Friday, 30 October 2015

Bert's Big Boy Room

I'm a project person. I always like to have a range of mini projects on the go: from writing my blog, to crocheting a large granny square blanket, sewing clothes for myself to home improvements - I always have a long list of things on the go to keep me amused in any (rare!) moments of free time and to keep my creative juices regularly flowing. 

My latest project has been updating our large spare room, turning it from just a guest room in to a multi-functional room: Bert's super-grown up 'Big Boy' bedroom-come guest room. 

We've been discussing moving Bert down the hallway to the bigger bedroom for a while now - he's certainly getting a little bit too big for his cot, and is growing in confidence and independence daily, we think the move to a bed and a more grown up room will be a positive change for him and will mean we can then free up the nursery for when we expand our little family. 

We are lucky that our second spare room is really large - there is plenty of room to fit both a double guest bed and a single bed for Bert, along with chest of drawers, side tables and toy storage when we get around to it. We need the room to still function as a space for guests - with my family living 100 miles away down in Surrey we have regular house guests and need to be able to sleep them comfortably. Bert will love having 'sleepovers' with his auntie and nanny staying in his grown up room with him. 

In order to update the room from a guest room to a space fit for a dinosaur/dragon obsessed 2.5 year old we got a suitable wooden framed single bed, bed guard, and stair gate to make the room comfortable and secure for him and re-arranged the furniture to make the space work for its new duel-purpose.

Next we moved onto finding accessories to dress the space. We knew we wanted Bert's boy space to have a dinosaur/dragon theme as they are his favourite things - over the last few months we had collected a few bits a pieces to begin the room transformation, then we were set a challenge by Ocean Finance to update a room in our home using a £50 Dunelm voucher...we knew straight away we'd use the voucher for Bert's room and headed straight to Dunelm to see what we could find. 

What We Bought:

- single quilt 
- set of two pillows
- dinosaur lampshade
- dinosaur bunting
- triceratops soft cushion/toy 
- dinosaur canvas

Our shopping basket came to £52 - what a bargain!! 

Long-term we have plans to wallpaper a feature wall in this room using this amazing paper from Paperboy: 'Ere Be Dragons. But, at £60 per roll (I have SUCH expensive taste in wallpaper!) I fear we need to save a few pennies before we embark on that section of the room renovation. For now, it's all about simple accessories. 

'Ere Be Dragons wallpaper in green/grey


So, phase one of Bert's room makeover is now complete and I'm super excited to share a few before and after snaps of our room update and the cutest reveal video which sees Bert explore his new space for the first time...enjoy! 

BEFORE PICS...

Bert's new bed - all ready for its dinosaur makeover...

Nothing better than starting with a plain white room...

Boring white space well in need of some fun and colour...

Our £50 shop from Dunelm all ready to dress Bert's new space...


AFTER PICS...

T'ah D'ah! A much more inviting grown up space for my gorgeous little man...

Bert's big boy room ... rawr! 

I'm taking this photo standing next to the double guest bed, which is situated with its headboard in the centre of the wall opposite the window, with two bedside units positioned each side and ample room to move around the bed. Our duel-purpose room is now well and truly ready to function. 

Cute little Triceratops cushion on his black and white dinosaur bedding - which his Nanny Seaside bought for him (from Asda I think). 

Existing chest of drawers for storing all of Bert's clothes with the dinosaur canvas from Dunelm, his 'BERT' fabric covered letters and a super-fun bouncy dinosaur suspended from the ceiling - which was a Christmas gift from friends of ours for Bert a few years ago for his first Christmas. 

Dinosaur lampshade - I just had to have it...dinosaurs and Breton stripes!! Yes!!

Some of Bert's other favourite characters: The Incredible Hulk ("Hulk Smash" as Bert calls him) and Bing Bunny, of course! Plus a gorgeous wooden baby dragon mobile hung from the beam. I commissioned my best friend Carmi to create the Hulk artwork - she is so talented.  

Fun details to make the room a happy place for my boy! 

The sweetest dino-bunting!

Dinosaur bunting across the beam...

Some of Bert's collection of dinosaur and dragon themed toys adorning his new bed. 

Behind Bert's bed we've hung a lovely 'Alphabet of Dinosaurs' print by the super-talented Becka Griffin, which was given to Bert by his Auntie Liz for his first birthday. 

Awesome dinosaur fairy lights from Tesco which a friend gave Bert for his second birthday. 

Stage 1 of Bert's room makeover: DONE! 

We finished this first stage of the room last night and we couldn't wait to show Bert - I filmed his reaction to share with you...

video
What a cutie...I think he likes his room then! 

Have you done any room makeovers or mini projects in your home recently? Do you use accessories to update spaces in your home, or do you prefer to do huge-scale redecorations? 

