Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Fir Tree Falconry


Daisy's second outing, to Fir Tree Farm, Warmington, Banbury, Oxfordshire. It was a fab weekend, out on a Retro Caravan Club rally. 

Outside movie, campfires, friends, popcorn, pancakes, walks and lakes. A perfect sunny weekend away! 


First off, wow, the site is beautiful. Even though there was a large party, kids all over, it felt still, calm and relaxing. 


I could have spent my whole time just taking photos, it was so beautiful!


Being on site with the Retro Caravan Club, is like a step back in time. Its really nice to arrive knowing you will have support and ready made friends. Our oldest said his favorite thing about the weekend was seeing his caravanning friends again!


Talking of friends, they where kept very busy washing cars. It was so hot, so it was a perfect idea to keep them all cool, with some water play. They loved it! Proper team work! (It also gave us a moment to have a cup of coffee too, win win!) 


Not much bets getting our little family off on adventurers.


The main loo block was a little walk from where we where sited but it was a lovely walk. A few things to note, there are I think only 4 loos with showers. The showers are lovely. They are large and we could fit all 5 of us in the room, with lots of room to be getting mini people in there pjs, showering and other spending a penny! There are some port-loos at the bottom of the hill, but in the crazy hot heat we had that weekend, you would not want to be in there for long!! This did mean that there could be a big wait for a shower or to use the loo. 
There is a great place to wash up too, I didn't find that I had to wait for that. A great drying rack above too, which made it really easy to wash up. 


It was so nice to be pretty much set up with Daisy, with not much left to buy for her or make! There are still a few jobs left to do but this weekend, we had got into a good rhythm of using her new layout. (I have a bunk-bed to add, but I have changed how we use the back, into two beds, not having to make them up each night)




Being such a beautiful weekend of sunshine, we really got to enjoy just having the canopy up and not full awning. I love that her front window opens right up. It was needed as it was mega hot! It made a huge difference opening her skylight, pulling out the hot air and allowing the cold air to pull in. (I really didn't think it would make as much of a big difference as it did!) I think my Nana's table cloth looks fab on Daisy's camping table, and the chairs look pretty good too! Keep an eye out for the blog on how I jazzed them up.


So much of my family things are Daisy, one of my Nana's aprons lives in the caravan! It comes in handy making pancakes!


Pancakes are perfect in the caravan, click here for how to make easy vegan caravan pancakes!


There is a lovely walk just off the campsite. Its beautiful. 

We only walked the small one as we where kept very busy on site and didn't feel the need to head off the site. We didn't even go to see the Falconry. This site is on our list, that we must go back too but no way in the wet, and cold. Why you ask, pulling our caravan back up that hill was scary, our car really doesn't have the power for big hills! 



It was so easy to relax, the site, even though it was busy was so calm. Records on, watching the grass in the field dance in the light breeze!


Such a pretty site!


Our days where full, and in the evening we had a movie night. The club used a projector and a bed sheet. Handed out popcorn, while we sit in our camping chairs and watched 1970's adverts and a mini film! It was fab!


Am so happy with our awning, the first time we used it was pretty windy so it didn't fit all that great. But in perfect sun, it really helped to keep us all cool! We did find out that we need to fix part of the awning rail which, it needs to be closed a little as the canopy keeps popping out in parts! 


We were all sad to pack up, but all knackered, a full on weekend, our youngest fell asleep as soon as I put her in her carseat!


Daisy is looking pretty different! I've got so used to how she looks now that when someone said about it, I was like, oh yea!


All packed up and ready to try the hill!! We cheered other members getting to the top and gave us some hope we could get up it! No way would I want to do it in the wet! 



The site was a little bit of heaven and we will return as soon as we can!




Click above for our vlog.





Monday, 10 July 2017

Mini Craft Packs

Our minis love craft, its the one thing which keeps them in one place for more than a few minutes! So while we are away in our 1960's caravan, I wanted to make sure we had craft stuff with us.



Each of our children have a little backpack, we call it there adventure pack! Keep an eye out for my blog all about whats in there! I made mini craft packs to go in their backpack. 

Each of our three minis have a set, here is whats in them:


I leave the glue at home, but put in the glue stick and tape. This was a great little set at only 1.50 each. 


only 80p each! 


I found these little packs (you can see at the bottom) with a note book, pencil, sharper, and pen in them. All in a small see through wallet. They where 3 pounds each which I thought was pretty good, as its a ready made little bag to pop all their craft bits in.


