Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Just a quickie

Just dropping in to wish all my readers, lurkers, commenters and followers a very Happy and Healthy New Year. Be kind to yourselves and treat others how you would wish to be treated.

We are having a quiet one. The kids are off out to various parties. Mum, Looney brother and his lovely lady are coming here for pulled pork and brownies and I shall probably spend the latter hours of 2014 stressing that my remaining teen is being the sensible lad he usually is.

Much love from Peapods xxx

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook December Edition

Hello lovelies,

I'm linking to Simple Woman's Day Book for one last time in 2014.
I love blogging but my life just isn't that exciting to provide me with blogging fodder on a daily basis and I'm sure that you lovely people don't really  want to know what I had for dinner each night or how many times I've been to the loo in a day!!  (And if you do then don't admit to it!).  I therefore use the Day book entries to provide useful blogging prompts.  There are many others taking part and here's the link if you would like to check them out too
Outside my window:-   it's dark and the skies are very clear. There are some patches of the garden which haven't thawed all day and remain white with frost.  Brr quite frankly!

I am thinking:- how glad I am that the cat is now being tolerated by the hooligan hound so much so that Charlie cat walks underneath him and steals his biscuits!  I never thought I'd see the day.

I am thankful:- for friends.  I had a lovely cosy catch up over toast and coffee this morning with Madam P and a barking mad hilariously non-sensical text convo with S this evening.  You can't beat it!

I am wearing:- a big super fluffy cardigan, a black tunic dress, black leggings and mad socks.  I am the height of fashion don't you know. (The height of fashion looks like a fluffy oversized black bird with bright pink feet just in case you were wondering.  What can I say? Vivienne Westwood designed me)

I am creating:- hmm let's see. A ripple blanket, (about a month old) another ripple blanket, (about a year old) a Celtic Christmas cross stitch (approximately 8 years old), a wildlife cross stitch (about a year old), a friendship journal (started about four months ago), several canvasses (anything from six months onwards), nappy cake and a nappy owl (3 months old and now smelling of damp shed so I can't do anything with them), several unfinished pages in an art journal (nearly ten months old), a bag (about two months old and still on the sewing machine), a granny square blanket (about three years old) and yes,  I have outed myself as a serial unfinisher of works in progress.  One is suitably shame faced.  A bit.  Maybe.

I am going:- to try harder!!!

I am wondering:- what new project I can try in the new year.  Cough.

I am reading:-  Harry Potter and the philosophers stone; Frankenstein;
The return of the hippy by David Luddington and Free Country by George Mahood.

I am hoping:- for a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year for all of us.

I am learning:- that perhaps I shouldn't try to do more than one thing at a time.  Particularly as I have the attention span of ..... oooh pretty lights...erm, what was I saying again?

Around the house:- the last vestiges of the festive period remain. It will soon be time to pack another Xmas away with its memories until next year.

In the kitchen:- remains of the home made lasagne we had for tea, and an orange blossom candle burning in the window.

I am pondering:- what flavour ice cream I should attempt to make tomorrow. I have a new Xmas nifty gifty gadget!

A favourite quote:- "all that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost, the old that is strong shall not wither, deep roots are not hurt by frost"  Tolkien.

One of my favourite things:- at the moment my Kindle Fire. I love it!!

A few plans for this week:- having the famaloonies around tomorrow for pulled pork cobs and home made ice cream.

A peek into my day.  Charlie cat loves his new bed although methinks he could have done with a slightly larger model.

Love love!!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Random Shopping

Hello lovely bloglies. Thanks for visiting me and a big hello to my new followers. **waves a mince pie**

Feeling a little stir crazy today we decided to venture into town to see what they were giving away.  Not a lot, it seemed. I'm sure the shops buy in a load of tat to make up their sales stock.

I did, however, come home with the most random bag of shopping ever.

A cast iron stags head, a pot of purple hyacinths and a huge leg of lamb (which had been reduced in Aldi to just £5).

Top that!

Yep it's a slow news day here at Peapods!  Hey it was either my shopping report or nothing.  Consider yourselves lucky!!  ;)

See you soon!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

My wick-ed obsession.

I was putting away some Yule gifts today and the sight of this little haul made me smile. Anyone would think I have a candle habit!

This little lot should last a couple of weeks at least!

