Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A home fit for a Queen (bee)

Mum and Dad's bird box has been taken over by some much smaller winged furry friends...

After some online sleuthing, we discovered they are Red-tailed Bumblebees. As they're not the classic black and yellow striped bee, I assumed that they must be rare...not so it seems, they're very common! We're calling in at Mum and Dad's before we all head off on our holiday next week, so I'll be checking out whether the bees are still ensconced in their bird box hotel or have flown off to pastures new.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Garden Diaries: #2

 a bee-n visitor / first beans ready! tea tomorrow I think / this cucumber hasn't been looking happy - it's perked up now it's found a cane to climb / and has grown its first cucumber! / bean flowers heading skywards / dewy grass - the garden has looked relieved to have all this rain the past few days / that pale nigella from last week has turned purple /sedum / not sure of the name of this blue flower / agapanthus / can't remember what this pink flower is called - really must draw out the plan of the garden! / echinops are bee-magnets / beautifully pink hydrangeas / all the sun and rain has meant the weeds have taken over patches of the garden...whoops / love these twizzles, they're so good / this rose smells gorgeous / sweet peas still going strong.

Saturday, 27 July 2013


"A portrait of my baby, once a week, every week, in 2013."

We have a walker! This photo seems to sum up the surprise and excitement of being able to cross a room on her feet. Teddy had to come along for the ride too of course.

Joining in with Che and Fidel

Friday, 26 July 2013

This Week: July#4

1. Little toes on scorched grass.
2. Still a fan of the mirrors.
3. There's been lots of painting going on - coving and ceiling done...walls are on tomorrow's to-do list.
4. Desperate to reach the top of the table.
5. A busy week of visitors - playing hats with newly RAF-ed Uncle E.
6 & 7. Auntie H is back from Thailand...wahey! Garden fun-times were had this week, with plenty more summery picnics and trips in the pipeline.
8. A misguided bee. Ahem, Mr Bee, it's a picture of a flower...the real ones are just out there, in the garden.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Flapjacks for little fingers

When I make flapjack, I drizzle in piles of golden syrup and a generous amount of butter. So gooey and sticky...but not so baby friendly. Can you imagine, you'd be trying to wash the stickiness out of their hair for days!

However convenient baby snacks may be, there's no avoiding how expensive they are. I could easily spend a small fortune on the tiny crackers, individually wrapped bars and vegetable crisps...but no more! Last week I decided I needed to try making my own snacks - something that's easier for my little one to eat out and about than grapes/mushy banana/crumb-tastic bread, but doesn't cost 40p per bar.

So, after 30 mins in the kitchen (yup, they're speedy), I give you...

Flapjacks for Little Fingers:

200g porridge oats (I used a mix of oats and oatmeal as it needed using up)
200g dried fruit (I did a mix of raisins, apricots and prunes - go easy on the prunes in case of nappy explosions!)
100g butter, cubed
1 banana (I used one that had been frozen so it was already mushy, but if it's fresh, just mash it up with a fork).

1 Weigh out the oats and put them in a large bowl.
2. Melt the butter slowly in a pan. While it's melting, put the dried fruit in a blender and whizz until it turns into a lumpy paste. (It will form a rather unappealing lump in the mixer when it's done!).
3. Put the dried fruit paste in with the oats and squish together with your hands until well combined.
4. Pour over the melted butter and mix again (just be careful if the butter is still hot).
5. Put in a tin and press down with a fork until it's about 1 inch thick.
6. Bake in Gas 5/190C for 10-15 mins.
7. Cut into cubes or strips while it's still warm, and then leave to cool in the tin.

This recipe can of course be tweaked to your little one's current likes - I reckon most dried fruits would work as long as they are quite sticky (dried mango/pineapple might need something like raisins or pear with them to bind it I think).

Because I'm a cheapskate and like to see how much money I've saved, I wanted to work out what these cost per bar. This recipe quantity made 20ish bars. Ingredients cost just over £2 ish, depending on where you shop and the ratio of dried fruit used...so, 10p a bar! I do love a bargain!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Day Tripping: Hanbury Hall, pt. 2

As I wrote about here, we recently visited Hanbury Hall for a day of garden wandering and house admiring. We picnicked in the shadow of the trees, strolled around the walled kitchen garden, and then headed inside the house to escape the glare of the midday sun.

Entrance gates / Beautiful stained glass in a garden hut / Light through the trees
Golden topped dome / Orchards / Oak trees
Loved the title of this book / Records / Gramophone
Painted ceiling #1 / Painted ceiling #2 / Mustard flock wallpaper
Glimpses of the parterre from the house / Shaving kit / Hat shadows
Spot the sleeping baby / Orangery / Drink stop
Play time / Hanbury Hall