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Blankety goodness.

Hi guys and gals! I’ve been deep in the blankety goodness just recently, the air is starting to turn chill and I’ve been hooking away at the old popcorn stitch in the top left corner, and its been nice to see the other two put to good use again as the nights turn chilly. With summer fading away and another glorious season just beginning the garden was perked up a bit by my washing line wonders…

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They look so pretty hanging there and wash remarkably well and I can’t wait to add to the collection. Summer was great for me and though I didn’t take my camera with me to Whitby this year we did take the niblings (nieces and nephews) to the seaside at Bridlington, which in the heat was almost like being abroad. The sky was cloudless and the sea was caribbean  blue and it was such a wonderful day.

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The little ones played on the beach and in the surf and little toes felt the North Sea for the first time.

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As anyone who reads this blog will know I love the sea and I was having the time of my life with the little ones taking buckets of water to our little moat and sand castles, jumping the waves with them, playing football and picnicking on fish and chips. What a memorable day it was.

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One of my friends kindly loaned me her camera as I am in between devices at the moment but as you can see the zoom on hers is quite something, this pirate ship was quite far out to sea, we had quite a bit of fun waving at the passengers! I’m hoping to get to the coast again before winter so watch this space!

Back home I’ve been busy trying to complete my list of jobs to do and have managed to finally complete another baby blanket I was working on, the nautical coloured stripes remind me of the seaside so much I’m thinking of making a single bed sized one for our spare room.

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As I said, I’ve been deep in the blankety goodness and hope to continue whilst Autumn sets in.

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I absolutely loved these bright colours and the wool was beautiful to work with, it was Milla Mia for you yarn lovers and I just did the stripes randomly. I can’t believe I’m about to say it but I actually didn’t mind sewing in the ends for this one, whether because I was just determined to get it finished or I loved the colours that much I can’t say. It was a joy to hook up.

In between the happy hooky I did a little baking and made for the first time ever, my own homemade Quiche!

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The one on the left is bacon and mushroom and the one on the right is cheese and broccoli and I didn’t think they were too bad for my first attempt. Also culinary herbs have been a focus in my house recently as I’m sad to report all my little bonsai saplings failed 😦 Feeling like a total green fingered failure I planted some herbs, knowing that I’ve grown them before and being more determined than ever. The result is pleasing.

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It took two attempts for me to get the coriander and parsley to grow, I probably tried planting them too late in the year but they are coming along, and the beauteous basil already needs re-potting, something high on my to-do list. I think once they’re in bigger pots I can start to use them for cooking. I am quite pleased with the way they’ve taken off. I may attempt not to kill another houseplant soon.

Other goings on in my house have been craft related. I had been trawling the internet and once you see something that catches your eye you can’t seem to get it out of your head. I had spotted the soap making community! and oh those gorgeous pictures of stacks and stacks of chunky pretty soap that looked good enough to eat! Here’s just a taste of the things that got me inspired.

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I defy anyone to look up homemade soap and not want to give it a try. For my attempt I started with a simple glycerine soap base and followed the instructions.

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Chopping up the soap was quite satisfying, and your left with lovely icecube-like blocks of meltable soap. As it was my first attempt I wanted to start with something simple and natural to mix it with so I chose oatmeal and honey.

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I didn’t add any perfumes or colourants as I just wanted to make something wholesome and natural. I melted the soap base at first on a bain-marie which seemed to be taking ages so I resorted to the microwave which worked a lot like melting chocolate, short bursts with stirring  and the residual heat melts the last few lumps.

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I did find there was a little bit of vapour whilst it was heating which was probably the alcohol in the soap mix to help it melt. I tried not to breath it in and carried on. I mixed my oatmeal with honey and a bit of water and blended it, strained a couple of times and it was ready to mix with the melted soap base. If you are thinking of trying this yourself be warned the oatmeal mixture didn’t mix in easily, but after a few minutes stirring I put the mixture into a silicone loaf mould and left it to set. It’s probably best to leave it overnight but mine seemed set before I went to bed and I couldn’t resist chopping it up into soap-sized pieces.

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To be sure the colour is 70’s beige and all my oatmeal sunk to the bottom and it didn’t really smell of anything, but for a first attempt I was quite pleased. As it was just for home use and not for gifts or anything I wrapped the soaps up in clingfilm with fears of mould in the back of my mind.

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but I’m glad to say the soap, despite its natural ingredients has lasted really well and is quite lovely to use. I have a second tub of melt and pour soap and hope to make a scented soap next, again trying to keep it as natural as possible I’m thinking lavender!

Though my soap was a success the 70’s beige counteracted my blanket pics at the beginning so for another pop of colour I can proudly announce that I finally completed my Morrocan cushion, complete with pom pom border.

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It didn’t turn out as big as I expected but I do love the colours, not sure how long my pom poms will stay on for. I backed it with a bright colour to try to keep it vibrant and added the pom poms last.

