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Netflix New years countdowns for Kids

Netflix, Kids and New Year Countdowns

Netflix image

New Years Countdowns from Netflix

Back in 2014 Netflix came up with the genius idea of an on-demand New Years Eve count down for kids. Last year was the first year my five year old declared he was staying up for the New Year!! However mama was not ready to deal with the fall out of a very late night given he isn’t the worlds best sleeper to begin with!

Cue the genius that is the on demand count downs incorporating your kids favourite programs  …….  this year Netflix have nine new on-demand countdown which are available from Tuesday, 26 December.    The new ones are:

  • DreamWorks All Hail King Julien,
  • Beat Bugs,
  • Larva,
  • Pororo,
  • Puffin Rock,
  • Skylanders Academy,
  • True and the Rainbow Kingdom,
  • DreamWorks Trollhunters
  • Word Party.

All New Year’s Eve countdowns can be found by searching “countdowns” on Netflix or simply visiting netflix.com/countdown.

 

Note: We are a member of the Netflix StreamTeam for which we receive a years subscription however we were paid member before going the StreamTeam
Features

7 ways to make the most of the Christmas downtime for the year ahead

Christmas is supposed to be a time when we finally get a break from work and get the chance to see family and friends that maybe we haven’t seen all year. However, for many it will be the most stressful time of year, with lots of rushing around whilst trying to find the perfect presents for their loved ones. So is it even possible to have a relaxed Christmas, allowing us to recharge before a new year starts?

To help you make the most of your Christmas downtime, here are seven ways you can take care of your wellbeing this festive season and get a much-needed break before 2018 rolls around.

Schedule in your relaxation time

Our Christmas schedules can be extremely hectic, with rushing around shops to find presents, to running back and forth from family homes on endless visits. It can be easy to get carried away and before you know it, your Christmas holiday is over!

If you are one of those who feel like the festive season passes you by, this year, make sure you schedule in your relaxation time. Simply writing in an hour or two every other day to rest and do something you love, can make a huge difference to how you feel.

Gift yourself some ‘you’ time

No matter how busy you are, make sure you gift yourself some alone time this Christmas. Whether it’s a nice spa day or just a solo walk around the local park. Get some time to yourself, away from the craziness that is Christmas.

Make sure you are looking after health

Health and diet in particular, can take a turn for the worst over the Christmas period. We’ll have chocolate for breakfast and stuff ourselves with buffet foods and soon our energy levels will take a hit. Not to mention the late nights and Christmas party drinks draining us of much needed sleep.

Make sure you keep your health in mind when choosing what to eat, and if you need a nap during the day to make up some essential sleep, then feel free! Taking multivitamins and supplements, such as those from Vitabiotics, can help you to get all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body balanced this season.

Have a duvet day

It’s something that many of us are deprived of day-to-day, so take this opportunity to have a full duvet day. Put on your favourite Christmas films and snuggle down with loved ones. Enjoy the peace and calm that comes with allowing yourself to do absolutely nothing!

Give your home a clear out

On Christmas morning, you’ll have a pile of new objects to fit into your home, whether it’s toys, clothes or a new Xbox. Use this time to adopt the mindset of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ and declutter your home of unused or unwanted items.   Not only will you feel refreshed, but you’ll also be able to make room for all of your new gifts!

Get out of the house with family or friends

walking quiet country road

My Christmas Day walking route – so peaceful

It may be cold outside but that’s no excuse to not get out and about throughout December!  A brisk stroll through the park on Christmas Day can be the perfect thing to break up the day and get you prepared for the Christmas feast.   The great outdoors can work wonders for your mental health, with the fresh air filling your lungs, waking you up and clearing your head.

Reconnect with old friends

Christmas is often the time when old friends return home to see family, so make sure to get in touch with those that you may have lost touch with over the year. Making the most of the Christmas period all comes down to making sure you take a breather and schedule your time effectively. Be smarter with your free time, ensure you take good care of yourself and you’ll notice a huge difference in both your mindset and your motivation when it’s time to get back into the office in the new year.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

The toys we loved in 2017 – some gift ideas

Gift Idea’s

Not really a gift guide in the regular sense rather this post looks at the most played or loved toys in the Mamma Fairy house throughout 2017. Some of the toys we bought, some were hand me downs other we were gifted via the blog.  In no particular order….but first up we have….

