Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Crafts - Salt Dough Christmas Tree Decorations

The Bairn is 13 months old. I have come to discover that this is NOT an optimal age for attempting to make beautiful, rustic, sentimental type craft-stuffs. It is, in fact, pure folly to suggest such a thing is possible. But YOU CAN start off enthusiastically, involve your own Bairn (to some extent), and come up with something you wouldn't be too ashamed to pass onto The Grannies at Chrimbo. Lets face it - they love anything your wee cherub has had a hand in, and are largely likely to be what we in The Trade call "presbyopic". They need reading specs to see close up, so just make sure the afore-mentioned specs are not to hand on presenting your gift to your mum/dad/in laws/out laws. Unless you're as awesome as me, and have AGAINST ALL ODDS co-produced (with my artisan protégée) some truly impeccable works of absolute art. *Not necessarily a fact.*


1/2 cup table salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup of plain flour

1. Mix together ingredients in a bowl until combined. Knead well, adding extra flour if it's getting a bit icky.
2. Leave dough to rest for about 20 minutes.
3. Take your lump and roll it flat (about 5-8mm thick) onto a floured flat surface.

4. Make some shapes! We used some funky Ikea woodland animal cookie cutters, but the world's your oyster. Or your cookie cutter collection is. Or go crazy with some freehand cutting action! Don't forget to make a hole for the ribbon to go through. We used an icing nozzle - it was perfect.

Elk + imagination = Rudolph
5. Here's the tricky bit (with a child placed at the table around snack time, not a great idea, I concede) persuade your little helper to squash a handprint on your shapes for an extra personal touch. Those Grannies will love it! Tip for you though - extra help squashing those wee handies down will give deeper, more "hand-printy" results after baking. This is the step we had a minor disagreement about, a disgruntled apprentice resulting in some collateral damage.

"Loving it, loving it... HATE IT MUM! TAKE IT AWAY!"
6. Lay all your beasties onto baking trays lined with grease-proof paper.

7. Bake in an oven for aaaaaages. About 110 degrees Celsius for a few hours will do it. Obviously, you'll want to keep checking every half an hour or so. They need to be hard, but not brown. I light golden colour is best. (I tried a tip from some website - microwave for 5 minutes to start it off. DON'T! Mine ended up a bit puffy, still soft - and I blame the microwave.) Alternatively, leave to air dry for a few days. Aye, right! As if you can wait that long!

8. Once your delectable creations have cooled down, paint them! The Bairn attempted his own brushwork here (yes I really am that stupid), and I think you may be able to spot which of the festive furry friends is his.

You may spot The Bairn's impression of Roadkill.
For painting, I used a mixture of pearlescent, metallic and bright acrylic paints. That's because I have them in the house anyway - I suspect PAINTS ARE NOT TO BE EATEN BY WEE ONES. So a close eye was kept on Cheeky Chops, and he was only given a cheapo water-based paint I picked up especially for him.

I've varnished mine too - and when I get a minute might just paint the back with a message of "To Granny _" A, B or C (yes, we have 3 Grannies) and "From The Bairn"

Cute though eh? Have fun!


Monday, 10 December 2012

Family Food - Mackerel Pâté

Pretty recently, we had our 13 month check-up at home with our (quite frankly, terrific) Heath Visiting Team nurse. She is simply one of the nicest ladies I've met. She's helpful, never patronising, always supportive and makes me feel (for the wee while she's in my living room) like I maybe DO KNOW WHAT I'M DOING! Then of course The Bairn and I wave at her from the front door (as usual, The Bairn's wave follows around 3 minutes after the departing person has disappeared from view) and the old familiar feeling of self-doubt creep in. When she's here, handing me leaflets about nutrition and easy family cooking, I'm all....

"Yeah, actually I have a blog all about this kind of stuff, so I TOTALLY know all about it. I'm pretty much a younger, poorer Annabel Karmel/Nigella/Martha Stewart combo. Amazing really. We're all about oily fish, leafy greens, homemade rice-cakes and vitamin D in this household."

Then I'm like (inside my own tiny cranium).....

"Oily fish? Oily fish? Iron? Vitamin supplements? The Bairn only likes Philadelphia sandwiches! Ohmygod I am a MONSTER."

