I recently received a trial pack from Simplycook.com
You get all the spices and stock you need in a handy little pack, along with recipe cards, or download the app.
You just need to buy your main ingredients.
For this jerk Chicken with rice and peas, I received all the spices I needed for the chicken, along with stock for the rice. The recipe card and app have handy little shopping lists. The ingredients you receive have a fairly long shelf life, so no rush to get cooking. All meals take no longer than 20 minutes to cook, so suit those of us with busy lives. You can also choose the frequency of delivery, and tailor your food choices.
If you are anything like me, you might want to add a pudding, here’s a super simple one that fits in with your Caribbean main meal.
Just drizzle a little rum over your fresh pineapple segments, then top with cinnamon and brown sugar, and bake in a hot oven, or on a hot griddle.
And you just can’t beat Wray & Nephew rum. Watch out though, it’s powerful stuff!
We’ll the looooong summer holiday is over and small person is back to school. We’ve had some great days out, lots of paddling in the sea, fish and chips on the prom, and ice-creams at the park, but boy, has the good life taken it’s toll on Mummy’s waistline!
First step was to look at what I am eating. The blender came out of the cupboard and I’ve been enjoying vitamin packed smoothies.
But the biggest help has been logging everything I eat and drink over on My Fitness Pal
As you can see I’ve had a great first week. I’m known as safrolistics over there, I’d love to join up with others looking to lead a healthier lifestyle.
And of course now small person is back in school, I can get out on some long walks
I’ve been logging my walks using the Endomondo app. Again, another free app. This links directly to My Fitness Pal. Every bit of exercise you do, automatically gives you more calories to eat. You can also link your step counter or fitbit if you have one.
So onwards and upwards. Remember the only diet tip you need, is eat less calories than you use. In this first week I’ve enjoyed a huge tapas meal in a restaurant, and homemade chocolate cake. Just balance those indulgences with healthy choices and exercise.
We class ourselves as really lucky to live nearby to Woodhorn museum. Throughout the year they have lots of interesting things going on, and today it was the vintage car rally.
OK, so maybe not all Mummy’s will find this interesting, but my Dad had a vintage Triumph Herald that he fixed up himself, and I spent much of my youth being taken to vintage car, bike, and steam rally’s Modern vehicles don’t do much for me, but an old Triumph bike, Lambretta, Vespa, MG, LandRover or VW really float my boat. And we weren’t disappointed with the turn out, plenty of cars from different eras, something for everyone’s taste, from shiny red racing machines, to a gorgeous Bedford milk delivery van.
A visit anywhere isn’t complete without a visit to the cafe, and once again, Woodhorn doesn’t disappoint. Often when we eat out, small person is finished, and that’s it, he wants to go, at Woodhorn we had pictures to colour in, a quiz about red squirrels to complete, building blocks, puzzle, and his favourite, books about wildlife to read. So he was well occupied while I could take my time over coffee and very freshly baked scone. My only complaint, the coffee cups just aren’t big enough….. do they not realise how much caffeine some of us Mummy’s need? Ha Ha
Of course Woodhorn also has every changing art exhibitions, alongside it’s permanent displays. This visit we caught the WEA exhibition in one of the galleries.
Woodhorn always has a very full year, from the annual miner’s picnic, to the Christmas extravaganza, which last year was amazing, check out their website and plan your visit. And don’t forget a short trip on the Narrow Gauge Railway up to the lakeside to see the water fowl, and maybe spend some time at the pub enjoying the view, alonside a budget hotel if you are planning a longer trip.
Some of you may already know, but I run a small gallery and gift shop in Whitley Bay.
The Gallery specialises in local handmade gifts and treats, and we encourage makers to bring in their items to try and sell them through us.
One thing we are always getting asked by crafters and artists alike is, “What should I charge for my work?”
This is a question I can’t possibly answer, as I don’t know the cost of your materials, or how long it took you to make, but here is a little help on the subject.
Know Your Cost Price. work out exactly how much the items actually took to make. How much were the raw materials? Free? lucky you, but did it cost you petrol money to pick it up? Did you use tools and electricity to make the item? All these add to cost price of your work.
What is your time worth? Next, think about how long the item took you to make. How much is your time worth? Have you just started crafting? Then you are at least worth minimum wage. Did you study art/design/textiles/production and have qualifications in the field you are creating in? Then your time is worth much more than minimum wage. Even without qualifications, if you are knowledgeable and experienced in your field, you should charge a much higher rate of pay than someone just starting out. I am forever hearing “I don’t charge for my time, I’m just knitting/creating whilst I watch TV in the evenings, this is just a hobby”. By not charging correctly for your time, you are de-valuing your craft, for both yourself and others.
Insurance and Tax. You may think of yourself as just a hobbyist, not charging for your time, and just doing the odd craft fair here and there, but if you sell what you make, you are classed as a business and must register at HMRC it’s incredibly easy to do it online, and nowhere near as scary as you might think.
