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Autumn Minestrone Soup Recipe

Autumn Minestrone Soup Recipe

It’s official – it’s autumn, therefore, it’s comfort food weather. And there’s not much that’s more comforting (and healthy!) on a crisp autumn day than a bowl of soup. This Autumn Minestrone Soup Recipe makes an ideal family lunch… especially if it is accompanied by some crusty rolls, smothered in butter. 

Autumn Minestrone Soup Recipe

Autumn Minestrone Soup Recipe
A 'souper' comforting soup - see what I did there 😉 - perfect for lunch on a crisp Autumn day.
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  1. 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  2. 2 Celery Stalks cut into 2cm slices
  3. 1 bay leaf
  4. 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  5. 2 small potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
  6. 1 bulb of Fennel, chopped
  7. 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  8. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  9. 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  10. 200g tin Cannelini Beans, drained
  11. 1.5 Litres chicken or vegetable Stock
  12. 200 ml red wine
  13. 60g small dried pasta such as macaroni
  14. 200g fresh spinach or 4 blocks of frozen spinach
  15. Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  16. Fresh parsley to garnish
  17. Block of Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot over a medium heat
  2. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaf, potatoes and fennel and saute until soft - about five minutes
  3. Add the stock, wine and tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the beans and macaroni and cook for a further ten minutes or until the pasta and potatoes are cooked.
  5. Finally, add the spinach and stir through to wilt (If using frozen spinach this may take a couple of minutes), and then season with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle into bowls, tear in a handful of fresh parsley and grate Parmesan cheese over the top.
  7. Serve immediately.
  1. This soup keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days, and also freezes well.
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A Wish List for a Cottage Garden That Needs a Little TLC

A Wish List for a Cottage Garden That Needs a Little TLC

When I viewed our house for the first time I was immediately blown away by the garden – well, blown away by the potential that the garden had. It was a mature cottage garden, someone had obviously shown it a lot of love in the past, but had been neglected for several years.

When we moved into the house I had such grand plans for taking the garden back to the quintessential English cottage garden it obviously once was. 

And for the first year that we lived here, we spent most of our gardening time tidying up the areas of neglect and just observing really. Observing the natural changes, and growing patterns over the space of the year. 

But then the garden became a bit too much for me to deal with. This was for two reasons mainly. Firstly; I didn’t have the horticultural knowledge needed, and secondly, I didn’t have the time to devote to it (or to be more specific, I didn’t organise my time well enough).

Fast forward to this summer and while we have maintained the garden, it has been to the bare minimum – so lawns mowed, weeding etc. I certainly haven’t helped it to reach its full potential. 

A Wish List for a Garden That Needs a Little TLC - Alliums

Photo by Richard Loader on Unsplash

But now that I technically have much more time on my hands during the week I hope that I will be able to give the garden the care and attention it deserves.

And as with all great plans, I have been putting together a pretty epic English Cottage Garden themed Pinterest board over the past few months.

A Wish List for a Garden That Needs a Little TLC - Planters

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

I plan on planting some bulbs this autumn ready for next year – alliums, poppies, peonies and hollyhocks (my favourite), among others. Already I have been planning in my bullet journal and deciding on where to plant, what plants to group together, and what accessories I would like to include – a hodgepodge of different types of containers for a herb garden by the back door is high on my list of wants, as are the stunning glass cloches below, and this little hedgehog house from John Lewis too. 

Glass Dome from GBC Group

Obviously, a cottage garden is not a look that can be achieved overnight, but now that I have a bit more time to devote to it when spring and summer roll around next year it will hopefully start to look like it has been shown the love and care a garden of its type deserves. 


Happy Birthday BeWILDerwood – Now You Are Ten

Happy Birthday BeWILDerwood – Now You Are Ten

I don’t often feature my kiddies on the blog anymore – they are both now getting to an age where 1) I don’t want to invade their right to privacy, and 2) any attempt I might make at taking a photo is more often than not met with a “Go away, Mum!” But then, once in a while, an opportunity arises that I know they will love and will, most likely, happily pose for photos. A bit like the opportunity that arose last week – an invite to BeWILDerwood to celebrate their Tenth birthday!

If you were to ask my two where their most favourite place in the entire world is they would say, without a shadow of a doubt, BeWILDerwood. We don’t get to go there too often, unfortunately, even though it is not much more than a five-minute drive from our house, but when we do then we really make the most of it. It is the best day out for kiddies (of all sizes and ages) in East Anglia in my opinion. 

