Get Your Bake On: Old School Butterscotch Tart

One of my fondest memories of primary school was, believe it or not, the school dinners.

I’m not talking about the questionable ‘meat’ slices we had with our roast dinners (WTF was that stuff?! It’s probably best not to know) nor the pink gunge known as Blamange that we were often presented with. I’m talking about the holy grail of puddings that we got once in a Blue Moon, but when that day arrived, my word I was a happy little person;

Butterscotch Tart

Butterscotch Tart recipe

I can still remember the taste of it if I close my eyes.

The way the Butterscotch filling stuck to the back of my scratched spoon.

The way the pastry flew across my melamine plate if I wasn’t careful as I cut it.

The dollop of sweet, marshmallow like cream on the top of it.

Utter childhood bliss.

My two eldest boys are suckers for this pudding too so we spent some time yesterday making one. They sat there in the kitchen last night, savouring every mouthful and telling me, “this is the pudding of my dreams Mummy!”. Happiness personified.

I hear ya kiddos, I hear ya. Now, where’s my slice?

Here’s the recipe!

Butterscotch Tart recipe

Sob story – I think motherhood has turned me into a cry baby…

My name is Gem and I’m a crier.

It’s that time of year again where I seem to spend most of my days getting emotional about literally everything.

I’m not joking, I don’t think there is a day that goes by at the moment where I don’t ugly cry at something.

It could be an advert about nappies, it could be a rare moment of affection and love between my boys, it could be a new bottle of Gin arriving in the food delivery that sets me off. I really do seem to turn on the waterworks at anything.

I am pretty sure my husband must think that I have finally lost the plot.

The summer term at school is always a hard one. There is loads going on day to day, there’s lots to remember, there’s uncertainty, questions, angst, stress, laughter, memories made, milestones reached and it’s all starting to take it’s toll on me.

I seriously don’t think I used to cry as much pre-kids. I have always been an emotional person (the sort to cry at TV shows and don’t even try to get me to watch Children in Need or suchlike, I just can’t) but I am pretty certain that motherhood has made my tendency to sob worse.

Just last week I think I cried about 15 times. Here are some of the things that set me off, some trivial, some not so;

– Ben telling me thank you at bedtime for giving him cuddles all day.

– All three boys eating the same dinner, sitting for the whole mealtime without me shouting at them for using their cutlery as weapons against each other like they normally do and finishing everything on their plates.

paddling pool brothers

– Listening to a song by someone called Agnes Obel (September Song – it was used in Big Little Lies on Sky Atlantic and I love it)

– Watching my middle one in his class assembly say his lines. For someone that didn’t say ‘Mummy’ until he was 4 and had speech therapy, I always get emotional seeing how far he has come when he does some public speaking.

– Listening to my middle one and his class sing their songs in their class assembly (Lean on by Bill Withers and History by One Direction – both got me right in the feels)

– Thinking about the fact my eldest only has 2 years left at Primary school.

Son being a cool dude

– Thinking about my middle one’s wonderful teacher leaving next week – she is one of the most lovely people I have ever met.

– Reaching the bottom of the washing basket for 2 whole hours.

– Having to say goodbye and go the funeral of my Auntie’s Grandma who was 102 years old – what a woman she was and what changes she saw in her lifetime. The vicar explained that when she was born in 1915, the first ever telephone call happened. Can you imagine the leaps in technology she has lived through, as well as witnessing 2 World Wars?! Astounding.

– Watching the last episode of Breaking Bad (yeah, we were late to the party there but what a series!!!)

– Having an argument with some fondant icing and ripping the head off something I had made in a fit of rage. Somewhat satisfying as well I have to say.

– Panicking about what I need to remember for the last 2 weeks of school and how I am going to fit everything in that I need to get done before the kids finish for summer holidays.

– Looking back at photos of my family and the kids.

Dorset kids on the beach

– My eldest coming out with some hilarious sayings and sounding really grown up. The comedian in me was super proud of his sarcasm, even if it was verging on cheekiness.