I've been a little more productive today than I have been of late. I set to and spring cleaned my craft shed.  Again!

It's become habit to shove stuff in there when we are blitzing the house and then it never sees the light of day again. At least I can see the desk and floor again. It was becoming a little damp from lack of use so I've left the heater on low for a while to try to dry it out a bit.   I'm hiding the bloody keys too so it can't be used as a dumping ground!

Whilst I was tidying I found so many unfinished projects I was quite ashamed. Perhaps a resolution should be to finish them all before starting anything else in 2015.


Saturday, 27 December 2014

Snow Envy

The anticipated snow forecast for yesterday began around 4pm. It started as sleet, then thickened and became huge flakes, quickly covering the already sodden ground. By 6pm there was a good covering and I was beginning to get excited.  I adore snow. However by 8pm it had disappeared again, washed away by driving, miserable rain.  Boo!

Today I've sat snuggled up in my armchair, reading blogs on my kindle telling of snowmen and wintery walks - I'm so jealous.

Oh well. Winter ain't over yet. Hopefully we will get six foot drifts on the evening of January 4th, I shall be snowed in and will have to stay home from work.

Mother Nature?  Are you listening darling? !

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Berry Nice

What else would you do on Xmas morning but thread a cranberry wreath and hang it on the feeding tree for da boidies.


It looked pretty in the sunshine too!

Hope you have all had a lovely peaceful day.

With Love xxx

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

One is not amused...

That'll teach him to drop his fur in my coffee!!

From our house, 
To your house, 
Compliments of the Season, 
Peace, Happiness
and whatever you wish for yourselves
With love,
from Peapods 


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

Blessings to all visitors to Love from Peapods as we celebrate the return of the light.

I brought home a Yule branch and some Hypericum berries from town today for my little altar and added some ivy and evergreen from the garden. We ate some of the Yule log and lit candles as the light faded and then snuggled down for the afternoon to watch Narnia on the tv.

I still have two and a half days of work left which I could really do without. I just want to be at home now with my family. I hit hibernation mode at this time of the year and being somewhere I don't want to be irritates me!!  Ah well. Needs must when the devil holds your purse strings eh?

Love and light

Friday, 19 December 2014

A day in the life of ...

It's been a rather surreal day today.

Lunchtime saw seven of us sitting around a table in the training room eating a proper Xmas dinner from a polystyrene box, thus:-

 Overheard in a store :-

Who restocked this rail?

I did why?

Cos it looks like Stevie Wonder did it!

Oh.  Well I don't know who you're talking about cos I don't watch telly.

Seeing these:-   why in the name of Noddy Holder would you need a slipper boot with a pocket for your mobile phone?

Battling the ravening hoards at the Merry Hill shopping centre where the dementors live, then sitting in a coffee shop purchasing something from Amazon.  Oh the irony!

Seeing two swans a swimming on the canal this morning, getting excited (me not the swans) then feeling let down because there should of course have been seven swans a swimming at this time of year. 

As an aside, it has become apparent since lunch time that I should only consider sprouts as costume jewellery from here on in. .

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Getting into the spirit of things.

It was our departmental outing for Xmas lunch today.  Boss man decreed that we must all wear something festive or be prepared to do a forfeit of  singing a carol.

Well you know me.  I don't take orders very easily and apart from that, no Xmas jumper ever made would contain my boobage without giving the effect  of a rather overstuffed sofa.

So I wore these instead.

Sprout earrings. 

No-one is going to tell me that sprouts ain't festive!



Monday, 15 December 2014

I shouldn't complain really ...

Although I moan and complain about the office politics and the endless meetings ( as in - let's have a meeting to discuss what we said in the last meeting in case we forget about by the time the next meeting occurs), I guess I'm lucky to have very generous employers.  We have just received a very nice bonus thanks very much (although the taxman did a little victory dance too I should imagine), and we also have a choice of a John Lewis hamper or twelve bottles of wine to the value of £100 as a Christmas gift.  Once each month we finish work half an hour early and are treated to a glass of wine or beer and nibbles in our "atrium" which serves as a large meeting place for informal get togethers. With our department having recently moved to a satellite office it was good to see familiar faces and have a catch up.

