Silent Sunday


How does your Garden Grow - Mr Kipling's Garden

Mr Kipling's Garden, that's Rudyard, not the cake guy!

There really is not much more I can say or show in my own garden right now, it's all quite prolific, the grass is going mad, the apples and cherries continue to grow, some of the Lavender is in full bloom whilst others are just budding and I'm looking forward to collecting the seeds from the Aquilegia and Poppies for reseeding next year.

Today we are visiting the Kipling Gardens.  Rudyard Kipling wrote some of his most famous works whilst living at The Elms between 1897 and 1902.  

Formerly within the grounds of The Elms, Kipling Gardens are now open to the public every day where you can see the walled rose garden, a chalkland wild area, ornamental grasses and a croquet lawn.

A croquet lawn always make Alice in Wonderland spring to mind except there are no flamingo's to use as mallets!

The gardens have been awarded the prestigious Green Flag award for 6 consecutive years.

The grounds:

Some of the many flowers, I would have taken more but I had TC running wild and one eye squinting into the camera lens leaves only one eye on her, leaving me cross-eyed!

How does your garden grow, linking up with Mammasaurus.

The Gallery - Green - Real or Fake?

The Gallery Prompt over at Sticky Fingers this week is Green.  At this time of year we are surrounded by lush greenery, brought on by the amount of rain we have had this year.

The croquet lawn near where we live is so well coiffed and watered it is always immaculately well turned out for the croquet players.  Wish my lawns looked half as good!

At TC's nursery they have just had artificial grass laid down, the children were giving the real grass quite a battering in their joyous, boisterous playing so artificial grass was the answer!

I am so impressed with it, it looks real, none of that fake plastic, pointy, sharp stuff.  This feels soft on your feet and apparently can be vacuumed! I was wondering though how my dog would do, so to speak, if he did want to go, I have visions of muck spreading with my garden hose.  Maybe not then!

What will She Be? - Magic Moments

Looking at TC from an early age I wondered what she might be, tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, probably not.  She is a little tinker, words echoing in my head from my own mother's mouth, something she called me many times, I was the proverbial, cheeky, naughty child.

At 2 years 11 months I can see her personality developing daily, she is showing signs of loving animals and is fascinated by bugs, those in the garden, not on the computer.  But yes, the computer, tablet and mobile phone, all competent, the way she flicks her little finger across the screen to get to the next page makes me smile, using apps that widen her knowledge base.  I think of myself at her age and it was a much different time technologically, there was no way of sending an instant message, we had to wait for letters to arrive, now everything is done in a flash and the world moves faster!

So, what will she be.....

She loves animals, especially doo-ies her first word for our dog .... a vet?

She loves a good scream (who doesn't) and her pitch is so high I fear for my crystal glass collection ..... an opera singer?

She loves bugs, except for flies, those she runs from, I have video'd this and we will laugh at this one day ..... a entomologist

She is enamoured by butterflies and runs around the garden after them and when they land on a flower she just gazes at them in wonderment .... a lepidopterist?

She adores the birds in our garden, we have everything from seagulls to ravens to wood pigeons to sparrows, tits, robins and wrens.  Every morning a seagull visits us by the kitchen window and she greets him with a wave and a "hello birdie"  .... an ornithologist?

She is fascinated by my every body part!  This came in useful when potty training (Mr J was relieved, no pun intended, that she was a girl, it was my turn to regale a child with the wonders of the toilet!). But apart from her fixation of my boobies as she calls them, which is quite natural as she breastfed for months and now she just pokes them affectionately or lays her head on my cushions, she loved learning about the parts of the body from very early on and now knows where most things are ..... a nurse, a doctor, a surgeon!?

She crawled and walked late, but once she got it there was no stopping her, she runs everywhere or pedals furiously on anything with wheels .... an Olympic athlete or cyclist?

She loves music, the way she strums her toy guitar, bangs on her drums (her daddy was a drummer) and blows furiously down her toy flute ..... a musician?

