Ooooo Craft Chocolate



As a craft blogger I know that the word ‘craft’ can mean a lot of things. It can mean getting sticky with glue and glitter but it can also be related to food and drink. Craft all comes down to creativity and what the creator want to have at the end of it.

You might want to brew your own beer at home, with the possibility of opening a micropub if you have the knack for it. You might want to make birthday cards or wedding invites, with a view to starting your own online shop. Maybe you want to simply bake a few show stopping cakes to share with your friends.

A rise in craft beers and craft coffee came from people being passionate about what they were creating. This passion is spreading and recently I’ve discovered that craft in the food world is spreading over to chocolate! Yes! Chocolate!! Craft Chocolate! Obviously this has made me very excited! Chocolate is one of my fave things. EVER.

Pieces of broken up chocolate

If some of you are wondering what craft chocolate, or craft anything for that matter is, it is when food or drink is created in a traditional, non-mechanical way. Think less mass produced factory chocolate and more of a small business owner with a wooden spoon and apron.

With more and more small and creative businesses popping, bespoke craft chocolate is definitely something you are going to see more of. Whether it be a pop up shop in your town centre or on a stall at your local farmers market craft chocolatiers are on the rise.

But how does it differ to normal chocolate and what is there to offer? Is it just craft chocolate bars up against a whole range of chocolatey treats? Well, no. It has so much more to offer than that!

Individual chocolates, hot chocolate, chocolate cake, muffins. There is so much to try.

Do you want to be creative with chocolate and join the craft chocolate scene?

Well, if you want to start from scratch you’ll need coco beans. Do plenty of research before buying them and buy from a trusted source or company. The beans will need to be cleaned and roasted. This is quickly followed by shelling and grinding, with the beans then being mixed with sugar. The now chocolatey paste is moulded, with temperature playing a key part in the appearance of the chocolate.

If this sounds a little much for you the other option is to buy bars of craft chocolate and go from there.

What can you create? Well, if you fancy melting the chocolate there’s always dipped fruit, or you could make a fruit Pavlova and drizzle the melted chocolate over it! Both are my personal faves!

You could smash up the chocolate and us it for cookies. Eat them warm for a lovely gooey centre!

Then there’s also one of my specialities, Rocky Road!

Rocky Road

Oh and did you know that some of the tastiest chilli recipes also say to include a square of chocolate! It sounds crazy but it really does give it an amazing taste!

What will you create?

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx

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3 Ideas For A Very British Holiday By The Water



More often than not, when you think of British summer holidays, it’s likely that you picture a sandy beach in Wales but drenched by the rain! Where holidaymakers dressed in waterproofs and wellington boots watch the horizon while eating fish and chips, huddled together under an umbrella.

There’s a form of grey, cold, damp misery that we repeatedly associate with the British weather, and of course British summer holidays, but it doesn't have to be like that at all!

If being by the sea is a key element of your holiday and you want to avoid the disappointing rain and dampness, here are three places for you to try! So if you're still planning your summer break add these to your list! Both abroad and in the UK they are all quintessentially British but bring you fun by the water!

Union Jack flying

Panama - The place that united Great Britain
This adventure will take you overseas but to a place that played a part in uniting the kingdom, and essentially Scotland and England. The two have found it difficult to unite over the years and across history the King and Queens of both sides have been against each other, with invasions and war a regular occurrence. After Queen Elizabeth I died King James VI of Scotland became King James of England but the two nations remained politically separate until interests in Panama caused them to unite under the Acts of Union in 1707. So why not visit the place that led Britain to become the United Kingdom? Stay in the amazing Marriott Executive Apartments in Panama City and be in the best location for exploring. Start with the most well know attraction the Panama canal, before heading to the Panama Viejo. 

Fall in love with the British canal and river system
If you like the ideal of a canal but don't fancy going all the way to South America why not hire a canal boat and explore the British routes and countryside. Most families choose the Cheshire Ring as a starting spot, with boating fans call in it one of the finest canal rings. You can choose routes from Bristol to the Thames, or even the South Midlands. Travelling by boat can be one of the best ways to visit historic sites, enjoying the peacefulness of the water without getting wet, and if it does rain you'll be tucked up and warm, enjoying a cuppa as you go.

A canal boat on the water

Take the family to the Lake District
The Lakes are a place that thrives equally in the sun and rain. There is so much to explore, with glorious views and paths to discover but there's also plenty that's indoors should the weather turn. This makes it the ideal holiday location for families who want to have adventures but also want somewhere to visit on the cold, wetter, summer days. One of our favourite places is the mock-gothic property, Wray Castle. Like a Disney castle on the outside, it's a completely family orientated inside with soft play and areas full of a very famous rabbit!

A Gothic style castle


Whether it be a sunny break overseas discovering a key part of British history, exploring the water ways and countryside of the UK or following Peter Rabbit with a hop, skip and a jump around the Lakes, there's a British water themed holiday for you.

The only question is.......are your ready and packed for a glorious British summer break?

