Welcome to Homemaking Heaven: Make it Home. Pull up a seat and pour yourself a cuppa!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Easter Time

Are you getting your homes beautifully ready for Easter? I am!! Well, this weekend we’re really getting into it as we’re hoping that some lovely friends will be able to pop in by, if they can’t manage then we’ll have a very colourful house anyway.

I'm going to be piling up some pretty painted eggs in bowls with some lemons and limes, this will be going on in the kitchen as I’ve always got masses of lemons in there anyway as they’re so good for everything. In the living room its going to be much paler and softer. I love my pastel colours and the white walls throughout the house can obviously carry off any ‘look’.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

What does one do when husband dearest is out of town?

Go shopping of course! I mean what does one do when he is in town anyway?!! The amount of ‘new’ books in the house is alarming, and I know that I have to start re-arranging the shelves again to fit everything in. While in the local library I saw a stall with some donated books for sale on it, all of the proceeds were going to organise children’s activities in the school holidays, so naturally I assumed everyone was a winner and strolled on over! What did I spy? Twilight Series..YAY! Now you can’t even say I'm only having something to do with it because of Edward Cullen, as it’s a book, so I can claim the high road…well, for now anyway. It’s a bit Mills and Boon-and I love it! So for the grand sum of £1.20 I got four paperbacks which look like they’ve only been read through once if that.

Then a little wander later I come across some more cute Winnie the Pooh books. It’s a little set of four as well, in a little hard cardboard case with four Pooh stories in it. I love some of the poems in them, E. H. Shepherd is an amazingly skilled and I fall in love with each and every one of the pictures again and again. I think people that can draw for children must be so, so on the ball to capture those little minds and keep them dreaming. Those drawings stay with you forever and ever, and when you are small they mark a time in your life as much as the books do. I have about five meters of children’s books and no children as yet, but as soon as we are blessed I hope that I can instill a massive sense of value in books for them. Its quite funny thinking about how much children’s books there are, as yes there is about five meters, and the cost…um, less than ten pounds!! So although I do miss TH, I defiantly think that I can get off with an awful lot more naughty spending when I don’t have to hide things when I walk through the door!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Egg carton seedlings

Ok, who did this in school?  Hands up now!  With all of the eggs we’ve been going through making cakes and Easter related decorations we’ve got bundles of egg cartons about.  So I’ve been gathering them all up and planting seeds in them, just like when I was at school!  How sweet-it brings back an awful lot of memories of trudging to school through April showers.  So hopefully I’ll have lots of beautiful seedlings, and look Mum, I did listen in class!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Sun-shiney HELLO!

It is spring, well and truly gloriously beautiful spring!  Problems with my laptop mean that I'm not taking part in a meeting and I'm probably going to be heading out shortly to plant some more seeds.  I'm exhausted already from going out with the dog for an exceptionally long walk-hey don’t say anything, two hours is a long walk for Daisy Dog and I.  So this is a very impromptu ‘hello out there in blogland’, I hope that you are having as lovely (but most probably better) weather as we are here.  It’s not often that we can boast about that in the North East!  We're being warned that it will turn slowly, and we've even been told that SNOW may come our way!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Lambies in the field.

Nothing can bring you more pleasure than peeking over a fence into a farmer’s field and spotting some jigging, leaping, frolicking lambies!!  They are utterly adorable and can instantly cheer you up.  The way they spring about, the way they trot after Mummy Sheep, the races they partake in until they notice Mums at the other end of the park!  I love them, The Husband and I have been heading for and from work for the past couple of weeks shouting out and pointing whenever we see a field of those marshmallow innocents. 

Driftwood goodness

I've recently taken to collecting the bits of wood i see down at the beach when walking Daisy Dog.

Walking slowly down on the sand while the dog jumps back and forth, running at and from the crashing waves.  I spot something in the distance that i can instantly imagine playing a role in the garden.  Something to sit on, something for flowers to cling to, something for a pot of herbs to rest on.

Liberating peices that have collected on the sand.

Some are parts of fences or bits that have already been used in a bonfire.

Some are beautiful and will be kept for something...we dont know yet, but they will make a display of some sort.

Soft and tactile.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

No more sandy shoes!

Oooh ive just been having a look at the wonderful Martha Stewart website (she was on an Oprah repeat and i couldnt help myself) and i saw the most fabulous ideas for outliving.  Living by the sea means that we go down to the beach every day, and so every day sand gets pulled back into the house and kicked all over the place.  The website states that you should set up a 'rinsing station' at your front door.  All you need is a teak bath mat which provides slip-free footing and good drainage. The steady stream from an ordinary watering can cleans every unwanted speck from your feet and flip-flops or waterproof garden shoes.

