Friday, 27 February 2015

Sowing the Seeds

I can't believe it, I have the day off and it is dry!  At last I can  get out into the garden and get started on my veg.  I'm sure all of you more experienced people already have things well under way, but I'm new to this so haven't got a clue what to do when.  My son dug over my little veg patch for me last week so today I planted some spinach and put black plastic over the rest of the patch.  It will stop the weeds coming up and all the cats in the neighbourhood who have been using it as their personal poo patch.  I also planted some of my chitted potatoes into bags, I really love new potatoes I can't wait to dig my fingers into the earth to find the waxy, full of flavour beauties.  I'm feeling a bit like Barbara from the good life, there'll be pigs in the garden next :)

I have gone a bit over the top with my seed buying but hopefully I will find space somewhere to plant most of them.  Some of them will have to go into pots.   I am hoping the spaghetti squash will be a success and Zucchino custard white seeds I bought when I was at the Eden Project.  I'm probably being a bit too ambitious, it will all end in tears.

It felt wonderful to get out into the garden, clomping around in my welly boots while the birds hovered around tweeting loudly at me, waiting for me to go indoors so they could get to the birds feeders.  A little bit of sun makes such a difference, I found myself singing away to myself as I filled the bags.

I bought some tomato and cucumber seeds the other day, I'm guessing I should be doing something with them.  My greenhouse has an inch of water in it, seems to flood every year, I will have to get out there and start bailing it out but I'm not looking forward to that.  My shoulder is telling me I have done enough for one day.

The spring flowers are looking beautiful and there are little buds appearing on the shrubs. Summer will soon be here.   Happy days :)

I'm pleased to report the spiraliser has not been sitting in it's box.  I have been using it a lot and will show you what I have been making with it soon.

Have a wonderful weekend blogger buddies,

Chickpea xx

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Electronic or Real Books?

Just one of the bookcases I have radically decluttered.

I have been enjoying looking at other Bloggers bookcases, seeing what sort of books they read, getting ideas of the books I would like to read, admiring their bookcases.  Seeing what they are interested in by the books they read, their hobbies, the type of food they like, whether they are gardeners, the list goes on.  You can tell a lot by what people read.  For me a home without books is unthinkable, and I am pleased that my sons still have homes full of books.  My parents were not readers when I was growing up.  We had the usual encyclopaedias, and a few Readers Digest Books on the law, first aid etc. but no fiction.  My mum was always busy, working, dressmaking, knitting and didn't start reading books until later in life when she discovered the likes of Catherine Cookson.  I, on the other hand, always had my nose stuck in a book.  I LOVED books!  One of my fondest memories of school was in the last year of junior school.  There was a locked glass bookcase that contained 'the classics'  I think I was the only one who was interested in reading them, and worked my way through them.  It took me to other worlds and times.

I have boxes full of books in the attic that I can't bear to give away, but I have managed to sell or give away several hundred.  I now find myself with a dilemma.  I am trying to declutter, if we are going to move house I need to sort through our possessions now, not just box them up and move them to another house.  I have boxes in the attic that were taken out of the attic of our old house.  It is ridiculous, I don't even know what is in them.  I know one box is full of my University books that I will never need or use again.  Can I justify buying more and more books to fill up the bookshelves that then overflow to every available space in the house and eventually to the attic?

The other thing I feel guilty about is the trees that are being cut down to feed my addiction.  Do I continue to buy books knowing that it isn't really a very 'green' thing to do?

The bearded one has been 'suggesting' for ages that I stop buying books and start reading books on his old iPad he gave to me.  I have resisted until now.  I have been looking at books about de-cluttering and being more organised, (yes it has come to this).  It seems a bit ridiculous to buy a book on decluttering by adding to the clutter so I downloaded an app. to read it on the iPad.  My verdict?  It is early days but I just can't get on with it, I don't feel like I'm reading.  I'm not enjoying the experience at all.  Why?  I have been trying to think what it is about it that I don't like.  Why is it so different from reading a book?  So I have been thinking about how I read books.  I read fiction and non fiction in different ways.  Fiction, start at the beginning and read through, they are well looked after, placed on the bookshelf and cherished.   Non fiction I flick through, look at different chapters, often go back and re-read things to get a better understanding.  Bookmark things, underline (I can hear you all take a sharp intake of breath, it is a habit from my Uni days, and is only pencil).  Shove it in my bag to read when I get a spare minute.  I 'use' them and make them 'work' for me.  With this electronic book I can't do this as easily.  I can't find that particular paragraph that I want to re read, I can't flick through and underline important points.  I don't shove the iPad in my bag for fear of it going missing, it's not as easy to carry, doesn't fit in my handbag.   I don't have a book in my hand, the feel of it, the smell of it, seeing the cover every time I pick it up.  It just isn't such a pleasurable experience.  The one good point I have found is that I can read it in bed without having the light on when the bearded one is sleeping.

