Monday 30 April 2012

Project 366 121/366

We seem to be fairing well in the weather stakes judging by the amount of rainy pictures a lot of you are posting up. It was sunny here, a bit chilly but nice and dry and the kids asked to go out and play, so off they went. Bob had asked for their water pistols, but Fifi had told him it was too cold to be getting wet.

They took out the McCain stuff we won in a competition a few years ago as they really enjoy playing with  the stuff. We did find as it was rather windy and we needed to take some stones out off the garden to keep their target on the floor, and a few to pop on top of the empty sacks when they were not using them to stop them blowing away.

throwing rockets at a target

in the sacks round the cones she made

throwing a stick

Must admit there are huge differences here, Bob is such a rough and tumble boy with Fifi being much more ladylike.

Sunday 29 April 2012

blogaverssary competition winner

By my calculations the winner is

am following on twitter


who chose the milk chocolate selection. Claire I hope you enjoy them. Thank you all for your entries and for following my blog.

Project 366 120/366

Whilst I had the oven on making fish and chips for tea, cant say as I enjoyed it at all, it was suppose to be good quality ete etc but the maker's opinion must be different than mine.

Anyway I digress, thought if I was going to put the oven on I might as well throw in a cake for supper. I knew I had plenty of strawberries needing used up, so I made a flat sponge and once it was cool  topped with a red quick jel and some fresh strawberries....and very yummy it was too.

ps I must learn to get out more, I think five of my last seven have been

Kellogs Mini Max cereal review

I was fortunate enough to have seen and responded to a message from another website I follow looking for families that want to try a new cereal from Kelloggs. So as a cereal lover I jumped at the chance and applied for a box. Now I put in for this not knowing what I would get but I must admit I was a little surprised, pleasantly,  when not one box but ten turned up on my doorstep.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you Kelloggs Mini Max

Kelloggs mini max

Kelloggs describe them as

Delicious, crunchy little parcels of baked wholegrain wheat provide just the right balance between a breakfast that is good for them and a taste they'll love.
Ingredients:Shredded Wholewheat(86%), Sugar, Humectant (Sorbitol), Beef Gelatin, Vitamins & Minerals: Niacin, Iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Folic Acid, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12.

I love the design of the box, the way it is designed to look like a field of wheat, and the fact it complies with a photographers rules of thirds and has approx one third blue, one third golden coloured and the middle one third  the name of the product written in  a very nice font, not to mention the little "wheat person"

  So I opened a box to have a look and a taste and my first impressions of them are;

  •  love the size of them, big enough for a spoon but small enough to eat in one go
  • are a good size to eat as a snack with your fingers
  • are a good balance of healthy wholewheat and sugary topping
  • they are no good for vegetarians as they contain beef gelatin for some reason ( Kelloggs tell me   - To explain about the beef gelatine, it’s found it many foods and is used to help bind food together.  We use it to stick the frosting onto the little bits of cereal.) 
  • and they are fortified with B vitamins and Iron

with strawberries
 So I put some into a dish and added some chopped strawberries .  Served like this they are fairly tasteless in a pleasant way but unless you have a drink with them then after the first dozen they are quite dry. 

Now I a strange people and I dont have milk on cereal, I have either fruit juice or yoghurt, so I tried them with yoghurt and found them a very nice eat indeed for not only breakfast but also at supper time.

with yoghurt

My husband tried them with hot milk and found they did not go soggy but remained a nice textured breakfast.

A portion of these is very filling and a healthy start to a day. But if you don't have time for breakfast these are great to pop into a tub and eat them on the run. much healthier than a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar.

I passed on a few boxes of these Susan told me they were now her daughters favourite breakfast. Elizabeth was not keen on this but gave her box up to Susan's daughter.

I gave a box to Samantha and a box to the two oldest daughters, I will let them add their own comments. 

You can read more about them here, where you can also read about the chocolate mini max that is also available. 

I would give these a nine out of ten, would have been ten if it was not for the beef gelatine. 

Disclaimer - I was sent ten boxes to try, not sure if a review was essential, but I felt it appropriate and as I enjoyed them thought I would share this with you.

