Our weaning journey with Babease

When we started weaning Imogen, about 7-8 weeks ago now I had every intention to be the mum that made all the food her baby ate. But it quickly became obvious that I cram far too much into my life to have time to do this everyday, so I also looked into pouches of baby food. Mainly to take out and about with me when a pouch is much more convienient that having to store and re heat things that you have made. I was though concnered that I wanted this ‘convenience’ food to be the best I could find. Enter Babease!

Babease is a relatively new addition to the baby food scene, and it’s premise is ‘vegetables first’ that is food for babies, and not ‘baby food’.

Babease started from a ‘desire to understand more about what we feed our children and to help support mums, dads and little ones as they take their first steps into the world of real food.’ They acknowledge that it can be a daunting time, with so many opinions, advice, products and complicated allergen guidance and I certainly agree with that – it is a minefield! All of their recipes are vegetable-led and focus on using premium organic ingredients, mostly from the UK but sometimes from abroad as well where needed. Their stage one veg purées never contain more than 30% fruit, and the Stage 2 recipes contain none at all.

The are also trying to bring the most flavour packed food possible which means they have  included some ingredients never used before in the baby food market wonderful to develop taste buds and help broaden that palette. I was intrigued to see the use of things like kale, quinoa, beetroot, chickpeas and lentils in the pouches.

They list their ingredients on both the front and back of the packaging, and use simple ingredient wheels to show the percentages of the different components.

To start with imogen wasn’t the biggest fan of being spoon fed (she still isn’t to be honest!) but we let her play with the purées and she started to dip her fingers in and suck it off her fingers! As time has gone she also now likes the spout of the pouch to be put straight in her mouth – she gets more of it this way!

I always make a point of trying a little taste of the pouches I give Imogen – if I find it horrible then I’m certainly not giving it to her, but so far I’ve been very impressed by the flavours of the Babease pouches. This one below was a particular favourite – as you can see it’s being protected by a chubby little hand!

As well as using the pouches for the traditional spoon feeding, the Babease website has some fantastic recipes and ideas to include the pouches in cooking a meal – for example carrot cake porridge, and lentil tikka masala.

In the last few weeks we have moved on from using the stage 1 purees suitable from 4 months to the stage 2 pouches and I am loving the flavour combinations. My next plan is to use them to make a great quick sauce for some pasta.

Imogen couldn’t wait to tuck into this one!!

Babease are available in Tesco, Ocado and Boots as well as online. They really have impressed us a lot, and we will definitely continue to use them to supplement Imogens’ weaning.


Disclosure: Babease sent us a variety of pouches to try, just to see what we thought, a review, positive or otherwise was not required. 

Imogens Wardrobe Wishlist: Edition #2 Spring/Summer 2017

A few months ago I really enjoyed putting together my first wardrobe wishlist post for Imogen so thought I would do another one for spring and summer! Imogen is now wearing 6-9 month clothes and has been since a couple of weeks before she turned 6 months in February. She’s just below the 91st centile line at the moment (chunk!) and so always grows out of the size just a little before she should. She’s pretty long, so its usually the leggings and vests that go first and we can usually get a little more use out of the dresses and jumpers. Apart from H&M clothes which always seem on the bigger side – she’s still fitting quite a few H&M jumpers and a pair of glittery leggings in 3-6 month size!

There’s some really lovely clothes around for children at the moment, and some gorgeous spring colours. I’m loving yellows, greens and dusky pink but also love a bit of grey and monochrome, great to jazz up with a pop of colour with a bright hair band or pair of leggings. Anyway, lets have a look!Wishlist2.1

  1. Glittery Grey Cardigan: H&M – £8.99

2. Girls Marl Dungarees: Matalan – £9

  1. Hot Pink Dino Romper: Little E and Me

4. Pink/Grey Slogan Star Short Leg Rompers Four Pack: Next -£18

As mentioned above, I’m partial to a bit of grey clothing – it just goes with anything and I really like the look of this glittery one from H&M. Same goes really for these cute dungarees from Matalan – I think pair of dungarees is a staple in any childs wardrobe! A friend of mine introduced me to Little E and Me – a small business based in Staffordshire selling baby clothes with really cute prints, and I love this dinosaur romper – who said dinosaurs are only for boys? Last summer we didn’t really get to put Imogen in many rompers – when she was born she was too tiny, and then after a couple of weeks the weather turned bad, so this summer I really want to make use of the romper – babies look so cute in rompers!!

