Christmas Gifts: Last Minute Gift Ideas For Babies 6-12 Months

If you haven’t been following the blog the last few weeks, then you’ll be pleased to know that recently we’ve posted several Christmas gift guides for foodies, parents-to-be, new parents, those who are breast/chestfeeding and yesterday, we posted a last-minute gift guide for babies ages 0-6 months. So to finish off our 2021 Christmas gift guides, we’ll be sharing our last-minute gift ideas for babies aged 6-12 months in this post. All of the following ideas are gifts that Alice is getting for Christmas, except the booster seat, which we purchased before Alice’s arrival! So without further ado, let’s start the final guide for this year! 

That’s Not My Dinosaur Gift Set:

Fluffy toy? Check. Interactive book? Check. If you want to gift the gift of getting a little one to love books from a very early age, then Usbourne’s range of interactive books from its That’s Not My series are a great place to start! Each page of the That’s Not My Dinosaur book has textured areas for little ones to explore and develop sensory awareness, on top of the language awareness that reading from a young age brings. The That’s Not My Dinosaur gift set also comes with a cuddly purple dinosaur toy, perfect for little hands to snuggle up to! 

Vtech Sit To Stand Music Centre:

If you want a musical toy to last a good couple of years, then look no further than the Vtech Sit To Stand Music Centre! The centre comes with 15 melodies, 7 sing-along songs, various sounds and phrases, a microphone for the little one to sing into and 4 voice-changing effects. The panel containing the keyboard, drum, saxophone, guitar and microphone detaches from the stand to allow it to be used when sitting down. In addition, the centre teaches animals, colours, instruments and more and being suitable from 12 months to 3 years means that the centre is an excellent choice for a gift if you want something which will last. 

Carotina Blocks And Mat Set:

Previously reviewed on the blog (you can find the full review here), the Carotina Blocks And Mat Set is another excellent multifunctional, space-saving toy. Not only does the playmat come in a jigsaw style, but it also has pop-out animals and houses which can be slotted into some of the blocks for little ones to create their own themes and stories. In addition, the bright colours of the set catch little ones attention for more extended periods, allowing their creativity and imagination to truly flourish when playing with this set. There are 38 building blocks of varying sizes and colours in the set and 24 pieces that make up the playmat if you include the pop-out animals and houses. 

Benbat Portable Booster Seat:

We’ve posted about Benbat’s Portable Booster Seat before, but we’re posting about it again because we love just how useful this is! This portable booster seat has similar functions to a highchair but is lightweight, great for travel so you can feed little one anywhere, and can be placed wherever it is needed. Another thing I like about the Benbat is that not only is it portable, it also comes with storage compartments to pop some bits and bobs in for little ones. This is great, as you can forgo the changing bag and pop nappies, wipes etc., into the storage compartment of the booster seat when going out locally. As they get older, they can pack the storage compartment themselves, which further helps to aid their independence and development! 

That’s the Christmas gift guides for this year complete! If you’ve found any great gift ideas for the little ones in your life, add them to the comments to help others with their last-minute Christmas shopping! Although the gift guides may be done, we’ll also be sharing blog posts on how we’re prepping for Alice’s first Christmas, so do keep an eye out for those! 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Christmas Gifts: Last Minute Gift Ideas For Babies 0-6 Months

Christmas is only 15 days away! If, like us, you still haven’t finished Christmas shopping for whatever reason (ours is due to Alice having been back in hospital), you’re probably panicking as well! So, following our Christmas Gift guides for parents, which were posted the other week, we’re finally able to post the gift guides for babies! Today’s will be for babies aged 0-6 months, with tomorrow’s focusing on 6-12 months. As Alice is almost 4 months old, we’ve been getting bits for Alice that fall across both age groups. However, most of the following suggestions are things that Alice already has and loves! So without any further ado, let’s give you some ideas for your last-minute Christmas gifts! 

Nuby Tummy Time Pillow:

Alice has had the Nuby Tummy Time Pillow since she was only a couple of weeks old since we were told when leaving the hospital to get started on tummy time as soon as possible. There are many features on the pillow, including a mirror, teether, and rattle. It also has several areas that crinkle to really catch the little one’s attention. The colours are also designed to aid with sight development right from birth, with black and white and shades of red and yellow being the primary colours on the pillow. The pillow can be used to a year of age and beyond, so it really does last! 