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It felt good to get it finished and hopefully the completed projects will start coming thick and fast so I can share them with you next time. Cheerio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!! 2014 has been and gone and here at Minnie’s me and the bf eased our way into the new year with Ferrero Rocher and Harry Potter. So as I did last year I’d just like to do a quick review of events and perhaps share some of 2014’s pictures that didn’t make it onto the posts of last year.

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We enjoyed beautiful skies.

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Beautiful flowers.

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As much craftyness as possible with the occasional short break . . .

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And the odd spot of baking . . .

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Sitting down to sift through the years photos really does lift my spirits. When I look around and see all my unfinished projects and my extensive list of things to do it really makes me realise that I did actually achieve something, that some things however small, got done. It reminds me of the happy times on holiday, even if it did rain a lot. It reminds me that I’m thankful that I’m able to do these things. This is also why I need this blog, to access my thoughts and feelings and hopefully share a little of what makes me happy.
I hope to take this sentiment with me into the new year. I aim to be a little more organised and a little more productive, I have many ideas, hopes and dreams for 2015, and I’ll try my best to realise them.

Hello and a very big welcome back to Minnie’s memoirs. I must firstly apologise, my last post was such a long time ago!! 22nd of June I believe and since then much has happened in my world of crochet and crafting. So much has happened I don’t know quite where to begin so I’ll start with some good news! I finally opened my Etsy shop you can find it under the name Minnie’s Markets. I opened my shop in September and I’m a little saddened to say I haven’t made any sales yet. However this may be because I currently only have four patterns available to purchase, but if you would like a look I would be ever so grateful for some feedback, I’m still new to this crafty online world.
Anyhow here’s some of the things that have been distracting me from putting more patterns online.

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Halloween!!!! Those of you who have read older posts will know how much I love this autumnal time of year, these were this years batch of pumpkins. I also decorated and made some homemade jar lantern type thingies.

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I thought they turned out ok even if painting them was a little tiresome.

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Apologies for my photos they were particularly shocking on this overcast day. The bf even had a go at the jar lanterns.

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And of course my halloween wouldn’t be complete without baking!

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The halloween cookie cutters came out and I transformed gingerbread men and women into vampires! I also made buns.

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With halloween sprinkles of course. 🙂
As halloween approached however I did have a hankering to make a bed quilt just for the ghoulish celebrations and though there is a multitude of halloween fabrics out there I was of course short of funds, we had made our annual trip to York for Halloween and I was without crafty pennies so maybe next year, I have lots of ideas!
So with Christmas coming up I was asked to make some special gifts and seeing as its Minnie’s birthday tomorrow I’ll reveal just what I’ve been up to and what’s taken over my life for the last few weeks, probably even months. 🙂 stay tuned!

Easter soon came and went and I’ve been a busy little bee all round. Firstly though I hope you all enjoyed your chocolate eggs and bunnys. Mine this year was a white chocolate Lindt bunny off the bf which was Devine.

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Seeing as Easter brings with it a long bank holiday weekend I filled my days with visiting friends and tried to slip in some crafty goodness along the way. In our old towns museums quarter they held an Edwardian Easter fete which me and my friend attended. It was the same place where the Victorian Christmas was held and though not quite as good as the Victorian Christmas it was nice to see some of the old painted attractions like the helter skelter.

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There was quite a lot of entertainment, a lady inside one of the museums was singing old Edwardian songs and doing a fine job of it, we’d walked quite far and decided to sit and listen to some of her renditions. There was also live music on the street as well.

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And many people in costume which was great. There was even a prize for the first fifty people to turn up in costume.

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I was delighted to notice that people had got their craft on and as we approched the museums quarter someone had put knitted bunting out at a nearby pub.

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I just had to stop and get a photo before we moved on. In fact I’d seen a lot of bunting that day. We had previously that day walked through the marina where I just love looking at the boats.

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I was delighted to see that some had flags on. The lighthouse you can see in this picture is the spurn lighthouse ship that is in the marina permanently now, people can go aboard and have a look round and even ring the bell. We walked around the marina looking at the lovely boats and yachts but one of my favourites has to be the old wooded barge type boats with wooden railings . . .

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Don’t you just love them portholes!. As we crossed the loch into the marina we came upon a superb example of a tug, something which you don’t always see in our marina, and I was glad to see it was decked out in fabulous bunting.

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I love the fact that the bright colours make it look like an oversized bath toy, it made me smile as we trundled along at a steady pace. Though perhaps not quite so pretty was this barge we saw on the river further into town, not as pretty a setting as the marina but there’s something to be said for barges, though most of the barges you see on the river haul goods I think this one was used for more recreational purposes. I just love the colours on it and the name.

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Overall it was quite a maritimy day.
The bank holiday weekend did have its summery spells and I decided to take some cross stitch into the garden, after seeing all the boats I was determined to make progress with my cut thru narrowboat by bothys threads and Amanda Loverseed.

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It was nice to be outside, even if I did have to use my new quick unpick that I’d purchased at the Edwardian fete.

