A bit of everything

Wow! I love it at this time of year when our little local shop ‘busy bees’ , (the kind of shop you can go in and ask for absolutely anything) sells beautiful primulas. The colours and varieties are so vivid and bring a wonderful flash of colour to a garden that hasn’t quite burst into life yet.

They are all potted up now and cheering the gateway into little bs garden. Everywhere looks so bare at the moment. But…

There’s life brewing and I watch with eager eyes each day what is happening in gardenville.

I have a huge hawthorn bush that shelters us all year round and showers my flower bed with a blanket of nutrient filled, frost protecting little brown quilty leaves from November time. I’m very grateful for that but come February, I can sense movement beneath it and I want to see what’s happening so out comes the rake.

And reveals life, promise and hidden beauty.

The trees are budding, the birds are singing and so is my heart! How wonderful to be outside in the cold, crisp but sunny days… feeling the minuscule temperature difference. I even took my woolly hat off the other day! It’s permanently attached to my head until March !

Speaking of heads… I’ve been experimenting on little b

This is called a ‘pull through braid’. Good old Pinterest showed me what to do. I’ve just ordered some dark elastics to disguise them a little better. Look at that hair! Thick, curly and gorgeous.

Her hair is wet here but we tried a braided crown. I quite like it!

Now little b has a bag of marbles like most kids do. Bs are slightly different though in that 80 % of them were dug up in the garden!

Over the past nearly 8 years I keep finding them spread out all over the garden which was turfed. I’ve removed the turf to make a border and they are in there! It’s a mystery as to why.

I found another one today! Excuse the muddy hands, the subterranean marble was a little mucky upon its excavation.

I read recently that if you find a stone with a white stripe over it, it’s good luck. B picked this one up near Gunwalloe in Cornwall. I spotted it outside today and brought it inside to clean it up and charge it up. It’s a beauty! I’ve put it with my crystals.

I’ve had my crystal collection tucked away in my wardrobe for far too long. I bought a lovely dish to display them in and have given them a nice little spot to live in in the lounge now.

I’m hoping to do a crystal course soon with the lovely reiki master that did my last attunement. I really love crystals and thought my little friend would enjoy rummaging through them and learning about their names.

I’ve put this little piece of carnelian to work already. I’ve had some Japanese cherry blossom seeds in my fridge for a good six months. It’s time to take them out and wake them up! I really hope they sprout. I’m hoping this little carnelian will help them on their way.

Whilst we are on the topic of the metaphysical, I bought these oracle cards in the summer. I really like them. The pictures are beautifully illustrated and little b loves to look at all the kind people in them. She particularly likes the archangel Michael card.

I picked beautiful Mary Magdalene today. So as it reads… I thought I should share!

Well, what a varied post… we’ve covered a lot there.

Have a great week ahead ❤️

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Empty fridge day concoctions

You know that day of the week when you are due for your shopping and you’re faced with an empty fridge but with the odd exception of a few random ingredients?

That was yesterday and the hunger drums really were doing the bossa nova.

It was like an episode of ready steady cook! Remember that? For those who’ve never seen it, two celebrity chefs would have 20 minutes to concoct something delicious out of strange and random ingredients.

So… we had some broccoli and a cauliflower and some eggs and sweet corn. It turned out really tasty actually. I went for a Persian inspired wrap. A while ago, I made Persian Nargessi , narcissus Persian spinach and eggs and it was absolutely scrumptious.

I’m gluten free so I had a few of these wraps which I’ve found to be ok ish in the gluten free range

Excuse the worlds oldest roasting tin! Chopped up cauliflower and broccoli stems. However, if I were to do this again I would make the stems shorter as they were a bit long to bite through. I’d also make the cauliflower smaller and cook that separately for 10 mins on its own as it was ready way after the broccoli.

Now… the Persian inspiration..

Squeeze half a lemon and cover in turmeric and salt. I omitted the saffron and orange but you could add that if you like and roast in the oven until the broccoli goes glossy and very green.

