Sunday, 8 October 2017

What A Treat!

What a treat the weather was today! Gorgeous sunshine, really warm too, a sort of bonus as it has been feeling so autumnal recently.

Today I finally got the allotment after weeks of being away at weekends or decorating the house or it raining. It needs some serious work, but I knuckled down and got some hard graft done. The weather was so warm I was wearing just a T-Shirt.....I mean not just a top, I had trousers on too but I'm a cold soul and rarely venture out in short sleeves!

The walk home was so incredibly beautiful I walked at snails pace to suck in every bit of beauty and warmth I could. It was like the summer was giving us the last ounces of her best before Autumn and Winter take hold.

I couldn't stop snapping photos of my beautiful walk home, hope you enjoy them.

Harvested Corn Flower Seeds. I will want them in my new garden:)


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Decorating Decorating Decorating :/

Plan Wales is in full swing. We want all the decorating refreshed before we put it on the market. So we've been full steam ahead planning, masking, sanding and painting. It's exhausting! As our home is so small even simple things like moving the furniture out of a room can be a nightmare as we have nowhere to put anything!
The room I'm most proud of is the bedroom. It was an awful streaky white when we moved in. The chap who owned it before seemed to have decorated the whole house with the cheapest white paint he could find. Everywhere got one coat, regardless of whether it covered the colour underneath ir not!

I saw this room in a B&Q catalogue which  was an off white with a hint of greyish/blue with a feature wall of plum. It looked fab! the catalogue. When I painted our bedroom with it, it looked dark, very dark, the whole room looked dark. And we hate decorating so much I have left it for 5 years like that!

Now we've come to move we have finally got the motivation together to decorate it. We did the main walls magnolia with the chinney breast sage green, replaced the blind and the light fitting and it looks SO much better! Why on earth didn't we do it before?! The room is lighter, brighter and just....lovely. I'm annoyed at myself for only doing it now we're leaving! Never mind, I'll appreciate it now it's here.

In other news the slow cooker is back out and I have a lamb stew on at the moment using local lamb and my own squash :D
I HAVE TO GO TO THE ALLOTMENT TOMORROW!! Even though I will be on my own and won't have Dh to remove a massive web that is over the top of my Welly and may have the spider also residing inside I must go!! Must start plot clearing or the weeds will take over. It's been so wet here recently it's hard to find a dry day when we've not been doing anything.

On the craft side I crocheted a lovely hat. It's a bit big but I enjoyed it, especially the flowers so I will do another one a bit smaller. I have also started crocheting socks. I haven't done any before and I'm not really following a pattern...I've gone rogue! ;)

Hope all is all with everyone :)

My newly decorated bedroom complete with my beloved Grandmas furniture x

Monday, 25 September 2017

A Trip To Wales

We've had the first of many trip to Wales the last couple of days. We caught up with friends and on the Monday they took us up and around the Gower Peninsula area. It was breathtakingly beautiful. We stopped off in many villages and beauty spots and they also took us to many areas they thought we might want to buy in.
We had a scrumptious Sunday lunch in Tenby then headed back towards Swansea. Today we went for a stroll in Rhossilli. They day weatherwise was much better today, gorgeous sunshine. We did some more exploring and took in the local area. I was trying to get the courage together to say good morning in Welsh to someone...I failed :(

We need to get the bedroom decorated now as a priority which we have decided to do this weekend as we keep procrastinating and not getting it done!

We still have reservations about the move as we will be moving further away from friends and family but it still feels like the right thing to do. It is scary though. If anyone had done anything similar moving to an entirely new area and wants to offer any thoughts it would be much appreciated!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Getting The House Ready For Selling

We live in a maisonette, which is basically a house that has been split into 2 flats, we live in the upstairs and we have a neighbour downstairs. We have lived here for 7 years and have given it a lot of love in that time, it needed it! But knowing we will soon be putting it on the market has given us the much needed push to do the last few cosmetic jobs before we can finally say it's finished- and move on to the next one!

Last Monday my Dad drove up from Dorset and hung some new doors for us, fitted our new shower door, replaced a light fitting, fitted a blind  and did a bit of tile repair for us.

