Saturday, 25 June 2016

Enjoy More Water Challenge

We are a very active family and love spending time outdoors. I drink a lot of water but worry that the boys don't drink enough and the last thing I want is them drinking too many sugary drinks. Robinsons have created  a super- concentrated squash with no added sugar; even better is that it comes in a handy small bottle that is perfect for putting in your bag and can transform a bottle of water into a refreshing juice drink. Each bottle makes 20 drinks so is perfect for taking on Cub activities to ensure everyone stays hydrated. We recently tried the new bouldering wall at Waddecar and as it was a very warm evening the Cubs needed plenty of juice throughout the night. 








There are a selection of great flavours, we tried the Orange & Peach, Lemon & Lime, Summer fruits, Apple & Blackcurrant, Citrus and Passionfruit & Mango and the boys liked the apple and blackcurrant best whereas my favourite was the Passionfruit & Mango.



They are also great to take when we are out cycling as they fit easily in the bag or can be added to our water bottles.




Robinsons launched the Enjoying Drinking More Water campaign in January 2016, as part of their mission to get Brits enjoying drinking more water. We all know we should drink more water but most people I know do struggle with it. When I asked friends why they don't drink more water the top reason was everyone found it too bland. We should aim to drink about two litres of water every day which is the equivalent of 8 small glasses so what are the best ways to hit the target?

Here are a couple of tips I use to help keep my boys hydrated

1. Have a jug of water on the table at meal times - we drink more water this way as it is easy to top up your glass.

2. Make ice lollies with water and Robinson's Squash'd - these are lovely on a sunny day and a great way to get more water into the boys without them realising!

3. Flavoured water - Adding a little flavor makes water much more interesting.

4. Fun straws and cups - Luke loves drinking with a straw and when he was younger loved choosing fun cups to drink out of.

5. Lead by example - if children see you drinking lots of water they will too.








This post is an entry for BritMums #EnjoyMoreWaterChallenge, sponsored by Robinsons



Disclosure: This post is an entry for BritMums #DrinkMoreWater Challenge, sponsored by Robinsons. We received some Robinsons Squash’d to take part in the challenge.

Bakewell Tart




Our friend Ruth has been giving us lots of duck eggs so I have been doing lots of baking with them. I like Bakewell Tart so last week I decided I would make one. I used a Mary Berry recipe and added some glace cherries for a change. I sprinkled some flaked almonds on the top and baked it and it turned out perfect.



Here's the finished cake which was delicious.



Monday, 13 June 2016

Halfway There - 500 Miles



At the beginning of the year I decided to set myself a challenge, to cycle 1,000 miles this year. I have been keeping a monthly total on my blog and at the weekend I reached the half way mark (502 to be exact). We had a couple of eventful rides this week, a puncture on the tandem on Tuesday was a little frustrating especially as the tyre was damaged too and we were a few miles from home. We changed the inner tube and took it steady and managed to limp back. Mark ordered a new tyre and then we went out again on Saturday on the Guild Wheel. The cycle paths were deserted, probably something to do with the football and we commented a few times that the paths seemed slippier than normal. Unfortunately we hit a particularly bad patch after leaving Avenham Park and had our first spectacular fall from the tandem. Luckily we missed the tree and ended up in a heap on the mud with the bike on top of us. Amazingly the bike wasn't damaged and whilst we were bruised and sore we were able to get back on the bike and ride home via the A6. We were both pretty sore yesterday and I have some spectacular bruises and a swollen knee but it could have been a lot worse.


Sunday, 12 June 2016

Husqvarna Review 2 - Summer Fun



This is our 2nd video for the Husqvarna AutoMower Challenge. In this one we show how controllable the mower should you need to return it to it's base whilst it is cutting. Once it has returned to it's base it will stay there until you restart it which meant Luke could enjoy playing on the waterslide without worrying where the mower was.

We also show how simple it is to adjust the cutting height, no tools, no levers, no fuss, just press a few buttons and it is done. 

The lawn is looking great and it was nice returning from a weeks holiday and not having to get the lawnmower out as soon as we had unpacked!


