Friday, 30 May 2014

My Favourite Way to Spend a Sunny Day...

By DD1 (aged 11)

My FAVOURITE way to spend a sunny day is go to Hare Hill, which is at Alderly Edge which is near where we live.  We have been going there since I was about three or four I think.

I like it, because the walled garden is massive and I like it because it also has a badminton set and croquet set, that is fun to play with. Sometimes mum brings bubble mixture to use at Hare Hill in the walled garden. I also like playing hide and seek or tag with my brothers and sister. As well I like that the flowers are pretty and colourful.




I liked the badminton set so much that dad got me one to play with at home and so my other favourite way to spend a sunny day is to play badminton.

In my garden or my grandma’s garden, I play badminton with my family we usually stand one side of the garden each. Sometimes as well we get the net out at my house. It's quite funny when my mum and dad play badminton together.  It's funny watching them run about.



My dad is quite fast at serving the shuttlecock, because he throws it up then hits it quite hard. The shuttlecock usually goes into the plants (or flower beds) if you don’t hit it.  Its also very hard to run for it, because it comes so fast towards you. So if you look away you’ll loose the game. 

Most of the time the games will last for 5-10 minutes, so most of the time everyone will get tired and want a break.  As well as that there are fights over the badminton rackets, because there are only two rackets to play with and there are five of us! Mostly I play with my brother or my grandma because they are good at playing.

I really like eating ice cream after I've played badminton.  I like ice cream in cones the best, my favourite flavour is toffee.



That's my favourite way to spend a sunny day.

This is my daughter's entry into the MAD Kid Blog of the Year awards 2014.  She wrote is all herself and I helped edit it, add the photos she chose and upload it to my blog for her.  

Thursday, 29 May 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow? - Mum's Garden

I know I said I was going to keep linking monthly to keep an update of our garden, but the truth is, I'm getting slightly addicted to watching the plants as they grow and to sharing it here.  We've had pretty terrible gardening weather here this week, although Monday was a gorgeous day (how fantastic is that for a bank holiday?!).  

We decided to spend the day at my Mum's house.  Her garden is simply wonderful.  She spends so much time in it and you can really tell, because as I walked through the garden gate it kind of hit me all at once - so many different plants and flowers, a complete opposite to our efforts in our own garden really!

I'd forgotten my own camera and so I grabbed Mum's camera and had a few minutes to myself snapping my favourite bits while the children all ran around for a bit.  The pictures aren't the best but I did what I could as it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  My favourites are the hostas.  I'd love some in my own garden, although I've tried to grow them in the past they always end up being eaten by slugs and looking terrible.  Looking at Mum's vast collection of them, I'm very tempted to try again as they are really great plants.






I've no idea what this next plant is but it captured my attention with its delicate hanging flowers.




I love clematis and since we cut ours back I have really missed it.  My mum has convinced me that I need a different type of plant and this one she has is really pretty and also doesn't cover half the garden like our Montana did!



Lovely lupins.  Mum has these everywhere and they do really well in her garden.  This is just the back corner of the garden.  I like how they are poking up between the other plants here.



These are just a few of the pictures that I took.  Annoyingly most of the others are either out of focus or have disappeared into cyberspace as I tried to email them from Mum's computer to ours.



We spent the rest of the day in the garden playing badminton with the children.  It was loads of fun and such a gorgeous space to be in.  Again, I would share a picture of DH as he thrashed everybody gracefully won each game (competitive dad, him?), but luckily for him that picture has also disappeared too!


Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Stickems Review

Mobile phones, tablets, laptops and games consoles - it seems that these have replaced toys and games in they eyes of my children as must haves these days.

My oldest three children were all lucky enough last Christmas to be bought a Kindle Fire HD each (thanks Grandma!) and ever since then I have been trying to remind them to unplug them when they've finished charging, put them in a safe place if they aren't using them and to generally be careful with them full stop.  Anything that helps to encourage looking after such an expensive thing properly has therefore got to be useful, right?

