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What I’ve been Reading 2019 – The Mystery of Three Quarters, Death at the Presidents Lodging and Echo Burning

I finished The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah and the day I organised my reading shelf. It is a Hercule Poirot written by another author, much like the last few Peter Wimsey novels. This is actually the third Poirot she has written but I couldn’t bring myself to try them! My friend gave me this so I thought I better get on with it.

The thing I find about reading stories with characters originated by another author is that you have to go with it. That is a very woolly way to describe my reading experience I know. From a correctness point of view I think she did a decent job of capturing Poirot. I’m not sure the story itself was as good as Agatha’s but I did enjoy it and I may try one of the others. I’d say that if you are a fan give them a whirl.

Next up was one off my new pile! Hooray. Not sure where the recommendation for this one came from maybe from a reading post over here. Alicia reads and reads and often has blog posts where she asks for recommendations. She likes English style mysteries so I bet I got it from there. Anyway it was interesting certainly. And very ‘British’ and very old fashioned. I also found it a bit complicated and honestly felt I was wading through it in the end. But it’s read.

And yes….oh dear I could not go two months without Jack! I had no intention of picking one up so soon, honest. But I found this in a local charity shop and the purchase means that between my sister and I we have found all 21 novels at charity/secondhand bookshops. We’ve been collecting about a year or so I think. So it had to be bought and then oops…. it was read.

All that said it wasn’t a favourite. Still enjoyable though.

So there we go not too bad a start at least I have one less on that pile.

Layout Share – Room Service

Now you know we love a pizza in this house but truly this pizza was the longest planned meal ever!

Room Service

Here is the story –

When I discovered that a certain hotels did pizza deliveries I knew I had to book one of those. This pizza was a longtime planned but I loved it all the more for that. He was such a good host that Mickey Mouse. Always get pizza delivered. 

Oh my goodness. It was a good pizza. Loved telling this story. Such fun.

Update on the USA album……….Over the last weekend I been scrapbooking like a mad thing and have more pages from this album done. I can’t believe how many stories I have managed to tell from a 15 day holiday! I haven’t quite finished but it does feel so much closer. I am tempted to leave it as it is and jot down the rest of the stories and know that I can come back to them anytime. We’ll see.

I have also put together last years  Week In The Life™ album and two years worth of London trips. I told you was scrapping like crazy. It feels great to be getting the photos in the albums. 

Photo a Day – Week Forty Seven and Forty Eight

Getting towards the end of this year of photos. The season is very, very slowly changing and I feel invigorated by it! Yay. Anyway here are some more pictures from the last couple of weeks.

Blurry but priceless.

Frosty morning visitor. Only managed to get a back view of this Robin.

Amazing frosty morning again and this time I captured a spider web all covered in the frost!

Had to get the bus to work…..

As I mentioned I was away with family over the weekend and I spotted this. My great nieces dressing gown. It took me back to a similar image a few years ago when H’s dressing gown was hung up in a holiday bathroom. I feel an updated scrapbook page coming on!

Local wildlife.

Forest foliage.

Family bowling.

He makes himself right at home at my sisters…..

Fun night with H watching Mama Mia 2 and enjoying ice-cream amongst the dogs.

Back home.

Birthdays……how can she be this old!!

Wonderful flowers to round out the week.

Busy fun times were had.

Checking in this Tuesday

Hello. I am still here! Had a crazy week last week as I was away with family and then we were looking after my niece and pooches at my sisters house.

Her house is like my home from home but living there is simply not like living at home. Very strange but true. I don’t know how folk cope with kids and pets! Hence the lack of blogging I didn’t have the time…..

Couldn’t help share the photo of my nephews Dalmatian. She is lovely most of the time except when she is chasing squirrels!

Photo a Day – Week Forty Five and Forty Six

And catching up at last!

Early Monday morning a couple of weeks ago we were up and looking at the Blood Moon. It happened at 5.30 in the UK. I didn’t get a photo of that unfortunately but it was amazing. I did catch a pretty sunrise sky that morning though.

And a sunny day complete with blossom.

It seems it’s all about the sky this week! On the walk to work….

I bought family members these lovely string bags for Christmas and I had one spare….. Popping my bagels directly into the bag and trying to avoid plastic. Can’t believe shops still think it’s okay to have plastic bags for this kind of produce.

Healthy lunch, not so healthy coffee but at least it’s in a reusable cup and that cardboard sleeve has been going for months!

Walk in the sunshine.

Another dusting of snow.

Waiting in the car for the windscreen to defrost.

But frosty nights bring sunny days and this Hamamelis is always a well photographed subject at this time of year.

Playtime.

I love taking photos from this window. I like seeing our garden laid out and also the trees in the wood beyond. Plus it was sooooo frosty that day.

Documenting the effects of the frost on our salad crops….. These are mostly mustard type leaves and hols up ok to a few cold nights.

I know this is totally blurry but I love it anyway. One of my favourite post boxes, the snow and a bright blue sky.

The bookends of our generations. My Mum and great niece having fun.

And there we have it.

