It’s Finally Ended:The Blog Awards

6 weeks of stress,changing from the least competitive person I know to crazy lady,tormenting people for votes,loosing followers and it’s finally over!Thank Christ that last night voting for Best Blog Post in the Irish Blog Awards closed.

I didn’t get through to the top 10,I came 12th.Im sure I could have come in a bit further,but I gave up. On Thursday,a lovely fellow blogger reminded me that voting for this period of time was insane and it was obvious that it had nothing to do with who was the best blogger or who had written the best blog post,it’s all down to marketing. So I decided to stop asking for votes,enough was enough. I was spending every hour refreshing my phone to see had I another vote,questioning whether people were voting correctly or not,when four people said they voted but I’d only go up two votes, I wasn’t going to just loose followers,I was going to loose friends too.

My blog has gone way further than I ever anticipated, and as much as it would have been lovely to win am award for my little hobby, in the grand scale of things,it’s really not that important!Thank you to everyone who voted over the last 6 weeks and apologies for the constant barrage of messages begging for votes,it will never ever happen again, it most certainly is not the way I want to go forward with my blog.
Congrats to all those that did get through,and best of luck,I’m sure you too are glad to not spend today refreshing your page on the hour every hour xx

Love The Little Things Week #15

Good morning & happy Friday! Welcome back to Love The Little Things, this is my week #15. I missed last weeks posts as I was busy with appointments & play dates & was very uncharacteristically unorganised. This week has been a bit better!We are moving house/county in November and we are trying to organise that amongst a lot of other things going on in our lives.

Onto this weeks #littleloves, hosted by Morgana (Happy Birthday!!) over at Butwhymummywhy. As always be sure to take a look at the other great blogs taking part in this linky.

READ

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I went to Uni in Edinburgh, worked, met my husband and got engaged there, so this week I have been taking a huge interest in reading all the online papers and news channels on the battle for Scottish Independence. Voting is now over with Scotland saying No. I personally think they have done the right thing voting NO, for various reasons.Not going to get too political here!

WATCHED

‘Women on The Inside’, an Irish documentary on Ireland’s only Female Prison. I used to work directly across the road from this prison, and was always curious to what it was like inside,especially for the women who have their babies with them. I actually found this programme really sad, there is such little support for these prisoners on release,so they ultimately re-offend within days,sometimes just to get back I to prison to have a roof over their head and three meals a day.

WORE

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I keep forgetting to take pictures of what I wore….I’m not one for taking “selfies”, but I wore these new healed suede Chelsea boots from River Island, a new purchase last week! I love them,perfect with skinny jeans,skirts & dresses.

•It wouldn’t be a “Wore” without a pick from Amelia’s wardrobe.

•Pink Floral Blouse ~ Bobby & Belles •Cord Dungaree Navy Dress ~ Mini Boden •Ribbed Pink Tights ~ Mini Boden •Pink Bow ~ Little Bowtique

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HEARD

Probably the most inappropriate song for an 18 month old to love, but Get Lucky by Daft Punk is the flavour of the week for Amelia, with added dance moves,and mouth open while chewing her breakfast!

MADE

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This yummy French Apple Tart it Tart Fine In correct terms. See the recipe here.

AND LASTLY…….

Best of luck to all the lovely bloggers who are off to the MAD Blog Awards this weekend, best of luck and have a wonderful weekend xx

Have a lovely weekend everyone, thanks for reading!Im taking the weekend off,and heading to an open farm. What are you all up to?

T & A xxxxx

Lentil & Bacon Soup

Lentils are a great way of bulking up any soup, and even though the weather has become a bit psychotic on us,July temperatures in the middle of September, once that chill sets in, this soup will be the perfect evening warmer. Blend your storecupboard pulses with cumin, turmeric and garlic to create this robust soup with crispy pancetta topping.

•Suitable from 1 year +
•Suitable for Freezing
•Prep time-5 mins
•Cooking Time 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

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•1 tbsp olive oil
•1 onion, diced
•2 x 70g packs pancetta cubes
•1 carrot (about 120g), finely diced
•1 tsp ground cumin
•½ tsp turmeric
•2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
•1 chilli, sliced
•2 low-salt stock cubes
•250g red lentils, rinsed

METHOD

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1)Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, 1 pack of pancetta and the carrot. Cook on a low to medium heat for 10 minutes until the onions are soft.

2)Add the cumin, turmeric, garlic and chilli and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes until the aromas are released.

3)Pour in 1.25 litres of boiling water, crumble in the stock cubes and add the lentils. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 mins, stirring occasionally to ensure the lentils aren’t sticking.

4)Meanwhile, fry the remaining lardons in a small frying pan for about 10 minutes until crispy. You don’t need to add any oil as plenty will run from the pancetta.

