Alphabet Photography Project: O is for …


CornI walk the dog every day and on the way into the Country Park we pass a farmers field. Every time I pass the field it looks different, it changes with the seasons and the weather and the time of day. Some mornings there are beautiful sunrises in the sky, glowing over the hill, bathing the morning in an orange glow. Other days the sun shines brightly and the birds are singing in their unique voices, the hooo hooo of doves, the raucous crowing of jackdaws and the soft singing of other unseen birds. There are grey rainy days where snails slither across the path and you need to step carefully, avoiding treading on  them as they  turn the path into a sea of shells. Antenna probing as they glide along, I have no idea what they are seeking.

This year the field is full of corn. The crop changes each year, last year it was full of yellow rape flowers, the year before was barley. I watch though the months as the brown soil changes, green shoots grow and the crop gets larger, trying to work out what it is. Eventually the seeds of the plant appear and you can tell. The corn is beautiful, glowing gold in the sunlight, a contrast against the blue of the sky. When the wind blows the stalks start oscillating, a wave of motion following the gusts of the wind. The corn rustles as it moves and occasionally a few little birds fly up from the field. They were perched on the heads of corn, trying to steal a sneaky grain. Once a black labrador’s head appeared from the field, he had run into the corn and got lost. He was jumping up trying to see the way back out, it gave me a surprise.

Linking up with the Alphabet Photography Project over on PODCast, why not pop over and have a look at all the other photos.

N is for ….

M is for ..

Wildwash Dog Shampoo

I have a dog, Eddie who is a great joy to me. He is my excuse for getting out for walks in the countryside, is always pleased to see me and has a gently wagging tail and a big grin. He loves to get into mischief, like the time he stole some peanuts. He loves to have his ball thrown for him. He will happily spend an hour chasing it around. He is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and will also live up to his lap dog name, happily curling up on my lap to go to sleep.

King Charles Spaniel

The problem with long walks in the country side is that dogs can get dirty and smelly. While Eddie is a white dog, often he comes back from a walk with black legs and paws. I keep a towel by the door for days when it is raining but every so often there comes a time when he needs a bath. He is not keen on having a bath as you can see.

Wildwash dog shampoo

I like to use a shampoo that gets him clean but is also kind to his fur and skin. Recently I have been trying Wildwash dog shampoo that I got from GJW Titmuss, an on-line pet store with a wide range of pet food, products, accessories and toys. Wildwash dog shampoo is 100% natural, there are no Parabens, Phthalates, Phosphates, Petrochemicals, Sulfates or PEG’s in the product. It also uses 100% Pure Essential Oils is vet approved, made in England and the packaging is recyclable. There are a number of different formulas, I have been trying the WildWash Shampoo for Beauty and Shine Fragrance No.2.

Wildwash Dog Shampoo

The shampoo contains Grapefruit, Bergamot and Ginger which are meant to increase scalp circulation, improve quality and promote growth, leaving dandruff free, stronger, healthier hair with vitality and sheen. You can definitely smell these ingredients when you pour it into your hand, it smells lovely. The bottle allows you to squirt out exactly the amount you need, essential when your dog is not keen on being bathed. It also lathers up nicely and rinses out well. Wildwash shampoo also contains Neem, a natural flea deterrent which is essential when you have a dog.

The Wildwash shampoo works really well and gets Eddie’s coat clean and shiny. He is happy enough with me using it, well as happy as he can be in a bath. Wildwash shampoo is RRP £14.99 for 300ml, but this will last for ages. My dog loves trying new things, he recently tried Growling Tums dog food dog food

Disclosure: I was sent some Wildwash shampoo in return for an honest review.

Turkey Al Kabsa

Some time ago I took part in the Red Tractor Recipe challenge where I was challenged to come up with recipes using Red Tractor ingredients. In case you are not aware products bearing the Red Tractor logo show that the food has been produced in the UK on independently inspected farms and has met food assurance standards for food safety, hygiene, animal welfare and many more. It covers all sorts of products from meat, to vegetables to cooking oil. Now British Turkey have combined with Red Tractor to come up with a new Blogger Recipe Challenge. Bloggers have been challenged to create a recipe using British Turkey and two Red Tractor approved ingredients, the theme is Arabian Nights.

When I think of Arabian Nights I think of the tales from one thousand and one nights, where a Persian King marries a different woman every night and has her executed in the morning to prevent her being unfaithful. When he marries Scheherazade she tells him a story but does not end it, he needs to keep her alive in order to hear what happens the next night. Needless to say she survived. The stories are all full of magic, flying carpets, genies and magicians and make me think of meals served in tents, with dancing girls. Arabian cuisine is full of spices and easy to share. I decided to make a Turkey Al Kabsa, based on the traditional dish. It is a mix of spices, turkey, tomatoes and rice but also uses grated carrot and onion, which were my two extra Red Tractor approved ingredients.

Turkey-al-kabsa-4I am not sure how traditional my version is, but it tasted really nice. The turkey worked really well with the spices and the grated carrot added a lovely texture to the dish. I got complements from my family after making it so will definitely be trying it again.

