thoughts on allsorts!

Saturday, 31 December 2011

a quick wish!

Just want to wish you all a very Happy New Year and hopefully the blogging will get going properly!!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

p.s the above is the newest member of our family - you have no idea how someone soo little and cute can cause chaos amongst the entire household!!!!

Monday, 12 December 2011

making winter wonderful

As i am writing this the rain is hammering against the window and its blowing a gale outside. I am also thinking that in about 2 hours i will have to go out in it to hay up the horses for the night! The upside is that i will be coming back into a warm cosy sitting room where the woodburner is chucking out the heat and glowing nicely!
Winter is full of contrasts - I find that a dull cold day makes me feel dull and down too, but a sharp frost and blue skies just lifts the spirits.

With Christmas nearly here the thing that makes me smile are the lovely twinkling lights - we have just put some up - even now in this horrible weather i just love looking at them. When we were up in London the other weekend i just loved all the lights, they just make me feel happy. When our nearest town had its lights put on there was a huge crowd and just behind me was a little boy with his mum and dad - as soon as the lights came on he just went 'oh wow' and on his face was just one big smile - that made my evening. So here are some pictures which i hope will make you feel good too!


Monday, 31 October 2011

Getting going again!

I have been inspired to get blogging again (albeit on my daughter's laptop as mine has definitely given up the ghost) by the latest post on Emma's blog (at - for some reason this computer will not let me do a proper link , grrrrr!). Its about trying to make Autumn/Winter more bearable with a series of posts at the beginning of the month from now until February on the joys of winter - such as lovely fires, long winter walks, mouthwatering receipes, etc. There is a flickr site to join but i have forgotten the link so you'll just have to visit Emma's blog.

Here are a few photos to get going with -

Also one of my favourite receipes is one by Jamie Oliver for a mouthwatering stew - i have tweaked it to fit into my family's tastebuds! Its all in one pot which is just wonderful.

Stewing or braising beef - enough for 4 say 600gms

Onions - chopped 2

3 carrots - cut into chunks

2 parsnips, as above

2 leeks

half a bottle of red wine

about 350ml of stock - I use vegetable

pototoes - small ones, halved (i use charlotte pototoes and leave skin on)

2 tbsps of tomato puree

Firstly you fry the onions for a few minutes, then add the beef (which you toss in flour first) and all the veg, the wine , stock and puree - bring to boil and put in oven at 150 for about 3 hours. The smell when it starts cooking is unbelievable! You can add whatever veg you like. You can check it after two hours just to make sure its not going dry. I then serve it in big bowls with fresh hunks of bread - lovely!

Right off now to light the woodburner and cook a roast!


Tuesday, 11 October 2011


Its been sooo long since i blogged -i just lost my mojo bigtime! So I thought right lets get going again. But my laptop had other ideas and has given up the ghost! So i may have to wait a while longer! I am doing this post on my phone but it seems soo slow and i have no idea how to do photos etc as am such a technophobe!However am determined to get to grips with it so watch this space!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Spot of sewing!

I haven't done much sewing for while - seemed to have lost my mojo - however it turned up last week and i spent the entire saturday sewing - cushions! I have had this lovely spotty fabric for ages and looking round the sitting room the other day i thought it looked like it needed cheering up and what better than spots and stripes.

I have some little bits of the fabrics left so i think some patchwork stripes and spots will be on the agenda.

Have a lovely weekend!


Monday, 4 July 2011

Sunshine and strawberries

A friend brought me these sunflowers the other day, aren't they lovely, they make me smile everytime i see them.

Spent most of the weekend kneedeep in these (slight exaggeration!)

Made 15 jars of jam in total - my favourite!

With trial and error i have found the perfect receipe - i have always found strawberry jam difficult to set, but, when you put some gooseberries with it - perfect! I actually don't like gooseberries but you can't actually taste them!

Here's the receipe - 3lb strawbs, 1lb gooseberries (i used the dessert gooseberries), 4lb of granulated sugar. Top and tail the gooseberries and place in big pot (I don't have a preserving pan so i use an old pressure cooker). Add just enough water to cover them (about 100-150 ml). Slowly bring to boil and then simmer until gooseberries soft. Whilst this is going on place sugar in a bowl and place in a moderate oven. Then take stalks off of strawbs and add to gooseberries, simmer till soft. Take sugar out of oven and add to pan, stir gentley so as not to break up the fruit too much, keep simmering until sugar dissolved. Now put heat up to full and boil for 8-10 minutes. Take off the heat - take a small spoonful and place on a cold plate. Leave for a minute and then push with little finger -if jam wrinkles its ready - if not place on heat , boil for a further 5 minutes and repeat above until the jam wrinkes. I find it takes a couple of repeats and then its ready. Once done, if any scum on top, add a knob of butter and stir. Let settle for a while and then put into hot jars. This makes about 4/5 jars, depending on size of jar!

After all that, sit down with a huge cup of tea!


