Mummy Tag

I was nominated by Naomi at Not a Perfect Parent to take part in the Mummy Tag.

Are you a working mum or a stay at home mum?

I’m on maternity leave at the moment until 1st April (and then accrued annual leave), but then will probably have to go back to work because of child care costs.

Would you have it any other way?

I would love to be able to stay at home with Isla rather than work, or to work part-time. I can dream…

Do you co-sleep?

Yes. I’d always said I would never co-sleep ( I also always said I’d never be the sort of mum to sniff bums or pick baby’s bogies, but look at me now!), but it is so much easier. It ensures Isla sleeps for longer, and is also so much easier with breastfeeding her. I think once she hits 6 months we’ll try putting her in her cot, that could be fun!

What is your must have item for your baby?

Erm… I’m not sure on this one. I’d probably say muslins. They are so multi-functional – you can use them to wipe up all sorts of things; as a mat to lie baby down on in public if the surfaces aren’t great or you forgot your changing mat; also babies seem to love playing with them – who needs to spend a fortune on toys when you have a muslin!?

How many kids do you plan on having?

I would like to have 3, but Chris says we can only have 2, as he reckons the third time I get pregnant we would wind up with twins and “I’m not having 4 children!” He also reckons everything is so much easier as a family of 4 rather than a family of 5. We’ll see….

Date night how often do you have them?

Haha! We had our first date night in 5 months last week thanks to my lovely parents who looked after Isla for a few hours while we went out for an absolutely wonderful meal in St Ives while on holiday.

Your child’s favourite show?

Isla doesn’t have a favourite show as I think she’s too young to be watching TV. However when she is cuddled up with us on the sofa, and we’re watching gardening programmes so is totally engrossed by them. I think it’s all the green and the trees (she probably giggles away whenever she’s in her pushchair when we’re out and about and we walk under trees, it’s so cute!)

Name one thing you bought before you had a baby and never ended up using?

I think we’ve used pretty much everything we’ve bought. Though there are a few things we’ve not used as often as I thought we would. Particularly the breast pump, although I don’t think I’d be without it as occasionally it has been a life/boob saver!

Your child’s favourite food?

Milk!! We haven’t started weaning yet, but thinking about starting soon. She’s tried little bits of things, like tzatziki, houmous, clotted cream (hated this one), jam, ice cream (really wasn’t sure on this one!). So yes, her favourite food is breast milk for now! I can’t wait to start weaning her properly though.

How many cars does your family have?

We’ve got two cars now. We’d always been a one car household, but decided we needed a car each while I was on maternity leave so I can get out and about.

Weight gain, before pregnancy, during, after and now

Before getting pregnant I lost about 2 stone due to coming off my headache medication. This wasn’t fun at all. I then lost a further 1/2 stone in the first half of my pregnancy, but started putting weight on eventually. By the time Isla was born I was probably about 25lb heavier than my booking in appointment at 9 weeks. I weighed myself a few days after Isla was born, and was probably only about 1/2 stone heavier than at my booking in appointment. Since however…..well!! With breastfeeding I’ve certainly worked up an appetite, and as I mentioned previously I’ve eaten so much crap as it’s easy! I stopped weighing myself a few weeks ago as it was just depressing me. I reckon I’ve put on at least 1/2 a stone since she was born. Which looking at it…I’m still lighter than I was at the start of 2015 before I came off all my headache medication, but that’s not really the point!

Dream holiday with your kids?

I don’t know really. I’ve never really fancied Disneyland (please don’t kill me!) We recently spent a week down in St Ives, which was wonderful and I’d love to take Isla again if possible. I think I’d love to take Isla up to Jura one day (via Islay – namesake) and we could show her how wonderful a place it is.

Dream holiday without the kids?

I’d love to go back to New York again. We spent a few days there on honeymoon, but there is still so much more to see and do there.

How has your life changed since having kids?

How hasn’t it!? I could write forever about how things have changed. But it is all totally worth it.

Finish this sentence ” my heart melts when..”

Isla is sat on someone elses knee, and she hears my voice so turns round. When she sees be her face lights up with the most beautiful smile. My little smiler Isla.

Where do you shop for your kids?