Alice a small white baby with brown her is wearing a pink sleepsuit whilst leaning on a red and yellow tummy time pillow. She is being supported on it by Alex, a white man with red hair and glasses, wearing a dark green t-shirt.
Alex with Alice on the tummy time pillow

Steiff Lambaloo Stacking Lamb

Steiff has been renowned for producing teddy bears and toys to last through the generations, and the Lambaloo Stacking Lamb is no different! However, the beauty of this particular toy is that it’s interactive and has various functions suitable for use from those early days through to toddler and beyond. For example, it can become a stacking game, several different toys, or just a simple cuddly teddy bear. It’s also machine washable, which may surprise some people when they feel the different materials used. We have previously reviewed Steiff and the Lambaloo Stacking Lamb in particular. If you wish to read the full reveiw, you can do so here

Alice, a small white baby with brown hair is laying on a multicoloured play mat wearing a green long sleeved top, dark blue leggings and white and light blue socks. Around her are a green ring, light brown ring and red ring.
Alice with her Lambaloo Stacking Lamb

Red Kite Peppermint Trail Play Gym

We purchased this play gym for Alice before she was born as we needed something multi-functional, as well as compact due to size limitations. The Red Kite Peppermint Trail Play Gym can be turned into a ball pit, a tummy time mat, and has various toys for hanging from the arches which go over the play gym. The fact that the play gym has all of these features means that it’ll be longer lasting than other play gyms on the market and combining 3 things in one product is fantastic for saving precious space. The play gym comes with several balls for the ball pit feature, but you can pick up more from various places if you need to. The colours on the play gym also capture the little one’s attention for more extended periods.

Alice a small baby with brown hair is wearing a dark green long sleeved top and blue jeans. Alice is laying in a multicoloured play gym with various animals on. There are various coloured toys dangling from an orange and light green arch above which Alice is trying to reach.
Alice playing in the play gym

Little Tikes Plush Chair

This is something we’re getting Alice for Christmas as she really loves to sit up but can’t yet sit entirely unaided by herself. Little Tikes has been around for years. Even when I was little, I had a Little Tikes car, and that’s how I’ve always remembered the brand! So seeing them do a sit-me-up version of the iconic cosy coupe made Alex and I very excited. But, of course, if the little one you’re gifting this to also happens to have car-mad parents, then this will go down a treat even more! The chair features a cup holder for a sippy cup or bottle, a mirror, and the horn even beeps! 

Have you found any good last-minute gift ideas for the little ones in your life? Share them below to help others with their Christmas shopping! 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Christmas Gift Guides: Gift Ideas For Pregnant And Breast/Chestfeeding Parents!

With December 1st here, Christmas prep is in full swing! But, if you’re like Steph and haven’t fully finished Christmas shopping because you have no idea what to get people, then fear not! Following on from our Sous Chef review with gift ideas for foodies and our gift guide for new parents and parents-to-be, Steph’s sharing as a breastfeeding parent what to get parents who are breast/chestfeeding their little ones! Unfortunately, breast/Chestfeeding usually means that the go-to gifts, such as anything alcohol-related, are off the list. However, as a breastfeeding parent, I’m pleased to tell you that there are still good gift options out there! Most of the following ideas also work if the person you’re gifting happens to be pregnant (note: most of the Boobbix products can’t be consumed during pregnancy). 

1. Nursing friendly clothes from Stylish Mum

I absolutely adore Stylish Mum! Not only do they do some beautiful jumpers, dresses and nursing tops, but they also do nursing hoodies! Their nursing hoodies are how I initially fell in love with the brand, as I love my activewear when I’m not going out and about. The other thing I love about this brand is that unlike other nursing wear brands, you can’t really tell that the hoodies and jumpers are nursing wear unless you really look. It means that even once you stop breastfeeding, you can still wear jumpers and hoodies from the range. They also do a matching kidswear range! 

A photo of Steph, a white woman with blonde and brown hair is holding Alice, a white baby with brown hair whilst looking out of the window at Gatwick’s South Terminal. Their backs are to the camera. Steph is wearing a multi coloured floral jumper and Alice is wearing a light pink, grey and white jacket.
Wearing one of the nursing jumpers from the Stylish Mum range!