Well, a fews weeks ago, after I had been to Blog On, I happened to be looking through the myriad of things we had been given in our goody bags when I found a small cardboard packet at the bottom of one of them.  It was actually a reusable screen cleaner from a company called Stickems designed to stick on to mobile devices for handy cleaning.

I half had my eye on it until the teen asked me what it was and then promptly pilfered it for himself.  Charming!  Anyway, he stuck it to the back of his Wii U and has been using it daily every since.  DD1 and DS2 (who thought that the Stickems looked very cool) were a bit put out at this and so were delighted when I got onto Stickems and ordered some more via their website.


We did have a hard time choosing which to buy as Stickems are available in loads of different designs and various sizes - there really is something for everyone.  They aren't actually sticky as such but adhere to the back of the device by a sort of clingy backing.  When you need to clean your screen you just peel off the Stickems and then use the printed microfibre cloth side to clean all the fingerprints off.  Then you simply re-stick back onto your device.  They last up to 1000 sticks and can be washed too.

We've been trying ours out on the back of the Kindle Fire and while they don't claim to stick to non shiny surfaces, they stick onto the back of the Fire fairly well.  My daughter has also stuck hers onto her Nintendo 3DS.





I think they are excellent and have certainly helped my children to take better care of their tablets and other screens.  My daughter has already hinted that they would make good stocking fillers at Christmas time too!  The ones we chose cost £2.99 each which I think is a very reasonable price.

As for me, well, with all the different designs to choose from I couldn't resist getting one for myself - as a blogger this one seemed quite apt!


We were given a discount to use on our Stickems order in return for this review.  All words and opinions are our own.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow? - May

After linking up with Annie at Mammasaurus at the beginning of the month and receiving so many comments on our garden, I thought I'd try to make it a bit more of a regular thing.  We've not done much to the garden in the last few weeks (other than DH's fence painting, lawn feeding/mowing and some weeding which I cannot take any credit for!) but things are still happening almost daily.  Looking out of the kitchen window the other day I saw something I wasn't expecting - a flower.  There were actually a few belonging to an Aquilegia which has since seeded itself under our Magnolia.  The fully open flowers were a bit tricky to photograph bobbing around in the breeze but I think they look so delicate and pretty.  I was really pleased that they were there to break up the vast expanse of green that we seem to have ended up with since cutting back so many plants earlier in the year.




We have a few new plants too including these chives, which seem to love their new home.  I can never get enough of plants that you can cook with as well as enjoy in their own right and these really fit the bill.


One thing that always happens when the weather gets better is that my neighbour's Acer, which grows over the top of the fence between us, starts to look so amazing against the blue of the sky.  I absolutely love the intense red canopy and have real Acer envy.


This becomes especially apparent when you see what has happened to one of mine in the last few weeks. It was a really pretty little tree, sitting right next to the deck in a pot looking very Zen against the pebbles.   For some reason, once the leaves started to appear this year it seemed to give up and now is just a rather unappealing grey stick :(


I'm wondering whether it might have something to do with the Ceanothus we have which was one of the plants that faced the chop back in April.  It used to provide the Acer with shade but had grown so huge we had no light in the kitchen.  It is now a trunk with a few random flowers, but you can see lots of little shoots all over it, which gives me hope that in a year or two we will have a nice tidy compact version of the plant that it was before.  I have really missed the purple/blue flowers this year but it was a trade off to be able to see through the kitchen window again!


Lastly, I'm pleased to report that we finally had some fronds from our missing Regal Fern appear and now it's back!  This was the best shot I could manage as it really isn't a substantial plant like some of the other ferns in our garden, but there are many more fronds like that one which must mean it is in relatively good health.



So, that's our garden in May.  I want it to eventually look like this again (you can even see the now dead Acer if you look closely).


That photograph was taken two years ago and it is fair to say while the garden is looking good at the minute it isn't anything like that picture.  So, that's the goal for now.


Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Kids can be so cruel

My oldest two children trade insults frequently.  I think it's a byproduct of being at high school.  Every mealtime, every afternoon walking home from school, and every evening across the hallway from bedroom to bedroom, the insults fly.  Irritating as it is, I know to take it all with a very large pinch of salt. It is (mostly) meant in jest.

Occasionally it gets a little out of hand as DS1 (the eldest) can take things further than his sister is prepared to accept.  She is learning to fight her corner pretty well, however.  One afternoon, a few weeks ago, DS1 came home with an invitation to the Mathematics Society at school.  Of course I was proud.  DD1 had a different take on things - "you're joining the nerd herd!" she said.  DS1, almost embarrassed by this, and keen to get his own back, then started an exchange of insults beginning "you're so stupid that...".  The insults came thick and fast, getting more and more cutting until eventually I called a halt to it all.

An invitation to the nerd herd - no black tie required

What they hadn't realised is that for some time they have had a small pupil, watching and learning everything they do.  DS2, my third child, who is somewhat forgotten in the way that third children often are.  His confidence in dealing with other children, who might sometimes be unkind, is suddenly becoming quite apparent.  I think this is largely down to watching how his siblings react and knowing what to do to hold his own ground with them.

So, not being able to resist trying this new skill out, in a well timed retort to both his siblings he chimed in with "you're so stupid that you took a donut back to the shop because it had a hole in it!"

Slightly taken aback, not realising that he had been listening, DS1, DD1 and I all burst out laughing.  DS2 looked quite pleased with himself.  It was a wonderfully executed example of how as a third born he is able to exude the confidence required to make his own stamp on things.

Most people think that third children are a bit hard done by, left to their own devices and I suppose to a certain extent that might be true.  I think third children are just better at watching and learning, getting ready for whatever might be thrown at them.  A different type of preparation for life, but no less valid than any other.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Emperor's New Clothes

I'm all for new stuff, for trying something different, but lately I'm just a bit annoyed with some of the new things I see and read about.  Actually, I'm not just a bit annoyed, I'm grumpy.

There was a time that I'd have embraced new ideas with open arms.  These days I can't help but wonder if everything I see is just a reinvention of something else and well, it bores me.  It's probably my age.

This is not a Room 101 post, because if it was it would be about all the things that I hate, the things that I'd get rid of if I could.  No, these are the things that I just don't understand.  You know, the sort of things that people say "ohh, you must try such and such, it's sooo amazing!", when really it isn't.  So, here then, is a list of all the things that have recently made me think, WTF?

Pulled Pork

It's pork.  You pull it apart and suddenly it becomes the must cook recipe.  I'm sorry but I just don't get it.  Did people used to be so excited by bacon, roast pork or ham I wonder? I like pork, and as a family I'd say we eat more than our fair share of it, despite this I don't see why having it pulled makes it better.  If you pull meat apart it becomes stringy and gets stuck in your teeth.  Bleurgh.  Enough said.

Carpet Picnics

Where you have a picnic on the carpet, usually in the company of small children (probably because it's raining too), and that's basically it. In our house we call it having a sandwich in the living room.  Besides, children aren't that stupid, even the really little ones, "What did you do today kids?", "Mummy made us sit on the carpet and eat our sandwiches".  It doesn't sound very exciting does it?


Yay!  We're in a tent in the living room and eating - and they call this fun?

Staycations

So instead of going away on holiday, when you book time off work and stay at home you are supposed to call it a staycation.  A vacation at home.  I don't know about you, but when I stay at home it isn't anything like a vacation.  I still cook, clean, wash and iron, which doesn't sound very much like a holiday to me.  It should just be called, "Mum does everything as usual while everyone sits around on their arse".  The end.

Chimineas

Like a barbecue without the food.  So, essentially just hot smoke filled air emanating from your patio.  Why on earth would you want this?  If you want to sit outside late at night and stay warm then just wrap up a bit.  Why start a small fire inside a malformed plant pot? - they look silly and annoy me smoke out the neighbours.  You are not a Mexican Tribesman (wiki it!).  Just stop it.

