Sunday, 27 March 2011

Goodbye Nantwich Mums, hello Love Nantwich

The clock has struck midnight and is now live!!! So it is with a heavy heart that I sign off from this online journal on which I have cut my blogging teeth fairly successfully and have enjoyed writing for nearly 3 years now. But rest assured it’s in name only – my blog will carry on as normal over at It’s time I not only promoted Nantwich Mums but also the role of this town in playing its part in family life. I’m hoping all my faithful followers will stick by me and follow me there. See you over at shortly! Sarah x

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Spring has sprung!

The sun shone hazily, rabbits scurried and butterflies fluttered before me as I went for a run during Bebe's nap this morning. I felt like I'd gatecrashed a scene straight out of Mary Poppins. And on my return I made myself a whopping bowl of homemade muesli which was scrummy and continued those feelgood feelings. My new healthy homemade breakfast is thanks to Hugh Fearnley's series about healthy fast food which I enjoyed greatly (the cornish pasties, made from leftover bolognaise or chilli and shop-bought puff pastry is another big favourite in our house, especially with Zac) This is sooo good for you - did you know nuts and oats have been classed as 'superfoods' due to their health boosting properties? And in contrast to shop-bought muesli, the homemade version is ultra cheap - see recipe below:

200g porridge oats (if you want to be really eco-friendly use our local Mornflake oats)
150g mixed fruit such as raisins, sultanas, dried apricots, dates or prunes
100g nuts
4 tbsp seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame

To serve:
1 eating apple (Coxs are perfect)
juice of 1-2 oranges
Plain yoghurt (or Greek!)

Put around 50g muesli in your bowl. Coarsely grate apple, including skin, and add to muesli. Add juice of oranges, stir and leave to soak in for around 10 mins. Trickle over honey and add a big dollop of yoghurt. Yum :)

Anyone else know of any other healthy fast food ideas?

Goodbye Elizabeth, gone but never forgotten

A beautiful and talented woman, probably the first victim of many at the hands of the trigger happy papparazzi, our modern day public executioners.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Children's artwork on show at museum

These are some of the things which give me ultimate pleasure - breastfeeding, spicy sausage pasta, a spontaneous hug from any or all of my children, Gourmet Gray’s chocolate soufflĂ©, cheesecake, having my feet massaged, reading a great book, a cold beer on a summer’s afternoon and looking at children’s pictures. Children just know how to draw. There is no pretension in children’s artwork and no major effort involved – they naturally draw fluidly and each and every picture is fab. So I can’t wait to take a trip to Nantwich Museum for its Children’s Art exhibition. The pictures were submitted for an art competition run by the Rotary Club, which attracted around 200 entries from nine primary schools.

The exhibition will run in the Community Gallery until 7th May.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Take a stroll with the buggy buddies

Nantwich Baby Group member Caroline has started a group called Buggy Buddies Nantwich. They meet at 1pm each Tuesday at the Funky Monkey Cafe, Cog7, London Road (the old theological college site) for coffee, cake and a catch up, before setting off for a walk. They would love mums to join them and ask for a £1 donation to go towards funds at the special care baby unit at Leighton Hospital. The group has so far held four walks, raising just over £125.

Our wildlife is in trouble - it's time we all did our bit to halt the decline

The face of our countryside has changed dramatically. Eighty per cent of lowland heathland has disappeared, 100 hectares of saltmarsh are being lost each year, almost three quarters of rivers in England and Wales are failing European standards and in 60 years we have lost 95 per cent of our wildflower meadows. Across the world our rainforest continues to be destroyed, the global temperature is rising and marine life is under constant threat from overfishing.

Farmland bird populations have fallen by half, some of our best loved native birds including cuckoos, house sparrows and nightingales are in sharp decline and once widespread species like corncrakes, turtle doves and red backed shrike are desperately clinging on in small pockets. And to make matters worse, in 2010 the world failed to meet a global target to halt the decline in biodiversity.

