Some light reading!

29 June 2012

Just wanted to do a very quick post to say sorry for the lack of blogging this week. Below is the reason I've been AWOL!  I can't put it down but don't worry, I'm up to 88% so normal blogging will resume shortly. {Please don't judge me!!!}


My Little Boy's Next Step

25 June 2012

Tonight I've been to an information evening at the pre-school where Oliver is starting in September. Hubby is on lates so I had to go alone, but my best friend was there as her daughter will also going there.

My brain is a bit mashed with information overload now. They told us all about the nursery. When he'll be starting. Who his key worker is. Showed us a video of all the activities they get up to. Showed us round the nursery. There's so much to take in.

I hope he settles in alright. It took him a while to settle in to playgroup when he started. There were lots of tears {from both of us}. I think he'll be fine though, he's much more confident now and makes friends easily.

God, it feels like yesterday that Oliver was a newborn, feeding all the time and keeping me up all night! Now he's ready to go to pre-school. I just can't believe he's grown up so fast.

And I'm not oven going to think about September 2013 when he'll start proper school *eeek*!

How did you/do you feel about your children starting school or pre-school?

Welly Weather

22 June 2012


Yes, I'm going to do the thoroughly British thing and talk about the weather! Us Brits are well known for being obsessed with the weather but with good reason. And I think Yorkshire folk like me are even more obsessed because we have such crazy,  unpredictable weather.

So yesterday was officially the first day of Summer and Wednesday was the summer solstice (the longest day). Yet here I am, sat with the central heating on with torrential rain beating against the window and a grey miserable sky. And I can tell you, I'm thoroughly fed up of it.

What I really hate about the this weather is that I never know what clothes to dress the Darlings in. They've both got some gorgeous summer clothes and I so want to dress Oliver in his cute shorts and cool t-shirts and Lydia in her pretty sun dresses.

We had a weekend full of outdoor activities planned. On Saturday we're popping to our local village for the summer fete. Which is in a field. So it's going to be a mudbath! Then on Sunday the Olympic torch relay arrives in our village, so we'll be going to see that followed by 'Parkfest' in our local park which I'm sure will be also be a mud bath!

Oh well, what can we do except for don our wellies and raincoats and get very wet?! And I do love my wellies... they're pink with white spots and are so comfy. Talking of wellies, here's some pics of some very cool wellies I found on Pinterest...

What are your wellies like? Do you like traditional wellies or groovy patterned ones? 

My Little Darlings - 100th Post

21 June 2012

Yes this really is my 100th post. Time flies when you're busy blogging! To celebrate, this post is dedicated to the two most amazing, beautiful, special little people in my life.

I'm aware that I've hardly told you anything about the Darlings. It's not intentional. This blog is named after them after all, so I think it's about time you found out a bit more about my two reasons for getting out of bed every day.

By the way... hello and welcome to all my new followers! I'd love you to leave a little comment to introduce yourself, so we can get to know each other!

So here are 10 facts about my little darlings.

Oliver...

  1. Oliver was born in January 2009.
  2. As a newborn he didn't have the ability to just lay down and fall asleep. He wanted to be rocked, bounced or fed to sleep.
  3. He woke for a night feed until he was 10 months old. When I was due back to work and stopped them!
  4. He loved crawling and didn't walk until he was 17 months old.
  5. He was breastfed until he was 18 months old. It was a mutual decision to stop as we were both ready for it.
  6. He's confident, headstrong and stubborn. He's 3 years old with the attitude of a 14 year old! He's also really cheeky and loves making people laugh with his little sayings.
  7. He has loads of teddies. His two favourites are called 'Baby Chloe' and 'Girl Teddy'!
  8. He's a 3 year old gadget geek... he loves playing games on my mobile and laptop. I can tell he's going to be miles ahead of me in the technology stakes!
  9.  His favourite toys are his cars, he especially loves the big ones like lorries, tankers, buses and anything with a trailer!
  10. He loves his bedtime stories... his favourites are The Gruffalo, The Troll, The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Gingerbread Man.

