"With Pomp, Power & Glory the world beckons vainly, In chase of such vanities why should I roam?While Peace & Content bless my little thatched cottage,And warm my own hearth with the Treasures of Home."*Beatrix Potter

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Summer Time in the Country


As Summer draws to a close I reflect on how quickly it passes, soon it will be Autumn & we will be enjoying the warmth of our hearths.
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It is now harvest time here in the country & the fields & lanes are busy with activity.
The last of the Summer flowers are fading & have an aged & worn look to them but one still stands tall & is in full bloom, the elegant Hollyhock peeping through all the other flowers in the garden as it sways gently in the wind.
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Soon it will be our villages Harvest Festival & we can give thanks for the fruits of the fields, our gardens & the hedgerows.
Our own garden has an abundance of apples just waiting to be made into chutneys which will sit on the pantry shelves waiting for Christmas to accompany cold meats & cheeses. Apple Butter will also be made from our apples, it is a favourite with us on hot buttered English Muffins.
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The Summer has flown by, with family celebrations, baking, gardening, preserving, decorating, dress making & lovely days out.
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I have added some recipes as promised, I hope you all enjoy them.
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We had a beautiful family picnic at Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire.
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Some of the children playing croquet on the green in front of the hall.
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Kitty & I loved exploring the beautiful blooms in the gardens.
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Gunby has many different types of Roses.
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The gardens are beautiful, with so many flowers, fruit trees & vegetables.
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Marmalade Cake.
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This is a lovely cake for teatime.
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Mix together in a bowl
6ozs soft dark brown sugar
6 ozs margarine
3 eggs
9 ozs Self Raising Flour
14 ozs of dried fruit {Sultanas, Raisins, Currants, Apricots & Cherries} You do not have to use them all, just a selection.
2 tablespoons of marmalade
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Grease & flour a deep cake tin & bake for over two hours in a low oven 160.
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We have had a few beautiful days in our special Yorkshire Dales exploring all the pretty Dales Villages.
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Beautiful Richmond. The river & castle are stunning, there is so much history there.
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We travelled up to the Beamish open Air Museum Georgian Fair, it was a wonderful way of finishing our history topic ~ The Georgians.
The twins dressed in Georgian Empire Line dresses for the day, here is Kitty having her silhouette done.
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Mary making a Corn Dolly.
There are so many different designs of Corn Dollies, each one having a different meaning.
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Kitty listening to this lovely lady about Corn Dollies.
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This is a recipe for Georgian Gingerbread.
We could taste it in Pockley Manor the Georgian Farmhouse at Beamish.
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Beautiful pantry shelves at Pockley Manor.
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The girls in one of the upstairs bedrooms.
I love how Beamish encourages you to explore & nothing is roped off.
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Outside Pockley Manor.
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In the gardens there. 
We bought a beautiful handmade basket from one of the traditional craft stalls that were selling their wares at The Georgian Fair.
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Georgian Music.
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Home Farm at Beamish Open Air Museum is set in the 1940's.
This cupboard makes me feel right at home, I am always drawn to the kitchens in museums.
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Yorkshire Buns
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I have been making these for many years, they have a buttery crumbly texture.
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Mix 8 ozs of Plain Flour & 2 1/2 tsp of baking powder together.
Add 4ozs of demerara sugar & 2 ozs of sultanas & stir gently.
Add 4 ozs of butter & one well beaten egg.
Work together with your hands to form a dough then cut out using a cutter.
Bake for 10 mins at 180.
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The twins enjoy baking so much, here they are making Fairy Cakes.
All I have to do now is put them in the oven for them.
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Another day in North Yorkshire, this time to Thirsk the home of James Herriot.
It was market day so I took my shopping basket.
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Beautiful poppies on one of our nature walks across the village fields.
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A special treat.
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We very rarely go to the pictures, probably once every two years & always to this little Picture House in Woodhall Spa. It's an old Picture House that has an organ that plays during the intermission.
We went to see Churchill.
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Mincemeat Slice.
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This is another recipe I make regularly.
It is very moist with the mincemeat but sometimes I do it sometimes with chocolate chips.
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Grease & flour a round cake tin.
Mix together 5 ozs of Self Raising Flour or wholemeal Self Raising Flour
3 ozs oats
3 ozs light soft brown sugar
Then rub in 4 ozs of butter
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Put half of the mixture in the cake tin & press down with the back of a spoon, I find a metal spoon best for this.
Spoon on a small jar of mincemeat.
Then cover with other half of oat mixture & press down.
Bake at 180 for 20 minutes. Do not over bake, it should be a pale golden colour.
Whilst hot sprinkle with sugar.
Leave to cool in tin & then slice into wedges.
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I double this recipe up as it lasts well.
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Our Daisy turned 18.
All of the family came & we had a lovely birthday lunch.
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In the garden on Daisy's birthday with one of our darling Granddaughters Matilda Florence.
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Jam Making.
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I used Elderflowers with the homegrown Gooseberries this year, the smell was wonderful.
We have quite a few Elderberry Bushes at the bottom of the garden.
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This is my Gooseberry Jam recipe I made every year.
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4 1/2 lbs of Gooseberries
1 1/2 pints of water
6lbs of sugar
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Top & tail the Gooseberries, then wash & drain them.
Place them into the preserving pan with the water & simmer gently until the skins have burst & the fruit has reduced a little.
Add the sugar while stirring until it is dissolved.
Then boil until setting point is reached.
Pot up into sterilized jars.
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Some of the children getting involved.
Topping & tailing the Gooseberries takes a while.
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All finished & topped off with pretty calico covers.
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I finished a bolero for Mary.
It knitted up quite small so Kitty has chosen another pattern for me to knit for her.
The bolero is an original 1940's pattern.
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A day out at Belton House.
We love to visit this house & gardens & the second hand book shop they have there.
Kitty is enchanted with anything Jane Austen & as Belton House was used in the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice she was very excited to go.
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Sweet Peas in the garden.
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Beautiful dark Hollyhocks, one of my favourite cottage garden flowers.
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Lovely Lavender at Belton House.
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There was an abundance of Butterflies on the Lavender.
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Walking in the footsteps of Elizabeth Bennet.
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The desk where Mr Darcy {Colin Firth} wrote to Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
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This is my recipe for Victoria Sponge Cake, I do hope you like it.
Sometimes we have jam & cream in the middle, it is also nice with some sliced Strawberries for a treat. I also make a thick custard for the filling which is very much enjoyed.
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Mix all together 
3/4 lb of Butter
3/4 lb of Sugar
6 eggs
3/4 lb of Self Raising Flour
& a little milk if needed.
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Grease & flour two sandwich tins, this makes a big cake so the tins need to be quite deep.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 170.
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Leave to cool before spreading jam & cream in the middle & then dust with a little sugar.
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Thank you dear readers for all your beautiful comments.
I hope you all enjoy the recipes & the last few weeks of Summer.
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Fondly Michelle
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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Spending May Day with Shakespeare


