Sunday, 30 December 2012

Life begins at 40!


Life begins at............


Sure footed.........


Carefree (well sometimes).............

Full of fun and surprises...........

Naughty 40!!!!!!! ;-)))

Bring on the decade, I'm ready to embrace it............

 Small boy and the little lady managed to dress in rather unusual clothes for today's lunch and slip by unnoticed.......distractions!

                                                       The last full day of the Birch Moon.

                                                 Small boy gets creative with his photography!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Surround yourselves with love.......

For most of us Christmas is a time when we celebrate; the birth of Christ, time with our family and friends, the end of another year, a break from work or routine. It's a time when we are hopefully all happy and surrounded by love.
Love doesn't have to be related only to those who are near and dear to us. Love can be cooking a meal and searching our recipes and ingredients, preparing our homes, writing letters and Christmas cards to those we haven't spoken to or seen for a while, buying or making a lovely gift for someone, meeting with friends and going for a memorable walk (or walking alone), having time out to do things that you love to do. Going to special events and getting dressed up in clothes that make you feel good.

  This was a lovely shared lunch with a group of home schooled families.

 Hama beads provide much scope to realise your creative potential.

 I love this crochet scarf that I started when the weather turned cold and haven't taken off since!

 Candle making!!! Ummm it's back to the drawing board there I think!

I have a frantic time every year at this time whipping up ginger cookies and wrapping them in cellophane to deliver to friends and neighbours. I don't expect anything in return, but I come away with a real sense of joy when I turn up on someones doorstep with my little bundle and am able to say 'Merry Christmas', such a simple gesture but it means so much.
 A beautiful gift from a special friend and her lovely family.

 Pretty flowers I've been working on......

This year I thought I would make some fudge for my neighbours. I followed the recipe carefully, it seems until the last step, which indicates 'whip vigorously'......unfortunately as a result of overlooking this vital step I now am left with a very large toffee (not good for the waistline). It can be sliced but seems to be so sticky that it joins back into a slap once you have done so. (Not good for wrapping!). I had a plan B which seems to have failed too. I thought I could melt some chocolate and dip little chunks of the toffee into the chocolate then let them harden off, then I might be able to wrap them. But no, this failed too as water drops got into the chocolate and then it also became a large sticky clump. Not winning here....I had transferred the whole lump of toffee to my chopping board and now it seems that it is refusing to come off in once piece so I shall have to leave it there until you (my friends) call by to sample my wares.
Bugger that means I still have more somethings to make, to wrap to give away. I shall have to start all over again!

Anyway where was I before I got caught up in all that sticky toffee talk?......Oh yes, surrounding yourselves with love.
So I went for a little trip around my house and it seems that this is exactly what I have been doing over the past you recognise any of these little lovelies?

 This one has appeared on the bathroom wall! No comment!!

Thanks for looking and Merry Christmas to you all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

THE girls best friend

Ed note: I wrote this on Friday but it's taken me a while to get it typed up!........

Ooooh I am sooo excited, I can hardly contain myself!
I am seeing my lovely lovely friend twice tomorrow, a VERY special friend whom I have shared journeys with over the past few years. My enthusiasm is always enthralled when we meet for moments of girly chit-chat, but tomorrow we will be meeting to share something special........(   ) hehehe  ;-), and a night dining and dancing with friends. Tomorrow night we shall be exchanging Christmas gifts......
I do not usually become so terribly excited by such things but this occasion is different, this occasion is some what special. As two singletons this year we both felt a longing, a need, to buy something yummy, something special for a significant other. Friends are precious, to be looked after, special. This friend especially!
We set ourselves this challenge back in September. The challenge was to spend no more then £10......
To the average person to buy something decent for a tenor might prove a mammoth task. Hehe it's been rather a lot of fun! I haven't gone out on any specific occasion to buy the said something, but the list of goodies has grown organically, rather like our friendship. As we're both on  a road and journey of 'self discovery' and 'romancing of the ordinary', the whole task was simple yet some what fortifying.

