29 December 2014

Snow Fun at the Park

Boxing day evening came with some snow, so not only did we head out that evening to play in the snow, we also headed up to the park in the morning to play and do some sledging.


We headed up to Woodthorpe Park, it has a few huge hills and smaller ones for my daughter, who was climbing up and riding down on her own. We built snowmen and made some snow angels, had snowball fights and drank hot chocolate.


I'm not sure whether we'll have any more snow this winter, so it was good to make the best of it while it was still fresh.


Did you have any snow, if so did you manage to get out into it?

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Magic Moments 29/12/14

Whilst the lovely Jaime over at The Oliver's Madhouse continues her well earned rest over Christmas, I am back with Magic Moments.

I really enjoyed reading 
everyones Magic Moments last week, it was lovely to see so many Christmas posts as the magic built up to the big day, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

So without further ado its Magic Moments time! 


Don’t forget there is a Magic Moments page on Google+ to, so if you are on G+ feel free to pop over and add your link and visit … also I have just created a Magic Moments collaborative Pinterest board too which you are more than welcome to pin your post onto too! Feel free to email me directly  ( jaime@theoliversmadhouse.co.uk ) so I can make sure I am following and that I can add you to the board too.
If you are new to Magic Moments you can find more information over HERE.
Don’t forget that linkys only work when people take the time to visit and share with others. With such a large crowd linking in please don’t think you have to comment on every one. I know many of you don’t have time for this and it’s unrealistic, however please visit as many as you can manage to share some love and build community spirit.
If you would like to join in  I would love it if you would pop on the Magic Moments badge or a link back to me as it also helps others to see where you are linking up and they may decided to pop over and link up too! Remember the more people who take part and link up, the more people who are likely to visit, but this is only a polite request not a prerequisite.

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28 December 2014

Black & White Photo Project Wk 25


We ventured out into the snow covered world yesterday and went sledging, this is our local park. So many people out enjoying the fresh air.

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22 December 2014

Visiting London

With this Christmas and New Year falling around the weekend, there is no better time to make the most of the extended holidays and visit our wonderful capital, London.

Since we have had children, New Years Eve has no longer been the expensive late night out that it used to be. So, as we didn’t have a sore head in the morning, last year on New Years day we decided to visit the Natural History Museum.


We arrived at the museum itself just before lunchtime and spent a good few hours discovering the delights that it held.

After we finished seeing all the exhibits, including the mammal gallery with its Blue Whale, the largest creature ever to have lived. We caught the tube over to Westfield White City for some shopping and a spot of dinner at Mexican chain Wahaca.


There are many other attractions to visit in London, with BuckinghamPalace, Hyde Park, Big Ben and the London Eye to see, you can count on a fantastic time seeing the wonderful sights that this city has to offer.

If you are looking for somewhere to stay then the Holiday InnKensington Forum hotel is in the perfect location, it is a short tube ride from the main attractions and is a great location away from the main hustle and bustle of the city.


The hotel also offers a wide range of events for its guests, from Theme Nights to the Caribbean Experience, not to mention it also having its very own Starbucks.

NB: This is a collaborative post with IHG.
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Christmas Magic

I love this time of year, so many magical memories being made and moments to share with our children, I just love the smells, smiles and fun that surrounds it.

So far, in the run up to Christmas, we have built a gingerbread house, which amazingly is still waiting to be eaten...


Also, this weekend, we took the children to the local garden centre to visit santa. He was the perfect Santa, jolly, kind and really took time to listen to both our children. They were both ecstatic to meet him, got to tell him all about what they wanted and they let us take as many pictures as we wanted.


Finally, because we all love the Christmas tree, I think it has to be my favourite part of Christmas, because of the smell, the lights, spending time decorating it, admiring its beauty but mostly because it is the place where all the presents go on the big day.


There are so many beautiful things to look at and remember, hopefully making magic for the children in years to come.

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Magic Moments 22/12/14

The lovely Jaime over at The Oliver's Madhouse is having a break over Christmas, so she has passed the Magic Moments torch on to me for a few weeks, she'll be back in the new year though.

