Mama's Banana Bread

Today my little loves and I had a home day. We played twister, rummaged through and played with their old toys which haven’t seen the light of day for a while and made banana bread. I love banana bread, It’s so comforting.

I would love to say that this is a gloriously healthy recipe because it has banana’s in it… but it isn’t. I use traditional ingredients for a really homey taste. It is sweet and perfect for those days when you need to hide for five or ten minutes with something tasty, a brew and a good book. Perfect for rainy days if that makes sense.

Perfect for rainy days because it is so easy to make. It is very low maintenance and if you have children who are like mine and want to get involved… That would be cool too!

Ingredients

2 over ripe bananas, 1tsp ground cinnamon, 140g caster sugar (sieved), 140g softened butter, 2 beaten eggs,, 140g self raising flower (sieved) and a tsp of baking powder.

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the bottom and sides of a loaf tin.

Peel and smash both bananas roughly with a fork until you get a fairly runny consistency. Add the cinnamon to the bananas and stir it in. Leave this to one side.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.

Alternate adding a little bit of egg and folding in a little flour. Repeat until it is all folded and mixed in.

Add in the baking powder and the banana mix and stir in until you have a smooth, creamy consistency- no lumps.

Pour mixture into the loaf tin and pop in the oven for 30-35 minutes. To check it is cooked, put a knife in the middle of the loaf and if it is hot to touch and it is clean, you are winning. It sounds done to me!

Let the bread cool down for 10 minutes in the tin and then whip it on to a cooling rack.

And that’s it… Enjoy Lovelies!!

Some of you might want to drizzle a little sugar icing over the top. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It is still quite sweet without it but with it, you get that little somethin’ extra. Trust me though, you won’t need a lot if you decide to. Just a smidge.

Mama's Banana Bread

I hope you love this loaf as much as me and mine do. Let me know if you give it a go and tag me in your photo’s on Instagram and Twitter using @sweetestlife_x – I would love that.

Big Love,

Ria x

 

 

 

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Weekly Meal Plan ( Family Of Four)

So, right now… I am writing this blog post with one eye open and the other is fast asleep. I have just got home from family swimming night at our local swimming pool…And I am exhausted. In a good way though! We all are. I dressed the children in their pyjamas  after we hit the showers, so as soon as we walked through the door, they slid into their beds and I haven’t heard a peep since.

Noah did so well. He is swimming under water like a bit of a boss really and has surprised us all considering that less than a month ago, he was terrified of the water being in his face. I talk a little more about this in my ‘family life, lately’ video (link to video here) but basically, he has transformed in to a water baby and it’s amazing to watch. I still can’t believe that I managed to teach him to swim in twenty minutes. If there was ever a moment that I felt like super mum, that was totally it. Ellenah has come so far in a week too. It’s incredible how quickly such little legs build up strength and memory to learn a skill.

As I say, I’m a little tired by it because I try and get a good chunk of exercise in too, while we are there. It would be silly not to considering how much I miss going to the gym and how much I love to work out. I’ll ache tomorrow but it will be worth it because it makes me feel so good about myself.

I’m trying very hard to be as healthy as I can now. I’ve noticed so quickly how a well-balanced diet and a bit of exercise can make you feel like a million bucks… or at least, a lot less sluggish with a little more energy to play with the kids and to live life well.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted to share my meal plan this week. It is quite well balanced in my opinion, quite healthy…and that’s a hard feat when you have a family to feed.

I have really enjoyed watching grocery haul videos lately too. I really feel like I’m not alone and I have someone to help when I have been stuck in a food rut in the past. Food ruts can be soul destroying if you are the person responsible for the groceries and cooking dinner for your loves. You want to do right by them but sometimes the inspiration just doesn’t come naturally and you are sick of the same old meals that you churn out, week in and week out.

I hope my haul helps you out a little mama?

Let me know in the comments, if you have any healthy, family friendly recipes that I could try also, I would be forever thankful?!

With love, Ria x

P.S. I love my fruit bowl on grocery day. It’s the little things that make me so happy x

Weekly Meal Plan (Family Of Four)

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The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The 'Leaving For University' Party

It was raining. All day. Our plans for a garden party, to send our niece off to university in style, were looking less likely. We checked in with the weather forecast that told us it was brightening up. We looked outside. Heavy rain. We waited. We deliberated. We remained hopeful that the empty promises would show up for us after all.

The 'Leaving For University' Party

The 'Leaving For University' Party

The 'Leaving For University' Party

The 'Leaving For University' Party

We catered for thirty- something. A gorgeous, continental feast waited in bags while we ran around in the heavy rain, fixing fairy lights into the trees and hanging bunting all around. It was literally raining on our parade, ‘pissing it down’ all over our vision. And we checked the weather again. It was meant to be brighter by now. It was meant to have stopped. But the rain fell, straight down…No messing about, with the lone intention of making everything wet and ruined. And still,  like mad women, my sister and I set out the garden tables with jars full of flowers and tealight candles that we hoped would flicker in the night sky.

The 'Leaving For University' Party

It would have looked beautiful.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

It did look beautiful, in the end.

