Saturday, 16 December 2017

OH has the Lurgey

Unusually for him has a very bad chest infection and is stuffed up to the gunnels one minute and sneezing and coughing away the next.  I have the starts of it as well (he has been unnecessarily sharing)  so I am trying to fend it off.  There was no way out of it I would have to make some French Onion soup with lots of garlic in as well.  I have found that whenever there is a cough or chest infection this simple concoction helps you feel more comfortable at least.

I made double whammy so that there was potentially enough for two good servings each with some plain bread to dip into it.

I started out with four very large onions and sliced them up, frying them in a mixture of light olive oil and butter until they go golden brown, (the original recipe likes to keep the onions as white as possible but I like a little more colour to  my onions and I think the caramelisation helps with the flavour as well.  I then added three large cloves of garlic minced. Once that was all in and to my satisfaction I then added about 3pints of stock a little at a time so that the onions soak in the stock gently and you do not lose much flavour.  I then left it to simmer for about 40 minutes and then switched it off to go cold.  I think soup is like stew you have to cool it down and then heat it up again for it to develop its full flavour.  What is left is going into a Kilner jar and will be popped into the fridge once it is cold for seconds tomorrow if he wants them.  I know I shall certainly have.  

We both had a large bowl of this for our tea tonight.  It has helped soothe my throat and clear it out a bit and my throat feels soothed as do my pipes.  That will be the antiseptic qualities of the Onions and Garlic coming out.  OH has also been going hot and cold and since the soup he seems to have settled down a little bit. There is no cure for a cold but you can make yourself more comfortable by doing things like this as every little helps.  

One thing I do not have when suffering the effects of a cold is milk.  The Doctors say it is not possible but I find that when I have the milk it thickens up the mucous and makes you feel (excuse the phrase) snottier than ever which is the last thing you want to do when with a cold.  I therefore do not have milk at all whilst in a cold after yes but not when going through it.  OH does not drink milk anyway.

Missy also looked hopefully when I dished up the soup.  We did not think she would eat it but I put a little drop in a bowl for her and she lapped the lot up.  So the three of us for this evening at least are all souped up.  Sometimes its nice to have something simple like this to eat especially when you are hungry but do not want much which was the case with us but this has gone down very nicely.

I just hope the pair of us do not have the lurgey for Christmas.

Catch you soon.



Cut n come again - Savoury Ducks (Faggots) and Haslet

I am a Lincolnshire lass and in North Lincolnshire certainly the name often given to faggots is "Savoury Ducks".  I posted quite a while back about this and gave the recipe but felt it was about time to reprise the recipe as this will be one of the things that I will be making for the buffet table later in the week to go with the cold meats, pork pie, haslet etc.  Very much a country dish and relatively economical. You do not need much but it is very tasty and helps pad you out a little bit. It can be served hot (with an onion gravy and veggies) or cold but we normally serve it cold cut into little squares as part of a buffet.  OH likes it a lot and it goes well with all the pickles that have been put down during the year.

The link is here:

I am also hoping to make hacelet (prounced ayslet) as well as I am also quite partial to this, especially if served with Feasting pie or pork pie and pickles.  the recipes I have are here:

So a couple extra things for the cold buffet table if you have time to make them.  Well worth having a go at.

Catch you later on.



Friday, 15 December 2017

I am on holiday now

Until 2 January 2017 and I have an awful lot to do including getting to play with my embroidery machine at long last.  I have been accumulating all the bits and bobs required including threads and stabiliser so that I can have a serious play and play to my heart's content and hopefully produce some pieces that I can turn into pressies or incorporate into a quilt.  I am determined to have some serious play time in this coming year.  I need it - I have so many things to have a go at including a pile of WIPS as well as get to grips with my new equipment.  I am a very lucky girl and I know it.

I have today indulged in some more fir cones very large ones this time which I believe to be the continental ones. They were reduced and not full price. They are for hanging off my garlands in the front room.  I have plain fir garlands (artificial) and I add different natural looking decorations each year to trim them up and personalise them a bit.

I also bought a couple of little wreath decorations made out of felt with embroidery on them.  I intend to make some of my own in the New Year to go with these out of my felt scraps.

I also found a little felted dog for hanging off the Christmas tree which reminded me of Missy so that had to come home too.  Felting is something that I want to have a go at in the future but I have enough to keep me busy thus far.  I was actually looking for a little cat ornament to remind me of my Squeak who passed a couple of weeks ago and who I am still missing terribly.  She was my shadow and terribly vocal.  The other cats are quite vocal as well but she tended to be the ring leader.

