Sunday, 2 March 2014

March Miscellany

Trying out (and loving) a new crochet pattern, in cotton yarn.



Pondering when and where I should plant these seeds, sent to me through the post by my friend Leanne.


Admiring this deliciously curvaceous ampersand. I've had the silver A and B since Angus and Bella were babies, fixed to their doors. I love the way the ampersand joins them together on the door to their shared bedroom.



Delighting in bunches of daffodils, still. I'm not tired of them yet. How can you be when they're so sunny and yellow?



Eating my greens. I made a kale smoothie with banana, yogurt and honey. It was ok, a bit...chewy. I think the banana, honey and yogurt added more enjoyment to this drink than the kale. (Also I'm wondering if a smoothie should count as breakfast on it's own, since I was hungry about an hour later?)

Deciding that I prefer my kale cooked, in colcannon, with a poached egg on top. 



Remembering why it's so rewarding to support independent makers and sellers. This print was beautifully packaged and came with a handwritten "Thank you Gillian" on a matching postcard. Such a nice touch.


Inhaling the heady scent of hyacinths.


And appreciating the dramatic shadows they create.



Eating up the last of the birthday cake. We made the happy discovery that when it's a bit stale, if you blast it in the microwave for twenty seconds the cake softens and the icing melts into the most divinely gooey chocolate sauce and it's really good with vanilla ice cream.


Hanging sheets of wrapping paper*. At £3 a sheet it's expensive gift wrap but a very thrifty piece of vaguely educational colourful wall art for the children's bedroom.


Discovering that if you throw enough key words at the internet you'll probably find what you are looking for. When I worked in retail, we used these plastic strips to weight the vertical banner posters when we were doing the window displays. So I googled "poster banner hanging plastic weight clip strip" and found these. John trimmed them to size with his hack saw (or something - I wasn't really listening) and...result! Much quicker and easier than framing.


And last of all feeling proud of my girl for bringing home the Dancer of the Week trophy from her ballet and tap class. It's gold. It's shiny. It's been shown to everyone who steps foot in the house and I think she'll be very sad to hand it back to Miss Annie, the teacher, this week.


Goodness, it's March already! After the looooongest January ever, February flew by and now, bam! it's March. Apparently, according to the Met Office, March the 1st is when Spring begins... I'm not so sure - it's still winter here - but it's nice to see bulbs coming up and smell that springy smell in the air and feel a little heat from the sun. Yes, hello March, I like you.

* We bought the wrapping paper in Waterstone's ages ago. It's made by a company called Cavallini and lots of online shops stock their products. Waterstone's probably still do.

53 comments:

  1. Clever tip with the last of the birthday cake. I accidentally did something similar with a piece of cake the other day. I love the poster and the neat hanging idea. I'm wondering if that kale smoothie needed a bacon sarnie with it to stave off the hunger pangs.

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  2. There's definitely a spring in your step Gillian. Wish I could be so healthy with my greens! Have a great March xo

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  3. What a lovely blissful post, wonderful pictures and love the gift wrap poster.
    Clare x

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  4. A lovely, happy post. I like that crochet pattern you're trying out. It is pretty and the cotton yarn are lovely.
    Not sure though if I'll try a kale smoothie--too healthy! That colcannon is more inviting especially with poached eggs. Looks so yummy!
    Marion x

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  5. Great post and you always catch the current mood so well. I love the food and the map hanging is genius! Here's to spring! Jxx

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  6. One piece of cake and four people - the odds are NOT good...lol! I love their new door sign what a lovely way to recognise their joint-ness in sharing the room. The flowers and wall hangings are lovely too. Daffies never weary and always uplift.

    I commend your healthy smoothie but agree such a high blast of sugar first thing only leaves me hungry too. The colcannon and egg, which looks delish and I'm most envious of your poached egg ability, would probably have sustained you for longer! I must admit I don't tend to drink smoothies as they are so high calorie I'd rather save the calories for something from a pack with cadbury's on the side. I also struggle to drink smoothies with banana as the viscous, clotty sensation reminds me of vomit-sorry! I think I probably just don't get the whole smoothie thing even though I have a juicer and a blender for the purpose. It seems if it is palatable it is a sugar rush whole meal in a drink and if it only has greenery that is 'good' for you it tastes vile. I'm obviously a lost cause.

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  7. Well well done Bella, what a great way to keep kiddies encouraged! Alice is doing Grade 6 ballet and loves it still, it's one of the best things we could have invested in for her, she has such poise and grace because of ballet. I love all your flowers and your beautiful new print and clever wrapping paper idea. I actually bought the periodic table as wrapping paper a while back and Alice has stuck it up with washi tape, but I prefer you idea (yep we are real geeks having the periodic table up n the wall makes us smile ;o) Happy March Gillian xox

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  8. I love your block, not fussy and a really square square, IYKWIM. What a lot going on, as for spring the rain is lashing down here in Somerset! Fiona

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  9. March is one of my favorite months! It's the beginning of Spring, and everything is starting to bloom. It's also the month of my girl's birthday! You know kale is also really good baked in the oven with a little olive oil salt and pepper. It becomes almost like potato chips... they are good! That last piece of chocolate cake looks really yummy. I have never thought of warming it in the microwave when it becomes stale... great idea. Your daffodils are gorgeous, and I bet the hyacinths do smell really good. Congrats to Bella!

