Thursday, 17 August 2017

Homework Station Inspiration with Wayfair


Homework Station Inspiration from Mrs Bishop and Wayfair

Today I'm bringing you some interiors inspiration in the form of two mood boards I've created using fabulous interior pieces from Wayfair. Regular readers will know that I'm one of the Wayfair 'Home Experts' - and for our latest project they tasked me with creating two looks for a fun, organised but simple homework station for children within the home. 

The two looks I've put together are each aimed at a particular age group; the first for younger Primary School age children, and the other for teenagers.

I hope they provide you with inspiration just in time for the return of the daily school run... 

Children's homework station moodbaord by Mrs B for Wayfair

CHILD'S HOMEWORK STATION

For this look I advise going for bold/bright statement colour (I've chosen yellow as it's my favourite - and the colour of sunshine, so who doesn't love it?). Not only will the statement colour show that thought and planning has gone into the creating the space, but it also adds lots of fun and character to what could otherwise be a pretty drab/dull space in the house. 
Childs writing desk from Wayfair

I've gone for a fabulous desk and chair which can grow with your child, making them true investment pieces. As a busy mum with a limited fund for interiors it is important for me to be savvy when purchasing bigger pieces of furniture for the children...yes a mini desk looks very cute when your children are small - but before you know it they've outgrown the desk and chair, and you need to get something bigger. Adjustable height desks and desk chairs are the way forward in my opinion. The other thing I love about this desk is the fact it can tilt to ergonomically support your child as they work - no sore necks or backs with this beauty. Plus it includes its own pen storage tray, under desk shelf and school bag hook! Genius!

Yellow Lego Box Storage
Storage is a very important part of any homework/craft station for younger kids so I've  added a storage box (yellow Lego box) for all their bits and pieces which can sit atop the desk, as well as a funky pencil sharpener pen pot for their endless crayons and felt tips. The final elements in the storage aspect of this room is a bright yellow memo/pin board for adding their drawings, lists, school letters...whatever they need on display while they work, plus a waste paper basket, to sit under the desk, so it doesn't get littered and messy - they can tidy while they go - no excuses. 
yellow robot lamp

It's important to have a decent light source on the desk so that your children won't strain their eyes during their homework sessions on dark winter evenings. I was chuffed to find the coolest lamp I've ever seen in the form of this yellow robot lamp - I think all children would love to work at a desk with a robot light, no? 
light up yellow hello canvas
Not only do you want this space to be functional - it must also be fun and inspirational. With that in mind I've added this brilliant light up 'HELLO' canvas to add character to the space, and a definite sense of fun. 

yellow and wooden modern clock

Finally, I've included a fun yellow/white chevron cushion to make the chair super comfy for little bottoms and a gorgeous wooden clock with yellow accent so they can keep track of the time while they complete their homework tasks.

If you're children are older and you're looking for a more understated look then I've put together this rustic industrial look for teenagers... 

Teenage homework station moodbaord by Mrs B for Wayfair


TEENAGE HOMEWORK STATION

The rustic/industrial look is totally on trend at the moment and is also a very good gender neutral option. What I love best about the industrial trend is that it is uber-stylish despite being functional. 

I wanted to create a space a teenager would be happy to work in (some teenagers willingly do their homework, right?) This space could easily double up as an adult's workspace too - I've used a small desk suitable for one within this look, but add in a bigger double width desk and it could absolutely be a multipurpose office space for the whole family. 
headphones book ends/shelf tidy
I've opted for a technological theme with accessories such as the amazing headphone shelf tidy/book ends for keeping their text books organised on the desk. 

industrial wall hanging storage

The industrial look is given by using metal caged magazine rack and smaller wooden magazine rack with hooks on the walls surrounding the desk to store papers, exercise books, magazines, extra text books etc. House keys, school bags and PE Kit could be hung from the hooks for easy access and ultimate organisation. How many times has your teenager lost their house keys? PE Kit? <-- Hopefully this storage hack could make the morning routine that little bit smoother for all. 

black cable tidy

I've added a brilliant black cable tidy so they can keep all their wires/chargers easily accessible and not a tangled, dusty mess on the floor behind the desk. 
vinyl wall sticker organisation
The final element for organisation and making the space fully functional are the amazing blackboard vinyl wall decals which includes a weekly and monthly calendar, notes section and handy cork board complete with pushpins and dry erase marker - there'll be no excuses for staying on top of their revision now! 
grey white chevron cushion and medan chair
Again, for comfort and squishiness I've added a grey and while chevron cushion to the uber-modern Medan chair. 

