DIY Jam and a Touch of Green Stuff

I’ve been spending my mornings inspecting my garden veg patch and I take delight in seeing my produce grow. This morning was no different apart from my poor tiny cucumber plant had been munched by some little critter (slugs I expect). So with a quick question to my Facebook gardening community, I got outside dug it out of its little space in the veg bed and re-potted it. Turna out it was far too early to be planting a cucumber outside anyway. Lesson learnt! It’s now safely inside the propagator/mini greenhouse with the hope it might survive it’s near death experience.

Miniature Cucumber plant; clearly the slugs had a party.

Lettuce, kale and radishes are doing pretty damn perfect in the veg bed. The peas are peeping, the carrots have started to sprout, rainbow chard is popping up left, right and centre too. Leeks are few and far between with only about 4 sprouting so far but beetroot looks good at the moment. My chillie plant on the other hand is inside on the kitchen windowsill and it is thriving. It makes me ridiculously happy to see it all doing so well.

Chillie plant.
Red lettuce
Carrot seedlings
Peas peeping

Today had been awfully miserable weather wise. We’ve been tuck inside our four walls, jigsawing and baking. Dee and I made some fruit and cherry scones and some homemade jam. Bit of a use it up/budget bake to be honest but after just paying for our new kitchen (doing a little dance) which has used up our savings entirely we should be watching what we spend so it’s not a bad thing.

The jam was easy. Frozen mixed berries I used about 500g from the freezer along with sugar to taste (about 2 tbsp) boil the heck of it. Mash the berries together a little Take it right up to 105c and then pour it carefully into a pre-serialized jar. We like the seeds in but strain it if you dont, but please be careful as it’s like molton lava when its finished cooking. But yum, how easy!

Mixed Berry Jam.

Happy jammin’

Love,

L, xox

Apple Crumble(v) and A Missed Easter

We made a use it up crumble.

And here is the recipe. It’s totally vegan unless you choose otherwise; so stay wild moon child and eat this to your own taste, vegan or not its delish.

Baked apple crumble, straight from the oven.
A recipe for a classic favourite, with a vegan twist.

Ingredients

120g Plain Flour
60g Vegan Buter
60g Caster Sugar
40g Oats

A round about method (and commentary).

Get your hands in! Rub the butter into the flour until a breadcrumb consistency. We like a mixture of fine and larger breadcrumbs. Add the oats and sugar and mix it well.

For this particular crumble I peeled 5 small apples we had left over in the fruit bowl and 2 small pears. I sliced the apples and chopped the pear in to cubes, threw them in the old school enamel pie dish we inherited from Mans Nan (we lost her just before Christmas and we miss her so). I mixed in about 30g of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon because, well cinnamon and apple; enough said.

Cover it over with your crumble topping (great to mix in a handful of chopped pecans if you have them too) bake for about an hour until golden and crisp on top. I use a gas oven currently and I go medium to low heat for this one.

Enjoy your crumble – served with custard, ice cream, cream or your fave vegan alternative. I had a bit with alpro plain yogurt. Delish.

Dog pretending not to look at a bowl of apple crumble
Aro the dog looking at our homemade apple crumble.

We’ve had an indoor/outdoor kind of day. We’re in week 3 of lock down and these days are merging into one. Don’t know what day it is most hours and the fact is, it could be three months of this. I’m hoping to utilise some of the time to plan and knock out some publishables in prep for post lock down days, back to work times and ‘normality’ (what ever that is). In the meantime, we will cook, bake, laugh, love, play, make a mess (constantly), clean up the messes, drink wine, write, create and just be in our home.

Little girl in the grass with a watering can plant pot
Dee sits in the grass with her nuby cup and some sweet yellow flowers in a watering can.

As always, I am grateful for all that I have right here. I am however missing my family and my friends. I miss nipping to mum’s for a cuppa and a 3 hour chat. I miss randomly getting together with my sister and brothers, my friends, and of course my Grandma who is more isolated than ever. I miss my sweet nieces and my nephew. And we have fully missed my mum’s and step dad’s Easter Gathering with all of that side of my family. The Easter Bake Off competition we do, which I’ve been band from by the way (untouchable skills you see), the kids Easter hunt and just being together; laughing and enjoying the company. Until we can, know we miss you the most, love you the most and cant wait to see you.

L, xox

The Broken Crayons and The Ginger Whale

Sorting out the littles colouring box and finding a hell of a lot of broken crayons. I’ve seen it countless times online, pinterest, and Insta ect when people melt down the old crayons in silicone moulds and reuse the results. Getting the best out of the broken bits. I’d just like to take a moment to drift back to my own childhood when the paper jackets on crayons would slip off countless times for you to be able to slide the crayon right back in, or they’d be easy to rip back the paper to expose more of the crayon. I remember the waxy smell of them and still to this day love it.

However I can confirm that crayons are no longer easy to separate from their paper jackets. As it took me a good 20 mins to take all the paper off before melting them. But its imperative you do so I did endure it. I filled up an old silicone cupcake tray with the broken old crayons and tried to keep similar colours together. Keeping them similar makes me smile but feel free to mix them up and put in all the colours you would like or stick to one colour per hole.

