places to go

It might have snowed over most of Britain this weekend, but we just had the rain, so it got me thinking back to when the boys last played in the snow. Two years ago we went to Lapland in FInland to see Santa, ride on sleighs and play in the snow.

A slight delay in take off resulted in the plane landing around 2pm, which was of course the start of the night. We jumped on a husky led sleigh from the airport to the main centre where we arranged the reindeer ride, ski doo, downhill sledging and of course Santa.

northern lights


making sushi4

Sushi A Go Go: homemade sushi


Homemade Sushi

By far the boys favourite food is Sushi so it is lucky that that they like to make it themselves. All I have to do is cook the rice and chop some avocado and cucumber and they are away.

making sushi making sushi1

making sushi4 making sushi3

We have been making these rolls for a long time, but the boys are now old enough to actually roll them themselves. Not quite California Rolls, more like English Rolls, not quite as finished and slightly out of shape!


200g Cooked sushi rice

1/2 avocado

10cm cucumber (cored & sliced)

4 crab sticks (torn lengthways)

Roasted black sesame seeds (sprinkled)

4 sheets sushi nori

Soy sauce ( for dipping)

backyard skate ramp


Everytime we head to the park the boys want to go to the skate ramps, not that they can skate, but they enjoy running up and down and sometimes (when not falling over and loosing a knee or elbow) also to scoot. Since we moved into our house our skater fiend friend Mick has been at almost every opportunity petitioning us to build a ramp in a corner of our garden. What started out as a small ramp became a half-pipe and eventually a seven foot wide eighteen foot long half pipe, which is likely to become the envy of the neighbourhood.


(Above) Mick

The build took two days, alot of timber and ply, two barbeques and a few beers.

Skate_Ramp_Home-Made3Skate_Ramp_Home-Made4   Skate_Ramp_Home-Made5

Moving the ramps from the lawn to the back of the garden was a little more work than anticipated and nearly broke our backs.Skate_Ramp_Home-Made6Skate_Ramp_Home-Made8 Skate_Ramp_Home-Made7I suspect that Mick will have more fun than the boys on the ramp!

Mike the boy wonder aka peter pan

Skate_Ramp_Home-Made9Still need a lick of paint and a few tags, but almost there.

my week in food – 19th october


So my week in food had the benefit of starting with almost a full bloomer that I had cooked the previous day, so R had his favourite lunch, Beans next to Toast. The beans cannot be on the toast or even referred to as Beans on Toast. You sometimes forget how nice the most simple things are.

I also took advantage of the bloomer and some of the leftover pulled pork and bbq sauce from a few weeks ago and had a sloppy sandwich.

  • Steak with twice cooked chips (no time for triple cooked), woodland mushrooms and creamed spinach
  • Pancakes
  • Texas Chilli
  • Szechuan chicken with egg fried rice


my week in food – 12th October


My week in food was a little light this week as we used up some of the reserves that we had in the freezer. I did however make my first real loaf of bread by making a bloomer, which was pretty successful. I also made a sweet snack Chocolate covered honeycomb) for a picnic that we were going to at The Lookout. I had made this several years ago and made it with Lindt Cherry Chocolate, which went a bit lumpy when I heated it, so will stick to normal chocolate next time.

  • Vegetable curry
  • Meatballs with couscous
  • Heurvos Ranches (black beans, tortillas, salsa and eggs)
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce (R’s favourite meal)
  • Honeycomb with cherry chocolate
  • Bloomer loaf

my week in food – 5th October


My week in food started off quite well with a mini Japanese feast, with Miso, Fish, dumplings (shop bought) and some fried tofu. Tuesday was retro school chicken curry, which despite having made this for years, the boys managed to improved with a big dollops of Tomato Ketchup stirred in. Wednesday was a Mediterranean mix. We didn’t cook anything too exciting for the rest of week as we took some things out of the freezer, such as Bolognese and a chili.

  • Japanese black cod
  • School chicken curry
  • Cookies
  • Mackerel dip
  • Baba ghanou
  • Humus
  • Pita bread
  • Pulled pork with BBQ sauce

my week in food – 28th September


So I started off my second week in food a little less prolific than the first, but still managing to achieve a few food firsts, continuing my exploration of bread and muffins.

