Dairy Free Banana Bread

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Slightly crunchy crust and soft and moist on the inside. One of my all time favourite bakes, but this time around we found the most delicious dairy free recipe! Winner, winner chicken dinner! Too good not to share, I will not be using any other recipes for the rest of my life I don’t think. That’s how good it was. The best banana bread we have baked and its pretty much toddler-proof too. Baking with kids can be a different art form altogether, they eat ingredients and oh batter. So much batter, like the butter sugar mixture ( oh her favourite )! A little too much goes into her little mouth but I can’t help but chuckle as the approving Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm is hilarious and truly honest.

Before I share the recipe, check out our masterpiece πŸ™‚

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1/2 cup butter (115g)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

4 bananas ( over ripe ones, finely crushed)

1 1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Cream butter and sugar. We used dairy free Stork. With a toddler, everything is simplified. I used a fork and she had lots of messy fun with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add eggs and crushed bananas
  3. Mix well
  4. Add flour, baking soda and salt. I should have sifted them before adding them but it turned out well even without the sifting. Add in the vanilla.
  5. Mix until just combined. Impossible not to over mix with an over-enthusiastic toddler.
  6. Poured into a greased and lined loaf pan.
  7. Bake at 175Β°C (350F) for 55 minutes.

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The banana flavour comes through very well in this banana bread. Still very impressed with this beaut of a cake, ps. we polished this offΒ  in 2 days. Time to bake another but perhaps we will add in some chopped nuts this time!

Have fun baking.

 

 

 

Pick us to be your Mark Warner family, please?

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I always do this, stumble upon something when it is 6 hours to the deadline! Oh seriously. ‘Why do I do this to myself? but but this is too great of an opportunity to not give it a shot?’ Come on Iris, write.. write for your life! I have just finished gawking at Capture by Lucy’s beautiful travel pictures and am taking up her call to apply to be one of Mark Warner’s family ambassadors. As she would put it, I would regret it if I don’t. Absolutely, so here goes and wish us luck.

Travel, extraordinary travel. It truly is the best. We have been very lucky as a family to be able to escape the pressures of daily life and see so much of the world together with our 2 year old. We have formed precious lasting memories by flying the little one all the way to Malaysia to start, exploring the hot springs in YangMingshan Taiwan, taking in all the sights in downtown Taipei all in a day and recently if you follow our Instagram, we have just been to Madrid, Barcelona and Greece!

Lots and lots of exploring the world with a tot in tow. Instagram must be my favourite social media platform, it was like our travelogue with lots of holiday snaps and videos especially of the little one prancing around everywhere. I have managed to snap about a thousand pictures (no joke) and I cannot wait to get them organised for my little blog.

To be in the running for Mark Warner’s fabulous holiday i.e for us to be brand ambassadors, I am suppose to collate our Top 10 travel must haves! I have written a similar blog post ‘Surviving Long Haul Flights with our Toddler‘ last year and this still stands. Always better to be prepared BUT after our recent travels, I have an alternative Top 10 MUST HAVES.

  1. To be Bold and Adventurous – experience new things!

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We risked it with the toddler and took a cruise boat out when we were in Athens to experience 3 absolutely beautiful islands namely Hydra, Aegina and Poros. It was a very long day from 7am till 7pm and we had about 9 hours to spent hopping on and off the cruise ship. It started off very wobbly as she was exceptionally quiet which is very unlike her and then she was sick! Thankfully, it was just the one off. She must have been seasick, bless! It paid off tremendously as she had a ball dancing around. When she is older, we must show her this postcard worthy picture of Hydra where she was in awe of all the donkeys on this ‘no vehicles’ island.

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2. Relax the rules – try not to be too uptight (speaking for my husband *jokes*)

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When you are on holiday, anything goes. Oh well, within limits of course. When we arrived in Greece the little one was exceptionally taken by all the gorgeous stray cats roaming everywhere! They were absolutely gorgeous although one will never know if they have fleas or carry illnesses. I definitely relaxed the rules and allowed her to touch them as long as she could wash her hands properly. Definitely makes for a more relaxed holiday!

