Tag Archives: gin

Cocktail Hour

You’ll have to forgive me, dear Reader.  I have been somewhat off the boil in blog terms of late. The last month and a bit has had many ups and downs, mostly house related and I have been burying my head in a good bit of writing to try and create a more pleasing chapter for the four of us.  Enter cocktail hour.  At just the right time.

If you follow me on Instagram you will know, dear Reader, that cocktails have featured rather heavily since Christmas.  It’s all strictly medicinal, I can assure you.  One of the most wonderful presents I have ever received was from Jerry’s grandparents who gifted me a little vintage Gordon’s Gin cocktail book from circa 1950s.  Not only does it list my favourites – old fashioned Gimlets, a recipe for ‘Gin Fizz’ but it also has the hilariously named Television Special with orange squash (slightly yuck) and White Lady which embraces that back of the booze cupboard lurker, Cointreau.  The ultimate for me though has to be the glorious ‘Gin and it’ which with one sip, I am transported to the drawing room at Home Place (from Elizabeth Jane Howard’s brilliant Cazalet Chronicles – I am totally obsessed with the books, dear Reader) where Edward or Hugh is preparing me a sharpener to sip in beaded evening dress, before dinner.  Best of all are the handwritten recipes in the back written by one of Jerry’s great-grandparents.  Truly the loveliest of gifts and I send G and G a huge kiss for thinking to pass it on to me, as I know they will be reading this.

With cocktail recipes well and truly tested at home, it was time to have a go at shaking up something new.  So it should come as no surprise to you, dear Reader, that I hotfooted my way to Winchester to enjoy an evening of cocktails as part of the fabulous Winchester Cocktail Week organised by the brilliant Cabinet Rooms.  A huge thanks to Gary and Marcus for the invitation – how could I refuse?!!  Also a special mention to my trusted chauffeur for the evening, my father in law, who drove across Hampshire to make sure that I didn’t have a Cinderella moment.

It has to be said that, a cocktail is really only as good as its ingredients.  So where best to start? Well, the ingredients of course and one of my favourite foragers, cooks and foodie wonders, Naked Jam.

Jen Williams is an artisan producer of award winning jams and conserves – her syrups, cordials and jams contain seasonal, local fruits or foraged ingredients with no artificial colours, flavourings, setting agents or preservatives.  Bottled beautiful bounty.  Jen is a fount of knowledge when it comes to the foraged flavours and it’s not for nothing that she’s been snapped up by Chewton Glen to run a unique course for The Kitchen, Chewton Glen’s new cookery school.

That evening, her gorgeous syrups and recipes included a cocktail with the autumnal mellowness of medlar syrup, a surprisingly drinkable chilli and balsamic number with vodka and the salty swirl of seaweed which produced a syrup that had depth, earthiness and just the right hint of the sea to add to the glass.  This was not cocktail making, dear Reader, this was sheer alcoholic alchemy. Jen knows just what will work and her lightness of touch in combining flavours needs to be tasted to be believed.  Inspired by her enthusiasm, I came away with some of her delicious velvety medlar syrup to recreate a little something at home.

It was a treat to meet the lovely Gin Monocle Company (an artisan mobile gin bar – gin on the move, what’s not to love?) who served up this rather unusual number – a Gin Fizzless – gin and ale together, rather a revelation that slipped down nicely and altogether too quickly.

The canapes created by Fiona Hill (Twitter – @realfoodnf) were to die for too.

My advice, dear Reader?  If you haven’t sampled the delights of Winchester Cocktail Week then you really ought to get it in the diary for next year.  With different venues all over the city, a veritable fountain of cocktails to be sipped and savoured, it’s a great week to explore Winchester’s emerging drinks’ scene.  Well done to the marvellous Cabinet Rooms‘ chaps!  Keep your eyes peeled for more events and insights into the city’s food and drink scene as they have also taken over the Art Café on Jewry Street in Winchester.  I can’t wait to see what they concoct next!

