Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wee Z and his boy toys

Wee Z is turning into a typical boy, jumping off anything he can climb, dashing around the house claiming to be have “super powers” and rescuing us all from something “terrible”. His favourite silly word is “underpants”.

When Bella bought Wee Z some books last year for Christmas, one of the first ones Wee Z picked out was a Ben 10 book. Ever since reading the Ben 10 book he has been really interested in Ben 10.

He was delighted to receive 2 action figures to review from the Ben 10 Ultimate Alien collection. The NRG figure, which is 10cms tall and has posable arms and legs, was very popular with Wee Z and his friends from next door. NRG was passed around them all and was welcomed on to the trampoline for a vigorous jumping and flying session.

The second figure we’ve been playing with is the DNA Alien Heroes Rath. Standing 15cms tall, this scary looking tiger alien has a special battle feature; you press his legs together and his arms start swinging in a punch like motion. Definitely not a creature any of the other toys wanted to get into a fight with, with his sharp talons on each paw. Wee Z had a blast playing with these toys, which are both well made and look like they’ll be durable for all the “pretend” battles Wee Z is currently fighting!

Ben 10 Ultimate Alien continues the Ben 10 story which sees Ben and his friends Gwen and Kevin joining together to fight off evil with their aliens and plenty of action to be seen along the way. For any children who love Ben 10, these toys come highly recommended.

This is a review post. We received 2 Ben 10 action figures however this has not influenced our opinion of them.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Gallery - Green

I love this time of year when the shades of orange and brown are replaced with green. It makes me feel fresh and warm and happy and shows signs of new life everywhere.

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Green. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

TRU-Toyologists - We'd love to be one

The TRU-Toyologists are back and are on the look out for 10 new families to join their team of reviewers. Of course, we'd love to be involved and I'm sure you would too. To enter, visit the Toys R Us Facebook Page and find out how you can submit a review to be in with a chance of becoming a TRU-Toyologist.

One of our favourite rainy day activities is colouring. Wee Z can sit for hours and draw beautiful pictures of his family or practise his writing by spelling his name. Wee Z has a great love of numbers and really enjoys books with dot to dots or colour by numbers.

We recently discovered this monkey activity mosaic which is basically colours by numbers but with coloured stickers. Wee Z chose it himself and couldn’t wait to get stuck into it. We were going to save it for a rainy day since the weather has been so lovely recently but patience is not something a 3 year old comes with as standard.

Husband sat with Wee Z as he matched all the colours to the numbers and made this very colourful, shiny monkey. It took him about 40 minutes to finish but he didn’t stir once, fully focused on the task of peeling stickers and sticking them on the right numbers.

Wee Z loved doing this so much we are going to look out for more of these. We spent £4.99 on one sheet but for the fact that he loved it so much and it kept him occupied for more than 5 minutes, it was worth it. This activity is also great for helping children learn their colours and numbers as well as being an activity you can do with them or they can do on their own. It would make a fab birthday present or Christmas stocking filler too. There were lots of little stickers left over too and we can use them for another rainy day craft session.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Fairy Cakes by Green's Review

One of my favourite things to do whenever my sister and I were staying with my Gran was to make fairy cakes. My Gran used to buy the fairy cakes in a box mix, always the strawberry flavoured icing ones with the waferettes and my sister and I would have a great time mixing, baking and decorating. And eating them of course!

Boxed cake mixes can be found in any supermarket and it is amazing the variety you can now buy to make at home. We were sent some fairy cake mixes from Green's to make and sample their “new improved taste”. We received Thomas the Tank Engine and Barbie character cakes however there are a wide range of character selections to choose from.

In the box you get your cake mix, icing sugar and waferettes and sprinkles for decorating. They also supply your fairy cake cases. All you need to add is water or milk and an egg and you’re good to go.

