Tag Archives: Family Bloggers

Cupcake Baking Tray

Easter Baking Ideas

Easter Baking Ideas including Cadbury’s Crème Egg Brownies

Easter is the perfect occasion to spend quality time together, and what better way to enjoy the company of family and friends than over some delicious home baking? The ideal activity for a rainy day during the Easter holidays, roll up your sleeves, dig out your apron and enjoy some baking inspiration in our blog.

Simnel cake

Enjoyed for centuries, this light fruit cake was traditionally eaten in the lead up to Easter, especially on Mothering Sunday as a treat during lent, however it’s now a delicious option for Easter Sunday. With two indulgent layers of marzipan and 11 marzipan balls on top for decoration, used to represent Jesus’ apostles (minus Judas), marzipan lovers will be in heaven!  But don’t worry if you’re not a huge fan of marzipan, you could swap the 11 marzipan balls for some flowers or Easter decorations.

We’ve chosen Cassie Best’s Simnel cake recipe from bbcgoodfood.com (November 2018). You can access the original recipe here.


  • 250g mixed dried fruit (a mixture of sultanas, currants, raisins and candied mixed peel)
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 500g pack marzipan
  • 250g pack butter, softened
  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 4 eggs, plus 1 beaten to glaze
  • 175g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g glacé cherries, halved
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam


  1. Heat the oven to 150°C (130°C for a fan assisted oven) or Gas Mark 2.
  2. Butter and line the cake tin with a double layer of grease proof paper.
  3. Add the dried fruit, orange juice and zest, and 2 tbsp water to a pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally. When the liquid has been absorbed, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder, lemon zest, mixed spice and vanilla, and mix until well combined. Mix in the cooled soaked dried fruit and fold in the cherries.
  5. Roll out a third of the marzipan and use the base of a deep 20cm cake tin as a template to cut out a circle. Wrap any offcuts and the remaining two-thirds of marzipan and set aside for later.
  6. Add half of the cake mixture into the lined cake tin then top with the marzipan disc. Add the remaining cake mixture on top of the marzipan. Cook in the oven for 2 hours, or until a knife comes out clean. Once cooked, remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to fully cool.
  7. Once fully cooled, brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and use the base of the cake as a template to cut out another disc. Place it on top of the cake.
  8. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 equal-sized balls for the apostles. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the apostles in a circle on top around the outside, and brush them with a little egg too. Put under a hot grill for a minute or two until just starting to caramelise – be very careful as the marzipan will burn easily.

Photo Cred: BBC Food Recipes 

Cadbury’s Crème Eggs are synonymous with Easter. And what better way to showcase them in all their gooey deliciousness than in a decadent chocolate brownie! We’ve adapted this recipe from the Sweetest Menu blog, but you can find the original recipe here.

Cadbury’s Crème Egg Brownies


  • 115g unsalted butter, chopped into squares
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into squares
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 85g plain flour
  • 6 Cadbury Crème Eggs, cut in half


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C (160°C for a fan assisted oven) or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Butter and line an 8 inch square baking tin with a layer of grease proof paper, leaving some overhang around the edges which will make it easier to get your brownies out of the tin later!
  3. Gently heat water in a pot until it simmers.
  4. Add the chocolate and butter to a heatproof bowl (e.g. Pyrex or similar), then sit the bowl on top of the simmering pot of water. Please note that the water shouldn’t touch the bowl. Stir until the chocolatey butter mixture has melted.
  5. Remove the bowl from the pot, making sure you don’t touch the hot glass.
  6. Add the sugar and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture and mix with an electric mixer. Next, add the eggs one at a time then use the mixer to combine with the rest of the mixture. Sift the flour into the mixture and mix until smooth.
  7. Pour the brownie mixture into the baking tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, press the halved Crème Eggs into the top of the brownie and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until cooked. Leave to cool completely before cutting.

