The Flavour-Led Weaning Cookbook + Giveaway

When we started weaning with Erin I wanted to make sure she had a really varied diet. I am such a fussy eater myself and I will try anything to make sure Erin isn’t like this. However, the cookbooks we used were a bit boring to be honest. Purees were plain fruit and veg and there was nothing too exciting to try. I was so exited when I discovered The Flavour-Led Weaning Cookbook by Zainab Jagot Ahmed.

The Flavour-Led Weaning CookbookThe Flavour-led Weaning Cookbook offers over 100 first-tastes recipes your baby will love. It will be your best-friend in the kitchen from day 1, guiding you every step of the way with expert and realistic advice, meal plans and recipes.

Flavour-led weaning uses baby-friendly herbs and spice as safe, healthy and natural flavour-boosters. It will encourage your baby to love their food from their very first taste. It will show you how to bring a rainbow of colour to your baby’s diet. And will ensure your baby gets all the nourishment they needs at every stage in their weaning journey.

Flavour-led weaning works in harmony with spoon-led and baby-led weaning. This book includes meal plans for all the weaning stages, plus delicious recipes the whole family can enjoy together.

I am going to be completely honest and say that I didn’t expect this book to be too different from the others I already have. I was so wrong though.

The book starts off with a really detailed section about weaning and what to do. There is loads of information about signs that your child may be ready and also which fake signs to look out for. This is a lot of information about different ways to wean, stages of weaning and different things to try at different stages. Something I really loved was that there was a lot of information about allergies and what to be careful with.

When it comes to the recipes there is so much choice. There are plenty of different curry options along with fish dishes and burgers, just to name a few. Zainab Jagot Ahmed uses herbs and spices in her recipes to enhance the flavours which is fantastic. The recipes are also easily adapted in case you want to miss out something or add something of your own.

What I love the most about this book is that it really does cover everything. There are the simple and more basic purees at the beginning but recipes cover family meals as well. I wish I’d been able to begin with this book but we’re having so much fun trying new and exciting recipes now.

Where to buy: Amazon

    

giveaway!

Giveaway ends 20th May 11:59pm

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The Flavour-Led Weaning Cookbook Giveaway

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National Tea Day

Did you know that today was National Tea Day? I didn’t until just recently and neither did my sister Natalie, who is pretty addicted to tea. Today she’s guest posting for me about why she loves tea!

National Tea Day

Today is National Tea Day, which I didn’t know existed, but being British it makes perfect sense; shouldn’t this be a National holiday?? The British are famously a nation of tea lovers, however to most people this is milky ‘builders tea’ which has a large sugar to tea ratio. I’ve never been a fan. In fact, I never used to like tea at all. I can remember trying my first cup of herbal tea at college where i was studying holistic therapies with a group of middle age fruity tea lovers. Going for a cup of tea on our breaks meant going for a fruit infusion which I knew wasn’t popular or common due to the servers offering milk and biscuits with the fruit tea, neither of which were necessary or complimentary. How I have gone from there, to hoarding tea like there is a nationwide shortage of it is a mystery to me. I think that the growing popularity of fruit and green teas has meant that these days there is something for everyone, and the availability of this in most cafes and restaurants means that you can easily avoid coffee without having to resort to a sugary cold drink. There is a huge selection at supermarkets along with a small amount of great speciality shops. Not only has the availability of flavours expanded, but so has the trend for stylish tea wear; from cast iron tea sets, to antique tea sets.

At present I have enough tea to last me a few years. This doesn’t mean that i will stop buying tea for the next few years, I have a collection that I steadily add to because I cannot stop myself from buying tea of unusual and interesting flavours. Don’t get me wrong, I love the basics. I mostly drink flavoured green teas from Twinings – they’re an institution, you can’t go wrong with them. But I also have a collection of loose teas that I try to drink less frequently; they’re more expensive than tea bags and require more effort to diffuse before drinking. I’m particularly a fan of T2, a speciality tea store company with a few stores in England. I visit the shop on Tottenham Court Road in central London and rarely leave without buying at least one tea. Their tea comes in bright square containers and they sell a massive range of flavours. They sell a good range of traditional tastes, including high end green teas which come at an extra cost but they also sell some fun desert flavours – their caramel tea is simply delicious. Also in London is Postcard Tea which is a tiny shop you can find on Dering Street in Mayfair, not far from Oxford Circus. They only sell tea from farmers with very small plantations, so the tea is fairly rare. Of the tea I’ve bought the taste is incredibly delicate and unusual. I try to add to my collection when I travel too, tea tends to be the main thing I bring back from holidays these days. My favourite acquisitions so far has been coconut black tea from the Caribbean and a small pot of loose tea I bought from Angelina which I bought when i visited Versailles during a recent trip to Paris.

