Friday 25 February 2022

M&S Hyacinths

I'll admit, I succumbed to these gorgeous hyacinths because I'd seen so many photos on blogs and Instagram of spring bulbs in these lovely tin pots. I'd read that they'd been designed by Emma Bridgewater, though I'm not sure how true this is as they weren't marketed so, there's nothing on the label to indicate this, but I was drawn to them nevertheless.

I'm a sucker for hyacinths, they've got such a strong scent and I love it, though Mick seems to have an aversion to any flowers with any sort of fragrance. I'd rather have Mother Nature's natural air freshener rather than an artificial one any day.

Isn't this design lovely, bees and polka dots. Of course, the pot can be reused once the hyacinths have finished blooming.

And here they are a week or so later, flowering in all their glory, or nearly so. The second one is yet to open out properly and the third bulb, shown in the first photo at the front of the pot never grew at all, it must be a dud. Never mind, the scent is intoxicating and making the house smell sweet.

There's so many gorgeous flowers about at this time of year.

Monday 21 February 2022

Daniel's Birthday

It was Daniel's birthday on Saturday. It's been a long time since we celebrated a birthday together but now that he's moved back to Leeds it was nice to spend part of the day with him.

When he was living far away it was a case of posting his gift but I'm able to make a bit more of the day now. I was going to buy him a cake but decided instead to go for brownies, they're his favourite, so I ordered these delicious brownies from a local lady. They looked so special. She did ask if I'd prefer them displayed as a stack on a cake board, it was nice to have a choice but I went for the gift box option.

Daniel was really pleased with them and said they were delicious. They were topped with Mars Bar slices, Rolos, Maltesers, Chocolate Orange, all sorts of things.

It was the day after Storm Eunice had hit and we woke up to a much better day but by lunch time it was pouring down with rain. Heavy snow was forecast and by the middle of the afternoon it was really coming down so we decided to go for a meal earlier than planned just in case the snow made things awkward later.

We ate at a local pub and it was a lovely meal. Jacob was working nights so he was unable to join us as he was in bed catching up on some sleep before his shift, but Eleanor came.

It's still so much of a novelty having Daniel and Jasmine living close by, and it's occasions like these when we're able to spend time together which mean so much.

Thursday 17 February 2022

Archie's New Bed

Archie can be very contrary at times, never more so than when offered a new bed. We've bought him all manner of things to sleep on over the years, and in most cases, wasted our money. He's had memory foam mattresses, donut style beds, beds with sides, he turns his nose up at them all. The only type of dog bed he likes is a cheap fibre-filled mattress. 

He had a new one delivered on Monday and I couldn't get him off it.

I used to buy these beds from a shop near to home but it's now closed down. I've been looking for somewhere else that sells them but couldn't find them anywhere, then I looked online and saw that the Yorkshire Trading Co. have them. We made a trip to Selby but they didn't have them at that store so I ordered online on Saturday at 3.30pm and they were delivered on Monday morning. I couldn't believe how quick it was. I ordered two as he has beds in a couple of rooms.

They're not the best quality but then they only cost £5.99 each. They have zipped covers so they can be taken off to wash. Archie's happy with them as you can see, and at that price I don't mind if they don't last as long as a more expensive bed might.

Archie often sleeps on one of the sofas during the day, especially if we're sitting on them, but he didn't on Monday. The minute I unwrapped the beds his tail was wagging and he immediately settled down to sleep.

They're definitely a hit with Archie, and I can definitely recommend the service I received when placing this order. This isn't a sponsored post, I bought and paid for the beds myself, I just like to give credit where credit's due. Plus, who doesn't like a post dedicated to Archie.

Sunday 13 February 2022

Engaging With Nature

It was so cold on Friday morning, there was a frost and all I wanted to do was hunker down for the day. I had no intention of leaving the house, but it seemed to warm up as the day wore on and in the afternoon we decided to don our coats and venture out to Lotherton for a walk.

I'm always pleased when I make the effort to get outdoors, I may not feel like going for a walk but it does me the world of good, especially when I see nature starting to wake up all around me.

It won't be long before these daffodils are blooming. Although I've filled my vases with cut stems bought from the supermarket, I haven't seen any daffodils flowering outdoors yet.

The snowdrops have been blooming for a while. There's some good clumps at Lotherton but the few I have in my own garden were there when we moved into the house over twenty eight years ago. They've never spread and though I've tried to introduce more to the garden, they've never taken, so I count myself lucky that I have the few that I do.

The trees are starting to bud. It's a little early for although we've had a mild winter so far, I don't think we're done with the cold weather. February is renowned for being a cold month and it wouldn't be a surprise if there's snow yet to come.

There's lots of mossy logs at Lotherton, they must be a haven for all sorts of wildlife. I can never resist getting my camera up close, it's like a world in miniature when you take a close up shot.

