A Catch Up

I am sitting writing this (and hoping it will save as I have no wi-fi) in the car in the middle of a field near Sandwich in Kent. I realise this seems a little strange, but I can explain. Mini Mister fell asleep during our drive out here, and since his routine is totally out, any time he actually naps at the moment is a blessing. Hubby had to sit in the car with him yesterday, so it is my turn today. At least I have all the windows open and there is a lovely strong breeze blowing through to keep us cool. It has been rather too warm the last few days for me (and the children, to be honest, as it makes them more crotchet than usual). As for the where, well, the picture shows my current view, Richborough Fort.

Richborough Picklepiemama

Richborough through the windscreen

We last came here when Maxi was a baby (and bumped into the then Archbishop of Canterbury in the shop/exhibition), so decided a return visit was needed. It is a huge open area, with loads of Roman ruins and plenty of space for the kids to run around. Since we are staying near my Dad’s place (and my middle sister and her family are staying with Dad) we have 4 smalls between us to entertain. This should keep them occupied for a bit (well except Mini, as previously mentioned). Richborough was the site of a huge port until the area silted up. The coast is now further away and the fort has fallen into ruins. But the remains of the Saxon walls are impressive (the Saxons used the remains of the Romans fort to build their walls).

Richborough Picklepiemama

Spot the child – Maxi in front of one of the walls at Richborough (picture courtesy of Hubby)

So, a catch-up. Yet again, I have not been writing my blog as often as I should. But it is the summer holidays and we have been quite busy. I have worked my way through some of my sewing projects whilst Mini has been at Nursery and Maxi has been either at football camp, Playscheme or his grandparents’ place in Suffolk. Some housework and clearing out has taken place, but I still have loads to do. I have attempted some baking and making, but since I am following Slimming World, I haven’t tried that many cakes and biscuits. I have, however, discovered that quark is quite good for mousses, learnt how to use powdered and leaf gelatine, rediscovered how many different kinds of dishes can be made with 0% fat Greek yogurt (sweet and savoury), and eaten my bodyweight in fruit and veg! Some experiments didn’t work well and need tweaking, some we never want to eat again, but mostly they have been successes. I do get through an awful lot of fat-free yogurt though!

Summer visits with the kids have included soft play in various places, the beach in Southwold, a few castles (we are planning on another this afternoon, and yet another tomorrow), RSPB MinsmereThames Chase Forest CentreThameside Nature Park (Essex Wildlife Trust), a railway exhibition, the East Anglian Transport Museum in Carlton Colville, the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (all the way out to the power station at Dungeness), the Sealife Adventure in Southend, and a theatre trip with Maxi only to London to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and hunting Dream Jars near the theatre. We have read a lot, done lots of crafty things, been paddling in pools and the sea, got muddy, got very tired, caught the sun, poured sand out of clothes and shoes, got through a lot of suncream, and had a lot of fun. Me and hubby even managed to get a night away to go to Birmingham so I could go to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC (so much creativity in one place was truly inspiring – and I now have even more projects lined up…).

Anyway, I think I will wrap it up there for the moment, and go back to sewing hexies. Mini is still asleep, so the above image may be my only view of Richborough today 😊

Blog Every Day in November – Something New About Me

Blog Every Day in November badge

The 1st November. I had originally decided to start my new regular series of A-Zs, covering lots of different areas of our interests, to coincide with the 1st if each month. Then, in a mad moment, I signed up to do the Blog Every Day in November challenge (BEDN), courtesy of Elizabeth at Rosalilium. Since I was having a minor writing block, I decided to combine the 2.

The inspiration for the A-Zs came from Carol’s recent posts at The Writeful Mind. I did originally think about trying to do 1 a week, but that is probably pushing it, so I am going to aim for 1 a month, possibly 1 every couple of weeks if I get ahead of myself (hmmmm…). This is on top of blogging every day this month, and working, and having a young family. Double hmmmmm…..

A-Z 1: Me!

A: Anna – my first name is actually Anna, but I am not usually known by it. My sisters are the same. Our parents put our usual names in the middle. I am quite used to being called it though, and will answer to it quite happily.

B: Ballet – Mum took me to see my first, Giselle, when I was 6 or 7. Can’t wait to take Maxi and Mini to see their first ballets

C: Coffee cake – my favourite!

