Sunday, 29 October 2017

Smokey vegetable rice | Dairy free

smokey vegetable rice

As Dot as a cows milk protein allergy, I've cut out all dairy from my diet, and as a precaution, soya too (they often react to both). What it's meant is that I'm cooking a lot more meals from scratch, which is great! I've struggled to find good recipes online for dairy and soy free that's non-vegan, so I've been making a lot of meals up. I thought I'd start sharing some of them on here in case it helps to inspire anyone else.


1 cup/portion of basmati rice
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1 large white onion, diced
2 slices chopped ham or any other meat you like (chicken thighs work great in this)
handful of halved baby plum tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
knorr vegetable stock pot


1. Cook the basmati rice with the vegetable stock pot
2. Heat up some oil in a frying pan, chop the onion and start cooking. Once the onion is just starting to brown, add the paprika
3. Half the tomatoes and add them to the onions, and add the meat, add more oil if needed, and season well with salt and pepper
4. When the rice is cooked, drain it and add it to the frying pan, combine it until all the rice has changed colour to help absorb the flavour, and serve

I really liked this with some white pepper on top, and a little squirt of Hellman's full fat mayonnaise (dairy free, but obviously contains egg).

Don't be afraid to add more smoked paprika, it doesn't have too much heat, but it packed with lovely smokey flavour. I created this recipe to use things up in the fridge, so you could add anything to it. It'd be lovey with broccoli and red pepper too. I've also made it with a couple cloves of chopped garlic, that worked really well too.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Giorgio Armani Sky di Gioia

Giorgio Armani Sky di Gioia perfume

In the Summer, Giorgio Armani launched a new perfume, Sky di Gioia. It's a beautiful delicate fruity and floral scent, just like you might imagine being perfect for hot Summer days. It was inspired by pink sunrises over the ocean. Needless to say, I was pretty happy when this beautiful scent landed on my doorstep. 

The reason I'm sharing this now and not a couple months ago, is because for me, I think this is the perfect time of year for this scent, as we transition from Summer to Autumn. The scent brings back memories of hot summer days as you head out in boots and scarf, kicking up piles of leaves as you walk. It has a lovely warmth to it too, making it the perfect transitional scent.

The cost is about typical of a higher end fragrance, £48 for 30ml, £66 for 50ml or £79 for 100ml, you can buy it direct from the Giorgio Armani site, or places like Boots/Fragrance shops etc.

What's your favourite Summer to Autumn scent?
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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Squidge's bedtime reads | October

A picture of childrens books Zog, Keith the cat in the magic hat and Don't let the pigeon drive the bus

I thought I'd start a new feature on Pixiedoes. Squidge loves stories, he loves having stories read to him at bedtime (and the rest of the day), but his favourites change pretty frequently, so I thought I'd start a monthly favs of Squidge's favourite reads.


a page from zog
This is actually an old favourite of his. I bought him the board book of this when he was a baby, and about 6-12 months ago he really liked Daddy reading it to him as he was finishing his dinner in the evening. Then recently as a gift we were bought the big book version of it - so now we have a copy for upstairs and downstairs (I did try to get him to take a copy to his nanny and grandad's where he spends 2 days a week, but no he wants to keep it downstairs, who am I to argue!). Now we have one upstairs, he asks for it most bedtimes.

We're pretty big fans of Julia Donaldson here, we have over half her books and Squidge absolutely loves them.

Zog is the story of a dragon, a dragon who really wants to earn a golden star. Each year the teacher teaches them something new like breathing fire, and gets them to go and practice. Eventually Zog befriends a princess and a knight and finds himself a new career.  I'm really not doing it justice! It's a good story, and Alex Scheffler does a wonderful job illustrating it.

Keith the cat with a magic hat

A page from keith the cat with the magic hat
This was another present and it's been an absolute hit! Keith is a cat who has an ice cream land on his head (oops). To save face, he tells his cat friends it's a magic hat and not just an ice cream. Through a series of consequences, his cat friends believe it really is a magic hat until they find themselves chased up a tree by a dog!

