Baby in one hand, wooden spoon in the other

Category Archives: What’s a mum?

1. Wake up to find two small people in bed with us

2. Get up, make breakfast for small people; return upstairs for shower and get dressed (jeans and top; luckily my office is casual)

3. Discuss the merits of the the Sam Silver Undercover Pirate series with son in kitchen while tidying

4. Help small daughter put milk, yogurt, butter back in fridge, which takes three times longer than if I’d done it myself 🙂

5. Put on load of washing (quick wash), remove washing from machine, hang up

6. Eat some breakfast (briefly sit down!), give up on coffee – no time

7. Quickly wash up a few items so I don’t have to come home to them later. No time to empty dishwasher

8. Go on to Young Vic website and spend ten minutes booking tickets for A Streetcar Named Desire – website is a pain, so takes ages. Simultaneously brush daughter’s hair with other hand. Get tickets! Whoop!

9. Brush small peoples’ teeth; brush own teeth

10. Realise have no make-up on; dash upstairs. Dash back downstairs to put packed lunch and book in son’s bag; kiss children goodbye, say goodbye to husband, who is taking children to childminder, while shouting last-minute instructions at each other 😉

11. Bin day!! Put bins out (eew)

12. Check emails – phew, nothing urgent

13. Write this and leave for work. Oooops, running late!! Still no time for make-up – taking bag with meeeeee

Byeeee! TOHC X


Spanish olive groves - simply stunning!

Spanish olive groves – simply stunning!

Phew. So, summer’s but a distant memory, Biggest is back to school and thriving in Year Two, Littlest has just started at preschool. Meanwhile I am running around like a mentalist between home and work, with so many things in my head, I sometimes fear it might *explode*. Whoever called managing a career and a family ‘juggling’ is insane. It’s not juggling. Juggling implies some element of fun – ‘Whoah there, you might drop a ball!’ What it sometimes just feels like is plain and simple coping. Am I coping? Some days better than others…

Something that recently perked me up, and reminded me of summer, was a delivery from Spanish olive oil merchant Fincalink – a website devoted to promoting the advantages of eating beautifully fresh olive oil, delivered directly from the growers, which are based all over Spain. Part of the Slow Food movement, their aim is to connect customers like you and me directly with producers, which I think is a great idea, particularly since I read that olive oil found on supermarket shelves is often blended with old olive oil and chemically adulterated. Urgh.

I love olive oil, and am a big fan of the Mediterranean way of eating in general, having lived in France for a while, way back when (I do tend to think it helps if you actually live in the Mediterranean – all that sun, blue sky and olive groves must be conducive to healthy eating, surely?!). Olive oil is an important part of this way of eating, and has been proven to actually be good for the mind as this recent study proves.

I tried the Señorío de Hinojales oil, which is described as their ‘star’ – it’s an award-winning olive oil – and I have to say, it is gorgeous. The colour is amazing, particularly when compared with bog-standard olive oil. It is fresh, green, fruity and has a well-balanced flavour with just a hint of pepper at the end. Totally delicious. I have been using it in dressings, on cooked vegetables, on top of soups, and the children have had it drizzled on pasta with Parmesan, and have also enjoyed just dipping bread into it (warning: can get messy).

Senorio di Hinojales

I love the ethos of what Fincalink is doing, and this olive oil is outstanding. They sell a range of olive oils, olives in jars, tapenades and even olive oil face and body products. So click on the link to buy olive oil, for information about Spanish olives and growers, and tasty Spanish recipes to try! Note that Fincalink is currently offering 20% off for all first-time orders!

One of my favourite recipes that calls for a good olive oil is from River Café Cook Book Easy – in fact nearly every recipe in the book ends with the line ‘Drizzle with olive oil’. It is ridiculously simple and so yummy:

Mozzarella Tomato

Toss together cherry tomatoes with olive oil and pieces of peeled garlic. Season and roast in a 200°C/Gas 6 oven for 15 minutes. Slice mozzarella into 1cm pieces. Toss rocket leaves with a good olive oil and lemon, place on bruschetta and tomatoes and slices of mozzarella. Drizzle with olive oil.



DISCLAIMER: I was sent the olive oil free of charge, to try. All the opinions on here are those of The One-Handed Cook.

I have just had the pleasure of watching ‘What’s a Girl?’, a 30-minute film originally shown on CBBC as part of their My Life series, and available on iPlayer here (5 days left to watch!). In the film, 15-year-old Shelby sets out on a mission to find out just what is a girl? Shelby is a teenager who doesn’t like wearing skirts, reading Mizz or trying on make-up, but prefers wearing comfy jeans and a hoodie, playing football and wearing smart loafers. However, she doesn’t see herself as a ‘tomboy’ rather as ‘just a girl’. In the film, she meets different kinds of girls – some like sport, some like glitter, some like dresses and some like jeans. She challenges gender stereotypes and concludes that a girl is someone who has the courage to be herself: ‘I like being who I am.’

I loved this film and thought Shelby was inspirational. She is brave enough to swap outfits with another girl who dresses very differently to her, although she is clearly as uncomfortable wearing a dress as the other girl is wearing jeans, trainers and a hoodie. She talks to pre-schoolers about the differences between boys and girls – depressingly/predictably the girls say that ‘girls have long hair and play with princesses’ and the boys say ‘boys have short hair and play with dinosaurs’ – but Shelby at least, with her cropped hair, gets them all thinking… Her ultimate message is that it’s fine to be different, and you can be a girl and still do cool things. As the mother of a daughter I found her film uplifting and important for teenagers – and mums – to watch. There is no such thing as ‘a girl’ – you can be the girl you want to be. Thank you, Shelby, for reminding us all.

Shelby’s film got me thinking about what’s a mum? And again, I think the answer has to be someone who has the courage to be herself and not worry about what everyone else is up to. So let’s not judge other mums for their choices – whether it be to work or to not work, to make a homemade meal from scratch or to reach for a frozen pizza or get fish & chips once in a while, to drink coffee when pregnant or to not drink coffee when pregnant, to breastfeed or to bottle feed, to wean at 4 months, 5 months or 6 months, to use a dummy or to not use a dummy, to give their child organic crisps or chocolate buttons as a treat, to leave their children with the babysitter for a wild night out or to choose to want to stay at home. As Shelby says, ‘If you stick to being yourself, you’ll be alright.’ Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Be yourself. Be your own person. Trust yourself, try to banish any guilt you may be carrying around with you for whatever reason, and just focus on being the best mum you can be. After all, that’s the best kind of mum.

More recipes and gadgets soon, promise.


The One-Handed Cook

Baby in one hand, wooden spoon in the other

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