Monday, 29 October 2012

Rose and Pistachio Cupcakes

Mmmmmm - from my Cupcake Heaven magazine - scrumptious !

Recipe also found here. This link takes you to the Ella Valentine eggs website.  Has anyone seen these pink egg boxes in Sainsburys.  They are cheaper than normal eggs, still free range but after a bit of internet research I've come to the conclusion that they are exactly the same as the other free range eggs on the shelves.

Weekly Meal Plan - October 29th

Monday - Chilli con carne and rice
Tuesday - Jackets with beans, cheese and bacon
Wednesday - Toad in the Hole
Thursday - Creamy Pasta with Asparagus
Friday - Fragrant courgette & prawn curry - yes we had this the last two weeks but my mum is staying and she wants to try it!
Saturday - Shepherd's pie
Sunday - unplanned at the mo - never know how long visitors will stay for and how long I have to cook something but we have a freezer full of meals ready for the microwave!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

Continuing on from the letters R2BC I've decided to join U, V and W together...

Umbrellatoddler penguin got a thomas the tank engine big brother pressie from his great aunt and he loves it.  He puts it up and tells us its raining even when we are indoors.  Luckily I'm not too superstitious and don't mind when he puts it over my head telling me quick lets get dry.

Umbilical Cord - It fell off baby penguin this morning whilst papa penguin was changing her nappy. I missed it as I was I the shower. I also missed it when toddler penguin's fell off. Ho hum I'm glad I could provide her of all the required nutrients over the last nine months!

Vehicle - this week we bought a new car. It was depressing paying the outset money from my redundancy money but we've gone for a more eco friendly car which will lower our monthly costs. Its a Vauxhall Astra EcoFlex and its very basic but at least it has air con and a CD player !

Vests - I've just purchased some vests from M&S for toddler penguin so we can layer him up.  I got short sleeved ones to wear under long sleeved t-shirts and long sleeved ones to wear under t-shirts to make them last through the winter a bit more.  Plus I love the look of white long sleeves under his t-shirts.  I found that not only are these great value but they are super soft and wash really well.

Weekends - We're getting lots of visitors over the weekends to come and see our pink bundle of joy !  Think I'm going to appreciate weekends with papa penguin around a lot more once he goes back to work on Tuesday and I become a full time mummy of two.  Well almost full time - toddler penguin will still be at the childminders two days until Christmas.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


I can't believe my little pink bundle of joy is now a week old.  This week has flown by. I'm still getting to grips with breastfeeding, finding the initial latch toe curlingly painful but perservering. Baby penguin is putting on weight so thats the main thing. Night feeds aren't too bad, though papa penguin does nothing except sleep through it all.
Baby Penguin

Toddler penguin is being a great big brother.  We were prepared for more terrible twos but he's really been behaving himself and asking for lots of cuddles from baby penguin.  He has adapted really well with the new addition to our family and I'm super proud of him.
Brother and Sister cuddles

Today is also my fathers birthday.  He would be celebrating his 82nd birthday today but sadly passed away in 2005. I think of him every day, especially more so having just had another baby.  I wish he was still around to meet them and for them to meet their Grandad.
Me and my daddy

Monday, 22 October 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - October 22nd

I can't believe I've managed to get round to meal planning.  It took me a few attempts logging into the sainsburys website and checking the cupboards but I finally did it.  Due to the unexpected early arrival of baby penguin and having my mum to stay last weeks meal plan went to pot and luckily not wasted as I had put all the meat in the freezer.

Decided we need an easy week whilst we get to grips having a 2.5yr old and a 6 day old baby who is actually an angel and has allowed us to eat as a family by staying asleep!

Monday - Pitta Pizzas (pitta bread is cheaper to buy than pizza bases and still super yummy)
Tuesday - Chicken Korma
Wednesday - Jacket Potatoes with Beans and Cheese
Thursday - Salmon Risotto
Saturday - Casserole and potatoes
Sunday - Spag Bol

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

I've one BIG reason to be cheerful this week!  

