  • Thursday – cod and broccoli: ginger stir-fry
  • Friday – leftovers


Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

It has been a very busy month, and I was glad when the last of the deadlines were met at work on Friday.  I left work earlier than usual as I was invited to a tea party at the bear’s nursery.   I didn’t take any photos, but the bear and her friend had worked hard all morning and we were served lovely cheese, tomato and nursery-grown watercress sandwiches,  nursery-made scones with butter and jam and strawberries dipped in chocolate.  The delicious food was washed down with iced-lemon tea.

Having spent very little time together in the past 1o days or so, we decided to make this weekend a family one.  On Saturday morning, the bear got us out of bed bright and early. It was a gorgeous day outside, and we decided to head to Primrose Hill via St Johns Wood.    Upon parking the car in SJW, we went in search of coffee.   We spotted a Carluccio’s nearby, not my favourite establishment, but went in against my better judgement.

IMG_5891We ordered a coffee and some toasted Italian bread, wolfed everything down in a blink (which was easy to do as portions are meagre!) as the bear had a meltdown and left just as one of the waiters started tut-tutting.

We walked towards SJW high street and spotted a Pret, which had completely slipped our minds.   Normally on a weekday, I’d snub Pret ( I can’t survive 7 hours on a sambo), but  we fancied a bit more to eat.  Hubby and the bear scored a table al fresco, and I queued up for a sandwich.   We split the sandwich whilst the bear had a tub of yoghurt from home.


Feeling  energised after some grub and the bear much calmer after her earlier meltdown, we went for a stroll.

The bear is rather fond of her spoons, so we let her carry it to prevent further meltdowns.   She is also very petite, therefore getting great mileage out of the Baby Bjorn Miracle carrier.  I bought her hat from Wimbledon last year and it fits perfectly now.

IMG_5904The bear is loving her new-found independence which comes with walking.   She is getting stronger and more confident on her feet.   Think she’s going to do well in future egg-and-spoon races!


A quick cuddle with Mama, and we decide that we’re all too wrecked for Primrose Hill.   We have a lovely garden, so why not head home and chill out there.


After a good night’s rest on Saturday, the bear and Hubby woke up early on Sunday and let Mama have a well-deserved rest.   Except Mama got ready soon after for mass.  It was a lovely service for Mothering Sunday at our local church.   We decided against going out for a meal for Mother’s Day.  It was a nice idea, but with the bear, we tend to eat and run rather than linger.  I decided to cook us seafood paella for lunch, and served the bear a simple vegetable medley.



It was another fine day and we set up our bistro table and chairs on the deck and sipped some wine whilst the bear enjoyed chopped strawberries…


…followed by some horsey-ing around in the garden.


Thank you Hubby and little bear for a wonderful Mother’s Day (and weekend).   We went out in search of fun, but it took us only a little while to figure out that the best fun was to be had at home.

Baby update – 15 months

Dear baby girl, you turned 15 months old on Valentine’s Day.    You made chocolate rice crispies in nursery which was packed in a red wrapper just for the occasion!

You got sick twice in the space of three weeks.  Mama and Papa took turns to stay home with you whilst you recovered. You do enjoy nursery, but we hope your immune system gets stronger as you seem to pick up bugs on a regular basis.  When you were ill, you only wanted to sleep in our arms.  We gave you lots of cuddles and stayed up with you as struggled with fever for what seemed like days.   Thankfully, you did bounce back from it, albeit slowly.


This month saw you discovering the joys of babyccino.   We now get you your own frothy drink which your happily sip with the aid of a spoon.

We bought you a little desk and chairs which came highly recommended by your friend Jemima.   You’re not too keen on the chairs yet, but don’t mind hanging out at the desk, playing with your stacking cups and spoons and Legos.

IMG_5808We’ve started doing weekly art projects, painting mainly which involves you eating your crayons and Mama trying to wipe water colour off our walls before the paint sets!

IMG_5798Baby girl, you continue to have a healthy appetite.  You are learning to feed yourself with a spoon during meal times at nursery, but at home, you continue to eat with your fingers just as you started off through Baby Led Weaning.

IMG_5841The biggest news this month is that you decided to pick yourself up and walk unaided on 3rd March.

IMG-20140306-WA0000There’s no stopping you now, you are literally flying everywhere!   Your steps are quite steady and you take delight in discovering new things within your reach now!  This includes exploring the garden.

IMG_5848This time last year, you were three months old.   See how much you’ve grown?

