Saturday, 31 March 2012

Knitted Cardigan

I just love this cute look and last night I finished my latest knitting project.   Unfortunately Mimi is funny about her clothes and flatly refused to even try it on so I doubt she will ever wear it!  Now the question is what to do with it now it is finished.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Baking / Roast Chicken Pie.

Yesterday whilst most places continued to bask in the spring sunshine we were under low cloud and a chilly easterly wind. Originally I was considering a trip to Dungeness (for our D week) but with all the panic buying at the petrol station I thought better of it.  So instead we decided to do some baking, this is fast becoming one of Mimi's favourite activities.  Often one of the first things she asks me when she wakes up is "are we baking today".  Whilst this is great for Mimi it is not such good news for my waist line!!!  Yesterday was not a good Weight Watchers day!

First up we made a Chicken Pie with some left over roast chicken we had earlier in the week.  I meant to take a photo after I had cooked it but I forgot.  Mimi had fun helping make it but by tea time she was fast asleep on the sofa in front of Toy Story!!  

Shortcrust Pastry:

The ratio for making shortcrust pastry is half fat to flour.   I had some left over pastry which Mimi played with.

12oz plain flour
3oz margarine (I used Stork)
3oz lard (I used Cookeen) Previously I have used Trex but I think that Cookeen gave a much better end result.

If you wanted to you could use all margarine but your pastry will be stiffer and more yellow.

You need to rub in the fat to the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs then slowly add 2-3 tablespoons of really cold water.  Bring it together into a dough and then wrap in cling flim.  I then placed mine in the freezer for about 45mins or so whilst I then made my pie filling.

Pie Filling:

Left over roast chicken
I small onion finely chopped
1 stick of celery finely chopped
A good shake of freeze dried tarragon
2 tablespoons of butter
1 glass of white wine
250ml of water & 1 chicken stock cube
A splash of whole milk for glazing and a good splash to make your pie filling creamy
1 table spoon of plain flour.

Melt one table spoon of butter in a saucepan add your chopped onion and celery, fry lightly until translucent, then add your tarragon and continue heating for about a min.  Remove from the heat and place neatly on the base of your pie case.  Then cover with your left over roast chicken.

Melt remaining butter in your original saucepan, add your flour and make a roux sauce.  First add your wine and let it bubble for a few seconds then gradually add your chicken stock and a splash of whole milk until you get the desired consistency.  Pour your sauce over your chicken and finally cover with a pie lid.  Glaze with a splash of milk and pop in a pre-heated oven for 45-mins.

Then we made some cheese straws for Mimi's play-school packed lunch.  I used a recipe I found on the internet from all recipes.  I have used it before and it always produces good results.  However I thought that 450g of cheese was a bit much so I only added about 300g and to bind it together I added a splash of cold water.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Happy Days

I love it when the sun is shining.  It just up lifts everything and gives me a spring to my step. We have had a great day in the sun coffee and picnics it feels like summer.  Shame it doesn't look like its going to last much longer!

Check out Mimi's new rings!

Beautiful flowering Camellia in the sun.

Toddler Fashion Fix #2

My latest toddler fashion finds

1: Bonpoint | 2: Tea | 3: Phister & Philina | 4: Scandinavian Minimall | 5: Huset | 6: Tea | 7: Pepatino

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Grow your own apple tree.

Three weeks ago for Week A of our ABC series we planted a couple of apple pips which have started growing.  I can't believe that they have started to grow so quickly.  Only problem is I can not remember 
what variety of apple we potted.    

ABC Series D

Week 4 is D week.  I have thought of a few things to do this week although some of them are weather dependent so I am hoping the nice weather stops for a few days longer.  I am considering taking Mimi on a trip along the coast to Dungeness to look at the minature railway and the lighthouse.  I just love Dungeness however I can appreciate why it might not be everyone's cup of tea!  I love the vast open landscape and the little fishing huts. Derek Jarmans Garden is also worth a look not to mention the very cute rubber clad hut.  I would like to live at Dungeness although I should imagine it would be a bit bracing in the winter.


Sunday, 25 March 2012

C is for.......?!?