5)Serve the soup with a sprinkle of crispy lardons on top.

Enjoy…. T & A xxxx

Step by Step in Cruise Control

Amelia is just shy of 18 months, in the last week she has started to cruise around the furniture after about a month of pulling herself up on the sofa,chairs & her cot. Bravery has now set in, she has managed to pull herself up holding onto the dishwasher – switching this on and off is apparently hilarious, she can walk around the kitchen holding onto the cupboards & last week the downstairs stair gate was fitted after I discovered her on the third step.As her legs, muscles and motor skills have developed from standing, she has slowly become more confident with cruising.

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This is such a huge milestone for us & her,while most toddlers her age are now running rings around their parents, we have waited patiently for Amelia to be ready to take these steps with baited breath.We are very proud, but what makes us smile with pride more is the great big smile of achievement we get from her as she turns around to get approval from us, kind of like her checking to see if we had seen what she had just achieved.

She is becoming more and more adventurous with each passing day.Testing her boundaries, pulling herself up on all objects and not feeling fear, she thinks nothing of sliding herself off our bed saying “Ready,Steady”.

For those of you waiting for your little ones to walk…..have patience and enjoy the time when they will just sit. We are now moving onto a new adventure & are going to be exploring the world from a different angle, standing.

When did your child start to walk after cruising?

T & A xxxxx

*There are just two days of voting left for The Irish Blog Awards.I have been nominated for Best Blog Post for my post Pregnancy:The No Bullshit Guide. If you have a spare 30 seconds,please give us a vote. •Click the circle next to A Little Londoner •Scroll to the end of the page & click vote. See here for voting. Thank you xxxx

French Apple Tart

Last week my husband returned home with cooking apples from his parents garden, placed them in front of me and said “My dad gave you these”.Not wanting them to go to waste,especially as everything grown in my father in laws garden always tastes exactly how a fruit/veg should taste,full of flavour and juiciness, they don’t get more organic.Im not a huge pastry fan,but I don’t mind puff pastry as it is light,and I like an open tart, so decided to make this French Apple Tart or a Tart Fine. An an open tart with finely sliced apples, placed on a thin circle of puff pastry. Ideally a Tart Fine does not require a pastry border,do it can be baked on a flat baking tray and cut a circle of pastry.

I have used my tart pan, and cheated slightly by using pre-made puff pastry.

INGREDIENTS

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•30g high-quality unsalted butter, melted
•30g brown sugar
•1 easy puff pastry sheet
•3 small cooking apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced into circles
•1 pinch fine sea salt

METHOD

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1)Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. 2)Line a baking sheet with baking/greaseproof paper and brush the paper with half the melted butter to form a 25-cm (10-inch) disk shape. Sprinkle that area with half the sugar.
3)Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface until you can cut out a 10-inch circle using an upturned cake pan or plate as a template.
4)Transfer the pastry circle cautiously to the prepared sheet, placing it exactly on top of the buttered and sugared area. Arrange the apple slices in an overlapping pattern on top of the pastry, starting from the outside and leaving a 1.5-cm (1/2-inch) margin.
5)Brush the margin and the apples with the remaining butter, and sprinkle with a touch of salt.
6)Insert into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the apple slices feel soft when pierced with the tip of a knife.
7)Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and place under the grill for 2 minutes, watching closely, until the sugar is caramelised.
8)Let cool and serve, slightly warm or at room temperature.

And enjoy!!! Let us know if you make this.

T & A xxxxx

Sleep Regression v’s Growth Spurts

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You think you have cracked it? Your baby/toddler is finally sleeping through the night over a consecutive amount of days/weeks and them BOOM!!, 1 night of waking turns into every night. Is it a growth spurt or sleep regression, (the bane of every parents life).How do they differ? Amelia has started to wake again at night with “night terrors”,which is very common around 17/18 months, more on that next week!

So how do growth spurts and sleep regression differ? Baby will go through far more baby growth spurts during the first year than she will sleep regressions. Additionally,when reading below, you will see that sleep regressions have much more to do with mental and physical development, and less to do with simple growth and weight gain. What’s more, the sleeplessness that comes with growth spurts has a cause – baby growth spurts cause babies to wake more often at night, and early from naps, because baby is hungry and needs to eat. But that’s not true of sleep regressions; during a sleep regression, your baby will wake more at night and have interrupted naps, but you may not be able to find a cause at all (indeed, because often there is no cause that you can see – it’s due to mental and physical development). There are three sleep regressions that we commonly see happen during the first year of a child’s life, and since each one can last for 6 weeks (or perhaps more, in extreme cases!), it can feel like you are moving from one regression straight into another.

