You know you need a takeaway dinner when…

We were offered a voucher from JUST EAT so we could review their online takeaway ordering service and, after a trying day, I decided to do what anyone would do to keep her sanity – order Chinese takeaway and make a list. So here we go. You know you need a takeaway dinner when… You’ve been asked the question “What are you doing?” 52 times today – sometimes in the space of seconds. It has been mixed up with “Why?” Your 2-year-old doesn’t want to walk, go in the sling, the pushchair or your arms and doesn’t want to stay…

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Freezing tips for skint, busy families

We do a fair bit of freezing to make life easier on ourselves. The last thing I feel like doing at the day’s end is cooking, especially if we’ve spent most of it out. I’m the one who’s around so the task generally falls to me, which is a shame because Laurence is the better cook. It leaves us open to the temptation of a takeaway – a nice treat sometimes but not to be repeated too often for the sake of our finances – and health. Then there are also the days when I realise I didn’t plan our…

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If you go down to the woods today…

Walking through the woods with Talitha, my thoughts often drift off into the foliage. I wander at the distinctive beauty of this country I’m adopting. I am struck by the wild, matchless wealth with which these simple experiences frame her childhood. In real terms, these trees are her history, her heritage and her birthright. They are worth protecting. Two weeks ago she and I visited Yeo Valley to spend a day with The Woodland Trust. First trimester exhaustion meant the experience took far more out of me than it should have but I was just glad to get Talitha outdoors…

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Date night in – the rules

Here follow the rules of the perfect date night in… 1. Someone cook. It’s more romantic that way. There’s a time for takeaway (usually when your fridge is empty and you’re too spent to string a sentence together, let alone make sense of what’s in your cupboards and freezer). However, there is also a time for getting your cook on. I’ve been working my way through The Great British Farmhouse Cookbook that Yeo Valley sent me. It’s full of beautiful photographs and recipes that seem both achievable and challenging. So, I decided to make Smoked bacon meatballs with pappardelle pasta…

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Polenta chocolate cake – gluten-free

Laurence has been pretty much gluten-free for heading towards three months now. So am I…mainly when I’m around him. For him it’s been about finally sorting out a food intolerance. For me, well, I don’t get the impression that gluten overload is brilliant for anyone’s digestive system and since it’s in everything, it doesn’t take much for it to be too much. Luckily, there are lots of alternatives when it comes to waving goodbye to wheat and gluten. They don’t necessarily have to be expensive either. We buy a 1kg bag of polenta (cornmeal) for £3 from the Caribbean food…

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One good reason to quit caffeine

Almost four weeks into Lent, I can finally say it: I’ve kicked my addiction to caffeine. For years, I’ve been saying I’d do it but was always too busy, lazy, tired, depressed, socially active or in denial to give it a proper go. I’m not lightly throwing around the word “addiction” either. I wince when the skinny guys on Supersize vs Superskinny (how’s that for high brow television?) name their Coke count at ten or whatever, starting with breakfast and practically breathing the stuff throughout the day. Yet, it’s been easy for me to ignore the fact that I’ve been…

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Baby led weaning: my fussy eater

Baby led weaned babies are not fussy eaters. Maybe. Mine wasn’t. She’d eat anything. Curried chicken? Yum. Squid? Yes, please. Paper? Err, unfortunately yes. The standard line was that baby led weaned babies develop an enviable appreciation for textures and flavours leading to balanced, diverse, nay, adventurous diets. I probably didn’t even read that anywhere official but somehow I thought I’d found the key to avoiding that pattern feared amongst parents of toddlers: fussy eating. Well. Five months ago my then fourteen-month-old become a vegetarian. Or maybe a white-food-e-tarian. I thought it was because we were abroad. We were visiting…

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