Sunday, 22 February 2015

Minecraft Themed Party with Balloon Time

If you don't know what Minecraft is then..well...what can I say. Actually your life is probably fine and dandy and if you haven't a clue then I salute you! For those of us who are in the know, then I hope this post gives you a few ideas if you fancy staging one for yourself.

I have to say whilst there are loads of images for Minecraft cakes there isn't a huge stash of party supplies for Minecraft, however, there are some fabulous blogs out there giving great links to various Minecraft ideas. In particular, I like this one by MineMum where I was directed to free Minecraft invites that I could print off and other great ideas.

My brief was "I want Stampy LongNose, a creeper and dog figure. I think I filled the brief.
So, firstly the cake.  I managed to steer clear of using lots of little squares. I copied this cake idea from the vast selection of Minecraft cakes on google. I made this out of 3 chocolate cakes and literally threw it together in my trade mark bish, bosh, bash style when I have to make a cake during half term.  I put oreos in there, blackcurrent jam and covered the outside with chocolate butter cream with smashed up oreos to create a soil effect. I also had some black edible dust kicking around (as you do) so dabbed that on too. The top was pretty straightforward a square of green fondant and then green piping for the grass. Mental note to self and everybody out there adding colour makes buttercream go runny. I always forget. Then I added the figures which I hated doing as my daughter kept interrupting me every 10 minutes to see how I was getting on. They were all booted outside in the garden at this point.


For the Minecraft decorations, my daughter had made little signs like "gold" and "sticks" which we laminated and placed by the food. I ordered a green grass effect table cloth, creepy balloons, gold and silver paper plates/cups (as per daughter's instructions). Luckily a friend had off loaded her Minecraft paper boxes when she moved house which was perfect for putting on the table for decorations. We also used those boxes in pass the parcel with a chocolate inside. 

Square sandwiches and lots of blocks!

Of course we had to have 'lava'

Now I'm not one for staging parties and what not but even I was impressed with myself!  We used a treasure chest pinata and took off the pirate sign. 

My daughter's cakes all decorated by herself 
The balloon time helium pack was perfect for the finishing touches.  It only retails at £22 and you get 30 balloons included. I already had balloons but I will keep the ones in the box for future parties.  At first myself and the hubster thought the tank was empty. This is because we don't do reading instructions even if they are basic. Its very simple. You put the balloon over the nozzle turn the tap and then push down on the valve to inflate the balloon (we omitted to do that part in the first instance).  Once you do a few you soon get up to speed. I think you do need another pair of hands to tie the balloon etc.

The Minecraft balloons ready to go 
After actually reading the instructions the balloons started to fill up!

We only had one casualty
 We used all our Minecraft balloons and still have enough helium left over for my son's party in May. Given that I have often spent £6 to get two special balloons filled up at my local shop - I think this is fantastic value for money and will probably never have a party again without this handy kit.  I did think mmmm but I bet its a bugger to recycle. Fear not though - on the website it details how to recycle the cylinder - you do need a few handy bob the builder tools but seeing as my husband is Bob the Builder this isn't going to be a problem.
Have some of that!!

I don't do themed birthday parties but if I did.......
Tah dah!

One Happy 9 year old - I'm liking my new face!
I'm working with BritMums and Balloon Time as part of the "Celebration Club", highlighting inventive and fun ways of using balloons. I was provided with a Balloon Time helium kit and have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. 

Visit for more information and party inspiration.

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Pig Parent Part II

There were some seriously freaky pig mask pictures on google. In fact, I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep tonight. Are you a Pig Parent? Do you rustle your way through multipacks of crisps during a 90 minute film?! Pic Google

Just when I thought I had exhausted all avenues of ranting during the lifetime of this blog then WHAM! I appear to have be re-ignited in this department. I think it may have to do with the fact the that my son is now older - more of which later. Now where to start? Firstly, I have written about 'Pig Parkers' you know the ones that just kamikaze up to the car park without a care in the world. They normally park in such a way you 1) cannot park in the empty space next to them as they've literally crossed the line 2) you need a shoe horn to get out of the car 3) when exiting the two spaces they've taken up they can't be bothered to look out for pedistrians. I've often dreamt of just opening an instagram account soley for pig parker pictures. I must do that soon.  Whilst on that theme, have you noticed the speed in which people rock on up to a McDonalds drive thru? Seriously how desperate are you for your Fillet O Fish?! Does anyone eat those anymore? Remember the ad - "Fillet O Fish for my wife." Well if you don't check out the Youtube clip below - it took extensive research to dig that one out I can tell you.

