25 Jul 2014

Almond and Pistachio Kulfi Ice Lollies


I remember eating kulfi during the summer holidays growing up. My Aai (Mother) used to make the most amazing kulfi ever. Kulfi, by the way, is a milk-based ice-lolly, extremely popular in India and the sub-continent. It is traditionally made by slowly evaporating sweetened and flavoured milk, which is subsequently cooled and frozen.

I want my little boy J to grow up with a diverse and multi-cultural palate. And to enjoy his Aaji's (Grandma's) recipes which I try and recreate.

So when Center Parcs challenged us bloggers to get into the spirit of summer by creating delicious ice lollies, I contemplated making traditional kulfi. But it is quite calorific and rather dense. And although it goes down a treat in an Indian summer, I prefer something a little lighter in the scorching heat of the British summer. (Never in a million years did I dream I would be writing that. But, hey ho! The present heat-wave is making it feel more like Mumbai than Manchester).

22 Jul 2014

Moshi Monsters at Sea Life Manchester

The Moshi Monsters have splashed down at Sea Life Manchester this summer. So J and I went along to pay them a visit and join the Moshi Marine Force to learn more about our underwater world and to help in the search for the missing Moshlings.

This was our first visit to Sea Life Manchester, so we were both looking forward to it with excitement. Sea Life is part of the Trafford Centre, so is very convenient to get to and has enough parking spaces to accommodate half of Manchester on a good day.
Wondrous amazement at Sea Life Manchester
J was given a smart little paper hat on arrival, which he promptly refused to put on his head. But he clung on possessively to his Moshi Monster activity book and Sea Life stamp book throughout the visit.

We had an introductory talk on turtle conservation, including a fascinating holographic presentation to demonstrate the effect of modernisation on turtle habitat. Or how the turtles get misguided by artificial lighting and the disastrous effect this has on their survival.

We then made our way into the main centre to start looking for the missing Moshlings.

But we got distracted by the myriad of colours and the wonderful aquatic creatures that surrounded us. From sea horses and blubber fish to deep sea predators like the octopus and sharks, there was enough excitement to keep a lively three year old and his mother enthralled. J was particularly taken by the interactive jelly fish display, where he got to choose the background light colour from a range of rainbow shades. I was brave enough to touch a crab!
A whale of a time at Sea Life Manchester
We soon came across a big cut-out of Lubber the Whimsical Whale, the brand new and exclusive Moshling, to remind us of our mission. We had signed up to the Moshi Marine Force, so we had to focus on the task on hand. To learn about all the amazing sea creatures that surround us, and to find the missing Moshlings.

Lubber the Whimsical Whale
We looked everywhere, but the little Moshlings were so well hidden, it took us a very special meeting to actually start finding them.

Half-way through our journey,  Katsuma came to meet us all. Although J was initially extremely reluctant to go anywhere near him, he was eventually coaxed to go give Katsuma a cuddle. With his mother in tow, two steps behind him. So the only photo I managed was of Katsuma sans J. You do have the option to get your child professionally photographed with the visiting Moshi Monster, if you so wish.

Hello, Katsuma
The meeting with Katsuma spurred us on. We set about finding the Moshlings with renewed determination, keeping our eyes peeled for clues. The clues were the stickers. Some of the display tanks had special Buster Bumblechops stickers describing the Moshlings. You were sure to find a Moshling if you looked hard enough in that tank.
In search of the Missing Moshlings -at Sea Life Manchester

By the end of the tour, we managed to find half the missing Moshlings. We spotted Cali, Stanley and Shimmy. But I refuse to tell you where we found them. That would just spoil the fun for you and your little ones.

Buster Bumblechops' Moshi Marine Force - fascinating facts
You can head over to Sea Life Manchester and go on your own quest as part of Buster's Sealife Conservation Squad to find the Moshlings and to learn about all that is being done to protect our sea creatures. While you are there, don't forget to visit the swap zone where you can swap your Moshling figures.

Moshling Figure Swap
The Moshi Monsters are in residence at Sea Life through the summer holidays. You can find out more and plan your visit by checking the Sea Life Manchester website.

Disclaimer: We were offered tickets to visit the Moshi Monsters at Sea Life Manchester in exchange for  a review. All opinions expressed are my own.





20 Jul 2014

5 Ways to Stay Active in the Summer

Summer. When the sun shines bright and strong. When hot days merge into long, sunny evenings. Summer, a time to shake off the lingering shackles of a long-forgotten winter. To revive, to rejuvenate and to reconnect as a family. To step outdoors and bond over a picnic in the park. Or a barbecue. Or a beach holiday. And to gel together as a family unit in the pursuit of some serious physical activity. To partake in the sweat, the exhilaration, the rush of adrenaline that only it can bring.

