7 fun foods for Halloween!

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Halloween is fast-approaching and with it being the second-best time of year (Christmas obviously being the first one…) we tend to go a bit overboard in our house, and it never passes by without a party. With that in mind I thought that today I’d share a few of the great foody ideas I’ve seen on while I have been searching for new things to try at this years party.

Some of these are goodies that I will be making next week and some, well there are some that I don’t quite feel qualified for and/or don’t have the patience but I know that there are many talented people out there who could make an awesome job of these!

Why 7? Well I thought 10 was a bit predictable really so thought I’d break from the norm, edgy, aren’t I?

Rice Krispie Treats from One Little Project


Brownie Cupcakes from Two Sisters Crafting


Frozen Banana Ghosts from BBC Good Food


Vampire Donuts from She Knows


Spooky Eyeball Halloween Cake from Betty Crocker


Day of the Dead Biscuits from BBC Good Food


Spooky Boo Brownies from Betty Crocker


Have you seen anything you like here? If you’ve seen any other great ideas or you have some tasty recipes of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below. I am always looking for new ideas and things to try!

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Num Noms #WackyBakers!


Earlier this year we spent a blissful week in sunny St Ives. There’s a wonderful little Post Office shop there, right near the harbour that is toy heaven – lots of pocket money toys and ways to extract money from us parents – and it was here that we first discovered the delight that is Num Noms – collectible, scented characters that you can mix and match to make your own fusion of flavours.

Despite being a very grown-up 10 year old, for my daughter it was love at first sight, so when we were sent some Num Noms in the post she was very excited, especially with the added brief of getting creative in the kitchen – we love to bake!


We were sent some of the Num Noms Freezie Pops variety which happens to include this one, a motorised little fella which, while fairly innocent looking, takes great joy out of terrorising my cat.


When it came to the #WackyBakers challenge we decided to take inspiration from one of the other available Num Noms – Nana Swirl.

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Yes, Nana Swirl is a banana cupcake which inspired us into making….little banana cakes!

These little Banana Fairy Cakes are SO easy to knock up and great for little hands to get messy in the kitchen. Mine both loved helping with making the cakes but they loved the decorating even more. Even if I did have to bite my tongue a bit about my lovely hundreds and thousands pebbled-dashed kitchen floor…


Banana Fairy Cakes

100g caster sugar
200g butter, softened
140g self-raising flour
2 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 very ripe banana

To decorate;
140g icing sugar
hundreds and thousands (lots!)

Heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4.  Line a 12-hole bun tin with fairy cake cases.

Put the caster sugar, butter, flour, eggs, vanilla and banana in a big bowl together and beat with an electric whisk or stand mixer (or your own fair hands if you’re feeling energtetic) until the banana is mashed and everything is mixed together well.

Divide the cake mixture between the cases and bake for 20-22 mins until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to cool.

Once completely cool, you can start to decorate. Mix the icing sugar with a little water to make it spoonable – don’t make it too runny or it will just run straight off the fairy cakes.  Spread the icing over each cake and then cover in the hundreds and thousands!

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And then…eat!

I think we’ve done Nana Swirl justice, don’t you?

The love affair with Num Noms continues in our household – they’ve already made an appearance on Draft 1 of the Christmas List and they little packets would make great stocking fillers so I will be ‘stocking’ up soon….(see what I did there?!).


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Cookbook Review: Mary Berry Foolproof Cooking


Who doesn’t love a bit of Mary Berry huh? I have a couple of well-thumbed Mary Berry books in my extensive cookbook collection – both vintage and modern – so I was keen to see another of her most recent books. Foolproof Cooking was published earlier this year to accompany her TV series of the same name.


I’m sure that Mary Berry needs no introduction whatsoever so I am not going to insult my readers intelligence however I will tell you, in case you didn’t know, that another of her recent books, Mary Berry Cooks, was the fastest-selling hardback non-fiction title in 6 years and was the Number 1 food and drink title in 2014. Her popularity is certainly not waning.

