Thursday 31 October 2019

October Catch Up

Somehow we've arrived at the end of October and although I'm often saying how fast a week or month has gone by, this time I really mean it. I feel as though I've fallen a whole week behind. Time to take a breath and catch up on what I've been up to recently.
At the beginning of our half-term week we took a trip to the coast and enjoyed an overnight stay, enabling us to visit Sandsend, Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby.

On our arrival we were treated to some wonderfully bracing, autumnal sea air. It was blowing a hoolie, which made sure any lingering cobwebs were immediately blown away. Following an invigorating walk along the shore at Sandsend, we were more than happy to warm ourselves with a hot drink, whilst gazing out to sea from the shelter of the beach café. It was just the kind of autumn weather I was hoping for when I booked for this time of year and I wasn't disappointed. Later on I treated myself to two small Christmas tree decorations from a nearby store but I've hidden them away for the time being.
Even though we were only away for one night, it felt like longer and we had a lovely time exploring the area. In Whitby the town's gothic vibe lent itself perfectly to the time of year and many of the shop windows were decorated in a spooktacular fashion. We wandered the narrow cobbled streets and, of course, the 199 steps, which lead to St. Mary's Church. We spent a while on Tate Hill Beach where Lily kindly gave her latest stick to an adorable dog named Rocky, which made him very happy. In Robin Hood's Bay we followed the Sea Wall trail towards the shore and spent sometime at the Old Coastguard's Station before making the steep climb back through the village.  With all the walking we did, it meant we definitely earned our fish and chip supper, which was absolutely delicious. I'm convinced fish and chips taste so much better when eaten by the sea.

Our second trip of the week was to Allan Bank National Trust property in Grasmere. Although, not a conventional property, it had been beautifully decorated for Hallowe'en both indoors and out, with an array of crafts and activities available for children.

With big sisters on hand to join in the fun, we had a great day out. Again, the weather was perfectly autumnal and the grounds were a stunning backdrop for the pumpkin trail, where we had to hunt for the different carved pumpkins along the paths and draw their faces, in order to win a chocolate ghost. 🎃 We even braved walking alongside the haunted graveyard and through the spine-tingling tunnel, but it was fine, just the right amount of spooky. 👻

As usual, we've been enjoying our regular woodland walks close to home and there are becoming an ever increasing amount of leaves to kick through. I always look forward to the pumpkin display each year. 🎃

On Sunday we visited Aira Force. Our original plans had been thwarted due to some (now resolved) car issues, but as substitutes go I couldn't complain, and it was so lovely to see the falls in all their autumn glory 🍁🍂🍃 and we even managed to spot a red squirrel. 
We enjoyed our walk followed by a picnic and might have indulged in a hot chocolate at the nearby café. Another wonderful day full of life's simple pleasures.

Today is Hallowe'en and this evening we will be carving (yet) another pumpkin to put outside the front door in anticipation of receiving small visitors 🎃 and Lily is very excited to dress up as a skeleton.
Today is also Mog's four year adoption anniversary. Doesn't she look thrilled? 😸
J. X

Saturday 19 October 2019

A Very Ordinary Day

I can't deny, I am relieved this week has gone by quickly. These dark mornings are making it more and more difficult for me to get out of bed early each day, and once again I'm more than ready for the break our half-term brings. A time to unwind, unhurried mornings and days to do whatever I please.

Today has been one such day. After enjoying my first coffee of the day in bed, I spent the next hour or so lazily putting a wash on, ironing and having a general tidy up of the downstairs rooms before breakfast.
Now that the weather has turned cooler, one thing I do look forward to each morning is a delicious bowl of hot porridge. I always make this on the hob, never in the microwave. Now I'm not someone for whom it can keep me going until lunchtime, but it definitely helps me make it through to my mid morning snack. 😆 And to go with it I've also discovered the perfect use for my leftover blackberries, which have been taking up room in the freezer since August - compote. *

Breakfast over, I finally got around to colouring my hair, which I'm sure would have proved a far less arduous task had I not kept putting it off for several weeks. Mog, who was sleeping on the bed ocassionally opening one eye just to see what I was doing.
The rest of the day was spent working my way through various household chores, including a trip to the supermarket, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Lunch was quite delicious - leftover curry from last night, which just needed heating through. Yum!

The best part of the day, however,  has been the fact that my hip is feeling absolutely fine, not so much as a twinge, even following a short run with a friend last night, and also my sore throat has all but disappeared. This makes me so happy. Thank you  all so much for your concern, I hope I've seen the last of any ailments for a while now.

This evening I've baked some flapjack, the candles are lit and I intend to read a few chapters of my book.
J. X

*To make the compote, weigh the blackberries and add half their weight in sugar - I used some leftover jam sugar which gives a slightly firmer set. Add to a pan and heat gently until the fruit softens and it begins to simmer. Add a generous pinch of ground cinnamon and ground cloves and continue to simmer for approximately five minutes. Pour into a jar and allow to cool.
It's delicious served on porridge or stirred into natural yoghurt. The cinnamon and cloves add a tasty seasonal flavour.