I realized on our last trip to the beach that our new red bike trailer was not going to be able to handle all of our stuff (beach chair, ice chest, camera case, snacks, towels, floats, etc.) and the dog as well - all the way to the water's edge.  The bike and the trailer are much too heavy to pull over the sand levee.  So, I ordered a new beach cart, just like the old one that broke last month.   It arrived today.  It has two added features that my old cart did not... a travel bag and umbrella holder. 

This is the old cart.
Had this one for 5 years and used it many times.  I like the new one better.

Got a call today from a Title Search Company for the prospective buyer of my property.  This is a different company than the last time which leads me to believe that this buyer really did go with another lending institution, as she claimed.  I answered all of their questions and they informed me that they would call me back in about a week with the closing date.  I hesitate to get too excited because I've been through this before but maybe this is the real deal.  We'll soon find out.

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Well surprise ... surprise!  Got a call from my realtor today.  She informed me that the dingbat lady who had been trying to purchase my camp has called her again.  She is now saying that she wants to be given another extension.  Excuse me???  That deal was dead some time back when you couldn't come up with the money.  You need to start from scratch and make an offer.

However, since we don't have anyone interested in the property at the moment we decided to go along with her request.  She assured us that she has cleared up the problems with her bank and has been approved for the amount that we had agreed upon and promised that the closing would take place within the next 2 weeks but the realtor gave her 4 weeks.... just in case.

So, here we go again.  Anyone care to place a bet on the outcome this time around?

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The Saturday before last Jonathan and I went out for some tea in the centre of Sheffield, and as we couldn't get a booking anywhere that did Spanish food/tapas/paella (the food we fancied) we settled on some Indian grub and headed to the Saffron Club in Sheffield. It has rave reviews on Trip Advisor which is always a good sign!

I wore a blue shift dress from River Island with a cream lace trim, black leggings, and these pumps from Sarenza.

The service was brilliant - when we asked the waiter what he would recommend he didn't just point out the most expensive thing on the menu. He asked us what we fancied, and what we usually have, and whether we wanted to stick to the same kind of thing or try something new.

We got a starter to share which included 2 samosas, 2 onion bhajis, 2 bits of salmon and 2 pieces of chicken tikka which were all yummy. The salmon and onion bhajis were particularly tasty.

I can't remember the name of my main but it was yummy! It was a chicken dish with a yoghurt based sauce, and it had a really unique taste to it. It wasn't too spicy either, as I'm not keen on anything that sets my mouth on fire. Jonathan had one of the specials, lamb shank, and he was very impressed. We shared some garlic naan and some rice, and it left us feeling stuffed but ever so satisfied!

Definitely worth a visit if you live nearby and are partial to Indian food.

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Road trip part 3: Tintagel.

I almost forgot to share our last full day from our road trip, which I'll do in two parts as we spent the morning in Tintagel and the afternoon in Boscastle. I have uploaded all of our Tintagel photos to my Facebook page just incase you would like to see a few more than the ones below.

We headed up to Tintagel Castle where it was wild and windy, and the amount of stairs knocked the sails out of us, but it was worth it for the views. Stunning! We spent a good while up there taking photos and taking in the scenery, not to mention I almost fell off the edge of a cliff at one point. Oops!

Not ideal if you don't like heights but otherwise well worth a morning or an afternoon of wandering and photo taking.

We also had a stroll through the village where I found a bead shop (where I bought the shell pendants for my necklaces), the cutest Post Office ever, and a delightful pub where we had a beer and rested our weary legs. The pub was great and had the friendliest barman behind the bar.

We spotted a shop on our drive in that had a display of the most fabulous home things and furniture, but when we walked back up to it for a browse it was closed! :(

Have you been here? Do any of my photos look familiar?

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Hand-knitted scarves now available in my shop.

I have been busy recently knitting a scarf for Sam, one of my favourite bloggers. Sam's blog is my favourite type - a diary of what she gets up to, what she eats, and a little bit of clothes and makeup too. Sam has just announced that she is pregnant which is wonderful news, and I really hope the scarf I made for her keeps her  and the bump warm through the colder months ahead!

If you like the look of Sam's scarf and would like your own it's your lucky day! They're available in my shop priced at £20 for a regular length scarf and £25 for a super long scarf like Sam's which can be wrapped round a couple of times or wrapped round once to leave super long dangly bits! Depends on your preference :)

The wool is my favourite colour - mustard yellow - and is really chunky. This bad boy will keep you warm through the cold Winter that awaits us.

