Tuesday 29 June 2010

Rounding Up June

What a fleeting month June has been. I wish it had lingered a little longer. I love the long hours of daylight and this year we've been lucky with the weather - lots of dry sunny days, a couple of hot ones but mostly just warm which for me is just fine.

Today was A's last day at nursery and after the summer holidays she will be starting school. In Scotland the summer holidays run from the end of June till the middle of August and you start school in the year you turn 5 (with a couple of months leeway for those born at the start/end of the year for advancement/deferment), prior to this children are entitled to 12.5 hours per week at nursery from the age of 3. She has been very happy at the nursery and today was tinged with a little sadness as it was the last tme she'd be there.

Anyway, I've some catching up to do for the past week...

I went charity shopping, haven't been for a while. I didn't see any bargains at first, then I spotted this little tea set. I took a closer look - it's a complete, undamaged 6 place set with serving plate, sugar bowl, and cream jug, all for just £6.

Just a shame that I don't actually like tea! But I have friends who do, so perhaps one day we'll play at afternoon tea - a good excuse for some more cake baking if nothing else.

I also found a wool shop I hadn't been in before and succumbed to some more yarn for the blanket.

We went to Finlaystone for our toddler group day out. I've been here several times but have still to fully explore the estate. The children always love the pirate ship though it's starting to look a little worn out and bits are starting to fall off. There are quite a few different play areas throught the woods.

There are also some more formal gardens with some beautiful plants. We always tend to zoom through these though, on the way to other areas which are more interesting to children.

The celtic knot maze was popular. We spent about 5 hours at Finlaystone (the good weather helped) and will probably be back for another visit over the summer. Next time we'll go with hubby as he's still never been, what a treat!

Last year I was lucky enough to be given a bottle of a friend's elderflower champagne. I was so impressed with it I though I'd have a go myself. We even have an elderflower bush growing right alongside the garden so the only effort involved was buying the lemons. However, though I started it off on Friday it still hasn't started to ferment. I've added a little yeast and still no action. I fear it may end up down the sink/on the compost pile, sadly.

I've still not been able to manage a Saturday morning cycle, but we did get out on a little Sunday morning family cycle along the cycle path to our usual destination. There has been a new addition to the cycle path art work since I was last along this way.

We had been hoping to see a model boat racing event, but I think it must have been cancelled due to the windy weather. There were plenty of real boats out on the loch instead.

I liked the dramatic skies in the above photo. We have had some rain in the past few days, just as well as the garden was starting to get a bit parched, we'd even had to buy a hose to water the veggies.

I also took a little break from the blanket and made this owl as a graduation present for my niece, no idea as to whether or not she'll like it but I enjoyed making it and was pleased with the result. It's based on this pattern.
I also managed to clear enough space at my desk to work on another pair of tealight holders. The robin is a gift for A's nursery teacher...

...as is this badge, the design for which A drew herself. I also picked a bunch of flowers from the garden, I wish I'd taken a photo as they did look quite nice despite our garden somehow being a little sparse for flowers at this time of year.

So now it's summer holiday time, and tomorrow it's my birthday. Hubby has taken this book into work with him to plan a cake, lucky me!

I've been a little remiss in my blog following recently due to lack of spare time but hope to manage to visit my usual blogs very soon and I'm very much looking forward to catching up with everyone's news...

Sunday 20 June 2010

Twenty Days of June

Hello! It's still hot and sunny here, we're having a lovely June! It has, though, been a busy month so far and I've realised I've not actually posted about any of the things we've done in June yet, so here goes...

At the beginning of the month we had our local Gala day. A big part of this is a procession through the village with a costumed parade, pipe bands, and decorated floats.

Here is our float:

The nursery is celebrating its 25th anniversary, hence all the silver. We chose an orchestra theme as the children have recently been learning about musical instruments during their sessions at nursery. It's a community nursery so parents are heavily involved, all the decorating of the float was carried out by a group of parents. Many evenings have been spent drawing, cutting and foiling cardboard shapes, but it was all worth it in the end as we won first prize! By the way, the instrument silhouettes (you can see them best in the top photo) were drawn round my double bass and cello - so having these things taking up precious space in your house does sometimes come in useful! I actually had a "proper" concert that evening so as soon as I was off the float I was straight out to the afternoon rehearsal (after a quick costume change of course!).

The a few days later...

...we celebrated A's 5th birthday.

Rather a large and filling cake for just four of us but we managed.

We had a garden party for her friends a couple of days later at which I annoying forgot to take any photos. I made a chocolate fudge cake for the party but it wasn't one of my best - the icing was too runny, but it tasted OK.

I did remember to put the bunting up...

... A's teddy relaxes after the party.

I've not had time for any Saturday morning bike rides in June, but I did get out one evening.

