Okay, so I’m not sure what’s better, a sausage roll recipe that can be pimped 3 ways or a gifted pair of beautiful canvas shoes to skip about in and dream of spring, summer and picnics. I think I’m going for equal first. READ MORE
Full disclaimer; my pal wrote this book. That doesn’t mean it isn’t great though. It is. READ MORE
I have always been obsessed with kitchens. Even before I was let loose chopping and stirring and rolling and most importantly, pouring water. I think it comes from having grown up in a house with a tiny kitchen. As my mother would put it, there was ‘barely room to swing a cat’. There really wasn’t. But it didn’t matter, I still loved spending time in it, helping my parents by creating more mess than might have been strictly necessary. I used to dream of larger kitchens, not so much for a good sized area to swing cats in, but for the floor space to add a table. I did grow up watching the Walton’s after all. READ MORE
Cake stands are something I have a love hate relationship with. I find them really rather beautiful; they make me believe I’m living in a gentler time where everyone stopped for tea instead of everyone stopped to photograph their food. (Guilty as charged). But they’re not all very good. I have one that’s mighty pretty but the dome is so squat only a torte can safely nestle underneath it. READ MORE
I met some of the lovely people from Woodall’s at the Good Housekeeping Awards. (Did I mention I won best food blog? Did I? Okay maybe a few times. Apologies). Anyway, they were lovely and friendly and we bonded about being rubbish at networking. They also gave me the courage to go and speak to some of the GHK folks who I would never ever have had the guts to approach with a little coaching. READ MORE
My kids love Fimo. Really love it. They get frustrated with it though, so though they start out playing with it ‘without any help Mummy’, it soon degenerates into me helping to mould a snake/monster/horse/pig. Fimo is fabulous but it is hard on the hands. You need to knead it a little before you use it and even then it can be tricky to use. Probably best suited to older kids and adults. READ MORE
Today I offer you pork casserole with sweet apple. This time we’re using specially selected pork to make for a super tender dish. And we’re not using just any old apples; we’re using Bramley apples. The sweetness of the apples combined with the succulent pork makes for a really special pork casserole that’s so hands off it’s easy to forget it’s in the oven. READ MORE
Lakeland kindly sent me a whole host of chocolate related goodies for review. This is most definitely my kind of review. Here’s what I thought:
Train mould – As the mother of one train enthusiast this was heaven sent. Max (4) loved this, even took the mould to playschool for show and tell. The detail on the train is amazing, the mould turns out well (you MUST let the chocolate set properly first, don’t be impatient) and it washes easily too. It’s a must have for our little train enthusiast. My only criticism would be that the mould takes a lot of chocolate (850g); I’d love to see a smaller mould.
Two piece Christmas silicone choc mould – These moulds are lovely; they remind me of old fashioned Christmas decorations. They have all the good qualities of the train mould whilst taking less chocolate and also being perfect for topping cupcakes or even a Christmas chocolate cake.
Fairy tale village mould – Another big tick from us. This mould can be used for chocolate or gingerbread. I think this might be a perfect present for kids who want to make a gingerbread house but are scared of getting all the geometry right. Again, washes well, turns out well as long as you grease well.
Silicone thermospatula – I would recommend investing on one of these if you are in any way interested in tempering chocolate. That is, making sure that any chocolate you melt has a wonderful sheen on it once it sets. This spatula has an in built thermometer so no need to balance a thermometer and spatula over a bain marie any more. Great idea.
Dark chocolate – I have a confession to make that my husband and I ate this whole block whilst watching TV and drinking coffee. It was delicious. I can’t comment on it’s melting abilities other than it dissolves well on my tongue as the hot coffee washed over it.
Star treat bags – I have been using these bags to give mini mince pies away to pals in. They’re great for popping a piece of card into, giving the mince pies more stability, very festive indeed.
Homemade stickers – I have to confess that I don’t much like these. They didn’t seem hugely sticky to me. Apart from that, to me there’s something strange about shouting ‘homemade’ when giving a gift that clearly isn’t packaged in supermarket stamped cardboard. Not my thing.
Reindeer gift tags – I love these, they’re really thick and sturdy with a cut out reindeer. Only criticism would be that there’s only 3 per pack. I wanted to adorn all my presents with them.
I have 1 x Lakeland chocolate pack RRP £70 giveaway. There are lots of ways to enter – see the Rafflecopter form below. The first way is just to leave a comment on this post. Easy peasy. Closing date 17th December 2014. Please note Lakeland will post on a next day delivery up until the 19th, however in the event that any product is unavailable Lakeland will provide an alternative product of the same or greater value.
