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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Lonely


Still. I seem unable to get to grips with the blogging part of my life.  I just don't seem to be able to get that part of my brain functioning properly, even though I'm missing it greatly.  I'm missing reading through all your bright, fun and inspirational blogs every day.

And the reason for this....

Above was the view I had from my hospital bed last week.  I went in for a review of my medication and the usual IV steroids to help with my fibromyalgia.  I was also due to get some tests done and for seven days I was prodded, poked, x-rayed and scanned and still left none the wiser.  Right now it is not something that I would really feel comfortable discussing here right now as I'm still awaiting more testing to be arranged in a different hospital.

The waiting is probably the hardest part but at least now I'm home with my family all around me.  During the week in hospital I was all alone because it was too long for the Hubby to drive with the kids after school.  And seeing no familiar faces made for one very long week!!


But being me, I didn't waste my time and worked hard on the squares for my blanket.  Lucy had wound some smaller balls of yarn for me to bring along so that I would have a variety of colours with me.  Such a thoughtful little woman!


As you can see, I did manage to get quite a few done!  And now I only have a few more squares to complete before the time to join them all up begins.  That's the fun part!!


I was really delighted, and somewhat surprised, to see this months copy of Reloved in the hospital shop.  It was great to get thinking about decorations for the Easter holiday while I was in there.

One final thing before I go.  There is a sign on the wall of the hospital that is so true, I just had to take a picture of it and show you.  The photo quality is not great but to me it makes little difference to the meaning.....


Hoping to have a more cheery post soon with a nearly finished blanket.

Rosie xx

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

A Pause For Breath


Last time that I posted was in January (I can hardly believe that it's been so long) and I sad that my New Years resolution was to get out and about more and get as much as possible out of every day.

Well I sure have been doing just that!  And that is what's been keeping me from my beloved blog.  I have been out walking as often as possible with little ol' Molly but always along the same stretch of canal. And as the weather was bleak a lot of the time, I wasn't at all inspired to take pictures and I was sure that you did not want to see a constant repetition of a grey dull canal walk.

Thankfully we have been getting much better weather lately and I did take a few piccies on my last outing.  The picture above is of a silver birch.  Unfortunately you can't see the striking metalic looking bark on the above photo but still I love the contrast of the tree against such a stunning blue sky.


In this photo I adore how the sky and bridge was reflected perfectly on the canal.  Here the canal a  looks a rich sapphire blue.  Natures inspirations.

I have also been spending a lot of time working on the studio in the garden.  often with the help of some little hands.  I did take some photos today of it but they turned out horribly and so now I think that I'll wait until it's all finished to show you.  I'm really pleased with how it has turned out so far and I can't wait to get settled in there.  We were in and all ready to go when I realised that there was on oil spill on my work bench.  It all had to be sanded down and now it just needs to be painted. But to be honest, I don't mind so much as I've really enjoyed the decorating aspect of getting into the studio because here is where I have been able to put my stamp on it.


Pardon the poor photos here but I took them on one of the more wintry mornings.  I've been working slowly on a new blanket for the studio.  I wanted to go for a vintage selection of colours which sadly the real colours can't be seen here. I've used a lot of Kerry Woollen Mills aran yarn which I've had lying around for a long time while I looked for it's perfect project.  I'm really happy now where it has ended up.  The squares are a delight to work and only take a few minutes from start to finish.  Hopefully the next time I get some pictures from it the light will be much better.

With the spring beginning to appear here in Ireland.  I feel like I have more energy and want to get out into the garden and slowly tidy it after the winter.  Already I can see new growth appearing.  So when I'm finished in the studio that will be my next big task.

I'm also hoping that when I'm in and settled in the studio that I will be able to get more sewing, knitting and crochet done in my own little space.  at the moment there is no room for anything and so my stuff is just stacked up in the corner looking messy.  It takes me ages to find anything and that is really putting me off doing any real work. So fingers crossed when all is sorted out I'll have a lot more crafty stuff to post about and not just pictures of the canal again!!!!

Heading off for now.  Slowly trying to catch up on some of your wonderful blogs.

