Day 40: Campervan Road Trip

Time is our most precious commodity – being with people you love is what this life is all about. Modern life challenges our ability to obtain that longed for work–life balance. In what seems like the longest ever ascent from winter to spring, quality family time has been in short supply: Rob started the year with pneumonia 😦 and has been travelling to and from the US with work (thank goodness he has a break from all that for now).

It has made it even more important that we maximise our time at weekends. One thing we love is to get out to the coast: fresh air and space do us all the world of good. When we were chosen by Bumble Campers to have a complimentary campervan for a weekend, there was only one thing we were going to do: find a free weekend and drive to the seaside. 😉

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Food: The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

The Ivy. Those two words conjure up images of the rich & famous, of opulence, glamour, a place to see and be seen. In 2017, The Ivy in Covent Garden celebrated its centenary; having begun life in 1917 as a modest café, it quickly gained in popularity becoming an iconic London destination, known the world over.

My home city of Cambridge is now home to The Ivy Brasserie; it’s one of the newest restaurants to join The Ivy Collection. Opening day was Wednesday 14th March 2018, and I was invited to join a Bloggers’ Breakfast that morning. Would The Ivy live up to its reputation?

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Ten months to go . . .

Last week, it was the third anniversary of #100DaysNoTV. I knew it was coming up but I didn’t celebrate and it slipped past, quietly. I regret it now; not because I missed out on a bottle of bubbles (who needs an excuse, anyway?) but because I’ve reflected on how much of a back seat my blog has taken over these last couple of months.

So far, 2018 has been a funny old year for the Smiths. I’m not going to dwell on it. Instead, I’m looking forward to the next 10 months. Blog-wise, I have some tantalising experiences to look forward to. For the first time in quite a while, I feel energised. 🙂

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Day 39: Bird Nibbles

Back in 1979, the RSPB invited their junior members to count the birds that visited their garden at a set time. It encouraged children to get involved with nature and allowed the RSPB to work out the top 10 UK garden birds. Fast forward to 2018, and it’s gone from strength to strength with over half a million people expected to take part in the annual #BigGardenBirdwatch.

Our boys are rarely happier than when they’re playing outside, and as we like to encourage their love of nature we ordered this year’s RSPB birdwatch pack. Within it was a ‘recipe’ for bird cakes. Simple to make at home, we decided to make this our activity for day 39 of #100DaysNoTV.

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Day 38: Painted Pebbles

As we head towards the end of 2017, it’s a time when many will reflect on the year gone by and look to the year ahead. It’s the busiest season of the year with so much going on every single day – we know that this time of year can be particularly daunting for people living with mental illness, in its many forms. Fortunately, there is help out there for anyone who needs support. 

On Day 38 of #100DaysNoTV we left some festive-themed painted pebbles around our little city of Ely. These are no ordinary pebbles; we hope they will help to spread the word about a wonderful community project, Talking FreELY.

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Day 37: Christmas Wreaths

To get you in the Christmas mood, you’d find it hard to beat an afternoon making a wreath while sipping mulled wine, eating mince pies, all to the background singing of a live choir. On Day 37 of #100DaysNoTV, I joined a Mummas & More wreath-making workshop at Ely Cathedral! 🙂 

Christmas wreaths seem to have gained in popularity over recent years and we had our first ever wreath last year. It was a bit sorry looking; I bought it on a whim from a garden centre in mid-December, and it was definitely past its best! However, it planted a seed in my (not-very-creative) mind – I wanted to make one of my own the following year. I just had to figure out how!

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Food: Pint Shop

Pint Shop, in the very heart of Cambridge, will soon be celebrating its 4th birthday. Feeling that it would benefit from some sprucing up, the owners not only refreshed the paintwork, but also altered the layout to create two new dining rooms. To celebrate their revamp and new seasonal menu, they held a press & bloggers tasting lunch.

Unable to attend on the day, we were invited to dine on another occasion, and having never experienced their food (but hearing wonderful things about it), we were delighted to accept.

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Day 35: FoodCycle Cambridge

I have vivid memories of being a young girl growing up in the affluent city of Cambridge, not being able to understand why there were so many people sleeping rough, barely surviving. It didn’t seem right or fair, and that helpless feeling stays with me today. That childhood memory, and what I’ve subsequently learned about the plight of the homeless and the disadvantaged, along with an inherent aversion to food waste, compelled me to attend my first FoodCycle session in 2012. 

After a break from volunteering while our children were very young, I rejoined the team in September 2017 for Day 35 of #100DaysNoTV.

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Day 34: Blackberry Sorbet

If there is one welcome sign that summer is getting closer to its end, it’s the abundance of ripening blackberries in the hedgerows. It has become a family tradition to go out and forage, and this year we decided to make something new with our bumper crop.

We’ve owned an ice cream maker for a few years, but it stayed unloved in its box. It was about time it had some use. On Day 34 of #100DaysNoTV we made fresh blackberry sorbet.

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