Friday 31 January 2014

Friday Favourites #18

Hooray for Friday!  I'm sure that a whole extra day has been added to this week--it's felt oh-so long.  This week I've been mostly wondering why I felt dreadful, before finally realising that my ear infection was back.  I am now BFFs with antibiotics again and taking it easy for the foreseeable...  

Friday Funny

Photo via the Bristol Post
Last Thursday morning Bristol commuters spotted a Hollywood-style Bristoland sign perched on the side of the Avon Gorge opposite the Portway.  No one knows who put it up there, but it's pretty eye-catching!

Favourite Trailer

Did you know that they're making a TV series based on From Dusk Till Dawn?  Man, I love that film.  George Clooney at his finest, and Quentin Tarantino was perfect as his freakishly creepy brother.  I was a bit sceptical when I heard about a series, but the trailer looks awesome!  I have no idea if a UK channel will pick up the series, but if not, hopefully Netflix will be my friend...

Favourite Book

I've been eating primal on and off for a couple of years, more "off" of late, if I'm honest.  I've been relying so much on sweet potatoes, and starchy veg with hardly a sniff of greenery gracing my plate and plenty of primal baked goods around the house; it's no wonder that I've completely stopped losing weight.  I spotted "Cavewomen Don't Get Fat" in the New Releases section on Amazon and picked it up on a whim.  Despite the title's obvious riff on French Women Don't Get Fat, it's a pretty solid piece of science and a decent introduction to paleo eating.  I'm working through Esther's two-week paleo detox plan which has zero sweet potatoes or treats, exactly what I need to get me back on track!

Favourite Hair

I've been admiring this gorgeous floral up-do by Oh Joy! for the last couple of days.  It's billed as being easy, but I'm pretty sure that Joy's fingers are more nimble than mine.  I loved her confession that she rarely uses a hairdryer as she doesn't really know what to do with it...I thought I was the only one!!  Maybe I don't have to hand back my girl card after all.

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Sunday 26 January 2014


Lucas, totally engrossed in an iPhone game while at Starbucks this morning.  Give him a bit of tech and he turns from a small, sweet child into a monosyllabic teenager.  It's quite amazing really (and a slightly unwelcome glimpse into our future)!

In other news, today is my birthday!  I am mumble-mumble years old today and have been thoroughly spoiled by Dave, Lucas and all the family, culminating in an epic chocolate mirror cake presented to me while we were out for lunch!  Nom nom nom!

The 52 Project: Joining in with Jodie from Practising Simplicity.

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Saturday 25 January 2014

Burns Night

A tower of haggis, neeps and tatties for Burns Night
Our Burns Supper
Tonight is Burns Night, a night to celebrate the life and works of Robert Burns, Scotland's national bard.  If you've never heard of Burns, then think back to New Years Eve when everyone starts singing Auld Lang Syne just after the bells...he wrote that, and much, much more.

Robert Burns, 1759-1796
The first Burns Suppers were held about five years after Burns died on the anniversary of his death, and quickly caught on.  Cynics will say that the Burns Suppers were moved from July (when Burns died) to January (when he was born) as it was a bloody good excuse for a boozy party in a miserable month!  (They're probably right about that, but the whole night is a massive celebration of Burns, so no one minds!)

I haven't been to a formal Burns Supper since I was at Uni, and since it's just the three of us at the table, it was rather informal.  (No posh frock required, hooray!)  I briefly addressed the haggis before slicing it open with my new knife, which was probably sharper than a ceremonial dagger, and then whacked the poor beastie into the microwave.  (We had a devil of a time catching a haggis earlier today!)

Address to a Haggis
Robert Burns

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

(The remaining verses of the poem can be read here, with an English translation for Sassenachs!)

Tonight's dinner was a simple one;we're trying to eat healthily, so there was no pudding (weep with me, internet) but there was haggis, neeps, tatties and a cheeky whisky cream sauce!  I'm a firm believer in that if you're going to the trouble of making a whisky sauce, it should actually taste of whisky, so mine had most of a miniature of whisky in it, rather than the meagre two teaspoons that the Hairy Bikers advocated!!  Which probably explains why Lucas pushed the sauce aside and ate the haggis instead...