I had decided to make healthy sugar-free Banana Muffins as a school snack, as they have a healthy food policy, however I found out at the door to the classroom that it is actually a fruit only policy. After school snack it is then!

  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Meatballs
  • Banana muffins
  • Homemade Pitta
  • Tomato pasta sauce with spaghetti
  • Orzo with rocket,  pine nuts and parmesan
  • Bruschetta
  • Porchetta style pork loin


my week in food – 21st September


breadtextAs a way to ensure that we cook more food at home and to encourage the boys to keep eating a wide variety of food, I have decided to document the foods that make and eat each week. As this was the first week, we were very active in the kitchen cooking and baking, with a few firsts, and a few fails upon which we will need to improve upon.

  • Cinnamon and raison muffins
  • Thai-style fish vegetable broth
  • Panko chicken
  • Beef bourguignon
  • Chili
  • Filo pastry cheese and spinach triangles
  • Baguettes
  • Pancetta and Gruyère tarts
  • salt and pepper squid
  • Vietnamese beef salad
  • Soda bread
  • Gravlax

When I get time I will add some of the recipes to the site, but for now I just only have a few iphone photos of some of the things that we made and ate.


a model village at bekonscot

places to go

Bekonscot is somewhere that I have heard about since I met my wife nearly twenty years ago, but having not been brought it in the south of England, I had never visited the place as a child.
bekonscot-model-villageFor those that do not know Bekonscot, it is, if I am not mistaken, the largest model village in the world. Whilst some of the parts are a little old, I am sure for all of the parents returning for the first time since they were themselves kids, they can probably be classed as nostalgic. bekonscot-model-villageThe village is laid out so that you follow a path through the town, starting at the cricket pitch, past the zoo, and around the airport, hotel and fair. With many more little areas of interest.bekonscot-model-village bekonscot-model-village bekonscot-model-village bekonscot-model-village bekonscot-model-village bekonscot-model-village bekonscot-model-villageHaving chased the model trains around the park all morning, it was equally exciting for the boys to ride the miniature railway.bekonscot-model-villageWe took a break from visiting the village to have lunch and play in the park.
bekonscot-model-villagebekonscot-model-village bekonscot-model-village

Our boys have been here several times and I know that most of our friends children have been here many times (probably once a year), so I expect that we will be back again in the not too distant future. As a charity Bekonscot give all profits away, so its also another good reason to visit.

Bekonscot Model Village – Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2PL


a right royal show at egham

places to go

I haven’t been to a farmers/county show since I was about ten years old. Having missed the Guildford show earlier in the Summer as the weather was horrendous we decided to visit the Egham Royal Show.

With all of the usual attractions that you would expect, vegetable competitions, flower displays, farm animals, the army, fire brigade and a live show! The entertainment was very varied with bareback riding, a motorbike stuntman, birds of prey, and a few other things that we didn’t manage to see.

IMG_3639Egham-Royal-ShowEgham-Royal-ShowAlways good to let kids fire weapons in crowded events, although the archery was in stiff competition with the army which let kids hold a rocket launcher (see gallery below)!




in search of the gruffalo at alice holt

places to go

Alice-Holt-GruffaloLast weekend the boys were invited to go in search of the Gruffalo at Alice Holt by their Aunty Sarah.

Alice-Holt-GruffaloWe set off on the trail through the woods looking for the main characters from the book by Julia Donaldson with is illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

Was this the Gruffalo? No, Just Uncle Sean hiding in the woods.
Alice-Holt-GruffaloUnperturbed by the strange sounds that Uncle Sean made behind various bushes, our youngest ran off in search of real monsters.

Alice Holt, Farnham. Until September 30th 2014

homemade rock pools

arts and crafts

We’ve been at Grandmas this week and so today I had a nice long sleep In the morning. By the the time I came downstairs Grandma and the boys had recreated the rock pools that we had been crawling around yesterday.

This one is obviously not a rock pool, but actually the beach with the sea!


