I’m 35 weeks pregnant now and have a current craving for syrup sponge pudding! Now it’s hands down my all time favourite pudding so no surprise that it’s a craving. My love of syrup sponge has been long known about by most of my family. Even on my wedding day the hotel chef made it as a special off menu dessert for our wedding breakfast. I even had two helpings as one of my guests knew he didn’t like it and sent his portion to the head table for me! So when Panasonic approached me about their new Panasonic combination microwave range I couldn’t think of a better recipe to include in a post about microwave cooking!

microwave syrup sponge

So I give to you the recipe my wonderful hubby uses to make a quick and easy microwave syrup sponge pudding whenever the mood takes me! I lucky to have such an indulgent husband that he will make this on demand. He knows not to come between a pregnant women and her syrup sponge!

Ingredients you’ll need:

5 Tablespoons of self-raising flour

2 Tablespoons of caster sugar

1 large egg

3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil

2 Tablespoons golden syrup (also extra for serving with if you are like me and like it to be very syrupy!)

Lemon zest (optional)

Custard to serve (or cream if you prefer)

microwave syrup sponge

How to make microwave Syrup Sponge Pudding

We use a 1 pint size microwaveable bowl to mix and cook in. Put the coconut oil into the bowl and microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Add the flour and the sugar into the bowl and mix together. Next add the milk and egg, lemon zest (if using) and mix again. Last add the golden syrup to the top of the mixture, this will not need mixing in as it will sink to the bottom of the bowl and make a delicious syrup topping when poured out.

microwave syrup sponge

Put the bowl into the microwave and cook on full power for approximately 3 minutes, during this time keep an eye on the pudding and stop the microwave if the pudding stops rising and springs back to the touch.

Allow to cool for a minute then carefully tip the pudding out onto a plate to serve. Split the pudding into portions in bowl and add some custard to serve with.

Ah voila! Syrup sponge in minutes whenever you fancy!

microwave syrup sponge

Panasonic sponsored this post but I have full editorial control over its content.

my sunday photo
Last Sunday we went out to Tatton Park, which is a fabulous country park, mansion, farm and gardens about an hour from our house. The picture was the boys on the adventure playground. Whilst it is a lovely picture of them to me it shows that sometimes the camera does lie. On the surface it looks like we were having a fab family day out in the Autumn sun. In reality my eldest had moaned and groaned all the way around the other attractions as all he wanted to do was go to the playground. His face was permanently in a grump until we eventually got to the playground! Despite telling him numerous times we’d get there in the end! And of course it turned back into a grump when we had to leave.
Photalife
5 second rule junior

This week we’ve been playing 5 Second Rule Junior kindly sent to us by University Games. 5 second rule junior

5 Second Rule Junior is aimed at children aged 6 and up and is a junior version of the already popular 5 Second Rule game. You do need a minimum of 3 players for this game so its worth remembering that if you’re going to be buying it as a gift.

5 Second Rule Junior has a simple concept to play but is harder than you first think. 5 seconds really isn’t that much time when you’re against a clock!

How to play 5 Second Rule Junior

The winner is the first player to get to the finish line of the relatively small game board. Which on first glance seems easy. But it’s not all that easy to think quickly and stay focussed in 5 seconds!

5 second rule junior

To advance forward on the game board you have to answer the question on the card and name 3 examples of the question asked. Younger players are allowed to just give 2 answers. An example fo this would be “Name 3 things you take on a car journey”.

5 second rule junior

If the player answering the question names the 3 things within the 5 seconds then play passes to the next player to answer the same question. You can’t name the same things though. As you can imagine this gets harder and harder as the question goes round. Someone at some point will lose! For those players that have successfully managed to name 3 things (or 2 if they are younger) then they all move forward a space on the board. Or two spaces if the question has gone round that many times!

In addition to the plain spaces on the board there’s some helping hand spaces too which allow you 10 seconds for your question if you land on them.

5 second rule junior

What did we think?

We really enjoyed playing 5 Second Rule Junior. So much so we’ve had it out each time we’ve had visitors over half term. It’s a fun way to keep the children entertained. The concept is easy to understand and game play has lasted just long enough to keep everyone’s attention. As most of the players get to have a go at each question you really do have to concentrate on game play. This avoids duplicating someone elses answers.

