Last week, I blogged about how I was walking back to happiness. I am struck by the irony that on Monday I fell on a slippery slope (Kate on very thin ice) and twisted my ankle badly. We were a mile away from the car so there was no real choice except to hobble back crying, screaming and moaning all the way. It reminded me a little of childbirth as despite being the quiet time in moments of crisis and excitement, I am known for being vocal.

family camp

I had such plans for this week but they do say God laughs when we make such things and it seems she may have a point.

Anyway, as we know there is always some light at the end of the tubular bandage so here goes …

1. I will get better. Recent news stories remind us to be very grateful for our health and wellbeing. It can be taken away in an instant and in far worse ways that a sprained ankle.

2. My enforced rest has shown just what the children are quite capable of doing for themselves. Valuable lesson learned right there.

3. My husband and children clearly hated seeing me suffering and offered help in various ways. My teenager brought me a chocolate orange to cheer me up. I just had 4 slices and let him have the rest which may well have being his plan from the start but it was still a lovely gesture.

4. I have finally managed to try some outfits on for BritMums Live today. I am not decided yet but am narrowing things down a bit.

5. I got a book on home education. Sometimes I feel I need my hand holding a bit in this adventure of ours.

6. I have eaten really well this week. The weighing scales are jumping around insanely so I am just going to carry on eating for health and taking my measurements until they fix themselves or wake up to the new me.

7. I have had my spotty nurse to give me amazing cuddles.

8. I am going camping this weekend. I must be mad in my current state but I want the family to have some fun so I cam camping our way back to happiness. Let’s see how that turns out.

Time is running out to join in the BritMums Live linky not to mention grabbing your ticket for the social media and blogging event of the year.

Here is my little introduction.

me

• Kate Holmes

• Striking Mum formerly Kate on Thin Ice formerly Giggling at it all and formerly a blog we don’t talk about

• @kateonthinice

• 5 feet and five inches

• Brown hair with a little help from my hairdresser. Short and hopefully sassy too.

• Brown eyes behind purple glasses

•I have attended BritMums LIve as a speaker in 2013 and as a room facilitator for the last two years.

• I am attending both days

• Connecting with online friends old and new

• I have not decided what I am wearing yet. I am thinking dresses but was going to have a huge trying on session and then I twisted my ankle so am waiting to feel better before making my final selections.

•What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2015?

Lots of learning. I hope to make more contacts this year. I also am very much looking forward to spending time at the Montcalm

These are some of my tips for getting the most out of the event.

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

Feel the fear if you any and talk to someone you don’t know. They probably feel more like you than you know.

Make sure you eat in between talking and drinking. There is lots of lovely food available.

Pick the sessions that will be of most use to you and your blog carefully.

Ask stupid questions – there are no stupid questions and speakers love to answer and someone else in the room will be wondering the same thing as you are.

Celebrities are human too – don’t shy away from them but also respect that they are people and not just autograph or selfie material.

Do it your way – if that means taking a break or grabbing yourself some quiet time, so be it.

Be prepared for generous goody bags.

Be yourself – that way if someone likes you, you know they really do and you can move on to a great friendship.

This blackberry jelly is sweet and wobbly. You can also eat it as a savoury dessert with a thick piece of crumbly English cheese.

blackberry jelly recipe

So fruity!

Makes approximately 1 kg

1 kg of blackberries
450 g (16oz) cooking apples, cored and finely chopped
4 bay leaves, washed and torn
Preserving jam sugar

Method

1. Wash the blackberries and apples. Place all the fruit and bay leaves into a preserving pan with 600ml/1 pint water

2. Cook over a low heat gently for about 30 minutes until soft and very mushy

3. Strain the pulp through a nylon sieve set over a bowl.

4. Measure the resulting liquid and return it to the pan, adding 500g of sugar for each 500ml of liquor

5. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, stirring regularly for 40-60 minutes.

6. Check the bubbling mixture is ready by drawing a wooden spoon across the bottom of the preserving pan leaving a clean line.

7. As soon as it is ready, pour the hot jelly into sterlised small jars, cover with waxed discs and seal. Skim away any scum from the top of the jelly and fill the jam jars to the brim. Cover, seal and label.

8. Store in a cool, dark place until required.

9. Alternatively pour the mixture into a greased mould that can be turned out for presentation. The blackberry jelly is best served with a few sliced of Lancashire cheese or cold, sliced roast beef.

Discover more tempting recipes at Seasonal Berries.

