Monthly Archives: June 2015

Happy Friday 26.06.15

Cooked_fish GinDaisy Lottie Trout

As always, I’m offering a very warm welcome to Friday! It’s almost the weekend again, so let’s hope that it’s one full of sunshine, eating outdoors, relaxation and fun! In the meantime, here’s a brief round up of all that’s made me happy this week:

1. With G leaving for France last Saturday night, we celebrated Father’s Day a day early, with our inspired gift for D – a waffle maker! He’s been saying for months that we should get one, but he would never have got round to it himself, so was really pleased with it. And the verdict on the waffles? Amazing! They are so, so much lighter and fluffier than shop-bought ones, so between us we managed to demolish quite a pile!

2. We again had a lovely evening outside last Sunday, barbecuing some delicious fish on the fire pit – trout and herring – which we then ate with sour dough bread and olives, sundried tomatoes and peppers. It really was heaven on a plate.


3. We also tried out a new long cocktail drink last weekend – a Gin Daisy (I obviously only wanted to try it because it has “Daisy” in the name!). It is made with grenadine, orange juice, lemon juice, gin and soda water, and is so tasty. It looked as though it would be very sweet, but it wasn’t at all – it just works really well, and was a nice change from our usual gin and tonic.

4. It’s a very rare occurrence for me to have a bath, but it so happened that, on Monday evening, I had nothing that desperately needed doing and D was working, so I treated myself to a long soak in my new mango and papaya shower gel/bubble bath, and it was absolutely lovely. I really should make the effort to have a bath more often, as it is such a simple little treat – and is a great opportunity to catch up with some reading or Netflix watching.

5. G and I went with friends to see a great production of Romeo and Juliet at Derby Theatre last Friday, from Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory. It was a far more contemporary adaptation of the timeless masterpiece than I have previously seen, yet it retained the language and almost all of the narrative of the original, a combination which worked very well, and gave a very “young” feel to it. All of the acting performances were outstanding, and the whole production was very exciting and vibrant.

6. Cherries! I bought some delicious fresh cherries this week – and they are so good! I seem to have consumed rather a lot whilst writing this post, by the looks of it.

Cherries Coffee_waffle

7. Ginger and Lemongrass Cordial from Bottlegreen. D and I have drunk a lot of this this past week, and it is so yummy – and zingy! A lovely alternative to the copious amounts of tea that we usually consume.

8. We seem to have eventually found a new Netflix series to get stuck into – Luther. D has apparently seen one or two of them but I haven’t at all, so I’m really enjoying it so far.

9. The smell of the puppies when they came back from the groomers yesterday. They don’t just look super-smart after their summer trims but they smell incredible. I’m not sure what shampoo she uses, but it’s good!

10. As with B in April, one thing that I know will make me happy but hasn’t happened yet is G returning home from France. We’ve spoken to her a couple of times and know that she’s fine and has been having a great time, but it will be lovely to have her home again – at midnight tonight!



Summer in the Garden

Well, eventually, today, it actually feels like summer may have arrived. It is warm and sunny and beautiful, which improves everyone’s mood – hurrah! So I thought that it was high time that I did a post about our lovely garden, which we have been appreciating so much this year – and which I may have referred to once or twice in my “Happy Friday” posts!

Flower_3 Flower_8


The garden that we have inherited is absolutely beautiful. As with most 1930s houses, the plot size is really quite generous – even more so with our house and the one next door, as apparently, during the Second World War, when there was a farm adjacent, the farmer saw the women from the houses outside, watching over their children whilst knitting supplies for the troops, and decided to show his gratitude for their war contribution by giving them a little more land at the end of the garden. This may be just a lovely story, but the aerial view plan of the area certainly backs this up.

Garden_4 Garden_5

We are very lucky that the previous owners of the house were extremely keen gardeners. They were a lovely elderly couple, both retired, who used to spend hours each day tending it – it seems that she did the designing, choosing the plants, flowers, shrubs and bushes,  and the light planting work, while he did more of the heavier manual work – building the twisting path up the centre of the lawn, creating the flower beds and borders wherever she wanted – a real team effort. And they did a fantastic job of planning it out, so that there is continuously a riot of colourful flowers – no sooner has one variety withered, then a different beautiful bloom appears.

