The Captivating Lavender Fields 

  

I will apologise now for the photo spam in this post, but I took so many pictures it was hard to chose my favourites.

   
     

For the past few years I have dressed my brood up in white and taken the short trip to the stunning Mayfield Lavender fields to take in their splender whilst taking some great shots.

   
     

Even though I have driven past these fields countless times over the years I am still taken back by there beauty every year.

The children still get exited to run up and down the long pathways peeping over at each other as they go.

   
     

The fields are located just outside the town of Banstead in Surrey.  There is a small charge of a pound per person and there is ample parking; but be warned they are a real crowd puller and it gets very busy.

They have added a tractor ride this year which I should imagine is great but unfortunately we got there to early and couldn’t wait for the first trip out of the day.

  
We finished our trip off today by getting some freshly cut lavender that we are going to use in our lavender playdough making this week.

   
     

There is also a coffee shop serving a small range of hot and cold food.  Our relaxing coffee was cut short by poor number five getting a wasp sting to his face!!

   
  

We will be making a trip back soon to give the tractor ride a go!

  

Becoming A Thrifty Food Shopper

  

I like to think of myself a pretty thrifty food shopper already, although after watching the series ‘Eat Well For Less’ on BBC One a while back it has played on my mind that there are still a few changes that I could put into place to save a bit more on food which leaves more to spend on going out and having fun!

I recently took the big step of moving away from my super easy Tesco home delivery service and moved over to the increasingly popular Aldi.  For a while I had been a bit snobby about shopping in there, thinking they must be selling really poor products if they are so cheap; but I could not have been more wrong.  Don’t get me wrong my stress levels have tripled again as I had come a custom to a little man kindly bringing my neatly packed shopping right to my kitchen table and I have now reverted back to trying to control at least two little ones around the supermarket; one of my past posts will tell you how I try to make this a slightly less painful task.  It does however save me upwards of £50 a week and as a lady said to me the other week whilst I was pushing two screaming babies in the rain through the car park “think of the money you are saving”.

This was clearly my biggest and best move so far but I am now going to try and shop locally for things such as meat as it’s said that you will only pay a little more for your meat and you will get much better quality by going to a butchers.

I have also seen many friends have to close small businesses of late due to people opting to shop online or use the bigger retailers.  It is so sad and that is why the whole comunity spirit is being completly wiped out and soon High Street shopping will be a thing of the past.

Having being cooped up for the past few day feeling poorly I needed to get the boys our of the house to enjoy this lovely sunshine, so a trip to the park and a bit of food shopping were on the list to see if this was going to be another thrifty move for us.

First stop was the Bettameats butchery in Banstead High Street where I was greeted by a super friendly and helpful butcher that helped me chose what would be best for me and best value for money.  Only £27 later I walked away with some fantastic looking meats that will feed all seven of us for well over a week.

   

 

Our next stop was Banstead Fruiterers just across the road.  Again I was greeted with a smile and the offer to try before I buy which unfortunately my son took him up on the offer and would not leave the poor mans strawberries alone! 

   

  

We left there with plenty of fruit and salad to last the week and I would guess that it’s half the price I would have paid at the supermarket.

Very pleased with my savings and the warm feeling that  I had done my bit to keep the local High Street thriving we set ourselves up in the park to take in the beautiful sunshine and sample some of our goods.  This will be a new way of shopping that I will be keeping up from now on.

 

   

Bug Hunting And Shortbread Minibeast Biscuits

  

From my opinion fears are something that are instilled into children by adults.  I don’t think we have a natural fear of things such as dogs or spiders. I feel it is outside influences that affect how we feel about certain things and situations.

With this in mind today I took my youngest three on a bug hunt in a beautiful park called Oaks Park not far from where we live to search our bugs to try and stop the fear of creepy crawlies from setting in.

There is no playground at this park so it gives them a real opurtunity to just run off a load of steam and use their own imagination to play.

   
   

Once they had had a good run around we got on with our bug hunt.  They shook trees onto a large sheet of white paper to see what would fall and upturned logs and rocks to see what was hiding beneath.  I encouraged them to get close and see what they could find.

We managed to capture quite a few creepy crawlies and had fun looking at the way they moved, through the magnifiying glass on the top of their pots. 

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

We had a quick pitstop for icecream and then headed home to bake some minibeast shortbreads.

  
It’s probably a little unfair, but the majority of cooking we do as a family is allergy safe for number four.  It’s just easier as they can all cook together and he is not tempted to eat anything he shouldn’t!

  
I found a recipe for citrus shortbread by  Jamie Oliver and adapted it to be wheat and dairy free.  These can easily be replaced with normal butter and flour.

200g Softened butter                              125g Icing Sugar                                       Zest of half an orange                         Zest of one lemon                                 Zest of one lime                                  350g gluten free flour                               One tsp Gluten free baking powder                            

Preheat the oven to 190c/gas mark 5 and line a tin with greasepfoof paper.

Beat the butter and then cream together the sugar and zest until fluffy.  Fold in the flour and baking powder and then use your hands to form a dough.

Roll out onto a floured surface until about 1cm thick and then cut out your shapes of choice.

Put the biscuits onto the tray and chill in the fridge for 15mins.  Then bake in the oven for 12-15mins until pale and crisp.  Allow to cool for 5 mins then serve.

   
               

They went down a treat and would have been lovely with a big blob of icecream.

  

                 BakedPotato Mummy

              

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