Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Hurray for Half Term! Despite E having one more exam to go, the fact that we have a week off means that there has been time for a few fun moments, for which we are very grateful. Thursday afternoon saw us driving to Oxford to give L a good luck present (her exams start, just as E's finish!). 
We sat in the sunshine here, waiting for L to finish her lecture: 
Then picked up some bubble tea from our favourite tea place and walked to the park (sadly made famous by events later in the week). We passed the Natural History museum:
 .... and then sat on the grass, half way between a cricket match and people playing Ultimate Frisbee. The frisbee was really serious and injuries were witnessed! L sometimes plays a gentler version in college with some of her more mathematical friends, called ....... Penultimate Frisbee!
 Presents were opened. Meet Aloysius, named after Sebastian's teddy in Brideshead Revisited:
 Then we started to feel a little peckish, so walked through the park with a certain destination in mind:
 We did, however, get a little side tracked  here:
 I have rather a soft spot for cemeteries. As a child my walk to school used to take me through the local cemetery and I loved it. It was always so peaceful and I really enjoyed reading the names and dates on the headstones. I remember my favourite stone commemorated a lady called Rose Ann Fell! Holywell cemetery was another little gem. Not very big but with some lovely gravestones and wild flowers.

 Finally, our hunger pangs urged us on and we arrived here:
This is such a sweet, family run restaurant on Holywell Street. It is really popular and the queue snaked out of the door (hence the lack of photo from the outside). Luckily the service is amazing and the turnover very quick, so we didn't have to wait long. Thursday night was sushi night and we had a selection of veggie sushi, along with hot sake! I became rather overexcited when the waitress brought round a bowl containing a selection of the cutest little pottery cups for the sake; we chose one each (E had the tiniest taste but wasn't really keen anyway). The food was absolutely delicious; I'd love to go again to experience their lunchtime noodles.

 Oops, I forgot to rotate this one!
 It was such a lovely afternoon/evening and E and I were sorry to have to leave. Oh, I forgot to show you E's present from L:
A good luck cuddly woodlouse! Who could fail to be cheered?
 Other happies this week:
The bumble bees are back in residence in our sparrow box (a row of 3 terraced boxes - the bees occupy the box on the right) - I don't know which are the noisiest neighbours with all the tweeting and buzzing!
A river side barbecue. Note to self: strim the grass on the edge of the bank!
 Phyllis and Harriet dozing on R's lap:
 Cheering tulips:
 The first cut roses from the garden this year:
  Doing the first tricksy couple of rows for my coastal ripple in preparation for Dorset. Thankfully, my counting went OK this time!
 A bike ride with E and a scratch picnic by the canal:
 I did rather like this boat, Sea Witch - great name.
So, as you see, a few good bits this week. E is now back at the books and I'm just off to make some Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi for dinner. Enjoy the rest of half term; I'm really looking forward to seeing what you've all been up to.
Toodle Pip for now. x

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


Well hello, how lovely to see you! Another week where not much has happened I'm afraid - I shall be SO pleased when these exams are finally over (but not nearly as pleased as E!). I find sitting in the car waiting for her to come out rather stressful and I'm really hoping that they have all gone better than she thinks they have! I found for her GCSEs that she actually did best in the ones which she thought had been quite disastrous, so I'm hoping it will be the same this year!
A few snippets of my rather ordinary, boring week then:
Torta di Pasta Frollo:
 A recipe tried from 'My Simple Italian' cookbook from the library. I tried to find the recipe online to link to but failed. The topping is rather lovely with the garlicky spinach, ricotta, parmesan and creme fraiche but the pastry base I found too buttery, so I'm not sure I'd recommend it anyway.
'Cheer Up' Butterfly Cakes:
 Loving my supermarket irises this week. Walking into the dining room and seeing the pop of purple and yellow is very cheering:

 Another lavender bag - I'm finding we can't have too much 'calm' at the moment!

