If you don’t know the story of Cinderella where on earth have you been? I think most of us have seen Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece at some point in our lives.
Disney’s Cinderella has had a make over and is now a live action feature with fully realized characters creating a beautifully visual treat with breathtaking scenes and settings. The film is out in the cinemas now.
Disney’s Cinderella is directed by Kenneth Branagh and produced by Simon Kinberg, Allison Shearmur and David Barron. The cast includes; Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård,Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham Carter.
The story of “Cinderella” follows the fortunes of young Ella (Lily James) whose merchant father remarries following the death of her mother. Eager to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drisella (Sophie McShera) into the family home. But, when Ella’s father unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who mistreat her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an apprentice at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming Kit (Richard Madden). Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand, and a kindly beggar woman (Helena Bonham Carter) steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin and a few mice, changes Cinderella’s life forever.
We were very lucky to see this at a special screening a few weeks ago with children of various ages including a seven year old, tweens and teens.
The teens and tweens loved the film, it was all they talked about for ages! They loved the music, the narration, in the teens’ words ‘the eye candy’. One child, aka,’the film buff’, said she thought the cast were perfect and sshhh, she was pleased that most of them are British. The costumes were stunning and the children liked that the film was close to the original Disney film.
I think the film is suited to older children, M, aged seven is just on the cusp. He said he really liked the film but I am not convinced it held his attention the whole time. It doesn’t have any particularly scary parts though. I was not so keen on the narration in the film, but I absolutely loved the music, the costumes and the big visually rewarding scenes such as the ball room. Cinderella comes across as a strong and feisty girl fighting for what she believes in. Helena Bonham Carter’s character as the Fairy Godmother was a little surprising but Cate Blachett’s evil step mother role was perfect sending shivers down my spine.
An added bonus and piece de resistance is Frozen Fever, an animated short sequel to the 2013 film Frozen before the showing of Cinderella. A sweet catchy piece that will bring smiles to lots of boys, girls and adults alike. Watch out for the very cute snow babies. Who knew what a sneeze could bring!
Just a very quick post to introduce one of the newest members of the Cadbury family…the Cadbury Dairy Milk Oat Crunch. Extolled as the new elevenses and perfect accompaniment to the mid morning cuppa this mini oat filled bar is set to get us through to lunchtime.
This Cadbury Dairy Milk Oat Crunch is made up of two breakable oat crunch biscuits with a thick layer of Cadbury Dairy Milk running through it.
Each 35g Oat Crunch has 150kcal.
Well it has Dairy Milk running through it so what’s not to like?
Whilst I do like to keep my Dairy Milk as ‘pure’ as possible, caving in sometimes to fruit and nut the Oat Crunch made a nice change. It was a hit with children too. Dare I say, the oaty bit makes you think you are being a little bit healthier even if there is a big slab of thick chocolate to nibble on. My favourite chocolate at that. It is crunchy and a substantial snack that would make a great treat for after school or on picnics.
The Cadbury Dairy Milk Oat Crunch has a RRP of 58 pence and can also be bought in a three bar multipack with a RRP of £1.49.
So, if you want something a little different, that is filling and ‘only’ has 150kcal then I can most certainly recommend the new Cadbury Dairy Milk Oat Crunch!
Disclosure: I was sent a few Cadbury Dairy Milk Oat Crunch to review
Easter is literally a couple of weeks away, most of the children break up next week but the youngest not until the week after…it’s one of those split holidays, oh joy. Anyway, I am trying to muster up some Easter enthusiasm from somewhere very deep within…I may just have to make this Pompom tail bunny garland from Mum In The Mad House to get me into the mood. Isn’t it cute! Anyway, I have made some Easter carrot cupcakes, very easy to make but they would look great at any Easter themed party.
These are very light carrot cakes, using only a small amount of grated carrot and some cinnamon. I did use a Sukrin cake mix that I was sent to make the cakes (I have however given you the conventional recipe too) The Sukrin cake mix is sugar, gluten, wheat and egg free, although I used eggs in the recipe. You have to agree the cakes have an impressive rise. The mixture is sweetened using all-natural sweetener erythritol. To be honest, the children couldn’t taste the difference however I think I must be extra sensitive because I could taste the sweetener and it left an after taste in my mouth. If you are watching your sugar and carb intake though or following a paleo diet then Sukrin mixes could be the answer for you.
The chocolate ‘eggs’ are also sugar free (the sugar strands obviously are not) I made them using Sukrin sugar free chocolate, safe for coeliacs too! Yay. This tasted great, in my opinion.
