Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Starry eyed suprise




I had the rare privilege to gaze at the heavens one night, in the company of friends via a telescope.
I grew up, plotting stars from my bedroom sky light window from where we lived on the edge of the suburbs where the city light was weak and the stars were bright. I always wanted a telescope and it would be frequently requested for birthdays and Christmases but to no avail...

So to get a rare chance  to use a telescope on a fine clear evening was one I was going to grab with both hands!

It was an amazing experience! You could see more stars than the naked eye could see and that night, just above the horizon you could see Mercury, Jupiter and Venus...but what was more amazing is, if you just simply look through the telescope and wait...you will eventually see a shooting star!
The earth's atmosphere is pummeled every second by space debris (including small asteroids and space junk such as bits of satellites) so it isn't unusual to see something streaking across the sky...they are normally too faint to be seen in the naked sky without help of a powerful lens.

Whatever it was hurling through the atmosphere that night, i took no chances and made a wish!

It really was a mind blowing experience and made me feel so very small in this amazing universe of ours.


Birdie Love

xxx



Monday, 27 May 2013

Right now...





  • I'm feeling a bit like the flowers in the above picture...a forget-me-not! Small, pale and based on the number of people over the last few day saying to me "Where you been? I missed you!", forgotten!  I think people forget I'm actually a rather quiet soul really, and recently as part of therapy and personal development for me, I needed to learn to enjoy my own company again. You can't be surrounded by people all the time and in a way, its essential to be ok by yourself.  I think it's going well, myself and I haven't yet fallen out with each other yet!
  • Its amazing how much life's laundry you can accumulate in a while! It seems to be a never-ending spring clean here in my house! I have recently changed around the living room and changes in other places around the house for cleaner lines and easier living. but the trouble is with de-cluttering is the clutter got to go somewhere and sometimes you got stuff you just have to keep! Even now there's still so much to do that as well as your day to day chores, you're up with the never ending rotation of chores that needs to be done...just as soon as you wash down the walls for the year...you have to do it again....!

  • In amongst the cleaning and tidying chaos of the house, a new book corner has emerged with a wonderful library of books! You can sit in the living room and see the wall divider lined up on both sides with books and books and even more books and a beanbag that just lulls you to sit in its squidgy comfort and read, right next to the library that just begs you to enjoy it! Loving it so very much right now and when I sit watching TV or potter, I often catch a book title I haven't read or seen for a while and immediately know to read it next!

  • I been so tired this week...i think my depression and just generally a break from the norm caught up with me. Depression can be really tiring and no amount of sleep can help you recover. Theres been times where I could sleep the day through but I think its something my body needs for the moment. Hence why the blog updates recently have been few...i either just been too tired or too low to write.

How are you all? Hope you are all well!
Hopefully normal service will resume!

Birdie love
xxx

Thursday, 23 May 2013

You named your company what?!....



STD services?!

For those who don't know what STD is here in the UK - it means Sexually Transmitted Disease.....not the initials you want for a groundservices company!

Saw this a few streets up from my house and seen it around before but never gotten a chance to get a picture until now....

I think the neighbours got crabs again.....

I hope to never see this van outside my house *shivers*

I mean, what were they thinking for a groundworks company?! Sex and groundwork couldn't be further apart from each other!   I can tell what was on one man's mind when he thought up a name!


*face palm*


Is there any local, unfortunately named businesses in your area that you wonder what were they drinking at their board meetings?!


Birdie Love
xxx

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

sun-dappled



The weather here of late is a real all-sorts of sunshine, cold winds, even colder mornings and evenings and overcast days. So when we get a rare treat of sunshine, everyone is out and about! The small park next to my house is full of children playing, families playing football, gossipping or even sitting around the picnic tables with their lunches.
And then there's me walking through it to take a plate of freshly  baked cookies to a new neighbour who moved in!



I been going for regular walks to make the most of this longer, brighter days and recently took a long walk by a river, a place where I often frequent but very rarely pay attention. With a few hours free one afternoon, I took a walk and decided to walk as far as i can go and really look around me to see what was there...


Like the tiny wild violets poking their heads out the banks to enjoy the dappled sun rays through the trees overhead....


