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Sunday Sevens #129

Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins, Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing seven or so photos of what life is like outside the blog.

1. We have our first ripened blackberry of the year!


2. To put it in context, here is our blackberry bush running from over the shed door on the left, all along the fence to the right. If you zoom in you can see we’re in for a bumper year, which is just as well as we have just finished our last jar of blackberry and apple jam. Mind you, the hens will pinch as many as they can reach as it’s a thornless bush and is, therefore, easy pickings. 

Those aren’t nettles on the bottom left, but a massive patch of hardy mint. What can I say – it’s a rustic country garden:)


3. It looks like my Uncle’s dog is sulking because Tess is curled up next to him – he’s gone as far to the opposite end of the sofa as possible to make a point!


4. I was pleased with this new poncho bought from a friend who sells the French ‘Captain Tortue’ range.


5. It has had it’s first outing already – Pad Thai with noodles and not a drop spilt. In hindsight, not the most sensible colour to wear when dining out.


6. Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake for pudding, but I couldn’t eat it all.


7. I had to do a bit of shopping for my Auntie who lives in Spain. She fell in love with the cushions in our guest room whilst staying with us, and I said I’d look for some similar ones. Yellow velvet with grey piping – these are the closest match I could find. Hers are the smaller ones in front.


8. I’m half way through a third pair of socks that are destined to be Christmas presents. Guess what? I’ve also managed to source some see-through wellies at long last! I reckon that, together, they’ll make a great gift. Or am I kidding myself – can anyone actually get excited about receiving socks as a Christmas present? 

I hope so, ‘cos they take bloomin’ weeks to knit!


9. Pie and a pint at the pub with The Boys.


10. Well, pork pie actually. And he had a pint, I had a gin.

11. I started a ‘scrappy’ blanket, unwittingly choosing the same colours as I was wearing. Hopefully, this will be another Christmas present, this one costing nothing but my time.


12. After a trip to the dentist, The Husband felt like a glass of wine to cheer himself up. We shared a pizza fresh from the in-house pizza oven.


13. By a stroke of luck, we were able to park my car right opposite the café window which meant I could run out and put the lid up if it rained. 

It didn’t.


14. Mr. H-L had to dig a new, lower trench for the oil pipes in preparation for the new decking which is being laid next week. The Girls were in the trench with him literally pecking at his spade as he was turning up all the worms.

15. The Boys went to watch Yeovil play Bristol City in Yeovil. 

I stayed at home to cook for friends that were coming for supper, definitely the better deal.


That’s all for now folks – now we’re off to No.3 Son’s first dancing medal tests. Wish him luck!


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Sunday Sevens #128

Another couple of busy weeks have kept me away from the computer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but means that there are thirty photos for this Sunday Sevens! 

Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins, who started Sunday Sevens.

1. Summer arrived for a lengthy stay of approximately two weeks, which meant plenty of pool time for The Boys, especially after a sticky day in school uniform.


2. Mr. H-L temporarily moved his ‘office’ into the garden. Not many people can work in their pants, sipping a gin and tonic with a view like that from their desk!!


3. Father’s Day was spent with friends at Yo Sushi! in Bath. This was a new concept for the two boys that came with us – and they loved it so much that we consumed 53 dishes between us!


4. The next day we flew to Amsterdam to join the husband’s company in their 25th anniversary celebrations. We had a three course meal followed by a concert, all in the Amsterdam Arena in which the company sponsor a private box.

Here we are about to skip the queues and enter via the VIP entrance – not a bad thing considering that some of the (very young) audience had been queuing in ridiculous temperatures since the early hours!


5. The private box was huge and easily accommodated the seventy-or-so of us. With prime seats and a complimentary bar, we were anticipating a great night ahead of us….


6. ….except that none of us had ever heard of The 1975 and, even if we had, the singing was drowned out by the over-loud band and we couldn’t understand a word of the lyrics, despite them being English.

The constant use of flashing strobe lighting had us covering our eyes half the time. We had to laugh though as, when we turned around, virtually everyone in our box over forty years old was doing the same! 


