Thursday 31 December 2009

End or Beginning?

Should we be celebrating the End of the old year or the Beginning of the next? I'm never quite sure!
The layout here is probably the last one I shall do in 2009. It's the second page from the crop that I missed in December and I thought it was calling out for an old photo so I searched through my trusty box of photos and found this one of my mum and dad on their wedding day. I think it works well with the papers. The little figurine by the side of it was my mum's so I thought that was appropriate to use.
In local news, 2009's most bizarre traffic holdup must have been yesterday. The M11 was shut for 4 hours due to 50 pigs wandering around on the southbound carriageway! Bacon butties anyone? ;-)
I hope that 2010 brings much happiness and good health to everyone, thank you to my old and new friends for their kind comments here. Big thanks to Shimelle for introducing most of us to each other!
Have a good evening, however you spend it. Looking forward to sharing many more blog posts in the new year!

Wednesday 30 December 2009

10 things for 10 years

Over at Scrappyjacky's she did a blog post about 10 things she has now that she didn't have at the beginning of the decade and I'm inspired to follow suit:

  1. A job. I left work to have a baby in 1986 and manage to evade going back to work until 2000. I did do voluntary work at our children's school but declared at one minute past midnight on Jan 1st 2000 that I would go back to paid employment and by February I was working again.

  2. My little Mini. I love my car. It isn't fancy but I love it! Swapped the VW Polo in 2004 for a silver Mini One. No regrets.

  3. A conservatory. We toyed with the idea for a couple of years, wondering if we would use it much. Now I wonder how we managed without it.

  4. Grown up children. Back in 2000 they were aged 13 and 9 and still technically 'young'. Boy, these last 10 years have seen some changes in them!

  5. A few extra pounds. At 5' 1" I weigh in at 8st 4lb which is absolutely fine but 2 years ago I found myself a stone heavier and enough was enough! I now go to a Rosemary Conley class to keep myself on the straight and narrow as I am easily led astray.

  6. Grey hair. Well hidden grey hair, but grey nonetheless. Highlights are now an essential rather than a fashion statement!

  7. A blog. Who'd have thought it? Not sure I even knew what a blog was back in 2000.

  8. Scrapbooking. Huge thanks to my friend Denise for introducing me to my new hobby

  9. Renewed friendships with old school friends. Friends Reunited was a great thing in the early 2000s, and we had a few school reunions. It was great to meet up with old friends again. Several of those rediscovered friendships are still going strong through the auspices of Facebook now!

  10. More free time. Now the kids are 'off hand' - one at uni and one working my days don't revolve around school pickups etc. My job is only part time so I have more time for me nowadays.
    So that's my ten things, anyone else out there care to join in?

Last month I missed out going to the crop I normally go to in Welwyn Garden City but my friend Denise picked up a kit for me and this afternoon I've made the first layout using the photo of the Fab Family Females that I took on Boxing Day. Photo at top of page!

Monday 28 December 2009

Finally ...

The Belgian page ... First I took the photo with the page laying on the chest of drawers in my bedroom, then I remembered my intention to find more interesting places to photograph my pages and so I quickly took it into the lounge and propped it up behind Santa.
The photos are of us with our friends, sampling 'Frites' with mayonnaise (when in Belgium, do as the Belgians do) and then the Christmas tree and ferris wheel at the Christmas market. Couldn't do a page without St Nicholas in the centre could I? And couldn't do a Brussels page without the Mannekin Pis dressed up in his Santa outfit. The final picture is a group shot outside our friends' house in Waterloo.
Trip to Brussels - Done!

... and relax ....

Well that is it, over for another year! My husband has just left to take his parents back home as they have been here for the last couple of days. Must admit that I am looking forward to having the house to ourselves again, eating up all the left overs and enjoying a bit of quiet time again. This afternoon I am reliably informed that Spurs are on the tv so I anticipate a nice afternoon to shut myself away in the dining room and finally get round to doing a scrapbook page from our visit to Belgium.
In the meantime, here is a picture of the ladies in our family (who said Stepford Wives?) my daughter, niece, my nephew's wife and my sister. Oh, and the little one in the middle is me!

Sunday 27 December 2009

Not such a dancing queen

OK, so to start with I was a reluctant participant on the Playstation Singstar .... But then my darling daughter assured me it would be fun .....
"You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen ......."Still recovering from the festivities and over indulgance, hope everyone had a happy and healthy couple of days, I'll be back properly very soon!

Thursday 24 December 2009


Today was the official decanting of the sloe gin that has been gently brewing/marinating in my kitchen. I do think I deserve a small round of applause for not dipping into it over the last couple of months because trust me, I am easily led into temptation! I shall be giving a little bottle of it to my sister as a little extra gift tomorrow.

I do hope that everyone has a happy Christmas. In amongst all the festivities and happy times there is often a quiet moment when some of us remember those who are no longer around to join in the fun. My parents made a huge effort to ensure that all our Christmases were memorable and their generosity knew no bounds. It is for them that I carry on so many family traditions and by doing so, their spirit is still with us.
It's not often that the husband gets a look in on my blog, so this is a rare appearance by him, but I wanted to raise a glass to all the new people I have met this year (blogwise!) it's been great to discover your amazing blogs and I shall be following your stories and lives in the new year.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Can you guess?

Whilst clambering around in the loft looking for Christmas decorations, I came across this photo. It was taken in about 1963 or 1964 when I was 5 or 6. It shows Class 1 at Churchgate Street Primary School. The school building was originally part of the old church and was the same school that my mum went to back in the late 1920s. When I look at this photo, it looks like it could have been taken back in the war years, it looks so old! The way we are dressed is so telling of those years. Sensible warm coats, Clarks shoes and the boys had to wear shorts until they went up to secondary school.
I wonder if anyone can guess which little girl in this photo is me? It's such a small photo and hasn't scanned that well so I won't be hurt if someone says it's one of the boys in the back row!

