Saturday, 28 June 2014

WEEKEND BREAKFASTS



I love weekend breakfasts that are enjoyed at a leisurely pace without the rush of having to get to school or work. This mornings was extra special as the boy has just returned from a five-day school residential trip, we all really missed him. We made American pancakes to celebrate his return (made with flour, eggs, milk, baking soda, sugar and salt) and served with maple syrup, banana and bacon.

Friday, 27 June 2014

THE LAURIE LEE CENTENARY


I have had the great honour of working on a new poetry trail at work over the past few months. Designed to connect people with the local landscape and the poetry of Laurie Lee, the trail is called the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way and is a six mile circular walk, punctuated by 11 wooden posts featuring different poems. 

We were blessed to have the support of Laurie's daughter Jessy Lee and musician and author Cerys Matthews, who has written the introduction to the republished Cider with Rosie. We had a small launch for the trail yesterday, where Jessy read her father's poem April Rise, it was such a privilege to hear her read her fathers words on the centenary of his birth. 


Cerys brought her parents with her and paid tribute to her father who introduced her to the writing of Laurie Lee, before entertaining us by reading from her introduction. After the launch we found time to stop by the roadside to pick some elderflowers for Cerys to take back to London and make into elderflower champagne, much to the amusement of passers by, wondering what she was doing in a bush in a rural Gloucestershire lane! 

There are loads of wonderful events to celebrate Laurie Lee, from open gardens to poetry readings and a cider festival visit www.laurielee.org to find out more. 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

DO YOU LIKE BUTTER?


Buttercups from the garden are adding some cheer to the table. Buttercups are such a happy flower, they remind me of my childhood days when I'd hold them under my mum's chin to see if she liked butter!

Monday, 23 June 2014

CRAZY DAYS


It's been a crazy week, full of stress, work and illness, but luckily there has been some good times too. Such as making fire sticks to celebrate midsummer.



Dancing at the school festival as the sun set.


and watching Ted make his musical debut in the school steel pan band!

video

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

WHERE DID YOU GET THAT HAT?


I've just treated myself to a brand new hat this summer, I always spend money when I'm stressed or worried! The Panama hat was £39 from Jigsaw and I love it, what do you think?

Monday, 16 June 2014

A JOLLY NICE DISCOVERY




On the A419 between the market towns of Stroud and Cirencester in the Cotswolds there is the most wonderful new farm shop and cafe called Jolly Nice. Having ingeniously taken over a disused petrol station, this is a farm shop with a difference.

The old forecourt has been turned into an outdoor seating area and shop selling fruit and vegetables all displayed in crates. Parked in the front is a very gorgeous airstream that serves Jolly Nice burgers, made from the farms rare breed shorthorn beef, free-range applewood smoked bacon and served in a brioche bun. Inside the farm shop you find local produce, coffee, fresh bread and cakes produced by a local artisan baker, and the owner Harriet's amazing ice cream, the salted caramel is to die for!

It is a truly great idea to take such an eyesore, a disused petrol station that was derelict for years, and whilst keeping the shell and structure in place transform it into a stylish farm shop and cafe selling the most delicious range of takeaway treats. Whether you're passing by and need a coffee or somewhere new to eat, this is a pit stop worth taking and if calling in on a sunny day, and there's even a picnic meadow next door to eat your lunch in!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON





An afternoon spent in the pub garden, admiring vintage cars and making daisy chains, a perfect father's day.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

AFTER SCHOOL SNACKING


When the Eco Green Store asked if we'd like to blog about their products we jumped at the chance. They asked us if we would like to choose £30 worth of Suma products and blog about what we did with them, which I thought would be easy, until I realised quite how extensive a product range Suma has - there are over 1,000 products listed on the website!

I decided a good use of this opportunity would be to address one of our bad family eating habitats - the mid-late afternoon snacking - when we all come home from work and school ravenous and forage in the cupboards for food, which are usually not the most healthiest if I'm to be honest!


So armed with The Green Kitchen cookbook, I chose their Hemp Protein Bar recipe which should fill even the hungriest of growing boys stomachs, and set about ordering the ingredients for these and also some chick peas and olive oil for some hummus that we're planning to make later in the week.

Ingredients;

pumpkin seeds
desiccated coconut
hemp seeds
chia seeds
medjool dates
coconut oil
cocoa powder
rolled oats 
vanilla extract
& poppy seeds

Stanley enjoyed playing with the seeds first!

