Blue skies. Winter sunshine. The perfect combination for a visit plotside after so many grey rainy days. It was a shame no gardening took place during my 4 hour stint a few weeks ago. It was ‘Operation Relocate‘ day having served notice on our large corner plot. The shed G built 3 years ago was emptied of all its belongings and piles created for things to keep and rehome on my friend Jennie’s plot and things to ditch (like perished plastic, tangled netting, small sundries that had been gnawed by mice or not weathered well).
I’m so pleased we’ll still be part of this fab community of people. It wasn’t all work as I shared my mint tea and biscuits with my neighbours Pat and Robin for the first time since having E. I chatted to Dave who offered me a ready prepared patch of soil if I wanted to sow some seeds with E. And Bernadette was thrilled to learn I’d be moving up to her end of the plot. It would have been heartbreaking to have walked away entirely from our allotment community.
As we’ll be sharing a half plot Jennie and I will need to think about what we want to prioritise growing once the ground is prepared. I’ll be leaving redcurrant, lavender and rosemary bushes behind but hope to find a home for some raspberry canes and a rhubarb crown.
I had to dig out some of these snowdrops which I was delighted to see peeping out through the overgrown mint bed. I’d presumed they’d not made it through last winter but they’d triumphed through both harsh weather and neglect. I planted them in March 2011 to mark the sad loss of our first pregnancy and by the time they emerged to mark the anniversary the following winter we had a newborn E with us. There were two different varieties – some from my friend Nicky’s garden in Redmarley and some from the meadow beside Claire’s canal boat in Moreton Valance. They are still in the back yard in the bucket I transferred them home in and even if they don’t make it back onto the plot I’ve enjoyed having them at home with us. And accepting of letting them go if they don’t survive the transfer – new chapters and all that.
February was a fab month for spending time together. G and I enjoyed an afternoon cinema trip and dinner for two to celebrate my birthday (relaxed in the knowledge that E was having an excellent time with Nana and Grandad). Then at the end of the month we went on our first family trip abroad – to Ireland to visit friends.
Staying with friends is so relaxing – no agenda, no clock, just simple pleasures like breakfasting together, taking it in turns for a lie in, catching up over a cuppa. Anything you do plan in a ”let’s go!’‘ kind of way is a bonus and we were lucky enough to have some trips out too. Our outdoors adventure was to Donadea Forest where a scenic amble round the lake proved to be a bit heart stopping. Our inquisitive toddlers were reluctant to believe the awesome power of their wellies were not up to the task of stamping in the giant (lake) puddle!
We had a fab time indoors too acing all good toddler stuff.
E was such a star as a first time flyer sitting up in his own seat with so little fuss that he received a packet of biscuits from the stewardess when we left for being ”the best boy on the plane”. On our return flight he showed the same slight apprehension he felt first time round as the plane climbed steeply on take off; ”Mumma hold Euan, Dadda hold Euan” he said quietly as he gripped our hands into his lap. A minute later he was asleep, a relaxed seasoned traveller now (or perhaps just comfortable in the knowledge all is well as long as Mumma and Dadda are to hand).
We’re late with our family portrait post as E and I were both struck down with a virus and ear infections on our return from Ireland. March has been somewhat bleurgh so far so who knows what next month’s ‘Me and Mine’ will bring …
To find out what other families taking part in Me and Mine got up to last month click here.
I like mine with a kiss. Boiled or fried, I don’t mind, as long as I get my kiss.
Years ago I tagged a blog post about Flower Power eggs using slices of bell peppers as moulds for fried eggs. I finally got around to trying it this month when OXO Good Grips sent me a flip and fold omelette turner to try. One pan, one pepper, one egg; easy peasy I thought. What could possibly go wrong?
Well it turns out making flower power eggs is easier said than done. It took 3 attempts to get an egg appetising enough to eat and photograph! Thank goodness I had my lovely wide, flexible omelette turner so that getting the egg out of the pan wasn’t on my list of things that didn’t work out. I did learn 4 very important things about making flower power eggs:
- cut the pepper rings thickly so the egg doesn’t overspill the sides
- don’t flip it over no matter how much it seems like it’s not cooking (it’s not a pretty sight!).
