Saturday 26 October 2019

Little things making me happy...

With all the horrible things going on in the world, it is even more important to enjoy the little things. Things like the beautiful autumn colours of the leaves... a hydrangea...
...and a blueberry.
Magnolia Susan against blue sky (when there has been some)...
these leaves are now on the ground.
Hydrangea flowers still with colour...
Rose William Shakespeare 2000 flowering...
...and a splash of fuchsia pink from the asters.
They look much more bedraggled now.
Lovely delicate pink skies...
 ...echoing the New Dawn roses.
 Buttery yellow Ginkgo leaves.
 Inside the house, we have new tiles for the splashback behind the sink.  It's still a work in progress, but it is progressing.  I love the colours of these tiles...
...and the iridescence.  They make me smile every time I see them.
Finally, today's lunch - it is raining yet again, so what better to cheer up the day than a plate of beans on toast?  (These are Heinz, no added sugar ones as I find the original Heinz beans too sweet now.)  Little things that are making me happy - and don't we all need them?

Thursday 17 October 2019


a page from my first art journal
(This post comes with a warning - I am going to get on my soapbox...)
As I have got older, I have realised the vital importance of creativity in my own life.  However, the word 'creativity' has a difficulty in itself.  Say it to people and they think of art, music or drama - the 'creative' subjects.  A new report has just been published about creativity in education in the UK, called The Durham Report.  For quite a few years, creativity in education has not been given the time and recognition it deserves.  In the report (which I admit, I haven't read all of yet) there is a definition of creativity:
"Creativity: The capacity to imagine, conceive, express, or make something that was not there before."

Other definitions in the report are:

"Creative thinking: A process through which knowledge, intuition and skills are applied to imagine, express or make something novel or individual in its contexts. Creative thinking is present in all areas of life. It may appear spontaneous, but it can be underpinned by perseverance, experimentation, critical thinking and collaboration." 

"Teaching for creativity: Explicitly using pedagogies and practices that cultivate creativity in young people. "

The gradual removal of creativity from the curriculum over the last ten years or so (since I was working with four and five year olds) has upset and bothered me enormously.  I do feel that this has been a contributing factor to the huge increase in mental health issues affecting young people.  (I do realise that there are many other contributing factors and that each person will have experienced many different causes). 
I remember going to a school to help my husband with a puppet making day a few years ago and was told that we were part of a creativity week which happened every two that point, I despaired for the children.

So, the point of this post?  Well, with the publishing of this report, perhaps the curriculum makers will have the dawning realisation that we are all creative beings and we need to express this.  Perhaps children will be encouraged to explore their creative ideas, which will be valuable and valued and perhaps this will benefit future generations too.  I am feeling just that little bit more hopeful.  We shall see. 

Sunday 13 October 2019

Autumn soup recipe - sort of...

I have been asked for the roasted squash, pepper and sweet potato soup recipe.  Chris didn't use a recipe (unlike me who always has to follow a recipe), but here is a sort of recipe.
He roasted a squash, onion, peppers, tomatoes and garlic in the oven, until they were softened, having drizzled them with a little oil (or Frylight).  He then chopped up sweet potato and ordinary potato and added the roasted veg into a pressure cooker and added vegetable stock.  He let it cook for 5 minutes (this could all be boiled in a large pan for about 20 mins (that's the way I would have to do it, because pressure cookers scare me!).   As I am fussy (!) he then blitzed the soup down until smooth, although if you like chunky soup, you can leave the chunks in.  He probably added a little butter, some salt and pepper and some wine too.
It does taste lovely!  

Sunday 6 October 2019

Autumn food and gardening

There is a definite feel of autumn now.  Subtle changes such as darker mornings, cooler evenings and foliage starting to fall or change colour.  I have been enjoying comfort food this week and soups and rice pudding have featured.
Above is a delicious soup Chris made - roast squash, peppers and garlic, sweet potato and potato.  Really warming and gorgeous.  We have also had leek and potato soup which was also delicious.  Leek risotto has featured as has Yorkshire Sponge Parkin cake with the ginger and spice flavours.  I made my first rice pudding yesterday which tasted really good, but I need to work out how to get the rice and milk mixture incorporated better.
My autumn gardening has included planting my allium Globemaster bulbs which I bought from RHS Chatsworth and finally getting round to planting a replacement Winter Flowering Jasmine which has been in a pot for a year or so and which I hope will grow well now it has been released into the garden. I have also planted some foxgloves 'Foxy Hybrids' and 'Apricot' which I grew from seed so I am looking forward to seeing them grow too.