Monday (44) – Feb 16th – Make or Draw Disney
Tuesday (43) – Feb 17th – Play a Disney game
Wednesday (42) – Feb 18th – Dress up Disney
Thursday (41) – Feb 19th – Paint Merida peg-doll
Friday (40) – Feb 20th – Watch random Disney movie – Belle’s Magical World
Saturday (39) – Feb 21st – Make Disney inspired food
Sunday (38) – Feb 22nd – Watch Monsters Inc.
On Monday the girls were with their dad as they’d stopped over Sunday night and were doing so again on Monday night. They both drew something Disney and then sent pictures of it back for me to put on Instagram. On Tuesday I picked them up and they both played Disney Infinity in the car on the way home, though I’m sure they both played on Tsum Tsum later in the day as well. On Wednesday, Amy and Olivia were with us and so all three girls dressed up. Lily and Liv were both Sofia, while Megan went for Elsa in her Coronation outfit. On Thursday we painted Merida the pegdoll, now giving us quite a good collection of peg dolls. We also caught up on Hunchback of Notre Dame from the week before, as we’d not managed to squeeze it in until then. On Friday we had to watch a random movie and the girls and I picked Beauty and the Beast’s – Belle’s Magical World as none of us had seen it before. On Saturday we were going out for lunch so we baked cupcakes in the morning and decorated them in the evening. We made Princess carriages which was basically a packet mix I’d picked up from Tesco and honestly they didn’t look much like carriages! Finally on Sunday we watched Monsters Inc on dvd. This was meant to follow on from watching Monsters University a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately we didn’t actually do that and had watched Bolt instead. Perhaps we’ll have time to catch Monsters University before we go anyway!
It’s been a good week, but a tiring week. I can’t reiterate enough how glad I am to not actually be working any more. It’s literally heaven every day – even when I’m hoovering or scrubbing the house! That said, I haven’t been doing an awful lot of that, but I have at least been keeping on top of things like the dishwasher and the washing.
Monday was a teacher training day at the kids school, so we had one last day together before school started. I’m used to the girls going to their dad’s on a Monday so it was nice to actually feel like I got that last day with them myself. Chris was at work so as such it was just us girls. In the morning we just hung out and chilled, but in the afternoon we had arranged to go swimming with my mum, who traveled over to come with us. When she first arrived, I had to get her to sort out some photographs with me, but after that we headed out swimming. It was about 3pm when we went in and about 4pm when we came out. Afterwards I had her drive me past Argos so I could pick up an Ab Roller I’d ordered and I also popped into Sports Direct where I bought another swimming costume each for the girls and two Frozen dresses as well.
Mum decided she would treat us all to Chinese takeaway which went right again the diet but was much appreciated! I put a little bit of money towards it too so I could order a little extra for Chris and save him some, but somehow we ended up with tons anyway. Once food was eaten, mum headed home and the girls and I had a little extra time before Chris was back. Both girls had to be in bed promptly though, especially with school the next day. I spent majority of the evening, catching up on blog stuff and also updating my diary and making sure I had current plans written in it. Afterwards Chris and I watched some TV together and snuggled on the sofa.
On Tuesday it was up early and out of the house for everyone – and boy was it a shock to the system! The kids’ dad was having them after school though so I just headed straight home and worked on my blog – which I had just moved to self-hosted. I had left over takeaway for lunch and felt a little guilty about the health kick I was supposed to be on. I vowed to go running the next day (though no surprise, that didn’t happen!). My brother called in after he’d been to mum’s that night and so we had time to catch up too. The girls arrived home and Chris came in from work and it was a little crazy for a while but nice too. The girls and I started on the second Never Girls book called “the space between” and when I updated Goodreads it also made me feel guilty for not even attempting to read any more of my own books!
Honestly I don’t really remember what I did that evening but I know Chris and I finally managed to catch up on both Arrow Season 3 and Flash Season 1, up to the mid-season break. This is great because we managed to watch the cross-over episodes in the right place and be ready when the series’ start airing again soon!
Wednesday was school and work again, another early start that really was taking its toll (god knows how I managed to function when I was working too!). I dropped the kids off at school and headed into town for a little while – even planning to go for my job afterwards. Like I said before, that didn’t happen – I don’t know if it was the latte I chose to buy which made me feel sloshy, or the fact it started raining (or of course sheer laziness) but either way, I was rubbish! I headed home and made a start on sorting out my jewellery, before heading back out to get the kids. After school we were supposed to watch a Disney movie (it was supposed to be Tinker Bell but we’d already watched it accidentally so we were going to watch Snow White) but none of us could be bothered and we just wanted to mong! Megan and Lily just played on iPads and computers while I tuned out to the TV. I did manage to keep on track with food this day and combined with the walk in town that morning I definitely felt healthier. In the evening I cracked on with more work and all in all, it felt like a constructive day.
