Thursday, 28 April 2011

Easter hols catch up

We certainly had a fantastic time over the Easter holidays and were so lucky with the weather - just the one thunderstorm, which was quite spectacular (although we were just on the edge of it) and the garden definitely benefited from the rain that came with it. As mentioned in a previous post, we had a day trip into London which involved buying fabric, a relaxing lunch, a cab ride (always a winner with my youngest) and a quick peek at Buckingham Palace. Our main reason for going was to visit the Doctor Who Experience in Olympia. We only told the kids that we were going over lunch and they were so excited. I remembered to bring my youngest daughter's sonic screwdriver so she was pleased. It was a great little trip and it set us up nicely for the start of the new series on Saturday - we enjoyed watching the first episode, sonic screwdriver at the ready whilst eating jammie dodgers. The Doctor loves them you know!

As you can see above, some progress has been made with the chevron garden blanket. It is slow going though - all those tiny stitches on a 3mm hook, when will it end? I really only have about another 8 inches to go on this blanket and it shouldn't take too much longer so I really should pull my finger out and just get on with it!
 A fair amount of dancing occurred during the holidays too, courtesy of Just Dance on the Wii. Much amusement watching our friend join in - I think he was quite worn out by the end! At least the kids slept well.
 The patio furniture needed a good spruce up so I sanded and oiled it this last weekend. Luckily only the chair arms and table top are wood so it was quick and easy to do.
 Meanwhile, my husband oiled the decking tiles. Everything is looking a lot tidier outside now.
A fair few books have been arriving through the post recently, mainly courtesy of ebay and mainly for the kids, but I did manage to sneak a bid in for something for me. I love these baskets - very reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s. I managed to buy a child's version in a charity shop last year and have been on the lookout for one for me. I was very lucky to get one at such a bargain price and in such wonderful condition. Can't wait to use it.

I really hope you have all been enjoying the school holidays as much as us. We are looking forward to a street party tomorrow. We only live in a little close and there aren't many of us so we are going to a neighbour's house for a buffet and lots of bubbly. We are all making something to take along and I am making a potato salad and a strawberry and rhubarb fool (I made this last week with some of the rhubarb from the garden and it was delish annd very easy to do). The met office says that it will be dry and partially sunny tomorrow so hopefully we will get the chance to sit out and enjoy some sunshine.  Enjoy tomorrow, whatever you are doing. x

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Enjoying the garden

 The weather has been glorious round our neck of the woods so we have been spending all our time outside, making the most of it and discovering the garden again. I was chatting to our neighbour this afternoon and she offered me some blackcurrant bushes, as they have far too many and were overrun with blackcurrants last year. Apparently her grandchildren enjoyed some homemade blackcurrant cordial as she couldn't think what else to make with it. Looking forward to growing my own, along with the raspberries we discovered late last summer growing behind lots of weeds along the fence.
 Here are some lily of the valley just starting to come into bud.
 Our neighbour's oak tree. The leaves are such a vibrant colour at the moment.
 In amongst the weeds on the veg patch are some rhubarb and bluebells. Bit of an odd combo but anything goes. I might make some rhubarb fool at the weekend.
 As you can see, our garden is anything but perfect. I found these gorgeous flowers growing in a faded old bucket. My eldest daughter saved them last year when we were clearing the way for the decking. The wicker hanging basket will not be getting any attention this year! The bluebells are popping up everywhere, even in between the paving slabs.
Evening sunshine across the front lawn. Yes, it's not perfect but I am really enjoying the garden this week. x

Monday, 18 April 2011


 We've had a very busy first week of the Easter hols. My husband had the week off work so we had plenty planned - first up was building the tortoise enclosure. This is what it looked like at the beginning of the week. I had turned over the soil, planted some weeds and supervised positioning of a few rocks (remember, they were very heavy and I'm a tin pot weakling).
 Enclosure under construction - decking boards screwed to four posts which are then hammered into the ground so the tortoises cannot dig their way out. You can see the tortoises' original home to the left of this photo.
 Here is the finished enclosure - looking good, but just needed some net to go over the top - quick trip to the garden centre needed.
 We decided on a moveable piece of wood to support the mesh in the centre - we cut to fit, then used duct tape to strengthen the edges - the mesh is hooked onto screws to keep in position.
 We also purchased this coldframe to house the tortoises at night time. A little doorway was chopped out of one of the wooden sides - we were quite lucky to find a coldframe with wooden sides at Homebase which helped keep the costs down. Obviously, it is still too cold for the tortoises to be out at night so they have just been trying out their new home during the day and I am bringing them in early evening for bed time in the warm.
Here is a photo of the three of them enjoying the sunshine. They really do love their new home and have had a great time exploring in amongst the rocks and plants. I weighed them all this morning and they have put on at least 8 grammes each over the past 2 months. Not bad considering they are still so tiny.

