April 2019 | Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Perfect Footwear for April Showers

I don't think I've ever been as excited to see rain as I was this morning - because it meant I'd finally have the chance to properly road test my new Napton leather boots which the brilliant, family run outdoor clothing company, Rydale, very kindly sent to me earlier this month.

I love a pair of wellies. Living in the countryside they are an absolute essential when it comes to footwear. They have their uses all year round of course, but they really are perfect for this time of year, when you have zero idea what the weather is going to do each day and the chances are you'll find yourself caught in a rainstorm on a muddy track somewhere or another. I genuinely love the look of a floral dress, chunky knit, thick socks and a pair of wellies - think Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller wrapped up warm on a blustery beach in The Edge of Love. Bare legs and big boots has always been my favourite combo come spring.

I've worn the same pair of rubber wellingtons for almost a decade and, as much as I've loved them, they've always been a little too high on the calf for me, making it hard for me to sit down / bend my legs comfortably when I'm wearing them. They're also a bit of a pain to get off, especially when they're muddy. So I'm very pleased to announce that they have finally been washed and donated to the charity shop, and replaced by these beautiful, waterproof, leather knee high boots from Rydale.

They have full length, sturdy zips at the back making them much easier to get off than normal wellies, and they're lined with soft felt, so they're ridiculously cosy and comfortable too. They're certainly the nicest outdoor boots I've ever worn!

Aside from during the bank holiday heatwave, I've worn them pretty much constantly since they arrived. I've already said they're super comfy but today they encountered their first (torrential) April shower and I can happily confirm that they truly are waterproof too.

They retail at £99.95 and are available online here.

Thanks so much to Rydale for gifting me my pair!


Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Tips For A Happy Family Life

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash

When it comes to having a family, one of the hardest things you can do is ensure that everyone is happy. Although each of your family members will have individual aspects of their life that they will be dealing with, there are lots of things you can do to ensure that when working together, you're as happy as you can be. With that in mind, here are 5 top tips for a happy family life:

- Spend As Much Time As You Can Together As A Family 
One of the best ways to have a happy family life is to ensure you're spending as much time as you can together as a family. Whilst this doesn't have to mean fancy days out every week, just taking an evening walk together after school and work could be more than enough. Encourage family meals where you all sit at the table to eat, as well as at least one night a week where you have to do an activity together Not only will it allow you to grow together as a family, but it will also instil great family values into your children. For inspiration when it comes to activities for family night, you can visit this site here.

- Let Everyone Have A Say 
Another important thing you need to do in order to have a happy family life is to ensure everyone has a say in both the big and small decisions. Whether it's deciding what you have for dinner that night or deciding where you go on holiday, you need to involve everyone in the decision. Although you may have a couple of ideas from your children that are not suitable, it's still important to let them know you value their ideas.

- Be Open And Honest About Everything 
When you're part of a family it is important you're being as open and honest as you can about the things that are going on around you. Whether it's being open with your partner about things or sharing bad news with your kids, ensuring everyone is on the same page will make you feel much closer as a family - even if it's discussing difficult subjects like divorce. For more information and guidance when it comes to going through a divorce, you can visit expert divorce solicitors here.

- Have Adventures Together 
A great way to encourage family bonding is to go on plenty of days out together to explore. Whether that means going out in your local town or heading somewhere new, you can be sure it's a great way to spend time together. The great thing is, heading out on family adventures don't have to cost a lot either. There are plenty of things you can do on a family day out that doesn't have to involve any money at all! For inspiration on free things to do as a family, you can visit this site here.

- Share Out Responsibilities And Chores 
Finally, it's important you're sharing out the responsibilities and chores in the house. Whilst this will have to depend on the age of your children, getting them involved when it comes to chores is important. Whether it's the simple task of keeping their bedroom tidy or helping with the dishes when you're done with dinner - teaching them responsibility from an early age is incredibly important. As they get older, the number of chores they have to do should increase too.


Thursday, 18 April 2019

Five Recipes to Replace the Sunday Roast

Ahhh, Sunday roasts… what a wonderful British tradition.

As much as we love a good roast, who said yours has to be the same old chicken and beef every week? Does the thought of another comfy-yet-predictable roast leave you unenthusiastic?

Whether you’re a vegetarian or just want to experiment, here are five recipes to try. From herb-crusted salmon to spice-roasted cauliflower with quinoa and pumpkin seeds, we’re sure these recipes will inspire you to make a not-so-samey roast this weekend.

1. Herb-Crusted Salmon, Broccoli & Sweet Potato Bake 
Ready in under an hour, this herby salmon, broccoli and sweet potato bake makes a delicious and healthy family meal – and is so easy to make.

