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So March is nearly over and done. This month has been full of highs and lows as I continue my journey into motherhood. I have, however, made some time to explore the beautiful winter garden at my local National Trust property with Tilly, and for once taking my ‘big camera’ rather than just my phone.

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Sometimes I think I should just put away the cameras and enjoy just ‘being’ in a place, and I definitely want to make sure I do this as Tilly gets bigger and older. But on this walk, I discovered that I really noticed so many signs of spring that I might have ordinarily strolled past.

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tilly_first_foods7

Recently Tilly turned six months old and so we have embarked on sharing some new tastes with her. It’s incredible to think that up until this point – 9 months in my belly, 6 months out of it – my body alone has grown and sustained her.

It’s fair to say I’ve actually been scared about introducing something other than breastmilk to her. I’ve done quite a lot of exploring into health these past few years, and combined with addressing my own health, I now feel acutely aware of how nourishing or damaging food can be to our bodies.

I have a small collection of baby feeding books that cover various approaches to ‘weaning’, and they are The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell, Beautiful Babies by Kristen Michaelis, Super Nutrition for Babies byKatherine Erlich and Kelly Genzlinger, and Baby-led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett.

All but the Baby-led Weaning book follow the premise of starting with nutrient dense foods that are gentle on the digestion.

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So for her ‘first foods’ we have settled on introducing Tilly to egg yolk primarily, as well as a little liver and homemade chicken broth. We boil an egg (from happy organic pasture-fed hens just up the road) for about 4 minutes until it’s cooked but the yolk still runny.

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sucre

I never give up anything for Lent because I’m no good at giving things up. Mind you, I say that and yet I remember that I spent about 6 months ‘giving up’ certain foods when I tried to get my health better.

One of those things I gave up for a good long while was sugar. I got to a wonderful place where I reintroduced it and only ate tiny amounts and felt satisfied with only a quarter of a slice of cake or brownie.

The problem is it’s so easy to slip and life gets a bit much and that quarter of brownie becomes a half and then the whole thing, and then you need the whole thing the whole time.

So we (poor Mr Rigg has been dragged into this too) are going to attempt to give up sugar for Lent. Hopefully by the end of it we won’t be wanting so much and so often.

I say ‘attempt’ because I’m realistic. Not because I can’t give it up 100% – I have before, as mentioned above. But realistic that we’re approaching a time of change in our lives (more on that at a later date), and that I am a breastfeeding mummy to a 6 month old whilst juggling my own business, one dog, three rabbits, and who likes to cook ‘from scratch’ almost every day of the week.

Oh and did I mention in the middle of this ‘give up sugar’ experiment is Tilly’s Christening complete with cake fuelled ‘after party’…

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chocolate_mud_cake7

Along my journey to find better health I am always looking out for sweet treat recipes to try out.

I am acutely aware that I have this tiny person who is soon to embark on her own eating adventure and whilst I’m hopeful she won’t grow up on tons of processed crap I do want her to feel vaguely normal when it comes to things like having a cake for her birthday.

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So I am doing my homework now trying to find recipes that taste as good as cakes made with standard ingredients such as white flour and white sugar, but contain more wholesome less bad ingredients such as coconut flour and honey or maple syrup for sweetness.

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allotment_potatoes2

It’s fair to say that last year we mainly grew potatoes on our allotment – in fact, that’s all we really grew apart from the odd strawberry and some herbs. We have been pretty shocking about keeping it up these past few years, it just seems we’ve had one thing after another pop up in our life and staying on top of the allotment always seems to get pushed further down the list.

Having Tilly now has made me think how much I hope to spend time this spring and summer on the allotment, just her and Buddy during the week, pottering, weeding, sowing, planting.  I imagine Tilly laid on a blanket, the dog next to her, and me digging.  Or once she is sitting up and shuffling around, eating flowers or dirt.

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But for now, our allotment is a bit of a sad mess and empty of all it’s potato harvest as of the a recent weekend.  We went down late afternoon, the sun was beginning to set, the trees looked like they were on fire from the sun’s glow and we had three rows of red skinned potatoes to dig up.

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Where have the last 4 months gone since I last did a post…?  They have fallen by the wayside in what is now my new life as a mummy. I still can’t believe that I’m a mother and that I have a daughter, as Mr Rigg says, it’s very odd when someone asks you how your daughter is, you think, “you must have me confused, I don’t have a daughter…oh. Hang on…”

I’ve thought a lot about what my first post back here would be, whether I would ramble on about recapping the past 4 months since our lovely Tilly burst into our lives, or just carry on as if nothing much has changed.  I still haven’t really decided, so apologies if this post ambles a long with no particular place to go!