This week we have had fun with the letter C.  Mimi must have spent about an hour or more playing shops in my car yesterday afternoon.  I remember playing in my mums car when I was little.  

This is something I have been meaning to do ever since I came across the idea on Pininterest.  As anyone with children will know you always end up with a huge collection of broken crayons which usually end up being thrown out.  Well this is a great idea for recycling them.  Basically you peel off all the bits of paper and drop them into some silicone cases.  Pop them in the oven for about 5-10mins and voilĂ , heart shaped crayons! 

I picked up six silicone cup cake cases from Poundland which I thought was a bargain as I had seen some else where for about £5.  I gave them a quick squirt with some 1cal spray and I followed a great tutorial I came across on make and takes although I did turn my oven up a fraction to about 150 degrees.  What the tutorial doesn't tell you is how long it takes to peel off all the dam paper!!!  Having spent hours colouring in with Mimi and spending an hour peeling off all the paper I have concluded that the only crayons worth buying are Crayola.

We also had a practice run at making some cake pops for Mimi's birthday and the playschool Easter Fate (although I hadn't got any sticks hence pop bites).    I have attempted to make them before and the outcome was not good.  This time I think the outcome was much better.  I got the basic idea from Bakerella, I made my Red Velvet cake using the Hummingbird recipe and combined the mixture together with the Hummingbird cream cheese frosting recipe.  I have previously tried candy melts but I struggled with the consistency so I decided to use bog standard scot bloc.  I have realised that part of the trick is to pop your cake balls in the freezer or fridge before you coat them.  

I was planning on trying to take Mimi to the Castle but we never seemed to get there.  One of my friends mentioned the idea of Camping which we thought was a great idea but it is a bit too chilly once the sun goes in.  I think Mimi had fun, now what shall we do with week D?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Our Cramathon efforts.

A few weeks ago Mimi brought home an empty matchbox from playschool.  Called a Cramathon the idea was that you had to try and cram as many things as possible into your matchbox and then get some sponsorship.  I think that the funds raised are going to go towards having the play area re-surfaced.  I was really impressed with our efforts.  We managed to squeeze 87 items into our matchbox and raised £30.45.  Who would have guessed you could get so much into such a small space.  We had everything from seeds to magnets to hair bobbles.   

If I look out in the garden.......What can I see?? #2

Now if there is one thing I can not stand is GIANT spiders.  Living so close to a field we get some whopping big spiders in the house and last night was no exception.  Despite the fact that this one is missing a leg and compared to other places in the world he is relatively small he still gives me goose bumps.  I always thought men were meant to be tough when it comes to things like this but Mike is even worse than me.  Once when getting out of the shower a huge one plopped onto the floor from my towel.  YUCK!!  Its really hard though not to scare Mimi when we see them.  When we first moved in I was horrified by the size of them and looked them up on the internet, I seriously thought that they can not be a native to the UK but found out that this little baby is probably a Purse Spider.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Mini Blackberry and Apple Pies

This afternoon Mimi and I made some mini blackberry and apple pies.  We made them to put in Mimi's packed lunch box tomorrow.  I think I have been putting too much chocolate in her packed lunch box!  They were really easy to make.

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.

The ratio for making shortcrust pastry is half fat to flour.  I made the following, this allowed for 12 mini blackberry and apple pies. 

8oz plain flour
2oz margarine (I used Stork)
2oz lard (I used TREX)

If you wanted to you could use all margarine but your pastry will be stiffer and more yellow.

You need to rub in the fat to the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs then slowly add 2-3 tablespoons of really cold water.  Bring it together into a dough and then wrap in cling flim.  I then placed mine in the freezer for 20mins or so whilst I got my pie filling ready.

Apple Pie Filling:

3 eating apples (I used coxes) peeled and diced finely.
1 handful of blackberries or summer fruits
1 egg lightly beaten

Place your peeled apples into a small pan with a splash of water, heat them over a low heat until softened then add your remaining soft fruit, again heating it until it has softened roughly about 2-3mins.

