On Saturday my middle daughter turned five. As she bounded into my bedroom in the early hours of her Birthday and announced, ‘I’m five’, I couldn’t help reflecting upon the fact that five years has flown by and yet within the five years since I gave birth to her on a cold February morning, when snow was on the ground, so much has happened. When I gave birth to baby, Olivia, at home in a birthing pool with her doting sister, (Hattie, who was then just two and a half years old), desperate to hold her new baby sister; I could not have predicted the challenges we would face as a family, nor the changes that were ahead of us, but then neither could I have comprehended the full joy of being mother to such beautiful young ladies.

In the past five years there has been five house moves, a book publication, a divorce, a marriage and a new baby, then of course there is the day to day upheavals and challenges of life. It is fair to say that the past five years have been filled with their share of joy and tears; but whilst disharmony has been present and I am the first to admit that there have been some tough times, life on the whole has been good and every day I have watched my children growing and developing I have counted myself incredibly lucky. I don’t don rose tinted glasses on a daily basis, generally I am the first to say that there are times when tantrums, squabbles, work pressures and home-life pressures have been overwhelming, but as I watched Libby straighten her party dress and comb her hair I put on a very big pair of rose tinted spectacles.  I conclude that I wouldn’t change the chaos of family life for a second, but sometimes a child free cup of tea does taste good!

As I stuffed party bags and quickly iced an owl novelty cake, I realised how much time I wasted before having children. I managed to slurp a quick cup of coffee, before Hubby and I bundled the party girl and her two sisters in the car and set off for an afternoon of party fun at Borth Animalarium. Sprawling over twelve acres of land, this family run zoo has a variety of exotic and zoo animals, that includes, crocodiles, large cats, meerkat, beavers, monkeys and a wide variety of reptiles and domestic animals, all of which the children delighted in seeing.  During the party the children got to do a spot of pony riding, snake handling and rabbit grooming in addition to running around and eating cake of course.

20170204_152053 (Small)I can’t help wondering what the next five years has in store for me and indeed what all three of my daughters will be like. There will no doubt be plenty more memories to collect and lots of growing to undertake, but on the subject of growing up I strongly believe that the words of Maya Angelou in ‘Letter to my Daughter’,  are very true,

“I am convinced that most people do not grow up…We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.”

About Seren Charrington-Hollins

Food has always been of great importance to Seren and despite her being renowned for her historical recipe recreations, her culinary skills were not honed, in the kitchens of top restaurants, but in the home kitchen from the age of being able to hold a wooden spoon. When Seren was born her mother was taken ill and so she spent her early years being cared for by her grandmother, Minnie. This was to prove instrumental in the development of Seren’s love of cooking, for her grandmother was an accomplished cook, who’s kitchen was always awash with terrine’s, home-made pastry and traditional puddings. Minnie’s love of good food and her zest for life meant Seren’s childhood was filled with days of hedgerow picking, baking, traditional preserving and cooking recipes from the depths of a family copy of, Mrs. Beeton. She learned from an early age how to make Victorian puddings alongside elaborate noble pies and perhaps this explains her love of pastry making and the reason she won an accolade from The Great British Pie Awards this year. Today Seren has great skill in bringing historical food to life and making it accessible and understandable to the modern cook and diner. Her enthusiasm and love of historical food and British cooking is evident in her presentations and she loves to revive forgotten recipes. She recently took part in ITV1’s Country House Sunday and has given live cookery demonstrations across the country at food festivals, historical houses and castles. Trained as a herbalist and nutritionist, she has a deep understanding of improving health through food. Her interest in historic remedies and herbal folklore eventually extended to researching British food history, and reignited her early passion for cooking. Fifteen years on and Seren has amassed extensive knowledge and is now renowned for her historical food recreations and interpretations. Seren’s interest in food history does not just extend to old recipes and cooking techniques, but to ingredients and manufacturers. From the age of fourteen Seren has collected food and drink packaging from early Victorian to the 1960’s. Her collection is now extensive and provides a wonderful snapshot in time that accompanies her vast knowledge of the development of British food and drink companies throughout history. She also has a huge collection of antique kitchenalia and moulds which she uses to replicate historical recipes and portray past eras. Her training in herbalism and nutrition has not been wasted for despite her merits as a food historian and period cook she also delights in creating British Classic dishes for those with food allergies and intolerances (such as gluten and dairy intolerant). Her botanical knowledge has made her a keen wild food educator and forager that lends unusual as well as historical twists to all her cooking. There are also many points at which food and medicine intertwine throughout history and Seren is able to portray these developments and has also undertaken a lot of research into the British spice trade. To Seren historical food is not a job, but a way of life. Visit Seren's blog: Serenity Kitchen