Tuesday, 30 August 2016

It's no secret that we love flapjacks in our house. One of our favourite recipes is my crumbly fruity flapjack. This flapjack has an oaty crumbly crust with a delicious fruity center. 


Our favourite fruit center is blackberries closely followed by blueberries but most berries work well. 

These flapjacks are refined sugar free and are great for breakfast or as pudding. You can also pop them in the freezer as a great make ahead breakfast, just pop them in the fridge to defrost overnight.



Ingredients 

100g porridge oats
100g plain flour
75g unsalted butter
150g blackberries, mashed 
1-2 tbsp of honey 

Method 

Preheat the oven to 180 and grease a small loaf tin. Mix together the oats and flour in a large bowl then rub in the butter. Once all the butter has been rubbed in add the honey. I only tend to use 1 tbsp but it will depend on how sweet you would like it. Give it a good mix with your hands. Depending on how much honey you used the mixture should hold together but may be a little crumbly. Add half the crumbly mixture to the loaf tin, patting it down firmly. Then add the mashed berries. Finally add the rest of the crumbly mixture patting down the best you can. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden.








Thursday, 18 August 2016

Not long after I had Oliver I had a very restless 2 year old Jessica. She coped really well with having a new baby brother but I had to change her routine somewhat which then led me to having mum guilt. Once Oliver settled into a routine (can you tell I like routines!) I started looking around for suitable local activities that could also accommodate a baby. 

I came across Tumble Tots. I had seen them advertising at a local playgroup and decided to do some research. We already went to a music/creative group so I was definitely interested in something more physical. There are different classes available for different age groups, 6 months to walking, walking to 2 years,  2 to 3 years and 3 years to school age. Each age range is structured to suit the abilities of the children in that class.


arranged a trial very easily through my local groups Facebook page and off we went. On arrival I was greeted by a lovely lady called Jacky who told me what to expect from the session. In the 2 to 3 years class children start by sitting down in a circle with their grown up and participate in a warm up song. They are then divided up into smaller groups and each group sent to a different station along with each tumble tots grown up. Each station is set up differently, allowing children the chance to experience a different activity to improve and develop their balance, climbing, hand-eye-foot control and agility. Once the children have had time on one station they are then told to form a train to move onto the next station with one child being the train driver. After completing each station the session finishes with all children returning to the circle to sing another song followed by each child receiving a sticker. 


Our first session did not go very well. Jessica was too over excited and didn't understand the structure. She just wanted to climb on all the equipment whenever she saw it. She did not take direction or instruction well so it was a battle to get her to follow the structure. We struggled through the class and I was so thankful when it was finished so I could run away and never come back! Fortunately for me Jacky came over to talk to me about how well Jessica's ability on the equipment had been. She reassured me that it was not uncommon for new 2 year olds to be overwhelmed. Jacky encouraged me to return the following week to see how Jessica would get on. 

I debated about going back the whole week but after talking through the structure with Jessica I decided to go back and I'm so thankful that I did. Jessica was a completely different child, she instantly got it. She sat down nicely during circle time, waited her turn patiently at each station and followed instructions from the grown ups. It was such a turnaround! We continued to go every week during term time and she thoroughly enjoyed it. Her ability got better every session and it was brilliant watching not only her physical skills improving but also her confidence and social skills. 


Just before she was 3 she progressed to the 3 years to school age class. The structure in this class is the same but with one big difference, you no longer accompany your child. This is great preparation to help with the transition of starting school. Jessica coped extremely well with this change and I was thankful not to lug a 5 month old Oliver around in a baby carrier! Jessica was in this class for a year and a half and it really made a massive difference to her physical ability. She is much more agile than her cousin who is a year older. She can confidently climb and balance without adult intervention. She shows no hesitation in her ability. Her social skills have also thrived. While in this class she had to listen, follow instructions, respect other tumble tots, work as part of a team and support other tumble tots when they needed help. Being at tumble tots has definitely enhanced her confidence. 



