Two Months with Benjamin

The fact that two months has already gone by amazes me. Both because it’s gone by in a blink of an eye, but also because it feels like he’s always been here. The time before Benjamin is hazy, and I wonder if he was always waiting in the wings. That he doesn’t share our memories of times gone by seems so strange to me. 

He’s amazing. I know I’m biased as his mother, but he is so darn cute. But, more than that, he’s such a sweet little babe. He’s so chilled out and he spend so much time smiling every day. His smiles are so pure and full of joy, and I can’t decide whether I love it more when they’re directed at me or when he smiles at someone else so they can see just how adorable and wonderful he is. I want to capture everything about him, from his almost constant hunger to his little snores, from his fluffy hair to the way he stretches when you pick him up after a nap (he makes a face like a little turtle, and it melts my heart). He’s so inquisitive and loves to look out at the world, whether we’re on a walk or just sat in the house. He also already loves the TV, which probably makes us terrible parents but I think it’s all the lights and movement that catches his eye. He’s also so *long* – he’s already grown out of his 0-3 month onesies purely because his toes have already reached the end. 

It also amazes me how happy I am right now. I was so miserable when I was pregnant, and so many people warn you about how difficult the newborn days are that I was braced for the worst. But we have been so, so lucky with how chilled out and easygoing Ben has been. He is already sleeping longer at night, and he settles easily. Basically, if he’s not hungry then he’s happy! (Same). I feel so much more myself now that I have come out of the other side of pregnancy and breastfeeding, and the difference is incredible. I’m able to do so much more now, even whilst juggling a tiny baby; I’m not quite at my pre-pregnancy levels but I was so tired and unmotivated when pregnant, which just isn’t me. Plus, I have this adorable little munchkin to cuddle all day – and who wouldn’t be happy with that?

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Our Breastfeeding Story (or Why I’m Formula Feeding my Baby)

Breastfeeding is the hardest thing that I have ever done. I am in literal awe of the women who manage it for any length of time, because I just couldn’t do it. So Benjamin is a bottle fed baby, and has been on formula for at least a month. And you know what? I think we are both happier for it. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bottle vs. breast debate. To me, fed is best and everyone has to do what’s right for them – and it turns out, bottle feeding with formula is what’s right for us. It took a little soul-searching to get to that point, but I feel like the discussion so often leaves out people who are *happy* to have made the decision to bottle feed so I wanted to throw our story into the ring in case someone who needs to hear this (like I did just a few weeks ago) happens upon it. 

I had all the best intentions of breastfeeding. I *wanted* to breastfeed, but I was under no illusion that it would be easy. I wasn’t, however, prepared for how difficult I found it – both physically and emotionally. It makes sense that it’s not a walk in the park – both you and the baby are new to it, after all. I did find it amazing to watch my tiny baby so clearly learning every day, but progress was slow and I was in agony by the end of the first few days. They say it’s not supposed to hurt if you’re doing it right, but I call bullshit on that – even if you’ve got a good latch, you’re still essentially chafing a sensitive body part for up to an hour at a time, maybe ten times or more a day. It takes time to get used to that. Plus, unless you nail it first time, you’re bound to do a little damage that you have to work through in the first few weeks and days. 

We were incredibly lucky that we received a lot of breastfeeding support. I know that is a key reason why many women give up, and I want to be clear that wasn’t the case for us. Every single person who came to see us, from midwives to dedicated breastfeeding support workers, was absolutely lovely and so supportive. We were assisted constantly at the hospital, and visited almost daily for the first week. There were plenty of places to go for support after the home visits stopped, too (at our request – we could have asked for more). I know that’s not necessarily the norm across the nation, and I am grateful for all of the wonderful people who helped us out and never pressured me in any way. 

It wasn’t just the physical pain that was wearing me down, though. It was the emotional burden of trying to feed my hungry baby and feeling unable to do so. On many occasions I was in floods of tears as Paul helped Benjamin latch on, reassuring me as I cried that my baby deserved a better mother. The cries of a hungry baby are hard to take at any time, let alone when you’re in pain and sleep deprived, knowing that you’re the only one that can help them but feeling that you absolutely can’t. It’s an overwhelming thing to go through, and I was thinking about quitting from just a few days in. 

