Tuesday 30 August 2016

Garden Olympics & Family Fun

We were looking forward to the Bank Holiday. For once, all of the family were around and we had a family BBQ at Number 27 on the cards.
At the last minute we decided to also hold our own Garden Olympics. We'd scoured the garden for equipment and managed to come up with our own modern sextathlon!

Monday morning and Martin and I were up bright and early. There was lots to do ... food to prep, bunting to hang and events to lay out.

By the time everyone arrived the sun was shining, the flags were out, the umbrellas were up and the garden was looking pretty good for us ...
With still a bit of late summer colour ...
The events were all set up ...

and Martin was just raring to go!
After the first full family selfie that we've ever managed it was time to begin proceedings with the egg & spoon steeplechase. This involved making your way round the garden, without touching the grass, ducking under the Buddhist arch, getting over the bamboo fence and the water jump and making your way back to the start, without dropping your egg, which was in fact an apple, but hey, I didn't want to be left with loads of clearing up. All against the clock.
Dave & Alison managed to pick up the gold medal for this event, with Mum & Dad picking up silver and Dan & Lizzy the bronze.

Next up we had the paper aeroplane javelin and lots of serious R&D went into this one as you can see.
 It was soon time for the throwing to begin ...
... and following a bit of nifty radial measuring by Martin the gold for this event was awarded to Dan & Lizzy, with a stupendous throw of 31'10". Silver went to Martin & I, though I have to confess we had been practicing, and bronze went to Sarah & Mark, so now everyone had a medal and a score on the board.

Next up, it was time for 'Boule Ring', well we do live near Birmingham - you know, Bull Ring, see what I did there?

Well, Martin had scavanaged a roll of hose, which made for our ring and I had a very old set of boules in the shed, which hadn't seen daylight for quite some years.

Once we started practicing it was clear that the boules had seen better days, some were still the right weight and full of whatever it is that fills them, some were empty and very light and one was even cracked all the way round. It all just added to the difficulty of the event.

Mum & dad, being keen crown green bowlers would surely have this one in the bag.
It was not to be the case, in spite of all their experience they only managed to pick up a bronze. The gold went, again, to Dan & Lizzy, who clearly have youth on their side, with the silver going to Dave & Alison.

So, we were halfway and the overall scores had Dan & Lizzy in the lead with 7 points, Dave & Alison in 2nd place with 5 points, Mum & Dad in 3rd with 3 points, followed up by Martin & I with 2 and Sarah & Mark with just 1 point.

At this point we decided it was time for a bit of a burger break and time for a good old play with the selfie stick.

After a quick refreshment break it was soon back on with the rest of our Olympic events, starting with 'The Stepathon', another throwing game, which started off quite sensibly ...

... and then there was a debate as to whether or not it would be possible to climb through the top gap of the ladder ...

I did make a pathetic attempt but Mum proved that it was most definitely possible, though no extra points were awarded.

Gold for this event went to Dave & Alison, Silver to Sarah & Mark and bronze to Martin & I. By now I'd stopped writing up the scores, so have no idea what they were.

The penultimate event was called 'Trug Toss' and though everyone was looking forward to chucking trugs down the garden, this was not to be.

Yet again gold went to Dan & Lizzy, silver to Dave & Alison with bronze going to Mum & Dad.

Going into the final event we had both Dave & Alison and Dan & Lizzy in joint lead with 10 points each, followed by Sarah & Mark and Mum & Dad on 4 points each. Martin & I were just making up the numbers, trailing at the back with just 3 points, obviously our practicing hadn't done us any good whatsoever.

It was all to play for on the final event of the afternoon, 'The Click Toss Rally'. We decided that we would count the number of catches in the longest rally in a 3 minute period and this would be added to the score so far, so all to play for.

Martin & I went first. We had practiced this and got really good, we could still be in with a chance. Well, we were rubbish, I couldn't stop laughing and was in danger of having one of those accidents that us more mature ladies have, and we managed to score 3 ... pathetic.

