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Dear Daisy, It is your first day at school...

Super Easy Meringue Kisses: Valentines Baking Ideas

 As you can probably tell baking is one way I am passing the time during lock down! I have always loved baking but tend to dip in and out of it. A friend asked me to start sharing some recipes and I have been doing over on the Grazing Brew Box and thought I may as well here too. 

I have also thought meringue was tricky and that there must be a knack to it. These meringue kisses look super impressive but are actually really easy to make. If you’ve made meringue before then you will know it’s just a case of whipping your egg whites and then slowly adding your caster sugar. 

Valentines baking Ideas

There are various ways to add colour but you need to be sure to use a paste colouring not a liquid form. Sugar Flair colourings are great for this. You can either add some colour in when mixing your meringues (not if you have a liquid colouring as it will ruin your meringue and it won't stiffen) or to paint your piping bag! It depends if you want a block colour or swirls. 

Easy Meringue Recipe

In the photos below I twirled some into the finished meringue mix loosely to leave stains if you like and then painted the piping bag too! It came out pretty intense which is exactly what I wanted! 

Of course if you are going for a valentines look then red is the key! 


3 egg whites

2 cups of caster sugar

Food colouring

How to make your Meringue Kisses

Preheat your oven to around125C FAN

  1. You will need 2 baking trays lined for this. Baking parchment is best if you have to hand! 
  2. Next Separate your yolks from the whites, try not to get any yolk in there or you risk the meringue not stiffening! 
  3. Whisk them until they are stiff and fluffy. It’ll take a few minutes on a high speed, I use my Kenwood K Mix but use what ever you can! If by hand it can get very tiresome but is doable! 
  4. When the egg whites are looking stiff, keep your mixer running and  add the sugar to the eggs whites one teaspoonful at time until it is all added, as long as you drop it all in at the same time you should be fine! 
  5. Prepare your piping bag. If you wish your kisses to look a bit like mine with the streaks of colour then paint stripes of food colouring down the side of the bag using a brush of some kind. 
  6. Spoon the meringue into the bag (if you wanted to add some swirls of colour do this to the mix before you put in the bag) and pipe little kisses on to the baking tray. Go as big as you like! However you will need to be quite consistent for them all to bake equally and not to catch any!
  7.  Put your baking trays in your  oven and bake for around 25-30 minutes, Meringues like a slow cool bake. Do NOT be tempted to whack the heat up on your oven, believe me I have tried and failed! .
  8. The meringues are ready when they’re hard to the touch, don't press hard though, they are fragile!  
The meringue kisses will keep for 2-3  weeks in an airtight container.

Meringue Kisses

Have you caught up with my super goey NYC Nutella filled cookies recipe yet? 

The Most scrumptious Nutella Filled NYC Style Cookies

 If you are anything like me then you have been hunting for super easy Cookie Recipes to smash during lockdown, maybe with the kids, maybe just for yourself! 

This recipe is an old favourite of ours and one that I do at least monthly, it is pretty much fail proof and always goes down well! I love a thin cookie but I absolutely love a filled cookie recipe and even better than that, a New York Style Cookie! I meannnnnn.... How could you not?

People often think these may be be a little complicated to bake, but actually they're super easy! 

You have to be a little more prepared for when you are going to do them as you have to freeze the chocolate sauce into mini portions to pop inside the cookies, but that's it! 


* Nutella frozen into little portions (My recipe usually makes around 10 but I like them BIG)

115 g  Butter - you will need it soft

175 g Light Brown Sugar or Coconut sugar (slightly healthier!!!) 

1 tsp Vanilla Essence (The better quality the nicer they will be!)

1 Medium Egg

275 g Self Raising Flour

Small pinch of Salt

200 g Chunks of Chocolate (I use a mix of Milk and Dark but any is good!) 


Pop dollops of your chocolate spread or Nutella onto a lined tray, and freeze till solid. The smaller they ae, the quicker they will freeze! 

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan, you are going to want to cook them on a middle shelf. 

Beat together the Butter and Sugar until as fluffy as possible, and then pop in your essence and Egg and beat again till smooth. Please note Coconut sugar doesn't go as fluffy as other varieties so don't panic! 

