The Photo Gallery 182: A Favourite Place

lickey hills2 The Photo Gallery 182: A Favourite Place

There is a place we spend so much time as a family it almost feels like it’s ours.
Like it is part of our heritage.
If we don’t visit at least once a week I feel guilty. Like I’m letter her down.
For she is Mother Nature, and here I feel like we touch forehead to forehead with her.

This is a place right on our doorstep (we are so lucky) which has provided us with soft landings on the leaf-strewn floor for our toddlers to land. It has offered up trees for our growing children to climb safely. It has hosted nature treasure hunts, picnics, walks in the rain, rambles with friends, and lots and lots and lots of trees for me. For yes, I have a bit of a tree thing. I’ve even had a blogger meet up here.

I have so many photos of these woods in every season, with kids, with dog, with friends.
And every one of them tells a story.
It is absolutely one of my most favourite places in the world – and it’s right on my doorstep.

This post is for week 182 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is A Favourite Place.
If you’re new here and want to know what The Gallery is, go and read here, and then come right back and join in!

 You can also pick up The Gallery code if you want too, though it’s not a requirement. And you could also subscribe to this blog to make sure you never miss a theme; they are posted here every Friday.

Now go forth and show some big blog love. Visit other bloggers, comment on their post if you feel moved to do so, and be inspired.
This virtual gallery of photographs is about enjoying each other’s work, so go make someone’s day. You will get out of this whatever you put in.

The link stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.
And absolutely ANYONE can join in.

You can also find The Photo Gallery on:
Pinterest
Google +

See you over there x



Posted in The Gallery | 22 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 182

Gallery logo The Photo Gallery: Week 182Hello and welcome to week 182 of The Photo Gallery.

This week I’m lounging around with the children as they have broken up from school for the Easter holidays.
Woo HOO!
No scrambling around the house for packed lunch contents. No mad dash in the morning when I realise one of their uniforms needs ironing. No tearing my hair out when Dan announces he’s got hockey/football/rugby after school and he needs that dirty kit that’s still on the floor in front of the washing machine in the utility room.
Aaaaaand, relax.

Instead there will be lots of walking, lots of chilling out and lots of visiting friends we barely get to see as midweek it’s so hellishly busy.

So, this week the Photo Gallery theme is: A Favourite Place. 

It can be a room at home, a corner of the garden, a holiday destination, a field in the middle of nowhere, the grounds of a stately home; anywhere that makes you happy.

Remember The Photo Gallery is about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

It is for everyone, and you will get out of what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

See you on Wednesday x

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Pinterest
Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here and want to find out what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter visit here.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to Sticky Fingers and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | 2 Comments

Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

hummingbird bakery chocolate chip cookie Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dan was playing in a rugby tournament at the weekend and the forecast was for rain.
Lots and lots of rain all day.
Which, as you can imagine, if you’re a spectator is no fun at all.
The boys never seem to mind, they just dig their heels in and get on with the business of playing rugby.
The parents stand in a huddle like penguins all trying to share body heat.

So, in preparation, Dan and I thought we’d do some baking to cheer everyone up.
We made Dan’s absolute favourites, these mini chocolate tartlets, but then we thought a batch of chocolate chip cookies would go down well too.

And these Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies are spot on. We’ve modified it a bit to get them just right for us, but they are lovely and chewy and so so easy to make.
Thankfully we had no rain in the end, but the goodies brought a smile to many a face anyway!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – makes 24

Ingredients
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
400g plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsps bicarbonate of soda
225g chocolate, roughly chopped

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3.

2. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with a whisk (either in a freestanding electric mixer or with a handheld electric whisk). Cream them together for a good 5 minutes until light and fluffy. This will make your cookies nice and thick and give them a lovely chewy texture.

3. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix them in well and ensure all the mixture is incorporated from the sides of the bowl.

4. Turn the mixer down to a slow speed and mix in the vanilla.

5. Add the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda and mix well with the mixer until you have a smooth, slightly moussey dough.

6. Stir in the chopped chocolate until it’s evenly distributed throughout the dough. We opted for a mix of milk and white chocolate, but you can use any variation you like.

7. You will need to divide the dough into four equal amounts; each amount will make 6 cookies.
I found the best way to bake them is to roll each cookie into a ball, put on a baking tray and put them in the fridge for a few minutes. This helps them keep a bit more shape when you’re cooking them.

8. When you come to bake them, ensure that each ball is spaced out evenly on the tray with enough space to spread (you will need to cook them in batches, with 6 on each baking tray).
Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. I found that 12 minutes was the optimum time for ours but then we have quite an old oven.

9. Leave them to cool slightly on the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

chocolate chip cookies Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookie Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

TIPS: To ensure your cookies don’t spread out over your baking tray like jelly, don’t use butter to grease the surface. Instead use parchment or baking paper.
Also, when softening the butter, make sure you don’t zap it for too long in the microwave – it needs to be just at room temperature, soft enough so you can whizz it up with the sugar.
Finally, before baking, let the batter chill in the fridge for a while if you have time. Don’t leave it in too long or it will go hard! This isn’t a problem; just leave it out of the fridge for a while before using.

Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

Posted in Food, Recipes | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Photo Gallery 181: A Photo I’m Proud Of

Mia on stage The Photo Gallery 181: A Photo Im Proud Of
Despite her feisty demeanour, Mia is quite shy.
Ask her to do anything in front of a group of people she doesn’t know and she panics.
It never looks like panic. It looks like an eye roll, arms folded, “I can’t be bothered”.
But I know it’s a mask for her shyness.

