Monday, 28 February 2011

Tree House Fun

This wet, dull & dreary weather is making me think of holidays again!  Whilst doing a spot of browsing I discovered this really cool looking place to stay on this great site.

Image - Green Traveller

I've added it to my Hazy Days & Holidays page too.  Don't forget to let me know of any other great places you might find so I can add them to the list.

I also thought this book is a good one for the wish list!

In the meantime I'm imagining all the fun my kids would have staying in a tree house like this, tucked up in their beds reading The Faraway Tree stories!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Licking Lemons!

After my decision in January for a 'greener clean' I have been madly cleaning my house to use up all those nasty chemical cleaning solutions.  We're almost there.

Finally the spray can of polish has run out, so last night I decided to make up a natural furniture polish for all the wooden furniture & doors in the house.  My little jar of liquid polish smells gorgeous & it must taste good too, as today I have found the dog licking my doors!!!

Image - Natural Wood Furniture Polish

I'm afraid if you're one of those people that sprays polish on every dusty surface going, this probably won't be what you're after.  This smeared across your tv screen would be a natural disaster - leave that job to your feather duster.  But so far my wood has been only too happy to drink up this lemony solution.

Recipe for 'Natural Wood Furniture Polish':

1/4 cup olive oil
4 tbsp distilled white vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice or 20-30 drops lemon essential oil

note - (if you use lemon juice you will need to refrigerate your polish)

Pour ingredients into a spray bottle or jar & shake well before using.

The olive oil will add moisture to your wood while the vinegar will clean it, drawing out the dirt.

Happy cleaning.......

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Ingredients for our fun day out:

1. Bake a cake.

2. Pack loads of drinks, waterproofs & wellies.

3. Grab some friends.

4. Head for the hills - in our case Avebury stone circle.

We walked around here....

and here....

and here.....

We stopped to eat our picnic.  The National Trust employees locked up & went home.  We ran round some more!

Oh, & this charming little cottage was for sale.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Popcorn & Sticky Seats

Oh, this weather.  I love seasons, I don't mind the cold & the damp & the grey but I do wish for a bit of sunshine this half term!

The kids had Daddy home for half a day today so we decided to make today our half term trip to the cinema.  I find this whole adventure getting more & more costly with most kids films being 3D, which they charge more for & then charge again for the glasses!

So today we went 2D.  I snuck in a flask of coffee for us & water for the kids.  I popped some popcorn at home & raided the treats tin!

I then got cosy in my rather sticky seat with my youngest on my lap (with paid for vacant seat next to me!) where we all enjoyed Yogi Bear.  Yogi was a favourite of mine as a child.  Our three loved the movie.  I'm now hunting down old Yogi Bear cartoons on YouTube.

Image - IMDb

My youngest & I are also very excited by one of the trailers & we are already planning our next cinema trip.  Winnie the Pooh is coming to the screens very soon!

Image - IMDb

We love watching movies together.  I seem to recall Emma Bradshaw enjoying a movie for her birthday last year outside in her garden.  I need to think of an imaginative way to do this in the cold!!!

We also still need to see Where The Wild Things Are - any suggestions for unique ways to home view this on a cold, damp evening?  Or suggestions for other favourite childhood films of your own?

Image - IMDb

Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Shopping Trip

Saturday morning my hubby had to work so the kids came with me on a shopping trip!

My kids are not great shoppers so I thought we'd better start the day off on a high note as well as ending on one!  And steer clear of butchers, bakers, etc.  I needed to get through the day with minimum whining.

First stop was the Oxfam Book Shop - a favourite haunt.  The children we're allowed to choose one book each and one red nose each!

I also chose a book.  I couldn't believe my luck, an unused copy of Bazaar Style.

We followed this with a trip to the library, where between 5 library cards we took out as many books as we could carry.  I'm looking forward to trying a few recipes from Fork to Fork by Monty & Sarah Don.

Laden down with books & a promise to start reading them before we went home I managed to drag the children into my favourite shop - Wild Thymes.  It's a tiny Health Food & Cheese Shop.  They sell the most amazing flaked almonds & coconut which I put on my porridge every day!

Daily Porridge

2 large scoops of porridge oats
1 small scoop of raisins or sultanas
cover in ecomil almond milk
microwave for 1 minute, stir
microwave for 1 more minute
top with almond flakes & coconut flakes & whatever fresh fruit comes to hand (usually berries in my case)

Finally a rather expensive trip into the local stationery shop for fountain pens, coloured pencils, sharpeners & other requirements for school pencil cases.

