(Utterly) Yummy Easy Peasy Cookies

This is a great basic cookie recipe and one that I use time and time again. There’s no leaving the dough to refridgerate or messy rolling out. They can literally be thrown together with a few store cupboard staples and it’s mixed together by hand in a bowl. You can handle the dough really quite roughly and they still turn out perfect every time. So basically it’s a perfect recipe to use when baking with kids! We always do lots of baking over the school holidays. It’s a nice way to fill an hour especially when the weather isn’t great but of course the best bit is getting to eat it all afterwards!

Utterly) Yummy Easy Peasy Cookies

Pre-heat oven to 180°C and line large baking sheets with greaseproof paper. (This recipe makes about 12-15 large cookies so you might need to bake in batches.)

Place the butter in a mixing bowl (preferably already at room temperature) and beat well with a wooden spoon until softened. Add the sugar and cream together until light and fluffy then add the golden syrup and stir well. The golden syrup really gives these cookies a lovely gooey centre. Yum!

(Utterly) Yummy Easy Peasy Cookies

Now add the flour just a tablespoon at a time and stir in well. The dough comes together so much better if you take your time and do this a spoon at a time. When all the flour has been mixed in, it should still be a nice soft dough.

Take a tablespoon and dollop a heap of dough on to the lined baking sheets. They need to be well spaced out as they will expand while they are baking. This is why I said that you might need to cook them over a couple of batches depending on the size of your trays of course.

(Utterly) Yummy Easy Peasy Cookies

Now it’s time to add your toppings pressing them lightly into the mounds of dough. Today we made some with white chocolate and dried cranberries and others with white and milk chocolate chunks. You can add whatever you have to hand of course – dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, fudge – anything goes. Smarties are often a favourite here but unfortunately the tubes I bought didn’t last long enough to make it into these cookies! Ha!

Pop them in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are lovely and golden in colour. Once cooked, remove carefully from the baking sheets using a palette knife and leave on a rack to cool.

(Utterly) Yummy Easy Peasy Cookies (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Mmmm.. That crisp golden edge and that all important chewy centre.. They really are utterly yummy cookies!

Enjoy!

(Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

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Barbie Spin ‘n’ Ride Pets up for review

We are huge fans of Barbie (as you might already know!) so we were very excited to be sent the new Barbie Spin ‘n’ Ride Pets to review.

Barbie Spin 'n' Ride up for review (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

This great little set is for the new movie release of Barbie and her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure. It comes complete with Barbie on her bicycle with two puppies ready for her next adventure just like in the movie. We haven’t seen the movie yet but we had plenty of fun playing our own games with it. I’m sure once we have seen it though my daughter will have lots of fun recreating her favourite bits!

Barbie Spin 'n' Ride up for review (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Barbie Spin 'n' Ride up for review (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Barbie has special bendy legs and boots on. She really pedals the bike as you push it forward. She fits perfectly on the seat of the bicycle and her hands and feet easily clip into place on to the handlebars and pedals. The dogs move with her on their skateboards with the smallest puppy spinning around in circles. As you push the bicycle forward, they all move together with Barbie’s legs really pedalling it really is great fun! With the skateboards attached, the bicycle stands up on its own too.

Barbie Spin 'n' Ride up for review (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Barbie is wearing a lovely outfit but best of all, her very own helmet too. I love that this is included they really have thought of everything! Barbie and the puppies are all completely detachable so you don’t just have to play with them using the bicycle and skateboards making them a great addition to any collection. We absolutely loved this set and I think it is really great value at just £24.99. This gets a big thumbs up from us!

(Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Disclaimer: For the purpose of this review we were very kindly sent this Barbie Spin ‘n’ Ride Pets set from Mattel but all words and opinions are of course my own 

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All hail New British style

I love Boden. I mean really love Boden. I look forward to that thump of the new catalogue hitting my doormat a little more than I probably should. Sitting down with the new catalogue and turning over the corners of every other page for my must have items is one of my very favourite ways to spend an afternoon.

Boden (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

The New British range has just been launched and man alive it did not disappoint. I. Want. It. All. But here are five of my very favourite pieces at the top of my wish list from the new range. In no particular order.