As for me, it’s Friday, dear Reader and very nearly time to get the cocktail shaker out……..  After all, it MUST be gin o’clock somewhere in the world.  I’ll draw the curtains and get the fire going, you pour the gin.  It would be rude not to join them, wouldn’t it dear Reader?!

Brief disclaimer – This does not constitute as encouragement of daytime drinking and Margot is in no way suggesting the reader has a few gins in the dark by his or herself before doing the school run.  Have them after you’ve picked up the children.

 

 

 

 

Ring out the old

Dear Reader, 2016 may have had its ups and downs but here at Margot and Jerry HQ there has been plenty of fun, frolics and feasting and much to be thankful for.  Primrose asked me earlier what my best thing of the whole year has been and honestly, dear Reader, I couldn’t pick one particular thing.  2016 has been the year of piddling pups

piggies (Huff, Puff and Snuff)

then there was Provence

and Potter (of the Beatrix kind).

Not forgetting plenty of beautiful views……dear Reader, better ones you’d be hard pushed to find.

Little shoes joined big ones for the first time at school

(Disclaimer – not in shoes below – Poppy’s not THAT small.  I just couldn’t resist adding this picture from a few years ago when Poppy got her first proper pair of shoes, dear Reader. How time has flown)

and wiping away tears, Margot tried not to lose her cool.

Long held ambitions were conquered and even bigger plans made

not least selling the old cottage where our country foundations were laid.

With dogs and cats each up to two and hens now a four,

you may be wondering dear Reader, in 2017 can there really be more?

With Jerry’s patience reaching its peak, I’d be wise, dear Reader, of no more animals to speak.

So Christmas over, it’s time to bid 2016 adieu

Let’s ring out the old year and welcome in the new.

Apologies for the AWFUL rhyme dear Reader – Jerry tells me I must try harder next time.  A very heartfelt thank you to all you faithful followers for reading, commenting, following on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Jerry is always very pleased when someone informs him what they’ve read on the blog or in my columns as in his words, he’s always “the last to know”.

Happy New Year to you and yours – may 2017 bring you all you desire and dream of, plus the standard gin accompaniment.  Over and out, dear Reader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby it’s cold outside

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Lights are going up, the radio is booming out the first of many festive repeats, the aroma of fir is in the air.  I’m resisting the urge to use the ‘C’ word, dear Reader.  I simply can’t even think about all things festive just yet.  With no news on the house front, deadlines, the end of term looming and Poppy’s birthday very firmly on the horizon (she wakes every morning with a countdown of days until the big 5), my mind rather resembles the inside of the Old Curiosity Shop at the moment.  Too much to do and so little time.

Everywhere I turn of late, we seem to be being encouraged to embrace a perfectly Danish feeling of ‘hygge’.  Well…who doesn’t love the idea of curling up in a chair with a good book in front of the fire, dear Reader?  However, I can’t help but wonder if, for me, it’s not so much the cosiness of woollen blankets and steaming mugs of hot chocolate that I need to be encouraged to find, but more a sense of remembering to take time to stop and simply enjoy things.  This will be our last Christmas in the cottage.  That is a strange prospect in itself when the future seems so uncertain.  I hate not having a plan!  Maybe it’s fate’s way of slowing me down, dear Reader.  Maybe it’s alright for life to be on hold?  With the button firmly on pause, once the rush to get ready for Christmas is over, maybe I will stop and appreciate all the things which are really important.

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Long walks drinking in the views, cooking together, roaring fires, good books, reading to my girls, giggly chats over a glass of red with a good friend, holding hands with Jerry and remembering to moan less and appreciate my lot a lot more – all the things which seem to be easily brushed aside in the full steam ahead of Christmas.  Simple pleasures, dear Reader.

