If you’ve got children who love reading, then why not take a look at this book? My good friend Maggie Gee’s niece has designed the website for the book and I think she has done a pretty neat job!!! There’s no affiliate link of any kind to this, just wanted to help promote the site Go take a look …….
Well, we were spoilt here down south with some beautiful summer weather this year which extended right into the end of August and the beginning of September. Thoughts of an Indian summer drifted through our heads but then, as always, our hopes were dashed when we were bombarded with rain, wind and a nasty drop in temperature! Autumn has definitely hit us here, although the sun is shining today and it’s warm enough to go without a jacket. But hubby and I made the most of the good weather and headed just down the road to Portchester Castle – a stunning place to visit, right on our doorstep!
Son-in-law made a good move and bought a new digital SLR camera, perfect for capturing shots of Archie as he grows up! He’s produced some stunning pictures and can’t wait to see what else he comes up with ….
On the crafting front, I’ve been busy (as always) and have been working on some hand-coloured cards, using my Promarker pens which I love! I’ve used designs from Lili of the Valley and Saturated Canary, two of my favourite sites for both rubber and digital stamps. None of the cards below are finished yet …..
Cards will be available for purchase soon, so look out for details
It’s blackberry time down here on the south coast, so what better way to use this lovely free fruit than by making blackberry jam which you can enjoy when the cold winter weather arrives? Here’s an easy recipe for you:
• 900g blackberries
• 900g granulated sugar
• knob of butter
Put the fruit into a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan. Add 50ml of water and 1½ tbsp of lemon juice. Bring to the boil.
Lower the heat, then simmer for 15 minutes until the fruit is soft.
Tip in the sugar, stir over a very low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn up the heat, bring to a full rolling boil, then rapidly boil blackberries for 10-12 minutes, until the setting point of 105C is reached.
Remove from the heat, skim off any excess scum, then stir a small knob of butter across the surface (this helps to dissolve any remaining scum). Leave for about 15 mins so the fruit can settle. Pour into sterilised jars, label and seal. Delicious!!
Ok, so normally I LOVE Lush products. I love their ethos and the fact they are against animal testing. Having used a selection over the last few months, I’ve been so pleased with them but I’ve never bought one of their face masks. When I saw this one, The Sacred Truth, I thought I’d give it a whirl, as it seemed to be specifically aimed at women my age!
As usual, Lush delivered in record time (yes I know there’s a Lush store nearby in Cascades, Portsmouth, but I don’t always get time to head over there!!) and I was really looking forward to trying out the mask. When I opened it, though, I have to admit I was immediately put off by the smell! The photo Lush puts on its website for this mask looks so tempting but this just doesn’t do anything for my sense of smell. Anyhow, I’d bought it so it was only fair to try it out. The actual product did make my skin feel really soft and smooth but the smell!! Even to try and improve my skin won’t tempt me to use this regularly, unfortunately …….
But on a brighter note, I also bought some soap at the same time; and this definitely made up for the disappointment of the mask. I could smell it as soon as I opened the box and I just LOVE this – Called “MIRANDA”, this gorgeous scented delight is made with whole fresh kiwi fruits, exotic fruit and flower essential oils and I can’t get enough of it. It lathers well and the fragrance just lasts and lasts. At £3.40 for 100g, the slab was large enough to cut into two. Lush say “This soap was inspired by Carmen Miranda, who used to have a huge hat of fruit. Our soap used to look like that too, but these days we’ve reshaped it and hidden the fruit-shaped pieces inside. First we make two bananas, two oranges and six cherries out of soap – then we hide them inside the block. See which ones you get in your bar”. Well I certainly got one of each fruit in my block!
I’d definitely give this soap 10 out of 10 for both cleansing properties but mostly for the smell. As you can tell, I really, really like how it smells!!!!
By now, your little one will be able to recognize the most important people in her life – her parents! You’ll notice that she responds differently to you than to other people. And you’ll be rewarded for all the hard work you put in as a parent by the heart-tugging smiles your baby produces.
