Spring in the air

Well ok, it’s raining right now as I type, but wasn’t yesterday just blissfully sunny?! I just adore this time of year….the post Christmas blues and cold weather seem to ebb away as soon as the snow drops appear and little splashes of colour brighten up the garden. I love the thought that warmer and sunnier times are not far away, long dog walks beckon, and for this year of course spring time means our wedding too!

I had a little wander down the garden yesterday, and was delighted to find the lawn is filled with pretty pastel prims, glowing purple crocuses and dainty little snow drops already. The flower beds and pots are also coming to life with darling little tete-tete daffodils starting to bloom and even the tulips are starting to out on a show.

And so to brighten up a rainy grey day, I thought I’d share a few snaps from my wanderings……hope they bring you some Spring time love……

20140223-132112.jpg

20140223-132124.jpg

20140223-132131.jpg

20140223-132138.jpg

20140223-132201.jpg

20140223-132215.jpg

20140223-132153.jpg

20140223-132222.jpg

Ems x

About these ads

Something from the weekend: Treasure hunting, archery and more gardening

I do love it when the weekend starts early, and it certainly did this week! My dear friend Vixie came to visit Hitchin on Friday and we happily spent the entire day moseying around together! We hit the Antiques and Collectables market hard…spending hours there in fact! Then it was to the local vintage shops and charity shops until we were all shopped out! We both came away with lots of fabulous treasures and it was so lovely to catch up with her.

On Saturday morning we took a drive out to Chick Sands for a lovely long morning walk with the hounds….it was a beautifully crisp and bright morning and I do love exploring that place! Once home we scoffed belgian waffles for breakfast and then I spent some time in the garden, readying it for winter!

In the afternoon we set off to nearby Knebworth where we were having the first archery lesson of our beginners course! The course was a gift for Adam’s birthday and lasts four days. It’s with a great local club called the Green Dragon Bowmen (how cool is THAT?!) and they shoot right out front of the stunning Knebworth House. We started with a warm up and then the very basic techniques, just shooting at paper plates to begin with! After tea and biscuits we carried on freestyle shooting, with some great teachers who are members of the club. We had an amazing time and soon saw some progress….as well getting rather achey to boot!

We spent the evening relaxing in front of the telly, watching Buffy after a naughty dinner of pizza….a much needed rest after the day’s adventures!

Sunday morning saw another lovely walk over at Radwell, then it was back home to do some housey things before heading back to Knebworth for our second class. We progressed to proper targets this time, and further away too….my first few arrows didn’t even make it far enough, let alone hit a good place on the target! Still, with more help from our great teachers, we carried on progressing, and by the end of the day Adam was looking like a proper archer and getting some really impressive shots!

It had rained on us during our lessons so we were keen to warm up back at home with a cup of tea before heading back out again to walk the dogs. Adam’s Mum had been gardening for us whilst hound sitting so it was great to see what she’d been up to too! We now have a large new flower bed to play with, and soon will be able to grow veggies there!

Our afternoon walk saw lots of pretty rainbows and great skies, then it was back home to indulge in a take away curry as we were too shattered to cook! It was more vegging out after that, then very soon to sleep after a super tiring weekend!

Ems x

Something from the weekend….Foraging, gardening, making and treasure hunting

I had such a lovely weekend! The weather really does help of course, and all the sunshine hours make such a difference!

I spent a lot of the weekend gardening….the front garden has been transformed after many hours of hard work and is benefitting from having been totally dug over and filled with plants! I can’t wait to see it all bloom, although I guess I have to wait til Spring for that. Still, it looks better already and has tidied up the front of the house no end.

We did some great foraging too…..we picked loads of blackberries and elderberries from the local common, as well as some sweet pea pods and honeysuckle berries I’ll be planting for next year. We also raided the back garden, and came back indoors with stacks of apples, more blackberries and greengages too. There is a medlar tree that is also looking rather full, but I think we have to leave those a little longer before harvesting them.

We spent an absolute age rinsing the elderberries, plucking them off their stalks, rinsing them again and then bottling them….I hope it’s going to be worth it! We made one bottle of elderberry schnapps and one bottle of spiced elderberry liqueur….can’t wait to try them! I made jam from the greengages, and it was probably my most successful yet….it tastes yummy and is the perfect consistency so I’ll have to share some tips soon!

As is traditional, we also visited the antiques market on Friday and the car boot sale on Sunday….I picked up some great treasures to use at the wedding and the place was really buzzing in the fine weather. It was also the crafts and  farmers market on Saturday, and we dawdled around there awhile, spotting some great new stalls too.

