Strawberry and Raspberry Pavlova

After our fab day picking delicious strawberries and raspberries at Peterley Manor Farm I knew I'd need to so something pretty special with our handpicked fruit!

On Sunday we had an impromptu BBQ with some good friends and it gave me the perfect excuse to make a pavlova for the first time in years.

It's been so long since I made one that I forgot how simple it is. Other than a lot of patience when it comes to whisking, it doesn't take an awful lot of time or effort to make a scrumptious summer dessert.

Peterley Manor Farm

This weekend we were able to tick another local activity off our bucket list and made the most of family visiting to take a trip to Peterley Manor Farm for some pick-your-own fun!

I like to make the most of seeing our family and it's always a great excuse to explore some more of the area we are lucky to live in, or try somewhere new. It can be tricky to find an activity that will offer something for everybody, allowing us all to catch up on news and spend time chatting whilst having fun with the kids at the same time.

Peterley Manor is a family run farm in the beautiful Chilterns. I've wanted to visit for a while now as they're always popping up on Instagram with some inspiring photos of the P-Y-O, farm shop, cafe and nursery. I thought it would be the perfect activity for the whole family, we could have fun picking the fruit and then relax with some tea and even some retail therapy.

It's only a 15 minute drive from where we live in High Wycombe and was easy to get to (as long as you follow the directions on the website, not just type it into Google maps).

9 reasons why I hate a heatwave

Summer has properly arrived here in the UK and every single British person has gone from bemoaning the lack of sun to complaining about the excess of it.

Including me.

Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway

For Father's Day this year we decided to do something a bit different and we treated Matt to a lovely Steam Train ride at the local Chinnor Railway - an activity which proved to be fun for the whole family!

The railway is run by volunteers and is open for weekends and various special events throughout the year. On Father's Day all Dads go for free which meant that for us as a family it only cost us £17 for the round trip to Thame and back. Usual prices are still reasonable and tickets can be bought ahead online. However, Lily loved going with Daddy to the ticket booth to purchase our vintage-style ticket tokens for 'third class'.

To the kid who called me fat today...

Today I didn't run very far. About 1.5k from my home to the end of the road.

I was proud that it was the furthest I'd gone without stopping or slowing. Maybe I could have gone further.

Just before I reached my home, you were sat on a bike with a small group of other kids, and as I came closer you pointed at me, laughed and said "fatty".

And I kept on going. I got home and did my cool down routine.

And then I cried.

Chapter Books for Four Year Olds

Reading is my all time favourite activity. Hands down. When I'm on my own, I want to read. When it's cold outside I like to read. When it's sunny outside I like to read outside. When I'm with my kids I like to read with them...

Every night Lily and I snuggle up to read a chapter book. Ollie is still a bit too young and so we always read a couple of picture books before wishing him a goodnight and cuddling up in Lily's bed to read the latest adventure.

At first I wasn't sure if she would be too young to have the concentration and memory for this but she has proved me wrong over and over again and still talks about her favourite bit from a book we've read months ago. 

It does take a bit of experience or trial and error in finding out what books will be best enjoyed by both you and your child. Some series start out light but can get quite dark towards the end (like Harry Potter) and so I would recommend leaving them until children are a little bit older.

A Fond Farewell to our Merlin Passes

Today is the day our Merlin Annual Premium Passes expire and at the moment we don't have the money to renew. We'd like to but as our last holiday abroad was our honeymoon nearly 6 years ago, Matt is desperate to spend some time somewhere a bit more exotic than the British coast and so we're going to do our best to save up and go away next year.

Our passes over the last year have been more of a blessing than I could have imagined. We have been to so many parks and attractions that we would never have visited without the pass - multiple trips to Chessington World of Adventures, Legoland, Warwick Castle, The London Eye and Alton Towers.

Review - Alton Towers

Our amazing Merlin Annual Passes will expire on Wednesday so we wanted to make the most of our last few days by spending one at Alton Towers. Having always been put off before by the long drive there we usually make the most of the fantastic attractions closer to home but after having tried Alton Towers last weekend, I have to admit, I wish we'd gone before!

It was an early start - we planned to leave the house at 6am but didn't wake up until 5:50 (why don't the kids wake up early when you actually want them to?!) so we left a tad later at 6:30 and took the fastest route recommended by Google Maps which took us via the M6 toll road arriving at precisely 9:02.