Tuesday, 26 May 2015

All hail pinterest!

I have said in a recent post that I am in the process of 'tidying the garden' although in actual fact I can't do very much at this stage as it requires fences to be built, a gigantic tree stump to be removed and a lot if digging up weeds. I did attempt the latter and manage  to cause my discs in my back to dislodge again so I have resigned myself to slow progress and much design. All hail pinterest: my pinterest garden board
Included on my board are colours of paint that we like for our new shed and fencing, ideas for raised planters using left over fencing and ideal shrubbery design. I still have to learn the names of plants and we have a front garden to also 'update'. Here are a few of my favourite pins.

This is the colour we think we are going to go for with accents of white e.g. the apex of the shed and the window sill.

I like this idea of planters creating a border and am hoping to convince my dad to help.me to make some with left over fencing and may also paint these white as a contrast to the green fencing. 
I also want the garden to be colourful and vibrant for as much of the year as possible.  Obviously plants and flowers need time to grow so it won't look like this overnight. I have purchased 2 pot plants so far; a blue freesia and a romer pink ranunculus. 

We are also hoping to move what I think is a hypericum from the front garden to the back right hand corner.  It is currently in front of the kitchen window and so obscuring light and visibility.

This is our house from the front showing the 2 large hypericums and it is the one closest to the house that we will be moving.  The metal gate has been removed along with the wire fencing and bespoke featherboard panels are being made up for us by our friend.

 The stump is being removed by the end of June which is slowing the work but it will be worth it in the end.  I hope this space will be transformed into a colourful happy place for us all to enjoy and perhaps I will be tempted to take some small items of craft outdoors.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Norfolk 2015

I may not have mentioned it before but my husband is a birdwatcher and now also works for the RSPB resulting in many of our family days being outdoors with his binoculars making an appearance.  I love being outdoors and so it's a happy day all round especially if it's a national trust site which often involves a nature trail or treasure hunt and play area for the kiddies.

On our way to Norfolk, we took a slight detour and went to Wicken Fen which is a marshlands site with beautiful yellow tall grass and easy paths for the pram. (They also have rare hen harriers so happy hubby too).  We had a few hours walking round the site, pausing for photo's by the wind turbines and then visiting the visitor centre where there was colouring in and crafts for children.

On the Sunday we visited Sherringham park which boasts tall beautiful trees creating a tranquil backdrop for a nature trail.
I also saw the first snowdrops of the season here which blanketed the undergrowth reminiscent of the winter scenes of Narnia.

We visited the grand Blickling Estate on a grey day with drizzle and an out of bounds play area. There was, however, plenty to see indoors with many rooms open to the public which transported me to a typical Downton scene.

There were also trees to climb outdoors and nooks and crannies to explore and I kindly let the children accompany me on my ventures.

Kings Lynn museum had a 'carousel and candyfloss' exhibition on so I left my husband to his feathery friends and ventured very early to this little town. Close to the tourist office were these old buoys and compass.
Later we returned to this spot and watched the sun set.

I read a good review about a farm close to where we staying called church farm and we were certainly not disappointed. There was a good selection of animals for the children to see, pet, and feed.
I personally loved the pigs and piglets! 

There was also loads of areas for the children to play outdoors with tractors, embedded trampolines and play apparatus. Outdoors had a covered picnic area although there was also an indoor cafe with an indoor play barn.

Towards the end of our week we also visited Hunstanton beach for a windy picnic and some kite flying. 

Thus endeth our Norfolk holiday!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Things to do near Malvern

I did a list of things to do when I lived in Cheshire but haven't done one since living in the West Midlands so here it is. I will transfer this post onto the 'what's going on' tab and update it as I hear about upcoming things. It isn't comprehensive but covers the places I gravitate towards so family friendly and or a lil bit crafty. These are one off events but I'll also compile a list of the regular activities taking place at a later date.

Friday 22 May: Avon Meadows Pershore Wildlife Extravaganza. 5am - midnight

Saturday 23 May: Vintage & retro fair - Abbey Road 10-4.
Saturday 23 May: Croome Estate- bugs trail.

Sunday 24 May: Croome Estate- Birds of prey
Sunday 24 May: Malvern munch food walk; 7 mile walk with local food and drink served along the way with live music at stops along the walk. £20 per adult.
Sunday 24-Monday 25 May: Vintage Family fun at Eastnor Castle 11- 5:30. £26.50 family ticket

Monday 25 May: Croome Estate - Bushcraft
Monday 25 May: Gorgeous Georgians at Hartlebury Museum 11-5pm
Monday 25 May: Malvern food festival- Great Malvern church street and Littleton wells.

Tuesday 26 May: Wildlife of Spetchley Gardens. 2-4pm £5 per child
Tuesday 26- Friday 29 May: Georgian themed craft activities £2 per child (additional fee to entry).

Wednesday 27 May: Wild about Mammals, Lower Smite Farm. 2-4 pm, £3.50 per child ( run through Worcestershire wildlife trust).

Thursday 28 May: Elgar Birthplace Museum-Worcestershire wildlife trust are hosting a creature hunt, games and activities.
Thursday 28 May: 11-1pm Messy Church at Somers Park.

Friday 29-Sunday 31 May: Jinney ring blues and beer festival.
Friday 29- Saturday 30 May: Spring Festival Market 10- 5
Friday 29 May: Sheelanagig at the Cube, Malvern. 8pm doors open £10

Saturday 30 May: 1940's weekend at Banbury 

Sunday 31 May: Family fun day at the Cube.

