NO BETTER BERRY.

20140527-181059.jpgMmmm…first, home grown strawberry of the season! Such a tasty treat, especially as this one came from a hanging basket that was left over from last year that I have basically ignored!

I felt quite naughty really. I was on my way to collect the children when I spotted it and…erm…to save them from the argument about who should have it, I ate it and thoroughly enjoyed it’s super sweet, juicy, yumminess all to myself!

And what is this glorious variety called that appears to need no love or attention? Well it is Fragaria (which I think is Italian for strawberry!) ‘Tristan F1’ which is a trailing variety ideal for hanging baskets. I got mine at an event organised by the PTA of my children’s school, Grange Primary PTA, to raise funds for the school where our local green grocer, Krunchy Karrot, came into the school with a selection of flowers and vegetables for sale. This was a win win situation, as we got great products, a local business was supported and the PTA was given a donation by Krunchy Karrot!

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So, not only did my lovely strawberry taste great, I felt great (ignoring that I’ve deprived my children if this glorious first fruit experience!) as I supported causes close to my heart! Hurrah!

In an effort to redeem myself for stealing the first fruit of the season from my children (I do feel bad…honest!) I shall end with a quote from William Allen Butler

“Doubtless God could have made a better berry (than the strawberry), but doubtless God never did.”
William Allen Butler

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WHAT A DAY!

Yesterday, despite the grotty weather, started off on a high for me – I could eat again! I had just completed my first three day cleanse with Squeeze, which you will be able to read more about soon, and I felt fab! Instead of sitting on the edge of my bed feeling like an ancient, creaky, achy woman, I felt renewed, refreshed and relaxed.
I started the day with a hot water and lemon and a bowl of sliced banana with blueberries in one of my lovely, new Jamie at Home Rimple bowls. I just love the way it sits in my hand – not too heavy, not too big and the little ripples ensure the perfect grip. I know…it’s a bowl! However, it makes me happy.

Breakfast Love

After dropping the children off at school, I skipped off to town to do a few errands and while wandering around the Co-op in a blissful state, I heard the assistant request the owner of the car with my licence plate number to go to the help desk. On the negative side, a mature lady and her companion had shown that there are lots of horrible people in the world. On the positive side, two young girls had shown that there are still good people in the world.

So, what had happened? The two girls had heard a loud bang as they were getting into their car and turned to see that a car had reversed into my little purple car. The passenger, the afore mentioned mature lady, got out and inspected the damage and then promptly got back into the car and drove off! My poor Johnny Cab!

It might not look like much, but there are two cracks in the bumper which means a new bumper is required.

It might not look like much, but there are two cracks in the bumper which means a new bumper is required.

Needless to say, my lovely day went down hill rather fast. To add to it all, I only had twenty four hours to physically go into a police station to report the incident and to make an official statement. So, thanks to the Wickford Police Station being no more, I headed off to Billericay – in a hail storm – to be greeted by an initially very frosty lady on the desk who managed to make me feel like a criminal despite being the victim.

For your information, when reporting a similar crime, you will need to take both parts of your driving licence, your MOT certificate and your insurance documents. It really helps if you know this before travelling to the next town but worry not, if you don’t know or forget then the frosty lady will smile while she gives you a ticket requiring you to present said documents within seven days!

While the frosty lady was filling in the form, I looked out the window and my spirits lifted a little as I spied Cook! I promised myself that if I got out of the police station in time, I would pop in. I love Cook – such a brilliant concept.

So, it was with a renewed bounce that I left Billericay Police Station with a ticket in my pocket and my taste buds tingling with anticipation of the delights I was sure to find in store. I was met by a lovely lady (hooray, faith in humanity restored again) who welcomed me to the store, checked if I needed any help, told me about their Valentine’s offer and offered me a taster that sounded yummy but unfortunately had prawns in, so I couldn’t partake (fear not fellow veggies, they have a great range of vegetarian meals).

Fifteen minutes later I left with a bag full of yummy, yet slightly restrained delights for Mr F and I to enjoy for Valentine’s Dinner (my Squeeze cleanse was still at the front of my mind!) along with a some tasty treats for my lunches next week.

Cook bag stuffed full Cook Valentines Dinner Cook lunches

To add to my joy, the sun came out!

Sunshine at last

I nipped home to put my Cook goodies in the freezer and then rushed to my daughter’s school to fulfil my PTA duties and help supervise film night. I had good company during the film, Despicable Me 2, and it was really lovely at the end when lots of the littlies got up and boogied to Happy. I know it is a bit of a love it or hate it song, but I am definitely in the love camp! So, for your enjoyment, here it is

My day was nearly over but I had one last thing to do – a mission in the name of LOVE! Many of you have read about Mr F, my other half, but what you may not know is that I have a Craft-wife-to-be as well! As a symbol of my love and dedication to her and the craft, I tiptoed out in the cold and the dark to put up the latest mini yarn bomb in our street!

Birch Green Valentine Yarn Bomb 1

It doesn’t look that fab in the dark, so will try and get some photos of it in the sunshine. However, as an added treat for my love, I have added a bit of magic!

Birch Green Valentine Yarn Bomb 2

My day was finally over!

– UPDATE – UPDATE – UPDATE – UPDATE – UPDATE – UPDATE –

My wonderful Craft-wife-to-be has not only taken a photo in day light of my gift to her but she has returned the favour and added her own to it – isn’t it beautiful?!

Love

CROCHET & CHATTER WITH… IN2CRAFTING

Welcome to the first in series of interviews I will be doing with local businesses, independent crafters and people/organisations I find interesting and who I think you will love too. As the title suggests, I will also be including something crochet related too!

