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When you first dreamt of becoming a parent you likely thought of laughter and joy, with moments of pure bliss, snuggling your sweet little look alike.

And when the baby days got tough and you couldn’t even grab 60 seconds to take a pee in peace, you no doubt fantasised of the days when they would be a little more independent.

And then those days came along, they went to school, made friends, and suddenly, surprise! You’re now an unpaid and underappreciated cook, cleaner, social secretary, counseller and chauffeur.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love being a parent, and I adore my kids, but they sure need running around alot. They have busier social lives than I do and definitely get more excercise.

And I know I’m not the only one. According to research by ŠKODA, two-thirds of parents sometimes feel like a taxi service for their kids, so please enjoy nodding along as I share 10 ways that being a parent can feel more like being a taxi driver.

Birthday parties, galore!

When your kids were babies, you probably went to a baby playgroup just to see the faces of some fellow humans you hadn’t given birth to.

But now they’re at school, you’ve likely already learned to keep a spare cupboard full of recycled gift bags and random gifts.

Isn’t it amazing the amount of birthday parties your child gets invited to? There are only 30 kids in my daughter’s class yet I swear we’ve driven her to eleventy billion parties this year already.

Perhaps this is a good time to make friends with the other parents and carshare!

When your child forgets their lunch

Whether you walk or drive your child to school, whether they walk themselves or get the bus, I’m sure we’ve all experienced that moment where you walk through the house after they’re safely in class, only to see their lunchbox or backpack is still sitting on the table.

Oops! Time to hop in the car and run to school! Am I too soft?!

The oversleeper’s school run

Even if you walk the kids to school, or they get the bus, there will always be days when they (or you!) drag themselves out of bed a little later than usual, brush their hair in extra-slow motion, lose both shoes, and take 20 minutes to pack their school bag.

With minutes to spare until registration, it’s time to jump in the car, breakfast in hand!

Runs to the doctor

When they’re babies and you have to do the infant checks, it feels like a lot, but nothing compares to the fun we parents have when our little bundles of joy hit the germ factory that is nursery / school.

Once deposited at their setting for their daily dose of learning, singing and playing in a swamp of cough and colds, children soon pick up every bug going.

They also have a special skill that involves saving a really feverish spike in temperature until 2am on a weekend, when the local doctors will be closed for days and A&E is packed with drunken revellers.

Yay, for worried sick, late night drives across town to the emergency drop-in clinic!

And then there’s the twisted ankles, the eye tests, the dental appointments…

Attending clubs and sporting events

What is parenthood without constantly running back and forth to football matches, piano lessons, netball practice or drama club?

Before I became a parent, I used to wonder why other people’s kids did so many clubs. Mine probably won’t, I figured. HAHAHAHAH. I was so wrong! If it’s available to sign up to, they sign up for it!

This is another one of those times where it’s helpful to carpool with other parents, so your taxi-ing can be kept to a minimum!

When they start having playdates and hangouts

I can’t remember at exactly what age you’re no longer allowed to call your kids’ arranged meetups “play dates” but believe me, when you get it wrong, they will tell you!

After a flurry of texting between parents, a very grown up hang out will be arranged and children will be deposited at the elected house at the elected time, probably bearing various electronics to have tournaments you don’t understand.

Then everyone will need ferrying back to their own homes at the agreed time. I kind of miss the days when I was a kid and we’d all just walk over the fields to each other’s houses – man, I feel old!

When your kid gets invited to a sleepover

Have you reached the sleepover stage? So much fun! It’s like a playdate, only with middle-of-the-night journeys thrown in.

If you’re hosting, you get to listen to them giggle until midnight and then have your mini-guest get overtired and tearful when they realise they miss their own bed.

Or if you’ve dropped your child at another parent’s house, you get the fun of sleeping with one eye open and your phone on loud as you wait for the 3am text to say your little love wants to come home.

So much fun, so much bundling sleeping bags and grizzly (but still blummin’ cute) kids in and out of the car.

Halloween trick or treating

“Trick or Treat! Smell my feet! Drive me to neighbourhoods that give out the best sweets!”

When I was a kid, we didn’t really do trick or treating. Little did I know that by the time I became a parent myself, Halloween-fever would have swept over the Atlantic and taken the UK by storm.

The whole thing is new to me and I’ve got to be honest, I love it. But who knew that kids are smart enough to want to drive across town to the streets that “pay out” the most?! Mind. Blown.

Taxi-parent’s payback!

Now, I’m not the only one who has noticed that much of parenting is spent behind the wheel. It turns out that ŠKODA has picked up on the silent screams of parents sitting in car parks waiting for swim meets, play dates and ballet classes to end and come up with a bit of a fun solution: the ŠKODA Parent Taxi app.

ŠKODA PARENT TAXI APP - YouTube

Available to download for free on iOS and Android, this neat little smartphone app is inspired by research which shows that Britain’s parents could be earning an average of £12,565 a year in taxi fares for chauffeuring their children around, and it comes with one simple function: to track the number of journeys you make and the number of miles you clock up driving your kids around, and then convert them into chores!

This might include cleaning the car, feeding the family pet, tidying their bedroom or doing the washing up. All things I’m sure most parents would welcome some help with.

And once the trip is done, you can hit a button in the app and text the chore to your child’s phone, or share the exchange on social media, if you like! Don’t worry, it doesn’t share any personal information that you wouldn’t want made public.

We tried out the ŠKODA Parent Taxi app for a week while we had the ŠKODA Karoq – a really nicely proportioned compact SUV that is pretty much perfect as a family runaround.

With it being half term, there were even more reasons than usual for us to get in the car, from visiting friends and family, to park runs, to clip and climb, cinema trips and more.

Now, I have to confess (boast?) that our kids are already pretty great about chores. They know that they’re part of family life and they’re not usually quick to argue. But there are always times when they start to forget how hard we parents work to keep everything ticking over, getting them where they need to go and making sure they’re fed, safe and happy, so a little wake-up call never hurts.

All four of us were amazed by how quickly the miles – and chores! – stacked up in just a week. In fact, the research by ŠKODA suggests Britain’s parents drive approximately 1,632 additional miles a year ferrying their children around.

