Thursday, January 31, 2013

Recipe: Carrot Cake

As you know from Our Week #4 I was excited to get my new food mixer! So far, I have only used it once, but it was fab! I made carrot cake, which I used to make a lot, by hand, but using the mixer made the mixture much lighter and softer and even the hubby noticed the difference, so it must have been good!

So I thought I would share the recipe here with you...


250g self raising flour
2tsp baking powder
150g light muscavado sugar
200g grated carrot (I put them in my mini chopper and blitz)
80g chopped walnuts (again, I put them in the mini chopper and blitz a bit, but we like them quite big inside the cake)
2 medium sized eggs
150ml sunflower oil
A bit of butter for greasing


175g full fat soft cheese
A couple of drops of vanilla essence (or flavouring)
60g sifted icing sugar
125g soft butter (room temperature)
Walnuts for decoration (Or you could use marzipan carrots!)


Pre-heat the oven.

Put all the ingredients for the cake into a bowl and mix really well. It won't look smooth because of the carrot and walnuts, but the actual mixture should be free from clumps of sugar etc. Pour into a greased cicrcular baking tin (I used a spring form one as it's easier to get out at the end and I always line it with parchement) and put in the oven for 50-60 mins at 160c.
After 50 mins, check the cake by putting a skewer or similiar into the cake, if it comes out clean, it's ready! The cake should have risen and come away from the side of the tin a bit.
Leave to cool for about 10 minutes and then  remove from the tin.

Now you need to make the topping:

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the cream cheese and butter. Blitz until smooth. Dollop the mixture onto the cake and spread out using a spatula. You can decorate with the walnuts in whatever way you like!
You should now chill the cake in the fridge as the topping will be quite wet and needs to set a bit.

I have to admit that the original recipe came from Mary Berry. Although, I know this must be classed as a sin, but I have amended the original recipe and played around with it a bit to our own tastes. The original recipe had mashed banana in it. I don't really like bananas so I take this bit out. I found though, that the resulting cake could be a bit tasteless without them, so I uppsed the quantities of carrots and walnuts as I like the cake with a bit of crunch as well. 

I'm happy with the final quantities I have, but it's taken a couple of years to get there! 

mummystartingout x

Our Week #4

I've been a bit of a rubbish blogger the past couple of weeks, I know. The last few weeks have been a bit busy as I was finishing work and needed to get everything sorted before I left, so I didn't have much time for blogging, or indeed much else! I didn't even get to take that many pictures!

Anyway I am now off work for 7 whole months! It still feels a bit weird and I am yet to get used to it, although I am aware I won't be 'off' as such once the baby arrives!

So here is a rather belated Our Week from last week:

Monday - A work day. This was the day I just got up and I knew I had to finish work this week. Luckily my boss is very understanding with pregnant women and said it was absolutely fine for me to finish on Friday. This meant that the rest of the week would be spent in a mad dash to get everything done on time.

Tuesday- Thursday - I won't even bore you with. They were pretty uneventful, busy days at work, tying up loose ends and getting sorted.

Friday - I finished work for Maternity Leave! yey!! Very exciting. It was a very strange feeling, leaving work, knowing I won't be back until September. I felt like a fraud and I don't know why. Anyway, hubby had had a bad day so we decided to go for a drink after work (we work in the same school), so we went to our local little pub on the marina. I, of course, had a celebratory coke, but hubby had something a little stronger! We picked up the step daughter for the night and also decided to pick up take away as no one could be bothered to cook. We came home and all took bets about who would win Celebrity Big Brother. Yes I know, bad parenting to encourage betting at 8 years old... I said that I wouldn't get into Celeb BB again this year, but when I saw Rylan was on it I had to watch it. I think he is fab and I was chuffed he won.

Saturday - Hubby and i had planned to stay in all day and not move as we were both so, so tired. However, I decided I wanted a new draining board for the kitchen and I had seen a cake mixer that I fancied. So after the step daughter was picked up we nipped out to a place called 'Shoprite Living.' On the Isle of Man, Shoprite is our local supermarket (we do also have Tesco and the Co-Op). It stocks a funny range of brands, from Waitrose to Iceland! It's a bit bizarre, but it's the local's choice of Supermarket. Anyway, they have a home store called Shoprite Living, which, again, is a mixed range of brands but is generally what in the UK would be a Wilkinson store. It's quite an excitement to visit it really, which you might think odd, but if you lived here you would understand, trust me!
Anyway, I had my heart set on one of those cross shaped draining boards (like this one) but they didn't have one :( but I did find a red washing up bowl that I was pretty excited about and I got my kitchen mixer! Very exciting I know! I came back and ordered a draining board from Amazon instead.

