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One + Four = Life. Weekly Photos 47/52.

1+4=Life week 47

1+4=Life week 47

1+4=Life week 47

1+4=Life week 47

I am joining the lovely Isabel from Nanjing Nian blog for this week’s One + Four = Life, a selection of photos taken through the last week.  It has turned cold here and we have had a few frosty mornings with icy puddles.

1. Before it got super cold, we had some torrential rain which rushed down our street, which is a hill, and into the woods.  As it raced along the woodland path, it gouged a path through the layer of leaves.  It looked like someone had got a leaf blower and walked down with the path blasting a narrow gully though the leaves.

2. Some hardy mushrooms keep peeking out, but I don’t suppose I will see many more until Spring now.

3. I made pizza for dinner one night this week, my whole house thought I was a mad person for putting kale on mine, but it went crispy and was delicious.

4. I managed to resist this chocolate in the International supermarket!  We went to stock up on English treats for Christmas – a box of Heroes chocolates, Jelly Babies, Smarties, Celebrations, Elderflower cordial and Hula Hoops to name a few.

Are you stocking up for Christmas?  Or will you grab all the good stuff nearer the date?  How is your weather, snow or sun?

Have a fab week whatever you are up to!

Six Word Saturday

Six word Saturday

We went to the local winter farmer’s market at Schlafly Brewery this morning and had a lovely wander around veggies and bread and various farmed and homemade goods.  We bought this massive bunch of beetroot and I can’t wait to boil it and cool it and slice it into a salad.

Do you like beetroot? Raw or cooked? I have never had it raw, I bet that would be nice in a slaw or salad.

By the time we left the market, it was snowing, but the rain had left the ground wet, so the snow was just flurrying about, rather than settling.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend, happy Saturday!

Through The Lens Thursday #47. Cut.


Ironically I took this photo nice and early when I was cutting down and pulling out the last of my tomatoes, and now I am posting late!
You might have noticed the change in surroundings around here. I have moved (or rather am moving, so excuse the empty boxes and bare walls) blog house back to my original blog, here at CatsEatDogs.
All of my old posts and bits and bobs are here too, so feel free to have a look around and if you want some old old posts, I started this blog in 2012 so there is lots to look at!
So I am sneaking in late with Through The Lens Thursday, sorry Greta! Hopefully normal posting will resume next week when the prompt is ‘Muted’ and it is my birthday! Whoo hoo! I love birthday’s, don’t you!

Finding Silver Linings in the Pouring Rain when your Umbrella is about to Blow away and your Legs are Wet.

Ginkgo trees in the rain

Do you look for the silver linings, or do they find you, or do you just stumble over them in the rain? I found some lovely silver linings yesterday in the rain and clouds.
I walked to catch the train amid a slight drizzle and wondered at the fact that I was supposed to be in a raging thunderstorm as predicted by the ever optimistic weather app on my phone, I was not even in need of my umbrella’s help in this rain.
As I sat on the train making sure no eye contact was made, I wondered why I didn’t bring a book or at least headphones to listen to a podcast. I find myself in this situation a lot and I still can’t get my brain to remember to bring ‘entertainment’ for my child sized attention span, I need something to do, I am not a sitter and relaxer, I am a listener or a reader or a note writer.  Unfortunately my head is not in agreement and refuses to remind me to bring stuff to do when I might be in a boring situation like sitting on the train or waiting for said train.
When I arrived at my stop, I was early for meeting my friend, so I stopped into a nearby coffee shop for a latte and scone. As I waited for my drink I noticed that they make brown sugar rosemary lattes and wished I had ordered one of those. Hey ho, next time. My plain coffee was very nice though and along with the gingerbread walnut scone (need to figure out this recipe) I wandered across Forest Park towards the Saint Louis Art Museum.
It was raining more by now and the umbrella had to be deployed which took a moment of juggling as I felt the urge to take a photo of the yellow gingko trees lining the path I was about to walk. I snapped my shot and off I went, scone nibbling and coffee sipping.
I amazed at how bright things like the yellow trees in Autumn seem so much brighter on a dull and rainy day, the trees and the leaves which had fallen from them seemed to glow gently through the rain.  The rain seems to give nature a shiny sheen and a lovely light, beacons in the gloom.
Once at the Art Museum I heard from my friend, who is really still a ‘pretend friend’, that is to say I haven’t actually met her yet in real life. I met her on Instagram and we decided that neither one of us is an axe murderer and we should meet. So we tried. Today. At the Art Museum. We failed. She had to get her kids from school and so that was that, she couldn’t make it. I felt like the naughty kid at the library talking on my phone in the museum too!
Well, I had made it through the rain and wind, my legs were wet, so I decided to stay a while and have a wander around the museum and maybe my legs would dry before my return journey.  I know the Art Museum pretty well and was delighted to find a new exhibit in the newer section of the building which houses my favourite galleries and paintings.