Jessica has thoroughly enjoyed her time at tumble tots and I'm quite sad that it has come to an end. So while she will be busy at school come September it will be the perfect time to commence Oliver's tumble tots experience! 


Please check out www.tumbletots.com for more information and to find your local class.





Tuesday, 9 August 2016

So it's no secret that we love a good flapjack recipe. I was looking to use up some very ripe bananas and instead of making banana and blackberry muffins I thought I would try a new flapjack recipe. 


This recipe is only sweetened with fruit so the riper the banana the sweeter the flapjack will be. If you wanted to make it a little bit sweeter you could add 1 tbsp of honey. 

Ingredients 

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
150g porridge oats 
100g strawberries, washed, diced and dried
50g unsalted butter

Method 

Grease a small swiss loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180 (160 fan). Melt the butter (and honey if using) in a pan then add the to the mashed banana and mix well. Then add your banana mixture to the porridge oats and stir well until all the oats are coated. Then add your diced strawberries stirring gently. 


Place the mixture into the oven and bake for around 25/30 minutes. 


Allow to cool down for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 




Monday, 8 August 2016

I absolutely love the Olympics and I have very fond memories of watching it as a child. I have clear memories of Barcelona 1992 when I was nearly 8 years old. One of my ambitions when I was a child was to win gold at shot put at Sydney 2000. I would love for my children to have lots of happy memories of the Olympics growing up and for them to be inspired by the many amazingly talented Olympians.

This is the first year I can really engage with Jessica about the Olympics as when London 2012 was commencing she was only 7 months old! So I decided to do a spot of toilet roll tube painting as the effort reward ratio is very high for this activity.


All you need is five empty toilet roll tubes (never a problem in our house!) and some paint - blue, black, red, yellow and green. I simply set it up in our painting pallet but you could use bowls if you do not have one. I then stuck the empty toilet roll tubes into each colour and did a sample one to show her what we were doing.


She really loved this. She really took her time to get the rings to interlink. While she was stamping I told her all about the Olympics. She immediately said that she wanted to win a gold medal.


I let Oliver do some stamping too and we worked on our colour recognition which he really enjoyed.


A brilliant 15/20 minute activity to keep little ones busy with a very quick set up time. Clear up times dependent on how messy your little one gets!


Friday, 5 August 2016

To celebrate the fact it's Friday and it's sunny we are having pizza for breakfast, well kind of!


This sweet pizza is simply made by spreading raspberry chia jam on a mini tortilla, then topping with your chosen fruit and finished with a little sprinkling of desiccated coconut. 


Now while this is made from refined sugar free ingredients it is very sweet so maybe only offer it occasionally. 

To make raspberry chia jam you simply add a cup of raspberries, a tbsp of honey and a tbsp of chia seeds to a blender then blend to the desired consistency. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. 


Wednesday, 3 August 2016

I came up with a recipe for some porridge cups a few months ago after coming across Chocolate Covered Katie's super cute breakfast granola cups. 

Oliver loves oats for and we normally include it in our breakfast options everyday. Oats are an amazing source of fiber and help you feel fuller for longer. 

Oats are so versatile that I like to use them in various ways so that he doesn't get bored of them. That's when I created my porridge cup recipe. 


I've tweaked it slightly to now include peanut butter, another one of Oliver's favourites. If you do not like peanut butter this recipe works just as well without it. 

Ingredients 

1 medium banana, mashed 
2 tbsp honey
200g porridge oats 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp of cinnamon 

Method 

In a large bowl mix together the porridge oats and the cinnamon. In a separate bowl mix together the mashed banana, honey, peanut butter and vanilla extract. Add the banana mixture to the porridge oats and give it a good mix until all the porridge oats are coated. 


Either grease a muffin tin or use silicone cases and then press the mixture into each hole pressing up the sides. 


Leave in the fridge for about an hour to firm. Once firmed re press each cup and then bake in the oven at 180 (160 fab) for around 10-12 minutes. Allow them to cool down for 10-15 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool.


These are suitable for the freezer but just be careful as they are quite fragile.