15 May Half Term Events in Devon

15 May Half Term Events in Devon

It’s come around again! May Half Term is almost upon us and again it’s up to us Mum’s and Dad’s to make sure our little lovelies have an action packed week whether it’s out and about or at home. Here are 15 May Half Term Events in Devon that will hopefully keep everybody happy.

The weather is slightly odd at the moment, with one day blue skies and sunny and the next day (or even afternoon) it’s pouring down with rain so we’ve found some indoor and outdoor suggestions.

1. Animal Encounters with Chris Johnson – Prickly Ball Farm – Monday 29th May 11am – 1pm

Pop down and meet some creepy crawlies with talks and show and tell. As well as this, take the time to visit the rest of the animals for a child friendly farm experience.

May Half Term Events

2. Exeter Respect Festival – 3rd – 4th June 11am, Belmont Park Exeter

We’ve been going to this for a few years and it’s always a really good day. There are loads of things to do for all ages, music, local food, stalls, hoola hooping. It’s a lovely laid-back day.

3. Summer Fair – Donkey Sanctuary – 3rd June 10am – 3pm

There’s loads of stuff to do at the Summer Fair. We went last year and had a great day. There are stalls, old fashioned carnival games, welly throwing competitions, food stalls and music. As well as this you can go around and meet lots of lovely donkeys. We took a picnic and the weather was lovely so we sat on the grass.

4. Tozers Charity Family Fun Day – Saturday 3rd June 10am – 3pm

There will be bouncy inflatables, fire engine, police car, food and drinks van. Get your face painted or a glitter tattoo. Buy from the many stalls selling sweets, arts and crafts and enjoy the various entertainers. Exeter City Football Club and Active Devon will be there with a 15ft inflatable target shoot and table tennis!! Guest appearance from Disney princesses, Spiderman and Minions and an opportunity to have your photo taken with your favourite character.

The Bear Trail

5. The Bear Trail – Open from 10am – 5pm

Get outside for some Muddy fun on the Bear Trail. There are a variety of obstacles to climb, zip wires, tunnels, swinging ropes, tyres and much more. See how much fun we had at The Bear Trail last weekend.

6. Discover Arts Award – RAMM – Wednesday 31st May, Thursday 1st June & Friday 2nd June – 10.30am – 3.30pm

This is a drop-in event so no booking required. Pick up a RAMM Discover Arts Award log booklet in the courtyard and follow Alfie the Sparrow around the museum at your own pace to complete arty activities and challenges in the galleries. I highly recommend the cakes in the cafe for afterwards!

May Halfterm Events

7. Meet Rex the T-Rex – The Big Sheep, Exmouth – Sunday 28th May

Meet Rex the 8 foot animatronic dinosaur with appearances throughout the day. The Big Sheep is a great day out with various rides and attractions as well as Lamb Feeding, Sheep Racing and Pony Rides

8. Paignton Zoo – Paignton

Who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo? We love a day at the zoo. A baby giraffe calf has recently been born which would be a lovely site to see as well. They also do a combo ticket (Zooper Ticket) with Living Coasts which will save you some money for two fab days out.

May Halfterm Events

9. Pirates Bay Adventure Golf Course – Paignton Seafront

This pirate themed crazy golf course is great fun for the family. You don’t have to be any good at golf (I’m not) and everybody can take part.

10. Trago Mills – Newton Abbot

Trago has loads to offer including animal petting, rides, food stalls, a boating lake, Go Karts and lots of outdoor play equipment. They also offer an unlimited ride ticket which is £4.99 for adults and £3.99 for children under 8 making this an affordable day out.

May Halfterm Events

11. Pennywell Farm – Buckfastleigh

27th – 28th May There will be a circus themed weekend with circus skills, workshops and shows including Spangles and the Clown.

To begin the long awaited school holidays there will be a circus themed weekend with circus skills workshops and shows on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May with Alison Lewis and Spangles and the Clown. On Wednesday 31st  children dressed as their favourite Superhero will get in FREE. Take part in bottle feeding, ferret racing, goat milking and pond dipping.

12. Powderham Castle – Powderham, Kenton

This half-term is Pirates and Mermaids week at the castle. Let your kids dress up as a Mermaid or a Pirate and join in the adventures.

13. Dynamic Adventures – Dartington Hall, Totnes

Dynamic Adventures’ range of exciting outdoor activities.  There’s archery, rock-climbing, abseiling, high ropes, a 500-foot-long zip line, canoeing and kayaking – all suitable for beginners.