Take your pastry out of the freezer and grease your bun tin.  Roll your pastry out thinly, then using a round pastry cutter cut out 12 rounds these need to be slightly bigger than the bun tin holes.  Then carefully spoon 1 teaspoon of your pie filling into the centre of each pastry base.  Re-roll your pastry and this time using a slightly smaller pastry cutter cut out another 12 rounds.  Place a pastry lid onto each of your pies.  Using a fork squash the edges together and mark a cross each lid.  Brush liberally with your egg and place in your pre-heated oven for about 20mins.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

New Years Resolution #1

This year much to my sisters amusement my New Year's Resolution is to only buy second-hand clothes.  A few weeks ago a new dress agency opened up in town.  Today I maintained my new years resolution......For a grand total of £16.00 I brought a cute pair of leopard print shoes which I reckon had only been worn once and a cool pink scarf to go with my pink nail varnish.

Pink Scarf £4.00 | Leopard Print Shoes £12.00 | China Glaze Nail varnish (rich and famous) £6.95 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Down at the bottom of the garden.......

Mimi loves going out in the garden.  Ever since she was really little my Dad has taught her about the different birds they get in their garden.  Then for Christmas I was given a bird table and we regularly put out bird cakes for the birds (home-made fat balls).  Mimi loves it and is always screeching about the birds in the garden.  This week my Mum gave Mimi the RSPB My First Book of......series.

My First Book of Garden Birds, £6.99, Books and DVDs,  

My First Book of Garden Wildlife, £6.99, Books and DVDs,  

RSPB My First Book of Garden Bugs, £6.99, Books and DVDs,  

She loves them, we have spent hours looking through them and pointing out what we have seen.  The books are really well laid out and easy to follow with excellent eye catching illustrations.  They are informative and well written.  They remind me of the books we used to have when were children. (I did a post last year about nature)  We are spoilt with the amount of wildlife we get in our garden.  One of our regular visitors is the Green Woodpecker.  I was therefore a little disappointed not to see it in the "My First Book of Garden Birds".

The other day we drove past the field at the bottom of the road and Mimi was so excited because the sheep had come back from their holiday and even more exciting was the fact that the Mummy Sheep had got Mimi Sheep!!  Mike decided to take her for a walk to look at them.  There is a public foot path that runs through the middle of the field.  When they came back Mimi was quite traumatised by the experience.  Mike said that they were walking through the field when they were chased by a sheep.  All Mimi could tell me was that the Mummy Sheep she did chase us and she did make noises.  I know I shouldn't laugh but Mike said Mimi was screaming and was climbing up him the sheep was trying to chase them and he had the scooter too.  Now every time we go past the field she says the Mummy sheep did make noises.  

ABC Series C

This week is the letter C.  I have been racking my brain to think of things we could make and do this week starting with the letter C.  So far all I have come up with is Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Come back later on in the week to see if I have come up with anything more exciting.     

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Mothers Day

Today being Mothering Sunday I was overjoyed when Mimi slept through until 6.55am - I think this is a new record for us.  Normally she wakes up anywhere between 5.30 and 6.00am.  Not only did I get a lie in but she had been practising what she was going to say to me when she woke up.  This made the Happy Mothers Day speech even more cute.  She was very happy with her present and very proud of her special handwriting in the card.  She had made a big effort to write her name however in the process everyone including Mr Doggy got covered in blue pen.  He is currently in the washing machine!

My beautiful Mothers Day present.

Friday, 16 March 2012

ABC Series B is for BOAT

Yesterday having checked the weather forecast we decided to do a day trip to France on a Boat and go to the sandy Beaches of Le Touquet.  When we woke up at 5.30am we could hardly see 100 yards it was such thick fog and everything was covered in frost however by the time we arrived in Dover the fog had cleared leaving us with a beautifully calm and sunny crossing.

P&O have currently got a special offer on their day trips.  I think we paid something like £23 for our crossing which included a box of wine and a 2 for 1 on either a cooked breakfast or fish and chips.  I should have taken a photo of my breakfast as it was amazing but I got side tracked and forgot.

We also took a look around the duty free where I brought some Dior Mascara and an Opi Nail varnish.

