Sausage Risotto (for everyone)

Food and Drink

Shopping / Store Cupboard List

  • 2 x shallots
  • 1 cup arborio risotto rice
  • Large knob butter
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 litre stock (I use Italian Brodo, but any stock works)
  • 5 sausages (either chopped up or whole, depending on how long you have!)
  • Dried chilli flakes (I use 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1 bag spinach
  • Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper

Preparation

  • Chop the shallots
  • Rinse the rice
  • Make the stock
  • Prep the sausages (if you aren’t chopping them up, pierce holes in the skin)
  • Chop the courgette

Method

  1. If you have a risotto pan, use that, otherwise a large non-stick frying pan is ideal.
  2. Heat the pan on a medium heat and melt the butter.
  3. Add the shallots, chilli and rice and stir until softened.
  4. Add the sausage and gently heat until browned.
  5. Pour in the red wine (if using) and allow to bubble to cook off the alcohol.
  6. Add the courgette.
  7. Add the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it has been absorbed, then add another.
  8. Repeat until nearly all the stock is in.
  9. Season to taste.
  10. Put the spinach on top of the rice, pour over the last bit of stock and stir.
  11. Keep stirring until the spinach has wilted and the risotto is your preferred consistency.
  12. Put a couple of knobs of butter on top and grate over the parmesan.
  13. Serve quickly!

Notes

Prep Time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking Time: around 30 minutes

 

Sausage Risotto (for baby)

baby, Food and Drink

Shopping / Store Cupboard List

  • Handful of baby spinach leavesfullsizeoutput_9c1c
  • 1/4 cup arborio risotto rice
  • Small piece parmesan
  • Small knob butter
  • 1/4 courgette
  • 1 x sausage
  • 1/2 baby stock cube

 

Preparation

  • Wash and chop the spinachfullsizeoutput_9c1e
  • Rinse the rice
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Chop the courgette
  • Remove the sausage meat from the sausage
  • Make 300ml stock

 

Method

 

  1. Heat the butter over a medium heat until melted.
  2. Put the sausage meat and rice into the pan and allow the meat to brown.
  3. Add in the courgette and spinach.
  4. Gradually add in the stock, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly until it has been absorbed by the rice.
  5. Don’t take your eyes off the risotto (if you can help it!): every time the stock is nearly gone, add more and repeat.
  6. Allow the risotto to bubble away as it cooks.
  7. When you add the last bit of stock, add the parmesan and stir it through.

Notes

I find these quantities are perfect for two baby sized meals (my little one is 11 months).

The spoon we are using is a proper risotto spoon! It has a hole in it to further enable the ‘agitating’ of the starch in the rice. But mostly it’s a pretty heart spoon so what’s not to love!

Verdict: Success!

 

Maternity Leave is Over

Parenting

To the Daddy of my children,

The main man in my life,

The one who’s always there for me,

From the girly who’s your wife.

 

We’ve been on quite a journey

And the last year’s been a blast.

But now I’m heading back to work,

I knew maternity leave couldn’t last.

 

From growing our tiny human,

To bringing her into the world,

Nurturing her and feeding her

And keeping her warm in the cold.

 

I’ve been there for every little step,

Each smile and laugh and cry,

I’ve watched her play and learn so much,

I don’t want to say goodbye.

 

I’m the one who’s always fed her,

The one who’s always changed her bum,

I’ve got to know her little ways,

I am her one and only Mum.

 

I guess it’s a funny feeling

To think someone else will do it all,

Even though I know deep in my heart

They’ll all have such a ball.

 

I know it’s only for the day,

That she’ll be in amazing hands,

But she’s my tiny baby girl

And I wish I could change my plans.

 

I guess I’m ready to go back to my job,

At which I’m rather good.

To drink hot coffee, wear clean clothes

And take time over my food!

 

But, listen up, cos here’s my say,

(I know you care so much);

Walking away from our daughter

Will be seriously tough.

 

So instead of telling me

It’s for the best you know!

Just let me shed a little tear,

Before I have to go.

 

Then give me a hug and a little shake

And send me on my way.

Tell me that she’ll miss me,

But that she can’t wait to play.

 

 

Written by Victoria Sbraga 2018

11 Months: Time for Tea

Child's Play

And just like that, my baby has turned into a little play-mate! She has started to understand imaginative role-play and it is so much fun!

