Pumpkin Patchin’ 🎃🎃🎃🎃

Last weekend we attended Hill Farm Shop just outside Norwich to do Weston’s first pumpkin patchin’ 

We captured a few pictures and made some lovely memories along the way. 

I invited a Photography friend of mine who is also American and has his own blog…

http://a-story-from-dad.blogspot.co.uk

His wonderful wife Jodie, who I made fast friends with…

https://faithtrustandalittlebabydust.wordpress.com/

And of course their beautiful baby girl Willow!

Both our families helped eachother by taking these great photos.

Normally I can just capture Weston and Ritchie and it was great to be in front of the camera with them both! 

We had such a great day making memories, new friends and creating new traditions.

*the best part was discussing all the similarities our American/British households have in common 🙂 

-Make sure you check out The Clarke’s blogging adventures! 

*follow them on Instagram 

@storyfromdad @jodielousia 

Advertisements

Autumn 🍂 Bucket List 

My favourite time of year is here again….

October isn’t only my birthday month but Halloween is one of my favourite holidays.

I’ve made a Autumn bucket list to try to the make the most of the season, and want to try to keep these a regular thing each season to remember to enjoy Weston’s first year and make it extra special. 

I’ve compiled a list here of some of the things I’d like to do on my own, with Weston and as a family together.


Do you have anything I should add to my list? Anything especially “English” I may be unaware of? Let me know! 

I’m not sure what I’m looking forward to the most but I hope to document everything! I need to start setting goals for myself to take more photographs. My batteries are charged and SD cards cleared. Packed my camera in my bag and it’s ready to come with us wherever we go! Let’s try to do everything on the list! 

I did semi decorate our dining room for autumn this weekend and just have a few finishing touches to go. 

I decided to take some nice fall leaves and my warm, glowing electric lantern as my centrepiece with my handmade wooden Wisconsin plaque made by my father.

 -placemats and dishes from NEXT

-cloth napkins from Ralph Lauren Home (TKMAX bargin)!

Decorating this afternoon has really motivated me this year to make a Thanksgiving Dinner in which Weston will be six months and we begin our babyled weaning adventure! 


We also started the fire and sat down, turn off the electronics and spend some quality time together all snuggled up. I also caught th crochet bug and started producing some beautiful handmade items:) 

You find purchase some of the items I make here: 

mamacates.tictail.com


I hope you all have a wonderful 🍂 Autumn! 

Mama Cates x 

Peach And Cream Custard Tart

A fast sweet tooth craving. 

Throw these super simple and easy ingredients togeather to create an absolutely delish dish to take care of that sweet tooth mid week. 


PEACHES AND CREAM CUSTARD TART

I’m a sucker for any baked goods filled with pastry cream so was excited to make this Peaches and Cream Custard Tart. 

I’ve been meaning to buy a  tart pan forever so I was eager to get this one filled, so eager I almost dropped the tart when it was done! I only saved the tart by sacrificing a finger, which is now swollen and red. I’d have been so mad if it ended up on the kitchen floor but then like a true food blogger, it would have went on my Instagram feed.

The peaches were perfect for this recipe. I used can peaches like a true fast recipe loving mama. I bought premade Cornish Custard and it saved me loads of time. I made this WHILE I was cooking dinner. SUPER MAMA!!!!! 

Pre sliced peaches made it easy for me to arrange them in a pretty rose shape and to the tart with slivered almonds. The crust is out of this world good. Loaded with butter, brown and crushed Hobnob biscuits it’ll take all of your willpower to not just eat that! 

This recipe would also work with other stone fruit like plums, nectarines, apricots and of course apples.

Peaches and Cream Custard Tart

 Prep Time 10 min

 Cook Time: 40 minutes

 Servings 8

Ingredients

2 cans of Peaches in syrup 

Handful of slivered almonds

3 cups of Cornish Custard 

For The Base:

2 sticks unsalted butter softened, 8oz

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 packet of Hobnob biscuits

Instructions

Place the butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on high until light and airy. 

Add the salt and crush Hobnobs until fine crumbs are formed. (I opened the whole packet into ziplock bag and took a rolling pin and smashed to make crumbs). 

Combine all. Then put the base into the tart pan and gentlt press to cover the whole pan in an even layer. 

