Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Daffodil Memories

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordworth

"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" is one of my favourite poems and always reminds me of my Grandad who passed away almost 2 years ago. He loved poetry and would often recite his favourites to us when we went to visit on a Sunday afternoon.

This particular poem was one of the readings at his funeral and evokes bittersweet memories for me. I've been thinking about him a lot today as I bought my first bunch of daffodils in Tesco (only £1 - bargain!). They're sat in a jug on my mantlepiece and I'm looking forward to them being in bloom. Daffodils make me feel as though spring is on the way and I'm looking forward to spotting the other signs of spring :)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Pretty Crafty Home

(Photo courtesy of Cherry Heart)

As I have mentioned, we moved house shortly before Christmas to a lovely village in Shropshire. Things were a bit manic after we first moved as it was Christmas, then New Year and then we were away for a few days. However for the last couple of weeks I have been unpacking everything and attempting to turn this house into a home for my little family :)

I was reading Sandra's blog at Cherry Heart and saw that she has invited bloggers to be part of a year long challenge to create a Pretty Crafty Home. Sandra explains more about it in this post but in a nutshell the idea of the challenge is to use our crafty and thrifty talents to make our homes gorgeous and wonderful :) I think it sounds like a fantastic idea and is just the thing to help me get everything sorted here :)

Sandra has listed 5 goals on her website to give bloggers an idea of the sort of things that can be done with this challenge, so here is my take on what these goals mean to me:

1. Tidy, tidy, tidy and clean, clean, clean!

Well this house is pretty clean and tidy at the moment as everything is in boxes! HOWEVER, what I would like to do this year is get in place some good routines to keep on top of the housework and daily jobs, especially with having a little baby at home. One thing that jumps to mind is paperwork....I need to get a nice place to store this instead of having piles of papers on the hallway bookcase...

2. If it has to live here, it should be pretty.

Some things are boring but necessary, like toilet brushes! I'm going to be on the lookout for functional but pretty items to (slowly) replace the boring (ugly) things that we have to have!

3. If I don't like how it looks, and I can change it, I will.

Much of our furniture is old and thrifted and as I'm on maternity leave we are not in a position to replace any of it in the near future. What I can do is to give these items a makeover to pretty them up a bit. For example, we have a lovely Welsh Dresser in the dining room but it is looking a little shabby (and not in a shabby chic sort of way!) so I plan to paint it and replace the (ugly, dented) brass handles with ceramic ones. A new piece of furniture for the cost of a pot of paint :)

4. Thrift, re-use and recycling are my watch words.

Definitely! Pennies are a little tight at the moment so I will be looking to do all this on a budget :)

As I'm now a SAHM I am also responsible for the running of the house and most of the cooking. I am NOT a natural domestic goddess but this is something I want to change. In this house we have often relied on "ding" meals and takeaways and this is now going to S.T.O.P! As far as possible I want all our meals to be home cooked and I will be on the lookout for thrifty recipes and aiming to reduce our food bill.

I do love a good mooch round the charity shops and am lucky because there are quite a few good ones near where we live. I also love car boots and can't wait for the better weather so we can get out there to find some treasure :)

5. Crafting is king!

This is a no-brainer for me... I love crafting and I love seeing things that I've made around my home :) This year I plan to make even more crafty goodies so watch this space!

If you think this sounds like fun then head over to Cherry Heart and join in!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Sunday Night Telly - Call the Midwife

I know, I know, it's Wednesday but since Little F was born I don't always get chance to sit down and watch programmes when they are on. I'd seen the trailer for the BBC's new drama "Call the Midwife" and thought it looked excellent so I sky plussed it to watch when I had a spare hour or so.

Straight faced: Miranda Hart will make her drama debut in Call the Midwife along with, from left, Helen George, Jessica Raine and Bryony Hannah
(Photo courtesy of the BBC)

Sitting in front of the fire this evening with a hot chocolate and a sleeping baby I finally got chance to see what all the fuss was about :) "Call the Midwife" is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, who was a midwife in the East End of London during the 1950s and I thought it was fantastic. I love period dramas and thought the attention to detail in this one was superb, really giving a feel for what life must have been like for families living in what we would consider to be appalling conditions. When you have a baby it can be very easy to get caught up with buying all the things that you will "need" (half of which you don't use..) but many families in those days would have had a borrowed pram and the baby would have slept in an empty drawer! I loved the shabbiness of the props in this production and felt they added to the authenticity of it.