Thus, today's recipe is all about panic purchasing of stuff that's GREAT FOR YOU, and you should be eating all the time! Also, it was absolutely bloody lovely, if I say so myself. I do, and I just did.


250g of smoked mackerel
100g full fat soft cheese
A cube of frozen spinach - defrosted (or fresh - washed and wilted/blanched)
Black pepper

  1. Take the skin off your fillets, then take out ALL of the bones. It's a painstaking process and I STILL stink of fish. That is a fact. Maybe your friendly neighbourhood fishmonger could do it for you?
  2. Chuck the fish chunks in a food processor with the Philadelphia and spinach and pepper.
  3. Blitz.
  4. This is a bit cheeky isn't it?! Can you even call a recipe this short a recipe? Or just an instruction?

Here's a tip for you. Mackerel is sooooo oily, it makes everything it touches REEK. Best way to get rid of the smell from inside the blender is to wash it first with hot soapy water (as you'd expect), but afterwards rinse with very cold soapy water. It really works! I promise!

Nutritionally, this pâté is great for omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as iron and calcium

Monday, 12 November 2012

Family Food - Enchiladas

I'm soooo extremely tired. The Bairn has been poorly, and also has another tooth on its way. The only thing he wants to eat is yoghurt - regardless of what lovely homemade dishes I present before him. The result being that I'm making several different dishes at each meal in the hope he'll actually eat something. It's so awful when our babies are unwell, isn't it? Feeling so helpless. All I want is for him to be his usual cheeky, perma-hungry, cat-chasing self...

So on that depressing note, here's a recipe for enchiladas. I imagine it has absolutely no resemblance to the actual enchiladas you would find in actual Mexico, but bugger it. It's delicious and cheered up our little family tonight! The Bairn did not find it to be agreeable; instead consumed 3 spoonfuls of Weetabix, a raspberry yogurt and a cup of (very weak) Ovaltine.


2 chicken breasts diced
Onion diced
Clove of garlic crushed
A pepper diced
6 baby corns chopped
Handful of green beans chopped
Tin of chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Black pepper
6 flour tortillas
Grated cheddar
(for kids over one, pinch of salt if you want it, and a generous pinch of caster sugar.)


  1. Pan fry the chicken until sealed
  2. Add onion and garlic, stir fry until onions are soft
  3. Add paprika, chilli, ginger and pepper - fry for a few minutes
  4. Add peppers, baby corn and green beans, stir fry for few more minutes
  5. Add chopped tomatoes, simmer for 10 minutes - cover if your pan allows it - then stir in salt and sugar if using (not essential) heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  6. Arrange tortillas in a dish as shown below
  7. Spoon chicken/veg into each tortilla "shell", then fold tortilla over the top
  8. Ladle remaining sauce over the top (thin it with water if you've little left, or it's all congealed)
  9. Cover with cheese
  10. Bake in oven for 20 minutes - should be golden, and smell AMAZING



Saturday, 10 November 2012

Topic 2. Arts and Crafts - A New Project!

It's been soooo so long since I've painted anything. Only two short years ago, I had aspirations of changing my career and becoming a professional illustrator. Aye, right! Unlikely! A sharp decrease in stress levels as I embarked upon my illustration "career" at college (saying a cheeky "smell ya later, bitch" to optometry - except on Saturdays) resulted in the unexpected conception of The Bairn, or Pip as he was then known. We'd been on the waiting list for IVF (a 22 month marathon in our health board area), and therefore absolutely amazed and delighted that this amazing, pip-sized little smidge had decided to take up residence in my uterus. Especially considering I had seemed uninhabitable to previous prospective tenants.

My new career became Mum, followed by Mum/optometrist (see, I did smell you later, optometry - and you smell exactly the same as you did before. Musty, with the occasional ammonia tinge of cyclopentolate).

I've seen a few things lately that made me think "Come on wummin! Get yer brushes oot, pencils sharpened and pinny on! You could be painting/drawing etc, instead of watching another episode of Dexter/Castle/Modern Family, you lazy little b*do." A couple of days ago though, I was feeling really miserable, and decided to drag the wee man out for a walk in the extremely cold Scottish sunshine. We took a saunter along the canal, which was so still every autumnal shade was reflected in it like a mirror. The fallen leaves were rustling under the buggy wheels, opulent green Mallards were quacking as they glided along the water and The Bairn was treated to his first field full of PROPER cattle, the black and white ones like his own stuffed toy. (Which, by the way, scares the living crap out of him when you squeeze it and it moos.)

