Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Volcanic Maris Piper Mash

Anyone who saw my post earlier on this month will know that there has been lots of talk about volcanos in our house, and we even made one that bubbled away in the garden as an experiment to see all about how volcanos work. This month our favourite evening meal as voted for by my children has been our Volcanic Maris Piper Mash with peas and sausages.

We are big fans of the Maris Piper potato in our house as we find it to be very versatile for creating our meals as it makes great chips, mashes well, works well with a jacket and creates lovely fluffy roasties. I regular turn to potatoes for dinnertime as they need little preparation which is perfect when you are a busy mum. On this occasion we gave our bangers and mash a volcanic make over and its really easy for you to re-create too.

Peel and boil your maris pipers up and pop your sausages in the oven to cook (we like these chipolatas as they are really tasty). I love peas as an add on to a quick meal as they are really quick to boil up so put them on whilst you are sorting the mash. Drain the potatoes and mash with a splash of milk and some butter and serve with gravy (to create the lava). My tip is to make a well in the mash for the gravy to sit in to create the full volcanic effect. My boys squealed with delight as their volcanos arrived in front of them and tucked in quickly too which is just what you want at dinner time.

What do you like to cook with your #FluffyMarisPiper 's at dinnertime?

This post is an entry for #FluffyMarisPiper Linky Challenge sponsored by Potato Council. Learn more at bit.ly/18rWnaB

Friday, 19 September 2014

Going stripy about these blinds

With the keys still jingling in my hand we finally are on the verge of a new adventure. New house, new place, new friends and after six years of renting other peoples houses we finally get to decorate a house of our own. To say I am excited might be a little bit of an understatement, the prospect of painting and choosing new fixtures and fittings is invigorating and I can't wait to get started.

But where am I going to start…
Top of my list is the windows, having recently learned that I have a dust mite allergy one of the recommendations is that you replace your dusty curtains with blinds, so thats just what I plan to do. The previous owners have left most of their window dressings which I am glad about because although they are not to my taste (absolutely horrific) it means I can really consider and find the best option for each of us. For my boys they definitely need a black out blind because I need my sleep and they certainly need theirs! We used a temporary black out blind whilst we have been on the move but I am so sick of re-putting it on the window everyday it is going to have to be built in for ease and convenience.

For our bedroom I am thinking stripy and colourful, and a vibrant blind is a great way to give it some style without it feeling like its too much.

I love these stripy blind from Apollo they are part of the Twilight range and they can be adjusted creating two different lighting effects which I think is pretty cool. I also like how you can change your blind with your mood depending on how you feel, this appeals to me quite a lot. So here is a bit more about the twilight blinds and exactly what you get:

Why Choose Twilight Blinds?

-      Stunning light effects
-      Twilight’s 2-in-1 Opaque and Translucent panels of fabric allow homeowners to adjust panel positioning, creating two different lighting effects with one blind
-      Privacy control
-      30+ fabrics to choose from
-      Elegant colour-co-ordinating Fasica System concealing the blind operating systemin five stunning colours.
-      Choice of bottom bar colour - five stylish colours
-      Remote control or manual operation
-     There is a choice of 30+ colours and fabric options in the Twilight range – that include a plain fabric, texture look options, a satin look design, woven wood effect, linen look and dim-out fabrics.
-       Popular colours are available including cream, white, grey, green, black, red, turquoise and yellow.
 Twilight blinds are fully made-to-measure, to suit everyone’s window sizes and shapes, and can be professionally fitted in the home by an Apollo design expert.

Twilight by Apollo Blinds – see www.apollo-blinds.co.uk or call 01924 413 048 for stockists. 

I love that they have over 30 different designs as it means there is plenty of choice and they are bound to have the perfect fabric and colour option just for me. With this stripy bright blind I am also dreaming of a white bedroom (something I have been dreaming of for quite a while) and maybe a bright contemporary wardrobe in another bright complimenting colour. How would use still these blinds? 

I put together a mood board to give myself some inspiration:


You get the idea anyway, white with striking blinds and another colour to pick out the blind and a gorgeous dangly light or two as well. For me the bedroom needs to be contemporary, fun and have a bit of glamour too which is what I was going for.

This post is my entry for the Apollo Blinds Twilight Blogger Competition #ApolloTwilight and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Its a red kind of thing...

