Saturday 26 February 2011


As last week was half term and Daniel and Eleanor were off school, Mick decided to take yesterday off work so we could all spend the day together. The day dawned bright so we decided to drive over to Haworth, home of the famous Bronte Sisters.

Here you are able to take a tour around the Bronte Parsonage Museum, but we gave that a miss as we had Archie with us.
One of the things I love about Haworth is Main Street which is lined with lots of interesting little shops.

There's some beautiful scenery from the top of Main Street.
My favourite shop of all is Rose & Co Apothecary. It looks just as it would have done in Victorian times and sells wonderful bath and beauty products as well as having an annex which sells old fashioned sweets.

Eleanor loved Oh La La, a shop selling vintage clothes and other treasures.

Another of my favourites is Daisy Days, a florist which also has a huge range of gorgeous gifts, including Cath Kidston.

I loved the colourful display of springy animals in the window of Oates & Wiles, a shop selling all manner of gifts including jewellery and glassware.

After a good couple of hours exploring the shops, we travelled about five minutes by car to Coldspring Mill, which as well as selling outdoor clothes and equipment, sells knitting yarn at discount prices. They sell Debbie Bliss, Louisa Harding and Mirasol amongst others.

I was under pressure to make a purchase quickly as I had left the family in the car, and eventually decided on five 50g balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran. It was marked as £22.50 RRP, however, having looked online, it seems that most retailers sell each 50g ball for nearly £5.00, which makes my purchase, which cost £11.25, an absolute bargain.
I don't know what I'll knit with it yet, but I'm sure the perfect project will become apparent in time.

On our way home we came across Keelham Farm Shop, and we soon realised why the car park was packed. The fruit and veg looked lovely and fresh, was competitively priced, and where possible was locally produced. There was a large meat section and we decided on a nice piece of beef for our Sunday dinner, along with some locally laid free range eggs and some fruit and veg.

I do like to support local businesses as well as buying locally produced food but it's sometimes hard to find a good farm shop near by. It's a shame that Keelham Farm Shop is so far away as I would definitely use it every week, though I shall go back from time to time.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Dog Walking For Charity

I don't usually post three times in three days, but we've had such a lot going on this weekend.

Today we were up bright and early to take part in a sponsored dog walk in aid of St. Gemma's Hospice, which is situated in Moortown in Leeds. It's the largest hospice in West Yorkshire and the fourth largest in England. The estimated running costs of the hospice for 2010/2011 is £8 million and the majority of this needs to be raised through donations, fundraising, legacies and through the chain of charity shops. The £68.50 which we've raised so far through sponsorship seems very little, but of course, every penny really does count.

When I saw the snow which fell quite heavily yesterday morning, I wondered if we would be taking part today at all, but luckily it melted very quickly and had turned to slush by yesterday evening. This morning there wasn't a trace of snow left near us.

Registration was at 9am, then off we set for our three mile walk around the border of Golden Acre Park.

There weren't as many people there as I'd expected, however, there were many just turning up as we finished the walk so I expect it will have been a success.
As we passed an open field, we let Archie off his lead to have a run. There was lots of mud and Archie was soon covered in it.

Although the snow had gone where we live, there was still quite a bit of it around in the park.

The daffodils are ready to bloom, yet here they are amongst the snow. The snowdrops were resolutely closed. I'm sure they'll open up once they see a bit of sunshine.

At the end of the walk we got some vouchers for some hot drinks. The hot chocolate was delicious and very welcome.

There was no way I was going to let this filthy dog near my carpets, so it was straight in the bath for him.

We got a certificate for taking part and Archie got a goody bag containing lots of treats.

Now we just have to collect all the sponsor money in.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen

Where have the last sixteen years gone? It seems like it was only yesterday that I was giving birth to my gorgeous boy, yet today he turns sixteen.

What a cutie.

A little poser.

Showing off his swimming medals.

First day at school. Now he's choosing A levels.

Brotherly love.

It's been an absolute privilege to be his mum and watch him grow over the last sixteen years in to the loving, caring and thoughtful young man that he is today.

Happy birthday, Daniel.

Friday 18 February 2011

Happy Wedding Anniversary

Congratulations to my wonderful mum and dad on their 55th wedding anniversary.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

It was such a lovely day here yesterday that instead of spending some time getting the allotment in order, which I should have been doing, we decided to visit Meanwood Valley Urban Farm.