  1. Arckit  – This is a personal favourite of my own. It is made and developed in Ireland by an Irish Architect. Its basically a free form modelling system that allows you to build model towns and landscapes.
    Arckit set

    ArckitPlay

    I have heard it being called a real life Minecraft and that’s exactly what my older man thinks it is! Its really good and gets tonnes of play in our house. The possibilities of what to build are vast. This is toy with a huge educational element which is always a big advantage for me. The Dada Fairy is involved in the construction industry and when the pair of them get together to build their town it gets very serious!!  We have Arckit Play Cityscape and hand on hears its a brilliant, the set is a good size and contains lots of pieces for the money. For more see – Arckit

  2. Hexbug Battle Ground Tarantula – My oldest loves this! Ill say at the outset having two greatly adds to the fun as they “battle” so when he catches up with his best buddy they have serious battles! The hexbug’s battle with fire using high-tech infrared technology against each other and the impact sensor measures each strike and damage. They make lots of noise and effects and actually creep along like real life spiders!! I can really see the appeal of these for when friends get together.  They are also surprisingly durable. Available for most toys shops including Smyths.
  3. Mi-Mic Microphone – This for me is the surprise of 2017! We were sent this and I really didn’t know what the boys would think. However countless headaches (mine not theirs) later and this is a much played with toy in our house.  In summary its contains a Bluetooth karaoke speaker which allows you to play any song direct from your phone. You can even ad
    My First Scalextric

    My First Scalextric

    d pretty cool extra’s to your voice.  What the boys also love is  the 7 colour beat matching LED lights. The Mi-Mic’s arrival coincided with start of this years X-Factor so most evenings we had our own version complete with judges panel. Great fun! Again readily available in most toy shops.

  4.   My First Scalextric Set – I have a sneaky suspicion that the Dada Fairy wanted this one for himself! However I will give him the benefit of the doubt as the kids love this set. It’s the toddler version of the old classic. The power controllers are the ideal size for little hands. Its durable and all round good fun. Kids love this and it does become very competitive! It really is an ideal starter set for the younger car fanatic and has become a firm playdate favoruite here.

    Rubik's Junior

    Rubik’s Junior

  5. Rubik’s – while speaking of new takes on old classics, the Rubiks cube has come out with junior version of the classic cube but this time shaped like animals. These are suitable from age 3 upwards and what I like about this is they are a great shape and size for little hands without too many combinations which means it is doable for younger kids.  This would make an ideal stocking filler. 
  6. Paw Patrol Sea Patroller – my youngest is utterly obsessed with this! I have a full post on this from earlier in the year but suffice to say this is a mega hit in this house! A little on the pricey side for what it is but it is has got tonnes and tonnes of play in this house.

Aside from the above toys other items that we loved during the past year include

  • books, books and more books – see here for some inspiration from our great reads of 2017. Since this post we have added another couple to our nightly stash:
    • Manny Man Does Revolutionary Ireland – the oldest loves this book, the illustrations are really engaging and the text sucks them in.  This book is a great introduction to history for younger kids.

      front cover of Dot in the Snow

      Published by: OUP

    • Dot in the Snow – My littlest man loves this book, its so adorable and beautifully illustrated. Its a really lovely Winter tale.
    • The Turkey that voted for Christmas – A funny Christmas tale and again another beautifully illustrated book. I love when 1 December begins that we can introduce some Christmas books to our evening story time.
    • One third Stories – This is a subscription box which comes out monthly in either Spanish or French which contains an original story, activities and an audio book. The story begins in English and finishes in either Spanish or French. This is a really clever concept and metholodogy and to be honest the type of gift that keeps them interested with the new story box arriving monthly. The world is so much more multi cultural and multi lingual and languages will always be at the forefront of this.
  • Don’t forget the ultimate stocking filler of Christmas sweets my pair love to see candy canes and gold coins in their stockings.

Hopefully the above has been some food for thought. Id love to know if you have any ideas we should be considering.

 

 

Real Mum Reviews
Tammymum
Features

Blood Pressure what you need to know – thanks to Lloyds Pharmacy

As some of you may be aware and I have spoken a little about it over the last number of years on the blog and that is my pregnancy related blood pressure issues. I spent significant lengths of time on both pregnancies on bed rest, hospital visits and medication. While my blood pressure eventually returned to normal levels. I am well aware am I higher risk for problems into the future.  I saw a brilliant initiative being run by LloydsPharamacy where they are run quarterly free blood pressure checks in any of their 94 stores nationwide. The importance of this short test cannot be under estimated. Early detection is key.

