Monday, 30 September 2013

A Great Family Weekend

This weekend has been lovely, despite the horrible cough and cold that I've had.
We haven't really done anything special, we have just spent quality time together as a family.
Which for us is special!
On Saturday we went scrumping down in my parents garden. At the bottom of their garden they have a lovely orchard which is full of cooking apples and an abundance of plums. All ready to eat and cook with. So we went equipped with a couple of carrier bags and went fruit picking. In the future we would love to have fruit tree but it will take years to become anywhere near as established as my mum and dads. I now have plenty of plums to cook with. I am going to get started on my Christmas jams and chutneys this week so they will all come in! A few years ago I made hampers full of homemade jams, marmalades, chutneys and sweets but I have not had the time to do them again since the twins arrival. This year, I feel, that now the twins are bigger I can do them again and I cannot wait to get started!
We continued to potter about on Saturday, I got bread made and my mother in law came for the night so we treated ourselves to a yummy Indian take away.
Saturday was lovely, but it was Sunday which I really enjoyed.
Thanks to my mother in laws help I was able to have some quality kitchen time without running back and forth to the children. So I cooked a slap up Sunday roast chicken with all the trimmings! It was a real luxury for me to have that peaceful kitchen time, I loved it! We finished off our meal with a plum and apple crumble using the lovely fruit that we picked on Saturday. 
After dinner we took the three children into the garden. They love being out and having the freedom to run around and explore their surroundings. Whilst hubby got some new soft fruit bushes planted and a flower bed dug out I ran up and down the garden after the exploring twins. Joseph was his dads little helper, he loves spending time with his dad, and I love watching them both together. I really does warm my heart!
The twins went up and down, to the swings, to the slides, to their play house, to their rocking horses and back and forth.
I cherish the moments that we have like this, when all five of us are together enjoying life.
We then ended the our weekend with cheese and wine once the children were all in bed.
This is what weekends are about.
Quality family time!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Acceptance - My Post Twin Pregnancy Body

For as long as I can remember I have always been extremely self conscious of my body.
In the past I have battled numerous times with bouts of anorexia and bulemia. Whenever things haven't been good the first thing I did was not eat. However since meeting my hubby that has become a thing of the past.
The anorexia and bulemia that is.
I am still very self conscious of how I look.
Even more so since having the twins.
After I had Joseph I lost my pregnancy weight quickly but then again I only carried one baby, of course it wasn't going to be as quick or easy after a twin pregnancy.
I was huge!
During my pregnancy I managed to get to 30 weeks before the stretch marks appeared. Surprisingly these haven't been my problem. They have all faded and are just silvery marks on my belly. The problem which I have had is the excess skin that I have been left with due to the size of my bump!
Since the twins were a few weeks old I have been adamant that I will have a tummy tuck. I swore blind that I would never accept it. I even managed to get hubby to support me if I decided to go ahead with it against his better judgement.
19 months on, I am in a lot of my pre-pregancy clothes and am back down to a size 14. For the first time since the twins were born I feel happy with the way I look.
My hubby is always telling me that he loves me just the way I am and that my "twin skin" is there because I carried two babies who were a healthy weight. It shows that I carried our beautiful children.
I now feel that I am starting to accept my post twin pregnancy body, twin skin and all.
It has taken me along time to get here but I now feel confident in how I look.
This is something that I never thought was possible unless I underwent cosmetic surgery.
I am so pleased that I decided to wait as acceptance and confidence has returned and I feel proud that I am able to say this!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Great Bloggers Bake Off - Week 6 Sweet Dough

This week I will admit to being excited about sweet dough!

I love baking and eating sweet dough so my choice this week was an easy one. I have, in the past, made a savoury couronne so decided to bake a sweet one.
I looked at what fruit I had in the fridge and found some blueberries. I had my basis now I just needed flavours to go with them.
This is what I decided on:

Blueberry, Apple and Cinnamon Couronne 

Ingredients

250g strong white flour
5g salt
7g yeast
110g warm full fat milk
50g softened butter
1tbsp honey
1 lg apple I used a Granny Smith
80g blueberries
1dsp plain flour
1tsp cinnamon
Honey for drizzling over the couronne
Icing sugar

1:  Place the flour in a large mixing bowl
2: Add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other side
3: Add the softened butter, warm milk, honey and mix
4: When you have a rough dough start to knead



5: Knead for about 10 minutes or until your dough has a smooth top and is stretchy

6: Place in an oiled bowl and leave to prove. With this dough I allow at least 2 hours to prove
7: When the dough is ready peel and chop up the apple and mix with the blueberries

8: Mix together the flour and cinnamon and add to the fruit to prevent browning

9: Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out and knead

10: Roll the dough out into a rectangle and spread the fruit along the middle

11: Roll up the dough and fruit

12: Cut the roll of dough in half

13: Now start to twist the two pieces together. Leave and fruit that is showing

14: Once the two pieces are twisted together shape them into a round crown shape onto a lined baking tray

15: Leave to prove in a large bag for an hour

16: Pre-heat the oven to 200C 
17: Once the couronne has proved again place it in the pre-heated oven for approx 30 minutes or until golden

18: Once taken out of the oven let it cool slightly then drizzle over some honey and sprinkle with icing sugar

Enjoy x












The Cold Won!