If your teenager has lots of stationery and bits and pieces they need to store in the homework station I would suggest also adding an off surface shelf to the desk so that things can be stored neatly, without taking up valuable desk space for laptop/work books etc. 

off surface shelf
I love Wayfair for its varied pieces and commitment to current trends - you can literally always find what you're looking for, and you'll without a doubt always find things you never knew you needed each time you browse and shop.

Which of my two looks do you prefer?

Mrs B

xxx 

This is a sponsored post. 
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

World Calligraphy Day with Manuscript PLUS a Giveaway!

World Calligraphy Day
Happy World Calligraphy Day!
Manuscript Pen Company are delighted to announce the first ever World Calligraphy Day today (16th August 2017) with events and workshops taking place around the world and predominantly at the Pen Museum, Birmingham. 
Since 1856 Manuscript Pen Company Ltd has been connected with the pen trade and in the forefront of pen nib manufacturing and design in the UK. World Calligraphy day is the celebration of the history, penmanship and progressive product development and all things calligraphy related. 
World Calligraphy Day quote
Join Manuscript Pen Company to celebrate the art of calligraphy and hand lettering in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Hosting the event, the Pen Museum welcomes Manuscript and a whole host of world renowned creative artists to celebrate calligraphy and hand lettering trends. 
Explore the Pen Museum and learn about the many pen companies of Birmingham and the history of the trade starting from quills and dip pens to the modern day fountain pen. Step back in time and try your hand at creating your very own steel pen nib using traditional machinery.
And whilst there are a whole host of history on display in the Pen Museum, visitors are being encouraged to bring their own writing instruments to find out more from expert Jeremy Collingridge, as the Librarian of the Writing Equipment Society casts his own expert eye over pens both new and old.
Whilst pen specialist Jeremy fills in information about writing instruments from around the globe, crafty hands can take part and learn from the experts in designated workshops and demonstrations on the multitude of different writing styles taking the world by storm! Try our different types of writing instruments and find the pen for you.
Whether you are an expert, a beginner who’s just getting started or simply an admirer of beautiful writing, come and join Manuscript and your favourite artists including Modern Calligrapher Joyce Lee of Artsynibs, Graphic Designer and Calligrapher Alice Mazilli of Ampersand Alice, Artist, Designer and Letterer Rob Draper, Traditional Calligrapher Stephen Duckett, Contemporary Italian Calligrapher Sandro Bonomo, Handwriting Specialist Sandra Grayson and many more at this free event from 11am – 4pm.
Head here to find out more about World Calligraphy Day and this free event.

World Calligraphy Day Banner

I've always wanted to have a go at calligraphy - I'm a very artistic person, and have long admired beautiful hand lettering and especially love the new-wave of modern calligraphy, so I was eager to give it a try. 
The lovely people at Manuscript sent me an awesome kit of Calligraphy pens to get me started, and I found some brilliant free to download practice sheets from Dawn Nicole Designs to get me started. 

Practicing Modern Calligraphy

I loved these motivational practice sheets, it's so therapeutic tracing and then copying underneath once you've got the idea. It's actually so much harder than it looks, I need lots more practice that's for sure! 

Practicing Modern Calligraphy

One of the things I miss most since becoming a Mum of two and running my own business is the lack of creative time I have - I used to regularly do crafty bits and pieces, make gifts for people, sewing, crocheting etc... I just don't make much time for that sort of stuff at the moment - but sitting down and playing with my calligraphy pens made me realise how much I missed it. 

NOTE TO SELF: I must try harder to set aside more time for creating.

Practicing Modern Calligraphy

I really love the quality of the Manuscript Beginners Calligraphy Set I've been using - it's been years since I've used a proper ink pen with cartridges and this one has been super simple to use and so far has created some lovely lettering - I'm hoping my lettering will continue to improve with some more practice...

