Day 43: Go Ape

At 47,000 acres, Thetford Forest is Britain’s largest lowland pine forest that spreads across the border between neighbouring counties, Norfolk and Suffolk – slap bang in the middle of East Anglia. High Lodge is an activity-packed recreation site within Thetford Forest and is owned by Forestry Commission England.

Being a 50-minute drive from our house, it’s a place where we go for a whole day. There is plenty to do whether you want to be active, take it easy or a bit of both. Adrenaline seekers should head to Go Ape! Founded by Tris and Becs Mayhew back in 2002, High Lodge was its first location. On Day 43 of #100DaysNoTV, I took our family for a Go Ape adventure.

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Day 42: Homemade Pesto

Rob and I love to cook and, mostly, we manage to cook meals from scratch. Our boys can be fussy eaters but one meal they both love is pesto pasta: whole wheat fusilli with a dollop of pesto – until recently, we bought it as it was easier and we believed it was pretty healthy.

I read an article by Which? that changed my mind about shop-bought pesto. Reviewing standard pesto from seven supermarkets, they found all had added ingredients to bulk it out – among these were bamboo fibre, water, sugar and potato flakes. They often replaced traditional ingredients with cheaper alternatives: sunflower oil for olive oil; cashew nuts for pine nuts.

Reading this motivated me to find out how I could make my own pesto. I found a few recipes which I tweaked until I had a version I was happy with.

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Food: Bill’s Cambridge

Spring is always a busy time for our household with all four birthdays falling in a seven-week period, starting with mine in April. This year we also had a wonderful family wedding in May, so it really has been a time of non-stop celebrations! 🙂 

Also with an April birthday, twelve days before mine, is my Mum. When I was invited to enjoy a meal at Bill’s restaurant in Cambridge, it was the perfect opportunity to take my foot off the pedal for a while and enjoy a joint birthday lunch.

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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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