Scouts or Sports? SLAM StL

‘Scouts or Sports?’ by the artist brothers Steven and William Ladd made for a room of inspiration or at least it was to me, I loved almost every piece and wanted to illegally reach over the wire and have a prod to see exactly how they had created some of the art! Don’t worry, I didn’t.

This is art to smile at and art which makes you want to make art, to draw and make marks and paint and use colours, lots of colours. My colorful silver lining.
I also made sure I saw my most favourite painting in the museum which is ‘Betty’ by Gerhard Richter.


Then, I pulled my plastic bag covered umbrella out of my handbag and I was on my way, having had a lovely morning in the company of the Saint Louis Art Museum and the rain.

Not a bad turn out in my opinion, I am sure I will meet my friend another day, maybe under clear skies with a spot of sunshine this time!

I hope you have lots of silver linings in your days, whether they find you or you find them.

One + Four = Life. Weekly Photos 46/52

Weekly photos, fresh bread

Digging the garden

Tennis ball and shadow

November Sketchbook Magic. Leaves

1. It is soup and fresh bread season!  Hurrah, I love making soup and of course the bread to dunk in it.

2. All the tomato and aubergine plants have been pulled out of the raised beds and I have started to dig them over and add in a pile of compost.  The weekend was lovely and sunny and today it has rained all day so far with no sign of dry on the near horizon. Oh well at least the compost will get watered into the soil and the leaves will mulch down nicely.

3. More tennis this weekend, we like to play in the handball courts, bouncing the balls off the three walls.  Kind of tennis crossed with squash with a healthy dose of giggling thrown in.

4. I have been keeping up with a 30 day sketchbook challenge with Skillshare and day 13 was ‘leaves’.  I used my lovely sumi brush and gouache paint to quickly sketch the leaves I picked up in the woods that day.

Did you have a good week?  I hope so.  I have been thinking about Christmas baking and I need to get my ingredients together this week for Christmas cake and mincemeat for mince pies.  Are you prepping for Christmas yet or are you rolling your eyes right now at the very mention of it?!

I wonder if it will stop raining this week?  It looks pretty settled in to me.

Through the Lens Thursday #46. Smile.

TTLT 46 Smile


This doll is almost the same age as me, she was a birthday present from my Grandma and Grandad when I was two.  Her skin has changed colour a little bit over the years and she has new hair, but apart from that she is intact and as she was in 1971 when I got her.

Her smile is still enigmatic even though her face looks like she has just completed a mud run.

My doll Jenny is the subject of this week’s Through The Lens Thursday for the ‘smile’ prompt.  Next week is ‘cut’.

Happy Thursday.

Coloring Sheets for Adults (or anyone!)

Coloring in

Creativity is a marvelous thing in my opinion and I think we can all be creative in one way or another.  A very popular way of celebrating our personal creativity is a coloring book.  Now adults get their own, instead of shoving the kids out of the way and nicking their favorite pencils, we can officially have our own book and choose our own pencil case and fill it with abandon (or pens, whichever you prefer).

I love to doodle and draw and I will often color in my own pictures, but I don’t color in official books.  Having said that there are lots of amazing coloring books to be had, featuring everything from patterns to seasonal pictures via mandalas and animal kingdoms.