Elena Dress Boden (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Elena Fixed Wrap Dress £89.00

I love wrap dresses they are just so flattering and this dress comes in three different prints and a plain navy but it was this bright geometric print that really caught my eye. I just love the colours and the nod to the sixties, it is just perfection.

Embellished Breton Boden (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Embellished Breton £39.00

Stripes and sparkle. My two favourite things together in one top. I’m a huge fan of Boden bretons they wash so well and I think that this embellished top would be a perfect addition to my ever growing collection of stripes. You can never have too many stripes. Fact.

Suede Biker Boden (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Suede Biker £299.00 

Now this would be a big investment but oh so worth it. It would be gorgeous with dresses or jeans. Heck, I can picture it with just about everything in my wardrobe it is just beautiful. It comes in a striking Autumn Sunset red too but I think this Driftwood colour would be the one for me. It’s just such a classic style.

Square Tee Boden (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Square Tee £59.00 

I adore this print but most of all I love the shape of this tee. It has a modern boxy shape with oversized kimono sleeves and an exposed zip to the back, it’s perfect. I can see this brightening up my jeans come those dreary autumn months.

Janie Dress Boden (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Janie Dress £59.00

This is such a lovely day dress. Of course I was immediately attracted to the stripes but actually it is just such a great shape and great price too it has to be said. The fitted top with the fuller skirt would be so flattering. Plus it has pockets. You know how I love dresses with pockets. I’ve already paired this in my mind with my Bali ankle boots from Seven Boot Lane. Dreamy.

I love this new Autumn/Winter 2015 collection from Boden I think it has that perfect mix of amazing pastels and bold prints that we have come to love and expect. So many classic pieces but with that all new Boden twist. New range, new attitude, New British. Well done Boden, well done.

Have you been drooling over this New British range? What is at the top of your wish list?

(Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Please note: images from boden.co.uk (drool all my own) 

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Hello Summer!

For a while there, I didn’t think that this day would ever come. But we’ve made it. To the end of the longest school term ever and today is the first day of seven long weeks of summer. My teenagers have already finished of course but my poor littlest two have literally crawled to the end. There is something so unnatural about waking sleeping children on a morning but no more. The alarm is off and lazy starts here we come.

My eldest daughter finished school after her GCSE exams so she has been off for five or six weeks already. A much needed break after the stress of the last few months although it has to be said that she handled it all brilliantly. I couldn’t be prouder. It has been lovely to have her all to myself for a while though. My son finished his first year of sixth form over a week ago and has set himself the task of watching the whole of The Sopranos. Part of me can’t help but think that his time might have been better spent looking for a little holiday job but you know. Not one to nag.

My nine year old has had such a brilliant year at school. I think a big part of it was that she had the same teachers and classroom for the second year running. She’s not very good with change and that made such a difference. It’s all change come September but I’m sure it won’t be anything that we can’t manage. Her confidence has just grown and grown and her end of term report was superb. She was dreading Sports Day this year but actually she amazingly well on the day and took part in two races. I was so proud of her for pushing herself. Her little face as she crossed the finishing line was a picture!

first day of summer (Mostly) Yummy Mummy BlogMy youngest daughter is making the huge step from infants to juniors come September and she is taking it all in her stride. It is the same school but two separate buildings but the school are well practised at making the transition as smooth as possible. They have spent time over in the junior building over the last few weeks and got to meet their new teachers. We were even invited along to a picnic organised by the current Year 3 children and it was so lovely. My daughter is actually going to have the teacher that taught her in Year 1 and I couldn’t be happier about it. She has taught all four of my children at some point over the years and we love her to bits! I think she will settle into junior school really well and I don’t feel the slightest bit wobbly about saying goodbye to infants. It has been a lovely chapter of our lives but it’s nice to see her so ready for this next step. She’s at such a lovely age right now and it’s a pleasure to watch her take these big new steps. I’m loving every minute of where we are as a family right now.

I love the summer holidays I really do. There is just something so lovely about having those weeks of freedom ahead. I also know how lucky I am to be at home and enjoy them having previously been the stressed out working mother who would dread this holiday and the childcare problems that came with it. The older they get though, I know that these long summers together really are numbered. My teenagers are sixteen and seventeen now so it won’t be long until their summers are filled with plans of their own that won’t include me! But for now at least, I get to enjoy having a full nest. And I really do plan to enjoy every minute of it.

Hello summer!

(Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

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The one with the school reports

I read an article in The Guardian over the weekend about school reports. Teachers and parents were criticising the new breed of software generated school reports and I have to admit that it was a bit of an eye opener. I had no idea that such a thing even existed. Apparently, boxes are ticked on a computer program in order to generate the most suitable comment for each pupil and hey presto, there is your end of year report. Sigh.

Clarks School Shoes up for review (Mostly) Yummy Mummy BlogIt all just seems so dishonest, doesn’t it? You would receive your child’s report thinking that you were reading the teacher’s thoughts not the result of some automated system. It just seems such a terrible waste of everybody’s time. There were even cases of wrong names are genders being used meaning that they weren’t even being proof read before being sent home. I don’t know about you but such a silly mistake would make me doubt the whole report.

I do think that reports are important to parents and I know that I would be really upset if I didn’t recognise my own child from what was being said. Personally I have very little interest in statistics and grades, especially as primary school age but I do want to know what kind of year they have had and how they have progressed. I don’t want some tick box excuse for a report.

Personally I have to say that this has not been my experience at all. Our high school don’t actually send out end of year reports, they prefer to send home reports throughout the year that are closely followed by a parents evening. The reports they send home are really very basic but actually I like them that way. They show basic details of grades and targets then a just a couple of lines of comment from each subject teacher. It does the job perfectly well.

Our primary school sends home a much lengthier report that gives a full breakdown of everything from attendance and punctuality, to grades and targets, along with lengthy descriptions of the topics that they have completed. I’m not sure if such a detailed report is needed to be quite honest as we are invited into school frequently to look through the children’s work. In fact being realistic, I am sure that the topic descriptions must be a copy and paste job. But actually the reports don’t read as being generic at all as they are full of lots of personal comments and of course, those are the bits that I am really interested in. A computer program wouldn’t make reference to my nine year old’s sense of humour or my seven year old’s surprising talent of being a fast jogger. I really feel like the teachers writing the reports know my children and that is so so important.

Whichever way you look at it, an awful lot of work must go into producing school reports. I am thankful that we seem to have struck so lucky with the schools that our four children go to. That said, I can’t help but think that over the years, school reports have become unnecessarily complicated and lengthy. When I was at school, I distinctly remember my reports being handwritten and while basic they were perfectly adequate. I think it might be time that we went back to basics. What do you think?

(Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

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Summer Fun at McArthurGlen York Designer Outlet

We were invited along as guests to McArthurGlen York Designer Outlet a couple of weeks ago to see what is on offer for families this summer and boy oh boy did we have an amazing day!

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Everything under one roof

York Designer Outlet is just a ten minutes drive from York city centre conveniently situated just off the A64. It is somewhere that we have been lots of times before and is often our rainy day saviour! It is set within a beautiful landscape garden with ample free parking including family spaces with larger parking bays. There really is everything under one roof here with great food, family friendly facilities, a fantastic range of brands and lots of fun activities going on too.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

My little bag carriers!

There are 120 designer brands including Reiss, Ted Baker, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Escada and The Kooples plus high street favourites like Hamley’s, Joules, Next, Jaegar, French Connection and Gap. York Designer Outlet houses your favourite brands at up to 60% less all year round. There’s even a great selection of homeware names too including Le Creuset, ProCook and Denby. Plus beauty offerings from The Cosmetics Company Store, The Body Shop, The Fragrance Shop and Penhaligons. If you pop into the Customer Service Desk, you can even pick up a Privilege Card on the day which can give you extra 10% savings in the stores listed. Oh man alive do I love outlet shopping there are just so many amazing bargains to be had!

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Handbag heaven in Michael Kors *swoon*

There are lots of cafes and restaurants on site too. Upstairs there is an amazing food court with something for everyone from Pizza Express to Wagamama, Fisherman’s Wife to Ed’s Easy Diner or if you were just wanting more of a quick bite there are places like Pret and Bagel Nash. Downstairs dotted around the mall there is also a Caffe Nero, Starbucks and a large new Thornton’s Cafe. We had a much needed pit stop at Starbucks while we were there. I don’t think these two will ever be too big for a babyccino!

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Always time for a babyccino!