Archie always enjoys his walks at Lotherton, there's lots of lovely smells for him to investigate and lots of other people walk their dogs there for him to pass the time of day with.

I'm no expert where fungi is concerned, there's so many different types and I don't know their names, but I find them fascinating. We always see lots of different varieties when walking through the woods.

We've had some quite blustery weather just lately, so much so that I fear some poor birds have been made homeless. Not only did we find this small nest on the muddy ground but not far away we also saw one of the nesting boxes which had previously been nailed to a tree.

There have always been pathways through the woods at Lotherton but last year, hardcore was laid over them which makes walking in the muddy weather much easier. It's nice to go home with shoes which don't need washing.

Just look at the gnarled trunk of this tree. It's much easier to see the shapes, outlines and features of trees when they're bare, without their usual covering of leaves. There's some wonderful textures to be found.

I'll leave you with a photo of Archie enjoying his walk. We're so lucky to have lots of different places to take him nearby. He's happy wherever we go but I think Lotherton is his favourite place of all.

Wednesday 9 February 2022

The Middle Of Lidl

We popped to Home Bargains the other day and by the side of the store is Lidl. There was nothing I actually wanted from Lidl but seeing as we were already there we popped in, mainly because I like looking in the Middle of Lidl where they sell all manner of things and you can often pick up a bargain or two.

I've had a slow cooker for years, I went for a large 6.5l capacity one when I bought it as the children were little and it was a good family size, in fact, I could easily get two or more family sized meals out of it. Since it's just been the two of us, we've continued to use this same slow cooker, though we knew it was far too big for the portions we were cooking for the pair of us, and then disaster struck, the slow cooker broke. It owed us nothing, we'd had it years and it had been well used.

Since then I've been looking for a new one. I knew I needed a much smaller one but didn't want to go too small as we often have family joining us for dinner, or we want to make extra to freeze for another day. While looking in the Middle of Lidl the other day I saw this Crockpot slow cooker and immediately liked the look of it. 

It's the perfect size, 3.7l, which says suitable for 3-4, so a good size if we have other people eating with us, or if we want to make extra portions for another reason, but not too large when we're only making a couple of portions. I like the controls too, there's low and high, which my other slow cooker had, but this one also has a warm control which maintains the temperature once the food's cooked. It's ideal if you're home at different times and one of you wants to eat before the other.

It was definitely worth popping into Lidl for a browse. I wonder what they'll have in the next time I go.

Saturday 5 February 2022

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is such a famous story. I think everyone must know about the sailor who ends up marooned on a desert island, but how many of us have actually read the book. Not I. Continuing with my goal of reading more classics this year I set about rectifying that.

"One of the most widely published novels in history, Robinson Crusoe tells the story of a young Englishman shipwrecked in a storm and forced to fend for himself on a remote island, alone...or so he thinks. Fighting to build a life - and rebuild a society - Crusoe must rely on his wits, resilience, and will to survive. With slavers, cannibals, and mutineers, this quintessential castaway story is a harrowing page-turner and a salient reflection on humanity's state of nature. This is an epic tale of determination, adaptation, and the triumph of the human spirit against catastrophe, isolation, and danger.

Part memoir, part allegory, part fable, and written so convincingly as an autobiography that readers were convinced it was a true account, Robinson Crusoe continues to shock, fascinate, and entertain readers of all ages. The novel reshaped the literary world, spawning a new genre of realistic fiction - the 'Robinsonade,' introducing into popular culture the concept of 'his Man Friday,' and inspiring a plethora of written works, radio plays and films. Provocative and reflective, this piece of historical fiction not only provides an intricate snapshot of 18th-century sensibilities and civilization but also unapologetically delves into poignant universal truths that resonate to this day." 

I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this book, I thought given the fact that Robinson Crusoe's story on the island is nearly thirty years in length, and that most of these years he's living alone, it may get a little boring. After all, what could there be to write about over that period of time with no conversation. However, I really did enjoy it.

I think the secret to this book's success is that it's written as an autobiography and this makes it so believable. Although I already knew the basics of the story there were lots of surprises along the way too. I can see why this story has stood the test of time.

Tuesday 1 February 2022


As soon as Christmas is over I'm always itching for my vases to be filled with daffodils. They're such a cheap and cheerful flower and they always bring a smile to my face, especially at this time of year in the depths of winter.

I bought them in tight bud but just twenty four hours later they were starting to open up.

Another day later and they're nearly all open, but not quite.

Blooming in all their glory. They don't last long after this stage but I don't mind that. I love their scent too, though Mick really doesn't, I know lots of people have a difference of opinion where daffodil scent is concerned.

I can never resist getting my camera zoomed right in on flowers, just look at that colour. I'm a big fan of yellow.

It will be time for the tulips to take over from the daffodils in my vases very soon. I can't get enough of spring flowers.