18 Apr 2017

March 2017 // Weddings, Mothers Day and fancy dress

Read

I have found my reading rhythm this month and have been clocking through books at speed. I completed 3 books this month and all of them were fantastic. I particularly enjoyed in a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. It was gripping and I felt the need to just keep reading to find out the answers - I would really recommend. The Last Anniversary was a great story with plenty of humor, and sadness - especially around the post natal depression element. James Patterson delivers fast paced, popcorn crime stories, I loved the main character Alex Cross. I'm spending my lunch breaks browsing charity shops now for more in the series

Watched

We have been gripped with the return of Broadchurch on ITV. (and having just watched the finale last night) it did not disappoint. The story was well pieced together, well followed through and the characters were believable. We would sit in silence and devour the hour. A brilliant British drama

Heard

Yes we caved and bought the great Ed Sheeran new album Divide. The boys adore this album and we have been having to listen to it on repeat. Maxwell favorite being Galloway Girl, Natty loving The Shape of You and I have a little love for Barcelona. It is great finding something we can all listen to. 

Ate

Where we live in Croydon there is plenty to do - and with the opening of Box Park there has been even more places to eat. We headed up here for my mums birthday this month and was impressed with the choices. The eldest had chips, the youngest noodles, my dad a hot dog, my mum pad Thai and me and K had Indian. Followed by frozen yogurt and crepes. Lots of diverse things to try and sample. We shall be heading back soon.


Wore 

I love getting dressed up for a wedding or a christening. If we are heading to a family gathering I will get my dress and heels on. We had all been invited to a friends Wedding and I got this rather beaut of a dress from my inlaws as a present. Its from Very and I did have to go a size up (to fit the ample curves I have been graced with in) to give a bit more room as not much stretch on the dress. I felt pretty in this full dress - and now planning when can I wear it next.

Made
My crafting time seems to have disappeared but I started a corner to corner crochet rainbow blanket for a friend at work expecting a darling rainbow baby later this year. I will finish it I will finish it.

And also - seeing as the kids broke up early I also had a hand in an Easter Bonnet for school. Yay for seasonal crafting, glue guns and goofy smiles.

Baked
A choclate tray bake - which was a success. My husband arranged a play date with some of his friends and their kids - and this was the prefect tea time treat for them all. With a fudgy topping, sprinkles and buttons. This Tray bake tin from Lakeland is fantastic!!

And scones - we got a new oven fitted this month as my old one died a death. These were successful and tasted yum - pleased with the impressive rise I got on them too.

Rest of best

Yes these boys still at times sleep in our bed. Yes it is cramped. Yes it uncomfortable at time. But man they make my heart feel full.

Book week fun at nursery for this dude - the Gruffalo (firm fave) and Harry potter - which he adores.
A kung fu grading for the biggest - moving up levels and still showing commitment. Little man not wanting to miss out on the action.
Mothers day - full of coffee, cuddles and cards. What more can you ask for?

March was pretty lovely, with the weather on the turn and sunny days on the horizon.

12 Apr 2017

Quick Easter Cupcakes

Easter holidays are in full swing here - and the sun has been shining which has made it fell like summer. We have filled our days with days out, picnics and letting the kids run free. With Easter days approaching my mind wanders to thoughts of chocolate fueled baking and mini eggs - because why not. I made a quick a quick batch of cupcakes. 



These were not the prettiest cakes by no means. I used a 3 egg mixture (weighing the eggs, and using the same amount in self raising flour, butter, caster sugar and a tsp of baking powder - mixed all in one and spooned into the cases. Baked on 180 for around 20 mins)

I gathered my decorating supplies. These were nothing bought especially to make the cakes - all bits and pieces in the cupboards. The left over packets of sweets or little treat bags left at the bottom of box.
I made the decorating even easier - by using this tub of vanilla icing. I try and keep a tub or two of these in the cupboards. They have a long shelf life, a good sticky consistency (perfect for cake pops). The decorations I found on my cupboard scavenger hunt - a small treat size bag of malteasers & mini eggs, a small box of mini smarties, some Easter themed jelly sweets, some ready made flower decorations and the must have sprinkle mix. These simple selection of sweeties can be used to make a super quick batch of cupcakes.
The simplest combinations created some cute spring themed cakes. By sticking to a theme of decoration I created a pleasing tray of little cakes for my little ones. I must confess I truly dislike piping cake decorations - I am not that neat and it hurts my wrist. Any time I can bypass this by spooning and swirling with a knife I will do. 