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But despite noticing my mistakes and unpicking a significant line of cross stitch (we’ve all done it) it did get me in the garden and I couldn’t help but show you some of the early flowers we’ve been getting like this Lilly of the valley . . .

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And my rosemary which has flowered this year, blooming in multiple tiny purple flowers . . .

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I also took a snap of this little fella, who sat with me on the chair arm for the majority of my outdoor sewing sesh, my camera picked out lovely detail . . .

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Alas, the weather did not last, and I soon became chilly and had to go in and sure enough it began to rain later in the afternoon which called for a mad dash to get the washing off the line as always.
Whenever I do get a bank holiday or even just an extended weekend, I find I’m drawn to my kitchen and have to bake, and with it being the Easter bank holiday the time was perfect for some sweet treats.

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So firstly I made butterfly buns, I’d been wanting to make these for a while just because I used to make these with my mum and it brings back nice memories of licking the spoon and partly because I wanted to use my new cake stand that the bf got me, think he may have been trying to tell me something hmmm! They were sitting pretty but not for very long. And what is Easter without hot crossed buns!

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Both sweet treats were a success and I’ve been ordered to make more, though I’m holding out while I try and lose a little weight as I’m glad to announce me and the bf will be returning to whitby at the beginning of June for a short break, and I’m trying to get my fitness levels up for them cliffs.
So Easter was a resounding success this year, even if I didn’t get chance to crochet some Easter bunnies or chicks, but last weekend the bf did buy me some lovely yellow and cream roses, which reminded me that even though Easters gone spring hasn’t sprung yet!

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Hi guys, I am proud to announce, Minnie’s Memoirs is 1 today!!!!! Whoop whoop!! That’s right, its been a whole year since I first started this blog. I haven’t written as much as I would have liked but I can tell you it feels damn good to have kept up with it. To have shared my little adventures, and crafty endeavours with you all has been some of the happiest times for me this year and I hope to continue and improve my blogging skills in the years to come.

So without further ado, here’s some of the festivey bits I’ve been getting up to recently . . .

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Christmas stockings, never made them before but thought I’d have a crack at it. I crocheted some snowflakes and then some smaller ones for my dads, and sneakily put some chocolate coins in before Christmas day.

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The snowflake pattern is from “150 blocks to knit and crochet” by Heather Lodinsky, a very good book for this kind of project. You may recognise these snowflakes as I’d hung some on the tree last year.

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Next on the agenda was the bf’s stocking, I wanted to do them quite different so I opted for Christmas trees, I purposely made them chunky and childlike, because I think they’re more fun and its always good to have blocks of bright colour to break up the red of the stocking.

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They’re a bit topsy turvey but I think it adds to the charm of it, bold stitching is also a must, (nothing to do with the fact I finished it Christmas Eve night and was in a bit of a rush)

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Here in England we can no longer depend on snow for Christmas and this year brought nothing but rain and wind, which aside from keeping me awake all night and making me dream of tornados, brought utterly spectacular skies.

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I love the winter moon as it bobs cheekily in and out of the clouds, I find I look more and more to the sky recently, it has a wonderful calming effect on me, and seen as me and the bf haven’t been on a long walk for a while its all I can do to snatch a bit of enjoyment outdoors.

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Before we knew it Christmas was upon us, and this year I invested in this wonderful polar bear knitted jumper, which I wore proudly on Christmas Day as well as my works night out. So with Christmas jumper at the ready all that was left to do was bake.

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Mini orange and cranberry cheesecakes, I’d done a test run on these just before Christmas, and was going to make another batch Christmas Eve, but neither found the time nor room in the fridge. The bf seemed to like them though so New Years cheesecakes they may have to be.

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The customary mince pie/tart, in fact more tart than anything else as I couldn’t find my large fluted cutter anywhere so they didn’t curl up in the tin like they normally do, but these went down ok with my sister and so was quite satisfied at the dwindling pile in their tupperware container. Now I normally do gingerbread biscuits at Christmas and this year was no exception. The only thing that had been bugging me was I could never get them gingery enough, no matter how much ground ginger I put in, so this year . . .

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. . . I chopped some crystallised stem ginger, quite a generous amount and put that in as well as the ground ginger. I anticipated them to be too strong but when I finally tasted one I was over the moon, I’d got it just right, and was thrilled that a whole forest of gingerbread Christmas trees hadn’t been a disaster.

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I’d like to show you some hand embroidered gifts I got this year for Christmas, especially these incredibly beautiful embroidered hankies that the bf’s mum got me, they’re old and they’re so delicately sweet I wanted to share just how much love and attention had gone into them. depicting some of my favourite subject matter, it was such a wonderful gift.

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Aren’t they stunning! One of my other Christmas gifts this year was made by the bf’s mum, who is such an accomplished lady there doesn’t seem a limit to her skill.

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This fluffy nose belongs to a sleepy hedgehog entirely made by hand from a pattern on the Internet.