Happy Burns Night to those who are celebrating!

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Thursday 23 January 2014

An attitude of gratitude


So, I was watching Ultimate Spider-Man and Spidey had a bit of an epiphany and said something quite profound that hit me like a punch to the gut.  (Yeah, I still watch's a very cool one.  Sure, Spidey's Fourth Wall asides are more akin to Deadpool than him, but it's still a super-cool show.  You've probably noticed that I'm a geek, right?)  Anyway, he said..."It's all about having an attitude of gratitude."

After the day I've had, I'll take my moments of enlightenment wherever I can find them.

My day started with my car not starting, having to jog--well, I walked most of it--Lucas to school, nearly breaking my fingers when I tried to look under the bonnet to see if there was anything obviously wrong with the car (that even an idiot could spot), and then sitting around waiting for Green Flag to come and fix the car.  I performed the Ancient Ritual of Summoning by making a cup of coffee and sitting down on the sofa to drink it in peace, and then promptly scalded my tongue on it.  And then I waited, and waited.

As it turned out, the car started a few hours later when I decided to go out and wait in it--hovering by the front door was getting old--so I trundled it down to the garage who can't look at it until tomorrow.  I've got to drop it off first thing, then spend the rest of the day on shank's pony. The weather forecast is for heavy rain all day tomorrow, there's a weather warning and everything.  Oh what fun!

It's fair to say that I've spent the whole day in an absolutely filthy mood interspersed with moments of extreme anxiety that the car would go back to being dead as a dodo.  I've dived out of the house on several occasions to check that the engine is still turning over.  Which reminds me... BRB.

So, back to that profound attitude of gratitude.  It got me thinking that even though it's been a craptastic day, there's still a lot to be grateful for...It's turned into quite a list:

♥ I managed to walk Lucas to school in a decent amount of time.  A couple of years ago I couldn't walk to the end of the road without major pain in my leg apres a DVT, so that's a biggie right there.
♥ That I have a breakdown service to rescue me
♥  I have the bestest brother-in-law who gives me great car advice.  Thanks, Tony!
♥  Lucas offered to give me all his money so that I could buy a new car.  He is the loveliest little boy ever, full of compassion.  He melts my heart on a regular basis
♥  My Fitbit Flex has started working again after months of not working properly
♥  All the extra walking has meant that I've clocked up loads more steps.  I'm at 7221 steps currently, and there's still time for another thousand or so!
♥ Lovely bloggy friends who cheer me up when I'm sad
♥ Speaking of blog things, I'm flabberghasted that I have 61 Blovlovin' followers.  Helloooooo everyone!  Thanks for following my adventures!
♥ And yet more on the subject of bloggy friends, Jenny wrote some absolutely lovely things about Little Apple Tree which made me smile loads.  Thanks, Jenny!
I'm also grateful for an extra two hours of peace and quiet while Lucas is at a birthday party.  I love 'dump and run' parties so much!
♥ I am grateful in advance for the huge hug I will get when I pick Lucas up
♥ I'm also grateful for having a lovely warm house to come home to
♥ I'm very grateful for my family who are organising a birthday meal for me.
♥ Lastly, but most importantly, I'm more grateful than I could ever say for having the world's most awesome husband!

What are you grateful for today?

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Tuesday 21 January 2014

Taking stock

Bristol Planetarium
By Bill McIntyre on flickr
I seem to be in a reflective mood tonight, so I thought this might be a good time to try the Taking Stock meme that I've seen here and there in the blogosphere, but especially on Bee's lovely Fill My Little World blog.