Date Night

Is there anyone in the world that doesn't feel just a little bit silly when using this phrase?  A date is something that you go on with someone new, to get to know one another.  It is not something that happens with your husband, partner or significant other because you already know one another.  So, if you are going out together, sans children then that's all it is, it is not a date.

None of these things are as exciting as they sound, am I right or am I wrong?  Which new-fangled things are your "Emperor's New Clothes"?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Teenager

I'm often a bit down on my teen, I joke about his bad habits, about how he doesn't listen and generally about the fact that he is a teenager.  Anybody reading this would think I didn't enjoy having him around, but that's simply not true.  The thing is, he's not at all bad. In fact, now that the initial shock of his hormones has worn off, I feel that we've started to turn a corner with him.  He is actually becoming a really nice person to be around.  No, really.

This weekend I had a bit of an epiphany.  We had possibly one of the worst weekends, behaviour wise from all our children.  If one wasn't having a tantrum then another was, they argued, they fought, they sulked.  To be quite honest moments like these make me wonder why I've bothered to ever become a parent at all.  Sometimes parenting, no matter how many children you have, is overwhelming.  Fact.

Anyway, that aside, when Sunday evening rolled around I was having yet another disagreement discussion over bedtimes with DS2 and DD1, the teen was equally as annoyed as me by his siblings behaviour.  He was so annoyed that instead of piling in to the argument as usual, he walked away.  He came and sat downstairs with me and we watched proper normal television.  We had a discussion over the programme we were watching, an actual proper discussion.  He didn't use the word boring once.  It was really, for want of a better word, nice.  Then I had the epiphany.  He is growing up and I am enjoying his company such a lot.  Enjoying hearing his ideas and his thoughts on things, regardless of whether I agree or not.

Parenting is such a long and tricky process that I often get bogged down with each child moving on to the next phase of development, the next milestone or whatever.  Sometimes it is just nice to enjoy them as they are, for who they are rather than for who you think they should be.




Super Busy Mum

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Minecraft

Tiny blocks on the large screen
Children screech loudly,
My weekend very much spoilt


Friday, 9 May 2014

Morning Stories - Chaos Reigns

As a family of seven mornings are only going to go one of two ways really - organised or chaotic.  I'd like to tell you that I'm one of those enviable mothers who has everything organised to military precision, enabling us to be up and out of the house at top speed, never having forgotten anything and always being on time.  My husband reckons that there's a bit too much poetic licence on this blog already (that's his opinion, I beg to differ) and so I'll confess that I'm not at all a morning person and that our mornings are firmly in the chaotic camp.

I'm going to attempt to give you a breakdown of what actually happens in our house before school and work.  A shambles at best, it definitely isn't pretty.

6:30 am  The alarm goes off.  I'm not sure why we bother to set it really as the twins will have almost certainly woken up at 6:00 am and we will have been listening to them arguing playing for the last half an hour.  We may or may not have shouted at asked them nicely a few times to be a little more quiet.  Whether they take this on board is anybody's guess really.

7:15 am  OK, we've now overslept and so I reluctantly get out of bed and go downstairs to commence my favourite part of the day - breakfast time.  Emptying the dishwasher, I throw the bowls and spoons back on the dining table and grab the cereal and milk from the cupboards and fridge.  The noise of this should wake the older ones who are still in bed.  Rather like ninjas on a secret mission, the twins will have seated themselves at the table before I have time to draw breath and so I start sprinkling various types of cereal into bowls and sloshing on the milk.


 They are like stealthy breakfast ninjas...

7:30 am  At this point I'm usually perfecting that most ancient of calls - the mum-yell.  "Boys!  Breakfast time!" because they are still in bed.  I used to say when my eldest was a toddler that I couldn't wait for him to be a teen and then I could finally get a lie-in.  Well, that's kind of backfired really, as now he is immovable in the mornings.  His only saving grace is that he can dress himself, just.  I should mention that DH having also got himself ready, has left for the day.  He is sensible enough to know not to get involved in the morning routine if he is ever going to catch his train on time.

