A Private Viewing

The Capsule Poster

The Capsule Poster

I went to an exhibition at the weekend in a super little private gallery in Norfolk called The Capsule.

The Capsule Extension Gazebo

The Capsule Extension Gazebo

The very talented and very lovely daughters of my dear friends John & Kate were invited to exhibit some of their fabulous work in The Capsule and it is their exhibition that I went to see.

John adding the finishing touches

John adding the finishing touches

Jess and Millie are also the grandaughters of Pam and Neal French’s and you can see how they are so talented. It clearly runs in the family.

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Their work is brilliant and hugely diverse.

Checking everything over

Checking everything over

It is done with nearly everything you can think of to create with – pens, pencils, crayons, paper, cameras, ipads, paint, clay and many more. I really think they could make art with just about anything.

ready for the viewing

ready for the viewing

The exhibition is a collection of just some some of their stuff

Millie's photos

Millie’s photos

Both girls are hugely busy and enthusiastic artists. Millie loves photography and Jess loves ipad art but their talents spread across everything they try.

Jess's ipad art

Jess’s ipad art

And their work has such charm and freedom of expression.

Jess's Clay Sculptures

Jess’s Clay Sculptures

I loved it all.

and the people came

and the people came

The entire day was a delight

Jess and Millie talking to visitors

Jess and Millie talking to visitors

Setting up, chatting to those viewing the exhibition and watching the girls pieces being so well received made for a super atmosphere.

viewing and chatting over a drink

viewing and chatting over a drink

The interest was phenomenal and I hope it has encouraged them to carry on with even more lovely work.

Millie talking through the work

Millie talking through the work

They were so professional in their dealings with people, it was wonderful to watch and I’m sure they learned some valuable lessons.

Jess talking through some orders

Jess talking through some orders

I imagine it would be quite daunting for such young talent to put themselves out there but they seemed to take it very much in their stride and rose to the task wonderfully.

and they keep coming

and they keep coming

Their talent is endless!

in the fading light

in the fading light

It was a completely lovely exhibition.

Millie's street lamp ipad art

Millie’s street lamp ipad art

It looked like the girls had a great time and there were lots of visitors to chat to about their work.

Night Sky

Night Sky

The interest was keen and a lot of their pieces were sold.

riverbank

riverbank

Their sales were across the exhibition; some originals and some limited edition prints which will be despatched to their supporters soon. The sculptures were just about sold out and I don’t think they went home with much.

a lovely lady in her finery

a lovely lady in her finery

I am myself, the the proud owner of a few of their pieces and I am delighted with them.

cute croc

cute croc

So, people, you saw it here first!

Watch this space because I don’t think this is the last you will see of these super talented young ladies.

a very happy Millie

a very happy Millie


September

September is my favourite month for many, many reasons.

The end of September always makes me a little sad but but I am always looking forward very much to the next one.

It is filled with lovely things for us:-

It is the month we take our main annual holiday

The Shropshire Way

Walking – The Shropshire Way

It is the month of Burghley Horse Trials

Burghley Horse Trial

Burghley Horse Trial – Burghley

It is the month of harvest

Harvest in Northumberland

Harvest – Northumberland

It is the month of Sandringham Game Fair

Horse Boarding - Sandringham Game Fair

Horse Boarding – Sandringham Game Fair

It is a month when we do most of our walking

walking - The Lakes

Walking – The Lakes

It is the month when the best fungi appear.

Fungi - Fly Ageric

Fungi – Fly Ageric

It is the month of Food Festivals across the country. Ludlow being our favourite.

Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle

It is the month for Bramble picking & making Jam.

Brambles

Brambles

It is the month of Indian Summers when the heat has left the sun but the cold months are not showing themselves yet.

September Sun - Ford Village

September Sun – Ford Village

It is the month we got our hound and collected him when he was just 8 weeks old.

Max

Max

And it is the month we got married

September Wedding - Rings

September Wedding – Rings


tea total

delicious tea - cute graphics too

delicious tea – cute graphics too

I love tea!

My husband thinks I’m addicted to it.

I don’t want poncey tea, I’m a PG/yorkshire tea girl and I like it made just like builders tea (but without the 4 sugars – half will do as I’m pretending I don’t take sugar!).

I am aware that a cup contains about half the caffeine (50 caffeine points – or whatever they are measured in) as coffee (100) and that I should really be on the green tea wagon with everyone else but the honest answer is that I can’t stand green tea and it is a waste of hot water and a clean mug in my book (quite apart from the fact that I keep trying it, it still goes cold in the mug and gets thrown away!!) so there is little point.