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I am giving away a free ticket to BritMums Live 2015.

BritMums Live 2015

Be in it to win it!

You can find out all about this exciting event on the BritMums website.

I am guessing you already know about the event but in case you don’t, it is a brilliant coming together of bloggers, social media folks and brands. Think inspirational and celebrity speakers, useful and informative workshops, laughter, learning and lovely food and drink.

In 2012, BritMums Live was the highlight of my year. I was so nervous but I made new friends and one very special one indeed. I laughed and cried. I felt OK and to be honest with all the expectations that society puts on us women that can be a challenge sometimes. Sometimes we deserve some time just for us away from partners, children and other commitments.

In 2013, I returned and worked as a room monitor and on reception. It felt like a school reunion except one where everyone wishes everyone well. I had lost my father the year before and this event helped put me back together again.

In 2014, I was there again laughing, crying and partying with special online and now offline friends.

I decided that I would buy a ticket for BritMums Live 2015 and give it away.

So if you would like to go to BritMums Live and don’t have that golden ticket to this event, email me kateonthinice@gmail.com telling me why you would like it. Do not try to be clever – write from the heart in a way that suits you. Short or long emails welcome. All emails will be treated in confidence.

This is a gift rather than a competition so my decision will be final and based on the email that moves me most.

I will make my decision on 4th June so get your emails to me quickly.

And if you need any more convincing, I bottled a huge blogging event with BritMums in 2011 and regretted it so much. Feel the fear and do it anyway and all that jazz.

Please note this is a gift of a ticket only and you will need to make your own arrangements for childcare, accommodation and travel.

If you read this post, please do share and help me work a little magic for somebody.

National Barbecue Week 2015 starts very soon. I know the family will love meatball kebabs as we experiment with a new barbecue.

Meatball Kebabs with Pressed Cucumber Salad and Flatbreads

National Barbecue Week

Meat feast

Serves: 4 people

Preparation: 20 minutes, plus chilling time

Cook: 25-30 minutes / Baking 15-16 minutes / Grilling 12-15 minutes/BBQ

Ingredients

• 1/2 cucumber, sliced wafer thin

• 1/2 small red onion, sliced wafer thin

• 1/2 tsp table salt

• small handful fresh finely chopped flat leaf parsley

• small handful fresh chopped dill

• 2 tbsp white wine vinegar

• 2 tbsp caster sugar

• 395g pack Scan Swedish Meatballs

• 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks

• 1 courgette, trimmed and sliced

• 1 tbsp runny honey

• 2 tsp wholegrain mustard

• 2 tbsp Kecap Manis

• 100g (4oz) spinach, rocket and watercress salad

• 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced

• natural yoghurt to serve

Instructions

Soak eight wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes. Arrange two sheets of kitchen paper onto a dinner plate and layer the cucumber, red onion and salt alternately until you have used all the cucumber, red onion and salt. Lay another two pieces of kitchen paper over the top and lay another dinner plate on top. Arrange heavy weight or tin on top and leave for 1 hour. Discard the kitchen paper and any residual liquid. Toss the cucumber and red onion with the herbs, white wine vinegar, caster sugar and 100ml (4fl oz) water and place into a jam jar or Kilner jar. Chill for at least 1 hour.

In a large bowl mix together the runny honey, wholegrain mustard and kecap manis. Add the meatballs, peppers and courgette and toss well to evenly coat all the ingredients. Thread the ingredients alternatively onto the wooden skewers. To cook: either arrange the skewers onto a foil lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/Gas mark 6 for 25-30 minutes until piping hot, or cook under a preheated hot grill for 15-16 minutes turning frequently. Or barbecue away from direct heat for 12-15 minutes turning frequently.

Drain the cucumber and mix with the watercress and fennel and pile onto serving plates. Serve with the meatball kebabs and natural yoghurt to drizzle over.

No Swedish BBQ or Midsummer celebration would be without meatballs and the UK’s and Sweden’s no.1 meatball brand Scan Authentic Swedish Meatballs has some deliciously simple yet super tasty recipes for you to try on your own barbecue at home – perfect if you’re bored of burgers and bangers. And what about taking a packet or two with you next time you’re invited to a family or friend’s BBQ? Don’t forget the kebab sticks!

Scan Authentic Swedish Meatballs are available from Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Ocado in two handy pack sizes: 230g (£2) or 395g (£3) and can be used in a variety of recipes, from salads and quiches to pies and sandwiches.

How will you be celebrating National Barbecue Week 2015?