3. Indulge – in good food, fun shopping, relaxing spa sessions, whatever tickles your fancy.

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There is no denying that I love my food especially desserts! When on holiday, INDULGE. Try it all, eat it all. Don’t follow me for diet advice although if you have or had a 2 year old. You will know that they run. These little humans can really run and chasing a toddler around takes its toll. I definitely burnt more than enough calories keeping her safe.

4. Enjoy an ‘adult’ holiday

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As long as you not taking them to a night club, all should be fine. I was initially stressed before we embarked on our trip to Athens as understandably we want to climb up the Acropolis but having read some feedback from Trip Advisor forums, some won’t recommend it as you have to leave your stroller. You know what, just do it! She had lots of exercise and plenty of fun, who cares if I could not feel my arms properly afterwards. She napped when we were still up there and we had to carry her back down. Daddy did most of the heavy lifting. Well worth it! There’s always a way for them to entertain themselves or maybe we are one of the lucky few.

5. ‘Dancing shoes’

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Those of you who follow our family’s journey will know of my tot’s tendency to break into a dance anywhere and anytime! Only 2 but she lives to this mantra ‘Why walk when you can dance?’ Plenty of dancing videos, check out one of my favourites filmed in Madrid on my Instagram HERE. Her lack of inhibitions is fantastic, she had a ball every time she heard music. Boogie boogie throughout your holiday, you will not regret it.

6. Take silly pictures and videos

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These two never fails to crack me up! They think of the most random things to do whilst waiting. Like daddy, like daughter?

7. CAMERA. Video camera. Phone camera. – even better an Insta-husband

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Bless my patient husband for dealing with my .. ‘another picture baby’. Another one here and here and here and here! Whoops. In all honesty though, my pictures of him and our daughter are way better than his. Grrrr.

8. A very LARGE inflatable – in our case, Horsey

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I kid you not, this horsey has been with us to Taiwan, Malaysia, Wales, London, you name it! Proof –>

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9. Lots of soya milk and SNACKS!

Bubba has a dairy allergy so we tend to be very prepared in this department. Lots of soya milk just in case. NEVER ever travel without snacks. I mean it. It makes them happy when they are upset. Pictures above were taken in Madrid, she was getting very grumpy and all it took was a small box of raisins to turn her frown into a smile. She even fed daddy some.

10. Little activities to keep them busy. Stickers and lots of them!

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Thank you for taking time to read and fingers crossed we will be able to embark on another fantastic getaway. Sunny one perhaps?

Pick us pick us! Little one would be thrilled if I am a #MarkWarnerMum and then she can do THIS all over again and our family will be able to form lasting memories in the sun with Mark Warner. Can we just be full time ‘wanderlusters’?

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Remember remember the 5th of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November… Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night. Whatever you call it, it sure is a fun albeit freezing night out for all the family celebrating the failure of Guy Fawkes’ infamous Bonfire Plot. Bonfires will be lit and fireworks will be illuminating the night’s sky with ‘BOOM BOOM BOOM’ as my toddler would put it.

We have been talking loads about fireworks as Diwali just passed and she had quite a fewΒ  fireworks themed activities for the past week. Her playgroup organised a lovely firework painting station for them, which she thoroughly enjoyed. We wrapped up warm and went to the annual Rainbows festival of fireworks at Leicester Racecourse. We were not sure whether to go for this or the biggest display at Abbey Park. I think we definitely made the right decision as we knew the toddler might be very tired and it might not go our way when the fireworks went off. Who knows, we might have to make a run for itΒ  and Abbey Park was a much larger venue. Parking was a huge factor in this too. We were there from half 5 right up to the end of the children’s display which started at 7. We were frozen by then. A little someone who was never a fan of gloves kept asking us to ‘fix it’. Its very telling that she was cold πŸ™‚

When we arrived, little one was excited to look around the funfair and we asked her whether she wanted to go on a centipede roller coaster. She profusely said no. However, we took her on a tamer train ride. She had her game face and was oh so serious when her daddy took her in the little train carriage but when she came out .. she was squealing with excitement and told me that she sat on a Choo Choo Train and rang the bell. Little joys in life, it was lovely to see her expressions.

