30 May 2012

Mummy wants a holiday!

Ok, ok so I know that lots of people don't get to go away on holiday, but it's my 30th next month and instead of a party I would like to go away for the week.

I am willing to use all of my Birthday money to fund a holiday, using it to pay for a caravan or cottage somewhere rather than buying myself some nice and much needed clothes!

What I'd like is somewhere by the seaside with lots for the children to do as with a four year old that constantly needs entertaining it's getting increasingly hard to entertain him.

I am thinking a caravan by the sea so we can spend the days on the beach having picnics and doing nothing but play and have fun!

If we don't go away then all I'll end up doing for my holidays is cleaning the same old house and not resting and this year I have been ill almost every week.

I would love a break, dare I say I 'need one' to hopefully unwind!

So if you have any reviews of holiday destinations in the UK, or you are a holiday destination with some fantastic offers on for June then please do leave a comment and I will have a good old look!

Please note: I am fully aware of the me, me, me, I, I, I tone of this post, but this is where I air my thoughts!


Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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29 May 2012

Tune on Tuesday

If you haven't seen the film Drive then you should, its really great and this song from the soundtrack is really beautiful and is my Tune on Tuesday!


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28 May 2012

Jubilee Mini Cupcakes

I bought some Petit Four cases ages ago and have never got round to using them,  I thought they would be perfect for making some mini Jubilee Cupcakes.

Quite a difference from a normal cake case!
I had a go the other weekend as I am hoping to take some to a party one of our neighbours is having.

To start with I used my usual recipe for making the cakes halved:

50g Self Raising Flour
50g Golden Caster Sugar
50g Stork Margarine
1 Eggs
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence

Put everything in a food processor and blitz until smooth consistency, put about a teaspoon into the mini cake cases and cook for about 10 minutes!

Once they have cooled I iced with buttercream (I have my own secret recipe but if you need one this one on Baking Mad is really good) which I had split into three, added red to one and blue to another leaving one white.

Top Tip: If you are using a piping bag then a really useful tip is to put it in a tall glass and fold over the sides, you can then spoon the mixture in using both hands if necessary and it stops accidents!

Fold the bag over the top of a tall glass!
Using a Wilton 22 small star nozzle I piped little swirls onto the cupcakes in the three different colours, I decided they look like those mini gems you got when you were a kid. If you don't like too much cake then these are perfect, as well as for the kids!



Although they aren't bright red and blue I love them, if it's possible I think they look a little vintage!



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24 May 2012

Why We Love Deadly 60

Very rarely do we find a TV program that everyone in the family loves but with the Deadly 60 it is different.

My son adores Steve Backshall, he is engaging, kind, funny and makes animals super interesting. The music they play over it is modern and appealing to me and my husband with music from the likes of The Prodigy.

Not many adults let alone a four year old know what an aye-aye is, but my son does and he even knows how it finds its food! He knows about animals and their prey and can identify a whole array of animals and loves talking about them to anyone that will listen.

I don't really like the children watching telly but sometimes needs must and I love that this is educational as well as keeping them occupied, whilst I make dinner or have a shower.


The show is a modern and entertaining look at the animal kingdom which also highlights the issues that these animals face in a modern world.

So thank you BBC for putting together such a great program, we love the Deadly 60!

 
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22 May 2012

Olly the Little White Van App Review

I recently saw on twitter that Olly the Little White Van had a free app, so decided to download it to see what it was like.

My son loves Olly so it is great to have something else he is familiar with on my phone for when I need to keep him occupied.

The app features two games, 'Delivery Race' where you help Olly pick-up and deliver packages around a maze in three different locations. And 'Fix It' where some of Olly’s friends have broken down and you have to help Olly put them back together by fitting their parts into the right places.


My son certainly seems to enjoy playing the game and it helps with recognition and co-ordination in a fun and playful way.

The games get a little repetitive with only a few levels but they are fun and keep my son entertained, plus the app is free so you most certainly can't grumble about it.

If you are looking for a free app for your phone to keep your children occupied then this most certainly fits the bill.

You can download the app free from itunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/olly-the-little-white-van/id516864646?mt=8

NB We have not received anything in return for this review, all opinions are my own.



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21 May 2012

Magpie Monday - Charity Shop Goodies

This is my first Magpie Monday, mainly because this week has seen some gorgeous bargains being found!

First these pretty trousers, they are a really gorgeous purple cord with a paisley lining and were £1 from a Cancer Research shop. I had a quick look on the internet when I got home and as expected the would have cost about £15 new so quite a bargain as they look as they have hardly been worn.


Next I found this playsuit from Baby Gap, when I saw it I nearly squealed. I bought the same thing in a smaller size when my daughter was first born and she always looked gorgeous in it so when I saw this I had to get it, it was a snip at £1.50.


Finally, these gorgeous glass bowls by ARC, France were only £1 for 4! As soon as I saw them I knew they had to be mine. The pictures don't do them justice but they are really pretty, the gold is sparkly and they are quite translucent. I used them to serve Madeleines and strawberries in for breakfast yesterday and they looked great.



I hope you enjoyed my finds as much as I did, the bowls were definitely my bargain of the week!