7. Flying back the next day, this was the heat that greeted us – virtually unheard of in England. In fact, the last time I remember feeling this hot was when I was expecting No.2 Son back in 2005 and it only reached 36 degrees back then.

8. Hood down and air-con on full blast, we pulled off the A303 early to look for somewhere nice to have lunch.


9. A small sign pointed to ‘Howard’s House Hotel’ in nearby Teffont Evias, so we headed there.


10. Yep – glad we did, as it was amazing!

Dating back to 1623, the house and its grounds were just stunning, and the food was to die for.


11. Hot Strawberry Soufflé, Strawberry Sorbet and Strawberries went down very well with an Armagnac.


12. Later that same week we went to Ascot on Ladies Day, as you will know if you read my previous post.


13. I even managed to grab a quick snap of Her Majesty as her carriage flashed by. Shame about the lady with the blue nails, although her photo will be better than mine:)


14. I bottled up four bottles of Elderflower cordial this year. If you haven’t already, you should try a ‘Posh Flora’ – Elderflower, Gin and Prosecco. Yum! 

I think Ginger rather fancied some.


15. Ginger photobombing again, this time as some rolls are proving in the sunshine.

The makeshift patio has been weeded since this photo was taken, I promise. 


16. Two days of preparation resulted in this ambitious supper menu for six friends.


17. The food went down well and we had a fabulous evening which kicked off with those ‘Posh Flora’ cocktails and ended up with everyone leaving their cars and getting taxis home!


18. Mr H-L surprised me with lunch out to a secret destination a few days later, so he drove. It was weird to be a passenger in my own car. 

Haselbury Mill was the venue, hence the 1950’s Fire Engine as part of a collection of vintage vehicles.


19. Buildings on the site date from William The Conqueror – that’s as far back as 1066 for all our American friends out there!


20. We were invited to a 21st birthday party for the daughter of some close friends, and I just had to show you this simply brilliant cake they had commissioned.


21. I had to touch the cup and saucer to check it wasn’t actually china!


22. The Auntie who we stay with in Spain came over to stay with us for a week, and we had a morning wandering around Bruton, stopping in ‘At The Chapel‘ for a light lunch. 

I never eat pizza as there are always so many other, nicer dishes on menus in general, but this one was delicious and made to order in their own pizza oven.

I drank ‘Piston Broke’ – a real ale  with a fab name!


23. No.3 Son had his tenth birthday last week.


24. 7.30am on a school day and all three ‘boys’ couldn’t wait to start playing with it.


25. A birthday barbecue was the order of the day, finishing with the birthday boy’s request of a coffee and walnut birthday cake. Homemade, of course:)


26. The celebrations continued at the football presentation evening, where he won “Manager’s Player Of The Year” for the second year running, and “Player’s Player Of The Year”.


27. We bit the bullet and bought all of No.2 Son’s school uniform for September when the uniform people brought their shop to the school for one day only.

Yes, his new school really is called Sexey’s…….


28. No.3 Son has been trying out a few dance genres and, after discounting tap (“Too boring”) and street dance (“Too gangsta”!), has settled on Ballroom and Latin.

After just four lessons totalling five hours, he was thrown in at the deep end and asked to partner a girl in a competition as her regular partner was unavailable.

Expecting to do the Waltz and Cha Cha Cha, he ended up taking part in the team event as well, as a boy fell ill half way through. A quick recap of the steps saw him doing the Jive and Quick Step in addition!

Despite the look of concentration on his face, he absolutely loved it and did brilliantly. So much so, that his teacher has signed him up to do his first medal tests next Sunday. 

As you can probably tell, I’m a proud mum right now, particularly as he has already mastered steps that they normally teach after six months and he has already competed in them!


29. No.2 Son spent the weekend at his new school, meeting new classmates and sleeping in his new dorm. We joined him on Sunday for a barbecue at the headmaster’s house before taking him home.

The boys soon got distracted by a spontaneous game of football…..


30. ….shame No.2 Son didn’t eat his burger first!


That’s it for this week folks!


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Sunday Sevens #127

I’ve been largely offline for about a month, so here is a Sunday Sevens at last!