Would you consider using the app to track your parent taxi duties and exchange them for chores? Let me know what you think!

This is a commissioned post for ŠKODA.

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To celebrate the 4th of July, also know as America’s Independence Day, I’ve teamed up with the SKIPPY® Peanut Butter to bring you a gorgeous fudgy, nutty and deeply chocolatey brownie, decorated with fresh fruit to look like the flag of the United States of America.

It’s super easy to make these brownies, which are packed with dark chocolate and SKIPPY® Peanut Butter, which is great to bake with due to an exceptionally smooth, melt-in-the-mouth texture made from the sweetest American peanuts. Meanwhile, whipped eggs help make the texture of these brownies both light and fudgy – just utterly perfect.

Have you ever tried SKIPPY® Peanut Butter? Millions of Americans enjoy this gorgeous peanut butter daily. There are 22.1g of protein in every 100g, and each jar is rich in high Oleic acids (good fats).

These brownies are certainly a treat for the whole family. If you’d like to make them, read on for the full 4th July brownie flag recipe.

4th July Peanut Butter Brownies Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 250g butter
  • 250g peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 150g plain flour
  • 250g light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs

For the topping (prepare just before serving)

  • 100g blueberries
  • 400g strawberries, cut into thin wedges
  • 3 bananas, cut diagonally to give long, thin, oval slices
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C) and grease a X by X baking tray, then line the base with baking paper.

Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.

Stir, then microwave again in 10-second blasts until the chocolate has just melted.

Add the peanut butter.

Stir through until the mixture is smooth, then allow to cool a little.

Sift in the cocoa and flour.

Gently fold through.

In a separate bowl, add the sugar and eggs.

Whisk until it goes frothy, then silky and pale. This will help to make your brownies fudgy yet light.

Pour the eggs and sugar mix into the chocolate mix.

Gently fold through until just combined.

Pour the mixture your greased and lined baking tin.

Bake for 10 mins, give the tray a shake and see if it only gives the slightest jiggle. If the brownie wiggles a lot, put it in for another 5 minutes and check again. Leave the brownie in the tin to cool completely.

Decorate just before serving by arranging the strawberries and banana slices in stripes, leaving a section in the corner to fill with blueberries. I ran out of space to do the correct number of stripes, but I think the effect is still pretty great!

If you’d like to print this recipe to try later, simply hit PRINT on the recipe card below.

Print
4th July Peanut Butter Brownie Flag
A gorgeous fudgy, nutty and deeply chocolatey brownie, decorated with fresh fruit to look like the flag of the United States of America. They're acked with dark chocolate and SKIPPY® Peanut Butter, which is great to bake with due to an exceptionally smooth, melt-in-the-mouth texture made from the sweetest American peanuts. Meanwhile, whipped eggs help make the texture of these brownies both light and fudgy – just utterly perfect.
Course Desserts and sweet treats
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 20 squares
Calories 349kcal
Author Emily Leary
Ingredients
For the brownies
  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 250 g butter
  • 250 g peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 250 g light brown sugar
  • 3 large Eggs
For the topping
  • 100 g blueberries
  • 400 g strawberries cut into thin wedges
  • 3 bananas cut diagonally to give long, thin, oval slices
Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 200C (180C) and grease a medium baking tray, then line the base with baking paper.
  • Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Stir, then microwave again in 10-second blasts until the chocolate has just melted.
  • Add the peanut butter.
  • Stir through until the mixture is smooth, then allow to cool a little.
  • Sift in the cocoa and flour.
  • Gently fold through.
  • In a separate bowl, add the sugar and eggs.
  • Whisk until it goes frothy, then silky and pale. This will help to make your brownies fudgy yet light.
  • Pour the eggs and sugar mix into the chocolate mix.
  • Gently fold through until just combined.
  • Pour the mixture your greased and lined baking tin.
  • Bake for 20 mins, give the tray a shake and see if it only gives the slightest jiggle. If the brownie wiggles a lot, put it in for another 5 minutes and check again. Leave the brownie in the tin to cool completely.
  • Decorate just before serving by arranging the strawberries and banana slices in stripes, leaving a section in the corner to fill with blueberries.
Notes
I ran out of space to do the correct number of stripes, but I think the effect is still pretty great!
Nutrition
Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 317mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 7.3% | Vitamin C: 16.7% | Calcium: 3.8% | Iron: 14%

To keep up with SKIPPY® Brand’s celebrations for American Independence Day, follow @skippybrand on Instagram and @Skippy on Twitter.

And don’t forget to check out the hashtag #SKIPPY4July across social media and get involved!

SKIPPY® Peanut Butter (RRP £2.40 per 340g jar) is now available in smooth and Extra Crunchy varieties, on sale in major supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Costco, International section of Tesco and Ocado.

Try using the chunky version of SKIPPY® Peanut Butter in my French Toast PB&J recipe.

For more inspiration and recipes visit www.peanutbutter.uk.com

This is a commissioned post for SKIPPY® Peanut Butter

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Amongst the many drool-worthy dishes on the menus of restaurants in the Campania region in southwestern Italy, one bowl of pasta you are sure to find on offer is Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.

A classic dish of the region, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is usually made using fresh tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic, stirred into spaghetti to give a fiery, salty, satisfying and utterly delicious dish.

Now the dish I’m bringing you today is indeed delicious, but it’s also a little different. I’ve left out the anchovies to make the dish vegan, instead using kalamata olives for a similar hit, and I’ve reduced the overall salt in the recipe to make it more family friendly.

Finally, I’ve used a very different type of pasta from the norm – it’s made with black bean flour! That’s because I’m working with a very different sort of innovative pasta brand, Explore Cuisine.

Explore Cuisine makes organic, gluten-free pastas using exciting ingredients such as beans, lentils, rice, & chickpeas, meaning they’re packed with protein and fibre.

As a “pasta pioneer”, I’ll be creating three dishes over the next few months, using:

  • Explore Cuisine Organic Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine
  • Explore Cuisine Organic Edamame Spaghetti
  • Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti

So, hopefully, all this has whetted your appetite. Now let’s make spaghetti alla puttanesca with black bean spaghetti.