Lydia...

  1. Lydia was born in December 2010 {yes I have two nearly Christmas kids!}
  2. She was a dream baby... fed well, slept through at 11 weeks and was really happy.
  3. She was breastfed until 9 months old when we both got thrush and it was really painful for us. I still wish I'd not given up so easily and we'd got through it and carried on.
  4. She's easy going, laid back and such a happy soul.
  5. But... she has a right temper. When she gets mad she shouts, screams, stamps her feet, the works {luckily it's not very often}
  6. She loves her dummy {which she calls mummy!} and her elephant teddy called Ellie.
  7. She loves reading books and will sit quietly for ages looking through them. Her favourites are 'That's Not my Puppy', 'Choo Choo the Little Train' and 'The Hungry Caterpillar'.
  8. She sings when she's eating... and boy does she love to eat! Strangely though, she doesn't like crisps.
  9. She hates having her teeth brushed and goes absolutely mental when I brush them for her. She's so independent that she wants to do it herself.
  10. She adores her big brother and copies everything he does.

Tell me a fact about your little Darlings. Do our children have anything in common?

Why? Why? Why?

20 June 2012

If I had £1 for every time I hear the word 'Why' every day, I'd be sat on a private tropical island with a Pina Colada served by a buff butler!

Now's my chance to get me own back with all the 'whys' I'd like to turn round and ask them.

Thank you to Jennifer at Jennifer's Little World for tagging me in this funny meme!

Here are the rules:

1. Post your whys – as few or as many as you like.
2. Link up your post over at Mummy Central, and it would be great if you could leave a comment too.
3. Tag 5 bloggers to keep this going.
4. If you’re not a blogger, leave your whys as a comment below. I'd love to read them.
5. Show your support by reading a few others and commenting on them.

 Here goes...
  • Why do I bother tidying away all the toys when by 8am the next morning, the floor is covered with them again?
  • Why do I never get to drink my cup of coffee while its still hot?
  • Why do I have to listen to things like 'Mummy my bum's sparkling, you haven't wiped it properly!'?
  • Why do you have to shout at every man in town 'Mummy is that a bad man'? 

  • Why do you have to grow up so flipping fast?
  • Why aren't spa days compulsory and available on the NHS for all mums of young children?
  • Why can't my hair magically straighten itself so I don't have to spend half an hour faffing around with it?
  • Why do I stay up really late reading blogs/writing posts/tweeting when I need an early night?
  • Why can't I resist eating fattening food when I'm trying to lose weight?
  • Why am I sat here with a big pink plastic butterfly clip in my hair?
  • Why is the dirty clothes bin full as soon as I've emptied it?
  • Why do I want to fall asleep after just one glass of wine?

  • Why are you the most beautiful perfect creatures I've ever seen?

Oh dear I think I got a bit carried away there. I'd better pass the baton onto these lovely ladies...

Cathey at My Funny Mummy 
Elly at Moors-Mummy
Aimee at Everything's Rosey 
Emily at Never Bored of Bubbles 
Lucy at Leopard Print Mommy



An Impromptu Afternoon Walk

19 June 2012

It's not often that Hubby suggests days out. So when he does I'm a bit sceptical that it's going to be crap! I know I shouldn't think that, but it's usually me who plans days out and he just goes along with what I decide. Well this time he couldn't have suggested a better way to spend Fathers' Day afternoon.

We spent the afternoon walking along the Spen Valley Greenway which is part of the National Cycle Network. It's seven miles of disused railway line that has been resurfaced for bikes and walking {also great for prams} and goes from Dewsbury to Oakenshaw near Bradford.

We walked about 2.5 miles of it, from Liversedge to Cleckheaton {and back again}. It took us through lovely fields, a wildlife reserve and through an old railway tunnel. We also passed some sculptures by Sally Matthews... the flock of Swaledale Sheep constructed from recycled industrial scrap, which the Darlings loved. We found a playground along the way too, which also went down really well with them.

