dear diary :: still looking like winter

At least it was when I peered through the window today; sleet, snow, rain – interspersed with a little (and I mean a little) sunshine. Spring seems a long way off.

So I am keeping myself busy….and warm.

After all the excitement of finishing the pantry we now have to move on to make decisions about the new kitchen. We started looking at new kitchens back in 2008 and had one on order, but shortly after I found I had to have major surgery followed by a few months of treatment so we had to cancel.

We tried again in 2010 (but then my mum decided to move up North and we had to pack up and sell the family home), 2012 (my mum in law became very ill and we had to pack up and sell her house when she went into a care home), 2014 (we had the flood at the cottage), 2016 (my daughter decided to get married and we had a wedding to organise) 2020…. here we go again….. and hopefully this time no unexpected events will surprise us and we can actually get one installed.

Whilst the weather continues to be quite horrendous I have not minded spending time browsing around the local showrooms – delving into pan drawers and canterlever corner cupboards, testing out the spring lifted wall cupboard doors, the slide under oven doors and the soft close drawer drawers. They are all wonderful and exciting to me as anything is an improvement on my old ‘shabby but definitely NOT chic’ kitchen with the falling apart wonky doors and drawers held in place by DH’s hand made wooden runners to replace the plastic ones that failed years ago.

I really should be turning my attentions to the garden, so many plants in bud now waiting for the tiniest hint of warmth – but I look outside at the snow falling and decide I will remain in hibernation a little longer.

My time is spent inside on more practical household jobs – I am so caught up with the washing I am now waiting for something to wash, the ironing is done and in the airing cupboard and I even had a go at removing the candlewax from my linen tablecloth (and quite successfully I might add).

When I do have some spare time I am sewing – I have had that sudden urge to make something since completing the duvet cover for little Sweetie. Rummaging around, as one does occasionally, through my fabric stash I noticed I had some more tea towels that I bought a while ago and intended to make into tablemats.

My last efforts were quite successful and I thought it would be nice to make these mats for Easter – the little hen print is so cute …….but I had better get a move on, Easter will be here before we know it and bringing better weather I hope. I have already washed the fabric and unpicked the hems so I am ready to go.

I made pancakes on Tuesday. As we knew we would be out all day we both set to in the kitchen and did some preparation towards them. We usually have filled pancakes as a main meal so DH chopped the leeks and mushrooms and I made the batter – we make a good team (but only if he does things my way!!). Everything then went into the fridge for later – good job we thought ahead as it was 6.30pm when we arrived home.

They didn’t take long to cook and assemble – I cooked the leek and mushrooms together with a little parsley and seasoning for the filling; made a few pancakes then rolled each one up with the filling inside and laid them in an ovenproof dish.

I always use buckwheat flour, which the French use for their delicious crepes) because I like the crispier, lighter texture and once all the pancakes were made I covered them in a cheese sauce (I cheated here with a pot of Sainsbury’s own), topped everything with a sprinkle of seeds, Parmesan shavings and sliced tomato and then baked in the oven.

I have batter left over to make some plain pancakes to have with lemon juice as a pudding – but that will be another day.

During the school holidays last week we went up to North Yorkshire to stay with my daughter and grandchildren. We took Little L and Sweetie out for the day on Friday to Bowes Museum. It was the only place around that was indoors and warm – away from those terrible winds. We could hardly stand up outside in the car park – the rain was lashing about us but once inside there was lots to see and they are very child friendly.

At 2pm everyday you can visit the room with the famous Silver Swan (no I hadn’t heard of it either!) and see it perform. It is rather beautiful and a great feat of delicate engineering – when it is wound up the neck moves around and then dips its beak into the water below to catch one of the little fishes. I captured it on video but sadly I can’t upload it to my blog but you can see it here on You Tube.

We also had a trip to Northallerton a lovely, but busy, market town full of independant shops and stores…..and Betty’s (if you can afford it…..we can’t). I stocked up with a few items from Boyes – a brilliant cut price family run store that is a bit like a small Woolworths and they have a few branches in the North. They have an excellent selection of wool and I was tempted, but I decided I must finish the jumper I am knitting before I buy anymore.

Today I had to pop down to town to the library and use my double points petrol token before it expired. DH will be having a tooth removed by the time you read this. Ouch.

We will be up in North Yorkshire again at the end of the week as we have to look after my mum whilst my sister is away on a short holiday – so I may have a few days away from blogging.

Take care everyone and stay warm x

28 Replies to “dear diary :: still looking like winter”

  1. Such a lovely post and a joy to read. I remember often taking my Grandchildren to the museums when they were young, they loved it.


  2. I love the swan and those little fishes and was amazed that it is made of all glass. How entrancing for children to watch! Looking forward to seeing how you make a dinner mat from your adorable tea towel.


