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Quick & Tasty Rice Pudding

Saturday I made a batch of this Rice Pudding for Amelia. I’d never thought of giving her Rice Pudding before, I think selfishly because I don’t like it. Saturday I spent most of the afternoon cooking Amelia new foods to try, while her Daddy took her to the park. I know this is meant to be time for me to sit down & rest, but  I just can’t.I have always been like that, even in my pregnancy I would never nap or sit and rest.

Rice pudding is a good baby food recipe if you add some cooked fruit like stewed plums or stir in a little strawberry jam or golden syrup. Alternatively add some chopped dried fruits instead like dried apricots or semi-dried mango, which can be cooked together with the rice. This is a quicker version of making rice pudding, cooking it on the stove rather than in an oven. I made some stewed apple to go with my Rice Pudding, and added some apple to her porridge this morning & she loved it.

This recipe has been taken from my Annabel Karmel book Quick & Easy Toddler Recipes. See   here  for the book.


                  Quick Rice Pudding



Prep 2 minutes
Cook 35 minutes
Best for baby 9-12 months plus
Makes 6 portions
Suitable for freezing



50g (2 oz) pudding rice
600 ml (1 pint) milk
1 – 2 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla essence


1. Put the rice, milk and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
2. Split the vanilla pod, if usng, and scrape the seeds into the pan, or add the vanilla essence.


3. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Mix with fruit or a topping of your choice such as strawberry jam or fruit puree




Amelia loved her first taste of Rice Pudding, and my husband wanted me to make more for him. I tasted it,it’s nice,but I’m yet to be converted into liking this dessert.
I freeze Amelia’s food in pots from BabyPotz. The smaller green ones are from Tesco. I used these when I first started weaning,they come with a tray. They were fine for storage at the beginning, however the lids kept falling off. I was glad when a friend introduced me to BabyPotz.

T & A xx

Leahys Open Farm Co.Cork Ireland

Yesterday I took Amelia, her cousin Sean & his mummy to Leahy’s Open Farm in Co.Cork. This farm is so well worth a visit. Situated in East Cork, just 3 miles From the lovely village of Dungourney, bordering Cnoc a Ceo Woods, this family run farm is open to visitors of all ages for the Summer and Christmas seasons. They have a large selection of animals on display – Camel, Monkeys, Rheas, Llama, Alpacas, Snakes, Sheep, Goats, Horses and lots more…. While we were there yesterday,a goat gave birth to twin Kids, and the previous day one of the Alpacas had given birth to a baby boy.


There is so much for the children to do, from feeding the lambs to holding the snake to catching mice and they especially love to cuddle the fluffy rabbits. There is Go Karting and Boat Rides and Indoor and Outdoor Playgrounds, Tunnels & be transported by in time, by seeing the old shops,schools, houses & clothes as well as old machinery of bygone years.

The working farm is run by 3 generations of farmers. We met Jack (7) feeding the calves yesterday morning. He had been up working in the farm since 7:30 that morning, by choice.He told us he was on his Easter holidays, and would miss working with his Grandad and Dad when he returned to school, I’ve no doubt they will also miss this hard working boy.A true farmer, witty, clever and a real boy, he showed us all around the farm, introducing us to his own two calves “Johnny & Tommy”, named after his uncles, and that he bought with “his own money”.


I asked him what his plans were for his calves, and straight to the point, Jack looked at me as if to say “obviously”, sell them at the mart. Our day was made by meeting Jack, we spent far longer than we had planned on the farm, as Jack brought us to each individual animal, telling us stories about the breed & the animal itself.  We were even invited by him to Mass on the Farm that night. I asked Jack why there was a mass, “well my nan is into God and all that”, was the swift reply I got.


The Open Farm was originally set up by Jacks Grandparents. Eddie and Eileen Leahy married at a young age. They had 7 children and lived in the little old cottage in the centre of the yard which is now known as Farmer Eddies Cottage. The old cottage dates back over 200 years, Eddie and Eileen’s first four children were born into the cottage.

Eddie and Eileen started off their farming life in very humble beginnings with 4 cows. 3 cows were milked in the summer and in the winter, as the stall in the yard could only hold 4 cows. The land was of poor quality and a lot of hard labour had to be endured to reclaim it. As Eddie and Eileen had very little animal housing to begin with every effort was made to expand and very slowly but surely, over the years the farm turned into a very successful Dairy and Pig Farm. While being very busy running the farm, Eddie had a love for vintage farm machinery and he and Eileen often went off to vintage festivals and over the years they picked up a massive collection of vintage machinery.


