Thursday, 28 May 2020

Fresh fish from The Wet Fish shop & veg from Squirrel


Jon has been cooking again! 

I nearly forgot to share with you all this creation that Jon served us a while ago using fresh fish from a home delivery box from 'The Wet Fish' shop & veg from a Squirrel box. 

This was paprika potato cubes with Pollack on a bed of Mediterranean bean & tomato stew topped with crispy Sanford & shallots. (According to Jon the chef) 

All I can say is that it was very fresh & tasty. 



Thursday, 14 May 2020

Strange Secrets by Mike Russell : Book Review


Strange Secrets
By Mike Russell

This book is a collection of short stories, very very strange stories.

I was gifted this book by the team at strange.com , this has in no way affected my review which is my honest opinion.

I had no idea what to expect when starting this small stories collection, other than that due to the name of the book they were likely to be strange. I wasn't wrong! The stories are all, completely mind boggling.

Each story makes you think, makes you wonder about the hidden meanings. Are there any or am I just over thinking them because I'm a Philosophy Student?!? I'd really have loved for the book to have some sort of 'notes from the author' section, something at the end of each story that explained what the author had on their mind when writing each one, what inspired them to write it or even just suggested talking points about the stories that could be used in book clubs.

If you like strange, interesting thought-provoking short stories then I'd highly recommend this book for you.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. It's not at all something I'd normally read but I'm really glad I did. I would give it 4.5 if it also gave 'notes from the author' or even a link to an online interview with the author or something that gave an insite into the authors mindset, explaining his  thoughts so some of my many questions about the stories would be answered!

Friday, 8 May 2020

We tried a takeaway from Ragini in Seaton : An honest review


As a family on a tight budget we very rarely get to treat ourselves to a takeaway but after spotting a VE day special offer from local Indian restaurant Ragini we decided to treat ourselves.

The VE day special was a pre-selected menu, we didn't get to choose what was included. It was advertised as £10 per meal including a salad, starter, curry, rice & popadom.


Ordering via telephone was easy and the food arrived within the hour to our doorstep. It was hot on arrival and everything was well packed. 

There was plenty for two adults, we probably could have even shared it with the kids if they hadn't already had tea! 

The curry we were told was a 'medium' heat and the starter was samosas. 

Everything was fantastic, tasty, flavorful and well cooked. It's been years since I had a takeaway curry and i've never had one in Seaton before. It was so different to how I remember a takeaway being. It tasted fresh and clean a real homemade feel to it. It was honestly fantastic. 

If you are thinking of getting a takeaway I can highly recommend Ragini in Seaton. 


Saturday, 2 May 2020

MasterChef Meal using Seaton independents Squirrel Veg & R Norman Butchers


This is what happens when you combine quality veg from local supplier Squirrel with quality meat from local butcher R Norman and a man who watches a lot of MasterChef.



This stunning meal was served to me today by the lovely Jon Betty who many will know as my partner who works with me in the art shop. Jon spends his weekdays working full time at the moment as a keyworker delivering medication but today instead of putting his feet up for a well earned rest he spent hours in the kitchen creating this masterpiece.

Jon and I love to support local shops & suppliers  when we can and two of our current favourites are:

 Squirrel Veg who are new to Seaton offering home delivery of fruit, veg and other food essentials
Find their Facebook page here

R Norman Seatons independent butcher on Fire Street.
Find their Facebook page here



Celaric, Potatoes, Fennel and milk was all from squirrel in their 'random box' which I had delivered last Sunday. 


Fillet steak from R Normal Jon purchased fresh yesterday. 


Chives from out allotment combined with butter and the thinly sliced celaric made yummy crisps 


Jon spent hours in the kitchen creating this beautiful meal. I usually only get served such creations on my birthday so I'm not sure what I did to deserve this one! 


I sneakily took photos of him whilst he was working away making the food not only taste amazing but look beautiful too. 

I can honestly say it was one of the best meals I've had. Everything was so full of flavour and perfectly cooked. 

Stay tuned for my next post where I will show the amazing desert he made using local suppliers too! 

Sunday, 26 April 2020

My first experience of using Squirrel Seaton a local independent fruit & vegetable business.



My first experience of using Squirrel Seaton  a local independent fruit & vegetables business. 

I first came across Squirrel when they mentioned opening a local greengrocer in Seaton. I thought this was fantastic news and looked forward to them opening. 

The world very suddenly then changed and we all found ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic. Squirrel quickly adapted and formed an online presence offering home delivery. 


I had had a look at the online website and considered ordering a few times but on such a tight family budget at the moment due to the temporary closure of my business until the government guidelines change I realised I wouldn't be able to afford to order yet. The quality of the goods I could see others ordering looked amazing though!