They were made using a paper plate, some glue, sand and glitter, and a huge dose of imagination.


pizza express party

places to go

Last week was the last day of nursery for our eldest. He’s now graduated to Infant school and had to say goodbye to some of his classmates. His best friend at Nursery is going to different school next year, but as it happened on his last day of school was also his birthday.
pizza-expressI wasn’t really sure what a Pizza Express party would entail, if anything other than eating pizza. However all of the kids lined up at a table and rolled out the pizza base, add the tomato sauce and then the toppings.

As much seemed to be had eating the pizza as actually making it. Definitely an idea for future birthdays.


earning his spurs

the everyday

Not being a Spurs fan, I was not overjoyed that the boys support Spurs (blame the wife), however the smile on our eldest face, when a package arrived this week with his name on it and the Tottenham Hotspur badge on the outside, lasted all weekend.

Hotspur-Junior Hotspur-Junior Hotspur-JuniorThe boys are members of another national supporters club and they got nowhere as many goodies as they did in this pack, with a rucksack, pencils, pencil case, book, stickers and a voucher. We’ve had one very happy boy in the house this week.
Hotspur-Junior Hotspur-Junior

cardboard aquarium

arts and crafts

What to do when the boys want to make something and we have run out of space to make any large cardboard creations, so we looked in the book (365 Things to Make and Do – Parragon Books) and settled on a cardboard aquarium.

This is a very straight-forward project.
1. Start with a shoe box and cut a rectangle on the front and back so that you can see all the way through.
2. Paint the box blue and add some stickers
3. Stick coloured tissue paper inside to resemble sand and water.
4. Stick some tissue paper to look like seaweed.
5. Draw some fish and colour them both side and then cut them out.
6. Stick the fish to some thread and attach to the roof of the box.



the new forest

places to go

A few free days for the whole family allowed us to jump in the car and head down to the New Forest and the local coastal area for a bit of R&R. Last year we went for a night to Beaulieu for a night to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary and wanted to go back and take the boys to see the horses, wildlife and beaches.

We had amazing weather the whole week, with blue skies and the hottest day of the year!

Lepe-Country-ParkEvery day we went to a different place, but cover from Lepe Country Park, to Mudeford, to Boscombe to Fordingbridge. The New Forest is one of my favourite places to visit in the UK.

Mudeford Beach

Mudeford Harbour

Boscombe Beach
With quite a lot of the day spent on the beach we played rugby, noughts and crosses, and built sand castles and then watched  as the tide came in and knocked them down.

Sandy Balls!
When my wife was little she stayed at Sandy Balls, and had mentioned it several times down the years. When we decided to head to The New Forest, we decided to see if we could stay there, and managed to book a two bedroom cabin set in the woodlands, with only a short walk to the River Avon. Obviously everything was updated since she last visited, with an indoor swimming pool, and a couple of new playgrounds, and restaurants.

The cabin was a good size for a family of four, with a large lounge, kitchen, a veranda, bbq, and outdoor table and benches.


chocolate wrapper kites

arts and crafts

Grandma was here last week and promised the boys a treat one day. Almost every time that we go to the supermarket the boys ask for a box of Roses, like we had at Christmas, so their wish came true. My youngest couldn’t quite remember the name of the chocolates and so kept asking for dahlias!

To make full use of the chocolates and to keep the boys entertained, Grandma made a nice picture of some kites with them.



imagination movers in concert

places to go

Today is a very big day. We have been following the Imagination Movers on TV and listening to them in the car for more than two years. A week after we left Dubai they played two concerts and we were gutted, but didn’t tell the boys as they would have been upset. Having never toured in Britain we assumed that we would never get to see them live. However last December they announced that they would be coming to London so we quickly bought our tickets.

Heading into London, the boys were happy for a day out in London and a trip on the train, unaware of what awaited us later that day.

train-to-londonThe time came for the boys to open their parcels, which contained a Movers jumpsuit (which Debi spent quite a lot of time customising blue jumpsuits with red ribbon and personalised name badges) and a red hat, and let the boys guess/know where we were going.

I am not sure who was more excited to know where we were going, the boys or us!

Now I haven’t been to a concert in a while (probably The Rollin Stones was the last one), and it wasn’t quite The Red Hot Chili Peppers in Hyde park, but they rocked a close funky second, and hopefully they’ll be back in the UK soon.