Tuesday 30 June 2009

A Fragrant Posy

I picked this very fragrant posy from my garden this morning. It comprises of the first few Sweet Peas (and a stunning shade they are too - dont ask what variety!!!) Coriander that has gone over and into flower, Mint Lemon Blam and some Oregano that is flowering too. It smells great.

Monday 29 June 2009

Little and Large.

On our evening stroll around the lakes in Wentworth, we saw:

The worlds smallest frog! infact there were loads of them on the path down to the lake, we had to be careful where we put our feet.

And this fisherman caught the worlds largest fish! Well it might not be the largest in the world, but it was pretty big and he had a struggle with it. The lake seems to be full of these really large Carp. We were feeding them with bread earlier.

It was a perfect summers evening.

Has anyone else noticed how large the flowers are on the Blackberry bushes this year? I'm hoping for a bumper crop of the beauties in September.

Sunday 28 June 2009

Passive Camping and other stories

I would have dearly loved to have gone camping this weekend, but the Dancing Queen didn't want to go - preffering to be with her friends (who can blame her!) and so I had to indulge in some passive camping. My sis and her hubby were camping at Birchover near Bakewell so we went and spent the day with them. Birchover is a great little village. It has loads of great walks nearby, a lovely village shop (with a lovely Swedish girl serving according to my brother in law!) and 2 great pubs - one of them (The Druids Inn) is a gastro pub!

We went a walk around Stanton Moor which has great views, and then

discovered the "Nine Ladies" circle. Apparantly the nine ladies were dancing on the sabbath and for this crime they were turned to stone. It was then back to the tent for a barbie before we reluctantly had to head off home. My brother in law has just lost his job, so they are staying out there for a few days more.

Today, hubby and I decided to become tourists on our own doorstep. Remember when I showed you Hoober Stand a few weeks ago?

Well, throughout the summer, it opens on Sundays at 2pm so that you can climb to the top and admire the absolutely amazing views of the South Yorkshire countryside. Once I got my breath back from climbing all the stairs, I had it whipped away once more by the totally awesome views.

It was very misty and muggy, but you can just make out Wentworth Woodehouse. We then headed over to another one of the Wentworth follies - the Mausoleum. This is a bit of a misnomer actually as no one is actually buried here. It was built to commemorate the earl of Rockingham who died in about 1783 and had 2 stints at being Prime Minister of England. He lived at Wentworth Woodhouse and is buried in York Minster. The Mausoleum is open from 2pm on Sundays in Summer too, so we had a good look around. Standing in the grounds of this really impressive building, it is so hard to believe that we are only 2 miles from home. It is in the middle of woodlands and so very tranquil.

This is the view across to the big house. You may have to double click to see it as it was a bit misty.

once inside, there is only one room, but the workmanship inside is very impressive. This is the ceiling.

And the stonework around the edge of the ceiling.

There are busts of all The Earls friends around the room.

And a very impressive marble statue of the Earl himself.

It was well worth a walk around. We travel miles sometimes to look around stately homes and great buildings, yet we often overlook the ones on our doorstep. Both the Mausoleum and Hoober Stand had fallen into disrepair and had both been affected by mining subsidence. The bloke showing us around the Mausoleum, said that the restorers had spent a lot of the restoration money under the building itself. The coal mining had been so near to the surface, that you could hear the machines at night, and this had left a huge cavern underneath the building. Very scarey indeed!

I made the "Pad Krapow Moo" as detailed by "Chez Pim" in my sidebar for tea. The kids loved the name!! and it was totally gorgeous. Of course, it is very difficult finding authentic ingredients for Thai food in South Yorkshire, so I had to substitute Thai Basil for ordinary majestic basil, and I threw a few of my sprouting Mung beans in to pad it out a bit, but it still tasted great. Give it a go.

My new banner is a photo of just a few of the heart shaped rocks, pebbles and pottery I have collected (I have more strewn all over the house). The ones in the banner are on my back doorstep, along with bits of driftwood, shells and other beach finds.

My previous banner was a photo I took of a heart that I made out of grass for my hubby displayed on the leg of his jeans.

Wishing you all lots of love. xxx

Saturday 27 June 2009

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do.

Daisies are the sweetest flowers by far. Ive made a few from felt for a project that I don't quite know where its going yet! Here they are displayed on my.........

.....Daisy tablecloth that was embroidered in an air raid shelter in Chatham Docks during World War 2 .
Why are the Ox-Eye daisies in the wild in flower when........

the daisies in my garden are still tightly shut?

I should be grateful I suppose that I could only find a very small patch of daisies on my lawn!

and finally another project that I have a bit more of an idea where I am going with this. Whether it works out or not is another story!