D: Dog – who is nearly 41 years old!

E: Essex – My adopted county. I have lived here since I started teaching. Contrary to popular belief, it is not full of air-heads with big hair, white stilettos and fast cars. And we live in a gorgeous little village in the southern part of the county

F: Fabric – OK, this isn’t a new thing about me, but I am utterly obsessed with fabric, especially Riley Blake, Michael Miller and Robert Kaufman fabric

G: Girls’ Own – I collect old Girls’ Own school stories, especially The Chalet School series by Elinor Brent-Dyer

H: Helvellyn – One of the fells I have climbed in the Lake District. I still have Scafell Pike and Bowfell to do, so really need to get fit enough again to be able to manage them. It has been more than 10 years since  I did both Helvellyn and Great Gable.

I: Icing – I used to love icing in all its forms. Since getting into cake decorating, I have gradually gone off it. Except coffee or mint buttercream. I could eat them quite happily. It will be a sad day if I go off those. But the rest I can do without.

J: J Names – J is the most prevalent starting letter of names in my immediate family. Me and my sisters are all J’s, one sister is married to a J, hubby has a J somewhere, my youngest nephew (to date) is a J, Maxi’s middle name, that of my oldest nephew and my brother-in-law are all Js, as was my mother’s. There are probably more!

K: Kent – where my family comes from. Dad moved back there, and my youngest sister and her hubby live not far from him.

L: Lemonade – I drink vast quantities of this, but it has to be sugar-free and definitely not have aspartame in it (so, in fact, I can only get it from Sainsburys and M&S)

M: Malta – where I was born, although I am not Maltese

N: Necklace – I used to make jewellery for myself. I still have all the bits and pieces, including some gorgeous beads. I really ought to have another go at some point…

O: Oboe, Gabriel’s – by Ennio Morricone. I walked up the aisle to this, having fallen in love with it a few years before. I sat in a cold car, listening to it on Classic FM, not knowing what it was called, but even then I could see me walking up the aisle to it. It was played by organ and trumpet for our wedding.

P: Pedantic – I am!

Q: Quiche – I make good quiches, even if I do say so myself. Mmmm, maybe I should make a quiche this week…

R: Recorder – the first instrument I learned to play. I studied Renaissance and Baroque recorder as part of my degree. My other instrument (other than Voice – see V) is piano

S: Suzanne – my wonderful mother, who I still miss every day

T: Teacher – my paid job

U: University – I spent 6 years doing a variety of courses, all at the same Uni

V: Voice – my main instrument, and the one I have done most of my training in

W: Witches, The and Watch, The Night – my favourite sets of books from Discworld, from my favourite author, Sir Terry Pratchett

X: X-rays – I had vast numbers of these after I fell and smashed my arm into bits a few years ago

Y: Yolks – I hate runny yolks. Eggs need to be well-done, although I will accept slightly soft for boiled or poached eggs. And scrambled eggs must be silky and soft and definitely not hard and over-cooked. I am a bit fussy 😊

Z: Zzzzzzzz – I am always tired, even when I have slept well. And yes, I know having 2 small children automatically induces tiredness, but I was like this pre-children. Luckily, the boys love their sleep too 😊

Monochromatic Beauty

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Monochromatic.”

PicklePieMama, New Zealand

Across Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook Aoraki, August 20th 2007. Taken by me on a mobile phone camera.

One of my favourite photos ever! I find it inspiring, but also prompts a sense of calmness every time I see it. I use it as wallpaper on my computer, although it blurs a lot at that size, since it is quite low resolution.

Inspiration – The DP Photo Challenge

mum embroidery

Embroidery, beading and appliqué pictures created by Mum

I enjoyed completing the photo challenge last week, so thought I would have a go at another. This week The Daily Post have gone with the following:

Inspiration : This week we want you to show us what inspiration means to you.

mum cakes

Cakes created by Mum in the 1970s, with no amazing sugarcraft tools or ingredients, no formal training, and definitely no internet tutorials. The chocolate owl is mine and I have never forgotten it!

Last night I wrote a very long, meandering post that was trying to be clever. I thought better of it and will just leave you with these collages of a tiny proportion of the wonderful things my Mum made when we were very young. They inspired me and my sisters to have a go, and continue to do so.

Here’s to you, Mum. I hope we make you proud!