Monday, 30 August 2010


~ Faded grandeur ~
This manor house dominates a large local park. Records show that there has a house on the estate since at least the mid 17th Century. The last occupants were a branch of the Rothschild family and they sold to the Council in 1925, on condition that the estate was used for leisure only. And for that condition, we are very grateful.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

I Am A Driver

So what? I'm sure lots of you, most of you, can drive. It's really fairly easy, once you know how. I've been able to drive since I was 18 (legal age to drive in the UK is 17) and spent my early 20s driving across European Autobahns, on the other side of the road. However, since I came to live in London 5 years ago, I have driven less and less, particularly since DS was born. There are 2 good reasons for not driving: a) it's usually quicker to walk to where ever I am going, given the state of London traffic and b) London traffic scares the living daylights out of me.
But, this afternoon I realised that I was in need of a fair few groceries, more than I could easily carry. I normally have the majority of my groceries delivered, but that requires forward planning. So, as DS went for a nap, I said to DH, "I'm going to the supermarket. In. The. Car." I can't even remember the last time I drove the car in London, but off I tootled. And you know what? It wasn't that bad ... and I even enjoyed the food shopping part of the excursion!


Saturday, 28 August 2010


~ A day of learning ~
I spent today at the Society of Genealogists in Central London, attending a seminar called My Ancestor Was Irish. The 3 speakers were witty and informative, and I came away at 5pm knowing more than I had done at 10.30am. I do, however, need to revise my history of the Irish Potato Famine.
I also learnt today that the Circle Line on the London underground is no longer a circle and that if you travel on the Hammersmith & City line to Hammersmith, you actually come in to a secondary station, rather than the main hub.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


These poor guys from the Council spent today driving around our area and removing all the old street lamps, in the rain. I had to smile when one of them told me that they wouldn't be back to fill the hole in until next week!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

An Ode To Rain

So much rain, so much life like the swollen sky
of this black August. My sister, the sun,
broods in her yellow room and won't come out.

Everything goest to hell; the mountains fume
like a kettle, rivers overrun; still,
she will not rise and turn off the rain.

I saw both the lines of the poem and the stunning photo on my sister-in-law's blog this morning and thought I'd share them with you. The photo was taken by my talented brother, although my SIL is just as talented with a camera ... apparently she was in the bathroom when this photo opportunity showed itself.

(The poem is Dark August by Derek Walcott.)


~ British Summer ... ~
Hey, ho. Four months to Christmas!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


~ Lunch ~
Cheddar cheese and Branston pickle on Warburton's Seeded Batch, followed by a Granny Smith's apple.
Anyone detect that I'm struggling with 365:2010 of late?

Sunday, 22 August 2010


~ Lunch on the move ~
Those marks on his face are the remains of strawberries and raspberries.

Friday, 20 August 2010


~ Upgrade ~
New street lamp on the left, old on the right. I was hoping for one like this ...
Every time I see this street lamp, I think of Mr. Tumnus in Narnia.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

2,749,358 Reasons

As soon as I saw the original LO in an old edition of the UK edition of Scrapbook Trends, I knew I would have to scrap lift it. The original is by Laura Vegas, and I've been pretty faithful to her design. The patterned paper is the Night Light range from October Afternoon and absolutely perfect for photos of little people. I'm sure that, in years to come, DS will look at this LO is his album, and roll his eyes. But, you know what, I don't care!
(It's also perfect for using up number stickers.)


~ A favourite past time: bus spotting ~
We had an appointment this morning and, in true Ruth style, we were early. DS didn't want to make use of the play area in the reception, he was more than happy just to watch the buses go past.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Big Idea Festival #2

I've been trying to keep up with what is happening at the Big Idea Festival over on BPS, but the dreaded lurgy has defeated me. Some days, I haven't even had the energy or inclination to open up the daily pdf. But, today, I've felt somewhat better, and so felt able to have a play this afternoon.
On day 2, Tracey Clark suggested making gift tags with photos and text ~ I adapted this idea to make a Christmas tag ... apologies for mentioning the 'C' word in August! Today's suggestion from Amy Sorenson was all about books, so using her booklet template I rustled up this mini book to record the details of my favourite books (future generations may just find it interesting ...); there's enough space for 16 books. I thought I'd make one for DS and one for DH, too.


