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Discovering: Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

 entrance to Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

The Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden was one of my favourite places to visit when I was a child and when we went over to Germany a couple of weeks ago, I just had to take Amy and Ben there for a day out. We also took my grandparents along because it was with them that I discovered Gross Raden the very first time.

settlers Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross RadenAfter a short walk through the forest, we reached the wooden fortress and slid through the gate. What waited for us was a scene that made us travel back in time and straight into the 9th century when Slavic tribes first settled on the little peninsula in the Lake of Gross Raden.slavic clay huts 9th and 10th century grasses in wicker basket sketch showing an every day scene in a slavonic village Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

Little clay huts, recreated after extensive excavations between 1973 and 1980, invite visitors to discover the every day life of the Slavs and Amy couldn’t wait to find out what was hiding in each and every one of them.Slavonic loom Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

We discovered a traditional Slavic loom… sketch showing an every day scene in a slavic village Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

A curtain that gave us an insight into the every day life in the tribal village…slavic bed 9th and 10th century grasses in wicker basket sketch showing an every day scene in a slavonic village Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

… and a bed that looked everything, but comfortable.wooden footbridge to slavic castle rampart grasses in wicker basket sketch showing an every day scene in a slavonic village Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

After snooping around the clay huts and getting a good impression of what life might have been like over 1000 years ago, we stepped onto the wooden footbridge that leads to the castle rampart.Slavic canoes grasses in wicker basket sketch showing an every day scene in a slavonic village Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

We walked past wooden canoes that the Slavs will have used to go fishing on the lake…flock of sheep slavonic village Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

… waved hello at a flock of sheep that were grazing on one of the many meadows of the peninsula…slavic rampart Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

…. and walked through the big wooden tunnel gate that led us into the heart of the old rampart.
Amy enjoying some quality time with her great grandparents

Amy loved racing up and down and skipping in between her great grandparents without being told off by strict museum attendants. The Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden is a really hands-on museum that invites kids to touch, discover and explore and that is something that I really love about it.slavic village Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross RadenThe old rampart is also the best place to get an overview of the settlement. With a size of 7000 square meters, the Slavic village isn’t particularly big, but its location makes it quite an impressive sight.

Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden Amy

I’m glad that Amy enjoyed it just as much as I did when I was younger. I don’t know why, but for some reason it gives me a really warm and fuzzy feeling inside when I see that she has fun exploring the favourite places of my childhood. I guess it reminds me of how happy and carefree my upbringing was.Amy at slavic temple village Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

Full of adventures, discoveries and of course… playground at Archaeological Open Air Museum Gross Raden

… lots of fun and play.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall ClarinasContemplations

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#HalloweenTips for Matalan – Halloween Crafts and Art

Halloween Crafts

A couple of weeks ago, some of my favourite bloggers and I were part of a fabulous Twitter party for fashion retailer Matalan. We shared our best Halloween tips to ensure that you can truly enjoy this month’s spook festivities.

This week, I am on the Matalan blog to share my favourite arts and crafts with you, so pop over and get some inspiration for ghoulish, but simple Halloween crafts. And don’t forget to leave us a comment telling us which one’s your favourite. If you want to, you can add your own ideas in the comments, so we can all benefit from each other’s experience.

Also, make sure to check out the following blogs for more Halloween tips on decorations, games, food and costumes:

Becky - Family Budgeting @familybudgeting
Helen - The Crazy Kitchen @jessies_kitchen
Marianne - Mari’s World @maris_world
Cat - Yellow Days @CatParrot

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Chicken bacon and rice bake recipe

chicken bacon and rice bakeThis chicken bacon and rice bake recipe was inspired by the Paella dishes of northern Spain, and is a warming, filling and delicious healthy meal. This is a great food choice for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The vibrant colours of the turmeric infused rice and fresh coriander make this an exciting meal to be made at family dinners. If you really want to add a Mediterranean feel to this meal you can replace the bacon rashers with cured ham such as prosciutto or Parma ham. Chicken thigh fillets were used as they are a cheaper option than chicken breasts, but if you have any faddy eaters in the family feel free to replace them with chicken breast.