I digress. So this is where 'The Pig Parent' stems from. I wrote about them in this blog post after a visit to the park. I like the title so much, more so then 'mums that need a slap', that I've decided its worthy of a squeal.

I used to enjoy the cinema (or cinema's as my children still call it) - watch a film, relax. Nice and easy. Have you been to the cinema for a kids showing (the adult films are much the same) recently? For the love of god STOP with the fucking picnics.  I can barely hear the film with all the incessant munching going on. You will eat again.  You will not die of starvation. Can you not last 2 hours (1 hour 30 mins for kids films) without troughing constantly.  Take Paddington bear for instance - a massive party of kids settled behind us on the back row and the party leader - had two carrier bags full of mutlipacks of crisps. The noise from that was just incredible.  

Now, I'm no kill joy and I do allow my kids to have a few nibbles. But the emphasis is on a few. I make up a small sandwich bag of a few treats i.e a handful of popcorn or like today a few minstrels and maltesers. I wasn't a bucket load and a fruity water bottle. I try and eliminate the need for rustling and if my kids do think fiddling around with the bag is acceptable its my job to tell them not to for the consideration of  others. Shame the rest of the parents in the cinema don't think about others.  

To add to my cinema woos today we went to a cheap deal showing of  The Book of Life - I actually thought it would be The Book of Shite but it was actually a rather pleasant film. Its very colourful and I liked the whole Mexican theme/tradition going on. Cue two mum's behind me who thought, seeing as it was just a kids film, they would chat intermittently throughout the entire performance. I mustered up all the energy I could not to demand "would you chat like this during an adult film?" but decided the answer would probably be yes.  Another pig parent in the venue thought that a baby crying was an insufficient enough reason to leave the cinema.  

That's where being a parent of an older child (11) I think is affecting my tolerance but I'm pretty sure I would have walked out of the venue had my baby started to cry. Basically parents of younger children piss me off no end. They seem to have notched up a gear in the inconsideration stakes and your older child isn't worthy in their eyes. They shouldn't be playing with their siblings in an area that is designated for younger ones even if they're just minding my little Buddy.  They look at you in disgust if you cross a crossing when the green man isn't present - my son needs to be able to cross a road in the absence of a green man and when his mum isn't around. 

But parents of younger children are not the only Pig Parent offenders - no the parents of older are probably worse. Why? Because they're the ones that let their children play 18 rated x-box games and the like.  They give them not just an x-box, a playstation and a TV in their room and treat them like mini adults. They'll later be moaning about the fact they're groan up so quick. Err you don't say - look a bit closer to home for answers to that one.

I have a separate post on this one entirely as our X-box has now been banned and is currently sitting in the loft. In short, my son was becoming addicted. He feels its somewhat unjust given he's doing really well at school - which I would like to stay that way. I had a little glance at his new High School and they give a suggested reading list - sadly at the top it said something along the lines of we know its hard to get your child to stop playing the x-box/playstation but if they could read that would be great. For the love of god - stop the maddness!!!!

As you were. 

Monday, 16 February 2015

Monday Chit Chat

I am alive!! Literally - this is what I told my friend after having my root canal treatment. It wasn't too bad at all.  I can't say I enjoyed it but it certainly wasn't painful unlike my abscess which was horrendous.  I was in the chair for an hour and have a repeat performance in two weeks time.  Today, we made another trip to the dentist - as a family (minus the hubster who hasn't graced a dentist in over 30 years).  The kids are fine - still no fillings. Although my eldest may have slight decay - to my astonishment he had a glass of milk this evening. Clearly the thought of a filling is making him see his diet in a different light. He doesn't eat lots of sweets - you might as well give a child a spoonful of sugar if you do that - but he's not a great one for eating veg, fruit and protein. I think I might be able to use the threat of a filling as leverage.