In 1996 they took a massive leap of faith and opened the farm to the public showing off what they had collected, with family support behind Eddie and Eileen and the huge interest shown by the public, the next step was to build a coffee shop to cater for the visitors, this proved to be a huge success over the years because of Eileen’s absolute love of home-baking. There are no cakes bought in for the coffee shop. Everything is freshly home made every day by Eileen and other family members.s, this proved to be a huge success over the years because of Eileen’s absolute love of home-baking.

Over the years, the farm has grown from strength to strength attracting thousands of visitors and is now a well known tourist attraction in East Cork, because of Eddie and Eileen’s initial idea to diversify into agri-tourism it has enabled some members of the family to work full time in the business. For Eddie and Eileen, this is a great achievement in keeping their family together. All the members of Eddie and Eileen’s family are so proud of the success of the open farm because if it were not for Eddie and Eileen’s commitment and bravery to diversify from farming, the traditional farming enterprise would not have sustained the employment needed to keep the family working together.

We loved every second of our day yesterday & will be back again over the summer. Amelia fell in love with the lambs, calling the, “Baby”. Perfect for all age groups. Also there is so much to see & do indoors that the weather should not tamper your plans. Buggy Friendly, I took the sling as well,so Amelia could see everything. We had tea & a scone after we had finished, clean, reasonably priced, and beautiful homemade produce. Of course Jack joined us for tea. Clean toilets, with baby changing unit.

I would highly recommend a stop at Leahy’s Open Pet Farm as a Family Friendly Activity around Ireland. You might even be lucky enough to meet Jack & get a free guided tour from an expert.

T & A xx


To Give The Measels,Mumps & Rubella (MMR) Vaccine or Not

Amelia had her Measels,Mumps & Rubella (also called German Measels) (MMR) Vaccine last week. She was 12 months + 3 weeks & will get a second dose before school 4-5 years.

The vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to build up protection against these diseases.It is a live vaccine which means it contains weakened forms of the measles, mumps and rubella viruses.

It was an easy decision for me to give it to her,I had read the research papers, spoken to other mums,and to be fair, I knew prior to all this I was going to give it to anyway. I know so many mums who are unsure whether they are going to give the vaccine or not.


MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine (3 in 1),that protects against three separate illnesses – measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) – in a single injection. The full course of MMR vaccination requires two doses.
Measles, mumps and rubella are very common, highly infectious, conditions that can have serious, potentially fatal, complications, including meningitis, swelling of the brain (encephalitis) and deafness.
They can also lead to complications in pregnancy that affect the unborn baby and can lead to miscarriage.



The MMR vaccine has gone through the rings of the press in the last few years.Health experts have criticized media reporting of the MMR-autism controversy for triggering a decline in vaccination rate in the UK. The MMR vaccine was the subject of controversy after publication of a 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield et al. reporting a study of twelve children who had bowel symptoms along with autism or other disorders, including cases where onset was believed by the parents to be soon after administration of MMR vaccine.In 2010, Wakefield’s research was found by the General Medical Council to have been “dishonest”, and The Lancet fully retracted the original paper.The research was declared fraudulent in 2011 by the British Medical Journal. Several subsequent peer-reviewed studies have failed to show any association between the vaccine and autism.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences,the UK National Health Service and the Cochrane Library review have all concluded that there is no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

In Japan, the MMR vaccination has been discontinued, with single vaccines being used for each disease. Rates of autism diagnosis have continued to increase, showing no correlation with the change.

Side Effects

1 in 10 will have discomfort, redness or swelling where the injection was given, or will have a fever;
1 in 20 will get a rash six to 12 days later(this is not contagious);
1 in 20 get swollen glands, a stiff neck, or joint pains;
1 in 100 may develop swelling of the salivary glands under the jaw; and
1 in 1000 will have a convulsion (fit);
1 in 22,000 will get a temporary blood clotting problem / bruising or bleeding
1 in 1,000,000 may get encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).


We are now 10 days post vaccination. Amelia has been off form in the last 3 days, and I noticed a Measel like rash over her torso tonight in the bath. This could all be a coincidence or maybe she is the 1 in 20 children who develop the rash. Either way, I’m still happy with my decision to have given her the vaccine, and will just have to ride the waves with her over the next few days, until she gets better. Calpol & Neurofen will be our friends.


