Friday, 25 August 2017

A Wonderful Family Day Out At Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire. Topiary bushes.

Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire is just an hours drive from our house - we've seen various leaflets and had a few recommendations from friends that it's a brilliant family day out, and we had been meaning to go with our animal mad little boy for ages, but had never gotten round to it! 

On Tuesday we managed to rectify the situation as it was Bert's 4th birthday - and what better way to celebrate than to finally take him to Paradise? 

You know when you've been talking to your kids about a day out for weeks, and then the day arrives and you suddenly panic that it's going to be rubbish and they will be disappointed? This was me on Tuesday morning! I have an irrational fear of the unknown, and having never been to PWP before I was suddenly gripped with panic that our expectations were too high and we might be left wanting.

It turns out I needn't have worried as it was the best family day out we could have asked for - Paradise impressed us immensely. We were there from 12pm -6pm and could easily have squashed in a few more hours of fun - so next time (and there will be a next time) we'll get there for 10am instead. 


The Bishops Do Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

THE ANIMALS

I have to start with the obvious, right? The animals. I've visited many zoos, farms, wildlife parks etc over the years (being a teacher for 7 years meant many school trips!) and I can honestly say that never before have I been so impressed with the variety of animals for you to encounter. Paradise provides such an eclectic mix of creatures - from your classic farm animals: pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, guinea pigs, chinchillas to amazing Wild Cats, reptiles, African animals, monkeys, birds of paradise and so much more. 

Not only is there a diverse selection of animals to see, but you can also get so close to them - their enclosures still feel plenty big for them, but they're designed in a way that means the public can get great views and vantage points - especially on the Big Cat Treetops Walk. It blew my mind how close I could get, yet still feel safe. 

The pictures should speak for themselves...

Camel at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

White Tiger at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

Lovebird at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

Toucan at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

Zebra at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

The other thing I noted about not only the animal enclosures but also the recreational areas too - was how clean it all was. Nothing looked tired or unloved - and the enclosures were lush with greenery and there was plenty to keep the animals occupied within their enclosures.

Lioness at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

You know those rare family days out where the kids behave impeccably, all time scales go according to plan, and you happen to time everything just perfectly all day? This was us on Tuesday! The birthday gods were smiling on us that's for sure! 

We left on time (this NEVER happens), had a smooth journey with zero traffic, enjoyed an hours mooch around the Animal Park before heading to buy some lunch in the diner, we arrived there at 1pm (peak lunch time) and only had to queue for 5 minutes to get our fresh (hot) food, and we were in and out of the diner in 40 minutes - giving us 4 more hours to enjoy the park! The weather was perfect all day - warm but cloudy, no rain at all - BOOM!

Not only did we time lunch right, we also arrived at The Big Cats section just in time to watch someone doing the 'Feed The White Lions' experience. We couldn't believe our luck! We watched through the fence as the man got to feed one of the stunning white lions - they were literally 2 meters away from us, and I snapped these amazing photos of the impressive beast! Bert couldn't believe what he was seeing, and Liam and I were THRILLED to have seen such an amazing sight. 

Lion being fed at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

I took so many more photos of the animals throughout the day - but I don't want to spoil all the surprises for you, so I won't share them all. Just trust me when I tell you that there's so much to see. 

LUNCH TIME/THE FOOD

As I said earlier, we headed to Sam's Safari Diner for lunch - and only had to queue for 5 mins to get our fresh hot and cold foods. Bert opted for a children's lunch box which included sandwich, drink, packet of crisps, piece of fruit and chocolate bar, I went for a double egg and cress sandwich which was delicious - very fresh and bursting full of filling. Liam went all out (he's in full on 'holiday mode' this week) and had the buttermilk chicken burger with cheese, bacon and chips - and said it was piping hot and delicious. Both Liam and I had soft drinks, and Bert's box came with a juice. The whole lot cost us £22, which is pretty good value for the quality of what we ate. Connie ate little tastes of all of our foods, and had her own little baby snacks with her to enjoy too - we don't call her 'Dustbin Baby' for nothing - she's forever finishing all the food we leave, little piglet. 