I’d better focus otherwise I am in danger of seeping into Boden catalogue territory at this rate.  So now that the weather has finally taking a turn for the frostier and December is on its way, I’ll be trying to find some my own hygge both inside and out.  Once I’ve stopped furiously tidying for viewings, of course.  Amazing what you can shove in the dishwasher when you’re in hurry to hide things, dear Reader.

The following ‘cosy’ finds seem a very good place to start.

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Cold hands, warm heart.  The perfect warm mittens from Hygge and Fur will make sure that the only ice I encounter will be clinking in my G&T.  You can find all sorts to keep you warm this winter on Hygge and Fur‘s site which recently featured in House and Garden, including a rather lovely pom pom bobble hat I’ve got my eye on.

Walking the dogs this time of year always leaves me wondering if I’ve left my toes behind at home.  Enter The Warm Welly Co – a chance find on Twitter which has literally transformed frosty walks for me.  The Warm Welly Co produce neoprene-lined wellies for both adults and children that don’t cost the earth and will keep your feet warm and dry, even when you’re still chasing down a runaway spaniel after an hour in the woods.  FACT.  I love that this fab company was started really by accident by a family of farmers in Cumbria who needed warm wellies to keep the children’s toes warm and toasty during lambing.  Father Christmas will be delivering a couple of pairs for Poppy and Primrose this year too.

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Some of you will know that I’ve been working really hard on a slightly longer project which I hope to be able to share with you soon.  So alongside the obligatory large mug of tea on wintry mornings (and late evenings) at the writing desk, I’ve been donning these beautiful cashmere fingerless gloves (Fagin style) from Turtle Doves. Photo evidence below shows that I have loved them so much that I’ve already covered the label with a leaky pen incident…..literally I’ve slept in them since they arrived, dear Reader. One of the loveliest things about Kate Holbrook’s Shropshire based company, Turtle Doves is that their British design and manufacturing ethos focuses on using textile waste to create beautiful new handmade garments and accessories.  So ALL of their products are made from recycled cashmere and they collect cashmere from charity shops, textile merchants and even offer a ‘free gloves in exchange for your jumper’ service.   What’s not to love about that, dear Reader?  Gorgeous items galore on their site, all fit for under the Christmas tree.

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I can’t take the credit for this next find but it is probably my favourite ‘hygge’ item this winter. Anyone who knows me well, knows that when I’m not writing (or chasing after small children and/or spaniels), I can usually be found reading.  My marvellous friend Florence introduced me to this one – Florence has an amazing knack for always being able to source the perfect gift.  Her site, Blue Bowl, is an utter treasure trove of present heaven, ideal if you’re in search of something for that ‘hard to buy for’ person on your Christmas list. (Florence recently shared new children’s subscription, Scoop with Primrose, a monthly magazine aimed at little book worms aged 8 and up which is SOOOOO much better than what the newsagent has to offer for this age group – needless to say it was right up Primrose’s street). Margot’s bookish find this winter?  Slightly Foxed, a beautifully put together literary quarterly publication which marries great writing from celebrated authors and passionate book lovers in equal measure.  Having recently devoured all five books in Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet chronicles, I have been in dire need of new reading material and I love that Slightly Foxed’s issues reveal a whole host of titles, interesting and sometimes long forgotten just waiting to be discovered or reread in an age of pulp fiction.  This is the London Review of Books for fireside book worms – unadulterated bookish pleasure on every page and almost certain joy for those of us who love the gems to be found in the hallowed spaces of independent bookshops old and new and cosy libraries.  The specially commissioned covers on each issue are a delight in themselves.  A subscription to Slightly Foxed is definitely top of my Christmas list, dear Reader.  Thank you to Jennie for the bountiful bookish ‘hygge’ delivered by the postman – it is not often he gets a whoop!

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Their collection of Slightly Foxed Editions make wonderful gifts too – utterly unique.  Ysenda Maxtone Graham’s Terms and Conditions, recently reviewed in the hallowed pages of Country Life, had me in stitches.  A must for those who have experienced life as a boarder.

