Sunday 26 April 2009


Months have crawled by. Rain and snow have lashed down. We have been very busy. But finally, finally it has come.

Daytimes and evenings are crammed with tracking down essential items, endless rounds of laundry and making arrangements for cat feeding and plant watering.

Maps are being studied, suitcases lugged down from the loft and lots and lots of exciting day dreaming is going on.
Oh joy, oh rapture! We are going to Cornwall!

Once every couple of years I persuade Woody that the south-west it just must be for a week away, unless he wants to live with a miserable, weeping soul who simply must see the sea that is.
And it must be the Cornish sea, or at the very least the south-western coast. All our childhood holidays were spent in this corner of England and it will hold my heart forever.
There are plenty of other places I adore; the majestic Lake District, the heart-soaringly beautiful Yorkshire Dales, the charming Cotswolds, but it is the magic of Cornwall that beats them all for me.
Woody on the other hand grew up on the coast, albeit the west Lancashire bit, so for him summer holidays mean things like green fields and arduous mountain climbs, but for me the perfect holiday destination needs these three things:

1) Harbours - a complete must, with jaunty fishing boats, gulls and lobster pots please.

2) Coves - I like my beaches cosy and with lots of rock pools.

3) Fishermans' Cottages - preferably staying in one or else much time spent imagining life inside.

Now we're not actually off until Friday but I enjoy this panicky, will we be ready, shall I take Friday afternoon off to load the car bit, all very exciting too. We're staying here (very glamorous and rather modern indeed) on a press trip Woody has organised and I'm looking forward to being inland and discovering a bit more of Cornwall away from the sea.
With antique shops, cafes and an ancient castle we can't really go wrong. (I'm not even going to mention the weather.)
So I'll be back in a week or so - you can't believe how excited we are! Happy holiday weekend to all.

Edited to add - I'm getting spamed via the comments link at the mo, so for the time being messages they won't be automatically posted I'm afriad. It should give me a chance to delete the rubbish! Thanks so much. Hav a lovely week.

Saturday 18 April 2009

Plotting Dreams

Gosh it's all go here at the moment. Spring is racing along and on the way we're gathering up new and exciting family things to do. And the most exciting came in a phone call on Tuesday afternoon.

"Hello there Mrs W. Are you still interested in taking a village allotment?"

Oh my word! When B popped a letter through the door of the lady who manages the allotments last summer I was prepared to wait a couple of years before a plot came up, not just a few months. We knew that there were a few people on the waiting list so I was quite happy to keep growing a few things on the patio and wait until the boy were a bit bigger and we perhaps had a little more time.

But luckily for us a plot was given up a few weeks ago and because we'd put in a request in writing we automatically went to the top of the list. So on Wednesday we popped up the road (the allotments are a perfect 5 minute walk up the hill), handed over our annual rent (£16!!) and had a look at what we're taking on).

(Our plot!)
Hmmmmm, this is the worrying bit isn't it. What on earth are we going to do with this? Panic sets in and I had to sit down for a few minutes and have a proper think. But there's an awful lot of inspiration here, some lovely looking plots and there have been veg patch plans in my head for years. We grew up next door to a wonderful old lady who had a marvellous orchard, (complete with a Victorian greenhouse), which she very kindly let my parents have the run of.

Mum and Dad grew everything under the sun and when we moved, after she'd passed away, my grandad set up a veg patch at our new house. We've grown the odd thing ourselves since we got married; dug up the lawn at our first cottage to grown a few potatoes (even though it was too shady and north facing) and at this house the tomatoes were doing wonderfully last year until that wet muggy August weather did for them and we were hit by blight.

The village allotments are on our walk to school and all year we monitor what's growing, when the bean poles come up and down, who's sunflowers are tallest etc. To have or own little patch is a dream come true.

There are raised beds here under the weeds that need a little repair and a fair few weeds but on the whole it's not in too bad a shape. For the last year not all that much was grown here but apparently a retired lady had a super allotment here until really recently and the old chaps I met up there reckon its a good plot to have. We're not allowed any sheds or permanent structures but the water baths are filled up by a volunteer and there are houses all around and always someone keeping an eye on them.
We're really looking forward to making our mark on it and giving the boys a chance to really mess about in the soil and grow a few things of their own. I need to sit on my hands a bit though, reign in the excitement and focus on getting a little bit done at a time so plans for this summer include a few main crop potatoes, parsnips, squashes, a few onions and a pumpkin has been demanded already.
And I've spied a raised bed at the back which would be just the perfect cut flower patch - I see dozens and dozens of colourful dahlias - but don't tell Woody!

