Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A Little bit of Drawing

 Hello Lovelies,
On Saturday Mum and I enjoyed an outing to Melbourne in Derbyshire to visit an art exhibition.

 We had a pleasant look around and (as usual) mum got chatting to somebody....and chatting...and chatting. I was happy she was having a conversation with a fellow artist and decided to sneak out and have a quick look around the streets of this pretty and characterful town.

 I stumbled upon a courtyard of shops called Potters Yard

 and took  this photo.

I loved all the interesting angles and wealth of chimney pots, the old bricks and the pretty windows.
The next day, Sunday, was cold and windy and looked like rain. We stayed home and I decided to attempt a drawing of my photo.

First pencil, then pen. Then the really fun part, coloured pencil.

By the evening the picture was almost complete.

Then work got in the way.

 Happily today I found the time to add the finishing touches..Ta-Dah.

I added some people and the cat, as I like to see a bit of life in a picture. I think it turned out quiet well to say I don't practice my drawing skills very often. I have to wait for inspiration, and this spot provided me with just that. I'm sure the exhibition contributed too.

Jacquie x

P.S. I'm not sure about the strange pigeon on the looks like s fish to me :0)
P.P.S. Anybody spot Tom Tit?

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Daffodil Delight

It's been a mostly chilly and often rainy day here today. I set of to walk to the local shops between showers, but  immediately wished I had picked up my umbrella. Despite the damp conditions the roadside Daffodils made me smile.

Immediately my mood improved and I had to stop and capture their cheeriness. There are so many different sorts aren't there. I loved the contrasting colours and frilly trumpets of this variety.

A little further down the road it was the perfusion of blossom that caught my eye.

The florist had a lovely display of spring flowers and the streets felt welcoming and springlike despite the weather. 

When I came out of the shops the sun was even shining a little and the Daffodils by the church glowed.

I loved the mini Daffodils outside the shops.

the under-planting with blue pansies looked so effective.

 And outside the primary school the railings have planters on top. Such a great idea to bring these tiny scented narsissi up to nose height.

 Back home it my own garden the only flowers are yellow. Primroses, Forsythia and of course, Daffodils.

I like to stick mostly with the miniature variety as they don't look so messy when they have finished flowering.

 I love Daffodil season and having the time to really notice all the lovely displays around our village today was such a treat. And, completely by coincidence, I was dressed to co-ordinate :0)

 I do love these flower pins sold in aid of a very worth cause.

Indoors there was more Daffodil cheeriness to make me smile.

A local walk to the shops could have been so very uninspiring, but thanks to these spring beauties it turned into the highlight of my day.

I'll finish this post with my favourite ode to this special flower......

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.” 

Jacquie x

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Baking for a Good Cause

I'm a big fan of baking, and there's always a feel good factor when you bake for a charity bake sale, or to give to friends.
While we were out shopping this morning Eldest told me about a baking campaign to raise money for the very worthy charity Comic Relief. It's called "Bake a Million".

He explained we just had to bake something using Maltesers and then share a photo of the results on any social media platform and  Maltesers will donate £5 to the charity. It sounded too good to be true, but I happily agreed we should join in.

So after putting the weekly shop away I put on my apron and got baking. I decided to keep things simple by using my favourite (fool proof) Cake Recipe 

It's an all-in-one method... bung all the ingredients in a bowl.......

And whizz with an electric mixer......

 I've had this old Philips hand mixer since I was 21 years's almost vintage :0)

I found some old chocolate chips in the cupboard, they went in too.

I do hate to see food wasted, and here's a tip I learnt from Mum. Use a soft spatula to get all the mixture out of the bowl. It's amazing how much more you can get out compared with using a spoon.

As you can see we decided to make fairy cakes.

We bought a Malteser Easter Egg especially to use for this project. Just a small one, it only cost £1. 

Once the cakes were cool we melted the chocolate egg.
 It's very easy using a pan with some water, then placing the chocolate in a heatproof container that fits snugly inside the pan. Simmer slowly and stir till the chocolate is runny.

And here are our finished cakes...Ta-Dah :0)

 Not the most professional looking creations but they were a big hit here.

