Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Fruit Picking at Oast Farm Buxted - review by Bex

You all know how much we love Oast Farm, it's so handy for us and the ladies who run it are just lovely, it feels like visiting friends when we head down there.  I've been meaning to have a go at fruit picking with the twins and have finally managed it!

I recently discovered a fellow local blogger from Uckfield and we arranged to meet up at Oast Farm for a coffee and have a go at PYO while we were there.  Zoe from Juggling on Rollerskates is also a Mum who blogs about her adventures with her kids, one of whom is just a few months younger than Kalyan & Priya.  We all had a great time playing at the cafe followed by some breakfast and then went off to explore the farm and pick some raspberries.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst - review by Bex

(Edit: I wrote this post early this evening then spent too many hours choosing and editing photos so it's a bit late now!  Sorry!)

We were invited along to Wakehurst this weekend to check out the Kew Science Festival in the gardens this weekend and I wanted to get a post up on the blog tonight to show you all how much is going on, we'd definitely recommend it if you're at a loose end tomorrow!  Although it's aimed at older kids, there's still plenty for toddlers to do and keep entertained.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Outside The Box Clothes - review & GIVEAWAY by Bex

To celebrate my first column for Uckfield News today and with the launch of OTB Clothes' unisex shorts, I'm delighted to be running a giveaway with Outside The Box Clothes!  Priya was wearing her dress at the Uckfield Festival Big Day and we went back to Luxford park for a photo shoot to show off the clothes against the slightly roughened bright colours of the play equipment so you may have noticed it in my column today and now you have a chance to win one for your child!


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Brighton Kite Festival - review by Bex


We went along to the Brighton Kite Festival for the first time this year and loved it!  It was definitely the highlight of Kalyan's year - he adores all flying things and was yelling constantly about the "flags" - "Look!"  "Look!"  He didn't have enough arms to point in all directions, it was so funny!  We actually had a great time too, helped by the fact it was a gorgeous day.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Uckfield Festival 2017

We went along to Luxford Field for the Big Day of Uckfield Festival (the first proper big day of the week long festival) to check out all of the stalls and entertainment.  It was basically like a giant village fete with lots of local businesses and charities all in attendance with activities, stalls and games to play as well as a stage area for local dance troops to show us their moves and bands to play music throughout the day.  

The kids looked a bit bored on the Teacups after being super excited to go on!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Lemon & Lime Cake with Lemon Buttercream - recipe by Bex

I've made a version of this cake a few times now and it's always a winner!  It's light, moist and super tasty - sort of a cross between a lemon drizzle and a normal sponge cake with buttercream (I use my own buttercream recipe which isn't too sweet).  The original version includes lemon curd which I'm not a fan of but if you want it to be sweeter and even more lemony then by all means add a layer between the slices and mix some in to the icing.  I added the lime when I ran out of lemons and it worked well so here's my version of this delicious cake.


Cafe Rust, Brighton - review by Bex

Last week I took the twins to Brighton to visit Laura and her daughter, Arla.  We went to a soft play first so the toddlers could burn off a bit of energy before we decided it was time for lunch.  The original cafe Laura had planned to take us too was already full so we went to Cafe Rust on Preston Road which she'd planned on trying and we're so glad we did!  It was absolutely gorgeous!  As soon as we walked in and saw the door at the back opening out onto a garden we headed straight through and walked out into a beautiful little walled garden full of flowers and blue chairs and wheelbarrows.  It was lovely!


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Freddie's Flowers - review by Bex

While at Foodie's Festival I was taking photos of the Freddie's Flower's bicycle with the beautiful rose lilies in the basket and got talking to Kieran.  I had thought about signing up to regular flower deliveries before but had thought when I looked at the website, that you had to get a delivery every week and at £22 a pop that adds up pretty quickly!  Not having £88 to spare a month, I left it but I've since discovered that you can choose entirely how often you receive your flowers.  You can set it to fortnightly deliveries and even then can edit so you only get them once a month if you prefer and you can un-tick all deliveries for the next 6 weeks if you'll be away for a while too.