These cakes would look extra special with a huge marzipan carrot ‘planted’ into the grass…I have these fab ideas but never the time to implement them but if I did that’s what I would do. The ‘grass’ for the cakes is edible and sugar free and I bought it and the carrots from the Cake Decorating Company. So, whilst the cakes I made were sugar free, there is obviously sugar in the buttercream but I used the bare minimum to cover the cakes just enough to get the grass to stick.
If you want to go for the easy option buy a pack of Sukrin cake mix, gluten, sugar, wheat & egg free.
Author: cherished by me
Recipe type: cake
125g softened unsalted butter ( I use stork, or pure if making them dairy free)
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour (gluten free)
100g grated carrot
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons milk (replace with a dairy free milk if necessary)
40g milk chocolate
70g very soft butter (I used a dairy free spread)
100g icing sugar (approx)
30g edible green grass
12 royal icing carrots
Preheat oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6
Put all the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add the milk down the funnel whilst pulsing to make a soft dropping consistency.
Stir in the carrot.
If doing in the traditional way, cream the butter and sugar, add the cinnamon and then the eggs one at a time adding a spoonful of flour each time. Fold in the remainder of the flour, then add the milk.
Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases
Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked and golden.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack
Whilst the cakes are cooking melt the chocolate in a bowl over a barely simmering pan of water.
If you draw some egg shapes on a piece of baking parchment this helps keep them to a similar size although my shaky hands meant there was still discrepancies in mine.Turn the paper over so you can see the shapes through the paper.
Put the melted chocolate in an icing bag (or a sandwich bag), snip off the end and pour onto the parchment paper to make egg shapes.
Cover the chocolate with sprinkles, if using and put the tray in the fridge until the chocolate is set hard.
Put the butter into a large bowl and whisk until soft, gradually whisk in the icing sugar until you have a thick consistency. You may need a little more, or a little less icing sugar.
Cover the cupcakes in the icing, enough to act as a sticky surface for the green grass to adhere to.
Press the green grass onto the icing and finish with a chocolate egg and a carrot.
I love coconut oil and have been meaning to share my favourite uses for coconut oil for an absolute age. If you don’t know already coconut oil usually comes in a jar in it’s solid state, unless you are in the tropics or have your coconut oil sitting on a radiator. To get it into liquid form you need to melt it. If using coconut oil for cooking this can be done in a pan or microwave, if using as part of your skincare routine it will melt in warm hands.
Coconut Oil has many many health benefits including killing bacteria, weight loss and improving blood cholesterol levels. Some studies suggest eating a tablespoon of coconut oil after lunch to reduce hunger.
Eye make up remover
This is my absolute favourite use; after years of trying to find an eye make up remover than doesn’t blind me for about two hours after using it I suddenly wondered one day last year what it would be like using coconut oil. It was an epiphany, it gets rid of the toughest mascara. So gentle there is no pulling of the skin leaving me with super soft moisturised skin. I use about a 1/4 tsp of solid coconut oil and melt in my hands then use my fingers to gently rub over my eyes to remove make-up. I use a hot wet muslin to remove the panda eyes I inevitably have.
That leads me on to my second favourite use, after discovering how fab coconut oil was at removing my eye make up I thought why not try it as a cleanser for the rest of my face. It has transformed my life…I have extremely dry skin and whilst it is still not perfect I managed to get through the winter without tearing my hair out in dismay at my dry skin. This may not be for everyone, especially if you have really greasy skin but for anyone that can tolerate it I can’t recommend it enough. After years of use I have now dispensed of my expensive cleansers and eye make up remover. Again use a hot wet muslin cloth to remove the oil and make up from your face and finish off by rinsing the skin with cold water.
I don’t use coconut oil on a daily basis as a moisturiser but maybe once a week I use it at night. I slather my face in it before washing my hair in the shower (this prevents my skin from going red and sensitive), as a hand cream, and as a body oil. You would be surprised how quickly your skin laps it up.
Fry with it
For stir fries. I am not going into the science but coconut oil is a good one to use when frying at high temperatures. You can get some oils that don’t leave any taste of coconut but I like the subtle taste and fragrance. It is also good for frying eggs too.
Bake with it
In baking, coconut oil makes a great substitute for other fats and is a fabulous dairy free alternative, used in recipes such as these Chocolate Brownies.
If you have frizzy hair try melting a small amount of coconut oil in the palm of your hands and use to tame those tresses. For a dry hair treatment use more oil, leave overnight and wash as normal the next morning.
