Saturday, 8 February 2014

36 Weeks - Maternity Leave IS ON!

It's ages since I last blogged, I know! Practically an entire pregnancy has passed by, with possibly only one post. It's a disgrace! Now I'm finished work, I have LOADS of time on my hands. Generally, LOADS of time on a Wednesday and Thursday, when The Bairn is in the hands of his beloved nursery. The way in which I have spent my last couple of weekdays at home has been varied, and exceptionally exciting....


  • An actual haircut (and even some last minute highlights - oooooh, fancy!), by an actual hairdresser. The first in about a year. Yes, she may have left my fringe looking as though its been involved in a frenzied attack by a gang of animated blunt, violent, pinking shears, but I did feel like a "Proper Person" for the two hours I was there.
  • Watching, from behind a cushion and bouncing on my birthing ball, episodes of One Born Every Minute. Sobbing uncontrollably at the first slimy, bloody, purple-faced appearance of every new arrival - usually accompanied by my yelp of "Oh, it's a baby!" as though this is some sort of unexpected revelation.
  • Eating Ginger Nuts and Quavers. Well, if I'm also including a daily pear and occasional orange surely that makes for a balanced diet???
  • Cleaning the bathrooms. No, I don't have five beautiful marble-surfaced havens of tranquility. A tiny, grotty ensuite shower room and a bathroom. I HATE cleaning. Thank God I now have a gargantuan belly (combined with arms the length of those of your average Oopa Loopa), preventing me from reaching across and into the bath for scrubbing it. I love my Mam, who heroically travelled 100 miles, on three different buses, to assist me in this matter.
  • Reading my way through the Game of Thones Series. IT'S THE DUGS BAWS, MAN! If I haven't finished before baby Daenaerys Stormborn arrives - when will I? This a serious cause for concern.

You may ask, how do I have the time to blog?

Because my magnificent Other Half has taken The Bairn for a swim (since evacuated due to fecal matter having been discovered, unfortunately, at the jacuzzi end of the baby pool - the lifeguard looks very serious with his wee poopscoop. Good luck with that, mate). I'm sitting in the cafe, with a hot chocolate and my Glorious iPad.


A Proper Person!!!

Did I just sit here drawing a poo in a swimming pool? Yes, my friend, I believe I did.


Friday, 25 October 2013

Family Food - Spicy Roast Butternut Soup

Been properly poorly this week with a stinky, horrible cold (or dare I say, flu?) - with which I have likely infected most of my family near and distant, at my cousin's wedding. I'm a naturally huggy/kiss-on-cheek type person. I did try to curtail my affection, but one hug-n-kiss combo issued unavoidably involves a sequence of events whereby you can't leave anyone out - can you? They might feel left out, for goodness sake! What kind of animal would omit a relative from a (virus) cuddle? Not I!

On my first rare day off sick, I decided soup was required. The usual "go-to" staple in our home when we feel guff (or just really lazy) is Heinz Cream of Tomato soup, so you can imagine my disgust on finding NONE in the tin drawer! Horrified screams may have been heard as far away as Wick, or even Jupiter.

What I did have in the Busyalibee fridge was a butternut squash and half a leftover huge sweet potato.



Medium sized butternut squash
Half a huge sweet potato, or a normal sized one
An onion chopped finely
2 garlic cloves
Teaspoon of cumin
1cm cube of fresh ginger - I use frozen
Sea salt
Black pepper
Chilli flakes
1/2 pint Vegetable stock


  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C.
  2. Slice butternut squash in half lengthwise, then each lengthwise again.
  3. Place on roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 1 hour. Meantime, set timer for 30 mins and...
  5. Peel and roughly chop sweet potato, add to roasting tin, drizzle with oil and season.
  6. Roast for remaining 30 minutes with squash (hope that makes sense?)
  7. When veg is roasted, fry up onion and crushed garlic with teaspoon cumin, ginger and teaspoon of chilli flakes.
  8. Scoop flesh from squash skins and chuck in pan, with sweet potato.
  9. Add stock, stir, simmer for 5 minutes.
  10. Blitz with hand blender until smooth.
  11. Add more water/milk if it's too thick for you.

And that's it! Very easy - and absolutely gorgeous. Though I still feel like absolute crap, so it's medicinal qualities are perhaps lacking somewhat. And do you know what? It actually tastes better today than it did 2 days ago when I made it!

Lovely Jubbly.

Expecting.... What Exactly?

Very exciting news, chaps.

I'm gestating another human..... As I type! In approximately 5 months, all going well, the above person (although a fair bit larger) will have escaped the confines of my uterus and announced his/her arrival with with a disappointed yell of "Aw come on Mammy - this place sucks! I was much cosier in there!"

There will be much general exhaustion, crying (on all our parts) and absolute overwhelming bliss - or let's all hope so anyway. I'm hoping to feast on Brie and cranberry toasties several times daily - thanks to the incredible Other Half; enjoy countless episodes of Ben And Holly - thanks to The Bairn; and (please please please) easy, breezy, whip-em-out-and-feed, totally painless breast feeding. My lovely bump will instantly tighten back down to resembling a washboard again (when was it a washboard? When you were 14?) but my gargantuan boobies will remain). I'm hoping they might stretch to a C-cup one of these days. Imagine!

The Bairn! How will he cope? The boy who is centre of our universe will have to be content to share his solar glow with his sibling. I may not be able to respond so quickly to such demands as "Mammy. In there!" pointing to the living room; or "Gingerbread bin man, yes please!" He will be gutted.

But in a couple of years, when they're playing in/fighting over the sand pit, or holding hands as they walk along in the park - it'll all be worth it.

We're all so excited!


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Family Food - Summer Risotto

This recipe is sublime. And I'm not even exaggerating!

Also, risotto is easy.

Yes, you will need to stand at the hob for about 30-40 minutes or so - but that's what cbeebies was invented for. And Classic FM. And grannies, who may expect some risotto in payment for their short babysitting stint, if that's what it's come to.

Serves 2 1/2 as a main

350g arborio rice
Tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
Knob of butter
One onion - finely chopped
One large clove of garlic, pressed
1200 ml very hot vegetable stock
2 rashers bacon
Lettuce - about half a head roughly shredded
Cup of frozen petit pois
Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon mint sauce, or some chopped fresh garden mint
75g Philadelphia


  1. Heat oil and butter in a wok or large heavy bottomed frying pan.
  2. When hot, add onion, bacon and garlic - fry until onion beginning to go transparent NOT BROWN.
  3. Add rice. Stir until every grain is coated, and beginning to go transparent too.
  4. Add a ladle of hot stock. Stir until it's absorbed.
  5. Repeat this step until you're left with about a ladle or 2 of stock and the rice tastes just a little chewy.
  6. Add mint, herbs, lettuce and peas. It will look like far too much lettuce, but it wilts down to nothing. You'll see!
  7. After 10 minutes, stir in Philly, and some black pepper.
  8. Serve.