Sunday, 31 January 2010

Chickens and Trophies

Well it's only been a week this time since my last post and there's still lots that happened! It's been a bit of a busier week than normal to be fair. The most exciting things are the fact that we've got the house keys (yay)! We've also got Brian's car going which is so good and meant we were able to go to the chicken keeping course yesterday! I have also been given my first ever blog award!!!!
How exciting is that!!?? I can't really explain how happy it made me, I rang my sister and Brian to let them know the exciting news but I'm not sure they completely understood what I was going on about though? :) The award came from one of my favourite blogs who I've written about before, the lovely Emma at Mimi and Tilly and she wrote this about my little blog

" Lizzyloolaa has moved 250 miles to fulfill a dream of starting her own B&B smallholding complete with alpacas. Completely fabulous. Follow her blog as she follows her heart. It's fantastic."

Thank you so much Emma. It's so brilliant to know other people enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it. It's even nicer to get praise from a blog I love reading so much. If you happen to have a bout of bloghopilitus (see last post) then I suggest you hop over to Emma's blog here and read it from the beginning. It will make you giggle and think like never before :)

Well the rules of this award are to make myself a lovely cocktail and choose 4 of my favourite blogs to give this award too. I would have picked Mimi and Tilly if she hadn't given me the award in the first place so now to pick four other blogs...? There are so many lovely one's to choose from? Well with a mudslide in hand (yummy choc cocktail), In no particular order here are the four other blogs that I love for different reasons,

Diary of a Tinyholder : This was one of the first blogs I came across when I entered the blogging world. I sat and read the whole blog over a few nights and love it as much as a good book. It's so lovely to go back and see where Sian has come from and what she has achieved now. I wonder if she realises how far she's come? I recommend this blog for a good evenings reading :)

Faerie Nuff : This is a girl after my own heart living back in my homeland of Hampshire. She even has the same CK purse as me :) I love love love her blog shop Country Charm, especially her fabric snails (which I keep promising myself for the new house). She even has the matching dream of a cottage in the country with animals and land one day. Go and check out her blog for crafting loveliness :)

The Fairyglade : I love this blog for pure creative yummyness which can also be bought in her shop :) This is the type of blog that I like where you really feel like your getting to know the author and feel involved in her day to day life. I always know I can pop over to this blog and find a lovely post to read in the archives :)

The Pigeon Loft : I picked this blog for a few reasons. The first is mainly how much it makes me laugh. I love reading about the adventures of Mr. Pigeon and I would love my own one day. I also picked this blog as it's one of the few on my list that my other half likes to read as well. He loves the shenanigans of Mr. Pigeon almost as much as me :)

On the crafting front I have found my first project and have ordered in all the bits I need from trusty ebay. Here's a sneak peak at them all ready to go.Can you guess what I might be making? I'm really excited about my stroll down the crafting path as I'm hoping I'll have honed my skills enough by the time we have the farm that I can sell the bits I'm making.

On the subject of the future farm, myself, Brian and Cal all went on our chicken keeping course (finally) this weekend and it was brilliant! It was run by the loveliest man called Fenton Simpson. Here he is holding the pretty Pheobe who I got to have a hug from later,he also has the lovely Missy,and Sweet little sugar,
I have to admit, as much as I was really looking forward to the course, i was a bit worried. This was for a couple of reasons really. Growing up in the countryside I've always been around animals and do love them but have always been a little nervous around them. This changed a lot after getting Jessie a few years ago and she taught me a lot about animals. This being said, I was still worried that I would get to the course, see a chicken and go running. This might sound a bit strange when I'm so commited to our small holding dream but it's true. So this for me was my first challenge in our small holding dream and I'm happy to say my worries were unfounded. I loved the girls as soon as we saw them and jumped at the chance to hold phoebe and give her a hug. I'd never have guess chickens were so huggable! I can't wait to get our girls now. Fenton was great and taught us so much. He also took us to his allotment as I had mentioned in an email that Brian would be getting one this year. I real feel like we've started down our dream path now.

My final picture today is the lovely bunch of flowers Brian bought me on Thursday when we got our house keys along with the yummy rainbow trout he cooked for tea. I have a feeling next week will be as busy as this one has been so look out for a giant post then too. Today's has been written in between cleaning the bathroom and cooking a lovely beef stew and now I'm off to watch a bit of Hugh Fernerly Whittingbumble :)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Quite a bit of a catch up...

