Friday, 7 September 2012

Some Changes and TTFN...


Life around here is changing fast.

I start at COLLEGE next week. I will be studying counselling. I am excited and scared. 16 hours of studying a week plus work to do out of college. Plus fitting in family life.

Along with that F starts school next week, Ellie starts nursery (just 7.5 hours a week). I've got Breastfeeding Peer Supporter training coming up plus I am going to be a governor at the girl's school.

And we hope to move house next month.

All of this and our suddenly busy schedules means I am going to neglect the blog for a while. I hope to be back when we're settled in a new house with new routines and have gotten used to a faster pace of life. Wish me luck, TTFN xxxxx

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Lunch Box Ideas

I've been googling and looking on Pinterest for packed lunch ideas as my eldest starts school in a couple of weeks. I found lots and lots of beautifully presented lunches with interesting foods in pretty boxes that stacked and clipped and kept things hot/cold/room temperature that came with knives and forks etc etc etc...

And for a while I got lost in a land of sculpted sandwiches and cous cous before remembering that:

a) I have limited time
b) I have limited funds
c) I have limited patience
d) My daughter eats very little variety

SO. I need to re-think things a bit.

Faith chose this lunch bag

And we got some plain sandwiches boxes in multi-packs from Poundland. 

Anddddddd I've come up with a list of foods that she might eat. I have a couple of cute cutters for making pretty sandwiches but that might be as far as my artistic skills go.

Pasta – with salad cream and cheese
Pasta – with salad cream and tuna
Sandwich  - ham, jam, tuna
Pitta bread filled with – ham or tuna or jam
Wrap filled with ham or tuna
Cheese triangles
Small bit of apple
Small slice of cake (home made)
Cheese blocks
Pizza slice
Breadsticks with soft cheese dip
Crackers/cheesey biscuits

Does that sound ok? Just a few things from the list each day? Who knew lunch could be so complicated!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

A Catch-Up

I have been a bad blogger and neglected the blog. I blame the summer holidays and the weather! Having two girls at home full time seems to keep me very busy, that and the hot weather mean I've been sitting down exhausted in the evening and not felt like doing ANYTHING.

My days have been filled with lots of lovely things such as:

*Lunch in a beautiful shabby chic cafe
*A boat ride out to a sand bank to see the seals
*A visit to a country park, with another boat ride and some rowing too
*My sister-in-law's hen day - a pampering afternoon followed by a meal and cocktails
*And lots of general fun

Here are a few pictures from the last couple of weeks.

Excuse the random order there!

I should have some more coherent posts coming up soon. Especially as my eldest is starting school soon, eeeeek!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Homemade Gelatin Face Mask (eeeek)

I saw a Pin on Pinterest suggesting that a homemade face mask made using gelatin and milk was the way to clearer softer skin.

You need one sachet of gelatin and 1.5 tbsp of milk. Mix together, microwave for 10 seconds and apply with your fingers to your face (check it's not too hot first!).

Let it dry and then...


I should have read the comments by this idea BEFORE putting it on.

My skin was soft and my pores maybe a little better but I've also lost several chunks of eyebrow. It made my eyes water it hurt that much to peel off! And it stank.

If you are crazy brave enough to try it then my tips would be:

1. Only apply it where you really need it - nose, t-zone.
2. Do not put it anywhere near eyebrows.
3. Do not put it near lips
4. Or eyes
5. Or hairline
6. Be prepared for PAIN.
7. If you do get it somewhere delicate then soak it off
8. Don't do it around children - you will use expletives.
9. Gelatin and milk warmed up smells like WET DOG (it really does)
10. Your cat will want to lick your face due to point 9.

My skin is soft but that might just be because the mask has ripped the surface of my skin off completely. And as for the eyebrows. Well. It's a good job I'm blonde.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Recent cupcakes

I've been a bit lax in taking and posting cupcake photos recently. Here are a couple of recent orders:

Cat cupcakes - smoothed frosting, fondant ears and piped eyes, nose and whiskers.

Zingy cupcakes - the little creature from the EDF adverts! I'd not heard of Zingy before but he was fun to make, 18 times!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Strawberry Picking

We took the girls strawberry picking for the first time. It was a dull day and we were the only ones there! The girls loved it. We got 3 big punnets of strawberries for just under £3 and I also bought some local honey which is really yummy!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Pasta and Cheese soup - Recipe!

Earlier I really fancied something cheesey and soupy so I started googling for recipes for a soup. But I couldn't find anything that took my fancy or that was simple enough. Everything seemed to involve nutmeg or potatoes or onions or blitzing something. What I had in my mind was something with chunks of veg in it. I've tried the 'mugshots' before in broccoli and cheese flavour and while they are ok, they are a lot of calories for a little mug but they did show me that pasta and soup do go together.

I took the plunge and decided to make up a recipe as I went. And it worked! It was really nice! And really quick to make.


