Sunday, 23 July 2017


Both girls have had their birthdays this week, M was 14 at the weekend, so grown up now, she decided that for her birthday she want to meet up with a friend in town, go shopping and have lunch out. I met her in town to take them home and was surprised they only had a bag each, M had written out a long list of things she would like and I mean long! But what I hadn't seen was she had marked the things she really needed/wanted and the rest were maybes, she ended up getting mainly the things she needed. I was really impressed with this, we have been talking a lot about whether we need something or just want it, is the want something that you will enjoy for a long time, or a one of want etc. That buying stuff can give you a lovely feeling but where are you going to put it when you get home, does it have a home or is it going to end up annoying you.

 L and I spent time painting some cardboard to create a scene for her horses.

I love a beautiful perennial flower, especially if they seem to be fairly slug/snail proof and drought proof, penstemon do well on both counts and phlox seem to be fairly slug proof. I had some purple phlox and our local hardware store has had a nice selection of colours this year, a friend really like my purple one and said she would love a white one, luckily  the store had both and I also picked up this pretty pink one.

L's birthday was celebrated at home, she announced the day before her birthday that she would like a mermaid cake. She had for the weeks running up to her birthday been adamant that she did not want a birthday cake as she doesn't like cake. So I had planned to make cup cakes for them all to decorate as she loves to do this. Anyway change of plan but we didn't actually have a mermaid toy to decorate the cake and I wasn't going to have a lot of time to make cake in a mermaid shape, thought something with shells on might have to do. We have witches, fairies, princesses, pirates, dragons, unicorns, Pegasus but no fairy and nor did anyone locally, had shells and sea creatures to decorate but no mermaid and our cake shop is normally closed on a Monday. Anyway she had also requested to have the cornflour and water out, so thought we would take a walk, get the rest of the birthday food etc, walked past the cake shop to realise they were open, apparently they open once a month on Monday so she can do the paperwork, they only had one mermaid, one happy L and one relieved Mum! Anyway cake went well, it has to be dairy and egg free, well free from a lot of other things but they are the main cake ingredients we are allergic too

While waiting for her guests to arrive, L and minded child made some seahorse stain glass windows.

I decided to add some spray bottles with food colouring added to the water, to make the cornflour play more interesting. Well that has to be one of my better decisions and the easiest party activities ever! They had hours of fun with it all.

On Thursday we had decided to join a local home ed meet for a climbing session, M has been before and loves it, L wasn't so sure but thought if her sister was with her it would all be ok, that or they would both freak out together. Well L loved it , I took a couple of photos of M at the top of the wall but ended up with loads of L as I expected her to stop and come back down but she made her way up to the top, they loved the session and can't wait to go again. They were very tired and asked if they could watch a video, so thought I would have an extra birthday treat and watch the new Beauty and the Beast, it's lovely to see them both cuddled up on the sofa together.

We seem to have a bumper crop of kale this year and was asking O's girlfriend if she would like some to take home, anyway I then asked if she had ever had kale crisps, no but would like to try some, so we went up the allotment picked some and made some, the result was strangely weird but grows on you! L wants me to make some more, so they can't be that bad. We ripped up the kale discarding the main stalk, washed it and dried it, drizzled with some olive oil and mixed in some salt, baked int he oven for about 8 to 10 minutes at Gas Mark 6.

Silver leaf is coming on, finally reached the pretty leaf pattern.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Cogges Farm

Had a lovely day out and visited Cogges farm, the walled garden is wonderful to walk round, they have a variety of chickens and ducks to see, a few goats, two Shetland ponies and pigs. I will say we were rather disappointed with what we could see in the house, the only rooms set up are the kitchen and pantry which are interesting but that is it. We didn't realise that the farm scenes for Downton Abbey were filmed there, knew they filmed at Highclere Castle, the home of the Carnarvon family, which for those that know there ancient Egyptian history, will recognise the names Carter and Carnarvon for their discovery of Tutankhamum tomb.

They have a new greenhouse and I want one! I don't have space for one this size but loved the style and size of it!

Now M has been expressing an interest in photography and asked if she could us my camera, so the rest of the photos are hers, think she has done very well.