IMG_3746 Happy 15 months, little bear.  Keep well, and remember that we love you very much. xxx


‘Paella’ chicken

I was going to make chicken paella for dinner tonight, but we’d had rice earlier in the day.   I decided to retain the paella flavours, but replaced the rice with potatoes instead.   I enjoyed making this dish, as the only effort goes into blending the ingredients for the ‘sofrito’, and the rest was a pretty much one-pot trick.

IMG_5812Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 2 red tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 chicken thighs (or a mixture of thighs and drumsticks)
  • 10 baby potatoes, par-boiled for 7 minutes and drained


  1. Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees
  2. Line a baking tray with foil
  3. Place the tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic and oil in a blender.  Blend into a fine paste
  4. Mix in the remainder of the ingredients (except the chicken and potatoes)
  5. Place the chicken and potatoes into the baking tray and pour the mixture on top
  6. Use a wooden spoon to evenly spread the mixture over the chicken and potatoes
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes
  8. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving with a side of vegetables, a squeeze of lemon and crusty bread to mop of the lovely sauce


Baby update – 14 months

Little bear, happy 14 months to you!  This time last year, you were only 2 months old.  Back then we had to line your Baby Bjorn rocker with a thick blanket so that you’d fit snugly into it.

IMG_3585Now,  12 months later, you only spend about 10 minutes each day in the rocker and only in the mornings.

You seem to have accepted that nursery is part of your daily routine.  There have been a few mornings where you’ve cried during nursery drop-off, but your keyworker assured us that the tears never last long.   Nursery in the winter also spells fever, coughs and colds.   You and Mama take turns getting sick every second week, it seems.

Before Christmas last year, you were barely sprouting a tooth, and merely weeks on, you’ve now cut your 5th tooth.  You have your four front teeth, and another one beside your top front tooth.   Some painful weeks had, and more to come, no doubt.

On Friday 24th January,  you took your very first steps.  We missed it as it took place in nursery but you showed us your new skill again when you got home.   You are still more comfortable crawling and shuffling along on your knees, and rarely walk on your own accord.  In your own time, baby girl.

A few weeks ago, we went to Belfast on a day trip to visit your godparents and their little boy, who is also our godson. We flew on the red eye over and back on the last flight.   We spent the whole day eating, drinking tea and catching up whilst watching you and little boy C play.

You making yourself at home in Belfast

You making yourself at home in Belfast

Our trips and outings at the weekends have been limited due to wet and windy weather.    Our trips to the local park have been few and far in between.   Weekends are spent in our cosy little living room, which also functions as your playroom.   We bought you colourful stacking cups which you are enthralled with.

Recently,  7pm to 7am bedtime routine has been erratic due to teething and you feeling poorly.   Mama spoke to other mummy friends and apparently your little friends are going through the same thing at the moment.  Roll on springtime and warmer weather.

Key development points at 14 months:

  • appetite – very good
  • nappy – Pampers size 4
  • mobility – champion cruiser, though have taken your first steps
  • pearly whites – 5
  • words – apart from the first word uttered last month ‘up’, you have not repeated it, but blabber non-stop and are quite vocal
  • sleep – 12 hours straight when in good health!
  • clothes – size 9-12 months

Keep well, baby girl.   Fight the germs and hope your gums don’t bother you for too long. xxx

Apple and plum crumble tart

In this recipe, I combined two of my favourite desserts, crumble and tart.    I used gala apples and plums as they were all I had in my fruit bowl, but I’d be keen to try them with other stone fruits and berries.



A) Pastry

  • 125g butter, melted and left to cool
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180g plain flour

B) Filling

  • 4 ripe plums, stoned and sliced
  • 2 small gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

C) Crumble topping

  • 155g oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 120ml vegetable oil +2 tbsp water


A) Pastry

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees celsius
  2. In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar and vanilla
  3. Add the flour into the bowl and form the mixture into a dough (don’t knead)
  4. Tip the mixture into the middle of a greased pastry tin (with a loose base) Use your fingertips to spread to the mixture from the middle to the sides of the tin
  5. Place the tin in the oven and leave to cook for 15 minutes until golden
  6. Remove tin from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes

B) Tart

  1. In a bowl, mix the chopped fruit together and scatter the fruit around the now cooled pastry (still in tin) in step A6 above
  2. Mix the cream, egg, vanilla and sugar in a bowl and pour it over the fruit
  3. Place the tin in the oven and cook for 25 minutes

C) Crumble

  1. Mix all the crumble topping ingredients together (the oats mixture should hold together when squeezed)
  2. Remove the tart tin from the oven after 25 minutes (B3 above) and scatter the oats mixture over the fruit
  3. Place the tart tin in the oven for 20 minutes until the oats are golden
  4. Remove the tin from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes
  5. Remove the tin from the pastry and serve with cream whilst warm