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Half term activities that don’t cost the earth!

I love this time of year, the leaves are crunching under your feet, the mornings are starting to turn a little crisp and the the nights are drawing in making the days feel very autumnal. This time of year brings so many opportunities for activities with your little ones and with half term approaching what better time than now to start planning your days! Here are a few activities that will keep you and your little ones occupied over the Autumn break.

Plan a nature trail

  • Firstly plan a walk, this could be round a local park, nature reserve, farm or just round your local neighbourhood and can last for however long you want. Longer walks can be planned in with a snack stop in the middle!
  • Next take an A4 piece of plain paper and write out anything you can spot along the way. This could be anything from animals to farm gates, bat boxes to railway lines, or from conkers to post boxes! A little drawing next to the item helps your small person to identify the object even if they are too young to read the words.
  • Now set off with a pen and something to rest on and enjoy checking off everything on your list!

This can be varied by creating trails for different things such as writing out every letter of the alphabet and trying to spot an object for each letter or every colour of the rainbow!

Be imaginative and keep your little ones interested by helping them with clues when they get stuck and this can be an activity everyone will enjoy!

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Tiana and Poppy on our last nature trail adventure!

Set off on a leaf collecting mission!

Take a walk around your neighbourhood and collect up different leaves, they can be all different shapes and sizes but ideally they need to be whole. Once you get home there are lots of different activities to choose from, you could create a leaf animal by sticking your leaves on paper and adding heads, arms, legs, tails or wings!autumn-leaf-activity-for-kids-2-300x217

You could even create a story with your different leaf characters on a few sheets of paper! Let your imagination run wild and give your leaf characters names, draw them houses and think what their favourite food, colour or activity might be! Maybe create a short bio for each character stating their name, age and most embarrassing moment!

Make your own tree 

Take a large piece of plain paper and draw the trunk and branches of a tree. Now take your leaves and glue them on to the branches. You can use as many or as little leaves as you want as its your design, you could even add orange glitter to really make your tree design pop!

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Make a leaf butterfly

Take a piece of plain paper and arrange your leaves in the shape of a butterfly.

cb75a2a91d8fe87463f2aefe6cda76d8--autumn-activities-craft-activitiesTry to make your leaves symmetrical and fan them out into the shape of a butterfly’s wings. You can use stalks for antennae and once you have finished perfecting your 

design glue your butterfly into place!

 Collect conkers

Conkers are in plentiful supply at this time of year and used to be for one thing and one thing only, this being conker championships but nowadays there are so many more things you can do with them. The good old fashioned game of conkers can still be fun and is easy to do by simply drilling a hole through the middle of a conker and threading some string through you can try and beat your opponent but seeing whose conker is made of stronger stuff!

conker 1

Another way to use conkers is to decorate them and leave them around the house in jars or ramekins. You can use paint, glitter glue or stickers, go crazy and create some Halloween themed conkers painting them orange to look like little pumpkins or green for mini monsters!

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Pumpkin picking

Now this is one of our favourite activities to do as not only do you get to carve a pumpkin at the end of it you also spend time together as a family choosing the perfect pumpkin for your creations! We have local farm where we can go and pick but there are locations up and down the country where you are able to wander off into fields of pumpkins with a wheelbarrow and come back with your desired crop. Remember to keep in mind if you go for the biggest pumpkin you will need a design that will carry it off, the same applies for the smallest which means its best to choose a medium sized pumpkin unless you want to be carving for a very long time! Usually at these locations there are other activities going on during peak Pumpkin picking season, there might be a pop up cafe or a farm shop or a bird of prey display.

Its always good to support local businesses and although pumpkin picking usually works out more expensive than buying one from a supermarket it is much more of an activity that can take a good couple of hours up before you have even started work on your pumpkin carving!

20161023_141802Make pumpkin soup

This is one of my favourite things to do with the left over pumpkin after we have carved our Halloween lanterns. Its so simple and tastes delicious, a sure way to warm up after an Autumn walk. Here is the recipe I use and it always gets a great response!