Smother your wrap in some chipotle if you have any and I added a boiled egg and some sweet corn.

Tink was on hand begging for the chopped broccoli stalk ends as usual. You know I swear this digs secret to living so long is her love of raw vegetables! She’s a Staffordshire bull terrier and is nearly 16 now. That’s a ripe old age for a staffy .

My little old lady has to wear pants now and is totally deaf and almost blind but she’s still available for cuddles.

Mmmm… I enjoyed this bit… sitting in front of the fire enjoying my empty fridge concoction which was a great success! Yum.

A pagan Valentine’s

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I really like the fact that today offers us a moment in our busy lives to take a moment to show our families that we love each other. A moment to take stock that love really does make the world go round and that everything we choose to do can always be traced back to our intentions to either show or receive love.

For the past couple of years I have bought little B a single rose on Valentine’s Day. We then dry it and then when she is a wonderful adult with the world at her feet, she will have a bunch of dried roses to remind her of her families love for her.

February is a wonderful time in the pagan calendar. A half way point between the darkest winter solstice and the spring equinox. A time of optimism known as imbolc.

Imbolc is February the 1st-2nd and marks the beginnings of spring and the start of the lambing season.

As we see the sprouting bulbs peeping up from their sleepy beds it makes perfect sense that imbolc ( originally imbolg ) means ” in the belly” conjuring images of nurturing, growth and expectation of new beginnings.

You know a while ago I wrote a post about my love of snowdrops and their significance to me. You can see it Here. This time of year has always been a wonderful time to observe and imbolc is a beautiful way to celebrate it so maybe next year, light a candle, think of the beauty that lies ahead in the year to come and take a moment to nurture those around you, yourself and your plans. Let go of past problems and make way for new beginnings.

I found this beautiful imbolc intention and wanted to share it with you.

So whilst I’m not a fan of the modern, commercialised Valentine’s or indeed the Roman roots of Lupercalia , I prefer to use Valentine’s Day to bring to my families attention the loving and nurturing ethos of imbolc, the promise of new life and how we can make way for new opportunities with the certainty that the universe will provide for us.

❤️

Time machine

Wow! This must be what it feels like to step out of a time machine because time really has whizzed by. Life overtook us here on windy hill for all sorts of reasons. I can’t even begin to fill the gaps so I’m just going to pick things up again from here like I’ve never been away, only you will notice that my little friend is much taller! Almost 7 years old now and a real sunbeam that I’m so proud of.

Here she is in Finland with some husky puppies a couple of weeks ago. Crumbs! That was such a cold day… I’ll do a post all about our trip away next time. It really was a magical and pure country.

But today just happens to be…

Pancake day!!!!!! Yaaaaaay!

It’s a great day in Britain that we celebrate the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of lent. Now… love it or hate it… I don’t do anything for Lent. I’m not into it at all, but I still love the pancake day tradition. I think I did a post on pancake day a few years ago. You can have a look if you like… Pancake days gone by!

I’ve just re read it and it is lovely to see spring exploding into life in that post, a similar time of year all but two days. It’s not so spring like this year. It’s been a very cold winter this year and our plants are only just beginning to yawn and stretch out their arms whilst contemplating growing!

Anyhow, back to pancakes!

Two varieties this year…. normal and vegan.

Here’s my little friend overseeing our proceedings.

Having been veggie for almost all my life bar 11 years, two years ago I decided I couldn’t knowingly buy into the dairy industry anymore and with a very, very fond farewell to cheese… that was it. Farewell fromage, cheerio cheddar, bye bye Brie!

Not so tricky really. Not at all when I thought about those poor mummy cows being forced into pregnancy and their babies being taken from them so they can be enslaved to the daily ritual of pumping milk all so we can enjoy a decent cuppa!

And so my relationship with plant milk began. I’ve tried them all and even went through a very purist spell of making my own almond and oat milk. Now I buy it because it’s easier and also I want to support the evolving market of it to help make it easier for other vegan think-about-ers to locate and buy.

