A quick stop at the Hummingbird Bakery

I make no secret of my enthusiasm for the Hummingbird Bakery’s cookbooks, and I am naturally no less enthusiastic about the bakeries themselves! I spotted a new branch open in Islington in London on a recent trip to the big smoke so I thought I’d pop in and check the cakes were up to scratch. Of course, they were, and my pink vanilla cupcake was snarfled in next to no time at all…

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Snow! Snowsnowsnowsnow

I love snow.  Why I live in the southwest of England, given this, is a bit of a mystery.  Although, as I have frequently documented on this blog, the southwest has many other redeeming features which may make up for the lack of frequent snow.

Two weeks ago, though, there was proper snow.  The sort you have to shovel.  We were away for some of it (see previous post) but when we got home on the Sunday there was shovelling, snowball-throwing, and hot cocoa-making.  I took a few photos but as it was cloudy, things weren’t as sparkly white as I would have liked.  Still- snow!!  (It’s now a distant memory, sadly…)

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Sunny house views

Sunny days at home have recently been rare indeed.  A little while ago on one such day I dug out the camera and decided to see what I could see just lying around the house…

It appears our house contains quite a number of dairy-related objects, appropriately enough since it was once a dairy farm.  We get our milk delivered by the local milkman, which is fantastic (not having to constantly say to myself ‘ooh I must remember to pick up some milk on the way home’ is a revelation).  Continuing round the house, we found a small milk jug in France this summer which we now use as a kitchen-top compost bin.

(There is also the large milk churn outside the door which I’ve previously written about.)

Next to the milk jug on the kitchen windowsill is a pot of succulents which, despite neglect and ignorance on my part (they seem to sprout new bits randomly and spontaneously, how do they do that? How can I make one big one instead of lots of small ones, and vice versa? These are questions I do not currently know the answer to, although I am aware, as ever, that they are just an internet search away) have been alive since some time in 2011.

And, in turn, next to the pot of succulents is another find from the brocantes of France- an earthenware jug in which we keep washing-up paraphernalia.  I like containers.

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A walk on the wild side

This morning, spotting a gap in the persistent rain, we put on our ‘technical trousers’ (similar to Wallace’s techno-trousers but sadly, much less whizzy), grabbed the camera and headed out for a walk up the hills behind our house.  We paused momentarily in the garden to document the lovely roses which have just appeared.

Every week something new unfurls, and I am just observing and trying to work out what is a weed and what is not.  Dandelions I can spot, but there are quite a lot of other mysterious things which require identification.  If they all keep popping up with pretty flowers, though, that will help!

We marched up the hill, and eventually found a view of Blagdon Lake.

I think there’s a little bit of blue sky in there somewhere…

We carried on and all of a sudden, in a gap in the hedge, some sweet little woolly faces appeared!  I tiptoed over and tried Mark’s patience for about 15 minutes while I took photo after photo of the lambs.  The below is only a small selection.

Posing up like a natural!

And then mummy came over to investigate.  I have not met such photogenic sheep in a long time.  Heading back down through the woods the path took us across a field with a small group of what I think were bulls, rather than cows.  (I am not very knowledgeable about matters bovine, but have no doubt I will increase my awareness living here…)  They were certainly not too pleased to see us, and even though we gave them a very wide berth, they glared and glared at us as if to say ‘what on EARTH do you think you are doing in our field’.  I managed to get a couple of shots of them before we felt like it was probably time to move on!

“GO AWAY.”

I especially love the sly one peering over his mate’s back…

It was a lovely walk and we ended up in the village of Ubley, which is just down the road from us, gawping at some beautiful cottages with lovely gardens, roses spilling over the front door, and everything perfectly picturesque.  I was so inspired I came home and started trying to tackle the garden, but the weeds won and I had to break for a nap in the end!

Continuation of themes: Valentine’s Day and paper garlands

I am unapologetic about my current enthusiasm for paper garlands and chains.  They are just so visually effective!  For Valentine’s Day I tried out a paper chain instead of garlands (bonus: no lugging out the sewing machine).  I cut a strip of thinnish red craft paper with fibre bits in it that looked like it would be absorbent and fold well, and painted tiny little gold hearts all over it randomly.  When I say ‘painted tiny little hearts’, I mean made little ‘V’ shapes with a small fat paintbrush that would, from a glance, look like hearts.

Then I folded it in a zigzag to make a paper chain, being (mostly) careful to make all the folds the same size.  I cut it into a heart, and voila!

A sweet little paper heart chain, which I then glued into a card.  I glued the right-hand side down, then folded the hearts down onto the card and put glue on the back of the top-most one, then closed the card on the stack to make sure it would open and close properly.

And with that, I will conclude Valentine’s Day for this year.  I think I’ve now properly outed myself as a devotee of all things sweet and pink, as if it wasn’t obvious before!

Golden garlands

In my last post I mentioned some paper garlands I’d sewn for christmas decorations- here they are.

I used up the last of a little pot of Windsor & Newton gold ink which I’ve had for about 10 years by using a big brush to paint rough stripes across some watercolour paper.  I then exercised my scissor-muscles cutting out rough circles from the paper, and fed those through the sewing machine with cream thread.

I think I should probably take them down now, or they won’t look christmassy when I put them up in 10 months time!