Friday Favourites & Weekend Temptations

Four Sleeping Cats | woodcut print | Tomoo Inagaki
(Sleepy kitty piccie from here)
Shattered.com!  I am broken!  Jet-lag has been the main feature of my week....I thought I was fine on Sunday but add a full-time job to that Jet-lag and people letting off air horns at midnight in our street and I'm a write-off!

Outside of work I've done nothing but laundry and sitting on the sofa, oh and writing that mammoth blog about Toronto!...Did you make it to the end?  Did it make you want to visit? 

All this sofa lounging does mean I've been dipping into the online realm a bit more this week.  Here are a few things that caught my eye:

//This Asian Chicken Salad, just what I need post holiday!
//The Ultimate Iced Coffee.....Vietnamese style.  (Homemade that is.......and only if you can't find a Jimmy's Iced Coffee somewhere!)
//This bag, perfect for beachy summer days.
//At the end of this long week I could really do with one of these Watermelon Mojitos, brought to you by the lovely Emma and Elsie form A Beautiful Mess, one of my favourite blogs.

I was hoping for a quiet weekend to recoup some energy but it appears there is no rest for the wicked.....here's the itinerary:
//Wine tasting at a local art gallery
//Pop-up Arts at Pamphill
//Hinton Martell Village Fete
//BBQ-ing with friends
//More BBQ-ing with friends

What are you up to this weekend?  The weather should be warm, if a little cloudy perhaps.

Happy Friday my lovelies. xx



Beautiful Toronto and Those Who Reside Therein!

So The Boy and I are back from our AMAZING trip to Toronto.  I’ll warn you now, this is going to be a long post, I hope you’ll read to the end but please feel free to just scroll through the photos!

Our trip to Toronto started by stepping back in time!  We booked cheap flights on Air Transat and when I stepped on the plane it was like my trip to Toronto 24 years ago!  No personal entertainment here…….just those TV’s that run down the centre of the plane with no choice of what to watch.  That said the flight was actually pretty good, probably one of the most comfortable I’ve been on.  With it being an older plane I think we got a little more leg room (not like nowadays where they squeeze as many seats in as physically possible!).  I kept myself occupied by reading some Broad Norfolk Poetry and dipping in and out of the on-board entertainment.

We arrived in Toronto to the most loving greeting from my Uncle & Aunt (Merv & Jackie), it was so nice to see friendly faces waiting for us.  We picked up my cousin Jacob on our way home from the airport and were treated to an amazing Lebanese feast prepared by Jackie.  We managed to stay awake until 10pm until finally the jet lag set in and it was promptly off to bed.  The next morning my friend Stuie came to collect us and we set off for a weekend away at Fiddlehead Farm in Prince Edward County.  Stuie friends own this farm with a holiday let on site.  Roxy The Cat also accompanied us, and apart from one incident, was very well behaved on the 2 hour journey.  

Fiddlehead farm was amazing, totally and utterly beautiful.  Stuie's friends Ron and Alan own the farm, which is run by Alan's son Steve.  Ron, Alan and their friend Bobbie joined us for the weekend and provided us with a very warm welcome.  The farm is 24 acres and is only in its second year of ownership by Ron and Alan.  Not only do they grow veggies but they are also rearing pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and have 4 barn cats and 2 dogs.  Our weekend was full of laughter, food, sun, animals, fun and happiness.

During our stay we also managed to visit a couple of wineries and a cidery, after one or two wine tasting experiences it appears that I do indeed quite like wine again!  Prince Edward County is an up and coming Wine area, following in the footsteps of the long established Niagara area.  With the beautiful countryside, the idyllic settings and the most beautiful tasting rooms the wine tasting was a real treat.  We visited Keint-He, Karlo Estates and Waupoos Cidery.  My favourite tipple had to be the Riesling from Karlo Estates…….Needless to say that between us a fair amount of alcohol was purchased!

