Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Tasty Tuesday

It is a universal truth that when you have a lot on your mind and dozens of things to do, the best form of therapy is to take half an hour off and do some baking.

Can I interest anyone in a slice of chocolate cake with jam and buttercream filling?

Monday, 12 November 2018

Me on Monday

These Mondays are coming round really quickly at the moment!  

Hopefully this Monday night will be less stressful for poor old Coco than last Monday was.  As it was Guy Fawkes Night there were still fireworks going on somewhere close to us.  We were downstairs and she was just pacing up and down and staring at me with a really sad expression on her face, so even though it was only 8pm we headed upstairs to the bedroom to watch tv there and she spent the whole time laying on the top of the bed on my lap.

So apart from the embarrassment of the car park fiasco I mentioned in my last post 😳 what else did last week hold?  A couple of get togethers with people I used to work with.  One at the local pub with the group of girls who I worked with in the office and one morning coffee with two people I worked with about 4 years ago.  Both get togethers were fun, and showed me how quickly life can move on.  I caught up with all the news and office gossip in the pub but it was very different not being part of that scene on a daily basis.  It made me realise that I do miss the people but not the work and office politics!  The other get together was very different as they had left years ago and so we didn't discuss the school at all, but caught up on the news of what we are all doing now.

Last night we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody at our local cinema - it was SO good!  Of course it meant that I had the song 'Don't stop me now' in my brain all the way home but that's not such a bad thing!  If you like the music of Queen you really should go and see it.  

That's my advice for the day and now I need to tackle todays boring job - shredding what feels like 10 year's worth of old receipts and invoices - that's the trouble with 'tidying up the study' you find all manner of stuff that you don't need but daren't just put in the bin.  Are we overcautious do you think or are you a 'shredder' too?  I'm giving myself incentive by saying that after 5 mins of shredding I can do 5 mins of blog reading, that's a reasonable challenge isn't it?

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Midweek madness

I am officially losing the plot.  Seriously.  Midlife madness maybe? 

The week started off well.  Popped over to Chelmsford on Monday to look for ideas for birthday gifts for my husband - had a successful trip and was home in time to look after Leo while his mummy went for her monitoring at the hospital.

Tuesday I agreed to go with Leo and his mummy to the hospital as Leo had an appointment at the allergy clinic.  Parking is a nightmare at the hospital, and worse at the moment as they have building works going on which are taking up some spaces there.  So the plan was that I would drive and if we couldn't find anywhere on site to park I would drop them off and then drive into town to park in the shopping centre car park.  No parking places at the hospital so we implemented Plan B.  I parked the car and rushed back to the hospital to meet up with them.  We ended up being there quite a while as the consultant ran some skin prick tests which needed 15 minutes to develop and then a second consultation.  We left the hospital and walked to the shopping centre.

We got back to the car and I realised that the parking exit fee machine was on a different level to that which I was parked on.  I left Rachel to strap Leo in the car seat and put the buggy in the boot of the car while I went up to the next level to pay the exit fee.  So far so good.

The machine rejected the ticket that was issued when I arrived.  I thought maybe I'd put it in upside down so turned it over and tried again.  Still got an error message and the machine returned the ticket.  Tried inserting it again - machine rejected it.  How frustrating.  So I pressed the intercom button to speak to someone somewhere in the depths of the car park and the guy asked me what time I arrived.  I looked at the ticket and said 09.32.  He told me to insert £1 payment and then he did something that made the machine issue me an exit ticket and all was well.  

But something was niggling at the back of my mind.  The ticket I had been issued on arrival didn't look quite like the one on the instruction details on the machine, it had no black strip down the back of it.  Obviously it had been misprinted when it was issued.  

We got home and still something was puzzling me.  And then I realised what an idiotic thing I had done.  Oh the embarrassment.  You see, I couldn't have arrived at 09.32 because Leo's appointment was at 10.20 and we didn't leave home until about 9.35. And the reason I had parked on my own was because by 10.15 we were still looking for a space in the hospital car park.  I couldn't have been issued a ticket at 09.32.  No, the reason the machine rejected my ticket was because ...

... it was the one that was issued by the car park in Chelmsford the day before.

We've all heard of baby brain haven't we?  Well, let me tell you that it would appear that Nanny brain is a thing too!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Me on Monday

The 'where did that weekend go?' edition.

I feel I've been chasing my tail this weekend and am off for a bit of retail therapy in Chelmsford once I've pressed the 'publish' button today.

I had relaxed plans for Saturday, we were having friends over for a casual supper in the evening so I had made the lasagne on Friday night ready to reheat, a simple red onion and tomato salad to go with it, and a selection of breads.  All I had to do was make a lemon meringue pie for dessert in the morning.  