Cooking oil spray
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm thick rounds
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
2 slices wholegrain bread
2 tbsp fresh chives
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges, and 1tbsp lemon juice, plus extra to serve
400g tender stem broccoli, trimmed
4 x 125g skinless salmon fillets

Fire up the oven to 200°C. Spritz a large baking tray with oil then throw in the sweet potatoes and peppers. Spritz gently with oil then bake for 20 minutes. 

While the sweet potatoes and peppers are baking, pop the bread, chives, parsley and lemon juice in a food processor and blitz to make coarse crumbs. Put to one side. 

Take the baking tray out of the oven then pop in the broccoli and lemon wedges and spritz with oil. Layer the salmon fillets over the veggies then flatten the breadcrumb mixture securely on top of each fillet. 

Cook until the veggies are golden and tender (about 15 minutes) and the salmon is cooked to your liking. Drizzle with an extra squeeze of lemon juice. 

2. Mustard Beef Wrapped in Prosciutto & Roast Potatoes 
For a speedier, equally delicious Sunday lunch, try brushing beef medallions in mustard. Wrapped in prosciutto and cooked in a griddle alongside plenty of fresh veg, you get super succulent meat and tender veg.

No time to make roast potatoes? Consider cheating a bit with McCain’s roast potatoes which can be done in as little as 30 minutes – no peeling in sight!

700g new potatoes, scrubbed
Cooking oil spray
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 x 125g beef medallions, trimmed of fat
4 prosciutto slices, halved lengthways to make 8 strips
275g small tomatoes on the vine
400g tender stem broccoli
4 heaped tsp reduced-salt gravy granules

Warm the oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 

Cover the potatoes with cold water and cook in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer uncovered until just tender (about 10 minutes). Drain well then pop the potatoes back in the pan. Gently mash with a fork to break them up a little. 

Shift the potatoes over to the prepared tray and spritz with oil then roast in the oven until crisp and golden (about 30 minutes). 

Next, sweep the mustard around the side of each steak then wind two prosciutto strips around the meat, fastening with a cocktail stick. 

Warm a large non-stick griddle pan over a medium-high heat then fry the steaks for a couple of minutes on each side for medium or until done to your liking. Shift to a chopping board and leave to rest for five minutes, covering with foil. Meanwhile, leave the pan on the heat. 

Sauté the tomatoes in the griddle pan for a few minutes until tender and lightly singed. Pop the broccoli in a steamer and cook for roughly four minutes. 

Whip up the gravy as per the pack instructions. Season the steaks well with black pepper and throw away the cocktail sticks. Serve with the roast potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes and gravy. 

3. Spicy Cauliflower, Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Pilaf 
If you’re looking for a vegetarian Sunday-lunch option, look no further than this dish of spice-roasted cauliflower served with quinoa and pumpkin seeds. It’s loaded with flavour and ready in under an hour.

1tsp ground turmeric
2tsp ground cumin
½ cauliflower head, cut into florets
1 red pepper, cut into 1.5cm cubes
2 courgettes, cut into 1.5cm cubes
400g can chickpeas in water, drained and patted dry
Cooking oil spray
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1tbsp olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Pinch chilli flakes
200g quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 vegetable stock cube mixed with 400ml boiling water
2tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or coriander

Fire up the oven to 200ºC and line a big baking tray with non-stick baking paper. 

In a small bowl, stir in the turmeric and 1 tsp of the cumin. Lay out the pepper, courgettes, chickpeas and cauliflower florets in the prepared tray then scatter evenly with the spice mixture. 

Gently spritz with oil and stir to coat. Roast for about 30 minutes until golden and soft. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on to a small baking sheet and cook for the final eight minutes of the vegetable cooking time. 

Next, over a medium heat, warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Throw in the onion and sauté for a few minutes or until tender. Combine the garlic, chilli and the rest of the cumin then fry, stirring for about a minute or until aromatic. 

Pour in the quinoa and hot stock then bring to the boil. Cover the pan then turn heat down to low, simmering for roughly 15 minutes until the liquid has been soaked up and the quinoa is firm. 

Mix the roasted vegetable mixture through the quinoa mixture as well as the parsley or coriander. Season well with ground black pepper and sprinkle over the roasted pumpkin seeds then serve. 

4. Roasted and Glazed Wet-Cured Bone-in Ham 
Looking for something a little different from the average roast this Sunday?

This dish focuses on a high-quality cooking of the meat and goes great with seasonal vegetables and springtime garnishes.

It’s important to cook the cured ham properly so the flavour and tenderness are locked in. Here’s a new way of preserving that moisture to plate up the perfect ham.

