Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A beautiful day.

What a fab day.  Can we believe that 3 weeks ago we were all shivering under -6.
I have been attempting to tidy the house most of the day, I even managed to get Mimi roped in to some polishing!!  Needless to say I haven't got very far!  Instead we spent some time in the garden blowing some long lost bubbles which we found in my tidy up, face painting, playing shops however you wouldn't want to pay Mimi's prices.  A cup of tea was hundreds of pounds! Mimi did come up with a very cute version of a cappuccino using my cotton wool face pads.

Mimi is wearing her new jumper from Next.  We have a big problem with
her refusing to wear a jumper/cardigan.  This one stayed on nearly all day.

I think Mimi must be growing at the moment as she seems to sleep quite a bit.  This afternoon I managed to get her down for an afternoon nap.  Wow what to do with my spare time?!?  I persuaded Mike to keep an ear out for her (I thought I'd best make this point in-case people thought I had left my baby home-alone) and decided to pop to Sainsbury's on my bike to pick up a few bits for tea.  On my way out I saw a single magpie..........  Half way into town I remembered I had forgotten the bike lock!  I ended up at the little hardware shop which seems to sell everything - I didn't fancy risking getting my bike nicked in town.  In a way I probably spent less than if I'd got to Sainsburys.

When Mimi woke up we decided to make some Weight Watchers Rock Cakes from my new cook book - (We adapted them slightly as we didn't have any cherries) They were surprisingly tasty however the recipe said that the quantities would make 30 - all I can say is that they would have been big enough for The Borrowers.  I managed to get 17, so instead of them being 2 pro points mine probably ended up nearer 4!!  They tasted fairly good (if double the points) and went perfectly with a cup of tea.  Mimi had fun playing with my brother who is off to Trinidad on Friday for a few months.

Last week I entered a survey with Mumsnet about the new film We Brought A Zoo which is opens on the 16th March.  Mike and I have been lucky enough to be selected as part of the Mumsnet panel to attend a preview in London next Friday evening.  I am so excited so watch this space for my review.  

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Happy Days

I have finally got round to making and writing my Thank You cards for all my lovely presents I received when I left work. I was just so lucky and everybody was so generous.  It all still feels a bit surreal.  I know I have left but I hadn't finished some of the GCSE marking so I have been in for a few mornings to complete it.  I am hoping to have completed it by the end of next week.

Viners Cake Stand; Cath Kidson Patch Book;

We have taken advantage of the lovely weather this weekend and have been out and about.  Alongside other children Mimi always looks quite eccentric with her sunglasses and her crazy clothes.  She is fairly tall for her age and she can speak really well so I get a bit hacked off when people look at her and expect her to behave like a 4 year old at the end of the day she is still only two and isn't three until May.  

 We also spent some time painting cards for Aunty A & F, Grandma & Pa.  There was an attempt to blow the paint with a straw but I have a feeling that she might have sucked instead!  YUM!!!  When we did eventually get the hang of it I think we ended up with more spit than paint blowing but never mind.  As for the glitter somehow we ended up with some mixed in with our cheese last night!!  I keep finding the stuff everywhere.!!!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Weight Watchers Apple & Raspberry Sponge

Having been to Weight Watchers on Saturday and buying my new recipe book I thought I would give a couple of recipes ago.  The first one I had high hopes for were the butternut squash rolls.  I am not too sure what I did but mine definitely did not look anything like the ones in the book.  Mine wouldn't have looked out of place on the beach, they had a distinctive rock type look and texture.  I was planning on uploading the photos but on this occasion they have gone in the recycle bin along with the rolls.  What a waste of time, money and effort!  All was not totally lost, this evening for dessert (Mike always has to have a dessert!) I made a fab apple, raspberry and blackberry sponge.  Not only did it taste good it was really easy to make.

Basically it is fruit baked in the oven with some golden
syrup and a swiss-roll style sponge poured over the top.