Lily Flower_10

Flower_9 Flower_Lottie

We are unable to spend as much time as they did actually working on the garden, but we are managing to keep on top of it by regularly weeding, mowing, strimming and trimming. We have done some larger jobs – we had some huge leylandii trees removed from the dark far end, which has brightened that section up enormously, and we then re-gravelled it and re-painted the fences, so that it has become our fire pit area. The main thing though, is that we (and the dogs!) are absolutely loving it! Although it hasn’t been warm enough to eat al fresco very much during the day yet this year, we have certainly made the most of the evenings, sitting around the fire pit on our bean bags, cooking fish over the fire, toasting marshmallows, and just enjoying being outdoors until late at night, with the fairy lights twinkling in the trees. Just beautiful.

Garden_1 Garden_3

Happy Friday 19.06.15

Cooking Honey_bed Lottie_hug Purple_flower

As all weeks seem to be at the moment, this has been one of ups and downs again, but I am, in the spirit of all gratitude lists, going to focus on the positives and the things that have made me happy this week.

1. We had a really lovely day last Saturday, when we took B for his induction day at the school he will be starting at in September. He was kept busy from 10am until 4pm, which gave us a wonderful opportunity to catch up with a friend we hadn’t seen in eight years, but whose younger son is also starting at the same school in September. Her older son has been at the school for a year already, so it was great to hear more about it from a boy who is there and is loving it! It was fantastic to catch up on each others lives as well – a lot has happened in the past eight years, as you’d expect! – so this was a great excuse to while away the day ambling around the nearby park, stopping for a drink in the café there (I may become quite a frequent visitor!) then strolling into town for a lovely Italian meal.

2. The other great thing from this day was that B had a lovely time. They had a day of sports activities, swimming, lunch, chilling and getting to know the place and the other boys, and he was very positive at the end of it. Phew! It was also good for G to see where he is going to be in September.

3. We had a really nice family evening on Sunday, cooking a delicious curry all together, followed by playing family games on the Wii, which we haven’t done for so long. It was great fun!

4. D was a complete superstar at the beginning of the week, when he picked up on the fact that I was feeling pretty down, and thus came home from work with treats – a huge bunch of flowers, and yummy bread, cheese and wine, to help cheer me up. It was all very gratefully received – and his thoughtfulness helped a lot!

5. Films! We seem to have had a bit of a film fest over the past week – we don’t watch many films, often because they seem just a bit too long and I always think that I will fall asleep – but we have watched three great ones this week: “The Other Woman”, which was very funny; “The Theory of Everything”, which I have wanted to see for months and thought was absolutely amazing (wow – Eddie Redmayne!); and “Philomena”, which was very poignant and shocking at times, but wonderfully done.

6. A wonderful conversation I had with a friend one evening this week. It was so good to have a really great catch up, although an hour and a quarter just wasn’t long enough. Luckily we are meeting up in a couple of weeks, so we can pick up where we left off then!

7. Lottie falling asleep whilst cuddling D one evening – she was properly cuddled up against him  – and snoring – too cute for words.

8. Actually coming up with a good idea for D’s Father’s Day gift this year! He is so hard to buy for, but I think that we’ve done well this year, so hopefully he will agree!

9. I know that this one has definitely featured before, but I have to mention the garden again, and the new flowers which are constantly appearing as if out of nowhere! It is still a revelation to us each time we spot something new – it will obviously be different next year, when we know what to expect – but the previous owners did an amazing job of choosing so many various plants that flower at all different times, so as soon as one has died or faded, another stunning bloom appears. I think that I may have to do a garden post next week!

10. The new toy that I bought for the puppies yesterday! It is just a bright pink, squeaky bone, but they love it, and all three dogs have been enjoying the bones I fetched back for them from the pet shop yesterday – they’ve certainly kept them quiet for a while!

