The Royal Wedding inspired many across the UK to hold their very own party in celebration of the spectacular union. What a day it was too – perfect weather and very much the fairy tale wedding. With a guest list including some of the biggest A-listers from across the globe, it was easy to see why other people wanted to have their very own garden party at home to celebrate.

Garden Party

We finally seem to be getting some warm weather, which means it is the perfect time to start planning for your summer garden party. Even if the Beckhams cannot make it, all you need is some nice weather, some nibbles and maybe the odd glass of Pimms! So what are you waiting for? Here is your checklist to make sure your party is one to remember:

Decorations

You cannot have a garden party without a few decorations to set the scene, so get the eco-friendly banners and bunting to display around your garden. Go to this site for some ideas or you can even make your own from bands of coloured paper.

Put it on ice

Stock up with plenty of ice to keep your drinks nicely chilled throughout the day. You can borrow ice buckets to make sure that you have enough to go round, so people do not need to keep walking back to the fridge.

Music

A bit of careful musical planning will help set the mood, so get your summer garden party playlist sorted with some of your favourites and the big summer hits of the year.

Food

You could offer to do a BBQ but unless someone enjoys being the BBQ chef, it only gets in the way of having fun. So just get some ready to eat buffet food for your guests to tuck into. A nice selection of sandwiches, crisps, sausage rolls, pizza and salad should keep everyone happy. Don’t forget to put some ice lollies in the freezer to cool everyone down if it happens to be a scorcher!

Drinks and mixers

Most people will bring their own drinks to a party out of courtesy but they never know how many to bring. Take too many and you look like you’re a heavy drinker and take too few and you soon run out. So as host, it always helps to have some extra drinks for people in case they run out. Make sure that you stock up with a range of mixers and if you are doing Pimms or gin then you might want to get a nice set of fruit for people to have in their drinks. Don’t forget some nice drinks for the designated drivers like flavoured water and ginger ale – a bit nicer than a glass of fizzy pop.

Garden Party

Party games

If you like to have fun then party games should be on the agenda. From beer pong to board games, you can get everyone into jovial spirits with a few fun games to play. You could even host your own personalised quiz about funny moments involving your guests!

Seating

You might need to borrow some chairs to make sure that everyone has somewhere to sit but you can also have makeshift benches and throw some blankets on the ground for people to sit on. Ask your guests in advance to bring any fold up chairs with them.

Gardening

Get your gardening done the day before the party so that your garden looks lovely and the perfect setting for the ultimate summer garden party!

 

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Cuddle Fairy

Exotic foods are that little bit different and definitely a very good reason to travel overseas to try something new and unusual.

We are a family of foodies. My Dad always encouraged me to eat local food when we were on holiday. His theory was that you could not possibly know what you liked if you did not try things. Also if you do not give things a go, you just might miss out on something very tasty indeed. His adventurous nature came from his years with the Navy I think where he visited Greece, Libya, Malta, Egypt and so many other far-flung shores

My mum was a cook by trade so had a natural interest in food too and would try to replicate things we had tasted on holiday when we returned home. She brought both my brothers up to be really good amateur chefs and both of them have turned to the preparation of food to make money in one way or another over the years.

So as a family we are pretty well-travelled but the one thing I would love to try are the exotic foods from Barbados having heard about them from an old college friend who hailed from that particular Caribbean island. I love rum and I would like to learn how to pair it with foods.

Barbados is exciting when it comes to cuisine as there are African, Asian, Indian and European influences. Food might be cooked using a wok, a grill or the wood stone oven.

There are a diverse selection  of cafes and restaurants and you may be surprised to know that Bajan food can be quite different to that on other Caribbean islands .

Bajan seasoning sounds wonderful with its notes of thyme, marjoram, green onions and parsley.

The national dish is Cou Cou and Flying Fish which is certainly a name to capture the imagination. Cou Cou consists of cornmeal and okra mixed with salt, peppers and Bajan hot sauce.

Inevitably fish is huge in Barbados and I would love to try fish balls often sold from the side of the road. There is nothing better than eating in the great outdoors.  It’s not just about the Flying Fish either so I would love to experiment with different tropical fish dishes including one that combines macaroni and cheese with fish. I would never think of that combination so would definitely give this one a try.

I love sweet potatoes already but the idea of covering them in sugar and serving with pineapples and cherries really intrigues me.

I am more convinced of the merits of plantains fried and topped with cinnamon but as I say travel broadens the taste-buds so bring on the culinary Bajan delights.

Now I just need to check out the other events and things to do in Barbados so am off to check out the luxury all-inclusive holidays from Destination 2 and then start saving up.

Where would you like to travel next to try some exotic foods?

Exotic Foods From Barbardos

 

My Random Musings

At this time of year, it’s impossible to walk into a supermarket without being confronted by aisles full of chocolate Easter eggs. From tiny milk chocolate Easter eggs, all the way to large decadent dark chocolate eggs accompanied by melt-in-your-mouth truffles – hard to resist these delectable treats, even when you’re trying to be healthy.

But just where did chocolate eggs come from? And why are they associated with Easter? The puzzle has been solved – how egg-cellent!

Welcoming the Spring

It may surprise you, but the idea of Easter – in one form or another – has been around since the Medieval period. There’s references to Easter eggs in Anglo-Saxon culture, Persian society, and Pagan rituals.

Eggs have long been associated with spring, symbolising the transition from winter to summer. Anglo-Saxons celebrated the reawakening of nature, fertility and the goddess of spring (called Eostre), by burying eggs. Persians, on the other hand, displayed decorated eggs on Iranian New Year (known as Nowruz). While Pagans viewed celebrated the Sun God, representing new life – it’s believed Christianity absorbed this custom and the egg became a symbol of the resurrection.