It's a lovely story, beautifully illustrated and perfect for pre-schoolers.

Don't let the pigeon drive the bus!

a page from don't let the pigeon drive the bus
This really is a funny book. It's written from the perspective of the bus driver, and then the pigeon. It talks directly to the reader and encourages you to answer (which I love)! I really like books that are different, and this really is. From the illustration style, to the way you read the book, it's really unusal but very engaging. Squidge really loves it, especially the bit where we shout 'LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!' - thanks to that it was an instant hit :) 

I wonder what will be Squdige's favourites next month? Do you have any recommendations?
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Friday, 20 October 2017

Squidge's 3 year update

Squidge looking out of a train window

It's official, I'm a mummy to a 3 year old! Where did those 3 years go? I honestly feel like the luckiest mummy in the world, Squidge is the loveliest boy, he's kind, caring, sweet, funny and beautiful. He makes me so proud to be his mummy every day.


I thought I'd kick off with this as it's the only thing holding him back at the moment. His vocabulary is excellent as is his understanding, but his pronunciation still isn't great. A couple weeks ago he went to see a speech therapist to be assessed, and she said he has 'disordered speech'. So she's drawing up a treatment plan for him. It's the back of the mouth sounds he has the biggest problem with, the front sounds he's mostly fine with. Hopefully his first session will be soon and I really hope it helps. He starts the rising 3's in January and hopefully it'll be in a Welsh medium school, so it'll be really really beneficial for him to be able to say the right sounds.


It's becoming a bit of a headache. He's never been a great eater, but he's becoming more fussy as he's getting older. Refusing to try new foods (even the tiniest taste to see if he likes it) and only sticking to what he knows. Meals are also taking aages, with him taking around an hour to eat a small bowl of food.  He's been quite poorly recently and every time he's poorly, he stops eating. As a result, he's lost quite a lot of weight, and is starting to worry me. I really need to try and fatten him up a little as he's really really lean - a couple more colds and he'll be in danger of becoming underweight.

Saying that, the last couple days he's actually eaten really well, which is so lovely to see him with an appetite :) 


He's really in a mix of sizes at the moment - his pants are for age 2-3 and I think he'll be staying in that size for quite a while as his hips are really small. Trousers/jeans he's in a combination of size 2-3, and some 3-4 - the problem he has is that a lot of the size 3-4 are great in length for him, but they fall down on him because of his little hips and bottom. Tops he's definitely fully in 3-4 now, especially with his big head :) I'm not buying as many clothes for him from John Lewis any more - I still love their clothes, but I find often the head holes are a little small. Instead I've been buying from M&S, F&F at Tesco, Asda and Mothercare.


His imagination is fantastic, I absolutely love watching him play. One of the presents I got for him for his 3rd Birthday was the Playmobil take along dolls house - he really likes this and it really plays to his imagination. It's just a delight to watch him play and create little scenarios for the characters. He even got one to ask the other one to be best friends the other day, like omg, I nearly died of a cuteness overload!

He loves being read stories, and now remembers them so that when he leafs through the pages, he can say the story out loud. He's loving nursery rhymes too - his favourites at the moment is 3 little ducks and the abc song, and oh my gosh he's cute singing them with his cute little voice!

He's been able to count 1-10 for a while, but by himself has started picking up 11-20 and even surprised me yesterday when I got to 21 he said 'twenty two' for the next number, I was amazed!

We gave up dummies a few months ago now and he's not once asked for them since the dummy fairy came, I've been so impressed in how he's dealt with this. He's also now fully potty trained - I'll write a separate post on our journey with that.

All in all he's thriving. He's such a loving big brother, he brings us so much joy, happiness and laughter. Spending time with him really is a treat :) 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

My breastfeeding journey

Me breastfeeding Dot in public for the first time

If you've followed me for a long time, you might remember that I wrote about my breastfeeding journey with Squidge about 3ish years ago over on mummy-pixie. It didn't go well, he couldn't latch and I really had no idea what I was doing. Looking back now, I'm pretty sure he had a tongue tie, but I didn't even know about that then.

