Lemon Drizzle

A great recipe that costs pennies to make.

I made a bit of a booboo with the recipe, but overall, it turned out great.  Afterall, making mistakes when baking makes some of the best recipes known to man.  I also burned my finger rather badly when taking the tin out of the oven, so please, please, please, be careful!

Ingredients

2 eggs

3oz self-raising flour

3oz caster sugar

3oz butter

1/2 tsp baking powder

Lemon zest from 1/2 lemon

For the drizzle

2oz caster sugar

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C for fan assisted ovens.
  2. Line your loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Combine the eggs, flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and lemon zest in a large bowl, until creamy.
  4. Pour in to your lined tin.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and springy to the touch.
  6. Remove from the oven, and whilst it’s cooling, measure out your sugar for the drizzle, and stir thoroughly with the juice from 1/2 a lemon, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  7. As soon as the sugar is dissolved, pour the mixture over the top of the still warm cake, and spread all over with the back of a metal spoon.
  8. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.
  9. Slice up and enjoy!

20170219_151338

20170219_151501

Advertisements

Weird days to celebrate with the kids

This is a great calendar to work with your kids on…  Other than the usual “National” days, these are something a little different that will guarantee to put a smile on your little one(s) face(s).

8 January – Bubble bath day

14 January – Rubber ducky day

18 January – Winnie the Pooh day

19 January – Popcorn day

24 January – Pay a compliment day

31 January – Backwards day

6 February – Eat ice cream for breakfast day

11 February – Make a new friend day

17 February – Random act of kindness day

26 February – Tell a Fairy Tale day

5 March – Learn what your name means day

20 March – International story telling day

2 April – International children’s book day

10 April – International siblings day

14 April – Laugh out loud day

18 April – International juggler’s day

25 April – International penguin day

30 April – Honesty day

1 May – Mother Goose day

4 May – “May the 4th be with you” day

10 May – Clean your bedroom day

11 May – Eat what you want day (within reason)

12 May – Limerick day

13 May – Frog jumping day

14 May – Dance like a chicken day

24 May – Scavenger hunt day

1 June – Say something nice day

6 June – Yo-yo day

7 June – Chocolate ice cream day

8 June – Best friends day

14 June – Act like a monkey day

17 June – Eat all your veggies day

26 June – Forgiveness day

29 June – International jump in a muddy puddle day

1 July – International joke day

2 July – UFO day

10 July – Teddy bears picnic day

20 July – Moon day

3 August – Watermelon day

7 August – Visit a lighthouse day

19 August – Photograph day

30 August – Frankenstein day

13 September – Positive thinking day

15 September – Make a hat day

19 September – Talk like a pirate day

22 September – Elephant appreciation day

1 October – Burst a balloon day

6 October – Mad Hatters tea party day

7 October – International smile day

14 October – International dessert day

16 October – Learn a new word!  It’s dictionary day

4 November – Pharaoh day

6 November – Saxophone day

13 November – Kindness day

17 November – Go for a walk day

21 November – International “hello” day; say “hello” to a stranger (with adult supervision)

9 December – Make a Christmas card day

20 December – Carol singing day

24 December – North Pole breakfast day

Thumbprint Biscuits

This is such a simple recipe, and perfect for kiddies to make.  Try your hand at this frugal, and exceedingly yummy recipe.  All in all, I think it cost approximately 45p to make 12 biscuits…

biccies

Ingredients

50g butter – softened
75g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cap vanilla essence
100g plain flour
Jam / Nutella / Lemon Curd
Method
 
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line your baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Using the back of a large, wooden spoon, cream the butter in a large bowl, then add the sugar. Continue to cream together.
3. Add the egg yolk, and vanilla essence, and continue stirring with the wooden spoon.
4. Add the flour, part by part, and combine thoroughly. When it becomes difficult to mix, get your hands in there to form a dough ball.
5. “Pinch an inch”, and roll in to ball shapes. Place on the lined baking tray.
20170108_134606
20170108_134603
6. Use your thumb, and press down in the middle of each ball, creating a well.
20170108_134829
7. Add a teaspoon full of your jam (or Nutella / lemon curd), ensuring that the mixture doesn’t overflow too much.
20170108_135202
8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
20170108_140722
9. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the baking tray for approximately 5 minutes or so, before placing them on a cooling wire rack.
20170108_143236
10. Enjoy!!