If you would like to have a little Crochet & Chatter with me, then message me and I will add you to my list of people to interview!

 

Wickford, where my home is, is very lucky to have an excellent craft shop – In2crafting. I spend a little…well, ok…a lot of time in there! Sometimes I’m only there for just for a couple of minutes as I rush in to grab an essential crafting item but more often than not, I have a leisurely browse of all the pretties and a chat with the friendly and welcoming staff. On a very rare occasion, you can even find me with my pal, Wendy, buttoning – a term we have come up with for the joy that is sorting through the pick and mix button section!

When and where did you set up in2crafting?

What started as a hobby some years ago has turned into a rapidly growing business for us. We started our craft shop in a garden centre in February 2005 with a view to supplying all sorts of craft, art and hobby materials to local residents. Réne also started card making workshops to teach card making to beginners and experienced crafters.

In May 2009 we changed our trading name to In2crafting and started to plan our website.

In August 2010 we moved to more convenient and larger premises in the Ladygate Centre, Wickford offering more space, choice and larger workshop facilities. Thanks to the great support of our customers locally and from far afield, the shop has grown in popularity as have the workshops.

What did you do before setting up In2crafting?

Before starting our business Réne worked in London for a violin dealer and John spent his career in sales training and sales management.

What kinds of items can we find in In2crafting?

Due to the comments of the majority of customers, the phrase “an Aladdin’s cave” has been adopted to describe the shop and it’s mass of contents. We have over 20,000 different products in store!

Some of the most popular items at the moment are die cutting/embossing products as well as stamps and inks.

What kind of workshops/demonstrations/offers do you run?

We run our own special offer promotions as well as those provided by major suppliers. In addition, extra savings can be made by joining our Privilege Card Scheme.

Apart from Réne, there are now other tutors providing fantastic inspiration to the classes. Michelle, and Carol, are our card making experts, Cherry who specialises in Parchment craft as well as Pen & Ink Drawing, Jane with paper crafting, Carol our resident Scrapbooking expert, and then there’s Yakoba with her Jewellery making classes.

Most weeks there are morning or afternoon workshops going on. All materials are provided and there are refreshments during the workshops, which can last between 2½ – 3 hours. It’s a great chance to share ideas with other like minded people. Customers are really pleased with what they have created in their workshop and often book way ahead to get in the next season of classes.

Another very popular event is our monthly free demonstration Saturdays. These feature great products from leading manufacturers and combined with special offers on the day. We continue to have some top class demonstrators coming to inspire and teach new and alternative techniques.  Customers love our workshops and demonstration days.

Thank you to Réne and John for taking the time have a chat with me.

I can highly recommend popping into In2crafting whether you are looking for a specific crafting item, a gift for a crafty or model making friend or to join one of their excellent workshops or free demonstrations.

 

So, we’ve had our chat, now for some crochet! There is no question about what I should show you in the world of crochet today. The fabulous Lucy of attic24 has unveiled her Autumn Wreath and it is a complete delight! You can see what I mean here.

If you haven’t discovered the wonderful blog that Lucy writes and fills with glorious photos of her crochet, her home, her studio that she shares with her friend and fellow crafter Tracy of Patchwork Chickens  and the lovely countryside surrounding it, then I highly recommend you do – she lifts your soul!

I’ll finish this week’s Crochet & Chatter with a photo of my very own attic24 inspired crochet wreath.  The lovely Mr F bought me a voucher from Beautiful Things for my birthday earlier this year which I used to attend the a course run by my crafting guru Claire Mackaness and this beauty (if I do say so myself) is the fabulous result!

photo by Claire Mackaness

photo by Claire Mackaness

FYI: Wickford parents with children starting…

School

Is your child ready for starting school this September?

Would you like to understand how to support your child to make this transition?

We are holding a transition information event at:

Highcliffe Children’s Centre, Rettendon View, Wickford, SS11 8JE on 21st June 10 – 11.30 am

Everyone who has a child who is due to start school in September within the Wickford area, is welcome to attend. It will also provide an opportunity to meet other parents whose children are starting school in September.

This session will be delivered by Kasey Brazier (Children’s Centre manager) and Ros Marsh (Year 2 teacher at Hilltop Infants School).

Booking is required, please call Alison Hunt at the Children’s Centre on 01268 574486 to book a place.

There will be a crèche available if required.

NOTE:
While searching the web for some photos to add to the above information (which I received via email from my daughter’s school) I found this fab page on the World Book Day website which I thought you may also find useful ** Great books about starting school **

If you have any tips and/or books that you think would be helpful to parents who have children starting school this year, please do post them below.

Image from http://stmarystrim.ie/

YARN BOMBING AT GRANGE!

 YB1We would like to have a Yarn Bombing art event on the trees at Grange Primary School, Wickford at the end of the June 2013.

 YB3

Can you help by knitting* or crocheting squares or scarves for us to put together to decorate some of our trees? We have wool at school if anyone needs please, come to the office to collect a ball or two. It is also a great opportunity to teach your children to knit! If anyone could spare the time to come in over lunch to help some children to knit squares that would also be brilliant.

YB2

 It would be very exciting if we could make this a community project so if anyone has a neighbour or friend who could help us that would be fabulous.

YB4

Thank you from Miss Corderoy (Headteacher, Grange Primary School)

* If you can’t knit or crochet, how about making some pom poms instead? Go HERE for a link to a super simple tutorial that anyone could do.

(For more amazing images of yarn bombing including busses, tanks, trees, pianos, cars and many more, visit Google Images)