Saturday, 30 June 2012

Sand Dunes and not a lot else...

Things here have been pretty slow paced. I've got bad vertigo at the moment so there are some things I just can't do and it's leaving me with very little sleep and feeling really bleurgh.

We drove to the sand dunes today, they aren't far from us, up away from the busier touristy part of the seafront. It was warm but really windy!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Meal Planning

I need to get back into the habit of PROPER meal planning. I've been slacking these last few weeks.

I always order my shopping online and I need to order it tomorrow so I've been thinking about what to eat for the week. My food week starts on a Friday as our shopping is delivered on a Thursday evening. I need to sort out one main meal a day then we'll wing the rest with sandwiches and lighter meals.

This week's plan is not the most adventurous - but the meals suit our plans for the day.

Friday - Thai red curry
Saturday (lunch) - 'Breakfast' (poached eggs, beans, toast, bacon)
Sunday (lunch) - Pasta bake
Monday -Spaghetti carbonara
Tuesday - Jacket potatoes with stuffed peppers
Wednesday - Beans on toast
Thursday - Salmon with mash and veg

My aim is for a more exciting menu over the next couple of weeks! I would also love to come up with a system (am thinking using magnets?) whereby I have meals written on cards and have some way of attaching them to a pretty menu so that every week I can put up what meals we are having. I'll have to think more on this idea!

And just because I haven't any other pictures for today...

F... catching flies after a long day!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Apple and Oat Cookies - Recipe

I've made these cookies a few times before. They always go down well with the girlies and I am happy to let them eat them as they are almost healthy. I say almost as a cookies is never going to be as healthy as a salad... but these cookies have apples and oats in. So very nearly healthy!

The recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery book - Cake Days. If you don't have it then you should go and buy it right now! I love it. It has so many recipes in and such wonderful ones too. It is my 'go to' baking book.


135g unsalted butter (softened)
80g caster sugar
80g soft light brown sugar (I didn't have any so I used 40g dark brown soft sugar and 40g caster sugar)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
190g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt (I only use a pinch)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 apples
60g oats

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Using a mixer of some sort mix the butter and all of the sugar together until paler and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Then add the flour, cinnamon, salt and bicarb and mix to a dough.

Peel and grate the apples. Squeeze the grated apple through your fingers to get as much liquid out as you can. You need around 60g of grated apple (after squeezing). I had 50g from my 2 apples which worked fine. Add this and the oats to the dough and mix by hand.

Roll the dough into balls (2tbsp approx in size) and place on the baking tray. Place well apart as they spread! Cook for 15-20 minutes. 15 for gooer cookies, 20 for harder ones!

Then eat them. Try one while they are still warm. YUM.

P.S This is what happens when you don't take your own advice about spreading them out....


Thursday, 21 June 2012

And breathe...

I don't think things have actually been as manic as it feels like they have. I think that the lack of sleep (4am wake up calls from the girls!!!) means that everything feels like too much effort. I've found myself needing to sleep in the day to get through and therefore the house is suffering.

My washing baskets are full, there are clean clothes to put away, the kitchen is cluttered, the girls room has toys everywhere, the table has sticky jam marks on it. The floor needs steam mopping.

So I've been ignoring the growing list of stuff and concentrating on other things. Like having cups of tea and lunch with a friend and E...

Amazing or what. We ate at a little cafe called Hooray Henrys - the Shabby Chic cafe. It is beautiful. Polka dots, pastels, mis-matched crockery, vintage and beachy artefacts. Just lovely. And the food is amazing. That was just my lunch. Yum. They even gave E her apple juice in a teapot with a teacup so that she didn't feel left out! They were really accommodating, especially considering E was a grumpy, stroppy 2 year old in a room full of china!

Yesterday we went to the school that F will be attending as of September (more on that soon!). We had a meeting and got lots of information. It's all a bit daunting. Hubby and I went whilst the girls were at nursery and we decided to make the most of our free morning by going to a local beach cafe and enjoying the sunshine.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love living by the sea...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Pop Your Own Popcorn

I love popcorn. I prefer savoury to sweet but will eat either. I tried a curry popcorn once and that was amazing!

I usually buy the pre-flavoured microwave packs but three things lead me to popping my own -
1. The demise of our microwave!
2. The calories and additives in the microwave packs
3. The lack of flavours

So for father's day for my husband I kindly bought him some popping kernels and some retro popcorn boxes and tonight we popped our first batch!

All you need is some popping kernels - Asda sell 1kg bags for £2.50. A big pan with a lid and a little oil. 
We used half a cup kernels and 1tbsp of oil and it made a whole pan full!

