Posts filed under ‘away from the plot’

being a Gruffalo spotter

Gruffalo trail with mouse 4B copy
We’re lucky enough to live within 30 minutes drive of some of the most beautiful woodlands in the UK.  Yesterday we had a fabulous afternoon following the Gruffalo trail at Beechenhurst Lodge in the Forest of Dean with Nana and Grandad.  If you download the Gruffalo Spotters app to your phone you can point the app at special markers on the trail and watch the characters from The Gruffalo come to life!
(our app crashed on the final character, the Gruffalo, but we didn’t mind. It was such a lovely day out we’re excited about returning when G is free to join us).

March 27, 2017 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

den heaven

10-6-14 - Crickley Hill den_E exploring 4BCrickley Hill has always been one of our favourite places.  G and I could amble for hours through the woods or over the escarpment.  Now we are 3 visits remain as long but generally we find ourselves in one particular spot playing dens. 10-4-14 - Crickley Hill den_E & I 4B

All the more fun with friends in tow. 10-4-14 - Crickley Hill_E outside den 4B
I’ve had a small canvas made of this picture as I love it so much and  it’ll hang in E’s room once we finish decorating.

Ask E what his favourite part of den making at Crickley Hill is and I’m sure he’d say ‘‘When the ic-cream man is there’‘. 18-4-14 - Crickley Hill ice cream

July 4, 2014 at 10:00 am 1 comment

hanging out in Birmingham

We love just hanging out doing toddlery stuff locally but it’s nice to have a treat day further afield from time to time.  Tesco reward vouchers made that possible for us recently when we met up with E’s also-2-years-old cousin at the Sealife Centre in Birmingham.  E was more interested in clambering and running than fish gazing but he very charmingly shouted ”Wow, look at that” as he zoomed past! sealife centre e and zac 4B

We lunched afterwards at Pizza Express (food for free when £2.50 in vouchers = £10 towards the meal).  E was worn out by his adventures and fell asleep on my lap much to the delight of Daddy who could indulge in his favourite chocolate ice-cream without having to share.sealife centre -pizza hat 4B

On the way home we pulled into our beloved Hillfield Gardens to stretch our legs after the journey.  E decided my vacated front seat was a much better option and cheerily refused to get out:  ”Euan doing driving”. So the boys stayed in the car and I enjoyed a peaceful sit in the scented garden, lovely.sealife centre - sricinf home 4B

I eventually managed to persuade E out of the car with leftover pizza and the promise of meeting a new doggy friend.  Here he is trying to share with Isla* dog!
Did you know that Euan would have been an Isla if he’d been a girl? sealife centre - pizza leftover 4B

It turns out Birmingham is quite a big word for a small boy to master. 
”Burmigan.  Burmingung. Burminham”.  He soon got in when I broke it down to ‘Birming-ham’.  I later overheard him saying to himself  ‘‘Birming-ham.  Yeh, that’s right.  Burming-cheese too.  Burming-breakfast’.  Burning-dinner’.  What a busy brain!
This on a day when he’d already informed me ‘‘Red light says stop.  Green lights says go go go.  Yellow light says Fix the hoover”.

April 17, 2014 at 9:00 am 1 comment

darn it!

George’s favourite wooly hat was mauled by a dog.  His head wasn’t in it at the time thankfully.  In true frugal fashion I darned the hole after teasingly asking if he wanted a Fulham Football Club badge sewn over it.  I now suspect he may be giving this idea serious consideration and if you are dearest I’m sure you’d like the privilege of sewing it on yourself?  Here’s some advice if you’re not sure where to start and I know your Dad has darned a sock or twenty in his time so you can compare notes.  On second thoughts I’d happily do it for you – I don’t fancy trading it for any of your blue jobs!

© poster from The Children’s War Exhibition in 2010 at the Imperial War Museum, London, unearthed in my drafts folder!

