Archive for Food & Drink

The Weanagers

One of Britain's WeanagersTo celebrate the launch of Britain’s Weanagers – a new fly on the wall docu-series – we’re giving you the chance below to win one of five new weaning books ‘The First Foods Book’ & some Ella’s Kitchen snacks!

We’ve all heard about the terrible twos, not to mention the testing teenage years, but what about those weanage months? That’s right, weanagers!

But how do you identify a weanager? To help mums and dads recognise this important stage in their little one’s development, parenting expert, Sarah Ockwell-Smith has identified 10 sure-fire signs your child is a fully-fledged weanager:

  1. Your baby won’t let you leave them, ever
  2. Your baby ends up wearing more food than they eat
  3. Your baby loves to empty stuff
  4. Your baby puts EVERYTHING in their mouth
  5. Your baby does a great impression of you
  6. Your baby becomes a big fan of dropping things
  7. Your baby will have a favourite food one week, then go off it the next
  8. Your baby enjoys testing out their new pincer grip, even on you
  9. Your baby starts spontaneously waving hello or goodbye
  10. Your baby makes their mark on the house

Is your little one a weanager?Sarah comments: “The weanage months, from six to twelve months, are a constant series of firsts, exploration and wonder for both the baby and parent – from first foods and first teeth, to first steps and first words. Commonly glossed over in favour of the cute new-born phase and the challenges of ‘the terrible twos’, it’s time this period of development got the recognition it rightly deserves”.

Celebrating weanagers all over the country, Ella’s Kitchen is launching a NEW fly on the wall documentary series, ‘Britain’s Weanagers’. Exploring the exciting and, at times, hilarious weaning journeys of babies, the series stars four families who have all featured in the popular Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute.

Weanagers don't want to leaveMark Cuddigan, Head of Ella’s Kitchen, adds: “We are passionate about helping little ones develop healthy relationships with food and that really starts with the very first tastes. Weaning is a really exciting milestone for little ones and their parents. We created the ‘Britain’s Weanagers’ series to give mums and dads who are about to start weaning a fun insight into what to expect. It really brings to life our view that every baby is different and that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to weaning. We think the series perfectly captures the reality of weaning in a very charming, yet honest way and hope that we’re able to bring a smile to parents watching it.”

The docu-series is hosted on their YouTube Weaning Channel, which launched earlier this year. To view the episodes search ‘Ella’s Kitchen weaning’ on YouTube.


  1. Your baby won’t let you leave, ever

Separation anxiety is possibly the hardest developmental phase for a weanager, but it is a sign of great parenting and a good indicator that your baby will grow to be happy, confident and independent

  1. Your baby ends up wearing more food than they eat

Research shows it’s super important to let your baby play with their food, babies who do so may be less fussy eaters as they grow. Eating isn’t just about the food that goes into the baby’s mouth though, it’s about the touch and smell too.

  1. Your baby loves to empty stuff

Weanagers spend a lot of time working on their ‘filling and emptying’ skills, whether it’s the laundry basket, toy box or the kitchen cupboard. This habit of theirs actually helps your little one learn about the world, through repeated actions and experiences.

  1. Your baby puts EVERYTHING in their mouth

This is a sign that they are developing their hand/eye coordination, practicing their pincer grip and investigating objects via the most sensory part of their body – their mouth!

  1. Your baby does a great impression of you

You are your baby’s best teacher and babies learn best by imitation. Every minute of the day, they are looking to you to see how to behave…so be sure to set a good example!

  1. Your baby becomes a big fan of dropping things

The desire to drop and throw everything is a common stage in the weanage years. Don’t worry though, your weanager isn’t being naughty; far from it, they’re actually being incredibly clever experimenting with gravity.

  1. Your baby will have a favourite food one week, then go off it the next

We’re all entitled to change our minds, right? Especially if you’re a weanager. During this time, your baby has increasing ways to communicate their preferences, and you’ll soon become familiar with what these are.

  1. Your baby enjoys testing out their new pincer grip, even on youOh no! A Weanager!

Towards the end of the weanage months, your weanager will really start working on that pincer grip of theirs. All of the practice picking up raisins will now come to fruition – just keep an eye on your keys and phone!

  1. Your baby starts spontaneously waving hello or goodbye

Weanagers are social little beings and their communication skills increase by the day – prepare for lots of waving ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.

  1. Your baby makes their mark on the house

Your baby is becoming increasingly mobile and learns a lot about the world by touching everything. This exploration phase is likely to be marked by tiny sticky handprints collecting over your house, on everything from your TV screen to your light coloured linen.
The First Foods Book


To be in with a chance of winning 1 of these First Foods books & some Ella’s Kitchen goodies, just RETWEET THIS TWEET and Follow @TheBabyWebsite on Twitter and @EllasKitchenUK

The 5 winners will be announced on Twitter and on our Twitter/Blog Winners Page on November 23rd.