14.  Free Fun Day – Princesshay – Exeter, 31st May 10am – 4pm

Join in with lots of free activities throughout the day aimed at getting people active. The activities include yoga, RockFit, dance, athletics, cycling, ping pong and more!

15. Pirate Week – World of Country Life – Exmouth

There are all sorts of piratey activities throughout the week as well as all the usual activities such as bottle feeding, animal handling, goat walking and ferret racing.

If the weather of this week is anything to go by, we’ll have a great time out and about.

What are you up to this week? Pop a comment below if you find any local gems that you think we should share.

Lisa x

 

 

 

 

#southwestdaysout – Spellbound Fairy & Goblin Festival

Spellbound Fairy & Goblin Festival

On Sunday the sun was shining and we set off down to Plymouth for the Spellbound Fairy & Goblin Festival for a day filled with fairies, story tellers, crafts, music, face painting and much more…

Spellbound Fairy and Goblin Festival

The Soapbox Theatre

The Soapbox Theatre was created by a husband and wife team, Iain and Jacqueline who are both experienced theatre practitioners and community artists. They took over a semi-derelict World War II mustard gas decontamination unit (hmm I had to google it too) in Devonport Park, Plymouth. Huge efforts have been put into raising funds to develop this site through crowdfunding, grants and the local authority. The passion and enthusiasm for this going forward is visible on both Iain and Jacqueline’s efforts to make this a festival to remember.

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

Iain explained the plans for the future which include a roof-top stage and amphitheatre which sounds like an amazing space for children and families to experience both watching shows and taking part in workshops and projects. Workshops and classes are available for all ages and capabilities making this a valuable asset to the local community.

The Festival 

The programme for the day was jam packed full of activities and we wanted to experience as much as possible. We did what we usually do on a day out, and took a wander round to work out what we would like to do first, second, third and so on.

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

The whole entire place, which was fenced off for safety of the children  was decked out with colourful lanterns strung from the trees, flags and wind socks in bright colours. It was the perfect spot for the festival as it was set amongst a fairy village with houses, caravans and a washing line full of fairy clothes.

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

There were tents set up all around for us ‘big people’ with various activities. The Big Top had various shows including The Fallen Cedars, Jazz singing, Elfic the Jester and his antics and an amazingly fun Samba band who marched through the park and led a parade around the site.

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

First off we watched a puppet show which including a smelly creature, a man and a walrus. It captured all the kids attention, especially with the mention of bird poo and bottom burping.

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

We saw Isabella Necessity Bicycle Storyteller whilst sat atop tree stumps.

We were amused by Elfic the Jester with his juggling antics.

We walked around the various stalls selling all sorts of fairy paraphanalia where we bought a plant pot fairy house to make at home complete with Tinkerbell.

We tasted gorgeous fruit lollies and sat on the grass and had freshly cooked fire baked pizzas (Chicken, pesto and mozzarella).

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

Isabelle and I made fairy wands and a dream catcher using all kinds of tubing, ribbons, pipecleaners, shells, string, pom poms and glue. Whilst we were in the craft tent, Goblins were running amock and threw bits of mud and grass at us. They were dancing around, going through the bins and generally causing trouble.

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

Isabelle was ‘Fairy Tested’ to determine if she was a genuine fairy or not with a special wooden dragonfly. She passed the test of course!

We both queued up for face painting but when it was our turn I felt mean taking up the make-up artists time whilst there were so many children waiting. I so wanted a glittery eye. Boo!

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

There were lots of areas for little ones to play including the Petite cafe and a soft play area.

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

Children and adults all lined up for the ‘Best dressed Fairy’ and ‘Best dressed Goblin’ and prizes were given to all.

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

We stayed until the end and we’re really pleased that we did as the Crooked Tempo  Samba band played through the park and led a parade through the site with much bum shaking taking place.

What we thought

The Festival gets a huge Fairy Wands up from all of us. The day was filled with lots of fun and activities which were all included in the ticket price.  The choice of food was extremely reasonable and very tasty. The atmosphere was very relaxed and everything was family friendly. We even bumped into some family members so we had a bit of a catch up sat in the sun.

Spellbound Fairy Goblin Festival

Oh and did I mention that we go to meet the Fairy Queen herself.

Upcoming Events

Whilst the Fairy and Goblin Festival has been and gone for this year, there are lots of activities, shows and work-shops to take part in with the Soapbox Theatre so do make sure that you pop over to their Facebook Page for more details.

