Monday, May 21, 2018

Pink Flamingo and Balloons birthday card

handmade flamingo birthday card
 
Flamingos are a really popular motif at the moment and one night while feeding the baby I decided they would look really good on a birthday card, and bought a flamingo stamp from Dovecraft on Ebay.

I also bought some die cut balloon shapes - it would be cheaper to buy the die in the long run and cut my own shapes but time is something I don't have a lot of at the moment (I'm writing this while the baby takes a nap but can already hear signs she is waking up!) so I just bought the shapes pre-cut.

I was playing around with shapes and thought the card would look nice with several layered embellishments in different shades of pink - there's quite a lot going on on this card but I really like how it turned out.

To start I covered most of a white square card blank with a piece of pink patterned paper, leaving a small white border clear around the edge. I stamped the flamingo onto a piece of cream card and coloured it pink with a Promarker pen.

I cut a scalloped shape around the edge of a slightly larger rectangle of purple paper (which was actually a recycled birthday card envelope I'd received) and mounted the flamingo card on that. I found a wide glittery pink ribbon in my stash that I'd bought and never used - it is quite wide and very pink and glittery so a bit OTT for most cards but I decided it worked for this one! I stuck that across the middle of the card using double sided sticky tape and mounted the flamingo topper on that.

The final touches were two die cut balloons, one in pink and one in purple, and a stamped 'happy birthday' sentiment from the 'Say it with stamps' set from All Night Media on a piece of the same purple paper as the topper which I cut out with a wavy line. The perfect card for someone who likes a bit of glitz and glamour!

Here are some of the products I used:



I'm sharing this with Stamplorations where the theme is 'things with wings'; Crafty Ribbons challenge, As You Like It where the theme is pink or blue, and Creatalicious Challenges where anything goes with the option of 'all that glitters'.

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 21

There's another bank holiday this weekend which doesn't mean as much as it used to now I'm not at work, but it will be nice to have my husband around for three days! We are going to a barbecue on the Saturday with friends and another one with family on Sunday and are also planning to barbecue at home a couple of times this week as my husband loves to use the Weber grill... so that's a lot of barbecue food!

Monday
Pie and mash (pies bought from Waitrose rather than made)

Tuesday
Forecast to be the nicest weather all week so I think we will barbecue -  including Ocado recipes for chorizo and pesto flatbreads and barbecued new potatoes and griddled halloumi with herbs

Wednesday
Also supposed to be lovely weather so we might as well finish up the barbecue food!

Thursday
Chicken cacciatore from my batch cooking for me, chicken chargrills and mashed potato for him

Friday
Chicken goujons and chips for him, fishfingers and chips for me

Saturday
Lunch - bacon sandwich
Dinner- at a barbecue

Sunday
Lunch - breakfast burritos
Dinner - roast chicken unless the weather is too hot and I decide to do something else!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Restaurant review: The Woodman, Banstead, Surrey

My little girl's first trip to the pub came when she was eight weeks old - my parents were staying for a few days and we went out to lunch. I thought a pub would be a good option as it should be fairly quiet on a week day lunchtime and have enough space for the buggy. I wanted to try somewhere I hadn't been before and some internet research threw up the Woodman in Banstead.

It's part of Classic Inns, a chain I'm not familiar with, and the food was very much chain food - lacking finesse and fairly generic in terms of choices, but having said that, we had a pretty good meal. I had scampi and chips - the chips were a bit too crispy for my liking, but my parents enjoyed their food - my dad had a burger and my mum had the scampi as well.



The pub offers certain main courses for just £6 on a weekday lunchtime which is really good value; certain desserts can also be had for £3. It was dessert I was most excited about, when I initially checked out the menu - I had the 'cookie cup explosion' which consisted of a cookie base filled with chocolate brownie, marshmallow pieces, chocolate honeycomb, drizzled with chocolate and served with vanilla ice cream. It tasted as good as it sounds!

 
I noticed a large pub garden on the way out which looked really good for children; the internal décor of the pub was a bit heavy (swirly patterned carpet, very dark wood furniture) but the sort of thing that looks quite cosy in the winter.

I wasn't blown away by the pub but it was nice enough, and I'd go back in the summer or certainly when my daughter is a bit older and wants to play in the garden.



 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Restaurant Reviews, Calas de Mallorca and Porto Cristo, Majorca

Last summer I had a few days in Majorca with two friends; while I reviewed the hotel not long after we got back, with one thing and another I never got around to blogging about the other places we ate. As so much time has passed this can't be classed as a review, as for all I know the places have changed since then, but I still want to share with you a couple of things that we did.