Wee Z was able to help me pour the cake mix into a bowl, add the water and egg and whisk. He lined his cake tray with the 12 cases and helped me spoon the cake mix in. Whilst they were cooking in the oven, Wee Z helped me make up the icing and when the cakes were cool, he decorated them himself with the icing, waferettes (Thomas the Tank engine ones) and the train shaped sprinkles.

In terms of taste, the sponge was light enough but they did taste a bit bland. The icing was ok but Wee Z’s favourite bit was the waferettes.

I enjoyed making these cakes with Wee Z because they were easy to make, there was little mess and they didn’t take long at all. The decorations were easy for him to do and he really loved sticking the Thomas waferettes on top. For taste though, I still prefer homemade from scratch!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Mrs Lister's Q & A Session

I've been tagged by @relucthousedad who answered his Q & A session and promptly passed this over to me. I like these sort of memes because you always get to find out more about people, so thank you to Mrs Lister for starting it up.

Which living person do you most admire, and why? In real life, I’d say my Mum. She went through a tough time with us when we were younger and although I won’t go into details, she has come out the better person and a much stronger person. In celeb land I really admire Katie Price. In terms of her relationships she hasn’t always been the most popular but I think she is a fantastic business woman and is doing very well for herself.

When were you happiest? I’d say now. I’ve got a great family, a good job and everything we need to live life comfortably and happily.

What was your most embarrassing moment? Luckily I haven’t had too many embarrassing moments in my life although I’m sure that will change now I have children. The one I will always remember was when my Grandparents took my sister and my cousins and I away for Christmas. We went to Aviemore. There was a Christmas Eve disco and I had these ridiculously high shoes on and a short skirt (I was about 12!) and I went over on my ankle in front of a boy I quite liked. But I didn’t just go over I fell straight down, legs in the air and knickers on show to everyone. Cringe!

Aside from property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought? Our car.

What is your most treasured possession? I have a ring my Mum gave to me that belonged to my Gran. I don’t wear it anymore because it’s gold and my wedding rings are white gold, but it’s in a safe place and I’ll pass it on to Miss C when she’s older.

Where would you like to live? Somewhere warm and near the beach. In a dream world it would be Portugal or somewhere in California...Laguna Beach maybe.

What’s your favourite smell? I love the smell of petrol forecourts or tiger loaves baking...yum!

Who would play you in the film of your life? Jennifer Aniston because I think she is really funny and down to earth. I’d be more interested in choosing who my leading man would be and then consider playing myself though.

What is your favourite book? I love the Shopaholic series and I have to say I could read anyone of those books over and over again.

What is your most unappealing habit? I burp a lot and rather loudly too. Although I have calmed it down since I've had Wee Z and Miss C.

What would be your fancy dress costume of choice? Something with a cape that had actual flying powers. That would be fun!

What is your earliest memory? In my Gran’s house I remember being in her living room and watching my Granddad eating a bowl of cereal in his chair. He died not long after that so I must have been about 2 and a half.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Cake! You all know how much I love cakes.

What do you owe your parents? I owe my Mum everything. She’s been there for me no matter how much of a PITA I was as a teenager. My step dad also did a lot for us when we were growing up which I definitely took for granted. You don’t realise at a young age that step parents don’t have to provide for you; they do it because they have chosen to be in your life.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? My Husband...for eating his last cookie that time and blaming it on someone else.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My Husband and my children.

What does love feel like? Being completely comfortable with someone that you can share absolutely anything with them. You trust them with your life.

What was the best kiss of your life? That’s a tough one to answer...probably the kiss after Husband and I got married. It was like we were sealing the deal. The first kiss of the rest of our life together.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? I’m pretty bad for using the Lord's name in vain.

What is the worst job you’ve done? Working in McDonalds for all of 3 weeks. It was horrendous.

If you could edit your past, what would you change? I did some pretty silly stuff as a teenager so I’d go back and be less crazy and less rebellious. I’d also have stuck in at school a bit more. I did get reasonably good grades but I know now I could have done a lot better.

