A Big Night In

You know something? What with having children and everything, we don’t get out much in an evening. It would be nice, once in a while, to pop out to our local for a couple of drinks, or dance away at the Blitz Party like we used to before kids, but actually I rather like having people over at our house for an evening. I like to host, to plan a menu, have a few glasses of wine and not worry about finding baby sitters. Having a big night in with friends and family usually means us all eating at the dining table, eating far too much food and maybe playing a game like Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride afterwards. However, the kind people at Three Mobile sent me a Alcatel One Touch Pixi 7 and a Google Chromecast so when my sister, brother-in-law and niece came to visit it seemed like the perfect opportunity to play with some technology and see what a tablet can do to a Big Night In.

Big Night In

Chromecast is a great little device that allows you to broadcast various bits of media onto your TV. Firstly, it’s really easy to install. All you have to do is download the Chromecast app onto your phone or tablet, plug the Chromecast itself into a HDMI port on your TV, follow a couple of instructions on the app and you are ready to play. Chromecast supports a number of apps like Netflix and BBC iPlayer so you can sit and watch all manner of things on your telly. We watched a few things on the iPlayer (mostly episodes from the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off) and it is by far the easiest way to watch BBC programme compared to using the red button or via our cable TV box.

Big Night In

While we ate our pizza and garlic bread and supped Prosecco (and failed to eat the salad I made, why does that always happen?), we listened to music via YouTube and then Betsy drew pictures using Rube which is a very basic drawing app, but she utterly LOVED seeing her work appear on the TV screen as she drew.

Big Night In

The winner of the night though was Google’s Big Web Quiz. It’s a brightly coloured, funny, fast paced game show where each player answers questions they see on the TV screen by using the Big Web Quiz app on their own phone or tablet. Within minutes of playing this we were already talking about playing this with everyone at my folks’ when we’re next there together. It kept us entertained for ages and ages.

Big Night In

The other winner of the night was a snack I made for the evening. It was a marshmallow toffee popcorn and it was gooey and oh so sweet and man, I think I want to make this everyday, diet be damned.

Marshmallow toffee popcorn | BakingBetsy.com

My mouth is watering just looking at it. It’s very easy to make too. You need:

100g of butter (make sure it’s salted)
90g light muscavado sugar
40g mini marshmallows
70g popping corn kernels.

Melt the butter and sugar together in a small pan. Keep on a low temperature so the sugar can dissolve. While that’s doing, pop your corn in a big lidded pan going by the packet’s instructions (or use some microwave corn, whatever’s easiest for you). Once popped, go back to your butter and sugar and stir in the marshmallows until they’re melted. Pour the whole mixture over the popcorn, give it a good mix and you are done.

We’ve really enjoyed having the Chromecast. It’s been used most days I think and we’ve had friends round on other evenings and the Chromecast has made an appearance every time. The One Touch Pixi 7 tablet is a very basic tablet, and the camera isn’t very good, but the screen resolution is clear and Betsy and I have enjoyed playing the Cbeebies app on it (and I’ve discovered how much better the Kindle app is compared to reading on my phone). Lovely. Again, it’s something that’s been used every day now. Check out all the tablets that Three Mobile have HERE.

A Chromecast and Alcatel One Touch Pixi 7 were sent to me in order for me to write this review, but all opinions are my own.

Living Arrows #64

Ah, what a lovely week. Lots of little things to do, many trips to the park and just lots of fun hanging out with these two. I am feeling the return to work hard, and the closer I get to the date, the more mixed I feel about the whole thing. I really thought the return to work this time would be much easier than it was when I returned after having Betsy, but I’m not so sure now.

Living Arrows|BakingBetsy.com

Arthur learnt how to go down the slide this week. All rather terrifying as it involves me standing at one side of the climbing frame to make sure he doesn’t fall through the big hole once he’s climbed up and then racing round to the front as soon as I spot him going towards the slide so I can catch him while he hurls himself head first down the slide, giggling loudly as he does it.

Living Arrows|BakingBetsy.com

Betsy with her very serious face on. I think she’s processing the disappointment that she can’t have a ride in the big tractor that she so desperately wanted to do at our local farm’s open day. She settled for a picture though, which is unusual for her, I think she rather liked that the wheels were bigger than her. Also pictured is her toy penguin who Betsy declared was her “best friend” that day.

Living Arrows

Project 365 2015 Days 74-80

Lovely, busy week this week. Cold too!

