Blueberry Scones, Bright Boats & Hotdogs on a Hill

Since we got back from Rostrevor, I’ve been focusing on doing free and simple activities with the girls. While we were away, I got some incense that is meant to smell like a turf fire and I’ve been enjoying burning it and pretending we have an open fire ๐Ÿ™‚ I ordered sewing machines for the girls a couple of months ago. They loved mine from when I was little but just had to pretend with it since the needle wasn’t replacable. They like the novelty of being able to do a simple stitch on the new ones they got ๐Ÿ™‚

I made some scones that turned into giant scones as they expanded in the oven ๐Ÿ™‚ They were vegan blueberry ones. Instead of dairy, the recipe used coconut milk and came out surprisingly well. They stayed fresh for days longer than scones usually seem to as well. I used the remaining coconut milk in smoothies and it made a huge difference to the flavour ๐Ÿ™‚ Coconut milk might be my new favourite ingredient ๐Ÿ™‚

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We have been spending a lot of time outdoors and I renewed our Castle Espie membership. It’s only six pounds a month and we go every week. You can feed the birds again and I love looking at the views over Strangford Lough while the girls enjoy the wildwood playground. Afterwards, we stopped at a little causeway that goes out to an island. We also found a good climbing tree and the girls collected some stones from the beach. Itโ€™s lucky we didnโ€™t get caught on the island because the tide was coming in and apparently when it does it covers the walkway ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls were excited about the number of butterflies fluttering about. They must be drawn to the flowers there. We liked it so much we made a second trip there ๐Ÿ™‚ The island was filled with blackberry bushes and we picked and ate some ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls wanted to fill an empty strawberry punnet we had with them but we left some for other visitors ๐Ÿ™‚

Iโ€™ve developed an obsession with visiting climbs with beautiful views at the top. We went to Scrabo Tower on a really clear day and could see the little island weโ€™d visited from it and lots of other beaches. The girls loved climbing on the rocks and the steps to the tower. Iโ€™m always amazed by how long a plain rock can keep them occupied for ๐Ÿ™‚

Iโ€™ve started making my own iced coffee with soya or oat milk. Itโ€™s really refreshing and easy to make. I didnโ€™t think I could recreate the coffee shop ones but with syrup and lots of ice it tastes exactly the same ๐Ÿ™‚

We went to the top of the Cavehill a day (although I cheated and parked at the upper car park!) It took about half an hour to walk to the top from there with the girls. The views were beautiful and I was surprised to see so many cows grazing along the way. The ground was purple with heather and it was one of the prettiest places I have ever walked to. I like the fact you can see the whole city from it too but canโ€™t hear anything. We had hotdogs on the hill which was the highlight for the girls. I just put precooked sausages in a flask and brought hot dog buns and ketchup. As an easy alternative I also saw a post online where someone had put frankfurters in a flask of boiled water and they are heated by the time you serve your picnic ๐Ÿ™‚

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One day, we spent all day at the beach while the sun was still here. We went in the morning and the girls climbed on the rocks and looked for crabs in rock pools. There is a natural paddling pool built into the rocks that the girls love to play in. The day was mostly sunny and warm but the sea was rough. The girls enjoyed jumping over the waves. I joined them even though it resulted in numb feet ๐Ÿ™‚ They built and decorated sandcastles and we had a picnic. Afterwards we went for a long walk along the shore. My daughter drew hearts in the sand and they splashed in a channel that had formed. We walked to the caravan park. I usually find that itโ€™s easier to get my kids to walk further if there is a clear aim at the end of it; even if itโ€™s just to see a landmark before you turn back. We got ice-cream from Mauds and found a picnic table at the other end of the beach. The pirate ship playground had reopened, which the girls were pleased about, so they played there while I watched the scenery. There is something about looking at a collection of different brightly coloured boats that makes me feel like Iโ€™m on a quaint holiday. I have recently run out of steam for carrying out involved craft projects, so Iโ€™m finding spending time in nature and letting the day unfold as it decides to do is the best thing for us ๐Ÿ™‚

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