Mrs B

xxx

To find out more from Ocean Finance about creating your dream home on a budget head to this blog post. Thanks to Ocean for supplying the voucher in return for this post.  

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning? Breakfast Eggs 3 Ways *RECIPE*


I'm a big egg eater. They are definitely one of my desert island foods. Eggs are so versatile, so good for you and super quick to cook: I'd genuinely struggle to get by in the kitchen without them. 

In a recent survey breakfast specialists MOMA FOODS (Making Oats More Awesome) asked 1000 people across the UK how they preferred their breakfast eggs cooked. I thought it would be fun to share the results with you, before sharing my own favourite way to eat them. 

The Results:

Scrambled 27.9% 
Poached 23.3% 
Fried 23.3% 
Omelette 11.7%  
Hardb­oiled 10.2% 
Baked 3.5% 

I have to say that I'm with the majority on this one - scrambled and poached eggs are by far my favourite way to eat eggs at breakfast time. There's something nostalgic and comforting about scrambled and poached eggs for me the smell of eggs poaching is so reminiscent of my childhood weekend breakfasts: still nobody poaches an egg quite like my mum! 

With all the egg-citement over eggs I thought I'd share a fun way to eat your eggs three ways for a decadent breakfast that comes in at under 500 calories per portion. 

Breakfast Eggs Three Ways: Scrambled with Spinach, Perfectly Poached and Baked Fry-Up Egg Muffins

(serves 4) takes around 25 minutes to prepare/cook
500 calories per portion 

Ingredients

4 eggs for poaching
3 eggs for baked muffins
3 eggs for scrambling

2 slices of bread per person, toasted & buttered (I used Danish white sliced)

two large handfuls of baby spinach for the scrambled eggs

3 pieces of bacon fried and chopped into small dice
one tomato (raw) chopped into small dice
two chestnut mushrooms chopped onto small dice and cooked with the bacon
40g grated cheddar cheese

Method

Preheat your oven to 200℃ and generously grease a muffin tin. 

Whisk 3 eggs with a little water and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. 

Sprinkle the cooked bacon and mushrooms, cheese, and tomato evenly into 8 muffin holes and then pour in the egg mixture until each muffin hole is full up. 


Bake in the oven for 18 minutes until risen and golden. 

While the egg muffins are cooking, boil some water in a frying pan for poaching your eggs. Add a sprinkle of salt and splash of malt vinegar to the water. 

Also heat up a little butter in another frying pan and beat the 3 eggs for scrambling until fully combined. Season and add to the frying pan with the butter in, along with the spinach. Scramble until eggs reach desired consistency. 

Pop your bread slices on to toast. 

When the muffins have three minutes left to cook crack the four remaining eggs into the poaching water and cook for the remaining three minutes until the white is cooked and the yolk is still runny.

To assemble - butter your toast. Top one slice of toast with the scrambled egg and spinach, and the other slice of toast with a poached egg. Use a silicone spatula to remove the baked egg muffins from the muffin tray and serve two muffins per person along with the eggs on toast. 

Enjoy! 

A truly decadent way to enjoy your eggs three ways! 

Breakfast Eggs 3 Ways: Scrambled with spinach, perfectly poached and baked fry-up egg muffins. 

How do you like your eggs in the morning? I'd love to know.

Mrs B 

xxx

If you'd like to find out more about MOMA FOODS you can follow them on their social media pages:

@moma on Twitter
Moma Foods on Facebook
@momafoods on Instagram 

Monday, 26 October 2015

Bourbon Biscuit Bag from Yoshi Bags *REVIEW*

Ain't that the truth?

A few weeks ago I was enjoying a cuppa and a little mooch around Instagram when I came across an amazing Bourbon biscuit themed leather handbag from a company called Yoshi Bags. I might have made an involuntary little squeal when I saw said bag - as a devout Biscuit-lover nothing excites me more than a top quality piece of biscuit-related paraphenalia! I'm a collector of biscuity 'stuff' but had never seen a handbag like this before: especially one made of real leather, of a decent size, that could easily be used as my every day handbag. I was pretty excited. 

The wonderful people at Yoshi kindly sent me the beautiful Bourbon Biscuit Leather Cross Body Bag  priced at £55 and it arrived just in time for my birthday - what a lucky girl I am!

My beautiful Bourbon biscuit bag in all it's glory! 

Of course the bag didn't disappoint - made of the finest quality leather, with a gorgeous antique feel/look to it, it is the kind of bag that will only look better with age. The quality of the make is second to none with beautifully stitched lining, an interior zip pocket, and phone pouch all integrated.

Exquisite quality from Yoshi bags: lined to perfection. 