When I saw the opportunity to purchase bargain bags of random fruits, vegetables and salad items though I jumped at the chance. I order one of each of the bags in the hope it would be enough for at least the week ahead. I was not disappointed. Everything in the photos we received. 



Random bags 
£5 veg & fruit bag
£5 fruit bag 
£10 veg bag 
£2 milk & bread 
& £2 delivery 
Total £24 

This was dropped to my doorstep, the doorbell rang & they retreated to a safe distance. I obviously washed the items and my hands after bringing it in also to be on the safe side. 

The website was easy to navigate and I paid on their website using card which was easy to do.



I am so pleased with everything we received. It will keep our family going with yummy healthy foods. I'm sat meal planning now using these items and store cupboard basics.

I have already planned to make soup with the cabbage, jacket potato with salad, fruit salads, veg casserole, blueberry muffins and more.

I would highly recommend Squirrel. If you can afford to select your own products then the quality is amazing and you will be supporting a small new local business.

If you are on a tight budget like us then if the opportunity comes up again I would say give the random bags a go. The random bags contain what would be considered 'seconds' quality products (I think from what I have read) I'm still pleased with them though, they are all perfectly edible.

I really hope that when things return to some form of normality that Squirrel will still open a local greengrocer.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Melting broken old crayons into fun new crayons


We took the time to sort through all our old pencils, pens and crayons this week. We realised we have a lot more creative supplies that we thought! (this is just the kids supplies, mine are in my studio and we are not going to go through those!)

Once sorted we chose what to keep, what to give away and what was broken or no longer working went in the bin. It took quite a while but it was interesting to see just how much we had . We didn't realise it was in different boxes and bags around the house. We've now organised it into one place in the house so we can keep track of it all better.


We decided that we would have a go at melting the crayons into new shapes and blend mixes, we'd seen it online and thought it looks like fun!



We used some old silicone molds that we used to use for chocolate but have now turned them into crayons molds. 



We kepy a close eye on them in the oven as we only wanted them to melt, not to bubble up and boil. There was mixed success we learnt that some of the crayons didn't melt at all whereas others melted really well and made beautiful new crayons! 



These are a few of the successful new crayons we have made. We've only used a quarter of the bowl of crayons so plan to make more over the coming weeks. 



Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Magnets, Whiteboards & Pens : Lockdown Ideas for entertaining kids


 If you have a whiteboard & magnets at home here are some ideas to entertain your young ones. You can see in the pictures my son's age 7 & 9 enjoy these activities.

They each have a large whiteboard, dry wipe pens & a sponge. Here are some of the fun activities we've used the whiteboards for:

1. Drawing pictures

2. Drawing challenges & 'guess what I'm drawing'

2. Math challenges

4. 'Topic of the day' written on the board then spend time researching to find facts to add to the board and discuss through the day. 

5. Combine magnets with the pens to draw scenes and tell stories.

6. 'Today I'm greatful for' then add notes through the day

7. 'Today I'm feeling' then the boys write or draw about how they are feeling



These are just some of the fun things you can use whiteboards for, they are a great education and creative tool and it saves using up lots of paper too! 

I hope you are all staying home & staying safe. 
Love from Kerri-Ann & family. X

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Home Schooling Day #3 : No matter how much they beg you don't cut their hair!


Lesson 1 : Research & Report
I wanted to teach the boys about how to research and report on topics so today we started with animals. They chose an animal each then off they went using books, the internet & Alexa to find facts.


It was a lovely activity that they both really enjoyed. They were so proud of each fact the found.



They recorded the facts into note books then used them to write up a report. 

We finished just in time to watch Steve Backshall on his FB Live Q&A the boys were fascinated. 


Lesson 2 : Reading, Writing & Spellings.
Quiet reading time followed by a book report.





If you haven't tried this activity yet I can highly recommend it. The boys love discussing and writing about the books they read.

Finally a spelling test. I'm so proud of how hard they try and give everything a go.


Break time we spent playing catch in the garden. No photos as I forgot my phone but lots of laughter out in the fresh air.

Lesson 3 : P.E. 
We watched a fitness video on YouTube then a Yoga one by cosmic kids yoga which was fantastic! 



Lesson 4 : Gardening & Games
We planted veg seeds & talked about what they needed to grow.




Then we moved up to the kitchen to play boardgames whilst I cooked lunch.


Lunch time we watched a film together & talked about our day so far. Seriously love spending so much time with my boys. I've learnt so much more about them in the past 3 days it's crazy how much I have been missing so focused on work all the time. 

Lesson 5 : was supposed to be science
We had everything ready for a science lesson but changed our minds. We finished up the posters from yesterday and then after days of being pestered to cut their hair I finally gave in! 


I won't show a close up photo of how bad my haircutting was but the boys were happy to have it out their eyes and away from their ears! 






Then we went into the garden for a water fight before jumping in the shower to wash off all the hair! Bubbles & water fights count as science, right?? 

