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  1. One of my all time Cupcake flavour combinations has to be Lemon and Blueberry.  I’ve experimented with various recipes before but tend to fall back on my old faithful plain mix which never seems to let me down.  All you ever need to remember is that all 4 main ingredients should weigh the same.  So 2 eggs should roughly be 110g and therefore the flour, caster sugar and butter should be the same.  I weighed the eggs once just to satisfy my curiosity and after that I now just do everything at 110g.

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    Makes Approx Small 12 Cupcakes

    110g Self Raising Flour

    110g Caster Sugar

    110g Unsalted Butter (Softened)

    2 Eggs

    Pot of Blueberries (mine was 125g)

    2 Lemons

    Icing Sugar


    Preheat the oven to 190c or 170-180c if it’s a fan oven.

    Cream the Butter and Caster Sugar together for a few minutes until it looks light and fluffy and then slowly add the beaten egg a little at a time alternating with a teaspoon of the flour to stop it curdling. 

    Once the egg has been combined you’ll need to finely grate the lemon.  I grated both because I really like lemon but it’s up to you. 

    Sieve in the flour and put the lemon rind in.  (You are supposed to gently fold in the flour but I used the mixer as I could hear my son refusing to brush his teeth with his Dad so I wanted them in the oven quick.)

    I then squeezed the juice of one of the lemons and slowly added that teaspoon by teaspoon until it had a nice dropping consistency.

    I tossed nearly all of the Blueberries in about 1/2 teaspoon of flour and then stirred them in before spooning the mix into the cupcake cases.

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    Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

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    Once they’d cooled I used the juice of the other lemon and a few tablespoons of icing sugar to make some super tangy lemon icing.  I only iced a few of them as I wanted to try and freeze the rest for lunchboxes but obviously make more icing if you think you’ll eat them all.

    I topped them off with a fresh blueberry and a few crunchy lemon sprinkles and they were delicious.

    Enjoy. xxx

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    Top tips…

    Don’t grate the lemon rind in advance as it will lose some of it’s moisture.

    Tossing the blueberries in a little flour is supposed to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the Cupcake and it certainly works for me.

    Don’t buy cheap cases as they will come away from the Cupcakes when they start cooling.

    Use a Muffin/Cupcake tin if you can as it holds the cakes in shape.

  2. We visited Monkey World at the weekend to take advantage of the Half Price Dorset Residents offer which is on until the end of January 2016.

    Having never visited before I didn’t know what to expect but was completely surprized at how huge and impressive the Park was (65 acres in fact).  Of course the first thing our son Sam spotted was the Play Park and he was in heaven playing there for ages until we managed to persuade him to come with us for a hot drink.

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    I’d heard there was a little soft play area in the Café and luckily we managed to grab a table right next to it which was perfect as he could play while we enjoyed a cuppa.  It’s not the largest of soft play areas but it kept plenty of children amused for a loooonnggg time and they especially loved the glass wall which they could look in and watch the monkeys playing next door. 

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    When we finally managed to escape the Café we went to explore the Park and I couldn’t believe how many enclosures there were and how many different types of primates there were to discover and wave at!  You’ll find Woolly Monkeys, Marmosets, Orang-utans, Gibbons, Chimpanzees and Squirrel Monkeys to name but a few.   It was really lovely to see how much space they had and how clean the enclosures were.   Monkey World have done their best to replicate the wild and it was nice to see the Monkeys having fun swinging from tyres and playing on old fire hoses.

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    When we were over the other side of the Park the heavens opened and so we had to take cover for some time.  We managed to complete the route we were following and came across another smaller play area and Café plus the entrance to the Woodland walk which I would love to have done if our tummies weren’t rumbling. 

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    So, we headed back to the main Cafe and managed to secure another table near the soft play area so Sam could play while we waited for food.  The menu is adequate and includes baguettes, burgers, hot dogs, jacket potatoes, children’s hot meals and more.  If I could recommend anything it would be to introduce little lunch boxes for the kids and also offer more soft drinks that do not contain sweeteners.  My husband also commented that the coffee wasn’t very nice and after trying some I couldn’t help but agree.  We ordered a jacket potato, hot dog and piri piri baguette and all of it was thoroughly enjoyable and reasonably priced.

    By this time we had been there for a few hours and whilst I knew there was a lot we hadn’t seen I could see that Sam was getting really tired and wanting to go home so we again talked him out of the play area with the promise of a trip to the Gift Shop. 

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    Although we didn’t have a chance to explore the whole Park I don’t mind because it has given us a good excuse to return on a summers day and sit on the lawn with a picnic and say hi to all of the other primates we missed.

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    Good to know………………..

    It’s very easy to find and well signposted from Wool.  If you are using a Sat Nav then enter the post code BH20 6HH.

    Parking is Free.

    There is a Sounvenir book on offer in the Gift Shop for *£1 which tells you the story of Monkey World and Jim Cronin, their work abroad, a little about the primates, a guide to the park, feeding times and much more.

    If you have little one’s with you then you may wish to take a pushchair as there is a lot of walking (plus of course their handy for the bags ect).  Don’t forget the essential baby wipes too for muddy fingers in the play park.

    Within the Cafe you will find a microwave which you can use to heat baby milk and food.

    There are several toilets dotted around the Park with Baby Change Facilities.

    Should you wish to take a picnic with you then you’ll be spoilt for choice on where to dine as there are plenty of picnic benches around the Park with some of them being undercover just in case the Great British weather lets you down.

    Whilst your main reason will probably be to visit the Monkeys the children will have hours of fun playing in the different play areas.  Unfortunately we never had the chance to get to the Great Ape Play Area but this will be our first stop next time.

    There are several keeper talks which go on throughout the day and details can be found on the many boards around the Park.

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    Monkey World offer Children’s Party and Wedding packages, details of which can be found on the Website along with opening days/times, admission prices and special events.

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    Thanks Monkey World for a lovely day.  I now know why you have such a huge following and admire everything you do.  Long may you continue the good work.

    *Please note - any prices stated are correct at the time of writing.