7:45 am  Breakfast now in its second sitting, I move on to the sandwiches and other packed lunch items.  My top tip here is to buy sliced cheese, bread, ham etc.  I can practically make a sandwich with my eyes closed these days and without risk of injury to my fingers in the process.  Actually, make everything else as pre-packed as possible and then all you have to do is lob it into the lunch boxes and you are done.  Genius.

8:00 am  Once lunch boxes are assembled and breakfast is over I commence the task of getting two pre-schoolers dressed.  The other three children have the added advantage of being able to do this themselves with minimal nagging but the twins are a different story.  The main issue I have is that DS3 only likes certain clothes.  Woe betide me if we don't have the dinosaur top (now too small), the trousers without the zips on (?) or the stripy underpants to hand.  Without one or all of the above I'm done for and we could still be debating what to wear for the next hour or so.  Happily his sister is actually quite easy to please and likes to wear most things as long as they go with her new pink shoes.

Dinosaur top, check, stripy pants, check - I win

Teeth cleaning next, which has recently taken on a new excitement for the twins.  DH came home from the supermarket a few weeks ago with some new toothbrushes with suction cups on the bottom.  For some reason being able to stick your toothbrush on the side of the sink is very entertaining when you are four and so I rarely have to argue with either of them that it is time to clean their teeth.

On the sink..

Under the sink, or on the mirror?  The fun never ends.


8:10 am  DD1 leaves for school - no trouble really - she is the only one of us who is organised enough to not flounder around in the morning and her room is even tidy with the bed made and curtains opened.  My work here is done.

8:15 - 8.30 am  During this time slot I will almost always have to nag someone (DS1 and 2) for not having a tidy room, not cleaning their teeth, not being dressed, the list is endless.  Mostly I do this from behind my bedroom door as I've just realised that I'm still wearing pyjamas.  If I'm lucky I will have found a clean top that is ironed somewhere and the bonus will be that a) it still fits or b) it matches whatever other items of clothing I've found to wear that day.  To avoid complete wardrobe disaster I have recently perfected my mum uniform - jeans and a breton top of some sort.  One for every day of the week.

Pick a top any top, doesn't matter, they are all the same.

8:35 am  DS1 leaves and we should be leaving now, but what about my hair and make-up?  So as not to scare people I make a little effort here although I have recently ditched eye make-up because it appears I'm allergic to it.  For years I stood at the school gate with watering eyes as the children went in to school.  The other mums must have thought I couldn't bear the be parted with my offspring for the following six hours - we all know that's not true ;) so to avoid further confusion I've dispensed with mascara completely.  This has the added advantage that I don't stab my eyeballs with the mascara wand as I hurriedly try to get ready, plus I save a fortune in cotton wool as I no longer have to wipe the Alice Coopereque mess off my face on my return.

8:45 am  We're all ready, in the car and on our way.  It doesn't matter that I have a mountain of tidying, washing up and beds to make at home.  I am victorious in my quest to get everyone out of the house again!  The fact that I just need to repeat the process for the next 4 days until the weekend is irrelevant - we've done it for today.

But, have you noticed something?  What about my breakfast?  Well, I don't usually have time and then I forget when I get home and by lunch time I'm starving.  Happily I was recently sent some of these beauties from BelVita.*



DH and I had the Fruit and Fibre and Milk and Cereals varieties.  In fact, they were really good for DH who usually slips out of the house having not had breakfast at all.  They are individually wrapped in fours and so he took a packet to work with him.  I even managed to eat a packet of them with a brew before the school run.  I liked the oatiness of them, in particular the Fruit and Fibre variety.

I'm not a lover of chocolate based breakfast things personally (Coco Pops make me gag) but my kids adore them.  I've often seen DS1 leave the house eating part of his lunch on the way to school - usually a biscuit, as he complains that despite two bowls of cereal every morning, he's always hungry.  The Yogurt Crunch Cocoa BelVita were perfect for him.  I dispatched both him and DD1 with them in the hope that the slow release carbohydrates would stop them both from eating their lunch early.  They were a hit and DS1 is now nagging me to by them again.  I might be tempted to change my shopping list to include these.  At £2.79 a box I think they are very reasonable.