We ate mostly in the hotel as it was all inclusive and the food wasn't bad (though not great); there wasn't a lot to do in the evenings if you didn't have kids though as the entertainment was very geared towards small people and the other bar away from the entertainment was a bit lacking in atmosphere. While going to the beach one day we had a drink in the Martinelli beach club which had very cool ecletic décor- one section was shabby chic, another looked like something out of Arabian nights.


Another day we visited Porto Cristo, a pretty little town about 20 km from Calas de Majorca. We were given a bus timetable at reception and it was actually the first place the bus stopped after our hotel so we didn't have to worry about not knowing where to get off, and it only took about 20 minutes (we seemed to be driving pretty fast!). The main draw in Porto Cristo is the Cuevas del Drach - dragon caves. The caves are open to the public and have an underground lake where you can watch a classical music concert being performed, then cross the lake yourself by boat, which is quite an experience and very different to other caves I've visited.

You can only enter the caves on the hour, every hour, apart from 1pm when they close for lunch; the idea is that the tourists all walk together in a group at the same pace, though you can stop and look at the cave walls with their different features in your own time; it took us about 40 minutes then you all arrive at the underground auditorium at roughly the same time. The musicians appear on a boat on the far side of the lake and travel across, giving a ten minute concert, which is really atmospheric. Then you can either walk back to the cave exit or queue to get on a small boat and take a short trip across the lake, which I recommend.


It's a short walk from the caves to the centre of Porto Cristo, via the harbour where there are lots of restaurants and shops as well as boats to look at. We chose a bar and restaurant called Eternal, right on the harbour front; my friends served a tapas dish that was designed for two, while I had salmon with mango vinaigrette and the side dish of the day. The English version of the menu translated 'accompaniment' as 'garrison' (someone used the wrong dictionary definition there!) which was potato wedges. For dessert I had a white chocolate crepe with cream and chocolate ice cream which as delicious, though it was room temperature and I had expected the crepe to be hot so the ice cream would melt. We enjoyed the view from our table and headed back to our hotel as the sun started to go down.








I think this will be my last holiday for a while now I have a newborn baby!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 19

The bank holiday today was the hottest on record for that particular holiday and I had a fun day visiting my husband's brother and his family with our baby - she got to meet dogs for the first time! I ran out of time to do my meal plan so assumed I would do it another day but find myself sitting here at half past midnight waiting for our bedroom to cool down.... it was 28 C at 10pm and is now still nearly 26, which in my opinion is far too hot for a newborn. So baby S is asleep in her moses basket in the much cooler living room, and I plan to give it until about 1am to see if our bedroom temperature is any better then give up and sleep downstairs in the armchair!

My meal plan for the weekend just gone changed as the weather was so hot and we barbecued on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night!


Monday - bank holiday
Lunch homemade sausage and egg McMuffins
Dinner barbecue - sausages and steak

Tuesday
chicken, bacon and leek cottage pie from this recipe

Wednesday
vegetarian spaghetti Bolognese for me, meatball and pasta for him

Thursday
seafood risotto for me, chicken chargrills for him

Friday
something with chips from the freezer

Saturday
Lunch toasted ham and cheese sandwiches with mozzarella
Dinner Mexican chicken traybake from this recipe

Sunday
Lunch breakfast burritos I didn't do last week
Dinner toad in the hole or sausage casserole based on this recipe

Monday, May 7, 2018

Lemon and Poppyseed Loaf Cake


Towards the end of my maternity leave - and right after my baby was born - I developed the famous 'nesting instinct' and decided to sort out my kitchen cupboards. It's been really helpful because now I'm short of time I can find everything more easily - I also made a fair bit of space by throwing out packets of food I'd forgotten I'd bought that were long out of date!

I found a packet of poppy seeds - still in date - which I'd bought for a recipe ages ago and never used. I was expecting neighbours around the following afternoon to meet baby S and thought a lemon and poppy seed cake - lemon is commonly paired with poppy seeds for some reason - would be a nice easy one to make if I did it as a loaf cake.

I used this recipe from BBC Good Food which turned out really well - very light and fluffy and surprisingly moist. In the end the neighbours had to cancel and reschedule for the following week so I ended up eating most of this cake myself!

The mixture looks quite odd when you add the poppy seeds:


Much better when the other ingredients are in.


Before baking in the loaf tin:


The baked cake, cooling on a rack.


 
 With the lemon glaze

Perfect with a cup of tea!
 


