Sunday, 29 March 2015

Challenge catch up March 2015

This little guy has been part of our family for quite a while. Can you guess who he reminds me of.

I'm hoping you are all thinking the same as me. Mr Tumnus from The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. This has been my childhood revisited read for the month of March.  As you will all know it is part of the Chronicles of Nania by CS Lewis of which there are seven books, but this is my absolute favourite from the series.

My Dark Sorceress continues to progress.

I am now on the home straight with just this bottom half of the chart to complete.  I say the home straight there are still around 50 rows of stitching to do but she is is pretty stunning in the flesh.  The light in the cottage isn't particularly good today due to the weather and it being very dark and windy outside and therefore I don't think my photographs do justice today. 

I omitted to put the recipe on my post for the Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins so I am going to put this right today.

So to make these very yummy muffins you will need.

375g Self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
25g cocoa powder
100g firmly packed brown sugar
125g melted butter
2 eggs lightly beaten
250mls buttermilk 
250ml Nutella

Grease 12 hole muffin pan or use the little muffin cases
Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, stir in the butter, eggs and buttermilk
Spoon one third of the mixture into prepared pan/cases, top with 1 level tablespoon of Nutella. Top with remaining mixture.
Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 20 mins.

The most important part about these muffins is that in order to enjoy them at their best don't let the man in your life or anyone else for that matter especially a little Cavalier King Charles sneak one before they have a chance to cool down.

I cannot believe we are almost at the end of March already.
 Some of you will now be enjoying a well earned break for the Easter holidays if that is you I do hope you have a well earned rest.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

March Bake

This months bake are muffins.
I used to make these when the bigguns were little.  
When we moved to the cottage a lot of my books were boxed up and it is only recently that I unearthed them again.
With that in mind I decided my March bake should be one of their favourites 
Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins.
We are very fortunate here in Lincolnshire to have a number of working mills across the county.
The flour I use is from The Maud Foster Mill.
I made a batch of 12 and before I had a chance to take them out of the muffin tray onto the cooling rack D had snuffled one to have with his cup of tea. The hazelnut element of the recipe is a spoon of Nutella added to each muffin before being topped with the muffin mixture. Obviously during the cooking process the Nutella goes to goo, solidifying again whilst the muffins are left to cool.
 Before I could say anything D had  taken a bite only to find they were still gooy in the middle.
He then decided to leave it to cool down, whilst he went to refresh his cup someone decided to snuffle his muffin.
I say someone when in reality there is only one little sneak thief in our house.

Yes that would be Mr Romeo who apparently wasn't bothered that the Nuttella was still a bit gooy and scoffed the lot and on D's return was found to be sitting licking his lips with a look that said


They have now cooled completely and we have enjoyed another one with a cup of tea in the garden and I have to agree with him they are most definitely 


After the events of the eclipse on Friday when we had a very excited 11 year old in our house, who has done nothing but talk about the eclipse for the best part of the last year, the weather was a little less than favourable yesterday but it has been glorious sunshine this morning and the daffodils are out in the garden announcing the arrival of 


Have a great week one and all.


Monday, 16 March 2015

Peregrine Falcon Update

Almost exactly a month ago now I introduced you to the Peregrine Falcons who are nesting near to my office. 

Over the last four weeks there has been a lot of activity around the nesting site and we have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of an egg. 
The female has been eating a lot of the grit which I am assuming is a bit like chickens (don't they eat a lot of grit or something to help harden the shells of the eggs). 

Several times she has looked like she was about to perform only to then change her mind and fly off.

To my surprise yesterday when I logged on look what was sitting in the nesting box and on Mothering Sunday's of all days. 

then by lunchtime today there were two

My understanding is they usually have two or four (last year she hatched and raised four)

The male hadn't been around too much today

But he did bring her a mouse to share this afternoon

The female is still tooing and frowing and I am led to believe won't start to properly incubate until she has laid her last egg but there is at last something happening and I am already so excited.

I think it's now a case of watch this space.


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Happy Mothers Day

Just thought I would pop in here this morning to wish mums everywhere 

A very Happy Mothers Day


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Mother's Story

With this weekend being Mothering Sunday I thought I would tell you about one of my latest reads. 

When we returned from our trip in London there on the dining table was my latest acquisition

 A Mother's Story by Amanda Prowse.  