What is the closest you’ve come to death? When I skidded in the snow in my car I thought I might die. Not because the car was going too fast. No, only because if I’d be an inch closer to the lamppost on the side of the road I’d have hit it. Husband would have killed me for sure.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Getting myself where I am today. If you’d told me 9 years ago that I’d be married with a house and children and a job I’d have laughed in your face.

When did you last cry, and why? Probably the last time I watched One Born Every Minute. Seeing the babies being born brings it all back.

How do you relax? Blogging, reading or cuddling on the couch watching a film or DVD with Husband.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life? More money! I know they say money doesn’t buy happiness and it doesn’t, but it definitely helps in this day and age.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? Don’t take your life for granted. You never know what tomorrow holds.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Gallery - My Blog

This is my blog. It's my diary of our life as a family of 4...with some cats too.

It's about being creative, having fun and the things we enjoy doing.

It's about remembering our first experiences, sharing our everyday lives and learning about these 2 little people that we made.

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is My Blog.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Our first trip on the train

On Saturday morning we went along to the car boot sale to have a nosy and to see my friend Mummy N who had taken her car down to try and sell some of her old baby stuff. It was fairly dry but the sun was hiding behind grey skies and it was a bit nippy. The car boot wasn't very busy and after letting the kids, Miss E included, run around for awhile we went home. We did buy a bath seat for my sister for her new baby and Husband managed to find Twister for 50p...bargain!

After lunch we decided to go shopping as we needed to get a present for my Brother-in-Law as it was his birthday yesterday. Usually we'll drive to the nearest shopping centre, but for a change, we thought we'd get the train to the city centre and go shopping there and have dinner as well.

Miss C and Wee Z have never been on the train so they were both very excited to climb aboard the "choo choo!" I don't know why we haven't done it before. It was £12.40 for Husband and I to get returns and the kids got on for free. We'd have spent that on fuel and parking if we'd gone in the car!

Wee Z and Miss C got windows seat so they could watch for other trains and see the countryside whizzing passed them. They loved it. Miss C kept trying to climb up on to the table, clearly enjoying not having to be restrained by a car seat. She then wanted to run up and down the aisle so we quickly distracted her with some mango fingers for snack.

When we arrived we went shopping to get what we needed and then visited Hamleys as a treat for the kids for being so very well behaved. Miss C loved the dolls and Peppa Pig toys and Wee Z found this really cool Mosaic style picture pack where you have to stick coloured tiles by numbers. After spending 45 minutes there, we had to force Miss C into her pram and hold her down to strap her in as she did not want to leave. We had dinner at a Chinese buffet which was nice and Husband got to enjoy a pint or 2 since he didn't have to drive home.

After dinner we went back to the train station and positioned ourselves to jump on and grab the first table seat as the platform was really busy. The journey home was much like the journey there although I could have fallen asleep with the train gently swaying from side to side and my tummy being full. Miss C started to get a bit restless again so Husband got his phone out and put a film on for them to watch. They sat peacefully until we reached our stop.

As we approached our car, walking slowly because Miss C wanted to walk, Husband realised that he had left his jacket with the car keys on the train. I hadn't brought my keys so this was a near disaster to ruin our lovely day. Husband ran as fast as his slightly tipsy legs could take him and I waited with bated breath to see if he'd manage to catch the train before it left. A few minutes later, he casually strolled around the corner with his jacket over his arm. Lucky for him I decided to let him get in the car instead of driving off without him!

When tucking Wee Z into bed that night we asked him what he enjoyed the most about our day out. Was it the train or seeing the city and the shops? Was it the toys or the balloonist or the street dancers? The lifts or the "moving stairs"? Nope, he enjoyed his chocolate ice cream the most!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Meet our newest addition

Did you see my most recent Silent Sunday post? Then you may have already met our newest addition! His name is Casper and he is our new kitten.

He has been with us one week now. We rescued him from the local SSPCA centre last Saturday but had been visiting him for a few weeks so that Wee Z and Miss C could get used to the idea of having a new cat.