The excitement builds, the climax awaits.......

The goodies didn't have to be new - well with that stipulated I was totally in my element. Oh my, you can buy sooooo much for a tenor, really you can!

I must contain my excitement a little longer.....

So my gathering of gifts began back in September. I picked up several items at a 'posh' car boot sale - (all new) a linen table runner, a beautiful distressed wooden heart, a ceramic light pull in blue and white and a scented room fragrance...I couldn't possibly share the prices of my bargain items, that really would expose too much information!
Yesterday we chatted and decided that tomorrow night would be gift exchange evening......arrrhhh the reality of bringing the gifts together, I haven't finished.... my tenor has not been maxed out yet! Time to pass on the new and totally inspiring book that I treated myself to that only arrived a couple of days back, now that is love for a best friend <3 <3 <3 <3

I gained huge amounts of pleasure in wrapping each individual gift with delicate crisp tissue paper, then tying each little bundle with pretty ribbon offcuts saved for moments just like this.

 I carefully placed everything into a covered shoebox, sprinkled some of my favourite sequin mix within and added a couple of jolly wicker Christmas decorations........a gift fit for a King (or Queen in this case).
I cannot wait to exchange later....true friends are worth treating well and holding on to.

Merry Christmas Jenny X

We were like naughty, excitable school girls sitting on comfy sofas unwrapping our goodies....and what a delight the whole experience was. Funnily enough we had both bought gifts to stimulate the senses....just perfect :-)

And look what Jenny bought for me........
All around the theme of tea for one, all for me!!!!
I shall certainly enjoy all these little wonders...thank you soooo much.


Monday, 10 December 2012

The pleasures (pressures) of Christmas

So the festive period is upon us again, how fast this year seems to have past us by.

The excitement is brewing in our house...For what? For all the wonderful things that are tradition and the time that we will spend with family and friends....isn't that what everyone is excited about? Apparently not.
In true 'me' style I differ from the norm in just about every way. It is not that I go out of my way to be different, that's just the way I am. I just have different thoughts on 'things' original values. Christmas is the one time of year where my values are criticised the most. We don't 'do' Father Christmas!!!!! There, I've said it.........People cannot understand me at all when I say this. 'How cruel' I am told. So here is my chance to justify to the world my reasons. (Should I have to do that?)

1. Christmas is the festival where we celebrate the birth of Jesus, this sight has been lost in so many peoples lives.

2. My first greatest hate is the 'I want' culture. My children have everything that they need, 'I want' simply doesn't get. In most households children are encouraged to voice what they want :-( I prefer that they are given something that someone has chosen to buy them and that they are grateful for everything that they receive. This is the time of year when virtually every one asks the children 'What do you want for Christmas?'

3. There was supposedly a fellow named St Nicholas who gave sweets to children and helped the poor and needy, how did the current Father Christmas (who gives new bikes to those in the Western world and the gift of life to those in the third world) come about?

4. Father Christmas is in fact a stranger who it is told comes into the child's house and bedroom. I do not lie to my children.

5. Parents use the the bribe of Father Christmas not coming for the whole Christmas period. Errrrrr

6. (This one isn't related to FC), the person who you feel obliged to buy for who has everything and tells you they have three of these......(not mentioning any names there Dad!!!!)

OK, so you think I have ruined the spirit of Christmas? As a family we don't spend vast amounts of money that we cannot afford on gifts that will never be played with. We are not in debt because of Christmas. We do learn about the true meaning of Christmas, we attend carol services, Christmas bazaars etc, we think of others who are less fortunate then ourselves. We do buy and make gifts but they don't have a value on them ( not worth a tenor)! We do meet up with friends for parties, merriment and our annual picnic on Christmas eve. We do possess Christmas spirit and deliver home made biscuits and sweets to friends and neighbours. We do watch lovely films about Father Christmas and comment on what a lovely tale it is. We do decorate our home. But best of all, we laugh, play and spend stress free time with our family and share in the delights of preparing a wonderful feast together. The giving of gifts is not the most important thing. Would it ruin Christmas completely for you if there were no gifts?

