31 October 2017

Easy Halloween Cupcake Recipe

We love any excuse to bake in our house and celebrations like Halloween provide the perfect opportunity to do so. I thought I'd share our super easy vanilla cupcake recipe with you which can be so easily customised depending on the season with cupcake cases, the colour of your icing and decorations.

Try our easy Halloween Cupcake Recipe, perfect for baking with children


For our Halloween cupcakes we chose some spooky cupcake cups from Tiger which I really love as they are much easier than paper cases when it comes to the girls spooning in the mixture as they don't fold in on themselves and hold their shape. We then just made up some orange butter cream and added sprinkles. You can be as creative as you like with your toppings, we used brown and orange millions, yellow and white stars and sprinkles. If you have time some to make some little icing eyes they would work well too or you can usually buy Halloween sugar decorations in the shops at this time of year.

Recipe

110 /4oz Butter
110g/4oz Caster Sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g/4oz self-raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk

For the Buttercream icing:

140g/5oz Butter
280g/10oz icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
Food colouring

And decorations of your choice!

Method

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

- Cream the butter and sugar together

- Beat in the eggs a little at a time

- Add the vanilla extract

- Fold in the flour

- Add in the milk

- Spoon into the cases until they are half full then bake for 10-15 mins or until golden brown on top. 

- Cool on a wire rack before decorating.

- To make your icing  beat the butter until soft, add in half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the icing sugar and your milk and food colour and mix until smooth.

- Either pipe or spread your icing on top. I like to give the girls a little bowl and a small children's knife each to spread their own. I also but all the decorations on a large plate so they can just pick them up and sprinkle them on rather than pouring directly from the tub. It's easier for them to share and means that they don't tip them all on the cake by accident.

Enjoy!

Me x

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Try our easy Halloween Cupcake Recipe, perfect for baking with children


Looking for more Halloween Recipes? Try our Spooky Halloween Biscuits

You may also be interested in Things to do with children at Halloween

28 October 2017

Quick and Easy Family Meals with Princes Tuna

As a mum to three children I am run off my feet and when it comes to mealtimes I want to make something, quick, easy and healthy that the whole family will enjoy. Princes Tuna sent us some of their new Tuna Fillers to try along with their store cupboard staple 'Tuna Chunks in Spring Water' all of which offer a great solution for busy parents looking to provide nutritious, tasty meals with minimum fuss. We put them to the test and have two simple meal ideas to share with you.

Princes Tuna Fillers - Quick and Easy Family Meal Ideas

There are two yummy ready made tuna filler flavours - Mexican Tuna with kidney beans in a spicy dressing and New York Deli which is tuna mixed with sweetcorn and a cool mustard mayo; both are perfect for serving with something like a jacket potato.


Princes Tuna Fillers - Mexican Tuna Jacket Potato

I made a Mexican tuna jacket potato with very little effort, all I had to do was pop a potato in the oven, put the timer on and then come back to it, add some butter then open and spoon the topping on with some salad leaves on the side. I love a crispy baked potato but if you are extra pressed for time just put the potato in the microwave and voila - a meal in minutes! You could also try this with sweet potatoes for a twist:



We quite often have jacket potatoes on a weeknight after school because they are just so easy. They are also really flexible meaning I can put bowls of several different fillings on the table and everyone can choose their favourite, making it a fuss free dinner that we all enjoy. The fillers come in tubs that look like little ramekins so you can just open them up and add them to the table and enjoy them this way. My favourite thing about them is that they are high in protein and low in saturated fat which is really important to me when making a meal for my family.


Tuna is a great go to base for a meal as it's good for you and you can just do so much with it, whether it's baked potatoes, a pasta bake, sandwiches, wraps, bagels or in a salad... the list goes on. You can be as creative as you want with it and tailor it to your family's tastes. The thing I love about the Princes Fillers is that they are ready to go when you get in from the school run, back late from a day out or if you're just tired after a long day and want to rustle something up that you won't feel guilty about serving up. You can simply grab a couple when you are doing your food shop and keep them in the cupboard for when you need them.


We also really like the Princes Tuna in fresh spring water as it's really easy to add to your own recipes and something you can keep in the cupboard and throw in to a meal. Quesadillas are a firm favourite in our house as they so simple to make, (especially if you normally have a child climbing up your leg when you are cooking like I often do) and the girls really enjoy them. You can add anything to them but I find tuna and cheese is a really yummy (and winning) combination.




