When my sister and I were little girls, our mum used to plan one of our late school holiday days as a blackberrying day! Our garden backed onto huge endless corn fields, as I remember they seemed to go on forever (however they were probably average sized fields actually) Beyond the fields there was an area of thick woodland. I recall, before we got to the woods we would walk around the fields and forage for blackberries in the hedgerows. Our fingers were black with juice, our little arms collected scratches from the brambles, and our legs stung with stinging nettles…these were blissful times and memories I will treasure forever.

Now, every day I take my little dog for a walk, one particular day recently, I decided it was going to be a blackberrying day! I collected five lbs of berries, and … lots of scratches and nettle stings! I was delighted with my haul…


As I am not fond of pips and seeds in jam, I decided to make jelly.  Although the fruit are blackberries, I kinda like the idea of also referring to this preserve as bramble jelly as I think it sounds more homemade and a teeny bit Beatrix Potter!  … I ramble… onto the jelly…

Pectin is essential to successful preserve making, and is found in most fruit, however there is often more in sightly unripened fruit, so I collected a handful of “ever-so-slightly” unripe fruit to add into the pan.

This is the recipe I used.  Rinse the fruit and put into a preserving pan with enough water to cover the berries. Simmer for about 30 mins or until the fruit is soft.  I like to bash the fruit about a bit with a wooden spoon, squashing the fruit with the back of the spoon against the side of the pan to release all the juice.

Strain the fruit over night through a muslin or jelly net into a clean pan.

Next day measure the juice.  For every 600ml (1 pint) of juice you will need 450grams (1lb) of sugar. To make sure the jelly sets I add fresh lemon juice (within the liquid measurement)

I used two big lemons as I wanted to be absolutely sure the jelly set!
There are special sugars for jam and jelly making with added pectin available in super markets, but I decided to use natural lemon juice as my setting agent, so used normal granulated sugar.

Stir the sugar into the juice over a gentle heat until all the sugar has dissolved.  You can hear if there are any sugar crystals left by crunching a wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan.  Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minuets, stirring occasionally, skim off any frothy scum from the surface.  Test setting point.  I find the best method is to put a china plate in the freezer, drop a little jelly on the plate and if the surface wrinkles, the jelly is ready.

While the jelly is boiling get your jars ready.  Boil a kettle of water and pour into clean jars, then place them on a baking sheet in a warm oven to dry and sterilize. Pour jelly into jars, place a waxed disc directly on surface of jelly. Cover with either celophane or clean twist lids while jelly is still warm.

When cool add labels.  I found these really pretty ones from Kilner for £1.50

Add wording and date…. Ummmm now, blackberry or bramble?

As this is a fresh jelly, without un-natural preservatives, I would advise to keep in the fridge and eat up really quickly for breakfast or with home made scones!

My stash I gave to my neighbours and colleagues.


Thanks for popping by, sorry I havn’t been around for ages, this autumn I hope to be reunited with my blog, so do keep a look out for my next … what ever!

Jay xXx

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo… “A cat has 32 muscles in each ear…”


I’ve had a few unsettled days recently so needed to do some thing uncomplicated and refreshing to uplift my spirits.

Very simply I took my dog out for a walk extra early one morning before any one was around, it was lovely!!

Doggie and I started off from the house as normal, then decided to make our way right up to the top of the hills that surround the village where I live.  Almost out of puff (me, not the dog!) I turned around to take in the view… it was all rather unusual. The early morning mist was laying like a soft white blanket in the valley, I couldn’t see the village at all. However, I could see for miles and miles the surrounding hills in the far distance. It was silent, still and cool… Sorry, didn’t think to take my camera, please close your eyes and imagine…

Our route home took us down lanes and through the meadows. The grass was very long and heavy with dew, it was so funny watching doggie (she is a Yorkie – Russell … so short legs!) as she bounced through the long grass, she was soaked to the skin, I am sure I caught her smiling!!


For my kitchen table I picked these simple wild flowers which made me a little teensy bit happy, caught myself smiling too!… simply delightful!

I was so pleased  to see there are still pretty wild flowers growing in the fields and hedgerows.  Others in abundance, which I didn’t collect were  thistles and long fluffy headed grasses, and lots and lots of clover.

I should think the farmer will very soon let the cattle or sheep into the “buttercup” field to munch on the long grass… good to think of the natural fodder for he animals, will be a little sad however not to be able to watch doggie jump and hide in the grass, we will have to find another field!

