Just being ME

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rock cakes ...

I know I shouldn't, but while I've joined the ranks of the unemployed, all I seem to think about, inbetween scouring the job ads and filling in application forms, is baking. The recipe I use makes eight, although one is now missing feared eaten!

8oz self raising flour
4oz hard block margarine (stork)
3oz golden caster sugar
4oz sultanas
1 egg
20 mls milk

Rub the margarine and flour together to resemble fine breadcrumbs, then add the sugar and dried fruit, one egg, milk and combine together. Form together eight mounds on a greased baking tray and bake. My oven is fierce, so I bake them at approx 170. I only ever use cooking times as a guide, they take about 15 minutes.

If you read about my lemon sponge a few posts ago, you would know that J has told me not to get into the habit of baking, or even buying what we call treats with the daily shop. Funny this coming from someone, who as soon as he gets in from work, opens up the fridge and every cupboard, and enquires whether we have any goodies!


long overdue ...

Sending this award has been one of those 'round tuit' jobs of which I have many! When I first discovered this award, the first person I thought of was Kim at Ragged Roses as her blog really is so special. Kim is feeling under the weather at the moment, and what weather it is, we have had plenty of rain overnight, and another huge band of rain is heading both our ways, as we both live relatively close along the South Coast. I hope the award goes some way to making you feel a little better Kim.

Louise x


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more tricycles ...

A photo of my Dad on his tricycle back in the early forties! It looks like he still has his school uniform on, he looks very smart I must say.


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for my brother ...

Remember Tricycle Tim? Awarded to you for 'progress and conduct'. Well with you in mind, I have adapted the text a little.

S was always good at art, but fed up with more homework and being pestered by Rupert the farm cat ...

he decides to take that short trip along the bumpy road ...

to meet up with his friend 'R' who lives a couple of minutes away at No 3, with a bike ride in mind.

Only minutes into the journey, S is stopped by a policeman for riding on the pavement, this isn't the first time!

Feeling quite guilty after his ticking off, he races back home with his tail between his legs ...

where he says nothing while Mum washes behind his ears with a big bar of Imperial Leather ...

and forever in the wars, patches him up with a plaster, after he hits that big stone which flings him over the handlebars!

Exhausted after way too much adventure for one day!

This is a great short story of Tim's adventures tricycling, first published in 1957 by Hamish Hamilton Ltd with lovely pencil drawings by Prudence Seward.


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anzac biscuits ...

Unlike the lemon cake, I didn't make these, and we did infact devour the whole packet a week or so back. I often buy Anzac biscuits, they are one of my favourite biscuits for dunking (bad habit I know), and more importantly a percentage of sales go to charity. In previous years the sale of these biscuits have raised nearly £40,000 for the Royal British Legion’s vital welfare services.

How easy are they to make?

1 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1 level teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water

Mix dry ingredients, melt butter & syrup together in small saucepan. Dissolve soda in boiling water, add to dry ingredients. Cook until golden brown on 180c.

Today is ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand, a day to honour and remember the many lost during the Gallipoli campaign on 25 April 1915. The day was inaugurated on 25th April 1916 to commemorate the first anniversary of the landing of troops. The acronym ANZAC was coined in 1915 when the troops were training in Egypt and the word ANZAC was eventually applied to all Australian and New Zealand soldiers.


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take one lemon ...

A good lemon will feel heavy for its size and have a finely textured skin. As it ripens, the skin becomes thinner and more juice will develop. At one time lemons were so expensive only nobility could enjoy them!

So I took my lemon and made this, a basic 7oz Victoria sponge mix, and in the mix added the zest and a little of the juice. I was taught at school to take however many eggs you are going to use and weigh them, then use equal quantities of all other ingredients, and this method does work. Baked in a 2lb loaf tin, using one of the marvellous Lakeland loaf tin liners. Once cool, I used the remaining juice with icing sugar to make a drizzle.

I waited until J got home from work before I cut into it, promise! He enjoyed his, as you can see, although he did suggest, however much he likes my cakes, that I don't get back in the habit of baking. His plan for today is to get back on the celery!


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dandy duke ...

Remember a few posts ago, I showed you a photo of my Great Aunt Bess posing for a photographer in his studio, alongside her, her faithful companion Dandy Duke. Since that post I have been informed, by a reliable source, the lady in the photo is infact Great Aunt Nell, her sister!

The silhouette above by Baron Scotford, was passed down from Bess to my granny, who was her niece, and then on to me. I have no story to go along with it, which is a pity, although I have done some homework and discovered a website which showcases some of Baron Scotford's work.

Celia from Purple Podded Peas asks if I have it in a frame? Yes I do. Every silhouette should have a plain black frame.


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my first gift tag ...

Well some of you did say you couldn't wait to see what creations I was going to come up with using the tags I won. Well wait no longer, this is the first one!