Seasons greetings to you all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 30 November 2012

Cinderella, you shall go to the ball.......

I seem to have woken up with several pimples that have rather inconsiderately erupted on my face over night, a scritchy scratchy area on both ankles and a stiff neck. Great!!!! Why does this always happen?
How can it be that on every other of the 320 or so days this year so far, I have no such imperfections and then the day of my first party in a very long time, pow, piazz, zing, 1,2,3.......there they are glowing like snow topped mountains.
Perhaps I've been touching my face more then usual, maybe it's city pollution (I've been to the city twice in a week), what about the stress of the week...? And perhaps if I hadn't decided to de-flea the dog this week, her fleas might not have decided to snack on my ankles instead of her.
Arrrrhhhh! I will not scratch them, simply will not!!!!!!!

Please understand this ranting and raving, it's not the 'normal' me. I do not usually get so upset or even notice the odd little pimple lurking on my chin, but almost a year ago, I was invited to my friends 40th birthday and that party is tonight.
It is funny, before Wyld woman came into her own, she would probably have turned down such an invitation, or if she had of gone, she would have made very little effort and hoped to BLEND IN!
It would be easy to do that in this situation too. I'm a woman going on my own, meeting with a lovely bunch of friends that stretch back years but whom I haven't spent much time with in a long while, and I've been through the most traumatic experience I could ever imagine in the past year which (briefly) totally knocked my confidence. But to hide in a corner wouldn't be good exercise of ones wyld side now would it?
So NO, will not attempt to blend in....I shall not be attempting to stand out either!
This of course means I have to make an effort (or at least more of one), effort requires time and energy.

A couple of months back my friend announced the theme, 'A night at the Oscars'......., well at least I think that's what she said. I hope so, could mean a sharp exit if I got that one wrong!

I trawled the local charity stores in pursuit of suitable etire and found a rather cute little number that I could just about sqeeeeze in to. Then my dear cousin came to my rescue and suggested that her lovely lodger (owner of many glamorous frocks) might actually be able to help out.
There at the back of the cupboard in need of repair and a little TLC was the perfect little 'slinky malinky' dress just waiting to be fixed up by yours truly. I stitched up and repaired the broken strap (breaking the other one in the process), and opened up a seam on the leg (naughty ;-))....all ready to be accessorised.

My dear little sis has lent me some rather....ummmmm 'high' shoes. I don't do shoes. Little ole me tends to just have one pair of 'live-ins' plus my faithful wellies, that I literally 'live in' and wear and wear until they are no more. I certainly don't (oh no no) do heels.
I may well be like other girls and have an obsession for shoes had it not been for a couple of rather slippery experiences in my youth. The first was a pair of little black shoes with a 1" kitten heel (note how she knows the term). Well I bought these when I was about twelve with some Christmas money and I loved them. I loved their shape and sleekness but I wore them to school one day and whilst running down a corridor (tut tut) I hit the corner at the wrong angle and whoop whoop whoop, those feet raced beneath me and I ended up in a heap on the floor!
Not long after our puppy chewed one up....probably saving me from doom or more embarrassing episodes.
The next occasion was a 'night club outing' in my early 20's with a group of lively folk. The dance floor was empty with eager on-lookers just waiting  for the first idiots to 'break the ice......'
Well I didn't break the ice but almost broke my body and certainly shattered my pride as once again those feet ran ahead of me in a frenzy of cartoon rolling footsteps. I 'not so gracefully' slid across the floor and finished up in a heap once again just short of the centre.