Today we were treated to hot mulled wine and mince pies whilst a choir formed by work colleagues serenaded us with carols. Now carols leave me cold because of the heavy religiousness of them all. That aside though my goodness the choir was good. They almost raised the roof with their soaring descants. It's very interesting to see your colleagues doing something else other than the job you associate them with.

I let my guard drop for a few minutes and nearly became quite fond of the old place.

Nearly.  But not quite.

I blame the mulled wine.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Day of rest

Yeah right!  Me bloomin' legs am dropping off and I can't stand up straight!

Washing, drying, crumble making (apple and cranberry with oaty crumble if you please), roast beef dinner making, furniture moving, present wrapping, Yule tree erecting and decorating, aged parent entertaining, bed changing, lazy Sunday.  I'd like an extra day to the weekend please. 

Here do be the tree.  

Loves it I do. 

I do hope your Sunday has been productive - but chilled and lazy is superb too!!


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Winter is coming ...

December Saturdays were meant for snoozing after the savage 6.30am alarm calls of the preceding week.  That was the plan anyway.  I had designated the bedroom a 'Do Not Disturb' zone until at least 9am.  It was still dark when Man got home from work, bringing me gifts of  hot coffee and freezing, ice block feet.  I was warm and drowsy, happy to drift in and out of snoozedom for a good while longer whilst he got his head down for a couple of hours.  I hadn't reckoned with the buzzsaw of his snoring however.  There are some noises I just can't tolerate and that's one of them.  Bless him.  He crawled into bed knackered and zonked out almost immediately, his coffee cooling on the bedside table.  As sleep claimed him, I became wide awake and lay gritting my teeth and pretending to ignore it for a while.  Nope.  I defy anyone to doze when they have the equivalent noise of a jet engine next to them.

I got up (in a bit of a huff if I'm honest), looked outside and saw that Jack Frost had been at work.  I had  plenty to do at home, but had a bit of a 'sod it' moment,  and so donned boots, my fluffy cardi and a scarf (yes I had other clothes on too - I'm not that brave, and neither is the rest of the world at large!!) and, after feeding Charlie Cat and Charlie Chicken, let a deliriously happy Hooligan Hound out into the field.  

Ooh it was so beautiful.  The kind of morning when the clarity of light is diamond sharp and the frost is so heavy it stands up in discernible crystals on leaves and fences. 

The ground was hard, but the watery winter sun had already begun to thaw it in places.  In patches it was slushy.  In another few steps where a shadow fell,  it was crunchy.  Slunchy maybe?

Here's some pics:-

A thawing puddle

I love the way these ivy leaves were edged with frost, like someone had taken a glitter pen to outline them. 

Needless to say my mood had improved when I got home. Another mug of coffee, a trawl through blogland and a browse through my photographs and I was as good as new!  

Can't say the same about my poor old boots though!!

See you soon! xxx

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Where on earth have I been?

Cooeee. I'm peeking from behind the curtains to see whether anyone is still there.  Thank you for your emails enquiring as to my whereabouts.  Truth be told I've been in a bit of a no man's land recently having lost direction a little.  There has not been much to blog about really, nothing that would make very interesting reading anyway.

Now I think about the last couple of months however, it seems that quite a lot has happened since I last blogged!

I've had a birthday
Man and I have become grandparents to l'il Bobby Charles :)
KTT has started his last year of school and has had a birthday
DD has started driving lessons
We had our annual Samhain party
Princess Leia went to the great chicken coop on the sky :(
Man and I had a wonderful trip to London and saw my beloved Omnia who were just as wondrous as I had hoped, as well as a trip to Camden Market (squeals of excitement) and paying homage to the sea of poppies at the Tower.  Oh yes. And nearly having my toes taken off by Prince Edward in his car.  Varmint!
Almost getting, but getting cold feet at the last minute, a new job.

I'm recovering from a temporal artery biopsy which happened yesterday.  I was awake during it and although it went well I do wish I had been knocked out for it now as it wasn't the most pleasant experience I have ever had!  Still, its done now and I just have to wait on results. Deep joy.

So here we are. The Wheel has turned again and we are halfway through November, hurtling towards Yule and into the season of cosy evenings, Clementines, pomegranates and hearty pot meals.  Hope you are all well. I've been lurking by your blogs and have been kept entertained by your goings on! Thank you all for making me smile.