Sunday - Hubby wanted to watch football for most of the day, so that gave me some free time to nip out to somewhere I have mentioned here before, called Tynwald Mills. It's not like a mill shop you'd get in the UK. In fact, it's hard to describe. It's a home and clothing centre. It stocks Denby, Cath Kidston, White Stuff, Phase Eight, French Connection, Laura Ashley, Apricot, The White Company, Barber, Superdry, Le Cruset, Emma Bridgewater etc. Hopefully you get the picture? Anyway, I had a Cath Kidston bag that I wanted to exchange, so I nipped there and swapped the bag. I picked up a lovely spring coloured one that I was very pleased with!
After that, hubby had taken all the glasses out of the cupboard to be sorted through and to be rearranged, so I washed them all and then put them back in the cupboard - some people are calling this nesting! But it had been on my list of jobs for quite some time!
The snow finally melted this weekend as well, which we were all pleased about, even though it had looked so pretty.
After all this I just lazed around with hubby for the rest of the afternoon and then settled down to watch our favourite programme, The Hotel on Sunday night.

So all in all, we had a really nice weekend and it was sooo nice going to bed Sunday night knowing that I didn't have to set my alarm for the following morning!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Week #3

So I'm trying desperately to make a very dull week sounds interesting...

Monday - I was at work for most of it, but I also had to make a little hospital trip because of reduced movements with bump. After two hours of being hooked up to the CTG machine, it turns out all is well. Perhaps I am just rubbish at spotting when he moves. He is also a lot bigger now and has less room to move, which I was aware of anyway, but when I rang for advice, they still told me to go in and get checked.

Tuesday and Wednesday were just normal work days, very boring but my new Joe Browns dress arrived, which was the most exciting part of the week!

Thursday - Was again another work day, but it was enhanced with a lot of excitement regarding the impending arrival of snow! As you might know, we live on the Isle of Man. It's a very quiet place outside of the main town Douglas and where we live is quite remote and secluded. So we hot footed it to Tesco after work to stock up a little for the weekend as we knew, chances were, we could be stuck there until Monday. As it turns out, it started snowing at 7.30am Friday morning....

Friday - Snow arrived at 7.30. I had had a very restless night and wasn't feeling great and had already told work I wouldn't be in. Hubby packed himself a little bag of essential supplies (he is diabetic) and set off to work. I sat and watched the snow start to stick and then build up and at 12.30 the police decided to shut our road so I rang hubby and told him. He decided it would be better to try and get home if he could, so hubby arrived home a bit early. The step daughter arrived and we all curled up and I made a yummy, comforting sausage casserole. The snow continued to fall and we were well and truly stuck in!

Saturday - The snow had definitely stuck and we were snowed in. The road was still shut as were the roads around us. So we all got dressed into warm clothes and a snow suit for the step daughter and we went sledging! (Obviously I didn't! I stood and took pics) It was bitterly cold and we didn't really manage long. So we came back, built a large snowman and then went in for hot chocolate to warm up! I made the step daughter's favourite tea, goulash and we snuggled on the sofa for most of the afternoon.

Sunday - I was starting to get cabin fever by this morning. The roads were now open and we had to go out anyway, as unexpectedly we are having the step daughter for a few more nights and we had to go and get her uniform and school stuff from her mums, so we also nipped to M&S. I bought a lovely dress, although completely unsuitable for today's weather, and got a few food bits and then we came back and it started to snow again! So I spent the afternoon making Jamie Oliver's 'Epic Roast Chicken Salad.' However, I've learnt (again) always to read the recipe to the end before starting. I was supposed to use the juices of the cooked chicken and instead I washed the roasting dish! But it was still yummy and nice for a change from the usual roast dinner.

mummystartingout x

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bump Update: 34 weeks

I can't quite believe how the weeks are flying by now. I was going to do a 32 week update and then by the time I thought about it, it was 34 weeks!

Anyway, according to my pregnancy app, baby now weighs 2.2kg, which is around the same size as a cantaloupe melon! He is also around 45cm from top to toe. In the next week, his hearing will be fully developed and it says to talk to him more. His main job for the next 6 weeks or so is to gain a bit of fat ready for birth, but everything else is fully developed and if he was to make an early appearance he would have a great chance of being ok.

I am definitely starting to wind down now. Going back to work after Christmas was harder than I thought; I am getting more and more tired and finding I have less energy each day. Lugging myself around school is a pain and I find myself out of breath from even the smallest walk! My blood pressure seems to be under control and despite one week of terrible heartburn over Christmas, I think I have done ok!