If you don't want to spend extra money on food when you visit Paradise there are an abundance of lovely picnic areas so you can enjoy a homemade lunch. 

There's also an incredible cafe hidden in the big cats treetop walk called Tiger Treetops which looks straight into the Tiger enclosure, it's absolutely amazing - so I urge you to head there for a cup of tea and afternoon slice of cake if you need refuelling during the day - you won't regret it! 

PLAYTIME

Aside from the animals, Paradise is absolutely packed full of amazing play equipment - honestly, you could spend all day there just working your way around the many adventure playgrounds, slides etc. 

From bumpy slides to enclosed snake slide, pirate ship adventure playground to real Fire Engine play vehicle there's something for all ages at Paradise. Play equipment also includes: steam train slide, mini climbing wall, go-karts, digger/construction sight, sand pit, on-safari golf, train ride, trim trail and all your usual swings, climbing frames etc - you're children won't know what to dive into first! Bert was in playground heaven - and nothing was pitched too much above what he could manage physically, so I wasn't beside myself with worry watching him on equipment where I though he was likely to hurt himself at any second (I'm SUCH a worry wart!). 

Snake Slide at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

Dragon Slide at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

Pirate Ship Adventure Playground at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

Train slide at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

Gypsy Caravan at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

Paradise is divided into two clear sections, making it easy to navigate and plan your day with a semblance of order - in a nutshell, the left side of the main drive houses the animals and the right side the food and play equipment. 

LEFT SIDE = Animal Park where the majority of the animals are housed, the ARC (Animal Resource Centre), Safari Golf, Discovery Centre, Birds at Paradise and Gift Shop.

RIGHT SIDE = Food, stage area (for the many shows/activities), woodland railway and Adventure Land (all the play equipment), Jumble Jungle Soft Play, the Paradise Lagoon Paddling Pool and the Marquee and Event area. 

We moved between the two areas throughout the day, as necessary, I loved how close everything felt - nothing is a major trek at Paradise, so it's perfect for little toddler legs - Bert didn't ask to go on our shoulders or use the buggy board once, and even Connie walked around on her reins for loads of the day! 

We ended our day over in the right side of the park - spending the last hour between Paradise Lagoon Paddling Pool and Jumble Jungle Soft Play - there's nothing like squeezing the last bits of energy out of your kids to ensure a quiet journey home! Ha! 

Paddling Pool at Paradise Wildlife Park

Both Bert and Connie LOVED the paddling pool - I drew the short straw and went in with them (leggings rolled up, a slight for sore eyes!) luckily it was a warm day, so the cold paddle and splashing was a welcome cool-down, and no matter how cold, how couldn't be happy at seeing the sheer delight on their childrens faces? Bert was nervous to go down the slide at the paddling pool at first, knowing him well we knew it best not to force the issue and just let him watch the other children enjoy it, and realise for himself that he would in fact enjoy it, and was absolutely capable. After 15 minutes he plucked up the courage, and then that was it, he spent the rest of the time launching himself down the slide and 'squeeeeee'ing at the top of his voice with delight. 

Connie is a massive water baby and we had to endure the mother of all tantrums when we got her out - she was not a happy bunny. In fact, so disgruntled was Connie that her splashy time was over that she proceeded to wee all over me while I got her changed. Thanks Con! Good job it was the end of the day and I was wearing a dark outfit...!

Soft Play at Paradise Wildlife Park

The kids quickly forgot their upset at leaving the paddling pool when they set eyes on the soft play! They teared around here for the last half an hour, doing their best impressions of wild cats, before we bundled them in the car and headed home for a fish and chip shop supper at Bert's request. 

What a marvellous day! 

LITTLE EXTRAS

There are lovely little touches at Paradise that make it an extra special place such as the Sign with Olli cards placed around the animal enclosures teaching children the signs for the different animals. Bert loved learning them and even knew a few already thanks to his love of Justin Fletcher and Something Special. 

Sign with Olli at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire

THE CUTE PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES (A BLOGGER'S HEAVEN!)

Paradise is bursting with the cutest photo opportunities too - I was in bloggers heaven! These little snaps should give you a small taste of the sorts of cute family shots you can get when you visit...