As part of the initiative, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak to Maria Hennessy MPSI, Clinical Governance Pharmacist at LloydsPharmacy.  I put a number of  key questions to Maria who kindly too the time to share her insights and helpful advice.

 

Tell us a little about what constitutes high blood pressure? Reading etc.

High Blood pressure is often referred to as hypertension when the correct medical term is used. A lot of you will wonder what exactly high blood pressure is. Blood pressure, in general, is the pressure or force the blood exerts against the walls of the arteries. It is usually represented as a systolic and diastolic figure. For example, a normal BP in an adult may be around 120/80mmHg (often described as 120 over 80).  Hypertension i.e. High Blood pressure is a condition where BP is higher than recommended. Hypertension is defined as a sustained systolic pressure greater than or equal to 140mmHg and/or a sustained diastolic pressure of greater than or equal to (≥) 90mmHg. It is these readings that health care professionals use to diagnose whether or not a patient has high blood pressure. It is also important to note that these figures need to be sustained readings for the patient to be diagnosed as being hypertensive. Therefore repeated measurements must be carried out by your pharmacist and GP before a correct diagnosis can be made

Are there any signs/symptoms we need to be aware of? Such as headaches etc.

Unfortunately there are no specific signs or symptoms that help patients flag that they may have high blood pressure. Therefore getting your blood pressure checked is key to ensuring you are looking after your heart health. An important statistic to note is that approximately 50 percent of the population over the age of 50 are thought to have high blood pressure. As you increase in age you are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. The general rule of thumb is once you reach 30, you should get your blood pressure checked every 5 years, at least! Undetected high blood pressure can lead to coronary heart disease and stroke. Therefore why would you put off doing a very simple, painless test that could detect further heart implications down the line?

I think the initiative by LloydsPharmacy is fantastic as I have heard high BP being known as the silent killer. If somebody does get a high reading what do you recommend the next steps are for them?

The next steps to take depend on the patient’s high BP reading.  If the reading is classed as slightly high, it is strongly recommended to return to the pharmacy or GP within 2 weeks for a second reading. Lifestyle factors will also be discussed.  If the reading is relatively high, then the pharmacist refers the patient to the GP within 48 hours of testing. If a patient presents with extremely high blood pressure, then this is an instant GP referral and may require emergency services if the patient is feeling unwell.  Therefore the action to take depends on the individual readings and stresses the importance again of getting your blood pressure checked. Your pharmacist and GP will best advise based on the readings.

I had serious BP problems on both of my kids resulting in lengthy hospital stays. Thankfully it went back to normal a couple of months after each was born. However I am aware this places me in a high risk category for future BP issues, what advice would you give to keep heart healthy for people like me?

This is a very good question as many people of your age, especially busy Mums may not prioritise their heart health. It is essential to keep active and it is recommended 150 minutes exercise a week is essential to keep active and heart healthy. This also ties in with ensuring we are maintaining a healthy BMI which reduces our risk of high blood pressure. The very obvious factors are quitting smoking and reducing our alcohol intake. A diet rich in Omega fats is essential for our heart health and also benefit’s our children’s health so try and include eggs, oily fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and almonds into the diet. As we become more coffee obsessed as a nation our intake of caffeine has greatly increased. Caffeine is a stimulant and if consumed excessively can increase our blood pressure. Try and switch to decaffeinated options where possible.  Stress goes hand in hand with a busy lifestyle. Managing stress is essential to reducing the risk of high blood pressure. Yoga, mindfulness and even short and simple breathing sequences greatly aide in stress reduction. It is all about balance but by incorporating a few changes in your daily routine, you are ensuring you are on the right track to maintaining heart health.

If you wanted The Mamma Fairy readers to take away 3 key points from this interview in terms of helping their overall heart health what would they be?

  1. I have touched on this throughout but getting your blood pressure checked is essential. Remember there are no symptoms to high blood pressure so detection is vital.
  2. Your local LloydsPharmacy offers this service and usually requires no appointment or service charge. This check is very accessible and takes 20 minutes, approximately, for a consultation to be carried out. We in LloydsPharmacy have fully trained colleagues who provide this service on a daily basis across our 90 plus pharmacies.
  3. Diet and Lifestyle are the core to maintaining a good blood pressure reading. However for some patients, genetics play a hand in having high blood pressure. Hence it is important to be aware of your family history and the need to get your blood pressure checked as soon as possible.

