Thursday, 30 June 2016

Jumpers in June: My Style

I know I say this a lot, but what is this weather? It is raining most days at the moment. Fair enough, lots of bursts of sunshine but not enough to plan a nice day around. I have found myself putting on jumpers of all things as it is just too cool for the sleeveless tops I would like to be in. 
Now, I had spotted my sister in law in this beautiful ASOS knitted jumper and loved the oversized cut and bell sleeves. Luckily when I had actually remembered about it and logged on to ASOS I found it in the sale for £16.50 from £55!! Seriously ladies, this jumper is going to be perfect for AW16, what's not to love about a beautiful soft, thick, grey jumper!! While I may be wearing it a bit now, I can assure you, once the cool Autumn breeze rolls in this will look gorgeous with jeans and chelsea boots. So enjoy a tiny spend!


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

David Austin Roses

It was only on an eve last week that I sat researching David Austin roses.. From working in a flower shop I knew that they were up there as the creme de la creme of British grown flowers and that they can be expensive, but oh so worth it. The website was lovely, it very much made me want to travel down to his gardens in Wolverhampton and see the roses growing in the grounds. It all looked so beautiful and gave me a massive amount of garden envy. Looking at the prices for ordering fresh plants, I was not surprised, they were not extortionate, but expensive enough for something I could easily plant badly and write off. 
I showed Rob a few pictures and had a look through the different breeds there were on offer and decided I would try and get a couple in the coming month to plant up. 
Anyway, later that week I went to the Lincolnshire Show, a lovely local event that takes up acres of the Lincolnshire showground, showcasing all things agricultural and local, where I stumbled across some beautiful plant stalls full of roses and more importantly, David Austin roses!!

I knew I would be purchasing but deciding which were going to be the lucky ones was hard. I knew I wanted something really pink, but not like a fuscia pink. A bold baby pink, which would match the softer shades at home. After looking and questioning for a while I settled on a pink, blousy number which had a peach centre. The petals were just beautiful and that fullness was everything I wanted from a David Austin rose. This particular one was called Abraham Darby and just look how beautiful it is! 

Needless to say, the 3 buds that it had are now all blooming since it was planted and after all the downpours completely blighting my opportunity to enjoy this new flower in the garden, I decided to cut one of the heads and bring it inside to enjoy!

If you are wanting to add some spectacular garden roses to your garden, then I urge you to have a little look at some of the David Austin breeds. Really, they are just so gorgeous,


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Red Engine Inspiring me to Move Forward.

It is really funny how you can find meaning in things. When I was at the Lincolnshire show recently, I was just wandering around with my sister and we came across this beautiful, vintage fire engine. It was in such beautiful condition, I needed to take a few snaps. But it was when I started to look at the detail to photograph that I came across something very moving. On the front grill was a huge St. Christopher medal. Now, most people might not recognise this to be of any significance, but to me it is very import and I also wear the same symbol around my neck every day. 
St. Christopher is the saint you pray to for protection while travelling and it so proudly sits at the front of this beautiful engine.

What a sight to behold. This old machine holding this image of trust to supervise its travels and work. 
It really got me thinking about how comforting that is. Having someone as a guide and putting your faith in something. 
As a fire engine, I am sure that this model and many, many more over the years have needed such comforts driving to situations where they don't know what the outcome might be, to solve problems, to protect, and serve this country in such a fantastic way.
Who would have thought that the simple vintage fire engine made me think of this.
As with all the news this weekend, there is surely something that must happen; we stick together, enter into the new, feeling brave and confident that we can make a really good change to our country. Let's have faith, as many have before, and if we need to, pray to St. Christopher to protect us on our journey.


Friday, 24 June 2016

Fish Supper Fridays #2

As I said last week I am wanting to get fish into our diet a lot more and traditionally fish would be eaten on a Friday, so it seems apt that this new series of food posts will be mainly produced on a Friday to inspire you all.

