My Sunday Photo – Chocolate Cake

I baked a delicious chocolate cake yesterday & had to share it for my Sunday photo. It is far from impressive compared to the food bloggers I follow but it is GOOD cake. Two weeks without a cooker over half term is not fun. Having a working cooker that actually cooks properly makes all the difference though! As soon as our new cooker arrived I decided I had to test it out properly.. by baking cake of course! Our old cooker decided to blow the day I chose to do some baking so it only seemed right.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

The cake is a devils food cake mix with vanilla icing mixed wit 60g of melted chocolate (from hotel chocolat) and 20g of cocoa powder. I have to say I had no confidence it would turn out right but it surprisingly turned out brilliantly! I split the mix between two tins & added a layer of icing between them too.. nom!

 

Chocolate cake sliced

The cake is amazingly fluffy and light and I’ve pleased myself with my icing, I thought it would be a disaster yet it tastes AMAZING!

Have you baked a cake recently? Do you have any tips?

 

Photalife

Christmas Hamper From Prestige Hampers

I received a gorgeous Christmas hamper from Prestige Hampers to review. I received Prestige Hampers Traditional Gift Basket which costs £64.99. A true Christmas classic the traditional gift basket in premium wicker is packed with the finest products for the recipient to enjoy.

Prestige Hampers

Prestige Hampers

Christmas Hamper

Prestige Hampers Christmas hamper is the perfect gift to send this Christmas with a selection of fine wines, treats & savoury goodies arranged neatly inside the wicker basket. To top it off the hamper was approved by Good Housekeeping 2017!

Christmas Hamper From Prestige Hampers

Included:
Water Stop Station Chardonnay 75cl
Water Stop Station Shiraz 75cl
Red Velvet Crunch Biscuits 150g
English Breakfast Tea 40g
Milk, White and Dark Chocolate Classics 120g
Shortbread Festive Shapes 60g
Matthew Walker Classic Christmas Pudding 100g
Iced Fruit Cake 400g
Dark Chocolate Bar 60g
Mackays Christmas Marmalade 113g
Mackays Christmas Preserve 113g
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Yorkshire Crisps 100g
Handmade Smoked Oatcakes 125g
Handmade Wicker Basket

 

This gorgeous Christmas hamper is bursting full of deliciously tasty goodies perfect for Christmas. We love the Red Velvet Crunch Biscuits & Shortbread festive shapes that go really well with the English Breakfast Tea which I shared with the girls.

There is a little bit of everything you could want treat wise over the Christmas period including 2 Water Stop Wines to wash it all down with. This is a great gift for anyone who is unsure what to buy for someone this Christmas. The lovely Handmade Wicker Basket can be kept for storing things once it is empty too.

Prestige Hampers sell a range of hampers to suit your needs & budget with something for everyone. They are fantastically priced for what is included in the hamper and I would definitely buy a hamper like this as a gift.

Have you heard of Prestige Hampers before? Do you like Christmas hampers?

 

Monday Stumble Linky

My Top 5 Comfort Foods

Here’s my top 5 comfort foods that I love when I’m feeling a little bit meh. We all find comfort in food at times and I’m no different! Whilst I do struggle with my appetite there are also those times when I just need to stuff my face with something delicious.

My Top 5 Comfort Foods

  1. Chinese – Ordering Chinese just solves everything. Chicken chow mein, egg fried rice, crispy beef, deep fried crispy chicken in lemon sauce, chips & BBQ sauce just makes me feel better. Even if I don’t feel like eating I will finish at least half my plate. I tend to save some chow mein for the next morning too. Ultimate comfort food.Chinese Takeaway - Ultimate comfort food
  2. BBQ Chicken Pizza & Nacho Cheese Wedges – We tend to eat at the table for dinner but this is one of the few meal we sit on the sofa with. Sitting snuggled up munching away on pizza & wedges watching a DVD with the Mr always makes me feel better.
    cheese, close -up, crust 
  3. Cheese & Ham Toasty – There is something comforting about this quick and simple snack. It’s perfect any time of the day and is just delicious.
    Cheese & Ham Toasty
  4. Swedish Meatballs in Gravy & Chips – The Mr recently made this after I refused to try Ikea meatballs for years. I admit I was wrong & they are absolutely delicious! I could now happily eat this most nights.Swedish Meatballs In Gravy
  5. Chicken & Vegetable Soup With Fresh Bread – The Mr makes the best Chicken & vegetable soup in the slow cooker, we add in any veg with lentils & pearl barley to thicken it. A pot feeds all 4 of us for 2 days and is so warming & filling especially with fresh bread smothered in real butter.top 5 comfort foods - chicken & vegetable soup

With the colder months approaching I’m looking forward to comfort foods like this. I can’t pick a favourite out of these 5 as I do enjoy them all no matter how meh I feel!