Saturday, 25 February 2012


Today I have:

  • Been to weight watchers to be told that I have gained half a pound this week.  The blimming silver 7 is eluding me!!  Since Christmas between my exercise classes and weight watchers I have lost 6lb and I can definitely feel it.  However my motivation has started to waver somewhat.  I think I was expecting some instant hit and slowly the naughty treats have started to creep back in.  This is not being helped by the endless amounts of baking I have been completing with Mimi lately!!!  My problem is that I track what I eat for a couple of days but I find it so difficult to keep within my allocated pro-point allowance that I become demoralised after a few days.  Also I really struggle with snacking.  This week I am feeling a bit more motivated and I brought a new recipe book.  I think it is new out this week as I couldn't find a link for it.  Its got some really good looking recipes in it like, butternut squash rolls and Sri Lankan pineapple curry which I am going to try this week.

  • Spent some time in the garden with Mimi.  With the weather being so beautiful and the first signs of spring and the daffodils coming up I decided we would start potting up some seeds ready for our vegetable patch.  Today we planted two types of beetroot and some tomatoes.  I expect we will have hundreds of plants which I will be desperate to give away in a few weeks!  Every year I get carried away with the tomatoes - forgetting what a pain they are to look after and they always end up falling over.  This year I am planning on being more organised, I am going to order some bamboo.

1: Boltardy; 2: Alto F1 Hybird; 3: Pomodoro Ciliegia; 4: Pomodoro San Marzano

  • Listened to Mimi witter on endlessly about her ever growing Birthday wish list which now includes:

1: Toyota Aygo; 2: Teacup Piggies; 3: Fifi the Flower Tots

  • Shouted at some bl***y woman who's dog was in our garden.  I was so incensed by this woman I stormed outside.  To set the scene:  Our house and garden open out directly onto a field, this field has a set of regular dog walkers who walk the perimeter on a regular basis.  We have since moving in put up a fence to prevent the dogs getting in (one once punctured Mimi's paddling pool) and Mimi getting out.  Today a woman and her son were walking their dog when it managed to slip under the fence and was eating the bird food which had fallen off the table.  The poor dog got stuck in the garden and couldn't work out how to get back out.  It was not so much the dog that p***** me off but the dog owner who walked off and left her dog in our garden.  I went outside and shouted down the road after her asking her to come and collect her dog rather than just walking off.  Her response was to shout back telling me that there was no point running towards her dog as it would make the situation worse.  I explained that I have a child and that the dog was in MY garden to which she replied she couldn't do very much about it.  I told her that she was on private land and that in future perhaps she should find somewhere else to walk her dog.  Bloody woman - No mention of an apology.
  • I have finally got round to uploading my new banner (Number 37 of 101 to re-design my blog).  I am really pleased with the new look.  I am considering moving over to Wordpress (Number 13 of 101) where there is more freedom in terms of the design element.  I have got it up and running you can check it out here.  However it is taking some time getting my head around the technical element of wordpress.  I have got some HTML knowledge however it is still proving a bit tricky. 

Friday, 24 February 2012

A busy day.

I am starting to think that perhaps I have an actress on my hands.  I was eating my breakfast when she appeared looking like this!  She made me laugh lots.  What you can't see is the magic wand which keeps turning me into a FROG!

I haven't been feeling too well today.  I think I might have a cold coming, but it didn't stop me from going spinning with K first thing this morning.  It was fairly tough going and I did feel better having done some exercise.  I managed to get a couple of jobs in before picking Mimi up from play-school.  She is so funny about play-school, she was fine on Monday although they said she cried a little bit after I had left, today Mike took her as spinning started at 9.30am and apparently she was hysterical.  Pick her up and she can't stop talking about what a lovely time she had.  Today they had done painting/printing with Lemons.

I attempted to put her down for a sleep but she was having none of it so instead we set about planning our vegetable patch for the summer and I made a body scrub, something I have been meaning to make for ages.  
Previously I have used the Aveda Body Scrub and the Soap and Glory Scrub.  Both of these are excellent however having left work I am on a bit of an economy drive and decided that it was time to try and make my own.  Also it is Number 77 on my 101 in 1001 list.  I got the idea from Pininterest.  