Simply heat a large pan and add a tortilla wrap, sprinkle with grated cheese and Princes Tuna then put another wrap on top, after a few minutes flip the wrap over and heat in the pan until the wrap is crispy and golden. All the cheese and tuna will have deliciously melted, joining the two wraps together. Leave to cool for a few minutes then slice into triangles and serve with crudites like carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, peppers and tomatoes. A healthy and nutritious meal ready in just minutes that the children will love!

Princes Tuna Fillers - Quick and Easy Family Meal Ideas

I hope that's given you a little bit of tea time inspiration. If you have any ideas for recipes I'd love to hear them.

Me x


*This is a collaborative post*

16 October 2017

Disney On Ice Passport To Adventure

I'm really excited to be taking the girls to see the latest production from Disney on Ice - 'Passport to Adventure' over half term. We went to 'Frozen on Ice' last year and it was fantastic so we have equally high hopes for this next instalment of Disney magic.

'Passport to Adventure' features all our favourite Disney movies: The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, The Lion King and Frozen. The show promises to take you on a world tour under the sea, to Neverland, the plains of Africa and to the snowy mountains of Arendelle - all with Minnie, Micky and the team as our guides.

Disney On Ice Passport To Adventure
Grab your Disney Passport and prepare for a magical adventure

The costumes look incredible and we know from our last visit to a Disney on Ice production that the choreography will be breathtaking. There are always some fab surprises too which bring our Disney favourites to life and make it feel like you are truly part of the show. Then of course there is the music- clap along, sing along, Disney classics which the whole family know and love. What more could you want?

Disney On Ice Passport To Adventure
The Lion King amongst other Disney favourites will be brought to life on ice

We're going to the Arena Birmingham (formerly the Barclaycard Arena) however the show is touring the country and you can catch it on the following dates and locations:

18th - 29th October 2017 - Arena Birmingham

3rd - 5th November 2017 - SSE Arena, Belfast

10th -12th November 2017 - Citywest Hotel, Dublin

15th - 19th November 2017 - Flydsa Arena (formerly Sheffield Arena) Sheffield

20th November - 30th December 2017 - O2 Arena, London

There are still tickets available on the Disney On Ice Website where you can also find details of next year's Spring tour 'Worlds of Enchantment'.

Disney On Ice Passport To Adventure
The girls can't wait to see Ariel
The girls are so excited, particularly about taking a journey into Ariel's colourful mermaid world and are counting the sleeps until we go. I'm looking forward to seeing their little faces and sharing a review with you here following the show.

Me x

You may also be interested in our review of last year's show 'Disney On Ice Presents Frozen'

10 October 2017

You Can't Pour From An Empty Cup

Lately I have been feeling totally and utterly burnt out. I'm finding this whole working mama thing a tough gig right now and am run down and overwhelmed. Having three children, working and trying to run a household is nothing out of the ordinary, nothing amazing, but exhausting and pretty relentless none the less. My mind is continually contemplating what needs to be done next and I find it really difficult to shut off, particularly as it can be late in the evening before I sit down and more often that not I just want to go to bed.

You can't pour from an empty cup

There are toys scattered all over the living room and playroom, there are approximately 41 fridge magnets which have been removed from the fridge and arranged in some kind of home alone style booby trap over the kitchen floor. The stuff from making dinner is still on the sideboard and the bins need emptying. There is washing in the machine that needs to be dried, more washing upstairs that needs to be washed, clothes and bags that need getting ready for tomorrow, I have work to do and I'm so tired. There just aren't enough hours in the day and as much as I'm all for 'the jobs can wait' mantra, lets be honest, they can't all wait and left unattended for too long only add to the feelings of overwhelm...

My mum sent me a message last week that simply said "you can't pour from an empty cup, look after you," and she's absolutely right, my cup is looking very empty and yet I'm still trying to make it stretch a little bit further. As parents I think it's really easy to forget yourself and really hard to make time for yourself. There's a never ending to do list and I find myself firmly at the bottom of it. There are quite a few people (mostly little ones) relying on me to be on form and I'm not sure I'm doing anything particularly well at the moment, it certainly feels that way anyway and that in itself feels pretty overwhelming.

