Thursday 23 March 2017

The First Group Walk of Spring

All through the winter my walking group heads out. Week in, week out.
 I do like winter walking (when the weather plays ball and there is not too much mud!) but I am glad it's officially spring now.

Today we even saw the first leaves unfurling on the Horse-chestnut trees.

I loved this super tidy Lodge house.

and I always love a waterfall....even if it's man made.

the passage behind the tumbling water adds to the fun.

We were walking through the Newstead Abbey estate at this point. Oh look, pretty Daisies by the lake.

The ruined Abbey looked lovely in the sunshine.

And the Yarn bombing made me smile.

It was lunchtime, so we sat in the sunshine and ate our picnic. Then I had to try and see if I could get a good photo of a beautiful Peacock who was sunbathing by the house wall.

I got quiet close and he still seemed relaxed.

Ooooh those colours. The blue was so vivid and the iridescent Teal flashes were stunning.

He seemed to be enjoying the sunshine as much as we were.

It was such a treat to get so close to this beautiful bird.

and hard to tear myself away from this idyllic spot.

Most trees are still bare and the woodland was filled with sunlight.

Ooooh, a picture perfect cottage.

There were daffodils everywhere.

and Pink trees too.

The village of Linby looked gorgeous in the afternoon sun.

I really enjoyed today's 10 mile walk and I'm so looking forward to discovering more new walks this spring.
 This will be my third spring walking with these friendly folk...I'm always glad I was brave enough to join them.
Jacquie x

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