Thursday I dropped the kids off at school and headed to see my mum briefly. Afterwards I headed back to Gainsborough where I needed to get some shopping and managed to waste a few hours around Marshall’s Yard. I did spend the last of my M&S voucher (from my birthday) on some healthy food and that felt very positive. I then went home and had soup for lunch, which also felt very good. I finally got my Ab Roller built too, though I won’t lie and say I used it. I mean I did check it was all working fine – but for maybe 20 roll ups! The girls were staying at my mum’s that night and so in the evening Chris and I just spent time hanging out.
On Friday I got a lie-in! It was so needed. Chris climbed out of bed around 7.10am and although I was aware of him moving downstairs, as soon as he left at 7.25am, I went back to sleep. I woke up at about 9.30am but I didn’t get out of bed until 10am. I potted around the house in my dressing gown and was basically very lazy! I made a few phone calls which I’d been needing to do and I put on more washing, hung it out on the radiators and did the dishwasher etc. I made myself a light lunch and then got to work on my Get Fit Friday post – which is my ongoing series to track my weight loss.
Eventually it was time to leave as I’d told my mum I would call in on her again before picking up the girls. I stopped with her for a cup of tea before heading to school and picking up the kids. We headed home and got some dinner, only to realise our Disney task for the day was to make disney themed food. We didn’t have an awful lot of choice so we just made some cupcakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse – and as it was late, we said we’d decorate them the next day. Once the girls were in bed and Chris was playing on his computer, I sat and watched a movie by myself and just chilled out. When we eventually headed to bed, I couldn’t sleep – so typical since I’d managed a lie-in that morning! It was gone 1am before I actually got to sleep and I can’t tell you how many times I nearly got up and did something “useful”.
On Saturday we didn’t have much planned but Chris did have his first driving lesson booked for 10am. We woke up naturally about 5 minutes before his alarm was set to go off at 9am and dragged ourselves out of bed. While Chris was out on his lesson, the girls and I got cracking with everything we needed to do that day. Sadly the cupcakes got eaten however, rather than decorated. Once Chris was back home, Megan and I went out to buy some ribbon. We were way longer than we had expected to be, coming home with £30 of stuff. After getting some lunch, Megan and I spent the afternoon learning how to make bows. It was a long process but we got there in the end and now we’re making quite nice ones. The girls also painted a peg doll and a plaster figure, which was their Disney task for the day. We then all had dinner and relaxed for the evening. I went for a bath and then afterwards Chris went. While he was having a bath I went upstairs to read and eventually he joined me, bringing me a cup of tea. We lay mostly in silence for an hour – me reading and him playing on his phone. It was really nice and in the end we just headed to bed afterwards.
Sunday morning we got up and Megan wanted to make more bows. We were a lot better at it this time, finding it quicker and easier to accomplish what we were trying to do. Sadly I had a really bad headache that didn’t shift all day so I know my patience wasn’t the best. We had a fairly early lunch as we knew we were heading out to the cinema later. We left about 2pm and drove to my mum’s, swapping cars and traveling with her into Lincoln. When we got to the cinema the queue for the popcorn was huge and so even though we’d planned it, we had to skip food and drink – heading straight into the movie. We watched “Into the Woods” and it was great. It’s been really nice seeing two very current movies (Big Hero 6 last week) just as they’ve come out. Afterwards, since everyone was pretty hungry, mum drove us to Burger King. Chris and I went in to get everyone food but we drove back to mum’s before eating it. After we’d eaten, Chris hung up a picture for mum which she’d asked him to do and then we all headed home. It was Lily’s bedtime and Megan decided to go at the same time and play on her iPad for half an hour. Once they were in bed I sorted out some jewellery stuff ready to photograph the next day, but ultimately found myself restless. In the end I suggested to Chris that we head upstairs to read and relax again, which we did, and I’m pleased to say I only have about another 100 pages of my book left before I’ll reach the end!
