Friday 27 March 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

How are we all doing in these very strange times?
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may have
seen my lighthouse keepers post, my own little analogy. 
If not, here it is:

I woke up this morning and it struck me that we are all now lighthouse keepers. 
It takes a special person to be a lighthouse keeper and we 
now need to step up to that job. 
Isolation is hard but we need to be committed to the task, 
understand the importance and recognise the position as a service to mankind. 
Our dedication will accomplish the goal and save lives. 
Shine bright fellow lighthouse keepers 

I wrote this before the lockdown, it is even more pertinent now.
So, I'm imagining us all in our own lighthouses, finding ways
to get through this and if I can help in a tiny tiny way each week
with my chatty post then I am very happy to do so.
Pop the kettle on, I've got quite a bit of natter this week.

What to do with all this time at home?

Being told to stay home is very different to choosing to be at home.
I initially found this to be a mental obstacle but I think I've overcome this 
with the help of a routine and lists.
When I say routine, I'm not up at the crack of dawn and going for
a run as my one form of exercise, lord no! 
It's a flexible routine - keeping active in the mornings,
housework, bit of gardening, tackling a job from the list,
walking Bella and then later sitting down, crochet and telly.

Good time to mention crochet...
Very pleased to be pattern testing - woohoo! 
I'm surprised to be doing this as it is less than a year ago that 
I started crocheting but I have dedicated quite a bit of time to it!
A lady on Instagram Libbycraft was asking for testers, 
I applied and she said yes.
It is a nice easy pattern and here it, part way through and 
modelled by Bella, of course.

The List! 
I'm an avid list maker, I gain so much satisfaction from ticking 
off items so I have a daily list, a weekly list and a general 
household to-do list and a set of highlighter pens -

I take list making very seriously! 

The downside of a household to-do list is that  
we are all pretty useless at DIY! 
I love my boys dearly and if you want a computer built,
anything techy then no problem.  
If you want your larder door lock fixed this is the result...

The door does now shut, sort of! 

With all this extra time indoors the temptation to eat is pretty strong!
Are you dipping into the biscuits more often?
Our one form of exercise per day has involved walking Bella,
she's doing quite well out of this lockdown and is already
demanding walks with either me or the boys.

On those walks I've noticed how quiet it is apart from the occasional 
hum of lawn mowers and hedge trimmers.
Gardens are going to be beautiful this year.
There are no vapour trails in the azure blue sky.
People are keeping their distance, crossing  the street 
but calling out good morning.
In spite of what is happening it is actually really beautiful.
And then there's things like this too ...

Back at home (and resisting those biscuits) I am still working for my city job
on Thursdays and Fridays.  Our London office is closed and we all
have virtual offices, mine is in the corner of my bedroom.
My colleagues are Bella and the cats, totally useless at making tea.

Elliott is also able to work from home, his job is in IT software 
and he supports US callers so works from
2pm -10pm - from his bedroom.
Mitchell not quite so fortunate in that he works in retail at Bluewater,
so he is at home for the foreseeable future working through a list! 

This week's purchase to help smaller businesses is 
an Easter card from Top Its Cards on Etsy.
I've framed it because I like it so much.

Lisa is the artist and also the lady that designed this print 
based on Bella - blimey that dog gets exposure! 

This week's telly roundup:

Moving On available on BBCiPlayer
Created by Jimmy McGovern, each episode is a stand-alone story 
involving people facing life-changing circumstances.
I've watched every episode over the years and we are now on Season 11.
Thought provoking and look out for lots of famous faces.

Midsomer Murders available on ITV3
If this pandemic lasts a year I still don't think we would have
time to watch every episode! 
Whether you prefer John Nettles or Neil Dudgeon in the role
of DCI Barnaby there is something quite comforting about MM.
Perhaps it is the idyllic scenery and the overall politeness of the show.
There's even humour in the somewhat far fetched murders;
flattened by a wheel of cheese or thrown in an 
industrial washing machine, to cite a couple.
It is certainly a nice way to wile away a few hours.

