We have a Walker!

We have a walker! Wow what a big change it makes! Harry started walking almost three weeks ago, at the age of fourteen and a half months. He had been cruising around furniture, walking holding our hands and pulling up on anything and everything for such a long time. However with regards to walking, we felt like it was never going to happen! He didn’t stand alone at all.

But one night after work he literally just started walking and didn’t stop. It was amazing! He could stop and start, change direction, regain his balance and even walk backwards within two days.

walking baby

Now that we have a walker on our hands it feels like he has made the official leap from baby to toddler. To watch Harry toddle around is an absolute joy and he is so funny up on his feet. He is really relishing his new independence , and we have noticed such a change in his temperament and development in the last few weeks. He is even sleeping and eating better. All subject to change I know!

Harry loves to explore the world around him and gets so much enjoyment from stomping around our house.  The better weather has allowed us to take him to beaches and parks and he has really loved exploring and playing outside now that he is fully mobile.

14 month old baby boy

Suddenly it feels like our little baby is a fully fledged little boy. Harry has started saying a few words and we can communicate with him so much more. He is copying things we do and gaining more independence. He has such a cheeky smile and is really funny. He is also sensitive, loving and a bit shy. The bonds he has with us and his extended family are deepening and it’s so lovely to see him feeling comfortable, secure and happy in his surroundings, as well as introducing him to new environments and experiences as much as we can.

Our little boy  is literally into everything now – nothing is safe! He gets his hands into every drawer and cupboard possible and anything he can reach is fair game. We really need to keep an eye on him and all of our belongings are slowly moving to higher shelves! At the same time is lovely to watch him explore and work things out.

Harry we are so proud of you!

Love, Laurel

A weekend away was just what we needed

I’ve been back at work for four months now, and sometimes the daily grind of trying to ‘do it all’ takes its toll. It’s a mad rush in the mornings, and a mad rush to get home to Harry at the end of the day! Then its dinner, bath, books and bed – which can sometimes be unpredictable! By the time we have done it all, and sorted the house out, not to mention everything for the next day, we are done in!

Sometimes you just need to get away, clear your head and slow down a bit. So last weekend’s trip away was just what we needed.

We headed off on Saturday morning to the north coast of Northern Ireland where we spent three perfect days. The weather was a bit up and down but Harry had the absolute time of his life! He was in great form and really loves being in our caravan – it’s the simple things haha! He wasn’t interested in the bag of toys we brought from home; instead favouring the ancient caravan board games and a big tub of crayons which might have actually been mine from years ago.

We took Harry to the beach and he loved crawling around and playing in the sand. He loved the texture and digging his little hands in to it. Kept him amused for ages! We also took him to an amusement/fairground type place; the famous ‘Barrys’, and he loved it there too. We fed the ducks, went to the park and had a picnic too.

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In the late afternoon and evenings we played, napped (amazing) and had dinner. Harry slept well and ate well and generally thoroughly enjoyed himself!

Ballycastle is just over an hour from home, but just getting away for 3 days to somewhere quiet, beautiful and simple, with a slower pace of life and not a lot on the agenda, was absolutely perfect!

I don’t think we have relaxed so much since before Harry was born!

Love, Laurel

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Risotto

I am always put off making risotto as it is pretty labour intensive and takes a while. But when I do make the effort it is always worth it! I decided to make a vegetarian version using butternut squash and sweet potato, and it worked really well.

butternut squash and sweet potato risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 600ml vegetable stock plus more boiling water if necessary
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 100ml white wine
  • 50g grated Parmesan

Method

  • Peel the butternut squash and sweet potato and chop into small cubes. Coat in olive oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.
  • Meanwhile, add some olive oil and a knob of butter to a large frying pan on a low heat. Add the onion and garlic, then cover and cook for 3 mins until the onion turns translucent. Stir in the celery and herbs and cover again and cook for a further 2 mins. Increase the heat slightly and stir in the rice. Stir continually for a few minutes.
  • Increase the heat, add the wine and let it cook until it’s almost completely gone. Reduce the heat and begin adding the stock. Add one ladle at a time, and each time stir gently but purposefully until it is absorbed. This will help the rice absorb the liquid, while at the same time release its starch and thicken the broth. If the rice is still too nutty when the stock is finished, add ladles of boiling water until you have achieved the desired consistency.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, take half of the roasted squash and potato, and mash it up well. Stir into the rice, and then add the parmesan.
  • Add the remaining chunks of squash and potato and stir through. Season if desired.

butternut squash and sweet potato risotto

I really liked the sweetness of the butternut squash and sweet potato mixed with the savoury flavours of the herbs, white wine and parmesan in this risotto. The flavours complemented each other so well and the mashed squash and sweet potato added an extra creaminess to the rice. The roasted chunks mixed through at the end meant that every bite did not taste exactly the same.  A must make if you like a good risotto!

Love, Laurel

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