baby · parenting · top tips

How To Save Baby’s Clothes After A Poo Explosion (And Get Them Good As New!)

When you become a parent, regrettably dealing with your offspring’s explosive poops is a part of the package. I’ve come across lots of mummies both in real life and online bemoaning the fact that their kids have had such a severe poonami that they’ve had to throw their favourite clothes straight in the bin.

What a waste! The thing is, you can easily get those clothes looking good as new, and no-one will be any the wiser that they were once quite literally covered in crap. Some of Little Man’s nicest outfits have been coated in turds three or four times (when we started weaning, it had quite the volcanic effect on his digestive system for the first month or so). So for all the other mamas (and dadas) out there, I thought I’d share how I deal with poopy clothes. I’ve never come across a poo stain this couldn’t deal with (yet…)

1. Initial de-pooping

As you’re getting baby out of the poopy clothes and nappy, use an extra wipe or two to wipe down the outfit and get as much poo off as possible.

2. Soak in cold water

Get the clothes in cold water for a soak as soon as possible. We have a bucket on hand for this purpose (for god’s sake don’t use the kitchen sink! Unless you want to give the whole family dysentery). You can soak for half an hour, but can also leave overnight if e.g. it’s not practical to put a wash on straightaway.

With your rubber gloves on, give the clothes a gentle scrub in the water, to get as much of the remaining poop off as possible.

3. Vanish pre-wash spray

Not an ad, I just love this product! Vanish pre-wash stain remover is great for these kinds of stains, but also for mucky bibs and muslins etc. as well. After removing the clothes from soaking, wring them out and generously spray the affected area of fabric on either side with Vanish spray. Leave the poopy clothes to soak in the spray for 5 – 10 minutes.

4. Normal wash cycle

Then in your washing machine just run a normal 40 degree wash and voila – your poopy clothes should be good as new. If the stain hasn’t completely gone in one wash, reapply the spray, leave for ten minutes and wash again… But you probably won’t have to!

how to save baby's clothes after a poo explosion laundry tips
baby · child development · parenting

Choosing Whether To Use A Dummy (Pacifier) For Your Baby

Before we had our son, my husband and I went to ante-natal classes. The main thing we got from them was a lovely social circle of other expectant parents, but the second useful outcome was the fact that it prompted lots of useful discussions that we probably wouldn’t have thought to have otherwise.

One of these was about dummies (or pacifiers, if you’re an American reader), and whether to use them. After one class, on the drive home, when it came to discussing our feelings on this potentially controversial topic, we looked at each other and pretty much shrugged. Neither of us really had strong feelings one way or the other about whether or not to use a dummy. We concluded we would just see what happened…

How we ended up using a dummy

In the end, the decision was more or less made for us. Little Man ended up in neonatal intensive care (NICU) for several days, with a very bad case of jaundice. Dummies are commonly used in NICU, especially for premature babies, as dummy use helps to soothe babies and develop their sucking reflex.

When Little Man was first rushed into intensive care, I was asked if he could have a dummy. I said yes straightaway. We weren’t allowed to hold him as he had to stay under the phototherapy lights, to reduce his bilirubin levels, he was covered in wires and tubes with a mask over his face. So I was very keen for him to have anything he might find comforting, and agreeing to the dummy was an easy decision.

Once he left intensive care, he kept the dummy he had been given, as we could see that it was something he found soothing. And he’s used a dummy ever since.

What are the benefits?

Dummies help a baby satisfy their sucking instincts. Because I wasn’t able to breastfeed, this was especially important to us. The sucking reflex is soothing and helps Little Man fall asleep – we find that he resists sleep much longer without a dummy.

There’s also a slightly reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in babies who use a dummy during sleeping and naptimes, although the reasons for this aren’t fully understood.

For us as a family, I’d say there are three further benefits that you don’t usually read about in lists of dummy advantages/disadvantages: firstly, the dummy seems to be soothing for Little Man when he’s teething. Secondly, it’s been good for his fine motor skills as he’s always trying to pick it up, hold it, and manipulate it to get it in his mouth and chew on. And thirdly, I’ve got to be honest and say that Little Man is a VERY LOUD baby. He obviously screams when he’s upset, like all babies, but he also screams when he’s happy, or when he’s just bored. Having a dummy to hand can help to reduce the cacophony…

What are the disadvantages?