Photo Cred: Good To Know Recipes

Mini Egg Baskets

A really simple recipe that will allow the kids to get involved in the kitchen, these tasty Easter treats are made with items that you’ll probably already have in your cupboards. You can find the original BBC recipe here.


  • 12 cupcake cases
  • 225g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 50g butter
  • 75g cornflakes
  • 36 Cadbury Mini Eggs


  1. Gently heat water in a pot until it simmers.
  2. Add the chocolate, golden syrup and butter to a heatproof bowl (e.g. Pyrex or similar), then sit the bowl on top of the simmering pot of water. Please note that the water shouldn’t touch the bowl. Stir until the chocolate is melted.
  3. Remove the bowl of chocolate from the pot, making sure you don’t touch the hot glass. Stir in the cornflakes and mix until all the cornflakes are coated in chocolate.
  4. Divide the mixture into the cake cases. Add 3 Mini Eggs to the middle of each nest and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or until set.

Photo Cred: BBC Food Recipes 

What are your favourite things to bake at Easter? Tweet us @cameronlodges or leave us a message with your recipes and pictures! Giving the recipes in this blog a go? Make sure you tag us in your creations on social media!

Family Christmas Dinner

Family Activities & Things To Do at Christmas

Christmas is a time to spend with loved ones. And whether your 5 or 55, it’s the most wonderful time of the year and a time that family takes centre stage. But it’s hard to keep everyone entertained throughout the festive season, which is why we’ve put together a list of our favourite family activities to enjoy at Christmas time. Special thanks to Laura  from The Breastest News, Sam from North East Family Fun, Susan Mann and Katy Stern from Otis & Us for contributing their ideas to our blog!


Bake a Christmas Treat

Christmas is the time to overindulge, and what better way to indulge than with your own homemade goodies? Many families have cherished family recipes that are passed down from generation to generation, and Christmas provides the time to try them out.

But if you don’t have a family recipe, keep it simple with these Jammy Star Cookies from BBC GoodFood. An easy bake that kids will love to get involved in, with minimal ingredients and a relatively quick baking time, you can sit back and relax with a cup of tea and one of your homemade biscuits in under an hour and a half! Plus they are an ideal gift to give to friends and family on Christmas morning, or to enjoy when visitors pop by.

Opt for different shaped biscuits for an extra special festive treat. Christmas tree, snowman, reindeer, candy cane and snowflake are some of our favourites! You could also decorate the top of your biscuits in festive colours.

Tweet us your favourite festive recipes @cameronlodges

Watch a Christmas Movie

There’s nothing like a Christmas film to get you feeling festive! All our family bloggers agree that watching Christmas movies is one of the best family activities to enjoy during the festive season – especially since it’s not weather dependent. Switch the lights off, light the candles, close the curtains and snuggle up together on the sofa with a fluffy blanket and let the Christmas movie marathon begin. The only things missing are movie snacks and everyone’s favourite, hot chocolate! From It’s A Wonderful Life, A Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, The Polar Express to everyone’s favourites Home Alone and Elf, there’s endless movies to choose from! We’ve enlisted help from our bloggers to help you decide on a Christmas classic for all the family to enjoy. Laura from @BreastestNews says The Snowman is a favourite in their household, while Sam and the gang from @NEFamilyFun love watching Christmas Chronicles.

But they all agree that snuggling up with lots of festive treats and watching the magic of Christmas come to life on the big screen is the best way to enjoy indoor family time during December. It’s a classic Christmas tradition for everyone to enjoy!

Decorate the Christmas Tree

Katy from @Otisandus_blog, Susan from @susankmann and Laura from @BreastestNews all agree that putting up the Christmas tree is one of their favourite parts of Christmas and the festive season.

