Melanie’s October Monthly News

Welcome to Melanie’s October Monthly News with another update from here, both in and out of the studio. Nicholas and myself have been really busy finishing lots of portraits in pencils and oil. We aren’t really able to show very much here this month as they are all for birthday and Christmas surprises! Nothing fully booked for Christmas portraits, we are counting down to completing the ones we have for the big day. As always, we are offering gift voucher cards. If you would like to give the gift of a portrait, contact us to get in our commissions list for 2023. Which is growing fast!

Lily at the Groomers

Lily has been going to her original groomers for the last 9 years however sadly she is in the process of retiring so was unable to groom Lily any longer. So I took lily to a new groomers in our local town yesterday. Dylan is a fellow runner and so it was great to have a chat about running as well as dogs.. what could be better! He gave Lily a lovely bath and fantastic hair cut and she looks so smart. Dylan even took a photo of her in the photography set up in his salon, which is Halloween themed! Her next appointment is in January but hopefully one day we will have a photo of her in a Christmas themed set!

Melanie’s October Monthly News – Pumpkins

For some of our regular readers, you may know that my dad grows amazing pumpkins every year. He grows them mainly for me and friends kids and grandkids. We spend some time on Halloween each year carving them. I have only done one so far this year… so there might be more to follow! I wanted to try to carve Grogu from the TV series The Mandalorian. Anyone who has seen The Mandalorian will no doubt be in love with the little Grogu character too.

Melanie's October Monthly News - Pumkins
Melanie's October Monthly News - Grogu carved Pumpkin

Chicks – now fully grown chickens!

I have been meaning to take photo of Daisy and Dotty for a long time. They are less tame than our other two hens, so aren’t as easy to take photos of. I did take a few good ones recently when the sun was strong late afternoon and the light was perfect. Daisy has a lovely topknot now with a full colourful plumage. She is a Cream Legbar and I have read online that Legbar’s are an alert breed. Alert she maybe, but she is pretty dopy too! So much so, we have nicknamed her Dopey Daisy! I take bread to them, the others come hurtling over, but she ambles slowly and has to think about it for a while before deciding whether to eat it! She hasn’t started to lay yet, but Dotty has….

Melanie's October Monthly News - Daisy

Dotty has the most amazing comb. She is a Leghorn and is quite flighty, but very food orientated, so will come and eat from your hand most times. She has laid a number of eggs now, they are small white eggs, but they will get bigger over time.

Melanie's October Monthly News - Dotty

It’s so lovely to be able to have our own eggs. We mainly have them poached for lunch with homemade bread.

Dotty's eggs!

I make bread in the breadmaker every other day and it is so much cheaper and nicer than buying it. Especially in these days of price rises and crazy expensive food. I try to use a combination of white bread flour and some white spelt and wholemeal spelt. It gives a good combination for a filling but light loaf. You do need some plain white bread flour for a good rise. The more spelt flour you use, ideally you need to add a little more yeast for a good rise. If you have the chance to make your own bread, it’s definitely worth it.

Bread making

Melanie’s October Monthly News – Cardiff Half Marathon

I am still running! A group of us did the Cardiff Half Marathon in October which was my second half (13.1 miles). My first earlier in June this year. We hadn’t really been training as much as we should have and had only been doing shorter runs, with only one 10 mile run prior. I was quite nervous. Not just for the run, but there were thousands of people and I wondered how I would fare running in such crowds. I had no need to worry though as I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Melanie's October Monthly News - gang of us running half marathon

We were grouped in different starting pens, based on your expected finishing time. I started off in the blue pen – you can see my bib is blue in the photo above. So ahead of me were pink, white and green and then the yellow group behind us were run / walkers. The white, green and pink runners all started 10 minutes ahead of blue and yellow.

In every race there are runners called ‘pacers’ with a tall flag on their back sticking up in the air. You can follow them for different finishing times. I wanted to find the blue 2hr.15m pacer but I was unable to see it at the start. I kept on running, overtaking people as I went, looking out for this pacer. It seemed ages until I finally saw a lady with a flag….. but it wasn’t the blue pacer….it was the pink 2h.15m pacer! I had not only started 10 minutes behind, but I had caught up the next pens pacer. So I knew if I carried on at this speed I would be faster than 2h.15m.

Half Marathon Melanie's October Monthly News

Continuing The Race…

I felt good and kept on running…. until towards the end when I turned the corner and was faced with a dastardly hill. It wasn’t the first hill either. I had run up a couple nearer the start however you have more energy then. My legs just didn’t want to go. So I admit I had to walk it… as were a lot of other people! I soon regained my momentum at the top and it really wasn’t that far to the finish line..which I sprinted across as fast as I could!

My finishing time was 2h.08m beating my first half marathon by 16 minutes. I was so pleased, particularly as I really have only been running on and off for a couple of years. Plus taking into consideration my not so young age these days. So my aim next is to get a sub 2hr time which I will try to do next year.

I couldn’t have done it without my running buddy Harvey who drove me there and back, who also ran and did it in 2h.33m. An absolutely incredible achievement. Plus he very proudly wore his ‘Im 78 what’s your excuse’ t-shirt for the race!!

Cardiff Half Marathon

Melanie’s October Monthly News – Lily Walks

It is getting quite tricky to get to take Lily for a walk now as the weather is very autumnal. When it is dry we try our best to take advantage of the weather, like this early morning walk. The wintery sunrises make for lovely photos sometimes and the criss cross clouds were so pretty.


I took the photos of Lily prior to her visiting to the groomer. You can see she needed a good bath and trim!

Melanie's October Monthly News lily on the track

The trees along the track always make for a good photo, especially when the sun is behind them. I love it when the light floods through and creates a haze!

Melanie's October Monthly News - track walk

The track has really filled with leaves and the grass has grown a lot down the middle now, but it does all look very pretty and autumnal.

Melanie's October Monthly News - Lily

Well I hope that you have enjoyed reading our Melanie’s October Monthly News. If you missed last months blog, hop on over to our previous blog post for September – Melanie’s September Monthly News Stay tuned for another blog post in November and we hope that you are all well and keeping safe from winter colds, flu and covid! Keep warm everyone!

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