My home-made sugar body scrub.
It was really easy to make.

225g sugar I used light brown sugar
200ml of oil (having gone into the local health food shop they suggested that for dry skin I could try sesame oil)
The grated zest of a lemon.
I mixed it all together and popped it into a jam jar.  I haven't tried it yet, I will let you know what its like in the morning.

Finally we topped the day off by taking Mimi to the Fish & Chip shop for tea.

I think that my first week at home has gone well.  I have loved every second of it.  Now I look back I am not too sure why I didn't do this sooner.  Only downside is that I need to work on my budgeting skills.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A day at the Zoo

We thought that we would take advantage of the gorgeous weather and spend the afternoon at the Zoo.    

We went straight from music with my friend M and her two children.  I think a good time was had by all - what is even better is that because I used my Howletts passport I spent a total of 95p on an ice lolly!  Talk about good value for money!  The girls played beautifully together and were really cute.  I haven't really seen Mimi playing like that before although I am sure she does at playschool.
I can not believe how fab the weather has been today.  We had a picnic and it felt like T-shirt weather, the sun at this time of year is good for the girls, it is such a valuable source of vitamin D.  We had home-made jelly jam things (jam tarts) and cheese hearts which we made last night.  
I am on an economy drive (now that I have given up work I have to look willing!) so having gone to Sainsburys to buy packed lunch treats I decided that it was considerably cheaper and far more fun to make our own hence the home-made jam tarts, cheese straws and bread rolls.
My Howletts Passport runs out soon but I will definitely be renewing it.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Happy Days

Damm, whilst I am sitting here wondering what we have been upto all day I have remembered the bread I left to rise about 3 hours ago!!!  Just gone to check on it..........I think its a gonna!

We haven't really been very far today, however we have been fairly busy.  When I was looking for my box of seeds at the weekend I came across a bag of Allium's and Hyacinth's that I think Mike might have been given earlier in the year.  Anyway they had started to grow and despite the bags saying plant in the Autum I decided we would pop them in and see what happens, otherwise they will stay there - forgotten indefinitely.  So we spent a few hours in the garden and what a beautiful few hours it was - the sun was shining and in the shelter it was really warm.  We also made some more birdcake - Mimi loves making these especially the bit where she packs it into an old yogurt pot.  We attempted bread which needs no further comment!

Then traditionally as today is Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Day we had Pancakes for dessert.  Mimi had "Pancake Pillows" - These are rolled up pancakes with raspberry sauce.  She ate so much I was a bit worried she might pop!  Mimi took it all very seriously and made Mike flip the pancakes just like Daddy Pig, luckily ours didn't get stuck on the ceiling!

Mimi has played non-stop with the new play-doh (the old stuff had all dried up so I replaced it at the weekend) and is slowly driving me a bit bonkers.  I keep finding it everywhere including in my shoes and wrapped around the dolls house chimney.  I was sitting down earlier when a spoonful was thrust towards my mouth.  It is a nightmare to collect all the little bits up and I am thinking of hiding it for a few days.  Or is that really mean?!?!

Spots & Stripes

Dress & Leggings GAP SALE; Kicker Boots (in the SALE!)

Someone has become obsessed with dressing themselves!!!  Initially I found this to be fairly traumatic.  She will only wear dresses, skirts, tights and occasionally leggings.  There are cupboards full of really cute Monsoon romper suits and trousers which have never been worn.  Previously I would try and force her to wear the clothes I wanted her to wear only to turn round two minutes later to find her taking them all off again, either that or we would have a total melt down resulting in screaming and throwing ourselves on the floor.  As you can imagine when you are running late and trying to get out of the door this is less than the perfect start to a day.  In the evenings Mimi will tell me what she intends to wear to playschool the next day to show her little friend N.  Sometimes we end up with some strange combinations, however she is happy and I have learnt to deal with it.  In fact I might sell some of her unworn clothes on ebay.  I wonder if I was this fashion concious when I was her age!?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Wish List's

Mimi has started to get a concept of what a Birthday might mean and hence her "Birthday Wish List" is growing by the day!!!!

