Monthly Archives: March 2014

Jam crumble shortbread

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After the success of making millionaires shortbread last week, this week we decided to try another recipe from the same cookbook. It’s quite similar, but is quicker and easier as it doesn’t have quite as many layers. And it was really, really yummy. I found that the millionaires shortbread has the edge slightly, but this one was great to bake with my 4.5 year old.

To make this, you first make the shortbread recipe. It’s a ratio of 1 butter, 2 sugar, 3 flour. So you can use any measurements you like within this ratio! We used:

100grams butter
200 grams sugar (divided into 20grams icing sugar, 80 grams caster sugar).
300 grams flour (divided into 50 grams cornflour, 250 grams plain flour.

For the top
Jam (I just used a cheap jam).
40grams flaked almonds, to add into the last quarter of the shortbread mixture.

1. Pre heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
2. First, I used an electric whisk to beat the butter until light and fluffy.
3. Next, add the sifted icing sugar and whisk again.
4. Add the caster sugar and whisk for a couple of minutes, until light and creamy.
5. Add the cornflour and whisk again.
6. Sift in the plain flour, and use a wooden spoon to mix until crumbley.
7. Add to tin ( I used a tray bake tin), keeping about a quarter of the mixture aside for the topping. Bake for 20 minutes.
8. 20 minutes in, take out the the oven and cool for ten minutes.
9. Add a layer of jam, and then sprinkle over the remaining mixture, with 40 grams flaked almonds mixed into them.
10. Bake again for around 30-35 minutes.
11. Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing them from the tin.
12. Enjoy 🙂

This recipe was In the great british bake off book, which I got for Xmas. I’ll be honest, and say that a lot of the recipes in the book are above my skill level / take more time than I have. But there are some in there which look achievable, and so far the two recipes I’ve tried have both worked really well. I love reading through recipe books too, I don’t know why, but I like this one because the pictures are so good, and it inspires me to try to be braver in what I try to bake!

Xxx

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Working part time

I’ve completed week three of returning back to work after maternity leave. I’m working 18.75 hours (2.5 days) per week. I’ve never worked part time in my life, I’ve always worked full time.

I’ve seen a lot of blogs, written by stay at home Mums, and before returning to work, I wanted to stay at home so much. With my older daughter, I stayed at home with her for two years before returning to full time work. And I often regretted the return to work – it was hard work. Time to myself was very rare, I missed a lot, and the thing that I found the most difficult was that the housework was never done, and home was not always a nice place to be.

So, I was worried about my return to work, although knowing it was part time was a huge relief. And so far, it is really working for me. I feel as though I’m back to normal, in a funny sort of way. During maternity leave, I was waiting to return to work, and it was always there in the distance. Getting it over with feels like a positive thing.

I feel good at something. Ill be honest, and say that I don’t always feel like the best Mum. I find it difficult to keep my patience, find it hard to think of activities for 7 days a week, and get very restless if we don’t go out. I absolutely loved every minute of the time I’ve had, and wouldn’t change it for the world, but – I don’t know, I think deep down I knew it wasn’t for me forever. I don’t think I could be a long term stay at home Mum.

A work though, I do feel like I’m good at something. It’s nice working with families that I worked with before i went off on maternity leave. I like being able to be organised, to think in a logical way. And I just love helping people. I have met so many people, families and carers who are fantastic. I enjoy working with people over time, and I enjoy doing my absolute best to make sure that I can make their lives as easy as it can be.

I want to share an example of one family that I’ve worked with, that has had a bit impact on my life. It’s a man who cares for his wife with advanced dementia. When I first met them, his wife never stayed still, and used to talk a lot – she could never follow an in depth conversation because of her illness, but I could interact with her. Over time that has changed, and now she doesn’t walk at all, she only says occasional words, and she just looks more poorly than she used to. Through it all, her husband has been determined that she will stay with him at home. He says that he would never want her to go into a care home, and he does a fantastic job. He loves her unconditionally. And, at the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I know I’ve had an impact on him too. He trusts me to support them, and trusts my opinion. When I first met him, he didn’t trust any social workers – he said that he had been let down a lot before. But, he knows that ill do my best for them. He cried when I came back to work and visited them as he said he was so happy I was back. I honestly feel lucky to work with people like this couple, and it’s not a chore, but a pleasure to be able to make sure that both of them are well at home. It’s not always easy; he has health problems too, and she has been really poorly a couple of times, and it was a lot of work getting things right for them both. But it’s worth it, as she is so relaxed at home compared to when she’s elsewhere, and he wouldn’t want it any other way.