Penguin Falls at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
Which penguin are you as tall as Bert?

Bert at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
CHEESE with a cheetah!

Bert at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
New friends!

THE GROUNDS

Last, and by no means least - I was really blown away by how beautifully well looked after the grounds at Paradise are - from lush flower beds and hanging baskets, to a stunning woodland; the whole park was clean, tidy and inviting. 

Flowers at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
Amazing hanging baskets! 

The Woodland Walk at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
Stunning woodland

Dinosaurs at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
Dino surprises on the Woodland Railway!

Dinosaurs at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
Dino surprises on the Woodland Railway!

Flowers at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
More lush flower displays amongst the play equipment. 

HAPPY FAMILY TIMES

Best of all was sharing this happy day with my gang and watching the sheer joy and delight on their faces all day long. These pictures absolutely speak for themselves, you can see that they're oozing with happiness... 

Connie at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
Connie woke up from a little nap to see her favourite the "BIRDS" (one of her clear words) - her nursery is decorated with Quentin Blake 'Cockatoos' wallpaper, and she has a big wooden flying parrot mobile hanging from her ceiling, which she says goodnight to each night before bed - 'BIRD' was one of her very early words, and she was delighted when she woke up to see them all. 

Bert at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
4 going on 14? Bert wrapped up in fleece and Daddy's hat after half an hour in the paddling pool.

Connie at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire
This munchkin enjoyed walking round the park in her reins and new pink shoes (talk about an outfit clash - the downside of having a choice of pink or pink for her first pair of shoes, sort it out Clarks!). 

The Bishops Do Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire.
Bert discovered that now he's 4 he is big enough to push the buggy for us (lol) 

Liam and Connie on the train at Paradise Wildlife Park
Happy faces! Daddy and Connie on the Woodland Railway. 

PRICES & VALUE FOR MONEY

*You can get 10% off your ticket prices if you book online*

Children under 2 go free! 

Online prices (including 10% discount):

£50.49 for 2 adults 1 child
£65.34 for 2 adults 2 children 

Being parents to an animal mad little boy - we've visited our fair share of zoos, farms, wildlife parks and aquariums etc - I can honestly say that so far, out of all the places we have visited, that Paradise has provided us with the most value for money. Hands down. 

We spent money there on buying lunch in Safari Sam's Diner and an ice cream from the kiosk, but you could easily have taken a picnic and snacks and saved yourself the extra expense. 

We also let Bert spend £20 of his birthday money in the gift shop as it was his actual birthday - but there's such a huge variety of small items available in the shop, you could easily get away with just spending a few pounds to bring a little souvenir away with you. I particularly liked the 12 small animal figures for £3.00 deal - what a bargain! 

Without the added extras of buying lunch, ice cream and gifts in the gift shop - the only other cost to us was £3 for all of us to go on the train ride, which was adorable, and £1 for Bert to have a go on the squirting water pistol game. I mean, it's not going to break the bank, right?

We could easily have amused ourselves there all day long from when the park opens at 9:30am and stayed until 6pm - without being tempted by the extras that would have cost us a total of £50.49p - 8.5 hours of uninterrupted family fun for £50 - I don't think that's bad at all. 

We'll most definitely head back there again soon, this time bringing other members of the extended family, who are now all desperate to visit after hearing us wax lyrical about it. 

Have you been to Paradise Wildlife Park yet?

Mrs B

xxx

We we're given a family ticket to Paradise Wildlife Park in return for this honest review.
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Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Mrs B's Potato Salad Recipe - Ultimate BBQ Side Dish

I know it's a little late in the summer to be talking barbecues, but us Bishops are late to the barbecue game this season having only just replaced our old and knackered barbecue with a brand new shiny one!

Naturally, the weather through the summer holidays has been more than a little disappointing (this is the UK after all), so instead we're now pinning our hopes on an Indian summer - please let there be some warmer weather heading our way for September...!

I love to cook, but even the keenest of chefs needs a break every now and then, so I'm all for easy dinners where Liam does the actual cooking (he loves to man the BBQ, I hate it - too hot!) and all I have to do is make some salad, potato salad and maybe a coleslaw if I'm so inclined.