Pumpkin soup in a white bowl, topped with croutons

Pumpkin soup

PREP: 20 MINS COOK: 25 MINS

SERVES 6

  • Can be frozen if using vegetable stock
  • Vegetarian

 Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • onions  finely chopped
  • 1kg pumpkin chopped into chunks
  • 700ml vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 150ml double cream

For the croutons

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices wholemeal seeded bread, crusts removed
  • handful pumpkin seeds from a packet

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook the onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured.
  2. Add the pumpkin to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.
  3. Pour the stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the pumpkin is very soft.
  4. Pour the double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can pour the soup through a fine sieve. The soup can now be frozen for up to 2 months.
  5. To make the croutons: cut the bread into small squares. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread until it starts to become crisp. Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted. These can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.

 

Reheat the soup if needed, taste for seasoning, then serve scattered with croutons and seeds and drizzled with more olive oil, if you want!

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Here is my pumpkin soup from last Autumn.

I hope you enjoy these half term activities and can make the most of spending time with your little one without braking the bank.

Half term fun on a budget=mum winning!

Thanks for reading

 

Lou x

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Beautifully British · Clacton Air Show · Family · school holidays · Uncategorized

Clacton Air Show our family day out!

This summer we decided to pay a visit to the famous air show in Clacton on Sea, Essex. This is the last free air show in our part of the country and over two days it brings in a whopping 250 thousand visitors to the small seaside town. I have had family in the town since I was born and used to be a regular visitor to the air show growing up but this was going to be Scott and T’s first time.

We arrived at the sea front about 1pm and with the planes set to kick off about 2pm it was already heaving with people, the normally quiet beachfront had not a spare inch of space and there were people everywhere. It was a great atmosphere with music playing from the loudspeakers and commentary telling us exactly what was ahead that afternoon.

We met my Mum and Brother and eventually found a spot to stop and watch the show. First of all the East Anglian Air Ambulance were on display and they got a huge cheer from the crowds as their helicopter flew up and down while we were told of the amazing amount of rescues and serious incidents they had attended over the last year.

Over the next couple of hours we were treated to displays from a plane that could land on water, a helicopter that had appeared in a James Bond film, a Mig, a Spitfire and a parachute display team!


Finally it was time for the main event, The Red Arrows display team! They were truly amazing from the moment they came over our heads as announced by their team leader and the crowd went wild they did not disappoint!

From loops to flying round each other they did everything from flying in the shape of Concorde to a move they called the serpent to drawing a love heart in the sky! Their trade mark red white and blue smoke came on and off at exactly the right moments and had the wow factor it was meant for.

They would fly off between stunts and thanks to the brilliant commentary we always knew what direction to look in to see them approaching back from, We could normally hear them before we saw them though! They wowed us at every turn and their finale was simply amazing when they all flew up in different directions going out in the shape of a fan.

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We loved our experience of the air show and will most definitely go back again but this time will make a whole day of it.

For a free family day out I would give it 10/10!

Always time for a hot doughnut after!
challenge · exercise · goals · Parenting · school holidays · Uncategorized

All good things 

Well it’s been a really fun week off work and I’m so sad it’s had to come to an end. You would think for someone who thrives on routine and order that I would want to get some structure back in my life but it’s actually been so nice just going with the flow each day and taking things as they come. I do feel like healthy eating and exercise definitely suffer when there is no set schedule though. Don’t get me wrong we haven’t stopped eating all things healthy, It’s just we have had more treats and with the poor weather we haven’t been able to get out and walk it off like we thought we would. 

So the August walk/run challenge is still going strong and with my corker of a week last week at 20 miles I knew there was no way I was going to beat that this week! Not that I couldn’t have done it if I wanted to it’s just I find T needs a fair bit of encouragement to walk a good few miles and I just don’t have it in me to put her through that every day 😂 So my grand total for this week is 16.24 miles! 

Not a patch on last week but still not bad going with the 3 full days of rain we have had this week. This also means I’m still in the lead on the challenge with a total of 31.8 miles. Scott is in 2nd place with a total of 22.8 miles and Emma, Well I think Emma forgot we were doing a challenge as she was going on holiday this week so we will have to excuse her in third place! 

Next week I will have to up my game again as Scott will be back at running club so anything less than 3 miles daily and I might slip to 2nd place! I will keep the updates coming and hope for good weather! 

The end of this week also brought a sleepover for T and her friend, after making cakes, watching a movie, walking the dog and playing games they had snacks and giggled in their beds until they finally fell asleep! It was such a cute evening but when it was over I was pleased I only had one little person to entertain once more!

