Thursday 25 July 2013

Calling Out For a Home Improvement Hero

"Calling for a hero, I 'm holding out for a hero" sounds a bit like a song that .. scratches head any way I have a spot in my house that is one of those areas you just ignore well you try anyway.The area in my kitchen it has space for a little table and chairs but really with 2 cats and various other kitchen clobber that really isn't possible. so I wanted to inject some coffee bar style into my kitchen making my kitchen some where more than just some where where I just go to make a cup of tea in and a glass of white wine.

Preparation is always key in DIY I used to be one for just slapping on the paint  but as my husband has often pointed out this just doesn't work and you need to prepare the surface and protect the surrounding area you are going to work on and around. I know he's right but please don't tell him that , I have to admit I am one of those people after he's done the DIY  I point at what he's done and say the well worn phrase " You've missed a bit"

I thought of many ideas painting a cistern chapel mural on my kitchen ceiling wasn't going to be one of them. So that's when I had a brain wave and again without out consulting my husband I ordered a breakfast bar with the intention of dividing the labour I paint the kitchen wall and he constructs the breakfast bar.

This is a competition entry for Home Improvement Hero by MoneySupermaket

All the junk I cleared away from where I was going to put the breakfast bar !

Freshly painted surface.

The breakfast bar was £60 from eBay but I didn't mind putting £10 to it and I already had the paint in the garage as I am prone to  essential  whimsical purchases of paint ....

Disclosure ( I was given £50 for the purposes for this improvement by Money supermarket all thoughts, words and opinions are my own)

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Italian Strawberry Tiramisu #Easyteam


165g/ 50z caster sugar
1 orange zest and juice
3tbsp orange-flavoured liquer  such as Grand Marnier)
30 Sponge fingers
6 free-range eggs separated
325ml/ 11 1/2 fl oz double cream
500g/ 1lb 2oz mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp vanilla extract
250 g/90z strawberries
3 tbsp icing sugar


In a pan, gently heat 120g/40z of the sugar with the orange zest. Add the liquor and orange juice and continue to cook until the sugar has dissolved. Use tongs to quickly dip the orange fingers in the syrup ( take care not to burn yourself ) then lay them on the bottom of a square serving dish.

Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar to the bowl and whisk to combine. when the the sugar has melted. remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the egg yolks until pale, doubled in volume and creamy. Pour into a cool bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until a large bowl, beat the cream until thick. Fold the mascarpone into the cream, the fold in the egg yolks until combined. Fold in the egg whites and vanilla extract.

Spread a layer of mixture over the soaked sponge fingers then add a layer of strawberries. Continue layering the sponge fingers, creamy fixtures and strawberries, top if you wish with a layer of strawberries. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to chill for two hours.

Discard the cling film and dust the top of the summer pudding with icing sugar. Serve immediately.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

At the end of the lane

I love rambling around where I live and going the little lanes that surround me there is nothing better that leafy green lanes. I always want to explore even though I know what's down the lane , though this can change as life is full of surprises.

Do you love exploring where you live ?

I do as I hope you can tell my blog posts and I hope you enjoy the photos.

Monday 15 July 2013

Mogs and clogs shoe style

Mogs and clogs shoe style but not actually clogs as I don't actually A) Live in Holland B) Live Up north in olden times though B is sort of true as I do actually up North well Midlands. Though I am a southner who was born in Scotland. Are you following so far ? good!

Jack Black hides in the silliest of places waiting for a errant foot wafting by (in this hot weather wafting  in more ways than one) I don't tend to mention Jack as much he's very much Hong Kong Fuey and Rollie is the the mild mannered brains behind the outfit.

You wiil find Jack here in the bath,  you'll find him in quiet contemplation at the table of life.

He's quite apt at cat bombing a photo shot....

And gets in the way when you are sorting out your bills. I think Jacks daft what do you think ??
After all Rollie is the evil master minded genius.

Summer Holiday Sensory Play Fun : Water Beads and Lights

I came across a fantastic idea for my observation at school which was water beads and lights involved in sensory play .


The focus for my observation was a targeted group of children so the help they needed was with the pincer grip which in turn helps them with pencil grip. Clear instructions were given that the water beads were not to be put in their mouths or thrown about as water beads tend to skip every where.

First of I got the children to warm their fingers up by getting them to touch each of their fingers to their thumbs, this action was repeated several times.

The activity 

The activity consisted of two colours of water beads, plastic Easter eggs , submerge able lights,plastic sea creatures and sea creature beads. I set a water tray with the beads, and places the submersible lights and small sea creatures beads with the plastic Easter eggs.This activity is ideal with the lights turned out as it becomes very magical.

But we were outdoors and as it was dull and overcast the turning off lights really didn't matter. I explained to the children that I wanted to pick the sea creature up using the pincer grip( I demonstrated )
Also I showed the children that they could open the plastic eggs by twisting them open (this is excellent for their fine motor skills ) Also to encourage the correct use of pressure of pencil grip on a pencil I demonstrated that you could pick up a water bead carefully and hold it between your finger and thumb.