I'm off to get some supplies that will make this Summer much easier!...if summer comes after this misty Spring time!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Do you know those weeks..days...months?

Do you know those days, weeks or months where you literally do not even get one moment to yourself?  You can't even say that you've been wasting time online or watching TV, you go from chore to work to chore and back again.  Its been a little bit like that recently.  Utterly tiring, emotionally-from work getting more and more awful by the minute, my Mother leaving the country and my friend recovering in hospital.  Utterly tiring, physically-travel, work, tidy, clean, dust, tidy,work, make food, do chores...and try to squeeze in lots of time to visit my Mother and friend.  Ive also had lots of forms to fill in recently, and I'm not just talking about the census. 
 My lists of to-do's have been growing, and it can easily get on top of everything...like those teetering piles of laundry, there will come a point when it all crashes down.  Then it changed....not really properly changed, but i felt better, and that's how it changed.  A glittering good fairy did not do the laundry or cook any meals for me, but it was a lovely thing none the less.
The other day I'd got up at 5, went to work, got on bus, picked up things for friend in hospital and had went to do an exam for work.  From there I'd walked down to the hospital, but because of a mix up i couldn't stay the full length of time as they're very strict about how many people are at each bedside (i know it doesn't sound like I'm going to tell you something very stress busting but i am, hold on in there).  Id had time to spare and was on the outskirts of town-the pretty side of the outskirts where all the houses have giant bay windows blossom trees sprinkling confetti down on there lawns-and i was allowed to walk around.  All of a sudden i had three hours which were my own.  I could go into town, i could browse, walk through the park, do anything i pleased and it was amazing.
I decided i wanted to go to the University so made my way there, however i passed one of my favourite haunts....a second hand bookshop and knew i had to go in!  I picked up a couple of lovely books-which i will show off later, but i spent a good hour in there.  When it come to paying i was even invited to share a cuppa with the lovely assistant as she wanted to ask questions about one of my favourite subjects and something i picked up a book on.  From there i walked down the beautiful cobbles and sat on the grass right next to where The Husband and i got married and read one of my new books until The Husband came to pick me up.  It was so good to re-charge the batteries, it was so good to have a much needed moment to myself where i was forced to be out and about.  I think that if i had 'found' that moment when at home i would have watched TV or done something which really wouldn't have re-charged the batteries at all.

We were in such a good mood that we decided to head out for tea and although it seemed far from it in the begining, it was such a perfect day.  Theres a whole bunch of rubbish out there that you can easily get caught up in, but we had such a good day that its important to remember that you make your own family and ties that are important to you and wrap yourself in that.  As for all that bad-vibes and downright nasty-ness at work i think its on the way to being sorted as i just called in the 'big-guns'.  I do not get paid nearly enough to deal with bitter people-not the patrons, i love the patrons-so i've passed it up the ladder and i honeslty think it'll get sorted!

I hope you're all re-charging your batteries and making sure you've got plenty of YOU time!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Would you like to be my grown up?

Stress-it can rule some people’s lives, different people find different things stressful, but it can ruin everything if you let it take over. I AM STRESSED. Right now I’m having an awful horrible time at work, and it’s very hard to leave it at the end of the day. I wish that if there were to be job related stress it was in my other ‘just doing it to make the pennies’ job, but its not, its in the job I had hoped to spend the rest of my life in…the worst part of it all is that it’s a person that’s making me feel like this.
I am currently willing to try anything I can to feel better, so I will be all ears if anybody has ideas.
At the moment I'm doing the whole ‘think of something nice as soon as a bad thought pops in my head’, but I'm taking a whole lot of deep breathes over here! It’s really making me weigh out what I want from work and what I want in my life. I think the scales are overloaded at one end of the scale, and I know to change that I need to make some very grown up decisions. I need to be brave and I need to do what’s best for the family that The Husband and I have created with each other. It’s a very scary time right now, as I’ve always been a bit lucky and floated into a lot of nice options.

Who wants to be a grown up for me? Please?...um, hello out there!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

I love...

I have fallen in love, no really....actual love! 

