Welcome Home Baby Nino: Our Birth Story

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At 7.22pm on Friday 5th February, Nino Adrian Maurice Doran came storming into the world weighing 7lb 5oz. With lots of dark hair and navy blue eyes (for now), he’s the most perfect specimen of a human being I’ve ever seen. And although it happens every minute of every day in every single country around the world, I still can’t quite believe that we created a human being from scratch, that we get to take him home and that he’s ours to keep for all time. Continue reading

Virgin Piña Colada

Virgin Pina Colada

As of today, I’m officially 39 weeks pregnant. Research has shown that babies with this particular heart condition have the best rates of recovery if born between 39 and 40 weeks, so on Wednesday afternoon we’re scheduled for induction (or, to use Luke’s grandad’s spoonerism, seduction, which I much prefer the sound of). Something of a hippy at heart, I’m hoping to limit the drugs put into both our bodies so I’ve told our baby boy he has a strict eviction deadline of Tuesday night. There are plenty of punctual genes in the family, so it might just work; if not, then I’m counting on this virgin piña colada.  Continue reading

Coconut Pancakes with Pomegranate & Figs

Coconut Pancakes with Pomegranate & Figs
To my darling boy,

Today your Dad and I celebrate our eleven year anniversary. Not of getting married – we did that just over two years ago in Kew Gardens under blazing sunshine and surrounded by all of our favourite people in the world: I’ll show you the photos when you’re big enough to roll your eyes and be bored and embarrassed by them – but of meeting for the first time. We were twenty, at university, fresh faced and with no idea what would happen in one year – let alone eleven – except that we seemed to have fallen in love.

We talked about the future from fairly early on, not marriage and kids and mortgages in any sort of sensible grown up way, just a mutual understanding we needed to be together, and that everything would turn out all right if we had each other in our lives. When conversation did turn to children, we knew we wanted lots of you, couldn’t wait to see what would happen when our features and personalities combined (my eyesight, Luke’s ears please) and even had a favourite boy’s name long before you first appeared as a kidney bean-sized heartbeat on the ultrasound scan.  Continue reading

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

This Friday just gone I finished work. Our little loaf is due in just over two weeks and I’m finally ready to admit that my forty five minute commute on the tube twice a day is getting a little tiring. Although it’s weird handing over your working life for a year – holiday time! I can hear mothers all around me chuckling – I’m ready to start nesting, preparing our home for this little life to be. The next two weeks will be spent tidying cupboards and sorting last minute decorations, maybe a pedicure for those feet I can no longer reach, long walks with my mum and lunches with friends. People keep saying I should take some quiet time before this little man drops in and changes our lives forever, and I will, but busy is my default setting and just what I enjoy. Which I guess stands me in good stead for the months and years to come. Continue reading

Cranberry & Clementine Sparkler (Non Alcoholic)

Cranberry & Clementine Sparkler

How many glasses of elderflower cordial can one woman drink during the course of her pregnancy? I’ve loved elderflower since I was a little and used to help my granny make big batches of the stuff. We’d spend a morning picking the delicate white buds from the bushes around the apple farm, snaring any high up branches with her walking stick, before heading home for lunch. The picked stalks would steep in water, citrus peel, a slightly scary amount of sugar and citric acid, the odd stray bug bobbing on the surface until it all got strained into bottles of sweet, floral cordial. It’s safe to say I’m a big elderflower fan, and I love that it’s offered everywhere as the non-alcoholic option of choice, but eight months into this pregnancy and it feels like time for a change. Plus, it’s Christmas.  Continue reading

Leek & Potato Pizzette + News!

Leek Potato Pizzette
The morning after the launch party for my cookbook, back in June, I woke up early with a racing heart, a slight sicky feeling and butterflies in my stomach. Given the gallons of prosecco that were consumed the night before, this shouldn’t have been surprising. Except that I hadn’t been drinking. Twenty one weeks later and it’s about time I shared some important news with you. I think you might guess where I’m going with this . . .  Continue reading