Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas White Chocolate Cheesecake

  • 165g Digestive Biscuits, crushed
  • 65g Butter, melted
  • 6 leaves of gelatine
  • 500g Crème Fraiche
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 100g White Chocolate
  • 250g Ricotta Cheese
  • Decorations
  1. Mix together the crushed biscuits with the melted butter and press into the base of a lightly oiled 18cm springform cake tin. Keep in the freezer whilst you prepare the filling.
  2. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until really soft. Heat the crème fraiche and sugar really gently, stirring often in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Now add the softened gelatine and vanilla extract to the mixture and stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over boiling water and whizz up the ricotta cheese until smooth. Then add the melted chocolate and the cream mixture and mix together.
  4. Pour the mixture over the crumb base and place in the fridge to set, preferably overnight.
  5. When set, carefully remove from the tin and decorate as desired.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Hello England! (Better late than never)

Oh my god this post is so much later than I expected it to be. I was really looking to post as soon as we got back to England but we haven't really sat down for longer than 5 minutes since we got back.
The flight home went as well as can be expected. There were no delays with the flight's and everything went smoothly at each airport (even if I did drag them all there 3 hours before our flight took off, oops), although I must admit that travelling with an over-excited, manic 2 year old toddler is a lot harder than travelling with a baby. Calleigh did manage to sleep on the plane but it was nothing like before where she slept almost the whole flight. She spent most of the flight wriggling around, trying to get away and looking behind us at the unlucky passengers who happened to have picked the seat behind the crazy toddler.

When we arrived at Birmingham airport I was so happy to see family there waiting for us and Calleigh was in a really good mood and gave everybody a big smile, which I think meant a lot to them. We were really tired from the flight and photo's were the last thing on my mind so even though I really wanted to get some good reunion photo's, I also wanted to get home and relax so I never took the time to take any. Something that I definitely regret now but never mind.
We are staying at my mums house for the duration of our stay which is good as Calleigh is used to be there from when we used to stay when Daddy went away and it's much better than paying for a hotel.
It has been really amazing being back with family and Calleigh is absolutely loving all the attention she is getting. She settled right in and although she starts off quite shy at first she soon warms up to people and has been having a lot of fun with everyone.

She has spent quite a few nights with Nanna and Grandad, including Christmas Eve night and has been having a great time, she always comes back really happy.
Christmas was amazing and I will be posting about it soon but for now I shall leave it there and hope that I get another five minutes.
We are over the moon about being back in England and spending so much time with family, especially at this time of year. We plan to make the most of every day we have left and make sure that everyone has plenty of Calleigh time!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Going back to England: One More Day!

Today is our last day in St Louis before we leave for our trip home over Christmas. I am really excited to be going home and seeing family, It's all I've been thinking about for the last couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone reacts when they see Calleigh again, she is such a big girl now and I think most people will be shocked at how different she is from the little girl that left 9 months ago. 
At the same time though I think I am a little sad to be leaving this beautiful place. The snow has been falling and everything is so magical here at moment. We have really been enjoying playing in the snow as you can see from the last two posts and we had another big snow fall yesterday. 

We will be spending most of today and tomorrow morning double checking suitcases and taking down the decorations (such a sad thing to be doing before Christmas but I can't imagine wanting to do it when we get back). The next time I will be posting is when we are back in England, so be prepared for lots of heart warming reunion pictures! 
Also to come is Calleigh's outfit of the month which I think is so adorable. 

Until then I will leave you with some photo's of yesterdays snow. I'm hoping for a smooth flight with no delays so lets cross our fingers and hope that the snow can hold off for a couple of days whilst we get ourselves back to England. 

See you soon England!! 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Dashing Through the Snow

Yes this is another post about snow but we are just having too much fun in it!! 

We got Calleigh a sled today and just took her up and down the drive, she loved it and was laughing her little head off. Unfortunately when I had a go pulling her I managed to capsize the thing and Calleigh ended up face down in the snow. After that she decided it would be a good idea to throw snow at Daddy, so cute! 

Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

It's December so it's time for lots of festive baking! I love making cupcakes (and we all love eating them). Most recently I tried my hand at a very festive Christmas Tree Cupcake. The cupcake itself was made using a Christmas packet mix from Pillsbury and the icing was a can of green icing from Betty Crocker. A bit of cheating there but the actual making of this cupcake wasn't important to me, it was all about the decoration.
This was my first attempt and I must say I am quite proud of how they turned out. 

To make the Christmas Tree start with a blob of icing in the center of the cake and then work your way out to the edge of the cupcake in strips (about 4 or five should do). Next start on the upper layers using the same technique and so on until it forms a tree shape.

Calleigh loved them, she didn't care much for the shape she just wanted to dive into eating it.. And she did! 

Friday, 6 December 2013

Snow Day

So it snowed last night... Yay! 
We went outside to play in it this morning but it was -6 outside and still snowing a little bit so we didn't play for too long. When we had finished we came in and warmed up with a cup of hot chocolate each. 
Calleigh is wearing her Christmas Pudding hat which Mee-Maw brought us over from Next.. I love it!

