Meringue with vanilla cream & fruit

You will need:
2 large baking trays
Baking mat or baking paper
Piping bag if possible

4 Eggs – separated
150g Billington’s Golden Caster Sugar
¼ tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract for meringue
150ml Double or Whipping cream
¼ tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
Raspberries, passion fruit or fruit of choice
25g Icing sugar

• Cover the baking trays with baking parchment, preheat the oven to 100C (200F Gas 1)
• Take a clean, dry bowl and add the 4 egg whites and a ¼ tsp of vanilla extract. Whisk continuously and slowly add the caster sugar until it forms stiff peaks
• If you have a piping bag, spoon the mixture into it and pipe 6 4” circles of approx ¼” thick. If not just spoon the mixture thinly onto the parchment
• Place in the oven and leave for 2 hours. Turn off the oven but leave the meringues in to dry out further without browning
• While the meringues are cooling whip the cream until stiff, stir in a ¼ tsp of vanilla extract and prepare the fruit
• Once cooled spoon on cream and some fruit and place another circle of meringue on top, repeat
• Dust with a little icing sugar and decorate with more fruit

Tip: this recipe makes individual meringues but you can make a large Pavlova by piping 3 large circles of meringue and then layering in the same way

6 precautionary measures every new parent should take

As a new parent, the safety of your child will understandably be a top priority. Having little ones is a life-altering event. You might even start off with extreme paranoia about how childproof the world is. But you can easily take a logical approach to making their immediate environment safe and secure. It doesn’t need to be stressful – you’ve just got to be aware of how risks evolve as your child becomes more mobile.

If you can get ahead and take precautionary measures for safety in the home, you’ll feel more at ease when your new-born arrives. To help, we’ve gathered six steps you can take to make your home a safer place for a growing child.

1. Secure furniture

Children become increasingly inquisitive before they’re aware of surrounding hazards. As such, Vouchercloud says you’ll have to view each piece of furniture with suspicion. For example, your child will eventually see your bookcase as a heavily disguised ladder. Any piece of furniture that could be pulled over must be secured. You can use several varieties of straps and brackets to do the job, just remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.


2. Consider radiator covers

The RoSPA explains it can cost as much as £250,000 to treat one severe bath water scald. But this figure doesn’t reflect the child’s suffering, or long-term costs of prolonged treatment and rehabilitation. When running a bath, always turn the cold water on first and learn to test the water temperature with your elbow. But burns and scalds can be caused by a number of things. For example, a hot drink can still scald a child 15 minutes after being made. In fact, when out and about be on your guard too. I once visited a community centre for a mother and baby event and was amazed that an organiser left a hot cup of tea so close to where the children were playing. There is a big tradition of taking babies to see your team-mates in your workplace and that is another area where burns can happen as there is so much scope for potential burns accidents in the workplace.

Radiators are also a concern. You should run your domestic hot water system at 46°C, but even this could create radiators that are too hot for children to touch. You could choose to cover radiators with towels as a temporary measure (e.g. towel radiators while your child is in the bath), or consider investing in permanent covers to put your mind at ease.

3. Buy a baby sleeping bag

Pillows and duvets aren’t safe for young children, as they pose a suffocation risk. Until they’re able to move their own weight easily, sleeping sacks are one of the best options. It’s essentially a wearable blanket that’s safe for babies to sleep in. What’s more, unlike a blanket, babies can’t wriggle out of sleep sacks – so you won’t be woken up to crying only to find your child has come out from under the warmth of a blanket. Check out the best options available here.

sleep sack

4. Adapt your habits in the kitchen

There are loads of safety practices you can put in place before your child is born. One of the most important is to start behaving differently in the kitchen. Hot pans and drinks are a common source of danger – so start using hobs at the back of your cooker and get in the habit of keeping hot drinks within your sight, and never near the ledge of a surface. You’re preparing for when your little one will be able to get up and reach further.

5. Look for hard edges

Look at your home through the eyes of a small child. Get on your hands and knees if you have to. Search for hard edges at their height which could easily pose a risk when they start crawling. The earlier you get these tasks done, the more comfortable you’ll feel when they start exploring.

As babies start to get more confident and develop their skills at manoeuvring, you won’t always be there to catch them if they have a tumble. But you can make sure there’s nothing sharp by protecting corners with sticky edge cushions. Again, the kitchen is one of the riskiest places – so start there.

Apex Cottage White Kitchen

6. Position the cot carefully

You’ve painted the nursery and carefully chosen safe accessories and toys. But where’s the safest place to put the cot?In Baby Centre’s five steps to creating a nursery, they recommend creating a safe zone around the cot by positioning it away from windows, heaters, lamps, wall decorations and cords, as well as placing any other furniture that your baby could clamber on to at a safe distance. Also be sure to check the following:

• The mattress fits in the cot snugly
• The distance between each bar is no more than 6.5cm
• The cot conforms to BS EN 716-2:2008

The temperature in a nursery should be between 16 degrees C and 20 degrees C for a baby to sleep comfortably.

