Apple Fair

Saturday was the best day of the year in this house ‘Apple Fair Day!’.

Seriously L and I love it more than Christmas. There are tents with Medieval Storytellers.

Giant apples, seriously never seen such amazingly huge apples. I should have gotten some to make a pie but got distracted by Mulled Cider!

  

There are stalls selling apples, apple cakes, fudge, heavenly apple juices, ciders, crafts and most importantly for us a huge HogRoast washed down with hot apple juice.

BEST DAY EVER!

If you have a local Apple Fair in the next couple of weeks, pop along and support it. 

British Apple Orchards are making a tentative comeback. Since the 1950s 60% of British Orchards and all the biodiversity that came with them, have been destroyed. But in the last 5 years new planting schemes are slowly bringing them back. If you have a spare patch of garden plant an apple tree, you won’t regret it!

    
 

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Reluctant Entertainer

It’s not that I don’t like my friends, I do a lot. In truth my main reason for moving is to have a bigger house so we can host gatherings, BBQs, and have friends and family to stay. I would LOVE that.

However this past Saturday when my lovely husband, tipsily suggests that the 9 people there, come to our house for a BBQ on the 1st August…well frankly I could have strangled him. Our house is a bomb site, there is stuff which I was going to put into storage *everywhere*. You can’t get into the dining room, the office is now piled to about my height and more importantly for 9 people to come to a BBQ, you actually have to have some garden furniture!  We have…a £5 leaf table I bought 20 year ago at a car boot, 2 chairs I got off a lady at work who’s mum died and couple of ancient Ikea fold down chairs. That is it!

The look of horror on my face must have been apparent as my friend’s lovely husband said ‘it doesn’t have to be fancy’…..ha ha…*SOB*…. how little he knows me!  I grew up with my parents throwing the most fabulous parties and dinners for their friends and family.  I’m not sure we’ve entertained for more than 5 people the whole time we’ve been married, we’ve never had the room.  But we have a large garden so it’s time I put my big girl pants on and actually entertain some people!

I had bit of a panic on Instagram and some of them came up with great ideas. Hay bales and picnic blankets were some of my favourites and I think I’ll do that for the kids. But my dodgy back can’t deal with sitting on the ground for hours, so we have ordered a proper grown up table and chairs from Argos. Something we should have done years ago, which I’m very excited about.

Then by some miracle Homebase who’ve I’ve worked with many times, asked me if I’d like to choose some outdoor entertaining bits! What great timing!

So I chose this rather fab gazebo (£19.99) as it’s 2.7m x 2.7m it will either do for the kids to sit under, or if it rains for Paul to BBQ under.
Picture from Homebase as it’s not stopped raining since I bought it.

This brillant Kilner Drinks Dispenser (£24.99) it’s like those ones you see on Pinterest!! So excited to make some cocktails for it!

And as the evenings are getting darker a little earlier I picked up two of these solar light jars (£7ish) they aren’t on their website anymore but they might still be instore?. They are great and really bright, they look like fireflies.

I’ve created a board of BBQ ideas on Pinterest which have some great drinks ideas, recipes and decorations. Wish me luck!

Follow Liz’s board BBQ Ideas on Pinterest.

**full disclosure Homebase gave me £60 to spend instore**

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Hunstanton 

We were all exhausted in dire need of a break, so we went to Hunstanton which is about 40 minutes from home. I booked The Lodge which is in Old Hunstanton, in the attic which was just amazing! It’s beautiful with a sea view, just what my soul needed!

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We went for a wander down to Old Hunstanton beach and along the coast to Hunstanton, taking in the beautiful views

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How adorable is this cottage?

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And then there was this…

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I happily used the bubble bath provided, and locked myself in the bathroom for an hour while Paul and L chilled in the lounge. Heaven!

And this is how I finished off the day, in the garden

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We really, really must go again soon!

