Review: New Annabel Karmel Toddler Recipe Book

There is a new Annabel Karmel recipe book being released 20 June, perfect for those who need some help a few minutes before you should have dinner on the table. I definitely fall into this category. This book is brilliant for me – it contains quick and simple recipes that even a kitchen-phobe like me can follow, and the ingredients used are all on my normal shop anyway! None of this nonsense you find in other recipe books that claim your store cupboard should contain the most wacky specialist ingredients that you haven’t heard of.

Annabel Karmel's Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes is out on 20th June '13

Annabel Karmel’s Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes is out on 20th June ’13 (RRP £9.99)

This book contains real, healthy recipes, that you are going to make often. I’ve been using this book for about a month now, and have made a good selection of the recipes. It contains breakfast ideas, lunch, dinner and snacks. Henry is turning into a bit of a picky eater, but he loved the things in this book. His favourite was the blueberry pancakes, but everything else I made also went down a treat. I highly recommend this recipe book if, like me, you need a reminder of just how many different things you can make from the ingredients in your cupboard.


Capturing those moments

I always considered myself lucky that I never had to find a photographer to document my son in the early days, and as he grows. I have albums full of photos that I am very happy with thanks to a brilliant photographer, Gareth Slade, that we just happened to know.

I am very much looking forward to our wedding too, where he will also be in charge of documenting our big day. I must admit, it is nice to not have to worry about it at all! Photographs of our wedding will be blogged here in a couple of months!

He took the beautiful shots of our family you can see here.

And the photo collage below is one of my favourites. It’s amazing to see how much he’s grown. I highly recommend contacting Gareth for your own family portraits!

© 2013 GarethSlade.co.uk

© 2013 GarethSlade.co.uk


*Please note: I have not been given any sort of payment to write this blog post. I have written this recommendation because I feel it is relevant to the blog & to my readers.



Toy Story fan


There’s something about, well no, not Mary – Toy Story!!

Such a brilliant film, all these years later. I still laugh at the jokes (although how many times can I watch it before I start wishing for a change?).

We’ve bought Henry a Bullseye previously as a reward for being so good at his vaccinations, but a Woody and Buzz is definitely on its way soon!

(Oh and a potato head he got for his first birthday! This developed into an obsession with carrying around Mr Potato Head’s ears. Now they have disappeared but I’m sure they will turn up in some really strange place. Hopefully not in my son’s nappy…)


Definitely a little fan in the making.


Most loved toys

Henry has a lot of toys.


This photo shows only a small selection -the rest are piled up in his room. I rarely buy him toys as he gets so much from all the family and friends who love him. The pirate ship (Little People, Fisher Price) in the foreground however, that was from me, for Christmas. And I’m pleased to say it is one of his most loved toys.

Little boys and pirate ships. It plays sea-shanty type songs, and he sways to it. He pushes it around the living room on it’s hidden wheels, and puts the little pirate in the hammock and pretends the little man is going to sleep.


And if I recall the purchase from as long ago as three months, it wasn’t too unreasonable. From Argos, I believe it was around £30-£35. A bargain considering how much use and fun imaginative play it has created.


Ikea Kids

I love Ikea. It is so good for quality, generally well-designed, reasonably priced products. And they have an excellent kids department. The only problem is the distance to get to the place. It’s a good 2-hour drive to the closest one.

On our last visit though, we had a good look around for bits for Henry, and he really enjoyed himself! That’s another thing that is so good about Ikea. It’s very family-orientated. They even have a privacy screen in their cafe for breastfeeding women to use if they so wish. The endless highchairs and activity stations dotted throughout the showroom makes for a pleasant shopping experience.

And this time, we ’invested’ in a circus tent for Henry, complete with shaggy, green rug (that looks very similar to a grassy field).

61446_452582968121430_461722513_n As you can see, it is a big success. Henry loved it in the shop, and even more at home. If you have the space (and even if you don’t – it folds up!) I would definitely recommend this. And when he gets older, it will be great for imaginative play. I only wish I could have had the same when I was his age!


Christmas Preparations

Homemade christmas

My homemade christmas decorations – the challenge is making them toddler-proof!

I was so excited about christmas this year that I put the decorations up on 30 November. We have the tree on our kitchen counter to stop it being so tempting for Henry. I’m sure it would have only been about 30 seconds before Henry decided to try and climb it, and instead ending up under it.

All my christmas shopping is done too, and we’ve just bought Henry his big present. It’s a Smart Trike DX; a bright green trike that we can use instead of the pushchair on walks. Henry is at that stage now where he hates being put in his pushchair because he wants to see the world. He likes to see what’s going on, and he loves to feel like he’s a big boy.


