Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Week for All Seasons

This week has been 'Half Term' week and time for me to spend time with Mr and Miss Teenagers.  We have been all over the place and in between, finding time for our own hobbies.  This time round I felt as if I had more 'me' time.  Maybe because they are getting older and they don't need to be asking me for everything all the time or, just because I was in a routine with them and things didn't get on top of me like they can do.  We started off having real spring time weather.  Everyone had smiles on their faces, were able to go outside without heavy winter coats and also to feel the sun on their skin.  I even managed to have a nice cup of tea at my garden table and do some gardening (my post about that is here).  The jasmine in the birdcage that was photographed on that post has blossomed inside and is strategically placed by my front door in the hall so the heady scent hits you when you come in.  So welcoming and beautiful to look at.

The trip to Norfolk mid week certainly brought us back to earth with a bump.  FREEZING temperatures and biting winds not helped by the fact that we were on the beach (the post is here).  I have never seen snow by a beach and to see and feel it falling was a novelty...and a cold one at that!

I had to think quickly about the plants that I had put in my kitchen window baskets, but they look happy and healthy enough next to the warm bricks.

The potatoes in the greenhouse are being tucked in at night, but they look so regimental in their boxes waiting for their shoots to appear.  Some have!  I'm so excited!!  I have only ever done these once before, and half heartedly, so this year I think is my year of the potato!
Along with the gardening, I have been so busy with my crochet blankets.  I want to get all my 'works in progress' finished and then start to do a bit of work on my dollshouse street scene.  I am doing so many granny squares, but this is just how relaxed I am, just happily hooking along watching such warmth and colour growing through my fingers.
The designs are from Sandra at Cherry Heart, and the daisy blanket idea is from The Patchwork Heart.  These designs are so easy, simple, quick and you can go back to them again and again.

So now, it is the end of our break.  The school uniforms are ready, the school bags packed, my suit is ready for tomorrow to start my week of getting up to speed again and my record of four blog posts in a week has come to an end!

So time to have a quiet day at home, take pictures of Mr Teenager feeding his collared dove called Clover. One of a pair that was born in our garden a couple of years ago.  Shamrock the other one was sadly attacked by a hawk while in our garden last year, survived but was very poorly and has not returned for a couple of months now.  Mr Teenager can hand feed Clover and I have even managed it a couple of times!

A brisket of beef is now slow cooking in the oven, rhubarb pie for dessert and I'm now going to have (yet another!) cup of tea!

It has been a wonderful week, fantastic, lovely people writing such kind comments (and an award)  and thank you to my new followers, you are so lovely and talented!  So now my week off is at an end and work beckons.

Have a wonderful week everyone and thank you.

Take care.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Wonders of Blogging

Very early last year I came across a blog and thought to myself, what a fantastic idea, somewhere to write my thoughts, my loves, keep a record of where I have been and what I have seen.  Then wrote my first ever post in June.  There were no comments and very little traffic but I wasn't doing it for 'mega results', I just thought that even if one person popped over to take a look then I would be so happy.  Gradually I got to grips with blogging, URL codes, HTML, how to position icons, tidy up the page etc etc.  Then, slowly, some kind followers appeared (Mrs Blacks This and That, and Bronwyn at Queen B Creative Me being my first) I joined Twitter and again I gained followers.  I suddenly felt I wasn't on my own, I was communicating with wonderful 'penpals' who had the same interests as me, some with family's similar to mine, all so lovely and encouraging with their comments.  I started joining Link up parties and reading blogs I would not have found before.  So thank you, thank you, thank you to you all who have taken time to read my day to day ramblings, followed and left such encouraging comments.

The icing on the cake came today, I have been nominated by the wonderful Plain Jane for the Liebster Award (a bit of an explanation of what this is about is here).  I have been enjoying Jane's blog so much and to read her lovely comment on my blog today has really humbled me. Please pay her a visit to her inspirational blog.

The rules are that I answer 11 questions set by Jane, give 11 random facts about myself and also to nominate 9 more wonderful bloggers.

So Coco, keep the seat warm, I may be a while...

Here goes, grab yourself a drink and a cup cake (my daughter said that!) and I hope you enjoy.

Questions from Jane:
1. If you could only have two courses of a three course meal which ones would they be?
This would have to be the main and the dessert.  Mainly because the main usually has more flavours and the dessert, well, obvious really!
2. Choose three words to sum you up.
Creative, conscientious, witty (in the words of my Mum and daughter - along with a few others which I won't put down!)
3. Which film last made you cry?
Ghost, it always gets me!
4. What animal would you most like to be and why?
A cat.  Independent, loyal, loving and warm.
5. Is there a smell that take you back to your childhood?
Don't laugh, Jeyes Fluid.  When we lived in London they used to clean the drains with this.  I instantly think of concrete every time I smell this!
6. What would your Desert Island disc be?
Beautiful Day by U2.  Absolutely LOVE this track.
7. Where do you most like to be?
Standing at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, looking forward to walking around the Maritime Museum and Observatory.  (Me and my late Grandad's favourite places)
8. Potatoes - chipped, mashed or roasted?
Chipped (from the chippy - preferably London chips, you can get no better...I'm now salivating!)
9. What quality do you most admire in others?
I adore people who are unique and refuse to change to fit in.  These wonderful people are the happiest and inspirational people I know.
10. Sky Dive or Bungee Jump?
Neither, I do not do heights.  I found this out when wanting to be a female firefighter!!
11. What words of wisdom would you pass on to others?
In the words of the P!nk song 'You've got to get up and try, try, try'.