Bake the tart base in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until it starts to turn golden brown.

Once the tart is ready, spread enough of the custard cream generously on it to and almost level with the sides.

Take your sliced peaches and lay them on the cream close to one another and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes and the custard start to look a little brown around the edge.

Let the tart cool.

Best served at room temperature. Store covered in the fridge for two days.


Easy Peasy, Sweet and Easy. 

Recipe Wednesday- Autumn Crostini

Autumn is my favourite season.

The weather is breezy and crisp…and so are the the pears in my garden.

21754551_811401305706680_749914226_n

I have to admit I’ve never eaten a fresh pear off the tree before.

We have been living in our home for nearly three years now, but for some reason I’ve been afraid to try the pears in our garden. They didn’t look like typical grocery store pears but I was feeling brave and having free/organic pears in my garden..well…I just couldn’t say no.

21754171_811401302373347_805963496_n

I decided it was time to MAMA-UP and give them a go…but I needed to find an Autumn recipe to make with all these pears I had acquired…so I opened Pintrest…typical.

*Note: Still searching for more recipes as I have loads left. Please feel free to send any my way… (thanks in advance)

Here’s what I conjured up this afternoon while Weston was taking his nap.

21729552_811385055708305_11492181_n

Turkey, Cranberry, Pear, and Brie Crostini with chopped walnuts and honey drizzled on top.

This is the perfect autumn lunch or party appetiser. Crostini is so versatile and I love creating and finding new toppings for this yummy treat. Plus, I’m up for anything with bread or cheese.

21754157_811385112374966_942891268_n

Brie cheese is absolutely one of my favourite types of cheese and this just happens to be the Cornish type I am using for this recipe. I didn’t use all the cheese but 30g slice was just enough to tops these crostinis.

21754556_811385085708302_1931256905_n

Adding walnuts and honey just make it that much more ‘Autumn’ and a sweet kick is right up my street.

21733115_811385045708306_501401846_n

Don’t they just look great? Give them a try! And dont be afraid of your garden.

Below is the free downloadable recipe card…but its so easy to throw together. Its the perfect busy MAMA lunch.

Autumn Crostini

Last weekend I was invited into the Clinique beauty counter inside Boots-Intu Chapelfield, Norwich to learn all about their You-Time services, by the business manager, Molly May O’Brien.

IMG_0413

You-Time services cater to busy mamas like myself who love a bit of ‘You Time’ but can’t find a sitter and need to take the little ones along with, or maybe in my case… just needed a GLAM boost at 9am while out running errands with my nearly four month old!

IMG_0384

They offer complimentary services from anywhere in between five minutes to twenty minutes long.

In my case, Weston was awake and I just wanted a quick ‘pick me up’ that gave me that “Pregnancy Glow” that fast faded when Weston started waking me up wanting to play in the mornings.

Before jumping into the products, Molly May asked me about my skincare concerns and guided me through a skin diagnostic test. My two major concerns were dryness and radiance. You can try the quiz at your local beauty counter, or online here.

l

According to the diagnostic test… I am Skin Type 1.0, which means I have Dry Skin and Molly May taught me all about the 3-Step skin care routine which consists of using the Extra Mild Liquid Facial Soap, 1.0 Clarifying Lotion (which is liquid exfoliater and also alcohol free), then finally the Dramatically Different Moisturiser.

Molly May then gave me samples of each to try on my own at home.

But I came for “The Glow”. My skin felt dull and I felt it lacked radiance and needed a pick me up to make running errands with the baby less ‘scrummy mummy’ and more ‘yummy mummy’.

Molly May said give me five minutes…

The Five Minute Glow

IMG_0386

Molly May said she had a three step routine that would take me from dull to darling in five minutes…

1. Conceal – A MAMA MUST DO. Sometimes I skip foundation and just swipe across and blend under the eyes.

http://www.clinique.com/product/1596/6088/makeup/concealers/line-smoothing-concealer#/shade/Light

2. Highlight (Add Moisturiser)- A lovely beauty trick taught to me by Molly May was to run the highlighter stick through the moisturiser to add an even dewier look to your cheekbones for that extra glow.

http://www.clinique.com/product/14346/34748/makeup/contouring/chubby-stick-sculpting-highlight#/shade/Hefty-Highlight

