Tuesday 27 June 2023

Pretty eggs and Sourdough bread.

Back in November, I stepped into the world of sourdough bread.
I found a recipe for the starter and decided to give it a go.

It took a few weeks to get it going and I wasn't making decent loaves until way into February.
I nearly gave up, I re-started the starter many times but eventually, it clicked, and everything started to click into place.

So now we have weekly sourdough loaves and they never stay around very long, the recipe I follow makes two loaves, and the boys absolutely love them. 

I love everything about them, the process, the baking, the scoring, the smell, the taste.
I'm trying to perfect my scouring, so every loaf I do tends to be a little different.

I have a few new recipes which I'm going to try and follow, such as a seeded loaf, fruit, and nut loaf, just to see how they turn out.

I also recently made some rhubarb jam and that goes amazingly well with the bread!
I'll do another post with the recipe for the jam.

We are really trying to do more home cooking and more home baking, with the veggies we home grow and the scrummy eggs our girls lay us daily it really isn't too tricky.

Making the kids homemade treats is much cheaper and the kids all enjoy them more than a bag of sweets, and plus we know what has gone into them.

They often give us requests as to what they'd like made during the week and whilst they're out at school I get busy in the kitchen.

Fresh bread and fresh eggs really are one of my favourite things.
Especially when the eggs look like this!


Tuesday 20 June 2023

Baking with Bea - Brownies

 We do a lot of baking in our house, mainly due to the fact we have a lot of eggs to use up, as the chickens are back into laying now the weather has warmed up and we are getting 6 eggs a day.

I also like to make sweet treats so I know what is going into the kids, rather than shop bought. It also tends to be a lot cheaper.

Now Bea is a little older she loves to help out with baking and will get very excited when she sees the mason bowls come out.

Brownies are a firm favourite in the mini beast household and I tend to make them once a week.
So I thought I would share my go-to recipe with you all.

  • 2 cups granulated sugar,
  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour,
  • 1 cup of melted unsalted butter,
  • 4 eggs,
  • 1/2 a cup of cocoa powder,
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract,
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder,
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt,
  • optional 1/2 walnuts.


  • Preheat the oven to 175 degrees,
  • Melt the butter and put to one side to cool,
  • Mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder,
  • Add in the cooled melted butter and whisk,
  • Add in the eggs one and a time.
  • Mix until a smooth batter is formed,
  • Spread the batter into baking trays that have been lined with baking paper.
  • (I tend to use two round cake tins, as I have found they cook better this way.)
  • Place into the preheated oven for around 20-30 minutes,
  • Let them cool before cutting.

They should be nice and crispy on the outside and lovely and fudgy on the inside.


Monday 19 June 2023

The Benefits of Sports in Schools

Many schools will have opportunities for their students to try out different sports. From the lessons, they will have in physical education, to extra-curricular activities and after-school clubs - there will be a lot for children to explore. They also have a lot of benefits for students in a variety of ways - here are some that this pre-prep in Hampton has shared with us.

Helps a child’s physical strength

Sports usually cover a lot of muscle groups and fitness levels, which is why they are recommended to many students as they enter school life. It’s a good way of keeping fit and healthy while strengthening a lot of your core areas such as your upper body and your core. Repeated work on these areas will prop up your child’s overall strength, which is great for your child’s health.

Gives your child the opportunity to explore a new passion

Your child’s passions are what will be driving them through their school lives. There are a lot of sports to try out and discover, even when we’re adults! So, if they have the opportunity now, encourage them to pursue them. It doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t enjoy some of the sports at school, so long as they are willing to explore other sports or try something different.

Improves students’ mental health

Mental health is important in a school setting, with many young children exploring new feelings and emotions. Sports can help focus students and provide ample distraction for them. It’s a good opportunity to let children explore their feelings, while also doing their best on the playing field. Sports and exercise are often cited as good ways to improve mental health.


If your child has the chance to explore lots of different sports, then ensure they’re not wasting the opportunity. Have a look at what your school currently offers, and encourage your child to enquire at their school for more information.

