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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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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{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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Feed the Birds Day

Ok so this is a little embarrassing, the nice people at Nature’s Feast sent us a lovely bird feeder and some high energy bird food so we could take part in ‘Feed the Birds Day’ on Saturday.  Now we always take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch and due to all the trees in our garden we always spot loads of birds from wrens, sparrows, finches, to collar doves and once a green woodpecker.

So I thought it’d be a fun half term activity, we could do some bird watching from the dining room window, use the new camera and get some great shots in return the birds, if nothing else the sparrows who are living in our hedge would get a lovely feast. Normally it’d be covered in birds fighting over the food there as it’s one of their usual feeding spots….but this is what we got

Nothing, nada, not one bird appeared in an hour or whenever I popped my head round the dining room door which I thought was really odd, until I remembered who had been in the garden earlier this week eating a bird.   I’ve spotted him or her a couple of other times since further up the garden.

And then thinking about it I’ve not seen any other birds in the garden in the last couple of days, not our collar doves in the apple tree and the sparrows aren’t about either. So I think the sparrow hawk has scared them off, but when they come back there will be lots of nice food waiting for them!

 

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Pumpkin Picking

We had a great time at the weekend pumpkin picking with Kat from 3 Bedroom Bungalow. I’m very lucky in that she doesn’t live far from me and we often meet up for coffee and a chat, but Saturday we got our families together and she took us all off to a field in the middle of nowhere to pick some Halloween goodness.

I swear I wouldn’t have found this place in a million years, so I was very impressed that she knew where it was!   Our girls loved it, ran around and had the best time picking the pumpkins they’ll be carving this week.  I’m sure they’ll be some better photos over on Kat’s blog as she sensibly took her big camera, I forgot mine and just had my trusty iPhone – doh!

But here’s Kat and Miss L checking out the pumpkins.

When the pumpkins were picked, and our poor husbands had lugged them to the cars we got doughnuts, hot chocolate and for me pumpkin pie (yay!) I’d like to thank Kat for suggesting the trip in the first place, we had the best time and look forward to doing it again next year! x

 

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Apple Fair 2011

Sorry this isn’t a post about the iPhone4s (wish is was!) it’s about the old fashioned apple.

Who knew there were this many types of apple?

 

My favourite festival in our little town is Apple Fair which is in October every year. Pretty much the whole town turns out and we celebrate Apples in all their forms – fruit, cider, juice and even better sauce in a Hog Roast!  Last year we missed it as Miss L was in hospital so it was extra special this year and we celebrated with toffee apples.

We had a beautiful warm sunny day for it too, which I think bought out more people than usual, so there was a large audience for the Elizabethan Music, Morris Dancers and Folk Bands, all of which were lots of fun to watch.  I think it’s fantastic that they all still exist and give their time for events like these.

I think these are the apples in our garden, but I’m not sure. I’m hoping that next year I’ll have some left so they can have a look at them and tell me what they are?  Ours are a little less yellow than these.

We loved these crochet fruit, Miss L treated herself to a crochet doughnut with her pocket money. She liked to use them to pop her needles in when she’s sewing.  She also enjoyed a go on the Apple Shy, didn’t win anything this year but came very close hitting it a few times.

The highlight of my day (apart from the hog roast) was the warmed Apple and Spiced Elderberry Cordial Juice from the Watergull Orchards stand. In fact I’ve managed to get through a bottle in a day, and having just looked up their website I’m really pleased to see they do a home delivery service. So if they don’t have it on their farmer’s market stand I can still get hold of it, hurray!  Lovely drink for cold winter days.

 

 

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Procrastination

I should be working *waves to husband via RSS Feed* but I’m having a mini break while I figure out how to do something on the iPhone site.  I’m not really procrastinating – of course not!

But look, my ‘love’ birds are back!  They’re either collar doves or wood pigeons ( I can’t tell the difference!) but every spring and autumn they come back to have their babies in our apple tree. Beautiful aren’t they?

Okay back to work…or maybe a coffee and a sausage sandwich?  😉 Have a great day everyone!

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Autumn Jobs

It’s a lovely day here so I’ve been looking at jobs to do outside and well there are a few:

1. Paintwork on the Woodwork and the Old Drains.

Peeling isn’t really a good look and as we’ve not touched them in the 8 years we’ve been in this house. I’d probably best get to them before Winter sets in, once water starts to penetrate wood, it’s going to cost a lot more to replace.  It’s only the porch, side door and old drainpipes but they need doing. I’m going to be really dull and paint them black – it’s cheaper and quicker than me spending ages deciding on the perfect shade of dark grey, you know me that could take me months!

