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Mum’s “sort me out” crumble…

I might be a Mum, but I still need MY Mum.

Partly because she turns up at my door with homemade cottage pie, freshly pulled cabbage from her garden and rhubarb crumble.

Why did I move out again?! 

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But it’s on days like these when the world is in turmoil and my days are currently spent bent over trying to help Maggie walk and dodging (actually loving underneath it all) puréed broccoli kisses, where I really just bloody appreciate my wonderful family and the simplicity of it all.

You don’t need a lot to be ok with life.

You just need a bit of tenderness, love and the odd crumble.

Mum’s crumble (kind of…)

I say ‘kind of’ because Mum has only gone and done a Grandma on me!

It goes like this:

“Mum (or Grandma when it’s one of her recipes) how do you make this?”

“Oh this? Just a bit of flour, pour in some milk, a bit of sugar and rub in some butter.”

Me: “Yeah but I need…measurements?”

“Oh I don’t use measurements…”

Me: “ERM I WRITE A FOOD BLOG. I NEED NUMBERS!”

Blank expressions meet my requests.

But I guess that’s the beauty of how people used to do it. The knowledge of how to cook basic yet delicious dishes was just instilled in you because you grew up with it.

So at a push, here is what Mother responded with:

8oz flour

3oz sugar

3oz butter

The butter needs to be in cubes as you rub the ingredients together until a crumble consistency is formed.

The rhubarb from Mum’s garden was cooked down until soft in brown sugar (sprinkle to cover) and cooked for 20 minutes at 180 degrees (electric fan).

You could use sliced apples or pears or any fruit really.

And that’s it.

One day I’ll do that for Maggie when she’s having a moment because food makes you feel better.

And so does knowing the measurements!

But then again, you can’t measure love…

1 week in Devon, 3 babies and multiple ice-creams…

It’s pretty magical when you think about this:

Three siblings. Three babies. In 8 months.

Mr. GTMHTC along with his brother and sister have all had their first child, Maggie’s cousins, in a very short space of time and because we’re crazy, we shacked up together down in Devon for a whole week of mayhem.

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But mayhem doesn’t arise when you have sunshine, fresh seafood and copious amounts of Devonshire ice-cream.

The only thing that manifests is the prospect of life-long memories of the cousins first holiday together.

Of the cooking that we all took turns to do each night – turns out we’re all not too shabby – and sitting around laughing (sometimes too loudly, ‘omg if you wake that baby up we’re no longer related’) playing cards and just doing what families should do.

Be together.

I love it. I love a house full of people. I love it when family gather in the kitchen, the heart of the home and I adore the photo’s and the stories that we will talk about in years to come.

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Remembering the beauty on our doorstep

I constantly feel like I have itchy feet.

Day one: “I’ve been thinking and I want to take Maggie to India…”

Day two: “Oh my god we should take Mags to New Zealand or something and do like, bungee jumps and stuff…”

Mr. GTMHTC: *Silence*

We could do those things but all in good time. I’ve just finished my maternity leave and that last week spent in the English Riviera (around Totnes) was utterly delightful.

I forget that here in England we have some of the most glorious beach side spots going.

We took a shining to Salcombe where the beaches were white and the sea clear (cold).

It was postcard perfect, literally.

So if you’re looking for the perfect family get away I couldn’t recommend Totnes and the surrounding areas more. Even with three tired Mummy’s, three excitable Dad’s, two jolly Grandparents and a brood of uncontrollable babies, it was the best holiday ever.

Some things to do:

Salcombe:

Get to Salcombe, hit the beach and then grab something to eat at The Winking Prawn. 

Fresh seafood, salads, old school rock n’ roll music playing, summer vibes! Ah take me back, please!

It’s such a lovely little beach shack style cafe, with it’s walls covered in pictures and sayings and all the refurbished wood type tables.

Salcombe itself is also very quaint with it’s winding streets.

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Becky Falls:

We love a good walk and Maggie absolutely finds her backpack adventures so exciting.

