- - two become four | a blog about our life with twins... and lots more

29 February 2012

Recipe: Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

A few weeks ago I was playing about in the kitchen and thought I'd come up with a completely original cupcake and buttercream flavour combination - earl grey cupcakes with lemon buttercream... that will teach me for not googling first!

Despite my lack of originality, these taste amazing (if I say so myself!). And as earl grey with lemon is one of Dad's drinks of choice at the moment... these are for you Grumps :)

earl grey cupcakes with lemon buttercream

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Prep time:
Makes 18-24 muffin-sized cupcakes

You will need:

FOR THE CUPCAKES

3 earl grey tea bags
4 tbsp boiled water
8 oz butter, softened
8 oz golden caster sugar
4 eggs, large
8 oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

10 oz icing sugar
5 oz butter, softened
1/2 lemon, juiced

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 200oC and line muffin tins with cases.

Begin by steeping the tea bags in the boiled water and set aside until needed.

Measure out all the cake ingredients, by which time the tea should be sufficiently strong enough and have cooled a little.

Place all of the cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat (I use a hand-held mixer) for at least 3 minutes, until the mixture is combined and has a thick dropping texture.

Divide the mixture evenly into the muffin cases, then bake for 15-18 minutes.

Cool for a couple of minutes in the tins before transferring to a cooling rack.

Beat together the ingredients for the buttercream and pipe onto the cupcakes once fully cooled. If you haven't got a piping bag (I hadn't as I was at my mum's) you can simply use a plastic sandwich bag and snip a tiny bit off the corner... I think they turned out quite well considering!

Enjoy!


Yummy Mummy Week is a week long fundraising event (10-18th March 2012) where mums are being asked to get together with friends and family and do something yummy for CLIC Sargent.


Today ten children in the UK will hear the news they have cancer. By taking a few minutes of your time and posting on your own blog you’ll be helping to raise awareness and supporting a worthy cause.


... i'm linking up with...
Do something yummy... share cake at Love All Blogs
My entry for the Bosch Dishwasher link up at Scottish Mum

The teeny tales of toddler Tilly, aged 2 and a half

Tilly is becoming quite the storyteller!

credits
digital scrapbook elements from paislee press
itc american typewriter from myfonts

Wise Words Wednesday

25 February 2012

Backseat drivers, jelly babies and bossy toddlers

It's been another good week :))) I've even made an effort to note all the little things down as they happened, so as not to forget them.

There have been so many moments this week...


Jasper high-fiveing me when I found the car he was looking for...

Tilly sticking her tongue out and saying "look at my tongue getting out"...

Eating Jay's fab chocolate muffins and getting crumbs everywhere... and finding it hilarious to be swept down with a big brush...

Tilly "Back-seat Driver" McLuckie - at a junction, said to another car: "come on...what do you call that?" (Note to self: must watch what you say whilst driving in future!)...

Jasper beaming so widely at having neenars (any vehicle with flashing lights) drawn for him, and then proudly showing them off to everyone else...

Taking a trip into town with my Mum and two impeccably well-behaved toddlers...

Coming into the room with their breakfast to find that they'd arranged their own dining table from a little coffee table and stools...

Jasper choosing to wear Tilly's (pink) Lola sleepsuit instead of his Lightening McQueen sleepsuit for two nights in a row...

Braving a walk in the woods just me, Tilly and Jasper, and realising that I needn't have worried... perfectly behaved toddlers holding my hands or running slightly ahead and loving every minute of it! Jasper fell face first into a deep muddy puddle and got to see a blue digger, Tilly got stuck in the mud, I saw Nut Hatches and heard woodpeckers, and we all saw lots of big dogs being taken for walks... then feasting on jelly babies on the return to the car...

We've been using pull-ups this week because our normal nappies were substituted yet again (grrrr)... they are now affectionately known as "pluppylups"...

