Saturday 31 December 2011

31.12. Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you! Tonight I have been blogging for exactly one year! When I signed up for this blog, New Year’s Eve one year ago, I wasn’t so sure I was going to have much to write about….hmmm, well, I guess I had, since this is post number 120! And I wasn’t sure anyone was going to read what I wrote, if I ever got around to write anything at all – guess I didn’t have to worry about that either, my 120 posts have been read over 5.400 times!

Thursday 29 December 2011

29.12. Gingerbread photos

Christmas Day was a mild 14 degrees here in London, in sharp contrast to last year when we had snow and minus degrees for weeks. The mild weather has continued the last few days and today it was 12 degrees in my garden, not that different to some of the days we had in July! I had a stroll in my garden today, but with the grey, muggy weather we had today it was not a day for taking photographs. I will wait until we get a nice sunny day, and then I will share with you how far my crocuses has come :-)

Saturday 24 December 2011

24.12. Merry Christmas!

Are you celebrating Christmas tomorrow? Or are you celebrating tonight? Around the world, Christmas is celebrated in many different ways and at different times. I live in London, UK, and here, Christmas celebration takes place at 25th December, Christmas Day. I guess we all know the story why we have celebrated Christmas the last 1700 years or so, in one form or another, but it takes place in very different forms on different dates around the world. And in fact, Christmas as we know it is an amalgamation of many different celebrations which people in Europe have celebrated for thousands of years, long before the Bible was written.

Friday 23 December 2011

23.12. Christmas Honey Cake

London was cloaked in rain filled clouds today, it was a chilly 8 degrees and the wind was going straight through all my 5 layers of clothes when I went to the hospital for my weekly blood test. So, typical December weather for London then! No gardening for me today either, although I did deadhead my pansies and pinks in my window boxes in my front garden, that counts for a bit of gardening, doesn’t it? At least they are still flowering! I have done my last bit of preparation for Christmas today, baked my honey cake, and I wanted to share my recipe with you as this is a wonderful cake – easy to make, suitable all year round, but especially for this time of year with all the lovely spices it contains. I have posted the recipe before, but that was a long time ago, so here it comes again, my absolute favourite cake, and the most asked after in my family :-)

Thursday 22 December 2011

22.12. Letter to British Gas

Hi everybody, I received a letter from the Managing Director of British Gas Tuesday this week, not a personal letter exactly, it was more like a general information letter that British Gas regularly sends out, but this one had a somewhat different tone than usual. In the letter British Gas commits to have an ‘Honest Conversation’ with their customers and they also encourage their customers to email them feedback to their new approach – their honest conversation! I must admit I have been thinking about writing to British Gas for a long time, and this feels like a good opportunity, but the things I am experiencing I am sure I am not alone with, so I thought I should make my feedback an open letter to British Gas, here on my blog, with a copy via email to them. My apologies to all my overseas readers who might feel that this particular topic doesn’t apply to them, please read on for a while; this isn’t as much about British Gas in particular as it is about financial hardship and what gas and electricity companies can do to ease the burden on their customers in times like these. Maybe this applies to where you live too?

Wednesday 21 December 2011

21.12. Christmas ice lantern

Not many days to Christmas now, have you got everything sorted? Christmas is a rather low-key thing in my house these days, but I do like to light up these darkest days of the year and make the Christmas period a bit special both indoors and outdoors. I made a couple of ice-lanterns the other day, and I thought I would share with you how to make these very easy, decorative lanterns as this is something you can do in minutes and freeze overnight. The result is pretty spectacular :-)

Friday 16 December 2011

16.12. Ice cream heaven!

We have had a lot of rain lately, and I have not been out in the garden for a good few days. Sitting down tonight to write a post I decided to share a recipe with you instead of writing about my garden for a change, as I really haven’t got any big news to come with in regards to my garden, it is after all December and I live in London! My recipe tonight is for homemade ice cream. I thought I would share the recipe with you, as this is not an ordinary ice cream. You don’t need an ice cream maker, and it doesn’t need to be stirred whilst freezing. You just make it and bung it in the freezer and forget about it until you want to eat it. Easy as that!