So that was my week and while it was tiring, it was also quite good for a first week. Since I want to get some training in at the school office, I went in to sort out the forms for disclosure, but also worked on jewellery and hair bows for adding to my Etsy store. While I’d hoped to get on with making clothes, that sadly didn’t happen. I did however ring the Tax Credits people and sort out my claim which hopefully will get sorted in a few weeks. Finally, while I didn’t start off the week great, I managed to live a fairly healthy lifestyle for the majority of the week. This paid off on Weigh-In day, when I’d lost 2lbs (though this was over the whole Christmas period as well). I’m pleased with how life is going so far and I have high expectations for the future. Hopefully its onwards and upwards!
Just recently I was sent some wonderful new chocolate icing sugar flavours to use and review. I was thrilled at the idea of getting something that would encourage me to try some new recipes! The chocolate icing sugar range is from Sugar and Crumbs – the two flavours I got being Jaffa Twist and Chocolate Milkshake.
The kids and I set to our baking, with plans for cupcakes made in glasses for our Chocolate Milkshake and a big chocolate cake decorated with chocolate orange for our Jaffa Twist.
Sadly, in all the excitement we forgot to put baking powder in our recipe and all our cakes fell flat! It was a disaster, but a light hearted and funny one that ended up in us eating lots of cake! Unfortunately we’d used the last of the eggs too so a retry was out of the question!
In the end, by myself, I took to baking cakes alone – on two separate occasions. First time to make chocolate orange cupcakes and the second to make chocolate chip ones.
During my first baking attempt, I made a regular vanilla cupcake recipe, but added broken chunks of chocolate orange to the mixture. After baking they looked amazing and we couldn’t wait to try them. Once they’d cooled and I’d whipped up some topping (using the Jaffa Twist icing sugar and margarine), I iced the cakes and added a slice of chocolate orange to the top of each cupcake. They liked great and they tasted even better!
The Jaffa Twist flavour has a very strong orange taste, but not in a bad way. Coupled with the plain sponge and the pieces of chocolate orange, it went really well.
A few days later I tackled some chocolate cupcakes, this time with white chocolate broken into the mixture. Again when these were baked they looked delicious but I waited for them to cool patiently and then topped them (this time with Chocolate Milkshake icing sugar and margarine).
I have to admit I was a little skeptical as to how “chocolate milkshake” would taste any different to just chocolate, but I have to say I was wrong. I don’t know how it was possible, but it was – the topping definitely tasted of chocolate milkshake.
These chocolate icing sugars are genuinely delicious. Since using them I have already been scouting their website to see what other products I might like to try. There are loads of other icing sugars that sound great, not just chocolate but fruity flavours too. The cocoa powders sound pretty good too!
If you haven’t already, check out Sugar and Crumbs. You can order directly from their website or various places around the country actually stock the products. I was very pleased to find that my local cake shop – The One Stop Cake Shop, is one of the places that does! Expect more delicious cakes on the blog soon.
Hello! Another week has flown by and here is my round up of it. Sadly I’m not really in the mood to blog – and while I know they say you shouldn’t bother if you’re not in the mood – I didn’t want to get behind either!
So this week has been my first full week back at work and also the week the kids started back at school. In all honesty, for me at least, its been absolutely exhausting. While I don’t work a lot – only 5 hours a day – when you have seven weeks of relaxing (or at least going at your own pace) its a bit of a shock to the system going back to work. Not only that, but I’ve been doing some extra/overtime this week so that’s taken its toll too. Work has been okay though and not really much to report on that front.
Monday through Friday, I had work as I mentioned. As well as that, the kids were with their dad for the Monday into Tuesday, when my mum then picked them up and had them Tuesday. They stayed at home with Chris on Wednesday before finally returning to school on Thursday and Friday. There wasn’t anything of particular note during Monday, though Tuesday when I got home from work I baked Chocolate Orange cupcakes and they were amazing!
Again there wasn’t anything of real note on Wednesday or Thursday, but Friday after school/work we all went out for dinner to Prezzo as a sort of “we survived the week” celebration. We had a lovely dinner and then afterwards the girls insisted on running through the fountains in Marshall’s Yard – which was hilarious. Afterwards, because they were soaked through, Chris offered to walk home with the girls rather than take them in the car. I drove back home and then walked back to meet them for the rest of the walk home.
Saturday was a fairly relaxing day, with no real plans. I made some more cupcakes – this time chocolate milkshake flavour. They were yummy too! On top of that, in the evening, Jon and Nat came around and we all played the Firefly board game. Chris bought this from LFCC (comic con) and its been a pretty staple favourite ever since. On Sunday, mum had been meant to come over but she wasn’t feeling very well. As a surprise I baked homemade bread and made soup, before taking it over for lunch with her. Chris also took Megan out on her bike in the morning and she’s definitely gaining more confidence. I went out again in the afternoon with both Megan and Lily and by that point the weather was just perfect for a lovely Sunday afternoon.