Pop them in the oven and bake till melted completely. On my lowest setting it took about 15 mins, but my oven is beyond ancient so isnt the best (roll on the new kitchen in the atumn – can not wait). All I can tell you is heat until melted, remove from the oven and cool till solid making sure they are thoroughly cooled before letting little hands touch.

Grab some paper or a colouring book and enjoy those new colours. Dee loved them, easy to hold and they look cute stacked because of the puck shape. I implore you to have a go, in the name of reduce, reuse, recycle and of course as a time filler if you’re lacking bits and bobs to get the little ones involved with.

Dee forever asks to make “gingermans” and today I folded and helped her make some. We made circles, gingermans, stars and whales which initially I thought was a strange looking bunny. Man put me right and hands up it deffo looks like more of a whale than a bunny. What do you think? I can kinda see both. Dee says it’s a bunny.

Recipe to follow shortly for these. They’re certainly a winner in my house. Crisp and spicy with a lingering ginger flavour, for lovers of ginger these are a must.

Love and wishes,

L, xox

Easy Peasy

When toddlers take things at face value we often find ourselves puzzling, doubled over in laughter or even blushing with embarrassment. When Deedee had a conversation with her daddy today in the garage we were no exception to that rule.

She was practicing riding her trike, shes having trouble pressing down on the pedals with alternate feet. Her attention span ain’t all that, so she wanders off to find daddy doing man things in the garage. They end up having a conversation where shes asked him if the moon was going to come out. He quickly replied that he would get the moon and stars for her “easy peasy lemon squeezy”. Okay daddy.

She comes into the kitchen where I’m having a rare four and a half mins and a cup of peppermint tea. And she says “Mummy, can I have the juicy lemon for daddy so he can get the moon to come out” I tried to hold back the giggles, but this kid was serious so I asked her how he was going to do that to which she replied “he needs the easy peasy juice lemon to get the moon and the stars to come out”.

Yes, darling; daddy is going to get you the moon by squeezing lemon at the sky. I mean, what do you say to that. I’m in stitches, she’s really pleased I’d given her the lemon juice (juicy lemon squeezy) out the fridge and she wandering in and out the garage trying to give daddy it so he can get the moon.

You’re killin’ me smalls. You’re really killin’ me.

Love and squeezes,

L xox

The Motherhood Penalty

It has come to my attention that The Motherhood Penalty is an actual thing.

There was me thinking I was the only one struggling with being made redundant on maternity leave and struggling to find a career to suit me now. The thing is, it isn’t just me. The Motherhood Penalty is REAL. We’re talking real pay gaps for mums in comparison to a non- parent counter parts, less promotion opportunities, held to higher punctuality standards than others. We are less likely to be suggested for hire than a less qualified woman without children. Just have a read at a few stats here (http://gap.hks.harvard.edu/getting-job-there-motherhood-penalty). Before you start, I know this article is full of American stats; but it is applicable for the UK and most likely a bunch of other countries too. There are plenty of other articles on the subject too. Read them, I implore you.

The last time I was made redundant I was in a new role within two weeks. This time, I’m 3 years more experienced. This time, I’m a mum. This time, it’s almost been a month already. As a society, it is our job to change this. As a mother who wants it all, it’s my job to hunt what I want down. Why should we settle for less than our counter parts? Those who choose to be dog owners are not penalised for their life choice, yet you have a child and that’s it. You certainly can’t have a career AND a family. You most certainly can’t do them both at the same time, let alone do them well. You must pick. You must pick one or the other. You can only be good at one thing – Family OR work.

That’s where I’m saying it needs to change. We are stuck in an archaic time. The stay at home mum suffers prejudice. It can be seen as old fashioned, lazy, and unattractive. “Gain a baby, lose a brain” this attitude spills out on to the mother who wants or needs to work, making it increasingly difficult to get back in to work. On the other hand, mothers who choose to have a career are classified as uncaring, lacking maternal instinct and cold. Working mothers have it hard. The guilt of having to pay someone else to help raise their child. Then there is the pay gap between them and their childfree counterparts, not to mention the problem of sourcing reliable and trustworthy childcare.

We have come so far with equality yet we are still stuck with The Motherhood Penalty. For some reason the work world thinks that us mum’s supposedly stray from competency after birthing a child. In actual fact we gain a whole lot more than we ‘lose’ (the only think I lost is my size 6-8 waist). We go through the most incredible process of carrying, giving birth, feeding and caring for a new born infant that relies on us for everything. There are sleepless nights and long busy days that follow including numerous visitors who want to put their grubby hands all over that precious new born, which you in turn have to politely but firmly warn off (which is a new skill gained for a start).

Mums are the most amazing creatures on this planet; and it’s about time that companies realise that if we choose a child adorned life, we probably have more to offer after having our child/children than we did before. We are peacekeepers, cooks, cleaners, mediators, matriarchs, admin assistants, PA’s, nurses (in the most relaxed sense of the word), transportation co-ordinators, activity planners, risk assessors, the photographer, the personal shopper and stylist, the confidante, the politician, the dietician, the CEO and the fucking skivvy. We are the whole god damn package, and some of us even stay up late to work on our passions too.

So keep up work world; we’re ready for equality amongst mothers in the work place. Let’s hope my new role (whatever it maybe) is up to speed.

Confident Kisses,

XOXO, L