For Christmas we gave her a beautiful little play kitchen, but didn’t buy any bits and pieces for it, so I stocked it with her bowls, cups, spoons and an empty porridge box.

My parents then gave her a little teapot and cups for Christmas and the play began!

Violetta, after being led by her auntie, quickly got the hang of the teapot and the teacups; pouring everyone cups of her imaginary tea and saying ‘cheers’ with chinking cups to anyone who would stop for a drink!

This has led to a realisation that she also has a new level of understanding instructions, as we now go into my kitchen and I ask her for a cup of tea. She promptly crawls off to her kitchen, sources the tea pot and (most times – although sometimes we’ve imagined them) the teacups, and brings them over to pour me tea!

Following this, we have started ‘making’ porridge, cups of water (from her little sink) and all sorts of other food and drinks. She even chews her imaginary food after putting it in her mouth.

I think it’s time for the real playing to begin and I am so excited.

I’ll be popping some play ideas up here on a weekly bases so feel free to tune in to see what we’ve been up to and what you can try with your littles.

Love Victoria and Violetta x

A Job Role to Fill!

Lifestyle, Parenting

There’s a gap in the careers market that I think really needs to be filled.

I need a life PA.

And I bet I’m not the only one (was going to say Mum, but then I realised I needed this before I became a Mum!).

Life these days is just so busy, it’s almost impossible to keep on top of everything.

Everyone kindly sends you email reminders when policies are expiring, invoices when payments need to be made and calendar notifications for important dates (if you remembered to put them on your calendar in the first place), but someone like me could really do with this all being consolidated.

My life PA would be sent all my important house admin to keep on top of, make sure I had the best rates for energy/insurance/etc. They’d make sure I always had enough stamps to send important mail. They’d give me enough notice to actually purchase and wrap birthday presents and get them in the post in time, instead of being a last minute thing when that’s really not my style – I much prefer the personal touch but I can never seem to get organised enough! They’d make sure we see a dentist and an optician whenever we’re supposed to (twice a year?!) and they’d consolidate important information about term dates, classes, fees due etc for the kids activities.

Oh, and I don’t have a bottomless pot of money (or much of a pot at all for that matter!) so this would all need to be done on a shoestring budget.

I feel like there’s someone out there who would be SO suited to doing this for busy Mums, for a sensible price, and who with enough people to do it for could actually manage to make a good living doing it!

So if you’re out there, here’s the idea for you : )

I’m off to try and sort my diary, send last minute cards and presents, check the calendar for our Christmas arrangements, try and get a food shop and sort out our energy bill.

Happy Mummy-ing!

Victoria x

 

Father Christmas at Bluewater

Local Things to Do

Totally worth it!

Cost: £10.00

Note: photos are extra (£7.50)

Why is it worth it? The kids absolutely loved every minute (even Violetta!).

The experience starts with a little cookery lesson with the elves. How to make a gingerbread man! Good rhetoric and funny little jokes as well as lots of participation from the children who then receive an elf hat to write their name on. The magical gingerbread man is then put in the over where he comes to life!

You are then taken through to meet Mrs Claus and decorate your own gingerbread man tree decoration in a sweet craft room with oversized craft essentials!

Then it’s on to the next room to meet the real life gingerbread man:

And finally, time to meet Father Christmas! In a beautiful little grotto with an elf to take the photo:

You are given a little card so you can decide if you want your pictures and for £1 extra you can download the digital copy later!

All in all a fab experience and one I’d definitely recommend. We didn’t even have to book in advance; we just popped to the box office (down by Pizza Express) and booked for the next slot!

Let us know if you go along!

Victoria and Violetta x

How To: Christmas Shop with a Baby!

Lifestyle

This year is my first year of Mummying at Christmas.

I have never been especially good at getting ready in advance and quite enjoy the thrill of leaving all the shopping to do on one day, with stops for mince pies and mulled wine, then coming home to go through all the purchased goodies, sorting them, stacking them and eventually the week before Christmas (generally while hubby is at his Christmas party) setting myself up with Love Actually, Elf and White Christmas, an endless supply of hot chocolate and nibbles and wrapping, labelling and decorating every single one.