Well the trouble with not blogging for a few weeks is so much happens in between! There have been ups and down but the downs are the things that make me fed up and a fed up me doesn't want to blog! What i really should be doing is blogging all the good things and that would make everything seem a whole lot rosier :)

The other thing that's been distracting me from writing my own blog is reading everyone elses. It's one of the most addictive things ever! It's like discovering a whole new world of crafting and loveliness and it just goes on a on. The problem is you'll read one lovely blog and spend a while on it getting to know the person and reading their lovely posts and maybe straying over onto one of their links for something yummy (like the new CK spring collection) but then as you excitedly decide this is someone you have lots in common with and click the 'follow' button, you notice they happen to have a list of blogs they enjoy and you stray over onto one of those and the process starts all over again! I think this problem deserves a name. I shall call it bloghopilitus. The other problem with bloghopilitus is you start to worry your blog isn't anywhere near as lovely as everyone else's. I am so excited to have 6 followers now and some great comments but it does make me slightly nervous about what I'm blogging about and whether it's good enough. I'm hoping this is just a beginners issue. I guess I should just carry on writing and hope for the best.

One of the blogs that's really inspired me the last few weeks is Mimi and Tilly. I love her way of looking at the world and the reason for starting her blog. It's make me really think about my own creativity and ways of exploring it. I think that may be a whole new topic for another post though! I have started my crafting with my very first knitting project. My lovely other half surprised me one evening with a pair of knitting needles and some purple wool. I used the utube tutorial I read about in Diary of a Tinyholder and here is the result so far...
This is actually the second attempt after I learnt the technique but I'm still not sure it's going that well. I don't think you can beat having someone with you to show you what to do. I think any other crafts I decide to attempt I may look at having a few lessons first.

Well we are still without cars at the moment. Minty has proved more complicated than first thought so we are focusing on Brian's car first which should be up and running by tomorrow night fingers crossed. The plus side to having no car is that I've been walking to work and back everyday which is about an hour of walking and I'm really enjoying it.

Only a week until we get the keys to our new house now which is so exciting. Brian is looking forward to having the garden and getting things growing. I've never been known for having green fingers (unlike my mum) but I thought if we're planning on living off the land eventually I'm going to have to green up a bit. Brian says it's all down to confidence so I'd like to introduce you to Mabel,
She was a bargain 17p and looked very neglected when I first got her but I'm pleased to report most of those flowers you see are new. My fingers have a greenish tinge already :)

Whilst on the subject of flowers, Brian bought me a lovely colourful bunch yesterday which make me think of summer every time I look at them...
There were a few extra buds which i couldn't bring myself to throw away so i searched for a suitable small vase and Brian came up with his whiskey glass and I think they look lovely. I do think I might look for a proper mini vase...or maybe I could make one? Hmmm?
Today we have had a nice day relaxing. Cal had his first football match since the beginning of November early this morning and me and Brian have just got back from a slightly soggy walk feeding the ducks in the park. There where some greedy geese...
and some pecking pigeons...
and then we took a stroll around the hot house where there were some lovely looking flowers...
and even some monkeys :)I shouldn't really tease him as he is currently cooking a lovely Sunday dinner with a Jamie Oliver recipe we had to try after seeing the picture...Yes that is a beer can and yes it is placed somewhere slightly uncomfortable. Here is our version pre-cooking,and Brian is roasting some red onions with home made rosemary and garlic butter which look amazing even before they're cooked!I think that's quite enough blogging to be going on with for now. I think my bloghopilitus is playing up again :) I'll leave you with a picture of another one of my favourite places, the long man of Wilmington on a warm summers day.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Small steps to big dreams

