Monday, 28 February 2011

I heart faces - Anything but faces

I really struggled to decide which picture to go with for this weeks challenge, It was exciting to be doing something slightly different for this weeks challenge.
I hope you all like my choice.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

In memory of little angels...

Today while searching ebay for ideas for crafts and fun things for the children to do over Easter I came across a item which touched my heart in a very unexpected way.
It rendered me inconsolable with tears pouring from down my face.
It was someone selling Easter eggs with a teddy all wrapped up beautifully, it wasn't what they were selling so much that got me all emotional it was why they were selling them.
They are trying to raise enough money to pay for their little baby, Harry, born prematurely at just 29 weeks and 5 days a grave stone.

No one should ever have to buy their child a grave stone let alone their tiny baby.
They have a facebook page with the things they are doing to try and raise enough money to mark this little angels grave it is:

If you have a moment maybe take a look and help give this family somewhere to go and remember their little boy.
I know many of you, including myself, have experienced the loss of a child whether it be early, mid or late term pregnancy and so have an idea of the pain this mum and dad are going through.
I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to carry a child until birth and then see them and then have to say goodbye.
For me it was hard enough seeing a scan photo of one of my five losses knowing they had gone.
There is not much we can do to bring comfort to a parent suffering such loss but if we can offer assistance in any way, time and in this case money will be well spent.

Below is a link to a Ebay listing for some Easter eggs and Teddies being sold to help raise some funds for a Gravestone for Harry. Please take a look and if you can buy one and take this family a step closer.

 Thank you!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Out of the mouths of babes

Children are fabulous!
They say the funiest things and always bring a smile to your face.
I have decided I am going to start a Magic Moments Journal.
In this journal I am going to write about all the cute things the children say.
For instance yesterday we were going to Pizza Hut for dinner and he kept calling it Pizza Hunt, everytime he said it, which was alot!
And when Liliana was looking at our wedding photo's she pointed to a photo of me and said "Mummy, it's a princess!" She was so excited, and she melted my heart.

I am also going to write about the fun things we do together and the wonderful conversations we enjoy.
Children grow so fast and we get so busy that we sometimes forget to stop and enjoy the magical moments.

I can't wait, when the kids grow older or when I am having a hard day being able to open my Journal and find amazing memories which will bring a smile to my face, hopefully as big as my ringtone of Oliver laughing does!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Jodi Picoult - A talented auther indeed!

Since my wonderful husband bought me a Sony Ereader I have really gotten into reading.
I have to be gripped by a book in the first five pages to really give it a chance.
Jodi Picoult has really managed to grab my attention and I have read three of her brilliant novels in as many weeks.
  • Change of Heart
  • My Sister's Keeper
  • Handle with Care
Picoult is an incredible author and I truly love the way she tells the story from all different characters point of view. The only down point is the stories are terribly sad!
Just as you get a little hope that things are looking up and everything will be OK it's ripped away with tragedy.
I won't give away any of the story lines as I think everyone should read them for themselves but make sure if you do you keep a box of tissues to hand.
I challenge anyone to read these books and not shed a tear!

Now though I am looking for a happier book before I indulge in another of Picoult's novels House Rules.

If you have read any of these books of have a recommendation for books to read please leave a comment, I love to find out what you guys think!!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Easter tree

This month at Relief Society our activity evening was based around planning for Easter now,
entitled Easter in February!
For this event I was asked to come up with a craft the ladies could easily do themselves and demonstrate it.
I decided to make a Easter tree which could serve as a centrepiece on your Easter Sunday dinner table or as a pretty display in your home.

This is what I came up with...

Making the tree itself is rediculously easy.

You will need
  • Twigs
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • A yub, vase or plant pot 
  • Soil or rice
  • Cable ties or string
  1. You need to find a tub, vase or pot to stand it in.
  2. You need to find some sticks..... perfect excuss for taking everyone out for a lovely walk! (be sure only to use already fallen sticks unless they are from your own garden!)
  3. Arrange the sticks in a way you are happy with them, you need to secure them together if you use more than one stick. I did this with cable ties.
  4. You then need to fill the pot with either soil or as I did bags of rice to secure the sticks in a upright position.
  5. Once you are happy with them you may need to give them a small trim to make sure the arrangment is not too big for where you are displaying it.
  6. I then used a large brissle brush and some white acrylic paint and light brushed over the branches to lighten them a little.
  7. If you have used rice to secure your display then you will need to cover it, I just cut a piece of fabric ad placed it over the rice tucking in the edges.
  8. If you want to add a little extra decoration to the basic tree as I did, you can add a few little glass stones or pretty confetti on top of the fabric.
Over to the eggs....

 These are blown eggs with a twist!