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  10. It looks like you've had a lovely week. That was a genius idea with the wrapping paper; I love to hang things that aren't necessarily designed to be hung as decorations. I've never had a kale smoothie and I'm not sure I'll ever start but I do love a fruit and yogurt smoothie. I've been eating raisin bran lately, which is kind of boring, but it's sticking with me better than the rice krispies I'd been having most days. Congratulations to Bella, that's a pretty neat trophy.

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  11. Lovely springy photos Gillian ... the warm chocolate cake sounds divine and your granny square is gorgeous ... I've been going to a crochet class this past couple of weeks and am really enjoying it ... I love your poster hanging idea ... like a modern take on the the vintage hanging educational posters ... have a lovely week ... Bee xx

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  12. Those daffodils and that poached egg. Gorgeous! Congratulations to your Little Lady! :)

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  13. Our favorite way to eat kale lately is in zuppa toscana -YUM! Your square is beautiful, as are the flowers. We have crocus popping up, but no daffodils in the yard, yet. The ampersand is fantastic. I, too, need to learn to poach an egg well! I don't care for them, but have a husband and kids who do! Have a lovely week!!

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  14. Oh, Gillian - as usual beautiful photos! What are you planning to make from the crochet motif? It looks really nice. Congrats to Bella! Wishing her to bring this trophy home every week! :-)

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  15. I tried kale for the first time last week and it was super chewy! Not sure if I'll use it again as there are plenty of alternatives. I love your crochet square. Which cotton yarn do you use?

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    1. Hi Catherine - for this I used RICO essentials cotton DK and a 3 mm hook. x

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  16. We tried baking kale per the directions of the Barefoot Contessa the other day...it did not quite look like hers and tasted a bit too crispy...dare I admit, burned? At least your concoction avoided that result,
    Gillian :) I enjoyed viewing all your miscellany entries, and send special cheers for Bella's achievement! xx

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  17. Your crochet looks so neat and beautiful. Love the map poster. I always like maps, would love one of the ww2 silk map blouses! Can't say I fancy a kale smoothy myself but it does sound very healthy.

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  18. Well done to Bella .... what a beautiful trophy x
    Kale smoothie hmmmmm, sounds jolly heathy but i think i would prefer it cooked with that delish looking egg and mash too!
    Have a happy new week
    love Jooles x x x

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  19. Lovely photos... I so enjoy sharing that snapshot of your life. It's lovely that your daughter won the Dancer of the Week trophy. It makes you such a proud mum. Have a great week.
    Jacqui xx

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  20. I am sorting my seeds and planning the ones that I will have to buy... My garden plans are now ready... I don't do smoothies, but I juice and it is never a meal by itself. And I also always juice veggies and fruits. But for the stomach it is good to remember to have them either 30 min before eating or 2 hours after... January and February were so wet! We are still waiting a hint that winter was there and I hope that Spring and Summer will be much better.

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  21. I love that map paper and that's such a good idea to put the plastic strip on the bottom, it looks great! I often put chocolate cake in the microwave and cookies too - those big choc chip ones you get always taste better for a few seconds in the microwave! xx

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  22. Looks a busy, happy month. Loving the crochet square - but then crocheting in cotton is my favourite. Have a good week. X

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  23. Such beautiful photos! Love the crochet square - great pattern - and I could eat the colcannon/poached egg right now :-) Think I will have to steal the wrapping paper idea, am plotting a revamp of my eldest's room. He's almost 5 and still has all his baby animal prints on the wall!

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  24. Hey Gillian,

    Do you still have your pop up greenhouse that you sowed your tomatoes in last year? And do you have a few seed trays and seed compost? I'd pot them all up and pop them in there my lovely. Unless you want to wait a while and scatter them liberally in your garden. I like growing my seeds in trays, because it gives me more control over them. Once they've pushed through the soil and become strong seedlings, you can re pot them until they are big enough to plant into the garden. I'm loving that print. And I've spent the entire post trying to guess where you photographed each item!

    Leanne xx

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  25. Lovely post Gillian with some great photos and ideas, though I'm not sure about the kale smoothie. Actually I've never tasted kale! Love the wrapping paper map of UK and have been looking for something along those lines too. Make sure you have a photo of Bella with the trophy and frame it for her. Must pop you an email as I have finally got some ideas for you. Take care.

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  26. Well done to Bella, that's wonderful news. and I like everything else in this lovely post too Gillian - that saves listing them all doesn't it - ah apart from the kale in the smoothy and that doesn't do it for me at all I'm afraid!!!
    Have a happy week m'dear, Joy x

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  27. A kale smoothie - you brave girl. When I was pregnant, my husband would try to sneak a leaf or two of kale into our smoothies, but he would add more fruit - berries, oranges, more stuff to mask the kale taste! Beautiful crochet pattern - the colors are so Spring-like, yet soothing. Great thrifty idea with the wrapping paper!

