Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Christmas making memories

It's no secret I absolutely adore Christmas, I am a merchandiser dream, from Christmas hats to Christmas socks I have purchased the lot. Ever since having children of my own there is the added magic of seeing the pure excitement on their faces from the first day of the advent, through to the ever so special Christmas Eve and of course the big day itself.

I have so many special memories of Christmases when I was younger and I hope to help create such magical memories for my family too. Simple things such as decorating the tree, visiting Santa's grotto and of course writing the all important list to the big man himself. When I was younger I was so excited for the regular visit to Santa to tell him that I had been good all year and come away hoping that I may catch a glimpse of him in my living room filing my stocking on Christmas Eve.

My sister and I spent many a Christmas Eve trying to keep each other awake waiting for Santa, wondering where he was and if he would call. Waking super early on Christmas mornings to peep downstairs to see 'if he had been', and running into our parents room in hope that it was time to go get up properly.

The boys are now at the age where real memories can be created and they have really started to believe in Father Christmas. It would be a dream  come true to be able to take the boys to Lapland and capture the sheer excitement and the true magic of visiting Father Christmas at his home.

This is my entry into the @Transun Lapland competition.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Sugar and Crumbs Chocolate Icing Sugars Review

Earlier this year at the Cake and Bake show in Manchester I came across the flavoured icing sugars from Sugar and Crumbs and after after sampling a huge selection of their delights came away with a few flavours to try at home.

I was really impressed with flavours and the Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream went down a storm at home. So when i saw they were looking for volunteers to try out their new range of chocolate icing sugars i was only too will too help out.

The new range consists of three new flavours black forest, Jaffa Twist and Chocolate Milkshake, i was sent the latter two flavours to review.

Using the Jaffa Twist chocolate icing sugar I made a chocolate orange sponge cake, using a really easy all in one chocolate mixture. Filling the centre of the cake with the Jaffa twist icing. The instructions were really easy to follow and only required butter and water to be added. I used a full 250g bag and this created more than enough for filling and decoration of the sponge cake. This created a rich chocolate flavour with a definite orange taste and for me this was a great balance of chocolate and orange.

I used the same chocolate cake recipe to create chocolate milkshake cupcakes, again i used a 250g bag of chocolate icing sugar, I decorated 12 cupcakes generously and had plenty of icing left. These went down well with the kids but I did prefer the Jaffa Twist flavouring.

These chocolate icing sugars are a ideal quick and easy way to add a new twist to your baking. I am looking forward to trying the Black Forest flavour too.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Starting School

Last week I went along to a meeting at nursery about Little man moving rooms, moving into the pre schoolers room, the room before he starts Primary school. Yes it's over a year away  and little man is still a toddler in my eyes, but I have already  started to make enquiries in the application process and think about the schools in our local area.

The application process in theory is a choice based process that allows you to submit your preference of primary school via your local authority. However as we live on the boundary of two local authorities the process is maybe a little more complex for us especially considering that the year of little man's birth was considered to be a high birth rate year. 

I have already started to make enquiries with local schools to find about admission criteria and to started to contact head teachers about the possibility of coming to view the schools. Deciding on a first school seems like a massive decision to make and I am hoping that I just get the feeling of knowing that it is the right school for my children, like any parent I want my children to have the best possible start, and feel strongly that both education and social aspects should not have to be compromised. 

The thought of not getting my first or second choice school and having to look at the appeals process or alternative is an added pressure to making the right decision. Then comes the thoughts of School uniforms, packed lunches, before school clubs, after school clubs. I am sure all will be come clearer over the next few months especially once that application pack come through the door.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Bank Holiday shop with Morrisons

A few weeks ago I was selected to become a #Morrisonsmum and was sent some vouchers to go along to our local store and create a meal for the family. I had a few ideas in mind but as Morrisons is not our usual supermarket I went along with an open mind and apart from the usual weekly purchases I hadn't prepared a meal planner.

More often that not I do the bulk of my shop online, so tend to have a good idea of prices but perhaps don't find that I see special offers and promotions as much. In advance of my shop I heard about the price cuts that Morrisons had made so was keen to see these in store.

So in advance of the Bank Holiday, I set out to the weekly shop. I was instantly drawn to the clear signage indicating the lower prices, and the fruit and vegetable section was packed with them, a lot of them as cheap or cheaper than the local market. I chose quite a wide selection which made great snacks for the boys and I.

