Friday, 31 January 2014

Chinese New Year

Today is Chinese New Year, we are now in the year of the Horse. Nate came home with a lovely red envelope and a special coin that a friend had made him from nursery. They each made a coin for a friend and decorated them especially for Chinese New Year. I thought it was a lovely idea that they were making them for each other, although I don't know if they knew who they were making their coins for.

I don't normally look at horoscopes or zodiac signs but I saw the Chinese Zodiac signs and had a quick look at Nate's (rabbit) and was very interested. Rabbits are shy, discreet, prudent & honest. Luckiest sign Now Nate's a little young to decide whether these are character traits of his but they are interesting to read.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Week 4 Done!

I've been a little quiet here, but I haven't given up running. I started Week 4 last week, which consists of two 1/4mile runs and two 1/2mile runs with 220 yards of walking and an interval of 1/4mile of walking. After finding the previous weeks doable this week has been by far the hardest with the last 200 yards of running feeling very difficult. As the week progressed this got easier but the last 200 yards remained the hardest and I have needed the rest day whereas before I've not felt like I've needed the rest day

Statistics for the week

Run 1:
Distance: 2.0miles
Overall Pace:12:42 min/mile

Run 2:
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 25:36
Overall Pace: 12:49 min/mile

Run 3:
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 26:45
Overall Pace: 13:11 min/mile

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Cooking together - pizza and apple crumble

Nate's favourite thing to do at the moment is to be involved in cooking. At nursery he has been practising cutting fruit and veg, and his fingers are never too far away from the chopping board if we are cooking.

We decided to make Apple Crumble, Nate had great fun helping me to peel the apples and then chopping them up into small pieces. After they had been cut up small he put all of the apple in a dish and we then covered it with our special crumble mix (75g of dairy free spread, 100g of flour, 50g of muscovado sugar and a teaspoon of ginger rubbed together) we then sprinkled a couple of tablespoons of oats on top. Nate really enjoyed this Apple Crumble and has been asking to make it again everyday.

We then made pizza, normally I make a pizza dough and make the pizza's myself but we decided to let Nate put whatever he wanted on his pizza so it would be his own creation and to encourage him to eat more. 

He started out by putting loads of courgettes on his pizza. So many we encouraged him to take a few off and put a few of the other things we had to put on the pizza's.

Nate's finished pizza contained courgette's, mushroom's, peas, sweetcorn and bacon on it. I also made some dough balls out of the leftover dough. Nate strangely ate all of the toppings on his pizza but not the pizza base. However, he enjoyed begin involved in the cooking process now to think up other meals we can make together. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Pudding First

Yesterday when Nate got home after nursery he wanted some of his special chocolate yoghurt, and after being woken at 3am for the day by him I didn't want a meltdown/argument. He had his yoghurt while I finished cooking dinner and came in with a beautiful smile and asked for more. Thankfully as dinner was now ready it was a lot easier to say no as there was an alternative ready and waiting and surprisingly he sat down and ate his dinner without any arguments.

After he'd finished his last piece of chicken, he piped up with "what's for pudding?" Surprisingly he accepted that he'd had pudding first happily. Wow! A stress free dinner and he had it the wrong way around completely. I bet lightening doesn't strike twice.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Running week 3 run 2

I was up early this morning to go out on my run and as I got to the front door I was tempted to just go back to bed. It was so cold I had to force myself with the promise of a hot chocolate on my return. A positive to it being frosty is the frost made my running route look very pretty. Within a few minutes my fingers felt numb but everywhere else was warm so I had to alternate which hand held on to my water bottle.

The 400 yard stretches are getting easier and I almost feel like I could do another repetition of both runs before heading in. I'm a quarter of the way through the program and I'm feeling a lot better for going out running but I'm still a bit apprehensive about the 5k. I should just stick to small goals, so let's finish Week 3 first and worry about Week 9 when it arrives.

