Category Archives: Uncategorized

Letting go

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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

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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

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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

Summer sun and summer fun

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The blackberries are here! 

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And my little friend LOVES them!

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M waded in to all the hard to reach places, whilst beebop sat like a hungry fledgling with her beak open constantly, demanding more!

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In between tummy-fulls, she runs around, enjoying her freedom in the great outdoors.

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Until she wore herself out and poor m had to carry her like a sack of coal up a very steep hill.

Needless to say, a yummy crumble was made and we all enjoyed it with icecream.

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I can not describe to you how beautiful this summer has been and continues to be. It means a great deal to us here in the UK, long spells of good weather are a rarity!

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Mellow sunshiney evenings mean we can sit out and play at our local beer garden….

And we took an exciting bus trip for being such a good girl!  Buses are a novelty and a special treat for my little friend here, admiring all the other passengers.

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Our local town made a seaside scene in its market place…
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And seeing as we are snowed under with M’s new businesses, it may be to only sand we step on this summer.

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We had a lovely morning….

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And were back in time for lunch.

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Our grass got cut finally! I no longer have to wade through it….

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And M Was really enjoying mower cuddles as he manoeuvred around one-handed.

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There’s been pony rides….
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Merry-go-rounds….
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Village fairs, although little b didn’t sit too long here, and her butterfly ended up being….
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A little abstract!
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Village scarecrow festivals….

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Chicken cuddles!

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Tiny froglets….
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And beautiful peacocks.
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Not to mention sea king helicopters!
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What a wonderful time we’ve had. Xxxxxx

Tomatoes for breakfast

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Good morning world…. And it’s another splendid one. We have been blessed this year in the UK. It seems as though we are having an endless summer.  The high pressure that kept us frosted until April has shone in our favour and we’ve had the best summer since 2006.

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The evenings project the most beautiful colours into the sky and reassure us that the following day will be just as beautiful.  Whilst it is not as hot, the sun smiles gently and calmly on us now and it’s wonderful.

I just wanted to share with you my recent culinary obsession. It’s so yummy and keeps my tummy rumble free until lunch.

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Roasted Italian tomatoes and mushrooms on toast.

It’s really quick to do and is delicious.

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Slice your tomatoes thinly and lay out on a baking tray. I slice mushrooms too, but mushroom haters can omit this part.

Cover liberally with olive oil, sea salt and mixed herbs.

Pop in the oven on high for about 5-10 minutes and toast some seeded bread lightly whilst it’s cooking.  I cover our bread in real butter, not spread…. Little square, foil wrapped packs of butter.

And enjoy!

Even little b seems to like this yummy treat.

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Here’s a picture of a beautiful peacock on my Echinacea to finish.  This year, the plant is twice the size of last year and is heaving with pollinators every time I look at it.

Beautiful. 

Have a yummy and wonderful day, wherever you are xxxxxxxxx

Goodnight caterpillars

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We’ve had caterpillars everywhere this year. Absolutely, everywhere!  Little b has enjoyed them squirming around on her, and the chickens have had a constant supply of protein treats to help themselves to!

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I believe that these will be next years tortoiseshell butterflies.  And I’ve been absolutely inundated with them munching their way through my nasturtiums. 

Today though was different……

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They have found strange places to relocate and have entered a comatosed state….  And I have watched the most fascinating process before my very own eyes.

Look at this….

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Can you see all that fury yellow stuff?  I thought this one was just resting on some fluff….

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Not so! It is actually coming out of his or hers tiny body….

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And this one, hanging on upside down to a candle lantern I have in the garden….

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More yellow fluffy stuff! It’s mesmerizing. 

This one had made its early, soft, green cacoon today!

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I could see it inside of it as it is still quite transparent.

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And this one…. Well, quite conveniently, she has settled down to her Zen state right at b’s level by the back door on the wall so that we can watch her metamorphosis daily.

So, September the first will always be caterpillar day from now on!  Goodnight little caterpillars…. Sleep tight xxxxxxxxxxxx

Birthday bugs

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There’s a birthday in our house this week…. And a bug…. Bleurgh!

Oh, I had so many nice plans to make m’s birthday special this year… He’s had such an important year and I really wanted to celebrate his new ventures and bravery but a bug struck me down …. You beastly bug!!!!!!!
Poor m’s birthday was barely mentioned yesterday, but we made up for it today instead. This year, his birthday is a day later.
Little b and I snipped some flowers from the garden for his birthday bouquet and we managed a much better selection than last year. 

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Enough for two little posie vases. Little b still does the two handed snip with the scissors, bless her….

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And we made him a lemon drizzle cake with jelly tots on top at little bs request…. Her memory is good…. She remembered I had one for my birthday.  This was second choice though, she did want an icelolly cake, I really wasn’t sure how to go about one of those!

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We put the birthday bunting up for him….

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Added some balloons and started to get the garden ready as we are having a little garden party at the weekend.

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Any excuse to make more hanging danglies!

I sewed these little butterflies together on the machine this afternoon and let them settle in the garden to flutter away.

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And pinned up 40 feet of bunting too! Aaaaaaaaaa, you just can’t beat a bit of bunting!

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My little friend played in my kitchen sink for nearly an hour whilst I cleaned up and got tea ready….

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Look at those little tippy toes! Sweet and gorgeous little girl. Xx

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My new door mat says it all…. I’m so grateful for my home, everyone that’s in it and how sweet our lives are….. Despite bugs!!! Bleurgh!!!

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Health and happiness to you all xxxxxxxxxx