Monday, April 28, 2014

Living Arrows : 17/52

50mm, f/2.8, 1/1600, ISO 160

Despite that mischievous look, he's a good boy this one.

He let us sleep in until nearly 9am on Sunday and that's despite the fact we are all sleeping in the same room at the moment. Perhaps he's as fed up as we are of being woken by builders at dawn every day!

He'll be 2 years and 9 months on Wednesday and with the long weekend coming up we are going to tackle something we have been putting off for a while... potty training!

We've chatted about it, we've got ourselves equipped and we've finally run out of excuses. So clear the diaries and wish us luck, we're going in.

living arrows

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cuca-melons & Land Cress - The secrets of veg gardening

Ever since Jim created our enormous raised veg bed last autumn, I have been meaning to get round to planting some vegetables. My mum and sister both have an impressive track record of growing, but until now our peripatetic lifestyle has meant my own veg growing has been limited.

Then a few months ago just as I was seeking inspiration, I won a place on a beginner's vegetable growing workshop with Francoise Murat at the brilliant Hampshire based Roots, Shoots & Leaves.


I'm not sure quite what I was expecting of the course, but I think I thought it would involve lots of strict advice about how to grow carrots. Instead we wandered amongst Francoise's beautiful raised beds in her kitchen garden sampling exotic flavours of salad leaves like Land Cress & Giant Red Mustard plant, whilst we learned about hardening off plants and creating a vegetable garden that was both useful and beautiful.

Francoise has an infectious but accessible enthusiasm for growing and is delightfully flexible about the "rules" for growing. Every discussion about the method for something would usually end with "but it might work, so just try it..."

Lunch was a delicious harvest from the garden eaten around the kitchen table, whilst we swapped stories and ambitions for our gardens.

Francoise was not just generous with her hospitality and knowledge but also with her gifts. We all planted up three trays of mixed seeds, containing everything from beans to St Johns Wort, but we also left with armfuls of fresh produce and an exciting selection of seeds.

Amongst my haul are the seeds for a plant called the Cucamelon which produces (wait for it) grape sized 'watermelons' - Bonkers! Apparently they are really easy to grow and brilliant in G&T and salads. 

At the end of the day my arms were weighed down with goodies and my head was ready to explode with ideas, but best of all instead of leaving with only good intentions, I now have seedlings of plants which with a little TLC will be the beginnings of my new kitchen garden. Now all I need is for this rain to stop so I can do some gardening.

Linking up with Annie & Hannah today (even though the "adventure" is my own!)...

gingerlillytea Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

House remodel : Week 7

Oops - It appears I missed a week last week!

We are currently going through one of those stages of the build that I was warned about where nothing much looks different, although an awful lot is going on behind the scenes and of course everything is still hiding behind the scaffolding and protective wrap, so photographing it is tricky too.

The oak staircase arrived last week and looks brilliant. It's not going to be in place for a while yet which is absolutely fine by me, the builders can keep walking up and down the ladder in their big boots until then!

We have now been living in two rooms of the house for nearly two months (Gosh!) and though it has mostly been ok, it is starting to drive me slightly bonkers and I am wondering if my kitchen will ever be properly clean again. I even caught myself looking longingly at "before" pictures of the house where we had, what seemed like, acres of carpet to spread out on. All we have now is tiles, laminate and bare floorboards!

In the next few weeks we hope to reach the halfway point of the main structural build and being on the home straight will be a big psychological lift. I am looking forward to be able to find things again, not being woken by the builders every morning and being able to retreat to a corner of the house to have a quiet phone conversation, without apologising for the noise in the background.

We usually have our annual Canada Day party on or around July 1st and I'm quietly hoping that maybe the house will be in halfway presentable shape by then. I haven't told the builder that though...
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Living Arrows - 16/52

35mm, F11, 1/100, ISO 100

I had a choice for today's picture, between a posed shot of Theo with his Easter haul and this picture taken in the field by our house. It was a tough call, but this picture won in the end. 

It very much sums up a moment we are in right now. The field's are in bloom and Theo is obsessed with his bike. We go through this field most days on the dog walk. This time last year he was small enough to be carried in a backpack (can that really be true?!) And six months ago he was walking, but mostly dragging behind. Now the bike goes everywhere even across bumpy ground and he races ahead of me and the dogs, so keen to get everywhere fast. It feels like a metaphor for how fast he is growing.

living arrows

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Friday, April 18, 2014

South-coast Breakfasts : Wellies Restaurant


With the long Easter weekend ahead of us, we decided to start the 4 days off with a hearty walk at Kingley Vale Nature Reserve followed by Brunch at a new restaurant in a converted barn a few miles down the road. It was also a good excuse to escape from the house as our contentious builders are still hammering and sawing away, even on Good Friday.

I have seen mention of Wellies restaurant in a few local magazines and online and it's been on our list of places to try for a while. It's miles from anywhere, literally in a farm yard with fields surrounding it. It's a place frequented by walkers and horse-riders, more than the usual beach-goers and yachties.

They are open seven days and serve evening meals on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays. The main restaurant is quite small, but there's a lovely deck at the back looking out on to a courtyard which is doggie friendly (hurray!)


Our Easter feast consisted off a large full English (for Jim) a small English (for Theo) bacon and scrambled eggs (for me) hot chocolate, cappuccino and orange juice.When we arrived at 11am we were the only people there, but by the time we left it was starting to fill up with people arriving for lunch.

By its own admission, Wellies is off the beaten track, but it's definitely worth seeking out. Amidst tranquil surroundings it feels exclusive and undiscovered and the food is great. We've had a sneaky look at the dinner menu and we will definitely be going back. (It would be lovely for my birthday in August - hint hint!) Visitors to Goodwood or the Festival Theatre could do a lot worse than jumping in the car and heading west to track this place down.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Living Arrows 15/52

bikehat  35mm, ISO 200, F/2.5, 1/2000 

We have some tired eyes in this week's portrait. A dry cough has been plaguing his (and our) sleep for the last few nights and he was running out of steam by the time I got the camera out yesterday.

His bike "hat" is on his head most of the time these days as he's just started to get the hang of his balance bike and is relishing the speed at which he can navigate the footpaths and tracks round our house. It's one of the first things he asks for in the morning and we have quite a battle persuading him to take it off at the end of the day.  

living arrows

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

April's Center Parcs Challenge... Easter nests


This month's Center Parcs challenge, which gives you the chance to win a family break at a Center Parcs village, is all about making Easter nests.

Theo has made loads of these recently. They did some at his nursery, we have made them at home and lastly a third batch with his grandma and cousin Millie. These photos are from that third making session. Our house is currently surrounded by scaffolding which means the light in the kitchen is terrible for photographs, thank heavens for his grandparents bright kitchen!

We eat variations of these Easter nests all year round (off season they are simply "chocolate crispies") so we just switched cornflakes for Shredded Wheat (for authentic nest appearance) and added some chocolate eggs on top... because clearly they just aren't chocolatey enough on their own.


The Center Parcs experts have some interesting twists on the originals, including a diet-friendly savoury celery version. You can check out the challenge page for inspiration and information on how to take part.

I’m a Center Parcs Family Blogger and visited Longleat village with my family. If you want to enter to win a place as a wildcard winner just go to the challenge page to find out how 

CenterParcs Family Blog Club
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