Monday, 19 November 2012

Giveaway alert....

Not that I really want to tell anyone as it makes my chance of winning a lot smaller.....but.....

Sew Sweet Violet is having a giveaway - a copy of Mollie Makes Christmas book and a sweet bird called Master Wally Winterbird.
 Source: Sew Sweet Violet
To be in with one chance to win you need to become a follower on her blog (which is easy as the blog is brilliant) and leave a comment. And for a second chance to win, put a link on your blog or facebook letting others know about the giveaway (this was a hard thing to do as I really want to win) and then comment again on her blog.

Good luck if you enter. Sam x

Monday, 12 November 2012

Pearls of Wisdom 1...

I've numbered this post just in case there are any more.....and I'm sure there will be:

It's 6.45am on a Monday morning...

 Source: Google Images

Bucket jnr: Mummy do you know where polar bears live?

Me: No, where?

Bucket jnr: In the antique.

Cue lots of sniggering from me. Sam x

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Cakes and more cakes...

I was going to name this post 'problems with silicon' but thought I'd get some dodgy readers with that one.

Had an interesting weekend baking cakes, namely a cake for Ma Bucket for her 70th. It was suggested to me by Pa Bucket but thought it would make a good present. So I set to work.

Three cakes later I decided that I hated silicon 'tins' and I'm going back to using my old ones again. I thought the point of the silicon ones is that things don't stick? I had a complete nightmare.

I also decided to use fondant icing (I usually use nice, messy buttercream) for a good finish. Several attempts later I finally got some on a cake...note to self:- use LOTS of icing sugar under the fondant icing, not a light amount that the packets suggest. Also, I need loads more practice with this type of icing - I needed to patch up some holes and then it didn't look neat enough for me.

Finally went to bed about 1am, totally fed up with the cake. So the next morning I made another one just in case I really did not like the first one.  But after putting the decorations on and placing a huge ribbon around the cake to hide the imperfections it didn't look too bad. Although Mr Bucket had to keep reminding me that "it is homemade and if they wanted a shop perfect one then they would have bought one".

Ma Bucket loved it and it tasted good so that's the main thing.
 One of the spare cakes that we'll have today
 But I learned a couple of new things doing this:

* Instead of using icing sugar to attach a ribbon to a cake, measure and then wet the ribbon (gently squeezing off excess water), then wrap around cake. Press and hold for a few seconds and then presto, the water and sugar bind together and the ribbon is held onto cake.

* To cut a big cake in half evenly, lightly score around the cake; wrap cotton thread around and cross over then pull slowly. This works, I tried it and the cake was cut really well.

I don't know if everyone knows these things but it was news, to the few people that I spoke to, about the ribbon trick.

Hope everyone's having a good weekend. Sam xx

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Inappropriate clothing...

Aaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhh - my eyes, my eyes..
Source: Google Images
Just had a bit of a shocker this morning when dropping Bucket jnr off at school.

Now, can I just say that I'm NOT a yummy mummy or a runny mummy (the really energetic ones that wear skin tight running gear). I'm a mum who prefers jeans and converse, sometimes with/without makeup (if I have the time or inclination), hair tied up if I haven't had the time to wash it and looking fairly, well......normal.

But there is a dress code of sorts for dropping your kids off and I don't think that BUILDERS BUM is one of them. That was a sight I hope to never, never, EVER see again - especially that early in the morning.

One of the dads (thankfully someone I didn't know) was dropping his kids off to another class and as I got within eyeball range he moved, his jumper lifted and there it was - saggy jeans hanging low and everything on show.

REALLY???? Do I really need to see that at school; early in the morning and after only ONE coffee. If I wasn't totally awake before then I definitely was after that. It wasn't just me either, another mum saw it too and we both started giggling (out of shock I think and because that image is now burned into our brains).

My day can only get better after that. Sam xx

Monday, 5 November 2012

It's a good day..

source: Google images
Today started off really well...

Normally I wake up with birds-nest hair; my crows feet and lines look like trenches - I want to trowel the makeup on without looking like Dale Winton and usually the kids are shouting at each other.

