Welcome! Are you hungry?? What can I get you? Coffee and some cake? Tea and a scone? Pancakes with bacon, asparagus and poached egg? Yup, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m Caroline; Wife, mummy, organiser of all things, hostess and feeder. I’ve always been obsessed with food. I get it from my dad. Instead of eating to live, he lives to eat. Why have one dish when you can have many?! I grew up surrounded by food as my dad owned a hot food delivery service attached to our house! He’s Chinese so it’s part of the culture to eat. Instead of offering guests a cup of tea he always asks “What do you want to eat?”
He also taught me to be obsessive, over the top and strive to be the best. So here I am, Mrs OTT! I don’t do anything by halves. If you’re gonna do it, do it right.
Current life involves mothering my wee girls, managing my criminal defence law firm, running the local playgroup, building our house and feeding EVERYONE. I love party planning, decluttering, organising and labelling, solving all problems but my own…#everyoneneedsacaroline….
About the Blog
Feeding you feeds me. It really does. I cannot stand bad food. Even worse is the lack of food. I think becoming a mother has brought this home to me. It is in my mothering nature to feed people. To nurture them. Nothing makes me happier than watching my little girls enjoy good food. I truly believe the famous quote by Virgina Woolfe, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
The purpose of this blog is to share my love of food and encourage you to eat well and feed well. As well as recipes for everyday meals, I share events I am hosting from weekday playdates to themed birthday parties to weekends of guests staying over. I suggest weaning ideas and can help you do your weekly shop, mealplan and batch cook for those special occasions.
I spend most of my time in the kitchen, the heart of the home and I absolutely love organising kitchens. I have organised many friends kitchens and they claim it has changed their lives. Here, I share tips on how to make your kitchen work for you.
The need to be in control, have everything in its place and analyse every situation stems from my adolescence.
My mum died when I was 17. We lived in Fife and my grandma and great auntie had come to stay with us when my mum was ill. Dad encouraged me to go to university in Dundee so I’d be close to home. I came home every weekend to help my grandma, great auntie and younger sister and brother. Since then, I suppose I’ve always had to have the answer. I had to grow up fast and I’ve taken on the roll of the mother hen ever since.
When my eldest daughter was born, kind colleagues looked after my law firm for me for a while. I had planned to go straight back to work and juggle childcare with my husband who is also self-employed. I pretty much did. I was in the prison visiting a client of mine one month after she was born. I was back in Court on a near daily basis when she was eight weeks old. Friends thought I was crazy and didn’t know how I was doing it. I’d go to meet them drinking coffee and eating cake in my suit straight from court while they were all on maternity leave. At the time, it didn’t seem odd to me. I could do it.
I was in the middle of a jury trial when my baby was four months old and ill and I had to rush from court to the GP surgery and watch her be taken by ambulance with blue flashing lights and sirens to Sick Kids Hospital because she couldn’t breathe. She was admitted to hospital for three or four nights on that occasion with bronchiolitis. I felt like the worst mother in the world sitting next to her covered in tubes and drips in my suit trying to get cover for my trial the next day.
By the time she was 6 months old, we realised we couldn’t juggle the childcare anymore. Neither of us was getting any work done and colleagues began to complain about having a baby in the office. We had to find a nursery. This was such a disgusting prospect. My mum and my husband’s mum had not worked when we were wee. They had ‘stayed at home’ and looked after their children on their own while our dads worked. Why then were we having to find a nursery for our baby? Gah. Anyway, we found an amazing nursery that we loved and I think it has really benefitted her to be there two days per week. I took on a trainee at work and tried to work only three days a week not including random middle of the night trips to the police station to deal with clients of course.
At her first birthday I remember feeling pretty good. She was thriving, I was back to my normal weight, and we were managing the whole juggling act. Time for baby number two….
We discussed work and one of us stopping work. We did talk of my husband giving up his businessas as an architect but he loves his work and given we wanted to get into property developing and build our own house one day it made sense for him to keep going. I was not enjoying dealing with the nature of my work while having my daughter and it was always my plan to ‘stay at home’ to raise my children as my mum had so I set about selling my firm.
I ended up appearing in court until four weeks before my due date. I was the size of a house and my court colleagues were scared of me. The clerks were sure I was going to go into labour any minute and kept telling me to go home! I ended up going into labour the morning I was supposed to meet my potential buyer so in the end I didn’t sell it and left it in my employees capable hands.
When I was about 8 weeks pregnant my great auntie died. She had been such a big part of my life, especially since my mum died. It was the first time in my life I didn’t have to go home at the weekend. I was lost.
As soon after the birth of my second daughter as I can remember, I really missed my mum. It was an overwhelming feeling of loss. Retrospectively I think I was grieving for my mum, my great aunt and my business.
The worst point was when my youngest was 4 months old. The week before her christening she was admitted to Sick Kids with the flu. I had to stay with her for two or three nights. What a nightmare it was. The worry for her, the worry for my eldest who was only 2yrs 3 months. The lack of sleep. The hunger! When we got home, I had no clue how to function. I was exhausted, drained, terrified and stressed out because her christening was in a few days and I had so much to organise. The flat was a tip. I was cracking up. What I really wanted was my mum and she wasn’t there.
The exhaustion made me ill. I have always been prone to headaches and years ago I started seeing a chiropractor which really helped. This was worse though. I had constant head and neck pain. It was excruciating and I had restricted movement in my neck. I had a head tremor. I went back to the chiropractor and also tried physio but neither helped this time. Apparently I was just too stressed. The GP said I should try mindfulness and exercise. Even as he said it he knew it was unrealistic for me. I was never away from my youngest and was running on empty. I knew I had to do something to calm down.
As neither of my daughters were sleeping, I began to bake at night. We had the tiniest kitchen imaginable but boy did I manage to rustle up some yummy feasts in there! It gave me something to focus on other than my exhaustion and pain. It made me feel useful. It made me feel good.
I was baking and cooking more and more: creating three course meals to pack up and take out with us by 9am. I got frustrated at the lack of space I had to work with. We were crammed into a miniscule two bed flat. Seriously could not swing a cat. The place was so crammed I had to step over stuff as soon as I opened the door. When the house came up for sale next to the plot we were building on it was too good to be true. Amazingly my in-laws bought it for us to live in while the build was ongoing. So here I am, 18 months into living next to our self build! Hurry up house! Our stay here has allowed me to host birthday parties, lots of playdates and family gatherings and I’ve realised that having space to do that is necessary for me. I just don’t feel right if I can’t feed people!
Watch this space for the big move into our self build….