*Cooked pasta (couple of handfuls depending on how pasta-y you want it)
*Cheese sauce - (350ml milk, 2 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp butter, handful of grated cheese)
*Broccoli and cauliflower - I used frozen
*Veg stock cubes

To start I put the broccoli and cauliflower in a pan of boiling vegetable stock. I used 2 stock cubes worth to cover the veg.

I then put the pasta on to cook.

To make the cheese sauce just put in the milk, flour and butter and stir constantly with a balloon whisk over a medium heat until bubbling then add the cheese and whisk until smooth.

Then add some of the stock to the cheese sauce until it is the thickness that you want your sauce. Drain the broccoli and cauliflower and add it to the sauce. Add the pasta to the sauce too. Give it a mix and heat it until it bubbles a bit. Season to taste. Pour into bowls and sprinkle a little more cheese on the top.


Friday, 3 August 2012

My New Tattoo - And Why I Love Tattoos

I think people are always a bit surprised that I like tattoos and even more surprised to find that I have them (only two though and one is brand new). I'm not sure if it'd because I've always been the 'good girl' type or whether they just think I am 'sensible'.

But I love ink. To me it is about self expression. Putting a mark on yourself that is entirely your design and something that is permanent. Something that I have chosen entirely myself.

People say 'well what about when you're old and wrinkly' and, yeh, fair enough, tattoos won't look amazing forever BUT as I grow old everything about me will change and I'd rather enjoy the tattoo while I can then never get one. My first tattoo is a small blue daisy on my stomach that I got pre-children - I doubt it'll ever see the light of day again. My new one is on my right foot. I doubt I'll be rocking heels as an 80 year old and if I am then I'll be rocking the tattoo still. If not then it'll be neatly tucked up in my fluffy slippers as a reminder of a younger time.

SO! Meet me new tattoo...

This photo was taken yesterday not long after the tattoo was done. The swelling and redness will fade soon!

The dandelion head represents lots of things to me. Part of it is because they are so childish and youthful - my girls pick them and blow hard to see how many seeds they can get off. And then they make a wish. If the heads are floating around then they try and catch them because to them they are fairies. I love the seed concept and the whimsical nature of the plant that is generally considered a weed.

And as for foot tattoos? I read horror stories of not being able to walk, of huge feet, of it being the most painful place to get a tattoo etc etc. I was worried because of everything I had read but I can honestly say it was completely fine. I don't know if it's because there was no colour? Because it only took 45 minutes? Or maybe because it only covers a third or so of my foot? But the pain was minimal, in fact only the D caused me to wince and I'd say that it felt very similar to the scratch of a blood test. The rest of it was just a bit tingly. It is slightly puffy but nothing major and I've had no pain since having it done. I am able to wear shoes (ballet pumps that don't touch it) and I've walked and driven without noticing it.

Oh... and I'm already planning my next one!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Gadanke - Journals that I LOVE

***This post is ENTIRELY my own opinion. It is not sponsored by Gadanke or anyone else and I have no been reimbursed in any way for this post ***

I've been going to write this post since I got my first Gadanke journal through the post. I then delayed writing about it as I bought myself another one... and then I was luck enough to WIN one so I am now the proud owner of 3 beautiful different Gadanke journals.

The chances are you won't have heard of Gadanke. The company and concept was set up by the very lovely Katie who has a real passion for story-catching. I first found the website from another blog and as soon as I saw the journals I knew I needed them in my life.

Gadanke journals are diaries with a difference - they are beautiful, hand-made, eco-friendly and they come complete with writing prompts, pictures, quotes, envelopes and pretty papers to make telling your story easy and enjoyable. If you can't think of what to say then simply read a prompt on a page and you'll have a way to start.

Here are my three journals:
*She - all about you and your world
*Taste - all about food
*Become - all about your creative self

Here are some photos from inside my journals

Cute aren't they! I especially love the little tags, envelopes and pretty papers that you get with them. They come beautifully packaged too <3. 

I've got a drawer amongst the girls craft drawers where I keep my journals and the stuff I put in them.

This is just some of the stuff in my drawer - fine liners, fancy pens, a date stamp, stickers, sticky ribbon, washi tape etc. Mostly I use a simple black biro though!

I love love love writing in these journals, I'm debating which one to get next... choices choices...

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Copper Petals - And the Olympic Opening Ceremony

My blog views yesterday rocketed - people were googling 'Olympic copper kettles' and finding my Olympic torch post - because of the name of the blog. We'll ignore the fact that they were copper PETALS not kettles. If you are finding my blog because that's what you've googled then HELLO! I might not have what you're looking for but have a look around anyway, I'm nice :D

I was already planning on posting about the Olympics. I like sport generally and I LOVE the Olympics. I love pretty much all of the sports that are shown so I expect to watch a lot of tv over the next 16 days.