I’ve settled with oat milk and really like it. And so… my pancakes had oat milk in and you’d never even know!

Mmmm the egg dilemma!

As you know, I have chickens ! ( we hatched some chicks whilst I was away from here… maybe I’ll do a post on that another day)

But apart from my little chickadees, all but one of my ladies has been taken in to offer them a happy home rather than a grave. I consider their eggs a beautiful gift ( when they can be bothered to lay them! They are getting on a bit now and prefer to just relax!)

I don’t consider myself to be encouraging the egg market. They have organic feed with no hormones to promote plentiful laying, they free range in a huge space and so I see their eggs as an exchange of energy. I’m happy to eat them and I thank them when they lay for me.

Eating out… well, that’s different.

Only free range eggs are acceptable and the whole process of battery chickens should be a prehistoric farming method as it’s so BAD but unfortunately, it happens.

The thing is that few people realise the free range chicken egg industry is guilty of heinous behaviour also.

As my chickens are getting on a bit, they lay when they feel like it.

Unfortunately, that just doesn’t cut the mustard in a numbers game farming industry model. Once those free range chickens stop producing an egg a day then it’s time to say goodbye as Andrea Bocelli once beautifully told us.

What to do? What’s the alternative!? I’m afraid I am guilty of being an idealist in all areas of my life. Those pesky realists always come along and pop my bubble but I really hope and dream for a day of utopia where all humans and creatures great and small co exist with love and compassion for each other. I firmly believe that we are evolving and one day, it will happen.

I can hear my dad right now and his words involving my head being up my ….. (insert expletive here! 😂)

But if it wasn’t for dreamers we wouldn’t be able to fly.

Anyway!! Crikey! I’m not one for being preachy but I did get a bit there didn’t I! My opinions have become stronger each year I’m afraid!

Back to pancakes!

We have a lovely chef lady in Britain, the same vintage as my mum called Delia Smith and I used her recipe this year. You can find it Here.

Very tasty indeed.

I don’t know why the writing is suddenly underlined but I’m going to keep going after a head scratching moment has failed to get rid of it 🙈

Oh… the world has invented emojis since I’ve been gone. Love a bit of emojiing!

I love the whole ritualise of pancake making. We do one, eat it, make another and repeat umpteen times. I love the oranges and lemons being cut and the tossing in the pan. We dressed the table and little one and I enjoyed the whole event. M will get his when he gets home later.

It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow…

Can you tell?

More hanging items for M to roll his eyes at . I’m sure he loves it really.

I moved my dresser and it looks much better there. It’s full of weird and wonderful items…

I still have my windmills! My mum bought those when little b was a titch. They sit proudly on top.

My love/hate relationship with the beautiful but chicken taking fox continues, although… I haven’t seen her for a while. Various bits of driftwood that M always collects on his beachy travels.

My beautiful lady…

Some chalice well water from Glastonbury and Californian sage that my reiki master gave me so generously alongside a fab creation of little fingers. I didn’t half laugh as she enthusiastically created this whilst the other little ones were completing their unicorns.

A beautiful picture of little bs great grandma who passed away in 2016. What a glamorous and twinkly lady she was.

And my present from my sister that I love. A deep and lovely oil burner I am yet to christen.

Crikey, I really have gone on for a while. I’d better save some space for another day!

It’s good to be back ❤️

Letting go

My little friend starts pre-school in her nursery department of the school in September. Well… Talk about mixed feelings. Yes, the time to myself ( 3 hours at a time) will be nice but I am quite reluctant to cut the strings and send her into the care of someone else.
How can time have gone by so quickly? Sometimes time labours so slowly but in this instance, time has stolen these precious years too soon.

Yes, I know I must, I know it is best for her and that she will enjoy her journey through education… I don’t think it is that I am going to miss her tremendously (although, of course I will) but I think it’s giving control to someone else that irks me. Every input into that beautiful child has come from her family so far, and now it is time to let her be influenced by others, big and very small.

I’m sure I will get used to it, and it is only afternoons to start with but it’s taking a little getting used to!