Forth and Clyde Canal
So here's a beautiful photo I took with my mobile. How can anyone have an off-day with that on their doorstep? And today I TOOK ACTION. I went onto www.discountart.co.uk and bought 4 canvases, a few huge tubs of acrylic paint and some varnish. All thanks to PayPal, which is responsible for my first pay cheque from my proper job having practically disappeared 2 weeks into the month.

I'm going to do a split canvas for the wall above the fire in the living room.

As a split canvas photo print in this size was priced at £150.... Think I'll have a crack at it myself, lads.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Clocks

Now I'm writing this on my mobile on Blogger, so it may be a shambles...

Last night I was melting into the sofa, (with my bottle of fruit cider, Twirl and a packet of salt and vinegar) when a post on Facebook reminded me the clocks were to go back an hour at 2am. I say "reminded", but really you have to have known about a fact in the first place in order to be reminded? Anyway, my thinking followed this pathway:

1. Whoop whoop! One whole extra hour in bed. Count it (one...) and weep! Amazeballs. (Reaches for second bottle of cider. 2 bottles? This chick's crazy!)

2. The Bairn! How will he know? Shall I go and whisper in his shell-like whilst he slumbers "have a lie-in, lil un". No, because he is a BABY and I'd wake him, plus his concept of the English language is, frankly, minimal.

3. After some very difficult mathematical workings INSIDE MY HEAD, realise that The Bairn will thus awaken at around 5.30am (Booooo hiss). Return second cider to the fridge. Reluctantly turn in for bed early.

The reality?

5.30am - I awaken looking at the baby monitor thinking "hhhhhrrrrmmmmph, suppose the wee man will be rudely shouting at me soonly."

5.35am - two obese cats start yowling for food, scraping at the bedroom door. I hadn't even factored these fat b@stards into the clock-changing situation!

6.00am - still awake, Facebooking like a saddo (Aaaaah, George Takei - whattaguy!), while willing the cats to die... That's harsh - maybe just disappear... and hoping The Bairn doesn't wake yet.

6.45am "aaaahdadadada. Babadaba." The Bairn awakes! At his usual time despite the clock change! Wee genius. His mum, on the other hand is a c(l)ock. What a wasted opporchancity for a lie in?

6.53am The Other Half still snoring contentedly. "So I suppose I'll be the one getting up?" I unreasonably think to myself - having been social networking, and compiling shopping lists and checking my bank balance (bloody depressing if you must know) AND WRITING THIS BLOG awake in my pit for an hour and 23 minutes.

Welcome, British Winter Time!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Family Food - Mulligatawny Soup

Oh look, chaps! It's suddenly become Autumn! (You may - my American friends - alternatively wish to call the season "Fall". But this Blog is British, so I'm right, and you are definitely all shades of wrong.) My favourite season. It's so pretty! And chucking on an extra jumper is a great way to disguise the ole post (extremely post, in my case) baby "Michelin Man" body-shape. Who needs serial dirty-pillow groper, Gok Wan? And his plethora of intestine-confining under garments. I mean, "How to Look Good Naked" should reeeeally be called "How to Contort Yourself Into Uncomfortable Clothing and Hire a Photographer to Blur Out Your Wobbly Bits", c'est non? Oui Madame. Oui!

So basically, my lovely friends, after a positively tropical summer (I believe, in The Tropics), it's fridge-eezing yet again, but now the trees are a different colour. We're back to winter warmers!

  • An onion, chopped
  • Clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped small
  • 1 red pepper, chopped small
  • Cube of frozen spinach, or a big handful of fresh washed spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup of lentils (washed)
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 pint chicken stock (baby stock cubes for the young uns)
  1. Soften onion and garlic in a little olive oil, in a deep saucepan.
  2. Add spices - stir through and cook for a few minutes - don't let the onions burn!
  3. Add carrot and red pepper - sauté for 5 minutes, low heat.
  4. Add lentils, stock and tomatoes.
  5. Bring to boil, then simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Add spinach - stir into soup, simmer 10 minutes.
  7. If you like it, a couple of teaspoon of fresh, chopped coriander leaves can be added before serving.
  8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, natural yoghurt, or full fat soft cheese.
For younger babies, closer to 6 months, you may want to use less of the spices.
For the grown ups - a chopped chilli (seeds left in, you say? Are you mental? Yes I am!) adds even more warmth.
Check out The Bairn with two - YES, TWO! COUNT 'EM! - spoons. That's m'Boy. Also resulting in bi-wall mulligatawny pebble-dashing, unfortunately, but very proud nonetheless. Mad skills.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Family Food - Return of the Mac (aroni Cheese)

Altogether now:

"Retuuuuurn of the Mac, Retuuuurn of the Mac, Retuuuurn of the Mac, Blah blah blah bl-blah blee blaaaah."