Folli Follie are asking you to create a wishlist of your London Fashion week style. As soon as I started looking and I mean really looking, I was captivated by this beautiful red bag.
I know the Nomad bag carries a price tag of £330 with it but I just can't seem to take my eyes of it. I find red to be such a vibrant exciting colour and that is exactly what I want for the Autumn months ahead. A little glimmer of vibrant beauty over my shoulder to throw colour into my day no matter how I feel about it. The perfect accompaniment to boots, stormy nails, dark skinny jeans and an oversized knit. 

I also loved the elegance of the smaller Nomad Body bag with its crossover strap it seems the perfect choice to grab when nipping out of the house to pick the kids up or pop out to the shops. Red can seem so daring and perhaps thats why I love it, its shocking uniqueness perhaps an outspoken reflection on who I really am. 

If you want to see what else I picked from Folli Follie you can see my top five red items on my Pinterest board here: 

Finally for me I picked red because it seems such an iconic colour from the red telephone boxes through to the London buses, red seems to feature and be making a big and bold statement wherever we go. Exactly the one that I want to me making too with my fashion choices this Autumn.

This competition is open to the general public; for more information follow this link: http://www.follifollie.co.uk/blog/blogpost/?postID=129 I would love to know what you would style.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Dancing away with culture

This is my fourth challenge for the CSMA club and its been a fun four weeks, I am just a bit sad that this is our last challenge. This week our #newthings challenge has been all out experiencing a new culture. I would have loved to have whisked the boys off on an adventure holiday in a new country but that wasn't going to happen this week so as my parents have been hoilidaying in Hawaii we thought that would be an interesting culture to have a look at.

Researching Hawaii
First things first we gathered around the computer to research and look at pictures of the amazing coastline, images of the native dance and what really captivated my eldest son was the volcano. Of course then he was worried that it might have erupted whilst his grandparents were visiting, I reassured him that it hadn't.

We headed outside to the back garden to practice our Hawaiian dancing which consisted of a lot of hip wiggling and gently moving our arms. The boys had been pretty wowed by the amazing headdresses and weird costumes which made the men look like they were just wearing their pants. We imagined as we were dancing our own elaborate costumes with grass skirts and big feathery head dresses. A lot of the Hawaiian dances tell stories and so we had a go at telling stories through dance too. It was a really fun way of moving outside and a bit different from our usual garden activities.

Dancing the Hawaiian way or something like that!
Officially Hawaii is one of the 50 states of the USA which I always forget and we talked about that as well as what they might say to greet us "Aloha". We talked about what it might be like to live there and they were excited that they might get to go to the beach everyday and how strange it would be to live so close to a volcano. In fact not to one but there are three active volcanos in Hawaii.

Finally we decided to make our own volcano and I found a good recipe to use online, it uses cups to measure it which I really like as it makes it easy for my boys to measure it out themselves, here it is:

3 cups of flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Food colouring (we chose red and yellow to make orange)
Washing up liquid
Baking soda
Plastic water bottle
Large tray or dish

1. First create the volcano cone using 3 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of water and 2 tbsp cooking oil and mix it up to create a paste. You might need to add a bit more water (we did) and it should be smooth.

Making the volcano cone
2. Fill your plastic water bottle nearly full with warm water and add a few drops of food colouring. (You need to make sure that no dough for the cone goes in the bottle so I put the lid pack on until that part was done)

The food colouring in the water bottle
3. Place your bottle into the middle of your tray or dish and build your volcano cone moulding it around your bottle
Adding the mixture to the bottle to create the volcano cone
4. Take your lid off and add 6 drops of washing up liquid and 2 tbsp of baking soda

5. Pour the vinegar into the bottle and watch it bubble and erupt!

We headed to the garden to make our volcano erupt and that was definitely a good move as it was very messy along with very fun. It was really easy to do and both boys really enjoyed measuring the ingredients in and then creating the volcano cone by packing the goop around the bottle. We had very sticky mucky hands which is always exciting, I think boys need to get messy its just part of who they are. Then came the exciting bit pouring on the vinegar which made the volcano erupt. There was gasps of joy and giggles aplenty as bubbles and lava poured out of the bottle and down our volcano. What fun. I definitely recommend having a go at making your own volcano and for older children its a great way to demonstrate why a volcano erupts and the workings of it.

We had great fun learning more about Hawaii and we are looking forward to seeing all the pictures and hearing all about my parents trip too. I hope that the boys have experienced a little bit of another culture and we definitely had fun doing it.