Sitting on the cool grass in the shadow for the ruins of what was rumoured to be an old bear-baiting house that was then turned into a garden 19th Century feature....


discovering a wonderful walk way that runs like a seam that separates the river from some flat lands where rare birds breed. It looks so beautiful and reminds me of something out of the film "Sprited Away"...you could almost see Sen running along here to catch the spirit bus....



And the rare and short-lived nature's spectacle that is the bluebell woods that so many locals strive to see but get so little luck achieving it!!






The hubby been playing with recipes and on the day we ran out of bread, he made up some flat bread (or pan bread if you like!) and topped with cheese...so very nice! Think we found a good back-up recipe for hard times! (Which is all the time these days!)



And here's my bargain of the week!
I love Jamie Oliver's cookbooks and reading them and watching Jamie on TV have changed my attitude to cooking and prepping food. So I been wanting this 15 minute meals book for a while but not at the £26 price tag!
I waited for sales and checked to see if it was included but it never was until one day I took a random bumble into Waterstones and looked over the damaged and reduced stock with half a eye and found this beauty!
Its damaged on the lower left corner on the dust jacket...which is hardly nothing! and for under a fiver - mine!

Happy days!


How is everyone?

Birdie Love
xxx

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Monday, 20 May 2013

Book review - may

Hello!
I been having a little "me" time for the last few days and used the time well to finish some books that I decided to review here! I get through a lot of books and been known to read  one in one sitting if I'm left to it!
I'm a self certified bibliophile...I love books!
I would happily spend the last of my riches on a book and dream of having one day, my own library!

I read a very diverse mixture of books, currently I'm crossing between a book on forensics, one of Transactional Analysis, and a rom-com...i always have a rotation of books on the go. I find I have different moods so need different books to suit it!

So, here we go!


Katie Fforde - Recipe for Love

With the recent popularity of shows like The Great British Bake-off and Masterchef, you can certainly see where Fforde has gotten her inspirations from and there is even reference to some of the celebrities that feature on these shows.
We follow Zoe Harper who has won a place on a televised cookery show. Her journey in the competition is mired by not only fellow contestant, stunningly beautiful Cher who's snooty and under-handed determination to win sabotages everything, but also the wonderfully turbulent romance with Gideon, a judge on the show!

I regularly pick up Fforde's books when I need a light hearted read that is simple in plotline but wonderful in narrative and characters. Her renown description for the wonderful British countryside is always at some point at the heart of many of her stories. I'm not the biggest fan of chick-lit but this is one of the more intelligently written series of books where the main characters are women we can actually relate to rather than waiting around willing themselves to be rescued and for love to come their way.
Recipe for Love I have to say, isn't the best piece of written work by Fforde, I was a little disappointed as I felt the premises of the story in general was wishy-washy and vague, especially around the contest itself. I know the romance is central stage but I felt maybe the tension of the show's competition could have been ramped up a little bit and maybe the nerves could have been narrated better.

I also had a problem with the morals of the leading characters Zoe and Gideon. Zoe seems such a sensible girl and to see her suddenly throw it all away kind of ruined her character a little bit...she could have resisted temptation a little more! And I'm not sure a televised judge like Gideon would have behaved like so either!

I do recommend Fforde's books to you to read if you want a nice light hearted read that leaves you smiling and cheery but give 'Recipe for Love' a miss. Try reading instead 'Stately Pursuits' or my personal favourite 'Flora's Lot'.






Sue Townsend-The Woman who went to Bed for a Year

"The day her children leave home, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. She's had enough - of her kids' carelessness, her husband's thoughtlessness and of the world's general indifference. Eva's refusal to behave like a dutiful wife and mother soon upsets everyone but she insists on staying in bed. And then the strangest things start to happen."

What if, you stayed in your bed for a year? For no apparent reason?
What would happen to you? Your life? your family around you?

This could have been an excellent story but the writing style and the way it was written to build up the characters made it so hard to relate to anyone and you remained ambivalent to them all.  You want to care but you don't. You just feel generally annoyed with them all for falling over themselves.   You eventually feel frustrated with Eva, especially when she decided to completely shut herself away....by then, you've lost patience.   