I hate to say this, but the cold won!
My attempts to beat the bug were all in vain. I have caught it and feel really rubbish!
Last night once the kids were in bed all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball. I had a hot shower, got my snugly pyjamas on and did just that.
I am now trying to just feel ok. I have stocked up on cold and flu tablets, hot lemon drinks, fresh orange juice and tissues.
The twins are asleep and instead of rushing around doing jobs I am just going to sit with the tv on and blog!
That should cheer me up a bit.
Moan over now for my Great Bloggers Bake Off post :-)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wednesday Words - Gratitude

This week the topic for Wednesday Words is gratitude.
This got me thinking about what I am thankful for:

  • my children
  • my hubby
  • my parents
  • my mother in law
  • life
  • our home
  • other family members, the list could go on!
  • I am thankful that I can be grateful for so much.
After looking through a lot of different quotes, I found this one. It brings in all of the important people and I love how it describes how gratitude helps all of us x


Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/eileencadd392997.html#bZCXv1t4JSJP3gCq.99


Twins Discover Soft Play

Yesterday's toddler group ended up in a trip to a local soft play area!
I have never taken the twins anywhere like that before mainly because they still don't seem big enough. But I need to realise that they are not babies anymore. So when we were asked if we would like to go I thought "Yeah, we'll give it a go!"
We had lunch then got ready to go.
Yes, I was nervous about how the twins would react, would the just cry at everyone or would they just go and play? At one point these worries would have stopped me going, but as my confidence and the twins have grown I knew that we would be ok!
When we got there the twins had a couple of minutes in the pushchair so that they could get used to their surroundings and then they were off!!!
They started off cautiously but in no time they were getting more daring.
Before I knew it they were climbing up the slopes onto the next, higher level. The three of us climbed up went along a walk way, past the funny mirrors, around a ball that was bigger than them and then down the slide! We went through tunnels and played with games on the walls. They were having the time of their lives! They found some big soft building block and loved stacking them up and counting, then knocking them over. We had so much fun.
The one thing that I enjoyed more than anything was giving the twins my undivided attention to playtime!
At home there are always distractions, there are jobs to be done, the phone might ring, emails come through and the television being on.
Having that time has made me realise that we really do need to do it more and I cannot wait!



Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Ariel 3in1 Pods - Review

I have recently received a box of the new Ariel 3in1 pods to test and review.
I am constantly amazed by the amount of washing 5 people can make, particularly the amount that the kids make. In our house washing,drying and ironing is a full time job. So when I got the opportunity to sign up for Ariel 3in1 pods I jumped at the chance as I knew our washing would certainly put them to the test!

 
As soon as our starter kit arrived the first load of washing using Ariel 3in1 was on!
The pods are so easy to use. You simply place one in with your washing. There is no measuring and no spilling! I try to to the majority of our washing at 30 degrees to save energy so I delighted to see that Ariel 3in1 pods could be used at low temperatures.

 
Once the load was finished the first thing that I noticed was the lovely fresh fragrance that hung in the air. As I was pegging out the washing I was pleased to see that it had all come out lovely and clean. There were no lingering stains in sight!
Once the washing was dried I noticed that the fragrance was still noticeable on the clothes whereas normally I find that after the clothes have been outside the fragrance does tend to go. However with Ariel 3in1 the fragrance really goes grip onto the clothes. Even after the clothes have been in a drawer for a couple of days the scent is still there!
The next challenge I had for Ariel 3in1 was towels! I wanted to see how Ariel 3in1 would do without adding fabric softener. I was amazed to feel how soft the towels came out with just Ariel 3in1. If anything they came out just as soft as they normally do when I use the liquid detergent and fabric softener! There's an added bonus, Ariel 3in1 will can also save money!

 
 
Now for the product information!
 
The Ariel 3in1 pod has 3 sections, a white section, a blue section and a green section.
The white section lifts the stains off your clothes! It has a unique cocktail of 6 enzymes which are designed to combat your everyday stains!
The blue sections brightens your clothes! Thanks to the revolutionary three compartments, meaningful combinations of the right ingredients are released at just the right time to give you outstanding brightness!
The green section cleans your clothes! A super compact detergent with new cleaning active boosters which help the detergent get to the dirt quicker!
 
