Sunday, 26 July 2015

Schools out for summer

So there we are the last of the schools have now broken up for the summer and so it begins.

I'm bored!!!

Having been looking forward to breaking up for weeks just how many times are you likely to hear those words over the forthcoming weeks?
Then there will be the annual rugby scrum in order to get the new school uniform and as we head towards the last two weeks of the holidays parents everywhere will be on countdown until the new school year begins.
Thankfully we are down to the last of the brood to be going through the school system. Number 3 is very much into trains at the moment so on the days I am working I get the feeling that D will be spending an awful amount of time sat at level crossings. Fortunately number 3 has found an app that gives him live information as to the times that the trains will pass through each of the local level crossings.

So how have you spent the last week of the school year. I have spent mine reading the new Harper Lee novel 'Go Set A Watchman'. For anyone who doesn't know 'Go Set A Watchman' is set twenty years after 'To Kill A Mockingbird' and Scout (Jean Louise) is now a young woman.  You will remember that as a child she idolized her father Atticus as a lot if little girls do and sometimes in reality they are not quite the most perfect human beings that we think they are and this is the realsation that Scout has to come to terms with. I really enjoyed it I know it's had a lot of mixed reviews and yes I do still prefer 'To Kill A Mockingbird' but then that was part of my growing up too and was always one of my favourites so this one would of had to have gone someway in order to beat it.

I have also read one of my childhood favourites this week.  How many of you read the 'What Katy Did' series of books?  This was another one that I went on to read to my daughter when she was a little girl. I wonder if this is one she remembers will have to check. For anyone who doesn't know Katy Carr is the eldest of five children and who lives with her father who is a doctor and her aunt Izzie. Sadly her mother died and Aunt Izzie came to live with them to help her father look after the children. Katy is a bit of a Tom boy and gets herself in all sorts of scrapes.  Unfortunately Katy chooses not to listen to her aunt when she is told not to use the new swing and has an accident which finds her confined to her bed unable to walk and with the possibility that she may not walk again and so the story goes on to deal with how Katy will cope with her new situation.  The strangest part of reading this book again was that whilst travelling home from work I was as usual listening to Simon Mayo and he was interviewing Jacqueline Wilson about her new book. What I hadn't realised is that she has now written a modern version of this story called 'Katy'.  My friends daughter is a huge JW fan and is eagerly awaiting the release of her new book.  It will be interesting to see how she has interpreted Katy's story.

We've had another little visitor to The Willows this week.  We had a few days of rain and we have a shaded area behind the Den and there sitting in the sunshine was this little fellow.

Now I know he wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea but I'm sure most of us would have to admit to having kissed a few frogs before we found our prince and even then some turned out to be a toad.

We have recently moved the little bird house. It used to sit on the side of my den but we have new neighbours who have a cat and he had taken a liking to either sitting on top of the den or actually on top of the bird house so it had to be moved.  It is now up by the cottage and D wasn't sure if the birds would still use it.  Well after a couple weeks they have decided it is safe to use and when I get up at stupid O'Clock of a morning I have been lucky enough to watch our winged visitors having their breakfast. I knew they had found it as I am still having to refill the feeders during the week 

And lastly do you remember earlier in the year I made a baby blanket based on the colours of Frozen that was the inspiration of Heather at Little Tin Bird?

Well yesterday I received this lovely photograph of my friends granddaughter making good use of her blanket for snuggle time. 
Isn't she gorgeous?

Well that's it from me but before I go I have now signed up to Instagram. Yes I know last one to the party again, so you can now find me there here.

Have a lovely week one & all I have a friend coming for lunch so better get myself organised.


Sunday, 19 July 2015

July Make or Bake & other ramblings

First things first. 
Thank you for all the lovely comments you left about my baby blankets. I'm sorry I've not had a chance to reply but it has been devilish busy at work this last couple of weeks with lots of early starts and late finishes, occasionally not getting back through the front door until past eight in the evening. 

