30 September 2014

Really Easy, Soft and Moist Apple Sponge Cake

This is one of my favourite sweet recipes for the autumn time. This traybake is such an easy and quick thing to bake - it takes about 30 minutes to prepare, and about 30 minutes to bake and tastes great! The apples make it lovely and moist as well. So here is a really easy and simple recipe for an apple sponge cake I hope you'll enjoy. 

I like to use volume measures for this, so usually use the this measuring jug and use the milliliters for volume - this is because the recipe is based on an old Scandi recipe and no-one uses grams or cups there  for dry ingredients, in home cooking anyway... Thus if you live in UK or US, the measuring might look a bit strange to you!

You need:

4 eggs
300ml sugar
150g melted butter
200ml milk
2 ts vanilla extract
3 ts baking powder
500ml (c. 2 cups) flour
6 cooking apples
150ml sugar
generous sprinkling of cinnamon
tray (normal sized deep baking tray)
a baking sheet

Whisk the eggs and 300ml of sugar 5-10 min, until light in colour and foamy. Mix in the butter and vanilla extract. Mix baking powder and flour together, and fold into the mixture little by little, adding the milk in between folding the flour in. Line a baking tray with a baking sheet and pour the mixture in.

Peel and chop the apples into thumb-sized pieces, coat evenly in rest of the sugar and cinnamon and add to the top.

Bake for 25-30 min at 200 °C. If using a larger baking tray, reduce baking time accordingly.

Easy and soft apple sponge cake, done with a traditional Scandinavian recipe. Very moist and mooreish cake!

Yum yum!

If you tried it, what did you think of it?

Easy and soft apple sponge cake, done with a traditional Scandinavian recipe. Very moist and mooreish cake!

You might also like: Very easy oaty blackberry apple crumble and Baked stuffed pumpkin with cheddar sweet potato mash

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28 September 2014

Hanging out with grandad

As my parents don't live in the UK our little one doesn't see them too often. We do try to Skype once a week, and we do try to visit them a few times a year. Most my annual leave is spent holidaying with them in Finland. And they do sometimes visit us here.
Sometimes it feels that it is too little. This summer it definitely felt like it was too little - when we went to visit them, Aili wouldn't cuddle her grandad. No way - she would just run away or turn to mummy everytime he came a bit too close. It took nearly a week before she allowed my dad to hold her. But after that they were like two peas in a pod.
When my dad was in London we went out, and this time she was a bit wary again. She hadn't really seen him for a while so was a bit suspicious of who this strange old man is. But it didn't take long until she warmed up to him again - this time it only took a couple of hours. And oh how much fun they had!

Like two peas in a pod, with the exact same smiles.
(Linking with The Ordinary Moments at Mummy Daddy Me)
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26 September 2014

24 hours with a newborn baby

When my baby was 9 days old, still a newborn, I decided to write down in detail everything that happened during that one day. A sort of a "Day in the life of a newborn" -type of a list. This piece of paper is now in her baby book, and I thought I'd share it here too.

12:00 She is put to her carry cot around 11:30, sleeping soundly after some milk. Mum and dad have showers and do some chores.
14:00 Midwife comes for a home visit and weighs the baby. She has lost a little weight. The baby wakes up, nappy change and a feed, and her dry skin is rubbed with a bit of olive oil.
15:00 Nappy change. Pees over daddy. After dealing with the situation and daddy finding a new shirt pictures of the baby taken.

15:20 Looks tired and is put to the carry cot for a nap.
15:30 Cries. Daddy rocks her in a Tiger in a Tree pose and she falls asleep. Put back in to the carry cot.

15:35 Wakes up and cries, cuddles with daddy, and she falls asleep again.
15:45 Asleep, put in to car seat and the whole family drives to see great-grandfather.
18:00 Try to wake the baby up for a feed, unsuccessfully.
18:05 She wakes up for a feed.
18:25 Nappy change, after which cuddles with great-grandfather. She falls asleep in his arms and we go to the supermarket to get some food.