Keep on eye on social media and online on LlyodsPharmacy website for details of their next blood pressure testing day.  Thanks to Maria for taking the time to speak to me and share her expert insights.

Most importantly this is not a sponsored post in any way it is just something I feel very strongly about as after all the old adage remains true – “your health is your wealth” and looking after it should be top of your agenda.

Features

Surviving Cold and Flus – Some more advice!

Last weeks post on surviving colds and flu’s received a lot of interest and I had lots of lovely messages from readers sharing their own tips and advice. One emails caught my eye and I though it was a really useful infographic that was worth sharing with you.

See below for a wonderful list of Natural things that you can do right from the comfort of home to help your family members make it through a bad cold or flu and ease all their symptoms with this list of Natural Home Remedies.

Source: http://homeremediesforlife.com.

10 Powerful Doctor Approved Flu Remedies To Help Loved Ones

In summary:

  • Hydration: Flu dehydrates us. Doctors suggest that drinking plenty of water and liquids improves the immune system and flushes out the infection.
  • Vitamin D: Sunshine is a great source of natural warmth and vitamin D, sunshine boosts the fighting capacity of the body, drives away the sick feeling and rejuvenates the body.
  • Garlic: Rich in organic sulfur (an antimicrobial), try including garlic in your diet. According to doctors, raw garlic not only alleviates the cold but erases any chances of new infections.
  • Chicken Soup: There is nothing more comforting than a hot chicken broth. To make it tastier and more effective, sprinkle some black pepper, lemon juice and your favorite herbs like thyme and oregano.
  • Ginger: When crushed and mixed with honey, ginger has a soothing effect on the throat. You can also consume it as a tea by dicing some slices into the water along with salt and honey and simmering it for a few minutes.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is more than just a tasty fall season spice. With its warm nature, the spice provides relief in congestion and inflammation of the respiratory system. Sprinkle some on your oatmeal or simply add it to your tea or coffee.
  • Vapour Steam: A really powerful doctor approved home-remedy is to cover your head with a towel and take steam from hot water infused with herbs or your favourite vapour rub.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Natural and effective, ACV works best in flu remedies when a teaspoon is taken with warm water and honey.
  • Yogurt: The probiotics in yogurt kill the bad bacteria causing flu. Including it in your daily diet can do wonders.
  • Salt Water: Simply mix a teaspoon of sea salt to warm water and gargle with it frequently to get immediate relief in throat infection.

 

Above all, remember love is the best medicine! So, love them more when they are sick and need it the most and when it’s your turn enjoy the same kind of pampering. (Let’s Hope anyways)

Features

Car seat safety checks

Car Seat Safety

**Note – this is a sponsored post**

There is no more precious cargo that you can transport than your little people.  You only have to look at the latest statistics released by the RSA to see the importance of not only the right car seat but the right car seat fitted correctly.

Quite alarmingly 262 children lost their lives on the roads between 1996 and 2012 and in a third of these cases no restraint or seat was used.  Disappointingly also was the statistic that twice as many children were killed on the roads in 2014 than in 2013. Its so very sad.  I have written a number of times about car safety and it importance and it is something I feel very very passionate about.

car seat safety tip

Image Credit: cars.com

While this by no means purports to be a extensive list some of the things I do include:

  • I do my research using sites such cars.com which provide information on the types of car seats which suit different models of cars.
  • I cant emphasis enough how important choosing the right seat for the model of car you have is. One size does  not fit all – make use of clinics such as those provided by the RSA to check it fits.  Its a free and invaluable service
  • Check with the manufacturer re air bag usage and the seat
  • Follow all legal regulations and never ever travel without the proper restraints.
  • Always check the seat when you get in to make a journey and make sure nothing has come loose, such a the clipped in seat belt. Give it a good jiggle to ensure no movement
  • Be very careful buying second hand seats, you need to be sure they have never been in accidents before
  • In my experience most manufacturers will have helplines if you have any queries at all
  • I am a rear facing proponent but as said above do your research and make the best decision for yourself
  • Given the imminent arrive of winter, best advice is no coat or heavy jackets when in the car seat. The risk here is that there is or could be a significant gap in the distance between the child and the seat belt

Our little people will always be our biggest VIP and ensuring their safety as best we can is paramount.