Wasn't the opening ceremony amazing? I think it really encompassed the quirkiness of Great Britain and it was very cleverly done. I thought the transition from English countryside to the industrial revolution was clever. The Bond and the Queen scene was funny, as was the Mr. Bean skit. I loved the mention of the NHS and I loved the age of technology bit.

My favourite thing though? The copper petals. I had almost given up watching the countries march - 204 seems like so many when they are all individually introduced. The petals were intriguing. I guessed they'd be organised in some way to represent something and I guessed they'd be linked to the flame but I wasn't expecting anything quite so beautiful. I'm not sure if they were representative of a particular flower but to me they looked like a dandelion clock - whimsical, childish, make-a-wish dandelions (I'm having a dandelion tattoo next week because I love what they represent). The way they moved up together to make one flame was a beautiful touch.

To me the Olympics represents unity, countries coming together to compete but compete together and only in sports - ignoring the rest of the crap going on in the world and just having some fun. Last Tuesday I went to London for the day and went on a boat trip along the Thames where the Olympic rings were hanging on Tower Bridge. Impressive!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A Lack of Creativity

I am in a bit of a lull. I don't have an urge to cook, crochet, bake or craft. I don't feel the urge to complete anything or start anything new. I'm not sure what has caused the lull? The weather? The fact that the summer holidays have just started? Something in the air?

I still use pinterest daily and I still like LOOKING at lots of pretty possible projects but I've not got the oomph to do them.

New kitten (who is in face a GIRL, still known as Beau) has settled in well. She's slightly less crazy. She is currently asleep on my chest, dribbling and snoring. She fits into the family well.

Do you love the dress? I do. It landed on my doorstep yesterday and I ADORE it. I'm hoping to get a petticoat so that it is a puffy on as the photo shows.

Best bits about this un-creative week?

*My gorgeous friend finally had her baby boy
*I got cuddles with the above cute baby
*I got this pretty dress
*Tomorrow I get to see some family that I've not seen in a while
*The girls said goodbye to their old nursery - ready to start anew in September
*Kitty appears to be a lap (or chest) cat <3

Monday, 16 July 2012

Our New Addition

Meet Mr. Bojangles. Beau for short. He has deleted this post twice, closed this window a few times and added his own text to the post. Apparently me typing is incredibly entertaining and causes him to throw himself full pelt onto my keypad. 

He is 8 weeks old and came toghhb    ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;kkkkpoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Yeh that was him. He came to live with us yesterday.

He is crazy. Adorable but definitely crazy!

Yesterday we had to say goodbye to Meredith. Because poor old Meredith turned out to be a boy. And a very loud one. He has gone off to a new home now.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Easy Nectarine Jam

I love nectarines and so have been buying them fairly frequently while they are in season and relatively cheap. But I forgot to eat some and as a result I had 2 punnets of over-ripe nectarines. So I decided that I needed to make some jam. I've limited jam making experience and I had limited time but this method is SO easy that it didn't matter.

Nectarines naturally contain pectin (as do plums) and that is the stuff that helps give it the jammy texture - so that means that all you need for nectarine jam is sugar, nectarines and some lemon juice. And a saucepan!

Nectrarines - chopped, stones removed, no need to peel
Sugar - half the weight that you have of nectarines. I used caster sugar
Water - I used 1 cup of water - to about 8 nectarines
Lemon juice - I used the juice of half a lemon, something like that will be fine.

Put all the ingredients in a pan, stir and bring to a rolling boil, stir frequently and boil for about 30 minutes - or until thick and jammy. Then leave to cool. Pour into a jar, jug, whatever you fancy. My 8 nectarines made one average jam sized jar. In a sterilised jar (boil it for 5 minutes) the jam will keep in the fridge for 6 months!

The jam is thick and a beautiful colour. It's really tasty too!


Friday, 6 July 2012

Chocolate Heaven Cake Tutorial/Recipe

Know someone who LOVES chocolate? Then this cake is perfect.

This recipe makes a 12 inch square cake - scale down the recipe for smaller tins!


600g plain flour
120g cocoa powder
840g caster sugar
240g unsalted butter
3 tbsp baking powder
720ml milk
6 eggs
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour your cake tin.
Mix the butter, cocoa, flour, sugar and baking powder together until the mix is like fine breadcrumbs.
In a separate jug mix the milk and eggs together.
Add the liquid mix to the breadcrumb mix and mix gently until smooth.
Pour into the tin and bake until cooked through - approximately 1 hour.
Leave the cake to cool before taking it out of the tin.


800g icing sugar
200g cocoa powder
320g unsalted butter
150ml milk

Beat all the ingredients together until really light and fluffy.

To decorate, spread the frosting all over the cake. Use chocolate fingers around the outside (or flakes, biscuits, sweet treat of your choice) and then fill the top with whatever chocolates you fancy. This cake had a box of continental chocolates on it, 2 boxes of Malteasers and a bar of dark chocolate!