Friday, 27 November 2009


I am SO excited! Tonight I am going to the ballet with my bestest friend, Miss Looby Lou...hurrah! We are off to see the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre perform Giselle and for someone who rarely goes out this is a major cause for excitement. Add to that the sheer beauty, grace and the wonderful ethereal quality of the dance and you can tell I am just about bursting at the very thought!

Be still my beating heart. So how can I fill my hours till then? I could chop some more wood to replace the somewhat damp wood I chopped yesterday.

I could knit some more of this crazy coloured ball of wool which I am making some socks for myself with...yes, I know I said never again, but dave bought the wool and I wanted some socks and my feet are only little (size 4 to be precise).

Mind you, I'm not sure I like the effect so very much. bit like an explosion in a paint facory isn't it? I was hoping for nice neat rows of bright colour as a bit of variation to my usual soft tonal range, but typically it is too random for that. Hey ho, a change is as good and all that.

I could curl up with a slice of the cake I baked yesterday - carrot but with loads of orange zest, chopped walnuts and cinammon this time as I didn't have enough lemons for lemon cake due to the grog Dave had made - and read this wonderful, always inspirational magazine given by the sweetest of ladies. It will be posted off for dear Lauren after as it is her very favourite magazine and is really intended for her.

I will have to work on making one of these for an order to be posted today.

Or I could take a leaf out of Tiger Lily's book and snuggle down under the quilt for a snooze in a pool of warm sunlight. Hmm, yes I agree: fat chance, eh?

Ah well, no doubt plenty will fill my time until the curtain rises....aaahhhh.

Have a lovely weekend x

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Focus on the Positive.

A sunny, crisp morning here today, so let's start with a cup of my current obsession: mango, orange and cinammon tea. So good that I am getting through boxes of the stuff.

No cake to offer though. This dismal sight greeted me which means baking is on the agenda I guess. What do we fancy? Lemon cake is appealing at the moment and I wonder if it is the need for bright zesty colours and enlivening tastes in these dark, wet months that suggests it to me.

I have had a quick ramble through the garden inspired by Pomona's wonderful post today. She took us on a tour of the amazing vegetables in her own plot, the leeks and cabbages and so much more. Instead of making me rue the fact that our allotment and garden haven't produced as much as we had hoped this year, Pomona's take on things made me focus on what we did gain: wonderful carrots and parsnips, spinach and potatoes, blackcurrants and gooseberries just for starters. I won't labour the point as I have recorded it all in far more detail in past posts. What I am trying to say is that instead of always feeling we could do more, I actually am pleased with all we do manage despite being so busy. We always grow a lot of our own fruit and veg, make wines, cordials and fruit gins, cook with our own produce and so what's to feel bad about? Thanks for the inspiration Pomona x

So, what did my morning ramble reveal? The papavers have sent up masses of bright green leaves that will need a covering of mulch before the icy winter sets in and bulbs are already pushing their grey-toned leaves through the soil. Irises and daffodils can be found...

and in the long forgotten greenhouse I found these runner bean plants still winding their way of the bench.

Seedlings sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli (my most favourite veg though I love them all) and cabbages struggle on despite my appalling neglect

yet it fills me with hope that there is still time to do things as nature doesn't always follow the rules either.

Still some amazing colours to be found.

Further on at the end of the garden Red the hen is finally growing back some feathers after going through the moult. She is still a shadow of her former self, but so much better and will soon come back into lay. Ever seen a hen in moult? Think bad hair day; very bad hair day!

Back in the warmth of the house and the Christmas puddings are waiting for me to put fresh covers on them and stow them away until needed. The spicy, boozy, fruity smell is so gorgeous and brightens my day very nicely.

And on the worktop sits a very pleasing pile of embroidery waiting for me to add the finishing stitches

Hopefully the sun will last and the children and I will head off in search of views such as these from yesterday after school.

So beautiful.

Bye for now x

Monday, 23 November 2009

A Bit of Food and Chat.

Goodness, wasn't that a stormy weekend? We had the works: rain, winds and sunshine too. Today is yet another wet day with skies so dark that the photos I took from Pendennis Point this morning have a strange quality, almost like paintings captured behind the glass of a frame rather than that of a lens.