Commonly there are three sleep regressions in the first year of a child’s life.
4 Month Sleep Regression This can sometimes be the worst sleep regression,as it can feel like you have a newborn all over again.and napping well before the regression started! The 4 month regression happens because your baby’s brain and sleep patterns are maturing and changing.

8-10 Month Sleep RegressionThe cause of this regression is pretty easy to spot, for most parents – at this age, your baby is going through major developmental milestones! From 8-10 months, most babies are becoming expert crawlers, they’re pulling up on furniture and beginning to cruise around, and they may even be starting to walk. What’s more, your baby is learning a lot of hand-eye coordination at this time – by 8 months, most babies are becoming able to spot a toy they want, creep/crawl over to it, pick it up with their pincer grip, and then inspect it closely (and perhaps try to eat it!).These few months are an explosion of physical development for most children, so it’s no wonder their sleep is disrupted.

12 Month Sleep Regression
This sleep regression is less-common; not every child will go through this one. That may be because it has more to do with naps, and therefore doesn’t have the same overall impact on sleep. Specifically, this regression is characterised by a 12-month old suddenly refusing to take two naps, and refusing to sleep during the first morning nap. Lots of parents assume this means it’s time to transition from two naps to one, but we discourage this. Most babies aren’t actually ready for just one nap per day until between 15 months and 18 months. So really, this regression has a lot to do with your baby consolidating sleep differently – by 12 months, your baby is likely sleeping very long stretches at night, and getting just 2-3 hours of sleep in naps.

Growth Spurts
Your baby of course won’t experience growth spurts at exactly these times (babies aren’t nearly so predictable!) but you can use these as rough estimates. Baby growth spurts are short intervals (usually about a week) during which time your baby will have an increased appetite, and will often wake more at night to feed. And baby growth spurts affect sleep, too. During these baby growth spurts, your baby may also seem extra-sleepy, so even though sleep may be interrupted by extra feedings, you may find that your baby’s overall sleep amounts per day are greater during the growth spurt than they usually are.

•7-10 days
•2 weeks
•4 weeks
•8 weeks
•12 weeks
•4 months
•6 months
•8.5 months
•10.5 months
•12.5 months

Please feel free to comment & add any extra advice.

T & A xxxx

P.S. Voting for the Irish Blog Awards is now in its final week. I have been nominated for an award for Best Blog Post, for my piece on Pregnancy:The No Bullshit Guide. Voting is open to the public and takes just two clicks and 30 seconds. Every vote counts and is greatly appreciated! So please get voting here. • Tick the circle next to A Little Londoner •Scroll to the bottom and click vote. Thank you xxx

Milk Carton Bird Feeder

Today we got crafty (or I did), Amelia looked on and painted on some paper. She loves looking out at the birds, who already have a plastic feeder outside our back doors, but I thought it would be nice for “us” make one of our own.

So here is what you need:

•Milk Carton
•Scissors
•Knife
•Paint
•Paintbrush
•Brown Card
•String
•Twig

The pictures are self explanatory, be sure to take the cap off the bottle and cut out the spout, also cut the lip at the top of the carton. Alternatives to making a card roof are twigs or lollipop sticks.

Hope you have fun making this.

T & A xxx

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Apple & Blackberry Crumble

The thorny brambles are abundant with delicious blackberries, and best of all they are free,if you are lucky enough to live the country, you should take full advantage and get out picking. If not, then the supermarkets are well stocked up on seasonal juicy fat blackberries.

This Apple & Blackberry Crumble retains the texture of the fruit by cooking the fruit first. Hope you enjoy, and get a chance to make it. It’s delicious, especially served with a scoup of vanilla ice-cream.

INGREDIENTS

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For the Crumble Topping

•120g plain flour
•60g caster sugar
•60g unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces

For the Fruit Compote

•300g Braeburn apples
•30g unsalted butter
•30g demerara sugar
•115g blackberries
•¼ tsp ground cinnamon
•vanilla ice cream, to serve

METHOD

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1.Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas Tip the flour and sugar into a large bowl. Add the butter, then rub into the flour using your fingertips to make a light breadcrumb texture. Do not overwork it or the crumble will become heavy. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins or until lightly coloured.

2.Meanwhile, for the compote, peel, core and cut the apples into 2cm dice. Put the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and melt together over a medium heat. Cook for 3 mins until the mixture turns to a light caramel. Stir in the apples and cook for 3 mins. Add the blackberries and cinnamon, and cook for 3 mins more. Cover, remove from the heat, then leave for 2-3 mins to continue cooking in the warmth of the pan.

3.To serve, spoon the warm fruit into an ovenproof gratin dish, top with the crumble mix, then reheat in the oven for 5-10 mins. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

With Falling Leaves Comes Changes in Sleep in Babies/Children

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Sleep….or lack of, is something every mother spends the first few months/years of their children’s lives consumed in thought of.

