14 May 2018

Toad-in-the-hole with a healthy twist!

We're big sausage fans in our household but as they are quite fatty, we occasionally replace the normal sausages with chicken versions. As I'm not much of a cook, I was delighted to get an invite from Richmond Sausages to taste test their new chicken sausages and to learn a few new easy homely recipes using them. Their chicken sausages were launched recently and are available in all major supermarkets - and I was pretty interested in hearing that they have 30% less fat than normal sausages! So definitely a (slightly) healthier option.

Please note that this post and recipe is written in collaboration with Richmond Sausages. Please also check the giveaway for £25 Tesco voucher at the bottom of the post - winner could get plenty of sausages with that!


angellica bell talking

richmond chicken sausages

cooking demonstration

three sausage dishes


At the event we tasted loads of different family favourites made using the chicken sausages - they were versatile and worked well from pasta dishes to bangers and mash. My favourite recipe of the day was the healthy Toad-in-the-hole recipe though, which I want to share with you!

Toad-in-the-hole with a healthy twist

Ingredients:

Batter: 
1 cup plain flour
4 medium eggs
½ cup of milk
1 tsp chopped rosemary
few gratings of lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste

Filling:
8 Richmond Chicken Sausages
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 bag of spinach
1 ½ cups of broccoli florets trimmed and cut into bitesize pieces
1 cup frozen peas (thawed in cold water)

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C.
2. Make the batter. Whisk all the batter ingredients in a bowl until smooth, place in fridge to rest.
3. Pour oil in a large roasting tray (ceramic is recommended, but glass and metal work too). Put the sausages in the tray and toss them in oil to coat. Place in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, until browned. Turn sausages half way.
4. Steam broccoli until slightly cooked by placing a bowl with 3 tbsp water, covering and microwaving for 2 minutes.
5. Remove the sausage tray from oven, add all the vegetables to the tray and give everything a quick shake.
6. Pour the batter over vegetables and sausages and quickly return the tray to the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the batter is puffed and golden.
7. Remove from oven, allow to sit for a moment and serve! Gravy goes nicely with this dish too.

And one of the tips I got was to keep the pan as hot as possible before pouring the batter in - even if it means you pretty much keep it in the oven, just pull it out a bit and pour the batter in right there and then. This helps the batter to rise properly.


buffet lunch made with chicken sausages

lunch on a plate

yorkshire pudding

picture of richmond chicken sausages packets


I had great fun at the cooking event and I got some fab cooking tips and instructions from both the professional chef developing recipes for Richmond, and Angellica Bell, the 2017 Celebrity MasterChef winner.

We yapped away at the end, going through the tips and all, and I got to ask Angellica also what kind of food she cooks back home for her kids. Unsurprisingly, not the MasterChef type fancy cuisine, but the usual lasagne, pasta and other homely dishes are what get her kids excited.

My child is unusually fussy but Angellica had a tip for that too. What Angellica tells her kids when they don't want to eat her meals is that they only need to taste, and if they still don't like it, she will prep something else. And after tasting, they usually are happy to eat it. Might be of course her cooking skills that are doing the trick, so my concoctions might not garner the same support back home... but I'll try that tip too!

me meeting angellica bell


Enter the giveaway below using Rafflecopter and comment on the post what your favourite sausage recipe you might make with the Richmond Chicken Sausages! Entry open to UK adults aged 18 and over, one entry per person, selection random, Wave to Mummy is the data controller.

Try this traditional British sausage dish "toad in the hole" recipe with a healthy twist! Made using Richmond Chicken Sausages, seasoned Yorkshire pudding batter and green vegetables!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

You might also like: My other recipe posts



11 May 2018

What should you buy for your maternity wardrobe?

After two pregnancies I'd like to think I've got maternity wear down to a fine art. I've got a fair few tips and ideas on what to buy for maternity wear, and what kind of clothing is most useful for pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Based on my own experiences of what I've actually used and loved, here are my top tips on what to consider when shopping for your changing figure in pregnancy!

There are a couple of affiliate links in the post, and I have also reviewed a couple of maternity-relevant items new to me - Panache nursing lingerie and Want That Trend maternity dresses.

maternity wear tips


How much might you spend?

On one hand, you might not want to spend too much money on items that you wear only a limited time. On the other hand, it is well worth investing in some pieces, and preferably choosing items you can use for after pregnancy as well. Your body will (almost 100%) NOT bounce back straight after pregnancy. For example, while I lost weight fairly quickly after my first pregnancy, my pelvic bones took a couple of months to settle back into their previous shape before I could get back to my pre-pregnancy jeans. 

