A Strong Coffee

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Rubik's Cube: UK Speedcubing Championship 2017

A completed Rubik's Cube is a wonderful sight. This is probably the one and only time I will see ours like this!

Completed Rubik's Cube


 If you are a fan of Rubik's puzzles then you will be interested to know that this years UK Speedcubing Championship takes place in Stevenage between 27th and 29th of October. You can find out more details at the UK Cube Association.

John Adams, makers of the Rubik's cube, sent us one of the new design 3x3 cubes. If like me as a child you may have carefully peeled off the stickers and replaced them so you could complete the cube. you may be disappointed. (OK, I am hoping that this was quite a normal thing to do and all you readers aren't going to look down at me now.) The new cube has tough tiles with new super durable bonded solid plastic tiles. So wave goodbye to cheating!

solving a rubiks cube

There is also a new mechanism, meaning that the twirls and turns are smoother, faster and stronger than ever. Whilst my younger two boys are happier with their Rubik's Junior puzzles, my 10 year old is enjoying trying to solve the 3x3 Rubik's cube. It has an aged guide of 8+. I have so far been unsucessful. Big man is showing more promise and can easily complete a couple of sides. I don't think we will be making the UK Speedcubing Championship this year, but who knows in years to come.....

Rubik's have a whole range of puzzles and you can find out more by visiting the John Adams Website.

Are you a fan of the Rubik's Cube? Did you have an old style one with stickers? If so, did you cheat a little too?

There is still time to enter my Rubik's Junior giveaway!




Family Fever


Friday, 13 October 2017

Win Milkshake! Brand New Besties DVD

With Christmas on the way, I have a lovely giveaway for the little ones in your life: Milkshake! Vrand New Besties DVD.

Milkshake Brand New Besties DVD

Milkshake! fans will be excited to hear that there is a new DVD released by Abbey Home Media on Monday 23rd October. Once again it will be packed full of all your little ones favourites from the Channel 5 pre school brand. Whether it’s keeping a secret, learning to compromise, solving a problem, searching for clues or planning the best sleepover ever, our heroes put their friends firmly first!  

Featuring in this new collection are:-  

PAW Patrol - In ‘Pups Save the Paw Patroller’, Mayor Humdinger has swiped the PAW Patroller! The pups need to get it back and save that meddling mayor too.

Digby Dragon – In ‘Disappearing Spell’, Digby’s friend Sprite comes to visit, and Fizzy casts a disappearing spell on her. When Grizel and Mungo take Spellbook it seems impossible to magic Sprite back again.

Bob The Builder – In ‘Where’s Pilchard?’, when Muck has to shoo Pilchard out of his way, she suddenly vanishes. Leo and the machines run around trying to find her
before Bob realises she’s disappeared.

Peppa Pig – In ‘Playing Pretend’, when Peppa’s bike gets a flat tyre and needs fixing, Peppa and her friends have fun riding their imaginary bikes and jumping in pretend
muddy puddles./

Shimmer and Shine – In ‘Flying Flour’, the girls bake magical flying cookies, but Zeta and Nazboo sneak in to steal the flying flour.

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom – In ‘Lucy’s Elf & Fairy Party’, Lucy celebrates her birthday with an Elf and Fairy party. Lucy’s Dad does a magic show but things get a bit out of hand when Princess Holly and her friends join in…

Fireman Sam – In ‘Best Sleepover Ever’, Norman, Mandy, Sarah and James are having
a sleepover at Mandy’s house. Norman is determined that it will be the ‘Best Sleepover Ever’.

Simon – In ‘The Secret’, it’s Gaspard’s birthday. Simon has found out where Mummy has
hidden his brother’s present. But Simon has sworn he’ll keep it a secret!

Poppy Cat – In ‘Underwater Picnic’, when Zuzu and Alma both arrive with plans for the
group, Poppy teaches them the art of compromise. They set off in the submarine for Seaweed Sea to look for the speedy turtle and have an underwater picnic.

Floogals – In ‘Project Caterpillar’, Boomer has become very fond of the 3 stripy
caterpillars the kids are keeping in the shed. When one vanishes the Floogals stake out the container they are in to see if they can solve the mystery.

Olly the Little White Van – In ‘Bad Luck Olly’, Olly is going through a run of terrible luck. The more he tries to help people the more things go wrong. Help comes from the most
unlikely place as Bazza helps him relax and do what comes naturally….Helping!

Puffin Rock – In ‘Mossy Impossible’, Oona is in danger. She’s tangled up in fishing twine near Seagull Cliff and the seagulls will be back soon! Mossy and Bernie try to free her, but they need help from Mama and Papa Puffin.