Mr Bishop's shiny new Master Cook BBQ
Shiny new BBQ!

We Christened the new gas barbecue on Saturday with a family celebration for Bert's 4th Birthday (how is my baby boy 4??). It was so lovely to get all the immediate family together and enjoy eating al fresco - there's nothing quite like the smell of sausages and burgers sizzling on the grill, is there?

flame grilled meat on BBQ

One thing that does worry me slightly when it comes to cooking on the barbie is ensuring good hygiene and food safety. I'm a very confident chef in the kitchen, but when relinquishing control to Liam and watching him cook with such a volatile heat source (when compared to my nice reliable oven) I start to get a little nervous.

Luckily, the people at Fishpools have created this handy BBQ cheat sheet, which enables you to attack your next barbecue with ultimate confidence - with advice about defrosting your meat, safe cooking times, right through to safe internal food temperatures. 

Fishpools BBQ Cheat Sheet

DID YOU KNOW? 
  • Fishpools recently ran a survey that discovered that only 14% of people (1000 participants) could correctly identify that vegetables are the second most common cause of food poisoning each year.   
  • 40% of respondents also didn’t know that your BBQ grill is twice as dirty as a toilet seat!

Liam did a sterling job with our barbecue on Saturday - he knows his stuff when it comes to handling raw meats, using separate tongs and ensuring things are cooked through. For extra peace of mind though we always use a digital food thermometer to check the internal temperatures of the meats before serving them. If you don't have one in your kitchen kit I'd really recommend getting one, they're not very expensive and so useful. 

On Saturday's BBQ we went for classic Aberdeen Angus beef burgers in brioche buns plus both traditional pork and sweet chilli pork sausages (also in brioche buns - hello Aldi - best buns ever!) plus cooked onions and all the sauces. I whipped up a mean potato salad, huge fresh salad, and opened a big tub of Aldi's 'Specially Selected' coleslaw, which is our favourite shop-bought coleslaw by far. It was glorious and everyone really enjoyed it - no one got ill (yay!), and Bert got to enjoy his favourite foods (burgers and sausages) with lots of loved ones around him, win! 

Now, I can't really call this a recipe as such, much more an assembly job - but if you want to know how to make a mean potato salad then read on... 

BBQ dinner a la Mrs Bishop

MRS B'S EASY POTATO SALAD (serves 10)

Ingredients

1kg Charlotte potatoes, boiled for 30 mins
500g real mayonaise
huge bunch of fresh dill, fresh mint and fresh basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

Method

1. Boil potatoes for 20-30 minutes until soft. 
2. Drain potatoes and leave them to cool slightly while you chop your herbs. 
3. Chop potatoes into halves or quarters (depending on size), then combine with mayonnaise and chopped herbs. 
4. Mix until fully combined (don't worry if some of the potatoes smash up).
5. Season very well with cracked black pepper and sea salt. 

Super simple, super tasty. 

Pimp up your potatoes for the ultimate BBQ side dish. 

Here's hoping for a few more barbecues this summer - and maybe even some cheeky autumn barbies too!

Happy Grilling Folks!

Mrs B

xx

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Sunday, 20 August 2017

Melting Ice Cream Hidden Stripe Funfetti Cake Recipe

I cannot believe my tiny boy is turning 4 this week...where have those four years gone? My baby boy starts full time school in just a couple of weeks and so I am soaking up every last moment with him, before my sidekick spends most of his weekdays somewhere else (anyone else feel/felt a tiny bit bereft when their little ones started school - like I actually feel like he's being stolen away from me! Ha!) 


Bert Bishop aged 1 and 4
Bert aged 1 and 4 - where has my baby gone?
We celebrated his special day a tad early this weekend with his two sets of grandparents, aunties and uncles etc. We had a lovely family day - opening presents, playing with his new toys, singing happy birthday, blowing out the candles on his birthday cake and then a lovely BBQ in the garden in the evening. Happy family times. 