Although drinking tea is done daily and usually without much thought, I think it is worth considering taking the time to at least once go for afternoon tea, an activity which I feel is becoming more popular. It’s worth finding somewhere that has a good selection of teas on offer so that you can pair your meal with a variety of blends to accompany your cakes and finger sandwiches. Okay, so this meal isn’t all about the tea, but I think there’s something about finger sandwiches and miniature cakes being paired with teas, that are brewed in beautiful tea pots, which is worth experiencing.

Are you a tea drinker? If you are, what is your favourite?

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London Duck Tours

I have been to London many times before but something I have never done is to go on a bus tour. During my recent London Getaway I decided to change this. Me, my sister and her boyfriend were really excited to be heading off on a London Duck Tour.

London Duck Tours

When we arrived at the Duck Tour bus stop near the Southbank Center I was really excited. The ‘Duck’ was sat there waiting for us. I knew that it was a bit of a mix between a  bus and a boat seeing as it went in the water on the tour.

On the day of our booked tour there was a memorial service happening so we had to change from the Classic Sightseeing Tour to the City of London Tour. We were given the opportunity to come back later in the day instead but we were all happy to go along with whatever.

Some Places we visited on the tour

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Monument to the Fire of London

Bank of England

Tower Bridge

MI6

London Eye

Houses of Parliament

Our tour guide was absolutely lovely and was happy an cheery the whole way through the tour. Although the tour had been changed quite last minute, he was very knowledgeable about the other route. What was really nice was that he spoke when there was something to see but he didn’t fill quiet gaps just for the sake of it. He did manage to squeeze in some Harry Potter trivia though which my sister was pretty happy about, especially as it was something she didn’t know.

The whole tour lasts around 75 minutes with the first 45 minutes or so being on land. Once you reach MI6 though it’s time to splash down and go into the Thames. This was my favourite part I think as you get fantastic views of London and I found it to be quite peaceful on the water. Something I will say though is take a coat or jacket with you. We went on a warm day but I was pretty cold once we hit the water!

We all had a fantastic time on our Duck Tour and I’ve since been looking at maybe doing the Christmas tour later in the year! Although the tickets could work out quite expensive for a large family, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay to go on another tour. Between the knowledgeable tour guide, spacious and comfortable Duck and the views, I couldn’t have asked for more!

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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Social Network Solutions Blogger Event

Living in The Middle of Nowhere, Norfolk means not really knowing many local bloggers and especially not other parent bloggers. When Amy from Social Network Solutions (SNS) invited me to a cosy local event I was so excited. I actually nearly didn’t go though because I don’t drive and I had no idea where the event was. I’m glad I put on my big girl pants and figured it out though!

The event was held at Dotty Pottery which is in Hellesdon, Norwich. It’s a bit out of the city center which is why I had to figure out the buses but it was well worth it. Amy from SNS was there to meet us and I was the first one there. I’m always early; I can’t help it! I always get quite nervous going to events but Amy was so lovely and welcoming and I felt completely at ease. Erin was a little shy to begin with but it didn’t take her long to be her cheeky little self.

One the other bloggers and their children arrived, we got to choose a piece of pottery to paint and given some information on the paints, colours and what we could do! I’ve never done anything like this before so it was really useful for me.

Erin honestly had no interest whatsoever in painting her plate. She had loads of fun swishing the paints around on the palette though and she sort of painted the table, her hands and her hair.   I attempted to make something half decent though. I’m not artistic in any way though but I’m pretty pleased with how the plate turned out. There are one or two paint strokes from Erin on there too.

