Thursday, 3 September 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A photo posted by Randomkatie (@randomkaties) on
A nice early morning potter that I had in my garden this week. Enjoying being outside in my dressing gown and husband's crocks and the joy/shame/and coziness of gardening in pyjamas just because I can.  And it was a nice, peaceful morning, even though it was raining.
A photo posted by Randomkatie (@randomkaties) on

A photo posted by Randomkatie (@randomkaties) on

          Port Meadow, Oxford.
 I go there as often as I can, usually to the same spot. My favourite spot. Over the year, I have noted the changes. In the winter, the area surrounding "my spot" floods.  In the early summer, it dried out and I saw that the area was littered with litter.
This area used to be a rubbish dump and I have found things here before so I wasn't too surprised, but I was very excited by what I found, even if it was somebody's old chamber pot.
I will point out that I didn't dig and do not encourage digging as all of the objects unearthed can damaged the hooves and feet of the cows, horses and passing dogs. However, everything that I saw was already jutting out from the ground, even standing upright with sharp edges, so from these objects, I took what I could carry in the time allowed. This was NOT enough and my hands were not big enough.

I enjoyed looking at my broken treasure for a while, but then I popped some extra succulents into them and popped them on my garden Knick Knack shelf and here they are!

Autumnal tinted tips on the Acers.
 I am excited about this. Our sofa is in prime position, ready to admire the live show of colours the Acers display in Autumn. 

"Ladies and Gentlemen! The show is about to begin!"
Happy Autumnal September to you!


Thursday, 27 August 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow? August

Before we left to go on holiday, half of the lawn was yellow and lifeless. Smugly, I thought that at least this would mean that the grass would still be short and tidy upon our return.
I was wrong.
Everything was overgrown, gone over and a little bit messy.
Why had I taken the time to weed before leaving?
Still, it's nice to feel needed I suppose.
My father in law had tended to the watering so my succulents, grasses and Bamboos were very happy and healthy and most likely dreading the return of their forgetful and neglectful mother.
 The creatures had gotten used to the dog being away and there were quite a few to be seen, as well as a lovely robin who sat close to me as I tidied the borders and collected seeds.

Collecting seeds from the Nigella and the Poppies is such a satisfying pleasure. I was carefully not to get any in my eye this time.

The apples have been good this year. A bit early perhaps, but tasty so no complaining here.

 There is always a competition for finding the wonkiest apple.
Curly Boy collecting apples from the mini Katy Apple tree. 

Everybody's Good at Cooking Something...

Over the last year or so, I have made an effort to hold myself back in the garden with elaborate plans and planting. I've reduced the number of plants that I have in pots (sometimes killing them off by mistake) and not planting/buying anything fussy or new. 
Apart from a few seasonal perk-me-pot and basket flowers, I am trying to keep it simple.
Acknowledging and accepting that I simply don't have/make the time to dedicate towards high maintenance gardening.
It takes enough time to cut the grass, trim the hedges, weed, etc. 

Perhaps in a few years time, I will find/make more time for more adventurous gardening, but in the meantime I will just make sure that I enjoy the efforts or hard work that others have put into gardening.

Although it was a very rainy day, we enjoyed a day out to Nuffield Place and appreciated their gardens and home.

 This was a difficult path to negotiate. Over 100 slugs were spotted. Blergh.

 Playing Laser in the garden. Don't let the plants touch you!

Of course it's nice to be back and take the time to catch up. I will be having a nosy around the other gardens here:

Monday, 24 August 2015

Real Reel Home Movie

Our first "reel" home movie featuring the dog quite a bit, the kids and camping.
It's silent but noisy, grainy and unfocused (especially here, as I filmed it on the I-pad as it was being projected onto the screen.) short, and very expensive.
But there is something very special about real reel films and perhaps we'll treasure these little snippets of our lives even more since they are that much more precious?
I was a bit put off when the Hubby calculated how much it would cost per minute of film, but once realised, I think it's quite a refreshing exercise to take more care with what you film. Just like the old days.  And the final 3 minute result of the filming will likely be short and sweet.

Technical details:
Filmed on a Canon 814 XL and 514 XL Camera (Super 8)
Wittner Chrome 200D reversal film (Agfa Aviphot)
Processed by: Gauge Film

(Details courtesy of the Hubby.)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Mini Doughnut Cakes

I always like the idea of making elaborate cakes, decorated to perfection. But years of failure and laziness have reminded me that I just do not possess the skill or patience for cake decorating.
I still like to pretend though, so when I saw the Doughnut Cake, I adapted the idea for an afternoon of pure pleasure.
Again, playing with icing like this helps me to be calm and happy and therefore, I will class this pastime as my idea of Mindfullness.

I used mini doughnuts from Sainsburys because mini is mega and I could try out a few designs.
Betty Crocker icing works perfectly when it is kept at room temperature.
The doughnuts take the icing much better than cake. They don't crumble as you spread.

I made some la di da chocolate bits and popped them in the fridge to harden.

Stacked and iced doughnuts, ready for decor.

Show off.

Of course some mini cakes looked better than others, but because this was on a small scale and just for fun, it really didn't matter.

We enjoyed the tasting session.

Because this was so easy, tasty and satisfying, we have already done this a couple of times. It's a great playdate activity; the satisfaction of baking and creating food art without the total mess.

Inspiration from:

A Pinterest success story:-)

Monday, 13 July 2015

Deceptions of Pinterest: Chocolate Bowl Edition

A while ago, I had some time off of work and a bit more time on my hands to do those little things.
Like showing off and making a chocolate bowl a la Pinterest that I had been wanting to do for a while.
My melted chocolate was delicious, but it did not floweth over the balloon into elegant drips.

I man-made some drips as best as I could.

But when I deflated the balloon (after fridge cooling) with care, the drips broke off anyway.
The balloon did not peel away from the hardened chocolate easily and it left some residue behind leaving a latex like taste.

Perhaps it would have been useful to suggest a cooking spray on the balloon before pouring over the chocolate.

But the itch was scratched and I have now I can tick: Make a Chocolate Bowl off of my bucket list, but I probably won't bother doing that again for a while.