This post is my entry to the #newthings challenge set by the CSMA Club. We have been trying the CSMA Club out over the last few weeks too and so far I have ordered a shopping supermarket card online that gave me a 3% discount. The great thing about the card is that its re-loadable and they had a huge amount to choose from and although the discount seems small, over a year that would be a much larger saving. They have some great competitions for their members called zings and they offer discounts and savings on a whole variety of things, one that caught my eye was 5% discount with cottages4you which is something I will be looking into when we next book a cottage. I am still looking at what they offer but it is definitely worth a glance to see if they can save you money too.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Monsters Drawing Competition

MattressOnline.co.uk  are asking children aged 10 and under to design a monster in their monster's drawing competition. There are three categories that the monsters can be created under; friendly, scary or random. If you want to enter you can find out more about the competition here: MattressOnline.co.uk  or you can have a look at some of the other monsters that have been designed. There are some really interesting ones including ones that look very scary. Don't wait around too long though as the competition ends at midnight on the 16th September, so why don't you get drawing too.

My eldest son got drawing straight away and this is the friendly monster that he has come up with.

He is called Mr Rainbow and he is a friendly monster because he likes to play games and have fun. The light orange patch on the right is his play pocket and contains lots of fun ideas and games that he wants to play with you. He likes dominoes, a special octopus game, hide and seek is one of his favourites. On the left  near the top he is holding his dark blue shades because he loves going out into the garden to play too. Out in the garden he has lots of games in his pocket too like boules, hoola hoops, beanbags, obstacle courses, ball games and hockey sticks. You can see towards the bottom of the picture the pink orange and yellow together in a circle and that is his big bouncy beach ball that he is holding ready to play with you. He really is one of the most sociable and fun monsters you will ever meet. He has a big smiley face as he knows that some people often feel scared of monsters, so he smiles so that you know he is kind and lots of fun. Whats so lovely about Mr Rainbow is that he is very colorful and has lots of energy to inspire you as you play, and he will also help you tidy up at the end of the day and be ready for you again the next day.

My son is 4 and this was a great activity to keep him busy as he hasn't started school yet. Colouring is something that he is growing into and I was so proud of the attention and detail he paid to his special monster friend. I have never seen him work on colouring in one piece of paper for so long.

What monster will you create?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Dreaming of the perfect office

LondonOffices.com are asking bloggers and designers to come up with their own dream office spaces. Having always worked in the voluntary sector I know dream offices and working spaces are often just that, a dream. In reality when you are surviving on shoe string project grant every penny you get goes on paying for the best you can get your hands on for the young people you are working with, not on fixing your office space (however badly it needs it). I know in nearly all of the positions I have held our office space could have been likened to that of a broom cupboard, dark, little light and with every corner possible filled with resources and people working with no room for extras or space to breath. Many of the buildings I have worked in look like their windows would fall out if pushed and they are not the dynamic creative spaces that we would desire to run inspirational and life changing projects.

My background is dance and arts management and I enjoy working with people in general. The last position I held was in the USA and I worked with vulnerable over 55's on a residential apartment site (not really like anything I would do back here in the UK). My job was a 'jack of all trades' activities coordinator where I led and facilitated everything from bingo through to health talks. Before that I worked with vunerable young adults 16-25 year olds to help them get back into education, training and employment here in the UK, which is now where we reside again. A very tough and rewarded job and one I would very much like to go back to in the future, and one that would have a much larger impact if delivered in a space tailor made for it.

So what would my office look like? It would be modern, contemporary and light for a start, a stark contrast to my previous office facilities. With plenty of flexible working space. I like open plan but you also need a bit of your own space within that, as well as some spare desks that feel unthreatening to young people using them. The office captures the essence of office life for them enough that they can learn the skills needed to be in that environment without feeling threatened. This office space would be separated by glass so it is still part of the other spaces but is quiet enough for people to get work done, it would also contain bright lockable cabinets for storing sensitive information. We would also need a dance studio/ multi functional room for physical activities, workshops, events and a big meeting space which would cater for young people and board meetings and a kitchen.  A bit of a big ask but its what would be ideal.

I love the concept of these moveable sitting areas and how multi functional they are
What I hate about meeting rooms is that they feel stark and impersonal usually where as this meeting room will be a creative, imaginative space with plenty of storage to stick away the resources needed for each group that accesses it. I am thinking coloured ceiling height units which form the walls, but also could be moveable to create new spaces as and when needed. These units will be pockets of bright colours, one for each group that uses it so it's obvious where your equipment is. A vaulted ceiling makes the space feel bigger without it feeling enormous, and an inspirational quote wall with messages to inspire and spark creativity in its rawest form. If I was designing the space from scratch it would also be part of my dream to give the young people some ownership of it and the quote wall and some wall decorations would be apart of that ownership. I created a pinterest board to help visually gather ideas and there are lots of different moveable wall options including glass ones.

