A year ago my friend lost her life after a long battle with Cancer. She found a lump in her breast shortly after her little boy was born. Sadly she knew from the start that her battle was one she couldn’t win because of the aggressiveness of the disease. She did, however, fight it with all her might for six years and never lost her dignity. Rest In Peace dear Clare.

I lost my mum to Cancer on Christmas Day 2008. She didn’t know she had it until a hospital visit in late November. It was everywhere and there was nothing that could be done. She had no chance of fighting and lived only fifteen days after her diagnosis.

Two of my friends have also lost their mum’s to the dreaded disease in the past few years.

Then just a few weeks ago a lovely family man, Gavin, also lost his life. He was one of my first ever friends on Twitter when I joined nearly four years ago. Last year he told me he was going to have his wisdom tooth removed. I’ve had all of mine taken out and made a lame joke about being ‘wisdomless.’ Sadly, they found things where not right, he had Cancer. They operated and for a very short while he believed the battle was won, but it had spread and the battle was soon over.

It’s awful losing someone to this dreaded disease, and every day online you will find someone fighting their own battles. When Gavin died I decided I’d like to do something for a Cancer related charity. The very same day I heard about Wig Wednesday which the supports the children’s Cancer charity Clic Sargeant. Did you know that every day 10 families in the UK are told that their child has Cancer? The gruelling treatment often leaves Cancer victims without their hair, and that’s what Wig Wednesday is all about.

Quite simply, on Wednesday 22nd May I will be wearing a wig all day, on the school run, to the shops, everywhere. I will purchase my wig from the Wig Wednesday shop where all profits go to the charity. (I quite fancy the Curls Aloud Wig in red.) I will be raising money for Clic Sargeant and raising awareness for the next couple of months.
Donations can be made through my brand new Just Giving Page. Please give a little if you can, every donation counts. Then on 22nd may I will wear my wig and share my day with you here on my blog.

I think Easter has to be my favourite time of year, what is there not to like? There is something for everyone.

If you are religious then there is nothing more wonderful than an Easter Sunday service. It’s what the Christian faith is all about, being accepted by God for eternity through the resurrection of Christ. Our church provides a truly uplifting service. Today’s was in the form of a play by the worship group, featuring the detective Philip Marlowe on the case of the missing body.

If you are not religious then there is a long weekend (for most), chocolate, family gatherings, chocolate, Dr Who, chocolate, Simnel Cake…you get the picture. It’s what you make of it really, but it can be good and full of chocolate.

Then of course there is the promise of spring, daffodils, buttercups, newborn lambs and sunshine. Well, that would be true if it wasn’t for the snow. I’m sure spring is just around the corner, after all the clocks have gone forward now so summer is on the way, spring better hurry up and make an appearance before it’s too late.

I like Easter better than Christmas, it’s cheaper for one thing. I splashed out this year with Thortons eggs, bagging a bargain with their combination offers, free delivery and a 20% off code. It worked out cheaper than the supermarket eggs anyway.

Yesterday, I made a delicious traditional Easter Simnel Cake, click the picture for the recipe from my cake blog.

Easter Simnel Cake

The Little Ones all made Easter cards at school which are proudly on display.

Happy Easter everyone!

On  Tuesday we were invited to the Start-Rite Press Party in South Bank, London. The Little Man was invited to model some shoes on the catwalk. It was an invitation I just couldn’t refuse. I’m not a shoe person myself but I love children’s shoes, and I knew the Little Man would be fantastic on the catwalk.

We took the train to London, Eldest Daughter came along too. We decided to go without the buggy! The Little Man is a great walker but he tends to run/wander off, so I used his harness and reins. Out of all my five children I’ve never used reins before, I just don’t like them, but I’ve never had a little monkey like the Little Man and I figured his safety is more important than me not liking walking him like a dog. It turned out it was a good idea, so much easier to get around and on and off transport without a buggy! The only time I had to carry the Little Man was when he fell asleep on the train home and I had to carry him to the taxi.

Eldest Daughter decided that we should have lunch at Wagamamas, so we did. It was the Little Man’s first trip to a proper restaurant (ok, hands up, I have taken him to Mc Donalds before!) and he was brilliant. He had chicken and noodles and cleared his plate. (well apart from the noodles that ended up in my bag which I stupidly left open right next to his chair)

The Little Man waiting for food and enjoying his noodles!

After lunch we headed up to the event and found they had given the Little Man my name and he had girl shoes to model. Ooops! The Little Man didn’t mind though, he loves shoes and it doesn’t matter if they are his sister’s, his dad’s, his mum’s, he’s always putting them on. These were lovely light blue brogue type shoes, so you couldn’t even tell they were really for girls.

Trying his shoes on

Then came the catwalk and the Little Man was a star, I’m sure you’ll agree. In this little video Eldest Daughter was holding the camera and he ran straight to her, as was the plan. What we didn’t plan was that he wouldn’t want to return to mummy afterwards.