20:30 Get back home, she is a sleep but farts very loudly.
21:05 Nappy change - it was not just a fart. Daddy gets the bottle ready and she is fed.
21:40 Another nappy change after which she falls asleep. She is put in her cot and mum and dad have their dinner.
23:30 Baby crying a little, dummy given.
23:50 Dummy fell out, more crying.
00:20 She wakes up, is fed, plays with the bottle and eats a bit too much too fast, and pukes. Very sleepy, with eyes closing and opening, and is rocked to sleep. Few more pictures taken.

01:10 Nappy change, changed into a new sleepsuit. Put into her cot to sleep.
01:50 Parents go to sleep.
04:50 Mummy wakes up to baby crying and screaming, feeds her, and she falls asleep.
05:45 Mummy changes the nappy (big mistake!) and she wakes up. Trying to rock her to sleep doesn't work. 
06:10 Baby put into her cot and she keeps on crying. A bit more milk, dummy and classical music help her to calm down.
06:30 Crying, daddy picks up the dummy that fell out and gives it back to her.
09:05 Baby wakes up, demands food. Nappy changed and fed.
09:40 Another nappy change. Pooplosion! (Poop + explosion = pooplosion). Outfit change, meaning baby properly wakes up.

10:00 More pictures taken of the baby. She spends some time chilling in the carry cot while parents do some chores.
10:15 Still awake. Crying, mummy tries the Tiger in Tree pose but it fails to work. Baby not impressed.
10:20 Daddy gives her cuddles, tries Tiger in Tree pose and plays with the baby - looking in the mirror, pretending to be an aeroplane. Baby stops crying and looks very confused.
10:30 Crying again. Dummy helps, but she stays awake.
11:40 Nappy change by daddy, mummy in the shower. Baby still wide awake.
11:55 More crying, seems to be hungry so is fed.

So that was 24 hours with a newborn. It included ten nappy changes, nine feeding sessions, two outfit changes, two sessions of photography, one play time session, and countless of kisses and cuddles. Busy day!

This day happened about 15 months ago, but it was lovely going back to it, and remembering how bewildering it was, being a new mum and just looking at your beautiful little one, thinking what is it that you need...

(Linking with The List and Brilliant blog posts )
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25 September 2014

Baby OOTD #5 - Styled by daddy

This outfit was totally and 100% styled by the daddy. He saw the shorts/tights combo at Sainsbury's, picked up the matching shirt with cute little detail to go with it, and brought it home, gloriously rejoicing in his sense of style and baby styling skills.

All clothes from Sainsbury's, shoes Clarks
It is pretty good, isn't it? Almost as good as when she is styled by mummy... (and I say this in jest dear, as I know you read my musings). I really like the cute little flower belt, and the tied-hem detail on the shirt, as well as the heart-shaped back pockets. Looks very stylish and cute. These were recently bought from Sainsbury's, so if you like them, I am sure they still have them around.
We were at her cousin's house, and she got to see their rabbits. She loves animals and squeals in delight every time she sees something furry and moving. Poor bunnies, she was trying to get in the cage with them, squealing like crazy and rocking the cage until I managed to get her away and calm down a bit. Playing with nanny was fun too! And almost as squeal-worthy.
What kind of outfits have the daddies in your families styled? 

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23 September 2014

Publishing photos of my child online - Why I am OK with it.

I publish photographs of my child online. On Facebook, on Instagram, on my blog. I occasionally write about her too. And I am fine with it. I really have no problem with it. I've heard contrary opinions too. Children can't give their consent to having an online presence, we don't know what will happen to the photographs, what if in the future the pictures and information shared by their parents will be used against them (by employers or companies I presume)...

