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Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

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Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

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A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

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Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

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World Baking Day

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie | Posted on 17-05-2015

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Today is World Baking Day… and also my birthday. So what better way to mark these two events than with cake. Lots and lots of cake. My plans for today generally involve eating cake, and the following sounds just up my street. The “World’s Happiest Cake” features ingredients to lift your mood such as coconut, lime and mango. To me it sounds rather tropical and reminds me of my honeymoon in Maui. Definitely a mood booster. In fact just looking at it makes me smile.

Whilst I go and find someone to bake this for me, and adorn it with a few candles… *ahem*… why don’t you take a look at the recipe.

COCONUT, MANGO AND LIME CAKE RECIPEWorldsHappiestCake-SussexMummy

Servings: 16

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

225g Stork block
325g caster sugar
4 eggs, medium
250g self-raising flour
100g plain flour
Zest of 2 limes
50g dried mango, finely chopped
50g flaked almonds
50g desiccated coconut

Syrup:
Juice of 2 limes
60g caster sugar

Filling:
55g (2 oz) Stork tub
175g icing sugar
1-2 teaspoons milk
100g mango puree (fresh or tinned)

Topping:
100g icing sugar, sieved
25g each of shredded or desiccated coconut and dried mango
15g each sunflower and pumpkin seeds
15g flaked almonds, toasted

1.    To make cake, place Stork block and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and fold in remaining ingredients

2.    Place the mixture in a greased and bottom lined 23cm deep cake tin

3.    Bake on the middle shelf of a preheated moderate oven 170° C, 160° C fan oven, Gas mark 4 for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean

4.    Turn out and cool on a wire tray

5.    For the syrup place sugar and lime juice in a pan over moderate heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and then pour over warm cake

6.    Filling: place Stork tub, sugar and milk together in a bowl and beat together until smooth. Split cake into 3 and sandwich together with icing and mango puree

7.    To finish the cake, make a glace icing by adding either lime juice or water to the icing sugar until a thick pouring consistency and spread over the cake. Top with a mix of seeds, mango, coconut and almonds

8.   Adorn with candles and serve to Sussex Mummy… well I can hope can’t I?

Happy World Baking Day!

Looking Ahead To Little Man’s Third Birthday

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Home & Lifestyle | Posted on 31-07-2013

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I read somewhere recently that September and October are the busiest months for birthdays. Well we don’t have many in those two months – just a couple I think – but we do have one which is rather special. Little Man will be THREE in October. Seems mind blowing to me at the moment to be honest. I’ve been thinking about his birthday for a while and wondering what to do and how to celebrate. We seem pretty set on going to Peppa Pig World for the day with both sets of grandparents but there will invariably be some form of party too. The theme is as yet undecided – he loves Buzz Lightyear, but he is obsessed with Peppa Pig, though at the moment his favourite film is Despicable Me, and then there’s Angry Birds… – but baking will no doubt be a key factor. We’re going to need a birthday cake – hopefully one that won’t give me a nervous breakdown during decorating – and a selection of party food for guests.

Last year we just had an afternoon tea party with cakes and fruit, but this year I’m thinking some savoury food may be appreciated. Needless to say the oven will be on for the duration of the day, but I’m hoping to keep things as simple as possible. We’re probably hosting the party at Nana and Grandad’s house (my parents) as their house is much bigger than ours and much handier for Peppa Pig World. In an ideal world I think we’d have some kind of huge range cooker in place with a giant capacity so we just pop everything in together. Sadly my parents don’t quite have room for one! Thankfully they do have plenty space for Little Man to run around, though no doubt he’ll want to eat his party food in the comfort of his beloved play house which they have in their garden for him.

I am really looking forward to Little Man’s third birthday. He’ll be old enough to really appreciate it, even more than last year. I’m sure he’ll have a great time, and no doubt be spoilt rotten by family and friends. Now I just need to decide on a cake…

Happy Birthday Total Greek!

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Blogger Event, Foodie | Posted on 14-06-2013

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I was very lucky last night to be invited to the Total Greek Birthday Bash, celebrating 30 years of Total Greek Yogurt in the UK. At a venue in Central London a small group of food bloggers gathered for a special masterclass from Master Pâtissier Eric Lanlard. After arrival drinks we watched as Eric took two sponge cakes and sliced them into horizontally before layering them with a mix of Total Greek Yogurt and cream and fresh fruit. Each sponge layer was brushed with a naughty sugar syrup mix laced with ouzo, before the whole cake was surrounded by white chocolate cigarellos and topped with fresh fruit and a special gold leaf caramel. As you can imagine it looked amazing. And he then told us that WE had to replicate it. Mild panic set in amongst the bloggers at this point!

As you can see our stations were well equipped with all the ingredients, a selection of fresh fruit, and plenty bowls, knives, spatulas and piping bags. Having never used a piping bag before I was rather worried, but thankfully the piped cream mix was inside the cake so you can’t really see it. I must confess that it was A LOT of fun. Intimidating yes having Eric wandering around whilst you worked but he was really lovely and offered motivational advice when needed. It was all a bit “Generation Game”-esque with about 10 people frantically making their own cakes but working so close together meant we could all help each other out when needed.

