Monday, April 27, 2015

To the sea...

...or to be more precise, to the beautiful Pembrokshire Coast National Park.

The three day drive from France was surprisingly uneventful - given that we had two kids and a dog in the car!  (Thank you Mark for the loan of the portable DVD player!).  Our first pit stop was a charming 'gypsy' caravan (Roulotte) in St Quentin, in the Picardie region.
 I must admit I'd never given the north of France a second though as a holiday destination but it is definitely a spot I'll like to return to in the future for a longer stay.  The region is steeped in history as it was the stage of many WW1 battles, and there are countless monuments and epitaph's attesting to the bravery of the soldiers, the resistance movement and the citizens who lived and died during this horrendous war.

The water in sunny west Wales was as cold as ever, but the boys still had a wee dip!  Even Ringo got his paws wet.

We enjoyed seven days of glorious sunshine barring the morning we decided to do a 'paying' activity, when it rained,...sods law, but the boys managed to get their fill of fun all the same.

Whilst Richard and Ringo took themselves on early morning coastal runs, the boys were treated to breakfast in front of the TV (watching cartoons in Welsh!!), with the rest of our days spend with my dad aka Papy Tatoo, walking on the beach, the coastal path and visiting places of historical local interest...

...St Byrnach's Church, or what remains of it, after the rest was washed into the sea in 1859 in a dreadful storm which was also responsible for the loss of 113 ships along the coast of Wales...

 ...and the UK's smallest city - St David's...

 St Davids city centre!
which owes its status as a city to the fact that it has a cathedral!

Papy Tatoo
We were lucky in more than one way with the good weather, it enabled us to eat out doors as dogs are not welcome in very many restaurants in the UK!

We've only been back a few days but I'm already looking forward to our next visit.  Richard is even talking about buying a holiday home over there (he must have more cash stashed under the mattress than I know about!!).

Some pictures of our last visit can be found here

Monday, February 16, 2015

Easy Like Sunday Morning

I'm never more convinced in there being a creator behind all this beauty than when I'm out in the nature.  That all this, and us, evolved from a speck of dust in a pool of tepid water seems, at times, highly unbelievable.
I guess it's for this reason I've never felt compelled to spend my sunday mornings in church.

"The wisdom's in the tree's not the glass windows" (Jack Johnson)

Sunday morning we set off to the Les Songenaz, the woods just behind our house.  It was a bit chilly at first as we don't get the sun until 11ish at the moment, but the kids and Ringo have that internal heating system called manic energy and well, I was wrapped up nice and warm and wearing my new boots that I picked up for a snip at a sale!


not sure the tree enjoyed this as much as the kids did!
This rock is part of a bouldering site that Richard helped grade and open many moons ago during his one year compulsory military service (he was with the mountain police and basically spend the year trail running and climbing!)

Then homeward bound via a path less travelled....

The mountain behind the boys is La Prarion, it's a great snowshoeing itinerary, but as it finishes on a fairly exposed ridge I've no plans to take the kids there just yet!

 Just in time for lunch!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yarn Along - small people for small people

Just loving how these little Gnomes knit up so easily from the smallest amounts of stash.

I'm planning on making a set for a little boy who is soon to become a big brother.

And for the baby, a Knubbelchen from left over sock yarn.
I like that these have no facial expression.  I always find that it's the hardest part of making a toy.

I was very excited to receive my copy of Deliciously Ella in the mail yesterday and got straight into making her chocolate spread - hazelnuts, maple syrup, cacao and water!
I've also tried Ella's Sweet Potato Brownies, and despite my dates being, well a little out of date and dry, and my mixer not being a powerful as it once was, they turned out beautifully!

Delicious even with the un-blended bits of dates

School hols here, the weather is great and Rich has some time off for cross-country skiing with us for a change!

Linking up with Ginny

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Appearances can be deceptive

Isn't it funny, girls put on make-up to look older or prettier but boys, well they put on make up to scare people and you wouldn't believe how just how many people Rémi scared yesterday...

