Tag Archives: Walk

Another Peek In Rocking Dog’s Wardrobe

Hello Summer!, Rocking Dog

Hello Summer!

With post wedding exhaustion in full throttle, last week I settled on carrying out simple tasks that did not require a huge amount of brain boggling thought or physical capability. One job involved bringing summer into my wardrobe. I thought you’d perhaps like another peek in Rocking Dog’s wardrobe. February 2015 was the last time I opened the doors, and unfortunately not a tremendous amount has changed!

I still have a predominantly black winter “uniform”, with a switch to white for the summer. Somewhat scruffy dog walking garb however tends to dominate my everyday clothing decisions. Needless to say brightly coloured sale price “Hunter” wellies are the all year round very practical footwear choice!

Sadly, there have been no major buying splurges to report. Last weeks sort involved moving black wool, velvet and other wintry fabrics into hibernation. How I enjoy having a spare wardrobe or two now that Andyman and I are empty nesters! With all the cuddly warm wooliness huddled into its new home I could transfer the somewhat lighter brighter garments into my wardrobe. With our recent trip to Cuba the linens had enjoyed a very brief tropical encounter, but it was now time to make the brave decision that the English summer had indeed arrived!

The cream wool Toast tunic which i’d just bought in February ’15 I am sorry to say remains unworn. The winter has simply been too mild and i’m too warm blooded! Hopefully winter 2016 will bring snow and frosts. Indeed my plethora of market bought Italian wool coats haven’t been given much of an outing either! Inpenetrable suit carriers will swathe the wools and silk velvets from the destructive chomping jaws of a fleet of moths. I will add Rocking Dog crooked hearts for further protection and hopefully my clothes will escape unscathed when Autumn and the need for warm garments returns.

Summer wardrobe installed, I surveyed my colourful closet. Linen has an awful reputation for being high maintenance and to crease easily. However, I love the feel of cotton and freshly pressed linen against my skin. Textiles which include synthetic threads can make me hot and bad tempered, flushed and murderous! I can’t ever imagine a time when I won’t want to wear linen. If and when the time comes that i’m simply too gnarled and infirm to use an iron i’ll just have to employ a butler! Many of my linen pieces have been coming out for the past six or seven years or so. East, M & S, Zara, Laura Ashley and John Lewis are worth a look, especially when they have their summer sales.

Regarding buying clothes, I still don’t like paying full price for anything. I still use my hard and fast rule that if I see a bargain I will ask myself “If money allowed, would I pay full price for the item?”. If the answer is a decisive yes i’d hurtle to the cash desk, and if no, i’d leave the bargain hanging there. I’m still not an internet shopper, I like the experience of just seeing what’s out there, to feel fabrics and look at trends. A fashionista I am absolutely not, but I adore people watching and looking to see what shoppers are trying on and buying.

Now, a quick rundown of some of the images I have included in this post. We’ve dealt with the winter wools, the velvets and the unworn jumper.

The wedding coat.. my latest item in the wardrobe, and the infamous garment I made very tentatively from Christian Lacroix curtain fabric (Ebay remnant). This was the first dress making i’d done since the 1980’s and not a shoulder pad in sight! I really enjoyed the process and could there be another coat in the offing?! The Vintage Coat has a degree of man made fabric in it’s composition, and so it does tend to make me hot and ratty on occasions! However, I like the shape and colour and it’s become a really useful wardrobe staple. I bought this coat in a favourite charity shop a few years ago for a tenner. The last coat of the trio is one my sister made for me about 35 years ago. Made from heavy linen union I have always loved it. Being floral I confidently wore it to Chelsea Flower Show last year. Thanks sis”!

Ah yes.. the itchy jacket. I love this jacket, but it is itchy. I need to have neck and wrists “lined” to wear this one. I’m sure we all have an item or two in the wardrobe that we have to brace ourselves for, be it a nose tickling angora cardi’ or skirt that mysteriously rises up for some reason!

The latest Liberty buy. Whilst on my recent foray to Liberty I spotted these lovely wide legged lounge pants. Calf length and with pockets, they are far too nice to just lounge around in, I think they’ll be part of my cooling hot weather wardrobe! Uniqlo have collaborated with Liberty for this range and at £12.90 these pants are bargainous! I never discount leisure/sleep wear as something I can wear out.

Full Price Garb’. Very occasionally I do pay full price for something and this outfit was indeed one of those times. Made from Lithuanian silk this top and pantaloon trouser get up was bought in Edinburgh for a wedding & other social event five years ago. Made by Grizas I have loved wearing this. One of the best features is that it requires absolutely no ironing!

Parisian Flea. I bought this skirt a few years ago in the Montmartre district of Paris, in a secondhand clothes shop. I paid about 10 euro for it and I still love it. The draped tulip shape reminds me of the designs of Paul Poiret and harks back to enjoyable nights watching The House of Elliot! A simple black light weight jumper and quirky shoes, I can still see me wearing it in ten years time.

Poppy Love. I haven’t worn this skirt a great deal, a full length organza skirt isn’t something you can wear everyday. I bought it in Jigsaw for a commemorative event around the same time as Remembrance Sunday. I adore it, despite it being quite brown. Brown is a colour I do not enjoy wearing. Maybe it relates to the fact that I had to wear brown when I had a Saturday job at Debenham’s, and further back my mum quite often put me in brown because I had brown eyes. My sister meanwhile was dressed in the more cheery blue garments because she had blue eyes!

Back In The Box. My lovely wedding shoes. Unconventional I know, but as youngest daughter said “Mum you aren’t really Kate Middleton nude shoe material are you!”

So there it is a little whizz through the Rocking Dog wardrobe. What treasures lurk in your wardrobe and do you have any good shopping tips? Please tell all!

Hope the week is a happy one for you all. Love Rocking Dog x

Goodbye Winter!, Rocking Dog

Goodbye Winter!

Still Unworn, Rocking Dog

Still Unworn

Velvets No More!, Rocking Dog

Velvets No More!

Wedding Coat, Rocking Dog

Wedding Coat

Vintage Coat, Rocking Dog

Vintage Coat

1980's Floral Coat, Rocking Dog

1980’s Floral Coat

Itchy Jacket, Rocking Dog

Itchy Jacket

Latest Liberty Buy, Rocking Dog

Latest Liberty Buy

Full Price Garb', Rocking Dog

Full Price Garb’

Parisian Flea, Rocking Dog

Parisian Flea

Poppy Love, Rocking Dog

Poppy Love

Back In The Box, Rocking Dog

Back In The Box

Boo Hoo! The Tractor Is Out.

Hot Real Live Rocking Dog!, Rocking Dog

Hot Real Live Rocking Dog!

Boo Hoo! The tractor is out in the meadow behind the kennel. Very soon the honeyed pink clover, wild sorrel, buttercups, campion, dandelion clocks will be no more…..well for at least a little while. The thigh high swathes of grasses will be noisily cut, left to dry, and then gathered. Cow fodder for leaner days ahead, short dark days with frost, snow, driving rain and cheek nipping chills.

With the grassy haircut the ha ha, mole hills and mystical archeological mounds will again be apparent. Real Live Rocking Dog will be able to play football again, and my walking pace can step up without the impediment of burgeoning flora. The swallows will be able to swoop even lower in their nightly acrobatic courtship dances.

I will miss the flowers, the butterflies and the bees. I will miss the disturbed swathes of grasses, wondering what nocturnal animal created the mysterious hollows. I will miss the sweet sunny smell of the floral cornucopia, and the gentle rustle of grasses swaying untidily in the breeze. I love this meadow.

I am witnessing first hand the perpetual nature of the farming calendar, to make hay while the sun shines!

Flora, Rocking Dog

Flora

Busy Bee, Rocking Dog

Busy Bee

Cow Fodder, Rocking Dog

Cow Fodder

Whispering Grass, Rocking Dog

Whispering Grass

Hot Dog....., Rocking Dog

Hot Dog…..

....Cool Dog, Rocking Dog

….Cool Dog

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

Rocking Dog’s Woodland Wild Flower Show

Spring Flower Show, Rocking Dog

Spring Flower Show

Yesterday was such a lovely day. The Frome Valley Walkway was resplendent with its magnificent carpet of bluebells. Wood anenomes, wild garlic, king cups, and delicate violets added to the intricate warp and weft.

The river was still, reflective and calm. I spotted a heron, it’s beady eye looking for a fishy morsel. A noise startled him, and he took to the skies. There is something so prehistoric about herons as they take flight. Meanwhile, in a nearby field lambs were gaining independence from their mothers. Every now and again they’d return to suckle and seek reassurance before returning to independent play and socialising.

The hedgerows are now in full white starry bloom, wild plum, blackthorn, damson and cherry. Taking shelter under their gnarled and thorny branches, wild primroses, cow parsley, white bells and budding summer blooms of a story yet to be told.

In the field Real Live Rocking Dog loved a roll in the lengthening grass. The white rabbits have miraculously survived the winter AND the fox who lives in the bordering orchard. Pleasingly the swallows are back from their long winter migration to sunnier climes and have begun their swooping aerobatics. They will continue to show off their flying skills when clover, wild sorrel, plantain, moon daisies and poppies return to the field. They will continue long after the grass has been cut for animal fodder. It will only be when the nights start getting shorter and when there is a chill and stillness in the air that they will think about the long perilous journey back to Africa.

But why think of autumn when delicious spring has just arrived!

Woodland Glade, Rocking Dog

Woodland Glade

Transient Bloom, Rocking Dog

Transient Bloom

Wild Violets, Rocking Dog

Wild Violets

Thorny Branch, Rocking Dog

Thorny Branch

Fresh As A..., Rocking Dog

Fresh As A…

Sentimental Flower, Rocking Dog

Sentimental Flower

Wild Spring Blooms, Rocking Dog

Wild Spring Blooms

Woolly Neighbours, Rocking Dog

Woolly Neighbours

Pretty Mantlepiece, Rocking Dog

Pretty Mantlepiece

So, What Does the Weekend Hold For You?…

Special Cake Delivery, Rocking Dog

Special Cake Delivery

So, what does the weekend hold for you? I hope there are some lovely things to enjoy, be it friends to see, good food to eat or a bracing walk to be had.

Rocking Dog’s weekend is a bit of this and that. A large part of this and that will be clearing our cellar. It indeed resembles a sty and needs a good sort. There are paint tins galore, and enough china to stock a small hotel! Unfortunately, unlike my brother’s big clean out last week there will be no Gucci or Hermes handbags to uncover!

Our cellar was used by the previous occupants as an air raid shelter when the Bristol Blitz was underway (1940). Further back in time the cellar was used as a place to hang and store meat. The hooks remain as do the huge stone blocks with drainage channels. I wish I could say we use the space for storing an exquisite selection of wines, but alas not!

When the cobwebs are dusted from us, perhaps there’ll be the opportunity to see what’s going on in St Nicholas Market. There are always lovely things to eat and drink. Aah Toots and Eat a Pitta are favourites. Maybe a stroll around the harbour will follow with Real Live Rocking Dog.

If the weather allows the moss, oops! grass needs mowing and if time allows there’s a lengthy list of things still to organise for the Tipi wedding! I also really do have to get down to making Christmas stockings for a pitch. (No, no, you are not allowed to come out yet Michael much as I love you!)

On Sunday there are races to be run. Andyman is taking part in the Frenchay 10k run, a mightily hilly affair! Meanwhile our boy is doing the London Marathon and raising money for Sarcoma UK (Read why Alex aka Sick Note is running the race on this link). Thank you to all those who have sponsored him, truly appreciated. And…. yes, that is David Beckham with Alex in the photo below! Alex, in the course of his job gets to meet a number of high profile personalities but admitted being quite starstruck meeting DB. Good Luck boys!

Finally, there is indeed a special cake delivery to be made. Two very special people are setting out for new adventures over the channel and cake is such a British way of celebrating absolutely anything. Nigella’s chocolate cherry recipe complete with chocolate ganache is what I chose for the surprise cake. Unlike the icing depiction I’m not aware that the couple are going to be selling onions or life saving anytime soon! Bon Voyage Huw and Selina… happy sunny times we truly wish for you.

Lots to pack in and i’m sure there’ll be many tasks to carry over into another week or weekend…. but we can but hope!

Mowing The Moss!, Rocking Dog

Mowing The Moss!

Cellar Like A Sty, Rocking Dog

Cellar Like A Sty

Walk RLR Dog, Rocking Dog

Walk RLR Dog

Wedding Planning, Rocking Dog

Wedding Planning

Menu Planning, Rocking Dog

Menu Planning

....With Coffee, Rocking Dog

….With Coffee

Stockings To Make, Rocking Dog

Stockings To Make

St. Nick's Jaunt Perhaps, Rocking Dog

St. Nick’s Jaunt Perhaps

& Races To Be Run!, Rocking Dog

& Races To Be Run!

Hen Party Filled Picnic Bags By Rocking Dog

Labelled & Ready To Go- Picnic Bags By Rocking Dog, Rocking Dog

Labelled & Ready To Go- Picnic Bags By Rocking Dog

Saturday saw Andyman, myself and an enthusiastic Real Live Rocking Dog driving over the bridge to the Forest of Dean to deliver picnic bags for a certain hen party!

I made individual hen food bags for each of the “hens” and then stashed them with delicious goodies. Choosing fabrics from the infamous Material Mountain, ideas for the bags began to take shape. I decided on a hen appliqué and began by finding a hen image on Google. Enlarging the image I used the computer as an ad hoc light-box, directly tracing the image from the screen onto tracing paper. I ironed a piece of Bondaweb onto my chosen hen appliqué fabric and similarly used Bondaweb for contrasting fabric for the wings. Bondaweb is great for adhering fabric to another fabric, minimising fabric movement and wrinkles.

The hens were then pressed to the centre of the main bag fabric. I used zig zag stitch to sew the hens in place and added stitched legs and button eyes. A veil was added to the bride to be’s hen. Worryingly I thought that many of the hens resembled Lisa Simpson, not my intention! Hems were sewn at the top of each bag before the seams were closed, firstly the central back seam and then the bottom seam. Turned right way out, handles of wide candy stripe ribbon were attached. Finally the bags were pressed and loose cottons snipped. Voila!

Now for the filling of the bags. Not a sweaty cheese and tomato sandwich in sight, nor warm yoghurt, grey sausage roll or wrinkled chicken drumstick! A buttery croissant filled with Pastrami and Emmental, Tyrrell’s crisps, freshly baked Rocking Dog sausage roll and a salad box inhabited each bag. The salad box contained pasta, roasted mediterranean vegetables, Mozzarella pearls, homemade pesto and toasted pine nuts.

Sweet offerings included some Rocking Dog cherry amaretti (continuing thanks Yotam Ottolenghi for the recipe), and the naughtiest ever Billionaires bars A few weeks ago whilst posting a letter, I bumped into the lovely Alison Atherton. She said “try this”, and handed me a mysterious foil package. Inside was the most amazing sweet offering. So enthused about the sweet loveliness I said to my neighbour “try this”. So said neighbour VERY hesitatingly took a small piece and loved it. She then told me she’d started a diet that morning! Oops! What a bully I am! Anyway when I came to the hen food bags I just had to try the recipe myself. It has got to be the naughtiest recipe I have ever encountered.

To counteract the chocolate naughtiness I added a clementine and strawberries into the bag. I put the strawberries into single use piping bags (£1 for 20 from Poundland) and tied them with pretty ribbon.

A can of San Pellegrino Limonata was stowed together with a pretty hen printed napkin. The bags were then tied with calligraphed and stamped name labels. Another bag gathered together, dips, crudites, clotted cream, wet wipes and rubbish bag. It was time to head to the hens!

A beautiful sunny morning in Bristol, 3/4 of an hour up the road at the hen cabin it had been snowing overnight! Picnics delivered to the lovely girls, there was time to walk Real Live Rocking Dog and there was even a flutter of snow!

Hen Template, Rocking Dog

Hen Template

Hen Applique, Rocking Dog

Hen Applique

Hen With A Veil, Rocking Dog

Hen With A Veil

Salad Box, Rocking Dog

Salad Box

Cherry Amaretti, Rocking Dog

Cherry Amaretti

Cake Bags, Rocking Dog

Cake Bags

Piping Bag Strawb's, Rocking Dog

Piping Bag Strawb’s

Luggage Labels, Rocking Dog

Luggage Labels

Hen Picnic Bound!, Rocking Dog

Hen Picnic Bound!

Rocking Dog’s Amazing Cuban Odyssey!

Backstreet Che, Rocking Dog

Backstreet Che

Yes, Rocking Dog has buzzed on back having been on an amazing Cuban Odyssey! I am somewhat jet lagged, but relieved to be back from the heat and 86% humidity levels. I just wanted to post a few photo’s to give a flavour of this amazing country. I’d love to do a few posts to give more detail of this complicated country, but in short hand I was expelled from a Salsa lesson, had a gecko adhered to my face in a busy restaurant, Andyman fell in love with ALL the classic American cars and we shared a B&B with some live crocodiles! Oh, and did I mention that we went to the historical Rolling Stones concert. Those boys despite being able to draw their pensions rocked the audience almost non stop for 2 & 1/2 hours in the Havanian night heat…amazing! I have to report that a large number of Cubans had no idea who the Rolling Stones were.

The food i’m afraid will not require numerous blog posts. In fact there was a great deal of Imodium passing hands between the group we travelled with. It’s funny but unlike an American group who were coming to blows on their bus about US politics (I wonder why!) we were very reserved about politics, sex and religion. On the other hand our ablutions were completely another matter! Love to all the fellow Explore travellers who came from all walks of life and ranged through from twenty somethings, to adventurous baby boomers. It was a real pleasure to rub along together ( and very literally, in the Russian truck!) and to share a Mojito with you.

Thank you so much to Explore for a wonderful trip and thank you to Wendy Dowe at Dorchester Travel who valiantly wriggled us out of a posh hotel and all inclusive resort (phew!). Experiencing and seeing the real Cuba with Explore was a true privilege. Thank you also to the Tropicana Penthouse for accommodating us either side of the trek, the sunrises and sunsets on the roof terrace overlooking the sea and Havana were breathtaking.

A bed without a shiny satin cover and lace pillowcases looks seriously appealing, as does a night without cockerels cawing at 1 am onwards!

I hope you’ll allow me to share a few more photo’s over the next couple of days.

Grazias for tuning back in.

Love a cooler (heat-wise) and seriously inspired Rocking Dog x

Cruising Che, Rocking Dog

Cruising Che

Sunrise Over Havana, Rocking Dog

Sunrise Over Havana

Breakfast In A Basket, Rocking Dog

Breakfast In A Basket

One Man's Madness, Rocking Dog

One Man’s Madness

Daily Dose Band, Rocking Dog

Daily Dose Band

Farming Cuban Style, Rocking Dog

Farming Cuban Style

Obama Woz 'Ere!, Rocking Dog

Obama Woz ‘Ere!

Deity, Rocking Dog

Deity

Can You Salsa?!, Rocking Dog

Can You Salsa?!

B&B Crocodile!, Rocking Dog

B&B Crocodile!

The Butchers, Rocking Dog

The Butchers

Banana Bloom, Rocking Dog

Banana Bloom

Hand Delivered To The New Home Owners- Yippee!

Heirloom Quilt For New Home, Rocking Dog

Heirloom Quilt For New Home

“A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams” William Arthur Ward

On Wednesday evening I found myself travelling London-bound by train with Andyman and Real Live Rocking Dog. For Andyman a Thursday meeting beckoned, and for me a visit to my two lovely girls and to my sister’s family. We took the recently finished Rocking Dog quilt and Moet to celebrate a “new” house for Sorrel & Pete. London house buying has been an arduous and frustrating year long process for them, and I am so pleased they persevered.

Before the embarkation, there was the small matter of picking wild garlic. I went out on a spying mission along the Frome on Tuesday and found clumps ready to pluck. I made the decision to pick the crop early on Wednesday morning. Wednesday dawned, and with it the realisation that there had been VERY heavy rain overnight. The path was now in places under a foot of water, and hopes of picking the wild garlic were very precariously waterlogged! Not wanting to arrive in London without a crop for recipe testing I persevered on slightly less soggy terra firma. I hope Abel and Cole appreciate the efforts us sub-contracted foragers go to for providing test ingredients!

Today started with a dog walk and coffee and cinnamon buns in Hej Coffee, Bermondsey Square. Lovely to find a place that welcomes dogs through their door, serves great coffee, delicious cake and in a calm creative environment. Real Live Rocking Dog and Dougie Scott thank Hej for the Bonio’s! Real Live Rocking Dog enjoys walking (and eating!) in new places and seems to take the train and Tube very much in his stride. He’s a well travelled boy!

A quick view of the new property in Plumstead followed. Lots to do, but plenty of potential. An exciting but somewhat daunting phase for the couple. There are so many lovely things to go into the little house, but remember Sorrel that “The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it”! Ralph Waldo Emerson. Sorry Liv’, I didn’t quite get the time to see your Hackney pad. Hope there’ll be another opportunity soon. I’ll come and have a cuppa around the kitchen table and enjoy 4x over girly banter!

The remainder of the day was spent somewhat ashamedly at Westfield, Stratford with both girls. Culture will have to wait for another day! Lots of trying on, but not a lot of buying. We all especially liked Cos.

Back home now in this somewhat quieter backwater the Magnolia in the garden really is trying to send out its showy blooms. The brook has receded and I hope that today’s dog walk will be somewhat less watery, especially since it transpires I have very leaky boots!

Have a wonderful weekend and I sincerely hope that the sun shines for you!

London-Bound, Rocking Dog

London-Bound

Yippee!!!, Rocking Dog

Yippee!!!

Sentimental Embroidery, Rocking Dog

Sentimental Embroidery

Leaky Boots, Rocking Dog

Leaky Boots

Well Travelled Boy!, Rocking Dog

Well Travelled Boy!

Magnolia 2015, Rocking Dog

Magnolia 2015

An Archive Post By Default!

It's Hot Cross Bun Time!, Rocking Dog

It’s Hot Cross Bun Time!

On Saturday evening we headed out to the Souk Kitchen, Apsley Road. After parking the car I attempted to shut the car door. After three attempts I realised there could just perhaps be something preventing it closing properly. DOH! it was my camera. The irreparable damage to said camera has made me resort to archive pictures today.

So no pictures of all the delicious food we ate at The Souk i’m afraid. Lovely memories however of eating soft shell crab, flatbreads, taramasalata, Halloumi with mango, Merguez Sausage and houmous. Our party of four skipped main courses, but of course could not resist something sweet. Delicious.

Spring is still trying to desperately struggle through the cheek nipping cold. On Friday I went to blow away the cobwebs on The Downs with Real Live Rocking Dog. This green lung is Bristol’s answer to Central Park. Snow, sun and the wind buffeted me across the green frosty expanse. The views along the Avon Gorge were magnificent, and Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge looked resplendent in the glinting sunshine. Large hawks soared above the gorge enjoying the warming thermals and I briskly moved on, trying to find my own warmth!

In the garden, snowdrops, hellebores and primroses are all peeping through. I am a warm weather gardener and I sadly haven’t yet been tempted to get out there digging.

The cold outside invites thoughts for warming food inside. With generous stashes of Hot Cross Buns in the shops what could be lovelier than a Bread & Butter Pudding using these seasonal buns (click on link for the Rocking Dog recipe). Of course out of season brioche slices or buns could be used, and at Christmas what could be more festive than using Panettone (perhaps with a dollop or two of mincemeat and candied peel).

Tomorrow I am on a mission to walk along part of the Frome Valley Walkway to find wild garlic. It is also known as Bear’s Garlic, Devils Garlic, Gypsy’s Onions, and Stinking Jenny (I wonder who poor Jenny was!) Oldest daughter is recipe testing for Abel & Cole and needs a supply of this pungent leaf. If my mission is successful a large bundle will be making its way by rail on Wednesday evening. The leaves of this seasonal crop are useful for making soups, pesto, and in tarts and casseroles. I can’t say i’m fond of eating it, but I adore seeing it’s pretty starry white flowers in its shaded woodland habitat.

I hope you are enjoying the first glimpses of spring whilst hopefully staying warm and cosy.

Hellebores, Rocking Dog

Hellebores

Primrose Place, Rocking Dog

Primrose Place

Snowdrops, Rocking Dog

Snowdrops

Follow Me For..., Rocking Dog

Follow Me For…

 Wild Garlic, Rocking Dog

Wild Garlic

Cobweb Blowing, Rocking Dog

Cobweb Blowing

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