I didn't stop to take many photos, here's the only one I liked, Ben Lomond is in the distance.

A's nursery also had their summer outing. We went here. Again the weather was brilliant and the children all had a lovely time. We didn't have very long at the park though, meaning that there's plenty we didn't manage to see or do which justifies a return visit soon.

Now back home and a little view of the garden. I bought a new parasol from B&Q and I'm rather liking the summery stripes - they match the green ladies mantle, pink peonies, blue sky and yellow sunshine!

While we're about it, here are three more favourite June garden photos...

Also in the garden...

...my blooming African Flower blanket, and...

...well, I just thought I'd have a little crochet photo shoot. On the chair furthest back is may latest completed project - N's cushion.

Adding the red and lime really jazzes things up. Of the three round cushions I have done this is my favourite which was rather unexpected as they're not the colours I would have chosen for myself.

On impulse, I decided to enter the cushion into the industrial section of our local agricultural show (held yesterday) along with...

Empire Biscuits...


and a plain iced chocolate cake.

The results...

...First prize for my cushion - woo hoo! Third for the empire biscuits (better than last year), highly commended for my chocolate cake, and just commended for my tablet (worse than last year which I was a little disappointed by but it's quite soft fudgy tablet so maybe the judge just prefers the hard sugary type).

All the children at A's nursery enter a drawing to the show, A's picture of a cow came second which was fantastic for such a large entry (I should confess here and say that my cushion was first out of, ahem, two entries, haha!)

The vintage tractors were A & N's favourite show feature, you can see then having a go an the far left.

Today we had the nursery garden party which was rather fortunate as I was able to put all my excess baking from the show on the home baking stall. Unfortunately, I then went and bought at least as much again! I was on lucky dip duty, I wrapped 59 prizes in one evening, why can't I wrap Christmas presents as quickly!

Well, if you've managed this far you're doing great! I'll reward you with some yummy crochet pictures(!)

Deciding which African Flower centers to use next.

A close-up of the blanket so far.

And that's all for now! Phew.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Beach Crochet and more...

Ahhh, where does time go!

It's a roasting hot day here (for me anyway). N is having his nap, A is watching a little bit of telly - officially just to stay out the sun while it's at its hottest but really to let me try and finish off posting my holiday pics before N wakes up...

First off, a picture of one of the cannons in Kirkcudbright that A & N liked to play on...


The nearby cherry bloosom was just starting to fall (we were here at the end of May).

Many of the houses are painted in funky colours. This one was a favourite of mine and A's.

I took my crochet with me so the African Flower blanket grew a little more. It's bigger again now, I've taken some more photos for another post soon.

As I mentioned in my last post I managed to get out for a couple of evening cycle rides while we were in Kirkcudbright. Here are the photos from my second ride which was down the eastern side of the bay.

A cow (seemingly with ten legs!)

The road passes right along the edge of the bay.

The sea and a distant lighthouse.

Bike shot.

There was lots of cow parsley lining the roads, and also many of these pretty purple flowers (which I'll need to look up to see what they are).

The sun starting to set.

After turning away from the sea the second part of the run was through woodland.

Here the road was lined for miles with wild garlic. The smell was delicious! Shortly after the woodland I was back "home".

On two occasions we cycled down with the children to the beach...

...Brighouse Bay.


Seaweed and rocks.

If you look closely you can see A, N & hubby guddling on the beach. This gave me a chance to...

...crochet another African Flower for the blanket.

On another day we went to visit St Ninian's cave. This involves a walk through woodland...

... the first time I have ever seen a proper bluebell wood! I took loads of photos of it, it was just so beautiful. I'm being restrained and only posting one here though.

Oh well, here's another. You can also see more wild garlic here, again the smell was quite intoxicating. N loved collecting stones in his bucket so it took quite a long time to make our way through the woods, but finally...

...we could see the sea!

The view of the beach from St Ninian's cave.

We then went to Wigtown - Scotland's book town. In the past we have spent hours here browsing the bookshops, however, this time it was a more high speed zoom round with the children. We did find the playpark for them, it had a beautiful view of Wigtown bay and was surrounded by hawthorn bushes in full bloom.

We also went to Gatehouse of Fleet where the woods were again full of bluebells. It also had a charity shop, (rather few of them around here) where I found a large cream coloured ceramic pitcher perfect for summer flowers for £1, just what I'd been looking for. Unfortunately I dropped it while unpacking and it's ruined, grrr!

Right, I think that will do for the holiday photos. It's a lovely part of the country and well worth a visit, especially if you're lucky with the weather. We did have a nice time though on reflection it didn't seem especially relaxing - I think next time we'd hire a cottage/caravan right next to a beach rather than in the town.

I'm so behind with blogging, just busy recently with concerts, carnival days and birthdays. I'm off now to catch up with other blogs, see you soon!


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