So sang the 90s pop dude Mark Morrison, winning him a number 1 spot in the UK charts for a year and a day. (Factoid - he was painfully denied this accolade in the US, when scrawny street urchins Hanson launched a worldwide auditory assault with their catchy preschooler-appealing ditty "MmmmmmmBop" or something.)

I know I keep harping on about it being Baltic - and I should face facts and remember I live in sunny Scotland (it IS sunny today - see below for indisputable evidence).

Tampa - smug
Tampa - smug
Tampa - smug
Out the window - blue! (With layers of grey of course.)
As I was harping on, it IS cold, and as I am most comfortable in my comfort zone of preparing and consuming comfort food - here it is. Return of the Mac (aroni cheese).


  • 25g unsalted butter
  • Heaped tablespoon of plain flour
  • 3/4 pint of full fat milk (semi-skimmed is fine, just not as nutritious for babies)
  • 2 large handfuls grated cheddar - or adjust to taste
  • 250g dried macaroni pasta
  • Pinch of nutmeg or black pepper if you like that kind of thing
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  1. Cook pasta on the hob according to packet instructions. Mine was 8 minutes boiling with a little olive oil. Drain, then empty into oven dish roughly 30cm x 20cm.
  2. Easy, no lumps, white sauce see steps 3 to 7 (I use a plastic measuring jug)
  3. Melt butter in jug - 15 seconds on high power
  4. Stir in flour and beat a bit - should be a thick rue. Looking like a lump of moist plasticine (nice!) (more butter or flour until its right)
  5. Put back in micro for 15 secs on high
  6. Very slowly add your milk, stirring a few drops at a time to start with. That's the key to smooth sauce. Also if the milk is warm, it really helps.
  7. When all the milk is in, heat it 30 seconds on full power, stir/beat any lumps; then 1 minute on full, stir again; then another minute on full - it should be nice and thick. Whisk if its lumpy!
  8. Stir in cheese, until melted and seasoning if required.
  9. Pour over pasta in dish, sprinkle over remaining cheese.
  10. Cook in oven on a baking tray for 15-20 minutes, til cheese is golden.
Optional variations - broccoli and cauliflower florets cooked with pasta, chopped cherry tomatoes and ripped basil leaves stirred in with cheese sauce, maybe you could stir in cooked white fish chunks to tuna? I don't know! Good luck!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Family Food - Frittata Taverymuch

Imagine this scenario.

  • You can't be bothered to make a meal.
  • You have hee haw Magraw in the cupboards.
  • You have lost track of time, and the Wee Yin is starving. There's only so much emergency breadstick this Bairn can take!
Here follows an easy and nutritious meal! If you're unfamiliar with it, frittata is basically an omelette with veggies in. Is it? I think so - well this one is! Please don't tell me if I'm wrong. I was really excited about sounding pure knowledgable in the foodie department. Theoretically minimal mess, as it's really finger food, although The Bairn can pebble-dash my dining room walls with pretty much any edible substance. And the inedible too.

All you needs eggs, and stuff! what I find TRULY BRILLIANT is frozen veg - those packets of peas, sweetcorn, tinily chopped carrots and peppers etc.


Small non-stick frying pan and olive oil
2 eggs for a baby/toddler
Full fat milk
Small veg - think peas, finely chopped and cooked anything really
Maybe a potato or sweet potato.

  1. Cook your veg. I like to steam it - retains more vitamins that way.
  2. If using potatoes - leftovers are great, just dice them and fry them in the pan you're using for the frittata, until golden coloured. Otherwise, boil until tender in thin slices or finely diced, dry off (by leaving without water in a hot pan for a bit) and then fry up.
  3. So your potatoes and veg are fried up a little in olive oil - now sprinkle on grated cheese.
  4. Beat eggs and a splash of full fat milk in a jug.
  5. Pour over veggies in frying pan.
  6. Fry until bottom looks golden, top just cooked.
  7. If required, brown top off under the grill.
Sweet potatoes, peas and cheddar in ours...


