Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The birthday cornflake tart

It was Nath's birthday on Monday and with me being the doting fiancée (ha!) I asked him if he would like a cake. I was mainly thinking of the tasty chocolatey treat and a way to distract Ava with a baking activity.

Did he ask for a cake? No. Instead he asked for a cornflake tart....I'd never heard of it. If you went to school in the UK you're probably familiar with cornflake tart but having spent my childhood in France the whole thing was completely alien to me. After a quick Google and a trip to the shops I had all of my ingredients ready. It's so simple to make and a great thing to make with the kids if you're ever stuck for a rainy day activity.

You will need:

1 sheet of ready prepared shortcrust pastry
85g cornflakes
115g golden syrup
55g butter
25g dark brown soft sugar
100g of warm jam
a pinch of salt.


1) Preheat your oven to 200 C

2) Line a round, oven proof dish with the shortcrust pastry, trim the edges and prick the base with a fork

3) Place a sheet of foil on top of the pastry and fill the base with baking weights or dried beans (I used dried lentils). Bake in the oven for 20mins or until the pastry is lightly golden. You may need to remove the foil and beans and bake for a further 5mins

4) While it's baking mix the butter, syrup, salt and sugar in a large saucepan. Once the sugar has dissolved fold in the cornflakes, making sure they're all coated in the syrup.

5) Remove the pastry case from the oven and take off the foil and dried beans.Spread the base with the jam and pour in cornflake mixture. You can level it up with a wet knife.

6) Cook for a further 5mins and serve with warm custard!


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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Hello mummy-guilt, you again.

Before becoming a mum I obviously knew nothing of this thing called "mummy-guilt". But it is, in fact, one of the worst feelings ever!

From not allowing Ava to wear three pairs of socks in the morning to shouting at her because she's ignored me, again. I feel mummy-guilt almost every day. I feel guilty about not taking her out to play enough, not sitting on the floor and playing with her enough, not crafting with her enough...the list is literally endless. I even felt guilty when she woke me up 4 times on Sunday night and when I asked her if she wanted some milk she said yes. She was hungry. Bad, bad mother!

I'm feeling a crippling sense of guilt this week, I'm going down my mum's this weekend, alone! Alone for the first time, without my shadow, in two years (ish)! Obviously she'll be with Nathan and they'll have a whale of a time without naggy mummy and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't secretly fantasising about the 2 (yes TWO!) lie ins I'll be getting and blaring Ultra Naté's "Free" from my car speakers, but part of me feels like I'm abandoning her, silly I know.

In September we'll be leaving her for a whole week whilst we go on our honeymoon to Crete. She'll be staying with my mum for the first few nights then with Nathan's mum. I know she'll be totally, brilliantly looked after and my mum already has a million things planned but I've already told Nathan I'll be crying all the way to the airport. "I know!" he said.

Does mummy-guilt ever get easier? Or does it just get worse as they get older?

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Saturday, 22 February 2014

The twos are terrible

I wasn't going to put myself forwards for the MAD blogs awards this year as I've let my blog slip this month but then I thought, why the heck not.

I know that there's not a chance I'll win anything but a nomination would make my day! So if you enjoy my blog you can nominate me by clicking on the badge below.

Thank you

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This week has been one of the hardest I've had as a mum. I feel really stupid writing that as Ava's not ill, Nath and I haven't broken up, nothing tragic has happened. It's just been a really tough week.

Nath has been working an awful lot this week, so much so that I've barely seen him myself. When he's been coming in from work I've usually been in bed. I've thought a lot about single mums this week and I really take my hat of to you guys, although I'm often with Ava on my own, this week has been relentless and so exhausting.

Let's talk about the terrible two's for a minute, I honestly thought they didn't exist, that they were something made up by parents to try and excuse their child's naughty behaviour. The problem with Ava is that she's not yet old enough for me to reason with but old enough to really know how to push my buttons and wind me up. I feel like at the moment all I'm doing is telling her no or shouting at her after she's ignored my "no"! I dread having to pop to the shops these days as it's likely that she'll lie on the floor in the middle of M & S and I'll think everyone is giving me that "can't you control your child?!" look.