Usually at Asda. Although we’ve been very lucky in that we haven’t had to buy too many clothes for Isla. I got a load off a lady on a facebook site, for 20p an item; a friend in our village has a daughter that is 10 months older than Isla so we raided her old clothes; and my best friend from high school, the wonderful Zoe at Mama Geek let

Favourite makeup and skincare product?

I don’t really wear make-up anymore, but a good mascara, or some concealer to hide my tired mummy eyes

Huggies or Pampers?

As Naomi said, Huggies aren’t sold over here (unless you go to Costco), and their wipes really aren’t great in my opinion. Pampers are good, but so expensive. We tend to use Asda’s Little Angels, but I’m looking forward to trying out Aldi’s Mamia range as part of BritMums #mamiadaysout challenge

Have you always wanted kids?

Yes, always. When asked at work “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I always wanted to say “At home, being a Mum”

Best part of being a mum?

Everything! Watching them grow and develop each day, learning new things, and the smiles. Always the smiles!

I now nominate Kat at Little Bab to take part in the Mummy Tag!

 

Things I’d do differently if we were to do it again

Chris and I had a chat the other week about how things have been going so far with Isla, and also what we would do differently if we were to do it all again. So here are 9 things I’d do differently

 

Pushchair

I love our pushchair. It’s a Mothercare Xtreme travel system in red. It is soooo easy to manoeuvre, and as it’s 3-wheels it means it’s easy to take it up the allotment and over fields etc when we go for a walk. The car seat for it should also last us ages, as it takes a child up to 13kg. The downside of it all? It’s so bloody big and heavy! It weighs around 12.5kg, and although you can take the tyres off so it should fit into the car boot easier, that’s just too much of a hassle to me. Yes, you can fit other stuff in the boot too, but it’s not easy. So I would possibly get a different pushchair, still one that can do ‘off road’, but one that is much more compact.

Mothercare Xtreme

Mothercare Xtreme

Swaddling

As I mentioned in a previous post, we never really swaddled from the start. Isla was an escape artist, and no matter what we did she would wiggle her arms out. These days it’s rare we don’t swaddle her at least once a day. She is a pain and hasn’t learnt how to get herself to sleep yet, but I’m thinking once she hits 6 months old we might work on that one. Swaddling on the whole works really well for us, and gets her to sleep. We then have to slowly unswaddle (is that even a word!?) her so that she can roll over in her sleep if she wants to. If we were to do it all again, I would definitely swaddle from birth.

The Miracle Blanket works!

More sleeping, less cuddles

I love having cuddles with my baby girl. There are times when I could just watch her for hours as she sleeps. She is so freaking cute when she sleeps. As I’ve mentioned before she doesn’t really sleep well if we put her down in her Moses basket, or anywhere else to sleep, unless it’s on us or in bed with us. Not always ideal, but again, I get cuddles with my little girl, so I’m usually happy! I’m told by numerous people that we should put her down, she needs to learn to sleep on her own, and I will do this, but only once she hits 6 months old. Looking back I do think life would have been much easier had we put her down to sleep more at the start. I would get more done round the house for a start! And I may manage to write more blog posts! On the other hand though, Isla’s not going to always want cuddles when she’s older, so I want to make the most of it. Plus I know that if or when we have more children the chances of being able to sit around having as many cuddles as I currently do are pretty slim.

Sofa snuggles

Sofa snuggles

Bigger car

We’ve bought two cars in the last year, both secondhand. The first because our darling (??) Megane died a death so we needed to get one. In fact we had to hire a car for a week before we bought our Ford Focus. The second car we decided to get as we wanted me to have a car while I was on maternity leave. With living out in a village where public transport is pretty crappy, it would have been very isolating not to be able to drive places to meet up with friends. And so a month or so before Isla was born we bought our Skoda Fabia. Now Chris and I have never travelled light, but with a big pushchair and all the paraphernalia a baby requires, going away for a weekend or holiday makes travelling a little cramped. When we bought the cars we used our savings, but wanted to make sure we had some left in case of emergency. Now I wish we’d spent that little bit more so we could’ve bought a bigger car, making journeys more comfortable.

