It’s a Boy Cupcakes

I made these ‘It’s a Boy’ cupcakes for my Baby Shower a few weeks ago. They were very nice and so easy to make. The little rice paper toppers were really inexpensive – about £2 for 12 from eBay. And obviously you could choose whatever colour or cupcake topper you fancied! Great for parties and I will be making these again!

It's a boy cupcakes

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 110g/4oz softened butter
  • 110g/4oz caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 110g/4oz self-raising flour
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

For the buttercream icing

  • 110g/4oz softened butter
  • 280g/10oz icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • Your preferred food colouring (I used this one from Tesco)
  • Your prefered decorations

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin/cupcake cases.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale. Beat in the eggs in 2-3 stages and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Fold in the flour, adding the milk as needed. Spoon the mixture into the cases as neatly as possible until they are half full.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
  6. For the buttercream icing, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Then add the remaining icing sugar with milk as needed, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the food colouring and mix until well combined.
  7. Spread the icing on top of the cupcakes – or use a piping bag. Because I don’t have a piping bag and because I had the rice paper toppers, I just spread my icing on! I actually prefer this because it means you don’t get too much icing on each cupcake; I find the icing can be a bit sickly if there is loads on there.

its a boy cupcakes recipe

The cupcakes went down well and were nice and buttery, but not sickly or too big. My sister made little gingerbread men as well which were lovely!

Love, Laurel

 

38 Weeks Pregnant! Nearly time to meet our boy.

I am 38 weeks pregnant as of today. I can’t believe I am this far along, it’s crazy! But at the same time there is a part of me that feels like I have been pregnant forever, lol.

38 weeks pregnant

It has been a really busy few weeks but the last few days have been nice and relaxing because I am now on maternity leave! Work was pretty busy in the lead up to me finishing up, and I wanted to leave things as ‘sorted’ as I possibly could – hopefully that might make things a bit easier when I return! I got really generous gifts from work and lots of well wishes – which I really appreciated.

Also in the last few weeks I have had some lovely events! I had a Baby Shower when I was 35 weeks – it was a great afternoon and I got some beautiful presents which I am so thankful for. We also played games, had some food and just had a nice girly afternoon. It was the first baby shower I had actually been to, despite it being my own, but I am sure it won’t be the last!

its a boy cupcakes

38 weeks pregnant

I also turned 30 last week and had a lovely family birthday on the day itself, and a party with friends last weekend. Both were great and I don’t really mind turning 30 at all. Obviously it was a bit strange being heavily pregnant on your birthday, but I still really enjoyed it and it was great to see everyone, show off the ever expanding bump and have a couple of fun nights before everything changes in a big way in a few weeks time!

30th birthday cake

Work was making me pretty tired as it was so busy and I was just getting home in the evenings totally exhausted. Since going on maternity leave I have obviously had a lot more ‘me’ time and have not been bored at all, yet! I am always thinking of things to do and have been out for lunch, been to IKEA, and walking Ella a lot so I am definitely keeping busy and having a nice time so far! I plan to make the most of it! I am noticing myself a bit more out of breath and a bit slower generally. Sleeping isn’t that great at the moment but that’s to be expected. Still craving the ice lollies! I have also been to two Parentcraft classes with my husband which were really useful.

So that’s the latest with me! I am getting so excited to meet our baby boy in a few weeks – we just don’t know how many weeks! I know a lot of first babies are overdue, so we are kind of expecting that. If he comes slightly early or bang on time that would be great too! I am occasionally having moments of panic like ‘he has to come out soon’ and ‘life is going to be turned upside down in less than a month’ but for the most part I am just so excited for this new chapter in our lives and am thinking ‘lets just get on with it!’. We will see how things go in the next few weeks! Wish me luck!

Love, Laurel

 

34 Weeks Pregnant – my latest loves!

So is this the part where it all becomes a bit uncomfortable? That’s how it’s starting to seem! I am 34 weeks now so the end is in sight and it is all becoming very real now! I am so excited!

34 weeks pregnant

I am feeling a lot more pregnant these days if that makes sense. Heavier and bigger and like there isn’t much room left in my belly – but I know it’s only going to get quite a bit bigger over the next 6 weeks or so!