When I've spent a full day trying to keep her happy, a nice trip out, swimming or softplay and she has a tantrum it honestly makes me feel like crying. I'm often left wondering what I'm doing wrong at the moment, I wonder if she's unhappy and it makes me feel terrible. Especially when I see other mums on Facebook or Twitter saying "Motherhood is the best, my family is so perfect." I've really been questioning my skills as a mum lately and it's left me feeling really deflated. Don't get me wrong, Ava is wonderful and she makes me smile more than she makes me cross but when she is naughty, it's very testing.

I do feel like the worst mother on earth at the moment, especially when I feel like I really need a break, just some "me" time would be nice, the chance to unwind and de-stress. On top of the Ava stress, I have wedding pressure and work issues to deal with too. Argh!

Please tell me I'm not the only mum to feel like this?!

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Friday, 21 February 2014

Fluffy American Pancake recipe + an OXO review

If you follow me over on Instagram you may have noticed that over the last couple of weeks we've been enjoying tasty, fluffy American pancakes for breakfast. Not only because I have a sweet tooth that won't quit but also because I have a new gadget in the kitchen. So it's purely for research...

Here's my mum's super easy recipe for amazing fluffy pancakes.

You will need:

3 large eggs
4oz flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
5 fl oz milk
pinch salt


1) Separate the eggs, yolks into one bowl, whites in another.

2) Add flour, milk & baking powder to the yolks, mix into a thick batter.

3) Whisk the whites and salt (I use an electric hand whisk as it's quicker) into stiff peaks

4) Spoon the white mixture into the batter little by little and fold as you do so. Do not mix as this will lose the air from your mixture and your pancakes won't be as fluffy.

5) Using the OXO Batter Dispenser squeeze out the desired amount of batter into a frying pan on medium heat and cook for a few seconds on each side depending on how "well done" you like your pancakes.

6) Add your favourite topping and enjoy!

The Batter Dispenser is super easy to use. Simply unscrew the bottom, pour in your batter, remove the cap and the batter comes out of a small nozzle once the bottle is squeezed.

It gives the desired amount without creating a huge mess. Before now I would spoon the pancake mix into the frying pan which would create a dreadful mess!

The dispenser is also extremely easy to clean as the nozzle comes out, it just takes a quick rinse. The only thing I would say is don't try to add anything to your pancake batter like I did. I tried to add raspberries the first time without thinking and they were too big to go through the nozzle and the second time I tried to add chocolate chips which were also too big. If you enjoy adding things to your batter like me just chuck them in once you've popped the batter into the pan.

The dispenser can also be used to make cupcakes so I'm looking forward to trying this out next month when I'm making Ava's birthday cupcakes!

Right I'm off to make some more pancakes!

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Sunday, 16 February 2014

23 months

This post is actually a few days late- sorry Ava. I can't believe that in a few short weeks my little girl will be turning 2! Crazy. At the moment preparations are underway for her 2nd birthday which is going to be Peppa Pig themed. This is the last monthly update I'm going to do. I will obviously keep you updated about Ava, this blog is about her after all, but they won't be as frequent.

I cannot believe how well your speech is coming on lately Ava! In the last week or so you have really blossomed. You are constantly making me laugh with the funny little things you say! Just the other night as we were lying in mummy & daddy's bed having a cuddle before bedtime you were looking at me and pointing to the different parts of my face. "Nose, eyes, mouth...beard!" I like to think it's because daddy has a beard and not because you think I have a 5 o'clock shadow. You funny thing!

Unfortunately you've become quite fussy with your food, you still have a huge sweet tooth, I think you get that from me I'm afraid, but have become a bit silly with your main meals. Although you have been asking for fruit a lot lately which I'm really pleased about.

We've decided to leave the potty training until the weather gets a little better. You're not really showing any "signs" yet and still say no when I ask you if you have a dirty nappy, even if you have.

Same with putting you into a toddler bed. You're happy in there and it's a cotbed so you haven't outgrown it yet.