My bump has definitely popped out a lot lately. There is no mistaking I am pregnant now! However, everyone keeps telling me I suit pregnancy and am glowing, so that's nice to hear. I still haven't put any weight on either!

I've had the 32 week growth scan and consultant appointment and everything was fine, all growth on track and thankfully he had turned by the consultant appointment as at the scan he was breech! I've started to notice movements and kicks have slowed down. I still feel him all the time, but the movements are less strong as he is running out of room in there. I feel him move around rather than kick out. I'm also starting to develop the lovely pregnancy waddle and sleep evades me. I am shattered. I can't lie on either side for more than a couple of hours so I am awoken constantly with pain and cramps in my thighs and hips. It's a bit weird actually. I also keep waking up with numb hands- that's the weirdest sensation ever, my hands didn't feel like they were there!

We have one more growth scan booked in two weeks time and I presume if everything is ok then I won't have another one. I can't believe that I am approaching the beginning of the end of this pregnancy. I never imagined getting to this stage... I am just very impatient now and really really want this baby to arrive a couple of weeks early!

mummystartingout x

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Our Week #2

Welcome back to week two of  'Our Week.' This one probably has to be the most boring one ever! sorry! But like I said last week, please bear with me, I endeavour to make them more exciting very soon!

Monday was back to work. Ugh. It was certainly a shock to the system after four weeks off, especially getting up in the dark and arriving home in the dark! To compensate I made my favourite dish for tea - yummy risotto. The hubby isn't keen but I love it, probably a bit too much and tend to eat far too much of it as well. The first day back to work also coincided with my mac dying :( Now, I love my mac and for that matter, my iPhone. I was lost without it for the 24 hours or so it took to fix it. The lovely IT man at school managed to reinstall the operating system on it, but it meant that I lost all my photos that I had put on it, these included all my blogging ones. I thought as they were backed up to icloud I would be able to get them all back, but it turns out it's only the last 30 days worth! arghhhh! Anyway, it's fixed and back in my hands, but I feel like I am starting again with it.
I also had a physio appointment at lunch time so I managed to nip out and have a quick shopping fix! I picked up a bargain pair of shoes from New Look for £4!

Tuesday, again spent at work. My timetable has been reduced as I only have a few weeks left before maternity leave starts, so I don't have as much to do anymore. In a way that's good, work are being super supportive and helpful, but I think it could get a bit boring if I don't start to focus a bit more. I have a few things that I must do before I leave and yet I keep putting them off!

Wednesday, again more work. That was it.

Thursday - yet more work.

Friday was a work day and then it was time to come home and get ready for date night with the hubby! Our local pub, which is actually a good 10 minute drive to, are having a Sausage festival throughout January. You get three sausages for £8 with mash and onion gravy and I thought that was pretty cheap. In my haste to guzzle the sausages down, I forgot to take a picture, but they were yummy! I chose pork, leek and Stilton, which was my favourite and pork, honey and mustard. I also had to choose a third one, but that one I assigned to the hubby as I knew I would not be able to manage three, so he chose wild boar, which he said was yummy too! I was able to wear my new dress and bargain shoes from Monday, even though it was below freezing when we went out!

Saturday we had a massive lie in; it was gone 11am when I finally got up! I mustered up some energy and cleaned the house before nipping out to a lovely little independent mill shopping centre 5 minutes down the road. It was primarily to meet the step-daughter to pick her up and bring her to ours for the night, but they also have a lovely woman's range there that includes The White Stuff, which I seem to have an obsession with at the minute, They also sell Cath Kidston handbags! But I managed to resist as I am trying to be good, what with a baby expected in less than 7 weeks...
After that, we came home and I made a curry for tea and the step-daughter made us watch Take Me Out.

Today, I got up earlier than yesterday and nipped to town. I have been after a red cardigan for absolutely ages and haven't been able to find one. Just a basic one, to brighten up black tops etc. I managed to find one in Peacocks for £12 which I thought was quite good. But I don't like the buttons, so I have some Cath Kidston red heart shaped ones that I am going to sew on to the cardigan instead. I also picked up a top in Next with a voucher I got for Christmas. I'll try and blog it soon, but I may save it for after the baby arrives so I have something new to wear.
I then came home, made a cottage pie and am now curled up on the sofa, drinking my new favourite drink, apple and spiced ginger juice from Cawston Press, whilst the hubby watches yet another football match!

