Saturday 30 June 2018

Handmade Peacock Anniversary Card

I recently signed up to the Hunkydory Craft club - Hunkydory is a craft brand that is particularly known for ready made toppers and die cut images and sentiments. Their club gives you a discount when you buy, but the reason I signed up was because you could get a set of toppers for only the £2.99 cost of postage as a new member.

The set I got included flamingos, birds - and peacocks. I decided to use one of the peacock images to make an anniversary card for my husband for our second anniversary as we'd had peacocks at our wedding.

You can read more about the venue and our day in my post from 2016 on our wedding at the Larmer Tree Gardens.

To make the card, I chose a larger than usual A5 card blank and covered it with a piece of the cardstock that came with the Hunkydory set. It had a strip of a different pattern across part of the card which I positioned along the bottom of my card and added a border from the same set. The peacock and frame are all different elements from the Hunkydory set too.

Finally I added a glittery thick card word saying 'anniversary' which I think I bought from Tesco (though I could be wrong!).

I'm sharing this with:

Daring Cardmakers where the theme is weddings or anniversaries

TGIF challenges has the theme 'all that glitters'

Alphabet Challenge - G is for great outdoors, and the peacock represents our outdoor wedding

and at Tuesday Taggers it's 'things with wings'.

Monday 25 June 2018

Meal Planning 2018 Week 26

It's a scorcher this week! I expect we will be barbecuing a fair bit but these days I don't really have the time to make different recipes and it's more a case of just ordering meat. But I don't really like to eat that much meat and never really eat any veg when we barbecue (I only like salad when I have it as a meal in itself, I somehow can't make myself eat it on the side at a barbecue!). So I need to factor in a couple of other meals when I can eat some veg and try to find some easy healthy barbecue recipes as well!

Barbecue - including cauliflower with a spice rub, from an Ocado recipe and possibly also chicken fattoush

Spaghetti Bolognese to use up mince from Sunday's tacos


Chicken chargrills and mashed potato for him, chicken cacciatore for me


Lunch - my husband is working today so I will have a sandwich or salad
dinner- he will probably want to barbecue again assuming I've been able to restock food!

Lunch - fresh pasta
Dinner - chicken tray bake

Restaurant review: Finch's pub, Finsbury Square, London

Baby S had a big day recently - we got the train up to London and a bus to visit daddy at work. She was definitely a big hit with some of his colleagues and it was my first time seeing my husband’s office too which was nice - he has a much better view out his window than when I was at work!

#My office was only a ten minute walk away so after lunch I took S in to meet my team and I had a good catch up with my manager while I was feeding the baby. In the end we were out of the house for over 7 hours and S was so well behaved and meant for a much easier day than I expected (she was only 14 weeks old after all) - S had her lunch in the pub when we did then I fed her again in the break room at my office.

My husband’s suggestion for lunch was a pub near his office called Finch’s as he'd been before and knew they did good food. The staff were very happy accommodating a buggy and gave us a table with plenty of space; however when I asked to use the disabled toilets which had a baby change table, I found they were using it as storage for several chairs and I couldn't get to the changing table without moving at least half a dozen chairs - and decided not to bother and change S when we got to my office.

I was tempted to order the mac and cheese scotch egg (£8), which I was told was a vegetarian version of a scotch egg with macaroni cheese around the egg instead of sausage meat. It sounded really nice and I wish I had ordered it now, but it didn't come with anything and I didn't particularly want to order a side of chips but didn't think the egg would be enough on its own. Instead I had the pulled BBQ pork in a brioche bun (£9), which also didn't come with any sides as it was on the brunch menu. It was really filling and very good - the barbecue sauce was delicious - but perhaps a little expensive as I would expect to pay not much more for a burger (or pulled pork in a bun) with chips. My husband had the burger which did come with chips which at £14 and another £1.50 to add bacon was also quite steep. I guess the City centre location was part of that, but while the food was good it was a bit expensive for what we had.

