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Archive for August, 2015

Here is a simple, free activity that can be done practically anywhere (as long as there is grass) and will keep the kids amused for a while, it is something that I did when I was younger and that I have done with Thomas.

What you need to do

Select your blade of grass; thin flat ones work the best, you may want to give it a wash first and make sure that the grass hasn’t been sprayed.

Whistling grass 1

Pinch the top of the blade of grass between your thumb and first finger and bring the bottom of the grass down to the base of your thumb.

Whistling grass 2

Put both of your hands together so that your thumbs and their bases are together trapping the piece of grass.

Make sure that the blade of grass is taut.

Whistling grass 3

Purse your lips together and blow between your thumbs and over the blade of grass.

You should hear a high pitched whistle noise.

It may take some practice to get a ‘whistle’, try making the grass more or less taut and have a go with different types of grass.

Have fun

Gill

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Lavender Flowers

Lavender is simply divine and one of my favourite flowers, it was included in the bouquets and button holes for my wedding, this summer I am going to make some Lavender Shortbread with Lavender picked from the garden. I have been looking for an easy recipe and found this one from Mary Berry, whom I admire for her simple yet delicious recipes, and thought that I would share it with you so that you can make them too.

Mary Berry Lavender Shortbread Biscuits

Ingredients 
175g softened unsalted butter
2 tbsp fresh, unsprayed, finely chopped lavender flowers (pick them off the stems to measure)
100g caster sugar
225g plain flour
25g demerara sugar

Method

  1. Lightly grease three large baking trays.
  2. Put the softened butter and the lavender into a mixing bowl and beat together (this will obtain the maximum flavour from the lavender).
  3. Beat the caster sugar into the butter and lavender and then stir in the flour, bringing the mixture together with your hands and kneading lightly until smooth.
  4. Divide the mixture in half and roll out to form two sausage shapes 15cm (6in) long.
  5. Roll the biscuit “sausages” in the demerara sugar until evenly coated.
  6. Wrap in baking parchment or foil and chill until firm.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 160C/Fan 140C/325F/Fan 275F/Gas 3.
  8. Cut each “sausage” into about 10 slices and put them on the prepared baking trays, allowing a little room for them to spread.
  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the biscuits are pale golden brown at the edges.
  10. Lift them off the trays with a fish slice or palette knife and leave on a wire rack to cool completely.

These biscuits would make a lovely gift tied up in cellophane with ribbon and a sprig of lavender!

Let me know how you get on, happy baking

Gill

 

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DSC06392

The one that didn’t get away!

It’s National Fishing month so grab your rods and get fishing – if you don’t have a fishing rod or have never been fishing before then that’s no problem, National Fishing month runs from 18th July until 31st August and is aimed at encouraging everyone, young or old, new or experienced, able bodied or disabled to have a go at fishing. There are lots of organised events where rods and equipment are provided for those that are new to fishing as well as lessons, demonstrations, talks and matches.

Have a look at their website and put in your postcode to see what’s happening near where you live or if you are on holiday put in your resort postcode.

I don’t need to give Thomas any encouragement to go fishing he would be off at every opportunity, he always takes his binoculars so can bird watch while he is waiting for a bite and when he wants to stretch his legs he goes searching for wildlife, sounds good? Then why not give it a go – you may be ‘hooked’ for life!

Have fun

Gill

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ManWide

Next week is National Allotment Week (10th – 16th August), it is organised by The National Allotment Society (NSALG) which is the leading national organisation upholding the interests and rights of the allotment community across the UK. They work with the government at national and local levels, other organisations and landlords to provide, promote and preserve allotments for all and offer support, guidance and advice to members and those with an interest in allotment gardening.

There are lots of events being organised on Allotments throughout the country including talks, cookery demonstrations, BBQs, children’s activities and raffles with tea, cakes and home grown produce for sale, click here to find out what is happening near you.

The National Allotment Week theme this year is designed to emphasize the benefits that allotments bring to everyone regardless of age or gender and to also highlight the fact that we all need to value our remaining plots and preserve them for future generations to enjoy, allotment sites are vulnerable to pressures from development and steps need to be taken to prevent further depletion of our allotments.

The demand is high for allotments often with long waiting lists, if you are interested in obtaining an allotment click here for more information.

Allotments are not just places to grow fruit and vegetables they are mini communities containing a wide range of people who have different lives, personalities, cultures and jobs but who all share the same passion for gardening.

As well as growing fruit and vegetables, there is so much more you can do on an allotment:

  • Relax and recuperate
  • Have a BBQ or Picnic
  • Watch and make homes/habitats for wildlife
  • Experiment with new crops
  • Teach children how to grow food
  • Keep chickens and livestock
  • Have Bee hives and produce your own honey
  • Share your gardening knowledge and learn new skills from your allotment neighbours
  • Hold seasonal fruit and vegetable shows
  • Have fun growing competitions
  • Arrange visits from schools and community groups to educate them about growing crops
  • Hold open days to encourage others

picture 1

I feel extremely privileged to have an allotment, sometimes they can be hard work and you do need to have a certain amount of free time to look after them but the rewards far outweigh the effort, there is nothing more satisfying than eating home grown produce that has been freshly picked, my allotment is my retreat where I can switch off, unwind and can be in harmony with nature – I love it!

Gill

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