Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies

30 October 2013

These are seriously sweet, chewy and moreish cookies that you will not be able to resist.  Perfect with a cup of tea and not for those on a diet either.  But we all need a treat every now and then, don't we?  Especially as the weather is getting colder.

The original recipe makes 20 cookies, I halved this as I don't like to bake huge batches of things what with it just being the two of us.

Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies
Makes 10 - 12 

110g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
80g condensed milk
100g oats
75g self-raising flour
1/2 tspn cinnamon
75g raisins

♥ Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
♥ Cream the butter, sugar and condensed milk and then add the flour, oats and cinnamon and lastly the raisins.
♥ Roll the dough (I added a bit more flour, as it was pretty sticky) into small balls and place on a greased baking tray.
♥ Bake for 15 minutes until golden-brown.

So easy and tasty and perfect for keeping in a tin when you need a sweet treat.

Happy Baking x

Broccoli & Cheese Baked Potatoes

28 October 2013

Not sure what it is at the moment with broccoli but I cannot get enough of it.  I have shared a recipe with it before - so that pasta recipe along with this potato recipe is a staple dinner in the Choudhry household at the moment.

It is a perfect meal once the weather starts to get colder and is definitely a comforting but nourishing dish.  We just have it by itself as it is quite filling but you could have it with a side salad or more vegetables, baked beans or some meat.

Broccoli & Cheese Baked Potatoes
Serves 2

2 baking potatoes
100g small florets of broccoli
1 tspn wholegrain mustard
1 egg, beaten
50g cheddar cheese, grated

♥ Heat oven to 200 degrees, cut a cross in your potatoes rub with olive oil and wrap in tin foil.  Place in the oven for 45 minutes until cooked through.
♥ Boil the broccoli for 5 minutes until tender.
♥ Remove from the oven once done and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes.
♥ Once cooled, carefully cut off the top and scoop out the flesh into a small bowl.
♥ Mash the potato then stir in the mustard, egg, broccoli and most of the cheese.
♥ Season if needed and pile back into the potato shells.
♥ Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and stick back in the oven for 15 minutes until crisp and golden.

A very enjoyable, hearty supper for a rainy evening.

Enjoy ♥

P.S. Excuse the lighting in the photos, now its darker in the evening, the lighting in our kitchen is abysmal for photo-taking!

Day in the life

25 October 2013

As my due date gets closer, I want to remember what life was like before the baby arrives.  Listening to friends talking about life for them now with kids, I am finding myself savouring moments like being able to bake on a whim, sleeping until 8am on the weekends and just popping in the shower when it suits me.  I thought it would be fun to document a typical day for me before baby arrives so I can look back and remember what life used to be like.

So here is what a normal weekday looks like for me.

 6:30 AM//
Wake up to the alarm, snooze and try wake up to be in the shower for 6:45.  Often though, especially now as it is still dark outside, getting in the shower is more likely to be 6:50 or even 6:55 if I want to push it.

7:20 AM//
Head downstairs after getting ready, make sandwiches for me and the hubby and have some cereal or my favourite at the moment is a slice of toasted raisin & cinnamon loaf.

7:40 AM//
Leave the house, Mani drops me at the tiny little railway station (which is just a small platform) in time for me to catch the one of only two trains which serve this station per day at 7:52am.

8:15 AM//
Arrive at Oxford Station, and start my now 15 minute walk to work which used to only take 10 minutes, but as bump is getting bigger I find myself walking more slowly.  And being more careful since this is the walk I also fell and sprained my ankle on, now 5 weeks ago.

 8:30 AM//
Arrive at work, catch up on emails, hand out the post and newspapers and glug down a couple of pints of water.  I am normally parched by the time I arrive from my walk from the station.

10:00 AM//
Have my daily cup of coffee and a snack, normally homemade and healthy - mostly a muffin or biscuits.  Carry on with emails and any projects I have going.  Everyday is different for me, it all depends on what needs organising i.e. a conference, a call, meetings etc.

12:30 PM//
Take a lunch break, I try my best to get away from my desk during my lunch.  It helps me to get some fresh air and makes the afternoon more bearable.  I either pop into town if I need some shopping, or pop over the road to our main building and catch up with friends there.

2:00 PM//
The rest of the afternoon is spent filing, organising visa's, travel arrangements, printing, minute taking etc.  It all depends on what needs doing that day.  I suppose that is one thing I enjoy about my job is that everyday is different.

4:30 PM//
Head to the train station to catch my train home.  I just love being able to have 15 minutes to unwind, relax, get my heart pumping and enjoy the canal, the ducks, swans and now, the changing colours of the the trees.