I personally bought many of my items from high street shops and paid special attention at sales to get good deals. I bought most items from H&M and Gap, as they are in my style and have a good selection of maternity wear. Gap in particular has a great selection of maternity jeans. As I work(ed) in an office I needed a fair bit of casual smart outfits and ended up  spent about £200 to £300 on an extensive wardrobe that got me through both weekdays and weekends. Additionally, if you consider suitability for nursing when buying dresses and tops, you will get much more use out of them over long-run.

Select natural fabrics as much as possible

Think breathable and natural - it's quite common that when pregnant, after giving birth and when breastfeeding your hormones are so out of whack you get very hot and bothered. Polyester and other man-made fabrics can easily make you hot and sweaty. Much better to choose cotton, linen and viscose in a slightly stretchy fabric.


loose and tight maternity wear top


Baggy and loose vs tight on the tummy

At the beginning of pregnancy, when you mostly look like you've had a few too many pies, slightly looser and empire-lined tops work well. These can also be very comfortable at the very last stages of pregnancy when your belly might start to be achy. But once your tummy starts to look like a proper pregnancy belly, tighter tops look much nicer as they don't add any volume to your upper body. They accentuate the pregnancy belly and you might as well enjoy the brief time where you don't need to be self-conscious at all about your tummy! I would prioritise buying figure-hugging tops and get just a couple loose ones for those awkward days.  

Hacks and items for creating a long-lasting pregnancy wardrobe

One of the most useful items I bought were long strappy tanktops. You can get these fairly cheap from high street shops (like H&M). During pregnancy, slip them underneath your pre-pregnancy tops that are getting slightly too short with ever-expanding belly or pair them with a nice blazer or cardigan for the office. After pregnancy, continue using them as nursing tops, either by themselves or slip them under normal tops to provide tummy coverage.

When choosing tops and dresses, consider their suitability for nursing. I find wrap tops, button-ups, zip-ups and deep and loose v-necks can work well after pregnancy as well for nursing.

Some items can be used to extend the life of your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Bra extenders are amazing if you gain weight or bloat during your pregnancy - I used these a lot in my first pregnancy. Belly bands and belly belts are a bit of an opinion-divider. Some people find them helpful - personally I thought they were a bit faffy and would slip down easily. I preferred to go straight into maternity wear once my normal trousers started to be too tight.

maternity wear dresses - maxi and midi


Invest in a couple of dresses

My absolute favourite maternity wear are dresses. They are easy to wear, and look great while pregnant. They work in an office and during the weekend, and can be dressed up or down. There are lots of different styles but I find maxi-dresses especially nice with a pregnancy belly.

I was sent two dresses by Want That Trend from their Katie Piper maternity collection for a review. Now, I'm a big fan of Katie and have previously interviewed her for my blog, and was keen to see what her collection was like. (Oh yes, and if you fancy 10% off Want That Trend site - use the discount code WAVETOMUMMY10). 


katie piper maternity wear dresses


I really liked the designs, however, many were polyester-based so not something I would choose. I got the Nadine skater dress and  Geometric tile detail wrap dress as I loved the look of them and they were made from viscose (cellulose-based fabric). I have got a lot of compliments wearing them, and especially the Geometric wrap dress which I love. The wrap dress is a great figure-hugging fit, and looks fab in an office.

As for quality, I found the dresses to be very short. I am 5'7 or 5'8 and found the dresses were a tad too short to be comfortable, especially the skater dress which can easily ride up. Katie is 5'2 and while they sit nicely on her, I reckon you could be max 5'5 to feel comfortable in them. The dresses have been through a few washes and seem to be holding their colour and condition well. However, as viscose is thinner and less durable than cotton, I don't expect these to last longer than the pregnancy and some of the maternity period.

Get your nursing bra bought as close to delivery as possible

It's usually recommended that you go and get yourself measured again at the very last stages of your pregnancy before buying nursing bras. I personally found I stayed the same size during pregnancy, but some women do change cup/band sizes. Once the milk comes in, the breast size might change again, so usually non-wired bras are recommended to accommodate small fluctuations, but there are some under-wired nursing bras as well if you prefer them.

panache eleanor nursing bra


I was sent three nursing bras by Panache for a review. I found them to be absolutely true to size - I got the same as I wear currently and they fit perfectly. I've written about how to find the best bras for bigger busts previously, and Panache is definitely one that offers a range of sizes suitable for all figures. I measure at GG and Panache goes up to J!

