Swimming at Sissinghurst

We had a wonderful day with our friends BJ and Helen and their lovely children who are here with us for the weekend.  We started the day with healthy smoothies.

Banana and Strawberry Smoothie

Ingredients (makes 4 small glasses)

  • 1 large punnett strawberries
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 300-400 ml almond milk (depending on how thick you like it)


  • Blitz in blender until smooth and serve

I was in the mood for something citrus and there were some tragic looking clementines in the fruit bowl so they were soon dispatched to the blender.

Clementine and Sesame Seed Smoothie

Ingredients (makes 1 large glassful)

  • 4 clementines
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 250 – 300 ml almond milk

Method – Blitz in blender.  Easy Peasey.

I really enjoyed this and it was a beautiful colour which is a bonus.

We had planned a long walk for the morning so we prepared lunch before we went and popped it in the slow cooker so it would be ready when we returned.  It was a joint effort – thank you Helen.

I was given a great little recipe book for Mother’s Day called ‘easy slow cooker’ and I cooked a lovely recipe I found in there.  I adapted the recipe as there were more of us than the recipe would have provided for.

Lamb and Butternut Squash Stew

Ingredients (served 5 adults and 3 children)

  • 1 kg cubed  lamb
  • 4 tbsp plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut in to cubes
  • 600 ml lamb or vegetable stock (I used chicken )
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, separated in to cloves but not peeled


  • Put the seasoned flour in a plastic bag, add the lamb and shake to coat the lamb with the flour.
  • Heat half the oil in a frying pan and fry the lamb in batches until browned.  As it browns, place in the slow cooker.
  • Toast the cumin and fennel in a dry frying pan for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.   Place in the slow cooker.
  • Add the remaining oil to the frying pan which contained the spices and fry the onion for 2-3 minutes until becoming soft.  Add to the slow cooker.
  •  Add the butternut squash to the frying pan and cook for 3 – 4 minutes.  Add to the slow cooker.

  • Add the hot stock and garlic to the slow cooker.
  • Stir so everything is well mixed.

  • Cook on HIGH for about 4 hours until the lamb is tender.
  • While it is cooking go and do something fun and then return home to a wonderful smell and the comforting knowledge that a lovely meal is nearly ready.

It was quite chilly out but sunny so we set off for a lovely walk around one of the local attractions, Sissinghurst Castle Garden .  I really enjoy spending time with my God-daughter who is affectionate and chatty and a delight to be with.

As is her little brother and all the children get on really well which is great.

We wandered through the woods and over the fields and up to the lakes where there was time to sit and stare at the natural beauty of this gorgeous part of the world.

This is such a great walk with children as the landscape is so varied there is plenty to look at, numerous bridges to cross looking for trolls and then the lovely lakes where you can while away the hours.

We had so much fun here, mainly at Milton’s (black dog) expense.  Milton is not kean on water and rarely swims but he LOVES chasing sticks and will always try to get them, even in the water.

We threw the sticks out further and further until he was forced to swim.  My dog is not a natural and with the heavily laboured swimming style we could see where the term “doggy paddle” came from.  “Doggy frantic splashing and thrashing” may have been more accurate :-).  But he did retrieve his beloved sticks and we were delighted and amused by how efforts.

Freaky head disappearing moment.

What a handsome boy.

Off again, round the lakes, past the pet graves,

besides the Castle gardens which are so pretty at this time of year

and along the moat where we saw these cute little ducklings.

We walked though the National Trust property but did not go in the gardens as dogs are not allowed but you can catch a good glimpse as you walk by.

Time to head home again.  I think we were out for nearly 3 hours and all our legs, little and large, were weary and ready to rest.

Lunch time.

The lamb and butternut squash stew was served with mashed potato, couscous with red and yellow peppers and tender stem broccoli.  It was delicious, as was the Sancerre BJ generously provided.  This meal is definitely one to make again.


It was followed by ice-cream, brownies and strawberries.  A delicious lunch following a wonderful morning spent walking with very dear friends in my local area.  Perfect.

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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