Monday, 26 September 2011

Lets go fly a kite

If you get the right weather and there's something rather exciting going on, anywhere can look totally fabulous. Yesterday we went to The Big Sky Kite Festival at Margate and with the glorious autumn sun, shimmering blue skies and the most amazing kites I've ever seen dancing in the sky, it was the perfect family day out.
None can deny that there is a somewhat run down element to Margate but it is also has a certain sense of style and old seaside town chic that I love. The new Turner Contemporary Art Gallery has transformed the town into a place that my husband is now happy to take me and with continued promise of regeneration, especially for the dilapidated Dreamland, I'm rather optimistic about it's future.

The buildings along the main sands seafront are truly ugly with a total eye sore block of flats but there are the most flamboyant Victorian cast iron fish street lamps. It truly is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly in design.

The kites were amazing. I could have sat and watched them all day. The sun was warm, the breeze was balmy and the music relaxing. The children ran and splashed in the sea and we could have been anywhere in the world.

Yesterday was only our second visit to Turner Contemporary but as an art graduate there is nowhere that I would rather take my children and although Charlie still has quite a lot to learn about how to behave in a gallery, I am grateful that he now has that opportunity. If given the choice, modern architecture would not really be top of my favourites list, but this space is growing on me.

Yesterday there was a free kite making workshop in the little clock tower building next to the gallery which meant we all got to make and fly a kite.

Josie and Charlie flying their kites

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

One day, one dress, one picture

A year ago today, I started my blog. It seems a life time ago now and so many things have changed. A year in any one's life can be a long time. People have died and been born, seeds have been planted, born flowers, fruit and then seeds and the wheels of time have continued turning. The wonderful thing about moving forward through life, is that it is impossible to predict what will happen in the future. I have no way of knowing what my life will be like one year from today.

As I dressed this morning, in a dress that my Dad bought me for my graduation in 1993, I thought about all the times that I had worn that dress. Little did I know when I picked it out from the Next discount store in the Mander Centre, Wolverhampton, that during that summer, I would wear it for two life changing events; my graduation and my father's funeral.

It sadly has been worn for a lot of funerals but also weddings and more recently work. I love the dress. It got me thinking about how life can be recorded in a snapshot of time. If I wore the same dress, on the 20th September each year, how different would my life be from today? Would I even be able to wear it on the 20th September every year? It is quite amazing that it still fits after 18 years, especially seeing as just in the last year, I have put on a stone in weight.

I have really enjoyed taking a photo every day so far this year, so my next challenge is to write a diary entry on the 20th September every year until forever, wear the dress and if I am ever brave enough, take a picture.
I suppose even the way I record it will change over the years but to start with and as a celebration of one year of blogging, I will link it to my blog.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Crochet in Mustard

Ever since our yellow day, I have been quite taken with yellow and am really quite delighted that mustard is one of this autumns new colour trends. I do love autumn colours and I do love shopping. I particularly like the change from summer to autumn because of the reintroduction of knitwear, scarves, hats, gloves and leg warmers. I do in fact already have some mustard lacy patterned leg warmers and have my eye on a matching beret and fingerless gloves. It is mostly the colour that counts though and at the moment my new favourite colour is mustard.

The colder, darker nights definitely inspire a bit of crocheting, so I have been making some crocheted bracelets in mustard today. I was considering a "how to crochet a bracelet" tutorial but found the photos and explanation a little tricky.

So here are a couple of pictures

I got a bangle for 5p from a charity shop, some mustard yarn and a 3 1/4mm crochet hook.

The stitch is basically a double crochet stitch (American single crochet). The hook goes under the bangle, the yarn is held above the bangle, pulled under to make two loops on the hook, yarn over and then pull through both of the loops. Then I just kept going until the bangle was covered.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Blustery showers

Really, what is going on with the weather and where did that wind come from? Throughout the summer, there has just been a slight and pleasant breeze and then as soon as September arrives and it's time for back to school and work, the weather switches from scorching sun to blowing a gale in a matter of minutes. There is already a splattering of autumn leaves and cycling into a head wind is extremely hard work.

For the second time this week, I have had to tie in my chrysanthemums and they are getting a real battering from the blustery showers. Just this afternoon, on the way home from school, we got so drenched that I made Josie and her friend a hot chocolate and now there is barely a cloud in the sky. I do quite like autumn though especially when the chrysanthemums look so glorious.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Menu planner

I've had quite a good weekend, tidying up and getting organised after my first full week back in the school and work routine. Charlie's first day at school went well and he loved the army camouflage PE bag I made him.

When I researched some ideas for menu planners, I discovered that I am not the only one who fears that "what's for tea?" question. It really has started to make me feel sick even just going to the supermarket, but I think that I have found the solution.

I made a list of all the tried and tested meals that my family have enjoyed in the past along with some quick and easy recipes. I stuck some old musical score on the back of a cereal packet and printed off some labels with the meals on. Last year I started usingMod Podge and it is still my favourite craft glue. It was the perfect finish touch to the front of the cards. Then I glued a piece of magnetic strip to the back.

To make the days of the week stand out slightly, I used my dymo labelling machine.

So now the magnets can easily be removed and replaced next to the chosen day and I can tell at a glance what's for tea. Alongside the planner, I intend to introduce the strict rule of having to eat what is on the menu. I will naturally include any other healthy recipes that the children wish to add but there will no longer be the debating, disagreeing and arguing.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


As a mum and a teacher, the first couple of weeks of September are a mass of things I need to remember and get organised and this year, my little Charlie is off to school. I've been sewing up labels and buying school things for weeks and now I need to get my own work head on in order to juggle the whole working mum business. I love and embrace all technology, notebooks, lists and reminders. I would dearly love to be hyper organised but never quite seem to pull it off. Josie will probably never forgive me for sending her to school in reception without her teddy for the teddy bears picnic but this year, I feel I finally actually know how much school lunches cost. My husband has put up so more coat hooks at the bottom of the stairs to hang school coats. So here's my list for this week

  1. Take important documents into work and then return them to the original place and not leave them in a bag where they have been for several months, waiting to get taken into work
  2. Write a menu (by tea time, I've lost all ability to think and really need a piece of paper to tell me what we are supposed to be eating)
  3. Make Charlie's PE bag
  4. Find and return all overdue library books (I really must stop putting this one off and get under Charlie's bed and behind Josie's wardrobe
  5. Swap the summer clothes in my wardrobe for autumn ones
My head truly does feel like it is spinning, perhaps I had better start by making a pot of tea.

A picture of my geraniums on a sunny day, before the winds of autumn swept in and made everything so dark and miserable.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Ten things to do in September

Following the successful completion of blogging every single day, without fail, in August, I thought I might write myself a "to do" list for this month. There is definitely something about writing things down that helps them turn from fleeting thoughts into achievements. Having been so badly organised in the garden / allotment for the last few Autumns due to sad and difficult times, I am going to make a serious effort this year.

  1. Collect and save seeds (sweet pea, nigella, sunflowers, parsnip, leek and fennel)
  2. Plant out spring cabbages and winter kale
  3. Pickle more nasturtium seeds (really deliciously hot and peppery)
  4. Make some raspberry jam
  5. Freeze rhubarb and runner beans
  6. Buy a few late chrysanthemums for the garden
  7. Make some tomato chutney
  8. Plant paperwhite narcissus
  9. Make some sloe gin
  10. Tidy up the potting shed