Saturday 28 April 2012

Project 366 119/366

I decided today I would subject you to my evening relaxation.

 A nice radox bubble bath, there were loads of bubbles they just didnt come out well

try out of photobucket

just experimenting with photobucket. first "slideshow". just wanted to see how it works before I spend time messing with timings, effects etc, so dont take too much notice of this. Have seen a fellow blogger do this but she does not have the photobucket logo or make your own/view all images boxes. more work needed.

Friday 27 April 2012

Project 366 118/366

It was a very pleasant evening so when OH said he was going fishing along the river I decided I would go with him, and stroll along taking pictures as I did not have one for today. We really do not appreciate fully just what a beautiful part of the country we live in. The river is half a mile away, we have large parks, country estates and the beach all within a three mile radius, but it is just there on our doorstep, and we tend to take it for granted. I tend to walk around pretty much blinkered and none admiring most of the time. Its when you come across fabulously written blog posts like this one here from my friend Kay that you stop and take stock of the world around you.

Normally when we go for a walk we take the dog but she is not up to any more than a hundred yards at the moment due to a combination of her age and the fact she has a spine infection and she is in pain.

So I decided that I would leave her at home and cover more ground and see more interesting things if it was just me and my camera. So we parked up at the river, and hubby decided instead of fishing he would come for a romantic stroll along the river with me. Im not going to attempt to do a Kay and tell you about the bramble bushes, the cows in the field, the rubbish on the riverbanks or the graffiti on the underpass in any great details cos I can't. 


We heard a woodpecker, didnt see him, but I did open my eyes and see some holes he had been making in the tree, and then as I looked around I saw the moon peeking through the branches and it was nicely framed so I took a picture of that as well.

Further up the river, at the waterfall, I saw my first set of ducklings of the year, not a very good picture but this was on full zoom and then cropped.

Where we walk along the river is, as the plane flies, less than a mile from the airport, and there was this most annoying plane who I guess was practising taking off and landing at the airport and kept buzzing round over head, and I was fortunate enough to manage to line him up with 2 trees on his final fly round.

Even without the plane I love the dead tree tops against the blue sky

spot the plane.
   We walked on past the waterfall and I couldn't help but notice how blue the river looked, but it really was just due to the reflection of the sky, the water in really life was quite brown due to the rain we had yesterday.

But as my picture of the day I give you a reflective shot.

Red pepper rolls and pizza

I have fallen in love with the Kamut flour that Healthy Supplies have introduced, for all I am not gluten free I much prefer to avoid ordinary white self raising flour, and this is a brilliant compromise. Whilst it is not gluten free it is low gluten, and much more acceptable to use than others.

I decided I would use the bread recipe off the back of the bag and use some of it to make pizza for the tea, and also some rolls. The recipe states

  • 1lb kamut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon quick yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 13 fl oz warm water
  • 2 tablespoon oil
to which I added 2 teaspoon chopped red bell peppers.

Place water and oil into bread maker, add flour, peppers, salt and sugar, then add yeast on top.

Turn onto dough menu. Once machine finishes take dough out and knead again by hand and split into three sections. I rolled out two pieces to each fit a 4 by 5inch baking tin and left them in a warm place to rise for 30 mins.

The third section I shaped into 5 medium sized rolls and put to warm as well. 

roll served with cheese and tomato
Once risen I add a sauce base, salami and pepperoni along with tomatoes sweetcorn and cheese to the two  in the baking tins to make pizza.

Cook all at 180 oC for 15 mins or until cooked. 

The red peppers enhanced the pizza and made beautiful rolls that were light and full of flavour. 

Thursday 26 April 2012

Project 366 117/366

Well after yesterdays purchase I thought about it and decided to go back and buy the matching toaster. Not that it really matters too much as my kitchen is a mishmash any way, but I just decided I would.

I like the fact this is a four slice toaster, it will come in handy on the nights we have toast and beans/spaghetti/egg or whatever for tea. Also means I do not have to keep turning it back up when I want toast, as OH would be better off lying it in the window for the sun to shine on for 45 seconds the way he eats it - I like my toast toasted.