They're supposed to last well and £22 a month is much more manageable so I signed up.  I love having flowers in the house although I'm a sucker for a £3 bunch of Alstromerias (which last forever!), they're not the same as having a delivery of a proper big bunch of varied and well chosen flowers.  A properly designed bouquet every few weeks will be lovely and I can still get my Alstromerias in between deliveries.  Also, with a referral code from my in-laws, I got my first bouquet free!

(Read on for my code which can also get you a free bunch if you decide to try them out!)


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Columnist for Uckfield News

If you haven't already seen, I have some super exciting news to report!  Following a meeting on Tuesday morning with Cathy, I can confirm that I will be writing a monthly column for Uckfield News!


For those of you who might not know, Uckfield News is our local news website.  Run by Cathy who

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Blackheath Foodies Festival - Days Out by Bex

I was invited to attend the Foodies Festival in Blackheath over the weekend but we had so much going on in and around Uckfield on Saturday and Sunday that I could only make it on the Friday.  I drove the twins there on Thursday evening and we had a lovely al fresco dinner with Ma in her beautiful garden and a nice lazy (if a bit too early) morning eating plums from the tree before we all headed out to the Festival.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Jam-packed July weekends - Days Out by Bex!


Well July has been off to an amazingly busy start, I can barely keep up with life never mind the blog but I just have SO many awesome things I want to share!  There's so much going on in July, I'm struggling to fit them all in/choose where to go.  This weekend alone I've been to Foodies Festival in Blackheath with the twins and Ma, Uckfield Festival Big Saturday, The Hurstwood Artisan Market and Brighton Kite Festival with Nik and the twins!  

Priya getting her serious "Paint Face" at Foodies Festival

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

England's Medieval Festival Ticket Giveaway - competition by Bex

I am thrilled to be attending England's Medieval Festival in August this year!  Following the success of taking the twins to Elderflower Fields Festival, we're super excited to be camping at the Medieval Festival over the bank holiday weekend at the end of August.  It's sure to be amazing since it's also the festival's 25th anniversary!  And I'm even more excited to be able to give away a family day ticket to one of my lovely readers!  Keep reading to find out how to enter...


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Necklace Storage Cabinet of Dreams!

I am utterly in love with my new jewellery cabinet.  I waited 2 years for it.  After we moved here from Glasgow, I left the majority of my necklace collection packed between sheets of bubble wrap in a small suitcase until I found somewhere to hang them.

As I have so many, I prefer to hang them so they don't get tangled and I can see them all more easily.  I used to store them hanging on the back of a built in cupboard door in our bedroom.  That wasn't an option here so I had to come up with something else.  I have always wanted a specially designed cabinet to store them but I wasn't sure where I could fit one in.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Elderflower Fields family festival - review by Bex


I cannot be more excited to tell you about Elderflower Fields family festival!  This blog post has taken me many hours to put together because of the sheer awesomeness of the event and the number of photos I just had to share to show you all how pretty and fun and exciting and varied and colourful it was!  I mean we really, really loved it!  We were so lucky with the weather, it was

Friday, 30 June 2017

Cooking with Children Course - review by Bex


Last week we started a 4 week course at a Children's Centre nearby.  It's free (government funded surprisingly since our old twin group there had to close due to lack of government funding!) and teaches us simple recipes using healthy foods and is a great way to get the young ones involved in food preparation early.  Our teacher, Hayley, runs a local forest school, Natural Connection Sussex, which I'll be checking out too!  She has a background working with children and various educational activities.  The recipes are

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Pig & Butcher - Review by Bex

One of our local village pubs, The Pig & Butcher, has changed hands a few times since we moved here 3 years ago.  I've mentioned it before but I don't think I've written a proper review.  Over the last 18 months we've noticed a significant improvement in both the decor and food since the latest landlord took over.  The restaurant is much brighter since being re-painted and although it still has that old pub carpet, it's generally more modern and I've since learned they have plans to continue updating it and get rid of the dingy carpet.