Ingredients

This very simple sauce requires just eight ingredients.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 50g pitted kalamata olives, drained and sliced into strips
  • 30g capers, drained
  • 150g pitted black Olives, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 red chillis, finely chopped (reduce if you want less heat)
  • 1kg fresh vine tomatoes, diced
  • Handful fresh oregano, roughly chopped (or 2 tsp of dried)
  • 200g of Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti
  • Salt and pepper
Method

Rinse the olives and capers well in cold water to remove excess salt.

Warm the oil in a large pan over a low heat.

Fry the garlic and kalamata olives, plus a pinch of salt and pepper in oil until fragrant.

Add chilli peppers, capers, olives, diced tomatoes, oregano.

Crank up the heat, heat until bubbling then reduce to a gentle simmer until reduced. Season to taste.

Meanwhile, fill a large pan with 2 litres of boiling salted water. Add the Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti and cook for 4-6 minutes until al dente.

Rinse and drain the pasta, then serve to four bowls.

Spoon the sauce into the pasta bowls. Top with fresh herbs, such as parsley, if you like.

TIP If you prefer a milder dish, simply halve all of the sauce ingredients to give less sauce per person and stir through rather than serving on top, so that the flavours are distributed through the pasta.

Win with Explore Cuisine

From May 2019 until November 30, 2019, you are encouraged to share your own delicious and nutritious Italian recipes on social media, using the hashtag #PastaPioneerChallenge.

Explore Cuisine will be randomly selecting monthly winners to receive a special prize pack, featuring pioneering kitchen gadgets and some of your favorite Explore Cuisine products.

What’s more, one grand-prize winner will be selected to win a trip for two to explore Italy!

For more contest details, head to @explorecuisine on social, or visit www.explorecuisine.com

Print the recipe for later

If you’d like to print this recipe to try at home, just hit print on the recipe card below.

Print
Spaghetti alla puttanesca with black bean spaghetti
A twist on an Italian classic, rich with the zingy freshness of olive, caper and vine tomatoes.
Course Pasta meals
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 bowls
Calories 255kcal
Author Emily Leary
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 50 g pitted kalamata olives drained and sliced into strips
  • 30 g capers drained
  • 150 g pitted black Olives drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 red chillis finely chopped (reduce if you want less heat)
  • 1 kg fresh vine tomatoes diced
  • 1 small handful fresh oregano roughly chopped (or 1 tsp of dried)
  • 200 g of Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
Instructions
  • Rinse the olives and capers well in cold water to remove excess salt.
  • Warm the oil in a large pan over a low heat.
  • Fry the garlic and kalamata olives, plus a pinch of salt and pepper in oil until fragrant.
  • Add chilli peppers, capers, olives, diced tomatoes, oregano.
  • Crank up the heat, heat until bubbling then reduce to a gentle simmer until reduced. Season to taste.
  • Meanwhile, fill a large pan with 2 litres of boiling salted water. Add the Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti and cook for 4-6 minutes until al dente.
  • Rinse and drain the pasta, then serve to four bowls.
  • Spoon the sauce into the pasta bowls. Top with fresh herbs, such as parsley, if you like.
Notes
If you prefer a milder dish, simple halve all of the sauce ingredients to give less sauce per person and stir through rather than serving on top, so that the flavours are distributed through the pasta.
If serving to children, give the sauce sparingly as olives are salty. 
Nutrition
Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 678mg | Potassium: 462mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 33.2% | Vitamin C: 54.8% | Calcium: 4.4% | Iron: 5.3%

If you’re like to learn more about Explore Cuisine, here’s where you can find them:

  • Website:​ ​
  • Facebook(US):​ ​ (UK):​ ​ (US): ​ (UK): ​

    This is a commissioned post for Explore Cuisine


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It’s well and truly picnic season here in the UK. In fact, 21st-30th June 2019 is National Picnic Week and we can’t get enough. We’ve been having picnics in the garden, at the park, at my mums. You name it, we’re grabbing the basket and picnicking there!

As a parent, there are lots of things to love about picnics. As well as the chance to enjoy some fresh air, it’s also a chance for the kids to enjoy the novelty of bitesize treats, and we actually manage to get a lot of salad into them at this time of year.

As well as the usual fare of sandwiches, we all love tucking into an array of fresh veg, from cherry tomatoes to radishes, beetroot to mini peppers.

And when we want to skip the sandwiches altogether, we love something quick and simple that’s ready to eat straight out of the box. The new Ginsters Bitesize Cheese and Onion Pasties are just perfect for the occasion.

These mini pasties are filled with West Country Cheddar, potato, onion and mozzarella, flavoured with chives and a hint of wholegrain mustard, all wrapped in light puff pastry. And they’re suitable for vegetarians too! I have a total weakness for pasties of all kinds, but these really hit the spot.

They’re ready to eat so perfect to chuck in the picnic hamper and enjoy outdoors, but if you’re picnicking in the garden, you can also heat them up in the oven and enjoy them warm and a little melty in the middle.

Now you probably already know that pasties have a long heritage in Cornwall, but did you know that it’s also where Ginsters is and always has been from?

Yep! Ginsters of Cornwall is a true Cornish pasty maker, and officially the UK’s favourite!

So how do they make their award-winning savoury pastries?

Ginsters only uses 100% British farmed meat and sources vegetables locally where possible from Hay Farm on the Rame Peninsular, Cornwall, just 15 miles from the Ginsters bakery. In fact, only a few ingredients not typically available in the UK such as certain spices, are sourced from outside the UK.

I love the history behind Ginsters too. In 1969, Geoffrey Ginster, a Cornish Dairy Farmer, began baking 24 pasties a day from an old egg-packing barn in Callington, Cornwall. Today, Ginsters bakes, on average, three million chilled savoury pastries, including pasties, slices and sausages rolls a week!

So there you have it. The pasties you’ve probably enjoyed time and time again when out and about actually have properly Cornish origins, from the day baking began, right up to today!