1970s Milk Bottle - pic ebay
So, its half term and so far so good. After the dentist we went to celebrate our good teeth (although I need the other molar to have a re-filling and another tooth filled #sigh) with some cake at the vintage tea rooms. These places are very nice but I do wonder how much profit they make. Not as much as my dentist that's for sure - we'll be the best of friends at this rate. I reckon a chi ching sound goes off when I enter the room these days. Anyhow, back to vintage -  I think lots will spring up all over the place a bit like the cupcake boom.  I had a chicken sandwich and a sneaky cappuccino.

So week 4 of no running - I am going to re-start when the kids go back to school on my week 3 which includes the 3 min run. The inches are still down - 1 off my arm, 4 off my tum, 1 under the bust but none from my widest part i.e arse. I am about to enter the Race for Life to give me a goal in June.

Tomorrow, we have cheap movie tickets and a friend over, Wednesday its cake baking for my daughter's Minecraft party on Saturday and possibly another friend over, Thursday over to Cath's and Friday hopefully Big Hero 6 if the purse strings will allow and my friend and her 3 kiddies hope to pop over, Saturday is the party and Sunday is hockey - so not much then!

In other news, I will do my food saver review!  I need to for my fondant icing and I'm actually looking forward to using it.

Be back soon.....

Monday, 9 February 2015

Abscess Absence

Yarp. Not content with being ill 2 weeks ago I thought I'd add to my state of victim mode by having an abscess on my tooth. Monday I took a bite on something and then had this intense pain - I thought it might go but it had other ideas. By Tuesday I'm thinking mmm really should be gone by now - by Wednesday I was rolling around the floor wailing like a banshee. I actually cried with the pain - I didn't cry during childbirth.  The difference between this pain and childbirth is that during labour you actually get a break from the pain (not at the end). You don't get a break with toothache. The word toothache doesn't really do it justice.  Anyhow, I am still alive to tell the tale. Just.

I only managed to get to see my dentist on the Thursday who promptly gave me antibiotics.  Stupidly I thought I'd be right as rain within a few hours. It is Tuesday and I am only just about pain free!  I even visited an emergency dentist to see if I could get the abscess drained. The rather po faced dentist told me it wasn't big enough and to expect it to get bigger. What a biatch!! I can't believe in this day and age you get sod all for pain relief for an abscess.

The root (excuse the pun) for all my troubles was a hatchet job on my molar about 10 years ago. We moved to a different area (pre kids) and my husband suggested the dentist that lived above the pizza place. My gut instinct was not to go to a dentist that housed itself above a pizza parlour but hubster told me not to be so snobby.  I have since blamed him for my dodgy root canal every since.  I only went in for a check up with no pain and pizza dentist starting initiating root canal there and then. Not content with one drilling session I had to go back a second time and pay over £400 for the privilege.

I never went back and have never trusted a dentist again. I do have a dentist that is 20 minutes away from where we now live.  I am too scared to move having regained a ounce of trust in this one.  I probably should just join the one that is in our street.  Anyhow, it was bad job and was always infected. It has lasted over 10 years but my time was up. So to cut a long story short I have a re-root canal booked for Friday. I can get it on the NHS which will be half the £400 but by all accounts the private treatment will be a better job.

Now call me an argumentative old cynic but surely if you're doing the same treatment and have any shred of integrity the NHS treatment should be just the same? I mean if my leg was broken would a surgeon that also did private treatment and work at an NHS hospital do a patch up job? Its meant to be a vocation isn't it? I think I might just give my dentist all the pin numbers for my credit cards whilst I'm at it. So I'm about to get shafted big time on Friday. Can't wait.

Thank you Nessa x

To add to my misery, my sister had prepared her fine dining experience for me and the hubster. My husband was looking forward to this immensely as the food in this house, with fussy little fuckers, means its bland.  They don't like this, they don't like that. We were going to sample adult food god dam it.  So the 5 course meal was dished up to my other sister.

I think its fair to say I could have happily overdosed on pain killers this week - my husband read that a woman had killed herself by her over enthusiastic self mediation for earache. Easily done. I was popping pills like I used to pop lemon sherbets as a youngster. See above for effects of that.

