Thursday, 30 January 2014

Thursday: Snippets of our days

It seems to be very popular right now to take pictures of little, inconsequential things.  I, for one, love this type of photography and find it far more interesting than smiling photos of happy families, although I'm not averse to seeing these kinds of pictures either.  But isn't it refreshing when looking through, for example, a wedding album, to see photos of details that might have been missed by the bride and groom on the day; a discarded buttonhole, champagne waiting to be poured, you get the gist. 

Every so often, I grab the camera and run round the house snapping away.  When we eventually get round to putting our photo albums together, I hope to include lots of pictures like the ones above, as well as the millions we have of us grinning away at the camera like all those other happy families.  (Although we are going through a stage at the moment of resorting to blackmailing one or both of our children to smile, but that's another blog post.)

So, here are my own inconsequential photos of our everyday life this week.

Favourite books

I love to read.  I always have.  I need to read a bit every day.  Even if it's just for two minutes before my eyelids droop and I have to turn out my light.  Most of my favourite books however, aren't the ones I've read as an adult; and I've read many.  Don't misunderstand me, I've read some of these books tens of times I've enjoyed them so much and, I fully intend to read them again.  However, if I had to write a list of my ten favourites (I can't possibly limit it to five, or even, gasp, one!), most of the titles would be the books I read or that were read to me when I was a child.

I think this is because when I re-read Apple Pigs now, it's not my voice I'm hearing, but my mum's.  When I re-read Snow at Blackberry Farm I remember that the year I loved that book, it snowed so hard that when we were stuck at school because of a blizzard, my dad turned up with his friends and an army of four wheel drives to get us home.  When I re-read The Tiger who came to tea I think about all those times I had tea with my mum and my brother and we counted off the days till my dad came home.  And when I read The Enchanted Wood, I remember how my dad and I chose the book together and I climbed back into the car afterwards (an Austin Allegro, no less), me clutching it carefully in its brown paper bag.  This is why my childhood favourites will always be my all time favourites.  What are yours?

Friday, 24 January 2014


Soon it might be possible in our house for little hands to go from left to right. . .

Ikea (left) Heals (right)

Sometimes, it's hard to know whether to smile or be sad.  Maybe both at the same time.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Posters for pennies

When I was decorating my sons' rooms, I kept looking online for posters that we could put in those wonderful, economical, large Ikea frames.  I found a lot of artwork that I loved; colourful, vibrant and perfect for either a boy or a girl. The trouble was that we had very little disposable income and even though some of the prints were very reasonably priced, we really needed to spend very little money on things that weren't necessities.  One day, I know I'm going to love being the owner of lots of original art and prints, however, until then. . .wrapping paper!  Have you ever noticed how beautiful it is?  Or am I the only weird one who refuses to buy the gorgeous stuff because I can't stand the thought of it being ripped to shreds in seconds?  And it can be very cheap.  Which means you can also switch it around and swap it whenever you like.  

I know there must be people out there who love wrapping paper as much as me and not for what it was actually intended.  Come on.  Announce yourselves!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What's in a name?

Some day I am hoping that all the people who avidly read my blog (I can dream), will wonder where on earth I got the name "Teddy & Goo" from.  Well, I was deliberating for a long time about a name and it would not come to me.  There are so many good names out there, so many that do just the job with exactly the right amount of whimsy and originality.  One thing I want to do on this blog is to have bursts of being original, but also, to give credit where credit is due - see my previous post, for example.  And I could not think of a name that felt right. Then, this Sunday we were walking along the thicket, which is a wooded pathway between a town and a village near where we live and I started yelling at my children to get going.  "Teddy, Goo!" I shouted.  And then, of course, I had it.
'Teddy' is my first son (not his real name, but a nickname) and 'Goo' is the name that my first son has given my second son and which we've all ended up using (at times and normally when it's just us four).  
So, "Teddy & Goo" has been born.  

Monday, 20 January 2014


Here is a felt picture I made a year or so ago for the daughter of a friend.  The clock is set to the time of her birth.  I found a photo on the internet of a cuckoo clock (Lark) and I thought it was so beautiful that I used it as the basis for my creation (which is felt sewn onto a canvas).  I am not sure who is behind Lark and their cuckoo clocks but they are inspirational works of art and I absolutely love them.  I get all my materials from paper-and-string (paper and string) where I find a lot more of my felt inspiration.  Sarah's was one of the first blogs I ever followed and her kits can now even be found in John Lewis.  I think my next project is going to be something for the boys however.  Look at this:
It just has to be done!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Lemon Drizzle Bars

Alas, they are no more, poor things

On Friday afternoon, we made lemon bars from a very simple recipe.  I got it from Home Baking (80 recipes for delicious home-baked goodies) and I haven't baked anything from this book which hasn't tasted delicious.  Here is the recipe:

For 12 bars

2 eggs
175g/6oz caster sugar
150g/5 1/2 oz soft margarine
rind of 1 lemon (finely grated)
175g/6oz self-raising flour
125ml/4 fl oz milk
  • oven to 180C/350F/GasMark 4 and grease & line an 18cm/7inch square cake tin
  • eggs, sugar, margarine in a large bowl and beat well until smooth and fluffy
  • stir in lemon rind, fold in flour lightly and evenly
  • stir in milk
  • spoon mixture into tin and smooth
  • bake for 45 - 50 mins or until golden brown and firm to touch
For syrup
140g/5oz icing sugar
50ml/2 fl oz lemon juice
  • place sugar and juice in small pan and heat gently, stirring until sugar dissolved (don't boil)
  • prick the cake all over with a skewer and spoon hot syrup over the top
  • leave to cool, then turn out of tin, cut into bars and dust with icing sugar
I used demerara sugar because I ran out of icing sugar.  I also used unsalted butter instead of margarine.  I let my one year old crack the eggs, turn on the mixer and lick the spoon, but don't worry:  He adhered to all appropriate safety procedures and his tongue is incredibly clean.

Saturday, 18 January 2014


The plan this year is to do lots of small things that don't cost much but are a lot of fun and very lovely; here are a few that spring to mind. . .
  • decorate so that lots of our walls are bright and white
  • grow red poppies in the garden
  • grow vegetables in the patch
  • plant sweet peas
  • go to Bruges
  • learn how to felt
  • build a den in the conifer
  • and give O time to paint 
I think that's enough to be getting on with.

Painting by O, untitled 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A New Year

I have been wondering how to go about doing this blog for a long time.  I have decided that this is the year I am going to throw myself into it, capturing the snippets of everyday loveliness that all too often I ignore, wallowing as only I can, in a plethora of doom.  Wish me luck.  Everyday loveliness can often escape me, even though there's a lot of it about fluttering, often, right before my very eyes.  We'll give this thing a go and see where it gets us.  I'll stop admiring other people's blogs and try and create one myself.  

Magical Winter Lights at Anglesey Abbey
December 2013