Our everyday life: week 51

Everytime we go to the library C shouts “Daddy” at this dalek. I don’t even understand why, he’s never seen Doctor Who (neither have I) and it really doesn’t look like Shake…

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Over the moon to have won these cupcakes. Not only did the look beautiful, they tasted amazing too – thank you Emma Jane!

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Carol singers on the High Street – shame the weather has been so miserable.

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We met up with friends at this lovely pub, used in this movie, and enjoyed delicious mulled wine. C played in the fireplace and covered everyone/everything in soot. Fab parenting skills ;)

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Visiting Nana and making friends with a bear :)

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You’d think Solicitors would be slightly more tasteful with their Christmas decorations? Can you see the Polar Bear?

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Crazy about amazon boxes. Who needs actual presents?

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Wrapping skills being put to the test…

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See, he loves these boxes!

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This was bought for C, but Shake and I ate it whilst he napped. Oops…

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Baking birthday treats for my colleagues – they were grateful :)

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…plus a little something for C’s nursery ladies

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This is what winding down for bedtime looks like some nights.

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It’s nearly my birthday!Christmas!! Wishing you all a very merry time with your loved ones.

Bake

xoxo

Our everyday life: week 50

Glittery green playdough fun and games

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Mamas from nursery go out and drink mulled wine. Plus more glitter.

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So pleased he could put Daddy’s hat on BY HIMSELF.

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Spent a good 15 minutes (in the bitterly cold wind) staring at the Salvation Army band. They even dedicated Jingle Bells to my boy :)

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HO HO HO. A very authentic Father Christmas at the lovely Hatchlands.

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The sweetest little donkeys!

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Shake has deemed this a very good millionaire’s shortbread. Think I need to make him some at home…

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Off he goes!

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MOO.

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C’s new game; make your face as small as possible, then give your cheesiest grin!!

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Shake made a gooooood dinner :) Tasty potatoes!

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Let’s not cry about it, right?

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Art week!

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Lots of gifts being delivered this week, not that C is bothered what’s inside the boxes. He calls this his house!

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Banana scoop…

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Wishing you a happy and healthy week – feeling Christmassy yet?

Bake

xoxo

Spiced coffee and chocolate wholewheat shortbread

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When I found out about the Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I thought it was one of the best ideas I’d ever heard: bake cookies, send them to 3 food bloggers, receive 3 dozen cookies in return.

That’s my kind of fun :)

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What’s even better about it? It’s not just another reason for food bloggers to bake, the purpose is to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. We’ve managed to raise over $13,000 so far this year thanks to the expert organisation from Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen.

The cookies I made (recipe below) combined some of my favourite things in the world – coffee, chocolate and festive spices.

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Baking these cookies during December is the perfect way to prepare for the Christmas season, as is gifting them to people you don’t know.

I actually knew of two of the three people I sent cookies to – Kate (The Little Loaf) and Iris (Whatever Gets You Through The Day) are two of my favourite UK bloggers (which made me extra nervous!).

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Once my cookies had been carefully packaged and posted, I had the excitement of waiting for my cookie gifts. Poor Shake had to stare at the packages each day until I returned home from work to open them (not convinced I could have waited if I had been in his shoes…).

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Our first treats were addictive heart-shaped cinnamon sandwich cookies (with cinnamon icing inside!) from Lucy. Thank goodness we love cinnamon in this house, but honestly they were so delicious and perfect with a cup of tea.

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The following day we received two deliveries – sour cherry and almond shortbreads from Jennie and coconut oatmeal cookies from Jen. Both were incredible and we were thrilled to have a real variety of flavours and textures. You should really check out their blogs for the recipe details, I recommend all of them wholeheartedly!

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My recipients sent some lovely feedback about the cookies, and I’ve been itching to share them with you, but the rule was we all post our recipes today! So, without further ado here you go:

Spiced coffee and chocolate wholewheat shortbread
makes approximately 36 small shortbreads

Ingredients

220g unsalted butter – at room temperature
100g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds of 1/3 vanilla pod
1 teaspoon four spice (mine was from France and included cloves, nutmeg, black pepper (!) and cinnamon)
2 teaspoons finely ground fresh coffee (you could substitute 2 tbsp instant espresso, but it won’t be quite the same)
220g plain flour – I used wholewheat, because I prefer it
100g dark chocolate chips/chunks

Don’t preheat the oven just yet – the dough needs to chill before baking.

