Our fantastical Summer Fete

I spend alot of my waking hours thinking about what I can do to help others … I don’t know why .. I just do ! So when the idea of a Community Summer fete to raise money for two very deserving charities popped into my head a few months ago I decided to go for it !

After months of planning , heartache , headaches , excitement and downright good fun our Summer fete became a reality on Saturday and boy was it “fun” !!  We were raising money for a charity called DBA UK … DBA ( Diamond Blackfan Anaemia) is a very rare blood disorder where patients fail to reproduce red blood cells . My friend Laura and her little 2 year old daughter both suffer from this condition . Laura is sympton free however little Isabelle has to have monthly blood transfusions along with lots of other treatment to enable her to live a happy healthy life . I chose Isabelle as my inspiration … to go through so much and still smile strongly , live wildly and be happy every day … amazing little thing ! I am also running the Great North Run for Isabelle and all the other DBA patients out there !!

DBA 5

This is Laura , Isabelle & Meghan

 The other project we were raising money for is The Boulton Lane Community Garden project  … I live in one of the more deprived areas in Derby city  and what we are aiming to do is creat a Community garden for use by all . This project requires a large amount of funding  and the summer fete was my way of giving a helping hand to something that so many will benefit from. Something that will open the doors and get the community working together , resting together and building hope ! I can’t wait for it to begin … My family will alongside so many others reap so much from what we sow !

Saturday morning .. I overslept !! Great start to the day … I then had to get Billy over the other side of Derby for his Archery lesson , pick up one of the stall holders from another part of Derby and get back to be there to help all my volunteers set up and get sorted !!! It was manic !!! I don’t think I stopped moving all day – great for the waistline as I also forgot to eat !!! Not even a sausage from Mike’s BBQ !!!

I am pleased to say the fete was a resounding success …. busy busy busy … It was never quiet , there was never a lull , the tombola sold out in an hour , the raffle just kept getting better , the name of the cow was guessed , the number of lollies in a jar after much deliberation was won … the cake was weighed and is probably now demolished ! The strawberries and cream flew out the door , the BBQ ran out of food , the tea ladies just kept on pouring .. and still the people came !!!! I cannot put into words how proud I felt … watching members of our community stream through the doors of our little church hall and spill out into the garden … laughter rang through the air and voices were merrily chatting away !!

DBA

That’s me .. manning the raffle !!!

Frankie & Chris selling Betty's Eggs !

Frankie & Chris selling Betty’s Eggs !

Jumping Clay & Loom band workshop

Jumping Clay & Loom band workshop

In the garden

In the garden

Inside the hall

Inside the hall

I’m actually crying as I tell you all about this ! It was  amazing ! We raised over £800 meaning the charity and the garden project get just over £400 each ! I am truly blessed to be part of this community … and I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people around me ! Without them none of this could have happened !! Thank you thank you thank you !!!!

Right …. Onto the Christmas Fair … here we go again …..

 

http://www.justgiving.com/jujurunsagain  (If you wanted to donate ….:) !!! )

 

Run or Dye (trying) !!

 

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Well you guys all know I’m one of life’s triers … I love to put myself out there and prove people wrong about their perceptions of me !! I also like to do stuff that makes other people go “Wow ! Maybe I can do that too …”  so without a second thought to it I have signed up to run in the Nottingham Run or Dye event … ! I did a colour run a few months ago and absolutely blummin’ loved it .. so this was an opportunity I was not going to miss !!

For those of you not in the know  Run or Dye is a 5k run, walk , dance , crawl ( I will possibly be part of the latter) where you get showered with a rainbow of colour as you pass each kilometre  .. turning you into your own walking , talking , laughing technicolour canvas !! Literally becoming the rainbow … Run or Dye is the UK’s most colourful run … with no less than 5 colour stations en route  plus the mad , wild colour release at the finish line !!!

run or dye throw

I don’t know about you but I can’t wait !!! I have already booked my place alongside my friend Nikki – a complete running novice and recovering from major surgery !!! See it really is for EVERYONE .. and family friendly too … Children Under 6 run FREE !!

If you’d like to book a place .. go to Run or Dye and get filling in the form …. as a little incentive why not use the code BLUEEYEDBOYS to get yourself a little discount !!! I’m so good to you guys :) !!

See you at the start line … let me know if you’re coming ! It’s going to be a BLAST !!!!

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Redundant Mum

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A couple of weeks ago I was solemnly requested to attend a meeting to discuss my role in my place of work . I duly attended the meeting to be informed in a rather smug ( in my opinion) way that my role was to be made redundant .. MY ROLE .. not me … ! That was made most clear on several occasions …. However as follows in this situation , without a role I was in fact redundant ! So after a few hiccups and consultations and with a great big ball of “so what?” in my tummy I happily walked out of my place of work on Wednesday afternoon … never to return !