Using a dummy does have some potential disadvantages. They’re hard to keep scrupulously clean so can transport bacteria and germs to your baby’s mouth. There is evidence of increased rates of some minor infections in babies who use dummies.

It’s recommended not to give babies a dummy until they are a couple of months old and breastfeeding is well established. Dummy use may interfere with breastfeeding and is associated with a reduced rate of breastfeeding at 3 months of age. As I wasn’t able to breastfeed anyway, this was less of a concern for us, which I’m sure does make it an easier choice.

There are also concerns that prolonged dummy use can have negative effects on your child’s growing teeth.

How to decide whether or not to use a dummy?

Some people seem to have pretty strong opinions on dummies one way or the other… But then, that’s probably true on most decisions you make as a parent. Ultimately, it’s your choice (and you’re allowed to change your mind, as well). Not all babies are interested in dummies, while others really love theirs. There’s no right or wrong answer either way – the main thing that matters is what works for you and your baby.

how to choose whether or not to use a dummy pacifier for your baby
baby · child development · Just for fun · parenting

Inventions All New Parents Need

Since becoming a parent, it’s become clear to me that the inventors of the world really need to get cracking and design some new products for new parents. Forget baby monitors and nappy bins. I’ve come up with a list of the top inventions for new parents… that haven’t been invented yet!

Snoozetime Indicator

When you put baby in his or her cot for a nap, wouldn’t it be great to know whether they’re going to sleep for an hour or drag you back with a full-scale meltdown in five minutes time? The number of times I have assumed that wee man would only nap for half an hour and then he actually sleeps for three times as long, and I just think of all the useful things I would have done, if only I’d known I had the time (let’s be honest… I would have napped).

A Pause Button

You know when you’re halfway through feeding the baby, and the doorbell rings? What you need is the option to press pause on baby and leave the room, safe in the knowledge that nothing can go wrong. Plus, when they’re screaming the house down, you could just take a break with a nice cuppa.

An Automated Burping Machine

You know those machines that promise to help you lose weight by vibrating the fat away? Surely someone could repurpose this Ultra Powerful Professional Vibration Massage Trainer into a machine that gives baby a little jiggle and shakes all the burps out in one super-efficient go?

Early Warning Poo Alarm

Wouldn’t it be so helpful to have a two minute advance warning that baby was about to poop? Then you could remove them from your lap when you’re wearing that lovely white dress. Ideally, this would also come with a built-in seismometer telling you how severe a bumquake to expect, and whether or not the nappy defences are likely to hold.

What inventions for new parents would you find most useful with your little one? Let me know in the comments!

health · medication · top tips

How To Decide Whether To Have Surgery/Radiation/Take the Medication…

I’m a member of lots of Facebook support groups for people with pituitary tumours and other chronic or long-term illnesses. One of the most common types of post is people saying they’re not sure whether or not to go through with whatever treatment has been recommended by their doctor. It’s a big decision, and not something that strangers on the internet can really answer for you! But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any process or technique you can use to make healthcare and treatment decisions… That’s why I’m writing this blog.

I want to share a process I learned doing National Childbirth Trust classes when I was pregnant, which I think is a great technique to follow to help you make these kinds of decisions. It doesn’t have to be restricted to use in healthcare settings, either.

The process is called “BRAIN” and it’s an acronym to help you to remember the questions you should ask about your recommended treatment. You should consider:

  • Benefits – what are the possible benefits of this treatment?
  • Risks – what are the risks of doing this?
  • Alternatives – what alternative options are there? Why are they not the recommended option?
  • Intuition – what does your gut feeling tell you?
  • Nothing – what would happen if you don’t do anything?

I think this provides a really great format to have a constructive conversation with your healthcare provider, and to ensure that you’re fully informed about your treatment. It can be helpful to take this list to your appointments so you can work through each question when you see your doctors (if you’re anything like me, you forget what you want to ask if it’s not written down!), to inform your treatment decisions.

I’ve also written previously about my experience of pituitary tumor surgery and making the decision to go ahead with surgery (twice) – you can read about that here.

food · reviews

Review: Ai No Mochi

So recently I ordered us a set of mochi from the London-based Ai No Mochi, who supply freshly-made Japanese mochi across the UK. My husband and I love eating mochi when we’re visiting family in Japan, and their flavours looked so exciting, I just had to order! So I’ve written a review of Ai No Mochi and their delivery service.

