Saturday, 25 March 2023

Flowers and Plans

Lounge Beauties

Bedroom Beauties


Kitchen Window Beauties

Hello there, how are you? All good I hope. 
Flowers from my amazing boys on Mother's Day. I also had some chocolates, all were lovely gifts and we got to spend the day with them both, including being at church together. This week seems to have flown past too quick.

Today I've been to a Talent Event at Church in town. I brought home fish & chips afterwards so dinner was very quick tonight. Johnny was off out straight afterwards to meet Nat, they are going to the cinema to see John Wick... not my scene but they'll love it, I'm sure.

Decluttering has started up again. We cleared so much when we downsized to a smaller property but we still have far too much stuff. My ideal would be to have nothing stored under the bed. At the moment it is chock-a-block with things. A  replacement pedestal sink for the ensuite (waiting) a pair of leather boots, photo albums, craft items and other miscellaneous items. 

I've also renewed my efforts to declutter my old laptop. There are lots of photos that need saving or  duplicates deleted. The ones to keep will be uploaded onto memory sticks, at the moment there are too many to save. Most of the files can likely be deleted, anything of use will be on the replacement laptop now. It's such a long and tedious job. Added to which are a lot of foodie photos from early blogging days such as Penny's cookery calendar challenge, they make me feel hungry.  

I've written a new chart for decluttering and will work at it each day (hopefully) whilst listening to @theorganisedmum show podcast on Spotify. I'm enjoying the 10 mins of motivational waffle for umph in my day. The chart simply lists a cupboard or a box to work through, not lots. All the easy things have gone, it's now all the emotional stuff - photos, memories etc. 

Cleaning I'm finding The Organised Mum Method really helpful: 30 mins a day clean in designated rooms (level 2 jobs), with daily level 1 jobs of basic upkeep. The 30 mins Friday Focus (deeper clean) is more tricky, at the end of the week after cleaning for friends, I just want to put down the duster and step away from the mop! 


A taster of the talent event. I've created a playlist on Spotify 'My Creative Life' - not all the events could be found, the poems may be unavailable as free and some are halfway through a track. I particularly like the Ballad Pour Adeline Piano Solo by P. de Senneville. It is beauuutifulll. Do have a listen and tell me if you found it relaxing. 

The rest of the week I've:

Finished
 reading The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie, part of the Agatha Reading Challenge - Read Christie 2023 for March.

Started A Fatal Mistake by Faith Martin. This is the second book in the Ryder & Loveday Mystery... see fantasticfiction.com for full list,

Continued my efforts with knitting 30 minutes a day to finish projects. WIP (work in progress) A  KAL (knit-a-long) Scarf for Lent. Also a knitted cloth - hopefully fit for cleaning as it's made from bamboo yarn. 
Crocheted a bit more of my One Skein scarf at Craft Group - free pattern on Ravelry.

Clearing some woodchip delivered to the front lawn. It's hard work shoveling it up into bags and wheeling them round the back. We are making a pathway down the side of the bungalow, it's on clay soil and very slippery. Johnny helped me on Wednesday by spreading some under the wheelie bin area, it looks very smart now. 

Bought a new calendar last week. I know we've already started the year but I was fed up with squinting into tiny spaces to read. I've gone back to my favouite Box Clever Home Planner one

I've not walked as much this week so need to add more walking in next week. 
What are your plans this week?
Have a good week whatever you have planned. 
Ttfn
Cathy



 


 

Friday, 17 March 2023

Fresh and New


Hello there, happy Friday! Everything in the garden is springing to life. Out the front is the Weeping Pussy Willow. Under the hedge we planted some bulbs last autumn: crocus, daffodils and hyacinth. It's not in a border, just scattered bulbs woodland style. My Orchid is blooming still, it was a Christmas gift from my Son & his Fiancée. The roots were dyed blue but, still looking blue for now. 



A Greengage tree in bloom looking lovely in the back garden. Angus always loves the fruit, with a plum tree, apples and pears, you need to keep your eyes open in the Summer. So many hazards for dogs, if only you could reason with them. I love al the cheerful daffodils at this time of year, so many beautiful trumpets. 
This afternoon we popped into town to get my new glasses adjusted, why do they always hurt initially. They seem comfortable now. We took Angus with us so he had a walk too. Stopping at the market stall we bought him a new cushion bed for our holidays this year. As he's a large Golden Retriever, he needs a huge giant bed. We're hoping that this will reduce the vibrations through the Motorhome floor when travelling. He wasn't too happy on the last trip, it is very noisy on the road. All the plates and cutlery etc. shake and rattle in the cupboards. We hire the motorhome so you've no idea until collection.




