Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Halloween Preparation - Crealy and Pumpkin Carving

On Saturday we went to Crealy to take part in some Halloween fun…


There were lots of pumpkins to choose from (one free per child)…


Trick or treating (aka taking a lolly out of a witch’s hand!)…


And spooky games of which Izzy won one (each time the music stopped they had to “be” either a zombie, a ghost or a pumpkin. Izzy was a zombie every single time but the man never chose zombies to be out!!)


However, despite all the Halloween fun, the thing the children enjoyed most was something that is there year round…the animal barn…in particular the goats!


We also went on a few rides. Izzy and I went on the pirate ship (which was freezing!!) while Toby went on the carousel, and then Toby loved it so much that they went on the carousel again together…


This was the first time that Toby really “got” Crealy and was able to appreciate most of it. When he got off the carousel he was too busy excitedly chattering to me about it to pose for this photo…!!


After being forced to go through the shop (I was so annoyed when they got rid of the exit that avoided the shop, although the children are used to us saying no to buying things most times now, it was me that wanted to buy Halloween decorations!!)


we went home and Toby napped while Izzy and Liam got to work on the pumpkins…


Izzy was a bit grossed out by the pumpkin innards…and then got a bit hyper when she overcame her fear and got stuck in!


For pumpkin #1, Liam stuck with a relatively simple face design…


For pumpkin #2, Izzy had lost enthusiasm so gone off to play elsewhere, so Liam got a bit more creative with some ghosts!


Pumpkins…done! Toby thought they were very cool when he woke up!! Smile


Do you celebrate Halloween? Any plans for tomorrow? We’re not doing much tomorrow. Izzy is going to a kids club all day which involves doing a show for the parents at the end of the day. They are encouraged to bring Halloween costumes if they have them so I’m hoping that Izzy’s witch outfit from last year still fits! Then in the evening I’ve bought a new DVD for us to watch while hoping the doorbell rings – we don’t go out trick or treating ourselves but Izzy absolutely loves giving out sweets to other children – she got so excited last year but we’re slightly more out the way in this house so I’m hoping we still get some callers! We will do a bit more Halloween stuff at the weekend though – I’m planning a Halloween “party” on Saturday for my family, but will show photos & ramble on more about that after its happened!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Nail Polish Storage and Favourites

We made it to half term! Our itinerary for the week is already filling up quickly (why does that always happen??!) but for today, Izzy requested a “PJ day” and – especially as it is wet & windy outside – I was happy to agree. While they snuggle up watching Bee Movie, I have finally got time to sit down and write this post – its been in my mind for ages, but getting the words onto the screen takes a bit longer!!

I realised a while back that I haven’t shown you Liam’s latest DIY creation. Unless you follow me on Instagram that is, in which case you’ve seen it 3 or 4 times as its got more and more full!!


Liam used a tutorial on Flutter and Sparkle’s blog to make this, he had a bit of difficulty finding the right wood – he was wanting wood that was already white on both sides, but in the end he painted it with white primer – but once he’d got everything he needed it was pretty easy to make. Mine is smaller than the original as I have nowhere near as many polishes as her, plus this size fits perfectly over the mantelpiece in our bedroom.

I have used Liam building this as a bit of an excuse to go on a nail shopping binge!! I took that photo of my shelves yesterday, but since then Liam came home last night with a gift for me…he’d braved TKMaxx in his lunch break to buy me my first ever Nails Inc polishes!


I tried out the purple glitter, Buckingham Street, this morning and it is a gorgeous colour. I was in a bit of a rush to paint my nails though (as I got a text from my friend halfway through saying that her veg box had arrived, so I was expecting mine to turn up any moment!) so my cuticles got a bit messy…any recommendations for nail polish remover that cleans off glitter really well? I usually clean up the edges of my nails with cotton buds and remover, but that doesn’t work so well with glitter polishes.

My other recent discovery is Fragrance Direct…Essie nail polishes for only £1.99…yes please!! They don’t have the full range of colours, but they are so much cheaper than anywhere else that it is definitely worth checking out. I bought Essie Muchi Muchi and Ballet Slippers, plus a couple of Revlon nail polishes for only 99p and a few other bits…


The sponge wedges at the back are to do gradient nails, which I tried out for the first time on Wednesday night. Next time I need to use more contrasting colours as it is difficult to really see the gradient – neither colour was really pale enough to act as the base coat I think. I will also paint them in better light next time – these turned out a bit blocky (what you can see of it anyway!) as I thought the purple wasn’t showing up at all so tried to sponge extra purple on at the end. Not bad for a first attempt though, practise will hopefully eventually make perfect!