We also visited Sandbanks Provincial Park, home to the best beach on Lake Ontario.  A beach on a lake I hear you say…..yep, that’s right….and pretty odd it was too.  Lake Ontario is one of the 5 Great Lakes, and standing on the beach you could be mistaken in thinking that you were actually looking out to sea……there were even a couple of small waves breaking on the sand!  Sandbanks is beautiful and we were incredibly lucky to have clear blue skies and sunshine.  The rains of recent weeks had however turned small areas into slightly swampy ground which made our walk pretty interesting at times! 

The Boy and I love all things second hand….one mans junk is another mans treasure and all that.....and we even managed to fit in a yard sale and a trip to a second hand shop during our stay in Prince Edward County!

Back in Toronto Merv & Jackie kindly took the day off to take us to Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake for the day.  I went to the Falls 24 years ago as a 9 year and I can safely say that are just as impressive at the age of 32 as there were back then.  I’ll let the pictures of the falls do the talking…….if you are ever in the vicinity you must go!  We did the Tunnels Behind the Falls experience, a series of tunnels dug out of the stone beneath the falls during Victorian times (Victorian times!) and the thunderous noise of the water cascading over the edge and hitting the water below was immense!  Niagara on the lake is beautiful, it being Wine Country meant that another wine wasting session was essential!

Having been in Canada 5 days and not yet venturing into Toronto itself we made our first trip downtown and headed straight for the CN Tower.  I regretted not going up when I was 9 so 24 years later I was definitely going up......AND I was definitely going to stand on the glass floor.  We were last to jump in the lift and I looked around not to see any glass panels.....then we went up and I realised I was pressed on the glass panel facing out (not great if like me you don't like heights!).  So I figured I'd just look down......big mistake, I was stood on a glass panel too!!!!  With that I decided to look out and enjoy the view.....my grip on The Boy ever tightening as we ascended!  Once up I was fine and we had a great walk round, inside and out, and enjoyed the view.  

Back inside we headed for the glass floor.  The Boy went first and said it felt really weird and he didn't like it.....great I thought, there is no hope for me!  I took a few deep breaths, a few more....and huffed and puffed, and got talking to a stranger who was suffering the same dose of 'I can't do this but I'm not leaving here until I have'!  He said shall we do it together?  I grabbed at the opportunity and said after 3......3....2....1.....GO! And out I stepped straight onto the glass floor.......shouting at The Boy to quickly take photos...documenting this crazy momentous occasion!  It felt very wrong and I stood static until the photos were done and quickly jumped off.....the stranger?.......well he was walking around, looking down, taking photos, no problem at all.  I wonder, was he a 'facilitator', an employee in civilian clothing there to help people who were too nervous to do it on their own?  I hope not, it was such a special moment, but that said I couldn't have done it without him so what does it matter.

We spent the rest of the first week downtown, exploring various shopping areas, meeting Stuie for lunch and evening drinks, and enjoying what Toronto had to offer.

On Friday Merv & Jackie took us to the extended families cottage on Belmont Lake.  It was just over 2 hours drive NE of Toronto in an area known as the Kawarthas.  It was stunning!  We spent all day Friday, Friday night and all day Saturday here.  I didn't want to leave!  We were treated to amazing food, amazing company, the most beautiful views, boat rides, drinking at the Bunki-Bar, eating s'mores by the campfire, but my favourite bit of all.......going out on the lake after dark and laying on the boat looking up at the stars!  Utterly, staggeringly beautiful! (another of my favourite moments, spotting my first firefly, flickering around the garden).

Back in Toronto we headed to St Lawrence Antiques Market on Sunday Morning......The Boy picked up a 1958 Coca Cola cooler (for note, we upgraded our plane tickets to option plus and took the cooler as an additional piece of luggage! The Boy is a genius!)......my purchase was a little smaller!

At this point Merv had to leave us and go on a business trip for the rest of our stay, so we said our goodbyes and pondered on when we would get to see him next.  On the Monday of our final week we were treated to a visit to the Rogers Centre (I'll always know it as the Skydome!) to see the Blue Jays take on The Colorado Rockies.  After some pointers on the game of baseball from Merv & Jackie a few days earlier, and watching the Blue Jays on TV winning every game since we entered the country we were pretty excited.  It was awesome, a tense game with scoring only in the 8th and 9th Innings! I wanted to go EVERY night!  We were hooked!  Lets Go Blue Jays!