If you fancy trying Ginsters Bitesize, they’re in shops now. Also in the range is Bitesize Cornish Pasties and Bitesize Sausage Rolls, so that’s plenty of choice for your next picnic!

This is a commissioned post for Ginsters of Cornwall

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These sweet and succulent baby veg – roasted in just a dash of oil until tender, then drizzled with a flavoured packed citrus seaweed dressing – are inspired by Cornwall’s amazing seaside coast.

I created this recipe to accompany another Cornish classic, the Cornish pasty. And not just any pasty, but Ginsters Bake in Tray Cornish Pasties, that go straight from fridge to oven for an easy, tasty meal in 20-25 minutes from chilled.

And as the name suggests, they can be baked right in the tray they come in, which is super convenient. I then hold on to the trays to use in other bakes – nifty, eh?

And Ginsters Cornish Pasties are genuinely made in Cornwall, using 100% British farmed beef, and British-sourced onion, swede, potato, finished with a perfect blend of herbs and spices. Plus they’re totally free from artificial preservatives, colours of flavours, which is reassuring.

Here’s how to a make a lovely, fresh, citrusy side dish to accompany your pasties, complete with a taste of the sea.

Ingredients

For the dressing

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch chilli flakes
  • 6 sheets of dried seaweed, crushed
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch nigella seeds
  • pinch of salt and pepper (edited)

For the veg

  • 150g baby rainbow carrots
  • 100g baby leeks
  • 75g fine asparagus
  • spray oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper
Instructions

In a small bowl, make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, chilli flakes crushed seaweed, honey, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Whisk to help the dressing emulsify, the set aside to allow the flavours to develop while you prepare the veg.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Spread the carrots, leeks and asparagus in a baking tray.

Spray the veg with a little oil (just enough to coat) and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until just tender.

Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with some of the dressing.

Serve with Ginsters Bake in Tray Cornish Pasties and fresh green salad leaves.

Pretty simple, right? And rather pretty, I think!

Ginsters 4-Pack Bake in Tray Cornish Pasties are available in Supermarkets nationwide, RRP £3.75. The 2-Pack Bake in Trays are available in Co-op & Tesco, RRP £2.00. Try them for yourself!

If you’d like to print this recipe to try for yourself, just hit print on the recipe card below.

Print
Roasted baby veg with a citrus seaweed dressing
These sweet and succulent baby veg – roasted in just a dash of oil until tender, then drizzled with a flavoured packed citrus seaweed dressing – are inspired by Cornwall's amazing seaside coast.
Course Lunch and quick cook meals
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 75kcal
Author Emily Leary
Ingredients
For the dressing
  • lemon juiced
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes
  • 6 sheets dried seaweed crushed
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch nigella seeds
  • pinch salt and pepper
For the veg
  • 150 g baby rainbow carrots
  • 100 g baby leeks
  • 75 g fine asparagus
  • 1/4 tsp spray oil
  • 1 pinch of salt and pepper
Instructions
  • In a small bowl, make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, chilli flakes crushed seaweed, honey, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Whisk to help the dressing emulsify, the set aside to allow the flavours to develop while you prepare the veg.
  • Preheat the oven to 200Spread the carrots, leeks and asparagus in a baking tray.
  • Spray the veg with a little oil (just enough to coaand sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
  • Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until just tender.
  • Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with some of the dressing.
  • Serve with Ginsters Bake in Tray Cornish Pasties and fresh green salad leaves.
  • Pretty simple, right? And rather pretty, I think!
Nutrition
Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 136.5% | Vitamin C: 7.6% | Calcium: 3.8% | Iron: 6.4%

This is a commissioned post for Ginsters of Cornwall

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As regular readers will know, right at the end of 2018, I had hidden braces (lingual braces) fitted to help reposition my crowded teeth. They’re braces that are fitted on the inside surface of the teeth, so that they don’t show when you talk and smile, and I’m having the treatment with Signature Orthodontics in return for sharing my experiences.

I’m really excited to have a smile that I’m confident to share. The progress over this first 6 months has been incredible. Here’s a look at how the top arch has moved in the first 13 weeks – amazing, right?!

My orthodontist, Dr Preet Bhogal, is taking care of making sure the braces do their job, with check ups and tightenings approximately every 6 weeks.

My job is to concentrate on the maintenance of my lingual braces day-to-day, keep them clean and my teeth healthy.

Just like with standard traditional “train track” braces, keeping lingual braces clean is essential to an effective treatment plan. However, due to lingual braces being attached to the inside surface of the teeth, the process can be a little more tricky, as you can’t always see what’s going on.

What I find that means is that you need to be super careful, thorough and diligent, so I’ve pulled together all the tips I have use to keep my braces super clean, totally comfortable and doing their job well!

Avoid sticky foods

Chewing gum, toffee sweets etc. are a no go when you’ve got braces. These sticky foods quickly and easily get stuck within your brace tracking and can be almost impossible to remove without professional assistance.

They can even cause permanent damage to your braces which will set your treatment back and very probably add to the cost. Don’t risk it!

Avoid hard foods

You don’t have to live on a diet of soup (although you might want to in the first week when your teeth feel wobbly!) but you do have to be sensible and that means changing your diet for the duration of your treatment.

I find it I have to eat carefully, focussing on small pieces of food so that I don’t really need to bite with my front teeth, instead using just my back teeth to chew where the biting surface area is larger.

Most importantly, no nuts, no crusty bread, no hard cookies, nothing that could potentially overstress your teeth and braces, or worse, wedge between your teeth and the wire and cause the brackets to come off or cause all sorts of other damage.

Avoid sugary food and fizzy drinks

Aim to minimise the sugars you consume from food and drinks.

Sugary foods can damage your tooth enamel irreparably and what’s the point of working so hard to get straight teeth, only to have them full of cavities.

You could also end up with additional plaque build-up, which could impact the quality of your brace’s performance, causing staining and additional dental problems.

My dentist advises against having any fizzy drinks at all and suggests that if you must have a sweet treat, that you try to have a piece of cheese afterwards to neutralise it, and brush your teeth soon after, as normal.

