Half terms over now and if like us you aren’t feeling to flush in the pocket it’s nice to still be able to do things together as family. I’ve made a list here of the top ten things we do as a family mainly to share with you and I’m feeling to lazy today to come up with a long post!
Be it raining, windy or glorious sunshine we don the correct apparel and make the picnic accordingly. Haven driven to the sea or a local forest we will either huddle in the car with hot soup and rolls before going for a puddle walk or spread out a blanket and try and get as much food down the boys as they run wild.
Thankfully our local library lends out dvd’s at a fairly cheaply and we choose one for the boys and then one for us when or rather if they go to sleep before us! We then spend the next hour getting the kitchen messy while we make and decorate our own pizzas.
Or rather heading down to our local stream with a jamjar and a bit of string and sending it to dive down to see what we find. Normal not much beyond mud and sticklebacks but its surprising how much interest this provides
Handmade is the best. The boys choose their colour and enjoy making it as much as playing with it.
One day when after I’ve won the lottery and sorted out family and kids I want to buy a book shop. Despite my husband complaining we already do I would love an independent book and coffee shop. I love walking in when it’s not to manic and take that first whiff of ink and coffee. Like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s I love the calm and quiet and general atmosphere (plus a book is a wee bit cheaper than a diamond necklace!) Then being able to browse through anything from crime to chick lit to the latest wildlife series or film book.Then once deciding on your latest day dream sitting in the coffee shop with a hot creamy coffee and being able to steep yourself into a good book and lose yourself for a little while.
We have books everywhere at home. The bath, the bedrooms, the kitchen, the cloakroom, the car, the lounge and the stairway. Much to my family’s amusement I can have anything up to four books going at once depending on whether I’ve had to stop and wait somewhere in the car or I’m having a bath or walking my little one off to sleep. The minute I’ve read the first sentence I’m lost and the stress of the day has gone even if only for a few minutes. How people can turn away from books and libraries and decide films and TV’s are better and books redundant are beyond me. I can only assume they have never found the right book. Be it Agatha Christie and her wonderful detectives or a relaxing Jill Mansell or even being intrigued by Terry Pratchetts Disc world or the latest celebrity story there is a book for everyone. Do go out and find it. It’s the best stress buster in the world!
I love baking. I hate cooking at least the day to day cooking but something special or baking for afternoon cakes and tea I could quite happily do every day (if the boys allowed me!) However in my immediate family we cannot have dairy and when you extend this to my parents its starts to include almost everything you need – wheat, gluten, eggs, soy etc etc then even further my husband’s cousins have nut allergies. Not too difficult taken individually but we’ve just had my little ones christening and therefore we needed a cake.
As I said taken individually it’s possible to make some lovely cakes but as a total my mum and I were stumped. However the joys of our local health food shop produced a cake mixture which had none of the allergy ingredients in. I would like to say before we go further that we rarely as in once in a blue moon packet cook. I’m not fond of it, it doesn’t taste as good and it’s not as nutritious however time was also of the element as my mum and grandma had been ill as well. Well we discovered the orgran mix which is wheat, gluten, soy, eggs etc free - this covered my mum, my grandma and uncles and cousins but what about nut allergies and every day dairy allergies! Without xantham gum in which my grandma can’t have (see we’re full of allergies) wheat and gluten free cake bears no resemblance to cake the rest of the populace would eat. After much thought we decided on a main allergy free cake with little cup cakes (very modern) which were dairy and nut free. You can see why we ended up using a mix for the main cake. Not a relaxing day and not quite what I’d class as the most enjoyable day of baking. However it was different, interesting and it worked out lovely and every one had a wonderful time without knowing the stress involved. And heres the cake below!
Ps my mum also handsewed the rather gorgeous silk christening gown!
Although my boys are a wee bit small to start school and have an official half term I do take full advantage of it. I avoid the shops and ensure that all food shopping is done online and that if I do have to dread the stressed mums and fed up kids in the supermarkets I go last thing in the evening.
But I do enjoy the events which are on every day most particularly the National Trusts. I love them! Adore them even! And I know this makes me sound about 80 but they have everything I think makes a good trip. Loads of room outdoors for the kids to run about and gorgeous houses full of history and scandal to keep small kids and adults amused for hours mainly in my sons case with the hope of seeing a spider in the bath - Thank you Lanhydrock! And almost every weekend and every day in holidays events are put on for free. However my favourite one Castle Drogo in Devon I just discovered has a doomed future. It was built in the early 20th Centuary and I have memories of being my childrens age and running down the long drive to see this beautiful but modern castle high up on Dartmoor. I do recommend a trip to see it and the many others scattered around our country. You can catch of glimpse of Winston Churchills private life at Chartwell, see where Pride & Predjudice was filmed at Basildon Park or even Lyme Park and picture that famous lake scene (I do repeatedly in my head) or just enjoy an afternoons amble in the many parks and woodlands. Why not visit and if you enjoy join and help save these gorgeous places for our childrens children.
After much procrastination and eyeing up of other blogs I decided today to take the plunge and start my own. So a quick hello to any one who stumbles across this and reads it by accident.
I discovered today that I can no longer use Dettol or Milton which has been a huge disappointment as I love and very weirdly adore the smell of Dettol. Take me to a hospital room which has been cleaned from floor to ceiling and I’m in seventh heaven. That is until I had Harry my youngest little boy. Even since then and I can only blame it on the horrors of hormones which have wrecked my body I cannot be in the same room as certain chemicals without my neck and glands swelling up to make me look like a monster only featured in cartoons. Since we’re currently trying to sell our house ready for the big move its slightly inconvenient as with three boys in the house the place doesn’t clean for more than half a day. My husband’s grandma though suffered from the same thing and he just started informing of all the wonders of vinegar, water and lemon juice. I’ve always used vinegar and water to clean my windows (something my grandma taught me) but to clean a kitchen? However after googling half the afternoon I’ve decided to brave it with maybe a bit of bicarbonate of soda in to shove those stubborn stains. I’ll report back as to how it works and what on earth I find to clean the toilets and daily carpets stains. If anyone has any extra ideas please do comment!