The main reason you keep reading is to actually find out why she went to bed and stayed there....it explained in a way that makes everything crashed down around you and you see the decades of pain this woman had to suppress

Now as someone with depression and a mental disorder as well as a disability  I can relate somewhat. In times of extreme emotional distress, you do strange things  (not as extreme as this!) And if you have enough open-mindedness, you realise that this woman in order to escape the immense pain and agony of what  happened, (i won't ruin it for you!) she basically went on to marry in a relationship that never got off the ground, had children and set up a home like a housewife should, just to forget and run from her past.  This book followed that moment when she realises in the back of her soul she couldnt run no  more and breaks down...

Either Townsend has deliberately written the book to frustrate you and make you want to grab Eva and slap her;  just to reveal why she behaved like so and leaving you feeling shamed for judging her.  If that is the case, then her clever writing style has caught us all out again! Or this time, its fallen a little flat and lost it's "oomph!"
I'm not sure so I leave it to you to read, my dear readers. 
This is an interesting book in theory but fails to deliver - put it low down on your "must read" book list!





James Bowen - A Street Cat Named Bob

With a cute title, an ever cuter picture of Bob the cat himself in his fetching little kitty scarf and the following premises..

"When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet."

...it's a book I had to pick up!

It been on my list for a while so when I had the chance to buy it from a charity shop for a lot cheaper than the local bookshops - I took it!

Its a true story and it's set out in a lovely, soft-natured autobiography style where there is no frills, no fancy writing flourishes to hide behind...it's all about the story itself.
Bowen keeps it simple and doesn't ramble on. If he was to go off-topic slightly, then it is essential to the story and gives a little more meat and understanding as to why a reaction or an emotion was felt.
You begin to root for both Bob and James and by the end of the book, you're totally in love with the pair of them and hope to one day meet Bob himself!

At times, you really despair of human behaviour and people's reactions to both animals and people on the streets is so appalling. But there are times where that amazing human spirit shines through and you almost feel immense gratitude that they stepped forward to help in ways that they did.

My favourite bit in brief is when Bob (the cat!) is given a staff I.D card from the Tube staff as he was such a loved character. The amazing personality this little cat has is something you have to read and you feel privileged you're getting this wonderful insight. There's lots more to cats then you know!

I'm very glad to read this book as it explains a bit about homeless and drug rehabilitation issues that I wasn't aware of. And the information revealed about the Big Issue is a revelation I won't forget and I now look at Big Issue sellers in a new light. This book probably does more for the promotion of Big Issue than anything else and I'm now a lot more supportive of the cause. Sellers have to buy the magazines to sell - so in essence they are running their own business to survive.

Bob is now a world wide celebrity - he even has his own Twitter he shares with James which is worth a read so you can see what an amazing global phenomena they are! You can read it here!

This book is lovely for young teens to read and maybe younger children if you skip the bits about drugs.(passing references)  It's really is a lovely book!

Make this book a must-read!



I've deliberately kept these reviews short...i'm not a book reviewer by habit and I can ramble on at times but thought I share with you some of my life...books and all!


What books have you read of late?


Birdie Love
xxx



Saturday, 18 May 2013

Craft share - Summer strawberries

Of late with the wondeful arrival of summer (it snowed this week here in Britain!! I know!) when it wants to be sunny, I find myself when walking home from work picking up a suprisingly cheap punnet of strawberries from my local greengrocers to take home and enjoy.
So in hommage to the wonderfu strawberry, here is this week' craft share!


Crochet Strawberry Slippers- Kawaii- Red and Green- Women Slippers
strawberry slippers
How sweet are these?!
I love the style and the dainty little flower on the side! I wouldn't be able to stop staring at my tootsies!
It is worth looking through Gitana's shop as some of the crochet goodies there are so beautiful and quirky!  Loving the burger and waffle cowls! pepperoni pizza mitts anyone?



Strawberries and Cream Mint Lolita JSK Dress ON SALE
strawberries and cream
What an adorable dress!
ooooh I love that little row of perfectly edible strawberries, the little ruffles and that dainty bow!
One could see themselves wearing this to the park, carrying a picnic basket, no?