What are mochi?

Mochi are traditional Japanese treats. They consist of a soft and chewy outer layer of rice flour, around a sweet filling (savoury options are also available). They’re typically formed into little ball shapes – although in Kyoto, they go for the frankly lazy option of just folding them into triangles instead.

Mochi are a super common and popular snack in Japan that you can find in any convenience store, although they’re particularly associated with New Year festivities. In fact, they actually come with a health warning, because the glutinous rice flour used can be difficult to chew for elderly people or the very young. Every year people are taken to hospital after choking on mochi. One woman saved her elderly father’s life when he choked on mochi, by literally hoovering it out of his throat. So… You have been warned!

Ai no mochi review of Japanese mochi rice cake delivery in London
Some of our mochi

Ai No Mochi Flavours

Ai No Mochi offer an extensive list of flavours, from the more traditional Japanese (adzuki bean, toasted sesame) to the more modern and, indeed, Western (cookies and cream cheesecake, Nutella and Biscoff biscuit). You can select four flavours for your box, so I went for a mix of traditional and new:

  • Raspberry and Coconut – both my husband and I agreed this was the best flavour. Tastes like summer in a mochi.
  • Matcha (Green Tea) and White Chocolate – the matcha used tastes like it’s good quality, and the white chocolate lifts it nicely, as traditional matcha mochi can be rather heavy and cloying.
  • Toasted Sesame – I love sesame flavour so the texture of the sesame seed coating, along with the sweet adzuki bean filling, is very pleasing.
  • Salted Caramel – a yummy chocolatey and caramel-y flavour, but could have done with more salt (perhaps in the rice flour wrapper) to enhance the flavour.

The filling of the mochi is mostly very light and creamy, compared to the heavier fillings you tend to get in Japan. If you like Japanese mochi, you’ll like these – and if you’ve never tried them, they’re probably a good introduction to mochi for a more Western palette.

Ai no mochi box of Japanese mochi for delivery in the UK
Our mochi when they arrived

Ordering from Ai No Mochi

Ordering was super easy, I ordered on the website and was emailed with a projected delivery date, which was then confirmed by the courier. The mochi were delivered overnight, so they were super fresh and still cool when they arrived. We also got two free mochi on top of what we ordered, as a taster of their new summer flavours (yuzu cheesecake, and mango) which was a lovely bonus. I’m not a cheesecake fan personally, but my husband said the yuzu cheesecake really did taste just like cheesecake!

The packaging was very nicely presented, and each mochi was individually wrapped in cling film to keep it fresh. Although it looked beautiful, like an expensive box of chocolates, it did feel like a lot of single-use plastic was involved (in fairness, this is pretty consistent with what you tend to see in Japan!). It would be nice to see some more eco-friendly packaging being used, even if the overall effect isn’t quite as attractive.

In Summary… My Review Of Ai No Mochi

We really enjoyed our mochi, and it was fun to have a taste of Japan in the UK. I would definitely recommend Ai No Mochi to any other mochi lovers out there, or as a fun gift to surprise a friend with something new.

birth · health · post-partum · pregnancy · thyroid

Could You Have Post-Partum Thyroiditis? I Do!

Any regular readers of this blog will know that for a few months now I’ve had some mysterious medical issues that my doctors have been somewhat baffled by. I’ve had blood tests, an MRI of my pituitary, and a scan of my thyroid with radioactive technetium. Despite being told at the hospital that the results of my scans would be available within a couple of days, it took a month before anyone actually got back to me with the results. I tried to take that as a sign that it wasn’t anything incredibly serious, but anyone who’s had extensive dealings with my hospital’s admin systems would know that you wouldn’t want to stake anything particularly important on their effective functioning (like, say, your long term health…)

Anyway, I finally heard from a doctor, and he confirmed that they believe I have a condition called post-partum thyroiditis. Even though I already have a pre-existing thyroid condition, I’d never heard of this quite common post-pregnancy thyroid illness. So what is post-partum thyroiditis?

Post-partum Thyroiditis

What is post-partum thyroiditis?

Long story short, this is caused by your thyroid gland going a bit haywire due to a rebounding immune system after pregnancy. It typically starts with having thyroid hormones that are too high (hyperthyroidism) for a few months. Then it either just returns to normal, or the thyroid hormones dip too low (hypothyroidism) for a few months – or even permanently.