Pimp My Shed



We bought a second hand playhouse when William was about 4, both boys enjoyed playing in it but after 10 years it was looking a bit tired and in desperate need of some TLC. The playhouse is at the bottom of the garden and the area around it has become a little neglected and more of a dumping ground for old pots, sandpits and wood so when Ocean Loans contacted me about their Pimp My Shed project, I decided it was a good time to spruce up our playhouse. 

The brief was to give your shed or garden furniture a revamp on a budget to show just how much difference you can make with a lick of paint and some new accessories. Now the warmer weather is here it was the perfect time to tackle the project.




















I roped William in to help and we started by clearing away all of the rubbish and then we made a trip to Berry's, our local DIY store to get paint, paintbrushes and timber to make the new window-boxes and barge boards. We also bought some weather board to replace a few damaged and rotten boards.

Mark replaced the boards and then we were ready for painting. William helped me to paint the shed, it is a long time since it was painted and it took three coats of paint. Luckily it was a really hot day so the paint dried incredibly quickly.


Whilst we were painting Mark started making the window boxes out of timber.




He also cut the new barge boards and added a patterned edge to make it look nicer. We painted them blue to match the door and windows. 



The window boxes were painted blue as well and I lined them with black plastic to keep the wet soil off the wood which will make them last a bit longer.





I went to a local nursery to buy some plants to go in the window boxes, I decided that red and blue flowers would look nice in them and they really smartened up our shed. I also bought some herbs for the planter at the corner of the playhouse and we will be able to use these herbs for cooking this summer.



Here is the finished shed, it is amazing how much better it looks after a coat of paint and a tidy up. I was really surprised how quickly we did it and it looks like new again!




Thank you to Ocean Finance for giving us the motivation to bring new life into our playhouse.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Sunny Bike Ride


Before half term we had a good bike ride to Lytham, it was a lovely sunny day and we stopped at McDonald's for lunch. It was a much nicer experience than we had a few weeks ago where we were harassed by teenage boys at a McDonald's nearer home and it was nice sitting outside in the sunshine.


On the way back we rode through Wrea Green where there was a vintage car and vehicle rally on the village green. Luke spotted the tractors straight away so we went over to have a look.




After we had looked at the tractors we rode home via Elswick where we stopped for a well deserved ice cream at Bonds. The total ride was 37 miles so we are getting closer to our target of 1000 miles this year.





Friday, 27 May 2016

Husqvarna AutoMower Challenge





Our garden is quite large and it takes a long time to mow the grass. Our ride on mower needed a new starter motor so we were back to using the petrol mower which hasn't got quite the same attraction for William and Luke! When I saw Husqvarna were looking for 100 people to try out their robotic mowers in the Husqvarna Auto Mower Challenge it was like a dream come true, I fitted the criteria so I filled in the application form and kept my fingers crossed!

To qualify to take part in the challenge we needed a lawn  between 500m2 and 6,000m2, be active on social media and also be able to capture and upload video content online. The video bit was the scariest but I knew Mark would be able to help as it would save so much time for him.

I was so excited when I received an email in April saying we had been selected to take part, I found out later that there had been over 11,000 applications so we feel very lucky to be taking part in the challenge. Michael from Husqvarna came out to see us and said our garden was perfect for a Husqvarna automower and he came out again last Friday to install it.

We had to do a bit of work prior to the installation, we needed a power socket and also needed to take out the mortar between the flags so the wires could go in the gap. 






















We also had a slight hicuup on the morning of installation when we discovered a tree had fallen in the night although luckily it had fallen into the garden and they were able to work around it!


Michael and Jim arrived with the 430x mower and started putting the wires around the garden, it took about 4 hours and then we were ready to go.



We have been really impressed at how good the mower is and I will keep posting updates throughout the summer.


Monday, 23 May 2016

Bike Ride to Hesketh Bank



After a very wet ride on Friday our ride on Sunday was completely the opposite as it was nice and warm and there was lots of sunshine. We set off early so the roads would be quieter and rode to Hesketh Bank. We stopped for a snack at the West Lancashire Light Railway who were having a special day - a Teddy Bears' outing and the boys enjoyed a burger from the refreshment caravan. 





We took a different route back, via Bretherton and Leyland and then picked up the old tram line from Bamber Bridge to Avenham Park. This 37 mile ride was the longest we have done this year and Luke did really well. I have now cycled over 100 miles this month and there is still a week to go so we are still on target for our 1000 mile challenge.