At last, we ended up in The Food Gallery for the most delicious coffee & children's hot chocolates.  The kids happily flicked through their books whilst I read the paper!!!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Fair Maids of February

Snowdrops @ Welford Park

Friday I went out with a friend for a child free visit to our local snowdrops.  They we're amazing.  It was a very misty day, so unfortunately my photo doesn't do them justice.  I have to say I did feel a little guilty as usually I take the children, who have great fun running around & we always end the day in the Old Laundry Room for tea & cake! We must have looked like we were lacking 'something' as instead of our children we adopted a lovely old man who walked around with us sharing all of his knowledge about the park & the snowdrops, which he informed us had been growing there for 600 years!

We still managed to end our visit with a good gossip over tea & a lovely slice of victoria sponge in the Old Laundry Room.

I'm now looking forward to the Bluebells which grow around us in abundance but they are not for a while.  Does anyone know of any good daffodil displays in the Wiltshire/Gloucestershire area to keep me going?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Love is ........

Loving Ellie to pieces!
Cooking dinner for old friends
Hearing your kids squeal with delight when they find their favourite sweets on Valentine's Day - Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans!!!!
Snuggling up with your bestest friend - even if you don't quite fit!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Muddy Boys & Yorkshire Puddings

Today we watched the kids sliding around in rugby, their little hands red raw from the rain & freezing wind.  They had to strip down in the car to their underpants, with the heating on full blast for the journey home.

We lit the fire & ran hot baths so everyone could warm up.  The plan for the rest of the day - hot chocolate, comfort foods & the Ireland v France game.

Daddy did us all proud & made the most delicious roast dinner - with his giant yorkshire pudding.

Daddy's Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

For 6:
4 large eggs
Equal quantity of milk to eggs
Equal quantity of plain flour to eggs
Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 225 degrees (C).
Pour eggs and milk into large mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt.
Whisk thoroughly (electric whisk works best).
Gradually add flour, while whisking, until you get a cream consistency. Not too runny, but not as thick as double cream, say. Make sure there's no lumps.
Leave to stand for a good 30 minutes or more.
Pour some rapeseed oil (or whatever takes your fancy) in a good sized bread tin - that one was something like 35 cm by 20 cm - you can use individual yorkshire trays or a couple of smaller cake tins, but we like a giant pudding! Slap it in the oven to get the oil/fat really hot.
(Some people now add a little water to the mix just before pouring in, but we don't).
Pour batter in tin and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes as quick as you can - that was filled to around half an inch depth. Don't open the oven to check half way!


And don't forget the gravy....

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Little Love with Sprinkles On

Today my eldest son was home alone with me after school, the other two were on a play date.  We don't get one to one time very often so I asked him what he'd like to do when he got home - BAKE he said.

Bless his little heart, he baked fairy cakes for his brother's & sister's lunchboxes.

It's also just dawned on me that Valentine's Day is just around the corner & I think my children would really appreciate it if we celebrated the day in some way.  I completely failed with Chinese New Year which is such a shame as there are so many cute things we could've done with 'Year of the Bunny' much better than 'Year of the Rat'!

So, I'm now frantically planning something for Valentine's.  I think I might make them all fudge & wrap it in cellophane with ribbon. Maybe a Valentine Treasure Hunt....... what will you do?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Saturday, 5 February 2011

O's Turned 7

Today my middle child turned 7!  He has been so excited.  He's been counting down the days since before Christmas.

Last year we decided to put birthday parties on hold for a while in favour of special family days. So far it's working really well.  O gets to choose his favourite things to do as it's his birthday, so for O's birthday weekend:

  • O took a basket of chocolate mice to school for his class friends to enjoy.
  • O blew out his candles on his cake (thank you Little Green Shed for the inspiration to make this cake from Nigella!)

  • O opened his presents - his favourite present was his magic wand from here.

  • O went with his family to Jamie's restaurant for his favourite meal - pasta!!!!
Image - Jamie's

  • O went bowling with his Daddy.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A Place for Thoughts, Lists & Ramblings

image - Dottie Angel

No sooner do I finish tapping away my last entry & up pops a lovely new entry from Dottie Angel.  Notebooks!!!! How perfect for me 'the lover of lists'.  So as a treat I have just ordered a little trio of these charming, or as Dottie would say 'handy dandy notebooks'.  Now the joy of deciding what lists to put in them.  Any suggestions?