Sarah & Mark were up next and managed a pretty respectable 6, bringing their overall score to 7.

Mum & Dad were next and there was plenty more laughing and they managed to match our first score of 3, putting them on a final score of 7 ...

Now it was time for Dan & Lizzy, one of the contenders for the overall win ...

They put the rest of us to absolute shame, coming in with a massive rally of 12!!

There was only Dave & Alison left to go and it all depended on this very last game. Could they beat Dan & Lizzy's rally of 12?

It was getting serious, Alison was poised and we all know how much Dave likes to win. Could they do it?

In the end it was not to be. in spite of managing a respectable rally of 9, they just couldn't beat the youth of Dan & Lizzy, who were crowned our overall winners of the afternoon ...
That was the fun and frolics over for the afternoon. Now it was time to chuck the chicken and fish on the barbie and restore our energy.

We'd had a lovely afternoon together in the garden. We spent the evening sitting on the patio, playing games and eating far too much. 

It just goes to show that you don't need to spend a fortune or go very far to have a great time. Good weather, good company, good fun and good food. Seriously, what more could you ask for?

Wednesday 24 August 2016

HM@No27 - Rag Market Haul

I was in desperate need of Christmas fabric for a big doggy bandana order for Hand Made at Number 27, so It was time for another visit to Birmingham Rag Market.

I'd arranged a trip with mum and a very close friend and was really excited to see what fabric was around and looking forward to some serious mooching, a bit of haggling with my favourite stall holders and hoping for lunch in the sunshine.

I was not disappointed. It was a glorious day, we got everything we went for, and more, had a lovely relaxing lunch at Cafe Rouge outside in the sunshine and all came home absolutely shattered.

I thought it would be fun to share our finds with you so here is my Rag Market shopping haul ....

We started off with a few haberdashery bits and piece, all just 29p each and absolutely perfect for a project that is on the cards for early September.
We then browsed all of the fabric stalls we could find before making final decisions on what to go for. It was difficult keeping to plan, as there was just so much gorgeous fabric that would have been lovely to add to my stash.

Our first fabric purchase was some top up fabric for Summer bunting, as this has gone really well this year and I was getting low on a couple of my favourites.

I ended up with a metre of this lovely red and white rose fabric, priced at £2 a metre and some pink gingham, which is really useful for both bunting and linings for my zippered pouches. We got lucky with this one as it was a roll end, so we managed to get a bit extra thrown in and actually ended up with just over 2 metres for just £2.
I went a bit off plan and fell in love with this lemon backed animal print which I thought might just come in useful for something nursery related. Again ... just £2 a metre.
We were a bit disappointed with the options for Christmas fabric on this stall and ended up with just one purchase towards the dog bandana order, this red and white star fabric. Again, it was £2 a metre.
I was beginning to think I was going to have to resort to trawling the internet for more Christmas designs, but it wasn't long before we found just what we were looking for. A fab array of designs, all for just £2 a metre, or 3 metres for £5. The three of us did a lot of umming and ahing over which were our favourites, before deciding on this lovely lot.

7 different fabrics, in a variety of colours and designs, all for £2 a metre. No luck here with any bartering, however hard we tried, but still a real bargain anyway.
Before moving on, another impulse buy. I just couldn't resist this cotton woodland themed fabric, which will be just perfect to make something for the nursery for my new niece or nephew, due in November. This was a bit more pricey at £8 per metre, but I just loved it so much I had to have it.
I also was delighted to find out that this fabric seller had an internet shop. If you want to have a look you can find them at www.thefabricoutletuk.co.uk.

From here it was on to the 10p zip man, for a selection of zips to top up my supply. Any length, any colour, any style, all 10p. It is seriously the only way to buy zips. This stall is only here on a Tuesday though, as I found out to my cost on my last trip.
We made two more purchases within the rag market, before heading outside to see what the outdoor market had to offer.

