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Aaaah, still loving our life!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Bargains and Berries and Bumps.

Last weekend when we popped to Aber I bought these two small curtains for sewing from Craft at the knock down price of £1. Not sure what I will use them for, they are currently sitting in my stash suitcase but I just loved the pattern.



Yesterday I went to Machynlleth with a friend and had a look round some of the junk type shops although that is not a proper description, more like shops stocked with house clearance items. I went into a couple which seemed a bit over priced but found one that had good prices and I bought this fab box for just £3! I LOVE a good wooden box!

















It needed a bit of a scrub and the old soda crystals didn't let me down plus a bit of elbow grease. Great as a paper holder... 



talking of which there was a small shop selling craft items, lovely glass wear and just nice home stuff. In the craft section I found the hand made paper sitting in the box and also bought a small ink stamp.



I wasn't sure of the colour when I got it out today but in the end I was quite happy to edge this Spring card when I finally got round to some papercrafting; I've made it for a friend who I haven't seen for a few weeks and is coming for coffee in the morning.

In the late afternoon I went into the garden to see what is coming into flower. I took a few photos of our Wonky Willow as I call it, really should be Twisted Willow! 


We have a lovely bush of flowering blackcurrant and there is a huge one of them on the opposite side of the road outside my kitchen window and I love seeing that, too.


The pond I am a little embarrassed about as it obviously needs cleaning.  We have lots of frogs spawn in it so I think the air is getting to it; we should be ok until we get round to sorting it out.

I love the log that crosses over it as I think lots of insects and things must love being in and under that. I still love the idea of stealing the bug hotel idea from Dee at Dee's Vegetable Patch Diary to make with my boys. Must start looking around the garden and sheds for stuff; I'm sure there will be something of use!

The dog was outside with me and when I went to kick a ball for him he got so excited that he knocked me flying to the ground off my standing leg and I landed in some dog pooh. To say I was not happy just about covers it!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Wow! See My Stationery Swap.

On Easter Saturday, I received my Stationery Swap from the very lovely Tracey at 
Mad About Bags. You may remember I joined up for her swap and she was my partner.

When I opened my package to say I was gob-smacked is just the word. I was so very grateful for the effort Tracey put into her package that it made me feel my swap effort was a little poor; see here the goodies I received! Definitely one for my Journal of Gratitude!



A wonderful zipped purse bag which is suitable for just about anything, a lovely weekly planner complete with shopping list, beautiful magnetised clips, some beautiful post it notes, thank you notelets one of which I feel I should send back to Tracey to say thank you, again, a very pretty pen with which to write on these fab goodies and along with all this some chocolate, too!





I don't  have an Instagram account so my blog is the only place I can post my photos of this super stationery swap.

I am looking forward to taking part in another sort of swap and I know what to expect now!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Minus Our Boys.

We took our boys to visit the Gramps on Sunday at their caravan in Abergele and they will be away for around a week. We know they will have a great time but of course we miss them and their noise!

Today I took advantage of their absence stripping and airing their beds, washing dressing gowns and slippers and I will give their rooms a good dust before they come back.

I have been busy all day today but tomorrow I am going to Machynlleth with a friend and I am looking to have a mooch in a couple of junk shops I have passed by!

I hope to spend some time at my craft bench on Thursday, then I have a friend coming for coffee on Friday but I have a few jobs to fit in between all of that of course.

We went our to the bottle bank at Bont this evening and called the boys on our mobile, we get some reception there, so it doesn't cost an arm and a leg on the landline.

Sadie, sorry to disappoint but the work on my blog was behind the scenes stuff, which I still haven't worked out, but I am as you know looking for some inspiration so you never know what I might come up with.

Lou.xx

Thanks Ladies.

Just a quick thank you to Delia and Marlene who have just become the latest of my fabulous followers - yay 20! 

lou.xx

Banana Muffin Recipe and Replacement Crockery

Ok, I promised to share a couple of things. Firstly here is the recipe I use when I am baking banana muffins. I have been known to make it as a tray bake but it is just a fab recipe and my boys love these with yoghurt at breakfast - makes a change.