11 Random Facts About Myself:
1. I love Carry On films and will happily watch them ALL day.  Carry on Screaming is a classic.  What is even better is that my kids are laughing along too.
2. Never, ever, let me near a paper shredder.  I shredded a coat once when just coming into work and opening the blinds, don't ask, incredibly embarrassing, even more so as I was so hysterical that I couldn't get the words out to explain what I had done.
3. I have the usual phobias such as spiders, clowns, and squeezing cotton wool(?!), but my main one is...drum roll...Belly Buttons!!  Enough said!
4. I have the ugliest feet in the world (no I'm not attaching a picture as my bunions are throbbing due to the rain outside)
5. When I was pregnant with both Miss Teenager and Mr Teenager I had a huge craving for Rennies.  So much so that hubby knew when Miss Teenager was on the cards, as I was chomping away on the Rennies before the pregnancy test.
6. I walked across a hospital car park wearing my skirt inside out!  (I was working for one of the Directors at the time!
7. I like saying 'D' in Klingon (I'm not a Trekky though).
8. I find the words 'Moist', 'Plinth' and 'Gusset' very very funny!
9. I absolutely loathe hot weather.  Flies, smelly people, not being able to breathe.  :o(
10. I love Only Fools and Horses.
11. My nose was broken by my Dad when I was 9.  We were playing cowboys and indians with my two brothers and I was tied to a stool.  The dog (a very large Alsation) brushed against the stool and I went forward with only my nose to stop me.  My Dad lifted me to see the damage, and dropped me again as he can't stand the sight of blood.  A very interesting chat happened before the ambulance came to say not to say to the nurses that my Dad had tied me to a chair!!  We laugh now!

The Questions for my Nominees are:
1. What's your favourite month of the year and why?
2. What is the most embarrassing moment of your life?
3. What made you start blogging?
4. What makes you laugh and why?
5. What is the weirdest thing you have eaten?
6. What was your least favourite Christmas present and why?
7. What is your favourite film?
8. What first name would you have preferred to have been called?
9. When gardening, gloves on or gloves off?
10. What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
11. Sunday lunch, roast potatoes or mashed potatoes?

And the Oscar goes to...sorry, My Nominees are:

Queen B Creative Me
Playing with my Camera
Annies Little Plot
Grow our Own
A Woman of the Soil
Fabric Paper Thread
Beatrice Euphemie

Well, that took some doing!  It was snowing a bit earlier but now it is dark outside and we have about an inch that has fallen.  Remember my post earlier this week and it was springlike here, well here we are back in the depths of winter once again.  Before and after (after being taken this morning - now more snow!), what a week!

So now Coco, budge up and let me carry on with my nice warm blanket, that tea looks cold!

Have a great weekend everyone and I hope you have enjoyed a little look at my random facts.

Take care.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

A Winter's Day in Norfolk

Now then, call me mad if you want but it is a week off from work and the kids are on half term, so I suggested to my two and my mum to have a day at Hunstanton and to fit in a visit to Norfolk Lavender (this would also give my hubby a rest from us being noisy in the house).  The weather was not promising to say the least but I was determined that we were going to have a good day out no matter what the weather threw at us.  Once we got there, we got out of my nicely warmed car and were greeted by the fresh, icy cold blast from the North Sea.  At first there was not a soul to be seen.  The beach was empty, the 'pay 20p telescope' stood lonely at the side without children clambering over it and begging their parents for money to see the ships on the horizon.
The skies were grey, the wind was bitter, our cheeks were a painfully bluey red, but I was determined that as we were here, we must go on to the stoney sand!  To the right of us was the town with a few walkers.  No aroma of chips on the sea front, no sounds of the hundreds of people that would usually be sitting on the beach.  Just us!
To the left of us would have been the fun fair and the 'Wash Monster'.  But again a few walkers, no sounds of the screams from the fun fair or the horn blowing from the 'Monster' as it emerged from the sea.  Just us!
In the distance the wind farm stood in the still waters, no jet skis, no kites, no water skiers.  Just the blades turning with the wind.
Beneath our feet, the colours of the shells and stones were perfectly set against the sand and brown of the sea weed.
The breakwaters looked forlorn without the children running up to them with their crab nets and buckets to see what they could find in the rock pools.  (However, I took this shot which is something I have been waiting to do for years!).

