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Whilst technically we still have about 3 weeks left until the end of summer. However, with kids going back to school, the temperature dropping and the trees starting to change colour, there are definitely signs that summer is coming to an end. The past 2 weeks have been utter madness for us, so I thought I would do a little catch up post to share what we have been up to.
From the beginning of bank holiday weekend it has been non stop. There has been parades, partying, too much food, farm visits, fruit picking, National Trust visits with family, finishing our second book, live music, exciting house news and more food. All with a 9 month old who has just learnt to crawl. It's no wonder I feel like I need to sleep for a week!
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It all started on the Friday when we woke up in a tent in the Peak District. It was our last day of a camping trip (more about that soon), which we had to cut short because there were some very important grown up things to do - like buy a house! We had to exchange contracts that day and make it all official. We are leaving Manchester at the end of this month and I will be posting more about that soon too. So we packed up our little camping home and headed back to Manchester to start the bank holiday festivities, which in Manchester meant Pride 2017!
On the Saturday, we were going to meet friends just in time for the parade, which was actually the first time we have seen the parade in 12 years that we have lived in Manchester. Shocking, I know. Because bank holidays for us mean indulging in all the delicious food we can find, we headed to our favourite Vegan restaurant in Manchester - V-Rev. They specialise in vegan burgers and vegan or not, they are one of the best burgers you will find in Manchester. The Loaded fries are also epic too. Come with an empty belly and leave feeling fit to burst.
I hate the feeling of being bloated when you still have a full day of partying ahead of you, which is why we always have some Rennie with us to beat the bloat and not put a downer on the day. Nothing puts a downing on things like being bloated.
We then headed towards the end of the parade route to watch it finish, as that was meant to be the quietest part, but it was still rammed. I can't believe that we waited so many year to see the parade, because it was amazing. Manchester Pride celebrates everything LGBT and what an incredible atmosphere it was. So much colour and diversity and people from all walks of life just joining together to celebrate, raise awareness and have a good time.
It's really important for us to raise Avery to be understanding, open and inclusive, so taking her to Pride at just 9 months old is a good way to start that. It turns out, that she unexpectedly became the highlight of the day for many people. There she was, sat on Dave's shoulders, waving her rainbow flag as people crossed the finish line of the parade route and party goers were more interested in her than they were in the parade. People were stopped and asking if they could take photos of her, cooing and gushing and she was lapping up all the attention.
The party didn't stop there for us, as a group of us headed to the pub to enjoy the beautiful weather. Being a parent means that evenings in the pub don't really happen any more, so afternoon visits are more our thing. Although, day-time drinking feels a bit like being a student again. We stayed for a couple, whilst Avery got even more attention, and some lady even high-fived me for creating her. With a very worn out little raver, we headed home for a quite Saturday night.
Sunday morning of course started with pancakes (either that or waffles are tradition in our house) and then we headed off to Kenyon Hall Farm for some fruit and vegetable picking and lunch. We have been here a couple of times before, but never with Avery.
With it being the end of summer, we were mainly there to do some blackberry picking, which were in abundance. Whilst I was filling up a punnet of fresh fruit, Avery was trying to squish them all - a bit counter productive.
We then headed over to the pea field to pick some. There wasn't quite so much choice here, as I think we were about a day late, but I got some mange tout which are one of my favourite snacks at the moment. Delicious dipped in hummus.
They are growing pumpkins there too, which are about ready to be picked now, so we are heading back for those soon.
Before it was time for lunch, we had a little wander through the maize maze which although feels a little like the scene from a horror film, it's good fun. Even for someone with absolutely no sense of direction!
The farm cafe has a great choice of seasonal food and I just couldn't resist the autumn squash soup that was on offer. It was pretty warm outside, but I couldn't resist autumn squash. I also couldn't resist the apple and blackberry pie that was on offer too. It was delicious and perfectly tart. I am going to be creating my own healthier version of this pie on the blog soon, so watch this space!
One of the best parts about Kenyon Hall Farm is the farm shop. Seasonal product grown on the farm, local products and a really good beer and cider selection. We picked up a few bits and then left before I bought everything.
We were so lucky with the weather over bank holiday weekend, so we made the most of it on the Monday and headed down to Warickshire to meet family at a National Trust site. Because of some crazy bank holiday traffic, we arrived at Charlecote Park a little late, but then, so did everyone else!
We met in the orangery cafe for lunch where I went for the light option of red pepper quiche, which was delicious. The perfect fuel for a walk round the stunning grounds.
Whilst my Dad and his partner went for a tour of the house, my brother and his family, me, Dave and baby went and sat by the river for a catch up. My family live in Essex, so I don't get to see them anywhere near as much as I would like, but this was a welcome reunion and Charlecote Park is half way between us all.
You would think the week after all that would have been nice and relaxing, but it was even busier as we had just 3 days left to finish our second book, The Healthy Slow Cooker. Nothing like working to a deadline! We are so excited for you to all see the book, as we are super proud of it, having taken all the photos ourselves. Here are a couple to whet your appetite:
I felt like I hardly saw Avery for a few days, but luckily she has gotten much better at keeping herself entertained now that she is mobile. Also, the cats enjoy spending time with her - especially when there is food around.
With the start of another busy weekend, we wanted to do something fun for Avery as we were going to be doing a lot of travelling in the car again. So, I took her to soft play for the first time and she went with some of her NCT buddies. I have heard so many mixed things about soft play areas, but I thought it was great. Even better that it was free for under-2s.
It tires her out before I needed to do some shopping. By needed, I mean I bought more clothes than Avery needs. All the autumn themed clothes are out and there is so much camping themed stuff and I just want it all! Plus, look at this Avocado rain jacket in Next. I need it all!
On Saturday we went down to Derby, which is where Dave is from, to visit his brother and watch him play a gig. Whilst he was busy setting up, we had a few hours to kill so we went to Calke Abbey, which is another National Trust site. We are on a mission to visit every National Trust site in the UK, so this was another one ticked off.
Although we didn't go in to the house, we spent a couple of hours walking around the pretty gardens and taking a look inside the Abbey itself, including its beautiful 200-year-old stained glass window.
They have a huge and flourishing allotment there and then a little stall with an honesty box where you can buy some of the produce and all the money goes straight back in to the gardens. We got there too late in the day because all that was left were tomatillos and I am not a fan.
The gig was being held at a water sports centre who were having a family fun day with lots going on on the water. My brother-in-law's band, The Grey Cafe Band, were the entertainment for the night and were playing on a lorry which is very rock n' roll.
I was trying to tire Avery out so I could put her all snugly in her pram for the evening whilst I had a little boogie. She loves the swings (what kid doesn't), so we went on those for about 20 minutes whilst sound check was being down and she was soon rubbing her eyes, sleepy and ready for milk.
As Avery fell asleep, we sang to some classic rock songs, chatted to old friends and toasted to the end of a great couple of weeks. It has been action packed and we have covered a lot of miles, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. We ate a lot of delicious food too, but we always had some Rennie on hand just in case, so we could carry on having fun, without any discomfort.
What did you get up to for bank holiday weekend?
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~ This post was comisioned by Rennie. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for us to do what we love. All opinions are our own. ~