Time -14:22 min
Distance-1.1 miles
Pace - 12:33 min/mile

Emeli Sandé - Our Version of Events

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Running week 3 run 1

You may have noticed that I'm on week 3 but I'm only in my second week of running. Instead of running three times a week like the C25k suggests I have been running every other day which means last week I ran 4 times and this week 3 times.

Today is the start of a slightly different run. Instead of running for a set time, I ran for a set distance. I thought I'd struggle with the distance as I have mainly been running for roughly 250yards and this now jumps to 400yards. The distances were as follows 200 yards of running 200 yards of walking and then 400 yards of running and 400 yards of walking both were then repeated. The first 400 yard run was a bit of a struggle in as much I hadn't found the right pace. After that first 400 yard run, it felt like the run was over very quickly and it was as I was only out running for under 15 minutes. 

Distance- 1.1miles
Pace-13.02 min/miles

So Amazing Luther Vandross Tribute

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Running Week 2 Complete

I have just run my third run of week 2. Todays run was harder than the last two for some reason, it could be due to the fact my thighs are still hurting or it could be I just didn't find my 'zone' today. I felt a lot more out of breath for most of my runs then I have previously.

Today I decided to go back to the park and try a different route in which I had to cross two roads, I think I might avoid that route again as although there were no cars today it could mean waiting for cars to go past and therefore disrupt the run. I decided on the park due to the rain we had last night which would probably have meant the Nature Reserve would be very muddy and some of the paths I have been using would most likely be very difficult/impossible to use. However, I had the same issue with the park as huge sections of the path had huge puddles meaning either running through big puddles or trying to avoid them.

Although it wasn't a great run I could have happily continued running. Small victories.

Distance- 1.5miles

So Amazing Luther Vandross Tribute- Various Artists

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Krabby Patties

Nate is a bit of a Spongebob fan, and previously he had seen and had some sweetie Krabby Patties. However, I don't like him having too many of them but he wants his Krabby Patties, I have no idea why.

The loved Krabby Patty sweet

For a long time I've been promising we will make some, I planned on making them slightly differently to how I did in the end.

I made a cake batter, enough to make 12 cupcakes. I then split the mixture in half and Nate filled 6 cupcake cases with the plain batter, while he did that I split the mixture in half and one of those halves in half again. You should have three bowls of batter not including the mixture now in the cupcake cases with the smaller two bowls of batter I coloured one red and one green and the bigger bowl I put a little of both red and green, to make brown. I filled the cup cake cases with the rest of the mixtures and then baked them.

Finished Krabby Patties

Nate had great fun putting them together and I had planned on making some 'special sauce' but he was adamant they should be no special sauce. 

Nate putting them together

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Running Week 2 Run 2

Yesterday I went a little crazy and thought I'd have a go at the 30 day shred on my days off of running. Bad idea! My knees hurt like crazy and I woke up this morning with stones for thighs. I set off today with my goal to just finish the 6 repetitions of 90seconds of running. However, as soon as I got into running my legs felt a lot better. I made it half way through my runs before starting to struggle with the runs.

I set off for the Nature Reserve again today, and have found a nice route avoiding the now non-existent path and most of the muddy paths. There are a couple of points on my route where I have to be careful not to slip on the mud but on the whole it's nice and clear with beautiful views. I'm not sure if it's the cold air but on a few runs where the wind was blowing in my face I started to struggle with my keeping my breathing consistent but this seemed to go away as soon as I was in a sheltered bit of the path.

After thinking I'd really struggle with week 2, I'm really enjoying it and could happily cut down the walking intervals to 30 seconds but I will stick with the programme.

Distance - 1.5miles
Pace - 12:41 min/mile

Emeli Sandé - Our Version of Events

Monday, 13 January 2014

Owlet Baby Monitors

Last year we attended the Baby Show at Olympia. Normally the Baby show is held in Earl's Court in October, which is a much better venue for getting to on public transport.