I am also selling grey scarves which are unisex. As you will see the one I made for Jonathan suits him perfectly. I wish I could have shared some of his catalogue poses with you :) This scarf was made using a 'moss' stitch to give the bobbled effect, and again you can buy this in a regular/traditional length or extra long for maximum comfort.

All scarves will be sent by Recorded mail ensuring their safe arrival, and due to their handmade nature please allow 3 weeks for yours to arrive. I have to fit knitting around a full time job, a boyfriend and 2 Pugs but I will do my very best to keep well within the 3 week period.

Have a peek and see what you think! If you would prefer to email me about your order or if you have any questions drop me a line at pinkbubbles123 (at) yahoo.co.uk

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Had a good night's sleep even though the bed was a bit crowded.  Now that the cats have accepted the dog they all want to sleep together.  This takes up half of the bed.  I'd prefer the whole bed to myself but did't want to discourage any bonding with the animals.  Maybe next time they can all sleep on the sofa.

Bunny Kitty was the last hold out.  She doesn't like people and hides whenever anyone comes to visit.  She has always stayed away from the dog until now.

How sweet.

This is where she usually sleeps - under the sofa.

Had my morning coffee and skipped breakfast in order to start picking up to go home.  Didn't have our morning walk to the beach as I decided to vacuum the coach and try and get all the pet fur out and cat litter that seems to find its way everywhere.  Then it was time to have brunch.

Put the TV antennae down, removed the windshield cover, rolled up the awning, packed up the table and chairs, folded the bike and trailer, emptied the doggie pool, unhooked the water, and unplugged the electric.  Walked around the coach to see that all was OK.  Drove to the dump station and emptied then drove to my camp.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I didn't clean the deck but I did pick up garbage that the coons bring into the yard and hosed down the bricks downstairs.  Then I drove to the Century 21 office and signed the necessary papers in order to reduce the asking price on the camp.  Came down $5,000.  I hope that helps.  I want to sell that place sooooo bad.

Nice drive home.  The pets seem to know when we're getting close to home.  One of the cats started to meow a lot and smell the AC vent.  I swear I think she can smell home.  They nearly jumped out of the coach when they realized we were in the driveway.  I always carry each cat into the house then go back for the dog.  She is getting so good at following me that this time I let her walk off leash into the house.  

Took awhile to unload everything from the coach but was glad when all was done.  Now the coach is clean and ready for our next trip.  Not sure when that will be.  Funds are low.  Need that camp to SELL!!!

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Woke up early and had a nice walk on the beach before it got too hot.  Met my new neighbors who are from Quebec.   They were surprised when I started speaking French with them.  This is their set up.

Stayed inside the rest of the day till 5:30 when we went to the beach for a couple of hours.  Took the bike and trailer and this time I brought the camera.

There was no one on the beach so I let Xi Shi off leash again.  She had a blast.  I let her go as far as she wanted to see if she would come back to me on her own but this time I noticed something I hadn't before.  She can't see me.  Her vision may be bad and I seem to remember reading somewhere that this breed has eye problems.  So that's why she looks around for me and doesn't move until I clap my hands and call out to her.  Then the closer she gets she sees me.  I took some photos of her running to me.

Can you see her?  That little white spot down the beach.  I couldn't wait to see if she would come back on her own so I called her.

And she started to run.  I kept snapping shots as she ran towards me.

I zoomed in on these next shots.

She was so glad to reach me.

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.  The more people I meet the more I like my dog.

Going home tomorrow.

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Review: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism (Jillian Michaels).

You all know I love a bit of Jillian Michaels and I'm into keeping fit at home. No gym membership over here! I thought it may be of use to some of you fitness newbies and experts alike to review the dvds that I own and use regularly, to give you some ideas for your own workouts.

The first dvd I'll share with you is Banish Fat Boost Metabolism. First of all it's £5.99 with free delivery on Amazon so it's not exactly going to break the bank. Secondly, it is brilliant!

Banish Fat Boost Metabolism is my all time favourite workout dvd and at the moment I try to do this one 3 times a week. But boy is it tough. Even after several months of using it a few times a week I still find it a challenge, but this is a good thing! I like the challenge and being able to work up to doing it all the way through without pressing 'pause'. I did manage this once, just the once!

It is very energetic and includes a mixture of cardio moves (for example star jumps, knee ups, burpies) along with squats, kick boxing and ab moves. The variety and fast paced nature of the workout keeps it interesting and moving along nicely. 