Here are some pics of the afternoon...




To top it off, we found a pub nearby and had a lovely Fathers Day tea.

What did you get up to on Fathers day?
Have you ever had a day out that's been better than you expected?

A Monster Called Tom

18 June 2012

Oliver can be infuriating and wonderful in equal measures. But he's got a brilliant imagination. I think listening to endless Julia Donaldson stories at bedtime has helped to develop his story telling skills. 
Here's a funny conversation I had with Oliver while driving home from Asda the other day.

Oliver:  Mummy one day there was a little monster in my bedroom and it pushed me out of bed
Me:  Was it like little monster off Justin's House?
Oliver:  Yes.
Me:  What did you do?
Oliver:  I kicked it out of bed
Me:  Oh. how did it get in your bedroom?
Oliver:  It came in the door and came upstairs
Me:  But I lock the door so nobody can get in
Oliver:  It had a magic key. It was called Tom
Me:  Tom?
Oliver:  Yes and it had a baby called inga lund
Me:  Do you mean England?
Oliver: Yes. And the mummy was called Albania
Me: Oh right. 

Oliver:  And the daddy was called Zero Arctic
Me:  So the monster was called Tom, the baby was called England, the mummy was called Albania and the daddy was called Zero Arctic?
Oliver:  No the boy monster was called Tom
Me:  Silly me
Oliver:  And they all went on holiday and stayed in a black caravan

THE END!

Are your children good story tellers? What's the funniest story they've ever told you?

Silent Sunday

Full-Time, Part-time Or Stay-at-Home?

15 June 2012

For the first time since December 2008 I've done a full days work. Eight whole hours of work. It was tough. We've got a new computer system at work so I've worked a full day today and I'm working a full day tomorrow {yes Saturday!} to help with the transition. Thankfully it's just the two days! But it got me thinking...

Since going back to work after Oliver was born, I've worked part time. I work Tuesday to Friday mornings which is a meagre 20 hours per week! For me, it's the perfect balance of work and family time.

I've always been full of admiration for full time mums and dads, it's the  hardest job in the world. It's also the most rewarding job in the world but I don't think I could do it. {Maybe if we had a bigger house, I could but that's a whole other post!} I had almost a year off both times I was on maternity leave and I loved being at home during that time. Both times I was dreading going back to work, but when I actually went back something just clicked, and I felt like my life had a better balance. So I came to the conclusion that I'm just not cut out to be a stay at home mum.

Anyway, after the full day's work I've done today I have a greater admiration for mums who work full time. Not because I thought they had it easy, far from it. I don't think I'd given it a great deal of thought to how hard it really is. I worked from 7.30am - 4.00pm and I was knackered! I couldn't be bothered to make tea so the Darlings had tea at their grandparents and Hubby and I had a takeaway. I have a massive pile of washing to do and the bathroom needs cleaning, which are normally jobs I do in an afternoon. I don't know how mums who work full time fit it all in. Though nowadays some families don't really have much choice. Financial situations mean that mums have to work full time to bring two salaries in or have to be the main earner as they have a higher salary.

I love my time at work, a few hours of being 'Debra' not 'Mummy' all the time. I jokingly say that work is the easy part of my day... sitting at my desk, drinking bottomless cups of coffee and having adult conversations. Don't get me wrong I often feel guilt and relief in equal measures when I leave for work. But although it's sometimes hard work being at home with two little people under four,  I love my time with them even more and it makes me appreciate every single minute with them. Because I'm not with them 24/7, I have more patience and acceptance, I feel it makes me a better mum.

So full time work, part time work or stay at home? More money for your family or more time with your family?  I honestly don't think one situation is better than another, it's just what works best for your family. Working part time is best for us and today has made me appreciate it even more.

Do you work full or part time? Are you a stay at home mum? What do you think about your situation?

