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!



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!


Bright, comfy cushions from Sainsbury’s.


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.


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!



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



Wicked Wednesdays 6th May 2015

Over the last three years, we’ve given up hope of growing veg in our garden. Every bed, every pot, always ends up as a car park, or a train track or a great messy play activity.

That’s OK. Ben’s taken an allotment, far away from prying hand of the boy and all the veg are gone.

I just have a few herbs in the beds closest to the house, including a bay, in a beautiful pot from RHS Wisley.


Hang on


Yeah sorry mum, I needed the space for Thomas.


He needs to be in peril, falling off the cliff



At least it kept him quiet


Wicked Wednesdays 15th April 2015

We love the warmer weather in our house. I’m definitely a bare foot person and I think Oscar’s taking after me.

Bare foot, yes, but bare everything else? I take his jeans off to change him and he’s out the door.

This is how I found him in the garden.

Such an exhibitionist!


Although that’s more likely to come from his father 😉

I’m joining in the wonderfully wicked Brummymummyof2‘s link up #WickedWednesdays

Happy Wednesday!


Round and round….

Our garden is huge. I’m not bragging here, I’m just stating a fact. Our house is tiny (I think I may have mentioned this before 😉 ), but our garden? Well it’s at least three times the foot print of the house. It’s wider than the property, unusual in a terrace cottage like ours, and around 100ft in length. It has a shed and what was called, rather grandly in the property details, a “summer house” (we still call it that but really its a glorified 15ft wide shed, with a porch and a deck at the bottom of the garden). It’s flat all the way down (unusual in an area called the Surrey Hills!) and it’s what truly sold us the house.

We moved in just as I found out I was pregnant (typical!) but I remember thinking how exciting it would be to have all this space to play in. The first year I had Oscar the summer weather was awful. The beautiful summer maternity leave I’d been promised never truly materialised and hanging out in the garden every day we were not. Oscar went through a phase of experiencing the “witching hour”. Did your children ever do that? Inexplicably and inconsolably start wailing for around an hour, usually in the late afternoon? Mine did. Usually between 5 and 6. You could set your watch by it. And the only thing and I’m serious when I say the only thing that ever helped calm him down during these periods, was taking him, in my arms, out in to the garden. I would walk him around and he would look up at the trees and the sky and stop crying. Just like that. I willed the rain to cease every day!

But we never actually played in the garden much.

Sunshine - a rare occurrence in 2012

Sunshine – a rare occurrence in 2012

Last summer was, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this, glorious! It was a polar opposite to the previous year and there were times we had to stay in as it was just too sunny! We got good at applying suncream quickly and thoroughly and finding hats that had been dropped en-route. The garden became more of a place to hang out, but it suddenly started to show it’s dangers too. We’d baby proofed the house to within an inch of it’s life, but never considered the garden. The thought of Oscar diving off the two stone steps onto the patio face first still makes me wince. He was upset, I mean who wouldn’t have been be having just taken of half the skin on their face, but he was more upset that I would let him straight back out into the garden once I’d cleaned him up. Seriously! I liked that he wanted to be outside, but I spent the whole of last summer shouting STOP! and WAIT FOR MAMA, every time he ran down the garden. In the end my heart couldn’t take it any more and I got quotes to have fences put up all over the garden. I wanted a pen (albeit a large pen) to keep him safe in. But in the end it was so expensive, I just made a barrier out of chairs across half of the garden. Their physical presence, seemed to deter him most of the time. I mean he did climb through the legs a couple of times, but all in all my stress levels went down and I could enjoy being out there with him. And I had to be out there with him constantly. He had no interest in playing with me, but as the summer wore on he got good at stopping at the top of the steps and putting one hand in the air to indicate he wanted to descend them. He wasn’t really interested in playing with many of his toys in the garden, except his ball and his little toddler slide. And those he adored.

We went out as much as I could take sitting on the grass and watching his every move.

2013 an althogether more sunny and stressful summer

2013 an altogether more sunny and stressful summer

And now he’s nearly 2. This past week the sun has miraculously appeared. In March! Well that was that. He refused to stay in the house a moment longer. It’s not yet summer but that doesn’t matter to the boy. He has discovered the best way to tell me he wants out is to bring me his wellies (he’s an actions speak louder than words kinda guy) sometimes before he’s even dressed. He adores being allowed to run around the entire garden, now the barrier has been removed. Next door have put up the most amazingly sturdy fence where there was only bushes before so it’s much tidier and safer up at the end. He’s new domain is the deck outside the summer house. He has all his push around/ride on toys around him and he’ll push them around or lie next to them, watch their wheels in motion. He rarely rides them – too slow Mama! Gotta keep moving. And I have discovered that I don’t have to be sat next to him every second. Maybe this is a confidence thing. I am confident in his confidence? But it’s fab! I can go and hang the washing out or tend to my herbs or take some photos, occasionally looking up to the deck to make sure he’s not pulling up Daddy’s onions or trashing the strawberries. And when I’m done I can go and sit on the deck and have a ‘chat’ with my little guy. I think the garden is good for him. He’s never unhappy in the garden. He’s only unhappy when I have to bring him in (it’s rare for him to come in of his own accord – most times I have to carry him and it worries me how I’ll cope when he gets too big to carry – maybe by then he’ll respond to bribes 😉 ).

His domain

His domain

I can see that he’s going to be out there all the time – the garden we fell in love with, is really going to come into it’s own this year.

I can see his development changes so clearly in the garden. I wonder why that is? And I truly believe he’s learning stuff too? Not academically maybe, but he’s so curious and pushing boundaries of what I thought him capable of yet. He ‘helped’ Ben plant some strawberries last weekend and he and I have looked at some ‘wiggly worms’ today. He has no concept or understanding of what these things are or mean yet, but we’ll come to that. He’s just so happy to be out there. And maybe that’s going to translate throughout his life. Maybe he’s just going to be an outdoorsy kinda kid. Ben was. Me? Well not so much. I didn’t go in for camping and tree climbing and running and all that.

Hang on, yes I did! I climbed trees in a sort of park over the road from my house, so regularly that we each had our own tree, like old men in a pub. We made dens out of fallen branches and went tadpole spotting in the stream and digging for buried treasure. I used to make Acorn ‘butter’ and rose petal ‘perfume’ with ingredients I found and blackberry crumble from wild fruit we gathered. I rode my bike everywhere, even to school, from the age of about 7 to 11. We were never indoors in the summer holidays! But I was rarely in the garden, I was all over the village where we lived. I was young, but I was courageous, adventurous and often in A&E 😉 Thank you mum for letting me be that way. I was so an outdoorsy kinda kid. Why did I think I wasn’t? What happened to make me forget? Isn’t it crazy that it’s taken such a little person to make me remember?

Come on Oscar – lets go play!

He & Me. More similar than you'd think

He & Me. More similar than you’d think