Monday, 16 April 2018

Breathing space


Where did the last few weeks go? The Easter break seemed to fly by and I must admit it was with a heavy heart that I walked Lily to school this morning all ready for the new Summer term. Although, she's completely fine about it. She's happy to stay home, but just as happy to be returning to school, so for that I am thankful. I've really enjoyed our time off together and it couldn't have come at a better time, so that we had the opportunity to get our strength back following our various illnesses.
We've been keeping busy and done lots of walking. It was lovely to be able to revisit the Coffin Route between  Grasmere and Rydal. The initial plan was to climb Helm Crag, but when the day dawned the weather was a little more unpredictable and much windier than expected, so we decided to stay on lower ground, follow the Coffin Route (Renamed the coughing route by myself for obvious reasons. Thank goodness it's cleared up now), then walk around the shores of Rydal Water and Grasmere, returning  to the car following a brief cafe stop for hot chocolate.  A gentle circular route of around six miles. There are more photographs taken on our last visit here, when the day was brighter.







The woods are always a favourite place to visit. The Wild Garlic is growing in abundance now and I am trying to decide if I should make some pesto like I did last year. I'll have to be quick if I do as the lovely new green shoots won't be around for much longer. Apparently, a stick is a necessary wood walking accessory, required for prodding, swinging and poking at streams.




We enjoyed making (and eating) these chocolate brownies. Half the brownie batter goes in the tin, the salted caramel goes in the middle, then the rest of the batter goes on top. Delicious! They taste so good with the caramel oozing out when you bite into them. I must make some more soon.





The garden has seen a bit of action and I have been adding some colour to the pots. It doesn't take much to brighten things up a little does it? Just a few new plants have made all the difference. We have also sown some vegetable seeds. I wasn't sure whether or not to bother this year, but Lily was very eager to try. So this year we have gone with lettuce, courgettes, spring onions, beetroot, a few carrots and some tomatoes. They are all planted now, so we'll see how we get on. There doesn't seem to be any signs of life yet but I have noticed some random sunflower seeds from a previous year seem to be sprouting, so I'll have to be sure to remove them from the raised bed. The strawberry plants are growing once again and as they are in a larger container this year, I'm hoping we'll get a few more fruits than the five we managed last season. I might even put out the garden furniture at the end of this week, as the weather improves.
Family life is chugging along nicely and as well as feeling much better now, I'm also going to be spending some of the next few weeks getting on with the Spring cleaning and having a good clear-out. I've already made a start on the kitchen and have decided to do it slowly, one cupboard at a time, so that it isn't so overwhelming. I've done three so far and I'm very happy with the results, it all looks so tidy! Being able to reach for something without the entire contents of the cupboard raining down on me as well is also a plus point.
Last Saturday, as the Easter holiday was coming to an end, we spent some time riding our bikes down by the sea. It was very busy - with it being a lovely day there were lots of people out enjoying the sunshine - but we had a really nice ride along the promenade. It's good to see how well Lily has improved in the last couple of weeks and she is a very confident, albeit easily distracted rider.
J. X

48 comments:

  1. The onset of spring is such a delight, your plant pots are looking wonderful. The caramel brownies made my mouth water so I had to be stern with myself as I am trying to lose a few pounds and choose healthier options. Glad to hear you are feeling better.

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    1. It's so nice to get some warmer weather at last and to feel the sun on our backs on the bike ride. I could do with losing a few pounds myself, but those brownies tasted so good. X

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  2. your photos always capture the peace and tranquillity that you clearly enjoy. So beautiful.

    oh, you have me craving choccy brownies now!