I saw that Marlene over at Simple Living had been buying some lovely trinkets from the charity shop and I said I was gradually replacing my newer crockery and here are some photos.

In this first photo the three brown bowls were £1.99, £2.99 and £3.99 as the sizes go up. The green turine not sure how much, the next large oval plate was £6, the enamel plates which I love were between £1 and £2 and the two green dishes were 50p and a couple of quid I think.

Then here you have some lovely glass dishes which were £5
















and this is where I keep most of my crockery, underneath the island.


I'd love to see any other crockery collections.

Subscriptions To My Blog

Morning

I have been looking at my subscriber details and just wanted to ask a question.

Do those of you who have subscribed to my blog get the email?

I am asking because when I set up my blog I originally called it Welsh Dreams Into Reality and I can see I have 12 people subscribed to that and only 4 to Welsh Dreams Now Reality. As long as you are receiving your email that is fine but just doing a bit of admin/tidying up.

Lou.x

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter!



We have been out all day nearly today so I am finally getting round to saying....


Image result for vintage happy easter

I hope you and yours are enjoying the holiday weekend. 

We had a lovely leg of lamb last night with all the trims and are about to watch the last part of the amaaaaazing The Night Manager.

Lou.xx

Friday, 25 March 2016

Bamboo Shamboo!

Today, due to the weather people being seemingly correct, the whole family has been out in the sunshine and made the best of a glorious day . Progress is ongoing with the garden by getting rid of some of the bamboo at the bottom of the garden. Apologies but this will involve some before and after photos to try and show the effort and difference we are slowly making. The boys managed to help longer than I thought they would!

This is the before with the one bush to the right shown here...



and a shown here closest to the guest room.

These are shots of how the area looks now using said guest room as a point of reference. If you click on the picture above you should see how big the bamboo bush near to the concrete base was before it was worked on.


Then the view up towards the guest room is this..


taken from the far left bottom of the garden as you stand in front of this pile for burning. This pile includes the cuttings from two smaller bushes and we may actually borrow the wood chipper from where Jon works instead of burning it all as it will be much quicker. 

All in all I hope you get the idea, and we have around another six bushes to take down.

Whilst sitting having a snack of coke and a hot cross bun, obviously not my home made ones, we saw three Red Kites really close, but this is the only photo I could get.


We are lucky that we get to see Tornedo planes and Red Kites fly over the garden!

.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Spring Showers, But Easter Is In The Air

It has been raining on and off since about 10 o'clock this morning but this post is cheering me up. Can't complain really as we haven't had rain for a good week I think.

As you may have realised I will decorate around the house for the opening of an envelope, therefore I wanted to share some of my Spring/Easter decorations and thought the best way to do it was with Pic Monkey or you end up with a ream of photos; I've used Pic Monkey before so I didn't find it too tricky.

Here you are then. The decoration on the left, the card and tags are things I have made. I always like to decorate something utilitarian like the microwave so I have put out another of my Pretty Nostalgic magazines and some felt covered eggs to brighten up this corner.


I went to do food shopping this morning and even though I have a mass of daffs in the garden I couldn't resist these tulips! The hanging bunny tag is based on an idea I saw in my Country Living magazine and the hessian banner I made a couple of years ago.



Spoke a bit too soon there as messed up one of my collages so will try and add that tomorrow. Duh!

I bought a couple of golden, shiny bunnies with additional hollow eggs for the boys this morning but not putting those out until tomorrow when they have gone to bed. No egg hunt this year as they have definitely decided the Easter Bunny is not real!

Must dash as need to give the boys a snack when they get home before taking them to the school Easter disco then I'll be fetching Jon from work because of having the car.

Take care, Lou.xx


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Pretty Much Back To Fighting Fit!



Well, I think the jobs and stuff I managed to get done yesterday show I really am getting back to my usual self after this sticking flu.
Image result for images of feeling good
After a good night's sleep without too much coughing Jon and the boys were off to work and school and I had my breakfast. 

I called the dentist on the off chance they had a cancellation, and they did! I had something wrong, not a tooth ache but something was not quite right. I managed to get the appointment for 12 o'clock then to had to call Jon to see if he could pop back with the car, then me take him back to work so I could use the vehicle to get to the dentist later!  The joys of rural life, one car and 13 miles to the dentist. (Wouldn't have it any other way!)

So I ironed until it was time to go to the dentist and now the end of the kitchen bench is cleared and I have more than one pair of trousers to wear!

The dentist trip turned out to be due to my wisdom tooth possibly coming through - honestly at my age?! I had a little inflamation so I was given a numbing treatment to help with the ever so slight soreness and then he put what looked like straw in  a little pocket than had been created around my tooth. Wych a fi! No vitals for a couple of hours but felt better quite quickly.

Whist in Aber I popped to Morrisons for a couple of Fairtrade items for the boys' homework. Was chuffed that I didn't have to spend an arm and a leg on Green and Black's chocolate for a packaging example, Dairy Milk bars and banana stickers did the trick.

Back at home, because no food in the offing for a bit, I cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed everywhere upstairs and put away the ironing. Next I had decided to try my hand at Hot Cross Buns ready for maybe making more at Easter, mmm, more about the feedback later.



 I also made the good, cake tin standby of cherry oat bake.



Tea was baked potatoes with various fillings, feta salad and sweetcorn fitters, nom nom



so I had the spuds on low and slow in the Rayburn and used the heat for the baking, too. 

After tea my Hot Cross Buns were shunned, yes shunned, because we had some lovely ones from a local bakery bought from Bont shop the other day and frankly my men were spoilt! I have had one warmed on the Rayburn this morning and it was lovely. I have to point out that because it is an express recipe they do not come out or keep like dough which has been left to rise and rise - but tasty all the same, I think. 

I also did a bit of make do and mend. I purchased some dish cloths a couple of weeks ago and found after one use they shrank and were a bit thin so decided sewing two together would do the trick to make them a bit more useful. Job done.

Well, I'm going to check out what blog land has been up to and then make use of my new found energy. Lasagne for tea and I might JUST manage another Hot Cross Bun with my next cup of coffee, shame to waste them!

Lou.xx






Monday, 21 March 2016

Stationery Swap. What's Not To Like?!

Super Stationery Swap



I am lucky enough to be taking part in a Stationery Swap which is being hosted by the lovely Tracey from Mad About Bags.

As most people know I love stationery which includes pens, stickers, notebooks - oh notebooks! and anything else related so I was chuffed to bits when I was paired up WITH the lovely Tracey.

We are tasked to send to our pairing a bunch of lovely stuff and I hope to get my parcel in the post today. 

I have the car today because of fetching the boys from Urdd club after school so it is my day for errands, too. I hope to be able to find a couple of Fairtrade items at the shop because part of their homework is about the idea behind Fairtrade. They have really enjoyed looking at little videos on the internet explaining about the concept and Alfie and I had fun creating an explanation for the word empowerment! We were getting help from a website called The School Run. It seems to be really useful for all ages but all I have to do now is find a Welsh equivalent, sure to be one!

It seems I am on the mend but wasn't quite so when we popped into Aber on Saturday alfternoon. However, I managed to drag myself into Craft of course and came out with these two fabulous faux French linen cushion covers. As I have a mass of cushion pads I quickly had them installed on the benches in the kitchen. LOVE them!


Ok, that is about it from me apart from....

                                                               NEWSFLASH!! 
                                               Jon has the stone walling finished!

Boys break up for Easter on Thursday as does Jon so over the 4-day weekend we have friends visiting one day but we hope to do a decent amount of work in the garden so look forward to showing you more before and after's!

Lou.xx
                                                                                                                           


Friday, 18 March 2016

Apologies To New Followers

Sorry I am bad! Hello to new followers whom I think include FAST SOS and Sooze. Hi!

Lou.xx

Beating Myself Up Unnecessarily, But I'll Get Over It!

Just found this post by Dawn on Doing It For Ourselves In Wales about smallholding and self-sufficiency. Truly inspirational as you normally are, Dawn. 

Jon and I feel so very, very lucky that, in effect, Bronllan came with the field which we now own - we didn't actually pay any extra for it. It definitely needs work before we can use it to any degree as we cannot get any vehicles onto the land before we literally make an in road down the lovely tree-lined, grassy walk-way leading to it. But we are determined to make use of it because so many people dream of having a smallholding or land of their own but for lots of reasons are not able to follow that dream. 

I keep reminding myself and Jon that we have only been here just over six months and in that time have achieved lots of things and haven't failed just because we are not raising chickens, our grow your own plans are to nothing and are without my yearned-for-pantry full of preserved produce! Primarily the house has pretty much had a complete renovation, we have settled the boys and ourselves into school and the community, had our first Christmas, Jon has found himself a job which is close to home and aids our new life as we have access to additional free wood for heating the house and we now have our day to day life.

However, we do want to do other things and living here now is giving us options to, eventually, make the right decisions for us as a family. We are lucky to have established outbuildings on the land of the house and to many people these would make a wonderful business opportunity as I talked about here

However a short while ago Jon and I were sitting by the fire talking, as we do much more these days, and we both came to the conclusion. We spent so much time looking for and finding our dream home where we have no part of our land that includes shared access, no near neighbours to take into account and all that we have is ours. And to be honest we have come to the conclusion that we are not prepared to give that up all that to have people traipsing through our precious paradise.

People reading this will probably think, "crikey, make your minds up will you?" and maybe I should learn to keep my mouth shut so I don't look like I'm full of big ideas but putting nothing into practice, but you have to be happy with decisions you make. Before we came here the plan was for Jon to have his own business making things from wood, re-purposing, re-using and recycling items etc and we are now going back to this but he will not be giving up his job straight away.

As Dawn said, until you get to do what it is you want to do you can prepare, read and organise so you are good to go. Therefore in the meantime we are going to be using part of the garden for US for a greenhouse or poly tunnel and maybe chickens - I hope so and see what we can do for ourselves before Christmas whilst I continue to refer to all the lovely people online for help, wisdom and advice who are doing their own thing and whom we hope to emulate in the future. 

Lou.xx





Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Recipe Share.

Maria over at Dotty's Daughter was asking for a couple of my recipes so here they are for my chocolate Brownie, courtesy of an old Dr Oetker calendar, and the cherry oat tray bake I came across on the internet as I didn't want a traditional flapjack using golden syrup so just did a Google search. Hopefully clicking on the images will make the details slightly bigger but I think you should be ok.

With the brownie I make double the mix, use dark chocolate only, white is not favoured in our house, and bake it in a roasting tin that is 13x8 inches. I bake it for 15 minutes, check if it is still wobbly in the middle which it generally is, then bake for another 15 minutes. I bake in my Rayburn but you will be used to your oven.



The tray bake is straight forward. I use a square silicone tray about 8x8 I think and still spray it with low cal sunflower oil as it can have a tendency to stick sometimes. I don't put the chocolate on top as my men prefer it plain Jane!





Hope you enjoy baking your own versions as I've enjoyed sharing my recipes and tips. Really wish I could get some exposure so somebody would let me do some baking/review work for my blog, but I have no idea how to go about doing that.

Nom nom!
Lou.xx




I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud....

well not really but I am on the mend and this post does involve daffodils!

I took a few photos of the garden yesterday now things are starting to sprout Spring-like!

This is my crescent-shaped daff patch, taken from two angles, 





































along with the lovely bunches of Snowdrops which have also appeared.


















There are signs of life on the willow tree which stands over the daff patch, too.



I think I have explained in the past that the first time we saw the house was at the start of May. Therefore, everything which is sprouting and coming into life we are seeing now for the first time so it is very exciting! I have a trot around the garden every other day or so - not been doing whilst feeling unwell - just to see what it coming up.

