Thursday, 30 April 2009

Picture Of The Day!

My auntie just sent me through some pictures of Laura's hen do, and on there has to be the picture of the day.

I'd been for my first ever spray tan the day before and it had gone a bit patchy on my legs. I was a bit panicky as I had to wear a dress so my future cousin-in-law's sister came to my rescue with a can of self tan. Not wanting to get it on any carpets and as the bathroom was occupied, she took me outside and this is the site that greeted the neighbours!

Just a couple of group shots to share too. This is us all at my auntie's house before we set off:

And once we met up with the other hen party (it was joint with Laura's best friend Adele) at the races:

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

As Promised...

I've had a few people ask how to make these - Baileys & White Chocolate Cupcakes - so here's the recipe:

175g self-raising flour
175g caster sugar
110g butter
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp milk
55g white chocolate chips

2 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream
55g butter
175g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas mark 4. Line cupcake baking tray with paper liners.

2. Place flour, caster sugar and butter in a bowl and mix with an electric hand-mixer on medium speed (I used a food processor instead).

3. Add in the eggs, one by one, beating well. Add the vanilla extract and milk and mix together. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

4. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake tray, up to 3/4 full. Place in the oven for 18-20 mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 mins. Remove the cupcakes from the baking tray and allow to cool on a wire rack.

5. Place the butter and Baileys in a bowl and beat together. Gradually add in the icing sugar, beating the mixture in until smooth and creamy.

6. Spread over each cupcake and leave to set.

I got this recipe from a cupcake recipe book that the lovely Marie bought me. There's a whole section on alcoholic cupcakes so watch this space for more drunken cakes! Hic!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Nags & The 'Respectable' Older Generation

I know that one day, I am going to discover how to make my fortune, but I'm buggered if I know how! Yesterday I discovered another way that it won't happen: betting.

I've spent this weekend on my little cousin Laura's hen do. We went to the races which was just the perfect excuse to get dressed up, so out came dress number 1 from my dress bargain shopping spree (and we won't even mention how my little cousin looked so effortlessly stylish, that gene obviously skipped me!):

So, you can't go to the races without having a little flutter, so off I go to the tote and put on my first ever bet by myself (apparently, I was informed, in Yorkshire ladies can bet but can't go to the bookies as it's the man's domain, hence why my Grandad always put my bets on on National Day!).

So, would you like to see which horses I backed? First of all there was this one:
And this one:

Yup, I backed the biggest bunch of nags going! I went from picking out names I liked, to studying the form, to phoning my 7-year-old and asking her to pick a number between 1 and 7; the best I managed was 5th place. Grrr!

Mind you, it was better than poor Laura's donkey. We all clubbed together so she could go and put a load of money on a horse in the last race. Off she tripped and got one that would earn her £400 if it came home, with only 5 horses in the race this seemed like a good bet! Well, you need the blooming thing to start the race to stand a chance don't you?! It reared up, kicked, they had 6 grown men pushing it's backside into the gate, but the old nag was having none of it; so poor Laura didn't get to cheer it on and had to go and get her stake back.

However, she wasn't going to let that put a dampner on things and we all met up for a night out. Of course we had to do the obligatory to Laura:
Anyway, we had a lovely evening at a Tapas bar. I got to talk to Laura's family on her dad's side (our mothers are sisters) who I've never really had chance to speak to properly before, and a couple of nice glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and a belly full of food. Plus the ressurection of 'how to sneak off to the toilet' that seems to be a firm staple of mine and Laura's at hen do's!
However, I'm not too good at partying these days so I left them to it at 11.30 and headed back to the hotel with Laura's auntie. I didn't think it was going to be a too wild night, what with the respectable older generation going along to the club. Ahem! I had to tell my mother off for turning up at the hotel at 2.30am, then this morning I had a look at my camera (which my mum had in her bag) and found my Auntie Claire showing how she has earnt my utmost respect over the years:

Tut tut! And they talk about the youth of today eh?!

Right, off to get my thermals on and warm up a nice mug of Horlicks!

Friday, 24 April 2009

And To Think...