Tuesday 22 December 2009

My proper recipe

So, it's the evening of Christmas day. You have stuffed yourself with turkey and all the trimmings, spent the afternoon nibbling on the contents of a festive tin of Quality Street. Family games have been played, a quick walk round the block has been taken and then someone says 'Does anyone want anything for tea?' 'Oh no, I couldn't eat another thing' you reply. Although it would be rude to turn down that nice thin sandwich of home roasted ham, and those kettle crisps add a nice bit of crunch, oh, that cheeseboard looks lovely, I'll just have a few crackers with that lovely brie. You get the picture? So you're full. You couldn't eat another thing. The waistband of your trousers has been unbuttoned for comfort and you swear you won't eat again until New Year.
And then someone brings out the Baileys Cheesecake. With fresh raspberry coulis. Well, maybe I could force down a small slice .....

100g/3½oz butter
250g/8¾oz digestive biscuits, crushed
600g/1lb 5oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1 mini shot of Bailey's
100ml/3½oz icing sugar
300ml/10½oz double cream, whipped
100g/3½oz grated chocolate
To garnish
cocoa powder, to dust
Raspberries, sieved to a smooth sauce with a spoonful of icing sugar to sweeten

1. Melt the butter in a pan and add the crushed digestive biscuits. Mix well until the biscuits have absorbed all the butter.
2. Remove from the heat and press into the bottom of a lined 18cm/7in springform tin. Place in the refrigerator and allow to set for one hour.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Lightly whip the cream cheese then beat in the Bailey's and icing sugar. Fold in the whipped cream and grated chocolate. Chocolate will melt on your fingers, so I tend to hold it with a little foil wrapped around the end. When smooth, spoon evenly onto the biscuit base.
4. Refrigerate and allow to set. Once set, remove and decorate with sieved cocoa powder dusted over the top. Serve with the raspberry coulis

Now you're full!

Monday 21 December 2009

A fun recipe

Mel over at tagged me in a recipe challenge and I will give it some serious thought and do it properly, but in the meantime here is a recipe which will hopefully make you smile!


* 2 cups flour
* 1 stick butter
* 1 cup of water
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 cup of sugar
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup of brown sugar
* Lemon juice
* 4 large eggs

* Nuts
* 2 bottle wine
* 2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the wine to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the wine again.
To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large
fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's
best to make sure the wine is still OK. Try another cup... Just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in
the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the fruit up off floor. Mix on the turner.. If the fried
druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the wine to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or
something. Check the wine. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or some fink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the
window. Finish the wine and wipe counter with the cat.
Go to Tesco and buy cake.

Bingle Jells!

Saturday 19 December 2009

and the judges scores are in

A little while ago I mentioned a recipe that Mel had put on her blog. Basically it was for mince pies but insted of pastry top and bottom, you do a pastry bottom, spoonful of mincemeat and then a spoonfull of sponge cake mixture on top. Now I'm not a lover of mince pies but my dear husband is. Once a year he sees the jar of mincemeat in the cupboard and anxiously awaits me saying that I am going to make mince pies. When I told him that this year it would be mince pies with a sponge topping he looked dubious. A pang of disappointment flashed across his face. Trust me, I said, they look delicious. So this afternoon I made Mel's Mince Marvels and the official taster has decreed that they look delicious, they smell delicious and by golly they ARE delicious! Thanks Mel. They came out of the oven just as my son and his girlfriend arrived and they too said that they are fab and better than 'normal' mince pies.
So whilst in a cooking mood I decided to try Delia's Sausage Rolls. You know where you are with Delia Smith, nothing too fancy but she exudes a confidence that makes you convinced that you too can make something that tastes and looks great. I saw her make these on her Christmas cookery programme and liked the idea of the 'easy' flaky pastry that needs no rubbing in of fat to flour. You freeze the butter and then grate it in. No mess, no bits of pastry stuck underneath your fingernails, just perfect pastry. And you know what, it works. It is easy, it is deliciously crispy and flaky and the official taster, who likes sausage rolls as much as he likes mince pies, said that they are fab and that I am to make it again. and again, and again.
That's it, I'm all baked out. Takeaway for tea tonight I think!

Friday 18 December 2009

Last day of term

... and despite waking up to this:we still didn't have a 'snow day'. Yes folks, this is the same back garden that I photographed as part of the round the world blog day in November. Looks prettier in the snow I think!
So today I have drunk hot chocolate, sung carols, eaten far too many chocolate biscuits, watched 6th form entertainment and not much else. But that's the end of school for this year. I think the staff are almost as relieved as the students!

Wednesday 16 December 2009

A day of surprises

Today is my only day off in the week - so that's a good start, right?
Then, having woken to a world looking beautiful in frosty sunlight, the first flakes of snow started falling. So pretty. Feeling more festive already.
Then, I had an email from Robyn over at Made in Brooklyn to tell me that there was an ebook waiting for me here with a code for a free download. How kind!
All plans for the day now scuppered, ebook now downloaded, inspiration flowing. Oh come on, what would you choose - washing 6 weeks worth of student clothing that darling son brought home with him yesterday, followed by a trek into town to brave the supermarkets to fill up the fridge that aforementioned son grazed his way through last night (No raspberry cheesecake brownies left now I'm afraid) or an afternoon in front of the fire with scrapbook supplies making new pages with new ideas from the photos we took of the Christmas Market in Belgium last weekend?

Tuesday 15 December 2009

The countdown begins

My boy is home! it must surely be nearly Christmas if he's home from university! It's so good to have him home again. My husband is looking forward to some 'male' conversation over dinner and someone to discuss the finer aspects of guitar playing with!

Also, school finishes on Friday which is great, ! don't have to go back to work until 4th January - woo hoo! So much work to do in the next few days though, people think it is great to work in a school with all the long holidays but in reality we have to squeeze the normal amount of work into fewer weeks!

Plus - they are forecasting SNOW over the next few days! Wow! Wonder if it will reach us down in Hertfordshire? Wouldn't it be good if we had a snow day for the last day of term ;-)

It's the staff Christmas party on Thursday night, disco night at the local golf club. time for me to call in all my brownie points from picking the husband up after his works parties and get him to do the taxi service!

Sunday 13 December 2009

Raspberry. Cheesecake. Brownies.




I found the recipe for Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies over here at Amy's blog. And I had to give it a try. Oh boy. You have GOT to try them. They are to die for. What's not to like? Brownie at the bottom. Baked Cheesecake on top with raspberries here and there. Yum, Yum, and then more Yum. And the raspberries make it a healthy option - one of your 'five a day' ;-)
So then I go over to Mel's page here and she's making mince pies with a sponge cake topping. How good does that sound? And I don't even like mince pies! But I bet I could force a couple of those little babies down.
I think there's a serious need for a scrapbooking/blog/recipe share/site!