There are all the family friendly facilities you might expect including spacious toilets, baby changing rooms and lifts up to the upper floor. There are Kiddie Cabs to hire for smaller children which look like such fun. My seven year old would have squeezed herself into one if she had her own way! There’s also a brilliant children’s play area outdoors which is actually covered so can be enjoyed come rain or shine all year round.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Claire’s is their idea of heaven!

Some of the kids brands include Nike, Animal, Clarks, Crocs, Hamleys, Sketchers, Vans, Next and Ralph Lauren Childrenswear. There really is something for all ages though from babies right through to teenagers and some amazing discounts. I remember buying my son teeny tiny babygros from Ralph Lauren many moons ago from here and now I am buying him Vans the size of ships! It was so lovely to spend our day mooching around all the shops and being able to come home with treats for everyone. I love that everything is under one roof it is just so convenient. The mall itself is light and bright and it’s a really lovely place to have a wander. The shops are all in one large loop so there is no chance of missing any out plus there are lots of benches dotted around too if you want to have a break.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

No visit here is complete without stopping at the amazing Lindt shop ‘It’s like a mountain of chocolate Mummy!’

With the summer holidays just around the corner now (yippee!) McArthurGlen have lots of fun lined up in the coming weeks. There is going to be face painting, crafts and large garden games from the end of July until 30th August. There is also going to be a treasure trail around the mall and kids will receive a chocolate treat. And of course it is a perfect day out for all your back to school essentials including Clarks, various sportswear and stationery offers.

McArthurGlen Designer Outlet York (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

A very good shopping day indeed!

We had such an amazing day and will most definitely be back once all the summer fun is in full swing. I must say a huge thank you to all the staff at McArthurGlen York Outlet who couldn’t have made us feel more welcome we really did feel like VIPs for the day!

(Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

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The one with the wrinkles (and not giving a fig)

The older I get, the longer it takes for my face to wake up on a morning. Some days it doesn’t feel like it wakes up at all. And I’m beginning to think that actually, ignoring the fact that I now have too many white hairs to pluck, this whole getting old thing is mostly about looking, well, tired.  Sometimes I catch sight of myself in the mirror and think woah, you look tired. Granted, I usually am tired but looking as tired as you feel? It can sometimes catch you by surprise.

The one with the wrinkles (Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

Me. Eye bags and all.

I love my lotions and potions and as much as I think that they help, I’m not stupid enough to think that they knock ten years off me. I’m a mother of four kids knocking on forty for goodness sake and I look it. But I’m okay with that. That said, I do think that all of those lotions and potions can make a little difference in the now, some serums literally feel like an extra hours sleep in a tube. And yes, I do hope that they help slow things down in the long term. Looking after your skin can never be a bad thing, can it? I’m not sure if that makes me vain or delusional but I make no apologies for wanting to take the best possible care of my skin. I hope it will be around for a good while yet.

I’m at that age where many of my friends are getting a little extra help these days in the form of botox or fillers and I can hand on heart say that this is a path that I will never ever go down. The whole process makes me feel positively squeamish for starters. I completely understand why they do it though and would never knock anybody for wanting to do something that makes them feel better about themselves. It might not be for me but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get it. I totally get it. I totally get how they don’t want to look quite as tired anymore. But where does it stop? That’s the thing. There comes a point where you go from looking fresh faced to distinctively looking like you’ve had some work done. Which actually in itself is aging, surely? I just don’t have a big enough problem with how I look to take such drastic measures I guess. (This post might well come back to bite me on the bum in ten years from now of course but I honestly don’t think so!)

It’s funny this whole getting old thing. Sometimes I don’t recognise my face in the mirror, it’s like it literally changes overnight. A crease will appear that definitely wasn’t there the day before and is now seemingly there to stay. But also with age comes that feeling of learning to finally be comfortable in your own skin. Wrinkles and all. Or maybe it’s just the newfound ability not to give a fig? That definitely came with age for me. I wouldn’t go back to the insecurities of my teens or twenties for all the macarons in Paris, smooth skin or not. But actually when I really think about it, I just don’t find getting old unattractive. There. I said it. In fact in men, aging is arguably more attractive! We live in such a youth obsessed world which is barking really. I’m sorry but I’m just not falling for it anymore.

Long live the eye bags. And wrinkles. And weird creases. And all the love, laughter and sleepless nights that has made them along the way! Who’s with me?

(Mostly) Yummy Mummy Blog

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