So are you a real book or an electronic (is this even how you describe it) reader?  Can you persuade me or give me tips on how to make the experience more enjoyable?

Chickpea xx

Welcome to Marilyn :)

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Spiralizing! My New Obsession.

A few months ago I gave away my pasta machine as it was too much of a faff to make gluten free pasta with, it ended up with lots of holes.  The dried gf pasta tastes fine but I wanted something healthy, fresh and quick, so I gave into temptation and bought a spiralizer.  Oh what fun!! From a plain courgette to courgetti in a flash.  O.K. I sound like an advert, but I love this machine!  I used it for the first time today and made a sort of courgetti bolognese.  So so simple!  Great if you are watching your carbs, and I'm sure children would eat it even if they don't usually like  courgette (zucchini to my American friends).  There are different blades that come with it for different shapes,  and you can use different veg.  There are lots of other things you can do with it so over the next few weeks I will be playing.   Here's my first attempt.

Place the veg onto the grip, and turn the handle, it's as simple as that.

Out of the other end comes very long courgetti, I used a scissors to cut it to shorter lengths to make it easier to eat.

I made a pasta sauce then added the courgetti for the last few minutes to warm it through but still with a little bite.  You could also cook the courgetti separately for a few minutes.  There are lots of different spiralizers, and of course I'm not being sponsored, I bought this one as I have their recipe book.  Now I've just got to find somewhere to keep it.

Welcome to Rosie on Bloglovin,

Have a good weekend everyone,

Chickpea xx

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A Visit to the Clacky Man and The Rainforest Part 2

I have a really painful shoulder at the moment, it has been like this for a couple of weeks this time.  I have had it before for a few days, then its gone away, but this time.........!!!!!!  It is very painful to move my arm, even typing hurts, and it's giving me a headache as the muscles in my neck tense up.  So I went to see a chiropractor, or as my cousin calls them 'the clacky man', I can now see why she calls them that!  It is very disconcerting when he twists your neck and it makes a loud 'clack', then pushes down on you spine and it makes loud clacking noises.  Anyway, after poking and prodding the good news is that the movement is good and there doesn't seem to be any problems with the bones, I was expecting him to say it is arthritis.  It is more like a repetitive strain injury (not helped by drumming) and the muscles around it are tensed up to protect the injury.  Over the next few weeks he will be able to sort it out, but in the mean time no drumming nooooooo!!!!!!!!  It is the first time I had been to a chiropractor, I felt spaced out and tired after, but hopefully will soon be back to banging that drum.

Anyway here are the last of the photos I took of the Eden Rainforest Biome.  I have decided that if there is a zombie apocalypse I will head to the rainforest biome.  Inside there is a beautiful Southeast Asian house, plenty to eat as they grow many edible crops, coffee, cocoa, nuts and spices.  There are even little birds that scoot through the undergrowth.  What a perfect place to live.

Hope you all had a delicious pancake day,

Chickpea xx

Monday, 16 February 2015


I don't need much of an excuse to eat pancakes, they are sooooo delicious!  I thought I would have to live without them when I was forced to give up gluten but with a little change of ingredients I can still indulge.

These are from the Honestly Healthy book which is full of things I can eat so is becoming a firm favourite.

So for those who want to indulge in yummy pancakes here is the recipe:


makes 6 - 8

70g (2 3/4oz/1/2 cup) buckwheat flour
70g (2 3/4oz/1/2 cup) rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
300 ml (1/2pt/scant 1 1/4 cups) Brown rice milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp rice syrup

Place the buckwheat flour, rice flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix well.

Place the milk, lemon juice, sunflower oil and rice syrup in another bowl and mix well, then stir into the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined, being careful not to overmix.