Friday 11 December 2009

An Ode to Christmas

'twas two weeks before Christmas
just fourteen more sleeps
And a feeling of anxiousness
was starting to creep

Lists were appearing
Wherever you went
And the wife had lost count
of the money she'd spent

A feeling of panic
was starting to show
As she realised there were
just 2 weeks to go

'There's so much to do,
Someone help me' she pleaded
But her cries for assistance
All went unheeded

There's turkeys to buy
And mince pies to make
I'll buy them from Tesco
And pretend I did bake

For there's too much for one
Little person to do
So forgive me for cheating
Happy Christmas to you!

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Trimmed tree

And the colour scheme for this year is indeed red, white and silver!

Trimming the tree

Christmas is a big deal in our house. You think that your kids' excitement will wane as they get older but there seems to be no sign of that with our daughter (aged 23). Traditions have to be maintained and she likes everything to be just so.
So when she asked if she could buy a few new bits for the tree, who was I to decline her offer? Now I don't know where she has been, or what she has bought but I just looked in her room and the bed is full of baubles and stars and goodness knows what else. We have a different colour scheme each year and I think that this year it may be deep burgundy, plum, silver and white!
The tree is up and in position, ready to be decorated within an inch of its life. I am on 'loft duty' being the nominated person to brave the outer reaches of the loft space to bring down the lights and decorations. A fair proportion of which will no doubt be rejected as 'too old' 'too tatty' 'not the right colour' or just not part of the vision that she has! I hope she wasn't watching Kirstie Allsop's homemade Christmas programme last night or else we will be searching for glass blowing places to make our own baubles and scavenging in the woodland near us for foliage to make staircase garlands and fireplace displays.
We both have a day off work today, so the plan is shopping this morning and decorating and wrapping this afternoon. Watch this space .....

Monday 7 December 2009

17 revisited

Oh no, after my weekend away I have become late with posting this:
Obviously since my 17th birthday I have become forgetful and unpunctual ;-)
But here are my updated details:

Hair colour - Still auburn in places but more than 50% artificially so nowadays :-(
My hair style is short and wedged at the back and longer in the front
My favourite brand of make up is Mac
My fashionable item is a deep purple tunic dress worn over leggings
My favourite outfit is a blue and turquoise floaty summer dress
I drive a silver Mini
On Saturday I go shopping - not anywhere in particular, Cambridge is a favourite!
On Saturday night I go out with my husband either with friends or have people over to our house for dinner
On Sunday I relax, once a month I go to a scrapbook crop in Welwyn Garden City
Mon - Fri I work at a Secondary school in the Secretaries Office
My best friend is - actually I don't really have a best friend nowadays, my best friend from way back in Denise, I am still friends with Jill who was my best friend when I was 17 and I guess my best friend from the couples that we go out with is Mandy
My favourite place to go is to my sister's holiday home in Praia da Luz in Portugal
My favourite subject is craft work
When I grow up, I'm not sure what I want to be ....
My favourite drink is Champagne or Prosecco
My favourite food is Lamb in any shape or form
My favourite shop is - not sure I have a favourite, John Lewis is great for browsing and has many franchises in it so maybe that
David Essex never proposed to me, but I am happily married to my dear husband - 29 years together!
My favourite actor - Brad Pitt
Favourite Band - changes frequently, I'm listening to The Script a lot at the moment
Favourite TV - Gavin and Stacey
One thing I want to do but cant is conquer my fear of lifts
Most used form of transport is driving
If I had all the money in the world I would buy homes for my children and a couple of nice places abroad for my husband and I to flit from place to place
I wish I could worry about things less and take more time to enjoy the moment rather than trying to be ready for what lies ahead
Still don't play sport!
This fall/Autumn I went to the Italian Lakes
Still don't dress up for Halloween!
I recently saw - haven't been to the cinema for ages, can't remember the last thing!
Reading Santa Montefiori books at the moment, but I love Marian Keyes and Jeffrey Deaver too
Big newspaper story today is another soldier killed in Afghanistan and the imprisonment of 'Foxy Knoxy' in Italy for killing a British girl
Phew! I'm done, sorry I'm late ... be sure to visit Christy . Tell her it's my fault you've been delayed ......

Sunday 6 December 2009

Brussels Christmas Market

We started off here :

The champagne bar at St Pancras station in London - what a way to start off a weekend

We tried the local food and drink

And saw St Nicholas in the Chocolate shops

It was the day before St Nicholas visits the children to give them Christmas Chocolate, so there was a parade

And the stilt walker had to negotiate the street signs!

The famous statue of the Mannaken Pis was wearing his special St Nicholas outfit

At night the tree in the Grand Place was lit up

and when we woke in the morning, St Nicholas had left chocolates in our shoes

All too soon it was time to get back on the train to London

And finish the weekend by having a kir royale with our lunch in a restaurant overlooking the River Thames

A fab weekend, a chocolate lover's paradise (that was my kind of a place to live!) and over 200 beers to sample (we have to return, I'm not sure my husband managed to try them all!)

Saturday 5 December 2009

Absent friends

Well I have posted this in advance so by the time you read this I should be across the channel visiting friends who moved away to Belgium. They moved here in September and we planned this visit with another couple before they left the UK. The weather report isn't good and I suspect that we are currently sheltering from the rain somewhere, possibly eating chocolate or Frites with mayonnaise and I guess the men will be sampling the beer!
There is a Christmas Market going on in Brussels and hopefully I am taking plenty of photos to do some layouts on our return.
It's just a very short visit so I'll be back properly tomorrow - Au revoir!

Thursday 3 December 2009

another train journey

Well, earlier this week I went back in time to 1975 on Shimelle's train and this weekend I am going on another rail journey.
This one starts here and I figure that any trip that starts in a place like that has got to be good! Apparently, if it gets a bit chilly there, the seats are heated and blankets are available. I may never get on the train!

