Best Brownies Recipe

Recipe for the best sticky chocolate brownies

Ingredients:
75 grams of butter
100 grams of light brown sugar
2 eggs
100 grams self raising flour
100 grams chocolate caramel spread
200 grams nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
100 grams white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180 and grease a square tin with butter and dust with flour.
Cream together the butter and sugar and add in one of the eggs and the flour. Add the other egg and vanilla extract. Mix in the two spreads and the salt. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake for 20-25 mins until firm around the outside and slightly soft in the middle. Leave to cool before cutting into squares.

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Family Favourites

Family Favourites

I am always looking for new things to use on Amelia. Recently she’s developed some really dry patches on her back. I found this cream in the asda baby event for £1.25! Even after two applications there’s a noticeable difference. It smells divine and I’m tempted to buy the other products in the range.

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Another favourite at the moment are the asda little angels peppa pig first pants. We’ve had a few ‘incidents’ – read Amelia weed on the carpet – because all her crawling, climbing and rolling was undoing her nappies. These are perfect as she can’t undo them and they have an adorable peppa pig design on them. At £3.87 for a pack of 30 they are a reasonable price and we’ve had no leaks, Day or night.

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Organix apple and orange oat bars are now a regular on the shopping list too. Amelia makes a mess crumbling them up but as she scoops up the little bits and eats them it’s not so bad. (In the Aldi baby event they have boxes of 6 organix bars for £1.99)

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I’m sure the shopping list gets longer as Amelia grows. She is 9 months in a couple of weeks and her first birthday is coming round so quickly. What did you do for your little ones first birthdays?

Quick and Easy Tasty Dinners

Easy dinners

1. Stir fry. The easiest has got to be a stir fry. for the one below I used a garlic and hoisin sauce from Aldi, a Chinese stir fry mix from Tesco, mushrooms and dried egg noodles. It’s super easy to boil the noodles and stir fry the vegetables.

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2. At home Indian. For this one I shopped at Asda. I bought a saag aloo side for me, a chicken tikka masala for rob and a pack of 8 mini vegetable samosas and onion Bhajis. Boiling rice and warming up naan breads was simple enough and the other bits were microwaveable

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3. Shepherds pie. To make this one easier I use frozen mashed potato. Frying the meat and your choice of vegetables and adding gravy is quick and this can be prepared in advance and warmed in the oven before serving. I usually top mine with grated cheese

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4. Of course there has to be easy to make and delicious puddings too. One of my favourite is these double chocolate cookies. These are good for little fingers too. Find the recipe – one of my cookie in a jar gift ideas – here.

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Raspberry and white chocolate tray bake

Raspberry and white chocolate tray bake

2 eggs
4 ounces of self raising flour
4 ounces of sugar
4 ounces of butter
3 and a half ounces of white chocolate chips
3 and a half ounces of fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Grease a small square baking tin by rubbing with butter and dusting with flour.

Cream the sugar and butter together. Add an egg and half the flour. Mix well and add the remaining egg and the rest of the flour. Fold in the white chocolate chips, adding the raspberries last so they don’t get to squashed.

Pour the batter into the tin and gently spread the mixture out so that the pan is evenly filled.

Cook the cake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and springy to touch.

Allow to cool and cut into pieces – I made mine into 9 good sized squares.

This recipe would also work with strawberries and milk chocolate or could be used to fill cupcake cases.

I served mine with squirty cream and extra raspberries

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(This recipe is my own and so are my pictures.)

The Easy But Challenging Life as a Mum

The Easy But Challenging Life as a Mum

Maybe it’s because I had a rather awful and unhealthy pregnancy and Amelia’s first few weeks were hospital ones but everything since then hasn’t been particularly hard. A few people – ones that didn’t have children I might point out – were quick to tell me that I had no idea how hard I was going to find it. And I can happily say they were wrong.

I didn’t have any baby weight to lose, my tummy was almost flat the day after Amelia was born and within a week I was back in my size 8 jeans and nobody would believe I’d just had a baby. (I am well aware that I was very lucky with this and fully appreciate that other mums may struggle with this. Please bare in mind my diet has always been healthy with fruit as snacks and three balanced meals a day. If I lived on take aways I doubt I would have skimmed down so quickly.) I waited for the dreaded csection pouch but it never arrived – unless you see the scar and the two, 1cm long stretch marks under my belly button my tummy has been completely unchanged by the experience.

I was and still am extremely grateful for my body springing back so quickly – with my HG sickness, SPD and obstetric choleostasis my pregnancy was spent in a lot of hospitals. A struggle with my weight was not one I was looking forward to.

Amelia is one of the happiest babies. Everyone we encounter comments on how she never seems to cry. She doesn’t sleep through the night but there’s something so cute about her cuddling into me in the middle of the night. The lack of sleep can be easily forgiven. I am not a fan of cry it out or sleep training so am more than happy to cuddle her all night if that’s what she needs.

For us the biggest challenge – health problems aside – was the breast feeding. For us it just wasn’t working well enough to continue so at just past four months we swapped to formula and we are both happier for it. Expressing was incredibly time consuming for me returning to uni so we made the switch to formula and haven’t looked back.

Balancing uni, a clean flat, work and Amelia should be extremely difficult. But somehow it isn’t. I have days where it seems like I’ve given myself way too much to do but they pass and I get everything done.