Add all of the other dry ingredients in to the wet mix. Make sure it is well combined. 

Next choose how big you want you cookies to be, you want them pretty standardized so they cook well. If I am doing for the kids an ice scream scoop is the perfect size to portion out. If I am doing for all of us or friends then GO BIG! 

Roll your dough gently into a ball and flatten the dough slightly so it goes a bit flatter, and add a frozen  Nutella piece to the middle and then ensure the dough goes all around it. Careful not to over work your dough though. 

Line your baking trays with baking paper or grease if you don't have any. Your cookies will spread a bit whilst baking, so spread them out well on the tray. 

Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes. The more you bake them, the less oozy they will be. I like mine super goey but my husband likes them more crunchy - so what you fancy! 

Hayley xx

Lockdown 3.0: Coping Strategies

 And here we go again.... 

On NYE I sat and wrote the first blog post I had got around to in some time, thanks Covid! And yet here I am again, back in lock down. How awful is it that it feels almost normal now a days to not see anyone for weeks on end? To not get out of the house except for the daily walk and to pop for some essential groceries?

Lockdown photos
Unsplash Photos: Glen Carrie

Anyway, this isn't our first rodeo! I thought I would share a couple of coping tactics that I have picked up along the way that I definitely helping me out this time around. I would love to hear of your own coping strategies if I have missed any and should be doing them! The coronavirus pandemic has been hard for lots of us, for lots of various reasons and all that we can do to help one another right now has to be a win! 

Mind says "Coping is our ability to respond to, and deal with, unpleasant, difficult or stressful situations. Our ability to cope with things can vary – we can cope well one day, and poorly the next" and this couldn't be more true for myself. 

1. Look for something positive in each and every day. At the end of each day when the little ones are tucked up in their bed and I get that moment to take a deep breath and turn on the tops to a very hot bath I like to remind myself of something positive from the day. Some days this is easier said than done, but there is ALWAYS something. Maybe it is that the kids got their set work done without too much fuss, maybe that huge pile of laundry got put away, perhaps you spoke to a friend or family member, maybe you got 5 minutes too pick up a book or just sit outdoors with a hot cuppa. 

2. Get outside. Again I appreciate this isn't always an easy option for everyone. But IF you can then get out. In doesn't have to be a huge, long hike (Boris won't let us anyway hey!) but just a 5 minute walk around the block can help so much. I even find just wondering about the garden with my cup of tea helps me clear my mind a little. And my 2 kids have to get out once a day or they are at one another's throats all day long, it seems that they forget any tension as soon as they are out. They can be free and I don't need to shout at them or restrict them! We often just walk up to a muddy old field where they can just be free and kids for half an hour, let their imaginations run free. And I can have 10 minutes to just observe and be still. 

3. Feel productive. Each morning I write a list. I have to admit I love a list and I love getting pen to paper, although I know it isn't for everyone. For me I like to write a list purely for the reasons of ticking it off and feeling accomplished. It is a feeling that I like and gives me real satisfaction. I do it for my day job but I also do it for generic things such as post letters, do the ironing, walk the dog, call mum, anything that I know will make me feel productive. 

4. Talk to People. Yes, we can't physically see them but we have great social media now which means they are just a tap of a button a way. I am lucky in that my day job means I speak to people all day long but it is also good for me to put time aside to talk to friends and family. Make a conscious effort to pick up your phone and call family and friends, it is all too easy to lock yourself away and become lonely. You could even create a habit or routine out of it, such as having a morning coffee with a family member, virtually of course. If you have the facility to do this over a video call, then even better. I often sit and have a coffee break with someone from work, or call my mum during my lunch break so I can see her and have a catch up. 

5. Cut out the noise. This has been a big one for me this time around. As much as I love social media and I am a visual person and love scrolling and procrastinating, but sometimes the clutter of all those notifications becomes too much. The endless messages and posts were almost starting to become expectations and competitions and no one else was setting them for me, just myself. I found by coming off a few WhatsApp groups and limiting my social media usage, for example I have removed the Facebook app off my phone then I started to feel free, like I had more time, and no one was expecting anything from me. This is very much my personality traits though and you may be very different. I love social media but the endless scrolling was not doing me any favours! Especially when home schooling was top of the agendas! 

