Wednesday 29 July 2009

A crisis in confidence

I love reading other people's blogs. I love having a record of what has been happening in our life. But... I have lots of ideas to put into a blog, and then I think that I am just showing off, being proud of some of the things we have done. Part of me thinks that we should be proud, but another part of me thinks it should just be life. So what if I grow some vegetables, or make some clothes, or we enjoy going for walks, or a whole host of other things. Perhaps I feel we are nothing special, or we should just get on with life, but then I look at other blogs and find inspiration, or celebration in the small things of life. Could my blog be like that? I doubt it.

I want to show life how it is, like how I neglected the fish, and one died. Or in trying to get the boys attention I shouted so loud that the dog was cowering in the corner. This is the true life, the making, growing and nice stuff is intermittent. I would like it to take up a greater portion of our lives, but it simply isn't reality.

What purpose should a blog serve? If it is just a record of life, then pictures alone would do that, why publish them? If it is to show off, then perhaps I should blog away. But to inspire, that is quite an aim, one I feel I am not worthy to do. If I go quiet for a while you will understand why. If I start blogging again you will know my confidence has returned. But in the mean time I will enjoy reading everyone elses inspirational blogs.

Sorry for the negative ramblings, but as I say, I'm having a crisis in confidence.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Just for the record

Yesterday Sophie took her first controlled steps. 2 steps, she was sooooo proud of herself. She spends alot of time on her feet now, clapping hands, shaking her head in excitement, jumping up and down!

Summer Holidays

Finally! No more rushing to be at school in the morning. Living life at our natural pace. Having time to play with the children, do arts and crafts together, having help down at the allotment, plenty of walks, and more playing. How I am looking forward to the next 6 weeks, and secretly hoping that the plans to delay school opening until October actually bear fruit.

We are looking after my sister in laws dog for two weeks as well, which is like birthday and Christmas rolled into one for the boys. They would love a dog, so I guess depending on how the two weeks go, it might be the next addition to our growing menagerie!

Friday 17 July 2009

Things to remember for next year...

Indulge me for a moment, if I write this down on a piece of paper I will have lost it by next year, so I thought this would be the safest place.

Need to plant more peas, more broad beans, more onions, more tomatoes, more spinach.

Need to remember to plant beetroot, garlic, lettuce, spring onions, sunflowers.

Plant chamomile, echinacea, st.john's wort, and other such herbs.

Remember to plant things out sooner, rather than waiting for them to get bigger in little pots, it does not happen!

Do things with the stuff you have picked, and if you don't have time then give it away!

Think about winter crops before it's too late to do anything about it!

This allotment has definitely been a steep learning curve, and one day in the very distant future I WILL have one of those nicely kept allotments, not one where you can't see the crops for the weeds!

Wednesday 15 July 2009

What better than...

... feeding homegrown blackcurrants in the form of a cooling sorbet your daughter who is fighting off a cold and sore throat.

I cannot recommend this recipe enough. It is courtesy of the blackcurrant foundation, and is just fantastic for fighting off those summer colds (never lasts long enough to fight off winter colds!) It is packed with vitamin c, and is delicious. So if you have a glut of blackcurrants, or if you can get your hands on a load, give it a go.

Blackcurrant Sorbet


4 cups blackcurrants
2 tablespoons Orange juice (juice of approx. 1 orange)
1 cup sugar
1.25 cups water


1. Heat the water until boiling and dissolve sugar. Keep on low heat for two minutes, then remove and leave to cool.

2. Use a blender or food processor to puree the blackcurrants. Sieve the puree to remove pips to leave a smooth mixture.

3. Mix puree with orange juice, then with sugar solution to form a smooth mixture.

4. Place mixture in lidded container in freezer for 2-3 hours.

5. Remove from freezer and beat again or if available use a handheld blender.

6. Return to freezer until set. Serve in scoops.

Friday 10 July 2009

He Passed!

Luke had his grade one drum exam yesterday, and was feeling really confident having spent pretty much every opportunity this last week or so practising on his drumkit!

Dosed up on Rescue Remedy, as the nerves began to kick in, he entered the exam room, knowing he only had to try his best, and it was all experience. The first time he has had an exam, I was so nervous for him (I think I should have had some rescue remedy too!).

The good thing with drums is you can hear them easily. All his set pieces were perfect, and he came out feeling he had done his best, but eager for the results.

His teacher called today to say he had the results and he had passed with merit, and was very close to getting a distinction. Luke is really pleased, and we are all very proud of him. The nice thing is even though his exam is over, he is still spending alot of time on the drums.

Well Done Luke!!!

Saturday 4 July 2009

An update

Well, once again life is ridiculously busy!

We had a lovely holiday down in Cornwall with great weather, and meeting up with Jo and company who were in the same area at the same time! We spent evenings going for coastal walks, or playing skittles at a local skittle alley. Days were on the beaches, my all time favourite being Kynance Cove. A couple of daytrips to either Penzance (to a wonderful fairtrade clothes shop) and St Ives, were thrown in for good measure! This was weeks ago now, and I still haven't finished unpacking!

Luke had a day back home and then was off to Brecon with his school for a 5 day adventure holiday which included raft building, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, trapeze and many more things, all right up Luke's street!

Luke came back from Brecon, and then Alec went off on his first Beavers sleepover. He was so excited by it all, and had a lovely time. He was, apparently, completely oblivious to waking up many Beaver Scouts and leaders by screaming in the night!

Whilst he was at the sleepover we went to get a drumkit for Luke. It is a lovely Pearl VBX kit in claret. It is now established in his bedroom, and we have been rather impressed with his drumming ability. His grade one exam is on Thursday, and he is feeling pretty confident! We have had to get pads for the kit though after neighbours 4 doors away could hear him playing!

In all this swealtering heat I have been down the allotment trying to harvest things as quickly as I can. Everything is ripening at such a rate of knots! Then it has been trying to preserve the harvest. We have got strawberries by the bucket-load, blackcurrants, raspberries, redcurrants, broad beans, onions and new potatoes all ready at the moment. Broad beans are eaten; onions are drying; new potatoes are dug up as and when needed; blackcurrants are now made into sorbet; redcurrants are still on the plant because I have no idea what to do with them; raspberries are in the freezer awaiting time to do something with them; and strawberries... well we've had strawberry and orange ice lollies, strawberry milkshakes, strawberries and cream, 8 jars of strawberry jam, given some away, paid people with strawberries, and there's plenty more still ripening!

A neighbour of mine has a sister who works at M and S, and has swatches of material for the Per Una clothes sent to her. These are now getting forwarded to me, and they are just the right size to make clothes for Sophie. I just have to find the time! Also, as I obviously have so much spare time (ha ha!) I have decided to start trying to sell tie-dyed clothes. I am currently collecting plain clothing to experiment with, then Stuart is going to do a website for me! I will keep you updated.

Amongst all this I think Ethan has been feeling a little neglected, so I am trying to spend a bit more time with him too.