My overall opinion is that the Ariel 3in1 pods are a great laundry product that we, as a family, will be sticking with. There are also Ariel 3in1 Colour and Style pods and Ariel 3in1 pods with Febreze available which I am curious to try! So for once I am happy to say
"Bring on the washing!"
 
Disclaimer: I received a box of Ariel 3in1 pods as I am part of the Savvy Circle run by Super Savvy Me http://www.supersavvyme.co.uk/ The opinions in this post are all my own.
For more information visit
 
 

Catch Up Post

Yesterday I was so busy I didn't have chance to blog!
My morning was taken up with house jobs, cleaning chickens and sorting through the never ending pile of laundry. It is great catching up with the washing but the pile of ironing seems to be growing by the minute!
I also decided to bake the hubby a blueberry, apple and cinnamon couronne, which is not a quick bake. But it came out great! I am going to do a separate yummy post about that!
Then before I knew it school time had returned and it was time to go.
Once we actually sat down last night all I wanted to do was curl up and go to sleep. Everyone in the house, but me, has come down with colds, coughs and sore throats so I started to panic that I too was coming down with it. So I took some tablets and went to bed!
Thankfully I have woken up ok this morning. I have a little sniffle but with plenty if vitamin C I'm sure I can beat it!!!
The twins were up this morning at 6am. I can't say it was "bright and early" because it wasn't! It was more like "dark and early" it was pitch black outside. It felt like the middle of the night. The days certainly are getting shorter. Which means Halloween, Bonfire night and Christmas are on their way!
Today's plan is school run, cleaning chickens, play with the twins, clean the lounge, play with the twins, twins nap time, tackle the huge pile of ironing, do a review post, take the twins to toddlers group for the first time, then back to get Joseph from school!!!
Busy, busy, busy!!!
I have said in the past that I do not take the twins to any groups because I have felt like the circus act that everyone watches but we are going to give it another go!
Why should this group be different?
Easy, its one that's run in the village so its run by people that I know and who have seen the twins since they were small. I'm hoping the twins will enjoy playing with other children but I'm also looking forward to having some other adult conversations! Its going to be nice to sit and have a coffee and chat with other mums! I just hope the twins are ok otherwise I'm going to be running around like a headless chicken juggling toddlers!
All in all, we've got another manic day!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Great Bloggers Bake Off - Week 5 Traybakes

This week the theme for the Great Bloggers Bake Off is tray bakes.
I will admit that I don't do many tray bakes. If I do any its normally a flapjack. So this week was a challenge.
The one tray bake that I have wanted to have a go at for a long time is Millionaires Shortbread, purely because I love it!!!
So that was an easy choice.
I got started.
I made my dough for my shortbread then realised I hadn't actually got a tray deep enough for a tray bake! So I had to improvise. I have used a big, shallow cake tin. Hence the round Millionaires Shortbread.
I found the basic recipe on www.bbcgoodfood.com and just added a couple of my own ideas.

Millionaires' Nutty Shortbread

Ingredients

Shortbread

250g plain flour
75g caster sugar
175g butter, softened
 25g chopped roasted hazelnuts
 
Pre-heat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4
 
1: Mix the flour and caster sugar together
2: Rub in the butter to make breadcrumbs
 
 
3: Add the hazelnuts and knead into a dough
4: Put the dough into a prepared tin and press down. Prick the shortbread dough with a fork and place in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes
5: Once the shortbread is done leave to cool in the tin
 
 
 
Caramel
 
100g butter or margarine
100g light muscavado sugar
2 x 397g cans condensed milk
Chopped roasted hazelnuts to top
 
1: Place the butter, sugar and condensed milk in a pan and place over a medium heat
2: Bring to the boil stirring continuously
 
 
3: Once it has boiled turn the heat right down (I have an electric hob and turned my heat off completely as the heat is retained in the hob) and simmer for 5 minutes stirring continuously
4: After 5 minutes pour onto the cooled shortbread
 
 
5: Put by and allow the caramel to cool. Once the caramel top has set sprinkle over a couple of handfuls of chopped roasted hazelnuts and leave to completely cool.
 
 
 
Chocolate Topping
 
200g plain or milk chocolate
Fudge pieces
Chopped roasted hazelnuts
 
1: Melt the chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water
2: Once melted pour over the caramel and spread out evenly
3: Sprinkle over the fudge pieces and hazelnuts and leave to cool completely
 
 
Tip: If cooling in the fridge, remove for about 30 minutes before cutting. This should prevent the chocolate cracking!
 
