Just over two weeks with our littlest loaf and we’re slowly starting to find our feet as a family of four. In some ways, not much has changed – it’s funny how life with a toddler simply goes on with mealtimes and outings, stories to tell and bottoms to wipe – and in others, nothing will ever be the same again. We have a whole new person to care for and play with, get to know and fall in love with.
When I have a spare moment to think (mostly nursing in the middle of the night, there’s currently not a lot of daytime peace), I’ve been thinking a lot about these two humans who grew inside me. I’ve marvelled before at the capacity of the human heart to expand and continue to do so: this love I feel for my family is infinite and ever-growing. But my time? My ability to devote undivided attention to each child? It’s compromised. I don’t mean that to sound depressing or defeatist but the other night I had a little weep. On days when Luke isn’t around, my little shadow and I have grown into a gang of three which is wonderful and perfect and something I wouldn’t change for the world, but definitely different. Nino has been so incredibly brilliant with his little sister – and I know it’s all part of life, and good for him to learn to share – but on occasion I’ll catch his eye when I’m changing yet another nappy or latched into another cluster feed and I know there’s a part of me he misses. Nobody said this parenting gig was easy. Continue reading
Crisp meringue layered with fruit and softly whipped cream is what British summers are made for. Nino has recently discovered ‘I spy’, or a two year old interpretation thereof. The game more than often involves him naming a noun (most likely an animal, food stuff or vehicle) then demanding that I ‘do a [insert cat, ice cream, tractor] mummy’. I’ll name the letter with which it begins, provide a couple of clues then wait for his excited answer. Repeat ad infinitum. This weekend we were baking and I kicked off the round with an ‘M’. Clue: ‘it’s crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle and made from eggs. Nino helped mummy whisk it up and we’re going to fill it with whipped cream and blackberries.’ To which he replied, after serious consideration . . . ‘it’s a yummy pavlova’. Well, you can’t win them all. 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
It feels like a lot of the food I’ve made over the last few weeks is something of a metaphor for the life we’re currently living. I hadn’t planned to post the recipe for this no bake banoffee pie – surely anyone can throw together the basic combination of biscuits, bananas, toffee and cream – but your enthusiastic response to this photo on Instagram got me thinking about what we all appreciate on a day-to-day basis. Not fancy tiered cakes and complicated techniques but the joy of simplicity – the recipe equivalent of slow days snuggling on the sofa rather than a glamorous evening out. Continue reading
Over the years, friends have sought advice about relationships. I’m not an overly qualified – or interfering – agony aunt kind of a person, I just mean those conversations that come up over morning coffees and late night cocktails as people wonder if a particular love interest is working out, are they worth the extra effort and ‘is he or she THE ONE’? One friend, while drawing up a list of pros and cons about their partner, asked how they’d truly know if this was the love of their life and my answer – the fact they were writing that list and even questioning the relationship – was simply, you’ll just know. Yes there will be ups and downs and reasons to feel frustrated with, or maybe even momentarily hate, the most important person in your life, but beyond all shadow of a doubt, that underlying love and need to be together will win out. True love is unconditional, all consuming and inescapable. Continue reading
Christmas and New Year have been and gone, and while most people are moving out of the silly season of presents and parties, it feels like ours is about to begin all over again. This month it’s Luke’s birthday and our anniversary (of meeting, not marrying and yes, of course we still celebrate both), I finish work to go on maternity leave and a sweet friend only a few weeks less pregnant than me is throwing my baby shower. Cake and celebration are going to become the norm around here. Continue reading
Today we’re doing something a little different. I’ve got a recipe for you – this creamy, comforting bowl of porridge jazzed up with mapled pears, spice and pecans to warm your autumn mornings – but there’s a little something extra on offer, too. I don’t own much in the way of ceramics. so the eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that these rather charming breakfast bowls are new. New to me and potentially to you to as I’m offering one reader the chance to win a set, plus a copy of my book. It’s not often you see a sponsored or branded post in this space, but these gorgeous bowls come from a company called Loaf and with a name like that I simply couldn’t resist. Continue reading
Remember those tiny pots of Petit Filous you’d eat as a child? The flavour of this mousse is not dissimilar, served in glasses and sprinkled with hazelnuts as a nod to grown up sophistication. It’s mousse, so the texture is creamier, but it still reminds me of childhood puddings. Blackberries are all but gone from the markets by now, but if you can sneak a punnet or two before the November frost creeps in, I’d recommend making this mousse. Continue reading
Strawberries + cream = Wimbledon. Which means the recipe for these strawberries and cream scones is exactly one day too late. Sorry. I was far too busy popping these moreish little morsels into my mouth whilst watching the final yesterday to think about posting them online, but if you look on the bright side you’re now 350 odd days ahead of schedule for planning in snacks for Wimbledon 2016.
There are so many thoughts and words spinning round my head today that I’m finding it hard to put them into any kind of cohesive sentence. It’s been the strangest of weeks, kicking off with a seven page feature in The Times, followed by a recipe and interview in Marie Claire, two in Stylist, this awesome feature in The Guardian and my first ever radio interview, with another to come on Sunday. To say it’s been a whirlwind would be an understatement, and I need a little time for it to all sink in. Continue reading