Now we just have to do some decorating to freshen up 2 of the rooms and the porch and we're ready to go on the market!

So excited about this next chapter in our lives! If the weather stays fit this weekend I will hopefully get to paint the decking and I MUST get to the allotment which has been severely neglected the past few weeks.

On the craft side I am crocheting a hat and have been making gluten free crackers from buckwheat flour which is delicious.

Will check in again soon!


Sunday, 3 September 2017

A Little Catch Up

From now, until the end of September is so busy, almost every day on the calendar  has something written on it! We are pressing forward with the plan to move and had my parents up last weekend as my Dad is going to do a bit of DIY for us as he is a pro at it to help our home be ready to go on the market.

I had a couple of friends up last weekend for 2 days. We had lovely weather. I saved some of the money I got for my birthday and it was lovely to be able to treat them to lunch at my favourite cafe. We went for walks, went blackberry picking, played games and had general merriment. It was lovely
Work has been busy. It has undergone a big expansion and unfortunately now every day seems a bit chaotic and I am having to do regular overtime to cover for people being on holiday or off sick, which I don't really like to do as I value my time much more than a little extra money (not that we don't need it, I just don't want to be at work all the time). I won't be sorry to leave really when we move so it will be an easy tie to cut.

I have not been doing a lot craft wise but I am still working hard learning Welsh and we have been re-enacting recently doing Lacock At War and we have Bude At War coming up too.

We went over a friends house for dinner last night and we played games and had fun. It was realy fun. Today, I started the day by making dh pancakes with stewed blackberries (handpicked from the hedgerows), I've sat with my coffee and had a short read. It is raining here very hard but I promised a friend some allotment produce so I will go down their and pick some bits. We are going to call in for a cup of tea with one of my lovely elderly lady friends, I am going to do some more Welsh, do the ironing and go and pick up a second hand computer monitor dh got off Ebay yesterday as his has packed up and he got this one really cheap :)

My walking challenge continues and I am loving it. In mid August I challenged myself to walk 500 miles before the end of the year (walking round at work etc doesn't count). It has really motivated me to be more active, I walked 6 miles yesterday. Sometimes it's hard to find the time, but I seem to be managing at the moment :)

All in all, a busy time but I will try and keep posting in September as much as possible. We have a trip to Wales planned, more reenacting shows, decorating and DIY to do, the allotment shed to paint, the decking here to finish painting, as well as working full time. Life is exciting at the moment and I am enjoying all the challenges and changes that are happening because of it :)

Breakfast pancakes for Dh
All the extra walking before and after work means I get to see some great sunrises and sunsets. Yesterday I saw 4 deer first thing having a nibble on the hedgerows :)

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

What I Do As Soon As I Get Up

Since we came back from Australia, I have started doing something in the morning I can't imagine ever stopping as I enjoy it so much.

I've never been one for getting up in the morning and putting the tele on, occasionally the radio, but not the tele. I like quiet in the morning. It's calming and I think it's a much nicer way to wake up. I don't even like a lot of lights on if I can help it, prefering natural light or lamps, if neccessary. I used to get up and potter round doing jobs until I was ready to go to work or whatever. But now I get up, make dh and I a tea or coffee, go into the lounge, sit and read, for about 20 minutes. I love it. I love the quietness, I love just sitting, I love hearing the cars of people rushing past going about their daily business. Burt usually comes and joins me. Dh usually goes straight to his office, or if it's a weekend sometimes he stays in bed and has an extra half an hour, so it's always just me. It's lovely.

I usually read factual books rather than novels, but that's just me. I know it's easier for me as I don't have children but I still see this time as a treat. I'm more of a morning person than an evening one so I know I wouldn't do this in an evening, plus there's something about the stillness of the morning that makes my quiet, early morning read even more enjoyable :)

I was at Lacock At War reenacting the weekend just gone so have lots of catching up jobs to do this week before guests arrive for the weekend. We have a busy September coming up before everything quietens down for winter.

My Current Book Bought Second Hand Is Absolutely Fascinating. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Visiting Friends

For the last couple of days we have been away visiting friends in Portsmouth. They are such lovely people, its always a treat to catch up.

