Friday, 29 April 2016

Five from Hampshire

Time to join in again with Five On Friday hosted by Amy from Love Made My Home.

I have a random selection to share with you this week.

No. 1 - I visited Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve last Saturday. You can read about my visit there in my last post but I didn't show you my indulgent 'must have' purchases that I made from their shop. I love Emma Ball designs and also have a thing about notebooks and bags so I just couldn't resist purchasing these two items. The bag is ideal for carrying around a small crochet project and has already been put to use when I walked to my friends house on Monday for a crocheting session. I am not sure yet as to what I will record in the notebook but at the moment just like admiring it.

No. 2 - Part 2 of the Dance On The Beach Crochet-Along came out on Wednesday. Unfortunately I was working that day but started work on this week's squares yesterday. To date I have completed two and hope to get the other two crocheted over the weekend. 

I have chosen the Dance In The Rain colourway, this is what it should look like when completed. I was debating whether to choose the Dance In The Sea or the Rain version.  When I selected my kit I hadn't seen what the finished design would look like, now I have seen the photo below I am really pleased that I went for this version.

No. 3 - I have worked really hard to achieve 10,000 steps a day using my Fitbit this week. A lot of my friends seem to achieve far more than I do but I am happy if I can get to 10,000 (this has been proven to be really beneficial to your health - physically and mentally). I am now on a six day streak, am I going to make it today? Hopefully, but I have a busy day baking and tidying in preparation for our monthly craft get-together tomorrow which I am hosting this time around so we will see. Hopefully I can fit in a walk at some stage.

No. 4 - I have purchased some seeds, you might remember that I am trying to make my garden butterfly and bee friendly so I am going to attempt to grow these seeds in pots, wish me luck, I am very much a novice to gardening having had an unmanageable jungle to contend with before our garden was refurbished. I will keep you updated as to whether my seeds flourish (or not)!

No. 5 - as you know I have managed to lose over 4.5 stone in weight over the last year and this week I decided the time had come to sort out all my clothes that no longer fit me. I had a mental block about doing this as I have lost weight so many times only to put it all back on again and needed the larger size clothes again. However this time the weight is definitely not going to creep back on so I took the plunge and have managed to fill six bags with unwanted clothes just in time for the Slimming World clothes throw in aid of Cancer Research UK - what better time to de-clutter!

I hope you have enjoyed my five this week. Please go and visit Amy's blog where you will find links to more 'five' posts.


Monday, 25 April 2016

Titchfield Haven

On Saturday we drove down to Titchfield Haven on The Solent. My eldest son purchased a super-duper long lens for his camera not too long ago and wanted to try it out at the Nature Reserve and get some close up photos of some of the birds there and it is always good to walk along the shoreline with its stunning views across The Solent to the Isle of Wight.

Surprisingly you can park right on the edge of the shoreline and there is no charge for parking - always a plus! We made our way around the little harbour where we always spot these gorgeous little birds, they are turnstones and are fascinating to watch. They don't seem very worried about people so even with my little camera I could get some close-up views.

As the name suggests these birds turn stones and seaweed looking for hidden invertebrates. These birds are strictly coastal and prefer stony beaches to sand.

We then crossed the road and made our way into the Nature Reserve which lies behind the beach and contains a range of natural habitats (river, fen, pools, reed beds and meadows).

Following this link will take you to a map of the reserve. We started off by visiting the River Meon side of the reserve and although there wasn't a great range of birds to be seen from the hides on this side I did take this photo of a magpie whose colours were stunning with the sun shining on him.

I was fascinated by the size of these fir cones, they were enormous, see the photo below where I placed a coin on top of one so you could get an idea of the size.

These little fairy doors that someone had taken time to create in the fallen tree trunk must fascinate the younger generation. There was one that had been opened and some little notes for the fairies had been left inside!

These gorgeous Marsh Marigolds were so bright and cheerful.

We then decided to split up for a bit, I wanted to fit in 10,000+ steps on my Fitbit so decided to go for a walk along the seashore while the menfolk walked around to the other part of the reserve where I would join them later.

There was a lot of sailing activity on The Solent and lots to look at as I made my way along the shore towards Stubbington.