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Thrifty Christmas 2014

I’m a rubbish blogger, I’ve just not had time to run Thrifty Christmas this year as it takes up so much time. This time round I’ve started a Pinterest with all the cool ideas I’ve found from around the internet.

If you’d like some inspiration have a look, there are some lovely, simple ideas there that anyone would love to receive. :

Follow Liz’s board Thrifty Christmas on Pinterest.

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Christmas with John Lewis and Tree Hilarity

John Lewis asked me if I’d like a new Christmas Tree and £50 of baubles to decorate it with…of COURSE I WOULD!!

Our old artificial tree was bought our first Christmas together as I’m allergic to read trees and after 14 years was looking a bit ropey. Also I had to weigh it down with the Argos catalogue, to stop it falling over every year because it never stood right – so classy!. We were thinking of getting a new tree for this year, when John Lewis’s generous offer came along.

I had the choice of a 6ft, 7ft or a whopping 8ft tree. Now I am bit of a small child when it comes to Christmas and I firmly believe that a tree should be much bigger than me or anyone else in the house. I have childhood memories of 30ft Disney Christmas trees at Disney World and I think I’m always trying to replicate that feeling of being small while the tree is massive!   I measured our ceiling and it’s about 9.5ft high, so I thought that the 8ft tree would be a bit too big, therefore I went for the 7ft tree.

Tree came in no time, and we put it up at the weekend. It’s much, much easier to put up than the old one. That had colours and you had to match the colours with the right bit of the tree – a right old faff. This one you just pull out, slot together and pull out the branches to fluff. So simple, and tree was up in under 10 minutes!

Except, I hadn’t measured right! I hadn’t taken the base into consideration! So it was a wee bit too tall!

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After much laughter and my family, giggling at my inability to measure anything (I do have a track record for buying things way too big!). We took the bottom layer our and the tree was the perfect height! But when I get my imaginary next house with Victorian height ceilings it’s going to look amazing full size!

The baubles are lovely, I ordered mostly gold and red, as that’s pretty much tradition in our house. But I spoilt myself as this year as there are no toddlers or puppies in the house, I chose some glass baubles as well as non-shatterproof ones.   For £50 I managed to get about 60 baubles, 50 non-shatter and then about 10 more expensive glass ornaments and the tree topper.

I think this is my favourite, it makes me smile every time I see it

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Here are a few of my other favourites, a beautiful mercury glass topper

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Shatterproof sparklies!

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Gold glass, just lovely!

 

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Here’s the tree with the decorations on and our lights, it looks very realistic and so pretty!  Thanks so much John Lewis!

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**Full disclosure I received a Christmas Tree and £50 of baubles from John Lewis**

 

 

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Autumn Colours

In an attempt to get Betty’s (and my!) weight down we’ve been doing lots of longer walks lately.

The colours at the moment are really beautiful. And although Betty likes to drag me round the streets, she is kind enough to stop and let me take some photos. Here are some of my favourites so far this autumn.

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Not from a dog walk but just walking around town I snapped a picture of this house, which is just adorable. I love the colour of the front door, beautiful!

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What photos have you taken this autumn that you love? Leave me a link to your blog or instagram, would love to see them!

 

 

 

 

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Day Trip to Wells next The Sea

Yesterday was the last day of our half term and as it was so sunny we headed up to Wells next the Sea in North Norfolk.  Wells is a lovely little fishing port and quite untouched still. The fish and chip shops are so delicious, as you’d expect in a fishing port. There are cute little shops, the brilliant Wells Deli where you can get a cracking hot chocolate and slice of cake on a chilly day.

We got there at lunchtime and headed straight to the fish and chip shop, which for a cold February Friday was packed. So we headed outside and found a bench with a great view to eat. It was as you can imagine a bit chilly to linger but it was nice finally seeing some sunshine and eating out in the open again.

