Sunday, 9 December 2012

Boozy Chocolate Torte

If you are looking for a yummy (and a little bit naughty) dessert to finish off your Christmas dinner, then this is the perfect pud for you!

Simple, quick, and with absolutely no cooking involved, this torte can be made a day or two in advance and will still taste delicious.


12 digestive biscuits, crushed
60g (2oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 medium egg whites
125g (4oz) caster sugar
284-300ml carton double cream
300g (10oz) dark chocolate, melted
6 tbsp Irish Cream liqueur
Icing sugar, for dusting


Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted butter.

Spoon the crumbs into the base of the cake tin and press them down well.

Chill the base while making the filling.

To make the filling:
Place the egg whites and caster sugar in a bowl over a pan of hot water.

Stir until sugar has dissolved.
Remove the bowl from above the hot water, and then whisk mixture to form a thick meringue.

Whisk the cream until it just forms soft peaks.

Fold the chocolate into the meringue mixture; then fold in cream and Irish Cream liqueur.

Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and smooth the top.

Chill the torte in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight, until it sets.

To serve: remove the torte from the tin, and dust some icing sugar over the top.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Twinkl Primary Resources - A review

Being a avid fan of fun, bright, educational environments for children to learn in, when I was asked if I would review the 'twinkl premium subscription'  I jumped at the chance!

I have been using twinkl's free ideas and downloads for around 18 months now with my own children, so taking the next step and using their premium listings has grown my file of home-ed resources immensely!

The website is clean, clear and simple to use and really does offer a wealth of ideas and resources for primary keystages 1 and 2.

"With over 65,000 Early Years KS1 & KS2 resources, we're the one stop shop for all your teaching needs!"

Some of you may be aware that my youngest daughter, Bailey, struggles with some of her sound pronunciations, and is currently having speech therapy.

Being 5 years old, and now in year 1 of primary school, she is undertaking the huge task of learning to write and spell on top of read and pronunciate!

This is proving to be a bit of a challenge for my little pumpkin, as she is taught to spell words how they sound when they are said, however, as she can not pronunciate some of the letter sounds correctly, she is also not spelling them correctly, as she is writing down what she hears herself say..

To top it all off, her reception teacher told me last year that she was on track with everything other than her pronunciation. She neglected to tell me that, actually, she is a way behind with her number and letter formations too.

So this school year, it is all about helping Bailey catch up a little. Twinkl has been an amazing help for us, with their workbooks and display posters, which Bailey really responds to!

Using twinkl's resources, I have created several displays around my living room so that my children, especially Bailey, can see them at all times.

As Bailey's school also uses some of twinkl's resources, Bailey is familiar with a few of our new home display items, which only helps to reiterate and reinforce her knowledge and understanding of  her current educational goals.

To demonstrate just how flexible twinkl's downloads are, here are a few photos of the displays I have created in my home so far!

High frequency word walls

'WOW' word floating cloud display

Punctuation Pyramid and Openers Pyramid

Numbers 0-9 with formation starter markers, and Connectives.

Twinkl has so many fun ideas and presentation features to engage your little ones, be it your own children, or the children in your school classes/playgroup.

The website has areas where you can submit your own ideas and photos of classroom/home displays and view those that others have submitted, so there really isn't any excuse to not be inspired and motivated.

There is even a parent's section which features a number of useful tools to help your days with your children run smoothly, so if you are like me, you don't even need to be a home educator or a teacher to find twinkl's website useful

Workbooks are also a great feature, which help with letter and number formations, and with the  PDF editable versions of many of twinkl's products, it is so easy to customise your favourite resources!

I honestly can not rate twinkl highly enough, and thanks to them, my daughter now has a fun and engaging environment away from school to help her through her school year.

You can visit twinkl's website here.
Don't forget to follow twinkl on Facebook, and Twitter!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Meal Plan Monday - 17/09/2012

The children have now adjusted to being back at school and have got back into a general routine really quickly.

This week, the three girls start their after school clubs, so Tuesday and Thursday this week will be meals that I can prepair ahead and have ready for when they get home late from club.

