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Showing posts from April, 2013


Inside: We woke to this on Saturday morning so abandoned our plans to get started on the exterior paint jobs. (As I'm sure you can imagine, we were devastated by that turn of events...)

Outside: So then of course the sun came out, but a cold wind blew and the rest of the weekend was a typical April mixture of sunshine and showers. This is my neighbour's forsythia. Isn't is glorious? I wish mine had blossomed like that.

Inside: We tried a new breakfast recipe from this book: Persian eggs with halloumi. Very tasty, the oily juices mopped up with sourdough bread, but next time I would use less cheese and more tomato.

Outside: The grass had it's ceremonial first cut of the year.

Inside: The filing cabinet was tackled with similar gusto, as I did battle with old bank statements and the paper shredder. We have a very mature and responsible attitude to filing in this house which involves ignoring the bulging folders for as long as possible, then a day long purge accompanied by lo…

52 Weeks of Happy...28/52

Hello there! It's Friday, the end of a long week. The weekend is upon us and so it feels like the best time to join in with Jen at little birdie with this week's happy things.
1. My friend Rachel. We met at antenatal classes six and a half years ago when we were both expecting our first babies. I've met up with her every week since then for coffees, lunches, in soft play centres, at toddler groups and birthday parties. We've had many hurried conversations about anything and everything snatched in between feeds, tantrums, nappy changes, endless trips to take toddlers to the toilet. On Tuesday morning, while all our children were occupied at school and nursery, she came over for a coffee. She brought her knitting and I did some sewing. We sat on the sofa and had an uninterrupted conversation and it occurred to us that it was the first occasion in the whole time we've known each other that we'd met up in the week without any children around. As you can see she is h…

Foraging For Flowers

The challenge: find or forage for flowers or plants, either from the garden or elsewhere, and bring them into the home. Well, it was slim pickings in my garden, I'm afraid. The only stems worth picking were forsythia, daffodils, and a yellow and green shrub that I'm afraid I don't know the name of. 

But I like a challenge and I love these arrangements. I chose clear glass mason jars as I felt there was as much colour and interest in the mix of stems as in the blooms. And, best of all, we have yellow; bright, sunny, joyful yellow, a colour I adore. Especially right here on the mantle piece against the grey wall. 

Joining in with Lou's inspiring Nature in the Home series over at her blog, littlegreenshed.

Crochet Lately...

It's been nothing but crochet on the creative front round here lately and it's high time I shared some with you. I've just completed another cotton baby blanket using the same pattern and colours as this one.

The only difference is that this blanket is edged in green, a safely gender-neutral colour. It's for my friend Rachel who is expecting her fourth baby in three weeks, and she and her husband chose not to find out the sex.

I am more than a little relieved to have finished it in good time, I have to say! It came out well and I do love that pattern. It looks nice on the back of the sofa. I did start entertaining thoughts about making a huge version of this blanket, in pale dove grey rather than white, to go on the sofa...I'll add that to the growing list in my head called Blankets I Want To Make, a sort of imaginary work in progress. 

I have been working on this cotton granny throw for the last couple of months, on and off, in between other things. The long rows of …


Inside:  Pancakes for breakfast, the best way to start the weekend.

Outside:The blossom on the trees is so late this year and I am appreciating it all the more because it took so long to arrive.

Inside: Finishing another crochet baby blanket as fast as my little fingers can. 

Outside: Visiting The Oldest Sweet Shop in England for pick & mix (Bella and Angus), liquorice gums (John) and for me a quarter of Coltsfoot Rock, which I buy at any opportunity it as it's so hard to find.

Inside: And I ate them over the weekend, and enjoyed every crunchy, crumbly, sweet, aniseedy bite.

Outside: Children + playground + sunshine = happy.

Inside: The anemones bloomed and they are glorious. Ten days after I bought them they are still going strong, brightening up the house.

Outside: Two walk in the woods, deep in conversation.

Inside: The pasta pot bubbles and steams. We eat a lot of pasta.

Outside: Hazy views of the Yorkshire Dales.

Inside: Angus performs his daily check on the sunflower seed he broug…

52 Weeks of Happy...27/52

The happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

Joining in as ever with the lovely Jen at little birdie, here are my happy moments from the last week:

1. Blue skies! Always a joy to look at and the feel of the sun lifts my spirits. We've had a mixed bag of windy weather this week, but today the sun is shining.
2. Some new reading for the weekend, and a delicious pile of magazines that I have not had time to explore.
3. The garden is slowly, slowly coming to life. We are looking everywhere eagerly for signs of growth and may even be able to pick a few blooms to bring into the house soon.
4. Asparagus risotto. We are having a meat-free week, although we are eating fish, and it's been fun and refreshing to try some new dishes and cook more creatively. Honestly though, I don't know how healthy that dish was - all vegetables taste amazing when cooked with a lot of butter and parmesan and drunk with a bottle of sauvignon blanc.

Salade Nicoise

I always associate this dish with long lunches in French cafes on holiday, when in truth I probably only ate it once or twice in France, and about one hundred times at home. This is one of my favourite meals to eat when it looks like summer might be on it's way.Big lunch or light supper, it's an easy and rewarding dish that never disappoints. I don't know if my version is an authentic salade nicoise; I use gem lettuce, tinned tuna, eggs, new potatoes, green beans, black olives, tomatoes and anchovies. Some use capers - I don't, but not for any particular reason. I quite like capers.  Some use tuna or anchovies, but not both. Some add onions - I don't as I think the flavour dominates too much. I like my potatoes, green beans and eggs to be warm, so I cook them right before I eat this, rather than straight-from-the-fridge cold. If you wanted to make this with a little more ceremony, it would be nice to sear some fresh tuna instead of using tinned.
It's a recipe of…

The Thing About Children... that they just keep on growing. Growing and changing. Just when I think I have it sussed they move on to the next new thing, leaving me to catch up. Their needs, their wants, their hobbies and favourite things, they just keep on moving. Also, my children seem to have a lot of stuff.
We've been tinkering with Bella's bedroom these last few weeks, trying to create a bedroom which reflects her personality, gives her space to play and meets her rather, err...demanding storage needs. We refreshed the paint on the walls in a most disorganised and sloppy fashion. We went through cupboards and drawers, sorting as we went, filling five bags for the charity shop and as many for the recycling bin. We had a thorough spring clean and changed arrangements and moved toys and books around. But it's still not right and it's very much a work in progress.
Take this wall with the chest of drawers and wardrobe - she can't reach what's on top without standing on a chair.

 Even af…