    1. It is actually made all from silver and worth a fortune. It is behind glass though to stop anyone touching it. They only have it working once a day at 2pm to preserve the mechanism. Follow these links below on my blog and you will see the previous tablemats I made. I cut each tea towel in half – one tea towel = 1 mat, unpicked the hems on them, lay on my pattern 19″ x 14″ (1/2″ allowed for the seams), with any two pieces together and a layer of thick interfacing to give them some body I just sewn around the edges with a 1/2″ seam allowance leaving a 5″ gap down one side to turn through, trim edges down to about 1/4″ and cut across the corners. Turn through to right side through gap. Press edges, hand sew the gap to close then run a line of top stitching about 3/4″ from edge all way round.
      Here are the previous ones I made. I usually do a different front and back so they are reversable and mix and match.


      1. Pretty! I see like-new tea towels at charity shops often and like the designs. Now I know what to do with them.


  3. You visited two of my favourite places. The Bowes Museum and any Boyes store, I always shop in them when I return to Yorkshire. Good luck with the kitchen this time around.


  4. Hope you don’t jinx yourself with the kitchen plans! That silver swan is amazing. (Another thing for me to add to my things to see list.) Hope you get to hibernate for a bit and do some more sewing and crafting.


    1. The swan is worth seeing if you are in the area it is only for a few minutes though so you could almost blink and miss it.
      I have ordered that no-one is allowed to get married, have children or become ill until after we have had this new kitchen!!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. We are enjoying quite a Springlike day here in Staffordshire. The wind is a bit nippy but the sun is very welcome.

    Oh I just love those tea towels. Can’t wait to see your table mats.

    Isn’t the swan amazing?

    We didn’t bother with pancakes but the savoury ones you made look so tasty….I may have to try those out.

    Things are starting to peek through in the garden here. My Hellebore is really putting on a show and there are a few tiny daffs in a sheltered spot.
    Come on Spring we are so ready now.


  6. Northallerton is my nearest town – and yes Boyes is good for all kinds of things – there are one or two branches around here. I agree about Betty’s and only go on very special occasions – and it is always delicious (especially afternoon tea). If you decided to come into The Dales for a drive do let me know and you could call in for a cup of tea (Wensleydale)


    1. Would love to ‘drop’ in Pat when we come up but we will have my mum with us this time and she is not a sociable soul, especially not at the moment. When we come up to see the grandchildren again I will leave some time to come and see you and have a cuppa and a natter – looking forward.


  7. So many decisions to be made with a new kitchen. They have become very sophisticated! Glad the museum kept the wee ones entertained. I’ve never heard of it, but it seems to be a gem. Those tea towels look a lovely combination for place mats. Sewing is beyond me, so the instructions are lost on me, but I’ll look forward to seeing the finished item. Btw re your comment about Instagram passwords – you don’t need a password to look at an account on a laptop – it just brings it up like a normal webpage. Snowing a bilzzard here today in the north but it has let up enough in the afternoon for me to plant my garlic. Very very late, but fingers crossed.


    1. The snow is very hit and miss here in England – I can see it on the top of the pennines from my window yet we had none today and it was sunny. I have an allergy to garlic so it willl be one thing I won’t be planting! Re: the password – yes you are right I had forgotten that I don’t have to log in to see others – shows how much I look at it! Mats are finished now so will move onto the next project that needs completing.


  8. I hope you manage to get a new kitchen this year! Your savoury pancakes look lovely. I usually have mine with lemon and sugar as a dessert but had them with Nutella this year with the rest of the family. That silver swan is so beautiful. x


  9. Oh goodness, you’ve had so many major things happening over the years haven’t you. I really hope 2020 is the year of the kitchen for you.

    The swan is gorgeous and so is your granddaughter who looks to have a cheeky side to her. I remembered it was pancake day then promptly forgot again. I’m going to make some for breakfast at the weekend instead.

    The hen fabric is lovely, I never think of looking at tea towels but must bear that in mind. xx


    1. They are both full of beans – so much energy at that age far more than me!
      I use tea towels as the fabric is often very sturdy – I don’t use cheap ones from places like Wilkos but the Sainsbury’s ones are often like a thick linen and make great mats.
      Enjoy the pancakes. xx


  10. After your gorgeous pantry transformation I am all agog as to what your new kitchen will be like. Keep us posted!


  11. I have never made savoury pancakes! This year I made our pancakes with soy milk for the first time and was relieved they were very good! (I make the thicker American style pancakes)


  12. I do hope you this year will be the year of a new kitchen as that will be a long wait but I hope it is worth it.

    I have never been to the Bowes museum, it is not that far from me it looks like I should be paying a visit!

    I agree that Buckwheat flour makes the best pancakes, I haven’t made them for a while, we like to have them with various fillings on the table and we put what we like in them before eating. A bit like a pancake buffet.

    I hope you have a safe trip to North Yorkshire.


  13. The swan looks beautiful, the children must have been enchanted by it.
    I might try savoury pancakes another time. We enjoyed ours with lemon and sugar this year. X


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