I have heartburn, restless legs, and am pretty tired most of the time. I had some quite bad Round Ligament Pain this week – at least I think that’s what it was. It hurt to walk for a day but the next day it was gone! It’s like mentally I am fine, but physically I am not up to much – comes with growing a little human inside you I suppose! Anyway I shouldn’t complain – I have been extremely lucky throughout my whole pregnancy and for that I am really thankful. I have just reached the home stretch and it’s only natural I am feeling it a bit – after all there is a little boy in there growing and moving at a rapid rate – and how amazing is that!

At the moment I am just taking it easy when I can, and doing anything that helps me feel relaxed or more comfortable. Here’s my personal guide to 3rd trimester survival!

Baths – I said it in my last post, but baths just seem to make everything better. The hot water relaxes my muscles, clears my head and gives me a chance to totally unwind. I love using nice bubble baths and oils and a bath before bed really seems to help me sleep too. A nightly soak is a must these days!

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm – This is a lovely product that can be used as a primer under make up, or as a face mask to soothe and rejuvenate your skin. I use it as a mask and it makes my skin feel plumper and fresher. It has seemed a bit tired and washed out recently so this balm used every few days seems to help brighten my skin up a bit.

Eucalyptus, Lavender and Tea Tree oil – I love fresh smells at the moment and these three oils smell amazing to me! I put them in my bath, burn them in an oil burner or just put some on cotton wool and put it beside my bed. Weird how a nice smell can you make you feel better!

Ice lollies – I can’t get enough. My personal favourite are the bog standard Rocket Lollies from Asda. They are quite bland and every night I happy crunch through 3 of them – it’s the main craving I have had! It’s just the cold, crunchy ice that seems so good to me at the moment! Kind of eases the heartburn too!

Dreamgenii pillow – Sleeping hasn’t been too bad. I got this pillow early on in my pregnancy but it’s now that it’s coming into it’s own. It supports my bump and my back and has a longer end that supports my legs and hips whilst in bed. Some nights I love it, and some nights I find it bulky, and one normal pillow to hug/put under my bump is enough. I would recommend the Dreamgenii though. It’s expensive but well designed, and can be used once the baby is born as a support cushion for all those feeds!

Tutti Bambini Glider Chair and Footstool – This arrived earlier in the week and I am really liking it so far. My back was hurting from being slumped on the sofa most evenings, and we had always planned to get a nursing chair for when the baby arrives, so this Glider will fit both purposes. It makes me sit up straight, but it also reclines and rocks so it’s both comfortable and relaxing to sit in. It will be used for feeding the baby when he comes but for now I am enjoying lounging in it! It comes with a footstool as well which is very nice :)

Laughing cow blue cheese triangles – I have missed eating blue cheese so much – I love that strong taste. These triangles however are pasteurized and can be safely eaten (I hope) in pregnancy. Can’t wait to eat the real thing again though!

Leggings! – Wearing these full time now. Jeans and tights are just a no no for me now. Some of them still fit, but are not comfortable at all! Maternity jeans fall down and maternity tights come up too high. So leggings it is!

That’s the main things I can think of for now – if anyone has any good suggestions for helping those last trimester symptoms please let me know! Six weeks until due date  – we can’t wait  to meet our little boy!

Love, Laurel

Pancakes with Flavour First Eggs!

Pancakes

I know they don’t look great in the picture, but these pancakes were yum! I use Nigella’s American Breakfast Pancakes recipe which makes a decent sized batch of batter. If you don’t use it all, you can freeze the rest! They are really easy to make and taste great with maple syrup or even better, maple syrup and crispy bacon.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients 

  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 30 grams butter (melted and cooled)
  • 300 ml milk
  • 225 grams plain flour
  • butter for frying

Method 

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together by hand or using a stick blender.
  2. Heat a smooth griddle or pan on the stove and pour batter on, using a jug or ladle.
  3. Turn the pancakes when they start to bubble up. Probably about 1 minute either side.

What put me in the mood for pancakes were the lovely free range eggs I was kindly sent by Flavour First. After having an omelette the day before, and my husband having his usual scrambled eggs for breakfast a few times, we still had lots left over, so pancakes seemed like a good idea!

