Wednesday, 23 April 2014

MAMA Academy Ambassadors

As a family of 4 we have obviously experienced pregnancy.  We were in the lucky situation of having a lot of information easily at hand about what to expect, mostly as C's mam was a midwife.  However, many people are not so lucky, with little knowledge or education about pregnancy, it can be daunting time.  The MAMA Academy aims to educate mums about health in pregnancy, and also to advise when it is necessary to involve their midwife.

Although we have had 2 successful pregnancies resulting in B and I, we have this year experience the heartache of 2 miscarriages.  The disturbing fact is that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in early miscarriage, that is a loss before 14 weeks.  We had good support from out GP, reassuring us that it may not happen again, but we know now that it does happen, and it is a horrible experience.

The MAMA Academy website has a section on early miscarriage educating you of the signs to look out for. We were aware of these signs, and sought medical attention, sadly there was nothing that could be done.

Although the miscarriages we experienced were heartbreaking, having the understanding of what happened helped, and we feel that having this knowledge and someone to help guide you through the time is very important.

We also believe that although pregnancy is an exciting and joyful time, for some it can be scary and lonely, not understanding the help that is available and what to do for the best of both mother and child.  We fully support the MAMA Academy as we believe that pregnancy should be the experience of a lifetime, and not something that should be looked on with dread and anxiety.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Homemade Chocolate... Need I say any more?

Happy Easter!
Oh so i found this recipe and WOW! It is amazing! I have change it to make it into my own recipe...
This is homemade chocolate, with few ingredients... It is so good... More chewy than crisp chocolate.

1/4 Cup of Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup of Coco Powder 
1/4 Cup of Honey
Tiny Dash of Vanilla Essence 

Put all ingredients into a pan and melt.
Whisk until smooth.

Spread on to tray and set... I Sprinkled mine with Sea Salt.

As Simple as that! Enjoy!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Taking Time Out!

Today we had a bank appointment in Newcastle so Grandparents took the boys out for the day.
Time alone! I truly believe all parents need time out together and alone. This week M has been away with work so it is extra needed "Mammy and Daddy" time together...

After the bank appointment we decided to do a few of our favourite things:

Coffee and Cake in Olive and Bean, is always a must, whether it is take out of sitting in, today we relaxed and sat people watching in the window.  The cakes, an Easter cheesecake and a cranberry and white chocolate flapjack.

A walk around the shops and the Grainger market gave us the opportunity to pickup some nice seafood and fruit.  We do love the market for the seafood, the meat, fruit and veg, material, cheeses, tea and coffee,the list is endless.  All served up by local businesses, and mostly sourced locally.

A perfect morning in town was completed by a walk along the quayside home in the sunshine.  Much needed relaxation and time together as a couple.

We dont often visit the city centre, but after today's visit we are planning on more visits on a weekend, its a lovely walk, and a morning well spent.

Friday, 18 April 2014

A Christmas gift that just keeps on giving part 1

At Christmas we were asked what we would like as gifts, so we asked for a years membership to somewhere we could go to and use as a family.

English heritage is the first gift we will cover. we got this off a family member and this such a giving present, as we strive to make an adventure for our children this is a perfect present to do .

English heritage has a large number of sites all over the country, from castles and ruins to gardens and stately homes.  Membership gives you free entry to all of them, and if your on holiday in foreign lands, the Scots and Welsh offer discounted or free entry into their nation heritage sites dependent on the length of your membership.

The first EH site we visited was Tynemouth castle and priory.  A local site with a lot of history.  I wont go into the full history of the site, but suffice to say it covers the development of Christianity in the northeast at the times of Cuthbert and Bede, right through to the World Wars.

It is a beautiful location on the coast between the mouth of the Tyne (you never would have guessed by the name) and King Edward's bay, a small sheltered cover with high cliffs and pristine sand.  and offers views to the south of the south banks of the tyne and the Mediterranean like beaches of south shields down to the cliffs of Whitburn and Souter light house; and to the north St Mary's light house and the wind farms near Blyth.

It was a fantastic day out, and a great spot for a picnic, plus we had the opportunity for our first full family photo while on a day out thanks to a friendly passing american tourist.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Is Your Garden A Dumping Ground Too?

When we moved into our home the garden was a mixture between overgrown jungle that was once a lawn, and a gravel pit.  Not very useful for a family wanting to grow our own produce, nor very pleasant for the kids.

After a couple of years we had reverted the lawn area to a lawn, with a wide border containing a variety of veggies, fruit bushes and an apple tree.  There is a small herb garden in an old council recycling box, and we had cleared the gravel pit of the gravel and successfully grown a crop of potatoes and onions in it despite the poor clay-like nature of the soil.

