Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cool Things to Do With Old Books

One of the craft items I am most drawn to on Pinterest are those made from old books. Here are a few of my favourites

1. Incredible sculptures by Su Blackwell

2. Easter Egg Wreath at Lemon Tree Creations

3. Paper Cone Wreath from Corner House Blog

4. Spine Bookmarks from Green Paper

5. Rug via Dishfunctional Designs

rug made out of book spines

6. Paper Flowers via Elizabeth Anne Designs

7. Heart Garland from Etsy

Do you have any other suggestions to add to my list?

Monday, 18 February 2013

Meal Planning Monday - 18 February 2013

Phew, bit late in the day to be posting considering I've already eaten dinner but Monday night is better than Tuesday, right?

Last week's meal plan was a success and I really enjoying trying the new recipes people have pinned on the shared Pinterest board. I even made pasta for the first time and it though it was hard work it wasn't difficult.

This week's menu is a little easier to plan because I am Bzzing Maggi So Juicy products at thee moment. It's the first campaign I've done and I was a little sceptical since I am not a big one for packaged spice mixes (with the exception of taco/fajita seasoning). So far I have tried Tuscan Sausage one (with a tin of tomatoes and some water in the slow cooker), Mexican Chicken which was a even with my "no sauce" eating oldest (served with Mexican rice and wraps), and Sticky BBQ which I cooked with pork because even I can't eat chicken every night of the week. So yes, I would buy these to keep in the cupboard for those nights when you can't be bothered but don't want takeaway. 

This week's meal plan is
Sausage Casserole (see above)
Quorn Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato and cheese Topping
Maggi So Juicy Mixed Herbs for Chicken with Smashed Potatoes
Sweet and Sour Chicken with boiled rice
Savoury Mince and Veg in Giant Yorkshire Pudding
Sweet Chilli Burgers

There was a special on Quorn mince this week so between that, the Maggi sachets and the chicken breast I had in the freezer I am pretty much covered this week.

I have been busy pinning to my Sweet Tooth board. I was hoping to attend my first Clandestine Cake Club meeting but the dates have changed and I'll be away (in Paris, so I'm not complaining!) and it's my birthday next month so I am searching for something really decadent and birthday-worthy to make.

Fudge is one of my favourite things to eat but the one time I tried to make it I failed dismally. It didn't set and I ended up up warming it and serving over ice cream. This time I definitely simmered and stirred for 15 minutes but it's still kind of soft. Does anyone have any tips for successful fudge?

Remember to check out Mrs M's Meal Planning Monday linky for more meal planning posts and let me know if you have any special cake/pudding suggestions. 

Have a great week.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

A Wet Weekend in Tenby

Last weekend's trip to Tenby was cold but fun. And cold. But mainly fun, while being a bit cold. We warmed up while playing a game of footy on the beach during which the rules kept changing and fair play was considered by all parties before being discarded in view of good old fashioned cheating. We're nothing if not competitive in our family.

I did say it was cold...
...but the benefit is no crowds
Very disappointed to learn it no longer fires
A romantic gesture...
...hijacked by the kids
Filling up at The Bay Tree. Definitely recommend their Sunday lunch
amazing passers by with our incredible ball skills
Pendine Sands is truly massive
... especially when you have to chase the ball
Check out more outdoor horseplay on the Coombe Mille Country Kids Linky

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What You Won't Want to Miss This Week!

It's been a weird and oddly boring few weeks online because there hasn't been a lot that has caught my eye until recently. Clearly I have been working too hard and procrastinating too little but I resolve to remedy that soon... at some point... when I get around to it.

Anyway, starting with something really worthy:

1. Eye Shine (

It's kind of sad that this organisation has to exist because it's all about helping parents and children connect by playing in nature. They run workshops and retreats in Dartmoor (and if there's anywhere great for enjoying being outside it's here) working with families of all shapes and sizes. If you are in the area and in need of support, why not investigate it further.

2.  Penis Pans
Surely just as worthy is Penis Pans. This is a gem of a website started by a woman who wanted to get her money's worth from a novelty cake pan after she had used it for its original purpose. You'll find some corking cakes on here, including these little beauties.

3. Kindle for non-Kindles
This is probably not news to the technologically savvy amongst you, but it was news to me. Did you know you don't need a Kindle to get the Kindle app? I didn't, but I do now and it's opened up a world of browsing possibilities for me. Download them at Amazon.

