Friday, 27 July 2012

Family road trip!

Tomorrow we are embarking one a two week tour of Britain. We are visiting friends and family, doing some touristy London things, some chilled out Cornwall things and some en route leg-stretching things. I am not sure whether blogging will feature - we'll have to wait and see. Have a fun couple of weeks.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

10 minute holiday

I have not frequented these parts of late due to a nasty bug which is thankfully now behind me. I am in fine fettle today and thought you might like to share a lovely 10 minutes that happened to me this morning.

I went to get my hair cut at a new place that had been recommended by a friend. Arriving 10 minutes early, and for once having no Smalls in tow, I went for a short walk... on the beach. The new hairdressers has the wonderful feature of being about 20 metres from the sea.

My sandals soon came off as the urge to paddle hit me.

I turned my face to the Sun and my toes to the waves.

I wandered along for a few minutes then shook off the sand and sauntered into the hairdressers as if nothing unusual had happened at all.

Only I knew that I had luxuriated in my own 10 minute holiday, and now you do too.


Friday, 20 July 2012

Illicit pickings

We moved our rhubarb this winter which means we are not supposed to pick it this year. Apart from a stalk or two right at the beginning of the season I have been really good and left it alone, but a couple of days ago I cracked. It is so crazily healthy that it is taking over in the new space. So I pulled a couple of stalks off each plant. They are huge and pretty sharp because really it is a bit late in the season so I have been cooking them up. Yesterday I made chutney, and I have rhubarb and orange jam on the go right now.

Tiny Boy and I also rustled up some lemon caked for the lovely ladies at his pre-school because it was his last day yesterday. Six weeks and he'll be in big school!

Time flies when you are having fun!


Wednesday, 18 July 2012


I thought you might enjoy these snaps of a little piece of waste ground opposite our house. The poppies simply sing with colour and are a joy to behold.

It is pouring again today so Giant Baby and I are holed up inside with the lights on at 10 o'clock in the morning. I have promised a spot of Mr Tumble in a mo which should free me up to whizz through a little high-speed housework. Thank goodness for BBC iplayer on days like these!


Monday, 16 July 2012

Hunting the Sun

After what feels like weeks of rain there was a rumour that the Sun might be putting in an appearance at Alnwick yesterday so we packed up a picnic and headed off. I have posted about Alnwick Gardens before here. But it really is such a fab place that I am going to show you a bit more.

For a family with three Smalls it really has everything.

As soon as you get inside the garden you see the tractors which are such a hit it is hard to extract the Smalls to see anything else. They are pretty tricky to pedal but thankfully Tall Girl likes pushing Giant Baby about.

There was a near miss when a tractor steered by Giant Baby and propelled by a combination of Tiny Boy and gravity went careering off course towards another family. Thankfully they saw the funny side!

At this time of year the rose garden is spectacular.

Although I was not allowed to linger, because, despite it being only 11.30 Tiny Boy decided it was high time for our picnic. Picnics are a bit of a novelty in our house, mostly because I am lazy and can't be bothered to make them, and because I can't abide a sandwich that has been hanging about in a plastic wrapping.

This time there was not a sandwich in sight and I threw stuff out of the fridge and into the bag pausing only to chop the carrots, boil the eggs and purchase extra pasta salad and cookies from the shop. It was a good picnic, washed down with a takeaway tea, which I actually think is my favourite kind.

After tractors, I think the thing the Smalls like best in the world, is water - and Alnwick has lots of it.

All the fountains demonstrate different scientific phenomena, but more importantly, they are all good for splashing in and also for interesting reflections.

 Everyone's favourite fountain is the one you have to wait for.

Gradually the water level rises in the central cylinder, and you wait, and wait until just when you are thinking it is never going to start...

Woosh! Of it goes, soaking everything and everyone who has dared to venture too close.

Gradually the jets get lower and the people get braver, until just as suddenly as it started...

it stops.
The main cascade is truly spectacular, and every half hour the fountains start in a different formation.

There is also a wonderful walled flower garden.

lots of cool shady bowers,

and hedges with windows and doors.

What's not to like? And the Sun shone some of the time. I'll settle for that.


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Abundant abundance

Yesterday was an even madder weather day than most we have had recently. I began swathed in waterproofs and wellies but still got so wet that there was water inside my watch. Then the rain stopped and it got very cold so I swapped my wellies for winter boots and put the heating on (one word: JULY!), then the cloud thinned enough that we could see the outline of a strange bright circle in the sky, and I swapped my winter boots for canvas shoes (with socks) and ventured into the soggy garden with Tiny Boy.

There we found everything in abundance. Abundant weeds, abundant long lush grass, and most importantly abundant yumminess.

Wild strawberries.

Two kinds of mange tout.

A small but perfectly formed courgette and one pod of broad beans from the plant grown by Tiny Boy at pre-school.

New potatoes from the volunteer plant that was growing among the parsnips, and the first onion.

And lovely flowers. Enough now to cut some for the house.

The thick cloud is back but it is not raining so I am about to venture forth again to tackle some of the abundant weeds. I hope you are enjoying your garden.


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Barbara's Brilliant Breakfast

Named after my lovely friend who served it up a few months ago and transformed weekend breakfasts chez nous.

To serve two hungry adults and three Smalls:

Grate an apple and a pear (or two apples or two pears - this is not rocket science) in to a mixing bowl.

Add a whole 500ml pot of plain yogurt, Greek style/natural/full fat/low fat/fat free, whatever suits. (I did take a snap of the yogurt pot to go here but it was fuzzy and really you know what a yogurt pot looks like!)

Add about 3 cups of porridge oats and 3/4 cup of dried fruit. I use currants because Tall Girl will eat them but won't eat raisins. Raisins would be fine. Mine are American sized measuring cups which were a gift from Canada. I have no idea how big they are. Pick a cup and adjust accordingly or do what I do and pour straight from the bag til it looks right.

Mix it all up. It should be about the consistency of sponge cake mix.

Spoon into bowls and add a few blueberries (or something else, or nothing).

A truly yummy and extremely healthy breakfast that Tall Girl once commented was so nice it was like having pudding for breakfast.