She loves dancing, when the music comes on she is up on her feet and boogying or headbanging stomping as we call it here ..... a dancer??

She has a knack for technology, her daddy is "in the systems and software designing biz", give her something and she will work it out, a child of the times .... IT anyone?
 She is very fond of mixing it up in the kitchen and some of it is even edible ..... a baker, chef, restauranteur?

She loves her books and her paints, crayons, markers and Aquadoodle.  We spend hours drawing and reading, she has a long way to go to rival my book collection but she is definitely on her way .... a writer, author or artist?

What will she be .... who knows, as they grow their interests wax and wane. Whatever it is, I will encourage her and be there at her side, it will be an interesting ride.

Linking up with Jaimie at The Oliver's Madhouse Magic Moments this week.

How Does Your Garden Grow - Out and About

It's been insanely busy week this week, but it has been warm and sunny most days and yesterday a veritable heatwave!  I always keep my camera shoved in my very large handbag at all times and this week although I am careering around, I have seen so much beauty that I've screeched to a halt in the car a few times to capture the blooms.  This week is a mixture of what I've seen out and about and what's appearing in my garden.

I found these Poppies, similar to mine (and now I know they are called Oriental Poppies) at the house next door to TC's nursery.  I knocked on the front door to ask if I could nab some of the seed heads next week and was given the nod of approval, well I didn't just want to lop them off without asking!  

and these beauties are clamped to the cliff face at the beach, beautiful sea flowers on the rock face, I've tried seeding them in my garden with no success so far. We're there most days even if it is to grab a quick ice-cream en route to home, it's one of those places that brings calm after a hectic day. 

The fruit in our garden is coming along nicely, although there aren't too many cherries this year, usually both trees are heaving, I'll have to be up at 5am to fight the birds for what there is!  Same with the apples, at least we have some though.  Cannot wait to pick the strawberries and blackberries again.

How does your garden grow this week, hop on over to Mammasaurus blog to check out what everyone is up to!

Richmond Mini Meatball Cheese and Tomato Pasta Bake

TC eats dinner at around 5.30pm like a lot of toddlers, it's a bit early for me, I generally make her something fresh and sit at the table with her for a nibble here and there to encourage her to eat.  When it comes to cheese and pasta though, she needs no encouragement and will wolf down a plate in a flash.  When making her toddler meals I make enough for at least two meals and pop the rest in the freezer.  

We were sent some vouchers to try Richmond Mini Meatballs and challenged to make a quick, hassle-free meal.  Pasta bake is always a hit with TC and the addition of the meatballs makes it a more substantial meal.  The meatballs taste like sausages, are made of pork and cook from frozen in 8 minutes!

Serving Size: 3-4 toddler portions or a light supper for 2 adults.

Prep Time: around 25 minutes


10 Richmond Mini Meatballs
1 small red onion, finely chopped
400g tin of Polpe Fine (finely chopped tomatoes)
80g pasta shapes - this time I used mini farfalline
60g mature cheddar cheese
Dried Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Black Pepper - to your own taste

Preheat your oven to 180 C


Put sufficient water on to boil for the pasta and pop in when boiling, then simmer until al dente.

Place the Richmond Mini Meatballs on a baking tray in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.

Gently fry the red onion in a little Olive oil, then add a tablespoon of water to steam fry, this prevents the onions from burning and makes them soft.

Add the tomatoes, black pepper, basil, oregano and parsley to your taste (a small sprinkling of each is good for toddler tastes, add more for big girls and boys) and simmer for a few minutes whilst waiting for the meatballs and pasta to cook.

Remove the meatballs from the oven, cut them into halves and add to the Tomatoes. Drain the pasta and combine well with the tomatoes and meatballs. Pour into a Pyrex ovenproof dish.  Generously sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for 15 minutes. 

A simple, fast, filling meal for a toddler tum!