Erin was by far the youngest of the children at the event so we positioned ourselves at the head of the table so we had plenty of space for her to move around and play with the toys there! I was really glad to have Chloe from The Adventures of an Allergy Mummy and her gorgeous daughter Mia sat next to me and Erin. Mia was absolutely amazing with her painting and I was so impressed with her figure. I think she put me to shame a little bit. Erin and Mia may be quite different in ages but they certainly hit it off. Erin loved following Mia around and they even had a little cuddle!

It was so lovely to meet another local blogger in Chloe. She also lives in the middle of nowhere so we have that in common. It was also super nice to have someone to chat to who didn’t make me feel awkward or out of place. I know I was the ‘smallest’ blogger at the event but chatting to Chloe made me feel more a part of everything.

After the painting we received some gorgeous gifts to go home with. I love a pamper in the bath so I’m really looking forward to trying some of these!

Love Boo

Congratulations Mummy Kit and Baby Very Gentle Top-To-Toe Wash

Young Soles

Daughter of the Soil

White Mulberry Shea Body Butter

Kingdom of you personalised book

Thank you so much to Amy and SNS for inviting us to this event. We had a blast, got messy and have coffee plans for next month with a new friend!

Disclaimer: We received items mentioned in this post as gifts.

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Selfies with Dinosaurs at Jurassic Kingdom

On a recent trip to London I was determined to do something a little bit different. When the opportunity to go to Jurassic Kingdom arose, I jumped at the chance. Who doesn’t want to go somewhere with life size dinosaurs? Me, my sister and her boyfriend most certainly did.

When we headed to Osterley Park, ,about 25 minutes outside of central London, we had no idea what to expect from Jurassic Kingdom. We didn’t even know if we were really in the right place until we got right up to Osterley House when signs became a bit clearer. Having never been to Osterley Park before, we were all impressed by how beautiful it was. It’s definitely somewhere I would go back to.

Picking up our tickets at the box office was a bit of a pain. There was a queue of maybe 4 or 5 groups in front of us. No one moved for ages. No one said anything. No one from the box office called anyone forward. It was only when I asked the woman in front of us if they were actually waiting that I was told that they were only waiting because they wanted to pay by card and the machine wasn’t working. The queue system wasn’t handled very well and I hate to think how long I could have been stood there for.

Before going through to Jurassic Kingdom there was a few different food and drink stalls as well as VR systems to try out (extra cost) and somewhere to buy merchandise.

It was an absolutely glorious day when we visited. It was also during the Easter holidays which meant Jurassic Kingdom was pretty busy. We didn’t mind this at all although it was a bit strange going without Erin and there being so many children running around. My sister took on the task of taking part in the fun trail task we were given at the entrance.

Honestly, we all really loved Jurassic Kingdom. I don’t care that we’re all 30+ and didn’t have a child with us. It was so fun seeing which kinds of dinosaurs were there, taking selfies with some of them and also learning a bit as we went.

As you can see, Chris was much better at the selfies than me! The sun was blinding and I couldn’t see what I was taking pictures of. I had to hope for the best.

The stars of the attraction, the dinosaurs, were so impressive! Being only 1 Erin may have been a bit scared but the other children running around seemed to love them and were really excited!

All three of us thoroughly enjoyed our visit and we had so much fun and laughed loads! It may not have been what we would have picked to do on another day but it has made us all want to try new things.

Tickets for the London event were £13.50 per adult and I do think this was a little expensive, especially considering the other locations cost £2 less.

Jurassic Kingdom is moving around the country until the end of October. Check out dates, locations and prices here!

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

 

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Easter Weekend DIY

With John being home over the Easter weekend I thought it would be a really good time to try to get a couple of things done around the house. Easter weekends seems to be a time when a lot of households dust of their paintbrushes and tools and get to work.

DIY

Our living room/ dining room is pretty big and it goes off into an ‘L’ shape at the back. This used to be our library but with Erin pulling and climbing everything, the bookcases had to go. That small space has been an awful orange colour since we moved in 3 years ago so I was determined to make it white like the rest of the room. We went in with a MASSIVE tub of white paint. The walls took 4-5 coats to completely cover the orange. While I’m so much happier now it does make me realise the rest of the room needs painting too now!

