Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Owl and The Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussy cat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat.....

As a child I loved this poem by Edward Lear. It was so romantic and also a little crazy, which was just fine with me. I was really happy to re-discover the poem with my children. Of course the girls were straight in there with the questions, "what's a runcible spoon?" and "What's a Bong Tree? Is there really an island where they grow?"
Boo decided that a runcible spoon is probably what we would call a spork, a kind of spoon with fork prongs. Star decided that a bong tree would be a tree which 'bonged' when you bumped into it, or if a bong fruit fell off.
That is the magic of Edward Lear, he used words that didn't necessarily have to make sense, children find them so much fun.
I was sent a brand new copy of the Owl and the Pussy Cat with illustrations by Charlotte Yoake and a forward by Julia Donaldson.

 I loved the imagery, you could relate to it even though the poem is 143 years old.

 The pictures are bright and fun, Very attractive to young and old alike and bound to create more questions from the little ones as they enjoy the poem.

Did you ever wonder what happened to the Owl and the Pussy Cat after they were married and danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon?

Julia Donaldson did and now she has written a perfect follow on poem, in much the same style as Edward Lear. This book is also illustrated by Charlotte Yoake.

The book can also be purchased with a CD which contains the story read aloud by Julia Donaldson. She also sings the poem like a folk song on the CD.

 I won't give the story away but the ring gets stolen and the owl and the pussycat set out on a mission to retrieve it.

 Julia Donaldson also introduces some more of Edward Lears characters from other poems such as the Pobble who has no toes and his Aunt Jobiska.

My children really loved the books and have since been practising their own poetry.

You can purchase both The Owl and The Pussycat and the Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat from Amazon. They would make perfect Christmas presents for any child.

Here is a little introduction to the book by Julia Donaldson herself.

I was sent copies of both books for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Kids in the Kitchen - Pitta Bread

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen and my apologies for posting late. I've been suffering from a migraine for the last five days. I'm feeling better today but I have the most awful tinnitus.
This week we made Pitta Bread. It was unplanned really, I'd made pulled pork for dinner and needed some bread to go with it, so I grabbed the kids and asked them to help.

Last week we were joined by Little E from All About a Mummy blog. What a beautiful little helper you have. I'll look forward to seeing who joins us this week.

Pitta Bread

As I said, we decided to make Pitta Bread to go with our Pulled Pork which is a new favourite of mine. For many years I didn't Pork because for some reason my mum had told me it made me sick. Maybe I grew out of it, but it certainly doesn't make me ill now. I'm still not a huge fan of pork, but I love slow cooked pulled pork marinaded with spices. I like to serve it with a lovely salad of fresh leaves and tomatoes with a tasty vinaigrette. Salads tend to get neglected during the winter months but they need not be. In fact, I'm on a mission to eat more and am planning on a salad with bread-crumbed Camembert later. You can find lots of healthy salad recipes which can be used all year around. I do love the handy bags of salad leaves you can pick up at the supermarket.


  • 200g Strong white flour
  • 7g sachet of fast acting yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 160ml warm water
  • 2 tsp olive oil


mix together the flour yeast and salt in a large bowl.
Add the olive oil
Mix in about half the water and then keep adding a little at the time until it all comes together in a dough.
Turn out and knead the dough. 
This is one job kids love to do

Heat oven to 250C gas mark 9
Place a baking tray in the oven to warm up
Leave the dough to prove for about half an hour to an hour
break into six pieces
stretch or roll each piece into pitta bread shapes

Place pitta breads on warmed tray and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes until puffed up and golden.
We did ours in two batches of three pitta breads.

So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)

Thank you for reading, if you like my blog then please Subscribe to Raisie Bay
You can find out more about Kids in the Kitchen by clicking here.

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Friday, 14 November 2014

My Christmas Cake - recipe

I like to make my Christmas at least six weeks before Christmas. often earlier. This year I made it last week and it's already had it's first 'feed'. It's now wrapped up in greaseproof paper in a cake tin at the back of a cupboard. Each week I will unwrap it lovingly and pour over a tablespoon of brandy to keep it moist. This is definitely not a cake for the kids, but that's okay because they will have plenty of their own cake to enjoy.

I did get Boo to help me mix up the cake this year, she wanted to cook so I gave her some jobs. She was not impressed though and did ask if it would be okay if she didn't eat any.

rich fruit christmas cake

When making your Christmas Cake you need to prepare your tin. I used an 8" round tin with a loose bottom. It has to be lightly greased and lined with greaseproof paper. Then you have to cover the outside of the tin with folded greaseproof paper and tie it on.


  • 1lb mixed fruit and candy, you can buy bags from the supermarket expecially for cakes.
  • 5tbs of brandy
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g dark muscovado sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs of treacle


Place the dried fruit in a bowl and cover with the brandy. Leave overnight to soak.