The pain became enough that I really felt like I couldn’t do it anymore, and so we caved and gave him a little cup of formula within the first week. I was beside myself, convinced I had already failed my baby. Although, as I said earlier, I truly believe that fed is best and I would say so to any friend of mine going through the same thing (or any stranger, come to think of it), it was hard to apply that grace and forgiveness to myself in the moment. One little cup became a bottle, and a bottle every now and again became regular bottles. I needed a break to try and heal (at one point my nipples were bleeding, which is really not an ideal situation…), and Benjamin needed the food. 

Thoughts of breastfeeding occupied almost all of my waking moments. I worried that every bottle we gave him was hurting my chances of breastfeeding long term (even though I didn’t really *want* to breastfeed long term). I was feeling guilty for desperately wanting to stop, and even when he wasn’t feeding I was in pain. It turns out we both had thrush, which wasn’t helping matters, but by the time that was diagnosed I already felt beaten by the whole thing. I was dreading him wanting to feed, and I didn’t feel confident enough at latching him on to feed him when we were out and about. It wasn’t the happy, bonding time that I had hoped for and I remember saying to the midwife at our three-week-ish appointment that I just wished someone would tell me it was okay to stop. She essentially did just that, which eased a little bit of my guilt, but I persevered for another week or so after that, intermittently feeding him myself and bottle feeding him when it all felt too much.

I’m not sure what it was that made me decide to give up entirely. I think I just got to the point that I knew I was going to at some time in the near future, so why not make it that day? I held on for a bit longer because I didn’t want to regret it, but really I knew that I was going to stop within days and I was just going to have to live with that decision. But really, I’m not just living with it – I’m happy that we made that decision and know that it really was the right thing for us. I am more relaxed now that I am not in constant pain, worrying about the next feed (which is helpful, because Ben is still feeding every two hours at best during the day most days – that’s a lot of time to spend worrying!). And I have no doubt that having a relaxed, happy mother is better for my baby than any benefits he would be getting from breast milk. These few weeks have been a joy rather than a stress, and I attribute that to being able to feed my baby a bottle when he’s hungry – knowing that he’s had enough for him, and without me becoming an emotional wreck each time. Not to mention that I don’t have to be the only one that feeds him in the middle of the night if I really need to sleep, and that I can leave him for a few hours if I want (or need) a bit of time to myself. 

Do I wish that I had been able to breastfeed? Yes. It would be cheaper and more convenient if I had been able to get the hang of it, and I know that breastmilk has all that extra goodness that can never be replicated by formula. But do I regret my decision to stop breastfeeding? No. I am happier and so Benjamin is happier. I think we all need to give ourselves a break when it comes to parenting, and so this is the break I am giving to myself. 

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Apple and Blackberry Turnovers

Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers // Autumn Baking // Amy Elizabeth

I adore the length of summer evenings, and every year I feel a bit disappointed when I notice that it’s getting dark as we’re sitting down to dinner, knowing that it’ll be months before we get those heady summer days again. August was so wet and grey here in Leeds, that it sort of feels like we’ve been in autumn for a long time, but the crispness in the air and the piles of leaves littering our front lawn are the true signals that the cosiest season of the year is upon us – and I’m determined to embrace it with open arms rather than with my usual trepidation.

Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers // Autumn Baking // Amy Elizabeth

Discovering the concept of hygge last year, along with most of the UK, helps to quell some of that disappointment that I feel at falling temperatures and fewer sunlit hours. Celebrating what is great about autumn rather than resisting its charms is the best way to beat the blues for me, and, of course, that starts with the food. More specifically, the perfect combination of apple and blackberries, which is basically the taste of autumn, is it not? Whatever way you serve this reliable old favourite, whether it’s in a crumble or pie, or in these puff pastry turnovers, the combination of warm apple and sweet blackberry is like a hug from the inside. Throw in a sprinkling of cinnamon and surrender fully to autumn, and all the delights it has to offer. Even better if you don your boots and a warm scarf, and go out and pick the blackberries yourself. I just bought mine on this occasion, but next year I am going blackberrying for sure, so there will be plenty more apple & blackberry desserts in my future… 

Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers // Autumn Baking // Amy Elizabeth

Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers
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  1. 1 cooking apple, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  2. 150g blackberries
  3. 2 tsp. cinnamon
  4. 1 tbsp. caster sugar (or more, to taste)
  5. 1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
  6. 1 egg
  7. cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Place the apples, blackberries, caster sugar, cinnamon and a splash of water in a saucepan over a low-medium heat and cook until the apples are softened and tinged pink by the blackberries. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Roll out your puff pastry sheet and cut into 8 rectangles using a sharp knife.
  4. Place the apple & blackberry mixture in a sieve over a bowl to remove some of the liquid, as this can make your pastries soggy.
  5. Spoon a heaped tablespoon or two of the apples & blackberries onto each puff pastry rectangle. Fold over (or turn over, if you will...) until the mixture is sealed inside. Use a fork to press down and seal the edges.
  6. Mix the egg with a splash of water, and use a pastry brush to brush over the tops of your pastries. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake on a tray covered in baking paper for 15-20 minutes in the centre of your oven until golden brown.
  8. Serve warm with cream or ice cream, or place on a wire rack to cool.
  1. If you can't find cinnamon sugar at the shops, you can make your own or use demerara sugar in its place.
Amy Elizabeth
Apple and Blackberry Puff Pastry Turnovers // Autumn Baking // Amy Elizabeth

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5 Podcasts to Listen To This Autumn

5 Podcasts to Listen to This Autumn // Amy Elizabeth

I am a podcast obsessive. I sometimes think about starting a podcast about podcasts, because I just love them so much. I am religious about listening to all of the ones I subscribe to, which means that I am still working my way through episodes from July (insert cry-laughing emoji here). But, I can’t resist when I find a new good one, so I am doomed to be forever behind. Here’s a few of my new favourites which are perfect for upcoming cosy nights in, and days spent bossing it in the spirit of the new school year. 

Hello Friend

I listen to a lot of podcasts by bloggers, and this one by Bethany Rutter really stands out as something different. As per the title, this podcast is just conversations with her friends – and she has some damn interesting friends. From street food traders to booksellers to feminist, body-positive comedians, I was super stoked to have been introduced to all of these rad new people via this podcast. Bethany has a really lovely interview manner, and these are exactly the conversations I love to have with my friends – a mixture of joy and whimsy with serious topics and political chat. If you want something to cosy up with on autumn evenings, this is perfect.  

What She Said 

Autumn is the perfect time for new creative projects, and if you’ve ever thought about getting into blogging (or maybe getting more serious about your blog if you’ve already got one!) then this is the podcast for you. Lucy interviews interesting women from around the blogging world (particularly travel blogging, if that’s your jam – although the lessons are useful for any kind of blogger) and gets them to share their wisdom and top tips. I really loved the episodes with Sophie Cliff and Siobhan Watts but I’ve found something useful from every episode I’ve listened to so far, and now that I have a little bit more brain space for blogging, I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned! 

My Favourite Murder

Autumn is a time for spooky stories, and whilst I’m not sure this podcast will give you chills, it is packed full of true crime tales that are real life horror stories. It’s also surprisingly funny, given that it’s also about gruesome murders most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, they keep it serious when it comes to the actual murder part and are always respectful of the victims in every case, but the chat in between between the presenters (Karen and Georgia) is what keeps me coming back for more. If you like your true crime with a side order of catchphrases, in jokes and cat chat then this is the podcast for you. 

Made of Human

I want to say the best thing about this podcast is Sofie Hagen’s voice, which is just wonderful, but that’s not true (although her voice is warm and delightful). It’s not true because there are so many best things about this podcast: the list of guests, the slightly off-the-wall questions, and the friendly conversations that cover everything from feminism & fat positivity to comedy and dating. This podcast is all about connection and making you feel like you’re not alone, which is a lovely thing, don’t you think? 