For an adult version (too salty for the sprogs) fry some chorizo, red peppers and chilli in with your potatoes - maybe a bit of spinach or rocket in there too. The possibilities are practically endless!

Disclaimer - Some possibilities may be absolutely rank.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Family food - Gnocchi

There are 3 indisputable facts about Gnocchi:

  1. No living person knows how to pronounce the word "gnocchi".*
  2. Historically, we KNOW there must (surely?) have been at least three more vowels in there.*
  3. It can be made at home. You don't even have to have Italian ancestry.
* Not necessarily actual facts, as such.

I've found quite a few gnocchi recipes online and in books at home - even in the 9-12 months section of a baby cookery book. For my 10 month chunk of a Bairn, I halved the final lumps when they were cooked, I'm always paranoid about choking! But I've since found a more baby friendly shape - and will describe that method instead. The final pictures do not correspond with the method! You'll have to use you beautiful imaginations until I make it again and take more photos.

  • 6oz diced white potatoes (7oz if baking them)
  • 4oz diced sweet potatoes or butternut squash (5oz if baking)
  • 6 tablespoon of plain flour
  • Egg yolk
  • Seasonings optional - pinches of nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon (salt if not for a child under a year old)
  1. Cook your veg first. Either steam them for 15 minutes (until tender); OR bake them whole in an oven at 180 degrees C, for an hour or so. If you have the time to bake, your gnocchi will be much lighter and easier to handle as a dough.
  2. Mash potatoes etc together in a flat bottomed bowl.
  3. Stir in flour, egg yolk and seasonings. Add more flour or water as required until you have an easy to handle, light dough.
  4. Make into teaspoon sized dumplings, press with fork so they're flattened and grooved (ie not what's in my photos!), easier for a wee one to handle.
  5. Bring a large pan to the boil.
  6. Pop about 8 dumplings in at a time, once they're done they'll rise to the top. Takes a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve with chopped tomato, peas, spinach, cheese, pesto - whatever you fancy.
mashing it up....

Aaaaaargh! I've created a monster!!

Not how yours should look! More disc-like with ridges, for babies. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Baby Cuisine - Custard From Scratch

You heard me! You can actually make real custard by yourself - WITHOUT BUYING A TUB OF POWDER. That was my pre-conception of home-made custard - surely the non home-made version comes out of an Ambrosia tin, right? WRONG.

Anyway, one day The Bairn was perusing one of the many second hand weaning type recipe books that my lovely friend VM passed down to me. She is a Domestic Goddess. Nigella can flip off, my mate VM is an old school, proper family cooking genius. 3 kids - the youngest is 2 1/2 - and WITHOUT THE AID OF FOOTMEN, BUTLERS, MAIDS OR HELPFUL ELVES, her home is a pristine, but fun and friendly place to be. I may move in someday.

As his chubby little chipolata handles carefully searched through the pages of

(well, it's now more a collection of individual pages right enough) he articulated to me that he wished to purchase some vanilla essence from the local supermarket in order to concoct some Creamy Egg Custard.

"Oh, The Bairn!" says I. "There's really no need to add vanilla essence. As a baby, you wouldn't understand, but it'll likely be delicious with this expensive item omitted."

"Ah Mummy. You are so clever, beautiful and simply divine. I trust in your every uttering" says The Bairn.

Creamy Egg Custard

1/4 pint of full fat milk
2 tsp castor sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  2. Heat milk - I used the microwave, full power 40 seconds.
  3. Beat together sugar and eggs til sugar dissolves.
  4. Whisk in hot milk and vanilla.
  5. Pour into ovenproof dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until set.

I may add that it looks brilliant - BUT DO NOT OMIT VANILLA! If you leave it out, it tastes of sweet scrambled egg. Now, The Bairn loved it anyway with a bit of banana, but it proved to be inedible to adults! And smelled boak-tastic after a day in the fridge.

So there you go. In the book, it's in the 6-7 months section.

