Tag Archives: Food

My 400th Rocking Dog Post

Exquisite Setting,Rocking Dog

Exquisite Setting

Sorry that there is no Rocking Dog gingerbread house or cake with the number 400 on it. Life has been busy shopping and preparing for a lovely wedding at the end of the week. Rocking Dog is going to be pulling out all the stops! The atmospheric photo heading this post is taken in the garden where there’ll be a marquee, an undoubtedly very glamorous bride and groom and a melee of equally gorgeous guests. I am slightly worried that my own outfit is all together rather Handmaid’s Tale – I’m just needing the bonnet! The garden this morning was young, fresh, verdant and with the happy sound of little children enjoying the first day of the summer holidays, yay! The borders are looking wonderful with Bears Breeches, Agapanthus, Hosta’s and other botanical loveliness. The old warm brick walls which formerly would have had lean-to green housing for the growing of lemons, pineapples and other “showy” edibles now hosts wisteria with its scented mauve chandelier blooms. There really is nothing like an English garden and this one is truly, yes absolutely truly lovely.

It has taken Rocking Dog 7 months to leap from 350 to 400 posts. There have been times where writing has not come easily. In fact reading doesn’t always come very easily either. I am ashamed to say that in June I read my first book in two years and that felt quite an achievement. The brain is such a difficult organ to fathom.

Importantly, there has been a new grandchild this spring and in turn the nurturing of new parents. The name Biddy (as in old) is becoming a term of endearment I really love. I haven’t given up leopard print or silver wedge shoes and yes, I know I will love him unconditionally even when he’s a grunting spotty teenager!

The seven months have seen Christmas glitzily come and go, and in fact come back again! Indeed, we hosted “Christmas in February” at the kennel and raised £550 (plus GiftAid) for Young Carer’s. We can do “Christmas in a Box” for families in need Christmas 2017. Wee Tam’, Old gout ridden Toby and Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) are busy conjuring up the theme for next years Burn’s Night…watch this space!

There has been lots of walking to be done with Real Live Rocking Dog with a myriad of wildlife- deer, kingfishers, weasels, buzzards, swallows and even a Russian Waxwing! The white rabbits still seem to be multiplying in the field and I never cease to think that it’s some weird scene from Teletubbies! Real Live Rocking Dog also got to walk in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany and finally Italy this Spring. Like us he likes the Umbrian way of life and he is particularly partial to the sausages stocked in the village shop!

Rocking Dog has continued to make food, sew, gallantly endeavoured to tackle two unruly gardens, volunteer, homemake, care for friends & family and always tried to be cheery (for a half empty glass gal’ I acknowledge I am).

Seven months in a nutshell! Somewhat alarmingly the next fifty posts should take me to Christmas 2017! There’ll have been Young Carer’s Christmas Boxes to pack, a charity pop up restaurant night under our belts, an olive harvest to bring in (fingers crossed), Real Live Rocking Dog having walked in the snow again and lots of happy times spent with friends and family.

Love to all those who follow my blog, I appreciate you hanging in there with me

Love Rocking Dog x

PS. Yes, another phenomenon of the 7 months is the Rocking Dog Creative Huddle. There is a Huddle this Wednesday (26th). Homemade cake (fingers crossed) creative stuff, friendly chat and you’d be very welcome 7-9pm. Donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work inspiring and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

Winter Walks,Rocking Dog

Winter Walks

Mrs Mac & Wee Tam,Rocking Dog

Mrs Mac & Wee Tam

Christmas In Feb',Rocking Dog

Christmas In Feb’

Marmalade Making,Rocking Dog

Marmalade Making

Cushion Making,Rocking Dog

Cushion Making

Creative Huddling,Rocking Dog

Creative Huddling

Field Full Of Flowers,Rocking Dog

Field Full Of Flowers

Chelsea Flowers,Rocking Dog

Chelsea Flowers

Quilted Flowers,Rocking Dog

Quilted Flowers

English Wedding,Rocking Dog

English Wedding

Spring In Umbria,Rocking Dog

Spring In Umbria

Swim In Umbria!,Rocking Dog

Swim In Umbria!

Enjoying Recipe Testing At The Kennel

Towering Cake,Rocking Dog

Towering Cake

We had a crisis call a little while ago from oldest girl asking if she could come “home” to use our kitchen. With her own kitchen being refitted it was impossible to do her job, for a recipe developer she is!

