Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Treacle Market October 2013

I did a quick visit to the very lovely Treacle Market on Sunday, really with the only purpose to pick up something from Jane's store for a friends birthday this Friday. I made a promise to myself that I would only spend 30 minutes at most and really just pick up and go. Well the good news was that I actually only spent 25 minutes there, but unfortunately for my pennies I just couldn't resist a few purchases! Just before I left I spotted this very lovely dress makers mannequin that dates back to the 1930's. Now some of you might remember that back in May I bought a gorgeous French dress makers mannequin all the way from Paris for a complete bargain, well if I or my doh had any doubts, this just confirmed it, especially seeing that it was carrying a hefty price tag of £235. I was home just in time to escape the increasing winds. Fortunately the winds on Sunday were nowhere near as bad up North as they were down South or across Norther Europe for that matter and I my heart goes out to all those people left without electricity and for the 15 people killed across Northern Europe, you can read more here.

So here are the bits that I picked up at the market, a lovely old knitting needles roll, which intend to put to good use next year, a lovely basket, pretty tin and some gorgeous lavender from Normandy.

The kids are back at school this week and I am beavering away sewing bits for the end of November. Later today the preparations for Halloween will start, with carving pumpkins, and doing a spot of decorating, which I will share with you at some point tomorrow or Friday. For anyone doing any baking this week, which I suspect might be pumpkin related, do link in on Friday for my Friday Bake, which will soon be changing to 'Weekly Bake'. Just before I go a big and warm welcome to my new followers and thank you to everyone for all your sweet and lovely comments, I really enjoy each and every one of them.

Happy Halloween

Friday, 25 October 2013

Friday Bake - Marmalade Tea Loaf

Is it just me or does time seem to go so much faster the older you get?! Is it because we try to pack more in or is it simply because we have so much more to do?? Or is it that as we get older we start to love life just a little more and we want to get the very most out of it?? What are your views on this?

Today is the last day of the school holidays so I have had my little helpers in the kitchen and credit where credit is due these two worked up a storm, well yes a storm of dust and mess shall I say, but not without some rather terrific results, but before I start going into the messy details, I just quickly wanted to give you a glimpse of this wonderful book, which to be honest I thought would act as the perfect antidote for knowing that we are all feeling a little blue that yet another wonderful series of the Great British Bake Off has come to an end, boohoo! Well done Frances, I was super chuffed that she won, she is super talented.


This  book is a wonderful compilation  of recipes from the ten home bakers that took part in the GBBO of the Summer of 2010. The book is divided into seven sections, 'Biscuits and Teatime treats, Bread, Tarts and Flans, Pies, Cakes, Puddings and Fancy Pastries', so there is something here for everyone from bread to Coffee and Walnut Cake and oh my Lemon Meringue just to name but a few. I also really like the styling in this book as it has a lovely vintage vibe to it and I think there is something lovely about recreating some of those wonderful GBBO bakes.

Today with small hands around, we opted for something really simple that we could throw in a bowl, mix and pop in the oven. Firstly we made  'Mark's Sticky Marmalade Tea Loaf', which is made with flour (in my case gluten free), butter (or pure olive spread), ground ginger, sugar, mixed nuts, eggs and marmalade. Little J mixed it all in for us, then some fingers attacked it before it got put in a loaf tin and popped in the oven. I love finding recipes like this, they are hassle free and so easy to pull together and I think we all need a little book for last minute cakes, this will most certainly be in mine.

It bakes in the oven for one and a quarter hour, which gave the kids time to make some chocolate chip cookies. Now back in the day my little guilty pleasure most certainly was to indulge in those delicious and giant white chocolate cookies that only Sainsbury's can get right in my opinion, well whether they inspired these or vice versa, these 'Jumbles' are the bizz. I am not sure whether it was the promise of white chocolate, but there was control, precision and complete concentration in a tremendous team effort to get it all made on their own from scratch. J read the recipe and assisted Es with the numbers when they got a bit 'big', there were no quarrels about who was stirring or adding what, it was a smooth and slick operation and at the end there were two very proud kids ready to pop their dollops in the oven.

So how did it all turn out, well all in all it has been a rather enjoyable and rather fabulous Friday Baking day.

