Archives for January 2014

Easy veggie curry

Seriously, it’s so easy I’m not even going to give proper instructions. I never follow a recipe to the letter myself so get creative, give it a go and let me know how it tastes!

Throw some spices in a pan (I recommend cumin, coriander, tumeric and/or garam masala).

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Add some fresh sliced chillies (I use mild if the curry will be for Mushroom too), chopped (or minced) garlic and onions with a little vegetable oil and fry until it smells good.

Add some veg. We used Okra, aubergine (cubed) and chickpeas (if you’re using tinned chickpeas, add them at the end). Stir in a little tomato puree (or paste. Sometimes we use Sacla’s sun-dried tomato paste)

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Not sure about okra? Ours  came from the freezer aisle…

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It loses a bit of bite but still tastes great.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes (or if you can be bothered to boil, peel and chop them yourself, do. I’d add a bit of salt if you do this but that’s just me):

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Leave on a low heat, stirring occasionally for at least 20 minutes. Longer is good.

If you prefer a slightly creamy curry, add some milk or yogurt just before serving. Stir through…

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Serve warm with rice or naan. That’s it! Told you it was easy.


My one and only

 Mushroom and MeMushroom is an only child.

For now, anyway. What was the first thing that came to mind as you read the first sentence. Did you think. “So what?” or “Oh no, the poor boy!” or “How selfish of you!” Simply “Ok…”? Or something else..?

I only ask because since Mushroom was about a year old I have been asked many, many times, “Do you think you’ll have another?” I don’t mind this so much. It’s a fair question and does not presume to know what my answer might be. However, I have also been asked “So, when are you having the next one?” and “you better hurry up and have another one soon!” and even “One child is no child. You have to give him a brother or sister.” Really, I have to? Why…?

Ok, I do get the argument that when Mr B and I reach the end of our lives, if Mushroom is still an only child (he’s not even three yet, why assume things won’t change?) grief is a heavier burden to bear if there’s no-one to share it with. My brother, sister and I leaned heavily on each other when our Mum passed away. We are lucky we get on so well. However, I also received a massive amount of support from friends who I leaned on just as much and I know some who are not even in touch with their sibling/s so it’s no guarantee of future help (if caring for elderly parents) and support.  The point is, I understand this argument.

However, other beliefs that I have less time for include:

Only children are spoiled
Only if you spoil them, surely? Sure, if you pander to your only child’s every whim and give them everything they want all the time, then they will develop a sense of entitlement. But if you can afford it, you can just as easily ‘spoil’ two or more kids the same way.

Only children selfish
Only if they are not taught otherwise! All toddlers are selfish at times – it’s part of their development. However, this applies as much to toddlers with siblings as to only children. Mushroom, for example, is not yet three. Of course he has his moments but he is very aware of others’ feelings – often asking ‘what’s wrong’ if he senses someone is upset. He’s also pretty good at sharing and taking turns, often offering younger children a turn first.

Only children are clingy
Sometimes, maybe. But not always. Again, children with siblings can be clingy too! Besides, studies have shown that only children are in fact more independent and self-reliant as they don’t have siblings to lean on.

Only children will find it hard to make friends
Well, Mushroom is popular at nursery and the adult only children I know personally are confident and popular with wide groups of friends. However, I don’t have personal experience of being an only child so I asked around (isn’t social media great?) and here’s what two adult only children have to say about their experiences:

Clare Levett (@belledidyoutell) says, “I was my parents’ sole focus, their absolute single adoration. [They] poured themselves into encouraging my education, my extra-curricular activities and my talents. I couldn’t have been any more nurtured than I was as an only child. I was lonely though. I did struggle to make friends as I was painfully shy and not having any other children in my family, was unsure of how to interact.”

However, Ericka Clay (@tipsylit) who says of only having one child herself, I see nothing wrong with having one child because I know I’ll be able to concentrate on my writing and raising my kid (emphasis on the singular). I see nothing wrong with knowing you’re not equipped to take on more than you can handle,” says that she loved being an only child.

Of course there’s a flipside to every argument. As with most things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to being an only child. I guess then, what’s most important, is what is right for each individual family.

Whether Mr B and I want or will have another child is nobody’s business but ours. If we do have another, it will be announced after 12 weeks of pregnancy and not before. If we don’t, we don’t.

