Mar 242018

As a large family of eight going to the movies is not something we often do. To warrant a big expense like a trip to the cinema a movie would have to be REALLY good, so if I tell you that I took the oldest four to see our favourite little bear on the big screen you can be sure this movie is an absolute winner. We first fell in love with Paddington when reading the books, totally adored him in the first Paddington movie and we couldn’t wait to see what he got up to in Paddington 2:

After making the movie across the oceans to London and finding a new home with the Brown family, Paddington has well and truly settled into his new life. He still misses his Aunty Lucy and with her 100th birthday coming up Paddington sets off on a mission to find her the perfect gift.

He finds it in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop: A unique and very rare pop-up book that celebrates London’s most special spots. Unfortunately it is pricey so he decides to join the workforce and hopefully earn enough money to buy the book in time for the big event. Just as he is about to earn the final pounds the gift of his dreams is stolen, buy by who and why? The adventurous bear is not about to let go of the book that easily and is determined to get the books safely back in his hairy little paws.

There is no doubt about it, after watching Paddington 2 you will be licking your lips at the thought of a delicious slice of toast smothered in marmalade. Especially for hungry bears of all ages celebrity chef and dessert queen Anna Polyviou has created this scrumptious recipe for Paddington’s Pineapple Marmalade for you to try at home. Enjoy!

With the Easter long weekend just around the corner why not print off some of these beary cute Paddington colouring-in pages for your little artists? You can find Paddington Colouring-In Page 1 or Paddington Colouring-In Page 2 here, grab your markers, crayons and pencils and get creative.

Paddington 2 is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD at all good retail stores across Australia.

To take a closer look at Paddington 2 or other exciting new releases and to order your favourite titles online visit

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Oct 182016

Exisle Publishing

It’s a morning of mixed emotions for our family with miss Sybbie starting early entry at kindy today. At just 3.5 years old she is quite young and very nervous about going somewhere without mummy (and mummy is just as nervous about leaving her!) but we know it is in her best interest. As of this week I will have four kids at kindy/school and four lunch boxes to prepare, bring on the healthy lunch ideas:


I don’t know about you but after three whole terms of prepping lunches I am starting to feel a little uninspired. Clever mamas and talented cooks Cherie Schetselaar and Britney Rule (who have 11 kids between them!) are coming to the rescue with a fabulous new cookbook: The Mix + Match Lunchbox (RRP $29.99)

The Mix + Match Lunchbox is all about creating a nutritious, balanced lunchbox that is varied and fun. To help you get started the book offers a handy, detailed introduction eg. healthy lunch do’s and don’ts, recommended serving per age, essential products and fun tools, tips for prepping, storing and freezing and more. Once you have mastered the basics you can begin making your own mix and match lunch boxes.


The easy-to-use spiral bound book is split into three horizontal sections that represent the different food groups: Wholegrain, Protein and Fruit and Veggie. Simply pick one of each and you’ve got yourself the perfect balanced lunchbox, easy as pie! Crusty Bread Dippers, Cream Cheese Pinwheels, Cinnamon Fruit Dip… Mix and match your way to a massive 27,000 different combinations, kids will love eating combos they picked themselves and mum can rest assured they’re all healthy and wholesome.


And there’s more to love about this book: The pages are wipe-clean so you don’t have to worry about sticky fingers and, my favourite part, at the back you will find a bunch of gorgeous tear-out cards with sweet messages, funny jokes or Did You Know’s for your little eater. Who doesn’t love finding a surprise note in their lunchbox?

