baking, cooking with kids, food, gardening

It’s been a lovely colourful summer, people have been grumbling about the on-off weather, rainy, then sunny, then rainy again, but it’s meant we have a lot of green in the fields (and our back garden), picnics in the park (sometimes under umbrellas!) and the multi-coloured fruit in the hedgerows have been in abundance!

The joy of finding all of this free fruit has been a delight, it’s brought smiles to our faces and with the winter months approaching, and summer picnics a distant memory, we’re so glad our Ocean Spray cranberry cartons do much the same, adding colour through the refreshing taste and by delighting us throughout the year (the boys just love them in their school packed lunches now the Autumn term has started).
Meanwhile, we’ve really enjoyed foraging for the fresh (FREE) fruit and made copious crumbles, and cakes and we’ve frozen blackberries for morning smoothies in the winter (TOP TIPs: freeze loose on trays so that you can bag them as single loose frozen fruits, rather than a big frozen clump! We also add dried fruit to our smoothies, and have a jar FULL of Ocean Spray’s dried cranberries, they add a real tangy zing)BlackBerry Crumble KidsChaos

aller farm glampingWe’ve spent a lovely staycation weekend down in Devon too – we seem to have given up camping this year (although the tent WAS out earlier in the summer for a night under canvas with 10yo) As a family, we tried out a bit of glamping, and are totally converted – it’s the way forward, the kids loved picking the red apples in their orchard, chasing after the free range chickens, and feeding the black and white Friesian calves, and we loved waking up to such a fabulous view of the green fields, and the wispy white clouds and blue skies…aaahhhh.

So as we head towards the end of the summer holidays, we are still going for our evening stroll around our own neighbourhood and continue to be overwhelmed by the natural colours which will forevever amaze us – Planet Earth at her best….(can’t beat a good British Sunset can you?!)Sunset-KidsChaos

I’m working with BritMums and Ocean Spray highlighting the everyday moments of colour that give each of us a little lift, just like Ocean Spray adds colour to our day and delights us all year round. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own.

crafts, create

So Autumn is upon us, and the garden is full of colour – gorgeous burgundy reds, and green and white variegated leaves.

Leaf Printing

The boys love making cards for Grandma, and Granny, so we got picking – we had a cunning plan! 10yo enjoyed the leaf-collecting, particularly as I LET him climb on to the shed roof to reach the red leaves hanging over into the garden from our neighbour’s tree!

Hammered Leaf flower printHammered Leaf Printing – you will need:

  • A selection of leaves
  • Kitchen paper
  • Water colour paper
  • A hammer
  • Chopping board

Working on your chopping board, position your leaf on the water colour paper, covering with two sheets of kitchen paper towels. Start hammering! (oh yes, the small blonde boys liked this bit, but MIND your fingers!). You’ll know when it’s working as the natural pigment from the leaves will start to show through on the kitchen paper… Gently remove the kitchen roll, and peel back the leaf – it should leave a beautiful print on the water colour paper – some leaves work better than others, experiment, it’s fun!

Red Ted Art and Kids Chaos you tube

Want to see me talking about this project? Click the link and photo left, to watch via youtube…. Maggy Woodley from Red Ted Art hosted a fabulous “Nature Crafts for Autumn’ on Google+, (and in fact was the inspiration for the tie-dye experiment!).

Maggy talked us through some lovely nature crafts for Fall (love the acorn bracelet and pinecone fairies) more links to follow from Anthea at zingzingtree,  Kelly at domesticgoddesque, and Liz from missielizzie-meandmyshadow.blogspot.

Oh, by the way, I’m also on too… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x LIKE IT? Pin it!

cooking with kids, crafts, gardening with kids



We love this time of year. Sad that the arrival of the brambles is a sure sign that Summer is on its way out, and Autumn is just around the corner….

If you are like us, and have picked a LOAD of blackberries already this year, we have a non-edible way of using them this Fall!


We picked a bucket-load before a weekend away, which meant we didn’t have time to eat them…so we froze them on a tray – using half for a smoothie, and the other half went into a pot of boiling water this week, deep enough for the old hemp carrier bag we had decided to tie-dye as a pressie for Granny’s birthday later in the year.


Whilst the pan of blackberry-dye was simmering away on the stove, we got busy with elastic bands, pulling up sections of the hemp bag, (this works really well on old T-shirts or pillow cases) securing them tightly to create two ‘horns’ (as my son called them)….


We let the dye cool a little before adding the organic hemp bag, and rubber bands, which went into the pot with some chopped up rhubarb leaves – I read somewhere that this works as a fixative, helping to make the colour more ‘fast’…this bubbled away on the stove for about 45 minutes.

We then let this stand cooling for about an hour.


We then rinsed the bag and the boys were SO excited to pull the rubber bands away to reveal our spider cobwebs – we hung it up on the line to dry!

Much excitement that natural blackberries can make such a pretty colour – we plan to try some more natural dyes soon, our youngest loves brewing up nettle tea – and it also creates a lovely khaki green dye –


something to try next!

Want to see me talking about this project? Click the link and photo left, to watch now…. Maggy Woodley from Red Ted Art hosted a fabulous “Fall Craft Ideas” hangout on Google+, (and in fact was the inspiration for the tie-dye experiment!).

Maggy talked us through some lovely owl crafts (how simple was the loo-roll owl?! and loved the walnut shell owls twittwoo) more links to follow from – Adele from playfullearners, and Anthea from bluebearwood. Also our anonymous blogger thefairyandthefrog and Rebecca from herecomethegirlsblog.

Oh, by the way, I’m also on too… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x LIKE IT? Pin it!

Ali also writes over on This is a commissioned story.