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OUR YEAR THAT WAS 2017

So many books this year with many standing out as brilliant, I wonder if I can up my total for next year to 70?  I just squeezed in with 60 this year, I really don’t know how people read 200 in a year.

We went to Liverpool to see all the famous places, had a super time.  Was my first experience of airbnb which was great.  I loved the place and would like to go back as there really is so much to see and do there.

Our first spell of hot weather came early in the year and we made the most of it and got the gardens looking fab and enjoyed time on The Harbour Arm.

Easter began with a super lunch with the ladies, I tried to not eat too many eggs and really enjoyed the flowers.

Alfie turned 9 and Jodie got a hot tub, very enjoyable and the cocktail.

Billie, Paul, Jade, Mia and Zac enjoyed a long weekend away at Camber Sands and really enjoyed themselves.

A new garden centre for Folkestone that does great cream teas.  Brilliant day swimming at the outdoor pools, the weather was great.

A fantastic trip to Benidorm with Corinne, we watched ‘Benidorm” being filmed, made some friends from The Sun bar and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Two new dessert places opened in Folkestone and doing extremely well.

I took Alfie to the sci-fi show and we had a great time.

My birthday was such fun, had a brilliant lunch with my friends and some great presents.

I have missed all the sheep from Romney Marsh so took a pic when I went over to the dentist.  Alfie had a great time at the cinema, we watched Despicable Me 3.

Lynda’s 70th went on for about two weeks but what fun she had, the lunches and parties were fantastic then she went off for about three holidays.

Folkestone in the sunshine, I love the town I live in and it just gets better and better.

MY WORLD

Ladies that lunch is the best time of each month for me.

Buying the camper was the highlight of the summer and then going to Deal camping with the family was such fun.

Freddie and the twins came to visit for the day, Freddie now knows what is in every drawer and cupboard in the camper lol.

Sometimes you get a picture and when ever you see it, it makes you remember that day and laugh, this is one of those pictures, Beckie could not get her banana open like we (normal) do so she bit into it, I think she was going back to tribal ways! LOL.

My trip to Jersey to re-kindle my memories from childhood but I just did not realise that everything would be different 50 years on.  The places I visited were lovely especially the gardens and the pearl place.  I stayed in a great airbnb with super hosts, I must remember to try the black butter as still not done that yet.  The beaches were the best as they stretched for miles and the sand was golden.  Was a nice trip, with lots of reading and writing achieved.

I stayed at Jodie’s and we looked after Jack for the night, such a smiley boy and so cute.

We had family over from Australia who the girls loved catching up with, we had some nice cream teas and reminiscing.

Billie and Jade both got new horses this year, Jade did a super job of staying on her horse as she was going over the jump.

BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

OVER MY SHOULDER BY PATRICIA DIXON

What a fantastic story and was so pleased with what Patricia said on her wall on Facebook.

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A delicious lunch for the ladies at The Grand and a bargain price so we will be visiting there again next year.

Billie and family had to say goodbye to Pepper who is now the shiniest star in the sky. Was so sad for everyone as he was such a loving little dog.

PURE pet food gave me a pack to try out with Peaches and then to blog about it, well she loved it and it really filled her up, you can purchase it from here.

FOLKESTONE BOOK FESTIVAL

What a brilliant two weeks of everything book related, was great to catch up with Julie Wassmer again and meet other writers.  There was a vast program this year so something for everyone including children.  The workshops were enjoyable and I came away with some new books to read.

Our christmas lunch and another year of monthly lunches over, it is great to have such good friends who support and care about each other.  We have some ‘special’ birthdays next year so lots to look forward to.

Then the snow came very early and caused disruption but all the children loved it even though it didn’t last long.

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View from my lounge

As we say goodbye to 2017 it’s been fun, sad, happy, hard and many other emotions but let’s go into 2018 with open minds and hearts and hope it is the best it can be.

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BRILLIANT IDEA – FOOD ASSEMBLY

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Every so often you come across something on the internet that makes you ask why have I not seen this before so when that happens I really like to share these light bulb moments with you all.

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We are always being told to buy locally as it would be such a shame if these business’s had to close.  I buy my shopping from Tesco once a month but only because they deliver it to me and I can get everything I need, they are very good at carrying the heavy stuff indoors for me, in fact they unload everything for me onto the breakfast bar.  Prices are good and very seldom do they not have what I have ordered.