So, no bloody jogging for week 3.  Might get out on Wednesday but seeing as I'm so far behind schedule its unlikely.  The kids are also off  - today and tomorrow due to a burst water main at the school.

The food I didn't get to eat 

On a positive note, my sister did send me some lovely flowers which was very thoughtful given that she had gone to a lot of effort Saturday and was just as disappointed.  I have lost 7lbs in weight and my stomach at its fattest has gone down by 4 inches since January.

So, my recommendation for fast efficient weight loss is to get a large abscess - not enough for the NHS to actually do anything though - I blame a 5 year term of nasty Tories who don't give a toss about anyone - then get an abscess on your tooth.

Oh nearly forgot the results of my blood tests showed I didn't have an underactive thyroid (fat excuse no 104 ticked off) but am anemic.  I have always had a bit of history of low iron levels - funnily enough I didn't feel tired or anything but my hands have been a bit dry.  I'm now on black poo tablets.

So that's all my news - be back soon to review the food saver and hopefully I'll be fit and healthy to carry on with my C25K programme.

Be back soon

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Saturday Sick Chat

Oh my, what a week!  I was all geared up to repeat week 3 of my C25K and sure enough on Monday I trotted off in the cold and wet and completed day 1 of Week 3 again then it all went tits up by Wednesday.

Pretty sure I don't do any of this!  I normally have bits I've purchased from co-op on my back - picture google pics
I normally give myself a rest day so as not to damage my 40 something bones and joints but by Wednesday I was feeling ropey, the hubster was already confined to our bed and the little fella had been sick and was sporting a high temperature. The best laid plans and all that #sigh.  So we were as sick as a small hospital in this household.  At one point all three of us were huddled up in bed together - which actually was rather nice albeit in a literally sick way.  Myself and the hubster took it in turns to hurl ourselves out of bed to look after the little fella and to do the school run.  I looked the paler of the two so got out of the freezing cold weather for the afternoon run. Go me!  I've always said there is nothing  worse than being ill and looking after small children.  You have to master the art of crawling again and willing the hours to count down until bedtime when you can just flake out.

I love nothing more than to cosy up with the kids and watch Wallace & Gromit - this is reason number 38  to have children as is Christmas time which is probably no#1 - oh and that they are really good fun when they're not telling you you're a wanker (in child like terms) although am sure the 11 year old will tell me that directly. All in good time.
In any event, the little fella appeared to be better by the afternoon. He indulged in a bit of Wallace and Gromit as did I as I couldn't move off the sofa and by Thursday I, to, was feeling a tad better. He whinged going into school but then he is a bit of a whinger so nothing new there.  When I got him in the afternoon - he looked very pale and I was told he fell asleep in the afternoon. Sure enough when I got him home he fell asleep at 4.30pm until about 10 am the next day.  Bad Mummy.  Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200. By the way, I appear to have rotten luck in this game my daughter whizzes around the board hoovering up all the affluent properties. I digress.

So he was off again Friday and has only really got better this afternoon. It would seem to be the case given his current condition playing Minecraft with his sister.  Speaking of which, she has decided on a Minecraft party this year. We've planned the cake, cupcakes and all the decorations and are most excited.

Steve is the main man - pic amazon where you can buy all things Minecraft 

So, the diet has been good but exercise non existent and I will certainly be raising a glass of water (I'm not allowed wine at the mo) when I finally complete the 8 week course.  What the C25K doesn't allow for is sick family members and being sick yourself. So once again I shall (on my 3rd attempt) complete week 3 of this programme. I am determined to finish it.

Speaking of exercise, I have enquired about my son joining a local Hockey club - he loves playing this at school as he does football (another enquiry although some mum's have given me the low down on football clubs and it doesn't sound appealing - training, parents etc etc).  I am sick of that bloody x-box which is his main hobby. He loves playing Destiny, Halo and Plant V Zombies which is all very well but a bit of sport will cut his gaming time.

So that's all my news. My husband is the diet police following on from my visit to the doctors this week. I am on tablets for my acid reflux (I went with a list of saved up aliments and was most impressed when he booked me in for an MOT set of blood tests, an x-ray and a course of treatment #saveourNHS) however, he feels that it will return when I stop them and will more than likely have to have a camera go down my oesophagus. Please god sedate me for that one.  I'm hoping I have more of a thyroid problem - every fat persons excuse - rather than issues with my stomach so we shall see.  In any event, I got a doctors appointment that morning and already have a dates for everything else.

