Lovely Lane Blog

Welcome to our blog.  We want to help you make special memories for you, your family and your friends.  So we will share the ongoing adventure that is LOVELY LANE.  The memories, achievements, frustrations, traditions, chaos and hopefully some laughter and give you some memory making ideas and hints and tips along the way.

Enjoy ♥

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    It all started with a pop and swiftly moved on to a bit of zig-zagging, one or two choice words from hubby and the realisation that we had a puncture.  In fact more than that – a rather large rip!

    So started our Welsh memory making adventure!

    We were only passing through Wales as a means to an end – the ferry from Pembroke would take us to Ireland to visit our grandchildren.  It was 12.45am and with only 36 miles to go we had plenty of time to catch the 2.45 am ferry – or so we thought.

    A tyre sealant kit is no good when you have a 6 inch gash in your tyre and not many Kwik Fits are open at that time of night.  Anyway we weren’t terribly sure where we were.  It’s dark in Wales at night!

    While hubby was stomping about outside I rang our road cover – we have one of those ‘all-in-one’ policies with our bank.  It’s worked for us a few times so we won’t be claiming it was mis-sold! I had to ring the bank as we hadn’t brought our policy document with us (there’s a lesson) so the biggest challenge was remembering our telephone password.  I did get three chances at everything so by a process of elimination I managed to pass the test!  They put me through to breakdown and the lovely Gina helped us out.

    We elected to have a mobile tyre fitter (fighting chance we might still make the ferry).  Then we only had to figure out where we were – isn’t modern technology wonderful – what did we do before mobile phones!  Gina wasn’t Welsh though so we had to spell a lot of words!

    I watched the clock (every 10 seconds).  I needed a diversion to make the time pass.  I now have beautifully painted nails with no chips or raggedy bits – bright pink!  Hubby was speechless – well sort of.  I think that’s when he started waxing lyrical about the nonsense of selling cars with no spare wheels and ‘who decided that was a good idea’!

    A lovely welsh guy turned up and changed the tyre in about 5 minutes – not quite Grand Prix standard but not bad.  He would have chatted forever but I think he got the drift that we were in a hurry.  We paid him £120 and off he went after leaving his mobile number so we could let him know if we caught the ferry.

    Could we do 36 miles (on windy welsh roads) in 25 minutes?  The answer was no!  The ferry was still alongside but the dock gates were well and truly shut.

    raining 2

    Next stop the Travel Lodge – no room at that Inn.  We were directed to a small Hotel by the dock called The Dolphin with a ‘You might get a room there’.  It was 3.00pm in the morning and all self respecting Hoteliers would be in bed (we thought) so this place didn’t sound 5 stars.  But any bed sounded good – ours for that night had sailed with the ferry. 

    It didn’t look promising (Victorian frontage straight on to the pavement and all in darkness) and hubby was all for sleeping in the car on the basis we would run out of money before we even got to Ireland.  But I saw a glimmer of a downstairs light and nervously knocked on the door.  It was opened immediately (didn’t get anyone out of bed then!) and they had a bed.  Hurrah! 

    We paid £50 up front by credit card – all cash had gone to the tyre fitter!  The bonus was that breakfast was included and we could have that any time up until 1.00pm.  That was a result as the next ferry wasn’t until 2.45pm and sleeping the time away seemed like a good option.

    The Dolphin hotel more than met my criteria for a bed for the night – clean sheets, hot water and a nice, spotless room with en-suite (small but perfect for our needs) – my next stop is Trip Advisor – 5 stars!  And that was before we had breakfast – also great!

    What happened about the ferry?  I rang the ferry number in Liverpool (in the middle of the night you can get a recorded message about anything except what to do if you miss the ferry – office hours don’t start till 9.30 am).  A very nice lad with a scouse accent sorted us out and I found myself saying thank you so much for your help and trying to make him feel better for taking another £58 from my credit card.

    The moral of this story – don’t buy a car without a spare wheel!   But we had a good time – people were nice, friendly, helpful and wanted to solve our problems  - 10 minutes earlier would have been better of course but you can’t have everything.  And I do have beautifully painted nails.

     Just remember – spell STRESSED backwards and you get DESSERTS.  We went with chocolate, chilled out and called it an adventure!

    symbol linda (2)

  2. A magical memory of childhood or ……………?


    I have fond memories of Cinderella – it was the first pantomime I ever saw.  With plenty of grandchildren but all boys who are more into computer games than fairy tales, I persuaded hubby that going along would make a great Saturday night out. 

