Scavenger hunt

2nd March 

I should be working and have already posted today yet what am I doing... reading other people's gorgeous blogs, being inspired yet sitting here not actually achieving today's objectives.  Are you with me, does this happen to you?  I seem to be in go slow mood and only want to do what I want to do, which is have fun, yet am feeling very guilty about it!  So instead of doing what I should, I have been scavenging through my most recent photographs  to join in with a link up called Scavenger hunt.  I am going to join in next month and actually take my camera out during the next four weeks with the words that I have to scavenger... sounds fun, don't you think.  If you want to have a go, click on the link at the bottom of the page to find this months list.

Flowers

We had a deep frost this week, so this was an easy one for me


Love

My daughter and her cat,
where she goes the cat follows.

Number 

This week I was teaching division

Something beautiful

Sunrise on a frosty morning and our cat

Favourite colour

This was hard for me to choose as I have so
many, but right here are two of them

Bird

This is not my photograph, and I apologise but
could not find the source.  I chose this
bird as the inspiration for the colours of
the above crochet ring I made.  Isn't nature just wonderful.

On the road

Red buses and London

Tap

I have not taken a picture of the bathroom before! Notice I have hearts here too


Price

Took this photograph to show my husband,
he wanted mini colanders so we could each
have our own servings of peas on the plate, what fun! 
Haven't actually bought them yet...

Heart

Rather than bore you with my homemade
addiction to making hearts as I have in the past,
here are some of my favourite hooks in our house.

Corner of my home

My haven...

Whatever you want...

I often blog recipes, so felt I needed to
add some food,
look at our tapas plates, such colour.
 
I had such fun gathering these photographs, hope you enjoyed them.  Do follow the link below to see what others have posted on the same theme.  Cannot wait to do this in March with the list before I go out scavenging...
 
 
♥  Hope you have a good week and I'll try to settle down to work and not bombard you further

Spring door wreath recycle

2nd March 


Rather than put it in the recycle bin,
I decided to recycle it!
I truly must be getting older and into 'that' phase, whatever that is!  How can we be in March already?  I feel the year has only just begun, do you feel the same?  I decided I needed to greet Spring with a flush of colour and a welcome.  I am missing colour are you?  Those deep blue skies, vibrant greens, not to mention the abundance of colour that can be found on spring flowers, hopefully now just around the corner.  We have a couple of daffodils out, the crocus' have decided not to show their faces this year and the snowdrops still bloom, just.

So a quick 20-30 minutes later and I had my very own splash of colour on the front door having used only what I had in house, also thanks to Amazon packaging!!







Trying to achieve a symmetrical oval

Looks as I hoped, phew!

Cover in fabric, this case I used felt

Add some seasonal daffodils and raffia

Happy with my early March door wreath


Do you decorate your front door all year round, or are you a seasonal decorator, just a Christmas wreath person, or not decorations at all. 
If you have any great tips for wreath making, please do share...
 
♥  Have a great week  ♥
 

Sunlit Sunday thank yous

1st March 


I have written two post now about my 15 year old daughter and her journey to Kenya, this will be my last. For the previous posts, click on the links:  Kenya and the Nasio Trust  and Kenya visit Many of you have posted such heart warming comments that I thought it only fair to share with you the letter she has written to thank those who helped her experience such a rich learning in both the fundraising journey and the actual Kenyan visit itself.  I think we can say she has changed and is changing...
 
Dear Friends
I just wanted to write to you all to say thank you.  Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Throughout life we have moments or experiences that shape you into the person that you are today, they can be small insignificant moments to others but mean the world to you or they could be huge and just effect you in your own way.

This trip was one of those moments for me, the first one that hit me hard and it may sound clique but it was the best 10 days of my life and will stay with me forever. Over the years I will forget the details because that’s what humans do, however I will never forget the lessons I learned or the things I saw.

 I broke my heart completely on this trip and yet I don't feel broken, I feel determined.

We can change things, that's what The Nasio Trust and this trip have taught me.   It’s so easy to help someone, sometimes a simple hug or song can give you the most joy with the smile that comes with it.

The children I met in Kenya had nothing, they live without what we would call the necessities and yet most of them smile more than anyone else I have ever known.

 I've changed, and although it may not seem completely obvious at first it's there and I have you partially to thank.

Everyone of you helped me in some way or another to get to Kenya whether it was donating on my page, asking for charity dinner pictures, coming to the charity dinner or simply encouraging me, you all helped.