My 6-year-old was quick to get in a sulk if he couldn’t get his 2 answers. However he was easily pleased with being allowed to use the timer. The timer makes a silly sort of mooing noise each time it’s turned over! Be sure to use the timer though on a flat surface. If you don’t all the tiny ball bearings won’t move down and time 5 seconds properly…and nobody likes a cheat!

5 second rule junior

We were not paid to review this item, as always all opinions are our own.

Tatton Park Half Term Fun

This Halloween half term at Tatton Park there’s some spooky goings on. We went today to explore whats on offer. You have the rest of the half term week to enjoy the haunted happenings!

Tatton

There’s some secret haunting at the Old Hall which is open everyday from 11am-4pm (last entry 3pm). Dare you step into what is reported to be one of the most haunted buildings in the country? You can discover the paranormal activity and secret legends.

Spooky fun in the Tatton Mansion

If less haunted activities are your thing then do what we did and go play “I Spy” in the amazing mansion. I love that children are welcomed into the mansion to learn all about what life was like in the past. The trail was enjoyed by the boys and I’m pretty sure the eldest got all the questions right!

Tatton

Tatton

TattonLittle fingers are welcome to explore the interactive displays too.

You can snoop around the mysterious mansion, looking for clues to answer the questions. Follow the trail and discover the treasures of Lord Egerton. The mansion is open daily from 12pm-4pm (last entry 3pm)

Tatton

tatton

Mystery Maze at the Farm

If being outdoors is more your thing then trek on down to Tatton Park farm. Where you can follow your instincts through the mystery maze and discover surprises along the way! Or you can collect your conker from the secret tree and join in all the creepy conker fun!

tatton

Last but not least if you’re not exhausted by all the other activities then head to the Secret Garden behind the beautiful mansion. The garden is open everyday from 10am-6pm (last entry 5pm) where you can hunt out the spooks. Use your spooky skills on the secret garden trail everyday during half term Sat 21 Oct- Sun 29 Oct!

For more information check out Tatton Parks website for updates and more information.

 

christmas

Sorry if you don’t like Christmas, but I do! It’s my absolute favourite time of year. I adore the build up so much. Now my favourite local Garden Centre Bents has opened their Christmas displays I couldn’t help but go and take a look. To me it signals the start of the countdown to Christmas.

So the picture to me signals the stat of the countdown!

Except this years countdown for us includes a major happening, the arrival of our third baby due in November. This year I’m trying to be super organised so that once the baby arrives I will have nothing else to do except sit back and enjoy the time. I don’t really want to have presents to buy (although the internet has revolutionised that!). I don’t want to have to do any wrapping. I just want to enjoy the first few precious weeks with the new baby and watching the boys get excited about this special time of year.

Photalife

Christmas at Bents just got better!

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that I’ve posted about Christmas at Bents previously. Not because they asked me to. Not because they even got in touch. But I posted about it because I absolutely love the place. It’s like no other garden centre I know. Still family run after all these years. With family at the heart of everything they do. I love going there for its family friendliness. The playground is fabulous for little and big ones. The toilets cater for all ages and are always clean (this is very important to me!). The variety of food on offer is just great, something for everyone. And since the expansion in recent years the children just love the toy shop. While we get to view the craft and kitchen shops. I’m always recommending it as a go to family destination, which says a lot for what started as a garden centre.

Bents is on Warrington Road in Glazebury, WA3 5NT.

bents

Bents are celebrating their 80 year anniversary this year. As ever at Bents Christmas is a fabulously big affair. People come from miles around to see the displays, room setups and decorations. You are positively encouraged to show from the displays. See something you like on displays just pick it up and buy it!

Christmas at Bents

Christmas at BentsChristmas at Bents is a grand affair – Room displays are a visual delight

 

This year however just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they just added a whole other level of fabulousness! Bents very own Winter food market! Think Manchester Christmas market food on a small-scale. Its been constructed especially for Bents and is set within the glass house building. So if it rains, it’s no problem the roof gets closed, and you stay dry.

Christmas at Bents

We went along to the opening night and got to sample the delicious food on sale.

Christmas at Bents

In the middle of the food market is the traditional German sausage stall. With its charcoal fuelled hanging grill. Theres a choice of 3 different authentic German sausages, a premium bratwurst, a chilli bratwurst and a vegan hot dog. The bratwurst are all served in pretzel buns and you can help yourself to condiments. Even the condiments are authentic from Germany.