Enjoy x
 
 

This is my recipe for Great Bloggers Bake Off week 5 hosted by


 

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Creamy Summer Vegetable Risotto

I have to admit, sometimes I really do enjoy having unplanned meals.
I normally take some meat or fish out of the freezer but there are days when I forget! When I'm having one of these days I enjoy getting my thinking cap on, looking in the fridge and garden and coming up with a lovely satisfying meal.
Yesterday was one of these days!
I looked in the garden and found that our courgette plants had a couple of lovely fresh courgettes, so that was a start! I was presently surprised to find these as I thought that they had just about finished producing courgettes for this year. Now I had my basis I started looking for vegetables that would go with the courgettes. I went on to get a red onion, some tomatoes and some fresh thyme. I also knew that I had some mushrooms and crème fraîche in the fridge.
This is what I came up with:

Creamy Summer Vegetable Risotto
 
2 courgettes
1 red onion
2 lg tomatoes
8 Mushrooms
300mls crème fraîche
Leaves off a few sprigs of fresh thyme
Seasoning to taste
2 cups of rice

1: Put a pan of water to boil. When it has reached boiling point put in the rice and cook accordingly

2: Chop all of the vegetables

 
3: Heat some olive oil in either a large frying pan or stir fry pan. Add the vegetables and thyme leaves

 
4: When the vegetables have softened add the crème fraîche and season to taste

5: Once the rice is cooked drain it off and add to the creamy vegetables and mix together

I like to serve this with either Parmesan cheese or a mature grated cheese with garlic bread.

Enjoy x 
 


Friday, 20 September 2013

Cussons Mum & Me - Baby Bath to comfort Snuffles Review

We were recently asked to try Cussons Mum & Me Baby Bath to comfort Snuffles.
When we first received the Baby Bath there were no snuffles sight so I've kept it on one side.
Now that the weather has changed and Joseph has returned to school the dreaded colds, snuffles and coughs have arrived!
Poor little Isabella really is feeling it more than the other two. So what better time than now to try out Cussons Mum & Me Baby Bath to comfort Snuffles!
I ran some of the baby bath into the warm water and as I frothed it up for some bubbles the refreshing smell of menthol was released. Along with the warm water, the menthol starts its work on the snuffles. It did cause lots of runny noses but that just shows that it is doing what it says! It really did clear out her nose!
Cussons Mum & Me Baby Bath to comfort Snuffles is not only a fantastic way to comfort the little ones when they have colds. Even I have put it to the test and used it to ease my bunged up nose. However when I used it in a hot shower the menthol vapours were even stronger and worked wonders!
The Cussons Mum & Me range is not only great for the babies but is also suitable for the whole family!
You know that it is a range that you can trust.
Now for the product information! Cussons Mum & Me Baby Bath to comfort Snuffles:

* Contains menthol
* Hypoallergenic
* Paediatrician approved
* Kind to eyes
* Ophthalmologist approved

While any of us have the snuffles I will be keeping Cussons Mum & Me Baby Bath to comfort Snuffles close to hand!


 
 
For more information on Cussons Mum & Me range visit:

http://www.mumandme.com/

Busy Day!

Today is hubby's first day back at work after his accident.
I have quite mixed feelings about this.
On one hand it is great that he is well enough to go back to work and that me and the kids can get back into more of a routine.
On the other hand I miss him. It has been lovely having another pair of hands around the place and a second pair of eyes to watch the twins antics!
Today we are back to our normal school week routine. I have managed to whizz round getting jobs done and doing umpteen loads of washing while the weather is good.
But we have got 3 kiddies that are full of cold, which makes bad nights and grumpy twins. So I have had a trip to Tesco to stock up on vitamins, vapour rub and plug in vapouriser to help them sleep tonight. Goodness know both me and the hubby could also do with a good nights sleep.
As well as house jobs and ironing to catch up on I have got a couple of review posts to write, a couple of yummy recipes and I need to bake for Great Bloggers Bake Off.
My life if manic, but I love it!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

My Boy Turns 9

I cannot believe that 9 years ago I was in labour with my first child!
Where has the time gone?
Joseph has changed me in so many ways. From the moment that I found out that I was pregnant my life changed.
I was no longer the centre of the universe, he was! I changed from a selfish girl, I only cared about what I wanted to do to someone who had a purpose in life. As soon as I found out I was pregnant my whole mindset changed.
There was somebody more important.
When I had Joseph I was living in Gran Canaria, I had no family there and was on my own. Going through it all made me stronger. If I could do this I knew I could do just about anything!
When I found out that I was pregnant I was 21 weeks gone.
People often ask "how could you not know you were pregnant?"
I honestly didn't! I was extremely underweight and I didn't have regular periods so not having one was nothing new. As for the bump, there really wasn't much of one and I thought I was just putting on weight! After a couple of friends had innocently asked me if I was pregnant I did a test. Purely just to prove them all wrong!
But it was me who was wrong!
The rest of my pregnancy flew by.
On Saturday 18th September 2004, 2 weeks early, my contractions as started. The following day I went to hospital and was kept in. My contractions were getting worse but I wasn't dilating and Joseph was getting in distress so they induced me and broke my waters.
4 hours and 55 minutes later, Joseph was born.
That was the second I knew that I would do absolutely anything for him and loved him unconditionally.
When Joseph was 6 months old we came home and settled back down in England. This was the best move that we made.

