Saturday, 25 August 2012

Harry Potter night, or, how I am a massive Potterhead.

So about two weeks ago Rich noticed that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - part 2 was coming onto Sky Premiere last night, so, like the HP geeks we are, he set it to record at 4pm and we made plans to watch part 1 and 2 once the boys were in bed. Not too geeky you might say. Except in the two weeks in between, we slowly made plans.

First it was an off-hand remark from Rich that, since there is always a Christmas scene in Harry Potter, I should get some mince pies in (I love them more than is normal). Then I thought I'd make some, because hello, it's August. Then it was what food we'd get in for a treat. Then yesterday morning I thought, stuff it, we're doing Harry Potter night right!
From the top, Butterbeer and Firewhiskey, Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, mince pies, cauldron cakes, and Chocolate Cockroach Cluster.
 Mince pies, made by my own fair hand from this recipe. I added an egg after reading the comments so I could roll it out. It wasn't exactly pretty, but tastes amazing and had I had some icing sugar to sprinkle it would have hidden a multitude of cracks, wrinkles and uneven egg brushing.

 Cauldron Cakes. By this point I was really running out of time, and so again, not the prettiest, but to be honest I was looking at it more as a practise run! I piped melted white chocolate into swirls for the steam, let them harden in the fridge, then poked them into the (delicious, cheap, shop bought -gasp!) mini cupcakes. In transferring the swirls, all of them warped a bit, and several flopped completely. I'd recommend using a high quality white chocolate, or milk or dark, as my cheap white chocolate did not re-harden well at all. If I'd had more time, I'd have removed the cake cases and dipped the entire thing in chocolate - hello sugar rush - to be more cauldron-y (it's a word), but as it was I just piped a rim around the top. The cheap cakes (Sainsburys btw) already had mini sugar stars on which fit the theme.
 Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Simple this one. I found this image via google, printed it off and cut it out, then stuck it on a sandwich bag full of Jelly Bellys. No risk of earwax flavour, though there is a rank liquorice one. I picked them out.
 Chocolate Cockroach Clusters. AKA Mars bar cakes. These are simple and delicious. 4 mars bars, 4oz butter, 4oz rice crispies. And a whole bunch of chocolate for the tops. Melt the mars bars and butter, and mix in the crispies. Makes 18 cupcakes, chill, top with chocolate. It's actually better done in a tray, but I wanted easy access! These ones look slightly grey from condensation by the way, they aren't gross. I ran out of time (surprise!) again and so put them into the freezer to harden up in time. It was unnecessary, we nearly broke teeth on the chocolate.

 Butterbeer, AKA white grape Shloer. We decided against concocting actual Butterbeer, as every recipe I've ever seen looks like it tastes disgusting. Also the time thing again. And we love Shloer. Bonus - it was on offer. I downloaded (free) the label here.
 Ogden's old Firewhiskey. AKA Rosé Shloer. I found this label on Aviary, at first I was annoyed because it was really too big for the bottle, and I couldn't find a (quick) way to shrink it, but I actually like the way it made the bottle look a different shape. I simply taped the pictures onto the bottles. I do not own these images, obviously.

I had more planned, Fizzing Whizzbee's for one, but I couldn't find the supplies I needed in the short time I had.

So there you have it, quick and fairly easy Potter night. Again, a lot more attention to detail would have been possible if I hadn't decided to go for it with only 5 hours to do it in, while parenting two small boys. But a small bit of geekdom is better than none :)
Neville, for no real reason except it's him :)

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Cannon Hall Farm

 Amy and I took the kids here yesterday and had a blast. They had all sorts going on, sheep racing, ferret racing, hamster racing, and a falconry show. They had a cute petting area with the fluffiest bunny in the world -

 And Sam squealed over and over in delight at being allowed to touch a guinea pig, though I managed to catch a sane-looking expression.
There were plenty of birds and animals to see too, but I didn't get many pictures as I was a little busy shepherding Sam, as I decided to let him out on reins rather than be stuck in the pushchair the whole day. There was an especially cute runty piglet keeping up with his siblings, and some pygmy goats with giant pregnant bellies who I sympathised with.
 We only had one proper ouch incident, Austin poked a finger through the cage of giant chickens and got pecked, poor thing! There are also lots of great play areas which the kids were desperate to get into. Then, at the end of the day we decided to go back to the falconry holding area to see all the birds on display, and one of the handlers had one out for kids to hold! eek! Amy and I the kids were really excited, and got to hold Bubbles, this small owl whose breed I don't remember.
 Clearly only meant for short distance letter deliveries ;)

Then Amy and I were talking about holding one (he brought out a medium sized one for the older kids to hold) and Amy said "you'll never get your hand in that glove" and as I was saying "I'll make it fit!" (anyone sensing my desperation?) The guy said he'd get out a big glove and oh, by the way, did I want to hold that one or any of the others? *Inner squeal!* And I could even hold Claude if I wanted. GASP. Seriously. Here's Claude -

Isn't she gorgeous? look at those eyes! 

And here am I, holding Claude
Do ignore the body, and focus on the face, can you tell that inside I'm squealing and flailing? I loved it.

After the birds we went for ice creams and headed home, just as raindrops started falling. All in all, a pretty awesome day! I'd definitely recommend it to anyone with kids.

Today's plan, errands and maybe fitting in the park, but basically getting out of the house, as the boys are not in a play well at home mood. Wish me luck.

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The things you see when you're out without a gun!

This is one of my Granny's sayings. Usually it referred to someone who was dressed eccentrically or revealingly, or behaving ridiculously or inappropriately. We saw a few instances where she'd have said it today!

