I must finally admit defeat! No matter what I do I simply cannot replicate the taste of a good restaurant curry. Indian food has become a family favourite of ours over the years but I have to confess that my homemade dishes never have quite the character of a decent restaurant version.

I had one final go the other night and I gave it my all but… it’s just wasn’t the same and I don’t think it ever will be. I follow recipes to the letter, I marinade in advance and I make sure I have all the spices I need but it never tastes as good. I don’t know what it is but the absence of my own tandoori oven to lend the meat that smokiness is one factor that immediately springs to mind!

spices

It’s a little shaming, but friends make similar admissions and in fact there seems to be a general consensus across the country now that not only do we all love a restaurant curry but we will often indulge in the cosy takeaway option too.

I know from experience that it can be a bit of a culinary minefield though. There are a lot of greasy curries out there that are a little heavier on the ghee than a mummy, no matter how slummy, would really like to see her family ingest. Often the best Indian restaurants have a tendency to keep a low profile as well which means recommendations can be a very good thing.

A bit of a bucket-list sort of restaurant for us is Lasan in Birmingham. Of course Birmingham has a great reputation for all things curry and even has its famous Curry Triangle. Lasan is a name you might know as the restaurant was promoted by Gordon Ramsay on his programme The F Word. It goes for a really polished, fine-dining take on Indian cuisine and it looks incredible.

London obviously has loads of great places that do very authentic Indian cuisine too, but a particular favourite is Dishoom. If you’re ever near Covent Garden then head over there as they do lovely Indian-style brunch dishes such as Bombay Omelette and Bacon Naan Roll. The décor is very cool too.

Closer to home, in the South-West, Goa Spice Premier has some very interesting Goan dishes. Their Goan Special Curry includes beautiful chicken tikka, minced lamb and even garden peas in traditional Goan spices.

So dining out is obviously great, but for us these days it’s more likely to be an indulgent takeaway. I find the easiest thing at the moment is actually Deliveroo. There’s none of that rooting through kitchen drawers to find greasy old menus that are out of date, as it’s all just on their website and app.

curry

One of the best things about it is that it eliminates a lot of the guesswork that comes with takeaways. In other words they care about the quality and you’re sure to always get a good curry.

And I know that the coverage in the UK was slightly limited at one time but it seems to have been branching out a lot recently. In fact, a mummy friend living out in the London suburbs was recently delighted to learn that Deliveroo coverage had extended to her neck of the woods! When I last spoke to her she was eagerly planning her takeaway for when her little ones were safely tucked up in bed. And with all this talk of curry, I might just have to follow her lead. Now where’s my phone…?

Images – By AndrijaP and its_al_dente from shutterstock

Post in association with Metis®

Metis® fruit recipes

Imagine if you will that a plum and an apricot go on a date.

They get on well as they have a lot in common – they both like classic crime fiction, they love to travel, and they both have a stone in their middle, that sort of thing. One date leads to another. On the second date they crank it up a notch and do an activity – segway maybe. Or pottery painting.

Time passes, stuff happens, and they have a baby. They call it Metis®.

Metis® fruit recipes

Ahhh!

Oh how I wish that’s how it happened! View Post

If you’re planning a late-summer getaway with your little one, you may be feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety. You probably need the break, but you also have to make sure you have everything you need to take care of your new addition, especially if they are still breastfeeding.

To mark World Breastfeeding Week, here’s a little list of things you may want to think about when jetting off on holiday. Creating a small checklist such as this will help to ease any of those anxious feelings about breastfeeding on holiday and make sure you are fully equipped to look after both you and baby.

Is your destination breastfeeding friendly?

The main thing to think about before setting off abroad is whether your chosen destination breastfeeding friendly. Despite the UK and most of Europe fighting to normalise public breastfeeding, there may still be countries that aren’t 100% on-board with breastfeeding.

Some of the most breastfeeding friendly countries are:

  • Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark and Norway)
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Switzerland

However, if you’re off to sunnier climates, including Spain or Portugal, it’s best to take a muslin cloth to cover yourself, but generally, they are fairly open to public breastfeeding.

It’s worth logging into some parenting forums and having a look online for personal accounts from mums just like yourself if you’re looking for a bit of reassurance.

Pack vitamins and supplements

You want to make sure your body is working at full capacity so you can fully enjoy your time away. Travelling can take a lot out of us at the best of times, so making sure you are looking after yourself with vitamins and supplements when travelling with little ones in tow.

