Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween and end of Blogtoberfest

Wow! I can't believe I managed to stick to my post a day for Blogtoberfest, but here we are on October 31st! I thought it appropriate to post a photo that I took on my new iphone while we were in Cambridge yesterday. Cambridge is such an atmospheric city and the old town is full of alleyways and cobbled streets and there were a group of students down by the river who were selling tickets for a Spooky Halloween walk through the city at night. They had decorated a part of the riverside with a fake graveyard with ghosts and skeletons and lots of carved pumpkins.
Cambridge university is so famous that the town is always full of tourists, not to mention students and it was hard to get a photo without people in it!
I feel sure that there are some wonderful Halloween blogposts to view, and we waved goodbye to British Summertime in the early hours of this morning so we have all had to put our clocks forward an hour, and I have an hour's less blogwatching to do so I had better get going ....

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Curry night

I've scheduled this post in advance because I think I'll be a bit pushed for time to do it on the day! But with only 2 days left of Blogtoberfest, I can't fall at the last fence!
We have a group of friends coming over for a curry night tonight. Each couple takes it in turns to host it, and instead of cooking we order a take away and share the cost of the meal. It's a good way of getting together without someone having to slave over a hot stove all day! We have so many Indian restaurants actually in our town - most of which deliver - but there is one a bit further away that is worth getting in the car to collect the food! So the food will be courtesy of The Mountbatten . It used to be a pub but it changed hands a couple of years ago and it's a really nice Indian restaurant. So I've spent all Friday cleaning up the house and tidying up so that me and the husband can have a nice day out tomorrow before our friends arrive. I've polished and hoovered and put the extra leaf in the table so it extends to fit everyone comfortably (that's not so easy to do singlehandedly I can tell you!). I've even set the table! I love different napkins that fit the theme of the food that I'm serving and I was thrilled to find these Indian inspired ones recently:
So hopefully by the time you read this I will be enjoying some Autumn sunshine in Cambridge. It's a really lovely place to wander around and only half an hour up the motorway. The poor old husband has had a stressy week at work, he could do with a nice day chilling, followed by a few beers and a takeaway with friends in the evening!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Dear Deb

It's hard to write a letter to yourself but that's the only way we are going to get through the prompt from Shimelle, so sit down, relax and listen. Do as you are told for once!
You have a tendency to think that it is still your responsibility to sort out all that needs sorting in your children's lives. It really isn't! They are grown up now and are more than capable of dealing with things. If they ask for help, then they know you will only be too willing to give it, but you really do need to wait for that request before acting! You know already that J is possibly more capable than you are at dealing with anything that fate throws his way, and you often don't hear about things until he has them sorted but you need to take a step back when R needs something so she can learn that her first reaction should be to deal with it rather than yell for Mum.
You worry too much. But you know that already don't you? How much time have you wasted worrying about things that may not happen, and in fact didn't happen. Stop with the 'what if ...?'s. Learn to deal with things as and when they are needed.
You really ought to learn how to say 'no' more often. There is only so much work you can fit into the hours you are contracted to do and you will only run yourself ragged if you take on too many extras.
You are possibly the most untidiest mother in the county. You have good intentions to be tidier but get carried away with some project or the other and the lounge becomes full of knitting paraphernalia and the dining table has the sewing machine left on it for days on end and the sight of the kitchen after a cooking marathon looks like an explosion in a flour and currant factory. It's no wonder the kids bedrooms are untidy, they are genetically programmed to leave things on every possible surface. You can't moan at them if you aren't setting a good example.

I don't want you to think I am having a go at you Deb, because all these bad things evolve from good points in your nature. You take your role as a Mum seriously, and have done since those first hours in the maternity ward. It was your job to keep them safe and well and now it is time to give them the responsibility for doing that for themselves. Teaching them independence is just another part of helping them learn. You worry because your family is so very precious to you and you feel like you have to have a plan ready for if bad things happen. You just need to get some perspective on this! You take on more things because you feel that if someone asks for help, it is only right and proper that you should shoulder some of their burden. You hate to let people down. But it isn't a help if you have so much to do, you can't do it all properly or it makes you stressed. You are a real home-body and love to be creative and make and do things for those you love. Maybe you need to tackle one project at a time rather than take over the whole house! You believe that it is more important to have good food than a tidy kitchen and so long as everything is clean, what does it matter that the saucepans haven't all been put away and the surface is full of bottles of spices and herbs.
And so what if the hoovering and ironing hasn't been done, this Shimelle prompt had to be finished. Get your priorities right!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Advice - but will they take it?