So they are just my top 5! I would love to hear what else you have been doing to help yourself this time around. I of course am still a HUGE fan of a hot, long bath and the odd bar of chocolate with a trashy series, (Oh, Hello Bridergton!) but these are other steps I have taken to survive this next few months! 

Hayley x



Where do I start?

 Well, 2020 was a bit of a shambles huh. 

The year has gone by in a blur filled with anxiety filled tiredness with the ongoing Covid situation and everything else that comes along with it. When we look back on this year and our children ask us about 2020 and the pandemic that swept the world up into a state of panic and depression we will shudder and the days of home schooling, survival at work, lock downs and mask life will creep back into our minds. Who ever expected us to be in this situation? It all still feels like a bizarre dream, when I really think about that it creeps me out a little! 

With the weirdness of the year, the craziness at work (I work in an industry which is linked to sales and supply of fast moving goods, i.e. - Supermarkets mostly and as you can imagine this year things went wild!) stepping up 16 levels, the requirement to suddenly become a teacher and home school my children to some kind of degree (it soon dropped off when I dusted myself off and realized I couldn't parent, be an employee, a teacher and survive this!) and come out of this whole situation in one piece it sadly meant that things had to give and this blog was sadly the first on the list. 

Outdoor clothing for kids

I wrote a couple of posts including one all around how to talk to your children about Covid, but basically that was about it. I had no time to even sit and think about writing, which makes me so sad. It was only thing morning when my domain renewal popped through that it hit me, what a waste. It was a waste, but in actual fact my views have been up double to the year before even though there was no new content. But when I think about it there hasn't been an awful lot else to do except be online or go for your daily walk!! But then this too is a waste, I could have been writing, getting my thoughts out on paper even if no one was interested in hearing them, for cathartic reasons. But there is little point in dwelling on it right now. My poor friends had me droning on and complaining instead, but then that what friends are for right?

The year hasn't all been bad though and we have had some good times amongst the chaos. It has actually been nice in some respects to go back to a more simple life, less running around, less planning and more being in the moment. 

Pumpkin Farm Shropshire

We had a great heatwave in the summer and spent most of the time sat in the sun watching the little ones roam about the garden and splash in the pool. It was almost as if Mother Nature knew it was really what we needed? I guess this winter season will test us, it was one thing being locked down in the summer but in the winter could be a whole different story. 

I thought as a come back I would share a couple of pictures I love from the year to remind myself it wasn't all bad. There were good times, we are healthy and we are still hanging in there, waiting for the days when the world opens back up again to our adventures. 

horse riding with one hand

Lanzarote with children

I hope you are all well, I would love to hear what you have been up to and what positive (if anything) has come from your year. 

Much love, H x

Quick, Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself

If you’re a mum that feels like she’s on her last thread every evening as the kids get tucked into bed, only to remember that you have a load of laundry to do, packed lunches to make (Pre Covid hell), and emails to respond to, firstly you aren't the only one and then actually it’s about time to take a moment and pamper yourself. First, throw in the load of washing and get that off the mental to do list. The other things can wait.  Then, get to pampering yourself. 


A bath is one of the easiest ways you can pamper yourself and is always my first stop in an evening when the kids are in bed.  In an earlier blog, soaking your troubles away was discussed, and it’s one the easiest ways to get rid of the tension of the day. Pop in a bath bomb or some bath oil, light some candles and play some music.   

Or if you are like me pop on some Netflix and relax catching up with your latest series or movie. 


A huge advantage to a little evening pampering after the kids have hit the hay is you don’t feel obligated to share that chocolate you hid with anyone. Pour yourself your beverage of choice (wine, milk, no judgements here!) and actually take the time to enjoy it. 

Or to mix things up a little you could turn on a podcast, pour yourself a glass of wine, and paint your toenails. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as that sip of wine after you’ve finished up the chores of the day and everyone else is in bed out of the way! 


