Pumpkins are not just for Halloween

Whilst your family is dressing up for Halloween and enjoying the fun, you as an expectant mum need to keep up your healthy regime. Kill two birds with one stone and use that pumpkin goodness for a beautiful autumn soup that will delight your family and friends… and even the hubby!

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Roasted pumpkin soup recipe

What you’ll need…

• 1.5kg edible pumpkin
• Olive oil
• 1 teaspoon dried chilli
• 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
• 1 large onion
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 carrot
• 1 stick of celery
• 1 litre hot vegetable stock

How to do it…

Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F. Half the pumpkin and remove the seeds (you can keep these for roasting), then chop into wedges. Place the pumpkin on two large baking trays and drizzle over a little olive oil. In a pestle and mortar, grind the chilli and coriander seeds with a pinch of salt until finely ground. Sprinkle the spices over the pumpkin with some black pepper. Roast the pumpkin for 1 hour, or until soft and slightly caramalised at the edges.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat a lug of olive oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan then add the vegetables and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and sweet but not coloured.

easy pumpkin soup blending

When the squash is ready, add to the pan with the hot stock. Blend with a stick blender, adding a little more water if you like a thinner consistency.

Ladle into bowls and add you favourite toppings. Enjoy!

The 11 Week Itch

Waiting time

After the excitement subsides (a little) that you’re pregnant, the worry sets in and you start questioning everything. If you are being sick or not, feeling tired or not, sore boobs or any of the other many symptoms you can suffer in your first trimester. You judge yourself by everyone around you and read millions of baby and pregnant mom forums (like you ever read anything on a forum before!) and start wondering if you are actually still pregnant.

I am currently 11 + 3 and still another two weeks away from my dating scan… arghhhhh! This waiting period is frustrating and all I want to know is if everything is ok and baby bear is growing normally and enjoying his home I’m making for him/her. If you’re anything like me, you’re impatient and want to know everything yesterday, sadly I have to be put back in my box and told ‘No wait!’

I’m hoping everything will be fine and I just need to keep eating well and looking after myself but “Oh god, roll on 8th November please!”

Sober as a judge? Not a problem at Bills.

If you are anything like me the first few weeks of knowing your pregnant can be tricky adjusting to not having that glass of red after a long day at work. But knowing you are pretty lucky to be pregnant certainly helps! The challenge really comes when you go out with friends and the only options open to you are water or orange juice. You don’t necessarily mind not drinking, but you don’t want to feel ostracised… feeling part of the party isn’t much to ask.

Bill's Restaurant St Albans Hertfordshire

Bill’s Restaurant, St Albans city centre eatery in Hertfordshire

Last weekend we had the exciting task of meeting with our best friends and their gorgeous 4 month old (I’m still holding back identities until we’ve reached 12 weeks) to tell them all about our news. Knowing the little fella would be with us we were looking for a lunch venue in St Albans that would be baby friendly and I was keen to see if they would be pregnancy friendly, so we decided on Bill’s on Chequer Street in the main city centre.

Our initial impression was a little concerning as they had placed us in possibly the worst location with a pushchair and 4 month old, next to the whirling oversized trays of hot food being danced through the restaurant by very busy waiters on a Saturday afternoon. We had booked 3 days earlier and informed them we would need a location for the pushchair but I think the Saturday madness had forced us to an unsuitable table. Luckily the very helpful host and waitress speedily cleared a table that had just emptied in the corner and we were quickly seated. I have to say that is the only negative I have to say, the remainder of our lunch was absolutely delightful.

DYClMORCTHqGN%lIBn70LQAfter receiving the drinks menu I looked at it anxiously avoiding the lovely looking cocktails and tempting wines to be pleasantly surprised at the over whelming non-alcoholic drinks offering. Not only did they have the regular classics of Virgin Bloody Mary, Elderflower Presse and Tropical Smoothies but also new to the market Alt-Gin Ceder’s which certainly could fool the biggest fan of the popular Hendricks Gin and Tonic. There certainly needs to be more restaurants like Bill’s that look to expand their non-alcoholic offering. It would be great to celebrate with friends with a glass of non-alcoholic bubbles but I am yet to find a bar or restaurant to ever stock any. I will have to stick to juice and water for most places and be pleasantly surprised when I get a bit more choice.

Thanks Bills, St Albans, I will certainly be frequenting your venue over the next 8 months a fair bit.

And So The Journey Begins…

Bump DiariesLast week I had my first positive test with ClearBlue, those words that we have been longing to see for the past few months ‘pregnant 1-2 weeks’ Yes! In fact, I didn’t quite believe it and neither did the hubby, so like mad people we let it sink in and then had to take another test. With anticipation we waited for the little egg timer on the test to go round and round and again the words appear ‘pregnant 1-2 weeks.

I know it sounds strange to be surprised when we had been pro actively trying for some months, but only a few days before I had what I though was the ‘time of the month’ and had even had blood tests to see if anything was wrong to be on the safe side. Worry did now set in and I was frantically looking online to find out what the previous bleeding meant and if it would stick. I’m sure I’m not the first mum that wants to feel excited but nervous to do so, and so the lovely people at my local surgery admitted me to Lister Hospital where I had a scan and we saw the little sack and egg yolk exactly where it should be, my husband even took the opportunity to crack a joke with the Sonographer ‘yes, that’s where I was aiming!’. Really, you can’t take them anywhere.

But this gave us the chance now to actually feel the elation and excitement that comes with finding out your going to be a mom and dad… and so the journey begins.