This time I was determined to breastfeed and make it work, and luckily for me, Dot is able to. But it hasn't been an easy journey.

The first couple weeks

These were tough. When he was about 2 weeks old, I got mastitis in the left breast, as well as blocked ducts which meant I couldn't express off the milk in my engorged breast, and I had a cracked nipple which wasn't only bleeding, but had puss coming out of it, I know, TMI, sorry about that!

Because of that, feeding on the left breast was an absolute no go, and for a couple weeks I fed from the right breast only. He seemed to be getting enough milk for the most part, but we were still needing to do the odd formula top-up - this was mostly the midnight feed, there just never seemed to be enough milk in my boobs for him. The problem with the formula is that he almost always threw it up... and it bloody stank like gone-off milk, yuck!

At about this stage I joined a couple breastfeeding Facebook groups, and that alone saved my breastfeeding journey. There were things Dot was doing that I didn't understand, but there's so much knowledge in these groups that they were able to explain it to me.  For example, the newborn cluster feeding where they're literally on the breast all day and night. I assumed I wasn't producing enough milk and would have to give up. That's not the case at all, that's the baby 'putting in an order' with your milk supply ready for the next day or couple days etc. By the baby being on the breast (whether getting milk or not) my body was learning that it needed to produce more milk, then the days after that were easier as the supply was increased.

He still doesn't latch that well, sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't, but most of the time it doesn't hurt either. The only time feeding hurts any more is if my breasts have become engorged, then they become quite tender all over. 


When Squidge was 8 weeks old, he started sleeping through the night, at least until the 4 month sleep regression hit! I've never expected Dot to do this as he's breastfed, and typically breastfed babies are more likely to wake at night. 

However, at 6 weeks old I grudgingly introduced a dummy - he was using my breast as a soother. If I didn't have any other children I'd have happily let him carry on, however, when I'm also looking after a 3 year old, having to wipe his bottom after the toilet several times a day, I can't let the baby use me as a soother, I need to be mobile. So I tried him with a dummy. 

That day, the day I introduced it, he napped the best ever (during the day) and hasn't napped that well since! He was having good 2 hr naps in the bouncer, leaving me free to spend time doing crafts with Squidge. However, most of the time Dot refuses the dummy, he only seems to accept it if he's really tired, and most of the time, at night only. But that brings other issues, like waking 10 times a night because the dummy has fallen out of his mouth. 

That's all well and good in the moses basket as I can just lean over. But in the next couple days, Dot will be in a proper cot as he's too big for his moses basket now. That means getting out of bed a lot of times a night! It's either that, or get him up and feed him (if we take the dummy away).... what to do?

I'm also pretty proud to say that since about week 4, Dot hasn't had any formula, he's now exclusively breastfed :) That midnight feed my boobs didn't seem to produce enough for, I just stayed up really late one night with him on the breast (putting the order in!) and after that it's been fine :) 

A rash on Dot's chest from the dairy allergy

It does also look like he has a diary allergy (CMPA - cows milk protein allergy). He had most of the symptoms (rash, arching and screaming on the breast, lots of wind, very vinegary poops and lots of them especially when feeding, and loads more) apart from weight loss, but as he was using me as a soother, he was getting plenty of milk. 

To see if that's what was bothering him, over 2 weeks ago I cut dairy out of my diet (something I never thought I'd be able to do!) and this past few days I've really noticed a difference (it takes 2 weeks for the protein to leave your system). His rash has gone, he doesn't cry on the breast very often or arching his back, not as much wind and his poops smell normal.  I'll test again when he's closer to 6 months old (I'll have a small glass of milk or something) and see how he copes with that. He *should* grow out of it, fingers crossed he does anyway!