My problem with this is that I cannot get my fresh foods every week but this Food Assembly really does solve the problem, just have to get someone to pick it up for me. How nice to have fresh vegetables, milk, cheese and juices all from local farms and you can pick it up all together in one place.  Ordering on-line is the way forward and until you do it you have no idea how simple it really is.  This Food Assembly which you can see here offers all you would need for your fresh foods weekly.

This initiative is open throughout Europe they are always looking for more places to join so if you have any ideas then please contact them.

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So that is my contribution to shopping locally and if you are a vegetarian there are many foods for you on the Folkestone site.

Stay warm everyone.

JERSEY ZOO – GERALD DURRELL

Did anyone get the answer to my question about what linked Corfu and Jersey?

The answer was Gerald Durrell who as a boy moved to Corfu with his mother and siblings, this was where his love of animals and their protection became so important to him.  He rescued and encouraged breeding of many animals on Corfu.  He had the dream of one day having his own zoo!

As he grew up and travelled the world he wrote many books about the animals he encountered, he was always concerned about the survival and conservation of animals throughout the world.

This zoo in Jersey was the best I had ever been to, the enclosures were large, you could get much closer, so many employees that were all willing to stop and talk about the animals in their care.  The big house looked so elegant, Gerald’s second wife still lives there and often has a walk round and also changes the personal bits in the cabinets about his life in The Gerald Durrell Story area.

The zoo has six keeper talks during the day about the various animals, there is also an education room and film room.

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Another area I thought was a fantastic place to make a bit of money but did not take any looking after was the book return room, you can just drop off books to be put there.  I had a look and there were books from so many authors, there was a box and it cost £1 for a hardback and 50p for soft.  I found a couple of books about Italy so that was my contribution.  Good job I drove my car over there as my boot appears to be getting more bags in it.

So all I have left to show you are the many animals, I took a few pictures so hope you enjoy them.

Love all the colours in this photo below.

If you ever get to go to Jersey then this place is a must and the coffee there is good to.

THE BOTANIC GARDENS, ST CLEMENT, JERSEY


I just love the above picture, what a stunning entrance that would make for any garden and these gardens are beyond magnificent in fact the best I have ever seen.  The Herb Garden situated in the walled medieval area is the largest in the UK.  I attended the free herb garden tour and learnt some great tips also so many herbs that I had not heared of, I  think I might ask for a herb book about what to do with them all for Christmas.  Did you know that mice do not like Mint so plant that around doors especially in the country where you get the field mice coming in for a warm winter.  


This had an amazing smell and I will be using it and trying to grow it.  

Different types of Thyme like orange and lemon, which is well known for healing and supposed to do wonders for a chesty cough, I am liking the thought of mixing the two together in an infusion and trying it out for myself.  I didn’t realise that the Chives I grow are Onion Chives as they have the purple flower the white ones are Garlic Chives but not very strong so a good addition to foods that you just want a very mild flavour.  

INFUSIONS – You will need a pair of tights/stockings or similar and normal porridge oats then break down the Rosemary and put in, then this will be put in the bath for a relaxing soak.

Lemon Verbene, again with the oats, put the infusion in a glass and add prossecco, this tasted like lemon curd and I love that.  


Oregano you can put into oil and use when needed.  Soapwort, you can make soap from and then dry the flowers for arrangements.  Sweet Cicely goes lovely with rhubarb, I can’t wait for next year when I can cut mine and cook it.  Lovage you can put into potatoe salad to get an amazing celery taste but not as strong as the real thing.  Put dried Lavender by your bed to aid sleep.  There is even a Curry plant, this does not smell very strong but goes well in your jar of dried rice before cooking.  

SAGE – You can make a sage gargle which is antibacterial and good for throats.  Mix 2oz of the fresh herb into 1 pint of boiling water then let cool and gargle with this, I will be letting you know if this works.  

I did not realise how many different types of Lavender there are so I have bought some seeds home to try.  The lavender and rose garden is amazing.  

A cute robin wanted to get in on the action.  Our tour guide Jenny had a world of knowledge about all the herbs and really was an outstanding person who managed to answer everything for us.

