Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Key Stage 2 Maths Problem

Following on from my rant about Key Stage 1 Homework last week, it clearly paid off for Thing 2.  He's in Year 5 and is currently half way through the maths curriculum for Year 6.

So by the start of Term 2 in Year 6, what will my child be learning?

I'm quite confident that they will find him the work he needs to stretch him and keep up his current status of Interested and Learning.  I do worry however about when he switches to high school.  What will happen then.

My experience of school, albeit ...oh a few years ago now (they did have GCSE's though not O Levels!!)...was that I was bored at school because the classes were easy.  Although I was in the top sets for all my subjects, the class was still the pace of the slowest learner and that was too slow for me.  My mum often bewails how wonderous I could have been had I actually tried at school.  But the thing was I didn't have to try.  It was easy and I took the easy route.

I certainly don't want the same thing happening to my boy.

So, should I get a private tutor for him?  Should I become a pushy mum and try and get him through his maths qualifications early while he is interested?  What is your advice?  

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Blackpool - It's Coming Back!!

The football team may have not made the grade to be Premiership next season, but this season, Blackpool, as a holiday destination is on the map.  It's affordable, family friendly and fun.

I've lived here for 5 years and prior to moving here, I had the image of Stags and Hens done up in fancy dress and basically trashing the town.  Since living here, my eyes have been opened to the fact that this still is, and probably always will be, a family resort.

Blackpool is a very long town.  The nightlife has been pushed into one zone, kind of opposite North Pier and upwards a block.  If you've got kids, you're unlikely to be there after 8 when it gets lively anyway.

Central Pier Blackpool
The Central Area is probably where most families gravitate to.  There's the Central Pier with a fairground, arcade, family entertainment in the bar and the best chips in Blackpool.  Over the road is Madam Tussauds and the Sea Life Centre, both of which have seen massive investment over the last few years.  The promenade has been restructured and is full of artworks which are intriguing to children.  The RNLI and tourist information office are also in this zone.  Then of course, there is the Blackpool Tower.  You need a full day for the tower - and the circus is a must.
South Shore is houses most of the hotels and B&B's and entertainment is in the form of The Sandcastle Waterpark (again another full day) and The Pleasure Beach.

But if money is tight and you can't afford the attractions every day, there's loads to do which costs little or nothing.

Blackpool has a lot of great parks for the kids.  I would say all have been refurbished within the last two years. Stanley Park is a great day out.  The park itself is huge.  There's a large playground with some really challenging rope structures, trampolines, a mini train, a cafe, mini golf a boating lake complete with geese and ducks.  And the newest feature is a BMX park. If you time it right there's sometimes bands on the bandstand.
Sand Dunes at South Shore
The beach really doesn't deserve the bad press it gets.  I live 3 streets away and frequent it often.  I wouldn't if it wasn't clean.  It is and I have no qualms about myself, the kids or the dog going in the water or on the beach.  The sand dunes at south shore can be a day out in themselves, climbing up and exploring then running down to the sea to cool down. The promenade is great if you're a roller blader or cyclist and it's your key to the rest of Blackpool as its a safe way to get from one end of town to the other.  There's also a free air show in August and the free Fireworks Championships start at the end of August.

At the Bispham end, thats the north end, there's lush green grass for pic-nicing and a couple of play areas to let off steam.  If you continue to Cleveleys theres a Vue Cinema (cheaper on Tuesdays), an ice rink and a small fairground for under 5's. If fancy your chances sea fishing, you can hire equipment on the prom and cast your line off the sea wall.

Marine Hall, Fleetwood

Fleetwood is the extreme north and can be reached by tram.  The new trams are clean, buggy friendly and an adult day ticket of unlimited travel is only about £4.  Fleetwood has lovely boating lakes on the front and a plethora of markets and bargain shops.  There's the marine hall which has lovely, large gardens. The large ferries go from Fleetwood and there's a small drive on ferry to Knott End.  There's a toy museum and an outlet village also.

