#MYGLTC MEETS MIRIAM COOPER
Once more it's time to go behind the scenes of the lovely photos that we're tagged in on Instagram and find out a little bit more about the people who post them and why they choose GLTC.
Today, let's meet Miriam, the founder of Mimi's Bowl, who cooks modern baby and toddler recipes from her home in West London. She is mum to her 5 year old little girl and 1 year old baby boy. Miriam blogs and posts daily about what they eat at home. She shares her honest experiences of cooking at home for her family; whilst offering parent cooking hacks and recipes. Her mission is to end 'babyfood panic', an anxiety about how to feed your baby and what to feed your baby.
HI MIRIAM, CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU, YOUR FAMILY AND WHERE YOU LIVE?
My family and I are based in Notting Hill, West London. We moved to the area when I was pregnant with my daughter and bought a house, in much need of renovating. I don’t know what we were thinking. I was nesting and also planning to take off the roof at the same time.
I live with my husband, two children Mima (5 years old) and George (18 months) and my small dog Eloise. After Mima was born I started an online community called Mimi’s Bowl: sharing our home life, what we do, and in particular what we eat. The response from other parents and followers has been overwhelming; Mimi’s Bowl has quickly grown into a really supportive community.
Having two small children means I embrace our local parks, garden squares, nearby shops, markets and cafes. I’m always walking around with a pram (often buying food), so I have been lucky to have get to know our neighbourhood really well. There is a real sense of community in West London.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR HOME STYLE IN THREE WORDS?
Eclectic, traditional, a little quirky
One of my first jobs was as a Vintage Buyer at Ralph Lauren, working above their Bond Street store. It was sort of inevitable that my home would be filled up with vintage pieces. I am drawn to interiors which are eclectic and furniture which is well-made. Increasingly I have been sharing more of my home and interiors on Instagram, it is something I am asked about a lot.
Renovating our house was a labour of love. The building itself has so much history, it was built in 1870 and it took a lot of care and time for us to make it a practical space for a young family, whilst respecting the heritage of the building.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE, AND WHY?
Both my children’s rooms are incredibly special to me, they are on the top floor of the house and full of light. I loved decorating them both and whilst the style is traditional, the furniture and prints on the walls, all tell a story. I like to think they are calm and playful spaces, where my kids can retreat into their own imaginative worlds. I was lucky to be able to give them both their own rooms.
OBVIOUSLY, WE BELIEVE THAT STORAGE IS THE KEY TO A TIDY FAMILY HOME, AND YOU HAVE LOTS OF OUR PIECES IN YOUR HOME. WHICH WOULD YOU BE MOST LIKELY TO RECOMMEND TO OTHER PARENTS AND WHY?
I discovered Great Little Trading Company when I was looking for practical and well-made storage for my children’s rooms. It is difficult to find storage pieces, which will stand the test of time. I particularly love the cube storage systems in particular: I bought the Abbeville Long Shelf Unit for my son’s room. I can display toys along the top, have a row of books underneath and then a row of storage baskets for his toys underneath that. Everything is neatly displayed, but accessible, which is ideal.
I did also discover some innovative designs which I hadn’t thought of before. Both my children have a Great Little Trading Co. Greenaway Narrow Bookcase, on their bedroom their walls. They are brilliant for displaying books beautifully. I change the books displayed on each of their Greenaway Bookcases each month, either according to season i.e. books about Springtime, or subjects they are learning about at nursery/ school. They have been a huge success and always get asked where they are from.
WE LOVE YOUR BLOG, MIMI'S BOWL, AND ALL THE WONDERFUL FAMILY-FRIENDLY RECIPES THAT YOU CREATE AND SHARE. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO START IT?
Firstly thank you. I started Mimi’s Bowl as I wanted to reach out to other parents, who felt as I did about weaning. I felt totally overwhelmed and unprepared. I had just about established a sleeping routine and now there was the next challenge: food.
I had two goals when I started Mimi’s Bowl: end 'babyfood panic' by talking about it. (By 'babyfood panic' I mean an anxiety about how to feed your baby and what to feed your baby). Secondly, I wanted to really re-think babyfood and family food for a busy modern parent. There are so few relatable parent voices out there, and even less tried and tested parent-friendly recipes. Only a parent, who has been there, understands the determined rejection given by your baby, toddler, or child, when they squirm at the sight of food, you have lovingly made for them. I have been there.
Today, I post and write about weaning, children’s food and family food. I to try make it easy for parents who want their kids to be eating more healthily, with less hassle. The bottom line is I am sharing the food we eat and enjoy, if I can do it anyone can.
WHICH HAS BEEN YOUR MOST POPULAR RECIPE TO DATE?
I started blogging through Mimi’s Bowl in 2017 and over time an archive of 'classic' Mimi’s Bowl recipes has evolved. I sort of think of those recipes as old friends, which I revisit time and time again. Some of the favourites are: Oat Cookies, Mac N Cheese with Kale and Butternut Squash, Mimi’s Fish and Leek Pie, Homemade Chicken Nuggets, Maple and Coconut Banana Bread.
For any recipe to make it onto the feed, they have to be a winner with my family and I recipe test for a while. I am always happiest when someone has tried a recipe and then emailed me to tell me how easy it was to make. Delicious family food should be easy; so many recipes (aimed at kids), are too complicated; as a parent I just wouldn’t have time to cook like that.
AND WHICH ONE IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVOURITE?
The recipe which has the most meaning for me is Homemade Chicken Stock it is the base for so many delicious recipes. Homemade stock elevates all recipes. I have made it nearly every week, since I started weaning my daughter 5 years ago. I used to add a little chicken stock to her purees, to enrich them and for added nutrition.
The process of making your own nourishing stock is really very simple; it has become a weekly ritual which I now really enjoy. It reminds me of my parenting journey.
WITH HALF TERM APPROACHING, WHICH RECIPE WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN TO ATTEMPT TOGETHER?
Pancakes! Pancake Day isn’t far away: there are lots of recipe ideas on the Mimi’s Bowl website.
AND DO YOU HAVE ANY WEANING TIPS FOR NEW PARENTS WHO WILL BE STARTING TO THINK ABOUT MOVING ON TO SOLIDS SOON?
Here are my top 3 tips:
- Embrace the mess. Babies need to explore food, allow them the space to experiment. No child wants a militant parent armed with wipes standing over their every mouthful… Let them find their own way.
- Enjoy the small moments of food success and disregard any failures; one bad mealtime, or rejected dish, is just one a small set-back. Move on.
- Don’t worry if you feel you aren’t a 'good' cook: if you can steam some vegetables and roast a piece of fish, you will already be a MasterChef in your babies’ eyes. The key is that we actually cook (when we can).
FINALLY, WHAT MAKES A HAPPY HOME FOR YOU?
Good food (of course) and laughter.
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