Saturday, 31 March 2012

On yer bike luv!

Steve says I check out old-fashioned bikes with baskets like builders check out young ladies in short skirts- I'm officially a bike perv. I bought a bike basket over eight years ago, did you hear that people... EIGHT YEARS! I was waiting for the chance to put it on some beautiful old bike I would buy. 

Fast forward eight years... I still don't have that bike and I don't really have the spare cash for one. So a couple of nights ago, Steve just put it on my dad's old mountain bike. No it doesn't look cool and vintage but you know what- I don't care! Maybe one day I'll have a beautiful bike but until then, I'm living the dream on this bad boy!

{PS- I was collecting Ben from school (he took the photo) hence my back pack!}

Monday, 26 March 2012

Sunday Summary- Pretty Spring

Spring! It's here! The clocks have gone back and the sun is out! Doesn't life just seem prettier in the springtime?

{Pretty open toe shoes- with very pale toes!}

{Pretty bright lippy- MAC Girl About Town}

{Pretty food board I bought from the Living North show}

{Pretty much everything at Living North show was pretty, but also pretty expensive- hence only one purchase!}

{Pretty shadows and pretty magical to be out at 6 pm on a spring evening}

{Pretty... funny! Ben looks like he has found a lady who has fallen down a hole! Really, this was me lying on my belly relaxing in the sun yesterday evening in the park}

Overall, a chilled and lovely day. Kim had free tickets to the Living North Show-link! from work so we enjoyed checking that and and then we relaxed in the park for an hour.

Happy belated Sunday everybody- hope you had a pretty good day!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A Little Party

I wanted a low key family party for my 30th so yesterday we just invited family over for a party tea. As my birthday was a week ago, it was a little belated but it was lovely nonetheless: 

Special thanks to my mum for all her help with the food, to Steve and Ben for all their help with the preparations and the tidying and to all those who came and helped us celebrate.

PS- I also got the best birthday present ever from Simon and Kim yesterday but I can't share it with you for another couple of months (wink wink, nudge nudge)! 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Birthday Weekend (Day 2)

Sunday we managed to lie until eight (wow) which was a lovely lie in. We tidied the caravan before saying a final goodbye to the view (well, at least until Easter).

We drove to Windermere and as the weather had improved, we walked down to the beautiful Bowness on Windermere- link! We didn't last very long before we decided to stop for cake- well, it was my birthday after all! 

We then took a slow walk round part of the Lake, enjoying a picnic on the way. 

After we ventured into a couple of shops, no purchases were made but a free mask from Joules lead to one of the most surreal photos...

Sadly, all good things must come to an end but we couldn't complain too much when the drive back looked like this:
A thoroughly lovely birthday weekend. Tomorrow we're having the family over for a belated birthday tea. 

In terms of being thirty, so far so good!x

Birthday weekend (Day 1)

Last weekend I waved goodbye to my twenties and welcomed the wonderful thirties. It was a beautifully relaxed weekend in the Lakes and I can't believe it was a week ago already!

We arrived late on Friday with pretty awful weather and went virtually straight to bed. That was fine though because we woke in the morning to this view:
{Ben and I on the decking at the caravan}

We all woke up at six (grrr, curse you body clock), so headed out early to Kirkby Lonsdale- link! It's a pretty little village with gorgeous shops and coffee shops. We explored the beautiful graveyard which was reminiscent of a Gothic novel:

We went on a walk by the lovely river and Steve and Ben went 'off road' for a bit while I was a wuss and stuck to the path.

After, we stopped off at Low Sizergh Barn Farm Shop- link! which is a wonderful place we've visited several times. There is a wide range of fab food, a lovely walk and, depending what time you get there, you can watch the cows being milked or watch them have their dinner. Brilliant if you have young ones.

After, we popped into Kendal- link! and walked by the river and stopped at the park; it seems crazy that we managed to fit so much in but I guess that's the joy of waking at six!

I had a wonderful surprise party thrown for me on the evening- I say surprise... Steve 'suggested' I go for a lie down for a bit (well, it's hard to surprise anybody in a caravan).
{There were presents}
{There was cake}
{There was an AWFUL lot of party games}
{There was ridiculous facial hair- lack of clothes is due to over heating from party games}
{Excuse that I look a bit disheveled after all of my dancing}
{A birthday kiss}

All of this and I wasn't even thirty until the next day!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday Summary (and a question)

Firstly, before I tell you about the weekend, a question for you all: how do you decide if you should blog about personal matters? Something happened this week that is pretty major but I'm unsure whether to share or not? How did you all feel about sharing the more personal aspects of your life? Do you ever regret posting about them or have you made the conscious decision not to?

Anyway, back to the weekend...

This morning we went to my friend Nadia's allotment to meet her ducks/ chickens:

{You'll notice Ben now has short hair after a second incident of him 'playing hairdresser' occurred at school! We had to take him for a severe chop.}

Ben is eager to go back again and spend some time there doing some digging and enjoying a picnic- sounds like a grand plan to me!

Afterwards we met with four other families from Ben's school and had a great day at Woodhorn Colliery- link! We had a great time playing football, finding out about coal mining, eating a picnic and enjoying a ride on the miniature steam train.
{Me, wind swept and enjoying the train ride}

{The beautiful modern structure juxtaposed with the traditional}

{A brilliant day!}

{Spot the ball- you won't spot the women as we were all stood chatting at this point!}

I'll try to post a bit more often this week, but as I said, we've been thrown a bit of a curve ball and 'normal life' has taken a bit of a back seat.

Can you believe next weekend I turn thirty? Happy weekend folks.x

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Going Potty!