Aside for the usual favourites to see at the Baby Show: Mothercare and gNappies. I also saw a new monitor that is yet to hit the shelves. Owlet, it's a monitor with a difference. It sits in a sock on your baby so you can monitor your babies heart rate, skin temperature and oxygen levels along with sleep quality and sleep position from your phone or smart device.

For me it really stood out as a product, I remember Nate being rather ill and constantly taking his temperature and in the process disturbing his sleep. Or in the case of when he had Croup having information regarding his oxygen levels could have made our decision to go to hospital earlier or even made the decision for us regarding wether to go or not.

At the minute the sock only goes up to 12 months which is unfortunate as when Nate is feeling under the weather I'd love the option to put him to bed with the sock and check on the app instead of disturbing him. Hopefully they will produce a sock big enough for Nate soon.

Owlet's Website 

Disclaimer: I loved this product so much I wanted to write about it, I have not received anything for writing this post.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Running Week 2 Run1

What a lovely way to start Sunday, everyone up early and off to the Nature Reserve. Nate on his bike with Daddy and I was off ahead running/walking. Today saw the run time going from 60 seconds to 90 seconds. I'll admit I was worried I wouldn't stay the full 6 repetitions but I did.

Just after half way around my course I thought I wouldn't make it as I was focusing on the next landmark as soon as I stopped focusing (and therefore slowed down ever so slightly) the runs felt so much more manageable. The Nature Reserve is under even more water now then it was earlier in the week, the path along the rive we normally walk on is under roughly 4 inches of water.

Nate's Dad and I didn't plan our walk so when I bumped into Nate at roughly the half-way point in my run he wanted to talk to me and tried to follow me on his bike. Next time, we should plan it better and hopefully next time the pathes won't be so flooded so we can take very different routes so we only bump into each other at the end of my run.

I'm happy to report no Lead Legs today, and there were no aches after run 3 from week 1 either. It's still early days but I'm enjoying going out and running. I hoping for no snow this winter though, not sure I will want to run in the snow.

Distance - 1.5 miles
Pace - 12.44 min/mile

Playlist - same as last week, it needs to be updated.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Running- Week 1 Done!

Today I completed Week 1 of C25K. After a rough night with Nate not sleeping at all well, he woke us up at 3am this morning for the second time this week. I didn't feel like going out for a run, but it's too early in the programme to miss a day so I pushed through and got myself out.

As soon as I was out, I felt a lot better and I think I'm starting to get my pace right. I decided to take a slightly different route around the park today as I didn't fancy running on the grass as on Day 1 it was very slippery. It wasn't a route I was familiar with and had a couple of roads to cross, which possibly wasn't the best thing as I had to stop at one of them for the cars and I am now suffering from Lead Legs. I'm not sure if the two are linked but I didn't suffer from them after Day 2.

Progress to note, after Day 1 my muscles felt achey (as to be expected) but after Day 2 no aches or pains, I don't know if I cooled down better after Day 2. There were a lot more people out today I guess as it wasn't raining when I went but had been a bit drizzly in the morning. I'm not sure which run I prefer the Nature Reserve or the park. Hopefully when it's a bit drier I'll be able to run more of the Nature reserve which will be a lot more fun.

Overall Distance- 1.52 miles
Overall pace - 12.19 min/mile

Same as Day 1. I need to shake up the music a bit for next week, I liked running to Rizzle Kicks the most so I might a couple more of their tracks onto my phone.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Nom Nom kids

Late last year I was sent some refillable pouches to review. Nom Nom Kids make refillable pouches which are perfect for weaning or carrying snacks for an older toddler. I have found it holds the perfect amount of custard to satisfy Nate. As Nate is dairy free I end up making a lot of alternatives for him and when we are travelling pots can be bulky and heavy so these are perfect for taking a dessert with us.

