2010 | Modern Mummy

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Detox: Preparations

Bye bye horrible processed food, hellooooooo lovely healthy natural stuff!

For those of you joining me on a 2011 healthkick, I thought I would write a short post to prepare you! 

The basics of the detox are to cut out wheat, meat, dairy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol from the diet for 28 days.

This year, for the first time, I have decided to allow myself fish. I’m not sure what effect this will have on how I feel and my usual weight loss but I figured that fish is a fantastic source of protein and is also full of omega oils and vitamins and therefore including it in such a detox can't be a bad thing. For more information on the health benefits of fish, please see here.

This detox is quite hardcore and for first timers it might seem as if there is nothing you can actually eat. This isn’t the case. As such I thought I would give you a shopping list of items to buy before you start the detox.

Shopping List

Fresh fruit; be as exotic as you like! Try everything, and have a bit with every meal.
Fresh vegetables; ditto. Pack as many lovely veggies into everything you cook, and snack away on crudites and dips (e.g. salsa, hummous, guacamole)
Herbs – dried and fresh; use these in salads and to cook with
Nuts and seeds; eat as snacks, or sprinkle over salads and meals
Brown rice, quinoa, millet
Rye bread (or other wheat free bread), crisp breads - ryvitta are allowed
Pulses - beans are a fantastic meat substitute and my mixed bean chilli recipe is a hit with detoxers and non-detoxers alike. Also, don't forget quorn!
Soya or rice milk - alpro soya chocolate milk is my saviour, perfect for a much needed chocolate fix
Water, herbal teas and fresh juices

Most supermarkets these days have a ‘Free From’ aisle, which caters for people with food allergies and intolerances. Here you can find all the wheat and dairy free products you need. Similarly, health food shops sell other options - and often have much more variety. Also make sure you look down the ethnic aisles of your local supermarket for nuts, seeds and dried herbs - they sell larger packs for much less - and of course the vegetarian and vegan refrigerators for Cauldron and Quorn goodies.

The most important thing is just to check the ingredients of products you are buying and make sure they don't contain any of the six things that are being cut out.

I intend to post daily throughout January and include recipes and meal ideas to keep you all motivated! Please keep in touch and let me know how you’re getting on!

In the meantime, go out and enjoy yourselves and binge on treat yourselves to a few of the things that you are going to be giving up for the next few weeks.

Hope you all have a brilliant New Years Eve x


Friday, 24 December 2010

Ho ho ho! Festive Photo Gallery!

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!

I know that we will all be having a blogging break over the next few days but I thought I would create a Christmas Photo Gallery.... a bit like Mocha Beanie Mummy's Silent Sunday - only a complete one off, and Christmas themed.

Am fairly certain we will all be far too pre-occupied to write full on blog posts so the idea is to just post a single photo which sums up Christmas 2010 for you. There is no need to write anything, the picture should say it all. And link your photo here (on the Linky Tool below) so that everybody's Festive Photos are all in once place and we can have a browse through them all once everything has quietened down and we turn our laptops back on to start blogging again.

I hope you and your families all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! x x x x

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A Meme: My Top Ten of 2010

With the year fast coming to an end (can you BELIEVE it! Where have the last twelve months gone!?) I have found myself reflecting back on my highlights of 2010. 

It really has been quite a year – I started out with an eight week old baby, getting to grips with all things mummy related and now I have a thirteen month old toddler (and am still getting to grips with all things mummy related!). 

This year myself and the Other Half organised the party of the century for madam’s Christening, I returned to work after seven wonderful month’s maternity leave, I had a brilliant weekend in Vegas with my old university girlfriends, I spent nine months dieting (good GOD!) and I started blogging.

I learnt that just because I am now a mum, it doesn’t mean I’m a different person; I just have different priorities. I am still working on how to juggle motherhood with work and friends and everything in between but I’m getting there. 

Whilst in this pensive mood I thought I would write my first Meme, and what better title than My Top Ten of 2010. So here goes:

1. Fave Moment of 2010: There have been so many brilliant moments for me this year – Daisy’s first word, her first steps, getting Take That tickets! But the highlight was definitely Daisy’s first birthday party. We had our ridiculously huuuuge family round for a winter barbecue, lots of wine and fireworks. It was lovely to have everyone there and Daisy had a brilliant evening. I still can’t get over the number of cards and pressies she got – lucky girl! Then, once our guests had left and our partied out one year old had gone to bed, the Other Half and I had a glass of champers by ourselves and thought back to the events of the night of Daisy’s birth! (not the gory details, I hasten to add; just the lovely stuff)

2. Fave Place visited in 2010: This year hasn’t been a big one for travel but I did manage a cheeky weekend in Las Vegas with the girls to celebrate us all hitting the big 3-0. I missed madam loads but it was great to spend some quality time with my friends and have three nights to just be me again. We got dressed up every night, ate delicious food, drank amazing wine, and did loads of shopping and sunbathing. The pool party at Encore was definitely the highlight of my trip---- with my $64 win on the slots (from a $1 bet) coming in at a close second.