Take your time to clean your teeth properly

With the fitting of any kind of braces, your teeth become much more complex to clean. There are brackets to clean, wires to try to get around, and all sorts of other little hard to reach areas.

As a result, the normal dental routine you’ve had in the past will get longer.

I generally clean after every meal, taking about 10 minutes per session, and again before bed if necessary. Yes, that’s 30-40 minutes of brushing a day – but the effort is worth it to avoid cavities!

Brush with an electric toothbrush

I’ve use my Oral B electric toothbrush with a normal head for the outer surface of my teeth and my bite. However, I’ve purchased a specially designed orthodontic head for the inner surface of my teeth (where my braces are fitted). It has a notch in the centre of the brush, which allows it to fit around each of the brackets as I clean.

Use a gentle toothpaste and mouthwash

You’ll need to use a good quality toothpaste with the correct fluoride content according to your orthodontist’s advice. Once you’ve completed your dental cleaning routine, it’s usually best to finish off by rinsing with a mouthwash to remove any loose particles and give an extra dose of fluoride.

On the recommendation of my orthodontist, I’ve been using Vitis toothpaste and Vitis mouthwash.

Floss and clean everywhere

Both the toothpaste and mouthwash are designed specifically for those with orthodontic appliances. They care for your teeth and come in a mint and apple flavour, which is designed to taste and feel mild so that they don’t sting sensitive gums or any sore areas on the tongue.

Based on the recommendation of my orthodontist at Signature Orthodontics I purchased a pack of interdental mini brushes to clean between the teeth and the wires/brackets.

On top of this, I’ve recently purchased a cheap water flosser from Amazon. I’ve found this is amazing for getting the brackets really clean even in the most fiddly spots.

Carry a manual toothbrush and toothpaste

You’re unlikely to be at home 24/7 so it’s a really good idea to carry a manual toothbrush and toothpaste with you at all times.

I don’t carry all my little interdental brushes and flossers everywhere, but I do like to make sure I can keep to a good hygiene routine when I’m out and about.

And this isn’t just about hygiene, it’s about comfort too. Sometimes, after eating, the braces can feel packed with little bits of food. This can feel quite unpleasant and can also cause the tip of your tongue to try to wiggle them free.

This will quickly make your tongue sore, so the sooner you can give your teeth a proper brush after eating, the better.

Schedule regular hygiene appointments

In addition to my regular checkup with the orthodontist, I’ve been advised to schedule a cleaning appointment with my dental hygienist at every 3-6 months.

Being specially trained, and with advanced equipment, they can provide an intense clean of my teeth and the lingual braces, removing any plaque build-up.

And since they take time to get a close look at the whole mouth, they can also provide advice about any areas that need to be cleaned more thoroughly as part of your daily routine, plus give tips on the tools you should use, or use differently.

Use dental wax

I haven’t had a lot of pain with lingual braces, but there is sometimes an issue with them catching on my tongue and causing little cuts and sores, especially in the first few weeks.

I use dental wax anywhere I feel my tongue rubbing. It’s a malleable wax that you break off in small pieces and press onto the metal brackets, creating a smooth barrier.

Initially, I used this a lot, but now I only need it very occasionally, such as when my braces have just been tightened and my tongue is getting used to the new positioning of the brackets.

However, because wax is very soft, it tends to come off quite easily, especially during eating, which can be a problem if the bracket that is causing irritation is then exposed during chewing.

For those ocassions when I have a very irritated spot on the side of my tongue and wax isn’t enough, I use a Gishy Goo! It’s a silicone that squeezes out of two tubes. You mix it between your fingers and press it onto the bracket when it quickly sets firm and lasts all day, or until you next brush your teeth.

Gishy Goo! is expensive, so I wouldn’t recommend using it all the time, but when you have a really sore spot, it offers incredible relief.

Use breath freshener spray

I’ve always been pretty self-conscious about having fresh breath and so before braces, if I was away from home, I would pop a piece of chewing gum in my mouth after every meal. Of course, I can’t do that now – it would ruin my braces!

Instead, I now rinse my teeth with clean water and then use a sugar-free breath freshener spray, which doesn’t get rid of much bacteria or food particles, but just helps to make my mouth feel fresh until I am able to go somewhere to brush my teeth thoroughly.

So that’s how I care for my hidden braces. If you have any questions about them, just let me know!

I’m receiving orthodontic treatment from Signature Orthodontics in return for documenting my progress.

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Fancy a UK break in gorgeous surroundings with plenty to do?

Nestled in 47 acres of woodland in the Derbyshire Peak District is Landal Darwin Forest. This 5-star luxury lodge resort is one of the top-rated holiday parks in the country, and Mark, JD, Jay and I recently had the pleasure of spending a complimentary long weekend on site.

We jumped at the chance to visit Landal Darwin Forest as it’s only a short drive from our home in Nottingham, and is situated in a genuinely idyllic location with incredible onsite attractions and facilities. It’s also perfectly located for exploring the surrounding areas such as Matlock and Chesterfield so we could choose to do as little or as much or as little as we wanted.

The Lodges at Darwin Forest

There are a wide range of luxury lodges at Darwin Forest suitable for solo parties and couples right through to families and groups. Darwin Forest also offers a range of pet-friendly and spa / hot tub lodges.

The Meadow

We spent our three-night stay in The Meadow, which we chose because it’s a bit of the way in an exclusive area within Darwin Forest, made up of just three luxury lodges.

Each lodge has its own unique style and is furnished with exquisite furnishings as well as an outdoor hot tub for that added bit of luxury and relaxation.

The Meadow consists of two three bedroom lodges sleeping six and one two bedroom lodge sleeping four. We stayed in the Horizon Spa which includes…

A fully integrated kitchen including a coffee machine, fridge, freezer, washing machine and wine cooler.

Open plan lounge area with feature fire and large flat screen TV.

Two bedrooms, one with an incredible kingsize bed, flat screen TV and luxury ensuite shower room with his & hers sinks and another twin room with another flat screen TV and en-suite with freestanding bath and shower.