For an extra special touch, why not make your own Christmas tree decorations? From decorative pine cones to scented fruit decorations, there are lots of ideas. With relatively inexpensive and easy to find supplies, you can create something magical that can add extra sparkle to your tree and can be used for years to come. Here are some of our favourite Christmas decoration ideas –

Festive Pine Cones

Pine cones tend to fall in autumn and can be found not too far from conifer trees and in conifer dominated woodland. Scotland’s native conifer tree, the Scots Pine can be found throughout Scotland so you shouldn’t have to wander too far from home to find a conifer forest and some fallen pine cones for your Christmas crafts.

Here are some ideas for decorating your pine cones –

  • Paint the pine cones in a colour that matches your Christmas tree colour scheme
  • Spread some glue on the ends of the scales then dip in either
    • Artificial snow
    • Glitter

When you’ve finished decorating, glue on some ribbon to the bottom of your pine cone to allow your decorations to hang on the tree, or alternatively, simply place them on the branches.

Does your family have homemade tree decorations? Tweet us @cameronlodges with pictures!

Going To The Pantomime

It’s not only festive season, it’s pantomime season! Pantomimes are deeply rooted into our culture and are often based around fables and fairy tales to keep the little ones smiling and amused. Expect laugh-out-loud comedy, creative backdrops, dazzling costumes and plenty of boos and hisses at all the evil villains. Pantomimes have all the ingredients to make the perfect family day out. The theatre is calling, you better grab those tickets and get going! This year in Glasgow alone, you can look forward to Snow White, Jack and The Beanstalk and The Magical Adventures of Pinocchio.

If we’ve missed any pantos or you’d like to share your experiences with us then tweet @cameronlodges

Do Something Different This Christmas

There is still time left to book a luxury lodge break and escape to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond this Christmas. It’s the most magical time of the year and we’d like to share it with you. Plus, we have limited Christmas and New Year availability so book now before it’s too late. Book before 21st December and we will give you 10% off!

Child Playing With Bubbles

Ideas For Fun-Filled School Holiday Activities

The kids might have been on the countdown since Easter half term but for parents, the summer holidays can be a stressful time. Six long weeks of keeping the little ones entertained can seem daunting, especially when you consider how fickle the British weather can be. Making sure they keep active and get plenty of fresh air (a.k.a. tiring them out so they go to bed nice and early) can be tricky, especially when you still have a house to run, chores to do and a task list as long as your arm. But it’s important to take advantage of these precious moments when they’re young. So how can you make special family memories these summer holidays?

We’ve collaborated with some of our favourite mummy bloggers to find out their top summer holiday activities that all the family can get involved in.

Rachel Southern from TheOrdinaryL tells us how she likes to make the most of the great outdoors for a cost-effective day out with the kids:

“With the school summer holidays being quite an expensive affair, it’s good to have a thrifty activity or two up your sleeve to keep your children occupied. One of my favourite things to do is to head out on a countryside walk and collect sticks with my two boys. We then head home and see what we can make with them. We’ve come up with origami mobiles, wall art and even bow and arrows. It’s a great way to get children outdoors and turn something found on the floor in to a cool decoration for their bedrooms or even a toy to play with.”

Laura Nelson from The Breastest News has chosen one of her favourite childhood activities that she has shared with her kids over the years, resulting in an activity that the whole family enjoys:

“One of our favourite summer holiday activities has to be rock pooling down at the beach. It’s great fun for all the family, you can do it in almost any weather and it’s completely free! I went rock pooling a lot with my Dad when I was little and I still love going as an adult which has now rubbed off on my son and daughter. My kids really enjoy finding and learning about all the little creatures we discover, plus we try and do a mini beach clean whilst we’re there to help the environment. Afterwards we normally go for a walk along the sand and explore. You can’t beat a bit a fresh sea air to give the kids a good night’s sleep.”

This summer’s must have accessory for kids is the magical bubble wand, but blogger, Jenny Eaves from Monkey and Mouse loves to make her own bubble mix and wands with her kids.