As well as the modelling there was a lovely clown lady with balloons who kept the kids really entertained, food and drink and, of course, shoes.

We had a lovely day and would like to thank Beccie and Start-Rite for inviting us.
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event because Start-Rite Shoes are the sponsors of the School Days category of the Mad Blog Awards of which I am a finalist. The Little Man was given a voucher for a new pair of Start-Rite Shoes.

On Thursday afternoon’s school run I couldn’t believe how cold it was, I could tell that snow was on the way. We’ve had a fair bit of snow lately I really didn’t expect more. In fact when clearing out the understairs cupboard the other day I was tempted to box up and pack away the wellies for next winter. I’m so glad I didn’t! Friday morning we woke to tons of the white stuff. Kate Bush has 50 words for snow, including vanilla swarm, eiderfalls, erase-o-dust, whippochino, but the words that came to my mind that morning are unprintable. Enough already, it’s supposed to be Spring!

Still, the world carries on, and fresh snow is beautiful, I love the way it covers the muck up. So we got ready and I took the kids to school. The Little Man took a little longer than usual, he’s still completely in awe of the snow and has to stop every 10 seconds to feel it with his gloved hands. Star decided to make Gruffalo prints in the snow all the way to school which was lovely, only I didn’t have my camera with me.

By lunchtime I’d had a call from the school to pick up Boo as she wasn’t very well. I’m not sure what was wrong with her but her recovery was pretty quick?

In the afternoon I have to pick up Little Man at 3p.m and the girls at 3.30p.m. I usually take Little Man for a walk to the shops to fill in the time, but it was so cold I came home and begged Dad to go and pick up Star so I didn’t have to go out again.

It carried on snowing. By Saturday morning we had tons. Star looked out of the window and said, ‘wow, it’s a winter wonderland out there’ which is fine, but it’s supposed to be SPRING!

So we made yet another snowman. This one was named Snowy by the Little Man, original I know, but he is only two!

It’s almost tea time now and still snowing. Will it ever stop? Sorbet deluge, boomerangablanca, deamondi-pavlova, icyskidsi…..I love Kate bush.

Here’s a few photo’s, no kids, but they were there at some point.

click to see a bigger picture

P.S. It’s the last few dates to get your votes in for the MAD Blog Awards if you haven’t done so already.
Raisie Bay is amongst the finalists in the Schooldays category, I’m still pinching myself I can’t believe it. Do take a look and share some love for the bloggers.

 Come and see how others have been spending time outdoors over at CoombeMill country kids

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

I may have mentioned in previous posts that I like Japanese food and that I often lunch out with Eldest Daughter at Yo Sushi, well, one of the dishes we always end on is chocolate mochi. This is a delicious rice pastry dessert filled with soft chocolate and it just melts in your mouth in a gloop of yumminous.
Take a look:

mochi

So, I figured, how difficult could this delicious dessert be to make?
Ahem!
First problem was the rice flour, it has to be sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour, which is not actually sweetened and has no gluten in it, but actually cooks sweet and sticky. Confused? It doesn’t get any better.
 Now go find me some Google? All my favourite online shops stock gluten free rice flour!! To buy the ‘proper’ stuff you need to go to a specialist Asian store and buy Mochiko (Mochigomeko) and this can be pretty expensive. There are alternatives but you need to be able to read Japanese or have a very helpful English speaking shop assistant.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared to for out so much money for my yummy so I decided to do some research and maybe come up with an alternative. What I did find was that ground semolina had almost the same consistency as rice flour but I wasn’t sure it would hold up in a pastry. So I had a go using a mixure of rice flour (gluten free) and semolina. It wasn’t a huge success. I did get something that resembled Chocolate Mochi but the taste wasn’t quite right. The rice pastry wasn’t sweet or gloopy enough and the cocoa powder dusting was yuk! The Yo Shushi ones are dusted with cocoa powder that tastes sweet and chocolately, but my cocoa powder tasted bitter. Eldest Daughter suggested that drinking chocolate would probably give the right effect.

What did I learn? That Yo Shushi are the kings of Chocolate Mochi. That if you want to make something right sometimes you have to spend a small fortune on the ingredients. Cocoa powder is yuk! I make excellent chocolate truffles! This is what I used for the filling and that was the only saving grace, every single mochi was eaten (not by me) purely for the chocolate truffle inside.

What would I do differently? I will make them again (or just stop at the truffles) but if I can’t find a decent Asian store with sweet rice flour I will probably try a half and half mixture of rice flour and semolina. I will put some cocoa powder in with the rice pastry for a more chocolatey experience, you can never have too much chocolate. I will dust them with drinking chocolate, not cocoa powder.

I’m not going to share my recipe now as it was not a big success, but be warned, I’ll be back when I’ve mastered this tricky icky chocolatey dessert. In the meantime, here’s a pic of my effort.