Welcome to my second ‘Things I Discovered’ post! This where I get to share with you my favourite useful finds of the month, from the sublime (a retreat at a monastery) to the delicious (Orange & Caramel yoghurt) to the hilarious (Mr Gum book) to the ridiculous (how to organically assassinate a horde of fruit flies in your kitchen). It’s also where you get to share your own finds this month by adding your post to the linky. If you don’t have a blog, you can always add yours as a comment – go for it!
If want more explanation, click here. But otherwise, I think we can now safely proceed.
So, here’s the lovely things I found this month that has made my life all the richer:
Eat: Blood Orange & Caramel Yoghurt by Yeo Valley
This is one of their Limited Edition tubs, and its simply gorgeous. Why I love it is it’s an easy midweek supper dessert (and don’t we all need those?). Crumble a digestive over the top, or bung in a shortbread biscuit and the kids think they have a special pud. I also discovered by happy chance (or by disorganisation if truth be told) that it’s a great substitute for custard when served with stewed rhubarb. No, really, I’m serious. And at 93p a tub, on special at Waitrose/Ocado at the mo, its a bargain (till 8 October).
Play: Rebound Net
If, like us, you have a boy who likes to kick a ball about, has no other brothers to return the ball back to, and you have no wall to kick a ball off, THIS is your answer. Its a fantastic, very easy to set up/set down net that you can put anywhere in your garden (as long as its not too close to neighbours who don’t like throwing balls back over the hedge….). At 7ft x 7ft its a good size, and you can even play tennis on it, albeit with a bit more welly than normal when placed on a bumpy grass surface. Plus it packs away into a slim bag that you can bring on holiday with you. At £64.95 it is birthday present material, but well worth it. We bought it from The Soccer Store (who offered free postage and a no quibble replacement net when a pole broke) but you can also get it from Quick Play.
Read: Mr Gum and the Power Crystals by Andy Stanton
If you know the Mr Gum books, you’ll know how fantastically absurd and slightly anarchic they are. I adore these books as they make us all laugh so much. This one, I reckon, is even better than the first book, You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! If you don’t know his books, but you love authors who let the English language off the lead, so to speak (‘snarfling’ being my favourite in this book) and whose plots are rather similar to the dreams you have after eating copious amounts of cheese, then you’ll like this. You’ll actually look forward to bedtime reading, even when tired and hungry….
The Reason I Jump: one boy’s voice from the silence of autism by Naoki Higashida
For anyone who knows anyone with autism, this is a must read. Its author is a 13 year old Japanese boy who has attempted to explain what it is like to live with autism. The fact that it is written by a child makes it even more powerful, according to award winning author David Mitchell (not to be confused with the comedian) who has found it a ‘revelatory godsend’ in helping him understand his own son. His wife is Japanese and she translated it for English readers. And what an insight it is. It makes painful, powerful and important reading. And very easy – you’ll read it in a few hours, or as I did, a few chapters each time I had a spare moment. Thanks to my sister in law for recommending it….
Places: Worthy Abbey retreat centre, Sussex
At the beginning of the month, I had the privilege of going on a spiritual retreat on the at the beautiful Worth Abbey. This is the place where they filmed the enlightening Channel 4 programme The Big Silence and The Monastery (I never saw it but people who did see it raved about it). I went to learn about Mindfulness and Meditation. I won’t go into detail here, as I will be writing on it in a separate post later one, but suffice to say it was a profound, tonic of a weekend that has initiated a fundamental shift in my approach to daily living. The monks run weekend retreats for people of any or no religion (I’m not a Catholic), so if you are feeling in need of silence and sanctuary, check it out (http://www.worthabbey.net/cloister). The famous circular Abbey church was mesmerising itself.
Suzanne’s blog is a brilliant family life blog, which I read often. Her recent post is an excellent example of what parent blogging should be about – tackling current, tricky issues and giving people the forum to share the ideas and concerns. It looks at this complex and, quite frankly, scary issue of children’s exposure to porn and bullying via social media, internet and their phones. Compulsory reading for anyone with children aged 8 and above.
Useful Trivia: How to trap fruit flies!
You may think I’m bonkers (well, some of you know that already) but this really is a serious tip. We’ve been plagued by fruit flies in our kitchen this past week or so. After too many days of trying to kill them by clapping at them (sore hands, sore ears) I posted a message on Facebook to ask if anyone else is suffering so. Not only did I get a ‘yes’ but a fantastic tip to trap them: 2-3 cms of cider/wine vinegar in a jar/glass with a squeeze of washing up liquid. The flies can’t resist. And without a whiff of nasty insecticide in the air. Don’t you love FB for stuff like that? No longer do I have to put up with the incessant sound of two hands clapping…
That’s it folks. Now it’s over to you…what have you discovered that you’d like to share?
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