The Boggle Village at BeWILDerwood

The Boggle Village

I wrote about BeWILDerwood a couple of years ago – you can read the review here. At the time M was Four and G had just turned Two, so she was a little too small to join in with all the fun on the slides and treehouses (although she had a whale of a time in the specially designated baby and toddler areas). But having recently turned Four she was very excited this time to be able to do all the fun things her big brother could do.

 beWILDerwood wobbly bridge

We spent several hours climbing up into the treehouses, clambering over the ‘broken bridge’ and whooshing down the ‘slippery slopes’ – it was here that I realised that my kids are (worryingly) fearless as both of them went down the two scariest slides. I just looked at them and thought “Nope! Not for me, thank you very much!”

Whenever we have been in the past we always took a picnic with us – there are plenty of places to sit down and eat across the site – but this time we decided to grab lunch at the Munch Bar. The kiddies each chose one of the ‘lunch box options’ at £4.95 each. I’ve always been a bit dubious about these lunch box deals whenever we have been to places such as the National Trust and always felt they were a bit of a rip-off but this isn’t the case with BeWILDerwood at all. The lunch boxes are jam packed with a roll, a carton of juice, cheese, fruit, biscuits, Pom Bear crisps – so much food, and such good value for money!

house at base of tree - BeWILDerwood

The rest of the day was a blur of climbing, clambering, whizzing and sliding until about 3:30 pm when it was obvious that G was starting to flag – and to be honest so were us adults! I think M would have stayed all night if he had his way. In fact, I think that was possibly his plan when he decided to do a disappearing act whilst we were navigating our way around the Sky Maze. That was a real heart in throat moment, let me tell you! 

On-swing BeWILDerwood

Little-Houses-in-trees BeWILDerwood

We took a leisurely boat journey across the Scaaaary Lake and past Mildred the Crocklebog (!) back to the main entrance where the kiddies saw Swampy and gave him a cuddle goodbye. A couple of minutes later we were in the car and about 30 seconds after that both kiddies were fast asleep through sheer exhaustion. It really was the best day out that we have had in such a long time. 

Swampy at BeWILDerwood

Swampy – Loves a cuddle!

When I’ve spoken to friends across the country about BeWILDerwood in the past they have all said how much they would love to take their children but it was just such a shame it is located so far away from them. Well, they need not be sad about it anymore as it was announced at the birthday party that planning permission had been granted for a new BeWILDerwood which will be located in South Cheshire on the Cholmondeley Castle Estate. Having looked at the plans for it I think it’s going to be amazing – somewhere children of all ages will love.


BeWILDerwood kindly invited us to their Tenth birthday party and gave us entrance tickets for the purpose of this review but, as always, all words, thoughts, and images are my own. 


It is happening again…


This first post has taken me days to write in my head, and now I have the laptop switched on I have spent the best part of the last hour trying to pluck up the guts to actually type – God knows just how long it will take me to hit the ‘publish’ button!

I’m Catherine. About 3 years ago I had another blog, which very few people read if I’m honest, but I enjoyed rambling on there about my life as a new mum to my son M, my inability to keep a tidy house, my love for all things food related, my upcoming wedding to my now husband, and any other gubbins that I felt like writing about.

Then I fell pregnant with my daughter, G, and aside from a nasty bout of SPD in the last two months and extreme tiredness everything was good, and  I was super excited, although somewhat daunted at the thought of being mum to two under two. Then after a blissful couple of weeks the PND came, along with G suffering horribly from Colic, causing her to scream constantly no matter what we tried to do to help her. Then our next door neighbour started being verbally abusive because of G’s constant screams, and intimidating me and the kids during the day when he knew my husband was at work. The whole situation was truly horrible and we no longer felt comfortable staying in our home despite our neighbour being warned by the police. And, to be honest, at that point the last thing on my mind was a blog. So one day I pressed the ‘delete’ button on Blogger and ‘Notes from the Cliff Edge’ disappeared for ever (although there is probably a cached version out there somewhere).

Although I think that deleting the blog was the best thing for me at the time there is a part of me that regrets it. I was just starting to, hopefully, forge friendships with a few people who I had met through the blogging community but when I stopped blogging I stopped communicating with people entirely, online and in real life – and that is something I wish hadn’t happened.

Fast-forward just over a year and a bit and I feel much better. We moved house on the day before our 1st wedding anniversary – a house we absolutely adore and never want to leave. G’s colic stopped by 5 months, and she is becoming such an amazing little girl (although she has a wicked temper at times), and M is a fantastic big brother to her. We all feel settled in the life we have, at last. And over the last couple of months I started to think about starting my blog again – so, here I am, rambling as usual.

I don’t know what this blog will be about or become at the moment, I just know I enjoyed writing ‘Notes from the Cliff Edge’ and I hope I will enjoy writing this one too – actually, I know I will.