...if Rob had committed a serious crime 10 years ago today and not married me, he'd probably have been out by now!

Yes, today me and the Bobbins have been married for a whole decade. I'm sure there'll be a few blog readers who were actually there who are thinking '10 years? Never!', so you can imagine what it's like at this end!

I'm quite amused by how our plans to celebrate our first big milestone have changed somewhat over the years:

April 1999: On honeymoon in Las Vegas - "Let's come back here and renew our vows in 10 years"

April 2007: 2 kids later - "Hmmm, Las Vegas may be a bit far for the kids, why don't we save up/get a loan/sell a child and go to New York for the weekend?"

February 2008: on the announcement that my sister was getting married in Antigua - "Hmmm, New York then Antigua within a few weeks? May seem a bit flash, why don't we just go away for the weekend in this country?"

January 2009: on the announcement that my cousin Laura is having her hen weeeknd this weekend - "Quick pint down the local then?!"

Well OK, we are going to a lovely Thai restaurant for a meal, but it's a good 6,000 miles nearer than Las Vegas! Oh how the times change!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

And Breathe!

I think I have just taken one of the biggest breaths of my life...finally my exam is over!!!

It's been such a long time coming building up to this. I was all revised and ready to go back in October when 1 or 2 emergency heart operations and a bout of bad pneumonia stopped me taking the exam. Then my deferral got accepted only to be told it would be 6 months until I could sit the exam!

I then started a different subject area of my degree, which I had to get ahead on so I could break off and go back to the previous area to try and relearn everything I learnt last year and revise. But finally today, it all came to a conclusion and I'm happy to say it went well (I think!). I knew the answers so it's just a case of how well I answered them and whether I went into enough detail. All I can say is I couldn't have written any faster and kept going right up to the 'pens down' 3 hours later!

And, for a rare moment of self-praise, I'm quite proud of myself! I left the exam feeling like I couldn't have done anymore or revised anymore and so I'm happy that I did my best.

So, fingers crossed for the results in June! Chant after me - "2:1, 2:1, 2:1!"

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Contoller's In His Den

Some days these munchkins just warm your cockles don't they?

Finally, finally, finally this morning, Xander did a wee on his potty! HURRAH!! Completely unsupervised too (though he did forget to take his pants down first), I just went in and voila! there was a potty full of wee. We went shopping this morning to get him some shoes for the weddings, so I treated him to this for being such a good boy on his potty:

He's spent all lunchtime running round the room shouting 'All aboard!'. Bless him!
Once I had him down for his nap, I sat down on my computer to find an email from Emily (bless these kids, in my day we communicated through 2 yogurt pots and a piece of string!). She's been at her Nanna's since Tuesday and they wanted to send me some pictures. Yesterday, she went to a bird sanctuary and built her own den, how cool is that? Maybe I can set her about building me a craft room next!

She also went to the theatre last night with Nanna to see Bugsy Malone. House building and nights at the theatre? My girl's growing up way too fast! Can't wait to see her tomorrow; she might be a little diva but I'm missing her terribly. :(
Right, lots to do before the Wee Controller wakes up!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Sand & Water Play!

We finally got round to giving Xander his Easter present on Monday. Rob had been on with the decking so we couldn't really get it out until that was finished. Anyway, we bought him a sand and water play table so he can get out there and make a good old mess! Only thing was, who knew sand weighed so blooming much? Took me ages to pour it in. However, Xan is more than happy with his alternative Easter egg!
Mummy's been messing about with water too. This week's Scrap Like You Mean It from UKS was to scrap 'on the edge'. Again, I got out my absolutely favourite new book that I ordered from the States after seeing Rach's copy (what did I ever do without that book?!):
So, for this one I used a technique in there with water. You machine sew the paper or card close to the edge, then wet the paper edge up to the stitching and roll the paper in, leave to dry and voila! I did a layout for my mum's scrapbook as haven't done her one for ages; it's a picture of us all at Christmas:
I'm taking a bit of a scrapping break for now. Have my exam in a week and, although the scrapping has been giving me some light relief at the end of a day revising, I'm pretty shattered so am going to spend my evenings crashed on the sofa with some mindless trash on telly! Never fear though, the scrapping shall return in 8 days time!

