Monthly Archives: February 2014

Picture Your Life…

Do you remember the days when you had to buy film for your camera, and wait weeks for your photos to be developed?

Isn’t it brilliant how easily we can take photos now? Lots of people don’t even bother with a camera as their phone will do the job for them! Then there are those times in your life when you want the pictures to be so perfect that you’re willing to pay a professional to take some photographs for you.

When I got married we paid for professional photos on the day, and recently we had  some professional photo’s taken of my two boys. I love taking pictures, looking at pictures and remembering the occasion on which they were taken. The only problem is, with all this digital technology, sometimes I don’t get the full benefit because I leave photo’s I love on a memory card or c.d. instead of displaying them as they should be – in the house for everyone to see!

So when Canvas Design offered me a canvas print of a photo of my choice, it was a very difficult choice to make. My children and my marriage are the foundations of my life so I wanted something to encapsulate that. I do have a large print of the boys on display so I picked a wedding photo.

I emailed the photo to Canvas Design on Wednesday and on Monday morning there was a delivery man at the door. Delivery is free in the UK (and yes, this does include Northern Ireland, not just the mainland, yippee!) It felt like Christmas morning as I unwrapped the canvas from the layers of bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard which had kept it safe on it’s journey. Inside, as well as the canvas itself, there was a hanging kit! Brilliant, that saved me going on a trip to the shops!

 

I was surprised by how heavy the frame was and the quality of the canvas is just superb. I love that the picture is stretched right around the frame so that the edges blend in. It just so happened that I had a bare patch of wall on which to hang my lovely new canvas!

canvas  021

It’s not a traditional wedding photo, which is perhaps why I haven’t displayed it before. However it is undoubtedly one of my favourites. I love it for the same reason that film directors love to end films with the happy couple walking off into the sunset. It not only represents the happy ending of one chapter, but the start of a new story also.

As a young girl I pictured my life as an adult, knowing years in advance what I wanted. Right now, I have to say, it’s pretty much as I imagined, and now I have a beautiful canvas to remind me how lucky I am. Why not try your luck and see if you can win a beautiful canvas of your choice, anything from 6″x6″ to 40″x40″! These retail from £7.99 (6″x6″) to £59.99 (40″x40″)  100% pine frame, printed on 100% cotton. Just enter the rafflecopter below.

If you don’t win this time, you can still purchase a canvas directly with Canvas Design and, if you enter code Blog15 you will receive 15% of your order (and don’t forget, delivery is free in the UK).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Term and conditions:

Open to UK residents only

Competition will close 11.59pm on 17th March

Winner announced on 18th March

Winners must provide me with their name, address, mobile no. and email a copy of the picture they wish to use.

If the winner cannot be contacted the prize will be redrawn

Winner’s details will be passed to Canvas Design

Entries which cannot be verified will be disqualified

Mydaysni decisions in all matters relating to this post will be final.

 

Disclaimer: Canvas Design sent me this canvas free of charge. Product claims should be verified by the manufacturer. All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by any third party. For more information see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potato Bread Recipe

Who could live without potatoes? They’re cheap and filling and incredibly versatile…and sometimes you make too many!

Well here is a perfect simple local potato bread recipe for using up any leftover potatoes you may have, though there’s nothing wrong with making these just for the sake of it!

“This post is an entry for #FluffyMarisPiper Linky Challenge sponsored by Potato Council. Learn more at  bit.ly/18rWnaB

You will need:

240g peeled boiled potatoes such as Maris Piper (mash these or use a potato ricer if you have one)

120g plain flour

20g butter

pinch of salt

a little oil for frying

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Knead together all the ingredients until you have a pliable dough. Then roll out the dough on a floured surface.

This recipe will make around 6 potato breads which I  simply cut out of the dough. If you would rather, you can cook them as a whole and then cut them into pieces at the end (this is the traditional way). Personally I find it easier to work with smaller pieces.

You should pre-heat a frying pan to a medium heat and spray with a little cooking oil.

Add each potato bread (or farl as we in Northern Ireland like to call them) and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes. They are ready when they have taken on a mottled effect.

Traditional Potato Farl

Traditional Potato Farl

Your potato bread is ready to serve immediately or can be reheated later.

To reheat, fry in a little oil, grill, or toast.

Serve as part of a cooked breakfast (the local favourite being an Ulster Fry), or toast and serve with cheese.

This is a really fantastic recipe, which could easily be adapted by adding extra ingredients, such as some fresh herbs, onions or cooked meat such as bacon pieces.