As his favourite dessert is custard at the minute I have found myself making custard a lot to put in them. We use Coconut milk (Koko) and Bird's custard powered to make custard for Nate. I find that you need less milk when using coconut milk but sometimes need to use a little more custard powder and you have to keep stirring the custard while it cools or it can become lumpy.

Another favourite here was apple and strawberry puree. One apple to 5 strawberries cooked down for a while and then pureed up.

Washing the pouches was very easy, I ran hot water through the ziplock opening and then through the spout to get rid of the excess food and didn't have to use a bottle brush although I did just to ensure they were clean and then 'hung' them to dry on our washing up dryer. The only negative I found was that sometimes even if you only fill to the max fill line some food can still come out when zipping it up, although I got better at not letting that happen the more I used them. You can find them here at

We were sent these to review, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Running Week 1 Run 2

This morning, I went on my second run in the Couch to 5K programme. I started the morning with chia seed porridge and a cup of rooibos tea in the hope the oats would give me more energy. I don't know if that worked, I'll have to wait and see if I'm flagging by midday.

On to the run, I started with the normal 5 minute warm up walk but decided instead of running around the park to run around the local Nature Reserve. The Nature Reserve was flooded in places so my planned route had to be changed slightly.  I found the runs slightly harder this time with me feeling like I was beginning to get a stitch during the 3rd 60 second run, although the stitch never arrived.

Gate to a flooded field
I got my pace wrong in the first few runs so felt like I wouldn't recover in the walks, I did. At times I felt I should stop and catch my breath, I'm glad I didn't as I got through and still enjoyed the run. I don't know if the lack of rain made running harder as there was nothing cooling me when I was running. (I never thought I'd saw something positive about being out in rain) A goal for me I suppose is to work on my pace so I can keep the run going.

Distance: 1.5miles
Pace: 12:37 min/mile

I ran slightly further today which is nice although I would have been happy with the same distance.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

V & A Museum

We like to visit museums with Nate and normally try to look for things he will like. In the case of the British Museum it was the Parthenon Room to look at the horses. However, if we are in South Kensington we normally go to the Natural History Museum. To mix things up and try something new we went to the V&A and went to their exhibition space set aside for Digital Kids and picked up a backpack especially for under 5's to explore the museum. 

Picking up the backpack is rather painless. You fill out a few details and leave a form of identification behind to guarantee you will bring it back. Inside you will find 4 dice and a pack full of discs that make animal sounds. The object of the backpack is to go around the section of the museum (Asia section) and find the animals. 

On the outside of the pack is a map of the museum with labels where each of the animals are. Once you have found the animal, you use the dice to make the picture of the animal and then use the sound disc to hear the sound the animal makes. 

Nate enjoyed going around finding each of the animals and we spent over an hour wandering around either looking for the animals, or looking at them, talking about the sounds they make or making the puzzle. In the future if we were to use the backpack again we would also take some paper and pencils, so he could draw his favourite (or all of the animals) as another talking point. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Running Week1 Day 1

No new years resolutions here, instead I decided to take up running again. After 3 years of not doing much to stay fit, I just don't feel like me. I've always played sports, from football at school, to rugby at university with a little fencing thrown in to mix it up. I've been doing a few things at home for core strength: push ups, crunches and planks mainly.

After Nate was packed off to nursery, I loaded up my phone with some more music started up the running up I had downloaded in anticipation of this run and was about to go out the door when the heavens opened. So I sat back down and waited it out, it gave me time to double check my music choice. The rain soon stopped and off I set, taking a water bottle and my keys with me.

I have decided to follow the couch to 5k programme, I haven't run in years other than the short distances a 2 year old can cover in the park. The five minute warm up was enjoyable, I like walking, then came the 60 second run. I have a big problem with running too fast, the thing with distance running is pacing yourself, something I find very difficult to do. The first 60 seconds were 'easy', the 90 second 'rest' period saw the rain start again, although it was light enough rain to not hinder the run/walk. However, at the start of the second 60 second run I knew I couldn't keep this pace up so slowed down enough to be able to just about sing along to the music for a few seconds. You should be able to hold conversion during the 60 second run so I thought it was a good way to test without talking to myself. After the first couple of pace changes it became easier to find a pace that I was able to hole for the full 60 seconds.

