Sunday, 27 January 2013

Gaby's Baking Blog

Gaby is doing this year's school extended study project based around a very old handwritten recipe book of our Great Grandmother.  She is trying out some of those recipes and in addition, collecting recipes from other family members to make her own collection of family baking.  She is compiling the recipes in a scrapbook and in a new blog, 'Gabrielle's Family Recipes' which you can find at

Friday, 25 January 2013

Rocking Your World Friday ~ Sophie

It's been a bit of a frustrating week here, what with snow and illnesses so I'm having to think hard today! What are the positives this week....?
A lovely afternoon watching The Hobbit with my mum and Gaby.
Living directly opposite a supermarket. I do hanker after having a little country cottage but on weeks like this, living in a town centre does not seem like such a bad idea.
Comedy.  Things can get a bit intense here at times, caring for 2 autistic children.  I like to watch something funny to lighten things up a bit.  This week it's been 'Mrs Brown's Boys' and 'Wanderlust' that have had me laughing out loud :)
The Levellers.  These guys have been rocking my world in their own folky punk way most weeks for a long long time, 20 + years!  One of our boys is particularly fond of their music at the moment, so I can get 5 minutes peace with that playing in the kitchen.  Definitely something to be grateful for when stuck inside with restless children! I love that our whole family loves their music too.

My cat, Sasha.  This time last year, Sasha had a broken leg and we were being told that she needed £1000+ worth of treatment and operations which we could not afford.  Thankfully that turned out not to be the case and after 4 months of cage rest and her leg in casts, she recovered.  The rest of my family are not that bothered about her but she is truly my cat (we have 3) and is just one of those pets that 'knows' when you are ill or down.  Here she is on my lap this week :)

That's it! Linking up with Celtic House

Artful Readers Club January ~ Sophie

Well, despite 3 snow days and 2 days of a poorly child being home, I have finished my first month's review and artwork on time....just!
The book I chose for January was 'Boneland' by Alan Garner.  Boneland is said to be the conclusion of the adventures of Colin and Susan which began with 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' and 'The Moon of Gomrath'.  The Weirdstone of Brisingamen was fist published in 1960 so Boneland has been long-awaited.  I, on the other hand, only read it last year!  I decided to read it after coming across an article on the forthcoming publication on Boneland.  It caught my attention because although I really did not read a lot as a teenager (school put me off!), the one book I do remember reading and enjoying was another of Garner's books, 'The Owl Service'. I loved 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' and read 'The Moon of Gomrath' straight afterwards.

So what about Boneland? Well the first thing to note is that the first two books are written for children but Boneland is aimed at adults which is unusual but works very well in this case.  I'd imagine, most fans, unlike myself, would have read the earlier books as children and now be long grown up.  This book is wonderfully mysterious.  There is not a lot happening and everything going on at the same time.  The writing is beautiful and eerie and I loved it :) It is about science and mythology, time and space, and our relationship to the land we inhabit.  There is layer upon layer of meaning (not sure that is the right word actually but can't think of a better one!) and at the end of the book you are none the wiser and left to think on. 

Since finishing Boneland, I have read a lot of articles and reviews to see how it had been received by others.  One of the main things that I came across from doing that was that although Boneland is the final book of 3, it really relates to a lot more of Alan Garner's books than just those so of course I now want to go and read all the rest. I knew this challenge would increase rather than decrease my 'to-read' list!
In terms of my piece of artwork, I decided to keep things quite simple as a really don't think I'm anywhere near to understanding what Boneland is about.  I picked a few things from the book that I felt drawn to and just played about with them.  Here is what I ended up with....

