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Thursday 28 February 2013

There's Travel In The Air ....

Well my little friends, as you read this, my daughter will be on her way from France once again, and will be staying with us until the 13th March.  It goes without saying that I am really looking forward to seeing her again.  Little Alfred will also be coming, so hopefully it will stay dry so that we can get out for some nice walks.

Eleanor would usually be coming at this time, but she is flying off to India today with the school.  They will be going to the charity where little ones and old people have cataract operations.  She is soooooo excited about the trip.  Me? Well, I shall pray for her safekeeping whilst she is away, and will look forward to hearing all about it when she returns.

Emma said that Alfred was looking very worried yesterday with all the packing that was going on! Do you remember when he sat in my suitcase the last time I was over there, when I was trying to pack to come home again?!

I did go to see that film the other evening, "A Song For Marion."  I was actually really looking forward to seeing it, but I'm afraid I didn't like it much at all, which is unusual.    I saw Quartet a couple of weeks ago, with Dame Maggie Smith, which was also about older people.  Now that film, I really DID enjoy.  I found it tremendously touching.  

I don't think there's  much news to tell you about really.  Oh! I have an appointment with a Dermatologist at the Hospital on Monday morning, so fingers crossed he will be able to come up with something to control my skin problem.

I hope you're all taking good care of yourselves my friends and that you will always find something to smile about in your everyday lives.  Bye for now.

Monday 25 February 2013

This and That... the Usual Old Rubbish!! ....

I'm off to the cinema with a friend  this evening to see "A Song For Marion".  We saw the preview last week, and it looks very good.  
1hr 33min‎‎ - Rated PG‎‎ - Comedy/Drama‎‎ - English‎
Director: Paul Andrew Williams - Cast: Terence StampVanessa RedgraveChristopher Eccleston,Gemma ArtertonAnne ReidCalita Rainford
A wonderfully, heart-warming story of a loving marriage between grumpy pensioner Arthur and the ever-cheerful Marion. Cantankerous but doting husband Arthur does not share his wife Marion's passion for performing. While she is happy to sing her heart out with the unconventional local choir, Arthur would prefer to hide himself away and complain about how embarrassing it all is. But when heartbreak strikes, Arthur is forced to re-think his outlook on life. With the steady perseverance of choir director Elizabeth, Arthur begins to find a way to come out of his shell and in the process forms a touching relationship with Elizabeth as well as a desire to build bridges with his estranged son James.
Tomorrow evening, we have a meeting of our Book Club - we meet every six weeks - and the book we will be discussing this time is The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas.  I absolutely loved it.  A lot of the story takes place in Kashmir in India, although it starts off in Wales.  Mair's father has recently died and when packing up the house, along with her siblings, they find an exquisite shawl, along with a lock of hair.  Mair takes it upon herself to return to India, where her grandparents were Missionaries, to try to solve the reason why her grandmother had kept the shawl, and exactly what it meant to her.
I must admit, I do enjoy stories where you have action taking place in the current time, but also a story going on in years gone past.  The author was very clever in bringing the two storylines together.  I thoroughly recommend it!
Have any of you heard of Dropbox.  I first heard of it at Christmas, when I had a new Samsung Galaxy 10 tablet as a Christmas present.  It's a wonderful App, and I'm amazed just how clever it is.  I have all my photos stored on my laptop, but by using the Dropbox App, I can call all the photos up on my Tablet and, also, my mobile phone.  Clever stuff, all this new technology.
The good thing about it is that, although you have access to all your photos, it is not actually taking up any space on the Tablet or mobile phone. As I said before, amazing!!
I have found a good thing on the camera of my new mobile phone, the Apple iPhone 5 , and, that is, that it has a panoramic feature.  This will be really useful when I'm on holiday looking at wonderful old buildings.  But, just to give you an idea, I took a photo of the lounge whilst I was sat in the armchair the other evening, and here is the result!