3. Fave Website of 2010: www.emmabridgewater.co.uk My favourite shop in the whole wide world. I have spent far too many hours on the website compiling wish lists of items I don’t neeeeed but desperately waaaaant - and far too much money purchasing half the items on said wish list when I really shouldn’t. If you have never had a look before then SHOO! Go now! Beautiful beautiful BEAUTIFUL things x

4. Fave Event of 2010: Daisy’s Christening. Without a doubt. As I said above, we have such a huge family, it was the first chance for us all to get together since madam’s arrival. So 120 of us (yes you read that correctly!) packed out our local Church and then headed down to our local for a massive buffet and lots of fizz. Our lovely family and friends all travelled from all over the country (and over the border in some cases) and me and the Other Half were made up that so many people could be there.

5. Fave Gig / Play of 2010: I’m a massive lover of live music and pre-Daisy would go to as many gigs as I could cram into my diary. I managed to get to a few gigs this year, and loved them all. My favourites were definitely Shed Seven and The Courteeners – both at the Kentish Town Forum. Shed Seven was my first night out with the girls after Daisy was born and it took me back to my old Britpop days. We drank pints of vodka and diet coke and danced all night (and the next day I had the hangover from hell – my first in over a year!) The Courteeners, only a couple of weeks ago, was a rare night out for the Other Half and I and twas brilliant (for me anyway – I won’t even attempt to hide the fact I have a mammoth crush on Liam Fray and spent most of the night drooling over him)

6. Fave Gadget of 2010: My iPhone!!!! Yes I know I jumped on the bandwagon a bit late (June in fact!) but I couldn’t live without it now. Sincerely. I. Would. Die.

7. Fave Books of 2010: I love cookery books and bought Sophie Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights earlier in the year. I heart it. Gorgeous pictures, delicious recipes and just an all round beautiful book. I just like to flick through it every now and again! The same goes for The Cabbages and Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping by Christina Strutt, although I’m cheating a bit here as I got this book for Christmas last year. Each page is laid out perfectly, with the prettiest pictures you have ever seen – and very useful, and entirely natural, housekeeping tips to boot.

8. Fave Film of 2010: I finally gave in and watched Chocolat starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp when it was on Film 4 a couple of months ago. I had been resisting for years because I love the book so much; I didn’t think the film could ever match up to it and I didn’t want to risk ruining my own interpretation of the storyline and the characters. I needn’t have worried though. Lasse Hallstrom did a fantastic job and I wouldn’t hesitate in putting this film into my top three of all time.

9. Foodie Discovery of 2010: Tomatoes. Do not laugh. For thirty years I thought I didn’t like them. I was wrong. All it took was my local deli making a mistake with my sandwich order.  And now I am a tomato addict. I can’t believe what I was missing out on for all those years!

10. Biggest Achievement of 2010: Aside from bringing up my scrumptious daughter I would have to say my blog is my biggest achievement of 2010. It was something I wanted to start when I first got pregnant, but working 55 hours a week, commuting for another 15 and suffering from hideous morning sickness and SPD for most of the nine months prevented me. Although I am a relative newcomer to the Mummy Blogging world, I am really proud of what I have done over the last three months. I have met some lovely people along the way and am really looking forward to seeing what 2011 has in store for us all.

So there you have it! My Top Ten of 2010. Now it’s your turn! I’ve tagged a few of you (let me know if you would like to be added to the list) and the usual rules apply. You blog about your Top Ten and tag me (and some others) in your post. 

What Katie’s Kids Did Next
A Mother’s Ramblings    
Witterings of the Overtired    
Have fun reminiscing, and I can’t wait to read about everyone’s 2010s


Monday, 20 December 2010

Stop Press: I am R E A D Y for Christmas! *

*Me finishing my Christmas preparations without a panic attack on Christmas Eve is UNHEARD OF. See my earlier post for how things normally turn out.

Madam is bathed and in bed and I am sat in the living room with a glass of pinot grigio and a bag of cashew nuts. The Christmas lights are twinkling and I’m watching River Cottage Christmas Fayre on catch up TV. I’m feeling ridiculously festive. And for the first time this month I truly feel as if I can relax…. Today was a momentous day for me and my Christmas preparations!

Not only is my shopping now entirely complete - the presents are now wrapped as well! I had a lovely afternoon listening to Christmas songs and getting creative with gift boxes and wrapping paper and ribbon. Daisy and Pogg got involved too (Daisy trying to unwrap everything and Pogg trying to eat everything).

The Other Half and I also did all our Christmas food shopping today! (you can’t see me but I am BEAMING! I love it when the cupboards are full, especially when they are full of chocolately Christmassy treats!)

Himself was at Smithfields Meat Market at 3.00am this morning, buying bacon, filet steak, chicken and mincemeat---- and earning lots of brownie points in the process. He came back with enough to feed a family of 5000. We definitely won’t starve if we get snowed in.