We have 2 cats already and they are a little put out by Casper's arrival. I don't blame them really. They must be thinking we've traded them in like a rusty old car for a shiny, much prettier car. The cats have stayed outside for most of the week and only entering the house, with extreme caution, to eat or to sleep. @LizJarvisUK made a good suggestion that I should pet Casper and then pet the other cats so they get used to the scents but the cats just growl and hiss if they smell Casper on me. I know they will come round eventually, they've done it with each other when they were kittens, but in the meantime I still laugh when they see him and run away. He's the size of a fur ball!

Wee Z has really taken to Casper which is really sweet because he isn't too keen on our other cats. He's happy to let Casper sit with him and he'll pet him and play with him. He's been asking to hold him which I never thought he would ask to do.

Miss C loves animals so it wasn't a surprise that she followed Casper round the house all day when we brought him home. She likes to play with him and giggles when he chases his feathery toy. She's noticed us picking Casper up so she likes to pick him up but she's too young too understand how to hold him properly and there have been dropping instances when we've not caught her on time. Thankfully Casper seems to be very resilient.

I always had cats when I was younger so it's been very nice to bring a pet into the house for the kids to grow up with. Hopefully the other cats will get used to him soon!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Gallery - Tomorrow

Whenever there is cake around, I'm often heard saying, "I'll just watch what I'm eating tomorrow!"

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Tomorrow. Go and check out the other entries!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

My Laminated List - Listography

Kate has gone for the "Laminated List" for Listography this week. A fine choice! I love a good list and if it's full of gorgeous men then I'm even happier. The "Laminated List" is taken from an episode of Friends where Ross gets to make a list of famous ladies he'd be allowed to go out with if he ever met them. Husband and I have a similar lists; actually mine is probably a list and I think his is only 1 or 2...

Anyway, feast your eyes over my selection of eye candy!

Tom Hardy

Hayden Christensen

Chris Pine

Channing Tatum

Wentworth Miller

I didn't think I had a type until I looked at all these pictures together. I haven't numbered them because I wouldn't want them to think I had any particular preference should I have the very fortunate chance of meeting them.

Kelly Brook, just for Husband. Although I'm not sure if she would still be on his list now that she is pregnant!

Images from Photobucket

Friday, 8 April 2011

The Fish Man with his Fresh Fish Van

As I was walking into town yesterday morning, I saw something I haven't seen for years; a fresh fish van. Did anyone else ever have one of those? The fish man would come to your street with fresh fish for you to buy.

Once a week my Gran would walk to the top of the street and outside the newsagents, Forbuoys, (remember them??) there would be the Fish Man with his fresh fish van. Sometimes we'd go with her if we were off school. I'll always remember the smell of the fish sitting on the ice in boxes.

Gran would buy 2 pieces of haddock and 1 piece of yellow fish for our dinner that night. My sister loved yellow fish and my Gran would poach it for her in a little milk and butter. My haddock was always covered in breadcrumbs and gently fried. We'd have our fish with chips and bread and butter.

I can't remember when the Fish Man stopped coming with his fresh fish van. It was probably when Safeways (remember them???) started selling fresh fish. I used to love going with my Gran though and I always looked forward to our homemade fish supper.

I love seeing things that bring back memories from the past!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Funny Things My Child Says #2

Wee Z has always been interested in letters and numbers. He's getting very good at reading simple 3 letter words like cat and dog and often asks me to spell things for him so he can say the word back to me. He also likes to put letters together himself and ask me what they spell. Often this consists of letters like P J K or D T U being put together which I tell him don't mean anything.

Today he asked me, "Mummy, what does M U F spell?"

I didn't answer. I couldn't answer.

I'm the Innocent Queen of N

Innocent have asked 26 bloggers to help them get people involved in a creative and fun online game. They've chosen me to be the Innocent Queen of N and after sending me a hamper full of Innocent goodies and some inspiration for a photo representing my letter N and its new magnet design, we came up with these photos.