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With buttoned moveable joints and knitted scarf he’s super cute. She also made me a little scissor keep, using ribbon embroidery with little lavender stems and tiny tiny bumble bees.

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So as well as a festivey feeling Christmas, I’ve had a very happy 1st Birthday.:)

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Just before I sign off I’d like to dedicate this post to a very special lady who passed away on the 17th of December – Pauline xxxx

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Hi all, its been just over a week since Halloween, but since this is such an excitably anticipated celebration in my calendar I think I’ve overwhelmed myself slightly with all that I want to convey. Firstly, me and the bf had the week off. Holidays were to be used and considering the fine Autumn weather and the fact that I love Halloween we thought it was right to have the week off.
The beginning of the week I spent baking snacks that would keep rumbling bellies at bay, so I had a huge bake off . . .

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Cheese scones . . .

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A loaf (which didn’t last the night) . . .

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Halloween ginger biscuits . . .

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Tea cakes which didn’t turn out as well as the last ones . . .

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And breakfasty oat biscuits which the bf loved. Bake off complete it was time to prepare.

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Cue the scary Halloween lantern . . .

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And of course pumpkin fairy lights. I wanted to get more fairy lights this year but I think we left it a bit too late. One afternoon we decided to make most of the light and weather and set off for our usual walk, the rowan trees that had been full of berries were still full, but the leaves had gone, and this felt distinctly more wintry than seeing them with the yellowy leaves.

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But the autumn colour still hadn’t quite disappeared, the oaks further along our walk were just starting to lose their foliage but the light was just right to fetch the colours into vibrant display.

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I just love the shapes of oak leaves, they are so beautiful. Another autumn colour we came across was vibrant red . . .

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Rosehips were everywhere and I just love the colour, they are a sure sign of colder weather and the colours are almost a pre-cursor to the red and green of the holly trees. I later googled that you can make things with rosehips, such as rosehip tea and other such delicacies. I figured I was a little too new to the foraging business and left the rosehips sitting pretty on their bushes . . .maybe next year.

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We enjoyed the long stroll through the grove and then as we came to the point where we normally join the main road we stopped and looked ahead . . .

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. . .and then carried on. We wanted to explore a bit further and we certainly did. The grove carried on for a bit longer and, not quite being in the country, we eventually hit a main road, about to turn back we noticed that the public footpath continued over the road, I persuaded the bf that we should carry on a bit further just to see what was down the way and we suddenly came across . . .

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. . .possibly the creepiest looking building in our neighbourhood. Right on top of Halloween you can imagine our thoughts running wild with haunted houses and ghosts and other such ghoulish thoughts. Actually its an old water pumping station, possibly victorian in age, but my how it struck us with its grandeur and altogether suitably creepy atmosphere.

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It looked decidedly run down but some things in it must have been operational because the water board had fenced it off. So after this Halloween treat we reached a drain and seeing it was being unblocked with diggers, decided to skirt around the pumping station and continue our walk. We eventually found the public footpath again which led us onto the main road a mile or so from our house. Here we saw the footpath continue onto the nearby golf course, and with adventure in our hearts, we decided to carry on.

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Though a little less wilder than the grove, the pathway through the golf course did hold a certain quiet and calm serenity to it, and I did manage to spot, and take a very poor picture of this goldfinch, (I think).

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The light was turning golden and it was so beautiful to be out in the open, albeit chilly air, aching from our long walk, chatting about our little adventure. And though a little manicured for my taste the golf course was nice to walk through.

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Our walk didn’t stop here either. Leaving the boundaries of the golf course we broke out onto fields looking across to a nearby village.

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We did also come across some gypsies camped up on the side of the field and saw an exquisite example of an old Romany caravan, but I was a little too shy to ask if I could take a photo. So as the light faded we headed home, and stopped briefly for some well deserved refreshment.

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We’d thoroughly enjoyed our wander and the achy legs and sore feet felt almost good as we made it home. I hope to repeat the walk many times and even go further a field too.
So, midweek came and Halloween was almost upon us, time to get the pumpkins done! We met up with the bf’s parents who kindly took us to the supermarket, the posh one in fact who blow out cold vapour on their veg, and we picked up two huge pumpkins. I should also add here for you craft lovers that earlier that day I did pick up some delicious stylecraft life dk in tutti fruity colours, I simply couldn’t resist. (The photo doesn’t really do it justice, light fades fast this time of year and I keep forgetting to take my photos in daylight).

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Carving pumpkins is a messy affair and this year was no exception. I was a bit stumped this year of what to carve so I googled ideas. But first let me show you last years.

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This was mine . . .

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And this was the bf’s, it made such a cool bat signal on the wall. This years . . .

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I decided to do a scary house, quite fitting after our walk. And the bf did another bat themed lantern.

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For Halloween we decided to go to York, about an hours train ride for us but York being an ancient city its always fun to go at this time of year. Our main purpose was to visit the legendary Betty’s Tea Room, which serve food, savoury and sweet, and cream tea.