I bought half a metre of this clear plastic stuff, which I thought would be great for jewelry rolls or make up brush holders, which I hope I will eventually have time to have a go at, and another half a metre of this gorgeous silky cream fabric, which I will team up with the little haberdashery bits we'd bought earlier.

It was then outside in the sunshine for a good look round the outside stalls, where I just plumped for one purchase of cream crocheted lace. I got the two metres for £2.45. I'm not entirely sure what the plans are for these, but I am sure I will think of something.
By now we were starting to flag so it was up the steps to Cafe Rouge, where we managed to find a spot in the shade to enjoy our lunch.

Revitalised, there was time for a bit more retail therapy of the Primark kind and a hunt in The Works for some bits to use in my garden Olympics at the weekend and just in case there were any more crafty bits worth buying.

By now we were all laden down, had aching legs and with the temperature having soared to 29 degrees and we were ready to head for home, so it was back to the car.

We'd had a lovely and very productive day, I'd definitely recommend the rag market to any other sewists or fabric junkies out there for fabric and all other bits and pieces sewing related.

Back home and I was too tired to even photograph my fabric, so it was a cool shower and an evening laid on the sofa for me.

Monday 22 August 2016

Beautiful Britain - Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Our first excursion on our recent holiday exploring the Suffolk coast was to Aldeburgh, which was just down the coast from Knoddishall, where we were staying in the Ebenezer Chapel.

Now ... how to describe Aldeburgh? There's a conundrum. It was definitely beautiful, definitely different, definitely not like any other seaside town we've been to.

We absolutely loved it but did find it very hard to describe. It was just so different. It has hints of a Cotswold village, but next to the sea. I would even say it has just a touch of Dungeoness. I will apologise now for the photo heaviness of this post, but there was just so much that was worth capturing.

We parked right up at the Martello tower end of town, where we managed to find a bit of sneaky free parking.

We walked back along the front on a glorious day, definitely should have gone for shorts and not jeans.

Pretty much every step we had to stop to exclaim at something else we just hadn't expected to see. There were tantalising little cut throughs to the high street, a massive variety of property styles and even a piste where a game of French Boules was underway.
The beach is all shingle, so no golden sands, but all the same, it had a real charm all of it's own.
On the one side the road is lined with houses of all shapes, sizes and styles. Lots painted in pretty pastel colours. And the flowers ... I've never seen so many hollyhocks. I was dead envious, I can't grow these at home, but here they are everywhere, they are even growing an absolute riot on the beach.
We walked the full length of the front, from the Martello Tower, right to The Shell and there are lots of points of interest along the way.

About half way along our walk along the front we came across the Moot Hall, which wouldn't have looked out of place in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Just past the Moot Hall you start to hit signs of the local industry, seafood! 

These huts were just fascinating and Martin was desperate to buy some sea food, but it was just too hot, so we opted for lunch, under the shade of a big umbrella, at the hotel opposite.
Getting tired in the heat and with aching legs we just had to carry on our walk to The Shell, we both love a piece of outdoor sculpture. We'd read about The Shell on line and weren't sure what to expect. Well, nothing could have prepared us for what we found. It was beautiful and fairly quiet, so plenty of photo opportunities, so here it is in all its glory ... from every angle!

I must confess that some of the pictures of The Shell were taken on a return visit, so if you think the sky looks a bit different, that's because it was.

The Shell was the extent of our walk for today. You can carry on along the beach to Thorpeness, but we thought we'd save that for another day. We about turned and headed back the way we'd come, cutting through to the high street at The Moot Hall, where we mooched our way back along to the car. We would definitely be back, as we couldn't carry all that we wanted to buy from the Adnams shop!
We took the easy option, jumped in the car and carried on out to the Martello tower, which can actually be booked to stay in. It was pretty deserted this end of the beach and again, just lovely.

Having had the loveliest of days it was now time to head back for Ebenezer Cottage.

This is our first visit ever to the Suffolk coast and as a starter for 10, Aldeburgh definitely hit the spot. I can't wait to see what else is in store.