On our last holiday, we purchased pillows and pillowcases from Sainsbury's. We'd intended to go back and get more bedding as ours needed replacing anyway. Last weekend we went to get a new set of cotton rich in white, the duvet is covered with the quilt. It's so nice to have new bedding, I'm not interested in ironing bedding, like I said, it's covered anyway. I was tempted by the Egyptian cotton which is lovely but more expensive. I remember a lady chatting once about bedding, she said that she washes and irons it more than once a week. She implied daily as she liked her bedding to look like a showroom catalogue. Are you fussy about bedding, do you iron yours?

This week I've finished reading Mercy by Jodi Piccoult again, I'd forgotten the details so it was still a good read. The question of euthanasia is slightly over shadowed by the chief policeman's affair, however both relationships are brought into focus concerning a measure of love... 'who loves more.' From 60/40 to 30/70 relationships that are under pressure, one person loving more than the other. It was interesting to see how the Chief's wife changed after the affair. Euthanasia is always a controversial subject, however I felt a depth of compassion toward the accused. 

On to the next book: The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie. I've still a huge pile of library books to get through!
Craft wise: I've been knitting everyday, a KAL Lent scarf. I'm changing colours at the end of each week of knitting. I'll try and post some photos soon. 
We've not been involved with things at church in town. Mark had Covid again, 3rd time despite vaccinations. 
Village life: we launched our first pop in at the village hall. The idea is to drop in for a cuppa and chat. Bring projects to work on, borrow a book, do a jigsaw puzzle or play a game. I took crochet but as there was only a handful of people, we chatted and played a game called Dobble. It's a speedy game that needs quick concentration and reaction. 

Right I'm off to cook dinner, take care and thanks for stopping by to read. 
Do leave a comment, I love to hear from you. 
Ttfn
Cathy 

Friday, 10 March 2023

From the photo gallery - ing


Hello there, How are you all, thank you for your comments on my last post, it's good to hear from you. 
I've not taken any photos this week except for a few on my phone. Whilst browsing the phone gallery, I saw a few projects that were posted on Instagram. I thought it'd be nice to see them here. 

Looking: a photo of  Angus aged 4 years old, taken last year. He's staring into my eyes, so it must be biscuit time. We've since had a stove fire put in which is lovely and warm. It's great for drying washing overnight and warming sleeping dogs.


Decluttering: This week I've cleared out the food cupboards, I blame the supermarkets stock issues. Most of my shopping is done at Aldi with the poultry shop, butchers and a few other shops in town for the rest. When items have gone out of stock, they've been unavailable for so long. Sometimes items came back in store but quickly sold out again. Eventually the items have filled the shelves but it caused me to grab 3 or 4 instead of 1 or 2. I struggled to find things in the food cupboard or things would fall out into Angus' water bowl. Now the cupboards have less in, I can find things again. I took these 2 bags to the outreach in town, they'll be divided up into food parcels.  


Reading: I've finished a library book, yay! 1 down 9 more to go I think. One is a library ebook - Mercy by Nora Roberts, that's my next read. The Word is Murder is first in a 4 part series, it was a good story with lots of revelations. I'm going to read the others eventually but not yet! Too many books in the pile just now. 



Looking: this way and that, never at me long enough to snap a picture. I often pass the horses when walking Angus. 





Crocheting: The Willow Square, pattern in this book and first seen on Mitzi's blog. I've got 4 or 5 more matching cotton yarn balls in modern colours. I've always admired this pattern square and wanted to try it. The square will languish in my craft store for now, whilst I complete other projects. 

2) One Skein Scarf pattern on Ravelry, it's crocheted in one thread yellow bamboo yarn and one thread WYS Marie Curie daffodil yarn - bought online with a required donation.  

3) Crocheted Twirley from the church ladies craft night last year. There are some patterns on youtube, easy to do - putting extra stitches in the next rows, the row is pulled round into a twirl. 



