Tag Archives: country living

Spring is here at last!

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There is nothing quite like the spring sunshine after the winter and the promise of a new season ahead. Easter is well and truly on its way which is always a special time of year and reminds us of how blessed we really are.

When the dark clouds lift and you feel the warmth of the sun once again it seems that everything touched by its rays speak of new life and good things to come…. Summer!

 

This is a particularly special Spring for us as a family as we are awaiting the arrival of the latest addition to our nest. I am 39 weeks pregnant and although I appreciate what my body has been doing to grow this little person inside my belly I am pretty exhausted now and very ready for birth to come and pregnancy to finish.

My hospital bag is packed, which I was reluctant to put too much in as last time I remember not using much of it, however I have still managed to fill a bag, probably again with too much stuff!

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Shilo has been soaking up some rays through the kitchen window and I can honestly say these sunny mornings lift my spirits. We haven’t been to visit the lambs this year as it is not recommended for pregnant mothers, however we are hoping to welcome some chickens into our coop later this year, so watch this space!!

We dont often need an excuse for a good walk but now the baby is ready to arrive we thought some walking might coax my body into labour and with a sunny but cool afternoon yesterday we took a trek up to the top of the valley and Josh my other half tried out his new/second hand lense for his camera.

I love watching Ayla in the outdoors, there is so much joy and freedom, we are truly blessed to live where we do.

I hope the sun has shown its face where ever you are and with the promise of Summer on its way there is such expectation in the air, I am really excited to see what lies ahead and for some fun outside.

Looking forward to getting the garden sorted, there is lots to be done, we are hoping to build a shed, do up Ayla’s wendy house, put the poly tunnel up and plant some fresh fruit and veg.

So watch this space! … I will also be looking out for some elderflowers again this year from our tree and perhaps have a go at making some elderflower champagne for the grown ups 🙂 as well as the cordial!

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Hopefully next blog there will be four of us to photograph!

In the meantime if you get a chance to escape into the sunshine and walk somewhere you feel free, try putting your worries aside and escape for a moment! We could all learn a thing or too from children they really have a great out look on the world.

 

Mark 10:14

Jesus said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”

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Autumn Days!

Well it has been an incredibly long time since I last posted… so long in fact that we are even expecting a new addition to the family in March and I am currently 21 weeks pregnant!

Ayla has celebrated her 3rd birthday and life at home has been steadily becoming more and more like winter is upon us.

This Autumn we have been having plenty of Autumnal fun!… with walks in the woods and some leafy crafts to keep us busy on these blustery days.20151014_160142

We had lots of fun picking leaves from the garden one afternoon and making a lovely spikey hedgehog picture with all the sticks and crushed brown leaves.

We even had an unexpected ladybird guest in amongst our autumn finds!

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We made Mr hedgehog an eye and Ayla stuck on a buttercup just to make him feel special!

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We have had some lovely walks this season, one particularly special walk was through ‘The Knapp and Papermill Nature Reserve’ it was a beautiful clear day, we picked apples…

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Tried to spot some otters… (not this time!), found some ancient oak trees and met some

beautiful Highland cows with their calf’s.

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We ate the apples…although a little sour! 🙂

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This really is a super place to walk, such beauty and wildlife you really are in for a treat if you come walking in these woods! If you want to check out more info on the reserve this link will help: http://www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk/reserves/knapp-and-papermill

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Now what better way to cuddle up on these evenings as the darker nights draw in, than with a log fire and a mug of something hot!

And that is exactly what I intend to do 🙂 I absolutely love an open fire and I get quite excited at the prospect of it being lit up again!

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When we can we have been collecting some of the fallen, dead timber in the woods near our house, ready for cosy times next to the fire.

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In addition to open fires I also have a thing for candles… this is probably inherited from my Mum who actually has more candles in her home than anyone I know!

So today I took the opportunity to make some Autumn candle jars with some leaves found on our walks in the woods, some hemp string to stick around the top and a lot of PVA glue 🙂 to stick it all down!

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Ayla used some of her special stickers and feathers to create her own design

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These were really fun to make and I am thrilled with the overall effect 🙂

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On a sadder note, we recently went down to Richmond to visit friends and say goodbye to a very dear one, Saracen.

Being in his 30’s and having lived a very long happy life the difficult decision was made considering his deteriorating health to have him put to rest in the hope that his passing would be dignified, peaceful and would know love right up to the end.

He was an incredibly special horse and has played a huge part in my life as a teenager/young adult right through to me becoming a wife and Mum and he will always have a treasured place forever in my heart.

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Whilst being down in Richmond we were able to get up close to my husbands gate which he designed and crafted.

They are hung within the grounds of Richmond park. The Forged Metal which resembles branches and leaves of oak, are the gateway to the vista which can be viewed from ‘King Henry’s mound’. If you are lucky enough to be there on a clear day you can gaze right through the vista to London, St Paul’s cathedral.