♥ Making: lists.  We have lots of little odd-jobs around the house that need to be done, new appliances to be bought, the garden to be finished off... This calls for colour-coded and prioritised lists!
♥ Cooking: paleo pulled pork with spice sweet potato chips.  Nom nom nom!
♥ Drinking: mango and passionfruit juice.  All the pleasure of passionfruit without the horrid seeds!
♥ Reading: Eleven Doctors, eleven stories
♥ Wanting: a new oven.  Ours has been a fine workhorse for the seven years we've lived here, but it's time for it to go to the great scrapyard in the sky.  Still, it has been interesting to essentially be cooking like my Granny did--low, medium, hot.
♥ Looking: forward to spring.
♥ Playing: word games with Lucas
♥ Wasting: too much time worrying about little things
♥ Fixing: a blocked drain.
♥ Deciding:  to be assertive and make a complaint rather than stewing over things for days/weeks/years
♥ Wishing: I would wake up slim.  An impossible, and probably terrifying, dream!
♥ Enjoying: time with friends and family
♥ Waiting: for Dave to get home from his run, so that we can have dinner and watch a movie together!
♥ Liking: being surrounded by books
♥ Loving: my amazing new knives!  They are so sharp, like the Vorpal Blade!
♥ Pondering: a trip to Scotland at half-term.  Lucas has never visited Granny's house, so I'm sure he'd have fun!
♥ Watching: Archer.  It's all Dave's fault.
♥ Hoping: for more sleep
♥ Marvelling: at the rain.  When will it end?
♥ Needing: my roots touched up; my hair has grown so fast lately!
♥ Smelling: honeysuckle-ish fabric softener
♥ Wearing: old, yet super-soft, jogging bottoms and a cosy jumper
♥ Following: blog FB pages
♥ Noticing: drops of water, frozen on the bare hedge branches.  They sparkled like fairy-lights when the sunlight hit them.
♥ Knowing: that I have lots to do tomorrow
♥ Thinking: about how fast Lucas is growing
♥ Feeling: content
♥ Admiring: beautiful images on Pinterest
♥ Buying: far too many books
♥ Getting: older
♥ Bookmarking: recipes, recipes, recipes
♥ Opening: the oven door far too often. I'm so impatient!
♥ Giggling: with Lucas.  My gorgeous, crazy kid; love him to bits!

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Sunday 19 January 2014


A faceless portrait this week.  On Saturday morning I took Lucas to his tennis lesson and snapped this while he was "making a pizza" AKA collecting in the tennis balls.  His serve is coming along nicely!

(On the plus side, I think I can safely call this a candid!  He had no idea I was taking it, so no zany poses for once!)

The 52 Project: Joining in with Jodie from Practising Simplicity.

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Saturday 18 January 2014

The year in books: January

There's nothing better than a good book, is there?  Falling head-first into the pages of someone else's story and re-emerging several hours later, as happy as a pig in mud.  I love books, but in recent years I've found myself reading less than I'd like to.

I was delighted when I spotted that the lovely Laura from Circle of Pine Trees had recently shared that she was feeling the same way.  So much so, that she's set up a regular feature on her blog to share the books she's reading, and is inviting fellow bookworms to join in.

This month I have chosen to read the Doctor Who 50th anniversary anthology--that's quite a mouthful--which features a story for each of the incarnations of the Doctors.  I am particularly excited to read Neil Gaiman's effort as his writing is always a treat, but I am being good and not skipping ahead to the end!

I have just started the Fourth Doctor's story after loving the first three, especially the First Doctor's Victorian adventure.  I'm looking forward to more amazing adventures!

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Friday 17 January 2014

Friday Favourites #17

It's Friday!  This weekend is going to be awesome!  There's going to be a bit of DIY, a birthday party, a trip to Atomic Burger with friends, and hopefully some pottering around a museum.  What do you have planned this weekend?

Favourite film

We finally got round to watching Red 2 last night.  I absolutely loved Red at the cinema, but for whatever reason we never managed to catch it at the cinema.  When I grow up I want to be Helen Mirren's Victoria, she's awesome.  Heck, I'd settle for being Helen Mirren who is every bit as awesome as her character, but probably with less bullets.

Favourite street art

I know, I know...I'm rabbiting on about street art two weeks in a row?  These are cute and inventive and well worth a peek!  The hug above makes me smile every time I see it, and the knitted R2-D2 is beyond amazing!  Check them out here.

Favourite mug

via Not On The High Street
I do love a good mug, and this one is perfect for me as I often find inspiration at the bottom of a mug of coffee.  (Or two.)  I've also been known to find my get-up-and-go lurking there, too.

