Wednesday, 16 August 2017

3 Favourite Kitchen Gadgets

I love creating meals (and desserts!) in the kitchen, but I also love my time. Being a parent (to children that think sleep is for the weak) and an undergrad student - me time is rare so things that give me joy whilst saving me time are most definitely worth having.

I thought I would share with you my 3 favourite kitchen gadgets I have bought (or been bought) over the last few years that save me so much time.


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

A day out in Blackpool - Sealife Centre

The summer holidays are upon us, so time to find things to keep the small (and not so small) ones occupied to prevent cabin fever setting in!

Blackpool Tram

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Toddler Day Bag - What To Pack!

This morning I caught myself without my usually well packed toddler change bag when taking a trip to the doctors.  I realised (the hard way!) how helpful certain bits are so thought I would share with you what I normally pack in my toddler day bag! It definitely came in helpful earlier this week when we took the train to Blackpool for a fun day of Sealife and rides!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Lentil and beef bolognese.

My children are fab at eating vegetables and fruit but they have some very odd fussiness when it comes to food. I often find I end up having to cook different things for everyone which is a real pain in the backside. Squidge won’t eat red things, Bob's funny with textures, I'm not a big meat lover and Dude's not a big veg/pulse lover (though he'll try everything I make and has been suprised once or twice by liking something he thought he wouldn't!)....ok, it's not just the kids!

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Geeky Girl Tag

I'm a geek and I'm proud! There, I said it! I'm a physics student who has qualifications in computer programming, and loves nothing more than sitting playing a computer game or two with the teen or watching Agents of Shield or Hellboy for the millionth time (when the toddler allows!).  So when Debbie from "My Chaotically Eclectic Life" tagged me in the Geeky Girl Tag I was really pleased as it is right up my street!

I really am a Geeky Girl!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Instant Pot Sausage and Bean Casserole

A stock (and freezer) cupboard meal, perfect if you haven't remembered to plan anything (not that anything like that happens in this house....honest! ha! )

I used to make this in a slow cooker but last year I bought an Instant Pot, which is fab! An Instant Pot if you haven't come across one is an electric pressure cooker (none of that scary rattling pan action on the stove top!) first and foremost but it also has other functions.  There are settings for rice, slow cooker, steam to name a few and in this house gets used at least 3 times a week.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

3 Ingredient Coconut and Strawberry Frozen Treats (Dairy Free)

When Squidge was born we had real issues with weight gain - it turned out she had not only reflux but a milk, soy and egg allergy (also fish and raisins didn't agree) - as she was fed breast milk (I won't say breastfed, but that is a story for another day) I had to avoid all these foods/ingredients as it fed through to her.  Also, when she was weaning we still had to avoid all these foods, luckily though she has grown out them.

Now, I don't know about you but I love a nice cool ice cream or ice cream ice lolly to cool down but I had to avoid these or buy allergy friendly which to be honest is quite expensive.  So I came up with these frozen coconut and strawberry frozen treats (you could substitute the strawberries for other fruit - it would work just as well I imagine!).

The ingredient list is so short and the process so quick (well apart from the freezing...that takes a little while!):

Saturday, 15 July 2017

5 reasons I am happy to be an Open University student

So as the schools begin to wind down for the summer I am beginning preparations for my second year as an Open University Student - I have revision to work through ready for the new academic year.  I am studying BSc Natural Science (Physics) and thoroughly enjoying it so far (though it is tough going at times!). I have just completed the first 60 credits and in October embarking on Essential Maths 1  (and then February an exciting new module called Physics and Space!).  I have attended a brick uni and did enjoy my time there and each has their own merits but as I am currently studying with the OU so thought I would share with you some of what I personally enjoy about the Open University and being a student there:

  • Flexibility -  I am a stay at home parent and my time is split between between a young teen and a toddler so I can fit my study around their needs (taking to groups and clubs and what-nots!) but I am looking to go back to work very soon (the toddler begins nursery next year) and I love that I will still be able to carry on with my studies and eventually (with hard work) obtain my physics degree!

