Purple Fields of Mayfield

unnamed-11

Lavandula angustifoli 

I have been trying to make the most of the past few weeks with my precious boy before he starts Pre-school in September. I still like my firsts with him, like baking which we recently attempted although he showed no interest and then we visited a family run organic lavender farm in the lovely North Surrey Hills while the sun came out to play. Now this was absolutely stunning and even Jay was impressed and enjoyed running through the aromatic rows of lavender.

IMG_0383

I don’t particularly have an interest in this flower but my goodness what a visual treat purple hues and blues and the smell around you is subtle and yet intoxicating with the gentle hum of bees…yes bees so bear that in mind when deciding what to wear before a visit! Lavender has long been valued not only for its fresh, sweet smell, but also for its wide and varied therapeutic benefits. Its history goes back at least as far as the Roman Empire where dried lavender was used to freshen the wash water and the lavender oil was used to treat battle wounds. In modern times dried lavender and its oil has many uses both medicinally and for the home. It is both medicinal and soothing, working as a natural sleep aid something I could do with using more of I think.

IMG_0263

As we drove up to the entrance I could see why the location is a photographer’s dream. You don’t get much for £1 these days but that was the entry fee which included parking. This place deserves many more visits and it’s perfect for a private party because you can hire the area for celebrations too and a spot of afternoon tea. It’s my kind of celebratory venue (hint for Mr M if he’s reading this).
IMG_0313
Whilst this is a place for all old and young I can see the appeal for the romantic types walking hand in hand with your love and enjoying a drink and snack in the cafe in beautiful surroundings. There’s even a British red (can’t miss it) telephone box for added contrast.
IMG_0412
 My first attempt to get my son to have a photo taken with me.
A calming but colourful place I can see us returning again when the lavender is in full bloom.
IMG_0126

IMG_0281

IMG_0424

IMG_0221

IMG_0252

IMG_0288

My second attempt to get my son to have a photo with me!

IMG_0182

IMG_0231

Third time lucky!!

Jay fell asleep in the car as we drive home, possibly the lavender effects or just from all the excitable running away from his mummy. If you are thinking of heading to Mayfield do check out their website. I’ve also done a little vlog of our visit which will be up on my YouTube Channel soon.

Mayfield thank you for a wonderful morning of visionary delights.

Love

Bella & Jay

~X~

IMG_0332

 

Scooping and Pouring Stations Activities

It’s the simple things in life that seem to bring lots of smiles and laughter to our mummy and son days together. From spending approximately 18 years of my life in office jobs to now nearly 40 years old being a kid again so to speak playing with my active toddler I can honestly say it feels like the best time of my life as a stay at home working mumma.  Of course  I accept my exhausted parent status happily because it’s worth seeing my little human giddy with laughter and I know there will come a day he won’t want to hang out with me anymore.

IMG_3140

I try to make my days with Jay as enjoyable as possible. It’s not always easy as sometimes you have to drum up the energy and hope for the best.  Yes it’s mandatory that we go to the park daily and sit on the same swings and slide down the same slide but we also do different activities. I don’t know if he will remember so I’m writing this as a record so that Jay when you read this when you’re old enough to understand you will know that I tried to make your days fun.

POURING STATION 

IMG_3228

Setting up activities for my son is my nirvana. I love seeing his face as I bring out something new or lay tables with materials whether it be for an arts and crafts project or baking for instance.  Recently I decided to arrange a water pouring station for my boy.  It took little time to be honest, I grabbed a few containers funnels, jugs, measuring cups, plastic cups and filled the large container which we use for his toys with water from the garden tap.  I didn’t have any food colouring so I added a few drops of his washable paint to the water. The colander was a winner.

IMG_3075

I sort of wish we could do this daily and I think the garden is a great place for this. This particular afternoon we basked in warm sunshine which seemed to add to the excitement. I tried to get my non compliant toddler to wear his summer hat but he wasn’t having any of it however he did agree to let me SPF 50 him!

IMG_3010

IMG_3180

IMG_3222

 SCOOPING STATION (with no ice-cream in sight)

IMG_3951

I figured if he was having so much fun with water why not try dry matter. This however caused a dilemma as Mr M rightly pointed out there is some food waste which is generally a no no.  I would say to perhaps use ingredients in small quantities to lessen the guilt.  We used pasta, rice, flour, cornflakes, kernels, mini shreddies but I guess the list is endless it’s whatever you have but always keep a watchful eye if you are using ingredients that may cause choking. Jay’s never been one to put objects into his mouth but I am there when he is scooping just to be sure.  Once all the containers are prepared the same process applies… let them at it!

IMG_3827

IMG_4022

It’s a great activity for their motor skills. Pouring and scooping is about discovery and exploration of gravity, weight, muscle control, cause and effect, and self-awareness. The downside is all that clearing up after but it’s something I am happy to run with as like I’ve said it is these moments that I will remember and treasure.

What activities do you enjoy with your little humans?

Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

 IMG_3639

Meeting Antonio Carluccio (CIRIO)

unspecified-5unspecified

Variety is the spice of life and although my stay at home mummy days can sometimes seem a bit like the film ground-hog day going round in a loop in real time, lately my diary has been busy with lots of events. One of the lovely perks of working with Channel Mum is the exciting invites popping into my inbox and this was one of them.

unspecified-3

I attended Cirio Tomatoes 160th anniversary party where Commendatore Antonio Carluccio OBE, OMRI gave a live cooking demonstration.  The Godfather of Italian food Antonio is a favourite chef of mine and a much loved and respected  Italian cookery writer.  I am a fan of the BBC series Two Greedy Italians where Antonio and his friend Gennaro Contaldo return to Italy together to remember their own pasts and discover how mealtimes and attitudes to cooking are changing.

IMG_8947

It was nice to hear about Antonio’s experiences growing up and his love for this particular brand Cirio  which he genuinely endorses as well as the herb basil! I enjoy cooking for my family and I genuinely love tomatoes.  Despite technically being a fruit the tomato is generally categorised as a vegetable.  They’re the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.  They are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K so I can go on drinking bloody mary’s which is great news.

unspecified-7

As Italian food is my favourite cuisine I have frequented Carluccio’s in London Waterloo many times. It’s always nice meeting people you see on TV and he was exactly as I imagined he would be. Such a lovely funny gentleman who has a genuine passion for cooking good food believing in Mof Mof  ‘minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour’. A Tuscan soup consisting of bread Pappa al Pomodoro was on the menu as well as Mussels in a Cirio  based sauce both were flavoursome and incredibly easy dishes.

IMG_8861IMG_8848

unspecified-2

IMG_8908

My evening at the Good House Keeping Institute in London was also thoroughly enjoyable because of these blogger beauties Pip, (The Simming Foodie) Binny (Binny’s Kitchen) and Hayley (A Lovely Planet)  and it was great to chat to them while we sipped on bubbles!.

unspecified-4

unspecified-6

IMG_8712

If you’re looking for a new recipe book Antonio’s latest labour of love will be published this October called Vegetables showcasing his love for cooking with vegetables and placing them at the heart of the meal. I am definitely making use of the goodie bag which we were all kindly given and loving the recipes.

I won’t be opening a restaurant of my own though any time soon.

IMG_8873

I did a little vlog to capture the evening.

Thank you

Bella

~X~

My Blog is 2 Years Old

cropped-22

I know I share the interweb with many millions of bloggers and today my blog celebrates its 2nd year of operation. My passion for writing is still ever strong and for those of you that support me by reading my written thoughts thank you from the core of my heart. (Blows Kiss)

This is a personal project started on the day my son turned 4 months old. It’s a hobby and even though I didn’t start it to earn a full time living or make a career from it I am pretty sure it would be wonderful to do this one day. It has enriched so many aspects of my life both personally and professionally and it’s crazy when I think of how many nice opportunities that this blog has created for me.

I have been fortunate so far in attending events, last week I got to meet one of my favourite Chefs Antonio Carluccio in my beloved London town.  Receiving paid opportunities from brands that want to work with you and emails from readers is a real bonus. I have also started Vlogging which was always something I had thought about getting underway but  I didn’t have the confidence until now.  Nothing ventured nothing gained as they say.

If you do fancy supporting me on the YouTube platform please head over to my channel  Along Came Jay the more subscribers the merrier!

I am incredibly happy to be working as a sponsored Vlogger with Channel Mum since March 2016 and this has really been the best job I’ve ever had with the exception of motherhood of course. I’m not sure what year 3 will hold for my blog but I hope to continue writing content worth sharing with you all.

Thank you for reading and for your kind support.

Bella

~X

 IMG_7991

Summer Playlist 1

summer-playlist

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach

Well the season of Summer has started here on the British Isles but you wouldn’t think it with the monotone skies. BUT I won’t let it get me down too much and have recently refreshed my iTunes library with some new sounds to brighten my days.

635988381782214301787342472_Summer Playlist

I listen to a lot of music of all genres but if I had to choose I would say it’s electronic music more specifically progressive trance that I like the most.   I do get it’s not to everyone’s liking but that’s what I like listening to particularly if I’m working out or driving.

Recently the following non trance artists have caught my attention which some of you may or may not recognise. I thought I’d share their music via the brilliance of YouTube (what would we do without it).

Raleigh Ritchie (Keep It Simple Feat. Stormzy) 

Honne (Gone Are The Days)
Ellie Goulding (Codes)
Mabel (Thinking of You)
Julio Bashmore (Holding On)
Dual Lipa (Be The One)
Tieks (Sunshine Feat. Dan Harkna)

I think music in itself is healing.  It’s something we are all touched by no matter where we’re from, so if you’re having a stressful day turn on the radio or download that fab App Shazam onto your phone and it might just be the emotional boost you need.

What’s on your current playlist?

Thanks for listening!

Bella

~X~

dd0b5741f7431a23d04b6da9cb629f2c