We arrived on Monday afternoon and after a cup of tea and catch up, and showing each other our latest ww2 finds, as they are also into reenactors, took their dog out for a good walk, whilst taking the foraging bag. We managed to forage apples from some trees on public land and blackberries. M was also eyeing up stone fruit (that I'd not heard of before) , hazelnuts and plums that wern't quite ready yet. In the evening we socialised and watched A Royal Night Out, I love that film!

On Tuesday we went round Portsmouth historic dockyard and went round some of the museums. We have been before so it was sort of a continuation of our last visit. The weather was devine and I love going on the water bus, which is a free service of a little boat, that takes you from one side of the harbour to another. You get a good view of all the boats moored up too :)

We went round loads of antique and vintage shops and I brought a beutiful woollen deep red dress which will be perfect for when the weather cools off. I also found a large vintage cotton Union Jack flag for my WW2 display. It was attached to a wooden flag pole. It measures approx 2.5 ft x 3.5ft. Anyone who has tried to buy a material flat will know how expensive they are. I got mine for £15, which was a steal! We stopped off for lunch then went round more shops and a final museum before heading home.

We walked the dog in the evening and relaxed. I slept well that night.

On Wednesday we went to the Explosion Museum. This was extremely interesting and had lots of information about the women who worked in the munitions factories is WW2 as well as a history of munitions. I learnt a lot, and could have spent longer there if we didn't have to head off, as I was dog walking in the afternoon so we said our goodbyes and headed for home. 
Forging for blackberries and apples that will be made into jam. We got a jar to take home with us :)
Dog walking! 
The Explosion Museum

Monday, 14 August 2017

A Weekend Intentionally Slow

Dh was away for the weekend. He got up at 4am on Saturday morning and started getting ready. At 4:45am I got up and made him French toast and an earl grey tea. At 6am he said goodbye and left, so I put the kettle on, made myself a coffee and sat down in the lounge with a book for half an hour. It was lovely just sitting in the quiet dawn with a book and it is something I do most mornings, but that is a post for another day.

Having the weekend to myself and with so much going on for the next few weeks especially at weekends I wanted to spend this weekend at a slow pace. Not, not doing anything as I had much I wanted to accomplish, but spending my time mindfully, enjoying every aspect of all of the homely tasks I set out to do, spending quiet time reflecting, reading and just enjoying my own company. Sometimes the weekends seem to go by in the blink of an eye and I wanted to embrace this alone time I had, and savour every minute of it. Here's what I got up to.

On Satirday I cycled to the allotment, did some work then went for a country cycle. This path was really long and I had to cycle into really strong wind the whole way!
The first of the runner beans from the plot. I cut my finger using my runner bean slicer :( I blanched them and popped them in the freezer.
Lovely looking elderberries I saw on my walk I went on Sunday
This meal is made mostly from allotment produce including beetroot, peas, courgette and spring onion.
I walked to a local cafe and had this lovely lunch. It was made with local produce and decorated with edible flowers. It was really cheap too and I sat for an hour and read with a coffee before walking back in the sunshine :) 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

A Facebook Update

It's been a couple of months since I came off Facebook and I thought people might be interested in how it was going seeing as it is such a big thing these days and practically EVERYONE seems to be on it.

Well, I am still off it and have no plans to go back on. The only thing I might do is go and download all the photos on there so I can print them off and keep them- yes, actual hard copies of photos! So few people seem to do that these days. I miss them!

The main thing I've noticed since coming off Facebook is firstly, how little I missed it after only about 3 days and secondly, how much nicer it is to stay in contact with people. What I mean by that is that the real friends I have are messenging me through text, email or Wattsapp and we have an actual conversation. Not just a 'like' here and there as we skip through our 'newsfeed' but actual conversations that are engaging and meaningful. Friends are sending me photos they are posting on FB, as they know I won't see them, and we have a chat about them and catch up. They make a real effort and I do the same. Since I came off FB one of my friends had sent me 2 lovely cards thanking me for my support to her during a difficult time. We were always close but chat almost every night now I'm off FB.