The Husband loves it too....we want it.....we need it......we love it!
(Dear Summerhouse fairy,
Ive not always been super well behaved, but i promise i can be, and will be from this....no, wait, this moment on if you let me buy this one teeny tiny little thing.
lots of love,
Daisy's family!x)

Thursday, 7 April 2011

A wee bit of Doric

Mochy, dreich, and theres a harr coming in…..why’s my spell checker went into meltdown?  
Ok, those are very Scottish words, and for anyone that doesn’t know it pretty much means its misty, wet and drizzly and living near the sea means you’ve got about 10% visibility right now!  The whole place smells very briny and it’s a bit eerie.  It’s all a bit spooky if you think about how close we’re to Dracula’s Castle!!  
I hope that its much better for you, as I really don’t think its acting like Spring around here.  I had been hoping to get out with some bulbs I bought earlier this week, as like I’ve said before, I regret not doing more in Autumn, and I don’t want to feel like that in (what I hope will be a beautifully sun-shiny) Summer.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

I need a bit of this right now!

"Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.”

Winne the Pooh

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all those lovely ladies who have spent many a sleepless night worrying about their little ones.  The Mothers who have cooked, cleaned and done all of the other 'stuff' that must come with being a Mummy.
You area  wonderful bunch who do a darn hard job!
My own sweet Mum has left the country this morning and has jetted of to an island of sun for a year.  She has spoken about it for ages, and did it once before an awful long time ago.  She is quite ill, and the heat and lifestyle suits the best conditions for living with an illness like hers.
I will miss my Mum an awful lot, but i am so proud of her for taking such a giant leap and being so brave.  It is difficult emotionally and physically for her to do this, i hope that she feels an awful big shift in priorities once out there, and that not much of her time-any in fact-is taken up with accommodating the way she has to feel in this country with that particular dark cloud looming over her.
I love you Mum, you've taught me many things from the sublime-'accept it, or change it', to the ridiculous-'shoes are there to be bought'.  You've been brave so i don't have to be, and sheltered me from storms-metaphorically and literally.  I remember you attending plays and dance recitals, helping with homework, helping me cope with essays, and giving me a hug whenever it all became too much.
Mummy-you've made me who i am today and helped me like that person too.
I love you, have an amazing adventure and come back happier.
Your Daughter.

Welcome to April

Hello Spring time, you are well and truly here aren’t you? I do love the smell of Spring, it’s the start of grass cutting season, but there is another scent, one I can’t quite put my finger on that signals excitement. The Husband and I did a well and truly Spring into Summer exercise the other evening when we had a BBQ in some uncharacteristically mild weather. We spoilt ourselves rotten as we had the fire pit roaring and shooting bright flames and heavenly scents into the clear night sky where we watched little satellites orbit and twinkley stars sparkle. However, that was in March, which is over…caput and not coming back for another twelve months, so get you’re glad rags on, socks pulled up or whatever other saying you want because we need to make this April happen, and one way I want to do that is by planting!!
I will be perpetually out in the garden (I forced myself out in March even though it got cold and misty because I regretted my Autumnal planting regime as soon as I saw a sad display of daffs which I know I could have worked harder on). Some teeny tiny seedlings have already poked their two prong faces up into the sunlight, attempting to gather as much of it as they can-a bit like us here in the North East really! But there is more…there’s always more!
One thing I will be doing in getting the last of the ‘hardy annuals’ in the ground before the middle of April as that means I can then let nature take over and I can go off and prettify everything in sight. We moved here in July and I hardly got to do a thing to the garden last year, so this year I will be outside all of the time. There’s been quite a bit of sweet pea seedlings planted about the roses so they don’t need a net or wigwam, and I’ve fallen in love with corn flowers as I really love the country garden look. I want my garden to make no sense at all, I want lots of height from things like fox gloves, but I want a real mix. I know its not as easy and as haphazard as it looks, I’ve probably got too many tall things at the front and too many teeny things at the back, but some of the plants will die off (hopefully after self seeding a bit) and I can start again next year.
Living near the sea here means that we can eat an awful lot of fresh fish, so I know that trout’s in season-and can probably be bought cheaply. Not attractive or over exciting, but it CAN be if you don’t shirk away from eating healthily and (admittedly for us) very cheaply. Try this idea out from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
April can be glamorous too you know?!! Its not all garden work and wet fish! Its also a time to get on top of that winter wardrobe and collection of coats at the front door you probably haven’t used in a while. Take control and advantage of offers in dry cleaning establishments by sending what needs to off to dry cleaners (admittedly in general quite bad for the environment-but you have to measure it up for yourselves). I like to bag items up in those bags you buy off the TV, and put off into the spare room so that the Spring things can come out and have space in the wardrobe-which means I don’t have to iron things I’ve already done! This keeps an eye on the purse too as I don’t have to think I should go around buying things for ‘events’-seeing as I don’t go to Ascot family BBQ’s will do-and that money can go towards much more enjoyable things like shopping the way I want to….for books and china in charity shops!!
One last things that the Spring sunlight shows up is all of the harsh winds I faced a few months previous. I used to be awful with the amount of products, creams, solutions and lotions I bought when I was a bit more carefree and younger. But now seeing as I have to pay bills I cant just buy whatever the nice perfume lady sprays at me, and I cant fall for whatever lotion is rubbed soothingly on the back of my hand. So I got to a point a couple of years ago where I used up everything I had and started anew-which I'm sure would actually have been quite a good thing from the point of view that I don’t have the same skin type as I did when I coveted these potions. So now, seeing as its Spring, and seeing as I haven’t bought any magic creams in a while, I treat myself to a new more Spring like regime! I want to share a couple of things I’ve read about as I was loaned a wonderful home made remedies style book which has beauty tips in it too.
So, that, for me, is the start of Spring. Welcome to April, have fun, do your own thing and make it exactly what YOU want it to be!