Xxxxx

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Aaaaaaaa, summertime xxx

Aaaaaaa, what a lovely time of year, everything around us is bursting with lusiousness and colour.

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Gorgeous roses,

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Oodles of strawberries this year

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Not that they last very long or that anyone other than little bebop gets to eat them!

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The most amazing wayside flowers and fields of poppies…

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And plenty…..

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Of frolicking…..

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In long……

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Grass!

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Evening dog walking….

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And plenty of mini beast adventures.

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This was our fairy walk in our local woodland…. Isn’t that the most perfect fairy tree! Soft grass, a tree with a hollow and complete with toadstool at the bottom.

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Lovely walks to the pub down the lane…. Goodness me, little b loves the pub!

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Vibrant geraniums, I love these so much. My geraniums here are from last year! They look so nice with the blue forget me nots don’t they.

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I love forget me nots, these are from earlier in the summer. I’ve just spent a loooooong time gathering all their seeds and sprinkling them in my borders for next year.

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Al fresco moments….

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Park visits…

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I’ve scattered wild flower mixes this year and have been really pleased with them…

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I love some of the colours of the giant poppies that have cheerfully sprung up….

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And I’ve enjoyed these joyous clumps of feverfew this year, I’m trying to spread these around to create a border for next year although it really does smell rather potent.

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Little b is enjoying looking into our local folklore at the moment. She pretends to be maid Marion and so we had a lovely outing with aunty k to our city and visited Nottingham castle.

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She’s taken ownership of her first ever bike! Although the frustrating task of how to steer etc has been assigned to M as I have failed miserably!

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And our ten year old, worlds crankiest BBQ with weeds growing out of it’s nooks and crannies had finally been replaced!

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Although, M’s patience in lighting it was rather minimum! Still, it is a good firework show!

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We’ve had a rare treat of a whole weekend of daddy time this week, it’s so lovely as M works soooooo hard.

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I absolutely love to sit back and observe their moments of tenderness together…

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And enjoy a little rest whilst b is wrapped up in her daddy’s attention.

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Our wonderful little beauty!

Ooooooooh summer time, how I love you! And you have only just begun xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Planty times

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It’s been a very planty kind of couple of weeks. I’ve bought some rooting powder this year and have been experimenting with cuttings. Initially, for hedging and filling big empty corners, but now it’s all got a bit experimental!

The picture above are honey suckle cuttings…. I have the most gorgeous but Ill- placed, mature bush of it which I’m hoping is going to be the mothership to dozens and dozens of babies! Apparently they are very easy to get to root, so watch this space. I’ve dotted them everywhere and hope for a garden so full of fragrance in the summers to come, that I will be able to smell it from the next village!

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Then I researched clematis and it seems that rooting it can be achieved relatively easily too. I’ve a couple of varieties so I gathered some lovely young shoots and….

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Trimmed them down. Starting at the bottom, snipping about an inch under each section of leaves….

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And snipping directly above the leaves. You then remove one leaf and that’s it!

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I kept all my cuttings thirst free whilst re-homing them and then dipped them in a little rooting powder….

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And here they are, all snuggled up in their temporary home whilst they hopefully sprout some roots.
Now, a revelation I found a little too late for my initial crop of withered pyracantha cuttings was this…. Cuttings have no roots, so if you simply water the soil, they can’t suck it up! You need to mist them… I just use a spray bottle on the finest setting and you need to do it often. Apparently, this way they can absorb some water through their remaining leafage. They look much better for a spot of misting, I have to say.

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I’ve cut my first bumper crop of rhubarb for the season and it’s ear-marked to go with last years to be turned into wine. Yes! It is freezable and here is how to do it…

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Chop it and freeze it! Simple!

Because I want mine in a big amount, I just bag it all together but you could lay it out on a chopping board as above and freeze the pieces separately then bag it up after if you need to take out
just a small amount. I need to get on with the brewing process though as it’s taking over my freezer!