Today, I want to share with you the recipe for the amazing birthday cake I made for him - I don't always get a chance to bake my kids birthday cakes - with my work schedule the way it is, and a whirlwind of a toddler (Connie) on my hands 24/7, I often struggle to find time for any extras such as cake baking or crafting - but I was determined this year that I'd make Bert a special cake...wanting to spoil him as much as possible before school begins. 

I saw the idea for this cake in a video I came across when scrolling my Facebook timeline - good old social media, eh? I did my research, reading tens of recipes and methods - and taking all my preferred bits from each to create this uber cool cake...

Melting Ice Cream Hidden Stripe Funfetti Cake


^^ Why not Pin This for later ^^
This cake is made up of four sponges - two chocolate flavour and two vanilla - shaved until perfectly flat (save the cake shavings for later!!) and then stacked alternately to create a stripe affect. The sponges are full of hundreds and thousands/sprinkles to create the "funfetti" effect. 

I've sandwiched the layers together with a super indulgent vanilla cream cheese frosting, then crumb coated & covered using vanilla buttercream (which is firmer than the cream cheese frosting and so takes the drip better). I added sprinkles in a border around the bottom of the cake, then left to harden in the fridge. 

After a few hours in the fridge to firm up (I left mine overnight) I topped the cake with chocolate Mirror Glaze by Cake Decor to create a drip effect. 

Using the cake shavings from the sponges you create a giant cake pop (cake crumbs & buttercream squished together) to create an ice cream scoop size ball, which you also cover in mirror glaze, and place on the top of the cake using a cake pop stick to attach. The end of the cake pop stick coming out the top is then attached to a waffle cone, which you also fill with cake pop, to give the effect of a melted ice cream atop the cake. 

Read below for full ingredients and method...


Melting Ice Cream Drip Cake with funfetti stripe sponge
Cake porn..

INGREDIENTS

For the sponge cakes:

300g caster sugar
450g butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
8 eggs
450g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
4 tbsp whole milk
200g sprinkles

50g raw cacao powder or cocoa powder (for the chocolate sponges)

For the Cream Cheese Frosting (to sandwich):

150g softened butter
450g icing sugar, sifted
180g tub full-fat cream cheese
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste


For the Buttercream (crumb coat and icing):

280g butter, softened
560g icing sugar
2 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

Decorations:

1 pot of Cake Decor Mirror Glaze (in desired flavour/colour - I used chocolate)
1 waffle ice cream cone
extra sprinkles for decoration

Equipment:

4 x 20cm/8" cake pans, lined
serrated knife for cutting cakes
Cake board
stand or hand mixer
cake turntable
palette knife 
tea spoon
cake pop lolly stick

METHOD

1. Pre heat oven to 160 fan

2. Line 4 cake tins with butter and baking paper. 

3. Make the sponge batter: Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (I used my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for ease). Next, beat the 8 eggs and then add gradually to the butter/sugar mixture, add a few spoonfuls of flour if the mixture starts to curdle. Add in 1 tbsp of vanilla bean paste, and mix again. 

4. Slowly spoon in the flour and baking powder and beat until fully combined. Add 4 tbsp whole milk to loosen the mixture, then add 200g sprinkles and fold in lightly. 

5. Halve the mixture. Add 50g cacao or cocoa powder to one half of the sponge mixture to make it chocolatey in flavour. 

6. Spoon each half of the mixture into two tins - you should have four cakes in total - two vanilla, and two chocolate. 

Vanilla funfetti cake batter
7. Bake for 30 minutes until risen, golden and a skewer comes out clean. I baked all four cakes at the same time, and moved them from top>bottom bottom>top shelf after 15 minutes to ensure an even bake. 

8. Leave to fully cool on a wire rack. 

9. Make the cream cheese frosting: beat the butter with half of the icing sugar until fully combined and fluffy. Next, add in the cream cheese and the rest of the icing sugar, beating it once again until fully combined. Finally, add the vanilla bean paste and beat until incorporated.