Mummy Snowy Owl
xx 
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Easter Leftover Rocky Road


Easter's been and gone, but if your home is anything like ours there's still signs of it everywhere. Mostly in the form of huge amounts of chocolate and bunny themed treats!

If you want to combine them and streamline your chocolate stockpile this little bake is ideal!


Rocky Road with glasses of milk

To make Easter Leftover Rocky Road you will need

  • 100g baking spread
  • 400g chocolate
  • 100g marshmallows
  • 100g mini chocolate eggs
  • 125g digestive biscuits
  • Spoon
  • Lined baking tray
  • Rolling pin
  • Saucepan 
  • Sharp knife
Ingredients

Start by breaking up the digestive biscuits and mini eggs with the rolling pin. I always put ingredients in a sandwich bag before giving them a good whack, though some people wrap them in a tea towel.


Biscuits and mini eggs smashed up

Then cut up the marshmallows in half. This will help them melt quicker.


Marshmallows


Next, melt the spread and chocolate in the pan on a low heat until smooth. 


Melting butter and chocolate in a pan

Add the marshmallows, biscuits and mini eggs to the pan and stir thoroughly until the marshmallows are melted. 


Ingredients added to the melted chocolate and butter


Rocky Road mixture

Smooth out into the baking tray and place in the fridge for two hours to set.


Rocky Road mixture in a baking tray

Then remove from the tray, place on a chopping board and cut into portions and you're finished! 


Rocky Road on a chopping board with a sharp knife


Finished Rocky Road

Finished Rocky Road


Sit back and enjoy a piece with a cup of tea or a glass of milk.


Rocky Road with glasses of milk


Mummy Snowy Owl
x

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Living with Fibromyalgia


Today has been a crappy day. I've had to go back to my GP and am on another course of antibiotics. 

Pile of different coloured tablets

The last two were for mastitis but this time they are for tonsillitis. My husband has had to take the day off to care for both our 3 year old and I. 

I'm run down and I'm sick of being sick. 

I really thought I had my Fibromyalgia under control but it has really worsened over the last few weeks and now seems to be having a dire effect on my immune system. My GP has told me to avoid stress but that's easier said then done for many reasons.

I've recently shared my Fibro story with the lovely Bethany at Young, Sick and Invisible

If you'd like an insight into my diagnosis and battle with Fibromyalgia you can read it here

Mummy Snowy Owl
x
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Eggcellent Easter Cake!!


So, you have your Easter all planned out. Perhaps you've planned to have friends or family round and you want an eye catching bake!

Well, how about this easy and quick Eggcellent Easter Cake!


A cake covered in frosting, mini chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies

Fancy giving it a go?

You will need -


  • Sponge packet mix - 22p @ Asda
  • 1 egg - 89p for half a dozen @ Asda
  • Water
  • Jug
  • Mixing bowl
  • Baking tins
  • Greaseproof paper 
  • A small bit of butter for greasing
  • Jam - 28p @ Asda
  • Vanilla frosting - £1.75 @ Asda
  • Malteaser bunnies - £1.00 @ Asda
  • Chocolate mini eggs - Large £1.00 @ Poundland, micro eggs 60p @ Asda 
A picture showing ingredients and equipment to make a cake

Start by making the packet mix as per the instructions. For this one I had to add the water and egg. Mix well until smooth.


Cake mixture in a bowl with a whisk

Lightly grease the tins and line the bottoms with greaseproof paper. 


Pair of sandwich tins, lined and greased

Pour the mixture into the tins, separating it evenly between the two.


Cake mixture in the tins

Place in the oven and bake until golden brown. Ours took around 20 minutes.


Pair of baked sponges on a wire tray

Leave to cool. Next, evenly spread a layer of jam on to the sponges and sandwich together. 


A layer of sponge cake covered in jam

Cover in the vanilla frosting.


Sponge cake being covered in vanilla frosting

Cake covered in frosting

Decorate with the bunnies and chocolate eggs. Little helpers may want to join in but expect a few chocolate eggs to be stolen! 


A cake covered in frosting being decorated by a child

When you've finished decorating you are done! Sit back and enjoy a slice of your Easter bake! 


A cake covered in frosting, chocolate eggs and bunnies

A cake covered in frosting, mini eggs and chocolate bunnies

A cake covered in frosting, mini eggs and chocolate bunnies

A cake covered in frosting, mini eggs and chocolate bunnies


Mummy Snowy Owl
xx

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Our Easter Buys!


If you've been into any high street shops recently you'll see that they've really upped their game when it comes to Easter. More chocolate treats, more food and more decorations!

Prices vary dependent on where you shop but there are great things to be found! Normally I'm all about the homemade and handmade, like the Easter Wreath and Bunting that we made last Easter but this year I have treated us a little and picked up a few things. Probably too many! 

I thought I'd share with you what we've picked up and what we have planned for the long weekend!

First, decorations!! These are what really sucked me in when out shopping and made me go a little Easter crazy! 

