Monday, 24 October 2016

Spookily Scary Halloween Meringue Bones!

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of trick-or-treating; we welcome little witches and ghosts (with parents!) to visit us on Halloween night, but I'd rather be cosy and warm inside my house than traipsing around the neighbourhood with a bag full of sugar-rush fuel!

We often have a family tea party so that my children can still get dressed up... here's one of our favourite recipes, great served with 'eyeball jelly' (grapes and fruit jelly!).

3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup of granulatd sugar
1 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 105C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.
  2. Beat together the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Slowly add the sugar, one spoonful at a time and continue beating until the meringue stands up in stiff, shiny peaks, then beat in the vanilla.
  3. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe 7cm bone shapes; a long line with 2 rounded blobs at either end. 
  4. Cook in the oven for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and leave in the oven for a further hour.
  5. Carefully remove from the baking sheets and serve with gruesome 'eyeball jelly'!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

10 of the best cookie recipes!

Everyone loves a cookie, right? The beauty of them is that there are a multitude of flavours available - definitely something to suit everyone!

They can be dressed up as a thoughtful Christmas gift, shared with those you love or just simply dunked in milk after a long day at school (or work!)

Coffee and biscuits

Here's my list of favourites, enough to last you all winter!

Hazelnut cookies

Cranberry & orange cookies

Florentine biscuits

Butterscotch cookies

Have a go yourself... get the kids involved! They'll be some lucky teachers and classroom assistants this Christmas!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Starting high school... one term in!

There are hundreds of blog posts about preparing your child for the transition from primary school to high school... I even wrote one too! There's so much advice out there and, of course, every child is different.

So, I hope by reading this 'starting Year 7 plus one term' post will help your family as they go through this in 2016 and will continue to help us as a family! I'll be honest with you as well, so that you may feel a little more 'normal' than you think you are!

  1. There will be tears... yours and theirs! Try to teach your child when to keep the tears in and when to let them out! (This goes for you too, Year 7 Mum!)
  2. Homework will probably be a shock - our primary school does issue homework, but quite haphazardly to be honest. Our high school homework is issued through the week and it all (on average 4 pieces for Year 7) is due in on the following Monday. Doing it as it gets set is easier then leaving it all until Sunday... and you get weekends free to have 'homework-free' fun!
  3. Weedle out the 'sick' days. Unless there's evidently a sickness/diarrhoea bug, high temperature or other obvious reason to show they are ill, we've encouraged our child to go to school. This may seem harsh, but if high school is to prepare them for life, we need to learn to just 'get on with it'. A quick phone call to school after they have left will put your mind at rest so if they are ill during the day, school will know that maybe they aren't 100% and so will arrange to contact you to collect your (now) sick child!
  4. Teach them to be organised. Get uniforms out and bags ready the night before - it saves time in the morning and so they can have that extra 5 minutes in bed, so long as their belongings are ready and waiting by the kitchen door! There's nothing worse than looking for one shoe when you really need to be out of the door 6 minutes ago!
  5. Your child will learn that friends from primary school may suddenly turn into someone that they don't particularly like... even becoming increasingly negative towards them. (Your child will also do this, but not see it them self!) Teach them to make new friends - if there's someone sat on their own, encourage them to say 'hello'. They may also just have lost a friend and need a new one, just as much as your child,
And, there you go. Sounds easy? It will be in the end... good luck! 


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Magical Microwave Meringues!

There's a tale to be told one day about 30 eggs, me and a kitchen full of 'mistakes'! I love meringues but hate (HATE) making them... so when I came across this recipe for microwave meringues (no whisk, just 2 ingredients) I just didn't quite believe it.

So we had a challenge. My daughter made 'traditional' meringue and I made the microwave version to see which worked best. If I hadn't made the microwave ones myself, I would never have believed that they would work.

Here's the video to see for yourself...

And my final result...

They're definitely more of a 'rugged' version than the piped shop-bought meringues but they taste delicious and there's the added bonus of no stress while making them! My daughter's traditional version turned out to be a flop... literally - and so she wouldn't let me post a photo!

So just add fruit and cream to your liking and enjoy - tasty meringue in less than 15 minutes!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Helping your child stay happy and safe – Childline 0800 1111

Every summer, millions of children in Wales & the UK are looking towards the start of a new school term in September. For many, this change happens without any ups and downs but for some, it’s a really difficult time. Childline has many, many resources available to families to help with any problems they may encounter.

I only became aware of the extent of the resources available on their website following a routine visit they made to my daughter’s primary school. To be honest, I had never looked at their website before – why would I? My children are happy, safe and part of a loving family. We have ‘moments’ like all families, but nothing to be of concern.

At the school visit, the Childline representatives gave each child a pack called ‘My Buddy Kit’. The front and back pages give information, and the middle inside pages are filled in by the children. Here they can state what makes them feel happy and safe – places, people and things. I’m glad to say that her dad and I do feature on this list!

My daughter is actually looking forward to her transition to high school. Not all children from our local primary school go to the same secondary school – it’s about a 50/50 split. So she’s looking forward to moving up with friends and also the opportunity to meet new friends. There will be some familiar faces due to the small community that we live in.

So, if there’s anything worrying you or your child, or even if you think there’s a problem brewing, have a look around the Childline website for help. There’s also games to play and things to create – you can create an account and have your own private ‘locker’ space.

Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Flipping good fun on Pancake Day!

Pancake day...Pancake Tuesday... Shrove Tuesday. Whatever you may call it, it's the day of the year when pancakes are eaten in households all over the UK!

The celebratory eating of pancakes is usually confined to just one day of the year, but I  must confess, we sneak a couple of extra Pancake days (not necessarily Tuesday!) into our yearly calendar!

Here's my age-old recipe that I use time and time again... similar to Delia's but in my opinion, easier!

10 fl oz semi-skimmed milk
4 oz plain flour
2 eggs
Lard, for frying


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large jug or mixing bowl. Whisk with a hand whisk for about 2 minutes. I don't sieve the flour as the whisking incorporates enough air to give the pancake 'bubbles'!
  2. Heat a knob of lard in a frying pan until just smoking. Add a ladle of the pancake mix to the pan, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan and then cook until the pancake loosens from the bottom of the pan. Flip(!) and cook the other side for a few more seconds.
  3. Serve warm with a filling of your choice. I stick to lemon & sugar but there are all sorts of crazy options out there!
  4. You can keep the mix in the fridge for a day... but ours never lasts that long! Enjoy!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Half term begins... and it's raining!

My children started their half term holidays today... and it's raining! We managed a quick dash to our local library in between showers and chose some good reads for the week. We also have the facility to borrow DVD's from the library too and so we chose 'Maleficent' this time; for a very reasonable sum of £1.55, you can borrow a DVD for up to 7 days... that's at least 4 viewings of a great family film! Just need to stock up on popcorn!

Tonight's tea was my eldest's choice - Macaroni Pasticcio. Ours might not look as good as the picture but so long as everyone enjoys, that's all that matters!

Hope you are all enjoying the start to the half term break - I just hope the rain leaves us along for a couple of days!