Yum, back to pasta. A wonderful invention set to make amazing meals in no time at all, and yet they are healthy and super tasty. So yes, this blog will be full of many different pasta meal ideas. Sorry.
Carbonara is an Italian classic that everyone has heard of and probably tried. I have managed to find a way to make this dish super easy and tasty every time. I have tried hundreds of different methods to make a carbonara and this is the one that is the winner for me.
350g dried tagliatelle
150g smoked bacon chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs
150ml double cream
2 tbsp chopped parsley
How I make it
Cook pasta and drain
Fry bacon for 4-5mins
add to drained pasta and 1tbsp olive oil
Put eggs in a bowl, add cream, whisk together
add to pasta (while pasta still warm) and add cheese
serve with parsley on top
This is a very simple and easy meal to cook and goes down a treat with my daughter and household. I usually serve with a herby bread and salad followed by a fruity dessert.
This recipe is not one for the children. But a great recipe to help you feel like a kid again and relax on a rare occasion that the kids are not at home.
Prosecco has become a ‘fashionable’ drink to have at any occasion within the last 5 years. But drinking the same drink over and over becomes boring and tiresome, so we make cocktails and do something different to make our drinks a bit more appetising.
These prosecco jellies are great for parties and special occasions (kept away from the little ones of course) and taste amazing every time, and feature at my Christmas Time Parties which I hold. (So long as we are allowed this year, you will see them featured on my social media)
Simple to make and a great crowd pleaser, your guests will be begging you for more. One is never enough!
300g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
10 sheets leaf gelatine
750ml bottle pink prosecco chilled
1/2 tsp edible glitter
How I made them
First put caster sugar in pan with 250ml water. Heat gently, stirring continuously until dissolved.
Bring to boil and bubble for 2 mins.
Remove from heat, and add vanilla extract, leave to cool for 5 mins
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 3 mins to soften.
Squeeze out excess water then add to the warm syrup and stir until dissolved.
Pour in the prosecco and edible glitter and stir to combine.
Pour into 8 glasses and chill for about 5 hrs until set.
Serve to all your friends and family and ENJOY!
I recommend making a couple of batches (or more depending on how many guests you have), as you will be wanting more after having one. Alternatively making the jellies in a smaller portion is another great way to add fun, as they become jelly shots in every sense.
I love a macaroni cheese, it is such a versatile meal. You can have it as a starter, a side dish or a main meal. And my gosh it is great!
I love to mix up the recipe a little adding different ingredients and making it something special each time.
For this recipe I added ham (forgot tomatoes) and a small teaspoon of yellow mustard. It tasted amazing and belles absolutely loved it. Paired with a side salad and some garlic bread this dish becomes a full on meal.
375g macaroni pasta
100g plain flour
2tbsp dijon mustard
300g gruyere grated
150g extra mature cheddar grated
500g ham hock shredded
100g fresh breadcrumbs
How I made it
Cook pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water until just tender. drain and toss in olive oil.
Melt the butter in a large pan, stir in flour and cook out for a few mins. heat the milk separately, then whisk into the flour and butter over a low heat until thickened. stir in the mustard and all the cheese keeping back about 5tbsp
Heat the oven to 190c/ gas 5. mix sause into pasta add ham. Put into large dish and top with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese.
Bake in oven for 20mins or until golden.
There you have it! My wonderful take on a macaroni cheese. Look out for more of my macaroni recipes as I explore this dish with more flavours!
Being mum can be a little bit monotonous sometimes. We have the same jobs to do, and we usually end up with the same results. Having children brings a lot of chaos, mess and energy. It often leads to a lot of laughter, and fun, but also you can end up with stress.
When having a child the first thing you have to remember is that YOU CANNOT CONTROL EVERYTHING. Even if you try to control something, more often than not that little monkey will have a plan of their own which scuppers anything you have already thoughtfully and lovingly planned out.
I used to plan almost every inch of my day out before having Belle, but after the first few months, despite the fact that I had kept to a routine I learnt that a routine is literally the ONLY thing I could control about my day. Children have no concept of time, they have no concept of how long something takes to do, or of the consequences of their actions. What looks and sounds great on paper is something that a child might not even understand of want to do.
So here is a small insight to a
6:30am – Chaos begins. Belles runs into my bedroom full of life and determined to have that morning cuddle in mummy’s bed before getting up and ready for the day. So in she gets and we have this wonderful sleepy cuddle as we slowly wake up. (by we I mean me.)
