Husband returned from a work trip today with treats for me! Chanel = surprised, happy wife.
However this purchase at the airport duty free shop has proved what I have been thinking for a while - airport fragrance purchasing does always provide the good value for money perceived by many. This is a classic example. Purchased for £100 at the duty free, this 100ml bottle of Coco Mademoiselle can be purchased online for £8 less (with free delivery). If you are travelling in the EU you are still paying duty on your goods so the days of saving up to splurge on your little luxuries is long gone. Trips further afield such as Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore have specific tax regimes which allow exemptions for duty free so you can still find a good deal if you fly long haul. So beware when you fly as you may not be getting the deal you think you are and a trawl of the net could get you a better deal without the air miles.
This weekend Little E had a sleepover with her lovely older cousins. We gained an extra member of the family when she returned. A borrowed Barbie.
And this is not just any Barbie. It is a naked Barbie (sorry, not naked, she is wearing high heeled shoes) with past waist length blonde hair which has a glittery purple stripe in it. Little E has clutched this Barbie for dear life ever since she got back and it has even been taken to bed. When I asked her why Barbie has no clothes I was told she didn’t need any. I disagree as it is nearly November.
In principle I have no problem with Barbie. Growing up I had a whole host of Barbie and Cindy dolls paired with their respective Ken and Paul husbands (often partaking in some innocent doll husband swapping of an afternoon). I had the dream house complete with lift and soft top car and even the horse and horse-box for when Barbie was in an equestrian mood. So Barbie was a big part of my childhood and I have no plans on banning Barbie from Little E.
But (here it comes, you knew there was a but coming) she is only two. And have you seen Barbie lately? Were her dresses always that short and was her mid-drift always bare? Don’t even get me started on the size of her chest... She looks so weird in the hands of a two year old, especially as Little E refuses to dress her. Clearly the juxtaposition of such overt sexuality next to my innocent two year old is too much for my motherly brain to comprehend and I just don’t like it.
Husband said I needed to get Little E her own Barbie from the shops yesterday so there are no repercussions when the borrowed Barbie returns to her rightful owner. I did try but I failed miserably. I could not bring myself to purchase this harlot of the toy shop. I opted instead for a Steffi doll which looked slightly more modest wearing a high neckline, no stomach on show, Minnie Mouse motif dress. Plus her lipstick was more bubblegum pink than scarlet rouge. Little E didn’t seem quite so animated to be presented with this ‘Barbie’ but once I covertly removed the original naked doll from her peripheral vision she was quite content with the replacement. I was immediately less troubled by the presence of this doll in our home so, for now, everyone is happy.
This week in pregnancy land has been mainly punctuated by the oddest of dreams. Not only are they odd, the are unusually vivid and realistic. I consulted Dr Google who reliably informs me it is because my sleep patterns are being disturbed more often due to being more uncomfortable in bed. Basically I am not getting as much deep, dreamless sleep and am instead experiencing more REM sleep than usual. Because I am also waking up more often during the night this means I am remembering the dreams more than usua,l hence the sensation of unusually vivid dreams.
All this dreaming is exhausting work and some days I am waking up feeling like I haven't been asleep! Husband is also experiencing some bizarre dreams mainly involving him missing the birth by being stuck in the hospital and not being able to get to me. So some of my anxiety surrounding bump is rubbing off on him too!
Tonight was the last meal from our Hello Fresh box - Sichuan Chicken with orange peppers and roasted peanuts. I was really looking forward to this recipe so there were high expectations.
First things first. How did the ingredients look. Well the chicken still had three days left on it's use by date and looked really fresh and succulent but the veggies were another story. The spring onions were black at the ends and the skin on the orange pepper was shriveled and wrinkled. I was not impressed. I had some yellow peppers in the fridge bought from the supermarket the day before my Hello Fresh delivery had arrived and it was in a much better shape so i decided to salvage what I could of the orange pepper and add the yellow pepper to it. The spring onions I chopped down low so there wasn't much green stems to add when the recipe asked but they did the job.
This recipe was super easy to make but unfortunately it didn't live up to my expectations. I had to cook it for much longer than the 30 minutes stated as the brown rice just wouldn't cook. I ended up serving it after 40 minutes cooking time but the rice was still crunchy. The chicken was moist and tasty but there was no sauce to the dish so overall it was very dry. Husband summed it up stating it was like eating cardboard. Oh dear.
Last week my moan was about maternity tights so I thought I'd keep up the fashion theme by moaning about my other pregnancy nemesis: maternity jeans. Now this rant isn't about the jeans themselves, they are one of the best things about pregnancy - afterall they have elasticated waists - this is about maternity jeans shopping.
Sunday afternoon and time for Hello Fresh meal number two - Italian Polpetti soup with conchiglie pasta served with rosemary foccacia.
My turn to give this recipe a go. The instructions said 40 minutes which in my experience was quite quick for a homemade soup which I would usually leave simmering for a lot longer, but I was up for a challenge.