Tilly is 4 months old now.  Just this week she learnt to suck her toes.  She also is feeling poorly after catching the rank cold her mummy (gosh that’s me!) had over Christmas.  Last night she was so miserable poor love, with watery eyes, snuffly nose and a tickly cough, yet she still beams at you when you smile at her.  It made me think how pathetic I was feeling all sorry for myself when I was ill – that I was all “woe is me” and yet this tiny creature can still find something to smile about.

I begin to realise how this small person is going to change our lives in many more ways that I could have ever imagined.

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Tilly

This is the reason I’ve been so quiet here lately.  Last week this little bundle made a surprise appearance into our lives, a week early and brought into this world in a way far removed from what we had planned and dreamt of.

But she is here safely and healthy (although a little tiny), and we are adjusting to life as ‘parents’.  Still a bit surreal but we are totally loved up by this small creature.

Meet Tilly x

Fresh homemade tomato pasta sauce

Do you ever eat a meal you’ve cooked numerous times and think, “perhaps this is my favourite meal ever”?  I do.  I always seem to be wondering what my favourite food or meal is, that if I had one last dinner to enjoy what would I choose?

I’ve decided that this is perhaps mine.

Someone on Instagram mentioned they’d love a recipe for my tomato pasta after I shared a picture on our Wales holiday.  And although I almost don’t think it’s worthy of being called a ‘recipe’ or for me to tell anyone how to make something so simple, here it is.

Summery homemade tomato pasta

It is basically pasta with a tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes, cooked very quickly.  I’m sure that I was inspired to first make this after watching a TV programme where an Italian chef on the Amalfi coast in a very posh hotel was making a tomato sauce for pasta this way.

Choosing Tomatoes

I’m pretty sure that the quality of your tomatoes matters in this dish, after all you’re hardly adding any other flavours and if you use out-of-season-wishy-washy pale looking tomatoes I think it would taste pretty miserable.  So finding good quality tomatoes, preferably in the summer months when they are at their ripest and in-season is essential.

I have used all kinds of tomatoes to make this sauce – larger ones cut up, cherry tomatoes left whole, cherry tomatoes cut in half, cherry tomatoes cut into quarters, multi-coloured tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or a mixture of whatever I have to hand.

All you want to ensure is that they are roughly the same size so that they cook at the same rate.

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Summery gazpacho soup with Spanish ham and basil

Doesn’t food taste better when it looks pretty?  I certainly believe so.  I completely wrecked my fried egg the other day, had a complete tantrum about it and ended up literally flinging everything onto the plate – I was so mad about it looking crappy that I’m convinced I didn’t enjoy it as much.

Homemade gazpacho with Spanish ham

This homemade gazpacho is one of my favourite pretty looking dishes I’ve made in recent weeks – the colours are just so summery and inviting.  Plus it’s very tasty and with this current heat wave I could eat bowlfuls of this chilled soup.  There was some interest on my Instagram about the recipe for it, so here it is.

Summer gazpacho soup

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Foxgloves on the allotment

I’m not going to dare suggest that it’s too hot in England at the moment.  It is utterly beautiful and I’m thoroughly enjoying all the sun and warm weather we are being blessed with.  How nice is it to sit in the evenings with all the windows and doors open?

Last weekend a bit by accident we found ourselves spending the whole morning today, dog- and care-free visiting a couple of local markets.  It made me realise that we are both guilty of spending too much time doing DIY and don’t make enough time to just go out and do things together.

First we went to our local farmers market at Abbey Leys where we stocked up on local raw milk, grass-fed Welsh beef mince, real bread, and a bunch of seasonal flowers from my favourite garden gate stall.

Locally grown flowers

Next we decided to try out the Artisan Market in Knutsford – it was our first visit and it was fantastic.  It’s a huge market with lots of craft, vintage and food stalls, the weather was fab, there was a bluegrass style band playing music, and deckchairs for people to sit and listen.

Artisan Market in Knutsford

My favourite stall was a lady selling Transylvanian sweet treats called Chimney Stack Cakes.  Her particularly speciality are these chimney stack cakes which are like a spiral of cakey-doughnuty-bread with different flavourings.  She won us over with a sample of her cinnamon one and one made it into our shopping bag.

Chimney stack cakes

Transylvanian sweet treats

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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