.I'm sharing this with CookBlogShare and Love Cake hosted by JibberJabberUK.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Stork Delivering Baby Card


I have quite a lot of silver and gold outline stickers, and the sentiments and borders are great but I never really got on with using the shapes, as the fine gold outline often doesn't show up that well and looks a bit bare. That is, until I realised I could colour them in! I used Promarkers pens which are really good for this sort of thing (see link below to purchase on Amazon).

To make the card I matted a square of white paper onto a piece of blue card and coloured in the outline sticker, and used a 'congratulations' outline sticker at the bottom.




I'm sending this to Craftaholics R Us where the theme is baby cards and I Love Promarkers which has an optional theme of clean and simple (CAS).

Monday, April 30, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 18

It's been a busy but really enjoyable week - it was my birthday, and my parents came to stay then I had visits from my oldest friends - we've known each other more than 25 years. My first birthday as a mummy was a bit different as I didn't get around to opening any presents until 5pm!

This week is a lot quieter, I don't have many plans, and it was actually quite nice today to have a restful morning and tidy the house and put washing on while my little girl lay on her playmat and gurgled at her toys. I've got some leftovers to use up from the weekend as well so the first part of this week's meal plan is easy, though I do also need to do some food shopping at some point!

Monday
leftover enchiladas

Tuesday
fresh pasta with spicy mascarpone sauce and chicken

Wednesday
fishcake and vegetables

Thursday
tuna steak and new potatoes
 Friday
 scampi and chips

Saturday
Lunch breakfast burritos
Dinner meatball pasta bake based on this recipe

Sunday
Lunch bacon sandwich
Dinner roast pork loin steak with roast potatoes for me, beef medallions for him

Link up your meal plan here

Monday, April 23, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 17

My dad has just retired so from now on my parents can come up and visit during the week, not just weekends, which is handy now I'm on maternity leave! They are coming this week as it's my birthday on Sunday so I have several additional requirements when it comes to meal planning as we have other visitors at the weekend as well - some friends with their children - so I need to think of things everyone can eat!

Monday
Ready made pies - sweet potato and goat's cheese for me, chicken tikka for my husband

Tuesday
Tacos with potato wedges

Wednesday - my parents arriving just in time for lunch
Lunch - they usually like to have something like beans on toast in case they arrive later than expected
Dinner - chicken supreme. The classic recipe uses cream but we will be having enough of that tomorrow so I will do a healthier Slimming World version

Thursday - my parents here
Lunch -  ham and cheese pizza pinwheels based on this recipe
Dinner - spaghetti Bolognese (two versions- one vegetarian as I'll invite my mother-in-law over) followed by butterscotch pie for dessert

Friday
Lunch - out for a pre-birthday lunch
Dinner - either hotdogs or quiche and salad

Saturday - two friends plus a husband and two children are arriving in the afternoon to stay the weekend
Lunch - just us - either hotdogs or cheese on toast
Dinner - chicken enchiladas or takeaway pizza depending on whether there is time to cook, but I'd prefer to do the former!

Sunday
Lunch - pub lunch for my birthday
Dinner - probably something light after a big lunch - I'll have a fishcake and poached egg and my husband will probably have had a burger at lunchtime so I'll do him something like sausage and mash for dinner

Also still trying to decide what to do about a birthday cake... I could ask my husband to get me one (I commissioned one from a local baker for his birthday but I don't know if he has got enough time left to do that), or add one to the supermarket order, or make one myself!

Link up your meal plan here:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sticky Ginger and Apple Flapjacks


When I was a child I remember my mum and sister making some flapjacks that were so sticky, we were picking bits of kitchen towel off them as we ate - they had been kept in a Tupperware dish lined with kitchen paper and were almost oozing with golden syrup.

I love sticky, soft flapjack, but not that soft - they need to hold together and be slightly chewy at the edges but soft and buttery in the middle. This recipe offers just that.

These were made in preparation of my sister and her partner coming to visit to meet their new niece, and even though I only made them the day before, about half the pan had been eaten before they even arrived!

The recipe is based on one from Good Housekeeping's The Baking Book; I halved the quantities but also added grated apple for extra flavour as I had a few apples that needed using up. The result was absolutely delicious and the texture was perfect.

Here's what I did:
You need:

175g butter or marg (I used Stork)
135g caster sugar
120g golden syrup
225g rolled oats
1 tsp ground ginger
2 apples, peeled and grated

Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and line a square cake tin.

Heat the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over a gentle heat until melted. Stir in the rolled oats, ginger and apple until combined.

