Our kitchen floor seems to attract dirt! Living on a farm is a contributing factor along with having two boys. I have just spent the last hour on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor and getting rid of the stubborn marks that a mop doesn't shift and now it is sparkling clean (until everyone gets home tonight!!!)
Monday, 17 June 2013
Saturday, 15 June 2013
Monday, 10 June 2013
Finally the plants are starting to grow and the tubs I planted are slowly beginning to flower. These minature carnations are starting to bud so hopefully they will be a good show of flowers once they start.
The gerberas are already flowering and the lillies won't be far off either.
Wednesday, 5 June 2013
We love taking photographs and never go on a day out without a camera so we were very pleased when Vistaprint asked us to review one of their photobooks. To help us do this they they sent us vouchers for Chester Zoo and asked us to take lots of photos to use in the photobook. Between the four us we managed to take 750 photos so we had plenty to choose from! To begin with we created a folder and uploaded all the photos and then we went through them and deleted any that we knew wouldn't be included in the photobook like ones that were out of focus, ones where someone was pulling a face or any that we just didn't like.
Once we had done that, we downloaded the Vistaprint software and then created our photobook. There were 8 different photobooks to choose from, in the following sizes, landscape - small, medium, large or extra large, portrait available as large and square which is available as medium, large or extra large . The website showed you the options and also gave you the size in centimetres which was very useful. Once you had decided upon on a size, you could begin creating your photobook. There were two options available, one where it would add the photos automatically and another where you could choose where you wanted the photos to go. Initially I let the software add all the photos to our book, however as we had photos from four cameras the photobook became very mixed up and so I deleted that and started again. I found it very easy to add photos and design the book as there were templates available; first I chose how many photos I wanted on a page and then all I had to do was select the layout.
The main advantage with this method was you could select the photos that you wanted and add them to the photobook whilst working offline. It was only at the end, once you had created your book, that the photos were uploaded. We have made photobooks before where you need to upload all the photos to their website first which is very time consuming so this is a much better option.
I selected a photo to go on the front cover and there is also the option to add text. Unfortunately I didn't increase the text size so you can hardly see "Chester Zoo May 2013" on the front cover but I now know to increase it next time!
There was also an option to have different backgrounds on the pages however as there was plenty of colour in our photos I decided not to use these.
There are a couple of additional add-ons that you can choose when creating your photobook. I chose the glossy option for my photos which cost an extra £6.99 but I do feel it is worth it as the photos look so much better. I also went for the layflat binding which cost an additional £4.99 but means that you can look at the book without it trying to close itself or needing to bend it to look at the photos properly.
It took me just over an hour to create the book but I did enjoy making it so it was time well spent. When I ordered the book it said it would take two weeks to arrive however we received our book after 10 days which was a nice surprise as I wasn't expecting it to arrive early.
We were sent £60 of Chester Zoo vouchers and were able to choose a photobook free of charge for the purposes of this review however all words and opinions are our own.
Monday, 3 June 2013
As we enjoy baking I was thrilled when The Craft Company asked us to review a couple of products from their website. We were really spoilt for choice when we looked at the website as they sell every imaginable product you can think of for baking and cake decorating. After spending a good while looking at the site and deliberating over what to choose we finally selected three products to review, Rainbow Dust edible silk - Starlight Silver Saturn, Release-A-Cake and the 8" square tin liners
Normally we make round cakes but as we were making Blackpool Tower out of cake for a competition I decided that the square tin would be best. I rarely use the tin because I have got so used to the convenience of bake-o-glide and as I don't have any to fit this tin I don't tend to use it! When I do use it I have to cut a base and sides out of greaseproof paper which adds extra time so unfortunately it tends to sit in the bottom of the cupboard, which is a real shame as it is a good solid tin. I have seen round cake tin liners and loaf tin liners but never a square one so I was really pleased to have found these on the website. A pack of 25 8" square tin liners is £5 which I think is good value for money especially as it made making the cake so much quicker and easier and it now means that I will get much more use out of my cake tin. The liner easily fitted in the tin and stayed in place when we were putting the cake mix in.
For the legs of the tower we used a loaf tin and I thought we could try out the Release-A-Cake for this tin. I have never used this before and this is another product that I will be buying again as it was so easy to use and really did work. We brushed a small amount on the base and sides of the tin with a pastry brush and then added the cake mixture.
Once the cakes came out of the oven and cooled a little I was amazed at how good the Release-A-Cake actually was. I really didn't expect it to work as well as it did and I was able to tip the cake out of the loaf tin easily and on the first attempt. The cake tin was also clean too with no bits of cake stuck to the tin sides. At £2.85 for 236g it really is a bargain and I can imagine it being really good if you are using an unusual shaped shaped tin which would be tricky and time consuming to line.
William was making fairy cakes at school today so I asked him to make sure he brought some home so that we could decorate them and try out the Rainbow Dust edible silk - Starlight Silver Saturn. We have never tried edible glitter before but I thought it might be fun to try something new.
We received these products free for the purposes of this review but all words and opinions are our own.
Sunday, 2 June 2013
William loves baking and is very creative both with his recipes and ideas for cakes. When I saw the competition on Tots100 to build a model of Blackpool Tower it was perfect timing as not only was it the school holidays but after breaking his arm on Thursday he is a little restricted to what he has been able to do this weekend and baking was the perfect activity.
Since he discovered food colouring we rarely have normal coloured cakes in this house now and making Blackpool Tower was the perfect opportunity to try out the new red bottle to try and make the cake look just like the real thing!
He made a square cake for the base and another in a loaf tin which we cut into four for the legs of the tower. A smaller square was cut out of the bottom of the square cake to go on top and a flag added. To try and recreate the steel framework he decided to use chocolate fingers (which I had to borrow from Auntie Angela next door - thanks). They were stuck on with chocolate butter-cream. He was really pleased with how it turned out.
The added incentive for him was when I told him that the prize was to become ambassadors for Blackpool with four winners getting a fantastic trip to Blackpool plus a Blackpool Resort Pass. We all love visiting Blackpool as there is so much to do for families, the zoo has seen a lot of investment over the last few years and is a really good day out. The Sandcastle is brilliant fun and of course now the boys are a little older, the Pleasure Beach is usually top of the list for a day out in the summer holidays.
This post is an entry into the Tots100/Visit Blackpool competition