Just as my five minute cool down had finished and I was walking past a coffee shop it started to pour down and it was at that moment I remembered I'd forgotten to put any money in my pocket before leaving so decided to continue walking through the rain. Big mistake, I got absolutely drenched to the point my shoes let in so much rain there were puddles inside of them.

Distance 1.4 miles
Pace 13.18 min/miles

Running playlist
After Ever After - Jon Cozart
The A Team - Nico Collins cover
Just Give me a Reason - Nico Collins cover
When I was Your Man - Nico Collins cover
When I was a Youngster - Rizzle Kicks
Marry You - Bruno Mars
Let it Go - Frozen Soundtrack
Do You Want to Build a Snowman - Frozen Soundtrack

Home Baking Jaffa Cakes

We love baking, Nate loves making cakes. If I say I making cakes it's impossible to get him out of the kitchen. Which is great because we are doing things together and he actually wants to be involved in the whole process now, from weighing up (a great way of teaching numbers) to mixing and pouring the mixture into the cases.

For Christmas I was given Ms Cupcakes book which is a vegan baking book, I have seen some reviews that complain about the fact the recipes are 'American' but from the Jaffa Cakes recipe I'm pretty happy with the result.

We did a few things slightly different however, I made Orange jelly and didn't use the marmalade as  suggested in the book. I didn't find it took too long, I made the jelly while sorting out breakfast and we made the cakes just before lunchtime. The jelly was set long before we started making the cake mixture.

Orange jelly (this makes more than enough jelly for the 15 jaffa cakes Ms Cupcakes recipe makes)
150ml Orange juice (we used fresh)
1 gelatine leaf (vegan - 2  1/2 tsp of veg-gel)

Follow the instructions on your choice of setting agent.

I have recently had a giant jaffa cake from Waitrose who use chocolate fondant icing on their jaffa cakes, so I had to try it myself. I knocked up a fondant icing using dark chocolate and some fondant icing sugar. This is a work in progress as although it worked it wasn't exactly what I was hoping it would be. If you want to try it the way I did it's 25g Chocolate melted and 2 dessertspoons of Fondant Icing sugar. Keep it warm and covered while you work with little bits of it. It sets hard.

Chocolate fondant

Finished Jaffa cakes.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Homemade gifts

Early in December I posted a teaser post about what I could be making with these ingredients. 

For Nate and his cousins, I made peppermint creams or my version of them. Using the ready made icing and food colourings I made Dr Who shaped flavoured icing. I know Dr Who isn't very Christmassy but the children receiving the presents were all Dr Who fans especially Nate who can identify all of the characters on the mould.

Each of the colours were a different flavour, red was strawberry, green for peppermint, yellow for orange and blue for chocolate. Nate's favourite were the red ones, they were a great little gift for his stocking. 

The next homemade gift were biscuits, I made quite a few of these biscuits as I made some for Nate to ice for his nursery workers and these for the mini stockings as well. 

I used the basic dough I posted here.

Then I iced them, I'm not the best at decorating but I think I did a good job. I used the Baker's Toolkit for colouring the icing, which I can't rave enough about. The colours were vivid and I mixed a few to get different colours (orange for the snowman's nose). There were enough colours to keep Nate entertained. 

Disclaimer - I purchased everything I used in this post. 

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Quick chocolate pudding

What do you when you have no pudding and the local shops sweet things all contain milk. I get out our favourite dark chocolate and coconut cream.

Melt the chocolate(40g roughly) and then stir in half a tin of coconut cream (not tinned coconut milk) and then pour them into small ramekins. Pop into the fridge for 10 minutes and they are ready to eat.