Pampering doesn’t have to just be done in the evening. If you have an unexpected few extra minutes one morning, spend some time just on you, instead of starting on the first task on your jobs list. 


Playing with cosmetics that you never have time for is a fun way to pamper yourself, whether it be a revitalizing sheet mask or diy facial, or maybe you don't usually wear make up and just fancy making a bit of an effort that day. It is so weird how a bit of mascara and bronzer can perk you up. Another of my makeup favourites is mineral foundation, since it stays exactly where it’s put all day, and its light enough to crack on with your day,  even after running around after kids so you feel fresh even by the time dinner rolls around. 

Take the time to appreciate yourself and show yourself some self-love. Pampering doesn’t have to take place at exotic spas, and it doesn’t mean needing to order a five-course meal. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a warm chocolate chip cookie and a hot, steaming cup of tea in your favourite mug. Or catching a spare 10 minutes with a trashy magazine or a good read.  

Why You Need To Remove Makeup Before Bed Every Night

It’s safe to say we’ve all been in the position where you lie down on your bed and realise you haven’t taken your makeup off. Sleep threatens to engulf you, and you end up giving in because what’s the worst that can happen? If this happens once, then it can still be temporarily bad for your skin. But, if you do this frequently, then you’re asking for a long life of skin problems.

It may seem trivial - why does it matter if you leave your makeup on, you’ve already worn it all day? Hopefully, the points below will show you precisely why you need to start removing your makeup every night. This is something I have learnt as I have sadly got older...

It will age your skin

Leaving makeup on your skin each night will gradually age it. There are studies that back this up, with one woman apparently ageing 10 years after not removing makeup every night for a month! Leaving your foundation on your skin will basically break down the protective skin barrier that sits on the surface. When this happens, you’re going to get wrinkles. This barrier will naturally get weaker as you age, but leaving your makeup on means it’s more likely you’ll be seeking a facelift before your 40th birthday (If you are into that kind of thing!!). So, think about that before you go to bed every night with your makeup on!

You’ll get more spots

Even if your skin is naturally quite clear, you will get spots if you leave your makeup on every night. It’s pretty easy to see why. Not only will you have makeup clogging up your pores, but you also have a day’s worth of sweat and dirt on your face. All of this becomes ingrained into your skin and will leave you with lots of spots the following day. This is why it’s essential to remove all of your makeup and use a facial cleanser to keep your skin clean and fresh. Now, you can sleep safe in the knowledge that your skin is free from any dirt or sweat.

Your face might get red and itchy

It’s not uncommon for people to wake up with a red face and a rash. This happens because of the ingredients in your makeup. They can often be pretty harmful to your skin, particularly when left on there for a long time. A few hours of wearing your makeup during the day is bad enough, but an extra 8 hours on top of that at night is very dangerous. If you have sensitive skin, then you could see redness or itchiness on your skin in the morning. To make matters worse, how would you usually respond to this? If you have places to be, you need to cover the redness with more makeup! So, you compound the problem, and it gets worse and worse.

Your skin loses its natural shine

The skin has layers. An old layer will gradually waste away to reveal a new one underneath. Typically, the top layer of your skin is full of oils and dead skin cells. That sounds gross, but it’s just the way the body works. Usually, when you wash your face, you remove the dead skin and reveal a new and bright layer of skin. As such, when you leave your makeup on, you don’t give yourself a chance to get rid of the dead skin or oil. Therefore, you can wake up and feel like your skin has lost its natural shine. For want of a better phrase, your skin looks dull and boring. Cleansing before bed is the best way to prevent this. Remove all of your makeup and get rid of any dead skin or oils. As a result, you will wake up with cleaner and more vibrant looking skin.

You stain your pillow

Okay, this has nothing to do with beauty, but it’s still a concern! Leaving makeup on your face will mean it rubs off onto your pillows. Not only does this look gross, but it means you have to keep washing your pillow covers every day. Or, you leave it on there and it causes a stain. Neither option is ideal, so don’t put yourself in that position. Clean your makeup off, and you avoid any stains!

