I love it when I receive things for ME to review so when I was asked to be a Shoe Zone Mummy blogger then I was happy to help. There are certain types of shoe that every woman should have in her wardrobe. Like a good pair of jeans, there are certain shoes which are staple items. Since having children, I admit I seem to spend 95% of my time wearing trainers now a days but it doesn’t stop me loving shoes! When Shoe Zone asked me to choose a pair of shoes to review, I decided I needed to start building my collection and the perfect pair to start with are these beautiful and simple nude patent wedges.
These are the type of shoes which can be worn with everything and anything, I honestly don’t know how I coped for so long without a pair of shoes like this in my collection!
What do I love about these shoes:
1. They can be worn with absolutely everything, a true wardrobe staple which every woman needs in her shoe collection.
2. They are extremely comfortable. I’d say they are true to size, I am a size 7 in most shoes and these in a size 7 fit me really well. They feel great to wear which is always a bonus as I simply don’t believe in crippling myself for the sake of a pair of shoes, no matter how pretty they are
3. The wedge heel makes these shoes so wearable. I’m tall anyway so I don’t particularly need skyscraper heels in my life (although I do own a couple of pairs) and wedges just feel so much more stable whilst still giving the elegant feel and look of heels. Ideal when trying to cope with two toddlers out and about
4. Quality – now I have to admit, when I saw the price of these shoes (£14.99), I was pretty dubious about what quality they would be but to my surprise they look and feel really well made. Of course I’ve only had them a couple of weeks but from my experience of them so far I’m expecting them to last quite a while.
So, overall am I impressed with these shoes? Definitely yes!
When Clarks Shoes challenged me to style up with some of their metallic Studio Beat Sandals and free my feet, well I couldn’t turn them down It seems like winter has lasted forever up here and now we are finally seeing some sunshine I couldn’t wait to get my toes out!
So what summer outfit did I style my Studio Beat Sandals with? Well I’d normally opt for shorts in this weather but I’m a little slow with the fake tan and so I thought I’d spare you my white legs and opt for my favourite maxi dress. It’s silk and I love the bright butterfly print, I feel like a million dollars whenever I wear this dress and so the studio beat sandals are the perfect footwear to go with it. The gold of the sandals seems to bring out the colours in the dress and they really are so comfy to wear which makes them practical too! I’m a big believer in not suffering for fashion so shoes and clothes which look stylish but are easy to wear are a must.
The dress, I got from Warehouse last summer and the sandals of course are from Clarks
Disclosure: I was given the sandals by Clarks for this challenge.
I’m really getting into baking at the moment and I’m always keen to experiment and try new ways of making cakes for the family. This week I bring you another tasty and quick recipe which the kids (and adults) love! This recipe makes around 18 small cupcakes, I prefer them in the smaller size as its a more suitable size for the kids
2 medium eggs
125g caster sugar
125g softened butter
125g plain flour
1tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
2 small ripe bananas (mashed)
100g milk chocolate chips
1. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients (except the choc chips) with a mixer for a couple of minutes until thoroughly mixed.
2. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon and then divide the mixture into paper cupcake cases.
3. Bake at 180 degrees for approx 20 minutes, test with a skewer and if it comes out clear then the cakes are ready.
You can never have enough vegetarian recipe books! That is so true for this household, I love recipe books and my collection is huge. When I was contacted to see if I’d like to review a new vegetarian cook book, well of course I said yes
tibits restaurants were originally launched as a family business over 10 years ago in Switzerland by three brothers, Reto, Christian and Daniel Frei, together with Rolf and Marielle Hiltl, of Hiltl, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world. Now, due to popular demand, tibits has brought out its first collection of recipes, enabling existing fans and those new to the concept alike, to try out the recipes at home for the first time.
These innovative recipes showcase the taste, beauty, and nutrition of produce that’s fresh all year round: the tender young asparagus of spring, the plump juicy berries of summer; the succulent courgettes and butternut squash of autumn, the comforting roots of winter.
tibits at home: stylish vegetarian cuisine is a sumptuous cookbook, split into four seasonal sections, containing 50 recipes that will delight all loyal tibits fans, as well as those who are new to the brand. 80 per cent of tibits’ menu is vegan and many of the recipes in the book are also vegan – good news for the rapidly increasing number of vegans in the UK. In addition, many recipes cater for those on gluten-free and nut-free diets.
Tibits At Home have very kindly allowed me to share a couple of their delicious recipes with you.
tabouli middle-eastern style
If you love fresh parsley and mint, this is for you!
120 g bulgur
250 ml water
2 tsp fine sea salt
150 g baby spinach leaves
50 g fresh mint
40 g fresh coriander (cilantro)
30 g broad leaf parsley
400 g tomatoes
1.5 lemons (juice)
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fine sea salt
1-2 tbsp chilli oil
Freshly ground white pepper
1 Cook the bulgur in salted water for about 8 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Put into a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2 Pluck the mint and parsley leaves from the stems, wash and chop finely.
3 Wash the tomatoes, remove the stem ends and chop into 1 cm dice.
4 Mix the sauce ingredients and season with pepper.
5 Break up the bulgur with a fork. Add the tomatoes, spinach and herbs and mix carefully. Add the sauce and mix again.
Tabouli is a wonderfully refreshing and nutritious summer dish. We have used bulgur (parboiled and dried durum wheat) instead of the traditional couscous.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
We absolutely loved this recipe in the Brown household and it is now a regular feature on our menu. I tend to serve the tabouli with falafel, pitta bread and sour cream for a more substantial meal and I probably use a dash more chilli oil than the recipe says but we like a little heat
Another recipe which I attempted is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth (I have a bit of a baking obsession at the moment).
Chocolate and coconut macaroons
A sweet delight for grown-ups and children alike!
160 g caster sugar
5 g vanilla sugar
100 g dark chocolate
(45 per cent cocoa content, minimum)
160 g coconut flakes
1 Preheat the oven to 150º C.
2 Mix the caster sugar, with the vanilla sugar. Finely grate the chocolate.
3 Separate the eggs. Whip the egg whites until very stiff while drizzling the sugar into the mixture.
4 Carefully fold the chocolate and coconut flakes into the whipped egg white.
5 Spoon the batter into a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe small macaroons onto a baking tray, lined with baking paper. Alternatively, make small heaps of batter with two wet teaspoons. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing the macaroons from the paper.
Tip: for a more intense chocolate flavour, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (water bath). Leave to cool at room temperature, before folding into the beaten egg whites.
Makes 30-40 macaroons
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Now I had visions of creating beautifully piped little macaroons with this recipe but I had a little difficulty piping anything out of the piping bag as the mixture was too solid and so my macaroons were more splodges than anything else BUT they did taste absolutely delicious despite not being the prettiest thing I have ever created. I opted to use melted chocolate as I am a complete chocoholic. These went down a treat with the whole family and will definitely be making another appearance in my baking list.
So what did I think of the book? Well I admit when I initially flicked through the book I was a little disappointed. Some of the recipes are things I wouldn’t try (I’m not a huge fan of tofu) but once I started trying out recipes I was surprised at just how good they were. I found that a recipe that didn’t necessarily sound exciting at first glance was actually delicious and bursting with subtle flavours. I regularly use this recipe book nowadays so yes it’s passed the Brown household test
You can buy a copy of tibits at home from amazon or through tibits website
I have another baking recipe for you today (well we have been stuck at home with poorly kids all month). This recipe makes 12 small cupcakes. They are easy to make and the kids love them.
115g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
115g softened butter
115g apple sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1 small apple
2 tsp demerara sugar
1. In a large bowl mix the sugar, flour, butter and eggs with an electric whisk.
2. Stir in the apple sauce and sultanas.
3. Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases.
4. Place a piece of sliced apple and a sprinkling of demerara sugar on top of each cupcake.
5. Bake for approx 20-25 minutes in an oven at 175 degrees. Test with a skewer and when it comes out clear the cupcakes are ready. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out of the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool.
I don’t really do crafting, it’s one of things which is pretty difficult to manage with a 2 and 3 year old but with us being under chicken pox solitary confinement, we had to do something to keep us all from going insane and so I decided we would try making monsters!
It’s very easy to do and the kids loved it!
What You’ll Need:
Cut up pieces of newspaper and coloured tissue paper
Pipe cleaners, Pom poms and anything else you fancy decorating them with.
1. Blow up a balloon, water down some PVA glue and then get messy covering the balloon with newspaper and glue. Add a good few layers so that the monster head will be solid when it dries.
2. For the final layers of paper mâché use coloured tissue paper instead of newspaper to give the monster head it’s colour.
3. Once fully covered, leave the balloon hung up somewhere to dry for a couple of days until it is completely dry.
4. Once dry then decorate as you fancy. We used white card for teeth, coloured pom poms from a craft kit for the eyes and nose and coloured pipe cleaners for the eyes.
5. Once all the glue has dried, with a sharp knife, pop the balloon inside the head and insert a wooden stick (we borrowed wooden spoons from my kitchen). There you have it, monster head puppets! MissB and MasterB loved making them and have since spent hours playing with them so mission accomplished
If you decide to make these, please email me your photos as I’d love to see how creative you’ve been
I am so glad that May is almost over! Seriously, this month has probably been the hardest month we’ve had since having kids. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve burst into tears.
It started with MasterB getting chicken pox. This wasn’t too bad in itself although having almost 2 weeks off work unpaid wasn’t ideal. What made the pox worse was the double ear infection he had at the same time. I can’t begin to tell you how sick we are of ear infections in this house. They make all our lives a misery – but we carried on knowing that his grommet surgery was booked for the 21st May so there was a glimmer of hope in sight!
Just as MasterB was over the pox and back at nursery it was MissBs turn to be ill. We were convinced it was going to be the pox too but despite one tiny suspicious looking spot, no more appeared. After a week of high temperatures (and more time off work for me), the doctor decided on antibiotics for her. She improved and was back at nursery and all was well
We were now a week away from MasterB’s grommet surgery and all was looking good – well until the ear gunk appeared again. A frantic phone call to the doctor got us a prescription for antibiotics and we were hopeful it would be clear for surgery. Of course that wasn’t the case, 6 days into the antibiotics and the day before his grommet surgery, his temperature went sky high and the gunk was worse than ever. The GP told us to cancel the surgery and gave us stronger antibiotics.
The stronger antibiotics induced sick so we had to change to ear drops and the doctor basically said that we’ve tried every antibiotic going now and nothing clears the infection for more than a few days This misery has been going on for 2 years now and we are at our wits end. Having to cancel the grommet surgery was the final nail in a really shite month! We are still waiting to hear when the surgery will be rearranged for and goodness knows how we will manage to be clear of ear infections for the next date
I love baking but it’s something I rarely get chance to do anymore but this recipe is so quick and easy I have been whipping up a batch most weekends recently and the family love them
4 medium eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
100g white chocolate chips
100g milk chocolate chips
1. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl and mix for a couple of minutes with an electric mixer.
2. Give each toddler one of the mixers to lick the mixture off
3. Stir the chocolate chips into the mix.
4. Place 12 paper muffin cases in the muffin tins and divide the mixture between them.
5. Bake in a preheated oven (175 degrees) for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven. Test with a skewer and when it comes out clean the muffins are cooked.
6. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out and placing on a rack to cool.
And that’s it
I’m not a huge fan of icing so we eat our muffins like this but feel free to ice at will
We also swap the chocolate chips for alternatives such as chopped glacé cherries or sultanas. Choc chip and cherry go down a treat here as do cherry and sultana.
I’m also planning on trying a Bakewell muffin next by swapping the vanilla extract for almond essence and using cherries. I think I’ll inject some raspberry jam into the middle when they are baked as well – I’ll let you know what they turn out like
It was inevitable really seeing as pretty much every other child at nursery has had Chicken Pox in the last 8 weeks. I was starting to believe my theory that vegetarians don’t get chicken pox for a while, but on Tuesday MasterB came home with suspicious looking spots.
We were quite lucky with the timing really, we just managed to get to his latest ENT appointment on the Tuesday before we spotted the spots. The ENT declared his ears free of infection and finally agreed to book him in for Grommet surgery (provisional date 21st May ). This is a huge relief as it has taken us about 4 months and 5 lots of antibiotics to shift the latest ear infection and we are desperate to get his glue ear sorted and hopefully improve his speech.
But back to the spots… By bedtime on Tuesday it was pretty obvious that it was definitely chicken pox and so our solitary confinement had begun. To be honest, so far (8 days into the pox) MasterB hasn’t really suffered much with the chicken pox itself, he’s probably had around 150 spots in total and with constant dosing of Piriton Syrup and liberal applications of Eurax cream he has been quite happy. We’ve been trying every trick in the book – porridge baths, bicarb of soda in the bath etc and it all seems to be working although my cleaner is probably a little worried by all the “ingredients” lined up in the bathroom
The main issue we have had (not surprisingly) it that on Wednesday the blasted ear infection reappeared, just 12 hours after the ENT consultant told us it all looked clear and the perforation was healing! Apparently it can happen as a secondary infection with chicken pox so OF COURSE MasterB was going to get that! After a phone call to our GP we were prescribed more antibiotics (the first induced sick, the second prescription is currently being tolerated) and we are now desperately hoping that this infection won’t take another four months to clear, ideally we’d like it to be clear in three weeks time for his Grommet surgery! As an added bonus – we even have the ear infection in both ears this time round (he only usually gets it in the left ear). The poor love has really struggled with it.
So there we have it – Chicken Pox = piece of cake, Ear Infections = hell on earth
Oh and just for good measure, nursery phoned today as MissB had a temperature. It doesn’t take Einstein to realise that the spots are going to start appearing on her any day now does it! I suppose if she gets it now then at least it means they will have both had it and that we can add chicken pox to the list of parenting challenges that we’ve conquered and assigned to history
We are huge fans of the Gruffalo in this house, in fact MissB is a little obsessed with anything Gruffalo related. You can only imagine how excited she was when we received this fabulous Gruffalo umbrella to review from Briers.
Now we think this umbrella is fab! It’s the perfect size for a child, has a great Gruffalo design on it which MissB adores and it’s great at keeping the rain off and bringing smiles to a rainy day
The umbrella has a sturdy plastic handle and a nice and safe rounded end so it won’t become a lethal weapon in the hands of a toddler MissB at age 3 can easily put the umbrella up and down by herself which she is extremely proud of.
I think this umbrella is an absolute bargain at £9.99 and for the amount of smiles it has given I’d definitely recommend one for any Gruffalo fan. In fact go and check out the rest of Briers Gruffalo range, they have some great products for any Gruffalo lover!