Lots of love.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Day 92 - Autumn Mess & Lemony Lovelies

The blackberries in the field are bloomin' rubbish this year.  I'm not sure what has happen ed but I've tried on several occasions in the usual foraging place but the berries are either tiny and not worth picking, or flyblown and mushy.  How disappointing.

I managed to get hold of some cultivated ones however which were HUGE and plumptious and very lovely indeed.

One of our very favourite desserts is Eton Mess, and I had an idea to try to recreate an Autumnal version of it.

I stewed the berries lightly with a tiny amount of water, sugar and a pinch of ground spice, until they were slightly softer but still holding their shape.

I then whipped up some double cream and scented it with a pinch of cinnamon.  I always add a pot of yoghurt at this stage to lighten up the cream and also to make it go a little further ( in this instance it was a thick toffee one), and stirred it through carefully so that the cream wasn't thinned out too much. 

Next step was to also add some finely diced and stewed apple and the blackberries once cooled.  I stirred through some of the blackberry juice too as it was such a wonderful colour.  When we were ready for pud, I added some crushed meringue and chopped nuts and folded it all together before serving.

We enjoyed it lots!  DD wasn't very keen as she preferred the usual strawberry and raspberry one I do but everyone else declared it a hit.  I need to see what other adaptations I can make to it now!

Lovely man and I are suckers for anything flavoured with lemon.  The Costa coffee chain sell THE most amazing lemon tart which we indulge in far more than we should really!

I tested out a recipe for Light Lemon Cake last week.  This turned out to be a lovely light sponge flavoured with lemon zest and sandwiched with lemon juice and zest flecked buttercream.  The lemon flavour really lifted the buttercream so that it wasn't sickly at all. 

Ta-dahhh!.  Hmm the sponge is looking a little darker than it actually was!
GO HERE to see the recipe I used. 

I'd be interested to hear of any tried and tested recipes lemony loveliness you may wish to share with me!

Hope life isn't throwing you too many lemons right now! 

Lots of Love xx

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Day 91 - OAP Weekender

Hello darlinks!

I hope your weekend has been fun filled!

Lovely man and I ran away to be OAP's this weekend (Old Aged Punks).  The Sex Pistols Experience - a really highly rated tribute band - were playing at the Robin in scary old Bilston town.  The venue has a b&b attached to it and so rather than having the hassle of catching late night public transport or paying out for cabs, we stayed over.  We treated ourselves to an Indian meal before the gig and then tottered back in time for the bands to come on.

There were a couple of support acts, the second one being The Screaming Abdabz  - who played a very short but very good set of souped up 50s rockabilly/rock 'n roll.  They were very good and we shall certainly be looking out for them when they play around here again.  I was quite surprised to see so few people at the venue, although there were just about enough there to generate a decent enough party atmosphere.  I tend to forget that the people who were original punk rockers are now circa 50 years old and are probably preferring to be at home bouncing grandchildren on their knees than listening to foul mouthed, noisy upstarts!  Ah we had a good time though.  The Pistols tribute were bloody brilliant; looking, sounding and acting like our heroes(!); the lead singer looking uncannily like a young Mr Rotten down to the wall-eyed stare and razor sharp retorts.  It was all over far too quickly though, and to our amazement everyone just disappeared (apart from man and I and another couple who wanted to squeeze as much out of the evening as possible, making half hearted attempts to storm the dance floor to some old classics).  As the staff were sweeping up around us however it detracted from the ambiance somewhat and thus defeated, we took our weary gin soaked bones (in my case that is) to bed!

Because I KNOW that you are intrigued and want to see what I'm rabitting on about this short Channel 4 doc will put you in the picture.

In other news - I bought flowers - they look pretty impressive don't they? Gladioli looking like weird stag antlers and gorgeous happy smiley sunflowers.

This is an early birthday present from Lovely Man

And this is a new sign for our kitchen - cos well, that's our life ethos really!

Rock an' bloody roll eh readers?!!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Day 90 Unwinding and Unravelling

It's been a very slow news week here at Peapods hence the absence. I'm not feeling 100% and I'm hibernating. 

Today I shall be mostly unravelling my ripples.  Goodness knows what I've done  but instead of beautifully straight edges it looks like this 

Stop laughing!!

It's all gone horribly wrong and looks like a mess for a mad dog. 


