Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Harvest Soup

Budget recipes for us at the moment as we are getting some bits and bobs done around the house, plus one of our cars' engines blew up last week. Not good! A quick look in the fridge and there's some corn on the cob from grandad's allotment and courgettes and tomatoes from ours.
Here is our harvest soup:
Roasted-vegetablesRough chop courgette, tomatoes and add sweetcorn into a roasting tin.
Drizzle olive oil and add any seasoning. I added some chipotle sauce, herb mix, extra chilli and some garlic.
Roast in the oven until looking lovely and caramelised.
Add to a pan,
Blitz with a blender.
Dilute with some water, bring to the boil.
Swirl in some cream.
Peg puzzle playing
Find a lovely harvest wooden peg puzzle and talk of tractors and combine harvesters. 
A swirl of cream

Harvest Bowl of soup
Autumn eating and playing.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

September Goodies

Pink Ikea Owl Rug and fun squashy elephant September, starting to snuggle in and think of autumn. A few new buys for the season.
A new rug, pink, owls, splash of yellow. Gorgeous and warm under my feet. Happy play time.
Squashy elephant poofy thing! Little Bird therapy,  for squashy things and deep pressure are calming.

Green coat
Bright green shiny rain mac for me! Perfect for the wet and windy school run.
Ikea Candle Holders
 It's twilight by 7.30 and as I tidy up outside I have just a Pipistrelle bat for company.
I come inside and light a few candles here and there.
Lacy candle holders scattering pretty patterns by the fireplace. Perfect.
Ivy and Heather Window Boxes
Purple and white heather with some ivy in new window boxes either side of the bay window. We bought a matching pot too but have yet to buy a box cone to plant into it. Something that will lend itself to having fairy lights spiralled around it during the winter.
A welcoming face found at an artisans market and now the guardian of our home.
Below is an owl wooden wind chime from the same stall and I couldn't resist his yellow eyes and the melodic tones as he hung from the stripy canopy. He's now resident on the decking enjoying the autumn sunshine.
Owl chimes
Have you been buying autumnal things too?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Bakewell Puddings

Door guardian Bakewell from the medieval bridge Rutland Arms Hotel, Strawberry Clouds, Peacock Pub, Bakewell town map Bakewell Park Bakewell Pudding Factory Bakewell Smiths Stationers Bakewell shopping centre Runner Beans growing over a wall River Wye shops in Bakewell Bakewell treats and puddings Portland Square, Bakewell Bakewell whisky shop and stained glass window watching ducks near the River Wye
A day trip out to the Peak District.
Travelling through hills and moorland, seeing the Red Devils perform tricks in the distance,
Red hearts through wispy clouds.
Chatsworth country. Heritage.
Exploring the market town of Bakewell,
Walking over the medieval bridge whose five arches span the Derbyshire River Wye.
Streets famous for producing the Bakewell pudding not tart! No icing. Serious business.
Discovered by culinary accident is the story - a jam pastry with an egg and almond filling.
Yummy it was too, eaten too quickly that evening at home for camera shots.
The air was tinged ever so slightly with autumn and though the sun shone, I felt a chill bite my cheeks,
Following us down ginnels and by the river, past the geese and the flute player
Making our stomachs growl yet again, to be warmed by the nicest tasting chips we have ever had.
Full bellies walked off in the park and past the row of interesting cottages and secret doorways,
Gardens still bursting with the last of the runner beans and yellow daisies.
We must move on now, more to explore,
Back to the car for the next part of the journey........

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Star Gazing Big Night In

Star Gazing Big Night I
If I could wish for the perfect family night in, it would be a starry soiree. This time of year always heralds the start of cold and clear nights, perfect to look up to the stars, so if we had a telescope we could all gather outside in our natty bobble hats and stripy scarves and gaze up whilst drinking warming hot chocolate with pink flumpy marshmallows.
 A chance to talk together, a little bit of magic in the air and enjoy some treats and seasonal food.

Party and look at the constellations
Source c/w -, Telescope - John Lewis, 
The garden would be decorated with twinkly lights and lanterns flickering.
Sparklers tracing shapes and names.
Some starry face painting and grabbing a woolly plaid blanket for extra warmth.
Deep, dark sky with glimmering stars, looking for constellations. The Plough. Orion.
Telescope - my turn, my turn!!
Waiting for the the International Space Station passing, amazing. Silly waving 'hello'
Learning, wondering, talking about comets and UFO's. Laughing.

Star Gazing Party Fun
Items from John Lewis. 
Getting a bit later and much chillier.......time to go inside.
Fun onesies and warming bed socks. So snuggly.
Vegetable stew with suet dumplings, in the shape of stars of course.
Cakes and jelly beans, posh containers of sweets.
Cappuccino with a dash of something extra for Mummy and Daddy Bird.
Stack of new board games. No television tonight please.
Little Bird enjoying a space sticker book, Junior Birds playing with the Lego Space Centre
5-4-3-2-1 Blast Off!

Star gazing party essentials
Sources  where known - Constellation tarts, Kigu is from John Lewis 
Camping downstairs, telling ghost stories. Anecdotes of time travel and celestial beings.
Why do the constellations have these names? Pondering.
Squishy cushions to hide behind, shining torches around the room.
Moon light filters in, tucked in, goodnight hugs.

