Monthly Archives: May 2014

Dog on the blog

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The dog joined me on an adventure recently.  However, when I say adventure I don’t mean Treasure Island nor do I mean a Famous Five adventure so don’t go thinking we returned home with hidden treasure and lashings of ginger beer.  No, none of that but we did return home with a box of Honey’s Real Dog Food and on second thoughts maybe the bones will be buried and then retrieved like hidden treasure!

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I was introduced to Honey’s by Melanie Cable-Alexander who has a gorgeous business Lapaloosa and a very talented son Jasper who created a gift for Mook’s football coach’s birthday.  In one of our chats Melanie suggested I contact Vicky the MD of Honey’s and I duly did.  After a few emails Vicky and I decided on a date to meet and she would tell me all about Honey’s and how it could suit Arthur.

Honey’s is on Salisbury Road Business Park which I have driven past many times on journeys to and from my mother so I knew where I was going, the only decision I had to make was J14 (dull motorway) and OKA or J13 and cut through Kintbury and a walk on Hungerford Common, in the end it was dull M4 as I had to nip to the garage as another one of those warning lights had flashed on my car.  The M4 was as ever, I spend a lot of time driving up and down it as well as other motorways so I just find some good music and have a sing song, only on this journey I was accompanied by Loops who is on study leave and we listened to Radio 4 because Dr Jacqui Turner was on Woman’s Hour talking about Nancy Astor.

Anyway I digress!  We didn’t get to Oka, we didn’t get to Kintbury or Hungerford Common but we did get to Honey’s on time.  Arthur was unsure where he was and seemed perplexed to have his lead on in an area that wasn’t home and didn’t look like anywhere he drives to (well not him obviously).  Up the stairs we went to be met by friendly dogs and Honey’s staff, Arthur was treated like the new boy in the playground, I imagined there was lots of “here smell me”, “look at my ears”, “cor nice smell”, “oh you’re done”, “look at me”, “mind if I play leapfrog?” kind of dog talk but don’t tell anyone I have these imaginary Animal Magic chats in my head!

The Raw Meat Diet was explained to me in detail.  I obviously asked about the downsides and to be honest it all made sense that dogs should eat raw meat and that the only disadvantage to me was that freezer space would be reduced – but hey for the price of white poo I wasn’t going to complain!

So, I’d done my research and I liked what I read on the website “Honey’s is a small, ethical, family-run working dog food company. We believe that working dogs should eat the same sort of diet that they would enjoy if they lived in the wild“, now it was time for Arthur to see what he thought!

Well being a Labrador he’s always hungry, always skulking and always trying to find food, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard him clearing a plate if it’s left unattended, so for this lifestyle change to work properly for him would take a lot more than just defrosting the food!  He’s been on the diet for 10 days now and I can safely say it is easy and he is looking great, he’s not smelling quite so “doggish” and his breath doesn’t stink like it used to!  I think he’s got a lot more energy than he used to have and his coat is certainly looking more glossy, his bowel movements have changed and yes his poo is white!

Needless to say I will be putting in a phone call to the office to set up my account and will wait patiently for it to be delivered!

 

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Afternoon in Brecon

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I’m off to Hay Festival tomorrow with Laree so we headed to Brecon en route to the in laws and went to see Becca in her gorgeous toy and shoe shop Cariad which has recently moved down the road and is now next door up Ty Cariad.

The shop is gorgeously decorated, I love the bright orange lampshades

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and the cosy little table and chairs under the stairs

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As ever it was lovely to see Becca, but she was working and we needed a cup of tea before heading over to the Valleys. Becca suggested we went to the new cafe in her old shoe shop so we wandered down the hill and found ourselves in Bijou Cafe Deli, which has only been open a week, before we knew it there was a cream tea on our table!

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The scone was massive!

Having been in the building when it was a shoe shop it was great to see it occupied and the decorative changes they had made were simple and stylish.

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As well as being a cafe and deli, there’s homewares from Susie Watson and Sophie Allport.

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Laree gave her cake and my scone a big thumbs up and said it was a brilliant cafe, which is a big thing for a critical 9 year!

We’ll certainly go back when we’re in Brecon and will enjoy seeing their news Facebook and their Twitter feed.

Happiness

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Sometimes I look around me and I just feel happy inside.

Recently I was sitting in the kitchen with Big Welsh and Foe a schoolfriend who was over from Canada, we were drinking wine, chatting and laughing. Today I did the obligatory barking at the children, sat and had a cup of tea outside, watched the dog roll on his toys on the lawn, put washing on the line, mopped the sitting room and plumped the cushions. Little things but they’ve made me happy, spending time with family and friends or looking at a room when the chores are done there’s no price to happiness.

Little things make people happy and happiness is a little thing that puts a smile on people’s faces, happiness is infectious and spreads far and wide.