Wednesday 2 December 2009


Ah - December.
The taste of Advent calendar chocolate before breakfast
The whistling of Christmas songs while preparing dinner (apparently that can be quite annoying, I don't know what they mean!)
Rehearsals at work for staff entertainment for pupils' last assembly
Trying hard to find dates that everyone can make to have Christmas dinners with all different friendship groups
Then finding somewhere that caters for meat eaters/vegetarians/teetotallers/people who enjoy a drink/people who want traditional Christmas menu/people who prefer Indian food/people who hate Indian food
The stress of trying to find time to go and brave the Christmas shopping crowds
The stress of 'Will that internet order be delivered in time?'
Blaming the husband for daring to have a birthday on December 12th (I ask you, how silly is that?)
The finals of Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor
Yup - it's that time of year again. How did that happen? Where has this year gone?

Monday 30 November 2009

17 again

The train now approaching Platform 17 is the 4pm Intercity from
In order to join the train, passengers should have all visa information checked - here is mine:
It's 1975 and I am 17. I live in Old Harlow in Essex. I am in the 6th form at school and having the time of my life!

My hair colour is auburn
My hair style is in a page boy bob with the sides flicked back
My favourite brand of makeup is Miners
My "fashionable" item is a black velvet jacket with diamante brooches and Brutus jeans with the embroidered panel on the back
My favourite outfit is a Laura Ashley maxi dress
I drive an Austin Allegro on my driving lessons.
On a Saturday I go shopping either to Harlow Town or Chelmsford on the bus.
On a Saturday night I either go to the free concerts at Harlow Town Park in the summer or parties
On a Sunday I do my homework
Monday-Friday I go to Mark Hall Secondary School
My best friend is Jill Spinks
My favourite place to go out is anywhere with my boyfriend
My favourite subject at school is Needlework
When I grow up I want to be a journalist
My favourite drink is Martini and lemonade
My favourite food is Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken and Spring Rolls
My favourite shop is Chelsea Girl
I want to marry David Essex
My favourite actor/actress is Robert Redford
My favourite band/singer is David Essex or anything Motown. That new band Queen aren't too bad either
My favourite TV programme is Happy Days
The one thing I want to do but can't is swim
My most used mode of transport is walking (until I pass my driving test aged 17 and 10 months)
If I had all the money in the world I would travel the world and buy a sports car - ready for when I pass my test!
I wish I could visit my penfriend in America
My favourite sport is watching other people play sports! I am so unsporty! but if made to in PE lessons, I will play volleyball
This fall/autumn I will go into the Upper 6th at school
At Halloween I didn't dress up. We don't celebrate Halloween much in England
I recently saw One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest and thought it was really good
I am reading lots of books for my English Literature A level and HATE Joseph Conrad's 'Nostromo'
The big newspaper story this year is England staying in Europe, and Margaret Thatcher becoming leader of the Conservative party.
What's that? You want to check my photo? OK, well here it is -

Can I get on? Thanks! Hey you guys, great to see you, is this seat taken? OK, the whistle is blowing and we now have to get to the next stop to pick up Christy . We should get to her by about 1990, so settle down for a long journey, I'm not that good on Geography but I think we're heading over the Atlantic to North Carolina!

With apologies to Abba

Got a song going round in my head and I don't know why.
"You are the dancing queen - young and sweet, only seventeen ...."
Maybe all will be revealed at 4pm this afternoon, better pop back then .......

See you later!

Sunday 29 November 2009

Getting ready

Well I'm searching the wardrobe and getting out my platform boots ready for the trip tomorrow. Hope I get my homework done on time, I'm not allowed up late on a school night. So I have my ticket, and my bag is packed, hope you are ready too!
See you tomorrow - don't be late, it's a tight schedule and we have a long journey to make.

Friday 27 November 2009

News just in ...

You won't be needing to check one of these: I can tell you now that the train leaves at 4pm GMT on Monday 30 December.
Don't be late!

Thursday 26 November 2009


There's been a lot of hype recently about a new film being released called 'Nativity' and I am sure that we have all taken part in a Nativity play at school when we were young. I used to love watching Nativity plays when my kids were little and I am the embarrassing mum in tears as soon as the little angels arrive on stage and the shepherds can't sit still until they have found their mum in the audience. Someone is bound to tip the baby Jesus out of his cradle and you can always feel the anticipation in the air when Joseph knocks at the inn. Will the Innkeeper remember to say 'I'm sorry we have no room' or will he forget and change the whole storyline by inviting them in?
The only Nativity I remember being in was when I was about 10. My primary school decided to try something different that year. We had all been having French lessons (which was rather unusual in Primary school back in 1968) and our teacher decided to do the whole play in French. Pretty ambitious eh? Goodness knows what our parents thought, I'm sure they didn't understand a word of it, which could have been a blessing as I really don't think our accents were too authentic. I do remember my friend Susan Hutchin marching down the aisle of the hall towards the stage with the Kings trying to keep up with her while she was pointing up to an imaginary star in the sky and shouting 'Sweevie lay twarl' which was as close to 'suivez l'toile' as we were going to get.
I had the dubious honour of being the 2nd person on stage. Moira Payne was resplendent as Mary, dressed in a rather fetching pale blue tablecloth and I was purely angelic as the Angel Gabriel in a carefully draped white sheet. 'Je te salut Mary' is all I remember but I guess I must have then gone on to tell her she was expecting a baby. My moment in the spotlight over, I then took my place in the recorder group ready to accompany the choir in the only French carol I ever learnt 'Il est nee, le petit enfant'.
Does anyone else remember their first Nativity play?

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Housework Horror

I love the David & Goliath cartoons and this one sums my attitude to housework completely.
My question for today is: Have you ever had a terrifying experience whilst doing the chores?
A simple visit to the utility room today reminded me of a dreadful experience which I thought I would share as my blog for the day.
I need to share some details first.
1. My utility room is part of an extension to the house and we get to it via the garage
2. Although I live in a large town, I am on the extreme outskirts of it and 2 gardens along from me is a large cricket pitch and then open countryside.
So ... one morning last year I went to the tumble drier to remove some towels which had been washed and dried the day before. Not normally a traumatic experience, but on this occasion I put my hand in, thought to myself 'that doesn't feel like a fluffy freshly laundered towel' and indeed it wasn't. It was a large mouse. A large dead mouse in fact. Totally stiff. And in with my clean towels. Did you hear me scream? I'm sure that anyone in a 100 mile radius might have!
What we think happened was that because I was doing the laundry in the evening, I had propped open the door between utility and garage in order to let the steam escape. In the daytime I just open up the door to the garden. So some poor, elderly, homeless mouse seeking refuge from the dark and the cold had scuttled across the fields, scampered across the cricket field, skipped towards the light coming from beneath the garage doors, edged his way carefully around my car (think 'Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible') climbed over the step, and wondered in amazement as he felt the warmth of the tumble drier. Someone (and I'm blaming Darling Husband for this) had seen the drier had finished, turned it off at the wall and just opened the door to let it cool down without taking the towels out. Imagine the glee of the poor little creature, a warm machine and a mattress of fluffy towels to lie his little head on for the night. What a way to spend his last hours. I tell you, it was the worst housework experience I have ever had! Can you equal that?!