Ingredients

8 rashers middle bacon, rind removed
8 skinless chicken thigh fillets
2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
250g long-grain rice
6 green tips of spring onions
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 small lemon, rind grated, juiced
500 ml onion free chicken stock
Bunch of coriander leaves

Method

Step 1

Preheat oven to 180°C. Remove the fatty rind from the bacon rasher by lying each rasher individually on a chopping board and using a sharp knife to cut around the lean eye. Dice the lean eye sections and place to one side. Wrap each chicken thigh with one rasher of remaining bacon and secure with a toothpick if required.

Step 2

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium to high heat. Add the chicken thighs to the pan in batches, fry off on all sides for 2 minutes or until the bacon begins to crisp. Once cooked remove the chicken from the pan.

Step 3

Add diced bacon, onion and rice to the pan. Reduce the heat to low. Allow the bacon and rice to cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously to prevent from sticking. Add garlic, lemon rind, chicken stock, turmeric and salt and pepper to the pan. Cook through, stirring continuously for several minutes until well combined. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof casserole dish. Place chicken thighs over rice and press down gently. Cover the dish with a lid or tin foil.

Step 4

Bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until the rice is soft and the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down for several minutes. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the mixture. Garnish with coriander to taste. Remove toothpicks from the chicken and serve.

If you think you may have a food intolerance or allergy be sure to check out YorkTest, food intolerance test experts.

Disclosure: This post was brought to you in collaboration with York Test. Image credit: Louise Lister

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Fat Loss – Your 10 Step Guide

fat loss in ten steps1 Identify where you’re going wrong

Wondering why you haven’t quite god the body of a God just yet? Time to sit down (but not for long – you’ve got work to do) and work out where you’re going wrong. Get clued up on what foods you should be eating, and more importantly the ones you shouldn’t, and which exercises actually work, not just make you look half decent in front of the fitness instructor.

2 Speed up your metabolism

This can be a really useful (and quick!) way of optimising your weight loss. Research at Utah University found that a pint of water post-workout can increase your weight loss by up to 2%. Adding foods and drinks such as grapefruit, milk and mushrooms have all also been proven to help. Time to get to Tesco.

3 Know the difference between ‘good fat’ and ‘bad fat’

Yes, there is such a thing as a ‘good fat’, and they’re found in foods such as fish, peanut butter, white meat and eggs. So next time you’re heading to the fridge, swap cheese on toast for peanut butter, and a burger for chicken. Want a treat…and quite frankly a bit of a surprise? According to www.mensfitness.com, ‘most brands of chocolate milk supply around 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates and between 8 and 11 grams of protein (per 8 oz.), which makes for an optimal post-workout replenishment choice’.

4 Find a good fat loss supplement

Possibly the fat loss pills with the best name in the business, LA Muscle’s ‘Fat Stripper’ found on http://www.lamuscle.com/products/fatburners promises an engineered formula for rapid fat loss for both men and women, that’s most effective for the stomach and thighs.

5 Focus on motivation

There are shed loads of motivation for losing shed loads of weight, but here are some serious ones to think about. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine a daily two-mile walk will burn 200 calories and, according to, men who walk this amount are 2.5 times less likely to die of a cancer-related illness. Also, the journal Circulation says that being 7lbs too heavy means an 11% higher risk of heart failure.

6 Combat your cravings

Resisting the urge to head for a Big Mac has to be one of the hardest problems during your weight loss journey. But there are lots of things out there now to help. LA Muscle has even developed a ‘SlimGum’ which is designed to control your appetite in seconds.

7 Get a strong exercise routine

And one that you will realistically stick with. It doesn’t have to be anything extreme, as long as it works for you. And the whole ‘I’m too busy’ thing isn’t an excuse anymore. Men’s Health have compiled a way in which you can burn 300 calories in just 10 minutes, with a combo of squats, sprints and press ups.

