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Kids in the Kitchen: Baking disaster Hot Cross Buns


You may recall that we had a good Easter this year. A very good Easter. But one thing that didn't turn out too well was making our own Hot Cross Buns.

I feel really glad that this was the year that we finally got around to having a go at making some. But sadly they didn't turn out quite right. It was Yen from GoodyFoodies that inspired us to have a go. When I read her first paragraph of her Hot Cross Bun post, I realised that could have been me. Good intentions every Easter but never quite getting around to it. So we decided to go for it.

We dug out D's Masterchef cookery book. After all you can't go wrong with that. Or can you...



We did change the recipe slightly and used 40g of honey instead of the sugar in the recipe. But I don't think that was the problem.


Miss T did a great job of kneading the dough, so I don't think that was the problem.

She got covered in flour...
but didn't seem to mind!

However long we left them they just would not rise! I think it is because we used milk that was too hot when making the dough and it must have killed the yeast and stopped it working.

We brushed them with milk prior to cooking and then with heated apricot jam once cooked. With hindsight I should have heated the jam with water then strained it as it was a bit too gunky and sticky as it was.


So a few lessons learnt there I think. But that is the beauty of baking that I am discovering. Things go wrong, but you can still learn something from it. And anyway they still tasted ok....just about.

A long overdue link up with:

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Tracking down Adventure at Dover Castle


Yesterday Miss T had the first of her Methotrexate injections for her JIA. We had been warned of side effects and so were not sure quite how she would react. This morning there was no sign of nausea so we decided to head off in search of adventure at Dover Castle. 

We're determined to make the most of the last couple of months we have remaining on our English Heritage membership. Last year we got to visit Stone Henge, Restormel Castle and Bayham Abbey. Last time the kids visited Dover Castle was 3 years ago when Miss T had just been born so I missed out on going. So we packed up a picnic and some Tracker bars as snacks which had been kindly sent to us by Tracker and off we went. 

Thankfully the gloomy weather soon cleared and it turned out to be a lovely day. There was a George and the Dragon event happening so the overflow car park was in use but with shuttle buses running all day parking wasn't an issue. 

There was plenty of outdoor space to explore...




And lots to see indoors. We didn't do the dynamo tunnel experience as there was a bit of a wait but we enjoyed the hospital tunnel tour. 

We also saw inside the tower... 


and on top of the tower...




Then it was time to re-energise with a snack! The kids LOVE the White Chocolate Chip variety of Tracker. 


We made our way back down the stairs. I loved how the sunlight trickled through this narrow window...
Finally it was time for the big battle. Saint George defeated an evil knight, and then rescued the fair maiden from the Dragon. 
There was so much to see and do at Dover Castle that I think we will need to go back again. Time to go home (and enjoy another Tracker bar in the garden - Chocolate Chip flavour this time).


Tracker very kindly sent us a lovely backpack from Mi Pac packed with our favourite snack. As well as Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Chip, Tracker also comes in a Crunchy Peanut flavour which I can't wait to try because the thing I love best about Tracker bars in the peanuts in them - yummy! 

So thanks Tracker for our backpack of goodies - Tracker really is the perfect rucksack snack.

Linking up with:

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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GIVEAWAY and Review: ShoutyKid 2 - How Harry Riddles Mega-Massively Broke The School


You may remember us getting very excited reviewing the first ShoutyKid book last year: How Harry Riddles made a Mega-Amazing Zombie Movie. We loved that book. It was just the kind of book that my boys really enjoy reading. A fun light-hearted read that is sure to have them giggling.

So you can imagine how happy we were to hear that the second ShoutyKid book was out - called ShoutyKid: How Harry Riddles Mega-Massively Broke The School.

Once again written in this clever, original style of telling the story as a series of emails, letters, texts and webchat conversations, author Simon Mayle guides us through Harry's latest dilemmas and issues in life.

Amongst which the impending unexpected arrival of twins in his family features, as well as a footie tournament which doesn't bode well for Harry's school. Harry's favourite video game, World of Zombies is still very much part of the storyline once again too.

Just to give a little flavour of the book, here are a couple of the letters that Harry has written. This one is to Prince George about the twin issue in Harry's life:


And to help with his football dilemma, who else would Harry write to. None other than football legend David Beckham of course:

J and D are loving the ShoutyKid series of books. They remember their own little sister Miss T being born and so could relate to the idea of new babies arriving in the family. They both also enjoy gaming so they think Harry is pretty cool for being a gamer too. But best of all they enjoy the style of the books. Easy to read and funny. 

Giveaway!!!

And now for the chance to get your hands on your own copy of ShoutyKid - How Harry Riddles Mega-Massively Broke The School, just fill in the rafflecopter form below. Entries will be checked.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are not lucky enough to win, you can buy your own copy of ShoutyKid - How Harry Riddles Mega-Massively Broke The School on Amazon.

And lookout for book 3 in August 2015! Visit Shoutykids website for hilarious blog entries, competitions and learning resources at www.shoutykid.co.uk
ShoutyKid 3 is due out later this year! 

HarperCollins kindly sent us a copy of this book for the purposes of review and are also providing a copy for the giveaway.



UK competitions at ThePrizeFinder - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/shoutykid-book-how-harry-riddles-mega-massively-broke-school#sthash.KZqIZI5K.dpuf
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Ruby Redfort Feel the Fear...finished at last!