 My new cookbook. I'd admired this book in W.H.Smiths recently but at £20 I thought I'd put it on my Christmas/Birthday wish list. Then I happened to spot it in T K Maxx for £4.99 and it just jumped into my basket! The recipes look absolutely delicious. We tried the Paneer Tikka Masala on Monday evening and it was very yummy indeed. R commented that it was 'restaurant standard' which is a huge compliment from him as he does like a nice curry. The recipe can be found here if you feel inspired.
 Trying out the Attic24's 'Teeny Tiny Hearts' pattern with some left over yarn. They are very quick and easy to make and quite addictive when you get going:
 Talking of yarn, I have a yearning to make another ripple blanket and this week ordered the Coastal Blanket yarn pack from the Wool Warehouse. E and I are off on a post exam jolly to Dorset for a few days soon and I like the idea of starting this there. Actually, I may do the tricky first couple of rows at home before we set off - no point in spoiling the holiday with cursing when I inevitably count the initial chain incorrectly!
 I rediscovered my dip bowl which I've had since L was a toddler. It came in very handy for birthday parties and, although I feel she would now balk at the pinkness, I still love it. Here it is providing revision snack stuff:
 Admiring the evening light whilst cooking dinner:
 Hamish keeping me company (and being dreadfully underfoot!) as I cooked:
 Another favourite - Ottolenghi's veggie paella:
Recipe here. I like to buy cook stuff as mementos on holiday and if I ever go to Spain a paella pan will definitely be on my wish list. Until then, I have to make do with my old wok!
Anyway, that's it for this week - as I said, not a lot of excitement but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Have a lovely half term next week.
Toodle Pip for now. x

Thursday, 14 May 2015


Hello again. Just a very quick post this week as not much has happened. Most of it has been spent taxiing E to and from her exams and trying to keep her calm in between. The lurgy has also struck, so there has been a fair amount of this:
Lemon and Ginger tea ....
.... and this:
Still, it did give me an opportunity to enjoy my stripy tights which E forbids me from wearing if we are likely to leave the house and see actual people!

Being confined to the sofa did give me the opportunity to do a little crafting. The first of which I've been meaning to make for a while now. 
When R asked me what I wanted for Christmas and my birthday a few years ago (the 2 being practically on top of each other) I decided a bike would be nice. R cycles to the station every morning, pops his bike on the train to London and then cycles to work at the other end. He's usually complaining about the state of his bike, so when I caught him looking at black, manly bikes for my supposed birthday/Christmas present, I smelled a rat! I predicted that within a few months, something would have 'gone wrong' with his bike, necessitating him borrowing mine and then I still wouldn't have had a bike to call my own. So, I asked for a pink one with a wicker basket! He tried to dissuade me but I held firm and Bernard (!) was purchased and so far, unsurprisingly, R has refrained from acquiring it! Since seeing Bunny Mummy's transformation of her glorious bike, Bernard's basket has been feeling a little lacking in the crochet department. So, with much sniffing and drinking of hot tea, a little bicycle bunting was born.
What do you think? Sufficiently girly and husband proof?
I can't decide whether a few crochet flowers would look good or do you think they might be a little OTT?

Other happies this week include:
My lovely irises (is that the plural or is it 1 iris, 2 iris?):
I bought a bag of bulbs a few years ago from the Pound Shop and they have brightened my May every since. Yesterday I popped back and bought a few Dahlia tubers, so I'll keep you posted as to whether they grow or not - they didn't look too promising to be honest!

Another crochet pot cover to hide the 'urine yellow' pot - the only one I could find in the cupboard to house my geranium. That makes 2 covers in as many weeks but The Management has made its views clear and, sadly, no more will be forthcoming!
A couple of shots of the canal when I went to replace my library books:
I love the sleeping swans in this one:
Playing with my food!:
Lots of rain, although it is nice weather for ducks. Here's Jemima who, after pecking at the glass doors to remind me that it was supper time, fell asleep on the patio after eating.
Normally, I only tend to show you my successful attempts at baking but this week's chocolate fudge cake was such a disaster and provided so much mirth that I felt I had to record the moment. Admittedly, I should have taken its photo before decorating it to show it in its true glory, but I think you can still just about see the crater-like dip in the middle that I've attempted to hide with the fudge topping and flake (the flake was the nicest bit!).
Trying to distract the eye with a jug of flowers!
E saying that she could make it look nice  ........
My loaf of the week - much better than my cake, even if it is just a bog-standard white:
 I actually put it into one of my Mum's old loaf tins for once; it felt rather lovely to be using something of hers and made a change from the usual mound.
Finally, a little collage of a few more gardeny bits:
... and that's it for this week - actually a longer post than I envisaged, so thank you if you made it to the end! I'd better get back to calming duty. Have a wonderful weekend.
Toodle Pip for now. x