Another day of home schooling complete. No tears today but I am physically and mentally exhausted. I'm falling asleep whilst writing this I'm so tired but the boys are still up playing. They are happy & healthy and I really can't ask for more. They miss their friends & family but they have done really well being housebound. We've chosen not to go for daily walks to avoid all risk instead we are using out little garden more. 

I hope you are all keeping well. Reach out if there is anything I can do to help. 


Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Home Schooling Day #2 | Includes tears, cake & coffee


So another day of home schooling has come to an end and i have to say today i am exhausted. Not because of the kids, they were fantastic, again, but because my anxiety is at an all time high and i'm not dealing well with my emotions.

Last nights announcement from Boris put the UK on what many are calling a LOCKDOWN and i hope that everyone does what they can to follow the guidelines so this can all end soon.

Lesson 1 : Arts & Crafts 
We chose to take this lesson outside. The boys wanted to make posters for the windows to make people smile when out for their daily walk. The boys used pens, pigment powders and water sprays. They had a great time.

Whilst the pictures were drying in the sun we had time for a game of catch. We managed to count to 69 catches before we dropped the ball & then after a few more attempts to beat that we kept dropping it (we blamed the sun in our eyes by that point!)


Lesson 2 : Math 
Seriously, i hate math! I can do the basics no problem but fractions and decimal point systems bla bla bla i really could not understand half of the worksheet my year 4 son was asked to complete. He got really upset as he said he'd never learnt what the sheet was asking of him and yet i downloaded it from the advised site. In the end we just moved on and played math games online including TT Rockstars times tables games and other games from Topmarks. Through the day there were lots of math learning opportunities including measuring, counting out money etc so i wasn't too worried.



BREAK
During break the boys played ball games and bubbles in the garden. I told them i had a little work to catch up on when in all honesty i went and hid on the stairs crying. How awful is that, i wasted time with my boys to sit and cry! I got over emotional about some work related things and it just all got on top of me. I'm so anxious about everything at the moment and feel more lonely than ever. No adult company is starting to drag me down. I really need to make an effort later to facetime some family or friends and try and snap out of the way i'm feeling.
The boys thankfully didn't seem too bothered, they did walk in on me crying but i just said i didn't feel well which they accepted gave me a hug and got me out in the garden to play ball.

Lesson 3 : Science 
We learnt about the solar system and planets in science which we all enjoyed. We watched a YouTube video about the solar system then used the planet flash cards i downloaded to discuss the facts bout the different planets. We drew a basic layout of the planets, had a mini solar system quiz and then chose a planet each to write about and draw.



Lesson 4 : Cooking
Unfortunately my eldest son felt unwell by this lesson, he was flushed and said he had a headache. No CV19 symptoms so far, i personally think he was just feeling over tired. He went for a rest on the sofa so Finley and i got on with the cooking. Fin made banana cakes for us all.


Fin read the instructions, found all the ingredients in the kitchen, weighed them out, mixed them and put the mixture in the oven. He had a great time! 


LUNCH

Whilst the cakes were in the oven we made lunch and enjoyed a film together at lunch time. Goosebumps i think it was called, they enjoyed it. I caught up with some house chores and work emails. After lunch the cakes were ready so we enjoyed them with a side of cream. Reu was feeling much better by this point so joined us in eating the yummy banana cake! 



Lesson 5 : History 

Today we discussed Ancient Egypt, we watched a YouTube video about hieroglyphs and worked together on decoding a worksheet. The boys really enjoyed this activity. Once complete we decided to each design our own hieroglyphs and then write messages to each other using them which we took it in turns to de-code. It was a fantastic lesson we all laughed and had fun.   



Before the end of our 'home school' day we took the time to write another 'review of the day' a little like a diary entry. I ask the boys to do this so i can get an understanding of how they felt the day went, to find out what they enjoyed and didn't enjoy to let them write about things in their own words. It is also good writing practice. I'm pleased to report that they had another good day!


So as i write this the boys are on free time, they are around the house, somewhere, playing games and talking to friends on their phone. I'm so thankful that the house although only a maisonette, is big enough for them to find their own space where each of us can take time for ourselves even in this new lockdown situation.

My mind has been on overdrive all day. Worrying about things out of my control. I wish there was more i could do to help everyone in need but i'm just not strong enough to do anything more than i am right now. I am barely holding myself together enough to home school the boys each day. This probably makes me a terrible person and i expect you will all judge me even more than before now but i want to be honest here on my blog. I want those reading to know that if they are feeling a similar way to me that it is OK, there are others feeling the same.
As a parent all i can do right now is follow the government guidelines and be as strong as i can for my boys.
As a shop owner all i can do is close up, pray and hope that i will be able to survive and come back to it one day without losing my business and my home!