~ Never still ~
You can see that DS is almost fully recovered from last week's lurgy; it's his parents who are exhausted still ...

Lemon Drizzle Loaf

This is really easy to do and tastes divine!

6oz Stork, plus extra for greasing (given that Stork is a brand, I suspect that any butter will do);
6oz self-raising flour;
1 tsp baking powder;
6oz caster sugar;
3 medium eggs;
2 tbsp milk;
Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons.

For the lemon syrup:
Juice of 2 lemons, strained;
4oz caster sugar.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease and base-line a 2lb loaf tin.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn out onto a wire rack.
For the lemon syrup, gently heat the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. While the cake is still warm, drizzle the syrup over. Slice and serve warm.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Shimelle's Online Crop ~ Three LOs

No scrapping today, obviously, but I have managed to complete another 3 of Shimelle's challenges from Friday evening and yesterday.
~ Scrap a black & white photo ~
A rare shot of my sister and nephew together, and I absolutely love it. I've always thought my nephew was more like his dad, but now I'm not so sure.
~ Scrap from the sketch ~
A LO about how much we as a family love to read. There isn't a room in our house that doesn't have books in it ... and that includes the bathroom and downstairs loo!
~ Scrap with squares ~
More of the gorgeous Scenic Route Laurel range of patterned papers. My nephew and my mum in July; he is so keen to be finally taller than Granny!

4th Annual Festival of Wings, Wheels, Speed & Steam

We've spent the day out at the West London Flying Club, which is actually about 25 miles from West London, but, handily, next door to my InLaws. DS had an absolute blast, he loved every second of it! My FIL loved the old classic cars, DH loved being with both his son and his dad and the pooch was just happy to be with all of us. Me, I was happy to see all my boys happy.

~ The Wings ~

~ The Wheels ~

~ The Speed ~
~ The Steam ~


~ A perfect moment ~
I would say that my FIL is in need of a haircut, wouldn't you?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Shimelle's 2nd Online Crop Weekend

Shimelle is hosting her 2nd online crop this weekend and she already has posted plenty of challenges to play along with. (You may recall that I won a prize during her 1st crop in April, with this LO here. Sadly the prize never materialised and I was too polite to tell her, being British and all ...)Moving on, this LO above is for her challenge to use circles on a LO. I think it qualifies! It's a partial scraplift from a LO called Peek-A-Boo by Lisa Truesdell, which I saw in an ages old copy of the UK edition of Scrapbook Trends. The papers are from Scenic Route's divine Laurel range.


~ When nothing else will do ~
I woke up this morning to discover that DS has given me his lurgy; I've had a sore throat and a splitting headache all day. The cure is a hot cuppa, two Nurofen and homemade Lemon Drizzle Cake (recipe to follow).

Me: The Abridged Version

There is a class starting mid September on BPS called Me: The Abridged Version. It's going to be an A~Z format and I suspect, and hope, that it will complement my work-in-progress Book of Me album. The class will be taught by Cathy Zielske and she's recorded a welcome message ... I originally thought that I would find it a little bit too American for my tastes (no offence meant to my American readers!), but she was warm, informative and funny. I really did feel as though she was talking directly to me. Wasn't she?She set some pre-class homework! Read "Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and make an A~Z tag book (template provided by Cathy) for jotting of notes and ideas prior to start of the class. Mine is, as of yet, still unwritten in.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Big Idea Festival: Day 1

Elizabeth Dillow started off the Big Idea Festival over on Big Picture Scrapbooking: she has a project to make, but, as an added extra, she also included a LO using bunting, a mosaic of photos and brown and orange. I really liked the over all effect, so I scraplifted it for a page in our 2010 album.My Washington photos will end up in an album of their own, but this year's album needs a page to record the fact that I went (even if DH and DS stayed at home!). I may use this idea again for our Scottish photos.
You should check out BPS, if you haven't done so already. You'll need to register, but the Big Idea Festival is free.


