Thursday, 27 August 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow? August

Before we left to go on holiday, half of the lawn was yellow and lifeless. Smugly, I thought that at least this would mean that the grass would still be short and tidy upon our return.
I was wrong.
Everything was overgrown, gone over and a little bit messy.
Why had I taken the time to weed before leaving?
Still, it's nice to feel needed I suppose.
My father in law had tended to the watering so my succulents, grasses and Bamboos were very happy and healthy and most likely dreading the return of their forgetful and neglectful mother.
 The creatures had gotten used to the dog being away and there were quite a few to be seen, as well as a lovely robin who sat close to me as I tidied the borders and collected seeds.

Collecting seeds from the Nigella and the Poppies is such a satisfying pleasure. I was carefully not to get any in my eye this time.

The apples have been good this year. A bit early perhaps, but tasty so no complaining here.

 There is always a competition for finding the wonkiest apple.
Curly Boy collecting apples from the mini Katy Apple tree. 

Everybody's Good at Cooking Something...

Over the last year or so, I have made an effort to hold myself back in the garden with elaborate plans and planting. I've reduced the number of plants that I have in pots (sometimes killing them off by mistake) and not planting/buying anything fussy or new. 
Apart from a few seasonal perk-me-pot and basket flowers, I am trying to keep it simple.
Acknowledging and accepting that I simply don't have/make the time to dedicate towards high maintenance gardening.
It takes enough time to cut the grass, trim the hedges, weed, etc. 

Perhaps in a few years time, I will find/make more time for more adventurous gardening, but in the meantime I will just make sure that I enjoy the efforts or hard work that others have put into gardening.

Although it was a very rainy day, we enjoyed a day out to Nuffield Place and appreciated their gardens and home.

 This was a difficult path to negotiate. Over 100 slugs were spotted. Blergh.

 Playing Laser in the garden. Don't let the plants touch you!

Of course it's nice to be back and take the time to catch up. I will be having a nosy around the other gardens here:

Monday, 24 August 2015

Real Reel Home Movie

Our first "reel" home movie featuring the dog quite a bit, the kids and camping.
It's silent but noisy, grainy and unfocused (especially here, as I filmed it on the I-pad as it was being projected onto the screen.) short, and very expensive.
But there is something very special about real reel films and perhaps we'll treasure these little snippets of our lives even more since they are that much more precious?
I was a bit put off when the Hubby calculated how much it would cost per minute of film, but once realised, I think it's quite a refreshing exercise to take more care with what you film. Just like the old days.  And the final 3 minute result of the filming will likely be short and sweet.

Technical details:
Filmed on a Canon 814 XL and 514 XL Camera (Super 8)
Wittner Chrome 200D reversal film (Agfa Aviphot)
Processed by: Gauge Film

(Details courtesy of the Hubby.)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Mini Doughnut Cakes

I always like the idea of making elaborate cakes, decorated to perfection. But years of failure and laziness have reminded me that I just do not possess the skill or patience for cake decorating.
I still like to pretend though, so when I saw the Doughnut Cake, I adapted the idea for an afternoon of pure pleasure.
Again, playing with icing like this helps me to be calm and happy and therefore, I will class this pastime as my idea of Mindfullness.

I used mini doughnuts from Sainsburys because mini is mega and I could try out a few designs.
Betty Crocker icing works perfectly when it is kept at room temperature.
The doughnuts take the icing much better than cake. They don't crumble as you spread.

I made some la di da chocolate bits and popped them in the fridge to harden.

Stacked and iced doughnuts, ready for decor.

Show off.

Of course some mini cakes looked better than others, but because this was on a small scale and just for fun, it really didn't matter.

We enjoyed the tasting session.

Because this was so easy, tasty and satisfying, we have already done this a couple of times. It's a great playdate activity; the satisfaction of baking and creating food art without the total mess.

Inspiration from:

A Pinterest success story:-)

Monday, 13 July 2015

Deceptions of Pinterest: Chocolate Bowl Edition

A while ago, I had some time off of work and a bit more time on my hands to do those little things.
Like showing off and making a chocolate bowl a la Pinterest that I had been wanting to do for a while.
My melted chocolate was delicious, but it did not floweth over the balloon into elegant drips.

I man-made some drips as best as I could.

But when I deflated the balloon (after fridge cooling) with care, the drips broke off anyway.
The balloon did not peel away from the hardened chocolate easily and it left some residue behind leaving a latex like taste.

Perhaps it would have been useful to suggest a cooking spray on the balloon before pouring over the chocolate.

But the itch was scratched and I have now I can tick: Make a Chocolate Bowl off of my bucket list, but I probably won't bother doing that again for a while. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It's been a busy week. I will be pleased to reach the weekend and hope that we can reserve some down time. 
Still three weeks to go before the end of the school term and it feels as though we have reached the height of the crazy crescendo of school, work and social events. 

At least I hope it's the height of the crescendo.

Anyhoo. There may be a lack of coherence. 
A lack of words.
My brain is frazzled. 

But here's what's been going down in our garden over the last couple of weeks.

This Buddleia has flowered for the first time. But I thought it was supposed to be white. Nevermind. Less than a week later, it looks like it has given up on the idea of blooming anyway.
Did they get burnt in the sun? 
Are they about to turn white and get big? 
Is it because they are so thirsty?

Uniforms have been abandoned in the heat

in favour of Owl wings and bare legs for sprinkler hopping.

They have been very busy in the mud kitchen.

(See the deflated blue ball? And the dog? She is a master at convincing anyone to play fetch with her. She has even discovered that if she puts it in my weeding bucket as I move through the garden; I will have to chuck it out eventually, so then she gets to fetch it. Sometimes this backfires and her ball ends up being gone forever. She also puts it in the paddling pool with the kids. She doesn't understand they are throwing it out because they don't want slimy dog drool ball in the pool.) 

Ikea Meatballs?

My husband gave me some random, old photos recently and I'm quite fond of this one, even though it's not the clearest of images. 

On the back, the caption reads:
Jakin in our garden making mud pies.

Despite all the years, changes and technology, Mud Pie Making never goes out of fashion.

The boat is tied up for the night so that it doesn't sail away in the great wide open that is the sand pit lid.


I freak myself out when I look at pictures like this on the internet.
What is going through my kids' minds?! 

Yay! The first Geranium appears!
(Poor Ah-melia has been blown off from her postition on our roof and moved off the windowsill she was peering into. It seems as though my family is not as fond of her as I am.)

The first Strawberry is ready, 

and it goes straight into his Eton Mess. (Link there because I only learned what an Eton Mess was just over 10 years ago. There may be more innocents that need Eton Mess in their lives.)

These succulents have such a crazy design. Especially when their stretch up tall to flower like this.

Although there are not as many Poppies as last year, there are enough to keep me happy. I like the staggered stages of their stages to keep the party going for as long as possible.

The Lavender wit a touch of the blues creeping in!