Monday: Risotto
Tuesday: Creamy pasta bake
Wednesday: Toad in the hole
Thursday: Homemade Pizza
Friday: Homemade fish cakes and Chipped potatoes
Saturday: Potato Curry
Sunday Lamb Roast dinner

Baking: Bakewell tart and baked doughnuts

What's for dinner this week?

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hair bear bunch! - The Katniss Braid!

We are currently reading The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins to the children at bedtime.

Ashley has become a little obsessed with Katniss Everdeen from the book, and wanted to try out her hairstyle, so here we are, The Katniss Braid!

Now, I am not suggesting that this is an exact replica of the braid that Jennifer Lawrence's character, Katniss Everdeen wears, but I think it is reasonably close and Ashley is more than happy with it, so that's all I need to know!

It is a diagonal french dutch braid across the back of the head, left to right and Dutch braided over the right shoulder.

It stays in pretty well and looks great! It certainly earned her some 'great hair' comments on her first day at school!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Meal Plan Monday - 10/09/2012

The end of last week saw the children going back to school, and as predicted, I had three very over tired girls returned to me at the school gates! The earlier meal time worked for them and the melt downs were kept to a minimum. This week as they are still settling into the routine of school days, I have decided that Monday and Tuesday dinner will be ready for 4.30pm again before returning to it's usual time slot of 5.15pm from Wednesday.

Monday: Baked Penne with Bacon
Tuesday: Baked Potatoes
Wednesday: Home Made Pizzas
Thursday: Slow Cooker Risotto
Friday: Pan fried fish and salad
Saturday:Pumpkin and Spinach Curry
Sunday: Marinated Steak and Garlic roast potatoes

Baking: Pear Muffins

What's on your menu this week?

Friday, 7 September 2012

Back to School!

Lauryn, Ashley and Bailey

Yesterday the girls went back to school following the summer holidays.
Ashley, 7, was very excited to be joining her older sister, Lauryn, 8, at Junior School and meeting her new teacher and year 3 class mates again.
Bailey, 5, was also very excited to be starting back at school in year 1 with her new teacher whom taught both Lauryn and Ashley in previous years.
Lauryn, was very nonplussed about starting year 4, but seemed to enjoy her first day regardless.
Everything was packed and ready, the girls and Che were all dressed, fed and clean, the TV had remained switched off all morning, with just Che allowed use of the iPad to watch an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I started the mammoth job of sorting the girls hair.
Lauryn is quite the tomboy and usually requests her hair in a simple pony tail, as it gets it over with quickly and she can return to whatever activity she has set up for her 'free time' before the school run gets underway, however, on this occasion she asked for a 'Top Knot'. Luckily, this is also a very quick and easy hair style so it took all of 2 minutes to complete.

 Bailey, is my Princess and she has very long and gorgeous hair and likes a combination of hairstyles on any given day, and requested a 'mini french braid into a long pony tail'. Again this hairstyle doesn't take much time, so I was quite happy to do this for her.

Then it came to Ashley's turn.

Ashley is a bit more adventurous with her hair, and often asks for more intricate designs, which is why she is usually left until last on school days, as then I can decide how much time I can spend on her hair requests.

Since we are reading The Hunger Games to the children at bedtime, Ashley has become a little endeared with Katniss Everdeen, so I am now assuming that you know what hair style my little darling requested..?!

Yup, the Katniss braid!

Now, the Katniss braid is one that I only mastered a few days ago, as it's a diagonal dutch french braid (inside out plait) which goes from the top of the left ear, across the back of the head, down to the bottom of the right ear and then is plaited down over the right shoulder.

I had 15minutes before we needed to leave the house, so we decided to give it a go and hope it turned out OK! Luckily, it was near perfect, so with 5 minutes of time remaining I managed to sit and take a couple of deep breaths before the rush of the school runs started!

With all 3 girls happily dropped off at their respective new classes, I returned home with Che, who was very clingy all day and kept asking where his sisters were and why he couldn't play with them, bless him!

