Saturday, 23 July 2011

A New Addition

The lack of blog posts this week is all down to our new baby.

A seven month old red and white border collie who is gorgeous, naughty and mad as a box of frogs in equal measure.  His previous Daddy had heart problems and so Harvey was on his way to the RSPCA Rehoming Centre.  My brother was in the right place at the right time and was able to snaffle him up for us. 

He's settled in very, very well and after his arrival on Tuesday it seems like he's lived with us always.  The cats are twice their normal size and the chickens are a tad perplexed but all shall fall into place with perserverance and time.

She says nodding manically and smiling through gritted teeth.

Meet Harvey The Hooligan.  (hereinafter known as "HTH").

Isn't he adorable?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Chicken Stack

"'Ere, Betty, she's got that ruddy camera again - shall we do our party piece?"

"No Hattie.  You'll mess me feathers up and I'm fresh out of the dust bath"

"O'g'wan.......... g'wan, g'wan g'wan!!  Look I just need to get under there" 

"Sigh.  If you must.  Just hurry up about it"

Wait for it.... wait for it...............


"Really Hatie.  You are SO childish"

"Betty..I've changed me mind..... Gerroff now - I can't breathe!!"

Hattie? HATTIE??? Your head has fallen off!!

"Ooh I'm off before she finds out"


I thank you.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Momentous New Purchase

Are you ready for this?

Hmmm I don't think you are.

I'll just pause a little and let you gather yourselves in anticipation.

Y'know how rock n' roll me and my other half are?  (snigger)



Punk Dish Brush

SID DISHES!!!!  Never Mind The Washing Up - there's Anarchy in the Kitchen.

Oh how I laughed when I saw him.

And laughed even more at the looks I got in Matalan when I stood in the queue for the tills proudly holding him in front of me.

Rock an' bloody Roll!!!!!

Monday, 11 July 2011

A wander through my Weekend

Hello to you all.

We are, what is commonly known in the trade as a bit 'boracic lint' this week and so our planned outing to the local MCC's custom bike show was shelved in favour of pottering around at home.

We did venture up to the local car boot sale but the decidedly dodgy weather over the last few days had halved the amount of traders and the field which is usually heaving with buyers and sellers was decidedly quiet.  The sun, however, did shine it's little head off for all the time we were wandering around and so it was a pleasant way to spend our early morning.

Pickings were relatively slim, however we did spy a Sex Pistols documentary dvd we had been looking for for a while, and also a couple of films. I really admire Monty Don and was pleased to pick up the collaborative book from him and his wife, Sarah, entitled 'From Fork to Fork' which is mixture of veggie gardening advice and recipes for utilising your produce. 

I picked up a really good quality cotton, pretty gingham/floral single quilt cover with two matching pillow cases for three quid which I intended on cutting up to begin a patchwork quilt with.  Darling daughter, however, had other ideas and snaffled it as soon as she saw it.  The patchwork may have to wait!

These were a bargain - £1.50 for all of them and they've now been washed and sterilised and set away pending the preserving season!

A pretty glass necklace for 50p

And these two sweet little pewter fairies for 50p.  The pink one is a bit too fluffy for my tastes but as she was thrown in for free with her rather more elegant mate then who was I to say no?! 

Saturday evening was beautiful.  We decided to take a walk over the fields at around 7 and the light was stunningly beautiful.  I love that time during a mid-summer evening where everything is bathed in golden light.  My camera really is on it's last legs now and I'm having to hold the battery in with my thumb when I take a photo so these aren't as clear as I'd like.   I'll stop waffling now and let you enjoy the scenery!  Hope your weekend was a good one too! xx

The wheat is beginning to ripen

Love how the light picks up the yellowing leaves making them almost flourescent

Spotted this beauty havig a snooze on a blackberry leaf!

Catch you again really soon!

Monday, 4 July 2011

A "Be Kind to Yourself" Kinda Day...

Isn't it often the case that you are so busy looking after your family, running a home, working full time, trying to keep 27 million (approximately)(!) balls in the air at once,  that you sometimes forget to look after yourself?    I think everyone needs a little 'me' time now and then.  A time to 'simply be', if you like.  No washing of pots.  No cooking, cleaning, supervising, playing referee in teenage spats or nurse-maiding middle aged bosses who should know better.