Have you given your child the MMR Vaccine or decided against?

Please share your views below


T & A x

Family Friendly Tomato & Basil Omlette

On Monday I made this Omlette for Amelia’s  tea, it was her first time having an Omlette & it went down well, she ate about half of it. The texture was new to her, so I will make it again next week for her to get use to it. Did you know a baby/toddler needs to taste something at least 10 times to actually decide whether they like it or not. I ended up making another one for myself & my husband after as we love the flavours, I just added some cooked ham to ours.

This receipe has been taken from my Annabel Karmel Quick & Easy Toddler Recipes.



Serves: 1
Perfect to serve from age 6 months onwards.

A knob of butter
1 tomato, deseeded and diced
1 medium egg
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp parmesan, finely grated (try another hard cheese if you prefer)
2 tsp chopped basil (optional)



Preparation time: 4 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

1. Melt the butter in a small frying pan, then add the tomatoes and fry for one minute.

2. Mix the egg, milk, cheese and basil (if using) together in a small bowl.

3. Pour the mixture into the pan and swirl around to cover the base.

4. Once the omelette is set, which should take around 2 minutes, turn over and fry for a further 2 minutes.

5. Once cooked through flip the omelette onto a plate and slice into child-friendly pieces.

* When my mum was teaching me as a child how to cook an Omlette, she let me in on a secret. Instead of flipping your Omlette, place it under the grill,it will be really fluffy & light on top.




Enjoy T & A xxxx

Baby Proofing

Bank Holiday Mondays have changed for us, two years ago we would have been lying in bed nursing our hangovers from the weekend or getting ready to fly back to London after being at home in Ireland for the weekend.

Today was the perfect chance for us to start baby proofing the house,as Amelia has discovered the love for opening and slamming shut the lower kitchen drawers,and 9 times out of 10 catching her fingers. I’ve already tied ribbon around the TV cabinet,as she slams that shut & there is glass panelling.


We need to get plug socket covers (she has not yet gone near the plugs) and two stair gates at some point this week.She hasn’t started to climb yet,and she doesn’t crawl,she bum shuffles everywhere,and she can go fast!Upstairs she goes straight for the stairs,so have to keep the doors closed when we are upstairs together. The stair gate I think we are going to go for is this wooden one from Lindman. I like traditional wooden gates.


Last week we were kindly sent a range of safety products from Hey Mama, HeyMama.ie is an Irish online shop providing a full range of Mother & Baby goods.
Safety, Reliability and Value For Money are the cornerstones of their business. They focus on the products that are Award Winners and Best Sellers. The products that are really, *really* good. The products that you would buy again in a heartbeat.

The online shop provides such a great range of products from gifts,Grobags, Safety Products,pushchairs,changing bags & much more.
They offer Free Delivery within Ireland on orders over €50 and a courier charge of just €4.99 on orders below. Orders placed before 1:30pm are normally delivered next-day.

We were sent a range of products to try out.They couldn’t have come at a better time,as we really needed to start baby proofing.


I used the cabinet lock by Baby Elegence,on my cupboard with plates.

The Multi Purpose Latch by Baby Elegence, I used in the inside of the cleaning cupboard.Dont make the mistake I did,I placed this on the inside of the cupboard,and can’t open or close it! To be honest this is quite awkward & hard to unhook.It is meant to sit outside corner cupboards,like pictured below.Suitable for lockers or free-standing units.

Lastly we used the Cupboard & Drawer Locks ,by Clipsafe that we were sent, these for us are great, a little hard to get used to as you have to pinch both top & bottom prong to open,almost both adult and baby proof!

We were also sent these Safety Cord Wind Ups,by Baby Elegence, however we are lucky that the house we are currently in has safety cord clasps attached to all the blinds in the house. These are so important as the rate of children accidentally hanging themselves off blind cords is tragically increasing.

Check out www.heymama.ie for more products.

*Disclaimer: These products were sent free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

Changing From Breastmilk/Formula to Cows Milk

Amelia turned 1 three weeks ago,and it was time to say goodbye to her formula and introduce cows milk in her bottles. She had been having cows milk in her cereal & food I have made her since she was about 9 months, and eating cheese & yogurts,so I was not worried about allergies as she had been ok so far with cows milk.