How would I know if I have it?

Post-partum thyroiditis is actually quite a common condition with around 5 – 10% of women experiencing it, although a lot of the time the symptoms are just ascribed to normal post-pregnancy recovery. Most women initially experience hyperthyroidism – symptoms can include a racing heartrate, anxiety, tiredness, difficulty sleeping, achey muscles, twitching or shaking, feeling hot or sweating a lot, and weight loss. Obviously most of those could easily be ascribed to the post-birth recovery period and/or sleep loss thanks to your new baby.

The only way to know for sure if you have post-partum thyroiditis is to have blood tests to check your thyroid hormone levels. So if you’re concerned that you may have this condition, please make sure you speak to your doctor about it.

How is post-partum thyroiditis treated?

Hyperthyroidism as a result of post-partum thyroiditis (let’s just call it PPT) is not usually treated beyond beta blockers to reduce the impact of the symptoms of fast heartrate, anxiety, etc. Conveniently, I’m already taking beta blockers as my doctors tend to prescribe them at the first sign of hyperthyroidism, as my heart loves to go too fast and will take literally any excuse to do so.

Hypothyroidism might need to be treated with replacement thyroid hormone if it becomes severe enough. I’m hoping we don’t have to go there.

How long does postpartum thyroiditis last?

How long is a piece of string? Unfortunately, it seems that postpartum thyroiditis is a very variable condition and each woman has a different experience, so there’s no way of saying how long my postpartum thyroiditis will last. It could be a few months, a year, or even longer – sometimes the side effects are permanent.

What are the risk factors for postpartum thyroiditis?

The big question for me was whether my existing pituitary condition (which affects my thyroid) creates a risk factor for postpartum thyroiditis. A quick Google indicates that I’m not the only person with a TSHoma to go on to develop post-partum thyroiditis. But because my pituitary tumour is so rare, when anything out of the ordinary happens the doctors don’t really know what to expect. However, previous history of thyroid issues is a known risk factor for post-partum thyroiditis, as is a history of auto-immune illness.

What are the implications for me personally?

It’s just a case of wait and see, and hope I don’t end up with low thyroid levels, as that could make things complicated in terms of treating it and my pituitary tumour. So please keep your fingers crossed for me!

In the meantime, I’m back to monthly blood tests to monitor my thyroid level and regularly checking in with the hospital.

Are you a postpartum thyroiditis patient in the UK? I’d love to hear about your experience! Let me know in the comments.

health · top tips

How To Get Your Doctors To Listen To You

It took me about five years to get diagnosed with my pituitary tumour. That’s a guess, really – looking back, the first symptom I had was my hair starting to fall out, which started when I was around 16 years old. I didn’t get a diagnosis until I was 21, and I spent so many years wondering: how do you get your doctors to listen to you?

Now don’t get me wrong, my illness is super rare, but five years is still an incredibly long time to wait for a diagnosis. For the majority of that time, I had steadily increasing symptoms of hyperthyroidism, and was consistently told it was all in my head. I went to the doctors numerous times about:

  • Hair falling out
  • Heart palpitations and fast heartrate
  • Fatigue
  • Getting ill all the time – I caught every cough and cold going, and half the time it would turn into a chest infection or sinusitis or tonsillitis

My GPs pretty much just kept doing the same blood tests, which came back fine, or simply suggesting I was stressed and asking me how things were at home. I actually got to the point of wondering whether it was possible to be so stressed that your hair falls out without actually feeling stressed out about anything at all (other than the fact that your hair is falling out, ironically).

It was only when my resting heartrate suddenly jumped to 140 beats per minute (a normal heartrate is 60 – 100 bpm) and there was something unambiguously WRONG with me that they started taking me seriously and sending me for more tests and scans, and eventually worked out what was going on. I’ve since experienced, both with my own medical problems and those of others, numerous other occasions of feeling not believed/not listened to by doctors. So, I wanted to share my best tips for getting your doctor to listen to you and take you seriously.

5 Ways To Get Your Doctor To Listen To You

1. Be Organised

When you’re on the spot with a busy GP who you feel is being dismissive of your concerns, it can be difficult to remember everything you wanted to say or all the questions you wanted to ask. Write your key points down in a notebook or on your phone before you go, and take it with you to the appointment. You can also jot down the key points the doctor says during the appointment, to ensure you don’t forget anything.

