Wednesday, 20 August 2014


The boys enjoyed a circus skills workshop today and took great delight learning the trapeze. I secretly fancied a go myself but I really don't have any upper body strength! Maybe we can all learn and run away with the circus.

Monday, 18 August 2014


I love the rustic simplicity of Italian cooking so after picking some blackberries I thought a creamy torta di more would be perfect to make for pudding after Sunday lunch.

I used shop bought short crust pastry and rolled it out to fill a dish and baked following the instructions on the packet. I then mixed together 250 g mascarpone and 150 ml single cream with four teaspoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Once the pastry case had cooked and cooled, I added the creamy filling and plenty of blackberries on top and put in the fridge to set for 30 mins. Jamie Oliver does one similar but adds grappa to his I think and most definitely would make his own pastry too!

A perfect seasonal dish to enjoy!

Sunday, 17 August 2014


With our courgette plants flowering in abundance, it is the height of their production and signals that it is the time of year when we are gifted with an abundance of courgettes.

A quick, easy but messy recipe to make is stuffed courgette flowers. I simply pick and shake the flowers to get any bugs out. Stuff with a mixtures of ricotta, parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper then carefully stuff into the flower, using the petals to close them into little parcels.

I then make up a batter, I like the River Cottage batter recipe, which uses sparkling water to make a lovely light batter, we've used this for battered elderflowers too which was delicious. Then I simply deep fry them and serve straight away on a platter with some nice italian ham and home-grown tomatoes. .

Straight from the garden and into our tummies in less than 30 minutes!

Saturday, 16 August 2014


I am hoping that I have written 'I need your help' in French above! I am just enchanted by all the wonderful images I see of France on blogs, Pinterest and Instagram so we've started to research French holidays for next year (2015). The boys have never been abroad, I last went in 1996, eighteen years ago and my husbands passport has expired so the first thing we have to do is apply for five passports which is £283 before we even set off!

So what we need are recommendations of the best places to go, I would love to stay somewhere traditional, where we can buy baguettes for breakfast. I'd love to go to Paris too. Or do you prefer Italy? I would love to hear your travel advice and recommendations.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not. 

by Seamus Heaney 

Monday, 11 August 2014


Nelly the elephant may have packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus, but luckily for us Giffords Circus has a huge menagerie of acrobats, horses, dogs, jugglers, musicians and funny acts that are ready to perform in Nelly's absence! Oh yes, fairly predictably, today saw our annual summer pilgrimage to the wonderful Giffords Circus, Gloucestershire's very own vintage circus that tours our local village greens each year.

We went to the circus with my lovely friend Kat and her family, who like us are huge fans of Giffords Circus. She bought cool tattoos for us all, I am currently sporting a ringmaster on my arm! 

We follow Tweedy the clown into the tent, and it's like greeting a favourite aunty when we see him and 'keef' his pet iron. He always has us in stitches and his presence throughout the show ensures you don't stop smiling, in fact the only other time my face ached so much from smiling was on my wedding day! 

Above are just a couple of moments from this year's show 'The Thunders' which is on tour until the end of September and I can't recommend it highly enough.
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