Last night we tried some more food from the main menu and it did not disappoint!  We shared the

Friday, 26 May 2017

Bexphoto

I've been spending most of my free time (read: nap time and evenings) on my photography lately.  Since I got my new camera, I've been practising more than ever to try to improve my photos and I'm loving it.  I thought I'd share a few photos here since I haven't done a twin update for a while.  Of course, they are still my models and I'm loving capturing more arty photos of them rather than just close up portraits.  I'm hoping to do more storytelling with my photos too.  If you do want to see more, I post on my Bexphoto Instagram more often now and am trying to update the Bexphoto blog more too.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Country Lifestyle Fair in Uckfield - Review by Bex

I first discovered Country Lifestyle Fairs last November when they had a beautiful Christmas Fair in Uckfield (where I met the lovely Anna from Tired Bear) and they were back at East Sussex National again today with their handpicked exhibitors.  I loved browsing all of the amazing goodies on offer, there's so much variety with so many beautiful items.  Often at fairs I find a few stalls with things I like but there are plenty of things at the Country Lifestyle fairs which are right up my street, I struggle not to go mad spending my cash on everything!  The majority of stallholders are small local businesses often with homemade wares.  I did of course indulge in a couple of things and may have some new collaborations coming up too so I'm sure you'll be hearing more in the future but in the meantime, here are a few of my favourite sellers from the fair today.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Wild Garlic Pesto - Recipe by Bex

I already gave my tips for foraging for wild garlic and shared a few photos of the fun morning we had collecting leaves to make pesto but here is the recipe.  It was delicious served simply by stirring through spaghetti - the twins LOVED it and both asked for more which is pretty unusual as they normally just ask for fruit after dinner!


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Foraging for Wild Garlic amongst the Bluebells - Foodie Fun by Bex

Last weekend we finally made it along to a bluebell wood with the twins for me to try to take a few photos of them having fun wondering amongst the flowers and trees.  We were unlucky with the light as it was a very dull day so the photos are a bit flat but we had a lovely morning and the woods looked stunning with the carpet of blue going on for as far as we could see!  The photos definitely do not do it justice!  Thank you to Zoe for her directions to this wood as well as a few foraging tips which I've included in with the tips below.




En route to the bluebells, we followed a path through a couple of fields and along the way we could smell the wild garlic from across the stream.  It was abundant but out of reach.  Luckily as we entered the woods and found our glorious carpet of blue, we also smelled the garlic again and spotted a huge patch down a little path to the left by another stream.  On our way back we stopped there to gather the leaves and a few flowers for making pesto.  (I'd seen wild garlic pesto for sale at our favourite cafe, Oast Farm and fancied trying to make it myself.)


We really enjoyed foraging and the kids loved it too, we taught them to pick from the stem and to be careful not to trample anything.  Wild garlic is an easy one to start with (I'm a bit nervous about foraging for anything else although hope to learn more when The Warren start foraging courses!) as it's easy to find due to the smell and you can confirm it by crushing the leaves in your hand to get an even more obvious garlicky smell.  The flowers are also edible and make salads look really pretty.




My own (and Zoe's) tips are to pick the full leaf from the stem, leaving the bulb undisturbed.  Pick bright, young leaves (look for flowers still in bud) and try to avoid areas which may have been trampled.  They like damp areas so are often found near streams and rivers in ancient woodland.  And remember never to pick bluebells, it's illegal!

Here are links to some top tips from the Woodland Trust about foraging sustainably and some more information about Ramsons (wild garlic).


I'll be posting my Wild Garlic Pesto recipe tomorrow if you fancy trying it yourself!

Friday, 5 May 2017

First Haircuts - Buxted Barber review by Bex

We finally took the twins for their first haircuts in February!  I've been reluctant until now as I love playing with K's little curls at the back of his neck but they were starting to just get frizzy and look more like a mullet!  Plus we were getting asked often whether we were going to get their hair cut.

I insisted that he keep his lovely curls on top though (although it was all pretty straight on the day due to winter hat wearing!) and just have the back and sides smartened up.  Priya just needed a trim as her fine hair is easier to handle when long and can be tied/pushed back from her face (I'm tempted to get her a fringe but it just means more upkeep and 2:2 twin:parent ratio time is rare and I don't fancy taking them on my own just yet!)

