Saturday, 31 March 2007

An Urge To Go Thrifting

Is what I had today. It was a strong urge and couldn't be ignored, so off hubby and I went to Bridgend. There are only 3 charity shops there, and often we come away empty handed, but not today.

Our first stop was Oxfam where I spied a biscuit maker. It's like an icing syringe and comes with loads of discs to make different shaped biscuits. It looked unused and had all the bits, but there was no price on it. The lady behind the till pondered a moment before saying "1.99?" "Ok" we said, and paid her.

Next stop was the British Heart Foundation shop. This is the biggest charity shop in Bridgend and is where I got my pretty pink coffee pot. A rummage in the clothes was very fruitful. I needed a lightweight brown cardigan to wear with a dress I'd recently splashed out on at Laura Ashley, and I found exactly the sort I was looking for. Then a green short sleeved knitted top caught my eye, and 2 skirts. The skirts are both the same, but in different colours, one with a black background, the other with a white background, printed with big roses. These will be great summer skirts.

As I wandered over to hubby I noticed that he was holding a box. It was a Powerpuff Girls board game. I love the Powerpuff Girls (my favourite is Buttercup, the green one) and we love board games, so now we have a new game to add to our growing collection! Then, when we were looking at the household bits, hubby spotted a mincer. I've been looking for one for ages, and this also looked unused.

The Cancer Research shop was next. I didn't find anything that I wanted in there, but hubby bought a couple of books.

So, the moral of this story is, if you get an urge to go thrifting, give in to it, you never know what you'll find!

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Mothers Day

I know, I'm a tad late in talking about mothers day, but that's because I wasn't online much last week as my daughter had come to visit. She lives in Essex with my eldest son, and we don't get to see each other very often, so it was lovely to have her here for the week.

As it was mothers day when she came, she arrived bearing gifts....

Some fun things for the kitchen.

These gloves come complete with ring!

A garden organiser

And a sweet little snow globe

While she was here, we baked cakes.

These are vanilla cupcakes and we also made some blueberry muffins. We had so much icing left after decorating the cupcakes, that K decided to decorate the muffins too.

We also visited the Museum of Welsh Life. We had gone there last year and had a lovely day out, but by the time we got to the little shop it had closed, so she wanted to go there again to look in the shop!
While we were there, she also wanted to take some pictures.

Hubby and I.

Meandering stream with a willow.


A gorgeous tree. It had one branch that had grown around each side of another branch.

I love the mossy rocks in this picture.

So, we had a lovely week together and that's why I was quiet.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Well, that was interesting.

Today there was an accident on the motorway and the traffic was pretty much at a standstill all afternoon.

Shortly after hubby and son got home, there was a knock at the door. This doesn't happen often. Usually the only people who come here are expected (deliveries, postman or milkman). So, as I went to open the door, I was understandably curious about who it could be.

A young, smartly dressed woman stood there. She explained that she'd been stuck in the traffic on the motorway for 2 hours and wondered if she could use the loo. She'd gone up the embankment, (there are steps there which are by the field at the top of our garden) and clambered over the fence (fortunately for her, when whoever it was recently cut down some trees on the embankment, they had broken the top rung of the fence) to get to us.

As I ushered her in and showed her the way to the bathroom, I was horribly aware of the litter tray in the hall. It wasn't dirty, but the kittens have a habit of scattering litter everywhere. Then I saw the kittens food bowls which we have on a square part of the stairs, behind the stairgate (to stop Sheba eating their food) the area around them was also messy, as they seem incapable of eating their food without taking it out of the bowls first!

I briefly wondered what she would think, but was glad that the bathroom was clean.

When she came down, she thanked me profusely and went back to her car, across the garden, two fields and a fence.

My next post will be a long post about Mother's Day and last week. It will include pictures of cupcakes, my mothers day presents and a day out.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

When your favourite magazines go downhill.

I've been reading a thread on the Country Living magazine website about the number of adverts that are in the magazine now, and also the fact that they only feature one house each issue, sometimes featuring homes that they had in the magazine a few years ago. A lot of readers are unhappy and are cancelling their subscriptions.

I share their disappointment. If I buy a home magazine, I want to see homes, plural. Not just one home that has already been in the magazine.

However, CL isn't the only magazine that I loved that changed for the worse (in my opinion). I bought Inspirations every month from the first issue. I loved the homes they featured, but I bought it mainly for the craft articles and freebies. Then a few years ago, it disappeared for a couple of months, then came back with a new publisher. They'd pretty much stripped out the crafts and started featuring homes that were *modern* and *chic* instead of the funky and quirky homes that were often featured. I lost interest, and thinking about it, I don't remember seeing it on the shelves for a long time.

Another magazine that has changed is the BBC Good Homes magazine. The homes it would feature were great. Often small terraced houses, decorated on a budget with wit and originality. I loved seeing how people made use of things they'd found in skips or at car boot sales, and how they'd made the best of small rooms and tiny gardens.
Flicking through the magazine now though, you'd think everybody lived in houses that cost upwards of half a million pounds, own their own interior design/event management/PR business, and buy their stuff from Laura Ashley and Fired Earth, and their huge kitchens are from Mark Wilkinson.
Where has the originality gone? Where have the *normal* people gone? Are there any magazines that still inspire?

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Aah, Spring!

I was supposed to be doing housework when I went outside to check the gate was closed before letting our dog out, but got enticed to stay a little while by the sun, warm on my back. So I decided to get my laptop out, and sit outside while waiting for the washing to finish. The sun was so bright that I had to move the table into the shade in order to see what was on the screen.

The motorway is only a few metres from our house, but we don't really notice the noise, so I sat listening to the birds chatting away and the sounds of their wings brushing against the leaves of the bushes and trees.
A thrush has built a nest filled with feathers in the yew tree in our garden. I discovered it recently after following a trail of feathers from near our door. It looked like someone had had a pillow fight and lost, there were so many! I'm going to be keeping an eye on the nest to see if I can see the chicks making their first flights.

Well, the washing needs to be hung out, so I shall leave you with a picture of some primroses from the garden.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

First Post

Welcome to The Cottage on the Hill.

Here I will write about my crafty endeavours, latest thrifted finds, cooking, and life in general in the Welsh hillside cottage I share with my husband, 15 year old son, a dog, 2 kittens and a goldfish.

Today is Sunday, and that usually means I will be cooking a roast for dinner, but J, my son, defrosted some pork chops by mistake a couple of days ago, (he thought it was bacon, and was very disappointed to find he wouldn't be having bacon sarnies that evening) so I need to use those.

I will be making spicy orange pork chops for the boys, and a quorn fillet version for me (I don't eat meat). The
recipe is a big hit with everyone. I serve it with sweet potato wedges and steamed carrots.

As I won't be spending hours cooking a roast, I might also make some cakes. I got a new vibrant pink silicon bun pan yesterday, so I want to try it out. I also got a new pink mixing bowl with a handle and a pouring lip. It matches my other pink mixing bowls perfectly.
I seem to have a bit of a thing for pink.

The coffee pot in the picture is one of my charity shop finds. It cost £2.75. I'm going to make a cosy for it, but I'm not sure which fabric to use. I just got some lovely fabrics from ebay and they're all so nice, I'm having trouble deciding, but I think I might go with this one.

and use this binding which I bought in Oxfam yesterday. 9 yards for 99p!

While in Oxfam, my husband saw this:

he knows I love pretty china!