Sunday Sevens – book reviews

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I’ve struggled a little with the concept of Sunday Sevens because in all honesty my life is pretty ordinary and not all that exciting, but I enjoy reading other bloggers posts and it is only fair to share. All in all, its been a pretty quiet week – no migraines thankfully! so I thought I would use the opportunity to write a little book review and a few of the simple things that have given me pleasure this week.

 

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Firstly, I am really enjoying this Sencha Sakura Green Tea from Char in Winchester. It is a scented tea – and has a delicate cherry flavour that is simply divine! perfect for Spring.

Rivers of London Book review

I really enjoyed this book! Right from the beginning I felt incredibly sorry for the protagonist – DC Peter Grant – he has a sardonic humour! To quote the blurb… Meet DC Peter Grant he will show you his city. But it’s not the capital that you all see as you make your journey from Tube to Bus, from elephant to castle. It’s a city that under its dark surface is packed full of crime. And of magic. A city that you never expected…

This is a wonderful book, (I am delighted that this is the first in a series) it has been described as Whitechapel mixed with Harry Potter – it is a great imaginative mix. There are the vampires living in a basement, a witness to a murder comes forward .. the only problem is the witness is ‘corporeally challenged’ as in not having a body because he is a ghost. It is a really good read and one that will keep you turning the pages.

Self care revolution

There are so many books on Self Care at the moment – many of which I have passed over because they are pretty thick and to be honest… boring. This one stands out because there is a lot of pictures… and I do love pictures! There is a lot of wisdom in the pages, but it is laid out in such a way that you can take chunks at a time for example there are a couple of yoga poses that could be done before bed. They take ten minutes and it has helped me achieve the desire to do more yoga because its achievable – I found the hour and a half sessions I attended a struggle if I am honest! but ten minutes before bed, four restorative poses – that is achievable!

There are various sections covering all aspects of good living – movement and nutrition, sleep rest and relaxation, coping skills, physical environment, social connections, mood boosters, goal setting and accomplishments and finally values and purpose.

It is written with such honesty, the author was in need herself – and she is honest about her depression which helps. Sometimes self help books are written in such a way that you feel the author has never had a problem – but Suzy Reading is open about her own journey which seems to make the advice more authentic.

The Simple Home Book Review

I had to have this book as a physical book because I bought Rhonda’s simple living on my kindle and really wished I had bought the book. Rhonda gave up the rat race of life.. realised that the key to freedom lay in living simply – within your means and cutting back on all the should haves and must haves. She writes a great blog, down to earth about her life growing their own vegetables and making her own bread. This book is set out in home making areas by season. (although you have to tweak it a little because we are in the northern hemisphere)

A month to month guide to self reliance, productivity and contentment.. With all the talk of financial uncertainty, sky-high property prices – I know this book can help people, you and older, live well in difficult times. There needs to be a way forward that gives ordinary folk the power to choose family and home life instead of intense consumerism and the bleak consequences of it. Living simply can e that way forward.

It is so easy to underestimate just how our lives are tethered to a consumerist culture.. the must have phone upgrades that have us in debt for another couple of years, the lifestyles pumped into our living spaces unconsciously by Television programming as well as advertising. Not to forget that since the introduction of the national curriculum – independent living skills have been virtually eradicated from education – instead of spending 6 weeks a year learning to cook, children spend most of that time designing packaging for their food product – running an imaginary food company. Debt has become a way of living and shopping a way to pass time – made even easier at a click of a button. What we don’t realise is that it takes our lives away, we are selling our time and future for items that really don’t matter. Living within your means without debt – is the way to freedom. Eating food made from scratch – is taking back the control for your health.

ok… rant over. This book is awesome – I am only disappointed that I can’t have chickens anymore!

Paris Undressed Book

In America women save their best lingerie for date night or Valentines day. French women don’t need a special occasion or permission. They resist cookie cutter definitions and labels for love. Why put a quota on pleasure? If lingerie feels good next to your skin, why not wear it as much as possible? Life is the special occasion. Today. Right here. Right now.

We pretty much follow our American cousins when it comes to lingerie – and so lingerie shopping in the UK is very limited. I have to admit I am ashamed of the underwear I reach for every day – its not pretty but it is – thankfully comfortable!