Cosy up at the star gazing party
Sources where known c/w:, Sticker book - John Lewis, Emma Bridgwater Star Mug

Kids asleep. Tired out too. Couple of drinks and making Daddy Bird laugh telling fortunes. Quick check of the stars - a different sky. Chatting philosophically and checking upon sleeping, little campers snoring. Tidy up tomorrow. Good night to all who lie under the stars. A perfect night of family togetherness.

 Tarot reading
Sources unknown except for the star lamp - eCRATER
Telescope - £170
Space Books and stickers - £20
Board Games & party bits 'n' bobs- £40
Star Projector Lamp - £25
Outside fairy lights - £20
Lanterns - £30
Lego City Space Centre & shuttle- £60
Lovely woolly hats and socks - £100
Owl Kigu - £35
Onesies for the rest of us - £150
Blanket - £50
Food goodies - £50
Total £750

This is my entry into the Little Stuff  'Big Night In' competition with Two Little Fleas and how I would spend £750 on an amazing night in with the family.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Pinky Trail

pinky trail at the park Pinky trail with grandad at Pinky Park - a name that I grew up with but never knew why as it's not the official name!?! Today I found out it was because a farmer's naughty pigs would escape and go to snuffle around on land which is now the park. All this time and I never knew. 
walking in the park with grandad 
Little Bird is wearing his lovely new raincoat, walking with his very best grandad - they understand each other very well. Grandad looks out for Little Bird and is great at playing the way LB likes. Chasing him around and pretending to be a monster or making silly faces.
 Now this park is Grandad's pride and joy, he helps out here and was recently involved in putting this nature trail together with the park's Friends Group and some local college students.
nature trail map 
As we went around the woodland trail we found beautifully illustrated signs that unfortunately as we got further around, it appeared that somebody had started to do a very mean thing and had pulled them off the trees and thrown them on the floor :(  
fox nature trail Some signs had been ripped off and chucked into bushes and the piggy sign posts with local information had been broken and thrown into shrubbery too. The rain then fell very hard and we all got soaked. Grandad was very upset, the dogs were soggy and Little Bird was in trouble for running off! Oh dear!
soggy dogThe afternoon then turned into a bit of detective work, finding all the thrown away signs and collecting them all in. There have been some security issues with the entrance by the woods so the local PCSO came for a chat with the park group and the park keeper. Hopefully the vandalism will stop soon. Totally mindless and such a mean thing to do as the Pinky Trail was for families like ours to enjoy, for children to learn about the woodlands and was a great effort from all involved. 
peacock butterfly illustration Stunning artwork by the local college.
nature trail signs
I hope the trail is back up and running soon - such a shame that they don't want to risk putting the signs back yet until the problem with vandalism goes away. Fingers crossed it will be back for autumn.
  hedgehog sign
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Once Upon a Money Story

Dear Son,

I know you are too young to understand about money but here is my advice for when you are older. We love our books and nursery rhymes son, so perhaps they can help me to show you all about finances.

Save up some golden eggs each month as soon as you are working so that you have money for the future. You may want to buy a house for just yourself or perhaps a first house with your wife like Peter Pumpkin Eater did. Or sometimes you may need some money to fall back on in times of difficulty. Sometimes it doesn't rain but it pours.Think of the old man that bumped his head and couldn't get up in the morning. It's lucky he had some pennies put aside until he got better.
pumpkin house Keep track of those golden eggs and spend some time each month monitoring how many eggs are laid and how many are needed to pay the bills. You will have lots of bills, that's just the way life is and something called tax and insurance. The taxes that are paid to the King and Queen of the faraway land to ensure it runs smoothly - although you will not always agree with this. Some money will need to be spent on insurance, for your home or car, this would have helped the piggy to rebuild the house that the wolf huffed and puffed and blew down had he been wise. You will need to have a monthly budget for all your outgoings and then you know how much you have left for treating yourself.
Start a pension as soon as you are working. One day all those children with leave the shoe and you will have some nice money to retire with. Seems like such a long time off I know.
old woman that lived in a shoe Don't be greedy, you do not need the golden harp and the magic hen too. Only have what you can afford or afford to pay back. All the latest beanstalk land gadgets will not bring happiness but will make you worry about how you can make the repayments.

If you do get credit, some are good and some are bad like the poisonous apple in Snow White. Do your research and don't always pick what seems the most tempting upon first glance. Too many apples like loans will give you a tummy ache, keep control of that credit. Don't get into debt buying clothes or fancy items that you can't afford, there are plenty of budget options and you will still look cool.
basket of apples Be financially savvy. Read up on the subject, get a decent newspaper and read the financial section each week. Learn about how best to invest those golden eggs and where the better deals are. After all, you don't want just beans in return.
goose with the golden egg
When you jiggety-jog to market to buy a fat pig - or whatever else you may want to buy, don't be afraid to haggle and get some discount. Look for discounts and be frugal. Don't rush into buying things as you will save money by shopping around first.

pigsWork very hard like the shoemaker and you will receive great benefits. Focus on your career, even when things seem to be difficult. Keep on trying to better yourself and the elves will......well maybe not elves but you catch my drift - you gain a greater chance of being rewarded in the end.
fairytale book
Remember money is not everything, being rich will not necessarily bring you happiness. There are many free things in life that will fulfil you. Family and friends who love you are worth more. You can enjoy yourself living frugally and you will be a better person for it. Be wise with money and save up for the treats that you really want and you will live financially ever after.

Lots of love from
your Fairy God Mummy