Saturday 28 May 2011

Wentworth Woodhouse

Apologies, I have used this photo before, but the dancing queen has moved all the photos off the laptop and onto an external hard drive - and I don't know how to use it!! Infact I don't even know where she has put it! Anyhow,
If you have been watching the Dan Cruikshank program on Tuesdays, 9pm BBC - The Country House Revealed, you may have already realised that next Tuesday, he is taking a look around Wentworth Woodhouse - The place at the top of my road that I go on and on and on about!!

This is causing much excitement around these parts as the house is privately owned and currently not open to the public, but plans are a foot to restore it and change part of it into a hotel. Make sure you watch it.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Babycham Cheesecake

As promised, I had a go at making a cheesecake type pudding to serve in the Babycham glasses. I discovered Babycham for sale in Asda at £2.35 for 4 small bottles.

You will need:
1 small bottle of Babycham
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 x 200g Extra Light Philadelphia soft cheese
300ml whipping cream
2 dessertspoons caster sugar
A few plain digestive biscuits - crushed

Whip the cream in a large bowl until it is stiff. Whip in the sugar, lemon juice, zest and cream cheese.

Add the Babycham a drop at a time until you have the consistency you want - we added too much and it went a bit runny.

Pour into glasses and serve on its own, or with crushed biscuits on the bottom or top,
and always with a cherry and umbrella!
It tastes like a cross between cheesecake and syllabub. You can add any kind of flavouring to this cheesecake - rum and lime is very nice!! And you could also sprinkle a crushed flake on top too.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella

The Dancing Queen and I treated ourselves to a night at the ballet. Ive missed my theatre buddy since she has been away. We went to see Matthew Bourne's Cinderella.
Matthew Bourne is a fantastic choreographer - adding quirky twists to his work. The twist in Cinderella is that it is set in the blitz in London 1940, and it works very well.

The costumes, music, stage sets and dancing are all superb. My favourite scene is on the second set where just as you are taking your seats, a bomb drops (making you jump out of your skin!) and the curtain opens to devastation at the Cafe de Paris, with a fire blazing, the ceiling hanging down, and the guests lying dead. However, the fairy godfather de-constructs the set and restores it to what would have been the scene immediately before the bomb.

You know that I love a night out at the theatre. I love the way they still use real musician's, I love the way that special effects can happen before your eyes, I love all the clapping when the performers take their bows at the end. For the time that you are in the theatre, watching the ballet, play or musical, you are immersed in it. Its like stepping into another world, place and time.

This production by isn't quite as quirky as the other Matthew Bourne productions I have seen, but there are some cameo's of quirkiness that make it very different.

We loved it. If you get chance, go see it.

Monday 23 May 2011

I'd love a Babycham

Hubby went over to see his Dad last week. I got a text from him:
"Do you want 12 Babycham glasses - Dad is chucking them out"
I replied:
"Yes yes yes yes yes!!! What else has he got?"

I couldn't even wait to wash them before I photographed them. I was going to keep 4 and ebay the rest (as I have become proficient at selling on ebay !), but I have decided to keep them all to serve puddings in. I have an idea for a Babycham Cheesecake Dessert! Do any of you experts know the difference between the 2 types? You can see here that the 2 at the front are different. Some have the full bambi type deer on - like the one on the left, and others have a smaller version - like the one on the right.

Hardwick Halls

Hubby and I ventured to Hardwick Hall - a few stops down the MI - as they were having a Food Festival. We spent a very tasty couple of hours in the tents trying morsels of everything! It was very crowded though. We didn't take advantage of the 2 for 1 admission fees at the hall as we decided to a walk around the lakes instead (to walk off the calories), but I managed to take a few photographs of the 2 halls that stand at Hardwick.

The "new" hall was built for Bess of Hardwick in the 1590's
It is a lovely building and visible from the motorway - you may have seen it. I like the gardens at Hardwick as they grow lots of herbs.
The older hall still stands and you can wander around this magnificent building too.

You can peep through the windows and see some of the magnificent features that remain.

Sad to report that the little bird didn't make it. I think its mummy couldn't find it as it stopped cheeping. I haven't seen the 2nd little one, so I am hoping that this has survived the night. I hope the others don't try and get out of the box as it's blowing a gale here at the moment.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Spread your tiny wings and fly away

Great excitement this morning as hubby shouted up to me whilst I was having a leisurely bath. And with just a bath towel wrapped around me, I dashed out into the garden with my camera to capture the first glimpse of our tiny babies. They have chosen the windiest day to try to learn to fly and sadly one of them was lying lifeless under the nest box - my lettucey crash pad didn't save him. We have seen 2 in the garden, and there are still lots of cheep cheeps coming from the box.
Mummy was busy trying to feed the 2 that had flown, and she kept darting in and out of the box too.
We went out all day to leave them to it, but when I got back, I found one of them in the pond and it couldn't get out. I fished him out carefully using a large plant pot so I didn't have to touch him. For the last hour or so, he's not moved. I hope he is going to be OK.
Kids are such a worry.

