Saturday 31 October 2009

Sloe, sloe, quick, quick, sloe

Well I found enough sloes on my foraging hunt yesterday to make my sloe gin.
I 'googled' the recipe and the first one I found had the instructions:

"Take one litre bottle of gin.
Drink half of it."

That made me smile so I went with that one! In the interests of my health and well being I have to state that I already had a half empty/full bottle of gin so did not have to bother with the first part of the recipe - hic!
So here is the picture of the fermenting drink. Should be ready for Christmas. All I have to do is gently agitate the bottle once a day. I think I can manage that!

It's Halloween tonight and I have my bowls of sweets ready and waiting. We don't have too many little kids living by us anymore but I like to be prepared for the ones who do dress up and come trick or treating. My main problem is not taking a sweet out every time I walk past the bowl in the hallway!

Friday 30 October 2009

Domestic Goddess

I would like to dispel all rumours that school secretaries do nothing except shop, lunch, play Bedazzled Blitz on Facebook and socialise during the half term breaks. Yesterday I was suddenly hit by the baking bug. First off it was a multi-seeded bread loaf, followed by a banana and walnut tea loaf, and I also have a Victoria sandwich cake ready to be taken round to my niece's new home when she moves back to this area later today. Move over Nigella!

Our house is right on the very edge of town and within 5 mins of walking out my front door I am in open countryside and it is so pretty at this time of year. As it was glorious weather yesterday afternoon (and I needed a rest after all that cooking!) I went for a lovely walk out by the lake. My route home took me across the cricket pitch that is next to our cul de sac and as I was admiring the colour of the leaves on the trees I spied some sloes growing in the hedgerow. Now we all know what Mother Nature made sloes for ... sloe gin! So today's task is to go back with container and try making my own. The only problem is that I am only 5' 1" and the sloes were fairly high up. I may end up in the sloe bush rather than harvesting it.

Meanwhile, back in Italy,
Never was a place more aptly named. Isola Bella. Beautiful Island.
From the water you just see the castle with what appears to be follies and statues in landscaped gardens. When you get up close, you can only marvel at the imagination and beauty.
We did have one day of cloudy weather and decided to get on the train to Milan. Had never been on a double-decker train before! This is a picture of the cathedral, or Duomo, which was built from the pink marble which comes from the Maggiore area. Absolutely breathtaking.

Thursday 29 October 2009

Italian pages

I've decided to use my half term off and the newly found enthusiasm for my blog to actually get around to scrapping some pages from my holiday in Italy this summer. We chose Lake Maggiore which is close to Milan as it seemed quieter than some of the other lakes and very picturesque with the Borromean Islands a quick ferry ride across from Stresa. It was SO very beautiful there.

The first page is the view from our hotel - stunning from sun rise to sun set. The 2nd page is looking across from our hotel balcony towards the mountains. This was an old palatial building that was empty but the signs of it's former grandeur were still very much in evidence. I loved the 'shabby chic' of this building and it's character was so very Italian.

Oh to be back there now .....

Wednesday 28 October 2009

A change is as good as a rest

My daughter has recently had a major career change. Having obtained at 2:1 degree in Business and Marketing and finding a job at one of the major advertising/media companies in London, she has now changed direction completely. She had worked a year doing what should have been her ideal job, using her degree and working in the busy environment of advertising, in the heart of Covent Garden. However, the commuting was wearing her down, the job was not all it had seemed to be at first, rumours of redundancy kept grumbling away and she was one very unhappy bunny.
A chance comment whilst having her hair done in a local salon resulted in a job offer and retraining at college and she is now starting a new career in ... hairdressing! It was a huge decision to make, obviously a very big cut in salary and the initial feeling of "4 years at Uni ...and now I'm a hairdresser?" but you know what - she is a changed person. She is back to being happy and actually looks forward to going to work. She's enjoying learning new things and being creative and I think that it was the best thing she could have done.
So yesterday I was her 'model' for a lesson in colouring - picture above - I'm really pleased with it and I think this is a huge lesson. Money is not the be all and end all. Health and Happiness are what matters in this life.

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Half Term - Day Two

Well, having 'spring cleaned' my blog yesterday I guess today I do need to turn my attention to that logo picture. Even though it's something that I am sure will be covered over the next month, Little Miss Impatient here is itching to have a go at doing it myself!
Now the dilemma, if I'm using a picture of my own rather than just downloading a 'Cutest Blog on the Block' page - what should I choose? So as I am home alone this morning I think a little photo shoot is in order. Cue ridiculous self timer disasters where I don't quite get back to the right side of the camera in time before the shutter goes off!
If you are reading this after lunchtime and the blue and brown palm trees are still there - you will know that somewhere in Hertfordshire is a frustrated, despondant and fed up scrapbooker who clearly shouldn't be allowed into Blogland on her own!

ps It's done! I know it's a square picture in an oblong box but trust me, it's taken a while to get it even that far. Maybe I should have waited for the class to start with proper instructions!

Monday 26 October 2009

Blogging lessons

I have joined the latest class from Shimelle which, in theory, should make my blogging so much better. Well, providing I follow what I am told to do I guess!
So in the interests of starting from scratch, I have followed the first instructions and gone back to basics. The class doesn't officially start until next week but the first page is up and running so we can all be prepared to hit the ground running on Nov 1st. My project for the next few days is to find a picture I like for my logo, not sure what to choose yet and I am sure there will be a few disasters before I find one a) that I like and b) that works. Watch this space ....

Wednesday 21 October 2009

A Vintage Page

Whilst at the crop on Sunday I bought a page kit that was designed by Michell Jackson Mogford which I absolutely loved. I had a really nice picture of my daughter and I that was taken a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to use it in a layout. I was a little bit dubious about putting a picture that included me onto a page that had the world beautiful on it but hope people who see it will realise that it refers to the lovely young blonde in the picture and not me!
I really love the vintage feel of this page, with the pearls and little bits of glitz and glamour.
So there you go, 2 posts and 2 pages in 2 days - I think I might be getting back on track!

Monday 19 October 2009


How long since I last blogged? Surely not.

But here I am with a brand new page to show following a great day at WGC yesterday.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but the flowers were made from a sheet of patterened paper from which we cut 16 heart shapes, put them onto a brad, gave it all a scrunch and voila! Almost a corsage! Was a great technique to learn and one I think I'll do again - although I do remember getting a bit impatient by the time I had cut out the 48th heart.

There was another layout to do but, ahem, I didn't like it so went onto making the minibook which is still a work in progress. Ashamed to also admit that I was a little heavy handed and one page is looking like it could fall apart any moment soon. Nothing a bit of super-glue won't sort out though ....

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Bom Dia

It's been a while since I last blogged but I have a good excuse. I've been to Portugal! My sister has a house over there and last weekend Paul and I went over for a few days. The town we stay in has had a lot of publicity over the last couple of year, and for all the wrong reasons. Praia da Luz is the holiday resort where Madeleine McCann went missing. It must be every mother's nightmare and when you are there, walking the streets that you have seen in so many news items and stood outside the church where the cameras so often filmed her mum, it seems hard to believe that such a bad thing can happen in such a lovely place.
The weather was beautiful, and I am sure that it was the very last bit of sunbathing I will get to do this year! We had some good food (thank you to the Dolphin restaurant, another amazing meal with excellent service and atmosphere) fine wine, and generally just relaxed and chilled out. Paddled in the Atlantic, walked along the beach, got the bus into Lagos for lunch in the sunshine. This is how weekends should be spent.
'Can we do this every weekend?' Paul asked as we finished off a bottle of red wine over lunch on the terrace overlooking the pool. Sounds like a good plan to me!