We took them to Buxted Village Barber after a couple of recommendations from friends in the village and I was very impressed!  It was quiet when we went in at around 10am on Saturday and I asked the owner if she minded me taking photos as it was their first haircut, luckily she didn't mind.  I was glad we were the only customers so I wasn't embarrassed to snap away and Priya was very good while she waited her turn.

We started with K as we thought he was most likely to kick off although he has been much better with strangers lately, plus it was his hair we most wanted trimmed.  Again, we were lucky and although he was initially a bit unsure and didn't want to sit in the chair himself, he settled on Daddy's knee (extra lucky he was happy with Daddy leaving me free to take plenty of photos) and was soon looking very content and seemed to really enjoy the feeling of the water spray and the combing!  He just gazed off into the distance with a hazy, relaxed look on his face while clutching his beloved red spikey ball.





He did get a bit unsure again when it came to trimming around his ears though and cuddled into Daddy but he was very good and let Denise carry on.  She was excellent, very patient and good with them both while getting the job done.






Then it was Priya's turn and she was as expected - super keen and nosey!  In fact it was difficult to get her to keep her head still as she wanted to see what was happening.  Denise had a great trick to get her to look down, giving her the mirror to look into.  She does love a mirror!


Look how long it had become when those curls are stretched out!




I would highly recommend Buxted Village Barber and Nik will be heading there next time he needs a cut.  It was £8 in total for the twins' cuts.  Priya just had a little off the ends so hers didn't take long.  They both behaved so well and look fab with their new hair-dos!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Cuckoo, new bar in Uckfield - Review by Bex

There's a brand new bar in town called Cuckoo and I was invited along to check it out and take some pictures.




The bar has a very eclectic mix of decor with graffiti murals and a modern industrial style bar with cork, rough bare wood and copper fittings and fairy lights galore!


They offer a range of drinks including ciders, wines, various beers and lagers and spirits of course as well as crisps if you get Hangry and coffees if you need a caffeine boost.  I believe they plan to start doing bar snacks and lunches soon too.



Prices are pretty reasonable, I tried an ice cold pint of Heineken after WI last week for just £3 and they have bottles of cider, also £3.  I loved the cloudy draught cider and Nik enjoyed the IPA, both £4.  The spirits are priced according to which shelf they're on, with the premium labels at the top.  The chairs are comfy and the staff friendly, there's a jukebox on the wall and the clientele seem to have pretty good taste in music, it's definitely a cool place to hang out in Uckfield.



Friday, 28 April 2017

Foodies Festival Brighton - Days Out - this weekend

If you're looking for something to do this bank holiday weekend, the Brighton Foodies Festival is on and has plenty going on for food fanatics like me!  I went along a couple of years ago (you can read my review here) and will hopefully be going on Monday after we get back from our wee trip to Glasgow, I'm especially interested in the Cakes and Desserts theatre since I launched Uckfield Baking Club last year!  I'm hoping to go along with a fellow member and friend so we'll definitely be checking out Candice's demo and I'd love to see Miguel Barclay and Alan Sperring's demos too!

See the press release below for further info and let me know what you think if you make it along, fingers crossed for good weather down by the shore!

There's also a cheeky 30% off if you book tickets online with the code FOODIES30!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Warren Restaurant in Tunbridge Wells - a review by Bex

Nik and I took a couple of weeks off around Easter to have some time at home as a family as work and life has been crazy lately!  It worked out well with all the bank holidays so we booked a visit to Glasgow and planned to sort out the house a bit in the meantime as well as spending some time with the twins together.  On Wednesday, rather than paying our childminder when the kids aren't there, we kept them in and had a day to ourselves.  We spent the morning doing a bit of sorting and life admin and then headed out for a nice leisurely lunch just the two of us.  No need to rush, no whinging or crying, no stress, just us and some lovely food and surroundings were what we needed and luckily, exactly what we got!