This is today's list.  Unfortunately for poor Mimi her Birthday is not until May.  So between now and then I am sure that it will change.  The other day she told Pa that she was going to get a "Pink" Aeroplane!

1:   Slinky the Dog from Toy Story.
2:   Buzz Light Year
3:   Play-Doh (although Mimi does have a tendency to eat it!  YUCK!)

Earlier I was talking to Mike about it.  I am undecided about this.  Do you think it is wrong to buy a present for Easter instead of a traditional Easter Egg?  On the one hand I do think it's wrong, it misses the whole point of Easter and it will end up becoming another gift giving session, however on the flip side she will end up with so much chocolate that she will end up looking like an Easter Egg.........Ummmmmm food for thought plenty of time to decide!!

Lazy Days

We have had a bit of a lazy weekend.

Coffee at Cafe Nero at the Ashford Designer Outlet. I brought the muffin to share but we didn't really get much of a look-in!  

Lunch with Mikes Brother and family.  My sister in-law and Mimi's cousin took her out into the garden to collect freshly picked sprouts for lunch.  I had never realised how easy it is to grow them.  I think I will add them to our short-list of vegetables to grow this summer.

Mimi & Mr Doggy had fun playing on their beautiful rocking horse.

Whilst Daddy and the boys had fun playing with his boat in the garden.  They are so lucky.  They have a stunning garden with river and mill-pond.......Perfect for model boats!

A perfect day.  What more could you ask for, great company, great food on a beautiful if cold winters day.

Friday, 17 February 2012

A bit of colour on a winters day.

Check out those colours !?!?!?

This morning we took a trip out to Mama Feelgoods with my friend A from work.  We stopped for an expensive coffee in their deli cafe (£2.95 - more expensive than Starbucks!) however whilst we were there we became inspired by their beautiful bakery shop.  With Mike away on business Mimi kept asking to bake a cake for his return.  Having spoken all morning about "Pink" icing we finally settled on an attempt at making a "Rainbow Cake".

I think I made it sink!  I think I added too much baking powder and opened the oven too soon!  Hey ho!  I was impressed with the vibrancy of the colours and think I will give it another go, but next time I think I will try and do the layered versions I have seen.

Like this one I found on Whisk Kid

I used the following recipe:

Rainbow Cake
Food Colouring of various shades, (we just used the primary colours and mixed them together)
175g Caster Sugar
175g Self Raising Flour
175g Butter
2 eggs

Cream the butter and sugar together
Add the eggs slowly continuing to beat the mixture
Add the sieved flour and fold the mixture together.

Divide the mixture between a number of dishes depending on the number of colours you want.  Mix in your colours and spoon the mixture into the tin.
Bake in the oven at 160 degrees for about 30mins.

When I left work I was lucky enough to be presented with some lovely gift vouchers for Fenwicks.  I am going to keep these safely and add them to my wallet fund.  35 of 101.

Mulberry Long Locked Purse.

No 35     Save up and buy a beautiful wallet (maybe a Mulberry)

Keeping up with my 101 in a 1001 Mimi and I have been to the local hardware store where we brought a bag of seeding potatoes which we are going to carefully set out in a tray tomorrow.  Having learnt from last years experience where Mimi muddled up the different varieties I brought; this year we just opted for one the "Winston".  Apparently they can produce show winning crops!!!

Now we just need to sort out the vegetable plot and decide what else we want to plant!