So we are going to celebrate Father’s Day on Saturday this weekend, as G then goes away late on Saturday night to France for a week with school, so we are looking forward to a nice family day together before she leaves. Whatever your plans are for the weekend, I hope that you have a good one.

Finding Treasures

Well, it’s been a while, but I’ve been foraging again! My favourite things from the last month are described below:

Silver Cushion Covers


These cushion covers featured in the post that I wrote about our bedroom makeover recently, and I absolutely love them! They are crushed velvet, and the mottled affect this produces is so pretty, and they add just a subtle amount of glitz and glamour to our beautiful grey and white room. They are, of course, from Dunelm Mill – I have bought so many cushion covers from there since we moved last year!

Paradise Eau de Parfum


G and B bought me this gorgeous perfume from Next for my birthday – and they made a great choice! It has a fresh, fruity scent, which I always prefer, and it somehow reminds me of holidays in Grenada – always a good thing! Just look at the bottle, too – it’s just so pretty.

Blue Glass Bottle


I’m currently a little obsessed with glass bottle and jars, so I just had to buy this beautiful pale blue glass carafe when I saw it in Sainsburys a few weeks ago. The accent colour in our kitchen is duck egg blue, so it looks so good on the window sill when we’re not using it, but it has been put to good use on many occasions – I’ve tried out a few of my “fancy water” concoctions in it!

Bombay Original Gin


Until recently, Bombay Sapphire was definitely up there as one of our favourite gins, but this has now been usurped by Bombay Original, which was first introduced in 1959 (although based on a recipe from 1761) and is actually the precursor of Bombay Sapphire. We definitely feel that this makes the better tasting gin and tonic, being full of intense, aromatic flavours yet seemingly smoother on the palate. Delicious!

Rimmel Nail Polish


This is most definitely my favourite nail polish right now! Rimmel London 60 Seconds Super Shine Rita Ora Summer Shades Nail Polish in Rain Rain Go Away is a gorgeous grey/brown colour, so goes with just about everything. It goes on and dries very quickly – in fact, it’s possibly the quickest, easiest and neatest nail polish application I’ve ever done. It seems to last extremely well too – it doesn’t chip or fade and stays beautifully shiny for days.

Happy Friday 12.06.15

Cup Fire_wine Popcornpan Tea_laptop

Well, it’s had its ups and downs, but we’ve survived another week – hurrah!

Now that the children’s exams are over, things seem far more relaxed, and we are all beginning to see that the end of term and the start of the summer holidays is in sight. I am incredibly lucky that I can be at home with the children during their school holidays, but it does mean that the preceding weeks can be pretty crazy, as I try to put things in place at work and set up procedures in advance, so that I can have some time off. This seems to be even more vital this year, as we have quite a busy itinerary for their break, with our holiday first, then having two French Exchange children to stay, some of which time we will spend in Norfolk, then CarFest at the end of August, before B starts at his new school at the beginning of September.

So, what’s made you happy this week?  Here’s my list:

1. A truly lovely family weekend, as documented here – it was so good to spend lots of time together again.

2. Cooking popcorn over the fire – we weren’t entirely sure that it would work, but it did, and we ended up with a huge pan full of buttery, salty yumminess!

3. Using my lovely, flowery insulated cup, that B gave me for my birthday, almost every day. He had noticed that I had managed to drop and crack my previous one, so he (absolutely correctly) thought that I’d like this. And I love it! I’ve used it on the way to work and again when I’ve been on the afternoon school run, as, I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m always rushing around so much when I’m home that I don’t ever get to drink a HOT cup of tea.

4. The quick meal that G and I had at Ed’s Diner on our girly shopping trip on Sunday. I had Atomic American Fries – delicious fries with five dips: jalapeno jelly; guacamole; cheese sauce; sour cream and chilli – with a skinny peanut butter milkshake. A very naughty treat!

5. Planning what we’re hopefully going to do in Grenada next month. So far, we’ve got deep sea fishing, a trip to a treetop restaurant, a hike to the highest waterfall on the island and possibly another boat trip on our wish-list.