I'd booked The Warren in Tunbridge Wells as I'd discovered their Instagram account a few months ago and have been salivating over the delicious looking food.  The entrance on the High Street is lovely with catkins and twigs hung around the doorway.  It was quiet upstairs with just one other table occupied which meant I wasn't shy about snapping away taking photos of the place and we were seated in the orangery so there was plenty of natural light from the beautiful large windows.  There is a very eclectic mix of both furniture and accessories around the place which I reckon would look even more impressive at night.  They have quite a few animals on display which I believe are all from their estate.  The Warren's produce mainly comes from their estate in Crowborough so it's all local, from farm to fork.  I love their use of local produce and the fact they care about the origins of the food.  You can tell they care about how it's presented too with a bit of flare added in plating up, desserts especially.  And of course, the food tastes scrumptious too!



We were given the option of their express menu for £9.95 plus £5 for any additional courses or the a la carte.  It was a tough decision as I liked the sound of everything but in the end we opted for the express as it was such good value.  It didn't disappoint either with decent portions and just as much effort put in as I'd seen on their social media.  We paid an extra £1 for homemade bread which was served in a canvas bag on a bed of hot cherry stones to keep it warm and a knob of homemade stinging nettle butter.  The butter was an intense green but had a mild flavour and was delicious on the soft fresh bread.


For starters we opted for wild garlic soup for me and venison scotch egg for Nik.  Both were delicious.  My soup was rich, very garlicky but in that mild, wild garlic way without being overpowering and had a nice depth of flavour with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  I could have easily eaten more and I want to go foraging for my own wild garlic now to have a damn good try at making my own soup although I'm sure it won't match up.


Nik's scotch egg was also nice with a lovely celeriac remoulade on the side and yet more luscious green (I'm not sure what his puree was).


Our main courses were equally delicious.  I wasn't sure how they'd make my choice of cottage pie fancy but it looked lovely served in a little copper pan with piped horseradish mash on top.  The meaty gravy was lovely and rich with good chunks of root vegetables just under the mash.  I was surprised just how filling that small pan was!


Nik had the South coast plaice with Monk's Beard and capers in a butter sauce.  We'd never heard of Monk's Beard, it looks a little like Samphire but is not salty, it comes from Italy so is obviously not local.


Mine came with peas and Nik's with crushed potatoes and we ordered an extra side of Hispi cabbage with bacon lardons.  It wasn't quite what we were expecting (we'd never had the Hispi variety before) but all the sides were lovely and well seasoned.


And of course, for just and extra £5 we had to have pudding!  I'd had my eye on the passionfruit cheesecake from the start and Nik swithered between the cheese plate and lemon meringue pie but in the end fancied something sweet.


I loved my deconstructed style cheesecake, the cheesy part was encased in a coating of white chocolate and had more passionfruit hidden in the centre.  The splash of passionfruit sauce on the plate was very sharp which contrasted nicely with the sweet blackberries, nutty granola and light, creamy cheesecake ball.

Nik's lemon meringue was also lovely (of course I tried some!) with a really nice biscuity pastry and very smooth raspberry sorbet.


We were tempted to stay for more and have some cheese as well but we fancied a wander round so we decided we'd just have to come back again another day, preferably in the evening next time.

Service was excellent with our attentive waitress, Magdalena, being friendly and courteous as well as helpful in making choices with both food and wine.  I was unsure which to choose out of two wines so she allowed me to taste both before choosing the Cote du Rhone Villages.  It was also delicious but I plan to check out the cocktail menu next time.


So as you can tell, overall we loved The Warren.  The food was delicious, the staff lovely and surroundings a good mix of quirky and fancy.  Check out those lion thrones above!  And Zeus the Rhea who was giving me a run for my money with his sparkly necklace!

Our bill came to £68.80 for 3 courses with bread, sparking water and a large glass of wine each.


Olive Dragonfly Rating - The Warren
Food & Drink - 9/10
Atmosphere - 7/10 (I think this would definitely be higher in the evening)
Service - 9/10
Value - 9/10
Overall - 9/10

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