I have wanted to make tags for ages, as I use a lot of plain paper for wrapping presents, and have always thought how nice it would be to personalise each present. On April 23rd, it is my step-dad in law George's birthday. So what better, than to print off an image marking St George, as it is St Georges Day! By happy accident, I ended up with this rather lovely green image, instead of an exact colour replica, maybe something to do with having very little black ink left in my printer cartridge! So now his obligatory socks, which are St George by Duffer from Debenhams, are wrapped up in lovely plain gold (brown paper) style wrapping, finished off with this rather neat little tag. I have no crafting materials, so I had to improvise with the very few little bit 'n bobs which I have squirrelled away from the past, hoping to put to good use some day?

Look, a lovely pair of pinking shears! I bought these about a month ago, I have always wanted a pair, and today I actually took them out of their packaging. I am going to have great fun with these, I can tell you!


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a great giveaway, and all for me ...

What a marvellous Monday it has turned out to be! This morning I received a parcel post haste from Sal at Sal's Snippets, inside being the great prize I won on her book title competition giveaway:) Inside one lovely pink gift bag, I pulled out a great selection of craft bits, including the very pretty letters above. Having worked with typefaces for a good many years, I am really going to enjoy playing with these ...

... and all of these wonderful tags (see that lovely polka dot one), which I am going to have hours of fun with. I have always wanted to give making tags a try, so these are going to give me a really good start. And there was more, three lovely pieces of great vintage print material, which I shall give a mention in another post.

Sal has been very generous and I want to thank her very much. Louise x


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1970's vintage ...

On many blogs I have been reading, vintage 1970's materials are being recycled in lots of different ways, especially using the material for crafting. Many of the patterns I recognise as either being the same, or very similar to either curtains, bedspreads, quilt covers, sheets and pillowcases, which I know my mum bought, usually from M&S whenever they had a sale, back in the 1970s.

The other week Lucy Bloom wrote about some very pretty vintage wallpaper she had bought, and it triggered my memory of this photo of me, my brother and my dad. Part of the comment I left on Lucy's blog read - I wish I still had a roll of the 1970s wallpaper my mum put up in our sitting room, huge bright orange flowers, looked lovely with our imitation leather three-piece suite! - and after leaving this, I went in search of the photo.

Can you remember having this floral decor and seating arrangement back in the 1970s?


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travel journal ...

This colourful travel journey was given to us as a gift by family, before we set off on our whistlestop tour of a small part of the Antipedes and the Far East, back in late January, early February of this year. I believe it came from Paperchase? It has great sections for writing, sketching (if you can!), snippets and photographs, and a nice little pocket at the back for storing all those little things that you just can't throw away.

From our travels I brought home, which fills up a large shoebox, memories from our trip, which will eventually be put down in words, and bits 'n bobs stuck in the journal. Don't forget I have my Postcards from Oz travel blog on the go too, which with very limited time, I am trying to keep updated, before I forget all these terrific memories I have.

If the posts on my other blogs become few and far between, or I forget to visit and leave comments, this is where I am likely to be for a while.


a girl with many attributes ...

These are my entries for Sal of Sal's Snippets competition.

... you didn't know I was Lionel Blair's sister did you? I bet your all jealous!

... and don't I look so much like the Foo Fighters drummer!

... and I belong to the ministry of funny walks!

... and I can bend it like Beckham!

It really couldn't get any better!


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slugs and snails, and daffodils (well narcissi actually) ...

I was really pleased with this find in the charity shop today, a lovely jug originally from Whittards from the 'designed by Beth' range. What puzzles me is how these lovely, which look like brand new objects, end up on a charity shop shelf? Maybe the owner of this jug, just didn't like the thought of slimy slugs and snails?

After yesterday's snowfall, some of my narcissi had been flattened by the weight of the snow. I don't usually pick them, as they last longer if left outside, but these little beauties (tazetta geranium) have got such a gorgeous scent, I had a good excuse to bring a few blooms indoors.


bargain books and a book tag ...

I picked up this book for a £1 the other day, in unused condition. Likely another present someone has been given and hasn't read before giving away?

Has anyone else had any bargain book finds lately?

Do you know all there is to know about Jane Austen? Such questions as -

Who was the Irishman who stole her heart?
Why was their affair doomed?
Which Austen heroine most resembled Jane?
Who were the real Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy?
Why did Jane never marry?

About a month ago! Sal from Sal's Snippets chose me to do a book tag.

The rules are -

Pick up a book of at least 123 pages
Open the book to page 123
Find the fifth sentence
Post the next three sentences
Tag five people

So I've picked up 101 Things you Didn't Know About Jane Austen, opened at page 123, found the fifth sentence down, and this is what I read from the chapter entitled 'Drawing' -

But this is one of the rare instances when the Tilneys are themselves being gently satirized, for embracing a trendy theory and its jargon. Catherine's 'ignorance' in this case is equally the common sense that sees that the emperor is not wearing clothes: 'It seemed as if a good view were no longer to be taken from the top of a high hill, and that a clear blue sky was no longer a proof of a fine day.' After Henry's lecture to Catherine on the picturesque, however 'she voluntarily rejected the whole city of Bath, as unworthy to make part of a landscape'.