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Sunday 18 June 2023

Fun in the garden with Wowowtoys

Now the sun's out and summer is definitely here it's time to crack out those garden toys and make the most of that glorious sunshine.

Bea loves being in the garden and she usually just runs around after the chickens or tries to dig up flowers that I have planted, so I decided it was time to get her a few new toys to keep her entertained whilst outside.

Wowowtoys has a great selection of garden toys, it ranges from bubble toys to electric scooters.
Bea has been eyeing up Ru's bike for the past month, so we decided it was time to try her with a balance bike, Ru had one at her age and he loved zooming around the garden and the house with his, so I knew it would probably be a hit with her too.

Wowowtoys had a cute little pink one that retails at £39.99, which is a decent price as I know some balance bikes can retail at way over £100.

Bea loved her bike the moment she saw it and kept saying 'mine', 'mine'.
It took her a little while to get used to it but now a week later she's quite happy zooming around the garden racing against Ru.
Sometimes he lets her win.

The bike is suitable for ages 2+ and comes in pink & blue.
The max weight is 20kg.

The tires are plastic, so won't need constant re-pumping
It's really easy to assemble and once it's put together you only need to adjust the seat and handlebars as the child grows.

What toddler doesn't love bubbles?
All the boys adored bubbles and Bea is just the same, she's pretty much obsessed with them.
She'd play with them every waking moment if she could.

The Bubblz unicorn pal comes with a 236ml bottle of bubble solution, it requires 3 AA batteries which aren't included.
It retails at a very reasonable price of £11.99.

Bea loves her unicorn bubble machine and carries it around the garden and house.
We have had many bubble parties since it arrived.

Any bubble solution works and is easy enough to work that Bea can quite happily switch it on and off.

Now next on our garden toy list is a mud kitchen!!

If you're looking for some garden toys this summer I highly recommend Wowowtoys. 

**I was gifted items for this post, but all thoughts are my own.**


How to Support Your Child's Mental Wellbeing


Mental well-being is very important at all ages and therefore will be a high priority in supporting your child’s progress in their studies and in everyday life. There will be a lot of thoughts, requirements, and demands on children as they start to go through their studies, which can be a lot of stress for them.


It’s going to be critical that you as parents ensure there is the right support and direction to help your child understand mental health and how to manage it. 

Here are some top tips to help you support them in a better way.

Give them ways to combat negative feelings

When a lot of these feelings occur your child could be at school, with friends, or on holiday. They may not be able to turn to you for support in these scenarios. This means that it’s preferable to teach your child how to handle themselves on their own.


Combat negative feelings by teaching your child to perform a mental health check-in. When they are feeling overwhelmed, they should try to take a step back to control the situation and see what they can do to keep themselves and others calm. Role model a good attitude in front of your child, so that they can adapt to moments where they will feel overwhelmed.

Normalise talking about mental health

Nowadays it’s a lot more common to see people suffering from mental health and should be normal to discuss this with your child. There’s a lot that can go wrong in our lives, it should be a respectable aspect to teach your child about and show them that there is nothing wrong with feeling upset or overwhelmed.


Make it a point to talk about mental health all the time, when it is safe to bring up. It will remove the stigma around the subject later on in life.

Explore your school’s options

A lot of schools will be there to help with a child’s health. Pastoral care is something all schools should be pursuing and is used extensively at this private girls' school in Surrey. Teachers alone can help point their students in the right direction with their studies, as well as activities and exercises to help them cope.


It’s a good approach to talk to your child openly about mental health. We all know that there will be moments in our lives when the struggles are too much, which is why talking about it openly early on can give them the support they need.

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Friday 16 June 2023

Lilac syrup

Another Lilac recipe for you to use next lilac season.

Lilac syrup.
Can be used in cocktails, with baking, and on ice creams.

If you want a little bit of sweetness, definitely try this!

You will need;

Fresh lilac flowers - 2 cups
water - 1 cup
sugar - 1 cup
3 - 4 blueberries to help enhance the colour.