Sunday, 26 June 2011


I have not felt much like blogging lately - and i didn't know whether to write about this or not, i try normally not to be all doom and gloom, but sometimes life gets in the way. My lovely Mum died a few weeks ago -it was very sudden and a huge shock for me and my dad. Life suddenly went upside down. It certainly puts things into perspective. So much paperwork and stuff to do when sometimes all you want to do is sit and curl up in a chair.. It has not been all sadness though, i have been amazed and touched by the kindness and thoughtfulness of people, some whom i don't know that well. Dad had loads of cards and phone calls, and although they can't take the pain away, they certainly help. So we are trying to pick ourselves up and get on, some days good, others not so. I know its a cliche but life is for living so we have to make the most of it.


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Happy Easter!

Just wanted to wish you all a lovely Easter - lets hope the weather stays as great as it is today!
Life is a bit hectic at the moment so i'm going to have a break for a few weeks but i will be reading all your lovely blogs!!


Saturday, 9 April 2011

Feeling sorry for myself!

I should have been going to a wedding today, my nephew's in fact - got the dress, a lovely White Stuff one, shoes and bag all ready to go - instead i'm sat here feeling sorry for myself - why? Well all week i have had toothache and on Wednesday i had to have my tooth out - it was a big tooth at the back and i knew with all the pulling and tugging , which i did not feel at the time, i would pay for big time when the local wore off! Sure enough, i have been, not only that now another tooth is being a bit tender - probably because of the above! Now i know in the general scheme of things i don't have much to moan about but it just seems to be going on and on!! So darling hubby and his mother have gone to the wedding without me.

Well enough of the whinging, i just need to keep topped up with painkillers and get on with things. I can't believe a whole month has gone by - where did it go? Things have been pretty busy, especially on the animal front! Two little kittens are not so little now - absolutely full of themselves and always into mischief! They don't seem to be in a hurry to go outside, which i think is because when we open the back door it leads out to the paddocks and a huge new world which they find a bit daunting at the moment! However they seem to be quite happy, for the moment, causing havoc indoors - one thing they just love is the photocopier - they sit and watch it for ages and are fascinated! With all this lovely weather all the animals are moulting like mad - especially the horses, but with the warmth comes the midges and Tops has now become a hoodie!! It helps stop the midges from biting him and then causing him to itch and make himself sore. So far he has kept it on but i don't think he's too impressed - in fact i think he's a bit embarrassed!
I had to look after a friend's farm for a few hours and they were in the middle of lambing, and, you guessed it, i had two ewes lamb whilst i was there - one of whom i had to help as her lamb was huge and got stuck - happily mum and lamb, a boy, are well. These cuties had been born about two hours before i got there.
These two popped out whilst i was 'on duty' but mum managed very well on her own!

I have been doing a little sewing - i love these little houses, such fun to make.

Here is a sneaky peak of something i have been making for a very special friend and i hope to finish it this week!

Well i hope you all have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sunshine.


Thursday, 3 March 2011

In praise of a chicken!

This is not just any chicken - this is Dora the Chicken! If you had asked me at Christmas if she would still be with us i would have said no. She looked awful, so awful i certainly did not take a photo - she was moulting, had hardly any feathers - in fact she looked like she had been plucked ready for the oven! Not that i would do that i hasten to add! Even her little red comb was flat to her head, a very bad sign and a slightly paler than usual colour. I really didn't think she would be with us for long, especially with all the really cold weather and snow we had. I would also add that she is our one and only chicken now, as the others have, over the years, fallen off the perch so to speak. We did think of getting her some company but chickens can be funny and i did not want her bullied!

Well, what a difference a few months makes! She looks like a different chicken - i even had thoughts that someone had swapped her in the night! She has a full set of beautiful feathers, a very upright comb which is back to its normal colour. To top it all she has even started laying some eggs!!! This was a surprise as we thought she had 'retired'!

She reigns supreme in the paddock - chasing off any rooks or crows that might think they are getting her corn. She spends ages on the muck heap and also in the sand school rootling around. She has an entire stable block to herself if its raining - she literally peeps out of her house and makes a dash for the stables if its raining! Her most favourite time of the day is 3ish - she stands by the fence waiting for her blueberries - they are her absolute favourite!

Now you may say she is spoilt - but i think she deserves it - to us she is one special little hen!


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Sunshine and Flowers

Isn't it amazing how some blue skies and sunshine and some gorgeous flowers just make you smile and feel good!
Have a lovely weekend.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pye - a terrible day

We had a huge shock on Thursday - Emily's lovely horse Pye died in his paddock, just dropped dead - he had not been ill, he was his usual self in the morning, ate his hay, but by lunchtime he had gone. A post mortem was carried out but everything pointed to him being a healthy horse - he was only 12 - and the vets said he probably had a heart attack. I cannot begin to say how awful it has been and Emily is heartbroken.
When you have a horse it is a partnership -one that has its ups and downs -which can be very special. There are times when things don't always go to plan, but on the occasions when you are both in tune or in sync with each other it can be amazing, whether its jumping a clear round or having a canter along a grassy track. That feeling is so special and indescribable.

