November 2010 | Modern Mummy

Monday, 29 November 2010

The End of November ---- and I'm feeling festive (and organised!!) already!

Poggio our little Scrooge

WELL. You will all be shocked to hear that I really am being very organised in my Christmas preparations this year. Since my last festive post I am delighted to be able to tell you that ALL my cards are now written and the envelopes stamped, ready for posting tomorrow and I have bought FOUR Christmas presents from our list. And its still only November! (Am trying my hardest not to be smug.... honest!)

I really am starting to feel festive today - I heard my first Christmas song on the radio while I was cooking dinner ("Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues) and have been making and eating mince pies this weekend (and drinking lots of mulled VINO!). Friday night was the switch on of our town's Christmas lights and the Salvation Army's full brass band were playing carols. It was B R I L L I A N T and drinking steaming hot mulled wine whilst standing outside in the freezing cold with the Other Half and Daisy made me feel extra Christmassy. We also ordered our turkey from our local butcher (I have been dreaming about Christmas dinner ever since) and I have even managed to persuade Himself to go and get a tree while I'm working tomorrow so that I can put all the decorations up when I get home.

Finally, I am eagerly awaiting the imminent London snow. I am reliably informed that it is going to start at around midnight and we should have about a foot by the morning! I can't even remember the last time we had snow before Christmas!! And I have no idea why I am getting so ridiculously excited; snow makes London grind to a halt. The buses and trains stop running and the roads are a nightmare..... but everything looks so PRETTY when its covered in a blanket of white! And with any luck we will get a snow day and I can stay at home with Daisy and make snowmen in the back garden. At last our new wellies might get their first outing!

PS As you have probably noticed Poggius Maximus the cat does not share my love of all things Christmassy.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Song to Get Up and Dance Meme

Thanks to PippaD I have been tagged in my very first Meme! This Meme all about a song that makes you want to get up and dance. My choice doesn't exactly make me WANT to get up and dance but makes other people FORCE me to get up and dance. Following in PippaD's footsteps, I too have opted for an old classic - and a lovely video of me aged 8 proving once and for all that I really do lack rhythm and have two left feet!

The song I have chosen is 'Carwash' by Rose Royce which was released in 1976 but which was also featured on a Reader's Digest 70s compilation cassette that my parents owned in the late 80s. My parents had just bought their first video camera, a bloody huge thing that was very close in size to the professional ones that are used in TV and film studios today. It had to be plugged into the TV whilst recording so could only be used at home, and was so heavy to hold that it tended to be attached to a tripod which meant that all family videos in those days tended to be interview stylee with the camera pointed in the direction of the sofa with everyone squished into view.

I digress. So yes my song choice is one that I am still haunted by to this day. Whenever it comes on the radio my family ask me to dance for them and even 22 years later I can feel my cheeks flush bright red. I had set the video camera up in the living room and moved the furniture out of the way to make room for a DANCEFLOOR! I hit record on the camera, pressed play on the cassette player and I was off. I think I would have carried on until the end of the cassette had I not caught my Dad spying on me through the living room window....

Here it is, the home movie that my sister has been threatening to upload to Facebook since my Dad converted the video to digital format. Quite why I have decided to publish it myself is beyond me, but in any event I hope you all enjoy it.


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Really Easy Cheesy Twists

I recently made some cheesy twists from some leftover pastry and they were a massive winner in the Modern Mummy household so I thought I would share the recipe with you.

I had been trying to impress Himself with my housewifey pie making skills and had made the pastry from scratch but I would recommend using ready made puff pastry if you've not got any leftover homemade stuff as making it takes forever and defeats the object of a quick and easy lunch or snack! (You can find it in the refrigerator aisle at the supermarket, usually next to the butters and lards).

1x roll Jus Rol puff pastry
Butter for greasing baking tray
Flour for dusting surfaces
Lots and lots of cheddar cheese, grated

Roll the pastry out on a floured surface so that it is about a quarter of an inch thick and divide into sections approximately 3 inches wide and 6 inches long. Cut each piece into three 1 inch strips lengthways and cover each strip with grated cheese. Plait the three strips, place the plaited cheesy pastry onto a very well greased baking tray and sprinkle with more grated cheese.

Put into a pre-heated oven at Gas Mark 6 and leave for 15-20 minutes (until suitably puffy and cheesy and golden brown).

Serve warm with a nice cup of tea (if its before midday) or a glass of Chianti (if its after)!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat!

