Friday 28 September 2018

Scavenger Hunt - the final collection

I mentioned before that I've joined in the photo scavenger hunt organised by Mary-Lou
I've shown all my photos in previous post but here they are all together for the final post.

The Rosiness of red and Stripes

A framed view and Wings

Pedal Power and Glorious Green                                  
An Unexpected reflection and A pile of ...


  Looks smaller than you and A field of plenty 


Pretty in Pink and Bell

Equal portions and A trilogy of three

Out of the blue and Something from a song title

Repurposed and Currency

Picture Postcard Perfect and Mellow Yellow

What a fun project - I'm already looking forward to next year's subjects!

Wednesday 26 September 2018

One photo & twenty words

You know it's autumn when a dog walk turns into a food foraging exercise - blackberry and apple crumble for dinner!

Monday 24 September 2018

Me on Monday

Could it possibly be ...

the last Monday in September?

And where better to spend the day but in sunny Cambridge?

Although it was sunny, the day started with a chill in the air so it was the perfect opportunity to try out my new jacket!

Naturally, no trip to Cambridge is complete without lunch out at Aromi's. I had the circular sourdough bread with a hole in the middle filled with mozzarella, pesto and tomato with a capucinno - bellisimo!

So now we are home this Monday finds me thinking about decorating again, this time in our own house.  We want to freshen up the upstairs landing and asked my niece (who trained as an interior designer) for ideas.  Let's just say she has given us quite a few ideas and our walls are a patchwork of colours from tester pots at the moment!

I'm not sure how we're going to schedule in this messy work as it looks as if we will be having our little whirlwind of a grandson a bit more often for the next couple of months.  Our daughter started suffering with the most intense itching on the soles of her feet and the palms of her hands.  Absolutely unbearable and so much worse at night time.  The doctor's midwife was quite dismissive and said it was due to the hot weather/dry skin but R wasn't convinced.  She called the hospital who took it a lot more seriously and she's been having weekly blood tests to check her bile acids.  On Friday her levels had risen and they have diagnosed cholestasis of pregnancy which is quite a concern.  It means baby will be delivered early at 37 weeks at the latest and she has to go to hospital 3 times a week, twice to be monitored and then a weekly blood test to see if medication helps to get her readings down.  Fortunately our hospital is only 9 miles away but obviously it means that a certain young man is going to be with us more frequently as I can't see him sitting still while his mummy is hooked up to a monitor for half an hour!

It's going to be a busy few weeks ahead - be prepared for 'Me and Leo on Monday' posts from now on!

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Community spirit

On Saturday we went for a tapas lunch at a pub that was recommended to us by our son.

We went to The Green Man at Thriplow which is just a couple of miles away from the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, Cambridgeshire.  The unusual thing about the pub is that it is a Community Pub.  It's owned by the locals rather than a brewery or independent publican.  Apparently there were fears that it would close about 5 years ago and the people in the village clubbed together to buy the pub and appoint someone themselves to manage it.  The result is that it is a pub with an amazingly friendly atmosphere and the locals certainly keep it busy!

We chose a few things from the tapas menu, lamb kofta with tzatziki and pita bread, feta, black olive and cherry tomato salad, potato skins with sour cream and chive topping with crispy bacon and jalapeño peppers and then a sharing board of continental meats.

It was delicious!  Especially accompanied by a glass of Montepulciano red wine - one of my favourites.  I love the idea that the locals own the pub and any profit is ploughed back into the business.  We will certainly return - rumour has it that the Sunday roast lunches are amazing.

Monday 17 September 2018

Me on Monday

Happy Monday!

If you were to walk by my house this morning, you'd see that the work to the front garden is finished - yay!  I can't believe what a difference replacing the lawn has made, now we just have to keep it green and healthy.  My husband's a great one for water conservation and only using the rainwater that we collect for the garden for watering so the instruction 'it will need an hour of sprinkler watering every day for a couple of weeks' does not sit comfortably with him.  He looks very guilty as he turns on that outside tap every evening ...

I have a feeling he may be doing it under the cover of darkness from now on!

So I learnt a valuable lesson this week.

Never assume.  As they say 'it just makes an ass out of u and me.'

I finished knitting the blanket for the new grand-baby and realised that I was really going to miss having some knitting to do in the evenings.  So, I browsed the internet, found some newborn sized hats that were pretty.  I even found some pink and white DK wool hidden away in a drawer so it felt like the stars had aligned to say 'get knitting'.

