Month: July 2015

Redcurrant and Raspberry Jelly

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The Redcurrants are “Red-y” to be picked. Hooray!

A few weeks ago I picked my redcurrants. And when a neighbour gave me the offer of theirs I jumped at the chance! I left with a big bag Raspberries too. Therefore I decided to make some redcurrant/raspberry jelly (no bits!)

Here is the method I used:

Ingredients

  • 1kg Redcurrants
  • 500g Raspberries
  • 2lt Water
  • 1.5 kg granulated sugar
  • 2 Oranges (optional).

Kit

  • Big pan
  • Stirring spoon
  • Muslin / Jelly bag
  • Jars (makes approx 5 large jars).
  • Wax seals / jam jar lids
  • Jam thermometer (optional)

Separate the stalks from the currants and raspberries as much as possible. Add the fruit to a large pan with a little water.

Cook on a high heat pressing the fruit down with the back of the spoon to release the juice. 

Once the fruit is almost a pulp (about 15 minutes).  Take off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Put the pulp through a jelly bag into a large bowl (this could be done overnight) to allow all the juice to drip.

Once you have the liquid, add this back to the pan with approximately 500g of sugar for every pint of liquid. I also added the juice of two oranges for flavour. Cook on a low heat stirring in the sugar until it is all dissolved.

Slowly turn up the heat to rapid boiling point and cook for another 25 minutes to the setting point. If you have a jam or sugar thermometer, the ideal temperature should be around 105C.

Sterilise your jars in the oven, about 10 minutes and fill them to near the top with the jam. Cover with a wax seal / cellophane or the jam jar lid.

 

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Parcelgenie

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Forgot someone’s Birthday, someone in need of a little pick-me-up or want to send something different rather than a card? Even if you are out and about? Then try the Parcelgenie App, with most gifts under a fiver the app allows you to send a little gift from tea-lights to chocolate owls.

Just choose a gift, send by text to your friend or family member. Once they reply, their gift will be sent straight to their door! You can even change the text on the message to suit what your gift is for or make it more personal to whom you are sending it too.

I sent a gift to a friend for her birthday and another to my brother who has helped us out a few times with Matilda recently. The App is really easy to use. The first time you use it you have to verify who you are which I got confused about, but once you are in, it is all really straight forward.

Sweet Treats

Retro Present

Now you can also send gift with just a text. The new text service, means you no longer even need the App to send a gift. It makes Parcelgenie accessible to a lot more people, even those without smartphones can use it. At the moment First-time users of the texting service will automatically get 50% off on their first go. See how it works here Parcelgenie Txt Service.

To get the App click here Parcelgenie.

Disclaimer : I was given to free codes to test and review Parcel Genie and give my honest option.

Sherwood Forest and the Merry Radfords

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Just before Matilda’s first birthday late last year, I was so pleased to get a call to say I had won a stay at Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Nottinghamshire. The perfect way to have our first family breakaway. Sherwood Pines is made up of  82 cabins, surrounded by a pine forest. With a shop, cafe and other bookable activities.

Myself and Jamie had twice been to Centre Parcs at Longleat, Forest Holidays has no pool and the site is much smaller, unlike Centre Parcs,however this does mean it is much easier to explore…with a little one!

We arrived on a Friday just before 4pm, our cabin was not quite ready so we got a few extra things from the shop and explored the area around the retreat. Dotted around the site are dens, fairy doors, a play area, bird houses, and a bug hotel. We then walked a short distance through the trees to our cabin.

We were given a Golden Cabin and opted for a 1 bedroom so that we could have Matilda with us in the travel cot. The cabin had an little hall (for your muddy boots), an open plan dining / kitchen area (fully equipped), large patio doors overlooking the forest, log fire and an outside decked area for BBQ’s complete with Hot tub. Upstairs was the bath and shower room and the bedroom, that had a skylight with a magnificent view of the trees.

We were lucky enough to have some extras included in our prize, two continental breakfast packs and a meat pack. Which can be pre ordered and left in your cabin. Pretty useful for us as we do not drive therefore could not do a “big shop” on the way. The onsite shop although small,stocked quite a lot of items at convenience shop prices.

On the Saturday myself and Jamie had an in-cabin Spa treatment experience. Three hours of treatments (we split between the two of us so one could look after muchkin) where the therapist comes to you. Jamie opted for a deep tissue massage and me back, face and foot treatments. The lady from My Personal Sanctuary was really relaxed and chatty, perfect for us as we are not used to such indulgence!

The day after, Matilda became a “Young Explorer”. Guided by a Forest Ranger, we went for a short walk into the forest, we started by collecting “bug food” (bits of bark, pine cones, moss) then it came to collecting the bugs from under logs into our bug pots. All the time the Forest ranger was pointing out other wildlife, plants and their homes. Finally we all made our bug hotels and released the insects / creatures we  collected back into the forest where they belong. We then retreated from the rain into the cafe to paint bugs and pine cones. Although Matilda was quite young for this she really enjoyed it….she got quite messy!

A short walk from the site is the Forestry Commission activity centre with bike hire, walks and Go Ape centre. Unfortunately we did not have any more time to spare, so missed out.

Alas Monday came too soon and with our muddy boots packed we headed home. We all had an amazing first holiday, Matilda had so much fun. I would highly recommend Forest Holidays for families who want something quieter, more relaxed than some other holiday resorts in UK.