The View from The Shard

This morning we were up at the crack of dawn and off to The Old Smoke for a special treat – a trip up The View from The Shard in the company of Ferdinand, the friendliest bull in town who is due out on DVD in a matter of days.

The View from The Shard

The View from The Shard have had an un-bull-ievable idea for a family activity this Easter break, they’ve teamed up with Ferdinand and created a family day out where you get to experience The View – which is gobsmackingly awesome and lots of other activities too …  like a virtual reality game called Vertigo which I had a go at this morning. Think of The Shard when it was being constructed and walking across the steel beams with nothing beneath you – scary but a lot of fun. The girls were most disappointed that they weren’t allowed to have a go (over 12) but were happy to video me doing it.

We were given activity sheets and had to go on a treasure hunt looking for Ferdinand’s flowers, we located them all and popped our sheets into a box with our fingers crossed at winning the prize of a return visit.

The View From The Shard

Families who decide to try this amazing experience out are given goody bags with their entrance tickets including all of the following items

  • Ferdinand activity sheet
  • Bouncy ball
  • Pencil case
  • Official Guidebook
  • Keyring
  • Colouring set
  • Selfie stick

and you simply must go up to the Sky Deck where there is this beautiful floral display waiting for the best photo opportunity ever.

The View from The Shard

There is another virtual reality experience called The Slide which I didn’t have a go at – although I wish I had now. You lay on a wooden curved surface which moves up and down and tips slightly forward and to the sides, as you swoop and slide around The Shard and through the city skyline. A kind of Shard helter-skelter.

For every family that visits The View from The Shard for the Ferdinand experience, there is the chance to enter a competition to win a two-night break to Barcelona. The prize is for 2 adults and 2 children under 15 and consists of return flights from London to Barcelona, return airport transfers in Barcelona, 2 nights in a four-star hotel and travel insurance.

The View From the Shard

If you need even more to convince you, how about drinking a glass of Moët & Chandon from London’s highest champagne bar? 800ft above the capital sipping bubbles whilst enjoying views of up to 40 miles, that’s got to seal the deal surely?

The View from The Shard

Find all the information or book tickets online at www.theviewfromtheshard.com/en/whats-on/events/2018/ferdinand-the-bull/

Before you leave, make sure you visit the toilets at the top for a loo with a view…

The View From The Shard loo

Disclosure: We were given tickets by The View from The Shard for the purpose of this post.

my little sous chef

….and relax, it’s the Easter holidays! The best part about my still fairly new job as a TA is being able to take the holidays off with the twins. Being able to spend time with them, organise trips out  and just chilling together.

This Easter we have a few plans, the biggest being a trip to Sardegna which we haven’t visited since they were 3! We shall also be going to the top of The Shard – more of that to come – and stripping wallpaper in one of the bedrooms as Alice wants to have her own bedroom now.

We have also been able to spend some time in the kitchen together, a ‘job’ they both love and having been sent copies of My Little Sous Chef we had a look through the recipes and have earmarked a couple to try out together over these holidays.

Our first choice was the Tiramisu made with strawberries.

My Little Sous Chef Tiramisu

my little sous chef

Based on the classic recipe using Boudoir biscuits, mascarpone and eggs but instead of brandy and coffee, this recipe is more child-friendly using strawberries and milk. My Little Sous Chef comes in two books, an adult version including detailed method description and a list of ingredients for the recipes and a child’s version which has pictures to follow for the method with short bite-sized instructions.

I wanted to let the girls do as much as possible and this book allowed me to do that. I got all of the ingredients and equipment they would need and helped with the step by step shown in their book.

Whilst the children followed their steps in the book, I read the adult version to make sure we had the correct quantities of ingredients and that we hadn’t missed any important steps as they don’t all appear in the child’s version.

The result was delicious!

Be warned, however, that once the preparation is completed and it’s time to clean up the kitchen, your little ones will wander off and you will be left with the clearing up.

We are taking part in the Blog Tour and you can find the other tried and tested recipes on the blogs listed below. Have fun!