I am certain I am not alone – I have piles of bras that I have worn that have tortured my body until I can bare it no more… it is why I have now taken the sum total of five bra making courses! Yet I the perfect bra seems to elude me! I have a large pile of toile bras that simply don’t fit well either…

But here lies the problem.. French Women spend a lot of money on their lingerie and they have a wide choice of shops to choose from. Here I pick up a £3.00 bra in Sainsbury’s and wonder why the blasted thing is so irritatingly uncomfortable before chucking it on the ever growing pile of torture devices that I hide in overflowing drawers.

Its not just not as simple as Kathryn kemp-Griffin makes out – I’ve visited Agent Provocateur and spent a lot of money on lingerie and yes, you can tell the difference in quality, but sadly, what lingerie manufacturers don’t seem to understand is that women above size 10 would like something beautiful. And yes, women with a cleavage a bit bigger than a D cup would like the same amount of pretty lace and bows that you get on a double AA cup! Why does it all disappear after C I wonder?

ok… yet another rant over.. !

There is a lingerie shop near where I get my hair done… I will make an appointment and let you know how it goes. I really would like to believe that it is as easy as Kathryn kemp-suggests – lots of beautiful lingerie that is comfortable and pleasurable next to the skin!

This book does suggest the holy grail of comfortable underwear exists.. you just have to visit Paris … !

Emotional Sensitivity Book review

This little book rocked my world and has helped me more than all the growing self help books on my shelves. I am an Highly Sensitive Person – its a bit like having extra sensory perception and it does make life incredibly hard sometimes.

I have to admit, there were early chapters in this book that brought tears to my eyes. Imo Lo knows a great deal about her subject – because finally a lot of my painful past not only made more sense but I realised I was not alone – that there are others who also struggle.

There is great practical advice – how to look after yourself, how not to close down and shut off all feeling. Being HSP means that if you sit with an angry person – you feel their anger, their rage, it is uncomfortable – it is painful and it is overwhelming at times. It means you cannot hurt someone – no matter how much they deserve it, without feeling that hurt too. So it makes you very vulnerable – and a target that seems to bring out the bully in a lot of people.

I cannot recommend this book enough – it is practical and offers strategies that give me hope.

Be Gentle to yourself

I have finished another little quilt – these little sewing meditations are soothing and relaxing. You can read about my first little quilt here.

 

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Comfort and Joy – Sunday Sevens 18th March

Radiant and Green Travels book review

Joining Nat’s Sunday Sevens post this week…

It has been a tough six months -moving home and starting a new job, but it seems that things are getting easier – the worst is behind me – a bit like Spring things are starting to bloom. Although right now, I have woken up to a lovely covering of snow!

I have been struggling health wise – back in January I decided to try a wheat free diet – I bought two books Radiant and Green Kitchen travels. I think this decision has added to my misery- Green Travels has a wonderful recipe for chocolate cake that looks delicious but the steps to make it are very complicated – you have to use hazelnut flour that you grind yourself! I have taken the trouble to make it twice now – but my palate has not caught up – it just tasted rubbery and bland! (I do feel a rant coming on but I will save it for another post!)

wheat free peanut butter biscuits

However these little biscuits have been a life saver! My friend, P came over yesterday and I showed her how to make these – they were hot out of the oven in 10 minutes and they are gluten free.

Put 200g of peanut butter in a bowl, add 100 – 175 grams of sugar, ( I use 100g the recipe calls for 175 but I cut down all sugar in recipes) add an egg and mix. Put small balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press with the back of a fork (tip if you want them crisp flatten them down – if you like them crispy on the outside and soft in the middle leave them a bit thicker. Also use dark muscovado sugar) Bake at 180 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Weekend Baking - Lemon Drizzle cake
Lemon Drizzle Cake

It has been a week where I have needed comforting – I’ve had 9 days of constant migraine so I have focussed on home comforts to soothe myself. I love baking – it is such a nurturing comforting activity. So on Monday I made a lemon drizzle cake and a dark ginger cake. The ginger was wrapped in one of my wax cloths (you can read how they are made on my other blog) – it helped the flavour develop for a couple of days and kept it very moist.

Comfort food - Mac Cheese
Comfort food – mac and cheese

I have also been reaching for comfort food in other ways – this Mac cheese was delicious – why should it be that carbs are demonised recently? I think food is so much more than the elements it is made from. I think this week has seen me rebel because despite cutting down on wheat – I am still getting horrendous migraines!