Note: This is a sponsored post

 

Features

Spooky Risotto

Spooky Risotto Receipe

My kids absoultely love this time of year and somehow I seemed to have got roped into hosting 15 kids from 8 months to 6 years old. It can be really hard to cater for such a variety of ages therefore im delighted to work with Organix to bring you this super delicious recipe which will hopefully be a huge hit with the kids young and old.

Suitable for 7+ months
10 – 30 minutes to prepare
60+ minutes to cook
Serves 2 adults and a baby

Ingredients

1 butternut squash
A little olive oil for drizzling
1 onion
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
180g  rice
300ml boiling water / stock (ideally homemade with no added salt, or a low salt alternative)
30g cream cheese / soft goats’ cheese
30g tasty grated cheese / Parmesan

Halloween decorations:
1 green pepper
Large handful of pitted black olives

How to make

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 200°C / 180°C fan / Gas 6.

Step 2: Cut the butternut squash in half to separate the straight ‘neck’ from the round base. Peel and dice the straight neck and cut into 1cm cubes Cut the round base down the middle from top to bottom, to create two halves and scoop out the seeds. Place all the butternut squash onto a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until nicely roasted. Scoop the soft squash out of the round butternut halves and mash or blend to create a puree. Reserve the roasted cubes of squash till later.

Step 3: Whilst the butternut squash is roasting, peel and finely chop the onion, then sauté in olive oil in a 10-30 minutes saucepan over a low heat for about 5 -10 minutes. Once softened, crush the garlic cloves and add for another minute.

Step 4: Add the dry rice and stir through, frying for approx. 2 minutes. Then add a splash of boiling water/stock so that the risotto sizzles. Stir thoroughly.

Step 5: Gradually add a little (approx. 100ml at a time) of the water/stock stirring all the time. With each addition, wait until the rice has absorbed all the water before adding any more.

Step 6: Add the pureed butternut squash about half way through cooking, when the rice is beginning to plump up. Stir in to create a beautiful orange risotto. Continue to add the water/stock slowly, stirring often.

Step 7: Once the rice is soft and has absorbed all the water, stir through the remaining roasted butternut cubes and continue to heat for another couple of minutes, until the butternut squash cubes are warmed through. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir through the cream cheese / soft goats’ cheese and grated Parmesan to give a silky texture.

Step 8: Mash or whizz in a blender to suit your little one’s texture requirements – if you need the rice to be runnier just add some milk. For older children and adults the roasted butternut squash cubes add a delicious contrast in texture. This risotto is delicious at anytime of year, but makes a fun centre piece at a Halloween party with the simple addition of a few black olives and some green pepper, to create a spooky pumpkin face! See our serving suggestions.

Top tips

This risotto can either be served hot in a giant serving bowl with a big pumpkin lantern face on the top. Or the same can be created on a smaller scale in individual serving bowls. Alternatively, you can create a rather fun ghoul-faced army of risotto balls, by adding a little extra cheese, quickly cooling the risotto, then forming to bite-size balls, perfect for little fingers. Decorate each ball with a Halloween pumpkin face, using green pepper and black olives, then put into the fridge to firm up. These are best served cold. For food safety always ensure you cool the risotto very quickly, by spreading out on a large surface, use clean hands to make it into balls and refrigerate as soon as possible. The recipe will make approx. 25 mini risotto balls.

 

Let me know if you try it would love to see your  pics – for more recipe ideas see Organix

Features

Sitting behind a desk all day?? – I give you the Ultimate 20 minute workout!

The ultimate 20 minute office workout!

It is no surprise to anybody that knows me that I lead a sedentary lifestyle. I sit behind a desk for a minimum of 40 hours a week. I use public transport to work – more sitting. I know I need to move more, I am acutely aware I need to move more having had chronic blood pressure issues on both pregnancies which thankfully resolved itself after the boys were born however this does put me in a higher risk category for the future.

As most of us already know sitting at a desk for long periods can lead to a myriad of health issues from fatigue to back/ neck pain to obesity. I read an article many years ago which referred to today’s society as the “Chair Born Society”. I am not sure who coined this phrase but I can see how apt it is.

