Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Being a Parent

As parents we are always there for our children. Nurturing them, helping them to grow, to learn and discover new things. We hope to give them the best start in life so that when it is time they will be ready to make their own way in the world. Sometimes we just have to stand back and watch them as they test their limits, being there to help them when they need it and catch them if they fall. At the moment with two little girls aged five and two this is quite literal on adventures out scooting and trips to the park but I know our role is the same as they grow older, just perhaps more metaphorically. Will I always feel my heart in my mouth whether my little girls are jumping off a climbing frame or taking a leap into the unknown?!

At the moment their demand for attention can feel relentless. Their unwillingness to stay even a night away at their grandparents, their want that we lie with them until they go asleep, then little visitors in the night kicking us in the ribs and punching us in the eyes! But on the plus side of course there are the endless cuddles, the little hands in ours as we walk down the road and the smile on their faces as they run to greet us when we pick them up. This is what being a parent is to us at the moment.

Sometimes I have to remind myself to cherish these moments when their worlds still revolve around us and they are so happy to spend all of this time with us. I know that this will change all too quickly. Already I have seen them grow from newborns to bouncing babies to toddlers to a little school girl right before my eyes and I wonder at how that has happened so quickly. Yes, most of the time being a parent *is* the hardest job in the world but it is also the most amazing and special thing that can happen to you too. When I heard this quote in The Happiness Project (on Audible) it really resonated with me:

          "The days are long but the years are short"

 It is too true.

This post was written for week 209 of The Gallery for the theme 'Being a Parent'. Head on over to see all the other lovely entries.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Bakewell Slice a la Costa Coffee

My challenge, which I chose to accept, was to create a Bakewell Slice not unlike that served in Costa Coffee. It is very tasty and a firm favourite of the darling husband which is quite unusual for him as he is normally a chocolate cake kind of man. We already have a Tassimo and a selection of Costa pods so it was just the cake we were needing to have the perfect Costa experience at home. We do love having coffee and cake out but with two little people threatening to run into people carrying hot drinks and fighting over who sits where at home is just easier and less stressful sometimes. All of the above still happens obviously just without ruining anyone else's day ;)

375g ready made shortcrust pastry
200g seedless raspberry jam
200g golden caster sugar
200g softenend butter
4 eggs
100g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp almond extract
1tsp finely grated lemon zest
40g flaked almonds
5 teaspoons apricot jam.

Grease and line a traybake tin. Line with the pastry, pressing into the corners and trim to fit. Bake on 180 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Cool for a few minutes and then spread the jam evenly across the base.
Mix the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the beaten eggs and combine.
Next add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, almond extract and lemon zest and mix well.
Spoon this over the jam layer and spread evenly.
Top with the flaked almonds and bake in the centre of a 160 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. The sponge should be a lovely golden colour and firm to touch.

To glaze while still warm mix 5 teaspoons of apricot jam with 1 teaspoon hot water and drizzle over the sponge. 

It looks and smells amazing!

As it was Sunday and it was ready just before dinner I decided to serve some up with custard for dessert. Oh my goodness it was good!

Then for any leftovers, divide into portions and store in a pretty tin, although I can't guarantee how long it will last... ;)

*Disclaimer* Very yummy but in no way endorsed by or the actual recipe of Costa Coffee itself. The darling husband says this one is way better  ;)

Tasty Tuesdays on

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Instagrammed filtered lives, now for your text too!

Ok so not filters exactly, and not writing on the image a la A Beautiful Mess which is what I thought it meant when I first saw the new Instagram update announced on Twitter. But the big news is no more typos on Instagram! Yes you can now edit your captions to delete any previous mistakes. The thing is I liked that little bit of imperfection sneaking into our perfectly instagrammed lives. And typos can be quite humorous. Even I made one last Christmas Eve which made me seem even more sarcastic than I actually am, and made me look sweary which I'm not (much). Plus the new option now gives us an added pressure of having to spend time editing our text too!

Should say *shot* obviously. They are very cute though.
Don't get me wrong I'm not going to attempt to redress the balance by posting unfiltered pictures of dirty dishes. I think presenting the perfect image visually is the point of Instagram. There is some debate on how perfectly instagrammed filtered lives are unrealistic and unattainable but I think it's nice to have the chance to showcase the best of things. Really it's amazing that there is this community that presents the best of itself, all things beautiful and yummy and inspiring. What's so wrong with that? 

I am absolutely guilty of attempting to present the perfect image. I don't want to show you the gloomiest corners of my home or the overflowing washing basket. I may let you see my ironing pile but then I do have a pretty Cath Kidston Ironing board cover. Not that I iron all that often, well, I wouldn't want to leave ugly iron stains on that gorgeous cover ;) In all honesty I'm not likely to share the bad things. That's not the type of blogger I am. In the main this is my little bit of happy, of pretty things and cute little people and beautiful places and daydreams. My perfect world.

Obviously (I know this will come as shock to a lot of you ;)) I'm not actually perfect. For example it's possible I may have a habit of painting just one thumb nail when I want to take a picture of my glass of wine before I actually sit down to do the rest. I'm not the only one to do this am I?! No, don't tell me you do it too! I like you just as you are. With your perfectly instagrammed filtered life :) I miss your typos though...

