The Only Banana Cake Recipe You’ll Ever Need

The Only Banana Cake Recipe You’ll Ever Need

I love a banana; cereal topped with banana, banana milkshake, banana cake… yes please. In my opinion, they’re at their prime when the banana peel is bright yellow with some brown spots, but much like a ripe avocado, there’s such a small window of time for The Perfect Banana— anything before the freckled-goodness and it’s too unripe; anything longer and it’s too sweet and mushy. If your family is anything like mine, then you buy more bananas each week than you can consume. In fact, if we get to the end of the week and there are none left in the fruit bowl, then it feels like we’ve really accomplished something great.

A banana cake is the perfect solution to using up those overripe bananas (plus it’s an excuse to eat cake and you can con yourself into believing it’s one of your five-a-day, right?) It reminds me of going to my mum’s every Sunday, where nine times out of ten there’s some delicious homebaked treats on offer (and half of them are usually gone before lunch is ready!)

But that’s enough about my love affair with bananas— you’re probably here because you want to know how to bake a delicious banana cake yourself. This is the best recipe for banana cake that I’ve ever baked and eaten. (Yes, I may be biased as it comes from my mum, but it’s honestly so lovely!) It’s so moist and has a crunchy topping and is best devoured warm, with a brew— and best of all, it’s a one-pan kind of deal! Anything that involves minimal washing up, gets my vote.

Easy Banana Cake

Course Sweet Treats
Keyword banana, cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Author Aimee Marie

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 very ripe bananas mashed
  • 190g self-raising flour
  • 60ml milk
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar

Equipment

  • loaf tin
  • saucepan

Instructions

  • Grease and line your loaf tin and set the oven to 170ºc / gas mark 3
  • Melt the butter and sugar in a pan, over a medium heat
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the bananas
  • Add the egg and mix well
  • Stir in the flour and milk
  • Pour into your tin and sprinkle over the demerara sugar
  • Place in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes (or until a skewer or knife comes out clean) and leave to cool a little, if you can resist!

 

A Day Trip to Brighton

A Day Trip to Brighton

I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment when I first fell in-love with Brighton.

I’m sure we must have ventured to the pebbled beach as a family during my childhood. Perhaps it was when I was old enough to jump on a train with my friends in my teenage years though, that I truly became enamored with the seaside city.

You can’t deny that the area very much caters for tourists. Fortunately though, it still has it’s quirks and has a great atmosphere, that is still ever-present, despite the massive increase in popularity over the last few years. I love the eclectic people, shops and cafes; the creativity; the sound of the sea.

We have friends who have made the move from South London to Brighton, which might have tempted me in previous years, but I do wonder if living there, the novelty would eventually wear off and that’s not something I want to risk.

B has visited Brighton once or twice before, but at under an hour away, I’m not sure why I’ve not taken him again sooner. There’s something available for people of all ages, but I can’t deny that this place seems extra special when you are, or are with, a kid!

The Easter Holidays

We smashed our first day together over the easter break with a Mummy Date in Brighton. There was lots of scooting along the promenade, fish and chips, exploring the pier, throwing stones in the sea, hot fresh donuts (my fave!) and an obligatory trek around the lanes. We lucked out with the weather too. It was meant to be overcast, but it ended up being warm and sunny enough for bare arms and legs!

For my little train enthusiast, every moment of our commute was exciting too.

For me, the vibrant colours everywhere and the amazing views, make it an absolute dream to photograph and edit.












Having Fun (and Relaxing!) During Half Term

Having Fun (and Relaxing!) During Half Term

The last half term holiday seems like a distant memory now. Quickly approaching though, is the Easter break; I can almost smell the chocolate Mini Egg Shredded Wheat nests! Mmm. The last school break was the first one since starting school in September, that I had the whole week off with B too. I knew we’d both want to get outside, have some adventures and visit some new places. I also knew that I didn’t want to go back to work feeling like I’d burnt the candles at both ends, having missed the opportunity for me to relax too.

And that’s the trouble with being a working parent. Unless you have a term-time only job, even the most generous of holiday allowances at work doesn’t cover all of the breaks that children have from school. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never take a ‘random’ week off of work anymore. It’s always going to be well thought out and planned around school holidays. I could take a week off during term-time. But that would be one less week with my son and that’s not something I want to give up.

The week leading up to half term, was spent brainstorming places we could go and things we could do. I wanted to get this fun and adventure vs. relaxing and chilling equilibrium, just right. I read my favourite parenting blogs for inspiration, Googled local places and made lists. Before I knew it, we had an abundance of places we could go to; city farms, soft plays centres, London parks, museums, attractions et al.

As it turns out, we didn’t use the list much. I realised that we didn’t have to spend money and go further afield to have fun; there was much more that we could do that was on our doorstep. It’s no secret that we don’t get to do much together Monday – Friday, as I don’t get to do the school pick-up. There’s lots of simple things we did over half term that many people would normally do during the week. Perhaps they may take those activities for granted, but for us, it was perfect.