Lisa x

*please note that we were gifted tickets to the event in exchange for a review, but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

#southwestdaysout – The Bear Trail

#southwestdaysout – The Bear Trail.

On Sunday we went to The Bear Trail in Cullompton for the first time.

Isabelle and I had been looking at the pictures on facebook at all the mud covered adults and children. She thought it was ‘awesome’ and I wondered what on earth I should wear!

I opted for gym gear and trainers to make running, jumping and climbing possible.

The Bear Trail

At this point I should mention that the day before we went it absolutely bucketed down so it was definitely going to be an extra muddy day!

I am usually the bag carrier! Daddy is usually the one who does the physical stuff whilst I look after the bags/coats/picnic, but this time I decided that we were all going to take part and have some fun.

The Bear Trail

Our Visit

The Bear Trail was easy to find and there was ample parking when we arrived.

The carpark overlooked the trail where all the equipment was laid out in a wide open space with plenty of grass space in the middle, perfect for picnics.

Isabelle was very excited (and Daddy too) and were raring to go. When we arrived there were lots of cars arriving for a birthday party. All nicely dressed. Big mistake!

The Bear Trail

The Bear Trail

Inside the Bear Trail.

Aside from the trail itself there is a barn with inside seating, a kiosk selling hot drinks, sandwiches, cakes as well as freshly made wood fired pizzas, changing rooms, toilets and a shower area.

There is also a play area for the littles with a sandpit, but there is no age limit on any of the equipment. The ethos is that if you think you can do it – give it a go. You know your own child’s capability.

Not forgetting in the far corner there is a pen with some alpaca and ponies which when you’re having fun could easily be  overlooked, but we went over and gave the ponies a stroke.

The Trail

The trail has a selection of rope climbing frames, swing ropes, bridges, zip slides, tunnels, hay bales, stepping stones, tyres and more, all with a huge puddle of muddy water either before, after or underneath.

Off we went, and at first I think most people make some kind of attempt to stay out of the mud, but once you go in – you get stuck in. Isabelle had no hesitation and was a mud slick in minutes. Daddy closely followed whilst I lagged behind shop fresh clean.

After passing a fellow blogger who had got stuck in with her two boys I felt a bit of a wuss and with the help of Isabelle managed to get covered in mud. Squelchy feet and all.

You can go around the trail in order, but there were certain bits that we preferred so we made up our own route.

Some families set up picnics and had blankets and food laid out where the adults congregated and the kids were let loose to play. As it’s all open plan you can give the kids that bit of freedom.

We went round the trail for a good couple of hours before showering off and getting changed before being treated to a lovely lunch of a selection of wood fired pizzas, cakes and drinks.

The Bear Trail

About the Bear Trail

The trail set in Cullompton, Devon is about to celebrate it’s first birthday and was set in motion by Ben a former Army Man.

The trail is evolving and new obstacles are in the pipeline, as are better changing facilities. We thought lockers were a good idea to eliminate the trips back to the car.

The trail is kept as basic as can be – no flashing lights, music or bright colours. It’s all about getting outside and having good old fashioned fun.

All the obstacles have safety nets but it’s very much up to the individual’s capability. Isabelle is six and was capable of taking part in every part of the trail and made the most of it.

It’s an all weather day out. If it rains, you get muddier!

The Bear Trail

Info

The trail is open from 10 – 5pm. There are no time restrictions – you can stay all day.

Tickets are available at the entrance or online. If it’s the school holidays I would recommend booking beforehand to avoid disappointment.

Prices
Over 1 metre – £7.50
Under 1 metre – £4.50

Don’t wear your best clothes – they will get muddy.

Take spare clothes, shoes, towels and a bag to put all the muddy clothes in.

Food is available – the pizzas are awesome, but you can take your own. There are plenty of picnic tables and grassy areas to sit.

Bear Trail Birthday Party’s – You can host a birthday party at the trail with different priced packages to suit your budget.

All in all we had a great day so The Bear Trail gets the thumbs up from us.

To celebrate their first birthday they are having a Colour Bomb Run where you will be showered with the colours of the rainbow as well as mud – This is taking place on 23rd July and booking is advisable.

For you lovely readers we can offer 5% off the usual ticket price if you book online. Just add the code: BLOG5 at the checkout. 

The Bear Trail
One of my FAVE pics!

Have fun.

Lisa x

Elastoplast #TearsIntoSmiles Challenge

Elastoplast Tears into Smiles Challenge.

#TearsIntoSmiles

What do your kids call a cut or a graze?

