Category Archives: Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Star cookie pops

I’m posting these mainly because our beautiful Eve loves stars.

Made with my daughter using this cookie pan, some ready to roll icing, edible glue and lots of sprinkles. They’d make lovely Christmas (or Eid) gifts, wrapped in cellophane and ribbon. The cookies are big and chunky, huge treats on sticks.

I’m going to have another go using an ordinary star shaped cookie cutter for smaller star pops; I’ll let you know how I get on!

Single star

Star pops

 

 

Books & Biscuits

A couple of life’s greatest pleasures and I indulged in both today, how lucky.

The weather was raging outside; gale force winds, rain, snow, it was all happening…. Meanwhile, I had an absolutely blissful afternoon of baking and book shopping (online) for my soon to be 5 year old boy.

The books first. I love The Book People and shop there often. Lots of real bargains at the moment. I prefer hardbacks for childrens books and ordered the following.

HeroesWe’ve already got (and read x 2 at least) all the Roald Dahl books but I think he’ll love this.

QB

Again, we have all the paperback books – this is one to keep when the others die.

Lego

Lego – say no more.

All 3 , well 6 actually, for less than £20. I used the code AFHOLLY for a further 15% off and remembered to buy via Quidco.

I also ordered some Usborne Sticker books (2 for £5!!), the Save with Jamie book for myself (cheapest I’ve seen it and very good, I ordered from the library first to road test) and this fantastic doodle book.

Doodle

I’ve bought quite a few beautiful hardback books from Amazon recently too. I’ll share them with you another time.

Now the biscuits – Chocolate Oaties – too easy and sooo good. Painting the melted chocolate onto the biscuits is a particularly soothing activity, when the kids are at school, natch.

Keep safe in the storms!

Oaties

 

Choc oaties

Party hearty

I’ve been a bit AWOL lately, because I was planning the Littlest Bolters 3rd birthday party! Amazing that my babies are now 3.  Anyway, the party was lovely, so here are the highlights of what we had made the party so good (and my life easier!).

Decorations: the girls are mad about jungle animals, so we always have a jungle theme.  I ordered plates, cups,party bags, colour in masks and banners from this eBay seller.  They arrived quickly and are the best ones I have had so far, with a vibrant print of nice looking animals.  Also, the items are good quality, and not flimsy.


 

I also ordered a few plastic table covers from here, and they also arrived quickly and were big (137 x 259 cm) and bright.  Another good jungle party purchase.

Normally we also have helium filled supersized foil animal balloons, but didn’t do that this year.  These balloons are a huge hit with children, but are pricey, so if you are looking for the cheapest way to source them, this ebay seller, sells 100 for £150, so you can buy in bulk and use them over successive parties.  I have bought from Seamus a few times, and he is very helpful and couriers the balloons to you.  They do cost about £3 to fill with helium, at a party shop, though, so you need to factor that in  We were giving them away instead of party bags, but the children are getting older and so have now moved to party bags.

Our party bags contained various things, including colouring books, the masks I mentioned above, chocolate Freddo frogs and these fun finger LED torches that the children love (and you may be familiar with if you go to rave parties!)

The year we had a bouncy castle for the first time, and it was one of the best things about the party.  Wonderful way to wear the children out, and they were having so much fun on it.  You can see the bouncy castle we hired from Bouncy Castle Hire for £75, below, and I really recommend the company as the guys dropped it off and picked it up exactly on time, as well as being very sweet.

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You can also see from the photo that we had an entertainer (no, that was not me in in a lycra cheerleader outfit).  Oh my God, if you can get an entertainer, do.  Normally I am running around, entertaining them, keeping them happy.  This year, we had Ashlie from Party Belles, and she was perfect.  Really kind and gentle, but energetic and fun.  The children were far more engaged by her than they have been by me!  She did balloon animals, bubbles, pom pom dances, glitter tattoos, disco dancing.  Both the boys and the girls loved her, and the parents actually got to stand, talk and relax.

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Every birthday party, our girls choose their birthday cake, and this time one birthday girl chose a pink giraffe and the other chose a monkey.  I won’t lie – I bake them, but my husband is the one who decorates them.  Its all quite easy for me as I use Marks & Spencer cake mix and order all the other supplies, including kilos of coloured ready to roll icing, from The Craft Company (cheapest source of cake supplies I have found and they are very helpful).

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Hope this helps planning any parties you have coming up, that little bit easier!

Two knitting needles and a ball of wool

Anyone in the mood for a project? This is easy peasy and requires very minimal knitting skills. The WornOut ladies and I had a hankering for a beanie hat with a pompom, but almost everything we found was acrylic, which gets itchy after a while and is not very warm. So I thought I’d get out the knitting needles and see what I could come up with. Several episodes of Downton Abbey later I had this…

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I used Drops Big Merino, which is lovely, very soft and easy to knit. I needed 2 balls and a pair of 5mm needles. The stitch is garter, couldn’t be any easier, you just knit every row.

Cast on 92 stitches and knit every row for 25 rows (I have a small head, if you would usually take a medium or large in a hat then keep knitting for 29 rows)

Now start decreasing on alternate rows

knit 4, k2tog [k7, k2tog] 9 times, k5 (82 sts)

Knit 1 row

k3, k2tog [k6, k2tog] 9 times, k5 (72 sts)

Knit 1 row

k2, k2tog [k5, k2tog] 9 times, k5 (62 sts)

Knit 1 row

k1, k2tog [k4, k2tog] 9 times, k5 (52 sts)

Knit 1 row

k2tog [ k3, k2tog] 9 times, k5 (42 sts)

Knit 1 row

k3, k2tog [k2, k2tog] 8 times, k5 (33 sts)

Knit 1 row

k1, [k2tog] repeat to end (17 sts)

Knit 1 row

k1 [k2tog] repeat to end (9 sts)

Fasten off.

That’s it, just stitch along the seam to finish it off. I made a pompom from the left over wool, but I really think the fur pom pom, which I got from ebay gives it a very luxe feel.

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Happy knitting!

UPDATE I wanted to check with the seller before linking, but the delicious pompom came from Emma who does lovely hats too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Minute Treat

It is Friday after all.

This is a quick, crowd-pleasing treat. I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it. Be warned though, it’s very moorish!

Sweet Popcorn with Chocolate Drizzle (adapted from  Leon: Baking & Puddings)

Popcorn with chocolate drizzle

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

120g popcorn

90g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

75g salted butter

50g golden syrup

1. Warm oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Pour popcorn into pan and cover with lid. Remove pan from heat when popping slows down. Spread popcorn out to cool on a baking tray.

2. Melt butter and goldent syrup together in a small pan, stirring continuously.

3. Mix melted butter & syrup with popped corn as evenly as possible.

4. Melt chocolate and drizzle over the sweet popcorn.

Enjoy!