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I was a little excited as it was my first time at Betty’s, the service was extremely good and the food even more so. We had eggs benedict as it was still fairly early, but the sweet trolley is incredibly tempting. We have vowed to go again and have a full cream tea next time. One of the great things about Betty’s is they always do a fantastic display in the shop that adjoins the tea rooms. One year we saw the biggest Dracula’s castle cake in the window for Halloween. This year wasn’t quite as grand but they always do nice themed displays.

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You can just see the little ghost fancies and other treats on this pic, and I just loved the variety of the mini pumpkins.

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York is full of character, even more so at Halloween. We were once again blessed with gorgeous bright sunlight, bathing all the autumn colours in a golden glow.

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I was in my element, it was Halloween, I’d been to Betty’s, we were enjoying fine weather and the delights of York in all its medieval and gothicy splendour. The architecture in York is superb, you have the gothic awesomeness of York minster. . .

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The topsy turvey streets of the medieval Shambles . . .

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And the ancient stones of the city walls . . .

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We took a stroll along the riverside before we made our way to the station for our train home, and I marvelled at the cylindrical shaped turrets and towers lining the riverbank.

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As a History graduate I find these buildings amazingly evocative, and can almost imagine life as it was back then, brutal and beautiful at the same time. The river reflected the day perfectly in its shimmering movement.

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We had passed another little tea room in York which I always stop at to look in the window. They have a display which makes my heart a flutter. The bf thinks I’m crazy but I just love . . .

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. . .jugs!! And one day I will own one from this little shop, a beautifully floral one, that I can swoon over. I even took a sneaky photo of the ones inside.

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Aren’t they super pretty, how I’d love a shelf like that.
After a walk on the city walls to admire the view and the spectacular light . . .

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We headed for the station to get the train home. En route home I tried my damnedest to get a photo of the wonderful Halloween sunset which was the perfect finale to our day.

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So in the aftermath of Halloween, after the pumpkins have gone out and after trying unsuccessfully to toast our pumpkin seeds, we finish off the last of the pomegranates with their little jewel like fruits packed inside.

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And say bye bye to autumn with a flourish of powder keg colour for bonfire night.

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Winter is coming!!!! 😉

Hi guys its been a while since my last post and I’ve been quite busy making the most of the lengthy summer, getting involved with things in a crafty way (more on that later), and baking.
Firstly though I’d like to share with you a spectacular sunset we had a few days ago. Everything was a vivid reddy pink and I just had to take a few snaps.

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I love the contrast of the sky and the tops of shadowy trees and chimney pots. As aforementioned were having quite a lengthy summer here and we took an impromptu trip to Bridlington, a little seaside town not far from where we live. It was overcast but a nice day overall. I love the quaint little boats and lobster pots that sit by the harbour.

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I just love the colours on this little fishing boat.

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There is a lot of shellfish caught on the east coast and I’ve always liked looking at the lobster pots. They usually line the harbour walls waiting to be taken out and I just love the maritimyness of them, especially in this pic where you can just make out the bunting on a nearby ship.
Speaking of bunting!!! Some of you will already know of a fantastic blog called attic24 by a lady called Lucy. A few weeks ago she called out for people to do some bunting for a craft fair called Yarndale. I confess I’m not really good at getting involved with things but after I saw the granny bunting required for Yarndale I couldn’t help but give it a go. I did have some scraps of wool I needed to use so I got to work.

20130826-123800.jpg I chose these pastels which ended up working nicely together and once I’d got into the swing of things I couldn’t stop!

20130826-123917.jpg I did ten triangles altogether and once I’d used Lucy’s ironing technique (which I agree is highly satisfying) I was in bunting love!
I decided to hang onto the pastel coloured triangles (which I think will go above the bed) and quickly hooked up some more bunting for Yarndale from some more vibrant colours.

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I fell in love with these too but I had to let these ones go . . . reluctantly.

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Luckily I have plenty of wool in these colours and will eventually be hooking up a few more for the house. I’ve had a new addition to the house recently, my very first dressing table! At the age of 28 it is well overdue and I’m absolutely in love with it.

20130826-131920.jpg it came with a little stool which I’m making a cover for with the same pastel colours as my bunting, but using squares instead.

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However I may have to be naughty and order just a couple of extra balls of wool just to finish it.

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So for a time my beautiful dressing table was temporarily a craft table also, and my triangles sat proudly waiting to be used.

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Whilst we’re still on the subject of crafty things I have to tell you how overjoyed I was to discover Bridlington is full of little craft shops and on a Wednesday and Saturday there is a stall at the market place selling all kinds of wool! Yipeeeeee! Well you can imagine my excitement. I came away with two balls of . . .

20130826-135314.jpg . . . Robin paintbox DK. It’s sort of a sock wool I suppose and I thought I’d crochet up a pair of my socks in it to see how the colours work out. I really like the earthy greens and yellows, very springy.