Flavour First are a Northern Irish company who offer a ‘Local Veg Box Scheme’ as well as other products such as free range eggs and fresh fruit. The produce is homegrown, organic and is delivered to your doorstep free of charge at really reasonable prices. I think it’s a great idea and so did my family when I explained what they were about. You can view their website here.

Flavourfirst.com

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Love, Laurel

30 Week pregnancy update and things I couldn’t do without!

I am now 30 weeks pregnant! That is almost 7 months – wow, I can’t believe it, and I am so grateful to say that I  have had a healthy pregnancy thus far.

30 weeks

Obviously I have had the usual ‘pregnancy ailments’ including nausea in the first trimester, and a large helping of HEARTBURN which began midway through the second trimester, and is showing no signs of stopping now I have reached the third! I am starting to feel more tired, and a tad more hormonal these days! Things like putting socks on and bending over to retrieve Ella’s bloody ball from under the sofa are becoming more challenging, as my bump gets in the way!

My absolute favourite part so far has been feeling and seeing my baby move and kick inside me. It is such a miracle to think he is in there kicking and swishing about. I have also loved picking out baby furniture and all the bits and bobs that are needed. I have had some great advice from friends who are already parents on what to buy – i.e. what is essential and what can be a bit of a waste of money. So thank you so much to those people!

When it comes to getting through the weeks and looking after myself there are some things that have really helped me. They include:

Snacks! – more so in the first trimester, but carb-heavy snacks were a lifesaver to me when the nausea struck. Ready salted crisps, plain bread and rich tea biscuits were must haves. Plain food in general is more my thing at the moment – which isn’t like me at all! Anything that doesn’t cause heartburn (theres not a lot) is good too!

Lots of water – still and sparkling. Staying hydrated just helps everything in general and the sparkling was good for when I felt sick!

Baths – I have never had so many in my life! Lying in the bath reading or having a good WhatsApp convo with friends is a great way to relax.

Support from my husband, friends and family – everyone has been great, giving me insights and information, letting me moan, looking after me and also keeping things light with funny pregnancy chats. Really grateful and hoping I can return the favour sometime (can someone else in my circle of friends please have a baby soon? thank you).

Google – it seems you can Google literally anything pregnancy related, no matter how specific, and some type of information will come up. There is so much useful information online and lots of great blogs and  forums which are brilliant for reminding you that we pregnant people are all in the same (or similar) boat!

Comfy clothes – overall I have found maternity clothing ranges very disappointing. There isn’t much choice and lots of it is only available online which makes trying before you buy very difficult! The fact that you are continually getting larger and changing shape makes it a bit trickier too! I have bought quite a few maternity items, but I have also been buying normal clothes in 1 or 2 sizes larger than normal, as well as gravitating towards all types of comfy clothes! I just refuse to wear anything uncomfortable these days! Maternity work trousers are still a mystery to me! I don’t think comfortable, flattering ones exist! I got a pair from ASOS the other day and they were like pyjama bottoms! Nice and comfy but not very smart looking! Think I will stick to legging and long tops, and dresses with tights. Comfort is key but it boosts my self esteem to wear smart/dressy/flattering outfits at the same time!

Dermol lotion – a mild lotion for eczema sufferers like me – this has been what I have mainly used to moisturise my bump to (hopefully) ward off any stretch marks.

Bio Oil – although a bit strong for me to apply every day, it does feel nice and nourishing and I have been using it every few days on the expanding areas!

Excitement about what’s ahead – I know it will be hard, but it will also be AMAZING! I think focusing on the positives is best and I cannot wait to meet my little boy and see our next chapter in life unfold.

Love, Laurel

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Second trimester – definitely a lot easier!

Hello! Happy New Year! Hope you had a brilliant Christmas and have great plans for 2015.

I am now nearing the end of my second trimester – wow where did that time go? The weeks seem to be flying by, and I can’t believe I am now 27 weeks pregnant.

This is me on Christmas Eve at 26 weeks.