    We got to the cinema in good time – I’d booked the tickets in advance to make sure we got in – it was the first weekend it was out after all.  We watched it with another couple (of similar age to us) and one or two others joined us after the adverts.  Granted it was the 7.20 pm showing and maybe their target audience was already on their way to bed (or watching Ant and Dec)

    I won’t say much about the storyline (you probably know what it is) but the costumes and the cinematography were great.  Cinderella’s tiny waist will be the envy of many and the ‘ugly’ sisters just needed a good makeover and, with a few more years of growing up, they could be quite nice.  They struck the right note for me - a bit silly but not malicious.

    The Stepmother – played excellently by Kate Blanchett – had been widowed twice (unlucky!) and had a couple of immature daughters to marry off (unlucky again!). You got the sense that circumstance had driven her and made her jealous and malevolent. In another life I could see her as the strong, striking personality who would very efficiently (and excellently) run the allotment society or the Women’s Institute and who everybody secretly admired for their drive and determination.


    Helena Bonham Carter gave us a new take on the Fairy Godmother, slightly quirky and I would like to be a bit like her!  Cinderella and her Prince were perfect of course, but not in a sweet or sickly way (not hubby’s opinion!).  They had to be up there as the hero and heroine but Cinderella was a strong character and no pushover and her Prince was handsome but not bland – he had a personality!

    And talking of personalities – the mice stole the show!

    There is no doubt, the sets, the costume, the drama are second to none and the performances are excellent.  Does it matter that we knew the story?  Probably not – it was beautiful, dream like and magnificent and was more about how we were taken through the beginning, middle and end of a well loved tale.

    I enjoyed it, and a much more grown up version of the pantomime we are all used to.  It did bring back some lovely childhood memories for me and I am sure it will create a few new memories for others.  The DVD will be a good one to have on the shelf - then my grandsons can watch it without having to admit it!

    If you are in any doubt about the storyline have a look at this – it makes a great keepsake gift.

  3. Memories are made of this – and a few family rocks!

    memory of nana jen

    A very personal memory

    Jenny was my mother in law.  Of Scottish origin (as I am) she had a strong Glaswegian accent and a very loud voice but was someone you grew to love as you got to know her better.

    More accurately she was my ex mother in law but when I divorced her only child, I told her that she could see her grandchildren (my two sons and a daughter) whenever she wanted to.  So this brusque, sharp, stubborn and determined lady (who was a big softie underneath) remained well and truly part of the family.

    I re-married 30 years ago and my husband acquired my 3 children and two mother in laws as part of the package – he didn’t know what he was taking on but he stuck with it!  He had 2 children close in age to mine and that was the start of our extended family.

    The two Great Nan's

    My mum and Jenny were good friends – they lived in the same part of Scotland and we lived in England so eventually they started to visit together – for nearly 3 weeks every summer (they liked to have 3 weekends at least!) and some family occasions in between.  We have 12 grandchildren, their great grandchildren, who just thought that great Nan’s came in pairs!

    The double act of Nana Jen and Nanny Mag remained until 5 years ago when my mum passed away at the age of 86.  That was at the same time as I was diagnosed with a life threatening illness.  Jenny filled a gap left by my mum and was a great support to me.  She had become close to my husband too over the years and the words ‘in-law’ were all but rubbed out.

    The great grandchildren range from 20 down to 2 years of age.  As each one arrived she shouted at them (in the nicest possible way) in her strong accent but the fear and trepidation disappeared when they realised it was her default voice – except for the youngest one who roared back!  They had a great affinity and a strong bond – I wonder why?!

    Family memories

    Now Jenny has gone, 5 years to the day that Mum went and also at the age of 86.  Their passing has somehow been brought together and I am grieving for them both but in a celebration of what they meant to us rather than any great sadness.

    We have had many happy times, annual barbeques when the whole family got together and we slept dormitory style to fit everybody in.  All the weddings, christenings, birthdays and special celebrations – the two Great Nan’s were always there.  Nothing would keep them away.  As they got older we persuaded them to fly from Scotland – Ryanair would only accept a passport or a driving license as ID.  For my Mum (who didn’t drive) a driving licence would have been a bit of an ask at 80 so who else do you know has needed a passport to fly from Scotland to England!  That became a great story they loved to tell.

