Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Thanks for the Thanks

It's always nice to hear the thud of post through the letterbox isn't it, but all too often you get there and there is a bill from your phone provider, a circular extolling the virtues of a Stannah stair lift, regardless of the fact you may live in a bungalow, and then there's that regular envelope telling you that 'congratulations you have been accepted for the latest 'credit repair' credit card'.  HUH!!
But every now and then something wonderful arrives, as you approach the doormat a jewel coloured envelope peers up at you.  Oooh you think ... "it's not my birthday, what's this?"
In my case in the space of a few days I received two such joyously inviting envelopes, ripping into them they were both saying "thank you".  One from Kay who won the giveaway on the Blog the other week and one from a friend of my Mum who was on a day trip with Mum and a coach load of their club members to Llandudno a few weeks ago.  I drove in to meet them and we had lunch together and as Mum wanted to plant some new plants on Dad's Bed, Barbara came home with us.
They're still on the mantlepiece bringing a little bit of happiness into my days every time I pass them.
And so a little Challenge for you all ..... who can you send something to, who's day do you want to brighten up a little.  It could be a card, a tiny gift, a poem typed out on your computer and printed off, a book you've read and loved and want to pass it on to a person you know will enjoy it as much as you.  Popped in an envelope and addressed by hand and for the price of a stamp and a short walk to the post box or even drop it into the post box next time you're at the supermarket (they nearly all have post boxes now).
  And stamps aren't that expensive .... 62p for a letter and 93p for a 'large letter' (if you pop anything in your envelope it's best to put a large letter stamp on it).  I think that is such good value, after all if I gave you 62p and said "please take this to Scotland for me" would you ;-)
A smile on a loved ones face is always worth the price of a stamp.
Go on surprise someone :-)
And finally, Kay and Barbara if you're reading this .... Thanks for the Thanks.
Sue xx

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

And we just wore our own clothes .....

I was away over the weekend, I travelled down to stay in Lovely Hubby's digs in Berkshire with him so that we could go to the CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace on the Saturday.  As we are members we get a free ticket every year, it also means we get to go into the members enclosure as often as we want during the day, which this year we had our breakfast in.
It is such a huge show that you really do need a full day to make the most of it so to avoid the traffic chaos we set off at 6.45am and were sat enjoying a cooked breakfast by 8.30am.  Not a bad start to the day.

 We had learnt a lot from our previous visits here and had bought a Priority parking ticket which meant our car was just a quick walk from the showground, meaning we could walk back to it a couple of times for cold drinks and to deposit our coats when the sun came out. We took tasty salads, crisps and nibbles washed down with chilled wine.  We even took ice cubes in a flask and our wine glasses to give ourselves a real treat.
Our first ever visit was totally different. 
We got there in the crush of people, parked in the free car park which meant a long walk to the entrance and no means to be able to get back to the car until the end of the day.  Before we left home we had breakfasted on a quickly grabbed slice of toast, were hungry by late morning, paid through the nose for a lunch that left us hungry again by mid afternoon, got tempted by Pimms which set us back just under £30 for two glasses.  So we spent lots of money and came away with nothing.
Picture from Google Images
We did a lot of people watching over a long and leisurely lunch, which we had taken ourselves in our picnic basket and cool bags.  We sat on a rug alongside the car watching folk doing the same or some just arriving.  So many people had obviously bought themselves brand new 'country clothes' to wear so they would look the part.  Head to toe in classic country garb, brand new shiny leather boots, waxed jackets so glossy and sheeny you could tell they had never been called upon to defend the wearer from rain.  You can recognise the real country folk, they are the ones in threadbare check shirts, old flat caps and well worn wellies.  This year there were also lots of 'festival attire', short shorts, flashy floral wellies, long flowing hair, and even longer tanned legs ..... no wonder LH managed to stay awake through lunch :-)
This time instead of spending money on overpriced food we spent a little on a couple of treats for ourselves.  We bought this lovely 1930's sketch of a Pug with a real look of Suky about it. 

And also a cheese making kit, it's about time I tried my hand at this.  So I guess overall we spent about the same amount of money but came away with long lasting gifts and tummies full of good food.
It was a brilliant day, long and tiring, but the weather although extremely hot was mostly dry and kind to us,  and we just wore our own clothes ..... oh and yes, Lovely Hubby wore his battered old flat cap  ;-)
Sue xx

Monday, 21 July 2014

A Sucker for Stationery

How cute is this !!
I'm a really sucker for nice stationery, especially notebooks and this little one jumped out at me and begged me to buy it.  (It's available in National Trust shops if you fancy one for yourself.)
I end up with lots of lovely notebooks, but I use them and that's the difference in my opinion between wasting money on knick knacks and spending wisely.  If you can find a souvenir on a day out that will make you smile every time you use it for months to come after it's purchase then it's worth every penny.  The fact that this little chicken also reminds me of Molly, one of our very first rescue birds and my all time favourite chicken is just a very special bonus.

And this little beauty lives in my handbag ready to jot down notes for things I want to Blog about and for jotting down a quick shopping list when the one I made before my journey out is suddenly remembered to still be sitting on the kitchen worktop. 
Three pounds very well spent in my opinion  :-)
Sue xx

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Front Bed

 I did a post the other day about the edibles that I've managed to grow near the house this year, so I thought for posterity I would just show the front flowerbed and how that's coming on.
It seems to have been planned out with a very pink and purple colour scheme and most of the plants that are still coming through are following this trend.  Quite coincidentally the things I've added, apart from the daisies, have all followed this pattern.
I love lavenders and am slowly building up my collection again after leaving ALL my plants behind at our rented place, we simply couldn't fit everything in the truck or trailers in our many journeys to Wales.  I just buy the odd one when I spy a good variety at the garden centre.  I will always, always, always make room for a Lavender or Rosemary plant :-)
There's a lot of the plants that I don't know the name of .... and do you know, that doesn't bother me in the slightest.  If it looks pretty, is useful for the bees and more or less looks after itself it's very welcome in my garden whatever it's called.

Of course lurking further along the bed is the bit we never got round to weeding and mulching, as it is currently awash with a giant lavender plant that the bees love I am not disturbing it at the moment .... well that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Sue xx

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Aga Toaster

I was asked for an explanation of the Aga toaster in an email and so here it is :-)
It's so simple, you just place your bread, buns, teacakes, bagels or whatever you want toasting between the two halves of the toaster, close them together and place directly onto the Aga hotplate.

Put the lid down and stay close by, the intense heats makes toast from frozen in just a couple of minutes.  When you can smell the toast cooking nicely open the lid and turn the 'bat' over and toast the other side, remembering that this second side will toast so much faster as it is already warm from the lid of the hotplate.
 We always toast straight from the freezer as that way we never have bread in the breadbin that might go stale.  We only get out exactly what we need, and when the bread (or whatever) is frozen there is no sticking of crumbs to the toaster and it wipes down so simply, but be very careful as it is obviously VERY hot.

I usually stand the toast in a toast rack for a minute, literally 60 seconds as I was advised to by Delia Smith (on tele .... not in person) many years ago, just to allow the steam to disperse and the toast to crisp up, and then butter for the most perfect toast you will ever have tasted.
Or in Lovely Hubby's case add a layer of Damson Gin Jam to complete a simply delicious breakfast or snack.
Sue xx