I couldn't see any sign of branding and my husband said he'd never noticed anything to suggest it was part of a chain so I was surprised when I looked it up on the internet afterwards and found it was a Young's pub. Young's always does good food and this was no exception.



Friday 22 June 2018

Lotus Biscoff Chocolate Mousse

If you haven't discovered Lotus Biscoff spread yet, I urge you to try it now. The little caramelised biscuits you often get with a cup of coffee in cafes have been turned into a spread that is the consistency of Nutella, but tastes like biscuits!

The company's website suggests it as a breakfast food spread on toast which I think might be a bit sweet - I don't even eat Nutella on toast though I do have it on croissants, but otherwise I use it in desserts. Or eat it straight from the jar with a spoon!

I wanted to make an easy dessert for a barbecue with family and found a recipe for Lotus Biscoff and chocolate mousse on the Ocado app. The recipe had  step missing - it didn't tell you what to do with the egg whites that were listed in the ingredients - so I took a punt, and will explain here what I did.

I didn't buy any of the actual Lotus Biscoff biscuits as they are for decoration only and make the recipe quite expensive if you need to buy a whole packet only to use a few, unless you are going to eat the rest of the biscuits later!

The recipe says it serves 8; I did it for 5 and for 8 people the portions would be quite small, so you could use this quantity to serve 6

You need:
200g Lotus Biscoff smooth spread (see link above)
200g dark chocolate
5 eggs
200ml whipping cream - I used double cream as I couldn't get whipping cream and it worked fine

Heat the chocolate and Biscoff spread in the microwave until melted- I did on the 5 setting (medium heat) for 2 minutes.

Separate the egg and in one bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk until stiff and set both whites and yolks aside. Whip the cream and set aside.

Beat the egg yolks one at a time into the chocolate mixture then fold in the beaten egg whites. Finally fold in the whipped cream.

Spoon into individual serving dishes and chill for a few hours until set; these will also keep overnight in the fridge.

The mousse was very rich but really light in texture, this is definitely something to make again!

I'm sharing this with CookBlogShare hosted by Everyday Healthy Recipes and We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin and Thyme

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 25

A lot going on this week - it's our wedding anniversary and my parents are coming to stay after that and have offered to babysit one night, so as well as going out for our anniversary we might go to the cinema as well. We used to go regularly - though mainly to see each Marvel movie when they came out as my husband is a big fan - but have only been to the cinema once since S was born 15 weeks ago. Unsurprisingly that was to see the Marvel Avengers film, Infinity War! This time I think it will be between Solo - a Star Wars story, and Jurassic World - a fallen kingdom. We'd both like to see Deadpool 2 as well but with three good films out at the moment I think we will have to wait for that one on DVD or Sky Cinema!

Dinner out for our anniversary at the Ned

Barbecue at home

Wednesday - my parents are staying
Lunch- beans/macaroni cheese on toast
Dinner- Hunter's chicken with Applewood barbecue sauce, from an Ocado recipe

Lunch- early lunch as we are going to My Gym so something easy like cheese toasties (I'll confess - I just had the food shopping delivered and realised I forgot to plan anything for today's lunch!)
Dinner-  barbecue

Lunch- fresh pasta
Dinner- possibly out if I'm meeting my husband from work to go to the cinema

Lunch- was going to do baked croque monsieur from an Ocado recipe, depends if we already had chees on toast on Thursday!
Dinner- Tacos I was going to do last week but didn't, or leftover barbecue food

Lunch- TBA
Dinner- whichever of the Saturday options we didn't have, or a chicken traybake

Sunday 17 June 2018

Focus on the Journey, not the Destination handmade card

This card has an inspirational sentiment that would be suitable for a birthday or someone who is going travelling - though I actually gave it to my dad for Father's Day.