We played 'car crash' which seems to be a favourite game of his at the moment, as he loves role play and giving his toys voices!

3pm rolled round quicker then I had expected and we awaited the older girls verdict on their first day. Lauryn enjoyed it, and Ashley was very happy with both her new class and her new school. She loved the fact that she could play with her big sister again (they are very close, and were both at a loss last year, when Lauryn moved schools)

Heading back to the infant school, we collected Bailey, who emerged all smiles and happy that her teacher was "Sooooo Cooooool, Mummy!"

Back home, Che was in his element, having his sisters home again, and they loved telling him everything that they got up to at school.

I read to Che and the girls read their school books to me while dinner was cooking. We had an early dinner, as as I had expected, the girls were a bit tired and tetchy following their first day back.

After dinner the kids played happily together in the garden before the bedtime routine started.

All in all, it was a very good day for my little family!

How did your children do on their first day back at school?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

This is a really simple, no frills but cheap and tasty chicken curry, cooked entirely in the slow cooker!

This recipe serves 4.
Prep time: 10 mins.
Cooking time: 6-8 hours.


4 skinless chicken breasts
2 onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon madras curry powder
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 1/3 cups water
2 cups of rice


In the slow cooker, add the chicken breasts, chopped onions, garlic (crushed/minced), spices and 1/3 cup of water.
Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 7 hours.
Then add the 2 cups of dried rice and 4 cups of water cook for a further hour on high.

Serve with naan bread/chapatti and side salad.

What could be quicker or easier to prepare when you've been out all day, or you've been running around with the children?

Monday, 3 September 2012

Meal Plan Monday - 03/09/2012

This week sees my three daughters going back to school after the summer break.
I am expecting some very tired and cranky girls to return to me by 3.30pm so on Thursday and Friday of this week (They start back at school on Thursday) I am planning on just having their favourite comfort food (not necessarily homemade or particularly healthy/balanced!) ready for them to eat at 4.30pm  and then they can have a healthy snack at 5.30 before the bedtime routines start.

Monday: *Veggie burgers and potato wedges
Tuesday: *vegetable pasties with salad
Wednesday: Spaghetti Bolognese
Thursday: Potato Waffles and chicken burgers (childrens request)
Friday: Sausages with HM crispy potatoes and steamed veggies (childrens request)
Saturday: *Chicken fajitas
Sunday: *Roast Chicken dinner

*twice required amount made/cooked to provide a quicker meal later in the week.

Baking: Banana Bread and Peach cobbler.

What's on your menu this week?

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Store Cupboard Vegetable and Potato Curry

The 6 weeks summer holiday is almost over and, if I'm being completely honest, although I absolutely love my four children being home 24/7, I am exhausted!!
Today was one of those days when it was one thing after another..

From deliveries, supermarket shopping, school shoes shopping, uniform naming, crafting and decluttering Che's huge toy box, I have to admit, I neglected to eat or drink anything myself all day.
By the time the children went to bed at 7pm, I was over tired, thirsty, hungry and (as my husband will testify) extremely tetchy!

I wanted a quick, easy, comforting and filling meal on the table, and I didn't want the faff of lots of chopping, or standing around over the cooker.

I decided to give a store cupboard vegetable and potato curry a go, so I grabbed a few on hand ingredients and in less than 30 minutes, I had a healthy bowl of comfort food in front of me!

Serves 2
Prep time: 5mins
Cooking time 20mins.


1 cup of frozen diced onion
1 cup of frozen baby carrots
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
1 cup of frozen broccoli florets
1 can of baked beans
3 teaspoons of mild curry powder
1 teaspoon of medium curry powder
1 tablespoon of ground garlic
1 large potato (peeled, and cut into 1cm-ish cubes)
Tablespoon of oil


Peel and chop the potato and boil until soft.
Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the oil and add all of the frozen vegetables and cook until softened.
Add the can of baked beans, the garlic and the curry powders and stir. cook for 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and add to the pan of vegetable curry.
Stir and cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the potatoes to absorb some of the flavours.

