Blackberry marshes

Blackberry picking is no fun for kids, is it?

This was the comment from another mum, after her family stopped cycling to watch us getting covered in scratches and pink juice. I’d offered her a spare container for her kids to join in and she was rather taken aback. 

I suppose she’s right that it’s not the MOST kid friendly activity, what with the thorns, and the best berries inevitably out of reach. Though at least adults and children are on a fair footing as those grape-sized, glossy ones are often just beyond everyone‘s grasp…

But, I’ve been conditioned to blackberry picking as a late summer habit since before I could walk, and can’t imagine walking past a patch of brambles at this time of year without at least *trying* to stuff my face.

So last weekend we cycled up to Hackney Marshes and picked blackberries.

Here are the ways it WAS fun:

It makes a lovely purpose for a cycle ride, and Finn the 3-year-old loved being blackberry patch lookout as we ride along.

We rode through the Olympic Park and along the River Lea, all the way up Hackney Marshes and on to Walthamstow Marshes. 

The further you go up the Lea, the urban-wilder it gets, with a profusion of giant marsh plants along the riverbanks, shady woodland and a huge wide sky out over the Marsh football pitches. 

We passed the enormous, still-being-made Walthamstow Wetlands centre, which I hadn’t heard about until we cycled past signs to it – it’s opening in September and I can’t wait to visit.

The blackberry picking was fun for a bit too. It was! Really blackberry eating for the kids, and a parent doing a bit of quick surreptitious picking into a box while their mouths are full.

The toddler-on-shoulders trick to reach high up berries is good entertainment (obvs the berries never make it into the pot in this scenario) (we stopped and headed for Tumbling Bay playground when tipping the blackberries out of the pot onto the ground became the fun thing).

If you’re cycling back via the Olympic Park then the Timber Lodge cafe is a family-friendly stop for a snack, next to the fantastic Tumbling Bay playground.

And then of course there’s the reward: blackberry and apple crumble!See here for a sugar-free crumble recipe if that takes your fancy. 

Instant, 2 ingredient, homemade ‘ice cream’!

My 3-year-old and I have been experimenting for a while with making ‘ice cream’ based on yoghurt and fruit. Mashing fruit into yoghurt is ideal cooking for under-5s, after all. And it’s certainly been ice cream weather!

We don’t have an ice cream maker though, and so far any mix that has survived the extensive ‘tasting’ that goes on, and got as far as the freezer, has come out rock solid and full of ice crystals… even if I take it out and stir it during freezing.

Also, how many under-5s do you know who happily agree to waiting a few hours for – well, anything.

So this is the answer! For the ice cream, anyway – I can’t help with the rest of the delayed gratification difficulties, but you could try making ice cream while you wait… Continue reading “Instant, 2 ingredient, homemade ‘ice cream’!”

Swap preloved clothes for free at Stepney City Farm this Saturday

A super quick post to let you know about this event!

If you’d like to pick up some free children’s or adults’ clothing while visiting a family-friendly farm, head down to Stepney City Farm tomorrow (Saturday). They’re hosting a free clothing ‘Swap Shop’ from 11-3pm.

For more about visiting this lovely city farm with kids, see my post about it, here.

Also on offer will be their regular Saturday Farmers’ Market.

And if recycling your clothes and shopping local isn’t enough to create that warm fuzzy feeling this weekend, consider supporting the farm’s crowdfunding campaign to save their brilliant Furry Tales project that helps overcome loneliness and depression for isolated older people and other vulnerable adults in our community.

 

Find out more about local school admissions next Wednesday in Bow!

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Poster for 14th June meeting

If there’s one thing in common about what local parents have said to me about planning for a school or preschool place in Bow East, it’s uncertainty.

Will there be enough places in nearby schools for local children next year or the year after? Which schools is my child likely to get into – and which only offer places if you live within a stone’s throw? Will the new Bow primary and preschool open in 2018, or 2019? Why can’t we have enough full time, state preschool places for all 3-year-olds, regardless of postcode? How do school admissions even work?
Friends of Bow Primary, the local group I help to run, has requested an open meeting with the pupil services team from TH Council and they have been hugely positive about the idea. (They’re even offering a second meeting at a weekend if you can’t make this one.)

Here’s your chance to not only ask those questions and more, but to have your say. The Council is about to decide when to open the new Bow primary and they want to hear from local parents to help them decide.

  • Pop over to friendsofbowprimary.wordpress.com  if you want to find out more and sign up for updates.

Real Nappy Week events, cute nappies

This week is Real Nappy Week, so if you’re thinking of trying them out (or use them already and want to pick up some tips, freebies or preloved nappies), there are lots of events in April to help you: details below.

I’ve posted before about ‘real’ (or cloth / re-usable) nappies, how easy they are to use and why I like them so much, so I won’t repeat all the details here.

But, aside from cutting waste, carbon emissions and cost (and being damn good at containing wee and poo), did I mention how cute cloth nappies are these days?

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Bamboozle Stretch size 2s in ‘Plop’ and ‘Daydream’

Look at these new Bamboozle Stretch lovelies I’ve just bought to top up my stash for my 1-year-old (I got them from the Nappy Lady here, though she doesn’t pay me for affiliate links or anything, I’ve found her to be very reliable and helpful). Super soft knitted bamboo, brilliantly absorbent and… cute. Continue reading “Real Nappy Week events, cute nappies”

Lemon ricotta pancakes

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Lemon ricotta pancake with maple syrup and ricotta

Yet another pancake recipe, I know! But… pancakes are still the best way to get my 1-year-old to eat breakfast or elevenses – and are fun to mix, all in one bowl, for my toddler cook.

Also, ricotta is high in protein for a soft cheese, so this recipe is a way to sneak in some extra nutrients. I try to use a variety of flours too, including wholemeal.

But most importantly, these are delicious!

And did I mention that you can easily keep pancakes in the fridge for a picnic snack, or even freeze them? Same as fritters – see my post on those. Or try cinnamon blueberry pancakes if you prefer. Continue reading “Lemon ricotta pancakes”