I found it hard to think of FAQ about me, I'm a bit of an open book and I don't think I leave much for people to wonder about! But I liked the idea of advice for the kids. Not sure how much longer I can refer to them as 'kids' .....

So anyway, my list of advice is probably a bit different to how it would have been if I had done this while they were young as they have now had over 20 years of me giving advice verbally! Some of the comments are particular to our household and may refer back to incidents that have happened in the past! Like 'don't keep your phone on silent'. How annoying is it when you are trying to contact them and they don't hear their phone? OK, if they are in the cinema or somewhere like that but when they have fallen asleep on the train and missed getting off at the right station and you are waiting for them there in a freezing cold car on a snowy night at nearly midnight - if the phone had been on 'noise', it may have woken them up and stopped the need for a 30 minute dash up the motorway as it was the last train home and the next stop after ours was 30 miles away. Grrrr......
I'm hoping that when you click on the photo you will be able to read the journalling, if not I will have to edit this post and add the words at the bottom. Sometimes Blogger plays the game and sometimes it doesn't so I never assume that the photo will enlarge when you click on it!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


The prompt for using numbers was too good an opportunity to do what will be the last layout from our trip to Bath for our 30th Anniversary. Being such a big number, it was obvious to me that I had to use that for the basis of the layout! I thought of quite a few numbers I could have used but I didn't want to clutter up the page so have used the basics. I liked this idea for making a page where it is hard to think of journalling though and I can see that it would be a good layout to use in the future.
I appreciate that I have done this out of sequence and that the alphabet one should have come first but I was 'tweaking' the wording and then realised I had missed a letter out - doh!

Fun food

Fancy a ham sandwich?

Or maybe donuts are more your thing

I'm a bit of a chocolate cake kind of girl myself.
How much fun is this jewellry? All found on the Punky Allsorts webpage. I think I can see me buying a few fun Christmas presents from here!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

I have a plan

I loved all the ideas in Shimelle's second prompt today. I never use up the numbers in a page of alphabets except maybe to use in a date format so counting up things and making that the focus of the page is such a good idea and may be something I use in a layout to show more of our trip to Bath for our 30th anniversary.

But I also like the idea of using the alphabet within the block of journalling, and I think that this will work really well with the ideas I jotted down yesterday re advice for my children. I will have to re-write it a bit so that it fits in well but that doesn't matter because my writing was so illegible in places that it really needs a bit of work done on it before I even think of putting it on a page!

I shall leave you with a photo of something that I bought in town this morning. Look how shiny and new it is .... And compare it to the phone I spent most of my teenage years chatting on - how times change eh?

Monday, 25 October 2010

Half term - day one

Oh how lovely to not have to get up and go out to work this morning! Plus, it is the first day of Shimelle's new class so a good reason to turn on the computer and see what she has in store for us.
The first thing I saw was 'open your notebook'. Ermmmm, I didn't go out and buy a notebook. It's the first day of class and I don't even have the essentials. Check the forum and what's on one of the posts? Mel's beautiful new brand spanking new notebook. All empty and ready to use. I don't even have a new pen! This is not a good start! I will have to have a little look around and see what I can find.
The first day is a bit of a question and answer session but I was really taken by the page of observations that were shown as a list of instructions handed down from mother to child. I may take this idea and play with it. I lost my mum 13 years ago and even now at the grand old age of 52 I have days when I would love to be able to ask her questions, I find some random article saved in a box in the loft and wonder 'why did you keep this?', I look in the old box of photos and wonder who some of the people are. So I think my project for today will be a take on this idea. My children are grown up so they know my advice on many things (don't get me wrong, they don't often ask for it!) so I am going to think of the things I may not have passed onto them just yet.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A blogpost of two halves

So pleased you found me after your visit to Jo aka Curly Scrapper!

