Friday, March 29, 2019

A bit of P & D

Been rather productive the last couple of days
We are now in the phase of the weather being warm enough to do outside chores without getting frazzled, so I decided to spruce up the lounge courtyard
weeding, sweeping, then painting.
This courtyard doesn´t get the sun during the winter months so the yukky green mould can appear.
so I filled in the cracks then after a bit of a wash of the wall, it was down to the painting
The walls are Not smooth and it makes it rather hard work having to stipple with the brush as I find a roller too heavy
The before
and after

Just needs some new clean gravel, the tiles cleaning and a few plants
Trouble was it left the other walls looking quite shabby
Nothing for it but to do those too, little by little

I also painted the double ironwork gates to the entrance of this space and stair rails leading up to the garden using Hammerite, rather pongy paint!
Somehow my PMA (positive mental attitude) failed me after that, probably because I had over done it a bit so yesterday we decided to go to the spa.
I had two more passes from last years birthday present to use by the end of March, couldn´t waste them and it was beneficial to gently swim in very warm water, helped the aching shoulder and arms muscles.

After, we drove along the coast rode through Moraira, where people were in swimwear on the beach paddling and there´s me in a jacket! and on to a little shopping complex as I had been told a new craft shop had been opened. Well you do have to explore these things!!
Well it certainly wasn´t a Hobbycraft but there were some interesting things and useful to know for the future. I was very restrained and only spent 5.25e and that included a catnip filled mouse for the furries.
We also bought an LED ceiling light for the garage to replace the strip light. We have noticed quite a difference in our lekky bill since changing a couple of years ago to low energy bulbs and LED fittings in the house.

By this time we were ravenous and decided to stop for a spot of very late lunch at Maria´s, as I really couldn´t be asked to cook anything. It also served the purpose of not needing anything else later.
An early night was in order and by 9.30 I was down sheet lane fighting for a spot with two furries!

A new day today, must pace myself though
take care

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Kitchen goodies

Well, I think that was the fastest disappearing week ever.
But it was a lovely one and quite healing for both myself and Rebecca.

Friday saw us in the kitchen most of the day, we made two different flavours of lip balm, one lavender and mint, the other lime and mint, lemon and ginger cordial, lemon curd and a lemon meringue pie.

This made me smile too, obviously something kids don´t grow out of

We then went on to make our lovely supper
Fresh prawn salad - actually this had a double effect not only was it delicious but one of our furries, Amber, sometimes get very sore skin and we have found giving her the prawn heads helps clear it up, omega 3 perhaps

then it was monk fish in a garlic, onion and tomato sauce, ugliest looking fish,

 but we cheated and bought just the tails

The meringue disappeared in a flash too

Saturday saw us attending the grand opening of the new secondary school of Lady Elizabeth as VIP guests,
 Antoni´s mother was the founder of the school 32 years ago when she had just 2 pupils,
certainly has grown since then
Then off to the airport :-(
They are funny places, either happy because you are meeting someone or having an adventure
or really sad when you see someone off.
Only 71 days to go before we meet again
Not that we are counting or anything!

take care

Friday, March 22, 2019

Rain didn´t stop play!

Would you believe it? 
We have had weeks of warm dry weather and after a glorious Sunday, where we actually got our toes out and into sandals, after Rebecca had given me a lovely pedicure, it has dropped out.
Such a shame for Rebecca and Antoni, it would have been so nice to have basked in the warmth of the sun just relaxing, but hey ho, 
Not that it has stopped us, just added another layer and enjoyed our time together.

Tuesday night and Wednesday morning it tipped it down
Brilliant as we needed some rain and the garden and pots have benefited greatly by their bath, just at the wrong time!
So what do you do when its wet outside?
Go to the spa and get wet anyway!
We all went and had an hour and a quarter enjoying the super warm pool, jets and jacuzzi´s.
We have found that length of time is just right, any more and it seems to have an adverse effect, obviously all the salts etc are doing their magic in detox, any more and it gives us a headache and wipes us out. Interesting!

We came home and had a wonderful lunch, very simple but delicious, a mixture of various fish and cheeses with salad and fresh bagette. Rebecca and I  have had fun in the kitchen preparing a wide selection of scrummy meals this week, bang goes the diet! Although I must say its quality not quantity that matters, Oh ok may be portion control did go a little out of the window at times!

Yesterday Rebecca and Antoni borrowed the car and trundled off to visit some friends and to pick up some rather delectable goodies to take back for friends from the supermarket, especially for the one who is looking after their two furry purries.

Today I think we are going to have girlie time together, making lotions and potions and maybe even using up some of those lemons.
We shall see
take care

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Daffodils and lemons

Having a lovely time, catching up on huggles, sharing and chatting
Rebecca brought me an early Mother´s day gift.
She knows these are my favourites and she managed to bring these over by carefully wrapping and protecting them, even though they were in the hold luggage

I have two vases full of these beautiful blooms. So cheerful 

They also brought over some tea, we like Sainsbury´s own de-caff Earl grey, so we have stocked up for a little while. 

Sunday was a glorious day and we all lunched with friends at Maria´s.
It was extremely busy and a good job we had booked. 
As I may have mentioned before, they cook over a huge open fire so when it´s busy then service takes quite a time. So we had a very long leisurely lunch (4 hours!) but certainly worth the wait.

Yesterday was such a contrast as a low came in, reducing the temps and cloudy, so as they had a few errands to run in town, we stopped to have a late breakfast of tostadas with grated tomatoes, olive oil and serrano ham with a couple of cups of fresh coffee each. Total was 13 euros not bad at all for all that.