To find out more about Exisle Publishing, to take a closer look at ‘The Mix + Match Lunchbox’ and to order a copy online visit

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Memories on Monday

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May 302016

Wondering how to keep the kids happy when cold and windy weather is keeping them inside? Baking a yummy treat (and eating it afterwards) is always a big hit with our hungry bunch so this week we tried our hand at making a scrumptious carrot cake. They all did their bit in the baking preparations and the end result was totally amazing, this is definitely going to be a big family favourite from now on! (I have already requested it as my birthday cake for my next birthday) Recipe below:

Monday 1

Monday 2

Monday 3

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake
3 cups grated carrot (packed)
2 cups plain flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 large eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp bicarb soda

Cream Cheese Icing
250g Philadelphia cream cheese
50g unsalted butter
1/4 cup icing sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 160C and prepare a 20cm round cake pan, we used a non-stick pan but if you don’t have non-stick you may want to grease and line your pan to make sure the cake comes out easily.
2. Mix carrot, sugar, oil and eggs together in a bowl until combined
3. In a separate bowl (large!) thoroughly mix flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the carrot mixture. Stir until well combined and add the walnut pieces.
5. Pour your cake batter into your cake tin and bake for 50 minutes or until cooked.
6. To make your icing use an electric mixer to cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.
7. Cover top and sides of your cooled cake with a deliciously thick layer of cream cheese icing (or slice cake in two layers and use some of the icing to sandwich them together) and and enjoy!

Mar 152016

Russell Hobbs

A few weeks ago I made the mistake no one on a diet should make: I went to the supermarket on an empty stomach. I admit it took some self control but I made the (diet)wise decision to pass the confectionary aisle and picked up something from the health food section instead. I decided on a nice ‘raw coconut rough’ superfood bar which turned out to be absolutely delicious but sadly also very expensive…

As I sat in the car slowly enjoying my special treat I studied the packaging and read it only had 7 ingredients. It got me thinking that if I could source those ingredients I could try and replicate the same product at home so it would be more suited to our family budget. I found all the ingredients at my local supermarket and health food store (bulk is the way to go with a large family!) and got out my Russell Hobbs food processor.

Russell HobbsThe high gloss Russell Hobbs Colour Control Multi-Processor (RRP $149.95, 850W) with stainless steel finishes is a stylish and versatile kitchen appliance designed for chopping, shredding, grating, whisking, whipping, blending and beating. It comes with a large 1.7 litre processing bowl, 1.5 litre blending jug and a range of accessories to help you take your homecooking from simple to chef.

Raw Coconut Rough Russell Hobbs

To make my Raw Coconut Rough I used the extra strong titanium coated blades (much harder than uncoated stainless steel) to easily cut through and chop the coconut flakes. The processor has four different speed settings to suit all your prepping needs and you can see by the colour of the handy light-up ring which setting the machine is on, to get my mixture to the right consistency I used a combination of speed 3 (blending) and P (chopping, processing).

Raw Coconut Rough Slice

The only downside of making my own snacks in my food processor is that it does take a bit of washing up. You have to take all the pieces apart for a thorough clean (by hand or dishwasher) afterwards, so the best way to make the dishes worthwhile is by making a few big batches at the same time. After making my Raw Coconut Rough I also made a batch of Raw Almond Bliss Balls, hubby and the kids go crazy for these.

Raw Coconut Rough

The Russell Hobbs Colour Control Multi Processor comes with a generous 2-year warranty for extra peace of mind.

To find out more about Russell Hobbs, to browse the range and to locate a stockist near you visit

Here’s my homemade Raw Coconut Rough recipe and the products/brands I used:

Raw Coconut Rough

  • 4 tbsp Raw Organic Cacao Powder (Power Super Foods)
  • 1 tbsp Raw Organic Lucuma Powder (Loving Earth)
  • 3 tbsp Raw Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Organic Vanilla Bean Paste (Queen Fine Foods)
  • 3 heaped cups Coconut Flakes (try the ‘bin’ section at your health food store for best value)
  • 15 Medjool Dates (pitted)
  • pinch of Himalayan Pink Rock Salt

With the measuring part done the rest is smooth sailing, just throw everything in your food processor and blitz to combine (there should be no big coconut flakes left!). It may take a while to come together and don’t forget to scrape down the sides from time to time. Once everything is combined it may still look a bit crumbly, but if you can squeeze it and it stays together well it will work.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper with plenty of baking paper hanging over on the side. Place your mixture on the baking paper and fold the ‘overhanging’ baking paper over the top. I used a rolling pin to flatten the mixture and smooth it to cover the entire tray, my slab was about 7-8mm thick but obviously there may be some variances. Pop your tray in the freezer for an hour or so.