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We decided to go for a walk down to the beach. Wells beach quite a way from the village and  is accessed via a seawall you walk down. You walk maybe a mile? And there it’s in front of you as far as the eye can sea when the tide is out.  We managed to get 3/4 of the way to it before Miss L was moaning about being cold and being blown about – in fairness she had a point and she also learnt a life lesson about putting your coat on when your mother tells you.  You know what kids are like she was sure that she knew best, when she refused to wear it as it wasn’t ‘cool’. We had a good giggle about how annoying it is, when your mother is right (Obviously I never tell my mother when she’s right LOL!)  But it was chilly so we headed back for hot chocolate and a wander around the village – any excuse!

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We also stopped for first mother/daughter seaside photo of the year. I’ve noticed that once again I’m slipping out of family photos, which is something I wasn’t mean to do. So I’m trying harder to get infront of the camera rather than behind it all the time!

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We had a wander around the town and saw on the front some of the terrible storm damage done by the Storm Surge in December. Thankfully most of the businesses seem to be rebuilding but it was heartbreaking to see a couple who had obviously  gone under and could no longer trade.  But luckily a lot of the smaller shops going up the hill seemed to be ok and we had a lovely time browsing them.

Then we came across a gorgeous Georgian Square which we’d somehow never seen before, couple of good looking pubs and I’m coveting ALL the houses there – love me a Georgian House! Friends have now told me how good the pub’s food are in the square, so next time we’ll have to pay them a visit.

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If you’re in North Norfolk, I can really recommend Wells for a visit – especially in the summer when it’s warmer and you can hang out on the beach. I think we might have to hire a holiday home up there this year to explore more.

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A little pot of Spring

My parents dropped over an early birthday present yesterday, in the form of two sweet little pots planted up for spring.

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They are so cute and full of spring bulbs and in my favourite colours. I love them! Thanks Mum & Dad xxxx

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November

I think this is my first post for the whole month. For some reason I’ve just been finding life hard and frustrating this last month.

I don’t actually have a proper reason to feel like this, just lots of illness in the family – even the dog! Has left me feeling exhausted and without any Mojo.

I’m hoping that putting up lots of twinkling fairy lights and the Christmas Decorations this weekend, will put me in a better mood?

In the meantime here’s some photos I’ve taken this last month. Hope you like them!

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{Mini Review} Autumn Clean with Method

I love the autumn, it makes me feel all snuggly and also has the added advantage of making our large red rug look less ridiculous, it looks so wrong in mid July!.  But it also means that the lovely sunshine blasts into the house and well you can see just how grubby/covered in dog hair everything is. I’ve even bought myself a steam mop, which although is a bit meh on the laminate – I couldn’t tell the difference – works brilliantly on the tiled floors in the house no scrubbing where the dog has walked in mud anymore, hurray!.

The nice people at Method sent me a bunch of products which did frankly guilt me into cleaning. I’m a big Method fan, I think I wrote about them not long after I started this blog back in 2007. Because I seem to have issued with chemicals, I do prefer cleaning products that don’t make you feel like your lungs are burning.  I was quite excited because they sent me some items I hadn’t used before the handwash and laundry liquid especially.

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I love the Daily Kitchen and I buy that anyway, it’s my go to kitchen cleaner works on pretty much everything worktops, induction hob, kitchen sink, it got some port stains up but doesn’t seem to work on tea marks on my worktop which is no biggie as I can get them off with some baking soda and vinegar.

The handwash is lovely and we’ve had it in the bathroom now since I got the package in July so I’d say that’s a winner and we’ll be using that again – smells lush on your hands and I often see it on special offer.

Daily Granite, I don’t know why I asked for this one. The only vaguely granite thing I have in the house are some slate coasters and table mats. But it works ok on them, although I have to say I haven’t used it a massive amount.