BoJo and PE

Well maybe old Tim O'Tei (aka BoJo (BawJaws? (aka Boris Johnson))) himself enjoyed partaking in 2 HOURS OF PE A DAY - but then he was probably skiing, fencing and 3 day eventing. Us normal ex-school kids were desperately trying to avoid the following:

1. Being picked last for rounders.

2. Having bras pinged, or general attention drawn to the chesticle area.

3. Getting knee-capped by fellow unskilled hockey stick wielders.

Cross country running was a different game entirely. It provided ample opporchancity to slyly share a sneaky cigarette with my fellow athletes under the bridge. And I always wondered why I was so puffed after that route that I felt like vomiting over my dour-faced PE teacher's Nikes.... Why, though, was cross country always scheduled for February? It was so cold I remember shivering in my oversized East 17 hoody, Man Utd beanie (I was a very early Beckham appreciator) and Air Max boots. We had to traverse an enormous expanse of cowpats interspersed with molehills. Would a school even obtain insurance for allowing pupils to face such dangers these days?

Seriously though, I want my son to have a much "healthier" attitude to sport. I'd like him to be first picked for rounders, please. Because he's good at it, and, more importantly, loves all the running about (is it called fielding? I think so). I hope he's confident enough not to be quaking in his little sand shoes every time it's his turn to bat the ball, as I was. And perhaps his teacher's enthusiasm for physical activity will be infectious - all the kids will have an awesome time, regardless of their ability.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

They 'Lympics an' That.

The above, my old legumes, is Glaswegian for "The Olympic Games".

I really feel the need to write about something other than feeding a) my own fat face, b) The Other Half's chiselled jaw-hole, or c) the chubby chops of my son and heir, aka The Bairn. Feel a bit Brian Blessed chaps, as you are about to relive the very splendour of the past couple of weeks in Laaaandaaaaan. Or Darn Sarf, as it's also known.

The Opening Ceremony (The Red Arrows fly past at 20:12, disappointingly NOT in the shape of a Union Jack, but pretty cool nonetheless)


As far as we can see (in a big stadium in London), the English countryside unfurls before our very eyes. Merry peasants frolic among the rolling hillocks. Edinburgh's finest munchkin choristers sing "Flower of Scotland", chronicling the savage Battle of Bannockburn. Appropriate? Who cares. It sounded magnificent.

Speaking of magnificent, we were treated to good old Kenny B (to the Branagh) starring as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, prompting some serious speed Googling and Wikipediaing. I'm ashamed to admit that my recollection of Standard Grade History (I got a 2, I could tell you wanted to know that) is pretty poor. Though I do remember that the Industrial Revolution was a while ago, and resulted in lots of smog and the need for many, many children to be manufactured in order to man the mills and new factories. To illustrate the Industrial Revolution, we were treated to chimney conjuring, performed by The Backstreet Boys - who had clearly been in a fight on the way Darn Sarf - although they DID WEAR TOP HATS and thus extra points may be awarded.

Then there were lots of Dancing Nurses and some evil Harry Potter baddies chasing very very ill children. Thankfully, the Olympic volunteers (Gamesmakers) gained control of the situation before there were any casualties. Huzzah!

Shortly after this my Dad called.

"Watching the ceremony, Dad?" says I.

"Well I was, but now there's just a load of girls dancing about and noise, so I think I'll put my Dad's Army video on instead" says Dad.

And that really is all that's to be said about that. I'd have really enjoyed his commentary on Danny Boyle's celebration of the cool kids using social networking to organise out a gallus night out culminating in a fair bit of winching, but alas, Captain Mainwaring beckoned - who'd refuse?

Several months passed, as we watched a seemingly endless stream of (possibly) made-up countries' athletes, all planting their Olympic torches at the top of Glastonbury Tor. May I say though, it was worth the wait, as when the "future hope of British athletics" kids lit the torches - it was simply beautiful. A tear may have been formed by the BusyAliBee Lacrimal apparatus.

The Olympics

Was amazing.

I hate sport in general. Never ever ever enjoyed it at school - not since Primary 7, when as tallest in my class, I was naturally tremendous at basketball. Having never grown since then, I did not retain that particular "skill".