Today the girls got to see each other again at a surprise birthday meal so they had another lovely few hours together. I honestly think they could spend a week together and not get bored! 

Oh well back to work and holiday club we go tomorrow, I suppose the fun has to stop sometime! 

Blogger · cockerpoo · family time · fitness · Parenting · school holidays · Uncategorized · walking · walking for fun

Summer holiday fun

So our week off has been great, ok the weather hasnt aleays been kind to us and one day we were inside watching a movie with hot chocolates and hoodies on, in August, but we made the most of it and just have really enjoyed spending the time together!

Monday we caught up with some friends and all played mini golf together then stopped for coffee and a cake after. It was so nice to do something different and we all really enjoyed ourselves.

The weather turned a bit damp and miserable during the afternoon so I left Scott and T indoors with a mini science experiment and I took Poppy for a 3 mile walk round the lake.

When I got back they had made a mini diver that went up and down inside a bottle of water! Dvd and hot chocolate time followed because of the pouring rain! T didn’t complain at this when I brought this in as her hot drink!

Tuesday we went swimming and for a cheeky Mcds lunch after, well if we didn’t burn that off with an hour and a half swimming including 3 sessions of battling the wave machine at 10 minutes a time, I don’t know what we were doing wrong 😉

Yesterday it was raining, again so instead of a picnic at the park with our friends we went to theirs for lunch. We took another science experiment with us and ended up making a foaming dragon which the kids all thought was pretty cool! We were treated to some homemade scones and chocolate cake too which was delicious! 

Today for the first day it was sunny!! So we finally got to spend a bit of time outside which was great. I had made T a nature trail ticksheet as I wanted to take her on a fairly long walk and knew she would only manage it with something else to focus on. So as we went round she ticked off things like a farm gate, cows, a fisherman, a bridge etc. She really enjoyed doing it and it meant she visited a woods she had never been to before and we all got a 4 mile walk in! 

Also today we took my cousins to a trampoline park for their birthdays which are both coming up. They had never been before and we all had such a giggle, even though they were all exhausted by the time the hour was up! With it being pretty expensive it’s not something we would do all the time but it was a good thing to do for a special occasion and worth the trip.

Finally so far this week we have painted our shed! It may not seem that exciting but having had the paint bought for about 2 months it was so good to actually have some time together to be able to get on and do it, and with us all picking up a paintbrush at one stage or another it’s been a real team effort and we are so pleased with the finished article!

Here is a before and after so you can see what we were up against with needing a fair bit of time to get it done!

Tomorrow we have a friend of Tiana’s coming to sleep over and we plan to make pine cone bird feeders and paper mini beasts aswell as walking the dog, watch a movie, play games and whatever else T has planned! I think by Saturday I will be deserving of some Mummy time! 

I hope you’ve all had a good week and I’d love to see what you have been upto! 

Thanks for reading 

Lou x

Blogger · challenge · Family · fitness · friends · goals · horse riding · making memories · Parenting · school holidays · Uncategorized · walking · walking for fun

My 20 mile week and more summer fun!

So in my last post I mentioned a walking challenge I had signed myself up to with my husband and best friend. Now I knew I had stiff competition as I’m more of a little and often walker/runner whereas those guys just go for it! So every day last week i made it my mission to get about 3 miles in, yes every day! My legs were aching by the time yesterday’s walk came and ordinarily I wouldn’t have made the effort to go but I felt I couldn’t let myself down when Id made so much effort the rest of the week so off Pops and I went in the sunshine racking my total miles for last week to just over 20! I’m so chuffed with this and now just need to keep the momentum going through the rest of the month! 

Other things I’ve been upto this weekend is dinner at my best friends house, secretly trying to fatten me up so I will do worse at the challenge, which was a really nice evening. You can’t beat hanging out with your best friend, daughter and the partners sometimes and it was really good to spend time with them.

Saturday I also picked T’s friend up and took them both to the library to continue their summer reading challenge. They really enjoyed being together and planning their sleepover for next Friday, wish me luck! 


With the good weather I used some time to get a few things done in the garden too, Scott is in the middle of painting our shed a really pretty green so can’t wait for that to be finished and tie in with all my other pretty areas. I’m just waiting for it to be warm enough that we can actually spend a whole evening out there! 