  • preheat the oven to 140C gas mark1
  • cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  • beat the eggs and add them a little at a time, beating thouroughly after each addition
  • sieve flour, salt and spices into a mixing bowl
  • fold the flour and spice mix into the butter, sugar and eggs mix
  • add the soaked fruit and excess brandy
  • add the ctrus zest and treacle
  • mix to combine all ingredients
  • pour into prepared pan
  • bake for 4 hours

Here is my finished cake. In the week before Christmas I will decorate it with marzipan and icing. I've not decided yet on the decoration, but here is last years cake.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

No Place Like Home

I am currently embarking on a huge task of decorating my home. Every single room in the house was magnolia. Well, now I have my first room almost completed. All I need are some new lightshades.

I recently visited the Grand Designs Exhibition at the National Exhibition Centre. It was there that I fell in love with this collage from 1Wall

1Wall at the N.E.C. Many more designs are available on their website

I was really excited when I was one of twenty bloggers chosen to review something from 1Wall and of course I chose the collage.

It arrived in a box with a picture of all the pieces inside on the back. I found this useful when making up my design, it saved searching through the box.

I had already decided that I wanted to spell out something rather than just put them up alphabetically, so I knew which letters I was looking for.

My next decision was how to place them on the wall. I tried placing them on the floor but it didn't give me an impression of what they would look like. So I put a tiny piece of blu-tack on the pieces I wanted and experimented by sticking them up. It took a while and a lot of shifting patterns before I decided to go with a neat block of letters. To be honest, I do have a problem with abstract and random things so it made sense to go neat and uniform. That's just my style.

Once I was certain of my design my next step was to measure where they would go. I knew each line would be eight pieces long, so I blu-tacked eight pieces back on the wall to measure where I wanted them to start and finish.

My next job was to measure how far from the ceiling they would go and to lightly mark the wall so I knew where each piece on the top line was going. Because I wanted them uniform the preparation had to be done.

I sorted out each piece I was using and put them in order. Then I began pasting them. I was provided with the paste which just had to be mixed with water.
I found that working with four pieces at a time was best, it was just enough time, around two minutes, for each piece to soak up the paste and be ready for hanging.

The top line took longest as I had to make sure it was all straight and neat, after that the job was a lot easier and it took me just under an hour to complete.

I was really pleased with the result. Like wallpaper they bubbled up a little after application but once dried they are smooth and flat. 

As the pack contains 64 pieces and I only used 24 I still have 40 pieces left (yay, I can do math too)
I'm thinking of putting these up in the alcove in my bedroom later on. The collage I created is 220 cm wide by 112.5 cm long

Overall, I found them really easy to put up and they look really effective. I painted my hallway a very light coffee colour a couple of weeks ago and they work really well. However, they are very neutral shades and would work with most colour schemes. They cost £49.99 for a pack of 64 including wallpaper paste. They can be cut to size or overlapped depending on your design. The pack comes with full instructions and decorating ideas. You can also find decorating ideas on the website along with a video. 

Disclaimer: As stated I received this collage from 1 Wall for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Kids in the Kitchen - White Chocolate Cheesecake

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen. This week I had the Little Man in the kitchen as a willing helper. Together we made White Chocolate Cheesecake after finding a recipe over on The Reading Residence blog. It was incredibly delicious and so easy to make.

First I like to say thank you to those that linked up last week.

I was incredibly impressed with the Biscuit Castle made by T for a homework project over on Autism Mumma. How brilliant and it looks tasty too...I'm a terrible biscuit addict.

Then over on In the Playroom blog, I was really happy to find that I'm not the only mum to make fajitas with chicken dippers (I have one child who will only eat chicken dippers so I try to get inventive with them) These ones look very yummy, I wouldn't mind trying them myself

Thank you for linking up and I hope you will join us again. All posts can be found archived on the Kids in the Kitchen Pinterest Board.

White Chocolate Cheesecake.

We adapted this a little because I didn't have any Philadelphia in the fridge so I used mascarpone cheese. It is very similar but less acidic and a little more creamy. It did go just as nice with the white chocolate though.


50g unsalted melted butter
150g ginger biscuits (you can use digestives)

100g mascarpone cheese
100g white chocolate buttons
120ml double cream
30g caster sugar


we put the biscuits in a food bag and the Little Man had loads of fun bashing them up to crumbs.

We covered a 7" victoria sponge tin with tin foil, this helps to remove the cheesecake when set.
We added the biscuit crumbs to the melted butter and mixed well.
The mixture was then pressed into the bottom of the tin with the back of a spoon.
This was then put in the fridge to set while we made the topping.

In a large bowl we whisked the cream into peaks. The Little Man thought this was good fun and was amazed to see the runny cream turn thick and stiff.

In another bowl we added the cheese and the sugar and mixed them together.

Meanwhile I melted the chocolate buttons in a bowl over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water.

We added the chocolate to the cheese and sugar mixture and mixed well.
Then I folded in the whipped cream.

We poured the topping on the base and left in the fridge to set.

So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)

Thank you for reading, if you like my blog then please Subscribe to Raisie Bay
You can find out more about Kids in the Kitchen by clicking here.

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