2. Drain Covers

When we moved in all the drain covers were missing, no idea where they’d gone, maybe they took them?. So we made some out of chicken wire and well they are still there. I’m going to treat myself to some new ones – oh yeah I know how to live!

3. Weeding

My ancient patio is laid on dirt, and frankly it’s too expensive to get a new one I’d rather have a new bathroom! So I need to weed it *again* and put some weedkiller down, probably my most hated job of the season it’s so back breaking.

4. The Hedges and Trees

I love my hedges but they do go mad every year. To stop my neighbour from hating me the big one needs to be cut down to about 8 ft from it’s current 13ft – this is being done at the weekend by my Dad and Paul.

The trees also need bit of a prune, so you know so I can see daylight. I love my trees, but they have shot up and out and it’s gotten a bit silly. So pleased my Dad knows what he’s doing with them.

5. The Fences and Shed’s

They need painting….but I might just ignore them another season 😉

What jobs have you got planned for Autumn? Anything major or just little ones like mine?

 

 

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Blackberries

I’m amazed at how far along our blackberries are already, they seem to be about 4 weeks ahead of where they normally are.  We’ve already started pie making and freezing them for the winter.  In fact if you’re local and want some, let me know I’m giving them away!  Check your hedgerows and gardens, might be surprised to see what’s there.

**Update – just been over to Homebaked and there are some lovely Blackberry recipes – Blackberry and Apple Curd and Blackberry and Apple Jam**

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Pumpkin Carving

We’ve been taking it easy this half term as Miss L’s still getting better, so we’ve spent most of the week making Halloween decorations and pumpkin carving.

We used a template from a book we bought and then got scouping and carving. These we made for my Mum and her neighbour, and we’ll make more for our house tomorrow.

To see more fabulous pumpkins check out Mediocre Mum’s Pumpkin Carving Competition – some fabulous entries!

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{Book Review} Witchcraft – Halloween Craft Fun

I was sent this book a couple of weeks ago but didn’t get a chance to look at it until now.  Miss L is still off school, much better than she was and is now bored out of her head so this book has come in handy for Halloween craft ideas.

It’s a collection of over 25 ideas from Bloggers and Etsy Store owners like PeculiarMomma, Knitting with Floss and EmandSprout amongst others.  I love the idea of a book of Blogger inspired goodness, it really made me smile.

As you’d expect the ideas are fresh, stylish and fun, and more importantly for a non crafty person like me – easy to make!  If you’re a knitter there are some cute patterns for mini witches, Dracula’s candy bow,  knitted bones and my personal favourite the ‘Vampire bite’ necklace – which is so cool!

We’re going to make the graveyard cupcakes, ghosts toasts (to pop in soup), the cute tangerine pumpkins and some bottled ‘potions’ to give to Miss L’s friends.  If you’re into Halloween Crafts or want some projects to keep the kids entertained over half term it’s a fun book.  I’ve just added to the Violet Posy Amazon Book Store and it’s £6.99 (normally £9.99 in stores) but check with your local library – they may have a copy.

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Lazy Pumpkin Pie

*heart* this stuff
Photo Credit: Flickrstream jillmotts

{A repost from Autumn 2008 – for my Twitter friends who wanted pie}

Yes I know I’m British, but I became addicted to Pumpkin Pie when I lived in Canada 10 12 years ago and it’s one of the few things I can bake really well.  I think that it should be eaten more widely here, so I’m out to convert as many Brits as I can!

Here’s my easy recipe (kind of from the Can and translated into English):

You’ll need the following from Waitrose as it’s the only place I’ve found that sell all these bits, but maybe you can get them in your local supermarket?

1 10-12 inch ready made Sweet Pie case

1 Can of Pumpkin (Waitrose is the only place I’ve found this – been looking for years let me know if it’s anywhere else!)

1 Can of Evaporated Milk

3/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

2 large eggs

Pre-Heat oven at 220c Gas Mark 7  for 15 minutes while you make the pie

Get a large bowl, add the Pumpkin, Eggs, Sugar, Evaporated Milk and the spices (and all things nice) combine and mix until smooth and then pour into the Sweet Pie Case.

Reduce the oven to 180c Gas Mark 4  and then cook for 40-50 minutes (depends on if you have a fan oven or not).  It’ll look solid and do the old clean knife test to see if it’s done. You’re supposed to leave it to cool for 2 hours but ours normally lasts about 30 minutes before we’re adding the cream and eating it :)

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