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Gratitude List #5

This week has been all about feeling grateful.

Unfortunately my step dad's father passed away at the weekend so I've been thinking alot about family and about life. How things can change in a split second and how everything that seems important is just nothing in the grand scheme of things.

This week I'm grateful for
  • My Mum who always has my back no matter what. I hate that i don't get to see her alot cause she lives so far away but I'm so lucky that shes only a phone call away.
  • My Granny who is just such a wee darling. She's like my confidant and i can tell her anything. It makes the world of difference when your feeling down to have someone you can talk to.
  • My Gran and Papa who make going to College possible. They help me out big time with Agent M and they don't mind one bit.
  • The NHS cause family members are getting access to medical treatments that they otherwise couldn't afford. Life shouldn't be a privilege to only the wealthy.
  • Agent M for being the most perfect wee boy ever. I'm so lucky that i get to be his mummy cause hes just amazing.
  • Agent D for being my rock these days. He keeps me grounded and helps me stay on track. My bad days are few and far between now and i know a big part of that is having a partner who is as loving and supportive as him.
  • My Dad who takes Agent M overnight on occasion so that Agent D and i can have a date night. I love being a family but sometimes its nice to have a night as a couple.
  • Being able to afford to go to College. I love that I'm learning and i love that I'm getting the chance to make a career for myself :)
My gorgeous little boy :)

J is for ...

When we go to Asda for our weekly shop, Agent M always asks if he can have a bag of the mini chocolate doughnut bites they sell. He loves taking them in his wee piece box for playtime.

I wondered how easy they would be to make but with a Jam variation.

So that's why J is for Jammie Doughnuts

Now, I'm just a normal wee mama. I'm certainly no Mary Berry (and have never claimed to be a domestic goddess) ... but i do try to make lots of nice little things. These doughnuts are a little tricky at first (probably for fear of burning myself on the seriously hot oil, so some of them didn't turn out quite as "pretty" as i might have wanted. The term "Alien Babies" was mentioned lol ... But at the end of the day, they tasted great and it gave us all a giggle.

You'll need
200g plain flour
250ml milk
4 tbs sugar plus extra for coating
3 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
A cup of smooth jam, (at room temp)
Oil for frying

How to make
Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl then add the milk gradually and mix well. 

Once combined, add the beaten egg and give a final mix.
In a deep saucepan, heat the oil.

Using a big spoon, drop dollops of the mixture into the hot oil. Its really important that you do this one at a time so they don't stick together and careful not to burn yourself! 

Cook till golden brown then transfer to kitchen roll to remove the excess oil. *I cooked them in batches so that while the second lot was cooking i could add jam to the first lot.*

Using a piping bag and thin nozzle, pipe a 'splodge' of the jam in the center of each bite. *Its alot easier to use smooth jam as the bits will clog the nozzle and with the jam at room temp (or slightly warmer) it pipes without as much hassle as straight from the fridge ... trust me lol*.

You can roll the bites in a little sugar after adding the jam or serve as is. I gave Agent M one of each to try and predictably he liked the sugar coated ones.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I'd like to present you with the first batch of doughnuts ... affectionately named "Alien Babies" by Agent M

Single Mother Ahoy Weekend Blog Hop
Stopping at two

I'm a terrible feminist

I was sitting in my favourite coffee shop this morning killing time till my dentist appointment when i heard a conversation between 2 women beside me.

They were discussing the "scandal" about the Sun still publishing topless women on page 3.

One of the girls, was very adamant in claiming that the very fact they published these pictures "degraded women" and that they were "sexualising us".

To be honest i almost choked on my white mocha.
Why? Cause the girl in question was wearing a rather reveling vest top and i could tell she was wearing a pink thong as her jeans were half way down her backside. Yes everyone is entitled to dress how they want but surly you cant say that a picture sexualises women when your dressed so we can all see your lace underwear. (though kudos to her for having the time to match her underwear).

I have a passive view to the whole page 3 thing and this post will no doubt put me on a hit list somewhere but i genuinely don't care if they publish topless pictures.

I guess I'm a terrible feminist

I'm sorry but it makes no difference to me.

"But it degrades women" ... Does it? I mean really?