No Moses basket

We were bought by my parents a very lovely Moses basket and gliding (rather than rocking) stand for it to go in. I love it and love that it glides as it makes it much smoother, and also ensures that it won’t get knocked over if someone bumps into it or Isla wriggles so much in it, like there is the risk with a stand that rocks. With the sleeping situation (I didn’t want to say issues, as I don’t see it as an issue) I do wish we’d chosen instead a crib (that we could take one side off and have up against our bed), Snuzpod or Next 2 Me, as then we could still do co-sleeping, but not have her in bed with us. I was put off by the price when we were buying things when pregnant, but I do think the money would have been worth it, and we realised this too late for it to be worth getting one. Next  time for sure…..

Don’t let Chris out with Doudou!!

My Uncle and Aunty bought Isla a wonderfully soft rabbit, which we named Doudou (It was made by Doudou et Compagnie), which I loved, and Isla seemed to really like too. It would go everywhere with us for several months, and then one week I realised we hadn’t seen it in a while. The house got turned upside down, and it wasn’t anywhere to be found. The last time we saw Doudou was when Chris took Isla out for the afternoon, they went to B&Q and a walk round The Rye in Wycombe. Chris doesn’t remember a time when he could have lost Doudou, but then again Chris is the sort of person that managed to drive round half of Wycombe with his wallet on the car roof and was wondering why people were flashing and beeping us!! So if we were to do things differently, I would be more careful with our favourite toys (not let Chris out with Doudou)

Snuggled up to Doudou

Snuggled up to Doudou

More photos

I have taken ridiculous amounts of photos of Isla. Mostly because she doesn’t like having her photo taken, so getting a good one of her takes several attempts! But I wish we’d taken more photos of her when she was brand new (so to speak). By that I mean, photos that show how tiny she was, so next to a cuddly toy (Doudou for example, RIP Doudou!) and then take repeat photos each week or month or whatever, so we could so how much she had grown. I think when she was born it was such a whirl wind and we were so tired and trying to figure everything out that we just didn’t think of it. Although we have photos of Isla, I’m not sure we have any that show her full length (or lack there of) when she was first born. So yeah, I would take more special pictures rather than just randomly snapping away

Eat less crap

One of the things Chris has done for me pretty much every day since Isla was born is make me lunch. Even if it’s just a peanut butter sandwich cos we havent been shopping so have nothing else in. It’s been a life saver. Throughout my pregnancy I lost my sweet tooth, but I’ve definitely found it again since she’s been born. Between breastfeeding and sleeping there was a long time where I would have Isla on me for most of the day, so convenience was key when it came to food. And what can been more easy (and yummy) to eat with one hand than chocolate bars and crisps? I have eaten far too many of them in the last 5 months, and have actually put on weight since Isla was born. Something I need to do something about, but that’s another story. So really, I wish I hadn’t eaten so much crap, and instead had found something vaguely healthy that was quick and easy.

Attend groups

A lot of people will laugh at me when I say this, but I’m really shy. I hate new situations, particularly if I’m on my own, and will often go out of my way to avoid things. Despite the fact our local children’s centre is less than 2 minutes stroll (not even walk!) from our front door I have yet to attend any groups. A fair bit of that is also that I have taught Isla (almost too) well and she likes her lie-ins in the morning, And pretty much all the groups begin at around 9am so there is no chance we would make it to any of them. We struggle to get her weighed and that finishes at 11am! I wish I’d made more of an effort to attend some groups, even if they are a bit further afield. Maybe I’ll get my act in gear and start going to some soon.

 

I know 9 is a bizarre number, but these are the 9 things I’d do differently if we were to do it all again. Is there anything you would do differently if you were to do it all over again?

Isla at 4 months

Isla at 4 months

My little girl is 4 months old already! Time is just flying by. She’ll be starting school soon!

So how did we celebrate her being  4 months old? By giving her her third lot of injections. My word, that girl has got a piercing scream!! She wasn’t too happy about it all, but I at least managed to keep it together this time. By the time we left the doctor’s surgery she was smiling away again, and they don’t seem to have bothered her at all. At least there’s no more til she’s 12 months old.

Our clever Isla Bear (our new nickname for her!) learnt how to roll over last week. I caught the tail end of her doing it on Wednesday, but she didn’t really do it again until Friday evening when Chris got home from work, so he was very happy to see it. She hasn’t stopped since then. Though she hasn’t figured out yet how to roll from her tummy to her back so gets stuck a lot!!