I know I say this all the time but I can't believe you're going to be two soon. These last two years have flown by. You've bought us so much joy! I'm so proud to be your mummy.

All my love, mummy xxx

Friday, 14 February 2014

Lost my name book giveaway

Not only is it Valentines Day today but it's also International Book Giving Day don't ya know!

You may remember Ava and I reviewing  a copy of the Lost My Name books a few months ago and today I'm spreading the love and giving you the chance to win a copy for your little Valentine.

The Lost My Name book is a personalised story based on your child's (or any child of your choice) name. It follows the adventure of a little girl or boy on a mission to find their lost name.

I was seriously impressed with this book, you can read my full review here, it is a fantastic book with some lovely illustrations.

If you can't wait and want one right this minute I'm offering 20% off a Lost My Name book, just for today! Enter the code- bookgivingday20

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Only love

When Ava was a tiny babe I used to let her fall asleep on my chest all the time. I'd relish the moments when her tiny little body would snuggle against me, her soft baby hair tickling my face. As she got older we co-slept, to us it was convenient and I enjoyed the cuddles with my baby girl.

After a while she grew out of co-sleeping, only coming into our bed every once in a while and would go down easily in the evenings. Lately that has not been the case.

We're on the verge of her second birthday and she seems to have reverted back to her newborn habits. What is strange is that she will go down for Nathan like a dream. But when it's mummy's turn to do bedtime, oh no, it's a different story. Last night it must have taken me about an hour to get her to sleep.

We began, as we do every night, with some milk and a story. "Do you want to go to bed now Ava?" "No."
She wanted the blanket, the small soft woollen blanket that was knitted for her by my nan's friend. It's too small now, her little feet poke out of the bottom but I think it's more of a comfort thing than anything. We sat there for a while, her cuddled on my chest, me on the uncomfortable chair in her bedroom, still in my gym clothes. "Do you want to go into mummy's bed Ava?" Yes came the little reply.

So off we trudged into my bed, she had to cuddle up to me as close as she could and wasn't happy unless one of my arms was draped around her. My mind kept wandering to the washing up downstairs so after about 15 minutes of tossing and turning I decided to take action and plonked her in her bed. Then all hell broke loose and it broke my heart a little bit.

I ran for cover into the bathroom but after 5 minutes of her heartwrenching sobs I couldn't do it anymore. I decided that the washing up could wait and I would go and give her some more cuddles. I know I'm too soft. She finally fell asleep in my bed, cuddled up next to me, not bothered that I was on the Ipad.

My mum, as usual, gave me some sound advice. She said that Ava feels comforted and reassured while she's with me and that did make me feel a little guilty.

I realised that the washing up or any other menial tasks will still be there tomorrow but cuddles with my little girl might not. She is growing at an alarming speed and before I know it she won't want her mummy any more. I should be thankful that she does enjoy cuddling up to me, and as long as I'm not still trying to rock her when she's 8, that's exactly what I'm going to do. Life is far too short.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Little Voice

I sometimes find this whole business of writing a blog a bit odd. Although I've been writing in this here space for just over a year, sometimes it feels like it's all still brand new, like I'm yet to find my blogging "voice".

I've always enjoyed writing, when I was a child I'd sit crossed legged on my bunk bed for hours writing short stories and making my mum listen to them. I've still got those old notepads, filled with pages of scribble and profiles for my characters.

But I sometimes feel that on my blog writing doesn't come as easily. I often feel tired after a long day but feel that I must write something, once I do manage to bash something up it's usually mediocre and leaves me feeling like I shouldn't have bothered. I feel like I only scratch the surface with my writing and I have so much more to give.

I have a whole list of blogs that I love to read and my favourites are ones where the blogger can really capture me with a turn of phrase or a beautiful pictures.

I sometimes feel like I have so much I would like to say but I'm too afraid to. I don't want to come across as a bad mother, grumpy, ungrateful.... it can be a little daunting when you don't know who's actually reading what you're writing and it's a scary thought to think that you're putting your life on display for the world to see.