The children had great fun playing in the water beads along with the submersible lights which were hidden in the plastic Easter Eggs along with some small sea creature beads.


Weak fingers can be strengthened by the child/children using theraputty, also tweezers and bead, threading. I linked this to their early learning goals physical, social and language communication. With pencil grip they have to have the right amount of pressure to little and the pencil mark will be faint, spider like and wobbly. If its too tight the pencil grip with result in the pencil going through the paper and makes the child tired.

Friday 12 July 2013

Sun : Photography Inspiration

The simplest of situations can inspire me for example a country walk to escape the trials and tribulations of the day  or just because there doesn't always have to be a reason for a walk. The sun helps I must admit its a mood leveller and lifts us even the grumpiest of moments.

And finally sunset at home ...

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Micro MX Trixx Scooter Scooting Stories

Scooters are fun aren't they you have them as a child yourself and then when you have children they have scooters and so the cycle to coin a phrase starts all over again. Except that now children who becomes teenagers who in turn, turn into adults carry on using scooters it's the retro revival brought to a modern age.

Scooters bring out the inner daredevil within us  and I'll let you into a little secret if you promise not to tell ?! I have when my son's not been looking or when he's out at school scooted down the road. There is a wonderful sense of freedom scooting along it makes me feel young again and with that comes a happiness! ooh to be carefree free again .

Anyway I digress Micro -Scooter have a expansive range of scooters all the way from toddlers to adults and Micro Scooter have now tapped into the adventurous side of theirs and our nature and developed a new range of Micro Xtreme scooter which are not only for sedately scooting through the park. No NO they  have a scooter for every single ability which will soon be seeing people doing flicks and ollies ?( or is that skateboarding) You can tell I am not quite down with the scooting lingo!

Its all a good idea and good practise to make sure you wear a helmet knee and elbow pads when attempting the xtreme side of scooting. I fear that I myself I will never release the  skillful stunt scooter action rider that I know I am not.

Ready for MX Trixx scooter action. (Though not in your school shoes you don't)

My teen on the other is another matter he twirls and hurls himself all the place and I often always find myself looking through the gaps in my fingers when he is on his MX  Trixx ( white edition) scooter. The scooter is light yet despite this it is incredibly sturdy and durable I think J 's only gripe with the scooter is that it is a fixed height as once past the age of 12 children have this nasty habit of growing.

That said it's a quality scooter that will last them from the age you get  the MX Trixx and it  is suitable from the age of 5 and as I previously mentioned what good quality it is ,then you are only going to have to make one scooter purchase. The scooter retails at £99.95 you may take a sharp intake of breath but remember this is a well built quality scooter than will last them from the age of 5 . And it will put up with as children do being slung on the floor ( we all know they shouldn't do this but they do )

Here below is an idea of what you can expect of the scooter.

Disclosure ( we were sent the scooter for the purposes of this review and I have not been told what to write all opinions are that of my own )

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Bolsover Castle Bowls Us Over

Last Sunday we stormed a castle I say stormed in the loosest sense of course , when I am in Derby or a even busier place such as London. I am all the more appreciative of the green , tranquil lush countryside that surrounds me and the further I go into it the more relaxed I become. Its wonderful to connect as a family and the castle I mentioned storming was Bolsover Castle.

No matter how many times you visit a place there is always wonderment and trepidation I like to go with the mindset I am the first person to ever see the place I am visiting.

Now I live to take pictures to capture my world in a myriad of colours.

Octagonal Lantern 

The lantern is an unusual, octagonal room beneath the central turret of the Little Castle.  The turret is circled with windows that allow light to spill down into the centre of the upper floor.
The plaster of the central area has a golden tint that gives the light in the lantern a summery quality.  This area would probably been the centre of much of the activity in this are of the castle due to this lightness.
Bolsover Castle The Lantern
This was taken completely without any filters added or any photographic trickery.

I've been to Bolsover with school before and the attention to detail by the English Heritage staff is second to none, and the children are enthralled and their minds are switched on on many a educational and creative level.

Bolsover castle is a great place for all the family to visit its interest spans the generations, you can bring a picnic and eat in the grounds or eat at the cafe that's is reasonably priced.  There is also a gift shop where you can kit your children out as nights , princess and princess also the adults can stock some very scrumptious jams, compotes  ales and wines.

There is plenty for the family to do explore the castle, play with the interactive displays , take part in the events that are often put on at the castle like Knights jousting displays taking you back to days of chivalry.

Bolover Castle has panoramic views over the vale of Scarsdale I think of no better way to spend the day soaking up the ambiance and history of my surroundings.

Bolsover castle grounds also has the rudest fountain in England without a doubt!!

Yes its a fortified house but I 'm not going to let on are you ? and in the time that it was built it was a fortfied house !! and anyways isn't an "Englishman's home is his castle"!?

Disclosure ( I was sent a pass for the purpose of this visit)


Saturday 6 July 2013

The Humble Poppy

On my rambles around where I live I came across the humble Poppy , which is not so humble in my opinions it encapsulates  a human sadness of the First World War. So when I see a Poppy I think of those like my great grandad who make a sacrifice for our freedom.