"My Thinking Cup" Mug, from Not On The High Street

Favourite past/present photographs

1982 and 2005, Paris
A friend of mine shared this link on Facebook and it was so amazing that I just had to share it myself.  London-based photographer Chino Otsuka has taken nostalgic to a new level by photoshopping her present-day self into photos from her childhood.  It's beautifully done, and thoroughly believable, as though she's taken a trip in the TARDIS and cheekily posed in the original photographs.  It also makes me think of the age-old question: "What would you say to your younger self?"

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Thursday 16 January 2014

Pumpkin N'oatmeal

Paleo pumpkin porridge

After all the excesses of Christmas, it's now time to get back to a slightly less decadent way of eating.  I'm not sure I could face another mince pie or slice of stollen, even if you paid me... (Might be fibbing there.  I can still hear their siren call.)

When I'm being "good" I favour the Primal way of eating popularised by Mark Sisson, and turn my nose up at all grains, rice, potatoes and (sadly) sugar.  This makes breakfast a little...tough...after years of breakfast always being cereal of some sort, usually porridge.  It's hard for me to come to terms with frying up bacon and eggs for breakfast or even eating leftovers from dinner.  More often than not, I'll run around all morning on a cup of coffee with a slug of cream in it.  (One of the joys of a low-carb diet.)

So, I went looking for a grain-free alternative to porridge that ticked all the boxes, and found this paleo n'oatmeal.  (N'oatmeal is just a catchy way of saying "no oatmeal".  Terribly clever, isn't it?)  It's essentially a pumpkin custard, cooked to a satisfyingly thick texture which mimics porridge, bursting with the flavours of pumpkin pie, all while sneaking in a veggie portion at the beginning of the day.

I may have gone slightly overboard with the maple syrup drizzle and definitely overboard with the amount of mixed spice I threw in--there's a reason that they make measuring spoons--but this unlikely-sounding concoction tasted absolutely delicious!

If you're looking for a filling start to the morning, or have been wondering what this whole paleo malarky is all about, then shove your cereal bowl to one side and give this a go!

Pumpkin N'oatmeal

You can buy Libby's solid-pack pumpkin puree at Waitrose all-year.  I've also seen it at ASDA around Halloween.  Coconut flour can be bought at Holland & Barrett and no, you can't substitute regular flour or ground almonds for it.  It behaves very differently to other flours!
125g pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons coconut flour
125ml coconut milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon mixed spice (or pumpkin pie spice, if you want authenticity)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for drizzling on the top
pecan nuts and flaked coconut to garnish

Put the pumpkin puree into a small saucepan over medium heat and add the coconut flour.  Stir it in carefully--it will thicken up alarmingly--and slowly stir in the coconut milk.  Cook for about a minute, stirring constantly.

Add the egg, vanilla, spice, and maple syrup and mix in really well.  Cook, stirring constantly, for about four minutes until the mixture is thick like oatmeal/porridge.  Don't have the heat too high as you'll risk scrambling the egg!  Dish up and garnish with pecan nuts and flaked coconut.  Drizzle on a little extra maple syrup if you like!

NB You can toast the pecan nuts and coconut flakes in the saucepan before you start making the oatmeal.  I kept things au naturel as I was hungry!

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Wednesday 15 January 2014

Got the post-Sherlock blues?

Do you find yourself shuffling around muttering "but seriously, how did he survive the fall?"  Do strangers nervously back away from you when you randomly say, "Did you miss me?  How can they leave it like that?!"  At a bus stop.  Or is that just me?

If so, you may be suffering from post-Sherlock blues.

Fear not!  There is hope for you.  Series 4 has been commissioned and in the meantime, here are some suggestions to tide you over, in the hopefully-not-two-years until series 4 airs...

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start

Re-watch the series from the beginning.   Enjoy Sherlock & John's budding bromance--Mrs Hudson is not alone in her assumptions--and see how fast you can solve it.  Netflix has the first two series, in both the UK and USA versions at the moment, or there are of course the DVDs and Blurays.  Spin them out for as long as possible, watching all the extras for once, and of course keep a notebook beside you to jot down clues!  Series 3 comes out on the 20th of January, if you deleted it by mistake.  Quelle horreur!