Do you have a list of top 5 comfort foods too?

Chilean Easy Peelers Clementines & Mandarins

We received a box of Chilean easy peelers clementine’s & mandarins to help make back-to-school snacks & lunches tasty and convenient. Chilean clementine’s and mandarins deliciously juicy and full of vitamin C. They are also a great source of water to help keep you hydrated. The UK demand for Chilean easy peelers is growing due the convenience, seedless fruits, sweet flavour and hydration. UK demand for Chilean easy peelers has grown by 32% year on year and last season 2,000 tonnes were sold in the UK.

#Chileaneasypeelers

 

Chilean Easy Peel Clementine’s & Mandarins

Now in season the Chilean easy peelers clementine’s and mandarins provide a rich source of fibre, calcium and magnesium. A fantastically nutritious snack for everyone available from September to November, perfect for the back to school season. Containing around 87% water they are perfect for keeping children hydrated, perfect for hot days. Chilean easy peelers are low in calories & fat, they are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Helping to provide children with fibre, folate, vitamin C, potassium, calcium and magnesium they are an ideal fruit.

A Quick Snack

Short on time? Chilean easy peelers clementine’s and mandarins are a quick and easy snack to give your child. A great start or end to the day even when you are in a rush.

After a busy day at school children can feel exhausted, giving them a Chilean easy peelers clementine’s or mandarin Is a great way to hydrate & give them a boost. Eva has recently started swimming lessons at school and has been coming back very pale & tired. We gave her a Chilean easy peelers clementine and she loved it, no stressing she couldn’t get it open at all.

Chilean easy peel

Ideal For Packed Lunches & School Trips

Chilean easy peelers are great alone as a snack or with other fruits to make a delicious fruit salad. Easy peelers are great to add to packed lunches or snacks for school trips to ensure your child has something nutritious throughout the day. As children can easily peel the fruits themselves they are more likely to eat them. Waiting for a teacher to help peel fruit can mean they get left untouched. Being able to peel the fruit themselves means children are less likely to leave them untouched.

Chilean easy peelers

Have you tried Chilean easy peeler clementine’s and manadarins before? Does your child find them easier too?

*This post is an entry for the BritMums #ChileanEasyPeelers Challenge, sponsored by Chilean Citrus Committee.

Growing & Preparing Our Windowsill Peppers For A Delicious Salad

The girls have been growing peppers on the windowsill over the last few months. It was much easier to grow our own food when we had a garden but we still try to see what we can achieve on our windowsills. Peppers are something Eva & Izzy thought we should try, so we gave them a go. You may have seen some of my Instagram posts from when they first began to grow. The one below is Eva’s huge red pepper!

The First Pepper

The girls peppers are growing nicely on their windowsill!

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Changing Colour

Over the last 2 months the peppers have slowly changed colour from green to red on Eva’s plant and from green to yellow on Izzy’s. A complete accident but a great way to tell them apart! We all enjoyed keeping an eye on the peppers changing and couldn’t wait to see how they turned out and tasted.

The girls peppers are growing and changing colour this week! They can’t wait to try them 😊

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Ready To Chop!

Both girls were really excited when the Mr told them their peppers were finally ready to chop. They headed out excitedly to buy the other bits they wanted to create a delicious salad for everyone to have Sunday night. With a bit of help from the Mr they both cut their own peppers off!

The girls have cut off their peppers & are making a delicious salad for everyone with them tonight 😍

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Preparing The Peppers

We explained to the girls they needed to wash their peppers before they could eat them. They were more than happy to get their hands wet and give them a good wash.

Peppers

Peppers

Once the peppers were washed and dried it was time to cut them up for our salad. We were surprised to find another pepper had tried growing inside Eva’s red one! 

The Delicious Salad!