A Baddie
A Boo Boo
An Oopsie
An Ouchie

Isabelle loves to make a huge song and dance whenever she falls over. She starts off crying and we’re desperately trying to work out if she’s hurt herself and if so what damage has been done whilst she bats us off covering up the ‘baddie’.

TearsIntoSmiles

Once we’ve had a look we have to assess the situation and work out if it’s just a bang and we might need to rub on a bit of arnica or whether it’s more than that.

We have, like most parents a whole kit of stuff for every eventuality.

We have arnica for bruises
Antiseptic spray and cream to get all the nastiness out of a cut or graze
Plasters of course in all shapes and sizes
Cotton wool pads – for holding over the baddies (better with a sprinkling of magic water)
A cold pack that we keep in the freezer

I think that the biggest part of a cut or graze is the initial shock of falling over that scares them more than the resulting injury.

If we have plain plasters, then part of making it ‘all better’ is drawing a design on the plaster whilst a cotton pad is held in place to clean it is all part and parcel of making sure that all is good and well in the world again.

I’m not playing down any falls that Isabelle may have, but thankfully she’s never had any serious ones that have needed proper medical attention.

tears_into_smiles

We were sent a set of both Frozen and Star Wars Plasters which have all the characters of the films on them so Isabelle has already pointed out her top few from both sets for ‘future baddies’.

#TearsintoSmiles

I love a challenge so it was no different when we were asked to take part in the Tears into Smiles Challenge – #TearsintoSmiles

So what do you do when your child has a fall?

We do all of the above and Isabelle plays a huge part in this by cleaning it herself and putting the on cream herself. She likes to put on the plaster but her aim isn’t that great so we try and do this ourselves if we can.

Following the clean up we have a bit of calm time when we sit and have a cuddle and either watch a bit of TV or read a book together.

Once this is all done, it’s definitely a game of distraction that helps get the day back on track.

We were sent a Hoopla Garden Game to try out as part of the challenge which we set up in the lounge to start with but have since played with it in the Garden, and it’s even been on a trip to Nanny and Papa’s house.

tears_into_smiles

Isabelle really liked this game and became the chief score taker (good for helping her count in tens and fives).

All the pieces come apart so could easily be packed away for the day on the beach as well.

tears_into_smiles

This post is an entry for the Britmums #TearsIntoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast.

Lisa x

tears_into_smiles

#whatwedidthisweek 01.05.17

What we did this week 01.05.17

#whatwedidthisweek – Bank Holiday Monday and we should have been out and about making the most of our day off, but after the birthday celebrations it feels like a chore to even smile. We’re all exhausted. Isabelle has opted to watch some things on her kindle laying on her bed and Chris and I are mooching around the house not doing a lot – except for washing!

The laundry volcano is spewing socks and pants like you wouldn’t believe. So much so that the lid won’t even fit on!

Back to work and school as per on Tuesday.

On Wednesday evening we went to meet a couple who may have Charlie when we go away. This time we didn’t go into their house but took the two dogs out for a walk on neutral ground. The lady had a fifteen year old poodle, and both dogs seemed happy in each other’s company.

I’m glad that she was able to see Charlie as he ‘really is’. He’s a lovable cheeky chappy who loves playing with other dogs and loves people. She saw him as we see him and hopefully, as I really liked her they will be happy to look after him. He will go for a sleepover with them in June so fingers crossed.

I don’t think I had this much trouble finding the perfect nursery for Ryan when he was little!

Thursday Isabelle’s school was used  as a polling station so we called upon Nanny P to have Isabelle for the day.

With Both of us working so much we’re finding it a bit of a struggle to muster up the energy to do much at the weekends, but on Saturday we took Charlie out for a walk and sat and made daisy chains. Isabelle is 42  daisies tall and played hoopla which was spoilt by Charlie and one of his mates as they kept pinching the hoops.

#whatwedidthisweek

Roller Disco Baby!

We then did something new to Isabelle. We went to a Roller Disco. I haven’t skated since I was about twelve but it is like riding a bike. The fearlessness of youth has definitely left me and I was terrified that a small person was going to skate out in front of me and I would take them out spectacularly. I was so pleased that I stayed on my feet the whole time.

whatwedidthisweek

Isabelle was a bit terrified at first and did a fab impression of a baby giraffe.

She practiced on the carpet which was a bit easier than in the sports hall. The session ended with sweets to take away the pain of a sore bottom.

whatwedidthisweek
Baby Giraffe impression!

