Tuesday 30 July 2013

Orange Drizzle Cake

The boys decided they wanted to bake a cake yesterday so they decided to try an orange drizzle cake. They worked really well together with Luke measuring out the ingredients and William mixing them. William loves using colour in his baking and so a large amount of red and yellow food colouring was added so the cake looked orange!

Monday 29 July 2013

Bike Ride to KFC

As the weather has been so nice recently we have been making the most of it and getting out and about on our bikes. One evening we decided to ride to KFC for tea, the meal probably wiped out all the benefits of the bike ride but it was a fun evening and we clocked up 16 miles from start to finish.

Road Trip Challenge

When Moneysupermarket asked us if we would like to take part in their Road Trip Challenge I knew just the place to go. I haven't been to the Trough of Bowland for a couple of years and thought it would be the perfect road trip for us. When we were children we used to go and visit Uncle Joe, who was the gamekeeper in the Forest of Bowland every school holiday and we  always had a great day out. As he was the head gamekeeper we were allowed to go to areas that the public weren't allowed to go to and we also used to go and check the young pheasants with him. As children we didn't appreciate the beauty of the place but driving through it now it is a very beautiful part of the country and we are so lucky to live quite close to it.

Moneysupermarket kindly gave us £50 for fuel so our first stop was Booths to fill the car and I also picked up some pork pies, tomatoes and fresh bread for a tasty picnic. Once the car was filled up we set off on our trip. 

I had invited Dad to come along with us and on the way he was telling us about the farms we passed, who used to live there and also what animals and farm machinery he had bought from the different farm sales over the years. We overwinter sheep at our farm and they come from a farm in the middle of the Trough of Bowland so the boys were trying to see if they recognised any of the sheep at the sides of the road! He also told us that they used to have a drive round the Trough of Bowland with his parents and they always had an ice cream as a treat. Unfortunately on our trip there were no ice cream vans but this is probably because we went on a Friday. Next time we'll go at the weekend and hopefully the ice cream van will be there.

We had initially planned to stop at Dunsop Bridge and eat our picnic but there was no where to park so we continued our trip and stopped at the bottom of the large hill and had our picnic at the side of the river.

There were plenty of sheep wandering around and perhaps they were the ones Dad has been looking after. Luke did ask them but all he got out of them was a baa!

After lunch Luke went to play in the river, he had fun throwing stones and paddling and fortunately didn't get too wet.

We sat in the sun for a bit, watching Luke play and then we continued on our trip. We drove to The Shooting Box which is where Uncle Joe used to live. The main house is behind a big hedge so it was tricky getting a photo, but this building is next to the dog pens and we used to play in here when we were children.

We all had a great day out and it was fun driving through the Trough of Bowland. We travelled home over Harris End and enjoyed the scenery and all agreed it was a great road trip and one that we will do again over summer.

Friday 26 July 2013

Botanicals - award winning natural skincare

Botanicals was established in 2003 in a small, rural Leicestershire village and their products are inspired by the English countryside in which they are made. When I was asked to try a couple of their products I was thrilled. The three products, Rose Geranium Bodywash, Orange Blossom Body Balm and Rose and Camellia Skin Polish came in a clear bag with a dried rose which I thought was a lovely touch.

The first product I tried was the Orange Blossom body balm, the pot I received was 5g and I was expecting to use the whole pot in one go, however I found that a small amount went a long way so I was pleasantly surprised. It was quite solid in the pot but when you got it on your hands it immediately became softer and was easily absorbed into my skin. I found it to be very effective at moisturising the dry patches on my arms and it smelt amazing too. A 50g pot is £16.95 but as you only need a small amount a jar will last a long time.

The Rose and Camellia skin polish is the best facial product I have ever tried. It is a natural exfoliating cleanser with rose hip kernel which is very gentle on your skin but very effective.  My skin looks much brighter after using it and it left my skin lovely and smooth. Again it is solid in the pot but immediately becomes softer on your hands and means it can be applied to your face easily. It's not cheap as a 50g pot is £18.50 but you don't need much so it will last a long time. The fragrance is lovely and I am looking forward to trying the other products in the range.