However I am not finished, I have a little bit more fundraising to do and would appreciate your help, but first here is a bit about the trip.

I meet two girls that really...  that I really fell in love with Flora and Naomi.

Naomi is in baby class and is aged 4, however she is at the top of her class and is adamant to stay there when she moves up classes. I have never met any child who has such a passion for learning, it was truly amazing to see.

Flora on the other hand is as cheeky as they can come and just wants to play.  She's a bit older and craves love and attention which is heart breaking when you think about the reason why that may be.  We saw and heard of many sad stories about why these children need help.

Both of these girls have helped open my eyes to the world around me and I have decided to sponsor Naomi (Flora also has a sponsor now) who I found out on my last day is HIV positive,.  The majority of children are HIV positive, through no fault of their own.  You would not know she was because despite the time she spends in hospital she still smiles.

As Nancy, the daughter of the founder of this Trust once said, “We can't change the world but we can change one person’s life."   I plan to do that for Naomi and want to thank you all for giving me that opportunity.

Some of you may want to know what we did in Kenya, we didn’t stop and the Trust used us in many different ways but looked after us well at the same time.  We dug and we dug and we dug in temperatures about 34 degrees.  We were digging a 30 x 10 foot fish stock pond that needed to be 6 feet deep.  In the time that we were there we managed half of the job, paid labourers will now finish the remainder.  This will be paid for directly out of the fund raising money that we raised over the past year and that you helped me achieve.

We also helped an orphaned family of five children better their home.  Being adult less, the oldest child at 12 had to leave school to look after his sister and brothers, the youngest, Justus at the time was only one.   They have been robbed numerous times and taken advantage of, even the sister was raped.  As a team we helped mend the walls, cemented (so it could not be stolen) in a huge water butt and added guttering so they could collect the rain water.  We bought them beds, mattresses and some basic equipment they so desperately needed.  All with the money we raised.  Our first day at Justus’ house was a hard emotional day for all of us, I do not think any of us will forget it.

I am attaching four photographs to this email to share with you some of the joy of Kenya.  Naomi is pictured in the first and last photograph and Flora is in the middle two, along with Joey, who also fund raised and will now be sponsoring Flora.

If you wish to help me continue on my journey of fundraising, please let me know by return email and I will give you further details where you can send some money.  I am not expecting you to but I have become even more determined to help that I wanted to give you an opportunity too if you wish. [Insert by me here, if you wish to help fund raise email me at eclectichomeandlife{@}gmail{dot}com]

But really what I wanted to say to you all, for helping change my outlook on life is thank you, thank you, thank you.

 Lots of love Ella xoxox

 
 
 
 


 

 I am so very proud.
 
♥  Hope you have a Sunlit Sunday wherever you are  ♥

 Joining in with Karen with her Sunlit Sunday, click on the link to see what others are sharing today...

http://mylittlehomeandgarden.blogspot.co.uk/
 
 

 

Crochet and Lamingtons

27th February  

Last night saw the close of my first ever run crochet classes.  They have been six glorious sessions
Australian Lamingtons
and I have enjoyed every element of them.  Well perhaps not every element.  Half an hour before the first session, I felt sick, dizzy, incredibly nauseous and wondered why on earth I had put myself in this position.  I needn't have worried and am a tad embarrassed by how I felt.  All the ladies were lovely, I believe they have enjoyed the course, four of the six are definitely returning for another session of six and the remaining two, may well come, home circumstances permitting.  My on line tutee has been incredibly patient with me and I apologise for not being as on the ball with my correspondence with you this week, I will rectify that all today.

I thought long and hard about what to teach on this course, it was designed to inspire a love of crochet but aimed mainly at beginners.  As always with my life that was not what happened, I had an eclectic mix of crochet ability that signed up which made me think even deeper as to what I should be teaching.  Challenge was what I decided upon.  No granny squares for us as beginners and not just the basics.  I threw the group into making a full size blanket/afghan, with a multitude of stitches.  Let's not keep things simple, lets not worry that tension with different stitches comes into play or indeed that these wonderful women did not know I was making them use stitches many who have crocheted for years have not tried.  So we covered, chain, slip stich, double, treble, puffy spike, bobble, granny and the cosy stripe (an Attic 24 ism)  And... they achieved it all. 


This lady had never crocheted before!




This lady was very enthusiastic and tried several colour
combinations for her edging.  This completed blanket
has now been gifted to her daughter and taken away to university.