I had already had the experience of changing from Breastmilk to Formula at 6.5 months.I just started by expressing milk & adding an oz of Formula at a time. The transition was pretty uneventful, other than Amelia not taking to the powdered formula.She would cry with her knees bent in her cot,I’m presuming she was having tummy cramps from it.
After speaking to our Health Visitor (Public Health Nurse), she had advised me that some breastfed babies tolerate “pre-made formula” better after the change over from breastmilk,as it tastes more like BM.This is because it is UHT treated,making it sweeter & thicker in consistency in comparison to “powdered formula”. An expensive few months followed,we were spending about £140 a month on formula,but look,we had free milk from me for 6 months,so couldn’t complain very much.

Three weeks ago I started giving Amelia cows milk in her bottle,the day after her birthday.I gave her 3/4 formula & 1/4 cows milk.I increased it every day, maybe a little too quickly mind, as on day 4 she was screaming in pain trying to go for a poo. I even cried with her one day, I felt so sorry for her. She was so constipated.

I stopped the cows milk, gave her brown sugar and cooled boiled water until she was able to go to the toilet normally. Last week I reintroduced the cows milk,(I should add here,always use Whole Full Fat milk), slowly this time. 1 oz at a time,increasing it daily. So far so good. She is still having 1 oz of formula in her bottles for her morning & night time bottle. This will be the last few days of that.Then we can say goodbye to mini Aptamil bottles filling up our cupboards,and searching every shop in our town to find them!!


I would stay clear of “Follow-on Milks”, as a nurse & on advise from my sister who is a dietician, I know that these are a marketing ploy,encouraging you to spend more money.Your child should be getting all their nutrition from their solid food & cows milk by the time they are 1. The World Health Organisation (WHO), has reiterated its position that follow-on-milks are unnecessary for 6-24 month infants and said they are nutritionally dubious.

How was your experience with the transition from BM to Formula & from Formula to Cows Milk?Would love to hear other peoples experience.

T & A xxxx

Easter Egg Painting

This morning Amelia & I painted some eggs & her egg cup from
her Easter Basket.Its the first time she used paint and held a paintbrush. Most of the paint on the brush ended up in her mouth,hands, underneath her nails & hair. It was lovely to see her messing with the paint.

I boiled my eggs first until they were hard.


Then dyed them using food colouring (wear gloves, my hands are all stained from the food colouring). I had pink & yellow food colouring at home. Coat your eggs in the dye & leave to dry until you the achieve the colour you desire.

We used poster paint, but another great idea which I’ll use in future is separate skittles into same colours, add skittles to pots of water,just enough to cover the skittles,and use the coloured water for painting.Perfect for little minxes like Amelia, who like to eat the paint!!
I got this idea from Gemma at www.expatfamilyq8.com who does amazing arts & crafts with her little ones.

I covered part of the kitchen table & Amelia’s highchair in cling film,so I would not be scrubbing for days,as this was our first time painting I didn’t know what she would do!She was only interested in eating it….I just let her make a mess and knew it could be washed off in the bath!

Happy Easter everyone,hope ye have fun & eat loads of chocolate eggs
T & A xxx

Fairy Door Review


This week we were kindly sent a Fairy Door from The Irish Fairy Door Company. We received the purple door, a high quality handmade wooden door. Retailing at €24.95 plus P&P, there are also some lovely accessories, such as stepping stones,wooden door plagues,decals and fairy dust.Presented in a beautiful box, sitting underneath a toadstool. Inside is a little poem about fairies.It has found its home under a tree in Amelia’s playroom. The door can be moved from room to room.Place it by your child’s bed,by their bedroom window,or anywhere you choose.


You choose your door, and when you receive it, you register your door online. Here you will choose your Fairy’s name. We chose “Rose”, then you will receive a ‘Fairy Lease Agreement’.

Picture Credit: The Irish Fairy Door Company

Picture Credit: The Irish Fairy Door Company

The Irish Fairy Door Company, was specially selected by the Fairy Council to provide handcrafted fairy doors for all locations – be it your home, your garden, the office, school or care centre. Actually made by their carpenter in the workshop of a 200 year old cottage in the heart of Ireland, each fairy door is given a portion of magic so that your new fairy can come and go between our world and Fairyland.


They help fairies relocate into homes and gardens all over the world by producing high quality handmade Irish fairy doors; “our aim is to create memorable family moments and a little magic all year round – all YOU need to do is believe!”

The Irish Fairy Door Company,also host Fairy Parties,bringing magic to your little boy or girls birthday party. Parties can be held in English & Gaeilge. See here for more information.