8 weeks in and we're doing great, I'm just so pleased I've been able to do this for him :) 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Mummy of two | The first 6 weeks

Mummy of two

I've officially been a mummy of two for 6 weeks now, and I honestly feel like I've won the lottery. How did I get this lucky, to be the mummy of two wonderful little boys. Don't get me wrong, it's been far from easy, but we've taken the challenges on and are doing well.

Sleeping... lol

Dot with a dummy
Yeah funny title when you have a newborn! My sleep at night is sparse, much more sparse than when we had Squidge. Dot is breastfed and comforts on the boob. Typically, we'll go up to bed about 11:30 and I'll feed him then. He either goes to sleep well at that point, until about 2:30am, or he'll stay awake right through to that feed and until about 3-4am. The problem is, he hates his moses basket, and at 6 weeks old has nearly outgrown it! I can put him down in it fast asleep, and within 1-2 mins he'll be fully wide awake and alert.

Then what typically happens, the feed about 2:30am, he'll have that and we both fall asleep either as the feed ends or during the feed. I wake up at like 5am with him lying across my lap and my arm under his head (supporting it) and me sat up and dozing. Then as soon as I transfer him to the moses basket, he wakes and is ready for his next feed.  So, I'm not getting much sleep at all, maybe 2-3 hrs a night at most, but I'm functioning quite well on it too :) 

Today however, I caved. I caved and gave him a dummy, something I was desperately hoping to avoid. But my goodness, he's a different baby with it. He's not soothing on me anymore. If I didn't have Squidge to look after too, I'd happily let Dot soothe on me, but when I need to be mobile to look after the toddler, I just can't. As a result, Dot has slept in his bouncer today (he's only previously managed half hr in it!), he's fed better off me (had a good full feed that didn't take too long), and seems happier.

Diet changes

Dot chest rash
We think Dot has a dairy allergy. He definitely has silent reflux, but we think that in itself is a symptom of the dairy allergy. He screams on the boob while arching his back and bringing his knees up, spits up feeds a lot, is very sleepy and struggles to stay awake for feeds, has had a chest rash, has lots of explosive poops which smelled really vinegary. So, I've cut out dairy and soya from my diet. Today is day 5 of that and I'm starting to see some changes in him. His poops no longer smell of vinegar, and he's not screaming on the boob as much. He did a lot last night, but he seemed to have some trapped wind.

They say that cows milk protein stays in your system for up to 2 weeks, so I'm not expecting to see any drastic changes until then. If I need to cut out eggs too I'll try that, but only after a good month of being dairy free. 


Dot breastfeeding
This is actually going really well! We had some struggles if you remember (mastitis, blocked ducts and a cracked nipple) but overcame them, and more recently he's been struggling to feed on that same left boob. I took him along to a breastfeeding support group who helped me with the positioning, and now he's feeding on the boob much better, whoop! My supply seems ok for the most part, unless he's grazing lots, then he struggles to get enough milk. I'm just so pleased I'm able to do this for him, despite the constant milk patches down my top after a feed :P


Dot in Squidge's bed
Well, he's a big strapping baby that's for sure! He's gaining almost 1lb a week! He was weighed on Tuesday at a whopping 12lb 13.5 oz at 6 weeks old (for comparison, Squidge was 12 weeks old when he reached 12 lbs). He's in size 3-6 month clothes for the most part, some larger 0-3 months babygrows still fit him). He's 91st percentile for height, head circumference and weight which is great. He certainly doesn't look chubby, he looks pretty normal, with creases in the right places :)


Squidge in his rubble hoodie
I don't want to miss Squidge out :) He's doing well, in fact, it's his 3rd birthday tomorrow :) He still has speech issues (pronunciation) and will be seeing a speech therapist next week about it. He makes us laugh every day with the things he comes out with and his cheeky beautiful little smile. He's taken to being a big brother so well, he's so caring and loving. He's absolutely nailed potty training too, it's just a shame that he has an tummy bug at the moment (lots of poops every day...). He's just a delight, I can't wait to see what the next year brings for this little chap :)

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