A quick visit to Stoke Fleming.

Blackpool Sands in a cold April.

Husband grew up here in Stoke Fleming, and his parents still live in the same house they’ve had for over forty years. It’s near the busy town of Dartmouth and the area is always rammed with visitors, especially in the summer. I remember holidaying in Stoke Fleming when I was little, completely unaware that at some point I was probably only a few metres away from future husband. When we first met, that made my mind boggle a bit. Actually, I doubt we were that near each other because I’m fairly sure that locals wouldn’t have mixed with a grockle like me!

lichen

We went and stayed last weekend and the weather was pretty bad. It changed our plans for hanging around outside all the time. We did do things but not as much as we’d hoped.

As usual I have randomly clicked away at stuff I like. I haven’t worked out an order in which to place the pictures but fingers crossed I’ll have a blog post by the end of it!

Walls and stuff. Stoke Fleming.

The rain is good for green, there was lots of green. I like all the old walls with weeds and wayside plants.

Spring flowers on our walk.

The early flowers are here with the promise of bluebells and foxgloves to come. It’s a shame it was such a grey day.

woolly bits and their sheep

Lots of lambs with their mummies. I was tempted to gather all the wool from the barbed wire but that might have been be a step too far. I’ve got enough of a wool stash already.

From Stoke Fleming to Blackpool Sands

One of things we knew the boys would like was a trip to the beach. It’s a nice walk from Grandma and Grandad’s house and not that far either. What I find funny is that you can see the sea on either side of this little lane. These gates are pretty much opposite each other.

A peek at the sea - Copy

I love the walk down to the beach, it’s exciting to catch glimpses of it through the trees. It makes me feel a little bit dizzy though as the drop is quite steep. I don’t do heights.

Sea view. Blackpool Sands - Copy

Because of the dizzy, I rushed taking pictures up here. I’m sure that’s why I’m still getting waves of dizziness right now. I was moaning about being dizzy in the week and I’m starting to wonder if this is what triggered it. I believe it’s an actual thing and I’m not just making it up!

The other end of Blackpool Sands

That’s one end of the beach.

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This is the other end. This is where we explored. Somewhere in the middle of the beach is a cafe and shop. It might sound peculiar but this is where we had our wedding reception a few years ago. It’s called the Venus Cafe and it was lovely. Haven’t been for a while but it’s definitely still going.

The top end of Blackpool Sands

I like this end of the beach, there’s a river. The boys took their shoes and socks off and went for a paddle. I have no idea why, it was blinkin freezing.

river meets sea

I watched the river meet the sea. The shape of it changes all the time.

Watching the waves

I also tried to take photographs of the sea doing its thing. Some worked out alright but I need a different lense if I want to get a better picture. I didn’t fancy taking the camera any closer to the waves. I was too far away to get the full impact of them. I reckon you could make these piddly waves look fairly impressive with the right equipment.

Hedgehog pebble

Grandma found a pebble that looked like a hedgehog! He came home with us. Little eyes and everything!!

chasing blue beetles

This beastie tried to run away from me. He (she?) was beautiful! I only wanted to take a picture.

And then it was home time. The Easter holidays are just about over. Back to school tomorrow. We’ve had lots of adventures and it has been lovely. (One of my highlights was watching cows in a dairy and drinking some proper fresh cow milk. A low point was today; rushing to the train station to go on an adventure to the museum in Exeter. The museum was closed).

We’re ready to get back to normal now please.

Since it’s Spring…

pretty crocus

The garden is slowly waking up. We’re still not in “pretty” territory but it’s on its way.

spring flowers

The muscari in my garden are well behind others. I see them all over town; big and bright, in huge swathes or on their own, poking out of cracks in the pavement . This is their second year in the garden, I guess they need to establish themselves before being impressive.

New Forget Me Nots.

Forget me nots are so pretty when in their masses. In their masses they can get fungal diseases, which I think occurred last year when it was really soggy. I can see dark splotches on the leaves, which I reckon is fungal. I could tear them all up and give them a break but I’ll see how it goes.