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  28. I love the colour of your cotton. I love this whole post actually. It is gorgeous. Those letters and ampersand are just stunning(as are the coat pegs) :)

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  29. I'm beginning to get an itch to sew a few seeds, it just needs to warm up a little for me, I'm a fair weather gardener now.....love that map! :) x

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  30. I am a lover of kale, banana, yoghurt and honey but think you're very courageous, firstly because you mixed them together and secondly because you actually drank it! Although come to think of it I was very partial to drinking cabbage water before my Sunday dinner when I was a child.
    You have captured some really lovely things in this post, the thought of buying seeds ready to sow, the bright yellow daffodils and the wonderful award of your daughters you get to enjoy, a perfect week!

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  31. The wrapping paper print is such a good idea, and it looks great! It's still quite sunny and warm here but the mornings and evenings are definitely much cooler. Autumn is definitely on the way.

    And a very big well done to Bella on the award :-) x

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  32. What a colourful and enjoyable post! Well done Bella and well done your for drinking that smoothie. Have a great week, Sarah xo

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  33. Lovely yarn, pretty crochet, flowers, poached egg, cake and clever decorating...I'll be right over, I like how you spend your days! ;-) Chrissie x ps congrats to twinkletoes!

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  34. We had a tea towel with Great Britain on it and I used to show the children where Aunty lived and places we visited etc. Good education for them.

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  35. What a great idea, i love your map print!

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  36. Fabulous framing idea - cheaper too! Your photos are lovely, my hyacinths are filling the house with such fragrance, just divine. X

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  37. I love your crochet pattern, Gillian. I am not a big fan of green smoothies, or other coloured vegetable ones. I like a bit of bite to my veg! I always find that liquid food, no matter how rich, is no substitute for solids. Chewing somehow gives me a feeling of satisfaction that lasts longer. Colcannon is one of my all time favourites, and poached egg is by far my most favourite food. Here's a dinner idea for this week! Have a lovely week. Cx

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  38. I had a map of the British Isles when I was at uni but it wasn't this lovely or fancy. I wrote the names of all my friends against where they lived and my geography vastly improved :-)

    I'm loving all your pots especially the Orla Kiely one

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  39. I love poster display strips, infact I have a print for Maxi's room that needs them, so thanks for the reminder. I love spring, it makes me all bouncy.

    Kale is lovely made in to kale chips. tear in to smallish chunks, spray with a little oil and some chilli flakes and op in an oven for 10 mins at 180. Even my boys love it like this. Sort of like the seaweed you get at the chinese

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  40. Lovely post, as usual. :) Love my kale, but I'm not a big fan of it in smoothies either. I would rather savor its goodness sauteed or in a salad, and your idea with poached eggs...mmmm!

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  41. You're really embracing Spring. As usual you;re photos are beautiful. I saw the poached eggs and Colcannon and instagram and you really inspired me to make it as well :) Very very yummy. Have a lovely week.

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  42. The colcannon and egg looks divine. Like the ampersand - very appealing to the eye - I love type. The crochet looks delicate and elegant. And well done to Bella for the Twinkle Toes Trophy.

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  43. Well done to Bella! Definitely something to be very proud of. I like your crochet square, it's very pretty, I love crocheting with cotton yarn too.
    Marianne x

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  44. I knew I'd seen that map somewhere! It looks great hanging like that, far more schoolhousey than if it was framed.
    I've seen so many gorgeous crocheted things on my favourite blogs I'm signing up for an introductory course with a friend. Thanks for the inspiration :)
    Sarah.

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  45. Gorgeous pictures. I love hyacinths, I am watching the progress of mine several times a day as I am so eager for them to bloom!

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  46. Lovely use of the giftwrap :-) I love Daffodils, we're currently inundated with them here! (St Davids Day+ Wales lol) We've been very lucky with the weather, it definitely feels like Spring x Congratulations to Bella as well!

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  47. I don't think anything could induce me to drink a kale smoothie so well done you!
    Love the wrapping paper map.
    February always whizzes by, it's just a couple of days shorter but team that with half term, birthday celebrations and general life busyness it's a blink and you miss it type of month!
    Lisa x

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  48. Another beautiful post, Gillian - thank you. It's supposedly Autumn here, but it's still Hot!! Hope Spring comes soon for you.

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  49. Wow I love your blog, I found it just by chance. That cotton crochet grannie is lovely and I saw all the others you've made.. takes a while I know as I did one and it took months of just doing a bit now and then.
    Lovely to read about your family, mine have all grown and flown but I have 3 grand children, who are all growing up too fast. But not too old for grandma's knitted socks or covers or quilts.
    Stay Happy
    Chris

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  50. Gillian I just love your posts. Everything looks wonderful. I love the look of the Colcannon, will have to google that one as I don't know what it is but I just now it's delicious! Congrats to Bella for her Trophy xo

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  51. Stunning tie backs. They add a real elegance to the room. x

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  52. Yay well done Bella! What a lovely shiny trophy you must be very proud :) the children's poster is very cool will have to use that idea. I've never tried kale in a smoothie hmm might give it a try xx

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