I say happy as to be honest I had not been in love with the job for quite some time… I’d worked there for almost 5 years and had quite frankly found the majority of my working hours there tedious , tiresome and completely against everything I ever wanted in a job . That said , whilst the children were small it served a great purpose enabling me to stay in work and be flexible around my husbands job and the kids nursery and then schooling !

So my “payout” isn’t huge but it will see us through the summer if we budget wisely meaning I can spend an entire summer with my 3 boys … an entire summer ! For the first time in 7 years !!!  I am so looking forward to that I’m almost in tears … They will drive me potty  and there will be ructions … but I’ll be here .. at home .. where I belong !!!

I will miss my colleagues , that’s to be expected … I will miss seeing my Mum every day ( we worked in the same place) … But I will not miss that job .. I will not miss that management structure .. and for the first time I will not miss my boys …  Being redundant isn’t ideal and I will need to find a job but for now I’m happy being Mum … messy , stroppy , tired , harrassed , smiley and happy Mummy !!!

Reduntant Mum ? Nope … happy Mum … bring on OUR SUMMER !!!!

What ? No Tea ?

tea

I am not a coffee fan … I may partake in a hazelnut latte every once in a while but thats as far as coffee goes for me …. Tea however … that’s like my life blood ( along with a  crisp chilled sauvignon blanc of course) ! So when the doctor told me I had to steer clear of caffeine from now on ( although allowing me my morning cuppa … phew) I felt like she’d just chopped my arm off … I could have cried !!! So I’m heading out on a mission now to find the best caffeine free alternatives … I do like a cup of green tea of an afternoon so perhaps I need to train myself to drink more of that ….

This is a scary quest for me … I’m going to become one of those women who orders a pot of hot water in a coffee shop and surreptisiously plonks my own bag in the cup without anyone seeing … I’ll be the freak who brandishes her own box of bags as she enters her friends homes  … I don’t want to be the beardy weirdy herbal tea evangelist …  I just want a good cuppa char !!!

I’m trying to imagine life without my tanin stained DCFC mug filled to the brim with thick dark tea with a dash of milk … the mug that is refilled time and time again throughout the day to sate my addiction to the good stuff !!! It’s just simply not cricket banning my brew …  So join me on this intrepid adventure into a caffeine free life !!!

What will they ban me from next … I dread to think …..

The Hive – Gill Hornby : Book Review

hive1

Ever stood in the school playground and looked around and seen all the different groups of people … some you avoid like the plague , some you chat away to , some you just nod at with a friendly but wary hello and others who believe themselves to be the elite of the elite and look down on you like a tiny speck of disgusting dust on their otherwise pristeen life ( seemingly ) ! This is a scene played out in school playgrounds across the nation daily … and Gill Hornby has captured this phenomenon perfectly in “The Hive” .
I found this book eerily reminiscent of my school ground experience .. and I’ve been standing in primary school playgrounds for the last 10 years with another 4 years to go …. !!!  The characters were bought to life brilliantly with the reader being able to identify themselves amongst this group of diverse individuals … I’m a bit of a Georgie / Heather/ Rachel I reckon … headstrong & nonchalant, yet affable … and sometimes just wanting to fit in !!
The characters of Bea & Melissa were cleverly worked around each others so the reader could see the outcome but not quite understand how it was going to happen . Yet , the strikingly familiar routine of the bee’s picking their new queen was played out fantastically … and we could all see the circle of life within the bee community and within Bea’s community !!
All in all a very well written book , with perhaps a few disjointed moments which left the reader wondering where that chunk of school life had gone … not that different to the twists and turns of life to be fair !!! I often wonder where that chunk of time disappeared to … but in the main a thoroughly enjoyable read and a novel any school mum should get stuck into !!
Better run … I have a summer fete to organise ………………

Colour Blast Dash

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Last weekend the boys and I headed off with the mother to Darley park in Derby ! We were dressed appropriately , running numbers attached , and had a spring in our step ! Me & my 3 darlings were about to take part in the Colour Blast Dash for The Laura Centre ( A facility to help bereaved children & young people) !! Now I don’t know about you but I envisaged us running the course together , getting covered in a rainbow of colour whilst the sun shone !! I do live in a little Juju bubble at times …. However … the reality was :

TORRENTIAL RAIN 

It rained and rained and rained … !! Spirits were not dampened  .. we were still very excited  as we threw packets of paint into the air during the Colour release party …

 

Colour Release party

Colour Release party

and then we ran ! The boys after only a few paces decided Mummy was far too slow so under strict instruction to stay together and listen to Bill at all times .. the 3 blue eyed boys ran off and joined the crowd surging through the park running through massive puddles and muddy banks … all the while waiting for the next colour blast station ! The pure glee on the boys faces was just about enough to make my heart burst with pride ! Yet still the rain fell .. harder now , faster now , relentless …. and the Colour blasters kept on blasting as we ran !