Sunday 12 April 2009

Hoppy Easter!

Well it's just gone 9 o'clock and we're chocolated-out already. How about you?! We've spent the past half an hour hunting in the garden for the gifts the Easter Bunny has left and the past ten minutes demolishing them. Well its tradition isn't it?
On the EB's behalf I opted for teeny-tiny, foil wrapped eggs, some wee gold rabbits and chocolate chicks this year hoping that the thrill was more in the chase for my little two, rather than the amassing of enormous boxes and phew looks like I was right. It's hard to imagine more fun when you're under six than being in the garden in your fleece and wellies, hunting for chocolate while most of the neighbours are still in bed.
And now I've got a confession to make. my name is Steph and I am a bake-o-phobe.
There I've said it. Are you still with me?
You've probably noticed that my blog isn't one full of pictures of mouth-watering cakes, biscuits and buns (along with a total lack of clever, artistic, crafty projects - although I can sew a mean cushion cover!)
You see I'm just a bit scared of baking. I can cook but there's always been a bit of a mystery around the dark art of cake making that I've been frightened to explore. School cookery lessons haunt me; sausage casserole was a cinch but I think my dad lost about four teeth to my rock cakes.
We've never really been a cake family to be honest and I prefer crisps to biscuits, but Barney has been desperate to make fairy cakes for ages so I gave myself a good talking too, bought a children's cookbook from the charity shop and set to.

And d'you know they weren't too bad. A teeny bit gritty (oops forgot the caster sugar) but very tasty (no vanilla essence so lemon juice had to do and oooooh that tastes nice!) I'm not sure how to get a flat top though, all the icing pooled around the edges but nevermind.

The Barnster has such a great time making them and whilst little A had a nap we had some very special mummy and B time. So much so I think I might be over the phobia and I've promised we'll try and bake most weekends. Chocolate sponge is next on the list - keep everything crossed for me!

Wishing you all a joyous Easter with love x

Sunday 5 April 2009

Spring Cheer

What a lovely feeling to finally be getting outdoors and spending more time in the garden than in the house.
Little things like a cup of coffee in a favourite mug, sitting on my rickety old bench with a beautiful magazine and watching the washing (including a new thrifted 50p tablecloth!) flap about in the breeze, really cheer me up from the inside out.
Easter is almost on us so the first job of the holidays is to decorate the egg tree for the kitchen table.
I couldn't find any blossoming twigs (well none that could be easily snipped from the hedgerows, plenty overhanging people's garden walls but I'm not brave enough, too worried about getting arrested for pilfering!) Luckily the grocer in town is selling bunches of pussy-willow for £1 - perfect.

Just like Christmas, less is never more for my boys where decorating is concerned so we're a bit overladen but looking very cheery and seasonal.

Do you remember me mentioning some lovely new treasures that I turned up at the vintage market last week? Well here they are. Can you see what's peeping out of my basket? Only the softest, brightest, most charming crocheted granny squares blanket which I feel like I've been searching for for years! Every week I scour the charity shop linen rails, hoping to discover a gem of blanket I can afford - and last Friday it happened!!

Honestly I was squealing inside with delight but somehow I managed to keep a lid on my glee and not terrify everyone in the shop. Oh it's so beautiful, I'm ridiculously pleased with it and have spent most of the week moving it from room to room, from chair, to sofa, to bed.

I am completely in love with this blanket (can't you just tell!). And it was just £2 - criminal I know but oh I'll treasure it always.

And honestly I'd have been over the moon to bring home just one of the finds I got but there's more!
Couldn't resist this old board game for my two. We have plans afoot to solve our summer holiday dilemmas (price mainly!) - of which more next time - and this little game has a place in them.

And finally, another vintage diamante bracelet, (for just £1) which is possibly even nicer than the one I found a few weeks back. What a lucky girl. I'm expecting a bit of a thrifting drought now, which is only fair really because this little haul is the best £7 I've spent in ages.
Happy thrifting everyone, I'm sending my good luck your way!