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Other things then…. Here is my little friend in her new life jacket at her grandparents house. They have bought a lovely lock keepers cottage, so it’s pretty essential!

It’s a big renovation project but is already looking wonderful. Grandma and pop pop were heading out on their narrow boat for a couple of nights , so….

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Off she went with pop pop to navigate the journey across the marina to the lock where we lifted her back out!

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Here she is with grandma at the end of her very long voyage looking rather proud. The boat is called Annie-King, named after pop pops great Aunt. It’s a lovely name isn’t it.

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And here, back at her daddy’s yard, the pair of them were equally intrigued and excited about various grubs they were finding in tree trunks!

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Especially this little mini-beast millipede.

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In the meantime, we are pottering around at home as usual, and enjoying the simple things.

Well, love to all xxxxxx goodnight xxxxx

Happy Easter

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Happy Easter!

As you know, I really do enjoy Easter. This time of the year and the turn in the weather is both heart warming and toe warming.

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The flowers in the garden are bright and cheerful and the butterflies and bees are starting to flutter around. I even saw a swallow this weekend, now that seems very early this year.

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And the birds are a delight to listen to. Not this one in particular, I just wanted to share this shot. We were throwing bread to them and they were catching it mid flight. Their acrobatics were very much appreciated.

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My little friend is three now!! I can’t believe it. And we are coming out of the other side if all the tantrums. Phew… Life is a little easier!

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I decided to make a pompom garland for her birthday decoration this year….

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The thing is…. A month later and it’s still up! I love it you see and I’ve been trying to brighten the place up a little.

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I’ve painted the walls white and decided to put as many colours about as possible…

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There is a store near me with the most amazing cotton fabrics for £5 a metre and so I bought half a meter of each and got cracking on some cushion covers. I love these fabrics…. Take a look…

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I love this one, love the little girl on the swing…

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And the vintage styles of the others.

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I’ve dyed my crochet cover a shade if pink, and the amazing thing is that m hasn’t even complained about the abundance of pink!

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The brightest part of all is my little b though… Decidedly in a Disney princess obsession at the moment!

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Or ballerinas…

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Mermaids….

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Dorothy and everything else. I no longer try to persuade her to take the dressing up clothes off now when we go shopping/dog walking/ or to playgroup. She has the rest of her life to wear everyday clothes.

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She’s equally happy in her dads loader though getting mucky, or…

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Rolling around in straw…

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The ground, or…

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More ground….

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And more ground!!! There’s a lot of ground rolling goes on!

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So Easter arrived with absolutely glorious weather. It’s been a beautiful week. We went to watch the bikers on their Easter egg ride for the children’s hospital…

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And waved them on with a flag.

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And set about some Easter crafts.

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Toilet roll bunnies, one made by each of us in our small but wonderful family.

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Thumb print cards…

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And egg painting. These ones were blown and I wanted to show you what to do as it’s easy peasy.

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Pop your egg in an egg cup with the narrow end up. You need a thimble and a needle. Pop the needle through … I did all this bit … And then turn it over and do the other end.

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Now, get a needle and poke it up and down vigorously. You are trying to pop the yoke so that it comes out easier. Here is little b doing this bit.

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Then blooooooooow!!!

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Now you don’t want egg goo leaking out afterwards, so pop them in your microwave for thirty seconds, or in your oven for ten minutes.

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We used nail varnish and glitter. Little b was fab and with a tiny bit of nail varnish remover on her hands at the end, we were surprisingly mess free.

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And with all those eggs…

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We enjoyed a hearty lunch!

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We hard boiled some eggs and dyed them…

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And my fingers!

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And whilst the food colouring was out, M decided to join in and make a polka dot banana… Of course Mrs mop enjoyed it!

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We did the usual chocolate, cornflake cakes. I love this picture. Little b looks like she is about to dive in and devour the lot!

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And we planted jelly beans…

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Yep, I did mean jelly beans. You see the magic of an Easter moon will help them grow into……

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Lollipops!!!!

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And here is my little beauty gathering them in with the basket I made her when she was 1. She was absolutely amazed, it really was magical for her.