Never Before with Janet Mock 

Intimate and in-depth conversations are the order of the day during this season, and Janet Mock delivers some incredible ones in this new podcast. I love Janet Mock and her no-holds-barred interviewing style, which reveals more about both the host and the guest. Plus her list of guests is seriously impressive; from Lena Dunham to Joanne the Scammer, you’ll definitely learn something from this podcast, as well as getting to know some huge cultural figures just that little bit better. 

You might also like: 
5 Podcasts to Listen to This Autumn // Amy Elizabeth

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Green Eggs & Ham from Student Eats by Rachel Phipps 

Like a lot of people, I imagine, I learnt to cook at University. I could definitely fend for myself before I left home, but it wasn’t until I had to make all my own meals that I started getting more interested in food and cooking. And, in fact, it wasn’t until I lived with my wonderful friend Emma in my third year, who is a fantastic cook and taught me a lot, that I started to experiment more and get a bit more adventurous in the kitchen. Some of my fondest University memories are of making meals together in that house, and it really sparked a love of cooking that I have carried with me ever since. (Remind me to tell you my actual fondest University memory some time; it involves teaching a celebrated feminist classicist to use a Dyson hand dryer…). 

Although not everyone is lucky enough to have an Emma to guide them through, University really is the perfect time to start getting comfortable in the kitchen – which is where Rachel‘s book comes in ever so handy. Student Eats is a collection of simple and delicious meals for students (unsurprisingly) and anyone who’s starting to find their way in the kitchen but needs a bit of inspiration and a helping hand. With Fresher’s Week coming up, it would make a great gift for the student in your life, or a handy addition to your cookbook shelf if you find yourself stuck for quick and easy meals in the week. 

In fact, it’s also a pretty useful book to have on hand when you’re a new mother and need some fast meals that you can whip up in the space of nap time. There’s actually a lot in common between new students and new mothers now I think about it… erratic sleeping patterns, not really having a clue what you’re doing, and reliance on takeaways to name but a few. So although I consider myself a rather competent cook, I’ve been reaching for this book to get some ideas for easy lunches – like this Green Eggs & Ham. It’s a delicious combination of parma ham, rocket, eggs and pesto, all piled on top of a toasted English muffin. Perfect for a brunch or lunch (or really any time if you’ve lost track of time due to sleep deprivation…). Not only is it pretty delicious, it’s also a filling meal that you can make without creating a whole lot of washing up – another thing that’s good for new parents and students alike. Student Eats is full of little gems like this one, and I know I’m going to be reaching for it for some inspiration a lot in the coming months! 

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What to Buy For Your Newborn Baby

What to Buy Your Newborn Baby // Amy Elizabeth

Newborn babies don’t need as much stuff as you think they do. You could drive yourself mad trying to cater for every situation, but they’re pretty simple creatures, really. There will come a time, I’m sure, when we need to cart everything but the kitchen sink around in order to keep our little one fed and entertained, but right now he’s happy with a cuddle and a bottle of milk. That said, there are a few things that are making our lives that much easier and which I would recommend to new parents looking to stock up ahead of time on top of the usual sleepsuits and nappies… 

Snuzpod & Sleepyhead 

I fell in love with the Snuzpod as soon as I saw it – and the love affair has continued ever since. It’s recommended that babies sleep in your bedroom for the first six months and the Snuzpod is the perfect solution for their sleeping arrangements. Rather than the traditional Moses basket which doesn’t really match our bedroom decor, the Snuzpod is a stylish alternative and the zip down side makes it the perfect compromise between separate and co-sleeping (for us, anyway). I like being able to reach out and put a hand on him to settle him, and since he’s right next to me, I don’t have to get up to check on him when he stirs. 

We also caved and bought the Sleepyhead a couple of weeks in, when it became apparent that our little man felt a bit adrift in his Snuzpod. He’s now nice and cosy, and we all sleep the better for it (not perfectly, mind you, but as good as can be expect). The only downside is that our baby is ridiculously long (like his father) and so I’m pretty sure he’ll grow out of it before the six month mark, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it! 