And that was my week!

mummystartingout x

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Our Week #1

Welcome to Our Week!

Really I have started this to document our time once the baby arrives, but I wanted to start it properly from the New Year, so for the next few weeks, please bear with me until baby arrives, when, hopefully, I will have lots of exciting adventures to tell you about! (I am aware that it's not all fun days out though!)

It was a funny week really last week, it was like an in between week of Christmas Day having been and gone, but still the holidays (for us anyway) and it left us a bit confused as to what the days were!

Anyway, here is how our week went...

Monday was New Year's Eve. Hubby and I popped into town and had a look at the sales, before collecting his daughter so we could have her for New Year's. We came home and I made a picky buffet tea for the three of us and we played bingo, 3d Snakes and Ladders and Wii Olympics. We put the TV on for the midnight countdown and then cracked open a bottle of champagne to celebrate the dawn of 2013! I'm surprised I managed to make it until midnight being 32 weeks pregnant!

Tuesday was New Year's Day so I got up and made a yummy roast dinner for the three of us and then it was time for my step-daughter to go back to her Mum for the rest of the day. Hubby and I dropped her off and then came home and curled up on the sofa for the day. In the evening there was the World Premiership Darts final on TV and as sad as this is, I have actually gotten into it! So we watched the final snuggled on the sofa together.

Wednesday we had to be up bright and early for our 32 week growth scan on our little monkey. All measured good and we were swiftly seen by my consultant, who was also happy with my bloods etc. The scan was over and done with before I could even focus on the screen showing our baby boy, but she assured me all was well and on track. She kept showing me things and naming them, but I don't know if it was just me, but I have trouble making it out and I always have to look closely, so the fact that she went so fast throughout the whole thing meant I didn't really see very much! Still, it was good to see his little heart beating and know that everything is on track. After that, I came home and sorted out all the baby's clothes. We had bought a small wardrobe and and I had ordered some baby and child coat hangers from ebay and they were still just sat dumped in the cot. So I finally got around to getting it all organised. I even put the clothes in size order! (ha how sad)
I also discovered a new ice cream! I am not really a fan of ice cream, but Ben and Jerry's was on offer in the shop and I just glimpsed it and really, really felt like having it! It is amazing and if you haven't tried it you should - it's the Baked Alaska one.

Thursday was a bit of a none day really. We had to get up very early for hubby's medical appointment and then we came back and went back to bed for a bit! I got up about 1pm and then just continued to laze around on the sofa all day long! I must have slept funny the night before as I had a really horrible pain in my neck and just couldn't get it to go away, so I filled a hot water bottle, led on the sofa with it and caught up on some blogs I had been meaning to read for ages.  It was really nice to just be able to chill and do nothing. I felt that lazy that we even ordered Chinese for tea!

Friday was another boring day really. We went to do our weekly shop in Tescos and then picked the step-daughter up for the weekend. And that was as exciting as it got!

Saturday was our parent education day at the hospital. It was another early start unfortunately! The day was really good though, much more interesting than I imagined it would be. The midwives were very friendly and we had five sessions - Normal Labour, Pain relief, Relaxation and birth positions, Breast Feeding, Alternative deliveries and then a Labour ward tour. Unfortunately, the way they had grouped all the parents meant that our group went to the alternative delivery session first! This completely freaked me out as it was all forceps, ventouse and c-section stuff. Although it was good to hear what it all actually entails, and if I'm honest it didn't sound all that bad. The midwife said there is a 10% chance of having an alternative delivery based on their statistics, so I guess it's pretty low, although she did say first time mums are at a slightly higher percentage. The best bit of the day was the tour as I got to see what the labour ward actually looked like. It was a bit daunting and I came away a little scared, but again, I think it was good to see what it all looks like and where I'll be etc.
The step-daughter went to one of my best friend's for the day, whom she loves and was treated to lunch out and taken shopping, so she was happy!

Sunday we spent chilling out really. I nipped to M&S in the morning to get a few bits and then came home to prepare my pizza dough for homemade pizza - yum!
I got a card making set for Christmas off a friend, so I had a go at making her a birthday card! We snuggled up to watch The Hotel in the evening - one of my fav programmes, so funny! The dreaded Sunday night feeling of doom crept upon us as we knew we were back to work Monday morning.

And that was it really!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy New Year, Bump Update and more!

Hello! Happy New Year (a week late I realise). Rather than bombard you with various posts, I thought I would just roll everything in to one!

So first of all, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas. I can't believe how fast it went actually; time flew by and before I knew it I was back at work yesterday. We had a very lovely Christmas; we went to stay with my parents and of course me being pregnant and still on crutches (because of my ankle) meant that I got looked after by the parents! Fab!