Our neighbour has a very large lemon tree and he was picking them all to allow the flowers and fruit to set for next year. The lemons are quite sweet, so it will be thinking caps on to put them to good use. Lemon cordial, curd, flavoured water .......

Think I might just slice some and freeze for summer drinks, ideal for g & t without the ice watering it down!

Another day to enjoy today
take care

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Final countdown

So excited!!
Rebecca and Antoni are flying out later today to join us for a week, yeah!!
Can´t wait, counting down the last few hours before lots of huggles and chats

Our lovely friend Jo kindly gave us a three piece suite for our courtyard, so comfy and makes the area look very homely. Put the finishing touches to it by reupholstering the bench  cushion and adding some sheer curtains and a handmade tie back to bring it all together.

Also revamped a vase
and after, a bit of bling

On the knitting front, I have gone as far as I could with the lacy pattern before needing to do the decreases, so I stopped and started knitting the back, straight forward stocking stitch, a little more soothing than the lace.

I contacted King Cole to ask for advice on how to continue in pattern whilst decreasing, I was extremely pleased and surprised at the very prompt and helpful reply, it seems my little bit of common sense by just knitting the extra stitches on increase was just the right thing to do and to continue in this manner for decreasing.

Thought I would share their advice if case it may help anyone else

Thank you for your query regarding King Cole Pattern 3869.

When it comes to decreasing for patterns with a lace, there are some tips you could use.

I put a stitch marker at the very beginning of the first pattern repeat and then another stitch marker at the very end of the last pattern repeat for that row.

If you have a row that askes for a yfwd before you decrease, I would knit that stitch, otherwise that yfwd would create the extra stitch instead of losing a stitch. 

Sometimes, it is easier to just do knit stitches before the very pattern repeat and after the last pattern repeat as those stitches are near the seams that you could sew up anyway and not be that visibly different from the rest of the pattern.  We often recommend this for our knitters who find decreasing and increasing pattern repeats a little difficult to ensure that you get the correct number of stitches required.

I hope this information helps.

I shall put in a life line before I start though, just in case!

Well off to put the final touches to the guest room and continue ticking off the hours.
Have a great weekend
take care

Saturday, March 9, 2019

It´s all in the leaves

The new roses that we bought last week have now all been planted in the rose garden.
I´m sure it won´t be long before the tiny foliage buds will be sprouting.
Really looking forward to seeing them bloom.

I have been saving our tea bags, drying them out before removing them from the bag, I remember many years ago that my Grandma used to always swill the dregs of the teapot and put it around her roses. Easier when you use loose tea, she always had a good show in the summer.

The tea leaves contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and some trace minerals, which is supposed to be very beneficial to acid loving plants, including tomatoes. By sprinkling them around the plant base and scratching in it will give them a boost.

Well no harm in trying it rather than just going in the bin, a good bit of recycling too.

Decided to swap meals around today, a heavier lunch then a lighter tea. Haven´t made paella for ages.
My recipe is not quite authentic, but then it is to our taste, so that´s ok by me. It does help having the correct rice which absorbs quite quickly.

It was rather yummy!

Not much going on on the craft front, I added a few rows to the lacy bolero but must have missed a yarn over so had to unpick it, grr
Although I did recover the bench seat cushion, which now looks much fresher and finished off the backs of the hexie coasters. Not all a fail then lol.

take care

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Make scents

In the past, Rebecca and I have enjoyed our times together making various natural skin care products, we have made, lip balms, a soothing headache one, even a luxurious body butter, adding essential oils to suit. Rebecca trained in Aromatherapy when she was studying for all her holistic therapies, it´s more complicated than you think, mixing the high, middle and lower notes of the scents to obtain the best mix.

Some are uplifting, some antibacterial, ideal for various applications around the home, some comforting and soothing, the old favourites such as Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Rosemary work quite well for sleep problems. Putting Lavender oils in a diffuser in the bedroom before bed time, leaves the room very calming, Lavender oil can also be used directly on the skin and by massaging a couple of drops in your hands first to warm it, then applying it directly to the soles of your feet, again aids sleep, with the added bonus of making the skin feel nice. Our feet are so often neglected and yet we put them through so much, so it´s a win win.

I have always been interested in using herbs, both for culinary and holistic uses, some of the old tried and tested remedies can be better than using today´s chemical laden products. 
So with this in mind I decided to make a natural deodorant, very simple, using just 3 ingredients plus an essential oil.

I mixed bicarbonate of soda with cornflour, then added coconut oil (in it´s solid state) using 7 tbsps,
the mixture was slightly ´wet´ so added some more cornflour, mixing well before adding the essential oil, in this case Lavender, although I think Rose would be nice too, what ever is your preference.

The original recipe called for arrowroot, which is so difficult to get here, so maybe that would make the consistency a little firmer.
As I didn´t have any pop up containers, I pressed it into silicon moulds and let it solidify in the fridge.
It would definitely be much easier to apply from a container, but it does work, well I haven´t had any adverse complaints so far! lol and it doesn´t leave any oil stains on clothes.
A word of warning though, don´t apply straight after shaving as it may irritate

Here is the recipe in case you wanted to try it too

6-8 tablespoons of coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup bicarbonate of soda
1/4 cup arrowroot or cornflour (plus a little extra in case it is too soft)
few drops of essential oil of choice
(pop up containers can be purchased on the internet for about 9.00 pounds for 10)

Next trick is to get hubby to try this anti-pong as he calls it.

I´ll leave you with two of his lovely views taken a couple of days ago

take care