Autumn is right around the corner and along with the crisp chill, beautiful leaves,warmer clothes,pumpkin-flavored lattes (oh Starbucks how I miss you) and fires restarting in every home, the weather won’t be the only thing that changes this autumn. You may notice some changes in your baby’s sleep, too.

Cooler nights ~ Adults and children sleep better and deeper when it is cooler, just remember not to over compensate by wrapping them up too much. A baby will cry if it is too cold, it will not wake if too hot.

Early to bed ~ you may notice that your baby’s bedtime becomes a little earlier. This is normal our circadian rhythms (the signals that tell our brain when it is time to be awake, and when it is time to sleep) are closely connected to light.

Sleeping longer ~ The long, bright days of summer are fun, but they can cause babies and toddlers to sleep less at night. Bedtimes tend to be later in the summer, and since the sun comes up early, our kids tend to get up early, too!The longer darker nights of autumn means baby may sleep longer (hurrah!!!) If your baby is sleeping more at night, you may find that his/her naps are affected. That can happen because a baby’s overall sleep amounts tend to remain the same from day-to-day, so if more of that sleep is happening at night, then less will happen during the day. If that’s a problem, then you may need to work on naps by shortening your baby’s nighttime sleep, leaving more sleep available for nap time.

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Sleep tight,

T & A xxxxx

*In case you didn’t know, I have been nominated for an Irish Blog Award, under the category Best Blog Post. It is my post Pregnancy:The No Bullshit Guide that has been nominated. Voting is open to the public and takes just 30 seconds and 3 clicks. Click here to vote. •Click the circle next to A Little Londoner •Scroll to the bottom and click vote. Thanks a million, every vote counts & is very much appreciated. xx

Doidy Cup Review

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Have you tried or heard of a Doidy cup? When Amelia was much younger I remember one of my NCT girls speaking about them. We were recently kindly sent a Doidy cup from Bickiepegs and have spent the last few weeks trying and testing it.

So what is the hype about this slanted training cup that has no lid or spout (scary). Designed and made in the UK The DOIDY Cup was scientifically designed with its unique slant to teach children to drink from a rim and NOT a spout.

•Weaning ~ The DOIDY Cup is an ideal aid to weaning as the natural mouth action used is the same as in to teach your child to drink from a rim.

•Starting with a small amount of liquid in the DOIDY Cup, your child will soon become adept at drinking from a rim therefore avoiding the problems bottles or sippy cups may cause.

•The unique slant of the cup enables children to drink easily as they can see the contents without thrusting their heads forward and downwards. They also learn to put the cups down properly.

•Children as young as 3+ months old (also can be used from birth with mom’s help) find the two handled cup easy to hold and drink from because:

•The contents are visible to them due to the sloping design,there is no forward or downward movement of the head.

•They do not have to tip the cup up to check the contents

•They learn to put the cup down correctly

•Health professionals promote the use of a DOIDY cup to help prevent premature tooth decay.

•Speech Therapists use the DOIDY to teach lip and tongue control. It is also used by the Disabled, the elderly & people with Alzheimers. Red and yellow cups are more visible to the partially sighted.

•It is more hygienic than spouted cups. It can be sterilized, is dishwasher-proof (top shelf) and freezer proof

•The DOIDY is UNICEF baby friendly and is endorsed by the NCT

*NEVER LEAVE AN INFANT UNATTENDED WHILST FEEDING or DRINKING

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So how did we find it? First up I don’t think I would be brave enough to give this cup to a 3 month old,I know the research is all there and obviously the parent would hold the cup, but I think I would definitely wait until at least 6/7 months.

In theory I love the idea and to an extent it worked. The first day of using the Doidy cup I just filled a small amount of water to begin with.Amelia was able to hold the cup,look inside,taking a sip, swallowing and put it down. So I bravely filled it up half way and this is ended in disaster.She inhaled water through her nose and ended up coughing and spluttering, and then it became a laugh and a game,she turned it upside down and thought it was great fun to pour water all over herself.

Next day we tried again, this time I held the cup for her. She eventually got the hang of taking smaller sips of the water.Three weeks later we now use the cup for every evening meal. I would never leave her unsupervised with the cup, and sometimes we still have tipping water incidents, but she most defitnetly has the hang of drinking from a “big girl cup”.

I love the range of bright colours and it is durable, it has been dropped on our kitchen tiles more times than I can count. My only criticism towards the cup is that it doesn’t come with a lid, so you are unable to take a drink out with you.

For more info on Doidy Cups and to purchase see here.

What are your thoughts on the Doidy Cup?

T & A xx