Five on Friday

Once more I am linking up to Amy at Love made my Home for Five on Friday!

One

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Miss G enjoyed yet another sleepover this weekend. I don’t mind and she really misses her big sister so I would rather she had the company. She sent this picture to her Dad so she obviously appreciates it. All of her friends are really good girls so we hardly know they are here. It just makes me think though that we never had sleepovers as children, when did it start? They were definitely in full swing by the time our eldest was in school.

Two

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All week I had been craving scones after seeing Katy from What Katy Said, have a cream tea with her mum the week before. I finally made them on Saturday and they were well worth the wait. Apologies in advance if I have offended anybody by putting the jam on first!

 Three

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I am so easily influenced it is untrue, this week I have joined Instagram because I wanted to join in with English Mum on her #foodphotooftheday. I have to confess I have become slightly addicted. This is quite a turnaround because I have spent so long fearing social media, I am amazed at how much I now use it and, love it. Feel free to follow if you are on Instagram too and let me know who you are so I can follow back! It’s another community of lovely people.

Four

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I am on week 3 of this app! I am not going to lie, I am struggling! It isn’t getting any easier and I am patiently waiting to become addicted. If anyone has any tips, I would love to hear from you.

Five

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Finally, the daffodils have poked through the ground in The Glade and have started to open up this week. It is fantastic to open the bedroom curtains in the lighter mornings and look over at the daffodils blowing about. Spring is on its way!

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That is my five for this week!

Have a lovely day X

What’s in my fridge?

I  taking up the ‘What’s in my fridge?’ challenge from Jacqueline over at Tinned Tomatoes!

Aubergine & mozzarella bake - Tinned Tomatoes!
Aubergine & mozzarella bake – Tinned Tomatoes!

Now I need to share a bit of history here because this is massive for me!!

I have been a regular reader of Tinned Tomatoes for years. Whenever I produce something new, the question is often asked ‘Tinned Tomatoes or Caked Crusader?'(see above) because you can bet it will probably be a variation on one of their recipes.

Such was my dedication to both that, when I celebrated a significant birthday a few years ago, himself pestered the two lovely ladies and convinced them to send me a birthday card!

It was the highlight of my birthday I tell you, the HIGHLIGHT!!!

So to my fridge! I am shocked at how exposed I feel revealing my fridge😳!

I was going to wait until I did a big shop but then realised that is not the spirit. But I do tidy and give it a quick wipe over whenever I put the shopping away. So here it is;

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The vegetables and salad ingredients overspill from the bottom drawers because we are 3/4 vegetarian in this house. There is a rogue packet of ham in there somewhere, but I didn’t want to particularly tidy the fridge first because, I don’t think that is in the spirit either. The  yoghurts are lurking behind the lemons. I always have yoghurts in.

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I keep feta and halloumi cheese on the top shelf of the door. I’m not sure why the can of lager is in there because I have to confess, that we have another full length fridge in the garage. In there we keep the over spill vegetables, alcohol, and butter, cheese etc. I also keep my nail varnish in the door, doesn’t everyone?

The front of our fridge is boring, it is integrated and I really miss not having magnets holding pictures, postcards and invitations on the door.

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That is it –  my fridge! I am off to move that can of lager.

Have a lovely day!

Eastham Village in 6 more pictures

 This time last week we had a ramble through the village. Today I thought we would have a peak at the church, come and see! image

It is called St Mary’s Church and dates from the late 13th early 14th Century. The Vicar is a lady called Rev’d Beth Glover, she is admired throughout the village, think Vicar of Dibley and you are on the right track.

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This is such a traditional looking gate and is often decorated in the summer months for weddings. It always reminds me of the country wedding in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

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Through the gate there are lots of really quite topsy turvey gravestones. Many are too old to be able to identify any dates on them. Some from the 1700’s, look quite new by comparison.

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This is the trunk of a Yew Tree which is near the  church door. It is so old. There are records dated from 1152 that tell when the Abbot and Monks of St Werburgh received the Manor of Eastham, the villagers entreated the new owners “to have a care of ye old yew”. In 1988 four experts dated the tree as being about 1600 years old – amazing!

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The Sundial is beside the Yew tree. It dates from 1798 and is also Grade II listed.

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Within the walls there is this statue of The Madonna and Child.

That concludes Eastham Village in 6 pictures for this week.

Have a lovely day!

 

Let kids be kids!

This is quite personal today! Here goes………………………..

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This is my youngest daughter she is 11. She started high school last September and will be 12 in May. It is really important to me that she is allowed to grow up at her own pace. She loves to read and write and, we are constantly being told by her teachers that she has a gift for story telling. We encourage her to go bowling, have friends for tea, enjoy sleepovers, splash in puddles and run against the wind – in essence to be a kid!