My favourite nails this week, however, are definitely these ones…


Barry M Blue Moon topped with Barry M Aqua Glitter…


This kind of reminds me of snowflakes, so I’m telling myself its ok to wear throughout Winter (and then after that it will morph into a spring-like colour…of course!! Winking smile) love it!

Ok, I think that’s probably enough nail polish rambling for now. I can already picture my Mum and Sister rolling their eyes whilst reading this, but I hope I haven’t bored the rest of you too much!! I will no doubt be back to talking about food soon, but this is another current love of mine at the moment. Well, I say current, even when I was aged 8 or 9, I used to spend the £1 a week pocket money my parents gave me on nail polishes…the first two colours I ever bought were glittery black and acid green!!

Do you like painting your nails? What are your favourite brands? I used to only really paint my toes, as my fingers always chipped too quickly, but a good quality top coat does help that a bit. For colours, I love Barry M and Rimmel from the cheaper brands - they are the best quality in the £3-4 price range I think, and Barry M especially has such a wide range of colours. Reading American blogs introduced me to Essie, and I was so happy when Boots started selling them, although I do tend to mostly buy them online (Fragrance Direct or Ebay) for cheaper prices. I love the look of a lot of Nails Inc glitters too, but as they are more pricey I have sent Liam an email with a list of favourites from Beauty Bay website (free delivery makes them seem slightly cheaper?!) and promised him that I wont buy them myself. Hopefully that will make Christmas slightly easier for him anyway – he always struggles to think of gift ideas for me!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Delicious Dinner

…made even more perfect by the fact that I didn’t have to cook it!

Red cabbage with apple (and chopped veggie sausages added at the end), honey roasted carrots, and yorkshire puddings…

Hate the rubbish lighting, this food deserved better photos!!

Even Toby, who has been a bit "picky" lately, gobbled up the red cabbage with a smile!


Followed by apple crumble that Liam made with the children this afternoon, topped with lots of custard of course!


Liam even cleared up the kitchen during the 30 minute wait between courses, while I snuggled on the sofa with the children…

photo (100)

Amazing, thanks Liam! Open-mouthed smile

What are you all up to this weekend? Any exciting plans? We are having a quiet one here to recover from a hectic week. The children managed to skip the stomach bug thankfully, but we are still all shattered…only 4 more school days until half term, I cannot wait!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Jordans Granola Giveaway WINNER

Really quick post from me this evening as we are suffering from a stomach bug in the Porridge & Parsnips’ household at the moment. I came down with it on Wednesday but luckily felt so much better after just 12 hours, and just spent Thursday feeling shaky due to not having eaten much on Wednesday. (Liam, however, managed to – for the first time ever – accidentally take the car keys with him to work on Thursday, which meant that on a day when I really wanted to get home quickly to eat breakfast, I had to do the school run – in the pouring rain – on foot…but that’s a whole other rant!!!!! Winking smile)

Today Liam has come down with the bug so I'm hoping he, too, will feel better soon - it seems to be a 24 hours max kind of thing. I am currently crossing my fingers that the children don’t come down with it. Sadly I don't think that's a particularly realistic hope as the bug has already swept through most of our school’s community. I hate seeing them feel ill…plus clearing up after them is definitely one of the less pleasant aspects of being a parent!!

Izzy did make me, kind of, laugh on Wednesday – just before she went to bed she asked if I’d had a good day. I replied not really, as I’d felt (and at that time was still feeling) really ill…but she just would not accept my answer. She eventually said “no, you’re not listening properly – did you have a nice day when you had a nap and a bath [while Toby napped]” and I said that no, I’d only had those things to try to make me feel better etc etc. She just could not accept that I could have one day when I wasn’t happy!!! Bless her, I think she found it quite strange seeing me poorly as normally I manage to avoid bugs even when the others get them, but at the time it was quite frustrating to have to justify to a 6 year-old that I hadn’t had a brilliant day whilst being ill…I probably should have just said yes for an easy life!!!