If you have a large family, that’s great. I agree that there are many life lessons that can be learned from having siblings and have experienced the benefits first-hand myself. However, before you ask anyone with one child when they’re having another, it’s worth considering the various reasons they might not be.

Here are a few possibilities:

  • Maybe they’ve been trying for another and the question will be a painful reminder that they’ve so far been unsuccessful
  • Maybe they have health reasons for not wanting to risk another child, like Tessa (@ThePumpingMama), who says, ‘Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) and postnatal depression mean I won’t risk another child. I’ve had to be really frank with people about it as they can’t understand having [only] one,” or Amanda Fisher (@amandaspatch), whose experience of Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) meant that her family’s decision to remain a one child family was not an easy one
  • Maybe they want to wait until they can better afford to support two (or more) children
  • Maybe they simply don’t want another (and better one child than one loved and one unwanted, surely?)
  • Maybe that they can’t have any more for whatever reason and they don’t want to share this (deeply personal) information. Would you?

Are you/do you have an only child? What are your thoughts one-child families? Do comment below, I’d love to hear what you think.


Mushroom’s manifesto | From Mushroom’s mouth

Despite owning a t-shirt Grandma got me from Jamaica that says I’m the boss, no-one else seems to have got the memo so I am not in charge of Mushroom mansions. If I were, things would be very different.

Different how? So glad you asked. Here’s my manifesto (to which I may add items at any time between now and when I take my rightful position):

There will be no buttons
On anything, ever. I don’t like them. Mummy keeps asking why/what it is about them I don’t like. Stop asking and just accept it. I do not like buttons. They are just wrong.

No. Just no.

No. Just no.

Breakfast will be whatever I want it to be
If I want an ice cream for breakfast. Give it to me. I’ll have a flake and raspberry sauce with it too. And no, I won’t brush my teeth afterwards.

Same goes for lunch and dinner
I’ll eat anything really but I particularly like chicken, chocolate, noodles and olives. If I want them all on the same plate that’s up to me. What’s that? It might make me sick? Well, how will I learn if you don’t let me make mistakes?

Yeah it's a mountain. I aim high. Just make sure you're there to catch me, ok?

Yeah it’s a mountain. I aim high. Just make sure you’re there to catch me, ok?

Let me climb it
It doesn’t matter how high or dangerous it is, let me climb it. Just stay close enough to catch me when I fall

I will do my cutting and sticking with big scissors and superglue
Because I CAN. Really, I can. Just let me show you.

There will be no naps
I don’t need one. Seriously, just because my eyes are closing and I am whining a bit it doesn’t mean I’m tired. I have things to do, people to see. DON’T PUT ME DOWN! I’M NOT TIRED I’M NOT TIR…. ZZzzzz Hey, what happened?

There will be no bedtime
Just leave me to do what I’m doing. It’s important. I’ll sleep eventually. Maybe.

One day I will implement this. I promise. We just need to show the grown-ups who’s really in charge. Honest Toddler, are you with me?



[Photo credits: “Buttons’ by Suat Eman and “Mt. Fuji, Japan by Worakit Sirijinda at]


Mastering Mushroom’s language

It’s been a while since I wrote about Mushroom’s language development – the last time was almost a year ago when he had around 10 words in his vocabulary and definitely could not make a proper sentence out of them.

Fast forward to now and he is constructing grammatically correct sentences (well, not all of the time, obviously) and using them in the right context (although he sometimes doesn’t quite know what he’s saying). It’s amazing how much he has grown. I thought I’d record a few of the things he used to say, says now and it ‘trying out’ here to remind me of how far we’ve come. And to give you a laugh (maybe. Funny’s not really my ‘thing.’ I tend to leave that to Mushroom)!

He used to say:

Bubble meaning swimming. Or trunks. Or Bubbles. Usually swimming though

This – as in “I want dis Mummy!” (points to mouth) meaning dummy

Apple meaning any fruit

Buddy meaning any friend apart from one whose name he could say. Sort of

Wheeee! meaning I want to go to the park and go on the slide.

I wish I could remember more! Anyway.

Now, he says:

Kok meaning Clock/clocks or Sock/Socks. Not sure if it’s amusing or embarrassing when he says (after taking off his socks, which he does often), “I not got a sock Mummy!”