I went into a newsagents today to get a knitting magazine and along the women's section was magazine after magazine telling me which celebrity has bounced back to a certain weight after having a baby, how to get that beach body in time for summer, how to please your man in bed, around the home or where ever he may be, how to make yourself look x years younger.

These i find more degrading. 

I hate the magazines that criticize a celebrity for loosing too much weight while 4 pages later it tells you about how "fat" a celebrity has got.
Magazines that tell you how to keep your man happy by greeting him with a beer and a blowjob when he walks through the door. This is the stuff that sexualises women.

These magazines have more weight with women than the Sun and probably do alot more damage to their self esteem than seeing a pair of photogenic boobs in a newspaper.

"What kind of example does it set to little girls?" Well i'm sorry but if your kid only has aspirations to get her boobs out in public, then chances are you have messed up somewhere down the line. Why are you not encouraging her to become something else.

Agent M wanted to be a Dinosaur for a few months but giving him toys like Lego has made him want to be an engineer. Even then that could all change by the time they are adults. I wanted to be an Interior designer as a teen and now i'm training to be a hairdresser.

"It teaches boys to objectify women" Surely how your raising your sons will have a bigger impact on their views on women than something they see in a newspaper. If your son thinks a woman is purely a sexual 'thing', then i'm sorry but you're just as much to blame as the media for supposedly portraying that stereotype.

But if all these women really have a problem with seeing topless women then why stop there?

The porn industry has full on nudity along with alot more graphic images. Where is the outrage there?

And what about the celebs with their beach bodies? Why is no-one kicking up a shit storm cause someone snapped Kate Moss topless?

And the fashion industry? ... Why is no-one losing their minds over the nipples on the catwalks?

It doesn't make sense!

And just so we are clear, the women who have been "exploited" have chose to celebrate their bodies. The pictures haven't been leaked out or stolen from a laptop. These are women who have posed for the paper. Not exactly exploitation.

But lets look at that for a second.
I am all for equal rights. I think everyone should be treated the same regardless on what their fun parts look like so if showing topless women objectify's them... What does the Naked Butler service do for men? And calenders showing Hunks in Trunks? Some of those poses are a hell of a lot more sexualised than standing in knickers with your boobs out.

If we do away with one, its only fair to do away with the other.

Nudity is a part of life people. We need to stop this selective prudishness and get a grip.

Men and women like to look at the opposite (or same) sex naked or in provocative poses. Its how its always been and probably will continue to be. It doesn't even have to be about getting sexual gratification from it. I don't get turned on by women but i can appreciate the beauty of a naked women. Just like an Artist sculpture or painting, I look for the beauty, not for the titillation (no pun intended).
Titian's Venus of Urbino - Showing a naked woman

If you have a genuine distaste for it, then don't buy the paper, don't watch the programme, don't go see the play etc. If the sight of someone naked bothers you than much then by all means be outraged. But your gonna have a very hard time of it.

Just remember that outrage next time you look at someone and think they are sexy, You've technically just objectified them! And if your going for a night out, be careful how you dress, You might just put out a sexualised image of women!

And stop blaming the media just cause you cant be bothered to teach your kids to look beyond boobs and bums! How your kids think is more to do with you than you realise so rather than get angry at something you cant control, why not show them than everyone is beautiful no matter what sex they are or what they are wearing and stop making mountains out of someone else's mole hills.

They wouldn't think twice about seeing boobs if folk stopped making such a fuss!

But then maybe i'm just a liberal thinker.

 Added to the ...
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Silent Sunday - 25/1/15


How to catch a Wild Haggis

Gather round boys and girls while Mama tells you a little story about the famous creature known as the Wild Haggis.

Way up in the highlands of Scotland there lives an elusive beast known as the Wild Haggis. The reason its so elusive is because its legs on the right are a different size the one set on the left, which means it can run along the mountain and hill sides really easy. So easy that its really hard to catch the little buggers.

There are two different species of Haggis. One that has longer right legs and the other than has longer left legs. Why the difference? Well you see, Wild Haggis can only run in one direction. The longer left legged Haggis can only run in a clockwise direction while the longer right legged breed can only run anti-clockwise. 