Hello blog land :) Here I am again. I could blog about our silly cars that have decided still not to work, the many snow covered mile that me and Brian (mainly Brian) have trekked for parts and food, the central heating dying or the trauma of the Christmas tree removal but I won't. As you can tell from that one sentence it would all make for stressful reading and writing so I won't subject you to that. Instead I will blog all about the most exciting thing that is happening right now, our new house! We have just found out that it's all gone through OK and we should start renting on the first of Feb (hooray!). And here it is....
The main thing we love about it is the space. All the rooms are lovely and big which makes a change from the 2 bed flat we're in now. It was fine for Brian in his bachelor days but now with Hayley and me moving in and Cal being there a lot of the time it's a bit of a squish to say the least! This really feels like the first step on the road to our small holding. It may be a long way off but every little step makes it seem more real. Our new house now gives us the room for chickens, fruit and veg and even has the massive bonus of a mature apple tree that I'm so looking forward to getting our hands on :) You can see it here with the bench under which I'm sure we'll spend many an evening on.
We are planning on spending about a year here at the moment and then will look at buying our own place so that when our saving plan ends in 5 years we'll also have the equity in a house hopefully to give us the best chance of finding the perfect farm house and land. We are seeing the next five years as a good opportunity to learn as much as we can about small holding and running a B&B before we jump into the deep end. Our friends and family are helping loads already with brilliant books and hopefully the chicken keeping course next week will be the first of many courses. I'm really glad I've started this blog now as a diary of our trials and tribulations on the way to our dream.

The picture I'll leave you with today is a reminder of summer in the middle of all this snow. Brian took it at the camp we go to every May and September with 60 others. It's probably in my top 5 favourite places in the world. Brian is stood outside our tent when he took the pic of me having a conversation with the cows over the stream between us. I can't wait to be back there again.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Arctic Expedition

Hello again from a snow covered Manchester. I did have the bonus of a day off again yesterday but I had an annoying headache for most of it, hence the lack of bloggyness. I woke up to a phone call from the dentist at 7am who said she was going to attempt to drive in and would pick me up on the main road at 8am. I got ready for the snow with my hiking boots and gaiters and set off on my Arctic expedition :) It's so lovely walking in snow (apart from when people throw a bucket of water out their door in -17 temps-hello ice rink). My new winter love today is icicles. I don't think I've ever seen any as amazing as the one's I've seen today. These were the first I spotted,
and these were on the pub I waited outside.
It looks like something out of Disney :) We made it to work and I got to see minty again. He was covered in a lovely blanket of snow but still didn't want to start (love the colour of the sky in this one).I called out the AA again and the nice man said minty needs a new coil (didn't realise he was on birth control) and that he could tow me to a garage but they would charge me £200! He said we could buy the part and fit it ourselves for £40 so obviously that's what we decided to do. Brian rang a scrappy and they've got one for £20 so even better! Brian's going to get his car sorted tomorrow and then hopefully sort out minty. We only had about 4 or 5 patients turn up so we went home at 1 o'clock (I could get used to this) but I decided to walk as I needed to go to Tesco for supplies. It was such a lovely walk. I took so many picture but I'll share my fav's. This is the best I could get of the hills with my phones camera, they also look pretty but now they look amazing,
this is an arty one of a berry bush that looked lovely
and (yay) more icicles on our drain pipe.It's weird how everything looks so nice with snow on. I can't stop looking out the window. The photo's just don't seem to do it justice. I'll be back in tomorrow but only for the morning again. It looks like we'll probably be cancelling the chicken keeping course this weekend as we may not have a car and it's probably not worth driving out in the snow but there should be another one we can book on to soon. I'm pretty sure anyone reading this (if there is anyone) is pretty bored of reading about snow now so this is my last snow picture......for today anyway :) I took it from the same place as when I took the picture on this post back in October,

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

I love snow!

Well I guess the finger crossing on my last post worked as it's 2 o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon and I'm at home :) Yes I woke up to the biggest snowfall I think I have ever seen!We must have had at least 8-9 inches overnight on top of what was there already. It looked amazing as it had all built up on the tree branches. I knew I wouldn't be in work as the dentist hates driving in snow and lives on a hill and most of the patients wouldn't come in anyway. I was actually up and awake earlier than normal as I was so excited about the snow. I checked with my boss at 7.30 that we weren't going in and then settled down to watch Moulin Rouge with Hayley in the warm.

Brian knew his boss would be in so he decided to walk to work as he thought it would be easier and he was right!
There were car's abandoned everywhere apparently. He did get some lovely pictures in the park though,
and some before anybody had walked through, I love fresh snow:)He was sent back home at 12.30 so we've been taking the Christmas decorations down and doing all the jobs we've been too busy to do. It's still snowing now and has been since last night which I know a lot of people are moaning about but I love it! The only bad things are that we haven't got any shopping in and my car is still at work but never mind. I'm sure we've got some tins in the cupboard.