You see, so I've been scared....put off for all these years. In many ways my desire for flat soled shoes has done me a huge favour. I have no bunions or funny shaped feet (with the exception of that hammer toe).

Now 18 months ago I worked hard once again to overcome that fear for the sake of my little sis who requested me to wear 6cm heels as a bridesmaid at her wedding. It took some practise I'll tell you, but I did it and I don't think I walked too much like a penguin.

So for this event, this party tonight, I have borrowed these rather 'Oooh la la' bedroom slippers. I cannot imagine that people actually wear these stilts for any serious length of time! I'll wear them in, then slip them under the table in exchange for some comfy little 'slip-ons'. Well I wouldn't be able to dance in stilts would I?

Another thing that I have learnt to be a modern day problem, is displaying ones navel. That's not literally displaying, but wearing a dress that allows the contours of the dip or bump to be seen. Ummm I hadn't thought of that.
Prima Marche to the rescue. BIG PANTS come in all shapes and sizes and hide everything, totally everything, they're amazing!!! I honestly think big pants could potentially put fad diets and personal trainers out of business. Not sure they are terribly sexy though (not that that's an issue right now)!

So panties sorted, navel for the boobies. The dress is rather.....skimpy in some areas. Your average brassiere will not be conspicuous. What to do? Having had three children certain areas no long 'self support' so that essential piece of lingerie is really quite essential to the feminine look. I have done extensive research into this dilemma and it seems I have four options: 1. Go without........definitely not an option!
2. Wear normal bra........although it is acceptable to go out with ones bra on show these days, it rather spoils the aesthetic look that I am trying to achieve! 3. The padded number with invisible straps......OK, so the straps are clear plastic and not as obvious as no 2 but they can be seen......4. The stick on option.......two stick on pads that you fix together in the centre creating to me what looks like a 'mono-boob'....I've gone with this option but cannot try it until this evening as they only stick once! We'll see!!!!

Gosh I'm exhausted after all that and I haven't even got to the essential body care bit yet.........

There's the shaving, the bathing, the nails, the hair, the scent, the outerwear, the bag, the make-up....arrrrrr mama this is not for do people do this all on a regular basis???? It is beyond me!

Well, you shall have to wait for all that follows as it's 2.30 and I'd better get a more on if I'm to finish those chores before the party begins and get ready....hehehe!! Shall fill you in soon with how I got on, wish me luck!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

                                        My lovely cousin took these pictures before I left her house!

Note to self.....running late is not cool to such an event as this....and it is not possible to power walk in 6" heels, DO NOT try!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Today is NOT a sad day.......

Today is NOT a sad day..............

Today is a day to be thankful for, it's a new day like every other. A day to spend with friends and to enjoy with my precious children.
We have a home, we have lovely food to eat, we are warm, we are surrounded by people who love us and care for us.

Today is NOT a sad day..............

Today is a day to give thanks for the life I have had, for the people I know and have known, for the lessons I have learnt and am still learning.

Today is NOT a sad day..............

A year ago today my best friend/husband/sole mate/father of my three gorgeous children departed from earth side. That was a sad day, sadder then any other. I have spent the last year questioning why? But no answers come to light and never will. I remember so many things about my beloved so many things that only I will know. His devotion to me and our children, his tender words of love and encouragement, his comforting cuddles, his creativity, his talent and his knowledge of the world. I am so grateful that in life he chose to spend his time with me and gifted me with three beautiful children who mirror many of his ways.

But today is NOT a sad day.............

Today I am stronger, wiser and more able. I have faced an event that I would not wish any other to have to go through, but I have come through it and I can hold my head up and smile. I do not dwell on the past but look forwards to what the future will bring.

