Saturday, 2 August 2014

Allotment Goodies

My Mum has had an allotment for about four years. Sometimes she struggles to keep up with maintaining her plot, so she's given me a key. My daughter & I love to go down there and do the watering, which is the main thing she struggles with. In return, we get to pick some of the yummy produce. I forgot to take my camera down to the plot, I'll remember to take some pictures next time!

But I took some photos of the produce: beetroot, potatoes and huge blackberries. My daughter also loves to stand at the sink and wash the vegetables.

After we'd washed the veg, my daughter helped me make salmon fishcakes with the freshly dug potatoes. It's lovely for my daughter to see the produce being taken from the ground, prepared at home and eaten within hours of it coming off the allotment.

I also made a salad of grated raw beetroot, carrots mixed with lots of olive oil and sunflower seeds. It was all delicious!

I'm linking up with Country Kids on the Coombe Mill Blog.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hand Embroidered Birthday Gift

My niece turned eighteen two weeks ago. I can't believe she's just finished her A'levels and will be choosing a university soon. She's grown into a creative, talented young lady who wants to become a photographer...we're all very proud of her.

I wanted to make a personal gift, something that had meaning to her. I love making handmade gifts, I don't always have the time, but I was determined to make time for this particular gift!

My niece drew me a picture way back when she was just six years old. I've always loved it, the expression on the cat's face and his little paw waving at me. I put it in a frame and it has been something I've looked at nearly everyday. It's moved around with us ever since from our flat in Bath, to our first home in Bristol & now onto our house in North Somerset.

I recently had an idea of transferring the image to fabric and making a piece of hand embroidery to give to her as a gift.

I put the project together over the weeks leading up to her birthday and I'm really pleased with the results. I decided to make it into a cushion cover, but it would also work stretched over a canvas to make a piece of wall art.

I'm pleased to say that my niece also loved the gift, although I had to show her the original to jog her memory...well, alot has happened in the twelve years since she drew it for me!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Storytelling on the Somerset Levels

A couple of years ago my Mum visited a garden on the Somerset Levels...she kept telling me what an amazing place it was & saying things like "I can't really describe the place, but you really need to visit it next time it's open". So when we heard that the annual 'open garden' event was happening, we jumped in the car and drove out onto the Somerset Levels to see what all the fuss was about.

Well, she was right. It is an amazing place & it is hard to describe...but I'll have a go. The owners of the main farmhouse have created an intriguing garden which covers about three acres of land. You move around the garden from one part to another, almost like moving from room-to-room in a house and you never quite know what's going to be around the corner...here are just some of the things we saw...

a metal UFO-type sculpture cum look-out post,

We saw compost toilets adorned with silk scarves and flowers,

a disused bus turned into a cosy home,

a beautiful artists studio,

an outside bath warmed only by a log fire underneath,

the best handmade metal swinging garden seat ever,

hammocks dotted about the place,

a cosy yurt in the orchard,

willow sculptures,

fairy doors into the woods,

nets draped in the trees for adults to climb into & bounce about like big kids in,

and a lake created by the owners complete with arched bridge leading out to an island in the middle.

All this was accompanied by the atmospheric sounds of Fiddlers on the Hoof who were strolling around the garden with their accordion and fiddle. Later on when we settled down for some storytelling outside the artist's studio, they bought out a harp to accompany the stories. The whole place was magical.

I think it's wonderful that the creative people who own this home open their doors to raise money for the local hospice. If they didn't, we wouldn't have had the chance to glimpse into the amazing, enchanting garden they have worked so hard to create.

I'm linking up with #countrykids...hope you've all had fun out & about this weekCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 5 June 2014

25% off all vintage trims

I'm having a Summer Sale and offering 25% off all vintage trims

Add a vintage twist to your next crafting project with my striking woven trims, loads to choose from

Perfect for appliqué, collage, mixed-media artwork, scrapbooking and much, much more...

I'm down to the last few yards of certain trims, so grab them before they go!

See the full selection by clicking here

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Take me to the sea

We're back from our holiday in Cornwall and we had an amazing time. We packed so much into our seven day holiday, dressing up as pirates, seeing a show at the Minack Theatre, playing on the beach, mooching round the shops at St Ives, visiting St Michaels Mount, seeing artists work as part of the Open Studios week (in particular Faye Dobinson, who I will blog about at a later date) and lots & lots of walks around the coastline.

I have taken loads of photos, so please indulge me while I share just a few of them here...

