Inspiration

babylish-baby-led-weaningSince the addition of Babylish to the family, I feel like my life is busier than ever. I’m a stay at home mum but also a work at home mum which means my days are packed full.

I really enjoy cooking but it’s not something I really have a lot of time for at the moment. With 2 hungry little mouths to feed I need meals that are quick and nutritious.

Weaning the Italian way

Baby at the table is a new book by The Chiappas sisters Emanuela and Michela, both busy mums to young children. Having been brought up in a large Italian community in South Wales, they know a thing or two about family and food!

Baby at the table shares the Italian approach to weaning which aims to get your little one joining in family meals at the table by age 1. Split into 3 stages, baby, toddler and family, it’s crammed full of lovely recipes and tips on essential basics like how to organise your freezer, store cupboard essentials, when to wean, what babies can and can’t eat and portion sizes.

Baby at the table is a philosophy we definitely believe in. Simple, fresh ingredients used to prepare healthy meals for all the family and prepped in less than 15 mins, perfect!

baby-at-the-table

Weaning Babylish

At 9 months old Babylish has passed the weaning stage and is already eating with our family. We went down the baby led weaning route, mostly because she’s a fiesty one and wouldn’t be spoon fed. Plus she enjoys feeding making a giant mess and throwing food everywhere, herself. I jest, she’s actually a really good eater, enjoying everything that resembles food – even dog food biscuits (really trying to wean her off these!!). With 4 teeth she’s got a good bite on her too which helps!

Despite the fact that Babylish is already eating at the table with us (I always thought I was Italian at heart!) we can still use a helping hand with recipe ideas. I love the clever ideas for speedy lunches like cheats pizza, healthy snacks like apple sandwiches and tasty Italian classics for the whole family like rainbow ricotta gnocci.

Testing the recipes

We have been using the book to make some fab meals this week including the Salmon and Broccoli pasta which we all ate as dinner one night, the girls at the first sitting and Daddy and I later on in the evening. We were all fans of the dish but Babylish was a particular fan and wolfed the lot down as soon as it was in front of her.

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We also opted for the ricotta pudding which we were sold on by the photo of Fiamma (Michela’s daughter) enjoying a large bowl of chocolatey goodness! It was the first time Babylish had tried chocolate pudding and she LOVED it. Perhaps a little too much! Although obviously the ricotta pudding is a treat only to be given occasionally it does feel good to be able to create a pudding that is homemade with a clear knowledge of the ingredients. And while ricotta cheese and chocolate may not be the most healthy things in the world there is no pure sugar in the recipe at all, it is only sweetened with maple syrup or honey.

chocolate-ricotta-pudding

ricotta-puddingchocolate-ricotta-dessert

We’ve also got the ingredients in to make the Blueberry bread and mini fish pies this week both of which I cannot wait to try!

Making it easy for mums

Written by mums after my own heart, Baby at the table is like the bible your super organised chef best friend would make for you. Always trying to make life easier, never complicating it with long ingredient lists or complicated cooking steps. Everything has been made with time saving and you in mind.

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It feels like a tremendous amount of love has gone into making this book and a real sense of family and joy runs through each page. The photos of the families together with their adorable children tell a heartwarming story, feeding your family should be joyful and so, in fact, should cooking for them. Let’s face it when you are busy mum, cooking is joyful when it is quick, simple and healthy and more importantly it actually gets eaten by your children!

Baby at the table is available from all good book stores, including Amazon. I’m definitely hanging on to my own copy but I do have a copy available for giveaway too. You can enter via the rafflecopter. Sorry but it’s only available to UK residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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review-of-thaikhuns-kids-menu As a couple, our favourite type of food is Thai. If we get a chance to go out for dinner, it’s always going to be a toss up between Thai or Italian for us. If we are going out as a family it’s normally Italian that wins because we know Littlelish loves pasta and pizza.

So we were super excited to hear about the new kids menu at Thaikhun. We had already discovered Thaikhun as a couple at the beginning of the year when we took a trip to Oxford, so we knew Littlelish would love the fun, vibrant setting. The concept is street Thai food and the setting is so colourful and full of wonderful details very much like you would see on the streets of Thailand. It’s a sunny, happy place, perfect if you want to escape for an hour or two and pretend you are on holiday. Plus the food is delicious!!

interiorofthaikhunrestaurantthaikhun-kitchen

Littlelish eats quite a wide variety of food but she isn’t great at trying new ‘unknown’ food. Her only experience of eating Thai food is when we took her to a small Thai restaurant about a year ago and she only managed to eat some chips! Much to our frustration she wouldn’t even dare to take a mouthful of the cashew chicken we ordered for her. So she was excited but a little apprehensive about trying Thai food again…

When we arrived we were shown to our booth table situated just next to the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work. At this point all nerves about the food had evaporated and Littlelish was giddy with excitement. The waitress handed her an activity booklet created in conjunction with National Geographic Kids to explore and she enjoyed reading a little about Thailand. It’s a country we all would really like to visit one day so she shared some handy information and taught us some Thai words that were written on the menu.

thaicocktails

Drinks were ordered first. This is one thing we love about Thaikhun as you can order really exotic drinks like guava and tamarind juice and they are delicious! Littlelish opted for a lychee juice which I thought was pretty adventurous and she absolutely loved it (watch her describing it in her youtube video, it’s ever so funny!) We went for a round of grown up drinks which included a delicious ‘my thai’ – yum!