                                                                                                               
Knitting: A Katia sparkly shawl, all finished. It took a while to sort out the pattern, it's from a chart with a few sentences and nothing more. An ebook finish from the library, another of Rebecca Tope's Cotswold series. Thea Osbourne is a widow who takes up housesitting to ease her loneliness at home. She takes her trusty spaniel Hepzie to all her different commissions. Bizarrely, somebody always dies in mysterious circumstances on the house sits. Developing relationships in the series makes reading the books in order best.

2) I couldn't get on with this library book, I love Miss Marple, have even knitted 3 Miss Marple scarves, but I'm not a lover of short stories. I read a few and flicked through the rest on a speed read. This blue yarn scarf was a present for my Great Aunt's Christmas present. 



Waiting: Knitting socks in WYS blue lagoon 4 ply yarn. The pattern is another of Winwick Mum's Supersocks.  These are languishing in a craft bag at the moment. I finished Debbie Macomber's The Christmas Spirit book at Christmas time. A job swap to change characters. 

2) Another project waiting in the craft bag, this is another chunky knit cardigan. I knitted a red one a few years ago in James Brett Marble yarn. This one is the same yarn in a different colour blend. I think this will be the last chunky knit I make, as I prefer DK yarn. 

Chipping: I'm going to adopt a top tip I read from Christina's blog recently... consistent 30 minutes a day to chip away at finishing projects. 
                                               

Cooking: Dinner last month, a basic layered dish that I saw on Instagram. Fry to soften your chosen ingredients such as mince to brown, onion/garlic/carrots/celery/pepper, tom puree and tin chopped tomatoes, season and add beans and pulses if wanted or sweetcorn. Cook for around 20 minutes in the pan, then place half in a greased oven dish, take 3x tortilla wraps and spread Ricotta Cheese on them. Lay the first one cheese side down on top of the cooked mince mixture. Layer up with mince mixture and repeat with wraps, the last wrap cheese side up. Top it with grated cheese and bake for 30 - 40 mins at 180'c. 
It's like a lasagne without all the sauce and pasta, very tasty.
You could make this up as a chilli and it will still taste great. I will definitely make this again.  

Thank you for stopping by, do leave a comment. 
Have you any projects languishing in craft bags? 
Ttfn
Cathy x

Friday, 3 March 2023

Book, Books and more Books


Hello there, happy Friday everyone! Thank you to everyone who left a comment last time, I'm slowly catching up with your blogs. I'm enjoying the slower life in blog land and appreciate your visits, each one of you. This week I've been to the opticians for new glasses, held a bookclub in my house with cake and tried to walk more. Today I reached my 6000 steps, that may not sound much but for me that is good. I don't carry my phone around at home, so I'm only clocking up steps at work or when I'm out. 

I tried copying photos from my camera to the computer, instead of opening each folder and pasting them across, I pasted all the unopened files. We searched the computer, including recycling bin... all lost. I can't remember what they were other than all the photos taken between now and the last time I blogged. Even my camera says it's empty of photos, usually I have to delete those separately after I've copied them into a file. Anyway lesson learnt, do it properly next time. I managed to transfer 2 files of photos, all the books. 

All my library books came in at once this month... total nightmare! They were ordered and collected from the mobile library. I had 2 left over from last months order: Anthony Horowitz - The Word is Murder, I'm halfway through but am losing interest and Faith Martin - A Fatal Mistake, part of a series. They've both been renewed and are all due back on the same day. 



Meanwhile I remembered that I needed these Agatha Christie books for the Read Christie 2023 challenge. I quickly ordered them and collected them from the library in town. The Moving Finger is the book for March, Sparkling Cyanide for April. I can renew library books up to 6 times unless they've been requested. Two books have already been requested, so they will go to the top of the pile. I have 4 books at the top of the pile:
The Word is Murder
The Moving Finger
Mercy
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.


The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick was my choice for the book club, it's a very good story. I heartily recommend it, we had a fantastic discussion about it. There were questions in the back of the book, also some online. 


The next bookbook club read: Mercy by Jodi Picoult is one that I've read before in a previous bookclub here 
I've started to read it already and am enjoying the memories as I try to figure out what happened. 