Becky Falls was voted the most beautiful place in Devon and you can understand why, with its fairy tale-esque forrest and the waterfall.

There are numerous walks to choose from depending on ability and with three kids in tow, we headed for the moderate one. Stretching on for about 40 minutes, the scenery was incredible.

You could take a picnic like we did or eat in the cafe, either way it’s just a great day.

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Ben’s Farm Shop:

I’ve wanted to go here for a while so was excited at the prospect of actually doing so.

I’m a huge advocate for farming and find it really interesting how people view food and where it comes from,

For me, Ben’s Farm Shop married the idea of health and organic, farm produce together perfectly displaying an interesting mix of meats, cheeses and veg alongside vegan products and homemade foods.

Even if you don’t want to sit and eat, just go and have a stroll.

And buy the muesli. Oh and the butter. In fact, buy me some while you’re at it, I’ve now run out!

In and around Totnes:

Totnes itself was so up mine and Mr. GTMHTC’s street.

There was such a colourful vibe – people just sang in the street!

But why not?

Happiness and contentment is a wonderful thing and it just felt like everybody was getting on with it, strolling around the market, just enjoying their smooth way of life.

There are loads of cafes to choose from in Totnes, all as inviting as each other.

We sat outside Seeds 2, Totnes, and watched the world go by. Great coffee, great views, great morning.

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Later in the week we drove in to Paignton which apparently was my beloved Grandma’s favourite place. She was always saying “there are as nice places in England as there are abroad Emily”, and after such a wonderful time away, I can look to the sky and say you know what Gran, you were right. Like usual!

So if you’re not going to take my word for, at least take Grandma’s.

We live in a glorious country and I have a glorious family. What more could one ask for?

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Travelling to Devon with a baby and biscuits…

Surely that’s the only way to do it right?

You get through five hours of driving to Devon with a baby with biscuits and not just one, like a whole pack and then when they’ve ran out, you pray to god you’ve timed that moment with a nap.

We’re off on our summer hols to beautiful Devon.

It’s pretty exciting because both Mr. GTMHTC’s siblings have also just had babies, so it’s the first of many joint adventures for us all.

Isn’t that just lovely though?

A huge family holiday complete with Grandma and Grandad, all the cousins together in their little sun hats and hopefully some decent weather and a truck load of scones.

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Now, they are the kind of memories that’s worth driving five hours for.

Even if I’m already sick of hearing row, row, row your boat music from Maggie’s book, covered in coffee from his driving and she’s refusing to sleep.

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Yep.

All for the memories! 

Catch up on the latest Devon adventure this week – and any cream tea recommendations are always welcome! X

How to summer your sausage…and mash!

I know.

What. The hell. Is a summery sausage?

Sausage and mash is, well, just that. No airs. No graces.

Just bloody good and most times, exactly what the doctor ordered.

It’s just that I’m feeling a little seasonal confusion. It’s almost July and where is the bloomin’ sunshine?!

Today I was out in the wind and rain, looking at nowt’ but grey skies. And that’s what did it.

I was cold; I was wrapped up with a scarf for goodness sake and simply needed, you got it: Sausage and mash. 

What I didn’t want however was the whole wintery wonder with gravy and what not, because that is specially reserved for those real December evenings, so yes, I took it upon myself to summer up my sausage.

And that’s not something you hear about every day is it!

Summer sausage and mash pot

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Serves 4

8 good quality pork sausages – mine were from Cowman’s Butchers in Clitheroe and they are delicious and not to mention, famous!

3 large potatoes

1 onion

200g of cherry toms, chopped in half

3/4 litre of good chicken stock

1 garlic clove, chopped small

1 cup of peas

2 large handfuls of spinach

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1 teaspoon of English mustard

1/2 a cup of full fat milk

Salt and pepper

1/2 a teaspoon of ground cumin

Olive oil

Creamy Lancashire cheese to top – I used Dewlay cheese!

Method:

Peel and chop your potatoes in to small cubes. Bring to the boil until soft.

In another pan, cut each sausage in to three and fry off until lightly brown in a good dose of olive oil. Add in the onions, cumin and garlic with a generous helping of salt and pepper and stir. Add in the tomatoes a couple of minutes after.

Once the onions and tomatoes have softened, stir in the tomato paste and pour in the stock. Let it simmer away for a good 10-15 minutes, adding in the peas 5 minutes before the end.

Stir in the spinach at the last minute.

For the mash, drain the potatoes, add in the mustard and milk and mash until smooth.

Spoon the sausage mix in to individual dishes or pots and spoon the mash on top. Top with the cheese and grill until crisp.

Then, whether rain or shine, you can enjoy sausage and mash at any time!

A Sunday well scent…

No, that’s not a typo.

Today smells of wonderful. Today possess the scent of refreshing new starts (beginning tomorrow, Monday) and positivity.

I’ve been having a tough time recently coming to terms with events that have taken place over the last couple of months, as well as being really horribly unwell this week.

But they say you should surround yourself with things you like.

One thought process is you should fill your personal spaces with flowers which we as humans instantly find refreshing and uplifting. Lighting candles also soothes the soul and fills your home with those silky, smokey aromas which invites calm.

I’m someone who buys other people flowers. There’s no reason for it, I just think it’s a lovely gesture and it makes someone smile.

So today I took my own advice and bought myself some floral necessities that have instantly brightened my day.

I think a bit of self love is needed over the next few weeks.

And flowers can only grow when watered.

Happy Sunday x

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I love creating a home. It’s the little things that can completely make a room and the supermarkets are full of lovely bits and bobs for a great price. I got these diffusers and candles from Sainsbury’s – and my house smells delicious! 

The lemony smell of Sunday…

So the intention was that I was going to stay at home today and make us a family Sunday dinner.

Like I said, “the intention” was there.

Somehow we’ve ended up at Mum and Dads with a scrumptious shepherds pie, a lemon cake and thee biggest scone I think I’ve set eyes on.

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I know what you’re all thinking.

That was the plan all along. I’m a liar, a cheat, a Sunday dinner duper! 

But I promise this isn’t the case. I mean, what’s the saying when there is something askew?

“I can smell it a mile off!”

Well put it this way.

If there’s lemon cake somewhere, I’ll sniff it out, one way or another!

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The loveliness of Sunday

I know I harp on quite a bit about Sundays but it’s so blooming’ important to take this day (if you can) to just be with your family or your friends, get some good grub on the table and be together.

If there is one thing that the current news highlights, it’s the need to appreciate moments. Moments of love, snippets of laughter, seconds of smiles.

It’s your wonderful Father high-fiving his beautiful baby Granddaughter; it’s your Mother in her apron, the epitome of happiness cooking the roast; it’s the feeling of everything being OK when you sit down to dinner with those you love most.

So, here’s the recipe for Mum’s lemon cake and I suggest you bake it, take it around to your parents or your friends and enjoy a moment of tranquility while someone pours the tea.

Happy Sunday everybody. With love…

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3 eggs

The same weight (as the eggs) in butter, sugar and flour

Juice of one small lemon

Mix all together and bake for 20-30 minutes in an oven at 180 degrees (electric fan).

Then, mix the juice of half a lemon with 1-2 generous tablespoons of icing sugar (this needs to be quite thin as you’re about to pour it on the cake).

Pierce the cake while hot and pour over the lemon icing mix.

Eat, smile, repeat!

The power of love…

Our children. Our lives. Our home.

Horror hit my Northern Territory when a terrorist attack took place at the MEN Arena.

All I have been thinking is, this our place, Maggie’s place, our memories, our future.

How can I shield her from all these atrocities?

I can’t. But I can allow her to see the love.

The love, the power of how we have come together, the strength of the Northern people, the power of light over darkness.

And that is something every child should know.

Love.

No matter what.

Conquers all.