I WILL be reviewing my food saver shortly - I think it'll be perfect for all my fondant that I buy for cake making as its a bugger to stop it drying out.

Until next time....

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Road Trip!

Howdy. I am back. Back from the road trip. The funeral. Remember? I like this style of blogging. There are many that do it. That. Is. Use. Lots of full stops. I shall stop as its very irritating.

On Thursday, I dropped the kids off at school and awaited my carriage to take me to sunny Matlock. Although it wasn't a carriage it was a fancy pants car driven by my Auntie - a Jaguar no less. Now I'm no car snob but it was a very comfy ride I have to say. And as for sunny will lets just replace that with snowy.

Pretty as a Christmas Card. We embraced the snow!
Prior to booking our B&B I did mention to said Auntie that should it snow we might not be able to make the 22% gradient to our chosen B&B or negotiate the country lanes to get to the 22% gradient. Like any sensible persons we totally disregarded, in the full knowledge, the back wheel drive of this comfy car was wholly unsuitability for such a location. "Its got lovely views" we chimed even though our room was at the back of the house and we weren't in the residence for more than an hour - excluding sleep time. This is how we roll us women. Accept it. You cannot change our warped logic.

It wasn't snowing as we entered Derby. The snow had arrived. We found this rather amusing and my Auntie slowed down so I could take various fun shots of the snow to upload on facebook. We had told my dad there was no snow in Derby and to get over yourself. Oh how we laughed. The roads were clear. Snow was good.

"go on there's no one behind me" Taking snaps along the way
Until that is, we had to go down the one track country lane to get to our chosen locale.  My Auntie thought it funny to say her back tyres were slipping all over the place as we gingerly headed down the track. Various expletives followed. Later, she admitted she was only joking.  In any event, we arrived in one piece and congratulated ourselves that we were still alive and the Jaguar was in tact.

The B&B was lovely and my Auntie's cousin greeted us on our arrival. Little did he know that he would become (as we affectionately called him) "our bitch" for the duration of our stay.  The bumbling cousins - not 1st but 2nd as well - had arrived.  

Being a true gentleman we followed behind his suitable 4 x 4 for this terrain to Matlock town centre. We enjoyed a lovely coffee together and reminisced about his father and his brother. We met up with my parents and wondered around the town. "oh a river" "oh a butchers" "oh the hills" - I'm sure he thought christ have this lot ever seen anything out of London!  

My Aunties poor cousin had to endure us taking snaps of various Matlock landmarks that tickled our fancy!
When we headed back to the B&B we had to negotiate the 22% gradient head on (we had entered via the lane at the top of the hill previously). As we entered the first hair pin bend the car started going backwards and we both started squeeling. I said "hit the excellerator" as had vaguely remembered in snow school (aka hubster) that you have to keep the car moving. My Auntie offered me a chance to drive to which I declined given that I do not have a good track record in snow = have crashed before now. However, we were chuffed when the car started to play ball. We entered another bend and were now at the steepest part when...

...some twat in a 4 x 4 was also coming down the hill. The words "we'll be alright as long as no one comes our way" were ringing in our ears having only been spoken a few minutes earlier. Urgh we had to stop and there was a deadly stand off. We weren't moving. He wasn't moving. I got out and asked Derby man if he could move into a drive so we could get back. He said no. NO! I mustered all my strength not to start calling him a Northern Wanker and also refrained from breaking out into my best East End gangster type voice that Ronnie and Reggie would have been proud of and said "but you've got a 4x4 and she's got a rear wheel drive". No he wasn't budging he said "she has to reverse all the way back down".

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and we should have just switched off the engine. But being good citizens we attempted to do as we were told. However, the car was having none of it and it started to slip and slide and was very attracted to a nearby wall.  In any event, we had to stop as the car was going to get it. The arsehole then reversed, at speed, back up the hill never to be seen again. Then I indulged in a bit of Cockney and shouted "Wanker!"

When retelling the story to the hubster I said "maybe he thought I was a posh southerner what with the Jag and all." To which he replied "no one is ever going to think that once you start opening your mouth!" before cracking up.