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That’s a project for another day. I’ll add it to the list.
As you know I’ve been doing a lot of baking recently a few weeks ago it was a plaited loaf and this time I fancied something a little sweeter, bready and sort of healthy. So along with another loaf I baked tea cakes. I’d looked up some recipes but all were quite different so I took a deep breath and winged it. Beware! The following recipe is my own.
You will need:
400g plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1 Sachet fast action yeast
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ginger
25g sugar
25g butter
80g mixed peel
80g sultanas
80g currants
250ml water
A good glug of olive oil
1 egg for brushing.

Method:
1. Sieve together flour, Baking powder, yeast, sugar and all spices. Mix together until well incorporated.
2. Add butter in small chunks and rub in until no large lumps remain.
3. Add all the dried fruit and mix until well distributed.
4. Add a good glug of olive oil (around 2 tbsp) and 3/4s of the water, with hands mix together and start bringing the dough together adding the rest of the water as you go.
5. Once the dough has come together turn out onto a floured surface and knead. (Don’t worry about the fruit that falls out at this stage simply pop them back into the dough) knead for 5-10 mins until dough becomes a little more like bread dough.

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Place in a greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 1 hour in a warm place.

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6. After the first prove turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 8 equal portions, roll each portion into a ball and flatten. Place on greased baking trays and leave to prove for another hour.

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7. Once risen again, brush with beaten egg and place into a pre-heated oven gas mark 6 or 200 degrees for 15-20mins they will go a wonderful rich brown colour and smell delicious. Best served toasted with lots of butter.

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Please note the recipe is my own so you may want to tweak it as you see fit, I like a lot of fruit in mine which isn’t necessarily to people’s taste and they are rather filling, you may want to use self-raising flour instead to make the dough a little lighter. If you have the time they’re a great way to use up any dried fruit that’s left over and a great treat for breakfast or afternoon tea. Yum!!
I also thought I’d share with you a little idea that is so healthy and yummy you’ll have to try it. With the plaited loaf you saw proving earlier I like to do an Italian anti pasti, Bruschetta. Simple food at its best. I just chop up some tomatoes, (I like baby plum tomatoes myself) and put them in a bowl with salt and pepper, a good glug of olive oil, a little garlic and lots of basil, mix it all up and serve on fresh warm toasted bread.

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It’s so simple and delicious, were a little obsessed with it, and its superbly healthy.
So for me its been a very good few weeks but I’ll finish with a few more pics from Bridlington. I can’t get enough of the seaside at the minute.

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I just love the pale pastels of these Victorian (I think) seaside houses.

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Pebbles which were incredibly difficult to walk on yet so pretty to look at.

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Til next time folks.

Hi guys, I just felt I needed a little blog time as the week gathers to its end. I’ve had this week off work as I’ve hit the age of 28 and I’m discovering it takes longer and longer to come to terms with ones adulthood. Eventually I’m sure I’ll just start to deny it, in fact I probably have already, who’s 28 again?
Anywho, this week has been absolutely jam packed with meet and greets, impromptu pub visits and delicious evening meals with friends. So its been rather hectic but I’ve still tried to set aside time for some crafty therapy. As is always the case I was spoilt on my birthday and was allowed into Hobbycraft like a wild animal being set free into the jungle. I picked up just a few pieces really, Lesley Stanfield’s birds and beasties book to go with the 100 flowers to knit and crochet.

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I intend, one day, to put these glorious patterns to good use and create some kind of crocheted garden homage. I also picked up these super cute heart buttons, I just loved the colours.

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One of my wonderful sisters and her partner actually bought me a sewing machine for my birthday! As some of you will know, I have a love hate relationship with these machines, I trust in my hands when it comes to needle and thread but, seen as the list of projects I have is becoming rather wild and unruly, I aim to befriend said machine and make it work for me in a way so that I lose my sense of foreboding every time someone asks the dreaded question “you’ve got a sewing machine haven’t you, do you think you could fix this for me?”

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I’m very grateful for my gift and I think the machine is a simple one, I wouldn’t know where to start if it had a screen!! So I will be more than happy to share my machine journey with you once its all . . .functioning.
Ok, I have a slight problem . . .well more like a fault really, I like to bake for people, and it gets to the point where, if I know someone is coming round I’ll bake, unfortunately a lot of people came down this week so I’ve made quite a lot of work for myself. I won’t go into strenuous detail but I thought I’d share with you my plaited loaf.

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I must admit, I get a bit proud of my bread. It’s a Paul Hollywood recipe and is super easy. You can’t beat the smell of fresh bread and none ever goes to waste.

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Mmmm yummy.
My indulgent week wouldn’t have been complete without indulgent crochet and I admit I started a new project before finishing one. You see there are a couple of old cream cushion covers on my bead that need replacing, they’re getting holy and I decided to do some stripey cushion covers to replace them. I picked out some pastel tones to match my bed.

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As you can see I think the colours go rather well.

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It’s been a great week really, and I’ve loved seeing all my family and friends. But at the end of a busy day there’s nothing like a good cuppa . . .