I've also been using the Calli-Creative Duotip pens from Manuscript which come in 10 different colours. As the name suggests each pen has a duo tip with one end being a fineliner and the other a chisel tip. 

Why not get involved in World Calligraphy Day today by downloading this free sheet and having a go at some calligraphy yourself. 

Don't forget to share your beautiful letters with the hashtag #WorldCalligraphyDay and #ManuscriptWCD.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

If you'd like to get your hands on your own fab set of calligraphy pens from Manuscript then enter my giveaway in the Gleam app below.

Win a Manuscript pen prize bundle on World Calligraphy Day

Entries are for UK residents only and ends at 11.59pm on Wednesday 13th September. 

BEST OF LUCK! 



Mrs B
LHB Calligraphy initials
LHB - My initials in a freestyle calligraphy!


SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky
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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Mr B Reviews the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer and Branch Cutter - Garden Tidy Up

GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer review by Mr Bishop

Recently Mrs B asked me to do another review for the blog, and this time up we have some great new tech from Gtech (is that what the G stands for – great?). It’s the Gtech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer and Branch Cutter attachment

Mrs B has previously reviewed the cordless vacumn cleaner from Gtech, so we are already big fans of the brand and know they do some quality stuff. On the assumption the cordless hedge trimmer was anything like the vacumn cleaner then we had high hopes!

The GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer currently retails at £129.00 with £20.00 add on fee if you want the branch cutter attachment too, so it's a fairly pricey piece of kit...another reason for high expectations. 

I do like doing gardening, but obviously the main hurdles are a) it takes ages, and b) it's knackering. So anything that is going to make it easier is a bonus. Previously when I cut the garden hedges I’ve used some 10 year old, slightly rusty hand shears – hence the taking ages and getting tired doing it. So I was excited to put some power into the job and see how it turned out!


GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer review by Mr Bishop

When I first opened the Gtech I was surprised how simply it was all boxed up. Everything has its place in a cardboard holder, and I could see that this would double up as a handy place to keep it all when not in use. It also seemed quite small and not at all bulky – it’s a really compact piece of kit. 

Straight out the box you get:

Main Cutting Unit
Long Pole
Battery Unit
Charger


Boxed up GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer

All the components of the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer & Branch Cutter

And that’s it. What else do you need? I didn’t even need the instructions to put it all together – I had worked it out and assembled by myself in about 20 seconds! There are only 3 main bits and they just clip together quickly and easily. But considering I was dealing with something that I could potentially cut my own arm off with (maybe), I thought I had better read through the instructions anyway to be safe...! There was some really useful info in there about how to trim hedges, techniques and troubleshooting etc, but basically it’s so simple to put together and use that it really doesn’t need any instructions. I just charged up the battery for a few hours ready for use the next day and I was all set! In fact the battery takes just 4 hours to charge which is really swift!

We also had the additional branch cutter attachment. This uses the same battery and base unit as the trimmer, so you just unclip the hedge trimmer head and clip in the branch trimmer head and that’s it. Nothing to screw or unscrew or lose, it’s simple as!

Because of the Summer weather, I had to wait 2 weeks while The Perfect Storm died down outside, but when the clouds cleared, I jumped to it and was ready to use my new toy tool.

Using the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer before picture

The first thing about the trimmer I noticed is that it’s a good weight. I would have expected a battery pack and motor to be really heavy, and as I would potentially be swinging this pole around for a while, I was worried it would tire my arms quickly. But it was surprisingly movable and well balanaced with the weight of the cutter on one end and the battery at the other. The pole is strong but hollow as well, and has great reach on it. There is no cord so you don’t have to worry about tripping up and falling in the bush/through a fence/smashing a window etc. I’ve spent many years using corded power tools and grass mowers etc and having the threat of cutting through a wire and having a REALLY bad day, so to go cordless have a certain sense of freedom was ace.


Mr Bishop reviews the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer

The cutting head has an adjustable angle on it as well, all the way through 135º, which with the push of a button you can change immediately with minimal fuss, so combined with the long pole you can manoeuvre it to cut all those hard to reach places without having to really bend down or stretch (good for the back).