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How often does an A & E Doctor decide to diversify and start making and selling bibs? Not very, that’s for sure. Which is why Fabric 41 slightly intrigued me. Amy (the Doc) and Katy (her sister) have started up a little company dedicated to making dribble bibs – you know, the ones that look super cool, like neckerchiefs. The kind sported by very cool kids.
So Amy and Katy sent me some bibs to review and I have to admit to being a little skeptical at first, after all these dribble bibs, whilst perfect for older teething toddlers are often, frankly a bit rubbish for babies. They don’t tie properly and hence milk sits in neck creases which any parent knows can provide a pretty rank aroma after just a few hours. The thing is these bibs are not like that – they’re super, super soft so they wedge into neck creases really well, plus they’re easy to tie, using a popper rather than my pet hate, velcro. (Which seems to collect all manner of debris in the washing machine. Ewww.) And lastly, but most importantly, the designs are delightful. I haven’t seen the fabric designs before. My little boy Lawrence has been sporting the apple and snail designs and looks mighty dapper in them.
Things I liked: Priced honestly – £6 each or buy 3 or more for a fiver each. The softness. The popper fastening. Made in England – supporting local businesses. The fabric designs are lovely – of which there are LOADS. The perfect baby present for any new parent. Oh and the website is gorgeous, very premium.
Things I didn’t like: Amy and Katy, you need to include more about you both on your website (in my opinion). I’d love to know more about your styling and textile credentials. I’d love to know more about the A & E background and how that led you into bib land. I am intrigued. People buy people after all. I think you should up your story. I also think you should apply for Dragon’s Den. Look what it did for that Just for Tiny People business. I would also like to know why you’re called Fabric 41. I could be being sleep deprived and thick on this point though.
I have 10 x Fabric 41 bibs of YOUR choice to giveaway to one person. There are lots of ways to enter – see the Rafflecopter form below. The first way is just to leave a comment on this post. Easy peasy. Closing date 21st November 2014. How to enter:
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Who knew a button shaped biscuit could cause such excitement? I popped up a pic of the ginger biscuits I made with these stamps late on a Friday evening and they immediately got quite a response. You can see them here. They’re made by Emma Jane’s Bakery; a little company run by Emma Jane and her partner Owen. They design all the products themselves and you can really tell – there’s an attention to detail you just don’t get with mass produced stamps. The packaging and branding is delightful too. I really enjoyed receiving my stamps in the post. The box they came in felt like a treat – the tissue paper and ribbon carefully chosen. Each stamp has a little tag attached, again by ribbon. This is prime gifting territory folks. I defy anyone not to tingle just a little bit when they unwrap goodies from Emma Jane.
Enough about how they looked. How did they work? Like a dream. I used one of the two recipes provided by Emma Jane and found the ginger biscuit dough very easy to work with. There’s a circular cutter which you place on the dough, stamp in, then you push the button stamp on top (it fits perfectly) to make the impression. Remove the stamp and release the circular biscuit from the dough.
The most intricate stamp stuck in the dough once but I soon managed to sort this out with a quick wash and a dry. Emma provides a trouble shooting tips sheet in case you have any issues with the stamps sticking. I really liked these cutters, as did my son. You do need to be careful washing them. These are not for dishwashers or leaving to soak for hours. They’re hand made stamps with faces made of food-safe nylon, the mount is baltic birch – finished with a food safe, natural wax oil treatment. These are the Rolls Royce of stamps, treat them with respect.
Things I liked: The packaging is exquisite, the quality of the cutters is high and they work very well. I liked that Emma Jane provides a couple of recipes and is also incredibly friendly. She’s a retail dream.
Things I didn’t like: I’m going to have to address the price. The RRP for this set including the cutter and 4 stamps is £55.99, but you can buy these stamps individually too so as to spread the outlay. They’re not cheap stamps but then again they are made by a small business owner and the standard is high. Plus you can use them for biscuits and also fondant icing. I already have dreams of summery cupcakes with little dainty mint green button toppers. You get what you pay for is what I’m saying.
I have 1 set of 4 button stamps plus a cutter worth £55.99 up for grabs. There are lots of ways to enter – see the Rafflecopter form below. The first way is just to leave a comment on this post. Easy peasy. Closing date 12th September 2014. How to enter:
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