As you can see, leaving your makeup on every night can be detrimental to the health of your skin. If you want to look younger and have brighter skin that’s free from blemishes, then be sure to follow a night time cleansing routine. Take all of your makeup off, no matter how tired you feel.

How to talk to children about coronavirus

I wanted to be next coming on here to write about our recent holiday to Lanzarote and share what we have been up to, how it was staying in a villa versus a hotel and so on... But sadly like every other person in this world we were locked down and didn't really get the holiday we planned.

We are home safe and sound (and have been for some time don't panic!) and have spent the last few weeks isolated at home. With 2 small children. Working full time. Whilst attempting home schooling (or emergency schooling) and keeping sane.

how to talk to your child about coronavirus

I expect none of us actually ever imagined we would be in this situation. It feels as if we may wake up any minute and it was all a dream. How in this day of age does something like this happen? It feels absolutely ridiculous, but it most certainly is happening. And it is terrifying to us as adults never mind small children.

I have been doing lots of reading up on how we should be talking to our children about the situation and how perhaps they may be feeling. It has become fairly clear over the last few days that Daisy is pretty worried over "the germs". And Alex definitely knows something serious is going on. So, how should we talk to our children about Coronavirus?

So a couple of my tips or at least things I am trying to do currently:

- Shelter them from the news stories and publicity as much as I possibly can. We all know what it is like to become absorbed by the news aound Covid-19 but even I have taken the steps to stay away from it as much as possible at certain points of the day, to avoid starting the day in a dark place. If I struggle how hard must it be for a 5 year old to absorb and process all of that terrifying news? They pick up of far more than we give them credit for. We are now catching up on the headlines when they have gone to bed in an evening. It may not exactly be sheltering them from the news but perhaps filtering.

- Give them a sense of control. So one thing we can control now we are in lock down is our hygiene. Take it as a time for education on germs and virus. How can they keep themselves clean. How can we wash our hands effectively. But also making sure you get that balance correct and don't push them into becoming obsessive over washing their hands for example.

- Reassurance is key. We have been asked questions such as we have to look after older people at the moment and stay away. will they die? But we turn it around and talk about older people we may know and talk about how fit and healthy they are and how they too are isolating to keep themselves safe. Try to keep the way in which you talk to them super simple and appropriate for their age.

- Take your cues from your child. This is a tip from Childmind and I thought it was really, really helpful.  Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel about it. Give them the chance to ask questions they may have, just be preapred that you have to answer them!

- Try to avoid them seeing you in a state of panic or heightened anxiety. We are all going to feel it at some point and I expect potentially there may be more to come but we need to try and disguise this. Children pick up on our behaviours and moods. When we are all stuck at home the last place we want to feel like a deep dark gloomy cave is here.

There are some fantastic resources available to help you with this such as the below:

Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus: https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/

Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/how-talk-your-child-about-coronavirus-covid-19

Young Minds: https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/

Kids Health: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-how-talk-child.html

Jooki | Kid's Music Player Review*

We were recently sent a Jooki Music Player to test out and it went down an absolute storm.

jooki music player review, kids listening to music,

Jooki is a very colourful, bold, solid and super easy to use speaker for Children. It comes with five little solid characters which you then can program to play different songs and stories set up in Spotify (or Deezer). You can also upload any MP3 content that you may wish to or even stream live internet radio stations. We haven't actually done that though as we have never had a need, the spotify function has always been more than enough! The idea behind Jooki is that it allows your kids to control the music themselves.

The Jooki was super quick and easy to get set up, we had it up and running within 5 minutes. You just simply follow the instructions in the leaflet, connect your Jooki to your wifi – download the app (which is free from iTunes/ Play Store) and you’re ready to get playing. The next task is to program all your characters, you just use the app. You can create simple playlists and then just assign the character you want to that playlist. The the kiddies can argue over which character gets to go first!

Our Jooki has already had a few tumbles (3 year olds!!!!) and has survived without a mark at all. It really is built for little hands and is built to survive a few bumps and crashes. It is a little heavy as expected for something so strong, it definitely feels like it is worth the money you pay for it.

jooki music player review, kids listening to music,

My favourite part of the Jooki is that it is actually screen free. To find something so interactive that doesn't involve a screen can only be a good thing.