It was mad, it was last minute and I absolutely loved the thrill of it. I totally, completely failed to realise that this is a pipe dream when you have a ten month old baby who is into everything and wants to help (can I call it that, really?) sorting, unwrapping, tearing, exploring textures and ‘posting’ very usefully in hidden places.

How did I realise this? I carefully compiled Christmas present lists of what needed to be bought for who (with a lot of gaps – I love spontaneity when I see the ‘right’ gift for someone), I set of for Bluewater with Violetta in tow and optimistically set off to shop.

This is not a negative post. I absolutely loved it. Every minute. But oh my goodness, I think I’m mad.

I started off with all the best intentions – a lovely lunch with my miniature bestie! Pizza Express have a wonderful Bambino menu, so we had a pizza and a mini bowl of pasta respectively (shared dough balls to start, naturally) and all was well in the world. We then wandered round looking at the lights, ambling through the shops chit chatting (me) about what we could buy people, wooing the shop assistants (V – she was given a key ring in Jo Malone and a chocolate coin in Ted Baker!) and generally enjoying the festive atmosphere. We even stopped and listened to the gorgeous choir!

Then, bang! It was nap time and Violetta was getting grumpy. No problem though, out came the Snooze Shade and after a couple of laps of the shopping centre she was soundo. I thought this meant I had an hour or two to make all the purchases, popping back to the car to drop bits off as needed and then, when she was well rested we’d stop for a hot chocolate and milk break, before finishing off any little bits and heading home.

I am so naïve sometimes!

Firstly, navigating a buggy, picking up things in shops, taking them to the tills, paying for them, bagging them and then balancing enough bags on the pram (with a sleeping baby in who wakes up if the wind blows) before the run back to the car every few bags should not be underestimated! Add into this that I am a moocher and you begin to see where I went wrong!

A few items ticked off my list (including some of the unknowns, thankfully!) Violetta woke up. She had been asleep for all of 30 minutes. This is unheard of!

So we popped off for a drink break – which was super lovely actually and exactly what I wanted it to be. But then I realised I still had to finish the whole list of presents. Eek!

Anyway, long story short – we did it! Thank goodness for Ella and her nibbly banana biscuits, Ted and his cheeky chocolate coin and a heavily discounted penguin that we spotted in House of Fraser, who I think might be Violetta’s new best friend as she cuddled him non-stop until she went to !

My car was full to the brim, Violetta was just on the edge of having had enough, but we did it! And guess what – I loved it : )

I think next year I may get someone to meet me half way through and look after V for me, instead of relying on a nap to get things done, but other than that we had a wonderfully festive mummy-daughter day and I really thoroughly enjoyed it. I think V did too, judging by the happy, giggly and chatty mood she was in all the way home and right up until she fell asleep.

Happy festive shopping!

Victoria x

PS. I’m just about to post this and I looked over to the sofa where I have piled all the goodies to show Mr S…. I have literally just realised I will now have to find the time to wrap them. Oh my. 11 sleeps ’til Christmas!

Frogprince Baby Music

Local Things to Do

Today Violetta and I tried out a local music class ‘Frogprince Baby Music‘.

In short, Violetta absolutely loved it!

fullsizeoutput_95c9.jpeg                  IMG_7707

In a small (quite hard to find if you’ve never been there before), unassuming hall in East Greenwich Pleasance called The Bridge, a nutty Italian musician runs a fantastic little class for babies to pre-schoolers.

With more baby percussion that you can imagine for the babes to play with in the middle, Stefano’s keyboard, harmonica collection, ukuleles and guitars at the front and little mats around the edge for everyone to sit on, the venue is set for a great hour of music.

Stefano is fun, engaging and chatty with the kids, taking time to involve each and every one of them in the music at some point. It’s whacky, funny and the hour flew by. Today was the Christmas class so it was a mix of classics, Wham, random Christmas songs I’d never heard of and chatty music breaks in between.

When I say Violetta loved it, I’m not kidding. She wasn’t bothered about me being there at all and spent the whole class in the middle of the room, banging on the drum, shaking the maracas, singing, dancing, playing and generally having the time of her life. And she wasn’t the only one – the kids were happy to bop about, play with the instruments and be around the music.

