Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The 11yr old

Just about to blow out her candles... I love that we can still surprise her with a birthday cake!

Well, that's it

... I am officially old!  Technically, if we're being picky, I am "officially" old(er) tomorrow; but it was yesterday that I felt it.  The 10yr old became the 11yr old and, as she said with delicious glee, would never again be an age that wasn't double digits.  See?  Old!  Of course, that is only until she reaches "100, or 103" (no, I don't know either) but I "won't be around" to see that.  Bless her, I think she meant it kindly ;o)

After dinner, cake, candles and presents (a Falconry lesson from us, stroke of genius on the boyf's part and should be a fantastic day out) I think it's safe to say that the 11yr old enjoyed her birthday.  I have a lovely picture of the birthday girl and had every intention of posting it today.  But, in true old girl style, was asleep on the sofa last night by about 9pm... I'll endeavour to keep my eyes open for a little longer tonight!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

It's been a busy weekend

Yesterday we spent the day watching and celebrating the wonderful Mr S marry the gorgeous new Mrs S!  It was a beautiful day and always a privilege to see two such perfectly matched people share their happiness and love with the rest of us.  I wanted them to have a special card and came up with this.

The pearl buttons are handsewn on, each with a lilac bead at the centre (a nod to Mrs S's colour scheme for the day).  I finished the card off with Mr S in mind: a "Handmade With Love" ribbon which when folded in half was a little cheekier ;o) and a brown organza ribbon trim, fixed in place with seed and bugle beads spelling LOVE in Morse Code.

I have never been a fan of "tidying" up handmade cards, unless I've made a horrible mess! and deliberately stitched the back of this to resemble a constellation.  I used the lines to then write all the words I think, which should be important when you're in love.  Inside we  "bought" them dinner at our favourite Parisian restaurant... perfect.

*     *     *    *    *

Today we Raced for Life.  The t-shirts turned out well; the flowers ironed flat where then embellished with multicoloured beads and you can never have too many leis!  We were joined by the lovely Mrs B, L & H and mostly made it round without getting soaked, despite the weather forecast, rather ominous clouds and occasional downpour, with bonus hail!  Between us, and a host of extremely kind people, we have raised in excess of £600.  A fabulous amount for a worthy cause. 

Friday, 22 June 2012

Race for Life

Ok, I told a small porkie, I have actually been doing (a little) something other than sitting with my mutts on the sofa.  The 10yr old and I, with the lovely Mrs B, L and H are running (walking, crawling... seen the weather forecast, make that swimming!) 5K on Sunday for RfL.  So, along with raising some cash, I've been decorating our tshirts.  We are, you see, going to be green.  Purists will probably frown, but we are "The Green Girls" and for very good reason.  And, we're not entirely green, I've been working on the pink...

40 odd flowers per tshirt makes for some boring sewing and I'd hoped that the overall effect would have looked pinker!  The 10yr old gamely agreed to pose for a photo and it's obvious that some additional jujjing is going to be required...  I've got my box of bad beads and ribbons out!  By Sunday we'll be a riot of pink... I promise :o)

I have no excuse...

well, actually, I have two ;o) see....

How could I disturb my two, when they're so comfortable?!  And, as you can see from the happy, smiley face, the "enforced" idleness is doing me good.  I've never been so happy to be lazy... lets call it "unbusy", I like "unbusy"!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Houdini and the Gardener

The pups earned themselves new nicknames this week.  Megs, “The Gardener”, who did the exact opposite of what we would have imagined, when she found herself locked out of her kennel (thankfully during a rare break in the rain), and sunned herself in the garden instead of digging it up.  And Finn, “Houdini”, who proved his escape artist skills by unzipping his pen from the inside; much to the 10yr olds’ shock when she came home to find him mooching in the kitchen.  It should have been chaos, all flying soil and chewed up wires but it was all more than ok; they’d both been in unfamiliar situations and behaved exactly as we would hope; we could sit back and chuckle over a glass of red.

It certainly takes far longer to get back to normal following a holiday than ever you were on the holiday itself, and when you decide to throw a new puppy into the mix... we're all caught up in a heady mix of jet lag, puppy brain, broken nights' sleep (though he is very good, up at 4am for 5 minutes and we're tucked back in bed) and generally getting back into the swing of work, school and the everyday stuff.  It’s safe to say, that the ironing pile is going to grow by a few more feet yet before I get round to tackling it!

That said, as the boyf and I concluded tonight, with a certain degree of wonder, we are the most relaxed and happy we've been in ages.  The post holiday glow certainly hasn’t yet worn off, but it’s really rewarding to see our little pie-eyed “let’s get a puppy” plan come good.   I’ve talked before about the amount of time and research we put into our decision to get the Dobe and raise her right, and we have thought just as long and hard (if not more so, now that we had Megs to consider too) about how to expand out little pack.  I know that it’s very early days yet, but we are enjoying the calm that comes with the certainly to knowing what we’re doing this time round!  Finn is fitting so well into our life and he's such a happy go lucky little thing.  There’s no doubt we have our work cut out for us, but its good beginnings.

