Monday, 31 December 2012


With only a few hours left to go of 2012 here is my review of the year.

One of the early highlights of the year was celebrating Mr C's grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary.
It was lovely visiting Yorkshire, where they live.  The day after the event we went to Howarth.  How I love this place.

Soon after this we moved in with Mr C's parents! A couple of months later we moved in to our new home!! On the day we moved in we found this lovely note from the previous owner.

We were most excited to own a garden! After living in our previous maisonette for 6 years we were craving an outdoor space of our own. I loved looking in the garden week on week and discovering all the flowers that were appearing.

We loved our new home but the initial delight was swiftly replaced with the realisation that there was much DIY to be done as there were (and still are) many parts where our tastes clashed with the previous owner.
Then in May we celebrated my Mum's 60th birthday in our garden.

 In the summer Mr C had a business trip to New York and I had time off work to go with him.

 When we got back we threw ourselves into DIY and re-did the lounge.
I love how on a blog you can state things so matter-of-factly. 
Living through this was a nightmare!!
After having the room re-wired and re-plastered the rest was down to us.
Here is a shot of Mr C after he sanded the original Victorian wooden floor!
I have to admit that I wasn't very useful in the DIY department but I did supply plenty of tea and treats.
On my birthday Mr C fitted the skirting boards.
Gosh, I'm feeling exhausted just looking at all the work we did! Hope you're keeping up O.K!
This brings us to December.
Our home was starting to feel homely and 'us'.
Very exciting to open the 'Christmas box' for the first time in our new home, whilst remembering last year when we packed up the decorations for the last time in our old place.
And now we're up to date!!! Today is Mr C's birthday so in honour I baked my first batch of cake pops.
Well that was a whistle stop tour of my year!!
Strange, really, how a W-H-O-L-E year can be condensed into so few pictures and words but I haven't been blogging at all this year and wanted to be able to look back on 2012 in the future and remember such an eventful year.
In amongst all these fabulous moments there were moments of sorrow too.  I always meant for this blog to be an upbeat place but life isn't always easy and I want my blog to reflect who I am and not just how I'd like to be viewed. So 2012 was also the year when I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis and suffered a compressed spine. 
That's life for you.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

A time of transition

The end of March....already??? really?? This year is whizzing by.  I've been absent from blogland for a while so this is a catch-up post, largely for my own benefit, but feel free to come along for the ride!

Lots has been happening in my patch.
For starters............
Yep, that's right. We finally sold our house! Big high fives all round.  We're currently living with Mr C's parents whilst we wait for our new house to be ready.  So far, so good although hopefully our house will come through soon so we don't outstay our welcome. We've purchased a Victorian house so get ready for this blog to take on a Victorian restoration theme!

Mainly the last few months/weeks/days have involved us doing this.
Boy, oh boy was everyone right when they said moving is one of life's stressful moments.

In between the packing and general chaos that has been early 2012, we've managed to keep up some sort of life.  I nearly said normality but, in fact, the bits below are more unusual than usual.

There was Mr C's business weekend in Frankfurt that I managed to tag along to......!
Valentine's Day was celebrated in our own low-key way!
A lovely weekend away in Yorkshire to celebrate Mr C's Grandparent's Golden Anniversary.

Now that our house has been packed away it's time for us to turn our attention to the allotment.  Honestly, there's no rest around here! Today we had the most glorious sunshine and the planting phase began.  Spinach, broad beans, spring onions, peas and radishes are in.

It's good to be back up and running though.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Frappy Mirthday!

A long time ago, at uni, we realised - almost too late- that it was our house mate's birthday.  We didn't have a cake, we didn't have candles BUT it was all O.K as we had alphabet potato shapes.  Unfortunately, we didn't have a H or B.....but not to worry we had an F and M.  That's when 'Happy Birthday' became 'Frappy Mirthday'.  It's stuck in my head over the years.