All is not lost however as the UK has signed up to help meet a new target set by the EU for 2020. And now the RSPB is asking everyone to help the new target to be reached.

The RSPB’s Stepping Up for Nature campaign aims to set out a roadmap to 2020 and encourage government, businesses and individuals to Step Up and play their part for nature.
Mike Clarke, RSPB chief executive, said: “When we missed the 2010 biodiversity target we failed nature. We can’t let that happen again.

“Over the next decade we have the opportunity to fix the problems that are causing the loss of wildlife in the UK and across the world. But this is a process we must all be involved in. Everyone can do their bit. If we can encourage people from all walks of life to take millions of steps for nature, then those we elect will be forced to sit up and take notice.

“From schoolchildren creating a wildlife garden in the corner of their playground right up to ministers creating a vital piece of legislation that protects our natural environment, we all have a part to play between now and 2020.”

Picture caption: Red-backed shrike, male feeding chicks in nest (Mike Richards -

Monday, 21 March 2011

Make sure you have your say on local childrens' services

Did you know there was a Cheshire East Children’s Trust? No, nor did I. But it sounds like something we need to get involved in. Apparently the trust is currently drawing up a new Parenting Strategy to outline its commitment and support available to parents and carers across the borough.

 The Children's Trust Board is made up of senior officers from across children's services including the local authority, police, health services, schools, colleges and the voluntary sector. The purpose of the Trust is to bring all partners together to agree a common strategy on how they will cooperate to improve children’s well-being and to ensure services work closely together.

And parents and carers are being asked for their views. As part of the survey parents are asked to rate a range of services, including:

  • Schools
  • Youth services
  • Children’s centres
  • Leisure facilities
  • Advice and guidance

Anyone wanting to contribute is asked to fill in an online questionnaire before the consultation ends at 5pm on Thursday, 31st March.

Further details and a link to the online survey can be found here.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The BBC, Brian Cox and a phantom sock snipper

Being interviewed live on the BBC was a walk in the park compared to the gargantuan task of transporting a ravenous 20-month-old, a temperamental four-year-old and a whining 12-year-old to Stoke for 8am yesterday morning.

But due to a little planning the night before it went surprisingly smoothly and I joined Lee Thomas on the breakfast show relatively unflustered while Gourmet Gray ushered the kiddies to McDonalds for breakfast.

I arrived 15 minutes before I was due to go ‘on air’ so managed to enjoy a lovely cup of tea, listen to the Jam’s Going Underground (No 1 in 1980) hear the news about our close encounter with the moon and watch Brian Cox being interviewed on the BBC (I couldn’t hear what he was saying but enjoyed watching his luscious lips in motion, probably telling us not to miss last night’s close up of our fabulous moon and tonight's exciting installment of his latest series - don't miss it, BBC2, 9pm) I thought to myself, ‘wow, not only are Brian Cox and myself both made of stardust, we are both being interviewed by the Beeb at the same time!’ (I don’t have many claims to fame in my life so I have to clutch at the most tenuous examples when they happen to come along – and Coxy is my current God)

I even managed to enjoy my chat on air despite my nervousness (I’m not the smoothest talker) and I don’t think I dropped any major clangers, although when asked for the latest gossip concerning this blog all I could think of to talk about was the case of the phantom sock snipper which Darren Gough had told me about during an interview on his visit to Nantwich the day before! 

You can hear my interview here (The show was 6am until 9am and I was on at 8.15 so move the counter over to the right hand side and listen out for the Jam and Chicago which were the tunes leading up to my interview)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

My chat with Darren Gough, the all cricketing, all cooking, all dancing star from Yorkshire

Darren Gough would fit really well into our house. He loves cheese. And not just because of his job. He lives, eats and breathes cheese - the best way to live if you ask me.

I got a phone call from Darren as he arrived at Crewe Train Station before making his way to Nantwich Civic Hall for the Strictly Come Dancing schools contest yesterday tea time. The former England cricketer and Strictly Come Dancing star is now ambassador for Colliers Cheese, who organised last night's big dance-off, the Supreme Collier's Dancing Competition.