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Last but by no means least, the perfect accompaniment to simple pleasures.  Gin.  Of course, I’ll be needing something to sip as I read by the fire, dear Reader and I think I’ve stumbled upon just the thing.  Thank you to the lovely Jane Devonshire for introducing me to Andy from Hampshire’s Gorilla Spirits whose Silverback Gin with No9 Cardamon tonic is simply perfect for a large G&T. With a base of British wheat spirit and warm spices and notes of sweet orange, coriander, acacia blossom and lemongrass, it is a remarkably moreish number.  £1 from each bottle also goes towards supporting The Gorilla Organization which works at the very forefront of gorilla conservation in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo.  I am hoping that Father Christmas remembers to leave a bottle of Silverback Gin under the tree this year.

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Now it’s over to you, dear Reader.  There’s a frost on the ground, a jingle of bells in the air and smoke wisps curling from the chimney pot.  What will your simple pleasures be this winter?

Bluebells, birthdays and a touch of fever

Oh dear Reader, I could really do with a bit of cheering this week.  More on that in a mo but suffice to say that things have been rather hectic of late at Margot and Jerry HQ.  Celebrating reaching halfway to 70 (let’s gloss over that one fairly quickly) was top of the list, shortly followed by some pretty amazing birthday presents from Jerry and the girls.  What could be better than a bottle of my favourite gin, a bottle of Pol, a jolly green handbag and A PIG?!!!!  Yes that’s right, dear Reader.  Jerry bought me a PIG, just a few weeks’ old, for my birthday.  A gorgeous Large Black with inquisitive snout, floppy ears and a penchant for pig nuts.  It was pretty tricky to tell who was squealing more, when we first clapped eyes on each other!  Although, I’m not sure that the dear little piggy will be squealing with excitement quite so much once he’s realised that he will be salami come the autumn…..

CumberlandHaving promised that we wouldn’t name any more animals we intended to eat, Primrose and Poppy promptly dubbed our teeny little porker, Cumberland.  After the sausage.  Obviously.  I suppose if you going to name an animal you’re going to eat, it might as well be a foodie name.  Names aside, there is another little snag with this whole piggy thing….this little piggy doesn’t actually live with us.  Nor does he even live in our neighbour’s field like the lambs did.  Essentially Cumberland is at boarding school.  I know dear Reader and yes, you did read that correctly…we now have a pig at boarding school.  The lovely John and Sarah Mills took pity on me and my dreams of being a pig farmer and offered for me to adopt one of their pigs, taking it from weaner all the way through to slaughter and beyond.  So Cumberland will live with his brothers (Lincolnshire, Merguez, Chorizo…..I could go on) up at Parsonage Farm, home of delicious Hampshire charcuterie for the duration of his fattening up period.

PiggiesSince Jerry and I haven’t suddenly inherited a large estate or managed to persuade any of our other neighbours to part with some land for us to rent, this seemed a very good option for now.  Although, we won’t be able to be that hands-on with Cumberland, this is the very best in next best scenarios and at least we can go and visit him regularly.  When abattoir day comes, I will then pop over to practise my newly found butchery skills and hopefully persuade John and Sarah to let me air-dry some ham over in their cabinets.  A little bit sad that I won’t get to use my new Pig Haynes Manual but a good learning experience all the same until I can have a couple of weaners in the garden…..don’t tell Jerry, dear Reader!  It wasn’t so long ago, that I persuaded him to move all his stuff out of the shed so I could house the lambs temporarily whilst I was still doing their night feeds!  I’m only hoping that he didn’t notice how much damage the piggies had made of a grassy patch in just two days down at John and Sarah’s!

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From pig fever to fever of a whole other kind.  With birthday celebrations over (and hangovers overcome), our little Poppy, with her habit of catching the more rare and unpleasant childhood illnesses, ended up joining more than a handful of Victorian poets and half the population of a workhouse too as she caught scarlet fever.  Never a good moment when the GP has to Google for a diagnosis but there it was in black and white, or rather scarlet spots, scarlet fever.  Always a worry when it’s on the Notifiable Disease list too.  Poor Poppy.  Probably the worst thing she’s had and with imposed house arrest plus feeling distinctly unwell, there wasn’t even an episode of Peppa Pig that would cheer her.  To add to the sickness woes, Primrose then fell ill with an ear infection and a large touch of cabin fever set in, almost resulting in me very nearly trading them both in for a dachshund puppy.  A lie down in a darkened room with the Pig Haynes Manual was the only answer at that point and of course a medicinal gin.  Mother’s ruin?  More like Mother’s restoration, dear Reader.

Bluebells2With all slowly on the mend, the four of us took to the woods for a much needed change of scene.  It’s a wonder a red cross hasn’t been daubed on the front door!  Still, our little secret glade of bluebells never fails to lift the spirits and we even managed a bit of den building too.  It’s such a gorgeous spot.  Pity I can’t keep Cumberland up there really.  I certainly wouldn’t mind having to venture up to the woods each day.  Perhaps I should just build myself a “Mummy needs a quiet 5 minutes” sort of den up there instead, complete with emergency gin rations and a good book?  Now there’s an idea, dear Reader………

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Hampshire calling!!!!

Boxes, boxes, boxes....

Boxes, boxes, boxes….

Dear Reader, I bet you thought I had vanished into the ether or had stumbled down a ditch!  Well it has certainly felt like it over the last week!  We left the Big Smoke a week ago now and to be honest, life could NOT be more different.  Everything is rather lovely here and Jerry, Primrose, Poppy and I keep having to pinch ourselves as it all seems too good to be true.  It is every bit the rural idyll we hoped it would be.  It was distinctly odd saying goodbye to the cottage but rather surprisingly I didn’t shed a tear (and I am well-known for being a tad gushy with the old water works).  Perhaps that was because the time was right for us to go?  The cottage seemed so small without all of our clutter and shutting the door, Jerry and I were more than happy to skip off into the sunset to try and retrieve the keys for our new countryside manor.

Boxes piled high in the ‘new’ cottage, Jerry and I spent our first night eating bread and cheese and drinking champagne from the girls’ plastic beakers.  Utterly exhausted but very happy indeed.  It wasn’t until Day 2 that I remembered what my lovely friend Bee had said to me about how I would feel in my first week.  Then the sudden realisation hit me that there was an EXTRAORDINARY amount of unpacking to do, that the puppy still needed to be walked, girls still needed to be fed and that I was amidst farmland with no phone, no internet and no mobile signal as BT had crossed our lines with a dear old lady in the village who was housebound and now unable to use her phone too!  Apparently the countryside has no need for that new fangled invention: the internet or indeed a phone line!  So I can tell you, dear Reader, that I have so far spent the week unpacking boxes, yelling at BT, organising where everything is going to go, yelling at BT, shouting at the computer and phone, more yelling at BT….I am sure you get the gist, dear Reader.  Margot without the internet it would seem spells mini breakdown.  This combined with Monty the dog shredding a 12 pack of loo rolls, eating one of Jerry’s shoes, making himself sick gobbling up a dead mouse found in the lane, the girls refusing to go to bed because they want to watch the sunset from their bedroom window , the fridge and washing machine being too large to fit in the utility room despite being the standard size and did I mention no internet ?!  To be honest, there is not enough gin in the world that could have mollified my black mood.

I am not sure that Minty would have approved of the plastic beakers...but needs must!

I am not sure that Minty would have approved of the plastic beakers…but needs must!

HOWEVER…..with every cloud comes a silver lining……..I can wholeheartedly say that never a truer word was said as we have been truly welcomed into the village with open arms.  Villagers have left cards and bunches of flowers, invitations to drinks and all have greeted with the warmest of smiles and firm handshakes.  The postman even ventured that he thought we would bring some much needed life to the village.  So we may not be totally unpacked, we may not have any telecommunications (I am posting this from the top of our nearest hill as hanging out of the bedroom window was deemed a bit too dangerous by Jerry) BUT we all LOVE it here and feel very very much at home.   Big Smoke – where’s that?!  Our adventures in the countryside have just begun…..!

Sweet peas left on the doorstep!

Sweet peas left on the doorstep!

Two weeks to go!

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Nothing like a bit of flower picking to escape having to pack!

Can you believe it?!  We only have two weeks left in the Big Smoke.  The countdown is ticking away and I have, so far, lived up to my ‘Last minute Lavinia’ nature or what my dear Mamma lovingly refers to as my ‘ostrich syndrome’.  Nothing packed and very little sorting completed.  Might have to do something about that pretty sharpish as can’t bear the thought of the removal men packing up my knicker drawer!  To my list of achievements (and procrastinations regarding the move) this week I can add the following: talking about sorting through all our clutter (very important to waste time thinking about decluttering before getting on with it) and somehow managing to dye a significant portion of Primrose’s hair green.  A lesson for us all, dear Reader: do NOT use a CD/DVD green indelible marker to name a sunhat in haste.  Apparently not so permanent if the hat gets wet…

You will be pleased to hear though, dear Reader, that I have managed to somehow brave our hellish furnace of an attic and take some offending items to the charity shop.  Unwanted wedding gifts from eight years ago which have moved house twice, a glass chess set from Venice that both Jerry and I have always hated, two Moroccan tea tables…(one can be justified, two is just too much Morocco)!  After much debate about whether or not we should keep a car seat for our grandchildren, I realised that I was surprisingly sad about how quickly time has flown by and perhaps that could explain my fondness for avoiding the inevitable!  Of late it seems that Jerry, the girls and I have been saying so many goodbyes….

Yet more sorting to sort out..

Yet more sorting to sort out..

Sod’s law too, that after 6 years of living in SW London, I discover a rather lovely new friend just as we are about to leave the Big Smoke.  I only wish I had met her years ago but maybe then I might never have decided to leave London at all.  Her website Life After London is such a fount of knowledge for all those moving and she has helped so many in their quest for the good life, it seems only fitting that I should be added to her list of ‘jobs well done’!  I only hope that I do live up to her fabulous remarks about me and manage to fit nicely into the new life waiting for us all.  I do hope that she and her rather delicious children will come and visit us very soon to make sure we are doing it right.  I have promised not to give her any more jam in the meantime!  When Margot met Bee. 

With all these lavish farewells I seem to be bidding, there is nothing like the playful chiding of a dear old friend to bring one back down to earth, with a quip of “You’re only moving to Hampshire.  It isn’t the moon!”  Minty was, of course, entirely correct, dear Reader!!  It seems as if the gods agreed with her too and felt the need to put things back into perspective for me as this morning whilst walking Monty in a slightly bleary eyed state and carrying Poppy in the backpack, I stumbled down a rabbit hole.  No Alice jokes please, dear Reader…..  Thankfully it was fairly early and there were not many dog walkers about to see my comedy fall, watch me hobble to the car with dearest Primrose acting as human crutch as she gave me her ‘expert’ medical opinion of “It will probably go black and fall off”.  Reassuring.  My ankle is now an old lady’s ‘cankle’ and I have taken Primrose’s treatment advice: “I think that you need a good long sit down and a drink, Mummy!”  Gin, deep heat and a seat in the sunshine with my new ‘countryside kitchen’ book, courtesy of some very lovely old school chums – not strictly Dr Primrose’s orders but surely, these things are open to interpretation, dear Reader?!  I shall never get round to doing any of the packing at this rate…..

Can't wait to try some of the recipes out!!

Can’t wait to try some of the recipes out!!

That was the week that was

My amazing birthday barbecue courtesy of Jerry and the girls

My amazing birthday barbecue courtesy of Jerry and the girls

Birthday celebrations (mine and Jerry’s), bank holiday, toddler getting up at 5am every day (east facing bedroom curse), Monty’s first puppy class, launch of his (and my) new monthly blog on NFU Countryside and a guest blog post for the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging award for Fresh Voice….that was the week that was.  Dear Reader, to be honest, I am still reeling from it all.  To add to the list of fab, fantastic and in the case of the 5am starts, downright frightful, I made a fatal error and did not put my brand new pair of shoes on the very top of the bookcase and they were instantly eaten by the Monster before he could be stopped.   I can report that in just one week, the wardrobe casualties are stacking up: 2 tunics, a chiffon dress, 1 pair of shoes and a beloved cardigan which now has pinholes in it.  Puppy teething?!  Pah!  We seem to have acquired a pup with the chewing skills of a beaver.  Nothing is safe!  I know, I know, how could I possibly be cross with this sweet little face…..?!

Here he is...the little shoe eating Monster.

Here he is…the little shoe eating Monster.

So passing on my TOP TEN tips for the first weeks of owning a furry toddler could not have been a more apt post for my Britmums Fresh Voice voting plea!  Between the children, dog and turning another year older, I found myself nearly at the bottom of the beautifully packaged bottle of Hendricks gin which my dear Papa so kindly gave me for my birthday!

Here are my handy hints if you missed them:

1) Reacquaint yourself with lack of SLEEP – coffee and Jerry’s dressing gown are my new best friends.  No sooner did Poppy start sleeping through, my nightly toddler escapades have now been replaced with standing in the garden in pyjamas, praying the neighbours can’t see me.

2) Explain to both toddler and dog that sharing is lovely but perhaps not when it comes to teething toys.

3) Do not buy any new shoes – dog will chew ONLY the new ones. (I am still mourning the loss of my floral pumps….)

Oh.......

Oh…….(she says weeping)

4) Buy a dog guard for the car – emergency stops on the A4 due to dog jumping from boot to back seats are best avoided!

5) Do not let husband to allow dog to sit on sofa. (My days of wearing black are over……..)

6) Try not to attempt to house train pup and potty train toddler at the same time.  Poppy now thinks a piddle outside (a la pooch) is an acceptable practice.

7) Hone your Mummy sixth sense in order to catch sneaky 4 year old feeding the dog at mealtimes.  Otherwise, you may find that dog enjoys mushrooms from Coq au Vin as well as puppy kibbles.

8) Remember children and dogs often suffer from temporary deafness……although that may just be in our household! You may find the investment of a whistle worthwhile…worked for Mary Poppins.

Taking the training seriously!

Taking the training seriously!

9) Do NOT leave your gin unattended at any point. Following that thought, definitely don’t forget to wash out a glass that puppy has found and licked, before serving your guest another drink from said glass! (Luckily my dear Papa has a very good sense of humour!)

10) And lastly….have your camera ready and drop everything to capture children and dog enjoying the simpler things in life together. Running through the long grass, chasing butterflies and setting up tea parties NEVER seemed as much fun before Monty came into our lives! After all, as Gerald Durrell, author of My Family and Other Animals, knew so well “A house is not a home until it has a dog.”

The full Britmums post can be read hereTonight at midnight marks the end of the voting for the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging awards and I can honestly say that I am still surprised I even made it this far.  Thank you again because when I started writing the blog in October, I truly believed that I would be writing posts that would drift off into ether and no one (except my Mamma and Jerry) would read them.  I am grateful to you, dear Reader so thank you thank you thank you for the follows, the comments, the encouragement and for the precious votes.  Gin and kisses to you all!  I promise ‘normal’ Margot capers shall resume next week!  Jerry has been badgering me to get on with crossing off some of the items on my to do list….

Oh and if you do fancy following Monty’s adventures on NFU Countryside, then look no further…..you can find his little paws here.

NOMINATE ME BiB 2013 FRESH VOICE
NOMINATE ME BiB 2013 LIFESTYLE