Chat soon,
Rosie xx

Monday, 13 January 2014

Out And About

Last week I certainly made a good start to my resolution to get out more and not just hide myself away.  I treated myself to a new hair do on Friday because I was going out with the Hubby.  This mightn't sound much to you, but you wouldn't believe just how often I cancel appointments because I feel like I can't go!!  We went to see Irish comedian Niall Delamare in one of the local theatres.  It was a great night and I laughed until I had a pain in my side.  We both enjoyed it thoroughly, even though the comedian said I laughed like someone strangling an otter!! What I'd like to know is, how does he know what a strangled otter sounds like??


  A break in the bad weather allowed me to bring the dog out for a few walks along the canal.  Molly was in her element and her little tail never stopped wagging from the time we got out of the car.  On the day that I took these pictures it was still only about 1.5°C outside and large patches of remained floating on the waters surface.  Normally Molly would be straight in for a swim as soon as she found a nice spot to climb down the bank but it was just too nippy, even for her.


Not even the sight of the geese in the water could entice her in.  She hopped from one paw to another with indecision.  "To chase the geese or not!  What do you think Rosie?", she asked me with her big brown eyes.  Eventually she gave in though and soon found something else to hold her interest for a while.


I simply love the varying colours of blue in the sky of a clear winters day.  It is nearly as if it had been dipped dyed that very morning.  If you look very closely, you'll be able to see a very faint afternoon moon too.


Another morning I also visited the ISPCA centre.  The national centre is just up the road from us and it really is a great facility.  They have huge range of pets housed there, from cats and dogs to chickens and pot bellied pigs, horses to rabbits.  I wanted to volunteer to help out but after taking a walk around I think that I'm going to have to put a lot of thought into it first.  I broke my heart to see such beautiful animals abandoned and looking for a loving home.  If I was there all the time I would want to bring them all with me and not leave any behind!  The little dote above is called Chloe and has been there for months now.  People tend to look for kittens and puppies rather than fully grown animals but they should look more at the character of the pet first.  This little lady was so gentle and affectionate and just clung to me not wanting me to leave her.  I cried a lot on the drive home that day.


Here is something that cheered me up though.  Can you see the heart shape in the glass of our stove??  It's a heart in our hearth!!  The flames can make all strange shapes on the glass but this was the first heart that we have had.  Love it!!

Rosie xx

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A New Dawn, A New Day


Well, that was one fabulous Christmas and I'm quite sad that it has all come to an end.
Being somebody who does not enjoy the stress induced panic attacks of last minute shopping, all of my shopping was completed by the end of November.  This left me all of December to relax and enjoy the important family traditions that make the most beautiful of memories.  And Oh Boy did we have a busy month, starting with the kids singing in a national choir with 3000 other children in Dublin.  We decided to stay over that weekend and had our first clumsy attempts at ice skating, heading home with sore bottoms and faces that ached from laughing.
We spent lovely afternoons baking with my mother (which we don't do near often enough), making decorations for the tree and knitting gifts for some relations.  There was the nativity play and the end of term play too.  Lucy missed the latter because she had both her big toenails removed just 5 days before Christmas.  She cried in the doctor's surgery when she found out about this, not because she was scared of getting the surgery but because she had the lead in the school play and would not be fit to attend.


Christmas week was just as relaxing.  Full of lazy mornings watching tv with the kids, going for walks in the afternoon and knitting while listening to my favourite audiobooks.  I've thoroughly enjoyed getting back to my needles after hooking for the past year.  I hadn't realised just how much I had missed them.  Now I have a long list of makes just waiting to be cast on.
I even managed to get out a few times over the holidays with my Hubby, having dinner with friends and going out on New Years Eve for the first time in 10 years!! To wind up the season, last weekend there was a huge party for my Hubby's 40th birthday and I made the most of the night and boogied my (not so little) behind off.  It was such great fun with lots of laughter and long chats people there that I hadn't seen for a while.