4. Cinema Blend (

I discovered this little beauty when I was debating whether or not to take the kids to see Wreck-It Ralph in 3D or not. I am not a fan of 3D films for 3Ds sake. I honestly don't think some films are worth the extra £3 per ticket or whatever it is, but since this one sounded kind of Tron-esque I turned to the great Online to find out more and discovered Cinema Blend. It is packed full of juicy film tidbits but it was the really comprehensive review of the 3D features which I loved.

5. Benedict Cumberbatch on the Simpsons

This episode is due to air this week and I just think it's awesome! Benedict Cumberbatch playing Hugh Grant's character from Love Actually and Severus Snape. Watch the clip here.

Oh, go on then!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Meal Planning Monday - 11 February 2013

Last week I missed my first MPM (that's Meal Planning Monday, for those in the know) post in, I dunno, months! Not sure what happened. I sat down on Monday morning thinking "yes, I'll do that in a minute" and before I knew it, it was Thursday arvo and there was clearly no point.

This week I am taking all my meals from my Shared Family Favourite Recipes Pinterest board. This is a shared board so if you want to be able to pin your tried and tested family favourites there just let me know. I am hoping to build up a good stock of recipes we know work to make my life easier to create a shared resource that benefits humankind. 'Cause I'm thoughtful like that.

Italian Chicken pinned by Julie with cous cous
Baked Mini Meatballs pinned by Sarah with homemade pasta*
Steak with Dauphinoise potatoes and mushrooms pinned by me

Five planned meals should cover it this week since it's school holidays and we have a few things planned.

Don't forget about the new board - leave your Pinterest name below if you want to join in the fun. Remember to check out Mrs M for more Meal Planning Monday inspiration.
If you like this, why not stay up to date easily by following via Google or bloglovin', and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Your Comic Relief Money Is Working Hard in Ghana!


Nurses in action at the Health Centre here in Ghana, putting mums and babies at ease as they give vaccinations. Diarrhoea accounts for 10% of deaths among Ghana's under-fives. Rotavirus, which causes gastroenteritis, can lead to severe dehydration and accounts for 40% of these diarrhoea-related deaths.[i]

Comic Relief has given GAVI a grant of $200,000 to provide rotavirus vaccine in Ghana to help prevent against this potentially fatal condition.

Love Penny
This is a digital postcard sent from TeamHonk (; during their travels with Comic Relief in Ghana celebrating #goodwork. 

For the past 25 years the money raised through Red Nose Day has been changing the lives of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa. Let’s Keep Up the Good Work. Find out how at

For other digital postcards please do join up and check out the linky on


Friday, 1 February 2013

Homemade Nutella

Wow - two recipes in two days! I bet today's tastes a lot better than yesterday's laundry soap.

The amount of sugar we consume as a family has been concerning me for ages and this week I finally managed to do something about it. From a look at my Pinterest boards you'd think I mainlined the stuff but I don't bake that often. My kids are skinny now but no one sets out to raise fat kids so I'm making changes now in the hope that they'll stick.

I thought about cutting out sugar completely but the idea gave me a sense of dread in the pit of my stomach (I am a little ashamed to admit that) so I have decided to target the biggest culprits and work from there. For my youngest son it's Nutella, or whatever brand of chocolate hazelnut spread is on offer. I didn't have a recipe for this but I believe I may be some sort of chocolate whisperer because this turned out perfectly.

1 jar of hazelnut butter (I got mine from Holland & Barrett).
1/4 cup cocoa
2-3 tablespoons of agave syrup.

Mix it together, try not to eat too much (it's divine - just like a Ferrero Rocher) and feel all smug.

Non-Sugar purists will point out that agave syrup is fructose and therefore EVIL, however I will say that a) it's what I had and b) it's a damn sight better than what we have been eating. My plan is to gradually reduce the sweetness over subsequent batches.

You can make your own hazelnut butter by simply roasting 200g of hazelnuts and putting them in a food processor until they are practically dust then mixing with oil (coconut would be good), but since I don't have a food processor I had to make do with a jar.

Next time I might experiment and make it with good melted chocolate but I don't want to spend a fortune so maybe not. My son, who is a creature of habit and does not welcome change, ate it quite happily and only commented the jar looked different. Result!