    I'm glad you are feeling so much better. Let's hope that's the end of illness for you now, you've had more than enough this year.
    xx
    p.s glad you enjoyed my dirty little secrets! ;o) x

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    1. Thank you Sadie. I do enjoy peace and tranquillity but it usually evades me for some (small and blonde) reason.
      I was thinking exactly the same about my illnesses. I've had more than my fair share already this year, I really hope that's the end of it.
      I did enjoy your dirty little secrets. :-D X

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  3. What lovely photos. You have had great Easter break :)

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    1. Thank you Jan. I'm glad we were finally feeling OK enough to enjoy it. X

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  4. Hi Jules, Lily does very well to walk six miles, most little ones would be moaning, but it is clear to see like your self she loves the great outdoors.
    I have never picked wild garlic, but if I had chance I would. My goodness those brownies look amazing. The pots look very pretty. xx

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    1. Lily's a good little walker Marlene, but then again she just loves being outdoors. X

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  5. Those walks look beautiful and everyone needs a pokey stick...the chocolate brownies just divine and I am so pleased others have cupboards that throw the contents at you when the door is gingerly opened
    Tilly

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    1. Thanks Tilly. The pokey stick is fine until it gets used on me! I'm pleased to know it's not just me who's cupboards are chaotic. It's a work in progress. X

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  6. I'm sure the strawberries will do better this year. Give them a bit of a feed now and again (tomato plant food is fine) and I talk to mine now and again! ;-)
    J x

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    1. I do hope we get a better crop this year. Thank you for the tip. X

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  7. It sounds like you've had a lovely couple of weeks whilst Lily's been off school, she's such a good little walker, isn't she? The brownies look absolutely delicious and so does that bread, yum.

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    1. I love to be able to spend the time with her Jo, and yes, she's a good walker. X

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  8. It looks like you've had a superb Easter break Jules and I'm glad to hear you are all recovering. I'm very impressed Lily is able to walk all that way with you. We have a small circular route at the van, just over 1 mile, and Thomas is always glad to get back to the car lol.

    The chocolate brownies look divine, I'm not surprised you enjoyed eating them. Looking at Lily stirring the mixture brings back lovely memories of baking with my two when they were younger.

    Mark has been cleaning and painting in our garden so in a couple of weeks I think I'll be planting a bit of colour. You're right, it doesn't take much to make a big difference does it.

    Hope you have a lovely week. xx

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    1. It has been good break Suzanne, and it finally feels like I'm getting back on track now. I always enjoy getting out walking with Lily and I'm dreading the day when it becomes 'boring' or she 'can't be bothered',lthough cycling seems to have taken over for now. Every day she asks to go out on her bike.
      Lily enjoys baking but not anything that requires getting her hands messy. Funny that, as she doesn't appear to have the same problem with mud! X

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  9. Great photos, I just love Lily's little pink jacket and wellies, she looks so cute in them :) Love the photo of the cat stretched out too, it's alright for some! lol

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    1. Thank you Eunice. She looks cute but do not be deceived! ;-) The pink wellies are new, replacing the blue ones that she wore out! X

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  10. The area you live is really beautiful.
    Hope your veggies grow well. I also sowed beetroot seeds, but no plants yet. In the meantime I cut off two store bought beetroot tops and stuck in a pot and they are growing well. :)

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    1. Thank you Nil. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the veggies. Hopefully we'll see some signs of life this week. X

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  11. your brownies look yummy. loving the kitty!

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    1. Thank you Sol. We quite like her too. X

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  12. Beautiful photos as always...please share the brownie recipe xx

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    1. Thank you Jackie. I have to confess, it's a Betty Crocker 'recipe'. X

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  13. Beautiful pictures, as usual, Jules. Glad to see that you and Lily are both feeling better and have been enjoying your Easter break. I laughed to see your kitty all stretched out like that - Dancer does the same!

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    1. Thank you Bless. It's a relief to be feeling better now. Mog looks pretty comfortable doesn't she. X

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  14. What lovely adventures and cakes. I love brownies, there is just something about the texture. Jules you certainly have a good photography eye, great pictures.

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    1. Thank you Tania. I love chocolate brownies and even for a packet mix these were delicious, however, I laughed at the idea they were enough to serve sixteen people!

