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The picture on the background of my website is one I took at Hengistbury Head - my favourite place in the whole world. It is a place where I always feel at peace and always feel happy.

I live on the south coast of the UK. I'm very happily married to Tim (who looks after me, cherishes me and works so hard) and we have 2 daughters and a cat, Floyd. I love Hello Kitty, crafting, reading, baking, playing on my Nintendo ds and exploring wild and beautiful places. I'm also, without doubt, a future crazy cat lady.

Me, Tim, April, Rosie and Floyd-the-cat :)

Versatile Blogger Award

Rosie's Art Portfolio

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Please DO NOT link directly to pictures on my website!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

One of those times

So, we have a bit of a thing going on here. It's about Rosie. I know she reads my blog and I know she won't mind me posting about this ....this blog is also my diary, I want to record stuff that's happened over the years, the good and the not so brill.

Monday, as already posted, we went for our walk. Part way through it Rosie and April sprinted off into the distance to a group of trees and Tim and I eventually caught up with them and we walked on. Rosie was just behind me, I looked round at her and she was ...looking uncomfortable. Turns out her heart was racing ....and it continued racing a good few minutes after running. Also turns out she'd had it a couple of times before after horse riding. Ok.

Tuesday she seemed ok. Wednesday she went on the mini rebounder and, a few minutes after getting off, said her chest felt "heavy". I decided to go ahead and make an appointment with the doctor and managed to get an appointment for the same day. I got Tim home from work early to take her.

She was in there for ages and, eventually, they called Tim in. She has slightly high blood pressure and heart rate and a heart murmur. So then it was straight off down Bournemouth hospital for blood tests and, on Monday, she has to go for an ECG.

At the moment we know no more than that. She's generally healthy in herself and, as the doctor says, a lot of people have what's known as innocent heart murmurs so we'll wait and see what Monday brings.

Posted by Sarah at 7:42 PM [Permalink]
Categories: At Home
Comments [ 0 ]

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wild Things

On Monday, Tim's day off, we went to Avon Heath Country Park. It was cold, we all wrapped up and played in the (empty) park and shot down the zipwire (and laughed when Tim's long overcoat dragged on the ground because he's just too big and tall for the zipwire!)

Then we walked through the woods, so peaceful. Tim said he preferred it in the summer when there is a constant canopy of leaves from the trees and it is beautiful then but, likewise, there is a kind of stark beauty about the place in winter too.

It was very calming and grounding.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

Poems to Live by in Uncertain Times

Posted by Sarah at 9:44 AM [Permalink]
Categories: Places
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Remember this?

The jumper I was crocheting before Christmas? Well, I got it done for Christmas but totally forgot to post a piccy of the finished article so I took one today!

Not bad! I really like how it turned out although I did make some alterations to the neckline (this is the after alterations pic) because it was too high but apart from that it's rather nice :)

 

Posted by Sarah at 2:03 PM [Permalink]
Categories: Crafts
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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Big Garden Birdwatch

I done it! Got shopping and lunch out the way and then settled down to count birds. This involved.....

Gathering together a range of food-based bribes including apple cake crumbs and a lardy-bird-feeder April made at Brownies. We have this stuff anyway because I feed birds all winter. The cake crumbs were additional because I was feeling generous :)

 

Placing food-based bribes at various strategic locations around the garden.....

 

Had a panic moment when the string of April's bird feeder fell out and I got horribly greasy trying to tie the thing, parcel-style, back together!

 

....sitting back and enjoying the glorious sunshine, blue sky and gentle breeze to wait and see what turns up.

Then having to force myself to sit still (not easy for me) because I got hugely excited when a bunch of wrens and a robin parked themselves right in front of me!

Oh, and I get bonus points because I saw a squirrel running along the back fence, ducking down and then popping up again. Yes, you can record other wildlife you see on your "watch" so there :P

Much fun and very beautiful.

Posted by Sarah at 2:00 PM [Permalink]
Categories: Wildlife
Comments [ 0 ]

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Happy things

Lots of lovely happy making things at the moment, so many things to be grateful for....

