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Spaghetti Bolognaise has always been my favourite meal, as a child I loved it and as a mum I love how easy it is to make.
We often make a big batch and then any left overs easily freeze making a quick go to meal on those busy evenings when there’s no time to cook.
I use the slow cooker to make mine and it’s a real family pleaser. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a side of garlic bread you should see smiles all round the dinner table .
Here’s my yummy recipe, I hope you enjoy it!
500g lean beef mince
2 Onions (chopped)
2 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
Beef stock cube
2 tins of good quality tomatoes
2 tbs tomato puree
1tbs Worcester sauce
2 tsp mixed herbs
Salt & Ground black pepper
Pinch of chilli powder
Dash of red wine (don’t worry if feeding it to children, the alcohol content will cook out)
A handful of chopped carrots
A handful of chopped mushrooms
1. In a little oil, gently softened the onions and garlic for a few minutes in a saucepan.
2. Add the mince to the saucepan, once browned sprinkle the stock cube through the mince.
3. Add the mince with all the other ingredients to the slow cooker. Mix well and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
4. When dinner time comes round just cook some spaghetti as per the instructions on the packet and Voilà – the perfect family meal.
Do you like cooking? Get in touch with your favourite family recipes.
Avoiding a long drawn out induction process is on many pregnant woman’s wish list. If you read my post The birth of a mother, you will know I tried many things including eating dates to prepare my body for labour.
There are many methods that anecdotally bring on labour; going for walks, eating spicy food, getting amorous with your significant other, accepting cervical sweeps offered by your health care provider to name a few. But can a simple change to your diet really improve your chance of going in to labour naturally.
Yes, it seems that eating dates in the last few weeks of your pregnancy can improve your chances of avoiding induction of labour.
An initial study carried out in 2011 implied that eating dates in the last few weeks of pregnancy reduced the need for induction of labour and shortened the length of the latent phase of labour (commonly referred to as early labour, before your cervix reaches 4 cm dilation).
This has been supported by a further randomised controlled trial in 2017, which found that the group of women who consumed dates late in pregnancy experienced less use of oxytocin to augment labour. Meaning that labour was less medicalised and progressed more normally.
Despite being a small study of only 154 women, no adverse effects were noted from eating the dates. It is a cheap and easy way to prepare your body for labour in the final few weeks of pregnancy, with no negative effects.
So what are you waiting for?! Once you reach 36 weeks gestation, try to eat 6 dates per day. If you get bored of just eating them on their own, here are some ideas I tried!!
1. Chopped up and mixed in to various cereal.
2. Sprinkled on your favourite desert, like sticky toffee pudding.
3. Mixed in with yogurt.
4 Blended in a smoothie.
5. Sprinkled on top of peanut butter on toast.
6. Make your own cereal bars
O. Al-Kuran, L. Al-Mehaisen, H. Bawadi, S. Beitawi & Z. Amarin (2011) The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 31:1, 29-31, DOI: 10.3109/01443615.2010.522267
Nuguelis Razali, Siti Hayati Mohd Nahwari, Sofiah Sulaiman & Jamiyah Hassan (2017) Date fruit consumption at term: Effect on length of gestation, labour and delivery, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 37:5, 595-600, DOI: 10.1080/01443615.2017.1283304
Do you have any tips or tricks for getting or body ready for labour. Let me know what you tried and if it worked for you.
The Betrayals by Fiona Neil is the latest fiction book I have enjoyed reading. Focusing on a ten year period, it describes how two interwoven families are pulled apart by deceit and betrayal.
Lisa and Rosie have been friends since they were teenagers. They had their children at the same times and enjoyed long lazy days at the beach breastfeeding. Their families have spent every summer holiday together since and their children have grown up together. Fast forward 10 years and Lisa falls in love with Rosie’s husband Nick. The families are ripped apart as Nick and Lisa set up home together and as with most family breakdowns it is the children who are left suffering the most.
Rosie’s teenage daughter Daisy descends in to the depths of severe obsessive compulsive disorder and the book describes not only the effect the disorder has on Daisy’s day to day life but also the trauma her immediate family go through, trying to support her through the illness. As the book progresses you understand that Lisa is terminally ill. This discovery brings Rosie’s personal feelings about the woman who stole her husband crashing in to her professional role as a oncologist. Will she try and help her oldest friend?
