April 27, 2016
I love the idea of making my own bread. That is until I realise that my day is already at 150% capacity, which I was very excited to read about a quick and easy bread recipe that only uses 4 ingredients and requires no kneading. Above is a photo of the finished loaf, which in my opinion had the texture of ciabatta. I got the original recipe from the blog Alexandra’s Kitchen.
Ps – The recipe asks for a glass Pyrex bowl, which I happen to have but I tested the recipe in a buttered loaf tin and it worked just as well.
April 1, 2016
We’re just back from Disneyland Paris. Here are my tips for a less-stressful trip
- Get used to queuing. They can be up to 60mins for one ride.
- Alternate rides you have to queue for with ones you don’t such as the Labyrinth, Dragon’s Cave, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Alladin’s Passage, Shootin Gallery (2euro a go). My kids really enjoyed the interactive displays in the Disney Animation Gallery in Walt Disney Studio Park. You don’t have to queue for this if you skip the video at the start and go straight in the exit. I was told this by a staff member so it’s okay to do.
- Hit the most popular rides as soon as you get into the park and get fast-passes where you can. As far as i know you can’t have two ‘live’ fast passes at once so choose well.
- It’s often best to go to the back of the park and work you’re way forward in order to avoid queues.
- Rides are quieter during lunchtime and parade time.
- If you’re on your own or a group that’s happy to be split up you can avoid the queues by availing of this on the rides that have the option.
- The car stunt show in Walt Disney’s Studio park is worth attending but wrap up warm if it’s a windy day. It can get cold!
- We also enjoyed the 30min movie in the Cinemagique. Famous scene from Disney movies sound boring but there’s a story running through it and it’s very well done. It’s also an opportunity to rest the legs!
- Unfortunately quite a few of the attractions were closed but we still had a great time. My kids are 8 and 6 so our favourite rides were the Ratatouille and Pinocchio rides. My husband liked the scarier Space Mountain and Tower of Terror (Walt Disney Studio Park).
- If your children do not like rollercoasters or the dark avoid Crusher’s Coaster. Given it’s link to the movie Nemo we thought it’d be harmless, it scared the sh**t out of me and the kids.
- Do not miss the light show at 8pm in the Disneyland park. It’s deadly!
- If you’re going half-board reserve sittings in advance. Most of the restaurants we visited weren’t taking any reservations and without them you might have to queue for up to 45 minutes for a table.
- Be warned food in Disneyland is EXPENSIVE, which is why we availed of the half-board option and booked in advance. Still a 3 course meals for two adults and two children will set you back over a 100euro and burgers and chips for 4 will be about 50euro.
- If you get vouchers for tea-time treats expect to queue for up to 30 minutes to collect the free drink and treat.
- If you’ve fussy eaters i think the buffets are the best bet. We liked the Plaza Gardens in Disneyland Park and Cape Cod in Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne.
- We loved the interior of the restaurant Chez Remy in Walt Disney Studios Park. The choice of food is limited, particularly if you’re on a half-board meal plan but that wasn’t why we went there. It’s made to look like the ‘rats’ bistro in the film Ratatouille so the scale of everything is made to suit, i.e seats look like champagne cages. We heard it’s packed at lunchtime but we took the last sitting at 5pm and it was really quiet and relaxed.
- We told the kids that they could window shop for toys while we were in the resort but we wouldn’t be buying them until the last day. This was for a few reasons; to keep a cap on spending, the shops stock different product ranges to this way you get to see it all before deciding, avoid impulse buys and to stop them wanting to stay in the hotel playing with them!
- There’s a great Lego shop in Disney Village where you can customise and buy your own mini figures. This area stays open till 10pm and has lots of shops and restaurants.
January 19, 2016
It was my son’s 6th birthday over the weekend so we decided to throw him a Super Mario party. I spent ages on the decorations, which i mostly sourced online and printed ourselves so although it took quite a while to do it wasn’t expensive.
I downloaded most of the characters for the background from One-hip Mama and Clipart Sheep. I used the question box graphic as a template to make a Happy Birthday banner. I enlarged the graphic of the Piranha Plant, printed it, cut it out and stuck card to the back of it to stiffen it. I used a card buttress at the back of the Piranha Plants and the ‘pipes’ to make them stand up. The runner under the sweet treats is from Tesco for (€1.89 for two metres)
I got the printables for this banner from Oh My Fiesta and used a Super Mario Font, which you can download, to complete with my son’s name and age. I bought blue ribbon for it in Home Focus (€0.50 per metre)
I tweaked a printable from Oh My Fiesta to make this Mario poster. Then i printed out a second copy of his face, which i mounted on card before trimming so i just had his nose and moustache. I just put bluetack on the back of the nose and moustache to help it stick to the poster.