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. . .and a comfy bed.

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Hello again! I’ve had a very busy and tiring fortnight and now I’ve finally found the time to sit and catch up. Firstly I’ll catch you up on last weekend which I spent utterly indulging my crafty side. I’d already had a little cosy gift off the BF by the Friday, a lovely quilted throw, which I spent wrapped in as I perused my new crafty delights.

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The Saturday was spent baking mostly, we had a little treat and I don’t think there’s anything better as a treat than a cream tea. For those of you who are reading this from across the pond we take tea drinking very seriously here in blighty and nowhere more so than here in Yorkshire. Like the tea drinking ceremonies in china but with more milk and sugar. So I got out my appropriate flatware.

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I got this lovely mini cake stand for Christmas and hadn’t had chance to use it til now. I also got out my cupcake plate which I also got at Christmas time.

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So I set about making sweet scones which is fantastically easy all you need is;
225g of self raising flour
50g of unsalted butter
A pinch of salt
5-7tbsp of milk
And this is how you make them; rub butter into the flour and salt until no big lumps remain, add milk and roll into balls, brush with beaten egg and milk and bake in oven on about 220, gas 5 for 15 minutes until golden on top. To be honest I find the 5-7 tbsp of milk insufficient so I just keep adding milk until they stick together, I also think the extra milk makes them even creamier.

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As you can see I don’t care too much about shape, I think home cooking is at its best when you can give things a rustic chunky shape. They should look like this when done.

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I made these quite large but smaller is better as they are quite filling, you could also add raisins or chopped candied peel if you fancied it. We like ours plain with just a little butter, clotted cream and strawberry jam. Note: best eaten warm out the oven.

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Having cream tea also means I can use my little jam pot, oh so cute and practical.

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This dinky little jar came all the way from Sweden, as a gift from a dear friend who used to live there, I have another thinner one but I’m not sure what ill use that for yet. But I love decanting a bit of jewel like strawberry jam into my jar whenever we get the chance to have a cream tea, it also keeps you from being too gluttonous with the jam as I’m sure you’ll agree is all too easy to do.
I admit this wasn’t the only treat I made that Saturday. I also made crunchy nut cornflake peanut butter and chocolate buns. Easy as anything and ridiculously tasty (even for my old dad who claims he doesn’t like peanut butter! Yeah right pops!) simple recipe, mix melted chocolate together with peanut butter and pour onto crunchy nut cornflakes.

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Just stir until the chocolate and peanut butter coats the cornflakes.

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Spoon into bun cases and pop in the fridge, because they have peanut butter in they will become softer if you leave them out. They are great to make with kids or just for a quick dessert.

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After our cream tea, which was rather filling. We decided to take a little walk around the neighbourhood. Towards the back of where we live there is a stretch of land which is just grass and trees, a pocket of peace amongst all these houses and roads and people. So we walked off our cream tea and enjoyed the very early spring weather in the quiet grove.

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There is a couple of particularly old looking trees in the grove which I will endeavour to take a photo of on our next walk, they have a majesty which I don’t normally find outside my doorstep. But that Saturday I enjoyed a nice stroll and beautiful skies.

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I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, we weren’t far from home and yet it seemed so far away. I returned home feeling an inner peace that we sometimes forget exists in this rush about world. I intend to repeat the experience often. I read on the Internet this week something along the lines of “getting back to nature restores our soul” and I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think anything else could have given me that sense of content that we don’t know is even missing most of the time. My advice to those of you who feel stressed or frustrated or disappointed. Go for a slow stroll somewhere green, take in the air, sights and smells, and just be, for a moment.

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We returned home and feeling utterly calm and content we snoozed for a quarter hour before washing the dishes, after using up the peanut butter I washed out the jar. Rather than recycling it I had seen people were making tea light holders of old jars on the Internet and so tried it for myself. I washed it out and got all the glue off from the sticker. I then simply tied some polka dot ribbon round the top and voila!

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It does just look like a jar with ribbon on it but when you put a candle in it it really is quite lovely and cosy.

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I intend to make a few more and have them all shimmering together in glossy shiny cosy-ness. (A nice excuse to make more buns :D)
The Sunday was a great day. I went to the Humber Bridge market held the first Sunday of every month. I had a need for some very soft very particular wool. I had been in touch with a woman called Kath who runs a website called http://littlehoundalesknits.comI emailed her with my order and she brought it to the market for me. I was after Milla Mia in different colours. I just got a few for a particular project/gift I’m working on.
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However browsing Kath’s website I just had to treat myself to a gorgeous multicoloured yarn.

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As you can see its called Knitcol and there are many colours, but this one in particular caught my eye. I love pink and green together, I just think it looks great and this one had a tutti-fruitti sort of colour to it. This is shade 059, but there are lots of different ones you should see if you like this.

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Just browsing Kath’s stall at the market was a joy, bright colours and tons of wool and knitting and crocheting paraphernalia.