Baby penguin was born Tuesday (2 days early) at 121pm weighing 7lbs 2oz. 

She is just too perfect for words.

Toddler penguin is going to be a fab big brother!  We are so lucky to have a girl and a boy and could not be happier!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

New Arrival - Pink Bundle of Joy

I am so excited to announe the birth of our baby girl born yesterday 16th October (2 days early) at 121pm weighing 7lbs 2oz.

Had a short 10hr labour which ended with foreceps delivery.

She is perfect, feeding well, sleeping lots and is just gorgeous and now nicknamed baby penguin!

Toddler penguin visited earlier and had lovely cuddles!

Writting from my phone so will update this post when out of hospital....and find the time!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - October 15th

Monday - Steak Casserole with Pie Topper
Tuesday - Fragrant courgette & prawn curry - yes we had this last week but it was super yummy and I want to try it again !
Thursday - Chilli Con Carne and Rice
Friday - Jackets with beans, cheese and bacon
Saturday - Chicken in a Tomato Smoked Paprika Sauce and Rice

Wednesday's dinner
Sainsburys deliver this evening and all meat is going into the freezer to be brought out each day needed.....I'm due on Thursday so who knows what might need to be changed !  Going to make Tuesday's and Wednesday's meal super spicy !

Sunday, 14 October 2012

My weekend of baking

This weekend we had the inlaws visiting.  FIL (father in law) was helping papa penguin to lay laminate in the hallway. It was quite a team effort with even toddler penguin helping out. MIL (mother in law) had a good bash at clearing weeds from the garden and cutting back bushes so toddler penguin has a free reign of the garden path with his scooter.  I can not thank them enough so I showed my appreciation in the form of baked goods.

I bought the autumn/winter 2012 Cupcake Heaven magazine the other day and have fallen in love with every recipe. I made Lavender and Honey cupcakes on Saturday and Earl Grey cupcakes on Sunday.  Both went down a treat with the majority except for papa penguin who demands I make a chocolate with chocolate cupcake! The magazine is more like a book, especially priced at £4.99 but its definitely one to keep and refer back to.  I have found some of the recipes are available online - I guess thats the wonders of the web these days.

I've got waitrose's lavender sugar in the cupboard which I used for the Lavender and Honey cupcakes and the hint of honey was ever so light.  I didn't tell MIL, FIL and papa penguin what was in these purple cupcakes, made them guess and they didn't have a clue.

The Earl Grey cupcakes had a very subtle earl grey flavour and I have some Sunshine Grey tea bags as well that I would try this recipe out with.  Plus they are low fat for those watching their waistline which I sure will over the next few months.

I will definitely be baking these again !
Lavender and Honey Cupcakes & Earl Grey Cupcakes

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

Reasons 2b Cheerful this week begins with T

Time - now I have given up work (well made redundant but it has worked out well) and toddler penguin is at the minders two days a week till Christmas I feel like I have a lot of time on my hands and I'm actually really grateful for it.  Before we know it baby will be here (1 week till my due date!) and we will be dealing with family visits, night feeds and trying involve toddler penguin as much as possible.  I can't wait for baby to come but I'm glad I've had sometime to get ready. This week I've been doing a bit of sewing and made toddler penguin a duvet cover which is currently in the wash.  Today I'm putting blackout curtains in our bedroom and doing a bit more painting in the hallway.

Televisiontoddler penguin has had a horrible cold this week and television has been a saviour. He's been getting crabby playing and not sleeping well.  Also the sciatica I'm suffering in my butt cheek means I'm quite grateful to sit and rest for a bit a couple of times a day. I'd love to get a good collection of disney films so bought Bugs Life and Robin Hood this week.  As baby and I get used to breastfeeding I think having a bit of TV time with Isaac will definitely help. Everything in moderation though!