As I was doodling around and coloring in my sheets of drawings, I thought maybe you might like a coloring sheet to print off and get stuck in, right now!  Grab those pens/pencils/paints/crayons and print one of my coloring sheets.  I made two for you.  Just click on either image to get the printable version.

Coloring sheet circles


Coloring sheet Village

Print the circles by clicking on the image or print the village by clicking on that image. Have fun coloring and maybe you fancy adding some doodle onto the blank circles and houses and trees!

Looking for more? Some very cool coloring books I have seen are-

Special Edition Coloring Book from Flow magazine.

Coloring books by Lisa Congdon are super fun.

Johanna Basford coloring books are gorgeous.

There are a gazillion of them, so happy coloring!  I hope you enjoy coloring in my pages too, there are more to come!


Four + One = Life. Weekly Photos 45/52.

Autumn Sky

Book and Hydrangeas

Mica powders

Tennis in boots

1. Blue sky and orange leaves, one of the best things about this time of year.

2. I snagged some hydrangeas this week and even thought they are kind of past their prime, they are still so striking.  This book is my new favorite cookbook and I was happy to see that there are more books by the same lady which I have ordered from the library.  Hurrah for libraries!

3. These mica powders arrived this week which I am excited to be able to add to lip balms and maybe a gentle blush with a hint of shimmer.  I will be sure to let you know how they turn out.

4. It is not tennis weather  I know, but my youngest and I decided this weekend was the time to channel our inner Wimbledon.  I thought I  would wear alternative tennis attire as you can see and jeans and boots worked just fine in our friendly knock about.  We found this ball at the tennis courts which has a valuable message – Practice. Yes indeed, I need lots of that, maybe in the correct shoes next time!

A good week was had, the weather was Novembery and full of Autumn which is how I like it!  I hope you had a fab week and enjoy the week ahead.

I am joining with Isabel at Nanjing Nian in this week’s Four+One=Life post, pop over and see what everyone has been up to!

Happy Monday!

Through The Lens Thursday #45. Bright.

TTLT #45 Bright

We have a teeny tiny Dogwood tree in our front garden which I have nearly mowed down to the ground on more than one occasion! Thankfully I missed it every time and it is growing slowly but surely.  This year it has a little collection of leaves which have turned a fabulous orange pink for the autumn.

A little bright beacon shining from my front lawn, some trees in the autumn see to be their own light source and this is one of them.

A perfect example of ‘bright’ for this week’s Through The Lens Thursday.  Next week is ‘Smile’.

Happy Thursday!

Bharta. Aubergine/Eggplant curry.

I have had a bumper crop of aubergines this year and when they started to grow, my first thoughts were ‘great, the aubergines are growing, but I don’t even like to eat them!’ I gave some away, made some recipes I didn’t like and then my friend Tracie at Beets and Birch blog suggested making Bharta. I did and I loved it! So my final batch of aubergines and chili peppers are all going into the curry. This meal will use up the last of the coriander in the garden too I think.


Bharta or Aubergine Curry. (adapted from Madhur Jaffery’s book – ‘Madhur Jaffery’s World Vegetarian’

1 large or a few smaller aubergines

4-6 tomatoes

1 onion

Fresh chili(es)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 inch grated fresh ginger

Prick  the aubergines,  tomatoes and chilis with a fork a couple of times each, then roast on a foil lined tray at 425 degrees for 40-60 mins until the aubergines are soft and have started to flatten.  Meanwhile chop the onion and fry in olive oil until cooked but not brown.  Add grated ginger then cumin and turn off the heat.

When the aubergines are roasted cut each one from stalk to bottom and empty the insides into the onions.  Peel the skins off the tomatoes and add them.  Chop the chilis and add them too.  Mix up well or blitz with an immersion blender for a smoother Bharta. I used a potato masher to smush up this batch of Bharta.


Eat with naan and/or rice, top with plain yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh coriander.

Happy Wednesday!