Initial impressions of the raw ingredients were that the celery stick delivered four days previous was looking rather limp! In fact compared to the supermarket purchased celery which had been in the fridge a day longer it was the worse for wear. Luckily it was going to be softened further in the soup so not a problem for this recipe. The mince also looked a little fattier than the extra lean I usually buy but it would probably need a bit of extra fat to hold the meatballs together anyway.
Making the base of the soup with the celery, carrot and garlic was simple. I then added a tin of high quality tinned tomatoes (which did taste pretty special when i opened the tin) and a stock pot and voila! Making the polpetti was also reasonably straight forward and they held together perfectly when browned in the frying pan. All that was left was to pop in the pasta and heat the foccacia bread. To serve I sprinkled over the remaining cheese and garnished with chopped parsley. Unlike Husband i found this pretty intuitive but I am used to making soups so not too far out of my comfort zone with this one! 40 minutes pretty accurate timing.
I received a letter last week from my GP inviting me for a flu jab due to my vulnerable (pregnant) status. Last pregnancy the flu jab had just been proven safe for pregnant women however, there was no formal advice from my GP surgery who told me it was 'up to me' if I took it but they would not give formal advice or recommend I take it.
Upon arrival for the jab three years ago I was asked by the nurse why I was having the injection and my slightly taken back response was that Dr Hilary Jones told me (via the medium of breakfast TV) that it was safe and all pregnant women should contact their GP to organise the jab. I was then subjected to a lecture about not believing everything I see on TV, after all a GP on TV started the MMR scare, and that I should have sourced and read the research myself to make an informed decision. Basically I hadn't done my homework and this was my reprimand from the Head Master. It was his turn to look flustered when I asked him if he had read the research. No, he hadn't. So I summarised, my healthcare provider wasn't up to date with the latest research despite GP's on TV and radio urging pregnant women to consult their GP surgery. He countered that I had a responsibility for my own health and the health of my baby. I then asked if he was telling me not to have this jab. He stated the surgery's policy not to advise either way on this matter. At which point I told him I'd stick with Dr Hilary';s advice then (seeing as he had actually read the research and had the balls to give pregnant women informed advice), rolled my sleeve up and stuck my arm out.
Needless to say I didn't catch flu and Eloise was perfectly healthy. I believe that is a win for Dr Hilary Jones.
This year was a different story. Firstly I was invited my my surgery, so they have got off the fence. The flu jab clinic at the surgery was run with military precision. Not one question was asked why I was having the jab (except the nod towards my mum being clearly the reason why I had been invited) but then things took an interesting twist when I asked about the nasal spray vaccination for two and three year olds which the NHS is currently spending thousands of pounds advertising on every radio station I listen to. My surgery is not offering the vaccination and if they do decide to I will receive a letter in the post.
So here we go again! I am clearly going to have to battle for it if I want Little E to be vaccinated and what a waste of money by the NHS advertising a service the surgery is not even offering it! I'd be interested to know how many surgeries are not offering the service.
Husband cooked our first meal from the Hello Fresh meal box last night. Chicken Yakitori with crispy red onions and sweet and sour noodles.
The recipe card said it would take about 40 minutes and the instructions were clear and detailed. All Hello Fresh expect you to have in your store cupboard is oil, butter, salt and pepper which is fair enough. Husband had no problems following the recipe (once he worked out the little bottle with no label on was in fact the fish sauce) and didn't ask me anything from the kitchen during cooking apart from 'do we have any skewers?' Answer 'no'. Because of this he panfried the chicken thighs instead of grilling them as skewers. It took him roughly 40 mins so the estimated cooking time was accurate.
The dish didn't look as impressive as the illustration but I think that had a lot to do with the missing skewers. The portion size looked good and appetising. The taste was really unusual, not a flavour combination I have ever cooked at home. It was far more unusual and a refreshing change from the usual sweet and sour or store bought stirfry sauces which all taste the same. The chicken thighs were incredibly juicy but the onions didn't crisp up as we were expecting from the description. The portion was deceptively huge and It felt never ending.
A little voucher arrived with our latest Amazon delivery offering us £25 of our first Hello Fresh fresh recipe meal box. The box costs £39 a week so it was a bit of a no brainer to give it a try for the severely reduced price of £14.
The concept is pretty simple. You are delivered a selection of fresh recipe ingredients with easy step my step instruction sheets. You follow the recipe to create home cooked meals from scratch without having to do the shopping, measuring or weighing.
Several box options are available and opted for the three meal for two persons box which is a standard cost of £39 including delivery (approx £13 per meal for two). You can choose to have your box delivered on Tuesday or Thursday and if you don't like the sound of a particular recipe then this box option allows you to meal swap up to two of the dishes for alternatives.
Exciting news! I have been feeling bump moving for about a month now but this evening was a particularly forceful kicking session and I had a funny feeling something may be feel-able on the surface. Enter Husband/Daddy to see if anything could be detected... After a few minutes laying very still barely breathing we have results of the experiment - one little kick and some tumbling motions were felt! Lovely to now be able to share Bump's movements with Husband - it won't be long before Bump is kicking him awake in the night too!
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.