Finally in the evening Chris was out at a work leaving do so I just chilled out and watched TV. When Chris got home we just snuggled up on the sofa and ended up watching a movie that had us both in tears!
That was pretty much my week. No highs and no lows really, just back to the same routine and making my body adjust accordingly. One a plus side its now only six weeks until I’m off again so that’s a reason to be happy right?
It wasn’t that long since I last wrote about a Hidden Gem, but I decided to catch up and make sure I wrote about the other two I mentioned. This time I’m focusing on Butterfly Cup-Cakes, a small shop located in Marshall’s Yard, Gainsborough.
Ever since we moved to Gainsborough last year, I’ve been telling the girls we’ll go and try Cup-Cakes. However for one reason or another, we never seem to get around to it. Whenever we head to Marshall’s Yard I’ve either got no change, or we’ve just been out for a big dinner, or we’re just about to go home and eat tea etc. Either way, we’ve seen this place from a distance for a while, but never gotten around to go. We’ve even recommended it to others as a nice place to go! Finally, the day before Mother’s Day, I was passing by with the girls and decided to treat them to a cupcake. We weren’t disappointed.
Megan is obsessed with Cadbury’s creme eggs right now, so imagine how excited she was to see a creme egg cupcake. Lily on the other hand struggled to pick a little more, but decided on cookie and cream, with Oreo biscuits. We headed over to a nearby bench to eat the cakes, though I was good and refrained from even buying one for myself.
I know I’ve mentioned it a few times now, but today was my youngest daughter, Lily’s, 5th birthday. This morning we got up and opened presents, only having an hour or so before school. She got lots of nice things, including a Furby, two DS games, a Sylvanian Family car, some clothes, Moshi Monster stuff, a Merida soft doll and a Disney Princess game.
There was a mad rush then to get ready for school, eat breakfast, get dressed and so on. We also of course had to remember the cupcakes for all of Lily’s class that she’d requested I made.
After taking them to school I had to go buy more green icing (I’ll explain in a moment) and go to Iceland for party food. What should have taken Chris and I an hour or so, actually resulted in us getting back home at 12pm, with only 3 hours left to get everything done.
We both haven’t been feeling a hundred percent this week, so everything is feeling a bit like an effort at the moment. I also feel like I haven’t really left the kitchen in 4 days. Anyway we managed to get the lounge tidied and decorated, the birthday cake finished, more cupcakes made, biscuits iced with “Eat Me”, all the party food cooked and set out on the table. At 3.15pm I went to get Lily from school, along with her sister Megan and her friend Ciara (not before I snapped a few pictures of the lounge though!).
When we got back to the house, Lily and Ciara went to get changed, Lily had wanted to be Alice from Alice in Wonderland and so Ciara also borrowed one of Lily’s dress up outfits and became Aurora. My friends and their children, along with my brother, all arrived around 4pm. Lily opened more presents, including more Moshi Monsters, more Sylvanian family and more clothes, before everyone ate. We did the cake (sparklers though and not candles) and sang Happy Birthday, then ate the cake. The kids all played upstairs while the adults chatted downstairs and generally it was a very nice and relaxed get together.
Everyone is gone now, the girls are in bed and the lounge still needs clearing up properly – but it will wait till tomorrow at least. The cake seemed to go down well and people even took some home with them (though perhaps under a little pressure to do so as I almost begged for it to be gone).
So are you curiouser and curiouser to know how the cake turned out?
Have to admit I’m pretty pleased and proud of it. I’ve never made anything like this before at all. I definitely don’t find making cakes relaxing or even a hobby, but I have to admit the challenge is what drove me to do it. I know it wouldn’t pass for any awards but honestly I’m just glad I accomplished what I set out to do.
As you can probably see, the bottom and middle of the cake looks slightly better than the pictures I posted a few days ago. I ended up stripping it all back to basics, re-icing both the bottom and middle layers. I even had a mishap with the top layer and ended up icing that twice too.
My friend Nat deserves a mention too, for coming around last night and giving me some moral support. Three days in the kitchen can send you a bit crazy and it was nice to have some company. She also made both the clubs and spades on the bottom layer of the cake! That said, yesterday wasn’t all bad. I set myself up in the kitchen with my cakes, the iPad for decorating ideas, a tv and even Alice in Wonderland on dvd. My bowl is extra awesome because its an “Off with her bread” bowl, suitable for the occasion!