Reduce Food Waste AND Save Money

The food waste debate has been a long time coming. With almost 15 million tonnes of edible food discarded from our homes every year, the team at have come up with a guide to help you preserve your leftovers so they don’t go to waste!

Around the country, food waste is costing households up to £700 a year… Have you ever considered what you could alternatively spend that money on? 

A simple shift in the way you think about your food can be all it takes to save you pennies; from mushrooms to mashed potato, you can actually freeze most of the excess food you don’t eat and you would otherwise throw away, to use in another meal.

Here’s an infographic brought to you by AO.COM.

The helpful infographic ABOVE includes some helpful tips on what can be stored in your freezer and for how long. For example,

-Soups are OK to freeze for 2-3 months
-Raw chicken can be frozen for 9-12 months
-Grated cheese can be frozen for up to 3 months and used straight from frozen

You can take a look at the guide here –

BBC Good Food

Vitamin D For Starters and Sunshine For Main Course?

Vitamin D-inerA pop-up diner has just launched to help parents top-up their children’s vitamin D intake! A retro American-style dining experience for under-fives, with a serious message at its core, has opened for a limited 3 day period at a London shopping centre (23rd – 25th April).

Designed with children in mind, the Vitamin D-iner (Ha ha!) offers a range of tasty meals rich in the D-licious ‘sunshine vitamin’ to make sure little ones are getting all the ‘sunshine vitamin’ they need.

Summertime may have started, but even when the sun does come out to play it can be difficult to ensure our children are getting enough vitamin D. Therefore, it’s important children get a dietary source all year through.

The Vitamin D Mission

The event follows recent research by the Vitamin D Mission, which highlighted Vitamin D-iner 2UK parents remain unaware of the importance of the vitamin and its sources and as a result, the average toddler is only getting 27% of the vitamin D intake they need[1] to support their healthy growth and development.

Brought to you by the Vitamin D Mission, which aims to eradicate vitamin D deficiency in under-5s; the pop-up restaurant offers a range of delectable dishes including egg-rich ham and cheese quiche, wild salmon fish cakes and strawberries coated in Rice Krispies and chocolate for dessert. As children top-up their diets, parents are served up a smorgasbord of information to help educate them on the importance of dietary vitamin D.

Inspired by a 1950s-style diner, the diner is hosted from a classic Airstream trailer and is kitted out with chequered floors and a vintage jukebox, providing a truly retro feel. Little guests will be kept entertained with colouring-in pages while waiting for their complementary meals.

Vitamin D-iner 3Dr Ellie Cannon, family GP says:

“Vitamin D plays a crucial role, particularly in the early years, to ensure healthy growth and development of children’s bones and teeth. Living in the UK, it can be difficult to get all your vitamin D needs from the sun, and worryingly,  lots of parents are unaware of the other ways to provide their child with this essential vitamin.

“Few natural foods contain vitamin D, so parents need to be educated on the types of foods rich in the vitamin. It’s also worthwhile knowing that everyday foods, like some breakfast cereals, growing up milks and yoghurts are fortified. As a mum myself, I understand children can be fussy, which is why knowing ways to prepare vitamin D rich foods in a tasty way for their little one can be helpful. Parents should also offer daily supplementation from six months to five years, as recommended by the Department of Health.”

Whether you’re after brunch, lunch or dinner, the Vitamin D-iner offers six Vitamin-D-iner-3sittings a day from 23rd – 25th April!

For more information and to take the online test to estimate how much vitamin D your child is getting visit

The Vitamin D Mission is a public health awareness campaign, which aims to eradicate vitamin D deficiency in the UK’s under-5s.

Reasons Under-5s are at Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency

1) The Sun In the UK, our skin isn’t able to make vitamin D from winter sunlight  (November to March) as the sunlight hasn’t got enough UVB (ultraviolet B) radiation.Modern internal lifestyles mean children spend a lot of time indoors during the summer months and when they are playing outdoors many parents are concerned about sun safety, therefore putting lots of sunscreen on them, which makes it even harder to synthesise vitamin D. Just ten to fifteen minutes without sunscreen from 11am to 3pm during the summer months (April to October) can help provide a child with the vitamin D they need.
2) Food Not all children receive a varied diet and foods rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish.Many parents are unaware of the foods that are rich in vitamin D. Natural sources of vitamin D include oily fish, eggs and liver. There are also foods that are fortified in vitamin D, including some breakfast cereals and yoghurts and growing up milks.
3) Supplementation Low uptake of vitamin D supplementation is also a factor. In fact, a report from the Vitamin D Mission reveals fewer than one in five (16%) parents provide their child with a daily vitamin D supplement.A range of supplements are available for children, including easy to use oral sprays and droppers. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin; use an oil-based form where possible.