Seasonal Celebrations
Ready to decorate for Spring

My new tree arrived this week – we have a large alcove above the fireplace and I decided to buy an artificial tree to decorate as a way of celebrating the seasons. So I have been gathering items together to decorate it for Ostara which falls on the 20th of March – and Easter just after. I am not a pagan, but I love the story behind Ostara and it seems to be more Germanic – either way, Spring is a welcome guest.

Preparations for Spring Ostara
Eggs, Daffodils, Spring

 

I have been collecting egg shells – as well as polystyrene eggs to decorate – E and I will sit down together to paint them today which should be great fun. I will also save a few for little ones when they visit – we have little chicks too.

I am relishing the glorious bright sunny daffodils in abundance outside as well as in. They are so unashamedly vibrant – which is just what is needed after the dark months of January and February.

moon gazing hare embroidery
Ostara celebration embroidery

I have been loving slow sewing – this little Moon Gazing Hare embroidery was a delight to do – you can catch up with it on my made for mi blog. I am really enjoying hand embroidery – it is similar to colouring – there is no counting just following the lines one stitch at a time. It can be done easily while watching  listening to the Television.

Mini Vintage linen Quilt Embroidery
Mini Vintage Quilt Embroidery

I am using up all old vintage linens, (I found these pieces in a charity shop) to create mini quilts that I will be posting on made for mi soon. I think the sentiment sums up my week!

ttfn x

Could do list for November…

November Joys

The leaves are almost down, I loved the golden colours of these leaves at my local park, most of the trees are bear now, but one tree had this golden carpet underneath that was irresistible!

I love the concept of a could do list – rather than a should do list – (if you read Simple Things Magazine you will be familiar with the idea!)

Enjoy Seasonal Food…. I adore the little clementines that arrive in the shops at this time of year. Ok so you can get them all year round like everything, but now they are in season they taste so sweet! Their arrival brings with it, fond memories of Christmas Stockings!

Visit my local library…. Mine is doing a poetry workshop next week – it is the most amazing place, there is a coffee shop as well as a creativity lab with access to Photoshop and other software.

Christmas Markets are opening all over the country, my favourite is the Winchester Christmas Market – not only are the items for sale beautifully made and artisan quality, but you can skate on the ice rink and enjoy some mulled wine afterwards!

Last year my son bought all his presents from Etsy – I had the most delightful shopping bag, so I will try and follow his good intentions.

Enjoy the sunrise – the extra hour in bed has been wonderful this week, I am a winter creature and feel more at home with winter time than summertime. The wonderful thing about this time of year is that the sunrise is not too early!

Host a board games/ poker evening – I love boardgames – I’ve just bought the new Articulate your life, which is much less cerebral than the traditional game! I also love poker but penuckle is more fun.

Listen to old music… there is nothing more delightful than the memories that flood back when you listen to an old song. I came across Visage Fade to Grey the other day it was the start of journey that ended up a blissful few hours of nostalgia!

Read or better still listen to a ghost story…. Wilkie collins The Woman in White, Susan Hill Woman in Black, or the classic Dickens Christmas Carol will definitely get you in the mood. I adore the BBC website, radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra have some fantastic productions, I have been enjoying Murder on the Orient Express and Oscar Wilde’s Canterville Ghost . There seems to be far more intimacy with radio and the wonderful thing is that I can focus on my crochet.

Lemon meringue pie

Bake a cake – I made some lovely little individual lemon meringue pies yesterday- I love baking it makes me feel so contented. This is also the month to make your Christmas Pudding, if you want it to be mature enough for Christmas Day. I love home made Christmas Pudding!

Go for a walk in the rain with wellies – splash in puddles.. enjoy the scent – listen to the drops as they hit your umbrella…I enjoy rainy days just as much as sunny ones! Somehow the cosiness of home is intensified after a walk in wild weather.

What are your plans for November?

 

Everything changes… Sunday Sevens 15th October 17

hello Autumn

Isn’t Autumn a wonderful time of year? Maybe its the connection with the start of the a new school year laid down in childhood, but it always feels more of a beginning than January does. It might be October, but the trees around me and in the local park are still green and just starting to turn – and there have been some glorious sunny days – where it seems a bonus to catch the gentler kinder sun.

work in progress

The big news I have is that I am crocheting a baby blanket for my new Granddaughter Effie – I am ashamed to admit that it began when my daughter told me she was pregnant – and now she is 7 weeks old already and I still have a border to finish. But I am enjoying the process and the darker longer evenings seem just perfect for the snuggling comforting repetition that crochet brings.

Its my second attempt, the first was with a beautiful soft wool in baby pink and cream but every time I began stitching I thought I was coming down with a cold as soon as I put it away my cold would go away! I realised that the wool was so fine and fluffy that I was reacting to the loose fibres. So I decided to start again with pretty pastel cottons, which is more practical because it can be easily washed!

I am so proud of my daughter, she is a great mum and Effie is thriving! They are a perfect little family the three of them and my son in law is a great hands on dad.

AUTUMN WAS AWAKENED

I love this quotation, the leaves lulling themselves to sleep, describes the season perfectly! One day on our usual dog walk, this lovely carpet of toadstools appeared virtually overnight! They were all gone the next day.

Autumn berries

Autumn is a lesson that tells us its alright to let go. Last year was one of the worst I have had in a long time, and it has taken until May to get back on my feet again. I have held on to things long after I should have done, and finally last month I have transformed my life. I cannot believe how wonderfully better my life is in every sense, it is so much richer and deeper. I look back and wonder why I held on to something that wasn’t right for so long.

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One aspect that hasn’t changed is Barney is still happily chasing bubbles and balls.

It takes courage to let things go, but when you do, you find the emptiness is always filled with something better and more wonderful than you dared hope.

Blithe Sunday Sevens 23rd April

 

 

tulips and hyacinths in pink
spring flowers

Aren’t these just delightful? They have been giving me joyful pleasure every day this week! The hyacinths have just enough scent to fill the room and the delicate pink of the tulips with their deep red interiors have given me a joyful respite even on the busiest of days.

 

Journalling
Journalling with flowers and vintage tea cup

Every morning I spend a few minutes jotting down my thoughts – this week I began a new note book! I get through around one to two journals each year, depending on the thickness of the book – when ever I start a new one it feels as if I am beginning another small chapter in my life. I can never quite get over the excitement of starting a new book its like being back at school at the start of a brand new term!  I always try at least – to write slowly and more carefully for a few pages!

My journal is a friend – one that is always available for me to write any worries or concerns, as well as recording all the little daily delights that come my way. It is not all sweetness and light – it is my go to place to vent! There is also art work that I find inspiring and the odd letter or two. It is also a great way to look back and see how I have changed over the years and I use it to record gratitude – such an essential element to wellbeing.

What I love about journalling, is that it helps to keep perspective – many a time I have written about fears or worries – things that at 2am are running round in my head that seem to be so important – usually end up ok in the end. So the next time I find myself awake and fearful at 2 am – I know it is all going to look better in the morning!

Sussex Downs
View from the Trundle, Goodwood West sussex

We took a lovely walk up to the highest point just beyond Chichester – called the Trundle. You can see for miles all round – on one side you get a great view of Goodwood Racecourse – and on the other you can look across at Chichester and then onto the sea. Unfortunately it was a little misty – but it is so invigorating to be in nature.

Forget not the

I discovered this quotation on Pinterest, sadly the link was dead so I can’t tell you the website for the original. I love the combination of vintage image and the words.

Home on the Range
Book review – home on the Range

I am a bit of a book worm -with a seemingly insatiable appetite for social domestic history. Those of you familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love or Big Magic might not know that her great grandmother also wrote a cookery book called Home on the Range.

It is more than a cookery book, it is full of wonderful stories and it fills me with hope – she struggled, often had to leave homes in the dead of night because of owing money, she was also an alcoholic – but – she overcame and wrote cheerfully about the importance of living graciously. It is a wonderful read and the recipes are good too.

Barney

Oh and Barney and I are still enjoying our beach walks!

Happy Sunday!

Playful -Sunday Sevens

Sunday sevens playful

So my theme this week has been playful, with the intention of introducing a little more fun in my life.

It is an odd thing, some of the best projects I have been really delighted with have often come from a sense of play with no other purpose but to simply enjoy the process.

Quote of the week-2So my quote this week is based around the theme of playful.

It seems to me that to be creative requires a childlike sense of wonder and discovery.

I have a battle going on with my sensible adult that believes in outcome and having something to show for my time spent – idea that play can be put down to research is an attempt to balance the inner child and the adult!

I made a list of some fun activities to do over the week: Creative writing, a flower arrangement, colouring, calligraphy, bath bombs and creating a scrapbook or vision board.

Creative writing:

Candle of rememberance

This week saw our first creative date for the writing group. We decided to meet in Chichester Cathedral and make it a process of observation and an opportunity to try and capture the sense of the place. It was surprising, I was expecting a sense of sanctuary and holiness, instead there was as much hassle and bustle as the high street outside. A side door was open and musicians were unloading huge instruments on squeaky wheels – into an area of the cathedral.

After lighting a candle for those we lost, we took our places near one of the chapel areas to observe and imbibe the atmosphere focusing on senses as a guide. We had our notebooks if we wanted to jot something down, but it was vital to simply be in the moment.

The seat was hard and cold, I felt the chill ebbing away my body heat, there was a strange taste of chalky stone, that you only get from old books and old buildings.   I sensed movement in the rush of air, then the strange scuffing of shuffling feet announced the imminent arrival of several people on an official tour of the cathedral. The guide’s monologue was not hushed or reverent but strident – the sound reverberating round the lofty heights. He was talking about dedication – old sacred relics and sanctuary but it was delivered in a passionless monotone that became background noise.

I felt somewhat perplexed, this was not the peaceful moment I had anticipated. Just when I thought it could not get any worse, someone began speaking through a tannoy system – advising us that a service would begin then offering up prayers including the Lords Prayer. I was lost for a moment in contemplation – the familiar words bringing back childhood memories. But the loudspeaker was thunderous, the guide continued his monotone, while the click of cameras, and shuffling feet of visitors created a modern symphony.

We watched a procession of elderly people, each with wheeled walkers, take their places in the pews. The unseen this voice filled the space and bouncing off the high walls and gargoyles.  Words that stirred forgotten memories, of childhood, Sunday Services, Red Robes and choir singing.  Forgive us father for our sins…

It all seemed so bizarre and far from my expectations – but eventually, after a time – the feet shuffled away, the chapel gates closed and the tannoy was silent. Like dust caught in sunlight, I felt the sense of timeless devotion float down from the high arches and slowly settle around me, silence enveloped me like a warm cloak. The building, retained it’s holiness when everyone had gone.

bubbles and barney

Barney personifies playful – he loves running and jumping for bubbles… we did this on a fairly calm day, but the bubbles were flying everywhere! I am learning more about photography, even to the point of reading my manual! I can’t call manual reading fun exactly, but planning shots has been  a challenge. It took about thirty or so shots to get one that was mostly in focus!

Bath bombs are the grown up version of sand castles! I love making them and it is simply wonderful to feel the bubbles tickle your back as they dissolve releasing natural aromatherapy. These look like rockets – I used the inside of the lemon juicer of all things to create the shape.

Bath BombsHere’s the recipe if you want to try your own.

1 cup of cornflour

1/2 cup of citric acid

1/2 cup of bicarbonate of soda.

Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil – chamomile and lavender: good before bedtime, or lime and rosemary for a bit of a refresher. You can add food colouring if you like.

Use a spray bottle to wet the ingredients so that it just comes together (think of sandcastles) use cake tins or jelly moulds and then turn out. Leave for a day to harden off and then wrap in clingfilm. Drop one or two in a bath – the sent will fill the air! I also make foot bath ones with peppermint oil and rosemary, they are perfect to relieve tired feet and you can finish with a bit of a pedicure for the five star treatment!

Elephant plant arrangement

I know nothing about flower arranging – but I do enjoy making the most of a bunch of flowers – I love this elephant! I am not sure I would win any prizes for my display, but it was fun!

Quill

Isn’t this pen heavenly? I love calligraphy, using a quill takes practise you can end up with blotches here and there and the ink runs out quite quickly. As a novelty it is fun, but not sure I could exchange my ball point for one of these.

Coffee on the beach

Friday evening was glorious if a little chilly in the wind, we sat and enjoyed warm coffee while the waves gently lapped. We had the whole cafe and beach to ourselves, how blissful.

Sunday Morning breakfast

Of course there is nothing more delightful than spending time in bed, I love getting up slowly at the weekends don’t you?

Sunday Sevens is the wonderful creation of Nat at Threads and bobbins.

next theme….senses

 

 

 

 

Sunday Sevens – Rainy days and Sundays

spring fowers

It has been a hectic week at work, I am feeling somewhat frazzled and in need of restoration. The fog outside is creating a strange sort of atmosphere today, the ticking of the clock and the occasional whoosh from the cars driving through the puddles outside are all the sounds I can hear. Its rainy day weather, as I write everyone in the house is sleeping and even the dog ran back to the house this morning, not wanting his usual long walk in the woods.

spring flowers 2

Romancing the Ordinary, (yes that book again!)

Sometimes at the end of a tough week, I’m too frazzled and restless to watch a film or nap. What can I do besides whine? Rainy day cupboards were the saving grace of Victorian Mothers. In these treasure troves of inspiration were neat and clearly marked boxes of craft supplies, games and novelties that were only enjoyed on a rainy day. Same clever concept what about a neat clearly marked projects adapted to capture the interest of a tired jaded woman.

Two caveats ensure the success of this tradition, novelty and preparation. These should not be crafts that are your normal activity, experiment, browse the craft aisle of your local store for projects in a box. Or create your own, put all the ingredients for a new recipe in a box purely for a day such as this.

When you open the cupboard everything you need should be there, its been my experience that rainy day fun has about 3 minutes to hold my interest before I sigh and slink back into my chair.

March might be the beginning of spring, but it is also known for wet windy weather so it is  easy to slip into despondency about rainy days, but they can be brightened up by doing something new.

I love novelty – you can get lovely little storage boxes from the stationery store or there are little craft packs that come with magazines – Mollie Makes this month came with a pretty little loom. I think I might start putting a few of these together for the next rainy day, I am pretty certain I won’t be waiting all that long! I also like the idea of a small project that can be done in an afternoon.

blue and white

So this wet Sunday, I’ve been experimenting with a bit of photography, and while the light isn’t great on a rainy day, it has been a bit of fun. I’ve been following a blog for a while now, it is heavily religious but the posts fill me with inspiration because the photography is so good (I tend to skim the text!)

 

Our home is still in a bit of a muddle, the garage is full of boxes I need to sort out but as I have gone through things box by box, I have been acquainted with all the small treasures that give me delight. This little jug and saucer set is quite small, but the colour is such a delightful cheery yellow – I can’t resist the spring colour. I picked it up in a charity shop for £2.

Easter might be some time away, but the tulips, daffodils and crocus are pushing their way through the darkness, even though they are battered by the wind, they still flower. The garden is full of buds, the willow has lovely white tufts and I noticed the cherry tree is beginning to bud. I’ve planted some seeds – deciding to focus on flowers rather than veg, we get an organic box delivery every week. There is nothing more delightful than cutting your own flowers and bringing them indoors. I’ve chosen a fragrant sweet pea variety – when they flower you have to continually pick them and they are wonderful to give to friends. You almost never, see them in the shops. I’ve also planted chamomile, lemon balm and enchinacia. I have some dahlia tubers to pot up, so it should be a fragrant summer. The cosmos won the race, with this lovely shoot appearing in a matter of days.

We had a lovely lunch with friends yesterday, afterwards the guys went to a pub to watch the rugby and we headed of to look for curtain material. It is shocking how much it costs to make curtains! Jo has a huge bay window  – while I am happy to help it is going to be a huge undertaking. We have a wonderful warehouse place just outside of Chichester called Falcon Fabrics and we found a number of lovely fabrics there.

Pink roses study

We made the last 15 minutes of the Rugby game, England did very well which pleased me, poor Scott was sad to see his team lose. It is always a good atmosphere watching these matches in the pub rather than home.

roses and lace

This week was the first meeting of our writing group and it went really well. We have arranged a creative date in a couple of weeks. The idea comes from the Artist’s way, where you make regular outings or time to do something creative. We intend to visit three different locations in Chichester – and spend some time in each. I am looking forward to it, and I am enjoying writing and have a short story to complete by next week.

Yellow flowers springI’ve used Picasa to edit my photographs – however I notice that when they are uploaded the processing is not as good as it could be. The pictures are a bitt fuzzy and blurry, mainly due to the reduction in size so that they will load quicker.

The light balance in my camera is not great, I have adapted the settings, but I will have to set up some proper lighting instead of relying on the daylight coming through the window.

So I might look into photoshop – I haven’t used it for years – and it is always good to try something new. I also need to get some new memory for my Mac – these things seem to use much more resources. However, it has been fun, composing and experimenting with photography for a change and making the most of a rainy day.

Happy Sunday!

 

 

Sunday Sevens..14 August

Saturday breakfast

Somehow, Saturday morning breakfasts are the best of the week, not only time to make these little scotch pancakes (they are low GI and wholemeal!) but all the lovely promise of two days to enjoy.

We went on with our local to Glorious Goodwood Ladies Day, it was a beautiful morning – I think I enjoyed seeing the outfits more than the horses. This red dress really caught my eye – these sisters were enjoying pimms before the racing. Unfortunately, after an hour of sunshine the rain set in! At one point we could barely see the horses! I came home with the same money I left with – having only lost one bet! which was quite an achievement.

cucumber

My cucumber is really doing well – the fruits are enormous! We are investigating a couple of recipes for preservation – it would be nice to enjoy the freshness for as long as possible. My tomato plants are also giving a few ripe fruits – delicious and sweet. It has encouraged me to buy some winter cabbage and spinach seeds to see us through the winter. The veg box I bought a couple of weeks ago is still going strong – with a few fattening leeks among the seeding herbs.

We took a trip to Little Woodham in Gosport – it is a delightful little living history village – populated by re-enactors of the mid 16th Century. More on this visit soon.

cheesecake

 

We are enjoying having the Aga – it is our only cooker – it’s gentle heat is always welcome – despite the summer our kitchen remains pleasant. I decided to try a cooked cheesecake recipe – as the warming oven is perfect.

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I find that if you cook the biscuit base with the cheesecake it comes out all soggy – so I made the cheesecake first then added the biscuits to the top.

Cheese cake Aga

It might look a little messy, but it takes delicious!

Breakfast poached peaches

Mr D made some poached peaches for breakfast on Sunday… enough to bring the sunshine for the rest of the week.

Sunday Sevens – 26 June 2016

I loved this Threadcount pattern when it arrived with June’s issue Love Sewing Magazine – a perfect dress to attend a  wedding, you can read all about it here.

Elderflowers

The Elder Bushes come into flower in early June – there was an abundance of flowers just outside my house! I made about 4 pints of Elderflower cordial which I froze this year in milk cartons (last year the cordial did not keep well). The cordial helps when I have migraines to get the full benefit it needs to be quite strong. I tend to use a whole wicker basket full of flowers in two pints of syrup. If you would like to make some you can find the recipe here on a previous blog post.

Blue eggs

I took this week off – there is nothing more delightful than a stay-cation. The main bonus is that I had more time to potter – there is a wonderful chicken farm just outside Felpham, called Rookery Farm, you can see the chickens happily wandering the great big fields – I just don’t trust supermarket’s anymore.  I prefer to visit the farm because you can buy a tray of misshapes for the same price as a dozen ordinary eggs.  They had a few  new Moran Hens in the flock they produce beautiful blue eggs – I could not resist buying these. I would like some Moran’s of my own, (they can also produce dark brown chocolate coloured eggs) I just haven’t got round to it yet – and with Rookery Farm virtually on our doorstep I wonder if if would be worth all the effort. My last hens suffered so badly with red spider mite – no matter how much we tried I am not sure I could go through it all again.

Artisan Bread

After visiting the farm my next stop was the French Artisan baker in Bairds’ Farm shop a couple of years ago the shop was really struggling for custom but since the baker moved in I am pleased to see that business is thriving. I am glad that we are beginning to appreciate quality over cost – supermarkets nearly pushed independent’s out of  business – I just wish most people would understand the connection between the way supermarket bread is manufactured and the rise in ‘wheat intolerance’. I cannot eat supermarket bread without getting really ill, but French bread, made from French wheat, doesn’t make me ill at all!

 

To my delight I  discovered the Farm Shop had a new little garden centre – called the Plant Yard, run by two lovely lady florists – the plant containers were irresistible. I usually get a veg box from Riverford but this time I did one better, I bought this lovely veg garden planter, containing, carrots, leeks, chives, parsley, sage and mint. Mr D was delighted!

Next on my shopping list was Edgecombes near Ford – they import their own coffee and roast it on the premises, I am not a huge fan of coffee but I love their Latte’s the are not bitter at all. They also do a great selection of teas – their house blend Assam is just wonderful. I know that supermarkets are convenient, but I would love to have time to shop like this every day – it is such a sensual experience.