In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar for at least a few minutes, until thoroughly combined.

Add the vanilla, spices and coffee and mix again for a further minute or two so that the mixture is evenly speckled with coffee and spices.

Now add the flour and mix slowly, only until it has disappeared into the dough but has formed a ball – you don’t want to overwork it.

Lastly, stir through the chocolate chunks.

Lay a large piece of clingfilm on a flat surface and turn out the dough. Top the dough with another large sheet of clingfilm and start working with the rolling pin.

I warn you, the dough is sticky (but delicious).

Roll out the dough until it is approximately 1/4inch thick and relatively rectangular. Transfer to large dish or tray and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Once refrigerated, preheat the oven to 170degC.

Use a sharp knife to cut out your shortbreads. Mine were approximately 2inch by 1inch rectangles. I’m not especially good at being consistent, so some were larger than others ;)

Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 8 – 12 minutes, depending on size and shape made. You want slight colour around the edges.

Don’t panic if they are still very soft, the shortbread hardens as it cools.

Enjoy :)

Bake
xoxo

 

Our everyday life: week 49

Sending goodies to my brother in the Navy – hoping that chocolate won’t melt!

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C’s Grandpa came to visit – he loved it, especially the late night cuddle/stroll home after dinner out together.

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These days almost all our photos are blurry. Cousins in a boat, escaping the shark (that was me ;) )

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What is it about Accountants who like to bake? Who knows, but I’m happy to eat whatever my colleagues make :)

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So many leaves in our garden…but thankfully we have a dedicated gardener.

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Although every now and then he sneaks off…

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Friday night at The Maltings seeing the incredible Martin Harley. Very civilised sit-down gig, apart from the drunk man who stroked me!

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LOVE this little man!

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Wishing you a happy and healthy week!

Come back on Wednesday if you like cookies…

Bake

xoxo

Our everyday life: week 48

We sure aren’t quiet when we go to the library! One of our local library’s has this awesome kiddy den chair!

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After three weeks of being really under the weather I forced myself to go to the doctor. Their advice? Wait another week and see if you feel better.Baaaah!

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C and his pal E causing trouble by the river. We joke that they will be up to similar tricks in 15 years…

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Friday night, girls’ night. Nachos for three. Next time I’m not being polite, I’ll eat pudding on my own if I have to ;)

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Although he is fast asleep (at long last) he isn’t letting go of Pig!

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It sends a shiver down my spine each time we go to this babygroup – it’s held in the exam hall for my ACA exams!! Doesn’t bother C though!

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Trying to let C explore boundaries without shouting “careful! watch out!” the whole time. Hard, at times like these…

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Shake and C watching me complete my tax return. Exciting times this week!

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Ginger love heart.

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I decided to take part in Food Blogger Cooke Swap this year – recipe up next week! – here’s a glimpse into what I made for 3 other bloggers…

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…and here they are packaged and ready to go!

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Shake decided to bake this week and I honestly can’t stop thinking about (and eating) this cake. Another Ottolenghi winner! He used rum though, because I love it :)

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Wishing you a happy and healthy week!

Bake

xoxo

Our everyday life: week 47

This past week we have continued to be sick, everything has felt like a blur, so this photo sums us up pretty well :)

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I can’t tell you how excited C was to see the lights going up on the High Street. Christmas is coming…

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Speaking of excited, I found this In The Night Garden craft book (brand new!) in Oxfam for 99p! Hours of entertainment :)

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Saw Jack’s post about homemade pop tarts and knew exactly what to do with my leftover scraps of pastry…

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C and I went with our friends to the beach during the week. Crazy, perhaps? Logan had the most fun I think :)

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It was a little cold…

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…but quiet, at least…

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…we couldn’t believe people we actually going in the water…

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When it started hailing we quickly found somewhere to eat lunch! The boys dismantled the display – and practiced using the word “heavy” a lot ;)

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On Sunday we spent about 10 minutes pretending to be cultural at the British Museum. C hadn’t napped so we didn’t want to push it…

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There was a teeny, tiny, exhibit on the Wise Men of Persia. Like our very own C :)

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C couldn’t make up his mind on which fruit to eat after dinner, so he simply had a bit of everything…yes, lemon included.

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Wishing you a happy and healthy week (we need it!)