Me and My Shadow
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17 May 2012

Mummy is ill again!

I don't think I have been well for more than a week this year, maybe something is wrong, I don't know!

Probably a mixture of being tired, going back to work and my daughter starting nursery!

All I know is I need a break, so this weekend I will be looking for some cheapish holidays, just something that means I can get away from the four walls of home and chill.

Preferably near a beach, so should it be warm we can eat sandwiches by the sea and chips on the sea front.

See, just thinking about it is making me feel a bit better!

I'm 30 in June, we have a few weeks booked off work and I think it's my right to have a few days away to chill as I don't want a party (not being miserable just prefer to be with my family)!

So if anyone has any caravan site recommendations, cheapish beach locations or anywhere really that they have good last minute offers but that they can highly recommend then leave a comment....pretty please.
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14 May 2012

Accessibility Fail!

So, we went to Wollaton Hall yesterday to support some local businesses that were in the Courtyard and RSPCA event and for a nice walk in the sunshine.

It was a bad back and neck day for both me and my husband. Our son wanted to walk around the hall but we thought no problem, we can use the lift that is there for the less able.

We couldn't have been more wrong! After getting the pushchair down some steps so we could use the lift to the top floor, we then found out from a very rude gentleman at the exit, that we couldn't get out any other way than via the huge steps down at the front of the building!

I suffer with a very bad neck and my husband had two slipped disks four years ago so although we aren't in wheelchairs we still both struggle with these things some days.

We were mortified that we were spoken to so rudely, the assistant implied that it wasn't their problem and we would need to get out ourselves!

I phoned the hall up when we got home to ask whether it is accessible for pushchairs, they advised it is. When I asked whether this was the lift or steps they advised it was via steps! How on earth does that make it accessible for pushchairs? If I was on my own there is no way I could get the pushchair up or down the steps.

In future, we will take our business elsewhere and not support this site. They would usually gain revenue from our car parking charges, ice cream and coffee purchases. Instead, we will find another location to spend our hard earned cash at.

After some great customer service elsewhere recently, this has left a bitter taste in my mouth. How on earth are the younger generations supposed to be educated when no provisions are made for them to access this sort of thing.

If anyone from Wollaton Hall or Nottingham City Council reads this please sort it out and if you want to talk to me about it you can email me at themummydiary [at] gmail.com

My son is a very inquisitive four year old and loves this sort of thing but we left today feeling very deflated by our experience.

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12 May 2012

Five years today!

Five years today I got married, it wasn't the most of extravagant of days, we got married in a registry office and then had a marquee in my in-laws garden.

But it did the job, I became a Mrs and it sealed the deal so to speak.

It was sunny up until we got to the registry office and as we walked out it chucked it down, the photographer had a huge white umbrella though and it looked great on the pictures.

Here are a few pictures and it is probably as close as you'll get to seeing what I look like ;)

Even though these don't show any faces I think they are still as striking and I loved including them in my wedding album to tell a story! 

I'm almost as tall as hubby so had to wear flats...booo!
 

I love this one, gazing out of the window!
Is it vain I really like my shoulders in this one?



I love the detail this one picks up, so simple!
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11 May 2012

Favourite Recipe Friday - Sunken Chocolate Dessert Cakes

If I haven't catered for pudding and one is called for this is my go to dessert, all of the ingredients are in my cupboards or fridge, it looks impressive and is super tasty with a spoon of ice cream.

Ingredients: Serves 4

125g Unsalted Butter
150 Dark Chocolate
3 Eggs
30g Plain Flour
115g Caster Sugar
Some extra butter and sugar for the ramekins

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180c. Melt the extra butter and grease four ramekins, coat lightly with the extra sugar to stop it sticking to the ramekin (Tip: I place a teaspoon of sugar in and shake with my hand covering the ramekin, it usually covers the whole of the inside and just tip any excess out).

Put the chocolate and butter in a small heatproof bowl and melt, either over a saucepan of hot water or in the microwave and leave to cool slightly.

 
Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a bowl using electric beaters until the mixture is pale in colour and thick.


Sift the flour into the egg mixture, then whisk in the flour.  


Once combined whisk in the melted chocolate and butter mixture until everything is mixed together.

 
 

Divide the batter among the prepared ramekins and place on a baking tray.


Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until set and firm to touch. Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto plates. If they don't want to come out then run a knife round the edge of the ramekin to loosen. Or if you prefer you could serve in the ramekins themselves but as long as you have greased and sugared them up enough they should be fine!

 

Serve warm with ice cream and enjoy!


Favourite Recipe Friday
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10 May 2012

Stuff Every Dad Should Know and The Art of Roughhousing Book Review

I was recently sent Stuff Every Dad Should Know by Brett Cohen and The Art of Roughhousing by Anthony Benedet & Lawrence Cohen, when I read the info about them they both sounded interesting.

Now I know it says Stuff Every Dad Should Know but the information still applies to mums and both me and my husband enjoyed reading it.



The book is split in to different areas, Baby Stuff, Little Kid Stuff, Big Kid Stuff, Teen Stuff and Beyond, it offers a very tongue in cheek view into the world of parenting.