What steps have you taken to improve the safety of your home for young children? Share your tips and recommendations with us.

Currently the Mental Health care support for many women suffering with PND is totally inadequate and there needs to be a change.

This is what the petition says:

My wife Joanne (Joe) Bingley died on the 30th April 2010 when our beautiful baby girl, Emily Jane, was only 10 weeks old. She was suffering and being treated for Severe Postnatal Depression. The “Independent Investigation” into my wife’s death resulted in 21 recommendations being implemented across Yorkshire and Humberside. 10 years ago after the death of Dr Daksha Emson a panel of inquiry issued recommendations that should have lead to improvements across the UK. The Health Minister at the time, Rosie Winterton, issued a public apology and stated that Daksha’s tragic case should focus the attention of local Health Authorities and the National Health Service on improving mental health services for all. Over the last year I have learnt the truth regarding my wife’s treatment and death and that the failure to provide the specialist care necessary for women with postnatal depression is placing over 22,000 mothers a year at risk nationwide… please support our call to implement change

The Link:

If you want to know more about The Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation and more about Joanne Bingley, here is the link:

Blueberry and Vanilla Scones

Ready in 25 minutes
Makes 8

225g Allinson Nature Friendly White Self Raising flour
Small pinch of fine salt
½ tsp baking powder
50g Billington’s Golden Caster Sugar, plus 1 tsp for sprinkling
75g unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
75g fresh blueberries
2 tbsp soured cream
1 large free-range egg
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract

To serve:
250g clotted cream
300g strawberries, sliced
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste
3 tbsp Billington’s Golden Caster Sugar

1. Heat the oven to 200C/ mark 6.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder in to a large bowl, then stir in the salt and sugar. Add the butter and using your fingertips, rub in to the flour until it resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the blueberries.

3. In a jug, whisk together the soured cream, egg and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a round bladed knife, then bring together the mixture with your hands to form a soft dough. It’s important not to over-mix or knead the dough to keep the scones light.

4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 2 cm thick and cut out 8 rounds using a 6cm round cutter. Transfer to a lightly greased baking tray. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a cooling rack.

5. Meanwhile, put the strawberries in a bowl. In a small pan, gently heat the sugar, vanilla bean paste together with 1-2 tbsp water, until dissolved, then simmer for 2 mins until syrupy. Pour over the strawberries, toss and leave to cool until ready to serve.

6. Serve the warm scones with a dollop of clotted cream and the vanilla strawberries.

Special Scones Recipe

A strange week on the bargain-hunting front with me actually spending dosh on Him Indoors instead of myself or the children.

Do you like the title of this post by the way? I once worked/volunteered for Oxfam’s Trading Division as a Regional Media Coordinator. They had a big menswear promotion on one time and I had to promote menswear in the regional print and broadcast media. Whilst on the bus in Oxford, I passed a tailor’s shop. In old-fashioned gold letters, I saw the word “menswear” on the window whilst the bus was stuck in a traffic jam. I studied the word and suddenly the words “Men Swear By Oxfam” sprang into my mind. I used this in regional promotions and the Marketing Manager at Oxfam’s HQ went mad saying my slogan was so much better than their “Oxfam for Men”. Regrettably, the fascias and posters were already done so I did not see my name in national lights.

Anyway, I digress as usual.

I went to the bigger town near us with my Dad the other day and bought two books. One was about giving up smoking which Him Indoors says he wants to do. It was £1.50, was brand new and in the wrapping and included 2 CDS.

Then there was a book on psoriasis. Him Indoors suffers this condition badly and it impacts adversely on all of us in various ways. I am hoping this book will help me understand the whole thing much better. If it does, it will be £1.50 well spent.

On Friday, I went in for my usual fish and chip lunch with my Dad in our local town. It is market day too although there is only really a plant stall, a fish stall and a bric-a-brac stall. Not what I call a market but then I was brought up a mile away from the world famous Dewsbury market.

Anyway, I had a look at the bric a brac stall and saw a man’s suit hung up behind the stall. It was Marks and Spencers and I was almost sure it was Him Indoor’s size. I do not have a mobile phone currently so was unsure what to do, whether to buy it or leave it. In the end, as it was only a tenner I took it home. I am pleased to report it fitted perfectly.

Well, if Him Indoors is going to look the part at work, he might as well have a desk set too. I just liked the look of this and snapped it up for £3.

When I showed it to my Dad, I said “I did not really want or need it and no does Him Indoors but it was too nice to leave”. As I said it, I sounded so like my late Mum justifying a totally impulsive purchase.