Baking variations on a theme

I love the recipe for Irish barm cake, so quick, so easy, and fat free. Its very simple basically you
No 1 coconut water cake

  • soak 4 oz dried fruit of your choice in 12oz (14oz if using gluten free flour) hot tea and leave to soak till cool. 
  • Measure 10 oz flour and 5 oz sugar into a bowl, ( I use coconut sugar) stir to combine and then add the cold tea and fruit to make a sloppy mixture. 
  • Pour into a loaf tin and cook for approx 45 mins at 160 oC. 
  • If using gluten free it works better as muffins rather than a loaf, adjust cooking time to approx 18 mins
So I thought for a change we would ring the changes and try different "teas" and flours to make different textures. I may add I use 4 oz raisins/sultanas plus 4 dried figs and 4 dries apricots that I soak with the raisins and then chop with scissors once soaked.

  • No1 we used coconut water as our "tea" and einkorn flour. This made for a different flavour but not really aware of the coconut flavour, but you gain from the fabulous nutritional value of it,

No 2 apple and cinnamon with Kamut flour
No2 we used apple and cinnamon tea for our tea with Kamut flour. This made for a rather heavy "muffin" but you get away with that as they are so moist. The flavour is just awesome and they are very moreish

No3 to the back No 4 at front

  • No 4 we used orange and carrot juice as our "tea", diluted down to 12 oz. also added  sunflower/sesame/pumpkin and melon seeds  but this time I  blended the seeds once soaked.. I used doves farm plain flour to which I added 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon of Xanthan gum. This had a delicious flavour and the carrot made it pleasantly sweet. These were not quite as moist as the others,  therefore they tasted heavier. If I make them again I would add some more fluid, though they did seem ok when raw. 
The products with links were supplied by Healthy Supplies, but the findings remain honest and my own.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Project 366 116/366

We went to a local DIY store today to pick up a piece of guttering to repair a damaged bit at the house where we have our allotment. We didn't realise it comes in deep and shallow so not sure what depth to buy, we only measured the length we required.

Anyway while I was there I saw a brilliant reduction on a kettle, reduced from £79.99 to £19.99, so bought me a posh new kettle instead. They also had a matching four slice toaster, but wasn't sure if we could afford both.

 Quite a modern one and a bit posher that my Asda special at £6.50 that I bought about six years ago.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Wow - above and beyond

Just have to show this one off, and thank the company who went above and beyond to make it possible.

Every week our local radio station West FM  run a celebrations spot, where by they read out dedications for birthdays etc and then they all go into a draw and at the end of the week one is picked out and the winner gets a cake made and delivered. The cake is made by a local company called The Cook School Scotland.

Well on Friday last week my daughter got a telephone call to say she had been the winner and they would make a cake for Bob and deliver it. So my daughter started to explain to them about Bob....well he is a unique one of and not much point in making him something he could not eat. The woman took on board all what my daughter said and agreed to make a Bob friendly cake, but that he would have to wait till Tuesday for it as it was too late to make that at short notice.

So this afternoon Bob got this delivered. It did have his name on it but I have cloned that out ( and not good enough to add Bob back in its place). My daughter says it was very light, airy and tasted really really good.

Wonder if they fancy starting classes in allergy free cooking? Could fill their class with family and friends!!

the blemishes are where I edited out his name

the inside

Bob cutting his cake

and I have to say just look at their cupcakes, do they not just look fab.

Wonder if they take orders for allergy free birthday cakes, as it is impossible to buy them.

Thank you to all involved in making one little boy very very happy.

Using my tofu and other main courses

As my regular followers will know most of what I tend to put up on here tends to be baking rather than cooking. So this time round you are all in for a shock, I have some main course pictures for you. I often feel blogging these is an insult to a lot of peoples intelligence, so rather than writing you up recipes I am writing up ideas just so you can maybe get some inspiration from my ideas.

One of the items I chose from Healthy Supplies this month was tofu. I have got to this age and have never tried it before so I thought ti was about time I saw what all the fuss was about. I cubed up the tofu and poured a blue dragon black bean sauce over the top, stirred it round gently and popped into the oven at 160 oC for 15 mins. From reading about tofu it has no flavour of its own thereby picking up whatever flavour you use it with.

