A weekly round up

Goodness me, this week has flown by! I had a big work event which took up most of Tuesday and all of Wednesday so, again, I had no time for blogging. Be reassured though, my little forum here is never far from the forefront of my mind, so I try to document events big and small ready for when I have a few moments to write.

I am really going to try to keep it to a few moments tonight because I’m desperately trying to finish a crochet project that needs to be gifted on Tuesday at another work event, happily a more relaxed affair this time. I’m sure I’ll have lots to report on next time about that. Needless to say, I’m not going to show you what I’m working on in case the recipient should read this in advance!

The week started with a very special delivery.

 

Yep, it’s another Eeyore! This isn’t just any old Eeyore though. He’s a limited edition Steiff Eeyore. He’s number four hundred and thirty six of only two thousand made. He’s sitting on our bed at the moment, but he’s mainly going to live in his box to avoid damaging him.

So, on to Tuesday and my work event. We had an evening event and meal with an overnight stay before our conference the next day. As well as being an Account Manager, I’m also responsible for Communications which means that I organise our events. This event needed less organisation than some but I had recommended and booked the hotel we used and had booked our evening event so I was keen for it to be a success.

The hotel was the Macdonald Burlington in the centre of Birmingham and I would definitely recommend it.

I opened the door to my room and actually stopped dead in the doorway. The room was huge! Really huge! Almost intimidatingly so.

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See that coffee table at the foot of the bed? Hmmm …. I didn’t when I got up to go to the loo at 4am! Ouch!

It was a little distance to our evening event and there was some debate over whether we would walk or grab a cab, but I’m so glad we walked because I’d forgotten some of the hidden charms of Brum.

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Our event was crazy golf with a difference. It’s called Ghetto Golf and as well as the Birmingham course, there’s one in Liverpool. It’s indoor, eighteen holes with various themes such as a bus, a Blockbusters video store and a skittle alley. The tunes are playing loud and it’s a licensed premises.

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We ate at a restaurant called Buffalo and Rye, which was in keeping with the tone of Ghetto Golf. I had Buttermilk Chicken Tacos with Asian Street Fries and it was amazing! We didn’t sit down to eat until nine o’clock and I was so hungry by then I completely forgot to take a photo!

The main event on Wednesday was somewhat exhausting, but it was a success all round. I had to talk about my product and I was keen to make the best impression that I could, which I think I managed reasonably well. Lots of people, I know, find speaking in front of a group difficult, and you would think that I would be one of those people, being an introvert and not the best at self promotion, but I’m actually pretty comfortable with it. Admittedly I spend a long time making sure I’m well prepared, but as someone who is naturally quiet, and who finds it difficult to push herself to the forefront, I enjoy being in a position where people have to listen to what I’ve got to say without me having to assert myself to get to that position.

Thursday passed by in a pretty exhausted, uneventful blur until I was about to collapse into bed when an unfortunate accident resulted in this.

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Good job I instinctively closed my eye, isn’t it? It was a feline related accident involving Tinkerbell jumping off the wardrobe aiming for my shoulder as usual, but me not realising she was jumping and turning to walk away resulting in a crash! I’m not sure which part of her hit me, but it felt like I’d been punched in the face. That cut isn’t the result of a claw, my skin split with the impact! It’s on the mend though, it looks a lot better today, and it doesn’t hurt anymore.

In garden news, my Sunflower seedlings have now got big enough that I can see them from our back bedroom.

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Can you see them? In the green pots just to the left of the ladybird. The seedlings are all coming along well.

 

I need to read up on what to do next! This is the first time I’ve grown anything from seed so I need to find out when I need to pot them on, and how to go about hardening them off before they go outside and how big they need to be before I can plant them out. I wonder if we’ve had the last frost yet?

My Eupatorium shoots are starting to look decidedly leaf-like.

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I’m still nervous about something trampling them so I’m leaving the dead wood there until the new shoots are big enough to look after themselves.

My Geum has quite a few new leaves and a couple of buds which look like they’re not far off starting to bloom.

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Bizarrely, it looks like the flower is going to be yellow. Bizarre only because last year I’m sure the flowers were bright orange! Maybe I’m mistaken, or maybe the colour will change.

There’s lots of colour appearing. I’ll share more once we’re further into the season, but here are a couple of spoilers!

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The top picture is our Pieris which we inherited with the house. It’s pretty spectacular now, but give it a fortnight or so and it’ll take your breath away.

The second pic is my wild flower. I still don’t know what it is, but I’m very intrigued now it’s got two different colour flowers! I can’t wait till all those little buds have opened.

Right, must get back to crocheting, so all that is left for me to do is to wish my husband a very happy birthday …..

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….. and apologise for the Peppa Pig wrapping paper!

A splendid Saturday

I have to say, I had low expectations for today weather-wise, but although it was raining early doors and it was chillier than I would like, it actually turned out quite nice. Of course, when the content of your day is good, the weather is largely irrelevant, and today I had a good day.

We started with a joint effort in the kitchen as we cooked a (healthy, lower fat) full English breakfast to set us up for the day. I stocked up on the ingredients missing from our kitchen yesterday when I popped to M&S to get my lunch.

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Skinny bacon medallions, Branston beans (soooo much tastier than Heinz), sausages (veggie ones for me) and check out the eggs.

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Free roaming hens. Good! The yolks were much more orange than eggs from non free roaming hens and they tasted sooooo good. Plus they were reduced!

I always heat baked beans in the microwave, can’t be doing with having to wash a saucepan.

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The look on Pooh’s face is exactly what my face does when the beans won’t get out of the can into the mug!