Colour in the garden, even in the depths of winter

 

 

Fun science lessons with my smallest girl

...and her cute drawings (this one she did to take to Brownies)

Rosie's beautiful dragons. Love the colour of this one.

...and then there is......

....fresh, home baked bread everyday (very rarely have shop brought any more)

....enjoying a truly wonderful series of Winterwatch on telly

....snuggling with Tim on freezing nights

....the days very gradually getting longer (have you noticed? I have!)

Posted by Sarah at 2:45 PM [Permalink]
Categories: Cooking, Cute Stuff, Homeschool Projects, Rosie's Art, Telly, Winter
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Absolutely a lamb hotpot

Before I start, a word on comments. Unfortunately, I've had to switch them off due to increasing amounts of stupid spam. I don't have time to police this site every day for spam so, like the contact form, they've had to go.

Anyway, hurrah for me finally getting round to this!

There are 2 ways you can serve this yummy lamb casserole. First, you can just cook it as per the instructions below but then serve up with mashed potato or you can go ahead and turn it into a hotpot. I just love slow cooking because it's so nice to get the bulk of your dinner cooking early in the day and then just have a very small amount of stuff to do at dinner time.

So, here goes. You will need:

Diced lamb, 2 lamb Oxo cubes, a couple of sprigs of rosemary, carrots, celery and onions. How much of everything will depend on the number you are feeding. Use common sense!

 

Put some plain flour, seasoned with salt and fresh ground black pepper, on a plate and then generously cover all your bits of lamb in it. The flour will act as a thickener in the slow cooker.

 

Chop your carrots, celery and onions and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. It's really important to put your veggies, especially hard veggies like carrots, in the bottom because they take longer to cook.

 

Plop your flour dusted lamb on top.

 

Now dissolve your Oxo cubes in 400ml of boiling water.....

 

.......and pour over the stuff in the slow cooker. Push the meat down gently but don't stir everything up.

 

Pop in a couple of sprigs of rosemary and then put the lid on. Note: We buy bags of herbs and then keep them in the freezer and just grab what we need whenever. That's why my rosemary looks a little frosty in this picture!

 

At this point I forgot to take any more pictures so you cannot see what the finished thing looks like. Awesome.

Cook everything on high for 6-7 hours. Do not open the lid during this time, you'll let all the heat out!

Now, after 6-7 hours, you can either serve up with mashed potatoes or go on to the following steps for the lamb hotpot.

Remove your lamb from the slow cooker and place in an oven dish. Set to one side. Thinly slice some potatoes (don't peel - the peel gives them a lovely crispy edge!) and boil for about 3 minutes. Drain and arrange on top of the lamb.

Cook in a preheated (200c) oven for about 20 minutes or until lovely and crispy and brown on top.

I REALLY wish I'd taken those extra pictures! Anyway, enjoy!

Posted by Sarah at 3:48 PM [Permalink]
Categories: Cooking
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Absolutely not a lamb hotpot!

Yes, I know, I know .... I'm supposed to be posting a lamb hotpot recipe, and I will .....I promise but first, have some Rosie art :)

This is fascinating (hopefully, you can still see fairly well despite the small size) - a comparison of one her characters, drawn in 2013 and a recent one. Much improvement!

 

...and here's good old Mario getting his dungarees in a twist over some spaghetti *laughs* - love it! She doesn't just do dragons!

This is fabulous ...Meta Knight. Love it.

 

Posted by Sarah at 7:18 PM [Permalink]
Categories: Rosie's Art
Comments [ 0 ]

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

The lazy person's guide to blogging

Post mostly pictures. Ahem. Just a mish-mash of stuff from the last few days .....

History. We loves it. We've just done the Battle of Hastings and added it to our timeline.

Floyd. He found himself a cool sleeping spot on Rosie's bed ...a sort of dragon nest!

Cupcakes. I had a set of fairy cupcake cases/toppers from Tim (sorry, Santa!) in my Christmas stocking and they got used for the first time. Lemon cupcakes looking very cute.

Loom knitting. Another of my pressies. I have officially fallen in love with the long looms, especially the longest of all of them - there is so much you can do with it! I'm currently working out a pattern to make loose tunic style jumper but, until I do that, I'm using up my yarn stash making a crazy blanket for Rosie!