Thoughtful Gifts

It wasn’t until centuries later that eggs began being given as gifts and looked more like the Easter eggs that we’d recognise today.

As far back as 13th century England, people gave eggs as gifts to the church on Good Friday. Fast forward a few centuries and dyed eggs were frequently given as presents.

There were also more extravagant egg offerings. During Henry VIII’s reign, he was gifted a silver encased egg from the Vatican. While in the 19th century, Carl Fabergé designed his famous Fabergé eggs for the Russian Czar.

It wasn’t until the 17th and 18th centuries that the modern idea of the Easter egg arose. Crafted as toys and bought by the wealthy, eggs were filled with treats were gifted. But it was the Victorians who truly cemented the idea – those clever Victorians! They would fill an egg-shaped object with chocolates, paving the way for chocolate Easter eggs.

Delicious Chocolate Eggs

The very first chocolate Easter eggs were made in Germany in the early 18th century and became popular throughout Europe, spreading to France and the UK. Then, as family-time and traditions became more important, the Victorians embraced the chocolate egg, gifting them to children.

It wasn’t until after WWII and the end of rationing that chocolate Easter eggs really egg-sploded, and the market became saturated, creating the Easter tradition we all know and love, with brands like Thorntons producing millions of eggs every year.

And there you have it! Enjoy your delicious Easter treats!

The History of Chocolate Easter Eggs

Cuddle Fairy
My Random Musings
The Pramshed

You might not have even considered this before. A vegan diet really is a new way of life, and it is hard to resist temptation if you’ve always been a meat eater. But those that have switched to the vegan diet report feeling more alert, happier within themselves, and love the meals they can make. More and more people now seem to be turning vegan. The reasons for that vary, one of which we’re going to explore in this article. So if you’ve never considered it before, here’s why we think you should switch to a vegan diet.

Vegan Diet

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The Issues With Meat

Meat is great for giving us the protein we need, and keeping our bodies filled up on something that isn’t necessarily unhealthy. But the way in which our meat gets to the stores is what puts a lot of people off actually eating it. The farming industry is absolutely horrible. Cows and chickens are kept in tight confined spaces in their hundred. They’re used each day to get the most out of them in terms of eggs and milk, and then eventually killed. Some meat is free range and grass fed, but this is rare. Most of the time they spend cooped up being violated. Cows in particular have it hard. They’re impregnated over and over again, until their bodies are so badly damaged they can’t be used any more. That will signal the end of their life. Whilst there are being some stops taken to improve the farming industry, it is still diabolical.

The Diet

So, if that has started to put you off a little, then welcome to a vegan way of life! The benefits of it are absolutely amazing, and despite popular belief, you won’t just be eating rabbit food. What you can actually eat is really varied, and restaurants at the minute are creating amazing dishes for vegans to eat. The menu for vegans used to be non existent, so it is nice to see some changes being made. For all the things you might lose from your diet by not eating meat or fish, you can get back in supplements. For example, there is vegan omega 3 that is produced from algae rather than fish. There’s plenty of other replacements out there as well that you can use for food. A lot of meat is replaced by lentils, mushrooms, and beans. Plus, there are plenty of recipes now on the internet that are showcasing some yummy meals. One we think you’ll love to start the day is poached egg on toast, with sliced avocado on the side. The egg and the avocado work so well together!

If you couple this diet with a healthy amount of exercise, and make sure you’re supplementing your protein, you’ll be on your way to an amazing body in no time. A lot of the people who are instagram famous for their fitness and diets are actually vegans. So if they can make it work, we know for sure that you can too.

Could You Switch To A Vegan DietCould You Switch To A Vegan Diet

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Organic fruit and veg has outlived being merely yet another food trend and has, instead, engrained itself into the mainstream. This speaks volumes about the health benefits it can provide. Add to that the fact that it is also kinder to the environment and the only question left to answer is how do I go about growing my own?

Healthy Eating and Health Food Trends

We have become somewhat obsessed with the idea of healthy eating. Ever since the government introduced the 5-a-day campaign, back in 1994, we have seen health food trends come and sometimes go – veganism is the current hot gastro topic, for example.

Eating organic fruit and veg, however, seems to have transcended all other health food trends and whether you are vegetarian, vegan or an out and out carnivore, few would dispute the benefits.

The Benefits of Eating Organic Produce

The primary benefits from eating organic fruit and veg are that they contain far higher amounts of antioxidants than regular fruit and veg. A study conducted by Newcastle University in 2014 found that organic fruit and veg contained up to 69% more antioxidants and therefore is much more likely to help prevent diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Organic fruit and veg also tastes better and the reason for this is that they are not treated with pesticides and they don’t contain preservatives.

Better health is not the only reason to consider going organic. Organic farming methods use up less energy, less water and help to enrich soil.

How to Grow Your Own

Whether growing your own organic fruit and veg in pots, a patch in the garden or a polytunnel, the number one rule is to use organic soil and mulch. The second rule that will help you grow healthy and abundant crops is to weed regularly and to keep the soil clean, making sure things like fallen leaves aren’t lying on the surface – doing this will help prevent disease from spreading and leave your plants with all the nutrients they need to flourish.

The way in which you water your crops is also important and done properly will help prevent disease and maintain healthy plants. The best method is to use a water soaker that will deliver moisture straight to the roots of the plants.

Follow these simple guidelines and you be eating your own organic fruit and veg in no time at all.

The BeneFits Of Eating Organic Produce And How To Grow Your Own