Wednesday 14 December 2011

14.12. The Norwegian spruce

Living in London, UK, I often hear at this time of year about the famous Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, often referred to as “the tree given by the people in Norway to the people in London”. As a Norwegian, knowing the story behind the Christmas tree, I thought I would use the opportunity to tell who the gift is from, and why, since I don’t think that’s something widely known here in the UK, and certainly not around the rest of the world.

The Christmas tree is a gift from the citizens of Oslo to the citizens of London, not from the whole of Norway, and that’s actually a bit of a difference – Oslo is the capital of Norway and has a population of just over 600.000 people, Norway in total has almost 5 mill people. But it is the story behind the Christmas tree that makes this an interesting piece of history.

Monday 12 December 2011

12.12. Pretty Bella Rosella

It is calm before the storm here in London today, literarily, as the weather forecast for the rest of the week is for strong winds and lots of rain. The West Country bears the brunt of the stormy weather as usual, and there are flood warnings for many places, but here in London we are normally spared winter floods. Today it was glorious winter sunshine and a great day for a bit of gardening, although a chilly biting wind gave warnings of what to come for the next few days.

On my usual stroll around the garden I always have my camera with me, recording what is flowering and what’s looking particularly nice at any given time. I have made my garden so that I have always something flowering, even in the darkest, coldest part of the winter, and a lot of my plants are evergreen, giving the garden a green dot here and there whilst waiting for shrubs to put leaves back on and herbaceous plants to come up again. And every now and then my garden gives me a nice and unexpected surprise…

Sunday 11 December 2011

10.12. New neighbours again

I am getting new neighbours again, I have just been told that the family next door is moving out next week. I have a somewhat special relationship with their garden, so it is with a mix of anticipation and trepidation I now wait for them to move out and someone else to move in. Let me explain…

I live in a typical terraced London street, with tiny houses with tiny rooms and tiny back gardens, and where privacy is something you can only dream of, inside and outside. For many years the next door neighbour to my right was a single man a couple of years older than me. He was not well, and the last few years he didn’t cope very well on his own and lived mostly at his mother’s house. I don’t think he was very much into gardening before he became ill, and it was surely not a priority to him the last 5-6 years. The result was that his garden became very overgrown and looked terrible. Having just a low fence between us meant that whenever I was in my garden, I could also see his garden and the state of it. And my neighbour to the left has been even worse, using their garden as a rubbish tip and letting all sorts of weeds grow head high.

Thursday 8 December 2011

08.12. Garden pics cavalcade

Britain has experience an atrocious weather the last 24 hours, with winds up to 165 miles per hour, 50 000 people without power, roads and schools closed, fallen trees, buildings and cars damaged. Winter has certainly arrived to our shores. Here in London we are as usual somewhat sheltered against the worst of the weather, but we have felt the wind here too! I had a stroll in my garden today, but I made it a quick one as the wind was so cold I just could not bear it.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

6.12. Gorgeous Phalaenopsis

It is a chilly 8 degrees outside and winter has finally arrived in London. No sign of snow yet and we have yet to see any frost on the ground so the start of this December has certainly been very different to last year. I couldn’t be happier though, walking with crutches on snow is very difficult unless you have special ice attachments on them, and even then it is a tricky and dangerous thing just going outside the front door. I would be very pleased if this winter became one of those where we didn’t see any snow at all :-)

Sunday 4 December 2011

04.12. Gingerbread Houses

Hello, it’s the first Sunday in December! Ohhh, you already knew, well, to me it actually came as a bit of a surprise that it’s exactly 3 weeks till Christmas Day today, but that’s because my weeks are flying past me faster than I can keep up with at the moment. I have spent the week-end printing out the rest of my Christmas cards and I have ‘glitter-glue’ decorated and written about half of them. Both overseas parcels and Christmas cards are off to the post office later in the week, and that’s my Christmas shopping done :-)