Silent Sunday


Wednesday, 12 November 2014


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Yes yes I know I'm way behind here but please do. And if I should be following you then just give me a shout! Thanks :)


I was quite excited to see the theme for The Gallery this week as we have a soft spot for yellow in this house. Or should I say 'lellow'. I was most sad the day that my eldest daughter stopped saying it that way. But all was not lost. We brought my youngest up probably thinking that that's how you should say it. And as luck would have it it's her favourite colour so she says it a lot. I joined in with @capturebylucy 'capturing colour' on Instagram for the first time a few weeks ago after seeing @photojodie taking part at Blogcamp. The theme that week was also 'yellow' so I have a few recent shots to pick from and it's nice to have the chance to showcase them. It's been tough to choose but I'll go with these that were taken a few weeks ago when we went to pick our pumpkins but were sidetracked by the maize maze...

Oh and this last shot was selected as one of Lucy's favourites from the week and I'm not really one to blow my own trumpet but oh well, Yay, go me!!

This post was written for week 208 of The Gallery for the theme 'Yellow'. Head on over to see all the other bright and sunny entries.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Luscious Lemony Lemon Drizzle Cake

Sometimes there is a gap that only Lemon Drizzle Cake can fill. It's cake, but it's not too heavy. It's sweet but also a little sour. And it's got fruit in it (well a whole lemon anyway) so you can eat it and still feel virtuous (well, sort of). It's also very easy to make and with a few simple ingredients to hand you can have it all whipped up and out of the oven in no more than 40 minutes. If I have the time, or obviously if you're mixing by hand, I like to follow the stages as set out below. I like that therapeutic side of traditional baking methods. But if you're using a food processor then you can just mix everything up together and it should still turn out well.

120g softened butter
120g caster sugar
2 eggs
120g self-raising flour
1 lemon

Cream the butter and sugar.
Whisk the eggs and add gradually
Grate the zest of the lemon and add along with the juice (keeping a little juice back for the icing)
Add the flour and mix well

Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin and bake in the centre of a preheated oven (160oC) for approx 25 minutes. Be careful not to over bake as it should be yellow rather than browned but firm to touch and not soft inside.

Mix approx 4 tablespoons of icing sugar with a little lemon juice to make a slightly runny icing and drizzle over the cake while it is still warm. It should soak in to give the cake an extra lemony kick and look pretty too!

I love it's show stopping simplicity. And it's scrumminess.

Tasty Tuesdays on

Monday, 10 November 2014

Making me smile on a Monday

Today was about click and collecting some Christmas presents for the girls. Which meant a trip into town that I was going to do at the weekend but couldn't face and decided a Monday morning would be better. I'm sure it was easier than negotiating the weekend crowds but I didn't count on all the tourists loitering around with their wheely cases. Still they were no match for my fox pram.

It was a beautiful day and from my former life working at the waterfront I have a secret parking spot which means a walk into the city centre, but it's a scenic one. It meant my crazy baby had good fun on the way and was tired enough to be good in her pram around the shops. Perfect. She even fell asleep which made me think I could sneak in a quick and peaceful Starbucks. That was until some idiot (me) accidentally knocked on one of the Frozen boom boxes I had just collected and she woke instantly singing 'Let it go' Still she was happy but spent the rest of the day wondering where all those Frozen songs were coming from. Mummy's phone I hope I convinced her.

So not a bad Monday, quite a successful one, and I got new slippers! And not just any slippers but Monty the Penguin slippers. Yes *the* Monty. Okay so I feel slightly guilty that I couldn't get the girls a cuddly penguin but saw no reason why we should all suffer.  My time will come when Father Christmas brings those bloody boom boxes ��

Saturday, 8 November 2014

A beautiful bonus day with my darling daughters

Monday was an inset day which gave me a beautiful bonus day off with my daughters before my eldest returned to school after half term. We were lucky as the weather also turned out beautifully so we headed to the Pinewoods In Formby...

Although we had set out to visit the woods my eldest was also very keen on heading to the beach. Her sister wasn't quite as enthusiastic, or rather, she wasn't as keen on walking there! My arms are still recovering from the amount I must have carried her about! Still once her feet touched the sand she was just as happy beachcombing as her sister. I don't think grandma was quite as pleased with the pocketfuls of sand they unloaded on her when we popped by afterwards...

As we had gone off plan a little I was a bit concerned that we might be a bit late by the time we actually got to the Red Squirrel Reserve to spot any as they are really at their most active first thing in the morning. But I needn't have been at all as we still managed to see a LOT! My five year old put her count at 43 and although some may be duplicates I don't think she was actually too far off. Some were more friendly than others, I think one little chap was maybe wanting to come home with us ;) 

Such a lovely day of adventures before the start of a new half-term. My youngest is really going to miss her big sister during the school term and I don't relish having to stop her running in after her sister on the school run all the time! At least I know when it's her turn to go there'll be no stopping her, right?...

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall