Month: May 2016

BakerDays Letterbox Cake Review

Cake! Since being pregnant with my son I seem to have developed some kind of obsession with all things cake! So when the guys at BakerDays tweeted me to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their Letterbox cakes, I clearly said yes! Come on, who’d say no to cake?!

The following week I received my cake through the post and I have to admit that I got a tad excited! It literally is a ‘letterbox cake’ because it’s just 5″ diameter, it fits perfectly through the letterbox! I actually had company at the time so I hid the box- no way was I sharing my cake! When I managed to get rid of the company I opened the box to find a gorgeous little tin (keeps the cake from being damaged as well as a nice little tin to keep), card and even a party horn, balloons and candles- very nice touch indeed. You could smell the utter sweetness of the cake through the tin, I was literally drooling a bit by this point and I hadn’t even opened it!

Upon opening I was greeted with this beautiful little cake! It’s really easy to remove it from the tin too as there’s a paper tab to pull up to help gently lift the cake out in one piece. I was really impressed with the design too- I went for a ‘Keep Calm’ motto as we didn’t have any special occasions coming up and I really liked this one. There are absolutely loads of designs you can choose from, which can all be personalised or you can design your own with a photo and if you place your order before 2pm you can have it the very next day!

It didn’t take long before the cake was cut into- myself and my daughter just couldn’t resist that sweet cakey smell! The sponge itself was very moist and covered in delicious vanilla buttercream- even on the bottom to help the cake stop sticking to the base- extra points from me, the more buttercream the better! The icing was very sweet, but not too sweet, it wasn’t sickly and was just the right amount for the size of the cake. We managed to save a small piece for G too and he said the same- it really was gorgeous.

The letterbox cake costs £14.99 and serves around 3-4 people but I suppose that depends what kind of mood you’re in because I could have easily eaten the full thing to myself! I do think that they make a great gifts and I would definitely send them to my friends and family for occasions if they don’t live local- who wouldn’t want to get home and find a cake amongst those bills?!

You can find BakerDays on Facebook, Twitter and their website here.

Mother Hermit xx

 

Disclosure; I was very kindly sent this letterbox cake from Bakerdays for the purpose of this review. All opinions are that of my own.

RainbowBee Design Review

I was asked by the lovely Josee from RainbowBee Design if I would be willing to work with her and help her out as she was looking for parents to test out and give feedback on some of her products. I immediately popped over to have a look at the website she had directed me to and was so intrigued straight away, so of course I agreed to help.

Josee and her husband Chris make food wraps and snack bags using all natural beeswax coated fabric with a touch of olive oil-no plastic. The beeswax used is from a local supplier where they live in Canada and they make the wraps and snack bags using their own designs, then coat the fabric in the beeswax. This is to create a barrier against any germs or moisture. The wax is then set with heat and left to dry and the product is ready to use- completely food safe! How amazing is that?!

Josee was kind enough to send me a snack bag (with zipper) and a food wrap to test out (both reusable might I add). It was beautifully packaged- and had lasted the postal service and border control sayings as it had come all the way from Canada to the UK! The first thing I noticed was the beautiful, sweet smell, which is the beeswax. The scent doesn’t transfer onto the food so there’s nothing to worry about there, but it does make the baby changing bag smell beautiful (disguises the poop & sicky stench!) when were taking Violet’s snacks out and about!

The wrap has fast become one of my favourite things to use in the kitchen without question. G finds it amusing how many things I’ve found I can use it for! I’ve used it instead of cling film, to cover food whilst cooking, to cover leftovers, to wrap sandwiches for G’s lunch for work, to put V’s snacks on when she’s out in the garden or in the house- honestly, you NEED one in your kitchen.

The snack bag really doesn’t disappoint either. The fabric design is gorgeous, Violet absolutely loves it. It’s so perfect for us because she loves to have snacks when we’re out and about but she loves things like carrot, cucumber and tomatoes and I often find that when I put these items in tupperware the box can sometimes open and I end up with fruit & veg juice all over the changing back and not much snack left that I can salvage for her to eat! So I started using freezer food bags but just look at it- who wants to carry plastic bags around when you can have one of these?! This particular snack bag has a zip which is ideal for keeping the snacks in tact and because it’s coated in beeswax I don’t have any nasty leaks!

Every snack now has to go in this bag. As you can see by the pictures below, Violet even demands that her crisps be put in it.

Again, as the products are coated in beeswax they only need a quick wipe with a damp cloth when it comes to cleaning them too- total bonus!

I can’t recommend them enough and am already planning my next order as they also have Lunch Bags which I need and some more wraps! There are lots of different designs suitable for everyone- please pop over and have a look at the RainbowBee Design shop here.

You can also follow Josee on Twitter

Mother Hermit xx

Disclaimer- I was kindly sent these products in exchange for an honest review- all opinions are that of my own

 

Family Fever

Our Typical Sunday

I love Sunday’s. It’s the one day of the week when there’s no playgroups or nursery, no shopping to be done, G’s off work and my Dad comes round for a Sunday roast. I try to make sure that any shopping  or chores that need doing are all done before Sunday but that NEVER happens.

We usually start the day with a lazy morning. Everyone wakes around 8am and the kids come in with us for snuggles before we all head downstairs for breakfast. Once that’s done G takes Violet swimming for a couple of hours while I get all of the chores done around baby’s naps. Then I put the dinner on. I use my slow cooker most weeks and switch that on the night before so then on Sunday all I need to do is put the veg on and dish up! By the time I finish that G & Violet are getting home & Dad comes in shortly after that. Dinner is at 1pm every single week- I can’t remember it ever being different and I’m never late because I’m always ridiculously hungry by then! We all sit together to eat dinner and rarely put the telly on whilst we eat- that way we all put an effort into a conversation!


Once dinner’s demolished, all the dishes get shoved in the dishwasher (only day of the week it’s used), the benches get wiped down and everyone retreats to the living room. There’s always some kind of sport on the telly which everyone watches whilst we play with the little one’s. Violet heads for her nap around 2/2.30pm and I always make my Dad a ‘posh coffee’. That’s what he calls it anyway- a Costa Caramel Latte from the Tassimo machine- it’s his weekly treat 😂 Shortly after that everyone takes it in turn dropping off- honestly we look like a family of nodding dogs dropping off then waking up with a fright!



Dad usually leaves between 3-4pm and the rest of the afternoon is total family time just the four of us. Sometimes we play in the garden, watch a film, make pizzas for tea, paint- anything! I absolutely love this weekly routine we have and love that my children are being brought up with a family tradition- especially the Sunday roast. As they get older I know they’re going to be busy with friends and football or dance practice, allsorts of things, but I really want to stick to having the Sunday dinner together as a family and perhaps a film afterwards.

What about you- do you have this tradition? What other traditions or weekly routines do you have?

Mother Hermit xx

Diary of an imperfect mum

Getting Messy with Amelia’s Crafty Corner!

Last week the lovely Emma sent me a message to ask if I’d be willing to check out the YouTube channel ‘Amelia’s Crafty Corner’ and try one of the ‘custom makes’ out with my little one. I wasn’t quite sure that my Little V would be able to make anything shown on the channel as it’s aimed at primary school aged children but I thought I’d give it a go!

So yesterday after our Sunday dinner, I sat down with Violet and showed her all of the videos in the custom makes section on the YouTube channel. She loved all of them- sat and watched them all the way through and paid attention to everything Amelia was doing- which I was surprised at because if it’s not Peppa Pig speaking French at the moment she has no interest at all! She particularly liked the video for the St Patricks Day Shamrock, obviously because it involves putting your hands in paint and getting a bit messy! So I promised her that we could have a go after I’d picked her up from nursery the next day.

Hello next day! Bang on 12pm when I walked into the nursery, my very excited two year old came running towards me shouting “Mammy we go home and paint now?!”. She didn’t forget…

As soon as we got home this afternoon the paints were out and Violet was raring to go! Now it’s a bit difficult attempting to explain to an over-excited toddler with paints in front of her that we’re trying to follow what Amelia showed us in the video, so I just followed her lead. Okay so she told me what to do- but I was a good Mammy and did as I was told. Our Shamrocks don’t look as good as Amelia’s but it definitely inspired Violet because as you can see by the pictures, rather than just splashing it all over the paper she did attempt to re-create what she’d seen in the video. Just when did my girl get so clever?!

Once she’d decided that we’d done enough Shamrocks it was onto more colourful paints and some funky rollers and sponges. This lasted around 45 minutes before Violet lost interest- again another surprise because she usually gets a bit bored after 10 minutes!

Obviously I had a  go too…

I absolutely love what Emma and her daughter Amelia have created with the YouTube channel because I’m always looking for different crafts that I can at least attempt with Violet which will keep her occupied and interested for longer than 10 minutes! Violet enjoyed every minute of the painting today and I enjoyed spending the quality time with her doing something she loves. We’ll definitely be using Amelia’s Crafty Corner a lot!

If you fancy a go have a look at the YouTube channel here!

 

Name Tag-It Review

A couple of weeks ago the guys at Name Tag-It kindly offered to send me some of their Iron-On Tags to test and review. Obviously I agreed straight away- our little V has just recently started nursery and I’ve been looking for something like this to label all of her clothes and coats because I’ve heard from friends how often things disappear during nursery and school time! I left the design choice up to the guys and a few days later I received them in the post.

Inside the packet there was a sheet of the Iron-On Transfers, a sheet of silicone paper and a detailed list of instructions. The transfers themselves are gorgeous- I love the personalised design and our V absolutely loves the little cat and the fact that they have her name on. When I first looked at the list of instructions I have to admit that I was a little bit daunted because it looked like there was a lot to follow but when I took the iron out last night and had a read of them properly I found that they were actually ridiculously easy to follow! You literally peel off the transfer, cover it with the silicone paper, hold the iron over it for around 10 seconds then use the tip of the iron to make small circular motions over the transfer for a further five seconds- and that’s it! You have a cute little name tag on your kid’s garments! They really are so easy to use and transfer onto fabric perfectly- I used around 12 of these last night and not one of them had the slightest crease running through them.

Prices for these Iron-On Labels start from just £6.50 for 52. The personalised sheet of transfers I was sent is £9.50 for 52 labels and can even include a photo. They also do Sew-on, Stick-on, Stamp-on & Clip-on labels For Children Armed Forces & those in Care. They really are perfect for helping make lost property a thing of the past! Take a look at their website here!

Mother Hermit xx

Disclosure; Please note that I was very kindly sent this produt in return for an honest review. All opinions are that of my own.

Thought I would update to show the iron-on labels after 3 washes- still looks brand new!


Are you managing okay?

Since I had my baby boy 10 weeks ago, all anyone seems to ask me is ‘Are you managing okay?’  Now I appreciate some of this is genuine care, but seriously, do I really look that bad?! Does everyone think I’m struggling or something?! Yes I have a toddler and a new baby. Yes i’m often turning up to playgroups with baby vomit in my hair. Yes I probably have been seen having an argument about dog poop in the street with my toddler. (Something along the lines of ‘Look Mammy, dog poop!’ ‘Yes that’s lovely, come on’ ‘Oo Mammy, me pick the poop up?’ ‘Step away from the poop NOW!!!’- it went on a while 😳) Yes some days all I can do is moan about having to scrub urine out of the carpet. Yes some days I just want to be alone and will go out of my way to ignore people. And yes some nights I find myself working my way through a bottle of wine, but it’s all normal, right?! It’s just being a parent. That simple question makes me feel like the worst parent in the world. Like people are looking at me thinking that I’m clearly not the type of woman who can handle being Mother to two children under 3. Probably because I’m young. Sheesh.

Well I think I’m managing just fine!

Rant over 😂

Mother Hermit xx

 



        

      

Can I just be skinny for one day?!

Ok well maybe not ‘skinny’, just a bit slimmer, maybe drop 2 or 3 dress sizes?! Just for one day. I just want to test it out. Will I really be happier if I lose all that weight and look like the image I constantly carry around in my head? Does being a slim size 10 really give you confidence and happiness? Or do size 8’s and 10’s day dream of being that little bit ‘chubbier’?! Seriously though, why the frangipane (keeping it clean!😂) do sizes and numbers matter?!

I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. Going through the usual puppy fat phase, then the ‘eat all you like and not gain anything’ phase, where I was ridiculously skinny and I just looked all gangly and ill and then the phase of drinking too much, partying too hard and living on 3am donner kebabs. Then came the settling down and having kids. When you settle down with someone it usually means eating together- A LOT- because you’re comfortable with that person and you get to a point where you just don’t care what they think you look like, you know they love you because they’ve chosen to be with you and they’re eating just the same. God, I remember when I first got with G I was too scared to eat anything in front of him, it just made me feel uncomfortable.

I realise that I put myself under far too much pressure to lose weight but it’s something I can never seem to get rid of. I think the summer days make it worse because when the sun is out I try to stick with my usual ‘cover up’ clothes of jeans and long sleeved tops or oversized t-shirts but then the heat is unbearable and it’s just not comfortable. Or I try and go for summer attire like a vest top or maxi dress and end up crying at what I see in the mirror- big chubby arms, ‘tyre’ rolls across my middle, thick thighs, pale spotty skin- honestly it’s just whatever bugs me that day- and I can’t feel comfortable in those clothes either. I’m not exactly unfit though because I don’t drive I walk everywhere, unless it’s on the weekend when G drives us about. And the walking is quite hard work when I have two young kids to push in a big tandem travel system. I go to two or three exercise classes a week too, which I absolutely love! If I could afford it I’d go everyday! But I enjoy a drink too and we usually have a take away or meal out on a weekend so I think everything just balances out and I stay the same.

I think I need to remind myself though that I have had two kids, one only 11.5 weeks ago too. I eat healthy, I’ve started drinking crap loads of water, switched to diet coke, went back to my fitness classes, so without punishing myself altogether by cutting out the occasional takeaway and bottle of wine (never gonna happen!) I think I’m probably doing pretty well! Us women put ourselves under far too much pressure to look a certain way and I hate that. 😡

But if I could just have that day, just one day, maybe I’d realise that being ‘skinny’ isn’t everything and that I’ll probably be happier just the way I am.


Give yourself some love ladies. ❤️

Mother Hermit xx

Macaroni & Leek Cheese- Slimming World

I thought I’d share one of my favourite Slimming World recipes with you. To be honest I think I might share a few because I alter most of them but keep them free or of very low syn value. And I make sure everything is filling because let’s face it- no one wants to eat a bowl of lettuce leaves everyday do they?! Well, only if it’s the side dish to a scrummy meal!

This recipe was featured in the Slimming World magazine early last year I think. It’s a big hit in our house, whether we have it as a main or a side dish to our bbq’s- everyone loves it. So here’s my slighty altered version;

*Remember to use the grated cheese as your Healthy A (approx 40g) or if you’ve already had it that day you can leave the extra cheese out or just syn it- the rest is all FREE!*

Ingredients;

  • 300g dried Macaroni
  • 250g Quark
  • 200g Fat Free Cottage Cheese
  • 2 Leeks
  • Handful of Baby Spinach
  • 6 Table Spoons of Tomato Puree
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (Crushed)
  • 300ml Vegetable or Chicken Stock
  • 2 Eggs (Beaten)
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper
  • 100g Reduced Fat Cheddar (grated)

Method;

  • Cook the macaroni and drain.
  • Slice the leeks and put them in a pan with the vegetable stock and garlic. Bring to the boil and simmer until the leeks have softened.
  • Mix the Quark, cottage cheese, tomato puree, eggs and salt & pepper together.
  • Combine all of the ingredients (keep a handful of the grated cheese to one side) and transfer to an oven proof dish. Cook at 190 for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling. Sprinkle a handful of the cheese on top 5 minutes before it’s finished cooking.

And that’s it- dinner sorted!

Enjoy!


Mother Hermit xx

Proud to be linking up with;

Petite Pudding

Ella’s Kitchen

A couple of weeks ago whilst doing the usual ‘scrolling through Twitter’ routine, I noticed a message pop through asking if I’d be willing to receive some snacks for my toddler to review. Of course I said yes- nothing like a treat for my girl- but I’m typing the review because if my toddler V wrote it, whilst being very amusing with a lot of ufwdyugHJLGVFIYLGEIYRG8E9YYUG- I don’t think we’d get much sense out of it! Although she did do all of the taste testing- I couldn’t get a look in!

A few days after the email exchange the postman appeared at the door with a huge red box! I was a bit confused if I’m honest, you know that flash of panic, ‘Ohhh no, I’ve been doing that drunken online shopping again?!’, then I noticed the Ella’s Kitchen logo! I’ve heard of Ella’s Kitchen before but it’s not something I’ve ever bought or had an opportunity to try so I was a little excited  for my V. She was napping when it arrived (we don’t get our post until 2pm, how lame is that?!), so I quickly opened it to take a photo and have a peek at the contents because I knew once she was up and noticed it the box would be upside down!

The first thing I noticed was the colours- super bright colours- I love them! When V got her chance to have a peek the next morning she gave a huge squeal of delight- and then demanded ‘Crisps!’. That’s because the little packets look exactly like crisps packets and she’s a massive crisp fiend! At first I told her no- no way are you having crisps for breakfast- but then I noticed that the blue packet was fruit- Raspberries and Peaches- so I thought what the hell, it’s a nice treat for her anyway. I’m not going to lie, the whole packet was inhaled within 5 minutes. I wasn’t sure she’d like the other flavours but that was a bit silly of me because there’s not much our V doesn’t like. I gave her a pack of the Carrot and Lentil Sticks for her snack the other day and didn’t tell her the flavour. Half way through the pack she turned to me and said “Mammy, these carrot sticks, they’re tasty!”- so they obviously taste exactly how they should! We took a pack of the Cheese and Leeks Crunchy Wheels in her backpack to playgroup last week where she shared them out with her friends- every single one of the kids loved them! Her definite favourite has to be the Parsnips and Poppy Seeds Savoury Biccies. Both packs of those were gone pretty quickly and she keeps asking for more (I keep forgetting to look out for them when we go shopping).

I am very impressed with these Ella’s Kitchen snacks and will be buying them for my kids in future- when I remember to put them on my shopping list that is! There were a couple of helpful leaflets on weaning too- definitely my next thing to try as we’ll be starting to wean our little baby B soon!

Mother Hermit xx

Disclaimer; I was very kindly sent this box of Ella’s Kitchen snacks in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are that of my own and my toddler!

Krakow Here We Come!

For years I have said that I’d love to travel somewhere abroad in winter to visit a Christmas Market. For years I’vd hinted on to G and a couple of times I’ve nearly, very nearly, booked a break away- but it’s never happened. Last week G finally admitted that he has no interest in going to ANY Christmas Market. Thank lasagne for that! I honestly thought he’d never admit it and I’d never get to go. Anyway, as soon as he made his confession last week, I sent a quick Whatsapp to my sister who was very very interested! We seemed to have Bruges stuck in our head but after sending an enquiry to a local travel agent we found that we would have to take a flight to Brussels then make our own way to Bruges on a train. No thank you. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m thick but that’s exactly the kind of situation my anxiety would have a field day with! Being in a strange country trying to figure out a train system and use a map to find where I’m going? I’m adventurous, but not THAT adventurous 😂

So the lovely lady at the travel agents suggested Krakow. Now my initial reaction contained ‘swear words’. Honestly, Krakow? As in Poland? Whyyy? I decided to take to the internet and have a good old browse of Trip Advisor and the likes and Oh.My.God, I fell in love! Reading reviews, looking a photographs, browsing travel guides, I just totally fell in love with everything Krakow! 😁

During a 5.30am bottle feed this morning I did loads more research, double checked the hotel reviews, the currency, average prices, flight times etc etc and this afternoon my sister and me headed into our local town to the travel agents. Within 5 minutes the whole thing was booked and even though it’s not until December, I’m ridiculously excited! I do feel a little sad at the fact that I’ll be without my kids for 3 nights, but I honestly know that come December I’m going to need those 3 nights away with my sister sampling the local beers and doing lots of shopping!

Let the countdown begin!

Mother Hermit xx

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