Climbing trees

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Happy Monday! It was Columbus Day today so Rorykins didn’t have nursery. Instead we took advantage of the beautiful Autumn weather (although it was so hot we were mainly in T-Shirts) and met up with Marji, Gray and Luke and Lucy and Teddy for a scoot. The boys are getting so fast. By chance we bumped into the gorgeous Jennifer who gave birth to beautiful baby Nola Jane last Saturday. It was so wonderful to see them out and about with Jen looking so radiant and calm, Saffron looking like a very proud sister and baby Nola just snoozing and cuddling up to her mama. It makes me so excited for Baby E. Of course I bombarded her with lots of questions as she’s such a brilliant mummy and tackles everything with such grace and ease. After lunch Rory took a long nap (they seem to be back, just not at the weekend when Daddy is home) so I started my new preparation for birth hypnotherapy (since I’mm 33 weeks I’ve graduated from this one) which I love and hope will help me with the birth that I’d love. We headed to the park in the afternoon to catch up with more friends before supper. The boys, having observed an older child, wanted to climb trees. I’m supposed to be going out on a girls night tonight, but predictably O is working late so won’t be able to make it. Instead I’m going to have a lovely long soak in the bath and catch up with the latest edition of Red magazine.

Sand and ice cream sandwiches

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Rory and I headed off to the shops this morning to pick up some yummy ingredients for supper and the weekend. We popped in to the book store on the way where Rory loves to look at all of the transportation section and makes me read them to him. The day was too nice not to be at the park, so we made a quick stop off at Pirate where the sandpit was incredibly busy. Whilst I prepared lunch, Rory played with his cart. He’s currently very into making things with his cart, using chairs or a broom to make it into a tow truck. Today we was trying to work out how to attach his push cart to the back. In the afternoon we made the most of the beautiful weather by joining Lucy and Teddy and strolling along the river to sandbox village, where the boys played happily all afternoon. We arrived home and I put on some Willy Mason and threw together a delicious and light watermelon, tomato and feta salad. For a Friday night treat we enjoyed salted caramel ice cream sandwiches from Jacques Torres, yummy. 

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We got in!

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We’ve had excellent news, clever Rorykins has been accepted into nursery and starts two mornings a week, in September, yay. We’re thrilled as we love the nursery and it’s ethos, and have been attending parent and child classes there for a while. We celebrated by surprising O at work and having a nice coffee break with him. Rory loved riding the subway and seeing all of the busy traffic in Soho. He’s still loving the stickers and spent much of the morning admiring them. After a long nap (for both of us) we headed around to Christine and Gracie’s house for some afternoon tea and more sticker activities. Rory couldn’t get enough of baby Mason and even helped Christine put his booties on. Since we got home a little later, I needed to do a quick supper, so roasted some organic acorn squash and made this yummy gnocchi recipe. I substituted the stilton with goat’s cheese so it was slightly milder for Rory to eat, but still retained the sharpness which works well with the sweet pear. I also used gluten free sweet potato. Served it all with a fresh green salad and listened to Amy Winehouse’s brilliant last album (how good is the original Tear’s Dry track?) – Love a bit of Amy me.

Goat’s Cheese & Pear Gnocchi

INGREDIENTS

• A knob of butter
• 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
• 1 large pear, peeled, cored and cut into 2cm slices
• 2 tbsp crème fraîche
• 50g goat’s cheese
• 400g gnocchi
• Chopped parsley leaves, to serve

main courses | serves 2

1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat and add the garlic. Once lightly golden, add the pear and reduce the heat. Cook for 3–4 minutes until softened slightly, then add the crème fraîche and stilton. Heat until the cheese melts.
2. Meanwhile, add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. They’re done when they rise to the surface; use a slotted spoon to transfer to the frying pan. Add enough cooking water to loosen the sauce. Toss to coat, season well, add the parsley and serve.

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Aubergine and Ricotta Bake

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Spent the morning at the park with Rory but after an hour had to come home to warm up, gosh it’s cold. Luckily Rory is still loving his reusable stickers and found lots more uses for them – on the window, collecting them in a pot and sticking them on our cabinets. His obsession did give me a little free time, so I finally got around to making Marji and family a meal since they’ve just had a gorgeous new baby boy and have enough things to worry about. I had a whole load of fresh ricotta, some aubergines and a couple of courgettes so decided to do this hearty aubergine and ricotta bake and just added a layer of courgettes. Listened to the brilliant Alabama Shakes album whilst doing it. In the afternoon we had a huge play date at ours. Mel is frantically busy packing up all of their belongings for the big move to England on Friday (boo hoo) so Mia came around to play with Rorykins. Lora, Oliver, baby Maeve, Marji, Gray and Baby Luke also joined. It was a fun afternoon but the highlight for the babies was probably all enjoying a whoopie pie from One Girl Cookies that Lora brought. Fun times. Thanks to Lora for the great photos of the children as I was too busy serving the cakes!

