Warm Blackberry Squares

At this time of year there’s nothing better than a good old fashion pudding and these warm blackberry squares have to be one of my all time favourites! They’re warm, moist, and just what I want to eat when I’m snuggled up on the sofa on a cold evening. Add a splash of custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and I’m in pudding heaven. In my opinion, this is comfort food at its very best!

With the Blackberry season coming to an end you could substitute the blackberries for blueberries – or any other berries for that matter.

Warm Blackberry Squares

Warm Blackberry Squares

Ingredients

175g unsalted butter,

150g caster sugar

150g self-raising flour

2 eggs

3 tablespoons milk

100g ground almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

200g blackberries, quartered

icing sugar, for dusting

Method

Warm Blackberry Squares

1) Preheat your oven to 160oC

2) Grease a 12-hole cake tin. (a round muffin tin will work if you don’t have a square one)

3) Cream together the butter and caster sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the self-raising flour, ground almonds, eggs, vanilla extract and salt, then mix well.

4) Carefully fold in the chopped blackberries (you don’t want them to bleed too much) then divide the mixture between the twelve holes.

Warm Blackberry Squares

5) Bake for 30-35 mins, depending on your oven.

6) Once baked, carefully take the cakes out of the tin and place on a wire rack to cool. I like to serve the cakes while they’re still warm. For added decadence, serve with double cream, a slash of custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

These little squares stay moist for a few days and can be popped into the microwave for 30seconds to ensure they’re always warm when you eat them!

Warm Blackberry Squares

An Extra Tip: This recipe can be made into one big cake if you prefer, just double the cooking/oven time.

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Our living room has been crying out for a splash of colour for a while now. When we first moved in (five years ago) we painted the room grey and filled the room with grey furniture… as a result it lacked character and looked like a scene from an old black and white film. I knew it needed something but how and what colour?

I played around with different cushions and throws but they didn’t really work. Then, a few months ago I went to a preview event of the new DFS Capsule Collection (here’s a post I did following the event) and spotted this mustard chair. I was drawn to it immediately, I loved the style, the colour and the fabric, and above all it was incredibly comfortable.

The DFS Capsule Collection is a range contemporary sofas, armchairs, and foot-stools that are stylish and perfectly sized for smaller spaces. The whole collection is available in 55 different fabrics and 4 different feet options – in chrome, copper, light and dark wood.

I was so taken by the chair I saw at the preview event that I placed an order for two velvet, mustard armchairs and a matching footstool for our ‘grey’ living room. I chose the Wing Chairs (£379 each) with copper legs, and a matching Hexagon Footstool (£159).

I’m so pleased with the result, they fit perfectly and have given the room a new look and feel. As I’ve already mentioned, the chairs are incredibly comfortable and are my new favourite spot in the house.

5 Reasons why I’m so impressed by new the Capsule Collection by DFS

  1. Each sofa, armchair and footstool comes with a wide variety of fabric options, so you’re able to create a piece of furniture that’s personal to your own style and taste.
  2. The collection offers fantastic value for money on furniture that’s hand-made here in the UK.
  3. Every season the Capsule Collection brings out new limited edition textile designs from emerging British talent. I just love that they’re working with young designers in this way!
  4. Each piece comes with a 15 year guarantee.
  5. The whole collection is style-led, accessible and perfect for small spaces.

Disclaimer: These items were gifted to me by DFS but and all copy are true and my own. 

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A Bonfire Night Feast - Next Level S'moresA Bonfire Night Feast - s'mores

Bonfire night has turned into a big event in our house as it’s also Poppy’s birthday. She was born the morning after our local fireworks display five years ago, and now gets to celebrate her birthday every year with a fun fireworks party in our garden.

As we live near the village park (where our local display takes place), we’re able to sit in our garden and watch the fireworks from the comfort of our garden chairs, with lots of cushions, and blankets on our laps. I also make sure there’s plenty of delicious food ready to serve up during the 30 minute show.

The Menu

Mugs of Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

A Bonfire Night FeastA Bonfire Night Feast

A mug of this creamy Butternut Squash Soup is my idea of comfort food heaven, and the perfect way to keep our hands warm on a cold November night.

Bonfire Night Chilli and Rice

A Bonfire Night Feast - chilli A Bonfire Night Feast

Chilli is Poppy’s absolute favourite dish. I make it very mild (for the kids) and incredibly rich and thick, just the way she likes it. A bowl of Chilli is also ideal lap food on the night, it’s warming and great to enjoy while watching the big display.

Next-level S’Mores

A Bonfire Night Feast A Bonfire Night Feast

These next level S’more were initially created as a birthday treat, based on a selection of Poppy’s favourite puddings. By adding small pieces of chocolate brownies, caramel rice crispy cakes and toffee popcorn into the s’mores I think we’ve managed to come-up with something pretty amazing. If you’re going to be naughty… you may as well go the whole way!