Other than that, it was a weekend of domesticity, relaxing, cooking endless amounts of marrow, walking the dogs and watching more Buffy. Bliss!

Here are a few photos from the weekend…..

Ems x

Something from the weekend….a picture-worthy few days

I’m always snapping away on my phone, truth be told, but this weekend seemed to give me more in the way of picture opportunities than usual. It was indeed a lovely weekend, filled with fun but relaxation too. Anyway, I thought I’d share my instagram feed by way of summing it up…..

Friday night started the weekend with cocktails, as it always should…..

…..we played Guess Who…..

……and then Adam beat me at Triv!

Saturday began with a lovely long dog walk……

…..we headed to Barton Springs for a nice change…..

…..and the sun shone for us rather splendidly!

We found a darling little tea room and gallery for lunch…..

….where they serve an epic Hot Chocolate…..

….and yummy tea on quaint mis-matched china…..

…..as well as lush lunches like the stuffed mushroom on toast that I went for!

Once home we set about hanging our new treasure, the huge antique map of London that looks rather marvellous on our lounge wall…..

….and after that it was an afternoon of snoozing as it all got too much for my boys!

Another lovely walk on Sunday morning, this time at the stunning Chick Sands woods….

….I love all the little dens people have built there!

After a yummy breakfast of Staffordshire Oatcakes (the last left in the freezer after my Mum’s visit!) we pootled around the market and car boot sale, where I picked up some little treasures….

…..and where my favourite stallholder gave me this incredible menu from the 60’s!

We finally took the tour of the museum opposite where we live in the afternoon….

….and took part in a Victorian lesson where we had to practise reading parrot-fashion…..

…..did maths in old money on slate….

….and worked on our handwriting with a dip pen!

The rest of the day was more relaxing, eating and watching of Buffy. Bliss!

What did you get up to?

Ems x

Catching up: June

June was a pretty hectic month I guess…. what with birthdays, holidays and a wedding to plan for, I was kept plenty busy! That also means there’s a lot to share though….

June starts rather wonderfully with Adam’s Birthday, and to mark the occasion I attempted to make him a special breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup. Only thing is of course, is that I’m utterly rubbish at making pancakes. I won’t share the picture of my ‘attempt’ with you as it’ll only put you offer your dinner, but here is how they looked when Adam came to the rescue and made his own special birthday breakfast!

20130716-220625.jpg

I guess I made up for that slightly with some cool gifts for Adam and a celebratory dinner at one of our favourite pubs. We were total gluts and chose the huge Rodeo burgers which come with bacon, cheese, onion rings and barbecue sauce all in the bun. There were massive chips and coleslaw on the side too of course.

20130716-220650.jpg

Not long after Adam’s special day, we set off for a week’s holiday in St Ives, Cornwall. It was our first ever holiday with the hounds, and their first time at the seaside! We ate fish and chips on the harbour, watched the dogs race around the beach like crazies, visited the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and ate an awful lot of cake, scones and saffron buns. It was so nice to have a break though and do some adventuring, especially with the hounds!

20130716-220724.jpg

20130716-220800.jpg

20130716-220848.jpg

20130716-220826.jpg

20130716-220902.jpg

Next up, it was time for MY birthday! We actually celebrated the day before, as we were heading to a wedding on the Saturday, but that just meant I had to wait one less day which was great! My special birthday breakfast was somewhat more of a success, and we yummed up one of my favourites of summer fruits and vanilla yoghurt. My choice of birthday dinner was just a take away curry as we’d not had one in ages!

20130716-220958.jpg

I received LOTS of wonderful gifts, feeling rather spoiled actually….I received some great gardening books, a pretty wind chime, boozes, DVDs and Blu-Rays, some pampering things and my very own Bamboo, which I hope will help me with some of my artwork! I was spoiled with yet more gifts on the Saturday when we made our way into London for our dear friends Dan and Brigitte’s wedding….they said their vows with a stunning backdrop of the Thames and The Tower of London, and then we partied the night away at a lovely little pub in Farringdon. It was so great to see them finally tie the knot, and to catch up with lots of other friends too.

20130716-220939.jpg

Our next adventure took us back to London for the evening…..

20130716-221054.jpg

We used the trip as an excuse to get a bubble tea, as we’ve really missed those since we moved out to the Provinces where we don’t get such things….

20130716-221030.jpg

….and then after that we saw the amazing new show from Derren Brown, which was just as brilliant as we’d hoped! No more details than that though, as we’re sworn to secrecy, but do go and see it if you can!