Today is a NEW day..............Give thanks! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Meet Herman :-)

At the heart of my cosy little home, there on the kitchen worktop, resides Herman, my 'living German friendship cake mixture'.
I came across Herman initially as a teenager (many moons ago), it was all the rage back then to pass a little of this simple cake mixture to a selection of friends.
About two years ago an aunt passed a little my way, 'Oh the sheer delight of it'. I remember the scrumptiousness of the finished cake that you bake at the end of a period of ten days of careful nurturing.
I followed the instructions that accompanied my started to the book and gave my new friend a prime spot on the kitchen table covered (as instructed) for all to admire.
Well on this occasion I must have neared day ten 'cook-cake-day' when I noticed that something had pushed the covering cloth into the mixture.......ummmmm 'strange', I thought. Perhaps the mixture has magical powers of suction?? On closer inspection it was noted that the level of dear Herm had also dropped within the bowl!!!! Arrrrrhhh the horror of it all, dear Marley pup had been devouring my poor friend Herm. Well the thought of sharing my sloppy wet mixture with human friends is one thing but with a, no, no!!!
So Herman number 2 sadly had to make it's way into the septic tank via the loo!
Then delight once again! My lovely friend Ginny came up trumps and offered me another sample of Herman.
This time I was determined to experience that yummy, warm, friendshippy, cake that I remembered so well from all those years ago.
Once you receive your little sample of bubbling wonder, you have to tend to it everyday for ten days before reaching the final 'cake making' day. Ten whole days of care and attention. It's quite like having a friend to stay, only you eat part of it before waving goodbye!
With no pup to eat the mixture this time (dear little Jen dog wouldn't dare to challenge the worktop) I was off.
After ten days of mixing, mixing, mixing, feeding, more mixing, more feeding (plus a little chit chat along the way) my Herman was ready to be divided, shared and cooked into a delicious cake.
Hey presto! Ummmm spiced apple cake at its finest!! :-)

Well I kept this going for several months trying different combinations of cakes and sharing samples to friends until 'Oh no'........disaster struck once again. OK confession I didn't always measure the food out accurately and occasionally forgot to feed my friend on the right days and ummm......well......Herman died!!!!!


Oh the guilt of it, how cruel, how irresponsible and to a dear friend too....poor, poor little Hermy wormy - deceased, gone to meet his maker, never to be again :-(

I quite missed caring for my friend.......


Just two weeks ago Mel came up trumps with another little sample :-) :-) :-)........
So here we go again.
This time I shall take better care of my friend, be more vigilant to his needs.
I excitedly took a couple of samples to my grandparents house to share the delights of my wonderful friend, to impress them with that delicious warm, huggy tummy feeling you get when you savour a bite. One sample was to cook whilst there and another to keep my grandma company whilst she works in the kitchen.
I enthusiastically popped the ingredients into the mixing bowl, whipped them up, popped the mixture in the oven and waited and then......bugger!!!.....

I forgot to add Herman!!!

A Hermanless Herman cake...could things get any worse?

I have to say that it still tasted good but that wasn't the point and as a result two samples travelled back home with me!

This evening, I successfully made a cake....a delicious cake containing fruit and cinnamon all ready to share with friends tomorrow. I shall look forwards to scrumping some of that :-)

Ed note: Would anyone like a little sample?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

In search of St Alban

Our home education history project for this year is the history of Britain from the Celts and forwards. We have been using the book 'Our Island Story' by H.E. Marshall, which is a truly inspiring book filled with stories that relate to the kings and queens from each period and interesting historical facts along the way.

So this week we went in search of St Alban.
St Alban was the first Christian martyr in Britain and was around during the time of the Roman rule 60 AD (?) He was in fact Pagan prior to becoming Christian, and stories are told of how he hid a Christian priest in his home (as Christians were hated and killed if discovered during the main of the Roman rule). He then pretended himself to be the Christian, knowing what fete was in store. However, the people of his town recognised him as 'Alban the good man', and they refused to kill him. He was eventually killed by command by the Roman soldiers at that time.
The abbey in St Albans is an amazing place, dedicated to this incredible character. There is a crypt in the middle of the abbey supposedly containing Alban's bones in  a gold cask. However, it seems that they are no longer present and their where-abouts is unknown following the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry 8th. That guy has a lot to answer for!!!
I thought I would share some photos from our day with you as this really was a very beautiful place.
Enjoy! xxxx
                                                         The ceiling in the Norman tower.

