Sunday, April 25, 2010

Craft Fair

I'm at a craft fair again, this time in Aintree, Liverpool with Lindsey. I feel very inspired to make more mixed-media art. The only trouble is I have about 20 essays to mark.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blakemere Craft Centre

Today I am at Blakemere Craft Centre with Lindsey and my dad. It has all kinds of craft shops, including craft materials and crafted items. I am enjoying browsing but mostly I am enjoying spending time with people I love.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dig In

The have a great website called Dig In which is full of resources to help beginners grow their own fruit and veg.

There are tips on what you can grow in any space, from a windowsill to a back garden, advice on specific crops including french beans, courgettes, carrots and salad leaves, and many more.There are videos to watch, and message boards to show of your successes and ask for help with your disasters.

There is even a touring bus where you can take part in workshops and activities, get advice from expert gardeners, and pick up free seeds.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Are Supercars Good For The Environment?

I was reading a car magazine recently (I was in the local fish and chip shop waiting for Ed's vegetarian chop suey roll to cook, and there wasn't a lot of choice, ok?) and there was an article about the new McLaren supercar. I was reading about the work they have done to get the weight as low as possible, including building it partly from carbon fibres instead of steel. The magazine said that this was good for the car's eco-credentials, which made me snort loudly and brought stares from all the other people in the queue.

Maybe when we replace the VW Polo I'll ask Ed if we can get a McLaren instead. "It's not for me, darling, it's for the sake of the planet!"


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Doesn't Make a Summer

As I was driving home after having coffee with a friend, I thought I saw two swallows on a telephone wire. I couldn't quite believe my eyes so I parked and came back for a better look. I have been watching them for a little while now and sure enough they are swallows. I have had a really good look at them both perching and in flight.

I know the old saying "One swallow doesn't make a summer" but two of them have lifted my heart this spring morning.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Today I am grateful for:

1. The beautiful sunny weather we have had these last few days
2. My sisters
3. The changes I see every day when I walk my dog - more flowers and buds, insects, lambs getting bigger each day, and so on
4. The things that have made me laugh today
5. Friends I can rely on when I need help
6. That I have the capacity to appreciate music, art and other beautiful things
7. My children who make me so proud and happy
8. Ed, who has worked very hard lately to make our home better for our family
9. The talents and abilities I have been given
10. My supportive readers who pick me up everytime I am feeling down

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tasting Notes: Punk IPA

RobR recommended Brewdog's Punk IPA so I grabbed a 4-bottle pack next time I saw it. First impressions - bitter. Second impressions - really bitter. Finish - OMG this is bitter. It's fantastic! If you like your beer bitter and hoppy and dry (and not at all gassy) this is a treat. In fact, I can't wait for the summer and for some really really hot weather because a bottle of Punk would be the perfect refreshing drink on such a day. But it goes down very nicely on a cool April evening too. Thanks for the heads-up Rob!

Monday, April 12, 2010

What's Going On With This Blog?

If you have been wondering what is going on with this blog you are not alone. I have been wondering, too. Bean Sprouts is very important to me and I don't want to let it die. But I have been finding it hard to post.

It's not that I have stopped caring about all the things I used to write about. I still care very much. It's true that when I realised I was ill I eased up on many of the more time consuming and arduous 'green' practices. I found it a tremendous struggle just to get out of bed and dressed so more convenient options were literally life-saving to me for a while, and I had to learn to stop beating myself up about that (there just wasn't time, anyway. The list of things I was beating myself up about was very long). So I haven't lost interest. In fact I have added some new interests that I would like to blog about. So why haven't I?

I think I know why - I have been having similar difficulty in other areas, such as crafting, gardening, work, art - everything, really. The problem is that I have lacked confidence that what I create would be good enough, so I have been creating nothing. Stupid, huh?

I had a breakthrough today - I am going to stop worrying about whether it is good enough and just do it. Scary as that is, I am strong enough now to take the risk of failing. So I pledge to update the blog every day, whether or not I have something earth-shattering to say. Whether or not the writing process flows easily. Whether or not I cam find the perfect image to go with the post (this time I have used a photo of my dog, Gil - my Zen master in teaching me how to not care about what people think but just do whatever seems like a good idea at the time). I'm just going to do it.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Homeward Bound

We didn't get past the Food Halls in Harrods but we got some lovely things for our packed lunch on the journey home. We made it to the National Portrait Gallery just in time for Marcus' recital. What a divine ending to a lovely day! We are now on the train home, eating pate and olives and artisan bread, and comparing our sketchbooks and purchases. Tired and footsore but very very happy after our adventure. We MUST do this again, soon.

G&T @ the V&A

We loved the quilt exhibition. Even Stephanie(who had been a bit dubious about it) had a great time. We were starting to suffer from museum fatigue so we went to an outdoor courtyard and cooled our feet in the fountain whilst drinking gin and tonics. Steph is sketching whilst I update the blog. Next - Harrods (v. unlikely to buy anything but I've never even been inside and I wanted to see it.

Lunch at the Natural History Museum

Steph and I are sitting outside of the Nat History Museum eating our packed lunch of pate and bread and admiring the gorgeous architecture. The weather is lovely - warm and sunny. It's almost too nice to go back indoors but the quilt exhibition beckons so we are heading soon for the V&A. I'm so grateful to my husband, Ed, for agreeing to spend the day with 5 kids under the age of 12 to allow me and Steph to go gallivanting off like this.

Trip to the V&A

Do you remember I said I wanted to go to London to see the quilt exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum? Well I am on the train right now for a day trip with my sister Stephanie. Our itinerary includes the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, and a concert by my friend the Wigmore Prize winner Marcus Farnsworth. I'll keep you updated throughout the day.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Pure Ubu Beer

I picked up a bottle of Pure Ubu premium Amber ale at Tesco and popped the top off as soon as I had finished putting away the shopping. Gosh, it's nice. Hoppy and fragrant, not too sweet and with nice degree of bitterness. It's a smidge strong for a session beer to my mind, but that's what it tastes like. If Hobgoblin is a bit too sweet for you, as it is for me, you might find this a nice quaffable alternative.