As for the morning routine, I doubt that will ever change.  How long have I got before they all leave home?

This post is an entry for the #MorningStories Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast.  Learn more at www.facebook.com/belVitaUK 

*  We were sent samples of belVita Breakfast biscuits together with a voucher for Costa Coffee.  All word and opinions are our own.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Musical Trolleys and Moules Marinere

For us bank holidays are all about relaxing, taking things easy and treating ourselves to some nice food and drink to boot.  As you can imagine, with five children to look after DH and I don't get the opportunity to go out on our own very much and so our solution to this is to cook meals at home for each other instead.

This weekend I was selected by Morrisons and Britmums to be a #MorrisonsMum and given £80 to spend on weekend meals for the family.  We planned our shopping to include a meal "a deux" to celebrate the start of the bank holiday on Friday evening, something quick for us to eat on Sunday night (I was off to a blogging event in the day and didn't want to cook when I got home) and a large family meal on the bank holiday Monday.  We also planned to buy some more general meals for the rest of the weekend, including breakfast items and some household items as well.

Our local Morrisons store in Congleton, Cheshire, is a Safeway legacy store situated in the town centre and does not stock the same level of groceries as some of the larger stores.  It also has the unfortunate luck of having the original Safeway layout inside and so the aisles were rather narrow - this took us some time to negotiate our way around the other shoppers - dosey doe with a trolley anyone?  Undeterred by this we were pleased to find a smaller version of Market Street (no fancy veg cooling system like some of my fellow instagrammers had pictured during their visits for example) although the quality of the items seemed to be as good as, if not better in some cases, as our usual supermarket.  I took DH with me as he usually does our supermarket shopping and has the uncanny knack of being able to remember which prices are cheapest/best value on all our every day shopping.

We started our shopping at the wrong end of the store.  DH's theory is that by starting with the less perishable items first then chilled items spend less time un-refridgerated before returning home.  So, predictably this meant starting with the wine aisle ;)

We found the white wine we needed easily and I spotted the spirits at this point and headed for the gin.  Unfortunately for me, the store didn't stock Greenalls which is my gin of choice, but I decided to try some of their own brand London Dry Gin as a compromise.  We had tonic water at home, but noticed that tonic water and other mixers were all lowered in price as well as being on a multi-buy.  It was actually easy to see where all the price drops were as there were very large, yellow labels everywhere which declared "I'm cheaper".



As we worked round the store we could see the prices had been lowered everywhere.  We picked up branded items that I hadn't seen in our usual supermarket for some time as well as Morrisons branded things which just seemed jolly good value to me!  Items we particularly noticed as being low in price were the Savers dishwasher tablets at £1.60 for 30, the Morrisons Chicken Nuggets at £3.00 for a bag of 56 (yes I feed my children these - judge away) and Macaroni which always really annoys me because nowhere sells big bags - the price and size was the same as the bags DH usually buys (95p) but they were on a multi buy of 2 for £1.50 which was perfect for feeding my Macaroni Cheese obsessed children!

At Market Street we dithered a bit, firstly looking at the half price rump steak piled high on the butchers counter and then we decided to grab some of Morrisons excellent Indian ready meals.  We've had these before when they have been on offer and then always been really disappointed that the price has gone back up again.  The individual curries are usually priced at £3.50 which is not extortionate but I was delighted to see that they had been permanently lowered to £3.25 each, thus fuelling my need for a curry in front of the telly night even further - hooray!



By the time we got back to the steak again it had all but vanished!  I could hardly believe it but they did look good so we grabbed a couple for Saturday evening before they all went!  We also stopped at the fish counter for a bag of mussels.  DH selected a bag that was right at the back packed in ice, and the attention to detail by the member of staff serving us couldn't be faulted.  The fishmonger sealed the fish in a plastic bag, but because the mussels are live she left a corner of the bag open and told us to be careful with them.