This weekend when all four of us are, hopefully, back to fighting fit health we are heading into the garden. Jon has some stone walling to finish with the boys and we are going to take down some more of the bamboo bushes. Jon has arranged with work to borrow their wood chipper which is fantastic. This means we can get rid of garden cuttings much more easily and hopefully use them when we start to level out the ground. We are not chipping weeds so we shouldn't be putting anything back into the ground that would do any harm. (Obviously any advice or experience regarding the mass clearing back of land would always be welcome.)  

The weather here is not as blue-skied and sunny as the last couple of days but all is dry and quite pleasant.

Once again, thank you for kind words from everyone over the sicky child thing but pleased I am very much on the mend. Hate being lazy and unable to do stuff!!

Lou.xx

Monday, 14 March 2016

Not The Best Of Weekends, But At Least The Sun Shone!



We had been looking forward to Jon's cousin and her chap visiting this past weekend. On Friday about lunch time I began with a headache. (I should say at this point that Alfie was off school on both Wednesday and Thursday with a cough and not feeling well in general.)

I improved enough for us to go to Aber to do the food shopping when they boys were home from school, but on our return I could hardly get out of the car. I didn't get any better and woke up Saturday morning feeling like death. I rallied by the time our guests arrived and we popped to Aber and Sophie's  which will be our new cafe now instead of going to Costa or Starbucks. It has mis-matched furniture and serves a wonderful hot chocolate and toasted tea cakes which I found very restorative at the time, plus they have a loyalty scheme where you buy six drinks and your next one is free. I have meant to go into Sophie's for ages because it is on the opposite corner to Charlie's where we go a lot. I feel much better about having decided to support a local business instead of a low tax-paying American corporation. (Here endeth the lesson.)I had a sleep when I came home but was not feeling like going out to eat with the others later so stayed home.

In the morning I was again unwell so stayed home whilst the others went to Llanafan with Jake for a paddle in the river; they had great fun. 


Floodplain of the River Ystwyth near Llanafan

Again I felt a bit better and we decided we'd go to Aber as it was a gloriously sunny day and so warm at 21 degrees! We had a lovely walk along the sea front and I sat down whilst the other went up the hill on the cable car. I sat looking at the sea with the sun shining down on it from around 3 - 3.40pm which was calm and gently lapping on the pebbles; it was beautiful sight.

This morning I got the kids off to school and then went back to bed for a couple of hours. I feel a bit better now and have this morning enjoyed looking at the wonderful things all of you in blog land have been doing this past weekend. I don't have the energy to comment on everything individually but Sadie I love your gold bunny, The Croods are doing amazingly as a family with their smallholding, Dawn, I saw gorgeous Alpacas on Country File last night - about Aber which was very exciting - and hope you are feeling better after the dentist trip! Well done on your mammoth reading session, Sue.

Well, that is about all from me. I hope my next post will be a little more cherry.

Lou.xx




Thursday, 10 March 2016

Busy Busy Busy!

Good afternoon.

Just sitting down to have my lunch after a busy morning. I also have a few photos to share with you that I didn't get round to downloading.

I think I mentioned I was waiting for my Mothers' Day present well it has arrived and how pink is this?!

The logging supplies Jon bought home from work the other day are now neatly stacked on the woodpile, thanks to the boys, and these will hopefully keep us going until the weather is warmer.




Here are my lovely Mothers' Day cards from the boys. Bless them.



My Postcard Challenge is coming along quite well. I was a couple behind until yesterday but decorated two plain ones I had in my craft stash and here they are. Posted them, too.



I'm waiting for two deliveries and just one has so far come today. Up until the time we moved here I hadn't used regular washing up liquid for about a year I think. I just love using traditional, green household soap and soda crystals. I finally managed to get some soda crystals last weekend and today these arrived!



I managed to have 20 bars delivered for £8.57 and they will last me ages!

Then this morning I set to with a baking session. I know it seems as if I only bake these three things but they are firm favourites and I have extra in the freezer now, too.




Cherry and oat traybake which makes Jon close his eyes when he bites into it,

the slab that is my chocolate brownie,















and garlic bread from the loaf end crusts to go with bolognese or lasagne.

Well, I think that is all caught up now.

Lou. xx