This weekend was new nails day and I don’t normally share my nails but I’m so in love with this pink design I thought I’d show you all.
Yesterday T had a great hack out for her riding lesson and I made lasagne and salad for the in-laws followed by cheesecake which went down a storm! One busy weekend over and our busy week off begins! 

Have a great one everyone!

Lou x

family time · goals · Mam Tor · school holidays · Uncategorized · walking · walking for fitness · walking for fun

Miles walked in July and a hen do reunion! 

So July is coming to an end, which means it’s time to tally up my miles walked for this month. With our trip to the Peak District and more days with T because of the summer holidays I felt like I was doing pretty well and it seems I wasn’t wrong. 

July came in with a total of 56.83 miles! Now compared to June when I managed a measly 42 miles that is great but I still have a way to go to beat May when I walked a whopping 72 miles! 

There have been some great walks this month with a couple of new routes and some stunning scenery in and around Castleton. Here are a few highlights from July.

Poppy’s birthday walk
Walking in Bradwell

The beautiful Peak District
Mam Tor, Castleton
Treak Cliff Cavern view from the exit
Poppy gets a new toy!
Fun in the park
Trip round the lake!
Bike ride round the fields!

This weekend was a great end to the month with a hen do reunion to celebrate 1 year since my weekend in Cambridge punting, drinking prosecco and wearing t-shirts with my face on with my nearest and dearest girls! This weekend was a much calmer affair with just a meal and cocktails but still so much fun getting everyone together!

So plans for August! I feel like I want to discover a new walk as it’s been a little while since I did and T is finding the usual routes a little repetitive now she is coming with me more. I want to keep up my running, weather permitted, yes I’m a fair weather runner! Hopefully next month I will make some progress and get slightly faster but if not just showing my friend Lisa that running really isn’t all bad has been great. We have a weekend away at my Nan’s which is by the sea so I’m hoping for some nice walks on the beach and round the fields with her dog too. We also have a week off planned so will hopefully get at least one picnic in and meet up with friends in some sunshine! Lots planned and hopefully we will make the most of these summer holidays! 😊

Children · cockerpoo · family time · gardening · Healthy eating · horse riding · school holidays · Uncategorized

A great start to the summer holidays!

So it’s been a pretty great weekend! Summer holidays always brings pressure with what to do that’s interesting, but doesn’t cost a fortune, and makes T feel like this is what summer holidays are all about. 

So we started off with Thursday, we did a spot of food shopping in the morning and then it turned into quite a grey and cloudy day so in the afternoon we stayed on the sofa watching George’s Dragon, a really great film. After that we went to last ballet lesson before break and I cooled us homemade burgers which were so good! 

Friday we we took Poppy round the lake,A lap of 2.5 miles and it was such a windy day T’s bike blew over when she stopped to use her new stand!

After this we had some good friends over for a playdate and using inspiration from the film we watched T got everyone to decorate a picture of a dragon as an art activity! The girls all loved it really got creative! Afterwards they spent some time playing outside and eating strawberries, raspberries and blueberries on a strawberry Angel delight as a treat! We had a lovely afternoon.

Friday nights dinner was salmon and brocolli pasta with a creme fraiche and chive sauce.


Saturday was a very special day, We became godparents to our good friends son Kaleb. We felt very honoured to be asked and with Scott also doing a reading during the ceremony it was such a great day. Although I have to say T’s favourite part was probably the bouncy castle at the party after!

Again the weather turned bad later on so it was comfy clothes and a film again and this time it was Mr Peabody and Sherman! T also finished a colouring she had started on the last day of school.

Today we have been to riding, She had a great lesson, right up until she fell off! Well it was more of a plop but she was fine and got herself a certificate for being brave! I think she just wanted to christen her new jodphurs on the sand! 

This afternoon T played outside while we gave the garden a good tidy up, it’s amazing how much you can clear up if you haven’t done it for a while and we got loads done while T amused herself. After we popped out and finally got some cushions to finish our garden seat that Scott built a couple of months ago. I’m really pleased with how it looks now. Scott made dinner tonight and it was delicious! 


Now as the weather is still good we are off to take Pops for a walk round the lake as I’ve only managed 10 miles so far this week because it keeps raining! 

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend and start to the summer holidays, I would love to hear what you have been upto!

Thanks for reading 

Lou x