family

Birds, Hedgehogs and Fat Little Mice

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"We are both like Snow White, but in different ways." pondered my niece, Izzie, last week when she came to stay.  With her glossy dark hair, fair skin and rosy red lips I could guess at her own resemblance but me?  "Well, I look like Snow White and you act like her"  she offered.  Cute.  That girl knows how to charm me.  Snow White is my favourite of the Disney princesses and although I'm not keen on the idea of cleaning and cooking for a small army of dwarves, I love how she keeps that cosy cottage so pretty and cosy, with the help of bluebirds of course! 

We were re-filling my bird feeders at the time.  I am a nature nut and although we have a small garden, living in quite a rural area means that I can entice various species if I get the right food.  Unfortunately, birds do not have the best table manners (finches are the worst!) and the seeds they drop seem to be providing a continual feast for a fat little field mouse.  (I like to think there is only one; the same missy every day.  I realise the reality is not so cute...).  I need to get out there more often with my dustpan and brush.  Said fat little field mouse was in the garden yesterday afternoon.  She was driving Lizzie crazy. as she nipped between bushes, the shed and the log store.  I am torn between letting her nest in the garden and encouraging Lizzie to catch her (yep, not so Disney).  She is very fat and I absolutely do not relish the idea of a gazillion small rodents in my living quarters.  I am going to send Andrew out for a humane trap this evening.  

We've had hedgehogs every night, too.  They also drive my dog insane but hedgehogs are my favourite wild animal.  But then, as I type that, I remember bats and badgers which I also love.  Ahhhh summer.  I love it.

I have been crazy busy finishing up orders from the Summer Brocante at the end of June and the very last Cabbages & Roses overdresses will be sent out this week.  I also took a few orders for bespoke embroideries at the brocante, which I finished last week.  I will be attending the Cotswolds brocante at the end of September and the Winter brocante in Sussex at the end of November.  I'll put details on here in the events section when I get a minute but I'd love to see you there. 

I am off bird-watching with my dad this evening and really looking forward to it.  He retired earlier in the year and I've been wanting him to come with me for ages; it was him after all who I take after with my love of nature.  I have packed a pair of binoculars, a field guide and a notebook and made a quiche for us to eat when we get back.  What a lovely way to spend a summer evening, hey?

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and that your weather is appropriately seasonal.  It is hot hot hot here and I love it.  A proper summer.

Love

Nicki 

x

PS The kitchen and dining summer sale is still going strong over in our little shop.  It will continue until the end of August so snap up a bargain quick! 

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Christmas Catch-up

Well, I was rubbish this Christmas.  

We hosted Christmas for our family for the third year running.  Usually (if I may say) we have our lunch prep nailed.  By the time our family starts to arrive, the kitchen is [reasonably] tidy, the smell of roast potatoes and turkey wafts enticingly and I have a glass of ice cold bubbly awaiting everyone.  

This year, I don't know what happened, but I was so disorganised.  Maybe I got complacent.  I dunno.  Here's my sorry tale:

  • Roasted a gammon joint on Christmas Eve thinking my dad (who doesn't eat turkey) could have it for lunch.  Forgot about it, left it in the fridge, threw it away untouched yesterday.  Sigh.
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  • Made mashed potato after a special request from stepson. Forgot to give him some.
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  • Fell out with my sous chef [Andrew] over the brussels (cooked for too long) and the apples (not chopped finely enough for the red cabbage dish).*
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  • Took more than 90 minutes to roast the potatoes (put them on the wrong shelf of the roasting oven).  Guests arrived starving.  Lunch an hour late.  Guests *forced* to eat sausage rolls and Quality Street as amuse-bouches
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  • Burned a pan of maple roasted parsnips.  To be fair, I do this every year.  I always roast two panfuls: one roasts to perfection, the other burns to a blackened crisp.  Kind of an accidental tradition now I think.

You know what though, it was the loveliest day.  The table looked pretty, my nieces turned up in crazy cute party dresses and the food (again, if I may say) was plentiful and delicious, if a little late.  We began our celebrations with white peach bellinis and finished off the day with a few competitive rounds of Giggle Wiggle

Boxing Day was spent, just Andrew and I, at home.  We lit a fire, caught up on Christmas TV (Downton Abbey!  *happy tears*)  and gorged on leftover turkey, cheese, chocolate torte and banoffee pie.  

Come Sunday we were ready for round two:  mum and dad had a little gathering for my extended family.  It was cray cray, involving nine children, two of whom were riding around the ground floor on a mechanical mouse.  Two others were playing football (soft ball) in the hall.  Two more (and a couple of dads) watched Escape to Victory in the living room.  My thespian cousin (13) bravely performed songs (beautifully, tear-jerkingly) from Les Mis in the conservatory.  The biggest, Tom, spent the day dolling out huge hugs and the littlest, Ellie, simply ran everywhere observing all of the above, admirably avoiding the two on the mechanical mouse who could not stop grabbing her to pat her tiny ponytail.

Of course, we still have a few remaining days of Christmas to celebrate.  These lovely long lazy days as we prepare for a new year.  Reading, knitting, pottering and not doing very much at all.  Perfect.

How was yours?  

Nicki

oXo

*If my MIL is reading this, I'd like to point out that it was a mini squabble and we laughed about it ten minutes later.  We are not about to get divorced or anything.  

Flat Tyres and Toddlers

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It takes a lot of energy to bark when you're little.

It takes a lot of energy to bark when you're little.

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It is no longer a drag to get me out of bed in the mornings.  I practically bounce right out and into the shower.  This is a big thing for me - I have never been an early riser.  Husband and dog are both in a state of shock. I tell Andrew that it is my inner Maggie Thatcher rearing its ugly head now that I am A Business Owner (didn't she only need 5hrs sleep a night?) but, really, it's just because I'm happy.

I have been so busy and it is nice to work to my own agenda.  I have made time to see friends and family, but I've also got lots of things done to progress with The Little Green Door.

My sister got a flat tyre on Tuesday afternoon so I agreed to collect her from work and take her home.  Between her phoning at 10am and me fetching her at 3pm, I then found myself taking on the rather frantic mission of locating a pair of toddler toys and reserving them at a store for collection.  And so an impromptu road trip was declared.  With the girls being looked after elsewhere, it was nice to have a rare couple of hours alone with my sis to properly chat.  I cooed over the clothing section whilst we were there and stocked up on Christmas clothes for my lovely nieces, all of which went down very well (particularly with the 6-year-old) when we got home.  (The 16-month-old just looked unimpressed and toddled off clutching the sparkly tights.)

Said toddler came over to play yesterday with my mum and it took me most of the evening to recover.  I feel as though I spent the entire day following Ellie around in that slightly hunched position with my arms outstretched in case she stumbled.  And that girl can move at a fair lick, let me tell you.  It doesn't help that she has discovered stairs and our house has five small flights.  I think I must have scaled them ten times in total, at least, purely so that she could rummage through my cotton spools on the top floor and throw them across them room.  The living room is still a bit of a tip and I've been squinting with back ache all day, but it was lovely to see her.

Today, I've had a quiet day at home with the dog.  I faffed with candles and foliage, made uh-mazing pecan squares, stitched several gingerbread men (for sale at the Christmas fair next week), ordered curtains for the landing (finally - red gingham) and organised delivery of my first stock order.  I've only bought a few things to start off and basically bought only the things that I like, kind of on a 'one-for-me-and-one-for-you' basis.  I've got some gorgeous little lanterns coming, together with a few zinc pieces and some lovely rustic copper Christmas baubles.  They'll be in the shop early next week, with a fair wind.  

oXo