About half way through the patterned band something didn't feel right but a pattern of sorts was emerging and I kept going, enjoying the intricacy of working on 4 needles again.  Then as I reached the shaping rows, I noticed that I should still have 80 stitches - and I had about 250.  Oops.  I did my own thing to get it into a kind of a hat shape and then headed back to the website where I found the pattern.  Turns out it was an American pattern and there are some knitting instructions that are carried out differently in the US to how we do it in the UK.  So I went back to my needles, started a new hat and took the knitting upstairs to do the first pattern row while reading the step by step instructions on the computer.  I think it's quite obvious which is the correctly knitted hat ...

Still the good news is that the first one fits a Cabbage Patch Doll perfectly so all is not lost 🤣

What about Me on Monday?  

Well this Monday finds me heading off to our daughter's to help with the decorating of the new nursery now that very big grown up boy has moved into his new room.  Time is marching on and they only have weekends in which to do any work around the home.  Our son in law has to work this weekend so that's another week gone and I know that not having the room ready is playing on R's mind, so I figure if I can even just get a couple of walls done, it's a bit less for them to do themselves.  So in the interests of not coating my phone in paint I'll miss the selfie today.  How's your Monday looking?

Monday 10 September 2018

Me on Monday

Don't you just love it when you realise that your new jacket complements a painting in your bedroom?

Of course that wasn't the only reason I bought it 😉

When we went away to Bologna earlier this year, my friend had a fab lightweight padded jacket that folded away into a bag which was such a useful item to take when the weather was a bit variable.  Everywhere we went I seemed to see people wearing these jackets, and we all know how seriously Italians take their fashion don't we?  So I waited until summer was over and started my research.  I found this jacket on the Uniqlo website and it called to me to buy it.  I love the colour (what's not to love about 'wine'?) and it seems to be one of the tones that is apparently going to be 'in' this year.  It's so lightweight yet you can tell it is going to be warm - I anticipate many outings wearing it!

So, after a few days away we are home to tackle some jobs around the house and garden.  The front garden has really deteriorated over the dry, hot summer and it's now time to enter phase two of the work out there.  We had the paving replaced earlier on, now it's time to replace the scorched lawn and ruthlessly cut back some of the planting which has been allowed to get a tiny bit ridiculously overgrown.  On Saturday I was handed the secateurs and we pruned out a lot of branches so that we can step back and decide exactly what goes and what stays.  Gardener arrives on Wednesday to dig up the lawn and re turf it so we are on a short timescale!  I like a deadline.

Tried out some new recipes since our trip away.  The lady who owned the studio has a blog and has some great recipes on there.  She had left a delicious sticky gingerbread cake for us on our arrival so I knew that I can trust her cooking.  Other people had commented on a different cake she had left for them and I had a go at that.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I have a new favourite cake.
Lemon and poppyseed loaf.  Wow.  Oh Wow.  No there isn't much left now.

Another job on my to do list today is to go through my wardrobe.  Temperatures have dropped now, sunset is about 7.30pm, Strictly is back on the TV - Autumn has arrived.  Time to move all the sleeveless summer clothes out of my hanging wardrobe and fold them into the cupboard above my bed.  A strange phenomenon though.  I pulled out a pair of navy crop trousers to wear today that I haven't worn since Spring, and they have shrunk.  Just by hanging in the wardrobe, how could that happen?  I mean that must be the case as the only other alternative is that I have overindulged over the last few months ...

Thursday 6 September 2018

A sentence a day in August

August?  How on earth have we reached the end of August?  I must be getting old because the time is just flying by.  What a good job Leslie organised us into writing a sentence a day to remind us of what the month held.  

Day 1 Our son returned from France - sounds like they had a fabulous time and a week wasn't long enough.

Day 2 Took Coco to a new dog groomers as the lady who usually cuts her fur is unwell at the moment, it was just as nerve wracking as trying out a new hairdressers for myself.

Day 3 My dad died back in 1989, but today marks the 100th anniversary of the day he was born - that sounds so strange.

Day 4 My cousin is completely renovating her house (and I mean completely!) and we went to visit to see what's been happening.

Day 5 Went to see a guitar duo at a local venue - they are so talented.

Day 6 Quiet day, visited our son and daughter in law.

Day 7 Back to Zumba after a month's break - ouch!

Day 8 Husband back at dentist for the final part of his treatment - hope this is the end of the problem.

Day 9 It rained - normally in England this would not be newsworthy but this summer has been anything other than normal!

Day 10 Spent most of the day decorating over at our daughter's house, Leo needs to have a nice new bedroom to move into so that the nursery is ready for the new baby in December.