And if you are selling to the public, you must also have public and product insurance. There are lots of insurance companies out there that specialise in small craft traders, it can be basic, and cost around £30 a year, or you can get more expensive insurance, that will cover you for much more, like teaching workshops, selling your work via third parties, and insurance whilst in transit. If you sell at fairs and markets, then you may be asked for a copy of your insurance. If you aren’t, make sure the venue has it’s own insurance. If someone trips on your table, will you personally be liable if they decide to take legal action for injury?
So here we are, your basic formula.
Raw materials to make item. for examples sake, lets say £1
You should at least double what your raw materials are = £2
Add on your hourly rate, unskilled at least £10, more if qualified or experienced, if your item only took half an hour, add at least £5 = £7
Does your item have packaging and a label? Do you print out an information sheet? All these little things add to the final price.
Did you have to buy tools to make this product? The cost must be factored in, each item you make creates ware and tear on tools, so they will eventually need replacing. Did you use electricity? A computer? Broadband? All of these things mount up, but can be very hard to calculate. Now don’t forget to add your insurance, any petrol used to take your items to the fair or market, and add on your fee for selling at the market, or factor in the costs of online selling. Ebay, Etsy, Folksy, all great places to try and sell your handmade items, but they all charge. And then paypal takes their cut of the sale price too!
If you want to sell through shops, most charge a commission rate of around 30 to 40%. You need to add this on to your selling price too.
If you want to be professional, your prices should be the same no matter where you sell, shop owners will not thank you when customers tell them they can get your items cheaper direct! So your original £1 in raw materials, should now be retailing at at least £15 for you to make any profit. And that’s at the most basic level of skill. If you are an experienced artist, that’s a skill most people can’t achieve, so you should be charging much more for your time.
I hope this has helped in any way, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
As someone who worked in professional kitchens for more years than I care to remember, I grew to loath cooking at home. Not that I lost the love of creating something delicious to share with loved ones, more that I hated the faff and mess of cooking at home.
In a work environment, I was lucky enough to use high powered and efficient kitchen gadgets, (and a kitchen porter to do the washing up!) and anything I’ve used at home has been a real disappointment. Until now!
Meet the Kitchen Aid. Not a new product, they have been around for quite a while, but they do have a hefty price tag, which is why it’s taken me quite some years to get my hands on one.
The motor is powerful, and it’s very easy to use. My five year old helped me with my first trial, and even he could use it. It took no time at all to whip up a light and fluffy Victoria sponge cake. And just seconds to make a crumble topping.
One of my main likes? No waste. The attachments, be it dough hook, paddle, or whisk, fits perfectly and reaches everywhere. No Un-mixed butter at the bottom of the bowl, or dry flour at the top. So on the whole, if you can afford one, I would totally recommend a Kitchen Aid mixer. It’ re-awakened a love of baking, and I’m even inspired to try making bread next, something I’ve had very little success with at home.
Now I just need to find a good stick blender like the ones I used to use at work, and I’ll be a happy little domestic goddess. X
Breakfast has become something of an obsession lately. Back when I worked full time, I would just have a drink of water before heading out the door for the day, then grab something to eat once I was at work. Then once I had my son, it was just a case of having something easy whilst I sorted him out, usually his leftover toast.
But all that has changed now. I still don’t have a lot of time in the mornings, but the discovery of overnight porridge is a blessing.
The easiest, and most traditional breakfast like, is overnight oats. One cup of rolled oats. One cup of apple juice. Leave to soak overnight. It’s that simple. Add fruit to your taste, and there you go.
I’m a little late to the party with chia seeds. They are all over instagram and pinterest. But I’m loving this recipe. One cup coconut milk. One cup almond yoghurt. One quarter cup of chia seeds. Mix together and leave overnight in the fridge. Serve with fruit of choice. I went for pomegranate today.
We go to Amble regularly on a pleasant Sunday. But this was our first visit to the newly opened Fish Shack.
Situated directly on the harbour in an unassuming wooden shack. Decking and picnic tables outside, along with two upturned boats with seating inside for those days when you don’t want to eat outside.
I had the mackerel sandwich. The mackerel was cooked to order, and it was all served with salad which included sautéed seaweed and samphire.
Partner went for the salmon with asparagus and scrambled egg, again, with a topping of samphire.
What I was surprised at, was that they had a power supply problem when we called, so with no electricity, they were cooking everything on a barbecue outside. If this is the standard of food they can produce with no power, when other eateries wouldn’t even open, then they really are very special indeed.
They are soon to get a drinks licence, and we are already looking forward to taking our next load of visitors to visit.
I couldn’t help thinking it would be a great place for a party. A few twinkly lights in the boat sheds, with the wine flowing and fish being cooked in front of you from the grill. I wish them every success, and would urge you to visit before the hoards cotton on and you can’t get a table.