8 March 2014

My Digital Postcard From Tanzania for #IWD2014

The three bloggers (A Residence, Mammasaurus and Mummy Barrow) behind the phenomenon that is Team Honk are currently in Tanzania with Comic Relief. They are looking at the lasting change made by the charity, seeing where and how our donations are making a massive difference to lives. They are focusing on female entrepreneurs building business that benefit both their families and the wider community.

T from Mummy Barrow sent me this postcard about a woman she met called Lucy.

T writes:
"Through mentoring and training the Gatsby Trust gave Lucy the confidence to develop her business and to network after moving from the countryside to the city, She is an inspirational creative who brought out so many beautiful, imaginative handcrafted items to show us. More than that she is a teacher and looks forward expanding her business by training other women who want to start up craft and textile businesses."

What has really struck me, from following Team Honk in Tanzania, is how these women are just like us. They work from home, for themselves, starting their businesses from scratch, eventually supporting their families. They just need a bit of support, from charities like Comic Relief, to build their businesses. Then they share their knowledge with others. Just like us.

If you would like to contribute to this empowering charity, here's how:

You can help create #lastingchange by sponsoring #teamhonkrelay for Sport Relief

Join up for your local Sport Relief event here.


4 March 2014

World Book Day Roald Dahl Easy Fancy Dress Ideas

Image: The Book People

My heart sank when the World Book day letters arrived in the boys' book bags.

It's not that I don't like books. On the contrary, I love books. I'm always reading. It makes me happy to see the boys' reading improving rapidly as they make their way through Year 1.

World Book Day is all very well, but the focus is not where it should be, on the books themselves. The focus is on the costumes. The school tell you not to spend any money, but not all of us have a fully-stocked craft and costume cupboard. I don't really do sewing - my sewing machine hasn't made it out of the box yet - and I don't want to let my children down. Last week we had Victorian Day, this week it's World Book Day. There's always something. The school gate is swarming with stressed parents, wondering whether Polly's Disney Snow White costume will do.

There are ways to make it easy on yourself though. We've been working our way through the Roald Dahl collection at bedtime and there are plenty of characters that require only normal clothes and the odd prop to make them instantly recognisable. My boys, miraculously, both chose easy costumes.

George from George's Marvellous Medicine

5 year old Cash chose to be George from George's Marvellous Medicine. I remember Rik Mayall reading this on Jackanory in the 80's. George wears jeans and a red top. He just needs to carry a bottle of medicine and a spoon. For the medicine bottle I used an empty ginger beer bottle, took the label off and scratched off the logo on the lid. I attached a label with 'Grandma' written on it. I filled the bottle with a mixture of gravy and glitter, and screwed the lid on tightly.

Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

6 year old Presley chose to be Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie wears old clothes, so we will dig out an old jumper and some of Cash's trousers for Presley to wear at half mast. He just needs to carry a Wonka bar containing a golden ticket. I bought a Wonka bar before I realised it's a Nestle product. Grrr. I took out the chocolate (to save it from melting in his hands) and replaced it with cardboard wrapped in tissue paper. My first attempt at a golden ticket left me crying with laughter and shame. Art is not my strong point...

Don't laugh.

Okay, you can laugh. After all, I think the 'Saw this on Pinterest... Nailed it' montages are the funniest thing on the internet.

Luckily my friend, Jennifer, suggested printing a ticket from the internet and attaching it to some gold card, and this saved the day.

Other super easy Roald Dahl costume ideas include:

Grandpa Joe

Pyjamas, and talc in the hair

Veruca Salt

Posh outfit and carry a Wonka bar and a golden ticket

Danny Champion of the World

Normal clothes and carry a bag of raisins


Normal clothes and carry a book

The Twits

Stick on a dirty beard, borrow a walking stick

James and the Giant Peach

Normal clothes and carry toy insects. You could even push the boat out on this one and make a giant peach from cardboard.

Have you made an easy costume for World Book Day?

Damson Lane


Easy Apple Cake

There are many ways you can support Team Honk. You could take part in the blogger relay, make a donation, be a social supporter, run a mile, or even, er... bake.

Yes, there is a Team Honk Great Blogger Bake Off.

Mummy Mishaps

There is a Sport Relief/Sporty/Team Honk Relay/ Red Nose theme, that I'm going to take an enormous liberty with. I knew there was going to be a bake off, so had already photographed this easy apple cake and drafted the recipe before I heard about the theme. But I will make it fit. In the Team Honk blogger Relay, I handed the baton to an elephant. Elephants eat fruit. Apples are fruit. I made an apple cake. See. I shoehorned it in. Just about.

This apple cake is simple to bake and has a fruity, spicy, apple-y taste and is extremely moist, and moreish.


125g Butter or Margarine
125g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
125g Plain Flour
2 tbsp Milk
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Cinnamon
60g Sultanas
3 Apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes


Preheat your oven to 180 (fan).
Spray a 23cm loose bottom cake tin with Cake Release Spray.
With an electric mixer, mix the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, milk, baking powder and cinnamon for a couple of minutes.
Stir in the sultanas and apple.
Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for 25 minutes.

Serve on it's own for a teatime treat or with custard as an easy family pudding.

Other easy recipes you may like:

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