2. Alcohol-free gift sets

If the person you are looking for really does like a tipple and you don’t want to deviate too much from that, then luckily, there are plenty of alcohol-free giftsets out there to choose from! For those who like wine, the Just Perfect Wines Gift Set featuring 2 mini bottles of Freixenet alcohol-free sparkling wine also comes with a tin of Belgium chocolate truffles for the ultimate treat, as well as a fizz stopper! If they aren’t a wine drinker, there is also a mixed case of non-alcoholic beers, which may tickle their fancy! This case features beers from the likes of Brewdog, Maisels, Juliper and others! The majority of the brands in the case are German, which may work in your favour even more if the person likes their German beer! 

3. Boobbix

Has the person your looking to gift ever said to you that they’re struggling with milk supply or want to increase it? Boobbix is literally a magic potion for helping to boost milk supply alongside regular expressing or breast/chestfeeding. Boobbix does a range of lactation cookies, granolas and even hot chocolate. Although Alice is CMPA, Boobbix do dairy-free chocolate chip cookies and granola, which is dairy-free, meaning that I’ve still been able to benefit from their magic formula! Unfortunately, due to the ingredients, only the hot chocolate in the Boobbix range can be consumed whilst pregnant. 

Photo of 3 packets of dairy free cookies in a box. The packaging is white with purple and pink details as well as a chocolate chip cookie on it. In the background is another white packet with pink label and clear window showing the granola inside.
A recent Boobbix order of mine!

4. Elvie Catch 

I’ve spoken about the Elvie Catch on the blog before. Still, I really can’t recommend this to breast/chestfeeding parents enough! These dishwasher friendly collection cups can each hold 30ml and are great for catching leakage, let-down and more when either expressing, nursing or just going about day-to-day. They are also discreet for wearing during the day and slip-proof. I used these when I was leaking colostrum so that I could freeze it, and I still use them now, catching any stray milk to add to feeds or to store at a later date! The box itself is small which makes the Elvie Catch a great stocking filler.

A photo of two clear plastic Elvie Catch collection cups with silicone backing sat on top of a white box which they come in. The box has a photo of the collection cups on it along with the words Elvie Catch in grey on top of the picture.
The Elvie Catches and their box

Have you found a gift good for a pregnant parent-to-be or breast/chestfeeding parent? Share it in the comments below! Also our gift guides for babies aged 0-6 months and those aged 6-12 months will both be out over the next few days so keep an eye out for those!

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Christmas Gifts For The Foodie In Your Life!

With Christmas less than a month away, most will be turning their attention to Christmas gift shopping and wondering what to get their loved ones. But, if you’re anything like us, you either pick up on hints throughout the year or pick gifts based on hobbies and interests. Luckily, if you have a foodie in your life to shop for, then there is one company that offers a range of goods that may just make your loved ones Christmas and do products that will make Christmas dinner with the family extra special! 

Sous Chef is an online cooking shop that offers everything from ingredients for that special meal to gift sets for the foodie in your life and even discovering new recipes and cuisines. Sous Chef also has a fantastic Christmas range for the run-up to Christmas, and of course, for Christmas Day itself, including Panettone (vegan options available), preserves for cheese and advent calendars amongst the range. Sous Chef also has a tasting box subscription which you can buy for yourself on a monthly basis or as a gift for someone with three, six, and twelve-month subscription terms all available. 

However, if the foodie in your life happens to adore Japanese cuisine, then Sous Chef has the perfect gift for them! The Japanese Raman Bowl Set features two ramen bowls which are dishwasher and microwave safe, two ramen ladles made from bamboo, a ramen recipe book and a drawstring bag! It also happens to be one of Sous Chef’s bestsellers. So we feel fortunate to be gifted one of these sets to review by Sous Chef for this blog post. 

On opening our package from Sous Chef, the set was extremely well packaged! Not only was there lots of recyclable packaging to protect the set, but the size drawstring bag was a pleasant surprise. Not only did it contain the entire set, the fact that it’s large enough and reusable means that we can use it for food shopping in the future! In addition, the drawstring bag is covered with various airport codes like VLC for Valencia and DFW for Dallas, along with their timezones and a picture that represents the destination. 

