Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Big Draw - Campaign for Drawing

My son loves to draw, it plays such an important part of his day and allows him to express his thoughts and feelings and most importantly his beautiful imagination.  So when I was sent details of The Big Draw campaign I knew it was something I wanted to help promote.

Faber-Castell, the world’s oldest and biggest pencil manufacturer is about to inspire a new generation of little artists as lead sponsor of The Big Draw. 

The programme of hundreds of events will connect people with museums, outdoors spaces, artists, designers and each other this autumn across the UK and in 20 other countries. The Big Draw runs from 1st October to 2nd November.

Launching with a day of creative fun at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, London on Sunday 28th September, Faber-Castell will provide its famous red-packaged ‘Playing and Learning’ art material range for an action-packed day that will see children contribute to an artist-created birthday party installation as they experiment with colour and play creatively. 

Special guests; author Jacqueline Wilson and illustrator Nick Sharratt will each give a talk to visitors, who can also enjoy drawing activities in the galleries led by Nick and fellow illustrator Marion Deuchars. 
Simon Stone, of Stone Marketing Limited, Faber-Castell’s UK distributor said: ‘We’re delighted that our beautifully designed products for school and pre-school children will be so central to this important series of events. The ethos of the Playing and Learning range fits perfectly with The Big Draw’s aim to unlock children's imaginations and fuel their appetite to learn.’

Looking through the Faber-Castell's range there are so many ways to get children into drawing from these fabulous connector pens to paint to the clic & go paint sets.

I have always been one to say I can't draw, but the fact is I spent many a summer sat at my desk designing outfits and dresses, looking back at them now for a 10 year old they were pretty impressive. 

Drawing is about expression, putting on paper what is in your head, it doesn't have to be perfect.

For more information on The Big Draw and to find your nearest event please visit www.thebigdraw.org

NB I haven't been compensated for this and am simply passing on to my readers as I found the subject interesting.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Yumbox Panino Review

I loved the original Yumbox, so I was super excited to get my hands on the Panino. With one large compartment, two smaller compartments and a dip well, it is a perfect lunchbox for older children and adults although it also makes the perfect bento box for younger children.

I particularly love the background with the French and Italian wording, you get to learn something new with lunch too.

I love salads and this is the perfect lunch box to fill with plenty of health and not so healthy food.

With the silicone lid it offers the same spill proof storage as the original, allowing you to pack a lunch with whatever you fancy.

The proof is, as they say, in the pudding and this chocolate pudding was certainly good for testing the seals on the lid, after a few falls off the car seat on the way to work it was still within it's compartment and had not leaked.

This is another great box and the colours are beautiful too, I love the Tutti Frutti Blue as well as this one the Anguira Pink.

Again I have nothing but praise for the Yumbox, it is such an ingenious solution allowing you to produce great looking healthy lunches.

With the lighter colours I have noticed any scratches show up a bit more, this isn't a problem and hasn't stopped me buying more, it was just something I noticed (and am probably being picky over) but felt I needed to mention. Having spoken with other Yumbox owners though, they haven't noticed these and have the darker ones so. They don't show up on the pictures so aren't 'bad', i'm just here to give an honest opinion.

NB I was sent the Yumbox Panino for review, all pictures and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Black & White Photo Project Wk 10

This picture is one from our holiday this year, my daughter called it Sleeping Beauty's Castle. To the top it was about 150 steps, so I certainly burnt off my wine and cheese intake for that day.

 It was a gloomyish day, so in black and white it still looks as impressive!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Bakewell Tart Cupcakes

I love anything almond flavoured, my gran used to make the most beautiful almond buttercream when I was younger.  It is this that inspired my Victoria Sponge with a Bakewell Tart twist, something that is a regular amongst my cake repertoire.

So I decided to adapt the recipe into cupcake form for National Cupcake Week and as my entry into the Betta Living #bettabakeoff.

Ingredients (Makes 9-12 depending on cupcake case size. I used baking cups which are a bit bigger so only got 9 you can always double up the cake recipe):

For the cakes:
100g Self Raising Flour
100g Golden Caster Sugar
100g Margarine
2 Eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract.

For the icing:
500g Icing Sugar sieved
160g Unsalted Butter softened
1-1 ½ teaspoons of Almond Extract, add more/less depending on your taste
1-5 tablespoons milk

To decorate:
100g Raspberry Jam
25g Flaked almonds

Cake method:

1. Heat the oven to 180c/160c fan

2. Line a muffin tray with 12 cases or baking cups.

3. Place all of the ingredients (SR Flour, Sugar, Margaine, Eggs & Almond Extract) in an electric mixer and mix until smooth, alternatively if you don't have one then cream the sugar and margarine together until smooth, add in the egg a bit at a time and mix well, add in the almond extract and then add the flour and mix until is smooth and everything is combined.

2. Fill each of the baking cups or cases to about half way with the mixture, be careful not to overfill.

3. Place the tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until cooked. To check if the cakes are cooked place a skewer in the middle of one of the cakes and it should come out clean.

4. Once cooked remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

For the Icing:

1. Mix the icing sugar and butter until combined, add in the almond extract and then a tablespoon of milk at a time until smooth and is the consistency of meringue (you should be able to make peaks).

2. Once mixed, place the mixture in a piping bag with your nozzle of choice, I am using a round nozzle but you could use a star if you prefer.

To build the cakes:

1. Once the cakes are cooled using a knife carefully cut a circle from your cake, should be about the size of a 10p piece and about 1-1.5cm deep. (NB leave a good edge between the edge of the circle and the edge of the cupcake, you can either eat the left overs or use in cake pops)

2. Place a teaspoon of jam into the whole and then pipe a swirl of butter cream on top.

3. If using sprinkle some flaked almonds on top of the swirl, if you have children who aren't keen on them then just leave the flaked almonds off.

Pour yourself a cuppa and enjoy, these are so light and would make the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon tea or picnic.

This is my entry into the Betta Living #bettabakeoff, more details can be found here.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Cica Fashion Boutique - Beautiful, Unique Jewellery

Today I would like to welcome to the blog Lisa, owner of Cica a gorgeous online store selling beautiful jewellery and accessories. I have known Lisa for a few years, we worked our day job together until recently.

So here is a little bit about Lisa and her business...

I setup Cica Fashion Boutique in 2013, the name CiCa comes from my two adorable sons 'Cian' (Ci) and 'Calum' (Ca). I was inspired to start my business after realising that I really wanted to work for myself rather than 9-5 in a job I really didn’t enjoy that much, and also to have more time with my children as I realised they were growing up so fast. 

CiCa Fashion Boutique caters for ordinary women who buy jewellery and fashion accessories for social occasions. We offer quality, unique jewellery and fashion accessories in an assortment of styles to accommodate the chic in every woman at affordable prices.

We aim to be different and stand out from the crowd! We pride ourselves on stocking the most unique, exquisite and beautiful pieces of jewellery and fashion accessories on the market. We spend a lot of time sourcing products that are different to the high street but more importantly at a fraction of the cost. We really believe that our jewellery and accessories will make you feel special every time you wear them!

Standard delivery is free on all UK orders which for me is always a plus when shopping online, nothing I hate more than finding something lovely with a hefty price for shipping.

You can find her over on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest so why not pop over and say hello and have a look at her beautiful store, beautiful unique and affordable necklaces and rings delivered right to your door what more could you ask for.