*Luckily I had all the correct letters today!
Anyway, today is Mr C's birthday.....and it's a BIG, SPECIAL one that calls for SPECIAL things and extra effort.  So I decided to bake.  From the photo yesterday (and the one above!) did you manage to guess what sort of cake it is?

Surely, you must have guessed by now?

uh huh, you got it - RAINBOW CAKE!

It's quite fiddly and time consuming but totally worth it for the gasps of amazement you get as it's cut and boy does it taste good.  I followed the tutorial over at Pippa's Long Stockings and it worked out well.  I chose lemon curd (as it is ADORED in our family) to go in between each layer along with butter cream. 

Happy 30th Birthday Mr C!
Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, 30 December 2011

One week

Can you believe it? Almost a whole week has gone by.  This time last week I was..... the allotment harvesting my Brussels sprouts ready for Christmas Day.
......and tugging my red cabbages out of the ground.  You just can't beat braised red cabbage - delish!

........gazing at the decorations on our tree, reminiscing and wondering HOW it was Christmas 2011. Didn't the year just fly by?

........imagining all the food that we would be tucking into the next day.

Ah.  I do love Christmas and they way it brings everyone together. I hope you all had a lovely time.
Today I have been busy preparing for a certain someone's special birthday.
Can you guess what I'm making?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Feeling festive

Hello! I know I've been gone for a while, but I'm still out there!
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas at home! We LOVE preparing for Christmas in our home and now that it is December it seems OK to start getting ready! I've been busy indulging in festive activities which all kicked off with my Christmas cake making.

Mmmmmm! The smell of the fruit steaming in sherry was truly wonderful!

Icing the cakes is the fun part! I decided to make one giant cake for us and then lots of small cakes to give away to colleagues.

Don't they look sweet!

My next crafty moment involved making a wreath for our front door. A local church was holding a  'festive florals' workshop.  It was a great experience watching experienced florists work and learning lots of top tips from them whilst slurping down my first mulled wine of the year.  Ah mulled wine, don't you just love it?
All the materials were set out for us including lots of lovely bits to decorate with. I was positively SQUEALING with excitement when I saw all the sparkly bits and bobs!

Not too bad for my first attempt!
It has definitely made me want to attempt more floral projects.  A new year's resolution perhaps?

Right, I'm off to put the lights on the tree.
I hope you're starting to feel festive too!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Down on the allotment we've started clearing the raised beds before winter sets in.  There's still plenty to harvest though and yesterday I enjoyed collecting the squashes and pumpkins on our pumpkin patch. After the spell of sunny weather the pumpkins have turned from green to vibrant orange.

I enjoyed my break from the back-breaking digging to arrange them all in a pile. Quite a collection isn't it?  Those pumpkins are destined to become pumpkin pies.  Mmmmmmm! We love a good pumpkin pie in this household.
I'm particularly looking forward to trying these Turk's turban squashes. They look so attractive and you can see how they got their name! Anyone got any recipe ideas?

Monday, 3 October 2011

The surprises continue....

If you read my last blog post then you'll know about my surprise anniversary weekend treat.
Let me fill you in on Saturday's surprises.  Come with me on my journey through the day and discover each moment of simple pleasure as I discovered it.

On Saturday morning I woke up and.............
Marvelled at the beautiful landscape in the morning light..........
Fired up the stove for an early morning brew...............
Took delivery of a breakfast hamper............
Drank my tea whilst basking in the morning sun........................
Enjoyed my cooked breakfast.

All that excitement and before my usual day had even begun!
Well, next I was informed that I needed to get dressed ready to explore the farm and meet some of the inhabitants....
Then it was time for another surprise activity down by the lake....
When we got there I saw that there was some equipment waiting for us......
We managed to create this ....
.....and then we paddled to the other side of the lake to enjoy a delicious picnic.
In the late afternoon we headed back to our place for a cuppa.....
Next the girlies baked bread to make pizza bases........
Whilst the boys got the camp fire ready.
Next stop was the wood furnace to cook our pizzas.....

Before enjoying another camp fire meal.............

It was a pretty perfect Saturday in my book.