You can read more about our Bonfire Night traditions, along with the recipes to these winter warmers on the Marks & Spencer website.

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And just like that the half-term break is over and the kids have gone back to school. Our week had a very distinct Halloween feel with lots of dressing-up, spooky themed parties, pumpkin crafts and the girls talking non-stop about ghoulish makeup and going trick-or-treating.

When did Halloween become this big here in the UK? I feel like I ask this question every year. Was it this big when I was young? Maybe it was here in England but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in my small Welsh town. Yes, my mum would make a witch’s costume for me out of some old black material and bin liners, to wear to the school’s Halloween disco – but that was about it. We definitely didn’t go ‘tick-or-treating’, and we never had anyone knock on our door dressed up expecting sugary treats.

Anyway, enough of the ‘good ol’ days’, my girls are obsessed with Halloween, they look forward to it all year long. I’d say it’s their second favourite time of year (behind Christmas, for obvious reasons), especially for Poppy who also celebrates her birthday around this time. We often tease her that she’s a witch because she was born near Halloween, and she’s more than happy to go along with the joke. She has a very strong fascination with witches and anything to do with them. I’ve noticed that there have been lots of new witch based dramas and cartoons popping up on our screens in the past few years, so maybe it is a ‘thing’?

Anyway, back to Halloween, this year we got our spooky outfits from Asda, who have an amazing collection of inexpensive costumes (from £6). Lili went for a Circus Girl costume and Poppy went for a ‘Halloween Queen’ outfit, which is a ragged dress with a sash and a black crown. I opted for an evil queen costume and Iris will be our good little witch in a cute little dress and hat combo.

Last Wednesday we were invited to a haunted house party organised by the brilliant people at Bear Nibblesto celebrate their exciting limited edition Halloween Claws packs, that have new monsters, as well as collectible glow in the dark trick or treat stickers inside (you can get these in Asda, as well as Tesco and Sainsbury’s). We had so much fun apple bobbing, decorating pumpkins, dancing and playing countless themed games. The girls were in their element and even Iris joined in on more than a few occasions.

Bear Nibbles are the creators of CLAWS, my personal Halloween treat of choice. The genius of Claws is this… the kids think they’re eating a sweet treat, they look like sweet treats, they taste like sweet treats, even the bags are bright and colourful (like sweet treats) but they’re completely made from 100% fruit and vegetables with nothing bad added. They’re literally all good! The kids are happy and I’m happy because I know they’re not filling themselves with rubbish or refined sugar. Basically, I trick them – and they get a treat!

So come tomorrow night I’ll be offering these little bags of goodies at our door. Who knows what the girls will come back with from their tour around the neighbours… but I know they’ll be happy to dive into my stash of Claws, if we have any left!

Happy Halloween x

#ClawsHalloween

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a collaborated post with Bear Nibbles but all copy are my own and true. 

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winter coat from Joules

There’s something so cosy about this time of year. It’s not necessarily cold but I still find myself reaching for my winter coat when going out for a walk. A big, comfy coat that leaves me feeling snug and warm. There’s no need for for scarves, hats or gloves yet, but that coat feels so good… like a big duvet wrapped around me.

Like me, the girls all feel the cold and always want to be warm, so it’s never an issue to get them to wear their winter coats. This year without realising it, we’ve all gone for similar ‘matching’ coats from one of our favourite brands Joules.

They’re all navy with a faux fur trimmed hood. Poppy, Iris and I have gone for padded/ puffa style coats, which are light and incredibly warm. While Lili’s is a classic parka style coat with a warm fleece lined hood.

winter coat from Joules

Poppy’s padded coat has a nipped in waist, which gives it a good shape and fits her perfectly.

winter coat from Joules

And Iris’ cute little star puffa coat is completely lined with fleece for added warmth, while still being super light.

winter coat from Joules

I absolutely love my padded coat, it’s what I reach for every morning for the school run and at weekends for walks in the country or around the park.

I opted for navy as I thought it would make a change from my usual black and I liked the classic style of this coat.

winter coat from Joules winter coast from Joules

However, it had to be navy coats for my big girls, who are only allowed to wear navy coats to school. I was shocked by this rule when Lili first started a few years ago but I’m now used it and if I’m honest it does make them all look very smart in the same colour.

winter coat from Joules

I picked Iris’ coat without considering the colour, I was just completely taken-in by the cute silver stars and it’s gorgeous fluffiness! Perfect for any 18 month old girl.

winter coat from Joules

For me these warm coats are the outdoor equivalent of a cosy blanket. With Halloween and Bonfire night coming up, I know what we’ll be wearing to keep warm.

winter coat from Joules

Disclaimer: We were kindly sent these coats by Joules but all copy and pictures are true and my own. 

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