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BBQ this Bank Holiday weekend? Here's hoping!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Us Brits love a good barbecue don't we? With the Bank Holiday weekend just ahead of us, I thought I'd share some BBQ food inspiration and recipe ideas as I for one would very much like to tuck into something flame grilled whilst sat in my garden this weekend.

So here's my take on the perfect Bank Holiday weekend barbecue...

The essentials
* Burgers - add the cheese of your choice (cheddar or cheese slices are classics of course but why not try stilton, smoked cheese or mozzarela for a different taste?)
* Sausages - hot dogs or Cumberland, whatever you fancy
* Chicken wings - smothered in Frank's Hot Buffalo Sauce (honestly, it's be BEST sauce you can buy - I craved it when I was expecting Ethan and I'm still addicted to it now)

Add ons (if you're really making a party of it)
* BBQ or bourbon coated ribs
* Marinated pork
* Peppered steaks
* Spatchcock chicken (Nandos style)
* Lamp chops (with a mint glaze)

On the sidelines
* Mediterranean vegetable kebabs - add some halloumi if catering for veggie friends
* Salad bowl
* Griddled corn on the cob

* Finger rolls and burger buns
* Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and relish
* Coleslaw

Here's some ideas on how to make the most of any nice weather we might have to help your BBQ go with a bang:

Chunky guacamole 

This is what you need to make a nice big bowl for two to share, when you're feeling greedy, or four if you feel like sharing:

Dice everything up, finely for a smoother texture or chunky if you want it more rough and ready. Mix together in a bowl.

Halve your avocados, remove the stone then score each side of the avocado across one way then the next, then turn the skin inside out to remove the flesh.

Lightly mash with a fork then add to everything else, squeezing your lemon or lime over the top and seasoning before serving.

Choppy coleslaw

I adore coleslaw and it's pretty easy to make your own. You just need cabbage, both red and white if you can, a red onion, a carrot (optional) then some mayonnaise and a dash of vinegar. You could also add a dab of mustard or some chopped jalapeƱos for a different twist.

Slice everything up, cutting across the veg and using a peeler or grater for the carrot if you're going to add it to the mix. Then spoon your mayonnaise over the top until you have the consistency you want.


For me, a good burger is the essential heart of a BBQ and adding some coleslaw, salad, potato wedges or a baked potato makes for a great meal in the garden and if you can't fire up your BBQ this weekend, you can still recreate the barbecue feeling in your kitchen.

I picked up a wide selection of barbecue food at my local Co-operative and if you'd rather keep things simple, there's plenty of great options that are ready to grill, whether the BBQ stays under wraps or gets dusted off this weekend.

These topped burgers were de-lish and I can't wait to try the marinated pork loins with the Moroccan roasted vegetables and corn on the cob.

And if we can get outside, I'm planning on mixing together the feta and olives in this antipasti selection with some chopped cucumber and tomatoes, drizzled with some olive oil, for a quick and easy Greek salad that will go great with chicken kebabs.

Mmm... my mouth is watering already!

Will you be firing up the barbie? If so, what's your favourite dish?

* I was inspired by the barbecue food ideas at the Central England Co-operative but all thoughts and suggestions are my own. Be sure to follow them on Twitter or search the hashtag #mycooptreats.

Honestly speaking?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

There's many times that I've been asked about why I blog, what I blog about and how I decide what to share and not to share.

For some, it's a hard idea to get their heads around, particularly if they're a bit wary of social media in general.

Sharing your thoughts, feelings, happenings and photos of your family life? Online, where anyone can see it? 


It's not for everyone.

Even within the blogging community, there's a divide in understanding and people's approach to it all. Some seemingly share only the good bits, the happy bits, the Instagram filtered bits. Some use code names for their children as a way to protect their identity in some way. 

Others are honest. Brutally honest, sometimes. Sharing all the highs and the lows and the mundane too, to really show what life as a parent is really like and to be truthful about who they are.

Some of this sharing can be quite raw and doesn't always make the easiest reading but the people who put themselves out there in such a way can really only be admired. They're sharing their experiences to help not just themselves but others, by giving them a virtual reassuring pat on the back, by lending some advice or simply giving people the chance to see things from another perspective.

If you're a blogger or a social media user, how much do you share? Does every photo have a filter? Does every comment you make have the same?

There's pros and cons to being honest, and to being guarded, and we all walk our own lines with what we feel comfortable with, sometimes falling a little more one side than the other than we thought we would, as some things take us off course or knock our balance off kilter.

I was going to start a linky called the perfectly imperfect parent (or PIPs as I affectionately referred to us as) and wrote about how really, we are all flawed and to be a parent is to be imperfect. We don't have all the answers and every day life can be really challenging. Imperfect. But that doesn't mean we are doing something wrong. Letting our kids or ourselves down.

Fellow blogger and Birmingham dweller Emma from Brummy Mummy of 2 is one such blogger who has an honest voice and shares the good, the bad and the ugly. I really admire her and love reading her posts, from Wicked Wednesdays where we are all encouraged to share a 'real' photo of our daily lives to her posts where she says how we all really feel from time, like this one about being a bit bored some days. 

With Emma's posts, she's using her experiences to reach out and say 'it's OK to be a bit crap, nobody's perfect!' and last week, her honesty was picked up in the national press.

The Daily Mail online ran a story about how her blog shares photos of her kids having tantrums and creating a mess, simplifying things a bit as they always do, and Emma had a whole heap of abuse hurled her way, from the DM trolls, as they always do.

I guess it's to be expected and sadly, a lot of these judgements are made by other women, mothers or bloggers. We are all entitled to our own opinions and that's why people like us have our own blogs in the first place - to share those opinions.

The beauty of the online world is that as long as no one is getting hurt, if you don't like what you see or read, you can move on. It's not for you. And that's ok. Just move on.

I wanted to share my thoughts on this topic as I don't have any answers but it stirred up a few things for me and I wanted to really say that people like Emma have my admiration.

I'm honest on here and share details of my life but it's always to a point, so I really commend those who don't really mind what other people think, knowing that creating a reaction is better than being ignored and that they have stayed true to their regular readers and themselves.

Face of a mother

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

There comes a time when you look yourself in the mirror and you see something. Something you didn't before.

You get so used to the same reflection, that you don't even notice the slight changes. You just go about your usual routine regardless. You know the shape of your face, the slope of your nose, the curve of your mouth when you smile.

But as time goes by, you change and those changes will one day show. Little by little. Almost invisible until you one day look at your reflection in a new way. Fresh light shows you new lines, new shadows and you realise your face has changed.

It happens to us all and it can take some time to notice, and I've recently noticed how my face has changed.

I thought it was the same old face I've always had but there's something different. Something I didn't notice before.

I am getting older, no doubt about it, and although my plump cheeks are still there, helping to give me a somewhat girlish look, there's other signs that I'm no longer a teen, no longer a 20-something.

No escaping it now! I've seen my face in a new light. I am older and, I hope, wiser. I am 10 years into my career. I'm five years married. I'm a mother of a wonderful two year old son.

And my face shows it all.

My face has the hallmarks of a mum.

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