Once we arrived in Calais we drove along the coast road to Le Touquet where we stopped for coffee before heading down to the beach for a picnic. 

We had beautiful weather, it was lovely and warm with hardly anyone on the beach.  We stopped for a couple of hours before heading home via Citi Europe.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Toddler Fashion Fix

With my obsession with Pininterest I thought I would put together some of the latest Toddler Fashion items I have come across lately.

Shop: 1: little goodall | 2: J Crew | 3: Mini Boden | 4: monkey and bo | 5: Angulus | 6: Hatley | 7: Little Stomper | 8: Hunter 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Wow on the landscape for 50 years gone in 18 seconds.

Yesterday morning we took a trip over to Richborough Power Station to watch the demolition of the huge cooling towers.  These have sat on the horizon for 50 years and you could see them for miles in all directions.  Thousands of people had turned out to watch them come down.  I was quite sad to see them go, all those years and all the people who died in the building of them vanished in a puff of rubble.  However it was a spectacular view and Mimi has been talking about it all day.

ABC Series B

This week we will be looking at the letter B.  Today was Daddy's Birthday so we made him a chocolate Birthday cake.  We basically used the Hummingbird Bakery chocolate cupcake recipe but doubled the mixture.  We then iced it with some chocolate flavoured regal ice.  To make the hearts we used candy melts although as usual I managed to overheat it in the microwave and to finish sprinkle it with edible pink glitter.

Later on in the week we are planning on taking Mimi on a Boat and if the weather holds out we might go out in the garden and look for Buzzy Bee's.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

We Brought a Zoo Preview

Last Friday as a member of Mumsnet Bloggers I was lucky enough to be one of a handful of bloggers selected to attend a preview of we brought a zoo at 20th Century Fox in London.

Having previously read an article about We brought a zoo in one of the national papers I was very excited  to attend. Directed by Cameron Crowe the film was inspired from a true story.

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Set in California We Brought a Zoo is about Benjamin Mee (played by A-lister Matt Damon) and his young family who buy a dilapidated zoo whilst coming to terms with the loss of his wife and mother of his two children Dylan and Rosie.    In purchasing the zoo Mee takes on the adventure of a lifetime in more ways than one.   Mee has to learn to cope with his loss and his roller-coaster relationship with his son Dylan not to mention the existing workforce who had little faith in him or his abilities to run a zoo.   Head zoo keeper Scarlett Johansson, cast as Kelly Foster, and MacCready , (played by Angus Macfadyen) the heavy drinking keeper  add a humorous touch to the film.  However the star of the film was definitely Mee’s daughter Rosie played by Maggie Elizabeth Jones, a superstar in the making. 

Although the film differs in some aspects from Benjamin Mee’s original book it provides you with a heart rending story of love and adventure.  You may want to get your hankies ready.  We brought a Zoo will have you both laughing and crying as you go on the adventure with them.

I was not disappointed; the film lived up to my expectations I am in awe of the unimaginable task Benjamin Mee took on and the lust and romance associated with such and adventure.  The A-list cast complimented the story beautifully and the outcome is a film which the whole family will enjoy. I would however note that despite the rating of a U I am not sure of its suitability younger children.

We Brought a Zoo is released to the public on Friday 16th March.  Why not check out their facebook page

 “I am a member of the Mumsnet Blogging Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I 
have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity"

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

As part of our ABC Series we made some Apple and Cinnamon Muffins.  I originally got the Apple Muffin recipe from but I adapted it slightly.  Firstly I ran out of vegetable oil so I contemplated using some olive oil but thought the taste might be too strong so I melted some butter to make up the quantities.  Then when we were mixing all of the dry ingredients together I added a teaspoon of dried cinnamon.  My apples weren't that big so I just used 4 small ones.  They took about 10mins to make (longer with Mimi helping) and about 20mins in the oven.  They were really tasty and needless to say the have almost gone already.

ABC Series A is for APPLES

In our final instalment for the letter A.  We made some Apple and Cinnamon Muffins - I can not believe how easy these were to make (separate post to follow).  We saved the Apple peelings and fed them to Buster Bunny.  Then using our plant pot we painted the other day we popped out into the garden and planted our Apple pips.  The plant pot how has pride of place on our kitchen window cill.

