Our Favourite Five – May 2016

The summer is well and truly under way in our part of the world. And this is what the Savage family have been enjoying this month.

1 Eurovision

Of course! What else could start a list of things my family has enjoyed in May? My husband put the televised song competition in our shared diaries as soon as the date was released! This year we found out our neighbours were as bonkers about the show as we are, so invited them to come down and watch it with us. It’s so much fun sharing the madness with someone else. Although to be honest, there was a lot less crazy in Eurovision this year. Much more slick and a little bit less fun for it unfortunately (I mean Justin Timberlake, while the votes were counted? Seriously? Sigh) Anywho, we had a lovely time just hanging out, drinking wine and commenting. Much as we all agreed we like Graham Norton as host, we were also in agreement that we miss Terry Wogan getting gently sloshed and more acerbic as the evening went on. And as a fitting tribute to the man, who died earlier this year, we were sure to raise a glass of his favourite tipple at song number 9 (his personal cue to start the evening’s drinking). It was an emotional moment. And yes, tears were shed!

To Terry

To Terry!

2 Ribs

Whenever I used to have friends over, pre Oscar, my go to choice of food was always ribs. They never failed to please, but I haven’t made them for years.  So, I decided to do them for our Eurovision shindig. In the past I have always marinated the ribs overnight (a Nigella recipe) and then baked them in the oven. What a faff! This time I decided to utilise my slow cooker and boy were they a massive hit! Tender and juicy and sticky and delicious. And so much easier to make. I bought the ribs from the butcher instead of the supermarket for a start and that made such a difference. They were so much bigger and had so much more meat on them! Then I just chucked them in the slow cooker with the following ingredients. Blooming gorgeous!

Spicy BBQ Ribs

  • 1 X 500g bottle of BBQ Sauce (I used a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray Barbecue Sauce)
  • 50g of brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp of cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1.3 lbs of pork ribs (I got a rack from our local butcher who cut them into individual ribs for me)
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Combine the bbq sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and chilli powder in a bowl.
  2. Salt and pepper the ribs. Place ribs in slow cooker, and cover in sauce. Cook on low for eight hours or high for four hours
  3. Devour.

I served them with coleslaw, roasted new potatoes and sweetcorn.

No, they weren’t Slimming World in any way, but saved for a special occasion, I’ll definitely be doing these beauties again. Only I may have to make double quantity next time! Yum!

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Delicious!

3 M&S Food Hall

A month or so ago Haslemere got it’s very own M&S Food Hall. Regardless of your opinion about whether our town needed a M&S Food Hall, you can’t deny that their food is good quality and often different to what’s on offer in the ubiquitous chain supermarkets (one of which is just over the road if you’re that bothered by it). I’ve found myself popping in throughout May. I bought some of the nicest and biggest (they were a ‘King’ variety) Strawberries I’ve ever had, to take to a friends house, a beautiful bouquet to say a big thank you to a neighbour, and on days when it’s all been a bit much and I need somewhere to take five, I am happy to admit I’ve been Found wandering their aisles. I’m not saying I’d get my weekly shop there, I wouldn’t. But for occasional nice ‘bits’, it’s been a boon.

The M&S Haslemere Coffee Shop has made a nice occasional change.

The M&S Haslemere Coffee Shop has made a nice occasional change.

4 Our deck

I’ve mentioned before that our garden is bigger than our house and as soon as the sun came out at the beginning of May, we were straight out there, tidying up the garden for the summer season. We have a long lawn, but a few years ago we also built (with the help of some very kind friends) a deck. Big enough to take a decent table and chair set, it’s becoming my favourite part of the garden. It’s definitely where I spend most of my time out there, so this month I’ve been adding a few sweet little touches. Cushions for the chairs, a parasol, a wall mounted planter and wild flowers in a jar have all made this corner of the garden a lovely little nook for eating, writing and just hanging out!

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Bright, comfy cushions from Sainsbury’s.

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Bluebells and rosemary, all picked from the garden.

Is this not the cutest planter you've ever seen? A perfect spot for my Thyme and Oregano

Is this not the cutest planter you’ve ever seen? A perfect spot for my Thyme and Oregano.

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I wanted a cream parasol, but picked up the wrong box in Homebase. Hey ho! Oscar doesn’t care and asks me to put the ‘umberella’ up as soon as the sun comes out!

5 Driving Lessons

I wrote about learning to drive a few weeks ago (you can read about why I don’t already have a licence here). It’s been a big part of May for me, although to be honest I’m not sure I’d call it a ‘favourite’ as such. It’s hard learning a new skill any time in your life, but the older you get the harder it is (not my words, words of clever science type people in white coats) and I am finding it hard. But every week I’m noticing little things improving and my anxiety (which behind the wheel has been at a spectacular all time high) slowly fall. Slowly. I’ve done four lessons and now I have a two week break. I only hope I don’t forget everything in that time!

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What have been your family favourites this month? I’d love to know!

 

 

Our Favourite Five – June

This months I’m joining in fellow Surrey mummy Suburban Mum‘s link up Our Favourite Five. The idea is to look back over your family’s month and pick out five things all of you (or some of you, see #1!) have enjoyed. Here’s my five for June.