As well as starting a new Bookclub in the village, I'm also helping another lady run a monthly Village Pop In. People can drop in for a cuppa and bring their own craft projects eg knitting, crochet and sewing or crossword/puzzle books, box games or any artwork. I'm hoping that we can leave a jigsaw puzzle out permanently, for anyone to work on when the hall is in use. There will be donated books and jigsaws to borrow on a book case. 
I'm taking something yarny, either knitting or crochet to do. Hopefully lots will attend and enjoy chatting over a cuppa. There isn't a pub, cafe or even a shop in the village anymore. We like it but you definitely need a car to get anywhere. 

Thank you for visiting today, do leave a comment and let me know:
Do you support your library?
Do you have a pile of books to read? 
Do you belong to a book club?
Do you keep a count of your daily steps and cups of water consumption? 

Ttfn (Ta-Ta For Now). 
Cathy x


 

Friday, 24 February 2023

Finish it Friday

Hello there, it's been too long. I hope you are all well, I'm going to try and visit all your blogs next week and catch up on your news.  I'm taking a long break from Instagram again. It's just too time consuming for me. I had a look in my draft section and found a few photos of some knitting that I'd finished last year. I've added those and also a few books that I've read and a photo from a family walk last Saturday. 

 
First finish: a pair of  Winwick Mum socks knitted in 4 ply Robin yarn by West Yorkshire spinners I took far too long to knit these. I just couldn't get the size right as my ankles are far narrower than the  average pattern fit. Starting with a much smaller cast on but knit for my size 8 feet was a perfect solution to this. Christine was very helpful with the fit over on Instagram (my account is temporary disabled, so not available to view).  

9

Second finish: another crochet wash cloth, I think it's a cotton blend yarn so it may end up being a mat. I enjoy making these as it's a small project to take out. Usually I can remember the pattern, if I've not left it too long. This pattern is a 2 row pattern, if anyone is interested, I'll write it out next time. 




Third finish: my purple jumper, the pattern shows how the colours have been altered. I omitted the diamond pattern with sequins around and across it. I made several attempts at the diamond pattern but it always look puckered. There were beads all along the edges of the jumper too that I left off. I like it all except for the neck, it's very wide and gapes open too much. The yarn is Sirdar Country Style with a small wool content. I doubt that the yarn and pattern is still available, it was purchased probably 30 years ago from a chain of yarn shops called Tri-Star. 



Fourth finish: 2 recent library books. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah was a very emotional read as the secrets and mystery was unravelled. It was very good but I'm not going to read lots of her books back to back. I think they are all quite involved and in-depth emotionally. 

Partners in Crime is the book for February Agatha Christie read 2023. There is a discussion on the last Friday of each month on social media. I will say that I struggled with the book, Tommy & Tuppence detectives is written in 1929 so not only a different era, but lots of craziness for me. They enjoyed acting out different detective characters and pretend that the agency was very busy. I'm sure many loved their style but it wasn't for me. Incidentally I bought a DVD box set of their series and could only manage the first one. 

I also read:
The Library of Lost & Found by Phaedra Patrick
Malice in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope
Sad Cyprus by Agatha Christie - Agatha Christie's book for Januray
A Woman's Courage by Simon Block - part of the Home Fires book series following the Home Fires TV series.

                                     

Fifth finish: A family walk, in the photo we are not half way, but we finished the 8.5 mile walk with lots of chat and fish & chips before driving home in the dark. From the left: Nat, me, Mark, Angus (Goldie) Ellis (Ellis-Mae Nat's fiancée) & Johnny. Nat & Ellis invited us all on the circular walk to Cleethorpes beach via a river of  the country park. 


I need to dust off my camera ready for next Friday, I'm following a KAL (knit-a-long) scarf that is part of a church Lent course. So far I'm enjoying it, each section relates to a different part of faith (I think!) time will tell. I'm using up yarn that I already had, mine will be in various colours instead of a single colour. 
Reading at the moment, The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz Caroline from Coffee, Books and Cake recommended the series. I can't work out how to leave a reply on her blog, sorry Caroline if you read this, any hints please? 

Bye for now, take care 
Cathy 

 


Saturday, 9 July 2022

Shepherds Pie or Cottage Pie?


Hello there, I hope you are well and not melting in the heat. We've had some lovely warm sunny weather in England recently. In true British style, I will add that 'we could do with some rain!' 