On the Tuesday of our last week we met up with my long lost Ukrainian relative, Lena, who knew my Dad before emigrating to Toronto when she was a teenager.  She now lives in Knoxville but spent many years in Toronto so she decided to spend a few days in Toronto whilst we were there.  We got a tour of the CBC network, where she used to work and still has many friends, before grabbing lunch and then heading to The Beach.  It was great to see her and catch up.  It's so amazing that she is back in our lives (the only people I knew with my surname until I met her was my Mum, Dad and Brother!)

We spent the final week checking out some of the other areas of Toronto, including Kensington Market, Parkdale, Leslieville, The Distillery District, and much more.  

AND we came across what is now my favourite animal.......Mr Raccoon!

What an amazing trip, I really felt at home; seeing Merv and Jackie's friendly faces most days, lunching and socialising with Stuie, making new friends in Ron, Alan and Bobbie, chatting and going to the baseball with Jacob, hanging with Lena......it really was pretty special.

Jackie kindly took us out for lunch on our last day and then took us to the airport.  We decided to simply say 'see you later'.  Leaving was difficult!  It was made slightly easier knowing that we'll see them in a years time at my Brothers wedding, but none-the-less it was a pretty solemn flight home.  

Thank you Merv, Jackie, Jacob, Cath, Stan, Nancy, Lena, Stuie, David, Ron, Alan, Bobbie, Steve, Heather, Dave, and Jonathan......you made our stay in Toronto so special.

Love to you all. xx


Toronto Here We Come! - See you on the other side!

(Piccie from here)

Hey there my lovelies.  Just to say the blog will be a little quiet over the next couple of weeks as I'm off to see Family & Friends in Toronto!!!!

There will be much catching up, eating, sightseeing, chatting, hugging, drinking, shopping, laughing, perhaps a little crying, and general all round merryment!

Hope you have a great couple of weeks and I'll see you on the other side!



Broad Norfolk - Tricolate

Tricolate;  To spruce up or repair: “He tricolated the shud suffin masterous.”

I have noticed my Dad using this word more and more recently.  I think I heard this for the first time last year.  I'm pretty sure I'm still learning a new Broad Norfolk word everytime I visit him!

I wonder if this word is becoming more common in his vocabulary because he is spending more time in his shed!

Happy tricolating my lovelies! xx 


Love & Family - A Recent Mardle Made Commission

I can finally share with you a special commission I received to make a beautiful bangle for a member of my very extended family.

My soon-to-be Sister-in-law's brother (does that make sense!) wanted me to make a bangle for his wife for her birthday.  He wanted a flat, hammered bangle with the words 'Love' and 'Family' stamped on the inside.  What beautiful words to have chosen, but they are even more special when you know that starting a family (and therefore their beautiful boy) didn't come easy to them.  

Having only met them once it was clear to me that family was immensely important and the love just radiated out of them.  I was stoked to be making this bangle!  

It was Amy's birthday today and she kindly sent me a thank you message saying that she loved the bangle and that she cried when she read the words stamped on the inside.  I'm so pleased she loves it.

Here are a few photos of the bangle, sorry they're not very good, I had to take them super quick and get the bangle in the post!

What words would you choose to have stamped on  piece of jewellery?

Happy Monday my lovelies. xx


The First Weekend of Summer

The 1st of June is the meteorological start of Summer, and the great British weather definitely didn't let us down.  We've had a lovely sunny weekend, with the warmth even extending into the evenings.

After visiting River Cottage HQ a month or so ago (read about it here) I was inspired to get my veg patch up and running again and this was the perfect weekend to plant out my teeny tiny veg-lings!  This was going to be no mean feat.  I didn't use the veg patch last year and it was completely over grown with weeds.  I spent all of Saturday weeding and preparing the bed (whilst also doing laundry and packing for my holibob).