4:49 PM//
Hop on the train home - normally I would always be able to get a seat but recently the fabulous people who run the trains (First Great Western) have decided to downsize the train from a eight to a five carriage train so I find myself squished in between carriages (standing!!) or if I am lucky I hop on at first class and get a seat there.  Luckily, pregnant women who are season ticket holders are welcome to a seat in first class when no other seats are available.  However, sometimes there aren't even seats in first class - not ideal.  But don't get me started!

5:10 PM//
Train arrives at Charlbury station, hop off and catch the little railbus home - which serves the surrounding villages.  Another debacle going on, since the council want to cut the service to save money.  This railbus is vital for us rural villagers who rely on this transport to get to and from work.

5:30 PM//
Arrive home, walk through the door and normally Mani is home.  I tend to dump my bags down, coat off, slippers on.  I either unpack the dishwasher, start dinner, hang up the laundry from the machine and cuddle the cats.  If it has been a bad day and I am super tired I head upstairs for a shower straight away.

7:00 PM//
Have dinner, which can be an array of things.  Lately I just love broccoli - my new favourite supper is broccoli and cheese stuffed potatoes.  Yum Yum.  I have also been making stews and soups and you can't go wrong with a cheesy vegetable pasta bake or a curry.

7:45 PM//
Clean up the kitchen, write blog posts, maybe do some sewing or any admin that needs doing.  Some nights I am just too tired and relax on the couch under the blanket with the cats and hubby with a cup of rooibos tea and watch TV.

9:30 PM//
Depending on whats going on we head up to bed with a cup of "sleep" tea, I try read a bit or scour ebay for a few deals on the ipad or catch up on my blog reading.  Other nights as soon as my head hits the pillow I am asleep.

It will be interesting to do another Day in the Life once baba is here and see how different it all is ♥

Homemade Pizza

23 October 2013

I love pizza and have written about making homemade pizza before.  But I just had to share again - it is seriously so easy and isn't as time consuming as you think.  Plus it really tastes so much better than shop-bought pizza.

I find the simplest toppings make the best pizzas - I just used mushrooms, mozzarella, cheddar cheese and dollops of basil pesto.  Seriously - so amazingly delicious.  I have always used Jamie Oliver's pizza dough recipe and it works out every single time.

So next time you fancy pizza - try making it yourself.  You won't be disappointed.

Keep on keeping on

22 October 2013

Do you ever have those days when everything is an effort.  Getting up, having to deal with life can sometimes just be hard.  I have always struggled with this time of year.  The weather is changing, it is still dark when we wake up and gets darker earlier too - although the clocks going back next week will help with the morning bit.

I am the sort of person, if I have a bad day like this I tend to get a bit down about it.  Yesterday was one of these days.  It was awful - the whole world was against me I tell you.  But days like this pass, and luckily mine ended with a relaxing yoga session which helped me to stretch and get rid of whatever the day had dumped on me.  I also managed to sleep relatively well.  All these changes in the weather and a bigger bump is making it it harder to just fall asleep like I used to.

But what I realised is that it is OK to have bad days - the world is not going to end.  You just get through them and if necessary have a huge bar of chocolate waiting for you at the end of it - or in my case - a yoga session.  You just keep on keeping on - that's what this life is about.

So if you are having one of these days, here are some funnies and inspirations to cheer you right up.  And go get yourself some chocolate.  Chocolate always helps.


Happy Tuesday ♥

Wishlist for Baby Choudhry

21 October 2013

Oh the hours I spend on the internet, thinking about baby and nursery and all the things he will need.  And then there are the things which he won't really need but I think are just gorgeous and wish we could afford to buy.  At the end of the day though, I realise that there is no point spending loads of money on things which aren't really necessary.

But I thought I would share some pretty awesome finds I have come across ♥

These felt animals - they are just adorable, I love the colours and are handmade in Nepal and fairtrade certified.  Currently 1/2 price at Zulily.

This beautiful canvas world map made up of animals and sites from around the world.  We are super lucky that my Dad & Stepmom are buying this as a gift for the nursery. Hooray!

Changing mat covers from Aden & Anais.  We will probably buy these but at £20 a pop, they are definitely a luxury - however they are brilliant quality and who doesn't love a giraffe?

The Puj bath - we are also most probably going to get this too. It is perfect for newborns and moulds into your sink making it easy to bath tiny baby.
I love iconic or fun onesies for babies - they are just too cute and I can't help myself.  Here are a few of my favourites.


I could go on and on but these are just some of the items we love, I have started a wishlist on Amazon to keep track of all the things we need to get.   ♥

Around Here

18 October 2013

I have been a bit quiet on the blogging front - I haven't been that motivated and this time of year I always find myself super tired in the evenings what with the weather changing and it getting darker earlier.  My body clock is just trying to figure out what is going on really.  Plus, I am nearly 27 weeks pregnant and tiredness seems to creep up on me more easily!