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5. Grey Mermaid T-Shirt: Next – £6

  1. Little Bird by Jools Floral Canvas Dress: Mothercare – £14
  2. Spring Bow Head Bands: Miss Maeves Boutique – £8.50

Just like I’m loving unicorns at the moment (who isn’t?!), I’m going to also jump on the mermaid bandwagon – and I love this slogan tee from Next! I don’t usually buy much from Mothercare as I can’t often find that many things I like and I do think its a bit overpriced, but I do like a few things from the My K or Little Bird ranges, and this dress would be perfect for summer. Anyone who knows me now, knows I love to pop Imogen in a little head band and I love these colours from Miss Maeves Bowtique, great for spring and so delicate too.

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8. Baby Girl Grey Heart Print Dress: Primark – £6

9. My Little Pony Sleepsuit: Next – £10

10. Beach Hoodie, Organic Sweat Jersey, Dusky Pink: Bear & Babe – £17.50

I actually now own the Primark dress as I braved the rain the other day and drove across to the The Fort shopping park where there is a HUGE Primark – yay! I’ve always loved my little pony and think this sleep suit is just so so cute. Lastly, a word on Bear & Babe – if you are looking to shop small and local then this business based in Sheffield (so local to where I used to live!) is one to look out for for amazing handmade baby clothes – there’s so much of their stuff I really want at the moment but looooove this little hoodie!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my dream wishlist for Imogen for the next few months – if you’ve got any suggestions then do point me in the right direction or if you are a brand who would like to feature your baby clothes or accessories in one of my What Imogen Wore posts please do get in touch!!

 

 

 

hot pink Dino romper – Little E and Me

The Minefield of Weaning

I don’t know if it’s just me but sometimes I find that when trying to buy something, there is just too much choice. I’m one of those people that likes to do their research, I like to have a great product, but also one that’s value for money. So when I stepped into the weaning minefield I was instantly a bit overwhelmed. There are just so many brands and products out there. So when Tommee Tippee and Bibetta, brands we know and trust  offered to send us a weaning bundle to try out I was rather relieved!

Firstly we tried this really vibrant place mat from Bibetta.

The pictures of this don’t really do the product justice – its really quite large so great for covering a good area on the table, and is made of a soft neoprene material that feels quite padded which is great. The mat has a built in pocket to catch any food too.

The mat is non slip, so although it doesn’t stick or fasten to the table in any way it doesn’t slip about either. Possibly the best feature of the mat for me though, is that it folds in on itself and tucks into the pocket, so if dirty, it can be tranposrted home neatly without having to put it in another bag. I think this mat would be perfect for slightly older babies or toddlers that are sitting at the table – Imogen has not yet stopped picking everything up and throwing it around so not as good for her jus yet! It retails at £14.99 and even won a Gold award from The DAD Network in 2016 so is definitely worth it!

As well as place mats there are so many other things to think about too – spoons, bibs, bowls etc. The list goes on and on and the options are endless; non stick, suction cups, disposable, wipe clean…..! Tommee Tippee do a wide range of weaning products and these are just some we’ve tried. Firstly, disposable paper bibs. These are made of quite tough paper and have a pocket at the bottom to catch stuff. They are fab for out and about – we found them pretty absorbent but not quite enough for a whole cup of water being flung at yourself – but then not much would withstand that! They come in packs of 20 and fit nicely into a changing  bag.

Next up we recieved some Easy Scoop Explora Bowls. These come in packs of 4 in a range of bright colours. They have a unique triangular base, said to make it easier to scoop up the food, which I would totally agree with. They have a decent capacity and also attach well to the Tommee Tippee Magic Mats. We bought one of these and it works pretty well – using a suction device to hold the bowl in place – it might not work for stronger toddlers though!

