tilly makes & bakes

Always striving to achieve a state of domestic bliss!

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Carrot and sweet potato cake




175g dark brown sugar

175 ml light olive oil

2 large eggs, beaten

150g grated carrots

50g grated sweet potato

100g raisins

a few drops orange extract

juice of 1/2 a satsuma or clementine

175g self raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

for the icing:

a few tablespoons of icing sugar mixed with the juice of the remaining half of a Satsuma


1. Preheat the oven. Line and grease your square cake pan. Get all your ingredients ready, peel and grate the carrots and sweet potato.

2. Mix the sugar, oil and eggs and combine well in a bowl.

3. Stir in the grated carrots and sweet potato, raisins, orange extract and juice and mix well.

4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, bicarb of soda and spices. Sift into the wet mixture and stir until all the ingredients are combined well. Do not overmix.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 180°C.

6. Prepare the icing whilst the mixture is baking and drizzle onto the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.

This cake was so spongy and comforting. The added sweet potato turns the flavour of this classic cake up another notch. I was so pleased to serve this sweet treat to my family as baking with olive oil and vegetables makes me think it is almost healthy for them!


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Liverpool in a day with kids


We recently spent a long weekend near Liverpool visiting family so we decided to make the most of it and drove into the city for a fun-filled day. We were lucky because the rain held off for most of the day, which was a first in many days! Obviously, there are countless touristy things to do and see in Liverpool. I was quite keen to see the Beatles’ story exhibition. However, with a 4 year old and an 18 month old in tow, not only would they not have appreciated it, but we wouldn’t have been able to really take our time to look at everything in peace. So what to do, what to do!

Well, we started off by parking near the Echo Arena so that we could go on the Liverpool Wheel. As it was a Monday morning, it was literally deserted. We saw a couple of maintenance guys and actually asked them when the wheel would open, only for one of them to reply “It is open, now!” Bonus. We hopped straight on. The kids loved it.  A cheesy commemorative family photo was purchased.


We then moved on to the Albert Dock to have a look around the cafes, shops and of course all the boats and ships.


All the way up the waterfront to the Liver Building.


After that, we were truly frozen to the bone, so we decided to walk further into town in search for a more indoorsy activity. Having done my homework before we came, I knew the place to go was the Liverpool World Museum. This is actually the whole reason why I am writing this post. It was amazing. But I jump ahead of myself.

The exhibits in the World Museum are spread over five floors which are easily accessible by wheelchair, or in our case: pushchair. It starts with an aquarium on level one which had plenty of tanks and the exhibit was just big enough (not too big) to hold our 4 year old’s interest. I loved these large collages which were produced by local Primary Schools. I was mesmerised by the colours on the detail of them. Each animal was painted onto what looked like tracing paper and then layered with other materials. Maybe it’s just my sentimental teacher heart but something about these pictures made me stop and I just couldn’t stop looking at them. Glad I took the photos for future inspiration!





The second floor of the museum was a personal favourite, as it held interactive story scenes from well -known stories such as Hansel & Gretel and Alice in Wonderland. Even our 18 month old was having a blast, running in and out of the scenes and looking at all the pictures and displays. There were dressing up clothes for the children to use and props such as a life size cauldron with a big wooden spoon. Again, with it being a Monday, it was fairly empty and we could access all that was on offer without having to queue or wait our turn. We then entered the bug house, with amazing displays and interactive resources. A favourite was the ant colony which was busy harvesting leaves and food in a see-through box. The ants were able to access their ant hill via a rope strung across to another clear box. Thus we were able to observe the little critters carrying their loads (huge bits of leaves compared to their body size at times) overhead  and across the rope which was hanging free and not boxed in. Wow. David Attenborough eat your heart out!

The theme on the third floor was World Cultures which was probably a bit advanced for our girls but still enjoyed by us all. Brilliant for older kids. At this point I was sadly struck down by a migraine so I took my tablets and remained on a comfy sofa in a hallway while hubby and the girls explored the Dinosaurs and the Space exhibition on the last 2 levels. The fact that I had a fab time despite my migraine goes to show what an amazing  place the World Museum in Liverpool is. And best of all? It was absolutely FREE! We literally spent about 4 hours there and were truly impressed. Aren’t we lucky in this country to be able to visit a wealth of museums free of charge!? Especially when entry to some theme parks and aquariums can cost you an arm and a leg these days.

We finished off in the café which does a mean hot chocolate with marshmallows and squirty cream. My last bit of headache was cured. If ever you find yourself in Liverpool with kids: go, go, go to the World Museum.

I leave you with


A wall of jelly beans in a shop window.



The Beatles made entirely out of jelly beans.

Why not.

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Beating the winter blues


Urgh, look at all that rain on my kitchen window. Much nicer to look at some lovely hyacinths in bloom. And gosh that scent….!


Lots of puddly walks in between showers.


My latest little charity shop find: rainbow coloured shot glasses. They do cheer me up but I’m not sure if they are a bit too 70s trashy yet. Ah well.


Rainbow chalks.


Love it.


Pizza Picnic bread

Roll on summer and picnics in the park! In the meantime, why not have a go at this gorgeous stuffed bread and have a February picnic indoors while it pours (and pours) outside. I found the recipe here (Can’t ever go wrong with that website!). I basically needed to finish off an open jar of pasta sauce and some slices of salami, so I altered the recipe only by changing the ingredients that went inside the bread. That is what I love about this kind of recipe- just chuck all your leftover bits and pieces in.  I also used my loaf tin so that it would keep its shape and that really worked well.


As you can see, the layer of filling is really quite thin so next time I would try to overstuff the dough to give it even more flavour. It felt like a lot of filling when I was rolling it up, but then I suppose as the bread dough rises and puffs up whilst baking, the proportion of dough to filling changes.


Apologies for the Christmassy backdrop in this last photo- I made the loaf in the early days of 2014 when my decorations where still up. So much for being a more frequent blogger in the new year.