Archive for February, 2016

Here are 3 activities to get the kids outdoors and away from the television, games console or their phone:

DIY Build Your Own Bird Nest Box Kit

Build a nest box for your garden

This week is National Nest Box Week (14-21 February) and it’s the perfect time to put up nest boxes in your garden as many birds are now paired up and looking for a nest site. There are lots of different types of nest boxes available which are suitable for different species of birds, if you want to attract a good variety of birds why not put up a few different boxes, some species of birds like to build their nests near to each or in a colony these include House Sparrows, Tree Sparrows, House Martins and Swifts so put up 3 boxes together. If you want to get hands why not make your own Nest Box with a Build Your Own Nest Box Kit, it contains everything you need to make a nest box that is suitable for House Sparrows, Great Tits or Nuthatches, who will be first to make their home in your Nest Box?


Make a Den

Go for a walk in the woods, there should be lots of dead twigs and branches on the ground that have been blown off in the recent windy weather, first collect the larger branches, place them upright with the tops together to form a wig warm shape this can be freestanding or around the trunk of a tree, if you have some rope tie these together, next find medium sized branches and place onto your structure to fill in the gaps, then collect smaller twigs and them leaves to camouflage it. Use your den as a hide to watch birds and wildlife. If the weather is cold and wet why not make an indoor den with clothes maidens, tables, sheets and pegs – behind the sofa is always a favourite spot.


Skim Stones

Skimming stones can be tricky at first but with a bit of practice it can be easily achieved, for best results you need a calm sea, still river or pond/lake then you have to find the ‘right’ stone it should be smooth, round and flat, the flatter the stone the better, throw your stone hard, low and horizontally and it should bounce across the surface of the water, large bounces at first getting smaller until finally it disappears into the water. Have a competition with family or friends to see who can get the most bounces.

Lets hope that the weather is kind to all of us this week

Have a great holiday


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If you need a gentle reminder, tomorrow (9th February) is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day.

I do love Pancakes, whether they are sweet or savoury, they are delicious and a real treat? The only down side if that you can only make one or two (if you have two frying pans) at a time and you have to keep your eye on them as they cook, I am always looking for different recipes and thought this one was a great idea, it’s perfect if you have a large family as you can make a few trays at once, which they will all be ready in approx. 10 minutes.

This recipe and photograph is taken from the website of Booths who are a chain of family owned independent quality food and drink stores that are based in the North West.


Pancake Mini Muffins

Mini Pancake Bites


  • Vegetable Oil for greasing
  • 125g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 60ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 25g butter melted


  • Chocolate chips
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Grease a 12 hole mini muffin tin lightly with the vegetable oil.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a bowl.
  4. Crack the egg into a jug and whisk with the milk, maple syrup and melted butter.
  5. Pour this egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk in well until you have a smooth, thickened batter.
  6. Fill each muffin hole a third full with the mixture.
  7. Push your chosen fillings into the mixture.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes until golden and puffed up.
  9. Tip out and serve warm with a maple syrup dip, cream, ice cream, yoghurt, crème fraiche, custard, or a squeeze of lemon or orange juice, sprinkle with caster sugar or drizzle with syrup or honey.

This amount of mixture will make 12 mini pancakes.

I will definitely give this one a try; it’s an easy, fast way to make delicious treats, why not have a go at making them at School?

Happy Pancake Day


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Snowdrops are one of the earliest bulbs to flower and a welcome sight in the garden from January-March, their Latin or scientific name is Galanthus Nivalis which comes from the Greek words “Gala”, which means milk, and “anthos” which means flower, “Nivalis” originates from Latin and means snow, they also have many common and rather curious names including Candlemas Bells (Candlemas Day is 2 February), Mary’s Taper, Snow Piercer, February Fairmaids and Dingle-dangle.

There are hundreds of cultivated varieties including giant, double and rare yellow ones, some of which are worth a lot of money; in 2011 a single bulb was sold on an internet auction site for £350 breaking the previous record of £265, collectors of Snowdrops are called Galanthophiles.

If you want to grow Snowdrops they are best planted whilst they are actively growing this is either in pots or by lifting and splitting clumps that have just flowered (this is called ‘in the green’) these are available in garden centres or online, you may know a friend or neighbour who is dividing their clumps, often when a clump gets too big and compacted it will produce less flowers to remedy this it needs to be split up and replanted into smaller groups, dried bulbs are available to buy and plant in Autumn but can be difficult to grow.

Snowdrops prefer a semi-shaded spot in well drained but moist soil enriched with leaf mould or garden compost, it is important that the soil does not dry out in Summer, Snowdrops look attractive planted at the foot of trees or shrubs especially in a woodland setting.

Snowdrop bulbs are similar in appearance to shallots, don’t make this mistake as they are poisonous, they do however have beneficial medicinal properties, they contain Galanthamine which can be used to improve sleep and also in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease as it improves the working of certain receptors in the brain.

Snowdrops are extremely hardy they withstand snow, frost, wind, hail and rain and will appear every year and make you smile!

Plant some in your garden – you won’t be disappointed.


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