The Rose Geranium Body Wash again smelt fantastic and like the other products you only needed a small amount. It lathered well and left my skin feeling clean and lightly fragranced.

Botanicals kindly gave me these products for the purpose of this review however the words and opinions are my own.

Chickens and eggs

We have two hens and a cockerel who live at the bottom of the garden. They aren't the best layers and for a long time now we have only been getting one egg a day. For the last few days there have no eggs at all and then Mark found the tiny egg in the picture, I have photographed it next to a normal sized egg just to show how small it really is! 

Tuesday 23 July 2013

The Charcoal Challenge

It was Mum and Dad's Ruby Wedding Anniversary last year and Mum decided that they would have a family barbecue to celebrate reaching 40 years of marriage. Unfortunately the weather  last year was terrible and so we never managed to have the barbecue so when Moneysupermarket.com invited me to take part in The Charcoal Challenge I immediately though of Mum and Dad's postponed barbecue. I spoke to Mum and suggested we have a belated anniversary barbecue at the weekend and she thought it was a great idea. Typically  the weather decided to change with Sunday being very overcast but it was still warm enough to sit out and enjoy the party.

We have some fantastic local butchers and farm shops nearby so we were really spoilt for choice. We ended up with minty lamb burgers, beef burgers, kebabs, piri piri chicken and chicken drumsticks. We didn't need to buy any sausages as we still have lots of homemade ones in the freezer so we just defrosted a couple of packs!

So that the children had something to play with I managed to find a swingball at the car boot sale which cost me £5. 

Moneysupermarket.com kindly gave me £50 to throw the ultimate summer barbecue and this is how we spent the money.

Meat            £27.85
Pop              £4.00
Swingball    £5.00
Cakes         £10.50
Bread rolls  £4.00

We overspent slightly as our grand total was £51.35 but considering that there were 8 adults and 9 children I don't think we did too bad.

If you would like to see the other entries in The Charcoal Challenge you can use the hash tag #TheCharcoalChallenge on Twitter.

Sunday 21 July 2013

The Guild Wheel - Part 2

Today we decided to have another try at The Guild Wheel and see how long it took us without the Scouts. We also started the ride from home which added another 6 miles to the route. We cycled the opposite way round this week so the big hill wasn't at the end although it was quite hard going in parts so next time we will go the other way round as we found this easier.

Last week we cycled in glorious sunshine but today was much cooler and overcast. There was also a lot fewer people on the route, maybe because we started at 9am rather than 11am last week.

As there was only 4 of us this week it was much easier negotiating the gates and cattle grids.

Mark had his GPS on the bike and said that he had an average moving speed of 9.40mph with a top speed of 24.06mph, this was obviously on a downhill bit. The full ride took us 3 hours 1minute and 15 seconds so next time we will aim to get it under 3 hours. The hardest bit of the ride was the last 3 miles which was a real slog, we all struggled as we were cycling into the wind and it was all slightly uphill too. 

The Guild Wheel - Part 1

Last Sunday our Scout Group went on a 22 mile bike ride around The Guild Wheel, a route that is mainly on tracks and cycle paths. In total there were 29 people ranging from Beavers to Scout Leaders. It was a scorching hot day and everyone had a great time. We split into two groups, a faster group and a slower group to try and keep everyone moving. William was at the front of the fast group however we stayed at the back to make sure we didn't lose anyone!

At times it was quite tedious as there were a couple of children who should have been in the slower group and we found ourselves spending a lot of time going very slowly.

We stopped at the park for lunch, followed by an ice cream and then cycled back to where we had parked the car. Overall it took us 5 hours to complete the 22 mile route and everyone had a fun day out. We went home for a quick change and then had a barbeque at the Scout Hut to end the day.