Celandines.

Celandines are usually one of the first flowers to come round after winter. I would have had more but when we first moved in I ripped them all out. I didn’t know what they wear. They’d probably be considered weeds in someone else’s garden but I like the bright they bring.

Budding branches.

Living twigs. That’s the fig on the left and on the right is some sort of miniature cherry relative. Dancing with the butterflies? Something like that.

Crocus in the garden.

The crocuses in my garden are few and far between. I must have planted hundreds of bulbs in all the autumns we’ve lived here and yet I see very few waiting to come back after each of their first appearances.

Peony in March

Isn’t this a bit early for a peony? I used the macro lense for this but I struggle to see where the focus is and so I wiggle the lense miniscule amounts and take a picture at each wiggle (I know where I want the focus to be but it doesn’t always end up in the right place) . The margin for accurate focus is barely anything. I think I’m doing something wrong.

Erysimum.

I’ve had erysimum all through the winter. It’s gone straggly but it’s still flowering.

Daffodils still going.

There are still lots of daffs going strong. I’m amazed how long the season has been.

garden waking up.

This is the biggest area for flowers, down at the bottom of the garden. See? It hasn’t quite got there yet. There’s a lot more green than there was a couple of weeks ago though. And look at the first garden pictures I posted ten months ago (scroll past the shawl). Let’s see how it looks in another two months!

 

Spring plants and flowers at Escot Park.

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It was half term last week and on Monday I took my boys to Escot Park near Ottery St Mary, Devon. We’ve got an annual pass as it isn’t far from where we live. It has loads of stuff for the children to do and lots of interesting things to see.

This year there will be even more to see as there will be new enclosures for some animals. They already have an excellent space for red squirrels (if you’re lucky they come up and say hello to you. They might even try to search your pockets for nuts!!). There are otters, wild boar and birds of prey too and they will soon be joined by lynx, wolves, wild cats and pine martins. I think that’s right, I’m saying it from memory.

Escot also has lots of interesting trees and plants. This is the bit I like. At different times of year there is always something beautiful to see. I will go back and see the bluebells and at some point, enthusiastically yet carefully put my nose in all the roses of the walled garden.

Excuse me if the picture quality is dodgy, I took these photographs on my phone. The only thing I’ve done is to squash the size down a bit.

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Who doesn’t love a teasel?!

Apologies if you’re not keen on snowdrops…

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The snowdrops were amazing. I don’t recall seeing them there before, must’ve always missed them. I got told off by the boys at this point, for taking too many photos. They wanted to go and play on the pirate ship.

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Good old crocus.

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I don’t normally like camelias but even I thought these ones were beautiful.

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I used to want cyclamens in the garden but they look better in this environment. Plus I did plant some a few years ago and I reckon the vine weevil got them. They never did come back.

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So, yeah, that was nice. The boys had fun and so did I. It was a lovely sunny day. I’m glad we went. I shall take small boy back next week if the weather is good. Gotta get my money’s worth on that annual pass.

A mishmash of catch ups.

Putting together the fireplace blanket.

To begin my mishmash here is some progress on the fireplace blanket. I can tell it’s going to be a weighty blanket for its size. Soon it’ll be finished but I am so gonna run out of wool.  More balls have been ordered but not sure yet as to whether it’ll be enough for an impressive border.

new witchy amigurumi

I’m also working on a witchy pattern for Halloween. I’m not 100% happy with her hat yet. And she’s got man hands, which’ll have to get sorted.

A stripey birthday card

My first Sharpie adventure. A simple birthday card.

Say hello to Marceline

We got a cat! This is Marceline the Vampire Queen. She arrived during the last week of the summer holidays. Daughter of Cinnamon, Grandaughter of Nutmeg.

Marcy on the bed.

She’s a lovely girl who likes shades of red.

Marceline in the garden

She has been enjoying some late summer sunshine…

Marcy exploring her new garden

And getting to know the garden. She thinks leeks are tasty.

messy veg patch. end of season.

