Feeding birds and baking with kids – handmade school holidays

Our half term was last week, but I know lots of other who are on holiday this week, and with all these grey skies and rainy days you might want some more indoor activity ideas…

Although the days are getting a little warmer, we still have lots or birds at our feeders, so we decided to make a homemade bird feeder.

We bought bird seed, and bird peanuts and the kids mixed it together in a big bowl along with some raisins and a few breadcrumbs. I melted a pack of lard in a pan and poured it into the mix then we stired it all round again.

If you have any disposable cups you can use them for the next bit – I didn’t have any so I lined normal mugs with grease proof paper instead. First put a piece of string into the cup – with a disposable cup you can put a hole on the bottom and poke the string through.In a proper mug I put one end on the outside of the greaseproof paper so it would be left hanging out. Then pour the mixture into the cup(s) and leave to set. This might take several hours – we left our overnight.


When it’s set you can take it off the cup – either cut away the disposable one or slide it out of a proper mug. You should have string sticking out of both ends which you can tie together to hang your feeder outside. We have had blue tits, robbins and starlings visiting since our feeders were hung out.
So the birds were well fed but the children were still hungry – it was time for some baking.  We made this gluten free banana cake together as it is always a winner and it fairly easy to make with lots of opportunities for little ones to measure and stir. I tend to cook it for longer than the recipe though so it might need checking a few times – just keep testing with a skewer until it comes out clean.

My daughter also wanted to do her own baking so I gave her this recipe for gluten free jam biscuits from homeonalake. All I did was to separate out the egg yolk and melt the butter but she measured and mixed the ingredients then shaped the biscuits and added the jam. They were delicious – like a jam topped shortbread.


So there you go – a handmade holiday activity day!

Adventures in Blackpool Zoo…

It’s been half term this week, today we took a trip to Blackpool Zoo. Looking at revuews online last night it seemed that not everyone was impressed, so I wasn’t totally sure how our day would go, but we have really enjoyed our visit.

We stared in the Dinosaur Safari, which we did manage to walk round the wrong way, slightly messing up the chronology of the story but the dinosaurs were all there and the kids loved spotting the ones they knew.


Then it was on to the real animals. We started with a bird display – a beautiful parrot and some birds of prey – aparently the colour of an owls eyes can help you work out if it hunts at night or in the day….

There were lots of animals to visit and talks all through the day, which we really enjoyed. We watched penguins being fed (they had to be quick with seagulls around) and saw camels, lots of birds and monkeys, zebra and reindeer.

One of the highlights for us were the cute monkeys wandering around in the rainforest enclosure – the kids loved being near enough to be able to touch them, and we all wanted to take one home!


We went to the elephant talk and learned about Kate – it’s good to hear that she’s getting a new enclosure and some new friends this summer. Although looking at her routine I’m thinking of booking myself a break at the elephant enclosure – she gets more pampering that I do!

The best show of the day was the sea lion display – they were amazing!


We saw the tiger and lion being fed, I always forget just how big those big cats are – the robin sitting in the tiger enclosure was much braver than me!


With two coeliac children I often have to take food in case we don’t find anything gluten free, and the only review I had seen said that there was very little choice. We found there were several options available, including chips, jacket potatoes and curry & rice. Lots of reviews also said the food was poor and expensive but we paid £23 for 4 hot meals and drinks which I though was reasonable and I was pleasantly surprised by the food.

Yes the zoo needs a lick of pain in a few places and it isn’t as big as other places like Chester Zoo, but it was a good family day out that we all enjoyed and we will definitely go back in the future.

(For the record this is not in any way an affiliate post – just our experience of a day out)