My contribution to festive food shop this year involved something highly controversial and considerably less hard work---- today I took delivery of my very first online food shopping order. I have been put off doing online grocery shopping in the past, with talks of bruised fruit and other produce past its sell by date but I can honestly say that for me (this time at least) it has been a raving success. The best bit was that I didn’t have to head out in the freezing cold snow and spend two hours fighting my way around the supermarket aisles with a grumpy baby, buying much more alcohol and chocolate than necessary out of sheer stress, and then having to lug thirty heavy bags into the car and out of it again.

All that is left to do now is to play Father Christmas and deliver all our Christmas presents on Thursday and then collect The Turkey on Christmas Eve.

So the Modern Mummy household is now pretty much ready for Christmas! And I am very excited!

How are the rest of you getting on?

PS The wine rack in the photo isn't mine. But I bloody wish it was!

Detox---- A Little Bit More Info

Wow. So it turns out a lot of you are interested in detoxing!

Before I go into a bit more detail I just want to repeat the disclaimer on my earlier post ---- I am not a nutritionist. I am not a doctor. I merely follow (for a few weeks of the year) the practices of wheat free vegans and personally feel the benefits from it. If you want to detox and haven't done so before I would strongly recommend you speak to a health professional first.

Lots of you have asked how and why I started doing this. I was inspired by a lady called Suki Zoe, who I used to visit for colonics at The Brackenbury Clinic in Hammersmith. Suki is, in her own words, “a Super-Food-Living, Liver Loving, Colon Hydrotherapist – when she’s not traveling, making Xocolati and mischief, taking photographs, writing & drinking Tea”. Read more about Suki and check out her blog here.

Quite a few of you have also asked why I give up some of these foods for 28 days at a time. The truth is that none of them are bad for you as such; in my particular case, some of them simply disagree with me. Others of them we know are naughty and should be eaten in moderation. Normally I eat anything and everything and although I do feel the benefits of cutting some food types out of my diet (wheat and dairy particularly) I am not prepared to give them up forever. No cake or wine! Perish the thought.

Below are a few links to websites that might be of interest to you if you are thinking of joining me in January:

A couple of books I would recommend for easy detox friendly recipes are:

“Detox for Life” by Carol Vorderman
“The Raw Food Detox Diet” by Natalia Rose
and (dare I say it!)
“You Are What You Eat” by Gillian McKeith

I have them all and they are all available from Amazon if you want to buy them.

Keep in touch if you are going to detox with me in January – and remember to keep checking back here. I am going to blog daily about my progress and post lots more info and recipes. There will also be guest posts from some lovely people x


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A Little Bit of What You Fancy Does You Good.... For Eleven Months of the Year....

I have just eaten half a jar of nutella. With a spoon. That might not sound like much but when you add it to the mountain of crap I’ve eaten today (tea and toast, a custard tart, two cappuccinos, antipasti, pasta and garlic bread, chicken salad, mince pies) you’ll understand my reasoning behind the subject of today’s post.

You must all be aware of my love of food by now. And let’s not forget the wine! I spend the majority of the year eating and drinking sensibly – a little bit of what you fancy does you good is my motto. Then in December I am a firm believer of eating and drinking and being merry. Pretty much every foodstuff that crosses my path gets sampled. And let’s face it, not many healthy things cross your path in the run up to Christmas.

Which is why every January, after a month of treating myself to all sorts of festive delights, I do something which makes all my friends think I’m completely nuts.

For four weeks I give up wheat, dairy, meat, fish, caffeine, refined sugars and alcohol.

I have done this for six years now. I know it sounds horrific but I can honestly say that I enjoy it. And it really isn’t as difficult as it sounds.

Giving up caffeine is what I find the hardest. Caffeine withdrawal headaches usually kick in on day two – but are gone by day four. Eating out is next to impossible, but after overspending in December, most people are paying off credit cards in January and meals out are rare. Giving up my beloved cake and wine is a nightmare. But it’s only for twenty eight days.

So you are probably all wondering why I put myself through this every year and there are plenty of reasons. I feel fat and tired and miserable after the festive season. Cutting out processed foods improves the condition of my hair, skin and nails. It reduces cellulite (I SWEAR! Even only after 28 days!). It helps me sleep better and it generally makes me feel energised and alive. It also helps me shift a decent amount of weight (over the last six years I have averaged a 10lb loss over the four weeks).

My friends always ask what I can eat when I appear to be giving up so much. The truth is my diet varies so much more when I am detoxing than during the rest of the year. I eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses. Wheat free bread and pasta, crispbreads, brown rice. I drink fresh juices, herbal teas and lots and lots of water. The best thing is I pretty much graze all day long so I never go hungry.