I really laughed when I saw the next products. For ages when I’ve thought about weaning Imogen I pictured myself trying to get food in her mouth by pretending to fly in aeroplanes or trains, but didn’t imagine that a company would actually make a spoon in aeroplane form! These Aeroplane Spoons are very cute and sold in packs of 2, although at 7 months I’m not sure Imogen really appreciates them yet!

We found the next product fantastic – heat sensing soft tip spoons. These come in three packs, again in various colours. The handles are pretty long which can be useful for getting into jars, and the tips are soft which is kind to the gums – Imogen loves to chew on them. They are BPA free and also are heat sensing – so the soft tip of the spoon goes white if the food is too hot. Much better than constantly sticking your finger in the food to check!

These essential storage pots are great for storing food int he fridge or freezer, and again feature the triangular base. Not pictured we have also used the Pop up freezer pots – the lids of these stay attached, so they are really easy to open when cold from the freezer.

Lastly was the Free Flow Cup. Now if weaning is a minefield, then choosing a cup is even worse – there are so many on the market, how on earth do you make a discoid or know whats best for your little one. The essentials free flow cup is said to be the best for transitioning your baby from sucking to sipping, and this cup comes with a flip down spout meaning it won’t spill when you’re out and about. It;s taken Imogen a few weeks, but she is now really getting used to drinking from this cup, and finds it easy to hold too.

Like all Tommee Tippee products, it comes in loads of colours too. We liked this cup so much we have bought another couple since! Since trying out all these products, Bibetta and Tommee Tippee have reinforced themselves as trusted brands in my eyes, and hopefully, I now have a handle on the weaning minefield!

Disclosure: Thanks to Bibetta and Tommee Tippee for sending us some of the above products to try, no further compensation was received and all opinions are our own. 

 

kitchen bites

Kitchen Bites #21: A Mothers Day Special!

It’s not quite been a month since my last Kitchen Bites update – but with Mothers Day fast approaching (my first one as a mum – so exciting!) I just thought I’d bring you a few things that we’ve tried recently that would make some fantastic presents in my opinion.

Firstly, you can’t go wrong with a nice box of chocolates, and what better than this beautiful box from Hotel Chocolat, £22.50. With some really indulgent sounding options like Champagne truffles and caramel cheesecake this would really impress.


Secondly, we remain on the chocolate theme with this luxury Hot Chocolate from Whittard. Whittard are often my go to brand for tea but I’d never tried their hot chocolate and this is seriously luxurious  – a bit like a hug in a mug. Perfect for cosy nights in on the sofa.  This retails at £6.50 and they also do so many flavour twists on hot chocolate too like their limited edition Raspberry Ripple.


Next up would be fantastic if your mum is a tea lover. A new subscription box – The True Tea Club, based up in North Yorkshire.

If you subscribe, on the 20th each month you receive a tea box which contains four loose leaf teas from around the world. Handily – it fits through the letterbox, so no need to be in to receive it either. There is many flavours available including Black, Green and White teas, Oolong, Rooibos selections, Fruit Infusions, specialist teas and more. With a library of over 200 loose teas, you can expect endless surprise flavours inside your subscription box.

The box I received contained Early Grey Rebel, Rainbow Chaser, Vanilla Cupcake and Mighty Mango, all in nicely labelled well sealed packets. They even throw in some empty ‘tea bags’ for you to pop the tea into to brew like a normal tea bag if you don’t have the capacity to brew loose leaf. Being more of a black tea fan – the earl grey rebel was my absolute favourite of these but I also really enjoyed the Vanilla Cupcake. I tested out the other two on friends and they were very impressed. You can tailor you tea selection too, so if you really don’t like green teas, just tell them and you won’t get any! Sign up now on their website  – trueteaclub.co.uk from as little as £10.00/month and get 50% off your first box with the code LOVE.