Friday 26 June 2009

I love Freebies

Mother Nature must have known that I would be an appreciative recipient of these wonderful freebies when she threw them my way. Ive never planted them.

They even co-ordinate perfectly with the (almost out - just need a tad more sunshine) Sweet Peas that I did plant.

My weekend starts here.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Fast Food

I am having to work until 5.30pm every day this week due to my colleague being on holiday (I usually finish at 3pm - a much more refined finish time that allows me to have a life too!!). Its such a beautiful evening, and I didnt want to be slaving over a hot stove, so I reached for one of my fridge stand by's - Hallumi Cheese. Hallumi Cheese tastes like rubber - until you slice it, coat it in seasoned flour and fry it quickly in a little olive oil until it has a crust on it. Delicious! The whole thing took less than 10 minutes to prepare and that included picking the lettuce from the garden and make a vinegrette dressing. It would have taken longer to queue in Macdonalds!!

Gilly - in answer to your question about the bees, it would seem that all the bees in the UK can now be found in South Yorkshire! Both my mum and I were only commenting on Friday evening about the increased number of bees we have in the garden.

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Lavender blue dilly dilly

If I could only have one type of flower in my garden, it would be Lavender. I love blue flowers, and its fragrance fills the air on a summers evening. It also keeps the garden buzzing with bees and other mini beasts. I use the flowers for crafts, and also in baking. When summer has gone, I cut it back and burn the stalks on my Chimenea to fill the air one last time with its wonderful scent. If you could only have one thing in your garden, what would it be?

Sunday 21 June 2009

Serious Leisure time

You may have noticed that I take my leisure time very seriously. When hubby has a weekend off, we fill it to the brim with nice things to do, and no chores. This weekend has been totally brilliant. On Saturday evening, we went to Nostell Priory near Wakefield (National Trust property) as they were holding one of their "Jazz in the Park" nights. We went with a largish party of family and friends and took a picnic. The evening was fine, but a bit cool - until we all got up dancing (even the menfolk!!) then we all got a bit of a sweat on!! The Elderflower champagne was ready in time, so we cracked a few bottles open - it really is the taste of summer. If you get chance to attend any of these, I can't recommend them highly enough. A fabulous way to spend a summers evening.

Then today was the young mans driving day (the one we got him for his birthday). We drove over to Stafford early morning to find the place, then we had a trundle around the beautiful Staffordshire countryside until it was time for his drive. I can't believe how much they taught him in such a short space of time. He got tuition in a mini cooper for 3 laps of the track - in which time they taught him gear changes, starting, breaking and steering!! Then they zipped him around the track in a Lotus Elise to show him how it was done, then they let him loose in the Aston Martin Vantage!!!! It was great to watch, and really funny listening to all the "mummies" having kittens as their little boys took to the track for their 1st drive. He did really really well and he looks like a bit of a natural at the wheel. He said that the Aston was easier to drive than the mini - perhaps that was a hint!!
After his drive, we all got to partake as passengers in an off road vehicle driving through some very scarey terrain!! The driver seemed amused by my terror, but I told him it would be far funnier if I drove - I think he would have been more scared than me!!!

After our time at the track, the sun came out and I didnt want to go home, so we took a look at the map and thought Stafford town centre might be nice for a wander round, but as we got nearer, we though that it looked like it might be twinned with Rotherham - to be avoided at all costs!!! So we detoured to Shugborough Hall - somewhere Ive always fancied a look around. It was a bit late, so we didnt get an indepth look, but it was really nice, with lovely gardens and a fascinating photography display of Patrick Lichfields work. I loved the walled garden, but they were having terrible trouble with their cabbages - nearly every one stripped bare (by caterpillars I presume). They had a working blacksmiths in the corner of the garden which was interesting. I would have loved to visit the "downstairs " bit of the hall, but we didnt have any time left, so I was promised a revisit.
Don't be fooled by the healthy looking cabbage in this photo - the ones at the back had no leaves at all!!

Then it was home - just in time for Top Gear!!
I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Have a good week. xxxxx

Saturday 20 June 2009

I was "Tagged"

No, not by the prison service, but by Blueberry Heart and swapaholic Beki . Both tagged me with the same thing. I have to reveal 6 unimportant things that I love - so here goes.

1. People watching. I love to watch body language and also eavesdrop into conversations! Bumblebee cottage calls this being a "Sticky beak" (Australian phrase). Hubby calls it being a nosey bitch!! Ive been to see Judi James a couple of times recently - The locals "Business Link" do networking evenings and Judi has been guest speaker doing "Body Language at work" - it has been totally fascinating. My friend and I only went along because we set our selves a challenge to see how many "Free" nights out we could get. At the Business Link evenings, you got a free meal and the guest speaker, and tons of free fun people watching!! Which brings me onto ....