After quite a brisk walk I went to join my DH and son at one of the hides on the reserve. This was the view from the first hide, mainly gulls but some waders and ducks to be seen as well. The noise from the gulls was quite something. 

My son got some cracking shots with his big lens from the three hides we visited on this side but I am quite pleased with the few I managed to get with my camera.

These shelduck were looking magnificent

There was a very special bird in amongst the common black-headed gulls, the gull just to the left of the twiggy bits with the jet black head and the red beak is a Mediterranean gull - a new species for us. When you see this bird you realise that the heads of the black headed gulls are not black at all but a chocolately brown.

Beautiful avocets (the symbol of the RSPB)

A lapwing feeding on the scrape

These are stunning birds with beautiful colours, they used to be so common when I was young but have become a lot less in numbers in later years.

Another view of an avocet with their unique upturned bill, it is fascinating to watch these birds feed. They skim the water moving their bill from side to side.

We spotted another couple of species that were new for us but I didn't manage to get photos of them, a black tern and some bar-tailed godwits - thanks to the informative man who I sat next to in the hide for help with the identification!

It did get quite chilly towards the end of the afternoon so we decided to call it a day but not before I had taken a few more pictures down on the coast, the sun was sparkling on the water and the light was stunning.

We rounded the day off by stopping for a meal on the way home - a perfect end to the day.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Five On Friday

Five On Friday time again and as usual I am joining with Amy at Love Made My Home.  

It has been another busy week and once again I am apologising if I haven't visited your blog and left some comments, I am still endeavouring to catch up and I would like to thank everyone that has left comments on my posts recently.

So what have I been up to this week:-

Firstly I finished my latest charity blanket, this one is again part of SIBOL (Sunshine International Blankets of Love) and will be donated to a local residential care home at Christmas.

I have now made a start on my next one, this one is made using the Maybelle flowers and making them into squares, I am sure I will be sharing my progress on this sometime soon.

Still on the crochet front I have also joined many hundreds of crocheters in honouring a well known crochet designer - Marinke Slump (known across the crochet world as Wink) who very sadly lost her battle with severe depression last year. In her memory a crochet-along (CAL) has been created, this CAL was the last thing she was working on at the time of her death and a group of friends decided to finish designing it - it is called Last Dance On The Beach and comes in three different colour ways. I have chosen Dance in the Rain, beautiful colours are used in this kit and this week I crocheted my practice tension square and the first square which was released on Wednesday. I have three more of these squares to complete this week and then it will be back to my charity blanket until the next square is released.

Yesterday was a lovely day, we combined some retail therapy with a lunch out at the Brigadier Gerard at Horton Heath where they have the most bright and cheerful floral displays.

We followed lunch by taking a walk in Stoke Park Woods (I apologise if you are tired of bluebell pics but I couldn't resist taking yet more, my excuse is that it is in a different wood from last weeks pictures)!!! 

Please go and visit Amy's blog where you will find links to more Five On Friday posts.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Spring Flowers

I am really behind on blogging and reading and commenting on blog posts for which I apologise, I will endeavour to catch up over the next week but I am making an effort to keep up with Five On Friday, as usual hosted by Amy at Love Made My Home.

This week it has been a delight to see some beautiful Spring flowers when we have been out and about.

These violets were growing in profusion on a roadside bank - wish now that I had taken a wider view so you could see just how many there were but I was trying to get the detail of these delicate little flowers.

Primroses - it does seem to be a fantastic year for them in my part of the country, most of them growing in great clumps on the side of busy roads where you cannot stop to photograph them!

Yesterday we visited this lovely bluebell wood at Micheldever, is there any more beautiful sight than bluebells growing in their natural environment?

After visiting the bluebell woods we stopped off for some lunch and these stunning tulips were growing in the pub garden, I think tulips rank as one of my top three favourite flowers.

And last but not least we came across this stunning magnolia. I visited what was for me a new wool shop in Basingstoke, after visiting the woods and enjoying our lovely lunch, and this magnolia was growing alongside the shop.

Please go and visit Amy's blog where you will find links to more Five On Friday posts.