Today, for the first time this year, I realised how much I am looking forward to the first of January and starting my 2011 detox. I intend to blog about it and although I realise this isn’t strictly Mummy related I thought a few of you might be interested in joining me this time round. On that basis I am going to be posting some detox friendly recipes, generally updating you all on my progress and hopefully hearing about how you're getting on too. If anyone wants anymore info then please leave a comment on here or email me at katyearley17 at gmail dot com xx

DISCLAIMER: You should speak to your doctor before starting any diet or detox. This detox is definitely not suitable for pregnant women. Please note I am not a health professional or a nutritionist!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Recipe: Lemon Drizzle Cake

I love food. Love it. My life revolves around it. Big family Sunday dinners, friends round for tea and cake, BBQs in the Summer. Food and friends are the best combination EVER. Oh and wine. Because of this I have decided to start up the Modern Mummy Foodie Friday, where I share a receipe with you lovely lot once a week.

I would like to say that the recipes I am going to post may well be my own takes on other people's recipes (be they members of my family, or famous chefs). I will always give credit where credit is due and promise never to try and pass off other's recipes as my own. I would also like to point out that although I love to cook, I have very limited kitchen equipment. If you have been put off cooking in the past because you haven't got an electric whisk or a bread maker then try my recipes. They didn't have all these gadgets in the old days and quite simply they aren't necessary! They are helpful, yes, but you can make do without. I bake my cakes using a good old fashioned hand whisk and a wooden spoon!

So this week I have mostly been daydreaming about Lemon Drizzle Cake. It's probably down to the fact I have overdosed on Christmas chocolate over the last few days and am in the mood to bake (and eat!) something light and summery. So (drumroll please!) here is my very own, and very first, Foodie Friday recipe!

Check List.
2x 8 inch cake tins
Grater for zesting the lemons
8-10 unwaxed lemons
5x eggs
75g granulated sugar
275g caster sugar
125g mascarpone
230g unsalted butter (softened)
200g self raising flour

For the sponge 
The juice and zest of 2 lemons
200g softened, unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
3 medium eggs - already beaten (makes the cake fluffier and lighter)
200g self-raising flour

For the filling
2 egg yolks
The juice and zest of 2 lemons
30g unsalted butter
125g mascarpone
75g caster sugar

For the Syrup 
The juice of 4 lemons (plus a slice or two for decorating)
75g granulated sugar

What to do.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180 degrees. (If you are a novice cake baker you should note that cakes are always baked at this temperature - if you ever see a recipe telling you to bake at a higher or lower temperature then I would recommend ignoring it and sticking to the gas mark 4 rule!). Grease your cake tins really really well. You are baking a cake! A great big delicious horrifically unhealthy but lovely cake! Don't scrimp on the butter whilst greasing!

Starting with the sponge, mix the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl using a wooden spoon.

Add the eggs (in stages) and beat well, then add the flour, gradually. Then the mixture is ready to be spooned into the cake tins (it will be really thick and not pourable). If it doesn't look like very much once separated into the two cake tins, don't fret. The self raising flour in it means it is going to rise.

Bake for about 40 mins or until the sponges are shrinking away from the sides of the cake tins. Keep checking - without opening the oven door! (This can cause your cake to sink). Once they have started to shrink away, double check that they are ready by doing the skewer test (insert a skewer/knife/small sharp instrument into the centre of the sponge and it will come out crumby if cooked, and covered with uncooked mixture if not. You may open the oven door to carry out this test!)

Whilst the cake is baking you can make a start on the lemon filling.  Beat the egg yolks, sugar, butter, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan and once properly mixed place on the hob and heat for a few minutes until it thickens. Stir continuously. Once it is thick enough (think lemon curd consistency) remove from the heat and allow to cool. Then mix the lemon filling into the mascarpone and set aside.

Then you get to relax a bit whilst the cakes bake. You will probably have about twenty mins to have a cup of tea or make a start on the washing up if you'd rather. Once the cakes are done remove them from their tins and place on a wire rack to cool. If you have greased your tins sufficiently it should just take a gentle but firm pat on the underside of the tins to remove them (don't forget oven gloves!)

Once they are cool, spread the base with the lemon/mascarpone filling and place the other sponge on top. You can crack then on with the syrup, which is used to coat the top sponge. Stir the sugar into the lemon juice until it starts to dissolve then drizzle over the cake. Once it has all sunk in I like to dust the top with icing sugar and place a couple of slices of lemon on top to decorate.

Serve with an ice cold, crisp glass of chenin blanc, put your sunglasses on and pretend it's July!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la laaaa la la la la!

Well today was officially Christmas Tree Day in the Modern Mummy household.

I’m not afraid to admit that I love Christmas. I am more than happy to start getting festive in November, and our tree usually goes up on 1 December. It’s not until the tree is up that I reeeeeaaaaaally start to get excited about the festive season.

So today I dragged Himself out of bed bright and early to set off on our search for the perfect tree. Yes I know that seems extreme and unnecessary but I am a little bit high maintenance when it comes to Christmas.

I was quite specific in my Christmas tree requirements this year. Usually I go for the biggest one I can get, 7ft tall and equally wide, but after rearranging the living room to put the tree in a spot where a certain one year old can’t get to it, this year we were on the hunt for a slim, six footer. Non-drop of course.

