Ginger Bisquite

A family lifestyle blog

Top 4 family days out in the Cotswolds

May 4, 2015 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

When we first moved to Cirencester, nearly two years ago now, I found it difficult to know where to take the children.  Moving to a new area means you lose all your ‘local knowledge’.  I found it particularly difficult moving out of London where there is information aplenty and parks, museums and cafe’s on your doorstep.  Our village is beautifully honey coloured, but contains only a small park, village school and a pub.  Everything else requires strapping everyone into the car and locating a parking space…

With a little experience behind me, here are our 4 favorite family days out in the Cotswolds.  The places that we have been back to again and again, that I would recommend to other parents of little ones.  (My two are 1 & 3 years old)

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FOR RAINY DAYS
Swindon Steam Museum, SN2

I was dubious about the Steam Museum before we first went (I’m not sure why, as I LOVE trains), but it was cold and rainy and we needed to get out of the house.  Despite that, we immediately bought a season tickets so we could go again as we knew we’d be back several times.  (It also happens to be right next to the outlet village which is pretty much the only place I go shopping in Swindon)

Why we love it:
There is lots to do for all different ages.  Young children have been catered for throughout with special ‘train themed’ children’s areas, including train books, puzzles, activity tables. As well as interactive elements throughout, including the ability to play with the signals and climb on board the trains.

Look out for:
The model train track
Near the end of the museum there is a model train track that goes round and round, disappearing into a tunnel. I’m not really doing it justice, but every time we go there, there are hoards of children running around and around looking for the trains and giggling with excitement when they appear from their tunnels.

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Marley Spoon Review

May 3, 2015 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

Do you have a particular day of the week when you are extra busy and need a hassle free evening meal?

For us that day is Wednesday.  It’s the only day of the week that we both work, the children are in Nursery until late, and we get home exhausted in need of a little bit of convenience.  Once we’ve got the children tucked up at 7.3opm, we creep downstairs and quickly heat something up or hastily throw something together, before we give in and crack open the biscuits for immediate hunger relief.

This week we trialed the food delivery service Marley Spoon as an easy way of preparing delicious food, without worrying about hunting down the ingredients.  Each week there are new recipes to try and everything you need is provided, you just select how many portions you require and follow the instructions.  The recipes are the kind of thing that you will really be looking forward to, we tried the Korean rice with spicy tofu with peanut-sesame topping and the lemon and rosemary chicken with butter bean and asparagus.  Everything is neatly packaged and labeled as you can see below.

The first dish we made was the Tofu recipe, we found the instructions clear and easy to follow.   There are six instructions with six clear photos, so it’s a clear step by step and easy to see exactly where you are when glancing back.   We ordered two potions worth of this and after we had greedily tucked in, and had second helpings, there was still plenty left for a sizable lunch the next day. The picked cucumber was absolutely delicious, I couldn’t help tasting it before the meal was even prepared.  The only problem we had with the recipe was that the tofu crumbled up a bit as we were mixing it with the marinade. However, it made no difference to the taste, it just made the chunks of tofu a bit smaller, they still required the same amount of time in the oven.

At the weekend we made the chicken dish.  I just love these kind of Mediterranean recipes as they are so fresh and full of flavour.   (I baked the chicken, and pan fried the beans in the Vida 8 in 1 cooker which I’ve been trialing this week, review to come soon.)  I was planning to make the dish for the two of us and put a quick dinner together for the children, however, the ‘two portions’ we ordered were enough for 2 adults and two toddlers.  Before I even had a chance to make a sepperate dish, the children had already started tucking into ours so we served them up a portion each.  The children love beans and pulses so the cannellini beans were the thing they enjoyed the most.  I really liked the recipe but I think I added a little too much lemon to the chicken (I was a tad over eager to squeeze every drop of juice out of it,) so I added a little honey to sweeten it up.  I really loved the touch of fresh tarragon as it gave it a real depth of flavour, something I wouldn’t have thought of adding myself.

Developing some new flavours that we hadn’t tried before at home was the number one reason why I would use Marley Spoon again.  I often see amazing recipes on Pinterest but if I don’t know I’ll like the flavour it makes me nervous to hunt down all the ingredients needed.  And then, if I don’t like *insert strange paste/vinegar’, I’m stuck with it clogging up the cupboard never to be used again. By having it delivered, in the quantity you need, it means that you can try before you buy!  We really loved the flavour of the white miso paste and soybean chilli-paste so I’d be happy to go and find those now, knowing that I’ll enjoy making delicious food with them again.

This week there’s this amazing pesto bean burger from the Amuse Your Bouche blog.  So that’s given me a new food blog to read too. Bonus!

Disclosure:
We were sent our recipes to review free of charge, all thoughts, words and opinions are my own.

Craft Day with Laura Ashley

April 27, 2015 by Jenni Clutten | 1 Comment

IMG_0053 When the invitation to the Laura Ashley craft day appeared in my inbox, I have to admit I was already excited. So excited I almost forgot to reply to the email! There I was imagining the lovely time I’d have with some other ladies cutting and sticking in Bristol.  I just love the Laura Ashley blog, I check it regularly as some of my favourite bloggers are often asked to contribute.  This week there was a gorgeous DIY Teepee from Gathered Cheer.

We started our morning by grabbing a seat at the table, I found myself sitting next to the lovely Molly and The Princess where we nattered about never having as much time as we would like to make things.  And the fact that Molly had moved house, just the day before the event, I was kind of amazed she’d made it out of the house from behind the boxes.

IMG_0072 The first activity was to recover and line a plain notebook  The table was laden with all different types of fabric and wallpaper and The Crafty Hen talked us through how to create the finished article.  It was an absorbing task, an air of concentration could be felt in the room as all the ladies got serious about selecting the perfect wallpaper and fabric combinations.  I chose a fabric from the new Palm House collection which is part of a tropical collection of leaf prints, orchids and hummingbird motifs.  Once the Cover was complete it was time to accessories with buttons, lace and ribbon.  Now can the time for some old fashioned sewing, I decided to put a simple wooden button with a lace loop to fasten it shut. (See above, Mine is the far left on the second row from the bottom)

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You Will Need:

  • 2 x pieces of Wallpaper
  • Fabric to cover notebook with 2cm overlap on each side
  • Scissors
  • Double sided Tape
  • Accessories

Here are the detailed instructions if you’d like to create your own Fabric Notebook.IMG_0113

After lunch it was time to make some Suffolk Puffs, Instructions here.  The only way I can describe these at first, is like an election rosette.  But I was amazed with the ways in which these came be used.  I loved how Eden styled hers so beautifully into a hair clip.  I used mine to make a cute headband, you can see it in the short film I made with all my Laura Ashley goodies.

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You can read more about our lovely day, over on the Laura Ashley Blog.

Thanks for a lovely day, looking forward to seeing you all again soon!