I could go on all day about how great is it.  I've not even touched on Lytham and St Annes!!  

Oh one thing I haven't mentioned is the weather.  When it's hot, it's HOT.  The forecast for today was overcast and 19 degrees.  It started off cloudy but by 10.30 the sun was beating down.  On the school run yesterday at 8.30, it was 23 degrees.  The majority of the time it has that holiday feeling, where you step out and the heat hits you.  You can always tweet me for a weather update if you're considering a day trip! @Claire_Sheehan

Seriously, during the summer holidays, we do all the tourist stuff, we make the most of what we've got. And we love it.

What's your experiences of Blackpool (Clean stories only please!!) 

I have not been approached or paid to write this post.  I just think Blackpool is great and I am a strong believer in bringing money into my town!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Homemade Colslaw

This is soooo much nicer than the shop bought watery versions.

The best coleslaw I've ever had was at the Kentucky Fried Chicken at Salmesbury in the days before it was processed bought in stuff.

I learnt how to make coleslaw at school.  We didn't make much involving heat.

It keeps in an airtight container for about three days, but it doesn't usually last that long in our house.


Half a white cabbage
One red onion
Two medium sized carrots
Salad cream
Aromat (its near the spices in the supermarket, its like a savoury seasoning type thing)


Shred the cabbage
Cut the onion into quarters and slice thinly
Peel and grate the carrot
Add two tablespoons of mayo
Add one tablespoon of salad cream
Mix well

If the consistency is too dry, add more mayo and salad cream in the ratio 2 to 1.

Sprinkle a little (you only need a little - like a pinch) of aromat over the top and stir in well.

Proper Pickles

What? I hear you cry?

How can a pickle be proper or not?

Well, my family's proper pickles take a day in the making (two if you're not keen on the raw onion tang) and they are devine.


A brown onion
Malt vinegar


Cut the onion in half and then slice into thin slices
Place in a bowl
Pour over loads of malt vinegar and leave to soak


Lovely crunchy fresh pickled onions.  Devine on any salad, burger, roast dinner....I could go on.  We always had a bowl of them in the kitchen and they went on everything!

Meal Planning Monday: The Heatwave Edition

Whoa!  How Hot?!?!

Just a quick post today as its just too hot to be sat here typing!

My lot don't eat properly when its hot, I don't know if thats just us or if you suffer that too.  So most of the meals are what I call picky meals where they can graze and eat in the garden (or on the beach!!)

Here it is...

Quiche, beans and jacket potato

A big old fashioned salad.
(none of this cut up tiny and mixed in mayo mullarkey....
A dinner plate full of lettuce, raddish, tomato, beetroot, spring onions, cucumber, ham, cheese, chicken, picallili and proper pickles)

Beans on toast followed by a huuuuuge fruit salad

Thursday (Its supposed to rain here so...)
Bangers and mash with peas and onion gravy

Mini Food
Mini pizzas, mini sausages, mini scotch eggs, big bowl of salad, home made coleslaw, potato skins and dips



Wednesday, 23 May 2012

My Homework Hell

I know kids need to have homework and on the whole I know why.

But do they have to have it when they are 4?

Is a reading book not enough?

I understand it is to get them into the habit of doing homework, but with a disillusioned 10 year old as an example, the homework battle is really getting too much to bear.

I've had two conversations with other parents just this week about the dreaded Learning Log.  As a free learning type book with hints on what we should fill it with, it really is becoming somewhat of a parents competition.  Particularly when good examples are put on display for all parents to see.  (although, actually, I was quite proud when my efforts - I mean Thing 2's efforts - were on display!)

And the way I see it is that the best learning logs are rewarded with The coveted Bear and His Diary for the evening.  Even more pressure to put on a good show, to win The Bear they all want!  We've only ever got The Bear when we've gone over and above on the homework front.

I'm drained by it.  My hobby has had to become homework.  Although that said, I reckon I'm almost on to the next stage of reading books!