1. No.3 Son sang in Wells Cathedral alongside 14 other schools. As you can imagine, the acoustics were incredible.


2. I used this cheerful knit fabric from Minerva Crafts to make a bikini cover-up in time for our holiday.


3. New pair of metallic Birkenstocks and a fresh coat of nail polish, also for our trip to Spain.


4. Family photo in Mojacar Pueblo, Andalucia.


5. This year, a couple of good friends joined us on holiday. Here we are having tapas outside Bar La Cinta, a typically Spanish bar.


6. My favourite photo of our holiday. A private villa means swimming at midnight is allowed! We are so lucky to have an Auntie who lives somewhere so fabulous. In fact, we’re going again next month:)


7. A spontaneous day trip to London the day after we flew back home. I couldn’t resist trying on these Jimmy Choo’s but my budget wouldn’t stretch to the best part of two thousand pounds!!


8. I “settled” for a much more reasonably priced pair of Louboutin’s instead.


9. I made a batch of cupcakes for the school fair…..


10…..and eight jars of marmalade, which sold out in less than twenty minutes!


11. School fair selfie. Note the bunting which I made for our wedding four years ago and is still going strong. It is constantly in demand for parties and fetes, and I’m happy to lend it out as it’s lovely to see it being used.


12. One of the parents spent two days making this amazing cake which was raffled off for the school. 


13. I picked the last of the Elderflowers to make some cordial. It’s a wonder of nature that those delicate little flowers transform into the most delicious taste of Summer.


14. The Boys sporting their very different styles at the same disco!


15. We painted the outside of the newly rendered house ourselves. The first coat was a bit too light, so the second coat was a couple of shades darker. I think I’m happy with it.


16. I cast on my third pair of Christmas present socks.


17. Breaking in my new Louboutin’s just as the hot weather hit the UK and cooling off with a g+t in the garden.


18. No.2 Son eating the biggest onion rings known to mankind!


19. Plenty of home baking has been going on as usual. Not that this one lasted long – two friends even invited themselves around for coffee so they could finish it off!

20. There were a few long lengths of this gorgeous embroidered silk on eBay and I just had to buy them. I reckon they’ll make stunning curtains in our future b+b.


21. I made some cooling Mojitos whilst hubby cooked supper one evening.


22. As the heatwave is predicted to continue, we put the pool up for The Boys, despite protestations of “We’re too old for a paddling pool now!”

They’ve hardly been out of it all week:)


See Threads & Bobbins for details of how to join in with your own Sunday Sevens.

If you’re in the UK enjoying some unusually high temperatures, here’s hoping it lasts all Summer long!


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Sunday Sevens #126

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series started by Nat at Threads & Bobbins whereby you show seven photos of your life outside of the blog. 

In theory.

This week is a combination of three weeks worth of photos, ‘cos I seriously haven’t had time to organise many blog posts lately, and there are considerably more than seven photos so you might want to get a cup of tea before you start!

1. We have been having a lot done on the house over the last couple of months, most of which I haven’t yet blogged about…..does a wall of mirrors in our en-suite and Koi Carp in the cloakroom ring any bells?

We’ve also finally got around to having the massive extension at the side of the house rendered, which meant bacon sandwiches and endless cups of tea for the plasterers.

2. We also had the builders in to put a new roof on the old downstairs bathroom, which is now a sun room. I know, I know, I haven’t blogged about that yet either! The old concrete tiles were replaced with slate ones to match the rest of the house.

3. I’ve done quite a lot of sewing, starting with my trusty old leggings pattern. I made these in brown leatherette.

4. This top was made in one sitting too.

5.  I made this dress  in a bright floral linen.

I just need to get Mr H-L to take some photos of me wearing them, then I’ll blog them all.

6. The Boy’s school asked for contributions for a stall at their Summer fair, so I’ve also been making things for that. These are handbag tissue holders.

7. There was enough of the same fabric to make four wash bags as well.

8. I bought a large piece of blue canvas for £1.00 from a charity shop a while back and used this, together with the remnants from the dress mentioned earlier, to make six little storage pots.