Monday 1June: Medieval herbs display at Brockhampton Estate 11-4pm.

Saturday 6 June: Madresfield court fete. £5 entry for adults, children are free.
Saturday 6 June: Book fair at Christ Church Avenue Rd, Malvern. 10-2pm.

Sunday 7 June: Croome' s Summer market 10-5

This was originally a longer post but I have removed the events after this point but they are still on the 'Upcoming crafty and family event in Worcestershire' page.  I have attached links below to some of my favourite places to go to that have regular events on all the time.


The Cob House, Martley

National Trust events 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

1st attempt at paella

I was recently out with some lovely ladies celebrating a friend's birthday and I ordered a risotto. My friend remarked how she never orders it as it's so easy to do at home. I am a bit like that with meatballs and cottage pie but admitted I had never attempted risotto or paella. She encouraged me to try since it's so easy so I did! 
This is the link to the recipe I adapted.

1 white onion
1 red pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
2 salmon steaks
100g paella rice
Sliced salami
50g bacon lardons
1/2 pint chicken stock
Dash Limoncello
Handful of Peas
Handful of sweet corn
2 tbsp pureed tomatoes

1. Add oil to frying pan and add chopped onions. Fry until soft and then add chopped red pepper. Add garlic and heat for 5 mins.
2. Make up 1/2 pint of chicken stock and stir in paprika, turmeric, extra garlic and Limoncello.
3. Add the rice to pan with onions and peppers. Stir in tomatoe puree and leave for 2 minutes.
4. Meanwhile melt knob of butter in a 2nd pan. Add bacon lardons and salami to butter.
5. Add 3 ladles of stock to onions and rice and allow to simmer. Repeat as all moisture is absorbed (roughly every 5 mins).
6. Remove skin from salmon steaks and chop into chunks. Add to 2nd pan and cover.
7. Add peas and sweet corn to rice and add more stock. 
8. When salmon is cooked, stir in the salmon, bacon and salami into rice with the remainder of the stock.
9. Chop fresh parsley and add to finish and serve.

it's been 9 months....

I am so ashamed that it has been 9 months since I last wrote on my blog. I do have valid reasons but I apologise for those of you have been so faithful in following me and sharing my posts on social media. I hope to resume my accounts now that life is more settled.
Why the delay? In October we moved house. I know I gave no notice but that was because it all happepned so fast! We moved out of the flat because we were unhappy with the damp and it had storage heaters which are not ideal with children and copious amounts of washing to dry. We were offered another house from friends and so handed in our notice on the flat but then the house fell through and we were facing homelessness. My husband was in between finishing his degree and gaining work so we couldn't find a landlord that would have us so we approached social housing and were awarded a house with them. So we moved in October but it was all a shell so we have had too decorate, fit carpet etc. We're still not finished but a home isn't made overnight. I hope to include accounts and pictures of our progress including the garden which is our current project. Shortly after moving, my darling son was sick on my open laptop :( alas it will not work and so I lost most of my recent pictures and the easy access to an available computer to update this blog. Following Christmas (it pained me not to blog during my favourite period) we had several bouts of sickness but we improved in time for a family holiday to Norfolk during half term. I managed to visit several more National Trust sites and began some crafty projects for the house.
 This was a cardboard reindeer I decided to make after some pinspiration.

 I decided to cover all of it in a patch work effect using pattend paper from Wilko.
 I then attached it to a wicker oval wreath and finished it off with ribbons and it took pride of place in the kitchen tying in the other grey and red Christmas decorations.
 We visited Clent Hills which isn't far from us. It's a National Trust site and has fantastic views across Worcestershire.

 Kids and trees-yes I put them up to it without any complaints from them.
 We also went to Croome estate over Easter and did their egg trail. It was a blustery day but none of us minded.

March was eventful. I managed to pick up a dangerous organism in water which gave me a nasty bug resulting in 4 days in hospital on a drip and weightloss exceeding a stone. I'm recovered now but Easter passed with me mostly in bed still weakened from the infection and now I find myself in May with a 2 year old. How is my baby boy an active, noisy, chatty and demanding tot! My 4 year old has chicken pox and I suppose this is proof life is just busy when you have kiddies. So 9months has passed very quickly. I have missed out some of the lovely things I have done like going to a pride and prejudice re-enactment in the grounds of Brockhampton Estate, seeing 'Rebecca' at the theatre, making my first set of curtains, putting up my first shelves and curtain poles. My phone has captured some of these momentous achievements and events but the picture quality isn't the same standard as my Cannon unfortunately so I again apologise for blogging faux pas.

These pictures were taken at the countrytastic event at the 3 counties showground. There is so much for the kids to do here from seeing animals, doing crafts, tractor rides, face painting, animal and falconry displays, sawdust play areas with miniature tractors and circus skills.

These pictures were taken at the stitch and craft show also at the 3 counties showground. Lydia was trying her hand at block printing here and I admit I am hoping to buy a collection of blocks myself.

I am working on the above quilt for Michael using material I got from the stitch show and utilising the big shot to cut perfect squares using my quilting dies.

This was a cushion I made for my friend who loves ducks. It was supposed to have been a Christmas present but I didn't get it finished in time so it was a birthday gift instead.

So this was a bit of a catch up on missed posts over the last 9 months. I will post again soon with an account of our Norfolk adventure.