Serve with a naan bread.


Friday, 31 August 2012

Vicky Myers Creations


"I love making new items out of recycled materials, upcycling fabric remnants and old clothes into new bags. Using many textures, colours, and patterns I create unique handmade bags. Each bag has a label describing where the fabric has been sourced from."
- Vicky Myres Creations
Vicky Myers Creations

Have you every realised just how many of your friends have a special talent? Or go that extra mile?

Well, if I'm totally honest, I haven't, until now, and you know what? Some of my friends are pretty damn special!

In light of my new found revelation, I have decided to honour some of my very lovely friends and show my readers just how amazing they are!


This post is all about my friend Vicky, who runs Vicky Myers Creations. You only have to look at the above photo to realise how wonderful her talent is.
All of her creations are designed and made from recycled fabrics, such as old sweaters,  curtains, scalves, dresses, you name it and I'm sure Vicky can turn it into something useful and beautiful!
Having recently stocked her very own stall at the first ever Norwich Makers Market, Vicky is looking forward to attending more craft fairs in the near future to sell her products. She is currently working on her own Etsy shop, and also commissoned work.

"Flower Girls Bag, commisions taken, have the perfect bag to match the perfect dress"

"I have been making ever since I can remember!!
I am inspired by our wonderful world, creation is constant and yet changing.
I studied a HND in Craft, and since then have exhibited in the local Open Studio's. 

I have become increasingly focussed on creating items which can be used in every day life, be it sock monkey's and felt food for the children in my life or items for the adults in my life!!

I have been given a gift of creativity and I feel it is important to appreciate it and develop it :)
I feel it is important to respect the environment and where possible to upcycle, currently creating beautiful bags out of old clothes.
In particular I am enjoying working with felted jumpers, with autumn round the corner working on designs based on autumnal leaves and colours"


You can find Vicky on facebook here and in her Etsy shop here.
Find out more about Norwich Makers Market by clicking here.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Arts and Craft Corner - Stained glass window

This summer, the children and I have been using different mediums to create art work.

I thought I'd post this while I had 5 minutes without Che clinging to my arm, so I apologise if it's a little rushed!

This project was one that I remembered from my early school days it simply involves paper as a base, with cut out 'windows' with coloured tissue paper stuck behind.

We started with a very simple design so that the children understood the concept of the project.

We then progressed to larger more complicated designs, like this butterfly.

We drew the design on some paper with a marker. I explained that the lines of the pattern needed to be reasonably thick so that the tissue paper has something to stick to.

We then cut the design out..

We then stuck the tissue paper in the gaps (to the back of the design) using a glue stick.

Ashley decided she wanted all of her butterfly to be purple.

Here are our finished designs, displayed on the window for all to see!

We think they look very effective!
What do you think?

Monday, 27 August 2012

Menu Plan Monday - 27/08/2012

After a rather hectic weekend, which resulted in two of our good friends, Jason and Lisa, finally becoming Mr. and Mrs, this week feels like a bit of a 'back to earth with a bump' week!

Monday: HM nuggets and chips
Tuesday: Tomato soup and HM bread rolls
Wednesday: Spaghetti with HM vegetable pasta sauce
Thursday: Toad in the hole
Friday: Paella
Saturday: Lentil curry
Sunday Lamb Roast dinner

Baking: Eggless sponge cupcakes and shortbread

What are you planning to eat this week?

Monday, 20 August 2012

Meal Plan Monday - 20/08/2012

This week is a very non-typical week for us, in which Drew and I are away at a friends wedding over the weekend, so the children will be staying with Grandparents, meaning that there will be no weekend baking or meal planning.

We will also be eating out on Wednesday with friends so it's a short week of meal planning for me!

Monday: *Chicken Enchiladas
Tuesday: Vegetable Lasagne
Wednesday: Eating out
Thursday: *Chicken Fajitas
Friday: Grilled Salmon
Saturday: Eating out
Sunday: Eating out

As I mentioned above, there is no baking planned for this week, and as always, a * denotes double quantities of a food cooked, to make the task of cooking a meal later in the week quicker and easier!