Clearly Eric’s cake looked stunning. His is the one on the left here, and mine is the one on the right.

Now I must admit that I’m rather proud of my cake. Neat cake decorating is not something I do. I tend to bake with a toddler “helping” so it all becomes a bit carnage like. This is the poshest cake I’ve ever decorated in my life. My caramel shards do look a tad menacing compared to Eric’s more delicate ones, but you can probably blame Tea, Cake and Make for that, with whom I shared caramel making and breaking duties! I’ll be tucking in to this cake this evening – its currently being hidden from Little Man!

After the cake decorating extravaganza the room was transformed into a Greek haven, with music, cocktails and delicious canapes courtesy of Tonia Buxton. A lovely evening of food, drink and excellent company followed. A fantastic party and a brilliant way to celebrate Total Greek.

Review: Baker Days Valentines Cake

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-01-2013

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If you are looking to send your loved one something by post this Valentines Day and want to try something a little different to the usual flowers and chocolates, take a look at Baker Days. Yes, they send CAKE by post. Whats more the cake your Valentine receives won’t just be a plain sponge or fruit cake. It will be iced and decorated – and personalised if you wish – in a way you’d expect a much larger cake to be, yet still fit through your loved ones post box.

When I was contacted and asked if I’d like to review one of their cakes I was never going to say “No, thanks” was I? I was directed to their Valentines Cakes page and asked to pick a design out, including personalisation if I wished, and also asked which flavour cake I wanted. Within a few days my delivery arrived, neatly and safely packaged in a post box friendly box. Inside was a lovely tin containing my cake.

Now you’re just going to have to trust me here but the cake was chocolate. I intended on take a sliced photo, but once it had been sliced and tried, it didn’t last very long. It was delicious. Its not a huge cake – four reasonable portions, or two if you’re greedy like us – but its perfect for Valentines Day.

Obviously they also do cakes for a range of other celebrations – Engagements, Driving Tests, Get Well Soon, New Baby – and they come in other sizes too; Small with 8-12 portions or Large with 50-60 portions. When ordering you even get to choose the flavour of your cake – sponge, carrot, fruit, chocolate and even gluten and wheat free, though only in some sizes.

I think the Letterbox Gift Cakes are a lovely idea. They are a really cute way to let someone know you are thinking of them, whatever the occasion, and the personalisation options are amazing for something so small. As you can see above I sent this cake to my husband for Valentines Day, though he was very pleased to learn he was allowed to eat it early.

Go to the Baker Days website now and check out their huge range of delicious cakes. A great treat for anyone this Valentines Day, and beyond. You can also find them on Twitter @BakerDays.

Halloween Party Ideas

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 28-10-2012

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October Half Term is upon us which signals Halloween is just a few days away. If you’re planning on throwing a party this Wednesday night for your children, or perhaps next weekend, here are a few ideas for some great value items to help make your party nice and spooky!

Here is our party table:

There are loads of Halloween decorations and party items available now in most high street stores, but everything you see on this table is from either Wilkinsons or Asda and all cost less than £4 each. Halloween is fast becoming another expensive event for parents, and with Christmas just around the corner money might be a little tight already. You don’t have to break the bank though the provide a fun and spooky themed night for your little ghouls.

Lets start in Wilkinsons should we?

This black cupcake stand in made from cardboard and is bought flat packed. It’s simple to put together and if you’re careful can be taken apart and stored till next year. We made small cupcakes and could fit 24 on here which is a great capacity for something which costs just £3.

I love these holders. Here we’ve just used them as decoration, but you can sit a cupcake in them or I even popped an empty muffin case in there and used it for a few sweets. A silicone case would be perfect, especially if you can get them in a Halloween colour. These metal holders are just £1 each so you can pop a few on your table, or use them as goodie bag fillers.

What child doesn’t like biscuits? With this pack of four cutters you can make your own creepy cookies and get the children involved in decorating them. This pack of four includes a bat, a ghost, a skeleton and a cat shape and is a bargainous £1. Again these can be washed and put away until next year.

Silicone bake ware is a big trend at the moment and I use it a lot at home. Its so easy to clean and getting the cakes out when baked is much simpler then in a metal tin. This cake mould features six individual moulds – 2 bats, 2 pumpkins and 2 ghosts – so you can make little cakes for everyone instead of one large cake or the traditional cupcakes. I think this would also be great for making individual jellies. You can get jelly in a wide range of colours and flavours and they’ll set quickly in the fridge inside the moulds. This cake mould is £4.

A full selection of party decorations, treats and costumes can be found now at your local Wilkinsons store and online.

Heading over to Asda, here are a few bits to pop into your trolley this week.

No party is complete without something to eat and drink from. Save on washing up and worrying about breakages with paper plates, bowls and cups from Asda. Bright orange featuring black bats these sets are great for eating or drinking out of, as well as holding sweets and treats on the table. You can also get a matching wipe clean table cloth to protect your table. Prices start from just £1.