Reading

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On Thursday I went to vote, there was a sombre air in the room and the folk perked up when I walked in, turnout was less than 40% so they probably hadn’t had many people through the door and I was something different to look at. I looked at the long list of MEP hopefuls and the one party that jumped out at me was something like “I’m English, not British”. That irritated me as I’m married to a Welshman and our children are half Welsh/half English (unless it’s England v Wales and then they’re Welsh).

Today I read a news article on netball. I didn’t really like netball as I didn’t like the netball teacher. I loved lacrosse and my first lax teacher was an inspiration, firm but fair. A good teacher encourages you to like, appreciate and explore what is being taught.

Then I read the news to see that a number of books have been dropped from the English Lit GCSE syllabus. Why? Oh I cried. Why? I remember reading To Kill A Mockingbird and loving it, neither caring that the author wasn’t English nor being bothered that the story wasn’t set in the leafy green Home Counties village where I lived. There was a whole world happening beyond the Ha-Ha and the hedge and books encouraged me to explore.

A good teacher encourages you to use your imagination. If that imagination is confined then I despair. I spent my youth with a nose in a book, I idled away prep sessions with a book hidden in a text book, I commuted to London with a new book on a weekly basis, I spend hours reading.

Reading is in Berkshire but the appeal of reading is worldwide.

Kitchen garden

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Opening my back door I look at my kitchen garden, it’s new and full of plants from the Common Farm Flowers Plant Sale and my ancient mint bath from Hungerford Arcade that cost me £5 ages and ages ago.

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This morning I was preparing a stew to slowly cook in my Netherton Foundry Slow Cooker and needed fresh herbs. I have a pair of herb scissors but I much prefer the way I was taught by an old girl who lived in the village.

Take one mug or cup and a pair of scissors

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Cut the required herbs and put them in the cup or mug

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Chop chop chop, snip snip snip

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Herbs ready for the slow cooker.

There’s exciting news about a Netherton Foundry and Peacocks & Pom Poms collaboration coming soon. I can’t wait.

Cooking with Netherton Foundry

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For as long as I can remember I’ve loved cooking.  My grannies were great cooks who effortlessly created feast upon feast for hungry family and friends, my mother catered for hundreds with every party she threw, going to stay with friends and spending time in their kitchens was always great fun and at school my friends and I tried to work out quite what it was that happened to be on our plate!  I did cookery but didn’t pass the ‘O’ Level, let’s gloss over that, but undeterred I knew I could cook and apart from my very disastrous spinach and lentil roulade I’ve never made such an awful mistake again!

Cooking for me is both a hobby and a necessity, my family need to eat but it’s something I enjoy doing so I invest in my equipment, choosing products well so they’re built to last and fit for purpose. Not only that but it needs to look good. One such item in my kitchen is my slow cooker, it ticks all the boxes and then some. I’ve got links to Shropshire through my ancestors the Izons so it came as no surprise I started following Netherton Foundry who have a fabulous range of cast iron cookware, clocks and miscellany that are ideal for kitchens and perfect for gifts.  I particularly like the fact that they have used my favourite quote which is my justification for useful and beautiful things!

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris  1834–1896

I’ve started my collection with a Slow Cooker which sits happily in the corner of the kitchen, is used and admired in equal measures and now I would not be without it!  Next on my list is a frying pan and Big Welsh who is the best at stir fries clearly needs a wok!  I’m also a storage queen so the pan rack would be ideal!

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. For those campers and glampers there’s a glamping pan! I’ve also just heard there’s a nut roasting pan – THAT is a necessity!!

The ordering process was very simple and my box arrived within a few days, well packed and with recipes which are fabulous and feature my kind of food!  

Since then I have been tweeting Netherton News and telling them my recipes and other kitchen stories, so when they asked me if I would like to collaborate with them and tell you about them, of course I said a great big smiling YES, so when you you head to the website and place an order with Netherton Foundry you can get a 5% discount when you put PEACOCK in the checkout.

 

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Families

You can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends.

True, but I wouldn’t want to have to choose mine because the family I’ve got is a fabulous bunch of characters who just so happen to all have great genes and brilliant relatives!

Although our branch is small as there’s only my brother and I, our family tree is massive. My father was an only child with 5 cousins on his father’s side and 5 cousins on his mother’s side. Mum has 2 sisters but they’ve had no children so we have no first cousins. Mum’s mother had 6 brothers and sisters so she has heaps of cousins and her father had one brother who had no children but was loved by many for his numerous acting roles. As a result we’ve got loads of second cousins, once or twice removed but to us they’re just cousins – they are family.

On Wednesday we appeared en masse on Whittington for my great aunt’s funeral.

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Aunty Gwen was married to my paternal grandfather’s younger brother, she was our oldest relative at nearly 101 and the service was both uplifting and memorable. There were many familiar faces, people connected to the Regiment and Watchman the Regimental mascot, the smartest Staffie I have ever seen.

With the family spread out across the world each with a variety of lifestyles, careers and interests we rarely catch up en masse but when we do it’s easy, happy, comfortable and fun. That to me is what family is all about.

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Families