26 September 2012

Mini Blackberry Crumble

I have found that if my son helps make something or has had some involvement in it, he eats it no questions asked.

The other week he had helped my mum pick some blackberries from their garden so as a quick pudding I made some mini blackberry crumbles.

These are quick because I always have some crumble mix in the freezer, a good tip is to just make an extra batch when making a large one, perfect for quick or emergency puddings.

Add a handful of frozen blackberries into a ramekin, top with the crumble mix, add a sprinkle of sugar and bake until the top is golden and voila....

For children I advise removing from the ramekin as it will be hot, serve with a dollop of ice cream or some cream and away you go.

I would love to hear what quick and easy puddings you have that are a mini person favourite.

25 September 2012

What's in the Box?

Well actually it is a lunch bag but that doesn't have the same ring to it!

I have had packed lunches on the brain for the last few weeks, is mine OK, is my son enjoying them etc.

Then a week ago we got a pack from school, one of the leaflets stated that a packed lunch was full of fat, salt and sugar and that instead I should pay for him to have a school meal.

That would be all well and good if he wanted to have a school meal and is this really the case for the lunches I prepare, certainly in comparison with what he would be served at school!

My worry is more my lunches aren't filling enough because he has so much in the way of fruit and veg. However he always has a hot meal at home in the evening, freshly prepared with all the veg I can fit on a plate.

So what do you think?


Pitta with Ham and Cheese
1/3 Pack of Quavers
Cucumber & Carrot
Pear and Grapes
Raisins (OK I know grapes and raisins but he doesn't know)

Pitta with Ham and Cheese (again I know but it was his choice)
Homemade Sausage Roll
Cucumber and Carrot
Raisins (not in picture as was an afterthought)

The school lunch for Monday dinner was:

Cheese and Vegetable Stuffed Jacket or Red Onion and Pepper Quiche, served with Boiled Potatoes, Baked Beans or Broccoli and then pudding of Jelly and Oranges or Fruit Salad.

on Tuesday

Beef Lasagne or Cheese and Vegetable Cobbler served with Carrot and Swede Batons, Salad, Bread or Mashed Potato and then pudding of Fruit Salad or Chocolate Sponge Pudding and Custard.

Now all this sounds wonderful but can they really be sure of the salt, fat, sugar content of these when making on mass? I make them at home and to be sure it tastes of something you would need to add some salt, sugar etc.

So, for now I will continue to come up with different lunches for my son to take with him, hopefully as he gets older I can include soups, pasta and quiche etc but at the moment he doesn't like these so I have to find new ways to present what is essentially a sandwich.

Am I just being too fussy/silly/paranoid/all of the above?

23 September 2012

19 September 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Today whilst walking back from school my son turned to me whilst we were doing our usual 'keep an eye out for dog poo' watch and said 'why don't people bring their scoop with them to pick up the poo?'

Frankly I couldn't have put it better myself, who are these most hideous of people who own dogs and don't pick up their poo??!

Do they really think it appropriate that I have to tolerate their dog's poo on the journey to and from school?

I can't even bring myself to walk through the autumn leaves anymore for the fear of a hidden doggy doo.

I am certain most people do pick it up and it is just a few random idiots who don't, but honestly, it is one of the most disgusting things I have to encounter on my journey and my journey includes a walk past a prison!

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


18 September 2012

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

This week is national cupcake week so it seemed only right I made some.

Whilst stood in the kitchen thinking about what I could make I suddenly had a thought, Chocolate and Orange. A match made in heaven as far as both myself and Terry's are concerned!.

So I whipped up some of my basic sponge mix ( I don't like too much chocolate so just use a plain sponge) and then to the top added some chocolate orange buttercream.

To make the buttercream (for about 12 cupcakes):

200g Icing Sugar
80g Softened Unsalted Butter
1 tsp Orange Oil (You could use orange juice but I find this is more concentrated and the flavour is more subtle)
2-3 Tablespoons of Whole Milk (you probably won't need milk if using all orange juice but I do find milk makes it a little fluffier.(

Mix the icing sugar and butter together, add in the oil and then a a tablespoon at a time of the milk until it is a smooth and pipeable consistency.

To pipe I either do a full cake or part cupcake, it depends how much you like the icing and who is having it.

Here you can see a full iced cake with flowers

Or a part iced cake so some of the cake itself is exposed, less icing for those who don't like it or the kids.

Have you been baking this week, please do leave a comment if you have. I love finding new recipes or ideas.