Your raw coconut rough slab should now be quite solid and not as sticky so it is very easy to cut. I cut mine in little bars weighing approx. 30g each. Remember that due to the dates the sugar content is quite high even though they are natural sugars, so you don’t want to make your bars much bigger than this. I feel this is the perfect size and chocolatey snack to keep me going. Keep in the fridge, enjoy!

Getting crafty with ‘bread dough’

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Jun 152013

Last week I shared on Facebook some photos of a little craft activity I did with the kids for hip daddy’s birthday (to be honest it was more for their own enjoyment but that doesn’t matter). They really enjoyed it and as a few readers emailed me to ask for the recipe I thought I’d share it here for all to enjoy.

Bread Dough creations ready to be baked

Bread Dough creations ready to be baked

Back at primary school in my home country The Netherlands I always enjoyed working with ‘brooddeeg’ which literally means bread dough. I was not sure what Australian people call it but some say it is called salt dough. Either way, the good thing about bread dough as opposed to regular play dough is that you can bake it in the oven and actually have a little piece of art that the kids can keep to look at or gift to someone else. Play dough is fun but my kids often get a little sad when they have to punch down the artwork they worked so hard on.

Fresh out of the oven, a little faded but still cute

Fresh out of the oven, a little faded but still cute

To make bread dough simply mix 3 cups of plain flour, 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of (vegetable) oil. Once you have made this into a nice soft dough divide it into a few different sections and colour each section with a bit of food colouring (yes your hands will get pretty dirty!). I believe you can also use a particular type of paint but I didn’t have any on hand and this worked fine too.

Miss 2 showing off her handmade necklace

Miss 2 showing off her handmade necklace

Once your kids have decided on their final creations place them on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes on ca. 100C followed by 90 minutes on ca. 125C. If the dough creations are quite flat they should be dry and hard by then, if they are a little thicker and higher they might take a little longer. As I knew the girls would want to wear their shapes as a pendant I made a little hole in them before putting them in the oven. Great idea for Christmas tree decorations too!

I admit that it was a pretty messy activity and there was some washing up to do but the smiles on their faces made it all worth it.

Dec 302012

A few weeks ago I shared with you some of our Dutch Sinterklaas traditions and as we are nearing the end of the year I thought it would be nice to tell you about a typical Dutch New Year’s tradition too. When my husband came to The Netherlands for the very first time in December 2005 he was introduced to a special Dutch treat called ‘oliebollen’ (Oil balls) which people traditionally eat around New Year’s Eve as well as at fancy fairs etc. I myself am not a big fan but in my husband’s memory they are delicious so this year we made our first attempt at making them here in Australia.

Target Essentials Deep FryerTo make oliebollen you need a deep fryer and as we didn’t have one yet we popped into our local Target store and picked up this Target Essentials Deep Fryer for $30. Obviously we don’t use a deep fryer that often and this one is simple, affordable and does the job really well, a wise choice I think. I am sure you can guess that being a deep fried food oliebollen are not overly healthy, it is good you only eat them once a year!

Koopmans Oliebollen MixNow I’ll be honest here, to make it easy for ourselves (you could call it lazy) we just used a prepacked mix from the Dutch shop called Koopmans Oliebollen Mix. You only need to add water and you can also add sultanas/raisins if you like but they are not a must. One packet is enough to make 20-25 oliebollen depending on what size you make them. I’ll share a proper recipe later too for those who are keen to give it a go and prefer to make them from start to finish.

Real Dutch Oliebollen

Real Dutch Oliebollen

The preparation process is easy: Add water to the powder, whisk or use a kitchen machine to mix, cover and let it all rise for 45 minutes. In the meanwhile you preheat the deep fryer to 190 degrees celsius and then it is time to make your oliebollen. Use two tablespoons to make your mixture into balls, drop them in the hot oil and deep fry until cooked and golden brown (3-4 minutes). Take them out, let them rest on kitchen towel to remove the excess oil and they’re ready to be served!