Mothers are given the accolades of being 'the linchpins of families', 'the buttons that hold everything together' and we can't do that if we don't look after ourselves. It's usually not until I crash that I remember how important self care is. Looking after me is crucial to my family, not selfish and not something to feel guilty about and something I am going to start trying to prioritise.

So tonight (once I've put the children to bed!) I'm going to look after me and I encourage you to do the same. The bath is running and there's some chocolate with my name on it. Then I'm going to sit, and breathe, and paint my nails, snuggle up by the fire, watch rubbish guilty pleasure TV and reset. Hopefully the only empty cup by bedtime will be the one I've drank a nice hot cup of tea out of.


Me x

3 October 2017

Get Ready For Halloween with John Lewis

*This is a collaborative post which contains affiliate links*

The little ladies love a celebration and Halloween is fast becoming a favourite in our house. They really enjoy dressing up, decorating the house and of course enjoying all the treats that come with it.

John Lewis have some great Autumnal bits and pieces this year to decorate your home and some fantastic Halloween costumes for children. Their range incorporates lots of cute items which are great for small children as they scream Halloween but without being scary and tick the stylish box for me too. I thought I'd share a few of our favourite picks with you.

Decorations


I absolutely love this 'BOO' balloon, it's great value and would look brilliant as a centre piece for a Halloween party or on the wall over a table of Halloween treats.

Boo Halloween Garland John Lewis

These cheeky little Ghost and Pumpkin decorations would be fab hung by the front door to welcome trip or treaters blowing in the wind, or perhaps in the window. Their smiles give them a welcoming feel that I think is really fun.

Ghost and pumpkin halloween decorations John Lewis


Similarly these pumpkin stakes would be brilliant if you have a flowerbed outside your house or along a front path, or even inside on a little floral arrangement if that's your thing.

pumpkin stake halloween decorations John Lewis

We really love twinkly lights and the dark nights that October bring lend themselves perfectly to these pumpkin table lights. I think they would look great winding in and out of party food on a table or along a window sill. They are battery operated meaning you can find the perfect spot for them without having to find a plug!

Pumpkin string lights John Lewis

With children around safety is really important to me and we always use LED tealights in our pumpkins and in candle holders. John Lewis have them in all sorts of shapes and sizes and they look just as good as 'real' ones making them a really good investment.

LED Candles John Lewis

Finally I adore the colours of Autumn and warmth pumpkin orange can add to a grey October day. This wreath is gorgeously rustic and would look so lovely on any front door to offering such a seasonal welcome home or to visitors. I absolutely love it and the best bit is you can pop it away and bring it out each year.

John Lewis Autumn Wreath

Costumes and treats


Half the fun of Halloween is dressing up but it can be frightening for young children and finding a reasonably priced costume can be tricky. I really like this ombre witch outfit and i know the girls would too.
Childrens witch costume John Lewis

If your little ones don't want to dress up but might like to add something special to a party outfit John Lewis have some lovely accessories such as these light up cat ears which are on a headband -  also handy if you are out trick or treating when it's dark!
Childrens light up halloween cat ears John Lewis

I really love these Rockahula hair bobbles which can be used all year round and make such a cute finishing touch to any outfit. I particularly love that these come as a set of three for obvious reasons!

Rockahula Hair Bobbles John Lewis


If you're not heading out trick or treating John Lewis have a range of Halloween pjs and onesies which are perfect for snuggling up in with some pumpkin soup and the most adorable range of baby grows for the littlest members of your family. How cute is this pumpkin sleep suit? So sweet for a first Halloween.
Pumpkin sleepsuit John Lewis

We haven't actually taken the girls trick or treating yet but we do celebrate with lots of treats and always pick and carve a pumpkin and make some Halloween cupcakes. I'll definitely be getting some of these cake toppers which are a really easy way to give a normal cupcake a spooky twist. I love the bats but they also have little ghosts and pumpkins.

Bat cake toppers for halloween from John Lewis

I'll also be buying them a chocolate frog each as although they aren't aware of Harry Potter just yet they are so cool and add a little touch of magic!

Harry Potter Chocolate Frog at John Lewis


I hope that's given you a little bit of inspiration. There are so many other lovely items in the John Lewis Halloween range which you can view HERE.

Wishing you a Happy Halloween!

Me x

* All images copyright of John Lewis and used with permission*