What are your thoughts on Key Stage 1 Homework?  Is it just me being reluctant to teach or do you feel the pressures to perform?  I'd love to hear what you think

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Hosepipe Ban - So What!

Whilst flicking through twitter earlier, I happened upon a tweet from @geekisnewchic blogger Sian To. It said

"They've dug a 6ft deep hole to find the water table. They scoop the water using bowls before carrying back home. #ShareNiger"

Sian is in Niger with @LizScarff and World Vision to raise awareness of the horrific conditions people are just about surviving in. Their journey can be followed on twitter by searching on the hashtag #shareniger

We've has two days of good weather. Our underground water stocks haven't recovered over the winter, so it won't be long before a hosepipe ban is imposed. And people will moan, people will feel hard done to but really it doesn't compare does it?

I urge you to follow Sian and Liz's Journey and be grateful for what you have, be that a dirty car, a dead hanging basket or a dry, brown lawn. You still have safe water to drink hosepipe ban or not. Your family's health will not be at risk and it's all conveniently piped to your home.

I will never complain about a hosepipe ban after reading that short, hopeless tweet.

More reports from Niger can be read on Sian's blog Geek is The New Chic

Monday, 21 May 2012

Meal Planning Monday - The Gluten Free Week

Little known fact that one of us in the house is intolerant to gluten.  It's not been diagnosed as full on Coelliac disease but a gluten free diet certainly helps.

So every so often I go all out to try and cook gluten free meals for a week.

If you've tried Gluten free meals, you will understand how a) difficult and b) monotonous this is.  Gluten free food is typically dry and the processed food often tastes metalllic.  Don't get me wrong there are wonderful gluten free foods out there such as Warburtons new Gluten Free Bread Range and the Tesco Free From Range is very good.  But it really is trial and error in finding the good stuff.

So this week, we will be eating:

Slow Cooked Gluten Free Hot Pot

Chicken and Mushroom Pie with Mash Topping

Roast Dinner
(No great skill required on this one - just use gluten free gravy mix)

Gluten Free Chillli Con Carne with Rice

Tesco Free From Fish Fingers, chips and home made mushy peas (why? cos the tinned ones can have gluten in)

It'll all go Pete Tong with a Takeaway!!

Live The Life: What's On 26th-27th May 2012

I'm a firm believer in living life, getting out there and grabbing it.

There's nothing more disappointing on Monday morning than that feeling of having done nothing.  So every Friday, I'll be bringing you a few suggestions of where to go and what to do, that won't cost you the earth.

So, here's my weekly round up of what you could do this weekend

Saturday and Sunday
Adults £8
Concessions & Children 12-15 £6
OAPs with children under 12 - Free
(i think that means children under 12 are free)

Friday, Saturday and Sunday
There's LOADS of different activities on here - you need to click through to the website for details!

9am Saturday - Preston Flag Market
The launch and the battle for the prestige title of Carnival King & Queen!

There's loads more on this weekend - If you're organising an event, link your website up below so visitors know you're happening.  (It's dead easy, just click on You're Next)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Guest Post: Stuffy and Posh? Nah, Not This Wine School

Last week's episode of BBC1's The Apprentice (the English Sparkling Wine
episode) has done me no favours at all.

I was quite optimistic that wine on such a high rating show would bring me a
few more bookings, particularly as they were showing wine tastings.

They showed the stereotypical stuffy Englishman talking to the educated
toff. Exactly the people that don't come to my wine tastings. But exactly
the image that puts people off trying a wine tasting session.

I'm more for the Adams of the world.

Wine Tasting - Easy Going and Relaxed
You see, people who know about wine don't need to come on a tasting. It's
not my job to sternly correct you when you forget to hold the glass by the
base, it's my job to answer your questions, suggest wines for you to try and
fill you in on the background of the samples you like.

The tastings I hold are fun. The feedback and number of returning customers
tells me so. It's relaxed, friendly and a good social event. I always
enjoy running the events and I have met some great characters.