April 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm 1 comment

wordless wednesday

2-11-13 - Brighton_finger through hole stone 4B
2-11-13 - Brighton_stone collecting 4B
2-11-13 - Brighton_Mummy and E horizon 4B

November 27, 2013 at 6:00 am 2 comments

Maggie’s healthy eating demo

26-10-13 - Maggies Nutrition course_warm cabbage salad close up 4BI love trying new recipes but rarely make time to experiment in the kitchen.
I love eating colourful, energy giving food but too often make lazy, bland choices.
I love the saying  “let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food” but I’m fickle about remembering it.  All these things I appreciate about eating are fundamentally about practicing good self-care – something it’s easy to forget on days when cooking from scratch with a toddler trying to climb up my leg seems like too much effort.  Which is why I’m so excited to share  how I topped up credits in my Mumma Bear’s ”good self-care” Bank last weekend.26-10-13 - Maggies Nutrition course_Caroline and Jane 4B

Mum and I spent a blissful couple of hours watching Caroline, the nutritionist at Maggies in Cheltenham, prepare 5 quick and easy, immune boosting recipes.  That would have been treat enough and then, we sampled everything!  Not just a nibble but a whole lunch worth;  lentil bolognaise with noodles, lentil and sweet potato stew and warm red cabbage with apple, walnut and dried cherries.  Collage Maggies recipes 4B

Breakfast muffins packed with nutritious seeds, oats, banana and blueberriesBreakfast muffin Collage 4B

And rounded it all off with Date and Lacuma Cocao fridge bars.
So delicious and so good for you.26-10-13 - Maggies Nutrition course_cocoa bars 4B
Such a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning and I’m brim full of inspiration now to create the right kind of comfort food as we head into Autumn.  I left with napkin wrapped cocoa squares for G and E to sample.  It made a nice treat for a little boy who’d taken a tumble while Mummy was away and split the inside of his lip. 26-10-13 - Maggies Nutrition course_cocoa bars_E close up 4B
Too good to share with just anyone but your luck’s in if you’re 3 inches tall and made of plastic). ‘‘Euan bite, man bite.  Euan sharing, nice’26-10-13 - Maggies Nutrition course_cocoa bars_E sharing 4B.
Hunkering down indoors on the wet stormy day that followed our cooking demonstration was the perfect excuse to put Caroline’s nutrition tips into action. Vegetable casserole is a fairly regular meal for us; different every time depending  on what’s in the fridge. 
Our Maggies inspired Sunday stew included:
sweet potato rich in flavanoids and anti-oxidant beta carotene
green lentils for protein, minerals and fibre
red onions for their high levels of Quercitin, an anti-inflammatory
dried mushrooms high in beta-glucans to stimulate the immune system
Carotino oila blend of red palm and rape seed oil, high in anti-oxidants, Vitamins A & E and Omega 3 & 6.
26-10-13 - maggies inspired stew 4B

November 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm 2 comments

the ‘Ministry of food’ part 4: making mock goose for Christmas

..so what was I saying 3 years and 8 months ago.  Oh yes, that lovely mock goose I tried at the Ministry of Food exhibition at the Imperial War Museum turned out rather well when I recreated it at home.  It’s called Mock Goose because it’s flavoured with sage and was made for Christmas on rations without a bird.  I can’t say whether the aroma and flavour alone would be enough to satisfy a meat eater having never eaten goose myself but it certainly had a lovely comforting home cooked roast dinner taste and feel about it.

I didn’t write down the recipe after I made it so this is guess work on my part but from the picture….Mock goose potato layered

I’d say a large potato per person, a grated apple, some grated cheese (probably not much as it would have been rationed – enough to thicken the gravy), vegetable stock, enough to cover to the top layer of potato and a liberal sprinkling of dried sage.Mock goose cooked

Bake it in the oven for an hour so the sauce goes all thick and sticky and the potatoes are softened.  The apple and cheese are such a fine combination and you’d never know they were there but for a lovely sweet richness to the gravy.Mock goose served
Other posts in the Ministry of Food series you might be interested in
part 2: digging for Victory
part 3: thrifty war time ways to feed your family

October 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm 2 comments

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