I had a lot of peas to plant out so I made some make-shift trellis on the fence panel using picture hooks and string.  As well as peas, I've also been growing broccoli, carrots, cabbage, parsnips, cauliflower and courgettes.   I added some fresh compost to the bed and set about planting out the veg.

The veg fitted perfectly in the bed, in neat little rows with the peas at the back ready to climb the trellis.  The carrots and parsnips were still a little small but I had to get it all planted out for two reasons; 1) I'm going on holiday and needed to get all the veg in one place so it was easy for our house sitter to water and look after, 2) we have a lot of cats in our neighbourhood and I needed to get all the veg in so I could cat-proof the bed...........

Have you got any top tips on keeping the cats out of the veg bed? I've tried a few different things, like rigging up this kitty obstacle course, putting ground pepper around the edge, and a few other things but nothing seems to work well.

I'm really hoping the veg settles in well and gets growing.  I started growing veg two years ago and had a successful crop but last year it all got attacked by slugs and ruined by the constant rain.  I'm hopeful this year though as there are already plums on the tree and I noticed the first strawberries starting to grow, and my raspberry canes are looking very healthy indeed.

I'm also growing rocket, spinach and various types of salad in window boxes so if nothing else comes to anything at least they will be delicious!

Do you grow your own veg?  Do you have any top tips?  Now I just have to be patient and try not to harvest things too early!  I love fresh veg straight from the garden, it's so full of flavour! 

What did you guys get up to this weekend?  Did you take advantage of the beautiful weather?  Amongst all the gardening I also managed to squeeze in a little BBQ action on my friends roof terrace.....it was perfect!

Happy Sunday evening my lovelies. xx


Life Lately

Life has been so busy lately, I completely missed blogging last week.  I've taken inspiration from Orchid Grey and compiled a life lately post to fill you in.

At work:
Work has been frantic! I've been preparing for the end of the academic year, specifically organising events to help students manage their waste at the end of the year.  Plus I've already started planning for next years intake of students, looking at getting them into environmentally friendly living habits from the moment they move in. 
We've also just finished bike week, and we're working on a local cycling challenge.  And we've recenlty had some good news on the funding front which I'm very excited about.   I'm also working on rolling out a food waste recycling service and planning an eco-champions scheme!

In the studio:
I've been working on a couple of commissions lately, including the his & hers spinner rings you see in the photos above. I've also worked on 2 bangles, which I'll tell you more about another day.
I loved working on the spinner rings, I've made ladies ones lots before but I've never made a mans one.  It was a joint design with the recipient and I really enjoyed forging it into reality. 
I've also been attempting to tidy the studio a little as I go along but it always feels like one step forwards and two steps back!

At home:
I've been sowing some veg ready for planting in the garden although not all of it has come to anything.  I'm really hoping to get them planted out before I go to Toronto but I'm not sure it's going to happen.
Toronto is now only 6 days away!  I am sooooooooo excited!  I've been in constant Facebook chat with the family and friends I'm going to see and I just can't wait.  The Boy has suffered many fits of excitement which will grow in intensity as the days count down.  This weekend I'm packing, and will be cleaning the house ready for our house/cat sitter to come to stay.

Other than all of the above I've spent most of my down time thinking about Toronto.  So far we have the following planned....
//Blue Jays baseball game
//Visit to Niagara Falls
//Staying on a farm in the sticks and helping them do some planting
//Coctail Drinking
//Tall ships festival
//Music Festival
//Hopefully a tour of a TV network
//Visit to Centre Island
//Trip up the CN Tower
//And most importanly of all speding lots of time with family and friends and having a good old catch up.

Last weekend we went to see a friend of ours who is house sitting for his great aunt.  She has an amazing home which she built with her late husband in the 60's.  It's an upside down house with the living rooms on the top floor to take advantage of the view over Poole Harbour.  It was a dream to spend time in.  The workshop hasn't been touched in years......it would make the perfect silversmithing studio!

So that pretty much sums up the past week.  I am shattered!  But a good kind of shattered if you know what I mean.

What have you lot been up to lately?

Happy Weekend my lovelies. xx


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