Then we extended the house, this did not work well for the garden.  The builders made a mess of the lawn, we had to dig up the small patio area, the gravel previously stored at the side of the house was placed back at one end of the old gravel pit in some ikea bags (they have many many uses) and the old walls of the bathroom (waterproof shower boards) were added to the pile of gravel and patio slabs.  We are back at square one.

Now to the future.

We plan to restore out lawn and veg border.  The apple tree is still going strong, buds aplenty right now, the fruit bushes (raspberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant and goji berry) are all sprouting nicely, and the rhubarb is looking huge (that will come in handy for the homebrew, but that will be a different blog)

Then there is the ex-gravel pit.  We have word from a friend of the family that he wants the gravel, but he's having logistical issues.  The shower boards are going to be put to use in creating a water-tight, cavity walled, insulated two section compost box with removable divider and hinged lid.

Once the area is cleared the fun bit starts, laying out the vision for the garden.

The plan is to have the rectangular garden with square raised beds to each corner.  These beds will contain veggies of various kinds, and the walls of these will be made with cinder blocks

this will give us loads of small pots to plant herbs i around the veggies.
The cross made by adding the raised beds will be grassed, and a border of shrubs and flowers placed on the outer edge of the whole garden.  Inside the flower/shrub border will be a narrow line of home-made circular stepping stones, allowing access to the raised beds and also the flower/shrub beds.
We will post picture as things progress.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Who Says Bread Making Has To Be Hard

Growing up in a family where My Mum (Cs mum) always made bread i never found it to be too daunting, but as a mother myself now finding time and so forth and making sure the bread is perfect is.
So here are my fail safe favourite bread mix along with a few things you can do to vavavoom your bread into amazing none boring bread...

Firstly start by putting :
  • 7g Dried Yeast
  • 250g Strong White or Wholemeal Bread Flour
  • A Pinch of Salt and Sugar

Into a bowl and add enough warm water to make into a ball of dough.

Now for the best part! Knead/ Punch your anger out, Think of all the first world problems that make your first world lives hard and bash it into your bread, Be grateful for said first world problems as they will make your bread taste amazing!
Do this for 5-10 minute until bread is smooth and bouncy.

Now place back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel, cling flim, a shower cap, a pan lid, anything will do you get the idea! 

Leave for about an hour...I am so impatient, I never leave this long, though longer the better.

Now knead and make whatever you want from it

Let rise for 10-20 mins

Put in oven at 180 (I normally dont look at the dials so anything between 180 and 220)
Cook until done...( I don't really do timings as such I believe cooking should be felt and from the heart so go with the flow and experiment!)

or Alternatively place in Slow Cooker for a few hours until done...

So that is the basics now for the exciting part, flavoured breads, here are a few favourites.

Chocolate and Cherries.

Handful of Chopped Glazed Cherries.
 Bar of Crushed Chocolate. 

****Add before the hour rising time but after making the dough 

Cheese and Pickle 

3 tablespoons of sweet pickle.

handful of grated cheese.


Garlic Bread

Softened Butter
Sprinkle of Parsley 
Few Cloves of Garlic Crushed (Depending on how many vampires you want to keep away!)

Mix together and either put on top or pin wheel the dough with it spread before rolling.

Olive Oil
Herbs (I love Rosemary) 

Roll dough into a pizza shape leave ten min before oven.
Poke the dough with your fingers leaving dent in dough.
Heat herbs and oil until warm.
Drizzle over bread dough.
Sprinkle salt and cook.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

We are back!!

Hello and a Very Happy 2014 to all!
we haven't blogged in a while as life has been unpredictable and very hard...
So here are our goals for the rest of this year, that should give you good reading and possibly a chuckle!

Goal one: We the Wardle Tribe are going to take the challenge of spending one great british pound per day for our meals we will do so from the 21st of April... we have lots of freezer food (fresh meat frozen as we don't eat processed foods, i.e pizza etc unless homemade), store cupboard foods (tins of vegetables and pulses etc)... in the hope to not have so much stored and to save some money...

Goal two: To Clear the garden and to make much use of it over the summer months and in to autumn...
we would like to grow as much veg as possible to help cut the ever growing cost of food which seems to be increasing at stupid prices!

Goal three: to have one day of the weekend where we don't use any transport at all... no car, no buses...
were pretty good as during the week we mostly walk,cycle or run most places... occasionally we skip ;-)

Goal four: to never buy alcohol again and to make our own from the garden produce.

Goal five: to save! anything and everything... from money to cutting waste we want the next few months to be as waste free as possible...

Goal Six: our continued effort to put more in to life and others by doing random acts of kindness with out the expecting things back... we do this so our kids are giving children, rather than wanting children...