Love the Little Things 12.09.14


Due to unforeseen circumstances I have had a little time on my hands this week and took the opportunity to pick up my current book A Landing on the Sun by Michael Frayn, managing to get about half way through. It’s an intriguing concept which gets you thinking about what we mean by terms such as happiness and quality of life.
It’s also JJ’ s first full week at school and he’s already been sent home with a little book so he can practice recognising the words ‘the’ and ‘and’. I think it’s going to be hard going!

the puppy


Big school

Great British Bake Off! Nobody binned anything this week but the tension is mounting now it’s down to the final six. I’m also loving Big School with David Walliams and Catherine Tate. I watched the first series and loved the gentle humour and nutty characters but I have admit I’m missing the extravagant science experiments – maybe they decided they couldn’t stretch that joke any further!


After reading the top ten albums of Denise over on Listen, Watch, Read, Share I was reminded of a couple of great Moloko songs from the early noughties. Which then made me think of a couple of great Portishead songs from the early nineties. I still find this one absolutely mesmorising after all these years – some songs are just timeless…



Nothing new or exciting for me this week but JJ was treated to this amazing S.W.A.T team fancy dress outfit from Costco (apologies for the fuzzy phone photo!). Not the cheapest at £16.50 but considering it includes a full police kit of walkie talkie, binoculars, cap, sunglasses, handcuffs, baton, whistle and even a working torch I thought it was pretty fab!


I’m gutted that I didn’t have time to link up last week now because I made so many great things for JJ’s pirate party and this week I have put my feet up a bit and don’t have much to show for my time.


I’m just so happy that JJ seems to be enjoying his new experience of being a big schoolboy! Nothing has phased him – in the words of Moloko he has given himself up into the moment, and the time *is* now!

Happy Friday Little Loves!



Love the Little Things 29th August 2014


A landing on the Sun

This week, after recently finishing ‘One Step Too Far’ I decided to steer away from more properly ‘light’ summer reading (the summer is after all, more or less over) and I clicked into another book I downloaded on my Kindle several months ago: A Landing on the Sun by Michael Frayn. Frayn wrote one of my favourite books, ‘Headlong’ so I knew I would like his style of writing which tends to take you right along on a journey with the main character, as if you are inside their mind and a fly on the wall to their thoughts and discoveries. I was introduced to this book after reading The Happiness Project back in February and it was one of the books on the recommended reading list so, despite the fact that it is set within the walls of Whitehall and deep inside the grey civil service there is an element of mystery and intrigue and I’m fascinated to know what the secret ‘strategy unit’ project is and how it relates to happiness.



After tonight (Thursday!) I’m hoping that I will have had a chance to catch up on this week’s GBBO. I love that show and I also love puddings so this is right up my street!!


I’ve quite enjoyed listening to Scott Mills and his partner in crime Chris Stark filling in on the R1 Breakfast show this week. They have the potential to be genuinely funny.

We’ve also been treated to several new words from EJ whose language skills are finally picking up!


Fave winter boots

I rediscovered my current fave winter boots this week which is a bit of a sad thought – August isn’t even over yet! I also wore my raincoat quite a bit during the first part of the week when we were treated to a brief reminder of last winter’s floods.


Epic fail on this front! It’s been one of those weeks where it’s either non-stop children or work and not much in between.

And lastly…


We finally got a chance to catch up with my sister in law and nephews this week. T is ten so quite a bit older than my two but O is just a couple of months apart from EJ and it was lovely to see them play together and make friends (for the most part!). We took them swimming on the rainy bank holiday which was fun and then were treated to lunch by my mother and father in law. They are moving back to the UK from Germany this week and waiting for their new house in Wiltshire to be ready to move into so we had the opportunity to share two days in their company before I had to return to work.

I have been finishing off my last purchases for JJ’s upcoming pirate party and need to make sure I have everything in hand during the coming days.

The most exciting delivery of the week however, was my new iPhone which is the first Apple device I’ve ever owned believe it or not! I’m still trying to get to grips with it at the moment but I love the look and feel of it and I’m so excited that I will finally be able to properly use apps and set up an Instagram profile! Get me – dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century!

Happy Weekend Little Loves



Apple, pecan and cinnamon cake #TastyTuesdays #CreativeChallenge

I love The Great British Bake Off and watched the entire thing agog last season, but in particular I loved the episode all about sweet dough recipes. Kimberley made Chai Spiced Ginger and Date Loaf (drool!), Howard made German sticky pecan buns (dribble!), Glen made Almond and Apricot brioches (yum!) – yes its fair to say I’ve got a very sweet tooth and I love my carbs! Which is unfortunate when it comes to the waist line but lets gloss over that!

I have been wanting to try out something like this for a while now and decided that this week in my bit of spare time I would attempt Paul Hollywood’s cinnamon spiced buns. I decided to make them with pecans and sultanas. I bought all the ingredients. Then I read and re-read the recipe and realised that, with three separate provings, the preparation time and the actual bake, I would be looking at a day spent rushing to and from the kitchen and essentially have to bin off everything else in my (very busy) schedule. Now I look again at the demographic of the contestants on GBBO all I’m seeing is the more mature ladies, the gay men and the students. Not a one of them appears to be the mother of toddler. There’s definitely a reason for that!

So any hoo, I decided best put all those fab ingredients to some other, slightly less demanding task. I did a quick google on the ingredients and came up with this apple, pecan and cinnamon cake recipe from Waitrose.

Unfortunately for me, although I did everything to the letter, I’d forgotten that my flipping gas oven never cooks evenly and always burns anything baked at the temperatures and times given. When I came to remove my lovely cake from the oven I already knew that I was in trouble and as soon as I peeled it out of the tin I was presented with a layer of pure charcoal round the edges and all over the bottom of the cake.

Fortunately, with a bit of slicing I managed to salvage about two thirds of the cake. As you can see below it doesn’t look all that bad and I can absolutely, 100 per cent guarantee that it is absolutely delicious!! The combination of the toasty pecans, cinnamon and moist apples is sooo good!

Here’s what you have to do:


150g butter
150g light brown sugar
150g self raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs beaten
2 tbsp milk
2 eating apples (I used Gala apples) peeled and cored
100g pack of pecans roughly chopped
75g sultanas


Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4 and then grease an 18cm loose bottom or springform cake tin and line with non stick baking parchment (I did this but I’m not exactly sure why you need the parchment and I found the paper got a bit burnt).

Add the softened butter (cut into cubes) to the sugar and mix together.

Add the sifted flour, the cinnamon and the eggs and mix in. Stir in the milk.

Mix in the apple pieces, sultanas and pecans.

Transfer to cake tin and put in the oven for 1 hr – 1 hr & 10 mins, or until cooked and a skewer, when inserted, comes out clean.

I then made a very quick and simple icing using about a tablespoon’s worth of unrefined golden icing sugar and a couple of squeezes of orange juice from a freshly cut orange and I drizzled this over the top. And voila!


Tasty Tuesdays on


Creative Challenge