Something I have only recently tried is oil pulling, not confined to coconut oil (you can use sesame, olive or sunflower oils too) this involves swishing a tablespoon of oil in the mouth for twenty minutes to rid the body of toxins. If nothing else it leaves the mouth feeling very clean and is supposed to help reduce bacteria, whiten teeth and improve oral health.
Make sure you buy raw virgin coconut oil, it isn’t cheap but when you think how much you’ll be replacing it will be well worth it. Coconut oil usually comes in a large jar and I decant some into a smaller jar to leave in my bathroom.
Let me know how you get on or if you use coconut oil for anything else.
Okay, so I had good intentions of doing a whole host of Mother’s Day bakes so that you could really spoil your mum and family this weekend…but I just haven’t had time. I have started a new job and that and this site and everything else that a gaggle of children entails means that all of those recipes are still in my head. So, I will have to get them done when things are a little calmer…that will be in about ten years then.
I was very chuffed to be asked to write a recipe for Wayfair and so I do have one Mother’s Day recipe but you’ll have to click through to find my Mother’s Day Pistachio and White Chocolate Madeleines. They really are very easy and also extremely delicious and were gone in about 24 hours.
If your mum likes something a little different, or a cake that isn’t too sweet how about my Strawberry & Black Pepper Cupcakes? Finish them off with a sprinkling of icing sugar and they are gorgeous.
If you need a gluten free cake I would recommend this Gluten Free Chocolate Cake and one of my favourite recipes a Speedy Chocolate Traybake which can be quickly jazzed up with some buttercream and sprinkles. This is an easy recipe for little ones to make.
If you want to impress your mum with amazing patience and baking skills then how about Stout & Salted Caramel Opera’s from Patisserie Makes Perfect. Absolutely stunning but I suggest you get started now as there are many stages in the development. Lot of brownie points to be earned though.
I think most mums would be thrilled with breakfast in bed so how about making homemade brioche, the aroma of these freshly baked goodies wafting through the house will be divine.
I am a big big fan of choux pastry and can never pass up the offer of choux buns so these Vanilla and White Chocolate Choux Buns from ET Speaks From Home are my perfect type of dessert/cake. Mmmmm.
For decadence how about a Chocolate Brioche Pizza! Yes a chocolate brioche pizza! My mouth is literally watering…wait until you see it. From Pastry Workshop.
And finally, although this Walnut Cake from Blue Bear Wood was created for Red Nose Day I absolutely love it’s simplistic look and have just got to make it as soon as I have a spare couple of hours. I will not be letting my children anywhere near the kitchen though…have a look, that is one brave woman there! Hehe.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these Mother’s Day bakes ideas.
What plans have you got? Will you be baking a cake for your mum, or will someone be baking one for you? I think I may just bake one for myself.
What can be better than tea tasting, flower arranging, chocolate munching, wine supping and catching up with old friends? Well, that is what I did last week when I went to celebrate Mother’s Day with Moonpig and have a look at their new collections.
If you’ve never heard of Moonpig before they are an online site selling cards and gifts for every occasion. I have been ordering cards from Moonpig for years and have always been very impressed. However, recently I haven’t ordered so much so was totally unaware that as well as cards you can now also buy a huge array of gifts, for just about every occasion you can think of.
Firstly, the cards…we were very lucky to meet one of the in house artists and it was lovely to hear her passion for creating beautiful unique designs for Moonpig. As well as the in house artists, each with their own styles Moonpig also have the latest ‘trends’ available for any new character releases.
We also met the calligrapher who does all the writing on the cards, and there was me assuming it was all computer generated, but no it’s not.
Moonpig have literally thought of everything, from humourous gifts (think t-shirts, mugs) to home & beauty, teddies, food and alcohol. They also sell gift boxes like the breakfast in bed one above.
We got to do a little tea tasting with The English Tea Shop who sell gorgeous gift boxes, something I would love as a pressie.
After watching a demonstration we had the opportunity to make our own hand tied Mother’s day bouquets, I loved this but don’t think I’ll be having a career change anytime soon. Hannah on the other hand won all the brownie points!
When you order flowers, or plants from Moonpig you get a free card. It literally couldn’t be easier for shop shy people to celebrate Mother’s day with Moonpig could it?
Sorry, I just had to share a photo of these gorgeous Montezuma’s chocolates, called American Idols. I may have popped one or two in my mouth, okay it was more than that, but I couldn’t help myself. Imagine my squeals of delight to find a whole packet of them in my goody bag on the way home.
