Casey Allum is an Animal and Human portrait artist. We stumbled upon her at Lowther Castle not long ago at the Plant fair drawing away. We were truly gob smacked by her animal pencil drawings. I mean who wouldn't be! After exploring the UK Casey came back to Cumbria and made the giant leap into being a Full Time Artist. Which when we spoke to Casey she sounds like a very busy lady, with some happy customers with personal commissions on the horizon. I love the cat pictured, but we both love the hares that Casey draws too.
Want to find out more about Casey – this is her website
Here's another blog about Casey (interview) with more detail from Derwent Pencils blog.
You will find her too on Twitter and Facebook.
SOMETHING DIFFERENT Glass of Nectar
When I worked at a posh supermarket in Cumbria (whilst trying to find a job I preferred) they made me Licence Specialist!? I knew nothing about alcohol and quickly learnt. There were quite a few customers and friends that I converted from Baileys to drinking this lovely creamy smooth fruity concoction. I liked introducing customers to drinks that were passed by and didn't move from the shelves for months. So I opened a bottle as a taster – mainly cause I wanted to try it too. It surprised quiet a few people.
So I've already told you what it tastes like, oh I neglected to tell you it's yummy! So I will give you a few facts.
Oh and the oil from the Nut is really good for your skin (not sure how true the doctors statement is)
But remember folks no matter how good it taste too much and you will inevitably end up like these animals that dine on the fruit.
Go and buy a bottle. I know for sure Booths sell it and Sainsbury's.
Here's more about Amarula.
Something else that is different try this Kin Vodka
If you want beer – Here's two links for two Summerish beers
COVERED IN WEEDS
I bought this little stash of Higgledy seeds back in January/February and I have only just managed to pop them in the ground. It's only really in the last week that the soil has been warm enough to grace my bare bum. Mr Higgledy's granddad says “never sow seeds into the ground unless you would sit on that ground with a bare bum…”. However I don't have a big space to place these seeds so they are dotted around in pots. Two weeks ago I was impatient and planted the Ping Pong seeds and some other seeds of mine which I have completely forgotten what they are. But look something is growing – hopefully not grass or weeds.
Its not too late to buy your seeds from Mr Higgledy and then plant them. Whilst you wait for your order here's his blog about the cut flower collection. For the record I have received no free seeds (unless part of a promotion) from him. I believe in promoting people and business that I find give a good service are friendly and helpful. So lets shout about these people – tell me in the comments a garden centre etc worthy of your money. Larch Cottage Nursery’s in Cumbria is on that list too.
I have a Dahlia question or two. I only just found out I should have up rooted them and stuck them in the shed over winter. When do they start to appear. Have I completely killed them? Can I up root them now to look and see if its still alive. How can I tell, or am I better off leaving them? I look forward someone helping me out with this issue. Thank You in advance.
MUSINGS - A Chocolate Book
The 'Chocolat lady' as some of you may refer to her as, or Joannechocolat on twitter . The lady I am referring too is Joanne Harris (website). Surely you know the Academy Award Nominatted film Chocolat? The one that starred Juliette Binoche, Judy Dench (now Dame) and Johnny Depp? What do you mean you haven't seen it and you are a Depp fan!? Forget reading this go and order it now! And then come back here. You are missing a treat.
I haven't read the book and to be fair I didn't know it existed till I saw this film on a bargain to buy shelf in Blockbusters a number of years ago. It was my first almost nearly girly film, having pretty much action films of all kinds in the collection. I settled down with popcorn in hand and by the end of the film I wanted to pop down the road to Lansquenet a village in South-West France (fictional) and taste one of Vianne's rich, sweet and a kick of chilli Hot Chocolate drink. And then to see if she can guess which one of her hand made chocolates can make me melt away the day.
Vianne breezes into this little village with her daughter and an imaginary Wallaby in 1959. The village isn't the most welcoming of places to strangers especially ones who open up a chocolate shop at the start of Lent opposite the church. And there the story begins.. (a quick trailer)
Skip three years later and I'm scowering the bookshelves for a new author (to me) to read and 'Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure' catches my eye. I recognise the name and read the back “ When Vianne Rocher receives...” Oh my there's a second book to 'Chocolat' so I check out the first paragraph. But I'm gob-smacked at the 'For my..' page. It must be a sign Joanne's dad is called Bob Short and she was born in Barnsley. My Granddad is called Bob Short and he lives (or lived) in Barnsley! Lol what a coincidence, I know we aren't related my Grandma isn't French. So to chapter one and it was this that got me to walk to the counter (I usually read a few parts of the book before a decision is made).
'Someone once told me that, in France alone, a quarter of a million letters are delivered every year to the dead. What she didn't tell me was that sometimes the dead write back.'
I loved the booked and loved it that all the characters that I had seen in the film popped into my head. New characters appear almost straight away and the little village is certainly not how she left it. Things have changed and a new culture/religion has arrived alongside the old.
It wasn't till a couple of weeks ago that I found this book wasn't number two it was in fact number three! I immediately tweeted Joanne Harris (the beauty of Twitter). 'The Lollipop Shoes' is number two and it doesn't matter that I read it out of sequence. Phew, now to find Number two.
But wait – did you love the film or book Chocolat? Look what else Joanne has created with Fran Warde 'The little book of Chocolate'. It has Omi's Coconut Peaches recipe in along with Viannes Hot Chocolate, River Gypsy Banana Bread, Joe's 'Specials' Trifle (from the book Blackberry wine) and lots more! It was such a find on my birthday I squealed and my Man bought it there and then for me! This year as he can't have egg so no birthday cake I made him Montezuma's Shortbread from the book. I did cheat a little and bought the salted caramel (sainburys) sauce – just in case I really botched it up. And then I trickled some Passion Fruit Coulis over the top. He lapped it up. If you only buy one recipe book this year buy this one!
Tunes this week to chill ya beans.
Chocolat soundtrack - (3tunes)
My Funny Valentine - Matt Damon (From my favourite film The Talented Mr Ripley)
Norah Jones - Summertime
Robbie Williams & Frank Sinatra - It was a very good year
and (one more for the road)
Hope you enjoyed the tunes (if you only come for the tunes) and the blog. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend and week ahead. See you this time next week.
Places to visit
Robin Hoods Bay
Sweetheart Abbey (Scotland)
Isle of Wight P1
Isle of Wight P2
HoleHird Gardens (Cumbria)
Brougham Hall (Cumbria)
My Journey to Cumbria and brewing beer!
Part One -
Friends, Neighbours and Countymen
Life's Sliding Door Moment
Brewer - That's not a Job Title I Expected!