Month: May 2014

Photo a Day – week eleven


Oh where did that sunshine go? Gloomy, rainy photos with a few bright sparks amongst.

Like bagels for breakfast.


I was happy wandering along on Saturday then it started raining, again!


A few of us went out for my older nieces birthday.


It was a lovely break in the weather for some of Monday which was a Bank Holiday here in England and we took advantage of it by lunching outside.


But it seems that sitting outside brought on a cold. Here is my herb tea, which I only ever drink if I have a cold.


Driving home from work caught a little set of roadwork signs.


I resorted to the wellies on our walk on Thursday.


So hoping for the sun to return soon.

Bloom 3.0 – Cetranthus and Viburnum


The most wonderful thing about Viburnum opulus is that it’s three plants for one! You start off getting the bright acid green tiny pom-poms which morph into big fluffy white balls of mini flowers and then the berries in the autumn. A perfect shrub.

When I stepped out into the rainy Tuesday all I knew was that I wanted some of those snowballs in a vase. I cut the other flowers/foliage because they seemed to be the only stems available.


As well as the viburnum the arrangement also includes geranium macrorrhizum, alchemilla mollis buds, sweet william buds, cetranthus ruber and the delicate little pink flowers are saxifraga umbrosa.

I was wondering, as I arranged, if florists wire the stems of the viburnum when the heads get this big because you can see how most of these snowballs are flopping. If anyone knows the answer to this please let me know!


Loved how this little jug of flowers turned out. And I have loved joining in the flower arranging fun hosted by Erin over at Floret. It has inspired me to look everywhere in my garden for little gems to use in bouquets and I love seeing everyone’s arrangements.

30 Vegetarian Pizza’s – Pineapple and cheatin’ Ham


Here is number seven! And both Gav and I agree this is a new fav.

I hate to admit that I got the idea from a Pizza Hut recipe. It is many, many years since we had a pizza from there but this one stuck in my mind. Not that we ever ordered it because it has ham on, but I always wondered what the combination of ham and pineapple would taste like.

We have our usual tomato sauce. But for the base Gav replaced about a 80g of the white flour with wholemeal – don’t say we never ring the changes!


We used the pre-grated hard mozzarella and Quorn ham with small chunks of fresh pineapple.

I really like mixing sweet things like raisins with savoury food but Gav does not so I was very surprised he liked this so much. The Quorn ham stood up well to being baked and still tasted like it usually does and the pineapple was sweet and juicy. Mmm… could eat another slice right now. The wholemeal flour wasn’t distinguishable although you sort of knew it was different to normal.


We will be adding this to our regular rotation of pizza toppings, it was delish.

Photo a Day – week ten


We had amazing weather to start the week and then horrid weather to finish. I managed to catch a few photos along the way.

The last pot of Tulips to bloom.


Another sunny day to find a spot to bake himself in….


Breakfast outside.


Gav is always making something! I think this is to do with the garden watering system…..


Spotted this Ivy on our morning walk.


Monsieur le frog. We have them all over the garden and they pop out and make me jump but they are so cute! This one was teeny.


European and local council elections. It is our little tradition to walk to the polling station together and vote.


And there goes another week.

Bloom 3.0 – Tulips and Viburnum


Like I said last week I just had to pick some more Viburnum opulus while it was still that zingy green.

Here are the ingredients I used. Tulips, which I admit I bought, but they were in the bargain bucket so I saved them really! Viburnum, euphorbia oblongata and cerinthie major. Don’t know if I mentioned it before but the cerinthie self sowed and lasted the winter. That doesn’t usually happen up here in Leeds but I am glad it did and am taking advantage of the early flowers.

As usual I seared the stem ends of all but the tulips in an inch or so of boiling water for about 30 seconds.


I toyed with the idea of a smaller vase and on reflection wish I had gone with smaller but hey ho.


I do need to step out of my arranging comfort zone a bit but this is still lovely even if not full to bursting.

And don’t forget that there are plenty more flowers to look at through Erin’s challenge over here.

Bloom 3.0 – update mid May


I’m back to share another little update on this flower growing project. After years and years of seeing this technique used to support perennials and other flowers in the border I have finally given in and am giving it a try.

