Monday, 25 February 2013


I love craft but do not have enough time in my life to make lots of things, so occasionally I will post in the CREATIVE CORNER about something CREATIVE that I have SEEN or MADE that I think is COOL and CREATIVE...

...I'm going to start with this Christening card which I made for our God-daughter.

Christening Cross

Friday, 22 February 2013

FOODY FRIDAY - Bacon & Lentil Stew with Roast Potatoes

Bacon & Lentil Stew

Roast Potatoes
1.5kg of Potatoes
Black pepper

200g Bacon, chopped up
100g Mushrooms, sliced
2 Onions, roughly chopped
2 Carrots, 1cm slices
1 Sweet Potato, 1cm cubed
1/2 (half) tsp Paprika
1/2 (half) tsp Cinnamon
1/2 (half) a grated Nutmeg (or 1tsp of Nutmeg)
500ml Vegetable Stock
300g Lentils

Roast Potatoes
  1. Heat oven to Gas Mark 6 or 200C.
  2. Cut up potatoes
  3. Coat in oil and black pepper
  4. Place in a roasting tin and in the oven for 45 mins to 1 hour

  1. Fry the bacon and mushrooms in a pan on medium heat to allow the fat to ooze out.
  2. Add onion, carrot & sweet potato, cover and let it steam for a few minutes.
  3. Add the paprika, cinnamon & nutmeg and stir before adding the lentils and vegetable stock.
  4. Cover and leave to simmer for 30 mins or until the lentils have softened.

Serve together with the roast potatoes and any steamed green vegetables (optional)

Monday, 18 February 2013

A walk to work...

On my walk to work a few days ago I saw these birds perfectly lined up on the bar of the football goals.

A congregation of birds

I watched them sit there for quite some time, it was obviously a good place to sit and watch the early morning world go by.

Birds on a goal post

Friday, 15 February 2013

FOODY FRIDAY - Left over pancake mixture?

Pancake and Yorkshire pudding mix

We both love pancakes so what better an opportunity is there to make pancakes than PANCAKE DAY!!

When I make pancakes I always find that I make too much pancake mix and then we get too full of pancakes. So, this year I found a recipe for TOAD IN THE HOLE and instead of using all the batter for the Toads I saved some for a few pancakes for dessert....YUMMY!

Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy
Onion gravy


6 sausages

For the batter
75g plain flour
1 egg
75ml milk
55ml water

For the gravy:
2 onions
1 tbsp sugar
3 tsps oil
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp mustard
425ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp plain flour

Toad in the Hole
  1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 7 or 220C.
  2. Make the batter, sieve the flour into a bowl. Put a dip in the flour and break an egg into it.
  3. Mix the milk and water together in a jug.
  4. Whisk the egg and flour slowly adding the the water/milk mixture slowly. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Slice the onions and mix with sugar 2 tsps of oil.
  6. Spread out on a baking tray.
  7. Place the sausages in a roasting tin (or large pudding tins).
  8. Put the onions on the top shelf in the oven and the sausages on a lower shelf for approx 10-15 minutes or until onions crisping.
  9. Place the tin with the sausages in it over a direct heat with a little oil in, until the oil is nicely hot.
  10. Pour batter over the sausages and place back in the oven for 30 minutes or until the batter has risen and is nicely brown.
  11. Whilst the sausages are cooking make the gravy: mix together the Worcestershire sauce, vegetable stock and mustard.
  12. In a pan on medium heat place the roasted onions, 1 tsp of oil and 1 tbsp of flour and mix together, gradually adding the stock mixture. Stirring or whisking constantly until simmering. Allow to simmer for 5 mins.
  13. Serve the toads with the gravy and a vegetable or potato selection of your choice.
Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy

For pancake day as I was only making this for the two of us I just made enough toads for two and used the leftover batter for the pancakes!!!!

For dessert we had pancakes with lemon juice, sugar and Maple syrup, it was a good meal and felt rather full afterwards :)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A day out at Ripley Castle

We had a fun day out in Ripley, a small village near Harrogate in North Yorkshire. It is a beautiful little village with some very quaint shops and a castle (or stately home) which belongs to the Ingliby family. The castle was the main reason we were drawn to visit Ripley today.

Ripley Castle main entrance gate (only used for special occasions)

The village of Ripley was built up around the castle by the Ingliby family. Before 1825 the village consisted of poorly maintained thatched roofed cottages but in 1825 Sir William Amcotts Ingilby visited a French village and decided that he wanted a French style village around his castle. He demolished the old village and re-created Ripley village as it exists now.

Terrace cottages

Hotel de Ville AKA Town Hall

The village school

The back of the village Church and graveyard

The front of the village Church

The castle gates from the church yard

There is even a farming museum, although this is not open during the winter months, so we could only see the artefacts which decorated the place.