A beige drawstring bag with various black and red images on featuring various airport codes, cities and timezones on.
Sous Chef Drawstring Bag

Inside the drawstring bag was additional packaging to protect the two ramen bowls. The bowls have a beautiful blue and white glazed wave design on the inside and a white and blue marble style design on the outside. Both the inside and outside designs are complemented by a brown-black rim, and the design is done so that it can be mixed and matched with other items, which is custom in Japan. These large bowls are made from ceramic and can be used for both ramen and donburi dishes. They also happen to be microwave and dishwasher safe, making life a lot easier when cleaning up or if you want to warm your ramen up! There were also two ramen ladles made from bamboo in the bag, which need to be hand-washed and dried before storing.

2 blue and white bowls with brown wooden ladles inside are sitting on a light brown wooden table with black quartz marble rectangles on the table top.
The Ramen Bowls And Ladle

Also in the bag was a ramen recipe book which contains mix and match recipes for noodles, broths and even ideas for toppings! This is great as it allows you or the person you’re gifting the set to discover different ramen and donburi dishes at a convenient time. We also tried to see if the ramen bowls would fit a takeaway from a well known Japanese restaurant which they did with ease! It also means that the well-known restaurant’s recipe book can be followed to the letter if you or the person you’re gifting the set to happens to have it. 

2 blue and white bowls with brown wooden ladles on the side of them are sitting on a light brown wooden table with black quartz marble rectangles on the table top. The bowls are filled with two different types of ramen.
Ramen in the bowls

As a side note, also included where some money off vouchers for companies that Sous Chef partners with. The only thing which wasn’t included was chopsticks; however, Sous Chef has a range of chopsticks made from different on their website available to purchase; there’s even a travel set! Overall, this set is definitely a good shout if you want a non-perishable gift for the foodie in your life, or even as a treat yourself if you want something new in the home kitchen! 

This reveiw was kindly sponsored by Sous Chef, who gifted us The Japanese Ramen Bowl Set in exchange for this review. However, all opinions in this review are our own.

Going To Big Events With A Newborn

For some parents of newborns, there will be events that you wish to attend but are worried about taking your new bundle of joy with you. Whether it be a summer fair or a big event for your town or city, a fireworks display or a Christmas light switch on, attending with a brand new baby in tow means lots more things to think about! Big events typically mean lots of noise and lots of things going on, which can be overwhelming for your little one! 

Despite many stressful events surrounding Alice’s health, we have still managed to get out and about with her. Alex and I crave normality and for us, going out and about to our favourite events gives us that little bit of much-needed normality in what has been a stressful couple of months. But how do you safely take your precious bundle of joy to significant events and on busy days out? Well, here we share products and tips that have really helped us! 

1. A suitable baby carrier

Alice has two baby carriers, one which I use with her when out and about, and the other one is Alex’s favourite. For me, the Ergobaby Omni 360 is the best baby carrier for many reasons. Firstly, as the carrier is structured, I can safely carry Alice despite being a wheelchair user without risking any dislocations. Secondly, the pouch on the front of the carrier is large enough to put cards, passports, phones and other small but essential things in there and keep them on me. Not only is this excellent safety-wise, but it’s also an excellent feature for when travelling and at large events. For example, I used the Ergobaby when taking Alice to her first football match. In addition, the carrier is easy to get babies in and out of. This meant that Alice had lots of time out of the Ergobaby that day! 

a selfie Steph, a white woman with brown and blonde hair wearing a black baby carrier with Alice, a small baby with brown hair and wearing a white jacket inside. The baby carrier has blue and blue ear defenders and a blue Chelsea bib attached to it.
Alice in the Ergobaby!

Whilst I absolutely adore the Ergobaby, Alex loves the wrap style carriers, so we also have the Hana Baby Wrap, which he uses with Alice when we’re out and about. However, he is going to try the Ergobaby later this month when we go to London! The wrap style is great as it can be used with smaller babies subject to clearance from a medical professional. It also allows little ones to be held in many different positions and closer to whoever is wearing them. However, I found that as a wheelchair user, the wrap style isn’t that safe until little ones can hold their head up, which is why Alice is carried by Alex a lot more than by me! 

