April 2016

This recipe was given to me by a friend when I was after a recipe for a syrup sponge.  My son had said how yummy his syrup sponge was at school and I wanted to surprise him by making my own. It was a good excuse to make a pudding too! I think the original recipe is one of James Martin’s but my friend found it on Facebook. The only difference I’ve made is that Ive put syrup at the bottom of the dish instead of poured over after its cooked, although we did pour some extra over too! I know I always say it, but this recipe is so easy! You can prep it and cook it in just 15 minutes.

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Preperation time: 10 minutes

Baking time: 5 minutes

What I used: 

4oz caster sugar

5oz Plain flour

4oz butter (melted)

1 tsp baking powder

2 x eggs

Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Golden syrup (as much as you want!)

A pudding bowl (medium size although it doesn’t really matter)

What I did:

  • Firstly I put the butter in a saucepan on a low heat to melt gradually.
  • Then I put the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl and mixed well.
  • When the butter was melted I added this to the dry ingredients along with the eggs and lemon juice and mixed well until smooth.
  • In a pudding bowl I squirted a good amount of golden syrup in to bottom (About 4 x tablespoons or more!).
  • Then I poured the pudding mixture on top.
  • I covered the bowl with cling film which I pierced a couple of times and this was microwaved on high for 5 minutes.

This pudding is now an all round favourite and went down a storm with my family! You can serve with custard, ice cream or cream. We had extra syrup with ours!

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Today I realised something that has started yo worry me slightly. As I sat there finishing writing a blog post I noticed my son had joined me at the table with his Leap pad. My son is 6 soon and apart from the rare occasion when he’s played a CBeebies game on my iPad, he’s never bothered much with digital devices or computer games. He’s always been a bit telly obsessed, but has never bothered about phones or iPads or anything similar. That was until recently. Now, is it an age thing? Or am I influencing his like of digital? I am a blogger after all!

My son got a Leap pad for Christmas (from us) but it remained at the bottom of the drawer until recently, as he just wasn’t interested. Mainly because he struggled with it and then the batteries ran out, so there it stayed in the drawer for a while. Then yesterday he asked for it and then moaned because he couldn’t use it as we needed to get some new batteries. I’m not sure why he wanted to use it so much. So we put some new batteries in and he used it on and of all day. So I now ask myself, should I be limiting the time he spends on it? Of course I should! This is something I didn’t think I would have to face for quite a while! May e when he was say 12!

After a day of him using I found myself already telling him ‘just 5 minutes more, then it’s going away!’. Luckily he wasn’t too upset about that and obliged quite easily. He got really good at the games and knowing how to work the leap pad, starting from not having a clue and needing my help. Even my little girl ran off with the thing to try and have a go! She wants to do everything her big brother does!

Im already aware that I spend a lot of time on my iPad, but I do try not to use it in front of the kids. My iPhone use is far worse though, as I’m always taking photos and having a sneaky look at Twitter, Facebook or Instagram! My iPhone is a bit like a third arm at times, so what does this mean for my kids? My mum asked me the other day ‘when will you allow Joshua to get a mobile phone or iPad?’ Not because she thinks he should have one but just asking if I’d thought about it as it worries he too. I said ‘don’t be ridiculous not for years yet!’. But his leap pad is like an iPad and he even calls it an iPad!

Sometimes I think it’s the generation (blimey I do sound old now!) mobile phones only came out when I was about 13-15. I remember my first one, a Nokia, it was the size of a brick! I thought it was bloody amazing! But we are along way from that now, digital devices are everywhere and have a big impact on people’s lives. I mean, who doesn’t have a smart phone?! At school they have a class laptop (in class one) where the children have to sign themselves in and say what they want for lunch, which he is quite comfortable with.  After a while he started asking daddy if he could type his name using his laptop, which on occasion we’ve let him and he really enjoys that.

So what now? Should I worry? Am I being too strict? Should I stop using my phone so much? Digital free days perhaps? How much should I let my son use his leap pad? So many questions all of a sudden. It’s niaive to think my son wont want to use computers, phones, tablets, etc., but when and what is acceptable and do I even have any control? More trips to the beach I think….

What is your experience with your kids? And what’s your advice?

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Cuddle Fairy

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At times its felt like Spring has been getting through as we’ve managed to catch some great weather during the last few weeks. Yet at other times it’s been feeling so cold and wet like autumn all over again. Oh how I long for a long spell of sun and warmth! I can’t really complain though, as we’ve managed the beach and the moors this month, we love being outdoors!

1. Paddling in the sea! Who would have thought given some of the awful weather we’ve been having, that the kids would be paddling in the sea! We had a wonderful afternoon at Milbay one of the beaches near us with my sister in law and kiddies. The kids all stripped down to their undies and ran around on the sand and ran in and out of the sea. I got some fab photos, one of my favourites below. Can’t wait for more days on the beach like this as the weather slowly improves (hopefully!).

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2. Sport relief mile. I was so proud the whole family joined in with sport relief to raise some money for a wonderful cause. My hubby, son (5) and daughter (23 months) all ran 1 mile and I ran 6 miles. It was so cold, a million miles away from our day on the beach (above). I knew it would be my last run before my operation, so I was so proud to have made the 6 miles. All together we raised £55 for Sport relief. It was lovely to see my son enjoy running, hopefully it will be something he continues and my daughter made a good effort in too, even if she did get carried some of the way!