Laundry liquid…I like this a lot. It fits in my washing cupboard, it’s easy to use, makes your sheets smell amazing and does last a decent amount of time and no one in the house was allergic to it.  So it was a winner on that front….yes you can hear a big BUT coming here. When I looked to replace it at the supermarket it is SO expensive at £5.99 a bottle, even the refills at £13.99 are pricey and I have nowhere to store the leftovers. I must admit I do tend to buy whatever the cheapest non-bio is on offer probably £3-£4 tops – I have no brand loyalty when it comes to washing power/liquid.  So I’ll maybe get this again if I see it on special somewhere or if I really, really feel like spoiling myself.

So the house is smelling lovely, and looking pretty good – shame I’ll need to do it all again in a few days 🙂

 

**Disclaimer, I got some free bottles of product from Method**

 

 

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Autumn Nesting

The temperature here has dropped like a stone, it’s suddenly Autumn and I’m quickly getting into hibernation mode!  Now as my husband is insisting on being ‘thrifty’ no heating is going on here until at least late October – grrr!.  So I’m living in my new £8 Fleece from Sainsbury’s. I have to say I think it’s my favourite new piece of clothing – I’m so old!

I’ve also been getting out all the blankets, and nesting the place for winter. I popped to The Range and bought a couple more throw pillows (tartan!) and I treated myself in the sale to a new giant cotton/wool blanket for the lounge to snuggle under with the dog when I’m working. It’s so snuggly!

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What are you all doing to snuggle up for autumn?

 

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Do you like where you live?

NotSupermum recently wrote a great post about where she lives in Lincolnshire and how much she loves it there and then tagged me to write about where I live, so here we go…

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My love affair with Cambridgeshire… well lets say started off well, a little rocky.  However in the last 12 years it has grown into a full blown love affair.

There are the beautiful villages in South Cambridgeshire, Cambridge itself with the ancient colleges, river and punting and there is our little area in the desolate Fenland North.

Our former small island is like a little jewel in the Fens. You can see the Cathedral for miles in any direction and know you are on your way home. At night it’s lit light a beautiful lighthouse and at Advent the lights change colour each night, which never fails to make me smile.

At Christmas, the Cathedral is like something out of Harry Potter, there is something beautiful about celebrating the holidays in a building that is a 1000 years old, you can almost feel all the people who have come before you.  And when it snows it’s just stunning, children sledge in the view of the Cathedral. We only have the one hill in town, it is the Fens after all±

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The people here are amazing, there is such a sense of community. There are about 15,000 people live here and we now can’t walk down the street without meeting someone we know. People who you don’t know will say a cheery ‘Hello’ when you walk past them and it’s still the kind of place where everyone looks out for each other and has a chat with random strangers. I have made so many wonderful friends here, there is a real warmth here.

We have weekly markets, an Eel Day (lots of fun for the kids and water racing), Apple Fairs, Boat races and a brilliant Christmas Market, but for some reason my favourite is Apple Fair. I can never resist buying lots of juices and ciders from the local producers – just heavenly!

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The local independent bookshop, which offers you a cup of freshly brewed coffee while you browse brings us famous authors to give talks. This month alone we have Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood here in town. We are also very proud to have one of the best tea rooms in the UK, right next to the river.  We also have a coffee shop which not only has yummy homemade cake, it also has a hot chocolate menu – who can argue with the genius of that?

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Because we are in North Cambridgeshire we aren’t far from the North Norfolk Coast which I utterly adore, it’s just over an hour away in the car. So if the weather is bright, we often jump in the car and head up there to play on the beach, or go crabbing and kite flying, or even better head to one of the yummy pubs for some fresh seafood.

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Now I wouldn’t live anywhere else, and if we ever have to leave for work I’ll be heartbroken. All of this is 70 minutes from London’s Kings Cross and even quicker when we get our intercity in 2018. Shhhh don’t tell anyone! 🙂

I won’t tag anyone, but if you’d like to write about where you live, I’d love to hear about it!. Leave me a message in the comments and I’ll update the post with the link.

 

 

 

 

 

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