– Being told by my husband that a cake I made was actually, quote, “Pretty good”. High praise indeed from him.

Oh man, I’m starting to get all emosh just writing all this down! See, I told you I’m a crier.

 I actually hate the fact I am a crier. It’s super embarrassing.

Every time I feel like I am going to start wailing, I tell myself not to. I give myself a metaphorical slap around the chops and try to pull myself together, but to no avail. I’ll manage for a minute or two and then, once the floodgates have opened, that’s it. I’m like Paul Gascoigne after England crashed out of Italia ’90.

Last week, I knew I was going to cry at Zak’s assembly before I had even seen it. I read the script he was practicing with because I thought I might not find it as emotional if I’d got it all out of my system at home but no, I still sobbed like a lunatic whilst they spoke about being brave moving into year 3, about saying goodbye to their friends and reminiscing about all the fun they’d had as a class over the last 3 years. I was massively thankful that Ben piped up and demanded a piddle towards the end of it because I had snot dripping from my nose and makeup smudged all over myself like a crying clown. What a numpty.



I even looked at techniques online to apparently help stop yourself from crying;

– Pulling your bottom eyelids down (yeah Gem, because that wouldn’t look weird in front of the whole school and all the parents of your son’s class would it…)

– Pinching the bit of skin between your thumb and pointing finger really hard.

– Deep breathing.

– Singing a jolly song in your head (I chose always look on the bright side of life. That was a bad choice – it made me cry).

– Counting in your head.

– Looking up (again Gem, you’d have looked like a bit of an idiot doing that, either like you’re bored or doing some serious soul searching)

None of those things worked. None of them.

Utter bullshit.

I just cannot, stop, sobbing!!!!

Next week when it’s the end of term I am going to be even worse *goes off to google more ‘stop yourself from crying’ techniques*. We have leavers/end of year assembly at school and even though none of my kids are leaving, I will still cry. We have to say goodbye to my middle one’s teacher for good, again I will probably ugly cry in front of her and the entire class. We have to say goodbye to my little one’s preschool manager who is also one of the most lovely people ever (she is off to live in Dubai…noooooo!), the 3 year old has his preschool booster jabs and is going to hate me forever for letting them jab him up and we just have day to day carnage and shit to remember. I think I might be a complete wreck by next Friday and be on intravenous Gin.

I am fully preparing myself for another couple of weeks of snotty nosed sobbing before the summer holidays hit, and then I’ll probably just be crying through stress. Please be kind to me summer holidays…


 Dprset sunset

The Summer that was… (2016)

So, Autumn is officially here.

The leaves are starting to change colour and fall (yay for crunchy leaf walks, nay for loads of leaves rotting in my garden that I need to pick up and really can’t be arsed with).

As a little memento of our summer, I have compiled some of our photos into a slideshow to look back on.

You don’t have to bore yourself rigid watching it (it’s like when you’re being made to look at someone else’s holidays photos and you have to pretend to be really interested when, in actual fact, you’re wishing for a power cut to make it stop and would rather have a gynecological exam than look at anymore bloody photos…) I just wanted to have a keepsake on my blog to look back on when I am old and wishing I had a toddler who still crapped on my carpet at home. What am I saying, that’ll never happen but you know what I mean. I moan about them (lots) but I do love them, I don’t always like them, but I always love them.

So here’s my Summer 2016 Montage…

It’s only 10 hours long.


Not sorry.



Kids activity idea: Capture the flag (from Percy Jackson)

“At the end of the day, a kid should have dirty feet, messy hair and a smile on their face”.


All kids love to be outdoors. I know some of my best childhood memories are of long summer days spent playing outside in the street, or over the common, near my parents house. We had no time limit during the school holidays, we just had to be back before it got dark, and we always did as we were told. Fresh air, exploring, making memories.

Sadly, it is impossible where we live to give our children that much freedom. I don’t feel safe letting them be quite as ‘free range’ as we were, but I still think that getting outside and doing some physical activity every day is very important.