Her back and neck have become so strong now. As I said on her 3 month update she loves sitting up, and when she does she loves looking round at everyone and everything. She can also sit up really well if you just hold her gently at her waist. Her legs are getting strong too, and she will happily stand up for ages when supporting her.

I took Isla to get weighed yesterday, and she is now 13lb 13oz. That means she has put on just over 2lbs (nearly 1kg) in just over a month. She definitely feels like she’s pit that amount on when I’m rocking her in my arms helping her to sleep! People keep mentioning how much she has grown and changed, even if it’s only been a week since they last saw her.

This girly has a ridiculous amount of clothes! As I said previously, I’ve sorted out all her clothes that don’t fit anymore – pretty much all her 0-3 month clothes. I found someone on a Facebook group that was selling her daughter’s clothes off for 20p an item….£15 later and Isla has a huge selection of clothes, in varying sizes. Our lovely friends, Ana and Rich also let us have a route through their daughter’s outgrown clothes, so I don’t think Isla will be struggling for clothes at all any time soon! In return, I sorted through Isla’s outgrown clothes for gender neutral ones to give to Ana and Rich for their baby boy who is due in December. A good bit of recycling there, I think!

In the last month Isla has been pretty busy (as have we), she’s been to church for the first time for he Nanny’s licensing, in fact she went twice in two days! She has also been to her first wedding, again she’s now been to two in less than a week. She’s been on her first holiday, and has her second lined up.

 

Like butter wouldn't melt

Like butter wouldn’t melt

Getting ready for wedding number two

Getting ready for wedding number two

It was windy out

It was windy out

The Durrans'

The Durrans’

We think that she’s starting to teeth too, oh the joys! She has been dribbling so much more than usual, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g goes in her mouth and gets chewed, and she’s getting quite grizzly too which is fairly out of character for her. Her gums seem to be getting much harder as well, but thankfully  we haven’t had any disturbed sleep just yet.

So this is Isla at 4 months. I’m sure there’s plenty of other things that have changed over the last month, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head right now.

Our first family holiday

A couple of weeks ago we went on our first family holiday. Various people had told us that babies are easier to take abroad than toddlers or children so we should go somewhere abroad now. But I don’t think either of us could quite get our heads around sorting a passport for Isla yet, or what we should pack etc. So for our first family holiday we had just less than a week down in Dorset.

Due to a couple of weddings, a licensing, Isla’s jabs, Chris’ work and various other bits we were limited to when we could go on holiday, but I think we’re both glad we managed this time away as a family.

Surprise surprise we left home later than planned..largely due to having to sort out all our courgettes! We have never travelled light as it is, but a week away with a baby…my knees were up round my ears. The lovely English weather decided it would finally give us some glorious sunshine…right as our car’s air con needed topping up so we were all a little hot and bothered too. And to top it all off, the A303 was closed, so we crawled all the way along the M3, adding an extra 2.5 hours to our journey. So initially we’d hoped to arrive around 3 or 4pm, but we didnt leave til 2pm, and didn’t arrive til gone 7:30pm so there wasn’t much of the day left by the time we arrived.

Thankfully Isla tends to sleep for most of the time on car journies (I’ve just jinxed myself for saying that now, haven’t I?). But I always feel so guilty that she then spends so long asleep and in a car seat. We make sure we have regular breaks so she can have a stretch and feed, but I still feel so bad.

We hired a flat in West Bay, Dorset, which is just down the coast from Lyme Regis. And it just so happens to be where Broadchurch was filmed! I’m gutted they weren’t filming the next series while we were there, as I’d love another glimpse of David Tennant. Yes, I know, weird crush!

Broadchurch

West Bay, where Broadchurch was filmed

The flat was pretty basic, and although it was advertised as ground floor, there were steps up to the front door, then steps down to the flat door, and further steps down to the bathroom. It was quite bizarre. However, it had everything we needed…apart from hand soap!!

