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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Sunny Afternoon, Good Books and some Good Food.

Hasn't the weather taken a wonderful change for the better. After those biting north easterly winds and buckets full of rain, we now have calm beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine. We've been very busy the last few days so it was good to escape into the garden for a few hours of sunshine this afternoon. I had a good book to finish reading and took some crochet out with me too.

I love reading and like many different genres of book, but I think my favourite has to be a good crime or thriller novel. I really enjoy reading Linwood Barclay, I like the twists and turns and that many of his books are set in Promise Falls with characters overlapping in different stories. I've just finished a trilogy, Far From True, Broken Promise and The Twenty-Three. I'm glad I didn't start them until they were all out in paperback as it meant I could go straight from reading one to the next.

The first one set the scene, introduced the characters and raised questions. The second book wasn't as exciting as the first, but helped bring many of the different strands together.

The third book was a page turner, I felt invested in the outcome and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing throughout the book.

All three books have been popped in a bag with some other bits and pieces ready to take to one of the local charity shops, I hope someone else gets as much enjoyment from reading them as I have.

While I was in the garden I picked a couple of radishes to have with some side salad for our tea this evening. The vegetables planted in our vegtrugs are growing at quite a rate this year.

To go with the salad I made some chicken and pasta, it was too hot to spend too much time over the cooker today. Just stripped some chicken off some chicken thighs from the fridge.

Covered them with some passata and thickly chopped tomatoes

I tore up some mozzarella and stirred it through with some cottage cheese (I'd started stirring before I realised I hadn't taken a picture).

Sprinkled some cheese over the top and popped into the oven and left it to do it's thing for about 30 minutes (make sure the chicken is properly cooked through).

So simple, but extremely tasty with some pasta and salad on the side.

Take care

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Teddy Bear Car Seat Cosy

What a miserable day it's been, raining constantly all day. Yesterday was wet too, but at least we had a let up now and then. I suppose it's good for the plants though and perfect weather for staying in catching up with jobs and of course crafting.

This is the  teddy bear car seat cosy I've made for my much anticipated grandson.

I found the pattern on ravelry, one of M J off the hooks designs. I hadn't realised it was crocheted in super chunky so had to treat myself to some new yarn as I didn't have any in my yarn stash.

I used Bernat baby blanket super chunky yarn in sandy and it made up quite quickly with a size 10 hook in an evening. Really soft to the touch so should be nice and snug, just need a baby to pop in it now, only 2 1/2 months to go.

Take care

Friday, 12 May 2017

Garden Life

I've been spending a lot of time in the garden the last couple of weeks. It's been blissful out there with the birds singing and the pond trickling away. Today has been lovely and sunny, but even on chilly days with the rather horrible north easterly wind we've had battering us over the last couple of weeks, I've still been out there with a blanket round me, reading my book and hugging a hot cup of tea.

As it's been nicer weather today I took the opportunity to take some photos... I'm also hoping you may be able to identify a rather lovely flower for me.

These are so pretty, a lovely delicate pink colour

We've replaced our lavender this year as the old bushes were getting a bit woody.

There are sunflowers against the fence, I'm hoping they'll grow nice and tall.

We bought 2 roses, a climber and a rambler, one pink one peach and both scented.

Lots of Alliums were planted in the autumn, I absolutely adore them

I don't know what this beautiful little flower is. it's growing quite tall and I love it's small compact blooms, I'd love to know what it's called?

Lots of carrots...


 Brussel sprouts...

Cauliflowers, radishes, shallots and lettuces...

Some more lavender

Nearly time for tea

3 little dogs, exhausted from lying in the sun all afternoon

The forecast isn't sounding to good for the weekend so I don't think I'll be venturing out as much except to feed fish and water plants.

Hope it's warm where you are

Take care

Monday, 8 May 2017

My favourite Banana Bread

We had some bananas past their best so I thought I'd make some banana bread and this is my favourite recipe, not just because it's so simple, but it's the most delicious banana bread I've tasted.

Simply use, self raising flour, brown sugar, sultanas, a couple of eggs and of course bananas.

I had 4 quite large bananas, chopped them into a bowl and squished them. It's so much easier to mash them when they're past their best and going soft.

To my mashed bananas I added 4oz of sultanas

5oz of soft brown sugar

and 2 beaten eggs.

This was mixed into a nice gloopy banana smelling mixture

to which I added about 8oz of self raising flour.

It couldn't really be any easier so an ideal recipe for children to help with or make. The mixture fits into a greased 2lb loaf tin, I like to use liners too.

I cover it loosely with some foil as it's in the oven for a while I don't want it to go too dark on top. Pop it in the middle of the oven at Gas mark 4, I think that's about 180 in an electric oven (may be worth checking) for just over an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

Onto a cooling rack, then sliced, butter is optional, a cup of tea a must! It tastes even better the next day as the flavour develops

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Take care

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A Catch Up and a Pond

What a week we've had, plenty going on, even during the night. It was 1 in the morning and Imogen knocked on our bedroom door to tell us through a clenched and wonky mouth that she was in quite a lot of pain. I suspected she'd dislocated her jaw when she'd yawned. Off to A & E, hoping it would be relatively quiet as it was a Tuesday night... it wasn't. Andrew went with Imogen and they didn't return until 5am, both exhausted. Imogen had dislocated her jaw when she'd yawned and it hadn't popped back quite into the right place. She now knows how to massage it back if it happens again. It was unpleasant, but not as awful as when her knees dislocate.

April's a busy (and expensive) month for us, both my children were born in April. We celebrated Imogen's 15th birthday last week. She had a wonderful day and felt thoroughly spoilt, just as she should. We had a little family party in the evening, which is what she'd asked for, and then all settled down to watch Mama Mia... and have a good old sing song too!

Imogen isn't a big fan of cake, but does like a chocolate fudge one warmed up and served with some ice cream. I just don't know where the last 15 years have gone, but isn't that just how we all feel, time passes fars too quickly! My son and his girlfriend took Imogen to Meadowhall on Saturday for her birthday present... she shopped till they dropped! It's one of her favourite things about her birthday, getting to spend the day with her big brother.

Things have been busy at home too. I'd been thinking about a pond in the garden for a while, but wasn't really sure if we'd fit one in our small space. Andy planned it all out, did his research and started digging. I wasn't quick enough to get a picture before he put the fleece in, but you can roughly see the size of the pond here.

Onto of the fleece went the pond liner. It was easier to do it this way as he could make it the shape needed for the garden, it also made it a lot cheaper. I think the hardest part has been getting rid of all the mud and stones that were dug up, it meant a few trips to the tip to get it recycled.

Andrew's worked really hard on it and there are still a few small jobs to finish off (a bit more gravelling is one), but it has been very worth it. I absolutely love our little pond with it's plants and yesterday we were able to add some fish too (we had to wait until the water had been in for a fortnight before we could get the fish). I can't tell you how relaxing it is to just sit and watch the fish swimming about with the small trickle of the water to listen to.

We've had toads in the greenhouse most years,so I'm hoping that next year we may even have some toad spawn and other wildlife.

We also need to cover the pond with a grill... here's a photo of Mitzi going for a drink. I took it in the evening, it's not a very good picture.

I'm pleased to report that our other cat, Sassy, is not remotely interested and would rather stay inside sleeping and stretching...

After all the hard work, Andrew was rewarded with a nice hot roast dinner, all trimmings included.

Here's a quick photo of my hexies, I have my box in the conservatory and make up a hexie or 3 when I go in there, definitely going to be a long term project.

Take care