With the above in mind I am delighted to work with Fitbit and Curry’s/PC World to highlight the important of getting moving during the day.  Curry’s/ PC World together with Fitbit and London Fitness Guy have teamed up to create the ultimate 20-minute office workout with five high-intensity exercises, to help you feel more energised during your working day. See here for full details of the five exercises which can be undertaken at your desk in work. My 3 personal favourites are below with pic credit to Curry’s PC World.

Why not rope in some colleagues. We can all benefit from moving more.

                                                                              

 

Fitbit Challenge

Office excercises

Fitbit Challenge

I was sent a Fitbit Alta HR for this challenge and gladly through myself feet first into it. I needed this push to get moving and this was perfect. I am a competitive person by nature and love a good challenge.  So over the last number of weeks I have been undertaking my own personal challenge which was to undertake the above exercises a minimum of 3 days a week in work together with my Fitbit challenge of:

 

 

 

 

  • 11,000 steps a day
  • 60 minutes high intensity exercises
  • 7 hours sleep

A tall order you might say? Never one to shy away from a challenge I am thrilled to have meet or exceeded the above almost every day averaging around 15,000 steps a day coupled with between 3-4 hours of intensive exercise a week! Impressive even if i do say so myself.  The only item which im less consistent with is sleep however I have 2 young kids which aren’t the best sleepers!

What I thought

  •  Noticeable improvement in my fitness levels – my office is on the second floor. I used to get the lift. Now I always take the stairs up and back. The first time I did, I honestly thought id faint. However 3 weeks later I can walk up 2 flights of stairs and I am not breathless.
  • Quality of sleep – While number of hours I sleep could still be improved the quality of my sleep is much better. I wake up refreshed not sluggish like before.
  • More conscious choices – Rather than eating lunch at my desk. I take a walk or walk to somewhere to sit in and have it.  Its gets me out of the office in the fresh air. Good for your mind too.
  • Efficient – Not 100% sure my employee will totally agree however I really feel better/ sharper / more efficient since incorporating more exercise into my daily life.

Why don’t you give it a go? Do let me know how you get on. For me – ” I may not be there yet but I am closer than I was yesterday“. Start with small changes and before you know it small changes will have made a big difference…..do it!

 

Thanks for Curry’s PC World and Fitbit for letting us be part of this campaign. Absolutely love my Fitbit. More importantly thank you for helping me take control of my own fitness.

 

Cuddle Fairy
Features

Plum Recipe for kids with thanks to Organix

Its plum season!

I’m no food blogger and I make no secret of the fact I rely on some of my lovely blog buddies to help feed my growing pair with healthy nutritious food – im talking about you One Yummy Mummy. I like to eat it alright but im a hopeless cook!  This week its a little something different and im sharing a recipe with thanks to Organix.  It’s a delicious receipe for Organic Roasted Plums.  Not only are plums in season in Ireland in August and September, the month of September also celebrates all things Organic.

Some interesting facts that I never knew about plums!!

  • Plums are a rich source of vitamins C and K and dietary fibers
  • It can take 3-5 years after planting for the trees to bear fruit
  • There are actually over 200 varieties of plum in the world!!!
  • Plums are used to produce wine or spirits in some countries!

Organic September Roasted Plums

12+ Months
10 – 30 minutes to prepare
10 – 30 minutes to cook
Serves 2 adults and 2 children

Ingredients:

Roasted Plum treat

Pic Credit – Organix

Roasted plums
3 large plums
Coconut oil (or melted butter) to brush
Almond & oat crumble
3 tbsp porridge oats (or gluten free oat)
1 tbsp ground almonds (or desiccated coconut if nut allergies)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp melted coconut oil (or butter)
2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey for children over 12 months)

Mascarpone cream
150g of mascarpone
3 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp maple syrup (or honey for children over 12 months)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
A couple of mint leaves (optional)

 

How to make:

Step 1 –   Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper

Step 2 –   Prepare the crumble by mixing the oats, ground almonds and cinnamon powder together in a small  bowl. Add melted coconut oil (or butter) and maple syrup. Stir until you get a crumble texture

Step 3 –  Spread crumble on baking tray. Bake for 10-15 mins until golden and crisp. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down

Step 4 –   Put the grill on to 275°C

Step 5 –  Cut plums in half and remove stones carefully

Step 6  – Brush each plum all over with some melted coconut oil (or butter)

Step 7 –  Arrange plums in an oven proof dish, cut side up

Step 8 –  Place until the grill for around 5 mins or until the plums soften

Step 9 –  While the plums are in the oven, mix mascarpone with lemon juice, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a small bowl

Step 10 –   To serve, dollop the mascarpone cream on a plate. Add 2 halves plum per adult or 1 half plum per  child on top of mascarpone cream. Sprinkle with crumble.