After searching one garden centre for said tree, moving on to check out the wares of a popular Christmas tree seller on the side of an a-road and then returning back to the first garden centre and trying to find the only suitable tree that we’d seen earlier (cue lots of huffing and eye rolling from the Other Half) we had our tree wrapped and carried it out to the car. The next game was trying to get the tree IN the car and this year we had it on an angle from the boot, poking out of the sun roof, resulting in one very bemused Daisy and a freezing cold journey home for us all.

When we got home, I decided to put my OCD to one side and let the Other Half help me put the tree up. (Well I let him get the tree out of the netting and trim its trunk so that it fit perfectly into our sparkly gold tree stand anyway which is more than he is usually allowed to do). Then, with a Christmas compilation playing on the iPod dock and Poggio trying to eat the tinsel, out came the fairy lights and all the decorations we have accumulated over the years and myself and Daisy started hanging the knitted camels  and wooden toy soldiers and felt hearts on our lovely tree's branches.

Then it was time for The Official Christmas Lights Switch On.....

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Daydreaming of Summer Holidays

Yes I know I'm a fickle old thing. I have spent the last week complaining about London's lack of snow, then when it finally arrived yesterday I spent the whole day moaning about being cold, and now I am sat at my desk daydreaming about sunnier climates. But as we all know, its a woman's prerogative to change her mind!

So here I am, wrapped up in a woolly jumper, fingerless gloves and leg warmers, mentally counting down until our Summer Holiday 2011. Which for your information is taking place in June. 201 days from now. I am perfectly entitled to get excited about this holiday as it will be our first family break since the early days of my pregnancy, and when I say family holiday I am talking lovely, big, extended family holiday with our bestest friends and Godson. We are headed to Spain for a whole week and will be staying in our own villa on a hilltop over looking the beach, with a private pool and built in barbecue. To say 'I can't wait' is the understatement of the year. It definitely deserves caps lock. I REALLY CAN'T WAIT.

Seven days of family, friends, sunshine, swimming, sunbathing, good food and great wine. I am literally salivating at the thought of it (the wine in particular). I have "We're all going on a Summer Holiday" by Cliff Richard on repeat inside my head. With the temperature as low as it has been over the last few days (London hit -8 last night according to the weather app on my iPhone at 3.00am) I am finding it hard to imagine being able to head outside without spending ten minutes donning the thermals and other extra layers first. Bring it on, I say.


Monday, 29 November 2010

The End of November ---- and I'm feeling festive (and organised!!) already!

Poggio our little Scrooge

WELL. You will all be shocked to hear that I really am being very organised in my Christmas preparations this year. Since my last festive post I am delighted to be able to tell you that ALL my cards are now written and the envelopes stamped, ready for posting tomorrow and I have bought FOUR Christmas presents from our list. And its still only November! (Am trying my hardest not to be smug.... honest!)

I really am starting to feel festive today - I heard my first Christmas song on the radio while I was cooking dinner ("Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues) and have been making and eating mince pies this weekend (and drinking lots of mulled VINO!). Friday night was the switch on of our town's Christmas lights and the Salvation Army's full brass band were playing carols. It was B R I L L I A N T and drinking steaming hot mulled wine whilst standing outside in the freezing cold with the Other Half and Daisy made me feel extra Christmassy. We also ordered our turkey from our local butcher (I have been dreaming about Christmas dinner ever since) and I have even managed to persuade Himself to go and get a tree while I'm working tomorrow so that I can put all the decorations up when I get home.

Finally, I am eagerly awaiting the imminent London snow. I am reliably informed that it is going to start at around midnight and we should have about a foot by the morning! I can't even remember the last time we had snow before Christmas!! And I have no idea why I am getting so ridiculously excited; snow makes London grind to a halt. The buses and trains stop running and the roads are a nightmare..... but everything looks so PRETTY when its covered in a blanket of white! And with any luck we will get a snow day and I can stay at home with Daisy and make snowmen in the back garden. At last our new wellies might get their first outing!

PS As you have probably noticed Poggius Maximus the cat does not share my love of all things Christmassy.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Song to Get Up and Dance Meme

Thanks to PippaD I have been tagged in my very first Meme! This Meme all about a song that makes you want to get up and dance. My choice doesn't exactly make me WANT to get up and dance but makes other people FORCE me to get up and dance. Following in PippaD's footsteps, I too have opted for an old classic - and a lovely video of me aged 8 proving once and for all that I really do lack rhythm and have two left feet!

The song I have chosen is 'Carwash' by Rose Royce which was released in 1976 but which was also featured on a Reader's Digest 70s compilation cassette that my parents owned in the late 80s. My parents had just bought their first video camera, a bloody huge thing that was very close in size to the professional ones that are used in TV and film studios today. It had to be plugged into the TV whilst recording so could only be used at home, and was so heavy to hold that it tended to be attached to a tripod which meant that all family videos in those days tended to be interview stylee with the camera pointed in the direction of the sofa with everyone squished into view.