This is his fourth trip to Nantwich - the last time being special guest at the International Cheese Awards in Nantwich last summer when he demonstrated how to prepare the perfect Welsh Rarebit. He is mad about cheese, namely Collier's Cheese. When I said he was good at his job he assured me that his love of this particular blend of cheese began long before he had any contact with the company. He said whenever he was asked in an interview to name his favourite cheese he always said 'Colliers' which led the company to get in touch with him about becoming an ambassador for them. The interview continued with the questions below:

Tel me about your culinary skills. Greasy spoon or Masterchef potential?

Oh, Masterchef potential most definitely. I can cook, dance and sing, what more do you want?

Given the choice, what would your final meal be?

To start with, Collier's Cheese on warm, fresh bread, nachos 'el grande' to follow and a chocolate pudding and custard.

How happy are you?

I'm always happy! I've got a lot going on. I love my job. I laugh every day at work. Working at a radio station (the drivetime show at Talk Sport radio) we have lots of reasons to laugh. We get lots of people sending us silly emails in which make us laugh. It's good to laugh isn't it? Other than that, my last big laugh was Peter Kay at the O2 two months ago. It was absolutely unbelievable. I laughed non-stop.

Did you always know you were going to be a world class sporstman?

I always knew. I was asked what I wanted to be in those career things at school and I always said I was going to be a sportsman. They always said 'No you're not - only 1% of people become professional sports people.' But I just had the belief that I was. Although I never thought it would be cricket - I was always much better at football. So the fact that I ended up being a cricketer was quite amazing really.

Dancing style before strictly?

10 to 2! That's the only time I ever used to dance when I was younger - when it was time for a smoochie!

So it's possible for all men to dance well?

Without a doubt. If I can do it everyone can. I always say to people, it's good fun. And it gets you fit, there's no doubt about that.

Favourite dance?

I do like the quick step because it's fast and energetic and the music suited me, it was right up my street. But in the final I did foxtrot to Big Spender and loved it - I think it all depends on the tune - pick the right tune and you can really get into it.

It's hard now, because everywhere you go, everybody expects you to be brilliant at dancing because of being in the TV show but it actually makes it worse because everyone is there watching, it's quite intimidating.

Any tips for dealing with teenage boys (Darren is father to 13-year-old Brennan and 16-year-old Liam)

Oooh - you need a good wife or girlfriend! The 16-year-old's becoming easier now but the ages 13 to 16 are tough.

Parenting style?

I'm a very loving parent but probably not good on discipline. I'm too much of a softy.

Do you use grooming products?

Yes always - I use them all. I'm 40 now!

Your house is on fire and you can only save one item - what would it be?

My first England cap.

Can you tell me any wind-ups which your team mates played when on tour? 

We had a sock snipper for about three years. We still don't know who the sock snipper is. We used to call him the Yorkshire Snipper. He used to snip the ends of everyone's socks off.

What sportsman outside of cricket do you most admire?

David Beckham

Hero outside of sport?

Nelson Mandela (I met him in 2000)

First crush?

Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock.

Life changing moment(s)?

Without a doubt when the children were born. I wasn't around when my first arrived. When I returned from Australia I was passed a kid who was six weeks old. It was hard. I made sure I was around when the next one came along.

With that Darren dashed off to rehearse for his Brucie stint at Nantwich Civic Hall. With a lot of belief the boy from Yorkshire has come good - and despite all the fame and glory he has a lovely friendly nature. I don't think Collier Cheese could have ever found a better ambassador.

(Pictured from l-r: AJ Pritchard, Chloe Hewitt, Darren Gough, Theresa Kerr, Director of Collier's Cheddar, Alice MArtin and Curtis Pritchard at the inaugral Collier's Supreme Dancing Competition on Friday)

Friday, 18 March 2011

Happy Red Nose Day!

Tumble Tots sack races have been ongoing all week to raise funds for Comic Relief - help Ann reach her fundraising target.

Last minute fundraising ideas: