Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

I seem to have become obsessed with baking cupcakes lately, different flavours and colours, the more colourful the better! My waistline might not thank me come weigh in day but what the hell.

This latest batch of cupcakes went down a storm with my co workers¬

Starting off with my reliable, 6, 6, 6 and 3 base, in case you haven't seen my cupcake recipe before, it's:

6oz Self Raising Flour
6oz Caster Sugar
6oz Cooking Butter
3x Eggs
Goodalls Orange Essence
Orange Food Colouring

  • Cream the butter and sugar together
  • Sieve your flour and add it one third at a time, alternating with the eggs. Leave it whizz around in the food mixer while you prepare your cases
  • Add 1 and a half teaspoons of orange essence and mix
  • Add your food colouring
  • Put approximately 3 tablespoons of Nutella into a bowl and soften it up until it's a bit runny
  • Fill up your cake cases with the cake mixture, approximately 3 quarters 
  • Add a dollop of Nutella on to the cake mixture in each case
  • Using a cocktail stick, swirl the Nutella through the cake mixture and smooth the top of the mixture
  • Bake on 170 degrees for approximately 20 - 25mins in a pre heated oven
  • Once cooled down, top them with butter cream icing. I added a teaspoon of cocoa and a drop of orange essence to my icing this time


Friday, 12 June 2015

2 Years Old

2 years old today, 24 months if you still like to count in months at this age. I cannot believe I am the mama of a 2 year old, my baby has left the building and in his place is a witty, charming, intelligent, kind hearted, handsome toddler.
It's so incredibly hard to imagine my life before this little scamp came into it, what was my driving force everyday when everything I do now is for him?
These last 2 years have been amazing, hard and frustrating too but amazing more than anything.

I'm still tired, I can probably count the number of lie ins I've had on one hand as well as full nights sleep!
I'm still going through this journey cautiously and unknowing, somewhat blindly but each day that passes it brings a new knowledge, something we didn't know the day before but something we will remember the next time.

When I think back to the 1st birthday celebrations last year, I was far more emotional, I mean it had been a challenging year navigating my way with a newborn and a complete change of lifestyle but this time around, Luke turing 2, I'm excited.

I'm so looking forward to watching my little guy come even more into his own in the next year, he's such an independent dude and so clued in that everyday he amazes me with something new. He is wonderful company, he loves to sit on the couch for "cuddles" in the evening with me or stand up at the kitchen sink to do some "washing" or go out into the garden to water the plants and do some "weeding". He's a great help around the house ;)
I'm excited to see his relationships develop. Him and his Grandad are like partners in crime, going off on adventures in the countryside, he likes to help his Nanna peels the vegetables for dinner, he annoys the life out of his cousin Katie but loves her just as much and his cousin Kellie doesn't get 5 minutes rest when he's around because he insists she goes outside with him. It's so great to watch him interact with everyone.
There's a lot of exciting times ahead for my boy and us as a family.

So to you, my little Lukey, we love you and 2 is going to be a great year for us all :)

Happy Birthday Buddy! 


Thursday, 11 June 2015

12 Things I've Learned In 12 Months #2

Another 12 months has gone by, quite quickly I might add! They have been eventful to say the least and as always we are on a constant learning curve as parents.

So we approach the 2nd birthday tomorrow, here's another 12 things that we've learned in these last 12 months:

  1. Not so much learned but realised that I may never get to go to the bathroom in the morning on my own ever again...seriously he HAS to come with me! Sometimes he even tries to sit on my lap, I mean c'mon kid give me a break, 2 minutes first thing is all I ask for!
  2. That I could hate Fireman Sam, I loved him as a kid and I'm kinda sad about this but watching the same episodes daily for the last 10 months is slowly but surely making me lose my mind.
  3. No matter how many different kinds of drinks I offer Luke, smoothie, plain water, flavoured water, orange bottle, purple bottle he will always, strongly, with tears most times, refuse them all and then demand the first choice I'd offered him in the beginning! Jeeeez...I can't win.
  4. I can no longer fob him off with baby versions of things he wants play with or use - a hammer, not his plastic child friendly one, he wants the big one from Grandad's shed, he doesn't want his small and not as sharp children's cutlery, oh no he wants the adult stuff, not an extra set from the drawer though, he wants my knife and fork, the ones I'm using at the time of eating, he's been known to whip it out of my hand mid mouthful!
  5. Chocolate will always diffuse a hairy situation! I was quite proud this time last year when I could say that Luke wasn't phased by chocolate, he had a much more savoury tooth...Pah! That wasn't long changing, the mere mention of the word can halt a possible tantrum, bad parenting I get it but sometimes  a lot of times it's called for.
  6. Don't EVER tell anyone when the toddler decides to sleep well, be it all night, a sleep in or just sleeping for longer stretches because as soon as you do, BANG!...you've jinxed it and they are awake all night again.
  7. It is possible to fall back to sleep with a 1 year old climbing on your head / kicking you in the back / whispering in your ear / generally wriggling around 360 degrees in the bed, the tiredness just overtakes us sometimes that I think we could sleep through a bomb explosion.
  8. Water can be so much fun! Seriously give this boy a old spray bottle filled with water and a dish brush and he will amuse himself in the garden for ages while he's "cleaning".
  9. I can no longer speak without watching what I say, he repeats EVERYTHING!
  10. He has NO fear which means I have ALL the fear! 
  11. That 4 little words could break my heart - "Cuddles couch, mum peeease" - being said to me as I'm rushing us out the door to get Luke to his aunty's house and me to work and he's looking at me with a pleading look in his eye and asking me to sit on the couch for cuddles, tears spring up in my eyes as I promise him I will do exactly that later on, as soon as I'm home, just not right now...
  12. No matter what kind of day we have had, he always wants his Mum cuddles at bedtime, which just reminds me that no matter what, he will always be my baby whatever age he is.

This year Luke has learned how to use that smile and his charm on all of us to his advantage :)


Friday, 5 June 2015

Father's Day Gifts from Snapfish

This is my 2nd Father's Day having to buy for the OH from Luke and usually I leave it to the last minute but this year I am prepared. I'm giving his gift a personal touch this year and what better way to make it personal than with photographs?!
So I headed over to Snapfish to find something different for this year.

We always get the parents a mug of some kind on these occasions, the cupboard is overflowing with the generic "Best Mum" or Best Dad" mugs but we just can't help ourselves and not not buy one every year.
This year I wanted to get one like always but wanted to make it more personal so decided on a photo mug. I loved how quick and easy it was to design this mug and get it ordered. I uploaded my chosen pictures, they were input into the mug design. I chose the collage option as I wanted a few different pictures on my mugs. You can select the position of the pictures randomly or do it yourself. I was able to play around with the layout to get my pictures in the exact place I wanted them. I could then choose different coloured backgrounds, I kept it simple with black and white and then I added my text to each mug, taking the personal touch that bit further.

A quick delivery brought them to my door yesterday, look how snazzy they are:

They are a decent sized mug too although I think they may end up being ornaments once we have given them as gifts!

While ordering my mugs I also spotted the acrylic photo prints that you could order. I keep meaning to get some pictures done in either a canvas or poster print rather than the usual framed photo's and thought this would be an ideal option. I ordered the smaller size of 10cm x 15cm to see what I thought of it and I love it! It comes with a desk mount and it gives the illusion of a free standing picture. I will definitely be ordering more of them.

I can't wait for myself and Luke to give these gifts to the OH and my Dad on June 21st!

If you are looking to order a Father's Day gift with a personal touch, head over to the Snapfish website where they have a range of creative options available. Obviously the sooner you order the better but June 14th is the cut off date to ensure it's delivered on time.

*We were given credits to use on the Snapfish website in return for a review of products ordered. As always thoughts and opinions are our own*

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