What are you eating this week?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Meal Plan Monday - 13/08/2012

Welcome to the start of yet another week.
After a blissfully dry and sunny week with lots of outings, it's that time again to plan our menu for the week ahead.

This weeks menu is as follows:
Monday: Pumpkin and Spinach Curry
Tuesday: Family Meat Pie
Wednesday: Root Vegetable and Tomato Pasta
Thursday: *Steak and Garlic Mash
Friday: Cod and homemade chips
Saturday: Lemon Chicken with Rice
Sunday: *Steak Roast Dinner

* denotes cooking double quantities to save time in the kitchen for another meal.

Baking: Lemon Slice

What are you cooking this week?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Arts and Crafts Corner - Paper handbags!


This week Lauryn decided that she would like to have a different handbag to go with each of her outfits!

She raided the colouring box and pulled out several sheets of A4 paper, some scissors, glue and sticky take and got to work designing her handbags!

She worked out that if she used masking tape, rather than scellotape, she could colour over it so it looked like it was part of the bag, and wasn't so noticable.
Her bags were strong enough to carry a small toy and her coin purse!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Meal Plan Monday - 06/08/2012

Monday again, already?!

This weeks menu is as follows:
Monday: Chicken Wraps
Tuesday: Fried Rice
Wednesday: Pumpkin and Fetta Risotto
Thursday: Roast Vegetable Lasagne
Friday: *Tacos
Saturday: Slow cooker tomato Soup
Sunday: *Beef Roast Dinner

* denotes cooking double quantities to save time in the kitchen for another meal.

Baking: Apple and Cinnamon teacakes

What are you cooking this week?

Monday, 30 July 2012

Meal Plan Monday - 30/07/2012

Another week has been and gone, and so far the summer holidays in this household are going well!

This weeks menu is designed to be simple, quick and easy to enable us to be flexible for any later dinner times due to days out etc..

Monday: Bacon Butties
Tuesday: Sausages and homemade potato wedges
Wednesday: Vegetable burgers and salad
Thursday: *Pork curry
Friday: *Pork Stir fry
Saturday: Beans on toast
Sunday: Family BBQ
* denotes cooking double quantities to save time in the kitchen for another meal.

Baking: Chocolate roulade

What are you cooking this week?

Friday, 27 July 2012

Charity Family Fun Day

If you live in the Norwich area and are at a loose end this Sunday, then grap the kids, jump in the car, and head on over to The Silver Fox, on Fakenaham Road, Taverham.

The Silver Fox Public House, is hosting a charity event with all proceeds going to Sue Wilson's epic cycle in India, which is raising money for female cancers.

The event includes a whole host of family fun and excitement, which starts at 2pm and finishes at 7pm. With face painting, BBQ, children's entertainer, a raffle and an auction, it's sure to raise a substantial amount for this very worthwhile cause.

At 4pm the amazing The Claire Barker Band, will be singing live! If you are local to Norfolk you are sure to have heard of them, but please do check them out by clicking here.

Charity Family Funday
The Silver Fox
Fakenaham Road, Taverham, Norwich NR8 6AD
Sunday 29th July 2012
The Claire Barker Band on at 4pm
Free entry, no tickets required.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Meal Plan Monday - 23/07/2012

Welcome to the start of another week!

This weeks menu is as follows:
Monday: Spaghetti Bolognaise
Tuesday: Jacket Potatoes
Wednesday: Homemade Pizza and Salad
Thursday: *Chicken and Tomato Soup
Friday: Fishfingers and homemade chips
Saturday: Cheese and Tomato Pasta Bake
Sunday: *Chicken Roast Dinner

* denotes cooking double quantities to save time in the kitchen for another meal.

Baking: Blueberry Muffins.

What are you cooking this week?

Monday, 16 July 2012

The Game of Life

These past few weeks have been very difficult and challenging for our family, hense no updates for a while.