I liked that Panache had an underwired cup for the Eleanor nursing bra. While you have to be more careful with underwired cups when nursing and make sure they fit perfectly, they are far more comfortable fit for bigger busts. Non-wired cups are good to buy as well as your breasts may get sore and they accommodate fluctuations in size better. I was also sent Sophie non-wired nursing bra, in both black and white. They are so pretty with their vintage lace design, and I loved that you could get matching knickers!

I found the bands on all the Panache nursing lingerie to be fairly stretchy, so I believe they will feel comfortable even if bloating a bit after pregnancy and while nursing. there was a good amount of settings too. The clip system worked well when tested and the bras fit true to size. The bras felt comfortable and supportive on and I'm looking forward to using them during nursing.


panache sophie nursing bra and shorts in black and white


In summary

As a conclusion I would say it is OK to spend a fair bit of cash on maternity wear, as you are likely to use it post-pregnancy and while nursing. Best fabric materials are natural and breathable fabrics as pregnancy can make you sweaty sometimes. It is good to think of ways to extend the usage of items, such as using bra extenders, long tank tops and making sure tops and dresses are suitable for nursing as well. Tight tops and dresses look fabulous with a pregnancy belly, so I always prioritised those.


What tips would you have for maternity wear?





1 May 2018

What happened in our lives in April 2018?

So, this is going to be our last family portrait as a family of three. Next month, by hook or crook, we will be a family of four! 

My due date is on 14th May, so the baby will come sometime in May, even if (like last time) we had a very late baby who had to be forcibly extracted. I am hoping for a late (albeit easier) delivery though as we are still in prepping mode. Should really sort out that cot sometime soon for example... Oh yes, and the hospital bag. 


wave to mummy family portrait april 2018


So, what have I been up to and enjoying the past month?

  • I finished work! A fair few late nights and I think I got most done and if I didn't... Well. Someone else will now have to continue. 
  • I have enjoyed being back home and relaxing although it has been strange not having work to preoccupy me. 
  • Have started thinking and planning all things baby. Thankfully we've got most of the things we already need, just need to dust them off. 
  • Taking bits and bobs to the charity and recycling - there is much more de-cluttering of my own junk to do though. 
  • The return of sunny skies and ability to dry laundry outside. It's the simple pleasures in life that matter... 


girl holding up a baby outfit and laughing

family looking at baby outfit

family holding a baby outfit



Aili has loved:
  • Her soon-to-be-here sibling!
  • Singing to mummys tummy every evening. 
  • Her new scooter - she is obsessed with it. 
  • Her tablet - she is loving listening to songs on it and looking at hair tutorials. She is turning into a little teenager!
  • Tiffany Tiffany Tiffany Bliss. It is a YouTube channel where this lady makes custom-made My Little Ponies of various characters - such as turning a PinkiePie into Ariel the mermaid. To be honest, she is pretty good, but my god is Aili obsessed! 
  • Saying how Paw Patrol is for babies (but secretly still loving playing with the characters when the opportunity arises)
  • Bunnies, Peter Rabbit and Max&Ruby. She wants to have a bunny birthday!
  • Growth mindset. This is something they are teaching at her primary school so every time I've told her I don't know how to do something she tells me "Mummy, you must try hard! You must have growth mind-set". She has explained that "If you try and try, your brain will GROW! This is growth mindset".


family portrait



Hubby has enjoyed:
  • Getting together with his rugby mates for drinks. 
  • Meeting new clients. 
  • Planning the cinema visits for the next month and a half (Black Panther, Avengers, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and so on - there are so many great films coming out!)
  • Getting back into the gym and weightlifting. 


So there. That's our life this past month. Next time see you as a family of four!

How was your April?


You might also like: What happened in our lives in March 2018?



26 April 2018

I'm 37 weeks pregnant. Full-term. On maternity leave. And very excited!

First things first. 

Eek!

I really can't believe I am already 37 weeks pregnant. This pregnancy has just passed by ridiculously fast like I mentioned the last time I wrote about my pregnancy. 10 weeks ago. I was hoping to write more about the pregnancy as I went along but you know, full-time job, an older kid and the general hustle and bustle just got in the way.


mum posing with pregnancy belly and light box


Last Friday was my last day at work. It is weird being back home now, with nothing other than baby stuff to do. And don't get me wrong - I have PLENTY of baby stuff to do. Still need to sort out the cot, the pram, the car seat, the clothes, the hospital bag, nursery, visiting the maternity ward... You know, bits and bobs. Bits and bobs I tell myself not to get too stressed which might push out the baby out sooner rather than later. *shudder*

