Get your Bake On: Poke Ball Biscuits (Pokemon Go!)

Get your Bake On: Poke Ball Biscuits (Pokemon Go!)

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 If your household hasn’t been bitten by the Pokemon Go bug yet, well done you. I’ve no idea how you have escaped it, but kudos to you.

My boys (not my husband…yet) are obsessed with it and I am 99% sure that this is what our summer holidays will be spent doing.

In fairness, I don’t mind it too much. It’s actually getting the kids asking to go for walks, to spend time outside and to explore. All things I used to do when I was a kid in the summer holidays before numerous on demand TV channels, iPad’s and computer games existed. It’s actually quite nice. The only bummer is my mobile phone has been nabbed by my 8 year old I can’t use it for anything by the time I want to because the battery is so depleted!

Anyhow, in homage to Pokemon Go, and as a summer holiday activity, here is my recipe for (standard) Poke Ball Biscuits! If you google Poke Balls online, there are many different variants of them, but I went with the simplest version for this seen as I am very much a ‘home baker’.

So, here we go!

Gotta catch em all!


Ingredients

For the Biscuit Dough

250g butter, softened

140g caster sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

300g plain flour

For the Icing

500g Box of Royal Icing Sugar (I used this one by Silver Spoon)

50ml Cold Water (in a jug – you may or may not need all of this water)

Red Gel Food Colouring (Gel food colour is much better and gives a more vivid colour than Liquid)

Black writing Icing (Again, I used Silver Spoon)


 Method

1 – Pre-heat the oven to 180’c (160’c Fan) and line a large baking tray/sheet with grease-proof paper.

2 – Mix 250g softened butter and 140g caster sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, or in a freestanding mixer.

3 – Add 1 egg yolk and 2 tsp vanilla extract, then briefly beat to combine.

4 – Sift in 300g plain flour and mix the ingredients until they are well combined

(you might need to get your hands in at the end to give everything a really good mix and press the dough together)

5 – Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out until 1/2cm thick.

6 – Cut the dough using a circular cutter, use whichever size you wish but I used a 3inch one.

7 – Place the dough circles on the baking sheet, leaving a gap of about 3cm between each biscuit, and bake for 15 minutes. The biscuits should still be pale and only lightly coloured on the edges.

8 – Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the tray. This is important, otherwise your biscuits will be too fragile to move and will possibly break.

9 – Once cooled slightly, remove from the baking tray and place onto a cooling rack so they can cool completely. Repeat this baking process for the remaining uncooked biscuits.

Now you’re ready to decorate!

Whoop!

1 – Empty the contents of the Royal Icing box into a large mixing bowl, I used my stand mixer for this part.

2 – Add water, slowly, until the desired consistency is reached. For me, this desired consistency is known as the 5 second stage, in that the icing, when dropped from a height, takes 5 seconds to mix back into the icing in the bowl. Quite firm but runny enough to pipe.

3 – When the icing has reached it’s desired consistency, pour half of it into a disposable piping bag

(Tip: I place my piping bags in a pint glass and pull the edges over the top of it to keep it in place. I then put the icing in and it is fairly mess free!)

4 – Colour the remaining half of the icing using your Red Gel colouring and mix well. I used about 1/2 a teaspoon of colouring, but judging it by eye is always your best bet. You want a vivid red for these Poke Ball biscuits.

5 – Pipe half of your biscuit with the white icing, doing the border first and then filling it in.

(Tip: I always keep a couple of cocktail sticks handy so I can move the icing about/fill in any gaps on the biscuit easily)

6 – Leave to set for 10 minutes.

7 – Now repeat this step with the red icing on the other half of the biscuit.

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8 – Now leave to set for a bit again, 15 minutes or so just to be sure.

9 – Take your black writing icing and pipe a line across the middle of the biscuit to hide the join line between the white and red halves.

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10 –  Now pipe a black circle in the middle of each Poke Ball, about the size of a 10p.

11 – Finally, pipe a little white dot into the middle of the Poke Ball, on top of the black circle you just piped.

12 – Leave to dry, preferably for 4 hours or overnight. Once the icing has dried, you’re safe to place the biscuits in an airtight container or zip-lock bag for a couple of days…if they last that long!

And there we have it!

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Poke Ball biscuits fit for any Summer Holiday Pokemon hunter, or for a kids birthday party!

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 If you have a go at these biscuits, do let me know by sharing your photos on my Facebook page or by tagging me over on Instagram @lifeisknutts.

Have a super (Pokemon Go!) Summer Knutters!

Gems.x

PS: Here is a photo of the Toddler after munching one of these…it’s safe to say he enjoyed it! 😉

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You Baby Me Mummy



What’s the point in Blogging?