I may be gone sometime!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Day 89 - Birthday BBQ

Hey there

I just remembered that I didn't mention the birthday boy's BBQ!

My darlin' man had a not insignificant birthday last Saturday.  The weather was looking a little dodgy and so we were very pleased that we had bought two gazebos the day before.  We got both of them for less than £40 and I know they will earn their keep in the future.  It was actually lovely all day.  The sun shone and it was dry - then just before everyone was due to arrive the bloody heaven's opened and we had a proper deluge!  I was a tad stressed, but the man in his usual laid back manner refused to be fazed by it and sure enough it brightened again and we had a good few dry hours.  It did start raining towards the end of the evening but everyone was sheltered, we had fleecy throws and crocheted blankets for those who were feeling the chill and so the evening went without a hitch.

We had the usual burgers, sausage, chicken and corn cobs, but we also did a huge tray of pulled pork which was a complete hit with everyone.  For pudding there were anarchy cupcakes (I only remembered to take a photograph when there was one left but they looked great - shop bought cup cakes topped with all manner of Sex Pistols logos, album covers and anarchy symbols printed on rice paper - the E of Bayness is a magical place!!).  I also served a HUGE Eton mess in tiny vintage glass cups (thanks Paula!!) which was declared a hit too!

Unbeknown to him, I had arranged for one of his sisters to pay a surprise visit (oh the glories of Facebook!) and his face was a picture when he opened the door to her.  They hadn't seen each other for a couple of years and so it was lovely to see them reunited.  I hadn't met her before either and it was good to meet another of his siblings.  He is one of nine children - I think I still have around six others to meet yet.  I had mentioned that he hadn't got many family photographs and to my delight she had made up a very special photograph album for him which featured him from baby to man and also precious photos of his parents.  I know he was very touched by this.

Not looking bad for fifty is he?! I'm a lucky gal! 

Rude word alert!!  

My man and my brother!

The lights are going down - but the huge hollow ball candles
did a good job of casting a lovely glow (and warming hands too!)

Anarchy cupcakes!!

This was the card I had done for him!

All in all a successful evening and a memorable one for him surrounded by people who love him.  Perfect :)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Day 88 - Sunday Wistfulness

Can you feel it bloglies?  (Stop that!)

There is something about the air quality. Something tangible about the faint nip in the breeze. I feel it every year around this time.  Something inside me. Something definite but inexplicable.  But it's there. A restless feeling but similarly a yearning to be at home. The shadows are lengthening. The spiderwebs are thickening. The thistle down fairies are everywhere.  It's just out of reach of my outstretched fingertips but the change of the season is but weeks away. The wheel is turning. Autumn is coming. And I shall welcome it with arms wide open.  

Today has been perfect. We've had nothing to do but potter.  I felt a strong urge to bake and cook wholesome food for my family. 

A sweet spicy curry crammed with veggies from the allotment. 

A chicken Balti with a little more bite. 

I needed to use up some eggs and so used some in sweet treats. Squishy squidgy rich chocolate brownies. 
And a coffee and walnut cake 

Three lines of washing has been line dried in the fresh breeze and smells divine. 

A stroll down the field to look for blackberries wasn't very successful. The fruit was tiny and full of grubs. 

We left them for the birds. 

The field made me feel a bit sad today. There are acres of beans but they're all black. Look!

It looks like a post apocalyptic scene from a film set. I'm not sure why the crop has been left like this or whether it's intentional and the beans are to be dried for animal feed. 

They're like tiny broad beans.  Any clues?

The cob nut trees are loaded. I took a terrible pic tho as I only had my phone so you'll have to take my word for it!!

This little fella seemed happy enough.  If only all his friends who seem to be resident in my garden would join him!!

Back in the garden the blue hydrangea is changing colour into a delicious faded lilac.

And Charlie cat lies in the dappled shade of the Rowan tree.

I want to share a song with you. It's from the Long Road Out of Eden album by The Eagles.  It's a song that always evokes the same Late Summer/Early Autumnal wistful feeling in me. The lyrics are clever and perfect. It appears that they didn't make a video to it so I've chosen one which is made by a fan, who uses some nice photographic images to illustrate the lyrics.

Working from home

I've taken a precious day of annual leave today.  I've really struggled this week with feeling so yuk and I needed the restorative ...