Looking back over the last month has made me realise that major changes need to be made in my life.  The past year I became too tied to my little hidey hole, the house, reluctant to come out more than once a week and quite happy to stay that way.  But I now see that even though I might be content with this, I've been missing far to much of the life that is going on without me.  I love meeting people, whether they are old friends or new ones and I'm never going to do that while I'm stuck here in my rut.
My resolution for this year is simply to get out of the house more. To meet up with friends, go out for dinner, go shopping or simply to go for a walk with the dog.  I want to fill my day the best that my body allows and be able to go to bed at night tired and satisfied that another day has not been wasted.
So for me this is a new start, a new dawn and a new day.  And who knows just where this tiny little change will bring me?

Hope to catch up with you all very soon,
Rosie xx

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Irish Porter Cake

Oh ladies, what am I like!?!  I promised you this post weeks ago and I'm only getting around to it now.   All the Christmas crafting is keeping me very busy and is taking up every spare minute that I have.
Fortunately the best thing about baking a Porter Cake instead of a full Christmas cake is that it can be made at the very last minute and doesn't need to be plied with booze every week for three months.  It is also much lighter than a Christmas cake.  It can be iced and decorated just like a regular Christmas cake but we don't have many fans of heavy icing in our house so we just leave it plain and sometimes serve it with a scraping of butter.  Yumm



Ingredients:

  • 283ml / 1/2pt Guinness
  • 226g / 8oz Butter
  • 226g / 8oz Sugar
  • 226g / 8oz Raisins
  • 226g / 8oz Sultanas
  • 113g / 4oz Mixed Peel
  • Grated Rind of 1 Lemon
  • 453g / 1lb Flour
  • 2tsp Mixed Spice
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2tsp Bread Soda
Method:

  • Preheat oven to 150°C and line and grease a 20" round tin. (Above we just used a square one  because we couldn't find the right one on the day...typical!!)
  • Heat the Guinness gently with the butter and sugar.
  • Stir in the cleaned fruit and lemon rind.
  • Stir until the butter and sugar are melted and then leave aside to cool.
  • mix all the dry ingredients together, except the bread soda.
  • Beat the eggs and add the bread soda and then stir into the cooled fruit mixture.
  • Make a hollow in the middle of the dry ingredients and stir in the fruit mixture.
  • Mix well before transferring to the prepared baking tin.
  • Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours covering with a piece of cardboard if you think it is browning too much on the top.
  • When a skewer comes out clean from the cake, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10mins before removing from the tin.
This is yet another old family recipe that myself and my mother have made every single Christmas.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do.

Rosie xx

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Irish (Suet Free) Christmas Pudding

Well just as I promised this is my Mum's Christmas Pudding Recipe which she has used for donkey's years and has always proved a massive success in your house on Christmas morning and as presents for friends and family.



Ingredients:
6oz/175g self raising flour
1 level tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
8oz/225g fresh white breadcrumbs
12oz/350g dark brown sugar
375g currants
375g sultanas
4oz/125g mixed cut peel
4oz/125g cherries, washed, dried and halved
2oz/50g chopped almonds
finely grated rind of 1 orange
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
8oz/225g margarine, melted and cooled a little
3 large eggs
2tbsp brandy
1/2pt/275ml Guinness or stout

  • Sieve the flour and spices into a large bowl
  • Add the breadcrumbs, sugar, fruit, nuts, orange and lemon rind and mix thoroughly.
  • Beat together the eggs, brandy and guinness.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the melted margarine and the egg mixture. mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
  • Cover and leave overnight in a cool room.
  • Next morning prepare 2 x 2 1/2 pt pudding bowls by greasing well with butter.
  • Grease two large pieces of greaseproof paper and make a large pleat crossways in it.
  • Give the pudding mixture a good stir once more.
  • Divide the mixture between the two pudding bowls, weighing each to make sure that they are the exact same size and weight so that they both have the same cooking time.
  • Push down the mixture well down in the bowls and bang them on the table so that there are no air gaps. 
  • Make a little dip in the centre of the mixture in the bowl before covering so that the puddings don't push the lid off the pot when they start rising.


  • Cover the bowl with the well buttered greaseproof paper, making sure that the crease runs down the middle of the bowl.
  • Tie a long piece of strong around the bowl very tightly as close to the rim as possible.