20 ways kids make Christmas magical

It’s easy for Christmas BC (Before Children) to feel more about our hangovers and expanding waistlines (not to mention our overdrafts) than any real festive spirit. Then you have a child and all that changes. Not since you were a nipper, anxiously listening out for Father Christmas in your PJs, have you felt so infused with joy and enchantment.

Here are 20 ways that Christmas becomes magical when you’re a parent …

1. It used to drive you bonkers that Christmas started pretty much in October (oh, yes it did…) but now you can’t wait for the shops to bust out the Christmas lights and to hear Noddy Holder’s dulcet tones. Ooh, and the advent calendars, and the ads and the Christmas lists…  How many times have you rewritten yours?

2. Nothing can prepare you for the heart-melting sweetness of watching your little one in their very first Christmas nativity or school play, whether they have a starring role or not (it’s Gning’s first Nativity on 7 December).  Don’t forget your tissues!

Children's nativity play

3. Kids make it OK to sport clashing decorations and an OTT Christmas tree.  In fact, the more of mash-up of colours and styles of baubles, the better.

4. It’s FINALLY acceptable to buy chocolate decorations again. Just remember to leave a few for the kids, eh?

5. Their Christmas list to Santa reads like a stock-taking sheet of ToysRUs and Smyths combined.  But it’s the ‘and I’ve been soooo good’ line that really makes you smile.

dear-santa

6. Thank goodness this year you’ve got a good excuse for the misshapen mince pies.  All your toddler’s own work, yes?

7. You love channelling your inner-storyteller with stories of Father Christmas and seeing your children’s eyes widen with delight.

8. Creating your very own traditions is something you’ll share for a lifetime.  Maybe you write a Christmas poem together, or put on a little festive play for the grandparents?  Or leave one more present in the garden to be discovered – “Oh look!  Santa must have dropped it!”

9. Leaving a glass or milk (or something stronger) for Father Christmas, and a carrot for Rudolph, never loses it’s charm.  And neither does…

10. …drinking that something stronger on Christmas Eve, when the wee ones are safely asleep.

11. Nothing beats that amazing feeling of satisfaction on Christmas Eve when everything is wrapped and ready for the next day.  Savour the scene – because the next day it’s carnage!  Hope your recycling bins are empty…

0541

12. Not to encourage your inner bah, humbug, but it’s a great time of year to dodge any tedious social engagements: honestly, babysitters are so unreliable…

13. Family films are no longer an indulgence, they’re mandatory.  From the Muppet’s Christmas Carol to Home Alone, it’s the perfect season to snuggle up on the sofa.

14. Talking of which, make your brood hot chocolate with marshmallows. And have one yourself.

recipe-january2013-hot-cocoa-ictcrop-m

15. Place your bets on what time Christmas Day officially starts.  And yes, it feels magical even though it’s 5am.

16. As you watch them open their pressies, you remember the fizzy feeling of thrill and excitement you had as a child.  And seeing the joy your children bring to their grandparents is priceless.

17. Eating together as a family is something to take time over and savour.  Who cares if the potatoes are a tiny bit burnt, or the sprouts a bit hard?  It doesn’t have to be perfect to be appreciated.

Family-Christmas-Pictures-2

18. Snow is what dreams are made of when you’re five.  And snow at Christmas…  Cue delirious children and giggling parents!

19. The pleasure of tumbling back into a warm and cosy house after a good old stomp outside brings the colour to everyone’s cheeks.

20. Knowing at the close of Christmas day that the hard work is over for another year – and despite the odd flurry of tears and tantrums – they’ve had a pretty wonderful day.  Well done, you.  Only 365 days to go…

keep-calm-only-365-days-till-christmas

10 back-to-school parenting behaviours that need to STOP!

I don’t know if it was just me, but this has been the longest. summer. ever. 

We ran out of things to do way back in July. The fact that my little man has just gone back to school – fan-freaking-tastic!

He’s only been back 5 days, and already, I have seen it begin. The comments. From the parents.

Listen, we’ve all gone through school decorum before, but before it really begins…  Let’s get some things out of the way.

