Sunday, 19 October 2014

Apple and Ginger Pancakes.

A favourite Sunday breakfast is pancakes in our house. Whilst Finn is more than happy with Nutella and fruit (bananas, berries etc) I like to do something a little more sophisticated for the grown-ups...
This week I combined two of my favourite flavours, apple and ginger. served with Greek Yogurt to cool down the ginger they were delicious.


For the apples,
Two apples, cored and chopped.
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp caster sugar
knob butter

For the pancakes,
I make these so often it is done without scales & measures  - it is mostly by eye.
4 tbsp flour
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
milk to mix

1. First make your mix. Put the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Making a well in the flour and break in the eggs. Mix together, it will form a sort of paste. Little by little add milk, mixing well to form a smooth batter. Add enough milk to make a batter that is the consistency of double cream.
2.Whilst the batter stands, chop the apples (I like to leave the skins on for the look and the nutrition) sauté them in the melted butter, ginger and sugar. it should take a few minutes only for the apples to soften. I like the fruit to have a bit of  bite.
3. Now it is just a matter of cooking the pancakes - I use a hotplate - and then assembling the ingredients.

They are a wonderful way to start an autumnal Sunday. It is, of course, always good to have a pot of hot coffee on hand.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

This Boy

Finn is 11 today. Finn is 11 today. I have to say that twice to truly believe it.
This boy who surprised us so much. We had three children at school why would we want to mess up our lives with a baby? If I am honest I spent the first three months looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I was scared and worried about being too old. However as soon as we got used to the idea it became the best idea in the world.
Now my baby is almost a teenager, in attitude if not in actual age. He is funny and happy and full of curiosity. This boy has brought us so much; as soon as he entered the world all five of us felt our hearts grow and now it feels like he was always meant to be. He is our darling boy.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Silver Birch

Last week we had a large load of wood delivered as part of our preparations for winter. Some of that wood was silver birch, one of my very favourite barks.
I carefully peeled the bark off of some of the logs so that I could make bark candle holders. I simply wrapped the bark around different sized jars and used good old garden string to secure it in place. I think that they are rather beautiful.

Oh how I love October, more than September. I love the colours and the way the sunlight slants low through the trees and the donning of warm jumpers. It is my wedding anniversary month, so for me it is also the month of celebrating love. There is much I want to do this month:
* Make an autumn wreath like I did last year
* Watch my baby turn 11 and wonder how that happened
* Wave Myles off to his second year at uni
* Put soup on the menu
* Take time to notice the leaves
* Dress the house for winter
* Take a trip to Florence. I am so excited about this last one - Mark and I haven't been away on our own for so long and it is going to be wonderful to spend four whole days, wandering those beautiful streets, being inspired and talking.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

London Calling

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Wow September went in a flash didn't it? I am really not sure what happened there. My famous balance went out of the window as work totally took over my life. Ah well - it goes like that at times...
Thankfully I have wonderful family and friends and though I struggle to accept that I need help at times they know me well and insist that I take time. Although some head for the hills, for me London is a place of release, a place to be me. The place I was me before career, family and my wonderful children took over.
 I loved my trip, a homage to Liberty, an evening in Soho and a wander around Borough on a beautiful Sunday morning; all this with two wonderful friends who I have known for so long that they feel like family. As I sat on the train home I was tired but rested all at the same time. Do you know what I mean?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


One of the things I love about walking at this time of year are the treasures we collect to bring home. One of my all time favourites are conkers. I love their sheen, the cool smooth feel of them in my hand. This Sunday's walk also delivered a haul of beautiful damsons - almost 2kg and we left the branches laden still. Just as soon as I get the chance there will be jam made. I love autumn.

September Mantel

August never did get a mantel of its own - most of the month was spent in Ireland and we were too busy being outside to be much inspired by inside. However September heralds the start of Autumn and my very favourite time of the year.
I felt the changing season demanded a different colour pallet, something more natural and subtle than the blues and greens of summer. I had foraged some wild oats on a local walk and have begun to collect pine cones, like I do every year. They will remain dotted around my home for all the winter months as they have done for years on end.
Another regular autumnal ritual is to light candles and surround myself with the gentle, scented glow that they give off. It is these regular rituals that offer comfort and prepare me for the months ahead; the months when you want your home to wrap its arms about you.

Vintage Sheet Addict has also blogged about her mantel here. Do pop over and see her lovely, crafty blog.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Around Here Lately

Things have been very quiet in this little corner recently, term started and work exploded into a frenzy of planning, introspection and meetings. It has taken me two weeks to re-establish a work system that allows me to draw boundaries and to separate work from home.
After the first week I was a very stressed and finding hard to relax and it was Mark who took things in hand; he forced me outside and we headed for the hills. As always the hills worked their magic balm on me and reminded me of all the blessings in my life and the magnificent place that I live in. Getting outside and being in nature is always good for the soul...

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Back to school

I have been thinking about my wardrobe a lot recently and at the end of the summer holiday I started a major clean out. I have always been drawn to the idea of a capsule wardrobe but I am finding myself wanting to own fewer and fewer clothes. The ones that I do own I want to be hard working and of great quality and of a simple, classic design.
Just before term started I pulled out all of my clothes and had a really good look at all of them. Out went anything that I didn't enjoy wearing, was looking tatty or was uncomfortable to wear. I also banned the 'just in case' items - those occasions never seemed to happen anyway.
It is still a work in process and I am sure that there are more items to lose. However there are some gaps; I need a skirt and a plain grey jumper and a new pair of winter boots.  So. some lovely shopping ahead of me then!
What I have loved about this process is the clarity of knowing what is in my wardrobe. I have found getting dressed so much easier and now feel comfortable in everything I own. That's got to be good surely.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Wild joys of Living

I am lucky that my job allows me a wonderfully long summer holiday and I put aside four weeks where I luxuriate in doing nothing work related and in the space that is left there is the joy of simply

I am finding it hard to give that space up this summer.

 For the past two weeks I have been dipping into work with results, data and meetings plus working on next year's strategies and how I can lead my lovely department into something awesome. Already I can feel work cares pulling at me, sleeplessness at 2am is creeping back in. I need to get back to the routine, remember my need for balance and never forget to make the time for those 'wild joys of living'. Don't you love these lines from Browning? I am putting them up in my classroom to remind me every day.