Anyway, moving on to more pleasant things…it’s time to announce the winner of a bag of Jordans Super Fruity Granola plus a box of their nut bars…


And the winner is…

Giveaway Result

Winning Comment

Congratulations Lara!! Please email me at porridgeandparsnips@live.co.uk with your delivery information. Thanks to everyone else who entered as well, I really enjoyed reading all your favourite breakfasts.

Right, that is me done. I hope to back soon with a proper post, I have lots to share with you all, just no energy to actually share it. Hope everyone’s having a good weekend!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

WIAW - Popcorn & DVD night

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

Today’s post is based on Saturday, as I thought it would be fun to natter about what I do on the weekend, although actually this Saturday was a bit of a quiet one so this might be a relatively short post!

I’ve started going to a spin class on Saturday mornings at 9am. Consequently the children have decided that Saturdays are the one and only day they are going to let us sleep past 7! Gah, dragging myself out of bed when they are still sleeping/being quiet is not pleasant, but the spin class is a really good one so its worth it! My Mum goes to the class too which is nice for a quick catch up, and my littlest sister is going to start as well, she didn’t get in this week as it is such a busy class – you have to book on the Friday morning, 8 days in advance, to get in! My legs were very sore this week as I also went spinning on the Friday night, due to my normal Body Pump class being cancelled, I definitely prefer doing pump one day, spin the next rather than two consecutive spins. It was a one-off though...lesson learnt!

After spinning I came home and enjoyed a big bowl of porridge for breakfast/brunch. Pumpkin porridge with cinnamon, topped with Green&Black’s dark chocolate with crystallised ginger. The pumpkin and crystallised ginger went so well together, and of course chocolate makes everything better - definitely a combo I'll make again during "pumpkin season". Plus a much needed coffee – I didn’t wake up in time to have one before spinning this week!


I ate this outside in the sunshine to make the most of the (rare these days) lovely weather. I must get back into the habit of making porridge again – this was such a treat Smile

I had another, unpictured, coffee mid-afternoon, but apart from that I didn’t end up eating again until dinner time. I’ve not been sleeping too well lately so when the children napped in the afternoon I took the opportunity to do the same, and by the time I woke up and then got hungry again, it wasn’t long til dinner.

Liam fancied greasy freezer food (meat-free sausages & burgers, onion rings and chips!!) which I didn’t fancy at all so I did my own thing, whilst still keeping it easy to prep. A Caribbean sweet potato roast from the freezer (a new product in the meat-free Tesco range, really good) with asparagus, two fried eggs, a little bit of leftover avocado and sweet chilli sauce…


Yum, this was just what i fancied – flavourful without being greasy! The sweet potato roast didn’t crisp up as much as I’d like, but I loved the warm chilli flavour that it had, a nice addition to the usual meat-free frozen range.

Once the children were in bed, Liam and I watched Chalet Girls – a DVD that my Mum had rented and then passed on to us to watch/return to the shop for her! Typical rom com, but quite funny and an easy watch for a Saturday night. Accompanied by two bowls of the most gorgeous popcorn…


I first came across Joe&Seph’s popcorn when Liam and I went to London in July – I had the cinnamon coconut caramel flavour that time. This one was caramel & sea salt and was equally delicious. Even without all the added flavours, I find the caramel itself so much smoother than on other toffee popcorns.


I noticed that Lakeland’s have started selling a few flavours of this – my local one has the sea salt one above, plus caramel with ginger; caramel macchiato with Scotch whisky; and goats cheese with black pepper. I ended up looking on their website on Saturday night though – there are so many flavours I want to try…I’ll be placing an order soon I think!!

What would be your ideal popcorn flavour? Have you ever tried Joe&Seph’s popcorn? I am most tempted by the seasonal flavours – particularly toffee apple, gingerbread and mince pie – and also the peanut butter flavour and the vanilla cream cheese and/or strawberry cheesecake, haha, I could go on but my bank balance might not approve!! They also do quite a few savoury flavours but I don’t fancy them so much, I had (a different brand) cheese popcorn once before but I found it tasted a bit too strong and artificial to me so I think I'll stick to the sweet versions for now. (and yes, I realise that raving about caramel popcorn is pretty much the opposite of yesterday's post...luckily my dentist only thinks to check that I don't use sugar in my hot drinks!!!)

If you live in the UK, don't forget to enter my giveaway for Jordans Granola and Nut Bars - you have until midnight tonight to enter!
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