6. The beautiful weather for walking the dogs -although they do get very hot and are very ready for water when we get home.

7. Sorting out the garage! Not a very exciting one to most people, but the satisfaction I get now when I go in the garage is huge! It isn’t completely finished, and D needs to chop a lot more wood to be stored away for the fire pit and then the woodburner , but it’s so much better than it was this time last week.

8. G’s exam results. It’s been her turn to get them back this week and she’s done very well – her hard work has paid off.

9. A trip to QUAD in Derby with a lovely friend on Tuesday evening for a bite to eat and the National Theatre Live performance of George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman”. The National Theatre Live concept is just brilliant, and this performance was amazing – how Ralph Fiennes remembered all those lines is incredible – it is a really long play with 57,000 words, roughly half of which are his.

10. A visit to my favourite café – The Book Café in Derby – to write a blog post yesterday. It was definitely a good place to write, with the most enormous mug of chai latte for fuel.


We have a day at Ben’s new school tomorrow – well, he has a day of activities and getting to know people while we have to entertain ourselves for a few hours – but hopefully he’ll have a great day. What have you got planned for the weekend?


The Liebster Award

I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months now so I’m very grateful to Lizzie at Firstooth for nominating me for this award!


The Liebster Award is a great way for new bloggers, or bloggers with a smaller following, to get to know each other. In accepting the Liebster Award, there are some rules to follow as best you can:

1)Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog.
2) Post the Liebster Award badge on your blog.
3) Write 11 facts about yourself.
4) Nominate 4-11 bloggers (with fewer than 1,000 Twitter followers) who you feel deserve the award.
5) Answer the 11 questions posted by the blogger that nominated you.
6) Write 11 new questions for your nominees.

11 facts about me:

1. When we got married, we decided that we wanted four children, as I’m one of four. Then we had two, realised how hard it is to be a parent, and stopped there! But the two we have are fabulous!

2. My parents both died when I was in my very early thirties, which changed our outlook on life as we realised that life is very short and you don’t know what’s round the corner.

3. We considered emigrating to New Zealand a few years ago but, after careful consideration and research, decided that it wasn’t for us.

4. I love reading, and read all different genres of books.

5. I met my husband when we were at school – and love the fact that we appear on the same whole school photo, despite being in different year groups.

6. I did a French degree at university but have no idea why! I should have done history.

7. Yoga is my favourite kind of exercise.

8. I adore walking our three dogs every day – they are just too gorgeous!

9. I’ve recently re-discovered the joys of crosswords and colouring – and love both!

10. One of my favourite things to do is to go to the theatre, for both plays and musicals.

11. I’ve worked as a primary school teacher, a manager in the civil service, a web designer and now control the finances of the company I run with my husband.

Lizzie’s questions:

1.What is your biggest secret?
I don’t really have any secrets, apart from how I really feel inside sometimes.

2.Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Yes – the “Real Housewives” of anywhere, and peanut butter straight from the jar!

3.What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do?
Spend a year in France as part of my degree, away from my family and D.

4.When you get a spare hour how do you spend it?
Reading, playing the piano or doing a crossword.

5.If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Norfolk or Grenada in the Caribbean.

6.What made you decide to start a blog?
To record the little things which bring us joy and happiness, as a place to collect memories of our family life and as a gratitude journal.

7.What’s your favourite type of blog to read?
Lifestyle – a bit about people’s everyday lives, and ones with interior design inspiration.

8.Is the experience of being a parent different from how you imagined it?
Yes – it is so much harder but can also be more fun.

9.If you can go out, where is your favourite place to eat?
I love good British pub food and, as a contrast, Waga Mama!

10. What is the best thing you’ve ever bought?
Our firepit! It has already given us so many lovely family (screen-free!) evenings out in the garden until late.

11.Where is your favourite place to go as a family?
For a holiday – Grenada; for the weekend, CarFest; for a day trip, a Norfolk beach or for a lovely walk.