I had been planning to nip to the shops yesterday lunch time to get myself some knitting needles but minty breaking down meant that didn't happen so I'll have to wait but I can't help thinking it would have been lovely to be sat here knitting whilst the snow fell outside. I'll just have to do a bit of reading up on what I'm going to make first :) I've just looked outside and it's coming down thicker than ever so cross your fingers again and I may just be back here blogging tomorrow :) The picture I'll be leaving you with will actually be a change to the snow as I think there's enough of that on this post already! It's the view from the Poets stone in sheet (Hampshire) which Brian took when we got up to it on Saturday afternoon. I can hardly believe the difference in weather from then and now. Bye for now, hopefully see you tomorrow same time :)

Monday, 4 January 2010

The weekend of lovely gifts :)

Well here I am back again in the new year and excited to be blogging still, especially as I've had my first ever comment and not from family but from the lovely Lorilee of Cackleberry Cottage blog all the way over in Texas, USA :) so thank you for the message and the encouragement to keep blogging Lorilee.

Me and Brian had a lovely quiet night in on New Years Eve with a Darling buds of May marathon accompanied by lots of cheese and wine. We headed down south on New years day as it was my Mum's 50th birthday weekend. We had a great time with lots of surprises. My lovely mum had prepared a mini Christmas for us when we got there (with a full roast!) so even though we had lots of presents at Christmas we had even more to open! Luckily I'm truly my mothers daughter and had bought them all some extra presents too :) Along with some other lovely things they had got me a new purse from none other than Cath Kidston and I can't explain how much I love it! It even matches my new red roses hand bag I got in the sale :) Look at it, isn't it amazing? :)My parents also got us a great book on Alpaca farming which will come in very useful soon and they very generously gave us some money which me and Brian have decided to use to buy the Chicken Ark I blogged about last time so needless to say I'm very excited! They also got me this pretty red jumper from Joe Brown which I am wearing now as I blog :) Aren't I lucky? :)Saturday we went to visit our friend Sally (who I miss loads) who has just moved on to a farm in such a pretty location. We went for a walk to the poets stone (a very high hill with stunning views) and then had some stolen loaf and hot juice back at her house. Saturday evening was my Mum's cheese and wine birthday party which was great fun and I got to wear my lovely new dress I got from Next in the sale which you can see here (not modeled by me!) which went perfectly with an antique style white rose necklace my sister gave me.Sunday was my Mum's actual birthday and we went for a lovely meal at the pub up the road. I'm happy to report my sister is doing well after her hip operation and is whizzing around on crutches and should be back in college tomorrow. We travelled back Sunday afternoon and came home to yet another blanket of snow. I managed to make it in the work this morning but minty decided he'd had enough after the 500mile round trip and stopped working at lunch time today! This wouldn't be so much of a problem if it weren't for the fact that Brian's car died last week... I wrote that sentence Brian called me downstairs to let me know he fixed his car with a new battery! Hooray! At least we have one car working now :) Minty is currently sat outside work waiting for the AA who can't come out till tomorrow so I will let you know how he gets on in a later blog. At least I don't have to walk to work in the snow tomorrow :)

My final pieces of exciting news are all crafty really. I spent a few evenings last week reading through the whole of Diary of a Tiny Holder blog and getting so inspired by Sian and her amazing craftiness so I have decided to start knitting. I have also been wanting a sewing machine for a while now but her blog really got me wanting one and by sheer coincidence, whilst I was down at my parents, my God mother offered me hers as she is getting a new one for her birthday! How amazing is that!? My Mum and Sister are going to be bringing it up for me when they make their first visit up here in Feb. My final bit of news is that my Mum has in trusted me with her 30 year old kenwood mixer (which was a gift from my Great Nan) as Mum got a new one for Christmas. I am so excited about this as it has so many memories of baking and cooking from my childhood so I cant wait to use it :)

I'll leave you tonight with a picture of the ice skating ducks in the park across the road :)P.S. Brian has just told me that he has handed the notice in on our flat so we are officially moving! Hooray!

P.P.S. I just looked out the window to see a blizzard falling out the sky! Fingers crossed we're snowed in tomorrow :)