Serve with pickles or chutneys, roast new potatoes and spring greens.

7kg (15 lb 4oz) wet-cured ham
50g brown sugar
50g golden syrup
50g mustard
30ml cider vinegar

Fire up the oven to 170oC. 

Weigh your ham and work out the cooking time you need at 40 minutes per kg (2lb 4oz). 

Pop the ham on a rack inside a large roasting tin and add two litres of water. Make a tent over the ham with large sheets of foil. Make sure it doesn’t touch the meat. Fasten it all around the edges to create a steaming cavity that’ll cook the ham to perfection. 

Put the ham in the oven and cook for the desired time. 

Pour the glaze ingredients into a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has melted and the mixture is silky-smooth. Put to one side. 

Take the ham out of the oven and delicately remove the skin, making sure the fat is in place. Make some incisions into the fat (in a criss-cross pattern). Smear liberally with the glaze. 

Pop the ham back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. You want the glaze to bubble and the ham to look golden. 

Serve with pickles and chutneys, hasselback roast new potatoes and spring greens.

5. Orange-Flavoured Chicken and Roasted Sweet Potato Bake 
Did you know? Oranges and veggies contain carotenoids which can do wonders for our eye and skin health – and may protect against some cancers. Take advantage of these health benefits with this delicious chicken traybake.

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
2 red onions, cut into wedges
200g baby carrots, trimmed and scrubbed or 2 carrots, sliced
Spray olive oil
1 tbsp olive oil
500g skinless chicken thigh fillets
1 orange, cut into 1cm-thick slices
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or thyme leaves, plus extra to garnish
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp chilli flakes
100g baby spinach, to serve

Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Arrange the sweet potatoes, onions and carrots on the prepared baking tray then spritz with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, after around 15 minutes of the cooking time, warm the 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. 

Fry the chicken for two minutes on each side (until golden) then shift the meat and orange slices to the baking tray with the roasted vegetables. 

Scatter the vegetables and chicken with the oregano or thyme, coriander and chilli flakes. Place back in the oven until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the veggies are lightly charred and soft (about 20 minutes). 

Top the chicken tray bake with extra chopped oregano or thyme and serve with the baby spinach. 

So, if you’ve begun to grow tired of your go-to Sunday roast beef, we hope you like one of the above spiced-up recipes. Go on, try our tantalising twists on the classic Sunday roast. Cheers and Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Things To Consider When Buying Your First Family Home

My favourite house at the bottom of The Devil's Punchbowl

Buying your first home is a huge decision - and buying a first home for your family is an even bigger one! Rather than just looking out for things that suit you, the wants and needs of other people need to be taken into consideration, so it really isn't something you should rush into. If you’re struggling with the overwhelming challenge of buying your first family home, then read on; this post is all about some of the things you need to consider.

If you’ll want to sell it after a certain time: 
Whilst it may seem somewhat premature to be thinking about selling your place before you’ve even bought it, you should always remember that property is an investment - and thinking ahead about selling it one day, to either upgrade or leave it for your kids, is definitely something that you need to do. This doesn’t mean you need to know when you’re planning on moving on, it just means that you need to be looking for places that are potentially going to be sellable in the future and possibly places that you can improve in order to make a bit of money in the process, eg by renovating or extending it.

If it has all the features you need: 
Although you’re ultimately going to make the place your own by adding things that reflect your style, and things that work for your family, it’s still good to have a starting point with some of the features you’re looking for. For example, maybe you’re looking for a place that has a garage, or a garden. Once you own the place, then you can redo the garden and add things like Kelkay Pebbles to, but you can only do this it you have a garden to begin with.

If the neighbourhood is right for your family: 
The right neighbourhood is about more than just being a good neighbourhood; it’s also about being one that’s practical and works for your family, such as being not too far from work and school, being accessible for things like shopping or anything else you and your family may need in your life on a daily basis. Think seriously if you're considering a move from the city to the country and vice versa; a switch may sound like good move but living rurally when you're not used to it or living in the city when you're not used to the traffic / noise can have a bigger impact on you than you'd expect.

If you can truly afford it: 
As tempting as it can be to jump in and buy a house either as soon as you start a family or plan to start one, the best idea is always to wait and buy something you can afford. If you're not in a position to buy a family home straight away, you might consider something smaller as a stepping stone - or consider waiting a few years so that you can save up a bit more and then be able to afford that perfect place. If buying a house is definitely in your plans, then waiting a few years isn’t going to be the end of the world and will enable you to make some changes in your lifestyle such as cutting back to be able to save more each month.

© Modern Mummy. All rights reserved.