Monday, 16 September 2013

Moose Maple Butter

As a family, we're pretty into moose. And maple syrup. And butter. So imagine my delight when Farrah got in touch to ask if I'd like to try a new product called Moose Maple Butter! She promised me that it's the perfect accompaniment to my American Pancakes, and she wasn't wrong! 

I just slathered it on in a manner that would make Nigella proud. It's not hugely strong on the maple front, but my husband and I agreed that this wasn't necessarily a bad thing as it didn't taste as sugary and sickly as a big glug of syrup can sometimes. It was just right. And it looks like they've worked hard on achieving that exact balance.  It's also worth noting that there are no additives or other nasties in it - just natural maple syrup, organic butter and a pinch of sea salt. (Nutritional info can be found on the website). And I've got enough left to try it on some warm crusty bread next, as recommended by Farrah.  Can't wait!

Moose Maple Butter is being launched in the UK in November - you can find more details here. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for details of stockists.  

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Cuckmere Haven

The last time I went to Cuckmere Haven was a painful mid-break up outing when I was desperate to prove we could 'still be friends'. That story does have a happy ending; he is now Mr Big Tree Little Moose, but certainly not as a result of that little trip!  Anyway, I've been wanting to erase that 'last time' memory for the last 8 years, so when my mum suggested going together last weekend I jumped at the chance. As a family we've always referred to it as 'Seven Sisters' but I think that's actually the name for the park above the cliffs. Cuckmere Haven (or Valley) is the estuary bit you walk through to get to the beach. I'm pretty sure Birling Gap fits in there somewhere too, but I'm not sure where!

We got there just before 11am and parking was easy, even for a sunny bank holiday. Glad we arrived at that time though, because when we returned to our car a few hours later the car park was mayhem! Cost of parking seems reasonable at £3.50 for the day. Although it's slightly frustrating that we didn't get it free with National Trust membership; although much of the country park is NT the car park is not. 

It was so lovely to be able to take the dog, Otter. She absolutely loved it! And fortunately there were no grazing sheep in the areas we were walking so she could run freely most of the time. It's worth knowing that there are no dog poo bins on the walk to the beach; the nearest one is by the car park. And dogs on leads on the beach May to September. 

Our little toddler's greatest pleasure is running. And here she could run! The paths are far enough away from the river that she wasn't going to trip and fall in. She would have run the entire mile route to the beach but at one point we put her in the pushchair for a forced break! We took the park trail down to the beach, as opposed to the beach trail, as it was so much quieter and gets you to pretty much the same place!

Once at the beach we settled down for a picnic but a ridiculously crazy amount of teeny tiny flies forced us to relocate backwards onto a grassy spot just before the beach. Which was equally as beautiful. 

The walk back felt quite long! Little J did more running. By this time the route was busy with visitors so I'm glad we came at an earlier time. 

It's such a happy family place for me, full of great memories of cycling, climbing trees, exploring old war bunkers, collecting stones, sea swimming, searching for fossils in the cliffs and more. I'm glad I've been able to take my mind back to those memories, and start making new ones of our own. 

Bluebell Railway

I thought I published this weeks ago but I've just found it in my draft box! Oops! But I imagine that this would be a perfect crisp winter day activity so I'll post it now - just make sure you check the timetable in case it changes during the winter. 

My mother-in-law recently took us all out to the Bluebell Railway as a birthday treat for little J.  Can you believe she's 2!!??  Crazy.  Anyway, it was wonderful.  (Although I'm glad it was her treat as it is quite expensive unless you go off-peak!)  We arrived a few minutes later than planned and missed our train.  The next one wasn't for over an hour.  Argh!  Make sure you check the train times before setting off!  But our dread of trying to keep 2 toddlers entertained for an hour fairly quickly turned around as we realised what was going on at the station.  There's a souvenir shop that has Brio train sets ready to be played with.  There's a cafe for coffee and snacks.  And then there are the trains!  Plenty to see up and down the platform and quite a few chugging through.  We were even allowed to get on an engine with the driver and see them stoke the fire.  You can purchase station-only tickets at a fraction of the price and I would definitely consider that in the future.

Little J and her cousin loved it all.  If I'm honest we probably didn't need to go as far on the train as we did as once it was moving the girls sort of lost interest - you're on the train so you can't see it!  I think they're a bit young for that bit.  But there are a few stops on the line so you don't have to sit on the train for hours.  We stopped off for a picnic and then got back on the train as it headed back.

We all commented on how lovely the staff at the station seemed.  They must all be passionate about their trains!  And the stations and trains are beautiful.  It was absolutely delightful and we've got such special memories and photos of the day.