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  15. sounds like you had a great Easter break :)

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  16. Your salted caramel bownies look delicious. How lovely to see some colour in the garden after such a long winter and I hope you have a very abundant crop of fruit and vegetables this year, I actually remember your saying you only had five strawberries last year. I'm pleased you are feeling better and family bike rides seem just the tonic. Spring cleaning, what's that? ;-)

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    1. The garden can look pretty drab and messy at the end of the Winter months so it's nice to add a bit of instant colour. The strawberries were such a disappointment last year so I'm keeping my fingers crossed, as the few we did manage to eat were sweet and juicy. Spring cleaning? Well, domestic goddess I am most certainly not, but I'm a work in progress as well as the cleaning. X

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  17. Your weather is so much kinder to your garden than ours, we are still 'enjoying' the grey stuff. My garden is filling out but only really with new shoots - nothing really colourful yet. Lovely walk, my boys, now 17 and 20 still have sticks as does the dog - however she has several sticks as she loses them on the walk!
    I like the idea of tackling a cupboard at a time - the idea of the entire kitchen is rather daunting!

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    1. It might be a bit of a cheat, but it felt good to add a bit of instant colour to the garden to brighten things up a bit after Winter. The stick thing is funny. She picks one up on most of our walks and they usually end up coming home with us. Every so often I have to get rid of them from the porch. X

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  18. Hi Jules, just found your blog via Nil over at The little house by the lake. Love the pics from this post - that brownie looks sensational! I look forward to checking out a bit more of your stuff and following along.
    Cheers,
    Laura

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    1. Thank you for your comment Laura. The brownie was delicious even if it was a bit of a cheat. X

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  19. What gorgeous photos. Peaceful places, pretty flowers and good things to eat...fabulous.
    Hugs-x-

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  20. For some reason I’m not getting your blog feed. Will check in case somethings gone wrong my end. It looks so lovely in your photos, the life you have up there. What a wonderful way for Lily to be growing up. The salted caramel brownies look yum. What a great idea, I shall try it too 😆. X

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    1. Oh Blogger can be a nuisance with things like that. Sometimes I think someone hasn't posted in ages, then I check, and for some reason the blog has dropped off my list.
      Lily really loves being outdoors so we get out as often as we can and are fortunate to live in a beautiful area. Lots of fresh air and mud!
      The brownies were delicious, even if a bit of a cheat. X

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  21. We have spent many happy hours beside Rydal Water before going onto Grasmere. We park in the lane that leads to the church , cross the road and go through the gap in the wall, over the little wooden bridge and walk the few yards to Rydal. It's so lovely, so peaceful. Grasmere is a delight and I always buy gingerbread from Sarah Nelson's. I made brownies today; I now want to make oozing caramel ones! I also made soda bread.....looks like perhaps you did too? Glad to read that you are feeling better. Enjoy the good weather now that it has arrived.

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    1. It's beautiful area isn't it, and so accessible. The coffin route emerges from the top of that lane where you park. Our route took us left at the bottom of the lane, over the little stone bridge and around the far side of the lake. As well as the hot chocolate stop I may have also bought some gingerbread on the way back to the car ;-)
      I can't remember the last time I used a packet mix for baking but the brownies were very tasty. I would recommend them. The bread is a simple no knead, stock pot loaf. I make it quite often. it's delicious with soup. X

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  22. I always feel that way when Spring Break comes to an end. I love having my kids home, but am also ready for them to go back to school. I don't know if they are as ready as I am, though.

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    1. When Lily is home from school it's a very good excuse for not getting on with the household chores. ;-) X

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  23. Such a lovely post, it sounds like you've had a good time while Lily's been off school.

    I had to laugh when you mentioned the stick - the grandchildren always seem to pick up sticks when out on a country walk ...

    Those brownies look delicious.

    Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan. I do enjoy school holiday time and it's great to get out and about with no time constraints. The stick thing does make me laugh, and I must admit that when it is given to me to hold (as often happens if there is something to climb) then there is something strangely satisfying about swinging it alongside as I walk. X

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  24. Beautiful cat, your brownies look delicious, the bread looks real good. All the best with the tidying and decluttering. I must get back to mine too. I think I got stuck a bit with it all and need to get with it again. Cathy x

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    1. Thank you Cathy. My tidying and decluttering seems to have taken a back seat while the sunny weather is here, and rightly so! X

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