It's a dinosaur!
074/365 My Mother’s Day card. It’s a dinosaur!

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075/365 Crawling along at playgroup.

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076/365 Blossom in the park.

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077/365 Robin.

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078/365 Climbing the climbing frame in the playground.

The Solar eclipse
079/365 The Solar eclipse. It’s quite hard to get a three year old excited about the eclipse when it’s cloudy. THANKS, WEATHER. I still loved it though, nothing makes you feel like you’re standing on a lump of rock in the universe like an eclipse does.

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080/365 Betsy, Seren and Arthur at Forty Hall farm.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Cheery Things

It’s springtime! Hooray! Can it be warm now, please?

Cheery Things | BakingBetsy.com

1. Seatown dress from Boden.
2. Chase Sunglasses from Urban Outfitters.
3. Mosaic Hare Necklace by Angela Ibbs
4. Blue mountians t-shirt by Melimelon on Etsy
5. Home Farm skirt at Cath Kidston
6. dreamy Moon and Earth pendants by Crave Jewellery design.
7. Tiger rug. I want to get this for Betsy’s room so much.

I really want to go to this bar. Ticks all my nerd boxes.

These remade and redesigned dolls are brilliant and inspiring. I usually hate dolls for many reasons, but I’d be quite happy for Betsy and Arthur to play with some of these.

Everything about this. Yes.

I’m not crying, it’s just a bit of dust in my eyes/it’s raining on my face/I’ve just been cutting onions, I’m making a lasagne*, but this story about a baby who was born and the parents were told he didn’t make it is just so, so beautiful. And happy! Please do watch.

*words – Flight Of The Conchords

A walk around London

A while back I took part in a croudfunding project to make a digital version of the Diana Mini. It arrived in December and is a super cute camera that takes lovely lo-fi pictures. It really is like the original Diana but without he hassle of getting film developed.

I havn’t tested it out as much as I would like and it needs a good few more outings, but a couple of weeks ago Arthur and I took a train down to Liverpool Street and had a good old wander around the streets of London. We walked down streets I’d not been down before, discovered a good looking food market in Devonshire Square and had an amazing burger at Bleeker St (SO SO GOOD.)

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

We saw the Gherkin a lot. Love how that building appears in reflections around the city.

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

Rhianna Digital Diana road-test

The Rhianna is a lovely little camera and I’ve still not really played with all it’s functions and I can’t wait to do so. A great addition to my growing camera collection. There are still some available to buy if you fancy it too, on the Cyclops Cameras website.

Living Arrows #63

I keep thinking it’s now warm, what with spring being in full swing, but it’s still bloody freezing, isn’t it? We’ve been to the park lots this week, enjoying the sun, if not the biting wind, and Betsy is insisting on ice creams already. But more than anything else, she wants to play with Arthur. Not just wrestle him to the ground or share little toys like she does at home, but she so desperately wants him to run around, chase her up the climbing frame and shoot down the slide together, crawl through the tunnel and pretend to drive the train together. Now Arthur is crawling, she can see it won’t be too long, but this is the first week he crawled along the floor to her and play on one of the little bridges (after eating some mud first) and Betsy loved it.

Living Arrows

Living Arrows

Project 365 2015 Days 60-73

Two weeks for you this week! I properly lost my mojo when it came to taking photos last week, I couldn’t even be bothered to bring the camera out with me some days. I guess it’s just that end of winter lethargy I always get. Hey ho, a bit more in the swing of things now though.

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060/365 Finding dens in Trent Park

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061/365 Hey Ian! You know Arthur isn’t a cushion, right?

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062/365 That vacant stare must only mean one thing – we’re in Ikea again.

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063/365 On a train (more on that later this week)

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064/365 Playing through the stairgates.

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065/365 I made shortbread for the first time ever this day. I put sprinkles through them to make them spotty. They were ok. Needed some more flavouring.

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066/365 Crafting

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067/365 The new look for the blog launched! Woooo! And I had a rather good beer to celebrate.

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068/365 I joined the WI! Enfield now has three (three!) WIs, and I joined the newest group, the Field Dames, during their first meeting. Genuinely exciting, especially as the meeting was held in a pub and was chock full of lovely, brilliant women. Can’t wait to get more involved. Also, how brilliant is their logo?

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069/365 Catkins in the park.

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070/365 Arthur’s new sleeping pose while in the pram. Goodness knows how he finds it comfy.

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071/365 Blossom.

