I should have been hiking in the Lake District this weekend. I was due to head up to the Honister area to make use of my replacement Via Ferrata Xtreme voucher after my climbing experience was cut short due to an accident back in October last year (I never actually blogged about that day, I should), and was going to combine it with a hike up Helvellyn or maybe even Scafell. But such is the way of the world at the moment, lock down of course means not travelling to National Parks or anywhere for that matter, it means no mini camping breaks fuelled with pub food, and certainly means no extreme sports or activities.
Rather than cancelling my leave, which I could easily have done, I still took Thursday and Friday off because, well, I wanted to. So I had a three day working-from-home week, and haven’t opened my work laptop or looked at my work email since Wednesday evening. I’ve not exactly been busy during my four-day-weekend (which, for the record, should be the norm!), mainly continuing with the little home improvement projects I’ve been working on, baking sweet treats, and watching yet more television…
Yogurt Topped Jammy Flapjack
Okay, let me start with what I think is my biggest success of the week – and maybe the whole six weeks of lock down so far. A big statement, I know, but hear me out. I made the best flapjack this week. Have you tried the flapjack from Boston Tea Party? The one with the jam in the middle and the yogurt topping? It’s my go-to treat whenever we head there for a snack, and I’ve been meaning to attempt my own version for a while. Yea, I made that. And it was SO good.
You won’t be surprised to know that I didn’t make up the recipe myself. I used this one from BBC Good Food for the flapjack itself, a basic golden syrup flapjack with the addition of blackcurrant jam (yes, a whole jar of jam) as the sandwich filling. I wanted my topping to be yogurty so I went off recipe for that, using 300g melted white chocolate mixed with 150ml natural yogurt and let that set in the fridge for a couple of hours before we got stuck in. I dread to think what the calories per slice are, but sometimes it’s best just to pour another cup of tea and not worry about such things.
The end result probably isn’t as gooey as the Boston Tea Party favourite, but it was very good indeed, and it will certainly do while we can’t get out to coffee shops. It won’t travel like a basic fruit and nut flapjack – this isn’t a hiking snack – but it makes a great dessert at home. The biggest down side was that normally when I make flapjack I will have a warm piece as soon as it’s cool enough to touch – but it really does need to be stone cold before you put the topping on, so no such luck with this recipe. If you like the sound of jammy and yogurt flapjack, then you should definitely give this recipe a try this week, I highly recommend it.
Oh, and in case you didn’t know, I run a second instagram account dedicated to all things snacking. Check out @TheSnackAddicts for occasional photos of good eats.
Home Improvement (Tim Allen didn’t show up yet…)
Last week I mentioned that I started to repaint some of our very yellowed woodwork, and you’ll be pleased to know that I finished that this weekend. We even took off the cupboard-under-the-stairs door to give me the best chance of getting a nice smooth finish, and I’m glad we did, it made the mini makeover a lot easier. It’s surprising how much of a difference that freshly painted outline makes to the whole space. Next up is our bedroom and the bathroom, but I am waiting until Dulux are able to reopen so I can order the colours we’ve chosen. It’s fine, we can wait.
I did, however, get another few fence panels painted this weekend. It’s taking me a very long time to make my way around the whole garden, but it is looking good and I guess there is a lot to be said for spreading jobs out at the moment! I managed to do the panel that is mostly hidden by our climbing rose, which of course means I am typing this weekly blog episode with arms covered in little and surprisingly stingy scratches. At least the most difficult bit is done now.
Yes, more television, more YouTube, and more audio books this week.
I admit I’m not getting on too well with Chris Packham’s memoir Finger’s in the Sparkle Jar, not because I don’t like Chris, but I’m struggling a bit with the way the story is told on occasion. I will persevere, though, as I’ve only got an hour or two left, and it would be a shame not to finish what I started. I’m also not particularly loving Breaking Bad. It’s not terrible, but as I mentioned last week it’s rather graphic in places and doesn’t really go well with eating my dinner… We’ve nearly finished the first season so I’ll decide then whether I’m going to continue or bail.
What I am enjoying is listening to Nigel Vardy, good friend and fellow GetOutside Champion, tell the story of his expedition up McKinley. I’ve heard bits of the story before, and will never tire of hearing Nigel’s tales, but this time it’s in a lot more detail. He’s using the diary he wrote at the time, along with photographs and kit, to recount the expedition day by day, exactly 21 years since it happened. If I tell you this expedition is the reason he’s now known as Mr Frostbite, maybe that will whet your appetite. Start here for the introduction. I have to say Nigel, I’m super impressed that your Berghaus fleece is still going strong!
I’ve got two quiz nights coming up this week which I’m looking forward to. Tomorrow evening, fellow GetOutside Champion Iwan Thomas is hosting a quiz over on the Ordnance Survey instagram, which should be lots of fun. I’ve honestly got no idea how it will work but I’m going to tune in to see. There is a massive camping prize bundle to be won, so I’d definitely recommend you heading to the GetOutside website to find out more and register your interest. Then on Tuesday evening it’s the next Outdoor Bloggers quiz night, which is really an excuse to see the faces of some of our lovely members, with a few outdoorsy quiz questions thrown in for good measure. I mean, we won’t be sat toasting marshmallows around a roaring campfire, but it’s still good to get together even from a distance.
National Walking Month
May is National Walking Month, which in some ways feels like a bit of a kick in the teeth in all honesty, but at the same time an opportunity to once again promote the wonder that is exploring our local area on foot during this lock down period. I’ve been talking part in an instagram photo challenge set by Go Your Own Way, a small Lake District based artist who made that fabulous pendant I wear all the time. A bit like my February photo-a-day challenge, Rachel has devised lock down appropriate themes all related to walking for every day in May, and it’s certainly not too late to join in. Check out #GYOWWalk for some inspiration.
This Week’s Question
It’s a bank holiday week here in the UK. We normally have our early May bank holiday on the first Monday of May (which would have made it a Star Wars Bank Holiday this year…), but this year it has been moved to Friday to coincide with VE and to allow us to commemorate that historical day as a country-wide community. Clearly we won’t be having big street parties, or any gatherings of any type, but this week I want to know…
How will you spend Bank Holiday Friday?
I’m fortunate that I get bank holidays off work, and so I will be starting by not setting an alarm. I’ll probably still be up at the same time, but it won’t be forced! I’ve heard some communities are encouraging people to have front-garden-parties (at a safe physical distance from neighbours), but I’m not sure if we’ll do that. I’m certainly up for raising a cuppa at 3pm if the rest of my street get involved in that. Ordinarily I might have headed somewhere scenic for a long hike or a motorbike ride, but that’s not going to happen, I’m certain Boris won’t be announcing any significant relaxation of our current restrictions on Thursday evening. I shall instead treat it just as any other day off in lock down, by continuing with those home improvement jobs and cooking up something nice for dinner. How about you?
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