As you can see there are plenty of sweet goodies available from Moonpig too. I told you they’ve covered all angles. You can see in the collage above that they also sell bath bombs, other bath products, products for men and also a range aimed at teens. For younger children there are balloons, teddies, character soft toys and gift boxes.
And while I was having a ball, thanks to the Moonpig team, I also got to catch up after far too long with Hannah, Jacqui (who I haven’t seen for over four years!!), lovely Mirka and Uju.
We love our food here, but I have to admit there are times when I really, really cannot be bothered am too tired to cook dinner. Living in a semi rural location though our options for having anything but something made at home are limited. Good for the pocket, not so great when you feel ready to drop at the end of the day and all everyone wants to do is just eat.
Drum roll please…we have just discovered via the JUST EAT app that there are in fact…six take-aways that deliver to us! Admittedly they are mainly Pizza restaurants and all are half an hour away so delivery will not happen in fifteen minutes, however they deliver! Fab news.
As we don’t ever get to eat kebabs we couldn’t pass up the opportunity and ordered from the one Kebab House that was listed on the app. We ordered a mixture of chicken kebabs, Doner kebab (just had to), salad, pitta bread and potato wedges. Delivery time was confirmed at 55 minutes and payment was all done via the app. I received an email instantly stating that our order was ‘in the bag’ and ‘being cooked right about… now’
The food arrived just short of 55 minutes and was still hot and tasted great, well worth it!
JUSTEAT annually run the Tried and Tasted Awards, this involves people from all around the UK voting for their favourite takeaways via JUSTEAT website. Their feedback on their experience by reviewing and rating their much-loved local takeaways is taken seriously as the Tried and Tasted awards focus on quality and consistency. Out of the 8000 restaurants that have won Tried and Tasted awards for all four years, 1000 have been awarded a consistency award.
Twenty of these restaurants with the highest ratings and reviews from cities that have the most Tried and Tasted winners have been chosen.
There is a good mix of cuisine in these top twenty, including American, Indian, Chinese, Italian, Turkish…and sushi even makes the list. The most popular cuisine making the Tried & Tasted top twenty is Italian.
Unfortunately I can’t share all of these restaurants which are surely well worth a visit, but here is a taster:
Spice Express - an Indian restaurant 224 Church Road, St.George, Bristol. BS5 8AD
Magic Wok - a Chinese restaurant found at 230 Nottingham Road, Derby. DE7 5AJ
You Me Sushi – sushi at 156 Marylebone Road, Marylebone, London. NW1 5PN
Golden Grill- kebabs found at 585 Mansfield Road, Sherwood, Nottingham. NG5 2FW.
Have you ordered through the JUST EAT app? What is your favourite take-away food? My children are really hoping that a Chinese take-away will be added to our area soon.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of the restaurants above or if I have tempted you to, I would love to know what you think.
Disclosure: Collaborative post but all words and opinions are written by me.
You must know by now that I love chocolate, a lot. My eldest son could devour a large wedge of chocolate fudge cake in minutes at a very young age, and his little brother seems to have followed in his footsteps.
It would appear I have passed on my love of chocolate…
So, I was delighted to be asked to take part in Dr.Oetker’s chocolate challenge to help inspire nervous bakers and more experienced bakers to get creative with chocolate. It was a tough choice trying to decide what to make from the Chocolate Indulgence section of their website but eventually I settled for their rather delicious looking Coconut Chocolate Bars.
Now, no judging my coconut chocolate bars against Dr.Oetker’s …mine are supposed to have a rustic feel *cough*. To be fair, I made the biscuit base gluten free so it was a little crumblier than it probably should be.
These coconut chocolate bars make great after school snacks and they are sturdy enough to take on picnics or for packed lunches. Think Bounty bar crossed with a Twix.
There are a few stages to the bake but it isn’t difficult. The hardest part, I found, was getting the biscuit base mixture to stay in the tin. I used the back of a spoon and a spatula to do it although it took a bit of time.
Of course anything I bake ends up being shared with the children, and they have shared the coconut chocolate bars with their friends too.
Throughout March Dr.Oetker is running a Twitter competition to win a deluxe hamper of their chocolate products. To enter tweet @DrOetkerBakes a photo of all your chocolate bakes, tell them who you’ll be sharing it with and use the hashtag #evenbetterbaking
To help you get started Dr.Oetker have a huge range of chocolatey products to inspire, from cooking chocolate, to decorations, to chocolate powders. And their website has some great tips on baking and decorating with chocolate plus handy tips and tutorials.