So I’ve gone off track a bit! But the point is, that full time my job was too full on to really enjoy; I didn’t have any time to reflect, to absorb things that had happened, and. Had no space in my head.

But part time I’m loving it. I feel like I’ve remembered all the things I love about it, and when I feel like this I am better at what I do. It’s great.

So, part time is working for us so far. And my children love it too – Rosie hasn’t even cried for the childminder yet, and Amelia loves going – she usually wants to stay there to play, and not come home! So I’m happy, they are happy and we have a few days to do fun things I between. Today we’ve been swimming, tomorrow may be soft play. We have time to have quality time together, which we all seem to appreciate more when there’s slightly less of it.

Xxxx

The ordinary moments – bath time

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Bath time is something every family has their own routine for. It’s something we love, and something ive never got pictures of before, because usually I’m either in with them, or too busy holding Rosie to take pictures. But this week, me and Craig bathed the girls together so I managed to get some really good pictures.

We don’t take bath time for granted; when Amelia was a baby we never had a bath, and always showered her. It was always a real treat when we had the chance to bath her anywhere else as it was so rare. And now it’s great, both of them love being in the bath, and it has the added bonus that I know where both of them are for half an hour or so, and neither are getting into mischief!

Rosieloves drinking the bath water too – she literally tries to gulp it like she would a drink. We try to stop her, but it’s really cute at the same time!

Getting changed after the bath is a bit chaotic – a big blur of towels, wet children, coldness and mess. We usually get the fire on downstairs so straight after the bath we bring them down to get them changed and settled.

It’s something I will miss when they get too old for it.

If you too want to capture our ordinary moments, join in with the linky – just link up over at mummydaddyme.

Xxx

Siblings in March..

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The photograph I’ve chosen this month is my girls in the bath. I just love it. I love how my oldest girl is holding her hand around Rosie, like she is protecting her from the world. I love how my baby is looking at her big sister – full of love, joy and a little bit of mischief. I love my girls, and I love their bond. They so clearly love each other, and it’s amazing. I feel very privileged to get to watch their bond develop and grow. I feel lucky to be their Mum.

If you wish to join in there is a linky – feel free to join in at mummydaddyme. It’s about capturing siblings once each month, to see how they both change over time.

Xxx

Millionaires shortbread

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It was cake day today. Every few weeks I meet a work friend on a weekend, and we each make cake and have a catch up. And today was that day.

I love making new recipes, and this time I decided that I’d use the cookbook I got at Christmas, and make one of my favourite things – millionaires shortbread.

The result was gorgeous – the shortbread In this recipe was amazing – perfect shortbread. I was really happy with it. And the toffee was yummy too, although the measurements given in the book meant I made far far to much of it. However, I’ve kept the measurements the same as I didn’t want to risk it going wrong for someone else. When I make this again though I will halve the amount of toffee I make.

Without any further ado, here’s the recipe for how to make it (and I would recommend it!)

For the shortbread:
220gm butter
30grams icing sugar
80grams caster sugar
30gms cornflour
300gms plain flour

1. Heat oven to 160 degrees celcius.
2. Put the butter into a bowl and whisk until creamy (I used an electric whisk.)
3. Sift in the icing sugar and whisk in.
4. Add the caster sugar and beat well until the mixture is light and fluffy.
5. Sift in the cornflour and shock in.
6. Sift in the plain flour and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture is crumbley.
7. Tip into a prepared tin (I used a tray bake tin) and press into the edges.
8. Prick all over with a fork, and bake for 35 minutes until pale golden.
9. Remove from oven and place whole tray on a cooling tray. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tray.

