Saturday, 24 September 2011

If you go down to the woods today......

If you go down to the woods'll find sloe berries ready to make your sloe gin for Christmas.  Slurp. Hic.
My friend Hannah and I went out today armed with plastic bags and Tupperware boxes to collect as many of the berries as we could. Hannah is very knowledgeable about forageable things and had seen these berries a few weeks ago in a wood near her house.   Last year, I bought some preserving bottles ready to make the drink but I didn't know where to look for the berries. B I G thanks to Hannah for sourcing them!

These ones are a cross between sloes and plums but we also collected some smaller pure sloes. 

Ouch! The hawthorn was a bit prickly!!
I've got to prick the berries with a cocktail stick before placing them in the freezer.  Then, after a few days, I'll be able to add the sloes to the gin with some sugar and then patiently wait til it has been flavoured.  The gin should make some lovely Christmas pressies.

It was so lovely to walk and talk and catch up on each other's news.
We sat and marvelled at the autumnal colours and found lots to interest us.

I've known Hannah for practically my whole life, she's older (and wiser!) than me by only 2 days and we've been as close as can be and then far apart, but through it all we've turned out to be pretty similar in both personality and interests.  We both have a love of simplicity, nature, crafting, homemade items, quilting, preserving and baking to name but a few. When we became best friends at school (aged around 7 I think?) we used to sit in the playground sewing together and it's such a joy that decades on that friendship has lasted and that we're still creating together. 
Friendship is a beautiful thing.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Happy moments

It has been a busy week at work but there have also been happy, simple moments in between the busyness of everyday life.

1) Getting on with my blanket! I've kept to my stripe a day promise and it's starting to look blanket-like rather than scarf-like! Here I am doing it on the train...
2) Lighting my new candle! I saw this when I was shopping with my Mum.  I loved, loved, loved the fact you could buy a glass shade to go on top.  It smells like autumn and creates a lovely glow in the house.

3) Going out for wine with the girls on a lazy Sunday afternoon - there's nothing like chatting away the time with close friends.  Love this wine bar in Covent Garden.

4) Cooking! One of the best things about having the allotment is that we can grow weird and wonderful things that cannot be purchased in the shops.  I saw seeds for spaghetti squash and HAD to try it.  Really, a vegetable that looks like spaghetti - who wouldn't want to grow it????!
I didn't imagine it would actually look like spaghetti but here is the proof!

I just invented a tomato/feta/seafood sauce and we ate it as if it was spag bol.
Delish and low carbs so good for the waistline too!

5) Getting given a diary as a pressie from my Mum.  She certainly knows what sort of things I love!
This really makes for eye candy of the highest order.  I can't wait to show you the pictures, month by month......If I can wait that long!

So many happy moments to be found in between the craziness of my day to day life.
I'm so glad I can record these things as a record for the future.

Hope you all are enjoying your small, happy moments.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Wave that flag!

It had been like this for much of the past week......

But, on Saturday I had my fingers crossed for blue skies as we were off to....

Have you guessed yet?......

The last night of the Proms in Hyde Park!
What a great evening it was! Pimms and wine in our glasses, flag waving, patriotic singing and picnic eating in abundance. A night of celebrating being British.

I've been going for the last 11 years and wouldn't miss it for anything! It's a lovely way to end the summer in the open air.  A highlight for me was explaining the genius (!) of Rolf Harris along with his didgeridoo and wobble board to a Mexican friend who was visiting London.  I'm not sure he quite followed what was going on whilst the rest of us loudly sang 'Tie me kangaroo down, sport'.....!

Sunday was a homely day.  I went down to my allotment plot to collect my veg for the week and found that I still had lots of beetroot to eat up.   Hmmmmm......what to do with them all?

I fancied trying something a little different and stumbled on this beetroot and chocolate cake by Nigel Slater.  What could be better than chocolate cake that actually counts towards your 5-a-day?!
It's really gooey, chocolate-y and well, just plain-all-round-YUMMY!
If you, too, have plenty of beetroot lurking about I would recommend giving it a go. 
I enjoyed mine served with creme fraiche and poppy seeds as Nige (do you think he'd mind me calling him that?!) suggests.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

☀ Just when you think it's all over...☀

Just when we think the summer is over and autumn is creeping up on us, out comes the sun to say 'not yet, summer's not quite over yet'.  Hooray! After some distinctly autumnal days we've had a few extra days of glorious sunshine. Of course, you have to make the most of any such weather round these parts and where better to go than the seaside?????

Last week my friend Ab, her little one, Flori and I headed to Hastings for a girls day out. I didn't manage to get many pics because little Flori kept us on our toes.  Yes, we were dashing here, there and everywhere to keep up with her. Before you knew it she'd be off having seen another dog (She ❤'s dogs) although she insisted on stroking the dog on the 'wrong' end! Ewwwww.
When Flori had reached a sugar low and, quite frankly, so too had the grown-ups (!!!) we stumbled upon this rather quaint little tearoom in a children's bookstore.  Cute isn't it?? Pink milk was on the menu along with smarties cookies. YUM!
Yesterday was another ☀ day so we jumped in the car for an impromptu late afternoon trip to catch some early September ☀. It was hot, hot, hot! Mr C wanted to take me somewhere special, somewhere he knew I would love so.....destination Whitstable it was.
On the journey I got on with my ripple blanket.  I'm doing well with my CAL one-a-day and it's growing at a rate of...well....ripples!!
Fresh seafood was on the menu for our lunch and oh my, it felt soooo summery!
Oysters for the Mr.  A bit too slippery for me.
After our late lunch the sun was beginning to set and the sky was delicately painted with brush strokes of subtle colours. We sat and watched the unfolding scene, enjoying quite possibly our last seaside sunset of the summer.
There was just time for one last summery ice cream before we got in the car and headed for home.