Sunday 31 July 2016

The July Garden . . .

July begins to slip off the calendar into August today  . . . farmers anxiously look at their fields of ripening corn, weighing out their chances of a good harvest.  I hope that all is well.   The children are on school holidays now, so the prices of holidays and days out have increased,  and swathes of holiday makers are flocking to the seasides in hopes of sunny weather  . . .  nothing is more festive than a British seaside in the summertime . . .


The meadows and woodlands are embroidered at the edges with the lovely rosebay willowherb . . . hedgerows are garlanded with traveller's joy and the banks of the canal  are strewn with meadow-rue and loosestrife . . .  some say weeds, I say otherwise . . .

And the bees love them . . .


In the garden . . .  the first of the chrysanthemums are dancing with the last of the delphiniums in the crowded borders.  Lemon and cherry coloured wands of  gladiola thrust themselves up between tangled masses of gaillardias, coreopsis, gypsophilia, clarkia and yes  . . .  humble marigolds . . .


In the rose garden things begin to look a bit weary . . .  Madame Butterfly, Lady Forteviot and the Doctor are resting it seems, but Caroline Testout and Ophelia are still putting on a show amidst the last of the foxgloves . . .  whilst in the west wings of the stage the Poulson polyanthas are holding court with their gorgeous trusses of pink and crimson blooms  . . .

Every day now we will move towards the summer's end but there is always something new waiting around the corner . . .  some new loveliness to be discovered, some new joy to be experienced . . .

I love the summer garden . . .

We've pulled the drying peas from out of the tubs now and are babying the tomatoes and beans.   We are hoping to get at least several good feeds from them, and toying with the idea of a raised bed for next year.  Just a small one mind  . . . but we will see.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .


A picture one for today . . .

Spiritual Enlightenment 

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In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Grandmother's Oatmeal Cookies.  Milk and cookie cookies!

I hope you have a lovely Sabbath day filled with lots of love and summer joys.  Don't forget . . .

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 And I do too!

Saturday 30 July 2016

Saturday This and That . . .


This photograph makes me think of my middle son Douglas.  When he was a wee one, I used to wake him up each morning singing "Good Morning Starshine" to him.  I would go quietly into his room and the cat we had at the time would inevitably follow me and jump onto the bed where she would start treading and purring on his tummy.  He would wake up and I would ask him . . .  "Do you know what she is singing to you?"  He would say no  . . . and then I would start to sing the song to him.  I wonder if he remembers that?

I sure hope so.

What a bit of a crazy week this has been.  A mix of rain and sunshine . . .  cold one day and warm the next.  Its like Mother Nature can't make up her  mind whether it is summer or not.


I watched the saddest film earlier this week.  "Amy."  It was a biography of Amy Winehouse using actual footage from her life, childhood, career, etc. to tell the story.  A classic example of someone who is destroyed by fame and fortune, and I believe (after watching the film) a very unhealthy relationship with the men in her life.  (Her father and her husband Blake.)  She loved both of them dearly, but I think they were both users . . .  total parasites.  It was like watching a train wreck happening and being unable to stop it.   It was a great film, but utterly, utterly sad.

I would not trade even a portion of the life I have now for a life of fame and fortune.   What I have is much happier and more beautiful in comparison.  I believe you must sell a bit of your soul to the Devil, for it appears surely as if your life becomes hell on earth.


This is the first of two paintings I finished this week.  I had started this one last week.  Picking Blackberries.  They are ripening in the hedgerows now and it won't be long!

Reminds me of when my family and I were living in an old farmhouse near Meaford, Ontario.   The woodlands to the North West of the house down towards the bay were filled with wild blackberries.  I  picked tons and tons.   I made it into blackberry jelly as opposed to jam.  That way we didn't have the seeds to bother us.  It was some good.   I have happy memories of going berrying with my sister as well when we lived there.  We found an old abandoned orchard that was loaded with wild raspberries.  Good times!

I also finished this one this week . . .  "Back To School."   The summer holidays may have just begun for the children over here in the UK, but I know back in the US it won't be long now before the kiddies are heading back to school.  It won't be until September here, or in Canada.  She has her lunch pail, scribblers and an apple for the teacher, and the leaves are just beginning to turn . . . .  Loving the squirrel on top of the seasaw.