For the millionaires shortbread

Toffee:
225gms butter
115gms caster sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tin of 397g condensed milk

1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Heat over a low heat to melt the butter.
2. When melted, heat up to boil while stirring constantly. When boiling, turn to a simmer and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes until it turns golden. Be careful not to leave to go too dark or it sets too hard to eat.
3. Pour over cold shortbread and spread evenly, then leave until cold (I found this complicated – it ran off a lot, I found it easier to leave the toffee to cool a bit and then put it on in layers. Might just be that I didn’t cook it quite enough though.)
4. Leave to cool completely.

When toffee is ready, melt 200gms chocolate (I used a cheap cooking milk chocolate) and spread over the toffee.

Eat.

It might look complicated but it’s not – it had a few steps and I did it in two nights, but the actual recipe worked really well, and even if you just make the shortbread its worth it, it was gorgeous.

Xxx

Work, day one.

Today I returned to work after 11 months odd on maternity leave. I was straight in the deep end, doing a 9-5 day (we leave the house at 8 though and get home at 6.)

The journey is a mission in itself. It goes like this:
1. Leave house 5 minutes late.
2. Get all of us in the car.
3. Forget something and run back for it.
4. Drop Rosie at the childminders house at 8.15 (ish).
5. Talk to childminder (add 5 minutes to delay time.)
6. Drop Amelia at nursery.
7. Drop Craig at work.
8. Get to work to find a full car park as I’m late.
9. Find a really hard to get into space, park car with difficulty.
10. Arrive at destination.

And this was an ‘organised’ day!

Overall it was an okay day. I’m a case manager for people with dementia – the good points today were:
1. I got 2 families to work with again who I’ve worked with before and enjoyed working with. I can do good things with them, so this was good news for me.
2. It was nice to see everyone.
3. I got to eat dinner in relative peace, and didn’t have to Hoover crumbs up afterwards.
4. It was easy (unusual in my job, and only the case as I’m only just back!)

The bad points were:
1. I had to get up super early just to be ready on time.
2. I have no laptop, phone, email access or Internet access at work until Wednesday. This limits me massively – cant do much without all of the above.
3. Due to the above other than a few little bits I did very little today.
4. I don’t like twiddling my thumbs much.
5. I got a headache even though I didn’t do much.
6. I missed my girls.

Having said all of the above, I did like being back. It kind of felt like I’ve never been away – there have been changes, but not huge ones. And it’s nice to feel useful, and good at something. I am good at my job – I’m confident at it, and enjoy working hard to get rewards. And I love being able to build up relationships – I work hard to always do what I say ill do, to keep in regular contact with people and to keep things stable. It’s not always easy – it’s hard, stressful and scary at times, but it suits me. I don’t think I’ll do it forever, but right now it’s good.

I just can’t wait to get the technology I need. I have a few people to work with – starting next week it will be as if I’ve never left. And I like that.

I’m so tired. And have a headache. I hope it’s gone tomorrow!
Xxx

Ordinary moments – fake coughs

My baby is funny. She’s a quirky little thing, and in the past month her personality has started to emerge – shes developing little traits that are unique to her, and it’s lovely.

This week she’s learnt to laugh. But it isn’t as laugh as babies usually do – she fake coughs. She gets excited about something (usually being on her feet, or seeing us after her nap) and starts fake coughing in place of laughing.

I really love it – I can’t capture it with a photo, so I, afraid I can’t share it (I don’t know why but I don’t feel comfortable with sharing videos!) but I wanted to share anyway because I never want to forget this.

I’m back at work tomorrow -2.5 days a week, so we will have to find a new ordinary from tomorrow – I’m feeling a lot of feelings today – nerves etc. Mostly though I’ve been looking back on the past 11 months. I feel glad and lucky that I’ve had this time with my girls, and glad that we’ve enjoyed it. But I also feel a bit regretful that there have been days when I’ve found it hard, times when I’ve lost my temper, and times when I’ve felt upset. I wish I hadn’t, but I can’t go back now. I’ve loved every minute of being at home, even when it isn’t easy. I hope my girls know that, and know how much I love them.

If you want to join in with the ordinary moments you can join in at mummydaddyme – it’s all about capturing the ordinary moments in a week, and is my favourite Linky to join in with as I get to write about the ordinary moments that are the ones I want to remember as time goes by.

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