If you don’t know already (where have you been?) it is Mother’s Day in the UK this Sunday, 15th March. This is the one day when you just have to PAMPER YOUR MUM ! Think about everything your mum does for you, has done for you and will continue to do for you…there are no bounds. I remember wanting to spoil my mum, even at a really young age and I can still picture the cakes I made her…always a Victoria sandwich with jam in the middle and lots of glacé icing to decorate and then I would ice words of thanks on top of that. I’m so sad that another year goes by when I can’t spoil my mum.
It doesn’t have to cost anything to pamper your mum, I linked to a couple of posts here for homemade edible pressies, but if you want to give your mum an extra special treat I highly recommend Pamper Parcels. Think beautiful gifts with a clean conscience, with each pamper box containing carefully sourced products that are natural, organic and fair trade.
I have been very lucky to receive a few Pamper Parcels now and they never ever fail to delight, from the gorgeous spotty box being delivered, to each gift inside individually wrapped, to the excitement of the unwrapping…and that’s before relaxing with an AromaWorks scented candle, in a Tisserand oil infused bath, eating the most gorgeous chocolate…ever.
Have I got you yet? Sounds like heaven in a box doesn’t it.
Each Pamper Parcel also comes with a ‘Pass The Parcel’ gift so you can pass the love on, and make someone else smile. How cool is that? And the bath oil came in a drawstring bag which will be perfect for using on travel adventures. It is these little touches that make Pamper Parcels stand out.
Whilst I know my Pamper Parcel was carefully chosen for me by the lovely Rosie, she knows me so well…chocolate ✔️ candles ✔️ bath ✔️ and more chocolate ✔️, if you head over to the site there are various gift options if you are looking for a different reason to pamper someone. Teens are in for a treat, as are men, foodie lovers, chocolate lovers…and more.
These chocolate truffles from Montezuma are…amazing!
How are you going to celebrate Mother’s Day this year, will you be doing the pampering or will be the one being pampered?
If you follow my Instagram feed you may have guessed that I like wine nearly as much as I love chocolate so I am ever so slightly jealous that one of my very lucky readers is going to win a freestanding wine cooler from those lovely suppliers of kitchen goods ‘MyAppliances’.
I would absolutely love a dedicated fridge for my wine (love one for my chocolate too, is there such a thing?) but unfortunately we are about to move house and are literally bursting at the seams already.
MyAppliances are the one stop shop if you need any kitchen appliances or are having a whole new refit. They sell ovens, hobs, range cookers, fridges, coffee makers, wine coolers, splashbacks and although I’m not a kitchen appliance buying expert the prices seem pretty good and delivery is free!
So, what is the giveaway?
About the Freestanding Wine Cooler you could win…
This stylish design can store up to 24 of your favourite bottles in optimum conditions on 6 chrome shelves. This appliance looks fantastic and is perfect if you like to host parties on the weekend.
Its black glass finish will look sleek and stylish in any modern home and is completed with an interior light that illuminates the cavity beautifully, making it easy for you to find your required bottle.
This pristine cooler features an adjustable thermostat for ideal temperature control and the temperature ranges between 12 and 18 degrees Celsius.
This wine cooler normally retails at £149.99
Basically if you love wine, or are a bit of a party animal then this wine cooler is a must and with summer just around the corner…what better way to keep the wine at optimum temperature.
How to Enter to win a freestanding wine cooler…
To be in with a chance of winning a Freestanding Wine Cooler from MyAppliances comment on this blog post telling me what your favourite tipple is.
For bonus entries follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget, but don’t forget to fill in your details to validate your entry. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received; entries will be verified. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and conditions
1. Open to UK residents over the age of 18. 2. There is one prize of a freestanding wine cooler from MyAppliances. 3. Competition closes at 11.59pm on Monday 6th April 2015 4. Winner’s tweet entries and subscriptions etc are cross checked. 5. This giveaway is hosted on behalf of prize sponsor MyAppliances who will be responsible for shipping the prize. 6. The prize sponsor’s decision is final and binding on entrants; no further correspondence will be entered into. 7. There is no cash or alternative to the prize stated. 8. The prize is offered in good faith that the prize sponsor will supply it. The prize sponsor may substitute the prize with one similar value/type if the original item becomes unavailable. The owner of this site will not be responsible for replacing the prize should the prize sponsor renege on their agreement to supply it. 9. Winners are picked by Rafflecopter using random.org and the site owner will contact them by the email within 48 hours of the giveaway closing. 10. Failure to claim the prize within 48 hours will result in a replacement winner being chosen.