This topic has raised some recent discussion - see here for Guardian article on the safety of posting children's pictures online. They ask "... is it safe, or even ethical to publish something about someone who can’t give their consent? " A blogger perspective comes from Ma Che Davvero who suggests it is an abuse of their privacy.

I have to say I disagree, and here are the reasons...

1. Parents make ethical decisions about the upbringing of their children, all the time, everyday. Sharing photographs and having an online presence for your children is just one of multitude of ethical decisions you take as a parent. Choosing a religion for your child (christian, hindu, buddhist, whatever floats your boat), choosing their diet (vegetarian or factory-farmed meat), sleep train them or not, spank them or not...

There are several ethical choices every parent makes in their everyday lives, and posting photographs of them online are no different. Of the examples I've outlined I see posting pictures online as the most minor infraction on the children's self-determination... Choosing your kids religion for them sounds like by far the greatest ethical dilemma in my books as it can affect their whole perspective on life!

2. I think my child will be happy about her online presence. Have you ever had a look at your own baby books - those little achievement books your parents were supposed to fill? They are lovely to look through, and I only wish my parents had been a bit more active with noting down my first achievements. I think my baby will be happy that there is so much information of her readily available, for her to peruse, and pictures of her development through the days and the months and the years of childhood. And should something happen to my computer or the picture books of her, many of them are saved on internet, be that Facebook, Instagram or my blog.

3. The internets is not a scary place... I feel the "real" world and internet are increasingly intertwined and internet is just as "real" as the IRL-world. I am the same person online as I am in real life. And I think this interconnection between internet and the real world is going to become stronger in the future. As such, our children will probably find it strange that we have ever pondered about things such as anonymity on internet, or whether we should post pictures of ourselves on internet. They will probably think of trying to hide your online presence as something akin to putting a bag over your head every time you walk out of the door.

4. There are lots of pictures of kids online... And no-one pays too much attention to them. Everytime I see a picture of someone else's kid online I look at it, think, oh there's a kid, and by the time anything has registered in my brain I have already scrolled past it and forgotten about it. I would suggest most people are like me. Most people aren't sinister. They are just scrolling through the endless content on internet. And as for the sinister people... Well. I would be far more worried about them in real life, in the park, in the swimming pools, in your schools, in your homes... But you can't live your life in fear, otherwise you would stay indoors, back home all the time.  

About 11 months old

While you can take pictures of your kid without showing their faces, making it unclear what they look like (I sometimes see this in blogs), aren't the pictures that show their little smiles and expressions, and personalities just so much better? Purely in terms of photography, I think showing the face adds to the imagery and atmosphere of the photography. Anyway, many of the photos I publish online are there to bring joy to her grandparents and other family members that don't get to see her that often, and it would be terribly boring if they ever only saw her toes, or the back of her head.

I think the real questions is not about to share or not to share, but about what to share. I share pictures I find beautiful, and stories I find endearing. I would never post something I think would embarrass my child.

Is it ethical or safe to publish photos of your kids online - and why I think it is OK.

What do you think - is it OK to publish photographs of your child online? Can they have an online presence? Why / why not?

22 September 2014

First babyccino @ Costa Coffee

There are many firsts in a baby's life. There are the major firsts like the first steps, the first words, the first spoonful's of food. The first time they give you a kiss. The first tooth.

Then there are the minor firsts. We had one of these moments of firsts this week - a first babyccino.

mummy baby babyccino

I've loved that word ever since I first spotted it during one of our mummy group meet-ups at our local cafe - babyccino - it just sounds so cute. Last weekend we went to the Spitalfields Market to spend some time with my dad, who was in London for business. At the end of the day we went to get a cup of coffee and for our lil one we got one of those babyccino drinks (either milk or chocolate, warm and with froth).

babyccino costa coffee baby daddy milk

Oh how happy she was! She had her own cup, just like ours, all to herself. She was so smiley, happily drinking from her own adult cup, dipping her fingers and hand in the foam and offering said hand for us to lick. How generous of her... She absolutely loved it, sipping her babyccino, sitting on our laps.

babyccino at costa coffee

There was another first this week as well, but I guess more of a major one. My baby usually calls me mama. This Friday she called me "äiti" (mother) in Finnish (my native language) for the first time. She was in her feeding chair and I was leaning towards her. She put her hand on my cheek, looked me in the eyes, and said "äiti", loud and clear and smiled. How sweet and wonderful it was, made my heart melt... And happy too that we are succeeding in raising a bilingual baby!