First the recipe:
(don't know the official name of it but I got it from a lady at work so I will call it

'Chris' Chicken Casserole'

4 chicken thigh fillets and 2 chicken breasts ( I like a mix of cuts, but you can use 4 breasts) cut each into half so you end up with large chunks
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 onion (sliced)
250g new potatoes (at least - I always throw in a few more!)
2 tbs plain flour
150mls (quarter of a pint) chicken stock
300 mls (half a pint) Pressed apple juice - the cloudy one NOT the clear one
4 leeks (thickly sliced)
125g frozen peas (defrosted)
2 tsp mint jelly
salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to Gas 4, 350F or 180C

1. Heat oil in pan, add chicken and cook until browned

2. Add sliced onion and potatoes (cut potatoes in half if they are large) Cover and cook 5 mins

3. Stir in flour, add apple juice, stock and half the mint jelly

4. Bring to boil, add leeks. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Transfer to casserole dish and cook in oven for 50 mins

6. After 50 mins, add peas and rest of mint jelly, cook for another 10 mins.

This isn't fancy but a great stand by for if you have people round for dinner as it all cooks together in advance so you can have a tidy kitchen for when your guests arrive! I normally serve it with slices of rustic bread so people can mop up the sauce at the end (trust me, they will want to!) and roasted baby carrots.

Well at the risk of making people turn vegetarian, I shall now tell my embarrassing food story.

Because I work part time, I do try and be organised with my food shopping. Buying food on my days off so that when I get home from work I don't have to go to the supermarket on the way home. Where I live, we have 3 of the major supermarkets in various ends of town so I can incorporate a food shop into any retail therapy I choose to do on my day off ;-)
So, one day I came home from work with plans to roast a chicken for dinner. Quickly looked inside chicken to make sure there were no giblets in a plastic bag inside it, put it in a roasting tin and went about preparing all the veggies to go with it.
Had organised for chicken to be ready at 7pm which is the time my husband gets home. Sure enough, his car appears on the drive just as the timer goes off on the cooker. Got the chicken out the oven, put it on a carving board and noticed something coming out of the rear end. Something brown and unpleasant looking. Something that had hard, chalky lumps inside it. It looked gross. Husband walks in, sniffing the air like something out of a Bisto advert, aaahhhh roast chicken .... At which point I picked up the roasted chicken, put it back in the roasting tin and said 'don't take your shoes off, you have to take me back to the supermarket with this chicken, it's disgusting'. He had a brief look and agreed, something was wrong with this chicken.
So we drive through town to Waitrose, he drops me at the door and I march into the store , wearing oven gloves, carrying my roasting tin with cooked chicken in front of me. I caused a bit of a stir. It's not often you see someone carrying cooked food into a supermarket. I placed the tin on the customer service desk and said 'There is something horrible oozing out of this chicken'. The lady looked and agreed she had never seen anything like it but it looked like the chicken had not been cleaned properly and this had been its last meal (yuk). Other customers at the desk all looked into the tin and agreed they had never seen anything like it. A manager was called. He apologised profusely, this certainly was not up to the standard that Waitrose expected from its suppliers, a full refund was in order and a choice of something else for my dinner as compensation. By now I had quite an audience of people wondering why I had brought a freshly cooked chicken to the Customer service desk. Did I still have the packaging? Well actually I did, I had picked it up before we left the house. The manager scanned it through the till. I'm sure I saw a smirk cross his face. I'm sure his mouth twitched with the beginnings of a snigger. 'I'm sorry madam, but I can't offer you a refund after all' 'Why is that?' 'Because the chicken was bought in Tesco'.
Exit one red faced customer, bearing a warm chicken in a roasting tin, back to the car park. 'What happened?' asked husband. 'Don't ask, just take me to Tesco'.....

