A December Snow Story

Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas has been a good one, with time to rest, feast and spend time with your favourite people.

It has been quiet around here recently, as my time has been so full of work and school commitments since September. The rhythm of our weeks has changed, but I miss this space, and room to share and talk about my photographs and our daily adventures.

I’m not really a person to commit to resolutions, but this year I would love to spend more time with this blog, and will do my best to be around a little more.

But back to the photos; from a snow day in December, just before Christmas and amazingly coinciding with Mia’s birthday. A magical, perfect day, when all of our birthday plans were put on hold to run about in the snowflakes.

Waking Mia with news that it had snowed, and was still snowing, on her birthday morning, is one of those parenting moments I will store away in my memory for as long as possible. She was so torn between rushing outdoors in the falling snow, or opening her presents first!

A day that we had planned as a trip to Oxford for lunch and shopping, spontaneoulsy became a day of snowman building, snowball fights and sledging. Mia was around 4 years old last time it snowed, and could remember it, but Joe at 6 months old had no memory of it at all. He kept looking at the snow falling from the sky , confused as if he couldn’t work out where it was falling from.

Breakfast included a home made sno-cone, of snow and honey – in place of maple syrup!

A lovingly made snowman, who survived for most of the following week, before becoming a slushy puddle of coal, carrot nose and football scarf!

His first proper snow was quite overwhelming, and after the first novelty of it, Joe was less sure he liked it. Being pulled along on a sledge was a highlight for him, but he wasn’t too keen on the sledging down hills part, or the being so cold.

A wonderful end to 2017 and the perfect start to the whole festive season. Wishing you a very happy 2018; looking forward to an exciting new year!

 

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A Special Pirate Dinosaur Themed Birthday Party

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If you follow along with my Instagram account you may have noticed that Joe celebrated a birthday recently…I seem to have been constantly baking this week, so had to share some of the cake photos! Joe may have only just turned three, but he knows his own mind so strongly, and was very clear on exactly the kind of birthday cakes he wanted. One with raspberries and cream cheese, and another party cake with chocolate and dinosaurs! He did also ask for cupcakes for breakfast, but I had to draw the line somewhere, so his birthday breakfast below was a very happy compromise (thanks Pinterest!)

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Joe’s birthday happily coincided with a school inset day and my day off work, so we all went on a trip to the ‘dinosaur museum’ in Oxford. It is one of his favourite places and he loves to race around, looking at all of the dinosaur skeletons and shouting out their names!

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He received a super cape as a gift, and was delighted with it, insisting he wore it around Oxford. A visit to the dinosaur museum dressed as a super-hero was pretty much his perfect day scenario! It was Joe’s choice of lunch after the museum and he requested ice cream, so it had to be the G&Ds cafe on Little Clarendon Street. We balanced out the ice cream with the most delicious bagels, and Mia and Joe persuaded the lovely (and incredibly patient) waitress to make them plain bagels with just cream cheese and cucumber (Joe) and plain sweetcorn (Mia). I can’t imagine that either of their choices would do very well if they featured on the main cafe menu!

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A little after Joe’s actual birthday we held a pirate dinosaur themed garden party, complete with pirate ship, jolly roger and real pirate grog (there were dinosaurs too!). We cooked barbeque food, enjoyed the warm weather and Mia and Joe soaked everyone there with a giant waterpistol Joe had received as a gift!

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The pirate grog was iced tea, which I made with tea, lemon juice and some old-fashioned style shop-bought lemonade. We had lots of empty homebrew beer bottles which were perfect for filling with the ‘grog’. On the morning of the party I just chilled them in a wheelbarrow full of ice, and then at party time the pirate guests could just serve themselves! I also experimented with an alcoholic iced tea by adding a little vodka to the mix (and clearly labelling those bottles, for adult pirates only!)

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A pirate party tablecloth made from brown craft paper and a Sharpie marker. You’ll have to excuse my artistic efforts…pirate ships are difficult to draw!

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Ahoy there pirate Joseph! A slightly grainy photo, as taken from a distance on my phone camera, but I had to capture him on his pirate ship!

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And pirate Phoebe, their lovely little cousin, who has just celebrated her own birthday!

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With all of the party preparations I opted for a fairly straightforward birthday cake! As requested it was very chocolately and there were dinosaurs. I think Joe had ideas of me sculpting a dinosaur out of sugar paste and icing, but I think it’s important to know your limits, and simple is always better! The cake is three layers of devils food cake, sandwiched together with a chocolate ganache and crushed chocolate chip cookie mix. I used the same ganache (with a little more double cream added) to frost the top and sides of the cake, and then topped it with more cookies and of course some dinosaurs.

 

Happy Birthday Super-Pirate-Dinosaur Joe! Wishing you the happiest little year!

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