Collectibles

Sunday was a trip into town to get some bits and bobs, look at suitcases for our holibobs and pick up the longed for Hatchimals Colleggtibles.

whatwedidthisweek

That’s another thing to add to the evergrowing collectible things. Isabelle is currently collecting the Lego Mini figure cards from Sainsbury’s, Shopkins have been on the scene for a while, Beauty and the Beast Stickers, Beanie Babies and now these Colleggtibles.

What did you do this weekend?

Lisa x

Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best

Belle’s Bedtime Reads – Wake Up Do Lydia Lou

Belle’s Bedtime Reads

Belle’s Bedtime Reads – Wake Up Do Lydia Lou by Julia Donaldson.

I think I’ve said previously that Isabelle has been a big fan of Julia Donaldson since an early age with her favourite being What the Ladybird Heard.

Wake Up Do Lydia Lou

belles_bedtime-reads

The Ghost tries to wake-up Lydia-Lou but Lydia-Lou doesn’t wake up so he enlists the help of some friends such as a Kitten (Meeew), a Cow (Moooo), an Owl (Too-Whit-Too-Whoo) and some others to try and wake her up.

But she goes on sleeping!

What wakes up Lydia-Lou?

I won’t spoil the surprise.

This is a lovely bedtime read.

There are a lot of pictures and it’s not too long (bonus).

It can be quite an excitable book as your child joins in with all the various animal sounds.

This book gets a huge thumbs up from Isabelle and is in her ‘bedtime read basket’ which has all her faves (for the moment) in that we pick from each night and rotate on a regular basis.

We have two kids and probably enough books to fill a small library!

What are you reading to your kids at the moment? Leave me a comment.

Lisa x

 

*please note that this post includes affiliate links which I may receive a small payment if you click the link.

#whatwedidthisweek 24.04.17

#whatwedidthisweek 24.04.17

The last couple of weeks have been really stressful as we were fast approaching  Ryan’s 18th birthday. It’s not just about him turning eighteen (which is sooooo scary) but it signifies eighteen years of being a parent.

All was booked for a birthday meal and I was on track with making sure that I had everything needed to make the cake.

I knew what I wanted to do in my head but it changed slightly from pictures to a word cloud of all the things Ryan loved over the years. Some I’m sure he would love if we forgot such as Hannah Montana! 

#whatwedidthisweek

We had a family meal planned with all the rellies followed by drinks at ours whilst they watched the boxing. Ryan had drinking games lined up, and I planned on staying out of the way so that I couldn’t see the potential drink spillage, hear the noise or anything else related to having around fifteen 18 years olds trampling around the house.

Amongst this, on Thursday Charlie (the dog) went for a sleepover with the dog sitter who will hopefully have him when we go away.

It didn’t go too well. He was really sad and she couldn’t let him off his lead as he was desperately looking around for us. He slept by the door and didn’t want to play with the Labrador puppy that she was also looking after. Unfortunately she won’t take him so we’re meeting another couple couple next week.

Poor Charlie!

Birthday Celebrations!

Ryan’s Birthday arrived on Saturday and started off with a game of Pie Face Showdown which was hilarious. The dog also enjoyed cleaning up the cream.

We then went for a birthday brekkie before getting things and ourselves ready for the night ahead.

I think I got away with posting some baby pics of Ryan on Facebook which is probably the only embarrassing ‘mum thing’ that I did.

We went to our local pub which does awesome food where friends and family plied my poor boy with drinks. I think his tequila face was probably the funniest.

#whatwedidthisweek
When the meal was done and all the pressies were opened it was time for Ryan to leave us and join his mates for a night of drinking games, boxing and a night out.

Isabelle went off for a sleepover with Nanny and Papa so she was a happy girl.

When we arrived home, the boxing was underway and there was barely any room to move. It was fine! It could all be cleaned!

We did have a bit of bother with a neighbour which I thought was a bit mean since it was his 18th birthday, a Saturday night and the first time we’ve ever made any noise since living here.

Unplanned as it was we ended up going into town and stayed for a little while before leaving them to it.

Home to bed for us oldies!

Sunday poured down with rain and all the boys that celebrated Ryan’s birthday were also all playing football as well. As you can imagine they were useless (the ones that made it) and lost the match.

It turns out that there was quite a lot of drink spillage and lots of sick which Chris managed to get cleaned up without me knowing or having to see/smell.

Overall we’ve had a busy but great week and now our boy is officially an adult.

What did you do this week?

