52 weeks: 23/52

I still can’t quite believe we’re already well into June – this year seems to be going quickly!

tapas leeds food festival

Yesterday we popped into Leeds to visit the food festival in Millennium Square. I didn’t take many pics as there were so many people – too many, if I’m honest. However, this paella was pretty good…

yarn parcel

On Wednesday a parcel arrived – clearly, the arrival of any parcel is exciting, but when it’s full of yarn, even better!

P1040083

Inspired by Gillian I had a go at jam-making for the first time – I’ve made jellies before, but for some reason hadn’t attempted jam, even though it’s much quicker – and made two jars of plum and star anise jam. It’s amazing!

allium flowers

Since I’ve been spending so much time in the garden, it’s nice to have something to look at. The alliums are still providing the only real burst of colour, and I love them!

52 weeks: 20/52

The last week has been an interesting one, mainly spent in Croatia but also trying to readjust to normal life – always a tricky one for me. I haven’t had a chance to do any crafting since I got back – I managed an afternoon of much-needed gardening, and fingers crossed please that the slugs and snails don’t ruin my hard work! – but I’m feeling the need for a bit of hooking so hopefully I’ll be able to have a go at a little crochet in the next few days. Until then…

This picture represents a moment of true bliss…we had walked for three hours along a beautiful but fairly inaccessible coast path (well, we had also stopped for a picnic!) but stupidly I had left the bottle of water on the kitchen table as we left our apartment. By the time we reached this village by the sea we were desperately in need of refreshment! I loved the fact that ‘lemonade’ in Croatia is the same as my beloved ‘citron presse’ in France – freshly squeezed lemons with water and sugar on the side to sweeten to your taste. I like it so tart that you can only take tiny sips…weird, I know!

Sunsets can be beautiful wherever they are, but I have a soft spot for those involving the sea.

One day I will live somewhere where you can pick oranges and lemons from your garden, harvest the olives from the scrubland next to the house, and where my favourite herbs grow like weeds. This photo is a section of the coastal path we walked on Hvar – the vast majority of those bushes you can see are rosemary and sage, with a little lavender for good measure (although the famous lavender fields are mostly spread further along the island). It’s galling to see the rosemary that you pay so much for in a pot from the garden centre growing in massive bushes higher than your head all over the island – but it smells so heavenly that you don’t mind when you’re there!

Finally, this may not look like much, but if you go to Croatia try one of these! I suppose the best way of describing it would be a chocolate doughnut, but it bears no resemblance to any that I’ve eaten elsewhere. The dough was more like a super-light brioche, and there was a thick dark chocolate paste inside that tasted similar to the inside of a pain au chocolat but with a gorgeous conistency. Yum.

The next post will be back onto more usual topics!

52 weeks: 18/52

Just a quick post to keep up to date – we’re going on holiday tonight so there won’t be any posts for a while, although I’m sure I can make up for it in holiday photos when I get back! We’ve got a 7 hour coach trip down to Gatwick airport tonight, then an early-morning flight out to Split; the travelling part is made infinitely better when you realise that you’ll be in Croatia in time for breakfast tomorrow!

This week has been busy once more, but a few days of sunshine have once again made all the difference. Just to prove that sometimes the sun has even been warm, I have proof of Thursday’s sandal-wearing – I also had my shorts on (although not for long!) but my legs weren’t in any state to be seen on the internet…

first sunbathing of the year

Since then the plants in those pots look much greener, it’s amazing how quickly everything is trying to catch up now that Spring has arrived!

I picked a posy of cheerfulness (the tiny daffodils) and forget-me-nots, which have been looking beautiful in a jam jar on the mantelpiece. Sadly the cheerfulness don’t last long once picked, but they look and smell so wonderful that it’s worth having them inside just for a day or two. And the forget-me-nots are just so pretty, you can’t help but smile at them.

forgetmenots

This isn’t a great photo, but I wanted to show you the bracelet I made. It took me about two hours while watching the TV one evening, and it’s nice to have something to show for so little effort! Cotton and a 3.5mm hook – the flowers and strap were made up as I went along, and neither are perfect, but I like it anyway.

