Hopeman on a Hot Weekend

Sunday March 25

Argh, unlike the rest of the country wittering on about the lovely unseasonally hot weather last weekend, I was too busy enjoying it to write! So, where did Family Trout go?

Mini, you're NOT going to swim out to the seal - it'll eat you!

Well, local of course: we decided to drive down to Hopeman beach. The minxes clambered out the car and went tearing over to the beach huts, past the fossilised dinosaur footprints. They’d all been painted, and most were sporting dolphins. Because we’ve spent most of 2012 ill (chicken pox then that horrible virus that lingered for a month), we’ve not really been out much. So I insisted that we walk up the trail in the direction of Lossiemouth so I could walk past all the gorse. I’ve told you about my gorse addiction before, lots of times. It was still morning, so I had to shove my nose into the spikes to fill my lungs with its coconutty suntan smell – the air didn’t get heavy with its scent until afternoon.

The kids soon got bored with walking when there was an entire empty beach to play on, so we tumbled down the dunes onto the sand. Maxi got straight to work, building a collage of a mermaid (shells for necklace and earrings, fancy fish-tail, seaweed hair), while Midi hoarded seaweed for herself, muttering about making a stew that would turn Maxi and Mini into toads. Mini filled my pockets with her Treasure (so that was a dead bee, some seaweed, broken seashells and most of the beach’s stones). The Boss headed off to clamber over some sandy rocks in his wellies, while his mum spotted a seal. I contented myself with turning over rocks to find starfish and winkles. It made me unbearably hungry, so we headed back for lunch. In the garden. With bubbles for afters.

Everyone loves bubbles, right? Every kid that ever was loves to chase after and pop bubbles. Every adult loves to blow them. What’s not to love about bubbles? I even raised a smile out of stropping, over-tired Midi just blowing a few big ones her way. I guess that’s my other top tip about being a parent: always keep a bottle of bubble mix nearby. It makes for a brilliant reward, a cheer-er-upper, a distracter, a brilliant burn-the-energy-out-of-the-little-blighters, and just a fun past time. I bought Tesco out of its (2) biggest bottles of bubble mix to keep us going for another week…

L Plate Mummy Part 2

The Trout loves 'Minx Mayhem Remover'

In the words of Baby Bud, “Aaaaaah’ve had a fabby dayyyyyy!”  Well, I was on a roll after braving the beach with the 3 minxes on my own on Tuesday, so today I upgraded in difficulty: 3 hours on the same beach with 3 minxes, not such great weather, another little girl and her mummy.

As expected, it took me 3 hours beforehand to get ready, but that was mostly because I was on a mission to use up some leftovers and make Cornish pasties (ok, ok, I’ll come clean – I ran out of bread for sandwiches).  Except they were probably Kiwi Pasties, because they were full of lamb and sweet potato.  Actually, here’s a quick recipe before I forget, because they were pretty yum: 

Bottom right Kiwi Pasty half-demolished for <ahem> Quality Assurance purposes

Kiwi Pasties Ingredients

*200g shortcrust pastry (made with 200g plain flour, 60g salted butter, 40g lard)

*leftover lamb from last night’s leg roast

*leftover mashed sweet potatoes from dinner 2 nights ago (boiled sweet potatoes mashed with salty butter and a good shake of cinnamon)


Roll the pastry into 6 shapes roughly circle-ish.  Mix the lamb and mashed sweet potato together,  then dollop it onto the circles.  Brush the edges with milk, then join (do whatever shaping takes your fancy).  Brush with more milk and stab in the side to let the steam out.  Bake at 220degC for 20 mins then 180degC for 35 mins.

They went down a treat, but would be even better with chopped onion and gravy, I think.  What a shame, I’ll just need to try that recipe out this weekend, then…!

I digress.  So, I loaded the car boot with pasties, boiled eggs (decorated again by minxes, which kept them occupied for 15 mins while I got stuff together), cake, apples, juice cartons, cheese sticks, pepper fingers, big flask of coffee for me (it was a rough night…) and a ton of spare clothes, and off we went for an 1130hrs rendezvous.

We had a hoot!  Loads of beach-combing (I spotted oyster shells larger than my palm – I was more excited than the kids!), being flown over rather low by a Hercules, bubble-blowing (I’m proud of that – I brought a bottle of bubbles along as a distraction tactic for when I needed the kids to stay in one place while I did Mummy-guff), lunch-munching and general puddle splashing.

Why the praise for the bottle of antibac in the top picture, though?  Well, the minxes were true to form and all 3 poo-ed within the space of 10 minutes: one in a nappy, one in a portaloo (it nearly blocked the chemical toilet – I did a muscle in pumping the flush) and one in a hastily dug latrine.  With a toy spade.  Being a complete dog poo Nazi, you can imagine how deep I dug that hole and how well I filled in and stamped on it.

The 3 eldest girls had lots more fun at the playground while the youngest one yelled and squealed at them (through the goo of her eye infections – they had gotten so much better so I’d not gone to the docs, but today was a set-back.  If no better tomorrow, I’ll battle the vaguaries of the appointment system and get her checked out, even though she seems ok herself).

To top off their day, it was a ballet day, so I plonked the minxes in the car and drove half the beach to the class.  4 wet wipes and a hair brush and they almost looked human (ballerina-like they were not).

Was today a success, then?  I have a wind-burn glow, Midi Minx was so worn out she fell asleep in her dinner and Maxi Minx declared it ‘My Best Day Ever.  Ever.  Really’ before wolfing her pasta bolognaise as fast as her sisters.  I’m very proud: eat well, play well, sleep well – just what I want for my growing kids.  And dealing with their synchro-poos without disaster (yet) has made me confident enough to start properly resuming my former outdoor life, so time to venture further afield next week – yippee!!

Spot the Ball