IMG_0396

3. Spray- To set the look and add hydration!

http://www.clinique.com/product/1687/5449/skin-care/moisturizers/moisture-surge-face-spray-thirsty-skin-relief

IMG_0393

Mama Cates Tip: Simply bring this with you in your nappy bag to spray yourself while nursing to stay cool and feel hydrated *dont forget to drink plenty of water as well*

Clinique offers complimentary You-Time services and a free treat each time you visit. Make sure you book well in advance if you would like an afternoon service as they tend to get busy around lunch time. However, if you want to pop in there for a morning they will likely have an open chair for you…and tablet or colouring books to keep your little one busy while you enjoy You-Time.

IMG_0401

At the end of your service you will receive a stamp card. Simply attend six services and receive a free goodie bag full of things to try!

IMG_0566.JPG

Make sure you stick around for my Clinique goodie bag review…

 

 

 

 

Macaron Day 2018

Macarons & More – Norwich, UK
ProsFree Goody Bag, Guessing the Mystery Flavor Correctly, and Lucky Charm Macaron.
Cons: Not winning a golden ticket *who doesn’t want to feel like Willy Wonka*, and the Watermelon Macaron. 

On September 9th, customers waited in line for Macaron Day hosted by Macarons and More in The Royal Arcade in Norwich city center. They had formed around from the colourfully decorated shop windows, discussing the creations inside.

It was around 9:30am, and everyone was excited to go inside. Not only did they have limited edition treats to purchase but they also had a giveaway. The excitement of finding a golden ticket in your macaron bag would result in you winning another box of macarons, pencil or mug, and even a cookery course taught by Tim Kinnaird. Unfortunately I was not a winner, and so I might have to try next year, or the year after…or after that.

Okay, I probably will continue to buy these macarons regardless of a Golden Ticket. But who doesn’t like felling like Willy Wonka, right?

Below are just a few of the snaps I took of the creations and store front.

IMG_0269
People in line waiting though The Royal Arcade.
ntitled-0278
Beautifuly decorated shop windows.
IMG_0273
Childrens ‘ Design Your Own Macaron’.
IMG_0306
Macaroon Macron Macaron
IMG_0303
Bento Box
IMG_0302
Clam and Pearl and Snickers * I forgot they had this one…wish I would have got this now…
IMG_0301
Caramel Sweet Corn
IMG_0299
Full display of creations
IMG_0296
Bagel-a-ron (not brave enough)
IMG_0294
Full display of creation cont.
IMG_0292
Ritchie and Weston waiting in line.
IMG_0323
Tim K. and assistant serving customers with a big smile.
IMG_0325
Tim Kinnaird is a Master Chef finalist, cookbook author, and owner of Macarons & More and has created many different flavors and designs for the special Macaron Day.
IMG_0326
View from stairs down to shop. The store is clean, bright and modern.  
IMG_0329
Sales assistant helping child.
IMG_0330
FRIED CHICKEN ??
IMG_0331
The line moved quick, which was impressive considering there was only three staff working. But I was really impressed that Tim was serving and I had the chance to ask what his favourite flavour was, and he replied “Lucky Charms”. With no hesitation I added the Lucky Charms Macaron to our box of nine.
IMG_0332
Mix and Choose box of nine or 12. The macarons are displayed with elegance and counters just low enough for the little ones to explore and choose a flavour. 
IMG_0337
Leaving the shop with goody bags and nine macarons for afternoon tea later when we got home.

This shop has been my favorite since moving to the United Kingdom three years ago and whenever I’m shopping in Norwich, this my normal afternoon treat. 

 

IMG_0444
GOODY BAG- Included: Three FREE macarons, Watermellon Marshmellows, Hot Chocolate,  and button. I included the shopping bag and the box of nine macarons that I purchased.
IMG_0450
“Support Your Local Baker” Pin.

Macaron Taste Test:

We got home…made a cup of tea, to share. We sat down and devoured these treats. I cut each treat in half so both my husband and I could try each kind.

Below you will find what we thought of each one.