If you’re reading this and worrying about your to do list, stop and take a few minutes to have a cup of tea and appreciate the things you have already done. If all you’ve achieved so far that day is a clean and fed baby then you are doing brilliantly already. If you’ve been trying to loose a few pounds and you manage half a pound last week when you wanted to be minus three then that’s still really good too! Every little bit adds up towards your overall goals.

Often we are our own worst enemy, piling on the pressure. There will always be someone who you can’t please but that’s okay. Your life is yours. If you need help ask. If you need a break take it. Judgemental people aren’t worthy of your time.

Balancing Baby, Uni and Work

Balancing Baby, Uni and Work

Not so long ago, when our parents were younger, when our grandparents were having babies it was the normal thing to have the Mum stay at home and look after the babies.

Now that’s not so common. People are having babies younger and money is a lot tighter. Our parents were buying houses in their twenties, my generation will be lucky if they can ever leave rented properties. Whatever the reason a lot of mums and dads are now balancing family life with work and studying.

I am a full time student and will be returning to work part time very soon. It’s important to be organised to make this work. What do I do to try and make it easier?

1- pack Amelia’s changing bag and lay out her clothes the night before
2- check my timetable for the week and save the dates on my phone
3- take advantage of any help offered. My mum said when I was pregnant that she’d be happy to look after Amelia if needed so we have a standing arrangement that she has Amelia one morning a week whilst I’m at uni.
4- my university has a policy for extending dead lines. If you need an extension and your uni will allow it then ask! It is not a weakness to ask for extra time.
5- I always cook too much. Instead of throwing it away I make up extra meals and freeze them. When I’m late back from uni we can just stick them in the microwave which makes life a lot easier.
6- keep a text book in each room – this way if Amelia falls asleep on me I have a book I can reach and can catchup on reading whilst she naps.
7- make time for a five minute break even if all you do is sit and have a mug of hot chocolate!

I’m always looking for other ways to make student Mum and work life easier so if you have any tips please comment!

Lucy XX

Christmas, Uni and Everything in Between

Catching up

I’ve been a little absent on the blog recently. Christmas was extremely busy, Amelia has been waking more often through the night and this week and next week I have three essays due and an exam. I’ve been surrounded by text books and resources and still have a pile of 10 academic books that I haven’t even begun reading. Amelia, housework and coursework require more hands and brain cells than I have available.

Am I the only person who still has their Christmas decorations up?

Our flat isn’t as tidy as it should be, Amelia’s Christmas presents still don’t have proper homes and I’ve been drying the washing on the radiators as I haven’t had chance to put the clothes away that are on the airer. I still haven’t purchased an iron so our clothes are all a bit wrinkly and my steamer is still at my mums as I leant it to her for cooking Christmas dinner. I’m just not organised enough to have collected it yet. I go back to work in a few weeks and I’m back at uni too so free time is extremely limited.

But we are all fed and clean and Amelia is happy so everything else will get done when I have chance.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and new year.

Lucy x

She Crawls!

She Crawls!

Amelia is 8 months old a week tomorrow – I know where has the time gone?

She can say Mum, dad and Nan and chatters non stop.

The most surprising development is this morning she woke up and started crawling out of the blue. Me and my mum were both fairly certain Amelia would skip the crawling stage and just walk – my brother did pretty much exactly that and was walking unaided by 9 months. But the little lady decided to surprise us all.

She often spends from 4am onwards in bed with rob and I. I have gotten used to being woken up by little hands pulling at my hair. Amelia woke us up this morning by chatting away ‘dadda dad Daddy dadda’. She pulled herself up so that she was sitting in her little sleeping bag – on a side note if your baby doesn’t have a sleeping bag then go and buy one. Amelia has slept so much better since having hers.

We took amelias sleeping bag off so we could change her nappy and as soon as she was free she started rolling around the floor. Neither of us could believe it when she managed to crawl the length of the bed and back five times! Yes it’s an army crawl but as the days gone on she’s got better and better at using her arms.

My little titchy tot isn’t so little anymore.

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Mealtime Monsters

My last post was about two gifts that rob and I had purchased for Amelia. This post is about a few gifts I know my mum has purchased for Amelia. (Because I was with her at the time.)

Amelia is getting bigger now and eating anything she can get her hands on. She is still toothless so struggles with some bits but otherwise is a very happy little eater.

This wonderful monster bowl, plate and cutlery set makes meal times more fun for little ones. It’s from Aldi and I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it on Christmas Day.

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The snack bowl is designed to help little ones with their coordination as it has a soft lid that they must put their fingers through to pick up the food. I’m looking forward to seeing Amelia’s little face. She loves bright colourful things and eating so combining the two will be a win all round.

Pets Party

With Christmas being so close my posts are admittedly getting shorter. Amelia’s nanny’s and uncles and friends and other family have been busy shopping.

Rob and I have tried not to buy too much for her but there were a few items I couldn’t resist.

Two of these are from the lovely Cath Kidston ‘pets party’ range. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore guineapigs. I have two of my own called beep and nibble (@beep_and_nibble on instagram if you want to see pictures) so when I found a range of guinea pig decorated items I knew Amelia had to have some of them.

I restrained myself admirably and bought her the lunch plate which is really good as it is divided into sections and a lunch bag which is insulated so if you put an ice block in it the food stays cool.

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(I say restrained because there are a number of items in the pets party range and I really wanted to buy them all. Anyone else feel compelled to buy entire sets?)