Saturday, 16 March 2013

Friday Round Up

a foggy morning - jessie wants to play - cosy lie in
chickens enjoying macaroni cheese - handsome wilson - new obsession
lancome goodies - walks in the woods - fresh eggs for breakfast

Thank you so much to those of you who noticed that there was no Friday Round Up last week and emailed to check on me :) There's nothing that cheers me up more than knowing there are people out there who read regularly and notice when something's not quite right

I've not been well for nearly a month now and blogging has definitely suffered. I've been so worn out that everything is a struggle, so anything that isn't absolutely essential has fallen by the wayside. My house is a mess, the dogs aren't getting out every day and just managing to get washed and dressed is an achievement most days. A couple of times I've thought I was feeling better, only to be back to square one the next morning. Yesterday was particularly bad but when I woke up this morning I felt cautiously optimistic that today was going to be ok

And it was. I made brunch for Matt and I - fresh local baps filled with crispy bacon, poached fresh-laid eggs and plenty of ketchup, washed down with a mug of tea for me and a huge latte for him. Then I drove into town and took my sister and nephew out to a local bistro for lunch. She's been ill for the last couple of weeks too and was dying to get out of the house, I think it did both of us good

Having been pretty much confined to the house for the past few weeks there has been little to report to be honest. I'm sick and tired of feeling sick and tired but I'm planning to book a couple of days away next month so that I've got something to look forward to. And I'm trying to be kind to myself - my skin has suffered terribly and dried up like an old fig so I treated myself to some lovely Lancome goodies which cheered me up a little. And I've been indulging in long lie-ins at the weekend with a good cup of tea (Matt is on cracking tea brewing form at the minute) and a long book. I've been re-reading old books - I find this a huge comfort in times of illness or an attack of the blues. Children's books are the best but I've also been working my way back through Jilly Cooper's Rutshire Chronicles which are my absolute favourite books ever and are never too far from my bedside

Matt's racing tomorrow so I will be meeting my friend Liz for coffee and a catch up, giving the dogs a long walk and attacking the housework. Fingers crossed, this weekend will mark an upturn in my health and normal blogging will resume soon :)

Have a lovely weekend everyone

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Friday Round Up

a little neom treat - only one of these hens is actually laying - the broody buster
a gift from my best friend - a gift from my step sister - matt's favourite birthday present
pink floyd - the roof is going on - the garage is nearly finished

I don't know about you guys but I've really enjoyed the fact that we've had NO RAIN this week! There's even been some sunshine, which has lifted our spirits no end and reminded us that Spring is indeed on it's merry way

I'd planned to spend this week playing with my new laptop but unfortunately the week started off busy and just got busier! 

Monday night was spent choosing an integrated fridge freezer and a larder drawer for our new kitchen. Yes folks, it's just a non stop party round here! On Tuesday night we visited our friends Tom and Laura and their gorgeous baby, Jacob. He's six months old now and truly one of the cutest babies I've ever seen. He has this expression of surprise on his face at all times and his latest trick is to stamp his right foot when you hold him upright - he loves the fact that it makes everyone laugh! On the way home we stopped for a drink at a local bar and picked up a naughty takeaway - meat feast calzone for Matt and a chicken kebab with mayo and extra salad for me. Extra salad you see, that's healthy, right??

On Wednesday I went to our Oxford head office for a meeting, I was on the road by 7am and it was a beautiful morning, bright and clear, perfect for a long drive. And it was a long drive, it took me four hours to get there and four hours to get back. We sold some of our businesses that day so I was ridiculously busy with that - when I walked in the house at 8pm I grabbed a quick bite to eat and just carried on working until I fell asleep

On Thursday I was working away again but raced home for 2pm to get ready to go to Manchester with Matt to see the Australian Pink Floyd show. I booked this last February so we've waited ages for it! I've been watching this group's gigs for the last 11 years and whilst the line up has changed, they're still incredible. We went to Prezzo for some dinner first (grilled goats cheese bruschetta followed by fusilli alla rusticana for me and crab cakes followed by an Italian burger for Matt) and then on to the gig, which was brilliant. We are both huge Pink Floyd fans and Dark Side Of The Moon was the album we listened to most whilst we were renovating the house we live in now. I remember filling the cracks in the spare room walls at 2am whilst listening to Pink Floyd and wondering if we'd ever get the place finished! That was four years ago and if you'd told me then that we'd be renovating another house now I'd have laughed in your face :)

My (and Matt's) favourite little bantam hen ('Mama Hen') decided to go broody this week. Every now and then hens get an overwhelming urge to 'brood (ie set on and hatch) eggs. Bantams are particularly prone to broodiness and this little hen goes broody regularly during the warmer months. There's only two things you can do with a broody hen - either give her some fertile eggs to brood so that she'll come out of it naturally when the babies arrive, or break her of the broodiness. We have quite enough chickens at the minute so we've had to break her, sadly. This involves popping her in a cage for a couple of days with no food or water, to refocus her mind. It sounds a bit cruel but broody hens can actually die as the urge to brood is stronger than the urge to get off the nest to eat and drink - they go into a kind of trance. This hen was a wonderful mother to her babies last time around but I had to lift her off her eggs every day and place her in front of food and water, she was so dedicated! We call the cage 'the broody buster' - basically a hen can't 'set' in it because there's no floor, she's standing on metal bars. It also allows air to circulate underneath her and cools her belly down - when a hen is brooding eggs she'll pluck out all of the feathers on her tummy so that her bare skin is in contact with the eggs, to keep them really warm. So Mama Hen is confined to a cage for a couple of days, she's not happy about it but that's life I'm afraid

The new house has really come on this week - the extension roof is almost finished, the plumber has started the pipework upstairs in the extension so we'll soon have radiators and be able to make a start on our en suite bathroom, the beautiful triangular oak window arrived for the back of the house and today the floor is being laid upstairs

I'm not at the house today, I felt a bit tired and rough this morning so I'm at home with the dogs, the doors and windows are open and I'm enjoying the beautiful light and the sound of the birds singing away like crazy. Tonight we'll be staying in with Saturday night TV and something yummy to eat. I'll probably be catching up on some sleep ready to attack the painting tomorrow :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

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