Easy peasy pain au choc

Jus-rol pack of pain au chocolatI do most of my grocery shopping online (the “big” shop), so I don’t even remember how I found them, but JUS-ROL have started making pain au chocolat in a can*.  They give you the pastry and the mini chocolate sticks and you take all the glory of hot pastries, straight from the oven.

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Ikea kitchen: a quick review

Ikea toy kitchen - Duktig - giftNo, we’re not revamping our kitchen just yet!  Our main Christmas present for Scarlett this year (well, last year – happy new year!) was this Ikea kitchen.

We went full circle when we started looking.  She showed an interest in this Duktig in Ikea, so we went home and started researching bigger, fancier (and yes, pinker) kitchens online.  My bookmarks are still full of expensive wooden masterpieces.  But we got a grip.  She’s not even two, she already enjoyed playing with this one, and it does add up with the pots, pans, utensils and food.  This was a fantastic £49 total for the two bits (they split it into the bottom bit and the top bit), not including the accessories.  We did buy it on sale – it’s normally £65 for the two parts. Continue reading


Since I last posted in early December (I’m just going to breeze past the shame), we’ve obviously had a Christmas tree and decorations up and down, you missed the awesome Christmas bunting and Santa’s sack I made, so I’ll save that for next year.

We’ve also painted over the splodge of hot pink on our bedroom wall because I’m sick of looking at it.  Not painted the entire wall, you understand.  Just painted over the splodge in off-white it so it’s not as much of an eyesore.

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House valuation

Barry’s bedtime reading at the moment is looking at houses online.  We’re not planning on moving any time soon (if any of my colleagues are reading this, don’t jump to conclusions!), but it’s nice to look.  He went as far (too far, in my opinion!) as sending an email asking for more information on one particular house, which is quite near to where my mum lives.

The estate agent called and left a voicemail the next morning to say that they’d arranged for an agent from our local office to come and value our house on Saturday at 9.45am.  Very proactive.  A bit too pushy.  But Barry thought, hey, why not?  We were interested in seeing whether the work on the kitchen (in which we sacrificed a downstairs bathroom and hallway for twice the kitchen) would have affected the value.

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Simple recipes: krispie buns

You know they’re ker-azy because they’re spelled with a Z.

This is another adaptation of my mum’s recipes from when she was at school (for her easy peasy buns/cake recipe, click here).  The adapted bit’s where I lick the golden syrup spoon.  These take about 5 minutes to make.  Less if you set everything out on the counter like in Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute recipes.  In that case, this would take about 3 minutes.

krispie buns


  • 2 level tbsp sugar
  • 2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g margarine
  • 100g cornflakes or rice krispies


Melt everything except the cereal in a pan, don’t let it boil.  Take off the heat and mix in the cereal well.  Use spoons to share the mixture between around 12 bun cases, pretty ones if possible.  Lick spoons.  Lick pan.

Here’s some I made for the NCT crew this weekend.  Nom.

Recipe scrapbook

I decided to buy a big notebook when I was at university and write and/or stick my favourite recipes in it, to keep them all in one place.  Fast forward ten or eleven years, and this battered book (pun intended) now contains a good few yummy recipes for starters, mains, and especially desserts and baking.  Along with a huge pile of printouts and pages quickly torn from magazines from newspapers and supermarkets, the shelf in our kitchen was creaking under the weight of paper I needed to sort out.

Meaning business, I got my guillotine out (no, I’m not joking, I have a stationery problem), and started trimming recipes into little stick-able squares.  It took me about six hours (whilst watching my daughter.  And TV.) and my book is now as fat as can be.  But it’s so satisfying to have sorted it all out and have all my recipes in one place, really cathartic.

microwave brownie

I got so inspired I had to stop halfway through to make microwave brownie in a mug – yum!  I did share it with Barry, in my defence.  I’m not sure what the rules are on sharing other people’s recipes on blogs, so, instead, here’s my mum’s foolproof recipe for buns that I don’t even need to look at any more…

My mum’s always told me (this does about 18 buns or a cake): weigh 3 medium eggs with the shells on, then weigh out the same in sugar, SR flour and butter. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add in the flour and eggs bit by bit.  Add a dash of vanilla essence if you’re feeling fancy. Always use a wooden spoon, not a metal one. Pop them in the oven at around 180C for 20/25 mins until golden brown and try not to open the door while they’re in there.  Ice them when they’ve cooled.  Delicious, and so simple!

The neverending tale of the black wall has an end

Changed radiatorFinally! We’ve had a decorator in for the last few days to paint the black wall that has been looking at me since we half painted it in, erm, well, embarrassingly… March.  Time flies!

Here’s a reminder of how the wall has looked since then.  Yes, that is indeed been like that for eight whole months.

As I mentioned recently, we asked our shiny new decorator, Josh, to split the jobs we’d asked him to quote for into three parts, and he’s been busy doing the first (and cheapest!).  And now the wall is completely black!  Hurrah!

Black wall

Our new wall is not only sleek and sexy, but it sports straight lines and a glossy newly painted bannister.  Oh yes.

Josh has whizzed through quite a few of the “to-dos” on my depressing visual representation of all the jobs left to do: the kitchen post from way back in April – sanding and repainting the rest of the kitchen ceiling and walls, glossing the skirting boards, and painting the stairs wall, ceiling and handrail.

Black wall 2

In fact, we’ve only got two jobs left on that list now – tile the kitchen walls and replace the switches with brushed silver ones.  Both things that can wait a little bit, so I’m feeling a bit smug.  I think I’ve got enough lists going on without that one anyway (do two things make a list?).

We’ve asked the decorator to come back in early January to do the next instalment (middle floor hallway/stairs up to our room/nursery), can’t wait!

She’s like the wind

In our endeavour to sort stuff (read: everything) before the baby comes in February, we’ve started by completing the appliances in the kitchen with this beauty…

It’s a condenser dryer, bought just as the sun seems to be coming out again.  As Barry had the foresight to drill a hole for a plug through the cupboard, but not the end panel, we haven’t tried it out yet but we should have it on at some point this weekend.  I’d better buy some Bounce!

Many thanks to Barry’s Mum for the dryer!

Barry did mention that the dryer delivery men had the audacity to ask how long the wall had been like that (i.e. not painted up the stairs).  Think we need to give that decorator a call soon…