Tuesday 24 November 2009


"It will be cold when you go to Scotland, make sure you buy a nice, warm, sensible hat"

Not quite what I expected him to buy ......

Monday 23 November 2009

A new image

Today is so grey and damp and dull and miserable that I felt the need for change. The need to brighten myself up and get a little 'oomph' back. So having left work at 12.30 I jumped in the car and went to the hairdressers. You know how you sit there and they make polite conversation and then you get to the 'So - what are we doing with your hair today?' bit - and all bravado about new looks and wanting to look a little bit like some celebrity disappear? Well today I decided to go with the 'Suppose I said you could do what you want to it, what would you do?' And this is the end result:
I must have had about 4" cut off the back and 2" off the front and loads of layers in between. Please bear in mind that after leaving the hairdressers I had to battle wind and rain without an umbrella so it's not as pristine as when I left the salon but I'm pleased I took the plunge.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change? I'm open to suggestions as to what I could do next!

Sunday 22 November 2009

Been travellin'

Oh my goodness, didn't the round the world blog work well? I'm so impressed - what a great idea that was! So interesting to see so many different parts of the world, so many varied lifestyles with one common interest - scrapbooking!
I have been overwhelmed by the kind messages left on my blog and will be replying when I have time but today is so horrendously horrible weatherwise that we are decorating our hallway and I don't think my poor husband will appreciate me spending the next hour on the computer while he singlehandedly does the wallpapering.
Today I have also made my Christmas pudding and here's the proof!All ready to go into the steamer for 8 hours. Started it off last night and had the annual 'make a wish while you give it a stir' tradition. When I was little my mum used to put little charms into the Christmas pudding. They were shaped like little horseshoes and four leaf clovers etc. I remember them so well, they used to come sewn onto a cardboard sheet and it was my job to cut up pieces of greaseproof paper to wrap them in individually and drop them into the pudding mix. Haven't seen them in the shops for years so maybe I am showing my age by mentioning this! My mum always made several puddings for various members of the family, she was such a good cook and enjoyed her baking. When she died, it was hard for my sister and I to have to cook our own puddings, it was just another one of those moments that brings home to you the little things that you miss. Do you know, we have NEVER found her pudding recipe! We have scoured her cookery books and found many recipes with tell tale signs of having been used - splashes of mixture sticking pages together - and pencil alterations to quantities or timings but we cannot find the one recipe she used. Even if we found it, I'm guessing it still wouldn't compare to hers though!

Saturday 21 November 2009

Blogging around the world

Hello! How nice to see you, I'm guessing that you have come to me from Jools' page. That's quite a journey so come in, settle yourself down in front of the fire and I'll put the kettle on for a cup of tea. Sorry, but you are a bit early to try out the sloe gin I started making recently, that won't be ready until Christmas, but you know you are more than welcome to come back now you know where to find me.

You saw the front garden on your way in, but if I open the curtains you'll be able to see the back garden too. The tree on the right has lost all it's leaves now but at the beginning of autumn it was beautiful, full of burgundy coloured foliage. We've still got 5 koi carp in the pond but the herons have had a banquet this year on the golfish we had, we've lost about 9. We've had the pond about 10 years and this is the first year that herons have bothered us, I think the koi are too big for them and too quick at diving to the bottom.

So now you have seen what I see when I open the curtains each day, and I don't want to rush you but I know that Sian is waiting to see you. In fact I think I'll join you, we can find her together. All I know is that she lives in a very tall house, with The Accountant, The Tall One and the Small One. Let's go .....

My first award!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you to Rachel who has given me this award

Don't worry, there is not a tearful, long acceptance speech on the way and hopefully no wardrobe malfunctions while I am up on stage collecting it! I am so touched and grateful.
Now, the spirit of the award means that I have to share 5 facts about myself that others may not know so ....
1. I have danced on stage at the Royal Albert Hall. I would like to thank my partner, Martin Stringer, for learning all the steps that our teacher Mrs Bishop taught us in country dancing at Churchgate Street Primary School so that we did not make fools of ourselves. This fact goes back to 1966!
2. I used to have an imaginary friend called Zolly Watson. She lived in the playhouse at the bottom of the garden when I was about 6. We used to play there and our favourite snacks were lucozade and chocolate digestive biscuits.
3. I met my husband on a blind date. 29 years of marriage later .....we're still together!
4. My perfect dinner would start with champagne and end with chocolate. With some kind of lamb dish served in between.
5. I am absolutely petrified of lifts. Would rather climb 8 flights of stairs. My motto is 'Tis better to arrive breathless than a tearful, nervous, trembling wreck. And think of all those calories you are burning!

So, now I am going to continue the award giving ceremony by giving the award to some of my favourite blogs out there.
Robyn, Denise, Claire, Amy, Sarah, Sian
These people are personally responsible for keeping me away from doing the ironing, making me late preparing dinner and generally distracting me from doing anything remotely related to housework.
I know that some of these have already been nominated this award but I just wanted them to know that they're in my favourites list! I would also nominate Rachel who nominated me but I'm not sure if you are allowed to go round in circles!