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‘The Way Gates’ Richmond Park London – Joshua De Lisle – http://www.joshuadelisle.com

There is so much for me to catch up on as my blogging has somewhat disappeared.

I hope I can get in the rhythm of posting more regularly again!

Anyway I will leave you with a couple of extra shots of the season before I go…

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Here is to Autumn and all of its glory, I hope you are able to enjoy some of this beautiful season for yourself, God bless x

Recipe box trial!

Hello Fresh!

My mother in law dropped round a trial recipe pack for us on Friday. I have looked at these online before but never ordered one so it was great to get the chance to check it out.

Recipe boxes are delivered fresh to your door with exactly the right amount of ingredients to cook up the recipe card inside. This means less waste, more cost effective and can liven up your kitchen meal times with healthy tasty meals for either vegetarian or meat eaters.

The recipe we were given to try was a –

Superfood  Mexican Jumble with Feta and Jalapeno

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… and it tasted delicious! 🙂

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The ingredients were all beautifully fresh and to a high standard many of which were organic. This recipe included – Hazelnuts, Quinoa, Vegetable stock pot, Couscous, Coriander, Jalapeño chilli, Red pepper, Pumpkin seeds, Feta cheese, Organic sweetcorn, Cumin and Lime 🙂

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Approximate timing 30 min

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The recipe card was easy to follow and quick enough to rustle up last minute.

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And here was the finished product…

20150523_174710So much flavour, deliciously satisfying and more than enough for two people… We even had a little left over for lunch the next day!

If you want anymore information about Hello fresh you can check out their website at – http://www.hellofresh.co.uk

Hope you have all had a good bank holiday weekend! We have been renovating the Wendy house so will keep you posted on the progress 🙂

Good night all x

Deck the Halls!

I love Christmas, not just the perfect excuse to have port in the cupboard and a mince-pie moment everyday .. at least once, but all the pieces of December that make the run up to Christmas so exciting. The decorating, the tree and all the festive colours and lights everywhere is so beautiful. Seeing it all again through my little girls eyes this year has made it extra special. I really wanted to involve her in the decorating and try to make the living room feel magical.

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I don’t like doing my Christmas shopping before it feels like Christmas is nearly upon us, but for some reason I find it perfectly acceptable to buy Christmas decorations out of season, especially when they are amazingly reduced and just had to come home with me! I also plucked some clippings from our garden and a few pine cones from our walks in the woods, things that would help make the place ‘feel festive’.

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Of course I always love a bit of homemade-crafty-fun, especially with my little one, so what better way to get in the festive spirit than decide to make some snow flakes.

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I let Ayla paint and decorate some doilies whilst I tried to do the paper / folding / cutting snowflakes that I remember so well making when I was at school, unfortunately I had completely forgotten how to do it and after several attempts they began to resemble something of a snowflake.

I used the cuttings and berries/pine cones I had to decorate the twig hearts that I picked up from hobby craft in the summer for only £1 🙂 I also made paper chains to adorn the living room… I really like how the paper has the print on one side and the brown paper showing on the underside, (again only £1 a roll from Lidl).

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I even attempted to dry my own orange circles to use as decorations. Basically you slice them and then leave them in the oven on the lowest setting for ages, until they are completely dried out.

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Disastrously I forgot to mention to my other half that Christmas decorations were ‘drying’ in the oven and he pre heated the oven to cook something, which resulted in dried out, very burnt oranges and I didn’t attempt anymore. Oranges will be strictly eaten this season… not dried and hung, (never mind there is always next year).

Another oven ‘faux pas’ was exploding chestnuts in it! This was because we forgot to cut them or ‘someone did’ 🙂 this resulted in me actually deciding to clean the oven, something I never do and don’t intend to do for a very long time!

… And yes the mask was necessary!

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Love having the fireplace to decorate and with the television out of the way, the TV stand made for the perfect place for the Christmas tree.

This year the tree is sitting in the window which I always think is nice to be able to see the light inside shining out. Maybe one year we shall invest in some lights to hang in the willow tree outside.

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Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and lets not forget the greatest light this season…

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Jesus the light of the world! 🙂

John 3:16

 

Homemade Elderflower Cordial

Well with the weather as it is I figured there was nothing for it than to make some elderflower cordial in hope that it brings the sunshine out… come back summer!

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I love the taste of elderflower and I have always wanted to make my own cordial, with our very own elder tree sitting in the corner of the garden I didn’t need much persuading. It is not a very old tree and this is the first year it has flowered so well.

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Caleb puss watched intently, as I snipped away and gathered the flower heads.