8 Remember that your bed is also for sleeping

This has to be the easiest thing on the list, but it is surprisingly important. Recovery time is essential for your muscles to avoid injury, and so they can rest in preparation for growth. Turn the telly off, put your eye mask on and grab some zzz’s.

9 Time for your old habits to die fast

It’s not news that smoking and drinking are bad for you, but these bad habits will significantly slow down your weight loss and damage your health. Smoking has been proven to increase fat stored in your abdomen, and there are approximately 155 calories in one pint of beer. Useful to remember next time you’re ‘dragged’ to the pub.

10 Reap the benefits

Revel in your success of a healthier life, with a better body image, reduced cancer risk, improved fitness level, increased libido, more energy…The rewards are endless.

This post was brought to you by LA Muscle. Image credit: Kevin Dooley

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Driving in Europe – Our top tips

driving in europe

As many of you might have noticed, we are currently spending time with my family in Germany and this time is the first time that we have our own car with us. Before this autumn, we have always flown over from Bristol, but Ben doesn’t really like flying, because he hates waiting around at the airport and having a car with us allows us to be more independent when it comes to days out or spontaneously popping out when my mum has to work and can’t drive us about.

Before we hit the streets of the Netherlands and Germany however, we made sure that we are safe to drive in Europe. There are a lot of regulations and advice available online, but I thought it would make sense to share our top tips about driving in Europe. Here they are:

1. Make sure that your car is insured in Europe and that you have AA breakdown cover or similar.

2. You must carry your vehicle registration and driving license with you at all times and have to be able to produce a copy of your insurance policy.

3. Carry a first aid kit and warning triangle on board and check, if you need to carry items such as a fire extinguisher, reflective waistcoats or a breathalyser.

4. All cars from the UK or Ireland have to be fitted with headlamp adjustors. If these aren’t fitted correctly or not at all, your insurance won’t pay out, if you are involved in an accident.

5. Get your car checked over by a mechanic before you go on your big journey. We thought our car was perfectly fit for our trip to Germany, just to find out that all our tyres had to be changed and new break pads fitted. It was a big and unexpected expense, but at least we left the UK knowing that our car is safe for the journey.

6. Make sure that you know about the speed limits in place and don’t forget that everything is measured in km/h and not mph.

7. Don’t drink and drive – the legal blood-alcohol limit may be lower than in the UK and you might be risking your driving license.

8. In continental Europe, you drive on the right-hand side of the road at all times – even on empty country lanes.

9. Plan your route ahead of your journey and print off alternative routes in case your sat nav dies (this might have happened) or your Google maps app sends you through a nature park (this might have happened too!).

10. Most important rule of all: Avoid stress and tiredness by having regular breaks and keeping the kids entertained. Books, a portable DVD player and a variety of snacks will keep them happy and there are also lots of activity and colouring in sheets available for download.

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by AA, but I would genuinely suggest following these tips when you are driving in Europe as they will make your journey much more relaxed and most of all safer.

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Giveaway: Win a Jewel Candle and reader offer

Jewel Candle

Remember that I promised you a fab little giveaway last week? Well, here we are. Today you can win a fabulous Jewel Candle of your choice. I have reviewed them a week ago, so if you haven’t read the post yet, quickly pop over and read what I thought about the different scents and the jewels that I found in my candle. Once you’re done, make sure you come back to enter this fabulous giveaway.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is fill in the Rafflecopter form below. Please, don’t cheat. I do double-check everyone’s entries and will remove faulty ones.

If you don’t want to wait, you can go shopping right now. Use the code “caro10″ to receive a 10% discount when shopping at Jewel Candle UK.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My favourite winter warmers

During the last week, we’ve all become aware of the fact that summer is well and truly over. It’s been windy, wet and most of all really nippy. So it’s time to throw your thermostat on and warm up with some tasty winter warmers.