They showed their barnacles and sea life amongst their decaying wooden legs.
A "mermaids purse".  What would the past occupant be doing now?
The seabreaks showing some sea litter.  Were these fishing nets?  What stories could they tell?
Well, judging from my family's faces, hands and teeth chattering, it was time to have a lovely warming coffee and lunch at Fishers.  Lovely battered sausage and chips and cod and chips for Mr Teenager.  Notice the sauce jug of curry sauce for Miss Teenager!!  Delicious, warming and ready to set us up for Norfolk Lavender.
For those of you who have bought Norfolk Lavender products, well this is where it is made.

This is Caley Mill and to the left of this photo you will see where the old water wheel used to turn.
and here is the view over the parapet.
and here it is with sound!!!

The lavender fields are obviously no where near the purple mounds of loveliness of summer, but still the smell fills the air.

 The distillery is empty.

But the animals were out to say hello.  The rare breed chickens were amazing.  The second from left was very strange!
This rooster was a bit camera shy at first and hid his head!  A bit frightening really.
But others were happy to have their snaps taken.
Now how about this for a guinea pig village...
To finish off we had a brief walk around the grounds.  Snowdrops beneath the trees.

A wonderful rickety fence at the side of a bridge.

Reflections of the skeletal trees in the water.
And the redness of the Dog Wood against the gradual returning green of it's surroundings.

So now back in a warm home, tea next to me and sharing my day with you.  Quite a long one and I hope you are still with me and made it to the end!

I hope your day has been a good one.

Take care.

I am sharing with GYB Blog Hop, Sunny Simple Sunday

Monday, 18 February 2013

Come In and Have a Cup of Tea

How lovely that you have popped round today for tea and cake.  After all, it is half term here and I am having a break from work.  Come and sit outside, the sun is glorious today.

It's so lovely sitting outside after so much time being cosy in the house.  It's still 'jacket' weather but just to feel the sun on your face is so satisfying.

The tea is brewing away nicely, the flowers are looking spectacular.  Bought from Butters this morning for £1.25!!!  Can you believe that.  Lilies, Gerberas, Roses all in my favourite colour combination.  They made my mood so much better.  I can't wait for the lilies to open, one of my 'happy' scents.

Another 'happy' scent is jasmine.  The one on the pergola is still sleeping, but found this in Butters for £2.00. It looks perfect with the ivy in the white bird cage.  Again the flowers haven't quite opened but the scent will be so heady and remind me of evenings in Spain.

Now then, have your brought your latest project with you?  Mine is on the table, gratifying granny squares, colourful, sweet, and will be made into cushions for the chair you are sitting at my table.  What have you brought along?

Would you like some cake?  Have you read Lucy's blog and her cake recipe?  Well here's some for you, you may need a couple of slices and they compliment the tea.

Ok, now are you feeling fit?  I've bought some herbs and violas for the kitchen window boxes.  They are full of bulbs but it is time to put in the herbs before the shoots rise to the surface.  Over there are the herbs...

Yes, I know, Butters again!  But at 60p per pot I couldn't leave them.  And now could you bring the violas (£1.25 for a tray!).

Right, all done and looking great for the next part in a few weeks when the lettuces, tumbling tomatoes and anything else I can think of will be filling the gaps.

They are beginning to shape aren't they?

Well, it's been great with you popping by on one of my day's off.  Next time you will see this view hopefully it will be a bit more greener and with some burgers (not horsemeat!!) in the chimenea.

Have a wonderful week.

Take care.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Spring is Springing

After a very cold start to the week and...yawn...even more snow!  The sun decided to make an appearance and all of a sudden the birds were heard in the morning and different colours started making themselves noticeable in the garden.  On one of the lanes I drive down it became apparent that spring is very nearly here as it is surrounded by fields of daffodils (a sure sign that Mother's Day is on the way!).

Already the yellow is starting to tint through the greenery.

And the buds are nearly perfect for the land workers to start bunching together, just waiting for the stems to reach the right height.

Here in my own garden I found a wonderful clump of snowdrops.

I love these delicate, clean, fresh bells of spring

The heather looked resplendent by my front door.

Buds had magically appeared on the bare wood.

And in amongst this, a very large clump of hellabores hiding away.

Even in the garden centre, the peacocks had decided to take in the sun by sitting on one of the pergola roofs.

Inside, my thoughts were with my 'works in progress' blankets.  The lovely woolly items that had been keeping me snug and warm during the winter months were still far from finished.  I have obviously been neglecting some as I had forgotten about a few.

However my 'grown up blanket' will be growing this weekend after a lovely, wonderful, glorious visit to my favourite shop (Hobby Craft) to buy more wool .

And whilst there, yes it had to be done, some more wool for yet another blanket.  I couldn't resist!

Those beautiful rich pinks are gorgeous!

We will also have to finish off the yummy cakes and gingernuts I made last weekend.  Nigella came up trumps again with Christmas Morning Muffins (I had a load of cranberries to get rid of).

Have a wonderful 'springy' weekend with whatever project you are currently doing.

Take care.

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