Finding out

So it’s took me a little time to write this post and this is the umpteenth revision, but it’s definitely a post I wanted to write before Baby Sims 2 arrives and as I’m still waiting at 9 days overdue I thought I best get it finally published. So here goes!

As this is my second pregnancy I seemed to have a different approach to all the appointments that come your way. Well we knew what to expect from the first time around right? Unlike last time where I counted down to each appointment, and was quite anxious for each event, I took the midwife appointment, 12 week scan and 20 week scan in my stride – it was all just part of the journey. Until that day when I felt like my whole world fell apart.

It was an 9.00 Monday morning appointment in early March for our 20 week scan and we were all ready to see our growing little baby, and had decided to keep the flavour of our new addition a surprise. We were with the sonographer for quite a while, trying various positions and movements, as she was struggling to see the face and heart. We even went for a walk down to the hospital bakery in the hope 3 flights of stairs would wake baby up and it would move and cooperate. On returning to the diagnostics unit, we were ushered into a different room with a different sonographer … ooh I joked, “Are you our  good luck charm”? As I lay with my 5th application of the gel on my tummy, she calmly turned to me and said …. your baby has a cleft lip.

My world and images of a perfect healthy baby crumpled around me and I felt sick, hot and unable to believe what I was hearing. As the tears welled up inside me, she went on to explain it was unilateral (on one side of baby’s lip) and that we would be referred to Birmingham Women’s Hospital for further diagnosis.

I didn’t cope with hearing the news very well, feeling very nauseous and faint.  I felt I couldn’t breathe, all I wanted was fresh air and to be out of there. But before that,  I made the decision I needed to know if it was a boy or girl, I needed something else to focus on. Back on the bed and the sonographer applied another load of gel and told us … we were having a boy!

Then, as we left the unit, I was hanging onto hubby’s arm for support, legs like jelly. The next thing I knew I woke up on a seat in the corridor, surrounded by doctors and my hubby. It appears my body didn’t want to deal with the news and shut down in a fit. After a couple of hours in the delivery suite (the very same room I gave birth to Little Miss Chief in!!) being monitored, we finally left the hospital and headed home.

I felt tired, drained and unable to understand why this had to happen to us? Having been told not to google Cleft lip for fear of scaring myself, my mind was still filled with images of Third World children with deformed faces. Hubby rang the news through to close family members as I couldn’t bare to talk about it.

As I lay in bed that night, with everything whirring round my head, I felt the very first baby movement. The tears flowed as I realised it was his way of letting me know we will be ok, and that he needs me to be strong and not worry! Ok son, I’ll do my best!


Fresh Start!

Hello and welcome might not be the most apt entry for a blog with over 70 posts, but it’s soooo long since I’ve posted anything here, it really does feel like a fresh start.

I’ve decided to revive the blog as not only is food an important part of my life again, but life is changing and throwing me a few challenges that I know I want to document.

So where to start? Well how about Baby Sims number 2 is on the way!! I am currently 28 weeks pregnant and have had a rollercoaster of a pregnancy so far, but more of that in another post. For now here is the picture from the first time we saw the new addition at the 12 week scan, way back in January.

Baby Sims Number 2

I will be back soon with more tales of my life and there may well be some food thrown in too for good measure!

Hasta luego / be back soon




Food for thought

It would appear that without planning to or not, I appear to have taken a break from the blog. The last few months have been a whirlwind of work and family life and whiling away time in the kitchen had become a rarity, never mind photographing and writing the post, but today I feel ready to dive in again and hope you’ll enjoy visiting.

So what happened? Since returning to work after maternity leave I found my spare time was practically non existent and what little I do have I Iike to spend playing with Little Miss Chief. The travelling element of my job is a new aspect for me and one I have found tiring to begin with, though I am sure it just requires getting used to. It also requires a lot more planning and forethought into my daily diet as without lunches prepared it as been too hard to avoid the attraction of those “golden arches”. Not only do they seem to be in all the right locations but when time is of the essence they are the quickest way to fuel up and I quickly became partial to their Chicken Legends!