One of the things I always look out for is reduced kits from John Lewis when it comes to making something Christmassey.  This year I have managed to pick up about three different kits at very reduced prices.  I will make these up whilst I am off over Christmas as this year I have really promised myself that I want to be better prepared than I have been this year.  Things have fallen a bit off piste in the planning and sorting despite me having made quite a bit of headway.  All is not lost but I have had to make choices as to what I am and am not going to do.  Next year is going to be very different on all counts as I am learning by mistakes.  I am only human after all and if I get things wrong I get them wrong big time. No half measures.

The kits I have managed to get this year at a very great reduction are:

This cardboard box Advent garland which I had a thought to put some battery operated lights into as well if I can.  Will see what can be done when they are made up.

Some Christmas tree decorations including a Gingerbread person, a Reindeer  and one of Santa's Elves.

And these little Christmas tree danglies as well.

So some more home spun Christmas decorations to add to the collection.

I saw a lovely garland the other day which was a pom pom garland; quite simple just a long crochet chain and then every so often dotted a pom pom.  However I was not prepared to pay £20 for it - it was not a bespoke garland but one from a manufacturer who had made these garlands in bulk.  I have the newer pom pom makers which do not take long to make a pom pom so I am going to make some out of some of my wool stash for next year.  In reality I would not have bought these kits without there being such a vast reduction on the price.  

I have also been lusting over some fabric from John Lewis' since September when they got their Christmas fabric in.  Then it was £10 a  metre.  Today they had it reduced to £7 a metre so four metres has come home with me to make a Christmas tablecloth for next year and also trim some plain white knapkins with some of the fabric as well so that it all matches and maybe a spot of embroidery as well.  Here is the fabric:

So there are quite a few things bought for going forward to keep myself occupied and to really get going with my crafting again as well as trying to get a lot of the old UFOs out of the way as well.

So a lot to do in preparation for Christmas but it will be worth it in the end.

Right I had better get a wriggle on.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 11 December 2017

Another one bites the dust

Not as in thw so g from Queen but literally another thing off the check list.

That is the Stinking Bishop cheese is now ordered and paid for.  Something that we have every year.  It is expensive but a yearly treat. It will keep for six weeks from the date of delivery.  I always make sure it has its own sealable box.  So I have been and purchased a couple of new ones. I have also purchased a storage cover which can be used for sweets or savouries but this one is destined for storing all the little bits of intetesting cheeses in the fridge and to keep them all together so that I can find them.

I have also bought more Feta and Goats Cheese both to be done in oil.  Its always handy to have something like this to hand as with some bread and a little salad you can make a nice light meal or a starter.  If I get chance will makw some goat cheese of my own. I have mixed mushrooms to do in  a similar fashion.  Right catch u soon.  Pattypan x

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Erhh I think we have snow

At 3:30am this morning there was not a sign of snow it was freezing outside yes - and it was warmer than it had been earlier in the evening.  When I went to bed it was -1 degree.

This is what I woke up to this morning:

I think that kind of puts the trip off to the tip off for today then!  Oh dear.  We rarely get snow as we are low lying  - well we get it but not normally as bad as everyone else.  So it must be pretty heavy around the outskirts of town in the villages.

My poor bay tree seems to be going in four different directions.

Keep safe and warm everyone. Its blooming freezing out so much so have had hotaches when I have got in.

Needless to say that there is a big pot of stew on and I think we will also be having rice pudding for a change.

Catch you later.



Saturday, 9 December 2017

Operation Christmas

is still in full swing at Chez mois - well to tell you the truth everythings got in a bit of a mess.  All I can do is bog in and get stuck in as best as I can.  I have had a migraine for the past couple of days  - it is still hanging but no time to feel sorry for myself lots to do still.  That has not helped. At least I have the bulk of my glass preserving jars into the shed.  However they will be moved again once OH has cleaned out the stone shed with the pressure washer then the jars can be stored in there out of the way.

I have just had a pit stop to recharge with fish n chips and they have gone down very nicely.

It has been bitter out this afternoon I know as I have been out there sorting in the shed and getting rid of further rubbish.  The little chef's trolley I have has had a good scrub down and is outside.  That is going back into the kitchen rather than the dining room.  Slowly starting to see where I am going.  This is the major deep clean due on the dining room that I do every year before Christmas.  Trouble is the dining room is where we tend to put everything  down so there's always lots of little bits to pick up and put away.

I have Ivy garlands for the dressers, some battery lights, and a fir cone garland as well so I am hoping that they come up well.  Will show once done.  I also have lots of bits for my dining table as well; will probably dress the table to show you how I intend to have it, but will not be able to leave it up as the cats will wreck it.  Come dinner though they will be banned.  So a bit of messing about but it will be worth it just to have everything looking nice.

Right I had better get a wriggle on.  Lots to do.

Catch you later.



Friday, 8 December 2017

Starting to top up and ideas for quick things to add to the table

I have stocked up on Feta today;  I make my own Feta in Olive Oil for the Christmas table.  It is a favourite of OH's as well and I do not mind the odd bit here or there. Goes well with the help yourself food ethic we have here at Christmas (after the main meals are cooked that is). Here is the link.

It keeps well in the fridge and in the long-run it is cheaper to make your own.  I have bought six packs of Feta and stored it in a large jar.  I also add chilli flakes and lemon  and garlic, but you can add other fresh herbs and ingredients.  I like thyme and Rosemary. I had plenty of olive oil in, in any event as I use it a lot for preserves.

It is nice served with a salad and/or with warm garlic bread as something light when you need something to eat but not that much really.

I also keep in at Christmas Cream Fraiche and mix this with a little natural yogurt and crushed fresh fruit like Raspberries and Strawberries which have been crushed (if you do not like the seeds sieve out) add a little sweetening you can use icing sugar, sugar or artificial sweetener to taste and make sure everything is combined together and then chill in the fridge.  Makes a nice light pudding.

Or just want to dip things like crisps or breadsticks.  Get some grated cheese and onion, natural yogurt, Cream Fraiche.  Mix everything together apart from the yogurt and if your mixture is too stiff slacken it down with a little yogurt.  Chill then bring out to chip and dip. You can also add a little garlic.  This one always goes down a treat here. Yum.

Catch you soon.



Its a bit raw out there

And has been like it for the best part of the day!  Needless to say where I can I have stayed in the warmth of the house with extra layers of clothing on as well.  I had to nip out to Wilkinson's to get some bits and bobs so OH nipped me over there.  I have ended up buying bird feeders and different bird seeds and fat balls for the birds.  Now that my fence has been replaced!  I have somewhere to pop the feeders on to help the local bird population where I can.  I have bought two seed feeders and a fat ball feeder. We do have local Robins as well so hopefully all the seed supplies will keep them going.  There are also mealworms.  Not what I went out for but it will help the local bird population I hope.  They find it difficult enough with the cold British weather as it is.

I would quite like a proper bird house for the garden as well but that will be for another day I think.  It is still on the wish list. 

Short and sweet as they say; hopefully be back a little later on.

Catch you soon.



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Well the Christmas shopping has commenced

I normally enjoy this but not so much today apart from my forays into the craft shop and the acquisition of one or two more items for the craft box.  I shall be paying a further visit as there were one or two other items that I simply could not manage to carry today. I have come home with a raging migraine and so off to bed it is for me today.  I should have been out but I just cannot cope with it my head is pounding like a steam train. Hopefully after some sleep I should be brighter tomorrow.  These things are sent to try us.

Catch you soon.


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Planming for good Roasties

We have had pork for tea this evening roasted with all the trimmings. We shall have it one more time before Christmas - this is a routine that I have every year in that I cook a pork roast and gather the dripping solely for use in the Christmas Roasties. I also like Goose fat but often think that the pork dripping from such a joint makes the best Roasties going.  My mother in law taught Jess told me to add lard to the cooking juices of the pork  The pork is raised on a grid and then the meat juices drip into the fat.  I have a deep roasting tray with a rack and so this is what I do.  I add about 1lb of lard. It is popped in the meat tray at the beginning of the cooking. It flavours well and then we have pork dripping for doing the Roasties but also for on bread.  Yum.  Most of you are going yuk at this point but I tell you it works really well.