And whilst a score of 450 on the caffeine front is still very much within the safety limits, and means I can have 9 cups per day, no problem. Most days, though, I don’t come anywhere near that

BUT

In the interests of health and also because I am not short sighted enough not to realise that there might just be a green tea/tree hugger tea out there for me, I have been trying a few things.

So…………

I have a number of different boxed tea bags and leaf tea to try and decided to give each tea a score.

Twinings Green Jasmine Tea

I started with this one as I already know that I quick like jasmine tea (as served in good Chinese restaurants). I have discovered that the leaves need to be so few in number or they really only need to see the water for a few seconds before the leaves need to come out.  Otherwise it becomes quite overpowering and has a stewed bitterness to the flavour.

too many leaves and left too long

too many leaves and left too long

Score 5/10

Whittards Hangover Tea Bags 

I don’t buy this tea for hangovers but because it is THE nicest fruit tea on the market bar none. Hard to come by as they seem to run out on a terrifyingly frequent basis so I used to buy about 4 boxes each time I got the chance & have a little supply that will see me through a fair few cups.

I like it because it is fresh, fruity and not too sweet. You can pick out the fruitiness and it feels like a nice clean wholesome flavour. It contains Hibiscus Flower and I think that May well be where the lovely taste comes

AND

The colour is lovely

fruitylicious

fruitylicious

Score 9/10

Twinings Early Grey Tea

Earl Grey has been in the news recently for it’s heart healing properties all thanks to the wonderful Bergamot used to flavour it (smells pretty nice too and I love it in skincare products!). I hated Earl Grey when I first tried it as a teenager but it has become a store cupboard favourite. I think putting Earl Grey in makes this little test a bit of a cheat but I would definitely say it ranks up there with the herbal tea teas for it’s health properties..

Score 9.5/10

M&S Citrus Tea

I always have lemon tea of some kind in my cupboards as a few people who visit seem to drink it so it was quite readily on hand to try.

It’s OK and it is probably done better by others but there is still that slightly grassy taste about it which puts me off. I didn’t have it very strong (having learned my lesson on the Jasmine Tea) and that is definitely an advantage until your palate becomes accustomed.

I might persevere with this one as it’s ok but I do very much like a simple single slice of lemon in hot water. It is also a good way to wake up your liver I believe.

Score 6/10

Sage Tea

It is lovely and much less like drinking grass cuttings than most herb teas. It has such useful and powerful herbal and medicinal properties too that it is worth having in your garden for drinking even if it doesn’t get into your christmas stuffing:- it is cooling in the heat and also reduces menopausal hot flushes to name but a few.

a few tender green leaves in boiled water releases the essential oils

a few tender green leaves in boiled water releases the essential oils

sage is so easy to grow

sage is so easy to grow

Fresh has also got to be better though so this was straight from our garden.

Score 8/10

Mint Tea

Lovely and refreshing even in the heat, mint tea is so simple and easy.  Again, fresh leaves straight from the Garden and into the pot.

Rosemary Tea

Like the mint tea, this has a freshness to it that makes it lovely to drink in the heat (Rosemary is part of the Mint family) and has great healing properties. Known to boost the immune system, it also improves blood circulation, is a great anti-inflammatory and is full of those lovely anti oxidants.

All round a great herb.

What you don’t drink or cook with is also great to use in handmade skincare.

 

Whittards Lemon & Lime Tea

Then of course there is the pretend tea……

The turkish do a wonderful apple tea, the principle of which a lot of the flavoured sugars that dissolve into an instant tea follow.

This Whittards Lemon & Lime Tea has too much sugar for my pallet but it is very refreshing, especially served ice cold.

Whittard's Lemon & Lime Tea Granules

Whittard’s Lemon & Lime Tea Granules

Score 7/10

Builders tea still scores 10/10 compared to all these others but I’m getting there and drink a greater variety than just my PG now.

builder's tea

builder’s tea

The next question is whether it tastes better made in the cup or in the pot? AND should the milk go in first or afterwards?


heart tart

heart tart

When I made the love bugs for valentine’s day last year, I had been undecided about what I would make and bought some heart tart moulds.

With the ingredients required to make a couple of these, I recently had a go.

IMG_7110

i’m not very patient with baking but these are really easy and delicious with custard or cream.

treacle added

RECIPE

  • 400g/14oz golden syrup / treacle

  • 150g/5½oz fine fresh white breadcrumbs

  • 2 lemons, zest and juice

  • 1 free-range egg, beaten, to use as an egg wash

  • ready made pastry of your preference (I used short)

a trio of tarts


New York, New York

                                                                         the guggenheim museum

I was taken to New York for my birthday at the beginning of the year and it was absolutely amazing.

the ramps at the guggenheim museum

                                                           the ramps at the guggenheim museum

I just knew we would love the place and we did. Neither of us has been before so it came with huge expectations having heard so many good things and lots of praise for the city that never sleeps.

grand central station

                                                                         grand central station

We weren’t disappointed.