We have an open fireplace and love to have the log fire roaring away, but, my goodness, it certainly eats the logs.  We can usually get through six log basketfuls in an evening!  It's not too much of a problem, because we have so many trees in the garden, I don't think there will be a shortage of wood for quite a while.
Anyway, we are looking into having a Wood Burner installed.  They're supposed to be very good, and I think it will go quite well with the house. 
I think that's about all the news from this end for the time being.  See you again soon!
Because of time, I know that I'm not very good in replying to comments, but I would just like to say that I love receiving all of them.  They all give me great pleasure, especially my faithful Followers that leave a comment on every single post.  Thank you all my friends.  
Because friendship is on my mind quite a lot at the moment, I leave you with a couple of quotes.  Take care.

Friendship quotes courtesy of Pinterest.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Sunday Snaps!

Here we are again little bloggies.  Gosh, I hope it's warm wherever you are.  Here in Devon, we have had this bitterly cold wind for a week, and it's been SO cold.  I wasn't built for the cold!!  But, at least it's been dry, so that's a blessing in itself.  We've got so much water over here in the ground, that it's going to take an awful long time for it to dry out.

I thought I would post a few photos of warmer times , and I hope you enjoy them.

Eleanor & I on a rare sunny day in the garden!

This one was taken on the historic Barbican, which leads up to Plymouth Hoe.  Do you like the vintage ice-cream van?
Ruby enjoying a chocolate ice-cream. Eeeek!
Thank you again for your supportive comments relating to my last post, and the sad news about Emma's best friend (and Eleanor's Godmother).  I can only pray now that Kelly will have quality time  to spend enjoying laughter with her little girl, family and friends.

There are five really close friends, who have known each other for years and years.  One of them is due to get married in June.  Anyway, they have decided to bring the Hen Party forward to take place in two weeks time, and they will stay in a really posh hotel in Cornwall for a couple of nights.  Time now, of course, is of the essence.  I found this lovely quote, and I posted it onto Kelly's facebook page -

Emma with Kelly

Sending blessings and hugs your way my friends.

Thursday 21 February 2013

The Worst Possible News ....

Well,  I write this post with a very heavy heart.  I'm afraid it's the worst possible news about Kelly. The cancer is everywhere - lungs, stomach, brain.

There is nothing they can do. They just have to try to make her comfortable for the next few months.

Everyone is in bits. all the prayers just didn't do any good, and it does make you wonder WHY?

Sunday 17 February 2013

Sunday Snaps and "Thank You!"

Happy Weekend to all my bloggy friends out there.  First of all, I must say a very big "thank you" to all of you who left such kind and loving comments on my post about Kelly.  Emma has spoken to her, and she actually has three tumours on the brain.  Her Consultants are meeting on Monday morning to prepare a care plan for her.  Emma said that she was her usual cheerful self, saying that she had beat it once, and she is certainly going to beat it this time as well!  I do believe in the power of prayer, and if we all continue to keep Kelly in our prayers, that miracle might just happen.

Now for some happy news!  I have a friend who I meet up with every three weeks, and we go out for a lovely meal at lunch time, trying new restaurants all the time, accompanied, of course, with the obligatory glass of Rose`!

She is a real laugh, one of those people who it is just so nice to be with.  She is called Sue Lavender, which I've always thought was a beautiful name.  At present, her and her partner are on holiday in America for three weeks.  Anyway, I read on facebook yesterday that they got married on Valentine's Day in the Orange County Courthouse, in Orlando, Florida.  A complete surprise to everyone and it was just a spur of the moment thing.  They are a lovely couple, and I couldn't be more happy for them.  Apparently, they then went on to the Kennedy Space Centre to celebrate.

It's a bit of a hotchpotch of photos this week - no theme at all!  The following are some lovely daffodils, which hubby brought in for me from the garden yesterday.  The first ones, so that surely is another sign that Spring  can't be far away.

I know that there are some of you who don't actually like picking flowers from the garden, but we really do have hundreds of them at the bottom of the garden, as you can see from the header photo, so it seems a shame not to bring just a little sunshine into the house!

The next photo is of Ruby, and,  she was very happy with the little Hallo Kitty that I gave her for Valentine's Day.  It goes with the larger one that she had for Christmas.

I've had my iPhone on Contract for over two and a half years, so I did a free upgrade on Friday (well, it cost me £25, but when you consider how much they would cost to buy, that's nothing!).  The camera was good on the older model, but this one has an 8 pixel camera, so I was just playing around with it and used the reverse option  on it to take a photo of myself.  