- expect it to take much longer to cook than the fried eggs you’re used to making (pop the pan under the grill briefly to remove the jelly like wobble from the top)
- use your biggest pan to make several in one go
Disclosure: I was sent the omelette flip and fold turner for the purposes of this review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” – William Shakespeare
People always used to tell me I looked younger than I was. Until I had E! The massive amounts of stretching my skin did and sleepless nights have taken their toll on my youthful vigour. But like Mums who wear their stretch marks with pride I’ve learned to love the wrinkles that tell the story of my life as a parent.
Getting E to help apply an oatmeal facial scrub to be told ”Mumma looks like Gollum” might not be my best look but the laughter that comes from being around such a little comic is well worth any wrinkles and sag.
This year got off to an exciting start celebrating E’s second birthday. Having a winter baby limits what you can do by way of outdoor adventures so we opted for a soft play morning with his cousin Zac followed by a Chinese buffet lunch.
Then back to Nana and Grandads for play and cake. I used the same sponge recipe as last year but baked the cake in a bundt ring tin. The animals atop the cake were made by Daddy who’s used to creating things out of plasticine for making animations).
It was a great day and we’re loving this wonderful journey of life with our chattery, gentle, funny, gorgeous boy. To find out more about the Me and Mine monthly challenge if you want to join in for 2014 and for posts by other families taking part
”…don’t put rice crispies in them. Or any kind of cereal” G called as he closed the door to go up to town. I was in the kitchen surrounded by bags of nuts, dried fruit and biscuits about to make rocky road fridge bars for the first time in order to use up the chocolates we’d been given for Christmas. I figured at least that way for each chocolate we would have eaten we’d be getting a nut or two as a nod to a bit of nutritional content.
What I didn’t factor in, being a Rocky Road making virgin, was the 3 tablespoons of golden syrup, half a pack of butter and several biscuits thrown into the mix. Hey ho, at least they made for good sharing with New Year visitors and where G might easily have packed away a whole box of chocolates I’d like to see him try and eat 20 fridge bars (well I wouldn’t actually which was kind of the whole point!).
I adapted this recipe on the BBC Good Food website for Rocky Road Crunch bars (replacing best quality dark chocolate with whatever assortment of chocolate we had leftover from Christmas, digestives instead of rich tea biscuits and dried cranberries, raisins and brazil nuts instead of marshmallows). I can see why mine came out more toffee like for all the soft fillings and milk chocolate content of my concoction!
Totally moorish though!
To make rocky road bars
- Heat butter, chocolate & golden syrup over a gentle heat.
- Crush the biscuits roughly in a plastic bag.
- Fold biscuit pieces & crumbs into the melted mixture
- Add a handful of dried fruit/chopped nuts
- Tip the mixture into a 24cm/9in square baking tin & smooth.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares/fingers
(for suggested quantities see BBC link above)
You know that feeling you get when you’ve bought someone a present but you really want to keep it yourself? That was me at Christmas when I bought a Duo Creative Designs bottle bag for my sister-in-law at a local craft fayre. As I deliberated over which design to choose (it was always going to be the cat but like shoe shopping you have to um and ah over all options before returning to the first pair you saw) I chatted to Tina about where the idea came from for such a fab, practical gift. Zumba class apparently! Turning leftover fabric from Tina’s sewing business into a handy water bottle/gym card/mobile phone carrier.
I made a mental note to ”order bottle bags for 2014 birthdays” then realised E’s birthday is the first on the calendar. Each bottle bag is custom made so having asked Tina to make a personalised crocodile bag I was as excited waiting for it to arrive as E was opening it. Like all toddlers he loves anything he can put things in, especially if it has buttons on. He’s enjoying wearing his bag, taking his bottle in and out and, as I hoped, drinking more water as a result.
Bottle bags make such brilliant gifts and for little ones it’s an extra specially nice touch to have their name added. Duo Creative Designs are extending the bottle bag love to blog readers and offering 10% off orders made by 14th February. Simply message Tina via the FB page and quote ‘nipitinthebud’ (bottle bags are £8.50 + £3 for a name + P&P – free collection from Tewkesbury). And as if that wasn’t generous enough they’re currently hosting a giveaway for a personalised bottle bag on their Facebook page. To enter all you have to do is like the page and leave a comment. Closing date is 9pm tomorrow so head over their now!
10% discount applies to orders for Memo boards as well (prices from £18 depending on design/personalisation). Brilliant eh!