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GIVEAWAY and Review: The Luck Uglies

Set in the bleak grim village of Drowning, The Luck Uglies follows the adventure that Riley O'Chanter (Rye) has when their village comes under threat from some hideous creatures that go by the name of Bog Noblins. 

Rye is a girl who lives with her mum Abby and her younger sister Lottie who is 2. Shady is their pet cat and we get to meet some of Rye's close friends too in the form of Quinn and Folly. 

Aimed at children aged 9 and above, I decided to read this with J, aged 10, because the book looked and sounded like it would be quite 'dark'. As it turned out it was a real page turner packed with adventure and it would have been suitable for J to have read on his own. 

The village of Drowning certainly does feel like a dull and dreary place filled with a pretty superstitious bunch of people. And the Bog Noblins really are hideous terrifying creatures. Yet despite this, the author still manages to make us feel that it is a village that is worth saving and manages to even eek out a hint of sympathy from the reader towards the hideous Bog Noblin creature. 

J and I really liked reading this together and we particularly enjoyed reading about 2 year old Lottie's antics. Being close in age to 11 year old Rye, and having an amusing little 2 year old sister of his own, J could really relate to some of Lottie's actions, words and funny phrases as we could imagine Miss T doing and saying these things. 

With the strap line 'Sometimes only the bad guys can save you', The Luck Uglies reminds us not to be too quick to judge or to believe all that others tell us as we begin to unravel some of the mysteries of the past and of the notorious gang of outlaws known as The Luck Uglies. 

For teens and tweens, this is definitely a book I'd recommend. Packed with action and adventure and a twist in the tale towards the end that took me by surprise. Despite looking like a book that might be dark and scary, it was actually a great read which neither of us found overly frightening at all. 

Here's a chance for one person to win a copy of their own thanks to the lovely people at Harper Collins. Just fill in the rafflecopter form below. Entries are checked and verified and incomplete entries will be disqualified. So please make sure you do follow, tweet, etc if you say you have on the form.

The Luck Uglies is published by Harper Collins and is available to buy here
Disclosure: We were sent a copy of Luck Uglies for the purposes of review and Harper Collins will be providing the copy for the giveaway.

This giveaway has been listed at Superlucky and Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com
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Making our own naan bread

Inspired by seeing Raisie Bay's naan bread featured in kids in the kitchen a few weeks ago, I decided that it would be great to try to make our own naan bread.

By coincidence, I had come across another naan bread recipe in the May issue of delicious magazine at around the same time, so I'd left the mag open on that page since then as a reminder to myself. 

Well we decided that today was the day. I'd mentioned it to Miss T earlier in the day so when she said 'make bread', I knew it was time to get started. 

Because Naan bread is relatively flat, I had no idea that we'd need to allow 'rising' time, so Miss T helped at the start but then it was her nap time so I did the rest after that.

The full recipe from delicious mag can be found online here and Raisie Bay's recipe for naan can be found here. We largely stuck to the delicious mag recipe because I had a paper copy so it was easier to follow than leaving the iPad on whilst cooking.

I didn't have any white stoneground flour, so I used 400g of strong white flour and topped it up with 100g of stoneground whole meal flour. I also didn't bother to brush the naans with butter once cooked, nor scattered with any salt or seeds. 

Miss T helped to measure and mix together the 100g full fat live yoghurt, 160ml milk, the half teaspoon each of salt and sugar and half a teaspoon of yeast dissolved in 75 ml tepid water. The milk and yogurt should ideally be at room temperature. 

We also measured the flour together and she helped make a well in the flour to add 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil. Then she poured in the yogurt/milk/yeast/water mixture into the flour and did her favourite job - 'mix'.

The dough needs a minute of kneading, then to be covered and left for 10 minutes before kneading again for a minute or so. 

Miss T loved the kneading stage and really got into pushing, poking and whacking the dough. 

It gets covered again and put in a warm place, this time for 1-2 hours. 

The recipe then suggests diving the dough into 4-6 balls. We managed to get 12 out of the dough as I made each smaller so it would roll thinner and cook more quickly as I didn't have a lidded frying pan that the recipe requires. 