This post is an entry for BritMums’ Hungry to Happy Challenge sponsored by Richmond Mini Meatballs.



Silent Sunday

How does your Garden Grow 5 - Random Offerings!

For Silent Sunday last week I zoomed in on one of my Poppies in the garden, absolutely stunning mega huge Poppies I had never seen before until we had some building work done a couple of years ago.

Once the builders had finished their work and left, the front garden had taken quite a hammering.  They had slung bricks and other heavy building necessities on both lawns and flower beds, it was not a pretty sight and did upset me to see plants trodden under foot. Like a pack of rats they had demolished part of our house and set about building upwards and outwards and on the way left the garden in ruins.

I remember going out that day and looking back wistfully at the garden thinking I will set about restoring it all, all my hard work had been either dug up or trodden into oblivion.

Upon my return I found the builders filling up the wrecked flowers beds with soil (excess soil from another job).  Many unusual plants sprung up that Spring and the Poppies have been a recurring feature.  I managed to save the seeds from all of the flowers but forgot to label (Poppies excluded).  Next Spring I am planting each one separately and making it my mission to find out what they are!

These Poppies presented with cabbage like leaves and turned into the most wonderful, tall and unusual Poppies I had ever encountered.  These aren't like the short-lived papery red blooms I usually have in the garden, these are enormous with intricate designs and extravagance in their plummage.   

The blossoms on the Apple and Cherry trees have had a lot of rain and wind to contend with lately, but unlike last year we do have some Apples!  A huge amount of the Apple buds were blown off last night but a lot have survived. I usually have a good old moan around September with the amount of apples we've eaten and frozen in various guises by then, even giving them away to friends and neighbours still leaves tons!  But how I missed them last year when there were none, not one.  Welcome back.

I've had some Roman Chamomile for a couple of years, I had envisioned a small Chamomile Lawn, I tried planting them out but found the dog peeing on them regularly, so out they came and back into pots!  If you have never smelt Roman Chamomile you really should, next to Lavender it is the most potent, calming, wonderful smell.  The essential oil that is extracted from the plant is very expensive but just rubbing the plant gently between your fingers and having a good sniff, whooshes the heady scent up your nostrils and instant calm.  We need a scratch n sniff facility here!

And finally for this week, the Honesty plants that pop up in various places every year in the garden uninvited but very welcome.  I've always been fascinated with how they transform from this....

to this.....

and then turn into papery, pearly discs.

How does your garden grown this week??  Pop on over to Annie's blog at Mammasaurus to see everyone's wonderful gardens.

Sun Dance! - How Does Your Garden Grow 4

Well, there's another week done and dusted, by Thursday I can see the weekend in the near distance and look back at the week and wonder who made it go so fast! 

I hope you're all going to thank me for the Sun dance I did last week, it was more like a mini tantrum in the garden when it rained again, but it worked, someone was listening and this week, wall to wall sunshine!

My Peony has finally flung its petals open with great aplomb and fanfare, usually once the flowers open the rain will come and soak it and ruin the flowers, but this year it seemed to say "I'm not coming out till it stops raining!"  It's had large juicy buds for much longer than usual, waiting for the sun.

Mrs Fox last week told us in her Garden Tour that "The common name for Aquilegia is Columbine which comes from the Latin for Dove, this is apparently due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five Doves clustered together". I did not know this!  I literally ran into the garden and checked out all of my Aquilegia and now I can't look at one without seeing the Doves! 

Anyway, instead of boring you all rigid with my garden this week, I thought I would show you Lilac Park.  Every year the spectacular park which is packed with differing shades of pinks, creams & of course lilacs bloom profusely and the scent when you get in the middle of the park is amazing.

A few years ago the Park was targetted by thieves, leaving it devasted.  This park has been being built up since the 1960's and featured 320 types of Lilac.  The Park was given National status in 1972, the pictures below are how it is today, recovering.