So that sums up my first full lockdown week.
Before I go I must say a big thank you to those who donated through Ko-fi
It has enabled me to buy all the envelopes and paper bag 
packaging for the forthcoming charity kit which is going ahead 
and will be available on Sunday 5 April.

I have 5 kits left from last month in case you missed it/fancy making another,
please click here.

Take care friends - fellow lighthouse keepers,
keep washing those hands before you dive into the biscuits! 

Friday 20 March 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Welcome to a somewhat different Friday Chat Day,
this is a Virus Free Zone!
Nothing negative - all happy positive stuff here.
With the majority of us confined to home I'm sharing 
some ideas, recipes, photos and only nice news.

First off, I've been walking the plank! 
Mum and Dad have had new turf put down in their garden and this
has necessitated walking across planks to get to the cabin.
It is really quite funny how just a couple of inches off the ground
can make you wobble and that's before a glass of wine.
It is looking very lush and green.

April's kit is underway and I'm making some little changes,
I've got a small supply of cellophane bags left but once they're gone
I'm switching to paper bags, just doing our little bit for the environment.
Of course, not boring brown paper bags I've made sure they are nice.
I will also ensure they are sealed down so you do not lose any pieces of your kit.

Crochet - plenty of time has been dedicated to crocheting this week,
I even tackled some leftover yarn for the beginnings of a blanket.

What do you do when you have baskets full of yarn... you order more!

This is for a new project called Rainbow Pom Blanket designed 
by a lady I follow on Instagram, Little Gems Craft Shop.
The pattern is here.
It works by using multiple strands of yarn together so you
get that beautiful blended rainbow look.

Equally looking forward to making the pom poms.

Cupboards, larders - what do you have lurking at the back?
This is the time to make use of those items.
items you bought for a recipe and never got around to it or 
those items precariously close to their sell-by dates.

We tend to make a lot of meat free meals and we have also
become somewhat adaptable with our meals this week.
One turned out to be unexpectedly blooming delicious.
Adapted from a Hello Fresh recipe we call it -

Bean Stew with Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets

It is meat free, healthy, full of vitamins and fibre.

Adaptable ingredient list:

Cauliflower florets (frozen or fresh) works with broccoli too
Courgette or any other veg to use up
Breadcrumbs - bought or homemade
Tin of cannellini beans (or you can use baked beans or kidney beans)
Tin of chopped tomatoes 
Seasoning - you can use some chilli powder, Mexican seasoning - whatever you have
Salt and pepper
Cooking oil - just a splash 
Garlic - nice but not essential
Soured Cream - nice but not essential

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2.Cut the cauliflower florets (you just want the mini trees at the top). Pop into a bowl.

3. Season with salt and pepper. Pop a couple of dollops of mayo in and coat the florets.  Mix in breadcrumbs, I grated one slice of wholemeal bread. Transfer onto a lined baking tray, place in oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy.

4. Whilst the cauliflower is baking, drain the tinned beans. Take out a third and place in a smaller bowl, mash these down with a fork (to be used later for thickening). Cut courgette into chunks.

5. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add courgette, cook for 3 mins, add garlic, seasoning and tin of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and let it bubble away for 5 minutes. Add the crushed beans, simmer until thick. 

6. Spoon into dishes, arrange roasted cauliflower on top and add of a dollop of soured cream - if you have some.

Once you've had dinner how about settling down to watch some TV?
On my recommended list this week:

Belgravia - ITV
Downton Abbey it isn't and a bit of a slow burner initially
but loving those frocks.

How about revisiting Jonathan Creek?
All episodes are available on BBC iPlayer 
I had forgotten how much I love these.

Amazon Prime - Season 5 of Outlander is now available.
I'll just leave this picture here...!

Eagle eyed among you may have seen this little coffee cup 
symbol on my blog 

This is a donation button to assist with charity kit expenditure, 
not actually buying me a coffee.
It feels very uncomfortable asking for donations but upon a good friend's
advice I have opted to put this button on my blog.
With postage costs, PayPal fees and buying the various supplies it does
eat into the charity donation and I've found myself spending more each month.
I could increase the price of the kits but I am very conscious of keeping 
the kit price both manageable and attractive to everyone.
So, only if you feel happy to, please click on the Ko-fi button.