(If you click on the pictures, they will open up larger so you can see all the detail.)

I always looked so foward to the beginning of the school year when I was a child.  New shoes.  New books, pencils and crayons . . .  a new pencil box.

Does anything on earth smell as nice as a new box of crayons?


So much to look forward to at the beginning of the school year.  I remember being devastated one year when I went down to the school lunch room and discovered that someone had stomped my pretty new lunch box all into bits.  Sometimes kids are just so mean.


We finally bit the bullet and got rid of our Sky Television this week.  This change will save us £680 a year.  Its amazing when you think about it.   We did have to purchase a Free Sat Box, which we had been saving up for for months and months.  They don't come cheap, but we think it will be worth it in the long run.  That's a lotta lotta money saved.  Its been a bit of an adjustment to make, but we are catching the hang of it.  Change is never easy and it has been a bit of a learning curve for us, but I think we are finally coming to terms with a new remote and way of doing things.  In all honesty we only watched several channels regularly anyways.   I will miss the anytime viewing and Sky Atlantic . . .  but not £680 worth!  That's money that is better off in our savings account.

And I can still get Pioneer Woman.  Yes!

We are having the other set of Elders for a tea appointment tonight.  One of them is gluten intolerant, so I am going to be baking a gluten free cake today.


I have chosen this recipe for a  Flourless Almond, Vanilla and Coconut Cake.  I'll serve it with some tinned fruit as we are watching our pennies and I don't have enough ripe berries yet at the ready.  I was going to buy raspberries, but at £2.50 for a punnet . . .  I couldn't let myself do it.  We are just going to have Gluten Free Sausages (I buy Heck, they're great) and mashed potatoes, peas and carrots and I got a packet of gluten free gravy mix.  Nothing too exciting there, but its a meal!  I'll probably also make a coleslaw.   I was going to buy a gluten free loaf of bread, but again £2.50 for a loaf of bread.  I couldn't let myself do that either.

How do people who are wheat intolerant cope on a daily basis?  Everything is so, sooooo expensive!  I am so grateful that I wasn't diagnosed as a Coeliac!


If you are going to the seaside this summer you might want to collect some seashells!  Look at these fabulous ones decorated with a sharpie pen by Barbara Moloney Callen!  I would have never thought of doing something like that with a sea shell.   What a pretty effect!

And I just can't resist showing you this Doll in a Box, from Red Ted Art.  I know a little five year old girl who would love, LOVE this.  I think I may have found my next project.

Well, I think I will go root around the kitchen to find myself some breakfast now.  I forgot to do my overnight oats last night so they aren't waiting for me.  I think its a cornflakes and bananas morning.  ☺

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

Everyday brings a choice  . . . 
to practice stress or to practice peace.

Spiritual Enlightenment 

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Lemon and Blueberry Buckle.  Delicious!

Hope you have a wonderful Saturday!  May the sun shine and your day be filled with lots of love, luck and happiness!  Don't forget along the way that . . .

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And I do too!!

Friday 29 July 2016

My Friday Finds . . .

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A few of the things I discover each week which make me smile or inspire me.  I hope that you will be inspired also, to think, create, become a better you!

No source for this, but the photos are pretty self explanatory.  I have often admired the wreaths that I see which are like this, now I know how to make one for myself.  Who knew it was so easy?


Cute little walnut bears from Red Ted Art.  Love them!  They're so cute!


Dory & Nemo Hats to crochet.  These are so cute!  Found on mnopxs2.  Free pattern.   But if you go to Lavender Chair, there are links to ten different cutie pie hats to crochet.


How to make a Pinata Cake.  What a super idea!  Found on  In The Playroom. 


Make your own Dog Chew Toy.  The Crafty Blog Stalker.


This is good to know.  I think I knew  most of them anyways.  We love our furry family members and want to keep them safe always.  From  Proud Dog Mom.


10 easy steps to take towards Self Reliance.   From Atainable Sustainable.


Good to know  . . .

How to grow a beautiful Daisy Garden.  I love daisies.  From Over The Moon.


Six ways to attract birds and butterlies in to your garden.  From the people at Country Living.