My husband was out in the morning - he does volunteer work over the Country Park that is behind where we live and it had been chosen to be part of the Queens Commonwealth Canopy campaign.  It was quite a big deal for the park to be acknowledged so the great and the good of the local area went for the official tree planting and the 'Friends' volunteers were also invited to be involved in the ceremony.  When he got back I had a text from my son to say he was popping over in an hour.  Then my daughter rang to say that as this was probably the last time she'd be able to see her brother before the new baby arrived, they would pop in too.  Then a text to say 'do you have anything we can have for lunch'. It was obvious this wasn't going to be a quick visit and I was thankful I was so organised in advance.  Everyone arrived and then my son in law got a message to say his dad had been taken ill while on a short break in Suffolk.  It sounded serious so he quickly left to go up to be with his mum.  This obviously meant that my daughter was now without a car.  Which inevitably resulted in her staying all afternoon, having a quick dinner, getting Leo bathed and ready for bed here and then me driving her back home an hour before our friends arrived.  So my nice relaxed, organised day went totally off script and I was only just showered and changed in time to put dinner in the oven to heat before our friends arrived.  I am never going to think I have everything under control again - fate will always conspire against me! 

So - my daughter has the date for her baby now and I'm not going to share that date anywhere for exactly the same reasons mentioned in that last sentence!  However, I can say that it is within the next three weeks - watch this space.  

We had a very scared Coco here on Friday night - I've never seen her like that before.  We have a cricket field almost next to our house and they were having their annual Fireworks Night.  Only this year they had moved where they were letting the fireworks off and it was right near the boundary rather than on the opposite side near the park.  It honestly sounded like it was happening in our front garden.  Poor old Coco ran upstairs and was cowering under the desk in the study.  Hopefully there will be nothing that loud or prolonged on the actual Guy Fawkes Night tonight.

Anyone else feeling like this at the moment ?

Many thanks to Snapchat for reading my mind.  I feel like I'm spending too much time thinking about all the things I want to get done and not enough time actually ticking anything off the list.  One thing I've been talking about doing for ages and constantly finding a reason not to do it is to defrost the chest freezer in the utility room.  There.  I've put it out into cyberspace now.  You all know it's got to be done.  So now I can't get away with not doing it this week.  But I don't think there'll be time today ... 

Saturday, 3 November 2018

October - One sentence at a time

October - it's the month where you have to admit that autumn is here.  Frost on the grass in the mornings, central heating kicking in, snuggling under a quilt to watch the tv in the evenings and cooking lots of comfort food.  
Day 1  A trip to Hobbycraft for a small length of fabric ended up with a bit of early Christmas shopping in a totally different shop.

Day 2 A neighbour came round for a cup of tea and we had a crafting afternoon - great fun.

Day 3 Met up with a couple of old school friends in the evening for a fantastic Indian meal - time flies when the three of us get together!

Day 4 Our little munchkin was here again today

Day 5 Finished the blanket I've been making for Leo out of an off cut of fabric that my neighbour gave to me.

Day 6 Decorating a few more doors - it seems never ending but the end is in sight.

Day 7 Everyone here for Sunday lunch

Day 8 Made the soup that I'm going to be sharing in Leslie's blog hop

Day 9 Went to The Pantaloon's production of As You Like It - I never knew Shakespeare could be so funny, this theatre company are amazing, I had tears of laughter running down my face at times.

Day 10 Hair cut day - always feels so nice to be neat and tidy again!

Day 11 Looking after Leo today

Day 12 Decided to treat myself to a luxury manicure - boy have I been neglecting my nails

Day 13 Evening at our friends sharing an Indian takeaway and maybe a little too much wine.

Day 14 Invited out for Sunday lunch (this never normally happens, I'm usually the one in the kitchen!)

Day 15 As my daughter had a growth scan this morning I was given the pleasure of accompanying Leo to his pre-school group - needless to say I was the oldest person in the room!

Day 16 After an exhausting hour of Zumba the tiniest bit of decorating was done

Day 17 Went to the funeral of my Auntie Brenda.

Day 18 Went into town with Leo, did my weekly shop, (plus a bit of unexpected sales shopping)  then an afternoon in the park feeding the ducks.

Day 19 Very happy to discover that the green in the top that I bought yesterday perfectly matches the green of the trousers I bought recently

Day 20 Cracking on with the decorating, all neutral walls painted and now onto the end wall which we are painting a much darker colour.  (excuse patchiness, this was the first coat and I'm thinking it may need three to get a good finish)

Day 21 Sunday routine resumes with 91 year old mother in law, daughter and family here.

Day 22 Took Leo to pre school as they were going on a nature walk and his 33 week pregnant mummy did not feel up to chasing him around the woods while picking up leaves and sticks.

Day 23 Our very scruffy looking dog went for her 6 weekly groom and came home looking pristinely white and tidy - that won't last long!

Day 24 Last bit of decorating done, new lampshades in place and I can't tell you how pleased I am to have this finished.

Day 25 Day started at 1am when I woke feeling awful, everything hurt, I was hot then cold, mind galloping along at 100 mph; not the best way to feel on the day I am looking after Leo.

Day 26 Woke feeling much better, must have been a 24 hour virus - or something I picked up from those little darlings at pre-school!