But as a parent, I find it a constant struggle to find clothes that are appropriate for her. At 11, I feel she needs to be dressed in clothes that cover her body, tops that reach her waist band and skirts that touch her knee or there abouts. I want her to be dressed in practical clothes that are ready for adventures, oh and a spot of dog walking!

Ordinarily, I shop in Next and Marks & Spencer for her, as I did for her elder sister,  but it seems that the buyers for these chains don’t share my views. Instead, they believe that my 11 year old daughter wants to look as though she is 18 and ready to go clubbing at the drop of hat.

I don’t want my daughter to be dressed in such a way that causes her unwanted or sexual attention that, she is far too immature to be able to handle. I want her to feel comfortable in her clothes, feel warm, free to climb over logs or squelch through mud. I want her to look as though she is 11 and not under any pressure.

She is lucky in that she attends a school with a lot of like minded girls and, that they are encouraged to be independent thinkers. However, that isn’t to say that she is not the subject of peer pressure outside school. Nevertheless, I believe that the strong relationships and messages that she receives from us, gives her the confidence to be able to resist such pressure. She is very much her own person and that makes me proud to be her mum.

The nightmare of shopping for her doesn’t mean that I succumb to the pressure either, it just means that it is far more difficult. I really struggle and have to search high and low to route out the odd piece that fits the bill, but I will not have her childhood stolen from her.

Next don’t even carry her size in store anymore, everything has to be ordered, paid for and then returned if not suitable!  I have given up almost entirely in Marks & Spencers,  only underwear seems to be purchased from there nowadays. If I look hard enough, Debenhams do have the odd nugget and I have got lucky in H&M before. But it is a trial. I am dreading the Summer wardrobe shop.

If any of you have any suggestions, I would love to hear from you or if you have experienced  the same.

And don’t even get me started on make up and red lipstick at 11 – yes that happens!!!!!

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I am linking up with Karen from Let Kids be Kids

 

Have a lovely day!

 

One Pot Gnocchi

Good Morning, Some good old comfort food for today.

It is also quick and as always, nice and easy!

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I often cook Gnocchi with greek yoghurt. However, I though I would try something different this time and I have to say it went down very well. I thickened the vegetable stock with cornflour at the end and it really was tasty. Perfect for a chilly evening!

As always, you can substitute the vegetables with whatever you have, just chop it accordingly. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.

Ingredients

Glug of olive oil

1 teaspoon butter

1 red onion – chopped in chunks

1 green pepper – chopped in chunks

1 red pepper – chopped in chunks

2 sticks of celery – sliced

2 litre of vegetable stock

3 tablespoons of corn flower mixed in 1 table spoon of water

1 teaspoon oregano

500g gnocchi

Method

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a pan big enough to hold all the ingredients

2. Sweat the onions without letting them brown

3. Add the peppers, celery and oregano, keep it all moving for about 5 minutes

4. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for about 5 minutes

5. Add the gnocchi, bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes

6. Add the corn flour mixture and boil for a few minutes to cook the flour. The sauce will thicken so keep stirring

7. Serve with garlic bread!

Enjoy!

#Tip : I use a silicone spatula to stir because you need keep everything moving along the bottom of the pan too because the sauce is really thick and could burn easily

My Sunday Photograph: Starring… St John’s Gardens, Liverpool

image St John’s gardens in Liverpool is nestled between Georgian buildings virtually at the mouth of The Mersey Tunnel. They are beautifully tended and on the day that we visited,  the first signs of spring were pushing through the hard soil.

Considering that it is in the heart of  a city, the gardens are surprisingly peaceful. The gardens are often used for television and film productions, most recently it starred heavily in an episode of Foyle’s War.

Not a traditional view, I will grant you but it made me stop and stare!

Urban splendour at its best!

Have a lovely Sunday x CheckOutThatView-badge[1] Sundaylge-e1396359989177[1]

Eastham Fights Back!

Good morning!!

This is the view from my kitchen window. image This  tree is so old that it is the subject of a Tree Preservation Order. Therefore, between that and the Grade II listing on The Chapel, we are hopeful that our view will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. We are so very lucky!

However our neighbours literally around the corner may not be so fortunate. I know some of you have local connections and so thought you might be interested. There are plans afoot to build an oil refinery on land directly next to a residential area, on the banks of the Mersey, scarily close to people’s homes. The area is smack bang in the middle of the beautiful village and the glorious country park.

It's not a fair game - Banksy
It’s not a fair game – Banksy

Please don’t think that this is  a typical ‘not in my back yard’ rant, it really isn’t! It is not about house prices. This is about Eastham village, which is a conservation area,  I have begun to highlight the treasures of it here.

