Friday, 25 April 2014

Family get together

I was up and out early on Saturday morning, in town before the shops even opened. Needed to go to the market for fruit and vegetables. Needed to pop in the library and then Townsends looking for spring themed napkins - I managed to find bunny ones!
Dashed home to finish preparing a spring lunch for my family- just 9 of us!

 Made a courgette and asparagus Filo pastry tart.
 Aubergine and feta cheese salad
 Green lentil and blue cheese salad
 Plain salad decorated with borage flowers
 Sausage rolls
 Hot cross cheese rolls
Also made scotch eggs, both meat ones and vege ones made with chickpeas.  Also cooked a ham and new potatoes.
We ate lunch indoors, but then I noticed that the sun had come out so we had pudding in the garden
 Hot cross buns

 A rhubarb and custard cake
 Carrot cake cupcakes and chocolate nests

Phew!  All homemade!  Took my recipes and ideas from Good Food magazine, always find it to have good ideas and reliable recipes.

I like the Easter break, it is not all stressy like Christmas. Nobody asks if you are ready for Easter. The weather is usually better, with a bit of sun,  there seems to be less rushing around.  A good time to get together with family and some traditional treats like the hot cross buns and chocolate eggs- lovely!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


A bright, warm and sunny start to the bank holiday weekend, makes a change!
We spent the morning at the allotment. Things are beginning to grow.  Tiny little gooseberries cover the bushes, can't wait for them to grow.
Started a new strawberry patch this year and it is looking good, lots of flowers already, won't be long until we are picking them.  I put some straw around them before they get any bigger.
The first row of peas has flowers on them, the second row are not far behind.
I picked some sprouting broccoli, the first rhubarb and radishes. Also pulled some leeks. The rhubarb will be made into a cake!
I love having breakfast there. We had toasted hot cross buns and tea - delicious!

Monday, 21 April 2014


My weekend started on Thursday last week. Alice arrived home on Thursday morning, which was very exciting as she had been away since the beginning of January. 
I had put up some Spring decorations, a twig heart on the front door that I had made with some willow twigs and green Raffia.  Decorated eggs were hung from some twigs and the dresser re-arranged with chickeny things.
I had crocheted a Spring wreath, which is hanging on the lounge door. The idea for this was taken from Lucy at Attic24, it is similar to hers but not copied completely.
The fridge was full, following a trip to Waitrose the day before.  I had planned the main meals including a big family get together on Saturday.  I had even made the Chocolate Easter Eggs!

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Welcome spring!

Today is the Spring Equinox, the day when the day is the same length as the night and the beginning of spring.  From today until the summer solstice the days will get longer.
I decorated my dresser with spring flowers from the garden and a crocheted garland.

A few days ago I saw a post on Instagram inviting people to join in with making a flower crown and posting a photo wearing it today, so I thought, why not that sounds like fun, so I knocked this up

And popped it on!

Smelt nice too!
You can see the others on Instagram #primaveracrowns

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


Just realised that this will be our 5th summer at our allotment. We are just getting the hang of things, sometimes it is successful and others not quite so good!
One thing we love to grow are peas! Frozen ones are fine, but nothing like ones straight from the pod at the allotment.  we usually share the first pod one or two peas each! 
I would like to try and gave a regular supply of peas all summer, so need to sow a new row every few weeks.
I sowed some seeds in guttering in the greenhouse about a month ago by last weekend the plants were about 6 cm tall and time to plant them out. The gutter is great, just dig a shallow trench hold it up and gently shake! The plants sort of slide out and just need firming in! A quick water and hey presto all done. As it is still a bit chilly I covered them with a fleece cloche.
Next step will be to put a net up for the peas to grow up.
One year I saved 5 pounds of pea pods (freezing them as I got them) to make pea pod wine. This year the pods will go on the compost heap!