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants (1 to 1 1/4 pounds each), sliced lengthwise 3/4 inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese (1 2/3 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) store-bought marinara sauce (2 cups)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Brush lightly on both sides with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until eggplant is tender and golden, turning halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil.
  3. Lay a fourth of eggplant slices in bottom of prepared dish; spread with half of marinara sauce. Top with another fourth of eggplant; spread with half of ricotta. Repeat layers, ending with ricotta; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Hillside

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We started our Saturday by doing a few jobs. O finally got around to making Rory’s new little table and chairs and Rory was eager to help. He was incredibly pleased with the finished result and insisted on having milk and snack at it. Needing some air we popped out for a long walk around the neighborhood. We left the buggy at home and let Rory guide us. Needless to say we ended up looking at diggers and a tanker. We found ourselves in Vinegar Hill so decided to stop for lunch at Hillside. It was yummy and a great place for a light family bite. On the way home we bumped into the gorgeous Churcher family and whilst the adults chatted, Rory and Oliver loved running around chasing each other. Once home, we all enjoyed a long afternoon nap. We were supposed to be heading out to Williamsburg to see The Maccabees (whose song ‘Toothpaste Kisses‘ was our first wedding dance) but the timings didn’t work out with the babysitter. A tad disappointing as it was Uncle Henry’s birthday celebration and he had a great night hanging with the band and Florence and the Machine at the after party. To make up for it, we headed out for a family night stroll and took in the magic of this city at night, I never tire of it. Stopped off for pizza on the way home and then snuggled in and watched the HBO Beyonce documentary special. A lovely day.

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Ho Hey it’s Friday

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It was slightly chilly this morning so Rory and I went for a little walk before meeting up with Marji and Gray and heading out in the car. We went to our favorite indoor play space where the boys had a brilliant time. Rorykins insisted on a pizza slice for lunch and since we’ve all been so good of late I couldn’t deny him, everything in moderation and all that. We both enjoyed a leisurely nap before having some chilled home time in the afternoon (mainly playing with Rory’s impressive transport collection). Honey Crisp apples are still the firm favorite snack for both of us at the moment, they’re so delicious right now. Whilst making some homemade pea and pea-shoot pesto for supper (incredibly healthy as you don’t need much oil, pine nuts or any cheese) I listened to The Lumineers, whose record ‘Ho Hey‘ I’m completely addicted to. Supper was a big hit. Rory enjoyed four servings!

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A rainy day at home

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Gosh this grey, rainy weather reminds me of living at home (which I don’t mind every now and then as long as I’m prepared). There was no way to really get out, apart from a small, quick dash to pick up a few provisions, so Rory and I enjoyed a quiet day at home. Whilst Rory was thoroughly engaged with his drawing board, I managed to cook some yummy bubble and squeak using a recipe from my Innocent family cook book. I’m planning to finish them off and serve them with a poached egg for a warming supper. Luckily my new Treton wellies have arrived today, not only are they very cool and bright but the fur lining makes them incredibly cosy to wear which will be handy when the snow finally arrives. In the afternoon the lovely Lucy and Teddy popped round for some afternoon tea. They came loaded with yummy petit fours from One Girl. The boys played whilst the ladies chatted and listened to Lianne La Havas. So a rainy day at home wasn’t all that bad after all.

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The Library & Bluegrass

This morning Rory and I joined Mel and Mia in a trip to our local library. The children’s section was amazing so I was completely in my element, however, Rory (who LOVES books) behaved very strangely and just took lots of books off shelves and threw them on the floor! As you can imagine I was pretty horrified. I’m putting it down to having an ‘off’ week due to the aforementioned cold, it being too near lunch and nap time and the novelty of having that many books all in one place and getting over excited. We’ll see next time we go what happens. The afternoon was spent playing with friends and water before heading out for a group Flea Food supper Under The Archway and listening to a brilliant Bluegrass band perform, Rory (being American) was enthralled and enjoyed dancing and clapping away. Delightful.

Exploring the computer at the library with Mia

Supper with friends on a gorgeous summer’s evening

Rory and Oliver