We have been organising the house a lot, getting things done which we have been meaning to for a while and I have also been ruthless - getting rid of stuff I know I won't use and just making space for baby.  We are getting new carpets installed in a couple of weeks - I really cannot wait for that to happen.  We moved into our home over a year ago and have had to live with these dingy, old and smelly carpets for long enough - however it makes sense that we did, because we could paint and renovate some things without having to worry about ruining carpets.

We decided on a stripe for the stairs and landing - we hemmed and hawed about the carpets - my gawd - I did not realise Mani was so fussy.  Seriously.  Many an argument occurred - over carpets for goodness sake!!!  Anyway, we finally decided on a beautiful pattern - I cannot wait to see it and share the pictures with you.

We have been slowly setting up the nursery, buying odd things and getting ready.  We bought our first (of many) packs of nappies last weekend. And I think we may have enough muslins to last for 3 weeks but I just love muslins and the cute designs you can get!

I have also been making loads of soups and stews - this time of year it's so comforting to get home after a long day and have a heart-warming and nutritious supper.

Now what I really need to start doing is sewing - I have a list of projects I would like to finish before the end of November and I just need to get going. I enjoy sewing but sometimes I get a bit nervous about starting something, but once I do then I normally finish it quite quickly.  So watch this space.

This weekend I really would like to go for a walk and see if there are any sloe berries or blackberries still around.  I would love to bake a pie or traybake or make some sloe gin for Christmas presents from something I have picked locally.

Happy Friday friends, make your weekend special. ♥

Autumn Inspiration

15 October 2013

I just love Autumn - I said it last year too.  But I will say it again.  And this time I don't mind that winter is on the way as we have had a fantastic summer here in the UK.  I got to grow my own veg for the first time (tomatoes and a pumpkin!).  My pumpkin is still growing actually - I am hoping he will be ready soon though before any frost starts to appear.  I need to do some research actually as I am not sure how to tell when he is ready for cooking.  I plan on making something delicious and then Mani can carve him up for Halloween maybe.  Depending on timing!

Here are some of my favourite things about Autumn ♥


Happy Autumn ♥

@ 25 Weeks

7 October 2013

Hormones, still raging, not everyday now but wow, I have not felt this emotional before.  And it is the little things that set me off.  We watched the Time Traveller's Wife the other evening and I ended up sobbing through the last 10 minutes and then for another half an hour after the movie had ended.  Tom caught a mouse on the weekend and bought it in the house.  It had died but I felt so sorry for the mouse which caused another outburst of tears.  Some days I miss my family so much - more tears.  I have my final exam on Wednesday and whilst exams and studying don't really stress me out, this time I am having moments of anxiety and I just have to remember to take one step at a time and just do my best.

Saying all of that, other than emotions I am feeling really well.  Baby boy kicks everyday, mostly in the evenings or after lunch.  I love it when he kicks, it reminds me that he is there, growing and can hear our voices.  Only 15 more weeks and he will either be here with us or imminently arriving.  We just can't wait to meet him now and cuddle and care for him.  It is amazing how your instincts kick in - your priorities change and you can feel yourself preparing mentally - as much as you can when it is your first!  While I definitely have a bump and getting up and bending down is becoming a bit more of a challenge - stretching and doing some yoga really helps.  My pregnancy pillow is a godsend and I could not sleep without it I don't think.

The nursery is starting to come together, once my exam is done I am going to get into sewing mode - quilt, a blind, fabric baskets, cushions - I cannot wait.  And Autumn is definitely descending on us.  The leaves are changing, it's getting darker earlier, its noticeably cooler.  This time of year makes me want to light candles in the evenings, get on with craft projects, eat soup and stews and drink endless cups of tea.  We just want to enjoy these last few months of just us.  Enjoy being able to sleep late, go out on a whim, eat meals when we want, watch TV and appreciate an orderly house, pop to the cinema or have a takeaway.  Once January is here - our whole lives are going to change into a whirlwind of nappies, feeding, changing, crying, emotions, sleepless nights and being able to cuddle and nurture a little being which we bought into the world ♥

Growing an Avocado Tree

1 October 2013

7 weeks back, I planted the pit into a pot with some soil and what with all the sunshine we had, it really was very happy on our kitchen windowsill.  I was sure to place the pit gently into the soil, only covering half of it and then patting down the soil to secure the pit and added some water.  And watered it every other day and picked any big leaves from the top to allow for new sprouting ones to come through.

I think now that autumn is approaching, my avocado tree has probably reached its peak.  These trees need a humid climate to grow and with the nights drawing in earlier and the temperature dropping gradually I am not sure how much longer my little tree is going to last.

Just the process of planting something from a pit/seed and watching it grow is something I have enjoyed doing.  It's the little things.  ♥

You can find Step one and Step two here of how I grew my avocado tree.

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