Last month I made a Gary Rhodes desert and Penny from   The Homemade Heart  mentioned a Gary Rhodes recipe she uses to make Lemon Posset.  I've never made this desert so eagerly looked through my Gary Rhodes books to see if I had it.  Of course it was the one recipe that wasn't in any of the three Gary Rhodes books that I own.  Not to be deterred I went on good old google and up popped a recipe for  Lemon Posset by James Martin. His recipe also includes a recipe for lemon shortbread to accompany the desert.   So I set about making this lovely summery desert and just as Penny had said it was a simple recipe and smelled delicious but as they say the proof is in the pudding.                                            

Sometimes by early evening and the tide is in the winds can get up across the fens and by early evening it can get a little too breezy to eat al fresco but not yesterday.

So just to show you Penny Lemon Posset with lemon shortbread and yes it tasted just as delicious as you said it would.

Now I will let you into a little secret here.
Number 3 son can be a little picky with new foods but will at least taste if in the right mood, (anyone would think I was trying to poison him).

We had been sitting in the garden most of the afternoon when he appeared and inquired 'what is the lemony thing in the fridge'.  I explained it was desert for mum and dad and that he had his usual favourite. I didn't pay any attention to it at the time until I bought the deserts out  

and as you can see there is a little finger mark in the middle of one of them. 
It did make me smile.  
I returned to the table and this time I inquired 'how did you know the deserts were lemon' he looked at me and said 'I smelt it' 'oh'  I said 'so the these little finger marks don't belong to you then' to which he replied 'well you always tell me it's good to try new things'.  Needless to say he decided he would stick with his usual preference of desert a yogurt whilst D and I enjoyed our Lemon Posset very much even with the addition of a finger mark or two in mine. So thanks Penny for the recommendation and it will definitely be something I make again. 

 Meanwhile what has been happening around The Willows!

'Every man's island, Jean Louise, every man's watchman, is his conscience.'

Well unless you have been down a deep well this last week you will of heard all the hype around the release of the Harper Lee novel Go Set a Watchman .  I read 'To Kill a Mockingbird' at school and again last year as part of my return to school reads.  It remains one of my all time favourites and I was in too minds whether to read it again before the release of 'Go Set a Watchman'.
I got home on Tuesday evening and there as promised was my copy sitting waiting for me as promised by Amazon.
I have been very good and finished the book I was reading at the time 

Still Alice which is another brilliant novel by Lisa Genova and has also been made into a film starring Julianne Moore.  A definite recommendation if you are off on your hols.
But I digress

I started Go Set a Watchman on Friday and so far it has been every bit as good as I thought it would be. This novel is about Jean Louise (Scout) as an adult and the changes that have come about over the years since we first met Atticus and his family in to Kill a Mockingbird. You are introduced to a lot of the original characters such as Henry Clinton and Aunt Alexandra. I now just have the last 100 pages to go so I'm hoping mother nature will be kind and blow the clouds that seem to be looming outside this morning away and let the sun come out so that I can sit in my garden and loose myself in my reading.

Speaking of the garden we have been having lots of bumble visiting the flowers gathering their nectar.

I love watching them buzzing around and they do seem to have taken quite a fancy to the passionflowers this year.

And not forgetting my other love.
The flutterbies (as my eldest used to call them) are back for another summer of  feeding on the Buddleia I could sit and watch them all day.

Right time for a cuppa

Have a lovely week one & all and never fear even if I don't get the opportunity to comment I will be keeping a close eye on what you are all getting up to.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Hush a bye baby and Little boy blue

I suppose when you work in a hospital in a team where the majority of the nurses are female and  younger than you and of childbearing age it is inevitable that from time to time some will go off on maternity leave. Not just maternity leave there have been those who have gone on adoption leave too. 

It has become a bit of tradition since I took on my post that when someone goes on maternity or adoption leave that I make them a baby blanket. They have always been well received and I have always had such lovely comments and usually a photograph of their new off spring snuggled up under their blanket sent to me. I have quite a collection now.

There are currently two such members of staff due to go on leave in August in preparation of the arrival of their little bundles in September. 

Therefore as with tradition two baby blankets have been made.

This is my hush a bye baby blanket for one of our lovely consultants who is due to have her third child in September. She doesn't know whether its a pink one or a blue one so I went for lemon, mint and white, using Babycare DK by Woolcraft. 

I have used this wool on so many occasions. 
In fact after five years of making these for colleagues I am a little hard pressed to remember how many I have made over the years.