It’s the end of the season for sure. This is the point where I stop trying to maintain the garden and let it go nuts. I’ve got to be good and go out there for a tidy up. Nemotodes arrived in the post last week so I know I’ve got to get a move on. Hopefully these parasitic wormy friends will sort out my vine weevil problem. The idea is that they’ll feast upon the grub guts like there’s no tomorrow.

salvia patens. cambridge blue.

Salvia Patens. Time to gather their seeds so I can grow more. It’s a bit wet out there right now though.

Autumn berries.

Hawthorn and Holly. I used to get excited about seeing all this red because I thought I could nick it at Christmas to decorate my house Pagan style.  I now know that it’ll all be gone by then. The birds will scoff them all.

Pink cosmos and bee

Pink Cosmos. I’m impressed that I’ve still got flowers in the garden at all. There is still quite a lot of colour out there. Still, it’s not really Autumn yet.

calendula in the front garden.

These Calendula are in the front garden. I don’t really look after the front the way I do the back garden. It gets straggly and neglected.

calendula and bee

It doesn’t seem to matter to the bees and their friends. They still get their buzz on.

Any way, I should go now to continue with the crochet. I’ve got a long list of things to finish and more yet to start. Also, I’m gonna make a pie for tomorrow’s tea. Bake off is making me do it.

Catching up with crochet blankets and changes in the garden.

Not quite half way to go in my new blanket.

I haven’t been working on these squares since the summer holidays began. I honestly didn’t think the holidays would have much of an impact on my crafty gubbins but it absoloutely has. Progress has slowed right down. However, this is still a good batch of squares. So far, there are fifty two and shockingly, ends have already been sewn in. Some ends have been sewn in. A few. I want over a hundred to make this blanket.  I can’t remember the exact number needed. It doesn’t matter at this stage. I’ll have a play and then decide.

I love the pattern for this one. It takes a weeny bit longer to make than a regular Granny but it looks that much more special. It’s called the Petal Patch Motif by Betsy Makes. I’ll give myself an Autumn deadline for this one.

Fireplace tile squares

I’ve also been having a good old tinker around with this pattern. It’s the Lily Pad square and it’s very pretty. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing this one complete. I have a feeling it’ll look lovely.

The first square I made is the one on the bottom right. The middle is tighter and kind of went nipply (?!). I added some chains between stitches for the first couple of rounds, which sorted that out. I have also only just twigged that it’s someone called Lily who will become the owner of this blanket! Lily pads for Lily. Hee!

tiles around the fireplace

This tile is the inspiration for the colours. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago and haven’t moved on that much further. Fingers crossed that the colours match in real life. It’s tricky colour matching by photographs.

Looking up at the fig tree.

Will I be getting ripe figs this year? Last year, the tree was laden with fruit but none of the blighters ripened. I always get excited about seeing them ripen but truthfully, I thinks figs are a bit pappy. However, I do like to pass them on to friends. People get excited by homegrown figs and I like to hand out bags and bags of them.

Runner beans are easy to grow

My runner beans are in full swing. I flippin love runner beans. I’m tempted to make chutney this year. I have a good recipe somewhere and I haven’t made any for a few years. Hmm. I could make some courgette chutney too…

pink japanese anemone against the sky.

The pink Japanese Anemone is looking fabulous at the moment. I wish I could say the same for the white one I got a couple of years ago. The white one is in too much shade and I’m not sure the ground, in which it sits, is that nutrient rich. I might dig it up and move it.

great anemone photo

Scroll past these if you like. I’m gonna add another anemone picture next too…

cottage garden with pink japanese anemone

Behind, on the right is Arron’s Rod, I think. A bit weedy but it is adding height. I really need to research some flowering plants that are about 6 foot tall. Any suggestions?

baby garden spider

Helloo baby garden spider. I saw loads of these in the spring when they’d hatched, so I knew they would find themselves homes. He flashed his belly at me.

Going for cottage garden look

The garden in the summer looks a lot different to how it was in the spring. There are brighter flowers and it looks a lot less organised.  I don’t know how to plan planting very well and it shows.