Sweets are essential at Halloween, either for your own party, or for the trick or treaters who come to your door. The Fangs and Bats come in plastic reusable screw top jars, and the striped Wands in multi-packs. All start from £2 a pack.

If you don’t have time to make biscuits you can buy some gingerbread shapes from Asda. These graveyard ghouls come feature pumpkins, bats and skulls, and are a bit of hit with my Little Man. A box of 18 is just £1.

Dressing up is a great part of Halloween, especially if you’re out trick or treating. If you want something a little more subtle, and a lot cheaper than a full blown costume, try one of these great spooky tshirts. A steal at just £2.50 each.

Check out the huge range of Halloween decorations, sweets, treats and costumes in store and online now.

Also on the table are Ella’s Kitchen Munchy Biccies in Cinnamon & Orange flavour, ideal for your younger guests.

All the homemade cakes and cupcakes you see were made using a huge pack of decorations, recipe books, aprons and supplies sent from Ladbrokes. We had a lot of fun making the cakes in skull covered cases and finishing them off with coloured icing, sugar shapes and sugar sparkles. Once the kids have finally gone to bed and you’ve got your feet up, why not take a look at the new spooky promotions and Halloween slot games available on the Ladbrokes website.

 

Do Something Yummy for CLIC Sargent

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Product Reviews | Posted on 08-02-2012

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When you become a Mum coffee mornings with your other mummy friends is a hugely important part of your life. In those early daunting months when it takes three hours to leave the house just to nip to the shops because you have to make sure you have sufficient wipes, nappies, clothes, milk, and the endless other paraphernalia, the idea of something simple like coffee and cake with people in the same situation is priceless. I know I loved having tea and cake with my NCT friends after Little Man was born, and 16 months on we’re still doing it now. The support network is essential. So I’m here today imploring you all to have tea and cake with your mummy friends.  But I have an ulterior motive. I want you to do it for CLIC Sargent.

CLIC Sargent is an indispensable charity that helps children with cancer and their families. Cancer is a vile and cruel disease that affects so many people every day and sadly some of those are innocent children. CLIC Sargent provides essential support to these children during their fight, and helps the families who are all too often left behind. I am sure you were all as affected as I was by the death of Harry Moseley four months ago today after his amazing battle against a brain tumour and the incredible work he did for cancer charities. Let’s do this for Harry yeah?

This spring CLIC Sargent are getting Mums involved and getting them to Do Something Yummy and help raise money for their charity, and to me there is no better way than hosting a coffee morning. Get your friends round, put the kettle on, get a plate of cake and have a good natter. But before everyone goes home ask them for a donation to CLIC Sargent. Every single penny counts.

Now I know the idea of whipping up a batch of cakes whilst balancing a newborn on your hip is ridiculous. Trust me, its no easier with a 16 month old either! So how about popping a box of these in your shopping basket next time you’re in the supermarket?

These Fabulous Bakin’ Boys Mini Choccy Muffins are delicious! They come in a box of 12 – half chocolate half chocolate-chip – and are perfect for any coffee morning, and at just £1 a box they are a bargain too, leaving more money for CLIC Sargent.

I highly recommend this cute tea-set too:

From Present Time this set includes six cute and colourful cups and matching saucers and teapot. It all fits neatly on this sturdy metal frame meaning it doesn’t take up much storage space, and its easy to carry around. It’ll brighten any coffee morning, and make it just that little bit fancier!

So come on everyone, lets get fundraising. Yummy Mummy Week runs from the 10th to the 18th of March. Do Something Yummy!!

Find out more about CLIC Sargent and request your fundraising pack from their website.
You can find CLIC Sargent on Twitter @CLIC_Sargent and follow Harry Moseley’s Mum continue his mission at @harry_moseley

The NCT

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information | Posted on 25-02-2011

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Over recent weeks the NCT, its opinions and its teachings have come under much debate in the media, and via Twitter. As one half of the estimated 100,000 couples who do an NCT course each year, I felt vaguely qualified to comment.

One of the best things we did. Ever.

Now I didn’t always agree with what we were being “taught” and following my labour and early weeks as a Mummy I thought there were issues they could have touched upon which they didn’t, but to be fair they can’t cover absolutely every eventuality. Yes natural birth and exclusive breastfeeding were pushed above all other options, but I think in an ideal world we’d all like a natural, and simple, birth and to provide a veritable supply of milk for our babies. But its not always possible. I had every intervention in the book just stopping short of a caesarean, and I had to stop breastfeeding after two weeks (try not to get appendicitis that soon after giving birth!).
My NCT experience opened my eyes to a lot of ideas and options which I probably would never have considered otherwise. It also highlighted how little I knew about what I was letting myself in for! But the best thing about the NCT? Even now, almost six months after the classes finished, I meet up once a fortnight with the other eight Mummies and their gorgeous babies from my class to compare comedy stories of what our little ones are doing, to provide a fantastic support group for one another, and most importantly, to eat cake.

Posted via LjBeetle