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Celebrating 82 years of marriage at the Halfway Bridge

Last Friday Jim and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. I honestly have no idea where that decade has gone, but after 5 countries, 6 houses, 2 dogs and 2 children, it felt like a bit of a milestone that needed celebrating!

As luck would have it a couple of months ago I won a Twitter competition run by the Halfway Bridge pub to have canapes and a couple of bottles of English sparkling wine. We thought we’d struggle to drink both bottles particularly with one of us driving so it made sense to turn it into a bigger celebration and invite my parents with sister and her husband, both of whom celebrate their wedding anniversaries in June too (55 years and 17 years respectively)

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A homemade hot cross buns challenge

A homemade hot cross buns challenge

by Clare Mansell

Hot cross buns are one of my guilty pleasures. While some people might moan when they appear in supermarkets too quickly after Christmas, I always welcome their short season and in our family they often become a Friday afternoon teatime treat. But despite the fact I make bread several times a week, I have never considered turning my hand to homemade hot cross buns. Why? Well two reasons really. I can’t shift the mental block I have that sweet dough is trickier than savoury and secondly, the crosses make them look (as ridiculous as it sounds) complicated.

 

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I Quit Sugar… and then what happened?

I Quit Sugar… and then what happened?

by Clare Mansell

A couple of months ago I gave in to curiosity and bought the bestselling book I Quit Sugar. I wanted to experiment with the idea of minimising or completely removing sugar from my diet and I had a couple of good reasons why. Firstly sugar has always either given me a headache or made me tired. Even one biscuit gives me a noticeable thumping in my head and a small amount of chocolate at lunchtime will mean I’ll be falling asleep by the kids bedtime. Secondly we have a brilliant sugar free and paleo pop-up cafe locally to us which produces amazing delicious treats which I would quite happily trade conventional sweet snacks for, and finally I wanted to reexamine how much sugar I was giving Theo, I had no idea where it fitted on the scale of good or bad, but like most middle class parents I suspected I was probably doing ok.

So the book arrived and I read through the first few chapters nodding along to Sarah Wilson’s introdcution. She believes sugar reeks havoc on our bodies and there’s too much of it in our Western diet. She also says that due to the lack of sweet stuff around when humans evolved our humans never developed an off switch for sweet, which is why even when you can’t eat any more of your main course, you can always find room for pudding.

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Growing rabbit proof salad with Habitat

Over the last few summers we’ve made various attempts to grow vegetables in our garden. The first summer in our house we had a complete disaster when I planted out dozens of tiny little plants I’d nurtured from seed in our raised bed and then saw them obliterated overnight by the local wildlife. The next summer we tried slightly planting in troughs, but the rabbits were still able to reach the leaves to nibble the plants, so we gave up.

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What are the foods that you are made of?

What are the foods that you are made of?

by Clare Mansell

As a child I used to love getting my mum to tell me about the foods I was made of. The flavours she craved and ate in quantity while I was in the womb that formed the nutritional blocks that built me.  Whilst I was made of yoghurt and Cornish mackerel, a generation later, our new baby girl is made of more subtly flavoured foods…

There have been two things I have enjoyed consuming in quantity during my pregnancy and they actually go rather well together. Shortbread and whole milk. I’ve always been a milk drinker but over the last few years I’ve experienced a few raised eyebrows at my beverage choice that made me hesitate slightly about drinking it. It may be delicious, but isn’t milk drinking just for kids?

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