Day 27 Met up with friends in the evening for a meal in a traditional old countryside pub - made a nice change from eating in a restaurant, a wood fire burning in the bar and a friendly relaxed atmosphere (my husband would also add 'unusual local ales on tap' but I was happy with my Hendricks Gin & Tonic)

Day 28 Clocks went back an hour so in theory we had an extra hour's sleep - only no-one told Coco and she appeared in our room at her normal time - I guess it isn't just parents of small children that don't get to appreciate the extra hour!

Day 29 A catching up on housework day 

Day 30 Halloween themed Zumba today, ended up with a mix of looks - Skeleton legs, cat eye mask and witches hat - must put more thought into it next year!

Day 31 And so another month bites the dust - happy halloween!

This month I am following the rules (didn't realise I was posting on a different day to everyone else, nor was I adding the link - doh!) so please join in or check out the blogs of the others who are jotting down their daily diaries this way!

Monday, 29 October 2018

Me on Monday

Oh I'm in a dilemma this Monday.

I only have 24 hours to sort myself out something to wear for a Halloween themed Zumba class tomorrow.  I thought I was sorted.  I'm not really a fancy dress kind of person so didn't have anything to hand.  But when I was shopping last week, I had a look through some accessories and picked up a couple of things.  

Exhibit A

A witches hat headband.  Nothing too exciting there eh?

And then my 'seemed like a good idea at the time purchase'. Let me know when you notice the big mistake.

Exhibit B

Skeleton leg tights.  I thought I could wear one of my husband's black t shirts to wear with them.  They do look fun when they are on but first mistake I noticed was that for Zumba I obviously have to wear dance trainers.  Which will totally cover up the bones of the foot which is the most interesting part of the tights.  Then the most potentially embarrassing mistake is that these are tights.  Not leggings.  And not even very opaque tights once you put them on.  So when I reach up and the t shirt moves up with me, whoever has the misfortune to be in the row behind me will have a grandstand view of {ahem} my behind.  And no one wants that I can assure you.  So, how do I fix this?  Do I wear leggings under the tights to obscure any unfortunate views?  Can I even get the tights on if I'm already wearing leggings?  Should I start the class barefoot so people can at least see I have some novelty tights on rather than just a pair with silver stripes down the front?  Help!

So what else does this week hold?  Well, tomorrow my daughter will be given the date that they will deliver her baby - that seems so weird.  I had a planned C section with my son and remember being booked in for 5 March and driving home feeling very strange that I actually knew the exact date.  They still haven't decided on a name which is crazy because they've known since 20 weeks that they are having a girl, it shouldn't take that long to come up with something surely!  Any suggestions?  

Right, time for me to get to grips with those skeleton legs, I think it's time to take a pair of scissors to them and see if I can unpick the toe seam and then just pull them further up the leg so the toe bones show above my trainers.  Sounds like a plan ... watch this space ... 

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Tasty Tuesday - A souper blog hop

No doubt about it, there is something very comforting about a steaming hot bowl of homemade soup, especially if you're feeling under the weather or if the weather has taken a turn for the worse.  Leslie has organised a blog hop for people (Did you arrive here from Lysha's blog?  If so - hello and welcome to my blog!) to share super soup recipes now that Autumn is here - so this is my contribution.

I have a few favourite recipes but thought I would choose something that people may not have tried before.  I must admit that this recipe comes from my friend Julia; she invited me for lunch one day and when she told me what we were having I was a bit dubious but pleasantly surprised!  This recipe is for 

Courgette Soup 
aka Zucchini Soup 
(for those on the other side of the Atlantic!)

Now bear with me as I know it doesn't sound very exotic and maybe a bit underwhelming but please give me the benefit of the doubt - it's easy to make, doesn't cost much, cooks quickly and tastes delicious.  Are you ready?

What do you need?

2 medium sized courgettes
2 small onion or 1 large one
1 clove garlic 
1 small potato 
about 1/2 litre of either chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper
Cheese - grated 

How do you make it?

  • Chop onion and slice courgette, make stock with boiling water
  • Fry onion until soft and translucent 
  • Add courgette and crushed garlic 
  • Peel and chop potato into small cubes
  • Add to pan along with stock
  • Simmer for about 20 mins.  Have a coffee, read a chapter of a book, browse the internet while you are waiting.
  • Blitz the mixture until it is smooth, if you think it needs a bit more liquid add some boiling water until it is the consistency you like.
  • Season generously with salt and black pepper.
  • Pour into bowl, with a large handful of grated cheese on top (I use Cheddar or Gruyere)

It is pure comfort food and while you'd think courgette soup would be a bit bland, the skins of the courgettes give it a lovely peppery taste.  And as the cheese melts into it - oh yum!  I like to eat mine with a hunk of sourdough bread or a crusty roll.

Please do follow the links to learn some new soups - rumour has it that the cold weather is returning this weekend so I think the timing of this blog hop has been perfect!