Mum and me clucking along to the Camilla and the Chickens song  from the Muppets CD whilst driving along and Tilly saying "Mummy, sing more Muppets diggit (music) please" when it had finished...
I've started a 6 week night course this week to learn how to make traditional hand sewn teddy bears... it feels great to get out on my own for a couple hours...

And I managed to catch the end of my favourite moment this week on video...





Project 365+1 | Page 6

Days are turning into weeks, and weeks into months... and I am still keeping up with project 365+1... woo!

The latest of instalment...


Frozen heart // Happy Valentine's Day // Stickman
Caught blue-handed // Wooden & traditional toys @wheniwasakid // Chillaxin'
Meals on wheels // Discovering static // Barista in training


Don't forget... you can find out all about my plans for my project 365+1 here... and see all posts by clicking here... or follow my daily photoblog here.

22 February 2012

BritMums Blog Carnival

Welcome to the latest BritMums Blog Carnival... it's a day late, for which I apologise immensely... I had completely underestimated quite how much work would be needed to put a carnival of this size together!

I have been sent thirty amazing posts to showcase and will openly admit to getting distracted on some occasions and found myself reading through whole archives of posts instead of focusing on purely the carnival posts in question. It really is a great way to find fantastic new reads that you may not otherwise have stumbled across unaided.

So without further ado, grab yourself a cuppa... turn off all distractions... put your feet up and settle down for some excellent reading...

Source: imgfave.com via Rebecca on Pinterest


First up, a post to get you all thinking. Hannah at Muddling Along asks can women have it all? In today's society, is it possible for women to reach that top rung of the career ladder and have an organised, tidy home? Pop on over to share your thoughts.

Along the same theme, Lydia wanted to share her post that discusses the differences in parenting styles of mums and dads.


Ellie instantly grabbed my attention with her amazingly delicious looking Chocolate Vanilla Muffin Recipe... she claims her daughter is a cakeaholic, but I think it's just an excuse to bake lots of cakes ;) This may have been one of the blogs that I got distracted on... there are quite a few more delicious recipes to be found here too!

Stacey also sent in a recipe - her first successful pie - Turkey and Gammon Pie. This sounds right up my street. Incidentally, I’m on the search for a traditional pie plate… not a dish per se, but more a plate with a shallow dip and wide-ish brim… if anyone could help by pointing me in the right direction as I’m coming up blank at the moment!

Carol gives us a carnival within a carnival! Over on Make It, Bake It is the round-up of her In Season Challenge featuring one of my favourite vegetables - savoy cabbage.

Another recipe... but this time a crafty one... Becky at Adventures of Parenthood shares with us a very concise recipe for edible finger paints so that our budding Picasso’s and Monet’s can get creative without the worry of them chewing on anything harmful.

On the subject of food, Elaine's daughter shares her experiences of food allergies and intolerance. As someone who is fortunate enough not to have any allergies and intolerances it is quite an eye-opener as to quite how much you have to take into consideration and the restraints it puts on you.


Next up we have the first of two posts that have been written as part of Nickie's prompts for the Clic Sargent Yummy Mummy campaign to help raise awareness and support for children with cancer. Debbie shares an honest post about what family means to her, and Amy talks about the indescribable feeling of separation and not being able to be there for your child when they need you most.

On a lighter note, Lisa (Write on Mum) shows us her cunning side as she manages to sneakily get access to funds from the bank of mum and dad! And Second Time Mummy entertains us with her embarrassing moment of the year!


Were you a Barbie or a Sindy girl? I had a Sindy... I loved her to bits and she even had a whole wardrobe of clothes handmade by my young self! Janine was a Sindy girl too... and now her daughter has Barbies she asks whether the clothes that Barbie wears have an impression on our young children.

Meanwhile MsExpat's little Angelo is running rings round her and constantly on the go... but she is happy because this is finally helping her to learn how to play.

Have you ever been told to pinch a babies toes when they are crying? Rebecca gives us her list of the worst parenting advice she’s received… do you have any to add?