Simnel Cake

Simnel cake is a light fruit cake, similar to a Christmas cake, covered in marzipan, then toasted, and eaten during the Easter period. On the top of the cake, around the edge, are eleven marzipan balls.  Simnel cakes have been known since medieval times, and were originally a Mothering Sunday tradition, when young girls in service would make one to be taken home to their mothers on their day off.
They are also a fabulous way to show off even very moderate baking skills!!
I'm using Delia's recipe which can be found here, but this is Nigellas.  I can't wait to decorate it with bright yellow ribbon, and probably a couple of little chicks in amongst those 11 balls.  I'm hoping to create a whole table full of the kind of delights found on this table (the picture is taken from google) Doesn't it just look so delightful and bright?  Doesn't it welcome you?  I want this, i need this, i need a giant welcoming table thats full of bright yellow and pastel pinks, blues and greens.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Wonderful Weekend Book

The Wonderful Weekend Book by Elspeth Thompson is my new very, very favourite book.  I spoke about it a wee while ago here and haven't got bored of it yet.  One of the first things i do when i fall in love with a book is find out about the author, so, if you are like me have a look at her website here.  Sadly Elspeth died last year, but there are so many of her lovely pieces still floating all over the internet.  She wrote for a couple of different papers and i found some of her things there, but i still haven't got through all of the nice things on her own blogs and website, and they really are wonderful to read.  I was trying to copy the picture of Elspeth Thomson from her website, but have unfortunately only been able to copy her whole header-but have a look at the wonderful and inspirational website!
Now on to The Wonderful Weekend Book in which she talks about reclaiming lifes simple pleasures.  Every page is full of amazing ideas of free...or very close to it, activities which can cheer up one of those weekends where you know you should be doing something or other, but you just don't know what.  This appeals to me no end!  I dont DIY, i dont do things in the weekend which many people do, i dont go to the gym and i dont trawl around town looking at the same old shops (only one of the reasons i adore chairity shops), but i do want to 'do' something.  This book is the antidote!
A small part of the blurb states that the book "is about reclaiming the weekend to re-charge our batteries and relationships through enjoying the simple pleasures in life. A book packed with ideas to help restore the balance in our lives and reconnect us to the seasons."  Yes...thats it, thats exactly it.  This book has given The Husband and i many ideas, and it makes us very excited.  And thats what good books are.
Its full of ideas like gardening, open-air swimming, letter-writing, cooking with foraged food and celebrating the seasons, much more fun than the books claim that an average of six hours of each weekend day is taken up by food shopping, house and garden maintenance and other mundane tasks.
Please get a hold of this book, whether its through amazon or your local library (if its not on the catalogue you can probably talk to library staff and put in a request to buy form), so please get a hold of this book!

Friday, 1 April 2011

April Fools Day!!

I hope you're not taken in by any April Fools Day jokes today!!  I love it when the local paper runs stories, i remember when our local one said that horse and carts were going to be re-introduced into the streets of the oil capital of Europe.  I remember getting very cross about it (hey-come on, i was very little at the time) and my Grandmother and Mother let me feel this way for ages!! It was only when i mentioned it to someone else when i went round to their house for tea that their Mum told me the truth!
So be very, very vigilant!!