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072/365 A crafty afternoon.

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073/365 Exploring the old New River course behind Forty Hall.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Living Arrows #62

It’s been a funny old week for taking photos. Normally I’ve got my trusty Canon in my hands or in the change bag all the time, but this week it just been left by the wayside. Hey ho, that’s the way it goes, sometimes. It’s been a nice week though, we’ve seen friends, we’ve baked and I went into Liverpool Street for a walk and a very good burger.

Living Arrows

I didn’t take this, Dave did, but it’s the nicest one of Arthur this week and one of the nicest pictures I have of me and him together. Even though there were plenty of distractions, Art just cuddled up next to me while eating his biscuit. One of those lovely, peaceful moments that you don’t want to forget.

Living Arrows

Did not realise how good Betsy could be at hiding. I was truly stumped when she called for me to come into her room and could not find her. And then I discovered that she could hide in the washing machine part of her toy kitchen. Still can’t quite believe that the cupboard is big enough for her to fit. Hopefully she won’t try to hide in the real washing machine…

Living Arrows

A Spring Clean

Baking Betsy banner

Oh, hello! Do you notice anything new around here? I hope so! I’ve updated the appearance of this blog a bit as it was in dire need of a lick of paint. Do you like it? It is by no means perfect, but I’m rather pleased with it. If anything this whole process has taught me an awful lot about Photoshop and I feel very proud of myself that I’ve achieved this *gives massive pat on the back*. Do let me know what you think of it or if there is anything that isn’t working or looking quite right. The interesting thing I’ve found with working on this redesign is that I’ve been so focused on the redesign of the blog, I’ve let the actual content of the blog a bit by the wayside (like totally failing to reply to any of your lovely comments, sorry). Oh the irony. But now this is done (bar a bit of tweaking) there is so much coming up! There’s a competition that people with babies are going to love, I’m hoping to feature more crafty things (because if there’s one thing this blog does is give me an impetus to do more interesting things for me and the family) and food and try to make Cheery Things much more of a regular thing as that seems to go down well.

Oh! And we’re also on Facebook. Like me!

Mother’s Day gift guide

It’s Mother’s Day soon! Here are a few things for me the Mama in your life. To be honest I’d be happy with just a bacon sandwich and an afternoon in a cafe with my magazines and knitting by myself.

cheery things 7

1. I have discovered the work of Nathalie Lete who’s art is a bit whimsical, as if straight out of a beautiful vintage children’s book. There are lots of birds and cats featured (always a big tick for me) and this bird print at Swoon Lounge is £95, but she also does ceramics, furniture, crochet and even a meat rug, which is amazing.

2. Um, ok, so this might be just me, but I find the idea of a paint by numbers to be a relaxing one. Or maybe I’m just actually eight years old? But look! It’s being creative without being creative and it’s not a bad picture to have at the end of it (in a kitsch kind of way). Or maybe a Columbo paint by numbers would be better?

3. Some freesia bulbs from Crocus. Such a gorgeous little flower. Surely sending bulbs to grow in the garden forever is better than a bunch of flowers that only last a couple of weeks at best? Or for an even better present, plant them in a lovely pot already.

4. The Somerset bag from Johansen. I love this bag so much, it holds everything, including a laptop and it was made to be a camera bag so will safely hold a DSLR and a couple of lenses! It’s really rare to find a camera bag that’s also stylish and it’s such a shame that this bag is $199 otherwise I’d have bought it years ago.

5. For new mums, how about a breastfeeding necklace that doesn’t look like your usual breastfeeding necklace? This one from Bebe and Me Beads come in a range of fab colours and should help your nursling from yanking your hair while feeding (yeah, thanks, Arthur) and give them something to play with instead and they can chew on it when their teeth hurt too.

6. Who doesn’t like receiving a good cookbook? Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann looks great and it has a recipe for cardamom buns, so I’m sold.

7. …and then you can eat your lovely Scandi bakes from this amazing Old Havana dinnerware from Anthroplogie. Anthro always do good kitchenware (including things from Nathalie Lete!), one of these days I’ll have a big dresser full of the stuff and it’ll be the most beautiful thing ever.

8. I take so many photos these days but never print them, but I should because there’s nothing like looking through a photo album. Sure you can get some fancy book photo albums (and they’re great, I do one a year for Dave on Father’s Day), but these classic photo albums from Present & Correct are so simple and smart and I can just picture (ha!) a bookshelf full of these lined up neatly, full of memories.