Reasons To Be Cheerful #R2BC

14 June 2012


It's been a tough week in our house. Oliver has been testing my patience to the absolute limits all week. Everything is a battle of wills with him and he's so defiant... terrible three's and all that I think. So I really need to do this weeks R2BC to remind me of all my reasons to be cheerful and to cheer myself up!

Anyway, please pop over to visit Mich at Mummy From The Heart who hosts this fab linky by clicking on the pic above.

Here comes the cheerfulness....

1  //  Lydia is the most amazing little girl. She has kept me sane this week whilst I've been battling with Oliver. She's done some lovely little things that have made me smile and cheered me up. Yesterday, she was walking round with a toy car pretending it was a phone, she had it held to her ear and was saying "Hiya... yeah yeah.... bye.... see ya" It's the first time she's said see you. She's saying new words everyday... some of them I can understand and they are really plain, some of them only she knows what she's saying!

2  //  We booked our holiday for next year! It's 11 months away but I'm so excited already. We're going to Menorca in May 2013 with my parents, my sister and brother in law, my two nieces and us four. I haven't been abroad since I was pregnant with Oliver {4 years ago} so it will be bliss. And of course it will be a whole new experience for the Darlings. I know they'll love it, especially going with their cousins and grandma and grandad.

3  //  We had a brilliant time swimming on Sunday. And we had the added bonus this week of my parents joining us! My mum was full of cold so sat and watched, but my dad came in and had a swim and play with the Darlings. They loved having their Grandad there. The pool was much quieter this week {I think because everyone had already been swimming during the half term holidays} so we had loads of fun.

4  //  I was feeling a bit *bleurgh* this morning but as I was walking from my car to work a cute little hedgehog walked out in front of me. I quickly got my phone out to snap some photos and it just stood still and posed for me! Really cheered me up.


So what have you got to smile about this week? If you want to see what other people are cheerful about, pop on over to Mummy from the Heart to read their stories or follow the linky below!

Technorati Claim P529URQ3UQXH

13 June 2012

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Readers please ignore this post!!!

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

I've called these double chocolate cupcakes as they're chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. I suppose you could call them that but it's a bit of a mouthful. I make these with Oliver all the time but realised that I've never posted the recipe for them. I just made them for a cake sale at work and they sold out in 13 minutes!

Now I'm more confident with the baking bit, I enjoy decorating my cupcakes. I used to be a bit scared of piping the frosting but I absolutely love it now! I bought some disposable piping bags and they are brilliant. No more washing out re-usable piping bags and hanging them up to dry. Just squirt and throw away! I use these that I bought from Amazon. I'm also finding more and more cool toppings for the cupcakes, I really like using sweets as a decoration. I've recently made them with dolly mixtures and giant chocolate buttons.


Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 10
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 20-25 minutes

Cupcakes
100g plain flour
2 & 1/2 tblsp cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
40g butter, softened
120ml whole milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting
300g icing sugar
100g butter
40g cocoa powder
3 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat the oven to 170C (325F) Gas Mark 3. Line a 12 section bun tray with 10 paper cases {my recipe said makes 12 but I got 10 out of it}.

Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and butter in a bowl and beat with a hand-held electric whisk on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug, then slowly pour about half into the flour mixture. Beat to combine then turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps.

Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture {scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a spatula}. Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Don't overmix though.

Spoon the cupcake mixture into the paper cases until two thirds full. Pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cake bounces back when touched. If you insert a skewer into the middle of the cake it should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cook slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire rack.

Now make the frosting. Beat the icing sugar, cocoa and butter in a bowl with a hand-held electric whisk on medium speed until the mixture comes together and is well combined. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Add the milk to the butter mixture a little at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated turn the mixer up to high speed and beat for about 5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. The longer you beat the frosting, the lighter and fluffier it will be.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon or pipe the frosting on top. Finish with sprinkles or sweets of your choice.

Yummy Mummy Meme

12 June 2012

I've seen this meme doing the rounds and really enjoyed reading everyone's answers. So I'm really chuffed that the lovely Aimee from Everything's Rosey has tagged me so I can have a go!