We added butter and salt to ours but I'm looking forward to trying some more interesting flavours!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A Welsh Dresser and a Catch Up

6 DAYS since my last blog post. That is shocking!

Things have been very busy and crazy here. I had a good friend come to live with us for a few days while she had some things to sort out. Our house is small as it is so having another adult and a one year old made time fly!

I was browsing ebay on tuesday and quickly searched for 'dressers' near to us. I've been searching for a while for a welsh dresser that is cheap enough for us but one that I can love. I wasn't even sure where I wanted it to go. I just knew I needed one in my life. And there it was. 1940s dresser. On with a 'buy it now' so I didn't even have to fight for it. It cost me £45 and my husband a 50 minute round trip to go get it!

Here she is:

I've since added a fabric polka dot chicken in a pale blue wicker basket and I now have various things hanging from the handles.

I love it. It makes me happy.

That space in the kitchen was previously a white butterfly table and a lot of junk. And coats hanging on the wall and pictures and all sorts and it looked a mess. Now it is lovely. The jugs on the top I've had for ages and have had nowhere to show them off. Same with the teacups. They were a charity shop buy - my Mum picked them up for me and I have been safely stashing them waiting for somewhere to put them.

I have more plans for it. I want to paper the back in-between the shelves. I want to line the drawers and I was new knobs for it. Pretty ones. And bunting. There has to be bunting.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Chocoholic Cake and Recipe

Hello! It's been a few days since I last blogged, things have been a bit busy here!

Today I made this cake:

Fairly simple to make and nice and effective.

To make this you'll need:

For the cake:
10 inch round cake tin
400g plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
560g caster sugar
160g unsalted butter (room temp)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
80g cocoa powder
480ml milk

For the frosting and decoration:
400g icing sugar
100g cocoa powder
160g unsalted butter
100ml milk
2-3 packs of chocolate fingers
Malteasers/other chocolates

Heat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
In a stand mixer mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, butter, salt and caster sugar until it is a fine breadcrumb consistency.
In a separate bowl mix the eggs and the milk (the 480ml from the cake mix section)
Add this to the breadcrumb-y mixture while the mixer is on a slow speed.
Grease and flour your cake tin. Add the mix and tap to release air bubbles.
Bake for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool before turning out.

Make the frosting my mixing the icing sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk until light and fluffy. Add more milk if needed to achieve a smooth consistency.

Spread this frosting over the top and sides of the cooled cake. Press on the chocolate fingers and decorate however you wish!

Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Sandcastle Birthday Cake

For F's actual birthday I made her a cake using a castle mould and turned it into a beachy sandcastle type cake.

The cake was a simple pound cake recipe (1lb butter, self-raising flour and caster sugar, 8 eggs and a bit of vanilla). I then sprayed it using edible glimmer spray. The 'sand' was simply crushed digestives.

I then made a fondant pinwheel and flags and assembled it. It was a quick cake to make and quite fun too!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

An Ode to Princess Faith

Today is the day that our beautiful eldest daughter turns 4 years old.

I found out that I was expecting a surprise baby the day after my 20th birthday. Saying I was shocked is an understatement. It was a surprise that changed the course of our lives completely and absolutely for the better.

 Faith you are funny, kind, caring, sweet and thoughtful. I am so proud of the beautiful young lady that you are growing into. I feel so lucky to have you in my life. You are an amazing big sister and an amazing daughter.

You can draw beautiful pictures, tell funny jokes and you are ace at catching chickens. Your spirit and determination never ceases to amaze me.

In my daughter's eyes, everyone is equal,Darkness turns to light,And the world is at peace.This miracle God gave to me,Gives me strength when I am weak.I find reason to believe, in my daughter's eyes.
(Martina McBride - In My Daughter's Eyes)

Love you to the moon... and back

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Princess Cinderella Cake - and Princess Party!

So yesterday was Faith's Princess birthday party to celebrate her 4th birthday - although her actual birthday isn't until Tuesday.

It was back in October that Faith told me she wanted a princess party and so she was VERY excited. We surprised her by also booking a bouncy castle (which fitted inside our hall).

Here are some photos from the day.

For the party bags I bought bright pink paper bags and filled them with a selection of goodies - and then sealed them with a personalised sticker that read 'Thanks for coming to Princess Faith's Party'

I think the party was a success! The bouncy castle went down well, all the food and all the cake and cupcakes got eaten and the children left with a smile and Faith loved it! She's already planning her party for next year!

Because of Faith's birthday we haven't really considered celebrating the jubilee, so tonight I'm having a drink to celebrate...

And I'm using red white and blue straws to be patriotic. Cheers!