Best wishes, all the very best to you, Jay x

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo “… a vamp is the upper top part front of a shoe…”

This info is especially for all you cobblers! … please let me know other wise if this is not correct and I will get on to Snoo in a jiffy!

J x


Is there a difference between clover and shamrock?

Well.. yes and no!

Don’t we all associate shamrock with Ireland? I certainly do… I have been to Ireland recently and the place is full of shamrock, not the shamrock that grows, (I am sure that is around) but the shamrock  I am referring to, as a logo, on all tourist stuff from socks, to mugs to tee-shirts!

Clover I think as being more British, however I am sure it grows all over.  I immediately think of four leaves and good luck, and butter!

Shall I start with SHAMROCK?SAM_4510

A shamrock is a young sprig of clover used as a symbol of Ireland.  The name shamrock come from the word seamrog which is the diminutive of the Irish word for clover.  Seamair, another Irish word meaning simply “little clover” or “young clover”.  If you want to read more about shamrock and the botanical species, or the link with Saint Patrick and reasons for being used as the symbol of Ireland,  just google  and hit wikipedia to get some very interesting information.  Look at the end of this  post to read “little snippet from Snoo….”

SAM_4522 The shape of the shamrock varies, for example most growing shamrock has three leaves and is often re-created this way, however there it is very often depicted as having four leaves, which indicates the “good luck” message, much the same as when reference is made to the “lucky four leaf clover”.

Oh the Shamrock, Through Erin’s isle,To sport a while
As love and valour wander’d, With wit, the sprite. Whose quiver bright
A thousand arrows squander’d, Where’er they pass, A triple grass
Shoots up, with dew-drops streaming, As softly green, As emeralds seen
Through purest crystal gleaming

Oh the Shamrock, the green immortal Shamrock

Chosen leaf, Of Bard and Chief, Old Erin’s Shamrock!, Says valour see,
They spring for me, Those leafy gems of morning, Says love no no
For me they grow, My fragrant path adorning, But wit perceives
The triple leave, And cries Oh do not server, A type that blends
Three godlike friends, Love, valour, wit for ever!

Oh the Shamrock the green immortal Shamrock

So firmly fond, May last the bond, They woven the morn together
And ne’er may fall, One drop of gall, On wits celestial feather
May love as twine, His flower devine, O thorny falsehood weed ’em
May valour ne’er, His standard rear, Against the cause of Freedom!
Oh the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock
Chosen leaf….

By Thomas Moore



There are about 300 different species of clover.  It is generally found to flourish in the Northern Hemisphere however some species have been found in South America and Africa.  Most sprigs have three leaves, however some times a four leaf sprig can be found which is considered lucky! The flowers range in colour, most common are white with a hint of pink, however totally pink flowers can be found too! Often clover is considered a super food for cows for their excellent production of creamy milk used for churning butter.



You probably associate four leaf clovers with St Patrick and Shamrocks, but the tradition started long before that!  In the early days in Ireland, the Druids believed that they could see evil spirits coming when they carried a shamrock, or three leaf clover, giving them the chance to get away in time! They thought four leafed clovers offered protection and warded off bad luck.


The leaves of a four-leaf clover as a lucky charm stand for FAITH – HOPE – LOVE – LUCK

The Irish often say that the green hills of the Emerald Isle contain more four-leaf clovers than anywhere else.  Hence the saying “Luck O’ the Irish”.  Also the Irish believe while finding a four-leaf clover will bring you good luck, if you should find a five-leaf clover it is bad luck!

The odds of finding a four-leaf clover has been calculated at 10,000 to 1!   So, good hunting, and I wish you all the luck in the world if you find one!

The shamrock/clover remains a strong symbol of Ireland, as the thistle is to Scotland,  and the Rose to England…  As depicted on this two shilling coin… notice, there is no symbol for Wales…

A little story for you, before I say good bye… At the Dublin Airport duty free shop I over heard a conversation which made me smile. A very, very English gentleman was buying a piece of jewellery for, I imagine his love, he asked the young girl at the counter for a particular necklace, referring to it in a loud “the one with the clover…” the girl at the counter saw me turn and look, and said “Oh to be sure, you mean the Shamrock” well, bless her, we were in Ireland!

Thanks for popping by, would love to hear if you have any clover or shamrock moments to tell me about!

Jay xx

My little snippet for you from Snoo “… The airline Aer Lingus uses the emblem (three leaf) in it’s logo, and it’s air traffic control call sign is “SHAMROCK”


I am keen on knowing answers to questions that are not the every day topics of conversation.  Some times totally useless stuff, some times things that are packed with either interest, intrigue, or the “Ah ha!” factor if true, or  some times  if the topic is a myth… I like it even better!