So for christmas, we’ll give him his trike (which his daddy has promised to build so I don’t have to!) and hopefully he’ll enjoy going for walks again. He had so much fun being pushed around in it in the shop - giggling like a cutie pie! Though he made quite a fuss when we had to take him out of it…


Finding Hours

It seems as if it is getting harder to find the time to sit and write. Or do anything really.

I am all too aware of the time that is taken up by the things that have to be done – working, cooking, cleaning – but now there is a new leech on time that often takes over, and I’m not even talking about having children to run around after. It’s technology.

I reap the benefits of blogging, when I can actually find the time, but there are some more pointless and unfortunately very addictive sides to being in the tech generation. One example of this is my oh-so-brilliant smartphone. I loved this when I first got it. I’m sure everyone does, it’s very exciting getting a new gadget to play with. Henry was excited about getting a new chew toy too.

The problem is, with all these apps and unlimited texts and wi-fi is that I struggle to put it down. It gets to the point where I have to go and put it in the other room to stop myself picking up, not through boredom but habit, and mindlessly scrolling through facebook and twitter. It is a lot easier to manage your facebook use when you can only log in on your laptop. The fact that it is always there is haunting me. It is ridiculous when it starts eating into the quality time I am spending with the little man.

It’s more than ridiculous. It’s disgraceful.

I don’t use it more than is necessary now until Henry has gone to bed. I’m only writing this now as the bubs is in bed and I have one of those rare moments to myself. I continue to get shocked by the parents taking their children to the park and just ignoring them while on phones. The toddlers and young children with ipads. What is wrong with a storybook and a cuddle?

I can understand schoolchildren with laptops for homework but I cannot understand a baby with an iphone.

If you want to discuss this further, you can catch me after 7pm, because before that time I will be giving Henry my undivided attention.


Cranky Pants (Not Really)

I think Henry is teething. He’s being a little cranky pants lately, and a little cheeky rascal! He screams as if he’s in pain, not the normal I-want-something moan. It’s higher pitched and more urgent. And he’s slobbering like nothing I’ve ever seen. Saying that, he still tries his best to be cheerful. He laughs when you play with him – he’s still the good-natured little bubs that he’s always been. And he loves being tickled!

I’ve invested in a tube of Baby Bonjela Teething Gel, and he doesn’t seem to mind it. It soothes him even if it is only a distraction. He has a really hard bite now, too. Deceptively hard for something so small and innocent.

Then he’ll look up at you, his eyes all wide with a cheeky grin flashing across his face, and he knows he’s adorable. He knows he can get away with anything.



Bathtime Reinvented

We’ve recently decided that the baby bath, although saving water, will have to be retired. It has been used until we cannot possibly squeeze our little boy into it any longer. Henry was also beginning to get frustrated and unhappy in the bath, being so restricted, and I also was starting to struggle to bath him on my own. It was fine for when he was younger, because he didn’t wiggle as much and he wasn’t as strong, but now he splashes and squirms and a naked, wet baby is rather hard to hold onto.

So yesterday, we trundled off to Mothercare to purchase a new bath seat. Now, I looked carefully into all the options. I read the many reviews of the various types online, both good, bad and dangerous. The reason I decided against a swivel bath seat was because of the reviews that mentioned the underneath having rough, unfinished plastic. I don’t want Henry to be left with scratches down his chubby little thighs like a lot of babies have suffered with.

A more expensive option is the one we went for in the end. It’s called an Aqua Pod and at £29.99, it’s not exactly cheap, and you can find them second-hand for less I’m sure, but we wanted the ease of getting one right away. In my opinion, it was worth every penny. It basically is a little seat (but with no sharp plastic edges) with suckers on it attached to a bath mat. It has a handy little temperature guide that reads ‘too hot’ if the water is, well, too hot. The pattern is cute with little ducks on it, and it comes in either pink or blue. We sat Henry in it last night, for his first ‘big boy bath’. We loaded it with various bath toys including his new animal squirters, seal flips, some rubber ducks and stacking cups with holes in them and sat him in the seat. He squealed for a little bit, but probably just with the shock of it. Before long, he was reaching for his toys, splashing me with giant tidal waves of water, and having a whale of a time (excuse the pun).

I’m actually looking forward to bath time now; it’s finally at the stage of being an addition to playtime rather than just part of the routine.

And I’m sure Henry is happy about that too. He slept like a baby afterwards…