Vitabiotics Pregnacare is perfect for this, they offer Pregnacare Breastfeeding for mums who have chosen to breastfeed. They can help new mothers to produce nutritious breast milk and maintain their own health, with essential Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated in warm weather is important for all of us, but especially if you’re breastfeeding. Travelling and warm climates can all add to dehydration, so making sure you drink plenty of water can help to combat this.

Top Tip: Invest in a water bottle cooling sleeve to slip around your water bottle to keep it cool for longer.

Bring the breastfeeding essentials

Make sure you are prepared for every eventuality, you’ll be away from home, so make sure you have travel versions of all of your favourite equipment and accessories. This may include a few extra muslin cloths, a travel friendly breast pump and nipple cream.

Making sure you have enough of the essentials can help offer peace of mind, as these items may not be readily available at your holiday destination. It makes sure you are ready for any eventuality, helping you to quell any of these uneasy feelings you may have about breastfeeding while travelling.

Making sure to look after yourself will help to keep you happy, healthy and able to enjoy your holiday. With just a few precautions and essentials, you’ll be ready to breastfeed whenever and wherever you need.

Collaborative post.

This week Bee and I came up to London for a couple of days for her to have gamma knife treatment. A gamma knife sounds like a pretty scary thing, although weirdly it doesn’t actually involve knives. We decided to say we were going for a relaxing spa break anyway, just to take the edge of.

The gamma (not) knives were to treat Bee’s AVM, which is a tangle of blood vessels in her brain which was discovered accidentally when she had an MRI for something unrelated.

I thought this post was going to be all about how worried I was, and how you never stop being a Mummy even though your child is grown up, and all of that sort of stuff.

And then I realised, sat in the waiting room while Bee had a metal frame screwed into her head, how selfish that sounded.

‘Woe is me, having to sit in this big comfy leather chair while my daughter undergoes complex brain treatment! Poor me having to worry about her!’

The primary emotion to come out of the whole experience was actually pride. As I sat in that comfy chair I could hear Bee having the frame fitted and I could hear her afterwards chatting to the staff. The woman who had gone in before her had come out in the wheelchair, crying and saying she couldn’t walk, so fair to say I was nervous on Bee’s behalf.

Until I heard her little voice from next door.

‘That was fine,’ she said, ‘not as bad as I thought it was going to be.’

‘Really?’ Said the nurse, sounding surprised. ‘That’s good to hear!’

‘Yeah, it feels a bit like when I had my braces fitted.’

I felt a swell of pride and love in my chest and nearly had a little cry. (There WAS a box of tissues in my little wairing room so it would have probably been okay.)

She was just so calm and brave and I was so proud.

Of course being Bee, beneath the calm exterior she was quietly coming to terms with her own death, but you would never have known. Bee has written her own account here, so please do go and read it because it made me cry all over again.

As it turned out I had even more reason to be proud coming up. Bee had come back from having an MRI and an angiogram, ahead of the treatment itself, and we were waiting for them to get the laser all loaded up and aimed.

The doctor came in, along with FOUR other members of staff.

‘We found something a little unusual,’ said the doctor, which I felt was a rather cruel way to begin – it wasn’t exactly the X Factor. I was worried that they’d discovered a pair of old scissors or something in her brain.

‘Since we did the last angiogram it turns out that the AVM had started to heal itself.’

Heal itself?!

‘So we don’t think we need to do the treatment after all.’

Well. I knew Bee was special, but I never imagined she could miraculously cure her own brain.

So there we go. That’s what story of when Bee didn’t need have her brain radiated.

Getting the balance right as a parent can sometimes be really hard.

On the one hand you want to help your children in any way you can, do things for them and make sure they happy and relaxed. On the other hand you want them to learn how to do stuff for themselves, to take the initiative, and to discover that NOT doing stuff has consequences.

For example, Belle starts year 11 tomorrow and roughly three times a day for the last six weeks I’ve reminded her about homework, and to do things like wash her PE kit. I’m not going to do it for her though. There comes a point where they have to appreciate that not washing your PE kit means going to school with a dirty PE kit and that’s that.

The downside of all this ‘teaching’ though is that when you enquire about the whereabouts of their lunchbox on the last day of the summer holidays you get presented with this:

Mouldy sandwich

*throws up a bit in mouth*

This, as far as I know, was once a sandwich. View Post