Approaching the last colour blast station I managed to lose my footing trying to run around a family and down I came .. crashed like a very unladylike sack of spuds !! I got up , laughed at myself and carried on …. I saw my Mum cheering me on at the sidelines .. and I ran ! I ran until I was virtually blinded by the rain at which point I thought I had better slow down and watch my footing ( which incidently I couldn’t do as my glasses were so wet !!)  I reached the finish line to whoops and waves from my 3 boys who all looked a little bedraggled … covered in a rainbow of orange , green , blue , pink and yellow paint ….  I’m guessing I didn’t look much better !!!  We had done it … I was so proud of my boys !

We had an awesome time despite the rain !!! Will we do it again …. YOU BETCHA !!!

Slightly worse for wear .. but happy !!! (and wet ...)

Slightly worse for wear .. but happy !!! (and wet …)

Getting jammy as a #MorrisonsMum

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Some people thought I was  a jammy so and so when I was one of the few (hundred) chosen by BritMums to become a Morrisons Mum .. and to be honest I was pretty chuffed myself !! I hardly ever shop at Morrisons in Derby as it’s on the other side of town to me  so for convenience I tend to use other stores , so the prospect of having to go shopping at Morrisons was actually quite exciting !!! My friend tagged along too and we had a mini morning trip out to Morrisons ready for the bank holiday  :)

I loved it as soon as I arrived … easy parking , plenty of trollies  , the fun of the revolving doors .. I was like a kid in a sweet shop !! Then to be greeted by piles and piles of the freshest vegetables and fruits .. now that was quite something !! Vegetables I had only read about in books were right there in front of me , purple peppers , white aubergines … it was like the vegetable world had gone a bit doolally whilst I’d been stuck in my shopping rut !! That was it , I was hooked …!!

Market street was a joy … fresh pastries , pizza’s , cooked chickens , cheesemonger , deli counter , butcher … I actually was in shoppers heaven !! However , the sensible Mum in me had gone to the trouble of making a list and so I thought I better honour my organisational skills and buy what was on the list …  I managed to buy everything I had on my list plus a few other naughty bits like black pudding , white pudding ( not had this in years and years and years .. . my cup of joy runneth over ….) , freshly baked sausage rolls , fresh donuts …  so I wasn’t that strict with my list !!

My shopping bill came to £86.49 … but I was fully expecting it to be so much more … my trolley was bursting at it’s iron grills … that amount of shopping would usually cost me well over £100 … So imagine the massive grin that spread across my face !! I was amazed!!! Great value , great produce and an enviable freshness that others should well take heed of ….

Now with it almost being summer and the picnic season lurking around the corner I decided to use some of my haul to make  some chutneys to bring out with a flourish as we tuck into our basket of fresh bread and cheese … so I made a caramelised red onion chutney & a tomato & chilli jam (The Firecracker) !! I made 4 jars of each … which meant that per jar the cost of each was : 80p 

Here are the recipes ….

Caramelised Red Onion Chutney

  • 8 red onions
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 100ml balsamic vinegar
  • 100ml red wine vinegar
  1. Cut your onions and chilli into short, thin slices and put them into a pan with the bay leaves and oil. Cook gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes. The onion should be transparent ( Like hot dog onions :) ! ) not burnt/crispy !!
  2. Once the onions are dark and sticky, add the sugar and the vinegars and simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the chutney is thick and dark. remove the bay leaves.
  3. Pour the chutney into hot, sterilised jars and let it cool. Ideally, you should leave it for a month or more before you eat it, to mature in flavour. We love to have this on crackers & cheese !! Also amazing with cold meat and salad ! And of course with cheeses ….  Make double so you won’t be stressed at Christmas !!! ( Think fast … thinking ahead …) 

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Tomato & Chilli Jam - The Firecracker 

  • 2 red onions, finely chopped

  • 400g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 400g ripe plum tomatoes, quartered

  • 3 large mild red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped

  • 5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, grated

  • 1 star anise

  • 250ml white wine vinegar

  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 1.Sterilise the jars. Wash in very hot water or on the hot cycle of a dishwasher. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Place the jars upside down on a baking tray and dry in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  • 2,Heat the red onion and chopped tomatoes in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat for about 20 minutes.
  • 3.Add the chillies, ginger, star anise, vinegar and sugar. Bring the mixture to the boil and let it boil(rolling boil) for about 15-20 minutes  or until very thick and you can draw a wooden spoon across the base of the pan so that it leaves a channel behind it that does not immediately fill with liquid.
  • 4.Then fill the sterilised jars with your jammy goodness . Eat this within 6 weeks of making it … particularly good with a good strong cheese and pickled onions !!!!! 

 

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 Both are now sat maturing in my fridge … Now we just need the rain to stop so we can get out there and enjoy the fruits of our labour ….. Thanks Morrisons !! We will definitely be heading back next payday … I think Morrisons has just become our new “good” habit  !!! Fabulous ….

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**I was provided with £80 worth of Morrisons vouchers . All views & opinions are my own.