Another good benefit is that it is rechargeable and will easily last 8 hours whilst on. You simply just plug in the USB charging cable to the back of it for easy charging. It didn't take long to charge either.

I would say that the age range for this product would probably be up until about 8 years old. But although the characters may become tiresome at that age it also doubles as a bluetooth speaker so can be used forever more. It isn't something they grow out of and it is never used again! It would be a great birthday gift! 

Jooki is available to buy online at Jooki or Amazon.

*We were gifted our Jooki for an honest review. All opinions are my own 

Things to do in London with your mum

I recently went to London as part of a girls weekend away. We were a mixed group and thought we did some great things that your mum may enjoy to do whilst in London.

There is so much to do and look at but it really would depend on the season, weather and how active you want to be.

I will pop a few mum friendly London things that we did down below, that you may also like to try next time you go.

The Sky Garden

This wasn't the first time I have visited here but I knew the group I went with would absolutely love it. And it is Free, which is a bonus! You don't mind paying the slightly high prices for a G&T when you get to the top then. The Sky Garden is basically a free public space at the top of the Walkie Talkie Tower with the most spectacular views of London, depending on the weather.

The garden is filled with various species of plants and fauna which makes it unique compared to many other spots you will get to see the views of london. There is a restaurant (which has to be booked separately), a bar and plenty of seating. There is also an outdoor terrace, but this was closed this weekend due to the bad weather.

It was absolutely peeing it down when we went up at the weekend and we were expecting the views to be pretty poor. However we were pleasantly surprised to find it absolutely fine.

You do need to book tickets before you go though.

Photo of the walkie talkie building in london

Gin-themed visit to Mr Fogg's.

I had heard of Mr Foggs several times before heading to London last week, it has been a must visit for a while. It is an instagrammers heaven, so beautiful. There a couple of location and we headed to the Covent Garden Tavern spot. A really fun spot especially if you’re not from London and on a weekend trip. It’s a different and unique experience to the usual British pub you may stumble across. You won't miss the doorway of My Foggs with its gorgeous floral garland, first up you will notice tourists having their photo taken outside of it !

Not only is the venue quirky and visually pleasing but the staff were also so welcoming and did all they could to give their customers a real experience! The bar itself is really cool & based on a Victorian theme. We didn’t have food but it looked and smelt good too!

The drinks were absolutely beautiful too, to look at and drink!

beautiful doorway outside mr foggs

Mr Foggs Gin Parlour, Mixologist making cocktails, gin cocktails

Breakfast at the Ivy, Covent Garden

Everyone has heard about the Ivy, and who wouldn't want to be treated for breakfast (or lunch or dinner of course!) there. I know i would! It had again been on my watch list for a while and finally last weekend we went.

I made the reservation for the Saturday morning and we got there at around 10.15am and it was fairly well occupied. By the time we left at around 11.45 it was really busy! I would definitely recommend booking and getting there early if going for breakfast.

The venue itself is absolutely beautiful, it is what you would imagine. Classically decorated, shiny brass and interesting artwork. The bathrooms are also beautiful.

The breakfast menu was good, something for everything although rather heavily egg based.  Was expecting the quality of service and food along with the gorgeous venue to come at a fancy price but I was surprised by how modest the bill actually was.

the bar inside the ivy market grill in covent garden,

Visit the west end and see a show

We often go to see a show, weather that be in London or when touring at more local venues. The reason we actually visited London this weekend was due to us getting tickets to see Pretty Woman at the Piccadily Theatre. There is nothing better though that a trip to the actual west end to see a show.

The show itself was fantastic. I have always loved the film so was excited to see how it would transfer to the stage. From the opening scene I was loved it, the music was really catchy & the story followed the original fairly well.

The theatres in London are beautiful and really are an important part of London and in particular the west end. Whats On Stage has a fantastic article all around the ideal show to take your mum to: https://www.whatsonstage.com/london-theatre/news/mothers-day-top-shows-presents-theatre-mum_48718.html

Pretty woman in london