At the bottom of the garden there are currently four large raised beds where we have grown vegetables for the last few years. Gav wants to move the site of the greenhouse down to this part of the garden so the two beds on the right hand side were going to remain empty this year so he can get started with the foundations of the new greenhouse.


But that seemed a shame. All that lovely space wasted. So I have commandeered one of the beds for flowers. Above you can see where I removed half of the black plastic that has sat over the soil all winter. The wonderful lush growth to the left of this bed is one of the three rows of Sweet Williams. I am waiting, not too patiently, for them to burst into flower.

Covering the soil with some barrier like black plastic may not look pretty but it keeps the weeds down and that means that it is quick to dig over. Here I lifeted the other side of the plastic and there are only weeds growing around the edges of the bed.


I added a trug-full of garden compost to the right side after digging it over.


Then I planted up the left side with Centaura cyanus, Ammi majus, Calendula officinalis and Salvia viridis.


And because I have all that space I wanted to try out this way of supporting plants just to see if it really does work.


The net isn’t quite as taught as I think it should be but hopefully it will work.


I shall plant the other side up in a couple of weeks when I can put out some of the half hardy annuals and I’ll keep you posted on the outcome of my little ‘supporting’ adventure.

Enjoy, look forward, repeat.


I was thinking about this subject the other day and smiling to myself. I thought I would share and then maybe you can smile to yourself too.

I look forward to things. Simple things that involve the two of us together, Gav and me.  Like the other Monday when we had our dinner of  veggie ‘dawgs’ and beers with the opening day of the baseball. Or our silly conversations about going back the US or living somewhere else or re-planning the garden. Or our almost weekly pizza nights, where the dough is always late getting started and we are ravenous by the time the home made delights are ready.

I look forward to the same things over and over and over again. Like watching episodes of Elementary together or reading nights or enjoying a cup of tea/coffee together in the garden.

I may not be an adventurer. I may not embrace life to the fullest. I may not have everything I’d like in this life.

But I have those times, simple and fun. Entirely repetitive and entirely ours.

Let’s celebrate them and remind ourselves of those times because there are there when we look and are just waiting for us to wrap our arms around them and indulge.

Layout share – Give us a super hero pose


This is the last of the batch of layouts I made a couple of months ago. Now the weather has warmed up it’s all garden and planting rather than creating with paper and photos. But it all comes full circle.

Here is a fun little story from the Florida trip.


We were waiting for my sister and brother in law to go on a scary ride at Universal Studios. Gav spotted these painted pictures and took H over to pass a few minutes taking photos of each other doing a super hero pose. But she just didn’t get it. It makes for a great story though.


I love, love using the hand-drawn lines to write the journalling on. It make the layout free flowing and punchy, if that makes sense!

Simple embellishments of enamel dots and stars with a few word stickers. I kept the papers and colour scheme simple because the photos are vibrant. The two yellow papers are from the Say Cheese collection from Simple Stories.

30 Vegetarian Pizza’s – Ricotta and Asparagus


It took some doing but I convinced Gav we should try a ‘white’ based pizza. We have had them before very, very occasionally. There were a few stems of asparagus in the fridge so I hunted for a recipe to use them up. This is what I found.

I followed her recipe pretty much to the letter and we loved it. Okay, I loved it Gav said it was okay for a change……..


Mixing the parsley and garlic into the cheese was a great idea and gave the base that flecked green which looked good and tasted good too.

I will be trying ricotta as the base again, definitely!

Photo a Day – week nine


London then back to reality. Although if reality is pain au chocolat for breakfast on a Tuesday count me in!

When we arrived at Kings Cross we went to find this very famous platform. There was a big queue to have a photo taken and H didn’t fancy it. But at least we saw it.


I love the tube! Never seen this sign before so I had to snap it.


St Mary-le-Bow Church. Another first for me. It is said that if you are born within the sound of Bow bells you are a true Cockney. We were even lucky enough to hear them chime too.


A beautiful view on our morning walk. Last Monday the light was right and the greens were perfect and the sky was a dreamy vision all set off by that brick wall.


Those delish pastries.


A quirky sign on the road to work.


An amazing Aquilegia.


There we go. Till next time.