To persuade readers of My Cava Lifestyle that The Lancashire Wine School is
a relaxed, leisurely way to enjoy wine, I've reduced my Saturday Wine School
by 20% for all readers.

The day starts at 11am and includes a sumptuous two course lunch at the
highly recommended Glendower Hotel in St Anne's.  Here's a typical menu


Smoked Salmon, Asparagus & Soft Poached Egg with Toasted Brioche
Pressed Ham Hock & Greenfield's Lancashire Cheese Terrine with Tomato Chutney
Grilled Goats' Cheese, Pickled Walnuts & Confit Tomato Salad


Char-Grilled Chicken Breast with Chorizo, Sauté New Potatoes & Green Beans
Rump of Pendle Lamb with Blackpudding Beignet, Thyme & Port Jus. Mint Scented Mash & Roasted Vegetables
Fillet of Cod with Fresh Herb Crust New Potatoes, Wilted Greens & Lemon Butter Sauce
Roasted Vegetable Wellington with Rocket Parmesan & Cherry Tomato Salad

Book on, come along and if you don't enjoy it - I'll give you your money

Here's the link to book 20% off Saturday Wine School  The next school runs on the 21st of July but there are other dates available.

I hope you do take up my offer, I really feel I need to save the reputation of wine tasting after that episode!

Colin Burbidge
The Lancashire Wine School

Friday, 18 May 2012

Live the Life: What's On 19th and 20th May 2012

I'm a firm believer in living life, getting out there and grabbing it.

There's nothing more disappointing on Monday morning than that feeling of having done nothing.  So every Friday, I'll be bringing you a few suggestions of where to go and what to do, that won't cost you the earth.


Not much on in Blackpool, other than football in every pub!  Some big game apparently.

The New Continental Beer Festival
Free Entry

A great family pub with a hooooooge beer garden.  Now in it's 8th year, there's live music on all day at the festival and it's sure to be another roaring success.


Mini Mega Meet
Admission Charge but not sure how much
Lytham Hall, Lytham
11am onwards.

A gathering of loads of mini Cars (the model, Mini, not teeny tiny cars)

Nigel Howarth's Fantastic Food Show
Adults £5, Concessions £3 and Under 12's FREE!
Ewood Park - Blackburn

100's of producers are exhibiting, loads of free samples, a pop up pub and - if you get one of the few tickets left for the M Theatre - live cooking demos by celebrity chefs.

Sponsored Walk on the Wyreside for Trinity Hospice
Wyre Estuary Country Park, Stannah

Starts at 10am, roughly a 2 hour stroll through the countryside with a ranger led childrens nature trail

These are just my recommendations.  There's loads more on and if you've got an event running, use the Linky Tool below to create a link to your website.  Click on "Click Here To Enter" and follow the instructions.

Anyone for a Street Party?

I first mentioned a street party to my friend about 4 months before the Royal Wedding.  I expected a response of "great idea" "if anyone can do it you can" "I'll help".  
Photo Courtesy of:

The response I got was "What Decade Are You Living In?! 1950!!"

After a good half hour pointing out that street parties are all the rage again and how communities should get together, I stated that she wasn't invited.  I don't think she heard.  She was still laughing.

So we ummed and ahhed about having a barbeque instead.  As it was blowing a gale that day, we watched the wedding in our pajamas eating bacon and egg butties.  I felt I'd let the neighbours down, but hey, they didn't invite me round either.

Now the Jubilee is looming, I was again toying with the idea of a street party.  This time, I performed my market research on a different audience.  His mates in the pub at a beer festival.

I won't bore you with the content, it's quite lengthy.  It basically came down to...

B: "Do you like your neighbours?"
Me: "I don't really know them"
B: "Do you want to know them?"
Me: "Well, not all of them no."
B: "Well have a barbeque.  We'll come round.  I don't like our neighbours."

So that was that.  Not is the resounding message I keep getting from those around me!

I can live without having organised a street party I think.  Most of our street eat at the Indian at the top of the road, so if we really wanted to get together, that's a wholly more sensible idea as they've got tables, a roof and everything!