We were based in Mid Town and we walked everywhere from there. In our explorations, we found that we were covering an average of 11 miles a day but those miles flew by in wonder at all the sites and soaking up the incredible atmosphere.

IMG_9615

                                                                                  the oyster bar

There is so much to see and so many choices to make about what you spend your time looking at each day.

Everywhere we went, we were delighted by new things but what thrilled me most of all (apart from the food of course) was the architecture.

IMG_9616

                                                                 the streets are paved with gold

Our gorgeous hotel suite looked out onto the Empire State building and the silhouette of this against the sky greeted us every morning and saw us off to sleep each night. It became my favourite building in New York during our trip.

radio city

                                                                                          radio city

We didn’t go up the Empire State building but enjoyed the view from our hotel suite and then from the Top of The Rock.

The Top of The Rock is a great location to view 360 degrees of the Big Apple and we were lucky enough to get some lovely winter sun

flat iron

                                                                                                 flat iron

All the art deco buildings have been lovingly preserved and kept in proud use. They are wonderful feats of engineering and sit side by side with their more modern but no less wonderful young neighbours.

The Empire State Building

                                                                        The Empire State Building

We took over 1000 photos and each one reminds us of something fantastic about the buildings and things around us be it our trip into manhattan, west village or hell’s kitchen. We loved it all.

view across midtown

                                                                    view across midtown

New York is rightly proud of it’s city and I can’t wait to go back.

Statue of Liberty way off in the distance

                                                          Statue of Liberty way off in the distance


Go Pro

Max the Go Pro Mule

Max the Go Pro Mule

JC bought a Go Pro Hero 3 + black edition in August 2014 and has been playing with it and buying bits for it ever since. He is officially in love with this little bit of tech heaven and now our friend’s daughter has one (from Santa) so they can be geeks together.

a few adjustments required

a few adjustments required

Geek aside, it is rather sweet to watch them getting over excited about a tiny box of tricks. There are a good few decades separating them.

nothing unusual about having a big black box on your back

nothing unusual about having a big black box on your back

Anyway, in the interest of Go Pro advancement in our household, our terrier Max has been persecuted with a cumbersome harness and a little camera recording his every move on some of our weekend walks.

camera position adjusted to front

camera position adjusted to front

To be fair, Max is completely ok with all of this and just takes it in his stride.

I think the harness is designed for a larger dog and some adaptions will be needed to the straps but they get by and Max seems unaffected by it. On occasion, he does try to bury into a straw stack or some undergrowth and can’t quite seems to understand why his progress is limited.

returning with a little more than just the camera

returning with a little more than just the camera

JC doesn’t have much footage that he has chosen to keep yet but he is persevering and we have some half decent stills so far.

Cool as a cucumber and couldn't care less

Cool as a cucumber and couldn’t care less

Watch this space, our little Go Pro mule might offer some interesting images to show you yet!


Neal French

walking figure

walking figure

We had the greatest of pleasure in accepting an invitation to a private viewing of Neal French’s latest exhibition that took place in Norwich during October of 2014.

pin ups

pin ups

pin ups

pin ups

We have been to his viewings a number of times before so we knew we were in for a treat.

We aren’t fortunate enough to own much of his work yet although we do have four lovely verdigris wall plaques from the early 90s that represent the four seasons and we love them.

His figurative sculptures are, however, what he is best known for and they are completely wonderful.

the shopper

the shopper

the shopper

the shopper

All of the pieces are taken from life studies sketched into his sketch books in prolific numbers or they are inspired from photographs taken while he and his wonderful wife Pam’s have been on their travels.

the gymnast

the gymnast

He regularly has commissions whether they be The Grosvenor Group for a West End installation, a bakery organisation installation of Figures on a roundabout in Spalding, a group of figures outside a village hall or a private piece in someone’s garden.

A lot of the commissions are life size and wonderful for it but it was lovely to browse through these smaller bronze and ceramic figures that formed the most part of this most recent exhibition.

female figure

female figure

female figure

female figure

They are all exquisite, made all the more lovely when you can see the thumb prints from his hand workings before they are cast and captured but also because some of the subjects are known to us.

Having spent a little time with the gentleman himself (who would not be as prolific or as well organised as he is without the endless and terribly important support of the marvellous Mrs French, Pam), the pieces come alive as he accompanies discussions about them with a fascinating back story.

Added to all of this (as if there needed to be more), he is an incredibly lovely, rather interesting and very talented man indeed.

All of his work is fabulous and all fabulous for many different reasons but my favourite from this exhibition is by far Shopper.

Marvellous!

cappuccino

coffee break