I can't remember whether I told you that Ruby has been going to Ballet class for the last month -needless to say, she absolutely loves it. I was babysitting on Valentine's evening so that my daughter and her hubby could go out for a meal, and I had settled them both into bed.  Anyway, Eli went to sleep almost immediately after the bedtime stories, but I could hear Ruby up there shuffling around! Anyway, she came down, complete with tutu over her pyjamas, and proceeded to dance and twirl all around the room!  Really, it is at moments like that, that make me so happy.  I was a good grandma though, and put her right up to bed again, because I knew she had to be up for pre-school in the morning.

I had a text from my daughter the next morning, so say that both Eli & Ruby were sobbing, because they thought I would still be there, and they had to put up with mummy and daddy! LOL!!

Eli goes to Little Dragons, which he also loves.  I do think it is good for them too.  It is called Little Dragons from age 4 - 7, and then it becomes Tae kwon do!

Eleanor had her injections yesterday for her trip to India at the end of this month.  She is going with the school and she is SO excited.  They are visiting Charities over there that carry out cataract operations for children, so it will probably be an eye opener for her, but a wonderful experience all the same.

Oh, I nearly forgot the photo of little Alfred who was enjoying the love on Valentine's Day!

Well, I seem to be rambling on a bit today, so I think I had better say goodbye again for now.  I hope you are keeping well, and happy to see the days getting a little longer each week.

See you again soon.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Could I Ask For Your Prayers Please ....

Hallo again everyone.  I am writing on a much more serious note now.  Many of you will remember Kelly, daughter number one's best friend, and Eleanor's Godmother.  You will recall that she had breast cancer last year, and really went through the mill, having chemotherapy, radiotherapy, plus a double masectomy.

She has a little girl, Lilly, who is the same age as little Ruby.  In fact, Lilly only recently celebrated her third birthday.

Kelly was given the all clear a short while ago, to everyone's delight.  Yesterday, she collapsed and had a fit, and has just found out that the cancer has spread to her brain, which is just dreadful news.

They are starting her on chemotherapy again today, but I wonder if I could ask all my kind bloggy friends out there to hold Kelly in your prayers, so that we can hope that a miracle might occur.

Emma, my daughter, is quite distraught at this latest news, as you can well imagine, because they are so very close.

Life certainly isn't fair, is it?  When you think of the wicked people that are out there in the world, and, yet, this always seems to happen to the good ones.  I guess we will never know the reason why.

Thank you dear friends.

14th February - Is That A Special Day?! ......

I thought the following piece was quite appropriate, with my family living just outside Paris.  What a wonderful idea.  Some of the stamps are truly a miniature work of art in themselves.

Every year, for Valentines day, La Poste (the French postal service) issues postage stamps designed by the greatest names in the French fashion industry such as Hermes, Chanel and Cacharel. These Valentine day stamps are heart shaped and come in various denominations and presentations, They are gorgeous tiny pieces of art, and can make a cheap affordable collection.

They are stunning, aren't they? Imagine receiving a Valentine in the post, decorated with one of these beautiful stamps.  But, there you are, that's the French for you = the most romantic of people, and Paris, of course, has always been considered to be the City of Love.  Apart from the very first image, I think my other favourite is the last one.

Here are a few more designs that have featured over the years.

Here we have the 2013 design by Hermes.  The design was created by one of their scarf designers, Zoe Pauwels.  A treat for the eyes, and much cheaper to buy than the actual Hermes scarf!

I would like to thank my friend Anne from the blog Anne in Oxfordshire for giving me the idea for this item.  Thank you Anne!

"All you need is love - but a little chocolate every now and then also helps"
Charles M Schulz.

"I want a man who is kind and understanding.  Is that too much to ask of a millionaire??"

Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Going back to Paris, the above is a photo of the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens. The gardens surrounding the palace have long been a hotbed of romance for centuries.  Famous couples - including Napoleon and Josephine have frequented the garden.  Today, lovers still stroll among the beautiful statues, fountains and flowerbeds.    The Palace is situated near the famous Latin Quarter of Paris.

Located in Paris' 18th arrondissement, the above Wall of "I Love You's" has always been a meeting place for lovers of love. " I love you" is written in over 250 languages!