This is Mia at her school play. They staged it during the early evening to make sure as many parents could visit as possible.
The hall was packed. She’s only been at this new school for a few months, so she knows a handful of parents.
Lots of strange faces staring up at her.

We had a conversation a few months ago about getting married. “How could you stand being the centre of attention mum?” she asked me. “Didn’t you mind all those people looking at you all day? I think I’d hate it”.

The day the school play acting parts were announced she was very matter of fact about it all. Hers was a non-speaking part which, again, she rolled her eyes at but I knew she was relieved. She got to stand at the side, out of the limelight. No pressure.
On the night she sang every song as if she was being tested on how well she could convey the emotion. It was marvellous. She mouthed along to the lines of every other child’s speaking part.

The photo I’m proud of isn’t a particularly ‘good’ photo. As is usual at school plays, I’m sat completely over the other side of the hall to where she is and there are at least 15 parents between her and me with their phones/tablets/cameras raised in the air to grab a photo.
What I’m proud of is the moment I’ve captured; my girl coming out of her shell, realising she needn’t be quite so shy any more. Realising that performing in front of others is actually quite fun.
Because on the way home she announced: “Next year I think I’m going to try and get a speaking part”. 

mia on stage2 The Photo Gallery 181: A Photo Im Proud Of

This post is for week 181 of The Photo Gallery: The theme is A Photo I’m Proud Of.
If you’re new here and want to know what The Gallery is, go and read here, and then come right back and join in!

 You can also pick up The Gallery code if you want too, though it’s not a requirement. And you could also subscribe to this blog to make sure you never miss a theme; they are posted here every Friday.

Now go forth and show some big blog love. Visit other bloggers, comment on their post if you feel moved to do so, and be inspired.
This virtual gallery of photographs is about enjoying each other’s work, so go make someone’s day. You will get out of this whatever you put in.

The link stays open until Tuesday so you have plenty of time to join in.
And absolutely ANYONE can join in.

You can also find The Photo Gallery on:
Pinterest
Google +

See you over there x



Posted in Mia, The Gallery | 28 Comments

The Photo Gallery: Week 181

Gallery logo The Photo Gallery: Week 181Hello and welcome to week 181 of The Photo Gallery.

This week it’s all about pushing yourself to be a little bit further as a photographer.
Is there a photograph you really want to take?
Is there a photograph you’ve been dying to take and finally managed it?
Is there a photograph you want to attempt? A style you want to have a go at? Do you want to make the switch from auto to manual?
This theme is for you.

This week the Photo Gallery theme is: A Photo I’m Proud of.

Push your boundaries, challenge yourself, do something you haven’t done before. Or capture something special; a moment, a person, an event.
And if you’re looking for any photography inspiration I have lots!

Remember The Photo Gallery is about being part of a community of like-minded people. It’s about sparking your imagination, being inspiring – and inspiring others.

It is for everyone, and you will get out of what you put in, so try to visit as many of the other entries as you can, say hi, discover new people, welcome them in when they discover you, be generous with your comments.

See you on Wednesday x

Remember, you can also share your entry via:
Twitter by using the hashtag: #TheGallery
Pinterest
Google +

NEW HERE? NOT SURE HOW TO ENTER THE GALLERY?

If you’re new here and want to find out what The Photo Gallery is all about and how to enter visit here.
And if you want to make sure you don’t miss any prompts or entries in future, make sure you subscribe to Sticky Fingers and get all prompts delivered directly to your in box.
Go on, clicky click away, you know you want to …

If you want to join in with The Gallery and showcase your photos, come back on Wednesday and when my Gallery post goes live, add a link to your post on the Linky below mine.
The link stays open until the following Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to join in.
And ANYONE can join in.

Posted in The Gallery Themes | 2 Comments

Win a stylish set of bags from Weird Fish worth £120

Weird Fish comp Win a stylish set of bags from Weird Fish worth £120

As an outdoor loving family there are certain brands we recognise straight away.
The sort of brands that when you’re all sat around a camp fire, or trekking in the woods, someone in the party is wearing their name on some item of clothing.
Weird Fish is most definitely one of those brands!

The outdoor clothing company is now unbelievably in their 20th year, and make clothes for campers, hikers, sailers and anyone who loves to get out there with Mother Nature.
And they do a gorgeous range of accessories which are perfect for travelling with.

These cotton canvas bags in a nautical stripe are spot on for an outing at the beach, a hike, a day in the sunshine or travelling abroad. You can see full details about the Weird Fish bags here.
And I’ve teamed up with Weird Fish to offer you the chance to win a whole set of them worth £122.
There is a tote, a large utility, a small utility and a purse. All matching. You will absolutely look the business!

All you have to do for a chance of winning is fill in the widget below.
Best of luck x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules:
The competition is open to residents of the UK only (sorry rest of the world).
No cash alternative offered.
The prize is 1 set of Weird Fish cotton striped bags worth £122.
Entry is via Rafflecopter.
Make sure your contact details are easily available.
The competition closes at on Friday, April 11, 2014.
One winner will be chosen from all the entries after the closing date.
The winner will be asked to provide their full name and address for the prize to be sent to.
If a prizewinner does not respond within a week of being contacted, the prize will be re-drawn and a new winner will be contacted.

Posted in Competition | Tagged | 365 Comments