On our walk we came across this sign, when we got home we spent some time learning how flax was made, we watched this video on how they would of made linen fabric from flax seed and this  a shorter version. I always wonder when I see things like this just how did we come up with this process to start with, what were they doing that made them realise that they could produce some sort of thread from a plant. Since then we have looked at cotton production and talked about the conditions in  the mills in this country, the various work conditions in Victorian Britain. Perfect time to introduce M to North & South, so covering history, working conditions, Victorian life as well as introducing her to the works of Elizabeth Gaskell.

As well as photography M has asked to do some dressmaking, she has chosen rosari skirt, paper pattern cut out and pinned, will share photos as she starts to sew, she has chosen the jean style pockets.

So chatting with my wonderful Aunt about various bits and mentioned the shawl I had made for my friends birthday, turns out she would love something like that too, doesn't take a lot of encouragement to start a new project, so knitting silverleaf for her in a nice soft baby acrylic, doesn't do natural wool fibres as they are too itchy. Have also ordered some new wool from our local wool shop, she had some lovely new patterns in, so that should be 3 Christmas presents sorted, as long as I get round to knitting them in time. So joining in with Kat for Unraveled Wednesdays

As it's L's birthday next week, I have been busy making her doll some new outfits, using up some of my fabric stash.

Friday, 7 July 2017


I seem to of been incredibly busy and a bit distracted lately, busy due lots of soft fruit ready and in need of picking, so picking, sorting, freezing, dehydrating etc. Not complaining but it takes a long time to pick gooseberries from 2 bushes and all those thorns ouch!! We've had a huge crop of raspberries, eaten loads but frozen some to use in baking or to add to porridge, managed to actually grow enough peas to freeze some, M normally eats them all before I get a chance and the french beans are nearly ready for picking. Have some late harvesting peas to put in this weekend, be great if we can extend the pea season.

 Distracted because M's hospital appointment was finally due, we've known for a long time that she will need braces on her teeth but appointment with the orthodontist, discovered it was going to be a bit more complex than that. Our hospital visit confirmed this, her top jaw is too small and needs widening and her teeth at the back do not meet either, which makes chewing very difficult, this will need surgery to correct. This on top of the sensory issues she has really does explain a lot of the issues she has with chewy foods! The whole process will take 3 years, surgery won't be till she is at least 18 as she needs to be fully grown before they do it, we will go back in a years time to start the process. Think the process will be tough on her and us but need to look at the long term benefits, this comes on top of the surgery she will need on her nose at 18 so she can actually breath through her nose properly, she is in for a bit of a tough ride :(

Anyway onto something happier, lots of garden photos, I love cornflowers, plenty of buds too, so should have a lovely display soon.

Have I mentioned I love sweet peas, these were from a mixed colour selection but seem to of managed to just pick out the pink ones!




blueberries, under netting now in the hope that when ripe we get to eat more than the birds!

The jasmine is flowering well this year and the bottom of the garden smells divine, have taken some cuttings, it will be lovely to have some at the front of the house, having a waft of that gorgeous smell every time you leave or come home.

The rabbits have discovered they love grape vine leaves, it's lovely watching them trying to reach the higher ones, as they balance on their back legs.

Had a lovely day at the county motor show, lots for all of us to see and do. L got to sit in the driving seat of one of the huge lorries, my that is a long way up!

They usually have an animal handling section, which the girls love, M wanted to hold the largest snake they had, as we waited in the queue, she was debating which to do, I encouraged her to go with her first choice (not bad for someone who doesn't like snakes) and she was so pleased with herself for doing it, picture further down, L held a chameleon.

L wanted to go on the bouncy castles but didn't want to go on by herself, which made M's day as she got to go on as well to help her through, so happy girls.

Also at the weekend L's maths workbooks arrived, these  are the saxon maths ones and I have used them with both the older two and we loved them. These were supposed to be for September but she couldn't wait to see what they were and to start, she ingeniously used the holes that are punched in the work book to hold her pencils while not in use. Enjoying a quieter week this week as minded children are on holiday and hubby has booked a few days of work, so hoping weather stays nice and we can do some days out.