Amy, Mum and I were in town and first saw a girl probably about 18 with her (presumed) boyfriend and mum. She was wearing patterned tights that looked kind of lacy, and double denim-ing it up like a pro. Only, from the back you couldn't tell there were 2 kinds of denim, as her denim shirt was butt-skimmingly low enough to completely obscure her denim hot pants. I say hot pants, more like the most uncomfortable knickers in the world, they were that small!

Now, we actually didn't talk about the girl much, we were busy chatting about the dynamic between her and her mum. Mum was absolutely agog that anyone would allow their daughter to wear such (a lack of) clothes, and suggested that had we tried to leave the house like that she'd have had a fit. At this point Amy and I burst out laughing at the absurdity of the idea of leaving the house alive dressed like that, and Amy said we'd never have tried, at which point I said in an imitation of mum, "Oh, you want to wear that? fine, you can be buried in it!"

I tried to get a stealthy picture a la daddy cool in Asda as the shorts were absurdly tiny, but my phone camera wouldn't load fast enough and they were gone. Plus, mum said she wouldn't want to put a picture up anyway, as it was too much!

We had a lovely time shopping in Created in Yorkshire, a fab craft shop in The Ridings in Wakefield. It's a small co-operative that we were tipped off to as a friend is selling her wares there! Everything was gorgeous, and I bought this stained glass angel Christmas tree decoration. Yes, in August. We love Christmas in our house!
It was all so lovely though, I wanted to buy ALL the things, including a gorgeous canvas with embroidered poppies in black, with red felted petals, it was beautiful, I was very tempted to ask for the price. I've got a feeling I'll be back there again.

Then we came across crazy incident number 2. As we were getting in the lift to leave, a very elderly lady in a wheel chair was being pushed out, by a FIVE YEAR OLD girl. She was on the wrong floor so we tried to steer her right, but it turned out she was in the wrong lift too. It turned out that her son (the little girl's dad) had refused to go in the lift (a fear) and the little girl needed the toilet. He got the Grandma to take her, only she was in a wheelchair that couldn't be self propelled as it had little wheels, and she looked as if she couldn't have pushed herself anyway. So the 5 year old - who seemed younger even than that - was pushing her, and had gotten in the wrong lift. We managed to figure out where they needed to go, though only because she knew she'd parked in shop mobility, and only one car park has it. In the end we took them right to their car, as we couldn't find the son who'd apparently waited by the lift. It's scary to think what could have happened, as they were both clearly quite vulnerable. Let's just say we weren't exactly thinking too kind thoughts about the Dad/Son guy in that situation!

After we finished our tour of the lifts and car parks, we went to Lidl so Hayley could spend her birthday money on Dolls house sets, and I picked up some bargain birthday presents for a couple of Ethan's friends. However the best part was spotting this on the sign outside - apologies for the terrible reflective picture:

The Ultimate Zombie Apocalypse Weapon! Cut down the undead while maintaining a safe distance from the splatter of unwanted zombie juice! 3 year Guarantee, if you live that long! Also chops down trees for fortifying your home/bunker. Buy now and be prepared!

We also had plans to visit the Hepworth Gallery, but it was shamefully cast aside to fit in shopping for the adults, shopping for the kids, and an eyebrow threading for Amy. Another time perhaps. 

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Sunday, 12 August 2012


 So in the last little while we've had:
  Sam waving back at Sir Chris Hoy on his lap of honour after winning gold.

 My sister Amy and I making pool noodle horses for the jousting at Hayley's (my niece) birthday party.

 "I call it Nude Descending a Staircase" Sam thinking he is Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes
 Ethan and Sam meeting Peppa Pig in Asda. Sam was completely amazed, Ethan was amazed and slightly scared!
 My boys cuddling :) of course 30 seconds from this they were wrestling like you wouldn't believe, but there we are.
 Sam and his amazing climbing abilities. I keep having to find new 'out of reach' spots! Here he's waving about a homemade wand (yes another one!) that I thought I'd tucked away on a blocked off windowsill. He climbed up a chair, then a table to get to it. This one was destined to be a surprise for another child, until I found out they already had one!

So once again I had a sad lonely wand sitting about my house! I was just waiting to see if anyone wanted it when today we went to Rich's parents for dinner and to celebrate Mel's birthday (sister in law). She'd asked for no present (what?!) so we'd just given her some money - you can't have nothing! Only then she mentioned that she'd seen the other wand on facebook and really liked it. So I snuck out and went home, did a quick age wash to finish it (luckily it dries almost instantly) and hastily wrapped it in brown paper and a ribbon. 

She actually squealed when she opened it, I love that part!

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Ollivander Update!

The magical post made it through the muggle system, Hooray! Seriously, sometimes I think it'd be more reliable to invest in (and then train of course) an owl.

Robyn was, I'm told, absolutely thrilled :) I love it, I got to make kids happy with just normal (ok, slightly on the geek side, but that just makes it better!) childhood things!

To be honest, the pictures speak for themselves without my waffling, so here goes...

 Look at that grin!
 Finding the wax seal
Is that not the happiest excited face you've ever seen?

After doing Robyn's wand and letter, I saw on facebook that another friend, Rachel, was doing a Harry Potter week in the summer holidays with her kids and they were making wands, so I offered to send them Ollivander letters too, congratulating them on their wandmaking.

 This is Izzy, who also happens to be friends with Robyn, so in her letter I mentioned that she shouldn't tell muggles, but that I'd already written to Robyn so it was ok to tell her ;)
And this is Alex (7), who apparently, along with his little brother Sam (5) was completely taken in by it all, love it! Rachel told me that Sam also quietly asked her if the wands would work when they were finished, bless him!

While pilfering (with permission!) these pictures from facebook, I've also seen that Robyn has instructed her mum to buy a frame for her letter! Makes me feel like I really did a great job!

Thanks to Rach and Mel for letting me share pictures of your gorgeous children x

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!