 Window depicting the death scene of St Alban.

                                                   Children lighting candles near the shrine.

 This is the shrine of St Alban.

Beautiful woodwork and carvings.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Fires and fungi

Sorry we've been gone a while. My phone line developed a fault so no phone or Internet for a whole week! I thought it had to be some kind of joke when BT informed me it would be 7 days.....but no, sure enough, true to their word it was indeed a whole week of no contact with the virtual world. BT didn't choose the most convenient week to develop a fault on the line, but hey ho, not much I could do about that. Actually the time of being 'uncontactable' was quite nice. No computer distraction, no Facebook!!!
So we're back with some rather fun happenings to report from life on the 'wyld' side.

Firstly there was the wonderful time for lighting a fire in the grate. I held out until the temperature really dropped until I gave in. As I now have officially the lowest income ever, I figured I should hang in there as long as possible so as to make the most of our supply of well chopped and dry logs. I don't have much left to chop now from last Winter. Shame really, I rather like the buzz you get from swinging an axe on a cold day. Nothing like warming up in order to create beautifully chopped logs to warm you again. there is the old saying that chopping wood warms you twice, once when you chop and again when you burn. It provides a really good workout too!

As we waited for so long and with so much anticipation for this wonderful act, I figured I should in true 'me style', mark the occasion with some sort of 'fire lighting ceremony'. I know, I am now officially admitting to being different from the rest!
With the log basket loaded, kindling stacked and a good supply of old newspapers (not forgetting the marshmallows), we were ready! Small boy built the first attempt (always the pyromaniac). Ummm he seems to have lost the knack, there is a distinct knack to fire lighting, it is rarely an act of luck!
Anyway, with dry wood it was going in no time! Arrr the sheer delight of seeing those flames flicker and feeling the warmth radiating towards us. I couldn't resist spreading my sheepskin in front of it.....(we can all dream!).

Talking of fires, mine and several other families gathered in some Millennium woodland recently for a fire, cook out and general social event. It poured with rain but us hardy folk (or are we just plain mad??) continued to party and were not deterred by our sodden hair and clothes. No one batted an eyelid when an old metal stretcher was brought out to lay across the burning embers to cook the sausages on. I do love my friends :-) The fact that we all have such similar thoughts on life and a natural spark of creativity!

Last Saturday I organised a fungi foray in a local BBOWT reserve near my home. I invited a really knowledgeable chappy along that I have got to know over recent years, who knows a lot about living out doors and surviving in the wild. Could you survive without modern conveniences? I honestly think that simple living is definitely the way forwards. (Won't get depressing here). With my Internet and phone line down, this was not the best week to be organising such an event, but we all got there in the end (some of us having to abandon our cars before the car park as the road to the reserve was seriously in need of attention and without having a car that transforms to a boat like 'Chitty' there was no way we were risking it!).
Armed with baskets and flasks of hot soup we ventured into the woods for our adventure, and what an adventure it was too! I had been a little worried that the cold weather might have snapped too soon and killed off the forest delights, but no, that was not to be the case. Suddenly our eyes were ignited by the masses of different kids of fungi that lined the forest floor. If you knew what you were looking for you could seriously feast for free here!

Now foraging is not easy business as I quickly learned. There are indeed a host of very attractive beauties growing out there but if you are not 100% sure of what you are gathering then you could make a nasty (potentially fatal) mistake. Many mushrooms are in fact deadly poisonous. I went along armed with two lovely colourful books borrowed from the library, but I have to say I wasn't all that impressed with them. Although they gave good descriptions they weren't terribly clear and didn't leave me 100% confident.
Our guide was good and rather funny too, he made me chuckle as he flopped down (quite literally) to the ground to get a really good close look at each specimen. He seemed really knowledgeable, but again if he wasn't certain he didn't take any risks.