Thursday, 13 March 2014


We have a small wildlife pond in the garden. A few frogs live in it, once I saw a newt!
On Monday we noticed some frog spawn and then loads more on Tuesday. Spotted 4 frogs

This is the earliest they have spawned since records began (my own records!!!) last year when March was absolutely freezing and spring was very late it didn't happen until 18th April around 4 weeks later than normal.
Funny - our weather!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


As I was driving through Ardleigh this morning I noticed a long hedgerow covered in white blossom. It looked amazing especially with the cloudless sky and the sun shining.  On the way back I had to stop and take a photo!
Just looked it up, this is Blackthorn, the bush that produces sloes. The sort that make sloe gin!
An old wives tale says that it won't warm up while the blossom is still on the bush - will have to keep an eye on it!

Saturday, 1 March 2014


This month has flown by, unlike January which dragged on and on and on, and so it was a bit of a surprise to find it was the end of the month and I hadn't found all my photos for this months challenge.  So stuck my wellies on and went out in the wind and rain to finish them off and here they are...............

F is for ..............

Fingers!  or finger nails to be precise - had a gel manicure last week before we went away for the weekend.

3 p.m.

At 3 p.m. today I walked (in the freezing cold pouring rain) to the post office to post a swap parcel to New Zealand.


 My chickens have a handful of mixed grain every afternoon.  It is funny they eat the corn, but leave the sweetcorn which they eat the next morning.


 This desk lamp used to be in one of the bedrooms and was red.  I wanted it over my desk, so we sprayed it grey!  Fits right in now

Click, click, clickerty click - as I type and and a double click now and then!


Alice bought this jar of honey back from Russia at Christmas, it had a paper label tied with string and a wax seal on it.  I also noticed that our favourite cereal bars are oats and HONEY.  Had a talk about bee keeping at horticultural society last year, it's a right faff, they need lots of work.  Not just a case of getting the honey out once a year, not sure that bee keeping is for me, but glad it is for some people!!


 Fountains have been a bit thin on the ground in my part of the world. So here is the rain overflowing from the water but into a bucket causing a bit of a fountain!

Pompoms!  round woolly balls of delight!


Just me in the garden, we managed one sunny day this month!


I was trying to get a photo of "The House in the Clouds" but got a good photo of the clouds but not of the house.  You can just about see it on the horizon.  Apparently this was a water tower, but they made it look like a house.  Taken in Thorpeness on the Suffolk coast.

Spotted this big group of crocuses on the side of the road as I walked back from the post office.


I save up all the loo roll and kitchen roll innards all year round and use them to plant my broadbeans and runner beans.  I planted some broadbeans a couple of weeks ago, but one of the old boys at the allotment told me they would rot, so I came home and planted the rest of the seeds in these tubes in the greenhouse -  I won't be beaten!

Well that's it for another month, will start looking for the March photos.  Thanks to Greenthumb once again!

Friday, 28 February 2014


I popped up to Cambridge yesterday to see my lad.

I love going there, it is a lovely city to walk around, so long as you keep your eyes open for the cyclists, they seem to zoom up behind you from nowhere, ringing their bells and shouting at you if you happen to stray just a few inches into a cycle lane.
Anyway I drove up, takes about one and half hours, quite a nice drive, head towards Ipswich and then pick up the A14, past Stowmarket, Bury st Edmunds, Newmarket and then off into Cambridge.  Jared has found a tiny, free parking space right near his house and I managed to squeeze in, which was good luck.
We started with a trip to Tesco, to stock him up on all his essentials and a few treats too!
Then into town for lunch
We walked past all the chain restaurants and some strange little sandwich shops until we found Fitzbillies, near the Fitzwilliam Musuem.  We have very different tastes so it is quite a challenge to find something to suit.  Jared had a steak sandwich with lettuce and NO horseradish mayo!  I had a cheese and celery tart with a massive pile of delicious coleslaw, it was very pink, lots of red cabbage I think.  Cups of tea too, to warm us up!