Hollyhocks, crocosmia and a pink weed

I’m astounded that the Hollyhocks flowered. They have been affected by rust. I sprayed them with Rose Clear, which has antifungal things in it. It seems to have helped them to recover just enough. Not just for roses it seems. Beside it, the Crocosmia is mightily happy. It isn’t bothered by rust.

I did not plant this sunflower

Several Sunflowers have come up at the bottom of the garden. I didn’t put them there. What I did put there was homemade compost. I deny putting Sunflowers in the compost though. I have no idea how they got there. Lots of self seeding has gone on down at the bottom of the garden. That Borage has barged its way in. And there is what I suspect to be Verbena Bonariensis coming up too.  The pink flowers are Lavatera but that was deliberately planted.

summer colours in the garden.

So, there are all these colours going on. It’s a bit of a muddle. It looks nice enough but I need lessons in planning. Maybe an overhaul for next year? Do I start now? I’m not sure what to do.

 

A lovely start to the summer holidays

Up on Hound Tor

We spent the day on Dartmoor yesterday. Nice and sunny up on Hound Tor. We kind of had two picnics. First, a lunch and then an afternoon snack (I made courgette cake) after some walking.

Through the heather to Hound Tor

I took this photo from behind some medieval ruins of an old Dartmoor Longhouse. There are a handful of ruins here.

Hound Tor, Dartmoor

It looks so small from a distance but Hound Tor is massive. Also, somewhat radioactive.

We walked up to Hound Tor, past the village and then went down into the valley to throw stones in the river. The boys loved every bit of it. Walking down the steep valley, carrying a two year old was a bit punishing on my knees but he kept falling over so… He also didn’t enjoy walking back up the hill. His legs are only little.

getting ingredients for quiche lorraine

I also made some mini Quiche Lorraine. It was supposed to be a joint effort between me and the boys but they didn’t stay around long. This recipe came from Rachel Allen’s Bake. So did the courgette cake (which is called Zucchini Bread in the book). The recipe is for a big quiche but I thought small ones would be easier to transport for picnics. Just cook them for less time.

mini quiche lorraine

They worked quite well and we took them with us for our Dartmoor picnic and also for a picnic the day before, to Blackbury Camp in East Devon.

Summer time at Blackbury camp.

It’s an English Heritage site, known locally for its bluebells in spring. It’s an iron age hill fort and brilliant for kids to run around in.

A big bit of flint with quartz

My boy found a big lump of flint with quartz inside. He was very happy with it. His index finger just about shows the scar he gained from his exchange with a saw, on our recent camping trip.

Hello little grass hopper!

Grass hoppers were everywhere. This one is sitting on the inside of my arm.

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On Tuesday we went to a birthday party on Exmouth beach. It started out a bit cold and windy but soon after, the sun came out and the boys got slowly braver and a little less clothed. The seaweed did funny things as the tide came in.

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There were a few of these Barrel Jellyfish dotted about the place. It wasn’t this blue in real life but it’s a picture taken on my phone, which does funny things without me asking. They looked like aliens. There was much stick poking from many six year olds. Fascinating.

So that kind of rounds up the first week. We did other fun stuff too. Hanging out with friends, trips to the park and such. I don’t think I’m going to do summer holiday updates every week, it’s just that I haven’t done much in the way of crafting. After my wasp sting at the beginning of the week, my hand swelled up and I thought it best not to do any crochet or sewing.

Sewing curtains, re-homing a crochet blanket and enjoying summer.

Last week I said I wasn’t allowed to buy any more fabric…. I have….