Our first full day there we explored West Bay. It’s only a very small village, but very busy. The sun was still shining so the beach was full of holiday makers. There were several fish & chip huts, and ice cream shops. It would have been rude for us not to try them. I can strongly recommend plum sorbet, and fig and honey ice cream. Yum yum! We also found a wonderful emporium. It sold so many weird and wonderful things, and at absolutely bargain prices. i bought Isla a book (Little Miss Chatterbox, for 50p, as she constantly chatters away these days) and a sign for our kitchen for £2. Obviously, with it being a seaside town, there was an arcade so we had to have a cheeky play on the 2p machines. We both love them!!

Unfortunately I has one of my headaches for 2 of the days we were there, so I didn’t  really feel up to doing much. Chris looked after Isla a lot of the time, and  took her out for walks  etc so that I could try to get some sleep. I felt so bad that my stupid headaches meant nearly half of our holiday was put on hold. Chris said he didn’t mind, and that it meant we weren’t rushing round doing things and relaxing instead…but then again he wouldn’t say if he was annoyed by it anyway.

We had a lovely dinner out one night at The Station Kitchen. The food was lovely, and we were given an amuse bouche, a sorbet palate cleanser (that had champagne in), and the truffles as well. The service was really fantastic too, with attentive staff who chatted to us about Isla, and also their family. I always find that really good service can make a meal so much more enjoyable.

We managed a day out to Dorcester, followed by Durdle Door. It was tipping it down in the morning so we left late hoping it would clear (and also cos Chris and Isla were still dead to the world at 11am!!)  Thankfully by the time we found a parking space there were lovely blue skies. We had a lovely lunch in a coffee shop and a mooch round the shops. I bought a few books for Isla, which I’ve decided to keep for Christmas presents. Yes, that’s right. I said the C word. In August!

We then drove on to Durdle Door. We’d both been there as kids, although Chris has no memory of it. Word of warning – it is NOT pushchair friendly unless you’re super fit! A sign there warns of a 45% hill, and not to attemot it in flip-flops or stilletoes! This hill takes you down to the viewing point. There is then a further 150 steps down to the beach. We didn’t make it down to the beach as we’d taken the pushchair with us, and Isla being Isla slept through the whole thing!!!

Durdle Door

Durdle Door

Isla at Durdle Door

Isla asleep at Durdle Door

On our last night it was so so windy. There were weather warnings in place for gales, and possible flooding! The wind certainly kept me awake, but thankfully there was no flooding. It was still so windy the next morning, which made packing the car fun!

We went out for breakfast, which was really nice, and then headed to the arcade for another quick play on the 2p machines (I said we loved them!) We also went for another wander around the emporium, as there were 2 floors we hadn’t looked at before due to having the pushchair, so this time we put Isla in the sling and had a good mooch. There was a lovely rocking horse we found there that we were in two minds about, so carried on wandering. We decided that at £25 it was a bagain, and would be ideal for her soon, as it had a seat in it which would support her to sit up, rather than the traditional rocking horse where she’d need to balance (and be older to use) We even decided we’d have room for it in the car. But guess what? After wandering round it all, we forgot about it comletely, and were half way to the M3 by the time we remembered. I was gutted!!

All in all, in was a fairly successful first family holiday. I can’t wait for our next one to St. Ives in three weeks time with my parents.

Baby & Toddler Show at Sandown Park – discount tickets

I’m really excited to be going to the Baby & Toddler Show at Sandown Park in September. I don’t think I’d quite got my head around going to any when I was pregnant – I think we’d just found out and not yet had our first scan when the autumn ones were on, and I was probably just about to pop when the Spring ones were on.

There are over 150 different brands that will have stalls there, from iCandy to Johnson’s, Mama’s & Papa’s to Poddle Pod. Stalls selling prams or photography, to slings or sippy cups. You name it, if there is something baby related you want, you’ll be able to find it at the Baby & Toddler Show.

As I said, it is being held at Sandown Park in Surrey, between 23rd and 25th September, and is easily accessible, with loads of parking. They have baby changing facilities, as well as feeding areas, including comfy seats for if you’re breastfeeding. The show is suitable for you whether you are pregnant, with a newborn, or with a toddler. Throughout the day there will be expert advise workshops, looking at nutrition, sleeping, birth, parenting, finance and more. As well as 30 minutes sessions throughout the day from the Royal Life Saving Society UK, showing you what to do if a baby stopped breathing, was choking or drowning.