A Breakfast Love Affair – Breakfast Burrito

What an untidy pair of burritos! Our wrapping game is not strong……… Something we must work on. Ever since we wandered into Chipotle in NYC ten years ago we’ve struggled to get this wrap thing right. Lucky for us the imperfection on the outside doesn’t interfere with the delights on the inside.

I tried a modified version of this recipe from Cookie and Kate.

The basis of these burritos are hash browns and scrambled eggs. Kate mixes pinto beans into her eggs before scrambling. I used red kidney beans. I made the hash browns as per her instructions and they were delicious.

When making again I wouldn’t put the beans in with the eggs because I found that the egg mixture didn’t cook evenly around the bean, if that makes sense. I’d probably warm them through separately. I’m not a runny scrambled egg lover…..

I didn’t have any of the spicy sauce or the salsa she recommends and I think they were lacking a little kick of flavour for those been missing. But it’s a learning curve for me!

And I know these two weren’t bothered by the lack of spice………

Not Another Hobby……

Actually it’s two more! Eeek.

Macrame.

And weaving.

Here is the story…….

First the Macrame. Last summer I watched a video through Creative Bug showing how to make a macrame wall hanging. I’d see them pop up on Instagram and was intrigued. So much so that I convinced H we should make one as part of her summer list. That plan didn’t work out but it did get me hooked on this craft.

The photo above shows my first attempts at knot tying. The rope is 5mm, 4 strand twisted cotton. See I even talk the macrame talk now!

Same piece as that first shot but I changed the pattern. It ended up looking like this –

Square and half hitch knots. I absolutely loved making this. There was something therapeutic in repeating the same thing over and over and seeing it grow.

I also saw that weaving was being incorporated into macrame so I had a go at the too….

Same square and half hitch knots but this time I added black wool and some roving to the piece.

That one is much smaller and actually used up some of the left over rope from the bigger one. I hung it on a piece of driftwood found when we were at the cottage in November. Loved the chunkier wood for a chunkier wall hanging.

And now the weaving. I have actually weaved before. I made a couple of wall hangings and a little necklace in 2015. I remember enjoying making them but moved on to other things…… Such is my crafty life!

Enter Instagram again. Added to a request from my sister for gift ideas last Christmas. She fulfilled my wish and bought me a loom.

I raided my box of wool, my Mums supply of wool and bought a few balls too.

I’m keen to use recycled/upcycled materials and after I made the blue and mustard weaving I began to experiment and made one that had our old denim jeans in it. I can’t bear to throw jeams away when only the knees or hems are worn so I have been collecting cut off legs for many years knowing that one day I’ll find a use for them.

The fringe and the two strips were once jeans. I cut narrow lengths from the legs, frayed the edges and wove them in.

I also found a great shop on Etsy that sold organic roving and another that sold recycled cotton cord that is perfect for macrame.

And very bizarrely I saved that horrid nylon netting they wrap Christmas Trees in and I plan to weave that into a large macrame too. I’m quite excited about this as you can tell. I just hope my momentum carries on for a while as I made a very rash claim to H and Gav the other day.

I said that when I’d made ten wall hanging I was going to open an Etsy shop! Oh bother what did I have to say that for?? I have no idea how to open an Etsy shop…….. Anyway we will see where this new creative adventure takes me!

Photo a Day – Week Forty Three and Forty Four

Here are the first couple of weeks of the year.

This is a close up of one of the new apple trees. I love that bark colour. So shiny and interesting.

If only I found ‘downward facing dog’ as easy as he does…… Plus chewing something he shouldn’t be!

The Hellebores are coming.

Winter sky.

Seems it was all about bark! This is one of our older apple trees. Just as interesting but in a totally different way.

And another sky. This one a sunrise.

Amazing Clematis seed heads.

Frost on that wreath.

Scene from my morning.

Trying to have a healthy lunch at work….

And then blowing that by venturing out to a coffee shop that still had eggnog latte on the menu. Oh dear we do love our eggnog…..

Some snow at last.

It stayed till the morning but didn’t last long.

I told you they were coming.

And there we go.

Layout Share – Oh Fun

Another story from the 2017 holiday.

Oh Fun

Here’s the story –

Riding on a carousel was on H’s summer list so we had to have a go right? It was a fav. I loved the simplicity of it, the old fashioned ness. It was magical and non scary! I felt young and full of fun. A real treat.

Loved using this bright and cheerful paper to go with the photo of me on that Disney World ride. Gav did a great job catching me as we twirled round and round. Such a great story to have in the books. Simple but perfect for that.

Click Tick List – Photograph 100 Gardens – Orto botanico di Pisa

When we went to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower we also wandered through town and popped into this University Garden. Said to be the first botanical garden attached to a ‘University’ and formed in 1544 although not on this current site.

It was worth visiting but did seem a little run down. The specimen beds seen in the photo below didn’t have many specimens in them and there were overgrown neglected paths and areas.

But like I say worth the visit anyway.

And we came across this very interesting screen…..

Looked like it was protecting this pine tree from the sun!

And there was a small area with annuals and a sweet wildlife ‘hotel’.

Loved that brick gateway.

Not the best we have seen but another added to my total!