IMG_0460
Afternoon Taste Test…with an English cup of tea.
IMG_0463
Our purchased macrons- the caramel one Ritchie ate in Norwich. Greedy boy.
IMG_0466
Afternoon Tea Macaron. Decorated to be what resembles dregs…tasty dregs.
IMG_0468
Oh my surprise! JAM and Scone. This macaron tasted mostly of jam, scone and less like English Traditional tea. Great Surprise!
IMG_0474
Classic Lemon. Taste of real lemon, not that over-powering false candy flavour. I would describe  this to be more like lemon curd because of the creamy filling.
IMG_0475
Toffee. Light and not to sickly like you would expect, which could make eating more of these easier…
IMG_0479
Chocolate Orange- Husband’s new favourite. Taste of orange false flavour, but I believe this is more along the lines of a Jaffa Cake in which the Orange over powers the chocolate. However, this was quite delicious as I am a fan of those Orange flavored Tooties Pops (American Candy) and this was similar.

Macarons and More had an exciting challenge for their customers in store that day. The “Guess the Flavour” challenge.  And if you guessed the mystery flavour correctly, you would receive that macaron for free.

My experienced sweet tooth was up for the challenge. And who doesn’t like a free macaron?

*After tasting the purple goo that was delivered to me via a stick from the container of purple goo. I tasted hints of nutmeg…but that just was not it. And the purple colour was throwing me off. So I asked… ‘ Does the colour correspond with the flavour?’, and the sales assistant replied ‘Yes’.

Mmm…a mystery indeed. But did you really think I couldn’t do it on the second guess? Your wrong, and of course I did…I have a superior tasting pallet and was the first to guess correctly that morning.

IMG_0483
THE PURPLE MYSTERY MACARON
IMG_0484
Sweet and hits of nutmeg…very autumn tasting…have you guessed it yet?            Sweet Potato! My favorite sort of potato! Look closely and you can see the bits of real sweet potato used in this macaron. Thumbs up to Macarons and More.
IMG_0489
Cappuccino. My most ordered macron would have to be the Cappuccino flavored, as I’m a bit of a coffee freak and it makes the perfect after lunch treat. This macaron is strong, and by that I mean if you just wanted to order one macaron and say you had dessert…this is the one.
IMG_0492
Jelly and Ice Cream. A Neapolitan sundae dream.
IMG_0493
I have never had Jelly and Ice cream until we attened a childs first birthday party this summer. I was amazing how well the combination worked.  I was so excited to try this one, and I was not disappointed. The cream in the middle taste of American Cake Batter Ice Cream with strawberry jelly that goes on PB&J’s. Classic Kids Favorite.
IMG_0495
Watermelon and Marshmellow. This was my least favourite macaron. I tasted more of the water than the melon. I would taste the seeds but couldnt put my hands on what they were made of. They looked so amazing but I wasn’t too impressed with the over all flavour.
IMG_0500
Lucky Charm Macaron. American Cereal…had to try. And of course Tim’s Favourite.
IMG_0501
God Bless America. This was the best macaron of the day. Best described as a melted marshmellow and rice crispy dream. This macaron tasted just like Lucky Charms but when in macaron form taste like Rice Crispy Treats. * mostly the melted marshmellow part*
IMG_0502
Looking great with crushed cereal decorated on the side. I wish they would keep this one for good.

Overall, my experience with the Macarons and More- Macaron Day was positive and fun.     I was up and running early in the morning for the 40 minute drive to Norwich, and with the baby and husband out the door before 8:30…takes some serious motivation.

The staff was really helpful and had smiles throughout.  Its great and exciting to see as a regular customer, that the owner was so involved in making experiences for his customers unique and enjoyable.

I believe Macarons and More will always be a must-do when about Norwich with the family. I love how Macarons and More cater to everyone of all ages and I will continue to stop here as Weston grows and we can enjoy picking out macarons together.

Even if your not into macarons, the shop has much….more. 

So if your in Norwich, go check it out for yourself!

11 Royal Arcade
Norwich
NR2 1NQ 
 
To find out more about what Macarons and More has to offer…

https://www.macaronsandmore.com/

Mama Cates

Why We Choose *Attachment Parenting*

Disclaimer: Any style of parenting that fits your family lifestyle and what you feel works best….is best. Only the parents decisions toward the style of parentingtheir children will be right and work for them.

This is not meant to persuade you or to make you feel like you’re not doing your job. I have written this for anyone who is interested in the elements of attachment parenting and how I choose to adapt it.

