A photo of me at 6 months pregnant in Blissfields festival June 2011:
And one year later Izzy in the same spot:
“It’s opener, out there, in the wide, open air.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Inspired in a strange way by reading Oh the places you’ll go written by Dr Seuss into thinking about the places I have been or more specifically the places I have been with my man and more recently Izzy too- my family awww.
Since the start of our relationship over 4 years ago after first meeting in May 2007 we have travelled a fair bit, maybe not to as many countries or as far flung as we have sometimes intended but we have been around shall we say.
Our first trip whilst not exotic was to the lovely Lake District in August 2008.. And we soon dipped our feet into traveling abroad with a trip to Milan in the November. 2009 saw Paris, Fuerteventura, Praia da Rocha (Portugal) and several UK based trips included a truly memorable stay at Larkhill Tipis 2010 saw us return to Praia da Rocha with a group of friends for a really fun holiday followed by our most exciting trip yet to The Gambia which you can read about here if you like then we visited Turkey and had some more UK camping trips. 2011 started off with a New Years trip to Praia da Rocha (we love this place as you may have guessed) at which time I was technically pregnant (albeit just 2 weeks) so Izzy was kinda there too.. My pregnancy slowed down our travel plans that year so we just managed to fit in a short break to Barcelona and a trip to a different area of Portugal called Peniche with some friends when I was a glowing (sick) 6 months along.
Everyone told us that when Izzy arrived we wouldn’t be able to go away as much anymore and definitely not for the first year or two or at least not abroad. I’m glad to say we proved them wrong. At 6 months old we bought Izzys first passport 🙂 and we have since travelled to the South of France and Cornwall with an aim of heading off to Morocco in October/November this year.
Her first flight could not have been easier and she loved seeing a new part of the world.. Like her mum she loves a nice croissant.
I’m looking forward to the places we will all go together and encouraging my child to see outside her small little world.
Where have you been with your little ones or loved ones?
Some pics of our travels:
In order: myself&Andrew in Paris, me in Paris, me in Turkey, The best steak ever in Peniche (Portugal), Andrew&Izzy in France, Andrew in a waterfall near our tipi holiday trip, the restaurant we ate at in Notre Dame (Valentines 09), Myself, Andrew and Izzy (in my belly) at a surf shop in Portugal, me on a beach in El Cotillo, Fuerteventura..not posing at all and finally me and Izzy on the balcony of the house we stayed in Fowey, Cornwall.
Our plan was always to travel the world so now we will hopefully still get to do it.. Just may take us longer than we thought. Hopefully Izzy will catch the travel bug too.
This month my foodie penpals parcel was arriving from Vanessa in Greece! Pretty exciting yes?
Considering the distance my parcel had to come it arrived well within the allotted time and full of lovely goodies. Unfortunately we left the house for a week away pretty much as soon as it arrived so it came with us and therefore no pics!
Anyway I will tell you it included :
A bag of pistachios -my favourite nuts!
A snack bar which my other half inhaled and seemed to enjoy!
A bag of Lays snacks.. A bit like walkers sunbites and very tasty.
A marinade and dip mixture which I am looking forward to testing out
A lovely letter and postcard from Vanessa
To finish off two types or tea: hand picked mountain tea and black tea with lemon which sounds interesting. I’ll keep you posted when I try them 🙂
Anyway thanks to Vanessa for my parcel and if you want to see what I sent my lovely penpal Teresa from Devon you can read it here:Teresa’s blog
As part of my new recipe challenge last week I made chicken in garlic and mushroom sauce well although today is only Monday I have outdone myself with two new recipes already under my belt for the week. I decided to do this as part of another personal challenge which is all about budgeting and creating little waste. So today I used up the remaining thigh and drumstick meat from the chicken I used to make the dish with the garlic and mushroom sauce in a chicken, chorizo and chickpea casserole for my first new recipe and then used up the old scraggly bits of meat and the rest of the carcass for my first ever attempt at making chicken stock. My house has smelt pretty damn good all day long.
The recipe for the chicken stock which I found on the wonderful Jamie Oliver website is here: Jamie’s easy chicken stock it really is easy to make and I enjoyed it. I can’t imagine I will be wanting shop bought stock anytime soon.
The casserole was made using just a frying pan and my slow cooker. I love my slow cooker, I probably don’t use it enough but its fab and they are reasonably cheap these days so treat yourself for those days when you want a delicious meal but less time fussing over a hot stove. Ideal for when you want to spend your evenings relaxing with your loved ones.
Chicken, chorizo and chickpea casserole
Chicken – I used two thighs, two drumsticks and a little breast meat
1 tin of chickpeas drained
3 inch chunk of chorizo chopped into small cubes
1/2 a courgette
2 sticks of celery
A handful of cubed sweet potato
1/2 green pepper chopped
Tin of chopped tomatoes
1 pint or chicken stock
Mushrooms chopped (optional)
Red onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of saffron threads
2 teaspoons of sweet smoked paprika
In a hot pan with a little olive oil brown your chicken and chorizo together before adding garlic,onions,celery and mushrooms leaving to soften.
