Friday, 27 May 2016

Mollie's Toffee Cupcakes Mmmmm

Wondering what to do after school? 
Really wanting a snack but there's nothing in the cupboard you want?

I got home from school today and I had this problem. So I took a look in the cupboards and found some ingredients.

I enjoy baking and now I'm older I can do it by myself (without Mum taking over!) except for the oven, I have to have an adult then.

I knew that the old fashioned method for making buns was "4, 4, 4 and 2" But I needed to find out of what. A quick chat with Mum and I was ready.

The Ingredients:

4 oz Self Raising Flour

4 oz Sugar (we had dark brown sugar)

4 oz butter (I had to let this go soft so left it out for a while in the kitchen.)

2 eggs

The Recipe:

Firstly I needed Mum to put the oven on for me, she set it at 160C (we have a fan oven) and then I laid the cupcake cases in the tray ready and put this out of the way.
Then I added ALL the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mixed really well with a wooden spoon. 


I then decided to experiment a little bit with this recipe and added a tablespoon of Toffee sauce (the sort you use as an ice cream topping!)

I didn't know how this would taste but I felt like trying it.

I then scooped the mixture into the cases, Emily helped (she loves baking too! She helped with a few other bits too.) And then with Mum's help I put them in the oven.They would take about 10-15 minutes to cook.

I had to keep an eye on them so they didn't burn. I knew they were ready when they looked nice and brown on top (I had to remember that they would look darker as I used dark brown sugar instead of white sugar so remember that if you use different sugar)
Then with Mum's help again, I took them out and left them to cool.

What did I Think?:
They were really nice! The toffee sauce worked well, they had a yummy taste. I shared them out after dinner for dessert and everyone enjoyed them.

I hope you do to!
Mollie xx

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Naughty White Choccie Kinder Bueno Fudge!

Following on from the success and ever so popular blog "Gooey, Chocolatey Fudge" we have made a new variation. After researching ideas on the t'internet we settled on White Chocolate Kinder Bueno Fudge!.

This was even easier than the original we made and the girls really enjoyed getting involved. (They are thinking of making some for their Brownies Leaders towards earning their Cook badge!)

What do you need before you start?:

We started off by lining a pyrex dish with greaseproof paper and set this to one side.  Then set up two microwaveable bowls, mixing spoons and scales.

The lovely ingredients for this recipe:

400g white chocolate
60g unsalted butter
1x can of condensed milk
150g icing sugar
4x regular bars of Kinder Bueno

What do you need to do to make this delicious dish?:

1. Start off by chopping the Kinder Bueno bars into pieces, it was nice and easy to chop into eight pieces so long as you use a nice sharp knife. Then pop these in a bowl and place in the fridge until needed.

2. Break the white chocolate into pieces and put into a microwaveable bowl, add to this the butter and microwave until melted, checking ever 30 seconds. Careful not to let the chocolate burn (what a waste that would be!)

3. Into this melted mixture you need to pour the condensed milk and mix thoroughly. You will start to feel the mixture thicken quickly. 

4. At this point add the icing sugar and again stir until the sugar has completely combined.

5. Now it's time to add the chopped Bueno, just half of the pieces for now. Fold these in gently so you don't crush them. I found this quite a delicate task as I wanted to keep the pieces chunky.

6. Once these have been carefully folded into the mixture, pour this into your prepared dish. Then place the remaining Kinder Bueno pieces over the top and gently push down slightly to secure them in place.

7. Now place the fudge in the fridge and leave to set for at least 4 hours but it is best left overnight (if you can resist!)

8. Once set you should be able to remove the fudge easily by lifting the greaseproof paper at the edges and all being well it will lift out of the dish. Then chop into pieces and ENJOY!

The Verdict?:

Super sickly!
Lovely Kinder taste with white chocolate creaminess. 
Not to be indulged in too often and ideally share with others! 
Nice and easy for the girls to make with very little help. 

Let us know whether you make this treat and what you thought



Saturday, 21 May 2016


On a recent trip to Norwich we saw a stall promoting the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). It was attractively laid out with fact files, cuddly hedgehogs, magazines, family activity packs and lots more. Naturally I wandered over that way, quickly followed by the girls and then Chris caught on to where I was heading and joined us. 

The girl running the stall was pleasant and friendly and allowed us to browse before coming over to explain what she was there for. 

She explained about becoming a member of the RSPB and started to show us the gifts and magazines we could receive if we wished to join up. Sign up fee is unspecified but from a minimum of £5.50 PCM for a family pass (£4 PCM for an individual pass) This would also grant us free unlimited access to more than 170 nature reserves around the UK. There's one not very far from us, Strumpshaw Fen. Plus other local ones. 