Stick to your guns and make sure you say everything you wanted to say at your appointment (but make sure you get straight to the point and don’t waffle – doctors are busy people!). If your doctor interrupts you, you can go back to what you were saying later on (easiest if you have a list of your key points). If your doctor asks you only closed questions (yes/no questions), you can expand on your answers and give more detail.

2. Be Specific

If you are experiencing symptoms which concern you, write down:

  • How frequently they are occurring
  • How long they last
  • The impact this has on your daily life
  • Anything you’ve done to try to treat the symptoms and how successful this was

And tell your doctor this specifically. If you say something like “I’m getting quite a lot of bad headaches”, this is open to interpretation. How bad is “bad”? How often is “quite a lot”? On the other hand, if you can say “I’ve had five headaches in the last two weeks. They lasted between three and six hours, and I had to go to bed every time because paracetamol didn’t help. I’ve had to take three days off work because of it”, that helps your doctor to gauge exactly how serious your symptoms are.

3. Bring A Friend

Having someone else there (partner, parent, friend, housemate) can also be helpful, especially if that person can attest to the impact your symptoms have had. When my husband was quite poorly with his gluten intolerance, he kept going back to the doctors about his symptoms and getting fobbed off. When I went with him to one appointment and also talked about how he had lost a lot of weight and wasn’t himself, we finally got the doctors to listen and refer him to the hospital for proper investigation of his symptoms. I think if you’re relatively young and fit-looking, it helps to have someone else back you up when explaining how I’ll you’ve been.

4. Ask Questions

If you feel like you’re being fobbed off or you’re not getting the treatment/investigations you expected, asking questions is the way to go. Questions like:

  • “I thought you might want to do some blood tests. Can you just explain to me why you’re not doing that?”
  • “If you’re not concerned at the moment, are there any particular symptoms I should look out for that would be more of a concern?”
  • “If my symptoms don’t improve, how long should I wait before I come back to see a doctor again?”

Asking questions can help to open up more of a dialogue between you and your doctor, and also give you more reassurance about why the doctor is making certain decisions.

5. Remember Your Options

Ultimately, if your doctor isn’t listening to you, you can always ask for a second opinion from another doctor. Although the ideas listed about should help to get your doctors to listen to you, they won’t always work and not all doctors will be interested in listening. Changing doctors may be a better option than feeling like you’re banging your head against the wall with a physician who isn’t taking you seriously.

What are your top tips for getting the most from your interactions with doctors and healthcare staff? How do you get your doctors to listen to you? Let me know in the comments!

how to get your doctors to listen to you sickly mama blog graphics
days out · Just for fun · lifestyle · parenting · reviews

Review : Lavender Picnic at Castle Farm Kent

Queen Victoria allegedly loved lavender, even eating lavender jelly with her roast mutton, rather than the more traditional mint. When my mother plans a picnic, it’s typically on a similarly extravagant scale, and to be honest you’re guaranteed a grand feast even if you end up eating it in a car park. So when we set off for a ‘lavender picnic’ at Castle Farm, the UK’s largest lavender farm, we knew we had the ‘picnic’ part covered. It was up to Castle Farm, Kent to provide the lavender.

Booking Your Lavender Picnic

I had booked our picnic at the last minute, thinking it would be something fun and a bit different to do after months spent in lockdown, while remaining safely outdoors and socially distanced. Tickets were £10.25 per adult, which to be honest is pretty darn steep for the privilege of spending two hours in a field. In fairness, the price does include access to a porta-potty. I’m charitably assuming that Castle Farm need to make a bit of extra cash after the impact of coronavirus.

Our Evening At Castle Farm Kent

But if the ticket price matched the rather steep gradient of the lavender fields themselves, we were far from the only ones prepared to pay up. Although the event was definitely busy, the field we were in was so large that there was more than enough space for everyone to set up their picnic rugs at a safe distance from each other, but right up close to the rows of lavender plants. This was no mean feat when some of the picnics were as lavish as ours (for context, the meat selection alone included roast beef, corned beef, salami, ham, chicken drumsticks and scotch eggs).

lavender fields at castle farm kent during sunset

Of course, it’s possible that we actually had no need to worry about coronavirus transmission, as the ancient Greek surgeon Dioscorides noted lavender’s protective effect against the plague, and centuries later during the Black Death, plague doctors stuffed their masks with lavender to try to prevent themselves from catching the disease. Castle Farm make no such claims about their lavender. Perhaps their gift shop is missing a trick, given the new requirement for face masks to be worn in shops.