 We had a walk around the town.  The market was quiet and there was nothing that caught my eye.  Cath Kidston is a must and my £4 voucher was burning a hole in my pocket, but didn't see anything that I really wanted.  Then went into a shop called Tiger, went there before Christmas and picked up load of bits and pieces.  I found some small paper Easter egg decorations, some tin plant pots and some dishcloths - yellow with chicks on, will make washing up fun (not!!)

Then on to the river, where we declined a ride in a punt, it was a bit too chilly!
Time for tea and cake, we looked in some shops and then found Patisserie Valerie and my goodness they do big cakes, Jared ended up with a doggie bag!

 I had a custard pastry and Jared had a chocolate cake with a profiterole on top! yummy!

There is a shop at the end of his road which is a sort of farm shop, but always has flowers for sale, today they had loads of Polyanthus, 3 for £2, such a bargain so I had 6!   Here they are in the tin cans I bought.

After all that a long drive home in the rush hour! 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Just spent a wonderful weekend away in Norfolk. Got back yesterday afternoon exhausted! 

We set off on Friday morning for a journey that should take just under 2 hours, it's not far and decided to to a detour and stop for lunch on the way.  For some reason we decided to stop in Aldeburgh.  I have been before and wasn't that keen then and not that keen this time.  Sorry to those of you that live there, but I don't really see what the fuss is about.  Ok, I know we went on a chilly February day, and I am sure it is better on a sunny summers day, but well............  We drove along the main road and there looked like there were some interesting shops.  There are two fish and chip shops, apparently they are wonderful and the thing to do is to get your chips and sit on a stony, windy beach and eat them.  But the queues!  There were at least 25 people queueing down the street outside both of them, so we didn't bother and I don't even like fish and chips.  We tried the Prezzo, but it was fully booked!!!!  Ended up with a sandwich in a small tea shop which was very nice.  Looked around the shops - Jack Wills ( yes Jack Wills in a tiny seaside town), Jooles and some other clothes shops. 
We drove along the coast road and a great big rat ran across the road in front of us, well, I am not keen on rats at all!!

Not a very good photo of the seashell statue, it is quite impressive standing in the middle of the stony beach, but I was a bit worried about the rat and hurried back to the car.
We then drove through Thorpeness, an interesting little village with a lake, which we might have walked around if it had been warmer, tried to get a photo of the house in the clouds -  very odd, I am not sure what it is supposed to be.

 Perhaps we should have gone to Southwold instead.
We then drove on to our destination, Potters Holiday Resort in Hopton-on-sea!!  
It was a Ceroc dance weekend.  We go to a Ceroc dance class every week.  Ceroc is a style of dance known as modern jive, not really Jive like they do on Strictly, more a mix of salsa, waltz and slow jive, anyway I like it.

What a weekend! There were lessons all day, for beginners, improver's and advanced dancers and some covering other styles, I was desperate to do the Tango class, but it was so hard!  I learnt to walk backwards and slide my leg to the side.  Each evening there was dancing until 4 am, although I only managed to stay up until 1.30 - 3 nights in a row!
All the food was included, a bit regimented, but it had to be to fit in with the class schedule.  Breakfast was a help your self affair, lunch soon followed at 12.30 which could be a 3 course meal, I couldn't eat that much and then dance again after, so stuck with the salad.
Dinner was again a massive 3 course meal, with lots of choices and some nice puddings!  Then for those who were really greedy there was a midnight snack!!  We went to have a look on the first night and it was chilli and rice -  how can people eat that at that time of night?  Anyway the food was tasty, not the most wonderful I have ever had but more than ok.

We stayed in a chalet and ours was the one fattest from the main buildings, almost in the sea!  Still it does you good to have a nice walk!
Watch out for the cliff edge.

On Sunday afternoon we took a walk down to the beach, it was a bit breezy! We didn't stay out long!
It was non stop all weekend and my mind was a bit frazzled with all the different classes, trying to remember the new moves that we learnt.  Today my legs ache, my arms and shoulders ache and most strangely my wrist aches.  I think it was because I learnt to flick my wrist up at the end of a move and did it so much I have worn it out!