We started reading this book before Christmas and with a whopping 57 chapters it really is a long read but we enjoyed every chapter. As we hadn't got around to doing a full review in December, we wanted to finish what we started and let you know what we thought of the whole book now we have finished reading it.

In this book, Lauren Child's fourth book in the Ruby Redfort series, child prodigy secret agent Ruby feels she is totally invincible and is totally fearless. 

Having narrowly escaped death several times in her previous adventures, Ruby now believes that Lady Luck is on her side and that she will come to no harm no matter what. This reckless attitude gets her pulled off from fieldwork training but Ruby soon finds a way of getting back in on the action with the latest case that Spectrum 8, the top secret division that she works for, are trying to solve. 

She may be just a school kid but Ruby is one cool character, not just with her secret agent work but in her friendships too. We love Clancy Crew, who is Ruby's best friend. Although I don't think it has been specifically mentioned in any of the Ruby books, we have a sneaking suspicion that Clancy could well be on the autistic spectrum. As we learn more about him in each book, we just love him more and more. Many of his traits feeling familiar to us with J also on the spectrum. 

This book's mystery centres around The Scarlet Pagoda theatre in Ruby's home town, Twinford. Ruby uses her decoding skills to work out some answers which all build up to a nail biting finale with Ruby having to use her fearlessness, which had got her into so much trouble, to her advantage in the end.  

We love the fact that Ruby Redfort books appeal to both boys and girls, grown ups and kids. We love how Feel the Fear has mentions of Ruby's previous adventures from the other Ruby books and yet you don't need to have read them to enjoy this book. We love how Ruby has great quirky friends like Clancy Crew. This book, like the others, also features plenty of other interesting characters like butler Hitch and housekeeper Mrs Digby both playing their important roles in the book that make the storyline even more interesting. I often find myself wondering who would play these two characters if there was ever a Ruby Redfort movie (which I really really hope that one day there will be!)  

We are once again left with a few unanswered questions, leaving us hopeful of more Ruby books on the way. This book also features parkour, skitching, and a few more of those top secret spectrum gadgets and kit. With one particular item playing a very big role in the mystery. 

Now this may have taken us ages to read as we read a little each day, savouring the adventure. But it really is a gripping plot and leaves you wanting more. 

So we can't wait to find out what's in store for Ruby in the future. We are hoping for many more Ruby adventures by brilliant author Lauren Child. 

You can find out more about Ruby Redfort on The Ruby Redfort Facebook page or buy your own copy of this awesome book here

Thank you HarperCollins for sending us this book to review. 

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Book review: Before The Fire, by Sarah Butler

Review by Richard Beesley.

It's the summer of 2011 and Stick and Mac have plans. Both almost eighteen, they are leaving Manchester for a new life in Spain. They've planned their extended trip, bought the barely-working car, planned the route through England, France and Spain, and everything is ready. But they haven't planned for what will happen the night before their trip - Mac is stabbed and killed.

Immediately, Stick's life is changed. His best friend is gone, his plans are over and he is stuck in Manchester. We follow Stick over the coming months as the case against Mac's murderer develops against a backdrop of growing civil unrest and the building of riots in cities across the country. Stick meets J, and she seems to be the something missing in his life. But she hates the Police and the riots that are almost certainly coming to their city promises excitement, rather than anxiety, for both of them.

This is a well-developed book, written in a beautifully clear way. I didn't want to put the book down, and wanted to see how the story unfolded and what became of Stick. Stick's life had not been easy and his past offers explanations for his current world view, although his own choices were his own worst enemy. The adults in his world seem to have little understanding of Stick's life or needs, which only aid in isolating him further. His life is full of anger, and I really wanted him to let go of that and live his life to the full.

This is a great book, simple to read and easy to follow, but with powerful underlying story.

Before The Fire, by Sarah Butler is published by Pan Macmillan and is available from their website.

Disclosure: Pan Macmillan sent me this book to keep for the purposes of review. All opinions are our own.
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Easter 2015

A bit of a photo heavy post today capturing Easter memories... A few good pics of all three of them together so will be linking up with Siblings for April. Also plenty of outdoor fun in our annual easter egg hunt organised by granny and grandad so will be linking up to the next Country Kids linky and hopefully will also remember to link up with Pocolo.

Easter got off to a great start with some bright yellow parcels arriving...

These contained some fantastic Easter Eggs sent by our friends at Nintendo as a thank you for being Nintendo Family Bloggers. They were personalised with the childrens names which was so lovely...Thanks so much Nintendo!

 I can't decide which of the next two pics I like best so I'm including both...

 Then the Easter egg hunt at Granny and Grandads...




The kids had great fun and were totally spoilt with lots of eggs to find. Each child's eggs are lovingly labelled by Granny and Grandad with their fave moshi monster character so they know whose is whose. And this year there was some colour coordination going on too with pink ones for Miss T whose eggs are labelled with Poppet.




Thank you Granny and Grandad for another amazing Easter Egg Hunt (and fab roast dinner too!)

 And an opportunity for another sibling photo...
 Then some running around with Holly Dog...




 And finally a few Bank holiday chores on Monday...

Now just need to remember to do all the linking up on the right day...
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dear beautiful
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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