Instead Castle Farm, Kent emphasize the relaxing properties of lavender, even marketing their own range of natural sleep products. Relaxation was certainly in the air as we sat and enjoyed our picnic in the gently cooling breeze. Little Man had a very cosy nap in my arms, meaning I had to ask Martin to cut my food up for me so that I could eat it with one hand. Before we knew it, an hour and a half had slipped by and we had barely stepped beyond the first two metres of lavender.

mum and baby in the lavender fields at castle farm kent

So, with a newly-awake Little Man, we set off up into the heart of the fields. If the scent of lavender on the breeze was beautiful at the site of our picnic, it was incredible when you were right in the middle of the field. Along the rows of purple flowers, there were hundreds of bumblebees and honey bees hard at work; when you stood still, you could hear a gentle buzzing in the air. Little Man was fascinated by the flowers and the bees, and he enjoyed smelling the lavender as well. Older children from other parties were having a wonderful time running up and down the neat rows of plants.

baby close up in the lavender fields at castle farm kent

The views across the purple hillsides were stunning with the sun just starting to set, and the bullocks in a field nearby were in a playful mood, treating us to the sight of them gallivanting about and going for a swim in the river. It seemed only fair that they enjoy life before achieving their ultimate destiny as Castle Farm Beef. I haven’t tried the beef myself, but I can attest that it does indeed seem to come from happy cows.

Picnicking on a slightly overcast evening, amongst cascades of British lavender, felt like an experience that was at once very English (the weather), very French (a la Provence’s purple fields of lavender*), and somewhat Japanese (a la hanami, the celebration of the transient beauty of flowers).

Overall, it was a wonderful, memorable experience that was more than just the opportunity to get some instagramable photos. I’d be interested in the future to try one of the Castle Farm lavender walks, and learn a little more about the farm and how they produce their lavender and essential oils.

enjoying a family picnic in the lavender fields at castle farm kent review

Accessibility at Castle Farm, Kent

The car park was nice and close to the field, so if you have reduced mobility, it would still be possible to access the site – although the ground is uneven and flinty, which may be a challenge for wheelchairs or anyone very unsteady on their feet. There are no designated car park spaces for disabled vehicles although you could park away from other cars if you needed the space. We put Little Man in his carrier rather than test the pram’s off-roading capabilities.

Toilets and baby change facilities were provided, albeit as temporary portaloos with steps up to the door, which again could prove challenging if you have mobility issues.

* Actually the “lavender” in Provence is lavandin, which is distinct from British lavender. Both are grown at Castle Farm, so let’s not quibble too much…

baby · Just for fun · parenting

6 Ways My Baby Thinks He’s A Dog

I’ve written before about some of Little Man’s strange habits, but as time goes by, if anything they seem to be getting stranger. Over the last few weeks, Little Man increasingly seems to be taking on the traits and general habits you would expect from a puppy, rather than a baby human. Yes… My baby thinks he’s a dog. It’s very curious and not something I was led to expect from motherhood! Examples include…

6 Ways My Baby Thinks He’s A Dog

Chewing the furniture

Having popped into the kitchen to grab one of his dummies (where do they go? Does anyone know? Is there a dummy fairy that whisks them away to a magical castle in the sky?), I returned to find Little Man chewing a chairleg. Don’t believe me? Check out the guilty look on his face in the photo below…

baby thinks he's a dog chewing the furniture

When I redirected him away from the chairleg, he proceeded to bite me on the knee instead.

Playing fetch

Little Man loves playing fetch with mummy, just like a little puppy. He does play it with a twist, though, because in his game, it’s mummy who gets to do the actual fetching instead. He might roll a ball across the floor for me to retrieve, or drop a book on the floor for me to pick up, or spit his dummy right to the other side of the room. It’s all good fun!

baby thinks he's a dog playing fetch with football

Barking

Little Man loves to make noise. All the time. If he’s angry, he screams. If he’s sad, he screams. If he’s happy, he screams. If nothing much else is happening, he screams. And recently, he’s started getting much better at imitating the noises we make when taking to him. When I took him out on a walk this week, a dog barked in a house nearby. Little Man barked back, and it was a surprisingly good impression.