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine

So many people swear by this life-saving contraption, so you probably don’t need me to throw my recommendation into the mix – but here it is anyway. I had all the best intentions to breastfeed, but when I had a screaming, hungry baby in my arms and it was all going a bit pear-shaped, I was incredibly grateful that I had bought this machine ahead of time. In three minutes, you can have a perfectly made up bottle of formula with no faffing about – which is about as long as I can take the screaming for once Ben decides he absolutely has to eat that very second. 

Pre-mixed formula bottles  are also a lifesaver for the same reason, and great to have on you when you’re out and about, and a bit nervous about breastfeeding in public. We use the Aptamil ones, but they’re all pretty much the same. Even if you don’t end up using either, it really took the pressure off knowing that I *could* feed him easily if I needed to. 

Tommee Tippee Dummies

There is a lot of stigma around dummies, and I’m not sure I totally get it. All of my NCT friends and I were reticent to use them but have all done so within the first couple of months (with no ill effects, I might add). Ben is generally a very chilled out baby, but there are moments when nothing but the dummy will settle him – and if something will comfort him, then why not use it? We use the Tommee Tippee bottles, so he likes the matching dummies best as they have a recognisable shape. 

Sollybaby Wrap

This was a bit of an indulgent purchase on my part, as I had to have my chosen wrap shipped over from the States and paid the price as a result – there are undoubtedly cheaper versions that are more accessible for UK parents. But I’ve seen so many of the Sollybaby wraps on US mamas that I follow via social media or blogs, and I’ve coveted them for a long time, so I splashed out – and I don’t regret it. The material is beautifully soft and it’s basically a baby sedative. Once you’ve got the hang of tying it, it’s a really simple way to chill babies out whilst keeping use of your hands! I wore Ben in the wrap for a walk in the park last week, too, as the pram couldn’t really get round on the paths, and it was perfect. We have an Ergobaby carrier, too, as Paul didn’t like the idea of the wrap, but I prefer the softness and look of the Sollybaby, especially whilst he’s so (relatively) small. 

Joie Dreamer Baby Bouncer 

This isn’t so much a specific product recommendation as a more general one, as I’ve only tried the one type of bouncer. That said, this one fits with our decor (we have grey & white stars pattern), and the combination of vibrations and (surprisingly non-tinny) lullabies that it plays keep Ben chill for long enough for me to unload the dishwasher, pack my changing bag and make breakfast in the morning.

Having somewhere to put him down that isn’t horizontal is so helpful; he’s so inquisitive and hates to be lying down when he’s awake as he wants to be looking around so the bouncer is perfect now he’s started to be a little more alert but not yet needing too much stimulation or entertainment. We pop him in this when we’re eating, too, and we’ve managed most meals without too many interruptions, which is a miracle. 

Large Muslins 

I bought a whole bunch of muslins before Ben was born, as everyone says how useful they are, but the ones I bought are on the smaller size so I recently invested in some larger ones from Mamas & Papas (and I have my eye on these Aden & Anais ones for after payday since spotting them on Catherine’s Twitter), which are so much more useful. We use them to swaddle his arms at nighttime, as otherwise he flails and fidgets and wakes himself up. I’ve been using them as a sun shade for the pram when we go out, and, of course, they are good for mopping up all sorts of spills and the like. 

A Netflix Subscription 

Not strictly for the baby, but you’ll be spending more hours awake and sat on the sofa with your newborn than you probably imagine so a Netflix subscription is an essential for those newborn days (and nights). Paul’s been chain-watching Rick & Morty and Bojack Horseman, whilst I’ve been making my way back through Gossip Girl. 