Pour chickpeas,courgette,chopped tomatoes,pepper, sweet potato and stock as into slow cooker before adding saffron and paprika and turn onto high setting.
After 10 minutes add contents of pan into slow cooker also and leave for 3-4 hours.
And that’s it. Your kitchen will smell beautiful and the smoky sweet paprika combined with everything else will give you a delicious meal with hardly any hassle. Enjoy x
Ok so most of you will already know that I am on a major diet at the moment and it’s working really really well.. I have so far lost 1stone and 3lb and I’ve been dieting since May 28th so I’m pretty proud of myself. There are two reasons I think it’s working well:
1. I am walking most days pushing a fairly hefty weight (baby, buggy and occasionally shopping) or carrying said baby around or playing about with her at home.
2. I am not depriving myself of everything. Most days I use myfitnesspal – I can’t really recommend it enough as it really helps me to keep an eye on what I eat. I limit myself to 1200 calories and keep it as low fat/sugar as possible however I still have treats and the occasional indulgent meals as I’m a foodie I love to cook and eat and I see no reason why I shouldn’t do that in fact I firmly believe it is helping me diet for longer!
After spending 2 days at The Plum baby cookery school followed by 5 days at Blissfields festival I was really missing home cooking so this past week I have cooked a lot. Mostly dishes I have cooked before such as vegetable curry and spaghetti bolognese ( topped with sautéed spinach and leeks- so good) but I am aiming to try a new recipe (from a book, online or friends) or invent a new recipe of my own each week from here on so last night I made chicken in a garlic and mushroom sauce now this is hardly a wondrous new invention of mine as chicken, mushrooms and garlic go together like strawberries and cream but I didn’t follow any kind of recipe and it turned out so well I would quite happily eat it every day this week.
Chicken In Garlic & Mushroom Sauce
Two large chicken breasts
Butter ( small knob)
Red onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
8 mushrooms ( I used closed cup as that’s what I had but use whatever you like) chopped finely
Ground pepper ( I use a mix of black and pink peppercorns) and salt
Sprig of thyme
In a pan or small cazuela sauté your diced onion and garlic in olive oil and butter being careful not to burn the garlic, after a few minutes add your mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes before adding your cream, thyme and seasoning. Remove from best
Heat a little olive oil in a large cazuela or pan which is ovenproof and pan fry your chicken breasts for a few minutes each side, pour over your mushroom sauce and cook at approx 190 deg or gas mark 4. After 20 minutes remove from oven and shred the chicken ( you can leave the breasts whole but I prefer it this way for this kind of dish) into the sauce before retuning to oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven adding a little more pepper and serve immediately.
* I served with sauté potatoes, peppers and leek and a giant salad but I imagine it would be lovely with rice or mixed into pasta.
This is a fairly naughty dish for me as it has double cream but it was worth it and I didn’t gain any lbs. 🙂
Instead of a dessert I was inspired by a tweet I saw from Beverley Glock who was the food expert at Plum cookery school for a recipe for Pimms frozen cocktails.. Now the recipe she tweeted had lime sorbet as a base but I didn’t have any limes so I improvised and it was refreshing and tongue
*Before we start at the end of this blog is a very lovely easy to enter competition.*
A month or so ago whilst Izzy was having one of those days (and nights) I entered a spurt of competitions online..mainly to kill time while she was napping as I knew she would be awake before I got the chance to actually do anything. Well it looks like I should thank my teething child as it has definitely paid off.
Two weeks ago I had an email telling me that I had won a competition with Plum Baby if you hadn’t heard of Plum and well if you aren’t a parent that could certainly be the case they produce an organic food range for babies and toddlers which is a bit different to the norm..definitely more adventurous that you would expect for little uns but in a good way. So the email informed me I had won an all expenses paid trip to Buckinghamshire staying at a hotel, two days at Plum cookery school with food expert Beverley Glock and one of my fave celeb chefs Rachel Allen ( check my earlier blogs for one of her awesome biscuit recipes) that’s pretty good yes but wait there is more.. They also threw in £500 to spend on Izzy and a video camera to continue filming the weaning journey. Woop I was more than excited.
Train travel was included in the prize so I ( very hesitantly ) climbed aboard a train from Swansea and made 4 changes including London underground at rush hour all by myself (and Izzy of course).
It was pretty scary but most people were amazingly helpful and I had an offer to lift the pram off at every stop.. I think my beautiful little girl made people all gooey.
The first day at the cookery school I met the other mums ( there were 5 winners in total) and their wonderful babies! This was easily one of my favourite parts of the whole experience.. Izzy loved spending time with babies of a similar age and I enjoyed chatting to some really lovely mums. We met Beverly and Rachel who were both really friendly and down to earth.