Tidiness - I've been getting on top of all the household chores and finally feel like everywhere is spotless (apart from the hallway).  Baby will be here soon and I'll have no time to hoover, let alone clean windows, skirting boards or on top of wardrobes. Thankfully I've had lots of time to get the house ready !

Tissues - Also another saviour this week with 
toddler penguin's dripping nose.  Snot just seems to pour out of it all the time and he hates it.  He is constantly screaming TISSUE at me. I won't complain - I hate seeing kids with snotty faces ! I also love the new slimline Kleenex boxes !

Monday, 8 October 2012

Thank you JoJo Maman Bebe

Thank you for your latest my eye on a coat for toddler penguin however in the meantime instead of throwing it away I had great fun cutting out lots of images.  Looking forward to the next raining day and toddler penguin can do some sticking !

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - October 8th

Monday - Pork Schnitzel but with gravy instead of a creamy sauce
Tuesday - Chilli Chicken Men - recipe from my wagamamas cookbook
Wednesday - Jackets with Cheese & Beans
Thursday - Mexican Bean and Rice Salad
Friday - Fragrant courgette & prawn curry
Saturday - Steak pie
Sunday - Fajitas

PS after the yummy wedding food yesterday and all the dancing it didn't bring on any early labour !  11 days to go !

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Could today be the day?

We're off to a wedding later on today. Quite looking forward to it as with less than 2 weeks till baby is due, I don't think I'll be going out for a while! I'm looking forward to mingling with people and having some yummy food and watching two people who've been together for a while say their vows in front of everyone. I'm also looking forward to doing a bit of dancing to cheesy wedding music however with the sciatica pain I've got in my right butt cheek I'm not looking forward to the pain.  Last night was the worst it's ever been and I could barely walk around the house.

My mummy friend went into labour two weeks before her due date after she had spent a day at a wedding so who knows.....with the standing around and dancing - gravity may just do its thing! Luckily we are only an hour from home so if anything does happen we won't be going to the nearest hospital.....though maybe I should google it just I case.....they do say second babies come a lot quicker!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Happy National Poetry Day

In honour of National Poetry Day thought I'd share a few of my favourite poems.  The theme for National Poetry Day this year is stars so I don't think I need to write about Twinkle Twinkle - surely its every mums favourite. 

Now We Are Six - A.A. Milne 
When I was one I had just begun
When I was two I was nearly new
When I was three I was hardly me
When I was four I was not much more
When I was five I was just alive
But now I am six, I'm as clever as clever;
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

Halfway Down - A.A. Milne
Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn't any
other stair
quite like
i'm not at the bottom,
i'm not at the top;
so this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up
And it isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn't really
It's somewhere else

Remember - Christina Georgina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

And here's one of my besties favourites along with the one she read on our wedding day:

Dreams - Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

On Your Wedding Day - Anon
Today is a day you will always remember
The greatest in anyone's life
You'll start off the day just two people in love
And end it as husband and wife.
It's a brand new beginning, the start of a journey
With moments to cherish and treasure
And although they'll be times when you both disagree
These will surely be outweighed by pleasure
You'll have heard many words of advice in the past
When the secrets of marriage were spoken
But you know that the answers lie hidden inside
Where the bond of true love lies unbroken
So live happy forever as lovers and friends
It's the dawn of a new life for you
As you stand there together with love in your eyes
From the moment you whisper ‘I do'
And with luck all your hopes and your dreams can be real
May success find its way to your hearts
Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys
But today is the day it all starts

Reasons 2b Cheerful

Reasons 2b Cheerful this week begins with S

Sofas and showers - two of the best things in our house !  There is nothing like having a sofa day - well actually these days they are sofa mornings as I feel guilty if I spend too long lounging around! Also I can't start the day without a shower.  I love just standing under the hot powerful water with my eyes shut and I love all my different shower gels !  This morning was not fun as hubbie decided to open the window after his shower which meant it was very chilly.  I think I'm going to have to start putting the heating on in the mornings to warm up our towels.