We decided to sign up, although I must state here that there was definitely no hard sell, in fact the girl was rather apologetic when talking about monies which was a refreshing change (maybe that's her secret technique!) We are always looking for things to do as a family and thought that this would make a pleasant change as well as getting us out in the fresh air and being active. 

Once we filled in the paperwork (very simple and straight forward) the girl offered Mollie and Emily the chance to choose a gift each. There were three choices; a Wildlife Explorers' Handbook, a pocket guide to British birds and a stationary pack. The girls opted for the pocket guide and the wildlife explorers' book.

And they were also given the Junior BirdLife magazine (which they will receive quarterly). They will get the same one each which saves arguments in future but on this occasion the girl had a back issue so they have different ones this time to start them off.

We were also given a magazine for us adults (again we will receive one of these quarterly) and the Family Activity Pack which is full of information and activities, all in a handy clip folder. It also has a A5 map of the UK with all the RSPB locations marked and a car sticker. 

In addition to this we were given our membership cards with a welcome letter and then had a choice of a gift; either a cuddly hedgehog (who I admit was very cute) a bug house or ....... oh something else but I've forgotten!

We chose the Bug House and the girls are looking forward to putting it in the garden, along with our home made Hedgehog Hotel, inspired by an activity we saw on the RSPB website. 

We left with a large paper bag packed with goodies to start us off on our Bird Watching Journey and very much looking forward to our first visit to a reserve. 

Check out their website for more information and ideas on activities, its an absolutely packed website too! We noticed that although it's the RSP of BIRDS they are actually equally focussed on wildlife - insects, small animals (hedgehogs etc) and flowers.

Non members can also visit the reserves for just a small fee:
Adults £3.50, concessions: £2.50, children (5-17 years): £1.50. One child per family goes free. Free admission if travelling by train or bus (please show valid travel ticket). 
Fees may vary per reserve, these are the fees for Strumpshaw Fen.

We are really looking forward to our first visit and to learning more about birds and wildlife, most importantly we are looking forward to spending family time together. 

Why not take a look and perhaps sign up to open up these opportunities for yourselves PLUS support a fantastic charity!



Thursday, 19 May 2016

Ed's Diner

A quick shopping trip in Norwich last Sunday after swimming found us needing a stop for lunch. We fancied something a bit more than the usual fast food place and Mollie requested Ed's Diner (open daily from 9am-8pm and 10am-6pm Sundays) in INTU Chapelfield

We had eaten here previously and all enjoyed it so we headed that way. It was also in a handy location for our next stop - Build a Bear Workshop for Emily to spend her gift card.

The restaurant has a 1950's American Diner theme (lots of red and chrome) and we were pleased to see a short queue. The server greeted us and told us it would be 10-15 minutes until we could be seated, it turned out to be much less. 

We were taken over to a booth style table which over looked the lower level shopping area. 
At the end of the table was a small table mounted jukebox with songs from the era; lots of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Everly Brothers, Patsy Cline etc. At just 20p for a song selection the girls enjoyed browsing and choosing a few hits - Elvis Presley "Blue Suede Shoes" being their favourite! The girls were given Ed's Junior Chef hats and a plastic cup of crayons to doodle on their menus and complete the puzzles on the reverse.

Our order was taken fairly quickly as we were ready, the girls both opted for kids milk shakes (£2.15)
 Chris ordered a Peanut Butter Thick Shake (£3.95) However they gave him the Peanut Butter and Brownie Shake by mistake but he didn't mind so he kept it. 
 with added Malt and I went for a refill Sprite (£2.75)

Children's Menu
We also ordered our food, they had run out of Chicken Tenders and apart from these the kids menu only offered Burger or Hotdog, neither of which fusspot Emily would eat. 
The server said she could have a crispy chicken fillet cut up instead but by this time Emily had already got her heart set on the American pancakes with Maple flavoured syrup from the Dessert menu so she stuck with that! It also came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (£4.95)

Chris went from burger and fries, accompanied with onion rings and colslaw. It made a nice big plateful too! (£10.20)

Mollie chose a Hotdog with fries from the kids menu and certainly seemed to enjoy it (£4.65)

Lastly, I quite fancied something light (been out the night before, feeling delicate! Also we had popped out for a breakfast before swimming so I still felt full!) I went for the Chicken Caesar Salad. It was lovely and fresh, plenty of diced chicken and croutons. Not too much parmesan shavings or dressing (£7.95)

Overall an enjoyable meal, nice atmosphere and in a very handy location. We'd definitely go again, it makes a shopping trip to Norwich a more pleasant affair. Whilst there we were given a rating card to complete which also signs you up to "Ed's Club" which sends out special offers via email. These include free burgers/hotdog with the purchase of a drink plus more.