And amidst all this loved-upness, I took a look at my smock, in the hope that I can get back to some sewing this weekend... I have the dining table to clear of that ironing first though!  It felt unfamiliar and exciting all at the same time but I’m itching to get back to it again, I’m not me if I’ve not been sewing for a while.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

We have a new puppy! Meet Finn.

Although it took the lovely boyf a good long time to persuade me to that I wanted a baby dobe in my life; it didn't take me long to decide that two would be better than one.  He didn't necessarily agree and, it is fair to say, I have spent the last 18 months of Megs life discussing, persuading, cajoling, bribing, pleading and, as necessary, occasionally even sulking in an attempt to win the boyf round!  So, we have a new addition to the family, Finnick Humperdink (the 10 yr old is responsible for his first name, I take full responsibility for the second, Englebert is a guilty pleasure!) a Chihuahua/Chinese Crested cross.  We wanted small, but not too small (I'm hoping he inherits his mother's long legs) and a happy mix of two of my favourite small breeds.  

He arrived home yesterday and I think it's safe to say that we're all a little in love... he's also looks to be interested in taking up photography!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Barbecued Corn Cobs and Mango Salsa

Much as I liked Florida, I have to say that I was stunned at the lack of vegetarian food options available.  Whilst the lovely folk were perusing huge menus, laden with delicious options, I invariably ended up with deep fried cheese and iceburg lettuce salad!  Now feel free to call me fussy, but I love (and I mean LOVE) my food, have been spoilt rotten by our cooking at home, and was soon pretty despondent at the thought of another meal out, asking for another meat-filled salad to be de-meated!  Yes, I had a huff; yes it wasn't pretty, or grownup of me; and yes, I have wonderful friends who took to the iPad and researched restaurants and their menus in advance (things improved greatly) and also cooked some great veggie BBQs.

I'd heard about baking corn cobs in hot coals and so one night we tried an alternative version on our gas-run Weber (it had, and needs to have, a lid).  It's utterly simple, gorgeous to watch, taste and smell, and was worthy of some pictures.

Barbecued Corn Cobs

Corn Cobs, in their skins

Gently peal back the husks of the cobs as low as you can without breaking them.  Remove the "hairs" of the cob, as these will burn whilst cooking.  Spread the corn liberally with butter/margarine and season well.  Re-lay the husks back on the corn, covering the kernels to keep them from burning (though the odd burnt section is surprisingly tasty!)  Lay the cobs on a hot BBQ and lower the lid.  Our Weber had a thermometer and registered 350F whilst cooking; but it is a recipe that can be done by sight, smell and touch (the cobs feel softer to the touch when cooked - rather like an unripe mango or avocado).  We cooked ours for 30-40 minutes and then left them to rest on a plate and in their skins for a further 30 minutes before eating.  Peel and remove the skins and dive in.  Warm and buttery (but not dripping down your chin), they are the perfect finger food!

Inspired by a particularly lovely Mexican restaurant we went to, as an accompaniment to our Corn Cobs and various other bits and pieces, I also made a quick Mango Salsa.

Mango Salsa (serves 4-6)

1 fresh mango
1 red pepper
3-4 tomatoes
Fresh flatleaf parsley
Juice of 1 lime

Finely chop the mango and tomatoes, dice the red pepper.  Mix in a bowl with a handful of roughly chopped parsley, the juice of a lime and season with salt and pepper.  Ideally, this could rest in a fridge for an hour or so, to let the juices mingle.  Serve and enjoy.

Just delicious, proper sunshine food, both of them... and yes, I would now like to buy a gas BBQ!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Back to home and blog...

It has been a utterly lovely two weeks.  Florida was beautiful and we are lucky to have the fantastic Mr & Mrs B to holiday with; they are great holiday companions and it makes a real difference being able to share a great experience.

What is even nicer though is to have a fantastic holiday and then come home and still feel quietly satisfied with your everyday lot.  Even if I've traded wall to wall sunshine, 30+C, a pool and nothing more important to decide than which black bikini to wear, for cold, rain and the "daily grind" I can honestly say I'm just as happy... just with more great memories to add to the pile.

I did try to blog when I was away, but whilst iPad was my firm friend in the fight against the zombie hordes, it wouldn't let me think.  Well the thoughts chugged happily along , but somewhere between my brain and that silly virtual keypad, I lost my train of thought... not just lost, but derailed and smoking too!

So, instead, I did a little cooking (more later), a tonne of reading, developed an obsession for dress shopping with Mrs B and the 10yr old and hunting for shark's teeth (yep), did a little plotting (more of that later too) and some serious relaxing.... just perfect!

But it's still good to be home :)
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