My little sous chef

Yorkshire moors

Visiting Yorkshire has always been high on my bucket list for many reasons ranging from, longing to see the beautiful seaside town of Whitby and eat ‘proper’ fish and chips, to visiting the moors and dales which I pictured so vividly whilst reading Wuthering Heights.

I’ve been looking into where to go and what to do in Yorkshire more closely as I’m hoping to get up there very soon. In fact, my research tells me that now would be the perfect time to take in the glory that is Farndale! Imagine walking in a sea of daffodils that stretch as far as the eye can see. Apparently, the golden blooms were planted by the monks of Rievaulx Abbey, (another place to visit on my bucket list) the golden banks of the River Dove shine along the three and a half mile walk from Low Mill to Church Houses and back.

Bronte Country is said to be wild and dramatic, I’d love to climb the rugged moorlands and capture them on camera and pop into the Bronte Parsonage Museum where the family lived in Haworth.

I want to visit Saltaire, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This beautiful Victorian model village with its cobbled streets and terraced cottages was built for the workers of the Salt Mills. It’s also close to David Hockney’s place of birth and as one of his longtime admirers, I’d like to see his work displayed in the Salt Mills. Whilst we’re on the subject of art, there is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield that looks really intriguing, I do love a good sculpture park!

Whitby

Whitby

I couldn’t possibly go all the way to Yorkshire and not see Whitby. I’ve heard so much about it and every time a photo come up on my Instagram feed of the town I find myself wishing to go and see it for myself.

Noted as one of the greatest sights in Britain, the Whitby Abbey is said to powerfully domineer the fishing harbour. There are 199 stone steps to climb to get the best view and luckily there are a few renowned pubs and eateries close by for refreshment. Fortune’s Kippers dates back to 1872!

The Yorkshire coastline is dotted with sandy bays, coves and centuries of maritime history to explore.

Scarborough is one that I’d like to explore in more detail. This original Victorian spa centre has a castle, an open-air theatre and is a well-known shopping centre too.

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

I’d like to think that my meanderings through the county would take me across the Dales. I’d love to walk Baxter and find some of the beautiful waterfalls that the area boasts. I didn’t know that each dale has its own name and its own character. I hadn’t realised that one of my favourite cheeses – Wensleydale is actually a dale in Yorkshire (I know!) In fact, Wensleydale is home to three most spectacular falls; Aysgarth Falls where the River Are washes down the broad limestone steps, the Hardraw Force – England’s highest single drop waterfall and the West Burton Falls.

The Forbidden Corner

The name alone makes me want to go there! If like me, you like the odd and quirky then this could be the attraction for you. Tucked away near Leyburn is a park of pathways to nowhere that lead into the most obscurer mazes where you bump into curious carved statues and even a pyramid! Apparently it is entrance on a first come first served basis so might be worth a telephone call beforehand. Also close by is the Jervaulx Abbey ruins said to be a great visit too.

Where to stay in Yorkshire

To make the most of my Yorkshire visit I’d like to stay in a cottage, a place to call my own during my stay where I can put the kettle on and sit back on a comfy sofa after a day out sightseeing. Plus, of course, there would be some spectacular views to take in. Ingrid Flute’s Yorkshire Holiday Cottages https://www.yorkshireholidaycottages.co.uk/ offer exactly what I am looking for and there are plenty of options to choose from to suit all budgets and tastes.

visiting Yorkshire

If you know Yorkshire better than me, please let me know of some places to add to my list.

A dozen roses in watercolour markers and black pen

I got a B in my O Level art, I painted a magpie in a bird’s nest, I think the prompt I chose was ‘an intruder’ and I remember being mightily pleased with my efforts. I often wish I had taken art further but truth be known, at 17 I didn’t have a clue about what I wanted to do.

Although being creative has never left me, I never really settled down to paint or draw again and always found myself saying, ‘Im no good at art.’ This gave me the perfect excuse to not even try. Plus it seemed, everyone was so much better at it than me, I would just ridicule myself if I tried, I would be uncovered as a dud artist the minute I put pencil to paper.

For years, my desire to draw and paint was squashed and forgotten, stuffed in an unused filing cabinet in the recesses of my mind.