It's made from free gifts that came with a recent issue of Creative Stamping magazine. I stamped a white card blank with some of the clear stamps that came with this issue - one was a train ticket, one was a passport stamp, one was a postmark that you might get on a postcard and so on. I stamped them in different coloured inks randomly over the card, then cut a circle from a piece of paper that came with the magazine with a map design. I cut a border from the same paper and stuck it around the edge of the card.

I stamped the plane stamp onto brown paper and cut around it, and stamped the sentiment onto white card which I mounted onto brown card and added those to the card as well.

I'm sending this to My Time to Craft where the challenge is a stamped background, Simply Create Too where the theme is 'for a male' and Ellibelle's Craft Wednesday where the theme is 'make it masculine'; Always Fun Challenges - for a male/dad and Stamps and Fun where the theme is travel and holidays.                 

Friday 15 June 2018

Don't Worry Bee Happy card

This card was made using a few stickers I was given by a friend; I don’t know where she got them from. The stickers were quite large, taking up most of the space on a blank card, so for a while I didn’t know what to do with them.

I decided to use one of the stickers as the background; it is a brown sticker with a few yellow and brown honeycomb shapes in the middle. I cut around the sentiment from another one of the stickers, and found some tiny bee stickers from another set and dotted them around the card.

With the colours I think this card is quite masculine so it would be suitable for a man or a woman.

I’m sharing it with Little Red Wagon where the theme is ‘to bee or not to bee’

 and Tuesday Taggers where the theme is ‘for the boys’

plus Unicorn Challenge where the theme is masculine.

Monday 11 June 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018- week 24

We had a very successful weekend at my parents - I say successful because it was the furthest S had been in a car (she's now 14 weeks old) and we didn't need to stop en route, she slept really well in the travel cot and apart from posseting milk all over the dress my mum bought her, and met her cousin C for the first time.

As it was a busy weekend I hadn't so much as thought about food for this week though we do have plenty in the freezer, and being on maternity leave means I can go and do more food shopping whenever I want - though the little lady does have a schedule of activities I need to fit it around, like baby massage and My Gym!

Leftovers from the weekend

I'm taking S into work to meet everyone today so want a dinner that won't take me long - I'll do something from the freezer with chips

mackerel fillet with new potatoes and garlic based on this recipe for me; chicken fajitas for him (bit of a faff to cook two totally different things but my husband doesn't eat fish!)

Lasagne from my batch cooking in the freezer, and beef grillsteak for him. Or, BBQ if the weather is nice - it's not meant to be that hot this week

Butter chicken curry (cheat's sauce from a jar) I planned to do last week but didn't

Lunch fresh pasta and garlic bread
Dinner tacos

Sunday - Father's Day
Lunch bacon sandwich
Dinner Toad in the hole with the new Richmond chicken sausages

Monday 4 June 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 23

My husband was ill last week so we didn't go to see my family over the weekend after all, so I'm hoping we can go this weekend! Last week's meal plan had a lot of changes besides that, as I had planned to barbecue (or rather, I had planned for my husband to barbecue!) a couple of times based on the weather forecast at the beginning of the week but the forecast changed and it wasn't very nice after all.

Quick dinner as I have to go to a vet appointment for my cat - pasta and smoked salmon for me, pasta and meatballs for him (planned to do this last week but didn't)

Probably something like frozen pizza as my daughter has an appointment at 6pm and I don't know what time I will be back

chicken cacciatore from my batch cooking in the freezer for me, chicken chargrills for him

Possibly barbecue as the weather is meant to be nice - I had to freeze all the barbecue food I bought for last week so there's plenty to choose from!
If we don't barbecue I will do barbecue flavour chicken breasts with potato wedges

Hopefully barbecue again
If not, butter chicken curry

Lunch brunch of pain au chocolat and cinnamon rolls we didn't have last week
Dinner Hopefully with my family this time

Lunch with my family
Dinner I'd promised my husband a takeaway after driving back from my parents last time so I guess the same still applies