This one is my Little boy blue blanket for one of our nurses who is also due in September. She knows she is having a boy which makes my choice of colour and wool a lot easier. 
This one is made in Aran weight wool. Again it is by Woolcraft and is 20% Wool and 80% acrylic. 

Both will be able to go in a washing machine and a tumble dryer at a low temperature. Knowing how precious your time can be when you have a young baby I don't see the point in adding more stress by giving them a blanket that has to be washed by hand and has to be dried in a particular way. Although I have been reliably informed by a  colleague who I made a blanket for, when he and his wife were expecting their first baby,  his wife was so worried that she would ruin it she insisted on washing it by hand and letting it dry naturally.  

So that's another two off the production line but I have been reliably informed  that the stork is due to visit the ward again in December so it looks like another blanket will be started very soon.


Sunday, 12 July 2015

And the winners are........................

Firstly thank you to everyone who took part in this years giveaways. 
I really do enjoy thinking about and gathering the items to go in them 

OK imaginary drum roll please.......

The winner of the Tea & Biscuits and A Good Book giveaway is.............

Congratulations Penny

2nd imaginary drum roll please...............

The winner of the Lazy Days & Sundays giveaway is......................

Congratulations Jo.

If you lovely ladies could email me your addresses at


and I will arrange to get your parcels off to you.

Happy Sunday one & all


Monday, 6 July 2015

Standing on the shoulders of giants

1983 £1

Where does this saying come from and what is it's significance to the above two pound coin?

It was taken from a letter written in 1676 by Sir Isaac Newton to his fellow scientist Robert Hooke acknowledging the debt he owed other scientists - 'if I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants'.  As with all two pound coins they have an inscription to the edge and 'Standing on the shoulder's of giants' was added to the coin in 1997 

Thursday D and I had a rare day off together and whilst our youngest was in school decided to have an even rarer day out just the two of us.  Nothing grand you understand, but when you have a son with autism it is nice to do something that is outside of his latest obsession which at the moment is his iPad, Burger King and train spotting. 

We chose to visit the ancestral home of Sir Isaac Newton, Woolthorpe Manor. It was a lovely sunny day but not as hot as it had been on Wednesday. Don't get me wrong I would rather it were sunny than raining but Wednesday was a little overbearing especially as I was shut up in a stuffy office. We had a lovely visit and the staff were very knowledgeable and I think we both learnt a few things apart from the fact that it was here that Isaac Newton discovered gravity when an apple fell from this very tree.

We enjoyed a nice lunch of Gloucester Old Spot Pulled Pork at the Chomeley Arms in Burton Le Coggles. So full were we that we didn't even have room for a desert. To which anyone who knows me well would know this to be unheard of.  The staff were very accommodating as we hadn't booked but still managed to find us a table none the less. The Cholmeley Arms sits within the Eason Estate which has an old walled garden open to visitors. We didn't visit this trip but maybe when we find a day to escape again we can make it our next trip out which also means we could return to the Cholmeley Arms for lunch and maybe leave just enough room for a desert next time.

Having had such a lovely day out on Thursday it was nice to round the day off with another surprise. The release of the latest Amanda Prowse novel. It was sat waiting for me on our return delivered as promised on it's release date.  I am a big fan of Amanda Prowse novels and have read everything she has published. Perfect Daughter is her eighth novel in her No Greater Love Series.  Perfect daughter is Jacks story. She is a wife, mother and carer to her elderly mother with Alzheimer's. She was going to be a successful career women, with the freedom to travel the world. Only life seem to have other ideas and her dreams were put on hold long ago. Of course with it's arrival it meant a queue jumper as there was no way I could leave it sitting on the bookshelf until I had worked my way through all those residing there before it arrived. So far I am just over 100 pages in and not disappointed. 

But before I go I will just remind you all that I will pick the winner for my anniversary giveaways this Sunday 12th July. so if you haven't already done so and wish to take part you can do so by leaving me a comment here, even if you don't normally comment but just like to visit don't be shy it's always nice to say hello to new followers. 

                     Have a lovely week one & all and I will be back on Sunday
                                                    with the names of the lucky winners.