So wanna know what I have been interested in today? Have you ever wondered what the nursery rhyme “Hey diddle diddle…” was all about…?  ummm, I guess I hadn’t given it much thought either, we tend to trot out these rhymes when our children are small,  just accept the words, and consider they are “kids stuff”  a bit of nonsense!


Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon,

The little dog laughed to see such fun,

And the dish ran away with the spoon…

The rhyme is said to originate in the beautiful countryside around the area of Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire, came to be written soon after the dissolution in the year 1539.  However if you google the  rhyme, there are other versions of how this weird and wonderful collection of line have been put into a timeless ditty.

So, the explanation I like the best is…

Prior Moone was the last prior of Bolton Abbey (by the way it is a Priory not an Abbey – I will explain in my snippet at the end of the blog)  on vacating his office, he  settled with members of his family who held and farmed land in the area of the priory … the present Moone’s are descendants from him.

Another family in the area, namely the Heys sported  friendly rivalry with the Moones, both family’s wishing to rank higher than the other in the district.  This tussle was watched by the amusement of the villagers and hence the rhyme was created from this era.

To follow, my collection of pictures that I have snapped from things handy… I grant you, not particulary in keeping with those associated with the rhyme!  Hey ho!

“Hey diddle diddle” was referring to the Heys family, who is said to have diddled (stolen) live stock from the Moone family.  Or,  it is said that diddle  was an Elizabethan nonsense term (maybe similar to how we say thing-a-ma-bob?)

The cat and the fiddle, “Cato Fidelis” meaning – faithful of Christ and the Church.  As both families were devote to the church, this is where this phrase comes in.



The cow… the Heys family were cattle farmers (where apparently the Moones were sheep farmers, however no sheep mentioned in the rhyme)


The little dog laughed… when Prior Moone started to build the West Tower of the Priory in 1520, (still unfinished in 1539) he had constructed  two buttresses at the front of the tower, each with a stone dog sitting on the top (which can still be seen today)  “When the little dog laughed” it was to infer that the whole community was amused.


The dish ran away with the spoon… The Heys were almost hereditary officers of the church for the collections of offerings, hence the connection with the alms DISH. The Moones, likewise were almost hereditary holders of the office of the Anointing SPOON, hence this connection, some thing that would have been understood by all at that period in the Bolton Abbey area.


All this research about this particular rhyme reminded me of a little dress I bought for my then teeny weeny little daughter (she is now 20!) which I have kept all these years,  just because it was so unusual and extremely expensive as I remember!


Really bright and colourful, she got quite a bit of attention when she wore it…


Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,


The cow jumped over the moon,


The little dog laughed to see such fun,


And the dish ran away with the spoon…

Thanks for stopping by, would love to hear from you…

Bye, Jay x

As promised:-

Little snippet for you from Snoo “Do you know the difference between an Abbey and Priory?  an Abbey ranks higher than a Priory”


I just happened to be sitting in my garden having a coffee mid morning as it was so beautiful and sunny, when I noticed a little ball of squeaking fluff on the lawn!


Then I realised  there was rather a lot of bird chatter, twittering and calling and realised that the blue tits were in mid-fledge!


I blogged last year about the blue tits fledging and called the post  “Spring Watch in my Garden” incredible that was almost a year ago.  This years blue tit family are a little earlier, I wonder if it is the same family?  If it was, they moved house!  Last year they took up residency in the blue and white bird house if full view of the kitchen window.  However, this year they “rented out” the bird house I almost hid in the bushes.


A very dear friend of mine gave me this beautiful ceramic bird feeder bell, which is hanging on the back garden fence.   I would like to think my blue tit “mum and dad” had a little feast from the fat ball within, and took some tasty morsels back to their babies.


About a week ago we had a really bad storm, the wind was really whipping the trees around, and there was a few branched down.  I noticed the bird box had shifted position on the fence, I was so worried about the babies inside, should I try and straighten it, as they would have surely taken a tumble inside… hence the house looking tilted!  Fortunately all was well and I counted five fledglings.


I feel so lucky that I have been able to watch this beautifully simple, natural event right in my back garden… for the second year running.  What a super little spectacle I have witnessed and can share with you!

Best wishes, Jay x

Would love to hear from you, especially if you have a similar moment to share from your garden!

