Homemade soup a la Ben and Holly’s Magic Kingdom

So Savannah was watching an episode of Ben and Holly’s Magic Kingdom and Nanny Plum made a soup and yesterday Savannah decided she wanted to have it for tea today. Ingredients were potato, carrot, onion, peas and cheese. To say I was a little apprehensive was an understatement but trying to be a good mummy I bought the ingredients and googled ways to flavour soups without using stock. I made it this evening and OMG it was absolutely gorgeous. A couple of people have asked for the recipe so here is my Vegetable soup a la Ben and Holly.

3 small potatoes

2 large carrots

1 red onion

cup of peas

parmesan shavings

salt and pepper to taste

splash of soy sauce

double cream

cheese and garlic croutons

1) peel and cut up carrots and potatoes into approx 1 inch pieces and boil in a saucepan of hot water for 10 mins (large saucepan half full of water)

2) chop up the onion and fry it for a few mins to soften

3) tip away approx half of the water and return to the heat.

4) add the fried onion and peas to the saucepan with carrots and potatoes

5) bring to boil and simmer for 15 mins, add salt and pepper to taste and splash of soy sauce.

6) blend into a creamy soup, add handful of parmesan shavings and approx 50ml double cream to soup and mix in

7) serve with more parmesan cheese and crouton on to and crusty roll

8) enjoy!

Hope you enjoyed it, sorry it did not hang around long enough for me to take pictures. I will be making more for the winter to freeze, fab on this cold winter evenings after a walk on the beach.


PS Savannah didn’t like it!!!




Autumn and conkers

Today I have made my Christmas cake ready for a weekly dose of brandy before I decorate it in December. I have never made one before so this is a bit of an experiment. Tony and I have bought a bottle of brandy goodness knows if it is a good one or not but the proof of the cooking is in the eating (is that right!!!!).

While the cake was in the oven cooking (3 hours can you believe) we went for a walk to the cemetery. As grim as that sounds it is a beautiful place to go for a peaceful walk. The conkers are all falling from the trees and the beauty of this place is that the local kids have not found them and trashed the trees to get them down. I took my macro lens for my iPhone with me and managed to get some lovely shots.

Conkers IMG_1781

I am trying to enjoy this time of year but I am struggling a bit at the moment. Work has presented me with some challenges of late which have significantly stressed me out. I am trying to deal with them and little things like today help me calm down and get some perspective.

Anyhoo, must go to feed the cake. Pictures to follow


Catching up with our Swiss contingent

(left to right: Susanne, Shaun, Tony, Savannah, Jason, me (at the front), Imogen and Keith)

The Swiss contingent of the Halliwell family made it over to England this week for a little holiday. As always it was lovely to catch up with them. Sunday evening we had a fantastic fondue with them and Savannah made firm friends with Susanne. Tuesday evening they came round for a couple of hours and poor Susanne had her ears chewed off all evening by Savannah who just commanded attention as always.

On Thursday evening we went out for a meal and had a lovely evening again. It all goes too fast and soon enough they were on their way home BUT we have managed to sort out our holiday for next summer so (provided I can get the time off) we are going to Switzerland for our summer holiday next July. We are taking the camper and pitching on a plot of land next to Keith and Susanne’s house and will be able to spend some time with them. There was talk of the Eiger and mountain climbing as well as swimming in lakes and streams and OMG I am already very excited to be going.


Good parent or good enough….

I have been thinking of the concept of a good parent for some time now. What makes a good parent? Do we strive for something that is attainable or should we simply strive to be good enough? Who has the right to say whether someone is a good parent or not? I mean it is obvious that certain criteria mean that a person’s parenting skills should be questioned – things such as neglecting your child, failure to feed or wash or clothe your child, abusing your child etc. It is obvious what makes a bad parent when you examine the end of a spectrum but what about in the middle? Is “good enough” good enough?

I ask this as I don’t think I have done a bad job of bringing my 2 girls up. How do I measure that? Well Imogen is 15 and has never been in trouble with the police, she has never been drunk, she has tried a couple of cigarettes but hated it, she has kissed a few boys but is a well informed sensible girl who has not done anything illegal! She looks after herself, takes care about her appearance and has a good circle of friends. She is polite and well mannered and has just done very well in her GCSE exams a year early.

Savannah is 7 and she is doing well at school. She also seems fairly popular and gets invited to parties that her peers have. I can’t comment on police and illegal activities she is quite frankly to young lol.

BUT…….are these good benchmarks for judging my parenting skills? What about having a tidy and organised home? What about being able to attend school functions for your child? What about being able to give them the £10 here and £2 there for bits and pieces cos if these are the benchmarks then I am failing!!! School functions are challenging for a full time working mum to get to especially when they are held in the middle of the school day. The tidy house thing is not really who I am, I have always been a messy gal. And money, well that is the worst bit…in this day and age I rarely have change in my purse so when they ask for that last minute “can I just have….” I often have to say no. Am I am poor or bad mother because of this?

Don’t get me wrong, I am simply thinking of how we, as parents, set ourselves up in our modern world. Are we setting goals that are achievable? Are we able to meet this “gold standard” of parenting or is being “good enough” good enough?

Personally, I think I am good enough; and you know what that is ok with me. So the house is a bit messy…who cares it is lived in! So I have little change in my purse…who cares? The bills are paid for, the girls have decent clothes on their backs and there is food on the table. We have fun as a family and we enjoy spending time in each others company (mostly!!). I am happy in my little world.

What really started this off in my head was the fact that over the past few weeks we have got into the habit of Sunday being an at home day for housework and homework. I have never been one for routine but actually I am quite liking the fact that we can spend time out and about on a Saturday and then Sunday is for getting all those things done that need to be done.

Housework is done, homework is done. Tonys’ brother is coming over from Switzerland today with his wife and 2 sons and we are having fondue tonight with proper swiss fondue cheese nom nom nom. Pictures to follow. Meantime I get to squeeze in a couple of snail trail quilt blocks before I have to get ready for the evening. Life is actually very good. I love my husband, I love my girls and I am a good parent.