I will refrain from referring to any medical case studies in regards to attachment parenting and will allow you to do this yourself by researching the the links below:

http://www.attachmentparenting.org/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201307/the-4-principles-attachment-parenting-and-why-they-work

The Four Principles:

“AP for infants involves “child-centered” rather than “parent-centered” parenting. The parents read the cues of their babies and by doing so, provide that safe haven so important from attachment theory’s point of view. They are also responsive to their children, as suggested in Baumrind’s work on parenting style…”-Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. (Psychology Today).

There are four principles to attachment parenting. Attachment parenting does not require anything, but rather provides a label to techniques that is used to foster a strong and attached parent/child relationship.

1. Co-Sleeping


I am normally in bed by seven at night. My husband is in bed with us watching Netflix around 9pm. All while Weston sleeps soundly in between us.

Don’t plan cosleeping if you like to move about and comfortably change positions, because this is nearly impossible with a baby in bed; and I’m sure it will get a lot more difficult with a toddler. But I don’t care as long as I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to nurse in another room. Since I am breastfeeding, and love waking up to see and kiss my baby… this works the best for us. I don’t even have to get up if Weston wants to nurse at 2am I simply breastfeed laying down. Here is how you do it safely:


Why I wasn’t told this after having a C-Section…I will never know. I discoved co-sleeping without the side-bed cod online and after Weston was 2 months old I felt confident with placing him in the middle of the bed and using the side cot as a safety barrier or a space to place him when my husband and I needed a good stretch out.

I really enjoy Co-Sleeping and feel I am there for Weston when he wakes and needs me there. In the morning my husband and I give him lots of kisses and hugs. I have also noticed I have much more morning energy when I can sit up in bed with Weston, watch the news and have a cup of coffee.

Resources on how to safely co-sleep:

https://www.nct.org.uk/parenting/co-sleeping-safely-your-baby

2. Feeding on Demand:

Being in tune with Weston’s needs is especially important to me because, to me that means a happier baby.

I do not put Weston on a schedule. I am here whenever and wherever he needs me. He normally eats and sleeps around the same time every day but I am not here to put his daily habits in a planner and expect him to stick to it. Some days he has three naps and some days he has one. He feeds around the same time but I never look at a clock but I base when he will be hungry next from the last time he ate.

Feeding on demand has also made traveling and taking Weston out very easy. I am not afraid to feed on a train, at a restaurant or at a playground. It has taken time to become confident but a screaming child is much worse than someone seeing a nipple.

This is also adaptable with bottle feeding and when weening to solids.

3. Holding and Touching- Baby Wearing

Keeping Weston near to me has proven to be the only way to have him sleep soundly while traveling. I often wear him to events and when going on walks around our neighborhood. I own two types of carriers: The Moby (favourite)- stretchy cloth and most comfortable. And The Egro 360- which is the more durable and “outdoors” carrier favourited by my husband.


I love to wear Weston and since birth I have felt this to be my favourite way to hold him. I can be hands free and continue about my day with Weston close by for me to comfort him on demand. I can kiss his head and soothe him…all while giving him the perspective of what it is like to be a walking, upright human.

Baby Wearing Resources:

http://www.babywearing.co.uk/

4) Responsiveness


The most difficult of the four. Learning the difference between a tired cry and a full on upset cry. And there is a defined cry for each I have found in Weston. When first learning I wouldn’t let Weston cry without rushing to him and rocking him or nursing him to sleep. While this still works…afternoon naps are more difficult when trying to work or get things done around the house. After struggling from responding straight away I learned Weston sometimes needed 10 minutes to calm down and fall asleep.

However if he is having a hard time after feeding, changing, and singing to him: then I will let him “talk to himself” if he is not tearful and full on crying at 10 minute sections…checking up on him and comforting him… usually by the second check he is fast asleep.

This is the hardest tequnique to use but it honestly depends on how you feel and what you can handle. Personally. I want to cry when Weston cries, and I much rather stop what I’m doing and sit and rock together to help him sleep.


Please do your own research if you would like a guideline or like myself love reading medical case studies about child development.

These are parenting techniques not parenting rules.

Please let me know if your an attached parent, interested in learning more about AP or let me know what your favourite technique is!