He has left a big gap in our hearts.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Birthdays - you either love them or hate them!!! I decided i would love them but just wouldn't think about the you-know - 'number'!!! Anyho, had one last week and was thoroughly spoilt - spent a few days at a lovely hotel in Bournemouth being waited on - bliss!!! Then all the family were over at the weekend which was lovely. My children had all clubbed together to get me a present - which Em had thought of - it was to have some acrylic nails done. Now in the winter my nails are c--p - they spilt and just don't seem to grow - i think its to do with always being out in the wet and the cold and washing my hands so much! I had always wanted to give acrylics a go so hence the pressie - well here they are!
Now i have to confess that i did fiddle with them - they were originally the square shaped ones but i just didn't like them so when i got home i filed them into a rounder shape. I kept looking at them because they just didn't look like my hands!!! I almost felt i should dress up! The only down side is that to keep them up is very expensive and too much high maintenance for me - so when they come off in a couple of weeks (they are soaked off apparently) i will not have them done again, just have a mini manicure instead! It was an experience though and i would have them done again, say for a wedding or something.
After opening presents we decided we would all play on Dan's latest toy - its called connect, i think and its to do with the Xbox360 - you can tell can't you that i know such a lot about these things!!! it has various games and you don't need hand controls as some sort of machine just scans you in - very clever. Anyway the upshot was that i beat the pants off them all at bowling - such a hoot! Its actually quite good exercise because you have to move about as if you were doing the games for real, if you get what i mean!
Anyway it was a great end to a lovely few days!
One other very exciting thing to happen was that my quilt from the Around the World Quilt Block Swap (Christmas) arrived! I was soo happy as for a while it looked like it had got lost which would have been a huge shame after all the lovely blocks that had been made for me - anyway here they are - just put out at a random at the moment

I think i will make another 6 blocks and then think about how it is all going to go together! I just want to say a mahoosive thank you to all the lovely girls who have made these blocks, they are all gorgeous!
Well thats all for the moment better go and light the woodburner and think about making dinner!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Brightening a dull day!

Yesterday was a very dull and dismal day - i'm not complaining, i would rather have that than all the blooming snow we had a few weeks ago! As I was mucking out the horses the postman arrived and had some parcels! Yay - how lovely - I quickly finished my jobs and went inside for a cuppa!
The first parcel was from my very special friend Joy - we were both late in our Christmas parcels and decided that they would be New Year ones instead! Ahem, i have a confession that mine is not in the post yet but will be very soon (I have 'fessed up' to Joy!!)
Such gorgeous gifts - i feel very lucky indeed - a beautifully made cushion cover, which is going straight on my bed - some sweets, a lovely little purse, a gorgeous christmas decoration which will be on the tree this year,some scissors and a lovely little chain with a sheep and chicken on it - just perfect!
Thank you Joy for spoiling me rotten!!

I had just gone outside to do some more jobs when it started raining, absolutely bucketing down and blowing a gale!!! Trying to put portions of hay out in piles for the horses in the wind is a nightmare as you can imagine - it goes everywhere! I ended up absolutely soaked. So when i came in I decided a hot bath was in order - bliss!!! I took a cup of relaxing tea with me - The tea worked so well i nearly feel asleep!

With brilliant timing, as i had just finished my last book, the second parcel was more books! So I was looking forward to a cosy evening by the woodburner new book on the go!

Someone else was thinking about cosying up by the fire as well!

But then decided he would cosy up to Lilly instead!

Simple pleasures are always the best!


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Catching up.

It seems like ages since i did a proper post! It was nice to have a break though and just read everybody elses' blogs and find some new ones.

I decided this year not to bother with resolutions - i very rarely keep them anyway! There are some things i would like to do this year though - making bread is one of them - although i use my breadmaker a lot i would love to make bread 'properly'! Also i want to do some quilting courses - being self taught i could do with some advice!!!

I have kicked off the new year with some knitting - a lovely soft, snuggly scarf - i made one for Tom's girlfriend and liked it so much i thought i'd knit one for myself! This pattern is really easy - well you know me - why make life difficult !!! You end up with a different pattern on each side -

The pattern comes from this book and is for a man's scarf, but i just love it!

I have also tidied up my sewing space - about time as it was a tip!!! So am ready to get sewing.

Talking of sewing i had the most beautiful gifts made for me by a lovely lady called Nicolette - this was the Chookyblue SSCS swap. I certainly was very lucky with my swap partner who was incredibly generous and i can't thank her enough!As you can see Nicolette sent me two lovely candle holders, scissors, tape measure, bag charm, quilt pattern and some gorgeous yarn. The best i have kept till last - a beautifully made wallhanging
Thank you Nicolette for such scrumptious gifts - this hanging will be pride of place every christmas!

My swap partner was Jo in Tas and this is part of my gift for her -

I really enjoyed this swap and must say a mahoosive thank you to Chookyblue for all her hard work!

Well that's all for now, back to the housework!!!


Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year!!

A very Happy New Year to you all!!! I've had a little break from blogging but will be back shortly, raring to go!!!!