Category Archives: walking

Mud is good!

And then there were four!… With the welcome arrival of our second daughter River, life is beginning to settle into being a little family of four. She is currently cuddled on my lap as I type this one handed 🙂

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It has taken me far too long to write this post as it has been sitting in my draft box. These photos were taken on a venture into the woods near our house for some family fun time outdoors. This was River’s first time in the woods near our home and will start to become a regular thing now as we try to gather as much dead wood as we can while the nights stay bright and before the winter comes back.

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I don’t know what it is about Mud that draws children to it like a moth to a flame but even Ayla who like most girls loves dressing up in big frills and prancing around with fairy wings and dancing like a ballerina still loves to get muddy!

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The mud here is almost pure clay, so Daddy and Ayla had a go at molding it into little bowls to bring back home with them.

Can’t tell you how blessed I feel to have this place on our doorstep, the birds seem louder in here and its fun spotting different tracks in the mud. There can be muntjac deer, pheasants and the odd doggy paw prints or hoof prints which are all fun to spot on our walk and tell a story to the life of the place and the animals passing through.

We even brought the mud home with us and with a little lesson from Daddy the two of them had a go at forming little clay bowls with muddy fingers, which was pretty successful. We left them overnight to dry and then had a go at baking them in the oven which has left hard enough that we can probably have a go at painting them.

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If they hold well enough we might even consider making a few more as plant pots for the garden by hardening them properly in a kiln. Talking of plant pots Ayla and I planted a few sunflower seeds a while ago which have shot up nicely and I am excited to see what flowers we might get this summer.

Hope you are all well, wherever you might be xxx

 

 

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Christmas Baking!

As it is officially Advent and December is now here, who can resist the chance to make some festive biscuits and get in the mood for all things Christmassy!

We have been house sitting/dog sitting my parents place and my Mum keeps a well stocked larder cupboard which makes baking easy and spontaneous as I am quite sure she has everything you could possibly need for a recipie.

Our first attempt was…burned!

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I also decided to try the ‘black treacle’ instead of golden syrup and I think even if I hadnt burned them they were not quite the flavour I was expecting. This recipie contained no egg, butter, flour, dark brown sugar, black treacle, bicarbante of soda, ginger and cinnamon.

So for our second attempt the following day, I decided not to use the black treacle and try the soft ‘lighter’ brown sugar. Apparently the lighter shade of brown simply reflects the amount of mollases they have added darker = more, lighter = less.

For the second attempt I used:

350g plain flour (although I had to use self raising)

100g butter

75g golden syrup

200g soft brown sugar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

tiny pinch of salt

1 egg beaten

There are a number of recipies for christmas biscuits online, I simply took from the ones available and customised the recipies to the ingredients we had and the flavours we like.

I love to get Ayla involved in every part, she enjoyed measuring and weighing the ingredients.

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Mixing the sugar and the butter was tough at first so we popped it in the microwave for a few seconds just to soften it up a bit.

Ayla is often more interested in eating the mixture than adding to it!

She absolutely loves the feel of the flour on her hands and quite happlily play with it for ages, which often results in flour everywhere!! 🙂

Once we had mixed all the ingredients together the dough was left to chill for a few minutes before we began rolling it out.

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Ayla took this shot of me rolling the dough, as it is hard to take a picture and use a rolling pin at the same time!

We then used a Christmas tree cutter for our biscuit shapes, which we got free with a cbeebies magazine last year!

We placed them onto well greased baking trays, although we placed them too close together so could have done with using an extra baking tray. (The finger prints were Ayla’s ‘little touch’)

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We managed to get well over 30 biscuits out of this recipie and whilst I popped them in the oven (at 170 degrees) I kept watch over them this time so as not to burn them.

I like my biscuits slightly chewy too so didnt want them to be in too long.

While they were baking, I had just enough time to clear up the mess!

We left them cooling on the side whilst we went for a muddy, blustery afternoon walk with Watson the dog!

Again I raided my Mums cupboards to find something to decorate the biscuits and there was quite a selection. I have to say though that decorating is…. interesting with a three year old!

Needless to say we only decorated a few and a certain little person managed spoon icing, sugar strands and edible glitter into her little mouth whenever she thought I wasn’t looking!

The baking started the magical feeling of Christmas, filling the house with warm spice and all things nice!

Now to put the tree up 🙂

Happy Advent Everyone xxx

Autumn Days!

Well it has been an incredibly long time since I last posted… so long in fact that we are even expecting a new addition to the family in March and I am currently 21 weeks pregnant!

Ayla has celebrated her 3rd birthday and life at home has been steadily becoming more and more like winter is upon us.

This Autumn we have been having plenty of Autumnal fun!… with walks in the woods and some leafy crafts to keep us busy on these blustery days.20151014_160142

We had lots of fun picking leaves from the garden one afternoon and making a lovely spikey hedgehog picture with all the sticks and crushed brown leaves.

We even had an unexpected ladybird guest in amongst our autumn finds!

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We made Mr hedgehog an eye and Ayla stuck on a buttercup just to make him feel special!

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We have had some lovely walks this season, one particularly special walk was through ‘The Knapp and Papermill Nature Reserve’ it was a beautiful clear day, we picked apples…

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Tried to spot some otters… (not this time!), found some ancient oak trees and met some

beautiful Highland cows with their calf’s.

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We ate the apples…although a little sour! 🙂

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This really is a super place to walk, such beauty and wildlife you really are in for a treat if you come walking in these woods! If you want to check out more info on the reserve this link will help: http://www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/reserves/knapp-and-papermill

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Now what better way to cuddle up on these evenings as the darker nights draw in, than with a log fire and a mug of something hot!

And that is exactly what I intend to do 🙂 I absolutely love an open fire and I get quite excited at the prospect of it being lit up again!

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When we can we have been collecting some of the fallen, dead timber in the woods near our house, ready for cosy times next to the fire.

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In addition to open fires I also have a thing for candles… this is probably inherited from my Mum who actually has more candles in her home than anyone I know!

So today I took the opportunity to make some Autumn candle jars with some leaves found on our walks in the woods, some hemp string to stick around the top and a lot of PVA glue 🙂 to stick it all down!

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Ayla used some of her special stickers and feathers to create her own design

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These were really fun to make and I am thrilled with the overall effect 🙂

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On a sadder note, we recently went down to Richmond to visit friends and say goodbye to a very dear one, Saracen.

Being in his 30’s and having lived a very long happy life the difficult decision was made considering his deteriorating health to have him put to rest in the hope that his passing would be dignified, peaceful and would know love right up to the end.

He was an incredibly special horse and has played a huge part in my life as a teenager/young adult right through to me becoming a wife and Mum and he will always have a treasured place forever in my heart.

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Whilst being down in Richmond we were able to get up close to my husbands gate which he designed and crafted.

They are hung within the grounds of Richmond park. The Forged Metal which resembles branches and leaves of oak, are the gateway to the vista which can be viewed from ‘King Henry’s mound’. If you are lucky enough to be there on a clear day you can gaze right through the vista to London, St Paul’s cathedral.

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‘The Way Gates’ Richmond Park London – Joshua De Lisle – http://www.joshuadelisle.com

There is so much for me to catch up on as my blogging has somewhat disappeared.

I hope I can get in the rhythm of posting more regularly again!

Anyway I will leave you with a couple of extra shots of the season before I go…

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Here is to Autumn and all of its glory, I hope you are able to enjoy some of this beautiful season for yourself, God bless x