Fussy Eaters

80% Of UK Parents Say Their Children Are Fussy Eaters!

feeding baby fruitNew research shows that fussy eating habits affect more than 8 in 10 families in the UK! A survey of over 1000 parents illustrates the scale of fussy eating in the UK.
• 90% of parents of fussy eaters say their child’s eating behaviour has a negative impact on their life.
• 69% of parents worry their child is not getting the nutrition they need
• 60% said fussy eating frustrated them
• 27% said that the fussy eating situation led to feelings of anxiety and feeling powerless
• 15% admitted they felt guilty
• 40% of parents with fussy eaters said that their child’s behaviour had turned mealtimes into a time of conflict and created tension with their partner
• Nearly 10% of parents said they can spend between 40 minutes and an hour every mealtime encouraging their child to eat

Tackling the Fussy Eating Problem

baby eatingMums and dads of fussy eaters will bribe children with dessert or sweets, hide vegetables in other foods and threaten to take away treats or fun activities. Netali Levi, a Clinical Psychologist who works with children who are fussy eaters and their parents, says: “Managing mealtimes to make them enjoyable, reducing stress (both yours and the child’s) and understanding your child’s hunger signals are all key to success….You need to find what works for you and your child but generally speaking, by involving them in the process of shopping, cooking and preparing food, gradually introducing new flavours and textures, and rewarding progress, it should be possible for you to navigate this tricky phase and get them back to healthy eating habits.

Abbott Nutrition, who commissioned the study, has developed a new website called, offering practical guidance to parentfussy eaterss to help them get their children back on track with healthy eating. The plan helps parents to:
• Identify and understand their child’s individual habits and hunger signals
• Follow a set meal and snack routine
• Introduce new foods and textures gradually and regularly
• Make mealtimes a positive experience for everyone
• Let their child take some of the control

This is a sponsored post.

Christmas Pudding – Stir Up Sunday 25th November 2012


2012-12-04 16.17.29Stir-up Sunday is traditionally the day for families to make their Christmas pudding, giving it plenty of time for the flavours to develop before Christmas & the last Sunday before Advent.

All the family take a turn to stir the pudding and make a secret wish whilst they stirred. The pudding was always stirred from East to West to represent the journey that the three wise men who visited baby Jesus made. There would also be a sixpence added to the mixture and this custom was believed to bring health and wealth to the lucky finder.

This was all new news to me and my children as I’d never baked a Christmas Pudding until this year. It was all made easier when I bought Emma’s Make a Wish Christmas Pudding by Riverside Lifestyle.

I followed the simple instructions and only needed to add the wet ingredients to the supplied dried mixture. My children and I had officially started a little pre-festive fun. We each took in turns to stir and make a wish and it was so funny to watch my children. One was whispering with the other two warning them that the wish wouldn’t come true if the wish was heard, another closing their eyes and the third just looked at me and smiled. After stirring mine I dropped the sixpence into the mixture. This was also supplied and a lovely touch.

xmaspud91-350x350The pudding was steamed on the hob for 3 hours so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. This pudding is ready to eat or be eaten within two weeks (if covered and refrigerated). As this will be eaten on Christmas Day when my parents join us for lunch I have frozen mine and look forward to tasting and sharing it with my Special Family.

I think this maybe a start of a new tradition in my house now.

Turkey, Bacon and Lentil Soup Recipe

Turkey SoupSomething nice & easy to make with leftover turkey after Christmas….

This lovely, tasty soup serves a family of 4 (ish), only takes minutes really to cook and is delicious served with some nice, crusty bread!

Using canned lentils means there’s no soaking involved and they have a long shelf-life too.  Can’t be bad!


400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can green lentils, drained
125g cooked turkey, shredded into bite size pieces
1 very small onion, finely chopped
4 rashers bacon, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 Tbsp oil
750ml vegetable stock
1 bay leaf

•    Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the onion and fry tilll soft.
•    Add the bacon and continue frying for 3 minutes.
•    Next add the garlic, carrot and celery, then fry for another minute.
•    Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, bay leaf and lentils, simmer for 10 minutes.
•    When the vegetables are cooked, discard the bay leaf, remove half the soup and liquidise to a smooth consistency.
•    Return the liquidised soup to the pan.
•    Stir in the cooked turkey and heat through, adjusting the consistency of the soup with more stock if necessary.

And for those who are interested, all the nutritional info is below.

Nutrition Information (per serving)
Calories:     258
Protein:     21.7g
Carbs:         19.4g
Sugars:     6.0g
Fat:         10.5g
Sat Fat:     2.9g

Something new for Boxing Day Supper or lunchYummy!