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

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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!


olloclip

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

I use an iPhone (5) and I love it.

I use it every day for emails, calls, texts, vibe, whatsapp, FB, instagram, twitter, maps, waze, evernote, pinterest, contacts, calendar….. you name it.

I didn’t think that the camera on the phone could be improved as it such good quality already. the iPhone 6 has probably managed to improve the camera further but until I have an iPhone 6, I will have to wait to see.

But I read somewhere ages and ages ago that there was a little attachable lens was available from a company called Olloclip to use with the phone as an attachment, providing more flexibility and giving you a tool that would truly explore the potential of the smashing lens in this little phone.

As an early christmas present to myself, I ordered the 4-in-1 combo. This provides you with a fish eye, wide angle and 2 strengths of macro lens.

I have a canon 6D that I use all the time and have a variety of different lenses for it. It provides such good quality shots that I use it for serious photography and pictures of my work but I have never really considered the iPhone to be a contender for serious shots.  As good as it is, how could it possibly be used as a serious working camera?

The review were good but my true expectations for what the addition of the olloclip could do to the camera on the iPhone were limited, but the results have been amazing.

It is tiny attachment and a bit fiddly and would be very easy to lose but if you have the time and the patience along with helpful additions to your camera bag such as a gorilla pod and a clip for your phone, you can set it up to get great photos.

It is great fun and the results are very effective.

Olloclip has an instagram account where people share their images using the olloclip and some are truly incredible.

I need some time to get more interesting shots and I have not taken advantage of the wide angle fitting yet but I’m delighted with the macro results

See for yourself……… all taken with the phone hand held without the support or steadiness of a tripod, gorilla pod or surface

Fish Eye

hand held at eye level

at eye level

seated

seated

10x Macro

flower head - hand held

flower head

daisy - hand held

daisy

rotting knot in fallen tree - hand held

rotting knot in fallen tree

15x Macro

drooping flower head

drooping flower head

detail from flower

detail from flower

offset shot of flower - my favourite

offset shot of flower – my favourite

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

 

 


coffee adventures

it's frothy man

it’s frothy man

After such excitement over our gorgeous new coffee machine, we have had some disappointments.

Our lovely machine blew something inside and was no longer safe to use with water and steam spewing out everywhere.

John Lewis were brilliant about it and because they had no De Longhi stock to replace it and it was dangerous, they refunded us in full and the pretty machine was condemned to the bin, unfortunately.

pixie!

pixie!

We were back to our traditional italian stove top coffee maker for a while and still loving our coffee.

But we missed the frothy milk and the espressos that JC likes. Coffee and hot milk done the old fashioned way just wasn’t hacking it.

traditional stove top coffee maker

traditional stove top coffee maker

After all it is still a bit of a faff using the stove top and a milk pan and even a wonderful morning coffee we can get from our wonderfully seasoned old campaigner hasn’t hacked it really.

We are busy and things need to be as easy as possible really

So!!!!

Having taken full advantage of our lovely friends thorough research, we are now the proud owners of a Nespresso Pixie with aerochino!

And it is wonderful

And it is easy

And there is no mess

And it is cheaper than buying beans and ground.

 

And we have found a fantastic clever devise for storing our pods that can be fixed to the underside of the kitchen wall cupboard. Right on hand but not seen. Marvellous.

pod holder

pod holder

Or mounted on the wall like a piece of art.

wall mounted pod holder

wall mounted pod holder

Finding the flavours that are right for us but it is fun trying and we have had some very helpful tips.

shiney and brilliant

shiney and brilliant

I feel coffee love again!!!


Water Baby

retrieve

retrieve

It’s safe to say that Max does not like the water.

He’s spent an extraordinary amount of time getting wet with weekly baths to sort out his skin problem so I can understand the aversion to it.

not letting the stick go

not letting the stick go

But even before the allergy started, he wasn’t the first into the sea or any body of water that you’d throw a stick into.

He might venture into the shallows to retrieve a treat but we have lost a lot of balls and toys on the beaches of norfolk because he just won’t go in to get them if a swim or deep water of any kind is required.

Hamlet and Max waiting for the throw

Hamlet and Max waiting for the throw

Add a bit of competition though and that is a completely different matter as we found out recently.

fish eye olloclip lens on iPhone 5

fish eye olloclip lens on iPhone 5

We have my sis’s JRT, Hamlet with us for a while again and we took Max for a walk with him to a pond nearby and as soon as there was a chance that Hamlet might beat him to the retrieve, he was right in there.

I've got it!!

I’ve got it!!

 

Swimming no less!!! (well, it actually looked a lot like drowning a lot of the time to be fair).

It was such a lovely evening that we stayed for ages, wearing out the boys and enjoying the sun set.

sun set

sun set