A picnic in the park

Last week I received a lovely email asking if I would be interested in taking Joe for a teddy bears picnic in order to test a special alphabet picnic game designed by Waitrose. I loved the idea, we often have picnic lunches in the garden when the sun is shining.  Joe also enjoys a challenge, so I knew the game would definitely interest him. So I replied with a great big ‘YES’, and on Monday we set out to a local park with Sooty, Sweep and Soo to take on the challenge.

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Cheslyn Hay park is truly lovely, with lots of grass and trees for children to run and explore, a great little play area with swings and slides, and also goalposts for a nice game of football. It is definitely one of Joe’s favourite places, and the perfect place to both have a picnic and a play session, and also to attempt to find all the things on the alphabet game list.

DSCN8608We packed a picnic of sandwiches, crisps and savoury biscuits, yoghurt and fruit, and a cartoon of fruit juice. I also added my current food obsession, jelly filled with fruit (in this case raspberries), and added plastic cups, spoons and a blanket, and we were all set to go.

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With Sooty and Sweep.

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Little cutie.

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Soo looks after the juice.

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Joe practices his photography skills!

Once the food was finished, it was time to take up the challenge. We didn’t find everything on the list, but still did pretty well. Here are some of the things we did find.

B is for Bumble Bee

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F is for flowers, G is for grass that is perfect for rolling on, and H is for hedges.

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.

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.

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L is for leaves

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R is for rainclouds…which luckily passed straight over.

DSCN8611T is for trees.

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U is for Undergrowth

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Z is for Zebra…or at least something stripy!

DSCN8628We found lots of other things on the list, from ants, to yellow flowers, nasty stinging nettles, and a couple of mammals who were being walked in the park. Joe loved doing the challenge, and carefully ticked off each item we found.

DSCN8633We had a lot of fun with our picnic and the teddy bear challenge. If you would like to have a go this summer, you can download your own game from the Waitrose website (click here to visit.) You will also find lots of summer recipes and picnic ideas.

*We were sent a voucher from Waitrose in order to shop for our picnic. Soo chose the juice – it’s her favourite.

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Making our own Easter Eggs…a bit of a disaster

Some women deserve the term ‘Domestic Goddess.’ They swan around the kitchen in best Nigella mode, making the most mouthwatering creations from scratch, baking their own bread and cakes, seemingly able to rustle up a three course meal from a block of cheese and a bag of potatoes. Sad to say, I am not one of those women.

In fact, I couldn’t be further removed from the term ‘Domestic Goddess’, ‘Domestic embarrassment would be more apt. You see, I really hate cooking, I hate it with a passion. So whilst some lovely ladies litter their blogs with culinary delights, I clog up my Facebook feed with ‘OMG!’ moments from the kitchen. However, my five year old loves to bake, cook and generally mess about in the kitchen so I do sometimes have a go …with varied results.

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When I was approached by the lovely people at Waitrose to see if I would be interested in making my own Easter Eggs with Joe, my first response was to laugh out loud. Me. making my own Easter Eggs – were they joking? But, after having a think about it, I decided it would be a lovely activity for the first day of half term, and, as it only really involved melting chocolate – what could possibly go wrong? These were to prove famous last words.

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We were sent a truly amazing box of ingredients, both to make, and decorate the eggs. Everything from chocolate sprinkles (also perfect for ice cream), honeycomb and butterscotch pieces, mini marshmallows, pre-made icing, popping candy, the sweet treats were literally endless and totally mouthwatering. There was also a mixture of chocolate – Lindt dark chocolate, and dairy milk chocolate in the form of large buttons. Everything we needed to create the perfect Easter Eggs.

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We started quite well. We melted the chocolate and got the molds ready. We found old, clean paintbrushes as I don’t possess a pastry brush (what exactly is a pastry brush?) and got down to putting a thin layer of the melted chocolate in the mold. So far, so good (save except for a few stray bristles from the paintbrushes – but what’s a bristle or two between friends?) We allowed the first layer to harden, and then added a second layer. Again we allowed this to go hard. We were now all set to decorate…or so we thought.

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The problem came when we tried to get the eggs out of the molds. They wouldn’t come out. Joe suggested banging them on the table – I did, and that didn’t work either. I then tried to loosen them by squeezing the edge of the mold, and this, eventually, started to release the egg – in shell-like pieces unfortunately.

We eventually ended up with this.

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OH DEAR!

The amazing thing is that Joe was as happy as could be and set about adding all the honeycomb pieces, sprinkles and smarties to the mix, he stirred, tasted and proclaimed that he wanted to save some for his nan. And I guess that is the crux of this task, the sheer enjoyment factor. You can buy an Easter Egg anywhere for a pound, but the giggles and fun we had was both memorable and totally priceless.

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With thanks to Waitrose and Simone Stevens from Propellernet.