Have fun experimenting!

Is your baby hungry?

feedme

As a parent one of the hardest things is when people in a position of authority give conflicting advice.

I’m sure everyone in the UK is aware that the recommended age for weaning (in the UK this means starting solids) is 6 months. Professionals are resolute that this is the optimum time to introduce your baby to foods (unless they advise you otherwise on medical grounds). However, when the advice was 4-6 months, I’m confident that the professionals were certain that anywhere in this range was a suitable time.

I understand that research progresses our knowledge and the government don’t make recommendations without giving the facts due consideration, however I feel that these strict guidelines are just another way of pressurising parents. And if you don’t manage to wait till 6 months then, ‘Tut Tut, don’t you want to give your baby the best start in life?’

I weaned both my boys at around 5 months. I actually tried the second one at 4 months but he wasn’t interested at that time (I was hoping it might help with the colicky symptoms he displays in the evenings). So that leads me to wonder…

Does it even matter? Wouldn’t your baby let you know if they weren’t happy? Isn’t that why lots of people do wean early? I doubt anyone out there is force feeding a baby who doesn’t enjoy food.

I don’t have the answers. I’m just not entirely convinced that the Doctor’s and Health Visitors do either!

Did you wean your baby ‘early’, and if so do you feel guilty about it?   I love reading your comments and reply to as many as I can.

Binky Linky
nan bread pizza

Cheat’s Homemade Pizza

In my youth I had a job working in an independent pizzeria, and when I left, my troubles began. At work I was able to design a pizza exactly as I liked it. The right amount of sauce, toppings and cheese were crucial to my enjoyment. After I left (and moved to a different country) I couldn’t get a pizza to please me.. and believe you me, I tried!

Shop bought ones don’t have enough topping, pizzeria chains just don’t float my boat (some of them taste more like cardboard than pizza) and I’ve never cooked with yeast before so I was too nervous about trying to make my own base.

Then one day, quite accidently, I made a cheat’s homemade pizza using plain Naan bread as the base. I must have been low on food as the only thing I had for sauce was tomato puree, and I think the only topping I had was cheese.

It was gorgeous!

Normally tomato puree is too tangy on its own, but it balanced out beautifully with the naan bread. I’m actually convinced a pizza sauce wouldn’t be as nice, and as I think my cheat’s pizza’s are already perfect I have no intention of trying!

The beauty of this discovery is of course that you can tailor the toppings to your own personal taste, and as naan bread is readily available in different sizes it’s easy to make one without having lots of leftovers!

Just use small naans for small appetites and large naans for larger appetites. In additional, naan bread freezes really well so if you keep some in the freezer it’s a really easy tasty snack for any unexpected play-dates. Just microwave on the defrost setting for 10 second blasts until they have thawed.

As per the pack instructions I always sprinkle a little water on my naan bread, then spread on some tomato puree and add my toppings. Cook in the oven at 180degrees for 10-15 minutes and bingo! Delicious served with a side salad, or simply on it’s own.

nan bread pizza

Cheat’s Homemade Pizza

Binky Linky

Glengormley Sportsbowl

I was actually disappointed to have arranged to go bowling on what turned out to be the first dry day in about 3 months. However, as Lewis was all excited about his first trip bowling, off we went.
It is years, literally about 10, since I went bowling and I was delighted that wearing my trainers had prevented me having to don the dreaded bowling shoes! Glengormley Sportsbowl  I give you brownie points for that!
We had booked a lane for an hour, though you can pay per game if you prefer. If you go it is definitely worth asking about their deals as these can work out much better on the purse (or wallet) than paying the standard rate.
Like many of the bowling alleys today, the Sportsbowl has the requisite fluorescent lighting, but they also had automatic bumpers which were set for any members of the group who desired them. In my younger days you had to do that yourself, manually. Technology today is a wonderful thing! They also had the ramps for younger players to push the balls from, though those these did need to be moved manually every turn.
places o go in northern ireland
There is a small cafe selling the usual fast food, burgers and the like, and also an array of arcade type amusements which will entertain your child and gobble up your money!
Unusually, they had a small go kart track which I’m sure older children would love. Children from the age of three can use these if accompanied by an adult, though we didn’t have a go this time.
In hindsight maybe an hour long booking wasn’t the best idea. Lewis (3) was really enjoying himself for the first 30 minutes or so but then he became bored and wanted to go and explore what else was on offer. However this meant Mr C. had double turns, and thus more practise, which is the only reason he beat me!

bowling3050