#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.

 

 

Craft – Easter Pom Pom Painting

Easter Pom Pom Painting.

With each school holiday, the craft box inevitably comes out especially if it’s raining.

Isabelle loves all crafts so I use Pinterest as my inspiration for new ideas for us to do together.

Easter Pom Pom Painting

I saw the pom pom painting and wondered if it might have been a little bit young for her at six, but she absolutely loved the idea.

What I tend to do now is set up our ‘station’ with all the materials that we need and usually she’s over the moon at having something new to try.

What you will need:

White card
Wooden pegs
Poster paint
Craft Pom Poms

Pinch a pom pom with a wooden peg and allocate to the colour. You will need the same number of pegs and pom poms for each colour you choose.

Easter Pom Pom Painting

Drawing an egg shape onto the card, use the pom poms to create a pattern of your choice.

Easter Pom Pom Painting

Isabelle mixed it up a little bit by using different sized pom poms.

For younger children and pre-schoolers this would promote good hand eye co-ordination. Isabelle took it one step further by creating not just Easter Eggs, but dinosaur and alien eggs as well.

Easter Pom Pom Painting

Once the eggs were dry we cut them out. I was going to make them into Easter Bunting but Isabelle thought that it would be a good idea to make an Easter Egg hide and seek game so we did that instead.

Easter Pom Pom Painting

Happy Easter!

Lisa x

11 Easter Activities in the South West

11 Easter Activities in the South West

It’s Easter Holiday time and definitely time to get out and about with the kids. The weather should be a lot better, although Saturday was definitely a cinema day with torrential rain.

Easter Activities in the South West

We have a half work, half time off Easter Holiday’s this year but here are some great ideas to get out and about with the kids in the South West.

Easter Activities in the South West

1. Egg-citing Easter Dinosaur Egg Hunt 1st – 16th April – Seaton Jurassic.
£1 for a clue sheet – Just complete the trail and claim your prize!

Easter Activities in the South West
2. Easter Egg Hunt – The Miniature Pony Centre 14th, 16th and 17th April
As well as all the usual fun stuff to do at the pony centre including pony rides, indoor and outdoor play they are holding an Easter Egg Hunt with a fancy dress theme and entertainment from Dan the Hat and Jack’s Zoo.

Easter Activities in the SouthWest

3. Easter Activities at World of Country Life – 1st – 17th April
There’s loads of stuff going on at the World of Country Life including Easter themed arts and crafts, meet the Easter Bunny, Ferret racing, an Easter Egg Hunt and The Chicken Run (which is a surprise event).

Easter Activities in the South West

4. Crealy Mega Easter Egg Hunt – 14th – 17th April
Once you’re in, collect you map and go and find the stamps. Find all the stamps and receive 1 of 10000 eggs that they’re giving away!

Easter Activities in the South West

5. Exeter Racecourse Family Day 11th April
Lots of family fun including meeting Sid and Scrat from Ice Age, Dartmoor Ponies, Children’s races, facepainting, meet the jockeys and lots more.

Easter Activities in the South West

6. Easter Fun at Pennywell Farm – 15th – 17th April
Join in the Giant Easter Egg Hunt, Egg Rolling, Egg Tossing and guess the weight of the Easter Egg as well as meeting and feeding the animals. If you go on Good Friday before 11am you may be lucky enough to get a free hot cross bun with your cuppa.

Easter Activities in the South West

7. Easter Egg Trail at Powderham Castle – 14th – 17th April
Join in the Easter Egg trail and receive a chocolaty treat from Chococo!

8. Various Kids Activities in Exeter City Centre 11th – 14th April 
Join in with Easter Crafts, street food, face painting and balloons at various places including Sidwell Street, McCoys Arcade and Harlequins Shopping Centre. Many of these are FREE as well.

9. Easter Egg Hunt at Poltimore House – 9th April
Enjoy walking round the grounds, hot cross buns and let the children go and look for the chicken’s and eggs.

Easter Activities in the South WEst

10. Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt at Killerton House – 1st – 20th April
Search the grounds for the eggs and collect your Cadbury treat at the end. Don’t forget to visit the cool bear house!

11. Easter inspired crafts at Bunyipbeads – 4th – 13th April
Enjoy some Easter inspired decoupage, cross stitch and bracelet making. Booking is required and recommended age group is 6 – 16 years.

Whatever you do make sure that it’s Egg-citing!

Lisa x

You Baby Me Mummy