Monday, 13 April 2009


I have been informed this morning that Emily's life just isn't fair. I was talking to her this morning about today's plans and that, as mummy had to revise for her big exam next week, that she was going to go shopping with Daddy. I was told that this was simply not fair, why should Emily have to go and do boring shopping just because Mummy had to revise.

Hmmm, thinks I, maybe Emily does have a very unfair life. After all, it was only last week that I dragged her to the shops so she could choose this Easter egg from the money that Great Grandad had sent her:

And waking up yesterday morning to this sight must have seemed like such an injustice to the poor girl:
Maybe it's just because I'm a really bad mummy and never do anything with her, like making Easter bonnets:

Maybe it's the trip to the cinema tomorrow?
Or having to go and get spoilt rotten at Nanna's for a few days this week?
Or her play date with Gracie on Friday?
Or the impending holiday?
Or the fact she's going to be a bridesmaid?
Oh what have I done? The poor girl may aswell be in Oliver Twist at this rate, my poor unfortunate hard-done-by little girl!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter So Far...

So, Easter so far in the Garlic household.

Thursday I went with the kids to see my friend Jane. Actually, truth be told, I went to see my friend Jane's MASSIVE new extension (won't be posting pics as wouldn't want to spread the huge house envy I am currently possessing!) but it was lovely to see Jane and her gorgeous girls Jessica and Annabel. Our friend Maureen popped over aswell with her daughter Alyssa, and it gave us a rare opportunity to get all the kids together for a photo op (what a blooming photogenic bunch we produced between us!):

Yesterday we started 'Intensive Potty Training 101' with Mini G. We've been on 'Potty Training Halfarsed' for a while now, but thought we'd take advantage of a 4 day weekend to try and drill it into the lazy young man that we can't all just wee on demand, sometimes a quick 2 seconds to get to the toilet is in order! So, new potty was bought (which he seemed to quite like):

Choice of pants were provided:

And off we went. Have we had any potty wee yet? Er, well no! But we've had a great big poo, so we're taking the victories where we can (as we carry on washing the wet pants!).

Rob's been getting a few household jobs done. We've finally decided to treat the decking (it's only been 5 years!), so yesterday afternoon he had the joyous task of scrubbing it to get all the crud off:

We're hoping for dry weather tomorrow so we can actually treat it (like how I keep saying 'we'; I ain't going anywhere near that decking unless it's on a sunlounger with a G&T!).
Today I've been to my first ever scrapbooking crop (well, not counting my 'chocolateandwineandmaybetheoddlayout' night with the lovely Lauren!). It was lovely and I managed to get lots done in my 6 1/2 hours of nothing but scrapping (er, can we say B L I S S?!). Here's a finished project for this week's UKS challenge. Love this pic of Em:
And I used my lovely new scrapping book and did some hidden pop-ups in there too:

So, quite hectic so far. Hopefully tomorrow's a lazy-ish day (well, apart from revision, decking painting, fence painting and Sunday dinner making, but that is quiet for us!). The kids have a ridiculous amount of Easter eggs so I am going to try and be a good mum and maybe help them out on that front!
Hope everyone has a lovely Easter! :)

Friday, 10 April 2009

Remembering Eric

I woke up feeling a little sad this morning. Today is the 1st anniversary of our good friend Eric passing away.

I can't believe it's been a year already; it still seems like he'll pop round any minute, or I'll get a crank call from him (Eric, you were a bugger for doing that and you got me every time!).

So today we will be remembering a truely great friend and thinking about his wife, my lovely friend Ann, who will be finding today so tough. However, she has a good family round her to support her and me and Emily called in to give her huge hugs yesterday. Tomorrow she's going up to the Angel Of The North to lay flowers. Every year, Ann and Eric would take a trip up to Gatehead for the weekend as our Eric was a bit of a shopaholic, and the Angel statue would always symbolise the start of the weekend.

So, here's thinking about you Eric, we miss you.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Where Did The Time Go?