Read (or re-read) the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle works

If you don't already have the original Conan-Doyle stories, then you should treat yourself to this gorgeous leatherbound edition which contains the four novels and 56 short stories.  At £16.25 it's a bit of a bargain!  To get an even better look at the book, which is quite frankly majestic, take a look here.  Go on, I'll wait... Isn't it gorgeous?

If you fear being crushed beneath the weight of this tome, then perhaps a Kindle edition might be less intimidating?  The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection may be more up your street.  At £1.99 it's more expensive than some of the other Sherlock Holmes collections available on Amazon, but it's the only one I've seen which hasn't been needlessly fiddled with, or missing stories.

Go to the theatre

A couple of years ago Dave and I saw an amazing production of The Hound of the Baskervilles at the (now defunct) Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton.  Since then I've been rather keen to see more of Holmes at the theatre.  The Pleasance Theatre Trust in London, is putting on a production of The Final Revelation of Sherlock Holmes in February and March 2014.

Read a comic...
via SelfMadeHero
SelfMadeHero have published all four of the Sherlock Holmes novels in graphic novel adaptations.  (That's comics, if you don't speak geek.)  They're rather good; the depictions of Holmes and Watson are very close to the original drawings and the adaptation to comic art cuts out bits of (unnecessary) waffle.  Well worth a read--we've got three of them so far and I totally recommend them.

Visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum

UntitledIf you're in London, then why not take a trip to the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street?  I haven't been--yet--but Dave took a couple of friends there and they had a great time.  I wouldn't make a special trip, but if you're in London anyway, it's worth a look!

Watch the classics and the new pretender

Before Sherlock came out, I was always a staunch defender of the Jeremy Brett, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series.  To me, it was the Definitive Holmes, just as David Suchet is the Definitive Poirot.  But then I fell in love with Sherlock, and his war-damaged John.  By the time Elementary came out, I was derisive and adamantly against John Watson becoming Joan'll never guess what's coming.  I adore Elementary.  It may save brainache on my part if I just view them all as AU or Elseworlds versions...  They're all fabulous in their own way, and Watson has the patience of a saint, regardless of gender.

So there you have it.  Plenty of Holmesian ways to amuse yourself while you wait patiently (or not-so) for Sherlock to return to our screens.  Alternatively, you could curl up into a little ball and cry.

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Tuesday 14 January 2014

Today I am elsewhere...

Via Pinterest
Today I am tremendously excited to say that I am guest blogging over at MissMelvis's fantastic blog, Me, Bookshelf & I with a book review of a recent read!  I'd love it if you popped over to have a read.

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Sunday 12 January 2014


As soon as I brought the camera out, Lucas started striking poses.  I believe he was mid-Cyber salute at this point, but I defeated his tomfoolery by focusing in on his face.  Sadly my ninja skills don't extend to tidying the background first--messy equals fun, though.

I think he looks particularly lush in this shot...

The 52 Project: Joining in with Jodie from Practising Simplicity

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Friday 10 January 2014

Friday Favourites #16

Lucas went back to school this week and the house has been so quiet without him.  It's astonishing how much noise one small child can create just by being!  All things considered, it's been a good week, but I could have done without being ill yesterday.

Favourite TV show
Okay, so I know this came out in 2003, but I was caught up in a wedding planning frenzy back then, so didn't watch it.  Since then, I've somehow managed to miss ever single repeat and despite it being on my list for a couple of years, LoveFILM have failed to send it to me.  I may or may not have done a jig of excitement when I spotted it on Netflix a few days ago, but have been happily mainlining it ever since.

I am loving the dark comedy, especially the ignominious nature of George's death, her sister Reggie's response (which is both emotional and hilarious), and all the misadventures that happen to George as she settles into her new role as a Grim Reaper.  Definitely one to watch!!

Favourite "street" art
© Ruddy Muddy
This week the Norfolk newspapers and then the nationals picked up the story of "Ruddy Muddy", the Norfolk delivery driver who has taken to drawing on the mud and dirt on the sides of his white delivery van.  I've never seen a van with anything other than the ubiquitous giant cock and balls drawn in the dirt, or "Wash me!" written on it; I'm hoping that Ruddy's graffilthy art catches on.  It's so nice to see someone doing something different and beautiful!