Gluten Free Chilli Con Carne

This dish really does taste exactly the same whether gluten free or not.  It can also be made in the slow cooker or just on the hob.  I tend to make it on the hob in the morning, then I can have it on a Jacket Potato for dinner and with rice for tea.

This makes an absolute pile of the stuff.  I usually get at least 3, usually 4 freezer portions out of it.  So value wise it's also fab!!

1.5kg Minced Beef
3 tins of plum tomatoes
1 carton of pasatta
2 tins of red kidney beans
1 sachet of Mild Chilli Powder (If you buy the refill box, it's one of those sachets)
2 Knorr Rich Beef Stock Pots


1.  Brown the mince in batches and drain off the fat

2.  Put the mince in a large stockpot and sprinkle over the chilli powder.  

3.  Put the tomatoes, the pasatta and the rinsed (don't forget to rinse!) kidney beans  in the pan.  Chop the plum tomatoes up with a pair of scissors (I use plum rather than chopped tomatoes as I find it provides a richer sauce rather than watery)

4. Mix it all up and stir in the jelly stock pots

5.  Cook for about 2 1/2 hours on the hob or 6 hours in the slow cooker.

6.  Serve with rice.

I usually taste it after about an hour and if it's not spicy enough, I add more chilli powder.

This tastes great after its been frozen.

Chicken and Mushroom Pie with Mash Topping

To avoid the gluten content, this "pie" isn't really a pie.  The mash is spiced up a bit using a stock cube to give a bit of something as it can be quite bland!

This will serve 4 people

knob of Dairy Free spread suitable for cooking
1 Punnet of Mushrooms, peeled and sliced
3 Chicken Breasts cut into cubes (or in fact - bought as cubes!!)
1Kallo Vegetable Bouillion stock cube
1 dessert spoon of Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour
3lb of potatoes


1.  Melt the dairy free spread in a Medium pan

2. Add the sliced mushrooms and leave to soften for a couple of minutes

3. Add the flour and stir until mushrooms are coated then set aside

4. Mix up 250ml of the vegetable stock using half of the stock cube

5. Poach the chicken in the stock until cooked through

6. Pour the chicken and the stock into the mushroom pan and simmer for a couple of minutes stirring with a wooden spoon.

7.  Pour all into a pie dish/casserole dish and leave to cool.

8.  Peel and cube the potatoes and put in cold water

9.  Bring to the boil and cook for about 12 minutes

10.  Drain the potatoes

11. Mash vigorously!

12.  Crumble about 1/8th of a Kallo stock cube into the mash, add a little dairy free spread

13.  Spoon the mash on top of the chicken and mushroom creation

14.  Run a fork all over the mash to form peaks

15.  Warm through in the oven

Gluten Free Slow Cooker Hotpot

This really is a no brainer of a meal.  As long as you remember not to use a stock cube with gluten in that is.

So haul out your slow cooker and throw all this in to serve about 6 people.  My slow cooker is a large 6-8 person one so if yours is smaller, you will need less.

3lb potaotes, peeled and sliced
4 large carrots
2 large onions
350g cubed topside (you can use casserole beef, rump steak, even mince)
2 Kallo Vegetable Bouillon stock cubes (mixed up and left to go cold)
2 Knorr Rich Beef Stock Pots (again, mixed and left to go cold)

1. Layer potatoes, then carrots, then onion, then meat and keep going until your slow cooker is full

2. Pour over the cold stock until all the ingredients are covered

3.  Cook for at least 6 hours

4.  Serve with Red Cabbage and/or Beetroot.

As this is Gluten free, I make this without a crust.  We tend to have it with gluten free toast as an alternative just to fill us up a bit more.

Car Boot or Ebay?

The house is once again at breaking point.  It is full of, well I could use a few words here but I'll go for - things we've grown out of.