Alex, a white man with red hair and wearing glasses is looking towards the camera smiling. Alex is wearing a blue and pink jacket, and a black baby wrap which has Alice, a small white baby with brown hair inside.
Alex carrying Alice in the Hana baby wrap

2. Good ear and eye protection! 

Tiny ears and eyes are extra-sensitive. A baby’s hearing can easily be damaged by loud noises and speakers if too close. For us, getting Alice not one but two pairs of Banz Baby ear defenders was a no brainer. Having two pairs means we can keep a pair at Alex’s and a pair at mine, which means no worrying about losing ear defenders and having no backup, or worse, leaving them at the one house when going to an event from the other! True story; Alex didn’t know about the second pair until I took Alice with my dad to her first Chelsea match! He was panicking about her having no ear defenders until I sent a photo of her second pair attached to the carrier, ready for when we got to Kingsmeadow! 

A selfie of Alex, a white man with red hair wearing clear framed glasses carrying Alice, a white baby with brown hair wearing light blue and black ear defenders.
Alice rocking one of her pairs of ear defenders!

As for eyes, sunlight can damage little eyes, and it can be hard to find suitable sunglasses for babies. Luckily, Banz Baby also have a selection of matching sunglasses to go alongside their ear defenders! The sunglasses fit around the head using an adjustable headband, and both the ear defenders and sunglasses can be used until the little one is around 2 years old before needing to move up to the next size. 

3. A good changing backpack

I have raved about this changing backpack in a previous post, but it really is excellent for days out, going to large events, travelling and just as your usual day to day changing bag. Not only does this particular bag from Amazon have a big main compartment for a change of clothes, snacks etc. It also has a bottle pocket that can store three bottles, a phone charging port (need your own battery pack) and a pocket for baby wipes! The most significant function for me, however, is the inbuilt cot and changing mat. Not only does it mean you can change your little one with privacy, but they can also nap in it when out and about during the day if at a picnic, for example. The cot also features a sun canopy for protection on sunnier days or as a barrier against the wind when using it when outside. It’s important to note that the inbuilt cot isn’t suitable for overnight sleeping, however, so you’d still need a travel cot if going away. 

Overall, large events can be done with a bit of planning and organisation beforehand. However, having a baby doesn’t mean life has to stop! You can very much still have a life and attend events like Christmas light switch on, Pride, picnics, fun days etc., with your bundle of joy! 

Do you have any tips to help new parents who want to go to events with their little ones? Then, share them in the comments! 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Photo of several small silver foil trays with white lids in a clear freezer drawer. The white lids have various meals and nutrition information written on them.

Batch Cooking: How To Make A Minimum Of 25 Meal Portions For Less Than £20

In May, we posted about our favourite life hack and how batch cooking helps keep our food budget down. If you’ve already read it, then you’ll know that food prep and batch cooking has been a big part of our lives the last few years. With a little one on the way, this has become something fundamental to me as I know when our little one is here, we won’t have time to cook healthy meals every night from scratch. So following on from that post, this is how we manage to cook at least 25 meal portions for less than £20.

The first thing we like to do before going shopping is to think of 3 meals we know will go down a treat whenever, and a meal that is suitable to double up as work food for Alex when he’s flying. We then go through the cupboards to see what we already have to make 5 portions of each meal, giving us 25 meals in the freezer. Often there will be enough for a few more than 5 portions, depending on whether we’re using plastic containers or foil trays with lids.

Meals that tend to be on the list are as follows: 

  • Bean and vegetable chilli
  • Ratatouille (which can have pasta, bulgar wheat or rice added to it later)
  • Chicken tikka masala and rice (which Alex usually takes to work)
  • Beef chilli
  • Sweet potato cottage pie

These are the five meals that Alex and I decided to make with 5 portions of each one for this post. In total, the bill came to £18.49, which included the following ingredients:

  • 2 x 5% fat mince 500g – £2.59 each
  • 3 large onions – £0.95
  • 1kg carrots – £0.45 (the leftovers make for great snacks!)
  • Flat mushrooms – £1
  • Closed cup mushrooms – £0.85
  • 1.25kg bag of sweet potatoes – £1.50
  • Pack of 3 courgettes – £1.25
  • 3 Mixed peppers – £1.35
  • Red pepper – £0.42
  • Garlic – £0.55
  • Light tikka sauce – £0.75
  • 2 x mild chilli sauce – £0.80 each
  • 2 x 400g tinned kidney beans – £0.30 each
  • Tomato puree – £0.35
  • 3 x tinned chopped tomatoes – £0.28 each
  • Crushed chillies – £0.85

We always make sure we have the basics of pasta, rice and bulgar wheat in the house, we already had rice for the chicken tikka, so this wasn’t needed. The only thing not available was the cooked chicken strips for Alex’s chicken tikka. Thankfully, we had some leftovers in the freezer from the last food prep we did, but we usually get a bag from Morrisons, which does a fair few portions. We also had a leftover red onion and some mixed peppers, which I used for the ratatouille. So we only needed to get white onion and 4 fresh peppers and a tin of chopped tomatoes which meant we only needed 3 tins and not 4.