Here are my all time favourites:

baked apples

Bratäpfel or baked apples are something that sends me straight back to the winter months of my childhood. I think my very first encounter with them was in kindergarten, but they were also a popular winter and autumn tried in our house. They’re super easy to make and seeing Kelly’s recipe over on Domestic Goddesque this week has inspired me to share mine over the next couple of days, so watch out for it.blackberry crumble

Crumble is something that I had never heard of until I moved to England, but I very quickly became a massive fan of it. I think it’s the sour kick of the fruit and the sweetness of the crumble topping that makes it the perfect winter warmer for me. Oh and the crunchie crumble topping, of course! There’s nothing better then relaxing on the sofa on a dark autumn or winter evening and enjoying the mix or crunchy topping and soft fruit. Amazing! Soljanka

Soljanka is probably not really known in the UK as it’s a Russian soup, but I absolutely love it. My mum made it a lot when I still lived at home and when she phoned me yesterday and told me that Soljanka was what they were having for dinner, I instantly got jealous. I will definitely make it next week or the week after, because I didn’t realise how much I missed it until my mum mentioned it, but it so tasty that I just have to have it back in my life.
hot chocolate

I don’t have to say much about hot chocolate, do I? It’s the classic winter warmer and still one of the best ones to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m not usually a milk drinker, but when making a hot chocolate milk is an absolute must. You will really taste the difference. If you like experimenting, try and add some spices to give your hot chocolate a more exotic touch. Chilli powder or pumpkin spice are supposed to be really nice winter and autumn flavours.

So here you go, these are my favourite winter warmers. What are yours?

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Heatmiser UK, makers of thermostats that make sure that you stay warm when your winter warmers have gone. Image credits from top to bottom: Eat Smarter, Neil Conway, source unknown via Pinterest, source unknown via Pinterest,

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Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow – wildlife for everyone

Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow horse pferd

The Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow (Natur and Environment Park) is a fabulous place for all the family, so it’s no surprise that we came back here with Amy on our most recent trip to Germany. The park that locals call NUP is only a 20 minute drive away from my German hometown and a place that we used to go to a lot when my sister and I were younger. Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow Goat Ziege

You enter the park through the environmental education centre, where you can find an interactive exhibition on water as well as an aqua tunnel that allows you to see what happens in the river Nebel. You can start your tour wherever you want, but on this occasion we walked past the horses and goats first and watched Amy giggle about the tiny guinea pigs that ran around their enclosure like there was no tomorrow.
Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow guinea pigs Meerschweinchen

Amy just couldn’t get enough of them and kept running back to their little guinea pig city. I forgot to take an overall photo of it, but the guinea pigs have a living space that is decorated like a little town and it’s just absolutely adorable. Their huts are little houses built in the traditional half-timbered house style that you find in many towns and villages around Germany and there are a lot of hollow tree trunks in the enclosure that the guinea pigs can hide in.Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow waterfall wasserfall

The park also features a lot of little streams, rivers and waterfalls, which make it a really lovely place for a relaxing stroll at the weekend and of course an adventure playground for little ones who like to splash about.
Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow playground spielplatz

Of course, there is also the real adventure play ground in the style of a big tree house. It has slides, climbing frames and as you can see above, Amy and Ben really enjoyed it. They climbed up the spider webs, whooshed down the slides and climbed into the petting area where they were quickly surrounded by bunny rabbits, chickens and goats. Our afternoon at Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow horse riding reiten

Amy wasn’t particularly keen on the goats’ touchiness, so she quickly climbed over the fence and jumped onto the wooden horse that’s been part of the playground ever since I remember. In fact, when I went through my old photos the other day, I discovered a photo of my sister and me sitting on it and I think I was about eight years old then – crazy, that that’s been 20 years ago and it’s still here for kids to enjoy.
Our afternoon at Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow water pump Wasserpumpe

