Tuesday Tips – First in a series

It’s Tuesday and time for tip of the week.

This week – toast! 
Toast is a great comfort food, simple but effective with tea, coffee, hot chocolate, wine or beer .
Toast goes with anything and is (in my opinion) best with butter.
When camping bread is an easy food to keep to hand, both simple to store, and filling for adult and child alike. The butter can be more tricky, particularly if you are without electricity, but it will keep cool in a cool box assuming you have regular ice block changes or bung a bag of ice (£1 a bag at supermarkets) in it each day.

Toast is nice as a base for baked beans or eggs too. And can be eaten with marmite, or jam or marmalade or honey (all of which keep well without refrigeration). Thick slices are best when camping as they are less likely to break during storage and cooking.

As you know I tend to use a one ring gas cooker when camping and I’ve tried a couple of toaster types to go with it. Of course the best toast is cooked over a real fire, precariously hung on a long stick (or vintage toasting fork if you are posh) but for a gas ring the best is also the simplest. (in my opinion)

At around about £5 from most camping shops the single slice toaster is a little star!

It toasts super fast so that the toast is still fluffy in the middle but crisp and hot on the outside. Even cooking multiple slices is fast and easy. (Warning: the toaster is metal and gets extremely hot – not suitable for use by children or the inebriated – I often burn my finger when making toast)

I have tried a 4 slice model but found it slower than a sleeping tortoise and the bread just became dry rather than actually toasted! I threw the toaster away.

So today’s tip is, take a toaster camping, or if a real fire is allowed, cook toast over it. Also works well with bagels.

*Gluten free bread is also available at many supermarkets.

Clean as a whistle

A little gem has appeared and become an instant favourite on my 'things to take when I go out' list.

Small and easy to fit in my bag a bottle of Aquaint has replaced a previously carried bottle of alcohol based hand gel.

Aquaint's claims made me initially think it must be too good to be true! Kills 99.9% of all sorts of horrors, can be used on babies and children (from birth!), isn't dangerous if ingested, can be used to clean 'things' as well as hands, dummies, rattles, (so if anyone throws their toys out of the pram they can go right back in after a quick spray and wipe) plates (perfect when camping as I often leave things to dry in the sun where flies no doubt have a wander!) and even fruit!

So could it really be true? Water based, non toxic safe and yet kills bacteria, fungus, viruses...

Well it turns out yes it can! I had a look through various scientific papers that have looked into using hypochlorous acid as a disinfectant and the results were all positive. It's a naturally occurring acid and not toxic, your own body makes it anyway, and after testing it for a few days I'm hooked! No dry skin as it's water based, no strong smell (great just before you eat a sandwich!) I will be stocking up with a few bottles in preparation for festival season.

I can't imagine why I hadn't heard of this product before.

Disclosure - I was sent a couple of bottles of Aquaint for the purposes of the review - but I'm genuinely happy to recommend this product.

Aquaint is a 100 per cent natural, eco-friendly water-based sanitiser that kills 99.9 percent of bacteria in seconds. Water provides the base for the product to be highly effective as a cleanser and its only other ingredient, Hypochlorous Acid, provides its anti-bacterial properties. Hypochlorous Acid is a harmless, natural acid produced by the human body to kill bacteria.

Aquaint has passed official UK Drinking Water tests and is endorsed by Allergy UK as an ‘Allergy Friendly Product’. It is the safest sanitiser on the market and ideal for the most sensitive and delicate skin from birth. Its lack of chemicals, fragrances and preservatives mean it is completely harmless, even if digested. It can even be used as a mouthwash.
Product overview
  • Suitable for use on the skin, surfaces and even on food
  • Safe to use from birth
  • Suitable for sensitive skin and endorsed as an ‘Allergy Friendly Product’
  • Kills 99.9% of bacteria in seconds
  • Multiple uses at home, out and about and while travelling
  • Does not dry out or irritate the skin, even after repeated use
  • Does not need to be rinsed off
  • Gentle, powerful and extremely safe
  • Harmless if swallowed
  • Safe to be handled unsupervised by infants
  • Eco friendly
  • As safe as drinking water!

It is available in a 500ml trigger spray bottle (£4.99) for use around the house on kitchen worktops, dining tables or in the car and can even by sprayed onto food. The handy 50ml mini spray bottle (£2.49) is ideal for carrying in your handbag, keeping on your desk or taking on days out, camping trips and festivals as a quick and easy way to cleanse hands or skin.
It can be used to freshen-up and deodorise the body naturally, used as a mouthwash or mouth freshener and sprayed directly on to the skin or surfaces without the need to rinse off as it does not leave behind any residues or toxic chemicals. Aquaint is perfect if you’re worried about exposure to harsh chemicals as it does not contain any alcohol, Parabens, Pthalates etc.

