Last week we saw the final of the Great British Bake Off 2016.

They made meringue, Victoria Sandwich and a picnic showstopper including a chocolate cake.
I did feel a little disappointed at the skill set needed for the final. Surely it could have been more difficult? The things they made for their picnics I’ve made loads of times for parties, meringues are not difficult so long as you are careful not to break them and my nine year old daughter knows how to make a Victoria Sandwich without instructions.
The winner was Candice and I believe she deserved it as she seemed the only one who really put any effort into making something unique. I still remember her gingerbread pub, and her marzipan peacock was fantastic. Going back to my run down of week one I had Candice and Jane, two of the finalists, as my favourites to do well. I wish I’d put a bet on now! 
My girls really wanted to make meringue so I let them make some and they made little meringue ghosts for Halloween. I decided that a chocolate cake would be nice to make so in keeping with the Halloween theme I dressed it up as a trick or treat cake.
We like our meringue crispy so we always bake it in the oven. The eyes were piped on with a little melted chocolate.
little ghost shaped meringues with chocolate eyes
My chocolate cake is a favourite in our house and I make it frequently. I don’t always cover it in chocolate but I decided to do it this time, only I wish I’d left myself a little more time to do it a bit more neatly. 

Chocolate Cake:

Ingredients:

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g soft butter
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
for butter cream:

  • 125g soft butter
  • 240g icing sugar
  • 10g cocoa powder
topping: 

  • 200g chocolate
  • assorted sweets to decorate.

Method:
heat oven to 180C
grease and line a 20cm cake tin
mix the sugar and butter together in a large bowl
mix in the eggs one by one
sift in the flour and the cocoa powder
fold in until you have a smooth batter
pour batter into cake tin
bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
leave to cool
make the butter cream by creaming the butter with sifted icing sugar and cocoa powder
fill cake with half the butter cream then smooth the rest around outside of the cake as a crumb coat
melt chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of hot water
pour over cake
drop sweets over cake
chocolate cake covered in sweets

To finish my Halloween theme here are the pumpkins designed by my three children

pumpkins

Mummy Mishaps

I want to tell you a story that will make your skin crawl.

Imagine the scene, you are out with your family enjoying a fun day in the sun. You are at a wildlife centre and there is so much to see and you. Your kids are running around having loads of fun and they want to do everything and see everything. After looking at some animals, the Lynx was a great attraction what a majestic cat. With long long teeth that would scare off a vampire!

Suddenly things take a turn for the worst, a nightmare scene!

mum needs the toilet in horror text image

It’s ok says Dad, there is a disabled toilet you can go in there.

Mum is in a wheelchair you see and can’t use regular toilets. It’s so important that attractions and places of interest have disabled toilets.

Mum wheels herself half way up the ramp to the disabled toilet but it’s a bit too much. Dad comes to the rescue and helps her to the door…..then

horror written in horror text

The wheelchair does not actually fit in the toilet!

This is quite common, you would not believe how common.
Either the disabled toilet is too small to get the wheelchair in and shut the door, or as in this case even just get the wheelchair in. So many disabled toilets are in a small corridor and it’s almost impossible to navigate the wheelchair through the door.

All was not lost even though Mum was getting very desperate at this time.
Mum had her walking sticks in the bag and could walk the last few steps into the toilet. Then very carefully use the loo in the tiny cubicle. Thankfully there were hand rails so she could get up again. There was also a baby changing table for a small child.  BUT, what if you had an older child who could not use the toilet. What if they needed changing and the disabled toilet was so small and un-equipped that your only option was to change them on the floor. Would you like to lie on a toilet floor?

would you like to lie on the floor horror text image

Having a disabled toilet is a necessity, but isn’t it about time that disabled toilets were actually equipped and accessible for disabled people. Putting a sign on the door and a few bars around the loo is not enough. These cubicles need to be larger and cleaner, with good accessibility and a changing area for older children or adults.

For many years I walked passed disabled toilets wishing I could  use them just to avoid the queue for the ladies.

Now, my biggest nightmare is having to use a disabled toilet.

Read other #accessibilitystories at The Inclusive Home – Accessibility Stories

I love writing letters, they allow you to say what you really feel when you might not say it all out loud. With less than a month to go until my marriage to my partner I have taken today’s Blogtober16 prompt ‘A Letter To Someone,’ to take this opportunity to write to my husband to be.


Dear Graham,

We met almost sixteen years ago when you rescued my kittens from a neighbours tree and I rewarded you with a coffee. You helped me celebrate my birthday just a couple of days later, and we have been together ever since.

Looking back I can’t understand why you wanted to take on me and my two young teenagers. We were all going through a really tough time and my life was upside down. There was no-one who could fix things, but you were a great support. Sometimes it was rocky, but we made it with a smile.