Day 11 Our son is decorating, we've been helping with decorating over at our daughter's and so it only seems right to start freshening up our own house.  

Day 12 Temperature has dropped, normal Sunday lunch of Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding will resume.

Day 13 Went on a 'play date' with Leo to visit my friend who also had her grandson visiting for the day - this seems very strange!

Day 14 A routine check up at the opticians ended up not with a new prescription but with a diagnosis of dry eyes

Day 15 Limped round to a neighbour who is a sports therapist for an appointment to see if she can help with the tendonitis in my achilles - after an hour of deep massage I now feel as if I've run a marathon.  (Please do not accidentally read that as 'I now feel as if I could run a marathon!)

Day 16 Our 'Leo' day and it was pouring with rain so we were confined to home, but we sent 'Grandad' up into the loft and he found our son's old multi storey carpark and bucket of cars - that kept us busy for the rest of the day. 

Day 17 We have a poorly pup and so tomorrow she will be off to her least favourite place - the vet.

Day 18 Let's not mention the indignity of Coco having her temperature taken at the vets 😱, let's concentrate on a nice get together with friends in the evening sharing an Indian takeaway!

Day 19 A year ago today our son and daughter in law had their official wedding ceremony at Clissold House in London

Day 20 We have bought our grandson a play kitchen for his birthday, I decided to build it early just in case there was a piece missing when we unpacked it - all those Ikea units I've built over the years were good practice.

Day 21 A very overdue visit to the hairdressers for a cut and colour

Day 22 Popped over to visit my mother in law

Day 23 We did an early birthday dinner for our daughter and let Leo choose the balloon for the table 

Day 24 My daughter's 32nd birthday - of course I had to carry on the tradition of making her a cake!

Day 25 Temperatures have dropped, by 11am I had changed from a skirt and t shirt to chinos with a long sleeved top and I even had to rethink what I would wear in the evening when we went out for dinner with friends

Day 26 A year ago today we were celebrating our son and daughter in law's wedding on a gloriously hot summer day in a marquee in a field serenaded by a mariachi band - this year they celebrated their anniversary and housewarming with a family party in their new home.

Day 27 It's another two days away but as it was a bank holiday here, Leo's had an early birthday party - how can he possibly be almost two already?

Day 28 'Bills' restaurant in town is offering a bottle of wine up to the value of £20 free if you order two main meals so naturally we had to take advantage.

Day 29 Leo's birthday

Day 30 Festivities over, we are now preparing ourselves for looking after a young man in the 'Terrible Twos' stage one day a week (should probably start taking some multi-vitamins to get my strength up!)

Day 31 I returned to work (for one day) to help out by doing some data inputting, it was lovely to go back and catch up on everyone's news but I honestly can't say I miss the work.

So that's it - farewell to August.  Temperatures are dropping, it's getting darker earlier in the evenings and there's dew on the grass in the mornings - Autumn is definitely just around the corner. 

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Me on Monday

We're home!

When I bought this holdall in the Cath Kidson sale I wasn't sure I 'needed' it but it has really been worth it's weight in gold this year.  The perfect size for long weekends or on board airline luggage.

Anyway, it has been put to good use again this weekend for a few days away on the Suffolk coast (and it even matches my top perfectly).  We stayed at an Airbnb property for the first time and I have to say, we really were lucky with our accommodation.  It was absolutely perfect, spotlessly cleaned, well equipped and so many thoughtful touches - homemade sticky ginger cake and homemade marmalade for the humans and peanut butter flavoured treats for the dog!  If you are ever looking for somewhere to stay for a few days, I would really recommend The Studio in Orford.  It was perfect.  

Apart from our Centre Parcs trip in January, this was the first time we have taken Coco away with us.  She had a wonderful time; everywhere was so dog friendly, and she was really well behaved in the various pubs we visited for lunches, after dinner drinks or suppers.  She even made some new friends
(Why won't your human let you get out and play with me?)

We walked to the end of the pier at Southwold

Took selfies (not so easy when a dog is involved)

Walked along the promenade admiring the beach huts

Saw traditional fish sheds

Paul made up for all the gelato he missed on the last days of our trip to Italy when he had toothache

Oops, sorry, wrong photo 😜

We had fish and chips by the beach in Aldeburgh

And saw the quirky 'House in the Clouds' in Thorpeness

What a way to disguise a water tower eh?  It is available to rent as holiday accommodation, I bet the views from up there are brilliant.

Now back to reality, but what a fabulous short break we had.  There really is no need to go abroad when we have such lovely places on our doorsteps at home.  If only we could guarantee the weather!