Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Sunshine Sunday

So if Saturday had been grey and chilly, Sunday gave us the opposite with a bright and sunny day - such is the unpredictable nature of the British weather.  

Having gained an hour by putting the clocks back, we had an early start on the day and decided to go out for a stroll on the beach, with breakfast at the beach cafe - a rare delight.

Walking back to the car afterwards, I didn't expect to see a cat sitting on a bench close to the seafront soaking up the sun - but then cats make up their own rules and, anyway, don't we all like the feel of the sun's warmth on our bones at this time of year?

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Circles of Saturday Happiness

Yesterday was a little bit grey and a little bit cold, so after a quick trip out first thing to pick up a few provisions, we spent the rest of the day indoors.

Mr Cocopopia decided it was time to fix the old record player which has not been used for months (or, should I say years?).  After half an hour or so of "repair work" and a new stylus, the records were spinning again.

I'm so glad we've held on to some of our old records because there's something about the depth and warmth produced from vinyl which a CD can't replicate - yes, there may be a crackle and a hiss here and there, but this just seems to add to the charm.  And it may be more time consuming to set up a record than popping a CD in a slot and pressing a button, but there's something really nostalgic about queuing up a record, lowering the arm and the anticipation of the music kicking in.

As Mr Cocopopia was fixing the record player, I got busy in the kitchen with some soup making.  Thank you Hugh Fearnleigh-Whittingstall for your River Cottage Veg Everyday cook book and the delicious recipe for parsnip and ginger soup with its subtle spices and toasted almonds - so yummy, so warming and so cheerful for a grey saturday lunchtime in October!

Parsnip and Ginger Soup

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Swans, Bikes, Bridges and Coffee

On Saturday Mr Cocopopia was all systems go in the workshop on his latest sculptural creation so a friend joined me for a bike ride up the river to Steyning - almost a whole year since we did the same trip last year - cycling up river to Steyning.  

I met up with my friend at the lagoon and was so happy to see all of the young swans all present and correct on the water and doing well (there had been rumours earlier in the year of a dog attack).

We joined the river by crossing over the Old Tollbridge which has become a memorial spot to the recent airshow crash.  All of the flowers and messages have now been removed to be preserved for posterity but during one night last week, masses of ribbons (apparently 7,000 of them) appeared in their place.

After a few moments of contemplation, we journeyed on and followed the river inland.  The tide was going out so the riverbanks were muddy.

At one point the river crosses a busy main road, but it was really nice to find that this part of the Downs Link cycle route has been recently improved by diverting the route slightly so that the track now crosses the road under a bridge and you nolonger have to take your life in your hands by making a frantic dash with your bike across a very fast and busy main road.

Once we reached Steyning, we couldn't just turn around and head straight back without a visit to the quirky Cobblestone Tea Room - old fashioned and quaint, even our modern frothy coffees were served in retro and mis-matched tea cups, which was all part of the experience.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Farm Shop and Cider Emporium at Middle Farm

I do like a good farm shop and there's a particularly good one at Middle Farm on the South Downs, just outside the town of Lewes.  

There's a collection of buildings which include the farm shop itself (a brilliant source of local, seasonal products), a restaurant, a plant shop, a gift shop and a Cider and Perry Emporium.

Visiting the farm shop area is like entering a small indoor market with a traditional butcher's counter, a cheese shop, a bakery, and various deli products assembled around.

A separate building houses the National Cider and Perry collection and as well as stocking over 100 different ciders and perries (most available for tasting so you know what you're getting before you buy) there are other more unusual drinks such as mead, fruit liqueurs and country wines.  If you're looking for something non-alcoholic, there's freshly pressed apple juice.

If the weather is fine its possible to visit the animals at the open farm and follow the nature trail, or just sit in the picnic area and enjoy a taste of your freshly bought farm shop goodies, washed down with some local cider.

Friday, 2 October 2015

How To Make A Wrap Around Boho Style Watch Strap

I'm all for recycling and trying to get as much use out of things as I can, so when the strap on my watch had broken I decided to make a new one by recycling bits and pieces from my sewing box.  I wanted something that was easy to put on in the morning and that would look ok with my work uniform of a dark pink blouse and black trousers.

I gathered together the components ...

With a fabric tie from an old top (already sewn so no tidying up required), a pale blue pearly vintage button and some split rings from my jewellery making stash to attach to the sides of the watch I was ready to go.

Easy to make with these simple steps:-

1.  Decide on the length of fabric you need by wrapping it around your wrist and allowing a little bit extra to form a loop to fit around the button at the end.  With this particular fabric and watch, I chose to wrap it around 5 times.

2.  Thread the tie/ribbon through the rings on the watch.

3.  Fold under and stitch down one end of the tie/ribbon and stitch on the button.

4.  At the none-button end, fold under the edge to neaten it and then fold again to make a loop to slip over the button and stitch in place. 

Before making the final loop, it's best to try the whole thing on for size in case you need to make any final adjustements.

I really like it because its more like wearing a bracelet than a watch, and if you're into the stacked look, there's room to change the appearance a little by adding on more bracelets.