The Big Lunch was a nationwide event that was recently celebrated, and was intended to bring people together to meet each other, share food and celebrate the communities that people live in.
I was very lucky to be invited to the Grangetown (Cardiff) community Big Lunch, when the Friends of Pentre Gardens held their own Big Lunch celebration, which included a fabulous selection of play sessions for the younger people, as well.
My husband made a lovely picnic to get us started, including sandwiches, fresh vegetable crudites and dips, thick slices of sponge cake and, (of course), a huge plate of cheese and pineapple on sticks! This is a firm favourite at our picnics and they were eaten very quickly. We put up more tables and, as we did, more and more people trickled out from the neighbouring houses, bringing tasty cakes, drinks to share, more delicious sandwiches and lots of nibbles for children to enjoy.
The most wonderful thing was the variety of food that we were able to taste and enjoy from different cultural backgrounds. We had homemade spicy onion bahjis and pakoras, polish biscuits and cakes, middle-eastern cheese scones and sweet pastries. There was such a variety of tastes for everyone to sample and enjoy, and it was a great way for children to see what other cultures eat. This was such a positive aspect of the day.
With all the great play activities freely available, parents sat, chatted with friends and watched happily, as their children got messy with the paint wheel, played and created pieces of art with loose materials, played friendly team games with bats and balls, and then took turns to relax on the homemade swing and the hammock.
It really was a lovely afternoon. We counted about seventy families, all enjoying a shared lunch in the sunshine, and all the children of the community enjoyed the opportunity of playing together in the park. Food and play are great media for uniting people in equal harmony.
I really enjoyed being a part of this event, and I really hope that we get to do it again next year!
I recently noticed an interesting tweet from Brecon Carreg, who asked “How much water are you drinking”?
I clicked onto the link to learn more, and was quite shocked to read that some experts calculate that a large percentage of people think it’s good enough to just rely solely upon tea, coffee and soft drinks to achieve your daily intake of water, and also that additional data shows that poor drinking habits contribute to adding a further strain onto the NHS in various forms, not least in poor liver and kidney function, and circulatory issues, to highlight a few.
The article went on to state that tiredness was a major concern and, (from a survey of some 300 GP’s countrywide), they recognised that symptoms were accelerated by dehydration.
I must admit that when I’m feeling a bit tired, or need an energy boost, I’m the worst offender for putting the kettle on and making a coffee, (in fact, I’m sipping a cup as I type this). I’d never have thought to drink a refreshing glass of chilled water instead. I really have started to think about how much water I drink, and is it really enough?
It’s quite ironic, because one of the main problems when teaching to Duke of Edinburgh candidates, is trying to get the young people to understand the importance of drinking enough water. It’s an uphill struggle, as they all want energy drinks and fizzy drinks but, when walking for long hours outdoors, water is the best option. I also hate seeing young children glugging down cans of energy drinks, because the sugar content in just one can is scarily high. As a parent, one would never let a child sit and eat up to 9 teaspoons of sugar, and that’s why I’m not a fan of energy drinks.
Also, I’m not sure why, (at aged 9 and upwards), they’d need extra energy. Looking at my daughter, she has enough energy for the whole family!
Further reading showed that official guidelines suggest that adults should drink between 1.6 and 2 litres a day, and poor drinking habits even create a £4 billion per year market in sales of energy drinks and fizzy pop.
I don’t want you to think that this post is preaching, because I realise that there’s always some “latest” scientific data proclaiming that too much of one thing is bad for you, or that not enough of another thing will diminish your health. Try things, but in moderation, I guess. Also, some people prefer bottled water over sweetened, flavoured, carbonated drinks, while others are equally happy with tap-water. It’s all a matter of habits and personal taste.
But, with all this interesting data stimulating my thoughts, I’m going to challenge myself to drink (at least) the recommended 2 litres a day. I’ll check my progress by drinking from a bottle of water, so that I can keep a record of how much I’m drinking in a day. I’ll also monitor any health benefits to me. Notwithstanding the health benefits, it makes economic sense, as well, considering that a 330ml bottle of branded cola costs more than double the price of a large 1.5 litre bottle of refreshing, cool mineral water.
I also think it’s a great challenge to throw down to the whole family, because it’s a challenge we can all try together, with no real effort at all. CHEERS!
Enjoying toasted marshmallows at Caerphilly Mountain Ranch.
We discovered this new adventure park recently and loved the outdoor environment. There’s so much space to run, discover and explore, and there’s even a tumble hill for the children to roll down. It really was our type of place to visit for a great day out!
Is there anything better for an outdoor worker than sitting in a warm mini bus in the beautiful Brecon countryside, enjoying a flask full of freshly homemade Cawl made by a lovely husband.
My Dad is a keen gardener and, over the years, he’s transformed his garden into a lovely miniature allotment, growing a huge variety of vegetables.
Throughout the summer, we get to wander into the garden and pick lots of lovely vegetables, such as peas, potatoes and courgettes. Also tomatoes and chillies come from his little greenhouse. We’re so lucky, because they taste amazing, but it also helps to teach the grandchildren all about how food is grown and where it comes from. It really encourages the young ones to eat fresh vegetables, as they picked them straight from Bampy’s garden.
As the Summer was coming to an end, he needed some help to dig over the garden and harvest the last remaining vegetables before they went to waste, so we headed over to his house, one Sunday afternoon.
Suitably dressed in wellies and old clothes, we started digging in the rows of beetroot, pulling up handfuls of juicy, round beetroot, cutting of the leaves and putting them in the buckets. We had loads, and my husband had to start thinking of the different recipes he could use, to best preserve a huge bucket full of beetroot!
Next we started on the rows of potatoes. Once again, we started by pulling up a few here and there. but by the end of our digging session we had another bucket full of lovely home-grown spuds, which would be great for our roasts, mash, Dauphinoise, jackets and chips!
After a few hours of digging we managed to harvest bucketfuls of beetroot, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, garlic, chillies, pears, red and white onions and courgettes. It was a great day of family activity, resulting in lots of wonderful treats and the start of some delicious meals, chutneys, pickles and sauces!
In a small back garden, we’re very lucky to be able to grow our own. It’s a great way of encouraging children to eat healthily and gain a good understanding of where our food comes from.
These are delicious mussels from a food foraging day out, freshly picked from the rocks around Oxwich Bay in the Gower. Then prepared by my husband, and served in a creamy sauce with a side salad and crusty bread.