When I talk about dividers I really want the space to be able to be as versatile as possible. It all adjoins and connects. In essence if you had all the space together it would become a huge activity centre with full working kitchen, a sitting area (previously named the board room) and resources galore. The dividers also create more flexible smaller rooms. When I initially meet someone in order to give then the best opportunity with a project you have to understand them and their needs. There are always sensitive issues relating to their personal situation that need to be said but don't need to be known by everyone so you need some privacy. At the same time you also don't want everyone to be working in isolation. I find glass is an excellent divider because you can still see the big picture without the noise of lots of people in the next room. Glass also makes a space light and airy which is so important particularly for young people who don't want to feel like they are in school but are being respected as adults in contemporary adult settings. Blocks of coloured glass are also a great way to inject some energy into the space.

As for furniture I would want it to be as multi-functional as possible. I can't stand a great open space that then has loads of tables and chairs stuffed in the corner because the room has been cleared for a workshop and there is no-where to put them. So I would come up with clever designs to solve that. Interlocking tables that change shape and function; boardroom, classroom, activity stations. Perhaps they could hoist into the ceiling when they are not being used, or fold down off the walls. A range of different chairs. I would also love a giant touchscreen (or two) that a group of young people could work around, collaborating their ideas and suggestions. Rugs are a great way to add texture and colour to a room with a hard surface floor and make it feel more homely.

Colour is also so important to me as a person as I believe it brings with it vibrancy and energy that no one else can bring. Colour can be in furniture, on walls, in glass but it needs to be there careful planned out. We lived in an apartment with red concrete floors and it's that subtle energy that can really change the feeling of an office. My colour palette would be bright but I don't want to limit it, it might also work if we coloured coded areas to reflect the different moods. I want it to be an office with a wow factor.

The kitchen is the heart if the home, and the heart if the office too. A communal space for inspired conversations over the kettle boiling, where problems are solved and when we spark an idea when we are not even looking for one. It's also a great resource for developing life skills for independent living, delivered through serving others as a volunteer. Big enough to hold office staff and young people in a communal safe space, a haven from the usual office working. In any project with young people its great to mix office staff with participants.

I love this rug and the texture it adds to the space
Finally the dance studio would be sprung, a vaulted space but one that is inspiring too. I picture images of dancers in black and white imprinted along the wall. The space also needs natural light to be in it to, many a creative dance moment is born from light shadows that create a mood but also inject life.

I want an office space to be one that I want to go to, that inspires from the moment I arrive. One that captures my vibrancy and allows me to share that with other people. Its a safe space for young people and others to feel secure enough to come and participate and leave feeling refreshed and re-energised. Every single part of the office space is carefully considered to make it very much a working space, functionally on every level. No space is unused and no space is uninspired. The space loving shapes and encourages young people who previously have never engaged and gives them vigor to thrive.

What would your dream office space look like? 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Nostalgia in a Kettle

British Gas are asking bloggers to post their favourite nostalgic item. Mine has and always will be this copper kettle. It resides by the fireplace and reminds me of time spent as a family around an open log fire, warm and cosy. Polishing it is one of the most relaxing things to do and so very rewarding as it returns to its gleaming true self. Inside we keep matches, don't ask me why, we just do and so I get a happy feeling of remembering birthdays gone by and also of birthdays that I know are coming to bring more treasured memories. In its working days it was such a functional thing at the heart of the home, funny to think it still is even as an ornament. My boys stare at it with intrigue desperate to see inside and its this same wonderment that it seems to hold with me.

Pack me up with some Suitcase Glory

We are moving house hopefully sometime in the next few weeks (fingers crossed) and I realised that when we moved in with my parents I used our suitcases to pack us up, and then I returned them back to the house with the intention of putting more stuff in them. What happened next was that I got distracted by my two children and realised a few days after our stuff had gone into storage that the suitcases had too. Moving to the new house might be interesting packing wise and I might have to borrow some, or I have been drooling over these lush suitcases I found from Suitcase Glory.

Suitcase Glory are a new 'designed in Britain' company launching officially on the 15th September 2014 with a new range of high-quality suitcases with unique and funky patterns to add a dash of personality to your luggage. They have three designs Life's a Beach - a cool design of beach huts and seagulls, World or Glory - city prints from around the world and Cherry picked - a fruity little retro number. My personal favourite is Life's a beach and I have been imagining myself collecting this off the  luggage carousel as we touch down somewhere warm and exotic. I love just how easy it would be spot it amongst the sea of other grey and black cases.

