Happy Easter

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!

The Little Man’s Catwalk Debut

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.

The Vanilla Swarm

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

Chocolate Mochi

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.

Painting a Cross on the Door

That’s right, keep out, we’re all sick in here! That’s one of the problems when you have such a big family when illness strikes it gets us all, knocking us all down like pins at a bowling alley. Last week Boo came home from church and fell asleep on the settee, she was burning up and once awake started throwing up. Next it was time for the Little Man to get the lurgy. Monday morning arrived after a sleep deprived night and presented us with another high temperature, this time from Star. School was phoned and we began one of those hazy days where you forget what the time is and just keep mopping up the mess. By Wednesday things were looking good for the girls but the Little Man was still suffering. Sadly I was too busy with the kids to hear the Dad moaning about his ills. Thursday morning arrived and I was all prepared to send the girls back to school. What I wasn’t prepared for was for me to be struck down with illness. Dad had to get up and take them in, and pick them up.

The weekend arrived and we were all feeling a little better, it looked like No1 Son and Eldest Daughter had escaped. The came Sunday and I woke with a migraine. Yes, one of those can’t turn your head to the side otherwise the pain will make you throw up type of migraines. Heavily doped I got through the day, I even managed to  cook a roast (ok, frozen veg, frozen roast spuds and even frozen yorkshire puds, but I did make the gravy myself from the meat juices) No cake or dessert this week though 🙁

As Sunday wore on it seemed that No1 Son hadn’t actually escaped the Bug as loud moanings could be heard all around the house. Sunday evening I took my migraine to bed at the same time as the kids. The night was not good, disturbances went as follows; Little Man, No1 Son, Boo, Little Man, Boo, Dad, No1 Son, Little Man, Dad and finally Star my little alarm clock with her 6am call.

At present the girls are at school, No1 Son is still suffering and has in fact been diagnosed with his first ever ear infection, and the Little Man is still not eating properly but is still properly snotty!

Tomorrow, I’m going to disinfect the entire house and banish the bugs.
At least until the next round arrives.

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.