I've been using it every day since it arrived and I have had so many compliments on it while out and about - I'm pretty much a walking advert for Yoshi...I should be giving out business cards or something! I think the fact that it is so unusual yet somehow still looks like a mainstream, useful, beautiful everyday handbag appeals to many. Beautiful yet functional, fun yet reliable. I love that the bag is big enough for me to fit in all my everyday essentials: phone, purse, keys, mirror, lippy, tissues, a small toy/figure for Bert, hand gel, hand cream and a snack pot! Plenty of room for anything this mummy might need.


Bert especially loves Mummy's biscuit bag - every time we go out he points at it and says "biscuit bag Mummy, yummy!" - he's definitely my son when it comes to his love of a choccie biscuit! 

Each Yoshi product comes presented in a signature Yoshi dustbag, which is perfect for storing your leather goods away and protecting them when they're not in use. There's something wonderful about a dustbag: knowing that your bag is so special it deserves its very own bag to protect it. Or is that just me 


As if owning the gorgeous leather handbag wasn't enough, imagine my delight when during my birthday week my clever friends and family showered me with even more Bourbon-releated-goodness from Yoshi in the form of the matching coin purse and keyring.

Now I have a whole Bourbon family! 


Huge thanks to Yoshi for sending me such a wonderful birthday gift - I adore the bag, and thanks to my friend Emma and brother and sister in law for the extra Bourbon goodies, I'm one lucky biscuit-lover. 

Mrs B 

xxx

For more information on Yoshi Bags or to see their other wonderful products head to their social media pages:

Yoshi-bags on Facebook

@yoshibags on Twitter

@yoshibags on Instagram 

Yoshi Bags on Pinterest

Monday, 19 October 2015

Mr Hare's Big Secret by Hannah Dale (Wrendale Designs) *Book Review & Giveaway*

It's no secret that we are book-mad here in The Bishop Household. 

We own so many books, especially children's books, and my kindle is full-to-bursting with titles I've read or are on my 'to read' list. As an English Literature graduate books and literature have always been a huge part of my life. This year I pledged I would work harder to read more books as since becoming a parent I had been struggling to find the time to read like I did pre-kids. I set myself the target of reading one book per month for the whole of 2015 and so far, ten months in, I'm on my 12th title! I love it when a plan comes together! You can read more about my 'Reading Challenge' here

It's no surprise then that Bert is growing up to be quite the book-worm. At 2 years and 2 months old he already owns around 100 books, and can regularly be found huddled up with a large pile of his favourite titles - slowly flicking through the pages, looking at the images and shouting out the words he knows for the pictures he recognises. He's especially fond of books about animals. So when we were sent the beautiful Mr Hare's Big Secret by Hannah Dale from Wrendale Designs (priced at £11.99) - we couldn't wait to get stuck in! 

Little Bert enjoying his beautiful new book! 

You'll all know already that I am a huge fan of Wrendale Designs. Hannah's artwork is so unique and I love the energy and movement she manages to capture in her paintings: they transfer effortlessly to giftware, cards, prints and stationary - and now I'm happy to be able to share her first children's book with you. 

This beautiful large hardback book has been exquisitely illustrated and tells the enchanting story of cheeky Mr Hare who is hungry and wants to get at the cherries on the tree - but he can't do it alone, so the cheeky trickster persuades his friends to dance with him under the tree until all the cherries fall to the ground. The story is wonderfully repetitive, making it perfect for little ones, and the images are so detailed - every time we read the book together Bert and I noticed new things in the illustrations. 

Mr Hare's Big Secret by Hannah Dale 

Since we began to read this book together Bert's vocabulary has grown and grown - he is learning new words every day and now he's confidently added properly pronounced hare, fox, snail, owl, mouse frog and duck to his vocab thanks to Hannah's wonderful characters! Go Bert! 

Stunning artwork makes this book a total pleasure for both children and adults alike. 

Bert enjoys "reading" the book by himself just as much as he does when I read the whole story to him - the pictures captivate him enough to see him turn slowly through each page, naming the animals and enjoying their antics on the page. 

We will treasure our signed copy for many years to come! 

The lovely kind people at Wrendale have kindly offered to giveaway one copy of this stunning book to one of my lovely readers. So, if you'd like to be in with a chance then just enter via the Gleam App below! Good Luck! 

Mrs B

xxx

WIN a copy of Mr Hare's Big Secret by Hannah Dale

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Baking with Renshaw: Decorating Cupcakes and a Fabulous GIVEAWAY


The fabulous people over at Renshaw Baking sent me the most amazing package full of their baking goodies to test out a few weeks ago. I was brimming with ideas and couldn't wait to get started. 