I cannot wait to go. I think I’ll be looking at the stalls that have products related to weaning and highchairs etc as we’ll shortly be approaching that stage with Isla, as well as may some of the stands that do Photography packages, as I think it would be lovely to get some professional shots done of Isla when she is this young. However, I’ll also probably be looking around all the other bits, as I’m going with my brother-in-law and his wife, who have just had their first scan and are expecting the next addition to the Durrans clan in February. She is really excited to be going too…though I don’t think Chris and my brother-in-law are quite so excited about it! I told Chris there is a chance he could get a few freebies and samples along the way, so being the skin-flint he is he seemed happy about that prospect!

If you’re interested in going you can get 1/3 off your ticket price with the special code SB45. Just enter it when you go to buy your ticket at www.babyandtoddlershow.co.uk and your discount will be automatically taken off the ticket price.

Baby & Toddler show

Baby & Toddler show

 

This is a collaborative post

The Miracle Blanket review

When I was pregnant Chris and I attended NCT antenatal classes. During them we were briefly shown how to swaddle a baby and discussed the benefits of it. I don’t think either of us really grasped how to do it properly or realised how useful it could be. I’d tried swaddling Isla a few times, with blankets and even a special swaddle blanket from a well-known brand,  but she is such an escape artist that her arms always came free, so I gave up trying!

As I think I’ve mentioned before Isla has often struggled to get to sleep, and gets over-tired resulting in her screaming the place down, sometimes for hours. It’s not pleasant for any of us! When I heard about The Miracle Blanket I was eager to give it a try, as it helps babies to sleep better and longer. At the time I was willing to give anything a try, and thought I may as well try swaddling one last try.

The Miracle Blanket is made from 100% super-soft cotton and comes in a range  of patterns. I’ve got the solid grey, which suits a lot of other ‘baby bits’ we have. The Miracle Blanket comes in a one size fits all style, with the suggested age use of birth to 14 weeks. It’s unique design ensures snug, straightforward wrapping with no excess fabric (so overheating is not an issue) and it has special flaps to secure baby’s arms.  

The Miracle Blanket is distributed by Maguari, and sells for £19. Usually I would think this was quite expensive for just a  piece of material that you wrap a baby in, but when Isla is screaming the place down  because she is so tired, it is worth every penny!

It comes with clear instructions on how best to swaddle your baby, and offers a couple of tips and tricks. When I first tried it, Isla wasn’t really having any of it. as with many ‘sleep aids’ she seemed to think it was meant for play time instead! I think part of my problem was I would swaddle her and put her straight down and ‘shush’ her hoping that may work.

It didn’t.

The Miracle Blanket

The Miracle Blanket

I persevered though, and changed my style. I cuddled her up in my arms, and sometimes fed her as well. Each time she was asleep within 5 minutes! When we visited Chris’ mum recently we’d had a really long day visiting both our works, long delays on the journey, and Isla’s immunisations the day before, so she really wasn’t a happy bunny. After a while of crying and screaming, and both of us trying the old favourites to get her to sleep I decided to give The Miracle Blanket a go. Chris was amazed and said I was a miracle worker getting her to sleep! Without meaning to sound cheesy I said it wasn’t me, it was the blanket!

The Miracle Blanket works!

The Miracle Blanket works!

Even though Isla is now 16 weeks old I still occasionally swaddle her using The Miracle Blanket if she’s particularly unsettled and struggling to get to sleep. Once she is asleep and settled I will unswaddle her so as to prevent any risk of her rolling over in her sleep and not being able to roll back, and she stays asleep. I think this has vastly improved all of our sleeping and we feel more human for it!

The Miracle Blanket is definitely something I would recommend, and I wish we’d discovered it sooner. If, and when we have another baby I think I’ll definitely use this from the start.

This product was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this review, and is my unbiased honest opinion of the product.

A glut of courgettes, plus recipes

As many gardeners will be finding at this time of year, we are experiencing a glut of courgettes! There are so many of them! I’m not really a big fan of courgettes, but Chris loves them, so we tend to grow them on the allotment and at home each year. At home we never usually do too well with them, and although the plant grows, we don’t get any courgettes from them. Last year my lovely mother in law gave us a round courgette plant, which we planted at the allotment and it did really well. So this year we grew our own courgettes from seed. When I say we, I mean Chris, I was busy growing a baby! And wow, this year both the plants at home and on the allotment have done really well.

