Last night the clocks went back and many of you (most likely those with older or non existent children) may be basking in the hazy glow of a lazy extra hour in bed. Oh how fond yet distant a memory that seems. Now, as we ease into autumn proper with a nearly nine month old in our lives, an hour’s time difference means we may well be woken the wrong side of 6am for the next few days as Nino adjusts to his new routine. Continue reading
Few things make you appreciate the passage of time like a baby. This time last year I was five months pregnant, just starting to feel the movement and weight of his little life inside me. Now that (not so) little is careering round our kitchen, shrieking with delight as he masters each new trick. Nino’s lived in the outside world almost as long as he spent in my tummy and October has well and truly arrived with its crisp, bright mornings and chill in the air. We’ve started putting on the heating in the nursery again, our families are discussing Christmas and as the nights draw in I’m seeking comfort in autumnal offerings of squash, spice and all things nice. Continue reading
On Saturday we went to a family wedding and had to leave after three hours because Nino (who we’d left with his loving grandparents) had got himself hysterical and was refusing go to bed. He settled, of course, once we were home but this isolated incident sums up the last week or so of our lives – we’re discovering that life with an eight month old baby can be busy and hectic and hard. He’s crawling all over the flat and and attempting to walk, exploring everything and finding it frustrating when he can’t have/reach/walk unaided to what he wants. Sleeping, it seems, is cheating and some of the foods he found delicious a few weeks ago have become a bit of a battleground. That’s not to say he’s unhappy – for the most part he’s the same scrumptious, sunny baby he’s always been – but our little boy is learning to push boundaries, assert his preferences and establish himself as a voice to be reckoned with in our family of three. Continue reading
Long enough ago to make me feel extremely old, I met my husband-to-be at university. We were young, in love and, being students, didn’t really go on dates. There were late nights clubbing, bacon sandwiches eaten on scruffy sofas and a few ‘fancy’ suppers when housemates were out, but mostly we just spent time together without needing to label it a ‘date’. As we got older there were meals out and tasting menus, holidays, birthdays, trips to the cinema and all the usual things that couples do. It was easy; spending time together didn’t need a second thought.
I’ve owned a copy of Ashley Rodriguez’s Date Night In since it published a couple of years ago (check out this ice cream cake), but it wasn’t until our little man blazed his way into the world and made us a family of three that I truly understood the sentiment behind her words. Since he started a new job and I went on maternity leave, Luke and I have arguably spent much more time together during the week, yet somehow there are days when I find myself missing him. Or missing the ease of existing alongside him before we had this extra human to care for and entertain. Life as a parent is brilliant and bettering and blissful, but it can also be all-consuming and pretty tough at times. Suddenly you’re sharing not just your heart but your time with this new little life, and making space to appreciate, talk to and love my favourite grown up boy alongside our baby sometimes takes a conscious effort. Continue reading
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve spoken voluntarily in front of a big crowd. The first was at our wedding, where it just didn’t feel right to let the men do all the talking. My speech was short and mostly centred around our incredible cake (and Luke, of course), but nonetheless I stood up in front of 150 people and said my piece. The second was at the launch party for Homemade Memories (again talking about cake) and the third was Nino’s naming party. I can’t think of a much better reason to stand up and say some words than your first born overcoming ten hours of open heart surgery . . . Of course I’ve spoken at conferences for work and a few other events as well, but it isn’t something I relish or would naturally choose to do. I’m more of a conversation with close friends or pouring my heart out on the internet sort of person, as this space attests.
But I’m happy to say that I’m excited to be speaking at Stylist Live’s Foodie Friday on 14th October. In front of 150 people. Of course I’m a little bit terrified after months of maternity leave (and wondering whether I can do more than blow raspberries and sing a nursery rhyme or two), but I’ll be talking about food and blogging, two of the subjects closest to my heart. There will be a video (to take up some of my talking time), some slides (so you have something to look at when I forget my words) and of course some delicious Little Loaf samples baked by yours truly. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a whole lo of fun and I’d love you to come along too. So . . . Continue reading
Three years ago to this day, we walked out of our wedding ceremony to the cheers of the congregation, rings on our fingers, Nat King Cole’s L.O.V.E dancing in our ears and joy in our hearts. I married you because you make me a better, happier, more confident me, for your easy charm and endless capacity to love. I thought our wedding was the happiest day of my life until we found out that Nino was on the way, then came the day that he was born, then every single one since: that happiness dial keeps tipping as our family expands. Continue reading
We’ve just got back from a whirlwind weekend in Lithuania celebrating the marriage of two very lovely friends. I’m tired, but the lugging a pram down a hill to the picturesque lakeside dinner setting and getting up at 4am to feed a baby confused by the time change tired, rather than the slow lazy sleepiness that comes with daytime drinking and dancing into the night. Weddings with a mini man in tow are an altogether different kettle of fish, and the night before the big day I was in bed by 9pm, snuggling down into the duvet and ordering up chocolate cake on room service. Continue reading
I’m sure I’ll regret writing this, but for the last few nights Nino has been sleeping better. All that restorative snoozing means he’s bright eyed and bushy tailed the wrong side of 6am most mornings but, while exhausting in its own way, this has encouraged us as a family to make the most of our extra long days. Yes, we may be ready for lunch come 11am, but we’ve also packed in an exercise video or two, a walk round the park, breakfast, snacks, stories, several rounds of coffee, four outfit changes and maybe managed to read a blog or two. On a good day I might even use the time while Nino is down for his first nap to post a recipe of my own . . .
Today, I’m afraid, isn’t one such day: we’re off to Italy on Sunday and in between some freelance recipe development and raising said little human, I haven’t had a chance to successfully re-test and photograph my latest creation. What I do have, however, is a round up of my top ten Italian recipes from the archives. I can’t take you all to Italy with me, but this is hopefully the next best thing. We’re planning to eat pretty well while we’re away – including my birthday meal out and experimenting with a brand new pizza oven (which I’m inordinately excited about) – so do hop on over to Instagram and follow me if you’d like the latest updates. Continue reading
When I was little, I swore I wouldn’t be the kind of grown up who constantly remarked on how much a child had grown: it’s such a boring conversation opener. And yet here I am, parent to an almost five month old and constantly amazed by how he changes every day. The time since February feels both long and life-changing and simultaneously gone in an instant, those snuggly newborn days a thing of the past and this bright, beady, blue-eyed little boy now making himself and his personality known. Continue reading
Way back, before Ottolenghi opened his first deli in Notting Hill and when the general public still thought the anchovies that Delia Smith used on her BBC cooking show were exotic, my Mum was using tahini as an ingredient. On shopping trips out we’d frequent cafes like Food for Thought and Cranks for lunch, while at home the cupboards were stocked with packets of wholesome seeds and grains. While most wound their way into savoury dishes – ours was a household decidedly lacking in childhood sweet treats – my Mum had a wonderful recipe for tahini flapjacks studded with sesame seeds and peanuts which we’d eagerly await the appearance of as an after school snack. Continue reading