Saturday, 31 August 2013

From Tepee to Tree House

It's been a long while since we've walked at The Thames Chase Forest Centre, this morning we were up early and went off with Betsy to meet Becky and James for a walk. The morning was bright sunny a lovely and warm, with not a cloud in the sky, although there were a few cars in the car park we saw a couple of dog walkers and a jogger. Betsy had fun running about,  James and Becky explored the children's play areas that have been constructed since our last visit (just as well there were so few people about).

James climbed up inside the tree house and took some photo's of the traffic on the M25, this lovely open space is very close to that busy motorway so if you are ever driving along the M25 heading for the Dartford crossing have a look for the tree house it can be seen from the road, especially if your stuck in a traffic jam approaching the QEII bridge!

There were lots of these on the bushes we couldn't decide if they were sloes, anyone know? We finished our walk with a coffee, sitting in the sun and chatting.  A nice way to start the weekend.........

Friday, 30 August 2013

City and Guilds Samples

I've been keeping myself busy getting samples done for my City and Guilds, I have also added a finished piece to the City and Guilds page.

I knew I'd done a Kantha workshop a while ago and thought I'd do a short cut and finish the work off and use it for my sample (I'm a cheat I know), but no matter how or where I've looked I can't find any sign of the work.  It wasn't till I typed the link for this post I found the this! Oh well as my Nan used to say 'Cheats never prosper' and I've not cheated, haha.....



Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Courgette or Marrow????????

How did I miss this little fella in the vegetable patch? Well to be honest I did see it was getting big but I was picking courgettes that were smaller, I thought I must come back and pick it soon! But two days later there was no missing it as it started to burst out of the fence around the raised vegetable bed.... It took two of us to remove it from the grasp of the plant!

I left it sitting on the table in the garden to show the rest of the family on Sunday when they came for dinner, it caused a bit of a stir (we lead a quiet life, so it doesn't take much).  We discussed was it now a Marrow or  an overgrown / neglected courgette, we couldn't decide that one, what do you think? While I was putting the finishing touches to dinner and yes, we did have regular sized courgettes and very nice they were too, it was weighed 8lb 11oz.  James my very imaginative son said he thought that when it was cut open we might find a family of Borrowers living in it, we didn't! Becky and James could not be persuaded to take a chunk home with them, Rachel came to the rescue and took a reasonable amount.

Tonight we are having a vegetable curry for dinner and yes it includes an amount of courgette, tomorrow I'm cooking stuffed courgette and Friday who knows? Any ideas of what to do with it would be gratefully received (only clean suggestions thank you)! I still have nearly 4lbs of the thing left and of course while I'm using this up the rest of the little blighters are growing away on the plant, boy am I glad that only one plant survived the raid of the slugs and snails earlier in the year!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

From The Tower

On Friday Rachel and I went to a Birthday Party another 2 year old, this time there was plenty of Jelly and the sandwiches were made in the shape of the Hungry Caterpillar, I forgot to take a photograph but it was a very creative spread.
Then on Saturday evening we went to the Tower of London to watch the Ceremony of The Keys and attend a charity event as guests of the Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters). Driving into the Tower was not easy, negotiating around the many tourists who were more intent on getting their photographs than worrying about stepping backwards into the path of a slow moving car. Glad I wasn't driving, Dave managed very well and not one dent in the car. The Yeoman's mess was interesting and we were treated to a Drum and Pipe band before a BBQ, we were then invited outside and given some information about the Tower and the Ceremony that was about to take place. No photographs are allowed of the ceremony, it has an amazing history, the locking of the tower with all the pageantry  has happened every night for 700 years, nothing has ever prevented it, not war or weather. It was then back inside and more drink and another set from the Pipes and Drums. I know not everyone likes the Pipes but I do so I was delighted, Dave isn't quite so enthusiastic but never mind....... On the way out of the Tower I took a photo of Traitors Gate from the inside looking out and one of Tower Bridge and one of the Shard they are dark but I wanted to share them with you!

If you would like to know more about trips to and information on the Tower of London try this link

Monday, 12 August 2013


This year was my first visit to the Festival of Quilts! Yes I know I can hardly believe it myself, why have I never been before? There is always something else to do, well that wont happen again. Betsy went off for the weekend and Dave and I set off very early on Saturday morning for Birmingham. I'm glad we decided to stay overnight, Saturday we visited all the exhibitions, it was very busy. I did buy some bits for my next City and Guilds project after having a chat with Janice Gunner my tutor who had a stand.