For the past fortnight I've been watching all sorts of stuff. Diving, running, jumping, boating, punching... And The Modern Pentathlon. Which should be a futuristic film. Like Logan's Run. Awesome. My favourite moment? Jessica's Ennis - every one of her moments! She is incredible. Like a gorgeous little Amazonian warrior lady from Sheffiield. And CLARE BALDING. She is just brilliant. Nice, funny, natural... Great on Twitter too. Too many new heroes to count. My head might explode with all this inspiration. Mostly it's inspired me to do a bit of blogging - but who knows? Maybe I'll take up the hammer throw?

We were AT the Olympics. Well, at the Egypt vs Belarus football match in Hampden Park, Glasgow.

A very excited Bee with The Bairn dressed as a waterproof dinosaur. Because that's what Scottish Summer is all about.

Closing Ceremony

The Other Half, carrying a supersize bag of Asda crinkle cut ready salted crisps: "It's just starting!"

Me, failing to print captioned family photos for The Bairn's nursery bag: "I'll be through in a minute!"

33 minutes later, mostly because PHOTOSHOP IS AN ARSE, The Other Half awaits, BBC1 paused and poised for action. Unfortunately, there was no pause button for snackage, of which 4 crisps remain. And thus it begins. The trinity of TV, Twitter and Facebook. All out of sync and doing my tired little antennae in.

In summary:

Rubbish bits
George Michael's AWFUL new song. Just do the old stuff, Geo!!!
The Spice Girls tottering on top of Hackney cabs in giant Zimmer frames.
Jessie J dressed as a vajazzle.
Bowie montage without a real Bowie :(
A few old clothes horses wiggling about - led by Baroness Katherine of Moss.

Good bits
ANNIE LENNOX - make her a saint, for goodness sake!
The late Sir Frederick of Mercury - generally being absent but beautiful and SWEARING!
The Spice Girls tottering on top of Hackney cabs in giant Zimmer frames. (On mute)
Timothy Spall doing Churchill, just because he's TIMOTHY SPALL and he is a treasure.
Stomp being outstanding as always.
Russell Brand dressed as the Childcatcher from ChittyChitty BangBang and singing I Am The Walrus! Did I momentarily slip into a fruit-cider fuelled hallucination? No! It ACTUALLY HAPPENED!
Madness, The Pet Shop Boys, Take That...

Are you reading this, Her Maj the Queen? I recommend you actually, definitely, without-doubt knight Gary Barlow ASAP. He is a true British hero.

Taking into account real life, and the tragedies normal people have to overcome everyday, it makes you realise there is more to life than a 2 week sport extravaganza. But it's certainly provided all us Brits with a common denominator, and reminds us that we're all here on this collection of little islands together - and we know how to put on a spectacular show.

We conjured chimneys for Gawd's Sake!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Family Food - Jellicious Fruit

I know. Genius title, eh? It took me quite some time scratching my sunburnt scalp to come up trumps with that one. But then, that's the kind of wonderful human being I am.

At last, summer has returned! And what's better than a bowl of chilled, wibbly-wobbly, jelly and fresh fruit to cool you down after running about after a maniac in a baby walker? A class of ice cold white Zinfandel, you say? A mojito with a sprig of dewy fresh garden mint tickling your pink, peeling nose? Lounging in a private outdoor hot-tub with Tom Hiddleston.... I mean, your nearest and dearest?

You read my mind! Here's a recipe to concoct your own backyard paradise complete with fricking lovely man.

No, it's a recipe for jelly.

But a magnificently beautiful summer jelly you can share with your whole family - baby included!


Sachet of Dr Oetker gelatine (as pictured)
120ml hot (not boiling) water in a jug
450ml fresh apple and raspberry juice, younger - babies dilute very well with cold water
Summer fruits (chopped strawberry, raspberry, currants, etc)
Full fat Greek yoghurt

  1. Sprinkle gelatine into hot water while stirring constantly, until completely dissolved.
  2. Add juice or juice/water combo.
  3. Pop some fruit into the bottom of several ramekins or small dishes (and some in a bowl for the adult servings).
  4. Fill with jelly mixture.
  5. Set overnight or for a few hours in the fridge.
  6. Top with yoghurt and garnish with a raspberry.
I made the stupid mistake of allowing The Bairn to "self-feed" (ie paint the dining room with) the jelly. The terrifying outcome has been documented below.Well hello there jelly perfection!

Ahaaaaa.... My infant nemesis.....

No shit Sherlock!

Hurray for kitchen roll!

Happy summer, folks xxx