Wednesday 27 February 2019


A few people have requested  my flapjack recipe, so I thought I'd post it here. Although I didn't think it was possible to go far wrong with just oats, syrup, butter and sugar, for years I used to struggle and would end up with something which was either so soft it would just collapse when I tried to pick it up, or so brittle it would simply shatter when I tried to slice into it. Fed up with disastrous results and having tested out various recipes found online, I decided, instead, to experiment with the quantities of the ingredients and have discovered a recipe which works for us. Not too crunchy, not too soft and it holds itself together remarkably well when we take some along with us when out walking. Not forgetting the piece Lily has in her packed lunch every day.

115g butter
115g sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
280g oats

Melt together the butter, sugar and syrup then stir through the oats. Mix well then put into a lined 20x20cm tin and press down. Bake at 160°C for around 20 minutes. Let it stand for at least 10 minutes then slice into nine or twelve pieces while still in the tin. Allow to cool fully. If  you're feeling frivolous you could always drizzle with some melted chocolate.

J. X

Tuesday 26 February 2019


Over the last few days we have been experiencing some beautiful weather. Days have been warm, bright and sunny, and there has been a change in the air that tells me spring is on the way.
Unusually for us, however, we've been staying home. Lily has had chickenpox!
I'm not really complaining. She was bound to get it at some point, and other than feeling a bit under the weather and with a few (very) restless nights because of feeling itchy, she's been fairly stoic and has been more perturbed about not being able to go swimming. Most of our days have been spent snuggling up on the sofa and the newly finished blanket has already proven to be very useful. 

The mild weather has at least given me the opportunity to fling open the windows and let in the fresh air, which, in my opinion, is always the best way of ridding the germs and it has felt wonderful to get the washing hung out on the line again. When Mog hasn't been lying with Lily on the sofa, she has found herself a nice sunny spot  in which to curl up and I've had to physically move her out of my way on several occasions - it's not easy to change a bed with a lump of a cat fast asleep on it but she was going to happily let me try.

I've been in the kitchen quite a bit this week too. I've tried out a few new recipes, including Mushroom Bourguignon, chickpea and pepper wraps, some delicious carrot cake, all successfully. Sadly, Lily was not impressed but I've also made some 'feel better flapjack' which she is very happy about. 

Yesterday, Lily turned a corner but, despite, feeling much better she is still required to stay off school for the remainder of the incubation period. Not a problem for us, especially on a sunny day, so from the back of the house we went for a gentle meander through the fields, past the newborn lambs, through the woods, where the wild garlic is beginning to grow and down towards the river, where Lily was desperate to take off her boots and have a paddle. The delicious warmth of the sun was just the tonic and really lifted our spirits having been cooped up for several days.

J. X

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Keeping On

I've been rather quiet on here lately. Although not entirely intentional,  it has, at least, afforded me some time to restore and recharge my batteries. I've been adjusting to a different rhythm to my days and it is taking some getting used to.
Day to day life continues, however and I'm busying myself with the regular routine whilst I wait for other areas to settle into a more familiar pattern.

Our days are often decided by the weather and we are finding it can feel like spring one minute and returning to winter the next. We've had morning frosts, followed by warm sunshine then heavy rain. I would quite like there to be another snowfall before the end of winter but the forecast doesn't show any sign of a drop in temperature and with the arrival of lambs in the fields and the crocuses beginning to show their colour it might be that we are set for an early spring. To be honest, I think I'm probably ready for some warmer days and being able to spend more time outdoors; the arrival of lighter evenings has not escaped me either.

We've been out walking as often as possible and I'm managing to get out running with a bit more regularity, which is having a positive influence on my wellbeing. I'm hoping I can keep it up, maybe with the possibility of entering a running event later on in the year. Lily, however, seems more keen to go swimming recently. Since the beginning of the year it has been a joy to watch her grow in confidence and ability in the water. Another milestone reached and yet another sign my little girl is growing and changing all the time. It is wonderful to see, it's just happening so fast that sometimes I would like to press the pause button.

At home this week I've made a start on a good tidy and clear out although, as with all my good intentions, I have reached a bit of a sticking point. The whole process of going through cupboards and drawers is never appealing but it does feel so satisfying when I get to see the finished result. If I manage to do a little bit at a time it might not feel quite so overwhelming.

I have, however, finished the blanket for Lily. Finally! I can't quite remember when I started it but I know I was working on it when we went camping last May.
It took me a while but I got there in the end.
J. X

Tuesday 5 February 2019


There are certain times, throughout the seasons, when I experience moments which I hope never cease to bring me joy.
The first green shoots, signalling the approach of spring, the wonderful petrichor scent in the air when there has been rainfall at the end of a hot, summer day, kicking through the leaves in autumn and, at this time of the year, waking up to discover there has been an unexpected snowfall during the night.



And so, it was with great excitement, one morning last week we awoke to discover a beautiful light dusting of frost and snow, which had turned the garden all sparkly and the grass hard and crunchy underfoot. Lily declared, in her now predictably dramatic way,  "'s winter!" 

The snow continued to fall on and off throughout the morning and although, by late afternoon, there was still only a sparse covering, we knew further up the road it would be a different story.

The following day, wearing our winter woollies, warm jackets and mittens, we set off to enjoy an afternoon of sledging and fun. The snow was knee deep in places and, at times, it was difficult to make our way up the track, but the air was still, the sun shone on the hillside and all around had been transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland.



We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of sledging and making snow angels, our noses gradually turning pink and our fingers and toes becoming numb with cold. Eventually the chill began to set in and we made our way home to warm ourselves with steaming mugs of tea, exhausted but happy.

J. X