My first week as being a stay at home mum has gone reasonably well.  Mimi and I have sat down to eat together 4 nights this week and tomorrow I am going to implement my reward chart - smiley faces and black clouds!!!  I am looking forward to next week when Mimi is back at play-school.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Bird Cakes

For Christmas I was given a bird table.  We originally had it in the middle of the lawn but it kept getting blown over.  I was disappointed by how few visitors we got.  So we moved it and we have had an influx of Robins, Blue-tits, Great-tits and Blackbirds.  Occasionally we see the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on the tree outside the office.  With Mimi's obsession with baking I decided we would make bird cakes for the birds in the garden.  Obviously you need to be careful with the hot fat but it cools really quickly once it has been added to the breadcrumbs and seed.  I placed a whole heap of stale bread in the food processor, some I put in the freezer for when we are next making fish cakes and the rest we made bird cake with. 

If you don't have a bird table you could punch a hole in the bottom of the yoghurt pot, pull through a piece of string or wool and tie a knot, then firmly pack your birdcake on top of it.  Either that or you could use a fir cone which you have tied a piece of string to and then pack the bird cake into the gaps.

I hope that you have as much fun as we did.


GAP:  Red Heart Leggings £3.20; Stripy Top £5.97;
Skirt £3.97; Grey Leggings with Puff Skirt £3.99; 

Earlier this week we met my friend J and her little girl I for lunch and a spot of shopping.  J is heavily pregnant with No2 and both girls played up in typical toddler style!  Mimi managed to destroy the window display in the "orange shop" or in adult language Ted Baker.  (However she is quite right the lights in Ted Baker are Orange!)  
We lunched at the newly opened but hugely popular Pizza Express, which is great as they are fairly child friendly and even better they quite often run offers on Money Saving Expert and you can exchange your Tesco Vouchers.  We both love shopping at the Ashford Outlet as there are always bargains to be found for the girls especially in GAP.  Only problem is the girls often end up looking like twins wearing matching outfits.  

Sunday, 12 February 2012

All Change

Friday was officially my last day at work.  I was really nervous about going in to work but actually I had a lovely day, finished with a good evening out - (although I drank far too much and suffered all day yesterday!)  Everybody was very generous and I was presented with some great gifts.  One of them being lovely pink bag (I have a love of handbags - but hey which girl doesn't!) which Mimi instantly took a shine to.

Gosh this was taken quite early on in the evening - I think?

With a new day and a clear head I am looking forward to what the future might bring.  I think top of my list is to sort this house out! I am still working on my 101 in 1001 and I have plenty of craft projects on the go which need completing, and of course I am looking forward to the Brit Mums Live.

My day was made even better when I came home and found my huge box of Jelly Belly's which I won courtesy of Munchkins.

Yesterday when we woke up our kitchen was a balmy 8 degrees and outside it was -6, this morning it is slightly warmer at -4.7.  The wind finally decided to drop off enough that I felt it wasn't too cold to take Mimi outside to build a snowman. I needed the fresh air!  However our snowman became a snow blob because the snow was so powdery that we just could not form it in to a ball.  It is crazy we have now had this snow on the ground for over a week.  Wonder if we will get any more?  I don't think winter has finished with us just yet.  My onions looked like they needed some water but I was a bit worried about watering them in-case the water froze and ruined them.

Here is to change.  One door closes and another one opens.  I wonder what fate will bring us.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Finally here comes winter!!!

I think that February is going to be payback for our recent exceptionally warm weather.  Early January I walked home from town with just my body warmer and a light weight jumper, now our house is so blimming chilly I am contemplating sleeping in my body warmer.

However I do love the snow and it was great to watch Mimi playing in it.  She was very cute, when she went out the front door she kept saying "Crazy", "This is really Crazy", "Help me help me I'm really stuck".  Bless some of the snow drifts up here were up to her waist.

Yesterday was the first time in a week that the temperature has risen above freezing however the wind chill makes it feel considerably colder.  Between us and France is the English Channel the beach and a field so when the wind blows from the East or North East it howls in.  Our kitchen is currently about 11 degrees.  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

All this snow is great but with it being so cold outside for little ones means that you have to think of indoor entertainment.

So we made "Pink" (our favourite colour at the moment) butterfly cakes. 

Then we made a cardboard monster and guess what??
We painted it "Pink"!