We are a small family of three, the little one is only just starting out at school. That does not dampen the fierce competitive streak in any of us. Nor are we lacking in enthusiasm when it comes to some fun in the sun. Here are five ways we love to stay active through the warm summer months.

Cycle
J was got a balance bike last Christmas. And a little helmet to keep him safe. There has been no stopping him since. He loves zooming along on his little red and yellow bike, taking long, confident strides as he covers large distances with ease. We have reached the stage where the parents are contemplating following him on their own bikes rather than jogging alongside him.

5 Ways to Stay Active in the Summer

Swim

There can be no better way to stay active in the hot summer months than a splash in the pool. I love a good swim, always have. I am glad that my son does as well. We often head to our local swimming baths for a family fun session where the parents take turns to swim laps, while the little one hones his technique with the help of a float or two.

5 Ways to Stay Active in the Summer

Climb

Our J loves to climb. So much, that I have dedicated an entire blogpost to this passion of his. Suffice to say he can now confidently hover more than 8 feet above the ground with his parents standing by for support. Now the parents have not actually attempted a similar climb themselves, not for lack of enthusiasm or motivation. But most local parks do tend to frown upon grown-ups hogging climbing frames and other apparatus to satisfy their own climbing craving. Perhaps a stint at Go Ape might be the perfect solution to this problem. We can all have a go at scampering up ropes and ladders together as a family.

5 Ways to Stay Active in the Summer

Ramble

All of us in the C-household enjoy going on a ramble. That might be pretty obvious from the title of my blog, or the reason I started blogging, but just in case there was any doubt left, I reiterate. We all love to go for long walks. Preferably in the country, if not any old path will do.

5 Ways to Stay Active in the Summer

Play

M, J and I love to play together in the garden. With a ball, with a frisbee, with bubbles, with water, or with nothing at all. There are times when we kick a ball. Or throw it high up in the air and then try and catch it. Or shoot it through a hoop. We even hit it with a racket or a bat if we can.

But then there are times when J likes nothing better than to run around the garden like a headless chicken, his parents running with him to try and catch him. The delightful squeals and the accompanying laughter are  music to my ears. 

5 Ways to Stay Active in the Summer
Summer. A season when the warm sun dominates. When sport takes centre-stage. When a family delights in the outdoors. And in the exhilaration that being active can bring.


This is my entry to the Mark Warner Blogger Challenge number 2 in association with Go Ape.
Mark Warner Blogger Challenge    LLA


14 Jul 2014

VegfestUK London 2014 Tickets Giveaway

I love vegetarian food. Coming from a vegetarian family, that comes as no surprise. Contrary to popular belief, there is more to vegetarian food than eating raw fruit and veg. And we really do not struggle to meet our protein intake either. It is all a matter of personal preference and taste.

Vegfest UK represents all things vegetarian and is home to Europe's biggest veggie events.
copyright Vegfest UK
Following a highly successful first show visited by 9,000 people, VegfestUK are returning to Kensington Olympia for the 2nd year running on September 27th and 28th 2014. 

The show has lots of treats in store for its visitors. There will be 200+ stalls full of top-notch food, bodycare, cosmetics and fashion. Many celebrities and special guests, including Brendan Brazier, Patrik Baboumian, Sarah Jane Honeywell, Vegan Smythe and John Robb are lined up to make an appearance. 14 specialist caterers with exceptional global cuisines are set to make their mark as well. There will be a host of book signings, cookery demos, nutrition and lifestyle talks and freebies for early visitors on both days. You will also get the opportunity of 1-to-1 sessions with experts. 

If that was not enough, there is the added bonus of live music and comedy along with kids entertainment throughout the course of the event.
copyright Vegfest UK
Here is your chance to win yourself a pair of tickets to visit Vegfest UK London on Sunday the 28th September 2014. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


In case you are looking for more than a pair, Vegfest UK are running a BOGOF (buy one get one free) offer on tickets to their London event till August 23rd. Under 16s go free. You can find out more about the event and ticket prices by clicking here.

Disclaimer: I was given a hamper of vegetarian goodies to host this competition on behalf of Vegfest UK. No other compensation was received.

Spicy Potato Pasties

I love fusion cooking. A bit of east meets west, and everyone is a winner. My spicy potato pasties are just that. Masala aloo (spicy potato) in a puff pastry case. The best of both worlds in a very edible combination.
Spicy Potato Pasties

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