The thing I wonder is 'do I miss seeing what 'not close' friends are doing?'. A bit, maybe. But not enough at the moment to go back on. I think because most people only put the good things they get up to on FB, it can give you a distorted view of other people's lives. With true friends you know not only of the good bits that they put on FB but you will be aware of all of the struggles and hard times they go through too as it is likely you will be supporting them through it. If all you really know about someone is what they put on FB then, maybe the view you see of their life, can be misleading.

I know FB is a great way for some people to keep in touch, and for people, not like me (!) who can go on it occasionally and enjoy it for what it is, it's great. But, as DH was saying today. What would the world be like if, for one month, the internet was just turned off. What if we all went back to the 80's for a month, not that long ago when you think about it. No social media, no internet, no Instragram or Twitter, no YouTube or email. Back to letters, phone calls, postcards(!), posted newsletters and 4 channels on the tele. No digital radio, Kindles, CD players, smart phones, mp3 players or DVD players. What would everyone do instead of looking at their phones all the time?!

I am definately going to be thinking more about the technology we let into our lives. I don't believe modern is always better and I think it's easy to get sucked in to modern life. It's not easy to stay on a more traditional path as, with everyone on social media etc, you can feel like you're left out if you're not 'staying current' or on a friends Facebook Chat Group or Forum.

So, I am going to make the effort to reach out to all my friends on FB (there arnt many!). I have 5 friends I regularly Wattsapp message and would consider very good friends. I am going to go back on FB tonight and let everyone know I'm coming off FB (in case they hadnt noticed) and give people my mobile number if they don't have it,  and let them know they can message me or write to me and let me know they want to keep in touch and we can message or write snail mail. If people don't want to then that's fine, I'm happy to let things move on. If they do, great! It will hopefully be a good way to get properly back in touch with people. I feel maybe I shouldn't ask people to be the first one to make the effort to message me but I don't have everyone's contact numbers so I will need people to message me so I can contact them back.

I hope by doing this I will be able to have a more personal relationship with people In may have lost touch with apart from through Facebook. I realise I'm rambling now, I hope I haven't offended anyone with my Facebook post. It's just my thoughts. Nighty night.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Mondays Are My 'Doing' Day

Unlike a lot of people, I actually like Mondays. Mostly because I only work until 2pm, then I get to spend the rest of the day doing all sorts of jobs. I like this because it means that when we go re-enacting at the weekends or visit friends I haven't got  a mad dash on Sunday night to get everything done, I know I have Monday afternoon to catch up. Sometimes I go to the allotment, sometimes I spend it at home. Today, it was the latter.

When I got home I sorted the allotment produce I had picked the day before, cutting runner beans and making an early start on dinner by grating beetroot and prepping spring onions and herbs.

I had washing to fold and ironing to do. I made Dh a GF quorn and mushroom pie using the buckwheat flour I got from Approved Food. I served it with vegetables including beetroot, spring onion and peas from our allotment. I also used my own fresh herbs.

Once Dh had gone to meet friends I did some of my Welsh studies. I have just been doing some crochet. I am still working on my crocheted cushion cover and am watching  David Starkeys Monachy, which I aways enjoy.

It's not going to win any awards but it was made with love and actually tasted really good :)

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Day Out At The Seaside

We had a few plans for today but nothing very concrete and nothing particularly exciting until Dh announced this morning that he wanted to go to Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis is a seaside town I had vague memories of visiting as a child, and he looked it up and thought it looked nice. So after a hearty breakfast cooked by Dh I got my 1992 £1 road atlas out (never lets us down....except for when there is new roads built since 1992 and I get...confused ; ) and we were off!

Lyme Regis is absolutely delightful. It's a seaside town that has moved with the times but also has a classic look, offering lots of independent and quirky shops, as well as a beautiful beach. We started with a walk along the beach, which was bustling with people arriving and setting up their wind breaks and parasols, then as we were coming back up through the gardens leading away from the beach a black cloud came over and the heavens opened. We sheltered in the band stand and waited for it to pass over. As we walked on we could smell the trees and flowers mixed with that gorgeous 'cool rain on a warm day' smell :)

We went for a look round the town and found some lovely quirky shops including an independent stationers and a few secondhand bookshops. We found a fab cafe called Aroma which had a fantastic menu including loads of veggie, dairy free and gluten free options. I had stuffed mushrooms and dh had a sandwich with rainbow salad and a cranberry rock cake. The cost was very reasonable and it had a lovely atmosphere. It was nice to sit and watch the world go by.