The rules...
  • When answering the questions give as much detail as possible. It's all about the finer details people!
  • Leave a comment on Here (Busybeemummybex blog where the meme was created).
  • Tag three or more people and link to them on your blog.
  • Tweet #yummymummy when you share on Twitter.

Here goes with the yummy mummyness!

What is the first thing you do when you wake up? 
If one of the children has woken me up I look at the clock to see what time it is and desperately hope its after 7am. Then go for a wee! If it's a work day my alarm goes off at 6.45 so I leave hubby and the children asleep and tiptoe into the bathroom to get ready.

Do you shower daily? Are you an early morning shower or an evening bath type?
I'm an evening shower lover. I would never in a million years have time to shower in the morning and there's no way I can be dragged out of my pit any earlier! I hate baths, I can never get comfy or wash my hair easily! I love my shower... children in bed, lovely long shower,comfy clothes on, then relax.

Do you wear make up daily?
Absolutely! I look like a ghost without make up and don't want to be scaring small children with my 'natural beauty'. I've loved make-up from being really young and many moons ago {before I met hubby and had children} I was a trained make-up artist who did wedding makeovers.

What's in your make up bag?
Lets have a look... what's in here? *rummages around* ... Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid foundation, Avon blusher, Mua bronzer, Bobbi Brown eyeshadow set, Rimmel Scandaleyes mascara, Rimmel Exagerate eyeliner, Avon Glimmerstick eyeliner, Chanel and Clinique lippy. Oh and for going out {a very rare occurence} I love my fake lashes!

When your having a slummy mummy day what do you normally wear?
I hope this doesn't make me sound vain but I don't do slummy mummy. Don't get me wrong I'm far from a yummy mummy and don't get 'dressed up', but I just don't like to look scruffy! I only do scruffy in an evening when I'm chilling in my comfy joggers, t-shirt and fluffy slippers.

Nails - how often do you get them done?
Erm never! I can't even remember the last time I had a proper manicure, probably before I had children. I keep them quite short and paint them for special occasions. That's it!

Your top tips for tired eyes?
More sleep. Failing that I love YSL Touche Eclat. It's brilliant for covering up dark circles and really does make you look like you've had a good nights sleep.

Are you a Starbucks or Costa Coffee kind of girl?
I love them both. If I have to choose though I'll go for Costa as we don't have a Starbucks round here so I always go to Costa. I don't often get a chance to spend any time with Oliver on our own but on the odd occasion we do, I love taking him to Costa where he has a babychino and gingerbread man and I have my usual Latte. 

How many children do you have/want and why?
We have two children and that's the way it's going to stay! I always wanted two children and feel so lucky to have two healthy children, and to me it's an added bonus to have one of each. I do occasionally feel a bit broody but I can't imagine having any more. I had quite bad pregnancies with both of them with sickness, Gestational Diabetes and SPD so bad that I could hardly walk. Plus, we don't have enough room in our house for the four of us, so there's absolutely no space to put even a tiny little baby.

Where is your favourite place to shop for babies/children's clothes?
No designer labels for my children I'm afraid. Most of the Darlings clothes are from Sainsburys! I can't help buying something every time I go there to do some shopping. They are fab quality and have such cute trendy designs. They also have loads of stuff from Miniclub at Boots, a few bits from Next and H&M.

Flats or Heels - Everyday shoes are?
Flats every single day. Comfort wins every time, but I love trendy flip flops/sandals and ballet pumps, especially my leopard print ones! I do wear heels for special occasions but feel like I'm going to fall and break my ankle. Plus I'm already 5' 10" so in heels I look like a giant!

I now tag the following lovely ladies to take part in this Meme if they fancy giving it a go... 

Victoria at Dandelions and Kisses
Ashleigh at Milk Teeth Mummy 
This Mummy Rocks

Silent Sunday

I'm a Football Widow

8 June 2012

Well the UEFA European Cup 2012 has started. Hubby is a big football fan and I can't stand it, which means I'll be a football widow for the next 3 weeks. I'll have to suffer two matches a day... and he has to watch every single one.