“What is the point in blogging? You do all this work and you don’t even get paid for it!”

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That is a sentence I have heard A LOT of late.

It’s a valid point, I’ll grant you that, but I’m not sure everyone really understands what blogging is all about. Mind you, I’m not sure I entirely know myself.

Let me explain why I write a blog and why I started it. It might be a bit of a long tale so I suggest you pour yourself a Coffee (or Gin, that would be more appropriate) and open an entire pack of biscuits (Jam and Cream ones for me thanks…) to scoff whilst you have a read…


It all started back in 2012 when me and my other half got married, finally. I had to almost come up with a business plan and do a presentation to him as to why, after having 2 kids together, it was a good idea to get married. You know, all the practical reasons like the problems people have travelling abroad with their kids when they have a different Surname to them, what happens when one of us dies; happy, joyful, loving stuff like that.

Anyhow (I’ve digressed already, this is a bad start), we got married in 2012 and we were very lucky to be able to leave the kids with my parents for 10 days afterwards so we could go on a honeymoon to Iceland. This honeymoon proved to be quite the ‘adventure’ and due to the utter hilarity of almost every day (by that I mean near death experiences) I began writing about what was happening to us on my Facebook page for friends and family.

After a few days of posting, people began telling me I was funny (I know, they must’ve been drunk) and that I had a talent for writing. I didn’t think much more of it (spot the person with zero confidence) and that was that. I carried on writing rambles on my Facebook page until early 2015 when I decided, after much persuasion, to start a blog.

I started off on a free platform called, Blogger. It took all of 2 minutes to setup, looked terrible like one of my kids had chosen the background and I had no idea what I was doing. The next natural step for me was to start a Facebook page, which I linked to my blog. I felt at home on Facebook seen as this is where I had started my blogging journey so to speak.

I started writing my posts, safe in the knowledge that the only people reading them were my family, close friends and my husband. Not a big audience, but it was a start. Once I had a few posts done, I then invited my Facebook friends to like my page and asked them to have a read. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting many people to accept my request and assumed they would huff and roll their eyes at me, like when you get one of those invites to play bloody Candy Crush…*sigh*.

To my amazement, by the end of that day, I had 80 people signed up to reading my tripe. I love you all very much and you guys gave me the confidence to keep going and have a bash at this writing malarkey.

You are, “The Original Knutters”.


 A few months passed and I gained followers, as well as readers from very far fetched parts of the world such as Ghana and Sri Lanka. I’ve got no idea how they stumbled across my blog, I’m not sure that they meant to… My page stats went up and down, some days good and some days bad, but all the while, my loyal family and friends were there telling me well done and building my confidence.

After reading other people’s blogs for a while and seeing what their blog pages looked like (I.e: realising that my blog page looked an utter disgrace), I made the switch towards the end of 2015 to a platform called WordPress. It was like an epiphany!

Since moving across to this blogging platform, my blog has grown, become (slightly) more professional looking, more engaging and I *think* that I can now say that I am doing ‘alright’. I have joined some blogging groups where people can support each other and share posts around to increase your readers. I had to get to grips with Twitter (which I had never used until I began blogging), Instagram (which was also new to me but is now, probably, my favourite social media platform) and Pinterest (which I originally used just to pretend I had money and no children so I could have a beautiful house, full of nice things and go on holidays every week…standard Pinterest stuff really!)

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So that’s how I ended up where I am now.

I am still writing complete tosh about my life and I have also branched out into pretending I can bake and make cocktails (basically I am trying to tell you all my life is utter chaos, I love to eat cake and biscuits, and that I would happily swig a cocktail for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day if I didn’t have kids and responsibilities to worry about) 😉

I can’t thank you all enough for being so supportive, engaging and encouraging. I couldn’t have done this without you all so thanks from the bottom of my Gin glass.xx


 So, what do I gain from blogging?

“You do all this work and you don’t even get anything for it! What’s the point?!” I get told.

People probably think most people start a blog in a bid to make money and get free ‘stuff’. I guess that is true for some people, but I can safely tell you all that this is not why I began writing.

The truth is, I love to write and I love to make people laugh. If I manage to put a smile on one person’s face that day, I have fulfilled my remit as a blogger and I consider it a job well done…and thus reward myself with 5 biscuits and a Gin Cocktail.

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Winner.

It has taken me almost a year of plugging away, hard work, long hours writing whilst the toddler should be sleeping and isn’t, in order to get some ‘perks’ – namely Posh Teabags and some kids reading books. From small acorns and all that jazz…and I hit ‘the big time’ recently with my first paid post. Not much, but it is a start.