Easter wreath, bunny tablecloth, and a wooden bunny sign

The wreath and the tablecloth are the two most expensive of my Easter buys but possibly my faves! They are both from Homesense, with the wreath priced at £9.99 and the tablecloth at £14.99. I'm actually going to use the wreath as a centerpiece and have added a toy bunny into the mix! 

Pale pink tablecloth with gold bunnies printed on it, with candlesticks either side of an easter wreath with pastel coloured eggs

Pale pink tablecloth with gold bunnies printed on it, with candlesticks either side of an easter wreath with pastel coloured eggs with a cuddly bunny sitting in its centre

Pale pink tablecloth with gold bunnies printed on it, with an easter wreath with pastel coloured eggs

I also picked up two of these Easter bunnies, which is similar to a Santa stop here sign. Due to Mummy brain I can't remember if they were 99p or £1.99, but either way they are excellent quality and sit perfectly on either side of our door. 

Wooden easter bunny sign in a plant pot

I've also picked up this super cute bunny bunting for £1.00 from Poundland. The cake cases set was £1.29 from Home Bargains and I prefer these to the others I've seen as they have cute toppers with them! The hanging egg decorations were also Home Bargains and a similar price. 

Bunny bunting, hanging egg decorations, cupcake cases with toppers

They look great in the garden. I just hope the weather stays nice so we get to actually see them! 

Hanging egg decorations hanging from a tree

I picked up these large vases/candle holders from Sostrene Green at Christmas and filled them full of baubles then. Now they are full of decorative eggs from Poundland and are accompanied by our little chick! 

Large easter jars, filled with eggs with a yellow chick sitting between them

Next, I'm going to share the bits I picked up for our Easter egg hunt. The eggs, which I'm going to fill with sweets, and the signs are from Home Bargains and were around the £1.00 mark.

Easter egg hunt signs and two boxes of plastic eggs

The goodies are all Lidl and Poundland and again were all around the £1.00. 

Jelly Baby Chicks, chocolate eggs, haribos, marshmallows, chocolate lollies


All of these great little buys are really going to brighten our Easter and I'm hoping will bring some excitement to our three year old and our friends children, who will join us on Good Friday for an Easter hunt. 

I hope you've enjoyed a sneak peek at our Easter, and also hope that with some of our cheaper buys have shown you can also make some Easter plans if you're on a budget.

Whatever you do this Easter, have a wonderful weekend.

Mummy Snowy Owl
x

P.S.

I also got these cute Easter plates from Poundland! Some are last years left over and some are this years! 

Easter bunny paper plates and cups with carrot napkins


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Gin & Tonic Lime Drizzle Cake


Gin is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks at the moment and as its popularity grows, more and more flavours and serving styles are being created. This has begun to include food and with this in mind I've created this very grown up bake, a Gin and Tonic Lime Drizzle Cake!

Look how yummy it looks!


A picture of the gin & tonic cake and a cup of tea

Do you want to give it a try? 

Here's what you'll need -

  • Sponge mix - 22p @ Asda
  • 1 egg - 89p a half dozen @ Asda
  • 1 lime - 30p @ Asda
  • Lime marmalade - 55p @ Asda
  • Icing sugar - 88p @ Asda
  • Gin and tonic flavouring - £1.00 @ Sainsburys
  • Water
  • Tablespoon
  • Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Baking tin
  • Small saucepan 
  • Tablespoon
  • Wire rack or plate for cooling
A picture of the ingredients listed, egg, sponge mix, gin & tonic flavouring, lime, icing sugar and lime marmalade

First, I know that many of you will gasp in horror by the fact I have used a packet mix, and a cheap one at that, but as with most of the crafts, activities and bakes, I try to do them as cheaply as possible so anyone can try them, regardless of budget. Paying 22p for a packet mix is by far cheaper than buying the separate ingredients, so let's make a start!

Preheat your oven to 180c. Then, add the packet mix to the mixing bowl, adding the egg and water as required, along with around half of the flavouring.

A whisk mixing the ingredients

Whisk well, until there are no lumps. Line your baking tin with the greaseproof paper. I chose a loaf tin. 

A lined baking tin

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

A baked cake, still in its tin

When cool enough transfer from the tin to a wire rack of plate to cool.

A cake cooling on a wire rack

When fully cooled, make up the icing and drizzle over the cake.

Icing made up in a bowl

Slice the lime and place on top of the cake. 

Chopped limes


Gin & tonic cake with drizzled icing and slices of lime

When it is close to setting melt two tablespoons of lime marmalade.  

Lime marmalade being melted in a pan

As it begins to cool and thicken drizzle it over the cake.

Gin & tonic cake drizzled with icing, marmalade and decorate with lime

Once the marmalade has set you have finished.

Sit down, put your feet up and relax with a cup of tea and a slice of you homemade Gin and Tonic Lime Drizzle Cake!

Gin & Tonic Lime Drizzle Cake with a cup of tea


Mummy Snowy Owl
xx 








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