My nominees:

One Lonely Momma

What Mummy Did Next

Hills and Daffodils



Dear Dads

My questions:

1. Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?
2. What achievement are you most proud of?
3. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
4. What is your dream job?
5. Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with?
6. What is your favourite food?
7. What is your favourite book, and why?
8. Do you have any unusual habits?
9. How would you describe your house interior style?
10. Do you have any phobias?
11. What one thing would you tell your 18 year old self?

If you’re able to participate in this then please tag me once you’ve completed it so I can have a read! @Daisytrixabelle

One of the reasons why I blog

As I said when I first started this blog almost three months ago (woah – where did that time go?!), one of my motivations behind it was to create a record of the little things which bring me and my family joy and happiness. Part of this is most definitely covered by my Happy Friday posts, in which I record ten things which have made me happy in that week. But another aspect of blogging that I’m loving is being able to document, in words and photos, some of the oh-so-lovely times we have as a family. G and B are growing up so quickly, and we already feel that our days together as a four are numbered, so I feel that it will become even more special as time goes on to have this as a journal of the happy times that we have experienced together.


Talking of which, we have just enjoyed an absolutely lovely weekend! After the past few weeks having been taken up with G and B revising for their end of year exams, it felt so special to be able to spend Saturday all together. We began the day with a fabulous breakfast of the delicious croissants which I had bought at the farm shop earlier in the week, then we went back to Kedleston Hall, where I had walked the dogs the previous weekend, as it was a beautiful sunny day and I really wanted to share the lovely walk with them. We had a great time – lots of pleasant, relaxed chatter, fun with the dogs, with the prospect of our first picnic of the year at the end! We had walked fairly quickly, so felt that we truly deserved our lunch of bread, cheese, pate, crisps, sugar snap peas and watermelon  – and to be able to eat outside always feels like such a treat. Of course, we had to finish off our treat with ice creams, so we all went home very happy.

FD GBWalking Swan

As the weather was so kind to us, we decided that we would light the fire pit and barbecue our evening meal over it, so we had homemade burgers, fish and homemade garlic bread baked on the side of the grill – it was so good! G, with her obsession with bacon, then decided to try cooking bacon over the fire, which, I have to say, worked very well. We had such a great night out there that we stayed out until 11 o’clock, with D cooking yet more bacon at about 10.30pm! It was a very special night.

Flower Flowers

The following day saw me and G going for a shopping trip into Derby to buy some final holiday clothes. It was a really lovely “girly” trip – and we may even have got some tasty lunch at Ed’s Diner whilst we were out!

Fries G-Fries

See, I know already that this is one of those posts that I will come back to in the months and years to come, to remind myself of what a lovely weekend it was. I don’t want to suggest that such weekends are so few and far between, but some are just especially lovely, don’t you think?


Zenas Suitcase

Happy Friday 05.06.15

Kedleston Moth Peony Prawns

Well, that’s the end of the children’s first week back at school after the half term holiday, which means that they only now have five weeks left until the summer break (which means it’s only just over five weeks until we go away too – hurrah!).

In the meantime, this is what’s made me happy this week:

1. My beautiful walk with the puppies at Kedleston Hall last Saturday – as described, with lots (!) of photos, here.

2. G finishes her exams today, which will make us all very happy. She has worked very hard and deserves good results, so fingers crossed.

3. B has been getting his exam results back this week and they’ve been pretty good on the whole, I have to say, which makes me both happy and relieved! (When I took them to school on Monday, G was facing her first exam and B the prospect of getting his first exam mark back – guess who was the more nervous of the two of them?!)

4. I had a good night out with my sister on Monday. She is member of Soroptimist International (if you don’t know them, they are a global volunteer movement working together to transform the lives of women and girls), and they have an annual fundraising fashion show event which I always go to. It is a fun, relaxed evening, and I always come away with a few real bargains – I think that my favourite purchase this year was a pink summer scarf decorated with beach huts – a lovely reminder of Norfolk!

5. Food! We have had some very tasty meals this week, especially a prawn and vegetable curry, and also the spicy Thai prawn meal shown in the photo above – that was especially good, with the added bonus of being very healthy.