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She especially loved the live music on stage, where she danced for at least half an hour whilst waiting for the children display. I forgot how expensive it can be for things like that. Our entrance was Β£7.50 eachΒ  (Β£5 for advance tickets), rides usually cost about Β£2.50 (double that as she is still wee to go unaccompanied), coffee / tea Β£2 and oh my word, the warm sugary donuts were 4 for Β£5! Oh well, all in all .. an experience to be had.

She was still excited when they were counting down to the kiddies display but all went a bit wrong when it started. She was not as excited as the last time she saw fireworks and started saying no and she was scared after a few minutes. My husband and I ran helter skelter working our way through the crowds whilst catching bits of it. She would look in amazement for a while and say lets go. We missed the lighting of the bonfire as well as the adults display (no surprises there)

As we were leaving and was in the vicinity of the carpark, she started wailing again as she wanted more fireworks. Oh the looks on our faces.

Till next year kiddo.

Pumpkin picking experience

Yes yes, its yet another pumpkin patch blog post on the internet but it is special for us as its our first experience with the little one in tow. It might have been easier ( *clears throat* photo opportunity ) last year as she was not yet a walking talking toddler .. I could have plopped her anywhere and it would have been picture perfect (jokes). Its nice to set little traditions for the family though and we will have to make a conscious effort to go again.

We went to Cattows Farm, a beautiful piece of Leicestershire countryside but their pumpkin patch was empty. They had a huge demand of Pick Your Own this year but no worries as they had a special plan in place for the kiddies. They just placed pre harvested pumpkins on their land πŸ™‚ Well, who cares! We were there and we were going to make the best of it.

She was thrilled when she saw so many pumpkins but one would assume pumpkins would be the main attraction at a pumpkin farm? It was ALL about the dandelions and the daisies for her. She kept saying ‘Look Mummy ‘ ‘Look Daddy!’ ‘I am picking lots and lots’. It was adorable, bless.

Pumpkin Patch

Cattows Farm

Pumpkin Picking

Dandelion

Pumpkin Picking at Cattows Farm

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Dandelion Love

Daddy Daughter Time

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What a lovely experience for us to enjoy as a family, we must remember to go earlier in the month next year. Perhaps there will be actual pumpkins to harvest πŸ™‚ Cattows Farm is a wonderful family friendly place, we had a good wander around the farm shop and made some purchases. Little one was pretty chuffed with her big and ‘little’ pumpkin. Oh yes, I have to mention the cakes in their tea room. Looks super delicious but unfortunately we already had food plans, therefore did not indulge this time around.

Cattows Farm Leicestershire

Cattows Farm Shop

They also had a little children play area which must be fab for the summer!

Cattows Farm

… no prize for guessing my height πŸ˜‰

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Last not but not least, a picture with their resident sheep and goat. Sure hit with bubba, she loved saying hello.

Cattows Farm

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Baking with the Toddler – Dairy Free Shortbread

I always had this idyllic idea of baking with my child, where it will be so pretty and fun, like something from those adverts you see on telly.

I have been procrastinating for quite a few months as I knew that this would smash that lovely picture that I have painted in my head. I finally DID IT. Baking with my little one for the very first time at 21 months! A really good and fun age to start as she now understands the concept of cooking. At least, I think she does as she watches me in the kitchen and pretends to cook her own food when she is actually eating. Haha.

I set up all the ingredients in advance and before I could even explain or show her which one to mix, she started pouring the wrong ingredient to the huge mixing bowl much to my dismay. She was doing her own thing whilst I tried guiding her to ‘follow the recipe’. “At least she’s loving it”.. I kept repeating this in my head.