And there you have it – Orangic Roasted Plums.  Let me know if you give this a go, even better show me the pic’s!

 

 

Features

Top 5 Gardening Projects in 2017

Every gardener knows that for a flourishing summertime garden, you need to start planning and preparing the year before. That’s why gardening projects in 2017 will come into full bloom next summer.

But what garden projects could you undertake? And why is the tail end of summer the best time to do it? We found out with thanks to Rattan Direct.

#1 Update the Garden Furniture

Why now? Late summer deals mean you can pick up great quality items for use next summer but at a great price.

Budget: mid-range.

Enjoying an afternoon in the garden, either reading the latest novel or admiring your gardening prowess is the ideal way to relax. However, gone are the days when the only option was a striped deck chair or dining table set.

From day bed to sun loungers, the range of rattan garden furniture has increased considerably, giving you ample choice when it comes to creating a superb relaxation spot or an al fresco dining area.

#2 Create an Outdoor Kitchen

Why now? The building work involved means it needs to happen during good weather. It will overwinter well allowing you the look forward to spring and summer in the garden the following year.

Budget: mid-range +

This is one step up from BBQing in the garden – the garden kitchen is a ‘fitted’ kitchen, just like you would expect to have in a home.

Lower end budgets will still get a lot for their money with built-in cupboards and worktops, along with a fixed BBQ. Why not add a pizza oven to enjoy in the summer?

For shade, add a pergola with pretty, scented climbing plants to spread their aroma whilst you cook and eat outdoors.  

We’ve seen some exciting examples, of outdoor kitchens also been plumbed in too, with a sink and drainage making it a fully working kitchen for the outdoors. In the UK, we have always shied away from creating outside rooms, so look to Mediterranean countries for inspiration as cooking is usually done outside for the majority of the year.

#3 Add a Pond

Why now? Adding a pond to your garden now means it has a chance to get established before the main insect breeding season in spring. It also means that when you add fish, the environment is not hostile to their survival.

Budget: dependent on the size of the project

Gardeners the world over will tell you that nature is both your enemy and your friend. To get the most help from other nature, you need to create the best environment that you can in your garden.

That means offering an attractive place for good bugs and insects, along with garden birds to enjoy – and keep bad bugs away! A pond is a great idea because where there is water, there is bound to be slug and insect eating frogs. Damsel flies and dragon flies are also welcome garden visitors.

You can create your own unique pond with plenty of digging, pond liner and stones or you can choose a rigid pond liner for extra stability. Add a water fall to oxygenate the water for the fish as well as adding a relaxing sound to the garden.

#4 Create a Meadow

Why now? Spreading wild seeds in a part of your garden now will mean an attractive meadow for the buzzing bees in spring and summer.

Budget: minimal

We tend to think of gardens as being manicured and ordered but our favouring of some plants over others have meant the bees, an important crop pollinator, are struggling to find the sweet pollen they need.

Creating a meadow is simple and easy. Choose a spot in the garden. Dig over the soil, adding plenty of organic matter. Either roll out seeded mats or liberally scatter seed across the surface, covering with a thin layer of compost. Protect over winter with a layer of mulch and enjoy the dancing meadow of native wild plants from spring to late summer. Allow plants to go to see and scatter their seeds for the following year.

#5 Create an Outdoor Chandelier

Why now? As the summer drawers to a close, introducing solar lights means you can enjoy the evening for longer, huddle around the fire pit. But this idea takes solar lights to a new level. Just one of many craft ideas for the garden.

Budget: the cost of solar light, around £5 or less

If you have trees you need to prune, then this homemade chandelier will reuse the smaller, more malleable offcuts.

Create a circle, square or any shape you like by intertwining the small branches of the tree or shrub together. You may want to use small cable ties or twine to hold it in place. Once you have your band of twigs, wrap solar fairy lights around the shape. Use twine to create a hanging strap and fix to your pergola, allowing the homemade solar light chandelier to adorn the seating area in your garden.

Pack away when winter comes but enjoy the sparkling lights in spring once again.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post with Rattan Direct who stock a wide range of rattan garden furniture and other accessories, all ideal for any garden, no matter the shape or size.