The men in the story stand in the periphery. The husbands story’s are told with a dash of self absorbed unhappiness. Rosie’s son Max is constantly trying to reassure his sister that her compulsions are unfounded and he seeks comfort from an emotionally unavailable older girlfriend Connie. Ultimately the men in the story are overshadowed by the strong female leads. The novel explores how women can survive a devastating family crisis, continue to lead the way at work, do everything they can to help their children and face the final chapter with dignity and grace.
The book starts with one big betrayal and they keep coming throughout the story. It explores the basic human need for forgiveness and acceptance. It also cleverly considers the unreliability of human memory.
It was an enjoyable read and kept me interested from the first page. I liked the way that despite the downturns in their lives the characters didn’t wallow in self pity. Instead they found a way to cope and continued with their lives as people across the globe do everyday after facing personal adversity.
Have you read ‘The Betrayals’. Let me know what you thought of the book.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and NHS both recommend breastfeeding children to aged 2 and beyond, setting no upper age limit. Yet many of us feel shamed in to hiding the fact we are ‘still’ breastfeeding older babies. In fact only 1:200 of women in the UK are breastfeeding their baby at one year.
During my own experience of breastfeeding I can only recall two occasions where a supportive word has been offered. Once by an older family friend when he was 5 months old and I was trying to settle him at a party. The second came from a Nursery worker when settling him in to the childcare setting, he was one. I did however have A LOT of people ask me when I will stop breastfeeding. I have always struggled to answer this question and end up muttering something about when he’s ready, which is normally met with a raised eyebrow or some sort of ‘bitty’ comment.
Asking a mother when she is going to stop breastfeeding seems a strange question to me and a sad reflection of society’s current feelings towards breastfeeding. Why does it matter to you how long I breastfeed my child for? Why would I want to stop doing the very thing many people struggle trying to achieve? Why would I stop doing something that’s recommended by many national and international professional bodies? Why would I stop doing something that is beneficial to mine and my babies health? And why would I stop doing something that is undoubtedly my most useful parenting tool?
It makes me chuckle when people ask why don’t I just stop. Anyone who has breast fed for a significant amount of time will know that stopping breastfeeding is not an easy thing to do, weaning is a process and only to be considered when it is the right time for that child and mother.
Here are the top 10 reasons I continue to breastfeed and will do until my bear cub decides he’s had enough.
1. It’s good for the child’s health.
There are numerous, well documented health benefits to breast milk and these do not magically stop when the child reaches a set age.
2. Less time off work.
Breastfed children statistically get sick less often and if they do get ill, they recover more quickly. Happier children and parents all round, plus less time off work to take care of them means a happier employer!
3. It’s good for my health.
People often forget that breastfeeding is linked to lower incidence of female related cancers, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and the longer you do it the better the benefits.
4. It settles him to sleep quickly and easily.
No tears, no being left to cry and no dreaded ‘sleep training’.
5. It calms big emotions.
Childhood ‘tantrums’ can normally be attributed to one of two things. Hunger or feelings that overwhelm the child. Both of these things can be easily fixed by latching on.
6. If offers comfort and pain relief in when he has a bump or fall.
A crying child can immediately be soothed via the power of the boob.
7. It gives me a chance to sit down!
A much needed 10-20 mins on the sofa, even better if I’ve managed to prepare myself a drink and have the remote within reaching distance. From day one I have observed that breastfeeding feels like natures way to get tired mums a bit of rest.
8. It’s a god-send when travelling.
The suck-swallow mechanism helps balance pressure in the ears when flying, easing discomfort and making for a more pleasant flying experience for all.
9. It continues to be a great bonding experience.
It allows us time to connect during the day or at the end of the day if we’ve been separated.
10. He absolutely loves it!! Why take away such a source of enjoyment and pleasure if you are both still happy doing it?
The top cited reasons that women in the UK give up breastfeeding include public attitude, embarrassment and lack of support. There are many reasons to stop breastfeeding but don’t let it be societal pressure. So all you mama bears out there, show everyone how wonderful breastfeeding is and keep going 🐾🤱