But as I said, this ‘stuff’ isn’t the reason I blog.

The reason I blog, apart from putting a smile on people’s faces and enjoying writing, was summed up for me entirely at the weekend when something amazing happened.

Let me tell you about it…

(this is written with the permission of all involved)


 A few months ago, I wrote a post about an absolutely amazing little lad and his family who we have the pleasure of knowing and going to school with. This lads name is Sam, and sadly, Sam is a bit poorly at the moment.

I shall keep this explanation brief as you can read all about it in my post, “Live like there is no tomorrow – Sam’s Story”, but to explain in brief, in case you missed it, Sam has cancer. Acute Lymphoblastic Lukaemia to be precise. He is only 8 years old.

Sam was diagnosed back in 2013, at the age of 5, and has had to deal with more in his short life than most us us will do by the time we reach 90, as has his lovely family. His mum, Tamsin, his dad, Stuart, and his little brother, Ross, along with their close family and friends, have had a real time of it and I am lost for words at how to describe how in awe of this family I am.

As I said, you can read my original post about Sam and his family by clicking the link above.

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When Sam began his treatment, he compiled a list with the help of his family. A ‘bucket list’ if you will.

On this bucket list was simple things. Visiting theme parks, going to football matches, visiting places, nothing out of the ordinary or unobtainable. And that sums these guys up. Ordinary. They are just like you or me, trying to find their way through life but, the difference being, that they have got this added ‘speed bump’ in the way of them.

Sam has now completed a huge bulk of his treatment. He is due to finish in April 2017. One of the last things on his bucket list was to go to a music concert. His mum Tamsin set about trying to get tickets to Capital FM’s Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium and sat on her PC like a woman possessed when the tickets came on sale. Being the determined woman she is, she bagged those all important concert tickets. Another of Sam’s bucket list items – tick! Go Tamsin!

A few days later, Tamsin contacted me and asked me if I would help her with something. Of course I said yes and it also meant an excuse to meet up for a coffee and chat. Smashing!

She asked me if I would help her start a social media campaign to see if we could surprise Sam with something a bit extra now she had managed to bag the concert tickets, like a backstage tour or a meet and greet. Tamsin, like I used to be, was a novice with Twitter and Social Media so I said I would use my blogging pals/groups and my social media platforms to help her out and begin a campaign for Sam…the hashtag ‘#SamsWish’ was born.

I was pessimistic I would be much help but I tried my best, sent tweet upon tweet, Facebook message upon Facebook message, a few emails, joined some social media sharing link-ups, and slowly but surely, people began to respond to our plea for help. Friends on Facebook, friends on Twitter, strangers, all began chipping in to try and get this message out to the people ‘in the know’ who might be able to help us and organise something for this most deserving, special, little dude and his family.

A few weeks after starting the campaign, Tamsin got an email from someone saying that they had seen the messages and that they had a family member who would possibly be able to help organise something. This was such exciting news!

Tamsin sent me a message to tell me and I kept all my appendages crossed that something would come of it.

We kept waiting, the concert kept creeping closer and closer until finally, a few days before, Tamsin got confirmation that they had managed to organise a backstage tour for them.

Cue me blubbing like a recently single woman watching Pretty Woman with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s.

I couldn’t believe it had worked!

Everyone had come together, the blogging community, strangers, friends and family, and had made this amazing thing happen for a little boy who they didn’t even know. And that was magical.

The concert day arrived and Sam and his friends and family got a backstage tour, a meet and greet with some famous people/artists, a chance to go on the stage as well as being treated like royalty for the day. I think it is pretty safe to say that Sam had a good time (as did his little brother Ross who now has a girlfriend who is in Little Mix 😉 Haha!!)

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The blogging community is amazing and I cannot thank them all enough for sharing these Tweets and messages. Without you all, this amazing thing wouldn’t have happened. I am sure Sam would still have had an amazing time even if he had just gone to the concert, but the fact it was made so much more special means it’ll be a memory he and his family and friends will cherish forever.

Good things happen good people.

Fact.

And the Sharland Family are good people.

I know Tamsin wants to say thanks to you all too, so this is from me and her to say you all rock and you’ve got no idea how much this meant to them. Tamsin herself will admit she isn’t an emotional person (she has got pretty good at holding it together over the last few years) but I am sure she won’t mind me telling you all that even she had a little ‘moment’ when she found out they had been given this opportunity.


So if you were to ask me again now, “why do you blog?”, it would be for moments like this.

Knowing I helped in a small way to help make this happen has been the best thing EVER, even though I am still ‘winging it’ as a blogger.

Thanks to all who helped. You’re the best Knutters ever.

I shall raise a Gin filled glass to you all later.

Gems.x

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