Sunday, 19 March 2017

Wash out weekend, with highlights...

This past weekend has been an absolute washout, for a variety of reasons.  The weather has been truly horrendous, for a start.  We're hardened types in this part of the world when it comes to bad weather as we get more than our fair share, however these past few days have been relentless.  The rain started on Friday evening and literally hasn't stopped, fluctuating between fine, mizzly drizzle and heavy downpours, and helped on its way by blustery, soggy winds.  The Husband and I have been soaked to the skin more than once while walking the dog, and it's just been thoroughly miserable, gloomy and overcast.

We've also had a poorly Boy to take care of - nothing more than a low fever temperature, a headache and one episode of throwing up.  But he's been listless and feeling sorry for himself, which just isn't like him.  A knock-on consequence of the Boy being ill is that I haven't been able to visit my father, whose immune system is low at the moment due to his own health issues, for fear of passing the sick bug on to him.  And a further consequence was that a planned sleepover of one of the Girl's friends had to be abandoned, so she was understandably grumpy too.

All in all, it's been a frustrating and somewhat downcast couple of days!  That said, there have been a number of brighter moments that have cheered me up.

BRIGHTER MOMENT #1: FLOWERS
These beautiful tulips have made me smile every time I've looked at them.

I love the amazing, vibrant colours of these tulips.  Just look at the rain in the background!

They've been on display on our living room windowsill, and the contrast of their vibrant, joyful petals against the background of the miserable greyness outside has fair warmed the cockles of my heart.  I love tulips but I don't tend to buy them as they don't last a huge amount of time and with flowers, as with everything else, I like to get my money's worth!  This bunch, however, was a gift from a couple who came over last weekend for a curry and, I have to say, the blooms have lasted far longer than I expected them to.  Maybe I'll have to buy tulips more often…


BRIGHTER MOMENT #2: SOFA CUDDLES
The Girl and the Boy cuddled up on the sofa yesterday and watched some Diary of a Wimpy Kid films together.  This sounds like a small thing, but it was so nice to see them tolerate each other and almost enjoy each other's company, albeit being distracted by Greg Heffley, as they've spent a lot of time recently bickering and generally getting on each other's nerves. 

The Boy's temperature has now dropped and he is feeling a lot better today, thankfully.  Energy-wise he's flagging a little, so we've had a cuddle on the sofa and read some of his favourite books.  We got cosy with some of my homemade cushions and blankets, and I love seeing them being used around the house.

Hopefully you can get the gist of things despite the blurring of The Boy!
Our dining room sofa in disarray -
the cushions, bag and lampshade have all been made by yours truly

Luckily, the Boy has pretty good taste in literature at the moment, although I could happily bin a couple of them and if I have to read Mr Tumble one more time I think I'll scream…  Three of my favourites of his favourites, if you will, involve dogs.  One is DogsDon't Do Ballet by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie, one is Oliver & Patch by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley, and the other is The Great Dog Bottom Swap by Peter Bently and Mei Matsuoka.  If you have young folk in your house and you haven't discovered these gems yet I urge you to seek them out - the stories and the illustrations are just wonderful.


BRIGHTER MOMENT #3: FINISHING A CRAFTY PROJECT
I've been itching to finish a crochet project for a while now - as always, I have a couple on the go, and I dip into them as and when I find the time and / or inclination.  This one has been a relatively quick one for me, only a couple of days all told, but it has given me lots of pleasure and I'm really, really pleased with the end result.  It's a crochet bag.  That is, made of and to store.

Completed crocheted bag - ta-dah!


These drawer knobs aren't original to the dresser -
they were bought for a couple of pounds from Home Bargains and they look the business

It's a pattern from Lucy at Attic24 which you can find a link to HERE.  If you're a hooker (a term used to describe them what love to crochet - what did you think I meant?!) then you can't go far wrong with Lucy's patterns.  Not only are the end results joys to behold, but the actual patterns themselves are just genius.  So simple to follow with written-in-plain-English instructions and really helpful photographs - why all crochet patterns can't be this simple and this effective I don't know.  I love Lucy's use of colour and her user-friendly, cheery banter, she's just a gem and is well worth checking out if you're crochet-inclined.  I intend to use my lovely new crocheted bag to store my half-completed crochet projects in, and to ferry them to my craft class and back.  I love it, and am so pleased that I managed to get it finished this weekend.


BRIGHTER MOMENT #4: CHARITY SHOP FINDS
Every Saturday morning I toddle along to the nearest town to us and visit an amazing local bakers and butchers.  The bakers for weekend treats, and the butchers to stock up on meat for the week ahead.  The Husband is especially partial to a gingerbread man from said bakers, and the kids like to choose from the variety of sugary goodies in the bakery window display.  We're fortunate to have three charity shops in the same town - I know some lament the march of the charity shops in UK towns, but I love them and it's a treat for me to pop into them each weekend and see what treasures they may have in store.  This weekend our visit was curtailed somewhat, as the Boy chose this time to announce that he wasn't feeling very well, but we did manage to make one stop and I purchased a couple of lovely items.

This tray is a beauty - it's made by a company called Thetford and I think it's melamine or something similar. The retro green floral pattern is right up my vintage street.




It cost £2.50 and it stores away perfectly down the side of our wooden larder-come-shelves in the kitchen.  Clearly the purchase was just meant to be…! 

This book is too young for either of our kids, but I couldn't leave it behind for 99p.





It's just gorgeous - traditional fairytales retold and illustrated by Franciszka Themerson in a book that was apparently originally published in 1947 and was then re-published in this version by Tate Publishing in 2008.  The illustrations are, to be honest, perhaps a little sinister at times for the very young, but I love their style.


BRIGHTER MOMENT #5: HOME-MADE FUDGE
When the weather gets rough, the Husband gets baking.  I'm such a lucky lady.  This weekend, he has excelled himself and created some marvellous slow-cooker chocolate fudge...

The Husband's chocolate fudge!  The photo isn't the best (taken by The Husband);
by the time I got round to taking a photo myself it had pretty much all gone!

Yes, really.  He's recently discovered Facebook and I can't get him off it, he's like an addict!  Anyway, he's joined a group called 'Slow Cooked Wonders', and apparently he got the recipe from there.  The Girl and the Husband love it, me not so much (although I recognise the high quality) as it's not really my kind of thing.  He made a trayful so the neighbours, one of whom has a chocolate infatuation, have benefited from it too.

Well what do you know?  I'm typing here on Sunday afternoon and for the first time in over 48 hours, the sun is just about breaking through the rain clouds. I can even see a teeny tiny amount of blue sky - not enough to make a pair of sailor's trousers, but still… Maybe the dog and I won't get soaked on our evening walk tonight after all - one more brighter moment to add to the list!

Bye for now xxx

(c) Comfy Marmalade 2017


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