The common occurrence of this lead to a piling on of weight and a craving for freshly cooked food. So during August we made a conscious effort to cook more and try out new recipes – mainly using the Good Food magazine that I subscribe to as our source of inspiration. We began weekly meal plans and all was going well. We tried lots of new recipes and I was itching to begin writing again.

Then as September arrived, we went on holiday for two weeks in the sun. This fuelled my love for freshly cooked food, spanish flavourings, and also reminded me why I set up this blog in the first place. My time in Spain not only reignited my desire to cook but also share my experiences here on the blog.

Since returning from Spain life has been extremely hectic, with operations, teething babies and craft events and the August meal plan regime has yet to get going again, but as I write this post I have already begun to plan my next few articles.

So I hope you’ll resume the journey with me as if I never left and I look forward to cooking my way into a healthy, Spanish styled lifestyle.

Mojo and Motivation

It’s been a few weeks since I was last here and to be honest it’s been a few weeks since I’ve spent much time in the kitchen. The last few weeks have sped by in a blur of Birthdays, crafting and working.

I actually think a break from the blog was needed as I had been struggling with motivation to write. I never wanted to feel like it’s a chore to write a blog post or feel pressure that I haven’t blogged in x amount of days. That’s not what writing a personal blog should be like. So I’m back, motivated and ready to write.

To make the most of my foodie mojo returning I’m going to pull up a chair, grab a coffee and have a read through a few blog posts of two from my fellow foodies.

Coffee and Cake

I’ll be back with soon details of where that cup of coffee came from.

Hasta pronto / be back soon

Louise x

Food and Family – Part 3

Following the growing up of Baby G has really taught me to appreciate the here and now. There is so much development and change in each month of a baby’s first year that miss a bit and it’s like missing a whole decade! Thinking about her relationship with food and how that has developed is just one thing that makes me realise how quickly time passes.

In the few weeks since I last posted about Food and Family, so much has changed. During early December I completely gave up breastfeeding as her demand got less, my supply reduced and it became a pointless exercise, leading to frustration for both of us. Whilst I do miss that special bond we have had for 10 months I love the freedom it gives me, and the opportunity to drink a glass or two of wine might have been slightly abused over the festive period!

She still refuses formula (apart from one evening where she drank a cupful) but after several further attempts I have now given up completely on the milk front. I hope that her diet gives her all the calcium and nutrients she needs and will try again at the age of 1 with cows milk. Whilst this did cause me much stress and worry during her early months as my fellow mummy tweeters will know, I have now come to accept the fact that some babies do just fine without milk. Now it’s nice to be able to pass on advice and support to other mum’s who go through the same thing.

The worry of dehydration faded as slowly but surely she has come to love her cup and now will happily drink water from it all day, not only when offered to her, but crawling over to it and helping herself.

Here she is having a well earned drink after wolfing down her ratatouille for tea. Apologies for the quality of the photo but whilst I continue with my Project 366, many photographs will be taken on the quick with my IPhone. I won’t be posting all my photo’s here for fear of boring you to death with my project, but you can pop over to see my complete project here.

Salud! / Cheers!

Project 366 – Day 2/366

With her insatiable efforts of crawling and exploring, Baby G needs her naptime. Here she is having her only nap of the day. Usual pose of index finger in the mouth – no dummy required!

I love naptime, not only the perfect chance to gaze upon my sleeping beauty but a bit of “me” time to. Only wish it didn’t have to be filled with chores like ironing!

Project 366 – Day 1/366

I’ve been aware of 365 Project for a wee while now. For those who don’t know it’s a picture a day for a year of your life. This year with a leap involved I’m going to try and do a 366 Project. I kept thinking do I have time to photograph and blog each day – but with 3 blogs to look after I though what’s one more, right?!

I think the idea of taking a picture everyday is a fabulous way of recording your life in a snapshot, and with a desire to improve my photography skills it seems like a good way.

