Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Happy thoughts!

Right, I've come up with an idea for a couple of posts. Today's the first of the series and it's going to be about little things that have made me happy recently. I'm going to be well behaved (and trying not to be too boring!) so I've limited the number of items to 4. That's not much is it. Quite reasonable I reckon actually ;-) - so go on, have a read and let me know what makes you happy at the moment!

1/ All things ginger (humans and cats included, biscuits excluded) - no photo to illustrate this I'm afraid, I haven't seen a ginger cat in ages and didn't want to ask Boyfriend if I could take a photo of his hair ;-)

2/ Colourful lines that recently appeared on a section of a pavement on my way back home in the evening. I know they're markings of services, but from afar it looks like a kid's been let loose with spray paint. Hilarious.

3/ Watching building spring up to life. Never ceases to amaze me.

4/ Dinner Boyfriend cooked for us during the week - so easy and so tasty! Sliced tomatoes, with smoked haddock and sliced potatoes on top, with a drizzle of olive oil and some cheese right at the end - YUM!!!

And one final photo for good luck, because I thought it looked really nice - and look at that blue sky!!! It's St Pancras station, walk past it every day and still think it looks absolutely beautiful! Have a nice bank holiday weekend!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Hi there! Well, no crafts to show today, not even any photos. But I wanted to talk about something which has made me really HAPPY. And that’s a pretty big thing considering the horrendous morning I had in the office today. Somehow or another (I won’t bore you with the story, not that it’s very interesting anyway!), my path crossed this woman’s around lunchtime and it was simply astonishing. I don’t know if I would consider myself a cynic, but I definitely have my moments. Moments when I think people are selfish, rude and useless at their job (think estate agents here!). Anyway, this woman today, well she was SO amazingly and unexpectedly friendly. She brightened my day. It was truly wonderful. I find that when you meet someone like that, it gives you hope. Hope that there are some truly amazing human beings out there - you just don’t know about them because idiots make more noise.

Ever felt that way yourself?

Ps I also found this blog recently which I am loving this afternoon!! What, did anyone mention work?! ;-)

Friday, 21 August 2009

Cherry plums!

We were invited to my boyfriend's sister saturday night for dinner, and I offered to make pudding. So yes, you'll have guessed from the title of this post that I made cherry plum tart again! However, I made little tweeks to the recipe to get it up to scratch. Basically last time I made it, Boyfriend didn't find it sweet enough. I quite liked it as it was, but I guess for anyone else, it might not have been quite right. Here's the recipe that I used:

1) use shortcrust pastry, roll it out to the size of your dish (I used a fluted tart dish), cover with greaseproof paper and baking beans, and bake blind for 10min at 190C. Remove the paper and beans and put back in the oven for another 5min.

2) while the pastry cools, prepare the cherry plums. Wash, cut in half and remove the stones. Put to one side.

3) put mascarpone in the tart. You want it to come up to 2/3 of your dish.
4) place the plums on the mascarpone, cut face down. Place as many as you can without overlapping them.

5) brush some warmed up cherry plum jam on the top (i'm sure other jams will do, such as apricot).

6) place in the oven at 180C for 20min

This is best left to cool and eaten the next day. As I said, this is the version that I made last week which wasn't really sweet. What I did this time was mix some icing sugar in with the mascarpone, about a couple of table spoons, and also added a drizzle of honey on the top. For some reason, this meant that I had to cook the tart for an extra 10min. Anyway, it was a success and everyone liked it!! I'm afraid I didn't have time to take a photo, but we did finish the evening with some of these little beauties ;-)


Good morning all! 'Tis Friday already and it feels GOOD!!! This week has just flown by, I don't know about you, but it's definitely a nice feeling! I guess I've kept myself really busy, so that's probably why. Actually, it feels like I've transformed myself into a lavender picking and knitting machine!! Every free minute of my days has been taken up by either of these activities. All train commuting + lunchtime has been put to good use by knitting my stripey blue and white scarf (nearly half way there now!). And all my time at home has been taken up by lavender picking. And by that I mean picking off the flowers off the stalks to let them dry before I can store them in bags, ready to be put to good use. So this is what we have so far:

And what do I plan to do with all this dried lavender I hear you ask? Well, you can see from the photos above that I've made a few bunches, so those will be given to my boyfriend's sister and parents this weekend when we go over to his sister's for dinner. And the rest, well, I'll be making little lavender pouches, either to hang in a car or to put in drawers/ wardrobe to make clothes smell nice. That's the plan! I made a few lavender bags earlier on this year actually:

The blue one was a test, the other two presents. I thought they were quite cute and really easy to make! At the time, all I could do pretty much was knit and purl, so that's what they are! No shaping necessary, just knit a rectangle twice the required height of the final pouch, fold it in half, sew the sides up and put the strings from the 'inside' sachet through the wool and tighten up. [I used organza wedding favour sachets, purchased from Confetti.] I then sewed on the initials with some thread. The plan now is to make some slightly more advanced and knit up some sort of lace pattern. I've designed a simple one, I'll let you know if it works or not!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Save someone's life

Give blood today. I just did it during my lunch break (well ok, had to take an extra hour because of delays/ making sure I was fine), but I can't tell you how proud you will feel afterwards. And knowing that you will have helped someone else is simply invaluable.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Plums and bees

Well, it's Monday again, and so much has happened since I last blogged! My mum has now gone back home, so the flat does feel a little empty... We did have a great time though. She was away on Thursday/ Friday with a friend, so I made the most of it and went to pick some more cherry plums, this time to make a nice tart. So simple yet soooooo tasty!!! I'm determined to go back and get some more to make more jam, I just can't let it go to waste!!

Saturday we spent some time in Bedford and had a lovely stroll along the river. This photo summarises it pretty well, except that there were a lot more swans than fishermen!

After that, we went lavender picking here. It was truly amazing, simply stunning views! I also had to work really hard not to get freaked out by the millions of bees around! Just had to keep telling myself they were more interested in the flowers than in my chubby little arms... Couldn't resist taking lots of photos, so here's a small selection.
I'm afraid they are now closed for the year, so if you fancy a trip, you'll have to wait until next June. The shop stays open though, so you can buy some dried lavender or scented shower gel.
And in between all that, and taking mum back to the airport, I did manade to squeeze in an hour of knitting in the sun!! Bliss!!!
This is the start of a baktus scarf. I fell in love with it when I saw it on this blog so I just had to make one for myself! I was completely taken by the lovely blue and white stripes, but when I got to the yarn shop on Friday, I must admit I wasn't so sure anymore! There were so many pretty greys, I got distracted for a while. But I came back to the creme and blue and I'm very happy with it. So here we come, many knitting commutes to come! But I think I might make a white and grey one for a lucky person at christmas!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

It's not Alan, it's Steve

Right, has anyone else seen the advert for the BBC program Walk on the Wild Side recently? It's a little weasel like animal shouting Alan and then Steve - this won't make any sense until you see it so just watch it, honestly, I'm in stitches every time I see it


Enjoy ;-)

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Holiday post

Right, I’m back from holiday. I wrote a blog entry a couple of days ago but then didn't end up posting it because I wanted to include some nice holiday pics and hadn't got round to downloading them. It was probably for the best because I wasn't exactly in the best of moods! Mostly because I wasn't too happy being back at work so soon. I'm still not happy about it, but I'm not so angry anymore! The holiday ended up being good and bad. Good because the weather was wonderful (35 degrees C most days) and I really had a lovely time with Boyfriend. Bad because one of my mum’s cousins passed away unexpectedly. Frigging cancer. So all in all, it wasn't fantastic. But I guess that's life hey... Anyway, you didn’t come here to get all sad and depressed, so here are a few lovely photos I took. We were staying in Versailles (east of Paris), and spent a day in Chartres, and an afternoon in Paris. It’s all so lovely, especially the food - sometimes I do wonder what I’m doing here!

Le carré du marché, Versailles

Cycling in the château de Versailles gardens

Scented flowers in the gardens of the château - the most amazing roses I have ever smelled

A view of Chartres and l'Eure river

An artichoke growing in the Potager du Roi, Versailles
L'orangerie, Château de Versailles
My mum is staying with us for a week, so I’m afraid there will be little time to do knitting etc, but I promise to be back next week with some exciting projects! I need to focus my mind on something otherwise I might go mad!!!