Jelly ears - these cans be found growing on rotting wood and can be eaten raw. I think they look rather like 'mouse' ears. The texture was...unusual!

The kids had a wonderful time playing in natures playground and we adults returned to the car park with a basket overflowing with about five types of edible mushrooms to fry up and savour.
My honest thoughts on the taste.......they tasted like the forest floor! Perhaps next time I'll wash them!!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Autumn delights

I've been pottering about some what recently and just don't seem to have made the time to share our journey - sorry!

So much has been happening, life changes so quickly sometimes. One minute you think you know where things are going, the next it's all change and off in a completely different direction.
Within the last couple of weeks I've got a job! I know it's been ten months now that I have lived my very frugal life and got by without the need for much of an income. Life is funny, it was in the Summer that the children and I were discussing the future, they talked about wanting animals (more animals), ponies, dogs, cats, a pig (well that was my suggestion)....well this is all good and fair says she, but we have enough pets for now and don't have the space to keep any more, I shall have to meet a farmer......'Ooooh', they say...the next minute they are trying to fix me up with the next farmer to cross our path...highly embarrassing!!!
Anyway, several months later I have a job as a companion to a lovely farmer, local to me. This is not as the children and I had discussed (no to romance), but we will be on the farm often which should work out well for all. Male company for small boy, space (well we don't exactly lack that), and animals, machines, farming....we are starting this week, just six hours a week but it's a start and should keep the wolf from the door, not that he'd get anywhere near ours with the toys, bikes and doll's prams in the way!

Talking about living frugally, I have just finished reading 'How to be free' by Tom Hodgkinson. Have you ever wondered why you live to work? Yes it's true most people these days do seem to live to work. I find that quite scary and I (even in my current situation) wasn't about to compromise my life of freedom to join the majority. It's worth a read if you ever want out of the rat race folks! I got so hooked I ended up reading his guide to idle parenting too....I think I am there already, but good to read and re-inspire!

With the weather changing so rapidly I've been starting to snuggle and embrace to weather and changing seasons. I have held off on lighting that fire still although there is a bag of marshmallows calling to me from the bread bin that are tempting and awaiting the opportunity to be eaten, once toasted of course!

Then there are Winter projects that I'm starting to think about. I am yet to make small boy a quilt for his bed which I have been meaning to do for years. So yesterday I was in the area of my most favourite fabric shop in the world (Mason's in Abingdon) and became tempted to the extent to having to purchase the fabric. I want to create something 'boylike' and blue (I know.....), so went for various shirt fabrics, all cotton. Just a quarter of a metre of each should be enough for the front and an old white sheet for the backing. If there are enough offcuts, they'll do for the outer boarder. Ooooh I do get excited when I have a new project up my sleeve. I'll hand sew this one, it will take hours but there is something really rather satisfying about completing a quilt project by hand and the lovely thing is I can just take out little bits to sew when I have a spare moment. Waiting for the girls ballet class, the swimming lessons, waiting for dinner to cook....busy hands! :-))

My lovely grandparents have had a glut of tomatoes....I do so love it when people have an abundance of items that they are happy to share. People get fed up with stuff, especially when they have been eating for weeks. 'Thank you'! Mmmm now what to do with them......thinking tomato ketchup, pasta/pizza sauce, chutney...oh the options are endless. More for the 'store stump', goodie goodie I do love being creative!

Talking of vegetables, I have just discovered a loooovvvely farm shop near by that sells mainly homegrown organic vegetables. Well what a delight! I do usually buy all my veges from a national box scheme and have done for years, but having stuff growing right on your doorstep has to be better surely. And unlike the box scheme, I am able to go into the shop and choose exactly what I want. Last week I got rather carried away and purchased all this..........for £20....of course this further fuels up my creativity as I feel the serious need not allow any bit of my spend to go to waste nor to perish in the bottom of my fridge. Those green/yellow peppers were soooo delicious!!