crochet bracelet

And finally, it was my husband T’s birthday on Saturday. We didn’t do much to celebrate as we are counting the trip to Croatia as birthday presents for each of us (my birthday is at the start of June so it works quite well!) but I got him a small gift – a Game of Thrones tshirt from here, highly recommend it! – and made him a birthday pavlova. T didn’t want a cake as we would have struggled to eat it before we went away, and asked for ‘something with rhubarb in it’ – so I made a meringue, whipped some double cream with a splash of vanilla, made a rhubarb compote from the stash in the freezer, and combined the lot, topped with a few blueberries for decoration. Pavlova has to be one of the easiest desserts to make, but it’s always rewarding! (Ignore the cracks in the meringue, there was a slight accident, but it tasted amazing!)

rhubarb and blueberry meringue

Right, I’m off to pack my sunglasses. Hope everyone in the UK is enjoying the bank holiday weekend; I’ll be back in a week or so!

An hour in the garden…

…is enough to cut the grass (when the cat can hide in it, it has clearly grown too long); dig over a new strawberry patch – closer to the house than the original – and transplant last year’s runners into it; plant dwarf bean seeds; deadhead the lavender (er – last year’s!) and steal ten minutes in the sunshine. Whisper it…but I am also wearing shorts.

strawberry patch

On top of that, I took the opportunity to take a few photos of the spring flowers that are finally in full bloom – better late than never, certainly, but it seems strange to be cutting the grass and wearing shorts whilst looking at hyacinths and narcissi.

pink hyacinths

grape hyacinths

tiny narcissi

Back to the computer now – but only four days until we go on holiday!

Birthdays

birthday presents

May is the beginning of birthday season for us – it’s full of them, and June is just as packed! Sadly for our friends and family, we’re both pretty busy until at least halfway through then, so there’s a limit to how much I can make! I did manage to whip this up this morning (before breakfast, in fact!) – it seems a tad unimaginative as it’s what I made Mum for Mother’s Day, but it’s a quick and easy pattern and it looks so effective  – and I know my friend will love it. She also gets a card as I made a small pile of them a few months ago – I can’t guarantee that everyone this month will get both!

Colour therapy

There seems to have been a common theme to our food in the last couple of days…

yogurt oats and berries

beetroot icecream

beetroot bread dough

That’s yoghurt with oats and berries, beetroot icecream ready to go into the freezer, and a slightly-too-wet-but-ultimately-tasty batch of beetroot sourdough, midrise.

I’m thinking of having a colour theme to every week…

52 weeks: 17/52

It has been another busy, busy week, hence the lack of posts – I’m keeping up with the 52 weeks challenge but I’m struggling to find time to do much else! I’m not going to complain though; in a few weeks’ time it will be exam season and from then on I’ll have too much free time (I’m an academic tutor!)

Anyway, onto the photos.

new rucksack

A bit of explanation is perhaps required. We are going on holiday in just over a week’s time; we’re not backpacking but there will be a bit of carrying luggage around while waiting for boats etc. We didn’t fancy lugging a suitcase around with us so I went on the hunt for a rucksack that would suit us – I won’t bore you with all the criteria I had in mind. This arrived yesterday and fits the bill perfectly. Of course, it isn’t so much the backpack that makes me happy, more what it represents!

reading in the sun

A quick five minutes in the sun with the new issue of Simply Crochet – aah.

cocoa chocolate brownies

Ok, this took slightly more than five minutes. I decided last night that I would make some beetroot icecream, something that I tried somewhere a couple of years ago and fell in love with. Since we came into possession of an icecream machine, I have been waiting to get beetroot in our veg box so that I could have a go myself. Last night however, I got as far as roasting the beetroot, but then Dr Who started – I wasn’t about to miss it to make icecream so I’ll have a go tonight instead! In the meantime however, I made some chocolate brownies for us to have with the icecream. I used this recipe for cocoa brownies ( I rarely use actual chocolate in brownies as we never have it in when I want it!) with a few adaptations and I can recommend it. There are a few left to go with the icecream…

mange tout peas

Finally, the mange tout peas that I planted not very long ago at all are desperately trying to climb out of the window. I haven’t had the chance to plant them out yet, but if I don’t do it soon things are going to get nasty on the windowsill…

*Inspired by Jen at Little Birdie*