Bake

xoxo

Our everyday life: week 46

Very few photos this week as we have basically been sick with nasty colds and haven’t been that busy! We did look to buy a house, but it had sold (within 4 days!) before we could make an offer. Sad!

First gingerbread man? Not sure which limb to munch first ;)

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C has a notebook which we draw in together. On each page there is at least one lorry, obsessed!

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New smile! I think it’s adorable :)

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Our one trip out this week was one we couldn’t cancel! A work charity quiz night, which was actually quite good fun. To top it off, we came 3rd out of 25 teams – my big boss was there too, phew! They served a ploughmans meal halfway through whilst we tried to identify random celebrities.

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Nanny knitted C a new cardigan – it fits!

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Pink Panther paid C a flying visit (thanks to Daddy ;) )

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Hope you have a happy and healthy week – we need one too!!

Bake

xoxo

Our everyday life: week 45

It’s amazing what young C finds on his travels around the house…

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…he absolutely did Mess with Texas though, sorry Chucky!

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Fighting some bugs = smoothie for dinner.

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I love that he built this tower without us realising – really growing up tooooooo fast.

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Work dinner and drinks on Friday – expensive, but fun! My friend tagged along too ;)

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…2 for £8 before 9pm…sensible accountants stocked up just in time ;) Yummy.

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Made a random crumble with leftover roasted butternut – not bad, not bad!

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Best way to spend the (early) mornings :)

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“Girl” likes to spend her time reading books about baking, apparently.

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A good spot to be when it’s raining miserably!

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We really miss having chickens. They would have happily gobbled this all up for us. I wouldn’t have told them that these veggies went in chicken pie, though.

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Lessons in piano part 1. Volume detected.

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Wishing you a happy and healthy week!

Bake

xoxo

Our everyday life: week 44

Learning all about Connect 4 with his Uncle and Aunt.

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Bake n Shake date night! This marked C’s first night away from us, waaah! We went out for a quick dinner and then saw The Duck House (before it’s West End debut). Really funny play, go see it if you can!

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Making play-dough animals – horse, right?

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Halloween week – so many children celebrating down our road. It was pretty special! Oh, and spot the figs?

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“UH OH”.

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I HATE this slide. C LOVES to watch the big kids on it. It’s only a matter of time…p.s. beautiful day.

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Feeding time at the pond :)

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So sweet to spend time with my little man watching the ducks. Lucky mama.

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Wishing you a happy and healthy week.

Bake

xoxo

Fig crumble cake

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I am ashamed at how long it has been since I last posted a recipe, but life is oh so busy and toddlers don’t have any much patience for photography or washing up ;)

As soon as I saw this post I knew I wanted to make this cake. A late afternoon walk through town and past the market resulted in a bargain bundle of figs – fate! The cake had to be made!

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I tweaked the recipe, but mainly just because a sweet friend gifted me some plump vanilla beans that I can’t resist throwing into everything I make at the moment. I’ve made the cake without it and it is still delicious, but I think it’s extra special with.

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If you are like me, you might have a bag of ready made crumble topping in your freezer.

No? Well, maybe consider making some. It takes no time at all and freezes well, plus you’ll be halfway to an impromptu dessert. What more could you ask for ;)

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Fig crumble cake
serves 8

For the cake:
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g golden caster sugar
1 large free range egg
90ml milk (your choice, I used whole)
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g wholemeal spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
325g fresh figs (about 5) halved
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Seeds 1/2 vanilla bean

For the crumble topping:
30g wholemeal spelt flour
30g ground almonds
50g golden caster sugar
75g unsalted butter, chilled & diced
20g rolled oats

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200degC. Grease a 20cm cake tin and line with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer (or by hand) until light and fluffy.

Beat the egg into the milk and add the vanilla extract. Slowly pour into mixture whilst stirring.

Sift in the flour and baking powder then stir carefully to combine before spooning carefully into the prepared tin.

To make the crumble, use your fingertips to mix the flour, almonds, sugar and butter until crumbs forms. Stir through the oats and set aside.

Place the figs cut side up on top of the cake batter. Mix the maple syrup with the vanilla seeds and drizzle over the figs.

Scatter the crumble mix over the figs and bake for 30-40 minutes, when the crumble is nicely golden and the figs are jammy and soft.

Note: The second time I made this I added an extra fig and the cake was extra jammy and moist. It was easier to remove from the tin once cool.

Enjoy!

Bake

xoxo