Each section is split into a small paragraph and several bullet points and covers everything from how to hold and change a baby to childproofing your home, potty training and how to keep kids entertained on days out.


Although some of the wording is Americanised it is still easy to understand and as a gift for a new parent I would highly recommend it. I did actually buy my husband a how to be a dad book when I was pregnant which he did read and I am sure helped him in those early days.

Stuff Every Dad Should Know is small and compact and looks very stylish, the RRP is only £6.99 so it doesn't break the bank either.

There is still plenty to read for us in the future with tips on how to help your child ride a bike and talking about the birds and bees, so this is a book that will see you through many years of parenthood.

The next book is The Art of Roughhousing, I had never heard of the term roughhousing before seeing this book but when you see what it is it all makes sense.


In a time where we tend to wrap our children up in cotton wool this book is encouraging you to swing, chuck and generally be rough with your children (obviously without harming them).

The book has some bold claims that roughhousing makes children, 'smarter', 'more likeable' and 'builds emotional intelligence', which does makes sense when you read the book. Children are so mollycoddled these days they seem to have no awareness of how to deal with other children.

The book explores how encouraging rough play enables children to better understand other children and adults. The book looks at how 'in good roughhousing parents respond to rule breaking or excess aggression not penalize it. This allows for the opportunity to make a mistake without fear of punishment, everyone learns better that way'.

I love chasing my son around the house and we always play hide and seek with a bit of tickling or pillow fighting afterwards. Incorporating some of these 'roughhousing' techniques will be perfect for burning up some left over energy as well as helping to build confidence and co-ordination.

Some of the moves are familiar some not so much but either way I love the book and it is well worth a read.

I remember coming down the stairs on cushions when I was a child with my two cousins and brother, I never felt unsafe or a fear of hurting myself and it probably helped me be a bit tougher.



I particularly like the Magic Carpet Ride and will have to try this with my four year old son very soon!



I have really enjoyed The Art of Roughhousing and would definitely recommend for a parent who is interested in getting children to be a bit more rough and tumble.

NB We were given books for the purpose of this review, all opinions are my own.
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8 May 2012

Butterflies in the Kitchen!

Today we did some baking, some pretty butterfly biscuits and they made for really pretty pictures which I wanted to share.

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7 May 2012

City of Friends App Review

My husband is away a lot and before a recent week away we had the discussion of how we could teach our son about the emergency services, should anything happen to mummy or the house whilst my husband wasn't around.

So when we were offered the City of Friends app to review it sounded like the perfect opportunity to introduce my son to the emergency services and what they do.

 

The app has been launched around the kid’s TV show City of Friends which has turned into a global phenomenon and currently broadcasting in over 150 countries worldwide.

Designed for pre-schoolers and their families, the City of Friends app has become the number one app for children in its native Norway and teaches children about the emergency services by interacting with the show’s main characters; Max the police officer, Elphie the fire officer and Ted the paramedic.

There are a selection of games and some videos which are unlocked the more games you complete. This is great as a four year olds attention span can sometimes average only seconds so they can swap and change between games.


My personal favourite was the Put out fires with Elphie game, not only was this fun but as fire is a real killer and also a real possibility I think this certainly teaches them about what happens.

The pairs/memory game is also really good and always goes down well with my son, there is also a helicopter flying game and organize Ted’s first aid kit which are both really fun and also help teach how to match shapes and coordination.


Whilst I'm sure this is intentional due to the number of countries and therefore languages this is played in there are no words or commentary to assist the child in playing the games.  Nowhere does it say what you have to do to get more videos and it would be good if it could talk you through what you need to do and maybe what each implement, character or object is.

The only other thing that did bother us slightly was the addition of a Facebook and Website button, if this is aimed at 2-6 year olds there is really no need for this and our opinion is that it shouldn't take you to an external website from within the game itself.

Other than that though if you are looking for an educational and fun app that teaches children about the emergency services then at £1.49 this is most definitely a winner and we have certainly enjoyed playing it together.

NB: We were given a redemption code in order to review this app however all opinions are my own.
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4 May 2012

Favourite Recipe Friday - Cheesy Chicken Nuggets

We love home made chicken nuggets in our house and this recipe is one I have been testing out recently, the addition of cheese is genius and although a little messy to make they are much better than shop bought ones.

Ingredients:

400g Chicken breast
2-4 Slices white bread (depending on how big/thick your bread is, do less you can always make more)
1 Egg
40g Plain flour (you can season with some salt and pepper if you like)
60g Cheese (I use cheddar but you could use other hard cheeses such as parmesan)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c
2. Place the flour into a bowl, in a separate bowl whisk the egg.
3. In a food processor blitz up the bread to make fine breadcrumbs and pour into a third bowl
4. Grate the cheese finely and mix into the breadcrumbs
5. Slice the chicken into chunks or fingers if you prefer
6. Dip the chicken into the flour, then the egg then the breadcrumb mix until well coated, place the nuggets on a baking tray and cook for about 15 minutes (turn half way through cooking) until they are golden brown and sizzling.
7. Serve with your choice of potato (we have herby wedges) or a salad.


Favourite Recipe Friday
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