Thursday, 29 September 2016

Autumn has started to make a gradual appearance, it has been very subtle so far as we have had one of the warmest Septembers on record. On our daily walks we have been looking out for signs of autumn, picking up lots of conkers, yellow leaves, acorns and pine cones. 


On our walk we pass a lovely horse chestnut tree which we have spent loads of time collecting conkers. With our ever growing collection of conkers I have been looking into ways to use them up.

One of the easiest and least messiest ways to have some conker fun is to use them as marbles for painting.  I seen this brilliant idea from The Imagination Tree.


To make your own conker art you simply need a box or old washing up basin, conkers, paper and some paint. For some gorgeous autumnal colours I used brown, red and orange. 

Simply place a piece of paper into the box or bowl and then dip some conkers in paint and place on the paper. Then start moving or shaking the box or bowl as vigorously as you like. 


This is great fun and results vary depending on how strenuously you shake the box and how much paint you used. We started this sat down at the table but that was too restrictive for vigorous shaking so we then moved it onto the floor.

Oliver is not massively keen on getting too messy so he didn't like dipping the conkers in paint but he loved shaking the bowl after I placed the conkers in. 


Perfect autumn craft that is quick to set up and to clean up. Now we have some beautiful conker art to then create a new activity with!





Friday, 23 September 2016

Clinging onto the last rays of summer with this easy fun outdoor activity. Oliver absolutely loves water play and would happily play with a tap all day long! Instead of racking up a massive water bill we love setting up this fun and easy activity.


To make it cost effective just find things from around your home. We used some plastic jugs, an empty plastic bottle, an iron water beaker, some measuring cups, drinking cups and a funnel. I set this up on our outdoor water table but you can easily set this up on a table, box or even just on the ground. 


To add an extra learning element I added a few drops of different coloured food dye to different items. 


We did this on a warm day so a change of clothes were needed but you don't have to stop simply because Autumn is approaching. Invest in some decent waterproofs and wellies for the cooler months. 


If you are brave enough you can even set this up indoors. Just make sure you have plenty of towels on hand!! 


Monday, 19 September 2016

I've recently had the opportunity to review a fantastic product called Nutri Fill-it. Nutri Fill-It are re-usable food pouches suitable for smoothies, purees and yogurt.  These were kindly sent to me from Eatwell UK. As we are a house full of smoothie lovers this was a great product to test out. 



Nothing compares to homemade smoothies. You are 100% in charge of what goes in and therefore you can include all your favourite ingredients. When making smoothies I always like to make extra but I struggle to store them appropriately. So storing them in the Nutri Fill-It has been great. One of the unique selling points of the Nutri Fill-It is that it has a 300ml capacity. So while 300ml is too much for babies and small children it is the perfect size for mummies and older children. 


The Nutri Fill-It is really easy to fill and use.  It has a double zip lock at the bottom to ensure it is leak proof. Simply pour your freshly blended ingredients into the pouch, seal then use. If you have any leftovers simply pour them into a pouch and store in the fridge for a day or pop it in the freezer. Defrost overnight in the fridge or it's great to double up as an ice block for packed lunches and will be ready to drink by lunch time. 


Once you have used them just rinse them out then pop them in the dishwasher ready for next time. I love that these are dishwasher safe as any time saved doing washing up is a bonus! Nutri Fill-It contains no nasty materials and can be reused 100 times. 


You can buy these in packs of 2 in either green, pink or blue or you can buy them in a mixed pack of 6 which contains 2 of each colour. You can buy them here.


I received a free sample courtesy of Eat Well UK to review. All opinions are my own.


Sunday, 4 September 2016

love breakfast times and so do my kids. Breakfast is normally my most creative time, it always seems to come easier for some reason. Normally breakfast times are quite laid back with no time constraints so I can make breakfast quite exciting. 

All that is about to change though! Jessica starts school this week (I still can't quite believe that!) so I'm not going to have as much time in the mornings. I've figured that the best approach is to be organised so I'm listing some of our favourite breakfasts that can still be done relatively quickly!! 


Overnight Oats

The ultimate make ahead breakfast. The options for overnight oats are unlimited. As a base I tend to use for one Oliver portion 3 tbsp of oats, 1 tbsp of yogurt and a splash of milk. Then you add whatever you like, frozen berries, peanut butter, vanilla extract or raspberry chia jam perhaps. Simply mix together and leave overnight in the fridge. In the morning mix again and maybe add a splash of milk if needed. 




Banana and Blackberry Muffins 

These muffins are great as part of a quick breakfast served alongside some fruit. These are refined sugar free and are freezeable making them the perfect healthy breakfast in a hurry. Just take out of the freezer the night before. You can also substitute the blackberries for blueberries or raspberries. Find the recipe here.



Granola

We love homemade granola, it's so good and you control exactly what you put in making it more healthier than shop bought granola. We normally make granola once a fortnight as its a great breakfast for when you are short on time. Simply serve with yogurt and some of your favourite fruits. You can find my granola recipe here




Crumbly Fruity Flapjack

This is one of our favourite flapjack recipes . They can be severd as part of a speedy breakfast, snack or pudding and are refined sugar free. The fruit filling can be any berries and you can pop these in the freezer once baked. You can find the recipe here



Smoothie Bowls 

Even though summer is coming to an end there is still plenty time to make up some smoothie bowls. Smoothie bowls are a great way of using up any excess frozen fruit. Simply blend your fruit with a touch of yogurt to make your smoothie bowl. You can always add a a few sneaky vegetables in and they will be none the wiser! The toppings don't have to be fancy if you are pushed for time you can simply add fruit or some granola. The only thing that may make you late for the school run is the clean up time!!! 



Porridge Cups

I'm always looking for ways to get more protein into my breakfasts and these porridge cups do not disappoint. When filled with yogurt these are a great healthy refined sugar free breakfast. These are kept in the freezer so simply just defrost overnight in the fridge ready for the morning. Check out the recipe here



Banana and Strawberry Flapjack 

We love a good flapjack recipe and this is another one of our favourites. This recipe is naturally sweetened only with fruit but you can add a tbsp of honey if you prefer it a little sweeter. The recipe for this can be found here



Porridge Fingers

One of our all time favourite breakfasts that can be ready in under 5 minutes. You simply mix 4 tbsp of porridge oats with 3 tbsp of milk and add any fruit that you wish to include. Microwave for 2 minutes or oven bake at 180 for 15 minutes. 



Bagels

Bagels are a great speedy breakfast and a great alternative to toast. Healthy toppings include peanut butter sprinkled with some chia seeds, avocado, some cream cheese with thinly sliced strawberries or perhaps raspberry chia jam.