Our home for the week

We walked through these beautiful paths nearly everyday...on our circuit we saw birds of prey hovering over the cliffs, shiny black beetles, strange buzzing green beetles, cow parsley, pretty pale lilac flowers (might be thrift, need to get a flower book!), shetland ponies, lots of large lambs and much, much more

The view from our circuit walk through the lanes around our cottage. Jaw-droppingly wonderful...the view out towards Sennen Cove and Gwenver beach

Enjoying the view at the Minack Theatre...where we saw a production of "Annie". Anyone who performs there must have to get used to being upstaged by the wonderful panorama behind them...

We took part in the world record attempt for most amount of pirates in one place which took place in Penzance.

My daughter loves pirates and she has an amazing costume at home, but we didn't bring it with us to Cornwall...so I had to improvise with cardboard, wool, my stripy top and a head scarf...not to mention a nasty scar created with eyeliner!

Beautiful weather at Sennen Cove beach...perfect for frisbee, sand castle making & ice-cream eating

And it wasn't all blue skies, we had loads of rain over the first couple of days...but that didn't stop us getting out for a walk - plus it means there are puddles to jump in!

I'll leave you with a photo of a Sennen sunset...or watching 'the sun plop into the sea' as my daughter likes to call it.

I'm linking up with Country Kids at Coombe Mill

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Bank Holiday, Baking & Bargains

I was delighted to be selected as a #MorrisonsMum as part of the Britmums and Morrisons May Bank Holiday blogging project. I received a lovely letter containing Morrisons vouchers and in return I needed to shop over the Bank Holiday and then blog about my experience. Not exactly an arduous task, I'm always happy to shop & eat!

So armed with my shopping list I set off to Morrisons. I returned with armfuls of goodies and settled in for a weekend of cooking & feasting. I planned to do some baking on Saturday with my daughter, have a roast on Sunday and a homemade Fish Pie on Bank Holiday Monday.

Here's what we got up to...

Saturday

One of my daughter's favourite programs is "I can Cook" on Cbeebies. We'd seen a recipe for Blue Jewel Bakes a couple of weeks ago & I had promised her we would make them. So armed with Morrison's blueberries, milk, orange zest, eggs and honey, we set to work. We whisked, grated, counted, weighed and poured. After 15 minutes in the oven we had six delicious Blue Jewel Bakes and they were eaten as soon as they were cool enough. A big success.

Sunday

On Sunday we planned a traditional Chicken roast with lots of veg and a mouthwatering Morrison's cheesecake for pudding. I invited my Mum and my Grandmother round to join us. I was really impressed with value of vegetables and meat at Morrisons.

The main ingredients cost:

Chicken...£4.75

Broccoli...49p

Maris Piper potatoes...£2.25 (but they were used in Fish Pie, so potatoes made two meals)

Cheesecake...£3.49

The total cost approximately £11 and this roast and pudding fed four adults, one child and our two cats had a tummy-full of leftover chicken scraps, so I would estimate it cost £2.75 per serving, so this offers amazing value for money.

Monday

I wanted to make one of our favourite family meals on Bank Holiday Monday. I have been making this delicious Fish Pie since my daughter was about ten or eleven months old. At first she had it pureed, then in bigger chunks, now she helps herself straight from the dish & tucks into it with the rest of us. I got the recipe from the Truuuly Scrumptious Book of Organic Baby Purees book. The meals are designed to be made for the whole family with portions pureed for your baby. This means you aren't cooking lots of different meals for everyone and babies get to develop more 'grown up' tastes. The food in this book isn't bland and the authors encourage you to use mature cheese, garlic and other strong flavours. This Fish Pie has definitely grown with my daughter and we enjoy it as much as she does, a perfect family meal.

Again I was impressed with the quality of the fish at Morrisons. There was an in-store offer of three selected pre-packed meat or fish portions for £10. I stocked up on Salmon for the pie and I also bought two packets of smoked haddock to go in the freezer. I actually accidentally bought 'lightly smoked' Morrisons salmon, which I had never used before in this particular pie. But it was absolutely delicious, great quality and plenty of fish in the pack. I would definitely buy it again from Morrisons as I am converted to using the smoked version now!

The main ingredients cost:

Salmon...£3.30 (as part of three for £10 deal)

Broccoli...49p

Maris Piper potatoes...£2.25 (but they were used in chicken roast, so potatoes made two meals)

Milk...0.84p (this price is for four pints and you only use one pint in this recipe)

Total cost is approximately £6.80 and this pie fed two adults and one child, but would probably feed four adults. So based on feeding four adults the Fish Pie would be £1.70 per portion, which is very economical for such a delicious & filling meal.

So all in all we had a great weekend, the weather was lovely and we ate really well courtesy of Morrisons and Britmums. The only downside is the amount of dishes all this cooking produces. The Fish Pie in particular uses every dish & pan in the kitchen...luckily I have a little assistant who likes to help out...fingers crossed she doesn't grow out of her love of water & bubbles anytime soon!

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