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19 September 2014

How much time does blogging take?

Blogging is time-consuming. This week I thought I'd record the time I spend blogging and on blogging-related activities (e.g. promoting on Twitter, linking, reading other blogs and so on). And I'll be totally honest about exactly how much I've actually spent time with my laptop on my lap and iPhone in my hand.

I find people often think blogging is super-easy, you just type for five minutes, and whambamthankyoumam, you've got yourself a blog post. Well, I am here to tell you that it isn't quite as quick as you might think if you've never written a blog. Those of you that are bloggers know all about how time-consuming (but still fun!) it can be.

Anyway, here goes...

Saturday: 5 min answering comments and linking my blog to a few places. Altogether 5 minutes.

Sunday: 50 minutes writing this post about our sleeping beauty, linking up to two linkys and commenting on a few blogs in the linkys, 10 minutes looking at some code and then finding out it just doesn't work, 30 minutes Twitter chat about blogging on #lbloggers. Altogether 90 minutes.

Monday: 40 minutes writing a blog post about our Saturday at St Katherine Docks + replying to comments and checking out a few new blogs (mainly of people commenting). Altogether 40 minutes.

Tuesday: 35 minutes replying to comments, checking other blogs, and writing a bit of a blog post until deciding I am far too tired to write anything worth while, and decided to add a LinkWithin gadget instead before going to bed. Then finding out that LinkWithin doesn't seem to show up on IE. Any ideas for an alternative? Altogether 35 minutes.

Wednesday: 30 minutes reading blogs and about blogging (while commuting to work), 20 minutes of thinking and coming up with ideas for my blog during lunch hour, and 1h writing a blog post about what type of clothes I would choose for a baby boy, and playing around with PicMonkey (first time using it!). Altogether 110 minutes.

Thursday: 10 minutes for linking my previous blog post, and commenting and tweeting it out. 5 minutes for answering comments, 40 minutes for writing this post you are reading right now. Then 25 minutes reading blogs. Altogether 80 minutes.

Friday: 10 minutes linking up and tweeting and commenting on linky posts. Altogether 10 minutes.

That is altogether 370 minutes, or 6 hours and 10 minutes.
This doesn't include the time I spend on going through my pictures, and choosing the best for the blog. Just because I would do some editing and discarding of photos anyway, even if I didn't have a blog. And I might write another blog post on Friday when I get back home from work. Maybe.

For my efforts I have achieved
  • 4 blog posts,
  • learned how to use PicMonkey,
  • found a fair few nice new blogs,
  • got lots of lovely comments on my blog (thank you for all those - I love reading them!),
  • battled with technical stuff finding out it never works out quite as easy as in those nifty tutorials, and
  • had lots of fun writing about stuff and learning about new things.

So yeah, I have spent quite some time -   whopping 5 hours and 45 minutes. I think it a fair amount of time. Maybe not quite as much as I thought. But still a fair amount.
So does that sound like a lot to you? How much time did you spend blogging this week?

(Linking with The List at Mum's Day and You Baby Me Mummy and Brilliant blog posts at Honest Mum)
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18 September 2014

Baby OOTD #4 - If we had a boy...

I like to dress my baby girl in girly clothes. I love her to wear dresses, and cute little pink things. But sometimes I do wonder, what would we get if we had a boy...
This week I am doing something a bit different for my regular kiddy outfit posts - I will show you what kind of clothes my baby girls would wear if she were a boy. So without further ado... Here is my selection from H&M and Gap (baby boy and toddler boy sections).