I quite like the effect, though the murkiness of this one showing the need for St
Anthony's Lighthouse to gleam dully through the sheet rain gives some idea of how wild it is out there.

Despite the weather the weekend was busy with friends visiting and endless cups of tea being served. Isabella anounced she wanted to make a cake and we chose carrot as there seemed to be rather a copious amount of the orangey roots lurking about. She weighed and grated and mixed so well, I am beginning to think this little three year old has a natural knack for cooking, though maybe I am leaping ahead somewhat.

Her apron is so worn out now that an idea for a Christmas present of a cookery set consisting of cutters, tiny wooden spoon and measuring spoons - she loves using these - all wrapped together in a brand new apron, made by her Mama of course, came to mind. I made both Lucy and Isabella's original aprons about two or three Christmasses ago and am so pleased they have almost disintegrated from overuse!

In the meantime, Mr Davey made the Christmas Pudding on stir-up Sunday. We both like to do this and so take it in turns; this year was Dave's and he worked to his own recipe for a gorgeous, rich and boozily moist Figgy Pudding made with our own figs preserved in sugar earlier this year.

We phoned all the children who weren't here so that they could make their wishes while we phoned (though we are still trying to get hold of one of the seven!).

Golly, this is a food-heavy post (just for a change), but food is something very important to us as a family. The chance to cook together or chat around the table is something Dave and I really enjoy, always eating with the children unless there really is something that stops it. I hope this will pass on to the youngest three the nurturing side of sharing food and they will have the same fond memories of these mealtimes that the older children have, often coming out with funny stories of things that happened long, long ago now at meals which have long passed into the realms of time. I know it sounds cliched to say, but surely that is what it's all about, this often hard, often exhausting and frequently worrying thing of being a parent? Well, that's what I think anyway, though don't quote me when tiredness turns me into a screeching harridan of course! Note those shadows under my bleary eyes in the picture below...says it all I think, don't you!

On that note I must be off to work and stop frittering the time away. Bit tired and unfocused, but sure it will all come together int he end. I will leave you with a final boat picture

or two and an apology for my haphazard rambling of today.

Have a good Monday x

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Wet, Wild and Windy.

The wind is howling, buffeting against the house with such force that it occasionally shakes from the onslaught. Rain pelts down turning the duckpond into a giant murky puddle where leaves surface only to be swooshed down once more as yet another heavy cloudful is thrown upon them. How different to yesterday, a day of sunshine and blue skies. Granny-mother and I took the two girls out for an afternoon trip to the beach to see if the breezy day would blow away the last of the poorliness, a need for fresh air after being shut inside for much of the week.

We grabbed some sweet cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices as well as somwe of the apple and sultana buns made earlier in the week from Lucy's very own recipe.

Our little waterbaby did her usual, stripping off tights and shoes to paddle her feet in the icy water. The tremendous winds of late have stripped much of the beach of sand leaving a rocky landscape we barely recognise. No doubt a change in wind direction will see its return some time soon as is usual at this time of year, but for now it is a lunar landscape most unfamiliar to the girls, but to be explored nonetheless.

Lucy sat mermaid-like on a rock to read her book which she is so enjoying that she whips it out at any and every possible moment to lose herself in its pages once more.

And Isabella hoisted the skirts of her ladybird outfit which she had been wearing for the day. Such a sweet sight to see a brightly clad ladybird skittering surefooted over the rocks complete with snug winter coat over the top!

At last the chill began to descend as the afternoon moved on and we headed to Granny-mother's for warm drinks and cake. Home once more, the girls played quietly, exhausted by their windy outing and I retreated to the kitchne to turn some windfall apples and the squash grown on our allotment into spicy chutney. I love chutney making as it takes me back to when I was a child, the smell drifting through the kitchen as my Mum did the same.

Such gorgeous colours

I intend to cosy up by the fire now and complete some Noel Christmas Tea Cosies ready for next week's orders. A lovely thing to be making on such a miserable dday.

Have a lovely weekend xx

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Best of a Bad Situation!