As you would expect with Mary, the recipes contained in the book are straightforward and simple and for the most part quick, though some do take a little more prep than others. Generally all recipes would be suitable for a novice cook or someone less confident in the kitchen.

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The book is split into several sections as follows; Sharing Platters & Nibbles, Breads Soups & Starters, Fish, Poultry & Game, Pork Beef & Lamb, Pasta & Rice, Salads & Vegetables, Desserts & Puddings, Sweet Pies & Tarts, Cakes & Biscuits and The Foolproof Kitchen.  Each section contains foolproof no-fuss advice and tips.


I really liked the Foolproof Kitchen section at the back of the book. In it Mary takes you through the essentials for a well-stocked store cupboard – splitting this between the basics and extras to enhance your cooking. She also talks about what you can and can’t freeze and how to prepare food for the freezer and there is a really helpful section on foolproof family food. These pages give you some tips on preparing tasty, nutritious family food when you’re short on time and on a budget – most of us know what a challenge that can be!

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My only bugbear with the book is that there is not a colour photo accompanying each recipe. It’s not a huge deal but it is something I like to see in a cookbook. I am won over by a nice picture and always more inclined to cook something if I have seen it first – I’m quite a visual person.

Recipes I have put on my “to try” list include;

Tomato & Basil Salad with Whipped Goat’s Cheese and Parma Ham
Spiced Blackened Salmon
All-in-One Fish Gratin
Chicken & Bacon Lattice Pie
Mexican Tortilla Bake
Passion Fruit Pots
Creme Caramel
Apple Frangipane Tart
Apple & Apricot Pie

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Can’t wait to give a few of these ago, and of course when I do I will be telling you all about how they went on this here blog!

Mary Berry Foolproof Cooking is published by BBC Books and is available to buy from Amazon with a current selling price of £9.99 (RRP £25).

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Autumn 2016 Wishlist

As the nights draw in there’s not much I like more than snuggling in front of the fire with my laptop and a glass of red and shopping on the internet. Okay, mostly it’s virtual window shopping, especially when I can’t keep away from brands like Michael Kors but it’s still just as enjoyable to me!  While I hate leaving summer behind, I do love Autumn/Winter clothes and so today I’ve put together a little wish list of things I am currently coveting!

karen millen

I’m still looking for the perfect red dress as per my bucket list and this one from Karen Millen is gorgeous, though a tiny bit out of budget at £146.99. Still, this is a wish list!


The closer we get to Christmas, the more sequins I start wearing. I would love a sequin pencil skirt this year to wear, I’d look so glam when I was stuffing the turkey!


You can never have too many coats in my opinion so I am on the lookout for another. I love this coat from Hobbs which would be perfect for both home and work use.


At the moment I am a real perfume addict, actually hoarder would be more accurate so I can’t resist a good perfume sale. I used to love Ralph Lauren Romance – I’ve not had a bottle in years so I’d love some more of that!

A recent development in the world of shopping is Black Friday, which this year falls on November 25 and I have to admit I am looking forward to the Black Friday Deals as I did pick up a few Christmas bargains last year, though, you do have to shop around.

Have you got a wish list this Autumn? It will be soon time to be writing a festive version!
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*All items sourced via Love the Sales
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Corfe Castle Camping & Caravanning Club Review

Corfe Castle Caping and Caravanning Club

Ah the summer, remember that? Seems like a long time ago though I am still enjoying the warm October sunshine. Summer 2016 was awesome and it ended with a wonderful trip to one of my favourite places in the whole world – Dorset.  I was given the opportunity to review a Camping and Caravanning Club site and I decided to choose the Corfe Castle site as this is an area I come to a lot, and I’ve stayed in various campsites in the area but despite being a fully signed up C&C Club member, it’s not one I’ve ever stayed at before.

Having stayed at a few different C&C Club sites there is a standard I expect to see – that’s not being overly fussy or picky, but generally the sites I have stayed on have been tidy and well-kept with extremely helpful staff so I was keen to see if Corfe Castle would match up. Especially to my favourite of all their sites, Hereford. I have stayed there several times and always had the best time.