20130716-221044.jpg

The garden really began to come to life in June too, which was a real pleasure to watch. Our Victorian Tulip Tree blossomed and we were delighted to see its rather tropical looking flowers, and the flower beds around the patio began to bloom too with lots of pretty clashing colours!

20130716-221107.jpg

20130716-221121.jpg

More on the garden when I catch you up on July though…..

Ems x

Something from the weekend: Fudge, walks and White Russians

Another little whistle-stop tour of my weekend…..

Saturday:

Lie in due to headache….followed by a naughty breakfast of Staffordshire Oatcakes with cheese and bacon…into town after that, to buy eggs from the farmers market as well as some much-needed fudge….

20130528-140956.jpg

Some home-alone training for the dogs, leaving them for twenty minutes at a time to pop into town…coffees back at home in between and reading up on the upcoming Hitchin Festival….

20130528-141013.jpg

A little gardening, plus a good couple of hours building our new barbecue….Home made veggie Moussaka for dinner….

20130528-140929.jpg

….then watching The Big Labowski whilst drinking White Russians.

20130528-140943.jpg

Sunday:

A lovely morning walk at Chick Sands….followed by a walk around the car boot sale and more home-alone training for the hounds….

20130528-141520.jpg

Gardening and barbecue prep after that…..then Adam’s parents over for an afternoon of grilling meats and other goodies….and some slobbing on the sofa for the evening, watching The Fifth Element….

20130528-141552.jpg

20130528-141615.jpg

Bank Holiday Monday (yay!):

A stunning walk around Ickleford, through beautiful fields of barley with blue skies above….

20130528-141027.jpg

Another trip into town to visit the Humanitas shop and to buy sweets….then some more gardening time as well as some wedding stuff whilst sat outside in the sun eating too many sweeties (including strawberry ones shaped like brains!)…

20130528-141508.jpg

20130528-141454.jpg

A lazy dinner of nut cutlets then more weddingy stuff before an early night.

Lush.

Ems x

Something from the weekend…more Instagram snaps

It’s late, and I’m tired, but I do like to keep my little weekend diary going, so here’s the whistle stop tour….

Saturday morning….nice long dog walk, with the hound and the new hound too…back home for breakfast (poached eggs) and to get smarted up….then off to our lovely local church of St Mary’s for the wedding of Adam and Jodi….

Saturday afternoon….baked a pecan pie and prepared a dinner of Mountain Meatballs from Jamie’s America recipe book….took the dogs out for another walk, this time with our friend Hannah….back home Adam made cocktails and we chatted the evening away, as well as scoffing the afore-mentioned dinner….

Sunday morning….a very lovely long walk in the sun with the hounds….back home for breakfast, then a walk around the car boot sale….

Sunday afternoon….more gardening, whilst the hounds played and got to know each other better….ice lollies as a reward for our work….another walk, even though the hounds were shattered from playing….left overs for dinner and Super8 on Bluray whilst cuddling the hounds on the sofa before an early night.

How was your weekend?

Ems x

Something from the weekend: (in Instagram)

Because I’m currently inundating you with posts whilst on the Blog Every Day in May Challenge, I thought that for this week at least I’d keep my usual monday post telling you about my weekend fairly brief…. It was another splendid weekend, and as I took plenty of photos, I thought I’d guide you through it via my Instagram pictures….

Saturday morning began with a beautifully sunny walk along the Hambridge Way. Afterwards we had breakfast then headed into town….

We spotted a sign outside St Mary’s Church saying that their bells had been restored and were on show until they are put back up next week, so we popped in to have a look….

After a little shopping we stopped off in the market square to watch the Hitchin Fashion Show….

….then we spent some time there with the GRWE hounds, collecting and raising awareness….

Cooper had a splendid time getting fussed over and adored, and Lacy in particular was excited to be there and have her photo taken!….

We drank lots of amazing coffee as we’ve just got a new coffee machine…testing is going very well!….

I spent some time in the afternoon in the garden…I’m not going to get rid of the bluebells from our unruly lawn but I did do some tidying up and planting around the flower beds….

And I found our pretty apple tree in blossom (it’s not visible from the house because of the FOUR ewe trees!). The evening was originally going to be spent in London, but as we’ve not been sure when our new hound will be arriving we decided it best to stay at home and have a relaxing night in as we wait for him!

Another gorgeous walk started our Sunday….

We saw bumper loads of cowslips and walked til we were shattered!….

We had a snoop around the car boot sale after that, then pottered about the garden again and had lunch before heading to the cinema to watch Iron Man. Once home, I cooked up a big batch of chilli for dinner and then the evening was spent watching New Girl, blogging and relaxing.