Aquaint is stocked in Boots, Babies R Us, Ocado, Vital Baby, JoJo Maman Bebe, NCT Shop and Amazon and is available to purchase on the website at www.aquaint-uk.com.

Ride like the wind!

A few years ago when I wanted a new bike I decided that as an older,  more sensible  a more stylish woman I needed a lovely ladies bike with a wicker basket.
It took a lot of searching to get one that was under £300 and looked nice but I found one eventually. I try to go out cycling with the family when I can because it's such a nice way to travel.
So I was both delighted and mildly annoyed to see these gorgeous Mango bikes available in the UK in a simply beautiful range of colours for only £279.99.

If you are after a bike for the summer, with somewhere to carry your strawberries, cream champagne and picnic blanket I think this might be the one!
Which colour would you go for? Hard to choose as they are so pretty. I think though that the green is rather gorgeous. I can just see it, whizzing me down a country lane with my gingham skirt blowing in the breeze. With 7 gears I might even make it up the next hill too.

The Mango Bikes Ladies Classic RRP is £279.99 (intro price) and is set to be this summer’s must have. This style is available in five beautiful colours (cream, green, blue, raspberry and black) with matching pannier and chain guard as standard and an optional wicker basket.

Disclosure : The only thing I have acquired for this blog post is pretty bike envy

Outdoor Food on Friday - 26th June 2015

Welcome once again to the thought of food! Yes it's Outdoor eating time! If you are around and not at Glastonbury I hope you've managed to blog an outdoor eating experience or a recipe that would work well as outdoor or camping food.

Please link up below, grab the badge and comment on one or two of the other linked blogs. Thanks.

If you haven't a blog post to link up I'd still love a comment and maybe you could share the link?

The fact that so many festival types will be at Glastonbury this week made me think of the fabulous food we ate when we were there. Fond memories of pulled pork baps in the rain, eaten sheltering by the sausage van. Fishfinger sandwiches in the sunshine, soup from the Soup Library, a welcome return to the Strumpets with Crumpets and of course cake and pies! Where ever you've been eating I hope it was memorable.

The Soup Library

Strumpets with Crumpets

See you next week! Bring your own serviettes.

Outdoor Food on Friday

Kidzapalooza - Berlin (A festival for kids)

From 12-13 September, Kidzapalooza will be turning Tempelhof Airport into a children’s wonderland full of surprises and amazing encounters.

This one-of-a-kind experience, presented by Lollapalooza Berlin is an exciting family adventure that can’t be found anywhere else in Europe.

The European premier of the Lollapalooza Berlin is expanding its program for young festival fans between the ages of 0 and 14.

 "Kidzapalooza will be a world where fantasy and creativity know no limits,” Fruzsina Szép, festival head. 

The Kidza stage is ready to deliver lots of live experiences for both children and parents. The successful Hamburg kid-hop collective, Deine Freunde's mix of sing-along rap and electropop is sure to get hearts pumping, no matter what age. German children’s television show ‘Tigerentenclub’ presenter Lukas Nimscheck, rapper Florian Sump and Fettes Brot Tour, DJ Markus Pauli strike a balance between humorous children’s songs and mature musical taste. Café Unterzucker, a project by German Indie band The Notwist’s bassist Micha Acher, will be playing songs from their new album, whilst the Orchestre Miniature in The Park will be making music that uses only children's instruments. Performances also include the project Eule findet den Beat, backed by children’s entertainment pioneer Rolf Zuckowski, as well as Puppetmastaz another musical hero for young festival fans. While the Lollapalooza main stages offer highlights like Muse, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Sam Smith for the grown-ups, Kidzapalooza will provide kid-oriented performances and exciting highlights for young music fans from 11:00 am - 8:00 pm on both festival days, making it a festival for the whole family.

It will be a fantastic wonderland filling several thousand square meters for both children and adults alike. The multifaceted programme meets children’s needs from both a creative and physical aspect: workshops, multi-purpose play stations and discovery tours will satisfy the kids’ curiosity and their hunger for entertainment. Children’s charity SOS Kinderdörfer weltweit will offer an entertaining way to find out how kids in other countries live; and it wouldn’t be complete without the children’s cinema ‘Spatzenkino’ showing short films.
All of the kids and young people up to 14 years old will also have the unique opportunity to take a peek behind the festival curtains. Kidzapalooza is part of the Lollapalooza festival ticket; but the little Lolla fans also have to have a valid ticket which can be bought from www.lollapaloozade.com, as festival tickets for children are limited.
Tickets for children up to 10 years old are free of charge, and tickets for children between the ages of 11-14 years who are accompanied to the festival by a parent or guardian cost €19 each.