Felt Kawaii Strawberry
strawberry fella
"Don't even think about sinking your teeth into this cute little strawberry!
Made extra special and extra sweet, this adorable little strawberry is a ripe dose of summer."


Nawww! But he looks so delicious!
I love the little felt folk in Fingsandthings' shop especially the awesome Hankies there!


Love Meat Pink Handkerchief
Perfect for the hubby!





Strawberry Giant Fascinator Rockabilly Burlesque Headwear Hat Fruit Kawaii Kitsch Quirky Unique Fun
strawberry fascinator
I have a little confession....i been for a long time in love with pearls and swine's lovely head pieces and I love flicking through the stunning array of beautiful pieces like this stunning strawberry!



Glitter Lotus Flower Dragonfly Green Pink Fascinator Quirky Unique Fascinator Couture Millinery UK Hat Headpiece by Pearls & Swine
Red Glitter Heels Shoes Headband Fascinator Rockabilly Burlesque Headwear Hat Dorothy Wizard of OZ Wicked Witch of the WestFascinator Hat Headpiece Hair Accessory Cherry Burlesque Cherries Pinup Cheesecake by Pearls & Swine

with a wonderful array of pieces like these, I think you too will be admiring them in no time! I just need a few more coppers to buy one one day and an excuse to wear it!



Adopt a Strawberry Plush - Profits to the CCFA
Adopt a strawberry
Can you resist these little guys cute little faces?
You can adopt one! But it doesn't end there!...

"All profits are donated to the CCFA (Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America). They work hard to find cures for chronic digestive diseases. As someone who actively suffers from Crohn's disease I know how devastating these diseases can be. Crohn's takes away from my life as student, artist, daughter, and friend. I very much thank anyone who aids in the battle to end Crohn's and Colitits. With everyone's support, I know we can accomplish great things. "

How so very awesome! And for such a wonderful cause! Shari, You are amazing! 


I like you to meet Pouchy...
A Strawberry Named Pouchy - Drawstring pouch
Pouchy the strawberry
Yes, that's his official name! Pouchy the Strawberry!

Awesome name for an awesome little bag!










"Suggestions for what you may want to carry in this pouch: 1 large grapefruit, butterscotch buttons, dog treats, scrabble pieces, 2 plums...the possibilities are endless!"
A grapefruit?!

strawberry beret
strawberry cat
 Now that is one well dressed moggy!
Love, love, love that little collar and bowtie! So sweet!

Naaaaaaaw!

Check out the shop for more little cat goodies! This little fella is such a gorgeous model!



Strawberry bracelet
bracelet
 these individual beads are flameworked glass strawberries! How sweet are they?
The shine of the glass works so well with the texture of the strawberries don't they?
This bracelet is a real testament to the amount of skill and effort that's gone into making it....and it looks so succulent!
 Do check out Lucie's shop for some wonderful glasswork pieces that are just so sweet and holds plenty of character! Loving the Life in the Country Bracelet!



Just delicious polymer clay bracelet with  strawberries.
just delicious bracelet
Wow! How beautiful is this bracelet?
The attention to detail is just spot on and so lovely! And all made so well out of polymer clay!
I'm loving the strawberry blossoms and how the petals curl inwards!
Do check out the shop for more of Roselin's beautiful jewellery!




What a lovely, bright and cheery round up!

Wonderful crafted pieces by some wonderful craftsters!


Birdie Love
xxx












Friday, 17 May 2013

Visual feast












They say we eat with our eyes...

I think they might be right!

I been tinkering with some recipes and dishes I have had in the past but just wanted to try myself.

The top two pictures were apple fried in a little butter and candied up a little with some sugar with some fresh scallops and black pudding. It was a dish my dad made for starters one christmas meal and I been wanting to recreate it ever since. Suprisingly light and how the flavours meld together is actually very nice. Just need to find a way to sweeten up the apples a bit more next time.

Ladies night out for a few cocktails and a cheapo dinner that I managed to have enough coins for, washed down with a lovely passionfruit cider! Don't knock it till you try it!
My favourite cocktail The honey and hazlenut martini is just to die for!

Nothing goes down well like a mr whippy covered in blue sparkly sherbet sprinkles...and a flake when walking home from work one sunny afternoon!

