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 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.
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.
Very occasionally I will give my body a treat, and eat clean, healthy food.
So we started today with Mummy and me raw porridge.
Incredibly simple to make, and delicious too.
Soak porridge oats overnight in the liquid of your choice. For small person’s oats I used milk, and for mine I used apple juice. I’ve used rolled Scotish chunky oats. To a ratio of 1 to 1. So for the grown up size, half a cup of oats, to half a cup of juice.
For the bigger one with apple juice, I threw in some chopped dates, milled flaxseed and sultanas, left in the fridge over night, and it was ready to eat in the morning. I just put in in the microwave for 40 seconds to take the fridge chill off it. The apple, oats, dates and sultanas were sweet enough not to have to add anything, and tasted Scrummy. You may need to add a little extra liquid in the morning, but that is down to taste.
For small person’s version, it was milk and oats soaked overnight. In the morning I heated his a little, added a few sultanas, and sweetened with some maple syrup. It tasted exactly like a flapjack.
Have fun experimenting with these. You can use fruit, or even chocolate!
I really enjoyed getting back to basics this Easter. Pre child, I worked in catering, so was usually cooking other people’s dinner, and post child, I lost the love of cooking. When all your nutritious offerings are rejected for beans and hotdogs, you soon learn not to bother wasting food.
This year however, I wanted to make a traditional family meal. So I ditched the usual frozen roast potatoes, and instead made my own, par-boiling, then roasting in hot lard. It may not sound good to modern palettes, but trust me, even small person ate them all, and he isn’t a lover of spuds.
Next came the gravy. Another thing I usually cheat with, using granules that all too many times, are totally tasteless. But today I had roasted a leg of lamb, studed with cloves of garlic, on a bed of shallots. Once the meat was out of the pan and resting, I de-glazed the pan, getting all those Scrummy burnt on bits, added a bit of red currant jelly, and viola. Gravy, that once again, small person surprised me with by having second helpings.
Artique in Amble is one of those places you can spend hours in. It’a large building which was once a restaurant. It stood empty for quite some time before it was taken over by this unusual business. Every available space on the shop floor is rented by local people to sell their wares.
You can find everything from vintage and antique, to the handmade and unusual.
Every corner and doorway holds a new surprise.
They also have a warm and friendly cafe, which serves delicious homemade food.
This really is a one stop shop for any gift you have in mind. Locally handcrafted. Children’s toys and books. Vintage and collectables. Crafting and art supplies. And the best cheese scones in town.