In that sense I am glad I am now on maternity leave, but on the other hand, it does also feel weird. I was completing a big project at work and didn't quite manage to finish it. Almost done, but not quite dusted, and it bothers me a little bit. But such is life. On Friday before I left we discussed keeping in touch scheme, KIT days and so on, and got a lovely little gift for my new baby. 


child looking at a pregnant mum

child hugging a pregnant mum


As for how the pregnancy has gone, I have been keeping remarkably well over the third trimester. Nothing to complain of. I haven't felt big at all, in fact, I am quite comfortable. Sure, touching my toes is a bit difficult and bending over to pick stuff off the floor is getting uncomfortable, but I am moving and shaking just fine, perhaps a little slower. No pains, no aches. Sleeping fairly well, with minimum nightly bathroom breaks.  I was actually thinking that I could very well have continued working much later, had I had my baby prep ducks in a row and known that I would be so well ahead of time. The only issue I've had have been swollen feet - especially in the heat.

The baby has been moving very very strongly - I quite often have had fairly painful movements and they have been very very visible from outside. It's been almost like in Alien. This one is a real wriggler. I have nearly yelped a few times with unsuspected kicks, and I am particularly tired of the long stretches where the little one seems to extend both legs and arms at the same time...


showing a pregnant belly


Aili, my nearly five year old princess, has been very very excited about the newcomer. Everyday she wants to give a cuddle to the baby. She creeps into our room in the morning to cuddle the baby (i.e. my tummy), gives it a kiss at each school drop-off, and wants to sing a lullaby song to it when I put her to bed. It is so unbearably sweet.

She has also been writing some letters to the baby, which are not quite so sweet, one saying "I know baby is bad" and has made a sign for her room door denying her baby sibling the entrance. So as far as welcoming her new sibling goes, we shall see. I am sure she will be very happy, although the excitement might wear off after night time wake-ups and baby crying. We shall see.


mum holding a light box with 37 weeks written on it


But yes, I am very very excited, and looking forward to both prepping for the baby now, and meeting our newcomer! Exciting times!


When did you start prepping for your babies?




7 April 2018

"The best Easter ever!" said our daughter

This Easter we tried something a bit different. We did our Easter egg hunt at our local park - and had some very special non-chocolate Easter eggs to boot too. 

On Monday (no judging, we were just too tired on the Sunday!) we finally decided to grab the bits and bobs I had prepped and go and stage an Easter egg hunt. Somewhat unluckily, after a fairly nice Sunday, it was actually raining on Monday. But as needs must and our daughter insisted, the hunt had to be done and off we went baskets in hand. 

As the whole family drudged ahead in the drizzle avoiding puddles as best they could, mummy went ahead to check whether she could see Easter Bunny anywhere. Luckily, after about 5 minutes of quick staging, mummy could announce that she saw the tufty tail of the Easter Bunny disappear behind a bush and that it looked like he had been leaving some clues in the park... 


easter egg hunt sign

girl finding an easter egg

Easter egg and a sign saying start here

little girl holding an Easter egg

Easter egg with sign this way

Little girl picking up an Easter egg under a tree

Easter egg hunt sign saying go back



She absolutely loved the hunt for the Easter eggs - as non-chocolate prizes we had filled these little see-through Easter chicks with a variety of small items. There were Easter stickers, bunny hairbands, bunny hair clips, some little princess bracelets, little Easter decorations and two new bag decorations, a fluffy Easter chick and a fluffy bunny. It was so much fun, and she shrieked with joy as she found the little chicks filled with special gifts.

I would definitely recommend this approach, as we always feel like post-Easter is spent in a slump of chocolate. As the non-chocolate gifts I tried to choose little things that would either keep her occupied (stickers) or were anyway needed (you can never have too many hair clips!), and admittedly, did pick up some small bits and bobs from her toy box that she hadn't played with in ages and had forgotten all about. 


little girl smiling

little girls holding a fluffy easter chick toy

little girl with fluffy easter chick toy


It was getting quite wet in the end and us parents were glad to start making our way home. As we did though she insisted she would have to check the last few remaining potential hiding places. Because maybe, just maybe, the Easter Bunny had left a few eggs in this flower field. Or perhaps in that other flower field... She enjoyed it so much she didn't really want it to end! It didn't matter that it was drizzling, it didn't matter that she had already soaked her wellies and trousers by jumping in the puddles - it was all about the egg hunt now. 


little girl holding a basket of easter eggs

little girl walking amongst flowers


And as we got home I asked her if the Easter Bunny should have left her chocolates... And apparently, no, the toys were much more fun and that this was "The best Easter ever!".


Did you do an Easter egg hunt?





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...