Sunday, 11 August 2013

Good-bye Pre-school Days

Yes, I can't believe it...BUT....Tiddly Toes has finished her pre-schools ready to start school in September!

It has arrived so quickly.

One minute I was shocked to be pregnant at 42!  The next she's going to school.

Thanks goodness for the blog and all that it records and also that it forces me to take photographs (whether they make it here or not!), so I have recorded daily life anyway.

We didn't want to buy in presents for the wonderful 'teachers' at her pre-school and playgroup, so we decided to make lavender bags and cards.

My Crafty Friend had bought me some cup cake stamps a while ago and those together with some free papers from Simply Homemade magazine, a punch and some card blanks.........

led to some sticking for Tiddly Toes......

With a bit of guidance she produced these..................
However, it was Mummy's job to produce Strawberries from some Strawberry fabric left over from her t-shirt dress.
I used a cookie cutter (again from Crafty Friend) to make a card template for cutting like this......

I very simply used embroidery floss to make a running stitch around the heart shape about 5mm in from the edge..........

Before I got to the end I stuffed lightly and popped in a coupe of teaspoons of dried lavender.
I used a star shape to cut felt into the strawberry tops and placed the ribbon for hanging between the dip in the heart and strawberry top and just went back and forth through all the layers to secure it.

And here are the first batch..................  ta-dah!

I went on to make another 7!
Tiddly Toes had a great response from the teachers... it was clearly a welcome alternative to the much appreciated smellies, chocolates and plants!
I realised as I was writing this up that I haven't even told you about the Strawberry Dress properly.....or my other trip to London for a once in a lifetime purchase that I thought I would never be good enough to buy!
More of those in the next couple of days as I catch up on stuff that has fallen by the wayside whilst lovely MIL has been here.
Until then....see ya!

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Anniversay Celebrations in London

We decided to celebrate our special day by combining it with a trip to London that our 4 year old Tiddly Toes had been asking for. We took the bus to our local railway station and caught the train to London Victoria.....very exciting. We arrived at a huge Victoria station, busy and bustling, loud and colourful.

We walked through the station to the Underground and caught the line to Westminster.

Again very loud and busy and extremely exciting as the trains emerge from the tunnels pushing the air in front of them and causing your hair to blow in the wind.

We emerged like Wombles from our underground hide out to the side of St. Stephens tower and Tiddly Toes started jumping up and down shouting it's Big Ben!!!

We took a look at Westminster Abbey .......

.....and then decided to move ourselves on to the riverside in preparation for the Circular River Cruise.

We grabbed a coffee on the way and sat for a while on a bench in the shade of a tree looking over the river towards The London Eye....

another surge of excitement for Tiddly Toes, this was really the purpose of the visit, a ride on 'the Big Wheel'!

We boarded our boat and sat on the top deck, but it was so hot we burned our bums! We decided to leave the sun worshippers to it and retreat downstairs to the cool where we could open the windows, sit in the shade and enjoy, almost to ourselves, our own personal cruise with commentary.

We saw Tower Bridge.......

The Tower of London .........

The Shard ..........

The Globe theatre ......

and the Houses of Parliament and St. Stephens Tower containing the famous bell known as 'Big Ben'.........

 The round trip takes about an hour, it was so relaxing. Here is Tiddly Toes enjoying the river with her beloved 'Big Wheel' in the background....

We came ashore and walked Westminster Bridge to the other side, closer and closer to the huge Eye.

There is a park just next to it, it was full of children on their school trips, it was lovely to see them having lunch and chatting excitedly about their day. We had our lunch and watched the world go by.

We wandered a while to find a 'Statue-man' that Tiddly Toes had seen in her Topsy and Tim book, but sadly, no 'Statue-man' that day. So we decided to grab an ice cream......

 and join the queue for the London Eye. The queue was huge, but it moves quite quickly....then all of a sudden, there we were at the head of the queue, jumping into a moving Pod. And we were off!

Now, I hate heights, I'm better than The Hubs who can't even climb a ladder without getting weak at the knees, but I have to say, I'm OK with the Eye until I reach about the 120 degree point, it's the mix of knowing you are not yet at the top, but there is still a way to go and yet the ground seems so far away! As it climbed higher, it stopped on several occasions, not great!

It was a fantastic day, clear for miles, we saw St Paul's Cathedral......

The crown of Wembley Stadium.....

 The park where we had eaten lunch.......

The shard........

(No, that's not Superman arriving at The Shard it was
the sunlight bouncing around the glass of the pod!)

And finally Westminster Abbey, 'Big Ben' and Westminster Bridge with a classic red double-decker crossing it!......
We even stopped right at the very a view....unnerving, but we did make the most of it.

After that you know you're on the way back down to earth and you can really enjoy it. It was thrilling and Tiddly Toes rushed about asking what things were and in addition to the places we managed to photograph we pointed out Buckingham Palace and  Horseguards Parade.... there's so much to see from up there!