We've got toys, clothes, equipment, all sorts all piled up everywhere.  It has to go.  And this time I mean go.  My mum lives in a four bedroomed house specifically to house all our stuff.  It started off as just my stuff, but we're all storing there now!  Unless I she's got a desire to end up on a hoarders documentary on my behalf, I have to take drastic action to rid us of stuff we just don't use.

But where?

For sure, it has to be sold.  Loads of the stuff has either been played with or worn once then discarded. (Pet hate - kids opening toys to play with them once.  Don't unwrap it!!! Regift it!!!!)  There is so much stuff that I reckon we could pay for two of us to go on holiday easily.

But How?

We're divided on this.  One of us believes in car boots.  One of us believes in Ebay.

So, lets examine who's going to win this...

Early Start - Ebay Wins
Cost to Sell - Car Boot Wins
Speed of Clearance - Car Boot Wins
Extra Costs - Car Boot Wins (several teas and a breakfast are cheaper than packaging materials)
Price Obtained - Ebay Wins 

So, have I missed anything?  It looks like a car boot is the easiest, quickest way to clear the house.  But will I get a decent amount of money?

I've never done a car boot.  I've only been to about 4 and that was under duress, I may add.  I'd be really grateful if you could leave me a few comments with your advice of Car Boot Do's and Don'ts.  I don't feel prepared at all!!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Since discovering Aldi, we're eating an awful lot better.  I used to have all my shopping delivered from Tesco as I really felt pushing a trolley round was a complete waste of my time.  However, after being faced with a £120 bill and only 3 meals, I am back on the Aldi trail again.  I can get all my meats and veggies for around £55 quid plus I don't spend fortunes on cereal.

Anyway, I digress, here we go for this weeks offerings...

Monday:  James Martin's Shepherds Pie
                (mmm lovely - the shepherds pie that is - with cinnamon in it and lots of celery!)

Tuesday:  Chicken Enchilladas
                (bit of a cheat - out of an Old El Paso Jar, but I just love it)

Wednesday:  Sweet Chilli Salmon with Mushroom Stir Fry

Thursday:  Roast Beef Dinner, with roasties and Yorkshires and lashings of gravy

Friday:  Bangers and Mash Vegetable Volcano
             (it's the only way he'll eat it - sigh)

Saturday:  Curry Night!!

Sunday:  Home made breaded chicken and potato skins

For more meal inspiration, head over to
At Home With Mrs M's blog.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

F1 2012: Spain

I'm not big on sport.  I only like two - Formula One and Ice Hockey!

But I do love, love, love the both of them and this weekend the BBC have coverage of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona - Hurray! I hear the Sky Haters Cry!!

So, what've we got in store this weekend, other than DC in a pair of tight jeans and EJ's latest fashion statement?

Jenson Button in his McLaren was fastest in the second practice session with Sebastien Vettel and his Red Bull in second. 

I'm cynical when it comes to Vettel.  If he doesn't get fastest in practice, I reckon he's holding something back and will come good in qualifying and bag the pole, much to my disappointment.

Rosberg is continuing to beat Schumacher, bagging 3rd fastest whilst the old man managed 8th.  That must hurt!! 

And the dark horses of this year Lotus Renault (is it a Lotus, is it a Renault, is it a Caterham?)  have again come through brilliantly, taking 5th and 6th fastest.  The performance of Grosjean shows it is a car to be reckoned with and not just the phenomenal driving skills of my favourite driver of all time, Kimi Raikkonen.
And Ferrari.  Well, not much to say really other than I bet they're kicking themselves that they Let Kimi Go/Sacked Kimi (delete as you believe correct!)

So, what are my predictions for today's qualifying session....

Pole: Vettell
2nd:  Button
3rd:  Webber

I think the Red Bull Team are going to start kicking ass again now Vettel has eaten some humble pie and switched to Mark Webber's set up.

Practice 3 Update!  I'm watching on the red button and Grosjean has just stopped and is out of 3rd practice.

I'll update this post after Qualifying with my predictions for the race.

Well! I clearly did not, like Button and Webber, see that coming!!

