the fam

the fam

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Great Bake Off

This Summer's weather has been glorious. I don't think anyone could possibly complain about the beautiful sunshine we've just had, even though we've just been dumped straight into a shall-I-turn-the-heating-on type of September!

The weather had a wonderful effect on our garden and we had a bumper crop of blackberries..and they just kept coming! Speaking to an elderly neighbour of ours, we were discussing what to do with all this fruit and she produced a bag of cooking apples fresh from her garden. It had to be apple & blackberry crumble then! (I delivered a smaller version to this lovely neighbour too and it made her day)

It was so satisfying to use produce that had grown in our garden and I still have bags of berries stashed away in the freezer to use as the nights draw in.

I didn't just make crumble though...I ended up making 2 sponge cakes, some small buns, a banana & sultana loaf and some chocolate cracknell! I was a baking demon!!

The latter two recipes I thought I'd share with you. The banana & sultana loaf comes from an old Rosemary Conley book and is a brilliant way to use up any overripe bananas and has very few other ingredients (and no fat whatsoever if you're watching the calories) and the chocolate cracknell...well, what can I say? If you remember this gem from schooldays, you will definitely want to recreate these yummy little treats and if you've never heard of chocolate cracknell, give them a definitely won't be disappointed!

Banana & Sultana Loaf

1lb of over ripe bananas (about 5)
2 beaten eggs
6oz brown sugar
4oz sultanas 
8oz SR flour

Mash the bananas and add the eggs, sugar and sultanas. Mix well then stir in the flour. 
Place in loaf tin (I line it with greaseproof paper so it's easier to lift out) and bake for 1 hour to 1hour 30 at gas mark 4 or 180

Chocolate Cracknell

200g Golden Syrup
75g Dried Milk Powder
75g Cornflakes or Rice Krispies
120g Butter
25g Cocoa Powder

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pan. Sieve the cocoa and dried milk powder into the melted butter mix. Return to heat and cook gently for 20 minutes. Put cornflakes/rice krispies in a large bowl and add the chocolate mix. Press into a tin or divide into cake cases and leave to set.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Shifting seasons

September is here again and with it, my favourite season. I've always had such a love affair with Autumn..the colour, the smells, the brand-new-back-to-school feeling and of course, the excitement of Christmas! (oh ok, I know it's a bit premature but still. Christmas!!)

Tomorrow our gorgeous eldest son goes back to school in his final year at infant school...where has my baby boy gone? I  love September, it's a beautiful month, but these days my heart feels slightly sad walking up to the school gates and knowing that my little boy is growing up so quickly.

We have had THE most brilliant Summer though and the weather has been glorious for once! I've had to do a lot of hard work in the evenings and late nights to make sure I could have some time off with the boys but I am so grateful to have been able to share so many wonderful experiences with them. These Summer days have been so precious and we even managed a week's holiday to the seaside.

There have been lots of trips to the park, the cinema, playing in the paddling pools, baking, barbecues with friends and family, parties, treasure hunts, playing with our kitten Betty and friends round to play..and we've loved every minute!

Alfie has been keeping a record of his activities in a special album that he has been filling in with his Nanny & Grandad. He particularly enjoyed the 'make your own volcano' experiment in Nanny's garden but his biggest achievement this holiday has been learning to ride his bike. He was SO proud of himself! 

We took his stabilisers off some time ago but hasn't had much interest in trying to ride his bike since. Until one day this Summer when we suggested he have a go around the garden...suddenly he was determined to get this bike riding thing sorted!!
One sunny morning I took him off to the park and once he saw me riding around, he got on his bike, rode it down a small slope and he was off! Straight across the field with no stopping..he did it!

So tomorrow, it's back to school and nursery runs, packed lunches, hectic mornings and homework but we've packed so much into the Summer holidays, I think that happy feeling will last right up to Christmas!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Introducing...Fieldlife: Great British Clothes for life's adventures!

A couple of months ago I stumbled on a lovely new company selling children's clothes called Fieldlife

The clothes for boys and girls are simple in style which I love, practical and colourful. Around the same time, I spotted a tweet by the lovely Kendra at Fieldlife looking for 'Field Agents' to take on some product testing...two little boys aged 2 and 6 could certainly take on this challenge! I applied and we were very excited to learn a few weeks later, that the boys had been selected. How exciting!

A parcel arrived containing a gorgeous long-sleeved top in blue for Agent Charlie and a pair of drawstring shorts in Ecru for Agent Alfie. 
Field Agents Alfie & Chralie reporting for duty
That week we had a heatwave... and I'm sorry to say these clothes and basically all of their clothes were left unworn as they ran around in the garden in swimwear!

We were determined to put these clothes to the test! So last week, we headed off for our Summer holiday on the beautiful Yorkshire coast, buckets and spades at the ready!

Agent Alfie built sandcastles, jumped waves and went beach-combing in his shorts and despite their pale colour, still looked brilliant at the end of that day.

Agent Charlie crawled around in the wet sand and rockpools in his top. He also managed to wipe most of his pesto pasta down his front followed by sticky grape juice and yogurt...

...the boys were rigorous in their testing that day!

What initially attracted me to Fieldlife clothes was their whole concept of clothes for that I mean, clothes that kids can actually play in, run around, get messy and have fun in without feeling restricted in any way. The Fieldlife ethic really appealed to me and what being a kid is all about...

"At Fieldlife, we make favourites, British made clothing for children to live their life in whatever their field.

Our clothes stand up to the rigours of childhood, their adventures, making sandcastles, climbing trees and building dens.

We make the clothes, it's up to you to add the adventures, stories and holes, making them ready to be handed down and become the next child's favourite.

All our clothes are made in Great Britain for no other reason than we believe in British manufacturing and craftsmanship.
We work with a small number of happy British factories that understand Fieldlife and love our clothes as much as we do

We make Great British clothes for great British children

image courtesy of Fieldlife

The fabrics are so soft and are very durable as we've now washed these items on numerous occasions and I only ever use a 40 degree wash and usually it's a quick cycle too. They have come out brilliantly clean and looking like new..I cannot tell you how happy that makes me as a parent!

To see the Fieldlife range for yourself, visit their website HERE