There is a safety catch on the handle next to the trigger (again, safety is good – I like my arms!) so you can’t start it by accident and HAVE an accident. I started it up and got going. It’s really not very loud, I was worried it would be like a petrol trimmer and explode my eardrums when I started it, but it’s no noisier than your vacumn cleaner really – not even the cat was bothered. The cutting blades didn’t move that quick, so with the light weight I was worried it wouldn’t be that powerful, but I was wrong – it’s brilliantly powerful. As I started cutting it literally went through the hedge like butter. It just chugged away and cut whatever part of the hedge it came into contact with easily! I felt like a sculpter, just carving away at a block of ice or wood creating a masterpiece. Within a few minutes I had done the whole of my front hedge!

Like pressure washing, it’s extremely satisfying to use. I was able to cut the hedge back to a smooth shape quickly and easily, and I got a much smaller neater shape than I ever have before. 

Alan Titchmarsh would have been proud.
Using the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer after picture

A job that previously took half a hour and left me sweaty, tired, swearing, and with sore limbs, had now taken less than 5 and I hadn’t even broken a sweat. Amazing.

As I mentioned before, the fact that it’s cordless as well meant no wires to cut through and electrocute myself, and left me free to use the adjustable head and long pole to easily reach all areas of the hedge with minimal effort. I went straight into the next hedge in the garden and finished that easily too. Then onto the back garden and I did all those too! I got a bit carried away, I wanted to go into my neighbours and do theirs also.


Before/After using GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer
After the hedges, I went on to try the branch cutter. I swapped over the heads in around 5 seconds and was using it straight away. A few weeks ago I cut down some branches in the garden, using a normal handsaw, a wobbly ladder, and a lot of graft and sweat. At one point Mrs B came into the garden and said, and I quote, that it looked ‘extremely dangerous’. Apart from the dangers of standing on a ladder directly underneath a heavy wooden branch and cutting it off, it’s also really hard work using a saw on thick branches, so sawdust would fall down into my eyes, and stick my my bald sweaty head. Delightful.
Using the Branch Cutter Attachment of the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer

Anyway, because of the weight of the branch trimmer and the length of the pole, there were no ladders today and I could reach all the branches I couldn’t reach a few weeks ago so I could do a proper job. The trimmer was so quick cutting through them! It cut through all the branches in mere seconds with a minimum of sawdust (if any). I did have an image of my arms killing me while I was standing there holding a long pole in the air for 20-30 seconds while the blade did the cutting, grimacing like a red face idiot; but even the bigger branches took no longer than 5 seconds to cut. So no achey arms, no exhaustion, no red face, no head covered in sawdust and eyes full of splinters. The saw has a little resting part sticking out, so you can either push up into the branch, or sort of hook it on the branch and pull down. It’s a really clever piece of kit.

We have an old pear tree in our garden that produces rock hard, inedible and probably mildy poisonous pears you absolutely can’t eat, that every year blocks out the sun and leaves mouldy rotton pears all over the grass, so I spent quite a while trimming all those branches down, opening up the space and letting more light in. I honestly don’t know how long it would have taken and what dangers I would have faced down had I had to climb up there with a ladder and handsaw to do the job.


Battery on the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer

By the time I had done that the battery was just ending, and with 45 minutes of usage time, I had got all the hedges in both gardens right down, and all the trees trimmed down massively. In 45 minites I achieved what previously would have taken me most of a day and exhausted me to the point of not bothering to do the rest of the gardening. I had so much time left of the gardening day that I then had time and energy to go to tidying up properly (like I said, I usually half-arse it), go to the garden centre to get some new plants and seeds, plant them, clean up the stones on the drive way, mow the lawn AND have a cup of coffee and chat to my neighbour.


Finished front garden after using the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer
A much neater front garden, with flowers and everything! We are no longer a disgrace to our street - hooray! 

Once I’d finished, I popped the hard plastic covers back over the blades, and slotted the trimmer and the attachments back into their boxes and stored them away with minimal effort. Win!

Overall I was massively pleased with the Gtech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer. I hadn’t imagined using something like that would make my life that much easier but it really did. It made the garden look great and was so easy to use. I really couldn’t fault it at all. I highly recommend!
Mr Bishop reviews the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer


Mr Bishop reviews the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer

Mr Bishop reviews the GTech HT20 Cordless Hedge Trimmer

Watch the HT20 in action in my video review here:


Do you have a hedge trimmer? 