I always knew you wanted children of your own and even though I was getting older I wanted to provide you with at least one. It took a while but we ended up with three! I always remember your reaction when after having two girls we found out we were having a little boy and you danced down the corridor in the hospital.

We’ve had some rocky times too but always made it through. We’ve had the usual hiccups in our relationship and sometimes we’ve been bickering a lot, but somehow we kept going and worked it out. Sometimes when you are in a long term relationship all it takes is to talk things through but it’s easy to forget that.

Then on New Years Day I was admitted to hospital where I spent two weeks in bed mostly on my back. I couldn’t move and I had plenty of time for thinking. I was so grateful that you kept everything going smoothly at home. I’ll admit that I knew deep inside that you were not coping anywhere near as well as I would but my mindset started to change. Instead of focusing on what you may be doing wrong I accepted you for who you were and that you were doing your best.

When I came home I still couldn’t do much and you had to carry on. At first I’d get annoyed that you didn’t do the vacuuming or the washing up as good as I would have done if I could. Soon, I stopped that and realised that you were doing ok really, it must be hard having to keep up with everything when you were not used to it. For so long I’d been the one to do everything, but it wasn’t because you were lazy, it was because I’d stopped you from doing anything, because I had to be in control.

You’ve asked me many times to marry you but I’ve always thought there was no need. I didn’t realise how unhappy this made you feel. I was thinking just because I’d been married before and in the end it had meant nothing, that I couldn’t see the point in going through it all again. To me marriage was just a certificate, and I didn’t really need it.

After a  lot of thought I changed my mind and realised that getting married seemed to make our family closer. It’s not just a change of name or a certificate, it’s about accepting you as a family member rather than the father of our children. It’s a union between you and me and together we are stronger.

My older children are still very much a part of our family even now that they are grown up, and they always will be. We are family, all seven of us.

So next month we will be married and the celebrations are all planned. It’s going to be a very special day and I can’t wait.

I’ve been a Mrs for 30 years but now I will be Your Mrs at last.

Thank you for being there all this time, and thank you for being willing to stay when things got rough. You are a great Dad and I’m sure you will be a great husband too.

I love you forever,

Anne xx



#Blogtober16

The Little Man with a sailor hat standing in front of the biggest lego ship in the world

We went to the Lego convention Brick Live on  Thursday this week (I’m still recovering.) This is my favourite photo of the loads I took. I just love how cheeky my little man looks and his crooked hat.

He’s standing next to the Worlds Biggest Lego Ship made with over a million lego bricks. It truly was huge being over 12 metres long, 2.72 metres high and weighing 2860kg

OneDad3Girls

Sunday Snap

Do you have Lego Bricks in your house? I think most people have. We love lego, we bought loads last Christmas and on Boxing Day me and Graham spent most of the day (and night) building Ninjago Dragons!

The Little Man loves his Minecraft Lego too and the girls also have boxes of Lego Friends. Over on Brick Dave you can find a brilliant article about the Top 10 Ways to Learn with lego, it’s really interesting.

On Thursday we attended Brick Live as Press and had a fantastic day. There is so much to do we were there for hours but the time went so quickly. I’d be here all day if I mentioned everything so I’m just going to mention some of the things we enjoyed. You can take a look at all the rest over on Bricklive.co.uk

When we entered we were greeted by a lovely Halloween themed display.

halloween display in lego

halloween display in lego

The Kids were thrilled with the chance to play Lego Dimensions, we really wanted the Green Arrow special character so we had to do several tasks to get cards. Then we swapped our cards with other visitors until we had 20 different ones which we could then use to get a Green Arrow. You also get to keep the cards you collect. Another task was to watch the Dimensions film on the Live stage. The kids were enthralled and excited to watch and so many questions to ask after the demonstration.

lego dimensions

lego dimensions

There was also a Spooktacular Scooby Scavenger Hunt in which you can find all the Hollywood Stars gathered around the show and win prizes…big clue…the stars are on the floor, not in the lego displays as I first thought. We also got to see the new ‘Lego Scooby Doo Haunted Hollywood’ film which was really good and so funny. I do love a good Lego movie, it’s weird to think of the lego characters as animated actors but in a strange kind of way it really works and adds a whole new dimension to the animation. I’m getting a DVD to watch again, it’s so much fun. The DVD is only £7 to buy and you can get it from the show or Amazon with a free lego figure.

lego scooby doo haunted hollywood movie

lego scooby doo haunted hollywood movie

Brick Live is on until tomorrow 30th October, if you don’t manage to attend you can always sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss out next time.

There were some amazing things built from Lego including the worl’s biggest Lego Ship with over one million bricks.

The Little Man love seeing Iron Man’s Hulk Buster, and he was so huge!

We had a fabulous day and will definitely be looking at going next time it’s on.