From Decor Steals.   Now this is a fab idea. Using two hanging baskets to build a topiary.  Plant with Ivy.  This would work indoord as well. Although, my mom always said that ivy in a house was bad luck.


From Buzz Feed and Anna Altman.  The three minute Arm Workout.  I could really use this!   There are beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts.   I'm a beginner for sure.


Another kind of workout  . . . . time for a break . . .  now  breathe, one, two three

And back to our original programming . . .


I absolutely love, LOVE this idea.   From Shelterness, and there are a lot of other ideas there as well.


Morning check list to get your day off to a good start.  I'd only add one other thing.  Pray.

30 Day Minimalism Challenge.  From Into Mind.  (Its sad in a way that these sound like good things to do.  Just goes to show how much technology impinges on life.)

And I will end with a picture thought . . .


And those are my finds for this week.  I hope there was something here to inspire you!   A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today, an old family favourite.  Cheesy Fish Sticks and Rice.   Quick, easy, delicious and economical.  What more could you want for a Friday Fish dinner???

I hope you have a fabulous Friday!! Don't forget . . . 

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 And I do too!


Thursday 28 July 2016

A few of my favourite things . . .


These are a few of my favourite things  . . .


The smell of an apple orchard in the autumn.  Crisp, fresh and all fruity . . .there's a special something in the air.  When we lived in Kent, we were surrounded by orchards and long about mid August the air was filled with the chatter of the apple pickers all day long as they went about their work . . .


One of my favourite things about continental Europe, and France in particular are the beautiful outdoor markets.  They are alive with colour, smell and sound.  I remember one we went to there was a woman with an accordian and birds in cages playing music and the birds were singing.  Quaint.  Mysterious.  Something which I had never seen before and will never see again.

The smell of the house when you've spent all day making pickles . . .  vinegar and spices.  I used to make tons of pickles and jams each year when the children were growing up.  Green tomato chow, sweet pickles, dill pickles, bread and butters, pickled beets, mustard pickle, relish, fruit pickle  . . . I enjoyed making all of them . . .  and eating all of them as well!


Solitary walks in the countryside in the heat of a summer's day.  The ground hard and packed beneath your feet . . .  the air hot and filled with the sound of summer insects about their business  . . .

Bathing birds  . . .  they fascinate me and bring a smile to my face.   Their joy is so very tangible.   I watched a blackbird out here one day enjoying our makeshift birdbath and it was having such a wonderful time . . . I was mesmerised.  I hated to see it end.


Driving through green  sun-dappled tunnels . . . the windows of the car open . . . veins filled with a sense of adventure and anticipation . . .

Potting sheds  . . .  they smell like earth and clay, subtle mysteries  . . . old tools . . .


The lowing of cows . . . when I first moved over here our little maisonette was backed by farmer's fields filled with cows.  Occasionally they would get out and be wandering in the back lane just outside our back gate . . .

Sheep . . . they make me think of holidays in the sun and English countryside.  That is one thing I fell in love with when I first moved over here  . . .  all of the sheep dotting the hillsides, like balls of cotton wool.

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This is an actual picture I took at someplace we were visiting on one of our Lake District holidays . . . sheep are everywhere.  It is a real treat to fall asleep at night listening to their Baaa-ing . . . .  and then to wake up to it in the morning.


Hugs  . . .  one size fits all . . .

Getting letters in the post  . . .  especially pretty ones.

I love stationary, don't you?

And that's my favourite things for this week.  I could do this forever.   I have so many things I love and appreciate.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

"“Lord, Is It I?” I wonder what each of us would do if we were asked that question by the Savior. Would we look at those around us and say in our hearts, “He’s probably talking about Brother Johnson. I’ve always wondered about him,” or “I’m glad Brother Brown is here. He really needs to hear this message”? Or would we, like those disciples of old, look inward and ask that penetrating question: “Is it I?” In these simple words, “Lord, is it I?” lies the beginning of wisdom and the pathway to personal conversion and lasting change." ~Dieter F Uchtdorf

One of my favourite talks.

Spiritual Enlightenment 

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In The English Kitchen today  . . .  The Ultimate Chicken Caesar Salad.  Low fat and delicious.

I hope that you have a wonderful Thursday!  Be happy and be blessed! Don't forget . . .

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And I do too!!