Noddy, Toyland Detective – In ‘Broken Crystal Memory Game’, Noddy needs to find out
who broke the Crystal Memory Game before the start of the Daredale Challenge Obstacle Race!

Thomas & FriendsTM – In ‘Toby’s New Friend’, Philip spots Toby and assumes that he is a diesel boxcab just like him. Convinced that they will become best friends, Philip rushes up to introduce himself, but Toby finds him rather overwhelming.


I am excited to be able to offer one of my readers the chance to win a copy of their own Milkshake! Brand New Besties DVD. Just complete the Gleam entry below. Good Luck!


Milkshake! Brand New Besties DVD

Listed on Prizefinder

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Marshmallow Krispie Christmas Trees

Christmas is coming and these easy to make marshmallow Krispie Chirstmas Trees are bound to bring a smile to your guests faces.

Marshmallow Krispie Christmas Trees

Monday, 9 October 2017

Rubik's Junior Review And Giveaway!

There are 2 main regrets that I have over my childhood. Firstly, I never managed to get a Blue Peter badge and secondly I never completed my Rubik's cube. I even bought a book to tell me how too! Imagine my delight when I was sent Rubik's junior puzzles for the boys to review.

Rubik's Junior Puzzles

Monday, 2 October 2017

Chocolate Orange Fondants

I have been wanting to try making chocolate fondants for a while now. Thankfully baking alongside The Great British Bake Off has given me the perfect excuse.

Chocolate Orange Fondants


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Apple Crumble Cake

This wats my first time making a crumble cake, but I don't think it will be my last. My Father in Law bought us a massive bag of apples from his garden and there is only so much apple pie one family can eat. I therefore decided I would do something new.


Obviously the topping to this cake is rather crumbly. Therefore eating it with some custard or ice cream straight from the oven would work well. When I make it again, I will make the cake mixture slightly thinner. The addition of some caramel underneath the crumble layer would work really well too.

close up apple crumble cake

Apple Crumble Cake


To make the cake:
  • 100g butter
  • 125g soft dark brown sugar
  • 180g grated apple
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g soured cream
  • 200g self raising flour

To make the crumble topping:
  • 50g self raising flour
  • 50g butter
  • 50g oats
  • 50g demerara sugar
  1. Line an 8 inch square tin with grease proof paper and pre heat the oven to 180C
  2. Mix all the cake ingredients together and spread over the tin.
  3. For the crumble topping rub the butter and flour together.
  4. Then rub in the oats and stir in the demerara sugar.
  5. Bake for around 40 mins - until a skewer comes out clean.
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apple crumble cake recipe


Friday, 22 September 2017

Banoffee Millionaire's Shortbread

How can you make millionaire's shortbread even better? Add bananas! This banoffee millionaire's shortbread is a real treat.


I made this batch of banoffee millionaire's shortbread before the Great British Bake Off Caramel Week episode aired. If I had watched the episode first I would have baked the shortbread bases separately or waited for them to warm up a bit rather than cutting them straight out of the fridge. As you can see they aren't the prettiest of biscuits but luckily that has no effect whatsoever on the taste.

I also made an error on mt Tesco delivery. One that I didn't notice before I started baking. Rather than ordering Carnation condensed milk so I could combine it with golden syrup and butter to make the caramel, I ordered Carnation caramel. This wasn't a total disaster, but it did mean that the caramel was a little softer than I hoped. I did add some butter to it which I think helped a little.

At the end of the day, however, they tasted good and were gobbled up by the family. Cries of "Oh you can make this again." were heard from my eldest. I did have to stress that I couldn't make it that often as it is loaded in calories and I have no willpower and would happily scoff the lot! I certainly just can't stop at one bite!


Banoffee Millionaire's Shortbread


To make the shortbread:
  • 175g plain flour
  • 130g butter
  • 55g butter

For the Topping:
  • 1 can of Carnation Caramel
  • 60g butter
  • 2 bananas
  • 300g milk chocolate
  • banana chips
  1. Line an 8 inch square tin with grease proof paper and pre heat the oven to 150C
  2. Rub the butter into the flour.
  3. Mix in the caster sugar and press into the lined tin.
  4. Bake for around 30 minutes until it is a light golden brown.
  5. Allow the shortbread to cool.
  6. Warm the caramel through and add the butter. Allow to cool slightly and pour over the shortbread.
  7. Allow to cool in the fridge.
  8. Slice the bananas and add on top of the caramel. I used 16 slices.
  9. Melt the chocolate and pour over the top.
  10. Place banana chips on top of the chocolate.
  11. Allow the chocolate to harden then cut into pieces and enjoy!

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