Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Amazing Shortbread in record timing!

I dont know about you guys, but somedays when the tins are empty and life is busy I want to be able to make something in super quick time without much thought. Or if the in-laws call to say they are on their way for an impromptu visit. Well after the manic rush round the house to give it a quick tidy up, its great to be able to throw something in the oven. I mean, how impressed will they be when they arrive to your clean house, with the gorgeous aroma of home baking and then to be presented with a brew and the most amazing shortbread? And lets be honest, bonus points from the in-laws never go a miss!

I have made shortbread for many years and have tried a variety of different recipes. They have all been good but I always felt like they just weren't quite good enough. They felt like they were missing something, not quite melt in the mouth. I also couldn't be bothered with recipes that contained semolina as its something that wouldn't really always be in the cupboard here. Ming!

Nanny gave us her faithful recipe, it's basic and fast. I love that side of it but still that little something was missing. We don't use 100% "real" butter for many of our recipes as it can produce too rich a taste and be a bit heavy but I was curious about the effect it would have on the shortbread.

Wow! Using real butter made the recipe complete. It melts in your mouth and tastes amazing. I cant ask for anything more from a super quick recipe. Its also very easy to make adaptions. If we fancy Chocolate shortbread then just add 2 tablespoons of hot chocolate to the mix. Bonus! And choc chips? Chuck some of them in too if you fancy. How many? Who cares? As many as you like. Enjoy!

YUM!! Shortbread chucked on a plate during the "inlaw imminent" run around.

Here is the recipe:

* 170g Plain Flour
* 55g Caster Sugar
* 110g Butter

If you have a Food Processor then put all of the ingredients in and switch it on. Let it mix until it all begins to bind together then switch it off and press the mix into a greased sandwich tin. (I use an 8inch round)
If you dont have a Food Processor then cream the butter and sugar together and then add the flour before pressing into greased tin as above.
Place it in the oven (pre heated to 190oC) for approx 15-20mins. When it is a nice golden brown colour its ready. As soon as you lift it out of the oven sprinkle caster sugar over the top. Leave it to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then cut it before leaving it to completely cool.
Enjoy with a brew and a sit down!

How simple is that? You can't get easier and we all love them. I even make gluten and dairy free ones for Madison (who's Coeliac and allergic to dairy). I just substitute the plain flour for Gluten Free Rice Flour and I substitute the butter with a dairy free spread. The taste is vastly different but Maddie enjoys them and for us, that's what is important.

Why not give it a go? Get in the kitchen, get the oven on, get the kids to help!

Love n kisses,

Suzi xxxxx

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The joys of motherhood......that no one tells you!!

I'm just taking a quick five minutes to set my bum on a seat and enjoy a well deserved brew so I thought I would share what's making me laugh to myself this morning!

Why is it that no one tells you the truth about motherhood?  The good bits or the bad, no one really tells you what its like. It's as if its a secret and when you have kids you are somehow sworn to secrecy.

This thought process has come about this morning as we are currently trying to potty train our youngest, Madison who is 3. We have had as much pee on the floor this morning as we have had in the potty. We've gone through 6 pairs of pants already.
Patience has been pushed to say the least, standing in the poo nearly sent me over the edge hence my sit down and a brew!!

In comparison my other two potty trained easily. You would think that they would be happy to use the potty and not their pants but apparently not!

No one tells you that the novelty of changing little bums will soon wear off.........and trust me after 7 solid years of nappies, the novelty has long gone! When Maddie was born we had all 3 in nappies!

No one tells you about that feeling of pride that you get when they do produce something in the potty, bodily functions soon become the topic of conversation for the household, I've refrained from sharing the details on Facebook but it was close! Besides...I can do that here! Ha ha.

No one tells you that these little people will push you to breaking point some days but it wont change the fact that you love them immensly and heaven forbid somebody upset your child........cue Mother Bear Syndrome!

No one tells you that this little bundle that you bring home from hospital will cause you worry every single day. You will worry even when there is nothing to worry about. Take for example, Finley our eldest, he has football after school today, I'm worried in case he doesn't get picked for the team he wants and how he will feel if his team gets beaten. I'm sure he will be grand but that doesn't stop me worrying, I mean, at the rate today is going Maddie could still be peeing her pants at the college gates! Worry, worry, worry, comes hand in hand with motherhood.

While I type I can hear Neil asking Mads has she pee'd on the sofa!! It could be a long afternoon!! (She hadn't)

No one tells you that when all your brood is tucked up in bed sleeping comfortably, you will sneak round checking they are all ok and cosy and feel an immense proudness that you made them. That little nod you give yourself..."I made that."