So without further ado, I'm going to hand you over Diane . It's a bit of a journey from chilly old England, but I could do with some Australian sunshine and I can't wait to meet that lovely puppy she just got. Come on, let's go!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Winter draws on

Signs that Winter is approaching
  1. The husband reminds me that Winter doesn't officially start until 21 Dec whenever I moan about how I hate being cold in Winter
  2. A can of de-icer appears beside the front door so that it can be grabbed easily by the first one out in the morning
  3. No one moans about having casserole more than once a week
  4. I am woken by the sound of the radiators warming up rather than my alarm clock
  5. The thicker duvet is put on the bed - 1st night last night and it felt like drifting off to sleep in a cloud. Well, in a cloud next to a rhinoceros with sinusitis actually (the husband snores)
  6. The daughter's Ugg boots have come out of hibernation
  7. The husband is moaning about lack of socks caused by the daughter preferring his socks to hers inside said Ugg boots
  8. The laundry basket is full of opaque tights
  9. Saturday night social life revolves around Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor
  10. I start to whistle Christmas tunes whilst cooking dinner. Apparently this is very annoying although I fail to see why.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Think pink

Today was a charity fundraising day at school for Breast Cancer research. We were all asked to wear pink and donate a pound. I knew this was happening, we'd spoken about it earlier in the week, joking about how easy it would be for our head of lower sixth who always wears pink. Even if it is just a pink flower on a label, or pink necklace - she always wears pink somewhere.
So anyway, it's 5 past 8, I'm dressed and in my shoes and I open the cupboard to find my coat. When the whole 'pink' thing hits me. It's dress in pink day and I'm dressed in autumnal colours. There is a strange man from the insulating company in my bedroom, dragging huge rolls of insulating 'stuff' through the loft hatch, and I simply don't have time to choose something suitable. Plus I don't think I have any pink winter clothes! So I'm trying hard to strip off into black trousers and a plain black top while he is up in the loft out of sight and before he returns down the ladder and my daughter is throwing all manner of pink things through the bedroom door to accessorise. In the end I went for a bright pink pashmina type scarf which I wrapped round my neck, ran downstairs and out the door.
It wasn't until I caught sight of my reflection in the full length mirror in the ladies loos at work that I realised that in my 'quick change' I had managed to get white deoderant marks all over my nice black top! Not the best start to the day. But hey, good news, it is half term now and I have a whole week off and a new Shimelle class starting soon :-)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Blogging for Scrapbookers Alumni party!

I noticed this invitation over at Jo's blog.
It's for a reunion party of those of us who participated in Shimelle's class Blogging for Scrapbookers last year.
So I'm passing the word round as it would be great to all 'meet up' again.
I'm sure there will be cocktails and buffet food, and there will have to be cupcakes!
RSVP to Jo, details on her blog.

See you there!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Bookbinding update

Our books are now looking like books! We printed our front sheet, stuck that in and then made the inner pages that join the book insides to the cover, put it in the press and then then glued it all together along what will be the spine. But most importantly, we chose our patterned papers for the cover!
For those of you with an interest in book binding and a tendency to click on blog links that include shopping pages - be warned, there is a shopping opportunity on it's way. First of all, let me show you the paper I have chosen here, then the link to the shop which is Shepherds Falkiners in London. Our art teacher had chosen some beautiful hand made papers and it was so hard to choose, but I liked this one as it had an oriental feel to it and the flowers match the leather I have picked for the spine. I've added black pages for the front and back inside cover pages.
So when I left school this afternoon, my book was all glued up and being left to dry with a heavy weight on top and in half term, the teacher is taking them all away to use an industrial cutting machine to slice the pages to make sure they are all perfectly cut.
I somehow think that it is unlikely that I am going to ever hand this book over to anyone else!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


