Tuesday, 29 July 2014


On Friday afternoon, Kate and I dodged some stormy weather and visited the gardens of Beeleigh Abbey which is close by for both of us.

The Abbey was first constructed as a monastery in 1180 so really has some history attached to it. During the 18th C the building was apparently used as a public house but by the late 19th C the building was in a ruinous condition and it wasn't until 1912 that a Captain F.W. Grantham began restoration work. Then, in 1943 the abbey was purchased by William Foyle owner of Foyles Bookshop.

I first visited Beeleigh Abbey about 30 years ago when Kate was a little girl and I got myself a little job, just a handful of hours a week, working from home for the owner at that time, Christina Foyle.
Occasionally then, I was able to see the gardens and sometimes fortunate enough to go into the house and the abbey. It is a really lovely building and whilst the current owners, Catherine and Christopher Foyle now allow the public to view the gardens on specific open days, the house remains private and closed but that is understandable, after all, it is there home!

On this visit we missed seeing the peacocks that used to wander across the lawns. We did ask the lady  at the entrance but she said that the last one had passed away recently.

The housekeeper who used to work there for Miss Foyle told me once that she used to cook fillet steak to feed to the the foxes. The idea being that if the foxes were happy and well fed they would leave the peacocks in peace.

Whether this actually really worked or not, I have no idea. Although at a guess, I would think most foxes at that time residing in that vicinity knew exactly where they'd be heading for dinner.

The new owners have spent quite a lot of time restoring the garden and it was lovely that we could spend a couple of hours just wandering in the peace and quiet.
A small marquee was in the garden where we were able to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and some homemade cakes.

Here are just a few photos so that you can enjoy the gardens with us!

I thought I'd finish this post by showing you Kate's scarf that is now my scarf.
Remember, she wasn't keen!
Well, I really love the colours of this one and I'm looking forward to wearing it when we do have some cool evenings.

I've still got some sewing on the go and some knitting on the needles but, as we are having such a lovely sunny, lazy, summer, everything is on a go slow!

Sunday, 20 July 2014


Recipe Ingredients

4 peaches
1 tbsp castor sugar
punnet of raspberries
50 grams icing sugar
homemade sponge flan using 2 egg mix
a couple of spoons of warmed apricot jam
1 pt custard 
Hundreds and thousands

Recipe Method

1. Poach peaches with castor sugar for 10 mins then cool, skin and slice.
 ( Don't worry if the skins don't come completely off and they go mushy!)

2. Sprinkle icing sugar over the raspberries and leave for 20 mins

3. Make your sponge flan, remember to use a tin that you haven't used in yonks but make sure it is  well greased and floured!

4. When your perfect sponge flan is cooked, let it cool slightly and tip it out onto a wire rack.
 (Don't worry if half of the flan remains stuck in the tin, just hook that out with your finger and eat it!)

5.  Stuff, or should I say place, your broken pieces of sponge flan into a dish and drizzle the warmed apricot jam over the top in a frantic action.

6. At this stage you should sieve the raspberries and icing sugar through a fine sieve to make a coulis  
but to be honest at this stage why bother. Why do one thing right when the rest is all so not right! Spread the raspberries over the jammy sponge.

7. Spread your peach slices or mushy peaches over the top of the jammy, raspberry, sponge.

8. Conceal the whole lot with a covering of at least 1 pt of custard.

9. Finally, sprinkle with hundreds and thousands and pop in the fridge to hopefully set.

And so there you have it, a

de- constructed 

fresh peach sponge flan with raspberry coulis

I'm thinking of applying for master chef, what do you think?

Thursday, 17 July 2014


Firstly I'd like to thank Hawthorn for nominating me for a Liebster Award this week. This is still w.i.p. but I'm hoping to spend some time on it this afternoon while I'm sitting outside in the shade.

Our family have had a busy week, my son Robert celebrated his birthday on Monday and today is my grand daughter Charlotte's 8th birthday.
So a very happy sunny birthday to them!

I made this indulgent strawberry, cream and chocolate cake for Rob's birthday.
I used Lurpak from their new baking range, for the first time, recommended by my friend Diane and it turned out to be an exceedingly good, delicious cake.

I've knitted a few rows here and there this week and have now nearly finished this scarf which I was making for my daughter Kate but when I showed it to her on Monday ......... well, you know that look?
As it goes, I really like it, so she won't be getting it!

What could be better, on the hottest day of the year so far, I thought, than share some summer colours from my garden.


Sunday, 6 July 2014


Coral coloured roses for our 35th wedding anniversary!

Waiting for this sunflower to burst fully into flower.
A gift from my grandchildren that arrived in a tiny pot, with just a couple of spoonfuls of earth and looking more like a trailing variety as it wound itself around the outside of the pot.

Home sown sweet peas, with such a lovely perfume,

that I'm cutting and bringing inside and popping them in these pretty vases that were presents on my special birthdays.
This one, on my 21st birthday,

and this one, on my 40th.
So not only do I get to enjoy my sweet peas but also I think about the people that gave me these lovely gifts.

The start of a new knitting project, another baby blanket, this time in Drops Fabel.

Spending our Sunday afternoon with our grandchildren as the two girls celebrate their birthdays with their friends at their "Frozen" themed party and joining in with the singing of "Let it go!"

Fortunately the party planner, Elsa, remembered to pop into Tesco on her way and pick up the cake!

Hope you all have a lovely week ahead of you!