I realise this is quite a vague 'review' but I would definitely recommend Boneland.  It's an experience and I'm still thinking about it :)
I've already started my book for February, 'Game of Thrones' and I am quite pleased after this month to find it much more simplistic and have a couple of straightforward ideas for artwork already!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Friday ~ Sophie

'Rocking Your World Friday is the moment to step back and take stock of your week, to work out the positives, the things that have made life more bearable and to celebrate these facts.'
Linking up with Celtic House

Snow - it's pretty and I get to wear wellies :)
The Ford Dagenham Women who's strike led to equal pay for women. We watched 'Made in Dagenham' at the weekend, those women are definitely rocking my world this week.

My new ceramic travel mug.  I have to get to my son's school quite early to get parked (this is related to their autism and behaviour and not just because I'm too lazy to walk)!  As a result, I have 20-30 mins wait every day.  I don't mind this as it gives me a little time each day to sit still and read, however, on weeks like this it can get quite cold.  A nice hot coffee warms me up and it tastes so much better out of this mug than the metal one I had before.
House plants.  Living circumstances have kind of dictated that we haven't had any house plants for 7-8 years.  Prior to this (the arrival of children basically) I had rather a lot and I've missed them.  The changes we've made in our house this year mean that we now have windowsills and shelves near light so I now at least have some plants in the kitchen. 

Crow Pose.  I did this for the first time today.  I always think I'm going to fall on my face.  Something made me just give it a random go this morning and it worked. Twice.  I have tried several times since and now nothing.  At least I know I can do it!
Comfort food.  Pies, mashed potato, plum crumble and custard, yum :)
That's it....a quiet January week here!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Rocking Your World Friday ~ Sophie

I'm joining in with this lovely link up today with Celtic House, discovered through the Artful Readers Club challenge. 
'Rocking Your World Friday is the moment to step back and take stock of your week, to work out the positives, the things that have made life more bearable and to celebrate these facts.'
Firstly it has got to be my lovely husband who has dealt with a lot of night disturbance from our boys this week.

A beautiful early morning sunrise.

Stargazing live.  We've thoroughly enjoyed the TV show but also went to the local event, which despite cloudy skies was great. We particularly enjoyed the talk on comets by Nick Howes.

Some dry days for getting out with the dog and doing a bit of treegazing.

Rainbow plates arriving in the post :)

Charity shops. Today I bought 3 tops and a bookcase. The tops are great, the bookcase needs a little attention but it's size was the important thing. I plan on revarnishing it with a black stain to match the other bits in Gaby's new room.

Yoga and pilates. I'm a yoga regular but decided to try pilates in addition this week. I liked it....who new?!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year, New Blog Title

You may have noticed that things have changed here! When we started this blog we took weeks trying to come up with a title and in the end just decided to call what we did so we could get going. Well a year on, Gaby is almost a teenager and I have never really been a pink person so I've made a few changes.  It's more 'us'.   Gaby is still here but she has also started a new blog for her extended study project which is all about family baking. We'll link up to that once she's got started.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Artful Readers Club ~ Sophie

Last year I kept a note of all the books I read throughout the year.  I managed 25 which I'm really pleased with.  I still have more than a few in my 'to read' pile and a rather extensive and ever-increasing amazon wish list. 
So.....I've decided to join in with Darcy's 'Artful Readers Club' challenge at Art and Sole.
The challenge is to pick 12 books to read through the year and then each month read one, write a review and make a piece of artwork inspired by the book.  My list is....
1. 'A Game of Thrones' by George R. R. Martin
2. 'I Left My Tent In San Francisco' by Emma Kennedy
3. 'Planet Walker: 22 Years of Walking, 17 Years of Silence' by John Francis
4. 'The Wood Wife' by Terri Windling
5. 'The Gift of Rain' by Tan Twan Eng
6. 'The Loop' by Nicholas Evans
7. 'Borrowed Light' by Joolz Denby
8. 'Boneland' by Alan Garner
9. 'Lady of Shades' by Darren Shan
10. 'Solar Storms' by Linda Hogan
11. 'Wave Hunter' by Beth Webb
12. 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' by Laini Taylor
I think I'm going to start with 'Boneland' on audio.