Simple Half Term Activities

Joining the library. We read lots of books together at home. B will always get some for his birthday and Christmas. Now that he’s able to read, I thought it was time to strike while the iron’s hot and get him his own library card. He loves books and learning new things right now! It took a matter of minutes to sign-up. I can remember a librarian visiting our class when I was at primary school. She told us that libraries were one of the only things in the world that were free and that really stuck with me!

Leicester Square. After watching a documentary about the new Lego Store in Leicester Square a few months ago, we (my mum, my sister and I) thought it would be the perfect time to take B to explore it. As it turns out, so did lots of other families, as there was a queue to get in at 10:30am! Luckily it moved quickly and B spent most of his time looking at a crane that was working on a nearby building or being placated with food (parenting rule #no.1: always come armed with snacks.) B spotted the Nickelodeon Store and M&M World opposite, so no prizes for guessing where we went after lunch at Jamie’s Diner? We all spent too much money on M&M’s and marveled at just how many things you could get SpongeBob’s face on. Plates, bowls, bags, hats, onesies, t-shirts, purses, lunchboxes, water bottles, dressing gowns, straws…

The Cinema. A trip to the cinema is a half term must. We went to the first showing of the day to see the Lego Batman Movie. That meant it was only half full and those that were there had kids around the same age, so I didn’t feel guilty about B talking or rustling his popcorn! (And, surprisingly, I enjoyed the movie too!)

Ice Skating. For the last month or so, something (on Netflix, no doubt) has sparked an interest in ice-skating in my nearly five-year-old son. He has been wanting to go for weeks, so we finally booked tickets. B thought he’d be able to “just push, push, glide” but it was a lot trickier than he thought. We hired a penguin for half an hour though, which meant he could use it to steady himself, or I could whizz him around on it. We managed a few laps just holding hands after our time with the ice-skating aid was up. Much to my surprise (and fear for those little fingers!) he only fell a couple of times!

The rest of our week was filled with trips out for coffee, playing games at home and going out for lunch or visiting the park. Here’s to the next half term (and hoping I can achieve this balance again, like a boss!)

7 Questions To Ask Your Child At The End of The School Day

7 Questions To Ask Your Child At The End of The School Day

We’ve been doing this whole school thing for approximately six months now and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in that time, it’s that children rarely give anything more than one-word answers about their school day.

I’ll pick B up from his grandparents after school and our conversation will usually go something like this:
Me: How was your day?
B: Good.
Me: What did you do today?
B: I can’t remember… And don’t say ‘But you’ve only just got out of school’ because I haven’t, silly!

He’s too smart. (And sassy.)

Their attention span may be short, but five year-old’s can hold on to more information about their school day than we give them credit for; there are an abundance of things that B will talk about regularly that have happened months ago.  And if it’s something he’s excited about, the boy will chew your ear off for a good hour on one subject (and his favourite thing at the moment? Bullet trains.) However five year-old’s can also be super lazy. I’ve found I can get much more conversation out of my son if the questions I ask him are little more direct, to spark further conversation.

Questions to ask about the school day

  • Who did you play with at break time?
  • What games did you play in class?
  • Did anyone make you laugh?
  • Tell me about something you learnt.
  • Did you learn any new letters / words / diagraphs today?
  • What did you eat for lunch? Who did you sit with?
  • Tell me about the best part of your day.

I try to vary what I ask or how I phrase the question, otherwise B is too smart and will always second guess what I’m going to ask him at the end of the school day!

A Cold & Frosty Morning

A Cold & Frosty Morning

So far, 2017, has had more than a frosty morning or two. We’ve had short, dark days. Days where it’s so cold that my car engine just says, “Not today, thank you.” Days where I’m not even sure the sun made it’s way into the sky! It hasn’t been a terrible start or any different to the beginning of previous years in the UK, but I guess I always forget how grim winter is, until I’m living it.

However, it’s also been party central in our household. And I don’t mean myself or Ashley demolishing a few bottles of wine, or debauched nights out out. I mean our son; our four-year old son who has a better social life than us.

Excellent.

There are classmates that he mentions regularly and seeing the way he interacts with his peers, is something I adore. It’s lovely to see for myself, the friendships that B’s formed since he started to school and it’s not something I get to see all that often.  Working full-time means I’m not always there waiting for him at the school gate or interacting with other parents, so kids parties are a great way for me to put names to adult faces too!

I’ve come to realise, that amidst all the socialising, sometimes, you just need a bit of mummy-and-son time. It’s these little, seemingly insignificant times away from it all, that make up the bigger picture and create memories.

A Frosty Morning Date in the Park

B was given this bubblegun months ago, when a family friend was clearing out her cupboards at home. She said he could give it to his school, who were collecting bits for the Christmas fair at the time, or keep it for himself he really wanted to. If you’re going to give a child a choice like that, it’s only going to end one way. And so naturally, he chose the latter!