Also, having given birth recently, I can wholeheartedly say that I am glad I gave birth in this day and age with access to lots of painkillers!!! Things were so different then.

I love reading about the 1950s and have often said to Mr P that I was born into the wrong era, but thinking about it I think I am looking back at it with rose-tinted glasses. Life in those days would have been a lot tougher than we are used to and infant mortality would have been high. Families were much bigger (my mam was one of 8 children for example!), there weren't things such as disposable nappies and few houses would have had a washing machine. On balance, I think I am glad that I am a mum now, rather than 60 years ago.

The next episode is on BBC 1 on Sunday night at 8pm and I will definitely be recording it :)

What programmes are you enjoying watching at the moment?

Gem xxx

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Easy yummy curry

Last night I came across a recipe on the Attic 24 blog for Sweet and Easy Curry and thought it looked delicious :) Since I have been on maternity leave I have been doing a lot more cooking at home (previously Mr P did most of it as I am not a good cook) and with pennies being a bit tighter now I'm not working I'm always on the lookout for tasty, frugal recipes and this one looked like it would fit the bill.

I'd bought some chicken thighs earlier in the week so I roasted these in the oven and then took all the meat off them to use in my curry. I didn't have garam masala in the spice cupboard so I just put in teaspoons of the spices I did have (tumeric, ground coriander and curry powder) and some chilli. We had it with rice and naan bread and I have to say it was delicious! We'll definitely be having it again so thank you for sharing it Lucy :)

Earlier today me and Little F had been out on our travels as he had to have his second set of vaccinations. He was all smiles when we arrived at the surgery but these soon turned to tears when he had the injections :( It's horrible to watch him being so upset even though I know he has to have them done :(

After we'd been to the doctors we went to a mam and tots group in the local town. To be honest, Little F wasn't in the best of moods but I think he enjoyed it, especially watching the other babies. He did get a bit cranky towards the end but I think that was because of the injections and he was also tired. When we came home he had a little nap and then played in his play nest which seemed to cheer him up  :) He loves this as he can sit up and watch what is going on around him, he's nosey like his mammy, lol :)

He's fast asleep now but I think he won't be for much longer as he's due a feed... night night everyone :)

Gem xxx

Monday, 16 January 2012

A quiet day today

We've had a pretty quiet day here at the cottage. Mr P has been off work so we have taken the opportunity to get some more unpacking done :) We moved here just before Christmas and the last few weeks have been C.R.A.Z.Y!

(Note to self: Do NOT move house with a newborn baby, especially not the week before Christmas...)

Anyway, the last few weeks have been very busy and we have not been here a lot of the time as we have been off visiting family so we still have lots of boxes to unpack. Little F was also thoroughly spoiled at Christmas so our front room was beginning to look a little bit like a branch of Toys R Us!

I bought some plastic crates with lids just before we moved and so I have put all the smaller toys in these and I have set up Little F's playpen in the Dining Room so we can store all his playmats etc in there. It might not look too pretty but at least I can see my living room carpet!

There is still lots to do but we are starting to get there. I'm now looking forward to being able to add little decorative touches to all the rooms now the basics are done :)

Tomorrow should be a busier day. Little F has his second lot of immunisations (and we are not looking forward to that, poor little man) and then we are going to go to a new (to us) mams and tots group over in the local market town. We might even have a mooch round the charity shops and see if there are any pretties just begging to come home with us!

Hope you're all having a lovely evening, I'm off to read some lovely blogs now :)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Hello and Welcome

Hello *waves hello*,

I'm Gem, welcome to my blog :) Today is my first post and I hope you'll enjoy reading my ramblings!

I live in a small village in Shropshire with my husband (Mr P), our baby son (Little F), a bonkers dog (Maisie) and a very silly cat (Missy). We've recently moved house so I'd like this blog to be a place where I can share with you photographs of our new house and how we're making it a home :) I really like shabby chic, florals, polka dots and bunting so you can expect to see lots of these!

I love crafts and making lovely things so I will also be sharing some of my creations with you :)

Looking forward to getting to know some of you through your blogs!

I'll leave you with a picture of our back garden from a couple of weeks ago. The field at the back usually has ponies in but it was much too cold for them that day!