Anyway, thankfully I think my cake making and baking is done, at least for a week or now. I have so much coloured icing left though, I feel sure it won’t be too long before I tackle something else. My partner is having an Alice in Wonderland party for his birthday on the 20th, but it will be a Murder Mystery party. Maybe I’ll figure out something to bake for him…
And don’t forget…
As I’ve mentioned before, its my youngest daughter’s birthday this week and she will be 5! Today was her first (of many) birthday party, which we had at Pizza Hut. She enjoyed the party (I did not, though perhaps that will save for another post) and everyone else seemed to enjoy it too.
|Lily just before we set off for her party|
|Everyone saying “cheese” while eating ice cream|
As much as I love my children (and honestly I must), I do sometimes wonder why we go to so much effort for birthday parties they will barely remember when they’re older. I can’t honestly tell you a thing about my birthdays when I was younger, to be honest I can barely remember last year. Sometimes I think we remember more because we were told about them in later years, backed up with photographs, than from actually remembering that day ourselves… anyway, I digress.
Lily’s birthday isn’t till Tuesday, but I feel like I’ve been building up to it for weeks – and then suddenly, this week (and especially this weekend) is suddenly turning out to be crazy. Along with the usual hassle of making sure she has all the presents she would like (delegating to friends and relatives from a huge list left over from Christmas…), getting wrapping paper and a card, of course the organisation of the party today – dating at least 4 or 5 weeks back from the point we decided on what she wanted to do and so on and so forth, I have also ended up doing a ton of baking.
I’m pretty sure I mentioned in my last post, I’m not much of a baker, or cook and definitely not a chef. I can get by and I’ll happily cook an evening meal every evening, but its not something I do for pleasure or as a hobby or even a time waster on the weekend. When I do decide to bake with the kids, its usually a packet mix, some Disney Princess or Moshi Monster decorating pack, over and done with in about an hour.
However this birthday I have landed myself in all sorts of palava… that’s palava, not pavlova. Wasn’t a typo!
For the party today I made cupcakes. I’m not a big fan of party bags (because mostly you get junk in them that just ends up getting tossed away) and I don’t really like slices of cake coming home in napkins. Maybe I’m just fussy, I’m not sure. But either way, this is what I did for Lily’s birthday.
The basic concept is a reusable, attractive looking cup, filled with sweets (yes its unhealthy but it gets eaten rather than plastic toys that get broken or thrown away!) with an individual cupcake (in a case no less!) on top. I’ve then wrapped it all up in a cellophane bag and tada! The cupcakes were vanilla with chocolate biscuit bits, topped with pink icing (or in the boys case, chocolate) then princess rice papers (we had these in the drawer from previous baking) and white chocolate sprinkles (or for the boys, multicoloured sugar stars).
This is just ONE of the things I have to bake this week/weekend.
Task two is of course the Alice in Wonderland cake. Thank you to everyone who volunteered a comment or help, but as with most things – I steamed ahead and did my own thing (I’m sorry, its just the way I am!). I’ve made all the cakes now – bottom and middle sections were yesterday, the top layer I completed today. The bottom and middle sections are also iced, I still have the top one to do. I have to admit its not been AS tricky as I expected so far, but it has definitely been a learning curve. The bottom (being my first cake) is by far the worst looking, the middle has room for improvement, but at the moment I’m most impressed with the top layer.
Please do not judge me, I am well aware these aren’t great! Bottom layer, which is chocolate with vanilla filling, I didn’t trim down the sides at all, as you can see in the middle picture (very clearly). Middle layer, which is pink and purple striped vanilla sponge with buttercream filling, still didn’t turn out great and I figured I’m just not that good with royal icing. HOWEVER, I have since googled and realised I need to put a layer of buttercream all over the edges of the cake, to create a smooth finish. Top layer, which is green peppermint sponge with chocolate peppermint filling, I am most proud of. So far its only trimmed down, but now I know about the buttercream edging, I have high hopes! Tomorrow all will be revealed, one way or another I guess. So cross your fingers for me, especially as I am yet to decorate!
This still leaves me with more cupcakes to make however, something I need to fit in tomorrow too. Lily has asked that I bake cupcakes for all her classmates, which is apparently 22 students on a full day. I plan to send 24, for all the kids, the teacher and the teaching assistants (Lily not included). I’ve even bought cupcake boxes to make sure they don’t all end up damaged and squashed.
Anyway I should either head to bed, or go and ice the top layer of my cake. I think honestly it will be bed and deal with everything else tomorrow. Goodnight for now!