    We’ll meet for the barbeque again this year and things will be different – but the many, many memories that we have will keep them with us.  Even the younger great grandchildren who will be told the stories many many times.

    So make your memories while you can and then keep them safe – you’ll need them!

    And as for the two Nan’s – they talked constantly so if they’ve met up again they are probably having a good old natter and catching up on the last 5 years.

    Our Family Rocks! 

  4. Did anyone notice that the minute Halloween was over the masks were replaced by Christmas baubles?  I know they have been around since about August but 1 November arrives and they multiply so quickly we all panic that we won’t be ready for Christmas!

    sandwich3Well I decided to ignore that and find out what else is going on in the world.  Did you know that today is Sandwich Day in America.  What’s so special about that?  In the great scheme of things not a lot and Google can’t tell me why they celebrate it – does anyone know?  But the interesting fact is that it’s origins of the sandwich are in England.

    November 3rd is the anniversary of John Montagu's birthday, an 18th-century English noble better known as the Fourth Earl of Sandwich.  As the story goes, Montagu was a hard-core gambler who wanted to eat his meal with one hand during a 24 hour gambling event so he told his servants to prepare his lunch meat between two pieces of bread.  That, supposedly, is how the sandwich was invented! 

    And we love them -  quick breakfast (bacon sandwich), quick lunch (cheese and pickle), quick dinner (beefburger), four year old won’t eat anything else (chocolate spread), great memories of picnics on the beach (sand in the sandwiches!).  They're convenient, easy to eat, compact and so good you can eat two! The best part, though, is that you can make your sandwich as healthy or unhealthy as you want it to be.  So skip the sprouts, pile on the pickles or go easy on the mayo - when it comes to sandwiches, it's up to you.

    How is this for a creative concoction?  The Godmother from an Italian Deli in Santa Monica is described as:

    ‘a testament to old-world sandwiches still being done right.  Genoa salami, prosciutto, mortadella, coppacola, ham and provolone cheese are all thinly layered inside a crusty length of Italian bread.  It comes with "the works": mayo, mustard, Italian dressing, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, and a chopped pepper blend that keeps the Godmother zippy.’

    its sandwich day at lovely lane giftsIt may be delicious but doesn’t sound quick or easy to me when you’re trying to put packed lunches together and get 3 kids off to school!

    But there is no doubt that we are very grateful to that Earl of Sandwich and his invention – I wonder if he won his gambling event?

    symbol linda (2)

    Lovely Lane Gifts


    allotment produce jam jars lovely lane 

    I spend the winter collecting jam jars.  I use them for all sorts of things – hanging tea lights in the garden, storing the kid’s marbles, collecting 2p pieces to take to the amusment arcade with the grandchildren, a colourful button jar and anything else I can think of.

     At this time of the year I make jam.  And chutney.  And pickle.  In fact anything to use up the glut of fruit and vegetable that arrives daily from the allotment.  We love the allotment (particularly hubby who would do that in preference to anything else!) and get really excited about the latest crop – especially if it is particularly healthy and abundant.  And then it arrives in the kitchen AAAAAAAAArgh!


    What you need is a plan.  Advance planning and knowing what you are going to do with it is definitely the key.  It’s corguettes at the moment and I have perfected a particularly nice chocolate corguette cake – just don’t tell the kids what’s in it!  I have also just found a really simple corguette soup recipe – delicious!  Make it with yellow corguettes if you can – the colour is wonderful.

    Beetroot chutney is a favourite – tried and tested.

    We have just cropped the last of the rhubarb.  I used the easiest rhubarb jam recipe in the world found on a great allotment blog -  I now have 10 jars that can be put on toast, spooned into yoghurt, used to liven up vanilla ice cream or even eaten with a bit of custard!

     chocolate courgette cake bbc good food lovely lane  

    beetroot chutney jam jars rhubarb lovely lane

     allotment jam jars chutney lovely lane  

    Follow the links for the recipies – the internet is a wonderful thing!

    Beetroot Chutney                

    Courgette Soup                   

    Chocolate Courgette Cake 

    Rhubarb Jam                         and click on easy recipies

    I'm just off to the kitchen to deal with the tomatoes!   Enjoy!  

      symbol linda (2)