And she reliably informed me that the people looked 'as tiny like ants!'

We returned on the trains, underground and overgound.

It was the hottest day this year....boy do we know!

We got home and then made our way back in to our local town for a meal at Ask, relatively new to the town and new to us....lovely!

We discovered via the newspaper on the way home from London that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labour in the early hours of the morning. And upon our return from the restaurant watched the famous easel being put out at Buckingham Palace to announce the new baby's arrival.

It was very thoughtful of them to give The Hubs and I such a delightful Anniversary present, a new future King, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge...... we are delighted and thank them so much!

All in all, it was a fantastic day.

Back soon with some more 'stuff'.

Until then, take care,

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Black Bananas

...and when I say black...I mean BLACK!

I don't know how we ended up with so many bananas and I don't know how they went black so quickly...the heat?

Well, what do you do with 8 black bananas?

 Easy...make muffins! Banana and chocolate chip muffins to be exact. And if possible you need your best small helper! Yes.....that is how easy muffins are.

Pop the oven on to pre-heat at 180 degrees and get your small helper to put the muffin cases into the wells of the muffin tin.

You will need 2 measuring jugs. In one you put about 10 ozs of bananas (it's around 1lb with skins on)...mine were 4 smaller bananas. To that add 4 ozs of brown sugar, any brown sugar....and I guess it would work equally well with white but just be a slightly different colour maybe.

So now get your best little helper to mash up the bananas with a fork.

Whilst they are amused doing that, take the second jug and into it measure 1 floz of oil and 4 floz of milk, into this crack an egg and beat together.

Your masher should now be finished and ready for the next bit!

Take the jug with the mushy banana and add to it 10ozs of self raising flour, 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda, half tsp salt and 4 ozs of chocolate chips (I didn't have 2 packets of the same so I used one white and one plain chocolate). Pour the oily mixture on top and combine all of the ingredients for about 30 seconds, don't beat it, just mix it as well as you can.

Now equally divide the mixture into the 12 muffin cases, they should end up around 2/3rds full.

Pop them on the top shelf of the oven and stick your timer on for 20mins, you can turn halfway through if you like. See how yours are, they might need an extra five minutes.  I prefer mine quite golden brown on top.

Whilst mine were in cooking, small helper and I made a second batch and she tried to take a photo of them in the oven.......

When your timer beeps, take them out of the tin and place them onto a wire rack to cool......this was perfect as we had just finished the second lot and put them straight into the oven.

By the time the second batch were finished, the smells wafting around the house were clearly irresistible...the first batch was barely cool before the vultures descended!

Of the 24, I froze 12 in batches of 4. They freeze well and are great for lunch boxes, they are equally good as a last minute dessert warmed for 10 secs in the microwave and then served with ice cream, cream or custard. For lunch I sometimes have this as a sweet treat after my sandwich, warmed for 10 secs and enjoyed with a lovely cup of tea!

How do you like yours?

You'll never have to throw bananas away again! If you do try this, please let me know.

Oh! By the way these are around 4.2g of fat in each one for those seeking low fat.

The Hubs has just popped his head around the door and offered me a cup of tea....I think that will be with something muffin-y!

Until the next instalment of the madness here....happy baking!


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Bunting update AND Ta-Dah!

Back here I told you about a request for bunting for a newly decorated Tiny Angel bedroom, I had cut 13 and sewn 4 pennants and cut out and applied the applique for her name.

WELL...... I have since finished sewing all the pennants and embellished the applique letters with pink embroidery floss in a simple running stitch......

Once done came the decision on bias tape to make the string for the bunting. I popped onto eBay as there are some brilliant little fabric suppliers on there. I found the perfect thing called Molly from Favourite Fabrics.......... was out of stock!
Disheartened, I just switched off for a few days, I would never find anything else as perfect, it matched one of the fairies dresses just so!
It nibbled away at the back of my mind and I gave in and decided that I would choose something else.
I popped back on eBay and whilst I was skimming about, couldn't help but look at my hearts desire once more............ and what do I discover to my complete delight? was back in stock!
So I ordered it, it arrived, I cut 3 metres, placed my central pennant and worked outwards from there leaving about 7cm between each one. Pinned it all in place and whizzed it through the machine.
** At this point, I have to share that I dislike referring to my trusty side-kick as 'the machine', so I am contemplating a name and I am leaning towards a female name...but I digress!**
Bunting is now complete!
Want to see my finished bunting?
I am SO idiotically chuffed with this, really, it's silly, but I'm sure you get a bit dizzy with your successes sometimes.....ready.... Ta-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaHH!!
Do you like?
Tiny Angel Mummy does (thankfully!). She sent me some photos!

...and this of the tiebacks.....

I'll be back soon with some more news from this neck o' the woods, until then....toodle-pip!