The thing I love about Magic Moments is that it gives you time to reflect on the week, from your child learning to write their name for the first time to learning to tie their shoe.


So without further ado its Magic Moments time! 


Don’t forget there is a Magic Moments page on Google+ to, so if you are on G+ feel free to pop over and add your link and visit … also I have just created a Magic Moments collaborative Pinterest board too which you are more than welcome to pin your post onto too! Feel free to email me directly  ( jaime@theoliversmadhouse.co.uk ) so I can make sure I am following and that I can add you to the board too.
If you are new to Magic Moments you can find more information over HERE.
Don’t forget that linkys only work when people take the time to visit and share with others. With such a large crowd linking in please don’t think you have to comment on every one. I know many of you don’t have time for this and it’s unrealistic, however please visit as many as you can manage to share some love and build community spirit.
If you would like to join in  I would love it if you would pop on the Magic Moments badge or a link back to me as it also helps others to see where you are linking up and they may decided to pop over and link up too! Remember the more people who take part and link up, the more people who are likely to visit, but this is only a polite request not a prerequisite.

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21 December 2014

Black & White Photo Project Wk 24


Obviously this beauty looks better in colour but I love the detail in black and white.

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16 December 2014

Easy to Decorate Gingerbread House

I recently saw this gingerbread house kit in the Aldi catalogue and after a nightmare trying to glue the pieces together on a kit we bought last year from Ikea, I decided to give this a try.

The kit comes with everything you need to decorate the house and as it is pre built, so if you are short on time you can get straight on to it.


Once you have squished the icing together for a few minutes it becomes soft enough to start icing the house, I did the icing and I let the kids decorate with the sweets. The box has a great detailed picture of what you can do with the included ingredients.


Although the bag of icing split whilst I was using it it tastes nice and was easy enough to ice the house with.


The house is already stuck to the board so you don't have to worry about it sliding off and even though we tipped it sidewards several times it stayed glued to the base.

Although not perfect the kids loved the sweets and covering the house in them and it looks pretty cute with some miniature presents and tree.


This set is the perfect way to get some yummy gingerbread goodness in to your home this Christmas without too much fuss, the kit costs £4.99.
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15 December 2014

Courgette Bake Recipe

This is another recipe from my hubby's aunty, she made us this fabulous side dish at a pre-Christmas/Thanksgiving meal, thanks Kate for passing this on, hope you don't mind me sharing.

Ingredients:

3 Large or 5 Medium Courgette
2oz Unsalted Butter
2oz Gran Padano grated (or any hard cheese such as Parmesan, Peccorino)
1/4 Pint of Double Cream (for a healthier option you could use half fat sour cream or creme fraiche)
Salt & pepper to taste

Method:


1. Grate the courgette and toss with salt and put in a colander or sieve over a bowl.  Leave for about an hour for the water to run out.  Squeeze as much water out as possible by hand but keep the liquid in case it needs more during the cooking. 


2. Chop the onion finely. Heat the butter in a large frying pan or wide saucepan add the onion and fry until it turns soft but not brown.  

3. Add the grated courgette and keep stirring until it is heated through and beginning to soften.  


4. Add the cheese and stir until melted.  Then add the cream and add some of the courgette liquid back if it seems dry.  Season with salt and pepper and put into a medium oven (about 160c) for about 30 minutes.  Add more cheese to the top for the last 10 minutes if desired.  


We had half of this for tea tonight and then I have put half the batch into the freezer for Christmas day.
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14 December 2014

Black & White Photo Project Wk 23


We had a wonderful chilly winter walk around Clumber Park yesterday, the brass band were playing and the ground was white with frost.


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13 December 2014

Brigadeiro - Chocolate Truffle Recipe

This recipe isn't my own but one my hubby's aunty told me about a few weeks back, she has lived in America for many years and recently came back to live in the UK and it is a favourite over there.