Favourite LEGO

The Simpsons is coming to LEGO!  I'm pretty stoked about this--the set looks awesome with a house that opens up, all the bedrooms...heck, there's even Homer's car in the garage!  Unsurprisingly there's a hefty price tag to go with all this awesome.  We're looking at about £179.99 in the UK and $200 in the USA.   I generally leave all the LEGO building to Dave and Lucas, but if I suddenly won the Lottery I'd sequester myself in a locked room and build this beauty all by myself.

(The video starts off a bit slowly, so skip to 1:30 for the good stuff!  Sorry, LEGO.)

Favourite Blog Posts

♥ This week I laughed until I cried as I read Betty the Puppy's takeover of Michelle's blog, Life Outside London.  We've always known Betty is gorgeous, but I never knew she was hilarious, too!
♥ Rhiannon's Elfen Leaf Cloak Clasp tutorial, inspired by The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is awesome!
♥ I loved Jenny's post about the seal pups at Horsey!  Seal pups are possibly the most adorable animal in the world; I can't believe how close she got to the pups.

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Wednesday 8 January 2014

Two weddings and a funeral...well, almost

Our wedding at Goldney Orangery in 2003
On Sunday night, Dave and I indulged in a total geekfest as we watched Sherlock.  Not for the usual reasons of spotting the short stories making up the whole, or the joy of figuring out whodunnit before he does--hey, it's happened--but because we recognised Watson's wedding reception venue.

You see, ten years ago we got married at Goldney House in Bristol, and held our reception in its gorgeous Orangery, just as John and Mary did.

Goldney House is one of Bristol's hidden gems.  Many people walk past it unwittingly every day--unless they students who live in the hall of residence within the grounds--as it is hidden behind a rather forbidding tall wall.  If you climb up the next hill you can get a glimpse of the house.

Goldney House from the road
Many houses have their good sides and Goldney's faces out over its sumptuous gardens.  It, like the Orangery, was thickly covered in glossy green wisteria when we got married.

The "prettier" side
Sherlock was filmed in April, before spring really got started in Bristol, so the wisteria hadn't started growing yet which is a bit of a shame.  If you compare the top photo and the one below, you can still see that it's clearly the Goldney Orangery, though!  (And in hindsight, I do have memories of Cliftonwood residents going bananas on twitter about the BBC vans blocking the pavements on both sides of Constitution Hill; I should have been more nosey about what was going on!)

The Sherlock wedding at Goldney Orangery, 2014
We watched avidly, occasionally commenting in hushed tones--Oooh, they've redecorated.  It's very yellow; I don't like it--while every clink of a glass or burst of laughter brought back so many happy memories.  A wash of emotion, really.

The top table was set up differently to ours, but it's still clearly the same room!  After flicking through hundreds of images of Goldney and its Orangery on Google, I've reached the conclusion that the somewhat lurid yellow walls and murals were TV trickery.  Which is a relief, really!  I think the peach walls work much better, but then I'm biased!  The Orangery is such a lovely room; loads of light, bounced around endlessly by the mirrored doors...just gorgeous.

Wish we'd seen the Watson's cake--here's ours instead!
Sherlock didn't show off the gorgeous (but rather recognisable) grounds, and since I'm in a thoroughly nostalgic mood I want to give you a peek.

Hercules and the Tower, the Mahogany Parlour where we said our vows, and a rather pretty archway in the gardens
If you fancy flicking through more gorgeous pictures of the house and gardens, there's a gallery on the official website.  I'm going to be keeping my eyes open for this year's open day so that we can wander round happily and perhaps have a picnic on the lawn again.  But first, I may indulge myself by watching The Sign of Three once again and continuing to wallow in glorious nostalgia!

PS The "almost funeral" comes from Sherlock.  Our wedding was entirely crime-free!  John would be most envious.

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Sunday 5 January 2014

The 52 Project: 1/52

Lucas, running around with a big grin on his face.

Last year I greatly admired Lottie and Lou's portraits of their children as part of The 52 Project.  It didn't feel right to jump in more than halfway through the year so I bided my time to see if it would return for another year.  I am thrilled to say that this wonderful project has returned!  If you haven't heard of it, then you can find out more here.