1. Team Umizoomi

Milly, Geo, Bot and YOU! Yes, I’m singing the theme tune in my sleep. Sigh. The pattern making, number counting cartoon is the boy’s new favourite and we’ve been watching it most days this month. In some respects it’s incredibly sweet to watch him running down the garden (or across our bedroom!) shouting ROLL, JUMP, RUN with all the actions included. But on the other hand if I have to listen to Milly singing badly, one more time, I just may cry. I shouldn’t complain I suppose, it’s got him counting everything (he still has a blind spot for 7, but he made it up to 13 this morning!) and at least it’s not Thomas again. But I have to say, I’m kinda happy he’s just discovered Dangermouse. Hopefully Team Umizoomi will be a brief phase. Everybody craaaaazy shake?18-00016

2. Dylan’s Ice Cream

You probably already know how much I love this place. I’ve been going to Dylan’s Milk Barn every week to sit peacefully, use their fab wifi, drink their great coffee and write, since Oscar started preschool in January. However recently Oscar has discovered that he loves and I mean LOVES ice cream. The unbribeable child, is still unbribeable, but can suddenly be ‘encouraged’ out of a situation by the promise of an ice cream cone. He can also ask for it. ‘Eye chick a Mom’ anyone? I think I’ll be heartbroken when he starts pronouncing that properly. Anyway we’ve been finding ourselves in Dylan’s at least once a week throughout June for a chocolate ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. We even took grandma on her recent visit. She was most impressed. It’s simply the kind of independent business I love to support, with a great team behind them. The owner, Ben, is always friendly and when I promised the boy an ice cream the other day then realised I’d left my purse at home, he was kind enough to let me pay later. What a great guy and what a great asset to the community.

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3. Netflix

We’ve had a Netflix subscription since Oscar was born. It was a god send then and over the years we’ve become more and more reliant on it. I’m not a big fan of any of the biggies. Ben loves OITNB and House of Cards and Breaking Bad, you know, all the series with the hype. Me, I’m more of a comedy girl and I love a good documentary. However this month I’ve noticed we hardly ever put the real telly on any more. If it wasn’t for Masterchef I don’t know if we ever would! Ben’s been enthralled by the new series of House of Cards and I binge watched Grace and Frankie. Oscar’s favourite on Netflix (for what feels like years) has been Thomas and Friends. However this month Netflix removed all it’s Thomas content. When I realised, I was panicked. How would I explain it to the boy? How would he, or I for that matter, cope? But do you know. He’s been fine and easily distracted with new favourites of Team Umizoomi (see #1), the beautiful animation of Eric Carle’s stories (narrated by Roger McGough and Juliet Stevenson, set to the most relaxing music. He can now say ‘caterpillar’. Only he pronounces it Bagaladar. Biiiig Fat Bagaladar.), and the 80’s kids favourite Dangermouse. Phew! It’s worth every penny of the subscription just to be able to sit down and say ‘what do you fancy?’. Yeah we love Netflix.

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4. Gin Bunny Prints

Nothing to do with the liquor (I’m not a gin drinker myself) but rather the fabulous online greetings card and print store. I’ve had call to buy several cards this month. We’ve had our Anniversary and it was Father’s Day (I know those of you with older children can probably rely on a card made grudgingly lovingly by your children, but I couldn’t be sure if Oscar would perform on the day, so needed an alternative!). I’ve spoken before about how much I’m trying to support independent traders more and when I discovered Katie’s Blog Hurrah for Gin and her online print store Gin Bunny Prints, I just knew she had me covered this month. Her cards are so simple and so funny and just so much more relevant to today than anything you’d find in the shops. In fact I loved them so much, that while buying the anniversary and father’s day offerings I couldn’t resist one for my awesome friend Bethany, just because it was hilarious and I knew she’d also find it hilarious! I promise you I’m not on any kind of commission, but if you’re looking for beautifully made, relevant cards I urge you to check out Gin Bunny Prints. Surely the name alone tells you how awesome this store is 😉 .

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5. The Royal Oak, Haslemere

Hahaha, I know what you’re thinking and no I haven’t been sneaking off for a crafty gin in the day (see above, I’m not a gin drinker 😉 ) but The Royal Oak has become my new favourite hang out with the boy this month. Last week, I decided I needed to stop being so scared of taking Oscar out on my own, beyond the places we are already familiar with (park, Children’s Centre etc). Because he can be somewhat unpredictable, and because I don’t have a car to bundle him into should things go awry, I’ve been somewhat reticent to try new places, without the back up of daddy. But last Thursday, it was a beautiful day and I decided to just go for it. As it happens the Oak is only four doors down from us, but has a large garden with lots of toys. I figured a) it was likely to be quiet and b) if it all went wrong I could probably carry Oscar home. Baby steps as they say. But seriously it couldn’t have been a better place to start. He walked there holding my hand and once in the garden just played and played and played. He occasionally came back to the table to eat a chip and get a drink of water, but other than that he was in his element. I was right, it was quiet, but he didn’t bother the few people who were there. As long as I made sure the gate to the car park stayed closed and bolted (it did) and that he didn’t head towards the pub itself (he didn’t) I realised the Oak’s garden was a fantastic place to take him. The food is OK, it’s no gastro pub for sure and I’m not sure I’d want to take him on a weekend when it’s likely to be much busier, but a lunch date in the week? Yeah, I think we’ll be frequenting the Oak this summer 🙂

The Royal Oak, Haslemere

The Royal Oak, Haslemere

I promise there is only coke and water in this picture!

I promise there is only coke and water in this picture!

Lunch with my guy

Lunch with my guy

The playhouse is pretty shabby chic, but makes for awesome photos ;)

The playhouse is pretty shabby chic, but makes for awesome photos 😉

Playing nicely with the one other child there

Playing nicely with the one other child there

Have you enjoyed anything new this month? Any revelations? Let me know – I love discovering new ideas of things to try.