I find some of the moves really good fun, and others slightly challenging (I don't think I'll ever master doing burpies at the same speed as this!) but all in all there's nothing massively impossible here. Plus the dvd is broken up into sections so if you want to skip a section that you particularly dislike then you can.

The workout itself is about 40/45 minutes plus a warm up of 5 minutes or so, so it's not a quick blast like the 30 Day Shred, but if you want to feel and look better in a short space of time then this is the workout for you.

It sounds odd but I like a workout to leave me knackered and feeling like I have actually done something. This is 'that' all over. 

Do let me know if you have this one or if you get it based on my recommendation keep me posted :)
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Very relaxing day.  Rode the bike and took Xi Shi for a ride around noon when it got cloudy.  Am beginning to realize that my leg muscles are really weak.  Had a hard time peddling for any length of time.  It's going to take a lot of riding to get in shape.  I'm so computer bound that it will be hard to get motivated.

We stayed inside till 7:00 when it cooled off.  Wanted to ride the bike on the beach but decided to take the ramp at the bath house which leads to the beach pavilion.   Once there I decided to stay on the deck instead of trying to roll the bike and trailer down onto the beach and near the water. 

There was no one on the beach so I let Xi Shi off leash and she had a ball.  She is getting really used to being able to run far away from me.  I get a little nervous but when she gets too far I call her and she will come back to me.  Today I let her go further than before and it took her awhile but she finally realized that she was alone.  She turned around and looked up and down the beach but didn't see me.  I had gone into the water a bit.  When I could see that she was getting scared I called her and clapped my hands and she came running faster than I have ever seen her run.  It was so sweet.  We then walked back to the pavilion and sat till dark enjoying the breeze.  It was great.

Forgot the camera.  Photos tomorrow, I promise.

Fried pork chops and potatoes for supper.  Movie tonight is "The Departed."   Feeling like a glass of Sangria.

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We all slept in late this morning, skipped breakfast and waited for lunchtime. Let Xi Shi out into the front yard on leash while I sat on the doorstep inside drinking my morning coffee and waiting for her to potty. She did and came back inside.

View from living room window of my huge front yard.

Way too hot to go for our usual walk on the beach. Still no breeze. Just my luck that my whole week will be spent inside the coach. It’s a good thing I brought lots of movies.

My friend Pat came by today to see how we were doing. He brought back my old beach cart that he was working on but when he took it out of his truck the wheel fell off again. So he’ll take it back to his house and try once again to fix it.

We had a nice visit. He wanted to know all about how I spent last week on Jury Duty. I was picked to sit on a jury involving a drive-by shooting that occurred last year by a 16 year old now being tried as an adult for attempted first degree murder. He shot into a crowd of people and hit 2 young girls. They didn’t die but have suffered from their wounds. It was an easy trial as the defendant confessed but we had to determine if there was intent to commit murder or should we find him guilty of a lesser crime.

We had 5 choices: attempted first degree murder; attempted second degree murder; aggravated manslaughter; aggravated battery; or not guilty. According to a new statute, only the first choice included drive-by shootings.

It was an interesting case and although I was hoping not to have to serve, I enjoyed hearing the testimony. On the last day the judge informed us that although there were 14 of us in the jury box only 12 were going into the Jury Room and 2 of us had already been chosen as alternates. I was one of the alternates. The judge said I could call his office the following week to find out what the jury decided. I have yet to do that because I’m here camping.

It got cloudy this afternoon around 2:00 so I decided to try out my new folding bike. Took it for a spin around the campground. Noticed that all the campers are from Louisiana. No snow birds yet. I learned something about camping in August in south Louisiana on this ride. Most campers were sitting outside with a large outdoor fan blowing on them. We call them hurricane fans due to the force of the wind they blow. Keeps the mosquitoes away as well. I had one on my deck at the camp here but gave it away when I thought I had a buyer. Don’t think I have room for one of those in my basement now with the bike and trailer and all.

Xi Shi was in the yard on leash and didn’t bark when I rode away on the bike. When I got back she acted as though I had been gone for days. We continued to take advantage of the cloudy sky and walked to the beach. A couple of people were fishing but that’s all. We walked along the water’s edge then the sun came out again. We both tired out fast so came back to the coach, which is so very comfortable, to wait till sundown to return for an evening walk.