My top tip when add sprinkles (to save them skittering all about the place) is spoon the mixture on and dip them into a ramekin with the sprinkles in. You get a good covering of sprinkles and a nice even finish.

While on my hunt in the cupboards I found these green sprinkles which work well as "grass" on the cake tops. The chocolate topped ones were a firm fave with the boys. I simplified the icing process even further and with cakes that have cooled I melted a line of a large bar of chocolate in the microwave (yes I am a chocolate melting heathen!!) and spoon the melted chocolate directly onto the cake to make a shiny topping ready to be adorned with a mini egg or some smarties.

Making a tray of pretty Easter treats does not need to be time consuming and can be just as pretty as others. I baked these cakes on the small side also (as my kids usually eat the icing and ditch the cake, but baking a smaller cake means they eat it!) There little hands have been sneaking cakes since they were baked - and they taste pretty yummy with a cup of tea!

11 Apr 2017

Easter School Holiday Part 1 // Theme Parks, Picnics & Sunny days

I'm still a bit in denial that we are in April already - and that Easter is so close. Feels like the year is rushing by. Will nearly be the end of the school year (then comes M starting year 3!! and applying for school for little man) but until then I will be enjoying life.

The first week of the school break was a happy mix of success - no fancy holidays in far flung destinations for us. No sireee, instead its childcare tetris and days out on a budget.

Our first stop for the week was a trip to Chessington World of Adventures - we are Merlin pass holders currently and wanted to check out the brand new Gruffalo ride. The sun was out, with a slight breeze. This park is fantastic for families like us with younger kids - there is more aimed at them. The added extra of the Zoo breaks up the day nicely. The Gruffalo ride is the revamped of the old Bubbleworks ride - a ride I have fond memories off as a kid. However the small ones even though excited in the queue found the ride really scary (the boat rounds a darkened corner and then in front of you a 6ft high Gruffalo - oh man did he scream) but the biggest boy had a blast.

This was followed up with face painting and a whizz round the carousel. My tip when visiting the park is get there early - the main gates open before 10am and you can wait at gates further inside the park to get to the rides. Also download the app - not only you can check ride times while in the park but also it will pop up with offers.
We ate at the Smokehouse BBQ which was yummy, and quiet - I asked for take away boxes to take away the leftovers which were devoured. Also pack snacks - these can easily add cost onto to your day - we took cartons of drink, crisps and biscuits to keep little hands happy while in the queues. After lunch a stroll round the animals was nice and quiet before I took the biggest dude off to ride some rides while the little ones let off some steam on the grassy areas.
The biggest dude had been set some Easter Homework to do some research about the queen. This was the main focus for his day out this week with his Dad - which fell on one of the sunniest days. They jumped on a train with their scooters in tow and headed to Buckingham Palace and Hyde park - for watching, sketching and picniking in the park.
The boys had fun - and I am firm believer that as much as it is fun doing days out as a family it is just as important for the boys to get one on one time with us. This helps strengthens the bonds and relationships they form with us,

Friday was a family day and I had booked us a session at the leisure pool at the Guildford Spectrum. We had so much fun. The Water slides, and waves machines brought back memories of Water Palace in Croydon growing up. Spending you weekends there on the slides. Max was nervous about his first water flume bu soon as he saw how much fun it was there was no stopping him. Little man has been quite water nervous in the past but he was off splashing and jumping in with a new found confidence.
The day was ended with sitting on a family friendly pub veranda that backs onto a playing field. We sat and chatted to friends while our kids run around in shorts and jumpers doing cartwheels, playing football and eating chips. While I had a glass of wine or two. We could of been on holiday.
The week was finished up with a little day trip our to Tilgate Park Our first visit to this park. We headed off in the sunshine with a cool bag over flowing with sandwiches, crisp and treats - scooters piled in the back of the car. We set up camp by the playground, the kids climbed and got dirty, found sticks, played superheros and ran about.
They ate ice creams in the grass, made all sticky - with grazed knees and grubby faces.

It really has been a relaxing week with happy children. Its been nice to spend time and explore the places around us.