Last Minute Valentine’s Gift – Cherry Truffles

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Valentine’s Cherry Truffles

Valentine’s Cherry Truffles – A Remedy for ‘Oops!’

Surely, we’ve all done it?  Valentine gifts often start appearing in our shops while we’re still recovering from the excess of our New Year’s celebrations. The roses, chocolates, pink champagne and cute teddy bears fill the shelves of the ‘seasonal’ aisle so far in advance of the ‘big day of love’ that we walk past them for weeks. They serve as a vague prompt to St Valentine, but cease to be a timely reminder of the need to purchase a pink, or red, love token for our nearest and dearest in the crucial few days before the 14th February.

I’ve walked passed the garish pink display many times with the promise of ‘I’ll get something next week’, only to experience that ‘oops’ moment on the eve of Valentine’s Day.

If that happens to be you this year, then here is the perfect solution – a homemade gift, using a few store cupboard items.  Of course, if you don’t have white chocolate, biscuits, cheese, or more importantly, cherries, in your cupboard, then nip and get them and feel virtuous that you didn’t just buy that withering bunch of roses. Valentine’s Cherry Truffles!

You Will Need:

The Battle of the Peter Rabbit with Floppy Ears and Other Tales from a 6th Birthday Party…

IMG_1583Lulu’s Peter Rabbit Party

There is something quite refreshing about a child who lives in the moment, a child for whom time, as a concept, is rarely used.  Refreshing that is until you try to usher said child out of the door to avoid the mad dash up to the school gates, or when a major event appears on the horizon..

Lulu was telling everyone she met that her birthday was in January, even before Christmas.  Since she went back to school she has asked with increasing frequency “when is my birthday?”, or “is it my party tomorrow?”.

Over the past week, she has witnessed the planning for her party and the creation and steady progress on her birthday cake, and the questions have been coming thick and fast.  This year Lulu asked for a Peter Rabbit birthday. She came home last Saturday in the midst of my struggles with Peter Rabbit’s ears, which (as previously mentioned) refused to stand upright – a bit of creativity with a couple of cocktail sticks and a safe place to dry and….bingo! Peter Rabbit with appropriately pointy ears.

Lulu didn’t see the finished cake until the morning of her party and, despite previously telling me that Peter Rabbit looked only ‘pretty good for a rabbit made of icing’, she was one happy bunny (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Peter Rabbit Birthday Cake

Peter Rabbit Birthday Cake

Here is how we did Lulu’s Peter Rabbit Birthday Party.

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Welcome 2014

Our jolly little ‘Hello’ to 2014!

Hello and Happy New Year!

Apologies for the prolonged absence. Christmas was crazy busy (of course!), and I must confess that after powering down for an extended Christmas break, it’s taken a little bit more effort than usual to power back up…

But, now we’re back, primed, and ready for the year ahead. We’ve got masses of exciting things lined up for 2014, not least a 6th birthday party for Lulu in a couple of weeks. So join us for what, we are sure, will be a wonderful year!

Christmas Party – Winter Wonderland!

Mook & Lulu's Winter Wonderland Party

Mook & Lulu’s Winter Wonderland Party

In case you hadn’t noticed… Christmas is almost here!

And yes, a ‘First World’ Christmas can mean an exponential rise in road rage incidents as the big day gets nearer, the horrific spectacle that is parents trampling the seated small children of the choir in a race to photograph their little darling on the stage, and the utter madness that is Christmas food shopping, but, despite all of this, I LOVE Christmas!

I’ve always loved Christmas.  From the golden years of my childhood, through the feigned nonchalance of my teenage years, to the much quieter times before we were a family of four.  But since Mook & Lulu have been old enough to get excited about Christmas, the magic is back!

So, as I dutifully hike backwards and forwards to the school to attend a flurry of school Christmas activities, plan for Christmas parties, and join endless queues for car parks, I will always fall happily into my bed at the end of the day in the run up to Christmas. *Cheese alert* It really IS the most wonderful time of the year!

If you’re flagging a little in the run up to Christmas Day, here are a few photos from our recent Winter Wonderland Christmas Party to liven you up! Enjoy!

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Birthday Treat – Biscuiteers Icing Class!

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Advent Biscuits – the results of an icing masterclass at Biscuiteers

What a difference a week makes! I am once again mobile (for the most part) and so I took the chance to spoil myself for my birthday and booked onto an masterclass at the phenomenal Biscuiteers Icing Cafe.

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Children In Need – a time to think of others…

It’s been an interesting week…

Things have been a little chaotic at home this week.  First, I was knocked sideways by head cold of man-flu proportions *sniffle*, I was then (almost literally) knocked off my feet by a partial rupture of my Achilles tendon *sob*.

I was told to rest – perfect.  Except this is not easy with two small children. Plus, it is amazing how even the simplest of tasks are frustratingly difficult when you’re struggling to walk, let alone drive. Needless to say my family and friends have rallied round and everyone got to where they should be, when they should be, more or less.

This week has not been easy, but each year, around this time, Children In Need reminds us that there are people dealing with much bigger problems than the trifling difficulties we’ve encountered this week.

I’ve not been able to do much myself for Children In Need this year, bar bundle the kids off to school with a charitable donation, but I’ve taken a quiet moment to curate a Pinterest board of some of the great things others have done in aid of this great charity.  Might be useful for inspiration next year…

 

Why not have a look at our Pinterest board here for more ideas.

Bonfire Night – Rocket Cupcakes!

Bonfire Night - Rocket Cupcakes

Bonfire Night – Rocket Cupcakes

We went to an organised Firework display at our local fire station on Saturday, it was fantastic! –  so here’s a huge thank you to the organisers at Middlemoor Fire Station, Exeter.

A Saturday night firework display was a good option for us, as Mook and Lulu don’t cope well with staying up late on a school night…so it was bed time as usual this evening.

Don’t worry, we’re not total killjoys! We’re shifting our bonfire night back to Friday, but as a concession to ‘no fireworks on November the 5th’ I made these Rocket Cupcakes for Mook and Lulu – fortunately, it worked a treat!

Here’s how to make Rocket Cupcakes..

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Halloween – Jellied Pumpkins

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Jellied Pumpkins

For a quick, and easy, last-minute addition to your Halloween Party food – try these Jellied Pumpkins.

Our party guests couldn’t wait to dive into these fruity ‘pumpkins’ with their jet-black filling. They’re very easy to do – here’s how.

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Halloween – Spider Delights!

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Spider Delights!

Looking for a last minute baked treat for your Halloween Party?  Have a go at these ‘Spider Delights’ decorated cupcakes.

Lulu is terrified of spiders.  Needless to say, these Spider Delights cupcakes gave her no problems at all, in fact they were the first thing she made a grab for at our Halloween party and she devoured one in minutes – it was blood-chilling to watch!

To make six Spider Delights, you will need..

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Halloween Party Decorations

ImagePlanning a Halloween Party? Here are our tips for creating a spooky spectacular…

Pick a colour scheme

Choosing a colour scheme will focus your planning and coordinate the overall look of your haunting Halloween party.  We selected black, green and orange for all the decorations and tableware for our party.

Pick a setting

We were very fortunate to have a fabulous black fireplace as the backdrop for our party table.  Choose a setting that can be decorated as a mise en scene for your focal point – the party food table.

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