Wednesday morning at school the kids had their annual carnival and as one of the teachers aide's is a make-up artist she volunteered to help the kids get into their costumes.  Rémi went dressed as a boxer and came home looking like one that had lost every round!!!  Naturally he had to play a joke on his grandparents who fell for it hook line and sinker as did his aunty and cousin.   He only had time to wolf down a bit of lunch before getting ready for his afternoon snowboarding lesson, so he pulled the off 'scab' bit but left the blood and bruise.
Now to the nasty bit of the story which I wouldn't be telling if it hadn't ended so well.  
At 15h we got a call from his coach to tell us Rémi had had a nasty fall and that we were to meet him at the ski run so one of us could go in the ambulance with him to ER.  The rescue guys had brought him down the mountain in a full body and neck brace as he had fallen heavily on his back.  He actually looked quite perky, Richard and I where white as ghosts!
In the ambulance they carefully removed his helmet, and guess what they saw?
Jenny, the lovely ambulance lady immediately stared examining him for a face injury as did the hospital nurse a few minutes later!
All's well that ends well - It was 19h30 before we finally got to see a doctor who after taking detailed x-rays reassured us that nothing was broken or damaged - (Rémi all this time was still all strapped up but asking for pizza and a pee!).   He's now black and blue all over - but for real this time!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Farmers Market Hat

I'm so happy with these hats.  The pattern is free over on Elizabeth's lovely blog The Sitting Tree.

They knit up so quickly and enabled me to practice my continental knit stitch (can't quite master purl this way)

The boys cant stop wearing them

Rémi would probably sleep in his if I'd let him!

I had to make mine slightly smaller than the pattern by only casting on 86 stitches and adjusting the length according to each child's head.  For anyone that is new to knitting hat's in the round this pattern is a great place to start.  Thinking of giving the Birch Bark Longies a whirl next.

I'm currently reading Peace Pilgrim - Her Life and Work in Her Own Words the incredible story of a lady, who wanting only to be known as Peace, walked from 1953 to 1981 (the year of her death) the length and breadth of North America, with a message to all, that she would walk until "mankind has learned the way of peace".  That's quite an objective to set oneself, don't you think.  She carried with her only a comb, toothbrush, pen, copies of her message and her current correspondence, eating when she was offered food and resting when she was offered a bed.

Tino looking a bit green around the gills in these pictures as he's just gotten over a horrible bout of flu which had him sleeping day and night for over a week!!!
Linking up with Ginny for this weeks Yarn Along,  what's on your needles and bedside table today?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Yarn Along - Better Late Than Never!

Sometime back in November, a friend of mine asked me to make her son a Viking Hat for christmas.  As I'd already made three of them before without any mishaps, I figured I needed only a few days to make it. So left it until last minute!!   Not sure where I went wrong - four times - but I just couldn't get this to work.  When it did resemble a hat it was big enough for her tall strapping Danish husband but her wee three year old son could have used it as a boat!  Then to add insult to injury the horns came out different sizes!  Guess I just got a bit complacent.

Needless to say it didn't get finished until last weekend.
Winter here has been very mild and we have had only two very insignificant snow falls since December, so he didn't really need it until now, says she, trying to ease her guilty conscience.

 'Traineau a Chien'  in saturdays 'big' snow fall
Whilst deciding on my next project I cast on a headband for myself from Knitting 24/7 with some stash. This is the second project I've tried from this book having abandoned the first.   I don't want to criticize something that myself am incapable to doing, ie writing a knitting pattern, but I don't find the instructions in this book very clearly written.   I don't think I'll attempt anything else from it.  Shame really as it contains some beautiful projects.

Started reading Lord of The Rings but then a friend mentioned that I should have read The Hobbit first.  Another friend, writer and english teacher, said not I'm having a pause to think about it.  Any advice?    In the mean while I'm re-reading The Shipping News.

Counting my blessings this afternoon - a hour ago a guy drove his 4 x 4 with big metal hitch thing, into my car.  Made rather a mess of the front, but thankfully I was stationary, he was going slowly and both Rémi and I had seat belts on!!  Said he didn't see us!  I've got a fairly big, well high, 4 x 4 myself, just glad that it was my car he 'didn't see' and not some small child!!

Looking forward to reading some Yarn Along posts and unwinding a little this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

La Galette des Rois

"J'aime La Galette,
Savez-vous comment?
Quand elle est bien faite,
Avec du beurre dedans"

Every year, the boys wait with anticipation, for La Galette des Rois.  They attach as much importance to it as I do to mince pie's at christmas.  But, Epiphany, like Noël, comes but once a year - so only once a year do I make 'La Galette'.

In french, the three wise men or three kings, are known as Les Rois Mages, hence the name Galette des Rois.  Tradition has it that the youngest member of the family hides under the table and designates the person who will receive the first slice of galette.  The rest is then shared out in the same way, with each person carefully nibbling their piece so as not to swallow 'La Fève' hidden inside.  The person who finds it is Le Roi.  I put three in for good measure (they're quite small and easily swallowed!)

This is the only time of year that I buy pastry.  Try as I might I just can't master the flaky dough that this recipe requires.  In this one we put in some frangipane, sliced pear and slivered almonds.  Without the frangipane I think it tastes like it's 'missing' something but the kids like it just as much when filled with plain 'ol apple sauce.

How do you like your Galette?