We brought our shopping from Sainsbury’s, which we tend to shop at as the Nectar points can be converted into Avios via the British Airways Executive Club and be used to pay for holidays and weekends away. If you’re on certain benefits, you can also access Healthy Start vouchers. These vouchers are worth £4.25 each to spend on fruit and vegetables, meaning that if you were to follow this shopping list, the total cost for 25 meal portions would be £14.24 when using one of the vouchers.

The making of the portions

Admittedly, because of previous kitchen accidents, I was relegated to mainly delegating and deciding what needs to go in what dish a while back. It means that whilst Alex and I always weigh everything, my dad likes to cook by eye, and so when he helps out, we don’t weigh any of the vegetables. Most of the ingredients will have some sort of quantity, but some might not if I haven’t had a chance to weigh them before Dad has thrown them in the pan!

Ratatouille

400g courgettes, 1 large red onion, 2 tins chopped tomatoes, 5 garlic cloves, 125g mushrooms, 20g tomato puree, chilli flakes, 200g mixed peppers, fry-light or oil

This is probably the easiest quick mix of vegetables to do, and I love having it with rice, bulgar wheat, or pasta which makes it highly versatile! We start by getting a frying pan and adding in fry-light, then we fry the courgettes, red onion, mushrooms, peppers and garlic until cooked through. After that, we add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, and chilli flakes before allowing the mix to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When it comes to heating up your frozen portion if in a plastic tray, you can microwave it in around 6-8 minutes, dependant on the power of your microwave!

Bean and mixed veg chilli

1 tin red kidney beans, 1 tin chopped tomatoes, 125g mushrooms, 1 large white onion, 300g peppers, 500g jar chilli mix, chilli flakes (optional), 2 garlic cloves, fry-light or oil

If you’re like me and love to have a few vegetarian options in the freezer, then this bean chilli is a great option! It’s packed full of protein too, which helps sustain energy levels.

We use fry-light in a frying pan to fry the onions, mushrooms, garlic and peppers until cooked. Then we add chopped tomatoes and kidney beans and stir together before adding chilli jar mix and flakes. We then let it simmer, occasionally stirring for 10 minutes.

When it comes to heating up your frozen portion if in a plastic tray, you can microwave it in around 6-8 minutes, dependant on the power of your microwave!

Beef Chilli 

500g 5% fat mince, 240g red kidney beans, 1 large onion, 125g mushrooms, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (no juice), 2 garlic cloves, 500g jar chilli con Carne mix, chilli flakes, fry-light or oil

This is pretty much the same as the bean chilli above, except we fry the mince first in fry-light until fully cooked through, then add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and fry those. After adding chopped tomatoes and kidney beans, stir together before adding chilli jar mix and flakes. We then let it simmer, occasionally stirring for 10 minutes.

When it comes to heating up your frozen portion if in a plastic tray, you can microwave it in less than 10 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave!

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie:

500g 5% fat mince, 400g carrots, 800g sweet potato, 1 large onion, 125g mushrooms, 150ml water, salt, pepper, fry-light or oil, stock cube (optional)

We tend to do this in what seems to be a basic way. However, sometimes keeping it quick and easy is best. We make sweet potato cottage pie using sweet potatoes, lean beef mince, carrots, onions and mushrooms.

