BritMums #EcoverLaundry Challenge

As with most mums I’d imagine, doing the laundry is definitely NOTamongst my favourite pastimes. In fact, I find it completely tedious.

I love the after effect and the beautifully fresh clothes, but the process of getting them there is one that I would happily give up.

As well as the monotony of doing the laundry, in this household we are also tasked with the rather serious job of ensuring our toddlers clothes are washed using Non-Bio, sensitive detergent, as he suffers from quite severe Eczema. Even the slightest whiff of ordinary perfumed detergent and he breaks out in the ugliest of rashes and is scratching for weeks.

As you can imagine, we’ve tried several different detergents and have luckily found a couple that don’t irritate his delicate skin, but we are yet to find one that is efficient in getting rid of stains at a lower temperature.

This is why I wanted to try out Ecover. Not only is it “dermatologically tested” but it promises to deliver “spotless clean results, even on a cold wash”. And as if that wasn’t appealing enough, it also comes with my all time favourite scent – Lavender!!! What’s not to love?

But does it deliver real results???

The answer is a great big YES!

It worked wonders for my boys Chocolate and milk stained clothes… even delivering at the aforementioned low temperature!

As well as this, the gentle scent was mild enough that my boys skin was left protected and unscathed.

I am delighted.

Not only has it converted me to liquid detergents, which I never gave the time of day until now, but I know, beyond doubt, that it is both effective and gentle enough for my beautiful… grubby boy!

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BritMums – “ChileanEasyPeelers” Challenge

I had so much fun taking part in the last BritMums challenge that I thought I would give this one a go too. Only this one was going to be an even bigger challenge than the last.

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I have given Matthew citrus fruits to try before and although he really does love the orange flavour, he absolutely detests the texture and often gets very upset with me for giving it to him.

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However, with his weekly Special Needs group being back after the Summer, and with an attempt at giving him a much more nutritious diet, especially on those days where he is exhausted after his class and therapy sessions, I decided to dig in and try to come up with a way of incorporating this fruit into his diet.

Much like the Red Meat challenge, the aim of this one is to get more vitamins and essential nutrients into our little ones. These Chilean Mandarins are packed full of Vitamin C and are a great source of fibre, calcium and magnesium, all things that Matthews current diet really lacks in.

However, this is where it gets difficult.

Matthew doesn’t have the motor skills to get inside these mandarins, despite how easy they are to peel, and although he was happy to play with one like a ball when I gave him it, he had absolutely no understanding that this little gem was packed full of deliciousness on the inside. So mummy had to help.

As well as this, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve already tried him with citrus fruits before and he loved the taste but definitely not the texture. So this left me with a bit of a conundrum. How do I present this treat to him, without him knowing what it is, but making it appealing to him all the same?

This is what I came up with.

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I had to give him it in a form that he didn’t recognise and with other tastes and textures he comfortable with, so that he could enjoy it.

Now this may look like it is packed full of sugar and insurmountable fats and salt. But it’s not.

Matthew is already on a pretty restricted diet, so we are always very careful about what we are putting in his body.

I chose a few simple ingredients and recipes to make these little snacks and i’ll share them with you now.

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This first idea was super simple. My boy loves chocolate (just like his mum & dad) and so I thought I’d be clever and disguise some mandarin segments with some chocolate. Et Voila… The chocolate dipped mandarin.  I used a Free From (Dairy, Eggs, Gluten & Nuts) bar of Kinnerton Just Chocolate, melted it, and dipped the mandarins halfway in before leaving them to set in the fridge.

My boy loved them… As did I!

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The next thing I made was these little fairy cakes from Sainsburys. They are part of their Deliciously Free From section. It is a vanilla cake free from Dairy, Wheat & Gluten.

I topped it with a mixture I made of Vegan cream cheese (Violife), a few teaspoonfuls of icing sugar and the juices of one mandarin. Topped with 2 individual segments. It was both healthy and delicious.

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And finally I made these little treats. These are Free From (Gluten, Wheat & Dairy) pastry cases from Tesco.

