27/9/11- Taste of Britain Tuesday- Broccoli & almond soup

Apologies for the lateness of this TOBT post. It's been a busy week for me...

On tuesday I made a wonderful James Martin recipe of broccoli & almond soup. He says that almond soup is actually an old British fave, which I had no idea. I thought this soup was also a nice knockoff of the traditional British soup broccoli & stilton. 

I love homemade soup, and this one was amazingly delish. 

26/9/11- Oreo

The other day I whipped up these homemade oreos, a recipe I found via Canadian Livings Pinterest, via Flour Child

They were SO easy to make, and delicious. If you check out the original recipe and read her commentary on the cookies, you will want to make them too. 

25/9/11- Thatched

Thatched house from a nearby village... how cute!

22/9/11- On the left

This morning I took Patty out for a ride. I am finding that each ride that I take her out, I am getting more confident on the bike, stronger on the hills, and am increasing my overall speed. 

She is a very different ride compared to my town bike Betsy, and don't worry, Betsy still gets a ride every now and then :)

I snapped a couple pics on the ride today, and would have taken some more of the beautiful scenery, though I'd have to stop riding. I guess there is nothing wrong with stopping to take photos, but I like getting out there and just pedaling. 

The majority of roads that we ride on around here are like this. They are called B roads, joining small villages and towns, and in the morning or afternoon (outside of commuter times) are nice and quiet to ride on. There isn't much of a shoulder like Alberta roads, but drivers are generally quite respectful when passing you. 

Yes, this is a road not a bike path! Isn't it lovely? This is a favorite stretch of mine on this one specific route. This isn't even considered an B road its so small. It connects a few smaller towns on the route, and has nice rolling hills to get some good speed on and to work the legs. 

21/9/11- Morning & Night

Oh! It seems a 'Taste of Britain Tuesday' has passed me by and I've forgotten to post. Whoops...Will make it up to you later on this week. 

Also another thing to note, I've signed up to Bloglovin' to organise my daily reads. I was using Newsfire, which worked pretty well. However, I had to reinstall it and they want to charge me for it now, no thanks.

So far I am liking the usability of Bloglovin', so if you are on there feel free to follow my blog (Link will be at the bottom right hand side of the page), and if you don't use it, maybe you should! 

Anyways, here is a lovely photo of the Quarry the other morning, I had to take a pic of the autumn colors as I was on my way for a morning swim.

And a lovely sunset last night

19/9/11- Life Made Lovely Monday- Zipper-de-do-da!

Today I am linking up with 'Life Made Lovely Monday', sharing the lovely-ness it is to install a zipper!

I am working my way through the Amy Butler 'Style Stitches' book, with my first project the Cosmo Bag shown here. (Which I use all the time, and have received some nice compliments on). 

I skipped the second project, as it wasn't really a style of bag that would suit me. So next was the Origami bag set. 

This pattern gave you six different bag sizes to sew, and I tried the small and medium sizes. 

Like last time, I also followed along using Jem Jams blog to guide me, as she always has helpful photos and notes about each step.

I admit, I was nervous in installing the zipper...I don't think I've ever sewed a zipper, and without my Mom to help me I wasn't sure if I could do it! I shared some frustrations with my sewing cousin, and glad I wasn't the only one that found zippers annoying. I broke about four needles in the process of learning, but later found out that was my 1970's machine acting up, and had nothing to do with the zipper.

Once I got the hang of the zipper foot, it was a breeze! You will see the finished product below- and may notice I used some of the Cosmo bag fabric on this project. 

I whipped up two of these bags no problem, and even made two more just this past weekend. (In an afternoon!). A few tiny details to alter for my next zipper project, but all and all I think I am over my fear! :)

18/9/11- Cycle Sunday

Betsy and some local sheep.

15/9/11- Sewing woes

So after being inspired by Teka's blog post about her skirt, I decided to whip up a skirt of my own. I got inspiration from both this blog, and this fuller version

After making a few bags I am feeling more confident about my sewing machine, which is very exciting and slightly addictive. The material I chose was a nice grey color, with a bit of sheen. Because it was a wee bit sheer, I even sewed in a lining. Whoop whoop!  

So this is what the skirt looks like in the end. 

I have mixed feelings about it. It goes just below my knees which I think is a bit too long, so I will have to shorten it. I love that it has a bit more body, as I prefer a more gathered 50's style look. However, at the same time it's the fullness of the skirt that I am unsure about. I think any skirt you make with a elastic waistband has this sorta 'bulgy look', but I am unsure if I may have put too many gathers round the waistband. 

(Oh, and I didn't make the waistband tight enough, so its too big for me!)

For you sewing gurus out there, what do you think? Any suggestions?

13/9/11- Junk or Treasure?

One day we ventured to another part of town to pick some bits and bobs up from the local bike shop. On that journey we discovered this new store "Junk 'n' Disorderly"- what a great name!

The shop sells old and refurbished furniture, and I had to take a look. Love places like this! 

(Saying that, I've never bought an antique or refub'ed piece of furniture in my life, but maybe one day?)

It was this red chaise lounge that was on the street the day walked by, and it caught my eye. Beautiful isn't it?

Will set you back 245 quid, and unfortunately was not in the best condition either. 

I kept exploring. As you see from the exterior image its quite an old building...it had many rooms and multiple staircases. 

I love this mirror. I think a mirror like this would look amazing at the end of a hallway. Very Van Eyke. (One of my fave paintings). 

This scared me a bit. 
I didn't understand the set up of the scary doll and multiple footballs on the stairs. (Oh and for those of you concerned about health & safety, you could not use these stairs)

Some great china sitting around as well...

13/9/11- Taste of Britain Tuesday- The 99

For todays Taste of Britain Tuesday I am going to focus on a summer favourite, the 99. 