I had been a bit concerned about how I would feel about not drinking over Christmas this year, but actually, it wasn't so bad. I think I overdosed on ginger ale at one point, but really it wasn't all that bad. I managed the odd glass of champagne (Christmas Day morning) and a glass of red wine (for medicinal purposes of course) but really I didn't miss it all that much. It made me think, that after the birth I might try and carry it on really and not drink as much as I used to. I've seen a great decrease in our weekly shopping bill as I am not buying wine, so it's definitely going to save us money, which we will need with a new baby.

So, on the topic of baby, I am not just over 32 weeks! I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. Back when I was 20 weeks I was really impatient and thought that I would never have this baby, ever! I just couldn't see 40 weeks at all, and yet, D Day is looming and approaching quite fast.
On Saturday the hubby and I attended a course at our hospital for first time mums. It involved topics such as normal labour, induction, pain relief and alternative deliveries (forceps etc eek). The day ended with a tour
of the maternity ward (which I had already seen!) and then the labour ward. As we live on an island, our hospital is naturally quite small. Big enough for what you need, but nowhere near like the ones back on the mainland. The labour ward only had four labour rooms, which I was quite surprised about, especially after being a devout follower of OBEM. I have to say the whole day actually overwhelmed me a little. It suddenly became very real and I realised that very soon, in fact any day from now really, I have to get this little man out of me. Obviously I was aware of that before Saturday, but I had been so focused on nothing going wrong for the last 25 weeks or so, that I really had never considered labour in all that much detail. Anyway, I am feeling a bit better about it now, at least I am prepared and have lots of information.

I also had my consultant appointment and growth scan last week. Growth is all on track and everything was fine at the consultant. The only thing, this little guy is breech at the minute. I have another scan booked for 36 weeks at the end of January, so hopefully by then he will have turned. I have already looked in to manual turning of babies and it is not something I feel very comfortable with. I know that the only option after that is c-section and I know it may seem outrageous to want to go for that without even trying to turn him, but I just really don't want it done. So c-section it would have to be if he hasn't turned. I've been given a leaflet on what little exercises you can do and positions you can get in to to help the baby turn, so I am going to make the effort myself.

The bump has definitely popped out now and there is no mistaking I am pregnant. I can no longer wear any of my jeans, even with the elastic band trick and I am generally uncomfortable in clothes! In fact, I am starting to feel generally uncomfortable full stop. I am not sleeping well due to weird spasms in my thighs which are a pain (literally) and I am waking up feeling really really tired. I have three and a half weeks left at work before maternity leave and I am now eagerly counting down. I think those last two weeks are going to be really hard going. I can feel my body slowing down and I just want to rest.

So it's a new year. I don't really do resolutions, I never stick to them, so I gave up a few years ago. I make plans for various things and I generally stick to those, I am very organised in general, so planning and list making are some of my favourite hobbies! I started to think about this blog and blogging in general. It's about a year since I started blogging and my blog has seen quite a lot of changes. I have had three blogs really! But I am not much more comfortable and  happy with this one and feel this is much more me.
So I had a think about this blog and what I would like to do with it. I am really in to photography and taking pictures. However I am nowhere near an expert or anything even close! But I would like to learn more about it. One fellow blogger at Totally Tates, does some wonderful photography and she seems pretty clued up about various aspects of taking pictures. She has decided that she is going to put some of her tips up on her blog, so I am looking forward to reading those and hopefully learning something. I use my iPhone generally to take pictures, but I also have a camera, and whilst it's nothing high tech, I would like to learn how to use it better. So with photography in mind, I have decided to take part in project 365 again this year. If you've not heard of it (I am sure you have!), it's a photo for every day of the year. I started it last year and because of my blog changing etc, it just got way laid, but I am determined to see it out for the year this time. You can follow my 365 project over on instagram - I am lilamy84.

As this year is going to be the year of change for myself and hubby I wanted to create a way of documenting it too. I want to be able to look back and see what we got up to and how we dealt with our new arrival. With this in mind, I am going to use this blog a bit like a journal and each week (hopefully!) I am going to do a blog post called 'Our Week' where I record what we have been up to. I might do it in pictures or I might do it with words.

Now I can't guarantee it's going to be riveting, page turning stuff, but this blog is really a way of recording our life so I hope you enjoy it! I always like reading what other people get up to!

And I think that's it, my very first 'Our Week' will be coming up shortly so stay tuned...

mummystartingout x