 

The peppers were absolutely lovely & we all enjoyed them. I could quite happily eat it all over again!

Have you grown & eaten your own fruit & veg?

 

Nutritious Treats – Organix Multipacks

Organix Goodies offer a wide range of nutritious treats and have just launched a big family box of raspberry and apple soft oaty bake bars. Suitable from 12 months this multipack contains 12 healthy nutritious treats for your little one. They want a world where healthy nutritious food is a real choice for everyone.

Organix goodies multipack

Organix No Junk Promise

Organix have a ‘No junk promise’, their nutritious treats are always organic with nothing unnecessary in them. Sending standards for healthy treats for toddlers, Organix have a great range. It can be tricky sometimes to find delicious but nutritious treats but these oaty bake bars are fantastic.

Nutritious treats - Organix goodies soft oaty bake bars

Nutritious Treats For Little Explorers

Dillan

Organic apple & raspberry soft oaty bars

Oaty bake bars are perfect for little explorers and even suggest ideas for your little one to try. Izzy loved Dillan’s idea of going on a treasure hunt and collecting something in every colour of the rainbow! Organix goodies raspberry and apple oaty bars are a deliciously healthy snack to offer your little one. The soft oaty bake bars are suitable for vegetarians but they do contain oats and may contain traces of nuts, soya and dairy.

 

25 Years Of Making Things Better

Organix provide nutritious snacks for children so they have the best start, making things better for 25 years! Their fantastic range of treats include healthy crisps, popcorn, breadstick sweets and more ensuring toddlers have the most nutritious start.

We have tried plenty of Organix Goodies over the years, Izzy still loves the Organic Mini Gingerbread Men. Eva’s favourite was always the Organix Goodies Carrot Stix, I love knowing they are eating healthy snacks and balancing out the naughty treats! Being able to buy multipacks of delicious snacks like this is a real bonus for parent’s looking for nutritious snacks they can offer their little one’s.

Have you tried any of the Organix snacks yet? Do you love the new big family box?

Two Tiny Hands

Cocktail Nights At Lanes – Benfleet

Love cocktails? Cocktail nights at Lanes in Benfleet, Essex is the perfect place to go for a chilled out atmosphere and delicious drinks to relax with. Lanes is a fine dining restaurant and bar located 4 minutes from Benfleet train station.

Lanes Cocktail Bar

Opening times

Tue: 12:00 – 22:30

Wed: 12:00 – 22:30

Thur: 12:00 – 22:30

Fri: 12:00 – 23:30

Sat: 12:00 – 23:30

Sun: 12:00 – 18:00

Cocktail Nights

Cocktail nights are being introduced at Lanes this week and will continue every Thursday night from 10pm to midnight. Lanes are offering a range of cocktails for £7.50 each or 2 for £12! BARGAIN! (Who’s coming with me?) For those that prefer Mocktails those are available for just £3.50 each too!

Cocktail nights at lanes

Cocktails Available

Grey Goose Cosmo

Classic Margarita

Palm Breeze

Long Island Ice Tea

Elderflower and Cucumber Collins

Mudslide

Elderflower Bellini

With a fantastic selection of cocktails and a delicious fine dining menu, Lanes is definitely worth a visit. Just look at that roast.. if the drinks don’t tempt you the food most definitely will!

Lanes Fine Dining Restaurant

Food serving times

Tue: 12:00 – 15:00 / 18:00 – 21:30

Wed: 12:00 – 15:00 / 18:00 – 21:30

Thur: 12:00 – 15:00 / 18:00 – 21:30

Fri: 12:00 – 15:00 / 18:00 – 22:00

Sat: 12:00 – 22:00

Sun: 12:00 – 16:00

Lanes is a family friendly restaurant with disabled facilities, a function room, smoking area with free Wi-Fi. Along with a selection of cocktails and food Lanes also offer real ales, a unique selection of wines and speciality coffee.

Lanes Coffee

What are you waiting for!? Whether you are looking for a night out drinking cocktails, a family meal with a gorgeous glass of wine or a coffee to warm up with as the colder months draw closer, Lanes has you covered. With a relaxed modern atmosphere you are sure to enjoy your visit.

Do you love cocktail nights? Which cocktail is your favourite?