I love wandering through the fields.

I love the wind blowing the corn this way and that, I hear the rustle as the corn bends.

Nature does this.

Life ripples in time I like to think .

A solitary moment.

Things are not always the same just like the billowing clouds in the sky.

Friday 5 July 2013

Play Matters Helps If You Have A Playground

Well strolling through my local park I noticed an absence of something it wasn't the dog walkers , it was the happy noise of the  laughter of children  that was missing that makes me sad as play matters. I agree our play equipment is a little tired , but it looked otherwise safe. And I certainly wasn't aware of of any notices saying it was unsafe, perhaps it will get updated one day. Yes where I live may be a suburban area tickling the countryside but that doesn't mean the play area should be shut.

No child / adult is past a play ground nowadays especially with these new fangled fitness/ play areas springing up. Now the rather tame death slide as you can see had a rather beautiful breathtaking view I love views like that.

Its a crying shame when children have no where to play....

Thursday 4 July 2013

Hand on Heart The Royal Collection

The royal baby is nearly here if you hadn't noticed you 'd have thought that a baby had never arrived before. The birth of a birth is a unique and special event that is marked by countless teddy bears, tots, rattles flowers. But it is always nice to give a gift that last one that marks the momentous occasion of a much cherished baby.

Hand on Heart Jewellery launches ‘The Royal Collection’
In anticipation of the Royal baby due in July, (Hand On Heart Jewellery) has launched its brand new Royal Collection.  A stunning array of beautiful baby-related gifts fit for a Prince or Princess – ideal for Birthdays and christenings, baby showers and as commemorative keepsakes in celebration of the Royal birth.
Items include a gorgeous key ring complete with a crown emblem, in ‘pastel pink’ or ‘powder blue’ with baby name, weight and date, on a lovely silver key chain.  The key ring is also available in pure white with ‘postage stamp-style’ emblem, Princess ‘name’ and year.
Stunning silver cuff links with baby name and silhouette baby face (in the style of the traditional ‘coin’ and year.

Duchess Of Cambridge

About Hand on Heart Jewellery 
Hand on Heart Jewellery is the UK’s premier hand print jewellery company.  Its talented team create and design a range of high quality, handcrafted, silver jewellery using the unique detail of a loved ones’ ‘true’ hand, foot or paw print.  Using a no-mess, ink less print technique, individual prints are taken quickly and easily and then used to handcraft jewellery that is finished to an extremely high standard (and without the intervention of machinery).  A stunning range of Pandora-style beads, bracelets, charms, necklaces, cuff links, key rings, and more, can be transformed into a beautiful keepsake to treasure.  Prints can be taken from babies, children, adults and pets – no hand, foot or paw is too big.

So  there you have it exquisite gifts to suit every budget I especially like the necklace with the babies precious footprint imprinted onto the silver.

Disclosure ( I was not told what to write. I received one of their postage keyring which retails at £15)

Monday 1 July 2013

So Much More than a Coffee Machine

Tassimo the machine that lets you play at being a Barista like those from Costa (who also do coffee for Tassimo), it is the machine that gives you the experience of that coffee shop without sometimes having to step into one. From filter coffee to mocha choca and then there's tea . Yes you heard me right Tassimo makes tea as well with that quintessential English tea that is Twinnings.

I received only what I like to call a care package which consisted of the Tassimo T20 machine , Twinnings Breakfast tea and Kenco Columbian coffee. That's that the sort of looking after I love ! I owned a Tassimo many years ago but sadly my head got turned by a false idol that was another brand of coffee  machine worst mistake of my life and I gave my old Tassimo away. Safe to say the one that I had decided to cheat on the Tassimo with broke within months.

My life then became a mindless tippy tappy of a spoon as heartless granules fell into a empty mug while I switched on the kettle like some caffeine crazed zombie. But this Tassimo T20 has given my mornings a new heart and has awaken my soul and now there's happily no going back.

Operating the Tassimo T-20 is child's play (obviously a child is not going to operate the machine ) you choose your T-pod for your choice of drink , the T-pod has a barcode on it which tells the Tassimo how much water through the machine , also on the back of the T-pod packet there is an indication of what size drinking cup you'll need.

It is a sleek machine that would not look out of place in the V & A museum there is nothing complicated about it , yet it gives you a very professional looking brewage. The machine is quick , quiet and efficient , I love that the water tank on the machine is slimline. There is no leakage what so ever with the Tassimo T-20 and when you take the T-pods out there is no mess either as granules etc are contained within the T-pod.


And if the amount of beverage in your cup is not quite to your liking you can intercede at the end of the machines cycle by pressing the button to let more hot water through.

And even Jack Black got in on the act sadly not the comedian actor but my black moggy who is obsessed with cardboard boxes.

So in conclusion ...... I love my Tassimo T-20 it was love at first site.

I was sent the Tassimo for review my love of tea and coffee has not biased me in my review and all options as such are honest and unbiased.

Currently Tassimo have the T-4 on offer for only £30 but hurry!