Thankfully, a nice Derby man came out and put a bit of carpet under the tyres and we managed to get back to our location. This was after I had phoned our cousin to come back and help us - he was only a minute away when I told him we were fine now! Poor bloke. Thankfully he came and collected us for the evening and dropped us back. The lovely B&B man also drove the car down for us when we left.

This story was probably re-told about 6 times during our stay so I thought a 7th wouldn't hurt.

We can not reverse nor got forward whilst 4 x 4 twat man sits and waits up the hill. Even in our peril we capture the moment!

We had a lovely day and night. The funeral wasn't so much fun but it was a lovely comforting service in a 11th century church - although I haven't been so cold in a very long time. We got back in one piece and switched off the Satnav when she piped up "keep right for central London".

On the diet front, I didn't over eat or drink but it did mean I didn't get to do 2 x days of my jogging programme so I'm going to re-start week 3 tomorrow.

Until next time...

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Plant V Zombie Cake

and a bit of Tuesday chit chat to boot.  So I am on Week 3 (yes week 3!) of my running programme. I can run...wait for it...3 mins without stopping and collapsing! Dah dah dah. How funny - slow and steady and all that.  Tomorrow is Day 2 of Week 3 so I'll be pounding the pavement again.  I do feel fitter already and now run with an air of "I'm making progress" rather than a "please excuse me whilst I bounce past you - I'm not really a runner".  I now have a face that suggests no dialogue will ever commence with myself and any random passer by.

I haven't weighed myself. I have been logging my food and my jeans feel marginally looser. I did do a cheeky measurement around the fattest part of my waist i.e to my belly button and I do appear to have lost 2 inches.  I shouldn't have done that really as by the end of the 8 weeks I'll be a tad disappointed if is still only 2 inches.

It was a busy week last week - my son turned 11 so I had to make the cake (which took me the best part of Thursday).  I have to say I did have a slice (recorded) and I do believe I have mastered the art of the chocolate cake. I think I'll make chocolate cake for all my birthday cakes too. One of the mum's from school asked if I sold them. I said I used to but found it wasn't that profitable. I may do the odd one here and there and see how it goes.

Anyhow, without further ado. Here's my step by step guide on how to make a Plant V Zombie Cake. This is a game on x-box which my son and daughter love to play.

Check out the green chap - he's a pea shooter!

So firstly make some chocolate cake - I did one large round and another smaller one - I think the height of this cake was just right.  I decided to make the head out of chocolate rice krispies. Just mould the cooling mess in a bowl, shape then cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge until desired. I then covered both of them in chocolate butter cream.

Got myself a nice green grass board
Slap on the buttercream

Cover with your fondant

The faffy lose the will to live bit - making a picket fence 

I covered the head with a different shade of green and made the eyes etc. For the mouth I had a deep pink fondant but then used a red liquid paint

I've a added the fingers and used the butter cream and different shades of brown to represent the Zombie bursting through the lawn! Final touches with the sunflower, pea shooter and potatoes
I am off to the funeral on Thursday and have more or less packed. I hope it doesn't snow - the hubster has the school routine to do list and everything is in order. I am looking forward to breakfast, lunch and dinner being served up to me and no picking up stuff and stepping in to mediate my children.  I may not come back.  

I have a product to review at the weekend and will have to think of a rant! I appreciate I have been lacking on this front but not much is getting my goat that hasn't already been said. I think that you're all aware that I am of a significant left wing/socialist/armchair communist persuasion. I see no point to Nick Clegg, Loath David Cameron and feel desperate for Red Ed. I still want to run into a charity shop and demand to know how they come to their ludicrous prices - only yesterday I saw a lovely 1950s aqua marine lemonade set. All mine for the right royal rip of £35! Speaking of royals I would like them to sell up and give us the proceeds and I'm an inverse snob. Will that do you?!

Speaking of rants, this week a parent invoiced another for not coming to a party.  People should turn up but don't. People should be polite but aren't. Get over it. Life's not fair. Park it in that wanker parent said they'd come but didn't. You look a dick sending out an invoice and just confirm why I can't stand the middle classes. Prats the lot of them.

See you in mojito.....