I'm sitting in bed typing up today's Blogtoberfest entry on my daughter's laptop. The morning news and weather is on the tv and apparently we are in for a chilly day. It's still dark outside even though it is 7am and the heating woke me up when it switched on this morning. It really is Autumn. I love the colours of autumn, I love the bright sunny days when you go out for a walk, wrapped up warm. What I don't like is the dark mornings and short daylight hours. Everything seems to be more of an effort. I go to a Rosemary Conley exercise class on a Monday evening and it is so hard to drag myself out of the armchair to strip off into gym gear and dance around in the local community centre. I always feel virtuous when I get home but it would be so easy to cry off and say 'I'll miss this week, but work doubly hard next week'. That's a slippery slope!
But it's week two of the bookbinding course today and I'm looking forward to seeing what the teacher has in store for us today. After last week's experience I am sure she will keep any pretty paper and soft leather hidden away if she wants us to get any work done!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Story tales

I noticed quite a few names I already knew when I signed up for the new class over at Shimelle's. It looks an interesting class and I'm looking forward to it starting. It coincides with the start of half term which is lucky as I will be able to give it my full attention. Well, for the first week anyway!
Have you signed up too?

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Secret Santa

We've all been talking about Christmas in the office this week, partly because we've been trying to organise the work's Christmas 'do' and partly because once we get back after next week's half term, the Christmas term will be upon us. We always do a Secret Santa present giving, and one of the ladies in the finance office normally prints off the labels for the tags for us to pull out of the draw. She is super busy at the moment so in a moment of madness I said I'd do them this year. I emailed everyone of the school 'Support Staff' list to ask who wanted to take part and then I watched in amazement as my inbox filled up with names of people to be 'tagged'. TWENTY THREE! I hadn't realised there were so many of us! There are various secretarial offices around the school and I hadn't actually counted everyone up. So now I have 23 tags to make. And just to make life harder for myself, before I knew how many were involved, I said that I would make everyone's slightly different. Silly, silly, silly! So here's a pic of where I'm at. Only four finished so far but I've cut all the basic tag shapes and cut out pretty patterned corners. Punched the holes where the twine will go. And printed off name labels to stick on the back. How cute is this font that I downloaded? It's called JS_Snowbiz and each letter is inside a little snowman character. Some are juggling, some are wearing silly hats, some are singing or bending over, 26 different little snowmen. So now I have until Thursday to get them all finished. There'll not be much housework done around here this week ;-) {any excuse}
Update on the meal last night, it was delicious! The boy done good! If anyone wants to try (or talk their man into trying) the recipe is here. And the mix of two types of potatoes with feta cheese was wonderful. He's still glowing with pride, and looking forward to next week's choice. As am I ;-)

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Mr K in the kitchen

At the beginning of the year, I tried to instigate a new rule for Saturday nights, either we went out for a meal, went to friends or if we were home, my husband would cook.
At first he was keen, and a good sprinkling of compliments whilst eating encouraged him to keep doing it. Comments like 'I cook 6 days a week, it's only fair I have a day off' kept him feeling like it really was only right and proper for him to tackle the cooker on a Saturday.
But recently, for one reason or another, the routine has been broken and I can't remember the last time he took control of the kitchen. So when Jamie Oliver started his 30 Minute Meals programme and it all looks so simple and tasty, a seed of an idea started to germinate in my brain. The episode where he does piri-piri chicken with a mixture of sweet and ordinary potatoes with a salad was on the tv and we were both saying how good it looked. 'I reckon you could do that' I dropped into the conversation. Then I 'accidentally' printed the recipe off the website and left it on the desk. Today I happened to buy all the ingredients needed when I went to Tesco. Then I casually mentioned that as Strictly Come Dancing was on tonight, it might be nice if he did dinner while it was on the tv. Before he knew what he was saying, he'd agreed to it!
I'm so looking forward to having my dinner cooked for me again, how many episodes in the new Jamie Series?......