Mimi came home from play-school the other day with a sponsor form and a match box.  Called a cramathon the idea is that you have to try and cram as many items into a match box as possible.  So keeping up with the A week we popped a little Apple pip in the match box.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Blood Oranges a rare jewel!

Wow, I didn't know you could still get these.  I love Blood Oranges but you rarely see them anywhere.  The little greengrocers in town are selling 4 for a £1.00.  What a bargain!  So much so I brought 8.  I might have to go back tomorrow and buy some more!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

ABC Series A is for ART

So today we had a go at the letter A for our ABC Series.  We made did some Art work for Granny.  I made some home-made stamps using some old packaging foam which I stuck onto a piece of cardboard with a some double sided tape.  We also cut an Apple in half and used it to make stamping patterns with.

We also painted an old plant pot ready for tomorrow when we are going to plant our Apple Pip.

I also read Mimi an Aboriginal story from the Tjarany Roughtail Book.

Tjarany Roughtail

Dairylea Sandwiches V's Bacon and Cheese Quiche

I am fed up of Mimi always requesting Dairylea sandwiches for lunch.  The only variety we get is whether the sandwiches are cut into squares or triangles.  So this afternoon whilst she was asleep I decided to make her a bacon and cheese quiche for her lunch tomorrow.  Mmmm I hope she eats it!! 

It was really easy to make and considerably cheaper than buying them ready made.

Shortcrust Pastry:

The ratio for making shortcrust pastry is half fat to flour.  I made the following, this allowed for 4 mini quiches (I think it might have worked better if I had made one large one) with enough left over for 12 jam tarts.
8oz plain flour
2oz margarine (I used Stork)
2oz lard (I used TREX)

If you wanted to you could use all margarine but your pastry will be stiffer and more yellow.

You need to rub in the fat to the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs then slowly add 2-3 tablespoons of really cold water.  Bring it together into a dough and then wrap in cling flim.  I then placed mine in the freezer for 20mins or so whilst I then made my quiche filling.

For the filling:
1 small onion chopped
2-3 rashers of bacon chopped
A good grating of cheese
1 teaspoon of parsley
2 eggs
140ml cream
140ml whole milk

Fry the onion in butter until soft, then add the bacon (I cut off the excess fat)
Briefly beat together the cream, milk, parsley and the eggs.
Get your pastry out of the freezer and line the tin you want to use with the pastry making sure you remember to grease it.
Spread out your onion and bacon mixture, cover with grated cheese and then pour over your egg mixture. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30-35mins at 200 degrees making sure you check them regularly.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Pretty in Pink

Not too sure where Mimi's obsession with PINK is coming from.  When she was little I hardly ever dressed her in pink, suddenly she wont wear anything other than skirts, dresses and PINK!!!
This was her outfit of choice for playschool today........  Combined with her PINK coat, gloves and hat she took on the distinctive look of a pink blancmange

I wonder what she has taken to bed with her tonight???  Last night she took her new painting set with her - well the rollers and the sponge stamp things, I was woken up at 6.30am this morning with her strange collection.  One of which was rolled across my face!!!  Strange child!  I wonder where she gets it from?

ABC Series A

Lets kick start the ABC Series with week one and the Letter A.  The idea is that over the course of the week we will make and do things that start with the letter A so for example you could make an Apple Cake or you could go to an Art gallery or just create a piece of Art.  I will upload our activities throughout the week.  If you would like to join in the linky will stay open until Sunday.  The linky will then re-open on Monday ready for Letter B.  Put your thinking caps on and I look forward to hearing what you get up to.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

ABC Series

I am quite excited about the ABC series which I plan to start tomorrow.

Mimi has been able to count from 1-10 since she was about 2, now nearly 3 and she can almost count to 20.  However learning her alphabet is not proving so easy so I have decided to create an ABC Series.  Each Monday for the next 27 weeks we will make and do things based on the letter of the week.
I would love it if anyone fancies taking part and doing a guest post for one of the weekly letters or just join in and grab the badge.



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