Rather than use just fingers I used a rolling pin to get the dough quite thin. Then using fingertips added rapeseed oil to both sides of each naan. Each one cooks in a matter of minutes in a dry pan on the hob. 

Turn over when one side is cooked to cook the other side. This part is really similar to the flatbreads that we like to make. If you ever need a speedier alternative to naans, the flatbreads are mega simple and quick to make but just like warm naans are extremely morish and will be eaten in one go! 

I loved the softness of the naans and the elasticity of the dough. And yes they did all get eaten by the whole family in one sitting!

Linking up with Kids in the Kitchen:

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I Love You Right Up To The Moon - And Back

From Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Illustrated by Anita Jeram  #HeinzPastaQuotes
It's so hard to explain to our little ones just how much we love them, but 'Guess How Much I Love You' begins to give an idea with its endearing story of Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare trying to out do each other by telling the other just how much they love they have for them.

We have our own Little Nutbrown Hare here in the form of Miss T along with Daddy who has taken on the role of Big Nutbrown Hare.
From Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Illustrated by Anita Jeram  #HeinzPastaQuotes

And we were pleasantly surprised to find that Heinz Alphabetti contains 1 of your 5 a day with 'a whole tomato squeezed into every portion'. So you can have lots of fun making names, words and quotes with the yummy alphabetti pasta as well as it being another way of showing your little ones just how much you love them by getting 1 of their 5 a day into their meals!
Heinz Alphabetti has a whole tomato squeezed into every portion
From Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Illustrated by Anita Jeram  #HeinzPastaQuotes

“This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Heinz competition to support Children’s Book Week”. You can find more details here

We have tweeted and instagrammed a photo and this is the tweet reference: https://twitter.com/TheBeesleyBuzz/status/487353339475406848
And here is the Instagram reference: http://instagram.com/p/qSWJbSN9JQ/

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Sultana scones and a successful Saturday

Last week was a little stressful. J had a few wobbly days. Having had 7 perfect months at his new school (7 months!!! where did that time go!) he had a couple of wobbly days at school too. Nothing major, just struggling to focus on one occassion and struggling to listen well on another occasion. So pretty minor given all his previous difficulties when he was younger at school. But still a wobble.

Friday evening stress levels grew higher still. 'I don't want to go'. 'I'm not going'. 'I'm staying home'. He was worried about Saturday. There was a taster day at one of the secondary schools that we had been considering for him. Saturday morning was much the same. Even though I had phoned them and talked him step by step through what was going to happen and what the timetable was. He still didn't want to go.

Daddy agreed that if necessary he would stay on site and be with J to support him as much as he needed it.

Then after a short while Daddy came home after dropping J off. Much to my amazement he stayed. We kept our telephones close at hand waiting for the phonecall to come. It never did.

At pick up time, J emerged with a bagful of scones he had made and a big smile on his face. He had really enjoyed the day.

As well as doing Art, and Science, he had made scones including some shaped like dinosaurs. Can you spot T-rex and Stegasaurus here:

They sent home a copy of the recipe so he made another batch at home soon after. Here's the recipe (slightly amended as we used more dried fruit and a little more milk). I love the fact it is a real Step-by-step method so that J could work pretty independently in the kitchen.

Ingredients: (makes 8-10 scones)
200g self-raising flour
75g margarine or butter cubed
50g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
50 ml milk
70g dried fruit (eg sultanas)

Step by Step Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C and grease a baking tray (we used fry light spray).
2. Measure out your ingredients.
3. Sieve flour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar.
4. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
5. Add the dried fruit.
6. Crack an egg into a glass and check for any shell. Beat the egg with a fork and stir in the milk.
7. Gradually add the egg and milk mixture into the flour. Keep a little of the milk and egg mixture to one side. Mix slowly to form a dough.
8. Turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and knead very gently to bring it together into a ball of dough.
9. Roll the dough no thinner than 2cm thickness using a rolling pin.
10. Cut out circles (or other shapes - J made a dinosaur one using a dinosaur cutter) and place onto the baking tray.
11. Glaze the scones with leftover egg and milk.
12. Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
13. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.