Some marmalade was added on after the bake as instructed, just to make it 'bittersweet' and having sampled it I can confess that the flavours work really well together. I love the flavour and texture of the mixed nuts, I used hazels, wallnuts and peacans, but you can use whatever you like. What makes this a rather special tea loaf is the contrast between the ginger and bitter orange. I am most certainly NOT a marmalade fan per se, I wouldn't choose to put it on toast or anything like that, but I have discovered over the years, that I do really like it in cake. Now if you are not a fan, I also think this cake would be delicious without adding the marmalade to the top and only adding some to the cake mix, but to be honest it is all a matter of taste. All in all a very enjoyable tea loaf.

As for the 'Jumbles', the feedback was complete silence for all of two minutes before the begging started for the next, but unfortunately they will have to wait till tomorrow for that. Full bellies = happy kids= fifteen minutes for Ma to enjoy a cup of Rooibos and a slice of delicious tea loaf.

This week has signalled the start of the 'Christmas' countdown so to speak. I've ordered our turkey, yeah I know!! and then today I received my monthly Country Living magazine, and with it was a rather marvellous treat, A five week festive guide to help you to stay organised in time for Christmas. I am most certainly a list gal, I like a plan, as much as like things to be rather impulsive at times, but for Christmas I like to feel organised. For me there is just too much going on with school nativities and social gatherings to feel flustered and really by the time schools close I want us all to get into the Christmas zone, therefore relax and unwind. So this little booklet will undoubtedly be put to good use and I love the fact that it comes with some rather lovely recipes as well.

This weekend will be a fairly quiet one for us, I will try and get to the Treacle market on Sunday and I still have bulbs to get in the ground thanks to all this rain we've been having, but I haven't been feeling to clever this week, so we will just to have to see how the wind blows, speaking of which, apparently we are in for a big storm this Sunday in England and Wales with forecasted winds of around 80mph. I truly hope that it is nothing devastating. What do you all have planned for this weekend??
Thank you for all your sweet comments about the arm warmers, you are all very lovely and hopefully at some point I will try and put the pattern on my blog for you to use, but it wont be till December. Just a quick note on the Friday bake before I go and prepare our tea, if any of you would like to link in your bake(s) at any point in the week, please feel free to do so. I have named it Friday Bake largely because that is the day I bake, but I know that some of you would like to link, but the day just doesn't work, so please just link it in at any point during the week there are no rules here. The idea really is just for people to get some inspiration and recipes and there is really nothing more to it. Maybe I should call it Weekly Bake, what do you think? I will give this some thought. For now it preparing our tea for tonight, which will be Chilli. I have recently started to add some chorizo in the pot and oh my what a lovely flavour it adds. 

Wishing you all a very enjoyable weekend.
Warm Wishes

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Crochet Arm Warmers

This week I was determined to have a go at crocheting some arm warmers with some kinda shell stitch, so without a pattern and my trusty Handbook of Crochet Stitches I set to work using this lovely Rowan Tweed Aran that I've had in my stash for quite some time now and I figured 50g would do the job, but oh how wrong I was, half way through the second arm warmer my yarn ran out, isn't this just the most frustrating thing ever??!, but did that stop her? NO NO NO! for she 'cried ooh and whoop and wheee come and see oh ha-ha-hee' she's having fun delving in her stash to see what other goodies she can find oh ha-ha-hee (oh Tony Milton I blame your brilliant book  'Down by the Cool of the pool').  So yes she, who was me found some lovely Twilleys Freedom Wool, oh boy and how I love this stuff. I used it a great deal when I  started crocheting, it is super soft and thick and I love the depth and lushness of this lovely Icelandic wool.

Once I had figured out just what I needed to do with the first attempt of working with Tweed, it was plain sailing and actually quite an easy pair of 'mitts' to throw together. I worked the second pair a little longer in the arms, because I prefer them to be both hand and arm warmers and I also think they look rather trendy a wee bit longer. This wool worked up a dream and I love how it shows the shape and pattern of this beautiful close scallop stitch.

This is the finished arm warmer in Tweed, it is really lovely and thick and I am sure it will be super cosy to wear in the colder months, but my favourite by far is the Twilleys, not just because I absolutely love the colour, but because I love the texture and definition of the stitch.



I am super happy with how they have turned out and I will be making a few more of these for my stall at the end of November. Joining in today with Marianne from Ladybird Diaries and Chrissie from Chrissie Craft for the weekly CAL. Wishing you all a very happy and creative week.