I've created a dish I've now nick-named the "billionnaire's breakfast" I had ingredients that needed to be used and realized they all worked together separately so why not merge them?
Toasted muffins, poached eggs, asparagus, ham, black pudding crumbled on top, hollandaise sauce and a pork burger (for the hubby!)     t'was very, very yummy!


What have you been eating and enjoying this week?

Birdie Love
xxx




Thursday, 16 May 2013

simple pleasures


Its the simple and little things that make life bearable day to day is it not?
Right now for me it is...


My beloved catwoman chibli figure from an awesome friend who gave me this for christmas after watching me for months staring at this in the local comic book shop, umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether to get it. It one day disappeared and I was gutted it went.   He bought it for me!
Seeing it in its pride of place just makes me appreciate it more and the sweet personal touches that went into it.




I finally did it! Found a coke with my name on...literally! Hard to describe how much it made my day...!





My new cookie cutters! I seen these months ago and every time I visit the shop I always play wit these and mentally debating whether to get them...in the end I gave in and can't wait to use them...especially to make Bat-cookies! Mwahahaha! Pleased to finally have them, just now need to perfect my icing and flooding skills!






Being ill on and off, experiencing migraines relating to my head injury...funnily enough chocolate soothes things over a treat! Especially this new treat! I love the jelly pieces in it and the whole variety of textures and flavours! Yum! Especially when you melt it on your mouth and let the popping candy do their magic!


What little things getting you through the day?


Birdie Love
xxx




work in progress!





Skirt is now finished!
Cant wait to show you the end result but though i give you a preview of the pocket and skirt panel as I was working on it.

Isn't that pocket and its little pleat so very cute?!
Hard to believe I made that little baby!


Birdie Love
xxx


wild garlic foraging













As a child, I practically grew up in my local park, where I would regularly walk the beloved family sheep dog called Floss. I remember the early potential days of summer would always be heralded by the arrival of wild Garlic, growing in the shade of the woods where the white flowers made it look like a sprinkling of snow along with the heady aroma of garlic that was hard to miss!

I recently read a magazine that was telling its readers that the season of wild Garlic was upon and it was a short season at that. Wild Garlic tends to appear toward the middle to late April and plentiful in May but by June it is non-existent and it is a much milder and sweeter sibling to the heady, punchy Garlic we all know and buy commercially.

Having always been keen to forage most of my life, I decided on one of my free days to go for a long walk and make it a point to stop and collect some and enjoy this new experience.
Wild Garlic is hard to miss...the smell for one! If you are not sure what you are picking, I find by smelling the leaves, stem and flowers, it will smell of garlic.
Years of experience has taught me to know what I am looking for but if you are not sure, do some research and commit what the plant looks like to mind! The white flowers are a give away.

The leave and flowers are edible, I roughly chop the leaves up and these can be used to make garlic butter, sprinkle in salads and generally treat as if its a spring onion leaves and use as so. The flowers makes beautiful garnishes to salads. I have cleans all the heads of flowers and removed the papery bits that were the buds and frozen them whole to pull out as and when i need a little touch up magic!
The stems are edible too, use these as you would chives, sprinkling them on top of sups, salads and even eggs benedicts!

The bulbs, I would leave. They taste bitter and not very nice, plus just taking maybe a leaf or a stem from one plant ensures you are not harming  the plant and leaving plenty for it to survive for next year. Only take what you need! And if you're not sure - leave it!

As you can see, I divided my hoard into stems, leaves and flowers  as they all being used differently.
The eaves and stems are currently being made into batches of wild garlic butter and having tasted the first lot, I'm pretty impressed! I will no doubt put a post up soon of the recipe once I tweaked it all to my satisfaction.
I hope to freeze my batches and give them as gifts or when I am cooking up a nice bit of steak for the hubby, cutting a piece off and propping it to melt over the meat is already having me dreaming!


I'm hoping to collect more Garlic soon on my days off and making the most of the short season and preserving it ahead for the year to enjoy!  It really was a beautiful walk and the bonus was discovering a bluebell woodlands too, which also have a short season to view and enjoy!
 So the next time you are out walking, keep your eyes open and your nose twitching for some wild Garlic!


Enjoy and be safe!


Birdie love
xxx