I like to think I have a knack for getting the best out of things, a way of turning things to my, er I mean the best, advantage. I have had both girls home this week with chesty coughs and nasty headaches; Lucy has had the headache which appears to be a 'viral' thing - well, there's a surprise - and Isabella has hacked away at the same time as demanding anything she can think of while I have worked in the kitchen on my orders. If only she was as happy to snuggle under her quilt as Lucy, though truthfully I am no different and only like to cosy up in bed when well enough to enjoy it, magazines and knitting/sewing to hand, get the idea?

This could have been fraught, but it has been fine and today I have put the work away in order to address another possibly bad situation: the disgustingness of my homemade Hedgerow Cordial. Now, I realise this may not seem that big a deal, but when you have spent much time gathering elder and blackberries, rosehips and apples in order to provide your offspring with rich, slightly healthful cordial as an alternative to that offered in the supermarkets only to find they are drinking something which looks and tastes closer to a rich and alcoholic red wine it is most definitely Not A Good Thing.

One has to consider the possibility that teachers may think your well-behaved child is well-behaved for a very good reason and that there may be a need to contact people on her behalf. One sniff of her drink bottle would confirm any suspicions as the full and fruitsome odour of a good Cabernet fills the nostrils. Unfortunately, the taste does not match the promise and therein lies the reason for my assessment of the situation as bad: do I bin and waste all this effort/fruit/sugar (did say slightly healthful) or do I come up with something to do with it?

I added a goodly glug of brandy, mixed heartily and poured a slug for your benefit - see above - and re-bottled the Hedgerow Cordial as Hedgerow Rob, a delicious beverage to be taken neat by a fireside (lit obviously) or with hot water and a dash of cinammon when feelingg the need for comfort. Definitely NOT to be taken by children!

Now I'm off to read Captain underpants to the children and pack away these stockings which have looked so lovely hanging in the kitchen.

Hope you are having a good day?

Bye for now x

Monday, 16 November 2009

A Weekend Recap.

A very wild start to the weekend gave way to beautiful sunshine and blue skies for the most part. We had expected to abandon all plans to choose our tree for christmas, but the rain held off and we set forth label in hand. Through the avenues of spruce we trudged

Tricky decisions to be made about size and height and width and...

Tree chosen, label attached. Pretty golden light filtering through the boughs.

Hurrah! The first of our christmas traditions is done and sits waiting for us to collect it at our leisure. Er, Isabella just loves having her photo taken...hmm.

A bright and golden afternoon saw me clearing the garden, cutting back and mowing lawns. We love this bedding down at the end of the year and though there is still much to be done including tulip bulbs to plant by the armful, I have made a start and even managed a major clean out of the hen and duck pens while Mr Davey took the children for a late afternoon run on the beach. I finished just as the sun began its gentle drift behind the hedge leaving balmy light in its wake.

The girls were most pleased, especially when I offered extra food as a treat for 'helping' me. Any of you who may be hen-keepers you will know just how nosy and interfering hens are whenever there is any sign of action and our three are no exception.

Cake making did take place with Lucy making a batch of fairy cakes. It was lovely to teach her all about creaming and folding, the whys and the wherefores of the different methods. Isabella joined in, but was mostly interested in the licking of utensils, but I hope that she will absorb our love of cooking by osmosis as she drags a chair to the table, apron neatly tied and hands waved to show they have been washed at some point almost every single day. We didn't manage to finish using the windfalls, but there's always tomorrow isn't there?

And so to today, a day of sunshine and billowy breezes which shake the leaves from the trees turning the lanes to prettier versions of their summertime selves. This morning's pictures of the river show a calmer scene than is apparent at the seafront and makes a lie of the fact the King Harry Ferry to St Mawes on the other side of the Fal has tied up for the day due to adverse weather conditions.

Yes, truly a beautiful start to the day

But now I must off to finish a batch of these Holly & the Ivy Christmas Stockings for today's orders. I have been most pleased with the responses to my Christmas range and the orders coming in are a pleasing mix of decorations and gifts. So lovely to think of my notebooks, lavender sachets and hearts being opened on Christmas morning.

Have a lovely Monday x