The above photo was taken in Monmartre, which is set on a hill in Northern Paris.  This is one of my favourite haunts in Paris, with wonderful views of the city.  Artists such as Claude Monet, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh either had studios here,  or worked in this wonderful part of Paris.


Sweet Valentines heart box by Cerri Campbell!

Sunday 10 February 2013

More Romance..... Well, It's Only Once A Year!

A stranger you were once.
Then, with a gentle look you took my hand.
As our lives engaged,
you lit my life and I held both your hands.
Now that decades have passed,
our souls have indeed become one.
How fortunate we are
that we have found the love so true
that everyone dreams about.

- Laura Veronica Merodio -

Now for something a bit more lighthearted!

"Never go to bed mad -- stay up and fight." - Phyllis Diller.

"I feel like Zsa Zsa Gabor's eighth husband on her wedding night: I know what I'm supposed to do...I just have to figure out a way to make it interesting." - many attributions.

"I love being married. It's so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." - Rita Rudner.

"There are three kinds of men who do not understand women: Young, old, and middle-aged." - Anonymous (and with good reason). 

I hope that all is well with you in your little corner of the world my friends.  Take care.

Friday 8 February 2013

The Way To a Man's Heart ....

 Still thinking about romance, I thought I would post some recipes  which might give you some ideas for making it a special evening on Valentine's Day, to share with that special person in your life.  Go on - you know you want to!!

Berry Blush Cocktails.

Use any berry liqueur you like for these cocktails


Pour 2tbsp each berry liqueur and vodka into two tall glasses and top up with lemonade or tonic water. Garnish with strawberries, raspberries and ice and serve immediately.

Be Mine Bruschetta.

Good deli ingredients mean more taste with less prep! 

Ingredients :

4 ciabatta bread slices
1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to brush
1tsp balsamic vinegar
½tsp runny honey
 ½ x 125g ball buffalo mozzarella, torn into pieces
40g (1½oz) Parma ham, torn into pieces
75-100g (3-3½oz) grilled artichoke hearts, chopped
Basil leaves, to garnish.


Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6. Arrange the ciabatta slices on a baking tray, brush with a little extra-virgin olive oil and bake for 8-10min until crisp and golden.

 Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and seasoning in a jug.

Arrange the toasted bread slices on a platter and top with the mozzarella, Parma ham and artichoke pieces.

 Drizzle with the dressing and garnish with black pepper and basil leaves.

Serve immediately.

Steak Your Claim with Crush on you Tomatoes.

Steak comes alive with a flavourful butter – and this one’s ready in minutes.

Ingredients :
15g (½oz) butter, softened 
1tsp Dijon mustard
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
 1tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 x 250-300g (9-11oz) beef steaks 
Sunflower oil, to brush
12 cherry tomatoes on the vine, cut into two bunches.


In a small bowl, mix together the first four ingredients with some seasoning and set aside. Pat steaks dry with kitchen paper and season both sides.

Oil a griddle pan and put over a high heat to warm up. Brush steaks with oil, then griddle for 5-6min, turning once, for medium meat. Transfer steaks to a board, cover with foil and leave for 5min.

Meanwhile, fry the cherry tomatoes in the griddle pan for 5min until beginning to collapse.

 Top the steaks with flavoured butter and serve with the tomatoes, French Kiss Fries and a crisp green salad.

French kiss fries

No peeling or par-boiling means these oven-baked fries are fuss free.

Ingredients :

2 medium floury potatoes, unpeeled and sliced into thin strips
1tbsp plain flour
 1tsp paprika
1tbsp sunflower oil


Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.

 Put all the ingredients into a bowl and toss together with plenty of seasoning. Tip fries on to the lined tray and spread out as much as possible.

Cook for 25-30min, turning occasionally, until fries are golden and tender. Serve immediately.

True Love Espresso Pots.

These decadent puds will have you swooning in no time.

Ingredients :

100g (3½oz) white chocolate, broken into pieces
75ml (3oz) double cream
¼tsp ground coffee, finely ground espresso is ideal.


Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Leave to cool for 5min.

 Pour cream into a bowl and whisk until it holds its shape.

Fold the chocolate and coffee into the cream. Pour into two 75ml (3fl oz) cups, decorate and serve.

Decorations for your espresso pots

When time is short...

A sprinkling of cocoa powder and chocolate-covered coffee beans is sweet and effective.

