baking, cooking with kids, crafts, food, google+ hangouts

Valentine's Day Pie

So we have frozen plums and frozen pastry in our freezer = The Perfect Plum Pie recipe for Valentine’s Day!

We’ve been practicing for Valentine’s Day at our house this week… and reminiscing on last year’s Valentine’s Day cake, where we used a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, and some ready-roll-out icing to decorate Daddy’s cake – we came up with the perfect idea, ready-roll-out pastry, and a heart-shaped plum pie of course!

Hearts cut from the pastryHow to:

Using the frozen plums from late summer’s picking frenzy, we warmed them from frozen in a saucepan with a tablespoon of sugar, when the plums start to thaw, strain the juice into a cup (to use later as a sauce if you like), and pour the sugary plum mixture into the plum pie dish (we have a heart-shaped cake tin, perfect for many occasions!) Meanwhile lay the pastry over the plums, and crimp the edges, cut off excess with a sharp knife, and use that excess for your little hearts. to:

Valentine's Day Plum Pie recipe heartsBrush the pastry with a beaten egg, and add the little hearts in whatever pattern you like, the egg will help them stick to the pie, don’t forget to brush the hearts with the egg glaze too, and for extra sweetness you can sprinkle some course sugar over your plum pie. Bake for about half an hour, or in our case, until the plum pie crust starts burning!

If a Plum Pie recipe is not your thing, try our Cake in a Mug, click through to Ali’s other blog

redtedart-hangout-valentines-day For more Valentine’s Day inspiration, try my easy to make hand in heart cards, and FREE Printable jigsaw puzzle piece crafts Valentine’s greetings cards and check out our Google+ hangout hosted by Red Ted Art, featuring  Kelly from with her glitter heart cake toppers Lizzie with her rustic twig heart wreaths and her silver birch bark candle – amazing… Plus Anthea’s needle felt hearts and Maggy’s collection of Valentines Day craft ideas.

Oh, and I’m on too… Erm, and funnily enough on Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it!

key stage 2, kids, life

As a family, we like to play games together… we like the classics (of my youth)… Monopoly, Connect 4, and anyone remember ‘Sorry’?

My parents always bought a new ‘family game’ every year, and I’ve carried on this tradition with my own children.

pucket photoThis time last year, we bought Pucket – an amazingly fun game, you pull back the elastic to fire your wooden pucks through a gap in the middle of the board (the ‘gate’), and when all of your pucks have got through… before your opponents’, you’ve won! It’s manic, and massively funny to play. We can highly recommend this game 🙂


Now the makers of Pucket, ETGames, have a new game… it’s called ‘Bridget’ and the boys LOVE it… 11yo opened it on his birthday, they figured out the rules – taking it in turns to add the bricks to get across the board with their ‘bridges’…they insisted we took it with us to the restaurant for Birthday Supper with Daddy… and excitedly explained the Bridge Building Strategy Game to him. “A three dimensional noughts and crosses” which I seem to lose to a 9yo and an 11yo…grrr.

bridget-kidschaos-square(When not playing the official game, they use the bricks to create characters and funny faces!!)

It’s produced following the same Fair Trade principles as the production of the Pucket game, and packaged in a small organic cotton bag, perfect for taking with you on your travels, and Bridget is carefully hand-crafted in the UK – in fact, it’s quite a thing of beauty!

I’ve recommended this to several friends who have already purchased the Bridget for Christmas pressies, and my Brother in Law will certainly be getting one from us too this year!

If you can recommend any other classic games you think my family, and the boys age 9 and 11 may like – please comment below, thank you 🙂

Oh, by the way, I’m also on too… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x LIKE IT? Pin it!

cooking with kids, crafts, gardening with kids



We love this time of year. Sad that the arrival of the brambles is a sure sign that Summer is on its way out, and Autumn is just around the corner….

If you are like us, and have picked a LOAD of blackberries already this year, we have a non-edible way of using them this Fall!


We picked a bucket-load before a weekend away, which meant we didn’t have time to eat them…so we froze them on a tray – using half for a smoothie, and the other half went into a pot of boiling water this week, deep enough for the old hemp carrier bag we had decided to tie-dye as a pressie for Granny’s birthday later in the year.


Whilst the pan of blackberry-dye was simmering away on the stove, we got busy with elastic bands, pulling up sections of the hemp bag, (this works really well on old T-shirts or pillow cases) securing them tightly to create two ‘horns’ (as my son called them)….


We let the dye cool a little before adding the organic hemp bag, and rubber bands, which went into the pot with some chopped up rhubarb leaves – I read somewhere that this works as a fixative, helping to make the colour more ‘fast’…this bubbled away on the stove for about 45 minutes.

We then let this stand cooling for about an hour.


We then rinsed the bag and the boys were SO excited to pull the rubber bands away to reveal our spider cobwebs – we hung it up on the line to dry!

Much excitement that natural blackberries can make such a pretty colour – we plan to try some more natural dyes soon, our youngest loves brewing up nettle tea – and it also creates a lovely khaki green dye –


something to try next!

Want to see me talking about this project? Click the link and photo left, to watch now…. Maggy Woodley from Red Ted Art hosted a fabulous “Fall Craft Ideas” hangout on Google+, (and in fact was the inspiration for the tie-dye experiment!).

Maggy talked us through some lovely owl crafts (how simple was the loo-roll owl?! and loved the walnut shell owls twittwoo) more links to follow from – Adele from playfullearners, and Anthea from bluebearwood. Also our anonymous blogger thefairyandthefrog and Rebecca from herecomethegirlsblog.

Oh, by the way, I’m also on too… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x LIKE IT? Pin it!

Ali also writes over on This is a commissioned story.