I’ve been growing a sunflower that I was given, and I’ve put the photos of said sunflower on the fridge – my neighbour thought that I might like them. Next summer, I hope to have some seeds from this flower (which has now died) and some purple seeds!! Hopefully next summer I will have more than one sunflower!

The common sunflower has a scientific name: Helianthus annuus. The plant is native to the America’s – Kansas is also known as the Sunflower State. However, the sunflower is also the national flower for Ukraine.

Sunflowers can grow up to 10 foot tall and the flower head can be 30 cm wide. In the right sunny conditions, a sunflower can grow 8-12 foot in 6 months. Mine didn’t quite make 8 foot tall, but maybe 6 foot. I’m not complaining seeing as the heat dried it up a few times over when I wasn’t able to water it. And, I crispied up it’s leaves by putting suncream on it (I was trying to help it!). According to the Guinness Book of Records, the tallest sunflower on record grew to 30’1″ in Germany in 2014. One day, I will beat that record…

Other facts about the sunflower include:

  • The sunflower can be used to make sunflower oil and it can be used for its fruit (the seeds)
  • The flower is actually a pseudanthium of small individual, 5-petal florets
  • The sunflower has 17 chromosomes
  • The sunflower is sexually sterile
  • The sunflower needs full sun
  • The sunflower is a symbol of the Vegan Society
  • The sunflower can be destroyed by fusarium (fungi) and downy mildew
  • Sunflower seeds are best sown 1 inch below the surface of the soil

Bed time antic’s of a 30-year-old

You’d think that it might be all about snuggling up with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. You might think that I would have a man to curl up to. You might think I am so tired I just pass out as soon as my head touches the pillow.


This week I have been playing with my torch. I shine it at the wall and I make shadows. I shine it around my bedroom looking for sparkles and shadows.

You’re never too old to be having fun!

My shiny…

Daily Post: Weekly Photo Challenge.

What is my “ooh, shiny”?

I have many things that make me go weak at the knees – stationary, crafty things, burgers, Formula One, beaches. I don’t think that I can pinpoint one specific thing. I can’t identify a single thing that could be my biggest weakness. For example, I know that with one of my friends, I should steer away from the candle section. She has so many candles in it that the ISS can identify her house when they pass over the UK.

I’d say, though, the one thing that always stops me in my tracks, when looking at a menu, are the burgers. I can honestly say that if I weren’t at the table, someone could confidently order my meal: a burger. I love burgers. I like the different ways they’re served, with the different buns and the different things they put in the buns. I like the different sauces and the different places who put the sauces in the bun or in a pot next to the bun. I like the fact that sometimes I have bacon or cheese or mushrooms in my bun, or a combination (I refuse to have egg). I like the different kinds of burger (as long as they’re not lamb minted ones!) and the different textures. I just love burgers. I think, I can honestly say, that when I’m out at a restaurant, they are my “ooh, shiny” item. I get lost in the menu, exploring the different burgers.


Lemon and orange barley water: recipe

I’ve blogged about this particular drink a couple of times. First, it was recommended to me as the drink to have when you’re experiencing bladder issues. Then, I followed that blog up to say that it does work. Since drinking the lemon barley water, my bladder has been considerable less painful.

Unfortunately, the only version of the drink that I am able to find in the shops is the Robinsons brand. I’ve noticed that Morrison’s sell their own brand of barley water squashes, but not a lemon barley water flavour. So, at £1.99, it feels like a lot of money for a drink that I’m not exactly enjoying. It’s just lemon squash. It’s not something that I get all that excited about – it’s not as nice as lime cordial…

My step-mum, Fi, suggested that I might make my own lemon barley water. So, I looked at a few recipes online and I have come up with my own concoction…

  1. I washed 100g of pearl barley in cold water
  2. I put the pearl barley into my crockpot with 1.5 litres of water
  3. I added 2 sliced lemons and 1 sliced orange to the crockpot
  4. I left these components on a low heat for 3 hours
  5. I switched off the crockpot and removed the fruit
  6. When the fruit was cool enough to handle, I squeezed it into the cooling crockpot
  7. While the mixture was still warm, I poured it through a sieve and added 4 tablespoons of honey
  8. I left the drink to cool before putting it in the fridge

Of all the recipes I read, not once did I read to use a crockpot. The thing is, I love my crockpot (thanks Shellie) and I haven’t been able to use it much recently. I thought, if I had to cook the barley anyway, I should do it in the crockpot, with the fruit, so all the flavours can mingle and infuse. I thought that this way, I would get more flavour in more time.

The drink is quite sharp – but I like sharp. The orange and honey have softened it slightly (I hope!) but it is still quite sharp to taste. If sharpness isn’t something you desire from a drink, I guess you could dilute it with water or lemonade or add some more honey…

I have found the drink to be very refreshing served cold with a few ice cubes in. I just hope that it has the same effects as the bottled lemon barley squash! I guess, if summer returns, I could pour some into ice lolly moulds and make myself a couple of ice lollies.

To make 1.5 litres of this drink, it has cost me less than £1. I know that with a bottle of squash I could get more volume for my money, but if this makes a nice change from the squash then it’s all that matters.

Of course, to make Fi and my Nanna proud of me, I have had to decant my drink into a Tupperware jug so that I can store it in the fridge. It’s the only possible way that I can keep my drink fresh…

An elemental seaside

Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: elemental

I love the seaside. It is my most favourite place to be. It doesn’t matter what the weather, what the season, how blustery it is, what time of day it is, or even what the tide is doing – for me, there is no greater place than beside the sea.

While I love being able to see the sea almost every day from the back of my house, I would be most happy if I could live on a beach….

Definite proof that myths aren’t always myths!

Last week I was questioning the cystitis myth – what is the best thing to drink? Today, I’m blogging to let you know that I’ve had to concede to the fact that lemon and barley water squash might not be a myth. I don’t think Robinsons are exploiting those with painful bladders anymore.

At first I was cynical. I was doubtful. I scoffed.

However, I listened to what the lady in the waiting room told me. I followed what I consider to be ‘armchair expert advice’. And, since drinking the lemon and barley water squash, things are a lot calmer…

I have considered that it’s all psychological, but I really don’t think it is.

I had one evening where I was in considerable pain. I then remembered that I hadn’t drunk any of this expensive squash during the day. After having a couple of pints I was relieved of what I had been experiencing. I wasn’t getting any of this relief from cranberry juice – and that’s the drink that everyone keeps recommending!! Even Tigger is happy by the outcome of the lemon and barley water squash:


Of course, inquisitive me was curious as to what is in lemon and barley water squash to make it ‘kinder’ on the bladder. Lanarkshire NHS Trust advises patients to drink lemon and barley water for cystitis – so, I read that as it’s ‘medically’ advised, so surely I should be able to get this on prescription? 😉 The only other information I can find is that it alkalises the pH of the urine.

It would be better (for my purse) if I could find a supermarket own brand – perhaps they are there and I’m just not looking hard enough, but for now, I’ll spend out ~£2 for a bottle of this stuff.

So, myths really aren’t just myths. Sometimes there are truths behind the myths.

“Bit piggy?”

I was conversing with Flossie via text the other day. She informed me that she was having a McDonald’s for lunch. From my observations, this isn’t just a bog standard meal. This is a large meal with a few burgers on the side.

I reply to her text to say that I was having a cheese and pickle sandwich, apple, crisps and two yogurts. What I failed to mention was that the two yogurts make one standard size one.

Her response was: “Two yogurts? That’s a bit piggy, isn’t it?”