“We all love bubbles, they can both be calming to watch and energetic to race around popping.  You can of course buy bubbles and use a bubble machine, but that takes away half the fun! Why not create your own bubble mix? It is a great science experiment for the kids. Measuring out various ingredients is basically potion making, so little witches and wizards may be especially intrigued! By attaching eye screws to bamboo canes and tying string between two bamboo canes you can create your own wands for giant bubble making and it’s oh so worth it! The kids will love making their own giant bubbles and popping the ones you make. It’s incredibly therapeutic too (you’ll probably be pushing the kids out the way so you can play!)”

To find out how to make your own DIY bubble wand, and uncover her giant bubble recipe, head over to her blog post. 

Susan Mann from Susan K. Mann loves taking it back to basics with kite flying, arguably a favourite for many families, adults and kids alike!

“One of our favourite summer activities is kite flying. It’s simple, easy to do and a lot of fun. Once you have the kite, it’s free too. You need some wind and open space and away you go. Why not give making your own kite a go with some old shopping bags, sticks and string? Give it a go, you’ll love it.”

Although the weather has been great this year (touch wood), it’s not always the case and so planning some indoor and outdoor activities is the best way to go. Our bloggers have shared their favourite outdoor activities, now it’s over to you to tell us your favourite activities for a rainy day!

Share your ideas with us on Twitter @CameronLodges or post on our Facebook page.

Winter Recipes

Our Top 3 Winter Recipes

Top 3 winter recipes for warming up on a cold night

When thinking about winter recipes, rich, hearty flavours come to mind. Think pies, soups and puddings. What would your ideal winter menu look like? Below, we’ve selected three recipes that sum up winter on a plate. Try them for yourself and let us know how they turn out – we’d love to see your pictures too! Tweet us @cameronlodges or post a comment on our Facebook page.


Winter Minestrone With Pesto Croutes

Soup is a great way to get more vegetables into the kids, without them knowing. A twist on thepopular Italian classic, this Winter Minestrone With Pesto Croûtes swaps the traditional pasta for potato and adds some winter vegetables for more delicious goodness. For a vegetarian option, why not substitute the bacon lardons for mushrooms and let us know how you get on!


For the soup:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

100g unsmoked lardons or chopped streaky bacon

2 large carrots, chopped

2 sticks celery, chopped

1 medium potato, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed

400g can chopped tomatoes

1L vegetable stock

2 tsp chopped sage leaves, or 1 tsp dried

A few cabbage leaves, shredded

400g can haricot bean

A handful of chopped parsley

For the pesto croûtes:

Crusty bread

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp pesto


For the soup:

  1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil then add the onions, lardons (or streaky bacon) and fry for approximately 5 minutes, or until the onion is starting to brown. Stir in the carrots, celery, potato and allow to cook for a few minutes.
  2. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, stock and sage to the pan and bring to the boil. Partly cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add in the cabbage and allow to simmer for another 15 minutes.
  4. Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the pan with the parsley. Season and serve with pesto croûtes or crusty bread.

For the pesto croûtes:

  1. Cut the bread into 2cm thick chunks and tip into an ovenproof pan.
  2. Mix the olive oil and pesto and add it to the pan, tossing it until the croûtes are evenly coated.
  3. Bake in a moderate oven for about 10 minutes or until crisp.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, February 2006


Muffin-topped Winter Beef Stew

Rich in flavour, with plenty of vegetables and a cheeky hint of red wine, this show-stopping mix between a stew and a pie is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleasing dinner on a cold, winter night. Seconds anyone?


