Hi guys so seen as the summer is in full swing and if you are like me your scrambling the internet for ideas of fun things to do with kids. I’ve decided to start sharing some day out ideas again these aren’t generally just specific to kids. Living in Ireland with the summer weather being so unpredictable and the winter being generally miserable and wet its so important for us as a family to get out and about as much as we can during the year even if the day is less than perfect.

I really don’t like spending my weekends indoors summer or winter if i can avoid it. We visited Lough Gur in April. The day was a bit cold and windy but we enjoyed it regardless.Its completely free of charge to visit and walk around unless you want to opt for an audio tour which we did. Lough Gur website and price details here.

There is plenty of picnic pots around the lake. It was too cold the day we visited for a picnic but we will be back with a picnic over the summer.

Its a short walk from the car park to the visitor centre. Which has a small meusuem with interactive displays if you opt for the audio tour access to the museum is included.

Any excuse for a bit of fancy dress !

There is a small museum on site with interactive displays.

Who said ice creams were just for sunny days!

We done the self guided tour. You can walk around free of charge if your not interested in the tour.

The Fairy Village was a big hit with Harlow, who happens to be a huge fairy fan.

The tour and fairy trail is not accessible with buggies as its a small climb and rocky in places.

Love A

Xxx

Ps: I update my Instagram page regularly with data out videos and pictures. Link for my Instagram page here.

 

Hi guys so I thought I would share my experience with Limerick Institute of Technology. As of 11.31 Friday the 11thof May 2018 I finished college. I can’t believe that it’s OVER. The last four years are the first steps towards fulfilling my career goals they have gone so fast I can hardly believe it’s been just that, I can clearly remember my first day and the emotions and anxiety I felt.

 

 

I have spoken about this before, I was sick with worry and filled with doubt. Would I be able for the subjects, would I be able to study and get the assignments done with the kids, would anyone talk to me the usual carryon.  Guess what people talked to me. I met fantastic, funny, kind and all round good people both students and staff. I achieved excellent results while making the most of my time with the kids. I pretty much flew through college until last year due to personal reasons I didn’t know if I wanted to return in September. I did but I felt I wasn’t able for it anymore my confidence had taken a knock. I pushed on with plenty of tears along the way I set myself a goal of achieving a 1.1. I decided on the career route I wanted to take after  I finished and when I sat my Christmas exams I managed to bring my GPA up by 6%. I couldn’t have felt prouder of myself.

 

Nobody knows it all or has it all together including me but I can honestly say I’m so proud I made that decision to return to education. I’m so proud I gave the girl who lost her ambition and drive another chance. I’m so proud that I retained an over 70% GPA for four years while rearing two small children. I am so proud that I managed to achieve my academic goals while ensuring my children were my priority. Pride is a funny one your never really sure when it’s not just egotistical to be very proud of yourself. How much pride is too much ? We all know someone who perhaps blows their own trumpet too loudly but pride is healthy it’s good for the soul when coupled with honesty and integrity. We shouldn’t shy away from it because others abuse it or make us feel ashamed or unworthy of it. People have a lovely way of diminishing other people’s achievements to magnify their own. The reality is its ok to be proud and own your achievements no matter how big or small.

 

In four years I’ve grown as a person and LIT provided me with the tools to secure my future career and to unapologetically strive for my goals and dreams. Sometimes you need to give yourself a pep talk and tell yourself you can do it. Take one step at time. If your are considering returning to education or pursuing any goal or dream GO FOR IT. You’ve nothing to lose even failure is progression it means you’ve TRIED.

 

I’m excited to begin my journey towards becoming an accountant. I will begin my accountancy education process this coming September doing part time evening and weekend classes while also working, so my time with LIT is over but the exams aren’t over just yet. As excited as I am to be finished college I’m also a little anxious for the next chapter only now I have a previous success story in my pocket to remind me I can do it! I know this is a very random life update but if it gives one person the push they needed to be unapologetically proud of themselves or throw uncertainties and opinions to the wind and pursue a dream or goal then it was worth the randomness.

 

Love A

 

 

Xxx

 

 

Ps: reach for the stars even if you can quite see them yet

 

 

Hi Guys I thought I would share some Easter treat ideas seen as it is Easter tomorrow and we have been busy all week making Easter treats. First up Easter Cupcakes:

Recipe for Cupcakes:

Ingredients

  • 100g spreadable butter
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 125g self-raising cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan assisted, 350°F, gas mark 4). Place paper cases into a bun tray
  2. Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat well together, whisk until well mixed and smooth.
  3.  Divide the mix between the paper cases, scraping the bowl with a spatula, and bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before icing

 

 

 

Top tip when baking with kids weigh out ingredients into different bowls it makes it much easier the kids can add ingredients  without worrying about mistakes.

Taste testing is crucial!!!

The buns were a bit on the brown side and we had overfilled them but nonetheless the kids didn’t mind and were happy to just decorate them anyway.

Recipe for icing:

50g of icing sugar

50g of butter

Water as needed

Pink and a Orange colouring

add water as needed

Method for the butter icing

  1. Put the butter and icing sugar into a mixing bowl and blend together with a wooden spoon, adding a few drops of water. Whisk until light and fluffy

 

The kids decorated with mini eggs and chocolate bunnies Harlow also used edible glitter a LOT of it!!

Rice Krispie Buns

They are oldies but goodies Rice Krispie buns with mini eggs. Great option for toddlers.