It is a really simple recipe:

1 tin of sweetened condensed milk (larger size about 397ml)
3 tablespoons of cocoa
15 g butter
Spinkles
Oil to grease hands


Method:

1. Place the condensed milk, butter and cocoa powder into a saucepan and heat for approximately 10-15 minutes stirring all the time, the mixture should thicken after about 10 minutes and come away from the sides and start to form a ball.


2. Leave to cool until it is cool enough to handle, rub a little oil onto your hands and then take a teaspoon of the mixture and roll into a ball.

3. Once shaped like a ball roll in the desired topping, I chose chocolate and Christmas sprinkles but you could use coconut, cocoa powder, crushed biscuits anything you like. Place in some petit four cases and serve, or you could wrap in little boxes and give as gifts.


What is your favourite Christmas treat?
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10 December 2014

Candles for the Home

I love candles in my home, I used to buy cheaper ones but then gave Yankee Candles a go and since then haven't looked back.

Although they are a bit more expensive than normal candles, they need only be on for an hour at a time to give off a beautiful warming scent that fills your home.

At this time of the year, they do some unbelievably divine smelling scents, with my favourite being Snowflake Cookie, this sweet smelling candle reminds me of all things sweet and baking.

I also love the Christmas eve candle, it is a sweet smelling fruity scent and just gives the home a lift on those colder evenings.


They do smaller ones, so you can test them out, this means if you don't like the smell you haven't wasted a lot, but I haven't really found one yet I don't like.

Have you tried Yankee Candles? and if so, which is your favourite scent?
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9 December 2014

My Nextmas Wishlist

My Nextmas Wishlist consists of warm snuggly jumpers, pyjamas and slippers because there is nothing I love more at this time of year than getting snugly and warm. I have also opted for a sparkly skirt, for the Christmas party of course and something I can only dream of owning, but that I would love, a freestanding mixer!


Nextmas Wishlist



Fair isle sweater / Brown top / Merino sweater / Funnel Poncho/ Navy Star Pyjamas / Knit shoes / Next Stand Mixer

I seem to have chosen a lot of grey and blue, this was a coincidence and simply down to how I thought the pieces looked in those colours. I have always wanted to own a fair isle sweater and love this one it looks perfect for Christmas, mulled wine anyone?

NB: This post is my entry to the Next Blogger Network #NextmasWishlist competition

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8 December 2014

Christmas Cake Decorating with Sweet Success

For the last few years, I have baked my own Christmas cake, but for one reason for another they haven't turned out great. So, when I was approached by Sweet Success to try one of their Christmas cake bundles, I jumped at the chance.

Arriving with everything you need to create the perfect Christmas cake, the bundle includes, a 4" rich fruit cake, cake board with box, marzipan and sugarpaste to cover your cake and some decorations and ribbons for you to add to your finished masterpiece


It comes with thorough step by step instructions, so even if you are a cake decorating novice you are able to go through the steps with ease. Other than the jam, everything you need is in the bundle and you really don't need anything other than a rolling pin and pastry brush.


I absolutely loved putting together this cake, I didn't have to worry about baking the fruit cake which really isn't my forte and instead could concentrate on the icing task at hand.


The decorations are super cute and have a vintage feel to them, I love how the cake turned out and will be back to buy another one before the big day, as I feel this one may have all gone in no time.

Although not a huge cake it is the perfect size to have as a centre piece on Christmas day.


I think this bundle is the perfect way for those short on time to make a Christmas cake, a little piece of homemade for just £10 (available in store only). Sweet Success are a lovely little bakery and cake supplies shop in Nottingham, they have a great selection of pre baked cakes that can be delivered to your door.

So why not have a look over on their website, they are also on Twitter and Facebook too.

NB: I was sent the bundle to create my own cake, all words, opinions and pictures are my own.
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7 December 2014

Meet Finn, the Doll for Boys (or Girls)

I don't really like the idea of guns and things that shoot, my son loves Lego and Playmobil and using his imagination with castles, cars and similar toys, so when I was asked if he'd like to review the Finn doll from the makers of the fabulous Lottie dolls I knew he'd really enjoy it.