Each class I make a cake to satisfy any sweet tooth cravings whilst crocheting, chatting and generally having a jolly good time.  On IG (Instagram) this week I noticed a photograph of a chocolate covered something with desiccated coconut on.  Not knowing what is was, I asked and the reply from Australia came back with 'Lamingtons'.  Now I have very good Australian friends, but I have obviously led a sheltered Australian  life as I had no idea what they were.  A quick google later and I had this weeks cake all sorted.

There are many slightly different versions out there on the net and as usual I couldn't decide on which to follow, so I mashed a couple of three recipes up, taking what I liked from each and created my own.  Although I am sure if I searched hard enough, this recipe might be 'out there' too.


Lamingtons  

You will need:

Cake:
125g soft butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 3/4 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup milk

Filling:
raspberry jam

Covering:
150g dark chocolate
300ml double cream
desiccated coconut

  
Preheat oven to 160 degrees (fan oven)

Grease a square 30 cm tin and line with baking paper.

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time and a spoon full of flour with each help to help prevent curdling and beat well.

Stir in half of the flour over the butter mixture.  Once combined add half of the milk. Stir till combined.

Repeat with the remaining flour and milk.

Spoon into cake tin, smooth the top of the mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes or until skewer when inserted comes out clean.  Do not over bake as the lightness of the sponge will be lost.

Leave in tin for approx. 10 mins before removing to cooling rack.


Once cooled cut cake horizontally in half.



Some recipes at this point call for the cake to be covered with a tea towel and left over night.  Others say put the cake in the freezer for half an hour.  The idea being that the sponge then will be less likely to crumble when being covered with the chocolate.  You decide what suits you best.  I went with the freezer option and I will do that again.

Melt chocolate and cream together in a Bain Marie, do not allow the mixture to boil. 




Remove from heat.

Place coconut on a flat plate.



Remove cake from freezer or wherever you chose to have it and cover one half with raspberry jam, don't be too stingy with the jam.


Sandwich layers together.

Cut cake into generous bite size squares.


This is the messy bit, cover each square in the chocolate mixture and then roll in the coconut.  Place on wire rack.  NOTE:  if the chocolate mixture become too gloopy, place in the microwave for a few seconds to heat it to a slightly runnier consistency, do not over heat!




Once all squares are covered place in fridge to set the chocolate and remove from fridge 30 minutes before wishing to indulge!  They should keep for a couple of days.

NOTE:  I did not cover all the squares as not everyone likes coconut.  For those people I gentle simmered fresh raspberries to make a semi coulis sauce and served tehm with a small pot of very thick cream.  Yum!







I meant to take a photograph of the Lamingtons
with and without covering, but we ate them
before I remembered!

 Thank you to all those of you who over the last few weeks have told me if you have made any of my bakes.  I love hearing from you and to any adaptations you may make.  Keep baking and letting me know.  Also if there is a cake you think I should try, lead me to it!

♥  Have you ever made Lamingtons?  Do you know the history behind them?  ♥




Sunlit Sunday in Kenya

22nd February

My daughter is in Kenya.  She returns home to us tomorrow. How different will she be? Not in looks but behind her beautiful brown eyes. How will she have been affected?  How will her experiences shape her future, the woman she is

 

becoming, the woman she will become? It may not be obvious as her plane touches down tomorrow early morning but in the days, weeks and months to come, I wonder. 

The Nasio Trust has been phenomenal in keeping us as parents informed about our volunteering children and the activities they have undertaken. We have been able to follow them on a daily basis which has been an unexpected pleasure. We had no expectation of being kept informed, all the young people were asked not to bring phones, iPods etc so we thought, assumed, expected not to hear from them until airport arrival. Thank you to The Nasio Trust. I wouldn't hesitate to send my younger child with you. What an incredible charity you are, what an amazing thing you do and how well you look after your volunteers. The founder of the trust this year won Inspirational Woman of the Year here in the UK and I can see why. Nancy has a personality and enthusiasm that is infectious and a vision along with her team of dedicated people that will directly reach out and better and help orphans in Kenya. I believe this will be a charity that now stays close to the hearts of our family forever.  


















I am not commenting on these photos on purpose. I think they speak for themselves. The fact that 15 year olds from the UK have had the privilege and ability to experience this different world to their own is truly fantastic. How many will return again as adults? Our future generation...

Sharing my thoughts with you and in conjunction with Karen for Sunlit Sunday. Do follow the link and see what others are posting today. 


           ❤️ Enjoy your Sunday  ❤️