Yes I know its still only November but I like having something to look forward to! 
I love this time of year. I love it when the clocks go back and the days get shorter. I love the chilly, windy weather and being wrapped up warm in woolly scarves and hats. I love the build up to Christmas with all the festive markets and lights switch ons. I LOVE mulled wine and mince pies and all the other nibbly foodstuffs people put out for you when you visit them during the month of December. I love buying people presents and I love wrapping them up even more. I am, I must confess, ever so slightly partial to a carol or two and have even been known to enjoy sprouts with my Christmas dinner.  
Every year I say I am going to be organised and do all my Christmas shopping in November. I always aim to put the tree up and send the Christmas cards out on 1 December. Of course it never happens and I end up spending my Christmas Eve rushing around the shops like a lunatic buying all my family rubbish last minute presents in the Boots 3 for 2 offer. The cards get forgotten about altogether and although the Christmas decorations WILL have gone up more or less on time, the cat will have smashed the majority of the good baubles and eaten (and subsequently thrown up) all the tinsel.
This year though I am feeling more excited about Christmas than ever and I think that's down to Daisy having just turned one and knowing she will be able to join in the festivities with us all. I really am going to get everything done early so that I can relax and have fun with her (really really really!!). I have already made my Christmas card list and bought all the cards. I have made a start on the pressies and have even invested in some new knitted and felt (and therefore Daisy and Pogg proof) Christmas decorations to replace last year's casualties.
 Daisy's First Christmas, 2009
I'm excited about starting our own Christmas family traditions so that Daisy has the sort of Christmases that I remember from my childhood; magical, family affairs. Leaving out minced pies and milk for Father Christmas and carrots for the reindeer, going to Church on Christmas morning for the nativity play and carol singing, eating Christmas dinner around a huge table with the whole family with crackers and silly jokes and paper hats. I keep reminiscing about all the things that I used to love about Christmas as a child; waking up at about 4am on Christmas morning to see what was in my stocking; my siblings and I waiting patiently in our rooms until 6am, which was the earliest our parents were prepared to take us downstairs to see if we had been brought any presents. It was the only day of the year we were allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast and I would demolish the entire bag of gold coins from my stocking along with segments of my Mum and Dad's Terry's Chocolate Oranges and all the good chocolates from the obligatory Christmas tin of Cadbury's Roses. 
Now that I am older I love the general Christmassy smell of pine needles and satsumas and spices, the fact that for the whole of December the fridge is permanently full to bursting with delicious food and best of all I love that on Christmas Day it is perfectly acceptable to have your first alcoholic drink before midday whilst you are still in your pyjamas. I love spending the day with my family and helping prepare the Christmas lunch - then eating as much as I possibly can and having to lie on the sofa to sleep off the turkey sweats. I even love the traditional after dinner walk in the freezing cold that everyone moans about. And who can forget the Christmas telly repeats of Home Alone and The Snowman.
We are have 43 days to go until Christmas 2010! And I am currently tucking into my first mince pie of the season. Here's to many more!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Well it looks as if the dreaded winter lurg has found its way to the Modern Mummy household. Both me and the Other Half have been under the weather, and even little Moo has had a horrible cold. My neck is swollen, I am losing my voice, my head feels like a big fuzzy ball of cotton wool and I am sniffing and sneezing like nobody's business. The Other Half has had all the same symptoms only a hundred times worse (of course!) and has been off work for two days. Being a big brave girl, I have continued with my household chores and coming into work, choosing to keep myself busy and overdose on cold and flu remedies and vitamin C in an attempt to make myself feel better. I'm not going to lie, I feel like shit, but I will feel even shitter if I am lying around feeling sorry for myself while the house slowly starts to resemble a squat. 

Inbetween nursing Himself, looking after Moo, keeping house and earning a crust I managed to grab half an hour to myself which I spent watching old comedy clips on YouTube. I stumbled across this clip from Man Stroke Woman which has cheered me up no end and I thought I would share it with you all:

"My head's all burny!"
"I want some soup and I want to watch CBeebies!"
HA ha ha ha ha ha hahaha!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Happy Chocolate Swirly Whirly Birthday, Daisy Moo!

Last Thursday was Daisy's first birthday! (This is the reason behind my very uncharacteristic blogging silence in case any of you wondered - you might not think that a first birthday requires much organisation but you would be surprised!!). I can't believe my little monkey is ONE now, how grown up is that!