If you haven't guessed, the letter N is for Nurse! 

You can follow @innocentdrinks on twitter to see all the other blogger entries each day or why not join in yourself and get creative with their funky magnets and post a picture on twitter using the hashtag #innocentkids. There are some lovely prizes up for grabs for the best entry for each letter.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Gallery - Mother Love

Mother Love for me is getting lots of cuddles from my children. I love getting cuddles from them as it's their way of showing their love for me.

This post is for The Gallery. The theme this week is Mother Love.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Our Come Dine With Me Night

Last Saturday Husband and I hosted a Come Dine With Me night. It was one of our neighbours, actually Cupcake Neighbour, who said we should do it. We offered to go first and host dinner for 2 other couples who would come for dinner and then score us, just like the TV show.

We had a few weeks to plan our menu. We checked for any allergies or fussy eaters and decided to go with a starter of chicken liver pate with crusty bread and salad, parma ham and melon for me because I don't like pate. I chose the main course of tarragon chicken with roast potatoes and steamed broccoli and for dessert I decided to try a sticky toffee pudding. Husband made up our menu and handed it to our guests the week before the meal.

The night before we made our chicken liver pate. We've never made pate before but found a very easy recipe and adapted it a bit to make it our own.

500g chicken livers
2 rashers of streaky bacon
50g butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tbsp port
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and ground pepper
100g clarified butter

Clean the livers to remove any white bits. Heat a frying pan, no oil, and when hot add the bacon. Fry for about 1 minute and then add the butter, onion and garlic. Fry gently until soft.

Add the liver and cook for about 8 or 9 minutes and then add the port, parsley and salt and pepper. Bubble for 1 minute and then remove from heat. Once this is cool, blend until smooth.

To clarify butter gently melt it in a saucepan and skim off the white solids on the surface. Here's a good video to show you what to do. Once you have the clear butter, place the pate in a dish and pour the clear butter over the top. The butter creates a seal over the pate so it keeps.

I can't share my tarragon chicken recipe or sticky toffee pudding recipe because I took them straight from a book, but the tarragon chicken went down well. I've made it a few times and it's really delicious. The sticky toffee pudding recipe I took from the Masterchef at Home book I reviewed recently. I've never made it before, but it turned out well. I think the recipe was a bit heavy on the black treacle so I couldn't eat a lot of it but everyone else seemed to enjoy it with homemade toffee sauce and shop bought vanilla ice cream!

Sticky toffee pudding
We finished the night with a game of poker which I won and then Husband and Cupcake Neighbour had a shot on the trampoline. It was a really fun night and I'm looking forward to the next night in a few weeks time, especially since I don't have to cook this time!

Working off the dinner on the trampoline

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums, Grans, Step-Mums, Aunts and God-Mums out there!

Silent Sunday

Friday, 1 April 2011

Pinch Punch it's the 1st of April

No April Fool's day pranks were pulled on me today. None. In fact, I totally forgot that it was a new month this morning and didn't change my calendar until well after lunch. I'm surprised Wee Z didn't remind me as he's been looking forward to April since the middle of March.

This month I'm most looking forward to hearing news of the birth of my sister's little girl. She is due on 19th April but she's been having some mild contractions so I'm hoping for her sake baby makes an appearance soon.

I'm also looking forward to going to visit my family (hopefully new baby included) at the end of April. Whilst everyone will be enjoying another bank holiday watching the Royal Wedding, we shall be making the drive to visit them down south. I can't wait and neither can Wee Z. He has been looking forward to April because it's the month he goes to visit Bella and Pops.

In a few weeks it will be Easter and I'm looking forward to taking the children to the park to roll their eggs down the hill. We couldn't do it last year because the weather was so bad so fingers crossed for sun!

I can't believe it's April already and with all these activities I'm sure it will fly by!

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