The 'Leaving For University' Party

Fifteen minutes before everyone arrived, we pulled the party inside. It was ‘The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof’ and the fairy lights looked beautiful against the slightly steamed up glass of my conservatory. It mingled with the bunting and we scattered the jars of flowers everywhere. I think, in the end… It looked better.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The decorations blended in perfectly with the buffet for all, jugs of pimms and strawberries and cream. In the end, the raindrops set the perfect scene as they enveloped the glass and looked quite beautiful. It felt warm, cozy, friendly and the perfect place to say ‘cheerio’ to one of the most lovely people that the world now gets to know.

*Deep breath Ria… You can write this!

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The reason that we wanted the night to be so special, is because it was for someone pretty amazing. Our niece. The beautiful Erin. The girl with the kindest heart.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

I am from a very close knit family and we like to celebrate each others successes in life. Erin has been accepted in to her first choice of university and will be taking a huge leap, away from her family and away from home to be one step closer to the career of her dreams. It was absolutely something to celebrate.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She is about to embark on such a wonderful journey. She is about to meet a lot of incredible people. People who will change her world completely. People who will challenge her. People who will sit with her in the library all night, in their pyjamas because the night they were meant to finish their work, the student bar were selling shots for 50p…Something crazy like that.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will learn about chance, change and all kinds of things about who she is. She will have a lot of dodgy photograph’s taken of her in this time… but they will always make her smile / laugh/ feel something.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will dance. She will drunk dial her beautiful mama in the night to say hello (her mama will most probably answer!), she may sing karaoke and she may fall asleep in a fair few lectures (if she remembers to set her alarm for 2 o’clock in the afternoon and makes it in.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will eat way too many noodles. She will down too many drinks because she will lose at too many drinking games. She will regret this.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She may do this, for many consecutive nights.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

It will not make her feel better.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will probably ponder this over a dominoes pizza because she had a voucher, somewhere!

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will get to be exactly were she is meant to be, at this time in her life. She will get to do all the things that comes with being young, with the world in the palm of your hands.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

And yes, even though I told her all of this the other night while drinking prossecco straight from the bottle, I have to say it out in to the world so that she always knows it…

I am really proud of my her. She has always been so smart. Smarter than I ever was. But… in the last couple of years, she has had to fight for her next steps in to the big wide world. She hasn’t been the girl that everything just goes right for. She has been knocked down…and so she brushed herself off and stood back up. She did not crumble under pressure, expectation or fear…and that is what makes me most proud. Because like always, she holds herself with strength, courage and belief in herself… Even when it probably would have felt easier not to. Easier to give up.

She didn’t!

We have all watched her grow into such a beautiful young lady, so mature, comfortable in her skin and well adjusted. She used to be someone who remembers listening to ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ by Green Day with me, in my teenage bedroom when she was small and then, as if by magic she became the person who I watched Bridget Jones with for the very first time. And we laughed like mad people. Like friends.

So, even though it will be emotional to see her go. It is bittersweet. She is ready for this. She has got this. She is going to love this. And as I’ve said it a million times before…

I am so proud of her and she truly deserves to have this chance, to follow her dreams and to be all that she can be.

With Love, Ria x

 

 

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When I was asked by my childhood friend and the lady who I refer to as my little sister, to be her Matron Of Honour… I cried! My voice became so high pitched and things got a little awkward for poor Matt when he was trying to communicate with me. Needless to say, I was so happy.


I awaited my list of tasks and To-Do’s from an incredibly laid back Bride-To-Be… Not much came. Honestly, this girl takes life in her stride and has faith that all will be fine. Is it possible that I am Bridezilla in her place, desperately wanting her to have the most wonderful day and to feel like the Princess that she is? I would be on the end of the phone, waiting for the call to whip out my highlighters and colour code the crap out of her wedding planner… But everything was in hand.


Eventually, my turn came to step up. The other bridesmaids and I had to put our heads together and plan a Hen Night for our girl.


Ideas were flung around, opinions were exchanged and we agreed on an idea at a secret squirrel meeting over drinks at a local pub. I felt like some kind of secret agent… I can’t lie!


There were twists and turns along the way and in a turn of events, the bridesmaids and I decided that our idea wasn’t the one. it wasn’t how we wanted Katie to say goodbye to her single life and hello to her new one… and name!


So, we decided on something that I hope she will forever look back on with fondness and a smile.


Katie is a beautiful person, inside and out. She is calming and kind-hearted and honestly, the nicest person I know. In all of our years growing up together, when I would be walking home, singing a bit of Bob Marley to myself after one too many vodka, lemonade & Limes after a night out on the town… Katie would be nowhere in sight. 


She is sensible, classy, family-orientated and she not only knew that nights out on the town, drinking too many vodka, lemonades and lime were not for her but she knew what was and she knew exactly how she liked to spend her time. 


She knows exactly who she is.


She introduced me to quinoa, we marvel over travel and we could talk for hours over one cup of tea and a bag of Maltesers about life and our futures… She is unique.


So she deserved a day that would compliment who she is.


We decided to throw her a Bridal Shower.


We invited the long list of ladies in her life who she holds dear.


We decorated my garden. 

There was bunting.

Fresh flowers.

Fizz.

Good Food.

Smiles.

Happiness.

Friendship.

Games.

Words of wisdom and advice.

Earliest, funniest and sweetest memories of our dear friend, written down and shared around. 

Mounds of support.

And….

a whole lot of love for a very laid back Bride-To-Be……

The sun shone down on the day and the blossoms blossomed. It felt like we were all so grown up and it was the perfect start to not only the weekend but hopefully, of her long and happy life with a man named Tom, her true love.

xxx

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