1. Let’s start with the basics: If your kid is sick/has incurable lice/the plague …  For the love of all that’s holy, keep them at home. No one wants that nonsense.

2. Do not ask about my child’s medical history. At school. While we are dropping them off.

“OMG, does he have ADHD? Is he taking medicine? He looks kind of autistic. Did you vaccinate your kids? I have so many opinions on this I am going to tell you while we are trying to make sure our kids still have their backpacks / jackets / shoes / brains!”

3. Self validation bait questions. 

“I am told all the time I don’t look old enough to have a 5-year-old. Do you think I look that old?”

Yeah. Actually, you do look that old.  In fact, I probably would have said older.

4. Working mother’s vs. SAHM: Neither of you need to comment on the other.

Just shush.

5. Do not comment on what other parents are wearing. 

If it is before 9 am, and I have nowhere to go for the day besides dropping my son off at school, chances are I’m not finding my lipstick and heels. Or bra. Unless you’re about to tell me you love my quickly-thrown-on jogging bottoms, covered in the kids’ breakfasts, don’t speak.

6. You do not need to comment on what my child is or isn’t doing. 

“That’s too bad you don’t have your kids enrolled in advanced maths. I have my kids in advanced maths, and chess, and lacrosse, and drama, and . . .”

We get it. Your kids are friggin’ amazing.  I wouldn’t want my son on the same team(s) as your kids anyway.  Besides – he’s only 4.

7. You do not need to compare our kids.  

“Your kid doesn’t know Gaelic? Mine started doing that on his/her own two years ago.”

 Is é sin go hiontach, cares aon duine. (“That’s great. No one cares.”)

No one even speaks Gaelic anymore, dude.  Unless you live in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.  Which we don’t.

8. You do not need to compare our significant others, either.

“My wife/husband doesn’t work.  They stay at home to make sure they have so much time with the kids…”  Yeah, well…  Mine works bloody hard, out of the house, during the day to make sure that we are well looked after / clothed / fed…

9. You especially don’t need to comment on anyone’s relationship status. 

“Oh, you’re not married? I just assumed you were . . . ”

“OMG, my husband has been working for two nights in a row. Single mothers,amirite?”

NOPE.  You are NOT a single parent unless you do NOT have a partner…

10. Unless the person to whom you are speaking is a really, super-close friend, do not stand in the school parking lot and casually mention how much money you spent on your month long Mediterranean cruise while you were having your entire house redecorated with plated gold and landscaped with magical secret unicorn pampas grass you had imported from Nepal. 

Some of us commoners who couldn’t afford holiday at all this year might feel the desire to punch you in the face.

Have a great school year!

‘Creeping’ in to an 18th birthday party

It’s my “baby” cousins’ 18th birthday party tomorrow.  I say “baby”, as she is the youngest “cousin” in my generation.  It’s shocking…  She’s certainly not a baba any more!!

Anyway, as she is an avid gamer, she’s hosting a fancy dress party with “gaming” as the theme.

My son (3 yrs old) wanted to go as one of the Avengers, which there are plenty of games that have the Avengers in them, but I wanted something a little more original. Buying a costume is always easier, so I set myself up with a HUGE challenge (well, it was for me…), to make him a costume of one of his favourite Minecraft characters.

The Creeper.

This is what he looks like in the game…

l55250-creeper-minecraft-28135

This is what he looks like as a plush toy…

f056_creeper_plush

And this is my personal take on one…

Minecraft  (1)

Minecraft  (7)

11026310_10155412881725790_5539864890661900574_o

So now I’m going to rightly “blow my own trumpet” and say that I am overly proud (isn’t that a Sin?) of my creation.  I made my own pattern, cut everything out, sewn everything together…  Eek!  I’m so chuffed, ha ha.

Now, some of you may be thinking “why is she so proud of that?”.  Well, let me tell you…  Before this little project, the most I have ever created on the sewing machine before, was a “traders’ apron”, and I thought that was fab!

Thoughts / comments welcome x

Croxteth Hall and Country Park – Liverpool

A beautiful park in the middle of a busy city isn’t very rare now-a-days.  In fact, it’s quite common place.  Take Central Park, for example.  In the middle of one of the worlds’ most busiest cities, lies 842 acres (1.32 miles²3.41 km²) of stunning greenland and waterways.  I’m talking about New York, of course.  