Thursday 19 November 2009

Sweet Delights

Oh I'm in a mess. Icing sugar over my dress and a tell tale sign of melted chocolate around my lips. The laptop - which was on the breakfast bar while I was cooking, looks like it's been out in a snow storm and I hope icing sugar doesn't affect the inner workings of it. It's not my fault. I blame Mel. It's strange but anything that leads me off the straight and narrow of the Rosemary Conley healthy eating plan is almost always someone else's fault. Well if it isn't Mel's fault, it must be Rachel B's.
You see Rachel B did a post about some fudge she bought which looked fabulous. Mel wrote a comment on the blog which mentioned 'no boil fudge'. Which immediately got my attention because I love fudge but my recipe involves boiling for about 20 mins which inevitably leads to 3rd degree burns on my arms where the melted sugar spits out at me while I stir. So I contacted Mel through her blog and today she sent me the recipe. In fact it would seem that Mel is quite the cook, she even has a seperate cooking blog .
So I got to business as soon as I got home and the fudge is chilling nicely in the fridge at the moment. It cuts into 32 pieces which roughly equates to 29 pieces for me and one piece each for the rest of the family :-)
Thanks for the recipe Mel!

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Then and Now

Today's task is to look back a year and see what we were doing and how things have or haven't changed. If I look back to a year plus a day I come across this . My daughter's graduation from Sheffield Hallam University. She had just got a 2:1 in Business and Marketing.

So pick up your remote controller and press fast forward to today. If someone had told us that 12 months after that day she would be ridiculously happy working 10 minutes from home in a hair salon I don't think either of us would have believed it.
For 12 months ago she had just landed a fab job in Covent Garden, London working for a prestigious media communications company working on global accounts. What the 2008 'us' didn't know that over the next 10 months she would narrowly escape redundancy, tire herself out in commuting, become bored with the job, and basically become so unhappy it impacted on many parts of her life and in all honesty, made her ill.
She's now retraining, back at college one day a week and working in the salon for 4 days. With a great bunch of friendly people, using her artistic skills and learning new things. A huge decision to make, and I am sure a fair few people thought 'what a waste of a degree' but I can tell you that what really matters is that I have my happy daughter back. She is well and content and keen to start the day again.
And of course, so many free haircuts - she looks quite different!

Tuesday 17 November 2009

The Weakest Link

Oh please don't let it be me! I've joined the Round the World blog group and am now very worried about letting the side down. I'm sure it will be fine but I've never posted something to be published at a specified time so I am going to experiment with this one. Hopefully it will show up on the blog at 8pm tonight even though it is earlier than that now.

So anyway, back on planet Shimelle we have been told to do a post about something we will scrapbook later but I have a bit of a twist on that, I've not got a picture I am going to scrapbook, but I have a selection of edgings waiting to be used in some artistic way.

While I was at the crop on Sunday there was a brief period of time between finishing my 2nd layout and the raffle being drawn. Now I may not have been a big lottery winner, but I have been lucky at the Crafty Stash crops (something to do with millions of people doing the lottery and only about 25 at the crop?).

So I spent a little time and a bit of money on a few 'essentials' from the lovely array of goodies Sue had brought with her and then I spied a basket of cutters. Now, I only have one edge cutter and it's about 2" long and only works on paper so to have the opportunity to have a little play on some very posh, intricate ones was too much to resist. I collected together some decent sized offcuts from the papers we had been using and did a selection of fancy edgings.

My only dilemma now is how best to use them. Suggestions?

PS Good job I stayed for the raffle, I won a lovely 12 x 12 fancy template - Thanks Sue!

Sunday 15 November 2009

Sunday crop

The crop at Welwyn Garden City today was really good and I loved the colours of the papers that we had to work with. I especially like the red and white page that we did and I was pleased that I had taken a photo of my daughter that I had taken just before she went out on Saturday night. It was lucky that she was wearing a plain black dress so it fitted in nicely with the theme of the papers.

For the other page I found a picture that was taken on her birthday which was also shortly before my son went back to start his 2nd year at university. He is wearing a red t shirt which again fits in with the colours of the page quite nicely.

I always enjoy the crops, it is so good to see other people's work and it is amazing to see how different photos can change the whole look of a page and also how other people interpret ideas. I am learning so much. I come home inspired and keen to start on my own ideas for pages. So in theory, this week I should be doing a bit more scrapbooking to go with the blogging. Watch this space ....

Saturday 14 November 2009

The Four Seasons

Hands up anyone who woke up to to a scene like this outside this morning:

Yuk! Isn't it horrible? I woke up to howling wind rattling round the house and rain lashing against the window. My husband doesn't understand when I say that there are parts of Autumn I really don't like. He loves the fact that in England we get a wide variety of weather according to the season and would not enjoy living anywhere that the seasons don't change. I don't like the fact that in England we sometimes get all 4 seasons in one day! You can wake up to sunshine and get caught out in a thunderstorm later on, or wrap yourself up warm against the elements in the morning and find yourself sweltering under 4 layers of clothing in the afternoon. I guess that is why a true Brit will always find themselves prepared for any eventuality. And why it is very hard to pack light if you go away for a weekend!
I suppose it gives us the excuse to buy lots of clothes for all weathers and we need a wide variety of footwear for all conditions. Imagine living somewhere that you could get away with two pairs of flip flops for the whole year! All those knee high boots, ankle boots, high heeled sandals, strappy sandals, winter shoes, ballet flats, flip flops, Ugg boots etc etc we would miss out on 'needing'.
I try to be organised and at the end of the summer put my little strappy dresses and shorts away, as I pack up winter sweaters and skirts and opaque tights at the beginning of spring. But because you never know when you may need winter clothes in summer, it's a tough call to make.
Don't get me wrong, I love a cold, fresh, crisp autumn day when the leaves are turning, and I love the crunch of freshly fallen snow underfoot almost as much as I love cloudless blue skies and sunny days. It's the damp I don't like. Don't like dashing from car to house and still getting drenched, don't enjoy driving through the huge puddles that appear in country roads, and could quite easily hibernate until the rain stops again.
Is it just me? Anyone out there enjoying the weather today?