Sorry to bore you if you are not in the slightest bit interested in tortoises. We also went to Ikea, had a day trip to London, spent loads of time in the garden (gardening and relaxing) and enjoyed each others company. More blog posts to follow. Hope you are enjoying the Easter Hols. Take care. x

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

 I was a very happy Mum on Mother's Day this year, although yesterday I heard that we must not call it this as it is officially known as Mothering Sunday, Mother's Day being the name given to it by the marketing bods at greetings card manufacturers. Call it what you will, as long as I get breakfast in bed! Anyway as I said, I was very lucky to get breakfast in bed - a cup of tea, made by my eldest all by herself and honey on waffles, again made by eldest (youngest daughter was on cuddles with Mummy duty!). I received the above silk painting from eldest daughter, made on the latest silk painting course she attended. The design was drawn in metallic pen by the course tutor and then E chose and mixed her paint colours and painted away. She enjoyed the course so much and has taken such care with her paintings. It really does look stunning with the weeping silver birch backdrop.
 Youngest daughter made me this card at school - it features cotton wool steam (cute) and a picture of our cat Jack, who is no longer with us.
And inside is a tea bag (still not been used yet, saving it for a special cuppa to share with F as she loves to drink tea), along with a sun (always a sun in her drawings, funny really as I always used to draw the sun in my pictures when I was little) and extremely neat handwriting. I especially love the "Dear my Mum"!

Unfortunately my husband was unwell on Sunday (he's now feeling better) and was feeling very bad about not being able to cook the dinner and do all the odd jobs that keep the house ticking over. I was not bothered in the slightest though as I had had such a lovely day on Saturday in London, so I was quite happy cooking the Sunday roast, sipping a glass of red and listening to Paul O'Grady on Radio 2.

I also got one last present, which I chose and ordered a few days before.

I bought some of this wool at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year with a view to making a blanket to go over the back of the sofa (to hide lots of claw marks where the cat used to sleep) but I bought up what they had left and have needed to buy the rest ever since. I decided it was time to buy this wool before it becomes discontinued or difficult to find. It looks quite wirey in real life but is actually quite soft. I will make a start on this once the chevron blanket is done, although that might be at the height of summer, which may not be such a good idea with such thick wool. We'll see.

My Mum's Mother's Day present arrived yesterday - it's a bird feeding station with various hooks to hang several bird feeders from. I am hoping it fits together easily (let me know Mum if you need me to come over and help) and will soon attract more birds to her garden.

Right, I have a very busy week ahead of me - will report back soon. x

Monday, 4 April 2011

The very lovely  and extremely kind Andrea at Apples and Pears has given me an award. Wow, totally wasn't expecting that! The Liebster Blog Award is designed to be awarded to blogs with fewer than 300 followers therefore promoting their blog to a wider audience. As such, I would like to pass on this award to the following blogs, each of which I enjoy reading immensely.

Chasing Rabbits Down Holes
Harmony and Rosie

It really was a lovely surprise to receive this after an extremely enjoyable day trip to London on Saturday with my Mum, sister and my eldest daughter (don't worry, youngest daughter had a fab day with Daddy - bowling, McDonalds for lunch, movie afternoon and pizza for tea! What more could a 7 year old ask for?). We were wedding dress shopping for my sister - I cannot really say any more on the matter as the Groom to be reads this blog, although I think it was a successful day. We had a champagne afternoon tea (yum!) before popping into Selfridges and Harrods for a mooch. Back home on the train feeling very sleepy, arriving home in time to eat leftover cold pizza with a glass of wine.

Hope you all had great weekends. Will post tomorrow about Mother's Day. x