The Super Mario food was a combination of Yoshi Egg cookies (biscuits decorated with white icing with red or blue spots), Mario Fire Balls (Burger Bite crisps), Luigi Gold Coins (chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil from Aldi) and Toad cupcakes (fairycakes / cupcakes iced with fondant icing with two lines of chocolate icing for eyes! I edited the ‘Starman’ graphic and used the Super Mario font to make the food signs. We also served pizza and cocktail sausages, which were pierced with with these Super Mario cupcake picks from Beach Bums.
My cake decorating skills won’t win any awards but my son was delighted with my version of the Super Mario Wii game. Using plastic figurines to decorate the cake really helped with the final result! I also had to make him a cake for his actually birthday (his party was on a different day)
I got the yellow plates (€1.99, green napkins (€1.49), blue cups (€1.99) and red paper tablecloth (€1.99 for 5 metres) from Mr Price, the green paper straws (€1.49) from the Euroshop and the table runner is Super Mario wrapping paper that i got for €1 in Smyths Toys. I printed and cut out the Pirhana plant heads and use PVA glue to stick them onto the straws. I also printed and out the moustaches templates and use PVA to stick them to the cups. I finished each place setting off with a chocolate coin wrapped in gold foil from Aldi.
I got the printable for these boxes from Oh My Fiesta.
A found a few other printables that i didn’t use for the party. Here they are;
November 1, 2015
It never cease to amaze me just how well some human delude themselves and the world. From the woman who spouts feminist ideals while taking on the bulk of the child rearing and household duties, to the manager that talks of empowerment but repeatedly undermines the work of his/her employees.
Of course some people are duplicitous on purpose but i think most people have no awareness of the gap between the person they think they are and the person that they actually are in reality. My warning to you is to be careful of words; people say all manner of things and they might believe 100% percent of it. Judge others by their actions and not their words and then you’ll really know what their values are.
October 18, 2015
I used the recipe below to make some lovely homemade moisturiser. It cost approximately 5 to make a cup of moisturiser (half of recipe below), which is absolutely delicious on the skin.
- Use a double boiler to melt half a cup of almond oil or grape seed oil and 20g of beeswax that has been either grated or cut into small pieces.
- Mix 1 cup of aloe vera gel, a teaspoon of almond of Vitamin E oil and essential oils (optional).
- Once the beeswax is melted in the almond oil, take the mixture off the heat and place on a tea-towel on a counter or table.
- Whisk or blend the aloe vera gel mixture into the oil / beeswax mixture bit by bit.
This recipe is an edited version of one that i found on Remedies and Herbs
August 5, 2015
For those who don’t know the growing of Palm Oil is threatening our rainforests, it’s inhabitants and having a devastating effect on climate change, which of course threatens our children’s future too. Vast swaths of rainforest have been felled to feed our insatiable appetite for this cheap bulking agent.
There have been calls for companies to source sustainably grown palm oil and it’s starting to have some effect but it’s a slow process and until they get their act together i am boycotting palm oil that isn’t certified as having being grown sustainably.
Of course some manufacturers don’t make it easy for us to avoid products with unsustainable palm oil in them. It’s in everything and to make the challenge even harder, it’s not always labelled as ‘palm oil’. Here is a handy printable pocket-sized Palm oil in Disguise guide to that you can use to find all of the names that palm oil might be labelled under. The Rainforest Foundation has also produced a Palm Oil Guide
To be honest I’ve just had to stop buying some processed food, like non-Irish crisps, full-stop because 9 times out of 10 it has palm oil in it. Thankfully a lot of Irish made products don’t use palm oil so it’s not impossible to avoid completely in this country. Also because it’s mostly used in processed food, avoiding them completely can make your diet healthier so it’s a win, win.
August 4, 2015
I love the novelty of this Canopy Stair and the designers say they’ve worked with arboretists to make sure it doesn’t harm trees. I wonder how secure it feels to walk on and if you need to adjust it every year?
August 4, 2015
Very handy infographic from American based Safer, who sells organic gardening products.