(Clearly I still wish it was summer, and am in no mood to cook tonight!)

The 99 (aka 99 Flake) is a soft serve ice cream, with a Cadbury Flake inserted in. You'd get a flake from an ice cream parlor or your local ice cream truck. 

I had no idea what this was before arriving here in England, and I know I have mentioned it before on the blog. I thought it was just too darn good, not to mention again. 

I've heard that people are having issues commenting on the blog...I will have to take a look into this, as when I get comments it really means a lot! Sorry, if you've had any issues...

12/9/11- Farmhouse White

On this blustery Monday I had a bit of time to make some bread. I had found this recipe for Farmhouse White bread on Pinterest, and I believe it was Canadian Living where the recipe came from.

Oh Canadian Living :)

Anyways, this recipe used milk instead of water which was new for me...I would also normally make a granary (whole wheat) loaf, but wanted to try a plain white loaf. I have a fantastic bread book called "Dough" that I often use for bread, however its always nice to try something new. 

The bread tastes delish, and I am happy with the consistency of the bread and the crust texture. Only concern was it did not rise as high as I would have liked. My sleuthing makes me think it could do with the warmth of the kitchen, as it could have been a touch warmer. 


I heart NYC

10/9/11- Page turners

I've not posted a 'reading' update in a while. One main reason for this is because I've been working my way through 'Gone with the Wind'. Well I finished it on friday and loved it. If you've not read it, I suggest you invest some time and give it a chance. Such a great story. Thanks again to my cousin for suggesting this one to me. This week I am going to find four hours to watch the movie...

I am now excited to move onto my bookshelf to see what's next. I am taking it easy with a couple short reads, before hitting another longer more intense book.

Started this one yesterday, I love Paris so am really looking forward to learning more about it. 

Sent to me from a friend, looks like a cute story.

A book about the color, and the scandals associated with color and getting pigment. I am an art geek, so this is useful info for me.

Ya, this book is still waiting to be read. I mentioned it my last book post, but this month I am finally going to read it. 

9/9/11- Patty

This is Patty. 

I went from having zero bikes, to two bikes in a month and I love them both! I've always wanted a road bike, so recently purchased this one. She is very different to ride compared to Betsy, and don't worry Betsy still hits the town even though Patty has arrived. 

There are some great roads in this area of the country to ride on, very picturesque and lovely to ride, as well as challenging and hilly. I've switched my cycle computer to Patty, as it makes more sense for the long rides to see the stats of speed and distance. 

7/10/11- You spin me

Last week when I was in Birmingham, I popped over to the Ikon Gallery to take a look at their current exhibition. 

It's been a while since I've been in a gallery, so it was nice to see what they had on. It was a two floor exhibition highlighting the work of Atsuko Tanaka, including paintings, drawings and and installation. 

I had never heard of this artist before visiting the gallery, but the exhibition was well curated and I left with some new found knowledge. The rounded painting shown in the image below was actually wired up to some motor, so after you pressed a button, the canvas spun around in a clockwise direction. I've seen a lot of art in my time, but never a spinning painting! 

6/10/11- Taste of Britain Tuesday- Lemon Tarts

Currently on tv there is this show called "The Great British Bake Off", which is exactly what you would think its about. A reality/challenge type show where bakers compete with each other. It was on last year as well, and a cookbook exists from the first season.

They usually create at least two different items and its interesting to watch how they put a spin on the challenges. It's also nice to see all the British dishes they are creating. Last week they all had to create lemon tarts... I love lemon so I decided to try a lemon tart this week.

Well needless to say, if I was on the Great British Bake Off last week, I would have failed. ha! 

The tarts taste great, but the buttery base did not work out as I would have hoped, and for some reason the top of the tart got a bit browned. This was not in the plan. 

Oh well, they still taste great!

5/10/11- Run!

The other day my cousin posted a blog entitled "Live a Little". In this post, she talked about the idea of setting goals, and the sense of achievement when you reach those goals. 

I found this to be an inspiring post to read only days before my half marathon which I ran yesterday. It wasn't my first one, but nonetheless it was exciting, challenging and painful.  I obtained my PB this race, which was also great. After an experience like that I look forward to the next race and know my time will be even better.

I will leave you with a quote from my cousins post I thought was fitting. "So my friends, throw caution to the wind, try something scary, make a list, you really can do whatever you want! And it feels fabulous". 

I agree. 

4/10/11- Cycle Sundays

Ah cycle sundays. However I didn't bike today, I did something else...Will fill you in tomorrow. 

For now, here is a pic from a ride this week.

1/10/11- Back to School

Well September is upon us! From what I've seen on facebook and twitter, many people are surprised how quick this month arrived. 

For many its a time to hit the books and head back to school. I love that back to school feeling...Though I admit I will miss the warm summer weather. Hoping for a warm September here as our August was pretty dull weather-wise. 

I went to Birmingham on September 1st, and saw these great murals painted on the side of the old Birmingham library.

How lovely do they look? Birmingham is building a new library, which looks quite large and modern compared to this one. I wonder how long these will stay on the building?

P.S. Thank you for all the recent comments, it's lovely to read your thoughts and comments. I do my best to reply to your comments as well, so make sure to check back :)

Home- 31/8/11

There are some streets in town here that I love. To me, they are so very "British"- though don't ask me to define what that means!

I seem to take many photos of streets, and couldn't help but snap this photo as I rode home yesterday. It's a tiny street in the town centre, very quiet, with a school at the top of the street, and the entrance to the park near the bottom.

I think these homes are so pretty...The colored doors, a bit of greenery, and at Christmas time  they always have these great festive wreaths on the doors. 

(I am still making small changes to this blog every now and then. Is there any format you liked/dislike? Anything you would like to see on here? Any suggestions?)

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