The Joys of Autumn

I posted this photograph on my photography business Instagram page recently and every time I scroll past I pause at it – something about it draws me in – the colours and homeliness of the image and what it represents…

cambridgeshire family photographer

The apples were picked from the tree in our garden and are a juicy Cox hybrid from Bedfordshire (Laxton’s Fortune). The tree has been bursting this year. We usually make cider from them but this year we decided to make enormous crumbles (which did not last very long!) We added in some deliciously sweet wild blackberries picked locally from a secret spot.

Autumn, for me, is a bittersweet time of year. I adore the colours, snuggling up in the evenings, putting the fire on and collecting treasures such as acorns and conkers with the kids. We’ve had such an amazing summer as a family and I feel a bit sad that the warm sun on my back at the beach will be but a memory waiting to return next year. Now I sense the nights pulling in, a chill in the evening air. It seems as soon as school returned last week autumn took its cue.

But with this new season comes so much good – family traditions, an immense display of colour from nature, making the most of the last warm days, feeling like you’ve stolen a little extra from summer. Harvest festivals, firework displays and warm bonfires with chilli jacket potatoes and warm cider are some of my favourite things.

Autumn has a lot of magic. What makes your autumnal heart sing?

 

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Chia Pudding Breakfast

My whole life I’ve eaten cereal out of a box for breakfast. Always. I’m not even a toast girl really but museli, chocolate cereal? Yes I’m there.

So when I started eating healthier a few weeks ago I decided to reduce the amount of hidden refined sugars and grains in my diet – and the major one was breakfast cereal. But it left me with a problem – what should I be eating instead? I avoid bread where possible anyway as it makes me tired and bloated and through each period of breastfeeding my children oddly I’ve become intolerant to egg, which is something that still hasn’t sorted itself out yet even three months after weaning.

I did some research and found there are lots of other breakfasts that are super simple to make, even before the school run or in advance the night before that taste great and fill you up. My favourite so far has been chia pudding and lots of you have asked me to share the recipe so I popped it below at the bottom of the post!

I’ve taken inspiration from Jamie Oliver and Hemsley + Hemsley mainly but there isnt really one way to do this – experiment and see what you can come up with!

If you don’t know much about the superfood chia seeds here are a few facts (there are masses more!):

  1. They are small (mainly black) seeds that contain loads of fibre, vitamins and minerals
  2. They are low in calories
  3. They are naturally gluten free
  4. Full of anti oxidants
  5. They absorb water – up to 10 times their weight so help you feel full
  6. They contain a good amount of protein and Omega 3 fatty acids

These little guys are so versatile, can be bought in the supermarket and I often sprinkle the kids’ food with them for a little added boost.

Chia Pudding Recipe

Ingredients: banana, 400ml coconut milk (full fat), 1 tbsp honey, 6 tbsp chia seeds, 200g fresh of frozen fruit (my favourite is mango), 1tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Fill four bowls with the mixture and place in the fridge to set (I do this the night before).

So simple, so tasty! When you’re ready to eat, you can top the pudding with fresh berries, cinnamon, yoghurt, seeds, whatever you fancy really. If the recipe above is too sweet, maybe reduce or remove the vanilla extract and see how you get on.

I’d love to know your results!

A Very Special Christmas Message

This is the first year Thomas really ‘gets’ Christmas so we’ve been doing the usual fun things leading up to the event – Elf on the shelf, Christmas tree decorating, parties, etc. My sister in law let me know about a really special tradition you can also start – a video message from the proper Father Christmas himself!

So we went online and filled in a really short questionnaire about Thomas and what he gets up to plus important things he needs to do this year – we chose being kind to his siblings as this has been the biggest change in his life so far!

The video was then emailed to me so last night we sat down as a family, put the video up on the TV and watched the magic unfold…

It started with a photo of Thomas calling the elf’s workshop and Father Christmas addressing him, by name, and introducing his elves. I’ve honestly never seen Thomas so enraptured by something – I was holding back tears the whole way through (soppy Mummy).

The video is interactive so it encourages you all to wave to the elves, speak back to Father Christmas and is full of Christmas magic – it was truly special. And the best thing of all – it was free! You do get the option to upgrade and Father Christmas can also record a message for their birthday too.

Their website is http://www.portablenorthpole.com – definitely worth a visit!

Book Exchange Club

We recently joined up to a local book exchange club via Facebook that a lovely friend of mine has started. The club selects a book buddy for your child each month and you exchange addresses – then the fun part begins!

We went to a bookshop in Norwich to choose a fun book – something different and one that our buddy may not already have. Thomas chose a lovely collection of Christmas stories and songs – he’s already so excited about next month – it’s the first year he really ‘gets’ Christmas!

We had a lovely surprise waiting for us when we got home – a big parcel with the little man’s name on it on the doorstep – cue great excitement – the post is a big deal in our house!

He received two lovely books -‘Is There A Dog In This Book?’ by Viviane Schwarz and ‘The Deep Dark Wood’ by Algy Craig Hall & Ali Pye. Both brilliant reads and we highly recommend them.

It’s really given us a reason to sit down together – all of us, twins included – although I do have to wrestle with all of them to turn the page! It’s tricky to read with two babies on your lap but another skill to master! We’ve always read bedtime stories but it’s nice to sit together during the day too with a book.

The loveliest thing is that our buddy had included a special letter, drawing and photo in the parcel too 🙂

If you ever get a chance to join a book club with your little ones I definitely recommend it! The process of choosing a book for your buddy, writing a little letter or drawing, posting it then receiving another in return is a really special experience and we’re now so excited for next month!book exchange