Now, there are ways to catch Wild Haggis, but it isn't easy. Many have tried!

To get one, you need to dig yourself a big hole. So big you can hide in it!

Then you need to wait patiently. You'll probably want to bring a wee crossword with you or a can or Iron Bru to keep the strength up cause they will be expecting you. It is Burns Night after all!

Once you hear it approach (some people have claimed it sounds like a squirrel while others say you can hear a distinct bag pipe music), you'll need to pop out of the hole and yell "BOOOOO!" REALLY LOUDLY!

Because you will have scared the shortbread out of it, the Haggis will try to flee in the opposite direction. This will result in it stumbling and rolling down the hill in a rather comic fashion. Try not to buckle and wet yourself with laughter at this point cause you still need to catch it. If it gets a chance to gather itself, it'll bolt and you'll lose your dinner. *This is where the Iron Bru will have been worth it for the energy boost*

Once you catch it, you'll need to whack it really hard with a stick, stick it in your bag and head home.

There are lots of different ways you can serve up Haggis but the traditional way is boiled and served with tatties and neeps.

Like so ...

Its absolutely delicious and a perfect way to celebrate Burns Night :)

Added to linky ...
Mami 2 Five

Super Busy Mum

Gratitude List #4

I'm a touch behind on the blog ... and with life in general this week.

Thanks to the snow and ice, I've been restricted on where i can go and what we can do. I had to give up my weekly trip to town to have tea with my wee Granny and I've been recovering from last weeks bug by taking it easy in terms of baking and crafting.

However I've been back at college which is making me feel normal :)

This week I've been grateful for ...

  • Vitamin and Iron supplements
  • My tumble dryer
  • Stephen Fry and his QI elves
  • Caramel Lattes
  • My Aunt A for supporting me at college by coming in to let me loose on her hair. She's helped me loads :)
  • My Papa for trekking out in this horrific weather to pick Agent M up from School.
  • Agent D for clearing the path so we stop sliding.
  • Deep heat rub to help my back after my 2 falls on the ice
  • Freshly washed bed sheets
  • Passing 6 assessments this week ... seriously chuffed to bits :)
  • Agent M and his morning cuddles 
  • Agent D for putting up with my feeling low the last few days.
Path is the only clear space to walk

Hopefully i'll be up to 100% next week and get back to normality :)

Toad in the Hole

In our house we tend to have family favourites when it comes to dinners.

If you were to ask Agent D what he wanted, 9 times out of 10 he'll opt for Macaroni cheese. Ask Agent M and he's gonna say Toad in the Hole (most of the time - He's on a hot dog kick at the moment).

Anyway, Having the same foods maybe 3 or 4 times a month lets me stock up and it can become seriously cost effective. I can buy from the reduced sections and freeze or bulk buy cause i know I'm going to use it up.

For example, Last night we had toad in the hole.

To make it is so simple.

  • In a roasting tray, pour enough oil to cover the base and add a 'splosh' extra. Pop it in a very warm oven to heat up.
  • Meanwhile, fry the sausages in a little pan. I don't bother with oil as they tend to give off a little of their own. Alternatively you could grill them.
  • In a large mixing bowl add one cup of flour, one cup of milk and one egg. Mix till its all combined and add a pinch of salt and pepper. The cup size doesn't need to be exact. I use the biggest measuring cup i have but i have used Agent M's Winnie the Pooh mug before. Point being it needs to be the same cup used for both measurements.
  • Take the tray out the oven once it starts to smoke and add the sausages. (Careful, they will spit at you). Pour over the Yorkshire pudding mix and quickly put in the oven.
  • Turn the temperature down to about 180C and bake for about 20-25 min.
I always check by looking through the window of the oven to see how its cooking. I remember being told once never to open the oven door to check on Yorkshires while they are cooking as it stops them rising properly. Not sure how true that is but its stuck with me for years lol.

So how cost effective is it?

Well, Made from scratch it all came in at £1.84 (approx)

1 cup of plain flour = about 15p
1 cup of milk  = about 30p
1 egg = 11p
Sausages (reduced 8pk was 70p) Used 5 sausages = 44p
Half 1kg pack of baby potatoes = 49p
Tin of sweetcorn = 35p

So per person, the meal only came to roughly 61p each.