But I do love it, I really do. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm going to try harder. I have so many ideas of how I want my blog to be but I have to get past my fear and just write.

So from now on that is what I aim to do. Just write, from the heart.

Degustabox review

I think that it's safe to say looking at my sizeable thighs and mum-tum that I love food and I also love cooking, so when I was ask if I would like to review the January Degustabox* I was SO excited!

You've heard of beauty box subscriptions right? Well this is one for the foodies. For £12.99 a month you get a box full of new and exciting products from well known brands delivered right to your doorstep. A surprise box of food is as amazing as it sounds and I couldn't wait to get mine open!

Inside I found:

1) Go! Kombucha tea. (R.R.P £2.19)
Kombucha tea is a live tea full of live probiotic acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants...basically it's a whole bunch of goodness in a bottle. I found the Kombucha tea very odd. It's a cold fizzy drink but I couldn't put my finger on the flavour. I didn't dislike it though and have kept it aside for another day.

2) Dorset Cereals berry granola (R.R.P £3.79)
I'm a big fan of cereals and have heard of Dorset Cereals although I've never tried them. As this was berry flavoured it was right up my street and the freeze dried raspberries and blueberries gave a real zinginess to the sweet oats. Seriously tasty and I was surprised that Nathan agreed, he's usually a fussy eater and I didn't think he like granola, but hey, you learn something new every day!

3) Goody Good Stuff sweets (R.R.P £1.50)
These are an all natural, veggie alternative to gummy sweets. They contain no gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, high fructose corn syrup and are suitable for those with a vegetarian, Halal or Kosher diet.
I must admit I was slightly skeptical about these sweets. I have a HUGE sweet tooth and I thought that a recipe that contains a lot of nothing also tastes like a lot of nothing. I couldn't have been more wrong! We were sent 2 packs, the Sour Mix & Match and the Tropical Fruit gummies. The sours were amazing! (I've saved the others for a rainy day but I'm sure they'll be as good!) I love sour sweets and these were so good and knowing that they were full of goodness meant that I could shove a few more into my mouth right?

4) Jules Destrooper butter crisp biscuits (R.R.P £1.19)
These rich buttery Belgian biscuits certainly looked the part and they did taste good but I don't think I'll be giving up my chocolate biscuits just yet. They kind of reminded me of a very posh wafer you'd find in an ice-cream

5) Amy's Kitchen chunky tomato soup (R.R.P £1.69)
Amy's Kitchen produce yummy meals with organic ingredients for the health-conscious among us.
I shared this with Ava and I thought it was packed full of flavour. It definitely didn't taste as though it had come out of a can. I'll be interested to see what else Amy's Kitchen have to offer. Ava enjoyed it too!

6) Quinola Mothergrain Express (R.R.P £2.55)
I'm excited to try this ready to eat Quinoa mix. It can be eaten hot or cold and is high in nutrients. I was excited to find this in the box as it will be a great addition to my new healthy eating. I'm planning to have to hot with some salmon.

7) Maggi's recipe mixes (R.R.P 0.99P)
A question I hate is "what's for tea?" and these recipe mixes could be the answer to the nights when I haven't got a clue what to make. We were sent the So Tender Italian Herbs Chicken, So Juicy Sticky BBQ and So Juicy Mexican Chicken. I have no doubt that these will create quick, tasty meals that the whole family will enjoy.

8) Zico Chocolate Coconut Water (R.R.P £2.00)
I know that coconut water is a bit of acquired taste but I really love it so I was looking forward to trying this chocolate version. Each bottle is low calorie and also gluten free and after trying the chocolate flavour I'm hooked. It tasted like a healthy chocolate milkshake. Amazing!

I absolutely loved my Degustabox and would recommend it to anyone. I already have a few friends interested and it would make the perfect gift.

If you fancy trying something new here is a £3.00 discount you can pop in when registering. The code is  3AKIS

You can also find Degustabox on Twitter and Facebook.

*The January Degustabox was sent to me free of charge as part of a review but all thoughts are 100% my own

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