Pirants meaning Pirates. Or presents. Surprisingly, I can’t always tell which by the context in which he uses this word

Paddy meaning Party.

He’s starting to say (proper sentences! Well, almost):

“I not happy today!” He generally likes to add ‘today’ to the end of most sentences

“It’s not fair!” He has no idea what this means but he says it when he’s bored of “I not happy today!”

“It’s my paddy! I want pirants!” He’s not had a party yet so I explain the presents are not for him. His next question is always. “Ok. I get cake?”

“Don’t do that, it’s dangereuse.” No idea where the french came from, it’s just the way he pronounces dangerous

“You not listening me!” He’s probably right, especially if all he’s said is “Mummy?” several times and we’ve not moved on from there. Sorry Mushroom.

“Mummy I hiding you.” This is a warning. It could be the start of a lengthy game of hide and seek (and he always hides in the same three places) or if could loosely translate to “I’m up to something and I don’t want you to stop me. At least he doesn’t lie about it. Yet.

It really is amazing what they learn in such a short time isn’t it? I’ll try to remember this when he next asks me a million questions when he wakes up before 5am, and refrain from saying ‘Shhh, Mummy’s sleeping!’ What things do your kids say that only make sense to you/make you laugh?


Postcards from the fridge

This week I am taking inspiration from the lovely Redpeffer, who recently posted a ‘postcard from the fridge’ to her late pet, Bonnie.

All the time since Mushroom was born, and especially in the past month or so in the lead up to Christmas, I find myself thinking ‘Mum would have loved this,’ or ‘if only Mum could see him now,’ when out and about with Mushroom. So I have decided to write my postcard from the fridge to my Mum. I will write these to others too, but I’m sure there will be plenty more to my Mum over the course of this year.

Postcard from the fridge - to Mum Jan 2014



Happy New Year! | From Mushroom’s mouth

Hello again,

Mummy’s a bit miserable at the moment as she didn’t quite achieve everything she’d planned for this year – see her New Year’s post over at Honest Speaks: No promises, no resolutions. See? Blah blah blah. So I’m taking over here.

I didn’t plan to achieve ANYTHING this year so of course I have surpassed all expectations. Yay me! Mummy’s yearly email from Future Me listed all the things she thought she would achieve (she did achieve some of them actually, she’ll realise this later) as well as her hopes for me. So I’ll start with that.

Mummy hoped I would be potty trained by now…. Check. I am even dry at night now – no more nappies, woo hoo!

Mummy wondered if I would be speaking a bit more – enough to hold a ‘proper’ conversation…. Check. Actually there was nothing wrong with my conversation before, she just wasn’t listening hard enough but now that I have more actual words to play with she pays more attention and is starting to realise just how insightful and hilarious I am. Seriously. I’m sure she’ll share her thoughts on this soon enough.

Mummy wondered whether I’d be able to say ‘I love you’ by now…. Check. Actually, I can say ‘I love you’ and ‘sorry.’ Gets me out of a whole heap of trouble that does. Useful things, these words…

Mummy wondered whether I’d be able to ride my balance bike properly… Check. I leave her in the dust! I am now learning to pedal at nursery (we have nothing with pedals on at home. Nothing. *sigh*). I’m getting there and soon I’ll be demanding asking for a proper bike. At the moment I practice pedaling at home when they’re trying to put me to bed.

As for me, well I am very pleased with my progress. I’ve been to several parties this year, eaten a whole heap of cake and even been to the theatre a few times! I’ve also learned how to put on my own shoes, trousers and coat. Vests and t-shirts are a bit trickier but I’m getting there. I’ve also learned how to do ‘the look.’ You know the one parents do when they disapprove? That. I’ve got it down. Now when Mummy or Daddy give me the look I give it right back to make them laugh. That doesn’t always work though.  I suppose it depends on what I’ve been up to. Turns out stealing Daddy’s headphones is not a laughing matter. Neither is drawing on the walls… Still, you live and learn.

So, I’ve done pretty well don’t you think? The biggest revelation for me in 2013 is that saying you’re sorry and/or that you love someone is a good way to get out of trouble. If that fails, make them laugh! I’m gonna work on more ways to do that. Alright 2014, bring it on – I’m ready for ya!