The living room is the next room on our list to get decorated properly but so far we’re having trouble finding the right paint. I love the Farrow and Ball colour we tried but I can’t justify the price tag especially when the walls aren’t in the best condition. They need skimming really and I don’t want to use expensive paint only to re-do it again in a couple of years.

The garden also needed a bit of attention! Jackson dug holes all over the place and Erin fell in one a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to fill them in for a while now. Luckily, they weren’t too deep and didn’t take much soil to fill. I’ve now added in some grass seed and I’ll hope that it starts to grow soon.

While we didn’t go mad with the DIY, I am really happy with what did get done. I feel like now that these couple of jobs have been done I can concentrate of figuring out what to do with my newly painted area. At the minute it has no purpose whatsoever! 

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Easter activities from Phoenix Trading

The Easter break can end up feeling like a really long time for some families. Children are off school for 2 weeks and that’s a lot of time to fill with things to do! Although Erin is only 1, I have been looking for some things to keep her busy this Easter weekend. Phoenix Trading helped us out!

Phoenix Trading

little woodland animals colour in card

Who doesn’t love colouring in? This Little Woodland Animals card is for children a fair bit older than Erin. Well, Erin could certainly give it a go but she’s more interested in eating crayons at the minute than figuring out how to colour with them. This card has loads to discover and a good mix of large and small bits to colour in.

happy families card game

The Happy Families Card Game is probably my favourite out of the three activities. We love anything animal related in our house. This card game has 40 cards, with 10 different animal families. Not only is this a fun card game to play, collecting families of animals, but it will also help to teach Erin about animals.

I really love how cute the pictures are on these cards. Each animal is dressed differently and doing something different!

Holiday fun pack

It might not be summer yet but this Holiday Fun Pack really gets me in the mood to go away. We’re not going abroad this year colouring in sand castles, ice creams and sunglasses really help me to look forward to some sunny weather and trips to the beach. The great thing about this pack is that it can be used all year round and it’s a really fun way to help get children excited about a holiday.

Phoenix Trading not only offer a really fun range of activities at super affordable prices but they also sell stationery too! Come back during National Stationery Week to see what else they do!

Disclaimer: We were sent items for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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My London Getaway!

Last week I did something I didn’t think I’d do for a really long time. I went away for a couple of days without Erin or John. Part of realising that I have PND also meant that I realised that I need some me time now and again. So, I headed off to London for a night to see my sister and her fiance (Nat & Chris). It was also a kind of late birthday present too.

London

I arrived late morning on the Thursday and we started off with a Wetherspoons breakfast before heading off to Jurassic Kingdom (Review coming soon). Even though Erin wasn’t with me, I still wanted to do a couple of things that maybe I wouldn’t have normally done before. We all had loads of fun, especially taking selfies with the dinosaurs. It was a beautiful day as well so it was nice to get out of the city and in a big, open space.

After Jurassic Kingdom I headed to my hotel, the Holiday Inn Express (Review coming soon) in North Acton, to check in and lighten my bags a bit. The hotel was a 2 minute walk from the tube station so that was great. It is about 20 minutes away from central London on the tube but I didn’t mind that at all.

On Thursday evening we had tickets to see Dreamgirls (Review coming soon), which was my birthday present from Nat and Chris. Before the theatre we went to Bills for dinner. Bills is one of my favourite restaurants so I knew the food would be amazing!

I was so incredibly excited about seeing Dreamgirls. Not living in London means never really being too bothered about seeing any shows. However, Dreamgirls is a favourite of mine and I was desperate to see it. Unfortunately though, Amber Riley wasn’t in it on the night we went but that wasn’t a problem. Come back to read the review in a few days!

On Friday we also had quite a few plans. I got up quite early and headed out for a roam about on my own before meeting Nat and Chris again. We were meeting near the Southbank Center so I went to look at the London Eye and to chill by the river. I think I got there at about 9am and it was so quiet and peaceful. It was a lovely place to be before everything opened.

At 11:30 we had tickets for the London Duck Tours. (Review coming soon) I’ve never done a tour of London before and I was so excited about this. This really didn’t disappoint and it’s one of the most fun things I’ve done in London.

Lunch on Friday was my favourite restaurant of all time, Vapiano. There are branches all over the world and they have the best pasta ever.