Target Vintage Blue PlateOliebollen are generally served with a good sprinkle of powder sugar (preferably the real Dutch stuff as it does taste different). I wish you could all have a try, I think they look really yummy! We served our oliebollen on these gorgeous light blue Target Vintage Dinner Plates ($5 each) and the striped paper napkins ($3.99 per 25) are from Target as well. If you love those cute plates too you should pop into the Target Homewares section, they even have matching bowls!

To locate your nearest Target store or to order online visit

Fancy oliebollen from scratch:

1 big apple (soft and slightly sour) cut into very small pieces

225 gram sultanas/raisins

500 gram plain flour

1 sachet yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg (beaten)

300ml beer at room temperature

200ml milk at room temperature

1. Mix the apple, sultanas, salt and a few tablespoons of the flour in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl mix the remainder of the flour, sugar and yeast.

3. Add to this the egg, beer and milk and use the hand mixer to combine until smooth. Gently fold in the sultana mixture.

4. Cover with a damp cloth in leave it to raise for about 2 hours in a warm spot until the mixture has doubled in size.

5. Heat the deep fryer to 185 degreese celsius.

6. Use an ice cream scoop or two table spoons to make the mixture into balls, drop them in the oil and cook for ca. 5 minutes until golden brown (turn them at halfway point). You can cook 5 oliebollen at the same time.

7. Once cooked remove them from the oil, place on paper towel to rest and serve with a good serving of powder sugar.


Feb 242012

In September last year I wrote about the movie The Help, and how keen I was to go and see it at the movies. I am sure you can guess that that didn’t happen, it takes quite some preparation to go out without kids and before we knew it the movie was not being played anymore. For months I have been hanging out for the DVD release and last night I finally got to watch this inspirational story, it was even better than I expected and I loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish and would highly recommend it to others.

Based in a Mississippi town in the 1960’s aspiring journalist Skeeter (Emma Stone) lands her first job at the local newspaper, answering the every day cleaning questions of female readers in the Miss Myrna column. Just like many American families those days Skeeter grew up with a help so cleaning is not something she is familiar with, which is why she turn to her friend’s house maid Aibileen (Viola Davis) for advice.

We all know there was a time when skin colour determined the way people were treated and what their job was but do we REALLY know what it was like? Skeeter is determined to find out and to tell the world what really goes on behind the doors of ordinary American family homes. At first Aibileen is not so sure and scared of getting into trouble, but soon she decides that their side of the story is worth telling (provided she can stay anonymous).

Before long Minny (Octavia Spencer), another help and friend, joins in to share her experiences. Sometimes they are funny, other times they are sad, sometimes heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking. Skeeter’s friends are not so happy about her growing friendship with what they consider lower class, they are not ready or willing to accept that times are changing. When Skeeter’s book ‘The Help’ is finally released it becomes a huge hit, everyone is reading it until they realise the stories are a lot less funny when it is your household they are writing about!

This movie will definitely leave you hungry as Minny makes the most delicious food. Everyone loves Minny’s pie, well, not everyone… You have to watch the movie to get that one! Don’t worry, there is nothing secret about this The Help style recipe for yummy Cheesecake Pecan Pie.
1 (15 oz) pkg refrigerated piecrusts
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
4 large eggs, divided
¾ cup sugar, divided
2 tsp vanilla, divided
¼ tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup light corn syrup
1. Unfold and stack 2 piecrusts together. Gently roll or press together and fit into a 9-inch pie plate according to directions; fold edges under and crimp.
2. Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and salt at medium speed with a mixer until smooth.
3. Pour into piecrust and sprinkle with pecans.
4. Stir together corn syrup, 3 eggs, remaining ¼ cup sugar, and remaining 1 tsp vanilla and pour mixture over pecans.
5. Bake at 180°C for 50-55 minutes until set.

The Help is now available on Blu-ray and DVD at major retailers across Australia.

For your chance to win a copy of The Help on Blu-ray simply answer the following question: What would be your cleaning question for the Miss Myrna column?

Submit your answer by leaving a comment below, your email address will not be published.

If you really want to win you can earn up to ten additional entries, please leave separate comments for each entry:

Competition ends March 24, 2012. Sorry, Australian entries only.