Rochester Dickens Festival 2017

We spent Sunday at the Rochester Dickens Festival with Martyn & the boys, enjoying the sunshine, actors, music, food & scenery. It was the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway so there was plenty going on in Rochester & surrounding areas for the entire weekend.

Rochester Dickens Festival

Rochester Dickens Festival

After attending the Medway English Festival with Martyn and the boys we were looking forward to joining them again for a lovely day out. With a nice early start we managed to get to Rochester just before everything started, giving us plenty of time to have a slow wander around.

Actors

We came across some brilliant actors over the course of the day but the first Fagin we bumped into Izzy absolutely loved! She couldn’t wait to get in a picture with him, sitting on his knee. He was wandering around looking for the owner of the lost pants in his hand.

We found another Fagin a little while later too and all the kids jumped in for a picture this time! Both actors were fantastic and really interacted with the kids which was brilliant. It was nice to see the girls enjoying the characters too although Eva was a little worried about the clock face guy!

There were so many different Dickens characters wandering around and people who simply dressed up and joined in too. It made the day quite fun having different characters chatting to us & the girls really seemed to enjoy it. Eva was a little unsure about a few costumes but still enjoyed herself.

Performances

Dancing

We stopped to watch the dancing which was absolutely fantastic and Izzy especially loved it, joining in with her own little dance too. Moving on we came across these actors singing ‘Beer Beer Beer’ an ode to Charlie Mops the inventor of beer!

charlie mops beer beer beer

Everyone joined in with the chorus which was quite fun even though it was a small group as it was still fairly early in the day. It was interesting to see so many different characters up to different things. We’re definitely interested in going to the Rochester Dickens Festival again next year so we can catch more of them!

Grand Parade

Next we watched the parade with bagpipes playing & a range of characters, I loved this purple dress! I had to get a video of it all as there were some fab costumes. Most of the Actors were really amusing & played the role so well! I had to take a few videos of the parade as it was so fun, here’s one video, you can find the rest on my YouTube channel.

After the parade the boys got stopped by bobbies on stilts! ‘They went that way officer.. honest!’. These guys were hilarious chatting away and asking who the ring leader was haha!

That way officer

 

Food & Drink

After the parade we headed up to the castle, stopping for doughnuts & ice cream. Another vintage ice cream van was selling ice cream, although a little pricey! We then headed up to the castle grounds where tons of stalls were dotted around full of goodies!

 

Cupcakes & cookies

The girls decided they wanted gingerbread men to take home from Cupcakes & cookies which the girls said were delicious! Unfortunately they got a little bashed up in my bag but the girls enjoyed them anyway.

Treats To Take Home

We also popped by Sudzz again to get Eva another super exploding pink bath bomb and some soaps for both girls. Sudzz bath bombs are amazingly explosive & Eva LOVES them! The cute heart soaps are all different scents too.

 

Simply True Jewellery were there too, so we took them all to get another £1 lucky dip. The boys got skull necklaces again but different to their last 2. Eva got a clear heart necklace & Izzy a star necklace. For £1 I’m still can’t get over the quality of the necklaces! At this rate I’ll be ordering a jewellery box just for Jewellery we buy from Simply True Jewellery!

Stopping off for lunch the kids had a picnic whilst Martyn, the Mr & I had chips & burgers from Scoff & Sip.

Having lined our stomachs the Mr was of course on the Goody Ales again. Although Goody Ales themselves weren’t there the beer stall had beers from several breweries.

Goody Ales

Martyn & I headed over to the Kent Cider Company for a delicious Strawberry cider. I’ll definitely be after a bottle to take home next time! Very tasty & certainly packs a punch. I’ve recently lost my love of cider but I think I may have found it again in the strawberry cider.

Kent cider co

 

With the day almost over we had a little look around the castle grounds before dropping the boys off. It was a lovely day all round although quite pricey for rides & treats. Luckily there was enough going on that the kids didn’t moan too much about going on rides.

 

Have you ever been to the Rochester Dickens Festival before or is it something you’d be interested in?

New Ozeri Frying Pan & Pepper Grinder? This Call’s for Steak!

Steak is the first thing I wanted when we recieved an Ozeri 26 cm Green Earth Frying Pan with Textured Ceramic Non-Stick Coating from Germany (100% PTFE and PFOA Free) and the Ozeri Graviti Pro Electric Pepper Grinder, in exchange for an Amazon review. As soon as they arrived all I could think about was steak so I sent the Mr off to the shops.