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I particularly liked these colourful knitting needles which remind me of how children draw mushrooms with the red cap and white spots. I just love the way they are displayed . . . I wonder if she does mushroom crochet hooks hmmm!?!?!

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I’m not quite sure I mentioned I was particularly fond of buttons, this pic is my wallpaper on my ipad.

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As I aforementioned I had totally indulged my crafty side on that weekend, and it didn’t stop at the market. Afterwards we went to any crafty persons Mecca, Hobbycraft! I had a gift card to spend from the BF from valentines day (big hugs) and went into craft overload. I have mentioned before I have some antique lace bobbins that need re-spangling and so sniffed out the beading isle. I wanted something quite special for the antique bobbins so bought clear glass beads in different colours.

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The purple ones look like tiny berries!

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These ones look like fish eggs, but I do love the subtle peachy colour, almost coral, so pretty.

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I got some fine wire to do the spangling and I’m looking forward to making the antique bobbins shine and glimmer with a new lease of life. However it seemed I couldn’t stop there with the bead bonanza, I also bought the following.

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These are glass as well but opaque rather than clear. I also bought seed beads for finer work.

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I get a bit giddy when I think about all the things I can make and embellish with them, my hands can rarely keep up with my mind there’s just so many ideas rattling around in there!
So it was quite a big weekend last weekend and the weather slowly turned back to typical british wind and rain, but it didn’t stop me thoroughly enjoying this Saturday (today). I was getting ready to go out and was stood doing my hair at the window when i spotted quite a lot of birds in the little trees at the back of our flats. Instantly I shouted the BF to get My camera and took a few impromptu shots.

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I didn’t really know what they were at first and consulted my birds of Britain app, ends up their Waxwings! I couldn’t believe it! There must have been forty or so all munching on something very tasty in these trees. This however wasn’t the first time I’d seen one. I’ve seen one before but didn’t know what it was and that was in the country not in my back yard.

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Once again my camera did me proud, these birds were quite a way from my window but I was so pleased to see the detail in the yellow tail and the pretty little tuft of feathers on the head.

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Though this next photo is a bit blurred I just love the movement of the bird and the fact that you can still see his head despite the wings in full take-off.

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So after this exciting discovery in my back yard I finished doing my hair and we went out for lunch for my sisters birthday. I got to walk my still wobbly nephew round the restraunt as he discovered new things and uttered a casual “doo doo doo” as he strolled around and waved bye to complete strangers, we played his game where we point and he says the name of things, he’s such a little mimic at the moment. After our meal me and the BF had a giant ice-cream and came home all sleepy what a great day!
I know it’s been quite a long post, I’ve had plenty to relay to you. But I’d just like to take a couple more lines to say just how much I enjoy writing this blog and how it delights me to see people interested in what I have to say and things I’ve been up to. I know my following is still small but my thanks are big.x

Hi again, quite a busy weekend for me this week went to the Hull Vintage Fair which was great fun. Walking round the stalls whilst listening to oldies but goldies, spotting bargains left right and centre and seeing items that make you blurt “Oo look we used to have those!” I did intend to take some pictures but alas, the place was far too busy. However I did manage to get a rather nice picture of a display full of old cameras which I couldn’t resist.

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I did purchase a couple of items, one a small wooden needle case, painted very prettily one side with a flower the other with a ladies face, presumably the original owner.

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There is writing on the bottom but I’m unsure what it says but I love things like these, little items of curiosity, who was the original owner is it the woman depicted? Was it a gift? Little things like these just get my mind ticking and its such a practical and pretty item and I picked it up for just £1.

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I also picked up at the fair a super soft and cosy angora and lambs wool cardigan, mustard in colour and ever so fuzzy and soft.

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If there’s one thing I can’t resist is a cosy cardie, and this was just the ticket. So after a days shopping Sunday was to be another day of treats. I wanted to make me and the bf some biscuits but without too much hassle. Taking an idea from a well known peanut butter and chocolate confectioner I decided to make my own peanut butter biscuits. It was quick and easy and very tasty. I took some plain rich tea biscuits and laid them out on a tray.

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I then smothered them with smooth peanut butter, easy yes!

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Then take a bar of chocolate and break it up into a microwave bowl.

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And melt (the best bit)

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It only takes a few moments in the microwave and it saves the hassle of boiling water in a pan. Take the shiny melted chocolate (I let mine cool ever so slightly as not to make the peanut butter too runny underneath) and spoon onto the biscuits, pushing the chocolate out to the sides. It doesn’t matter if you get a bit running over the edge it just makes it look all the more appetising. Cool in the fridge and voila! Home made easy peasy peanut butter and chocolate biscuits.

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To make them a bit more special you could take your favourite recipe for biscuits and make your own base but for a quick treat a store bought biscuit works just as well, you could use crunchy peanut butter as well for a bit of added crunch. Which ever way you do it I think there’s no better sight than a full cookie jar.

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Yum!

ayarnyrobin

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