What a year it has been

On Saturday, the 4th of July, it was our one-year anniversary of becoming a family. 

And what a year it has been!

In adoption, there are many milestones that could be celebrated – the day I was approved as a match for her, the day I met her, the day she moved in with me (the day I brought her home forever), the day the adoption order was approved, and the celebration hearing date. I’d never keep track and can only cope with one big milestone a year, so I chose for us to celebrate our “Gotcha day” as the Americans call it, on the 4th July, which is the day I met my daughter for the very first time. 

I was so filled with excitement and emotions, it was such a vivid day for me, and she was shy at first, but as the day went on I got a little smile, and she played peekaboo with me behind a chair, and in the afternoon she put her tiny little hand in my hand, and my heart exploded with joy. 

That day was the greatest day of my life, and even just remembering it brings tears to my eyes, it was so special and amazing. And for her of course, it was the day she met her mama for the first time, even if she didn’t really know it or understand at the time. Continue reading

Potty Training Magic

Well, we’ve decided to attempt potty training….

This is something I had not realised everyone and his dog has an opinion on. It’s really hard to navigate when you are a first-time parent and you hear these type of comments ALL THE TIME…

  • “Oh god it was horrendous, one of the worst things we’ve ever had to do”
  • “Isn’t she potty trained already? Shouldn’t you be doing it now?”
  • “Just wait til they are ready, then they just do it by themselves, and it’s easy”
  • “Most of the other kids her age are already potty-trained…”
  • “With boys it’s so much easier”
  • “Oh you don’t need to read any books about it, they don’t need to be “TRAINED” – when they are ready they’ll just know how to do it and you won’t have to do anything”
  • “Good luck – that was the hardest 6 months of my bloody life”
  • “No but really, when are you potty-training her?”
  • “Don’t rush it, I see so many parents trying to do it before their kids are ready, and it takes ages”
  • “Don’t bother about all that – just let them run around naked for a while and accept that there will be piss and shit all over everything”
  • “Seriously though, when ARE you going to potty-train her?”
  • “My kids were potty-trained at 18 months….”
  • “My kids weren’t potty-trained til they were 3 or 4”
  • “My kid learned in 2 days and it was easy”
  • “My kid took 7 months to learn and it was hell”
  • “If you’re having to read a book about it, or ask for advice then she’s probably not ready yet, and you should wait”

and so on…. Continue reading

Bread vs Art

In exploring what else I could make with my sourdough starter, I stumbled across this beautiful example of Foccacia art – combining my love of creative arty things with my love of bread!

Naturally I had to try it out! (This pic below is not mine but an example of what I mean that I found on google).

So I decided to try making my own! Continue reading

Sourdough Pancakes

One of the suggestions in my sourdough group on facebook was things to do with leftover sourdough starter (or discard). This is because sometimes when you have bulk fed your starter to make bread you have extra leftover. I’ve tried brownies (they were nice but a little weird), and then discovered these pancakes.

Good lord were they yummy! Continue reading

FOOD!

Ok so thanks to my amazing sourdough experiments I have put on 3kgs (might also be all the wine and cake and sweeties…) and my wonderful neighbour also got me a subscription to Olive magazine for my birthday, which is packed with amazing recipes that I just needed to try immediately!

None of this is going to help my waistline, but oh my god I do love trying new things in the kitchen, AND some of these are slow-cooker recipes which is encouraging me to use mine a bit more and also helping me manage my transition back to work as I can slow-cook dinners while working from home – all kinds of win!

Here are a few things I have tried out:

Continue reading

Curly Girls

Ok, so recently I’ve decided to play around with my hair and see if I can follow the “Curly Girl” method, and see how curly I can get my hair to go naturally.

Now this is mainly due to the fact that I am still, after 11 months, trying to learn the best way to manage my mixed-race daughter’s amazing luscious curly hair. It has grown an awful lot in that time, and gotten so much thicker and longer. I didn’t want to just experiment on a two-year old with all these new methods and thought I would experiment on myself as well just to see what happens. 

Given the current events worldwise in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I wanted to explain a bit more about why and how my curly hair journey is so interlinked with discussions on race happening around the globe. It sounds ludicrous to put those two things together, but hear me out. Continue reading

Quarantine Diary: Week 10

Sunday 24th May

It’s my birthday! We had SUCH a lovely day! The kid was really excited and helped me open presents in the morning and I baked a fresh loaf of sourdough (one of my best so far).

I got loads of lovely presents and cards, and we picked some of the gorgeous roses from my garden to put in a vase.

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Easy sponge cake recipe

I have always admired those people who can knock up a cake without needing a recipe.
I’ve always known it’s something to do with ratios, but can never remember what the ratios are and how to apply them, so I always end up looking up a recipe anyway.

However, my mum taught me a really simple method which I think I probably could remember, so I thought I would write it down and share it. This is for a plain vanilla sponge cake.

I have read in the past an interesting article about the science of cake, which explained that beating the sugar and butter together first coats the individual granules of sugar with fat, and traps tiny air bubbles in with the granules, meaning that when combined with the other ingredients they retain these little bubbles, making a lighter and fluffier sponge cake. This is also why caster sugar is usually recommended for cakes instead of granulated sugar as it is smaller and finer, and therefore can trap more air. So if you can, always use caster sugar in your cakes, and always beat the butter and sugar together really well before adding the other ingredients.

Here it is:

Take 3 eggs and weigh them.
Measure out the same weight of butter and sugar and self-raising flour. Take the butter (at room temp, or softened) and sugar and beat them together until light and fluffy.
Gradually add in the eggs and flour bit by bit, mixing as you go. You might also want to add in a half-teaspoon of baking powder to help it rise.
Add a half teaspoon (or whole teaspoon depending on your taste) of vanilla essence.
And then split between 2 lined or greased cake pans, and bake at 180 for approx 15-20 mins (check on it and when a skewer comes out clean, they are done.

And voila! Lovely easy sponge cake!

Quarantine Diary: Week 9

Sunday 17th May

Despite falling asleep knackered half an hour earlier than normal, the kid was up at 1.30am and took a while to go back to sleep, though when she woke up again at 6am she came into my bed and we both slept til around 8.30am which was nice. After breakfast we got in the car and went back to Port Meadow, this time to meet a couple of friends from London who haven’t left the city since lockdown began. Was SO lovely to see them and go for a socially-distanced walk (we stayed 2m apart the whole time). It felt so normal to finally be able to see friends again, and go for walks etc.

It was a lovely day, and we got to see all the horses and cows up close this time which the kid loved.

Back home for lunch, but I had a killer headache again so went to lie down for a bit. Couldn’t sleep so just lay there for a while and then came back down. I can’t tell if these headaches are from stress, tiredness, or my sinuses as my hayfever has been really bad this year. Or maybe because I often clench my jaw at night and grind my teeth – who knows, but it’s annoying.

Mum kindly took the kid out for a walk and left me to chill out for a bit, and I made some more bread (I am VERY pleased with this one – my breadwanker status is getting worse….).

Continue reading