A large veranda with a hot tub, perfect for relaxing on those summer evenings. We were all particularly excited about this as, believe it or not, none of us had ever been in a hot tub before – in fact, we used it twice a day every day while we were there!

Darwin Forest Activities & Amenities

There’s a whole host of incredible activities at Darwin Forest, including plenty suitable for adults, children and families.

Activities can be booked upon arrival or online – Darwin Forest recommends booking activities in advance online, especially during peak season.

We sat down a couple of weeks before we went and planning in our schedule, opting for morning activities for the most part, which meant we could swim or just explore onsite freely in the afternoons.

Body Zorbing

JD and Jay had an incredible time body zorbing, which involved them and two other kids all running around in giant inflatable balls for an hour!

Their guide helped them learn how to get in, stand up, and how to recover if they fell, and then once they had their confidence, he gave them a series of games and challenges to complete.

The kids were very wet and muddy by the end, but glad they gave it a go!

Fencing

Jay and JD also had the pleasure of learning the fancy footwork and technique that comes with fencing. Again this activity lasted an hour and was really affordable at just £8 per person.

While both of our kids are adventurous and often to be found challenging themselves, fencing is a contact and combat sport, which is something they’ve never done before.

Happily, the trainer was really lovely and encouraged them with clear instructions. Mark and I were amazed how quickly all the children improved their technique within the hour.

Archery

Shockingly as a family from Robin Hood’s home turf, we’d never tried archery before, but we were all so keen to try it that I decided to book us two sessions on two different days so that we could really get into it.

Our trainer for the first session was the same guy who ran the zorbing session, so the kids were pleased to see a friendly face. We shared the session with one other family and this time we’d booked both the kids and adults to take part.

We were given a lesson on safety and technique and then allowed to take shots at the target a few times each before having a go at a few games with a bit of friendly competition.

As expected, we all loved it and couldn’t wait to get back on the final day to do it again. This time, there was a different but equally brilliant trainer and another family. The games were different this time and we all enjoyed the challenge.

In fact, we’re now looking to find some classes locally so that we can do it regularly!

Swimming

The indoor swimming pool is complimentary to all guests of Darwin Forest and as is always the case when we go to a resort, it was the very first place the kids wanted to visit.

The pool isn’t as full of bells and whistles as some other resorts but to be honest, we liked it better this way. It was warm, spacious and we were able to play and swim happily until our fingers and toes wrinkled.

Additional experiences in the pool, such as snorkelling, mini jet skis and water walkers (zorbing on water) are available for an additional cost at specific times. We’re planning to give these a go next time!

There’s also a sauna but with the kids, I didn’t get a chance to try it out.

Onsite Resturants & Cafés

There is an onsite café and a pub at Darwin Forest, which I think is plenty, especially as there is also a small grocery shop onsite and the lodges are equipped for self-catering.

Explorers Café

The Explorers Café is perfect for lunch or post-swim snacks. It’s joined to the Little Monkeys play area, which is suitable for younger children and great place to have a sit down while the toddlers burn off some energy.

The café itself offers milkshakes, soft drinks, kids’ meal deals with a sandwich, raisins and drink, and a selection of hot meals such as burger and chips, or panini.

It’s relatively basic food, but tasty and affordable.

Foresters Inn

Open to park guests and the general public, Foresters Inn is a good sized pub offering an extensive range of locally sourced food and drinks that should keep the whole family happy.

With quick service, generous portions and tasty dishes, it certainly satisfied us!

There are options on the menu if you’re vegetarian, and they also gluten-free menu. I had a veggie butternut squash curry which came with rice, popadoms, chutney and naan bread. More than I could eat!

There’s also a very decent children’s menu, and I was pleased to see that Jay’s meal came with plenty of salad as standard.

Just outside of the pub is the children’s play area, so again if you have a brood desperate to burn off energy while they wait for their food to arrive, you’re all set.

The Foresters Inn also serves afternoon tea from 1pm until 4pm, Monday through to Saturday. This must be booked at least 24 hours in advance and can be done online.

We didn’t get a chance to do this, but we did sample the desserts during our meal and they were excellent – I highly recommend the Bakewell slice.

We would recommend Landal Darwin Forest without hesitation. The location is gorgeous, the accommodation is first-rate, the onsite activities are extensive and affordable, the staff and friendly and helpful. It’s everything you could want from a forest holiday.

We had a lovely, relaxing time at Darwin Forest and wouldn’t hesitate to visit again in the future. In fact, we’re in the process of booking to go again.

We stayed at Landal Darwin Forest free of charge but paid for all activities and meals. All words and opinions are our own and always honest.

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Do you like my kitty cake pops? I think they are so cute, and the perfect size for little hands!

Cakes aren’t for every day, of course, but if you’re keen to enjoy a treat on a special occasion, these are just the ticket.

My daughter, J spent a good few minutes meowing conversations between her own cake pop and the others on the plate before ruthlessly devouring it – much hilarity!

What do they taste like?

These kitty cake pops are sweet and chocolatey. The inside is just the right amount of fudgey and cakey.

I found the peppermint sticks add a nice extra crunch. And drawing on the faces is something that kids should definitely find fun, especially if they get to eat their own creations. If you’re having a party why not bring them out blank and let the kids go wild with icing pens?

We also made a few of the pops with just a tail to make them look like they were sitting down (see the one in the background top left in the image above), which worked really well, and looked adorable.

Here’s how to make them…

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 150g (5 oz) butter or margarine, softened
  • 200g (7 oz) caster sugar
  • 3 medium free range eggs
  • 1 tsp (7 oz) vanilla essence
  • 200g (7 oz) self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa

To form the pops

  • Approx 8 tbsp chocolate frosting (we used a tub of Chocolate Fudge Icing)
  • Approx 20 cake pop sticks
  • 30g (1 oz) milk chocolate, for securing the sticks

To decorate

  • 350g (12.5 oz) white candy melts or white candy melts
  • 100g chocolate covered peppermint sticks (straight pretzels will also work)
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 170C/240F (150C/300F fan). Add the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence to a bowl and beat. Fold in the flour, baking powder and cocoa.