A few weeks ago we had a rare night away & visited Shakespeare Country.
We loved it so much that we travelled back to Warwickshire Two weeks later as Mary Arden's Farm was celebrating May Day.
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We had just finished learning about The Tudor's so this was a perfect way to end the topic & inspire the children to know & learn more about William Shakespeare.
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Mary Arden's Farm has so much charm & history,
 you feel like you are walking back in time.
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Carding wool.
These two little girls love to get involved in crafts.
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The rear of Palmers Farmhouse.
There is always something cooking on the hearth in this farmhouse.
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All the Tudor costumes were wonderful.
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Cooking Tudor Pottage.
I brought home a wonderful little book with some lovely Tudor recipes in which we have had several times since our trip.
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A basket of Tudor supplies.
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The farmhouse kitchen.
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I loved all the woodenware.
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Goose Herding.
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Sweet Spring lambs at the farm.
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Kitty made a friend.
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video

Anne Hathaway's Cottage & gardens.
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Upstairs in one of the bedrooms.
It was wonderful seeing all the old pieces of oak furniture.
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The beautiful scullery in Anne Hathaway's cottage.
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Tulip Time in the cottage garden.
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The twins loved this garden with all the paths, nooks and crannies.
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The girls outside Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford Upon Avon.
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One of the downstairs rooms.
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This house is Halls Croft which was the home of Shakespeare's daughter Susanna,
 she was married to a doctor.
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The kitchen in Halls Croft.
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We loved all these old houses in Stratford & the surrounding villages.
The staff were wonderful & we learnt so much from them.
Our tickets last for a year so we will go back many times.
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May Day in England.
We love to study old traditions so after learning about May Day in England many years ago we once again travelled to Stratford upon Avon to Mary Arden's Farm.
There was so much to do there from making flower garlands to bringing in the May Pole.
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Dancing round the Tudor May Pole.


Cooking a May Day meal in Palmer's Farmhouse at Mary Arden's Farm.
The twins made some beautiful flower wreaths for their hair at the farm.
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There are so many activities you can do at the farm.
The girl's also did Tudor weaving & braiding & they made Gingerbread.
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Smelling the herbs in the farmhouse garden.
The girls are planning their own herb garden.
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Hand weaved basket outside the farmhouse.
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The Tudor May Day meal.
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During the meal they told you all about Tudor manners and customs.
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Mary & Danny joined in a Shakespeare play at his birthplace in the afternoon.
Mary has been truly inspired by Shakespeare & came home with a pile of books.
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There are five museums all run by The Shakespeare Trust.
They were all wonderful with so much to see & do.
I hope you all had a lovely May Day & are enjoying the last days of Spring in your part of the world.
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Thank you dear readers for all your lovely comments.
A few followers have asked for recipes on Instagram which I will post on my next blog post. I just had so many photos of the Shakespeare homes.
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Fondly Michelle
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