On our first party-free weekend of the year, we ventured to our local park. It’s a bit of a hidden gem and is nearly always empty. It was cold. And it was a frosty morning. The bubble solution ran out quicker than you could say, “Stop just shooting bubbles at the floor!” But he didn’t care. And he was having so much fun running around being a superhero, that neither did I. We even discovered some woods that we didn’t know where there— something we’re planning to return to and explore at another time!






“Isn’t It About Time You Had Another One?” — A Second Child Rant

“Isn’t It About Time You Had Another One?” — A Second Child Rant

I’m not sure when it became anyone’s business about the future activities of my womb and if it’s going to house second child, but if I had a pound for every time someone has asked me this in the last year or so, I could give up my job.

I appreciate questions around motherhood, or being a working mum, or how my son is getting on at school. They’re current. That’s where we’re at. And I love being his mum. Persistence around the whereabouts of baby number two in the future was almost sweet at first, but after a while hearing “When are you popping another one out then?” becomes an annoyance. I’m happy to share that I’d love another baby one day. But people wanting to know when? It’s an intimate, private and personal topic, that not just anyone is going to be privy to.

Having a Second Child

The continuous interrogation started when B turned two or three, but with every milestone over the last year— applying for school; accepting a place; his fourth birthday; starting school; and now approaching the fifth anniversary of his escape from my womb— I’ve had “Isn’t it about time you had another one?” or “When’s baby number two going to happen then?” or my personal favourite, “Ooh, you’d better have a second one soon! You don’t want a huge gap!” ringing in my ears, from the mouths of acquaintances. Not family or close friends. Acquaintances.

It’s on par with people touching your baby bump when you’re pregnant without asking. It’s so intrusive and assuming, and potentially applies a lot of unwanted pressure on a situation that may already be stressful for some couples. People assume you don’t want a gap over five years between your children. They assume you are able to conceive, because you’ve already had one child. They assume you even want a second child! That’s not to say any of those things do or don’t apply to me, but as a couple, we have our plan and that’s it. It’s our plan. If and when we decide to create new life, it will be shared!

People’s obsession with knowing stuff

It all starts when you reach a milestone with your partner, be it a long time together or engagement, marriage, or moving in to your own place. People assume the pitter-patter of tiny feet is on the cards. Once a smoker, but decided to give up? Must be pregnant. Not drinking on a night out, because you’re driving home? Don’t lie, you must be pregnant! Throwing up because you’ve caught a stomach bug? No no, that must be morning sickness.

Having a second child is not a race nor a competition. For some couples, it’s not what they want. For others, they want it but they can’t. So next time you see a mother with a toddler on her hip or holding the hand of a preschooler, don’t make assumptions about the plans for the future of her family.

The whispers of, “I wonder when they’ll have a baby?” started before I’d even taken my wedding dress off!

What’s In & What’s Out #001

What’s In & What’s Out #001

If you’re an avid reader of any blog, then you’ll know that ‘Monthly Favourites’ posts and videos are a content creator’s must. The concept is arguably becoming a little stale, so thought I’d switch things up and try something new (for me, at least); every month or so, I’m going to post about the things I’ve been loving and hating, be it beauty, food or well, just about anything!

Think of it like one of those thermometers you used to get in trashy gossip magazines, that told you what was ‘Hot or Not’ (except better, naturally.)

In

Iceland. (That’s the country, not the food retailer; I’m not in the market for a prawn ring right now.) Myself and my husband, Ashley, are planning a break to Iceland this Summer, for our joint 30th birthday celebrations. It’s totally different to anything we’d normally do. I’m normally a sun-worshipper and could happily spend the entire holiday poolside, without leaving the hotel resort. I’m not a fan of the cold either. However, this trip? I can’t wait! It’ll be lovely to have a few nights sans child and also explore a landscape like I’ve never seen before.

Spring candles. I love a Christmas scent as much as the next person, but candles are not just for winter. In fact, my all-time favourite scent is ‘Clean Cotton.’ I can’t get enough of that fresh, clean washing smell! I’m a big fan of these candle jars from Tesco. They pack a punch and at just £3.50, these medium sized jars are a bargain! As we move closer to springtime, I’m burning the pink ‘Peony Bloom’ one above. It is love.

Blogs. There’s been a YouTube revolution over the last few years, so naturally blogging fell on the back-burner. It seems a lot of content creators have made a new years resolution to write more though and I’m loving seeing posts from my faves again.

Out

Winter. I’m over the short, dark days and bitterly cold mornings now. The time it takes to get myself and B out of the door on a school morning is ever-increasing. It takes much longer than you think to wrap up in your winter woollies and defrost the car!

Oily skin. I’m sure I’ll be thankful for my overly-hydrated skin when I’m older and wrinkle free (although I see you, fine lines!) but for now the oil that is produced throughout my working day is the bane of my life. Going from the bitterly cold outside, into an office with central-heating is playing havoc!