9. I had a little leftover oilcloth from a previous project, which was just enough to sew a quick shopping bag.

10. We had friends round for supper so I spent a whole afternoon making a decent meal for them.

11. Home serves as both office and restaurant for Mr H-L!!


12. It’s not been all work and no play though, and we’ve been out a few times.

13. We found a new coffee shop in Sherborne that does “Bloody Good Coffee”.


It was – and the chocolate brownie wasn’t bad, either. They serve half-slices, which is perfect for someone without a sweet tooth but, despite ordering “Half a brownie and two forks”, we still struggled to eat it!


14. Spot of lunch whilst shopping for a new kettle with a friend in Sturminster Newton.


15. Said kettle – the old one developed a leak. Mr H-L likes this one because it has lights and makes a beeping noise. Men!


16. This was just after a quiet, relaxing facial – not easy to take a selfie in these conditions!


17. After collecting a friend from hospital, we had lunch at Summer Lodge in Evershot.


17. Sewing classes are still going strong.


18. We found this little cutie in the hen house one morning.


19. Couldn’t resist a cuddle!


Sadly, the chick didn’t survive the night:(

20. Our friend is a new Artisan cheese producer – if you come across “Renegade Monk” in the future you must try it.


21. Just as we were looking forward to Summer, Winter made a late appearance in the form of a prolonged hailstorm.


22. A lovely Thai lunch at The Old Bakehouse in Castle Cary with Mr H-L.


23. The latest addition to our mug collection by Wrendale Designs. I just love the illustrations!

24. And finally, to end on a high, this is No.3 Son working the dance floor like his hero Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. Enjoy!


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Sunday Sevens #125

A bit late with this week’s Sunday Sevens as we’ve just come back from a few days away. Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins who thought it up initially, Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing seven-ish photos of your week outside the blog.

1. The Bluebells are at their best everywhere now, covering shady wooded areas in a glorious carpet of colour.


2. May is the month for Wisteria in England and it is beginning to flower on many a house locally. These are just a few I snapped whilst walking the dogs earlier in the week.




3. Lighter and sunnier evenings mean that riding is more fun for The Boys.


4. Ali from Thimberlina put a pic on Instagram of a really pretty top she had made. I tracked the pattern and fabric down and ordered it straight away!


5. Our Ascot Ladies’ Day tickets arrived! Now I’ve got to start thinking about making a frock….


6. The only crafting I’ve managed this week is this crocheted lily for a young lady called Jenny who is terminally ill. She requested crocheted flowers for her coffin and the IG community rallied around immediately to make her final wish come true, pledging flowers with the hashtag #aflowerforjenny.


7. Mr. H-L took me out for breakfast to ‘At The Chapel‘ on Friday as the start of our weekend away. Then we picked The Boys up from school and dropped them at my brother’s before driving on to Ross-on-Wye – more about that in a separate post.


Hope you had a good week – in fact, I’m just going to sit down and catch up on some blog reading now to see what you’ve been up to in my absence. Ta-ta for now!


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Sunday Sevens #124

1. We took The Boys to Yo Sushi in Bath and they loved it. We got through 23 dishes between the four of us!


2. Packing suitcases for The Boys school trip ….. spot the stowaway.


3. The Boys are in the same class at school so were both going away on a school trip for the week.


4. Mr H-L bought me these glorious tulips to prettify the coffee table in the lounge.


5. I figured there would be a lot more time for relaxation without The Boys around, so I treated myself to some long overdue new slippers.


6. Hubby booked us both in to the spa for the day where we also had a couple’s massage and lunch. I didn’t take any photos, so this is one from their website.


7. Fifi is in season and Tess is confused – hence the bald patch appearing on Fifi’s back!!


8. We had a nice quiet dinner á deux in Matt’s Kitchen. Just a guy who opens up the lounge in his house three nights a week as a restaurant.


9. Isn’t it cosy?


10. A friend came around for lunch and I was feeling creative. Just in case you can’t tell, the main ingredients are Sea Bass on Dauphinoise potatoes.