First of all I hit Pinterest to get some inspiration for how to decorate successfully with fondant icing. My plan was to make two batches of cupcakes, and decorate them with elaborate icing decorations - for two very special birthdays - my friend Alison turning 62, and my husband's nan who was turning 94!! 

Follow Lucy Bishop's board Cupcake decoration ideas on Pinterest.

First things first I baked the cakes - chocolate sponge with dark chocolate centre cupcakes, and plain vanilla cupcakes. I iced the chocolate cakes with homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting, and made a plain vanilla frosting with my homemade vanilla extract for the vanilla cupcakes.

I went for a pink and green theme - as these are Liam's Nan's favourite colours - I also knew I wanted to incorporate cats and crafts somewhere - as they are both important things to the birthday ladies. I coloured the vanilla frosting a very light green, and then set to work making my decorations using the fabulous ready to roll icing packs that Renshaw had sent me. 

Co-ordinating my icing with apron, as you do! 

Stamping out little flowers from my Renshaw icing...

Icing flowers everywhere! 

I used a silicone leaf mat to print leaf shapes onto icing, and then carefully cut them out. Painstaking job! 

I curled some of the leaves before they dried to make them look a little more realistic. 

Next I marbled together two shades of pink icing - and then used a small star cutter to cut out these cute little stars! 

Next I combined two shades of brown and yellow fondant to create this tortoiseshell effect - I then pushed the fondant into a silicone button mat (which I bought ages ago to make chocolate "buttons") - this was very fiddly but totally worth it as I was so pleased with how the buttons turned out.

Next I made a super special single cupcake for my friend Alison, who is cat-mad...I used inspiration from my Pinterest board to create a cat face using fondant. This was pretty tricky, and so I'm glad I had only decided to make one of these, otherwise I'd have been chained to the kitchen for hours longer! I was really pleased with how this little fella turned out... 


I was super-chuffed with my finished cakes, especially as it was my first time using fondant to decorate cupcakes. I don't usually go in for highly decorated bakes, and instead to try to concentrate on the quality of the bake and flavours, but on this occasion it was really nice to get ├╝ber-creative and have a play.

My finished flower cakes

Chocolate cupcakes decorated with Renshaw icing flowers. 

Buttons and stars cake! 

Marble stars cake

The Renshaw products were so fun to work with, all the colours are really even and so vibrant. The ready to roll fondant is lovely and soft and malleable, which makes it a pleasure to mould. I especially loved the effect I got when marbling colours together. I'm looking forward to coming up with fun ways to use the rest of my Renshaw stash! 

If you'd like to get your hands on your own Renshaw stash of goodies, then I have one to giveaway to a lucky reader - to enter just use the Gleam App below. 

Good Luck Everyone! 

And Happy Baking! 

Mrs B 

xxx


WIN a Renshaw Baking Hamper

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Apricot Shortbread from Whitworths

Today I'm bring you my final recipe from my work with Whitworths on the #whitworthsbakingchallenge. A lovely simple twist on a traditional shortbread recipe, these biscuits are super quick and easy to bake, perfect for baking with children, and most importantly they taste really delicious. 

The really great thing about baking shortbread is that you will usually find you already have all of the ingredients in your store cupboard, and it is such a versatile recipe you can add any flavouring you'd like. Why not try a little lemon zest, some mixed spice for a Christmassy feel, some chocolate chips or even some sultanas...the possibilities are endless. 



APRICOT SHORTBREAD

Ingredients

70g Whitworths Chopped Apricots
125g unsalted butter, softened
55g caster sugar
180g plain flour
1 tsp good vanilla extract

Method

Pre heat your oven to 160℃ then lightly grease a baking tray.

Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and then add the flour, vanilla and chopped apricots to form a dough. 


Roll out on a lightly floured surface. approximately 1 cm thick and cut into 12 biscuits with your favourite cutter. 



Place onto a baking tray and then chill for 20 minutes in the fridge. 


Bake in the centre of your oven for 16-18 minutes until a pale golden colour.


Allow to cool completely on a wire rack then eat and enjoy!


You could also try dipping the biscuits in your favourite chocolate then enjoy them once the chocolate has set. 

We opted for the plain shortbread with added chopped apricot pieces and they were really delicious. The apricot pieces go jammy and chewy after baking and add a lovely sweet hit to the crunch and crumble of the buttery biscuit. 

We took a bit tin of them along to a friends garden party and they were devoured by both adults and children alike! 

It's been really fun teaming up with Whitworths on this series of bakes and I hope you've enjoyed the recipes I've shared. 

I'm off back to the kitchen now as I have a batch of freshly baked digestive biscuits that need dipping in dark chocolate... must dash!

Happy Baking Everyone! 

Mrs B

xxx