Good thing I hid the raspberries till the end as she conveniently forgot that she was still baking and started enjoying them. After munching on quite a few raspberries, she started cooperating again and she was a jolly good helper.

I am so glad that I waited till she was this age so that it wont be too much of a ‘fail’. Good fun, more mess than usual, double the time BUT yes, to more baking days ahead especially since its autumn πŸ™‚

Enjoy our pictures, its chronological … includes the time where she toddled away and enjoyed some baking ingredients i.e the raspberries. Ingredients will be further down the post πŸ™‚

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Looking back at the pictures, her face was a picture of concentration and she carried out her little tasks with focus. Awww bless nothing cuter than little kids attempting to bake. First time trying this dairy free recipe and thankfully it worked! Super easy and she loved pressing the dough into the elephant mould. She kept wanting to turn the mould upside down to look at their faces though.

Ingredients:

290g baking margarine, we used Stork (not the spreadable kind), room temp. diced

120g sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

270g plain flour

110g rice flour

100g raspberries (optional)

pinch of sea salt

Mix the ‘butter’, sugar and vanilla together until pale and fluffy. (Well my toddler wanted to do flour first) Add the flours to the creamed mixture. Fold together. We included some raspberries for fun. Place dough in moulds or prepared tin. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes, preheat oven to 170Β°C. Bake for 40 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and score and do leave for it to completely cool before removing from mould or cutting the slices.

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We had one happy tot! Definitely makes it all worthwhile when you see her tucking into her little cookie. The elephants were a hit as she was so excited to eat the ears and then the eyes.

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For some other dairy free makes, check out my df banana ice cream and passion fruit cake. Hope you have a happy Sunday with your loved ones.

Ps. theres a huge range of animal moulds on Baked By Me. Great fun when baking with the kiddos.

The Adventures Of An Allergy Mummy

Mid-Autumn Festival

Feeling rather nostalgic πŸ™‚ My mum sent along a gorgeous lantern for the little one in conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Festival. After Chinese New Year, this is the second most important festival. I used to love picking out my lantern with my brothers; this was a wonderful yearly affair for us and I remember choosing an assortment of animals where my brothers would go for a car or superhero lantern or something along those lines. It was also a lovely excuse to play with lots of candles when we were older. Oh so much fun to be had.

When I forwarded some of the pictures to my mum .. she replied saying we had to play with the lantern when its dark (Duh!) There’s a little spot for you to put a candle in the lantern. Major fire hazard as the little one was way too excited with her first lantern. She was flinging it around, running along the path and ‘showing it off’ with lots of joy. Besides, this was already about 7pm. We are already missing these long, warm summer days where we it felt like we had lots of time to explore but autumn can be beautiful too.

Managed to get some lovely pictures with her prized PINK butterfly lantern.

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Lots of love and thank you Nanna! xxx

Surviving Long Haul Flights with our Toddler

Summer break. Holiday. Holibobs – Foreign climate and preferably with SUN –> long flight.

We have done 13 hour flights when she was a baby and it was all fine and dandy as she slept a fair bit! Before we booked this holiday, I definitely did my share of worrying as she is now an energetic toddler.. one that needs to be kept entertained and oh she is one that loves to stretch her legs. What if she acts up or throws a fit on board? Not to fret, its not that easy but we coped quite well I must admit. We as in my husband and myself. Phew! We made a good team and it was a lovely travelling experience flying with our toddler.

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First thing first, get all the nitty gritty formal bits out of the way. Airline, food, bassinets. You may have to request in advance. Our little one is dairy and egg free and we had to get some special food requested for her.

2

Get some sleep! We were all well rested before the long flight and this made a huge difference. We travelled to London the night before and spend the night at an airport hotel. You must check out Airparks. They have special airport hotel + parking deals which are great value for money. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Heathrow for a night + 20 days parking for about Β£120!