Lucas is a right little poser when it comes to the camera; most days he'll start striking all sorts of crazy poses as soon as he hears a lens cap coming off.  Other days, like above, he starts running around like crazy, trying to avoid the camera.  Sadly for him, both Dave and I can now take photos in burst mode, so there's no escape!

I'm looking forward to the challenge of both improving my photography and also that of trying to capture him in stolen, quiet moments before he realises that I, and the camera, am there.  Basically, I need to become a ninja...

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Friday 3 January 2014

Friday Favourites #15

Happy first Friday of 2014!  I hope the New Year is treating you all well, so far.  Right now, we're enjoying a break in the rain--the sun actually came out for a little while!

Favourite Photography Tips
I love Lucy's photography on her blog.  Her images are so dreamy, with imaginative and beautiful composition, so I was thrilled when I saw that she'd made a guest post on improving blog photography.  I'm planning to take her suggestions on-board and looking forward to having even more fun with my new camera!

Favourite Cookbook
We rang in the new year with a curry from The Hairy Bikers Great Curries cookbook.  This time round I made Chicken Makhani (also known as Butter Chicken) which was nothing short of sublime.  This is the cookbook that has made me finally realise, after years of cooking curries, that there is a world of difference between making your own curry powder and just opening a tub.  Their Chicken Korma is delicious, the Thai-ish Sticky Pork Curry was absolutely awesome and I love their recipe for Coconut Rice.  My copy is bristling with post-it notes and slips of paper with notes jotted on them, and my spice collection is ever-expanding, but my tummy is very happy.  Even better, lots of their recipes are low-carb friendly and the Coconut Rice recipe is easily adapted to use cauliflower "rice".  Perfect for the inevitable January slim-down!!

Favourite Blogging Tips

If you haven't already discovered Bonjour, Blogger! then you're in for a treat.  It is a fantastic treasure trove of information and resources for bloggers.  Their recent post about keeping your (blogging) resolutions is brilliant, and jam-packed with information.  

Favourite Foodie TV Programme
Okay, so it hasn't aired yet, but I am massively excited about The Taste (UK version)!  Not only am I firmly in Team Nigella, but I have had a cheffy crush on Tony Bourdain for years.  It's also nice to see a TV show which focuses on well, the taste of the food, rather than the personality of the chef.  (Something which Masterchef Australia was very guilty of this year, much to my annoyance.)
Begins Tuesday 7th January, 2100, Channel4.

What was your favourite thing this week?

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Thursday 2 January 2014

Happy New Year! (+ obligatory resolutions)

Happy New Year!
© Chris Chabot via flickr
Welcome to the world of tomorrow!  Isn't the future awesome?

Everyone makes a slew of New Years Resolutions, don't they?  I always wonder how those go over the year... Do many (if any) of us actually accomplish them?  Well, last year I resolved to keep being awesome, and that definitely worked out well!  It's a shame that awesomeness doesn't extend to pesky little things like housework, though.

But I digress...

In past years I've made NYR.  A lovely laundry list of everything that was wrong with me that I wanted to fix.  Lose weight, get fit, be more social, learn about this whole make-up/hair/being girly thing, have a show home, paint my toenails every Tuesday, learn Italian...the works.  But none of it ever happened, because it turned out that those resolutions?  They were just wishes.  There was no timescale, no thought of how I was going to make these magical transformations happen, no SMART goals.

This year, I am going to become more organised.  There are a number of different reasons for this, ranging from the "I don't want to be tumble-drying school shirts at 0810 on a Monday morning," through to "I'd eat healthily if there were healthy snacks/easy meals in the fridge," "I could have sworn I had some cinnamon in the larder," and "I can't find the lottery ticket and we've won millions!!"

I'm going to start by spending the rest of January following The Organised Housewife's 20 Days To Organise and Clean Your Home Challenge.  (The random stuff everywhere after Christmas is bothering me, and I've got quite the tolerance.)  Once I've finished that, and the house is decluttered, organised, and gleaming, I'll reassess things.  I've been wilfully disorganised for years, so I imagine that this is going to be quite the project!

Happy New Year, everyone!!

(I'm still going to keep on being awesome, though!)

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