Whilst he was gone I looked over the details of the products and took a few pictures.

Utilizes GREBLON ceramic – an ultra-safe ceramic coating from Germany which is 100% PTFE and PFOA free (no heavy metals or chemicals).

  • Innovative textured pan surface delivers unprecedented non-stick performance without releasing harmful fumes or toxins at high temperatures.

  • Features a scratch-resistant 100 percent ceramic coating that is super easy to clean.

  • Made out of durable heavy-gauge pure aluminum with no heavy metals or harmful chemicals.

  • Boasts a comfortable heat resistant silicon coated handle, and a magnetized induction stove safe base for rapid heat transfer.

I couldn’t wait to see how the Mr got on with using the pan. Compared to our iron ridged pan the steaks came out AMAZINGLY! I like my steak really well done and it didn’t take anywhere near as long as usual. The steaks didn’t stick to the pan at all during cooking and came out lovely and juicy on the inside. I loved how easy cleaning the pan was too it’s a job I HATE but the pan wipes clean nicely.

Steak!

The Mr used the Graviti Pro Electric Peppermill to season the steaks as they cooked. It was lovely being able to have the pepper ground so finely and done so simply. It looks pretty stylish too!

Gravity Operated. Simply flip or invert to activate for effortless one-handed dispensing of your seasonings.

  • Durable eco-friendly ceramic mechanism easily grinds peppercorns, salt, and spices.

  • Seasons accurately with adjustable ceramic grinding mechanism that adjusts from fine to coarse.

  • Features a top-mounted grind adjustor that never leaves a trail or mess, and an ultra soft textured non-slip grip.

  • See-through container makes monitoring pepper level easy and reveals the grinding action. Satisfaction Guaranteed.

We’ve used these quite a bit a tested the pan out with eggs, veg, chicken etc and it’s absolutely brilliant!

 

 

A blog post wasn’t required for the reviews but I love them so much I couldn’t not share with my lovely readers.. I’m sure you’ll all agree a well cooked steak is important news to share.. even if most of you will disagree with how well cooked I have mine haha!

 

Baking Fun Using My Cupcake Toppers

The girls had some baking fun yesterday making cakes after I was given a £15 off code to try out some of the Toppers from MyCupcakeToppers in exchange for a review of them.

 

After looking through MyCupcakeToppers site I picked out some lovely Minnie Mouse & Disney Prince Real Icing toppers (12 for £6) that I knew the girls would love.

 

For our Minnie Mouse & Disney Princess cakes the girls made a mix for 12 chocolate chip cakes each. They quickly got their mixes made up, poured into the cases and into the oven.. so they could lick the bowls of course!

We loved the cakes and all helped ourselves to a few since we made 24 in total. The real icing cupcake toppers were amazingly yummy, even the Mr who isn’t keen on cake toppers really enjoyed it and munched through quite a few cakes!

The real icing toppers are absolutely brilliant and the printing is amazingly clear, they make the girls messy (but tasty) cakes look lovely.

I will definitely be ordering again in future for special occasions. I love how many design choices were available on the site. If you can’t find a design you like you can upload your own images or fill out a form with details of what you would like and the in-house design team can see what they can do for you too!

Want to make some too? Check out our recipe below.

You will need:

110g(ish) Caster Sugar

110g(ish) Butter

2 eggs

110g(ish) Self-raising flour

1tsp(ish) Vanilla extract/flavouring 

2ish handfuls of milk chocolate chips (plus a few to ‘test’)

1 tub of chocolate frosting 

A pot of sprinkles you completely forget to add

Method:

1. Preheat oven 180°c. Cream butter and sugar and add vanilla extract. Beat in 2 eggs.

2. Fold in the flour & throw in the chocolate chips.

3. Fill 12 cases halfway and bake for 10ish minutes until brown.

4. Let cakes cool (and sit on your hands to stop yourself eating them warm) before adding the frosting.

5. Pop the Real Icing sheets in the oven (once it’s cooled/cooling so it’s just warm) until the icing is easily removed from the sheets.

6. Add toppers to your cakes and ENJOY!

What do you think of our recipe will you be trying it out or do you have one of your own we could try? 

How lovely are the cupcake toppers? What design would you go for?