By comparison to buy this Aunt Bessie's Toad in the hole will cost you £1.50 in a well known supermarket.
Yeah its quicker in that you pop it in the oven and your done but for 3 people its £4.50 alone without the potatoes or veg. Plus the fat and salt content would be anywhere near as high as the store bought and there isn't all the extra added preservatives and the like

Its hard to argue with cheaper, healthier alternatives really.

That's why this year where we can, we are going to try to eat more homemade, frugal alternatives and hopefully be able to enjoy our savings this summer :)

Do you have any frugal recipe ideas? Please feel free to share them in the comments below :)

Mami 2 Five
The Diary of a Frugal Family

Creme Egg Brownies

Last year i found a recipe for Creme egg brownies that was so good i almost gave the family diabetes from making it so much. I made a copy of the recipe and put it in my wee book for safe keeping.

Unfortunately that book, along with a few others on a shelf in my kitchen, was damaged when water decided to leak through from a pipe in my bathroom to my kitchen, (directly where i kept my cook books).

Safe to say i was none best pleased.

Its a year plus on and i see that Cadbury's have released their Creme eggs again for the Easter season which got me thinking about the brownies.

I scowered my way through Pinterest last night and i found the recipe! So to remove any chance of me losing it again, and to share in the gorgeousness that is these brownies, i thought I'd share it with you all :)

**The original recipe post can be found on Jennie's blog scarletscorchdroppers**

You'll Need
for the brownie mix
85 g plain flour
2tbsp cocoa powder
170g milk chocolate
113 g butter
2 eggs
140g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
10 mini creme eggs

for the creme topping
85g golden syrup
2tbsp butter
1/2tsp vanilla extract
170g icing sugar

for the chocolate topping
100g milk chocolate
50g butter

How to Make

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 20cmx20cm cake tin (make sure you have extra paper at the top so its higher than the tin).

In pan, melt the butter and chocolate together over a low heat. Stir constantly and make sure the mix doesn't burn. Take the off the heat and beat in the eggs and vanilla extract, then the sugar.

Sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Fold it into the mixture until just combined. Pour into tin and drop in the mini creme-eggs, pushing them right down into the brownie mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes and remove from the oven. Remember brownies will continue to set as they cool.

To make the cream, beat the golden syrup, butter and vanilla together until smooth and well combined. Slowly add in the icing sugar and beat until creamy. *This takes a wee while*

Spread over the top of the brownies and chill in the fridge for about two hours or until set.

Finally, melt the butter and chocolate together in a heavy based pan. Pour over the top of the brownies and leave to set.

These brownies are very rich in chocolate so i tend to cut them into thin slices but you can make as big as you like.

** Disclaimer - I take no responsibility for any addiction to and subsequent tummy ache from eating too many of these delicious brownies. Bake with caution.

Added to the Linkys ...
Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com
Mami 2 Five
Super Busy Mum
Mummy Do It

Silent Sunday - 18/1/15


Gratitude List #3

I love this weeks gratitude list cause even though I've been under the weather, i can still remain positive. Its really weird to think that changing my perspective can make such a difference over all ... and long may it continue.

This week I've been grateful for ...
  • Puffy pillows and fluffy duvets
  • The NHS letting you visit a doctor for free
  • Headache tablets
  • Electric blankets
  • Netflix and all its glorious movies
  • Orange is the New Black
  • My Kindle
  • Getting my laptop back fixed :)
  • The smiles of Agent M
  • The cuddles from Agent D
  • Getting to watch Agent M play in the snow ... while hes singing "Do you wanna build a snowman" :)

A bit of an eye opener

I have to laugh at Agent M some times.

He has such a wonderful wee brain in his head. We have conversations some times that i really wouldn't expect from a seven year old and I've no clue where the ideas come from.

When he comes through to my room in the morning he'll jump into bed for cuddles and we talk. Sometimes about his dreams which normally consist of Minecraft and WWE with the occasional Pokemon thrown in for good measure but this morning was a little different.

I was up at half 6 this morning and rather than go back to sleep for an hour i decided to watch episodes of QI on my phone. I love that programme. Its entertaining and i learn some really random interesting facts.