Little one was well excited when we arrived in London! We have been prepping her and telling her that we will be going on an aeroplane when we go on holiday …

Crowne Plaza

and not even the real deal and she was hopping about the hotel’s reception. Haha! The room was large and very comfortable at the Crowne Plaza Heathrow. If you have older kids, the room has a sofa bed for them too. Such a great way to start the holiday stress-free and with a teeny touch of luxury too. Definitely worked out cheaper than just paying for airport parking on its own. Wanted to eliminate as much ‘stress’ as possible especially when we have a kid in tow .. this worked out really well.

Crowne Plaza London Heathrow

Fresh as a daisy and off we go to the airport for breakfast! You can hop on the shuttle or get a cab to the airport.

 

3.

Be prepared. Goodness knows how many times I wrote out our ‘hand luggage’ list. Never underestimate the novelty of a new ‘little’ toy and old favourites are also a must. In our case, we lugged her favourite Teletubby, Lala! (Ps we actually lost it in Taiwan, whoops)

I really thought the novelty of getting onboard the plane would have worn out eventually and she would just fall asleep. no such luck, she only napped for 2 hours out of the 13 hours and it was meant to be bedtime. Thankfully, I packed plenty of entertainment as well as snacks for the whole 13 hours.

I had a fab time planning her toys, I was about to order children headphones but decided against loading the Ipad with Peppa or Dora. There’s always in flight entertainment if all fails onboard.

What really worked for us ( she’s 19 months old) —

  • Magna Doodle. It does require quite a bit of effort on our end as she expects us to draw Peppa, clouds, the sun, and lots of different animals but it did keep her well entertained for a few hours and its still one of her favourite toys. Great value for money. I was deciding between this or the travel Aqua Doodle as that came highly recommended too.Peppa Magna Doodle
  • Lift the flap type books. She is very into ‘lift the flap’ books and her all time favourite show is Dora the Explorer. I was very lucky to stumble on a very well made board book that had lots of different colours and objects. She loved it and that is what matters. We also brought an all time classic too, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We are quite lucky that she is very into her books, so we always bring a couple in my bag. (Don’t ask about the state of my bag, its always overflowing)Dora Book
  • Water Magic book. Oh this is really clever, just add water to the little pen that comes with it and the pen makes colours and pictures magically appear. Its recommended for 3 and up but the little one is quite a ‘pro’ at working the book now. Just my luck that I brought 2 ‘drawing type’ toys as we had another toddler seated next to us and they both wanted in on the crafty activities.Water Magic Books
  • Stickers. I have not met a toddler that doesn’t like stickers. Kept her entertained for ages and we gave some to our little friend seated next to us too. Oh yes if you have a window seat, the gel type stickers are a lovely distraction. You can even stick them on the food tray and you don’t need to worry too much about how to get them out.Gel stickers for travelling
  • Wet wipes, enough nappies, extra change of clothes. We brought 3 set of spare clothes for little one and an extra top each for my husband and myself.
  • SNACKS. Seriously, just arm yourself with lots of them and if all else fails remember to bring a few sweeties onboard too. We brought a little box of cereal, she loves Coco Pops with a passion. Ordered lots of ‘healthier’ goodies from Boots too as ideally .. we did not want her to go all ‘sugar high’ on us. Very convenient and there’s always lots of different offers as well when you buy a few. Snacks
  • The Ipad/ tablet. I try to limit screen time and lo and behold, we did not travel with one but if you are travelling alone with little ones.. definitely flash one out πŸ˜€ It does work! Oh yes, you have to load it up with shows, films and songs beforehand.
  • Calpol or any other meds that little one might need.

4.

Enjoy and go with the flow πŸ™‚ Remember, flying is fun and magical especially for an excited child.

Oh yes indeed. She had the time of her life and I had muscle ache for first the few days of our holiday.

Ps. we must have walked around the plane about 50 times.

*All in all, we flew 13 hours to Malaysia. 5 hours to Taiwan and another 5 hours back with a transit in Singapore. Finally, another 13 hours back to London. Same toys and snacks etc were used for the whole trip.

Hope this helps and enjoy your travels xxx

 

 

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