I am a big fan of Amanda Prowse novels since her very first Poppy Day and I can't praise her books enough.  They are always about very real subjects that some of us have dealt with in our lives.

  In this her latest novel Amanda tackles the subject of Postnatal Depression, something I have had the misfortune to have experienced first hand with two of my own children.   Her description of how her character Jess feels like she has a black cloak over her is something I can definitely relate to and the more I read the more I could resonate with the story. Fortunately for me my experience of the illness was not as extreme of that of the character within Amanda's book but as with most of these types of illnesses I was only a few steps away from being that person. Like any mental health related issues PND  still feels like is a very taboo subject.  I can remember being told by my then  MIL after number one was born, that I just needed to buck up and get on with things. If only it had been that simple.  At the time I felt totally alone and inadequate and a complete failure as a mum and I certainly wasn't going to broadcast the fact. 
I went on to have two further children without any problem and was therefore totally floored when I got it again after number 3 was born. Fortunately I had told D about the symptoms to look out for and when he realised when number 3 was about 4 months old that I was displaying symptoms of PND he whisked me off to see the GP but even after all that time I still felt ashamed that it had happened again and he wasn't allowed to tell anyone apart from his grandmother who was very supportive even though she lived some 300 miles away from us. 
 I'm hoping in writing this story that Amanda will help people to recognise the symptoms within themselves and others and get the help they need.  It is definitely one I would recommend for reading but warn you that a large supply of tissues may be needed. 


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Birthday Weekend In London

First of all thank you to everyone who has left messages on  my last two posts.  It's been so hectic I've not had a chance to leave individual replies but want you all to know they have all been read. 
I haven't had time to comment on everyone's blogs either but rest assured they too have all been read.

We had any absolutely brilliant weekend in London.  I had seen the show Mamma Mia once before in Manchester but it must be 10 years ago. It is my daughters favourite musical film and she knows all the script and the songs by heart, but she had never seen the stage show.  When I asked  her  what she wanted to do for her 21st her immediate answer was to go to London to see Mamma Mia. I have to say it was just as good second time around and we sang our hearts out and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I do think the stage production is better than the film and would definitely go again
It was strange as the weekend before we went the film was on the TV and every morning driving into work there was one of the tracks played on the radio.     

Our second show was a more sombre one.  I had wanted to see War Horse for a long time but never gotten round to it, life can get in the way of such things.  We decided that if we spent two nights in London we could get to see War Horse too.  To say we weren't disappointed is an under statement. It was absolutely magnificent and would say if you get the opportunity to see it then go. The puppets and the puppeteers are out of this world and within minutes of the show starting you forget that their are people inside operating them.  

We spent a lot of the weekend around Covent Garden.  It has to be said that this is my favourite place in London.  I love the craft markets (no surprise there) in fact it was so crowded we didn't get to see all of it. 

My best memories of growing up on the outskirts of London was coming into the capital to Covent Garden and all the street performers.  It's great to see that they are still in around the Piazza.

I have no idea how this guy did this. I did wonder if it was an auto-matron that was being worked by someone in the crowd but my daughter assures me it was a human hand that was on her head and shook her hand.  The rope walker was very entertaining and he included some of the children in the act and they earned rewards for helping.  The best was a visit to the Crusting Pipe, they have classical performers throughout the day and we were lucky enough to see ZHL Ensemble who were fantastic. If I could work out how to get video's on here from my iPad I would show you but I'm not quite that advanced yet.

This coffee shop is on St. Martin's Lane and the staff were so nice nothing was too much trouble and their coffee if very nice.  So if you're ever up in London and looking for a place to stop I would recommend them.  We went twice in one day it was that good. 

Part of her birthday treat was a meal a Jamie Oliver's Italian.  I have to say the staff were lovely and nothing was too much trouble.  The meal was excellent and I thought very reasonable on price. My daughter is not known to be a big eater but she cleared her plate and had room for a desert. We both liked the fact that there are windows into the kitchen and from our table we could see all the staff cooking.  I would definitely go again.

This was my reward  for a great birthday weekend from my daughter, from the Cath Kidston store. Just another little sheep to add to the collection.

So that's it  no teens in my house for a while, just the pre-teen so I am going to make the most of the next year before number 3 hits the magic number 13.

It was an amazing weekend and one we will both  remember.