Time to spare...

Line a tray with baking parchment.

 Melt 25g (1oz) dark chocolate and use a teaspoon or piping bag to drizzle it on to the parchment to make hearts and write words. 

Leave for 30min before using.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

It's Romance Time Again ....

Well, February is the month of romance, with Valentine's Day just around the corner, so here is a little post dedicated to love!

"Love is like quick silver in the hand.  Leave the fingers open and it stays.  Clutch it and it darts away."  by Dorothy Parker.

"Love doesn't make the world go round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile."  by Elizabeth Browning.

"Love is the irresistable desire to be irresistably desired".  by Mark Twain.

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."  by Mother Teresa.

I have been thinking of romantic songs, and here are a few that came to mind.  I am sure that you know of lots more.

"Everything I Do" by Bryan Adams.

"Can't Help Falling In Love" by Elvis Presley.

"I Swear" by All For One.

"Have I Told You Lately" by Rod Stewart.

"Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers.

"I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder.

"Lady In Red" by Chris de Burgh.

"Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes.

"Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler.

"When A Man Loves A Woman" by Percy Sledge.

"My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion.

"Endless Love" by Lionel Richie & Diana Ross.

"Amazed" by Lonestar.

"Every Breath You Take" by The Police.

"Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton.

"Save The Last Dance For Me" by The Drifters.

You can give without loving, but you cannot
love without giving.
~ Ami Carmichael

Sending hugs and smooches your way.

Monday 4 February 2013

Happy Monday Little Bloggies! ....

Hallo again everyone.  I bet you didn't expect to find me here again today! Blame it on the sunshine, that's what I say!

I was walking through the garden room a short while ago, and thought I would take a few photos to show you.  We don't really know what to call this room, so I've decided on garden room, although I guess that might sound a bit pretentious!  I used to say conservatory, but it's not that really, because it's a room with skirting boards, coving and a real ceiling!  Anyway, it's a great space, which we had built about four years ago now.  It's ideal for entertaining, because it's got a flagstone floor, and, of course, it's a wonderful space for the little ones to play.  It's also a nice, light airy room as well.

I still have dark furniture in the house, but I really do love the shabby chic look.  It's just so much lighter and really brightens up a room.  As spring is just around the corner, hopefully, I bought this cushion yesterday.  It just makes me smile every time I walk past it.

This little table is a new addition.  I replaced the old handles with these glass ones, which my youngest daughter gave me as part of my Christmas present.

The mugs and pretty little tin here were, again, part of our Christmas pressies from youngest daughter.  The Dig for Victory one is for hubby to use out in the garden in the new greenhouse, but I thought they were too nice to use, so I've got them on a little table that I renovated last year.  Silly not to use them really, I suppose and I'm sure the Dig for Victory one will be used once hubby is able to get out in the garden again.

This little chap I quite like and, again, it makes me smile when I walk past.  

I still can't get over how quickly the photos upload now, using Google Chrome - wonderful!

This little table you've seen before, but I just love the pretty shape.  This one sits in the hallway, just by the entrance to the garden room.  I'm a great one for having photos of the family around, as you can probably imagine.

The pretty shells on this table were collected by my youngest daughter and her hubby when they went on their delayed honeymoon to The Dominican Republic early last year.

I think that my home really reflects my personality - how about yours? (I can just see a funny comment coming from my dear friend Shady to that question.  You see, I know him so well!!!).

Anyway, I hope you didn't mind me popping by again today.  Romance will feature quite heavily in my next three posts - at least I'm giving you fair warning here!   I, myself, am a hopeless romantic.  (I'm saying nothing about hubby here!!! Hee Hee!!).  My two daughters  are the same, and love planning surprises for their other halves.  

I still remember when Emma's (daughter number one) husband had to go to London on a course several years ago now.  He was in his hotel room, and they were talking on the phone.  Suddenly there was a knock on the door, so he said to Emma "I have to go, as there is someone at the door."  When he opened the door, Emma was stood there with a bottle of champagne! She had travelled up from Devon especially to surprise him!!

See you all again soon my friends.  (You will probably notice that I have removed the snowy picture from my header.  I have replaced it with these daffodils, which I took in my garden in March last year.  I really am starting to look for signs of spring now!!).