Another feature that Amy had a lot of fun with was the water pump on top of the hill that leads to the nature path. My sister’s boyfriend showed her how to use it and although it wasn’t easy for her to get water out of it, she didn’t give up until the little trough filled itself with water – that’s my girl.Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow nature path Naturlehrpfad

Her next stop was the nature path. It’s full of educational activities and I absolutely love it. You can feel what’s in the boxes left and right of the path and I can tell you now, a plastic shovel can feel pretty darn creepy when you can’t see it. Sheep wool or a set of antlers aren’t much nicer either. Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow guinea long jump weitsprung

A bit further along the path, you can find a long jump pit where you can compete against the animals of the forest. The sportsman in Ben came out as soon as he saw that he could potentially break a record here, so after a quick warm up, he ran up to the pit in perfect long jumper style and jumped as far as a wild boar – yes, I didn’t know that they can jump almost 5m either, but apparently they do.Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow long jump weitsprunggrube

Amy who is forever following in her daddy’s competitive foot steps couldn’t resist a jump either and of course she beat the wild boar and ehm daddy. That she cheated and didn’t even attempt jumping will remain our secret forever. She just looked too proud for us to tell her.Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow sea eagle Seeadler

After our small and not so small athletes had gathered their breath, we continued on our way through the 500 acre big forest and headed towards the aviary where we admired this beautiful sea eagle. Close to the aviary is the brown bear enclosure where the Swedish brown bears ‘Fred’ and ‘Frode’ live. It has a lake for them to swim in and is the largest one in Germany. That’s probably the reason, why we didn’t see them this time. You can check them out via the Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow website though, where the bears have their very own webcam.

Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow wild cat enclosure Wildkatzengehege

Another amazing part of the Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow is the huge wolf and wild cat enclosure that you access via a big wooden bridge that leads you through the forest and into the world of wild animals. You can watch wild cats, lynxes and wolves in their natural habitat and get a real insight into their behaviour. It’s fantastic! Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow wild cat Wildkatze

We arrived just in time for the feeding of the wild cats and Amy absolutely loved that she could watch everything from the bridge. She even went ‘uhm’ and ‘yum’ when the wild cats were eating and probably didn’t realise that they were snacking on rats and other small animals. She’d have quickly changed her mind! Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow lynx lux

The lynxes got their food straight after the wild cats. They quietly sat underneath the bridge waiting for the rangers and I was lucky to capture them on photo. Aren’t they little posers? I was actually really surprised that the rangers walked right into the enclosure to feed them. The lynx might not look big in the photo, but they do in real life. There’s no chance that I’d go in there and feed them out of a bucket. Meat over the fence and bye bye would be my option! Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow wolf wolf

The wolves are one of my favourites and I think I’m not the only one who finds them absolutely fascinating. The Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow regularly offers night-tours where you can hear them howling at the full moon while an expert tells you all about them. I know from friends and family that these guided tours are not only great fun, but also really interesting and educational at the same time and I can’t wait for Amy to be old enough to join us on one of them. Our afternoon at Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow wolf enclosure unterirdisches Wolgsgehege

Amy loves animals and being outdoors so much and I was surprised that she didn’t get tired or wanted us to carry her, but I guess things just were too exciting for her. She raced from one enclosure to the other, waved each animal goodbye and had an absolute blast.
Our afternoon at Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow toad stool fliegenpilz

Even Ben got really excited at one point: He discovered his first toadstool in free nature. Pretty crazy seeing that he’s 33 years of age, but he’s just such a city boy that he’s never come across one of them before our trip to Germany. I actually thought he was having me at one point, but I do think he was really being serious.Our afternoon at Natur und Umweltpark Güstrow deer RehAll in all, we had another fabulous day at the NUP and I just can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a great place for families with young children and due its size it never gets crowded, which makes a refreshing change from traditional zoos.

If you want to check out what else the NUP has to offer, here’s the English version of their website. Tickets cost around £7 for adults and £3.50 for children from the age of 3-16. Webcams for some of the other animals can be found here.

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