It’s time to stimulate your little one’s senses, by hanging mobiles up in different shapes and designs, over her cot or on a playgym which she can lie under. Make sure any hanging mobiles are well out of reach of your baby! She’ll soon be trying to make a grab for these, although she won’t be able to hold onto any object for very long …
Your baby should be able to hold her head up now, as her neck muscles have developed rapidly. She’ll enjoy being bounced up and down whilst being held firmly and this is the perfect time to introduce her to new sights, sounds and experiences.
Babies learn through play, so forget the household chores for a while and spend time playing with her. Keep a selection of suitable toys, such as brightly coloured rattles, which she’ll learn to associate with both colour and sound. Don’t feel silly singing songs, nursery rhymes or just dancing round with your baby! These are the fun things that bond you and help create a loving family unit. Make sure your partner joins in too and also spends time alone with your little one. If one parent has to work full-time, sometimes it can feel as if they are missing out on so much – so start building special routines into your day which allows them to be a hands-on parent!
Find out more here .…
… I found this piece hidden away in my scrapbooking box: I think I was going to do a page on it but it still makes me smile/cringe/bristle when I read this …… “The Good Wife’s Guide” published in Housekeeping Weekly, dated 13 May 1955 – clearly the era to have been the perfect housewife in!!
* Have dinner ready. Plan ahead even the night before to have a delicious meal ready on time for his arrival. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking of him and are concerned about his needs. -never mind about yours!
* Prepare yourself. Take fifteen minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup. Put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-people - you can guarantee he’ll come in & find you sitting down!!
* Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it – err, so your totally mind-numbing day at home doing housework is just parr for the course…
* Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives - simply shifting clutter from one place to another
* Over the cooler months of the year, you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction - oh really?
* Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet - try locking them in their rooms??
* Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him - you know your place …
* Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours - really??
* Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax - oh honey, I’m so glad you had a good time at the strip club
* Your goal: try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit -
* Don’t greet him with complaints and problems - no, just listen to all of his
* Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out at night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day - that’s ok, honey, you stay out as often as you like
* Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice - hm, he could get too used to this
* Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him - makes me wonder how we’ve been married for 33 years????
* A good wife always knows her place” - yeah, as an equal!
It’s hard to believe that just a few short years’ ago, this was how women were expected to behave as a married stay-at-home housewife, whilst hubby brought home the bacon – which entitled him to rule the roost. Thank god times have changed and most marriages are a partnership. I know which decade I’m glad to be living in – how about you?
It’s hard to believe that our grandson Archie (Leah & Si’s son) turned one last week – where has this last year gone? My lovely daughter and son-in-law have embraced parenthood and are wonderful parents to a delightful little man, who changes each and every time we see him. We celebrated his birthday at the weekend with a small family celebration. Happy Birthday Archie
So, with two weeks off work, I’ve finally had time to do some of the things I’ve been looking forward to – namely, being able to leave my sewing machine out and get on with some sewing, among other things! Today’s a lot cooler so I’m getting stuck in; I’ve got all the doors open and sparrows keep flying into our convervatory, which is really strange but so cute! Perhaps they’re glad of the cooler weather?
I’ve been practicing some freehand machine quilting on a small batik quilt I’ve made; it’s quite a challenge after conventional stitching and the results aren’t always predictable but I’m enjoying it!
I’m just finishing off a quick summer skirt and then I’ll be cutting out another to stitch up over the next few days – so therapeutic
Over the last few months, I’ve also been busy knitting fingerless gloves from my own design, ready for the annual Bank Holiday Fayre which we raise funds at for our drama group. With only a month to go, I’m just about there with a few left to sew up.
I’ve adapted my pattern for adults, children (and also toddlers) and with your fingers being free, they’re easy to wear, enabling you to carry on with your normal day to day jobs without having your fingers bundled up, but also keeping your hands snug!
I’ve also been making some small note boards, which will also be ready for the Fayre and also online.