Hope you had a picture perfect weekend too?!

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Bank Holiday Fun

“It’s a long weekend! What are your favourite ways to enjoy the extra long weekend off work?”

This is where I start cheating! Those of you who have read my blog before will know that Mondays are usually weekend catch-ups on my site….I nearly always write up what I did over the weekend, and on a Bank Holiday that includes the Monday too! My “Something From The Weekend” posts are actually the one thing I’ve pretty much done since the start…my blog was always meant to be a diary I could come back to in order to remind me of what fun I’ve had, and weekends are where most of the fun happens…especially Bank Holiday long weekends!

Anyway, this won’t be too far away then from my usual Monday posts…..

Saturday morning began with a lovely walk over the common with Adam, Cooper, Adam’s Mum, and her two dogs Newton and Piper. We all came back to our house together afterwards, stopping off at our nearby artisan bakery, Quotidian, for some of their amazing bread on the way….we toasted some of that up for breakfast with marmalade (and a pot of coffee) and then set to work in the garden.

Our garden was a bit of a state when we moved in….it clearly hadn’t had any attention for a while, and certainly not from anyone who knows anything about gardening in an even longer while! It’s pretty big, which is nice, and we have a large patio at the top with borders at each side, then a long lawn. Well, I say ‘lawn’ but actually it’s more like a little woodland….crammed in there are two holly trees, two yews, a very large bay, an ash, an apple tree, a medlar tree, a Victorian tulip tree and another very large tree which nobody had been able to identify! So, where the lawn would be underneath them there is not enough light for grass to grow, so instead it’s full of bluebells, daisies, primroses and other wild things. I quite like it like that and as we have the patio to sit on, I don’t feel like we need a proper lawn really.

Anyway, we’d done some work on one flower bed just after we moved in, so that just needed a tidy up, lots of water and a few more plants adding. The opposite bed however was another matter! We spent hours digging it over, rescuing Japanese Anemones, Snowdrops and Blue Bells from within stacks of knotty Ivy and Ground Elder….the roots were horrific and it was back breaking work, but we managed to clear the upper part of the bed really well and planted lots of nice new things there…I just have to keep an eye out for any vile Ground Elder leaves that pop back up!

We took lunch outside…more of the yummy bread along with cheese and chutney….plus a nice cold shandy to drink! Then after a bit more tidying up, we had to come inside as it started to rain.

After a little rest up from our hard work, we took the hound for his afternoon walk and then headed to one of our favourite pubs, The Plume of Feathers at Little Wymondley. They serve us-friendly meat there, so Adam and I always enjoy their bacon cheese burger, plus of course their amazing chips! We were pretty tired and full after all that, so it was a relaxing evening of telly watching (still on X-Files) for us.

We awoke quite early on Sunday morning, and to the most stunning day. We made the most of it by heading straight out for a lovely long walk….we took the hound through lots of the local farm land, seeing lambs and calves, as well as some buzzrds above! It felt absolutely divine walking in the warmth, and the blue skies made me feel so very happy!

We had a quick breakfast after our walk, and then drove to nearby Royston for a little dog-date…..we’ve been thinking of getting a second pooch for a while now and heard last week about a suitable dog that has just been taken into foster by one of the local rescue charities. We were so excited to meet him, and he certainly didn’t disappoint! He’s a brilliant little Basset Hound cross Staffordshire Bull Terrier (we think!) so he’s really long with little Queen Anne legs, and a big face! He loves being near to people, answers to pretty much any name and adores kisses and cuddles! We’d decided within two minutes that  we wanted him to come and make his forever home with us, and after not much longer I think he’d decided that’s what he wants too! We’ve reserved him, so just now have to wait for our home check, then hopefully he’ll be with us very soon!

After our exciting visit, we popped back home for an iced tea, then went straight back out to catch the last hour of the car boot sale at the market. We found two lovely cake stands to add to my collection, and I got a great cowboy hat for our friends’ Wild West wedding this summer!

We had a yummy lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches, then did a little more work in the garden before taking our afternoon walk…..we took a route I’d not been on before so it was lovely to see some new places, and Cooper loves exploring new territory! There was lots of oil see rape planted across the fields we walked past, and I just adore the vivid yellows against the blue sky in the sun. We also saw several deer (little baby ones too!), lots of pheasants and rabbits of course. I found lots of pretty pheasant feathers for my collection, and Adam picked up an empty pheasant egg for me too! They will all sit safely inside my Victorian Bell Cloches in the dining room!

