Mighty morning muffins…

Mornings in our household are currently a mighty headache when it comes to food. Otto is a bit of a fusspot and his meal preference changes more than the weather in London does in a day!

For inspiration I’ve turned to my go to source, My Little Lunchbox, and these mighty morning muffins have proved triumphant. Packed full of veg and fruit, they are a winning solution for a quick and tasty breakfast and are also a pretty good snack option too.

1. In a bowl mash two bananas together using a fork. Add one grated carrot, three eggs, 1 cup of olive oil, 1 cup of Greek yoghurt and 1/2 a cup of maple syrup and mix everything together.

2. Next add in 2 cups of plain flour, 3tsp. of baking powder, 1tsp. of cinnamon, 1tsp. of vanilla essence, 1 cup of raisins and 1 cup of oats. Fold all the ingredients together.

3. Using an ice cream scoop add two generous scoops to a cup cake case. Sprinkle some oats on top and bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 180c. Once golden brown they are ready!

Cranberry & Goats Cheese Toast…

My first recipe for 2017, ideal for children to create for a lazy Sunday brunch, is this delicious and colourful cranberry and goats cheese bruchetta style toast, with a subtle hint of orange. It’s also a great way to use up the lingering cheese you have in your fridge leftover from Christmas and the cranberries I had hidden away in the freezer. Perfect if you’re missing your favourite festive flavours.

1. Begin by making the cranberry jelly. Slice four small red onions into small chunks and fry in butter for 5 to 6 minutes. Add in 300g of fresh or frozen cranberries until they become squishy and soft. This will take a further 5 minutes. Next add the zest of one large orange and 2 heaped tbsp. of soft brown sugar. Set aside.

2. Next cut slices of a nice loaf of fresh bread and grill one side until golden brown. 

3. Spoon a couple of tbsp. of cranberries on to each slice of bread, top with two slices of goats cheese and place each piece of toast back under the grill until the cheese starts to bubble, keeping a watchful eye on the toast, so it doesn’t burn.

4. Add rocket on top to serve.

Review: East London Baby Co

Since the birth of Otto in 2015 most of my jewellery has laid dormant in a box. Apart from my wedding band and engagement ring, earrings, necklaces and bangles are today rarely worn, as the consequences would result in ears, necks and arms pulled and tugged.

However, what if there was a piece of jewellery that not only looked like something you would normally wear but also served another purpose, to distract babies while you breastfed, could be chewed and was durable? Step forward Katie Barker, founder of East London Baby Co and the first small business, which I’ll be shining the spotlight on in 2017, giving qudos to women who are combining both motherhood and entrepeneurialship, no mean feat! 

Following the birth of her daughter Beatrix in 2016, Katie couldn’t find a necklace, which she would want to wear and would also distract baby Bea while she fed. As someone who loves craft she has lovingly created East London Baby Co. Her two collections, the Flora collection and the Elements collection boast a range of beautiful and stylish necklaces made from food-grade silicone, the same materials used in silicone baking moulds and most bottle teats. And there is a colour for every taste.

Designed and made from her home in East London, Katie also does bespoke creations and the beautiful packaging also means the necklaces make for a great gift for any mum or mum to be. 

I’ve put them to the test, choosing the Earth necklace, and from an aesthetic perspective you would never know what the purpose of the necklace was. In fact friends without children have been very complimentary and have asked where my necklace is from. 

However they also really do serve the purpose they were designed for. Baby Reuben is a bit of a nipple grabber while he’s feeding. So the necklace is a great distraction and prevents his hands from wandering where they shouldn’t be wandering to. I only wish I had worn one when Otto was feeding. Here’s hoping it also serves as an alternative to my arm or leg when Reuben’s teeth come in. If he’s like his big brother he’ll be a biter!


Seven more sleeps…

With Christmas fast approaching, the festive season in full swing and channel Reuben and Otto occupying my every second currently, the blog is switching off and taking a well earned break. I will however be back in the new year, so until then have a wonderful Christmas and try not to indulge in one too many mince pies and G&T’s!

Helen x

The fourth trimester: what I’d forgotten (& what I’d erased from my memory…)

The newest addition to our squad, Reuben Marcello, is past the two week mark. Two weeks of little sleep, cold coffee and managing two under two. Our eldest who appears to have grown up over the course of a night and has the temperament of a teenager, isn’t quite sure what to make of his little brother. His attempts of affectionate hugging and touching have been a little on the rough side and I’ve had to restrain him from gouging out eyes! Absolute chaos and not even the ordered variety of chaos.

In an attempt to remember what those early hazy days were like with Otto I’ve had to really dig deep to unravel my earliest memories of the fourth trimester. Some I had temporarily forgotten about and others I think I had permanately tried to erase from my memory forever. I have however recalled my fondness of gin…

1. The emotional rollercoaster…Within the space of half an hour you’ll be on a high, embracing the joys of parenthood and then suddenly you’ll feel drained, tired and want to burst into tears.

2. The milk monster…Breastfeeding is messy and frustrating at the beginning and if you’re fortunate they take to breastfeeding they’ll be constantly guzzling, draining every ounce of energy from you.

3. The night owl… Your new prodigy will appear to be content and easy going during the day, enjoying long naps, waking only to be fed. But the night time chapter can be a completely different story, as they scream, demand to be fed and would rather stay awake, fuelling your exhaustion.

