Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A Wee Digital Detox...

I've had a bit of a digital detox recently and it was completely unintended. You may remember from my last post that Mr T broke his toe. Well he was supposed to go on a diving trip at the start of August but that couldn't happen so my plans to fly home while he was on his trip changed to him coming too (but bringing the car on the boat) and having an extended trip away. Even though walking was difficult at times he found driving a lot easier and therefore the crazy man drove to Scotland to get the ferry to Ireland!

Mum's cousin who I see more like an auntie has a holiday home in Donegal so after a cheeky request to see if it was free she said we could stay there for a few days. We spent many a childhood summer exploring this glorious county but in all the years Mr T and I have been together he has never been there. I've trailed him round many other parts of Ireland but for some reason Donegal was never on our radar.

Even though it's just over 2 hours away from my parent's house in Belfast we broke the trip up by stopping in Derry for a little bit. Mr T was keen to explore the Bogside area and walk the city walls (well as far as he could with a broken toe) which were fascinating to see. Many of the gable end's in Derry are adorned with murals depicting scenes from the Troubles and even though they are similar it felt very different to those in Belfast.

After a few hours of mooching around we headed across the border to and up to Portsalon where we would be spending the next few days. It always makes me chuckle when I think of the border, the only way we all know we are in the South is when our phones change from a UK network to an Irish one. This meant I had no access to 4G and could only get online if there was free WiFi somewhere.

Now I'm a total social media addict and both Mr T and I spend far too long on our phones/laptop/iPad so it was really nice not to have the distraction and spend some quality time together as a family. Unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side for most of our stay but that didn't stop us getting out for a little bit. The Tuesday was a cold and blustery day (12 degrees in August!) but we braved the bracing Atlantic winds and drove to Fanad Head to visit the lighthouse. Standing proud and bright amongst the rugged coastline of Donegal, this stunning piece of architecture has been around for over 200 years.

On one of the days it rained and it rained and it rained. There we were, in a house in the middle of nowhere with no internet and only Sky tv and each other for company and if I'm honest it was the best day of the whole trip. We stayed in our pjs, played with Ethan, watched some cheesy tv and just enjoyed each other's company. We both said if we had been at home we would have been doing odd jobs around the house or faffing on Facebook but instead Mr T lit the fire (yes, I know it's August, but we were in Ireland remember!), I finally finished my Baby Led Weaning book and had a few naps with Ethan. That night we drove to a local seafood restaurant for dinner and as we watched the choppy waters across the bay I felt so relaxed and content.

On our way back to Belfast we took a slight detour to Omagh to visit the Ulster American Folk Park which I strongly recommend you visit. Consisting of old farmhouses and buildings from the 19th and early 20th century it explained all about the Irish immigration to the USA. There were peat fires burning in many of the houses with a lady dressed in traditional costume telling you the story of the house and the family who lived there. Even though I learnt about a lot of this at school I thoroughly enjoyed our visit and we both said we would take Ethan back again when he is older.

Before we headed back to Leeds we had a few more days with my family who just spoil Ethan rotten. He is one lucky boy and I think he's found it odd since we got back not to have constant entertainers on hand.

Our break away was just what we needed - from time with my family to our digital detox in Donegal and savouring each other's company, it truly was a wonderful trip. It also gave me time to think about this blog and what direction I was to take it. Cake and baking will always be at it's core but I enjoy writing these lifestyle posts and sharing snippets of our family life too.

A few photos from our trip...

12C in August???

My boys love fire

Beach time! Too cold for sandcastles so this was the next best thing...

My happy boy!

One of the cottages at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Proud Grandparents 
Proud Uncles

My wee family!

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Me and Mine - July 2016

How on earth is it the end of July and how have I not blogged in almost a month? I missed Me and Mine in June as life was just hectic for us and July has been just as busy. School has finished for Mr T, we've had family come to stay and had lots of lovely days out with friends or as a little family.

It's also been an eventful month in other ways. We have had a few sleep issues with Ethan and he's been teething big time. He's also discovered how to roll so keeps waking himself at night rolling and getting stuck. We have been using the Snuzpod since he has been born and even though he still fits in it length ways he no longer has enough space in the width. On Friday we decided to take a trip to Ikea and buy him his cot. I know most people buy the cot before the baby is born but as we planned to use the Snuz for as long as possible we didn't see the point. We also still live in a rental and had planned to have moved by now but the right house for us hasn't come up yet.

Another big thing for us this month is that Mr T broke his big toe! We were at a friend's house after our Ikea trip and he stumbled coming down the last few stairs. Initially we thought nothing of it but then he noticed through his sock his big toe looked weird, took off his sock and saw the toe was at a weird angle. Cue a trip to Otley Minor Injuries where they couldn't fix it and getting sent to the LGI. All I can say is A&E on a Friday night is grim. Thankfully they were able to reset it, Mr T was strapped up, given crutches and sent home to wait for an appointment for the Fracture Clinic. Unfortunately this means his diving trip next weekend is cancelled and I don't know if I'll be able to fly back home to see my family which was what I had planned to do while he was on his trip. He can't drive now, we live somewhere with poor public transport and can just about manage getting about around the house. Guess we will just have to wait and see...

Ok so that was a bit of a ramble but on a plus we did get two photos taken this month which was much more organised than last month. I still can't believe Ethan is almost 5 months old, time truly is flying by and it won't be long until we start weaning eep!

As always I'm joining in with the Me and Mine linky, make sure you take a look!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Chocolate Bundt - Hummingbird Bakery

Remember a few days ago I told you I had a chocolate cake recipe to share with you all with mayonnaise in it? Honestly, when I was flicking through the new Hummingbird Bakery Life is Sweet book I could not believe my eyes to see a chocolate cake has that as an ingredient.

As mentioned previously, I was asked to make a recipe from this book and share it with you all but when I saw this one too I knew I had to add it to the list. Also the fact that it's a Bundt was a winner in my eyes. I do love a good Bundt!

It was so easy to whip up - mix the wet ingredients together and then fold in the dry, tip into the Bundt tin, bake and drizzle with icing once cool. I've been on the search for a good chocolate Bundt recipe for ages and I have a feeling I'll be making this one again and again. It's so light and fluffy yet moist and ridiculously chocolatey too - a winner all round!

The only aspect of this cake that I did change was the icing as someone (*cough Mr T cough*) ate the chocolate that I needed for it. Instead I used a fudge icing which worked really well especially when the cake was warmed up - yum!

Chocolate Bundt
270g plain flour
1¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder 
¼ tsp salt
295ml buttermilk
70g cocoa
235g mayonnaise
2 eggs
165g soft light brown sugar
160g caster sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
60g dark chocolate

Chocolate Fudge Icing
60g unsalted butter
30g cocoa
6 tbsp milk
250g icing sugar sifted

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Grease and flour the Bundt tin
  • Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, cocoa, mayo, eggs, both sugars and vanilla extract
  • Fold in the dry ingredients until well combined
  • Pour the batter into the Bundt tin and pop in the over for 45 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean
  • Leave the Bundt in the tin for 30 minutes before tipping onto a wire rack to cool completely 
  • To make the fudge icing melt the butter in a pan and then whisk in the cocoa
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk and icing sugar adding more milk a little at a time if the icing is too thick
  • Pour over the Bundt and dust with icing sugar