When doing my Roasties I always blanch potato halves or quarters for about 10 minutes.  I then drain in a colander with a saucepan lid over the potatoes.  I cook shallots prior to the potatoes until they start to caramelise and then I add the  the potatoes to the hot dripping and turn the potato all the way round so that it is liberally coated.  I also add a couple of pinches of sea salt scattering it liberally over the potatoes.  The shallots can also be served with the Roasties for dinner.  Helps give a bit more colour to the potatoes as well.  I have found from experience that beef or pork is best for the dripping as you always get a nice colour but poultry can be wishy washy and sometimes the potatoes just do not want to brown.  So the Sunday before Christmas we will be having roast pork for dinner just so that we can have scrummy Roasties.  The meat juices from Pork and from Beef also add a lovely flavour to the gravy.  I make gravy the old fashioned way with veg juices or veg stock (home made).  Now if I had a really big cold pantry I would have a go at making my own Consomme

My mum always reckoned that the food had to be tasty (and hers generally was very good - apart from the time she served up Tripe and Onions - the three of us were not impressed) but that is another story.  Her mum and my other grandmother as well as my mum always reckoned that it was the gravy that was the crowning glory to a meal.  Me I love lashings of gravy - not swimming but quite a bit - not a dribble you want to taste it.

What are your views on Roasties and Gravy - do you make in a similar way or have an alternative method.  Would love to hear from you.

Catch you soon.



P.S. am still slaving away in the shed and we are seeing a llight at the end of the tunnel.  OHs tools are now easily findable!

Catch you soon


PPS.  Should have also mentioned that when the pork dripping is ready and before it sets I decant it into an old pudding bowl (one where the glaze has come off) and cover and store it in the fridge.  Each time there is a use for it just bring the bowl out and take what you want.  It will keep in the fridge like this for a good couple of weeks and I also use it for doing Bubble and Squeak as well.

Evening all

I have been busy in action in the garden all day.  A lot to do and still more yet to achieve but things are starting to turn round a little bit.  I have also got the Ivy baskets in situ and planted some more up. 

I did not get to B & Q today but maybe tomorrow will see. 

Its been cold and overcast here all day - no sunshine and it is very cold out there at the moment.  I shall be working in the shed until it is finished.  Have had a right old sort out in there and am in the process of sorting everything so that we can find it.  OH is a messy worker and tends to leave everything where it should not be and I end up tailing behind him and popping everything into one place so that I know where it is when it starts looking for it.  He can never find anything anyway even when it is right under his nose. 

I have been working hard all day including lugging the heavy bags out into the front garden for his lordship to take to the tip on Saturday  Am stopping off for a nice piece of roast pork with mixed veg and mashed potatoes for my dinner with lots of gravy and then I shall be off out again to carry on with the shed.  Once the shed is organised I will be able to get the stuff in from out of the house.  Needless to say a lot of rubbish has been removed.  I also found some things that I had been looking for. 

I have done better on the plant front than I had realised.  Just really need a bit of this and that for the side garden then some festive lighting should set the scene for Christmas although am still after the two miniature Christmas trees. I also want a couple of small plants for the front garden and two hanging baskets and then when the garden is cleared, hedge cut and leaves swept up will get some more gravel into the front garden to tidy things up a little and make it look presentable. I managed to get my four wooden planters down and some plants into them.  Two are designated for two bay trees.  Once everything is as I want it and my lanterns and home made night light holders are down I shall put in the solar lanterns which are like Victorian style lanterns and then I shall have a look for some outdoor lights. Never had those before.

So its hard work as usual but it will be worth it in the end. Just off to have my tea - yum - hopefully I will get back later on - otherwise it will be tomorrow.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 4 December 2017

Brief Stop

I am getting stuck in, in the stretch of back garden which is what I refer to as my herb patch.  With me not being 100% just recently the garden has got into a right two and eight and so I have been bogging in for the last couple of hours trying to get it sorted.  It is coming very slowly but at least I can see where I have been. Even though I have had to do battle royal with a rogue bramble that had affixed itself into the wall of the house.  Grhh. It got a bit chilly so I have just popped in for a couple of Scotch pancakes (on this occasion not made but bought) and a nice Mazawatti Coffee to try and warm me up a little.  Will be going back out in a minute or two as I want to break the back of this tonight.  I need to get into the shed  as that needs sorting and I also have a lot of bottling stuff in the house which needs clearing out and putting with the rest of the stuff.  I need to clear all the paths first before I can do that.  The shed also needs painting with the Seagrass Cuprinol to preserve it.  Probably wrong time of year to be doing it but it needs it.  Its a good day for working in the garden as although damp the sun is out although it is a little chilly although pleasant for working.  I look a right so and so in my old tatty jeans, splashed with mud, a couple of old thick jumpers, my gilet and my bright yellow Marigold gloves (could not find my gardening ones - but that's par for the course with me). 

