New title

Monsieur has decided to call me “mama”. I’m not sure exactly why, but it is a deliberate choice. This was our conversation about a week after he started it:
Monsieur Z: I call you “mama” every day now.
Me: Yes, you do. Why have you started calling me “mama”?
MZ: Because I like to because it’s nice.

Well, I can’t think of a better reason really!

He has also said to me a couple of times, “I love my Mummy in the whole world!”

This morning when R was saying goodbye and told Monsieur that he loved him, Monsieur responded with “I love you too!”

For the first time, he’s starting to tell us that he loves us. It just makes my heart melt.

Recipe: Magic Bean Chocolate Cake

I came across the Hungry Hungry Hippies blog whilst searching for ideas of digger themed birthday cakes. I loved the cake that she made, enough to go and buy the book it was based on and make my own version! I started reading and found this recipe for a gluten free and nut free chocolate cake. I made this on the morning of Monsieur’s birthday, just before we headed down the coast. It is a good recipe indeed that can be made for the first time in the middle of packing for a weekend away.

Even R, who is not normally a cake-lover, enjoyed it, so it received a whole-hearted tick of approval. The first few times I made it, it was a light chocolate cake, but the muffins I’ve recently been making are denser and have a rich chocolate flavour. I usually make it into little muffins or cupcakes – I have small muffin trays that I use for almost every recipe. I find muffin size snacks perfect for freezing and easy to pack when I’m in a hurry. The last batch that I made, I added in a good handful each of frozen blueberries and  raw cacao nibs. It added just a little extra to an already decadent snack. As a cake, it goes really well with thick, dollop-y cream, but the little cupcake/muffins are fine as they are.

There are different versions of this floating around; some are specifically for Thermomix and some use a standard food processor. In the Thermomix (TMX), this is very quick and easy to make. For anyone wanting to try this in a normal food processor, I would suggest using the method given in this version, which was sent to me by a friend who it for her son on his birthday! Great minds, or perhaps that should be great mamas think alike 😉

420g can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed OR 110g dried red kidney beans soaked and cooked
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
5 eggs
70g raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pink salt
125g butter or 65g (⅓ cup) oil*
180g coconut sugar**
Optional: frozen blueberries, raw cacao nibs, anything else that might take your fancy in chocolate cake!
Ensure if you are going dairy-free that you use oil instead of butter and don’t use butter to grease your baking tin
Pre-heat oven to 180C. Grease ring cake tin or muffin tray.
Place red kidney beans, water, eggs and vanilla essence in TMX and blitz 2 minutes at speed 7.
Add all other ingredients, except the optional ingredients, and mix for 20 seconds, at speed 4.
Add optional ingredients, if using them, and mix on reverse for 10 seconds at speed 4.
Pour into ring tin or muffin trays.
Bake 30 minutes (ring tin) or 20-25minutes (muffin tray), or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
* Original recipe suggests rice bran or vegetable oil. I haven’t made this with oil yet as I quite like butter!
** Original recipe uses sugar or rapadura sugar. I find that coconut sugar is just as good as rapadura sugar. These are quite decadent without being overly sweet.

Please don’t ask me

“So, when are you going to have another one?”

“Where are you going for your next holiday?”


My heart sinks when I hear either of these questions, and their various iterations. I muster up a smile, and answer either vaguely or bluntly, depending on how tactful I feel that day. I am hearing these questions more and more, and liking them less and less.

The first is fairly easy to understand, and plenty of women get it and dislike it. I do want to ask it myself sometimes, because I’m curious about how many children people want to have, what goes into the decision process and whether their thoughts have changed since having the first child. The problem is that what people may plan or want, and what actually happens can be quite different things. If there is any conflict, or heartache, or difficulties occurring in making the “want” become reality, this question can be upsetting, depressing or just plain awkward. On a good day, I will answer vaguely “Oh, well, we’d like another but just have to wait and see”. On other days I will answer more bluntly, “Well, we just have to get one that sticks” which always results in silence and awkward shuffling of feet. But sometimes, I just don’t want to answer at all. Because we do want a second child. Really, really want one. Everything has been planned for having two children. We just finished extending our house so that Sibling can have a bedroom. I grew up an only child and never wanted that for my child. I want to go through it all again and when I think of the possibility that we may just have the one, a great big hole opens up inside me and wails “Noooooooooooo.” Some days, I don’t want to go through that mental trip of “How do I answer this. Yes we really want another but what if we can’t have one. I’m really wondering now – two years, two miscarriages, maybe it’s just not going to happen and so what then, what do we do with the whole extra room built just for the wanted-bub, and everything we’ve saved and at what point do we admit our family is just 3, no no no no no, I can’t do that, can’t accept that….wait… just smile and give them a fluffy answer” Some days, I want people to find a different question.

The second question is not as emotionally charged, but it’s also not a question that I was really aware of until now. Growing up with a single mum working full-time, there weren’t any family holidays. It wasn’t something that I was aware of, and I am only now realising that regular holidays and family holidays seems to be thing. A thing which we just don’t factor in our lives, except that one day we want to do the trek to Everest base camp and one day we want to take our children to Japan. Our holiday planning is for two main trips, in the distant future. Apart from missing out on two fun-looking trips with extended family this year, I generally feel okay about this because we prioritise other things: we choose to live in the city rather than moving out somewhere cheaper, we choose to live on one income so that I can stay at home, I choose to have a regular house cleaner so I can focus on doing things with Monsieur and cooking and organising. We are also incredibly fortunate to have our parents living in locations which are holiday destinations for others. We can just go down by the beach for a weekend here and there, or up north to my folks place where we can see so many stars at night, and there are all sorts of fun things for Monsieur to do that he never gets in the city. These are our little get-aways; beautiful places with the comfort of family.

Yet when I get asked this question, I feel like we should be going on family holidays regularly. We should be out camping, or travelling or doing something. As if we’re not quite doing it right if we’re not going places during school holidays. We do envision getting out and doing bike trails and going camping in a few years time; we’re just not there yet. It can be so easy with a simple question to compare our lives with others’ and feel inadequate, or that we’re missing out. What we never know is the things that they do without in order to have their holidays. When I look at our lifestyle, I wouldn’t go back to work so that we could go on holidays, I wouldn’t move out of the city and I wouldn’t give up having a cleaner come regularly. These are all things which impact our lives positively, every day and are worth more to me than a one week get-away once or twice a year.

KirstyJune 7, 2014 - 2:11 am

I’m not usually a blog commenter, but I have faced these questions, and I think know how you feel. Especially the first one. For that one, when I feel like crying and pouring my heart out, I now just say ‘It’s in the lap of the gods.’ I think that gives the message that it’s not our choice and leaves it at that.

As for the second question, a weekend away with family IS a holiday. Holidays are not a competitive sport. (Or are they? Maybe I’m missing the point.)

gypsyamberJuly 15, 2014 - 9:56 pm

I have also replied along those lines, for the same reason that it indicates that it’s not our choice.

The holiday questions has brought me down a few times because when they are asked, they are not talking about weekends away with parents, they are talking about going somewhere different, away from everything. That is something that I would love to do, but it hasn’t been a priority, so I don’t think about it. Kinda like how I don’t go window-shopping when I can’t buy anything; I’m better off not thinking about what I don’t have and focusing on what I do have. The questions always makes me think about what we don’t have planned for a bit, and I find myself wishing that we did have a tropical island escape planned. I don’t remember getting asked much about holidays before now…although, maybe that’s because before now I was always planning for the next one!

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