Spread evenly in a cake tin and bake for around 25 minutes until springy on top. You can use one cake tin, but spreading the mixture out over two will make it cook and cool more quickly. If you’re in a hurry you can also buy a chocolate sponge.

Wait for the cakes to completely cool.

Cut the cake into large chunks and place in a large bowl. Crumble the cake with your hands gently until it resembles coarse bread crumbs, then use your hands to work in the frosting, adding spoonful by spoonful until it just starts to come together as a crumbly but mouldable mixture.

If you have an ice scream scoop handy it’s a great way of making sure all the balls will be of an even size, if not you can just do it by eye.

Once you have your portions ready you can begin to roll.

Try to get them as round as possible but don’t squash them too much – you don’t want them to be too dense.

Take your melted chocolate and dip each cake pop stick about 1/2 a cm into it, then push it half way into the cake ball. Repeat until you’ve pushed all the sticks in to an equal depth, then put them all in the fridge to chill for at least an hour, preferably two or more.

Melt the chocolate / colour melts as directed. Make sure everything is ready before you take the cake pops out of the fridge so that they stay as cold as possible.

Dip each cake in turn to cover the whole pop, then twist a few times over the tub to get rid of the drips.

Before it dries, carefully push the chocolate sticks in to form the legs and tail, 1 cm into the cake pop. Place in a piece of polystyrene or box lid so that the pops stand up while they set.

Once the cake pops are fully set you can remove the sticks and start to add the faces using the icing pens.

If you want to make your own kitty cake pops here’s the recipe again in a helpful, printable format. Just use the grey ‘PRINT’ button in the recipe card below.

Print
Kitty cake pops
Kitty cake pops with leg and tails for even more cuteness and an extra crunch.
Course cakes and bakes
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 20
Calories 243kcal
Author Emily Leary
Ingredients
For the sponge
  • 150 g butter or margarine, softened
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs medium free range
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 200 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
To create the pops
  • 8 tbsp chocolate frosting (we used store-bought Chocolate Fudge Icing)
  • 20 cake pop sticks
  • 30 g milk chocolate melted, for securing the sticks
To decorate
  • 350 g white candy melts or white chocolate, melted
  • 100 g chocolate peppermint sticks straight pretzels will also work
Instructions
To make the sponge
  • Preheat the oven to 170C/240F (150C/300F fan). Add the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence to a bowl and beat. Fold in the flour, baking powder and cocoa.
  • Spread evenly in a cake tin and bake for around 25 minutes until springy on top. You can use one cake tin, but spreading the mixture out over two will make it cook and cool more quickly. If you’re in a hurry you can also buy a pre-made chocolate sponge.
  • Wait for the cakes to completely cool.
To turn in pops
  • Cut the cake into large chunks and place in a large bowl. Crumble the cake with your hands gently until it resembles coarse bread crumbs, then use your hands to work in the frosting, adding spoonful by spoonful until it just starts to come together as a crumbly but mouldable mixture.
  • If you have an ice scream scoop handy it’s a great way of making sure all the balls will be of an even size, if not you can just do it by eye.
  • Roll your portions into balls. Try to get them as round as possible but don’t squash them too much – you don’t want them to be too dense.
  • Dip each cake pop stick into melted chocolate to about 1/2cm.
  • Push each stick half way into a cake ball. Repeat until you’ve pushed all the sticks in to an equal depth.
  • Put them all in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
To decorate
  • Make sure everything is ready before you take the cake pops out of the fridge so that they stay as cold as possible.
  • Dip each cake in turn into the candy melts to cover the whole pop, then twist a few times over the tub to get rid of the drips.
  • Before it dries, carefully push in the chocolate peppermint sticks into the cake pops to form the legs and tail.
  • Push the cake pop stick into a piece of polystyrene or box lid so that the pops stand up while they set.
  • Once the cake pops are fully set you can remove the sticks and add the face details using an icing pen.
Nutrition
Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 74mg | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 4.5% | Calcium: 1.9% | Iron: 2.5%
Get Your Kids to Eat Anything

My debut cookbook, Get Your Kids To Eat Anything is available now.

It’s so much more than a cookbook, it’s a 5-Phase programme designed to take you through a meaningful, simple and sustainable journey to end fussy eating.

Since its release in March 2019 Get Your Kids To Eat Anything has been changing mealtimes in households across the country and has become an Amazon #1 best-seller.

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If you love pasta and fresh flavours, then this tomato, bean and garlic spaghetti is for you!

What I really love about this dish is that the sauce doesn’t need to be cooked at all! You peel and crush the tomatoes, stir in salt, oil and basil, then fold in the hot spaghetti and toss in the beans.

Then all that’s left to do is give the flavours a little time to mingle, and you have an ultra delicious, intensely fresh bowl of pasta that is equally delicious warm, room temp or chilled.

I’m featuring this recipe from Annabelle Randles aka The Flexitarian as part of my Food Stories series, where writers, friends, chefs and amateur cooks are welcomed onto the pages of A Mummy Too to share a recipe that is more than just food to them, it’s food with a story to tell.

So before we get cooking, let’s learn a little more about Annabelle and the story behind this incredible dish.

“I am French with Sicilian heritage on my father side,” explains Annabelle. whose blog, The Flexitarian, has been her platform for sharing recipes since 2013.

“Growing up, we spent holidays in the South of France with one of my dad’s cousin. His mum, my great-aunt, was a truly talented cook. While living in Tunisia she learned to cook North African cuisine and pastries, so spending holidays with her, we were treated to a lot of Italian and North African dishes that she made from scratch.”

“Food has always been important in our family. I grew up surrounded by family who loved cooking and eating! My maternal grandmother was also a very talented cook. My mother is always talking about how she could make feasts out of nothing, especially during the war.”

“My mum is also a very good cook and so is my godmother. In spite of working shifts, my mum would prepare all our meals from scratch. I come from a rural area, so most of our food would come from our own garden or local farmers.”

“To this day, my mother is the queen of batch cooking. She got up early on Sundays to not only make our Sunday lunch but also do the meal prep for the whole week. She slow-cooked, froze, packed and organise everything. I cannot remember ever eating a store-bought meal.”