An old farmers plough

We went on a tour of the Castle, learning about it's history and the Ingliby family both past and present. To read a bit more about the history of this place you can look at their website: Ripley Castle

The courtyard from inside the castle walls

The house or castle, this is the wing where weddings are now held

The deer park and pond

View from the house over the pond

As we were wandering the castle grounds we saw our first beautiful signs of spring...



We meandered through the castle gardens, although they were a bit sparse but we found this beautiful star shaped flower bed. The star is on the Ingliby family's coat of arms.

The castle gardens

There was also a Hot House where they grew tropical plants.

The path to the Hot Houses

There was even a resident robin in the Hot Houses...

The friendly robin red breast

...and Ents residing in the castle gardens.


It was a really nice day out, seeing how the other side live!

How awesome would it be to have a view like this from the back of your house!?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Bruna - my sponsor child...

We sponsor a child through a charity called Compassion.

Our sponsor child is called: Bruna

It is her 7th birthday today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRUNA!

She lives in Aldeota in Ceara, Brazil. I have a passion for Brazil as I spent  my gap year living and working in a city called Fortaleza in Ceara, Brazil. One day I hope to return to Brazil to visit my friends and Bruna. I would love to see where she lives and plays alongside meeting her friends and family as well.

Bruna lives with her parents and is the only child in her family.

She speaks Portuguese and attends the Centro Educacional Betesda de Taua project.

Bruna loves to sing, play with her dolls and friends.
Brazil Political Map (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
(Image link:,
28 Jan 2008, accessed 15 Feb 2014

The regional diet consists of chicken, eggs, beans, rice potatoes and bread.

It is quite a rural area where most people will be employed on the plantations.

I love sponsoring a child in another country as its a great way of giving something amazing back to someone on the other side of the world. You learn so much about different cultures and different ways of life. It is even more special to sponsor a child from an area that I have previously lived and worked in.

If you have children of your own, sponsor a child of your children's age, then they can grow up hearing news of another child's life across the globe.

You know exactly where your sponsorship money goes and by sponsorship you give a child a chance of a decent education that they may not get otherwise.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Ham & Pea Pasta

Frying mushrooms & onions
This has been one of my favourite recipes for the past few years. Its quick to make and very tasty and healthy.

5 handfuls of pasta shapes
300ml of creme fraise (low fat)
250g of mushrooms, sliced
300g tin of garden peas
black pepper
300g ham (I often slow cook a gammon joint during the day) or bacon can also be used
1 pre-steamed carrot, cubed (Optional)
2 cooked beetroots (Optional)
1 tin of sweetcorn (Optional)
1 tsp of mustard (Optional)

Pasta sauce
  1. Boil the pasta in a pan
  2. Chop mushrooms roughly & fry gently until soft
  3. Add the creme fraise, peas, chopped ham, black pepper and other optional ingredient(s), heat gently whilst stirring until all mixed together
  4. When the pasta is cooked, add a tablespoon of the pasta water to the creme fraise mix, drain the pasta and stir in with the rest
  5. Serve with grated cheese as a garnish

Serving suggestion: serve with garlic bread or salad

Monday, 4 February 2013

The best hot chocolate EVER

I have just made hot chocolate as we had leftover cream and chocolate from cakes I made at the weekend...

Luke had Banoffee with White chocolate and I had Lime and Dark Chocolate.

Have to say its the best hot chocolate I have EVER made, plus very good looking with a strawberry on top...

...truely SCRUMPTIOUS!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Introducing FOODY FRIDAY!

I love food and I love cooking so I have decided to start something called FOODY FRIDAY.

Each Friday I will post a RECIPE or an interesting FOOD FACT.

I would also love you to share your favourite recipes and random FOODY facts.

Remember to FOLLOW ME so you do not miss my weekly FOODY FRIDAY posts.

Here's to next weeks first FOODY FRIDAY post!


I have decided to sell a few things that I have had stashed away for a little while, to make a little bit of money hopefully!!!

I am advertising them all on Ebay:

1) A Gui Laroque Coat

Original labels still attached

BRAND NEW in original packaging
Size: Small (approx size 10)
Colour: Cream
Style No: BL-3041

Click link above to see full description.

Coat in Original packaging

In Original Packaging
Unisex White Dressing Gown

BRAND NEW also in original packaging

Click link above for full description

Label inside gown

Used book, with a few pencil underlinings.

Published by: McGraw-Hill International Editions (Aerospace Science & Technology Series)
ISBN 0-02-801859-1

Again to see the full description click the link above.

Few pencil underlinings

If you are interested in any of these three products you can contact me through Ebay.

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