Youngest came into the kitchen when they were baking and I told him they were for Comic Relief. "Oh well" he said looking rather disappointed. I had to explain that they would raise money AND he could still eat some. How great is that!
I shared these on Instagram earlier today and within an hour Maltesers had left a friendly comment to say they had donated £5 on our behalf.

Woohoo. That felt great.

So why not joint in lovelies? They will donate up to one million pounds to this amazing charity that does good work across the world. It's such an easy, fun way to join in. Just remember to share a picture of your finished cakes on any social media (like Instagram, Facebook or Twitter) and use the hash tag #bakeamillion

Happy Baking
Jacquie x

Friday, 3 March 2017

Hike While You Can

Hello Lovelies,
The title of this post comes from a comment I saw on  Instagram. It accompanied a beautiful mountainous view ( I can't recall where it was of exactly).
It's just a simple phrase but it really struck a chord with me. Hopefully I've lots more years of walking still ahead of me...but who knows. 
Yes, I love walking so much that I'll take every opportunity to Hike while I can.

A lot of the walking in the Midlands I wouldn't really class as hiking because it's so flat...but head to the peak district and that all changes.
OK it's not the Alps but Matlock Bath is known as Little Switzerland, and not without reason.

Yesterday I was happy to get the chance to walk on these hills. We set off from the village of Tansley, and immediately it felt like a hike.

 A steep path led us up into fields above the houses.

Once up high we had a lovely view towards Riber castle ( you might need to enlarge this photo to see it nestled among the trees)

We were in the land of stone walls and stone stiles.

 as we headed through quiet fields.

towards the little Hamlet of Dethick.

Which has an interesting church, with a tower on it's tower.

After descending across fields and through woodland we climbed again. Up stone steps.

Then along the pretty streets of Lea.

I loved this view.

The next footpath was more like a stream.

And it led to some tricky, partly submerged, stepping stones.

Thankfully nobody got wet and were soon walking more through pretty woodland.

 Look at all those green shoots among the fallen leaves. There will be bluebells here in April/May.

Next our route climbed steeply up through fields. Time to go steady and stop frequently to catch our breath admire the views.

Of course the view from the top is best...and a great reward for all that hard work.

A little further along Riber castle came into view again.

How I loved it up here. The sky was blue with little fluffy clouds, and the views were gorgeous.

There was plenty of mud and puddles to negotiate but that just added to the fun.

Ooooh, lovely mossy walls.

and pretty stone cottages.

Here we had arrived at the gates to Riber Castle ( not a really old castle, but built in the 19th century as a family home, by a wealthy industrialist)

I loved the views here.

And the village of Riber.

By this stage we had been walking for about 3 hours. Time for a sit down and a sandwich.

It was  a stunning picnic spot (looking down on Matlock) but a bit exposed, so we soon got going again.

This part of the walk was the most challenging. Super steep, slippery paths. I was so glad of the trees to hang onto.

More steep descent followed....thankfully not as slippery.

Still the sun shone and we felt so lucky with the weather.

Zooming in on Matlock as we got lower.

Another slippery section.

Finally we got to the road and it was a relief to walk on tarmac for a while.

In the valley bottom I loved this Mill conversion.

Then...what goes down...must go up again. Past a still ruined mill we climbed.

 To a steep sided valley, with a gushing stream.

And waterfalls :0)

How I loved the low sun shining on the water and rock. All the recent rain...which had made that slippery mud... also made the falls extra impressive.

More steps led to..

More waterfalls...

The Lumsdale valley has  interesting ruins too.

Above the falls we came to the mill pond.

Such an idyllic spot.

By this point we had only walked about 6 and a half miles, but with all the climbing up, and slip sliding down hills I will admit to feeling tired.
Oooh look a level path.

or maybe not.

Here we stopped to take in the view again. To gaze at where we had come from. Look our lunch spot by the castle.

and the steep woodland we descended through.

You can't get that wonderful " look how far we have come" view on a flat walk...nor the same sense of achievement I feel.

Then it was just a mile or so back to Tansley.

 Who's streets looked even nicer in the sunshine.

 How I loved this Derbyshire hike. It totally tired me out but it was so worth it for the amazing views, the exercise and the great company.

I feel blessed to be able to enjoy days like this.
Jacquie x