Each pack has a pare of child scissors, only 1 pound each! 



I only brought 2 packs of stickers, as there are lots in a pack and split them between the three packs. 


The perfect little mini craft pack! They have keep them very entertained! 











Caravan Pancakes

My family LOVES pancakes!

They are so easy to make in the caravan too, perfect for breakfast or lunch! 




Ingredients:

Long life Soya Milk
Self Raising Flour
Banana 1-2

For my pancakes I mostly use the Tesco own soya milk, which keeps very well when you have limited fridge space.

Depending on how many of you there are, or how hungry you are is how many cups you need. A small batch, for two people, 2 cups of flour and 2 of milk, to 1 banana. Add the milk slowly, till you get the thickness you like. How thick you like your gravy is the same as your pancake mix ;)

If you are still hungry or there are more of you just double the above, so 2 bananas to 4 cups of flour and milk. 

You can also add a hand full of dried fruit into the mix or chia seeds. 

Once you have got your mix ready, make sure your pan is heated up. Add a little oil or about a 10p size of butter, making sure you have coated the bottom of the pan. You want to get it too a good medium heat. So the oil is hot but not smoking. Pour in your mix, depending on the spoon size is how big your pancake will be. Once its not sticking to the pan, flip and then flatten the pancake by pushing down the cooked underside of the pancake. 

While you are making them, make sure you stack them on top of each other, this will keep them warm! 




Just mix together (having chopped up the banana very small) till you get the thickness you want, adding more milk to make them thinner. 


So yummy, and easy to make! They can be very filling for cold days in the caravan, adding what ever you like with them. From lemon & sugar, honey (click here for how to make my amazing Pear Honey) chocolate too!


I love cooking in our caravan. I have too of my Nana's aprons, one lives in the house and one in Daisy the caravan!


Make sure you pile them on top of each other as you make them, this keeps them warm ;)

We use china in Daisy, a set of J&G Meakin from 1960, called Poppy. (Its in much better condition to the new set we have at home, so am slowly replacing the new set with one from the 1960s - they don't make them like they used too!)

I forgot the lemons, so used oranges and jaffa cakes :) YUM!






Perfect Camping/Caravan Meals

We take our 1969 Bluebird caravan, on holidays with our three busy mini people. So I like to make sure we are still all well fed while we are away. Currently just cooking on a 2 burner hob and sometimes our campfire, as our 1960's oven part needs a little work. Anything from chips to popcorn, its amazing what you can cook on 2 hobs!




Owning a caravan from the 1960's does have its little added extra fun moments.....while cooking dinner the knob came off in my hand!! Lucky, this had happened to our friend James before and he managed to fix it for us. The cooker is heading on for 50 years old!!



Easy Mac & No-Cheese, not only really quick to make in just one pan but also really good for you! 

Easy to freeze, so yummy. 

Click here for my simple Bolognese style sauce






Pancakes are prefect in the caravan! 







Mac & No-Cheese

This is such an easy meal to make for mini people! 

Cheap, good for you and easy to make! 

Ingredients:

1x can of coconut milk
1x tea spoon of mustard
1 large butternut squash (I sometimes use a bag of frozen butternut squash! Even quicker!)
Macaroni pasta


Chop up and peel the butternut, or grab the bag of frozen squash.


Boil till soft, then add the milk and mustard.


Blend all together! 


This is one of my favorite meals to take camping. As the macaroni is quick to cook and I just mix in the pre-made sauce. The best way I have found, unless its our first night's meal, is freezing it! I pre-make the sauce and then pop it in a freezable bag. Then in the cool box or fridge, it will slowly thaw out while keeping other things cool. The minis love it with a little bit of Gary (vegan cheese) on top! 


Its yummy! I quite often put it with homemade garlic bread - Yum!! 







Saturday, 1 July 2017

Legoland


It was our little Bear's 5th birthday. We wanted to do a big family day out for him.



LEGOLAND

So lets just get the price out of the way first. Under 3's are free, so our youngest just fits into that (till July) but adult and child tickets are the same price......We wanted to go on a bank holiday, I know, we are crazy people but his birthday fell on Easter Sunday. To start off the plan was to go for a day out on the Watercress Line, as he is a big fan of trains. As all little minis, though this 4 years of loving trains, seamed to be running out of track and out of the blue he spends most of day being a dragon - so we looked at lots of different ideas for a day out!