For just £5.00 PAYG this class is a great way to spend a Thursday morning.

Top Tips:

  • The room wasn’t massively warm, so wrap up snug if you go on a chilly day.
  • There’s space to leave your buggies inside.
  • The Bridge is inside the park and is locked until just before the class. If you get there early there’s a little coffee shop and play area directly opposite.
  • To find out whether the class in on you can visit the website or there are plenty of updates on the local facebook groups : )

 

Victoria and Violetta x

 

 

Our Top Ten Christmas Jumpers of 2017

baby, Favourite Brands

(for baby girls!)

Violetta and I have been searching high and low for our favourite Christmas jumpers and we’ve compiled our shortlist for you! Click the pictures to find them online.

The Little White Company

Stylish, classic, timeless, super soft and cosy.

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 12.57.03Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 12.59.16

JoJo Maman Bébé

Fun, old-fashioned and so soft (cashmere bled). These was up beautifully too.

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 13.08.34.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-07 at 13.10.15

Marks and Spencer

Budget price, great quality, super soft, every day wear,

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 13.19.38 Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 13.23.54

Angel’s Face

Small business with fantastically unique items for sparkly girlies.

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 13.30.54.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-07 at 13.33.41.png

 

Mothercare

Affordable, comfy, easy to find

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 13.36.38Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 13.39.01

 

Happy Christmas Shopping!

Love Victoria and Violetta x

Mummying My Way

baby

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m pretty headstrong. I’ve been called feisty, opinionated and many other things that imply strongly that I like to do things my way. And I do. But it’s worth noting that alongside that I have also been told that I am one of the most caring, giving and easy to talk to people.

Makes for an interesting combination, doesn’t it!

I’ve never been a great one for being told what to do. I’m not a rebel at all, goodie two shoes through and through, but I know my mind and I like to be the decision maker of my own life.

So now that I have a daughter, that fierce independence is still there. You’re probably thinking that I sound like I think I know it all? Absolutely not. I’m the first person to ask for other people’s input about what they did, how they crossed certain obstacles in parenting and what they really enjoyed, but what I always do is take in the information, think about it and then decide how I’m going to do it.

I don’t subscribe to any of the traditional methods out there, or any of the new ones for that matter. I don’t attachment parent, I don’t do controlled crying, I haven’t done baby led weaning, I haven’t fed my daughter exclusively on breastmilk, I haven’t ‘co-parented’ with my husband and I haven’t religiously co-slept. I’ve done bits of all of them.

Let’s start with ‘co-parenting’. Mine and my husband’s relationship is quite traditional; he’s the bread-winner, I’m the stay-at-home-Mum. I just happen to run a business too. But that doesn’t make any difference to me being a stay-at-home-Mum. I spend most of the day, every day, with my daughter. She is rarely away from me and we enjoy doing everything together.

I am the main decision-maker on what my daughter wears, eats, her routine, her activities and which brand of nappies she wears. My husband has input as we do discuss everything, but he defers to my opinions a lot. Why? Because he’s (physically) at work Monday – Friday 7am – 9pm ish. When he’s not at work he’s available on his Blackberry. I can’t remember the last time he didn’t have to work both days at the weekend. Not only that, but he trusts my judgement. He respects my ability as a Mummy and knows that everything I do is with the best intentions for our little girl. Don’t get me wrong – he puts me to the test from time to time (‘but she’s half Italian, I don’t understand why she can’t eat pasta now’ when I had literally just started weaning her!), but we tend to find a compromise or I assure him that we can do what he is suggesting in the not-too-distant-future. When hubby looks after Violetta at the weekend, if I have to pop in to work, I lay out her clothes, pack the nappy bag, set out breakfast, lunch, milk, snacks etc and jot down her nap times. Why? Because he doesn’t spend enough time with her to know it all off-hand and I’d so much rather that the precious time they spend together is used for fun and playing, than with a grumpy baby who’s out of her routine, or a grumpy Papa who can’t work out which milk has to be mixed into the baby porridge.

Now, none of this is to say that I think every family should operate in this way! Absolutely not – I have utmost respect for every which way families choose to operate. This is just the way it works for us.

I’ve already written about weaning and breastfeeding and I’ll be doing posts on spending time together, sleep routines and more of our parenting style in the not-too-distant future.