 

Chocolate Bunnies in a jar

I got these chocolate rabbits in Aldi and then just used old clean jam jars, I think they are cute gift from the Easter bunny. Simple but effective.

Orange Drizzle Cake

I’m so proud of this cake. I made it all myself during a baking lesson with my mother. I want to bake more and my mother is a wonderful baker so she gave me a little lesson which I loved the cake was relatively easy to make. It turned out lovely and tasted so summary and fresh. This type of a cake can be either an orange or lemon drizzle but I prefer orange the recipe can be adopted for either.

Recipe for cake:

Ingredients

  • 175g spreadable butter
  • 175g castor sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and the juice of 2 (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsps milk
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 50g sieved icing sugar
  • A little orange juice

Recipe for drizzle:

One orange

Granulated sugar

Mix four tablespoons of squeezed orange juice and sugar in a saucepan on the heat until bubbling and mixture turns to syrup its important to stir continuously pour over cake when ready and leave to soak in and crystallise.

Recipe for Orange Icing:

100g of butter

200g of icing sugar

couple of tablespoons of orange

add water as needed

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 1780°C (165°C fan assisted, 350°F). Line the bottom and sides of a 900g (21x10x6cm) loaf tin with baking parchment or a liner
  2. Mix the butter and sugar together, beating well until really pale and fluffy
  3. Add the egg slowly, beating well each time
  4. Add the grated orange zest can be left out
  5. gently fold in the flour and salt if desired can be left out
  6. Stir in the milk, then pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin
  7. Bake for about 35-45 minutes, until springy to the touch and when a knife is inserted in the centre it comes out clean
  8. Remove from the oven but leave in the tin
  9. Put the sugar and orange juice into a small pan and bring it to the boil, stirring all the time as the sugar dissolves
  10. Boil strongly for about half a minute
  11. Make several holes in the cake with a skewer, going right to the bottom of the tin
  12. Pour the hot syrup all over the cake, letting it seep into the holes. Leave to cool.
  13. Carefully lift the cake from the tin, by holding the edges of the paper or silicon
  14. Gently peel away the paper or liner
  15. Add the orange juice little by little to icing sugar, mixing well, until it is of desired consistency. Ice the top of the cake and place down the sides.

 

 

The best part of home baking licking the spatula afterwards!

Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake

 

Betty Crocker strikes again this is my favourite Betty Crocker cake. I just follow all the instructions on the box. This is perfect option for baking with kids because they can do everything with very little help. The kids made the cake and I made the icing.

 

Recipe for chocolate icing:

300g of Icing Sugar

100g of Coco Powder

200g of Butter

Add water as necessary

Method for chocolate icing:

Mix all ingredients inn a bowl adding water for desired consistency

*Betty Crocker pre made chocolate icing can also be used

 

The kids decorated it once it had been iced with mini eggs and chocolate fingers and an Easter egg for a topper.

Variations of the recipes I’ve included above can be found on the internet or Pinterest. This is the website I use here. Happy Easter and happy baking.

Love A

 

Xxx

 

 

Ps: hope everyone has a wonderful Easter

Hi guys as you can see from the picture above we love Castlecomer Discovery Park we first visited two years ago returned again last year for another visit.

On our first visit we spent the day walking around the woods, swinging from trees and exploring the woods.

We visited some fairy homes in the fairy and elf village They didn’t seem to be home which was lucky really seen as they may not have been best pleased we were standing on their roof.

We don’t usually spend our days hugging trees however we thought we heard some fairies scurrying around inside!

Both the kids done the junior woodland course Harlow was two at the time and she loved it with a little helping hand ago the way.  Details and prices here.

Next stop was Timber Tumbles Playground.

The Playground is situated at the entrance to the park. The playground is made from wooden and other natural materials to fit with the natural wooded setting. The kids loved the coal-mining theme. It has a mini zip-wire, climbing wall, swings and slide.

From the playground you can watch people completing the tree top adventure walk and climbing wall details and prices here. Which brings me to our next visit. On the fist visit my son wasn’t comfortable with signing up to to the tree top walk however having watched other people completing it he pledged to come back and do it. Seen as Reece has dyspraxia and heights have never really been in his favour I wasn’t sure would he follow through.

on discussion about where to spend Mothers Day last we decided Castlecomer was a perfect fit. Reece asked could he do the tree top walk so I booked it in advance which you HAVE to do, I had seen loads of disappointed people being turned away because they hadn’t pre booked and its so busy.

So he done it and we couldn’t believe it!!! The staff were amazing so professional the safety standards were excellent they knew Reece was a little nervous and they made sure to keep things casual and calm as not to alarm him in any way.

Castlecomer will always be one of the places this guy chased away one of his fears seeing him up in the trees couldn’t have made us prouder although Harlows face doesn’t quite display that I think she was smiling on the inside!! He felt like a champ for the whole day.

We also done the paddle boats around the lake narrowly avoiding some angry swans hence the lack of pictures! It was great fun though, in general there is plenty to do and see at Castlecomer Discovery Park, They have fantastic website with all the details and booking facilities here. There is a coffee shop on site also and plenty of spots to stop and have a picnic.The park itself is free to visit, the parking is free for a limited time then a charge applies prices and details of amenities are listed on the website.

Love A

Xxx

Ps: we will be returning this year to do the zipline which happens to be Irelands longest zipline