Linking up with Small Steps Amazing Acheivements which is being hosted over at Autism Mumma this week whilst Ethan's mum takes a rest in preparation for the new baby!


Ethans Escapades

And if you haven't read our guest post over on Autism Mumma it can be found here. (In fact, all the wonderful guest posts that Jeanette pulled together over Autism month are worth a read!)

Also linking up with Raisie Bay's Kids in the Kitchen of course - Which I think everyone on the planet should link up with because it is great for reminding us to let the kids get involved in the kitchen and it has really inspired us so much with our cooking.
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Draw with me - Space! July 2014

King of Space by D
Here we are for this month's Draw with Me linky which can be found over at This mummy loves. The theme is another fabulous one - Space!

Miss T got busy drawing this picture and I've labelled some of the planets on there for her.


She only used colouring pencils and so the picture has come out quite faintly so not too clear to see on here - apologies. I've also had a big 'mummy fail' moment because I was going to scan in her original picture so it would show more clearly but I have managed to lose it! Although I'm feeling relieved that I took this photo of her with her drawing so we at least have something to show you.

The boys have both been exhausted and although they are still loving being back at school, they are finding this last stretch of term tiring. D has been moaning that the school day is too long - Which I have to say I agree with!

So when they said they were too tired to draw a space picture, I knew I had to respect their wishes. But I remembered that they had done some pictures of space in the past using pastels and watercolours and even used salt onto the wet watercolours to make different effects. So I have dug out those pictures to reminisce...

J using water colour and salt effects to create Space pictures
J's finished space picture with additional felt pen drawings cut out and stuck onto the watercolour painting

D's space picture using oil pastels

D experimenting with oil pastels and paints 
Linking up with Draw with me...
This Mummy Loves...
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Outfit of the day: Daddy's adventure day out

Advetnures with Daddy
The Watch Hut and the MAD Blog Awards have challenged bloggers to come up with an outfit of the day. As this is very much a family blog where Daddy gets involved too, we decided it was Daddy's turn to choose an outfit, so here he is to tell you about it:

I have gone for an outfit that would be perfect for a family adventure day out.

J and D both love adventures - out and about, in the woods, running across fields. Anything outdoors and using lots of energy. And Miss T is starting to enjoy the same - whether it is running around the garden with her brothers or walking in the countryside carrying Hoppy and Patch and holding my hand.

With the heat of summer coming, the outfit has to be cool and lightweight, as well as durable and stylish! So here's what I have chosen:
  1. These sturdy Salomons boots from Blacks are perfect for hiking outdoors, but lightweight enough to be worn all day whilst adventuring with the kids. The boys will tell you that my current pair of boots are starting to fall about from being worn so often, so having a decent pair that lasts is a must!
  2. These fantastic Levi's chinos from John Lewis are ideal. Lightweight and strong, they look just the part. And, being cotton, they will clean easily from any incriminating dirt from the adventure!
  3. Who knows more about adventures than Bear Grylls himself? This aptly named Bear Adventure shirt from Craghoppers has been designed with style, comfort and practical fun in mind. Rugged and tough, and made from sun-protective fabric to allow all-day fun with the family. Lots of pockets, too, to help carry the kit you need for the adventure (or the rice cakes for Miss T!)
  4. These Ralph Lauren sunglasses look great and have the added advantage of being foldable across the middle. So they look fantastic when the suns out, and can be safely tucked away if we suffer from a typical British summer!
  5. I'd love to have a decent watch again like this Fossil from The Watch Hut. As well as looking great and keeping time, it has a tachymeter and chronograph function to help time and keep track of the kids as they dash about. Waterproof, too, in case the adventures get a bit wild.
  6. Just in case the summer weather does take a turn for the worst, this Boss jacket from John Lewis not only looks amazing, but will keep me adventuring whatever the weather.

This is my entry for the Outfit of the Day competition run by The Watch Hut hosted over at The MAD Blog Awards
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