I digress. So yes my song choice is one that I am still haunted by to this day. Whenever it comes on the radio my family ask me to dance for them and even 22 years later I can feel my cheeks flush bright red. I had set the video camera up in the living room and moved the furniture out of the way to make room for a DANCEFLOOR! I hit record on the camera, pressed play on the cassette player and I was off. I think I would have carried on until the end of the cassette had I not caught my Dad spying on me through the living room window....

Here it is, the home movie that my sister has been threatening to upload to Facebook since my Dad converted the video to digital format. Quite why I have decided to publish it myself is beyond me, but in any event I hope you all enjoy it.


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Really Easy Cheesy Twists

I recently made some cheesy twists from some leftover pastry and they were a massive winner in the Modern Mummy household so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

I had been trying to impress Himself with my housewifey pie making skills and had made the pastry from scratch but I would recommend using ready made puff pastry if you've not got any leftover homemade stuff as making it takes forever and defeats the object of a quick and easy lunch or snack! (You can find it in the refrigerator aisle at the supermarket, usually next to the butters and lards).

1x roll Jus Rol puff pastry
Butter for greasing baking tray
Flour for dusting surfaces
Lots and lots of cheddar cheese, grated

Roll the pastry out on a floured surface so that it is about a quarter of an inch thick and divide into sections approximately 3 inches wide and 6 inches long. Cut each piece into three 1 inch strips lengthways and cover each strip with grated cheese. Plait the three strips, place the plaited cheesy pastry onto a very well greased baking tray and sprinkle with more grated cheese.

Put into a pre-heated oven at Gas Mark 6 and leave for 15-20 minutes (until suitably puffy and cheesy and golden brown).

Serve warm with a nice cup of tea (if its before midday) or a glass of Chianti (if its after)!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat!

Yes I know its still only November but I like having something to look forward to! 
I love this time of year. I love it when the clocks go back and the days get shorter. I love the chilly, windy weather and being wrapped up warm in woolly scarves and hats. I love the build up to Christmas with all the festive markets and lights switch ons. I LOVE mulled wine and mince pies and all the other nibbly foodstuffs people put out for you when you visit them during the month of December. I love buying people presents and I love wrapping them up even more. I am, I must confess, ever so slightly partial to a carol or two and have even been known to enjoy sprouts with my Christmas dinner.  
Every year I say I am going to be organised and do all my Christmas shopping in November. I always aim to put the tree up and send the Christmas cards out on 1 December. Of course it never happens and I end up spending my Christmas Eve rushing around the shops like a lunatic buying all my family rubbish last minute presents in the Boots 3 for 2 offer. The cards get forgotten about altogether and although the Christmas decorations WILL have gone up more or less on time, the cat will have smashed the majority of the good baubles and eaten (and subsequently thrown up) all the tinsel.
This year though I am feeling more excited about Christmas than ever and I think that's down to Daisy having just turned one and knowing she will be able to join in the festivities with us all. I really am going to get everything done early so that I can relax and have fun with her (really really really!!). I have already made my Christmas card list and bought all the cards. I have made a start on the pressies and have even invested in some new knitted and felt (and therefore Daisy and Pogg proof) Christmas decorations to replace last year's casualties.
 Daisy's First Christmas, 2009
I'm excited about starting our own Christmas family traditions so that Daisy has the sort of Christmases that I remember from my childhood; magical, family affairs. Leaving out minced pies and milk for Father Christmas and carrots for the reindeer, going to Church on Christmas morning for the nativity play and carol singing, eating Christmas dinner around a huge table with the whole family with crackers and silly jokes and paper hats. I keep reminiscing about all the things that I used to love about Christmas as a child; waking up at about 4am on Christmas morning to see what was in my stocking; my siblings and I waiting patiently in our rooms until 6am, which was the earliest our parents were prepared to take us downstairs to see if we had been brought any presents. It was the only day of the year we were allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast and I would demolish the entire bag of gold coins from my stocking along with segments of my Mum and Dad's Terry's Chocolate Oranges and all the good chocolates from the obligatory Christmas tin of Cadbury's Roses. 
Now that I am older I love the general Christmassy smell of pine needles and satsumas and spices, the fact that for the whole of December the fridge is permanently full to bursting with delicious food and best of all I love that on Christmas Day it is perfectly acceptable to have your first alcoholic drink before midday whilst you are still in your pyjamas. I love spending the day with my family and helping prepare the Christmas lunch - then eating as much as I possibly can and having to lie on the sofa to sleep off the turkey sweats. I even love the traditional after dinner walk in the freezing cold that everyone moans about. And who can forget the Christmas telly repeats of Home Alone and The Snowman.
We are have 43 days to go until Christmas 2010! And I am currently tucking into my first mince pie of the season. Here's to many more!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Well it looks as if the dreaded winter lurg has found its way to the Modern Mummy household. Both me and the Other Half have been under the weather, and even little Moo has had a horrible cold. My neck is swollen, I am losing my voice, my head feels like a big fuzzy ball of cotton wool and I am sniffing and sneezing like nobody's business. The Other Half has had all the same symptoms only a hundred times worse (of course!) and has been off work for two days. Being a big brave girl, I have continued with my household chores and coming into work, choosing to keep myself busy and overdose on cold and flu remedies and vitamin C in an attempt to make myself feel better. I'm not going to lie, I feel like shit, but I will feel even shitter if I am lying around feeling sorry for myself while the house slowly starts to resemble a squat. 