#whatwedidthisweek 17.04.17

#whatwedidthisweek 17.04.17

#whatwedidthisweek – Yey Bank Holiday Monday means that it is officially still part of the weekend. We haven’t really gone very far this weekend, as we’ve been busy working so are knackered and we’re also preparing for Ryan’s 18th Birthday on the 29th April which I can’t possibly talk about on the remote off chance that Ryan might read it. We decided to pop down to the Quay for a nice walk with the dog and Isabelle on her scooter. As usual we tried to coax Charlie into the water, but this Labradoodle unusual for his breed does not like water! We ended the afternoon with a bit of lunch at Bar Venezia. The pizza was so scrummy!

You can’t possibly go to the quay without getting an icecream. Clearly Isabelle has Daddy wrapped around her finger when she came back to the table with this whopper of an icecream!

#whatwedidthisweek
Back to work, school and college on Tuesday for all of us. What a shocker when the alarm went off at 05.35. That’s Tuesday and Wednesday whizzing by in a work/school/college blur.

Look Good Feel Better

Thursday was another long day at work, but I had the Debenhams Look Good Feel Better event to go to. When we arrived we had a little mooch around with Isabelle heading straight for the lovely brownies and other mini desserts on offer. I had a sneaky glass of prosecco which felt a bit odd standing in the middle of the make-up counter. My favourite counter is Estee Lauder so I bagged myself a few freebies including their lovely primer which I’m using at the moment.

After speaking to Jennie from the Charity I was really intrigued by what they do for women who have had or are undergoing cancer treatment. So much so that I thought I would write a separate post about it. Another highlight of going was meeting Hayley from Sparkles and Stretchmarks. I’m so in awe of her blog and blogging achievements so it was awesome to meet her.

#whatwedidthisweek

Friday was a normal working day again but an early finish for me which was much needed. Don’t you think it’s odd that a four day week can feel much longer than the usual five day week.

Saturday (big sigh of relief) we slowly started the day with a boiled egg brekkie and staying in our pyjamas for a bit. We had arranged to meet the ‘dog-lady’ today who will hopefully look after Charlie when we go away in August. I felt quite nervous and really hoped that I liked her as she would potentially be looking after our precious boy. Chris laughs at me, but I feel quite (a lot) nervous about handing over Charlie whilst we go away.

I know that I’ve had two kids and have used childcare (that was an ordeal to start with) but with children you can at least reassure them that you’re coming back. A dog won’t understand that and might think that you’re never coming back. You may laugh (the dogless amongst us) but it’s really important to me that whilst we’re away he gets love, comfort and strokes from someone in our absence. Thankfully she was lovely with an amazing garden which Charlie christened! Our holiday isn’t until August but he’s going for a sleepover to see how Charlie gets on with her own dog, Betsy. Ha ha, this will feature next week!

Sunday we had another lazy start to the day with a scrambled egg brekkie followed by a dog walk and a bit of bike riding practice. Now that Isabelle has mastered her bike we’re thinking that she needs a slightly bigger and lighter bike. Why do kids bikes weigh a ton!

What did you get up to this week?

Lisa x

#whatwedidthisweek 10.04.17

#whatwedidthisweek 10.04.17

#whatwedidthisweek – I’ve missed doing this for a couple of week’s as I lost my whole entire blog for just over a week which was so unbelievably stressful, and then it took me about a week to catch up and get over the whole debacle (not sure why I added that word as I’ve never verbally used it before).

This week I’ve been off work with the little miss as it’s the Easter Holiday’s so we’ve had our fair share of much needed lazy mornings and yummy weekend style breakfasts.

Monday we didn’t have anything planned so we decided to take a road trip with Daddy as he’s a top sales dude. We ended up in Burnham-on-Sea where I don’t think I’ve visited before. It was so windy but that’s never stopped a trip to the beach for us. The sea was so far out that you couldn’t actually see it, but we had a nice walk along the seafront and Isabelle wrote our names in the sand. We found a cafe come chip-shop as I was really hungry and fancied some chips. How disappointed was I when we didn’t get ‘chip-shop chips’ but were served a plate of chunky home-fries style chips. However all was not lost as we had ice-cream on the beach and won a teddy in the arcade that came had a velcro stick-on tear that Isabelle named Max.

#whatwedidthisweek
We were treated to Isabelle singing us all the way home which she video’d for prosperity. The videos gave us quite a chuckle as you can hear Chris and I almost screaming over the top of her to shut-up!

Isabelle had a sleepover at Nanny and Papa’s (of her choosing) which she has only done a couple of times since she was born, but she was really excited and looking forward to it. Sleep and Isabelle are not two words that fit together in a sentence so this was as exciting for us as it was her.

