Thursday, 31 July 2014

All Bran 5 day challenge

My poor tummy suffers a lot with bloating so I am adopting a healthier lifestyle of late. Having the allotment makes things a bit easier as for a large portion of the year I have fresh fruit, veggies and herbs to cook from scratch with. For the rest of the time and the days when I can't be bothered much I like to make sure I'm eating something convenient that is also filling.

I saw the Brit Mum's Real Mums of All-Bran 5 Day Challenge and thought I'd give it a go. We always have All-Bran in the house. It is the only cereal that my 4 year will eat, no milk just a bowl of All-Bran and he calls it Jum-Bat which I think is a great word.

Also in the range is Golden Crunch, Red Berry Crunch and the new Chocolate Wheats flavours which I was too slow off the mark to get a trial of but we did go out and buy the first two - always keen to try new foods. 

The challenge is all about embracing our tummy's and trying All-Bran for 5 consecutive days to see how it made us feel.

Golden Crunch was my favourite although Red Berry Crunch was ok too and I alternated the two. Having them in the morning made me feel much less hungry by late morning. Normally I would be snacking on all sorts by 11am but a bowl of cereal rather than toast kept the hunger away. By the end of the 5 days, do I feel less bloated....I think so. Certainly I've not had any pains for a while so maybe this has helped. 

This post is an entry for the Real Mums of All-Bran Linky Challenge, sponsored by Kelloggs

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

5 Home Summer Activities To Bring The Family Together

The summer months should be a time when we can go outside and enjoy the sun – but with countless electrical distractions and indoor attractions taking you away from the sunshine, it can be difficult to spend some good quality time together as a family. But, there's a lot more families can do than just sunbathe. Many summer activities can help to strengthen a family bond for - and get us away from relying on the TV as our main source of entertainment! This latest guest post runs through five unique and inventive ways to spend time together as a family, without a tablet or smartphone in sight!

Keeping Chickens 
Looking after chickens can be an enjoyable experience for all members of the family. They not only make great pets, but they pay for their keep through producing eggs! The best time of the year for chickens is the summer, when they love getting outside to sunbathe or have dust baths. All chickens have unique characteristics, and individual members of the family can take turns in feeding them, and cleaning out their coop or house.

Before adding chickens to your family the first major consideration is ensuring that your chickens will have a home that is conducive to their good health, and which properly protects them from potential predators. A company such asEggshell Online  are specialists when it comes to chicken coops, houses, and runs.  
happy hens
egg-laying hens in the yard from Shutterstock
Blackberry Picking 
Blackberry bushes are fairly easy to grow in the garden, and once they start flowering they can grow very quickly. Blackberry picking can be a fun thing to do in the countryside, but having a blackberry bush at home is much more convenient, and can give the family a regular food source throughout the second half of the summer. A happy consequence of blackberry picking is obviously eating them, and, to that end, making blackberry tarts together can also involve the whole family! 

Create A Wildlife-Friendly Habitat 
With many of Britain's birds, butterflies and bees sadly suffering a serious decline in numbers in recent decades, building a habitat in your garden is one way of restoring the balance. Creating an attractive habitat can be a combined family effort, and be a way of helping children in particular to appreciate nature. Buddleia bushes will attract a variety of butterflies and bees, while berry bearing plants will attract different species of birds.  
Little boy painting
Little Boy painting from Shutterstock
Photography And Art  
A pleasant summer's day can be an inspiration to creativity, whether it's capturing beautiful plants, birds and insects with a camera, pencil, or brush. Drawing supplies are relatively inexpensive if you’re not after professional-grade kit, and the same can be said for most cameras – although most phones come well enough equipped for some family photography. As well as being a rewarding activity, it is also a good way for each member of the family to record aspects of the garden for posterity.  

Puzzles And Quizzes 
Though often thought of indoor activities the summer months offer a good excuse to take puzzles and quizzes outside. A jigsaw puzzle, for instance, could be something that stimulates co-operative behaviour, with each member of the family taking it turns to add a piece. While quizzes should be seen as just a bit of fun rather than being too competitive, and should help underline just how enjoyable spending time together can be for a family.

Armed with these five great activities, it’s time to embrace the sunshine and spend some family time together this summer – you’ll be glad you did!

Disclosure: This was a collaborative post for Eggshell online

Monday, 28 July 2014

Starting a veg patch

Start a veg patch this summer and get the whole family involved
If you’re looking to make the most of your garden now while the sun’s shining and the evenings are long, why not start a vegetable patch? This is a great outdoors activity and it’s one you can share with all the family.
Also, as long as you have the right garden furniture, you’ll be able to dine alfresco and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Top tips 
If your veg patch is to be a success, it’s important to bear a few top tips in mind. For example, try to select a piece of land that gets plenty of sunshine. Ideally, it should receive at least five hours of sun per day. Also, by keeping your patch away from other plants, you can help to reduce the number of slugs that attack it.
When you get started, make sure you dig your chosen spot over to remove any weeds and to break up the soil. It also helps to add plenty of compost and some rotted manure will speed things along too.
Always ensure there is plenty of space between the vegetables you plant. For example, you should leave approximately 20cm around a row of salad leaves and 35cm around a row of carrots. Also, when you plant crops like beans that climb, don’t forget to provide a stick or trellis to help them grow upwards.

Vegetable garden - lovely gardener with bunch of carrots from Shutterstock

Get your kids involved 
Veg patches offer a great chance to teach your children about gardening and to get them eating their greens. To help pique their interest, try to choose some fun crops. For example, plants you can pick and eat, like tomatoes and peas, are ideal.
Pumpkins are another great option. Kids love carving these at Halloween and you can make great soups with the flesh. Fast growing crops like lettuce are perfect for children too. Let's face it, youngsters aren't renowned for their patience, but these plants can help to keep little gardeners keen.
Making your children planting assistants is a great bonding activity and it will give them a host of important life skills - and hopefully a greater interest in food as well.

Post done in co-operation with Web Outreach Team

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Posh garden in summer

With the weather so beautiful we decided to go back to the local gardens to see how they had changed in just a month. The new show of flowers we saw was amazing. 
Everything was blooming.
The newly planted prairie garden was starting to grow.
The tropical garden was full of broad leaved plants and huge spires. In the conservatory (the orangery) is a cafe so it's a great view to look out at over tea and cake. I feel so lucky to have these gardens to look around on my doorstep.
Sweet peas, lavender, so many shades of pink and purple.
This is the garden around the conservatory where they hold weddings. Beautiful to walk out as newly weds into these pretty gardens full of seasonal flowers. A gardener was very busy here, making sure everything was perfect. 
The pergola walkway was dripping with clematis and roses now.
A row of dahlias I think. This is what I want to do at the allotment next year and have a whole section as a cutting garden.
The Pool Garden, flanked by verbena now - it was tulips last time. 
We had such a peaceful afternoon and I'm looking forward to visiting much more over the summer and into autumn. Officially my favourite garden in Cheshire.

Joining in with How Does Your Garden Grow? at Manneskjur.