I used the remainder of my melted chocolate, mixed it with the aforementioned mandarin icing and plopped a dollop in each case. These were my faves… Healthy Chocolate Orange pastry tarts! Yummy!

Unsurprisingly… these were also Matthews faves! 🙂

So there you have it… Not entirely simple… But definitely not difficult little snack ideas to get some delicious fruit into your kiddies!

I understand that most children would’ve been happy enough with a  juicy little mandarin they could easily open and enjoy, but with my little monkey comes extra challenges and as long as hes eating all of this delicious good stuff, I’m more than happy to keep coming up with fun and yummy ways of getting him to!

“This post is an entry for the BritMums #ChileanEasyPeelers Challenge.”

BritMums – #HealthyRedMeat Challenge

So as most followers of this blog will know, I am the mummy of a very boisterous toddler. He is the light of my life, the apple of my eye and all that nice stuff. But he is also a very challenging little monkey.

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He has several Sensory issues and as I’ve shared many times before, we are currently going through the ‘Autism Diagnosis Process’. Because of this he has quite a severe aversion to textures and in particular certain foods that aren’t smooth. He eats well in the sense that he will eat as much of something that he loves (like mash potato and fish fingers) but to this day he still really struggles with any sort of meat, particularly red meat.

This is a worry not only in the sense that his diet isn’t very varied, but also because he is missing out on all of the goodness that comes from red meat like potassium and iron.

He already gets daily doses of vitamins for all of his other deficiencies and the idea of adding in, for example, iron or zinc supplements is just an absolute headache.

Like everything else is at one point, red meat has recently been the subject of scrutiny in the media, and experts fear that the nutritional benefits have been overshadowed by misleading negative views. For this reason, and in order to improve the public perception, the Meat Advisory Panel, is partnering with BritMums to promote red meat in the diets of toddlers and young children, as well as shedding some light on the benefits of it in all our diets.

So, when BritMums got in touch to tell me about the challenge I thought “Yeah ok, let’s give it a try”!

They sent through a gift voucher, which we were to use for purchasing our ingredients for a family friendly red meat dinner.

I chose Pork, simply because it’s soft enough that Matthew could swallow without any issues and light enough in colour that he wouldn’t necessarily notice it mixed in amongst the other elements of his meal.

I wracked my brain for ideas using Lean Pork Mince and came up with a twist on an old classic dish… Sweet Potato & Pork Cottage Pie.

I know that both Matthew and my husband love Sweet Potato and felt like it was the best way to get some extra goodness into the dish without Matthew noticing.

So with my Pork, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots & an Onion I set off on the challenge of a lifetime… getting my toddler to eat a meal without gagging, throwing a tantrum or simply launching his plate across the room.

I used a few extra ingredients to make it all taste delicious which I’ll list here, as well as my cooking method:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Paprika
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Thyme
  • Pork Stock Cube
  • Dairy Free Spread (Matthew has a Dairy intolerance) – which i used to add to the mashed sweet potato. 
  1. I chopped and fried off some onions in a pan, using Sunflower Zero Calorie spray.
  2. Once the onions were translucent I added salt & pepper and then the pork mince.
  3. I browned the mince for about 5-7 minutes and added paprika, thyme and garlic.
  4. I then added a melted pork stock cube, dissolved in 300ml of boiling water to the mince and onions, added chopped carrots and set the hob to a simmering temperature.
  5. I let this simmer gently for 20 minutes.
  6. This is when I added my peeled Sweet Potatoes to boiling water for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes I added my mince mixture to a ramekin and topped it with mashed sweet potato.
  8. This went in the oven for a further 20 minutes to cook through and crisp the top.

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Easy peasy and super yummy, even if I do say so myself. But the best part… Both my hubby and my fussy little boy finished every last bite of it!

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In fact, it was so successful that since testing out the recipe, I have made it a further 3 times, with some of my family even requesting the recipe from me.

Saying I am one happy mummy is quite simply the understatement of the century!

“This post is an entry for the BritMums #HealthyRedMeat, sponsored by the Meat Advisory Panel.”