 If you saw my blog about Family Budgeting you would know how I save up our club card points. Well I found out that you can pull out of the Christmas saver, use your points and then opt back in! With all our points we could only buy 3 tickets, we needed 4! Then I spotted this Tesco voucher of 2.50, (you use 2.50 of your clubcard points) which you then paid a top on top to buy you a ticket! So for 21.99 (peak ticket) we got a full ticket! Yay! So that was all 4 tickets booked. The minis had no idea we where taking them to Legoland. To be honest I hate exchanging points for tickets, clicking links and pasting in codes, then printing off your ticket....so many what ifs of what could go wrong!! What if we had to still buy a ticket at the gate, what if we had to que for hours with excited minis to be turned away......I got really stressed in the lead up to this busy weekend. 


We have been to Legoland once before, I was pregnant with Dot and we qued for hours and hours.....It was great but it was hot and hard work. It did mean that we had a good idea of what we wanted to do this time and what to skip. My TOP TIP, take food. Having a vegan/plant based diet means we never know if we can get food somewhere. Also, having minis its so important for us to have snacks. The last thing you need, is a hungry child and trying to find somewhere to eat....or husband for that matter. We all get grumpy when we are in need of food so at least take some snacks. I always make lunch when we are off out for the day, save money and know we can eat when we want! 

I really put some thought into what food to take with us. I cooked wraps for us all the night before, it had been a long day and lots of chocolate. So wraps where perfect, light, but yummy! click here for wraps 

I then made up a few wraps to take with us the next day too ;)



(I used reusable bags, so it was light weight and less weight)




Our picnic: 
Humus and carrot, wraps, hot cross buns, sandwiches, a few Quorn pre-made items (some of which had egg in and no one wanted so wont be buying again.) Big treat of chocolate milk for the minis, lots of fruit, biscuits and crisps. Oh and cake! 





This trip was a huge surprise, we had some cake for breakfast (never done that before, but seeing as how we wanted to fit in cake it worked ok!) I was so proud of the Lego cake I made for him and he loved it! vegan and yummy, click here for The Lego Cake




So my top tips, if you can, don't bother with a pram! We have an amazing carrier, which we used loads with Bear but we have got used to using a pram again.....Our youngest has hypermobilty and walking can really knacker her out. She can be a little unsteady on her feet, though getting better all the time! Am so glad we didn't take a pram, ok so you do need to carry everything with you but it freed us up loads. I didn't have to worry about where to put a pram while we went on rides (there are lots of places to do that.) I remember really worrying about about leaving the pram when we went for the first time. Also, she would have wanted to walk and we would have still had to have one of us pushing a pram....so the other parent has to watch/catch three on their own.






 It did make me really think about what to take with us, as we would be carrying it. Layers!! Its all about layers. So the minis, had vests, t-shirts, big warm jumper and a light weight rain coat and soft jeans. We didn't bother with coats for us, we figured we would run for cover if needed (loads of stuff to do inside and they do sell really cheap rain ponchos for a few pounds too!) *note to self, buy a rain mac for me and hubby....I also wish I had looked up when the water park opens....as we took a towel. We where court out last time but there is a shop right next door. It wasn't a problem but would have saved some weight in the bag!

My advice is a set of rains for very minis, and a good sling/carrier. We only needed one backpack for all of us and that really only had food in it, and the kids coats when it got warmer. The rains helped loads with Dot, am not a huge fan but its so easy in the huge crowds to lose a mini...that gives me nightmares!!! You can get a wristband for you minis from Guest Services at The Beginning and in Heartlake City. Also, matching clothes - I love my boys raincoats, I can spot them quickly. 




I really didn't think our youngest would be able to get on many rides but I was really impressed that she could go on almost all of the ones we wanted to go on. 





So what rides did we LOVE!?





We all LOVED Atlantis Submarine Voyage. This was our favorite ride the first time we went as well. Now, as you know if you have been reading my blog for a while, am not a fan of zoos......I don't like to see any animal in a cage. So I have a few mixed feelings about this 'ride.' Hubby also agrees and took the minis away from the section where you can touch some of the sea animals. He was pretty upset to hear 'You can't touch the star fish anymore as his arms kept falling off.' :( I don't think they need that section, I understand how brill it is to engage the minis in learning about the animals under the sea but I do have mixed feelings. Its amazing to see them but I always feel a little sad too. The first time we went to Legoland, we qued for this ride for hours....and hours......We still loved the ride, but we have learned to check the waiting time and just move onto another ride if the ques are big. Three minis in a que....its hard, am not going to lie. So have snacks, and be ready for one of them to tell you that they 'need a wee, right NOW.' 





