Friday, 21 November 2014

Granny Chris' Coconut Ice

Granny Chris' Coconut Ice

Always a favourite for school fairs & coffee mornings, this cavity-inducing creation firmly remains a family favourite, one that my Granny Chris was famous for. So much so that my cousins & I even made a couple of batches to enjoy & reminiscence on the evening of her funeral. It's an extremely easy recipe to follow and doesn't involve any fancy condensed milk or icing sugar, nor do you need to knead it or use any elbow grease at all; it's just your bog standard whole milk & granulated sugar, chucked in a pan! In fact, when Granny Chris first gave me this recipe she didn't even use actual amount for ingredients, instead telling me it was "a bag of coconut, a bag of sugar & half a pint of milk," leaving it open to interpretation to wherever you shopped!

The one thing she never added to her 'recipe' she gave me was Bobby hairs: Bobby was her soppy excuse for a dog who used to stand in the garden, refusing to come in, knowing if he waited long enough he'd be in for a sausage or some cheese. And Granny Chris, being the lovely soul she was would always oblige him. His hair also always made it's way into everything. I obviously don't recommend adding dog hair to this recipe but if you want to get real serious about your Granny Chris' Coconut Ice, that's an essential extra for the authentic stuff!

What You Need.   
500g bag of Granulated Sugar.
Half a Pint of Whole Milk.
200g of Dessicated Coconut.
Few drops of pink food colouring (optional).
Large pan & wooden spoon.
Baking Tray (I use approx. 12"x7")

Method.   

  1. Grease your baking tray with a little butter. In a large pan mix the milk & sugar together over a low heat.
  2. When the sugar have dissolved and there's no more granules, add the coconut & a few drops of pink colouring (optional) to the pan.
  3. Bring the mixture to the boil until it start to "spit at you," stirring continuously. Continue to stir for around 10 minutes.
  4. After around 10 minutes the mixture will have become very thick & sticky. "When you can spoon a small amount into cold water & it remains set together, you know it's ready."
  5. Spoon the delicious mixture to your pre-greased tin, spreading evenly with the back of your spoon. Allow to cool & set, which will take at least a few hours.
  6. Cut into bars of squares & try not to eat the whole lot in one sitting!! 
This recipe is so easy to follow and so insanely delicious that it's a miracle I have any teeth left! It's also great for home made hampers for Christmas presents and an ideal extra if you're doing Diddle Diddle Dumpling's Home Made Christmas - it'll definitely be a stocking filler in our household!

This recipe in an entry for Chums Family Favourites competition.


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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

What Does a Mum Want For Christmas?


Aside from two kids that sleep through the night, these will do nicely! This is really just a wishlist. I know the likelihood of getting anything is slim (getting old sucks in that sense) but then I can choose to take comfort in the mindset of, "that's not what Christmas is really about." Plus when it comes to having kids, any gifts you do get are claimed by them as, "mine!" anyway so it doesn't really matter!

This year I've gone a bit mad for candles but I'm still really struggling to find the perfect Christmas scent & I think the Red Apple Wreath may just be the one to do the job. Shoe wise, I'm in love with TOMS but always wear them to death and now it's time for a [another] new pair. And what's Christmas without some smelly bathtime gifts? Clothes is another thing I seem to wear to death before updating, & these Tapered Trousers from Next would be the perfect replacement to my thread-bare harem trousers.

The iPad is purely a dream gift and one that's not likely to appear under the tree, unless Santa feels I've been particularly good this year! A bag because I actually don't have a handbag at present and instead I'm making do with a rucksack & toddler bags. Finally, some new eyeshadow, mainly because I only have huge kits that don't fit in my makeup bag and this one is the perfect combination of colours.

What's on your list to Santa this year?


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Monday, 17 November 2014

Hand, Foot & Mouth

Amy Lorimer - Instagram.

Aside from being ill at only a few weeks old, we've been very lucky with David. He's only had one minor tummy bug and a couple of snuffly noses, which is the complete opposite of John who had been on antibiotics for a number of chest infections by this age. That was until a few weeks ago when David picked up Hand, Foot & Mouth.

I'd read a little about Hand Foot & Mouth back when John was younger and had developed a couple of spots around his mouth (which actually turned out to be cold sores), so I knew the symptoms but was still surprised when I picked him up from nursery one night to find that the one little blister on his chin - which I assumed was due to a combination of his dummy & teething - had multiplied in what the nursery said was only the past hour.