Friday 13 November 2009


Once again, Shimelle has read my mind - move over Derren Brown, there is another contender for your job!
I was going to post a thank you to all those people who have kindly visited my blog and an even bigger thank you to those who have left comments. I always make sure that I check out the blogs of those who leave comments and it is such a shame if there is no way of knowing where to look. I normally click on the name and check out the profile and look for clues of where to find their blog but it isn't always there :-(
I do realise that in this class I have done an awful lot of blogging and not much scrapbooking but that will be resolved this weekend. I'm going to an all day crop organised by Sue at Crafty Stash which I am really looking forward to and guarantees two layouts to be published afterwards. I normally meet up with my friend Denise but she is on a weekend scrapbook extravaganza and won't be there so I will be 'Billy No-mates'. So if you are going to be there too, give me a wave and a smile! Here's a peek of what we will be doing ... (click on the dots!)
For those of you interested in sewing, you have to have a look at Robyn's blog. What an amazing quilt. I discovered Robyn's blog while on another Shimelle class and have checked it out regularly ever since. How that lady finds enough hours in the day to do all she does with two young bundles of mischief I do not know. Pop by and tell her I sent you!
Thanks again for blog-hopping in my direction, hopefully there will be pretty pictures of layouts after Sunday.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Guaranteed to make me smile

How long must it have taken them to organise this? This is my 'happy tune' at the moment. It only takes me 10 minutes to drive to work and I like to listen to happy, upbeat music for that short journey. It guarantees I will arrive at work with a smile on my face which is always a good way to start the day!

Wednesday 11 November 2009


Hands up who likes ironing? Hmmm. Not many! I hate it. I hate the fact that you can spend hours over it today and in a couple of days time, another pile will be waiting for you. But this picture is one pile of ironing that I don't mind at all, in fact I enjoyed doing it. Because this pile of clothes belongs to my son and the fact they are on the ironing board means that he is home from Uni for a couple of days.

It's weird how something this simple brings out the maternal instinct in me. My son is home. He needs fresh, home cooked food. He needs clean clothes. He needs those clothes washed, dried and ironed. In other words - he needs me. Things that I took for granted as the kids were growing up suddenly take on a new view when they don't have to be done any more.

Our instructions for having kids sound simple. Feed them. Keep them warm. Keep them clean. Look after them and keep them safe. Give them the right amount of freedom at the right point of their growing up to be confident, independent people in their own right. And that's where it gets harder. Because meeting that last part means weaning them off of needing us so much. It means teaching them to stand on their own two feet and go out into the world. Learning how to cope and overcome difficulties on their own in the knowledge that there is unconditional love and support whenever it is needed.

So whilst I hate ironing - I love the fact that this particular boy has brought this particular pile of work for me to do because for just a small period of time again, he needs me to do it for him.

Monday 9 November 2009

Home Cooking

Home cooked chocolate cake. MMmmmm. Now I have your attention!
This is the favourite cake of the son mentioned in yesterday's blog post and I have baked it especially for his return tomorrow. He has a reading week this week. As we haven't seen him for almost 8 weeks, you can imagine we were looking forward to having him home again for a week.
Then his girlfriend found a good deal on the internet for 4 days in Scotland. Now down to 3 days of seeing him.
Then he decided to come home in his girlfriend's car tomorrow rather than come on the train on his own today. 2 days of seeing him.
Then they decided to not leave Manchester until the afternoon tomorrow rather than the morning. 24 hours of precious 'son-time'.
Fortunately that coincides with my day off and so I am looking forward to actually spending time with him. As my daughter has Wednesdays off too, she will be home as well. Maybe we could actually have a nice lunch out in town. I'm not holding my breath though, plans could easily change!
So what has this to do with today's prompt? Not a lot, except that I have become a bit lazy recently in the kitchen. I always cook a hot dinner from fresh ingredients and I do really enjoy cooking but I used to bake - a lot! When my mum was still alive she would come to us every other Sunday and I always baked a proper 'pudding' and always had a freshly made cake for tea. I've got out of the habit and I need to get back into it as it is a good way to relax and the end results are usually worth the trouble. So this is my intention, to have a few posts relating to my cooking successes and disasters, hopefully there won't be too many of the latter but I promise to blog them when they happen!
In the meantime, anyone for a slice of chocolate cake?

Sunday 8 November 2009

A Message to my Son at Uni

and an update on the lounge (now finished)

Friday 6 November 2009

Excuse the mess

Sometimes it scares me a little when a prompt from Shimelle seems so utterly appropriate to what is going on in my little life. Take today's class. Photos from around your home. How did she know that we are smack bang in the middle of decorating the lounge? Spooky.
Normally decorating is done as a team effort, me doing all the cutting, pasting, pointing out bits he's missed, making lunch and numerous cups of tea etc and my husband doing the difficult bits. Like the wallpapering, the ceilings, gloss work and all the bits I deem myself too short or not good enough to do. However, this time he has taken two days off work to do it and therefore, I have been excused participation. Today I have come home to this

which is what a 3/4 finished lounge looks like. Just the ceiling left to do and the glazed doors that open out into the dining room. Certainly nothing a 5' 1" person should be left in charge of ;-)
So while I am closing that door and forgetting about it for a while, let me show you a small part of the dining room that I love.

We decorated this room about 3 weeks ago. And I do mean WE! I painted 3 walls and he wallpapered the 'feature wall'. This little light comes from Laura Ashley and is so pretty. You can't see it that well but it has dozens of little glass beads hanging down and when you switch the bulb on it reflects and looks so beautiful. The shell was a gift from my penfriend who came to visit in May. We've been writing to each other for 40 years now and have met 3 times. She came over and stayed with us before her and her husband left on a Mediterranean cruise and when she got back to the USA she sent us some gifts. One of which was this shell which comes from the area of Sanibel Island, Florida where she has a holiday home. It's absolutely beautiful and I love it!
Normally when I post something showing a layout I have done, I merely put it on the carpet to photograph it, I think I may try using this corner to display things in future.
Now then Shimelle, no more classes telling us to photograph our homes until all decorating is finished - agreed?