Opened in 1980, the farm provides environmental education services to schools and runs holiday playschemes as well as working with 13 - 16 year olds who experience problems in main stream education, and 16 - 18 year olds giving entry to employment. The farm also works with adults with learning disabilities. The public are able to visit every day for a nominal entry fee.

The first animals we came up on were the sheep. The farm has White Faced Woodland Sheep which are also known as Penistone. This is one of the largest of the Hill breeds of sheep and provide tasty meat as well as an excellent wool quality for hill sheep. There are also Southdown sheep which are a woolly-faced breed and are dual purpose providing tasty meat and a high quality wool.

The farm has two donkeys, Pedro and Ned, which have been with them since May 2003. They were making lots of noise yesterday, they obviously wanted more attention than they were getting.
Mick's favourite animals are the Dexter cows. This is a short legged minature breed which is bred for both milk and meat. They're really gentle and will feed from your hands, licking their lips after they have done so.

The pigs were making the most of the sunshine, lazing about in the mud. This is the only animal which Archie was nervous about. He turned on his heels and tried to run when a particularly big pig came trotting towards us.

There's also an indoor area housing rabbits and Guinea pigs as well as some newly-hatched chicks.

Something new in the indoor area is the hedgehog sanctuary. We didn't actually see any of the juvenile hedgehogs as they were sleeping, but it looks like they have a good area to snuffle about in until they're ready to be released in spring.

In an area which is closed off to the public are some bee hives. We noticed the bees collecting nectar from the spring bulbs which had newly opened.

Another area in the farm is given over to allotments which members of the public tend. Most of them have installed raised beds, probably for the best as a lot of them are on a slope.

It's well worth a visit if you're in the area, and just to add that dogs are allowed too, which Archie was pleased about.

Thursday 10 February 2011

Important Decisions

I feel as if I'm back at school at the moment, I seem to have been there more often than at home just recently. This year is an important year for both Daniel and Eleanor as they both have some important decisions to make.

Daniel is in year 11 so he will be sitting his GCSEs soon. At the moment he's pondering on which A levels to take. We've been to school to listen to a talk about year 12, we've been to an A level evening where we could speak with subject tutors and last night we went to parent's evening.

He's decided which A levels he would like to take, he just needs to get good grades in his GCSEs now.

The kids at this school choose their GCSE options a year early, in year 8 rather than year 9. On one hand this works well as they drop the subjects which don't interest them and they have an extra year studying the subjects they are going to take for their GCSEs, but on the other hand, they're still very young at 12 to be making choices which are so important.

As Eleanor is in year 8, she is now choosing her GCSE options. We've been to an evening where we could speak with subject tutors and last week we went to parent's evening. She has to take core subjects such as maths, English and science, and then choose five further optional subjects.

In addition to the usual subjects, the school run a BTEC animal care course. It's the extended certificate level 2, which is equivalent to two GCSEs. The places on this course are limited, but it is run after school two evenings per week. Eleanor is applying for a place on this course as she has been involved with the animals at the school since she began. Some of the animals they have are rabbits, guinea pigs, bearded dragons, Madagascan cockroaches, poultry and chinchillas. I'm hoping that she manages to get on the course otherwise she'll be very disappointed.

Our visits to school haven't all been study related. On Tuesday, we went to a wonderful concert which was organised by Eleanor's singing teacher. Eleanor takes singing lessons privately out of school, but her singing teacher goes in to her school and teaches students there and it was they who were taking part in the concert. As Eleanor goes to the same school which her teacher teaches at, she asked if she would like to take part. Eleanor sang Moon River which I always associate with Breakfast at Tiffany's and Audrey Hepburn. The music was very varied with songs ranging from pop, to songs from shows, right through to classical. The money raised from ticket sales and refreshments went to Cancer Research, CRY and Help for Heroes. It was a lovely evening.

I'm hoping that my visits to school will be less often now, unless they're for something as pleasurable as the concert.

Sunday 6 February 2011

Tea For One

There's only me who drinks tea in our house, though I don't drink it very often. Mick is a coffee drinker, Daniel is a chocolate drinker and Eleanor doesn't drink any warm drinks.

I've never owned a teapot, there hasn't really been much point, but hubby bought me one for Christmas. This one is a teapot for one and incorporates a cup and saucer.

I think I'll be drinking tea much more often now that I have a lovely teapot.