 
I spent the first couple of years as a stay at home single mum to Joseph.
When he was nearly 3 I returned to work. I was extremely lucky that the place that I went to work had a nursery on site so we were always close to each other.

 
When Joseph started school I missed him so much. He settled straight into school. I felt, and still do, so proud of him when I watch him walk into school.
When James came into our lives he not only completed my life but he also completed Joseph's. He gave him something that, at one time, I thought that he would never have.
He became his dad.
Joseph thinks the world of him and he is his dad.
He certainly did us both proud on our wedding day when he handed over the wedding rings during the ceremony.

 
When I look at the boy he has become I cannot believe how much he has matured during the last 19 months. After the twins arrived he had to grow up a bit, he was not the only one anymore but he did so well adapting to having our new additions home. He is such a caring and considerate big brother. At times driving us nuts with his antics but he is happy. That is all we can ask of him as parents, that he is respectful to others and happy in himself.
My boy is 9 tomorrow, that means that I have had 9 fantastic years with him. 9 years ago my life began and for that I will ever be thankful that he came into my life, he has made me who I am today.

I love you Joseph, happy birthday xxx

Wednesday Words - For Joseph x

Today's Wednesday Words have come from my thoughts about being a parent. I have been thinking quite a bit about being a parent today because tomorrow my first born baby turns 9!
The day that he came into my life my whole world changed and began revolving around him and my new role as mum.
I found this quote and thought it was fitting:
 
 
“Having kids - the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings - is the biggest job anyone can embark on. As with any risk, you have to take a leap of faith and ask lots of wonderful people for their help and guidance. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to parent.”
Maria Shriver
 
 
A great parenting poem posted by Crazy with Twins x
 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Sleepless Nights Return!

Oh well, the bliss of full nights sleep has passed and sleepless nights have returned.
The twins have more teeth on the way and are so unsettled. When Taylor opens his mouth his poor little gums are so swollen at the back where the dreaded molars are trying to cut through. It is going to be a long haul, he is only on his first molar!
Isabella cut all four of her molars without any fuss. She is a typical girl, she just gets on with it. She has cut her teeth and we have only known about them when we have seen them. However she is currently cutting incisors on both sides and is feeling it a bit. She has turned from a cheery little girl into a little grump!
Taylor has struggled with each and every tooth. He has only just cut his seventh tooth so we've got a way to go yet but this molar seems to be taking forever. He's then got three more molars to come after that plus three other teeth to even catch up with Isabella!
I was just enjoying getting used to actually getting some sleep. I'll be used to not having as much sleep after a couple of nights but in the meantime I'll stick with my good friend, caffeine, who will help me through the day!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Sudocrem Care & Protect Cream Review


We were recently asked to test out Sudocrem's new Care & Protect nappy cream.
I jumped at the chance to! As the twins are both teething they are extremely prone to getting sore little bottoms. That is one of the first signs that new teeth are on their way.
We normally use the traditional Sudocrem cream that come by the tub. It is so thick but it works wonders. I have tried other nappy creams and have always gone back to Sudocrem so I was more than curious to see whether Sudocrem could improve any more!
The Care & Protect cream comes in a handy little tube that is ideal to put in the bag for when we go out. It has an easy to open lid which is great for when I am trying to juggle a nappy change with the other twin trying to climb over us and grab anything that they can. The small size is great for hiding away to stop little hands getting hold of it. Isabella has got into the tub of Sudocrem in the past and has got cream everywhere. This lid is not as easy for them to open!
This cream, unlike the traditional Sudocrem, is a light cream that rubs in easily and a little goes a long way.
I normally use nappy cream as and when needed. However with the Care & Protect I have been applying after each nappy change to not only provide an invisible barrier but to also prevent any soreness.
I am delighted to say that even with teeth coming neither of the twins have had any sore bums! This means that they are both happier during nappy changes which means that nappy changes are a little bit easier.
So what makes this cream different for others?
Sudocrem Care & Protect works in three ways to help care and protect for babies delicate skin.
  • Sudocrem Care & Protect has a protective barrier that seals in the skins natural moisture. This results in babies skin feeling left soft, smooth and supple. This is the barrier which protects against irritants and rubbing which causes nappy rash.