7am – Time for us to get dressed, do our teeth and brush our hair (basically just get ready for the day.) I let Belle choose her clothes for the day for when she finishes school and then we migrate downstairs.
7:30 – 8am – Breakfast time, usually a bowl of cereal and a slice of toast for my little one (and if still hungry a banana). For me a cup of tea and slice of toast.
8-8:30am – a couple of cartoons as I clean the kitchen ready for the rest of the day, and then its coats and shoes on, and then we’re off to school.
9am – a little more cleaning of the rest of the house, then a nice sit down with a cup of tea and watching some news. I will also have a shower, do my hair/makeup, so I feel like myself. This is the only time of the day I get to myself so here I like to relax.
11:30am – leave to go and collect Belles from nursery.
Midday – Lunch and a wind down from school for half an hour.
12:30pm – time for some afternoon activities. Anything from baking, lego/duplo, dolls house, arts and crafts. Just whatever I feel like doing for the day with Belle. Occasionally it will be us leaving the house for the day to visit friends or family members, which stops us both from going stir crazy.
During this whole period my house will be destroyed. It will look like a tornado has hit, or like I haven’t even bothered with the house for the last week. It bothers me yes, but as long as Belle is having fun that is what matters.
5:00pm – Dinner time. I start this around 4/4:30pm and then always aim to sit down for dinner at around 5pm. The timings are approximate but the goal is there.
From there on it is our bedtime routine, which consists of a bath which lasts about half an hour. 3 books to read together, and then a song before going to sleep. Once Belle has gone to bed that is when I tidy up any left over toys from the day, clean the kitchen once more, and settle down to write my blog.
My Time with Belle
I love the time I get with Belles and I try to cherish every moment I get. She goes to her dads 3 nights of the week due to my job and the mum guilt I feel is so strong that I feel bad for wasting a day with her. My ultimate goal every day is to have a lot of laughter and things to do so we can have quality time together. Even when we have a movie day and sit in front of the TV I try to make it as special as I can, Popcorn, blankets, and a few little games that we can do.
What I want you all to realise is that no matter how much you want that clean and tidy house, for a child a clean and tidy house is torture. Let them mix their toys up, it encourages their imagination. Let them empty the entire contents of a toy box or drawer – how will they learn about anything if they always have to think about being tidy.
I do have rules in my house, and one of those rules are that if she wants to play with something new and stop playing COMPLETELY with the toys she already has out, then the current toys have to be put away first. However if she was playing with her dolls house and decided that her Lego people wanted to move next door and interact with her dolls house, then GO FOR IT BABY! I love to see a child play properly using their imagination and working out how things can fit together.
The time we get with our little ones is so short that we can’t worry about the mess that they bring, and the state of the playroom/ living room/ bedroom. We should be focusing on them and how their little brains work, encouraging them to do more, and being there for them to help them become the person they are inside.
My role of mum is the most important role that I will ever have. What I decide to do with my little girl shapes her future. I read with her as much as she wants me to, and I join in with her when she is playing. I use arts and crafts and baking to break up monotonous activities, such as TV. I want her mind to be stimulated so she constantly learns.
This is how I run my house. It is definitely going to be different from everyone else, but also similar in some aspects. We are all different and every child is different aswell. Only you as the parent will know what stimulates your children the most, and your daily routines will echo this.
Halloween is just around the corner, and already the discussion with most parents is “trick or treating”.
With Covid-19 still being incredibly prominent in the world at the moment, the general consensus with most parents is that the Trick or Treat tradition is cancelled this year. I have never really liked Halloween. I guess that I just don’t really get why we “celebrate” this day, its the end of October and the end of most harvests leading us into winter. But why do we have one night celebrating all the things that scare a child; witches, zombies, vampires, ghosts etc.
I get that it is an American tradition, but why do we have to celebrate it in the UK. We don’t celebrate other American days such as Independence Day or Thanks Giving.
So what I am starting off to say is that I have never really “got” Halloween, and therefore I have never really “celebrated” it.
Why I am Against Trick or Treating
My little girl will NEVER go trick or treating. I do not believe that I am being cruel, but I believe that the simple act of going door step to door step begging for sweets goes against many of my beliefs.
We should NEVER take sweets off a stranger!
For some reason on Halloween it is acceptable to take sweets off a stranger despite the fact that we teach our children that we shouldn’t ever take sweets off a stranger. I feel this is a little hypocritical.
Knocking on everyone’s doors
The elderly especially really hate this season as they have so many people knocking on their doors. They worry about who could be at their door, and whether they are genuine trick or treaters or scum bags attempting to rob them blind.
Children essentially BEG for sweets
Are we teaching our children that it’s ok to beg others for food? I don’t like this concept. Also has no one read the story of Hansel and Gretel?! Does no-one remember that it is sweets that are used to lure the children in?
Celebrating the things that SCARE our children
This one baffles me the most. Why are we expected to celebrate the things that scare our children most? Why do we encourage them to dress up as the things that make them scream (and not in a good way).
Kids think its fun to EGG Houses
This one I do not get at all and it infuriates me. The fact that parents ALLOW their kids to do this and ruin peoples houses and cars is absolutely ridiculous. It makes me wonder if there are any good parents out there at all. The kids that egg houses and cars should be locked up to teach them a lesson.
As I said I DO NOT GET HALLOWEEN! Children should not be expected to celebrate it, and under no circumstance should they be expected to BEG for SWEETS from STRANGERS.
Halloween goes against anything that we as parents teach our children, and yet for some reason it seems to be ok. I’m not ok with this, and on the evening of Halloween you will find me sat in my living room watching the first CHRISTMAS film of the year in the dark. As my preparations for CHRISTMAS start from the beginning of November, for my favourite time of year.
It’s been a little over 3 years since I had my little girl, and I am still suffering with Postnatal Depression. The only problem is, that now she is not a baby anymore it can’t really be called “postnatal” anymore.
Whilst I know that it is there, and it can effect me sometimes terribly, I never let it rule who I am. My postnatal depression does not define who I am.
Thousands of women (and men as well) go through some sort of post-baby emotional rollercoaster. Many go undiagnosed and untreated leading to a whole new world of mental health problems. Postnatal depression and anxiety is incredibly common, and some don’t even realise they are suffering until they have been dealing with this overwhelming state of mind for months, or even years.
Sometimes it takes a friend or family member to point it out to you. Sometimes it takes a particularly hard day to open your eyes and realise you need help.
But this is my story!
Effecting My Life
I noticed I was not feeling myself when Belle was just 6months old. I was crying a lot, and feeling constantly overwhelmed and out of my depth. I didn’t really think much of it though. A new baby, a new routine, and a massive change in life, it’s inevitable that you are going to feel overwhelmed and emotionally drained, right?
Sometimes my mood would be so low that I wouldn’t be able to function. I would have days that I wouldn’t get dressed or even care about myself for weeks. I would be absent from my mind, meaning I was interacting with my daughter but not really paying full attention to everything. It’s a scary thought.
I would obsess over whether or not I was bonding properly with Belle, I would obsess over what I could do better, and how I could do things differently. Then as I realised that what I was feeling ticked all the boxes of Anxiety and Depression a wave of relief came over me, as I realised it was time to get help.
To this day my anxiety and depression effect my daily life.
If I arrange to meet up with someone but they have to cancel I have so many questions that it can really effect me for a few days, as my mood drops drastically.
“why did they cancel?”
“don’t they like spending time with me?”
“Why does everyone do this to me?”
“Is there something wrong with me?”
These are just a few of the questions that go round my head. As you can see, these questions bounce of each other and the more they circle around my head the more I fixate on the possible answers.
I basically end up making up a story in my head about the situation which is in no way at all true.
This causes problems with my friends and my social life. Because who would want to spend time with someone who is constantly negative?! (see I’m doing it again!)
Feeling depressed and anxious 90% of the time leads you to feel ridiculously isolated and lonely, at a time when you need to be around everyone you know.
It’s tough. But when you notice you going into a drop, this is when GOOD friends are vital for survival.
A good friend will stay with you no matter the thoughts that go through your head. A good friend will constantly be there to help build you back up when you are on a down. Luckily for me I have ONE friend that I can always depend on to help me when I am down.
Reaching Out for Help
I reached out for help multiple times during the last 3 years, with my mood.
I felt let down by the health professionals who are supposed to be there for you in the first year after having a baby. I told them how I was feeling. I told them how it was effecting me. I told the health visitor everything. She put me on a watch list for a few weeks, and then removed me because she only ever saw me on a good day.