Kidzapalooza services:
  • supervision by a trained team and caregivers  
  • baby corner with quiet areas and changing facilities  
  • kid-oriented food and drinks  
  • on-site sale of noise-protection headphones 
  • central reception and information point for parents and kids 

Further information about Kidzapalooza is available on the official Lollapalooza Berlin website.

You can find Kidzapalooza registrations and regular festival tickets at: lollapaloozade.com/tickets

Line-up 2015 SATURDAY, 12th September 2015
Deine Freunde Café Unterzucker Orchestre Miniature in The Park
SUNDAY, 13th September 2015
Rotz'n'Roll Radio Mukketierbande Eule findet den Beat Lollapalooza

Line-up 2015 SATURDAY, 12th September 2015 Main Stage 1 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Bastille, Parov Stelar Band, James Bay, San Cisco Main
Stage 2 Deichkind, FFS (Franz Ferdinand & Sparks), Mighty Oaks, Everything Everything, RAZZ
Alternative Stage The Libertines, Chvrches, Hot Chip, MS MR, Glass Animals, Parquet Courts, Joywave Perry’s Stage Fatboy Slim, Dog Blood (Skrillex & Boys Noize), Digitalism, Perry Farrell, The 2 Bears, Hayden James, David K.
SUNDAY, 13th September 2015 Main Stage 1 Muse, Sam Smith, Belle & Sebastian, Stereophonics, Dawes
Main Stage 2 Seeed, Beatsteaks, My Morning Jacket, Brand New, Coasts
Alternative Stage Tame Impala, Little Dragon, Run The Jewels, Crystal Fighters, Clean Bandit, Wolf Alice, Pond Perry’s Stage Martin Garrix, Dada Life, Robin Schulz, Kygo Klangkarussell (DJ-Set), Felix Jaehn

Outdoor Food on Friday - Spanish Omelette Recipe

A change this week - a recipe. A great easy to make recipe that is perfect for picnics. I love Spanish omelette. Proper potato omelette with minimal ingredients, easy to make, stores and travels well and gives you a great taste of Spain. try it with crusty bread, olives and a glass of Sangria

I use a 27cm Frying pan with a glass lid, the lid lets you gently soften the potatoes and onions in their own steam, but an open frying pan works well too.

First peel about 4 medium sized potatoes and cube them into approximately 1cm cubes. Also peel and chunkily dice a couple of sweet onions. I crush some garlic to add too – your call on the garlic though.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the pan, and add the potato, heat gently on a low heat you don’t want to burn them) for several minutes, turning regularly. As the potato begins to soften add the onion (and garlic if you are using it) stir them in and continue to lightly heat them, this is where I use the lid.

Whisk up 4-9 large eggs in a bowl with a tablespoonful of water. (I used 4 eggs in this example, but I’ve used more for a thicker omelette.)

Once the potato and onion are soft add the egg mixture, stir it through the vegetables and then leave it to heat and solidify.

Once it’s cooked through and the top is starting to look firm I cheat and pop the pan under the grill (rather than try to turn it over in the pan and risk breaking it) When the top is browned I place a large plate into the frying pan and then turn it out.

Perfect. Eat hot or cold. Once cold it can be cut into slices and works well in a packed lunch, or for a picnic.

Outdoor Food on Friday - June 12th 2015

I had hoped to eat outside with the family last weekend, either in a pub garden (yes that counts) or a picnic in the countryside. But DD’s sudden exit to a festival changed our plans and hubby and I had a lazy day buying some plants, blogging and snoozing instead.

I did drink margaritas in the garden, but I’m not sure that warrants a whole blog post.

This weekend I would like to eat outside, I’m hoping the weather will be good enough for us to pitch the tent and get painting it, and that would be a good excuse to spread a blanket out and have a picnic on the lawn.

Food eaten outside always tastes nicer, and it’s not hard to organise, especially in your own garden! I will be buying a bag of ice for £1 at the local supermarket and filling the cool box with water, ice and cans of J2O, ginger beer, actual beer and gin and tonics.
For the picnic I’ll choose some summer fruits, berries are bright and colourful, encouraging healthy eating! I might make a pasta salad with rocket and baby lettuce leaves, and then some nibbles. I adore French bread and pate eaten outside for some reason it feels quite luxurious (may have to add a bottle of wine to my cool box!). Crisps of course, mini scotch eggs, tiny sausage rolls….oh I love a picnic.