Chasing his tail

Little Man hasn’t cracked crawling forwards yet, but by God he can turn sideways. At times he will lie on the floor, spinning gently in full circles, just like a little doggo chasing his tail.

Drooling EVERYWHERE

Teething comes with many joys, one of which is more or less constant dribble. Just like an elderly bloodhound, Little Man currently leaves trails of drool all across the floor, usually shortly after I’ve finished cleaning it.

Bathtime mayhem

Up until recently, we always used to bath Little Man in the kitchen. He’s now discovered how to splash with his legs, and he makes so much mess that we’ve had to start bathing him in the bathroom instead. After we’re finished, the amount of water splashed around the place is equivalent to having a long-haired doggo giving himself a good shake after hopping out of the tub.

Does your baby act like a doggo? Let me know in the comments!

baking · food · gluten free · recipes

Gluten Free Rocky Road – No Baking Required!

This is one of my absolute favourite recipes! I don’t make it that often – because (as my husband says) it’s about as addictive as crack, but much more fattening. In fact, I made a batch of gluten free rocky road specifically so I could take pictures for this blog post, and we had already eaten three quarters of it before I had a chance to take photos of the finished product. That speaks for itself!

Gluten Free Rocky Roads – Overview

It’s a super easy recipe, no baking required just refrigeration, so it’s a great one to make with kids.

It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish, and will make about 12 – 16 rocky road bars, depending on how big you cut them!

Gluten Free Rocky Road Ingredients

You will need…

  • 200g butter
  • 6 tbsps golden syrup
  • 200g dark chocolate (you can use milk, but the end product will be VERY sweet)

Then for the filling, you can be super flexible, based on what’s in your store cupboard! You basically want about 350g of dried filling, which needs to be chopped or crushed into small pieces. For the bake in these pictures, I used:

  • 125g Crunchie bars (other chocolate-coated honeycomb is available)
  • 125g gluten-free Viennese biscuits
  • Handful of gluten-free pretzels
  • 3 handfuls of mini marshmallows
  • 2 handfuls of gluten-free cornflakes
the ingredients for delicious gluten free rocky road recipe

Gluten-free Rocky Roads – The Method

1. First, line a 22cm square baking tin with tinfoil.

2. Take your Crunchie bars, biscuits and pretzels, put them in a resealable freezer bag, and bash them with a rolling pin until they’re in smallish chunks. Keep back a few pretzels and marshmallows for decoration! Then add the crushed fillings to a mixing bowl along with your marshmallows and cornflakes.

delicious gluten free rocky road recipe with pretzels, marshmallows, chocolate and honeycomb

3. Next, put the butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan on a low heat. Heat them together until the butter is melted into the syrup. Mix them regularly and don’t let the mix come to a boil!

recipe melting butter and golden syrup in a saucepan

4. Remove the saucepan from the heat. It should be warm but not boiling hot! Add the chocolate and stir it in, until it’s melted into a smooth syrupy sauce.

5. Pour the chocolate mixture over your dry ingredients and stir gently until the dry ingredients are all totally coated.

6. Pour the mixture into the baking tray and pat down until the surface is roughly level. Press marshmallows and pretzels into the surface for decoration.

delicious gluten free rocky road recipe setting in the tin

7. Leave the tin out until it’s no longer warm to the touch, then pop into the fridge to finish setting your rocky road mix.

8. Refrigerate for a couple of hours at least. Then you can turn the rocky road out onto a plate, peel off the foil, and slice! Voila, your gluten-free rocky road is ready to serve!

Tips and Hints

The key thing about this is that you’ll want to store it in the fridge. It melts in your mouth… But also it melts in your hands, and all over your kitchen! It can be kept out at room temperature for a bit e.g. a party buffet, but I wouldn’t be taking it to a summer picnic.

If you do need it to last longer out of the fridge – or if you want to cut neat non-crumbly slices – the best way to do this is with a pure chocolate coating. Melt some more dark chocolate down and pour half over the bottom of the tin and leave it to set for five minutes before adding the main mix. Then once you’ve smoothed over the main mix in the tin, pour the rest of the chocolate over the top. It just makes it easier to handle.

delicious gluten free rocky road recipe with pretzels, marshmallows, chocolate and honeycomb