Off she went with no problems, and we should have made the most of being in a child-free situation, but instead we had takeaway and vegged in front of the TV.

Tuesday, again being child-free should have been used a bit better but Daddy set off for work, and after a lovely walk with the dog I sat and updated blog post SEO and other tedious jobs.

Wednesday was definitely a stay at home day, as we had a catch up with the washing and other housey stuff so none too exciting.

On the plus side, or scary side we have confirmed the booking for Ryan’s 18th Birthday meal. His impending 18th birthday is really scaring the Shizzazzle out of me and making me feel about as old as can be. I hate having a teenage son!

Ha ha I need to rephrase that. Having Ryan as a son is great, but ME being a mum to an 18 year old makes me feel old and decrepit!

Wednesday did give me a little, actually BIG ‘fist pump’ moment. We have been accepted to be a Rainbow Awards Toy Tester. I love that Isabelle plays a part in my blog and her being given the opportunity to review toys is so cool. My kid is cool!

Thursday we had a park day with one of Isabelle’s friends, so I had the chance to have some adult conversation whilst the littles played. Following this I met with a friend whilst Daddy took both kids for their dental check-up. The dentist trip for the kids has to be done by Chris as I’m such a baby when it comes to the dentist. Just sitting in the waiting room sets my teeth on edge. It’s not great when you’re trying to coax a six year old into thinking that the dentists is a fun place to go ‘and you get a sticker’!

My friend and I sat and had a coffee and carrot cake in peace and quiet and had a much needed catch-up. She’s definitely one of those friends that I might not see for ages, but when we do it only feels like yesterday!

The kids came back from the dentist check-up with the good old thumbs up for the next six months. Isabelle had to have something removed from her teeth which got me worried, but it was just a piece of popcorn that I fed her before her check-up. Oops!

Friday we played on the trampoline and then Daddy took Isabelle out on her bike for a little de-rusting practice as she hasn’t been on it for a little while. We hadn’t realised how long her legs had got, but she definitely needs an upgrade.

Yesterday we started the day by making up chocolate truffle mixture for our Japanese Inspired Chocolate Truffles. We were sent some rather unusual ingredients by Yutaka along with some recipe ideas to make. Once this was in the fridge setting we went off out for a lovely dog walk along the river. Charlie went for a little paddle, only up to mid-leg though as we have a bit of a fradey-cat when it comes to water. We ended up at the Double Locks pub. It’s a great place to go when the weather is good, and it seems to have changed quite a bit since we last went with the addition of an outside bar and toilet block and it looks as if more work is being done as well.

#whatwedidthisweek

Easter Sunday started off with CHOCOLATE. The Easter Bunny had left a great easter treasure hunt for Isabelle which she found and loaded into her easter bucket at lightening speed. We’ve been waiting for Easter Sunday for about three weeks now, or should I say Isabelle has been waiting for Easter Sunday and we’ve been suffering along the way.

You see my MIL had her for the day about three weeks ago and they popped into Sainsbury’s where Isabelle spotted a DC Superhero Batgirl Doll and Nanny bought it for her – For Easter. Realising that she wasn’t getting the doll on the spot she had the mother of all temper tantrums which lasted from Sainsbury’s to The Range and then carried on at home.

This Barbie Doll has been the topic of conversation since then with her even going as far as making a Barbie Day countdown calendar, a Lego Batgirl house, and an every day question of ‘How many day’s is it til I get my Barbie Doll?’

#whatwedidthisweek

This morning we were on hourly countdown until we got to Nanny’s house, where at last she got the much wanted Barbie Doll and of course loads of chocolate!

Did you do anything interesting this week?

Lisa x

Sparkles & Stretchmarks Sunday Best

5 Japanese inspired Chocolate Truffle Recipes

5 Japanese inspired Chocolate Truffle Recipes

Easter is upon us and everywhere you look there is chocolate to be seen.

I love chocolate with dark chocolate being my favourite and when I was given the opportunity to try some Japanese inspired Chocolate Truffle recipes I jumped at the chance. The flavours we’re going to make are:

  • Miso Caramel – think salted caramel with a twist
  • Shaoxing Rice Wine – a warm, boozy hit
  • Wasabi Furikake – milder than chilli with the added crunch of sesame
  • Pickled Sushi Ginger – chocolate & ginger with the surprising tang of pickle
  • Yuzu – a hint of citrus

Japanese Inspired Chocolate Truffles

I have to be honest when I received a box of ingredients I was hard-pushed to imagine them paired with chocolate but here goes.