Vapiano

Of course, we had to do a bit of shopping so we went to Liberty’s and Carnaby Street where I finally got to go to Choccywoccydoodah. I was in chocolate heaven and could have bought everything. I didn’t though. Instead, we went to Bubblewrap Waffle in Chinatown. I had to wait an hour for a waffle but my god was it worth it!?

By this time we were all exhaused but we headed to Westfield Stratford as it’s not far from where Chris lives. He had to pick up some bits as he and Nat were coming back with me for the weekend. Nat and I did some wedding dress viewing and a bit more shopping but that didn’t last long. My poor feet were killing me.

My London getaway was bloody knackering but it was so needed. I got to do loads of my favourite things and also do something new and exciting. I can’t say I felt refreshed but I can quite happily go for quite some time now before needing some time to myself like that again.

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Cuckooland Play, Learn & Sleep Bed

I have a bit of an obsession with anything to do with Erin, whether that be her clothes or how her bedroom is set up. I’m always looking for new and exciting products and something that is just a bit different and special. I recently discovered Cuckooland, a website that offers

Our nation’s obsession with Scandinavian style and all things monochrome continues to dominate interior design in 2017, and is reflecting more than ever in children’s rooms, as parents strive to create tasteful spaces that match the rest of the house. But is this what kids really want? A recent study found that a slide is the 2nd most popular feature children want in their room, topped only by a tree house. So, how to make everyone happy? Introducing the beautiful new Play, Learn & Sleep Bed from Danish children’s furniture designer Lifetime. At £595, Play Learn & Sleep is Lifetime’s first affordable feature bed, and includes a climbing ladder with rope, a blackboard along the side, and a slide at the end. Perfectly combining the Scandi style that grown-ups love with the fun that kids crave, we’re not the only ones jumping for joy over this new bed! Cuckooland

Play, Learn & Sleep Bed, £595

This exciting and educational furniture piece is a great way to encourage kids’ imaginations – they’ll love entertaining their friends on their very own playground, scribbling on the blackboard, and quite literally climbing into bed every night!  Ideally suited to transitioning your toddler into a big boy’s or girl’s bed, the ladder and slide can be removed as your child grows to leave a sleek single bed. Made from solid Scandinavian Pine from sustainable forests, this environmentally friendly bed will last a lifetime!

Cuckooland

View the new Play, Learn & Sleep range online at Cuckooland.com here.

What do you think of the bed? I know Erin would love it!

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are our own.

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Keeping warm with The Hot Water Bottle Shop

I know it’s the middle of April but we live in the UK. Spring doesn’t necessarily mean warm weather and I HATE being cold, especially on an evening. A hot water bottle normally does the trick to warm me up quickly.

My hot water bottle is getting quite old now. It was something John bought me a few years ago. Now that there are three of us in the house one hot water bottle just isn’t enough. We were lucky enough to be sent new hot water bottles from the Hot Water Bottle Shop. John has been given my old one while Erin and I have got lovely Mummy and daughter bottles. Poor John always gets the second hand stuff.

hot water bottleErin generally wants whatever I have so I love the idea of us having our own hot water bottles. As you can see from the picture above, Erin has a small hot water bottle with a pink polka dot cover while mine is larger with a purple cover. Erin’s bottle is a bit more fun than mine and I like that!

These hot water bottles are a bit different than what I’m used to. These are Eco hot water bottles and I’d never even heard of them before. Unlike the traditional hot water bottle, these come in the form of a hard plastic. However, the bottle gets softer as you add the water!

hot water bottle

hot water bottle

One aspect of these bottles that I really like are the screw top lids. I HATE the tops on traditional hot water bottles because I always seem to get water spill out  no matter what I do.

Before I used these for the first time I was worried that they wouldn’t be as comfortable as what I was used to. I was really wrong. I was also a bit worried about how warm it would get for Erin. I did wait quite a while after boiling the kettle before filling hers. She didn’t quite understand what the bottle was far and I think it will be some time before she does. At the moment, she’s happy to have hers with a bit of warm water in just to be like Mummy.

These hot water bottles are fantastic quality and I know we’ll be using them for a long time. Even before using them you can tell they’re better than a regular, cheap hot water bottle!

REMEMBER: Never leave children and babies unattended with a hot water bottle.

Disclaimer: We received items for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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