Inbetween nursing Himself, looking after Moo, keeping house and earning a crust I managed to grab half an hour to myself which I spent watching old comedy clips on YouTube. I stumbled across this clip from Man Stroke Woman which has cheered me up no end and I thought I would share it with you all:

"My head's all burny!"
"I want some soup and I want to watch CBeebies!"
HA ha ha ha ha ha hahaha!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Happy Chocolate Swirly Whirly Birthday, Daisy Moo!

Last Thursday was Daisy's first birthday! (This is the reason behind my very uncharacteristic blogging silence in case any of you wondered - you might not think that a first birthday requires much organisation but you would be surprised!!). I can't believe my little monkey is ONE now, how grown up is that!

The Other Half and I decided quite a while ago that we would only have a small party for family and Daisy's Godparents. With her birthday on Mischief Night we opted for a winter BBQ and fireworks and the celebrations kicked off at 6pm once it had got dark.

We had jacket potatoes with meaty and veggie chilli, BBQed hot dogs and Chocolate Swirly Whirly Birthday Cake. The Other Half put on a brilliant fireworks display, which Daisy and I watched from the safety of the living room and Daisy was unbelievably spoilt by all the family (her bedroom currently looks like a toy shop and her wardrobe is better than mine!!).

Daisy, the Other Half and I all had such a lovely evening, I can't believe what a difference a year makes. The past year really has been the best year ever ever ever x x x x

A few people have asked me for my recipe for Chocolate Swirly Whirly Cake so here it is: 

Chocolate Swirly Whirly Cake


For the sponges:
12oz self raising flour
pinch of salt
12oz butter, softened
12oz caster sugar
6x eggs
tsp vanilla essence
cocoa powder (I recommend Cadbury's drinking chocolate!)

For the icing:
16oz icing sugar
6oz butter, softened
4 tsp milk
cocoa powder
hot water

To decorate:
Whatever sweets you like
Silver Spoon designer icing

1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 (180c).
2. Grease 4x 8 inch cake tins - make sure you do them really really well, all around the sides and the base, don't worry about the amount of butter you are using!
3. Using a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, butter, eggs and caster sugar. Whisk on a low speed (or beat by hand) until there are no lumps. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
4. Separate about a fifth of the mixture into another, smaller, bowl and add the cocoa powder to it (as much or as little as you like - I use about a third of a container which is about 3oz or 75g)
5. Pour the remaining plain sponge mix into the greased tins in equal amounts. Then spoon some of the chocolate mixture on top of the sponge mix and use a fork to swirl it all around to give a marbled effect.
6. Place into the oven for 25minutes*, or until the cakes are slightly coming away from the sides of the cake tins and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
7. Whilst the cakes are cooling prepare the buttercream icing. Use a wooden spoon to cream together the icing sugar butter and 1tsp of the milk in a bowl. Add more milk as necessary to make the icing a light smooth consistency.
8. Mix some cocoa powder with hot water (like for like amounts) and leave to cool. Then add to the icing.
9. Once the sponges have properly cooled use the buttercream icing to stick all four sponges together, then also coat the cake with a relatively thick amount (depending on how heavy the sweets you are going to use are).
10. Decorate with your choice of sweets and, if you like, ice your message onto the top.

Enjoy!!!! x

*If your oven is small (like mine) you might have to make the sponges in two batches.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A Belated Happy Hallowe'en!

So it's now November (or for some, Movember!--- I am trying to persuade the other half to partake; he hasn't shaved yet this month but so far is saying NO to working on his tache, miserable sod. I will keep nagging him and fingers crossed it will pay off - I think he'd look great with a fu manchu! Will keep you posted...) But anyway, I digress. YES! - it is now November/Movember! How did that happen? Hallowe'en has been and gone, the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in. Its 52 days until Christmas and it has been a WHOLE WEEK since I last blogged as I have been (and still am) rather pre-occupied with a certain person's first birthday tomorrow!
  Me last year - three days before giving birth to Daisy

Hallowe'en in the Modern Mummy household is always a rather festive affair. I love Hallowe'en. (Actually I love anything that involves fancy dress and chocolate.) I was particularly excited about it this year as it was Daisy's first---- and this was my first opportunity to get her in some proper fancy dress (unless you count my pumpkin effort last year - see above) and take lots of photos to embarrass her with when she's older. We opted for a skeleton costume complete with face paint, and took it upon ourselves to trick or treat the Grandparents. We also carved *pumpkins (or rather, I did whilst Daisy looked on and ate her raisins), we made some gorgeous pumpkin soup using a recipe from Mummy Mayhem's Recipe Box and we were also given some deliciously spooky cupcakes from the very clever Sarah of Sarah's Lovely Buns!