We explored thr town further and found some lovely antique and curio shops to look around.

We headed back home mid afternoon. We would love to go back. We had a great day :)

We got caught in a downpour!


Friday, 4 August 2017

Approved Food

After the success of our Approved Food order last month, I wasn't planning on doing another order yet as we still have plenty left but I went and had a little look to see if there was any good deals and there was lots of Organic and Gluten Free products  (for dh) so I did another order which will last AGES!

Here's what I got:

2 Packs Organic Tortilla wraps
1 Pack Organic Amisa Crispbreads
50 Earl Grey teabags
2 x 450ml Organic Coconut Oil
1 x Organic Date Syrup
2 boxes Organic Sun dried tomato oatcakes.
4 Doves Farm Apricot and Chia Bars
4 Doves Farm Banana and hemp bars
4 Cashew and peanut bars
2 x 250g Finn Rye Crackers
2 x 500g Green Lentils
1 x Mayonnaise
2 x GF Sourdough loaves
1 x Organic Almond Butter 170g
1 x Orgran Coco O's (a treat for dh!)
3 x Rawbite Peanut Bars
2 packs GF rolls
2 loaves GF bread with amaranth
1 x Sharpham Park Organic Bran Flakes
2 x Muesli 450g
40 Organic Tea Bags
1kg Pumpkin Seeds

We got all that for £32.68 +p&p which I think is pretty darned tootin good!
The bars are great for lunch boxes or emergency car snacks and everything else will be used with plenty of allotment veg and fresh produce. It will help us to save money for our move!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Planning And Exciting Times

I am feeling pretty excited right now. Dh and I have been to a meeting with a mortgage advisor today to see if the bank will help us as we want to move to Wales :D
It is something we have been thinking of doing for some time now and now Dh has a possible job opportunity there. So this time next year we may have moved!

There is a lot to do between now and then: we have to finish decorating and redecorating the house ready for selling, I need to get my skills up together to give me the best opportunity for employment when we move and we need to sell the house etc.

All being well we will move from a maisonette to an actual house of our very own with a proper garden!!

Our aim is to out our home on the market 1st March 2018, and before then there is so much to do, which pleases me, I love a challenge :)

Looking forward to sharing all our plans. Anyone in Wales? Hello! I am doing well learning Welsh and am excited I'll be able to use it in 'real life' in our many trips over before we move :)

One of the beautiful views that Dh took on a recent trip to Wales

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Making The Best Of A Frustrating Situation

On Monday DH had to go to Cardiff for the day. He dropped the car off to me as he was getting the train, came in to work, gave me some fruit (he's lovely like that :) ), then went off to get the train. 

He got off the train at Cardiff, put his hand in his pocket to get his wallet out, and pulled out the car keys!

He had come into my work, given me some fruit but not the car keys so I could get home! I'm as bad, I didn't remember either :/  So I finished work at 2pm and had 4 hours to kill. What to do.....

I didn't want to hang around at work so I hit the road! Unfortunately the weather wasn't great, it's been raining here on and off all week. But I walked in to town and did a little jaunt for about half an hour then I went to the library. I passed a very enjoyable hour looking at all the books, noting some i might want to get out in the future, then I selected one and withdrew it.

Whilst I didn't want to spend a lot of money, with the rain now very heavy I took sanctuary in a coffee shop and spent an hour with a coffee and reading in a warm armchair. I also enjoyed watching people scurrying past with their umbrellas up. I love people watching.

With the rain having eased I then went for another walk followed by a trip to the supermarket to look for yellow ticket bargains. I wandered round to the cinema to see how long Dunkirk was going to be showing for, then walked to the station to wait for dh.