Boil the sugar and water till the sugar dissolves,
Add the lilac flowers and blueberries, and turn down to a simmer,
Let it simmer away for around 15 minutes.
Keep checking on it.
Once it is done let it cool for another 15 - 20 minutes,
Whilst cooling put some clean jars in the oven at 120 degrees to sterilise.

Once cooled strain the mixture through a sieve, making sure to squeeze every bit of liquid out.
You don't want to waste any! 

Once completely cool place in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy making this as much as I did.



Helping Your Child Develop their Social Skills

Social skills are how we all learn to interact with each other, and it brings many benefits to children and adults alike. It’s often how we function and get things done properly, which is why it’s a skill that all children should be allowed to explore at a young age. From making conversation casually, building friendships, and conversing with teachers, to solving problems and making time to support others - we all need those social skills.


Here are some ways you can help your child with their social skills over time.

Get them talking all of the time

Shyness can come if there are not many opportunities for children to speak up and learn about who they are, and how to make meaningful relationships. To counter this, get them talking about all kinds of things that spring to mind. 


Let them feel comfortable talking about whatever they like, and don’t scold them for saying something unique - they won’t know what is right or wrong to say if they aren’t able to say what’s on their mind. If they are saying something rude then you can address this when it arises.

Get them involved in social activities

A lot of activities can encourage children to converse with others and make quick solutions for real-time problems they’re facing. Schools and nurseries, like this nursery in Halstead, will provide a number of extra-curricular activities and clubs to get children thinking and start to build strong friendships.

Let them work things out for themselves

Another good way of helping children is by letting them take the wheel in terms of control and ownership. They are then more likely to try out new things on their own accord, instead of waiting for someone else to do it for them. Parents shouldn’t feel like they have to dictate every moment a child has on this earth - let them feel independent. That independence will ensure they make the conversations first.


Social skills can therefore be easy to develop in children if you have the right approach to their learning. Ensure they are confident and independent, and that will make sure they are better equipped to socialise with others.

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Friday 9 June 2023

Lilac and oat bath milk

I know it's at the end of Lilac season now. but I thought I would share a couple of recipes that I used with the Lilac from my garden.

First up;
Lilac and Oat bath milk.

It's super easy to make and you get a beautiful relaxing bath from it.

You'll need
1 cup of lilac petals,
1 cup of oats,
2 cups of water.
(This will make enough for two baths)

Pour the lilacs, oats, and water into a blender.
Blend together until it looks smooth,
using a muslin drain into a jar, the muslin will catch all the pulp and leave you with gorgeous bath milk.

Use straight away,
the rest will store in the fridge for two days.


Should I Encourage My Child to Learn an Instrument?


Children should be interested in musical instruments and should feel able to try them out if they show clear intrigue, but how can you help them make this decision? Here are some things to consider before taking your child to an instrument lesson.

Does your child love being creative?

Instruments are a good sign of helping children feel like they can make any tunes that they like. It should be a fun experience for kids, which is why letting them lean into their creative side helps with their development. If your child is creatively inclined, then picking up an instrument will help with their progression.

Does your child enjoy listening to different genres of music?

Being musically inclined there’s a lot your child can learn from picking up an instrument. If they have a clear interest in different kinds of music then it will help you learn what your child can do when they pick up an instrument. If you know the genres they tend to listen to, then picking out an instrument for them to try out will be much easier, if they haven’t already told you.

Your child’s relationship with other subjects

Leaning into the arts can indicate a strong likeness to music over time, but it can also be highlighted in other subjects. Maths is an example of a subject that surprisingly leans into the musical world, for example, as your child has to learn to read music sheets and understand intonations from a mathematical sense. It will make your approach to music lessons a lot easier if they are able to work on what genuinely interests them.


Private primary schools will be on hand to help children pick up instrument lessons, but it’s important to let your child make these decisions. Musical instruments can be a lot for children to manage, with lessons and other considerations, or it could be the perfect avenue to go down. Just ensure you make the right choice for your child.

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