Last week I photographed dinner as I cooked it, I forgot to photo it after it was nicely browned up, so you'll just have to imagine that part. My parents were due to visit for the week staying nearby at a caravan park. I cooked 2 Cottage Pies just incase they stopped by that night for dinner. These are characteristic by their Beef Mince content. Typically in the UK we call it Shepherds Pie, however that would be if it's made from Lamb Mince. 



I used this Stork cookery book as a basis to show the recipe, though I've been making this recipe for many years so rarely follow this recipe exactly. I thought I'd share my recipe and how I try to make it a one pot dinner.  

When I looked up about Shepherds Pie on-line, I found it interesting that it was traced back to the 18th Century. It was a way of using up a roasted beef joint after the weekend. The Cottage Pie was a popular dish for poor Irish cottage homes. Shepherds Pie may have originally had a pie crust but Scotland and Ireland replaced this with their plentiful supply of potatoes. There is more interesting info about the humble Shepherds Pie and the Cottage Pie from Jamie Oliver. If you live outside the UK, do you cook this dish or something similar for your family? 

One last strange fun fact:: is the total craziness of knowing that this dish is actually a cottage pie, yet calling it Shepherds pie! Even the cook book calls it by the wrong name! Anyway enjoy it whatever it's called.    


So onto my recipe and how it differs from this cookbook. I add mixed herbs and some soy sauce to enrich the beef flavour. I also add a grated carrot and either a few handfuls of frozen peas or a peeled and chopped courgette. I and my son J don't eat peas, so we opt for courgette. I then have a complete meal in one pot to put in the oven. If the meat mixture was simmered for 30mins and put together hot, the forked topping of mashed potato can be grilled for a few mins. I often cook double potato the previous day to save some for this dish, eg sausage and mash or fish cakes. 


As my Dad doesn't eat onions, I swapped them for parsnips. I remembered at the last minute just before adding them to the pan! If I'd planned it better, I would've bought some Celeriac to use instead.  
We ate one on the Saturday and we choose to eat the other one on the Monday. I added sliced tomato and grated cheese topping to the second one, just to change it up a bit. It was nice not having to cook that night too!


Maybe you may like to try it, let me know how you cook yours to make it unique to your family meals.
Do you ever eat meals by a different name? The only other one that I can think of is Toad in the Hole... Why!? There is no toad. 

Thank you for visiting, I'm trying to stay more up to date on blog reading at the moment x

Friday, 1 July 2022

On my kitchen table

Hello there, I hope you are all ok. We've had some thunderstorms whilst I was at work this morning. I'm so glad that it's Friday and I've booked holiday for next week too. My parents, Brother and Niece are visiting for a week, staying at a local static caravan park. It will be good to see them all again.

Sewing on the table 
I've got some sewing to be getting on with, first up is to sew 2 nightdresses using material that I bought on-line many years ago from My Fabrics. Then I'm going to make myself a summer dress, just waiting for all the supplies to arrive from Minerva online. If you're into dressmaking, have you used Minerva before. Any tips welcome eg have you registered an account for membership and discount off purchases? 


 

Shopping  on the table 
Today after work I popped into Morrisons to buy flowers and items that Aldi don't sell. It's Friday Night Pizza for dinner tonight! My favourite is their vegetable pizza, the chicken and bacon is good too, if you can find it. I shop at Aldi once a week and either the poultry shop or the butchers.

Writing my blog at the table
On my last post I mentioned a weekend walk organised at church. Here are a few photos from the walk, the other side of Louth. It was after a short heat wave, the weather was much cooler, dry with a little rain. Thankfully Angus didn't end up in the pond that we found along the walk.  



Beautiful Rhododendron along the route it's part field, woodland edges and part gravel track. It was an easy walk without hills, just 4 miles. Looking at these flowers reminds me of Clumber Park National Trust in Nottingham. The building was destroyed but the grounds are fabulous with massive rhododendron bushes. Great fun for kids hiding in them.

Another pond back at the beginning of the walk.

 
There's a Grand Prix on this weekend, so lots of knitting for me ha ha! I need to catch up with my reading again. There's nothing like setting a goal to get some reading done. It's not as if I don't enjoy reading, I just need to make time. Realistically I can read one book a week and I have 4 library books due back in a fortnight. I haven't ordered any for next time, so I may renew 2 books. 

Reading at the table 
I'm going to catch up with blog reading and some more knitting. Take care and have a lovely weekend. Do let me know what you have planned for the weekend. 
Ttfn, Cx

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