Monday, 29 April 2013

Beetle Cross Stitch

I have been working on this cross-stitch for about 6 to 8 months. I started it when we were travelling around New Zealand last summer (2012) and finished it a few months ago. It has taken many hours of sewing to complete.

But at last it is finished!!!

The cross-stitch kit was bought for me about 7 years ago after I had spent a year in Brasil on my gap year. In Brasil they had lots of Beetles on the roads and are one of my favourite cars, so this cross-stitch was perfect for me. Looking at it brings back many memories of my time in Brasil.

If you have any creative projects you have done recently which you would like to share please link up with me on this blog, I would love to hear from you.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Farmyard Cookies

Pig cookie
Sheep cookie

250g unsalted butter
275g caster sugar
2 eggs
450g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Extra ingredients that you may require:
2 tbsps cocoa
a few drops of red (or other colours) food colouring

Farm cookies ready for the oven
  1. Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy and light.
  2. Add eggs gradually to the mix and beat together.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well to form a dough.
  4. Wrap dough in cling film and put in the fridge for 2 hours.
  5. Heat oven to Gas Mark 3 or 160C.
  6. Mix a handful of the dough into the cocoa to make brown dough.
  7. Mix another handful of the dough with the required food colourings.
  8. Now you will have all the correct colours.
  9. To make the PIG - with the pink dough roll and flatten a 3-4cm round for the body, add a ball of approximately 2cm in diametre for the head, make small ears & a tail, with some of the white dough make a nose. Arrange on a baking tin (see picture).
  10. To make the SHEEP - with the white dough roll about 12 balls approximately 1cm in diametre for the body & with the brown dough roll a ball approximately 2cm in diametre for the head, along with 2 leg shaped pieces for the legs. Arrange the balls of dough into sheep shape on the baking tin (see picture below).
  11. Bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes until the cookies are nicely browned and crisp.

A flock of cookie sheep

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

BRADFORD - The City Park

When the city centre police station was knocked down in 2007/8, they decided to redevelop the area around the City Hall and Centenary Square into the City Park with fountains and a shallow pond called the Mirror Pool.

The City Park, Bradford

The City Park has created a great area for exhibitions, markets, concerts and other city centre events. It is a great place to "hang out" whilst children play in the water and adults enjoy a coffee in the sunshine.

Beautiful reflection in the Mirror Pool

Last year, the City Park was awarded the Best Place in the UK award. It also hosts the highest fountain in the UK.

The City Hall surrounded by the City Park, Bradford

The Mirror Pool is empty at the beginning of the day and fills gradually throughout the day with the numerous fountains surrounding it. There is a light show in the evening when the pool is full and it is drained overnight, ready for the next day.

The Mirror Pool full

The opening ceremony of the City Park was just over a year ago and it was an amazing day. The square was packed with people and there were acrobats and a firework display.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Creative Cookies

Recently we went to visit our newest nephew, Benjamin, who was born on Easter Sunday. He has an older brother who is now 3 years old called Samuel. I wanted to make something special for Samuel and so made some interesting cookies for him...

Sheep Cookie

A flock of sheep cookies

Pig cookies

Heart cookie was made especially for my hubby

A smiley face cookie

I think Samuel liked the cookies but us adults also enjoyed chomping them.

If you can wait until Friday come back to see the recipe for these delicious cookies on my Foody Friday post for this week...

Friday, 19 April 2013

Plum Chilli Roasted Chicken with Couscous & Stir Fry Veg

Chopped ginger, chillies & garlic

  8 chicken legs or thighs
  8 plums
  1-4 chillies
  4 garlic cloves
  thumb-sized piece of ginger
  3 tbsps of soy sauce

                                                            250g couscous
Chopped stir fry vegetables
  Splash of soy sauce

  Stir fry veg:
  1 onion
  1 garlic clove
  half a thumb sized piece of ginger
  1-4 chillies
  1 carrot, cut into sticks
  1 pepper, cut into strips
  100g mange tout
  100g baby corn (fresh or tinned)
  100g mushrooms, sliced (Optional)
  1 tbsp of soy sauce

Roasted chicken with covered in ginger, chillies & garlic
  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6 or 200C.
  2. Put the chicken in a roasting tin, trickle with oil and season well.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Halve and deseed the chillies and cut into thin strips. Slice garlic cloves and the ginger.
  5. Scatter the chillies, garlic and ginger over the chicken and turn it.
  6. Roast for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Halve and destone the plums.
  8. Tuck plum halves around the chicken and trickle over the soy sauce, adding a little water to the tin.
  9. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes until the plums and soft and yielding the juices.
  10. Prepare the stir fry vegetables whilst plums are cooking.
  11. Baste chicken with the juices and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
  12. Add water and soy sauce to the couscous (as per packet instructions).
  13. Heat oil in a wok until hot, add the onions, chillies, ginger and fry for a minute. Add the soy sauce and the rest of the vegetables until cooked but still firm.

Serve the chicken on a bed of couscous with the stir fry vegetables and ENJOY!!!

Plum Chilli Roasted Chicken with Couscous & Stir Fry Veg

If you have any recipes you would like to share please contact me with photos and we can feature it on one of the FOODY FRIDAY posts.

If you try this recipe and have any other suggestions to making it better or tastier please let me know.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

BRADFORD - The Old Odeon Cinema

The old Odeon Cinema sits next to the Alhambra Theatre overlooking the City Park & City Hall. It was originally built in 1930 as the New Victoria Grand Ballroom, Restaurant and Tea Room. In 1938 it was renovated to broadcast films but in World War Two was damaged by a bomb blast.

The old Odeon Cinema

It was later renovated in the 1950s as a cinema, ballroom and later a bingo hall, but shut in 2000 when it was under competition from the larger out of town cinema complexes which had been opened.

The City Park, Odeon & Alhambra Theatre

It is a wonderful building but no one really knows what to do with it and now it is in such a bad state of repair that it would need huge financial input to make into a building safe for people to use again. There have been talks of selling it to the Council for £1. The big question today is demolition or redevelopment?

Monday, 15 April 2013

Bygone Beach Days

My beautiful sister-in-law, Maria, is a very creative lady. She makes things to sell and is also very talented at building pretty blogs and websites, such as this one!

She has produced some greetings cards and postcards from her great - grandfather's 1920s paintings of Bygone Beach Days.

Bygone Beach Days

Maria sells these cards and other Bygone Beach Days merchandise on Etsy - Bygone Beach Days.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Spaghetti Bolognese

Bolognese Sauce
500g mince beef
1 onion, chopped
250g mushrooms, sliced
Clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp basil (or mixed herbs)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
300ml beef stock (1 beef OXO cube desolved in boiling water)
1tbsp of tomato purée
1/2 carrots, chopped into small pieces (optional)
1 green/red pepper, cut into cubes (optional)
250-300g spaghetti (or pasta shapes)

  1. Fry the onion with the herbs and garlic until soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms until soft.
  3. Add the beef and fry until browned.
  4. Add the peppers, carrots, tinned tomatoes, stock and tomato purée and mix together well.
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until reduced.
  6. Whilst the bolognaise is simmering, boil the spaghetti/pasta.
  7. Place spaghetti in a bowl or plate and cover in bolognese sauce.

Serve with grated cheese, garlic bread and/or salad.

Bolognese with pasta shapes

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

BRADFORD - The Alhambra Theatre

The Alhambra Theatre was named after the Alhambra Palace in Spain. It was opened in 1914 and currently hosts many large touring theatre performances. It is a Grade 2 listed building and stands overlooking the new City Park, Centenary Square and City Hall.

Bradford Alhambra Theatre

There is a restaurant on the top floor of the theatre that has a glass frontage and looks over the City Park, there will be amazing views from there especially on a night with the fountains all beautifully lit.

The Alhambra Theatre from the City Park

Unfortunately, Alhambra sits next to the old dilapidated Odeon Cinema which is in great need of a face lift or even demolition. 

The Alhambra Theatre sits next to the Old Odeon Cinema

Monday, 8 April 2013

Our Easter in Cornwall

We had a wonderful holiday over Easter in Cornwall, back to the home of my husband. We stayed in a lovely little flat in Higher Trewithen near Stithians.

Our home for the week...Higher Trewithen (Website)

From the flat we could walk across the beautiful fields to the village of Stithians. We walked this route on many a dark night from the village pub.

Walk across the field to Stithians

Stithians hosts a huge dam, aptly named Stithians Dam.

Stithians Dam

Looking down from the middle of Stithians Dam

We also visited a few different places, the first being St Michael's Mount...

St Michael's Mount

View from St Michael's Mount to Marazion

...and then Sennen Cove where we walked to Lands End.

Sennen Cove nr Lands End

Famous Lands End Sign

On the way back we drove past a number of Cornish Tin Mines.

Cornish Tin Mine

Another day we took a trip to Falmouth and saw...

Falmouth Harbour

A seagull

Falmouth Dry Docks

...and Luke even enjoyed an ice cream in the rain! 

Luke enjoying an ice cream

We had a sunny day out at the Eden Project near St Austell...

Eden Project

A huge mine lorry tyre...!

An interesting sculpture

A very large bumble bee

...and saw many interesting plants and flowers.

Luke even found a TRACTOR to have a ride on...

Luke and his tractor

...and a tree house!

A tree house!

One of my favourite days out was to the Cornish Cyder Farm... involved a tractor ride and cyder tasting!!!!!!!!!

Tractor at Healey's Cornish Cyder Farm

We then visited the most southerly point of the England, the Lizard.

Lizard signpost

A lovely boat near the sea

...with a walk to Kynnance Cove...

Kynnance Cove

Kynnance Cove 

Looking back down into Kynnance Cove

The walk back from Kynnance Cove

...followed by a walk up Camborne Hill to see the cross and castle.

Cross at Carn Brae

Carn Brae

The castle on the top of Carn Brae

The last day we visited Trebah Gardens with Luke's brother, Joe...

Trebah Gardens
The bridge at Trebah Gardens

We made friends with a robin...

Robin Red Breast

...and we saw lots of lovely cute primroses. 


We had a lovely time, although it was rather cold and now we are safely back at home enjoying the photos.

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