Which type do you prefer to use?

Have you ever thought about going cordless?

Mr B

We were sent the cordless hedge trimmer with branch cutting attachment in exchange for this honest review. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

What was in my July Summer Degustabox? *REVIEW*

What is Degustabox?

It's Degustabox contents time!! This month's box was summer themed and full to bursting with goodies once again. A slightly less cohesive and more random selection filled this box, but still appealing and useful nevertheless.


July's Summer Degustabox 2017

Bert was especially excited by the Rowntree's Randoms and I was thrilled that they were the 30% less sugar bag - you take whatever little wins you can as a parent! 

I'm always happy to try a new-to-me cereal - as breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day - so the presence of the Weetabix Additions were a winner for me. Hubby hoorayed at the sight of a good strong mustard, so everyone was happy!

July's Summer Degustabox 2017

DEGUSTABOX JULY (SUMMER) CONTENTS:

Blossom Hill Spritz - Elderflower & Lemon £4.99

We adored this light and fruity spritzer style wine. Liam, my mum and I polished off the whole bottle over dinner on a light summer evening last week, and we all loved it. Definitely a wine I'll buy for summer BBQs - as not much of a white wine drinker I was really pleasantly surprised by this little gem. 

Crafted Fruit Juice - Mango & Passionfruit £1.80

Who doesn't love a glass of cold from the fridge fruit juice? Gorgeously fresh in flavour and a much more tropical combination of fruits as opposed to our usual orange or apple juice - we loved having a glass of this with breakfast as a special treat. 

Ryvita Thins - Three Cheese £1.89

Okay, so these disappeared within two days of the box arriving. Safe to say they went down rather well. We all loved them - Liam and I snacked on them dipped in hummus or salsa, the kids ate them as little cracker snacks - they were devoured by all, definitely something I'd buy again if I saw it in the supermarket. 

Rowntree's Randoms - 30% less sugar £1.29

I didn't get a look in here - these are hands down Bert's favourite type of sweetie - he's mad for wine gums & jelly style sweets, so his eyes lit up when he saw them. We have a sweetie box where a selection of these style sweets live, and he knows he's allowed to choose 5 sweets at a time - he's so good at understanding portion control, bless him. Liam and I were both overweight children, and we're determined for our kids to have a much healthier relationship with food. 

OLOVES Healthy Olive Snacks - 2 x £0.99

We've had these handy little olive packs before, I love them. They're so great for lunchboxes or picnics, and they taste really great. The perfect way to make olives portable. 

Merchant Gourmet Simply Cooked Red & White Quinoa - £1.99

I'd eaten this within a few days of the box arriving. I eat a lot of these pre-cooked quinoa, rice and lentil pouches, as I find them so much more convenient than cooking the grains from scratch - plus they're brilliant for portion control (I'm not the only one who always cooks enough rice to feed a small army, am I?) These were really tasty for a quick lunch with a friend - I added grilled chicken breast, green beans and some pesto to give it a little more pizazz!

Frylight Cooking Spray with Avocado Oil - £2.99

I love these handy cooking sprays and have tried the sunflower and olive oil varieties - as an avocado addict I was thrilled to give this version a go. These sprays are especially good if you're trying watch your fat/oil intake - I find them brilliant for frying eggs, stir frying etc. This spray gives a slightly nutty, avocado flavour without being too strong or intense. 

Weetabix Additions - Coconut & Raisin £2.99

As a self-confession breakfast-aholic I'm always excited to try a new breakfast cereal. Weetabix is one of my old-school favourite cereals - I remember having them warm with sugar on as a little girl. So these were a nostalgic eat - I really loved the addition of coconut and chewy raisins to add a bit of texture. I've been eating mine crumbled into coconut greek yoghurt with blackberries and honey. Delish. 

The Collective Kids Big Tub Yoghurt - Mango & ProYo Coconut with Vanilla & Honey  £2.00

Yoghurt is my desert island food - I know it's a weird choice, but its just my favourite food in the whole world. It has to be thick, Greek in style, and it has to be full fat. I have it pretty much daily, plain, fruity, with a compote - however it comes I love it. The Collective yogurts are one we've been buying on and off for a while now - I loved the mango flavour, it's uber-fruity and the pro yo was a revelation to me - sooooo filling, brilliant on gym days, and the subtle flavour of coconut, vanilla and honey was a heady combination. I loved that the pro yo came in a little pouch too - meaning it's perfectly portable! 