You will need
  • An egg
  • 100g Chocolate (Half a large bar)
  • Paint
  • Ribbon for hanging
  • Ribbon for decoration
  • Masking tape
  • Icing bag
  • Egg cup
  • Crafe paper
  • Scissors
  • Metal Skewer
  • Cost per egg : 50p (dependingon quality of chocolate used) 
  1. Wash your eggs, you will be blowing the egg out and knowing the last place they were... it's a good idea to wash them!
  2. For the next stage I used a BBQ Skewer, you can use whatever you like as long as the tip is round, that is very important!
  3. You need to carefully make a hole in the top and the bottom of the egg.
  4. You need to apply a resonable amount of pressure at first, twisting as you push. As soon as you feel a the egg shell give a little you need to remove all presssure and continue to twist until it goes all the way through into the egg. Be careful if you push to hard to you make a messy hole on the other end of the egg and could impale yourself!!
  5. Repeat this on the other end of the egg.
  6. You then need to then blow into one of the holes holding the egg over a bowl, until all the egg is out.
  7. Now you need to wash the egg out thoroughly.
  8. Keeping a small amount of water in the egg shells place them on a oven tray and place them in the oven at about 120 degrees C, for about 15 minutes.
  9. Take care when removing from the oven, they should be extremely hot!
  10. You now  need your piece of ribbon, in the top hole feed both ends of the ribbon leaving a loop. This loop will be what you use to hang your egg. You need to use your masking tape over the hole and ribbon to hold it in place and stop chocolate coming out the top.
  11. You now need to melt your chocolate, I am a firm believer in melting in a bowl over a pan of bowling water. Microwave is OK but you can't temper the chocolate and risk getting sugar crystals and burnt cocoa in the chocolate....ummmm!
  12. Once melted place the chocolate into a icing bag, you will need to use a solid tip with hole just the right size to fit into your hole in the egg.
  13. Make sure the hole in the bottom of the egg is just the right size for the tip of your icing nozzle to fit in comfortably and securely.
  14. Using your egg cup to rest your egg in now fill the egg shell with chocolate, it may over flow but using a warm cloth after the chocolate is set your can carefully remove any excess chocolate.
  15. Once filled set in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  16. Now it is time to decorate!!!! I used acrylic paint as this only sits on the surface of the egg shell and also strenghthens the shell.
  17. I then added a small heart for the girls and star for the boys cut out of craft paper to cover the small hole left visiable at the top off the egg. If you place a small hole in the middle of the shape you can slip it over the looped ribbon.
  18. I then tied a little bow just to finish. When tieing the bow alays loop over hand.... this way you will always get a good looking bow!
  19. Lastly hang your finished eggs on your tree!!
The best part is when the children get to break them open and enjoy the surprise of finding chocolate inside!!
I know it is a little early to be thinking about Easter but planning early makes for less stress later!

I hope you give it a try and have fun!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Let the fun begin...

This week started out pretty quiet.
By Thursday...... yes yesterday..... seems so long ago.....
Our school PTA had their general meeting and as the previous PTA board wanted to step down after 5-6 years of service and working extremely hard to give the children the things schools budgets just don't stretch to.
So as one team leaves another must come in and try and fill the shoes of those her left.

So here we are, I have been voted in as the Chair of the PTA Board.
Some amazing ladies have been voted in as the secretary and treasurer and committee members.
I am so excited to get started on raising money!
We have our first project to raise money for and it is a wonderful and fun one.
Refurbishing the Nursery playground.
The school with help from the previous PTA are funding most of it but we are hopefully going to be funding;
1) A climbing frame play area
2) A sand play area
3) A water play area
4) A play shed with storage area

We have our wok cut out for us but we will get there!
We already have 3 fundraisers in planning stage;
1) A Easter fayre
2) A mother's day meal and gifts (on the Saturday)
3) A charity Auction

Love getting stuck into this kind of thing, so much fun!!!

Monday, 7 February 2011

I heart faces - Hearts

This weeks challenge over at I heart faces is hearts.
I had a number of pictures I loved which would fit beautifully into this category but this one won the vote here at Lili Lala Photography.

We hope you like it as much as we do!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Date night number 5 - Super simple Pot Au Chocolat and ultra scrummy Mousse recipe

For my birthday a couple of weeks ago I was given some extremely tasty Green and Black's chocolate.
Chocolate is amazing however you eat it but sometimes it is even nicer if you do something a little more than just open the wrapper and eat it piece by piece.
So here is what I decided to do with my chocolate:

Pot Au Chocolate (can be changed slightly to make mousse)
Makes 4 

You will need:
  • 120g of good dark chocolate (milk if preferred)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4-6 tsp Sugar (or to taste)
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)
  • White chocolate cocoa powder or icing sugar to dust.
  1. You need to start by separating the egg whites and yolks. 
  2. Whisk the whites until they are very light and fluffy, making sure there is no wet residue at the bottom of the bowl.
  3. Fold in the sugar, You can add the sugar while mixing if you like but I prefer to fold it in after.
  4. Put aside your egg whites and break up your chocolate and melt in a bowl over a pan. You can melt it in the microwave if it is milk chocolate but you risk having sugar crystals and burnt chocolate. It is much easier to control the melting chocolate over a pan.
  5. Whisk the egg yolks.
  6. Once the chocolate is completely melted remove from the heat.
  7. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate and stir well.
  8. Then add the egg white and sugar mixture to the chocolate mixture, folding carefully.
  9. Once all the whites are folded into the chocolate continue carefully folding the mixture until it is a rich brown colour with no residual egg whites.
  10. I like to now add chocolate shavings to the mixture, this is completely optional and is entirely down to your own preference. I like a little texture in my Pot Au Chocolat. I use Hotel Chocolat's liquid chocolate for this as you don't need too many but they are relatively cheap and easy to use.
  11. Place mixture into serving dishes, either as one large sharing dessert or individual ramkins.
  12. If you wish you can then decorate with a sprinkling of icing sugar or white chocolate cocoa powder. My picture shows heart shapes on the top of the dessert, I achieved this by cutting hearts out of a piece of paper and putting the paper over the top of the dessert and with a sieve sprinkling the topping on. I also added some more chocolate shavings to the top. 
  13. I am a bit over the top on presentation so to ensure the hearts were well defined I used a confectioners brush to tidy them up a little. 
  14. Once you are happy with your dessert place it in the fridge until needed. I would suggest leaving it for at least 30 minutes to set well.
If you are wanting to make a mousse rather than Pot Au Chocolat, all you need to do is emit the egg yolks from the recipe. Simple as that!

I hope you try it out and enjoy.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Date night 4 - Getting to know you game

Think you know everything there is to know about each other?
I have made a quiz for you to test this out, may may just be surprised by the results!

If you click on this link it will take you to a pdf of the game.

You need to answer the questions with your own answer on the 'Me' side and in the 'You' side answer the questions with what you think your partner would answer.
Each question you guess the correct answer for your partner you get a point.
Whoever answers the most correct answers gets to pick something that the other person has to do.
Such as :
  • The washing up for a week
  • Wash the car
  • Make a romantic meal
  • Look after the children for an afternoon so the winner can have time to do whatever they want.
The options are endless!

Have fun!

Date night 3 - Make your home a hotel

Don't have a babysitter?
Do not have lots of spare money to book into a beautiful hotel?
Then making your home a hotel for a night is the perfect solution!!

If you are anything like us, going to a hotel can be very exciting but there are some home comforts that hotel's just can't replicate.
Saying that pretty much all of the luxuries of a hotel can be replicated at home.... OK so the room service is a Little harder but take out menu's can take care of that.

First things first, make sure your bedroom is completely tidy, you can't truly relax in a messy room.
If you do not have nice add on bed cushions then take them from other rooms and make your bed all comfy and soft. For me the cushions make a real difference to how luxurious the room feels.
If you want an extra touch of romance that you don't get in a hotel, take out those Christmas lights and hang them above the bed.... don't go overboard with lights or it will look tacky.

Add a couple of chocolates/ mints to the pillow too.

Once the bed is all made and prettified you can turn your attention to the hot drink supplies.
No hotel, even the cheap ones go without hot drink making facilities.
You can steal the kettle from the kitchen and a couple of mugs, hot chocolate sachets add to the hotel feel.
I coudn't take ours from the kitchen as it is built in but I managed to buy one from Tesco for less than £7.00!!

As you can see I wanted to make it a little more special and so I added chocolate stirring sticks, marshmallows, biscuits, cream and hotel chocolat's liquid chocolate – we use this as sprinkles for the top of hot chocolates. I also added some herbal teabags I made for David as he is very much a lover of chamomile tea.

Once that is all sorted it is time to turn your attention to the mini - bar!
It is worth considering what you both really like and whether you want to have to get up and go down stairs the next morning to make breakfast or whether you want breakfast in bed.
I decided we would be super lazy and have breakfast in bed so I bought a couple of tubs of porridge from Marks and Spencer's, some breakfast bars and fruit juice.

Most mini-bars in hotel's have a selection of nuts and crisps and things you don't really want at a ridiculously high price.
Well this is the perfect opportunity to make a mini-bar full of all your favorite things!

...So that is just what I did!
Now just because it is all there does not mean you have to eat it all in one night, however if you want to feel free as it is your luxury night 'away'.
Once you have taken care of all the basics hotel's have to offer now you can turn your attention to the extras you always say no to because they cost a small fortune and even if you can afford you just can't justify.

the champagne (for us it's non-alcoholic)...

Always makes an evening feel a little bit on the special side.
Pull out your best glasses that you save for anniversaries and special dinner parties.

Add a few extras like candles and face masks and nice creams to give you the spa feel.

Pick out a nice DVD and enjoy your evening.
We really enjoyed this date night and the best part is it does not have to cost anything, you can fill your mini-bar full of things from your normal shop or you can buy extra special items you wouldn't usually buy.
The most important thing is to enjoy it and make the most of your evening.

I can't express enough how important it is for couples to date, once you have got down the aisle it does not have to be the end of romance in fact it should mark the start of truly being able to spoil and get to know your husband/ wife.
Once the children are all grown up and moved out, it will be just the two of you.
Wouldn't it be nice to still feel the way you did on those very first dates when you are celebrating your 50th anniversary!

I am going to issue everyone who reads this a challenge....

Married or not do something romantic for your partner today!
If you are not dating right now do something nice for someone you live with.
Everyone needs to know from time to time that they are appreciated!