Meanwhile while the tofu was flavouring up I stir fried some vegetables and cooked up the rice noodles I chose to compliment the tofu. A quick healthy meal in less time than it takes on the local eateries delivering your take away.
Verdict? The tofu has no texture of its own as such but this was nicely complimented by the crunch of the vegetables and bulked out by the noodles. I enjoyed the meal and would use tofu again.

 Whenever I cook meals I usually bulk cook the likes of mince, stew, soups etc and place portions into the freezer. I seemed to have rather a lot of portions of mince left last week so decided to turn a portion into cornish pasties. I cubed up some potatoes and cooked them till nearly done, and then stirred them through the cooked mince. Meanwhile while the potatoes were cooking I made some gluten free pastry as per the recipe for Chicken and mushroom pie on Healthy Supplies own web site

I rolled out the pastry and cut some circles, place some on a greased baking tray, added the mince and potato filling, and placed another circle on top sealing the edges with water.  Cook for 15 mins at 180 oC, and served with oven chips which can be cooking whilst the oven is on anyway.

Lastly to ring the changes with something different but very tasty I made a "bacon and onion puff" as I called it as I had won some vouchers from a competition for jus-rol.

Firstly I soaked some dried tomatoes in boiling water. While these were soaking  I cut some bacon up into small pieces and fried them up with  some onions. Once cooked I cut up the soaked tomatoes and added to the pan. Turned off the pan and left covered to mingle the flavours whilst I rolled out a sheet of puff pastry and placed on a baking tray. Top pastry with tomato puree or a sauce of your choice and spread the bacon mix on top. Sprinkle over some grated cheese, and then decorate pie with shapes cut from pastry offcuts, and cook in preheated oven at 190 oC for 15 mins or until cooked. Serve with oven chips and veg or a side salad.

So there you have three fairly quick and  simple ideas, enjoy if you try them.

Project 366 115/366

When I took the kids home today Bob got stuck straight into playing with last weeks birthday presents, his mum says he has played with it none stop since he got it.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Monday 23 April 2012

Project 366 114/366

Auntie H came over tonight with Bobs present from last week, and then proceeded to have "fun" trying to build it with them.

She bought him a Doctor Who Cyberman Conversion Chamber set as he is Dr Who daft and it is designed for age 5 upwards - so how difficult could it be?

As you can see Bob has given up and is looking totally bored, and the other two were not fairing much better. This kit might have to go across the road to E who likes her lego to build (hint hint E)

But I must say bed tome stories went down much better

 Thanks for your company earlier daughter dear, kids enjoyed it too.

update on the lego


and finished

Well done Bob and mummy. all I can say is thank goodness cos I didn't fancy doing it


Allergy UK reveals how having five a day can cause havoc for hay fever sufferers

If pollen wasn’t making the nation miserable enough, Allergy UK reveals that eating fruit and veg can unwittingly cause problems for some hay fever sufferers.

New consumer research[1] from the national medical charity reveals 40% of hay fever sufferers also react to one or more of nuts, fruit, vegetables or spices.

Pollen from trees and plants, especially birch, causes major problems for allergy sufferers in the UK. But the protein found in certain pollens is similar to that found in some foods putting hay fever sufferers at risk from another allergic condition, oral allergy syndrome.

Lindsey McManus, Allergy UK explains: “15 years ago oral allergy syndrome was considered unusual but now it is increasingly commonplace. The condition is caused by the proteins in some fruit, nuts, vegetables and spices triggering a cross-reaction in someone with hay fever. When they eat a food that shares similar proteins as the pollen, it can cause an allergic reaction, such as, an itchy mouth, swelling or tingling of lips and tongue.”

With 15 million Brits suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever, the arrival of spring already signals months of misery.  But a quarter of sufferers (24%) didn’t even realise that foods could also trigger a reaction.

So while, according to the charity, 72% of those with hay fever suffer for more than two months, they could suffer from problems all year round because of a cross reaction with ‘healthy foods’. Furthermore, these foods can actually make hay fever symptoms worse.