11. We had to pick No.3 Son up a few hours early from his school trip so that he could take part in the football county finals. They came third out of the whole of Somerset!


12. Afterwards, we took them for lunch out at Tambourino Village to celebrate.


13. The next day, The Boys had two friends round for the day so we had fun making pizzas for lunch.


14. They ate every last scrap and were very pleased with their efforts.


15. After lunch, The Boys went out to play and we sat down to watch ‘Déja Vu’ – I’d forgotten what a good film it is. I managed to finish the first sock of the second pair I’m making as Christmas presents, and cast on the second sock. Yes, it is a little long on me as they’re for someone with bigger feet:)


Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series whereby you share sevenish photos of your week. Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


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Sunday Sevens #123

This week’s Sunday Sevens is actually two week’s worth so may have just a few more photos than usual….

1. First week of the Easter holidays saw us spending some time on Exmoor as the warm spell continued. Mr H-L took a week off work so we decided to make the most of it while the weather was nice.


2. Tarr Steps is classified as an ancient monument and has a lovely circular walk starting and ending there that is one of the ‘must do’ walks every time we go to Exmoor.


3. One of the picturesque scenes for which the West Country is so famous.


4. This surely is the original chocolate box image?

5. The Boys had fun honing their stone-skimming skills.


6. No need to carry water bottles when you can drink water straight from the spring!


7. All that fresh air and exercise gave us an appetite for a cream tea.


8. Another day found us at a wetlands and willow centre on the Somerset levels.


9. A blustery selfie during the walk.


10. Tasty lunch back at the café afterwards.


11. Exhausted boys on the way home.


12. Closer to home, this picture was taken whilst walking the dogs in the next village. Don’t you just love the fields of yellow at this time of year?


13. Another day, another walk, this time featuring some inquisitive steers.


14. A pub lunch after the walk – it was so nice that we ate in the beer garden.


15. Plenty of opportunities to have the roof down in the last couple of weeks.


16. It’s not ALL been fun in the sun – the builders have finished the messy work so I spent a couple of mornings painting the sun room. 


17. Back to the fun stuff – another barbecue.


18. Mr H-L took us out for lunch as he was going away on business for a few days.


19. The closest I got to doing any sewing last week was hemming the mister’s new suit trousers. Like most sewers, I loathe alterations of any kind and couldn’t even be arsed to change the overlock thread, so white it is.


20. The Husband looking dapper in The New Suit. Can you see the chain hanging from his waistcoat?


21. You know the way all the pockets in new suits are sewn up and you have to unpick them, well, as I was opening the smallest one we found a pocket watch sealed inside! Has anyone else ever found this before?


22. First night on my own was craft night at mine with the girls. I didn’t do much actual knitting as I was at the stage where I needed to concentrate on decreasing, but a new pair of socks has been cast on.

23. I gave The Boys a much needed haircut!


24.


25. No.3 Son needed new football boots and chose some gold ones. No surprises there, then.


26. Whilst he was at goalkeeper training (he’s made it into the advanced squad) I took No.2 Son out to a nearby pub for pie and mash.


27. Hubby bought me a lovely gift in duty free…..


28. …..my favourite perfume.


29. Meanwhile, I had been meaning to buy another blender since ours gave up the ghost a few weeks ago. This KitchenAid one was half price – bargain!


30. Quick drink in the pub after working up a thirst playing football in the playing field behind. 


31. Progress on the socks went well as I relented and agreed to let them all watch Rogue One, the latest Star Wars film, in which I have no interest whatsoever.


32. My latest piece of sewing has been a real challenge this week. I’m making a denim-style jacket out of some sequinned, pearlescent leatherette. Yes, really!


33. I told you it was a challenge – before I’d even got to the sewing bit, I had blisters from cutting out!


34. A good friend stayed with us this weekend and we went out for Easter lunch today.


35. I was saved a job this year as the hotel put on their own Easter egg hunt after lunch and The Boys were happy to join in. I reckon the Easter Bunny would have been sweating his n**s off in this get up!


Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for a somewhat extended version of Sunday Sevens.