Today... hair was manageable - not perfect but not too bad... face looked photo-shopped this morning - sparkling eyes, my skin looked good and the wrinkles weren't deep crevices...

...the kids were actually playing together, and quietly - unheard of!...

...I actually found something I like in a charity shop - a hardback copy of 'The Borrowers', in excellent condition (I started reading it as soon as I got home)...

...and the sun is shining...

I'm now keeping an eye out to see if anyone's dropped any money on the floor, you never know. Sam xx

Saturday, 3 November 2012

A London visit...

Get your cuppa and have a seat, it's a long one...

The Bucket family visited London this half term -  the idea being to visit the Natural History Museum, grab some lunch and then onto the Science Museum.

Well, you know what happens to best laid plans.
The Natural History Museum was our first port of call. We headed straight for the dinosaurs (what else) and it was fun to see Bucket jnr looking at the exhibits. Although the animatronix ones freaked him out slightly, he kept saying "look mummy they're REAL, they're REAL".
After a while we wandered through the other rooms, looking at bugs and things in jars (really creepy looking); walking through a big cocoon and then onto the large animals which is always a favourite.

We had a brilliant time but by lunchtime our stomachs were growling and we headed out, the queue at this point for the dinosaurs looked quite long and we patted ourselves on our backs for our early start. As we stepped outside we noticed two things - it had been raining (glad we missed that) and the queue didn't end inside, it snaked outside, round and round a barrier, out the gate and down the street. WOW!! I'm soooo glad we got there early as the kids would have hated standing around (in the rain) in a queue that long (and so would I).

Right, lunch....was a nightmare. Didn't appreciate how packed places got. We are definitely spoiled by living outside of London where you can generally get a table anywhere straight away. We'd headed to Leicester Square as has loads of choices of foodie places but it was totally heaving. We eventually found a place which seemed nice but I've never been more surprised by an interpretation of a dish. I'm gutted I didn't take a picture as it was a picture.

Try to imagine - Chicken Stroganoff with rice. Now I thought of some succulent pieces of chicken in a sauce and either on or beside some fluffy rice. Right? Like this picture...
mmm, looks yummy - what a shame I didn't get to eat this
What I got was some chargrilled chicken pieces that had been lightly brushed with sauce on some rice with piles of peas either side and across the top slices of tomato and across the bottom slices of cucumber. It was the strangest plate I have EVER seen but then again Mr Bucket ordered Beef Stroganoff which also came with the tomatoes and cucumber.

Note to self, next time don't go to a steak house restaurant that's in Chinatown.

After some discussion we gave the Science Museum a miss because time was getting on and we couldn't face more queues. We said we'd treat the kids to some toys at the Disney store and set off looking for it (I couldn't remember if it was Regent or Oxford street) which took some time. On the way we got to Hamleys - the excitement of the kids was catching and we pushed our way in (with the amount of people this was the only way).

I have to say, what a disappointment.

It's not the best laid out shop in the world and there are loads of floors to navigate but what disappointed us more was how they'd jacked up the prices on toys. Imagine you've walked around (who am I kidding, herded would be a better word), the kids have found some toys and then you look at the price and realise that you can get them at least £3 (or more) cheaper at home - cue the tears and the upset. And then because of the crowds you can't make a quick getaway out the shop. We survived, JUST!

So we set off again and, after some helpful directions, found the Disney store which was charming in its own way with soft Disney music and a more open store. We were there AGES just not by choice - the kids couldn't make up their minds.

Eventually we escaped left and as it was late decided to go home.

Bucket jnr charmed a pretty blonde lady on the tube and he whispered to me "this might sound odd mummy but I think she loves me" - altogether now "aaaahhhh".

It was a long day and our feet now hurt - it was good to get home. Sam xx

Friday, 2 November 2012

Woodland wanderings...

At this time of year you grab your good days where you can, so when there was a nice sunny day (a bit cold, but not too much) we downed tools, grabbed the wellies and gloves and set off.

A leisurely walk through the woods.
Trying not to step on the wildlife.
 Looking at the Autumn colour.
After all that, we were starving and stopped off for a delicious pub lunch. No pictures I'm afraid, but it was tasty and filling enough that I needed to just sit and rest for a little while afterwards.

Sam xx