Friday, 15 October 2010

Feeling Fruity

Not too much to blog about today, so I thought I would show you how nicely my sloe gin and blackberry brandy are coming along. Aren't the colours of these beautiful? And look how plump and gorgeous those blackberries have become, they must have really soaked up the brandy. Far too good to throw away when the drink is matured and I have to strain them off. Any suggestions as to what I can make with them, I think they are going to be pretty alcoholic!
On Wednesday my daughter decided that my hairstyle was 'boring' and 'old fashioned' which meant the scissors were sharpened and I was in for a make over! We got home from me having 4" chopped off the front and she decided that a new hair cut needed a new hair colour so she was standing over me as I prepared lamb shanks for tea putting in 3 different tones of colour we must have looked a strange sight, me cooking at the stove and her following me round with foils and hair dye.
I've updated my profile pic, did anyone notice the difference?!!!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Hot stuff

Does anybody else out there think that different drinks takes better out of certain mugs? We have a variety of mugs in our house ranging from bone china to more chunky ones. I have one little green mug in particular that no one else in the house dares to use for fear of having something happen to it. It's a mug I bought in a craft shop in Bournemouth nearly 30 years ago and to me, that mug was born to have milky coffee in it. If ever I am feeling poorly, that is the mug I turn to for comfort. It's not the prettiest mug in the house, but it's my favourite.

This year when the January sales were on, we bought a Nespresso coffee machine. The coffee from it is superb, the best home made coffee. But the spout that the coffee comes out of is fairly low and some mugs simply don't fit underneath it. I had bought 2 lovely slim, short, white Sophie Conran mugs from Portmeirion but I've been looking for some more. So today I popped into a new shop that has opened in town. The Steamer Trading Cook Shop. I spent ages looking round the lovely homeware and kitchen equipment downstairs and then noticed that there was an upstairs too. There were 2 walls filled with mugs. And in the middle of them all, were some lovely Emma Bridgewater mugs, duck egg blue, just 3" tall and 3" in diameter with 'white coffee' written in white along the inside and outside of the rim. They called out to me - "Buy me" I walked round the store some more, picked up a few other mugs but they weren't the right size, they didn't feel right in my hand. And in my mind, I could hear the blue ones "Me ... pick me ... take me home" And so I did, I bought two and as soon as I got home, I plugged in the machine, washed up the new mugs, and had a cup of coffee. They were a good choice. I think they are destined to be some of my favourites!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Self portrait Blogtoberfest day

Well Tinniegirl has decreed that today should be a day where self portraits are the focus of the day. Just thought I would explain why I have suddenly inflicted a picture of myself on you for today!

So now we have that over and done with, let me give you an update on the book binding - the class has been organised by the school as part of a well-being programme - offering up the school services to staff at the end of the day so there were only 6 of us there. The papers for the covers are beautiful and we have leather for covering the spines ... but that is some weeks away! Our first job was to choose the leather covering and we all just stood there for a while stroking the silky smooth skins. Picking one up, then putting it down, then choosing another and then going back to the first one - until the teacher saw that we could easily spend the whole hour that way and made us make a decision so we could start on the real work. At this point I think she realised that 6 members of staff could be more trouble than a class of 30 teenage girls!

Our first job was to cut up our papers, fold them into sections and start sewing them together. We have brought them home to complete as homework. (which is what I am doing in my self portrait!) The hour flew by and I think we were all disappointed to have to stop and come home! We learnt a neat trick to make sure you don't pull your thread out of the eye of the needle by unfurling the strands of the thread and twisting the needle through it, so clever. As an example of adults being as troublesome as kids, the person opposite me cut off enough of the waxed thread to do her sewing at home, wound it round 2 fingers to make it tidy, did it too tight, couldn't get it off her fingers, fingers started going bright red and looking a tiny bit swollen, had to have it cut off !

Back to School

Well I was typing up an article for our school newsletter I saw that the art department had run a bookbinding course for our gifted and talented girls. The finished books were beautiful and I said to the art teacher that if she ever did another course, could I sneak in and join in?
So I was thrilled when she told me that they were offering it as an after school activity and staff could sign up. My name was first on the list she put up in the staff room! I have been ticking off the days and after school today is the first class. I'm not sure what is involved, but pretty paper seems to be part of our kit {happy days!} and I am hopeful that if a Year 8 girl can manage it, surely I can give it a go.
Excuse the quality of the picture I've added, I tried to photograph the online version of the newsletter to give you an idea of what I'm doing and it's not been terribly successful. Maybe I need to sign up for a photography course too!
I'll let you know how I get on tomorrow.

