Saturday, 28 April 2018


Good morning to you,

Have you heard the latest news with regards to interiors?

Apparently the art of Macrame is coming back into fashion, albeit in a more up to date form.

.... and here I am, old enough to remember when Macrame was trendy first time around, in the early 1970's.  

When Macrame first appeared, it was such a contrast to anything our parents had in their homes, along with Peacock chairs and rattan tables.... it was an era of change. We did not want the same furniture and accessories, we wanted to be completely different. Practically every young couple seemed  to have Macrame decorating their home, in one form or another. Honestly everyone seemed to be Macrame crazy. I remember Phyllis thought the idea was silly and did not embrace the new fashion, in any shape or form, in fact I think it would be fair to say she hated it.  She could not understand why we youngsters wanted plants hung from the ceiling, it completely mystified her.

Macrame plant holders were the most popular item amongst my friends, filled with trailing plants and hung from the corner of the ceiling. With the more adventurous of my friends, having two or three holders suspended from the ceiling filled with plants.... and this could be hazardous, depending on the type of ceiling you had. I remember George screwing a hook into the ceiling, assuring me that it would be fine.  I did mention that the holder would be heavy because I intended putting fruit into the baskets, but he told me I had nothing to worry about.  So the macrame holder was hung, with the fruit placed into the baskets.... and what happened?  Yes you are right, it crashed onto the floor with the fruit rolling around the room. So it was off to the hardware shop where we discovered the type of fixing George needed. Due to the type of ceiling we had, we needed a butterfly screw. When the butterfly screw was inserted into the ceiling, all was fine, although to be honest, I did avoid walking underneath the Macrame holder for a little while, until I was fully satisfied it was secure.

... and what type of plant did we use to fill our Macrame holders. I remember my friends added Spider plants and instead of removing the new plants, they allowed them to grow. By allowing the baby Spider plants to grow, they created a trailing plant, from what should have been an upright plant, 

Another popular trailing plant was Devils Ivy, this was because the leaves were a glossy green and by regularly applying a little Baby Bio cleaner, the leaves would remain shiny. When the plant became too long,  it was re-potted and a moss pole was introduced, so the trailing plant, became a climber. The ivy was tied to the moss pole and  the size of the moss pole,  dictated how large the ivy grew.  Some friends managed to grow plants up to six feet tall.

It was always a trailing plant that was used.... although I was slightly different, because as I mentioned earlier, I inserted three different woven baskets into the circles and used the baskets to store my fruit.  The baskets were hung from the ceiling, over the the kitchen counter, which I thought was very chic.... it was so different to how my friends used their macrame holders. Over the years, I've always created a twist to whatever is in fashion, thus creating my very own style.

My mind is racing now, as different thoughts are popping into my head.

Do you remember the Macrame owls which were hung on everyone's walls.  The owl was hung from a horizontal twig which was attached to the top and bottom of the owl.  Actually if I remember rightly, I think the Macrame owl started life on the top twig and finished off on the bottom twig.

Oh and those long handled Macrame shoulder bags were very much in vogue.  If you were a follower of the 'Hippy style' then this was the bag for you.

.... and my absolute favourite, was a Macrame belt I owned, which I loved and used as a hipster belt for my hipster jeans.... does anyone use such a word nowadays.... hipster, I think it has been relegated to the 'old fashioned' section of our vocabulary. Oh and of course the jeans had to be bell bottomed jeans, the bigger the better.

From reading one small article, it brought back a memory, which was tucked away and something which I had not thought about in years.

.... and something which has been around for much, much longer, is an ingredient we are using today.... oranges.

Because today we are using oranges to bake,

an Orange cake. This may look like a very plain cake, but a cake does not have to be 'all singing and dancing' to be an enjoyable cake.  When time is of the essence, this is an easy cake to put together.

So without further ado, it's on with the pinnie and time to organise my ingredients.


200g plain flour 
2 teaspoons of baking powder
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs
150 ml sour cream
1 large orange ~ juiced and zested ~ you will need 4 tablespoons of orange juice
150 ml sunflower oil


2 tablespoons caster sugar
6 tablespoons of orange juice

You will need 1 x 23cm loose bottom sandwich tin
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan 


Oil a 23cm sandwich tin and line with baking parchment.

Sieve the flour and baking power into a large mixing bowl.

Add the caster sugar and mix to combine the ingredients.

Using a separate medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, sour cream, orange zest, orange juice and sunflower oil.  Whisk until combined.

Pour the wet ingredients, into the dry ingredients and thoroughly mix together, making sure there are no lumps of flour in the mixture.

Pour the cake mixture into the pre-prepared sandwich tin.

Place in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the cake is thoroughly baked.

 When the cake has been baking for 30 minutes, make the syrup.

