Spring Things

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Spring seemed to go on for ages, and yet the year seems to be flying by. Here's how I got on with my spring to-do list

See the bluebells
I love doing this and look forward to it every year. Andy and I went twice, as we always seem to go a little too early the first time, and have to return to see the best floral display, but it's time spent with my husband, so it's time well spent.

I was delighted to discover bluebells growing in our garden a few weeks later.

Plant up container pots and hanging baskets
I planted up my hanging baskets in autumn with winter flowering pansies and violas. They lasted until early June, even though they were largely ignored. They're now filled with Bacopa, a million bells, Lysimachia, and variegated Nepeta, despite being planted later than usual they're looking lovely. They make such a difference to how the house looks, they add personality and colour. They make the house look quite cheerful!

Hit the beach
My first visit was to Felixstowe with my nephews in April and involved arcade games, where I won some odd looking characters that I have no clue what to do with now I have them, and fish 'n' chips. I managed to talk my youngest nephew into joining me for a paddle - it was freezing cold!!

I returned in May with my Mum to celebrate her birthday. We spent some time painting pots, rummaging in charity shops, eating al fresco at Prezzo, playing on the arcades, and strolling along the seafront eating ice cream.

Do It Myself
I've been doing little bits and pieces around the house but my focus has largely been in the garden. It's hardly DIY but it does come under the umbrella of home improvement so it's good enough for me. My plan is to turn my attention inside and decorate when Andy disappears into harvest.

Make a plan to grow soft fruit
I have a raspberry plant that seems to be doing really well so far. As for strawberries I failed to buy any plants. I have an ancient plant in a pot by the front door but I doubt it'll be fruitful. I haven't given up on my plans for a fruit cage though, that's something I'm still plotting.

So far I've patched two pairs of jeans (one of which now has a busted zip!), and mended a torn hem on a maxi skirt, and a split side seem. It's not huge progress but it's a start. That said since doing these I've added a few more things to the mend pile. It's never ending.

Once a month veggie meals
In April I made Chickpea Tikka Masala - Andy Loved it, I only liked it, every mouthful was a bit samey.

In May I whipped up this Creamy Hummus Pasta dish that we both really enjoyed. I've made this several times now, it's a really easy weeknight recipe. I want to have a go at making hummus, I know I have a recipe kicking about somewhere.

In June I made a Three Bean Chili which we both really liked. Andy topped his with extra jalapenos, I added cheese and chopped red onion. Yum.

I also made this cucumber pickle recipe I found thanks to Vix. I made a half batch just in case we didn't like it. I think I needed to slice everything a little thinner (a Mandoline might be a good addition to our kitchen). Or perhaps cut the cucmber and onion into chunks so it has more of a Branston feel to it. I wasn't sure if I liked it at first but it's definitely grown on me. It's especially good with cheese and crackers, and lovely with a quiche.

I had planned on cooking a veggie lasagna but the recipe was American and some of the ingredients were hard to find, and I simply can't be bothered to work that hard for an everyday recipe.

Read 12 Books
I read 14 and of these Sylvia's Farm was my favourite, I still think about it now. I'm going to write a review at some point in the near future, I'm normally terrible at book reviews but I like this book so much I'm going to give it a go.

Attend the Suffolk Show
I've lived in Suffolk since I was tiny but I'd never been to the Suffolk Show before. So to remedy this I went along with my Dad, we had such a lovely day. We indulged in some shopping, spent ages watching horse demonstrations, and blacksmiths in action, ate Cornish pasties, strawberries, and date and walnut cake. We meandered around the many stalls and exhibitions, including an art exhibition. At the entrance to this was a large sculpture of a dog with a big stick in it's mouth, which was surrounded by three real dogs, barking at it but all too chicken to try and nick his stick. It was so cute, and noisy.

Also during spring, Andy and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary, I hit the charity shops with Sophie and Kezzie, I started my bee friendly garden quest, made elderflower gin, a malteaser cheesecake, lemon curd thumb print cookies, granola, and I started a new wardrobe challenge.

Although I make these lists each season and I never manage to tick everything off, there are always many other things that crop up to keep me busy and out of mischief. Making plans is all very well but there is always something to be said for last minute plans, acting on ideas as and when they strike, and going with the flow.

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  1. I think you achieved a lot! I WISH we had been to Felixstowe- we are utterly rubbish at actually planning our weekends at the moment. Yesterday, Chris did some cover teaching and I monged whilst waiting and finally, when he got home, he fell asleep and we didn't leave the house till 5! We ended up walking in Danbury and then watching a theatre show in Maldon. It was nice but the day felt largely wasted!x

    1. I really dislike the feeling of a day wasted, it's such a shame.
      Felixstowe is having a regeneration, the pier is being revamped, due to open in July - you should visit then!

  2. You have been really busy. I like the fact that your books are either blue or red.
    Yay for flowers, they are super cheery and I always smile when I come home to see blooms by the door. xx

    1. I'm now reading yellow books :)
      Flowers really do make such a difference inside or out. I haven't had any flowers in vases recently, something that I must remedy!

  3. You did quite well, Hazel. I'm amazed at the 14 books you read. Although I always have a book on the go, I only seem to be able to find time to read ... in bed. I did some catching up when on holiday, but still ... Oh, and those pesky mending piles never seem to get any smaller, don't they? xxx

    1. I used to read only in bed, but I gathered such a pile of books that I decided to make more time for reading. I work only in the mornings, so it's easy to spend a quiet hour reading before Andy gets home most days. And of course the hammock is always calling my name when the sun is out - and there's no better place to read!

  4. You have been so busy! The Suffolk Show sounds lovely. I live near Malvern and keep meaning to go to the 3 Counties Show as I've heard it's excellent. Maybe next year.

    1. I can't believe it's taken me the best part of 40 years to get to the Suffolk Show, I'll definitely be going again

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed the pickle, we're addicted to it. I use the single blade on my ancient cheese grater (I'm terrified of mandolins, i trained as a chef and attended to some horrid kitchen accidents!)
    The Suffolk Show looks wonderful. xxx

    1. perhaps I should give a mandolins a miss in that case! The more I eat the more I like it, I'll definitely be making another batch.
      The Suffolk Show was a lovely day out, perfect for hanging out with my Dad.

  6. I forgot to say that Lidl is currently selling mandolines for £5! They are quite small, and seem fairly manageable. I've no intention of slicing at speed, but so far it's been pretty useful.

    1. Thank you, but I'm not sure I trust myself with one! I've got used to the thicker slices now, although I might still try chunks next time around, just to see :)


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