First impressions – the site is relatively easy to find, could be a bit tricky if you don’t know the area but there is a brown camping sign on the main road. The campsite itself is up a narrow, very bumpy track – luckily we never met anyone coming the other way because I imagine with a caravan in tow it could be a bit hairy. At the start of the track is a private property with a bit of a ramshackle garden which seems to serve a graveyard for unloved vehicles. Not exactly welcoming but neither is this (I presume) anything to do with the campsite. Saying that, some well placed screening would make it look a little more salubrious.

Corfe Castle Caping and Caravanning Club

Are non members really welcome?

We went to check-in when we arrived. I had to take a picture of the entrance sign because the ‘Non Members Welcome’ made me laugh, I’m not sure if this is ironic but as soon as we were arrived we were told under no circumstance could we camp if they didn’t see our membership card. I thought this was odd for two reasons – firstly, are non-members welcome or not? and secondly, I was there under a press booking so wouldn’t the presumption be that I wouldn’t be a member? Nevertheless I did have my member card with me so all was fine – other than the fact they had no record of my booking despite me having a printed confirmation with booking number on the top.


The reception and shop area

After this hiccup, we were shown to our pitch which was very large, had electric hook-up as promised and was relatively flat. I had read online that pitches could be quite sloping so that was a relief. A bit more grass would have been nice, the pitches were very worn but I guess end of the season, it could be expected. We were set up in no time and enjoyed the last of the evening sunshine.  We had decided to have a BBQ and having read the info pack we were given, we duly went to reception to ask for the bricks that they requested we use. Possibly asking for a piece of moon rock would have gone down better as they seemed confused that we asked for these, and they had none.

My only other niggle about the site (might as well get all the niggles out at once) was that we had asked for a late check-out but we were told that we couldn’t have one, despite the fact it was Bank Holiday Monday and absolutely nobody was arriving on a Bank Holiday Monday. They did however agree to let us leave our packed up trailer near the entrance.


The campsite

I know I sound rather negative and I don’t mean to be – we had a really lovely time and we’d definitely go back to this site. Compared to some campsites I’ve stayed at over the years, this is like the Rolls Royce of campsites – these are just some small niggles that I think could quite easily be rectified.

The site was beautifully kept, very tidy and very clean. It feels safe enough to let my children have a little wander and is totally locked up after hours.  It’s peaceful after 10.30pm which is an absolute essential for me – apart from the wildlife and the noisy fox cubs that brazenly ransacked our neighbours rubbish – and it was quiet in the morning, I was able to sleep in until about 7.30am which is unheard of for most campsites!


The glamorous washroom shot

The toilet blocks were kept clean and tidy, with nice hot showers that I never had to wait to use. They closed for a period of the day for cleaning but you were given fair warning and notice about the times for this.

A pizza van came to site one night which I thought was a nice touch as there’s not much in the local area unless you want to get in the car and the shop stocked my very favourite Purbeck ice-cream which was enjoyed on more than one occasion.


What can you do in the local area?

There are some really lovely places to explore in this part of Dorset. While we were at Corfe Castle we visited the castle itself, spent a day on the beach at Studland Bay, visited the very atmospheric abandoned village of Tyneham and Worbarrow Bay and did the obligatory visit to Lulworth Cove. (Advice, don’t do this on a Bank Holiday weekend…).



Also in the area, just down the road you can hop on the steam train to Swanage, go to Kimmeridge Bay, Durdle Door, go to Monkey World or the Tank Museum, walk the South West Coastal Path, take the chain ferry over to Sandbanks…the possibilities are endless, there is so much to do.  I don’t think there are many stones I’ve left unturned in Dorset!


Again, I may have made this sound more negative than it should, overall it was a great weekend, but just a few tweaks to the customer experience and it could be fantastic! Certainly, the last thing you want when you check in after a long drive is hassle, but the quiet, rural setting with clean and tidy pitches and peaceful respectful neighbours definitely made up for it!

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