Once madam had gone to bed I lay on the sofa and demolished the bag of Swizzles Matlow candy I had bought for our non-existent trick or treaters whilst watching X Factor and other Sunday night telly delights. All in all a pretty perfect day!

So yes, a very belated happy Hallowe'en to one and all, from Daisy Skellington and me x

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Confessions of Imperfect Parenting

As Fiona Neill once (very rightly) said "motherhood isn't all astanga yoga and Cath Kidston prints"....

When I first found out I was pregnant I had a vision of how I thought motherhood would be. I was full of opinions on everything; what I needed to buy, what wasn't necessary, food (baby's and mine), exercise, things that I would and wouldn't do etc etc.

Before I had given birth I had 'made' the following decisions:

1. I would breast feed, and when moving on to solids I would make my own organic creations, and never, ever use jars or pouches.
2. I would take up buggy fit, post natal yoga and walk everywhere with the pram and lose all of my baby weight within six months.
3. I would take Daisy to mother and baby clubs i.e. music time, baby massage, messy play, soft play etc four times a week.
4. Daisy would not watch CBeebies.
5. Daisy would not have chocolate until she was one.
6. I would not dress Daisy head to toe in pink.
7. I definitely would not be the sort of mother that talks incessantly about their child.

As it happens:

1. I was unable to breast feed. Daisy would not latch on and after two incredibly stressful, painful and sleepless nights in hospital with the breast feeding Nazi's midwives I finally began to consider formula feeding. Breast feeding just wasn't working out for either of us---- I was a miserable and exhausted mummy and Daisy was hungry baby! So on my last day in hospital we combined formula and breast feeding and then, happy in the knowledge that Daisy had three days worth of colostrum in her, I switched entirely to formula. When it came to weaning I still had my good intentions. It was so easy to whip up pureed vegetables and pulses that I did that to start with. Then I realised that it was even easier to whip out an Ella's Kitchen pouch. And it tasted better.

2. When you have just had your first baby you are so busy adjusting to your new role as a mummy there just isn't time for buggy fit and/or yoga. Plus I am a lazy cow. And it was November. I wasn't wrapping up warm and prancing around doing lunges and squats in my local park (where people I know might be laughing at me) for an hour a week for ANYONE! Its only now, a year on, that I am back to my pre-baby weight, and its not been down to post natal yoga either! Long summer and autumn walks with the buggy and a few sit ups (in the privacy of my own home, thank you very much) are responsible for that.

3.Have you ever been to any of those clubs? J-heeesus! I have never felt more of an idiot in my entire life as I did whilst singing and attempting to do the moves to Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes, whilst my 6 month old daughter lay on the floor half heartedly shaking a baby maraca and smirking at me. I still haven't made it to the top of the waiting list for Baby Massage so can't comment on that. Messy play and soft play I rate highly, the latter especially now madam has found her feet as she can fall over as much as she likes on the bouncy floor without hurting herself. And I can have a coffee and a bitch gossip with the other mums at the same time. Messy play is equally brilliant; not having to clear up after a finger painting session with a toddler is pure genius. I would be prepared to pay well over the £1 our local painting studio charges for that.

4. CBeebies is my saviour. Fact. I don't have it on 24/7 but I am partial to letting my daughter watch the odd episode of In The Night Garden or Waybuloo so that I actually have 20 minutes to do the washing up. Or get dressed.

5. Great in theory, but not in practice. How could I refuse my child a piece of her very first Easter egg? Especially when she caught me shovelling the entire packet of chocolate buttons from its centre into my mouth in one go.  And I might be guilty of using a jaffa cake as a bribery tool whilst wandering round Tesco doing my weekly shop too. Everything in moderation I say!

6. After six months of "Oh what a lovely baby! Is it a girl or a boy?" I finally succumbed to dressing Daisy in pink. Just to make things fairly obvious to the old grannies that were accosting me on a regular basis of course. I still get the occasional "What's his or her name?" to which I reply "This is my son, Daisy."

7. Before I became a mother myself, I had friends that had already had children. I never ceased to be amazed at how much they could talk about their offspring. How could they speak so openly about bowel movements and get so excited about things like walking and talking! I have now become one of Those People. Check out my Facebook and Twitter updates for proof. "Daisy now points to the cat and says "miaow"!" "Daisy took thirty steps at soft play today!" Oh my god I am boring myself.

I am looking at expanding on this post as an article for my upcoming website and would be interested to hear anyone else's Confessions of Imperfect Parenting! Feel free to leave a comment or email me on katyearley17@gmail.com x
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