Maille Dijon Original £1.99

I'm not much of a mustard lover (unless that super mild, squeezy, American mustard on burgers and hotdogs counts? I don't think it does!) Luckily, hubby is a mustard fiend. He eats it in sandwiches, with cold meats, with beef - any reason to add a good dollop of mustard and he will. I use it in cooking to add flavour to cheese sauces, and my Welsh rarebit muffins - and this mustard has a really intense, creamy flavour perfect for all of the above. Maille is a brand we know and love as a family and we think the original is definitely the best. 

As I am a reviewer I received the contents from both the alcohol and non-alcohol boxes, the non-alcohol box contained:

Two bottles of THØR Dry Apple Spritz Drinks one in Mint & one in Ginger flavour. 

These were really scrumptious. I often avoid these sorts of drinks as they tend to be loaded with calories, but at only 69 calories per bottle they're a much lighter alternative and full of flavour. I'd say they're a very grown up taste - they make a lovely summery soft drink - pimped with a bit of fresh mint, fresh ginger and cucumber - I'd even be tempted to add a splash of gin! 


July's Summer Degustabox 2017

July's Summer Degustabox 2017

The Collective Mango Gourmet Live Yoghurt - July's Degustabox

The Collective Pro-Yo - high protein yoghurt coconut with honey and vanilla

Here's our top picks from the July Summer box...

Top Picks from July's Summer Degustabox
Would you like to give a Degustabox a try? 

If so, you can receive a whopping £7.00 off your first box by using code:


1VRVA

at the checkout! 

Enjoy you lovely lot...

Mrs B

xxx

For more info on Degustabox follow them on their social media channels:


Degustabox social media

We receive our Degustaboxes in exchange for these honest reviews.


Monday, 31 July 2017

Stripe Cupcakes & Decorating Biscuits Three Ways with Cake Decor - PLUS WIN A Fabulous Cake Decor Bundle...

Today I'm bringing you a super fun collaboration post. 

Recently I've been working with the fabulous people at Cake Decor - who sell an amazing range of baking decoration supplies. You may have already come across their products on the shelves of major supermarkets like Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, The Range & Wilkos. Each of the fabulous products in the range is designed to require minimum effort but produce maximum effect. 

Included in their current range is:


The folks at Cake Decor sent me an awesome selection of their bestsellers and asked me to put them through their paces. So with the summer holidays ahead and teachers gifts to sort out for the end of July - over the past few months Bert and I have been getting our bake on, and enjoying experimenting with new to us products. 

Cake Decor Products
Amazing collection of Cake Decor goodies to keep us busy! 

The first product Bert was desperate to try was the two colour stripes cupcake frosting - this really appealed to me as I know how much work, time and how many ingredients go into making coloured/flavoured buttercream, especially when you have to spoon into piping bags - it can all get very messy and certainly isn't a very child-centred baking activity. These ready-to-squeeze tubes make two tone buttercream an absolute dream, and Bert really loved having a go at doing it himself.

We baked up a batch of our favourite super simple vanilla fairy cakes and once they were cool we got to work piping the striped frosting straight from the tube. 

Bert with his fairy cake batter ready for baking
Bert with his fairy cake batter ready for baking

our fairy cakes fresh from the oven
our fairy cakes fresh from the oven

Cake Decor Two Colour Stripes Cupcake Frosting: Strawberry & Vanilla
Cake Decor Two Colour Stripes Cupcake Frosting: Strawberry & Vanilla

Don't they look fabulous? Not only was the final result aesthetically really impressive, but the frosting was truly delicious too - it had such a nice texture and a real depth of flavour without seeming artificially over-sweet. 

The only slight negative I found with this product is that at almost 4 years old, Bert found this a little tricky to squeeze out - you do need to be fairly strong and have good coordination to be able to pipe the frosting out successfully.  He gave it a good go though, and was more than happy to watch me make them look pretty and scoff them as soon as I was done. Kids eh? 

After creating strawberry and chocolate versions of our stripe cupcakes we moved on to decorating biscuits. 