Amelia is still a little small for the door,which comes with a little key. I think from age 2 + is the appropriate age for this Fairy Door, the key is small, so this needs to be kept away from small people that may potentially swallowed. Suitable for little boys & girls.! The Fairy Doors would make a beautiful Birthday,Christmas or Easter Basket present.
When she is a little older, I will place the key in the door to let the fairies out,sprinkle some fairy dust (glitter) & leave a little note at the door from the fairies. We are looking forward to reading stories about the fairies coming out to play.Perfect for keeping your child disciplined (fairies are watching you), a treat before a birthday,Christmas or other holidays. The fairies like to leave little notes after visiting.

The Irish Fairy Door Company have kindly offered a 10% discount to my readers, by entering ” Lon10″ at checkout on your order.

We believe in fairies do you ?? xxx

For more information on Fairy Doors from The Irish Fairy Door Company and stockists, click here.

Disclaimer: We were sent a fairy door free of charge,from The Irish Fairy Door Company for the purpose of this review. Opinions are all my own.

Amelia’s Latest Purchases

All this lovely weather has got me so excited for summer,although now we live in Ireland,I’m not going to hold my breath on getting nice sunny, warm weather, though it was lovely here last year. We are going to Portugal in a few weeks, so I’ve started to pick up some summer clothes for Amelia. I bought a lot in the Zara summer sale last year,to fit her for this year,so I don’t need loads.

These are a few of the bits I’ve picked up over the last few weeks. I need to get her a swimsuit, she has a full UV protection swimsuit that I’ll use at the beach, but in the evening it will be nice to have a bathing suit for the pool.

All from Mothercare www.mothercare.com

All from Zara www.zara.com



Both from Boden www.boden.co.uk

These sunglasses, “Larchmount Plum”, are by Paxley $39.99, use ‘ilmondodiingrid’ discount code to get 25% off . I wanted a pair of sunglasses that were good,not spend a fortune on & that Amelia could not break. These are perfect.Soft, flexible yet durable SafeBend™ temple technology.Ergo-designed rubber bridge pads for developing noses
100% UV protection lenses compliant with US, European, Australian and New Zealand standards.Family Choice Award winner for product excellence.These are available sizes 0-18 mths and 1-3 years.
Handcrafted in Italy.



When Can My Baby Have Bottled Water

With the lovely warm weather we are having recently & our upcoming holiday, I’ve been increasing the amount of water Amelia drinks. Like the sterilising, I was still giving her cooled boiled water up to today (very slow to get out of our “baby routine”).




Last summer was very hot in London &  we went on holiday to Padstow in Cornwall. I didn’t have to worry about water last year as I was still breastfeeding,and Amelia was getting her water supply from my milk, I just had to be careful to drink plenty of water,which I’m generally ok with.The NHS guidines are as follows.Fully breastfed babies don’t need any water until they’ve started eating solid food. Bottle-fed babies may need some extra water in hot weather. For babies under six months, use water from the mains tap in the kitchen that’s been boiled then cooled. Water for babies over six months doesn’t need to be boiled.






Babies,especially under 6 months,  have immature kidneys, gut etc so aren’t as good as us at maintaining correct levels of salts (electrolytes) in their blood and cells. So if you give water – especially if they’re dehydrated – you’re giving them the water you need but not the salts. In extreme cases this can cause fits, brain swelling and death. Seizures can also occur if you give too much salt (too concentrated formula is the classic) or if a baby is very dehydrated. The odd bottle of water is unlikely to cause any problems but is still dangerous for the above reasons, but also because a baby can’t tell the difference between feeling full of calorie-empty water and calorie and nutrient filled milk. So they can end up failing to thrive if they have too many feeds replaced with water.





The water where we live at the moment has a high lime content,so that is why I have continued to boil the water. I’m not even sure if it makes a difference. I bought a water filter today,and while we are on holiday I will give Amelia bottled water. Bottled water is ok to give a baby over 1, provided it has low salt content.Bottled water is not recommended for making up infant formula feeds as it is not sterile and may contain too much salt (sodium) or sulphate. If you have to use bottled water to make up a feed, check the label to make sure the sodium (also written as Na) level is less than 200 milligrams (mg) per litre, and the sulphate (also written as SO or SO4) content is not higher than 250mg per litre. Bottled water is not sterile, so it will need to be boiled and cooled like tap water before you use it to prepare a feed.




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