Ikea fabric for making curtains

Half a tonne of it. Lots of it. Loads. I’m making curtains, it’s totally legit. When I said I wasn’t allowed to buy any more fabric I had forgotten that I’d planned new curtains. It was not an impulse purchase but a careful, well thought out one. I started on the first curtain the other night but was scuppered by having bought the wrong header tape. I blame IKEA, I don’t think they do the normal header tape anymore and it wasn’t for normal curtains, it was weird. Anyway, by the time the replacement stuff we ordered from Ebay turns up, I’ll have hopefully sorted out all of the other curtains ready for the tape. I can’t wait to have new curtains!

a mixed up granny stripe crochet blanket

I got a request  from a friend on Monday night asking if I had a spare baby blanket they could have to give as a present for someone. Actually, I had three from leftover experiments. This is the one they chose. Unfortunately, it wasn’t actually finished. Thankfully I’d sewn in the ends already. However, it had no border so I had to quickly whizz around it a few times and find  a pretty edge that would suit a baby girl. This is the blanket.

mixed up granny stripe crochet baby blanket.

It was initially going to be for a baby I knew but once I’d almost finished, I decided it wouldn’t suit said baby and stored it away with all the other abandoned projects. Poor blanket. Luckily, someone else saw the potential in it and asked if they could have it. Yes. Good.

Mixed up granny stripe crochet blanket

There isn’t a pattern for it, it’s just a basic granny stripe mixed in with a variety of doubles, half trebles and trebles in a random order. I used Stylecraft Special DK. I quite liked it once it had its border added. The border was inspired by various different patterns I’ve seen around. It’s a bit hotchpotch.

sweet peas in the garden.

The garden is getting pretty again after its June lull. It makes me ponder what I need to do for next year, to ensure I have  colour in more places. I’ve noticed that the greenfly have come to party on my Sweet Peas.

beautiful sweet peas.

My six year old and I went outside this morning and snipped all the Sweet Peas and some Lavender to make posies for his teachers. It’s the last day of school today. I shook off the greenfly before he handed them over.

borage in the herb bed

There is loads of Borage in the herb bed, I didn’t realise it was such a prolific self seeder.  There are so many plants. It’s managed to travel to some other parts of the garden too. I’m going to have to keep on top of that.

Bee bum in the Borage!

The bees flipping love it. It would make me feel guilty if I took too much of it out. I’m going to have to keep it to one part of the garden but still make sure the bees have enough to keep their tummies full.

nastutiums over taking the veg patch

Bees are also having a great time in the Nasturtiums. I’ve spotted more bumble bees here as opposed to the honey bees on the Borage. I don’t know any other type of bees. I could well be mixing my bees.

I’ll soon be running the risk of repeating myself with the garden pics. I’ll need to look at past blog posts to remind myself of my blatherings.

Borage flowers. Bees love them.

Here, another one of Borage! I put them in ice cubes last year. Looked absolutely nothing like those pictures you see on Pinterest.

A few more crafting projects started and some summery garden stuff.

fox and raccoon crochet brooches

Okay, I think these are the only finished things this week. They’re little crochet brooches. The pattern for the raccoon is from issue 33 of Simply Crochet magazine. I made the fox so that he had a friend. Same pattern just different colours. The raccoon pattern is designed by Becky Garratt. I looked at her blog and I like it very much.

Drops Karisma selection

This is new wool for a blanket that has been “commissioned” (my Sister in Law has asked me to make it).  The colours have been taken from a tile from a victorian fireplace. I’m assuming that once the blanket is finished, it will drape beautifully somewhere beside the fire on a cold winter’s day (or something like that). It is Drops Karisma and seems ok, I’ve not used it before. I have made a tentative start but the pattern I’ve chosen might need tweaking.

collection of petal patch granny squares

Last week I started the Petal Patch blanket. I found the pattern for this on Betsy Makes and it makes a change from the standard granny without going crazy. I really like it. I have pretty much pilfered the colour scheme from Attic 24’s Harmony blanket.

petal patch granny square

I can’t decided whether to complete this first, or put it aside whilst I concentrate on the fireplace blanket. I know what I should do but I also know what I want to do. Actually, they will both be fun to make so I guess it doesn’t really matter. This Petal Patch blanket will take at least a few weeks more though as I want about 100 squares and so far I think I only have 25. I haven’t been working as fast as usual either. This is because of a hurty wrist and a yarn tangling toddler.

ardennes fabric

I bought this fabric in May, I think. It isn’t posh quality but it was less than £3 a metre, so I don’t care.