This is not a wholly selfish act, merely one where you take time out to look after yourself,  to replenish your energy reserves and to ensure that in being kind to yourself you are better equipped to be kind to those around you.

I had such a bad night's sleep last night.  Not only was it hot and stuffy despite the windows being thrown wide open, it was one of those typical insomniac nights fuelled by tiny inconsquential niggles manifesting into huge great issues before my (unclosed) eyes, which left me exasperated and strung out.  Just when I thought I was sinking into slumber, it escaped from my clutches as if I was trying to hold on to mist.  This morning I woke after approximately 20 minutes sleep just before my alarm clanged into action, tearful, anxious and completely exhausted.  So I awarded myself a duvet day.

My 'duvet' days are rarely spent snoozing under the covers.  More often than not I surround myself in the comfort of the things which make me happy.  Like visiting the allotment or perhaps walking in the field.  Today I did both.  The allotment was both hot and weedy but aided by lots of cool water and doing things gently, I was able to harvest the first of our potatoes.  Remember THIS POST?  Well the picture belows shows the yield from pulling just three plants.   Harvesting potatoes is one of my favourite allotmenteering jobs.  It's like digging for buried treasure.  The yield was pretty good so far with some sizeable tatties as well as some smaller salad potatoes.  As these were all sown from sprouting potatoes I would otherwise have thrown away then in effect they haven't cost me much at all.

One of the allotment holders has unfortunately had to give up his plot due to ill health.  It was promised to new people but they have failed as yet to show up to begin clearing the weeds, so I put on my metaphorical foragers hat and harvested some beautiful raspberries which were there for the taking.   Together with some tiny strawberries from our plot, layered up with some vanilla yoghurt and topped with a smashed digestive biscuit mixed with some oaty breakfast cereal, they made for a gorgeously sinful tasting but low fat dessert this evening.

I also pulled some red 'salad bowl' salad leaves and was also given some baby broad beans.  As I'm the only person in the house who likes broad beans, it's my intention to eat them a la Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall - see here for the recipe!

Here's the bounty in all it's glory.  Along with three beautiful large brown eggs from the girls  this morning, it's not a bad day's haul really is it? 

Garden jobs this weekend have included thinning out the carrot seedlings which are now growing on in the raised bed.  I've companion planted spring onions with them which will hopefully confuse any lurking carrot flies!  The spring onions desperately needed to be thinned out and replanted from their seedling trough.  It's always a bit of a wobbly time when you transplant seedlings.  They look so sorry for themselves; all floppy and lying pale and wan on the damp soil.  I'm hoping that they'll all pick up very shortly and maintain the vigorous growth they were showing before transplanting. 

Another bit of recycling too - the old reed screen fencing we took down early last month has been utilised as screening over the top of the chicken run.  It fits perfectly and will hopefully afford the chooks some shade at the hottest times of the day, as well as some shelter from light showers too.  They look as though they've got their own little beach hut now!

Dinner this evening has been a 'Be Kind to Yourself' meal too!  Stir fried savoy cabbage with bacon, onions and a little chorizo, together with crispy crushed potatoes and a couple of sausages, followed with the afore mentioned fruity dessert.  Tasty, cheap and filling - and comforting to boot.

Well that's it from me.  Hopefully an early night will prevail and I'll be able to shake off this feeling of utter mental exhaustion.   I'm glad I took time out today to "smell the roses".  Sometimes you need time to regroup and readdress; not as a couple or as a family - but as an individual. 

Wishing you all good spaces and kindnesses, whether self-administered or otherwise.

Much love. 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Saturday Chatterday

Greetings blogtastic ones!

I do hope you're all well and that the sun has been shining on your day.

We're fairweather car booters and we were grateful for this morning's pleasant weather to indulge in one of our favourite Saturday morning pastimes.  Well.  One of those which can be divulged before the watershed at least!  Fnar fnar.

My friend came with us today so we were able to travel up there in (free) style.  I'm not sure whether any of you recall my rant about car boot parking a couple of weeks ago, but today, to add insult - I found out that the car parking on site is actually FREE and not 50p per parking space as I had originally imagined - so there's even less excuse to park on the road.  But as usual the one horse road was still lined chockablock with vehicles!  Gah!