It was unsurprising really as the days prior David had an unexplained fever and had been off his food & milk, a sure sign that he is definitely out of sorts! If like us, you find yourself dealing with a wee one with Hand Foot & Mouth, here's my top tips for identifying Hand, Foot & Mouth (HFM) & getting through it!

• • •

Blisters. In retrospect, David was ill with HFM before the blisters appeared but it was impossible to know with what until those blisters flared up; the fever, being out of sorts & off food are all signs of HFM but can also be signs of other illness. The blisters will appear as quickly as chicken pox do but will generally be secluded to around & inside the mouth, the hands & the feet (hence the name!). Some unlucky, poor wee soles may also have blisters flare up right up their legs & onto their genitals. Similar to chicken pox the blisters also appear to be filled with fluid and often burst, leaving an open sore.

Contagious. Like most childhood illnesses, HFM spreads like wild fire. When David had it at nursery, all the other babies had it too. Thankfully, it generally only affects younger kids and by some miracles, John didn't catch it too. Because of it's contagious nature, it does mean you'll need to keep your wee one off nursery and out of baby groups until the blisters have healed. Annoying when you know they more than likely caught it there, but it's important to consider those wee ones who may have compromised immune systems & couldn't deal with HFM as easily.

Diagnoses. Given the secluded nature of the blisters with HFM, it's quite easy to self diagnose. However, if you're unsure of any symptoms or wish to have a professional diagnoses, speak to your pharmacist. Given the nature of HFM, unless your wee one has other health issues, there's not a lot a doctor can actually do so save yourself the long appointment waiting times and head to your pharmacist as a best & first port of call.

Treatment. Again, like most childhood illnesses, there's no cure for HFM and it's simply a case of letting it run it's course. Most wee ones will have had the temperature & been out of sorts before the blisters appear so generally fever monitoring & control is to be considered then. But in terms of the blisters, there's not a lot you can really do.
If your wee one if over a year old & really itchy with the blisters, you can speak to your Pharmacist about a oral antihistamine but it's important to not put creams on the blisters, given the location of them; hands & feet end up in wee ones mouths numerous times a day after all!
One ointment I did use with David however was a little coconut oil, dabbed onto any particularly sore looking blisters, mainly to keep them clean & act as a barrier but also taking into consideration coconut oil's magical healing abilities. Plus it's all natural & completely edible, so no worries!

Goodbye Finger Nails! This is one that's less talked about but when you do some searching, it's actually a common after-affect of HFM. Since having HFM, David has lost a finger nail. Like I say, it's not hugely known about so I can't say for sure but my theory is it's due to blisters underneath the nails causing them to come away. Thankfully David has only lost the one finger nail but I've read of many babies losing quite a few, including toe nails.
If this does happen to your wee one, let them be. The nail will come off in it's own time with little intervention. And any attempts to help it on it's way are likely to cause unnecessary pain. If like David, you find your wee ones nail is almost off but they're catching it & in pain as a result, wrap a loose finger bandage around it and pop on a glove or mitten over it for a few days (remembering to check it routinely). This will allow the final part of the nail to grow out without your little one ripping the dead nail off. A soak in the bath can also be a enough to let that nail drop away.
And don't worry! Like a normal finger nail injury, the nail should grow back normally, with no long term affects.






Disclaimer: As with any posts of a similar nature, I'm not a Health Care Professional. All advice is based on our own experiences and if you're ever unsure of any aspects of illness, such as Hand, Foot & Mouth, please consult your doctor.
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Friday, 14 November 2014

Spicy Tomato Chutney #DDDHMC

Diddle Diddle Dumplings Home Made Christmas - Spicy Tomato Chutney Recipe

Tomato chutney is a big favourite in our household. Whether it's burgers, baked potatoes or sandwiches, it's the perfect accompaniment to almost any meal! Plus it is one of the best things to have with those Christmas cheeses when you've already over indulged but still have room for a little bit more, ergo a Homemade Christmas Hamper must-have.