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I made her a bonnet this year for her egg hunt. I just bought a blank hat from the pound shop and some ribbons and artificial flowers. I’m going to add decorations each year until it is crammed full of yummy Easter treasures.

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And here she is with her dad hunting for the lovely, shiny little eggs that the bunny dropped for her absolutely everywhere!!!

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What a lovely day.

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What a wonderful time of year.

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Happy Easter xxxxxxxx

Seeing spots

Good evening, lovely world.

Crumbs! Life has got busy. For two years I have lived peacefully in a bubble I suppose. Nurtured by our windy house and my lovely family, not having to contemplate anything really, other than loving and teaching my wonderful little friend and providing a welcoming and loving home for us all.
But poor m was wilting like a flower with no water before my eyes. Something had to be done and he needed to set out in the world on his own and so, I have been thrown from a great hight into the unfamiliar world of business.
It’s a long time since I’ve held a crochet hook…. But that’s ok…. The winter nights will provide time to do that.  Instead, I have had to learn about accounts…. Yuck…. Tax…. Double yuck…. Marketing…. Personal assistant duties…. Mmm…. Testing at times and wait for it…. Waste disposal. Yes…. I seem to be doing a tour of our counties tips!  All this for a humble music teacher!
I’ve had to empty a bedroom to make an office. No longer can my utility room manage the comings and goings of a muddy man, Hairy dog, curious 2 year old, all the washing and all the folders.
The problem is, folders…. Urgh! Aren’t they ugly!

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It just won’t do!

So, I had an idea…. I had some fabric tucked away… My absolute favourite… Polkadots.

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And some spray mount. The fabric is polycotton and I decided I’d give it a go.

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And it worked! Now isn’t that better!

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But there’s more…. A little surprise in the fabric stash…

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The hungry caterpillar’s dinner!!!!

So, I have a lot more to do, but I feel better already! The accounts don’t have to be so dull after all!

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Yorkshire puds

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So,  this is approximately a fifth of our wood pile!
Autumn is around the corner and the weather has changed suddenly. You know on Mary poppins when the wind changes and everything else does with it? …. It feels a little like that.

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The phone has started ringing as our country starts to feel slightly chilly…. People want to snuggle up by their fires and wrap up in blankets.

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Lorry after lorry has come and brought us a small mountain to work through…

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Little b has enjoyed her visits to the wood mountain, but poor m is working all the hours god sends.

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In the meantime, I’m keeping him well fed! 

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Roasted beets in honey and balsamic, courtesy of my sisters allotment…

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Yummy roast potatoes, again dug up by my brother-in-law….

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And Yorkshire puddings.

I’m going to share my Yorkshire pudding recipe with you as I seem to be pretty good at them! Good job really as M is a Yorkshireman!

Here we are then.

Now, I’m lucky enough to have both a fan oven and a convection oven.  I always use the convection oven for my Yorkshire puds.

I tend to make my batter in advance and put it in the fridge until later also.

The mixture…. Feeds four…

Break two eggs into a bowl and whisk thoroughly.

Add a good splash of cold water and whisk again.

Add salt and pepper.

Add 3 tablespoons of plain flour or multi purpose flour in the U.S.A
Not level spoons but not heaped up either, somewhere in the middle.

Whisk, whisk, whisk until the lumps are gone.

Add enough milk to make the mixture the same consistency as pancake mix. I use whole milk as I buy it for little b but I don’t suppose it matters.

Add a splash of cooking oil and whisk again!

When you’re ready to cook them, make sure your oven is the hottest it will go and pop your oiled Yorkshire tins in on the top shelf, but make sure the shelf isn’t too high or they will burn when they rise.

When your oil is smoking, remove your tin and pour your mixture into each hole.

Pop back in the oven and just leave them and have faith!!!!

Do not open the door!

You will see the puddings rise and will be able to monitor their colour.  Remove from the oven before they get too dark and enjoy!
Cover in gravy… Of course!

Xxx Eve xxx