Sunday, 1 February 2015

February Challenges. Small steps into Spring.

Hello everyone out there in Blog-land! How has February been treating you? Usually this is my least favourite month, but this year I am feeling rather energised. I think it is because of the mild weather and the scores of little spring flowers joyously pushing their heads towards the sun. I have been setting myself some challenges to take me through to spring. The main one has been to move more and eat less, I have been adding an extra couple of km to my daily dog walk and am saving up to buy some decent running shoes to attempt the couch to 5km. (Flip, I have written that down!) The eating less has been rather more difficult, I have to admit particularly this week with Shrove Tuesday and The Nippers off on half-term. The other challenge is to have a Facebook Free February.

I was idly scrolling through Facebook the other evening while watching a pot boil and some of my Facebook friends were listing the eight things that perhaps people did not know about them so in my head I started to compose my own list. However then I began to wonder why I wanted people to know yet more useless facts about me. What is it about Facebook that compels us to join in? Why do we need to share all this stuff? Serendipity prevails, because at that very same time an academic on a radio show was trying to convince me that social media is as addictive as a slot machine, this piece was followed by an  advertisement for a campaign for a Facebook Free February, Hmmm. So, I am having a break, a break from the habitual checking of the phone to see yet another cute animal video; a break from the cacophony of voices that seem to take up too much of my attention.

The thing about social media is though it is very user friendly and the more you use it, the more tailored the newsfeed becomes to your own personal taste and interests so it has only been two weeks into my challenge and already I'm thinking about it in the way I used to think about ciggs when I was giving them up. I especially miss the conversation from my Open University page and all the genuinely useful advice posted by my fellow students and all the stock up-dates from my favourite vintage shops. What happens if the perfect sofa appears at just the perfect price...Facebook is indignant at my departure and is stalking me with enticing emails to lure me back. What do you think of social media, love it/hate it?

Half-term has been lovely with plenty of sunny breezy weather to get us out and about, E and O played in the garden without coats for the first time this year! We have had some lovely walks, read some new and old books, watched a million episodes of The Simpsons, covered the house with Lego and did some Hama bead crafting.

And some crochet, this is going to be a blanket for little O inspired by a lovely Autumn walk and Bunny Mummy's Sunburst pattern. These wee circles are much nicer in real-life, I am no photographer.

And some baking. Today, (Friday) was very cold with grey skies.

 E was sniffling and begged for a pyjama day so we put our aprons on over our PJ's and cooked up some goodies.
Nutella Brownies.
Well, we needed to use up all that Nutella from Tuesday!
These are so easy - three ingredients.

O loves mixing and licking. He fizzes with excitement at the thought of all that chocolaty yumminess.
E loves jumping in at the end with a big spoon.
Next we made some Oaties. (I will copy the recipe for you at the end.)
This recipe is from my very tattered 2013 Good Housekeeping magazine, which is full of fool-proof and delicious recipes. I never buy this mag, don't know why I bought that one but I might buy it again!

Both of these recipes are very child friendly, just mix and pop in the oven. Do watch the Brownies like a hawk, mine took half the cooking time and are a bit overcooked but still very nice.

I love a cup o' tea and Observer food monthly!
Have a wonderful weekend everybody. What are your plans for Spring 2015?

Here is the recipe for the Oat biscuits, I did not add the chocolate as we were also having the brownies but I do recommend the chocolate version very very moreish!
Chocolate Oaties.
  • 40oz butter
  • 4oz self-raising flour
  • 4oz soft brown sugar
  • 4oz porridge oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp. of golden syrup
  • 4oz milk or plain chocolate
  1.  Preheat oven to 180C/160c fan/gas 4 and lightly grease two baking sheets
  2.  Mix together flour, sugar, oats and soda. Set aside.
  3.  Melt butter and syrup. Add to the dry mix and combine.
  4.  Divide and  squish into little balls, pressing them a little flat. Bake for 15/18 min until golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the trays and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  5. Melt chocolate, dip biscuits halfway into the chocolate or paint on with a pastry brush.
  6. Allow to set before the family descend like a flock of hungry gannets!

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