THE HERB GARDEN CAFE – What a beautiful cafe with out door seating in a wonderful setting.


The prices in this cafe are great in fact the best I have come across during my stay here and being a tourist and you get free wifi!  

I have even bought some Black Butter to try at home also Jersey milk and cream oh and not forgetting the New Potatoes.

The black plants are stunning, I have tried a couple of different ones in my garden but they did not seem to like it but I will be trying again as they look so good. 


I am loving the pink display, I came out with so many ideas for my garden but I am sure they will just stay at ideas for now.  I really liked the daisy looking flowers as you don’t really see Daisy’s growing in lawns anymore.  The two tone tree looked stunning as it all changed colour.

You would need a whole day to see everything here and stop for lunch.  Then a browse round the Gift Shop not forgetting the Rural Life And Country Museum and The Manor House with stables.  The children are catered for with a lovely park also a great game of hide n seek under the weeping willow tree.  


The best bit is if you go at the beginning of your holiday and you wish to go again, you can get a complimentary ticket for free so you can return any time. 

What a good idea to grow your apple trees over the arch, this makes picking them so much easier.  You could do the same with your other trees.  



As you can see there is so much to see and enjoy here, I liked that there were seats everywhere so you could just sit and look at the amazing views in every direction.  

This was the best place for me in Jersey and I loved all of it.  

WHITSTABLE, UK

I have always liked the beach huts that many of our seaside towns have on the beach, many now are painted various bright colours.  I would turn one into a “she shed” writing hideaway, oh the many possibilities, I can feel a Pinterest board coming on.  I would of course paint mine pink, I could sit and look out to sea for many hours as I feel the inspiration just flows there, in fact I am getting ideas just from thinking about it.

Stopping at The Seaview Cafe for a coffee where the views are amazing, what a busy little cafe and the food is great with prices very reasonable.  Whitstable is very quant with many small speciality shops which can be very expensive but you would have a one of purchase.  Along by the harbour there are many pop-up shops selling a wide variety of goods, many hand-made.  The paintings by the local artists are amazing with many designs to suit all tastes.

I absolutely love the old fisherman huts that they have converted into wonderful little places for people to stay when visiting, again you look out onto the sea and many have balconies or they are almost on the beach.  They blend in with the many cottages scattered along the front that look like little dolls houses as so old and small.  The cottage gardens are exquisite and I will put a couple of ideas into my own garden that I have seen.  Whitstable has many varied bars, pubs and restaurants to choose from so you are a bit spoilt for choice.  The oyster bars appear to be everywhere round by the harbour but I am sure they would all be good as they are caught locally.  I can feel a night in a hut coming on with a good meal and a couple of cocktails followed by a glass of wine on your balcony gazing out to sea.

Whitstable is well worth a visit as there really is something for everyone, I am already looking forward to going back again.

 

I AM WRITING!

That feels so good to be able to say that as I was beginning to wonder if I would again, so today I polished off and edited the first chapter of the children’s book.  Will look at another couple of chapters and improve them then they can all go back to the publisher, just hope they haven’t forgotten me.

I popped over to Romney Marsh this morning as that is where my dentist is and it is always nice to see the fields and sheep as I drive by.

I was also  very pleased with myself as I have at long last actually grown some Freesia’s, I love these flowers and their smell, they were my Nans favourite as well so that must be where I get it from.  Still lovely and warm so I need to fit in some weeding somewhere this week.

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My next little project is to make this cup wreath and so far I have collected four cups, I was amazed that charity shops do not have a box of old cups but it seems not as now they appear to be like gold dust!

It is time for bed to read, this book seems to be taking me a while to read, I just can’t seem to get into it and I really don’t like it when that happens.  At least I can look forward to the next one that I am hoping to start before the end of the week.

 

FOLKESTONE GARDEN CENTRE

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Super offers from our garden centre at the moment, I especially like the free cream tea so will be paying them another visit this month.  I also like the free lantern which is a great gift from just buying your plants for the summer garden.  There is so much choice here and a favourite place of mine to get birthday presents as there are many unusual bits here.

I had to buy another notebook, just in case I run out! LOL you can never have too many and that’s my reasoning also it was only £1.99 and it fits in my handbag.

I have never met friendlier staff than here, nothing is too much trouble for them and they go out of their way to find exactly what you require.