Then a couple of Christmases ago I was given an adult colouring book. I was delighted and treated myself to a lovely set of pencils with a drawstring holder to keep them in. I spent time filling in the intricate designs and confess to still having lots of pages to complete! I quickly realised that I loved colouring in but, halfway through the picture I was getting bored with the repetition and blankness of mind. Although great for thinking time, the only creativity I was getting was choosing colours or blending them to my own choice.

I needed something more.

The following year I bought a copy of The Year Of The Doodle… 365 pages with a daily prompt to doodle. I didn’t get very far. Something was missing and I wasn’t getting much enjoyment from the book.

draw every day draw every way

Whilst surfing the internet for the umpteenth time towards the end of last year in search of novelty stocking fillers, I came across an intriguing book called Draw Every Day Draw Every Way. A book that focused monthly on different areas and gave daily prompts for pictures to draw. What’s more, each month uses different materials so you get to use a lot of different techniques and discover your own art.

I bought two copies, Alice said she didn’t want one, and Bessie and I sat down to have a go at the first section in the book – a month of nature.

To start us off I find some images online and screenshot them to use as a reference for shape and colours. By the time we were halfway through the chapter Alice asked if she could have a book too seeing how much we enjoyed the process.

dragonflies - Bessie

It hasn’t been plain sailing, I have had a couple of prompts I really disliked and Bessie cried a bit over ‘A dozen roses’ … “A dozen?” she yelled at me making clear they were way too many. I told her to just do one and cross out the prompt which she did and she was happier with that, her confidence restored until next time.

I think we may have found something good here, I see others showcasing their work on Instagram and we take a look at them for inspiration too @Joglassjo for example has shown us how to add fabulous backgrounds to our images. Even though we don’t draw every day, this book with its lovely prompts have got us drawing more often and trying things we would never have thought of, like a dozen roses or one…

Watch out for our work on our Instagram channel too.

draw every day draw every way

make the most of freezer

I love my freezer, it is always stuffed with goodies and the only time I have ever let it run to empty was the time I needed to defrost it and clean it.

Sadly (for me), I only have three shelves at the bottom of my fridge freezer so I have to be diligent in what I store to make sure I make the most of the space. Thanks to my three shelf limit I have become quite the expert at packing my food in. Some may call it OCD but I place my food in certain areas so I know I can go in and quickly nab what I need. The smaller bottom tray is reserved for ice cream, frozen vegetables and pastry blocks. The middle drawer is used for loaves of bread, chips, wedges and fish fingers, chicken nuggets and the top tray is for my meat, fish and ice cubes resting on top of the week’s meals ready for the weekend gin and tonic.

I make it a habit that when I shop I buy up the special offers purposely to put in the freezer to use at a later date. I have bought a whole salmon on Christmas Eve for £5 before, a bargain I am particularly proud of.

I also like to double up on recipes when I am using my slow cooker or the pressure cooker, for example, I make a huge casserole and freeze half of it for another meal in the future.

I have got into the habit of deciding what we are going to eat the night before and if it is something in the freezer, I take it out to defrost overnight so I can place it in the fridge in the morning. This is working really well and it also helps with my shopping list when it’s time to place my weekly order.

Often my thoughts turn to the day we will knock down walls and purchase a new kitchen. I have plans that I can’t wait to put into place and one of them is a utility room. In my future utility room, there will be a sink and the dishwasher. I will home the washing machine and the tumble dryer and on top of that, I will make room for an upright commercial freezer.

This would give me a total of 7 shelves to use, can you imagine my excitement of organising the chilly shelves?

It would be marvellous for freezing fresh fruit in the summer to use throughout the winter. I could have an infinite source of burgers and bangers for my barbecue-loving husband and I could hold multi tubs of ice cream for the kids to choose from as opposed to the one or two I can squeeze in now. I could even stock up on commercial ice creams and all manner of treats for us to enjoy.

I could even reserve a shelf for my Limoncello from Sorrento, to serve chilled after a meal.

What product will I always find in your freezer?

Disclosure: A collaborative post.