This week's recipe was cooked by Rob and is a very simple tuna pie. No crazy amount of expensive on fish just a simple big can of tuna, potatoes, some spinach, milk and grated cheese!

Talk about easy, and talk about cupboard food, something made from what we all usually have. Now this recipe was taken from Food to love but Rob adapted it to suit.
 All you need to do is slice potatoes and onions 3-5mm thick (I used our Magimix). Then, in a pan make a roux with flour, butter and milk, then add the tuna to the pan until it's a decent quantitied tuna-white sauce. In a suitable oven-proof dish, layer the pots and onions, some spinach and then a layer of sauce and repeat. Top with a cheese of your choice. Put in the oven with foil for 30 mins, then remove the foil and bake more until the top is golden brown.

To accompany this Rob also made one of his families classic sides called a dig deep salad. This has been made in his family for years and is quite simply a load of frozen peas in the bottom of the dish, then layer with iceberg lettuce before topping it off with a layer of mayonnaise and then coated in Parmesan. Let it sit for a bit or make it the day before it really is a lovely fresh side to the fish pie. It also makes it feel somewhat lighter making it nice to eat a pie in the warm weather which wouldn't usually be something we would do. 

As far as taste goes, I was genuinely surprised, I thought it would just taste very simple, almost like eating tuna out of a tin but it was really good and very budget friendly. It was a very 'moins cher' meal for the whole family which is really nice to find. 

Have a go and let me know what you think!


The Result

The news this morning shows that change has started. Regardless of how you voted, this country is now on a journey and that is only going to be as negative as you make it. After seeing the news I went on facebook and was totally appalled at the attitude of some of the people on there. In fact they pretty much displayed exactly why we have such issues as a human race. They probably couldn't have been more mean about voters' choices, making their friends think their choices are poor and maybe be discouraged to vote again. Their language was disgusting maybe proving that the society that we live in is at an all time low and their view of other people is shameful and they strongly couldn't understand that making divide is how we will fall. 
No matter what the result was ever going to be there were always going to be winners and losers but that doesn't mean we have to now hate the opposition. It is up to us to change that, to independently make the situations better. So much change is needed in this country, even if we had stayed in the EU, but now we have left it, let's make the most of it. Let's keep watch on our government and support them when we agree and tell them when we don't. Let's support our local politicians and instead of just calling them mean names behind their backs (or on facebook) go see them, challenge them in conversation and understand their choices. Be aware of people who might think differently to you and understand just how you can work together for a common good. And lastly STOP CALLING PEOPLE NAMES. Who are you to humiliate and slander another human? Just stop being so mean because I can assure you, it will not make a difference whether you are in or out, we will become a nation of truly horrible people and that is most definitely something I did not vote for.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Hope For The Future

When Emily wanted to start a blog, we agreed that we wanted it to be a journal for our children's lives and to try to encourage positive, family life. I never wanted to use it to preach as I am not qualified, nor intelligent enough. I only really keep up with sport and consciously choose to not read a paper or the news as I find it so upsetting, but I catch bits here and there and Emily keeps me informed with big stuff: Celeb deaths, etc. But, in light of the last week with various shootings and just a wealth of despicable, callous behaviour, I have found it really hard to sleep thinking about the poor families that have been so immediately affected by gun crime, and so have been reading from great Philosophers to try to ease my mind. One of whom, Albert Einstein is such a wonderful philosopher and I think has words are still so relevant today and he is certainly qualified to preach: 

''Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.''

''I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.''

''Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them.''

''We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.''

My heart is so sad for all those families affected and I know there will be more atrocities even at this moment, but we must be encouraged to do what we can for coming generations. As average Joe citizens we can't change gun laws or prevent people blowing themselves up, but we can be role models for people around us. Actions speak louder than words, so don't be afraid going against the crowd if the crowd is doing the wrong thing. Look after each other, especially in times of hardship for ''Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.''