Now of course I’ve cursed it and the weather will change. If it does I’ll eat all that in the conservatory! I refuse to be denied my picnic.

Have I missed any essential picnic food? Have you eaten outside this week? Do link up and add the badge to your post or blog.

Outdoor Food on Friday

Festival Tales from the Teen

DD is 15 and she went to her first festival alone (with mates rather than me)  at the weekend. The Wildlife  festival didn't include camping, though it was two days, and I talked about the first day here.

The second day included many more texts, I'm not sure why, maybe she was more relaxed about having her phone out, maybe she spent more time waiting between bands she liked, but what ever the reason I'm not sure it was an improvement on not knowing what was going on! In my head I could picture her in her festival gear, tight and tiny shorts, crop top, waist length dark hair brushed straight and shiny, trendy wellies and sunglasses, looking much older than 15!

Here is a selection of texts from a teen at a festival

They have sniffer dogs, they are so cute and one keeps leaping up at these guys and then sitting and staring at them, ha ha
OMG we are right at the front by the barrier! It's so cool! I can see George Ezra
There are some drunk guys chatting us up! They are hilarious, they are about 30, we keep telling them we are 15 but they are just laughing LOL
OMG a woman just took a piss right next to us! she just said 'do you mind' then pulled down her shorts and wee'd. We are right at the front by the stage still. I'm glad I'm wearing wellies
I can smell weed in the air, the other girls are drinking beer, they said I should have one. I'm not though, I said I didn't need to drink to have fun.*
I'm glad I brought a jumper, it's really cold in the wind, though once you get into the crowd of sweaty men it's warmer.
Blokes keep wanting to take selfies with us.
I'm getting a tattoo
We went on the waltzer, and nearly died.LOL
I just had a massive burger - I so needed that I was starving.
Some girl was really pissed and just projectile vomited where we were dancing.
We are leaving now see you soon.
She arrived home at midnight, super hyped and with a mysterious case of the munchies (and very 'smokey' smelling hair). She told me more details about the text incidents and we sat and ate biscuits and then she went to bed and fell asleep in a second.  I can report that she had the best fun in ages at the festival, the texts of horror were merely snippets in a perfect day of awesome music, topless guys, food, and fun. She even said the toilet queues weren't that bad. I suspect she'll want to go again next year...and maybe soon she'll want to go to a camping festival without me, though as I'm the one that pitches the tent...maybe not quite yet!

*as an aside, she is so sensible it's funny, when they were planning to go she told her mates to pack jumpers "because it will be cold after the sun goes down" they looked at her and said "you're not our mum!"  "no" she replied, "I'm the one that does festivals! trust me on this, I'm taking leggings too!" and of course she was proved right, and they were glad they listened.
Parenting Linky

Outdoor Food On Friday - Open air Fry up

Today is the first day of a regular linky (I know! Exciting huh!) in which you can link up an outdoor food related post.  You don’t need to be a camper or have a camping blog, or a food blog, you just need a recipe or story on a blog post that relates to food eaten outside. Maybe you had a family barbecue? Maybe you have a great one pot chilli recipe, or a cool new way to make s’mores. Did you have a picnic? Or have a great sandwich recipe that travels well? We need to know!

Link up here with you Outdoor Food On Friday posts and share them on social media tagging them with #OFOF

I’ll start us off with a post about the great British fry up – a camping staple in my camp! And as I usually only have one stove (unless I’m camping with friends) I do most of it in one pan, so first in go the sausages for a nice sizzle (it’s all about the timing), while they are cooking I get the Kelly Kettle on the boil for water for the tea, next the bacon goes in, if there is plenty of grease I may pop in some bread but usually I then have to start stacking bacon and sausages in the frying pan to make room for the tomato! Last in goes the egg. Once it is all almost ready I’ll whip it all off the heat, rest it on a brick and quickly make some toast, the Kelly Kettle will have boiled, so I’ll set DD to make the tea while I reheat the breakfast and serve!

And less washing up too…though I think I may invest in either a two ring cooker or a bigger frying pan. I have been experimenting with heating the beans over the chimney of the Kelly Kettle too!

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Outdoor Food on Friday

I look forward to reading your Outdoor Food On Friday posts.

Night night, sleep tight - Camping sleep mats review

For a long time I have searched for the perfect comfy night's sleep when camping. As I'm in my 50s the simple thin foam mat favo...