We make sure that every few weeks, we meet up with a group of close friends and we do a good old family walk together. We explore our local area and the kids have a bit of freedom to run about and burn off some energy. These get together’s are fast becoming some of our favourite times, the kids – and the grown ups, especially if there is a pub involved! – truly love it.

On one of our walks that we went on this weekend, I asked the kids if they would mind playing a game I have been asked to test out. They all jumped at the chance and were super enthusiastic which was awesome so I set about explaining the rules to them.

The game is called Capture the Flag, and is based on a game played in the movies, and books, of the Percy Jackson series.

If you’re not familiar with the Percy Jackson series, you can find out about them more, here.

The basic jist is that the books/movies are based on the characters and stories of Greek Mythology, and Percy is a Demi-God – meaning he is the son of a mortal woman called Sally and a Greek God, Poseidon.

He struggles at school but soon realises that there is more to him than meets the eye…and so begins Percy’s adventures.

My eldest is absolutely obsessed with Percy Jackson so he couldn’t wait to get started on playing the game with his friends!!!

I also love the stories and I think it is great that my eldest already knows so much about Greek Mythology at such a young age, it really helps capture the imagination and makes for some pretty creative writing by him from time to time, as well as some interesting Ancient Greek lands in Minecraft being built!

 Rules and the aim of the Game




Capture the Flag is a game played with 2 teams.

Each team has a flag which they hide in their area, or land as my kids liked to call it.

The basic aim of the game is to capture your enemy teams flag by performing a raid into their land to get it, without being caught.

The place we chose to have our game of Capture the Flag was our local wetlands centre. It had wide open spaces, suitable for the kids to run around safely, and a path across the field which acted as a very good boundary line between the two lands. We had made a couple of flags at home before we went by using some old windmill sticks and some coloured craft tissue paper, one Green and one Pink. This would be a really good craft activity for a rainy summer holiday afternoon if you were at a loss for ideas!


 After explaining the rules to the kids, they were rearing to go and decided, of their own accord, to split into a boys team and a girls team…kids! They stuck their flags in the ground and placed a bag down a little way from their flags to act as a prison. If you get tagged whilst in your enemy’s area, you are sent to prison and you have to wait for another team member to come along and set you free by tapping your hand before you can join the game again.

After a countdown, it was game on and the kids were off!

Giggling, hysteria, happiness, heckling parents on the sidelines, it was wonderful to watch!

The kids spurred each other on, they helped each other out, they came up with game plans and had a whale of a time.

We played 3 games and, I am very sad to report, the smelly boys won all 3 games!!!! The cheeky monkeys!

They were all left laughing with rosy cheeks and sweaty brows. A perfect way to burn off some energy on a rare sunny afternoon!

 The kids verdict on the game was that it was, “Super fun!”. I think that means they enjoyed it!

For me, their faces in the photos say it all…

 If you would like to have a go at playing the game, you can do so by using the rules in this post.

It would be a great game for birthday parties, for schools to use in PE, as a warm up exercise at sports clubs or just for a large group of friends to play together, like ours did.

You can also buy the new book in the Percy Jackson series, The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo – Book 1)  here! It’s sure to be another good one, full of action and adventure, and I know my 8 year old lad is desperate to read it.

 Do let me know if you have a go at this game, I’d love to hear what you and your kids thought about it!


Britmums Daily Photo Challenge: Day 21 -Girl

This was a tough one for me seen as I live in a house full of boys, so I’ve chosen a photo of myself as a little girl ready for my very first dance show. 

From what I remember, we were Rose Buds, and we performed at a small theatre and then we did a summer fair somewhere and we had to dance around dressed like this in a field…

The older girls had long dresses and rose arches which we (rose buds) ran in and out of. I’m not sure what’s going on with my tights but someone obviously thought they were a good idea…

I’m probably about 4 years old here. Little did I know at that age that dance would have such a large impact on my life. I dearly miss it but I know I’ll get back to it one day…preferably before I’m too old and I can’t lift my leg (or myself for that matter!!) more than 2 inches off the ground 😉😂