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Showing posts from October, 2016

Lightpool 2

A few more of my favourite photographs from our art walk on Saturday evening.

This was probably my favourite of all the artworks, sited in a former hotel (to be turned into an "art b&b" at some point in the future). Each of these drawings of children have been translated into light, three of the figures here were drawn by local children. This was a very melancholy piece, just north of North Pier and where the hustle and bustle starts to fade and with an obscure sea view.



It also made me think about all the former hotels that are now houses of multiple occupation, and of the families living in B&B accommodation with no home of their own. I have no idea if this is the intention of this piece, but it's what it brought out in me. 



I think the fact we were peering through the windows when standing outside in the rain added to these emotions. 


Just across from this hotel on the prom was something a little more fun!


Lightpool 1

Late yesterday afternoon we hopped onto the bus at the bottom of the road, then onto the tram (then quite quickly off the tram again as it was heaving) to visit the Lightpool Festival at various sites around Blackpool town centre. I think I mentioned a while ago we'd visited Grundy Art Gallery to see their current Neon - The Charged Line exhibition (running until 7th January 2017) which features artists including Tracey Emin and Martin Creed. Lightpool goes hand in hand with both this exhibition and Blackpool Illuminations

We took our map and did a nice walking tour of the pieces on display, and what a tour it was, bright lights with just the right amount of melancholy to fit in perfectly in a seaside town. More pictures tomorrow, but I'll leave you with a bit of Bob and Roberta Smith 














There are also live performances in St John's Square (near the Winter Gardens) each night at 8pm. All of this is free of charge. If you do get the chance to visit, if you see nothing else pl…

White (and orange) Month

Sadie invited everyone to join in with her annual "White Month" in November, I am very excited to do so. It's a month to find some peace and calm, to be kind to yourself, maybe a time to sort out a few things in the house, and maybe a time to have a small pause before December arrives with all that it brings. 
Sounds nice doesn't it, even if it's only a couple of things throughout the month, a few seconds taking a deep breath at the back door or something like that, just a bit of time to get back to reality, rather than just going with the flow or being swept along. My white will always be holding hands with orange, they're the colours of home. 
I am itching to start, and by start I mean put a box on the floor and drag my arm over all the flat surfaces to clear them off!

Ready For The Weekend

Our plans for a do nothing weekend have flown out of the window, but it's a good thing. My parents asked if they could visit with "a niece". "Which one?" asked Dan with more than a hint of worry in his voice. "The Princess, not The Wild Thing" I replied, "Phew!" said he. So that's one day taken up in a whirlwind of swings, toy cars, noise and demands for me to perform ridiculous physical feats, should be fun. 

I always have a Friday Blitz around the house, but today things will also go into a box into the garage and more cushions will appear - my house is not child friendly in the slightest, lots of sharp edges and we need plenty of padding for all the sitting on the floor we have to do!

I branched out and made lentil soup yesterday, hardly any spices at all!


Blending a third of the mixture gave it a great texture, something I learned yesterday. 


Another thing I learned yesterday was how to make broccoli taste nice when stirfried - just stir…

Small Things

Five small things that have made me happy this week - 

This sight makes me very happy in the morning. A nice clear sink area. Dan is very good, he almost always does the washing up, but sometimes things are left to drain. But on days like this, as the sun comes up here we are, off to a good start!

I also decluttered a 5kg kettlebell yesterday, I've owned it for about 2 years, maybe longer, it has rarely been used and mainly served as a really ugly doorstop/ something for Dan to stub his toe on. 

I bought an oven glove for 99p from the charity shop, brand new with tags. I only had a pot holder before this so it was a pain (literally) when it was in the wash.

Chatted with some lovely people at the charity shop yesterday. One lady was telling me about the twiddle muffs she makes for various care homes, but also that they now make twiddle aprons, so people don't drop them and can use them wherever they are - what a brilliant idea!

Brushed cotton sheets, so comfy, not good for jumping o…

A Year of Noticing, Month One

On 25th September I decided to start noting down everything we buy.

The first step was to find a book to keep a note of everything we bought, Dan got on board very quickly. I had a part used project book in the junk drawer, so no need for something new and started to note down some of the things I knew I wanted to monitor - toiletries, clothes, books and magazines etc then it was just a matter of waiting until I needed to buy something!

After discussing it further with Dan we decided to track everything, he's keeping an eye on petrol and I'm noting down everything else. October was a good month to start as we had a lot to buy and quite a few things planned so we knew the numbers would be scary - and they are!

Dan's mum was 60 so we spent a lot on gifts and things for her, we spent as much on eating out as we did on groceries! And as for the clothes spend, well that was a lot, but it included a winter jacket for Dan and bras for me - none of which are bargain items. I'm ha…

Cooking Day

Yesterday I started to turn the roast veg into meals. 

First on the list was orzotto, not much veg goes into this, but it's very hearty due to the green lentils and quinoa, the miso gives it a nice savoury flavour. We'll serve this with a drizzle of hemp oil and maybe a blob of houmous or something. 



After




Next was the base for a shepherdess pie, I used fresh veg for this



This will be frozen in two portions and topped with fresh mash when the time comes. The yeast extract really makes this, I can't stand the stuff on its own (although I do really like Marmite crisps) but when it's cooked into a sauce it just leaves a nice savoury flavour behind. 

After




Along came curry


This turned out to be very hot, from the Kashmiri chillies and very dry in taste, but I like it that way for a change. 

After




Finally for today I made a variation of my squash and butterbean pasty filling to make a kind of crumble. We have a couple of packs of naan in the pantry so I'll blitz one pack up and …

Finished Wreath

Sol, I have shared the recipe, such as it is, for the nut roast plait in my reply to your comment. 