Prisoners to Pollen
This National Allergy Week (23rd - 29th AprilAllergy UK is highlighting the true impact hay fever has on the nation.

A worrying 15% of sufferers are so affected by their hay fever they are prisoners to pollen and don’t like leaving their own house.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of adult hay fever sufferers say the condition makes them miserable. 38% find it difficult to sleep, 29% feel unable to concentrate, whereas one in five (20%) say it makes it hard for them to do their job.

Top Five UK Allergens
The research from Allergy UK also revealed more allergy sufferers react to pollen than anything else. But if you seek solace indoors, the home could inadvertently trigger an allergic reaction, with house dust mite being a top three allergen.

This National Allergy Week, the charity reveals the top five allergens affecting the nation:
1.       Pollen
2.       Food
3.       House dust mite
4.       Pets
5.       Medication

Pets are a huge catalyst for allergic reactions, with 40% of those with allergies suffering as a result of our four legged friends. While it is commonly assumed it is the hair of the animal that causes a reaction it is actually the dander – particles of skin, saliva and urine invisible to the human eye.  Cats are far more allergenic than dogs as their allergen is sticky so stays around for a long time, made worse by the fact they love to self groom. But pollen can also cause problems in the home as carpets can harbour pollen for up to three months.

According to the survey, medication is the number five allergen in the UK. Lindsey McManus, Allergy UK continues: “Not all reactions experienced when taking medication are truly allergic; however there is growing concern at the increasing numbers of people who are suffering severe allergic reactions to prescribed and over the counter drugs.”

Impact of Allergies
The impact on everyday life is evident; 46% of all allergy sufferers are constantly on their guard, saying they exercise extra caution when out and about. 40% choose not to go to places where they could come into contact with the allergen they react to and nearly half of all sufferers (46%) use medication regularly.

Allergy UK is the leading national medical charity providing advice, information and support to people with allergies, food intolerance and chemical sensitivity. Allergy UK acts as the 'voice' of allergy sufferers, representing the views and needs of those affected by this multi organ disease. Allergy UK makes a difference through a dedicated helpline and network for sufferers. The charity provides invaluable information and guidance to empower sufferers so that they can manage their symptoms and receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

This National Allergy Week, Allergy UK is encouraging everyone to get involved to show their support. Fundraising events will be taking place throughout the week. Through Allergy UK’s helpline 01322 619898 and website:, people are able to receive individual advice and download fact sheets on all aspects of allergy.

This is a guest post I am running on behalf of Allergy UK, I am doing so because I feel they are a worth while charity to promote, but I have received no payment or payment in kind for doing so

Sunday 22 April 2012

Project 366 113/366

Project 366 is about an insight into other peoples lives, the way they tick, the weird things that make them who they are, and the daft things that makes them unique from everybody else.

So today I thought I would share this with you, it is two pictures that work together to tell a story.

That story is - daughter No 2 (T) is like me she cannot stand a clock ticking at night when she is trying to sleep. In the spare bedroom is this 

My Winnie the Pooh clock that was in the computer room when we lived on the farm along with lots of other pooh stuff that the children kept buying for me knowing my love of all things Winnnie.
Now this being a clock it ticks, so when T comes to stay she takes it down and puts it out in the hall, which in itself is fine...but she never ever puts  it back up and this really irks OH.

We had a laugh one time when she took it down because behind it was a sign;

that OH had printed up on the computer and stuck it where it cannot be seen when the clock is up.

Just another mad example of what makes us us.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Project 366 112/366

Sam has just popped over, and look at these lovely cakes she has made for Bob. Sam has been realising lately that gluten is just not agreeing with her herself, so while she was out she bought some gluten free flour, and is making cakes. She did Bobs first as E can have dairy, and Bob cant.

She also bought some Bob the builder corn and rice pasta for us as well, I was touched by her kindness. Thanks Sam.

She told me I could taste I did...and very nice they are too.

Friday 20 April 2012

Project 366 #111

Well you have to laugh at the British weather, yesterday lunch time I looked out of my window and took pictures of the hail stones.