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo “… no word in the English language rhymes with, month, orange, silver or purple…”


Look what I’ve bought!


I do like to make jam and jellies when there is an abundance of soft fruit available.  Especially enjoy harvesting from my garden.  I have red and black current canes which do produce a good quality and quantity of berries each year.  I use them mostly for jelly (we’re not keen of the little pips that remain, if making jam) I also love to use the berries in fruit salad and as a garnish on cakes… lemon drizzle especially!

I normally use my trusted Harrods Preserve book (Please see my blog Middle of the Night Jelly) and pull out my big old battered (from a junk shop) preserving pan the hides in the back of the pantry for most of the year!  The rest I make up!  I don’t have a thermometer or funnel or posh labels (normally)  when I saw this pretty little boxed set,  I was “ever-so-sligthly” (or in reality, VERY excited) and… it was incredibly reduced in price so I bought it!

So, in the box were the following goodies!


Six classic one pound jam jars…

A stainless steel jar funnel and preserve thermometer, neither of which have I had before, so pretty excited!

SAM_4248These very pretty stick on labels and pot covers, waxed discs, little bag of perfectly sized rubber bands…

SAM_4245As shown on the box.

SAM_4250Recipe for strawberry jam.

SAM_4244Even the box lid is soooOOOooo pretty!

I have it tucked away ready waiting for the first batch of jam or jelly that I decide to make, feel very comforted that I am ready to go with my special set, just need to add fruit, sugar and time, love for making is easy to find…!

Thanks for visiting me, please pop back later to see what I made…

Best wishes, Jay x

My little extra snippet for you from Snoo “…the average pencil can draw a line approx 35km long…”


Remember a blog or two ago, the one about the Mason Jars, yes?  well I said I would be blogging again as a spin off… here goes…


You can’t imagine how excited I was when I saw these colourful chocolate coins in the supermarket… bought a few nets worth … and gave them as presents … see my entry a while a go about the mason jars…


Well,  before I gave them away, I just had to play… Just love colour combinations of any description, always on the look out for collections to get inspired by for my crafty projects and to photograph for my blog!

Then came the real play time!

Bad ass black money, suitable for witches, whizzards and Dark Lords…



Especially good if you were able to get hold of for Halloween.


Perfect for Breast Cancer awareness (which I did little packages to my mum and friend who have been through the terrible ordeal)


The pink coins were yelling at me to make into a heart…oh yes they were!

Close up of little pinkies…
Traditional, always good to have plenty of gold coins at Christmas, and easy to find in the shops later in the year…
Another colour that would be especially good at Halloween…yes?
Green… still playing!
Little flower shapes in blue… forget-me-nots?
Blue money… why not!
This one really made me smile… do you recognise the colour way… no? Go have a look at my blog titled, “Draught Excluder for Friends” and you will get it… couldn’t help myself!

Good of you to drop by, would love to hear from  you…

Jay X

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo  “…The ride, in the song “A ticket to ride” by the Beatles is based on “Ryde” on the Isle of Wight…”



I recently spent a totally enjoyable lunch, and crafty afternoon get-together with two very special friends who I truly believe have “saved” me. What do you?  do? – say? – give? –  to say thank you? There are many things I know, but I thought BUNS on this occasions!

The favourite easy sponge recipe I use is from Delia Smith, “all in one” Victoria Sandwich, I sling in great amounts of chocolate, always works for me so this is the  one I can rely on.  Instead of two cake sandwich tins I divide into bun cases, as we say up North… if you are a Southerner you would probably say cup cakes, Americans may say muffins … not sure they are quite muffins though!

I have these posh little glass cake display stands with covers so decided to use them  to show just one little bun for each to take my first photo for this post!


Faithfully Delia…

The ingredients…


The recipe…

I do like to add a nice chocolate fudge style icing using good chocolate with a high cocoa content, icing sugar and butter. Melt the chocolate, soften the butter and sieve in the icing sugar… didn’t bother to measure the amounts, just kept an eye of the fudgy consistency.


Super to add a little fun topping, found these little chocolate balls in the baking aisle in my local supermarket,  which are white, milk and plain chocolate and really finish off the buns!


Add the little balls by tipping then into quite a small yet deep bowl, while the fudge is still soft turn the bun upside down and press quite firmly into the balls so a good cover is achieved.


Leave to set and cool.


My two friends  are completely different with their  taste (apart from chocolate… thats a total winner who ever!) so bought different bun cases.


All boxed up!