We have had a glut of courgettes…annoyingly just as we had a really busy couple of weeks! We haven’t really been home much over the last couple of weeks, so our courgettes are more like marrows! We were going on holiday for a week, so decided we needed to do something with them before we went otherwise they’d just go bad. Queue an evening and morning of lots of cooking with courgettes and marrows!

We made courgette loaf (like carrot cake), chocolate courgette cake, and then some ratatouille and courgette & leek soup for Isla when she starts weaning.

The courgette loaf is sooooo nice (in fact Chris then made some more when we got home from holiday to take in to work), the chocolate courgette cake was still really nice, but I think it was taken out of the oven 5 minutes too early, so not perfect.

We still had loads of courgettes and marrows left over, so I gave several to a lady who was coming round to pick up a load of nappies Isla no longer fits into (and we didn’t like anyway – they were part of a nappy cake we were given), and then took several on holiday with us. And surprise surprise there were quite a few waiting to be picked when we got back from holiday as well!!

So below are some courgette recipes to help you out if you’re experiencing a glut of courgettes too! My brother’s lovely girlfriend sent over the recipes for the loaf and cake, but I’ve no idea where she got them from. The ratatouille and soup are from a pdf I was sent when I bought the Fill n Squeeze for when I’m making food for when Isla is weaning.

Meredith’s Zucchini Bread

400g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
300g caster sugar
100g Demerara sugar
3 beaten eggs
200ml sunflower oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
380g courgettes, grated with skins on
75g chopped walnuts

Two 13x23cm loaf tins

Preheat the oven to 150 C (300 F) gas mark 2.  Butter or oil and flour the loaf tins.
In large bowl, sift flour, salt, bicarbonate, baking powder and spices. Add both sugars and stir well to mix.
Add beaten eggs, oil, vanilla extract and grated courgettes to the dry ingredients and mix well until combined.
Add walnuts, mix in and divide the mixture between the two loaf tins.
bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1 and 1/4 hours or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the tins for about 20 mins before turning out onto cooling rack.

Wrapped tightly in cling film these loaves will keep well for up to 10 days.  Also freezes well.

Courgette recipes

Yummy courgette loaf

CHOCOLATE COURGETTE LOAF CAKE

175g sunflower spread
200g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
50 g ground almonds
200g courgette, grated
100g 70% cocoa chocolate, melted (in a bowl over a pan of simmering water)

  1. Heat the oven to 180 C/160 C fan/Gas 4.  Lightly oil the base and sides of a 900g/2 lb loaf tin and line with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. Cream together the sunflower spread and golden caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and 2 tbs flour and beat well.  Sift in the remaining flour and fold together thoroughly with the almonds and courgette.  Finally stir in the melted chocolate then spoon into the prepared tin.  Level the top with the back of the spoon and bake for 60 minutes until well risen.
  3. To test if it’s cooked, insert a metal skewer into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean, it’s ready, if not return to the oven for a bit longer. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely
Courgette recipes

Chocolate courgette cake

Thick Courgette and Leek Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
300g courgettes, sliced
150g leeks, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and thinly slice
1 onion, peeled and thinly slices
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 large tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
900ml home-made vegetable stock or filtered water
1 bay leaf

Heat the oil and garlic in a saucepan, add the courgettes, leeks, potatoes and onion and sweat for 3-5 minutes, then add chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock and a bay leaf
Bring to the boil, cover, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes
Remove the bay leaf. Pulse or purée to a smooth texture in a blender or food processor, blending in batches if necessary

Ratatouille

1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove
2 large tomatoes
1 red onion
Half a red pepper
Half a yellow pepper
Half a small courgette
Half a small aubergine
1 bay leaf
A sprig of fresh thyme

 

Begin by chopping all of the vegetables into small bite size pieces. Next heat the olive oil in a pan then add the onion and crushed garlic and cook together until softened, then add the vegetables with the thyme and bay leaf and leave to cook until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until the vegetables are completely tender.

Finally, remove the thyme and bay leaf before blitzing into a puree. If too thick, add water.

Courgette recipes

The beginnings of ratatouille

Courgette recipes

Ratatouille ready for freezing for when they’re needed for weaning