Wipe a frying pan lightly with oil and heat over a medium heat.  Place a poachette ring or pastry ring in the pan and ladle in 1 tbsp of the mixture.  (I found it best to oil the rings)   Cook until air bubbles start to appear on the surface of the pancake.  Do not turn until this point.  Remove the mould, turn the pancake and cook for about 1 minute on the other side, until set.  Repeat until all the mixture is used and cooked.

You can change the recipe to suit your own preferences.

Happy Pancake Day!

Chickpea xx

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Rain Forest - Part One

We first went to The Eden Project when it was still being built.  We were taken down to the unfinished biomes on a tractor where we could see the specialist workers fixing the hexagons into place.  Even then it was really exciting to see these 'space like' creations growing out of the bottom of a muddy pit.  Over the years it has grown into a very special place, it is an educational charity whose purpose is to 'explore how people can work together, and with nature to change things for the better'.

My last post focused on the outside, there is still lots to explore outside, over the year I hope to get around the whole site to see everything and share it with you.  Though I will be drawing the line at the The Sky Wire.  If you want to see the site as you wizz over it on a wire, you are going to have to do that yourselves!

On this visit we explored the Rainforest Biome, it has certainly grown since the last time I walked through.  It really is an amazing experience, walking through the various zones that represent the rainforests across the world.  They include the Tropical Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa and Tropical South America.

There is a Rainforest Canopy Walkway that takes you high above the forest.  It gives you a wonderful view across the trees.  It is accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs, but if you don't like heights, like my friend, don't peer over the sides!

The Biodiversity Chandelier  explores natures designs.  Throughout the site there is wonderful artwork.

As we walked through, the rain outside was beating down on the biome making it feel even more like a rainforest.  Inside we were walking around in the lovely warmth minus the coats and jumpers needed outside.  The temperature averages 25 C which makes it ideal to visit in the winter when it is horrible outside.

A waterfall runs down through the biome adding to the wonderful sights and sounds.

The next project they are fundraising for is to explore the climate and 'make weather'.  It will involve making clouds.

It was a wet Friday in February for our visit so we were lucky enough to have the place practically to ourselves.  Well that was until a school trip turned up with children rushing around with their clipboards.

I hope you enjoyed our little tour.  On the next post I will show you the house, fruit and birds within the biome.  After that we will be returning to normal :)

I hope you had a lovely Valentines Day, yes it is commercial but it is nice to have an excuse to get all lovey dovey.    I had chocolates and roses accompanied by 'our song' played on his iPad, very romantic.  I made him some heart shaped chocolate buns.  Unfortunately he has come down with a cold again so spent the day in bed watching the rugby and football........not so romantic.

Chickpea xx

Friday, 13 February 2015

Eden in Winter

We often have amazingly beautiful, special places on our doorstep that we take for granted.  People travel thousands of miles to see it and when asked the locals say, 'oh I haven't been there for years'  The Eden Project is one of these places, right on my door step but the only time I go is to listen to bands in the evenings and don't actually look around the rest of the project.

This year I was determined to put this right.  I bought myself a 'Locals Season Ticket'  It cost me £12 and I can get in for free for 12 months.  I have decided that I would like to experience Eden through the seasons so set off with a friend to experience Eden in winter.

Today I will share with you some of the photos I took outside.

Beautiful driftwood ponies

Metal trees

Beautiful colours, even in winter

I am looking forward to seeing the living willow structure bust into life

The air was filled with the beautiful smell of Daphne.

 Of course the biomes have their own seasons, but I wanted to capture the beauty outside as well.  We were there for several hours but still didn't get around to see everything, so I'm looking forward to going back and exploring further.  We only explored the Rainforest biome today, and I will share the photos with you soon.  I don't want to overload you with photos!!

It is a very special place that I would urge you to visit if possible.  I'm sure many of you have already.  There is more information about it here.  We will go again when the spring flowers are fully out and explore the Mediterranean Biome next time.

Thank you for all the comments on my last few posts.  It is lovely to hear from you all, I am trying my best to keep up with you all.  Even if I don't comment, I am still reading your blogs eventually.  Life is a bit hectic at the moment, I am enjoying being able to get around more after my last operation so am making the most of every day I have off from work.  It's no wonder nothing gets done at home!  Remember the spring cleaning list I put up a few weeks ago.........not done.  All my dreams of moving come down to getting the place in a state to sell..........not done.  Oh well, I'm enjoying myself now, you never know what's around the corner.

Hope you are all well, welcome to Daniel who has clicked the Blogger button.

Chickpea xx