The Other Half and I decided quite a while ago that we would only have a small party for family and Daisy's Godparents. With her birthday on Mischief Night we opted for a winter BBQ and fireworks and the celebrations kicked off at 6pm once it had got dark.

We had jacket potatoes with meaty and veggie chilli, BBQed hot dogs and Chocolate Swirly Whirly Birthday Cake. The Other Half put on a brilliant fireworks display, which Daisy and I watched from the safety of the living room and Daisy was unbelievably spoilt by all the family (her bedroom currently looks like a toy shop and her wardrobe is better than mine!!).

Daisy, the Other Half and I all had such a lovely evening, I can't believe what a difference a year makes. The past year really has been the best year ever ever ever x x x x

A few people have asked me for my recipe for Chocolate Swirly Whirly Cake so here it is: 

Chocolate Swirly Whirly Cake


For the sponges:
12oz self raising flour
pinch of salt
12oz butter, softened
12oz caster sugar
6x eggs
tsp vanilla essence
cocoa powder (I recommend Cadbury's drinking chocolate!)

For the icing:
16oz icing sugar
6oz butter, softened
4 tsp milk
cocoa powder
hot water

To decorate:
Whatever sweets you like
Silver Spoon designer icing

1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 (180c).
2. Grease 4x 8 inch cake tins - make sure you do them really really well, all around the sides and the base, don't worry about the amount of butter you are using!
3. Using a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, butter, eggs and caster sugar. Whisk on a low speed (or beat by hand) until there are no lumps. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
4. Separate about a fifth of the mixture into another, smaller, bowl and add the cocoa powder to it (as much or as little as you like - I use about a third of a container which is about 3oz or 75g)
5. Pour the remaining plain sponge mix into the greased tins in equal amounts. Then spoon some of the chocolate mixture on top of the sponge mix and use a fork to swirl it all around to give a marbled effect.
6. Place into the oven for 25minutes*, or until the cakes are slightly coming away from the sides of the cake tins and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
7. Whilst the cakes are cooling prepare the buttercream icing. Use a wooden spoon to cream together the icing sugar butter and 1tsp of the milk in a bowl. Add more milk as necessary to make the icing a light smooth consistency.
8. Mix some cocoa powder with hot water (like for like amounts) and leave to cool. Then add to the icing.
9. Once the sponges have properly cooled use the buttercream icing to stick all four sponges together, then also coat the cake with a relatively thick amount (depending on how heavy the sweets you are going to use are).
10. Decorate with your choice of sweets and, if you like, ice your message onto the top.

Enjoy!!!! x

*If your oven is small (like mine) you might have to make the sponges in two batches.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A Belated Happy Hallowe'en!

So it's now November (or for some, Movember!--- I am trying to persuade the other half to partake; he hasn't shaved yet this month but so far is saying NO to working on his tache, miserable sod. I will keep nagging him and fingers crossed it will pay off - I think he'd look great with a fu manchu! Will keep you posted...) But anyway, I digress. YES! - it is now November/Movember! How did that happen? Hallowe'en has been and gone, the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in. Its 52 days until Christmas and it has been a WHOLE WEEK since I last blogged as I have been (and still am) rather pre-occupied with a certain person's first birthday tomorrow!
  Me last year - three days before giving birth to Daisy

Hallowe'en in the Modern Mummy household is always a rather festive affair. I love Hallowe'en. (Actually I love anything that involves fancy dress and chocolate.) I was particularly excited about it this year as it was Daisy's first---- and this was my first opportunity to get her in some proper fancy dress (unless you count my pumpkin effort last year - see above) and take lots of photos to embarrass her with when she's older. We opted for a skeleton costume complete with face paint, and took it upon ourselves to trick or treat the Grandparents. We also carved *pumpkins (or rather, I did whilst Daisy looked on and ate her raisins), we made some gorgeous pumpkin soup using a recipe from Mummy Mayhem's Recipe Box and we were also given some deliciously spooky cupcakes from the very clever Sarah of Sarah's Lovely Buns!

Once madam had gone to bed I lay on the sofa and demolished the bag of Swizzles Matlow candy I had bought for our non-existent trick or treaters whilst watching X Factor and other Sunday night telly delights. All in all a pretty perfect day!

So yes, a very belated happy Hallowe'en to one and all, from Daisy Skellington and me x
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