I am a huge fan of lightweight suitcases and this one is only 3.7kg which means you have plenty more space for packing all those extra things you really want to take away with you in its 38 x 23 x 62 cm dimensions . I also love super-tough polycarbonate as it really stands up to being used and I am excited that someone is finally making them in super fun designs. This suitcase really does have everything that I would be expecting from a suitcase; adjustable height handle (because I am short), TSA-approved built in lock and finally four 360 degree spinner wheels makes it a breeze to pull (and stops it toppling) when you also have a pushchair, two children and a husband to drag through the airport too.

Each Suitcase Glory costs £129 and can be pre-orded at www.suitcaseglory.co.uk where you can find out more about the company and the designs too. I am wondering if they will create new designs in the future as it would be really fun to see the scribbles and drawing my boys make on a suitcase design! Time will tell.

Disclaimer: This is my entry into Suitcase Glory's Blogger competition.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

In celebration of National Cupcake Week (15-27 September) Betta Living are asking bloggers to come up with their own creative cupcake entry as part of there #bettabakeoff competition. As I love cake I thought I would have a go too, so here is my recipe for Pumkin Cupcakes. We decided to make Pumpkin cupcakes because the pumpkin is so moist and has a great flavour to it. I always think that its one of those ingredients that we really don't use much in the UK and we should use it more. It also reminds me of all the time we spent in the USA as the Americans really know how to use there pumpkins.

Ingredients for 12 Pumpkin Cupcakes
1 1/2 Cups of Plain Flour (200g)
1 tsp Baking powder 
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin spice mix
1 cup of tinned solid packed pumpkin (200g)
1/3 cup of vegetable oil (or something similar) (113g)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups of Sugar (250g)
1 tsp Cinnamon

1 cup of Cream Cheese (180g)
1/2 cup icing sugar (60g)
Food colouring - I used red and yellow to make orange
2 Flakes chopped

Crush up some Oreo's

1. Preheat oven to 180C and put 12 muffin cases into a tray in preparation
2. Put all of the ingredients for the cupcakes into your mixing bowl and mix using a hand blender until smooth
3. Fill each paper case to 2/3 full
4. Bake for 25- 30 minutes (you can check they are done with a skewer that comes out clean)
5. Leave to cool on a wire rack before icing

6. To make the icing mix the the cream cheese, icing sugar together and then add the food colouring
7. Cut the tops of the muffins out in the centre to form a well in the middle (this helps it to look more like a pumpkin and gives a well for the flake to sit in) then pipe on icing, placing a piece of flake in the middle to look like the stalk.
8. Take the centre out of the Oreo's (the white cream bit) and place in a plastic bag and crush. We used a rolling pin.
9. Finally place your finished pumpkin on your crushed Oreo's to look like soil underneath

What I love most about this recipe is how simple it is, I love that you can throw in all of your ingredients into the bowl at the same time as it makes them really quick to make (great for emergency baking). I use cups to measure the recipe out as its easier for my kids to help without having to worry about using the scales. I have had a few times when baking where my kids have turned my digital scales off half way through weighing an ingredient and so cups alleviate that as an issue, plus I have lovely Russian doll cups. I have accidentally put in the whole tin of pumpkin before and you couldn't tell so don't worry if you do that too. I always find these muffins go down really well at a party as they are a little bit different from usual and the pumpkin and cream cheese is a great flavour combination. My brother is known for swooping in and scoffing a few and my husband who isn't very fond of the traditional cupcake recipe loves these too. If you haven't got time to do the cream cheese icing they also work if you sprinkle on a mix of sugar and cinnamon on top just before baking to give them a little extra crunch on top.

My two boys were most interested in helping with the creation of the Oreo soil on this occasion and took great pleasure in bashing the bag with the rolling pin. I do like it when they enjoy baking with me and I have a baking job that is perfect for them. I had a bit of a piping set back as I discovered that all of the piping bags had disintegrated when I got them out, so as I was not going to be defeated I used a clear plastic bag instead and just made it work despite being a little tricky. As a result I made quite a mess with the orange icing. To make them look more like pumpkins I scooped out a teaspoon size circle out of the centre which helped with the shape but also provided a little well for the flake it sit in.

As a special surprise for my boys I used one of the tops of the cupcakes that I had scooped out to make the duplo dinosaur his own special cupcake. That naughty dinosaur is always up to no good, and very good at making my boys giggle. They were very excited over breakfast when they came down to this scene.