No one tells you that you will love kids tv and some evenings when the kids have gone to bed you will find yourself still sitting watching it..........not that that ever happens in here........obviously!

No one tells you how important education will become to you. I always believed I would just send my kids to school, I never imagined I would want to read Ofsted reports etc to see how well the school teaches! I also never considered how great it would feel to teach kids how to do something. I love teaching our kids new skills, I love seeing their wee faces light up when they master it and most of all I love the fact that I now get to teach skills to other peoples kids as well.

Motherhood, its such an amazing experience, challenging but amazing. I wont let any other secrets out of the bag..........dont get me started on sleep deprivation!!!! lol

Right, brew finished, back to potty supervision, button jewellery and ink stamping!

Love n hugs,


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Aaaaaaggggghhhh!! Energetic Littlies!!

Every morning's wake up call is the same in this house, the kids already awake and playing. Somedays happily in their bedrooms other days the three of them are racing up and down the hall on their wheely bugs.
Meanwhile, Neil and I try to drag ourselves out of bed and hit the kitchen for a caffeine fix to get us going.

Whats that all about? How have kids got so much energy? and When did we lose ours?!

I think the answer to the latter is when the kids came along!

Finley at 6 is in year 3 of Primary School so we have the girls to entertain during the day. Valentina who has recently turned 4 will be heading for school in September this year and then there will be one, little Madison who is 3 home alone for another year.

I wish I had half there energy!

The energetic littlies walking the dogs!

Entertaining littlies needn't be a tough job. We entertain our girlies everyday, trying to come up with ideas that will help them learn and grow.

Running our workshops from home has been a real blessing for us as a family, not only does it allow Neil and I to work from home whilst also bring up our littlies together it has allowed our kids to join in the workshops that we hold for kids and they love it.

They are learning such great skills at such a young age. It has allowed us first hand to see the benefits of our workshops and of course its great to think that we will be able to retire early and they can take the reins!

Some of the benefits include, improving hand-eye coordination, developing the pincer (thumb and forefinger) movement, colour recognition and improvement of social skills. Isnt it great to think that the kids benefit from having fun?

Of course there are the more obvious benefits like the learning of the craft they are doing.

Madison in particular loves Button Jewellery. When we started she struggled to thread the buttons but now she can do it and is very proud of it.

Valentina and Finley both have a love of sugarcraft and take part in every kids sugarcraft that we run. Finley even turned down a trip out with Nanny and Papa so as he could take part in one! Very quickly their skills have improved and they now produce wonderful creations to decorate their buns.

I personally believe that these are all life skills, i know already that my kids will be able to head of to college with the skills needed to not only feed themselves but also make yummy treats. The girls are already trying to knit so hopefully they will be warm students as well with their home knit sweaters!

And the best bit? The skills we are teaching them now, they will teach to their kids and so the cycle will continue.

We teach our kids so much these days about recycling. Making and Baking should all go hand in hand. You dont need to have a fortune in the bank to bake some buns or knit a sweater and although money makes the world goes round these skills will help them stretch what they have even further.

Even just blogging about it gives me a satisfied feeling.

Me and my 3!

Have a look at our workshops, we run plenty for kids and adults or we can run private classes for you and your kids to learn together. Why dont you come and learn how to do something and then pass it on?

Keep the Making and Baking cycle going, its so important.

Love n kisses,


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Relaxation? Bring it on!

Do you ever just sit down and completely chill out?

I know that in here it's a rare occasion, even when I do grab half an hour in front of the telly in the evenings my mind is still ticking over thinking of all the things that need done.
Recently I haven't been sleeping very well, the only reason being my head is full of everything that is going on, needs done, is coming up and needs planning. It's very frustrating not being able to sleep and generally I get up and make myself a ginger tea before returning to bed and heading back to sleep.

I love every workshop that we run, they are all enjoyable and fun to do but turning my hobbies into a business hasnt been without its frustrations, all of a sudden I had to think through every aspect of the craft and think of everything we would need to complete the project. I found my evenings would be taken up planning and writing lists etc. Dont get me wrong, very exciting and fun times but yesterday a realized I hadn't just sat down and completely relaxed in months.

We had a Littlies Learn to knit workshop yesterday afternoon, I had to think of something that would be fun and would also teach them their basics, casting on, knit and purl.

I decided that a dishcloth was an easy place to start and picked a pattern that a heart shape picture in the middle, I remembered how fun it was it make them and watch the picture growing while you knitted!