I've been thinking about drying herbs and wild plants for use during the Winter months but haven't as yet been out to gather much. I have dried some yarrow and collected quite a bundle of lime flowers at the end of the Summer (how amazing they smelt). I did  manage to bring in a large amount of my lavender and have had that drying for weeks now in my study/utility room window. Often when I am sitting and waiting for photos to upload, I'll pull off some of the dried flower heads. Makes the room smell simply divine. I sense the need to make some lavender bags here, perhaps I might make them for Christmas presents? Talking of which, it's that time of year already. Time to think about and actually start making some little gifts to give to family and friends. It happens every year...I have these great plans to make all my gifts so that I can give something a little unique and special, but my oh my do I regret my decision every time. It's not the giving that's the problem, it's the time (or lack of). No one should ever feel that they have been short-changed by a home made gift. Sooo much time, dedication and commitment goes into the production of them. There is always a mad rush to be witnessed on Christmas eve in my house, stitching, sticking etc to get the jobs done.
Last year due to events most people got handed a bottle of my home brewed wine! Ummmm probably enough said about that one!!!!!

Had to share this I was going through the pictures stored on my camera I did have to literally 'laugh out loud'. Small boy has been loose with the snapper and oh my.....the pictures he has taken. A bottom, another bottom, further bottoms and yet more bottoms, then the front of girls and yet more.....and then this! Pretty good this one....sorry the bottoms will have to remain out of sight for now!!


Thursday, 4 October 2012

'Experience you cannot learn'

'Experience you cannot learn....'

I do not know when this happened or indeed how, but Miss P has suddenly become assertive...far more so then me! She is eleven, soon to be twelve....what has happened to the sweet little girl I had who just did as she was asked without question? This pre-teen is suddenly putting me in my place, organising me, preaching things I know little about....How can that be?
Today things started when I asked Miss P to remove her spindle and wool from the kitchen worktop to her bedroom. Well, I was not prepared for the response I got. 'Why should we spin wool for Helen anyway, we dyed the wool, you're carding it, and SHE gets the finished jumper! It's not fair!!!!! I quit'. 'Me too' replies The little lady. Goodness me, you could have knocked me down with a feather. I could not argue accept to point out that she was gaining valuable spinning skills and helping one of my friends. My my!!
Then there was the maths exercise, long multiplication. It's been a while since I've had to use such skills but I am prepared to try and help her. Miss P became stuck on a question and I tried to answer it. Three times I tried until I finally got it right (how bad is that?!!), 'you see' she says, I am better then you, I am better then the teacher. So I'm probably not behind after all!' Oh help!!!
Don't get me wrong, sometimes this assertiveness works in my favour, like the other day when I was trying to order some underwear on line. I couldn't seem to proceed and finish my order....'You haven't typed in your size...', Oh no, so I haven't. And here, now as I am typing all of my spelling errors are being pointed out....I have spell check!!!! (Wry smile from Miss P)!!!
It's all good really and I am grateful that she is developing such skills that will be useful, it's just going to take a bit of getting used to.
What would happen if I said 'I quit?'

Here's a recipe for energy bars....I feel the need for them!

5 oz butter
6 oz brown sugar
5oz peanut butter
3oz honey
8oz porridge oats
zest of one orange and one lemon
6oz mixed fruit
6oz mixed seeds/nuts

Melt butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Transfer into a rectangular baking tin (mines probably 30cm x 20 cm), flatten and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Allow to cool before cutting into squares or slices.

'Mummy I don't suppose anyone will want to make those, look you've burnt them! You shouldn't have mixed the honey and raisins together as the raisins always burn......' arrrrhhhh!!!!!!