Warm Wishes

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

My Pa

Today I just quickly wanted to write a small post about my Pa, 'die man van daai jare' (the man from those years) as I used to call him when I was a little girl and somehow it has gotten stuck and to be honest it seems that I am never, especially now, going to live it down. I am so super proud of him as at the age of 68 he has just passed his test to become a spinning instructor and not just passed, but with flying colours. I reckon cycling is in our genes as both my brother and myself love the sport and even though Pa did it when he was younger he never did it on a professional level, maybe he missed his calling, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

At the age of 60 he got himself a new bike and started to do races, pretty amazing right, well in fact I think it is uber cool! He packed in race after race, quite a few in excess of 100km and he loved it and just wanted more. This all during a time when both Ma and Pa were going through a very stressful phase in their life and after many years of struggling, they finally moved back closer to where I grew up to be with my brother and his family. Unfortunately Pa's job doesn't allow him to do any races now, but instead his new fix has become spinning and so over the last year he has become so popular to take on spinning classes, that they asked him to become a qualified instructor and this week he was awarded his certificate after a gruelling physical and written test. Now if that's not cool enough, he is also busy doing PADI Open Water. Just goes to show it is never too late!


I just wanted to say Pa, I love you and you inspire me. You are amazing!!!!

With all my love

Monday, 21 October 2013

Weekend Wonders

It has been such a wet and grey weekend here in the North of England, but not without its 'sunny' moments. Little Es made the transition from balance bike to pedal bike and did her first proper cycle on her new bike. We were all as proud as punch, especially her.


We enjoyed some dry spells on Sunday where I managed to enjoy a little bit of crochet edging whilst soaking up the view.

During this time the gang went for an explore and the doh kindly brought back some photos for me to enjoy. It's funny the things you miss, but for me walking is a big one as I used to walk daily, but I am confident that I will get back to it one day.


 Enjoying a romantic meal out with the man I love courtesy of good friends.

Hope you have  all enjoyed a good weekend?! I have been grabbing a few minutes here and there to do a little sewing and making, trying to get a few bits together for our village gifts night at the end of November. I will hopefully be back with a glimpse of my sewing space but for now I've got kids to get to bed and all that.

Warm Wishes

Friday, 18 October 2013

Friday Bake - Banana and choc chip muffins

Today has been the start of the school holiday for us and seeing that today is bake day the kids wanted to get their hands and  erm yes the kitchen dirty!. We always aim to be as frugal as possible and use up everything without much waste and bananas are always welcomed when it comes to baking in our house. We all love banana bread/cake/muffins, and the kids were more than happy to make banana and choc chip muffins today. We have tried and tested quite a few recipes over the years to achieve a good muffin, and going on the kids reactions today, these might very well have surpassed them all. Yes, you've guessed it we yet again referred to our latest compilation of recipes, the simply wonderful Simply Baking from the National Trust, which I have mentioned a fair bit over the last two weeks and it is  fast becoming a firm favourite with us all as is their Complete Country Cookbook, so if you want to grab yourself a bargain head off to WHSmiths and grab both these wonderful National Trust books for a tenner.


These two monkeys did it all on their own with a little guidance here and there. It is a super quick recipe to throw together and the end results are pretty good, so I am told. This weeks bake was the full dairy and gluten monty and to be honest I think my waistline is rather grateful.


This Wednesday we celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary for which I did a simple, but wonderful 'Old Fashioned Chicken Pie', from the Country Cookbook. We had a meal as a family, like we do every night, but it was special, because eight years down the line our love has grown beyond anything we could possibly ever have imagined and I feel so incredibly blessed to have found my soul mate, my best friend, the love of my life and the most amazing father to our children. We didn't want to celebrate without the kids as they are now part of the bond and that makes it even more special. I filled a jug with the last of our blooms from the garden and I even had a very small drop of wine, something I very rarely do these days and it sure was fun.

This morning the kids had their hair cut and we enjoyed a lovely lunch out and then spent the rest of the afternoon doing a little drawing and playing. It's so lovely to have them home and I think they are loving staying in their pj's and being able to unwind.
This fab parcel arrived today and I can't wait to start working up a few projects from this lovely new yarn. Unfortunately I haven't done much hooking or stitching this week and suspect this pattern will continue till after the school holidays. For now it is reserving energy to spend with the kids.


Our weekend is looking rather busy, but in a good way, spending time with some friends and a few birthday parties for the kids. What do you all have planned this weekend?? Thank you for all your lovely comments on my fairy and also a warm welcome to my new followers.

Warm Wishes