Friday, 17 June 2016

Giving a happy pastime to our children. (Alton Towers)

Emily & I have always loved rollercoasters, specifically at Alton Towers. A trip there has always been a biannual pass time for us for thrill seeking. With having children it's changed to an annual trip to the theme park for us 2 and an annual trip to the water park and hotel with the kids. However, now that Raph and Etta have got to decent heights (above 0.9m) we decided that this time on our annual trip to the hotel, we'd have a day at the theme park too.
I think Emily was quite apprehensive about this for a few reasons:
It would be a very long day for them, so could end in tears.
It could be miserable weather, so could end in tears.
It could be absolutely rammed with people, so mega queuing: tears and pestering.
But, I think selfishly for both of us, it would mean no, or very few BIG ROLLERCOASTERS! Tears.
We kind of realised that this is a time when we'd really be sharing, but also sacrificing something we really love, for our children. This is something parents do all the time, and for nothing other than love for their children.
Anyway, Emily thought it would be a long day going around ''Cbeebies Land''(we're Disney people). But it turned out, there really is loads to do, even for Etta aged 2.5, all around the park. We went on the Minetrain, the skyride and the monorail and spent quite a while at Cbeebies Land and the staff there were just fantastic. We had so much fun with them building forts, juggling, spinning plates, etc. and Emily and I were having so much fun that someone asked if we even had kids with us! We went on lots of small rides and small rollercoasters and looked at BIG ones, but we didn't feel too envious or disappointed because it was so fun doing what we were doing, and I suppose we both know, that soon enough, Raph and Etta will be 1.4m and we'll be taking them on Oblivion or Nemesis, so for now, we'll just enjoy the Postman Pat ride and The Runaway Minetrain!

Our day in pictures.


Fish Supper Fridays #1

I have been meaning to start doing some more cooking related posts, but it has taken me ages to get round to it. It has come at a good time though as Rob is very much out of action at the moment as he is very ill with suspected Glandular Fever, so I have had to start cooking. This, I can assure you is new. The fact that our children haven't just lived on pasta for the last week is quite an achievement! I just don't cook. Really it is not something I have ever done in our marriage and Rob actually really enjoys it so he has always done it. But as I said, he is very ill so it is now down to me. 
So instead of sharing every meal, as they are not going to be that gourmet, I thought I would start sharing a fish related meal each week or as often as I can. It is traditional in a lot of homes that Friday is a fish day. Most would opt for the chip shop version which, I must agree, we sometimes do, but I really want to have more fish in our diet and heading into summer when there is so much fresh food available to complement it, I thought I would get experimental. Now I have no experience of cooking fish. None. So this is going to be something I can really learn from.

This week I want to share my first fish dish, Cod with roasties and a home grown garden salad.

As I said, I have never cooked fish before, but now supermarkets make it so easy for by having everything in a cookable packet. I picked up some plain Cod fillets from Lidl, which you just put in the microwave for 3 1/2 minutes then leave to sit for 2. I mean, come on, we can all do that!
Now Rob's mum had actually brought over some left overs the night before when she was babysitting the kids and had left about 6 small roasted potatoes. I reheated them and cut them into chunks to mix in with the salad. Using leftovers like this is great so if you have something earlier in the week with potatoes, cook a few extra and keep a few for your Friday supper.
I then headed into the garden, picked a load of spinach, rocket and green salad. This was my first salad harvest and it was amazing! Our Rocket was particularly tasty, really peppery, and I was so pleased that it had all grown with very little pest damage.

Putting the greens and potatoes in a dish, I mixed them with a bit of balsamic and herb dressing we just happened to have, then flaked the cod over the top.

I ate it with the kids and found that I did eat most of it. Etta doesn't appear to like fresh fish all that much but hopefully I can change that. Raph on the other hand loves it so he really enjoyed eating it up. 

This was really easy, took about 15 minutes to prepare and gave us a nice meal for three.

Have a try for you fish supper Friday tea.

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