Today the sun is out and it is lovely, so the guinea pigs have been put their cage and in their run.

loving the sun, laying out totally flat

nearly lying on his side

why am I not out? bit unfair!!

he didnt eat the daisy

Thursday 19 April 2012

Project 366 #110

Sat here this afternoon as the sky got blacker and blacker, and the next thing we had hailstones. As its not really going out weather, unlike last month at this time, I took hailstones through the window landing on the path outside.

Added a green frost effect in Picmonkey to get the border round the edge.

Making a scrapbook with Fifi.

I find it quite difficult as the grandchildren get older to find things for presents for them that are different and novel. She had been bought a digital camera the year before and has had fun taking pictures. Granddad has been helping her develop some skills but she has quite a good eye already.

So as part of Fifis' Christmas last year I bought her a scrapbook kit and promised her she could pick some pictures that we would get printed for her to add to it, and we would spend time together making it up. This has allowed her to mix her hobby of taking pictures with her love of crafting without making too much mess.

She chose all the pictures herself, some of the pictures she chose were ones she had taken herself, and others were of her or her friends, basically she chose pictures that she liked.

The picture she has used for her  front cover was taken when granddad was showing her how to experiment with self-portraits. She took the picture in black and white using the camera on a tripod and setting a timer, and taking the picture in a mirror, this was the result of about half an hours work, she is quite rightly very proud of this one.

The trains pictures are two from over a hundred she took at a model railway exhibition that was on locally last year.She took some very impressive angles and strange views, but she took them as she saw them.

My favourite  is the shadow picture she took of granddad taking a picture at Culzean Castle.

The pictures show some of her interests and hobbies, some taken on varying days out, as well as some of her friends, her birthday party and last years holiday.

The back picture is one of the bubble pictures taken last year, and she looks so beautiful in it.

We got a lot of pleasure out of making this, and she is very proud of the fabulous finished item.  

I ordered our pictures from Photobox as it was recommended to me. I found their website easy to use, quick to upload, allowed you to crop your pictures, and it even threw up a warning message that one of the pictures might not be good enough quality once printed. The delivery was impressively quick, and the quality of pictures was in my opinion excellent.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Project 366 #109

We have no earth in the garden as the soil here is terrible, very heavy and clay based with no drainage at all. We have a border down the side that OH topped up with bark last year and put a small decorative edge on. The birds think it is wonderful, they  toss it all over the place looking for beasties and things. The bark ends up all over the pavement a dozen times a day and treads into the house when we go to the bin and back.

So at the weekend whilst I was at work, he acquired some wood, spent a while taking all the nails out, took the low decorative border away and hammered this along the edge, and painted it up. Looks very nice, and certainly seems to be containing the mess.


Tuesday 17 April 2012

Happy 6th birthday to a wonderful grandson.

Uncle S with you on our first meeting
You came into this world the best part of two weeks late, and caused us all a lot of trauma ever since, but we love you just as you are, warts and all.

Grandma and granddad first saw you at a week old, once you were home we came down to see you all. Uncle S came with us as well, just as he had when your sister was born.

We did not see a lot of you when you were younger as mummy and daddy as well as granddad and I were always busy and at the time you lived so far away.

you and short dog Christmas 2007.
But then when you were 15 months old you and mummy and Fifi  came up for a two week holiday, and just didnt go back.

Christmas day when you were 20 months old was lots of fun, with a competition between you and the dog to see who could open the most presents, I think you won.

cranes with granddad April 2010
You and granddad have always had a special bond, doing daft things like bug hunting or playing with your crane

We have done many things with you over the years, we have even taken you down to Culzean Castle, the castle they named after you!!

Auchencruive March2011

We had a fab day with the bubble man at Auchencruive, which gave me the fab photo for my blog. Auchencruive is brilliant, you love the keep fit track there, not to mention the apple tree where granddad sticks you on his shoulders while you pick the apples off the tree.

We play games, we run around the park we make and bake lots of different foods, and I'm sure we have many more fun things to do together on our fun Monday evenings over the coming years.

birthday cuddles with granddad

Thank you for being you and enriching our lives. Happy 6th Birthday Grandson.

Click this link to see Bob and his birthday cake they are my Project 366 photo of the day.  Why not pop over and have look, turned out much better than I expected it to.