Friday, 18 November 2011

We All Scream for Ice Cream

Well in this household we most certainly do & today for the first time ever I attempted home-made ice cream.  I felt very inspired after I stumbled across this little gem.

How could you not give this one a try.  The recipe is on the wonderful Always with Butter blog.   However the credit appears to go to this amazing lady Heather Christo.

So, armed with the ingredients & an ice-cream machine on loan from a friend, I spent a very happy afternoon in the kitchen.

Here's the machine in action.  It's not very large - I'm considering asking Santa for one of these.

Here's the finished ice cream topped with a bit of hokey pokey I made earlier in the day.  The ice cream didn't really need the topping but the kids thought it was great.

So, I've managed to successfully make ice cream, my kids think I'm amazing & I have 6 egg whites waiting to be turned into meringues!!!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


This week I purchased my first two Christmas presents.  Sometimes I like the rush of last minute festive shopping & sometimes I like to be completely organised, so I can relax & enjoy the pre-christmas festivities.

This year I have chosen to be organised..... we shall see.

The children have already chosen some rather garish advent calendars from a local supermarket.  I try to avoid them but peer pressure means I usually relent.  I do however like to make my own for them.   We've tried all sorts of ideas in the past from individually wrapped treats hanging in a twiggy tree, to hiding them around the house (& hoping the dog doesn't get them first!).  This year I spotted this lovely idea on Not On The High Street.

Advent Calendar

Now, as luck would have it, I bought some tiny 98 x68mm brown envelopes on a 3 for 2 the other day - so have 150 little envelopes all ready for advent!  I needed 75 envelopes or 100 if I include my husband in this!  I thought I'd pop a little treat in my envelopes & tie them up with some bakers twine.  However, 100 little treats is a lot of pennies & remember we already have chocolate in the garish advent calendars stuck on top of my fridge.  So, I'm now on a quest - in each envelope will be a card with an activity or message - 25 for the children (repeated 3 times - each child will require their own special envelope!) & another 25 for my husband.  I might have to sneak in the odd 'cook your wife a lovely meal' otherwise I could end up having a very tough month!!!

So please, if any of you Christmas elves can think of any great ideas to pop onto these advent cards they will be warmly received.

 Do you do advent calendars of your own?

Monday, 31 October 2011


Wow, what a turn out of ghosts & ghouls for such a tiny village.  If I didn't know better I'd think I was on the set of Buffy!  I'm not usually a fan of Halloween but tonight really has been great fun.

We decorated the house last night.

The kids found treat bags left by the good witches this morning.

The kids did a spot of their own 'Trick or Treating' early this evening.

Since then they have been handing out sweets to all sorts of ghosts & ghouls that have passed our door.  This little bowl was refilled so many times!

I still haven't used my Halloween cupcake cases & glow in the dark mini spider decorations, I ran out of time.

Next year I'd like to:
  • be more prepared!
  • hand out paper cups of popcorn
  • bake some goodies & mulled cider for the grown ups
  • find more tasteful decorations
  • carve a pumpkin
  • light more candles
I've collected some ideas & posted them on my Halloween Pinterest board.  What have you been doing for Halloween?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A Blaze of Colour at Westonbirt

Despite the drizzle I packed a picnic, loaded the VW with dogs & kids & headed off to Westonbirt & even in the damp, overcast weather the trees looked amazing.

We walked the dogs through Silk Wood & spent ages in the National Japanese Maple Collection picking up as many different coloured leaves from the woodland floor as we could find.

Popping the dogs back in the VW & having a quick spot of coffee & homemade shortbread we then headed off to the Old Arboretum (dog free zone) to do the family trail.

The kids loved it!  We kicked leaves, played games on the troll bridge & finished up in the play area, that although small, entertained the kids for half an hour.

The shop was shut by the time we were finished with our fun, which was probably a good thing.

My photo's don't do the Arboretum justice, so if you've not been before do hop over to their website.  Or perhaps you've been following BBC's Autumnwatch this month who have been broadcasting from Westonbirt.

Westonbirt Arboretum