Vegan hot dog in a Pretzel bun with sauerkraut

Christmas at Bents

Neil tried the premium bratwurst and the boys shared one. I had the vegan version with sauerkraut. I’m not vegetarian but I’m not keen on meat so I usually go with the vegetarian choice.

Neil reports the bratwurst was delicious. To eat the we sat in a little hut. Decorated with hops and Christmas lights, I loved it!

Winter Food Market Opening Times

The food markets are open every day as follows:

Mon & Tues: 12noon to 5pm

Wed – Fri: 12noon to 8pm (Fridays they plan to have live music 6pm-8pm)

Sat: 12 noon to 5pm and Sun: 12 noon to 4pm

The other food options at a different hut are pulled pork in a pretzel bun. Alongside pulled mushroom in the same pretzel bun and a snack choice of pork scratching. We couldn’t pass on trying food from here. It smelled delicious. So after listening to the live music for a while we shared one of each choice. Neil said the pulled pork was delicious but the boys said it was a little spicy for them. I tried the pulled mushroom, my goodness it was so nice. It came with a slice of cheese and some fresh rocket. I would highly recommend this choice if you prefer a vegetarian choice.

Pulled Pork in a Pretzel bun with cheese and rocket

Christmas at Bents

There are two more food huts. The one in the middle sells pancakes, honeycomb and waffles. The last hut sells drinks.

The pancakes were a popular choice!

Christmas at Bents

The drinks menu is extensive and sells hot, cold and alcoholic choices. I was told that all the alcoholic choices, bottled bears etc are from Bents very own food hall, so if you taste something you like there’s the option to take it away with you too.

Christmas at Bents

Being pregnant and driving I couldn’t really have a drink but I did ask to have a small sample of the hot mulled wine. After all Christmas food markets aren’t authentic unless there’s a smell of mulled wine and apple toddy in the air. To me mulled wine is Christmas, so I slowly and carefully enjoyed a few tiny sips of the wine. I can tell you it was lovely. Baby is due in 5 weeks now so thankfully I’ll be able to go back for a full glass before Christmas once he’s arrived!

I’m not sure there’s much more I can say about the Winter Food Market at Bents this year. Except if it’s not on your list of festive things to do add it now! Its family friendly atmosphere, all-weather ceiling and delicious offerings are upping Bents game once again!

bents at christmas

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been wanting to write a post for a while about ‘Christmas Stash’ photographs. As an avid social media fan I’m often found browsing Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. They are my go to social media. I don’t really get snapchat, maybe I’m too old. A few people have tried to teach me but I just don’t get it!

I’m in lots of different facebook groups. I have lots of varied interests so it really is a wide range of groups. Around this time of year my feed starts to fill up with other parents ‘Christmas stash’ photos. If you’ve never seen one, let me explain. It’s usually a photograph or photographs of a pile unwrapped of toys/gifts for a child (sometimes children). The photos are always accompanied by an explanation and often a question. The question is usually “Is this enough?” or “What else can I get?”.

This is what I just don’t understand. Why are people posting pictures of piles of presents and then asking if it’s enough or what else they can get?

Surely if its ‘enough’ is an individual decision. What some families might consider enough may be way over the top for others or visa versa.

Surely the amount or quantity of presents is an individual decision. I’m often left wondering if the photographs are just to show off? Is it that the person posting the photograph wants people to say that its way to much to make them feel better?

Is the poster feeling better about themselves by proving how much they can give their own child?

Do they do it to make other people feel inadequate?

I just don’t get it, to me it seems like showing off.

I honestly doesn’t bother me how much other parents by their own children.

What does bother me though is that these kind of photographs maybe making the parents feel upset, sad or inadequate.

If it’s your families tradition to buy 100 presents at Christmas then so be it. If you just get one per child then thats cool too. It’s ok to be proud of working hard and being able to afford to buy gifts.

It’s sad that in todays society there are so many people struggling with money, and many can’t afford to buy gifts for children at Christmas. Many can’t even afford food year round not to mention at Christmas.

I don’t even know what the purpose of this post is. Maybe if it makes one person think before posting a picture with the words “What else can I get?” or “Is this enough?”.

Enough is what you personally think is enough.

Enough is what you can afford to give at Christmas.

No two families are the same.

Children remember the love they feel and have felt in years to come not the gifts they receive.