What I Eat In A Day – Toddler Edition

As a first time mum I have been lucky enough to have a baby that hasn’t had many problems with feeding. He has always been a hungry boy who even as a baby in the NICU always enjoyed his feeds. 

From Breast Milk (Donor EBM) to Prescription Formula, then to the weaning process. It’s always been a relatively easy transition. 

That was until we tried regular cows milk. 

Matthew seemed to enjoy the taste and didnt have any sort of aversion, however he began to be quite sickly and over time we noticed skin rashes appearing.

Long story short he was diagnosed with reflux and he has a Dairy intolerance so we had to substitute his cows milk with Soya milk… a change he took to without a problem. 

So here is an example of what Matthew eats in a day. Bear in mind he is a 20 month old toddler (16 months corrected), weighing approximately 10kg (or 22lbs).

Breakfast


He had a bowl of Ready Brek with Alpro Growing Up Soya Milk. Sometimes I’ll add puréed fruit but this morning it was just plain.

Mid-Morning Snack


Matthew loves these Wafers and we find that they are the ideal snack for him between meals. 

Lunch


We had an Occupational Therapy appointment today and so Matthew didn’t have a solid lunch, instead he had a 6oz Bottle. 

His lunch is always determined by how he’s feeling on a daily basis. If he’s playing and is quite active around lunch time then I will feed him solid food like pasta or risotto. However, on days like today where he was tired and grumpy after his therapy, he is more inclined to want to cuddle on the couch with me and drink a bottle.

Afternoon Snacks


Matthew loves these little biscuits. We buy a lot of the Organix range and in fact it was the Organix Porridges that Matthew first ate when we were weaning him. These come in a few different flavours and 2 of them in the afternoon are often really satisfying for him. 

Dinner


Doesn’t look particularly appetising but my boy loves it. It was Sweet Potato with Carrots, Onions and puréed pork. He devoured it!

Supper


Matthews last meal of the day is always his bottle. He’s still young enough that he needs this to settle him at night. He has 9oz every night and it knocks him off to sleep at around 8.30pm.

So there we have it. Today was a good day eating wise. He’s been quite unwell for the last month and so trying to get his appetite and eating back up to scratch has been challenging. 

However, he’s definitely getting there and he’s gaining weight at a good and steady rate so we are a happy mum & dad! 



Trying, Trying, Trying…

My husband and I have been together (off and on) for 16 years. We were High School Sweethearts. He is the best person I have ever known. Kind, considerate and everything else in between.

I knew, despite the many fall-outs, that he was my person. By that I mean, even on the occasions where we had called it quits, I still wanted to tell him everything I was going through, even if that were about another (I say it loosely) “love interest”.

It was then that I realised, there is nobody better than this man. He’s as good as it gets!

We were married in 2011 and immediately began trying to get pregnant (something that we would have happily accepted even before marriage).

It was the most frustrating period of our lives, and despite doing everything right (buying ovulation kits and working out all of the nonsensical mathematics of it), it just didn’t happen.

In fact, we just struck out, time and time again.

On one occasion I woke up in dreadful pain. Bleeding heavily and doubled over with cramp in my stomach. Michael being the angel he is, took me to A&E and there I was advised that I may be having a Miscarriage.

This happened again.

And again.

It was heartbreaking.

My doctor advised me that we were to keep trying. It can take time. He didn’t want to even consider IVF until I was 30.

By this time however, we had given up. We spoke at length about whether or not we would be enough for each other. Just us two.

I felt strongly that Michael and I could have a wonderful life on our own. He did too, but he clung on to hope that one day it would happen for us. He’s like that. It’s one of the things I love most about him, but also one of his most annoying qualities. I just wanted to put an end to it and enjoy our lives as they were. For at least a short period of time we did this.

However, in my head I needed a distraction from it all.

I joined my local Weight Watchers and began a healthy eating/ exercise regime. It was a great focus for me and I found that I simply forgot all about our baby making woes.

I lost a great deal of weight within a very short period of time, and backed up this weight loss with a pretty rigorous exercise regime.

I felt the best I had in years. I was happy and I was content.

It’s amazing how looking back you realise how much you were in fact kidding yourself.