The other day the Headmaster suggested we buy a bread machine, despite my love of carbs I know this would be a very bad decision!

However, in the spirit of the Great British Bake Off I did have a go and made this rather impressive sunflower celebration loaf, based on an easy to follow recipe at Adventures in Cookery.

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The Sunflower Bread would be perfect served fresh from the oven for a large gathering for brunch (oh to have time to meet up with friends for brunch, I do remember long and lazy brunches from my very distant past!) or a perfect match for a hearty soup.

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This is where things started to go wrong for my waistline!

Sunflower Bread

Fancy petits fours are next up…the kitchen is about to get very messy!

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I finally sat down to watch the first episode of The Great British Bake Off on BBC this week and it has inspired me to try my hand at some new recipes inspired from each show.

So, here goes…

Week One – An Amazing Chocolate Creation

Chocolate Pistachio Cake

This Chocolate Pistachio Cake may not look the best, but it really is quite delicious.  The cake didn’t quite turn out as I had envisaged, the chocolate ganache didn’t coat the little petit four moulds as elegantly as I would have wished, but the ganache is very moreish and easy to make.  Based loosely on this Martha Stewart recipe.

Mary Berry may not be amazed by my chocolate creation…The Headmaster says this is best served with a glass of milk.

Chocolate Pistachio Slice

Oh My Valentine!

February 6, 2011

Please forgive the indulgent day dreaming I am enjoying today as I research treats for Valentine’s Day…wouldn’t this be heavenly!  {Yes, I know it’s a hefty price tag for a box of chocolates that wouldn’t last very long in my hands, but like I said it’s a thing of dreams and this is not your average box of chocolates!}

…or how about this one with a personal message inside!

Still in my dream state; a romantic afternoon tea at Laduree.

And snap back to reality with a few baking thoughts on Valentine’s Day…doll up simple fairy cakes with butter icing, sprinkles and a fancy flower or bake some heart shaped sugar cookies.

{I found a very clever (and a bit fiddly) contraption on ebay to emboss these heart shaped biscuits with sweet messages.}

These pretty lollipop flowers have inspired The Artist and The Composer to get crafty and make up some valentine’s treats for their school friends and cousins.

Learning to Play

January 13, 2011

Having a super creative child, I am very conscious of the many arty and crafty opportunities The Artist will want to explore…and on occasion (when I am feeling less precious about my beloved camera) I let her have a turn.  Like me The Artist loves taking photographs and quite often the results make me smile…

{actually this photo is very appropriate, check out the real thing}

Have a look at these great learning tools, they all have one brilliant thing in common; linking learning with fun…

Mr Thorne is making a name for himself within the Early Years phonics world and children get a kick out of his quirkiness too.

Bloxorz is a huge hit at the Headmaster’s House…find loads more cool maths games for all ages here.

I discovered Mathletics on a recent visit to Edge Grove School…encourage your school to join Mathletics now!

The Pattern Pod

January 9, 2011

On a recent visit to London’s Science Museum, The Artist and The Composer both really enjoyed the hands on exhibits…especially the Pattern Pod and the Launch Pad.

We probably only discovered a tiny percentage of what’s on offer at the museum, but what we did see really captured the children’s attention.  Many of the exhibits were rather sophisticated for my two youngsters (and myself if I am being totally honest…it’s really rather embarrassing not being able to explain some of the children’s rather more searching science questions, especially within earshot of other parents!).

Christmas Past

January 4, 2011

I boxed up the last of our decorations this morning.   We have all thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of Christmas at the Headmaster’s House but we are definitely ready for all things new that 2011 may bring…including the all important school holidays!  The ferry tickets are booked and we will head over to France in some months time, having something exciting to look forward to will help keep those January blues at bay.

Whilst packing away the decorations, I was reminded of a Christmas we spent in Brittany with dear friends a few years ago…I had packed a few bits and bobs to make the house feel festive even taking my twinkly star lights along too.  It was a glorious time, beautifully mild weather, good company and all the delightful cuisine France has to offer.  The bay will be filled busy with boats, kayaks and bathers by the time we see it next.

Here are a few things I plan to do for next Christmas!

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2011

Are you ready for 2011?  After all the celebrations and festivities of the past couple weeks now is the time to make plans. A favourite activity of mine is making up a new diary…filling in birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, school term dates, to do lists, and dare I say New Year’s resolutions. I plan to hit the sales this week to find a lovely new diary, then I shall spend a very happy evening filling it with plenty of important dates and tasks for 2011.

As always we intend to begin the year being frugal at the Headmaster’s House…and so I shall attempt to create a homemade year planner to help me through 2011.  Wish me luck fitting 12 months and more than 30 birthdays on to an A3 sheet of paper! {more details to come once I have a finished design}

A few simple designs for 2011…

This one by Crispin Finn (design duo who produce everything in red, white and blue) is super stylish and so well designed…my choice for our 2010 planner.  It hung on the study wall and was a delight to look at, so much more attractive than your typical office planner.

A good spot for freebie printables including calendars, Sheepdog Design offer this simple design for 2011.

A smart and functional design for 2011…$25 at this Etsy shop.