Now, if I was to say to you, that just on the outskirts of Liverpool city centre, there is 500 acres of greenery, with an historic hall dated around 1575 AD, a well-kept walled garden (bursting with rare roses and other flowers), and a home farm (full of rare breeds of horses, ponies, cows, pigs, sheep and goats (and more)), I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t really stare at me in amazement.  However, to see the beauty of this area is literally breath-taking.  Especially, as aforesaid, knowing that Liverpool city centre is a mere 5 miles away.

9108143376_f085e3cabf_z

 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the ‘main entrance’ to Croxteth Hall.  To tour the house, you must enter through the shop, which is actually part of the servants quarters, around the left hand side of the house.

The Hall was owned, and lived in, by the Molyneux family from the 16th century until 1972, when the last Earl passed away.  His widow, Josephine – Countess of Sefton (1903-1980) continued to reside in the property until she died.  She was the last member of the Molyneux family to live in the hall.

When the last Earl died in 1972, a worldwide search was made for a legal heir to the title without success.  The property and estate is now owned and managed by Liverpool City Council.

You can learn more about the Earls of Sefton by visiting this Wiki page.

The farmstead shows you how a Victorian animal farm was run, and hosts so many animals, many of which are rare breeds.

My little man walked through a picket gate, and he got such a fright when the giant mother sow snorted right behind him…  We counted 8 piglets with this particular mother pig, and there was a big sign showing that throughout February and March, there were 34 piglets born!  We saw a lot of them, from little tiny pinky babies to quite large ‘Irn Bru’ (burnt orange) coloured piglets 🙂

Sheep and lambs, goats and kids…  Two beautiful shire horses (Clydesdale)…  Even an aviary full of cockerels, hens, peacocks, zebra finches (obviously, I was thrilled to see them), budgies, parrots…  It was such fun to see Gning run around looking at all of the animals.  Definitely a place for children 🙂

The country park hosts fields that seem to lead to the clouds, flowers of all different colours (from vibrant reds to subtle blues), trees of all different shapes and sizes (some good enough to climb), and ponds full of various waterfowl.  There is certainly so much more to do than to visit one of the main ‘attractions’ in the estate (the hall, farm or walled garden).  You could take a picnic blanket and a few outdoor games, and you’d be occupied all day.  Go for a walk in one of the surrounding woodlands…

You’d certainly not think that you were only a stones-throw away from the East Lancs Roas, and a bustling city.

The whole estate is actually free to visit, and parking is free too.  However, to actually go inside the hall, walled garden and farm, there are admission fees.

Hall:

Adults £3.50; children and OAP’s £2.70

Walled garden:

Adults £2.50; children and OAP’s £1.90

Farm:

Adults £3.50; children and OAP’s £2.70

Combined ticket for all three of the above:

Adult £7.00; children and OAP’s £5.40

For further info about the hall, click here to visit the official website.

To give you a basic run down, I would say that this is a family day out for all ages.  There’s plenty to see and do for the very young, to the older in life.  If you pay a visit to the hall for instance, and you are pushing a pram or a wheelchair, everywhere inside of the hall is accessible, as there are lifts and ramps 🙂  The farm, although cobbled, is also easy accessible…  And the majority of the pathways around the estate are suitable for all walks of life.

My final scoring for the whole of the property would be 9/10.  I’m sorry to say that they lost a point in all due to no fault of their own, but the smell of stagnant water is empowering, and the farm didn’t seem to help either 😉  Ha ha.

I’ll leave the post with a few photo’s of our little trip 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s my little man taking a ride on ‘Toby’ the donkey 😀

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside the wine cellar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This actually is a door from the original building, dated from 1575!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I would LOVE a kitchen this size!  Although, I don’t envy having to clean it…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was the Countess’ dressing room

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The stunning interior of the stairwell

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Titanic stairwell was actually modeled from this stairwell in Croxteth hall

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My little man looking at a Shetland pony, and a rare shot of my arm!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mmmm…  Bacon…  Oops!  I mean, awww…  Look at the baby piggies ❤

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And finally, a beautiful shire horse

%d bloggers like this: