Monday, 31 August 2009

30 days of happiness:: 5

Yesterday was quite a tough day. You know, one of those days when everything seems to be going against you. Well at one point I thought there would be nothing to bring a smile on my face that day, that is until I spotted these two jars of blackberry jelly that the boys and I made earlier in the week. Looking at the writing on the labels that Alex made (with the little drawing of a blackberry) together with some sticky little fingerprints on the jar, where little ones have sneaked a taste, really did bring a big smile to my face.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

30 days of happiness:: day 4

We visited the library and came out with heavy bags,
stopped for milkshakes,
found a nice sunny grassy spot to sit and watch and listen and smell.
After a slow walk home, made dinner for the family, my homemade lasagne.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

30 days of happiness: Day 3 the beach

Happiness was finding our way at last to the seaside. This was the first time Adrien has seen the sea. It was a delight to sit back and watch him take it all in, from feeling the cold salty water on his toes to the gritty sand in his hands.

We took crab lines and fished for crabs, Alex was totally into this.

Playing with friends:

Drawing in the sand:

Taking in the views:

Making sandcastles with friends:

The boys loved the seaside so very much, feeling grateful that in a week or so we will be at the sea again.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

30 days of happiness

This is what made me happy today::

Watching Adrien in his new blue shoes

Turning blackberries into jam

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

30 days of happiness: day 1 fairy cakes

I have been feeling quite overwhelmed recently and have let things get the better of me, failing to 'see the wood for the trees' so to speak - then I read this post over at Bluebirdbaby this morning and I was instantly inspired to join her 30 days of happiness. To seek and notice the small but important things in our lives that are easily overlooked in the frustrations and stresses of day to day life.

So to kick off day 1: I sat and just watched as my little adrien made these simple fairy cakes. I watched as he thoughtfully and strategically spooned on the icing and sprinkles with such concentration and determination, it was so amazing to watch and I didn't step in once I just let him go. We then sat together and ate a cake each, savouring the sweetness in our mouths and licking sticky fingers.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

weekend thoughts

Thank you for your kind words and suggestions from my last post, I value your words so much.

This weekend:
Spent Friday with my Dad, the boys love to see their Grandfather; wish it could had been for longer.

Saturday - took some flowers to my mum's grave. Alex is always wanting to go there, I find it kind of hard, but it is getting easier. Found some brambles brimming with blackberries; picked two tubs full to take home. I am now left with scratches over my legs and arms and tiny thorns in my fingers. Oh the joys! I am planning on making some simple blackberry jelly with the fruit; this will be my first attempt at preserving so am a little nervous, but am going to try a simple recipe I found in this book.

Sunday: enjoying some simple pleasures, and thinking of next week:

Possibly meet up with my sister and go to local park for picnic.

Make blackberry jelly.

Go into town for new shoes for Adrien and school shirts for Alex.

Planning on going for a day trip to the beach on Thursday with friends.

Maybe start to strip the wallpaper in the dining room (as part of my' freshen-up' for the house.)

See you next week!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

It has been hot today, in the 80's - which is hot for me, I don't do well in the heat. I yearn for Autumn, my favourite season, I enjoy wrapping-up, blustery days and darker evenings.

I have been quite stressed the last few days. Trying to keep the boys occupied and constantly battling with Alex over the TV. (I keep pulling the plug out, he keeps plugging it in). If I had my way I would get rid of the TV - I very rarely watch it at all. I thought I was doing really well up until now with the viewing habits of my children, but this summer has hit a roadblock. Alex wants to either be playing outside (on his own), which I think he is too young for, or watching TV. Everything suddenly is boring! All his previous favourite pastimes, like drawing, dressing-up, imaginative play are not cutting it for him anymore. I was so looking forward to these summer holidays - an opportunity to spend much more time with him, but it just hasn't worked out the way I had hoped. I am hoping that our little summer holiday that's coming up in a couple of weeks will maybe shift the mood. I am hoping this is a phase and if anyone has any tips for me, they will gratefully be received.

On a lighter note, spent some lovely time in the woods searching out bugs and managed to get close to an amazing dragonfly - I am still trying to identify it. And can never get enough ladybirds!

Sunday, 16 August 2009


Up until now I have been hesitant to show much of my home. We have lived in this house for just about a year now and there is still SO much to be done, and to be honest we haven't really begun. The usual time and financial constraints mean I have been concentrating my attention and money elsewhere.