The boys really enjoyed making the bars which are quick and easy to blend, you then just pop them in the fridge to set! I love the extensive range of products on the Eco Green Store and although they are available at my local health food store, albeit a more limited range, to have cupboard staples delivered in bulk is much more convenient and cost effective too. I'll let you know whether they work tomorrow!

Monday, 9 June 2014

LITTLE LAURIE LEE


The boys dressed up as Laurie Lee this weekend to perform an extract of Cider with Rosie. They played in the long grass and entertained the walkers taking part in the Laurie Lee Centenary Celebration walk. Despite suffering with terrible hay-fever they did us proud and lots of people asked to take their photograph which was so lovely!

Friday, 6 June 2014

THE QUEEN OF PROCRASTINATION


So I'm meant to be tidying the house top to bottom today and instead I'm playing with a T-Rex! I really am the queen of procrastination, I've even been dancing to the Happy Monday's Step On rather than hoover.

We've got loads of work on at the moment, but will hopefully find time to pick some more elderflower to make some champagne this weekend. The wonderful The Simple Things blog have featured our elderflower picking and champagne recipe today, the blog is wonderful full of lovely things to do and inspirations, so a real joy to be featured on there, do check it out.

Have a lovely weekend x

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

FARMERS' MARKET FAYRE


We had a great shop in Stroud on Saturday and as usual bought our favourite things from the farmers' market; bunches of sweet williams, a baguette, two courgette plants, asparagus, creme fraiche and some centenary cider. We also found some old print letters, a Warne trees and shrubs book for 20p, an old round loaf tin and a Dennis Gould print on some lovely linen fabric.


With our haul we made a delicious Saturday brunch of asparagus tian made with eggs, cheese and creme fraiche, which we enjoyed for lunch with fresh bread and some raspberries.

Monday, 2 June 2014

RUSTIC SIMPLICITY




The top pic is the childhood home of Laurie Lee Rosebank in Slad which is surrounded by wild flowers at the moment. I love how the nearby Woolpack Inn has brought its beautiful surroundings inside with huge vases brimming with wild flowers. We enjoyed lunch there last week, a rustically simple but delicious menu, Pete had a goats cheese, wild garlic and walnut pesto sandwich and I had a ham and pickled beetroot sandwich with skinny fries. Oh and a small cider too! 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

ANYONE FOR CRICKET?







We have had such gorgeous weather here today, so we decided to pack up a picnic lunch to enjoy as our eldest had a cricket match in one of the most beautiful Gloucestershire villages, Frampton-on-Severn.

So after a nail bitingly close match, we set out the picnic blankets and chairs in the sunshine and enjoyed our first proper picnic of the year.

Our Simple Sunday Picnic Menu

Cold roast chicken
Minted pea cous cous
Roast asparagus with borage flowers
New potatoes with butter
Salad leaves with marigold petals
Raspberries & Strawberries

(we also ordered some chips from the pub too!)

MAKING ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL


The elderflowers are blooming in the hedgerows early this year thanks to the warm, wet weather, which means it's time to make elderflower cordial and champagne! 


We use a walking stick to pick the flowers, which are often high up in hedges with brambles and stinging nettles underneath, so the hook helps to pull the branches down for us to pick.


We pick the flowers from quiet country lanes, never busy roadsides where they could be polluted from exhaust fumes.


We also pick the flowers in full bloom on a bright sunny day, only taking what we need and leaving the rest for wildlife.


Once we get home we gently shake out any bugs and beasties from the flowers and pop them into a large preserving pan.

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

(makes 4-5 75cl bottles)

Ingredients 

50 elderflower heads
2 litres of water
2 unwaxed lemons
2 kg caster sugar
10g citric acid

Method

1. Put the elderflower heads into a large pan
2. Add the zest of two lemons
3. Pour the boiling water over the top and leave for 24 hours to infuse
4. Strain the mixture, disguarding the elderflowers
4. Add the juice of the two lemons, the citric acid and the sugar and bring to the boil
5. As soon as the cordial boils, turn heat down and simmer for a further five minutes
6. Sterilise the bottles in the oven or the dishwasher
7. Filter the cordial into the bottles and label
8. We also pour some of the cordial into ice cube trays
9. Enjoy over the summer!


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