I won't go into specifics, for obvious reasons, but just a few things that we have had to contend with this past month are (in no paticular order):

  • Broken clothes dryer
  • 9 Bithdays
  • 3 Anniversaries
  • Pet illness and injuries
  • Human illness and injuries
  • A life threatening diagnosis
  • An operation
  • Extended family 'issues'
  • Stress/Anxiety problems
  • My Bipolar having a major flare up
  • Time and space dilemmas
This list is, of course, on top of the usual every day childcare, cleaning the house, cooking, schooling, finding time for everything else that goes with running a house, parenting 4 young children, and keeping a marriage working...

So, as you can probably tell from that little lot above, there has been little time for blogging, or anything else for that matter.

Things are still not quite back to normal yet and it may take some time to get there. Plus, lets not forget that the children break up from school on Friday (20th) for the 6 weeks summer holiday.

But today, right now, I am happy that I have managed to get the 3 girls to their schools on time, have cleaned the downstairs of the house and hung a load of laundry up to dry (indoors, as outside looks like rain, again)

And I have managed to do this quick post, and now I am off to toddler group with little Che. x

How is July going for you so far?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Breakfast Cookies!

Photo credit
(These didn't last long enough in my house to take my own photo!)

Running late and need breakfast for you and your family on the go?
Maybe you are just looking for a little treat for that special occasion or laid back weekend?
Look no further than these yummy breakfast cookies!

They're not like regular cookies, as these little gems contain absolutely no sugar, butter, flour, or eggs, making them very healthy and the perfect choice not only for breakfast, but at any time of the day.

1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup of ground almonds
1/2 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
1 cup dried fruit
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 175C/ Gas Mark 4. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper.

In a bowl, combine together all of the dry ingredients; rolled oats, ground almonds, mixed nuts, coconut flakes, allspice, cinnamon and dried fruit. Stir throughly.
Add wet ingredients; canola oil, mashed banana and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.

Flatten mixture on a work surface and cut to preferred shape.

Bake for around 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Meal Plan Monday! - 28/05/2012

With some lovely weather finally arriving, this week will feature some BBQ food and leftovers :)

Monday: BBQ
Tuesday: BBQ leftovers
Wednesday: Baked potatoes
Thursday: Vegetable pasta bake
Friday: Lentil Supper
Saturday: *Chicken curry
Sunday: *Chicken Roast dinner

(*denotes a double quantity cooked to make another meal quicker and easier to prepare)

Baking Day: 3x sponge tray bakes and fairy dust cookies.
(I have a bake sale this week as well as the usual baked goods for the children)

What's on your menu this week?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Arts and Craft Corner - Homemade Playdough

Playdough is the stuff of dreams where kids are concerned!

It doesn't matter how old we get, we all secretly love to have a little play with some nice squishy playdough!

If you buy it in the shops, playdough can be quite expensive, especially if you have a few children and they all want a few different colours each! Those little pots just don't stretch to cater for my four children, who all, always want to play with it at the same time.

The solution is simple enough.. Make it yourself at home!

Playdough is very easy and quick to make and you will probably have most, if not all of the ingredients sitting in your kitchen cupboards right now!

Not only is this recipe cheap, quick and easy, it is also safe for those little ones whom still love to put anything and everything in their mouths (although it won't taste particularly nice!) AND, as if that wasn't reason enough to make your own playdough, it also makes a whole heap of the stuff!

What you need:

2 cups of plain/all purpose flour
1 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of oil
1.5 cups of boiling water
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar (this helps the playdough keep fresh for up to 6months!)

Food colouring, glitter, glycerin (adds a little more stretch!) and food flavouring are all optional ingredients.


Put all of the ingredients together in a pan or bowl and mix until it forms a dough, then knead by hand until smooth.
Leave to cool before giving to your children (10-15mins)


Store in an air tight container, a zip lock bag or even a plastic carrier bag (twisted tightly around the dough to keep the air out)
If you have used the Cream of Tartar, then it should keep for around 6months.

Homemade purple glitter playdough 'wedding cakes'!