There were so many lovely quilts, it was hard to decide which ones I liked the most. The quilt below received 'Highly Commended'  lovely colours and the workmanship was amazing, got to love the title.....NEVER AGAIN
Two Person Quilt- Alison Robins and Krista Withers - Never Again

After a nice dinner at the hotel a couple of glasses of wine a good night sleep and a lie in we were back to the NEC for a look around the stalls and some spending. It was much quieter on Sunday morning so as we passed the quilt than won the BEST IN SHOW I managed to get a photo. Even if you are not a fan of traditional quilts I think it would be hard not to admire this quilt! I think the Judges comments say it all 'An exquisite quilt'. Just a shame it wasn't placed in a better position so we could all take better photographs, I heard lots of moaning about that.

Kyoko Yamauchi- Thank You Father

Judges Comments
Anyway after the admiring it was down to shopping, here's my stash. Fabrics, bobbins, a few other bits and pieces and an African Basket. I'm happy and looking forward to returning next year......

Before I took Betsy to her other family I took her for a walk as always, I was bitten on the wrist by this nasty little black fly. It didn't hurt at the time but Friday night it woke me up and was painful but didn't itch and over the weekend I was rubbing antiseptic cream into it. It blistered and my wrist became very swollen, hot and rather nasty and the cream made it worse. This morning I went to the pharmacist but he said I needed an urgent appointment at the doctors it had gone septic, he was right now I'm on antibiotics. Well thats life full of the unexpected......

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Another Scoop?

Thank you to Su, Gina and Celia for the ice cream recipes, I am definitely going to try them ALL!  I had already bought the cinnamon sticks  so I did make the cinnamon ice cream yesterday. It was delicious, a grown up ice cream I think you could call it, adding eggs and making a custard base made a lot of difference  a much smoother dessert! My other half wasn't as sure, not really to his taste! But I noticed he didn't leave any.....

This is the link

I used the ice cream maker but still needed to stir after an hour I did that three times...... Next week I'll  try the vanilla recipes.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Where's the Jelly?

There was no jelly and ice cream at this party, but lots of birthday cake, I slightly over indulged on the white wine! I  had two glasses, I honestly think it was sitting in the garden in the heat and not eating enough, well that's my story and I'm sticking to it! George enjoyed himself and received lots of attention and more importantly for a little TWO year old boy, he received lots of presents. So it's fair to say he had a good Birthday Party!!! And when I woke up this morning I had NO hang over, well as I said it was only TWO glasses.....

Just as well I'd made my own ice cream on Friday, then. I'd found the recipe via here then here, a big thank you to them both, isn't the world of blogging a beautiful thing? I did adapt the recipe a bit I substituted  a few things, it's good to improvise.

500g strawberries
150g golden caster sugar (it's what was in the larder)
300ml whipping cream
300ml low fat yoghurt

Clean fruit then put in saucepan with sugar and 3 tablespoons of water, cook on low heat until soft. Then puree and sieve ( I didn't bother to sieve nor did I totally puree, the bits in the ice cream were quite nice), leave to cool completely.  Mix the yoghurt / cream and fruit together. This is now up to you, I have a little used ice cream maker (one of those it seems a good idea at the time things) I took the well frozen container from the freezer ( it's been in there for over a year) and poured the liquid into it, it churned and groaned into a frozen sloppy mass in about 30 minutes. Then I poured it into a freezer proof container and popped it into the freezer, I did take it out after an hour and mixed it with a fork then left it in the freezer again for another couple of hours.
If you don't have a machine I think you need to remove from the freezer and mix every hour do this four times, it's to stop the ice cream forming into a solid lump to quickly ( I'm no expert ) it was well worth the effort. But a thing to be aware of as this ice cream has no additives it won't last as long as shop bought ice cream, such a pity  it needs to be used up asap..... it also sets quite firm if left in the freezer for a couple of days as we discovered after lunch today, but still tasted good!

I'm going to attempt cinnamon ice cream this week, and I'll make it by hand, reading other web sites I understand that custard based ice creams are the best they are creamier because they include eggs, anyone tried it?

Betsy did go for a visit to her friends on a very hot day, they played and romped and then laid in the shade, when we got home she went straight to her bed and slept all evening she didn't even want to go out for her evening walk.

Sometimes I really get fed up with blogger, had real trouble getting the photos in the right place and when I try to put labels on them the image pops up in the top of the post AGAIN???? Giving up......