Archive for October, 2009

I find Autumn a bittersweet season.  On the one hand, it is quite nice to settle down to cooler weather and darker nights.  There is something relaxing about calming down and getting ready for winter, heating on, warmer clothes and hot dinners.  On the other hand, it is a sign of worse weather to come, of a long hibernation before the next growing season and of plenty of indoor days.

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Tempting though it is to start planning ahead for Christmas, autumn is worth savouring for itself.  Halloween  and Bonfire night sit nicely half-way between end of summer and Christmas.

In the vegetable patch, pumpkins have got to be the autumn king.  Despite all the weeds and the weather, the pumpkin still grows huge.

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This autumn has been amazing for weather – lots of long sunny weekends, perfect for long autumn walks.  I took this photo in Kensington Gardens the other day.  The birds were all perfectly lined up on the posts.  You would never guess you were so close to the city.

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Anyway, now for the useful bit – at least for those of you with children.  This recipe for home-made playdough comes from our local toddler group, Tots and Toys, and it is one of those fabulous ‘don’t think this is going to work’ recipes which feels a bit like magic when it does work.  Or at least that’s how we found it.

Home-made play-dough

2 cups plain flour
2 cups water
1 cup salt
4 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
a few drops of food colouring, (you can also add glitter etc.)

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First you put all the ingredients in a large saucepan over a low heat.  Stir until it forms a ball, keep stirring the whole time (it takes a while!).  When it has formed a ball put it into an ovenproof bowl to cool down.  When cool, knead and wrap it up in cling film.  Keep in an airtight container until playtime.  TIP: soak the saucepan straight away!

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Happy autumn – enjoy it while it lasts!

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