4. The elusive 2.30am feed…While your partner enjoys a deep peaceful sleep beside you, you’ll probably be doing  the graveyard feeding shift. This is when online shopping becomes very dangerous! You’re working very hard so you definitely deserve those new shoes. Or alternatively you’ll make long lists that you’ll never complete (or you’ll write this blog post).

5. Health visitors are a unique breed…They come to your door and are immediately on the defensive, scanning for danger in every corner. They evidently missed the seminar on communication skills as they work through their tick box crib sheet in a robotic fashion. There is little warmth. Just suspicion.

6. Horay for gin…You realise just how much you missed your favourite tipple. It may be called Mother’s Ruin but in my humble opinion it’s a saving  grace after a long day. And while we’re on the subject if you haven’t yet discovered Hortus gin, developed by the Michelin Star chef Kevin Love for Lidl, you really are missing out. It really does trump all other gins of choice and is half the price. Bonus.

7. It’s the little things….Warm coffees, a shower longer than two minutes on your own,an opportunity to wash your hair and flick through a newspaper are all distant memories. In fact they’ve been a thing of the past for the last 19 months.

8. Domestic bliss…Washing piles stacked higher than the Shard, constant nappy changing, irregular meal times, failed attempts to create any sort of routine, and conversation at the dinner table relating to poo and vomit. 

9. Mummy tummy…Embrace those maternity jeans post pregnancy. Rome wasn’t built in a day so there is no rush to regain your pre baby body in the first 6 weeks.

10. Time flies…as cliche as it sounds they are only tiny little bundles for a small length of time. Enjoy it. They’ll soon be rampaging toddlers on a mission to dictate, terrorise and generally cause mischief and mayhem.

Finally cooked & ready…

Today has been a different sort of slow Sunday to usual. There has been no whisking or stirring in the kitchen and I certainly haven’t been thinking about starting to make Christmas cake. 

On Wednesday we welcomed the latest addition to our family, baby Reuben. So as you can imagine the last few days have all been about living in the euphoric newborn bubble while also dealing with a 19 month old who now resembles a teenager with an attitude to match.

The blog will continue but the next few weeks are going to be a little chaotic and I’ll also be taking time to enjoy every passing minute. As once those minutes pass, that time has gone and time spent with those you love is just too precious to miss.

Transformation Tuesday…

My morning beauty regime is basic. Wash face, clean teeth, splurge on a bit of Aldi day cream and after a couple of swipes of the mascara wand I’m good to go. So it’s fair to say i’m no makeup expert. In fact my makeup bag is a bit of an embarrassment. There are lip glosses a little past their best lurking at the bottom and mascara’s that have dried out and not quite up to their intended job of plumping and adding volume.  And the last time I wore foundation was on my wedding day, in fact I don’t actually own a foundation.

What’s more the relationships I’ve had with makeup have been a bit flaky. I’ve experimented with green eye shadows resembling more like que chalk in my teens and I’ve attempted to even out my ‘flaws’ with my mum’s liquid Estee Lauder foundation. The results were not flawless! I’m certainly not loyal, having flirted with Benefit cosmetics, dated Bare Minerals before having a bit of a love affair with Bobbi Brown.

Although not loyal I do believe makeup allows you to express yourself and just like wearing a pair of killer shoes, it also allows you to step out in confidence and shine. If you have a favourite lipstick nailed to your armoury, you might just feel like you can take on the world. 

So with a makeup bag in desperate need of detoxing, cleansing and generally revamping I was excited to hear from my friend Becki who has begun working with the online makeup brand Younique. Having nothing to loose and a tired heavily pregnant face needing a little TLC, a new look and a touch of glamour I put one of the presenter kits to the test. Complete with lotions and potions for moisturising and uplifting the products have received the thumbs up from me.

If like me you’re often pressed for time and there are probably men walking this earth who take longer in front of the mirror, neither of the looks above took any longer than 10 minutes to complete. Here’s the low down on my favourites from the kit…

Getting started….The building block for both, was the light BB cream and although at first when applying it I thought it was heavy, it actually goes on really easily and the coverage is great. A little goes a long way. The tone was also the perfect match for my pasty skin and I would go as far as saying it beats my Bobbi Brown BB cream. I have however stuck with my Bobbi Brown bronzer for a sunkissed winter glow.

It’s all in the eyes…The Moodstruck Addiction shawdow pallete provides a gorgeous range of autumnal colours which will allow you to go from day to night without lots of different eye shadows clogging up your makeup bag.

Pump up the volume…I normally buy a really cheap mascara and I’ve never worn false eyelashes but Younique’s Moodstruck 3D Fibre Lashes + are revolutionary and will really allow your lashes to speak volume. It comes in two parts but again is easy to apply and both parts apply as if using a normal mascara wand. Apply the liquid gel to your lashes, then apply the fibre lashes using the second wand and seal using the liquid gel wand again. You control how much volume you want to create.

Kissable lips…The lip stains are great for a touch of instant glamour and I love the deeper reds. But my favourite, which I have been happily using daily is the Lip Bon Bon tinted lip moisturuser. The Red Velvet Cake colour is fab. It looks great for day time and it really does help to soften and moisturise, dry cracked lips. 

All I need now is a date night in the next week so I can get dolled up. If not I may just add some glamour and style when I next head out to the park, playgroup or supermarket!