We really enjoyed making this pumpkin cupcakes. What cupcake flavours do you like to make?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Eat it if you dare...

This week our CSMA Club challenge to try #newthings has been all about trying a new food. Both of my boys are really good eaters and normally they are up for the challenge of trying new things to eat, so I thought it would be fun to both make it and eat our #newthings.

We love a new recipe challenge and we agreed we all liked the sound of "Mexican Eggs". I think its supposed to be a breakfast dish traditionally but we thought we would have it for lunch, why not. We used Gordon Ramsey's recipe which you can find here as a baseline but in my usual fashion we didn't quite have all of the right ingredients so we adapted it slightly not adding the heat of the chilli and swapping black beans for olives plus a few other things.

Our version of the recipe looked like this:

1 red onion - diced
1 garlic clove - diced
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
4 - 6 corn tortillas halved
Handful of olives chopped (we used black)
4 eggs
handful of grated cheese
pepper to taste
Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions and garlic until soft
3. Add the cumin, chopped tomatoes and olives and pepper and simmer
4. Grease the dish (we used fry light because it was easy for the boys to spray on) and then line with the tortillas overlapping them and putting them above the edge of the dish.
5. Add the tomato mixture to the dish and make wells on the top to break the eggs into
6. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes

The boys enjoyed helping me line the dish with the tortillas (and eating a few bites too) and then breaking and dropping in the eggs and sprinkling the cheese on the top. My youngest got stuck straight into eating his when served and really liked that one of his eggs still had a runny yoke. My eldest wasn't so sure and picked at it a little bit, thats sometimes how it goes with a four year old but I was pleased that he tasted it. I really enjoyed it too I am particularly fond of the spice cumin in dishes and we haven't had it much, if at all since we have been living with my parents so it was a welcome change for me. We also had too much food for the three of us to eat.

I also thought it would be fun to do something different when we made some jelly. The boys love making it and sometimes its fun to reinvent food to make it new and different. We got out loads of straws and decided to make jelly worms using a pack of blackcurrant jelly which we only added half the amount of water too so that it would hold its shape for the worms. Both boys had a go at putting the cubes in the jug and stirring the jelly as it dissolved and then the fun really began. Having never made worms before we were experimenting a little bit and we stretched the straws and then bent them, wedging them bendy end down in a glass so that when we poured in the jelly some would remain in the straws. I also used an elastic band to hold the tops of the straws together. We then waited for the jelly to cool a little and then poured it in leaving it in the fridge to set for about 4 hours.

After hours of waiting for the jelly to set it was ready. The boys were very excited. I had to run each straw under the warm tap to make getting the worms out a smooth process. There were lots of giggles and laughter as several of the worms shot out of the straw and pinged across the room as I was squeezing them out. One landed in the cats bowl, oops! I couldn't get the worms out fast enough, as soon as one was in their bowl it was gone. Jelly worms were definitely a #newthings success as they were still giggling about it when I put them in the bath. My youngest told me his favourite thing had been when the worms escaped across the room.

What new foods will you be trying out this week?

Review of Life Canvas Stationary

This month instead of a book to review Parragon have sent me two items from their new stationary range Life Canvas. I was really excited to receive the Paris sticky note tin and the pocket notebook.

They have two themes for their life canvas designs Paris and Wild. The Paris theme feels very city-chic and elegant with its pretty pastel shades and iconic landmark of the Eiffel tower imprinted on it. I love stationary and it is so useful to have a pocket notebook to write down lists of things that I need to do and take notes throughout the day to remind me what still needs to be done. I like the stamp on each of the pages inside the notebook and the paper is very good quality and I was able to use a sharpie on it without it leaching through to the next page. The strap around it means that when I popped it into my handbag the pages all stayed put which is very useful.

I really love post it notes and having 11 different shapes and designs in my tin was very exciting for me.  I like that the tin keeps it all together so its right on hand but the notes are also protected so they don't get dog eared. Perfect for adding a little note into packed lunch boxes or leaving a little note stuck in a prominent place. They were really sticky and stayed put really well. I particularly liked the triangle notes with the hot hair balloons on them and the lamp post reminded me of reading Narnia when I was a child. Lovely for a touch of fun with your notes.

Overall we really liked the Life Canvas Stationary and I would very much recommend. With a journal, file folders, labels, pencils and lots of things in tins they have plenty in the range to choose from so why not take a look.

Disclaimer: I received the the life canvas pocket notebook and sticky note tin.