Tag five people? This is just for fun, so only take part if you have some free time -

Charli and Me
Mille Fiori Favoriti
Posted from Home
Red Dirt Ramblings
Rose Colored Glasses


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all that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother - abraham lincoln ...

I have quite a few photographs of my Mum, and I often look through her wedding photos. I have always thought she looked so lovely on her wedding day. Her two-piece outfit was Jackie O style, and she wore the most fantastic gold stillettos, which I remember she kept for a long time, although I don't know what happened to them?

I love Mabel Lucie Attwell and Mum started me on the road to my growing collection. This very pretty little girl above is showing how I feel about my Mum no longer being around. Infact the little girl could have been me, with those chubby legs!

Lily of the Valley for my Mum, she loved its flower and scent. It is 6 years today since I lost my wonderful Mum to cancer, a day I would very much like to forget, but a Mum I would very much like to remember.

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friends who plant kindness, gather love ...

Look at what I received in the post today. An envelope filled with kindness from my good blogpal Michele at Cowboys & Custard. Michele knows that today is tinged with sadness for me, and she took the time to choose and send me something she knew I would love and would bring me good cheer. When the flowers grow, and I am eating the strawberries, thoughts will turn to my wonderful Mum.


another one ...

Nicola from Four Friends and a Blog has sent me this award. Nicola, Heather, Katherine and Samantha all live in Canada and share a blog to keep in touch, but also look out for a couple of 'spin-offs' too! The 'Blogging with a Purpose' award is a new one on me, so I am very pleased to have received it.

If you blog with a purpose (which you all do), feel free to paste this award on to your blog, from me to you.

more awards, and awards to be awarded ...

I've won this award twice over the past few weeks. Thank you so much. The first time from the lovely Twiggy at The World of Twiggypeasticks who awarded it to ten blogs, and the second time from one of my more recent blog friends, Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti who awarded it to five blogs. For those who know me quite well, I do love to get these awards, as it makes me feel very happy in the knowledge that my ramblings do go towards making someone's day?

I am awarding the 'You Make My Day' award to the following five blogs, because everytime I read a new post from them, it brings a smile to my face.

Cowboys & Custard - because Michele and I share the same humour, and I always love to see what her lovely tomcat Pickles is up to!

Gingerbread - because Gina's blog is just so colourful and interesting, and very blog friendly!

Higglety Pigglety - because I love Joanna's artwork and I love her bunny Captain Rupert!

Lucy Bloom - because Lucy's blog posts are just so pretty, and I want everything from her shelves!

Nikkipolani - because her photography is outstanding, both of food and flowers, every one breathtaking; and her two cats Minou and Emmaline are the prettiest I have ever seen!

These are just five out of the many blogs of which I really enjoy popping in to on most days, each and every one unique in its own way.


favourites meme ...

I have been given a tag from Ginny at The Flour Loft. Thanks Ginny.

4 places I’ve been
St Tropez

4 people I e-mail
Fiona my oldest friend
Stella at Life Limitating Art and Florence Hope
Michele at Cowboys & Custard
Daffy at Approaching 40

4 things to eat
Milk chocolate
Pain au raisin
Rice pudding

4 movies I’d watch again

Saturday Night Fever
The Elephant Man

4 places I’ve lived
Clapham Village

In a dreamworld

4 TV shows I watch
Gardener’s World
Hotel Babylon
Wife Swap

4 places I’d rather be
Living in the country
Running my own shop
Sitting in a café with a cream tea in front of me

Working in a visitor attraction garden

4 things to look forward to
Earning money

Having the garden just so

Seeing the sunshine

4 people to tag
Sal's Snippets
The World of Twiggypeasticks

The image above courtesy of Celia's post at Purple Podded Peas.


once a chore, always a chore ...

I like this vintage photo, a man ironing! I know some do, but I've never seen one!

The results of my poll are in, and a big thank you to the record number of people who left a vote, wow 51 in total!

It is official, 78% of you said, you do not like ironing, which includes me. More surprisingly though, 21% of you, have said you like ironing! If the poll hadn't finished before the 1st of April, I would have thought you were all having me on, as an April fool!

See 7 ironing mistakes and how to avoid them. I am sure all of you who love ironing will know these golden rules already?

Talking of loving ironing, my mum did, she would have great pleasure in doing so. I couldn't ever understand it, and I would always joke about taking mine round to her place, and she would always say to do so, of course I never did. I am sure she never ever wanted her ironing pile to come to an end, she would even resort to ironing socks and pants, have you ever heard of such a thing!