All the staff that we encountered were so polite and even the checkout staff chatted to us (rather than each other!) as we packed our shopping - it was such a breath of fresh air.

We managed to get all our shopping for a grand total of £89.84.  Having seen what good value everything was we were a little worried that we wouldn't spend all of our budget and so DH told me to go and get a bargain bottle of prosecco that I'd seen earlier to make up the total - I was one happy mum and our trolley was full of wonderful treats for the bank holiday weekend!



Briefly on the subject of trolleys, I was also really pleased to see that all the trolleys at Morrisons have two child seats in them.  Our other local supermarkets also have these but only 8 or 10 per store at the most.  This is a massive annoyance of mine as when my twins were smaller I couldn't take them shopping at my usual supermarket at all and was forced on one occasion to leave as there was no way I could do my shopping with them both.  Well done Morrisons - lovely to see that you think of those of us with more than one small child :)

So, what did we do with all that food?  Well, without boring you with the gory details of feeding five children all weekend long, we did manage to feed everybody comfortably on our budget.  We still have lots of things left in the freezer too.  I'm going to share with you my absolute favourite of the weekend's meals - Moules Marinere which my DH made for me on Friday night, while I languished on the sofa with a (more than acceptable) Morrisons London Dry Gin and Tonic ;)

Moules Marinere (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

A bag of live mussels from Morrisons Fish Counter - £3.47
3 cloves of garlic - 6p (quarter of a bulb costing 25p)
A small bunch of parsley - 39p (half a bunch costing 79p)
50g butter 20p (250g costs £1)
A teaspoon of oil - 2p (750ml olive oil is £2.19)
1 glass of white wine - £1.02 (based on Chardonnay costing £4.79)
1 glass of water
A small pot of double cream - 60p

Total cost of ingredients we used was £5.76 making the cost per person £2.88

Method:

Wash and de-beard the mussels.  Ours were a little open and so to check that they were still alive we tapped them until they closed tightly.  You need to rinse and closely inspect each one under a tap.  The mussels we used were quite clean and mainly beard free but if yours have beards you can pull these off.  Any that remain open or have broken shells need to be discarded as they are more than likely dead.  We only discarded one of ours because they were really fresh!




Chop up the garlic and also the parsley (we use a teacup and kitchen scissors to snip the parsley as its easier and less messy!)

Put a large lidded saucepan on a high heat and add the butter and oil.  Big tip from DH:  Get the wine and water ready too as this next bit is quick!

Add the garlic to the hot pan and stir it around until it is sizzling but do not let it catch and burn.  Add the wine and water quickly and stir until it bubbles.

Tip the mussels into the pan and give them a quick stir then put the lid on the pan.  After a minute check the mussels and give them a shake and a stir.  Put the lid back on and cook for a further minute.

Check the mussels and if they are more or less open remove them to a serving dish with a slotted spoon.  If they are still closed then keep cooking for another minute and check again.  Once removed keep the mussels to one side while you finish the sauce.

Back in the pan add the cream and parsley to the remaining liquor and let it bubble for a minute.

Pour the sauce over the mussels and serve.



You could serve in individual bowls but we prefer to put the dish in the centre of the table and pile in.  We served ours with some Morrisons french fries (£1.15 a bag) and some of their excellent french bread (50p a stick) to mop up the juices once the mussels were all gone.  They didn't last long.




So that was the start of my weekend as a #MorrisonsMum. The quality of the mussels was amazing and happily they were also lowered in price from the last time we had bought them.  I will be shopping at Morrisons again, not necessarily for all my everyday items but for the fish and meat counters (the rump steak we bought was also delicious!) as well as the wonderful Prosecco which was half price too and made a lovely afternoon treat in the garden once the sun decided to show its face.



We were sent £80 of Morrisons vouchers in order to take part in the #MorrisonsMum challenge.  All words and opinions are our own.
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