10. Once the cakes are fully cooled - remove from tins and trim each of them using a serrated knife until the tops are flat. Take your time with this and just shave a little off at a time. Save all the cake shavings/crumbs in a bowl (obviously have a little taste, for quality control purposes!). 

baked funfetti sponge

trimmed funfetti sponge

11. Place your cake board atop the cake turntable if you have one (I really recommend getting one - they're super cheap on Amazon and make cake decorating and icing sooooo much easier!) then blob a little bit of the cream cheese frosting onto your cake board, and place your first sponge onto the cake board, the frosting should help keep it in place. 

12. Layer on some cream cheese frosting to cover the whole cake, then add the next layer - alternate between vanilla and chocolate layers to get a stripe effect when cut. Layer each cake with more frosting until you have a tall tower of a cake. Place in the fridge to set a little while you make the buttercream. 

13. Make the buttercream: Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and two tablespoons of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth.

14. Make your cake pops: Add two tablespoons of your buttercream to your cake crumbs, and squidge together to make a round ice cream scoop size ball. It should hold together firmly - if it doesn't just add a little more buttercream.Flatten the bottom slightly so it will sit flush on top of your cake. Add the remaining cake pop mixture into the cavity of the waffle cone, and poke a cake pop lolly stick down into it, then push through your ice cream scoop cake pop - so they all hold together. Make sure an inch or so of the stick comes out the bottom of the ice cream scoop to attach into the cake itself later. Take waffle & stick out of scoop, leaving a hole, as you need to cover the scoop in chocolate drip before it goes on top of the cake later. 

15. Crumb coat your cake: Halve what's left of your buttercream mixture and place one half in a bowl in the fridge until you need it. Use the other half to crumb coat your cake. To crumb coat apply a very thin layer of buttercream over the entire cake using a palette knife. This is when the turntable really comes into its own! Place in the fridge to harden for a few hours (minimum half an hour, but the longer you leave it the better the final icing will look). 

crumb coated funfetti cake


16. Ice your cake: Now it's time to add your final main layer of buttercream - remove the pre-made buttercream from the fridge and beat again to bring back to life. Using a palette knife, cover the whole cake in a slightly thicker layer of buttercream until you can no longer see any of the sponge cake showing through. 

iced funfetti cake

17. Sprinkle the sprinkles all round the bottom edge of the cake and push lightly into the buttercream so they stick, this creates a fun and funky little edge/border and also helps to make the cake look neater. Place cake in the fridge for a few hours to harden (I left mine over night).

18. Final decorations: Take the lid off of your pot of mirror glaze and place in the microwave for 30 seconds, then stir, return to microwave for another 20 seconds and again stir - at this point mine was glossy and runny - pop back in if yours is still a little lumpy. Get cake from fridge and allow mirror glaze to cool slightly (to avoid melting the buttercream) I left mine for about 3 minutes. Place cake back on turntable, and using a tea spoon very slowly spoon the mirror glaze all around the edge of the cake so that it slowly drips down the sides. Once you're happy with all the drips you can spoon more glaze across the top until the whole top of the cake is coated. 

19. Place your ice cream scoop cake pop on a plate, and again using a tea spoon use the remaining mirror glaze to completely cover the cake pop. Use a palette knife and your fingers to transfer the cake pop to the top of the cake and carefully touch up any finger marks with mirror glaze. 

ice cream scoop cake pop

20. Finally, carefully push the lollipop stick and waffle cone combo into the top of the ice cream scoop until secure. You can add extra sprinkles at this point if required.

21. RELAX and enjoy scoffing your masterpiece. 

22. Get someone else to clear up. 

Watch this super satisfying time-lapse video of me adding the mirror glaze drip to my cake...




And here's the final cake... 

T'ah D'ah!
Melting chocolate ice cream hidden stripe funfetti cake.
I was so chuffed with the final cake, and more importantly so was Bert! A real show-stopper I think you'll agree. 


Melting Ice Cream Drip Cake with Funfetti stripe sponge
All ready for singing "Happy Birthday" and blowing out the candles...
Here's a few photos of the inside of the cake too...isn't it pretty and effective? 


Inside of the Melting Ice Cream Drip Cake with Funfetti stripe sponge

Inside of the Melting Ice Cream Drip Cake

What have you been baking recently?

Mrs B

xxx

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 

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