Expect very quick blog posts for a couple of weeks. 2 weeks today I'll just be going into my exam and I'm cramming like mad at the moment! It's the one I missed when I was in hospital last year, so I've had to get ahead with this year's subject so I can now take time off to go back and revise last year's (confused? try being in my head at the moment!). Add to that that it's fallen right at the Easter holidays and it all gets even more complicated. Thankfully, Xander's not here 3 days a week and Emily's been quite good entertaining herself. She's at mum's today and going to her Nanna's for a few days next week, so hopefully I'll be able to get it done.
Anyhoo, managing to do some scrapping at night, helps clear my head after taking in prepositional phrases and mytonomy all day (?!). So, here's my latest layout; it's from the UKS Scrap Like You Mean It challenge, this week it was to scrap something hidden.
Some of you may have seen the photoframe in Xander's room, it's one of those 'Baby's 1st Year' ones, with a picture of every month of his first year of life. Anyway, wanted to scrap this idea for a while and I'd seen an idea in a book about putting them on a wheel, so here's my gorgeous little man:
And the hidden element: lift up the bottom half of the circle for a pic of Xan on his first birthday:
Right, back to it - coffee, Oreos, cram!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Viva Flam Vegas!!

We've had a lovely weekend. A few weeks ago, I won the use of a house in Flamborough on the East coast, so on Friday off we went along with Ally, Steve and Elise. It was a bit of a dodgy start, namely bad traffic, grey clouds, no TV (to quote Emily: "How is anyone supposed to survive 2 whole days without a tv!" The youth of today eh?) and a local Chinese that didn't seem to open, but once the wine started flowing and the kids had FINALLY gone to bed, we started to enjoy ourselves.

The forecast was dreadful for Saturday, but we didn't let that deter us and set off to Bridlington wrapped up in scarves, coats and gloves. When we got there we took advantage of a virtually empty beach and Rob and Steve gave the kids a lesson in a spot of stone skimming:

Or in Xander's case, stone dunking:
And then he got a tad confused as to which stone was his:
But hang on a minute, what's that in the background? Not the grey wet clouds that we were promised, but could it be sun:

You're flinging flanging right it is! So, we had a walk into Brid, and slowly gloves came off, then scarves, then coats and the next thing we're sat at a cafe toasting ourselves! 9 degrees and raining? Pah, we got blooming sunburn!
The plan was to get the little train that I used to ride as a kid up to the park at Sewerby, but unfortunately they've stopped running it (childhood memories shattered!) so we drove up to Sewerby instead. The hall and zoo were amazing! Elsie certainly enjoyed herself:

And the draw of the day had to be the penguins:

We did have quite a hairy moment when a couple of penguins decided to rectify their 'threatened' species status, but luckily we managed to divert the kids attention for a few minutes!
We saw lots of other animals, including wallabies (or wobblies as my sister used to call them), llamas, peacocks and these emus (or were they ostriches, can never tell):

We then went to visit the great hall, which was lovely. We also had a bit of a rest outside and the kids decided to do a spot of daffodil picking (though we're not convinced that was exactly allowed!):

After that, the kids were shattered so we went back to the house for a Chinese and to have a rest after all that sea air.
Today was another glorious day and we had tickets for Sealife in Scarborough. It's been decades since I've been to Scarborough and I didn't realise how lovely it was:

There were some great things to see in the Sealife Centre, these jellyfish were fab:

And the kids loved the seals:

Everyone then went on a shark hunt:

And Emily had a chat with some seahorses:

We finished off the weekend with a walk along the front, where a nice passerby offered to take a pic of us all. I think this is the first ever pic we've had all together:

So, it was a really lovely weekend. Thanks so much to Ally and Steve (and of course my little buddy Elise) for coming with us. Viva Flam Vegas!!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Crafty RoundUp

I've no idea what possesses me, but I always seem to do do the most crafting when I'm at my absolute busiest. Between school/assignmnets/revision/taking care of 2 kids/allthecrapthatcomeswithit, I seem to have fitted a lot in over the last month! So, here's a quick roundup. The cards are from Michele's challenge blog, the layouts from various challenges over at UKS.