Saturday 21 May 2011

In the footsteps of Florence Nightingale

Today hubby and I decided to do a walk that we hadn't done before - the Lea and Holloway Walk

It was a perfect day for it and it was a great walk. I never realised that Florence Nightingale was from round these parts.
It was just my kind of walk. We took in a canal.....
a river.........
plenty of industrial industry........
These are old mill workers cottages in the village of Lea Mills. We have been to Lea Mills before.
Lea Mills consists mainly of the John Smedley factory (and factory shop where you can buy cashmere jumpers for £30 that retail in Harrods and Saks 5th Avenue for over £290! - I bought a pair of socks.
I took this through a window. Here's something you sadly don't see in England any more - a clothing factory. At one time we had thousands, now we have hardly any. The workers at John Smedley's are very fortunate indeed.
You would think that a factory of any kind would look totally out of place in the Peak District, but I think it enhances this place.

And from above you can hardly see it!
We took in some spectacular views (yes there were a few steep climbs!)
And we commented on how Derbyshire really takes some beating for gorgeousness.
We saw creatures small..... I am always fascinated by an ant superhighway. This leaf was causing them a problem. I could have watched them for ages.
and great......... Yes he was a bull and I don't think he liked us. Thankfully we had a wall between us.
Every field that we walked through was a meadow full of beautiful wild flowers.
They reminded me of family walks when I was a little girl.
We walked through shady glades............

And just when we were really ready for refreshment, a fabulous pub appeared. The Jug and Glass was a fantastic little find. Built by Florence Nightingales family, and once a mill workers cottage, it is now a great little pub.
The snug looked so cosy - I could see myself in here on a winters day.
But the sun was shining, so we ate our Philli Steak Ciabbata's and Cajun fries outside. Yes, mine was a pint as I had worked up a huge thirst, but it did turn my legs to jelly for the last part of the walk!
Our walk took us past Lea Gardens where you could smell the Azalea's as you walked passed.
These gardens are at their best at this time of year.
After our walk, I insisted on calling back at one of my favourite spots - Cromford Mill. We got there just in time for coffee and cake, but sadly too late for the Patchwork Shop!

Hubby and I had a great walk. Now that the young man has a girlfriend, he prefers her company!!! But it does mean that we can walk and talk and have proper conversations again. I am so thankful that we have got to this stage of our lives and still love each others company.

Friday 20 May 2011

Mystery solved

Ive had 2 cinema freebies this week. On Tuesday, I took the kids and the young mans girlfriend to see "Win Win" (free tickets courtesy of showfilmfirst). I hadn't read what this film was about, and it took me a while to suss it out, but I have to say I really like it. The story is basically about an American lawyer who's business is in trouble. He makes a decision - which he knows is wrong - and the film is all about the impact that this decision has on his family. It is very touching in parts, and very funny in parts. It features no really huge "stars" and it is better for it. It is very well written and each actor and actress plays their part superbly. It does have a feel good factor. We all loved it.

My 2nd cinema freebie was tonight.
Ages ago, I signed up to the newsletter for "Off the Shelf" - the literary festival that we have in Sheffield. If you remember, I won the tickets to see "Germaine sodding Greer" from this newsletter. Well, I must have entered another competition because they emailed me at the beginning of the week to say that I could choose any film from the children's film festival "Showcomotion" at the lovely Showroom Cinema. The kids didn't want to go, so hubby and I went along.
As well as the free tickets, they also had a bit of a party going on, so we got free cake too!!!! Fab Freebie!!!
The film we chose to see, was "Red Dog". A true story written by Louis de Bernieres (he of Captain Corelli fame). We were also introduced to the young producer of the film who had flown all the way from Australia to be at the festival. The film was absolutely brilliant and although we were possibly the only ones in the whole cinema without kids, we enjoyed the whole atmosphere too. If you get chance to go see it, do.
We had chosen to park the car and travel into town on the tram. I was thrilled that whilst we were waiting for the tram home Jack Sparrow turned up again! This time I was braver and asked if I could take his photo. It turns out that he is busking outside cinema's that are showing the new "Pirates of the Carribean " Film.
He really has the mannerisms of Jack Sparrow and he entertained everybody that he met. He got his guitar out for me while we were waiting for the tram.
And the very kind tram conductor let him continue to entertain us on the tram.
Mystery solved.

A Heartshaped House

This is where I should live!

I seem to have added myself to my own "Followers "(!!!!!??????) and I have no idea how to delete it? Any ideas?
**Edited to say thank you Michela !***