2. Freebies. I discovered the Moneysaving Expert website a couple of years ago - and in particular the "Freebies" Forum. I have become addicted. I am totally amazed at what you can blag for "nowt". You can literally do most of your Christmas shopping for free if you are tenacious enough, and I keep my teenage daughter supplied with free cosmetics and toiletries. We all go to the cinema at least once per week and often twice for free. We have had free restaurant meals, Spa days, Race meeting weekends, clothing, magazines, fancy goods. I took part in a blind testing for face cream and the cream I tested is only available at Harvey Nicks and cost £150 per tub - it was lovely, but its back to the Nivea now!! The best bit about the freebies is that you get most of them through the post, so the postie doesnt just bring bills anymore - talking of which, I do a Royal Mail survey and get at least 18 free postage stamps a month(often more) and a £6 High Street Voucher just for posting 2 envelopes a week.

3. Camping - I know Ive said this before, but you cannot beat sitting out at night watching a meteor shower in the middle of no where. Best entertainment ever.

4. Comedy - we all four have a very similar sense of humour and we love stand-up comedy. We watch endless repeats of "Mock of the Week" and "QI" and I love that we all sit and laugh together. We often get to see live comedy too - which is great (as long as you don't book seats near the front!!) Our current favorites are Michael Macintyre, Russell Howard, Stephen Fry and Jason Manford.

5. Real Coffee. I can only drink instant when I am camping (when any coffee is good coffee!!). I always start the day with 2 cups of freshly brewed coffee and then the worlds alright by me!!

6. Proper breakfast. By that I mean one that is sat down and enjoyed, a leisurely affair (with no work to dash off to!!) I love American breakfasts, the way they have a zillion ways to do an egg. Done properly, a good breakfast can be the best meal of the day. With hubby doing shifts, if we want to go out for a meal together, we often go out for breakfast instead of a meal at night. We have found some great little places that offer a great start to the day, and it is so much cheaper!! Failing a "Full Monty", a bacon butty is a great second best .
I am supposed to Tag 6 people now, but I don't want to pile the pressure on you - however, being a Sticky Beak, I would dearly love a bit more about you all - so feel free to pick this up and "spill" a bit more about youself.

I made the Chicken (as I promised I would) from a recipe over at Barry and Lesley's place

I can confirm that this was exceptionally simple and quick to make and totally delish. The whole family loved it, and strangely, there's only me that likes mustard!! None of them noticed it!! Have a go.

And finally, just in time for the Fathers Day goodies, I recreated the Newspaper Bag. I used a cereal box in the end for the pattern. It was a bit fiddly, but it ended up looking ok. I dont think I could be bothered to make loads though. The presents looked ok just wrapped in the newspaper with a bright ribbon around them for a contrast, so I think i'll stick to that in future.

Friday 19 June 2009

A different perspective

My daughter has a better eye for photography than I do, however when I saw the position she contorted herself into to take this shot of the Island in St Ives, I could see why my photo's didnt look like hers - I'm just not that bendy any more!! She posted a few more on her blog.

Thursday 18 June 2009


I love all of your blogs for the inspiration that I get from them. Tuesday's supper included "Allotment Mess" from the wonderful JuliaB's allotment blog. She grows all her own veg, I only managed to grow the garlic for this dish, but the spuds and the peas are looking nearly ready. Anyway, the dish was great, so very tasty and the kids loved it too. We had it with lamb chops.

For tonights supper I am trying the Chicken Parcels from Barry and Lesley's blog - i'll let you know how I get on. Many thanks again to all you who stop me from stucking in the mud. xx

Sunday 14 June 2009

Blue and White Theme

We seemed to have a blue and white theme running through last weekend. Firstly the sky was my favorite shade of sky blue, with the odd fluffy white cloud. A perfect back drop for my favorite white roses.

I call this shot "Sole Survivor". I was supposed to have a swathe of Delphiniums in my garden, but the ****** slugs won out despite the vigilante tactics employed by the hubby!!!
My favorite light cotton spotty jammies attempting to keep me cool . I am officially "hot in bed" according to my hubby, but unfortunately not in a sex kittenish way, more in a peri menopausal woman way.
I picked up my knitting needles again for the first time in a while as I couldn't resist this Rowan Denim cotton.

And this is what I made - I call it Random stripe.

And finally this is what persuaded the Tram conductress to stop the tram so that he wouldnt lose his mother. He was wearing the right colours. Blue and White.