You've guessed it - I love stripes! I am often found wearing stripes myself too. And my baby girl. Sometimes we have matching stripy outfits. Anyway, I do quite like the preppy look on boys - blues, whites, browns and greys. As for accessories, flat caps are pretty much the most adorable accessories on boys. I was reminded of this the other day when we were at Spitalfields market and saw the cutest little dapper in his chinos and flat cap. Aww. Another favourite of mine for boys accessories are braces. I do like them for girls as well, but they are super-adorable on boys.

Have you ever thought about what kind of things you'd go for, if you had a child of the opposite sex? Would you go mad for pink for a girl, or would you be one of those mums that dress their baby boys in cartoon monster T-shirts? If you have done (or are planning on doing) something similar let me know your links - would love to have a look :)

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15 September 2014

Our Saturday in photos - Classic Boat Festival at St Katherine Docks

This weekend we popped in to have a look at some boats. It was serendipity really that led us there - I was looking for something on Twitter, bumped into a tweet about family-oriented things to do in London, and lo and behold, there was a boat festival going on near where we were about to go the following day. So we went to see boats - why not?

My dad was visiting London so he came with us - we popped by Spitalfields market, bought a cute outfit from a japanese stall for Aili, a scarf for me, and we walked looking at the sights. What a lovely day.

A cinema boat - how cool is that? Only in London! We saw the Gloriana too (the fancy boat for the Queen's Jubilee) and just as I was taking pictures of it my camera died.

How was your weekend?

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14 September 2014

Sleeping beauty - The ordinary moments

My dad always says there are three things in life you could happily gaze at for hours on end - a crackling fire, flowing water and a sleeping baby.
black and white baby sleeping cot

When she was born I used to just look at her. I didn't want to close my eyes, and lose any moment with her. Maybe I was also a little afraid that something might happen to her if I would lose sight of her. So I just looked at her, when she was sleeping, her little jerky movements, her little yawns, her little dreamy cries, etched in my memory.

When she was a little older she would fall asleep on my chest, and I would feel her breathing on my cheek, her little huffs of warm air, her little chest moving up and down, and I felt happy. At peace. Like I was right where I am supposed to be.

Now she is a big girl and I hardly ever get cuddles - she is just too busy exploring the world. But sometimes, right before she goes to sleep she cuddles me for a moment, rests on my shoulder, and I can feel her breath on my skin again. I don't get to watch her sleep much anymore - I don't want to disturb her when she is sleeping and try to stay away from her room for her nap time. She is much too easily disturbed nowadays. But sometimes I can't resist to sneak a little peek, and gaze at her, think about what she is dreaming about, and imagine her breath on my skin and her weight on me.

My little girl, so peaceful, so beautiful. I could just sit there and gaze at her for hours.
Black and white baby sleeping in cot
(Linking with B&W Project at PODcast, and The Ordinary Moments at Mummy Daddy Me)

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11 September 2014

Baby OOTD #3 - Picking apples

Over the weekend we went at the mother-in-laws to pick some apples. It is that time of the year again, meaning plenty of apple crumbles and apple cakes. I'll share one of my all-time-favourite recipes this weekend - a gorgeous and super-easy apple cake. But before that, let's get back to baby clothes.

hippie baby
Jeans H&M, shirt Kappahl, shoes Clarks
I got these cuties from a flea market half a year back. When I saw these cute little jeans and cute little dress I just couldn't resist, even if they were far too big for her at that moment (them costing me a whopping £2 was quite appealing too...). 

I do think these look so cute - she looked like a little hippy in these flared jeans and loose flowery shirt. Matching little flower in her shoes and all. She looked even more like a hippy earlier in the day when we were at a car dealership and let her run around without any shoes.
And by the way - we did buy the car!

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