Bonfire Night Fun

 

Remember, Remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot. Bonfire night is one of my favourite nights of the year, I love the chance to get wrapped up in your new Winter woollies, watching the sky light up with the most beautiful fireworks, keeping warm around a bonfire, whilst filling my face with hotdogs and hot chocolate. In general, I am not a fan of the great outdoors once Summer is ended, but for Bonfire Night I will make an exception.

During my childhood it was the norm to have a bonfire and fireworks in your garden, with Catherine Wheels tied to fence posts, bangers that made a lot of noise but did very little else, and everyone, including the nans and grandads and the smallest of children, holding a sparkler. If you are going to enjoy fireworks in your own garden, you need to look for a reputable supplier of safe fireworks from a company like Let’s Party Fireworks, who offer high quality fireworks like fountain fireworks, which are less noisy than regular fireworks, but with all the colour and sparkle, making them great if you have small children.

Health and safety implications, and the importing of so many unsafe fireworks has led to a rise in the popularity of organised firework events. There are so many lovely, organised displays that often tie in the fun of the fair, food stalls and fireworks that are really exceptional in their size and style, that it is now a whole family event to go to a real bonfire display.

I usually attend the bonfire at my son’s school, we’ve been for the last five years and it is always a great, professional display which also raises a lot of money for the school. If you are still looking for an organised display that is local to you, a good online search should help point the way to many displays in your area.

If you are going to a bonfire and fireworks display this year, there are a few handy tips that you can use in order to make your night go with a bang. The first is that you wrap up accordingly. The weather might be pretty mild for November, but once the sun goes down, it can be pretty chilly. Hat and gloves are a must, with leather gloves being a great idea if you are the sort of person who gets ketchup everywhere. Another way to keep warm and snug is to get there early to grab a spot near the bonfire – just head any safety signs and don’t get too close. Bonfires and firework displays are fun for all the family, but they can be very loud, which can be quite frightening for younger children (my boy is almost 9 and is still quite wary of the big bangs). For very young children ear protectors can be a sensible way to enjoy the lights and avoid the bangs.

Whatever you decide to do this November 5th, have lots of fun and, most importantly, stay safe.

What are the best things about Autumn?

As I wake up this morning there is a definite chill in the air. And although the next astronomical fall in the Western Hemisphere doesn’t officially begin until the 23rd of September, as far as I am concerned, Autumn has begun. Best Offers Bingo  recently conducted a survey asking over 1,500 people in the UK what they think the best thing about Autumn is. The answers were very mixed, with some pretty obvious ones, who doesn’t love the crunch, look and general beauty of Autumn leaves, to some less obvious – dark evenings fill me with dread, but they made the list.

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Here are the findings in full:-

Autumn Leaves
353
Snuggling Indoors
182
Crisp Air
155
Crunching Fallen Leaves
124
Wearing Warm Clothes
118
Halloween
109
Comfort Food
107
Open Fires
89
Bonfire Night
62
Dark Evenings
60
Television Shows
59
Pumpkin Spiced Latte
29
Conkers
28
Pumpkins
19
Apples
18

Now, I am not exactly an Autumn person myself, I much prefer the heat and long, lazy days of Summer. But Autumn still has it’s charm, so I decided to compile a list of my five favourite things about the season.

And here they are!

1. Fashion Week

Although I tend to decline my invites now (a bit of been there, done that, got the t-shirt syndrome), I love looking at the new collections that premiere in September, especially as they are the collections for Spring and Summer. I’m also obsessed with checking out the style of the Front Row, with Poppy Delevingne, Laura Bailey and Harley Viera Newton being my current style obsessions.

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Style Crush Poppy

 

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Style Crush Laura

 

2. Strictly Come Dancing Comes back

Yes! My favourite series returns, complete with all the glamour, the glitter, the sequins and the celebs. This year’s line up is a great one, I’m so looking forward to seeing Peter Andre and Kellie Bright strut their stuff. Forget X Factor, this is the proper Saturday night telly. Also obsessed with Claudia Winkleman and her quirky style.

Helen George is on this year's show.

Helen George is on this year’s show.

3. Blackpool Illuminations

No excuses for this, I totally love Blackpool and its lights. The Illuminations are just so special, and there is nowhere like Blackpool when it comes to tacky, seaside fun. I’m off there next weekend, and frankly cannot wait. I’m in good company too, Frank Sinatra visited in the 1950s and loved the place.

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4. Autumn colours

The pantone colour for 2015 is Marsala, and I think this will just come into it’s own now it is Autumn. Gold, russet, burnt orange and bronze shades are all gorgeous, and work so well with the 70s trend that is still massive this season.

5. Bonfire Night

Was never a major fan as a child, but now totally love this night. A roaring fire, fab fireworks display, all wrapped up for the evening in a favourite warm coat, and all that delicious Bonfire Night food, from hot chocolate with marshmallows, to juicy burgers with lashings of onions. Bonfire Night is one of my fave events of any season.

Ready for Bonfire Night last year

Ready for Bonfire Night last year

What is your favourite thing about Autumn?

 

Halloween and Bonfire Night food from Country Valley

If you are a fan of Autumn, the chances are you love Halloween, Guy Fawkes night and all the things associated with these special days and nights. Halloween is becoming more and more popular, not just through ‘Trick or treating’ for children, but with many adults now getting dressed up and throwing Halloween parties. Bonfire Night is a great excuse for getting  wrapped up, getting together with friends and family and enjoying some fireworks and a glorious big bonfire.

Carrie and Miranda getting ready for Halloween.

Carrie and Miranda getting ready for Halloween.

Whether you’re having a Halloween party this year, or planning to have a bonfire, food plays an important part in the proceedings. Country Valley has been producing restaurant quality meat for chefs and caterers for over 40 years, and now you can also buy their choice cuts, meat hampers and Chef’s special boards for your own special occasions. This year they have some amazing produce just perfect for throwing on a Bonfire night barbecue, guaranteed to leave all your guests feeling full and totally satisfied. Alternatively, they have a chef’s special board Steak option that is ideal for a Halloween party.

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Country Valley has a great range of quality products perfect for your bonfire night celebrations. From Grand Reserve hand made steak and mini steak burgers (perfect for the little ones) to a great range of sausages that range from traditional pork (both thick and thin varieties) to Spicy Cumberland, and more unusual combinations of Pork and tomato and pork and leak, County Valley is offering gorgeous produce that are all handmade and taste absolutely divine.

Hand Made Thick Pork & Leek Sausage - 400g £3.50 click to visit County Valley

Hand Made Thick Pork & Leek Sausage – 400g
£3.50 click to visit Country Valley

In addition to traditional barbecue food, Country Valley also produce some great value hampers that are perfect for dinner parties and home catering. There is a small barbecue meat box which contains beef and lamb burgers and sausages, whilst the Grand Reserve English Beef steak box contains enough cuts of steak for 16 people and includes my personal favourite, the fillet steak. (yum!). All the meat is delivered to you fresh, but is also suitable for freezing.

Country Valley has a great blog that offers ideas and recipes, including some fabulous ideas for meat recipes that kids love too. So, if you are planning a special event this Autumn, check out Country Valley for food inspiration.