 Pour the orange juice into a small saucepan and add the caster sugar.

Stir, using a low heat, until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 3 minutes.  Set aside for the moment.

 When the Orange cake is baked, remove from the oven, leaving the cake in the cake tin. Using a cake skewer, prick holes over the surface of the cake and brush with the orange syrup. It will seem as if you have too much, but as  the cake cools, it will absorb the syrup.

 When cooled, remove the cake from the cake tin
 and all there is left to do

I thought I would show you a close up of the Orange cake and as you can see, the cake has a lovely texture.

Before I leave you, I think I should explain why I was not with you last week. My only excuse is the weather.... yes the weather. After so much dreadful weather, we had the most glorious week, so both George and I spent our time working in the garden.  We worked hard everyday and to be honest, by the time Saturday arrived, I  was so tired. I never let my age restrict me from doing anything, but I am being honest when I say, sometimes I push myself too far and last week was one such week. 

Also,  because I wanted to get so much work done in the garden, I did not go to my new craft group either, but I fully intend to go this Thursday, so I promise to let you know how it goes.

Until then, take care of yourself and I will catch up with you next Saturday.

As Always,

Thursday, 5 April 2018


Good Morning to you,

My mind is wandering....

I close my eyes, take a breath, and allow myself to travel to warmer times.

I am not visiting India, America, Italy, Cyprus or some other exotic place.

Today, I am much closer to home.
Today I am walking in my summer garden, which is overflowing with beautiful flowers.

Some flowers are tall and sway with the breeze, whilst others have self seeded and find their own place in the garden.

The clematis are busily scrambling up their supports, covering every spare inch of space.

Whilst roses, with their vibrant yellow, bask in the glory of the sun. With each passing day they become paler in colour, until their beauty fades and the petals float to the ground.

.... but whilst some roses have finished their display there are others, who are just learning to climb, stretching their branches towards the sun.

It must be summertime, as the fragrance of roses fills the air

and containers are filled to the brim with petunias, fuchsia and geraniums.

Where old containers are not thrown away, but placed on their sides and filled with flowers.

.... and Evening Primrose, always a welcome sight, stands alone unsupported. As the evening sun goes down, they light my garden with their beauty.


I watch as this young clematis, the Star of India, finds its way through the old plum tree, striving to reach the very top.

I feel so content and so very happy.

.... but then I pause, open my eyes and look out of my window.

This garden I am describing, is not my garden anymore, this is the garden I loved and cherished for so many years, which now belongs to someone else. 

The space I see in front of me, is very different.  There are no billowing flowers, no climbing roses, no flowers swaying in the breeze.

.... instead there is a garden which needs my help. I look closer and I can see the changes we have made, the borders have been dug, bushes have been planted and autumn planted bulbs are beginning to peek through the ground.  This garden is not the same as it was last year, it is slowly changing, and with my help, it will be as beautiful as my previous garden.

There is no sadness for my lost garden, because I look forward to re-creating the style of garden I love, here in my new garden. It will take commitment and energy, and this excites me.

So my first task of the year, is planting as many seeds as possible. When there are large spaces to fill, this is the cheapest way to create colour.

Every seed I plant will be wildlife friendly.... and my first packet of seeds to be planted are,


I agree with my favourite gardener, Monty Don, when he says 

'With lovely ferny foliage and elegant blooms in any colour you like that’ll keep on flowering for months, cosmos are just out of this world'.  

(Mailonline 15/5/15)

With a smile on my face, I know these tiny seeds, will gift me with the most beautiful flowers this summer. I have so many seeds to plant, that I am utilising every empty container I can find.  As you can see these egg boxes work perfectly.

.... and to keep me on track, I have a beautiful garden book, 'at the ready'  to record my plants

and I cannot wait,

to once again, see the cheery, bobbing heads of beautiful flowers, waiting to welcome me, when I walk into the garden this summer.

But for now, I just need to be patient..... oh and believe me when I say, I have plenty of patience, because I know with patience, my new garden is going to give me so much joy.

With patience, my newly planted seeds will grow. With patience, the roses and clematis, I was given for my birthday, will grow. With patience the plants I brought with me, will settle and grow. This is such an exciting time.

How about you? Are you planning your summer garden? Are you reading seed catalogues deciding what seeds to buy, or is your garden, already filled with summer flowers just waiting to burst forth?

Before I leave you, I just wanted to mention that I will not be with you next Thursday, as I have been invited to join another crafting group.  I've met the ladies and they are lovely, so I will have much to tell you when I write next time. I will be returning the following week, but on a different day.  My new day of writing to you will be Saturday. So I will catch up with you on Saturday 21st April.... my goodness that does seem a long way away.

Until then, take good care of yourself.

As Always,

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