Ardennes dress fabric

I made a bag out of it first and this week I hope to make a summer skirt. If, once I’ve finished, it looks good I will post some pictures. I should probably take a picture of the bag too. I have found what looks to be a good free pattern for the skirt.

embroidered sweet peas

This isn’t my hand, it belongs to my blanket wanting Sister in Law. She is into embroidery and when she visited last Friday, she whipped it out whilst me and some other fab people did our crochet. I wanted to share it simply because I like it!

blue anagallis

Moving on from the crafting projects I am reminded that the garden is thirsty. These Anagallis are my new favourite flower. For about five years it was a Salvia, which I think is called Cambridge Blue but my Mum gave me some Anagallis seedlings after I spotted it in her garden last summer. These guys look like they need a drink.

summer garden flowers

Both the Salvia and the Anagallis are here. I expect the Salvia is feeling a bit miffed now.

garden view

Down at the bottom of the garden, the Crocosmia is just beginning to flower. It was here when we moved in. I don’t mind it too much, so it has been allowed to stay. This picture doesn’t show the Lavatera that has come up behind it but it does show the Salvia, which looks so much better in real life.

summer garden from above

I went upstairs and took a picture. Everything is looking quite nice from this angle!

Hopefully I will get the sewing machine out tonight. I’d like to make a start on that skirt.

 

We went camping!

camping in dorset

On a gloriously sunny weekend in Dorset, we went camping. It was hot. There were eight of us, four adults, four children. That’s two families. We had a lovely time. I wrote about this place a couple of months ago.

camping on the farm

There was only one heavy tumble down into a badger’s set (resulting in lots of bruises) and only one incident with a hand saw (involving  a quickish trip to a Minor Injuries Unit) but they somehow have added to the weekend, making it more memorable… and good for story telling.

cooking soggy shoes

Our shoes had to dry by the fire after a short but heavy downpour.

a little bit of rain

We briefly took refuge in the woods but it got slightly soggy so, in a break in the rain we went back to the tents.

dinner on a camp fire

We had delicious meals on the camp fire. The first night was a chicken and chorizo stew with new potatoes. The second night we had carbonara with homegrown courgettes.

dorset countryside

We camped in this very green and clovery field.

dorset sunset

I took a ridiculous number of sunset pictures.

first night camping

It was a beautiful and mostly peaceful place to be. We had to endure music from a nearby party the first night. It went on until 2am, ugh. In the first photo, peaking out from behind some trees is a white marquee. That is where the party was happening.

looking into our field

We stayed on a farm I know. I’ve been camping there a few times but this is the first time since having kids. I was worried it would be a nightmare but the children had a fantastic time. I didn’t like them waking us up at 4.45 but it was only for two nights.

camping in a field

Unfortunately, we forgot our sleeping bags so  Husband kindly drove back home to get them. It’s only about 50 minutes from home and I don’t think he minded too much. I just can’t believe we forgot such fundamental camping equipment. Duh.

camping in the great outdoors

This is our new tent, bought so that the boys could have one section and we could have the other. It has a porch inbetween. Nice and roomy.

camp fire

Camping isn’t camping without a proper fire to cook on and keep warm.

our camp site

This looks messy in the photograph but in reality it was very well organised. In lieu of crafting we set to work making an awesome drying rack thingy for dishes and a washing line for clothes. There is a bin hangy thing in there too and extra sticks stuck in the ground to hang lanterns from. It was very cosy.

a proper camping breakfast

Here is a proper camping breakfast!

another camping sunset

Nice views.

camping sunset night two

Promptly upon our return we all came down with a bug. I’m still feeling rubbish as I’ve been kept awake by pukey kids for two nights. Decent sleep hasn’t come to me yet. It’s such a shame because it put a downer on coming home. I think we caught the germs before we went camping and harboured them whilst we were away.

I might get back to some crochet today but I still don’t have much energy. I’ve been doing too much camping laundry instead. Boo.