In hindsight, I underestimated Alonso's "Senna-like" ability to draw on a home crowds enthusiasm.

But 8th for Vettel!! I am amazed.

Brilliant driving from Maldonado, I just hope we don't have a first corner smash given his history with Hamilton.

So, for those that didn't watch...

1. Hamilton
2. Maldonado
3. Alonso

(and Kimi is in 5th if you were wondering)

So my predictions for the race:

1. Alonso
2. Hamilton
3. Railkonen

Monday: Well. What can I say! Maybe I'll give the predictions a miss next week and try horse racing!

The final result was:

1. Maldonado
2. Alonso
3. Raikonnen

Home Made Breaded Chicken and Potato Skins

I've put the home made in front of this to emphasise to the amusement of my friends that I make this from real food despite a tasteless, frozen alternative being available!


One Chicken Breast Each
Stale Bread
2 Eggs
Plain Flour
1 Large Potato Each
Olive Oil
A little cheese


Potato Skins

1.  Scrub the potatoes and bake for about an hour and a quarter

2.  Rub (or spray) with a little olive oil

3.  When the skins are crispy, cut in half and scoop out the innards of the potato leaving about 5mm of potato still attached to the skin

4.  Mix the potato innard with a little butter and a little mayonnaise for flavour

5.  Grate the cheese over the skins and place under the grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts

6.  Put the potato innard back into the skins and serve.

(I know that it's not a potato skin with the mash put back in but I just can't waste it!!)

1. Cut the chicken into strips

2. Crack the egg into a shallow dish

3. Put the flour and breadcrumbs each in a shallow dish

4.  Dip the chicken strips in the egg, the flour, the egg again, the breadcrumbs, the egg again and finally the breadcrumbs

5.  Place on a Pyrex lid

6.  Cook for 10 minutes each side (oven about 180 degrees C) then check by cutting in half the biggest piece, if that's done, they all are.

7.  Serve with loads of dips - I let the kids fill a paint pallette with various sauces of their choice.

Sweet Chilli Salmon and Mushroom Stir Fry

The simplest of simple but tasty foods.


1 Salmon Fillet Each
Bottle of Sweet Chilli Sauce
Bunch of Spring Onions
Dark Soy Sauce
Punnet of Mushrooms
Bag of Ready Prepared Stir Fry

For those feeding Kids add - cous cous or boiled new potatoes (they won't be full otherwise!)


1. Marinade the salmon fillets in the sweet chilli sauce for at least 4 hours

2. Slice the spring onions open and add to the marinade

3.  Make a foil parcel for the salmon.  Place the fillets in with the spring onions on top

4.  Cook at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes

5. Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms and add to the stir fry mix.  Stir fry it all together with a generous sprinkling of dark soy sauce

6.  Cook the cous cous according to the packet instructions

7.  Serve and enjoy!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Claire Sheehan P.I. - Always on Duty

It's very easy to mis-identify someone you haven't met.

On valentines day this year, I was lucky enough to be beered and dined at Portofino's in Lytham. Imagine my horror when I spotted a guy fitting the description of my best friends new beau - sat with not my best friend!!!

Well, it almost ruined my meal!!

I got over my fear of Asparagus (for which I fully blame Carol Vorderman's detox diet) and I tucked into my huuuuuge bowl of pasta. Then I remembered and put my private detective skills into practice!

I lounged across the table whilst having my photo taken. Except the camera just missed me and got mystery man! (Next year I will wear my flowery hat-cam, just in case)

I was then distracted by a gooey chocolate dessert before leaving to quiz my son who had actually met Mystery Man ("He's really nice. He's got all the sky channels!")

So Thing One was prevented from sleeping until we had an ID. And it was positive!!

Then I ummed and ahhed for a bit before texting my best friend. I waited for the text back with baited breath, preparing several consolidatory messages.

"That's not him!!! He's fat!" She was offended. So much so that I have been informed I am now her 7th friend. Oh the shame.

I've still not met him - and it's May!!!


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