Wednesday 17 July 2013


Tonight we had three snakes visiting my Cub Pack. All the children had a great time and couldn't wait to hold them, the leaders weren't quite so brave! 

Monday 15 July 2013

Bike Ride

We recently bought new bikes for ourselves as William had grown out of his and Mark spied the opportunity to get a new bike! William now has Mark's and we decided that it would be a good idea to get one for me too so we can all go out for bike rides. The Scouts had already planned a cycling trip around the Guild Wheel, which is a 22 mile cycle route nearby so we thought we would join them, but before we could we needed a bit of practice!

For the last 3 weeks we have been doing short bike rides around the country lanes and Luke has been riding the tag along bike behind Mark. Last Sunday we thought we had better try a longer ride as the Guild Wheel weekend was getting closer and the longest ride we had done was only about 7 miles. We planned a route that involved passing a pub and a garden centre so that we could stop for a break if Luke was getting fed up!

As the weather has been so nice recently it was lovely cycling in the sun and it was very picturesque cycling along the canal. 

 We reached the pub and as Luke was enjoying the ride we decided not to stop and carry on to the garden centre where we planned to have an ice cream.

Once we reached the garden centre we had a well deserved ice cream before setting off back home. The way back was mainly uphill so it was quite hard going and William and I had to walk up one of the hills but we made it home and everyone had a good day out.

Sunday 7 July 2013

The Lancashire Hotpots

We had a lovely evening out last night, the boys stayed at Grandma and Grandad's whist we had a trip to Manchester to see The Lancashire Hotpots. 

We decided to go out for tea so once we arrived at The Lowry Centre we had a look at the restaurants and decided on a Chinese Buffet which was delicious. We ate loads so it's a good job we went on a bike ride on Sunday to burn it off!

The show was fantastic, it was more than just a concert, there was plenty of banter, audience participation and even a spot of ventriloquism! The show was being filmed for a DVD and as we were quite near the camera we will have to keep an eye out for it and see if we can spot ourselves in the audience! It was definitely one of the best shows we have seen, we couldn't stop laughing all night!

Friday Night Walk

We are so fortunate to live near the fells and we frequently go for an evening walk in the summer. On Friday we had a lovely walk and for once it was lovely and warm, usually it is blowing a gale, but we were walking up in t-shirts and it was still hot! 

William managed to balance his bottle on the fence post.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

What's for Dinner Tonight?

Whilst I tend to cook from scratch most days I do find we tend to make the same things and rarely try anything new. I was delighted when I heard we were to receive some Schwartz packet mixes to try as it gave us the opportunity to try out some new recipes. 

This new range of easy to use recipe mix sachets is called Schwartz 2in1 range and they kindly sent us these two samples to try out. 

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and Cheesy Crumb Topping - A blend of herbs and spices for chicken pasta with a cheesy topping

Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken & Crispy Roast Potatoes - Roast Chicken seasoning, with garlic and thyme, accompanied by a special seasoning to create perfect crispy roast potatoes.

The first one we tried was the Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and as William had decided he would like to make tea I handed the packet to him and left him to it!

First he cut up the chicken and cooked it with  a small amount of oil in a frying pan.

 Chopped peppers were added to the chicken
The Mediterranean mix was added to 150ml of water and then added to the pan with a tin of chopped tomatoes 
 200g of pasta was cooked and then added to the pan
 The pasta is mixed in with the rest of the ingredients
The cheesy crumb topping is sprinkled onto the dish followed by 75g of cheese, it suggested chedder however we used Lancashire cheese

 Here's the finished dish!
Served with sweetcorn.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the meal and even Luke, who can be very fussy thought it was tasty and cleared his plate. 

It really was simple to make and William, who is 11, managed to make it all by himself so it is worth buying them just so I can have my tea made for me again!

This post is an entry for BritMums "What's for Dinner Tonight?" sponsored by Schwartz.