Thursday, 1 September 2011

September Plans

How is it September already?! One minute it was July and then a blink of an eye later, it's nearly Autumn! Waaaah!

My head is so full of ideas whizzing around, I thought I'd compile myself a list of things to try and achieve in the next month...

  • Make a new batch of red onion marmalade, as we are (eek!) nearly at the end of our last jar!
  • Find some new batch cooking recipes to try out. (We are big fans of batch cooking during term time as it requires no brain power at the end of a long day!) Suggestions welcome!
  • Visit Upton House and Gardens (it's been on my day out wish list for a while!) I want to go and coo over the kitchen garden!
  • Speaking of gardens, I need to plant Swiss Chard, Spinach and more salad leaves. 
  • Go searching for sloes and bung them all in the freezer 'til I can make gin! 
  • Hunt down this book in my local library and read it - I find I forget to read during term time - I get to bed and it's Zzzzzz before I even pick up my book! 
My life is ruled by lists - lists of jobs to do at work, lists of food we need to buy, lists of housework that need doing...it's quite nice to have a list of lovely things once in a while :)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Welsh wanderings

We're just back from a week of Welsh wanderings. A week of wildlife, beaches, family, good food and relaxation. Remind me again why I had to come home?!

7.24am looking out across the bay from the house. Beautiful.
The nerdy bird spotter in me was very excited when 3 buzzards began circling the house!

Our local bovine neighbours were very inquisitive!

Rummaging in rock pools is always fun, no matter how old you are!
 We scrambled down the cliffs at Marloes beach to find a swathe of emerging sand and rocks. The rock formations are amazing, so many different textures. My dad (a geologist graduate!) took great delight in explaining how they were all formed.

We took a boat trip across to Skomer Island, keeping our fingers crossed that it didn't rain on us! But the weather gods were looking favourably on us and we were treated to glorious sunshine! The island is just beautiful - turquoise seas, amethyst colour heather and canary yellow lichen. And lots and lots of very sweet looking rabbits! 

Can you spot the seal?!

Pembroke Castle was another stop off on our tour of Pembrokeshire (we holidayed here a lot as children so lots of the places we went to hold happy memories!)

Very high up!!
Whitesands: Love the sparkly sea.

So nice to spend a week with my family - we're so spread out around the UK now it's quite a treat to be altogether! I can't look back on our holiday without smiling - silly games, impromptu music sessions (complete with shoe 'drums' and tuned beer bottles!) and lots of time to read the stack of books we took with us! (For any bookworms reading this, our reading choices included Agatha Christie, Tom Holt, Joe Abercrombie, Scarlett Thomas, Alexander McCall Smith, Emma Donoghue and A.S.Byatt). Lovely stuff.

I wonder where we can head on holiday next?!

Thursday, 11 August 2011


I've been putting my sewing machine to good use this summer holidays - I had so many things planned in my head that I just didn't have time to do during term time, so I'm making the most of quiet times! I've also sewn a lot, but I've never made many things I can wear (apart from a 50s circle-skirted dress during my Textiles course at school!) so that was my main thought for the summer.

First project on the agenda was a pressie for a very good friend who's heading to Thailand to teach in a few days time. I wanted to make her a handmade pressie that could (hopefully!) be useful while she's over there. So I made her Amy Butler's 'Sun Surf Halter'. It was a really easy pattern to follow and I was very pleased with the end result (and it fitted, phew!!!)

I also discovered a free pattern online the other day - it's called Sorbetto from Collete Patterns. Another dead easy one (I'm easing myself in gently to sewing clothes!!) I used Daisy Bouquet by Amy Butler. Love it!

It's unhemmed and has no bias binding around the edge as yet (bias binder maker has just arrived from ebay so that's this afternoon's job!) but I'm pleased! It's rather on the short side too (forgot I am longer-bodied than Average Joe!) but I likes!

I'm now eyeing up more fabric online - I think I need to go and have a rummage in the charity shops in town to find some cheaper fabric though!

Monday, 8 August 2011


What a very happy-making weekend that was. 

Friday was full of speedy train journeys, fields full of cows, picnics in the park, meandering around the local flower show, knobbly veg, oversized veg, beautifully scented roses, patronising judge comment cards on the flower arrangements (always good for a giggle!), brass bands, polkadot horses, local cheese. Oh, and a cow pulling a chariot...(only in Somerset!) Felt like I'd never left.

A birthday meal out with family led to an evening filled with 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue'-esque word puns and cheesy pop acoustic sing-a-longs! Never a dull moment with my brothers!

Picture from here

Saturday brought a big family birthday/travelling/wedding celebration BBQ complete with bunting, balloons, babies, burgers, and BIG rain! (We all huddled in the food tent whilst trying to avoid the drips!) No pics as I left my camera at home...

Sunday was a more sedate affair. Wanderings over local fields and paths that I've walked along since I could toddle. Off to see the new willow cathedral - beautiful!

And then we found a field of barley too...Oh I love and miss Somersetshire!

I can't be too sad though as I have a lovely wedding-anniversary-ful weekend in Dorset to look forward to next weekend...and then the weekend after that I will be sunning myself (fingers crossed!) in Pembrokeshire. I'm envisaging lots of sand between my toes, rock pools to be paddled in, ice creams to be eaten, hundreds (no doubt!) of photos taken, and happy memories made. Bliss! x

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Hoverflies flying in formation around the poppies.

The start of an exciting (and secret..shhh!) project.

Yellow courgettes that I've grown myself, wooo! We ate the first one last night with spaghetti, lemon, ricotta and mint. Deeeelish!

Wiltshire Ripple sweet peas sat by my sink. They look good enough to eat!

Leftover croissants for breakfast. With homemade raspberry jam, ta mum!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


1 x large inflatable walk-through art installation

2 x small people who were VERY excited to go in the 'bouncy castle' (no! we mustn't jump! it might break!)

4 x ice creams eaten to keep small people (and big people) occupied in the queue (welsh honeycomb, raspberry ripple and chocolate chip were the flavours of choice)

5 x open mouths as we walked into the colours

8 x legs chasing after 2 little legs ("this luminarium is a place of peacefulness and serenity"...ahem)

5 x hot, pink faces with big smiles leaving the luminarium

71 (ish!) minutes in the car to get there. but it was oh so worth it!

1 x small person in tears because we had to leave

The luminarium has now left Lydney unfortunately but info on where it is heading next is available here. If it's coming to a town near you....go! It's amazing, unbelievable, and completely individual! 


Image from here

I've decided. I need more words in my life. As I was writing a rather cross letter to a well-known clothes retailer the other day (re. the curious incident of the dress that refuses to iron) I realised I was actually enjoying writing it. Enjoying crafting it, deciding which words to use, and then changing it all umpteen million times until I'm happy with it. As much as I don't want to have to repeat all the essays I slaved over whilst being an English Literature student, a small part of me yearns for the excuse to write again.

 I realised that I don't get to write anymore. Of course, I get to write a lot of words as part of my job, but they're school reports, lesson plans, handwriting policies...not the type of creative outlet my brain is looking for. 

My mum/husband/best friends are always telling me I should write a book. A children's book. And do the illustrations too. I would LOVE to do that. But for now, I will use this blog as an escape. A place for my words to escape. That sounds good.