Turkey-al-kabsa-2I served the dish with a green salad which worked well. The Turkey Al Kabsa is actually quite filling and the salad complemented it perfectly. It would also be nice served with flat bread to mop it up which would be more traditional. All I was missing was the tent and the dancing girls.


Turkey Al Kabsa
Write a review
  1. ½ tsp saffron
  2. ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  3. ½ tsp mixed spice
  4. 1 tsp black pepper
  5. ½ tsp cumin
  6. ½ chilli powder
  7. 35g butter
  8. 1 tbsp lime juice
  9. 1 onion
  10. 3 cloves garlic
  11. 250 g turkey breast steaks
  12. 2 tbsp tomato purée
  13. 400g tin tomatoes
  14. 2 carrots
  15. 25g ground almonds
  16. 400 ml chicken stock
  17. 65g rice
  18. Flaked almonds to decorate
  1. Mix together the saffron. cinnamo, mixed spice, black pepper,cumin and chilli powder in small bowl.
  2. Chop the garlic and onion into small pieces
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic and cook until soft.
  4. Chop the turkey into pieces and add to the pan. Cook until browned.
  5. Add the spice mixture and coat the turkey and onions.
  6. Add the tomato purée and the tin of tomatoes.
  7. Grate the carrot and add to the pan with the lime juice and chicken stock.
  8. Add the rice and cook until the rice is soft, stirring as it cooks.
  9. Cook until the rice is tender.
  10. Place on plates and sprinkle with flaked almonds
Dragons and Fairy Dust

If you would prefer something a little lighter for a hot day why not try my warm mexican turkey salad

This is my entry into the British Turkey and Red Tractor Arabian Nights competition.

Summer Fun

When I was young I used to look forward to the Summer holidays. Eight whole weeks of no school and having fun. We used to pretty much amuse ourselves, in those days there were three channels on the television and children’s programmes were limited to around an hour at tea time. In the Summer we also got an extra hour in the morning and were treated to Flash Gordon, Tarzan and a programme called “Why Don’t You”. The idea was why not turn off the television set and go and do something less boring instead. We used to wander around the neighbourhood, building dens in the trees, going off on bikes, playing football in the street and playing in a tent that we had in the garden. The days always seemed to be long and sunny and we had fun.

These days kids seem less able to amuse themselves, they don’t tend to play out the way we did. When they do spend time with each other they seem to be permanently attached to phones, iPods or video games. I have been trying to get my son to get out and have some Summer fun and these are some ideas that I found worked.

  • Check your local sports centre for activities. I found mine was running a number of different activities during the Summer including Laser Tag, Sport and Splash days and Climbing Wall activities. All the activities are supervised so you can drop your child off and collect them later. The prices were reasonable as well.
  • Check your local library. They usually run a reading quest over the Summer where you need to read a certain number of books and get rewards as you go. Each Summer the theme is different and it is great for helping encouraging children to read.
  • Visit your local museum. They are free and often have lots of activities on over the Summer. We love visiting the Discovery Museum in Newcastle Upon Tyne, they have lots of interactive displays and if your child is a football supporter Toon Times is worth a visit. The Great North Museum is also fabulous with its displays of natural history.Great North Museum
  • If you have a bit of money to spend a day at a theme park is always fun. We recently visited Flamingoland where we had great fun enjoying the rides and the zoo. These trips can be expensive so save money by packing a picnic.
  • Check the English Heritage and National Trust websites. They have lots of great properties that are worth a visit but over the Summer you often find events going on. We found Vikings at Linidisfarne and Knights at Warkworth Castle, both events were really interesting.

For Summer fun you need to have Summer food. Pick up a picnic and add lots of snacks to keep you going though the day. We have recently been enjoying McVities BN Biscuits in chocolate and raspberry flavours.

BN-BiscuitsThey are deliciously tasty, don’t melt in the sun and their happy smiling faces make you want to smile. My son loves them and loves me producing a packet to share on a day out.

BN-biscuits-2We are getting up to lots of things this Summer. What are you doing?

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at

Alphabet Photography Project: N is for …

New Day

SunriseI like to get up early in the morning. I get up, make a cup of tea and catch up on a few things on the computer before I have to get the family up to go to school and get organised to go to work. It is a nice peaceful time, everyone else is asleep and I get some moments that are not interrupted with shouts of “Mam”. The dog follows me down to the kitchen, his claws tapping on the lino and watches while I make some tea. He looks at me hopefully and usually gets a biscuit. When I get up in the Summer it is usually light which makes it easy to see where I am going. I like it when the days get a little shorter and I can watch the sun rise in the morning, heralding the start of a new day.

Every sunrise is different, some bath the sky with dramatic golds and reds announcing the day triumphantly. Some spread a shy pink glow above the sky, like the one above, almost as if the sun is struggling to wake up and is waiting for someone to pull it out of bed. Others glow dramatic pink as if they are painted on the sky, making the landscape look surreal, as if doomsday is about to happen. Some days are a washout, the sun just appears with no colour as if to surprise you. Every morning is a surprise and it is a great way to start a new day.

I am linking up with the Alphabet Photography Project on PODCast, why not pop over and see what everyone has taken pictures of.

M is for ….

L is for …

K is for ..