Friday, 23 January 2009


This morning seemed darker and wetter than ever. it has been confirmed, what we already knew, that we are in recession. We've been told at work, that there are no job losses for this year but next year...who knows. Well, I'm fed up with trying not to spend money, the darkness, rain and the bloody economy. So when I saw these little beauties I threw caution to the wind, spent some money and provided a little cheer for my home.

Aah! I already feel better for little hint of spring that these precious green shoots bring. Hopefully, in a few weeks time the heady scent of blue and lilac hyacinths will waft through the house and provide some much needed colour and cheerfulness. Something else that cheers me up no end are these little coffee and walnut cupcakes.

I found the recipe for these little cakes in this wonderful book by Kate Shirazi.

There was an article in last April's CL about this lady, who runs a cupcake making business from home. If you pop over to her website you can see the wonderful creations that she sells.

Her gorgeousl little book has a range of cakes from 'low-faff' (my level) up to 'high-faff' cakes which look far too good to eat. Just take a look here(these two photos are from the book, not my creations sadly.)

and here

...........yum. Well they certainly add a little cheer don't they? (As well as a few inches, but we won't go there).

Listening to this wonderful man perform last night certainly lifted my spirits. Please let me introduce you to Mr. Martin Simpson, winner of the best album in the BBC Folk Awards last year with 'Prodigal Son'.

He was absolutely superb last night. I tried to upload a video for you but alas, Youtube and Blogger don't seem to be talking to each other at present. Martin's song about his father 'Never any Good' took the folk world by storm last year. As the video won't load I'll give you the link here Martin Simpson 'Never any Good'. It's an honest song, not sentimental, but it will give you goosebumps!

I'm off to listen to his album now - that will cheer me up even more!

Have a good weekend everyone.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Recipe for a Perfect Saturday

There's nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning with no-one to please but yourselves. It's bitingly cold outside although there is no frost. It's time to snuggle down in bed with a few good magazines and a mug of steaming hot tea.

Then when it's time to face the day what about a short journey to a local market town with luscious tea rooms

that also has wonderful views from its dining room windows?

It's just the sort of morning that you need a hearty breakfast

and a hot chocolate with all the trimmings.


Once breakfast is digested its off to gaze round some wonderful shops.

The wind is becoming increasingly cold and the skies a more intense grey, so we decide to leave the High Town via the steps into Low Town and make our way home.

Where it's a relief to be cosy in front of a warm fire

with tea and cookies.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Catching Up

January - and today is the day when things begin to get back to normal. No more worrying (as usual) about the Christmas meal being edible. It was fine (as usual) but it never stops me fretting! Today I am on my own and it's time to catch up. There are lots of things that have been neglected over the past two weeks and they now need attention. Now, all todays chores are finished and I can have a little r&r and start cross stitching again. Who knows, the chess board might get completed soon. This morning was a bit of a surprise as we woke up to this.

I should have been brave and ventured out for a walk in the local park to take some spectacular photos but no chance - I'm staying put and staying snug and warm today and I won't even venture outdoors for you lovely bloggers. I might however watch my new DVD, which I won in Annie's giveaway at A Saucerful of Secrets. I love old films and being able to snuggle up and watch a Hollywood romance or an Ealing Comedy, and admire the old stars like Bette Davis and Ingrid Bergman and films like The Wicked Lady and Rebecca.I think today is just the sort of day to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and a good film. I'd love to know if you do the same or which film stars you like to watch.

My wonderful package also included a jar of Green and Blacks Hot Chocolate and best of all, a surprise gift made by Annie herself.

This little brooch is so beautifully made and so individual. I think it will have to kept on display when it's not being worn - so I'm now searching for a little cushion to pin it on, so that it's there for all to see and admire. You must visit Annie's blog and website where you can see her gorgeous home and the beautiful dolls that she makes.

I've got quite a few photos of places we visited over Christmas but thought that today I'd show you some of our Boxing Day walk along the canal.

This is my favourite walk, in summer or winter and it was such a gloriously sunny day you just had to be happy. (Plus the thought of not having to cook a three course meal made me feel even more chirpy!)

As usual there were plenty of brightly coloured narrowboats lined up against the towpath

although today we don't see anyone going through the locks.

It is a day to stay put and keep warm as we watch woodsmoke from the boats curl up from their little chimneys and we see some of the occupants emerge from the cabins to walk down the towpath to the pub.

I'd love a little cottage next to the canal and to be able to watch the boats as they travel along sedately and watch the wildlife in the spring. Of course we see ducklings but we have seen herons and at twilight bats swooping above the water between the trees. All in all I love it here.