Spoon into the cake tin and press down gently to spread the mixture out and flatten it. Bake for 30 minutes until the edges have turned golden brown and slightly crispy; the middle will still be soft and sticky.



 
 I'm sharing this with Only Crumbs Remain
 and CookBlogShare.
Only Crumbs Remain Hijacked By Twins
 


Monday, April 16, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 16

Friday, April 13, 2018

Oriental Dress Birthday Card

 
I loved Arthur Golden's book Memoirs of a Geisha which I read many years ago, so it was a nice throwback when I saw it had been chosen as the theme for the Library Challenge, which is for crafters who love books.

I had a pack of both outline stickers and die cuts I bought years ago that I never really knew what to do with, in the shape of Oriental dresses and fans. They are quite detailed and large so take up most of a typical card and I was never really sure how to make the most of them.

They seemed just right for this particular card challenge so I decided to make a very quick and simple card using one of the colourful cardboard die cuts. I used a pre-printed card blank which creates quite a busy pattern with the die cut, but the colours and flower shapes are complementary at the same time.

I finished the card with a pink 'special day' sticker.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Car, Map and Signpost Birthday Card



 
I treated myself to the latest issue of Creative Stamping and indulged myself in making a few cards one day while the baby was asleep. There was a large A4 sheet of clear stamps as the free cover gift that had a travel and transport theme - handy to make cards for men.
 
#
I decided to make a version of the card featured on the front cover of the magazine with a few differences. First I stamped the road map rubber stamp multiple times over a white square card blank - you can only tell the pattern repeats if you look closely!
 
Then I cut a border to go around three sides from an old envelope I'd received in the post and kept. Next I used the car stamp and the signpost stamp on red card and cut around them and stuck them onto the card. I stamped the top part of the signpost again so I could cut out two of the arms and use a small adhesive pad to raise them from the card.
 

I used the 'enjoy your birthday' sentiment stamps as on the card on the magazine cover, and mounted them on red card so the colours brought the whole card together. I like this card but unfortunately after making it I can't find the car stamp anywhere - that's the problem with clear stamps!

I'm sharing this with Cardz 4 Guyz where the theme is travel or transport and Craft Stamper where anything goes as long as you use a stamp, Moo Mania where the theme is masculine and Challenge Up Your Life where the theme is vehicles.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 15

Only a day late which isn't bad given my five week old baby is taking up most of my time at the moment!

Monday
lasagne that I batch cooked and froze for me, spicy chicken for my husband

Tuesday
fish cake for me, sausage and mash for him

Wednesday
Cajun chicken and potato wedges

Thursday
chicken cacciatore from my batch cooking in the freezer for me, cheese omelette and chips for him

Friday
chicken goujons for him, scampi for me

Saturday - my sister and her partner visiting (postponed from two weeks ago as their daughter was ill)
lunch - chicken enchiladas
dinner - frozen pizza after our guests leave

Sunday
lunch - either bacon sandwich or pancakes or breakfast burritos depending on what we fancy
dinner - I'd like to do a roast but that would mean buying some meat by Sunday!

Link up your own meal plan here:

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Under the Weather Get Well Card

 
I adored this SugarPea Designs 'whatever the weather' set of clear stamps when I saw it in a card making magazine and put it on my Christmas list - but I hadn't actually used it yet!

That was rectified this weekend when I made a few different cards using the set. The first was this 'get well soon' card - I never have generic cards like this in my folder as I tend to concentrate instead on making cards for upcoming birthdays and special occasions, but it's good to have a few other cards ready as you never know when you will need them.

I took a cream card blank and started by cutting a border from a piece of patterned paper. The paper had different coloured stripes so by cutting a thin piece along the length, I was able to get a little of each stripe, which made for a colourful border pattern.

The other decorations are all from the stamp set - first I positioned the cloud and the raindrops together (they are separate stamps) and stamped them twice at the top, then stamped two umbrellas at the bottom. The stamp set has two umbrella designs, one a block colour and the other spotted; I stamped one in blue and one in pink. The umbrella handle is a separate stamp with a gap in the top that fits over the coloured part, so by using a clear acrylic block you can position it exactly to go either side of the pink and blue parts.

Finally the sentiment which I really like - the typeface is really nice and I'm always looking for sentiment stamps that feature an actual phrase rather than just a word or a straightforward 'get well soon'. This is quite a simple card but I really like the way it has turned out.

I'm sharing this with Crafty Addicts where the theme is April showers, Trimmies Craft Challenge which has 'get well soon' as the topic, and The Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers where 'U is for umbrella', though the sentiment isn't exactly snarky so I hope this counts!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 14