Thursday, 29 May 2014


Today, exactly three years ago I held Little T for the very first time in my arms. When I think back to that first moment we shared together, it feels impossible to think that so much time has already passed since that day and yet, somehow it also feels impossible to think that he has not been a part of my entire life.

My first meeting with Little T was delayed by a whole day after he was born as he had to be rushed off to the NICU and I had to recover from the surgery and shock. He had a very scary entry into the world and for the first few minutes there we weren't sure if he was going to make it at all. It's a day I both do and don't want to remember. Luckily, now three years later I can look at the healthy, happy, clever, funny and ever growing boy that he is becoming and celebrate that day with him, creating lots of happy memories for him to look back on.

Like so many other boys, Little T loves his cars, trains and aeroplanes, but this year he has also become very interested in dinosaurs and for the last month and a half he has been asking me for a Dinosaur Birthday. With most of our family living in other countries and most of his little friends still living in London, it was going to be just the three of us this year to celebrate the day. Still, I filled the living room with dinosaur balloons, wrapped his presents in dinosaur wrapping paper and made him dinosaur shaped pancakes (with sprinkles) for breakfast. It really was a special moment when he came downstairs, saw everything and realised that it's all for him :)

The morning was spent ripping open presents, playing with new toys, trying and finally succeeding in assembling all the bits requiring assembly and talking with far away family on Skype. After all of the excitement of it all (and the very early start to the day) Little T went off for a little nap, which gave me the time to turn my attention to the most asked for part of the day, the Cake!

After trying my hand at elaborate cake decorating previously and not quite achieving the desired results, I knew it would be best to take a much more simple yet effective route this year. Many, many hours of Pinteresting confirmed this notion and so the idea was born. A fool-proof chocolate cake, covered in thick ganache icing, a couple of packs of chocolate finger biscuits stuck round the sides, big sprinkles (a.k.a dino eggs) scattered over the top and the finishing touch, a few favourite dinosaur toys (artfully) placed around. The end result was one I was very pleased with and Little T was absolutely ecstatic when he saw it coming out of the kitchen with candles all lit.

All round, it was a fun filled and joyous day to celebrate the fact that we have had the privilege of raising this little boy for three years already and to look forward to so many more years to come :)

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Country Living

Even after living in the UK for nearly eleven years, I am still often blown away by the beauty that the English Countryside has to offer. People travel far and wide across the globe to see spectacular sights, but sometimes you can be very pleasantly surprised at what there is to see in your very own little corner of the earth.

Over the weekends, we try to get out and about as much as possible and try to see as much of our new surroundings as possible. A couple of weekends ago this led us to the gorgeous New Forest in Hampshire, a place that still truly feels wild and untamed. Although it was very wet and muddy after all of the rain we've had over the last several months, it was an extremely enjoyable day out, with some awesome views all around.

Luckily the sky stayed blue for the entire day and with the sun on our faces and our backpacks full of snacks we set off to find the wild horses that roam around this forest.

We walked for miles and miles that day, trying to see more and more of this stunning place, but in the end we had to call it a day and return home when the sun started to dip below the horizon. There is still much of the forest that we weren't able to explore that day, so I am certain that we'll go there again soon.

Luckily for me though, coming home doesn't mean that I am stuck in a big city any more and the countryside is just a stone's throw away from me now. So, on a day like today, when the sun is shining bright in a clear, blue sky, I can just jump on my bicycle with Little T on the back and head down this lovely little country lane.

Within minutes I am in open fields, covered in buttercups and heading towards a little forest that's on top of a very steep hill.

Along the way I was able to indulge in one of my greatest little pleasures, dandelion seeds!!!

There's nothing quite like fresh air, open space and some exercise to keep a toddler happy, Little T had the biggest smile on his face the whole day. Then again, it may just have been because he got to wear his new Lightning McQueen hat :)

Oh, and of course because of all the little lambs we saw along the way!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Toddler Baking

One of the best things about having children is seeing yourself in them. Over the past three years I have come to notice that Little T has my eyes, my nose, my silly sense of humour, my love of animals, my total lack of patience and most recently I have seen that he also has my love of baking.

Every few days, as soon as Little T wakes up his first words to me will be, "I want to make pancakes". As a result I can whip up a batch of pancake batter pretty much with my eyes still closed, and that's with the help of a toddler. The real challenge for me comes on a day like today when he asks to bake cake. For me, baking has always been about order, precision and processes, but since adding a toddler into the mix, I have had to learn to change the way I bake. I have now learnt (the hard way) that simple is definitely better and the less ingredients and steps there are, the better your chances of success. My go-to book is still from the queen of easy baking, Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess and today I settled on a plain and simple Madeira cake.

I have also had to learn to just let go and to embrace the ensuing chaos, mess and extra spoons, spatulas and fingers that will end up in the batter. So what if more egg and flour ends up on the counter than in the bowl, it's all part of the process now! Oh, and I no longer worry about the unavoidable Licking of the Spoon, I just make sure I use good, fresh, organic eggs and that the spoon only goes back into the bowl once the cake is in the oven :)

In the end, the cakes my not be pretty and they may not rise to dizzying heights, but they taste pretty darn delicious and most important of all is that we had fun baking them!

Now, if only Little T had some of his father's patience and could wait until the cake has cooled down before trying to dig in...