Sunday, 11 November 2012

Bargainous Delights

When my wonderful husband took me out to dinner on Friday night, my equally wonderful daughter made a lavender salt hand scrub, which dare I say is probably more appetising than the lavender cordial I made!

I picked up this patch work wool bag for a pound at a car boot sale on Saturday morning.  It's stuffed to bursting with wool I'm using to make a mini throw for my 'was to be a cracket'.  Yes, I swung by an amazingly stuffy, stacked to the gunnels antique place, on my way to the car boot and found a stool of just the right proportions for my mud zone.  I hope to have a ta da moment some time in the coming week.

Do you like my glass coffee mug?  I have a set of four, which knocked me back £3 at a charity shop last week.  I just had to have them and have visions of sipping cream topped liqueur coffees in them some time soon.  Anyone care to join me?

When we were at a bonfire party the other week one guest brought Peanut Brittle, Nigella style.  I urge you to try it.  It's delicious and with just two ingredients it's hard to go wrong.  Wack 100g caster sugar in the pan and heat till golden brown and liquid.  Add 100g salted peanuts and stir.  Turn out onto baking paper and leave to set.  Voila!

Have you had a bargain lately?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Pumpkin Pie and Autumn Home

As part of planning for tomorrows lesson, I baked a pumpkin pie this afternoon.  I have to say, it is my best yet.  I'm not good at keeping and following recipes so my culinary offerings change all the time.  This time I made the topping with one roast butternut squash, two eggs, 140g brown sugar, half a carton of soya cream and a tsp of mixed spice.  Baked in the oven for forty minutes (180) on top of a crunchy gingernut base. Delish!

We have already cut into it and I will take what's left to share with friends tomorrow when we read some stories of the the Mayflower.

I've been thinking that with welly weather fast approaching, I could seriously do with a mud room. I'm fortunate in that I do have a reasonable sized hallway and a cloak room, but  the dreams I'm having, very much like this picture below in Country Living Magazine, are probably not that practical!

What I have concluded is that I *need* a stool very close to the door for the children to sit down and take their outdoor footwear straight off rather than tramping mud right through.   I've looked at the space available and have decided what I need is a cracket.  Actually I need two crackets - one for by the front door and one for by the back.  My search for local makers of affordable and beautiful crackets is progressing slowly.  All suggestions welcome.

I'm also wondering if I should try to get a cracket large enough for a plastic tray to fit underneath to drop muddy boots straight into?

When I've not been thinking about crackets I've been mostly crocheting granny square in a comforting neapolitan ice cream combo.  I like the cream, pale pink and brown.  I think it's snuggly warm yet with a glimpse of sunny ice cream days.  Who knows - my soon to be neapolitan mini throw may even go on my cracket should I ever get one!

I went to a craft fair a few weeks ago and picked up four large greeting cards for £5.  They are copies of a young ladies wildlife drawings and I had the pleasure to meet her in person.

I couldn't resist this picture of a cheeky fox frollicking.  I don't know why I'm full of foxy love right now, considering how a fox had designs on my wee beasties only weeks ago, but I am.  I'm hankering after a scatter cushion with a fox on too if the truth be known.  Preferably with red berries too.

Anyway, I have plans for these four large greetings cards.  I'm going to take down four random pictures in the kitchen/diner and replace them with these for the dark days of winter.  It will be a small connection with the wonderful outdoors at a time when we tend to spend more time indoors.  Come spring I can change the pictures round, in the frame, and I'll be back to cheeky chickens and vintage housewives.

Got to fly  x

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Sparkly fun

Hermione made a firework cake this morning while I pottered and generally cleared up the aftermath of copious black and orange tinsel which the children wound round every door handle in the house for Halloween.

Later we met with friends and Miles decorated cup cakes. I take my hat off to the amazingly chilled mama who allowed children to run a mock with a tub of Betty Crocker's icing and pots of sprinkles in her carpeted lounge!

Good old fashioned tail sticking fun.

Entranced by a sparkler.  I treasure pictures like these and hope that my children will always find beauty and wonder in simple pleasures.

It's been a wonderful week but I'm ready to get back into the groove now.  We don't necessarily take school holidays off from our 'work' but I do find the rhythm changes.  

Right, off to bed with The Girl who Played with Fire.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Spook Fest

A couple of years ago we attended a Forestry Commission Halloween event which left the children traumatised and since then have reverted to our usual DIY celebrations.  However, this year I just really didn't have what it takes to oragnise a party so I made very careful enquiries about local events and finally found one which I felt would fit in with our family fun ethos of Halloween   

I'm pleased to say we had an amazing time and below are some of the highlights in pictures.

Bones pertruding from flower beds.

A rather menacing looking scarecrow which we passed on a spooky treasure hunt..

The treasure hunt took us around beautiful gardens.

Chatting with witches about how eating spiders makes you 'all legs' and other interesting snippets.

Visiting another witch in her dark den and having a good rummage in her sticky cauldron for an eyeball!

Found an eyeball!

Icky spiders hanging about.

Letters left for the White Lady...

...who is said to haunt these stairs (thought to be the oldest remaining stairs in our county)...

...and here she is.

After writing our own letter to the White Lady we dared to poke into deep vaults in the stone wall.

Back to the beautiful gardens to carry on our treasure hunt ...

..before heading into the drawing room for ghoulish ginger cake and witches brew!

In amongst the spook there were lots of pretty things too.

Oh, witchy woman snapped by Hermione.  Can you see the cobwebs and spiders on my cheeks?  I was going to wear a rather hideous false nose which flashed and jokingly asked Miles, 'what if people don't realise it's just pretend?'  He assured me that people would know because they would see the elastic.  That sort of put me off wearing it, I just stuck to my very own witchy nose.

Beautiful reflections in the pond as the sun started to go down.

We gathered to hear tales of ghosts which haunt the house and grounds.

One of the ghosts was even quite sociable and showed themselves, on the edge of nearby woodland, as a glimmer not dissimilar to a torch under a sheet, whenever the children helped the property owner to ring a very large bell.

Great stuff!  Good family fun.