Old faithful ..(that is the name I gave my calculator...odd? me?)

Monday, 10 July 2017

Terrible Twos!

Do you ever have one of those days? Yeah me too. In fact today is one.  GAHHHH!

Woke up feeling a bit out of sorts but thought, no problem (after copious amounts of caffeine and a grumble or two) squidge and I will go for a walk, blow the cobwebs away.   We are really lucky to live near a nature reserve and orchard and plenty of parks even though we are slap bang in the middle of a city.

Got us both dressed, loaded a backpack with snacks and drinks and put Squidge's Little Life Gruffalo Backpack on.  We did initially use basic reins but she decided that she was going to cry every. single. time. that she had to wear them - in the last few months she has become a darter, running and only seeming to understand 'stop' and 'freeeze' during the daily game of musical statues that she insists we play! So reins, or now Little Life Backpack it is!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Indoor Toddler Fun

We found ourselves stuck indoors yet again yesterday, this time for work being done in the house - the other days were because of a virus - Squidge first (as I posted earlier in the week), followed by Bob (the teen) and me straight after.   I have had to find things to keep Squidge occupied as she has been stuck in for over a week (bar a trip to toddler group with Dude on his day off once she was well).

So yesterday we did craft, lots of glue and pom poms and glittery bits and feathers...slightly gloopy mess but Squidge loves it!

However, one of Squidges favourite things to do if stuck indoors (which she isn't keen on!) is make scones and much to Dudes delight we have made quite a lot over the last few days!  It is a great way to let littlies (yup...that is a word..honest!) help in the kitchen - weighing, mixing, rolling, squashing and cutting...oh the mess! ha!

Monday, 3 July 2017


Five times last night Squidge (the toddler) was up....god I am knackered...she does have an excuse though, poor little mite is ill, she has been plagued by a virus for a few days now.

But it means that I am more in need of coffee than ever.  I am not a morning person at the best of times but on so little sleep it is not fun!

I am a bit of a coffee philistine really, normally.  I enjoy a Starbucks occasionally, or a caramel latte at Esquires coffee shop in the local town centre (I actually had the best. coffee. EVER. from a little coffee stand in a  seaside town on a day trip, just can't remember the name of the coffee brand mores the pity), but anyway at home I normally drink cheap coffee (think supermarket own brand but not the very cheap) but this morning I think I will have one of the dudes Nespresso pods as a pick me up!

I got him a Nespresso (Inissia) machine for Christmas last year, we had £50 budget each and I found this small compact one on Amazon on special offer...I think it retails at about £70 in the shops. His last machine broke a couple of years ago and we never got around to replacing it.

Friday, 30 June 2017

My first post!! :-)

Argh! This is a little bit scary, the first blog post! I love reading blogs and watching vlogs and thought heck, why not have a go, so here I am.

My name is Tess, Mum to two children (teen and toddler…’tis fun in our house at times!), an OU student (I have just completed the first year studying for a physics degree), and wife to a long suffering dude! Oh and I have a slight exclamation mark addiction, but will try to tame them!

The name for my blog came about as I don't want to write about just fashion (I have my own style...not entirely convinced it can be called fashion though!), or food (that I DO know about!), or crafts, or my studies or just any one area.   I will likely write about anything that is on my mind at any one time hence the name hotchpotch...a mixture of things.

I will write about all these things - a few reviews of my favourite recipes and kitchen gadgets (have I told you yet how much I love my KMix stand mixer?? No?? I will do!), about my attempts at make-up (38 and still haven't mastered eyeliner!), I will write about my studies, days out with my children, I will write about the pretty stationary and cool outfits from Primark (I guess my teen would say I have suddenly made it uncool by using the word cool...I think the yoofs say sick now?....god I feel old!).

If you are still with me and haven't fallen asleep through boredom and would like to read more about me and my random goings on then I will try to post at least once a week and will hopefully see you soon :-)

Tess x