It looks quite small ......

....but you use both sides of the loom so it's actually folded and opens out bigger!

Recipe post coming up next! Nice winter warming slow cooker lamb hotpot!

Posted by Sarah at 1:56 PM [Permalink]
Categories: At Home, Crafts, Homeschool Projects, Pets
Comments [ 0 ]

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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

First Day Back

Well, it hasn't gone bad today really. Tim left at stupid o'clock this morning and I couldn't get back to sleep (got used to him being there again!) so I eventually got up and made a cuppa. Was going to go shopping first thing but it was pouring with rain so held off for a bit and did some tidying and work with April instead.

She moved from one side of the table to do Maths Factor on the computer, to the other side to do science and English :)

 

By the time we'd done all that it had stopped raining but was nearly lunchtime but we went off to the shops anyway, had a little chat with a relative who works at Tesco and was on the checkout and then headed back. Then it was time for making lunch and then hoovering, floor mopping, dusting, laundry, taking the rubbish out .....you get the picture!

Waiting for Tim to get home now .....missed him today.

PS - I've also sent off for a pack to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch which takes place on the 24-25 January. It's free and you can have it sent in the post or emailed.

Posted by Sarah at 2:51 PM [Permalink]
Categories: At Home, Homeschool Projects, Wildlife, Winter
Comments [ 0 ]

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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Holiday nearly done

"Back to life ......."

Despite the ongoing colds, we have all been having a nice time and it's kind of crappy to have to think about back to work and normality. Anyway, that's not until Tuesday ....

Yesterday we trundled off to Toys R Us because April still had some birthday money from the beginning of December. She was excited to find they had a sale and managed to get a lot more for her money than she would have done normally .... a huge pile of LPS pets to be precise!

The day before that we went off for our New Year walk - couldn't go actually on New Year's Day before because it was too rainy and windy. On the walk we saw some people flying kites and one of them was huge! It was a dragon. Tim got a pic on his phone but it really isn't very good as they were too far away but if you look at the people down to the left you might get an idea how big it was. Rosie declared it "best kite ever" :)

The decorations have all gone away now and open space and minimalism has returned. Actually would like it to be a lot more uncluttered but I'm going to work on that! Compare this with the one with all the decs up before Christmas - ok the decorations are pretty but they do wear after a while. I feel I can breathe again now!

I got these from my mum-in-law for Christmas - pretend candles - they are wax on the outside but are actually battery operated. Now, normally, I prefer the real ones for around the house but my hallway (where I've put these) is really narrow and I always worry that someone will brush past them and burn the house down or, worse still, burn themselves down! These look pretty, and do flicker like a real flame, without the fire risk!

 

They look lovely at night :)

 

So, back to normality. What have we got coming up ....ooo! So much fun stuff I barely know where to start (not said in any way sarcastically)! Car tax! MOT! Actually, the MOT has been made a bit easier this year due to an unexpected Christmas bonus that Tim got from work of £300 (well, before the taxman got his grubby paws on it anyway)! It's kind of sad, a bonus should be just that - a bonus, to go and blow on something fun. The problem when you live to a rather tight budget is that bonuses usually end up just taking the strain a bit. Our MOT for example, normally we would have delayed paying something else for a bit to pay for that. No biggy and we can catch up on the other thing straight after but, of course, a bonus means we don't have to do that. Every fibre in your child-like mind is screaming "yay! present time!" but every fibre in your grown up, sensible mind is screaming "oh good, now we don't have to delay any other bills". How sad. Still, it was unexpected and it was super-lovely of them so we're happy :)

April's going up to her last couple of terms in Brownies before going on to Guides in September. I literally cannot believe it. It doesn't seem 2 minutes ago she was a tiny little Rainbow! Rosie went back to horse riding today and it was only her and one other woman there and they kind of kept getting separated with one or the other of them lagging behind or surging on ahead so it was a bit quiet!

Me? ....I've got my ideas and plans ;)

Posted by Sarah at 1:14 PM [Permalink]
Categories: At Home, Places
Comments [ 0 ]

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