Moving on, we have a selection of posts discussing the world of blogging and social media... Michelle talks about blogging and cliques, and comes to the conclusion that it's just like the real world. A great read for anyone disillusioned with blogging.

Kelly (Domestic Goddesque) shares her twitter policy - something I'd not considered before, and has given me a few things to think about... the most niggling being if everyone was to reply to all their mentions, wouldn't that mean we were tied up in hundreds of unending conversations? How do you know when a conversation has ran it's course? I'm never very good at these things!

I guested over on the BritMums blog this week with my blogger's guide to Pinterest... but in light of recent revelations I'm where to go from here? Is this just scaremongering, or should I also be locking down and/or deleting my boards? Are you carrying on as normal?

I think I may have been one of the few people in the country who didn't tune in to One Born Every Minute... perhaps it's because I didn't quite get the birth that I'd imagined? Who knows! There have been many birth stories recounted on the blogosphere in recent weeks, and MumReinvented shares with us her pain relief-free birth story that ends with one of the greatest Christmas gifts ever!

Desperately hoping for the chance to write a birth story of her own, Amy is holding out to see those double pink lines that indicate the start of the journey towards parenthood. I think Amy needs a little encouragement and support, so head over there to show her some love.

Multiple Mummy Kerry says farewell to her Home Start help and tries to break down the stigma associated with this lifesaver of a service (something I wish I had brought myself to use!).

I love this time of year... give me cold weather and I'm a happy bunny. Over at Kids One Stop Shop you can find out about all of the fun things you can get up to, even in cold weather, at your local parks. We had a very chilly picnic a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Smiling and Sparkling is a blog that talks very openly about depression... in her carnival entry she tries to work out when, or even if, you can say that you are officially no longer depressed... which also ties in with my submission for the carnival... things are good at the moment - and long may it continue!
Were you aware that this week was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week? Nope... neither was I! Emma has a very open and honest story to share about her journey through life with a eating disorder... a very moving post to help raise awareness.
Jen would like to share a post from her new blog, Love Chic Living, where she gives advice on finding our own home interiors style, and Helen would like to talk about cloth nappies - a subject she is extremely knowledgeable on... which is useful as she's also just recently launched her online cloth nappy store. Best of luck Helen!
Rebecca explains why chickens are clucking marvellous and manages to make me insanely jealous! I want some chickens now! And Steph shares a beautifully simple post... sometimes all a girl needs to make her happy is a pretty, twirly skirt :)
On February 12th another great star was taken from us before their time. I’m guessing many of us also took a moment to stop what we were doing and consider what Whitney has brought into our lives, as HerMelness did.

To finish off we have a few thought-provoking posts... Sandy talks about friendship, Liz talks about the brother and sister she's never met...
And for the final entry we have a post from Sarah the Suburbanite… I’ve left it till last because I don’t think anything can, or should, follow it. Be warned though, you will need to go and grab some tissues as she talks about heartbreak and acceptance. I shan’t say anymore as I don’t want to do her incredibly moving post an injustice by attempting to sum it up.

I hope you enjoyed reading through all of the posts as much as I did. If I have missed you out, or mis-linked, please let me know so that I can make any corrections.
I think I may go for a little lie down now and give my eyes some well-earned rest!

Don't forget the next BritMums Blog Carnival will be hosted by the lovely Kelly at Domestic Goddesque on March 6th

Wise Words Wednesday

19 February 2012

And I'm Feeling Good

It's been a long time since I could say that I felt truly happy, stress-free, or relaxed... and I am not going to say that I am 100% there yet... far from it - there are big things going on in the background that I'm not blogging about - but... something has changed these last few weeks.

I'm not sure how, why, or what... but it's like someone has flicked a switch in my mind. I am beginning to enjoy life a whole lot more... I am a lot more relaxed and not letting every little thing get to me... and the knock-on effect it is having on all other areas of life is quite something.

Perhaps it's due to the big things that are going on... making me realise that life is for living, not dwelling, worrying, stressing? I don't know... but it is definitely making it easier to deal with, and focus on, the bigger things.

I am enjoying being with Tilly and Jasper even more... not that I wasn't enjoying my tireless bundles of energy before. The change in me has had a huge effect on them too. The old adage that a happy mum means happy children is definitely true! They are much happier... meal-times have become less of a hassle... they are perhaps a little more well-behaved (although we still have a way to go!)... and Jasper's confidence is soaring.

Listening and watching them play together just makes my heart swell to bursting!

Little things like...

Watching them eat strawberry cornettos together at Grumps', 'chinking' them together and saying "cheers"... something that they have been doing with their beakers since Christmas! They also did it with their first ever swizzler lollies, stretching across to each other between car seats.

Watching them run around Nana's house like the crazy little lunatics they are, with blankets grasped round their shoulders like capes and shouting "super Babba (Jasper)" and "super Tilly"!

Tilly announcing she has a willy... and then realising "oh no, it's just my belly button"

Or even Jasper declaring that his wee-wee (willy) is not working!

And my current favourite... Jasper's new phrase: "d'awlright then"... "Jasper, can you come and sit at the table for tea?", "d'awlright then"... "Jasper, can Tilly play with your red car?", "d'awlright then"... too cute!



I love my little family... they bring me sooooo much joy :)



I'm linking up with...

Project 365+1 | Pages 4 & 5

So we're well and truly into February now, and my Project365+1 is still only in digital form! I've been spending too much time deliberating over which will be the most cost effective way of printing.

My options are:
  1. Print at home... but that means decluttering space and setting up the printer... then forking out stupid amounts of money to buy ink cartridges... and then trawling through the boxes in the spare room to dig out my photo paper (which I have a feeling might be the wrong size for the images anyway, so might involve more expense)
  2. Use a photo printing service such as Photobox or Kodak. Although I need 3"x3" images, which are difficult to find, I could get 2 images on a 6"x4" and trim to size (with a little wastage) or 6 images on a 9"x6" with no waste. And the OCD in me likes this because they will all be printed on the same type of paper (I do like everything to be uniform throughout!) rather than the mish mash of papers that I have.
Now I just need to sit down and work out which really is the better way to go... thoughts, anyone? Although it sounds like I may have already made up my mind!

Soooo, here are pages 4 and 5 of the album. I had to re-do these as I originally did what I knew I would do, and forgot to put in the February marker... at least I'm predictable!


peppermint tea before bed // self portrait // a super[natural] walk
favourite mug + yummy hot chocolate = 1 happy mummy // tabletop art gallery
duuuude! where's my facecloth? // the bionic woman // memory lapse



'sno(w) fun when you've gone to bed! // ponyo noodles! // pink, glossy, box
splatter painting + movies = a good day // planking? // dinosaur toast and lava soup
route planning // kitchen casualty // the muppets


How are you keeping up with Project 365(+1)? I'm sooo pleased I've not missed a day yet! Although I will be spending more time during the week at my mum's, which means I will be iPhone-less... so will be snapping away and then converting to instagram when I get back home each week... only 3 more months until I can upgrade my sorry effort of a Blackberry!

Don't forget... you can find out all about my plans for my project 365+1 here... and see all posts by clicking here... or follow my daily photoblog here.

14 February 2012

Valentine's Make It | Frozen Milk Hearts


Inspired by pinterest again... this is what we've been enjoying today!

Milk coloured with a little red food dye and then frozen in heart shaped ice cubes. We've had them in cold milk and watched as it slowly turned pink, and also in hot chocolate to help cool it down! And the great thing is that being milk it doesn't dilute the drink!

For one ice cube tray I used 8 fl.oz of milk mixed with half a teaspoon of red food dye.

I'm thinking these would be good with creamy, liqueur-based cocktails too ;)

What have you been doing for Valentine's Day?