The meat selection was large and I was really impressed with not only the prices, but the portion packs too, so I was able to purchase packs that were suitable just for the boys meals which I found handy. We also selected a piece of Rump steak for a Bank Holiday treat.

It was great to see that the cheaper prices weren't contained to one area and were spread throughout the departments and I was particularly pleased to find the offers on cheese as this one of the things we tend to go through a lot of and always like to have in.

As I shopped I put together a quick idea of meals for the week, and added a few treats too. As I prepare my meals I will be keen to see the difference in price to my normal shop.

Disclaimer: I was selected to become a #Morrisonsmum and was sent vouchers to shop in store.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Sweet Treats #CollectiveBias

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser #CollectiveBias

Easter for us has become a time when we all get together as a family to spend hours running around the garden hunting for eggs and clues, chatting, playing games and of course endulging in lots of Easter sweets and chocolates.

This year when planning our Easter get together i have put my thinking cap on and come up with something that we have never done before and set my mind to making an Easter pinata cake.

I wanted to make this Pinata as Easter themed as possible and to pack the centre with lots of sweets, like you used to get on the penny tray! This got me casting my mind back to some of my favourite sweets so i popped online and had a look at shop.lovehearts.com/ and amongst a host of goodies found the perfect sweets; a whole tub of  jelly fried eggs.

Making the Pinata was really simple, i just made up a batch of my favourite sponge cake and flavoured with a hint of caramel. i used an Easter Egg cake mould as i thought i could make a few of these and decorate in different colours.

Once the cake had cooled i scooped out an oval of cake from each of the Easter egg halves and filled them with fried eggs. For a burst of colour i used one of my childhood favourite treats, Swizzles Matlow Rainbow drops.

I then sealed the Egg shapes together with melted chocolate and drizzled this over the cake to create an effect of a decorated egg. The boys were very excited when we cut into the cake and all the sweets came tumbling out and i am sure these will go down a treat with us all again at the weekend.

As an added bonus we have plenty of egg sweets left so these will be put to good use in the Easter egg Hunt.

What are your favourite Easter Treats?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Cake and Bake Show Manchester

Last year me and my mum took the short train journey to the Cake and Bake Show in Manchester. Not sure quite what to expect i was quite taken aback by how much cakey goodness had been packed under one roof. From the simply outstanding life size gingerbread village to all the stalls, cakes, books and demos that were on offer. We both came away laden down with purchases, a whole host of new ideas, inspiration to get creative in the kitchen and a vow to keep our eyes peeled for the next event.

This weekend the 4th - 6th of April the Cake and Bake Show returns to Manchester Central with a fantastic line up of star speakers including Frances Quinn and John Whaite and several other competititors from the Great British Bake Off.  A wide range of classroom and bakery demonstations across the weekend alongside free sugarpaste modelling sessions and several different types of competitions. There is also a Welcome to the Jungle feature which is the UK's most ambitious sugarcraft installation which sounds like its not to be missed.

The fun doesn't stop there either with a great selection of exhibitors for all types of baking enthusiasts and cake fans. There is bound to be some treats in store too!

For more information on the Cake and Bake Show Manchester or to purchase tickets click here

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Moments that mattered in 2013

2013 seemed to fly by, from little man turning two in early January, Christmas soon seemed to come along although the year was packed with lots of highlights and moments that really mattered.

The boys both had birthdays is the first few months and their little tea parties were lovely family gatherings and a afternoons packed full of party food, cake and proper party games.

We took advantage of the summer weather and spent days outside in the garden and enjoyed walks in the park.

We took a little break and enjoyed staying in a little caravan near the beach.

Little mans language really develop and could really tell us what he wanted, he learnt to count and take an interest in letters. He said I love you'

Tiny learned to walk and talk he learned 'mummy' and 'daddy. Learned how to play , how to feed himself.

We had days out Thomasland, the beach, the park. We had picnics we had takeaways. We had messy play. We read books over and over. We had fun lots and lots of fun.

We went away to London, we enjoyed lots of Christmas festivities.

We had lots of cuddles, and made lots of memories.

And I watched my two little men, watched them grow, watched them bond, watched them grow closer as brothers and saw my love for them grow stronger.

This is my entry in to the Lloyds Moments that  mattered competition.

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