26 weeks pregnant

On the whole, I have been extremely fortunate to pretty much feel fine for weeks now! Everything that people say about the second trimester seemed to come true for me – the sickness eventually cleared up around 17 weeks, and I got my energy back and my head seemed to get rid of that dozy feeling! I don’t deal that well with change so I think the fact that I started to ‘adjust’ and get used to actually being pregnant probably helped a lot too.

During the past 3 months or so I have really enjoyed my pregnancy and all that goes with it. I do miss certain things obviously but there’s plenty of time for that afterwards! All my friends and family have been really kind and supportive and I love talking about with anyone who will listen haha!

The hospital we are with do not disclose the sex of the baby so we went for a private gender scan through Babybond. I would highly recommend! We did it at 19 weeks and got a great view of our little baby and the sonographer was so lovely. There was a big screen right in front of the bed which was great for me, rather than having to crane my neck to the side as in the hospital. We also got a free 4D preview which was really cool – we were just amazed to see our baby’s little face! It was unbelievable and we thanked the sonographer about a million times :). But what about the most important part??? We found out that……

IT’S A BOY!

We both had a gut feeling he would be a boy and were so happy to find out the sex. Not that it mattered either way; we just both felt that finding out the sex made it all the more real and gave our little one an indentity from then on. Obviously it’s a personal choice whether to find out the sex but I am so glad we did.

At 21 weeks we went for the Anomaly Scan at the hospital and all was well – we are so thankful!

Since then all has been going smoothly, fingers crossed it stays that way. We had a lovely Christmas and have now started to prepare for baby boy’s arrival – it’s a minefield of options! Any recommendations/do’s/don’t’s are very welcome!

Love, Laurel

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The First Twelve Weeks

The First Twelve Weeks

I found out I was pregnant when I was just over 4 weeks. So it seemed like a LONG time before we reached that 12 week stage everyone talks about. We were just so happy and elated to find out we were having a baby and it was all so new and amazing in those first few weeks. I started noticing symptoms straight away which I found exciting at first, but then not so enjoyable as time went on!

I think from around 6 weeks onwards I felt pretty exhausted on and off, not constantly thankfully. I also noticed an increased sense of smell and certain things were completely repulsive to me! Such as strong food smells and strong aftershave and perfume.

Around 7 weeks the nausea started – this I was not prepared for. I foolishly thought I might be one of the lucky ones who doesn’t really get morning sickness, as I generally have a pretty strong stomach. However, when I asked my mum about her three pregnancies, the first thing she has always said is how sick and nauseous she was so I should have known. I think only very lucky people get away with no or minimal nausea! Mine involved feeling sick pretty much all day for about 5 or 6 weeks, and actually being sick most mornings. My husband started making me toast to eat in the car on the way to work to combat the car sickness which seemed to help. I stuck to mainly plain foods (not like me) which meant most of our dinner options went out the window! I also tried travel bands, don’t think they did much. I found that eating small amounts very regularly made the nausea manageable during the day and salty snacks were my food of choice! Crisps, crackers, cheese triangles etc! Dry cereal was also good and I ate strawberries and grapes as snacks and drank cranberry juice to make sure I was getting some vitamins! A lot of times I wasn’t remotely hungry but forced myself to eat as that helped the nausea – weird isn’t it?

As the weeks went on the nausea continued and I also felt pretty exhausted after each work day – so I’d just come home every night and lie on the sofa and achieve nothing! I noticed that my emotions were heightened and I could cry at the drop of a hat at anything happy or sad on TV!

Other things which helped me along the way were baths, lots of TV, listening to old CDs (Take That and Westlife lol), and a nice relaxing weekend in Ballycastle with plenty of fresh air (I am turning into my mum, it’s official).

Our 12 week scan finally came around and it was amazing, worth everything ten times over as we heard our baby’s heartbeat and saw the scan. It took until about 14 or 15 weeks for the nausea to reduce considerably and my energy levels to return to ‘semi’ normal. I am now 19 weeks and generally feel pretty good! I still feel a bit sick in the mornings and am pretty tired, but am so happy to be past the first trimester and am keeping my fingers crossed everything goes well for the remainder of my pregnancy.

How were the First Twelve Weeks for you?

Love, Laurel

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