At the beginning of the year I bought John a £1 plant pot which came with some soil & tomato seeds inside. On a whim I thought he'd enjoy planting them & watching them grow on the windowsill. Silly me forgetting that tomato plants grow huge and that there was no way that it would be able to stay there. But thank goodness for Papa's with greenhouses! From the early summer onwards, the boys Papa Scott has been nurturing & growing the tomato plants that eventually produced us a bucket load of red, orange, yellow & green little beauties, of all shapes & sizes. I'm quite sure John could have easily eaten them all like a normal person would eat an apple but instead I've used them in this super easy recipe to make them go even further.

What You Need.   
900g Tomatoes (home grown & in various forms is best!).
400g Onions.
225g Light Muscavado Sugar.
1 Tsp Sea Salt.
2 Tsp Mustard Seeds.
1 Tsp of Dried Chilli Flakes.
Seeds of one Cardamom Pod.
200ml White Wine Vinegar.
100ml Red Wine Vinegar.
50ml Balsamic Vinegar.
3 Jam Jars with lids (450g is ideal).

Method.   

  1. Chop your tomatoes into generous chunks, leaving any little ones whole. Thinly slice your onions & sterilise your jars.
  2. Place all your ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil, then reducing to a simmer.
  3. Allow the chutney to simmer for as long as needed. The original recipe states 30 minutes but I've never had a chutney that is ready in less than 2 hours. Trust me, it's worth the wait!
  4. Once the chutney has thickened, allow to cool for 10 minutes before spooning into your sterilised jars.
  5. Once sealed in it's jars, leave the chutney to mature for a least a month [ideally] to get the very best flavours from it.
• • •

Like the Caramelised Onion Chutney recipe I shared a few weeks ago, this recipe will get a better flavour the longer you give it to mature, so hop to it & get making! My favourite part of this recipe is the spicy kick from the chilli & mustard seeds, although if this isn't your [or your recipient's] taste you can easily reduce the amount in the recipe or omit it completely. And as always, if you do decide to give this recipe a try, be sure to share on your chosen Social Media with the hashtag #DDDHMC.

A photo posted by Amy Lorimer (@amylorimer) on

Happy making!

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Tomorrow is a Birthday

Baby David - Tomorrow is a Birthday

I remember this day, one year ago, like it was yesterday. There was a smell of fresh paint in house, from the day before when my Dad came to paint my bedroom. It was one of the last things on my pregnancy bucket-list that I wanted done before Baby Boy No.2 was due to make his d├ębut. There was also a lingering smell of the chutney I'd made whilst my Dad painted, back when I first had the idea of Diddle Diddle Dumpling's Home Made Christmas but for obvious reasons (like two little things such as a newborn and nearly 2 year old...) that idea never really panned out.

That day, the 12th of Novemer 2013, I woke in the early hours of the morning. My pelvis was killing me but as it had been for around 5 months previous, I thought nothing of it. It wasn't until I lay awake for a few hours and realised that the pain was not only really bad at certain points but that it also eased off every few minutes. Contractions. Having learnt my lesson with John in running around like a mad woman & exhausting myself in early labour, I tired to get some rest. That day was filled with lots of cuddles with John, reading Mummy Mummy What's In Your Tummy countless times and texting my parents & Iain routinely to let them know there wasn't any change.

The evening drew in and the contractions continued, although not worsening by any great degree. I put John to bed as normal and when Iain got home at 8pm, I phoned the labour ward. To my shock, and for the reason that this was a second pregnancy, they told us to come in as soon as we could. My parents headed up as we had some pizza, and as I left, I went in and kissed John on the head, knowing that when I saw him again, he'd be a big brother.

Even throughout my entire labour, I wondered how we'd cope as a family of four, if John was actually meant to be a big brother, if we were really ready to take on another baby when our first born already seemed still so small. Would I be able to love this baby as much as John? Would I be able to divide my heart evenly between them?

Tomorrow is a big day.
Tomorrow is a year from the day that we first welcomed David Graham Russell to the world.
Tomorrow is a year from the day that I realised that love doesn't divide & hearts don't half. Love multiples & hearts grow.
Tomorrow is a year from the day that I knew John was made to be a big brother and that I whispered to this little 8lbs 6oz bundle that he was the luckiest baby in the world to have a the best brother in the world.
Tomorrow is a year from the day that we went from a couple with a kid to the family we've always meant to be.
Tomorrow is a year from the day that we started one of the toughest years of my life but by far the most rewarding & with the best of memories.
Tomorrow is a Birthday.

Baby David - Tomorrow is a Birthday


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