What to Buy For Your Newborn Baby // Amy Elizabeth

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How to Practise Self Care As A New Mum


Being a new mum is totally all-encompassing, and it would be so easy to let yourself slip under the overwhelming tasks that come with motherhood. We have been very lucky with our baby; he has been very chilled out and easygoing, which has really eased our transition into parenthood. So take this advice with a pinch of salt; there will be times when you can’t practise or prioritise self-care, when your baby just won’t allow for it. But I find that I’m a better parent, a better wife and a better person when I take care of myself, so it’s something that I’ve been really conscious of during this first six weeks, and here’s what’s been working for me… 

Gather Your Gang  

This has been the most important part of self-care for me. Whether it’s your own mum popping over for the day to give you a break, or just a WhatsApp group of other parents who you can use as a soundboard during the night, having a gang of people around you during this time is crucial. That gang obviously include your partner, too, and whilst it’s tempting to think that you know your baby better than anyone (which you probably do), handing them over to your other half even if they don’t rock them to sleep exactly the way you would will give you the time you need to look after yourself. Accepting help is hard at any time, but it’s essential to your survival and self-care. 

Let Them Be 

This maybe controversial, but I let my baby cry if I really need to. I’m not into ‘Cry It Out’ as a parenting method, but if I really need the bathroom or to grab a drink, then I let him cry whilst I sort myself out. I only do this for things that take a minute or two, but it’s easier than trying to juggle him whilst I make a sandwich – and there’s no way I can care for him all day without eating. It felt really wrong the first couple of times (that cry really is piercing…), but ultimately I always go back within a couple of minutes to give him a cuddle (or whatever else he needs) and he’s hardly neglected in the grand scheme of things so I figure we can both live with this arrangement.  

Prioritise the Basics (But Don’t Forget Everything Else) 

Everyone has their own priorities when it comes to self-care. I find that I feel a hundred times more capable when I’ve had a shower in the morning, so rather than sleeping when he sleeps, I prioritise getting clean. In fact, I’ve not really napped since he’s been born – I’d personally rather go to bed early with him rather than napping in the day, but for other people a nap might be the lifeline they need to get through the day. You know yourself best, so whether it’s a cup of coffee or a short stint of yoga, prioritise the basics you need to get through. 

However, there is a caveat to that… When you get a chance, don’t forget the things that make you feel good that aren’t just the very basics. For me that’s baths, reading books, blogging and baking (like the good 1950s housewife that I am…) – so when I do get a chance, I try to remember to do the things that make me feel like myself rather than just a mum. 

Get Outside 

That first trip out is so daunting. I was so anxious I almost cried, and we were only walking ten minutes up the road. I *did* cry the second time we went out to the park, because I just felt so overwhelmed. Home feels safe and easy, but being cooped up is no good for your mental health (or at least, it’s not for mine). It gets easier to leave the house, and I’ve been trying to at least go on a short walk each day. A bit of gentle exercise combined with some fresh air, and you’ll feel like a whole new person, I promise. 

Eat Out (and Stock Up on Snacks) 

Obviously budgets are a little tighter than usual when you’re on maternity leave, but if you can afford it then an occasional lunch out is a great form of self care. Even if you have to eat with one hand whilst juggling a sleeping baby, someone will bring you food to eat and then clear up after you – which is pretty much a miracle, isn’t it? 

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Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies

Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies // Amy Elizabeth

With the amount of grey clouds hanging over Leeds as I type, I think it’s safe to say that summer is drawing to a close – which means it’s time to gorge ourselves on the last of the summer produce before a long, hard winter of hardy greens and root vegetables. Every season has it’s crowning glory when it comes to produce, but summer has a whole glut of them – and it’ll be sad to see them go. There’s something particularly delightful about fresh tomatoes, sweet raspberries, piles of ripe cherries and blushing radishes all being available at the same time. We’re spoilt for choice in the summer, so let’s make the most of it for the next couple of weeks whilst the getting is still good, shall we? 

That’s where these little hand pies come in, combining two of my favourite summer fruits – peaches and strawberries – mixed up with a splash of bourbon all encased in sweet, flaky pastry. They work well for a picnic, if the weather allows for such a thing so late in the year, or just for dessert – warmed up in the oven for a few minutes before popping in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Any excuse for pie is a good excuse in my book, and making the most of these delicious fruits is definitely an excellent excuse. 

Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies // Amy Elizabeth



Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies // Amy Elizabeth

Peach & Strawberry Hand Pies
Yields 12
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For the pastry
  1. 160g plain flour
  2. 1/2 tsp. salt
  3. 1 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  4. 115g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  5. 120ml cold water
  6. 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  7. 1/2 cup ice
  8. 1 egg
  9. demerara sugar, for sprinkling
For the filling
  1. 1 peach, peeled and cut into small cubes
  2. 5-6 strawberries, cut into small cubes
  3. 25g plain flour
  4. 25g caster sugar
  5. big splash of bourbon
For the pastry
  1. Mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Add the butter cubes and cut into the flour mixture using a knife or a pastry cutter until the butter is pea-sized. Alternatively, you can use a food mixer, but be careful not to overmix.
  3. Combine the water, cider vinegar and ice in a small bowl. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons over the flour & butter mixture, and start to cut it in as before.
  4. Slowly add more of the water mixture until the dough comes together in a ball. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.
For the pies
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. In a bowl, stir together the peach, strawberries, flour, sugar and bourbon and leave to one side.
  3. Roll the pastry out to around a centimetre thickness, and cut into circles using a medium sized pastry cutter.
  4. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and place half of the pastry circles onto the sheet. Spoon some of the peach mixture into the middle of each and place another pastry circle on top.
  5. Use a fork to press down the edges of each pie to seal the fruit into the centre, and to make a small cut in the top to allow steam to escape.
  6. Mix the egg with a splash of water and use a pastry brush to wash the pies. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  7. Bake for around 20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool slightly before serving.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Amy Elizabeth

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Celebrating a whole month with our little Benjamin.

Marvelling at how much he (and we) has changed already. 

Seeing him smile for the very first time (and having a little cry about it!) 

Feeling like we’re starting to get a handle on this parenthood thing (very, very slowly…)

Playing host to a whole bunch of visitors, who are definitely here to see us and not our new arrival… 

Plundering my new cookbooks (Student Eats and The Savvy Cook) for midweek dinner inspiration. 

Flexing my craft muscles for the first time in a while (helped very much by Jess!) 

Covering my eyes during this season of Game of Thrones. 

Enjoying fancy afternoon tea and pottery painting in York for a lovely hen do. 

Making the most of being able to eat cheese, steak & sushi again.

Searching for a dress to wear to a wedding next month… without much luck! 

Planning a capsule wardrobe for autumn/winter – it’s a dream not being pregnant! 

Enjoying a long bank holiday weekend as a family of three, eating and drinking our way around Leeds. 

Taking a million baby photos. 

Googling a million baby-related topics. 

Brunching at Issho, but sadly not taking advantage of their unlimited Prosecco offer. I’ll be back! 

Sleeping less than I maybe ever have (but feeling a lot less tired than I expected to). 

Watching the new series of Bake Off with an open mind, and a plate full of cake. 

Checking out my new desk at our new office (and sort of already wishing I was back at work – if only there were enough hours to do everything!). 

Getting used to being a mum. It’s kind of the best. 

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I Am A Mother Now

 I am a mother now, and my body bears the scars. I will never look the same, marked by stretch marks as I am. I will never feel the same, knowing what I know. My emotions have risen to the surface, tears swelling at the slightest provocation. I am raw, an exposed nerve, my heart worn on the outside now.

I am a mother now, and never won’t be. You are mine and I am yours. There has never been anything else so permanent in my life. Even when I am gone, I will be your mother. For better, or for worse, there is no turning back. 

I am a mother now, but I am also a wife, a friend, a sister, a colleague, a daughter. Life didn’t stop the moment you arrived, but everything changed. I am a mother first, and everything else second, for now. But even as I step (stumble) into this new role, those others don’t go away. They make me better able to be your mother, and every day I realise that more and more. It takes a village, baby boy, and we have a good one. 

I am a mother now, but I am still me. In fact, I feel more myself than I have in ages. Maybe I am more myself than I ever have been. I expected to feel different, but I feel the same. Pregnancy was such a purgatory for me, and coming out of the other side has given me such a lightness. 

I am a mother now, but I don’t know what kind, yet. I am less anxious than I thought I would be, more relaxed. You make me that way, chilled out as you are. You are teaching me to be a mother; we are learning together. Let’s hope we do a good job, eh? 

I am a mother now. 

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