This morning he came through and asked what i was watching and i explained to him the premise of the show. I gave him the example that did he know you can walk on custard, which he informed me he did, which then prompted him to tell me that the "bible got it wrong cause you cant walk on water". It kinda took me aback as we are not a religious family. It seemed to come out of the blue.

Now, I'm not going to write a post about how one belief system is better than another cause all that will do is hurt peoples feelings and i genuinely support everyone's right to believe in what they wish (to a point) but its the progression on the conversation i want to address which started from his wanting to talk about religion.

Religion to me is a personal choice that everyone is entitled to ... but they are not entitled to force their views on others.

Why add that little part in? Well after he asked about Jesus walking on water he asked me about the "people who got shot at Disneyland". It took me a minute or two to work out that he was talking about the recent shootings in Paris.

I felt like i was in a parenting minefield this morning because i didn't think that the events in Paris had even registered on his radar but evidently it had. He wanted to know why bad people thought it was OK to kill people for no reason and i told him that the bad people were offended because the people in Paris talked about their god.

He couldn't understand why someone would be so offended that would make them want to kill people. Which is an opinion i share. I explained that in that particular religion its a really big offence to make fun of their god. Which is where i explained to him about mummy's views that you can have an opinion to a point. I may have different views from him and where i have the right to think differently, NO-ONE has the right to force others into their beliefs.

I decided to try and answer the questions as best i could but it just led to more and more. Eventually it dawned on me that these are questions he should be asking. 

He has every right to live in this world and know how it works just live everyone else and these are the questions i should be encouraging.

He is part of the next generation that will take charge of the planet when we are all gone. His generation will carve out the way that the world will go and to be honest, it was alot to take in at 7 in the morning.

Each question and answer led to another and by the time we needed to head out to school we had covered a whole host of topics ... From gender equality to gay rights, war to racial segregation.

I was walking on egg shells the entire time but asking him for his opinion made me unbelievably proud of my son. I realised that he's on the right path and that he will grow up to be a fair, considerate man.

Agent M has a very sensible head on his shoulders which makes me realise that no matter how much of a f@ck up i may feel as a mum, I'm obviously doing something right :)

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Everything Mummy

I'm Back!!

Awe Internet people, its been really horrible not having my laptop the last week.

Its seriously shocking how much i had actually come to depend on it. Especially when i always thought myself somewhat of a technophobe.

The weather has been really horrendous here and the fact that I've been ill the last week has rendered me house bound and without my laptop, Miss Independent over here has been having to make do. Not something I'm too chuffed with.

I have come up with some brilliant industries or inventions that would be amazing if i had unlimited funds (or the world worked the way a dehydrated shaking mind does) - Self Cleaning toilets and remote controlled washing machine/dryer combos anyone? But I'm glad to say i think i am on the mend ... No violent throwing up today!!


I'm hoping to be back to normal crafting/baking self at the weekend (oh please please please!)

Till then i wanna say a big thank you to all the fellow bloggers out there that have been keeping me company with their posts and makes. You no idea how much of a life saver you have been while I've been rocking the foetal position.

Still ...

I'm back up online (properly) so i look forward to connecting with you all again :)


Silent Sunday - 11/1/15


Gratitude List #2

This week we have been getting back into the swing of things post holidays. It's been tough getting everyone settled into a routine again. Think we all got too used to the late nights and long lies lol.

Its been a busy week with crappy weather but I can still look on the bright side

This week I'm thankful for ...
  • Coffee (in all its glorious 'keeping mummy awake' forms)
  • My mum buying Agent M his big coat last year cause it was his lifesaver walking to school in the rain.
  • My mum again for replacing his school shoes after he wore the soles out of them.
  • My Gran and Papa who watch him after school for me till I get back from college. Without them I could go as childcare isn't available for me.
  • Being able to go to college in the first place to learn a skill and create a career for myself.
  • Fluffy pj's I got at Christmas so that when we get in from the rain I can dry off and snuggle up cosy.
  • My dad taking Agent M overnight so that Agent D and I can have a date night.
  • Coffee! (So important I'm grateful twice over lol)