Not only that,  but when Baby G was first born I was very snap happy and have lots of photos of her early months, but with the return to work and trying to cram as much into the limited family time we have each day, the moments to photo become less and less.

This project is a way for me to ensure I don’t miss a moment of my beautiful baby’s girl life as she becomes more and more independent with each passing day.

It will also give me a chance to share some of my cooking and crafting creations, travels and anything else that might take my fancy!

Day One

Baby G out at lunch posing in Aunty Lisa’s hat!

Hello 2012!

So how was your Christmas and New Year celebrations? Here at Comida y Vida it has all been about some family time – both spending time with the parents and close family members and some quality “just us” chilling out time for me, Baby G and Mr CYV.

We have enjoyed some lovely food and New Years eve was spent feasting on a tapas selection of homemade delights including smoked salmon, duck prosciutto,(blog posts to follow as soon as we have perfected the curing and smoking), whisky onion marmalade and bread together with a great cheeseboard and some chorizo in red wine!

New Years inevitably evokes a desire to review the past year and plan for the next. At the beginning of 2011 I set a list of things I wanted to achieve and well to be honest …. it’s been a bit hit and miss.

I started out well with a few Spanish inspired posts and even did a week long tapas feast. Of late my spanish cooking has focused on these same dishes and so no new ones to blog – something to remedy for 2012!

The visit to Purnells is still on the list to do and as soon as finances allow I’ll be there!

I did attend the bread course at Loaf Online and you can see how I got on here.

I have done some new dishes from my cookbooks and have some waiting in the wings ready to blog when I get chance.

The garden has been sadly neglected but as soon as the weather shows a sign of spring I’ll be in the garden and getting it sorted. I want Baby G to learn how food is grown and that’s the best way.

So whilst my failings in 2011 leave me with a ready-made list of plans for this coming year I thought I’d add a couple more (not one not to challenge myself!) :

  • Do more seasonal cooking
  • Reduce my food bill by using up leftovers, reducing my food waste and cooking more frugally with cheaper cuts of meat etc.

I may have been less active than I’d like blogging here at CYV but I have been busy in the blogosphere! You can see what I’ve been up to in the crafty world at Stampin’ Delight and of course I’ve been busy single-handedly looking after Midlands Food Bloggers community blog whilst Jo has been on maternity leave.

So that’s me and just left to say thank you to all my readers, especially those who take time to comment – I love to hear your thoughts.

What do you have planned for the coming days, weeks, months and year?

Food and Family – Part 2

From those initial yoghurt disguising days we have made great progress in Baby G’s foodie journey. I was surprised how soon a baby’s appetite develops, as lunch was quickly joined by tea and it wasn’t long before she was on 3 meals a day. Within 3-4 weeks we had reduced breastfeeding to just morning and bedtime and her diet was more or less totally based on food.

Baby Weaning

My main concern was to keep her hydrated during the day as she still wasn’t a big fan of the cup and drinking so we had lots of food with disguised liquids like weetabix, ready brek, yoghurt, chunks of melon and steamed pear and apple.

As we introduced Baby G to a range of vegetables we soon found that any starchy ones like potato, carrot and swede caused her a few digestive issues! So we tried to balance out starchy days with ones filled with fruit and fibre.

It wasn’t long before we looked to increase the variety in her diet and added pasta, something she clearly enjoyed having the ability to feed herself with.

Baby eating pasta

Then came the challenge of adding meat to her diet. This actually proved less of a challenge than I feared as Baby G wolfed down the beef stew she was given and the chicken and vegetable dinner was soon devoured too. However fish has become a different story – we tried both salmon and white fish and both have not been accepted by her ladyship. Any ideas for fishy dishes for my little one?

We do have days where food can be an issue and she refuses dishes she has previously eaten, but I am not sure whether this is to do with teething, the cold and cough she has picked up or indeed the food. We just keep trying lots of different foods at various times but now find she is most happy when eating the same food as we eat and at the same time. So as we embark on a journey of creating dishes suitable for all of us as a family I hope to share with you some of our favourites.

