As a family we are fans of trains, big and small. Hubby’s parents recommended the New Mills & District Railway Modellers’ Annual Exhibition which is held every year towards the end of February. It was an ideal event to pop along to on a cold February weekend – indoors with plenty to see.
The event has been going for 42 years and so we were expecting great (or small) things. We were not disappointed. The exhibition was held at Chapel-en-le-Frith’s High School and we were surprised at the wide range of displays, laid out across the hall and numerous classrooms.
There were stalls selling items, as well as many groups and individuals showing off their train sets. Some were hands on, you could try and move carriages / trucks into sidings and E particularly enjoyed driving Thomas around the Island of Sodor. Many exhibits were at her height, though next time I must remember to take her a little step for some of them.
We spent about an hour and a half there and I was able to sit in the school canteen to have a cup of tea and feed baby E.
It was a lovely trip out for the afternoon and we’ll keep an eye out for next year’s event.
The Peak District with its fine scenery, wild weather and great expanse of space is a huge influence on local artists. When we first moved here we were entranced by artists’ wares, but assumed they were out of our price reach and not practical for a young family. We’ve been delighted to find the opposite and enjoy sourcing pieces from artists and using them around our home.
The other day we bought a gorgeous little dish by potter Andy Phillips:
Andy Phillips is based in New Mills and makes a range of decorated items; pots, platters, jugs, dishes, mugs … you get the idea! We love the smoke fired ceramics, which come in deep rich colours with a lovely glaze on them. A while ago we made the decision to have plain white plates, bowls etc. and compliment them with distinct serving dishes. We already have three serving dishes and a few mugs of Andy’s and hubby couldn’t resist this small dish for sweets or nuts.
All of the items we use on a daily basis, they are very hard wearing and can be used in an oven.
We picked up this piece from the High Peak Artists gallery in the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, where there are a large number of dishes on display. Dishes range from £5 (such as this piece) up to larger ones around £40 – £70.
I love that art is affordable in the High Peak and will be sharing more of our favourite artists in the coming months.
From talking with other families, it’s easy to get stuck in a meals rut having the same food, week on week. You end up cooking the same ‘go to’ meals – ours are tomato pasta; sausages and veg; and Thai chicken curry. They’re yummy – but we were looking to mix it up a bit! I was looking around for inspiration when I heard of a local service that has helped us try new recipes (meals listed below), increased our veg and fruit intake, saved us money AND it supports a not-for-profit community group.
Bright Opportunities is a group for adults with learning difficulties living in the High Peak, located in Buxton. They offer a day service, with educational, leisure and development activities. A few years ago, Buxton Vegetable and Fruit Co-operative was set up to provide an affordable way for the local community to have fruit and veg. They involved Bright Opportunities to organise buying the seasonal produce in bulk from a local wholesaler, sorting it into bags and collecting the money – helping develop the adults’ life skills.
You can buy a bag at a time, here’s what we had the last two weeks (the money saving is impressive):
And the cooking? Well, we’ve used this fruit and veg in:
And of course, as veg on the side with our favourite meal – sausages!
Each bag costs just £3 – bargain! As a quick calculation, the bags we’ve had so far were worth about £7 – £9 so it’s a huge saving. All the fruit and veg lasted well, the potatoes just took more cleaning than we’re used to.
I loved that having the bag of fruit and veg encouraged us to try new food and it’s good to know it also supports a local community group.
The bags are available every Thursday from around Buxton (United Reformed Church Hardwick Square, Residents of Fairfield Association, SureStart Fairfield and Buxton Volunteer Centre), to reserve your bag get in touch with one of the collection centres or contact them via their Facebook page.
Living in the Peaks you need a coat for all weathers, but what to put on children’s feet? We found ourselves always taking wellies AND sturdy boots with us when we went out for the day. Boots are always better for running in and wellies better for splashing in puddles! Was there one brand of footwear out there that could be great for running and give welly protection? The good news, there is!
Nichola at One Small Step asked us (well, E really) to test a new brand she is thinking of stocking – Bogs. E was really excited when we picked them up and loved the cute animal design.
Apparently they are all the rage in America, but not that well known in the UK. At first glance, I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical as they look just like wellies. But after two weeks of testing them (we like to be thorough), we’re completely sold on them. Here are the reasons why:
Easy to put on
The smart inbuilt handle design mean they are easy for little hands to use to pull on, or for big hands to give a help! Other wellies often have handles but they can break – it won’t happen with these ones.
Waterproof and warm
Bogs are waterproof with soft outer layer and a fleece warm lining inside. E wore them out in minus 0° weather and her feet were kept toasty.
She tested them in snow, sleet and rain and her feet were kept lovely and dry – as this video demonstrates:
The only downside is that they’re shorter than traditional wellies (6 inch) so wouldn’t be able to cope with today’s 10 inches of snow! But we’d probably remedy that by putting her waterproof trousers over her boots, like we normally do.
Great for running around and climbing
Compared to wearing wellies, E found Bogs great for running around in, climbing and generally mucking about. When we visited her cousins in Brussels we planned to go to the local play park. When we heard it has a sand floor we picked the Bogs so she wouldn’t get sand in her shoes and she had no problems climbing all over the climbing frames. They have a rough tread on the sole so grip well. It saved us taking wellies and boots on holiday.
I couldn’t quite believe it when I read the box, but they’re machine washable! The mud doesn’t seem to stick on the pretty patterned boots, so we haven’t needed to wash them yet but it’s good to know we have that option.
They are more expensive than you’d normally pay for wellies, but they replace two pairs of boots – walking boots and wellies. Also, we put thick socks on E so she had half a size bigger than normal so they will last her a long time and with another little one we’ll be able to pass them on to A.
Overall, we are really impressed with Bogs and hope One Small Step do stock them so we can get some for baby A when she’s old enough. E loved the pretty animal design, they’re easy for her to put on and great for running around in. They get the thumbs up from us 🙂
Enjoy the snow today, whatever you’re wearing!
One Small Step generously provided us these boots in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.
Living in the High Peak means extremes of weather; sunshine, rain, sleet and snow sometimes all in the same day! When buying coats for children it can be a challenge – how many coats do they need for every weather eventuality? Through the local Buxton shop One Small Step I found a solution – Hatley coats.
We first bought a Hatley coat for E when she was a young toddler, to be honest because we couldn’t resist the gorgeous dinosaur pattern. And she wore it, and wore it and wore it and we were hooked!
Hatley coats have gorgeous new designs each season (dinosaurs feature each time!) – take a look at the new ones that have come into One Small Step last week:
You can also buy matching wellies 🙂
The bright colours are great for picking your child out in a crowd. Here are other designs E has worn over the years:
The hooded coats have a very flexible waterproof outer layer which keeps out the wind and a snuggly inside layer to keep them warm. They have poppers to fasten them and she is now at an age where she can do this herself. They’re not too thick, so E can wear a jumper underneath and they also pack up well into a bag when you’re out and about. E has worn her jackets all year round, they are great value for money (we buy large and roll up the sleeves) and most importantly they wash well.
If you’re looking for the perfect coat for children they can wear in all weathers I’d always recommend Hatley – especially when in Buxton today we have had rain, sleet, snow and sunshine!
Would love to know if anyone else has a Hatley coat, what have been your favourite designs over the years?