Had a snack on some of the cold leftover shrimp from the fridge. Of course the cats and the dog had to have some, too. Settled down for some computer time while the pets took a nap.




Around 6:00 I hooked up the pet trailer to the bike and Xi Shi and I went for a ride around the campground. I was really enjoying the ride when I came around a bend onto the main entrance driveway and I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye on my right. Yes... it was a snake! It was traveling at a steady rate in the middle of the road leaving the campground. When I stopped the bike, it looked toward me and veered a little my way. I was beginning to panic. Not sure if I should peddle to the left or get off the bike and run with it.

I tried to notice its markings but I wasn’t able to. It was always in an "S" shape as it traveled but I’m guessing it was at least 4 feet and if stretched out would be at least 6 feet. It was not a small or skinny snake. It went into the nearby brush which is near the back of the Camp Host’s camper. They are not at home. We may never see it again, however, now I know that there is at least one snake on the campground. Not good.

I remember my friend Pat telling me years ago that there are no snakes on Grand Isle. Five years ago there was one in my front yard at my camp and now today this one. Sure wish I knew what kind it was. Why in the hell was it in the middle of the street? There is a lot of forest area with bushes and trees for it to live in but it was in the street and I swear it looked like it knew where it was going... like it had an intent. I’ve got to shake this. It’s too freaky for me.

Went for a walk on the beach at sunset.  It was a little breezy and I enjoyed my walk.  Came home and had a ham sandwich.  Movie tonight is "Analyze That."  I'm feeling like popcorn.

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Arrived at the Grand Isle State Park today around 1:00pm.  The campground is almost empty and I'm in my favorite spot #29.  Performed the usual tasks:  hooked up the electric and water, opened the awning, put down the ground rug, set up the table and chairs, opened the folding bike, filled the doggie pool, attached the windshield cover, and opened the slide out.  By that time I was soaked from sweat.  There is no breeze from the Gulf as usual which makes it very unpleasant.  So, I stayed inside to cool off.  The animals climbed into bed and we took a little nap. 

This evening I took the dog for a walk on the beach.  The Gulf is calm and looks like a lake.  No wonder there is no breeze.  I don't like it when it's not blowing.  Hopefully tomorrow will be more windy.

We were the only ones on the beach so I let Xi Shi Quan off leash and encouraged her to follow me on my walk along the water's edge.  She has her own mind and kept a distance between us but would come when called. 

We returned to the coach and I boiled the shrimp that I purchased at the dock this afternoon.  They turned out great.  Just enough seasoning.  Just had ice cream and put in a movie.... Don Juan DeMarco.  I love Johnny Depp and of course Brando.

Tomorrow I will set up Xi Shi's trailer to my bike and go for a ride around the campground.  Looking forward to that.

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White chocolate & cranberry cookies.

Last weekend I decided it had been a while since any baking had occurred in our house, so I borrowed a couple of baking recipe books from my friend, Katy. One of those books was Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery and I can safely say I want to make 99% of the treats in there. 

We opted to make the white chocolate and cranberry cookies for a change, as we're always making cupcakes and a girl can only eat so many cupcakes!

We already had the majority of the ingredients in our baking cupboard, but had to pop out for dried cranberries, white chocolate and light brown sugar.

You will need:

130g unsalted butter
80g caster sugar
80g soft light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
190g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (the boyfriend doesn't like cinnamon so we didn't use this)
1/2 tsp biscarbonate of soda
100g dried cranberries
60g white chocolate chips (we broke a white chocolate bar into pieces instead of using chips)

What to do:

Preheat oven to 170C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Using a whisk (or whatever mixing device you have) cream together the butter and both types of sugar, then break in the egg, add the vanilla essence and mix well.

Sieve together the flour, salt, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda then add to the mixture in two batches until a dough forms. Lastly, stir in the cranberries and chocolate.

At this point you will have something that resembles this:

Break off pieces of the dough (about 2 tbsp in size), roll them into balls and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Allow 5 or 6 cookies per tray making sure to space them apart from each other (about 3 inches).

Bake for 20 minutes then leave for 10 minutes to cool.

These cookies definitely tasted better a day after they were ready, which I find is the case with all baked things. We had one the same day and they were okay, but the day after we were like "WOW" - completely yummy, nice and soft in the middle, and a nice contrast of chocolate with the sweet cranberries.

The recipe says 60g of white chocolate - we easily doubled this. You can never have too much white chocolate in my opinion!

Have you made these or anything from the Cake Days book? Do share!
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