~ No privacy! ~
Normally, when I photograph DS, I go for the in-close type of shot. But that means I never stop to fully appreciate that he is, actually, still quite little!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


And It's Free ...

Have you signed up for the Big Picture Scrapbooking Big Idea Festival ? Its free, starts on Thursday this week, lasts for 13 days and has ideas from 13 different instructors, 39 project ideas, daily challenges, you get the idea ... and did I mention that its free?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Building A Library

Now, I know that DS is still a toddler and, therefore, his choice of 'reading' material is influenced heavily by the quality of the accompanying illustrations (The Gruffalo & Harry & The Bucketful Of Dinosaurs, anyone?), but I'm quietly building up a collection for him. Books that I loved as a child, along with some children's books I've discovered over the last few years. I'm trying hard not to be gender specific, but I'm not holding out much hope for Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers series! I gave my nephew the complete set (yep, all 21 of them!) of Enid Blyton's Famous Five a number of years ago; I wonder if he'd loan it back to his cousin at some point?
What would you add to this shelf?


~ A slow market ~
The headline on the front page of our newspaper today says that the housing market has fallen again, the first fall in a year. And, judging by what I see all around when I'm out and about, I'd have to agree that the market does appear to have stalled. It's probably just as well that DH isn't yet ready to make the permanent move to Scotland. (Me? I'd go tomorrow ...)

Monday, 9 August 2010


~ For the love of Thomas ~
DS is still not 100% ~ happy to potter and be quiet. He hasn't slept very well the last 2 nights, which means that DH and I are both exhausted. I'm pretty sure that the pooch is pleased he sleeps in the kitchen!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Roast Cherry Tomato & Pine Nut Tarts

1 x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed if frozen
2 tbsp red or green pesto
75g parmesan cheese, finely grated
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt & ground black pepper
Beaten egg or milk, to glaze
2 tbsp pine nuts
Shavings of parmesan to garnish

Preheat oven to 200C/400F,Gas Mark 6. Lightly grease a large baking tray.
Unroll the puff pastry sheets and cut into 6 equal rectangles. Using a sharp knife, score a border all way around each rectangle, about 2cm from the edge, being careful to avoid cutting right through the pastry. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
Spread the inner rectangle of each rectangle with a little pesto sauce, then sprinkle the cheese on top. Scatter the tomatoes between the tarts then season with salt and pepper.
Brush the pastry edges with a little egg or milk then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the tarts then return to the oven for a further 4-5 minutes, until the pastry is risen and crisp.
Cool for a few minutes then garnish with parmesan. Serve with green salad.


~ The new Post Office ~
When I popped in to pick up the newspaper this morning, I took the opportunity to check out the new site of our Post Office, which opened to the public this week. Now, it's all very smart and all, but there are only 5 counters, less than half of what we had in the old Post Office. That's not what I call progress; can you imagine what it will be like in the run up to Christmas?

Scrap Weekly 2010: Challenge 32

Over on the Scrap Weekly 2010 blog, it's my turn again to set the challenge. An easy challenge this week ~ use bunting on your LO. My example is one you may recognise from earlier this year.I have no idea why there hasn't been a challenge set these last 2 weeks and, to be honest with you, I'll be amazed if Scrap Weekly 2010 makes it to the end of year. The organiser has gone very quiet.

Saturday, 7 August 2010


~ Under the weather ~
I think DS is coming down with something, as he has been quite content to sit quietly next to DH for most of the afternoon. And that's not like him at all.

Friday, 6 August 2010


~ Mess ~
This week, my get-up-and-go appears to have got-up-and-gone! In this image, you can see the pile of stuff that has been dumped on the floor next to my scrapping desk. You may think that it doesn't look that bad, but for someone who verges on OCD tendencies, it's hideous. And yet I just don't seem to have the energy to sort it all out and find a home for. I think these last 2 weeks away from home have done me in!
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