This week has been manic! Monday we had Steve's uncle over for dinner, yesterday Steve's mum was over (and bought me the sweet jug below), tonight I was at fat fighters Slimming World (I'd stayed the same this week which is a miracle considering the food consumed over the weekend), tomorrow we're at the ballet for date night and then Friday my mum is over for dinner as my dad is climbing in Spain- phew!
In half-term we went pottery painting and (being the organised person I am), I just got round to collecting the finished pieces at the weekend. I went with my two friends and their little ones, despite us paying to paint the pottery, the kids played for ages with a small box of toys in the corner- ain't that always the way?
I was lucky enough to feed the beautiful Jose (my friend's newest edition), who is just one of the most placid, happy babies I've ever met!
I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me a touch broody! I'm sure I wouldn't have felt that way if she'd squawked her pretty head off the whole time but she was a dream. Ben also had a taste of what it would be like to have an younger brother or sister...
He coped admirably- bless him. I think he was worn out when we got home though. 

Soooooo, what did the final things come out like?
I painted a simple pattern on a mug with 'Sanderson Smith' and some hearts/ kisses on whereas Ben opted for a funky car. It was a fun day and Hotpotz- link! do adult-only evening sessions... which might be nice for next time.

It's Wednesday folks- well done for surviving half way!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sunday Summary

Yes, it's a less than an hour before midnight but hey, at least it's still Sunday! This weekend was lovely but was also a 'blink and you'll miss it' kind of weekend- where did it go?

Saturday morning I was up with the larks and out for a cheapo haircut- we're trying to save cash at the mo so I had to refrain from my normal £100 cut and colour to the £9 local salon dry trim. The fringe is a touch severe but hey ho, it'll grow in! After that, it was off to the local garden centre where we bought Gizzy the king of all dog beds! This Joules number should be £70 but it was 25% off, plus we had £17 worth of points from their loyalty card so overall it was quite a bargain (although Steve is still horrified I paid £35 for a dog bed- I'm arguing it's better quality and will last three times as long).

I'm not going to lie, there are points over the weekend where I've debated climbing on it myself! The design is so cute, I wonder if he'll dream of chasing after pheasants on his three legs!

The rest of the day was spent doing (oh the thrill) housework, but I didn't mind too much as we had a lovely treat in store later- I cooked a tasty Jamie Oliver Thai curry and then Steve, his parents and I went to see an opera as I got cheap tickets through work (£6 each!), it was a beautiful evening.
{Making vampire fangs out of Wine Gums during the interval- don't say I'm not a classy gal!}

This was the first opera I'd been to where they had subtitles- it made such a difference. It was 'Madame Butterfly' and the women in particular were astounding. We've loads more theatre this month which is handy as there isn't any TV (PS- Steve and Ben resisted the football!)

Today we had friends over which was lovely, the children played beautifully and it was just very relaxed. Later, we visited Great Grandma, did some more housework, did some marking and finally, I wrote out my party invitations! I really need to get a shift on with organising bits for my 30th!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! If only they lasted forever!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Lent Update

So, when we gave up TV for Lent, I hoped to get loads of crafts done and spend my time doing something, well, more valuable. So far, I'd say I've done that 50% of the time. I've...
Made Easter Nests (when it's not even Easter yet)!
Got a bit more work done on the long stitch I started for my dad over a year ago!

Aside from the above, no TV has had some positive impact:

  • House is tidier than normal
  • Lots of bubble baths
  • Earlier nights= more sleep= happy Rachael
  • Reading lots of lovely books
  • Went to a Zumba class I'd never been to before

But there has also been a few negatives:

  • Restlessness- sometimes I just need to watch rubbish and unwind
  • Hefty investment in trashy glossy magazines- for when I just need a quick fix of brain junk
  • I can't contribute much to some conversations: "Ohhhh, did you see the final of Masterchef?" Mmmmm, let me think...That'll be a no then!
  • I haven't got any more school work done than normal (I hoped I'd be totally up to date). There's something about marking a pile of exercise books at ten o'clock at night that just doesn't appeal- TV or no TV!
Ben and Steve are to be truly tested on Sunday when there is a derby football match on the TV, I'm very curious to see if they fold under the pressure!

One things for sure, I'm going to be watching a lot of trash TV on Easter Sunday evening!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Feed My Family! (Dale Potato Pie)

This is yummy in your tummy, comforting, filling and tasty without being stodgy or fattening- perfick! 

Low fat
Easy as pie (cringe!) to make

Long (ish) cooking time
Personally, I've always found squirty cheese a bit creepy

You'll need (to serve six):
800g potatos (peeled)
one cal cooking spray (or similar)
600g fresh spinach (I'm not a fan of the frozen stuff)
Salt and pepper
480g Primula Light Cheese
2 x 28g bags of tortilla chips

To Make:
1. Pop your oven on high and boil your potatoes for 20 mins (I won't patronise you with an image of this!)
2. Wet your spinach, spray a pan with the one cal and pop the spinach in. Heat it for a couple of minutes until it's just starting to wilt.
3. Spray your oven dish with one cal and place half of your spinach in a layer.

4. Slice the potatoes about half a centimetre thick and layer half on the bottom of the dish (ideally you wait until they cool as they cut smoother but I can never be bothered and don't mind if a few crumble).
5, Squirt half of the Primula over the top (I use a spoon to smoosh it around and yes, I know smoosh isn't a real word but it describes the action perfectly!)
6. Repeat the process: spinach, potato, squirty cheese.
7. Crunch up the tortillas and layer them on the top.
8. Cook for forty minutes until it is golden and bubbly.
9. Enjoy- yumma yumma! 
Hope you don't burn the top of the tortillas like me! Happy Friday everyone. x