  • Place the plastic lid over the bowl and wrap the paper up and over the lid.
  • Fill two large pots to about a half way up the pudding bowls and bring to a strong simmer. 
  • Place an old saucer at the bottom of the pot to lift the pudding from the base of the pot and allow it to cook all the way around.  Make sure that there is no air bubbles caught under the saucer.
  • Cook the puddings for 7 hours with the water simmering all the time.  You will need to top up the water on a regular basis.
  • On Christmas Day cook the puddings for one hour more.
Because there is so much alcohol in these puddings if one is left uneaten it can be kept for the following year so long as it is kept in a clean airtight bowl.  We have done this many times and it has been perfect always and even improves over the year!!

Linking for the first time (hoping this will work) to Cosmos and Cottton.

Hope you enjoy.  There is still plenty of time left to cook yours.
Rosie xx



Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Where's The Pause Button??

I've got to be honest and tell you that I've missed you all quite a lot.  I've missed reading all about what you've been up to and only having the odd chance here and there to pop in when I have a second.  I've felt so guilty too for going AWOL once more.  It was not at all intended!!  Life has been so seriously hectic that I just haven't had any time to even look at my laptop, let alone actually turn it on and sit down and write a post.  Here's some of the things that's been going on....

The week before Halloween was exceptionally busy too with making costumes for the kids.  They decided that they wanted to dress up as Batman and Robin from the original tv series.  So I set about stitching and piecing and measuring and hoping for the best that all would work out in the end.  I was very nervous about it all because I was not working from any type of pattern but only from a picture that we printed out from the internet.


I breathed a great sigh of relief when they tried on their suits and absolutely loved them.  They were as proud as punch going to school for their dress up party in the outfits.  And even though Patrick was called Fatman at school, he came home saying that he didn't care because his Mammy made it for him.  Ahhh so sweet.  That made me feel so good.



First up I Michael asked me to go with him for the weekend to see The Boomtown Rats in Dublin and since I figured that this would a great deal of shopping too, it didn't take me long to agree.  I'll be honest and say that I was not really looking forward to the concert, not being a great fan and only knowing two of their songs.  These guys are golden oldies after all and I was expecting songs to be only crooned out.  How wrong was I!!!!  It was their first concert in 29 years and they sounded no different at all.  There was a lot of Dad dancing and some very bad clothes that really should have been left in the 70's but these guys had still got what it takes to put on a fantastic show.


The next day after breakfast we took a walk into the city centre.  There is so much beautiful architecture to be seen in Dublin that I was kicking myself for not remembering my camera.  I plan on soon taking a day trip up to take a long walk around the city with camera in hand and try to capture the best that the city has to offer.  My Husband refuses to accompany me on this trip.....spoilsport!


I just love these old shop fronts and the arched windows .  There still remains a lot of Georgian architecture that can be seen all over the city.  I promise that some in the new year i will give you a full tour of Dublin and all it's fantastic sights.


While walking back late night from the concert to the hotel we came across a small chemist shop that my mother went to when she was a child and also brought me to when I was young. I walked straight passed it at first and it took a second to register with me what I had actually seen. At first it felt like I may have been sleep walking and dreaming of times past but thankfully not. I was so delighted to see it still there and that it was not changed at in all this time.  Just look at this window display.



There has also been a lot of baking of Christmas cakes and puddings.  As soon as I get the chance I will post the recipes for these wonderful failproof Christmas necessities.  they are recipes that my mother has used for years and had taught me well from a young age how to get the best results.  Now we were joined in the kitchen by my two kids.  We had so much fun and I would say that our laughter would have been heard on the road outside.  These are the things that make this time of the year so special to me.  Things that make memories that I clutch close to my heart.

I did take many more pictures over these busy weeks but being the total plonker that I am, when I changed my phone a few weeks ago, I hadn't checked to see if they had uploaded to the iCloud and had lost all of them.  Some very precious pictures of my mother and myself baking together that my son had taken when we weren't watching.  I must organise another baking session soon and pass the camera over to Patrick once more, so long as he only gets my best side!!!!

Anyway, I hope to be back as soon as possible to share those recipes with you.
Rosie xx