Snow Day

Snow Day

Snow Day

Snow Day

Snow Day

Snow Day

Snow Day

Snow Day

Snow Day

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light (Book Review)

Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light is a book by the author Jaimie M Engle. I was delighted when I was contacted by Jaimie and sent a copy of her book to review.

The book follows the story of a boy and his discovery of a magical arrow that sends him back through time to embark on an epic adventure. The story is filled with history and fantasy along with snippets of life as a average teenage boy. 
The thing that really got me about this book though was the fact that it is English history with an exciting twist.
It is based on the story of King Richard III and his two nephews.

I think the book would be great for older children both boys and girls aged around 8-11. The chapters are not too long and always filled with adventure. And if you are anything like me then you will definitely enjoy it too, there is no age limit for this book. I can't wait to read it to Calleigh when she is older.

Jaimie was kind enough to answer a few questions I sent her way.

Where did you get your inspiration for the book from? 
The first spark came with a scene of a boy getting ready for archery club in his bedroom. He found a strange arrow, while searching for his sneakers, and took it with him before leaving the room. Then, I saw a pointy nose press through the darkness of a closet, followed by the face of a dwarf. And all he said was, “But the boy had found it first.” This intrigued me to do some research, which led me to the discovery of two princes forgotten by time. I wanted to tell their story under the question: what if they had been rescued?

The history in your book is very accurate, did it take a lot of research?
Yes. I actually used a lot of books from the juvenile section on daily life and clothing, mainly because they use lots of pictures and cut to the chase. The majority of the battle scene was collected from The Battle of Bosworth, an in-depth study by Christopher Gravett, who has his master's in Medieval Studies from the University of London. I don't think you could find a better source than that. And of course, good old Wikipedia filled in a lot of holes.

I remember as a child visiting the Battle of Bosworth where the War of the Roses took place. Did you ever visit there whilst researching/writing the book? 
Only virtually. I would love to take a visit there one day.

I think the book is great and there is definitely room for another one.. Is this something you have planned? What's next for you? 
Thank you very much. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I do have some ideas for book two and three, but I wanted to see how book one was received before I got started. I am actually shopping a manuscript with agents right now, which is completely different: a YA fantasy, taking place in Viking Era Canada, with some pretty scary creatures I call the 'ferine' that are basically female werewolves. I like to post pictures and descriptions of all the projects I'm working on at

Author Bio:
Jaimie Engle has run a body shop, managed a hip-hop band, modelled bikinis, and danced at the Aloha Bowl halftime show. This wife and mother of two currently tutors in creative and essay writing, and offers a manuscript critique service for aspiring authors. She has published many short stories online and in print, including Writer’s Digest and a children's piece appearing in Clubhouse Jr. in 2014. She was awarded honourable mentions for her sci-fi novella in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writer’s of the Future contest and second place in the 2012 Space Coast Writer's Guild's short story competition. Her debut middle grade novel CLIFTON CHASE AND THE ARROW OF LIGHT is available through Amazon and on her website. Drop in on her at to read some of her short tales.

You can connect with Jaimie on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest or visit her Website for more information or free printables. 

You can purchase the book for yourself on Amazon or via her website.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Macy's Festival of Lights

It's Christmas time! We went down to St Louis a couple of weeks ago for the Macy's Festival of Lights. It was a very cold night but it didn't bother us too much. We stayed for the tree lighting and the fireworks and then made our way home. Calleigh enjoyed being out as always but wasn't too keen on the fireworks. They didn't upset her as much as last time on July 4th but I still wouldn't say she is a fan of them haha. 

We did think we had found an amazing spot to watch the fireworks from because there was only a handful of people there. But as we discovered when we were rained on by the ashes and bits of cardboard from the fireworks there was a reason for that. 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Calleigh's Birthday Celebrations

Calleigh's second birthday was a huge success! She loved all her presents and we had a great day. 
When Calleigh woke up in the morning we all went into her room wearing party hats and singing Happy Birthday.. I don't think she really knew what to think but I enjoyed it.
We brought her downstairs to where all her presents were laid out and she had such an excited look on her face.

Opening the presents didn't go as well as planned and I ended up opening most of them as Calleigh was more interested in throwing balloons at my head. But she did manage to rip at a few. The best part was when we took her into the other room where we had set up her new toy kitchen and table and chairs. She was so excited and went straight over to the table to sit with her kitties.
After all the presents had been opened Calleigh spent some time playing with them all before having a well needed nap in the teepee we brought her. It was the cutest thing. I didn't even know she was asleep until I walked past and saw her in there fast off with her arms wrapped around her steering wheel.

When she woke up we let her blow out her candles.. which she did very well and then we all tucked into the gorgeous cake!

As Calleigh's birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, and this was to be our first one living here in America, we all had a Thanksgiving dinner. Calleigh didn't eat much (I think she was too full of cake) but nevertheless it was a great dinner.
Calleigh then spent the rest of the night playing with her new toys in her teepee (she loves that thing) before heading off to bed.
I am so happy with how the day went. I knew it would be a little different because family wouldn't be there but Calleigh was happy and that's all that mattered in the end.