Just waiting for some new pinking shears to come, then I’ll be making some bunting to decorate our marquee – looking forward to using some of the lovely fabrics in my stash for this
Just some batches of lemon curd to make closer to the Fayre day and then we’re set to go – and I’m still finding time to work at my online business! (and look after my men) Happy days
I love reading about how others live, especially when their lives are in complete contrast to my own. I was delighted when Susan Webb agreed to write a short blog piece for us, as Susan lives a TOTALLY different life to mine! Susan writes about her life on their farm and talks about her late mother and their shared passion for horses.
“Let me introduce myself – my name is Susan Webb. I’m a born and bred Aussie country girl. My home town is Oberon in the Central Tablelands of NSW Australia, just over the hill from Sydney, but in many respects to those who live in the city, from a totally different world. I’m a mum and a daughter – to me, my mother was my best friend, fellow worker and just a great mate. She was someone you could count on at any time.
My mother, Robin, was also a country girl – she was the youngest of six children, whose family moved from Sydney during the war to the Oberon District and became farmers. There are stories of Mum and two elder brothers who, whilst still at primary school, would either ride the horses to school or drive the horse and sulky. I believe that mum was driving when one of the brothers fell out and the wheel went over him!! Didn’t affect him though! I just love seeing these uncles, they are so much fun and ready for a laugh. In my mother’s day, the school had one teacher, one class, from Kindergarten to Year 6 (5yr old –> 12yr olds).
During her younger years, my mother was an extremely talented sportswomen, good at many things – I think it was being a left hander.
Growing up, mum loved horses and this love did not diminish – this led to my love of these great animals and one that I’m passing onto my three girls. My life has always had horses in it – we used them on the farm doing all mustering and just going out for a ride. There’s nothing better than to saddle a horse and to go for a ride. As my husband commented on the other day, “Doesn’t matter how much pressure you are under, I feel so much better after riding”.
Mum and I had a special relationship, as we would often travel together to horse events, often with me riding and mum officiating, either judging Dressage or as an EFA Delegate. During all this time, mum always had time to watch and in her own quiet way, support my efforts. Never once did she criticise me or show disappointment in the level that I was competing at. It takes a special person to be like this! One of the special days for me was seeing mum start riding competitively after many years’ break and come out of the dressage arena with the HUGEST smile and saying “Wow, that was fun!”
Farming families are very different – we often work, play and live together. This is why mum was such a special lady. We would be working on the farm outside all day and then at the end of the day go home and mum would continue to work – keeping the home and feeding us all. Mind you, not much has changed!!
You have to take your hat off to those who go back to study after a break. Mum was one of these, with the paperwork and the need for record keeping to improve, she undertook an Associate Diploma in Farm Secretarial Studies by external studies. This was done over a period of five years. She and I graduated on the same day!
Unfortunately, Robin passed away nine years ago – but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t have a wonderful memory/thought of her. She was such a quiet but strong, determined woman, who was widely respected not only in our local community but throughout the Dressage and Eventing world of NSW. I take comments made to me – “gee, you’re getting more like your mother” as a fantastic complement.
I received a gift shortly after and the quote on it was “Mothers hold their children hands for a short time. Children hold their Mother’s hearts always”
Thanks Susan for sharing some insights into your life and also for giving us a glimpse into the life you shared with your mother!
Susan raises chickens on their farm, something I wish we could do as I love to see chickens running around – and fresh eggs are out of this world! Check out Susan’s site to get your free newsletters on raising your own chickens ….
The long months of waiting are finally over and your baby has finally arrived! Congratulations! No doubt you’ve been surrounded by family and friends and you’ve lived in a bubble for a little while. Then, reality may hit you and you realise that now it’s just you and your baby, dependant on you for absolutely everything ….
Don’t panic! She may seem very fragile but babies are far more resilient than they look. You’ll need to support her head and neck, unless she’s lying down, as her head is heavy compared to the rest of her body. Her neck muscles haven’t developed enough to support her head; this will happen gradually over the next few weeks.
Babies cry – as you will soon find out! As a new parent, it can be frustrating to hear her cry and not know what to do. You’ll soon discover that she’s probably hungry/needs her nappy changing/wants a cuddle. By the time she’s been with you just a few days, you’ll be able to distinguish her different cries and be ready to satisfy her needs.