17 September 2012

Magpie Monday

I had a trip into town today and then on the way to pick my son up and found a few beauties in the charity shops so decided to link up to Magpie Monday over on Me and My Shadow

Today's finds are first of all a bargain pair of Converse for my daughter, we had been looking at some on ebay and although these won't fit her for a while I couldn't resist and they can go in the cupboard for when her little feet grow, only 95p!

Next I couldn't resist this jug, I don't know why but I really liked it, it's not named or worth anything but it is so light and I love the how it is painted. It was a snip at just £1, so will sit nicely on my windowsill.

And finally, this gorgeous Vila dress. Was only £2.99 and I have a couple of other Vila dresses so new it would look good on. Perfect for wearing with some thick tights and boots in the winter or leggings in the cooler summer days remaining.

Hope you liked my finds this week, do check out the other fab posts over on Me and My Shadows blog.

Me and My Shadow

14 September 2012

Victoria Sponge with a Bakewell Tart Twist

I asked the hubby what he fancied for pudding a few weeks ago and he said Victoria Sponge, I decided to try something a little different that would incorporate my favourite buttercream!

This stems back from the days when my gran baked, she made the best buttercream and although this isn't patch on hers it is still very yummy.

You will need to make two basic sponge cakes, I just pop all the ingredients in an electric mixer and blitz till smooth.


150g Margarine
150g Self Raising Flour
150g Golden Caster Sugar
3 Eggs

1. Add all of the ingredients into an electric mixer and blend until  smooth.
2. Split the mixture into two 7inch tins and bake for 20-25
3. Leave to cool

Spread with Jam, I chose my favourite Bonne Maman Raspberry Jam and then here is my favourite part, the butter cream!!

Butter Cream

250g Icing Sugar Sifted
80g Softened Unsalted Butter
25ml Whole Milk
1-3 Teaspoons Almond Extract (depending on how almond flavoured you like it, add one tsp at a time)

I always spread the jam on and then pipe on the buttercream, just as it is easier, less mess and looks pretty from the side.  Otherwise just spread the jam on the upper side and the buttercream on other half and then sandwich together.

Et voila, a Victoria Sponge with a Bakewell Tart Twist

11 September 2012

Cars on a School Run

I already knew that cars on the school run added to the traffic in a morning and definitely notice the speed in which I make it to work in holidays, however it wasn't until I actually started doing the school run I have come to realise how many people drive the short distance to school.

A lady who lives up the hill from me drives, it is about 10-15 minutes for her at the most and all flat, yet she drives. I cannot comprehend the mentality of some people!

I live at the bottom of quite a steep hill but am seeing this as an opportunity to tone my wobbly bits, to get some exercise in. The last few days have been gorgeous so maybe this attitude will change when it rains or is really cold but for now I can't believe how easy it is for people to get in their car and drive a very short distance.

Not to mention the cost, I am not saving a lot but it must add up, twice a day, five days a week!

It really does sadden me to think we are just creating another generation of car dwellers, of people who won't know what it is to walk long distances and who will rely on what cars to get about.

Although shattered I feel a sense of accomplishment walking to school and back,  it also gives me a little more time to chat to my son about his day and for us both to enjoy some fresh air.

Have we become too reliant on driving, it feels weird not getting in the car and I thought to myself what an earth I am thinking but it does feel good.


4 September 2012

Stamptasic Review

I am rubbish at sewing and although the iron on labels my mum bought me work on most things for things like raincoats, lunchboxes, shoes etc they just don't cut it.

So when I saw Stamptastic I knew that it would be perfect for stamping everything for the start of school for my son and nursery for my daughter.

I bought one for my each of my children, although they both have the same intials I just thought it looked nicer with their whole name rather than the initial and surname.

Although it might seem a little gimmicky I really can't rate them enough, I did five polos, two pairs of trousers, a jumper, five pairs of socks (yes socks), a lunchbox, lunchbag, and drinks bottle all under five minutes.

No sewing, no ironing, just stamping away.

The stamps are designed as such that you can see through them onto the item you are stamping, this makes it easier and you can easily line the stamp up against the clothes.

It also means that should you be putting something in their bag for the first time that you haven't labelled it is a two second job to get the stamp out, stamp and go!

I have used it on everything including sun tan lotion for my daughter to take to nursery!

So if you are looking for an alternative to a biro, ironing, or sewing then this is defintely it. And I apologise if you have already done all of the above but I kept raving about it on twitter so it was only fair I blogged about it!

I paid for this product myself and have reviewed because I love it, images are from the Stamptastic website.