Life Lately

As I am sure you have noticed, my posts have been few and far between this past year or so and posting frequently is something I really miss. I miss documenting the simple things in life that make me happy, the little moments that make life precious and I miss connecting with you.
I write online content for my day job, so sometimes the last thing I have the energy for at the end of the working day, is creating my own content, even though it is truly the first thing I want to do. Writing and photography bring me so much joy, I just need to prioritise and manage my personal time more efficiently.

Thankfully spring has arrived and the days feel so much longer, for which I am very grateful. As soon as I see the first of the spring bulbs burst into life, followed by the blossom trees, I feel as though I too have woken from a deep winter slumber and productivity can once again resume.

Since my last post in October, Nathan celebrated his birthday and went all out with another fantastic Halloween display. He has already started to make all manner of scary things for this Halloween! Five weeks later it was time to celebrate my birthday and then we had a lovely Christmas and New Year. So far, 2016 has been very productive and positive. We have booked a summer holiday (more on that to come) and I have a new (to me) car, which makes my daily commute all the more enjoyable. Poppy turned six, which we could hardly believe, we still think of her as a puppy! Nathan and I celebrated our sixteenth anniversary, which again baffled me, how are we old enough to have spent sixteen years together, when we are only in our mid-twenties…oh yes, we are actually in our early thirties!
 For quite some time I have felt as though something has been missing and I have been craving a creative outlet. Then it occurred to me, the thing that I have been missing has been here all along.

I have been blogging since June 2009 and whilst there have been a few weeks (and months) of silence along the way, I could not imagine my life without it. This is a place where I can share my passions, hobbies and the small, but dear moments in life. Where I can communicate with like-minded people who share my enthusiasm for living a joyful life and finding the beauty in every day.

If you are a new reader, hello and welcome! If you have been reading along for years, thank you and welcome back! 

Happy Easter!

Wishing you a very happy Easter!
 I hope it is sweet in every way and full of the joys of spring!

Happy New Year's Eve!

Thank you for all of your support, lovely comments and reading along this year, it means so much to me! 
Wishing you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

A Sunday Well Spent Brings a Week of Content

The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend, so we headed straight for the beach. As I have mentioned previously, dogs are sadly not permitted on some of our favourite beaches during the summer months, so it is always a happy moment when the arrival of autumn gives Poppy free reign once again.

 As usual, Poppy had a fantastic time rolling around on the sand, 

digging for shells and eating seaweed,
 making friends
and flirting!

Then it was time to feed our rumbling tummies with a traditional Sunday roast dinner! 
 In an attempt to burn off some of the indulgent roast, we finished the day with a stroll through the charming Priory gardens. 

It was a perfect Sunday, full of fresh air, relaxation and lots of laughter with my love.  
Here is to a happy week ahead! 

Five Happy Things

It has been one of those weeks that just seemed to fly by! The days were filled with work and the evenings were busy with all of the usual chores and errands. However, there was one lovely evening spent with family, delicious food and wine and lots of laughter! 

These are my favourite things which have made me happy this week... 
The last of the harvested hay bales in the field behind our house 

 A new pretty pink lipstick from Nars 
Sylvester displaying his prowess walking amongst the dog rose on the trellis
The Horse Chestnut leaves may be falling, but the David Austin Roses are still blooming
Caro Emerald's beautiful cover of Amy Winehouse's Love Is A Losing Game on Chris Evans' breakfast show on BBC Radio 2 

What has made you happy this week?

Five Happy Things

It has been far too long since my last "Five Happy Things" post and I think it is high time I brought this series back! I love compiling these lists of things that spark joy during my week and bring a smile to my face. Here is to celebrating the simple pleasures in every day!

These are my favourite things which have made me happy this week... 
 After work walks to the beach
  Enjoying Sunday brunch in the garden 
 Pops of pretty purple flowers against a white picket fence 
Sweet ducks relaxing on the riverbank 
I am completely infatuated with Hozier's cover of Sam Smith's Lay Me Down for the BBC Radio 1 live lounge month. I cannot play this enough! 

What has made you happy this week?

Almond and Mixed Seed Granola Recipe

This granola is the base for almost every breakfast I eat during the week throughout the year (weekend breakfasts are usually a more indulgent affair!). Of course in the winter I love porridge, but in-between getting ready for work, feeding the pets and then preparing my own breakfast, time is limited and I refuse to make porridge in the microwave (nothing compares to the slow and methodical stirring on a stove top). If you like granola as much as I do, but you are growing tired of shop bought varieties, try making this quick and easy recipe and I am certain you will never buy another from the supermarket again! 
This is a very customisable base recipe that can be easily modified according to taste and seasons. This is the typical one that I eat during the spring and summer to let the fresh berries shine. In the autumn and winter I often add cinnamon, ginger, dried apple, cranberries, vanilla extract and swap the almonds for pecans, honey for maple syrup etc. Feel free to swap or add anything, just add dried fruit once the tray has been removed from the oven, otherwise they tend to become bitter and puffy from the heat. 
Almond and Mixed Seed Granola 
Recipe yields approximately 560g/6 Cups 
200g/2 cups Jumbo rolled oats
100g/1 cup Flaked Almonds
150g/1 cup Mixed Seeds (I like a mixture of Sunflower, Pumpkin, Linseed and Sesame)
50ml/1/4 cup Vegetable Oil 
85ml/1/4 cup Runny Honey 

Preheat oven to:
Conventional oven - Preheat to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 
Fan oven - Preheat to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3
Line baking sheet/sheet pan with Silpat or baking parchment

· In a large bowl whisk together the oil and honey until combined
· Add the oats, seeds and nuts and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly coated and combined
· Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet 
· Bake for 22-25 minutes until lightly golden, stirring halfway through to ensure even baking
· Store granola in an airtight container to remain crisp and crunchy for weeks 

My favourite weekday breakfast is to serve the granola with plain Greek yogurt and fresh summer berries.