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For this recipe I used:

1kg Sugar ~ 1.5 litres of boiling water ~ 3 lemons washed ~ 30 large elderflower heads (shake to remove insects) ~ 50g of citric acid (available from the chemist)

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1. Put the sugar in a large bowl and add the boiling water, stir until completely dissolved, then leave to cool.

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2. Grate the lemons with a fine grater and slice them into thick slices, before adding to the solution.

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3. Stir in the citric acid and then the flower heads.

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Ayla woke up from her afternoon nap just in time to help add the elderflowers, (a toddler isn’t necessary for this stage… but it does add to the excitement!)

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4. Cover the mixture with a clean cloth and leave to steep, I left my solution for about 24 hours but you can leave it up to 48 hours if you like.

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5. Using a muslin cloth (baby muslin) I strained the mixture into a clean pan. (A large elastic band can help to hold the cloth in place)

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6. Finally using either a funnel or a jug, decant into your bottles which should be sterilised (you can do this in the oven or using a sterilising solution)

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This recipe made up nearly two bottles which is perfect as I wanted to give a bottle to my mum and there are still plenty of flowers on the tree for a second batch.

Then all that was left to do was add water to a jug with a good helping of elderflower cordial, mix and wait for the Sun to come out for a truly refreshing drink and a taste of British summer!

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A-MAY-zing days out!!

 May has been so beautiful, but I have hardly blogged!! At the beginning of the month we were blown away by this breathtaking sight…. a sea of bluebells whilst out walking.

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My photos don’t do it justice, these were taken up and around West Malvern if you ever get the chance to see them they are well worth a look. (We weren’t the only ones bluebell-adoring, they had quite a crowd of fans that day especially as the sun was shining).

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Ayla decided Daddy’s shoulders were more fun than walking!

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Watson enjoyed the view…

I just couldn’t get enough of the bluebells!!!

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We took advantage of the bank holiday fun down by the river in aid of St Richards Hospice

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We had a spontaneous trip to the National Sea Life Centre Birmingham which was so good I would definitely recommend it to anyone, of any age for a fantastic day out.

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I really enjoyed our trip round, there were some amazing sea life and plenty of interactive things for kids to see and do. The lighting and layout made it extra special as we watched Ayla exploring this magical world… We were just as captivated as her.

There was a soft play at the end of the tour which topped it off nicely and lets the kids blow off some steam. Ayla watched as one child pretended to swim through the ball pit she then started to copy him and I had fun watching her try to replicate his attempts!

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We had a day out to the hospital… (if you can call it that) but it was so nice to finally get the all clear from my surgeon and be signed off… Praise God its all over! Ayla was none the wiser, and took our trip to the hospital as simply another day out, it did help that there was a toy bus at the service station!

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After her initial test run, we let Ayla drive us home 🙂 2014-05-10 16.11.11

This month has also been a celebration of my friends baby boy turning 1 we were all invited to the park for a real teddy bears picnic in the bandstand, with face painting and bear hunting!! It was a really great afternoon and so special watching Ayla getting involved, my friend Katie had some great ideas for this birthday party adventure! Check out her blog at: http://www.katielovescrafts.blogspot.com

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Full steam ahead!!!

One of Josh’s clients who has been an incredible support to our business in many ways invited us on a trip to the Severn Valley Railway.

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Arriving at the Station was just like stepping back in time, little did we know we were travelling ‘Private Charter’ on the most beautiful train I have ever set eyes on.

Now I am not a train enthusiast but I was blown away with the volunteers and people who gave up there time and money to passionately preserve the steam railway and this slice of British history which could so easily have been lost but which is now accessible for many generations to come.

We set off from Kidderminster, travelling in style with Coffee’s and pastries to hand, and the weather was just perfect too!

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Our first stop meant we got to see the Engine shop and understand more about the history of the rail, and how the Severn Valley Railway works to restore and maintain its engines.

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I particularly liked this poster that I found:

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There was even a tribute to the working horses of the railway, which I learnt were used to transport goods and move carriages (shunting).

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For the second leg of the journey me and Josh got to travel in the observation saloon….. I felt like the Queen! (As you can probably tell by my very cheesy grin!)

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It did genuinely feel like you had either stepped back in time or onto the set of a film. At one point as I hung my head out of the carriage and watched the track going by and the wind in my hair, I had an overwhelming desire to wave a hanky at some gentleman standing on the platform… luckily I resisted the urge!

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Josh even got the opportunity to go up on the foot plate and drive the locomotive!!! (Apparently the whistle is very loud when your up here!)

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It was an incredible day out, and very child friendly, although we didn’t take Ayla with us (Ayla had a day out with her Nana and Papa) we were surprised at just how set up for families the venues were. There is a park at the engine shop and activities for them to get involved in. Children and families are very well catered for, they even hold special events such as ‘Peppa Pig train days’ and a special ‘Meet Father Christmas trip’ for December.

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Needless to say we will be back again, and next time with Ayla!