This is the list of items needed to make the truffles:

Good quality Dark Chocolate
Double Cream
Unsalted Butter
Truffle cases
Shaoxing rice wine warmed
Vermicelli
Yutaka Wasabi Furikake
Drinking chocolate
Yutaka sushi ginger
Cocoa
Yutaka Yuzu
White chocolate
Sugar
Water
Yutaka Miso
Pink salt crystals

Japanese Inspired Chocolate Truffles

Quite an interesting list of items, but this is to make five different flavoured truffles and will make approximately 30 – 36.

Chocolate Easter Truffles Recipe

200g dark good quality chocolate
60ml double cream
80g unsalted butter
Truffle cases

Method for all truffles

 In a double saucepan (or a Pyrex bowl in a saucepan), place chocolate, butter and cream. Heat through slowly until smooth whilst whisking. Remove from heat and divide into 5 equal portions, adding the various flavourings to each individual portion as below. Place in the fridge to set – overnight if possible.

Remove the various truffle mixes from the fridge and, with a teaspoon, scoop out a goodly amount. Roll into a ball and place on a plate (remembering to keeping the various flavours separate) and continue until all the mixture has been used.

Yutaka Shaoxing rice wine flavouring

2 tbs Shaoxing rice wine warmed
Vermicelli for coating

Yutaka Wasabi Furikake flavouring

2 tbs Yutaka Wasabi Furikake
Drinking chocolate for coating

Yutaka Pickled Sushi Ginger flavouring

2 tbs chopped Yutaka sushi ginger
Cocoa for coating

Roll the ginger truffles in cocoa and place in truffle cases.  Roll the Wasabi Furikake in drinking chocolate and the rice wine truffles in vermicelli and return to fridge.

Yutaka Yuzu flavouring

2 tsp Yutaka Yuzu
100g white chocolate – gently melted for coating

Using a double boiler (or Pyrex bowl in a saucepan) melt the white chocolate over a low heat and, when removed from the heat & cooled slightly, spoon over Yuzu truffles until coated.   You can use a cocktail stick pushed carefully into a truffle to help you turn and coat with the chocolate.  This needs patience!  Leave them to set on a plate.

Miso caramel sauce filling

75g sugar
25ml water
50ml double cream
1 tbs Yutaka Miso
100g dark chocolate – gently melted for coating
Pink salt crystals for sprinkling on the top

Miso caramel flavouring method

Put sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir and leave on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel in colour. Carefully add double cream (it will hiss a little) and whisk whilst off the heat, add miso paste and whisk thoroughly until smooth. Add 2 tbs of miso caramel sauce to the remaining truffle mixture.  The remainder of the sauce saved and used over ice cream for a delicious dessert.

Melt the dark chocolate and coat the Miso caramel truffles using a cocktail stick pushed carefully into a truffle to help you turn and coat with the chocolate.    Sprinkle a couple of pink salt crystals on the top.

We made up the five different flavours and left them in the fridge whilst we went out for the day. Three of them were fairly easy to mould into ball shapes, but the Shaoxing rice wine flavour and the Pickled Sushi Ginger were quite tacky still.

We thought it was quite fun smelling all of the ingredients and wondering how the truffles were going to taste. I thought that the Shaoxing rice wine smelt quite nice. We all agreed that the Wasabi Furikake smelt awful and Daddy and I had a taste of it neat which was a bit of an experience for the tastebuds.

These are our lovely looking truffles all ready to be tried.

Japanese Inspired Chocolate Truffles

Miso Caramel – We all agreed that it was quite salty, but not in a bad way so this one gets the thumbs up.

Shaoxing Rice Wine – This one was up there as one of our favourites.

Wasabi Furikake  – We were all very nervous about this one. We gave it to Ryan without telling him what it was which he wasn’t impressed by. For me this felt like attempting a ‘Bush Tucker Trial’ so I only had a very little taste. Now that we’ve ticked this off our list of tried and tested I don’t think we would go for this one again. Daddy is very keen to use this in savoury cooking though.

Pickled Sushi Ginger – I wasn’t too sure that I would like this one as it seemed like a lot of ginger, but surprisingly it was a nice hit of ginger.

Yuzu – This was up there as our other favourite. I think the white chocolate made this the prettiest one as well.

This was definitely a taste experience for us all which we enjoyed.

Lisa x

*We were gifted the ingredients by Yutaka for the purpose of this review but all the opinions are our own.