For the stew:

500g braising steak, cut into bite-sized chunks

2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with pepper and a little salt

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

450g carrot, cut into chunks

2 large parsnips, cut into chunks

1 bay leaf

2 tbsp sundried or regular tomato paste

300ml red wine or extra stock

450ml vegetable stock

For the topping:

225g plain flour, sift

3 tsp baking powder, sift

140g cheddar, coarsely grated

2 tbsp olive oil

150ml milk


  1. Heat the oven to 150 degrees celcius (130 for a fan oven) or gas mark 2, then add the oil to a large, flameproof casserole dish.
  2. Coat the beef in the seasoned flour then add the beef to the casserole dish. Fry the beef over a high heat until browned. It may be easier to do this in batches. Once all the beef is browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of water to the pan, then add the onion and stir well over a medium heat. Whilst stirring, remove the sticky bits from the bottom of the pan and mix through the onions. Lower the heat and fry gently for 10 minutes until the onions have softened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the carrots, parsnips and bay leaf to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the beef to the pan, stir in the tomato paste and wine (optional) and stock and then bring to the boil.
  5. Cover the dish and cook in the oven for 1¾ – 2hrs until the meat is tender. Once cooked, remove the casserole from the oven and increase the temperature to 190 degrees celsius (170 for a fan oven) or gas mark 5.
  6. For the muffin top, add the flour, baking soda and half the cheese to a bowl.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil and milk. Stir this mixture into the flour to make a soft, sticky dough. Add more milk if required.
  8. Spoon the dough over the meat and vegetables in the casserole dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden, risen and cooked through.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, January 2006


Treacle Apple Pudding

A winter feast wouldn’t be complete without a scrumptious dessert. The best of both worlds, we’ve chosen this cross between apple pie and treacle pudding to finish off our winter menu. Serve with cream, custard or ice cream for a tasty treat for all the family.


2-3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped (about 250g flesh)

100g light soft brown sugar

50g golden syrup

2 tbsp butter, for greasing

1 tangy eating apple, such as Braeburn, peeled & cored

A squeeze of lemon juice

175g self-raising flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 large egg


  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (160 degrees for a fan oven) or gas mark 4. Add the bramley apples to a pan, add 100ml of water and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the apples are very soft. Once soft, use a wooden spoon to purée them. Add the sugar and 50g of the golden syrup, bring to a simmer, then set aside to cool. While the mixture cools, grease the inside of a 1.3 litre pudding basin.
  2. Spoon 2 tbsp of golden syrup into the bottom of the pudding basin. Slice half of the eating apple and chop the remaining half. Add the sliced apple and lemon juice into the syrup at bottom of the pudding basin.
  3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Beat the egg into the pureed apple and add into the bowl with the chopped apple and stir until smooth. The batter mixture may start to rise a little as you mix. Pour the batter into the pudding basin, level the top and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until well risen and a knife comes out clean. If the sponge is browning too quickly, cover with tinfoil for the remainder of the cooking time.
  4. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes before turning out onto a plate.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, February 2013


Our range of self-catering lodges, cottages and apartments on the banks of Loch Lomond enjoy a fully equipped kitchen, perfect for a cosy night in – they even have a dishwasher, so there’s no washing up required afterwards! Find out more about our self-catering accommodation options here.


Family In The Car

Travelling In The Car With Kids

As a family friendly lodge resort on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, the majority of families staying with us opt to travel by car. We wanted to put together a handy guide which should help make the car journey easier, meaning mum and dad can start relaxing before they’ve even arrived at their lodge! Together with some helpful family bloggers, we’ve put together the following list of tips for travelling in the car with kids in this handy infographic. Scroll down to read the full blog article.

How To Travel in the Car With Kids Infographic


Before You Leave

Plan ahead

Take time before you leave to plan your journey – where will you stop, how long for? You’re the best person to know when your kids are likely to need a toilet stop, so make sure you have plenty of stops organised to avoid any on the road accidents. For little ones who are in the process of toilet training, pull-ups can be a handy addition to your kid’s travelling wardrobe.

Pack like a pro

Jane from the Hodge Podge Days blog recommends keeping a list of things you always need to take with you on your computer and printing it off as a check list for each time you go away. She also says travel light (or as lightly as you can!) and remember to check and see if there’s a washing machine at your accommodation. And don’t forget that unless you’re heading off to the remotest place on earth, there will likely be a shop nearby for any forgotten essentials!