Monday, 11 October 2010

A splash of colour

I do love the colours of autumn. Summer colours are lovely too in their bright, happy way but there is something about the autumnal tones that I love. I tend to choose these colours for winter clothing, they seem to suit the redhead colouring that I have.

We've tidied up the garden this weekend and whilst all the vibrant summer flowers have gone, we have quite a few evergreen plants and I noticed that the sedum is so pretty in amongst the greenery. It seems to be spreading around the garden too, every year there is some growing somewhere new. It looks lovely beneath the burgundy leaves of the acer and I know it will be flowering now for some time.
I love these sunny autumn days and I hope we still have a few more in store before the wet and dismal days of November come in. I really am a tropical gal at heart, clearly meant to live in some warm Mediterranean climate rather than the uncertain weather that we 'enjoy' in the UK!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Food for thought

I've signed up for the blog hop over at Amy's - have you?
I've decided on the recipe I'm going to share, in fact I may share two! We had friends round for dinner last night and I fell back on an 'old faithful' dessert recipe that is SO simple and only has 5 ingredients so I may share that too.
I'm torn about whether or not to share an embarrassing story on the blog hop which relates to one of the ingredients in the main recipe. But I still feel my cheeks burning in shame when I think about it, and I still have problems looking the customer service assistant in Waitrose in the eyes when I go in there.
It's a glorious day here today, the Indian Summer days they promised us for the weekend finally arrived, so I may just have to go for a walk this afternoon to make the most of it. Have a good Sunday!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Spot the difference

We're still working out way through all the stuff we have up in our loft ready for the insulation company to come and re-insulate at the end of the month. It's been a tough job, physically and emotionally. I had saved/hoarded every bit of artwork the kids did when they were young, every school project and book, brownie uniforms, dance leotards, cubs uniforms, football kits ... you name it, I had put it up there! So I have tried to be ruthless, and kept one project from each school term, one book from each year, one uniform from each out of school activity etc. That still leaves us with a lot of boxes but it is far more manageable. In one box I found a lot of Barbie dolls that my daughter had played with, along with an old original Sindy doll that I had when I was growing up. I've taken a photo of them in a line up. Can you pick out which is the middle aged lady out of the group?!!!

Friday, 8 October 2010

I like it ....

When I signed up for Blogtoberfest I had a feeling that I might struggle to blog about something every day for a month. Guessed there would be days when only mundane things happened and I would struggle to find something to write about. Today is one of thost days. I've done a fair bit of crafty things in the last week but have now run out of those and don't have time to knit a quick blanket or make a soft toy.
So I wondered if anyone else had noticed odd looking profile comments that were appearing on Facebook? There was a game last year about what colour bra you were wearing at the moment? The purpose was to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was a tremendous success and had men wondering for days what was with the colours and it made it to the news. This year's game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example "I like it on the couch", "I like it on the kitchen counter", "I like it on the dresser" well you get the idea. You just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that. It's causing quite a lot of comments!!! At the moment, I like it under the breakfast bar in the kitchen - how about you?

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Blogtoberfest day 7

The good thing about having a Wednesday off when you work part time is that you are never more than 2 days away from a day at home! Some Wednesdays are used productively, some are wasted doing boring old houseworky stuff, and some are full of fun and friends.
Yesterday was one of the latter. I ask you, what better way to spend a day off than to spend a lovely lunchtime eating scrummy food with two good friends? And if the restaurant you go to happens to be just across the road from a crafty shop packed to the rafters with all kinds of scrapbooking gorgeousness - well, the icing is on the proverbial cake!
And so what if I spent more in the craft shop than I did on my lunch?!
Having spent Saturday learning oodles of ways to make flowers, I realised a distinct gap in my scrapbook supplies. I clearly needed a flower shapped cutter. How had I managed all this time without one? Karen had shown us how to make carnation type flowers out of 8 pieces of pages from old books, inked around the edges and I loved them, but couldn't make them due to lack of cutter. Cutter bought: problem solved!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

What a hoot!

