November favourites

Here we are at the end of November. What a busy time of year it is. Excitement is definitely building for next months big event. But before that our November favourites.

I adore gingerbread! Too good to save just for christmas I love to make heaps and heaps of gingerbread leaves all through November. I use this wonderful gluten free gingerbread recipe 

I bought a copy of Emma Mitchells lovely book making winter. Like Emma I also find the winter month tough. I suffered with SAD through my teens and early 20s. I manage it better now bringing out my winter tool kit at the first signs and i’m pleased to say I haven’t had a significant bought of depression in nearly 10 years. I won’t lie it’s been hard at times not to slip back there and this beautiful, itelligent and creative book is definatly going in my winter tool kit.

My eldest daughter and I were delighted to meet Emma at a workshop and book signing she ran at Angelsey Abbey in November. She taught us both how to draw the most equisit little stylised wreaths and neither of us has been able to stop drawing them ever since. More to come on that.

As the temperatures dropped and light faded we have spent more time indoors this month. We have crafted and baked and planted bulbs to grow indoors (see my last post) but one of our favourite activites on especially grey days is to cuddle up and  share a good book together. I love childrens book that reflect the changing season. Some of our favourite autumn books that envoke that cosy feeling are 

  • The House in the Woods by Inga Moor
  • The Mousehole Cat by Antony Barber and Nicolas Bayley
  • Coming Home by Michael Morpurgo

Simple, sparkly planters

I thought i’d share a very simple and inexpensive little DIY with you. Maybe you’d like to make one for yourself to brighten your own home or as and christmas gift for a friend or neighbour.

You will need:

  • Jam jars
  • PVA glue
  • Masking tape 
  • Fine glitter
  • Bulbs  (we chose hyacinths bit other favourites are grape hyacinth and paper white daffodils)
  • Potting compost
  • Grit
  • Moss (easily foraged for but only take what you need)

Cover your table or use a tray as this DIY is a little messy. Wash and dry your jars. When the jars are completely dry decide where you’d like your glitter to come up to and place a strip of masking tape at this point. Thin your PVA with a little water (aprox 3 parts PVA to 1 part water) use a brush to apply a thin coat of PVA all over the jar below the masking tape. Now sprinkle on your glitter, not too thickly but make sure you get good coverage. Shake off any excess. I apply the glitter over a sheet of paper or newspaper so that the unused glitter can easily be tipped back in the pot. Allow the jars to dry, this is quite quick.

Now to plant your bulbs. Firstly add a layer of grit to the bottom of the jar then add the compost. Depending on the type of bulb you are planting will depend at what lavel they need to be. Our hyacinths sat on top of the soil with a some moss around them. Other bulbs may need to be planted in the soil. Use the moss to cover the soil this not only looks lovely but helps retain moisture.

Leave your bulbs somewhere cool but frost free and dark until the shoots apear.

October favourites

I thought it would be nice to get back to posting here regularly and I thought a good and, achievable way to do this might be to do a monthly “favourites” post. So without further delay here are some of our favourite things from October.

October saw the first hot chocolate of the season. Perfect with pumkin spiced doughnuts as a special after school treat. Search my blog for the recipe.

This month we visited Oxborough Hall in Norfolk. I think autumn was a magical  time of year to visit this fascinating and remote country hall. As we arrived the hall was shrouded in a beautiful mist. We crossed the moat and explored the hall and it’s rich history. None of us was brave enough to enter the priest hole but a highlight for me was seeing a display of Mary Queen on Scots needlework. We went for a lovely walk in the grounds and were treated to a fly over by hundreds of geese. Autumn really felt in full swing.

October is a great month for dhalia’s and they certainly didn’t disappoint this year. They add such colour and drama to the garden. I grow them on our allotment as a cut flowers and (if you can keep the slugs and snails off them) they give so many flowers per bush. Next year I am hoping to grow Sarah Ravens new Rubens dhalia collection (image via Sarah Raven)

At the end of the month the clocks changed. The girls wanted to spend their extra hour learning to knit. We had a lovely time all sat around listening to some of our favourite tunes and learning something new. They woke predictably early but took up their knitting needles and occupied themselves very happily until a more social hour. My 3 year old wasn’t so easily persuaded it was too early to be up and about.