Firstly, we get a pan of boiling water and add chopped sweet potatoes and some salt to it and boil those until soft. This makes the sweet potato mash topping for the pie. We then get a frying pan, add fry-light and fry the mince until fully cooked. Whilst that’s cooking, we grate carrots up and chop the onion and mushrooms. After the mince is cooked through, we add the mushrooms and onions to the pan so that they can be fried, then we mix in the grated carrot before adding in a stock cube and 150ml of water to create juice. The mix is then left to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the mix and the sweet potatoes are ready, we mash the sweet potatoes, grab some foil trays, and dish the mixture into them. After the mixture is in the trays, we put the sweet potato mash on top, then the portions are freezer ready! When you want to cook them, simply pop them in the oven at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Chicken Tikka Curry

Frozen cooked chicken, tikka sauce, basmati rice (per portion: 313 calories, 3.5g fat, 48.5g carbs, 20.2g protein)

Ingredient weights per portion: 60g Cooked frozen chicken strips, 75g mild tikka sauce, 150g basmati rice ( weight when cooked)

This is Alex’s favourite work meal and also the easiest ones to make! Simply boil some basmati rice, then once that’s done, add it to foil trays. Lay some cooked frozen chicken strips on top, then add your tikka sauce, and you have a chicken tikka curry portion ready for the freezer! When it comes to cooking your portion, simply pop in the oven at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Have you tried any of these or have other batch cooking hacks that you do? Share them in the comments below; we’d love to see how you get on!

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Photo of several small silver foil trays with white lids in a clear freezer drawer. The white lids have various meals and nutrition information written on them.

Batch Cooking: The Life Hack That Saves Both Time And Money

Almost everyone wants to save money where they can, but food budgets, in particular, can end up being stretched to the limit by our busy lifestyles. Most of us don’t want to be cooking after a busy day and often end up ordering in takeaway or eating out on the way home to save time and energy. But there is a way to save both money and time if you’re willing to spend a day or two a month batch cooking!

For both Alex and I, batch cooking has been a significant thing for us in our lives and even as a child, I used to spend some weekends batch cooking and baking with my gran, storing the food in our big freezer in the garage. With my condition meaning that I have a lot less energy than most and fatigue is a big part of my life, I’m glad that batch cooking is something I was brought up with and something that Alex and I really enjoy doing together. Not only do we batch cook his work food for onboard, but we also batch cook for standbys and for when I’m on a bad day with pain or fatigue. However, we’re now also batch cooking meals ready for when our little one arrives because we both know that we’ll have even less time on our hands to cook fresh meals.

So how does one batch cook?

Batch cooking is one of those things where people often don’t know where or how to begin. So aside from it being a good idea to have a big freezer if you’re doing a lot of batch cooking in one go, here are some other tips to help you get started.

Decide on meals you know that you’ll eat!

Firstly, I’m planning a detailed post on this in a few weeks, so look out for that. But the first thing you want to do is get a list together of meals you enjoy eating. It could be anything from cottage pie to lasagne or curries. The trick here is to see what works for batch cooking. You then want to think about how many portions to make at a time. You’ll need to think about freezer space for this as well, as you’ll be storing the meal portions in there until they’re ready to be used. After that, create your shopping list of ingredients you’ll need and how much, then you’re good to go!

Get containers!

If you do get takeaways, and they come in plastic containers, save them for batch cooking! If not, then you can buy microwave-safe plastic containers relatively cheaply online and reuse them. If you don’t have a microwave or, like Alex, you’re food prepping for work and only have an oven available, then foil trays are your best friend! Because we batch cook Alex’s work food at the same time, we tend to do both; plastic containers for the portions that can be microwaved and foil trays for meals that not only is Alex is likely to take to work but can be popped in the oven at home if we fancy them there as well.

Photo of several small silver foil trays with white lids in a clear freezer drawer. The white lids have various meals and nutrition information written on them.
Just one of our meal prep drawers in the freezer!

Get a whiteboard! 

A small whiteboard in the kitchen is a godsend! Not only does it help you keep track of what is in your freezer, but it also helps you plan in advance for when you next need to batch cook. It also stops us from ordering in or going to the shop unnecessarily when we can see what is in the freezer without physically looking. When you batch cook, write down what you’ve made and how many portions, then each time you take meal portions out, just edit the number on the whiteboard. It’s that simple!

Use leftovers for weaning! 

If you’re weaning your little one or starting in the next couple of months and find you have some leftovers that aren’t enough for an entire meal portion, you can make weaning portions out of them! Meals that work really well for this are curries, ratatouille, and pasta dishes. All you need to do is blend the leftovers and pop them into small containers (we suggest these ones as they’re microwave friendly and an ideal size for weaning portions)

Those are our tips for beginning to batch cook! If you have any extra suggestions on batch cooking, please leave them down in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to look out for our detailed blog post on how we make 25 meal portions for less than £20, which will be live in a couple of weeks! 

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