So here's what I made with some of the leftover wool from the blanket. I first saw it on Rachel B's blog and fell in love with it. The pattern comes from Ravelry and was fun to make.
It makes me think about a rhyme that my dad taught me when I was growing up:

A wise old owl sat in an oak
The more he saw, the less he spoke
The less he spoke, the more he heard
Why can't we be more like that old bird?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Warm and Toastie

A few weeks ago I blogged about our Textiles teacher trying to entice me into showing some of the students at our school how to knit when she saw me working on the blanket for my great-niece. I've tried to avoid her ever since and I think I may have got away with it!
Anyway, the blanket is now finished so I thought it only fair to show it to you. When I saw the colours my niece had chosen, I wasn't totally convinced how it would look as a blanket but now it is finished I think she chose well and having one row of chunky wool randomly through the blanket gives it a wavy texture. I just have a few ends to finish off and then I shall be handing it over. I'm keeping back a few balls of wool to knit a little owl that I saw on Rachel's blog.
I've enjoyed getting my knitting needles out of retirement and need to find some more projects to keep me occupied .... any ideas?

Monday, 4 October 2010

Pretty as a picture

I spent Sunday morning finishing off the project we made at the Eclectic Keepsakes crop on Saturday. I call it a project as it is so much more than a layout or photo frame. Check out all the different ways of making flowers from various kinds of papers that Karen taught us.
This project was so pink and girly and perfect for a photo of a certain little great-niece of mine who is just so gorgeous! I think I will be giving it to her mummy as a little present. There is no way I would ever have come up with such a lovely layout so this is yet another prime example why I need to attend as many crops as possible to learn lots of new things.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Men of a certain age

When I looked at these pictures that were taken at our anniversary party, it struck me how my husband and Denise's husband were wearing very similar polo shirts, it's obviously a fashion statement for me of a certain age ;-)
Then I noticed how Denise and I were both wearing a similar shade of purple and it reminded me of a poem I had read about ladies growing older. Now before I quote this poem, I have to point out that neither Denise or I are anywhere near the age that is referred to in the poem it's just the colour that prompted the connection. However, I do like the thought of acting inappropriately and getting away with it!

When I am an Old Woman I shall wear purple
by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles and say we have no money for butter
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children
We must have friends for dinner and read the papers
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Ahoy there me hearties

I would have loved to have used my blog post today to show you the amazing project we made at the crop today but it's not quite finished and it is only fair to show it in all its glory. Suffice it to say that it is unlike anything I have made before and I have learnt so many different ways to make flowers today, my origami skills have been honed no end!
The format for the crop day is to do your own thing for the morning and then have a class after lunch so I am posting one of the layouts I did this morning. My daughter went to a fancy dress party that had a theme of 'Pirates' and this is her in her outfit. Not her normal style of dress! I wish I had a photo of her friend who had gone as a parrot and had made her costume out of several coloured feather boas. Such fun! Apparently the hostess of the party is still finding stray feathers everywhere!

Friday, 1 October 2010


I saw the Blogtoberfest logo on a few blogs, had a little look and next thing I knew I'd signed up for it! But to be honest, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing other than blogging daily so until anyone tells me differently, that's what I will do.
I often joke that working at our school is like being a swan. Calm, serene and in control on the surface, but desperately paddling to keep afloat underneath. That's exactly how I feel today.
I seem to have acquired a fair few extra jobs this term, and I had my hands full already. I need to learn to say 'no', but it doesn't come naturally to me. Someone only has to look helpless or frazzled and my immediate reaction is 'Can I do anything to help?' But today I feel like enough is enough. Today I feel shattered. Feel like I've really earned my weekend.
Feel like I could do with at least one whole day scrapbooking and relaxing and chatting with other crafty ladies. Which is lucky really, as it's the monthly Eclectic Keepsakes crop tomorrow and the lovely Karen has posted a beautiful sneak peek of what we will be doing.
Only 1 more sleep .......!