I started the dishcloth before the workshop so as they could see how the border should look. We had a really fun workshop, there is something thoroughly enjoyable about teaching a life skill to kids. It is something that they will always have, knitting's like riding a bike, you never forget! I told them yesterday that they would never be cold students with a skill like knitting, mum can send them some wool and they can knit a jumper up!

So with the workshop over, dinner done and our littlies all tucked up in bed I lifted what I had started and settled myself in front of the fire. I completely relaxed into what I was doing, my mind was blank and I knitted away for a couple of hours. It was blissful. I'd forgotten how much fun it was to get lost in crafting.

I have a real issue with wasting time and feel like I always have to be doing something but last night I chilled out. Did I waste time? No not at all, I finished my dishcloth and this morning it has pride of place by my sink ready for the first load of dishes of the day!

So you see, when you have a skill like knitting, it can be used for so many different things, relaxing and producing all at the same time.

I get the same feeling of relaxation when I close myself away in the kitchen and bake for the family, no pressures just me and my mixer.

We are looking into the health benefits of crafting for children with differing disabillities at the minute and last night proved to me the health benefits that are there for everyone. Stress is a major factor in everyones life, isn't it fab to think we can counter act the effects of it whilst also producing something wonderful?

                                                My Camo stress relieveing dishcloth!

Oh and I slept really well last night.......bonus!!

Love n hugs,

Suzi xxxxxx

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Fabulous February Workshops.

Well, with Christmas now a distant memory for another year all our workshops are back in full swing. This is as our first year in business and we are very excited.
With the January workshops all booked up here is the February timetable. February is going to be a fabulous month as half term week takes place in it. Lots of exciting workshops for the littlies.
All materials and refreshments are included in the cost of our workshops.

Monday 4th February:

10.15 - 11.15am
Parent and Toddler sugarcraft
£7.50 per child (parents dont have to pay!)

7.30 - 9.30pm
Couture Cupcake Decorating
£20 per person

Tuesday 5th February:

7.30 - 9.30pm
Rag Rug Making
£20 per person

Wednesday 6th February:

10.15 - 11.15am
Parent and Toddler Button Jewellery
£7.50 per child

7.30 - 9.30pm
Scrumptious Scones
£25 per person

Thursday 7th February:

7.30 - 9.30pm
Sugar Flowers Sugarcraft
£20 per person

Friday 8th February:

10.15 - 11.15am
Downs Syndrome Parent and Toddler Cupcake Decorating
£7.50 per child

Saturday 9th February:

10am - 12pm
Kids make Creative Creatures
£15 per child

Monday 11th February:

10.15 - 11.15am
Parent and Toddler Farmyard Sugarcraft
£7.50 per child

7.30 - 9.30pm
Learn to sew Celebratory Bunting
£20 per person

Wednesday 13th February:

7.30 - 9.30pm
Bake me a cupcake MENS ONLY Valentines special
£20 per person

Thursday 14th February:

10.15 - 11.15am
Parent and Toddler Valentines Cupcakes
£7.50 per child

Half Term Week.

Monday 18th February
10am - 12pm
Make me a sock monkey

Tuesday 19th February
10am - 12pm
Sticky Fingers Cupcake Decorating

Wednesday 20th February
10am - 12pm
Make me a dream catcher

Thursday 21st February
10am - 12pm
Briscuit making and decorating

Friday 22nd February
10am - 12pm
Glass Painting Lanterns

£15 per child per workshop or all 5 workshops for £50.

Friday 22nd February:

7.30 - 9.30pm
Day 1 Corset Making
£89 for the 2 days per person.

Saturday 23rd February:

10.30am - 12.30pm
Day 2 Corset Making

2.30pm - 4.30pm
Learn to Bake basic skills
£25 per person

Monday 25th February:

10.15 - 11.15am
Parent and Toddler In the Night Garden Sugarcraft
£7.50 per child

7.30 - 9.30pm
Learn to Bake basic skills
£25 per person

Tuesday 26th February:

7.30 - 9.30pm
Vintage Charm Cupcake Decorating
£20 per person

Wednesday 27th February:

10.15 - 11.15am
Parent and Toddler Button Jewellery
£7.50 per child

Thursday 28th February:

7.30 - 9.30pm
Quick and Easy Traybakes
£25 per person.

Friday 1st March:

7.30 - 9.30pm
Design and make a fascinator Day 1
£45 for the 2 days per person

Saturday 2nd March:

10.30 - 12.30pm
Day 2 Design and Make a Fascinator

To book a place on any of our workshops contact us on, nice-buns@live.co.uk, 02897 528331, 07772535380.
All of our workshops require deposits to secure your place.

Loads a Love,