 Thank goodness hubby works shifts and next week he's on lates, so I'll have 4 football free days.

And thank goodness I've got my new Kindle. I think I'll be doing lots of reading over the next 21 days. I downloaded three new books last night so I'm well prepared!


I'm sure I'll be able to distract myself by doing some baking too. Plus I need to try out my new cooker as I haven't made any cupcakes in it yet. First up are some Black Bottom Cupcakes that I've been wanting to bake for ages.

At least I've got you... my fab followers. Expect to see lots of posts from me and I'll be able to keep up to date reading all your blogs too.

Are you a football widow or widower? Or will you be getting into the spirit and watching the matches?

Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

7 June 2012

Is it Thursday already? Where has this week gone? The long bank holiday weekend has made this week go really quick. And is it really June already??? This year is flying by which makes me realise that I need to get organised and ring someone about coming to sort our garden out!

Anyway, please pop over to visit Mich at Mummy From The Heart who hosts this fab linky by clicking on the pic to the left.

Here comes the cheerfulness....

1  //  We had a fun filled weekend celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We really got into the spirit of the occasion and hung some Union Jack bunting up in the living room and some small flags in the window! Oliver and I also made some paper flags which he loved. The whole weekend was so much better than I expected it to be... the street party we went to was brilliant and we had a lovely family barbecue at my parents house.


2  //  Oliver has been a nightmare this week. He's so defiant and refuses to do anything me or hubby ask him to. He won't play nicely with Lydia or his cousin Amelia and he's so whingy and moany! My normal avenues of discipline {naughty spot and withholding privileges} don't seem to be working at the moment. Unfortunately I've spent a lot of time shouting at him as he winds me up to the top of the tree! This doesn't sound much like a reason to be cheerful does it? But... a couple of friends at work have been really great as they have grown up children so have been through it and have given me some fab support and advice. Having said all this I'm so proud of him for so many other reasons... he's such a lovely funny boy, he's very well behaved at playgroup and the play workers say he's wonderful. So he's not bad all the time! I've been very grateful to go to work to have a break from it all and those few hours away actually make me more patient and tolerant. I just hope it's a phase and once he realises who's boss {i.e. ME!} the battles will be over.


3  //   My oven broke on Sunday just as I was about to start making a batch of Jubilee red velvet cupcakes. Not exactly a reason to be cheerful but I'm happy now because we've had our a shiny new oven delivered this afternoon. It's much better than our old one {which had a good innings at 10 years old!} and I can't wait to get baking some cupcakes in it!


4  //  I'm very very grateful that I had a parking space at work today. I don't have a permanent parking space and most of the nearby streets are permit parking so I have to park a short walk away. Anyway I've got a space this week as my 'parking buddy' is on holiday which I was extremely happy about as it's been torrential rain today!

5  //  I had my hair done this afternoon.. Unfortunately I've been cursed with mega grey hair which I am far too vain to ever give in to, so I have my roots retouched and highlights done every 8 weeks. I absolutely love my visit to the hairdressers. Sitting there for two whole hours having an adult conversation is bliss{although me and Stacey my hairdresser spend the whole time talking about our kids!} It's so relaxing to sit with a magazine and coffee enjoying the peace and quiet and being pampered. Plus it just feels great to have lovely new hair!

So what have you got to smile about this week? If you want to see what other people are cheerful about, pop on over to Mummy from the Heart to read their stories or follow the linky below!


Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

5 June 2012

Well the Jubilee festivities are over. But we had a fun-filled weekend celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. I love the Royal family and sixty years of the Queen being on the throne is a great reason to celebrate. We finished off the Jubilee weekend today with a family barbecue at my parents house.It rained like it always does when they have a barbecue but we still had a fab time.

So, Sunday was spent watching the Royal River Pageant. Oliver loved it as he kept asking to see the 'King' on the boat!