I really love the tea subscription box idea and I loved everything else about this, even down to the slimline packaging.


The next products are from a new artisan company based in the New Forest. The claim to be bringing a first to the market of both sweet and savoury biscotti.

The sweet range offers Belgian Chocolate, Coffee and Walnut, Honey and Lemon and the more traditional Simply Almond. Traditionally the almond biscotti is served with coffee, but Great British Biscotti have tailored their other flavours to be dunkable in all hot drinks including tea and hot chocolate!

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All the sweet biscotti come in both 100g boxes and smaller twin packs – I can see my self slipping one of these twin packs in my hand bag now and again!

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The sweet biscotti were really great, and all the flavours were pretty yummy, but obviously the chocolate was my favourite. Despite this, I was most looking forward to the savoury options, with Chorizo and Parmesan, Indian Spiced and Parmesan and Fennel all sounding really appealing. The Great British Biscotti Co. suggest their savoury biscotti would be perfect for a range of things; cheeseboards, charcuterie platters, used as canapé bases or as croutons in soups or salads.

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Several of the flavours have already won Great Taste Awards. I’m yet to try the parmesan and fennel, but can concur that the other two are fantastic. A great new product to look out for on shelves near you.


Last up is a great one for the baking mums amongst you –  a new cookbook from the brilliant Mich Turner – ‘Have you Cake and Eat It’. Mich Turner is the founder of the Little Venice Cake Company and has baked for many celebrities including the Queen, Madonna and Simon Cowell. In 2010 she was even awarded and MBE for her services

This book really is a bakers delight – with a vast array of sweet treats, but also includes lots of few from options, as well as healthier recipes too.The recipes are clear and easy to follow and the pictures that accompany are positively drool worth!

I can’t wait to try some out – I’ve got my eye on the Sour Cream Vanilla & Blueberry Cake to make first of all!

I think you’ll all agree some fabulous products there that would make some fantastic Mothers Day gifts. See you all next month!

Review: Strada, Birmingham Mailbox

Many years ago when we lived in Sheffield a restaurant called Strada opened in Leopold Square, which was quite the cool hip place to go in Sheffield back in 2006. We loved eating at the Strada there, but when we moved back to Birmingham for some reason we didn’t go! There are two Stradas in Birmingham city centre, one within the ICC which I have been to once for a works do, and one in the sophisticated Mailbox development, which was the venue for our most recent meal.

We visited on a Saturday lunchtime, when it was packed with families, couple and groups of friends. We had a great table by the window looking out in the the Mailbox – great for people watching! I started with an ELDERFLOWER SPRITZ – St Germain liqueur, Prosecco and Limonata on ice.

The menu features some classic Italian dishes. Lee chose the ARANCINI – Crispy rice balls stuffed with melting mozzarella. Served with spicy tomato passata and aged Parmesan. He was pretty impressed with these, and the sauce had a lovely kick to it. I also really enjoyed my starter; I’d plumped for the SEARED KING PRAWNS – Toasted ciabatta and shell-on king prawns. Fried with chilli, parsley and garlic in a lemon and white wine sauce. My only complaint being that I could have done with more bread to mop up all the sauce!

For mains Lee had one of the Chefs specials – the Saltimbocca. He enjoyed the flavours of the salty pancetta and the sage, but did feel that the meat and accompanying beans were a bit overcooked for his liking.

I went for a pizza. Strada do a great range of Pizzas and have even named Mondays ‘Pizza Mondays’ where they sell pizzas for just £5! This one was the RUSTICA – Tomato, buffalo mozzarella, roast sausage, caramelised onions, capers and artichokes. I really like this combination of flavours, the tangy salty capers, meaty sausage and sweet onions.

Child friendly? Yes – very happy to accommodate prams and children and offered a high chair straightaway. Staff very on the ball and offered stickers and crayons! Changing facilities upstairs and in disabled toilet.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Strada and they seemed very accommodating for little people too – something very important in our book now! I’d definitely return for some more of those prawns!


Disclosure: Our meal was complimentary in return for an honest review.