Friday, 13 June 2014

Simple Pleasures...

* Afternoon tea for two at a beautiful country house hotel with my best friend - no husbands or children in sight! Bliss!
Rushton Hall

* A jug of flowers on my stair windowsill that I pass & admire multiple times a day - scented stocks and peonies. Can't wait for the peonies to open into all their glory.

* More embellished baby items - crocheted edge muslins this time!

* Strawberry picking with little G. Last year they were grown up high, at his eye level, so very easy to pick. Wasn't expecting to be crawling around my hands & knees to pick them this time, due to my enormous belly! They were so delicious though, so worth the effort - can't beat a British strawberry, freshly picked, warm from the sun...

* A big slab (for it was most definitely not a piece!) of raspberry & coconut cake for me & a smarties cookie for little G in the cafe at the strawberry farm after a hard half hour of picking 

* A big bowl of freshly picked strawberries & cream later on...

* a spot of Jam making - Strawberry & Prosecco Jam - totally delicious!

* Hot jam scraped from the empty pan on crusty white bread - on a par with licking the whisk & bowl after making a cake!

I'm planning rhubarb & prosecco jam later (if Mr W didn't finish off the open bottle of prosecco while watching the football last nighy!) as I spotted some rhubarb stalks ready for harvesting in the garden yesterday. I thought our rhubarb had had it this year, but it seems to be putting on a last spurt!

* Thank goodness for my (ever-growing!) collection of birkos in this warm weather. Putting on socks and shoes has become rather an ordeal of late, so my trusty birkos are getting plenty of wear. I think I may be slightly addicted though, as I now realise that I have pink, red, lilac, brown, black & bronze ones!! I only wear these threes pairs regularly though, as they are so much prettier than the other pairs.

* A big frothy cappuccino. I discovered some instant cappuccino sachets which are pretty delicious for instant. I treat myself to one every couple of days when the boys are both at school & nursery - a peaceful half hour.

* I do so love this mug. I spotted it in an antiques/junk shop but it was brand new. My eldest son is called William and we call him Willie quite often. When he was a baby, Mr W would come in from work calling "where's my little Willie?"!!! So when I saw this, I just had to get it!

* My biscuit tin - a mini replica of our Aga. So cute!

* Lemonade ice lollies from the ice cream van in the park after school. Got to keep myself cool while the boys play! Loving all things lemon flavoured at the moment especially still-lemonade - so refreshing!

* Looking forward to a child-free weekend at home with Mr W. The boys are going to our friends' for the weekend which they have been counting down the days to! Tomorrow is baby D-Day, and it would be very convenient if baby decided to make an appearance sometime over the weekend when the boys are already accommodated elsewhere. Not sure baby is aware of the schedule though...

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 6 June 2014

This week... was my birthday. 38!! It was on Wednesday, but this rapidly turned into a rubbish day, so I made the executive decision to postpone my proper birthday celebrations until Thursday. Mr W had to leave the house at 6am on Wednesday, so I didn't even get my usual cup of tea made for me, let alone cards & presents in bed. The boys were totally oblivious to it being my birthday with no daddy around to prompt them, and my eldest felt sick & achey so had to stay home from school. On top of this poor start to my birthday, I had a midwife appointment followed by the dentist, stacks of washing up & ironing and it was pouring with rain!! So definitely a wise decision to delay.

I did manage to make myself a birthday cake:

It is Nigella's "Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake" from her "Feast" book. Super-easy and the icing is divine! 

...I had my annual KFC bucket for supper on my birthday. I do LOVE that crispy coating! However, both Mr W and I were up in the night with indigestion after it - way too much grease & salt I think. Maybe that's why we only have it once a year!!!

...I had a much better "birthday-take-two", with tea, cards & presents in bed, sunshine & blue skies & a delicious meal out with Mr W at a local restaurant in the evening. 
The bump all dressed up ready to go out for dinner!

...I received these beauties for my birthday & can't wait to pick something out to hook

...I had lots of compliments about my enormous belly. I bought a capsule wardrobe of a few summer pieces for when we went on holiday at Easter, and have been wearing them in rotation/mix & match ever since. They were obviously worth the investment, as I have been complimented by 3 different people this week on how stylish & good I look despite being 39 weeks pregnant!! It does a girl's ego no end of good I must tell you :)

...I almost finished my first ripple baby blanket. Just got one more side of bobble edging to do, which I should manage tonight in front of the telly.

...I made some more baby burp cloths and embellished some muslins. Still got a big pile of plain white muslins that are just crying out for some pretty binding, crochet edging (like this), applique or flannel pannelling. If this baby doesn't arrive soon, I will have embellished/crocheted/appliqued/quilted everything it owns! But at least it will have the best looking puke/wee/poo covered cloths for miles around!

...we found out who little G's teacher will be next year when he starts in reception class. He will be having the same teacher that his big brother had. I must remember to tell her that he is not at all like his shy, quiet older brother, otherwise I think she is in for a shock!

...Mr W has been working extremely hard and been very stressed with millions of work report deadlines. He is desperately trying to get everything done at work before baby arrives! I think he is starting to see a tiny glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel, so hopefully will be able to relax a little over the weekend.

...I am very much looking forward to afternoon tea at a posh spa hotel with my best friend on Sunday. A special birthday treat!

...I have been watching and reading about the D-Day landings. We really must NEVER forget...

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

A moment of mindfulness

After a wonderfully busy weekend of having 2 lots of friends come to stay (6 children aged 6 and under between us!), and all the catering, chatting & eating that that entails, I decided to take 5 minutes on my own in the garden while the boys watched some telly with Daddy before bed.

"Mindfulness" seems to be the current catch-word, and something that I am really not very good at. I have got into the bad habit of permanently multi-tasking, and very rarely do I take the time or even think about taking the time to just stop and be fully aware of what's going on around me.

So I sat down on a garden chair outside and spent 5 minutes focusing on each of my senses:

Sound: birds singing, a wood-pigeon cooing, distant sound of road traffic, the faint sound of an aeroplane

Smell: freshly mowed grass (Mr W did the lawns once our friends had left), faint smell of BBQ coming from a neighbour's garden

Taste: lingering taste of a piece of lemon drizzle cake, yum!

Touch: the smooth rattan of our garden furniture, cool spikeyness of the freshly cut grass under my bare feet, the undulations of the baby wriggling in my tummy ( no longer kicks and punches, more like a giant snake trying to get out!)

Sight: wispy white clouds against a blue sky, birds flying overhead, the trail left by the distant aeroplane, a little wagtail looking for bugs in the grass, total stillness with not even a leaf or a blade of grass moving

Five minutes of mindfulness...lovely. 

I really must think to do it more often.

A perfect end to a lovely weekend.