Adam cooked a scrummy Spaghetti Carbonara for dinner, and we slobbed about in front of the telly after that, before heading very sleepily to bed!

This morning began with a short walk for the hound, then a hearty breakfast of poached duck eggs. After that we preened ourselves a little before our dear friend Hannah arrived, and shortly after that the wonderful Sharon of Sharon Cooper Photography….Sharon very kindly offered to take our engagement photos and so after a chat over an iced tea, we headed out to have our piccies taken!

I always hate having my photograph taken, mainly because I hate photos of myself, but Sharon is great at putting you at ease, and it was so delicious to be outside in the sun that I didn’t mind all too much! We returned to the house and had some shots there, and I was very impressed with how well behaved Cooper was throughout…sitting quietly with his Auntie Hannah whilst waiting for us to have our photos taken, then posing beautifully whilst he joined in some of the shots! I can’t wait to see the shots and will be sure to share them with a more detailed post about the shoot, but in the mean time, Sharon has just sent me this little sneak preview (thank you Sharon!)…

Emily_Adam_Cooper_sharon_cooper

We did a little shopping after a lunch of tuna melts in the garden, then put in a few more hours gardening….I managed to finish digging up the bottom end of the flower bed, we put edging tiles around it (there are stacks of them in our garden as I think the beds used to go all the way down the length of the garden, where the trees are, and we can still see a sunken path edged in the same tiles!) and then attacked it with weed killer to ensure the Ground Elder doesn’t come back. I dislike using such things, but it was so bad at that end of the bed that it was the only way! We’ll get some meadowy flowers growing there soon hopefully, but it’s all starting to look much smarter already!

We walked at the common again after that, and returned home for an early dinner of butternut squash lasagne, which we also yummed up in the balmy garden. And then once we’d cleared up, Adam was up to his office to start an online course he’s signed up for….. so here I’ve sat since, mooching about the internets and blogging the evening away with the french windows open, a warm breeze coming in and all the birds singing just for me!

Such a blissful weekend!

I trust you’ve all had glorious Bank Holiday weekends too?!

Ems x

Something from the weekend…..cakes, walks and rummaging

It was a close call, but the rain didn’t dampen my weekend….

On Saturday morning I pootled around the house, cleaning and tidying whilst Adam walked the hound….Friday hadn’t gone as planned so it was good to catch up a little. Then after a nice big brunch (Adam poached some very yummy duck eggs for us!) we made our way into London, leaving the pooch with his Grandma Liz (that’s Adam’s Mum!).

We made our way to friends’ Richard and Tara’s flat in Farringdon, Tara and I leaving the boys to get up to mischief whilst we headed into town for our friend Brigitte’s hen do! First of all we took in a lovely afternoon tea at a hotel on the Strand, then went bowling at the fun All Stars Lanes, before we had a big dinner together. We didn’t go in for the traditional Hen stuff (L-plates and penis straws etc!), but chose instead to honour the occasion by all wearing fascinators in light of the fact that the Bride and Groom have requested no-one wears hats to the wedding!

As the pup had a sleepover at his Grandma’s, Adam and I managed to get a nice lie in before we went to pick him up. Then after a late breakfast, we took a turn around the Sunday car boot sale at the Market, then went along to the second Great Hitchin Rummage Sale at Bar Ab nearby. Lots of local shops had taken up a pitch there, in what is sort of a one-day pop-up shop….and some of our favourites were there to tempt us with the rummagy loot….Jolly Brown and Red Eyed Dove had a stack of goregous vintage treasures, whilst Mamacita’s Cakery (new to us) were selling a table full of dreamy looking sweet treats. We picked up several of the latter’s offerings, then made our way home to yum them up!

Because there are so many cupcakes and such being sold on similar stalls at the moment, it takes a lot to impress us….we’ve really only tried one stall’s cakes and been truly wowed (how we miss Flavour Town at Old Spitalfields now that we’ve moved!). However, the amazing yums by Mamacita’s Cakery really did impress us, and we scoffed a Dulce de Leche cupcake, a Mexican wedding biscuit and a ‘bronze’ biscuit (each) in close succession! Definitely will be trying more of their treats!

To walk off the gluttony, we took the hound to the common for a nice jaunt, then went back to Adam’s Mum’s for a dinner of fajitas, followed by some of her amazing freshly baked scones (with clotted cream obviously!).

Back at home we had a relaxed evening on the sofa. I finished off a little drawing project for a competition (Oasis’ new butterfly collection cover photo) and then had the customary early night!

Hope you had a lovely weekend too!

Ems x