The last six weeks have really gone by in a flash.  When we started preparing for this project we had big dreams to reach the VIP Discover! families in Edinburgh in a way which had never been tried before.  We knew they were struggling through lockdown and dealing with a plethora of different and difficult circumstances, so we really needed to pull something amazing out of the bag for them.  In close partnership with City of Edinburgh Council and all the facilitators of the different activities, we managed to deliver something which surpassed everything we imagined it would be and we are so grateful to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen - thank you!

So, without getting too sad that this is the last week, here is the run down of what happened in week 6 - Scotland week....

The families received their final box of goodies, which included everything they needed to make a firm Scottish favourite, stovies.  As a special extra we included a peek into the vegetable garden at The Glebe project at the start of our demonstration video.  We so often get all our food cleaned and neatly packaged from supermarkets, that we forget where it really comes from so this was an opportunity for the children to see how some of the seasonal vegetables grow naturally.  They were also given a packet of cress seeds and some cotton wool to grow their own food at home.  This is a great activity to do with children as they begin to learn the science behind what plants need to grow and since cress seeds grow very quickly in just about any conditions, it provides a fast outcome.  You can simply snip off the tops after a few days and add them to any food as a garnish.

The stovies went down really well with families both originally from Scotland and those from various other backgrounds too, Here's some photos they posted:


The winner of the fruit and vegetable sculpture competition from last week was announced as the fruity peacock shown here.  What a beautiful and creative way to use the fruit from the box and I bet it tasted amazing too.  The winner received one of Edinburgh Community Food's legendary fruit baskets and a bunch a gorgeous sunflowers too.  As a consolation prize, every family received a fresh coconut in their box this week with instructions on how to open it.  Families commented that their children were really excited to try it and for many it was something they had only ever heard of.



On Monday Jo, one of our resident Food and Health Development Workers, set a Lovely Leftovers challenge for families to come up with meals to make out of a list of leftovers and pantry ingredients.  Lots of families contributed some great ideas such as Cullen Skink (another Scottish favourite), frittata to use up the eggs, leftover potatoes and veg, lentil soup and fish pie.  There were also some really adventurous suggestions like kedgeree, which is a curried rice and smoked haddock dish, chicken and broccoli lasagne, and the popular French lunch dish, Croque Monsieur which is similar to a cheese and ham toastie.  We would also love to get the recipe for American Bean Pie which was another suggestion!  Let us know your suggestions in the comments section below...


Catherine, our food hygiene expert and trainer for our Food Hygiene REHIS accredited courses, delivered a shortened version of the course with her top food hygiene tips. There were lots of great comments and questions coming through from the viewers of the live session and even discussion on the safety of false eyelashes when cooking.  Glad that one was cleared up, nobody wants to find a set of lashes in their soup!

Fiona from the Royal Observatory joined us for the last time with Star of the week which was The Plough.  Its easy to find as it looks like a frying pan and Fiona explained how people have been finding their way using the stars for centuries.  She also joined us live on Tuesday to demonstrate some simple experiments you can do at home to make rainbows.  Families could use the mirror from the periscope they made earlier in the holidays, a shallow tray of water and a torch next to a plain white wall in a dark corner of their house so the rainbows could be clearly seen.  There were lots of people watching and trying out the experiment with Fiona and commenting on how much their children enjoyed it; what a great activity for the final week.  She also gave a really good explanation into the science behind rainbows and linked to some further information in the comments for the older children to learn about refracting light.

An artist with the Edinburgh Arts Festival called Sally Price did an Explorers at Home workshop on making mini, temporary art sculptures using items from around the house.  She encouraged families to go on a scavenger hunt in their own home in preparation for the session.  The activity explored how we can take inspiration, and use items, from around the home or even what we might consider rubbish to create unique artworks, focusing on how we can be resourceful and more environmentally-minded to produce brilliant new art.  The items they collected could be anything at all because the sculptures are temporary, meaning they could be pulled apart and made into something else or you could put the items back where you found them afterwards.  Families were also encouraged to use recycled materials like foil, cardboard and coloured plastic, paper from magazines and newspapers (anything we can save from landfill!) as well as temporary fixings like string, clothes pegs and blue tac.

Mrs Mash, the storytelling cook, was live on Wednesday afternoon with songs and stories.  She is such a fabulous edition to the Discover programme and loved by everyone.  She told a great story about a girl named Ellie and her Granny's teeny tiny tatties; what could be more befitting for Scotland week than a story about one of Scotland's favourite foods told in Mrs Mash's lovely, calming voice?  Alyssa was also with us on Wednesday to teach some Scottish Ceilidh dancing moves with her teddy dancing partner.  There were lots of comments from the families joining in and everyone had great fun and definitely got their heart rates up a bit jumping around with her.  She sang some beautiful Scottish songs on her guitar and read some Scottish poems too, such a treat!

On Thursday, it was my last time to go live on Facebook for our healthier baking session and I was kindly joined by Catherine who was monitoring the comments section whilst I baked.  We made delicious apple and cinnamon scones, using the natural sweetness in the apples to cut down on the added sugar in the recipe.

And that was it!  We had such fun connecting with all the Discover families and trying out all the fun activities on offer over the last 6 weeks.  But importantly, the families will continue to receive support now that the holiday programme is finished.  The transition back to school for the children and parents may throw up some challenges given how long we have all been diligently social distancing and its important to ensure everyone feels safe and happy, so the City of Edinburgh Council have launched the Edinburgh Back to School campaign, with help from their partners across the city.  They have already been sharing tips and resources on the group and released their "Moving on, Coming together" video:

We have been overwhelmed by all the kind words and big thank yous families have posted.  Comments such as:

"Hi just want to say a big thank you for our box again this week and for everything over the summer. The boxes have been amazing with all the ingredients for the cooking/baking and the added equipment too. All the activities have been so much fun and the art packs were fantastic. Also thank you for all the little extra treats, K has loved opening his box each week and seeing the surprises and had great fun with the activities. The active school pack has been a big hit for helping burn some energy in the back garden too and will continue to get well used. K said thank you for making our summer time fun. Xx"

"Thank you so much for all of the boxes and activities over the last 6 weeks, it's been a very weird few months but you've made it so much more enjoyable! Thank you, everyone, we really appreciate all of your hard work ❤️"

"Thank you, our last box arrived today, full of goodies and fun ingredients. This has been a godsend during the holidays. Our weeks have been more fun with the extra ideas you have given us for occupying our time. especially after weeks of home schooling. it has also helped our budget go further.  The last six weeks have flown by. Thank you again and hope to see you all in October face to face"

"Big thank you from myself and my girls, you made this adventure so much fun,memories last a lifetime 🌈❤"

The project would never have worked without the families themselves and the fact that they have been so enthusiastic and really got stuck in with everything has meant the world to us and all the other partners involved in delivering the programme.  As a last little thank you, all the families received £15 voucher for some lovely fresh ingredients from Edinburgh Community Food.  I wonder what recipes they will be recreating at home again with their deliveries.