I became good at hiding my emotions in public. To friends and family I was happy, and contented with my life. The one person who truly knew me, even believed that I was fine, despite the fact that I had told him everything!
After being ignored and released by the health visitor and doctors, I spent the next year living with depression and learning how to deal with it by myself.
It wasn’t until I split with my Ex that I finally reached out for help again. Due to Covid-19 the Doctor surgeries were asking patients to not suffer alone, and come to them if we notice any signs of depression at all. So I took them up on the chance when I had an appointment for something else. This is when I finally got the help I needed.
I had gained a lot of weight (in my eyes) through comfort eating, I had moved up 2 dress sizes and didn’t feel comfortable with my new size at all. I was constantly fatigued, and was barely functioning as a human being. Finally someone was happy to try and help me.
Their first point of call was to put me on medication – why do medical professionals ALWAYS do this? – I refused as I don’t want to mask the symptoms but deal with the cause.
They took blood tests to check my hormone levels (I don’t even know what for), and they put me in contact with a therapist.
From there on in, I have been fully supported and helped throughout my journey and I am so excited to see my life improve and my relationship with Belle get even stronger as she gets the mum she deserves returning.
You are not alone!
We are all in this together!
It takes a village to raise a child, we cannot do it all alone!
I joined a dating app and I honestly thought that I was ready.
I loved the attention and talking to guys getting to know them etc. But when it came down to one guy wanting to meet up with me, I ran. I hid under the duvet in my bedroom and curled up into a ball. He was a great guy, and we totally got on, but I feel so horrible for backing out. I just couldn’t go through with it. I had so many thoughts going through my mind that they became all consuming, and too much for me to deal with.
Perhaps now just isn’t the time.
Or perhaps a dating app isn’t the right way of dating for me. I mean I was talking to a guy that I had met in person and felt much more comfortable with meeting up with him. Was it because I knew what he looked like, what he was like? Or was it just because I already kind of know this guy as we used to go to school together?
I don’t know.
But one thing I do know is that I was not comfortable with the idea of meeting up with a complete stranger! And I’m still not.
It’s funny isn’t it? You can feel really connected with someone over text messages, and the like, but when it comes to meeting up you completely freeze. I never thought that this would be a problem for me. I knew I wanted to start dating again, but perhaps it’s still too soon for me, in terms of meeting a stranger anyway.
Is it my own fault?
The problem for me is that I have a lot of criteria for a man to fall in to, and it’s partly because of the relationship I left, and partly due to being a single mum.
You should be taller than me, preferably a stubble but not absolutely necessary. (I want to be able to wear heels and not be taller than the guy, I know this makes me kind of shallow? (is that the word) but I want to feel comfortable at all times)
Be good with children. Obviously. I have a daughter and you should be good with children as I can’t be with someone who isn’t and who doesn’t want children.
You should be looking for a long term relationship, NOT a hook up! Yes by opening up an online dating profile I instantly found men who were looking for just a hook up rather than a meaningful relationship. Sorry guys! I’m not that desperate.
Live near me. I can’t move from the town I am in, or at least not too far away. My little girls dad lives in the next town along, and my whole family live close by, they are my rock, I can’t leave them to move to the other side of the country.
You should be fun. Obviously! I want to have a good laugh, go out and have a good time, and not feel like someone shoved into the corner at a party, or like I am forcing a sense of humour out of you.
This is my criteria, but I feel like it’s going to be too much to ask for from a man. Men are simple beings and I have seen a lot of them already run a mile when they find out I have a child. And it breaks my heart.
Plans for the future
So whilst I failed at using a dating app, and actually feeling comfortable with meeting up with someone that I “met” on one. I think that meeting someone in person and having a connection with them (old school like) is probably the best way forward for me.
Part of me thinks that I am slightly reluctant because I know that my Ex is no where near ready to start looking for someone else, despite the fact that I am. I am looking for companionship and someone to spend the evenings with when my little one is asleep. I just want a best friend who is always there for me, rather than someone who is more interested in their work than their family.
Whilst I have been attempting to go back into the world of dating, I think perhaps for now I will leave it. I’m not eager to get back into a relationship, and the thought of it at the moment is quite paralysing. For now I will just sit and wait, something will come to me eventually. (Especially when this lockdown finally eases!!) And I for one, am incredibly excited to see what the future has in store for me.