Saturday's and Sunday's - you have to love weekends.  Papa penguin is home from work.  One day of a lay in for me. Family lunches and dinners.  Visits to the parents and generally a chill out time.  This weekend we are off to a wedding.  And next weekend papa penguin is putting new flooring down in the hallway.  Then baby is due and I'm pretty sure all our weekends will become busy with people visiting.  Before we know it will be Christmas !

Schedules - I've been scouring the internet for playgroups that I can start attending from November once I've settled into a routine with the new baby.  Now I've given up work I need to get stuff in the diary to keep us busy every day.  Not necessarily every day but definitely mornings.  I like to get out and about in the mornings and be at home in the afternoons. I love schedules !  Just been updating my home routines app to work housework around childcare !

On another note - 2 weeks till my due date !  I'm off to London today to visit a friend for lunch and St Paul's and think I might pop into my old office for a quick hello.  Lets just hope I can make it - one thing I am NOT cheerful for is the sciatica that I'm experiencing in my right butt cheek. However I've done really well as generally had a good pregnancy and only got this pain 2 weeks ago!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Recipe Review - Bucatini Amatriciana

Another Good Food recipe - Bucatini Amatrician - which I have no idea how to pronounce.  We have only just finished this and I couldn't wait to write about it as it was YUMMY ! ! !   Papa penguin wants it again tomorrow hee hee !

It was soooo simple to make yet had so much flavour.  I've never had bucatini pasta before but it was like thick spaghetti with a long hole in the middle.  This could easily be made with spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle or even pasta tubes.  

The recipe called for 3 rashers of bacon with fat off but I left it on and used about 6 rashers as we love bacon. It also wanted chilli flakes but I only had chilli powder in the cupboard.

I made way too much pasta but just as well as it really bulked it out which mean we could have seconds! 

This is definitely a fab last minute dinner as we always have bacon in the fridge and all the other ingredients are always stocked in out household !  Yum yum !

Recipe Review - Chicken Parmigiana

Yesterday we had Chicken Parmigiana - a Good Food recipe for dinner.  This was just papa penguin and myself but I think toddler penguin would've like it too.  We've had this before but not for about a year. 

I didn't slice the chicken breasts in half however I got rid of some frustration by placing a sheet of cling film over the top and then bashing them flatter with a rolling pin. I also used a whole ball of buffala mozzarella (me friendly as opposed to normal cow's mozzarella) instead of 1/2 a ball. I also left it in the oven for about 15 minutes as Isaac took forever to get to bed !

At the weeekend we had roast at my mums so had some tatties left over which I heated in the oven along with the chicken.

We did thoroughly enjoy it but probably not something we would have all the time, maybe just a few times a year.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - October 1st

Last weekend I was at my mums when i did my meal planning so without my magazines for reference i resorted to the internet for inspiration and recipes.  Seems I am doing an Italian themed week

Monday - Chicken Parmigiana served with my mums left over roasties and baguette

Tuesday - Bucatini Amatriciana served with baguette

Wednesday - Mince day - Chilli con Carne
Thursday - Creamy Pasta with Asparagus, Pancetta and Peas - we made this last week but quite fancy it with a bit of ham
Friday - Mozzarella and Rosemary Pizza - this is a Gordon Ramsey recipe - I'm looking forward to making it as I have to make the pizza dough from scratch - I tend to buy pizza bases and readymade pastry and go from there.

Its all about Me !

The supermum over at Mama Owl tagged me in answering some questions....all about me ! So here goes....

When was the last time you cried?
I'm actually struggling to answer this question as there have been a few occurances in the last few weeks and pregnancy brains means I can't put them in order.  I'm a sucker for soppy endings and I cry at almost every episode of Private Practice.  I also cried at Wimbledon Station when I got there to find the lift not working.  I was just getting ready to get toddler penguin up the buggy and somehow carry him and my stair unfriendly buggy when a very nice man offered to help.  Then there was the incident with the HUGE spider!  I hate them soooo much and I hate the effect they have on me!