However, recently I have been so inspired by pictures of other peoples homes, that I feel that with a little attention I can maybe start to begin to love my home better. I am thinking that although I cannot make big changes at the moment, I can start small - searching out vintage pieces at thrift stores and boot sales - freshing-up paintwork, framing photos and artwork for the walls.

What I thinking I am finally getting, is that you don't need to spend a fortune at the department store to make a house a home, and I don't think that's the look and feel I'm looking for anyway.

Friday, 14 August 2009

punch & judy

This morning we were treated to a wonderful punch & judy show. You don't really get to see these anymore. The show was held in our local museum as part of a Victorian seaside theme.

I feel it is such a shame that these classic children's pastimes, that children for decades have loved and enjoyed are all but gone, over misguided fears of health & safety. I am so grateful that my children got to experience such a wonderful piece of history and entertainment; I doubt whether they will ever get the chance again.

The boys loved the show as much as I did. We got to meet the puppeteer afterwards, and she let the children play with the puppets and act in their own shows.

Alex loved this skeleton. It has an extendable neck that lengthens and twists like the old 'quack' doctor.

Adrien's favourite was Mr Punch.

We are so inspired by this that we plan to make our own puppets from maybe papier mache, and of course stage our own show.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

bits & bobs

How is your weekend going? The boys have just gone out with their dad to McDonalds and to choose a movie to rent, which has given me some precious time to gather my thoughts and round up a few things that have been going on here.

Firstly, the brand new Summer 2 Book of Days is out today, which I downloaded and printed this morning. It is full to the brim with lots of activities and ideas for the whole family to be involved in, from cowboy treats to make, to bug-hunting, to making your own magic tricks. I think it has come in great timing for me, as I am starting to dry-up on things to keep the boys busy.

If you remember a couple of months back I started a scrap fabric quilt for Adrien. Well firstly, I came to the realisation that I probably wouldn't have enough of the scrap fabrics to make the size of quilt I was after, so instead I turned that patchwork into a cushion cover, which I backed with a Laura Ashley Cowslip fabric.

I love it. It brings some much needed colour to my rather bland looking living room.
Then I fell in love with this wonderful cowboy fabric from Cath Kidston, and knew I just had to make him a cowboy quilt. Here are the pieces ready to be sewn together. I made the squares much bigger at 9", so that the cowboy print is much noticeable, and also makes for quick piecing together.

This book below, Out and About through the year by Shirley Hughes, was a gift given to me from my friend B. I have loved Shirley Hughes' books, especially the Alfie stories and the classic Dogger but I had never heard of this one. It is a collection of poems following a little girl and her baby brother through the changing seasons. And of course her illustrations are as charming and captivating as ever.

Finally, have started some new embroidery inspired by some of Adrien's little wooden toys.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. See you next week.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


There has been lots of fun making mud pies.
Stir to a good consistency, mould into pies and put on baking sheet.


I have been making some 'pies' of my own. I have fond memories of my mother making Madeira cake when I was a little girl. I adore the smooth creamy buttery taste, with a crumb that melts in your mouth. I had such a craving for this cake that I decided to make one myself.
This was my mothers recipe for Madeira cake:
175g/6 oz butter, at room temp
175g/60z caster sugar
3 large eggs
250g/9oz self-raising flour
approx. 3 tbsps full-cream milk
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla essense.

Bake at 180C/350F Gas 4 for approx 60 mins.

Monday, 3 August 2009

a cup of tea & a freebie

I do love a nice cup of tea, especially from a teapot, but haven't had one for so long. Well I picked up this lovely teapot and mug from a thrift store today for just 50p each!

I also bought this wonderful Annabel Karmel book for just 25p. I used this book a lot when my boys were little and couldn't resist buying it at just 25p. The recipes are easy and nutritious, and the book sets out a whole week meal planner. So if anyone out there wants this copy I will be happy to pass it on to you. I think it must of been an ex-library copy, but except for some stains on the first page it is in good condition. If your interested just send me an email with your details at,

Sunday, 2 August 2009

some photos of the weekend

Fun at the fayre.

A sneak peek at Rhino, here sleeping in his food bowl. More pictures to follow. He is becoming a lot more friendlier now, I think he's getting used to us.