OK friends, think that may be enough natter for this week,
keep safe, keep well and please stop by next week.

Friday 13 March 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Happy Friday...Friday the 13th!

Well - what a week so far. 
I don't think anyone could miss the current virus news.
It is all feeling real and surreal in equal measures.

I've been wearing my sensible head, avoiding the scaremongering
although appreciating this is indeed something momentous
and indeed quite frightening.
I have not succumbed to panic buying and I'm really trying to
understand the people who are selfishly stockpiling.
I did crack a little on Wednesday whilst doing a normal food shop.
I emitted some swear words, bad ones! The reason being: no pasta! 
 We eat a lot of pasta, it's pretty much a staple in our home,
so we had a moan when there just wasn't one single bag to be had.
It's definitely not the end of the world, we will not starve,
I sensibly reassured myself but...
upon leaving the shop and witnessing someone heaving multiple
bags of it into their car, I was proper grumpy! 
Actually I needed to be restrained (sort of, I was told to 'behave Mother!')
"Don't mess with a menopausal woman"
was on the tip of my tongue! 


How is the virus impacting upon you?

Next week I am going to be trialing working from home.
My city job has put in place measures for this.  
For one day, instead of sitting on the coach for approximately 4 hours,
 I'll fall out of bed, switch on my computer and start work.
I confess I am really looking forward to it,
such a shame it has come about due to a pandemic.

Now onto nicer things.
The sun was shining gloriously this week and I popped out to my 
tiny garden and was thrilled to see new growth.
My Clematis is growing - the one that I butchered last year when I did away
with my wicker chair. 
(Little memory pic of the wicker chair before it fell to pieces).

The butchered Clematis is sprouting and I am hoping to train it
to grow over this iron bench.
Yes little fella you've got some growing to do!

A Peony bud.

And the results of Patio Magic - so much better,
no green algae in sight.
Although what is in sight is Bella - on the seat in the background.

As I've been out walking Bella this week I've noticed so many
magnolia trees, they are truly stunning as they come into bloom,
from deep purple to pale pink.
Anyone recommend having a magnolia tree?

Crochet update.
A bit of a fail this week.  I chose to use some leftover yarn
to create a striped baby blanket - still working on those
for the Warm Baby Project.
As I was about to start the border I thought I had an ingenious idea 
for dealing with the multiple ends of yarn.
Let's just say it didn't work and now I'm undoing it all! 
We learn by our mistakes - right!?

On a positive note, this could be my next project!
Only kidding - I really don't think Bella would approve of
her ears flattened.

And to finish, a few replies to your lovely comments last week - 

Kitty: great idea to substitute the sentiment in your charity kit, 
I love hearing how the kits have been adapted, 
no hard and fast rules, they are yours to do with as you wish.

Patricia: yes I have most definitely tried the pancake filling of 
fresh raspberries, crushed Crunchie Bars and chocolate sauce.  I recommend:
(a) eat it whilst warm - it melts the chocolate and 
(b) go heavy on the raspberries as the chocolate can be a little too much 
(notice I did not suggest reducing the chocolate!)

Michele: I cannot imagine how much pressure you are under right now working 
for the NHS, I salute you! 

Telly this week:

Loving ITV's The Trouble with Maggie Cole,
what stunning scenery.  All filmed around Devon and Cornwall.

On NOW TV/Sky One - I caught up with all episodes of Agatha Raisin,
based on the books by MC Beaton and situated in the Cotswolds.
Having read many of these stories I never envisaged Agatha looking like
Ashley Jensen but nonetheless enjoyable and perfect crochet viewing.

And that pretty much rounds up my week.

Keep well everyone, keep washing those hands
and wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Friday 6 March 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Welcome to another Friday Chat Day, a post of 
chatty randomness that hopefully is a tiny bit interesting too :) 

First - BIG thanks to all those who purchased this month's charity kit.
I love this die set and last year when Spellbinders released it as 
a kit I contacted the office and begged for it. 
(OK, begging might be an exaggeration but I was super keen!) 
I'm looking forward to using it as a Christmas card with little fir 
trees sticking out the boot - would we like that as a kit?
In case you missed it, there is still a few charity kits left,
please click here.
I deliberately made extra this month as I didn't want anyone missing out.