Our obsession with dresses and tights continues and is continuing to stress me out especially when the weather is so cold.  I took Mimi to have her feet measured yesterday for new slippers and ended up buying slippers and shoes.  We ended up choosing the most hideous coloured pair of Kicker Boots ever.  We have had Kicker Boots before and they were great, so its not the choice of shoe just the colour.  The thing was they were in the sale (probably for good reason) however for little feet you just want something warm and waterproof.  Slippers were much easier as there was a limited choice but we decided to go for a lovely pair of pink flowery ones by Startrite.  We have had a pair before and I having tried others I have concluded that the little Startrite ones are good value for money.  They have a firm sole with tread which means if they go outside its not the end of the world and much more importantly they have support around the heel to prevent them from walking on the side of their foot.

New Slippers - Guess What?
They are Pink!

New Shoes - Check out those cool colour!!!

At least they go with the dress.
Jury's out on leggings and socks!

 Yippeee I have one day left at work.  For the first time ever I am hoping that we don't get more snow tonight as we are planning on going out tomorrow night for a few drinks and I would quite like the school to be open.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

At a loss - modern technology!

How did we all survive before the internet and even more so pre-broadband?  Our connection went down on Friday.  We finally managed to get it reconnected last night!  My poor husband is trying to run a business from home which is internet dependant.  So much is done online these days that I too have been at a bit of a loss.  I couldn't book in for spinning at the FitnessMix, check my Weight Watchers pro points or most importantly ensure that I had transferred enough money into my bank account to cover the bills.

Whilst I am on the point about technology I really considered all of my options when choosing my new phone.  After much deliberation I finally opted with the HTC desire as it seemed like the best option for the money.  However just lately I have become very jealous of iphone users and wish I had shelled out the extra money.  Whilst I think the android app market has improved it is seriously inferior to the iphone.  What brings me to this conclusion is that there are several apps I would like to download but they are all only accessible on the i-phone.

Instagram allows you to take photos with filters on
your phone and then share them online

I would really like to use instagram (just think how good this would be linked to my blog), the weight watchers app and the Annabel Karmel app but unfortunately I can't and I am feeling increasingly frustrated.  According to the online forums instagram is coming to the android SOON!!   I think that Weight Watchers could make far more use of their website and apps and I am surprised that they have not created an app which lets you scan the bar-code of a product in the supermarket which tells you the pro points value.  I have emailed them to complain and they said that they have a team working on it!  However I have now been waiting a year!

Modern technology aside life in our house has been fairly busy.  Saturday I had a morning on my own - it was amazing and I had totally forgotten what that feeling of "me" time felt like.  I went to have my hair done at The Chair then on to meet K for coffee.  I truly believe that my hair has never looked so good since I have been going to The Chair.  Over the years I have struggled to get a good haircut as my hair is so curly but Katie is just amazing.  I would highly recommend having your hair done at The Chair.  Sunday we had a two back to back birthday parties.  Good job I went shopping in the Christmas sales and stocked up on a heap of birthday presents.

Mimi is becoming fairly independent and will only wear what she wants to.  It is becoming a little stressful and I may have to start hiding some of her favourite outfits.  Not because I want to be mean but because they just don't fit any more and its a bit too chilly to be wandering around with leggings up to her knees.

I just found her neatly lining up her shoes with Mr Doggy on the naughty mat.  I asked why he was on the mat and apparently he had touched the orange shoes hence why they are not paired up!

We made some gorgeous birthday cakes for my Mum.  Mimi had as usual a lovely time baking and I think even more fun eating the end results!!  I asked her last night what she would like to do today and she said "make something".  I suggested a cardboard monster but that idea was dismissed.  "No mummy I want to make a big cake with pink icing."

Birthday Cupcakes!  Yum Yum. Goodbye Diet!

So we have made scrummy brownies from Fay Ripleys book (no wonder it is taking me so long to loose some weight!) and done some painting.  No pink icing but someone had fun!!

How messy?!?  I think that there is more on her face than in her mouth!

Different types of markings using a comb in paint.


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