  • Sudocrem Care & Protect conditions skin. Sudocrem Care & Protect is hypoallergenic and contains special ingredients including Vitamin E and Pro Vitamin B5. These "special" ingredients help to not only protect the skin but also keep it in healthy condition.

  •  Sudocrem Care & Protect guards against infection by creating a protective barrier which guards against infection.
We will definitely be changing from the traditional Sudocrem to Sudocrem Care & Protect from now on. This cream has prevented any sore bottoms for the twins during a time when they get the most. So because of that we give it our thumbs up!


For more information visit www.sudocrem.co.uk
Disclaimer: We received a tube of Sudocrem Care & Protect to test. No payment was received. My views in this post are my own honest opinions. Sudocrem have had no influence on this post.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Silent Sunday

Great Bloggers Bake Off - Week 4 Pies - Egg Custards

This week it took me a while to decide what to bake.
I really wanted to be brave and do the technical challenge, Egg Custards, but this is a technical challenge!
Would I be able to rise to the occasion?
Or should I play it safe and bake a good old fruit pie?
One of the reasons that I am enjoying taking part in Great Bloggers Bake Off is because I am pushing my baking abilities, and trying new bakes.
So Egg Custards it would be!!!
I have never made egg custards before so I had to go through my cook books and where better place to start than The Great British Bake Off Everyday book!
Here are my results using Paul Hollywood's own recipe that was used for the technical challenge on The Great British Bake Off week 4!
I got so engrossed in my baking and was so nervous about the final results I realised, as I was putting the tarts in the oven, that I had forgotten to take photos! So sorry there are only a couple of pics this week!
 
Paul's Egg Custard Tarts
 
Ingredients
 
For the sweet pastry
165g plain flour
25g ground almonds
120g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
55g caster sugar
1 medium egg
 
For the custard filling
700ml full fat milk
7 medium yolks, at room temperature
90g caster sugar
Freshly grated nutmeg
 
Method
 
1: For the pastry, mix the flour and ground almonds together in a large bowl.
2: Add the butter and rub in until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
3: Stir in the sugar.
4: Break the egg into the bowl and work into a mixture with your fingers, then bring it all together to form a soft dough.
5: Tip the dough onto a lightly floured worktop and shape into a ball, flatten into a disc, then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. (I made my pastry in the morning before we went out and left it in the fridge until I was ready to use)
6: Roll out the pastry on a floured worktop to about 5mm thickness. Cut out the discs and gently press into the muffin moulds. Chill the pastry cases while you make the custard.
7: Heat to oven to 200C, 400F, gas mark 6.
8: Gently warm the milk until just below boiling point.
9: Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy.
10: Gently add the warm milk, stirring continuously.
11: Pour the custard mixture into a jug that pours well.
12: Take your pastry cases out of the fridge and carefully pour the custard mixture into the cases and sprinkle with the nutmeg.
13: Carefully place the muffin tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C, 350F, gas mark 4 and bake for a further 10 minutes.
 
 
14: The tarts are done when the custard filling has slightly domed.
15: Once done, take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tray for 30 minutes before carefully removing the tarts.
 
Enjoy x
 
 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Twins Christening on a Budget!

After the horribly difficult and upsetting two weeks it is now time for me to focus on something positive. Something to be happy about and to celebrate as a family.
The twins christening!!!
I am now starting to feel excited and daunted about their special day. We put off their christening for various reasons.
I do have my beliefs and have a strong faith. However I do not practice my faith, I do not regularly attend church or regularly pray but I do believe there is a god watching over us and I do believe that there is a place for us when we leave this world. I get comfort from my beliefs. However hubby hasn't been too sure about it. Another influencing factor was the village school that the twins will go to. It has very strong links with the village church and they do regular community services. Also Joseph was christened when he was a baby and both me and hubby are christened so I didn't want the twins to not be.
After quite a bit of persuasion hubby agreed for us to arrange a christening and made me a very happy mummy and wife.
Before the summer holidays I arranged a date, 13th October. We have chose who will be the twins God parents and that's about as far as we have got! At the time it felt like we had a long time to arrange everything. Then all of our priorities changed. Grandads health deteriorated and I completely forgot about the christening.
Now that we have laid my grandad to rest it is nice to have something positive to focus on.
Now I can start to plan!
We are holding the christening on a tight budget. We cannot afford to take everyone out for a fancy meal afterwards so we are going to try and cater for it ourselves to keep the cost down. I have looked at invitations when I have been out but, surprisingly not, I have not seen any twin christening invitations. To buy these, as all twin items, they are more expensive. So to save a bit more money I am going to design an invitation so it will be exactly what we want. This is the first job that I need to get cracking on with. The christening is in 4 weeks!
My jobs after the invitations have been sent will be to find outfits for all 3 children, decided what food to serve, decided on what cake to have and what puddings to serve!!!
Luckily I won't have to do it all my own, Im sure that hubby, my mum and mother in law will be there to help as much as they can.
I do know that we have got a lot to do over the following 4 weeks but we will make it a lovely day for our families.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Dear Grandad

I now feel as ready as I'll ever be to write this post. I'm hoping that it will help me on my grieving process and enable me to begin to move on.
So here goes........