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3. My operation. I wouldn’t say this was a highlight, but it has been an eye opener! I had an umbilical hernia repair, quite minor surgery, in March. The recovery has been so much harder than I ever could have imagined and I had a bit of a bumpy ride. It’s been so hard not being able to look after the children like I normally do. Strictly no lifting for 6 weeks will be a challenge with my toddler! You can read more about my hernia experience in this post Why I’m putting my feet up

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4. Easter! Easter coincided with my op this year so I was more reliant on hubby to play the Easter bunny role! I’m normally out in the garden at night all weathers hiding the eggs, but it was hubby’s turn this year. I did manage to arrange the egg baskets and hide some eggs around the house though. The kids loved coming downstairs on Easter Sunday to find the Easter bunny had visited and left them their Easter baskets. So cute. My little boy ate far too much chocolate though and woke up being sick in the night! Poor hubby had to deal with it (shame that) and my son is now put off chocolate! I’m sure he’ll regain his love for it soon enough!

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5. Family Easter dinners. It was great to catch up with all the family over Easter weekend, although I probably could have done with a quieter one! The kids as usual loved being together and playing. The adults enjoyed some great food, thanks to my mother in law, aunts and mum. We even managed an Easter egg hunt or two I between the march showers, which the kids loved (below). They got more chocolate than anyone could ever need or want. In fact I’m still getting through it now (!) and even thrown some of it away. The kids haven’t even noticed! Wish I could get it to the children refugees in France somehow.

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6. Ladies that lunch! My lovely mum came and took me and the little lady out for lunch a few days after my op and Easter, whilst my hubby took my son for some boy time at Woodlands. It was nice and relaxing and I even managed a little walk in the meadow which my daughter really enjoyed. The weather wasn’t too bad either! My mums helped me so much whilst I’ve been recovering and taken the kids and I out so we’re not stuck in (I haven’t been able to drive) bless her. My mum is amazing.

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7. Proud work moment. I attended a work award ceremony this month with my colleague who had been nominated for an award. She was nominated for the nom-clinical individual award, for her contribution to supporting the health service. I was so proud to accompany her and then watch her get awarded in her category! So proud of her, it was well over due and so well deserved! We enjoyed a lovely meal and a couple of drinks too!

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8. Dartmoor walk & picnic. We met our lovely friends for day out on Dartmoor for a walk and picnic. We were so lucky with the weather, it was dry and the sun came out! We walked a goof few miles across the moor alongside a river (this was pre op of course!) and found a lovely spot to enjoy our picnic. It was great to see my son running around, picking up sticks and clambering across the rocks. My little lady did manage to fall in to some cow poo with beloved teddy, so teddy (actually a rabbit) had its first wash in 2 years that evening! That was interesting!

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9. Mummy & daughter time. At the beginning of the month my daughter and I had a morning out just the two of us. It was such a lovely morning and we had nothing planned, so I thought, right that’s it we’re going to the beach! So I packed us some snacks and warm clothes and off we went. We are lucky there are beaches just 10 mins drive away so we can pop there any time. Although the sun was out, it was quite chilly and we sat on the beach cuddled in eating our snack! Afterwards we went for a walk in some woods that are just behind the beach and looked at the wonderful views across the beach.

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10. Family and Daddy time. It’s always lovely when we all get to spend some time together as a family! We went to a garden centre for a bite to eat and then went for a walk along the river and around the meadow. Again , the weather was on our side and we managed a lovely walk. I really did try to cram in as much walking as possible before my op! The kids love it when daddy and I are both with them. It’s so important to spend quality time together.

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I have used this recipe a couple of times recently to entertain the kids this Easter. It’s a really simple recipe and quick to bake so perfect for inpatient kids! I usually weigh out the ingredients myself first as my kids are pretty impatient and the fun bit for them is rolling out the dough and cutting out the shapes. These biscuits are best eaten fresh from the oven/same day, they never last long in our house anyway!

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Prep time: 5 mins

Baking time: 6-8 mins

What I used:

This recipe makes approx 20 biscuits depending on the size biscuits you make/cutters you use.

8oz flour (I’ve used both plain & self raising)

4oz soft brown sugar

6oz butter

1 x tsp cinnamon

1 x tsp vanilla essence

A drop of milk

What I did:

  • Turned the oven to 180c.
  • I creamed together the butter and sugar first. This bit is the bit the kids don’t like as it takes a bit of elbow grease and as usual I do it by hand with a wooden spoon and not an electric mixer!
  • Then I added the flour and cinnamon and stirred the mixture together. Unlike cakes where the mixture is quite wet, biscuit mixture is a lot dryer and can seem a bit too dry sometimes. But don’t worry it all comes together.
  • Finally add the vanilla essence and bring the mixture in to a smooth dough. You may need a drop of milk to help bring it together. The dough should come together easily, you may need more flour or milk until you get the right consistency.
  • I lined a baking tray with some baking paper and we placed all the different shaped biscuits on the tray. Make sure they don’t touch as they will expand a little.
  • The biscuits were baked in the oven for 6-8 minutes, until the edges started going golden brown. Don’t over cook! Better to get them out early and pop them back in if needs be!

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The fun bit!

After you’ve got your biscuit dough, the kids can have lots of fun rolling out the dough and cutting out different shaped biscuits. We did a mixture of stars, circles, different sized squares and even some bats! My kids love getting sticky fingers and this recipe is quite good for re-rolling several times which is great.

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