Ah anyway - car booty bargains today comprise as follows:-

Couldn't resist this chicken!! *snigger*
Aw - she was only 50p.  How could I leave her there?!

Three gorgeous large terracotta pots complete with saucers for a fiver.  I was so impressed with these - you can never have enough pots and in the local garden centre these are around £7 each!  As usual there were plenty of plant stalls, selling bedding plants, shrubs and veggies.  I purchased a tray each of Love Lies Bleeding, some Asters and some Stock for a quid per tray.  Hopefuly these will sit nicely in the pots and give some much needed colour into the garden, the stocks scenting the evening air when I sit outside with my cuppa.

The pewter colour photograph frame is lovely and heavy and features my favourite autumnal theme - I'm a sucker for anything remotely autumn flavoured!  This was as new and boxed for a quid.  The little Barry M collection (lip gloss, eyeliner and nail varnish - all new and unopened) were 50p for the lot.   The varnish is a pretty pink colour look!  S'cuse my very badly painted nails (and my fat sausage-like fingers! )- I just wanted to try the colour for size!!   The Sanctuary body butter and hand cream smell divine.  Brand new with the wrapping still on for £1 for the two.  Whoohoo!!! Adore Sanctuary products!

More candle holders!!!  I can't resist!!  This is another Partylite product - the iced crystal trio.  I sold these by the bucket load during my time as a consultant at an eyepopping £28.00 for the three!!  My kit sample got damaged in transit a long time ago and I was delighted to find this perfect set  today for a rather more modest £1.50!!  They are the best votive holders I've ever used.  As I only usually burn Partylite candles then I know their votives fit these holders perfectly.  I'm burning spiced plum votives this evening - they're divine and just these three are scenting the whole of the house.  I love how these candles liquefy as they burn - they're beginning to look like rose wine with a flame on top!  Yum!!!  

As we were heading back towards the car, I found this lovely cookery book.  I really don't need another cookery book but I can't help myself!  The price for this was just 10p!!!  I couldn't quite believe it and had to ask the vendor twice!!  She was laughing at my reaction but said that she just didn't want to take it home.  I'm so glad I asked about it!  It's a beautiful book with gorgeous, very 'Country Living' style photography and lots of vintage tips in it even though it's a new book.  There are loads of yummy recipes as well as having a decent section on preserving and foraging too.

We got home at around 12ish so whilst Mr B went to bed (he'd not slept since coming off his night shift early this morning) I sat in the garden reading my new recipe book and adding a line to my ripple blanket.  I was quite industrious!  Charlie, however, decided that it was all too much for him.

Minnie sheltered herself from the heat under the shade of the hydrangea.

The veloceraptors chickens laid waste to my alchemilla as usual.  One of the buggers pecked my toe this afternoon!! It made me jump I can tell you!  That will teach me for wriggling my very brightly pink-painted tootsies in the sunshine won't it?!  They've had some redcurrants this week - perhaps she mistook it for one of those.  Ah I must tell you readers - I have butterfly-chasing chickens!!!  If you're a chicken keeper - have you seen any of yours do this?  I thought I was seeing things this afternoon when two of them charged off at great speed after a couple of hapless butterflies!!  SO funny!!  I wish I had been able to video it for you!

I felt the the need to bake things this afternoon as my little china hen was full to egg popping!! 

Raspberry and white chocolate muffins followed.  I also used my new cookery book's recipe for a Victoria Sponge.  This is theirs.................

This is mine!!  Not bad eh?!!   They use the old fashioned method of using four eggs, plus their weight in butter, sugar and flour.  Just a little vanilla extract is the only other addition, plus of course the usual jam and cream (in this case sour cherry preserve from Aldi and whipping cream sweetened with a little icing sugar).  I'm waiting for my Chief Tester to give his verdict!

We're settling down now to a nice relaxing evening watching Rammstein in concert then Saw II.  

Yay!! How rock and roll are we eh?!  hehehehehe....

See you very soon!!

Working from home

I've taken a precious day of annual leave today.  I've really struggled this week with feeling so yuk and I needed the restorative ...