Life with two Smalls and a fistful of daydreams


Happy Bean :)


First day of Year 2 for Tori and first day or Reception for Artie!


My little Star Wars addicts! 

The appeal of school has apparently worn thin…


Star Baker worthy Plum Frangipane Tart!


We found a Gruffalo!!


I fear I have a new addiction…


They are so grown up…


 Making a jellyfish.
257.  Room defeated!


Circus Skills day at school!

259.  Hair style fun!

260.  Hair cut day!

261.  Family day trip to Warwick Castle :)

262. Custard!


  Dance club day!

264.  A fond farewell. Sleep well Aunty Kath X

265.  The less said about today, the better.

266.  Unwinding.


 My beautiful big girl.
268.  My mum ready to sing with Of One Accord at church.

269.  Pretty Shrewsbury

270.  I defeated choux pastry!!

271.  Who needs brushes when you have hands?


 Book reviewer fame at last!

 Pretty garden spider by our front door :)

  Yet more painting!


Blog On Win silliness!



 New discovery for the kids – domino runs! 

I have loved making this scarf – I know it was simple and as basic as you could get – but I found it very therapeutic and by the time I reached the end I felt confident enough that the prospect of trying something more complex next time isn’t horrifying.

Knitting a chunky scarf on cool Autumn nights is a brilliant way to keep warm – definitely a good pass-time for the cooler nights.

The scariest part of this project was joining in new balls of wool – I didn’t even have a clue where to start. I asked Twitter and there was an even split between suggesting I tied the two yarns together and knitting the knew yarn in.

I opted to knit it in for this project – next time I might try tying them together just so I can see which tactic I prefer.

I liked how I couldn’t really see the join after knitting it in and even me deliberately trying to pull it apart again didn’t work so I hope it will last. 

Finally it came to casting off – I was a little terrified of this bit but after managing to knit in the new balls of wool I figured I’d be okay.

The instructions in the Patons Learn To Knit book are so clear and simple, they take the fear out of new things even for idiots like me.  

I’m really pleased that I finished my project and I have already packaged up the finished product and sent it to my big sister.

Not just because I think the colour will suit her but because she too is knitting a scarf… And has been knitting that same scarf for the last 27 years. Apparently she is almost at the point of casting off but who knows when that will happen – so I sent her my finished one to keep her warm in the mean time.

Because that’s what nice baby sisters do 😉

I can’t thank Make It Coats UK enough for helping me pluck up the courage to pick up some knitting needles – and I’m super excited to see what is coming up next. And how well I can cope when I have to do more than one type of stitch 😉

It was a tough choice deciding what to make this week – cream horns and eclairs are both favourites of mine.

In the end though, I decided to chicken out of making puff pastry in favour of taking on an old enemy – choux pastry.

If you were following this blog for previous Bake Offs you may remember the savoury profiterole disaster I had. Well I haven’t made choux pastry since then, so my success record with the stuff remains at zero.

So this was my plan. And I decided to use fresh cream because I’m always disappointed when I get eclairs and things that have that custardy stuff in them – it should be proper cream!!

I kept it super simple because of my previous record. I just wanted to come out the other side with some vaguely eclair-like things that, hopefully, tasted nice.

First improvement on last time was that my choux mixture was thick enough to put in a piping bag and pipe. That’s a massive step in the right direction right there!

They weren’t neat or pretty and they were piped using an entirely inappropriate nozzle because I only own one at the moment it turns out so it’s that or nothing!

I was pleased to see that they baked okay – zero points for prettiness or consistency but they all worked out so I will take it as a win.

To fill them I simply whipped some cream with vanilla and icing sugar and used a piping bag and nozzle to squirt it inside.

To finish them off I made a simple glaze using water, icing sugar and hot chocolate powder (because I ran out of cocoa powder!) which made them look marginally more presentable!

They were tasty but not prizewinning. I need more practise 😉

This bake was made using Stork with Butter – I was reimbursed the cost of two tubs in return for taking part using the product. Many thanks to all involved.

Mummy Mishaps

The Great Bloggers Bake Off 2015 is being hosted by the lovely Jenny at Mummy Mishaps and if you hop over there you can take a look at all the other super tasty entries in the linky.

Pastry week fils me with fear. I’ve not often made any pastry myself and when I have it has more often than not been a failure.

I’ve never made frangipane either, so clearly frangipane tart was the way to go!

My Mum and Dad have been plying me with fruit from their garden so I decided to use some of it in my recipe – Victoria Plum Frangipane!

I’ve only ever made savoury shortcrust pastry before so I had to find a new recipe for that as I didn’t fancy the ketchup and paprika pastry I usually make in a sweet tart!

I’m not very good at hand making pastry – my hands are too warm, they just melt the butter and I end up in a huge sticky mess but I persevered and ended up with pastry that was actually pretty good!