A lazy-ish week mainly because I can blame the weather and also
because this furry one went to the vets for her yearly vaccination and was 
tired and listless for a while.
This meant I HAD to sit down, let her hog my lap and do some crochet.

The result was two little rainbow baby blankets that are going off 
to a hospital for incubators.
If you would like to knit/crochet items please check out
Warm Baby Project on Facebook, they post frequent appeals.

Also I binged TV and got very excited to see my place of work pop up 
in the background of a few scenes in a Sky 1 series called
Temple featuring Mark Strong. 
That very modern blue building is the firm of lawyers I work for.
There was I shouting to show the boys but they ignored me so I sent them
a photo of the telly instead! 

And what else?
Oh yes - the 100 Day Project starts next month, on 7th April.
In case you haven't heard of this, it is a global free project.
The idea is simple: choose a project, do it every day for 100 days
and share your process on Instagram.
It is brilliant to follow - last year I discovered so many creative
people and the majority all working from their homes.

I chose crochet last year and well, I haven't stopped.
My challenge this year is what to choose. I've dabbled in quite a few 
new things  although this could be my impetus for 
knuckling down to writing.  It might ensure that I type so many words a day.
If you fancy taking part, to see more details please visit here.

I'm on alert at my city job regarding Covid-19 (who names these things?)
There is a possibility that they may be closing our office.
Already some city firms have closed and at Canary Wharf  - all rather scary.
Due to the fact that my home looks like a computer store 
(thanks to the boys) I'm fully set up to work from home,.
Also thanks to them, I have IT support on hand too! 

Until then I will continue to raise my eyebrows at the worldwide shortage
of hand sanitiser and hand wash - seriously, does this mean no-one 
was washing their hands before this scare? 

And finally I had a 'win' this week.
The very lovely Leah from Made by Leah ran a
competition on Instagram asking for pancake filling suggestions
and my suggestion won! 
I went for crushed Crunchie bars, chocolate sauce and fresh raspberries.
My prize was this adorable drawing 'Pancake Princess'.

Leah's drawings are very cute and I love so many of them.

And that wraps up my post this week.
I have very practical things planned for the weekend,
drilling holes in walls to make sure Elliott's new units do not fall over,
fitting a new dashcam in my car - thrilling eh! 

Until I'm back next Friday, 
have a great weekend and take care friends.

Sunday 1 March 2020

Charity Kit - March 2020

Hello friends

Happy Sunday. Happy 1st of March.
Happy Charity Kit Day!

Again, I've made some extra kits this month as truly
delighted how popular they are becoming.
(Please feel free to share details with everyone).

Each month a donation is made to a different charity,
and this month we are supporting The British Heart Foundation.
To keep track of charities there's the tab at the top of blog 
here with lots more kit info.

Without further ado here's this month's kit: 

A thank you car card!
It features dies from a Spellbinders Kit of the Month,
not readily available in the UK.

What's included in your kit:

Ivory card base with matching envelope
Black card mat
Patterned paper 
(please note pattern will be one of two designs - see below)
Die cuts - car, tyres, bumper, lights sentiment + backing, flowers and foliage
Full instructions

Also included:
this month's bonus gift box - Art Deco Lofty Pouch
in a vibrant green to match the card.

The kits are packed in a cello bag and in a 'do not bend' envelope so they
arrive in pristine condition.
To make up the kits you just need a basic craft kit, this month
just adhesives and scissors.
Everything else is pre-cut and included.

Please note: some tiny die cuts in this month's kit so be extra careful
when opening up your kit bags!

The kit cost is £6 and that includes postage and packing.

Payment is via the PayPal link below.
If you wish to purchase but would prefer not to use PayPal, 
please email me:  
I'm happy to help with alternative payment arrangements.

Here's the link and it is possible to purchase multiple kits,
there's an option for that too.

It remains for me to say lots of thanks for your support
and I hope you like this month's kit.

Take care friends, have a lovely Sunday.

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