“My parents entertained family and friends very often and I have many memories of big and neverending meals.”

All this sounds like an incredibly positive culinary start in life. So how has it influenced how Annabelle cooks today?

“I cook most our family meals from scratch and try to get the kids involved as much as I can. I love all kind of cuisines and really enjoy experimenting.”

“Having been a committed carnivore most of my life, I started eating less meat around 5 years ago to reduce the environmental impacts of my diet. It has had such a positive impact on my health, that I decided to start a food blog, The Flexitarian, where I not only create many vegetarian and vegan recipes but also try to explain why we need to reduce the amount of meat, fish and dairy in our diets.”

“I always strive to cook local and seasonal food and we are lucky enough to have a community farm on our doorsteps with bountiful weekly vegetable and fruit bags.

With such a rich catalogue of incredible recipes to choose from, what made Annabelle choose this particular pasta dish to share with readers of A Mummy Too. Well, this is Food Stories so of course, it’s all about the memories.

“This recipe brings back some wonderful memories of my great-aunt Maria’s cooking. A typical Sicilian mama, she loved to nurture everyone through food.”

“She was an excellent cook. Having lived in Italy and Tunisia, her repertoire of recipes would stretch from fresh pasta to couscous and Arabic sweets. She would cook everything from scratch, getting up early to gather ingredients from the local market. One look at the fish counter and she would know if the fish was not fresh and the fishmonger would hear about it. “

“Our family meals around her table would stretch from lunch to dinner often by simply shaking the tablecloth in between. They were flavoursome, delicious and very loud, just the way Italians do food. “

“She would wake up at dawn to make fresh pasta and select the juiciest tomatoes. Now, my mum makes it, I make it, my cousins make it.“

“My great-aunt is not around anymore but her food still lives through our family. While we all live in different countries now, we managed to spend a weekend all together a few years ago. When it came the time to decide what to make for dinner, we instantly agreed on this recipe.”

“I had wanted to add this recipe to the blog for a while and finally got around to it over the summer. There was no written version as everyone kind of makes it by memory. So it took a few phone calls to different family members to come up with this version.”

“Funnily, we all add our own twist. Mine is to add cannellini beans for added protein. My cousin adds pine nuts. My mum extra basil. And my dad always shakes his head that this is not exactly how his aunt used to make it. Taste of handmade I suppose!”

Isn’t that utterly gorgeous? Thank you so much for sharing your memories, Annabelle.

How to make tomato, bean and garlic spaghetti

I reckon the only thing better than a really great pasta recipe steeped in family history is a recipe that offers all that AND lends well to tweaks, twists and additions.

So in that spirit (and because it was what I had in the cupboard), I’ve used butter beans rather than cannellini beans in my version of Annabelle’s recipe.

Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients
  • 800g tomatoes
  • 55g garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 handfuls of basil leaves, roughly chopped (+ extra to serve)
  • 250g dried spaghetti
  • 400g can butter beans, rinsed and drained
Instructions

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside to cool.

When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Note: don’t skip peeling the tomatoes, or you will end up with a lot of skin in the sauce.

Dice the tomato flesh and place into a bowl with tomato seeds and juices.

Using a fork or a pestle, crush the tomatoes to a sauce. Make sure to leave some little chunks of flesh here and there so it is not completely liquid.

Add the garlic, salt, olive oil and the chopped basil.

Mix and set aside.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. When cooked, drain and add to the prepared tomato sauce straight away.

Toss together.

Add the butter beans.

Mix and leave to cool for 15 mins or more.

This gorgeous dish can be served slightly warm, cold or at room temperature sprinkled with some more chopped basil.

Print
Tomato, bean and garlic spaghetti – great served cold!
This pasta and bean dish is made with raw, zingy tomatoes, garlic and basil to produce a gorgeously fresh sauce that is utterly delicious warm or cold.
Course Pasta meals
Keyword fresh tomatoes, garlic, pasta, spaghetti
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 553kcal
Author Emily Leary
Ingredients
  • 800 g tomatoes
  • 55 g garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 handfuls basil leaves roughly chopped (+ extra to serve)
  • 250 g dried spaghetti
  • 400 g can butter beans rinsed and drained
Instructions
  • Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Note: don’t skip peeling the tomatoes, or you will end up with a lot of skin in the sauce.
  • Dice the tomato flesh and place into a bowl with tomato seeds and juices.
  • Using a fork or a pestle, crush the tomatoes to a sauce. Make sure to leave some little chunks of flesh here and there so it is not completely liquid.
  • Add the garlic, salt, olive oil and the chopped basil.
  • Mix and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta according to packet instructions. When cooked, drain and add to the prepared tomato sauce straight away.
  • Toss together.
  • Add the butter beans.
  • Mix and leave to cool for 15 mins or more.
  • This gorgeous dish can be served slightly warm, cold or at room temperature sprinkled with some more chopped basil.
Nutrition
Calories: 553kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 643mg | Potassium: 888mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 33.3% | Vitamin C: 38.4% | Calcium: 7.9% | Iron: 19.5%
Discover more great content from The Flexitarian
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After years cultivating a monochrome living space and dress code, a couple of years ago, I discover my love of mustard yellow and never looked back.

This mustard yellow, ICON Shoreditch Pouffe Footstool was sent to me by Bean Bag Bazaar to review, and is now a very happy new addition to our living space.

It has a retro yet modern design, covered with premium suedette fabric that’s soft to the touch. It’s a functional, comfortable, light piece of furniture that is fantastic to put your feet up on.

This lovely furniture accessory is from Bean Bag Bazaar, a Northumberland-based business who design, make and sell soft furniture and furnishings.

As the name suggests, Bean Bag Bazaar specialises in bean bags, offering a wide range for both children and grownups. Do hop over to their website and have a look through – there’s something for everyone.

Enter to win

If you’d like a ICON Shoreditch Pouffe Footstool in Mustard, just complete the widget below. Good luck!

Win a mustard yellow footstool from Bean Bag Bazaar

Bean Bag Bazaar provided the pouffes for review and giveaway.

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