Thursday 5 November 2009

Welcome to my Working World

Hello, it's so nice to see you. Do come in, and please excuse the mess. Did you pick up your security pass at reception? Good. So here we are then, ready to discuss the events of my day.
I work part time at a fairly large secondary school in Hertfordshire. About 1200 students at the last count. I work part of my day in the exams office, which is a busy place at the best of times but with Year 11 mock GCSEs starting next week and entries for January modules taking place it's manic.
So let's sit here in the main office where I work for the other hours of my working day, it's quieter in here, but no less busy. Oh, and can I introduce you to my colleague Dany, who is in overall charge of Work Experience but we work very much as a partnership in the months leading up to it. Our girls have just finished their week out in the world of business and we're starting the feedback part of the job.
I want to share something that may seem insignificant to the rest of the world but something that gave us a warm glow this morning and a feeling of 'job well done' all day.
Work experience can be challenging. Some girls know exactly what they want to do and are keen and enthusiastic and it is straightforward to find somewhere for them. It's been tough this year with the credit crunch, businesses don't have the extra staff or time to give up a week to show a 15 year old what they do all day, and quite frankly a lot of places locally haven't survived the recession. Some girls want the impossible, one girl wanted to work at a space station - well, we do have Science College Status so I guess we will always have someone hoping to aim high!
Bearing in mind I had 156 girls to try and find places for, and it's done on first come first served basis, by the time I am down to the last 10, inspiration is seriously lacking. My 156th girl was someone who is not academically inclined, prone to trying to avoid lessons and generally not taking much interest in anything. People told us to not bother taking too much time finding anything as she probably wouldn't turn up anyway.
But something in that comment made Dany and I determined to find something that would hold her interest. I am a firm believer that the 'problem' children are sometimes only a problem as they are bored and don't have any interest in the normal subjects. It is a matter of finding something to grab their imagination and keeping them absorbed. I also feel that everyone needs to feel that their opinion is important, to listen to them and show an interest.
By a convoluted sequence of events and a passing comment when she came to discuss work experience with us, we managed to secure a placement for her at an RAF base in Suffolk, based about 15 mins from where her grandparents lived. It was agreed she could live with them for the week and they would get her there. She absolutely loved it. She went every day, threw herself into whatever they asked of her, is absolutely set on joining the RAF on leaving school. The RAF sent in a glowing report about her, she was a joy to have there and she fitted in from Day 1. She's going back in a couple of weekends time to help out with a display and she has returned to school a more confident, enthusiastic person.
Sometimes you have to accept that a square peg will not fit in the traditional round hole and find the right shaped home for them. We honestly feel that a few extra hours finding something out of the ordinary for her might just have turned her life around.
Gosh, is that the time? The going home bell will be going any minute, thanks for popping in. See you again sometime I hope!

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Take 5

My top five ingredients for a lovely lazy Saturday would have to be:
Spending the day here
The Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden. Total bliss. 100% relaxation and an equal amount of pampering. Nothing less than all us stressed out scrappers deserve!
After being buffed and polished and massaged to perfection, home to a nice chilled glass of :
I never used to drink red wine much but over the years I have discovered that I do in fact quite like it! A nice glass of Montepulciano goes down very nicely but my favourite white wine at the moment is Torres Vina Esmeralda. On offer at our local Waitrose at the moment, don't just take my word for it - give it a whirl!
OK, so my body is relaxed and I am unwinding nicely, time to switch on the tv and watch
Strictly Come Dancing ! Hard to say who my favourite is yet, but most of the celebs I wasn't keen on have gone now. I'm still finding it hard to believe that Ali and Brian were in the dance off ... but I digress.
Of course while I am chilling and relaxing and applauding Natalie and Vincent, drooling over Ricky Whittle's six pack etc etc my darling husband will be slaving away in the kitchen, maybe having taken advantage of a nice M&S dinner offer
Lamb. Of all the meats, lamb is my absolute favourite. And don't try and make me feel guilty by making me think about those fluffy white sheep gamboling around in the fields. I just love Lamb. If we go out for a meal and lamb is on the menu, DH raises his eyebrows and says 'no need to ask what you will be choosing'. Predictable? Moi?
So how best to round off this day? Anyone who knows me will know that one ingredient is missing - chocolate. So I think we need to get out a big box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat.

Has everyone tried Hotel Chocolat? What? How can you not have? They are the best chocolates ever. Check out their website now ! This has been a GOOD prompt Shimelle, I've enjoyed making my list and mentally working my way through it, time to put it into reality I think!

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Proud Parents

Almost exactly a year ago, our daughter graduated from University. It was an amazing day and we were both so proud to see her walk across that stage in her cap and gown. The University Chancellor Professor who was overseeing the gradation ceremony was Robert Winston who we know through his television programmes like Child of our Time and expertise in Fertility Science. His speech was absolutely amazing, funny and interesting and inspiring to the graduates.
We have so many happy memories of that day, it was lovely to see our little girl in her ceremonial robes. The end of a 4 year course that had been eventful in many ways. I have already scrapped a page regarding her graduation but there are so many stories behind that page that can only be fully appreciated by her family and closest friends. Strangers watching her walk across that stage would never know the problems that she had faced and overcome. So this picture brings so many emotions to the fore.

Monday 2 November 2009

Which Mr Man would you be?

If I were a character in one of the Mr Men books I would definitely either be Little Miss Impatient or Little Miss Messy.

I try hard not to be either of these things but one inevitably leads to the other. If I weren't so impatient, I would take my time to do things and be more neat in what I do. But I have always been the same, I want to do something - I want to do it NOW!

So today when the course started, I didn't want the pre-prompt, I wanted the real thing! I kept checking back to see if it were there and I've just seen it in my inbox. As I am out at a Rosemary Conley class tonight, I need to do my first day blog and so (you guessed it) I need to do it NOW!

So what have I been doing today? Well, this morning I got the sneak peek for the November crop day organised by Sue at Crafty Stash along with the class requirements for this month. Trying to guess what kind of layouts we're doing, I've had to search through my photos to find something appropriate. The second layout looks like it is black/white/red themed and I wanted to find a black and white picture of my daughter which would go with that theme. I've found that whilst she refuses to pose for a photo for me, she is happy to have her friends take pictures on nights out and then publish them on Facebook. So while browsing through there, I came across this
I think with a bit of cropping, this could be a good picture to use. Little Miss Glamourous?

Saturday 31 October 2009

Sloe, sloe, quick, quick, sloe

Well I found enough sloes on my foraging hunt yesterday to make my sloe gin.
I 'googled' the recipe and the first one I found had the instructions:

"Take one litre bottle of gin.
Drink half of it."

That made me smile so I went with that one! In the interests of my health and well being I have to state that I already had a half empty/full bottle of gin so did not have to bother with the first part of the recipe - hic!
So here is the picture of the fermenting drink. Should be ready for Christmas. All I have to do is gently agitate the bottle once a day. I think I can manage that!

It's Halloween tonight and I have my bowls of sweets ready and waiting. We don't have too many little kids living by us anymore but I like to be prepared for the ones who do dress up and come trick or treating. My main problem is not taking a sweet out every time I walk past the bowl in the hallway!