So if you're heading that way make sure you stop in and enjoy a meal.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Getting Techy at Techniquest

We recently took a short break in Cardiff and whilst there we stayed at the beautiful Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay looks stunning in the evening glow. Image from Google images.

Situated here there is a fantastic centre called Techniquest. It was within walking distance from our hotel but is very easily accessible from the City Centre too. Techniquest was founded in 1986, moving to its current location in 1995 and they aim to encourage people to enjoy and become more involved in science and learning.

Techniquest is in Stuart Street, close to Mermaid Quay, in Cardiff Bay. There are regular train services from Cardiff (Queen Street) to Cardiff Bay, and Cardiff Bus services 6 (the BayCar) stops nearby, and 8 stop right outside
If you're travelling by car, the postcode is CF10 5BW. Leave the M4 at junction 33 and follow the brown signs for Cardiff Bay. There is pay and display parking right next to the centre. 
Ticket prices are very reasonable especially as they give all day re-entry, plus they have a special offer on throughout 2016 giving entry for just £3 per person after 2pm on Sundays!!! 
Admission charges (including voluntary donation):
  • Adult: £7.50
  • Child (age 4–16): £6.00
  • Concessions: £6.00
  • Family Group (2 adults and up to 3 children): £25.00
  • Planetarium Show: £1.50 extra per person
They are open daily with some changes on Bank Holidays and School Holidays.
During local school holidays

10.00am–5.00pm Bank Holidays, seven days a week.
School term

9.30am–4.30pm Tuesday–Friday; 10.00am–5.00pm Saturday and Sunday.
They are closed on Mondays during school term time, but open on Bank Holiday Mondays, and on Mondays during local school holidays.
The centre also caters for educational visits with different Key Stages in mind and birthday parties.

Here Mollie shares our visit and her thoughts.

"Hi Everyone, I'm Mollie.

We went on holiday to Cardiff to see where our Grandpa came from and Mum and Dad took us to Techniquest. The building was huge and looked a bit like a train station on the outside! We went inside and there was a short queue to pay, They gave us wrist bands to wear which meant we could go in and out all day. Dad also booked us in for the "Bubbles and Blasts" show.
Inside it was really big, there were activities on two floors and it was fun being able to run off and explore this by ourselves (Mum and Dad enjoyed playing with the activities too though!)

photo from Google images
The first thing we came to was a giant red dragon which we could operate using buttons and levers. The dragon was the same one that is on the Welsh flag which was cool.

There were loads of fun things to do which involved different science or technology parts. There was a dark zone which had a shadow wall, different light activities, and a cool smokey cauldron!

There were some optical illusion walls, the selfie below is actually a mix of mum's face and mine. I think we look weird. The other photo is Emily through a fly's eye - ERGH!

Dad got really involved trying to make the perfect whirlpool in the cylinder. He spent ages getting it going. Oh and there was this massive iron pendulum, it was chained from the ceiling and you couldn't get next to it to touch it but you had to throw magnets from two sides until they stuck to it, when they were both on you could pull them really gently and make it swing. You had to work together with someone else and get the timing right and it was really hard to do but Dad was a bit of an expert!

At the back of the downstairs was a water zone where you could experiment with different ways water could work things. And there was a game which you shot water jets into different things; like a washing machine, car wash, bath and a toilet. You could see how much water would be needed to work these things. There were some aprons but not many but we just had to be careful not to soak ourselves!

Upstairs there were more fun things to do and some more optical illusions which I really liked. There was this one where you crawled in a hole at the back and when you stuck your head up it looked like your head was sitting on a table but your body wasn't there.

Soon it was time for our "Bubbles and Blasts" show, we queued up near the entrance and were taken through to a small theatre, with rows of seats in a semi-circle. We sat on the front row, about in the middle. There were two presenters and they showed us different bubbles and ways to make them, they were quite interesting as they told us how bubbles are made up too. They filled balloons with explosive gases too which was fun, we all had to cover our ears! 
The show lasted about 15 minutes and was really funny. Dad told them to try smokey bubbles another time.

There was a cafe at Techniquest but we didn't go in there as we had already had lunch and were going out for dinner afterwards but it looked nice. And there was a gift shop which sold lots of things from pencils and magnets and things like wooden toys and science sets. 

So, what did I think of Techniquest? 

I think it was fun and exciting and I would love to go there again! My favourite activity was this thing were you had to pull a rope which lifted a heavy weight, when you dropped it it pushed air through a tube and shot a tennis ball up high into the air and then it would fall back down into a net. A couple of times we saw people who managed to get the tennis ball to fly out of the net too and we kept trying but never managed it. 
So definitely go to Techniquest if you are visiting Cardiff its great!

Hope you enjoyed my first blog!

Mollie xx