One thing they have got really well, is adding things into the que. One of the ques had a big table of lego, that was fab, they played while we qued. That brings me nicely onto Laser Raiders. In the middle of the que, there where bean bags, lego stations and a big tv. To warn you, this is a very dark area. Also as wonderful as this section is, part of the que takes you out of view of this tv area, so am glad I stayed with our minis while hubby qued. This was a welcomed brake, the minis where getting quite knackered and curled up on the big bean bag and watched 20mins or so of tv while hubby qued. The ride was really good! I loved it, it is a little scary for very minis and our youngest put her hands over her eyes a few times! 





We did download the app but didn't really use it. We went from the map, but there is no information on the map or on the outside of the ride, as to what it is!! So it was guess work - in a way that was quite fun though, queuing wondering what on earth we where getting on! 

Quite often we found the smaller rides where the most fun! Like Fairy Tail Brook. We loved this ride, its a slow chilled out ride, but really great!! 

We LOVED the Duplo Valley Theater and Pirate Show in the Heartlake Harbor Arena. The theater was completely by chance, we sat down to eat our lunch and we ended up having 'dinner and a show!' It was so funny, and we where all giggling and dancing along. FAB!! Wow, the Pirate show, WOW. We where chilling out in Olivla's house, a fab place for a mini brake, Lego to build and a tv/sofa, a mini welcomed brake. When I over heard a lady saying the 'show' was starting in 10 mins. I grabbed us all up and made a guess that it would be in the harbor - WOW. Did I say wow, we where all amazed. All our minis sat through and watched the whole thing! Hubby and I watched on in wonder to the dives! WOW. Make sure you see it! Amazing and funny! 





There are some amazing playgrounds, one in Duplo Valley, called Brickville and one in Pirate Shores, called Castaway Camp. There are more but these two are the ones we went to. Please keep in mind that in the one in Duplo Valley, there is more than one exit (through the shop.) It can be very hard to keep a eye on where your mini is. Castaway Camp, is amazing, but both my husband and I, freaked out a little. Its so hard to see where three mini people have run too. I don't like my minis to be out of my sight. The boys are both a little behind with their commutation skills and understanding. So I don't like them to be out of my sight for longer than seconds. Like I said above, nightmares!! (I was lost at a festival when I was about 2 and I have real memories of it!) The kids thought they where the BEST play parks ever and it was hard to get them to leave them.





The boys when on The Dragon, Bear and hubby think it is the BEST ride. I wondered around the castle with Dot while they went on. The castle is fab and she was kept quite busy wondering about while we waited.  We went straight from that to Dragon's Apprentice. This one was the one with the fab Lego table in the middle of the que. We all loved it.
Keep in mind, if like me, you have three minis to two adults.....It can mean you have to juggle. Most of the rides are set up for a max of 4, or 2. Some you can split into 2 and 3. Which we did a lot - but you don't know this till you get to the end of the que......They do something called 'Parent Swap.' Where one child waits at the gate of the ride while you go on the ride with the other child, then swap. When where where told this in the que, we where not told that they would be standing back in the que behind the locked gate - ok I get they don't want them running in while the ride is moving. But I don't think I would have done it if I had known that - the horribleness feeling going off on a ride while my little boy waited at the gate. Didn't sit right with us and we didn't do it again, even though he was completely fine and we where assured over and over, that they where used to that and they would keep an eye on him. 


We got through a lot in one day, a lot. Be ready for lots of walking, and bare in mind that closing time comes around quite quick! Am planning on trying to stay in the hotel next time and do two days. We where all knackered for a good two days afterwards. Its very full on! We all wanted to go again straight away!! Our little boys are still talking about it! 




Have a look and see which rides you want to go on and plan a walk around the park. You can end up back-tracking quite a bit, thats ok and it worked for us. Don't panic and if there is mega long wait - move on and come back. You can book in your ride times I believe and I will be trying that again. Also don't worry if its going to be a bit rainy and cloudy. It was a cloudy the day we went and it was perfect. Less people, not stuck out in the heat waiting in line. Its busy, there are a lot of people, and there is alot of waiting. But it was still amazing. I hate to buy into all that fake big day out stuff - am happy in a wood for a day. Having said that, I felt so happy, seeing how wowed we all where. I recommended it - highly. Try to get a deal on tickets though, it would have been the price of a holiday for 5 of us to do it without the Tesco Clubcard points!