It wasn't an ideal afternoon, I had plans to do washing, cleaning and ideally the allotment if the weather had been fine. But actually it was nice to do not a lot, no pressure to rush back or do anything. It would have been nicer if the weather was better and I could have gone for a longer walk, but never mind.

Dh got back full of apologies, but no apology was necessary. He was doing important planning for our future and my afternoon was just fine :)

Yes, I did have a little slurp or two before I remebered to take the photo!
The book I got out the library. 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Prisons And I Go Back A Long Way. . . . .

I have, what some people might think to be a slightly strange interest, and I blame my parents!! 

Although it may be my slightly skewed childhood memory of things, but I remember going to, what seemed like a lot of historical prisons as a child, when we went on holiday. 

I'm sure we didn't go to that many, and maybe some of the memories are attached to museums, but I really feel like we did! I love British History and the rich texture of stories woven in to our culture. 

I remember when I was about 7 years old we went on a canal boat holiday. I loved it! One of the rules of hiring the boat was that you must be moored up safely for the evening before nightfall. I remember one evening there were very few mooring sites and we were chugging along as dusk was falling looking for somewhere to moor up. We went along for a bit and came across this nice quiet area where no other boats were, perfect! My parents noticed, in the fading light, that we were moored up by, what they thought to be a boarding school. We settled down for the night, then the next morning got up and inspected our new surroundings. My parents then realised that the 'boarding school' we had been moored up outside all night was actually a prison, and probably the reason why we had the riverbank to ourselves for the night! 

I discussed my recollections of childhood prisons with my sisters via a Facebook (when I was still on Facebook) chat and they could also remember going to historical prisons on holiday but didn't seem to remember them as clearly as me, and certainly don't seem to have the same interest in adulthood. Then, about 3 weeks later, I got a postcard from my parents, who were away on holiday and this was in the content.....!

"Went To Dartmoor Prison Museum, very interesting"
They're still going now!! And they have passed on the bug to me. A few years ago Shepton Mallet, Somerset, Prison closed after about 400 years of service, on and off. You are now able to visit and have a guided tour, until it is turned into houses and luxury flats next year, and all the history will be gone forever. I took the opportunity to book DH and I into the tour and we went today. The tour lasted about 2 hours and was very interesting. It focused more on the more recent history of the prison rather than the older side, but we got to see all over the prison and the tour was with a former guide so it was a really detailed talk which was nice. There was about 35 of us on our tour. I found out lots of things I never knew, for example, while not in use as a prison, one of the wings served as a secure hold for many Treasures Of The Realm, that were evacuated from London during WW2. It is unknown whether or not this included the Crown Jewels or not, but certainly many priceless articles were housed there including the Doomesday Book and the HMS Victory Log Book.

We had an interesting time, and I don't care that some people think it's odd, I will carry on visiting historical prisons, maybe Dartmoor next! We went to Fremantle Prison whilst visiting Australia this year. It is the second time I've been there and it is really interesting, you can certainly learn a lot, particularly about history. If anyone has any recommendations ot has also visited a historical prison please let me know :)

At it's time of closing Shepton Prison held people given 'life' sentences. 

Shepton was known as a 'working' prison. This meant most of the inmates when not doing educational courses worked in part of the prison doing things like packing for retail outlets. 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Saving Bees

I LOVE bees. I think the job they do is amazing and I think it's very worrying how endangered they are becoming and what the future may hold for us without them.

Whilst at my Dads birthday BBQ yesterday, which was a total washout (!), my sister noticed a bee laying very still on the ground. Knowing that bees can get very tired when they're hungry and low on sugar she nudged it onto a plate and added some sugar water to it. Straight away the bee started drinking the water and sipped it for a good 5 minutes on and off. It then sat resting for a further 5 minutes before flying away :) Lots of people at the party didn't know about offering bees sweet water if they look tired to help them out and they said they would definately keep an eye out for bees needing help in the future.

My Dad enjoyed seeing friends and family together for his BBQ and, ever a glass half-full man, he had the BBQ out under a gazebo anyway, with the buffet in the conservatory. The rain was torrential and non-stop all afternoon. 

We're seeing friends today and may go and see the new film Dunkirk if we're back in time. Raining again which won't help my chances of drying the washing!