Arriving with everything you need to get started, Finn comes full clothed and a with rather lovely kite to fly, we were also sent an extra set with fishing gear.


I love that the outfits are fun and age appropriate, my son loves that he has a gilet on just like the one he has. The first thing he did was ask to me to get his Fisher Price house down, he then got to work putting the fishing rod in the garage and finding other things to play with alongside Finn.


The doll itself has posable arms and apart from the hair, which has a rather drastic haircut (the hair at the back is cut quite close to the head), it is well put together, his clothes withstood being taken on and off by a six year old boy.

I really like the idea behind the whole range of Lottie & Finn dolls, they allow children to be children and play with toys that don't promote violence or are overly sexualised as some dolls can be.


Finn is priced at £16.99 which I don't think it too overpriced, the Gone Fishing set is £7.99, it is suitable for ages three and up too so the perfect toddler present.

If you like what you see, then the lovely people over at Lottie are offering my readers 20% off purchases over £20 (Offer code is LOTTIE10 and works at the Amazon checkout only (not on the LOTTIE website cart) offer allows 20% off orders over £20 across entire range.  Offer ends Midnight on Sunday, 14 December 2014)

NB: I was sent the Finn doll for the purpose of the review, all opinions are my own.
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Black & White Photo Project Wk 22


Pictures in black and white always seem so timeless!


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1 December 2014

Passing on the Past

I have a love for all things 80s and am lucky that my mum and dad kept some of my old books from when I was younger.

I have added to the collection with some fabulous charity shop finds and although these are only a few I wanted to share their magic.

So, do you remember any of these?


The top four are ones I have found, I loved Rainbow Bright, the Gummi Bears and the Fluppy Dogs the Care Bears are back now so that shows how timeless they are.

The bottom three were mine as a child, I remember buying The Nite Glo Gang at a school book fair, the front glows in the dark and it is so well read, even now the kids both love it. Snow White and Sleeing Beauty are classics and my daughter loves to look at them. 

I love that I can still read these books to my children and that hopefully I can pass them on to my grandchildren too.

We were going through some toys the other day to giveaway and it suddenly dawned on me that I should save some, my husband still has a box of cars at his parents house, from when he was a child, they always get played with our the kids go round.

It is these moments that are magic, magic because I had them and now my children are enjoying them too.

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30 November 2014

Black & White Photo Project Wk 21


I love old buildings and paint, the different textures of brick and wood.

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29 November 2014

My Perfect Festive Christmas Table

I love Christmas dinner, it is an important part of my Christmas day, a time when we can all sit down together without rushing and enjoy yummy food and talk about the day we've had. But we have a bit of a mismatched set of table linen that we've inherited over the years so I would love to replace it all this year, last years was pretty but not that festive!



So when I saw this challenge with Jen over on Love Chic Living, to put together my Christmas table I jumped at the chance.

I have chosen a white table cloth and then added colour and sparkle with crackers, table runners and oven to tableware in a traditional red.

Festive Christmas Table


To go with this, I have chosen some pretty lights, now these are pumpkins but I think they look so pretty and would be great either in a bowl at the end of the table or possibly running down the middle.

I love candles and they always add an element of romanticism, as well as some wonderful condiment dishes and a beautiful cake stand for a Christmas cake or I may go all non traditional and make my new favourite Pumpkin Pie.

Some metal snowflakes to add a bit of texture to the table and then beautiful cutlery, some snow white plates to serve, I love white as it allows you to better see what you are eating.

I can't wait for Christmas dinner, in fact it is safe to say I am starting my prep early this year and will be trying out some new dishes passed on from members of the family.

But the centre piece will be as always Nigella's Redder than Red Cranberry Sauce, I have made it every Christmas Eve for the last few years and it tastes divine and is the perfect accompaniment to Christmas dinner.


NB: This is my entry into the I’m Dreaming of Debenhams Dinnerware competition with Jen at Love Chic Living
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