On Monday we went to a huge street party in a local village. About a quarter of a mile of the main road had been closed off and was lined with tables and chairs, bunting, flags and all kinds of stalls. At noon the party was opened by the Town Crier, the Mayor and a lovely rendition of the National Anthem.




Our table was right next to a beautiful old fashioned merry-go-round. I think Hubby enjoyed it even more that the Darlings!



And we were right outside the pub!


We had an amazing spread of food. Enough to feed the whole street, not just the five families that were with us.


Jubilee cupcakes made by yours truly
There were lots of activities for the children.... donkey rides, face painting, bouncy castle, messy play, giant Connect 4 and tug of war.

Spiderman having a donkey ride

The entertainment was great. There were various live bands on the stage throughout the day. There was also a brass band, dancing by a local dance troupe and martial arts demonstrations.


My little family watching the band.
Luckily the weather wasn't too bad. We had a few spots of rain early on, at which point someone got out a pop-up gazebo and put it over our table! Then it stayed sunny and warm for most of the day.

It really brought the community together. From babies in Union Jack babygros to elderly ladies dressed in red white and blue. Everyone made such a huge effort to make it a really special day.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

4 June 2012



I planned to make these for the Jubilee a while ago. I spent hours on Pinterest looking at cupcakes for inspiration. I bought some themed cupcake cases, red white and blue sprinkles and Union Jack toppers. I bought all the ingredients. I planned to make them on the Sunday evening of the Jubilee weekend as I was making them for the Jubilee street party and my parents barbecue. I had everything prepared. Then guess what happened? My oven packed in. It wouldn't light! I. Was. Not. Happy. In fact the air was blue.

Fortunately, my wonderful Mum came to the rescue by lending me her kitchen. Phew! Disaster averted. I actually loved baking in my mums kitchen as mine is the tiniest kitchen in the world. And she has a telly in her kitchen!

So in the end, after all that planning {I don't do things by halves do I?} they turned out fantastic. The red colour of the sponge was brilliant, and the cream cheese frosting was a lovely pure white colour which really showed up the sprinkles.

My oven is officially dead so tomorrow we'll be shopping for a new one!


Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 10
Preparation time 30 minutes
Baking time 20-25 minutes

Cupcakes
60g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food colouring
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
150g plain flour
120ml buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
1 & 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting
300g icing sugar
50g butter, softened
125g cream cheese, cold 

Preheat the oven to 170C {325F} Gas Mark 3. Make sure your shelp is in the middle of the oven. Line a 12 section bun tray with 10 paper cases. The recipe said it should make 12 but I always get 10 out of it.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat on a medium speed with an electric hand mixer  until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat everything until it is well incorporated.

In a separate small  bowl, mix together the cocoa, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured {scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula}. Turn the mixer down to slow and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed then add half the flour and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixture up to high speed and beat until it is a smooth even mixture. Turn the mixer down to slow and add the bicarb of soda and vinegar. Turn up the speed again and beat for another minute.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two thirds full. Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cake bounces back when touched. Insert a skewer into the centre and it should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter in a large bowl with a hand held electric whisk on slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for a couple of minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. Don't overbeat as it can quickly become runny.

Spoon or pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes and finish with sprinkles of your choice.

Silent Sunday

May Photo A Day Challenge... DONE!

2 June 2012

I've just completed my third month of the photo a day challenges. It is getting easier and I'm much more laid back about it. There have been a few days when I've forgotten to take the photo so I just do it the next day. Some days have been really hard... I

I still use my mobile to take all my photos. Then I upload it to Instagram, add a filter and post it on there and Twitter.

Click here to view all my photos for this May{and previous months}. Here are a few of my favourites...


12 Something that makes you happy

14 Grass

18 Something you made






23 Technology

24 Something new

29 Number

So what do you think about my photos? If you've been part of the photo challenges please feel free to leave a comment with a link so that I can have a look at yours!