Here are three different ways you can use Cake Decor products to decorate biscuits. 

Firstly, here's a truly child-centred activity which is a perfect way to entertain bored children...

Simple biscuit decorating for Children using Cake Decor goodies

Firstly, choose a pre-made/supermarket bought plain biscuit if choice - we chose Rich Tea, but a Digestive or any other plain biscuit with large surface area would work well. 

Next, create a batch of simple runny icing by mixing icing sugar with either a little water, or lemon juice depending on preferences. You want the icing to be a spreadable consistency. 

Finally, pop a selection of exciting Cake Decor decorations such as Hundreds and Thousands, sugar balls, micro marshmallows and glitter sugar into separate bowls easy for little hands to access. 

I found it best to show Bert and his friend Lucy (who had come round to play) the decorating process first, before letting them loose on all the goodies. Spread your plain biscuit with icing, then sprinkle/arrange your Cake Decor goodies all over the icing until you're happy with your design. 

Let the biscuits set slightly (if you can wait) before eating them. 

Bert and Lucy had so much fun doing this, and it kept them amused for well over half an hour - not including the peace and quiet we got while they ate some too! 

Biscuit decorating heaven with Cake Decor
Biscuit decorating heaven with Cake Decor
Biscuit decorating heaven with Cake Decor
Biscuit decorating heaven with Cake Decor
Bert's Cake Decor Biscuit
Bert's Cake Decor Biscuit
Lucy's Cake Decor Biscuit
Lucy's Cake Decor Biscuit
Bert & Lucy's Cake Decor Biscuits
Bert & Lucy's Cake Decor Biscuits
We had two super-happy children who both got a whole plate of uber-fun biscuits to take home with them after the activity and depending on what decorations you choose you can definitely get this whole activity in for under £5 - making it very budget friendly. 

Next, I was eager to get in some grown up baking time, so one afternoon while Connie slept and Bert was at school I decided to put Cake Decor's Cake Artist Pens to the test and get super creative decorating some handmade vanilla biscuits. 


Handpainted Biscuits using Cake Decor Artist Pens and Wilton Gel Colours


To make 12 biscuits you will need:

Ingredients:

175g plain flour
50 self raising flour
75g granulated sugar
75g salted butter, diced
75g golden syrup
1 egg, lightly beaten 

To decorate (consumables):

250g white ready to roll fondant icing
1/2 tsp Tylo Powder
Cake Decor Cake Artist Pens
Food colour
Alchohol (I used vodka)

To decorare (tools/equipment):

Acyrlic rolling pin
Alphabet stamp set
Icing tool set (cutting wheel, stitch effect, round head)
Artists palette
Fine paintbrushes
Gel food colour set (I use Wilton)
Round cutters
Cake Decor Cake Artist Pens
Pipettes
Edible Glue


Firstly, I prepared my fondant icing using tylo powder to create modelling paste which works brilliantly for decorating biscuits in this manner. I bought my Tylo powder online from Amazon, it lasts absolutely ages as you only really use 1/2 tsp at a time. If you've never used Tylo powder before I suggest using this you tube tutorial, it's how I learnt and it worked perfectly for me. You won't use all of the 250g of modelling paste, but you wrap/store the icing in smaller pieces as part of this tutorial which will mean you can keep whatever's leftover for future baking sessions. 

To bake the biscuits combine the flours and granulated sugar, rub in the diced butter then once light breadcrumbs have formed add the egg and golden syrup to form a dough. I usually roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper - and then once about 1.5 - 2cm thick I pop the rolled dough into the fridge for half an hour (this firms up the dough making it easier to cut and transfer to a baking tray). 

Mrs Bishop's Biscuit Dough

After half an hour, cut your biscuits into whichever shapes you prefer, the simpler the better for these biscuits, so I went for rounds. Transfer to a baking paper lined tray and bake in a preheated oven at 170℃ for 14-18 minutes until lightly golden. 

Transfer to a wire rack after 5 minutes and leave to cool completely. 

To decorate...

Roll out a piece of your modelling fondant to as thin as you prefer, mine was around 5mm. Use the same size or slightly smaller cutter to cut out round discs with or without fluted/frilled edges. 