... linking up with...
#pinaddicts challenge 2 on Melksham Mum

10 February 2012

BritMums Blog Carnival | Call for Posts


Wow... It seems a lifetime ago that I put my name down to host a BritMums Blog Carnival, but it's amazing how quickly my turn has come around!

That's right... the next carnival will be held over here... whistles and costumes are optional.




The date: Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

The place: two become four

RSVP: Please email, tweet, facebook or leave a comment with a link to the post you would like to submit by 19:00hrs, Sunday, February 19th

The small print: No theme. One post per blogger, written in the last 4 weeks. No sponsored or commercial posts. Further details can be found here.




credits
carnival image source: flickr.com via Rebecca on Pinterest



Storyteller Tilly


credits
cute mouse image from maileg
digital scrapbook elements from paislee press
itc american typewriter from myfonts

08 February 2012

Wise Words Wednesday

Source: etsy.com via Rebecca on Pinterest


I've been doing a lot of this recently... and it feels good :)

05 February 2012

Style Inspiration: Thandie Newton at the 2011 Elle Style Awards

The Next Blogger Network has just launched the Red Carpet Challenge for the 2012 Elle Styles Awards in which 2 lucky winners get the chance to go to the style awards and the after show party courtesy of Next!

Now that's a challenge I'm more than happy to take on! The challenge is to take one of the red carpet looks from last year's style awards and recreate the look using only Next products.

Browsing through the red carpet looks I was immediately drawn to Thandie Newton. A classic beauty... her outfit is simple yet stunning, and exactly what I would love to wear (if only I had her figure!). I did a bit of searching and found that she arrived, and left, the awards also wearing a rather glamorous faux leopard fur jacket... so I've added my interpretation of that into my creation as well.

Thandie wore an iris print Louis Vuitton gown with sequined waistline. The dress that I've chosen is not an exact representation... I was more inspired by the colours and the sequin detailing. The look doesn't require much in the way of accessories... but I've thrown in toning clutch and wedges, and a sparkly bracelet just to add a little bling. Finish off the look with simple make-up... a touch of lip stain and some vamped-up nails. Perfect!



What do you think? Is this a look that you'd wear too?


Disclosure: I am a member of the Next Blogger Network, a private online community for selected bloggers to connect with Next. I am not paid to write these posts, and Next have no editorial control whatsoever about what I blog about. Being a member of the Next Blogger Network means that I may receive the occasional goodie or product to review, or even invites to previews and other events. This does not affect how I write and will always blog with honesty and integrity.

01 February 2012

Style Inspiration | Disney's Bolt

We are now at the stage where Tilly and Jasper are happy to sit for longer stretches to watch feature length films, whereas before we were lucky if they could sit through the entire recording of the Gruffalo. Which is great because we managed to record quite a few of the fabulous family movies (I'm calling them family movies to justify my enjoyment of them too!) that were on over the Christmas break.

But one of them is requested every day without fail... Bolt - or Penny as Tilly likes to call it. It's a fab film about a dog who thinks he has superpowers, on his journey to reunite with his human, Penny.

Tilly loves Penny... and I can understand why. She's strong, confident, and gets to fight the bad guys... I can see my tastes are rubbing off on her!

So Penny is the subject of my latest Style Inspiration... enjoy:


1 - Bolt 12" Plush :: 2 - Littlelife Ladybird Daysack :: 3 - Next Girl's Shorts (part of set) :: 4 - Villervalla Stripe Leggings :: 5 - Villervalla T Shirt :: 6 - Converse Kids Shearling Hi Tops :: 7 - Micro Sprite Diamond Red Scooter :: 8 - Villervalla Long Sleeve Top


What do you think? I can just see Tilly dressed in these... totally loving the Converse and stripy leggings!

You can see more items in my Bolt Style Inspiration pinboard... and why not follow me over there too!

Which characters are your kids currently idolising?



Disclosure: affiliate links contained within this post

Wise Words Wednesday