My kitchen therefore has seen wonderful ingredients passing over the doorstep this week. Scales, whisks, copious notes, test batches, spoons, timers and a permanently hot stove have made my kitchen a true hive of industry. I’ve floated in at various points to help with some hot bubbly washing up and to do lots of oohing and ahhhing!

How very lovely to be invited to sit down and eat a raft of delicious dishes. Honest critiques were welcomed by the flagging cook and copious notes gained more ticks, stars and corrections in the process. My children always hate it when I sit to eat their lovely food and exclaim “This is gorgeous, and do you know what the very best bit about it is? …That I haven’t had to cook it!”

A run down of what we ate :-Courgette fritters (which will be eventually served with a dipping sauce),Chicken with Wild Garlic butter (though the wild garlic was substituted with watercress as wild garlic is not yet in season). There were also two bowls of healthy yumminess, Coconut Quinoa with Roasted Cauliflower and a Persian Herb & Beetroot Salad. Waiting in the wings was a towering Carrot Cake with Tahini frosting. Yum, Yum Yum!  We decided the colossal cake was perhaps too towering and needed scaling down a tad.

Thank goodness recipe testing daughter is packing her whisk and copious notes, and heading home at the end of the week. My poor old waistline really couldn’t cope with being a permanent food critic!

Flavoursome Bird,Rocking Dog

Flavoursome Bird

Delicious Bowl,Rocking Dog

Delicious Bowl

....& Another Delicious Bowl!,Rocking Dog

….& Another Delicious Bowl!

Q: ” How Do You Think Up Things To Blog About?’

This Rings A Chord!, Rocking Dog

This Rings A Chord!

At the Country Living Build A Business Day on Wednesday one talented “girl” having discovered I blog regularly asked me “How do you think up things to blog about?” A lovely question. In short, I thankfully rarely find it difficult to find something to spout on about!

For me, I need space to think. This brain space is normally found when I am doing the early morning walk with Real Live Rocking Dog.

I am really inspired by nature and though living only a 10 minute drive from Bristol my home is set down a wild wooded lane. The changing seasons and local flora and fauna always make regular outings on my blogs. Yesterday wild lilac bowers lined a favourite walk, the scent and colour of the blooms set me thinking. Expect a purple post soon!

As a child I used to love the school nature table. Jam-jars of tadpoles, Old Man’s Beard, Rose-hips, conkers, wild flowers and Beech masts would all make appearances throughout the year. I am a nostalgic soul and like my own seasonal nature table (no tadpoles I hasten to add!). I sometimes style a “table” for one of my blogs. Meanwhile foraging for sloes, blackberries, wild garlic and damsons provide the opportunity to make edible preserves etc..and in turn informative blogs.

Once the walk is over there is plenty of material to talk about back at the Rocking Dog Kennel. A crumbly 230 year old house with a past history of having been a bakery and an overflow mortuary for the local undertakers it has characterful bones. There has been damp, old death watch beetle, walls to take down and nudey ladies to paint over. There have been battles with listings folk, chimneys to de-nest and a summer spent scaling scaffolding brushing on 90 litres of faux “Dead Salmon”. There was the electrician who informed us of his dodgy bowels, a kitchen fitter who needed a cardiac team and a slap dash plumber who left water so deep in our kitchen that we had ducks swimming across the floor. Worse were the no show painter quoters, necessitating myself and broken shouldered husband to paint a 30 foot high ceiling on a VERY wobbly scaffolding tower. Blog material a plenty!

My makes, edible and non edible make appearances regularly and I often include instructions and recipes. The main photograph on this post made me laugh. It very much sums up eating in or out.. when I shout “don’t touch ’til I photograph it!” We all need to eat, and food doesn’t need to be elaborate to blog about. Good photographs, a degree of styling and a recipe often get people liking a food post.

I really love “my” city, so will blog about markets, parks, shops and eating haunts. I love championing people who are really good at what they do. Outside of Bristol I love to blog about events and exhibitions, Chelsea Flower Show and Kaffe Fasset’s exhibition at The American Museum, Bath particularly stand out for me.

Ancestry and the history of objects are pastimes I enjoy and I sometimes use researched material in a blog. Many of these posts are personal to my family and I. I hope they are a lasting written archive of family memories, the provenance of objects and distillation of ancestry. I would like to think that these posts are enjoyable to read for non family members.

As a self confessed magpie I love items with a history and which have been well used. Yesterday morning I was looking at our lovely linen cupboard, it’s so funny that you live with things for so long that you sometimes forget to notice them anymore. I don’t know anything about the cupboard apart from that it’s made from oak, heavily carved and when we bought it 28 years or so ago it was covered in white paint. Maybe I need to do a research blog post as I did for the lovely little Gladstone bag bought last summer.

Occasions such as Christmas provide brilliant opportunities to blog on gift making, decorations, wrapping, wreath making, festive food etc…etc..Additionally there are shop windows, festive events, other peoples decorations to blog about. It’s a blogging feeding frenzy! Pop up events, Charity Burn’s Nights and Rocking Dog sales feature in my blogs as does styling work.

Travel at home or away gives the opportunity for new experiences to be reported on and photographed. On travel I like to blog, but I hope I don’t brag. Wherever I am I really like to get to know how people live, what the locals eat, how they shop and their working lives. In Cuba we spent an hour watching two young athletic men take a primary school PE lesson. These children were seemingly having so much fun just running in teams against each other along a public tree lined walkway. Simple insights like this would make suitable blog post material.

Day to day, if a present needs wrapping it doesn’t take any longer to wrap a present for a blog shoot. As regular readers know I love a good piece of wallpaper, magazine or Chinese newspaper to do a creative wrap.

Sometimes I can be serious, especially if I think there is something I feel needs saying or telling.

General points: I try to steer clear of sex, religion and politics (though Donald Trump’s name has crept into one or two of my posts-oops!). My blog I would like to think is for a little bit of escapism. Peoples’ lives are busy with many difficulties to navigate. I really am no different even though the blog may suggest a picture perfect life!

It can be demoralising to put a sizeable quantity of time to put a blog piece together and for likes to be unforthcoming. I sometimes question why I should carry on…but something and more importantly some people keep me on going. Persevere!

I sincerely hope I have answered the question, and yes I burn the candle both ends!

So here endeth my Friday post. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Love Rocking Dog x

Nature Table, Rocking Dog

Nature Table

Home &.......,Rocking Dog

Home &…….

....Garden!, Rocking Dog

….Garden!

Alternative Wrap, Rocking Dog

Alternative Wrap

Food Eaten In ....., Rocking Dog

Food Eaten In …..

...And Out!, Rocking Dog

…And Out!

Charity Events, Rocking Dog

Charity Events

Peek In My Wardrobe!, Rocking Dog

Peek In My Wardrobe!

My City, Rocking Dog

My City

My Makes, Rocking Dog

My Makes

My Travels, Rocking Dog

My Travels

My Family, Rocking Dog

My Family

250th Blog – Thank you For Being On The Journey!

Celebrating 250 Posts With Cake, Rocking Dog

Celebrating 250 Posts With Cake

250 blogs- thank you from the bottom of my heart for being on the journey with me.

It’s hard to believe that when I did my very first blog on October 12th 2014 I had sleepless nights worrying about embracing technology. My lovely and very patient sister put me on the path of blogging. She sat with me and VERY painfully watched my first tentative steps dealing with WordPress. Exhausted and exasperated she left me sheaths of handwritten instructions to refer to. There were phone calls to her when things went wrong and there was lots of family support to keep me going when I felt overwhelmed. Steadily I made slow progress.

A one finger keyboard bod’ I still am, but posts are put together more quickly even if it’s sometimes 1am when I start a post! I have found blogging tremendously useful for the equalibrium of my mental health. At various points in my life I have suffered from depression. One particularly tough patch about seven years ago rendered communicating incredibly difficult. It was physically and mentally painful to talk. Furthermore, I found it almost impossible to write, physically holding a pen and using a computer keyboard were so indescribably difficult. Even signing a card was sometimes beyond me, and creative writing was unthinkable. With a consistently supportive GP, appropriate medication and online counselling together with support from fantastic family and friends the year long fog gradually lifted. Having to walk Real Life Rocking Dog twice a day was also so vital in my recovery.

Blogging acts like a safety mechanism. If I can write I am well. It gives me a focus, and of course if people are enjoying my mutterings that is an absolute bonus. So now that I have rather bared my soul, perhaps i’ll share the posts that I have enjoyed writing over the last 18 months or so. Please share with me the ones you have liked.

Opening my almost daily post must be rather like opening a box of chocolates- you never quite know what you’ll get. It’s a bit of an eclectic mix. I often conjure up topics to write about whilst i’m out walking RLR Dog. I always carry my camera, a Smart Phone hasn’t quite entered my world yet. The posts that I treasure are generally the ones that are very personal to me. I have the hope that they are records of ancestry or moments in history that my children and their offspring can retrieve in cyberspace forever more. To this end, The Day I Met A Holocaust Survivor (Jan 28th 2015) is probably one of the posts of which I am most proud, as I finally made time to write about a never to be forgotten meeting. Before very long there will be no Holocaust survivors left (or for that matter their captors). It is vital therefore to capitalise on first hand accounts to pass down to future generations.

Another poignant post special to me is Postcards From The Front To The Sanitorium (April 15th 2015). I wrote this post as a result of reading a batch of WW1 postcards from my great uncles and aunt serving in France and Gallipoli to their young sister. My grandmother Emily was in a Scottish sanitorium suffering from TB.

On a lighter note Rocking Dog food posts seem to have been popular, Iced Fabulous Flamingo’s Strutting Their Stuff (May 8th 2015) certainly tested my sugar craft skills! There have been lots of sewing makes along the way, quilts, crooked hearts, stockings etc.. etc.. I always love a Something From Nothing (July 3rd 2015) project be it sewing or wrapping a present, Rocking Dog Loves Manuscript Paper (Nov 16th 2015)

Travels have bought great excuses to share the experience. Sometimes you do not need to travel far to appreciate a new landscape and new micro-culture. If You’re Fond Of Sand Dunes…(April 27th 2015) and Weekend Postcard From Devon (June 29th 2015) were really enjoyable breaks. Further afield, my favourite ever blog photo’s have to be the ones posted for Arriverderci Italy- Missing You Too Much Already (Nov 12th 2015). Sometimes a day trip can feel like a holiday and this was certainly the case when I headed to my first ever Chelsea Flower Show (May 22nd 2015). I ADORED It.

Christmas always gives me plenty to gas about and there are a whole host of posts to chose from, perhaps this one sums me up…A Little Reminder From Toby & Mrs Mac

It’s great to daydream about a move to a lobster shack by the sea (and yes there really was an idyllic one to buy), but I do love My Bristol- Honest It’s A Great City (March 30th 2015) and I do love my crumbly old house –Rocking Dog Home Making Tips (March 5th 2015). So a year from now i’ll probably still be muttering on, still one finger typing and the Russian Velvet walls won’t have changed.

I still don’t quite “get” inviting friends, or sharing or retweeting or encouraging followers etc.. so I sincerely hope I haven’t made anyone feel abandoned. A blogging entrepreneur I will never be, but hopefully a semi-sane blogger with fingers crossed something interesting to chatter on about.

Thank You again, and I hope you’ll continue dipping in and out of Rocking Dog in the months ahead

Love Liz x

Heartfelt, Rocking Dog

Heartfelt

Therapeutic Dog, Rocking Dog

Therapeutic Dog

My Bristol, Rocking Dog

My Bristol

It's A Wrap!, Rocking Dog

It’s A Wrap!

Chelsea Holiday, Rocking Dog

Chelsea Holiday

Home & Away, Rocking Dog

Home & Away

Home Making, Rocking Dog

Home Making

Christmas Stash, Rocking Dog

Christmas Stash

Fave Photo, Rocking Dog

Fave Photo

Enough, Enough Now!

crappy but pretty crackers, rocking dog

Crappy But Pretty Crackers

As I came out of the supermarket this evening the words in my title are what I said out loud, “Enough, Enough Now!” Yes, those words are so recognisable from the smaltzy “Love Actually”. I have to admit I love some of the scenes in the film particularly Emma Thompson’s scene where she is patting the bed to try and gain control of her emotions. But back to Enough… I really have had enough of everything retail and I am now in a shop free zone for at least two weeks. If all else fails I have enough beans and pulses of all descriptions to keep us going for half the year. Yum!

Yes, I have been making crackers but dear old trusted Tom Smith has nothing to fear- my efforts are pretty feeble but have a certain charm! I also very much enjoyed handwriting the jokes (using the internet) and I had quite a chuckle to myself! Here is a little sample- Why won’t Santa visit Nigel Farage? Because he only comes if you sleep, not if Ukip! and… What will be missing from Take That’s Christmas Stocking this year? An Orange! There is just one cracker to be filled and if my husband is reading this there is a very lovely bespoke ring on the Toast website composed of five gold rings- a trifle under £2,000! No a Haribo jelly one will suffice. I don’t need gold- and my fingers certainly don’t deserve precious metals and stones.

Happy Christmas Eve, I hope you enjoy it and that you too are able to say out loud “Enough, Enough Now!” It’s honestly quite therapeutic!

12 days of christmas place setting, rocking dog

12 Days Of Christmas Place Setting


embellishments cut from an  old calendar, rocking dog

Embellishments cut from an old calendar