In your artists palette using a pipette (if these don't make you feel like a teenager in your Science classroom then I don't know what will!) I bought mine as a job lot on amazon and find them useful for all sorts of baking/craft/parent-y things (!) drop small amounts of vodka into each partition of your palette - then using a cocktail stick mix up some gel colour with the vodka - the more colour you put in the more vibrant the shade, water down with vodka - use them like you would water colour paints for the best effect. 

I used a mixture of painting using these gel/vodka paints, stamping lightly into the icing using alphabet stamps, and stronger colour in the form of Cake Decor Cake Artist Pens. 

I loved playing and just being able to let my artistic streak shine through - there was a lot of experimenting and some of the designs I liked more than others but all in all I was so pleased with the final results. 

I found the Cake Artist pens so fun to use - they provide a very bold colour and are good for simple designs such as stripes, flowers and dots...I'm sure if I played with them for a bit longer I would get the hang of producing more refined artwork, but on this occasion I left that up to my edible watercolours...

The final stage is to attach your decorated icing discs to the biscuits - I just paint on a tiny bit of edible glue (found online or in Lakeland) and press down lightly - the disc will stick fairly quickly and the glue is absolutely edible and has no flavour at all. 

decorating biscuits with edible watercolour

decorating biscuits with edible watercolour
work in progress...

And so here are some of the final results... what do you think? 

hand decorated biscuits

using cake decor cake artist pens

cake decor cake artist pens

cake decor cake artist pens

watercolour biscuits

They were just so fun to make and I think they would make the most amazing gifts - I especially like the fact that you can make them so bespoke and personal depending on the designs and words you use. 

Which was your favourite one? Mine was the flamingo and cactus! 

Teacher Biscuits using Edible Felt Tip Pens by Cake Decor

The final piece of Cake Decor kit I wanted to put through its paces were the edible cake pens - these TOTALLY blew my mind and are by far my favourite decoration effect so far from the Cake Decor collection. 

Not only are these AMAZING for children to use, but they also work brilliantly for adults looking to create a no fuss decoration. 

Our aim for this baking session was to create end of year teacher gifts for Bert's (8!) Pre-School teachers. I used the same biscuit recipe as above (and just doubled it) and luckily I still had plenty of modelling fondant left over to use. 

We made each teacher three biscuits - one with a simple 'Thank You' design, one with the name of their animal work group and a doodle of said animal (E.g. Terrific Tigers, Energetic Elephants etc.) and one with their first name initial. I did a black dotted line of their initial on the fondant, which Bert then traced over (all with the edible pens), much like he does when he's working on his letters at school. 


Cake Decor Cake Pens (Edible)

We used the edible cake pens for all of the decoration and I think the effect is brilliant. Bert managed to use them really well - they work in exactly the same way as a felt tip - so they're totally uncomplicated. I loved the 'colouring in book' look to the designs we created - I think it was especially cute because of the recipients of the biscuits in question.

Thankfully Bert's teachers were very touched by the effort we'd gone to to thank them. 

Bert was SO EXCITED to give them out on his last day of Pre-School; seeing his happy little face made all the work totally worth it. 


Cake Decor Edible Felt Tip Pens
A little 'Thank You' using Cake Decor Edible Cake Pens- icing discs ready to be attached to biscuits. 
Cake Decor Edible Felt Tip Pens on biscuits
Which is your favourite? 
teacher gifts - decorated biscuits
Bert's writing!! *ADORABLE*
teacher gifts - decorated biscuits
A big 'Thank You' in biscuit-form.  

sprinkle bags from HomeSense - teacher gifts
Teacher biscuits all bagged up and ready to give out. (Bags found for £5 in HomeSense)
There you have it - three very fun and very different ways to decorate biscuits from uber-simple to a little more time-consuming but with fab results every time thanks to Cake Decors brill products. 

I have lots more bakes in mind to work my way through the rest of my Cake Decor goodies - including a show stopper 4th Birthday cake for Bert in a few weeks time, so watch this space for a cake post to follow soon. 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

In the meantime, if you'd like to get your hands on a fabulous set of Cake Decor goodies so you too can get creative in the kitchen then please enter my giveaway below via the Gleam app. 

Good luck & happy baking lovely people... 

Mrs B

xxx


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