I just love to make sure the presentation of any gift is just right, so go out of my way with boxes, wrapping and ribbons… this is what I came up with for the girls…


Great little cake boxes I bought at the cook shop, this one especially as the design  is soOOoo pretty!


I even made little cards to write my message (will blog about the little card and envelope maker I have another time)


Send me a message if you have a moment, would love to hear from you!

Best wishes, Jay x

My little extra snippet for you from Snoo “The Beatles used the word LOVE 613 times throughout their career”




I have been to London!

My immediate thought,  as I just typed out that little line was this…

“Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been?

I’ve been to London to see the Queen…

Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there

I frightened a little mouse, under her chair…”

(some times the last line is sung as…

I chased a little mouse right under her chair)

The origins of the nursery rhyme “Pussycat pussycat”!
The origins of the “Pussycat pussycat” rhyme dates back to the history of 16th century Tudor England. One of the waiting ladies of Queen Elizabeth Ist had an old cat which roamed throughout Windsor castle. On one particular occasion the cat ran beneath the throne where its tail brushed against the Queen’s foot, startling her. Luckily ‘Good Queen Bess’ had a sense of humour and decreed that the cat could wander about the throne room, on condition it kept it free of mice!

I didn’t see the Queen, a cat or a mouse on my visit, but one of the things I did see and really found  absolutely fascinating was a visit to Tower Bridge.  If you are interested in antique – vintage engineering and architecture, and you are in London, I would recommend going on  the tour.  It wasn’t too expensive, unlike  some of the London attractions that have a huge entrance charge.

This is my “mini” report and photos to share with you… it was a terribly overcast day, so sorry that the photo’s are rather dark, typical London Drizzle!


The view that we come to recognise instantly as Tower Bridge, over the River Thames, London…


A shot of one of the towers from the embankment.


I zoomed in on the roof line of the top of one the tower as I hadn’t realised how beautiful the architecture was, it reminded me very much of a church, maybe even with a slight “French” roof line(?) also the gilded delicate finial that sit right on the top of each tower looked bright, even in the dull light, all a little moody and mysterious….


In the viewing gallery there is a huge expanse of toughened glass inserted into the floor where you can look down on the traffic as it passes across the bridge. I just couldn’t summoned up the courage to walk across it as a majority of the tourists were, I squashed myself right up against the side where the floor was solid…!!!


One of the many views that you can see looking up and down the Thames. Commercial, Financial district,  including the rather iconic building affectionally known at the “Gherkin”.  Bottom right of this photo is the Tower of London, which I plan to visit during my next trip to London…


At the base of the tower is housed the engine room, with magnificent, beautifully preserved steam engines used to raise and lower the big road booms to enable shipping to pass in the past.  Now, naturally it is powered by electricity and controlled by computer.


Huge boiler doors, with values all polished and looking fantastic.

If you want to have a read about the bridge, about the viewing glass floor, the bridge in general… it’s past and present  please go to:-

Little note about the River Thames.  There have been numerous references written about the Thames over the many, many years… fact, stories and poems, this one I particularly enjoyed reading…


Thanks for dropping by, sorry I have been away from my blog for some time now, do hope that I will find some more topics soon that you may be interested in!

Would always be delighted to hear from you should you wish to make a comment…

Best wishes, Jay x

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo….”Bulletproof vests, fire escapes, laser printers, and windshield wipers on cars were all invented by women…”


The “Friends” draught excluder was received extremely well, and is being used, catching all of those sneaky little draughts that are nipping around this time of year… delighted that it is use!

Got me thinking, hey, I have a draught too… under my kitchen door that is most unwelcome, so without delay I  gathered together yarn I had left over from a  very “tweedy” project I made years ago. This is what I came up with…

In situ, perfect fit for the door alcove, so sits there snugly!


Few close ups to see the colours and texture


… and another…


I had just about enough yarn left over to do the ends, this is one…


… and this is the other!


This is the “long and the short of it!”


Sorry I didn’t take any photo’s while crocheting away, too focused and involved, but it is along the same lines as the other one I made, only VERY random with my stripes.

I did have a little think about colour dispersal as I wanted the colours to run through the whole piece.  Although “random” sounds easy, I would advise, if you want to have a go,  to try and be a bit organised with colours as it could be very frustrating if you run out of a colour which you wanted running throughout the project!


Quite pleased… what do you think?

Always delighted to hear from you, leave me a message or comment…

Best wishes,  Jay x

Little extra snipped from Snoo  “Dolphins sleep with one eye open”