This is about health implications, safety concerns and  environmental issues. This is about green spaces that are being erroded and children growing up surrounded by poisonous air that no body can see. This is about protecting our heritage and what is left of England’s green and pleasant land.

I think the community are realistic that it will be built close by, indeed there is land a little further along the coast that is already used in such a way, but is some distance from residential properties. This particular proposal would put it virtually on doorsteps!

I know this sounds like a plot from The Simpsons, Mr Burns doesn’t live here, it is a serious threat!

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So it was with these concerns that we found ourselves  at a meeting in the local scout hut where it was decided that the “Eastham Fights Back” group is to be reformed, because yes, these poor people have had to fight this sort of threat before.  But once more they have come together to fight for what they believe is right!

It was  heartwarming to see so many people there. It really is amazing how much knowledge and expertise is to be found in this tiny community.

If this resonates with you, PLEASE could you sign this petition and pass the link on;

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/EasthamFightsBack

Twitter : @EasthamFights

Facebook: Eastham Fights Back – PLEASE give it a like!

Thank you for reading!

I will keep you posted!!!

The usual nonsense will resume tomorrow – Have a lovely day! X

Five on Friday

It’s  that time of the week again already!

I am going to try to link up with Amy from Love Made My Home for Five on Friday. What a great blog hop this is, it is so interesting visiting everyone else’s blog to see what their choices are.

Without further adieu;

One

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The Weather has been interesting on the Wirral this week. At the beginning of the week it was bitterly cold and snow was forecast, we did have the odd flurry but it didn’t stick. Most days it went from a grey start like that you can see in this picture of the River Mersey above, to crystal clear blue skies by the afternoon. It definitely feels as though it has warmed up a bit now though.

Two

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In view of the shivering temperature, my thoughts turned to sunnier climes when planning my menus. I made this delicious Moussaka Casserole, unusually for me, I always follow this recipe from Amuse Your Bouche exactly.  It did take us all back to our holiday on the beautiful island of Crete last year. If you are vegetarian or even just doing Meat Free Monday, you should check Becca’s blog out, failproof everytime!

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I have just realised that I seem to be on a bit of a “I need to be warmer” roll ha!  So still with sunnier climes in mind, we have booked our flights for our summer holidays. We are off to mainland Spain but not until July, but at least it is something to look forward to. Our older daughter is coming with us too and we will be away to celebrate a significant wedding anniversary :0

Four


We had an unexpected visit home from said daughter. She came to eat dinner and sleep then went back to uni on the first train out of here the next morning. I am nothing if not flexible, so changed my plans to whip up a Butternut and Sage Risotto because it’s one of her favourites. When I sent a text making the suggestion and she replied ‘It is like music to my ears’, I knew I was onto a winner.

I also threw a quick lemon cake in the oven because the recipe is so easy. I  used this one but put it in two sandwich tins instead of paper cases. I added Lemon extract to the mix and lemon curd to the two halves before the cream was smeared all over – mmm…… I could eat it now!

Five

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There is a field behind Eastham Woods that Jack and I have been making the most of this week. It is very popular with dogs and their humans. It is one of Jack’s favourite places because he loves the company of other dogs and often they outnumber the humans here – dog heaven!

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That is it for this week!  Finger’s crossed for the link – it seemed to work last week!

Have a lovely day x

 

Birthday Cupcakes!

Happy St David’s day!!

imageMiss CT is a fellow Glade Dweller and was 9 years old yesterday!To help her celebrate we sent her 12 of these Vanilla Cupcakes.

I made them from an ‘all in one easy peasy sponge cake’ recipe. The secret is to weigh the eggs in their shells and match that weight with rest of the ingredients. Then it doesn’t matter what size eggs you use as long as the rest of ingredients match.imageI used three  eggs to make these cupcakes and they weighed 195g. Three eggs makes about 48 cakes and gives a lovely, light texture. Just to clarify, the picture above has a different topping because I used different sprinkles  because I got so many cakes from the mixture 😉

Ingredients

Cake

3 eggs at room temperature,  match their weight with;

Self Raising

Flour

Sugar

Butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Frosting

125g Butter at room temperature

250g Icing Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

A few drop of any colouring you might want to add

Method

Pre heat oven to 170 degrees

Place all the cake ingredients in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy

Fill cupcake cases to about 3/4 full

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean

Leave to cool on wire rack

To make the frosting;

Beat the butter, icing sugar ,vanilla extract and any colouring you might want to add together until light and fluffy

Use a palette knife to spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes

Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Miss CT xxx