 

 

 

 

yeti in my spaghetti

This week we’ve been playing ‘Yeti in my Spaghetti’ board game so that we can write a little review.
Yeti in my spaghetti

Yeti in my Spaghetti is a board games aged at ages 4 and up however my 3 and half year old did enjoy joining in and understood how to play.

yeti in my spaghetti

You’ll need two or more players for the game and by gaming standards it’s pretty easy to understand how to play.

Theres only 3 main components to the game, the yeti (now he’s pretty cute!).

The bowl and the spaghetti. The aim of the game is simple. Don’t let the Yeti fall all the way into the bowl if you want to be the winner! The rules are simple to, just take it in turns to remove single pieces of spaghetti. Easy you might be thinking. Well yes easy to understand, difficult to be the one to not topple that cute yeti!

yeti in my spaghetti

Pros:

We loved how simple it was
We also loved how even little people can join in
Game play is relatively short so it keeps small peoples attention span
Easy to set up, even for small people
Theres only one thing to focus on and thats the Yeti
No potential choking hazards like similar games with smaller marble sizer pieces
Easy to put away
If you just want to fill a few short minutes its quick and easy to play!

Cons:

The spaghetti needs keeping together when you remove it or you’ll end up loosing it
Other players will endure the grumps if the loser doesn’t like the fact they’ve lost!

My 6 year old desperately wanted to make a video review of the game so here it is (it’s only short but it gives you a good idea of the game!)

Thanks to University Games for sending us the game to review. I was not paid for the review and as always we are free to write are own honest opinion.

This weeks photo was captured as I was filming them together. My youngest had got upset about something and was crying. I actually can’t remember now why he was crying. The eldest offered to read him his current favourite book at the kitchen table. Currently his favourite book (which changes weekly!) is Hamiltons Hats. So as he started reading I picked up my phone to film. I like to film them as much as I can to keep for future. Not for anyone else to see just us, so we can look back at them in a few years.

As I’m filming on the phone I’ll often just take a snapshot as I go, so it’s only from my iPhone and totally unposed (when in so many ways it does look like it might have been) I can give my honest word it was just a lovely moment they had together.

 

 

Photalife

This week we were offered the chance to review a bunch of flowers from Prestige flowers.

prestige flowers

Of course I couldn’t say no to a bunch of flowers being delivered. I love getting flowers. Flowers really brighten up the house. Part of the reason I also said I’d love to review a bunch is because I’ve been thinking about sending flowers as Christmas gifts this year to family and friends who live far away. When you order online prestige flowers will arrange to deliver the flowers via Royal Mail to the chosen recipient in a beautiful packaged box.

prestige flowers

I think a bunch of flowers would be lovely to receive just before Christmas because it would last through the festive season. We always have people popping in and out at Christmas and having fresh flowers would be lovely. When you do you’re mad last minute shop for fresh food a few days before Christmas I never think to get flowers for the house too. To receive a bunch as an early Christmas present would be fab. Which is why I’m going to be sending some myself this year.

The flowers that Prestige flowers sent for me were a stunning bouquet of autumnal colours.

Prestige flowers

As I opened the box I was blowed away by the beautiful combination of like pinks, autumnal yellows and pretty red touches.

Fresh from the Box Flowers

I lifted them out carefully and was amazed that they opened up into a gorgeous bunch. They had survived a journey in the postal service thanks to the robust packaging.
Prestige flowers

As with all flowers they will last longer with proper care and attention. It is recommended to cut their stems at a 45 degree angle every few days so that they can soak up lots of water. Be sure to top the water up daily too and use the flower food included. When someone has taken the time and money to send such a thoughtful gift its important to make the most of them.

I almost didn’t want to remove the beautiful wrapping from the outside of the flowers. It was clearly wrapped with care and hand tied before sending. All the stems were beautifully lined up and symmetrical. I know though to keep them at their best the care is vital.

Thankfully it was easy to trim them and make them look just as beautiful as they did when they arrived.

Prestige flowers really are stunning. You can tell that they are passionate about creating a great looking product. A product that arrives with the intended recipient in perfect condition. I hope my bunch last a long time. They look fab brightening up the kitchen table during the current rainy weather.

Thanks again to Prestige flowers for sending the bunch to review. I was gifted the product in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid to write about the flowers. As always I would only review items I really like or should by myself.

Prestige flowers