Pool room greenhouse

I have combined the pool room into a little green house, we have three huge patio windows and the climate is very steamy at times which I hope would be good for plants. It is my first steps into gardening.

Every morning as I water the plants it gives me such a thrill to see how the plants grow: have tiny cucumbers, green tomatoes and button courgettes. The mange tout has taken a while to establish – not abundant enough for a meal, but deliciously sweet little treats now and then. The cucumber has reached the height of the room and the tiny cucumbers are starting to peek out from the flowers – although it took me so many attempts to capture these – somehow all three cameras, my phone, iPad and my cannon, struggled to focus on the baby green cucumber, this is the best I could do!

Barnham signal box

We went to vote on the referendum (oh my, I cannot say how concerned I am about the outcome – my worst fears have already been confirmed and it has only been a few days!) I wanted  to share this lovely signal box (it has been restored by a group of miniature railway enthusiasts) next to the polling station.  I was very envious of the lovely raised bed of vegetables they looked great.

garden furniture tool

I spent a few days happily sewing in my studio and the rest of the week I spent tidying up the garden. I made the mistake of buying some garden furniture without Mr D, we usually ‘get a man in’ for all our DIY so have absolutely no tools in the house. The garden furniture came flat packed with this little tool to put it together! I don’t think we will make the same mistake again!

Sunday Sevens is the great idea of Nat of Threads and Bobbins – why not join in the fun?

Sunday Sevens -8 May 2016

New Home card

My lovely daughter moved home this week so I made her a little card to wish her well! It is also her Birthday this weekend so will be cake making! Family visiting and we are also following the Chichester Art Trail!

Mr D had a bit of a sort out last weekend – we ended up with a pile of 20 shirts that he no longer wanted to wear. I could not resist the lovely soft cottons so have been working on a little project – can you guess what I am making?

colour me positive 18

The Colour me positive weekly challenge was ‘Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics, Art brings healing’. It’s a Julia Cameron quote from the Artists way.  To be honest with you I think Art brings its own baggage with it; while it might be relaxing it can also be frustrating – things never turn out the way you visualise them. I have to battle the inner critic every time I pick up a pencil or a brush, but there are blissful moments when you can get lost in a sketch for a while. I am enjoying the challenge of having to create something and once a week is manageable – alothough this image is a lot darker in my book than it appears on here.

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This is the book group choice this month and what a gem! I cannot recommend this book enough! It is certainly original, Emma Healey is a talented writer you would never imagine she is in her twenties! Maud is a wonderfully entertaining old lady, I smiled, I laughed, I sighed – it was quite an adventure, one that I would like to read again sometime.

Here is the intro in case it peeks your interest –

Elizabeth is Missing, Emma Healey’s stunning debut novel, introduces a mystery, an unsolved crime and one of the most unforgettable characters since Mark Haddon’s Christopher. Meet Maud …

‘Elizabeth is missing’, reads the note in Maud’s pocket in her own handwriting.

Lately, Maud’s been getting forgetful. She keep

s buying peach slices when she has a cupboard full, forgets to drink the cups of tea she’s made and writes notes to remind herself of things. But Maud is determined to discover what has happened to her friend, Elizabeth, and what it has to do with the unsolved disappearance of her sister Sukey, years back, just after the war.

A fast-paced mystery with a wonderful leading character: Maud will make you laugh and cry, but she certainly won’t be forgotten.

 

The beautiful Keeley Hawes is extremely talented – the two characters she has been playing DI Denton in Line of Duty and Mrs Durrell in the Durrells could not be more different! I am bereft on Sunday nights now!  – I am just missing the querky Durrells and the blissful Corfu sunshine  what a shame it had to end!

mast-home-fires-5-things-hires

The fantastic Home Fires was also keeping me parked in front of the Telly – who would have thought Pat (on the right) would get the courage to have an affair!  I am the secretary for our local WI and I can assure you we are not half as sparky as these ladies. I am really disappointed to hear that there won’t be another series! I even signed a petition!

Sunday Sevens is the fabulous idea of Nat over at Threads and Bobbins, where you give a little round up of your week, if you want to participate pop over to her blog and sign up! Its such a great way to link up with other bloggers.