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My best friend, Kate, arrived early afternoon to pick me up for an afternoon out to catch up after my birthday. We’ve known each other considerably longer than we haven’t known each other. We met at school as a couple of twelve year olds about a hundred years ago and we’ve been friends ever since. We both have busy lives so we don’t get to meet up as often as we’d like, but how ever long it’s been, we just slip into the old routine straight away. She’s more than a friend, she’s family.

She took me here ….

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I didn’t even know this place existed, which is a travesty and a tragedy, because it couldn’t have been more up my alley. There’s a yarn shop called the Knittting Corner where I bought this yarn which is to make a little something for my soon to be born second niece.

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As well as a delicious shop called the Cheese, Gin and Ale Barn where I bought these Alice in Wonderland style flavoured gin baubles.

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The red one is Sibling Cranberry and Clementine and the clear one’s Aber Falls Orange and Marmalade. Double yum!

And, joy of joys, there’s a garden centre!

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And even better, it had a sale table, very aptly called Casualty Bay.

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Obviously I couldn’t resist!

On the left is Erica Cindy and on the right is a Scarlet Patio rose. The Erica Cindy was 50p! Let’s hope I can nurse them both back to full health.

I really need to think about what I’m going to do with the rest of our garden! There’s plenty of room for all the plants I have in the waiting bay (and then some) but it needs some major organisation! Must get on it!

Oh yes, probably shouldn’t admit to this given my last post, but there’s a cafe! Mabel’s Tearoom! It’s such a welcoming cafe.

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Kate treated me for my birthday.

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Whoops (but yum). Healthy eating starts again tomorrow then!

What a lovely lovely day, and there’s still a bit of it left so I’m going to leave you to enjoy your evening.

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Cheers!

The planter is planted!

I feel like I have to take advantage of every second I can to get out in the garden at the moment before it gets so cold that I can’t bear to step away from the warmth of the house. I hate being cold, but I also know that I need to keep on top of the garden through the winter as well as the warmer months so I’m going to have to take a deep breath and get on with it. I may have to summon my inner snowman.

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Yet again I forgot to do my online shopping yesterday so I had to pop up to Tesco first thing today (bought crisps, cheese and other delectables and not one piece of fruit or veg! This is why I normally do it online, so we don’t get scurvy – that and I can’t deal with the general public when they’re in charge of a trolley) but I whizzed round so I could get back to my beloved garden.

I’m so in love with my new planter that my Dad made and I really wanted to keep my gardening momentum going so I roped in hubby to assist and we headed out to the planter. First I wanted to turn the planter around so we could see all the tiers from our kitchen and back bedroom windows. It’s surprisingly heavy but we managed between us.

Our garden unfortunately slopes upwards pretty much all the way from the end of the patio to the back fence, so we decided to dig down slightly so that the planter sits flat. This had the added advantage of giving us some soil to fill the planter with. Our soil is pretty good, so I like to use it when I can.

Whilst hubby was doing the digging, I set to making holes in the rubber which lines the planter to make sure it has adequate drainage.

So here’s the empty planter, levelled and with drainage holes installed.

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We then added some polystyrene to the deeper sections of the planter. This allows for more drainage, but also helps to fill up some space so we needed less soil to fill it.

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We then started to fill the planter with the displaced soil from underneath. There was actually a fair bit because there really is quite a slope, but it wasn’t enough to fill it so we headed up to Homebase (which, incidentally is opposite Tesco – I do sometimes spend my day going in circles!)

My new birthday wheelbarrow came in handy when we got home with three 100 litre bags of all-purpose compost (and a bath plug because ours has gone missing. I know! No idea!)

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We judged it perfectly, 300 litres was exactly what was needed.

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Time for the fun stuff to start! What’s going in it? said hubby. I gestured towards the front of the garden where all my new birthday grasses were swaying in the breeze next to the plant hospital where all my sale table plants spend some recuperation time before going to their forever homes. How to decide! The only one I knew was definitely going in there was my Cordyline. After a bit of trial and error, I decided on these.

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There’s a mixture of sale table and birthday plants in there. The Cordyline is back left and moving clockwise we have Pink Damask, Carex Testacea, Ivy, Juncus Spiralis, Helleborus Christmas Carol, Carex Milk Chocolate, two Cyclamen and Calluna Vulgaris. Calluna Vulgaris always seems to me to be an awful name for such a pretty pretty plant, but despite the horrible nomenclature, it translates literally as common heather.

Here is the completed article (for now, I may always decide that it needs to be fuller!) Drumroll …….

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The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that the soil in front of the planter looks like it has been tilled, and you would be right. In that soil are approximately seventy bulbs. Immediately next to the front of the planter is a row of daffodils interspaced with alliums and in front of that are five clusters of crocuses. The daffodils and crocuses were a birthday present, and the alliums were free with any purchase at Notcutts. I had a few left over so I put them behind the ivy in the planter. Keep your fingers crossed that none of our resident squirrels decide they’d make a good supper!

I need to find some patience now because the shrubs planted around the planter all have a long way to go until they reach their full size. There’s a Hydrangea, an Acer, a Leptospurmum, a Coprosma and of course, my beautiful Eupatorium. I think the area will look slightly unfinished until they all grow somewhat more. It’s a work in progress, but for now I’m very happy with it.

One final note on my Eupatorium which you can see in the background. Any excuse to show photos of this plant because I really love it and it’s growing so well. It was probably about a foot and a half tall when I brought it home, and only a few inches wide, but now it’s really big and willowy, and today I noticed that it’s growing some flowers. This makes me happy happy happy.

Hope everyone’s had a lovely weekend. Feel free to comment and let me know what you’ve been up to – I’d love to know.

Until next time.