Dear Grandad,

Two weeks ago you left us.
You left us all heart broken and left a huge empty space in our lives.
You had fought the evil disease cancer for so long. I even think that you had hidden the level of your suffering until we all knew the true extent of it. Once we all knew, you gave in to it, too tired and exhausted to fight any more.
We were just starting to try and get our heads around the thought that we only had months left with you. Little did we know we would only have 9 days.
We had so much planned for the next few months. We had Joseph's 9th birthday to celebrate, we had the twins christening to celebrate, we had dads 60th birthday to celebrate and most of all we had Christmas to celebrate together as a whole family. We were going to make this Christmas such a special one.
We will never celebrate all of these together as a whole family.
That has all been stolen from us.
You have been stolen from us.
I still cannot truly believe that you have gone.
When nanna rings, the telephone still flashes up as "Nanna and Grandad", when we go round I still expect to hear you call out "Hello!", I still expect to wake up and it has all been a horrible nightmare.
But, I know that this is not true.
You have gone.
I was by your side when you took your last breath, I told you to sleep tight. I am pleased that your suffering is over but that does not make me miss you any less. You have always been there and I will always miss you.
Today I saw you for the last time. You looked at peace, your pain had gone.
Tomorrow we will lay you to rest.
I am not going to say goodbye. I am just going to say good night.
Goodbye seems so final. I like to believe that you have gone to another place. You are watching over us.
Tomorrow is going to be such a hard day. We will all make you proud and will be there by nanna's side and give her all the support that we can.
Grandad, may you rest in peace. Everyone has said that you were always such a gentleman, they were right. You were a very special man who will never be forgotten.

Grandad, you'll always be missed
but will forever be in our
hearts, thoughts and memories
Love you always
Good night, Love you, God bless
xxxxx

Taming Toddlers

The title of this post really should be "Taming Toddlers - Well Trying To......"
The twins really are starting to see how far they can get, particularly little Isabella.
Isabella is such a bright little girl who can melt your heart one minute then drive you crackers the next!
We still have the barricade in front of the television table to stop the twins getting the tv. This did work well to start with until they discovered climbing.
This barricade has now become a climbing frame. I loose count how many time during the day we say
"Isabella, get down!"
"Taylor, get down!"
It feels like it is all we say!
The difference between the twins is that Taylor will only need to be told a couple of times. He soon gets fed up and moves on to some of his toys. Whereas Isabella sees it as a way to push the boundaries.
We will tell her to get down and she will look at us, smile and carry on climbing.
I really do not remember having this problem with Joseph. But this may be the difference between girls and boys, it may be because there was only one Joseph, or it may just be simply down to differences in personalities. Joseph had a time out step as a consequence and I found that this worked well. However, I am sure that he was older than 19 months! If we sat either of the twins on the bottom step they would be off! But we know that we need to put some form of consequence in place, otherwise they will never learn.
I read online today some parents opinions to the use of time out. Some, like me, found it worked, others were completely against it. Every parent is different and has different parenting techniques. What is important is that you do what works for you.
Now we are trying to put in place some consequences for the twins. We have been telling them to get down, if they don't get down we lift them down, if they go back and do it again we put them in their chairs. However they have found that they can actually crawl and walk with the chairs still strapped to their bums! To stop this we have been clipping the chairs to the settee legs. This worked for a bit but now they will sit and watch television it is no deterrent anymore.
So what now?
I think that we need to continue with the chairs as we can put the harness on as I do not feel that they are old enough to understand the concept of time out just yet. They would not sit and would not understand that they have to stay there. I am hoping that we will have more success if we move the chairs away from the main area where the television is and where their toys are.
In theory, this should be more of a deterrent. Whether it will work is yet to be seen! I know that it is up to us as parents to be consistent. I also know that being a good parent means teaching your children right from wrong.
One thing I do know is that I cannot stay annoyed with them for long. All they need to do is give me a little smile and my heart melts!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Wednesday Words - I'm Not Saying Goodbye

This is my first post for Wednesday Words. I have often thought about taking part but after reading http://www.crazywithtwins.com/2013/09/11/wednesday-words-insanity-vs-the-saatchi-bill/ it hit a nerve close to home and got me thinking.