Rachel and Beverley showed us how to cook dishes such as stroganoff and sweet cape curry (to the same recipe as Plum use for their sweet cape taste adventures) as well as Muffins using a pouch of fruit purée as a substitute for a lot of the fat content of a usual muffin- definitely one to try.
To finish off we made chicken nuggets ( the healthy way) using chunks of chicken breast dipped in egg and covered in crushed up Plum baby crisps. These were so good you would never know they were covered in baby snacks.
I enjoyed all the recipes although I was ever so slightly disappointed that we weren’t more hands on with regards to the cooking as I do love to cook but I picked up a load of tips including : wash your eggs prior to use.. (If you are wondering why just think about it a little longer) using fruit puree to sweeten cakes etc. The only one I will admit that I won’t be trying at home is the cauliflower cheese made with formula milk to serve to the whole family- I tried it and it tasted fine but just not for me..sorry Beverley.
I’ll finish off with some more lovely photos and a bit of good news for my lovely readers I have not 1, not 2 but 3 sets of the new taste adventure range Plum baby food up for grabs and it couldn’t be more simple to enter, in fact I am giving you 3 entries each. 1. Comment underneath telling me why you would love some Plum goodies. 2. Tweet me @writingforfun telling me why 3. Post a pic of your baby on twitter with the hashtag #Iwantsomeplummunchies I will pick 3 winners from all entries made before 8pm on July 15th 2012.
*a quick thank you to all at Plum, Beverley Glock and Rachel Allen as well as Finn PR.
We have spent the last five days at Blissfields Festival in Winchester.. It was an unexpected success and we had a fantastic time. I say unexpected as even though I knew the festival would be fab (having attended last year) I was slightly worried about how Izzy would react to the crowds,noise,new place and most importantly how she would sleep.
Before we left I wrote and rewrote numerous lists of baby related items that we HAD to take and then some extras that I just wanted to take and well I’m not going to lie to you there was a lot but panic not I am here to tell you what we used and needed so you and your baba can relax and enjoy.
Ear defenders: we bought Edz kids ones from Amazon which Izzy loved wearing
Wet wipes – think of how many you normally use in that space of time and maybe double it.
Nappies- as above..you never know when an explosive poop day will occur
Food-if your baby is really young then foodie items may be limited so take more than you will need
Kettle- for sterilising,heating food and equally important cups of caffeine(for you of course not baby)
Blankets and warm clothes- tents get very cold in the night and also handy for sprawling on grass
Suncream- no explanation really needed here..even in the UK an unexpected ray of sun will shine
Rain covers- its the UK there will probably be rain
A few toys and comforters
Calpol- this wondrous potion saved us on a night of extreme teething
Bibs and many clothes- Izzy had about 3 changes a day on average
Sling or baby carrier- we used the Hippychick mostly as she’s getting fairly big!
Now the things which aren’t essential but really handy if you have the space:
A travel cot- this means you get some uninterrupted sleep (hopefully
Baby walker or ride along car etc -It helped us relax and enjoy the festival a lot and they can’t move too fast due to the grass 😉 if you can fit it in its a real bonus.
Toys- the more the better really
Stroller type buggy- I spoke to more than 1 parent who didn’t take one to save space and regretted it. Izzy napped in hers and sat in it to eat.
I hope the list above helps you but please ask if you have any questions.
This is the first family festival we have been to with Izzy but we would like to do more possibly Camp Bestival next year and of course Blissfields again for sure. I’m not sure of the set up of other festivals but at Blissfields there is a huge area devoted to young children and babies called Angel gardens this is really fab, there are tents to chill out, toilets just for children, special cafes and you can even bathe your baby there. This year there was a circus theme and Izzy enjoyed it so much!
When the music got a little loud we put on her ear defenders and she didn’t even attempt to take them off which was great, she loved sitting on mine or her dads shoulders and bopping about to the music. I think she will become hooked on festivals as she gets older.
Izzys (my) highlights of the festival were : King Charles, Dub Pistols, Subgiant and an amazing kids band which I cannot remember the name of!
Many more pics to come but here is Izzy on day 1 of Blissfields 2012.
* just for the record she slept incredibly well. 3 naps a day and long nighttime slumber. In fact if I wasn’t on unpaid maternity leave I would book into every family festival this summer.
I have had a busy few weeks and I have been a lazy blogger. Sorry. As its late and I am only halfway through my next post I thought I would share something that I wrote about 3-4 years ago:
A remote control life
If I had a pause button
I would press it now
In this moment
When we are lying together
Touching but apart
Speaking but silent
If I could fast forward
It would be to a summer day
When we can play in the surf
And bask in the suns rays
Happy and tanned
If I could rewind it would be to the moment when I first saw you
To remember what I thought
To capture your first smile
To see your eyes when they fall on me For the very first time
If I could record it all I would I do
And yours combine