Don’t forget their comforter

Whether it’s their favourite soft toy or a comfort blanket and pillow, be sure to pack some things that will provide comfort to your kids during the journey. Most likely scenario? It calms them during a tantrum until you can find something else to occupy them with. Best case scenario? They fall asleep for a few hours, giving you some well needed peace and quiet.

Prep some snacks

Make sure you pack lots of water and snacks to keep the kids full and hydrated throughout the trip – though we’d suggest avoiding sugary snacks as these will likely make the trip worse! Snacks such as grapes, cheese cubes and dried fruit like raisins work well since there’s not much mess involved, but make sure you pack some baby wipes as well, just in case! Oh, and a plastic bag for any rubbish. We also love the idea of a Snack Catcher.

Choose your travel time wisely

New mummy blogger, Ana Kyle from This Family Adventure recommends setting off just after teatime, with the kids in their PJs, in the hope that they fall asleep quite soon into the journey. It might mean you arrive to your destination quite late. But on the plus side you get a good few hours in the car with sleeping children where you can listen to music and chat to your other half.

The (dreaded) Journey

Family Singalong

A car journey without a family singsong can be a dismal affair. Before your trip, consider buying a singalong CD of popular kid’s songs. Ana recommends 30 Toddler Songs and says that whenever she plays it for her kids now, vivid memories of driving around France last summer come flooding back to her.


No matter what age your kids are, there are plenty of games that you can play in the car that will keep them entertained for at least part of the journey. Blogger, Leta Elliot (aka AttachmentMummy) recommends I Spy…something red for younger kids, an adaption of the classic which uses colours instead of letters to make it a game all the family can enjoy, and 20 Questions for kids over the age of 4.

Tablets/mobile devices (and headphones!)

Katie, author of the Mummy In A Tutu blog says that electronic devices such as an iPad can be a godsend when travelling with little ones. When your family singsong or car game loses their attention, perhaps an episode or two of their favourite TV programme will provide a few hours of peaceful drive time. Just don’t forget to pack the headphone as well!

While You’re There

This will largely depend on your destination, but we’ve put together some handy tips for those visiting Loch Lomond. Sarah Christie, author of the Extraordinary Chaos blog recommends having an open mind and to not stick to a routine. Luckily, there are loads of kids’ activities in and around the Cameron Lodges Resort to keep your family holiday varied and interesting.

The Enchanted Wood (known locally as Faerie Wood)

Situated between the 17th & 18th holes on The Carrick golf course, The Enchanted Wood is a wonderful educational and sensory resource for visitors, created by our wonderful Estate Ranger Jenny, that also provides food and habitat for a variety of woodland species such as birds, bats, butterflies, bees, and amphibians found in and around Loch Lomond.

Loch Lomond Sealife Centre

Take the kids to see Cammy, the only giant sea turtle in Scotland or let them hold a crab or touch a starfish in the interactive Rock Pool. For those a little more daring, take a trip into the Ocean Tunnel and enjoy watching the sharks swim by. A great day out for all the family, the Loch Lomond Sealife Centre is located at Loch Lomond Shores, just a short drive from Cameron Lodges.

Loch Lomond Pony Trekking

Kids will love meeting Chrissie, Petra, Bailey and Glen, the very well-mannered and well-groomed ponies at the Loch Lomond Pony Trekking facility in Balloch, just a five minute drive from Cameron Lodges. Ideal for both novice and experienced riders, you’ll get to enjoy the amazing views of Loch and Ben Lomond at a nice, leisurely pace.

And finally…don’t forget that mum and dad are on holiday too!

Mums and dads shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to spend some time together doing grown up things, which is why it’s useful to find out about any babysitting or kids clubs available at your destination. For example, Cameron House provides great kids activities and facilities to keep the little ones entertained while mum and dad visit the Spa or enjoy a round on the golf course.