Hasta la proxima / until next time

Food and Family – Part 1

Oh my goodness …. where does the time go? I can’t believe it has been a month since I last posted; I have been so busy I don’t know where the weeks have gone. Last night though I managed some quality me time and reflected on the recent hectic times. (Apologies now for the rambling nature and length of this post!! ;-))

Since having Baby G my focus on food has changed completely. Gone are the days of spending hours in the kitchen preparing feasts for family and friends, or a romantic meal for two. The feeding of Baby G became the main priority.

For the first six months I was the main source of Baby G’s nourishment, I had wanted to breastfeed from the start and initially set myself the goal of her first 3 months. I loved the special bond this gave us but it sure does mean life revolves around feeding, leaving little time for anything else to begin with. The 3 month milestone came and went and we continued on with breastfeeding, though as we approached 5 months I began to try and get Baby G to feed from a bottle, something she had done when she was just a few weeks old when times had required it. Then we struck a problem, it would seem that as she was now “older and wiser” she just flat out refused it – breast was most certainly best in her eyes!

So followed a stressful, tense and emotional few weeks trying all manner of times, cups, bottles and techniques to get Baby G to drink from anything other than me, all resulting in crying fits from my little girl. With a night out looming I got so stressed out at the thought of her going without nourishment when she wasn’t with me to the point where I was in floods of tears ……. in the end I went out and she was fine. It seemed she learned how to do without and just stock up before and after my time away from her. So for a few weeks we muddled through and then it became time to wean onto solid foods.

As a foodie I was so looking forward to introducing food to Baby G. I read up on how best to introduce solids to her diet. The River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook, kindly given to me by Jo of Jo’s Kitchen as a present, gives you the information on all aspects of feeding including breast and bottle feeding, purees and Baby-led Weaning (BLW) in a clear and engaging way.

I was really interested in the Baby-led weaning method, where food is offered at “non-hungry” times and the baby literally feeds themselves. The benefits of this include allowing baby to experience a range of textures from day one, giving them control of how much they eat and aiding their development as they learn how to grip and pick up things. It sounded like the best way to develop Baby G’s relationship with food.

The first solid food Baby G tried was a piece of cucumber ….. mmmmm tasty!  Not so much a planned meal time for her, but she was sat on my knee whilst I was eating a salad and she just leant forward mouth open as I was eating …. a sure sign she was interested in food!

We tried a few other finger foods as per the BLW way, but at just 6 months old picking up food and hand to mouth co-ordination is certainly a challenge. The downside to this method is you never know exactly how much they eat, but because the fruit and veg have not been puréed their nutritional value is far greater. So we tried BLW but with the clock ticking for me to go back to work, it seemed impossible as it relies on milk as a back up and so with our current problem in getting Baby G to take milk from other sources I decided (and was advised by health visitors) to start introducing purées and spoon fed food so that Baby G would become less dependent on me, and dad, the childminder and grandparents could feed her whilst I was away from her.

We began with baby porridge and yoghurts and then introduced a variety of fruit and vegetable purées. The acceptance of these varied on a daily basis, one day pear might be devoured with glee, next time Baby G pulled a face like you were trying to feed her tripe! For a couple of weeks the only way we got her to eat fruit was by hiding it in her yoghurt – something she never refused. First a couple of spoonfuls of yoghurt, then a 70/30 mix with fruit purée, slowly reducing the amount of yoghurt on the spoon until we even sneaked a couple of spoonfuls of 100% fruit. Shhhhh … don’t tell Baby G!!

Spoon Feeding

It took a couple of weeks but soon we were in full flow with a range of fruit and veg purees without the need for a yoghurty disguise. And so began her foodie journey!

How did you find weaning? Any tips or tricks you’d like to pass on?

I’ll be back soon to tell you how we’ve progressed.

Hasta la proxima / until next time