How does your garden grow this week, pop on over to Mammasaurus blog to see how everyone is blooming this week!


Weighty Woes - A Trip and the 5:2 Fast Diet

After starting the 5:2 Fast diet earlier this year, I have pretty much kept the weightloss steady (although I only weigh myself about once a month).

I have tried to keep a maintenance mode going with what is known as 6:1, very do-able, I usually make it a Monday, my most manic day of the week, although lately I have found a lot the days of the week equally as manic!  I find it much easier to do a fast on a busy day then I don't find myself thinking about food and saving most of my calories for my late evening meal stops my hands reaching for snacks, even though I am a "healthier" snack eater, they still contain a whole heap of calories!  I don't think many of us realise that the odd bite of this or small handful of that can result in weight gain, the worst is finishing off the kid's food, this now goes in our (ever hopeful, open-mouthed) dog if there is anything left!

One problem I have had is lack of real exercise, by that I mean anything other than the running around/swimming, etc I do with TC all week.  Here's the sorry tale.  About 3 weeks ago I found myself with a whopping 20 minutes to spare before I picked her up from nursery, I mean 20 minutes, 1200 precious seconds .... to myself! 

I had fitted in a lot that afternoon and thought I would stop for a cappuccino at the wine bar around the corner from the nursery and indulge in some light reading sitting outside in the sunshine (yes it was sunny too!).  Cappuccino ordered, book out, shades on, I sit down.  The ground was uneven under my chair and table (I like to be comfortable), I put my book down, stood up to put the table and my chair on some even ground and then it all went pear shaped!

My pump shoe caught on the uneven ground as I stood up, on a piece of very hard concrete sticking up - probably the only bit that was sticking up and I had to find it!  I toppled forward and went splat, my left hand hit the deck hard and sliced off a lump of skin which started to bleed profusely.  I looked for my shoe  and put it back on only to find my shoe filling with the red stuff too, I had gauged an even bigger bit of flesh from the tripping foot.

To cut a long story short, I had injured myself quite badly, a very nice man on a white horse came to my rescue, picked me up, dusted me off and helped me wash and dress my wounds in the loo!  And of course, my 20 minutes gone - poof!

So no exercise for the last 3 weeks, the first week I could barely hobble and feeling sorry for myself I treated myself to a very famous Swiss chocolate bar.  Last week I tried again but still so sore but yesterday I managed a touch so back in business I hope as the lack of exercise has resulted in a 3lb gain!  I miss exercising and really need it to burn excess calories because I love food, but I'm still so pleased I lost those 14lbs and until my trip they had stayed off!

If the sun would just stay out for a few weeks and warm the ground we walk on I could give it an extra push and lose another 6 lbs which would take me to my ideal weight. 

So, back on track and breathe.

Linking up to Wobbles Wednesday with Kate on Naked Mum - pop over to see how everyone is doing this week.


The Gallery - Two

This week's theme on The Gallery over at The Sticky Fingers Blog is Two.

We are in the midst of learning to count here, I feel I must recite 1-2-3-4 and so on along with the whole alphabet in my sleep!

Two is the age TC achieved last summer, in a few short weeks (all my weeks are short or so it feels!) she will be Three.  The last 10 months have gone by in a haze of learning, at Two they are little sponges, sucking in every last miniscule piece of information they hear or see and then attempt to do.

The physical side, the crawling, the toddling, walking, climbing and falling all perfected except she still goes splat! occasionally when she runs faster than her gorgeous legs can take her usually after our very sweet dog who is now blind, she loves him and realises now that he can't see and helps him around the house.  Brings a tear or two to my eye.

It has been another wonderful journey from Two to nearly Three, the speed at which they grow and have the energy to go and go is still a wonder to behold even though I have done this part more than once.  Watching them grow is an honour and a privilege.

I don't want to let go of Two, when people ask how old she is I say Two and.....whatever it is, I want Two to last a bit longer, I love her being.... Two.