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The kids menu provides 3 courses for £5.95 and starts with crudites with the idea of getting something healthy and green into the children before they get to their mains. I think this is a great idea and very much how I do things at home too, luckily Littlelish is a big salad eater so was very happy with this. The crudites were freshly cut and not withered having been cut hours in advance (we have had this before at our local Italian chain. I never knew cucumber could look so unappealing!). My starter was vegetable and prawn rolls while the others shared some chicken satay. Both were fresh, juicy and full of flavour.

chicken-satay

On to the main course, for Littlelish there was a choice between Phad Thai a Mix and Match tray of either Chicken, Pork or vegetables with either noodles and rice or Fried Chicken and Jasmine rice. She selected the last choice and was presented with a fab colourful plate with sections for her food. In one section there was chicken cooked in panko crumbs which looked absolutely delicious (and tasted it, I did pinch some for a taste test obviously!) and a lovely mound of jasmine rice. This was a perfect meal for her, not too adventurous so as not to be eaten, delicious, fresh and presented in a fun way. She ate the lot with no complaints while we tucked into our thai curries and fish and mango salad which we all loved.

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As a family we love travel so we particularly liked the learning opportunity for Littlelish as we chatted about Thailand, what we knew of their culture and customs. At this point the super friendly waitress asked Littlelish if she would like some worms! We giggled and said yes, thinking it would probably be something that looked like worms, a little fun for the kids? On her return she had two small metal buckets with actual worms in them! Big fat buffalo worms (dried) and smaller silk worms, she explained, are eaten in Thailand as a snack. It was fascinating, but all the girls wimped out of trying this delicacy, even mummy couldn’t stomach it! Simon did try both options and said they tasted rather like… dirty walnuts! Having a good giggle at this, we agreed we were definitely curious and eager to explore this part of the world one day.

worms-to-eat-in-thai-restaurant

We were all totally stuffed at the end of our meal but Littlelish did manage to squeeze in the icelolly from her childrens menu. I thought it was clever that if children wanted a pudding but you really wanted to leave (and let’s face it that does happen sometimes)  they can just take the lollies with them and eat them on the way. Another super well thought out detail from Thaikhun.

What I’d say is you can tell a lot of attention to detail has gone into delivering a children’s menu that really works for children, but also for parents. It’s healthy so you are happy and it’s delicious, simple and fun so the kids are happy. All in a super fun, relaxed environment. Winner, winner… Chicken and jasmine rice dinner!

Thank you for inviting us to try out new kids menu at Thaikhun, it’s fab and we will be back for more very soon!

 

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diy-calendarGood news, my dream office is the next room in the house to be plastered and decorated… and I’m counting down the days! I’m desperate to get back my blogging / crafting / arty space. I haven’t been able to get really stuck into a good creative project (minus the whole house renovation thing) for what feels like ages and I’ve forgotten how much I love it.

I was recently set a crafting challenge by Fellowes UK, the office equipment suppliers to see if I could use some of their equipment: a guillotine, a laminator and a binder to come up with a creative DIY. They’d already worked with the fab DIY Blonde who came up with an awesome ice cream pinata, which I think is brilliant!

As part of Each Peach Pear Plum, who were set the challenge too, we’d already crafted up an under the sea storm with our under water picnic ideas so I thought I’d change it up and do something practical that everyone really needs –  a calendar! But not just an ordinary calendar, one that is custom-made with your own photographs and can be reused time and time again.

Here’s my how to:

I designed my calendar on photoshop using the following format (see below). I wanted it to be a square calendar with a simple, clean design. I’ve made my layout available for you so if you want to download it just click here. Note the calendar only has the days of the week, I added the dates in later so that the calendar is truly reusable for any year. The imagery I used is from the website http://www.unsplash.com, I wanted it to have an adventure / nature theme to inspire me when I look at it everyday.

January copyI printed all my sheets off, for the purpose of this craft I did them A4 but the file is A3 size so if you’d like to print it larger you can! Then they needed cutting down to size which the guillotine made short work of.

cutting-down-calendar cutting-out-calendar calendar-pages

Once they were all cut to size I laminated the pages two at a time (in A3 laminating pouches) making sure I put a piece of card underneath to help guide it through.

calendar-making     laminator

Now it was time to bind the pages together. First I needed to make the holes in the correct place and line them on top of the binding comb. The machine was super simple and straightforward to use! Within a few minutes I had my own bound calendar.

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I hung a thread through the binding comb so the calendar could be hung and ta da! You are able to write on the calendar with any dry erase pen. As you can see on the first image I added my dates in for september and started planning in my schedule.

If you’d like to create your own calendar why not download my layout, you can either use my photos or get creative and change them for your own. What about a calendar of family shots or photos of your favourite travel destinations, the possibilities are endless!

make-your-own-calendar diy-wipe-calendar

Thank you to Fellowes for gifting the office equipment so we could get crafty. I hope you enjoy my creation and feel inspired to make your own DIY reusable calendar.

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