Are you named after anyone?
For those oldies out there - Dr Zhivago

Do you have any kids?
At the moment just the one - 2.5yr old toddler penguin.  Come approximately 3 weeks time there will be another addition to our family....boy.....girl....we don't know but can't wait !

If you were another person would you be a friend of yourself?
I woud like to think so!  I think I'm a lovely friend, though not always good at keeping in touch with people.  I like to think I'm caring, fun and always there to lend a shoulder!

Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Not really except when I was at work or to my husband !

Will you ever bungee jump?
I would love to have the guts to do this but I seriously think I would poop my pants in the aeroplane getting ready !  So no I will never ever EVER bungee jump !

What's your favourite cereal?
I love love love cereal and early stage of pregnancy was having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner !  When I worked part time I had one box at work of one type and one at home.  Now I'm home full time I have about 5 boxes on the go.  I love shreddies and apricot/blueberry/frosted wheats.  I also love bran flakes with a banana on my healthy days and I love sainsburys own brand of special K red berries as its dairy free (I have my cereal with rice milk).  I also love rice krispies every now and then - covered in sugar though !

What's the first thing you notice about people?
Probably their hair.  My hair is naturally a mess !  It dries crinkly at the roots and then dead straight.  If I don't dry my hair properly after washing it goes greasy.  I hate that I have to spend 20 minutes drying and straightening my hair after each hair wash (so I only wash it twice a week).  I wish I could just Wash n Go!  I always wonder how long people have spent doing their hair and if its as natural as it looks !

What is your eye colour?
Hazel with litle black spots - had to look in a mirror to check this !

Scary Movie or Happy Ending?
Definitely a Happy Ending !  I hate scary movies !  I don't like the tension that gets built up.  Give me a happy ending anyday.

Favourite Smells?
My son - with the exception of when his nappy needs changing !  Clean washing and fabric conditioner.  Bergamot essential oil and any shower gel that has it in.  I'm not a fan of fruity showers gels at all - I love citrus ones or my current fave is a rose one. Also love cool water on papa penguin !

Summer or Winter?
Can I go inbetween ?  If so Autumn.  If not I guess Winter.  I'm not a fan of the heat - but then I'm not fan of ice !  I love being able to hang washing out in the garden in the summer and I love summer clothes but I hate being hot.  Nothing like sitting on the sofa under a blanket with a cup of tea and the heating on in the winter.

Computer or Television?
Since we moved house and have the virgin TV in the front lounge which we only use in the evenings I watch so less TV than I used to.  Fair enough we have a dvd player in the kitchen/diner/playroom which is on a few times a day but I think I would have to say computer.  Well my mac and iPad in this instance !

What's the furthest you have been from home?
I've been to Singapore to visit friends a few times - once when I was 9 and again when I was 20.  I've also been to New York when I was 22.  This is all nearly 10 years ago but I don't fancy long distance travelling with a toddler right now !

Where were you born?
Essex baby !  Born and bred.....however now live in Surrey.

Do you have any special talents?
I don't think I have any at all.  Nothing comes to mind!  I could say baking fairy cakes but I can pick flaws in my icing so then maybe it isn't a special talent at all !

What are your hobbies?
Cooking, baking, cross stitch, shopping and now....blogging !

Do you have any pets?
Not at the moment.  We did have a goldfish for a few years that just would not die - we weren't trying to kill it at all but we were just surprised that it lasted 2 housemoves and 2 holidays one of which the neighbour didn't feed it.  I'd like to get toddler penguin a pet but I don't have the patience myself to look after it - the cleaning side of things or the walking.  One day we'll get a dog.

Favourite film?
I love Practical Magic.  I love the plot, the magic and the love story.  I also love a good Disney film.  Now I have a child I love sunday sofa time watching a disney flick.  We need to work on our stock though as there are so many to buy and we only have about 5.

Do you have any siblings?
Nope - only child syndrome here - was spoilt rotten as a kid.

Unfortunately I don't have anyone I can tag just yet......