As many will know my grandad recently passed away after battling cancer. On Friday I am going to have to face his funeral. Just thinking about Friday makes me feel physically sick with nerves. I really do not want to say goodbye and I am not going to say goodbye.
I will be saying good night!
The quote that I found below made me think.
I will never forget, yes my grandad is not with us in person, but he is still with us in spirit.
He will always live on in our hearts, thoughts and memories.

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Chocolate and Cranberry Cake

After having a rumage through my cupoard to see what I had got I came up with this yummy recipe. This recipe has created such a moist, rich tasting sponge I just had to share it with you!

Ingredients

150g butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs at room temperature
1/4 tspn vanilla paste
125g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
50g dried cranberries

Chocolate Cream Cheese Topping

100g full fat ctream cheese
25g butter
135g icing sugar
25g cocoa powder
Cranberries to decorate

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4, 350F
1: Cream the butter
2: Add the caster sugar and blend together until smooth
3: Gradually add the eggs along with a spoon of flour
4: Mix in the vanilla paste
5: Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix until all the ingredients have been evenly blended together
6: Last of all, add the cranberries and mix 
7: Place the mixture in a prepared cake tin and cook for approximatly 1 hour, or until a knife comes out clean when stuck through the centre of the cake
8: Leave to cool
9: To make the topping cream together the full fat cream cheese and the butter
10: Spoon in gradually the icing sugar
11: Add the cocoa powder and stir until smooth
12: Once the cake has been completely cooled cover the cake with the topping and sprinkle with cranberries

Enjoy x




http://www.amummytoo.co.uk/tag/recipeoftheweek/

Monday, 9 September 2013

Worrying Sunday in A&E

What started off as a lovely, relaxing Sunday ended in a worrying afternoon sat in A&E with hubby!
We were busying around as we usually do on a Sunday. I usually bake while hubby gets some gardening done and yesterday started off just like that.
Hubby's job yesterday was to trim the hedge in the garden. To reach the top of the hedge he was using my Dad's step ladders.
All of a sudden I could hear Joseph scream and cry so I rushed to the door expecting to see Joseph with a bump or a graze.
But no. It was hubby!
He had his t-shirt held up to his eye and I could see that it was covered in blood! He rushed past me and went straight up to the bathroom. I ran after him asking him what he had done.
I followed him into the bathroom as he was starting to wash his eye and there was blood everywhere. When he finally let me have a look I saw that he had a huge, deep gash under his eye. After quizzing him what had happened, I discovered that the platform had given way and he fell through. Joseph was upset because he had seen him fall and had seen him bleeding. Bless him, he was so upset and worried.
Part of me breathed a sigh of relief as I had immediately thought the worse, I thought that he had got something actually his eye. I could see that it was deep so I told him that we would should take a ride to A&E as he'd need a stitch in it. As soon as I had said that hubby blew his nose to get rid of some blood and as he did his eye blew up like a balloon!
Arrrrr!
What caused that!
Normally I am not good with blood and my tummy turns circles. Yesterday I just went into auto pilot. Got the kids sorted to go to my Mums, calmed Joseph down and got ready to go.
We arrived at A&E, got booked in and the wait began.
In total we were there for nearly 6 hours!
Checked by the triage nurse, sent to wait.
Checked by the doctor, sent to wait.
Went for an x-ray, sent back to wait.
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting the doctor came to see us and we were told that hubby had fractured his cheek bone and had an open fracture. The swelling that occurred after he had blown his nose was in fact blood which had caused a haematoma under his eye. This haematoma had also cause blood to accumulate on his eye ball, which as hubby says "looks freaky!". We now had to wait to see if the specialist in another hospital was happy for him to come home with antibiotics and pain killers or if he wanted him to be transferred to the other hospital which is a good 45 minutes away. So back to waiting it was!
Thankfully the reply that we got was what we were praying for. Hubby could come home with medication.
When we got home the children were so tired as it was way past their bedtime but they were doing so well. We got them both to bed and then gave Joseph plenty of love and reassured him that his Dad was going to be ok.
We need to go back for a check up on Tuesday which should hopefully be a straight forward appointment.
This week I am not only Mum and housewife, but I am also adding nurse to my repertoire!
Hubby has woken up this morning with more swelling around his face as the bruising is coming out. He also has various bruises down his side. He is also trying to cope seeing with the one eye as he is unable to see properly due to the swelling and haematoma. As he is struggling to chew food I have made a yummy smelling "make you feel better" soup.
This is going to be a busy week so hopefully after all of my hard work I will be rewarded with a much deserved lie in at the weekend!
Hint, hint!!!