Farmshop Haul

6. Lottie has really discovered the joy of playing with balls this week. She has been able to retrieve one since we brought her home at 9 weeks old, but she has suddenly become obsessed with them this week, and is becoming very adept at catching. The photo below shows the sight I’ve been faced with repeatedly this week, as she drops the ball near me and then sits there looking hopeful until I throw it for her. So cute!

7. The garden is continuing to be a beautiful delight to us, as new flowers and plants emerge. This week has seen the blooming of the amazing peonies – honestly some of the most stunning flowers I have ever seen. In addition to the flowers, it was so lovely when D spotted the beautiful moth shown on the photo at the top of the page on the tree in our fire pit area last weekend. It was about two inches in length and the camouflage markings were so clear and defined.

8. After leaving work a little earlier than I had intended on Thursday, I made the most of the extra time as an opportunity to visit a farm shop which opened a little while ago quite close by, but which I haven’t had time to go to previously. It was lovely and I was very tempted by so many things, but I came away with some lovely fresh, locally made bread, Crunchy Red Onion and Sage cheese, a special bottle of beer for D, some croissants and a bag of huge marshmallows – we are consuming a lot of marshmallows right now!

9. A nice break in G’s revision evenings this week was when we had a meeting at her school about her upcoming trip to France. It was good to find out more about where they will be staying, visiting, and the activities planned, and lovely to see how excited she is about going.

10. A final one for this week was my night out yesterday. I went with some friends to the Red Carpet Cinema, which I haven’t been to previously, to watch “A Royal Night Out”, which was lovely. If you haven’t seen it, it is about the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret venturing out of Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day, incognito. It is very far-fetched, but I did wish that it had been true – it would certainly have been a night for them to remember!

Someone has just asked me what we have planned for this weekend, and I had to say that I have absolutely no idea! It sometimes feels like such an achievement to actually get to the end of the week, that we don’t actually get around to planning anything. No doubt it will include lots of chilling time for G, a family evening around the fire pit, some good walks with the dogs – and maybe even making a start on sorting out the garage if we feel brave enough!

Whatever you are up to, have a great couple of days.


Kedleston Hall

I can’t believe that it’s June already – time is certainly flying – not that I’m complaining, with our holiday now being only six weeks away!

1 2

We had a pretty quiet weekend, which was nice. One of the highlights of it was my trip to Kedleston Hall, near Derby. We have had our National Trust membership for several years, but have certainly not made the most of it in the past couple, so I’m determined to change that this year. So, when I knew that G was going to be busy revising, and D and B had planned a run and a game of tennis for Saturday afternoon, I decided that I would take the dogs for a lovely walk at Kedleston Hall. We have been into the hall and walked here a few times previously, but I took a very different route this time, doing the “long walk” (which isn’t at all long, but at 3.2 miles is the longest of the set walks on the estate).

3 4 5 6


As you can see from the photos, it was absolutely beautiful! The route started off near the hall itself, from where I walked down to the Adam Bridge, then turned to the right to walk amongst the sheep and lambs alongside the gorgeous lake, complete with swans. I passed two weirs before reaching the end of the lake and turning up into woodland, continuing to then follow a pretty, sun dappled path up into the woods which run along the back of the estate and hall. There were stunning views of the hall and countryside along the way – as you can tell, I got a little carried away with the camera! I was stomping at a pretty good speed with the dogs, but, had I wanted to stop, there are plenty of benches dotted along the way, often with amazing views to admire as you rest or have a picnic. The woodland path then dropped back down to the side of the hall, where we had started – the great thing, following our misadventures of last weekend, was that there was no possibility of getting lost – the route was very clear and simple to follow! Phew!


11 12 14 8

Now that I have discovered this walk, I think that it will become a very regular trip, as it was just so lovely. The only downside is that dogs have to be on their leads all the time. I can fully understand this on the parkland areas, because of the freely roaming sheep, but it seemed a shame that I couldn’t let them off to run around and explore the woodland areas.

13 9 15

Having done two fabulous walks in the past two weekends on National Trust properties, I feel quite confident that we WILL get the most out of our membership this year.