By the time your little one is a month old, she may be able to lift her head up for a little while when she’s lying on her tummy. Her eyesight has still not developed completely and at times, you’ll notice her eyes don’t co-ordinate properly. This is nothing to worry about and by the end of this first month, she should be able to focus on an object held about six inches from her face. This is usually YOUR face – so let her focus on you as much as you want. Bonding is good!
Dummies or not? It’s entirely your choice whether you give your baby a dummy. Many people are dead set against giving them before the birth, but are happy to let their little one have one if they’re unsettled. It’s a matter of personal choice but babies are soothed by the sucking action and if it helps them sleep, then by all means try giving one. There are many wives’ tales going round about how you’ll never get your little one to give them up; well, in my experience, that’s a load of tosh. All mine had dummies and all three threw them away before they were three and I’ve yet to see a child going to school with a dummy!
You’ll probably receive loads of advice from well-meaning sources but at the end of the day, you know your baby better than anyone else and you should listen to the advice then decide what YOU want to do. One thing I said to my daughters when their sons were born was – “babies don’t come with an instruction manual!” – you have to work it out together! If you’re doing the best for your baby, then that is the best there is; your little one can’t and won’t judge you for the way you do things. Basically, babies only need a handful of things to survive: food, warmth and LOVE. It doesn’t matter to your baby if she sleeps in an expensive, top of the range cot or a budget moses basket; if she is loved, then she has everything she needs to thrive.
Look out for Watch Me Grow! Month Two ..….
We’ll be launching our new monthly article series “Watch Me Grow!” shortly. From birth to your little one’s first birthday, we’ll show you how she’ll develop, what she’ll be doing and what to expect from those first few important months. We’ll also include hints and tips which we’ve personally tried out ourselves.
Bringing your first baby into the world is such a special time but it also brings with it concerns and questions which all new parents experience. Hopefully this series will help you through those first weeks and you’ll realise what a great job you’re doing as parents!
Head on over to the first month here …..
by Lush Cosmetics
Currently £6.25/100g- comes in a sealed re-cyclable plastic tub
I’ve been using this lovely cleanser by Lush for a few months now, which has given me enough time to decide whether it does what it says on the tub. Actually, I’m on my second tub so that says it all …… Angels on Bare Skin is a solid product that turns into a cleansing milk with bits when you add warm water to it. I love the smell – mostly lavender with hints of earthy clay and almonds.
Lush’s blurb on the pot: “evens out skin tone, reduces redness and improves the health and appearance of your skin – giving a natural healthy glow”.
Angels on Bare Skin actually looks like a pot of crumbled clay when you first open it but don’t let that put you off – sniff it and you’ll love it! The kaolin absorbs grease and helps cleanse your skin thoroughly and the lavender flowers not only add a beautiful fragrance, they are astringent too. I’ve always preferred cleansers which you apply to your skin with cotton wool pads, so using this on a regular basis is a first for me – but I love it! My skin feels soft and fresh and I admit to opening the pot when I’m in the bathroom just to smell it, I love it that much!!
To use, simply pull off a small amount of the cleanser and roll it into the palm of your hand. Add warm water and gently knead, then rub over your face, adding more water if necessary. Massage the cleanser into your pores, enjoy the heavenly smell, then rinse off and voila! Your skin will be clean, soft and glowing.
I love the fact that Lush use natural ingredients in their products; the ingredients for Angels are: ground almonds, glycerine, kaolin, water, lavender oil, rose absolute, chamomile Blue Oil, Tagetes oil, benzoin resinoid, lavender flowers, limonene, linalool (these two occur naturally in essential oils). It’s a sad fact that the majority of our beauty products these days contain harmful additives, particularly the more expensive well-known brand names, so if you’re fed up of putting chemicals onto your skin, take a look at what Lush have to offer. Their online service is second to none and you can request samples of products too!
My other much-loved Lush goodie is Ocean Salt which I’ll be doing a review on shortly; combining Angels with an equal amount of Ocean Salt will give you a great all-in-onecleanser/scrub. But more on that in my next review ….
Are you a Lush fan? If so, what’s your favourite product? Leave us a comment below ……