Victoria Plum Frangipane TartIMG_2888

For the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry you will need:

225g Plain Flour

110g Butter

80g Icing Sugar

1 Large Egg

A Splash Of Milk


  1. Crumb together the butter and flour.
  2. Add in the sugar.
  3. Mix in the egg and just enough milk to bring the mix together into a soft dough.
  4. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

IMG_2891 For the Victoria Plum Frangipane Tart you will need:

Your Shortcrust Pastry from above

100g Butter, softened

125g Caster Sugar (plus an extra tablespoon or so)

2 Eggs, beaten

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

175g Ground Almonds

50g Plain Flour

6-8 Victoria Plums, halved and pitted

Flaked Almonds to decorate (optional)


  1. Roll out you pastry and use to line a fluted tart tin, making sure it is pressed well into the corners and fluted sides.
  2. Cut off any overhanging pastry with a sharp knife then chill for 30 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla, beating well between each addition.
  5. Mix in the almonds and flour.
  6. Heat oven to 160°C Fan (180°C/GM4).
  7. Spoon the frangipane into the chilled tart case and smooth with a palette knife.
  8. Arrange the plums on top, gently pressing into the frangipane. Add flaked almonds between plums if using.
  9. Sprinkle at least 1 tbsp sugar over the top of the tart.
  10. Place the tin on a tray and bake for 45-55 minutes until the pastry is golden and fruit tender.



My pastry was slightly underbaked in the middle and slightly overbaked on the edges but, that aside, I was very pleased with the result and it goes particularly well with ice cream!



Mummy Mishaps

The Great Bloggers Bake Off 2015 is being hosted by the lovely Jenny at Mummy Mishaps and if you hop over there you can take a look at all the other super tasty entries in the linky.

Shortly after posting my first post about my knitting adventure with Coats Craft UK, I completely undid all of my wonky project and started over.

As proud as I was of my first attempt, it was wonky and a bit scruffy, so I decided to start again as I had got into the rhythm a bit more and thought I could do better.

A much better start and I hadn’t lost or gained any stitches. It seemed more even too which is always a good thing.

I know I am only doing the most basic knit stitch (which I think is known as garter stitch) but I am enjoying myself now I have found a rhythm. Now I have done a bit more and have a decent sized piece of work, it really feels like I have achieved something at the same time as sitting and watching Ashes To Ashes on an evening. (Yes, I have only just got round to watching it. Yes, I’m behind the times.)


I am totally in love with the Rowan Yarns Big Wool too – it is perfect for scarves and snoods. Chunky and comforting and rich in colour. The more I use it, the more I love it!

241.  Today we went and took part in the Story Book Festival happening in a local village – enjoying a trail round the village and church spotting all our favourite classic characters.  

242. Today was a right mix of sunshine and showers so we decided the only answer was to go do some puddle jumping at Attingham Park :)

243. Today was all about Timmy. There were tears but also lots of laughter as everyone gathered together to remember him.  

244.  I restarted my knitting today to try and neaten it up a bit.

245.  The Smalls and I drove up to Leeds today to visit my grandparents. It was funny watching Arthur get so engrossed in this game as I remember playing with it for hours when I was little too.

246.  Today brought another National Trust adventure. This time we went to Sunnycroft in Telford with English Folkfan to belatedly celebrate her birthday.

247. It’s the end of the holidays soon, right? We can get back into a proper routine now, right? Please tell me they go back to school soon…   


September. The month that always feels more like a new year than New Year.

The kids are back at school next week and with Artie starting in reception it’s a bit new for all of us.

I decided I needed a project – something new to learn – and thanks to the lovely ladies I met in the craft room at BritMums Live back in June, my wish has been fulfilled.

Coats Craft UK have very kindly started me out on the journey of learning to knit. My mum has tried to teach me before but it never got anywhere and it was, to child/teenage me, impossible and annoying. Then I tried it at BritMums (after consuming wine…) and discovered that grown up me actually quite liked it once someone showed me what on earth to do. (Unlike crotchet, which was horrible even though everyone claimed it was easier than knitting. It so isn’t.)

Coats Craft armed me with this gorgeous Rowan Yarns Big Wool (in Pine Needle), some glittery knitting needles, a how-to book and a super easy pattern for a scarf/cowl.

Now all I need to do is put all the things together and make something!!

The first of September marked day one of the project and I sat down in the evening to do a few rows.

I was surprised at how easily I got the hang of casting on…

  …and then amused/frustrated by my total inability to work out how to do the first row of actual knitting.
After studying the book, a couple of false starts and some amused help from my other half (who apparently can knit…) I got going!

And two rows later realised I was gaining stitches somewhere. Then I lost one again.

This is definitely going to take some practise! However I did end up with what looked like a piece of knitting. It is wonky and uneven but I did it all by myself and I’m sure I’ll get better as I do more.

For my first day of my September Project I think I did okay. 



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