I finished the wreath last night and I'm really happy with it. I decided to keep it simple so just added a few flowers and left it at that. It's a really dark morning so probably not the best time to photograph things but here it is.




Food stretching is now in full swing, I did think we'd scoff all the nut roast yesterday but it was really filling so we're having Monday night roast, hooray!

This morning I've rearranged the kitchen cupboards and cleaned the oven (yes, I got up early!) and I'm going to make a start on some batch cooking after another cup of tea. 

Red, Gold And Green

These are the colours of my weekend, along with claret & blue of course (big kiss to Super Scotty Arfield). Along with a great victory we had the pleasure of meeting Speedo Mick, who was there in his trademark blue swimming trunks raising money and doing his bit to kick cancer into touch. 

Today has been very domesticated, Dan has cut the lawn and tried to wrestle as much greenery into the garden waste bin as possible, he's done a grand job but behind the garage is still stuffed with the stuff. We'll get through it eventually! He's also made some bread. I've been in the kitchen too, peeler in hand, dealing with lots of lovely veg. 



Some of it became curried lentil soup 



I'll deal with the rest tomorrow. I kept it simple today only using a few other ingredients, the smoked garlic and tamari were used to roast the squash seeds, but they didn't last very long!



I also used a sheet of puff pastry to make a nut roast plait, or as close to a plait as my slapdash appro…

Unstuck

Thank you to those of you who suggested using nail varnish remover to get rid of sticky label residue.


I wore my new boots last night, but the price sticker was very stubborn. Dan remembered the tip and hey presto, a quick rub and it was gone!

Hero Product

I very occasionally talk about my favourite possessions, the things that really make things easier for me. For the other items so far you can see herehere and here.



Today it's the turn of my measuring cups and spoons.

The measuring spoons are particularly brilliant as they came from a Christmas cracker! I do have a dessertspoon sized one but it's elsewhere as I use it to measure out laundry crystals. 

I use one or more of these every day, it saves messing about with scales as I know what I need for whichever grain or pulse we're eating that day and all that kind of stuff. They were probably the best tool I had when I lost 42lbs in weight a decade ago, they help me to reach things from deep shelves, and of course I use them as a cat scaring device when they get too close to the birds. 

Now I think of it, the chopping block is important in our world too, as well as using it for the intended purpose it's bit enough to cover the hole in the worktop!


The Start Of Something

I know it's early to be thinking about the December Festival, but this little make is for the charity shop, not for me so it needs to be finished in good time, and by the start of next month I'll be dreading the whole event and won't be in the mood.

I'm making a festive wreath. I've wanted to make one for a while but don't need one for here as 1. I probably wouldn't get round to using it 2. my Mum made me one. 

I made a start in the gloom yesterday and this morning I've started to adorn it with flowers


The hoop cost £4 and the glittery ribbon was 49p, I'm after some gold beads, hopefully a necklace will show up at the shop, and I may be able to have a look in the button box for some extras, everything else will hopefully come from my stash so with any luck it will cost less than a fiver.

I am in two minds about making something to hang in the centre, what say you? Any other advice welcomed.

Baby It's Cold Outside

Cold War, nuclear winter that is. 

I wanted to visit the recently revamped York Art Gallery and ceramic arts centre, but whenever we plan to visit York we never seem to quite get there. So to sweeten the deal and make sure we didn't end up somewhere more exciting instead I suggested we visit the York Cold War Bunker. For anyone familiar with York but not the bunker, it's in Holgate, just off Acomb Road, really easy to find and right on a great bus route, but it's also walkable from the train station and city centre if you're reasonably agile. 


At just before 10am the gate slid open and we were allowed inside. 


The bunker was operational, on a voluntary basis, from the 1960's until 1991 but only in active service, thankfully, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. 


All tours are guided, and it's a good thing, our guide Emily was so knowledgeable and made it far easier to understand the what, how and why of the situation. The York bunker is the only bunker remainin…

Home And Away

The final questions for now. 
This was the first question to arrive, and the hardest to answer, history is not my strong point, I know shamefully little about history in general, in fact I always say all I know about the 20th Century comes from the Billy Joel song We Didn't Start The Fire! Still, I'll do my best and I do thank Sam  for making me think so hard. 

Would you talk more about your town or village - unique aspects, history... what brought you there or has it always been home?
Until I was asked this question all I knew about the history of St Anne's on the Sea was that it grew out of a fishing village in the late 1800s, is a planned town aaaand that's about it. If you say to anyone from outside the area that you live in St Anne's no-one will have a clue where you mean, if you say Lytham St Anne's people will have a small chance of knowing, if you say "it's next to Blackpool" pretty much everyone will know! Luckily for me someone else has don…

The Furry Family

Today's question comes from Melanie from follybird.
When did you adopt your first bunnies and what made you decide to do so?
The buns we have now are not our first buns but they are our first rescue rabbits, before them we bought two rabbits. The first one was the most beautiful black Rex, I saw him in a pet shop in the teeniest cage where he's be put on his own as he was being bullied by the others. He was soooooo gorgeous and he loved me so much We only had him for a very short time (10 days) and I don't even have a photograph of him. One night he was running around and I noticed that he had a huge wound on his side, we bathed him and took him to the vet the following day where he was treated but he died.
I was utterly heartbroken and even though that was in 2003 I can't think about it without crying and I still have his little mirror and bell hanging in the pantry. Yes, I should probably deal with my emotions about it but there you go! Straight after that we got anothe…