Looks as though OH will be going to the tip at the weekend whether he wants to or not.  The paths will then need cleaning with the new pressure washer I bought about a month ago and have not had chance to use yet. This is only stage one of the garden as I want to pot up some baskets and I need to go to B & Q in any event.  May well go first thing tomorrow morning to see what I can find.  I would quite like some outside cyclamen as they always give a blast of colour at this time of year and some Lenten Roses if I can find them and Winter pansies.  Pansies always look so cheerful. I have plenty of trailing Ivy.  Our back door is the only door we use so at this time of year I make a bit of an effort for it to be tidy (do in summer too) even though the rest of the garden might be a bit of a mess.  I would quite like some miniature fir trees to put in the back part and some standard holly trees and bay trees as well.  I have two lovely large lanterns to put in this back space as well large square ones which are currently white but could end up going black.  Will see how they look once everything is in situ.  Right had better get a wriggle on and get back to the garden.  Warmed up a little now.

Catch you soon.



Starting to get ahead - freezing things

As I have always worked time has always been at a premium and especially when the children were at home.  I got into some habits then which I have continued to use and which do help free up time in the countdown to Christmas.  I also take advantage where I can of reductions and offers although I always weigh up the offers as sometimes they are not as good as they appear to be. 

I managed to source some reduced parsnips at the weekend and as it is fresh veg (which I prefer where possible) I have prepared, blanched and frozen them myself and they are now residing in the deep freeze ready for dragging out as part of the Christmas meal.  I have done the same with carrots and Brussel sprouts in the past as well. I am afraid we do not like al dente Brussel Sprouts.

Back then I only had a half sized oven and one oven at that which was the big one so we ended up juggling i.e. getting all the stuffing prepared, the veggies prepared and then cooked including the Roasties put them to one side after cooked and then do the Turkey.  When the Turkey comes out the veggies are then finished off.  I also use when I have lots of company a triple tiered electric steamer which frees up the hob for the Christmas pudding, gravy, and the rum sauce for the Christmas pudding.  I used to do the Bread sauce on the hob as well but I have now taken to making this ahead of time and freezing several pots in one go so that we can also enjoy it with Chicken.   I then warm it up in the microwave.  Bread sauce is a must have with Chicken and with Turkey and is a good filler with some stuffing and Turkey or chicken and home made cranberry sauce in a sarnie to use the meat up afterwards.  It also uses up a much wasted product of the bread and I also make my own breadcrumbs as well.  I have also done the same with my home made Cranberry sauce and Grand Marnier which is lush.

Later this week I shall also make a stash of sausage rolls and mince pies (with my home made mincemeat); freeze them raw in their tray and once frozen decant them into trays so that they do not get crushed.  Then when I need them I just drag them out of the freezer and cook straight up as I need them back in their original pan.  That way round I will not be wasting anything.  Just like my Nan taught me.  Even more important in this day and age. 

Following my family's tradition which as far as I know goes back to my Great Great Grandmother and perhaps further back than that, my mother's family always baked on Christmas Eve.  The rule used to be work hard and get everything done then you can rest and have a bit of a break over the actual Christmas period itself and that great satisfaction was gained from achieving that and it meant that the food was at its freshest.  That is one of the reasons my family have always preserved so that after the main meal you could have a cold spread and it would be packed out with various pickles, chutneys, bubble n squeak, cold stuffing with a bit of bread and butter then followed by sausage rolls, Trifle, a bit of cake.  We used to think (and still do) that we are rich in other things if we have good tasty food to eat.  We go for taste more than for presentation although I do try on this score.  A memory can be recreated from a flavour.

So the countdown begins.  Doing a bit every so often in this way makes for more time for the fancy bits later on.  I also have the Chestnut Chocolate Mousse/Terrine to make as well and then they can also go into the freezer.

Right had better get a wriggle on.  

Catch you later on.



Sunday, 3 December 2017

Christmas Countdown

Has begun and I am now on the Christmas countdown in order to try and get quite a bit done before the big day.  A lot of hard work but it will be worth it in the end.

OH has bought me croissants for breakfast this morning; an almond one and a chocolate one.  Both were naughty but very yummy - I am particularly fond of a Croissant for breakfast at the weekend with a nice cup of coffee (not strong).  Very civilised.  I need to come too gradually of a morning as I tend to be a bit of an owl at the best of times so am best left to my own devices for the first half hour or so otherwise I tend to be very grumpy.

I am very stiff again with all the cold weather and damp; my joints are swollen at the moment which is not a good sign either. Keep taking the paracetamol! Not good when you have lots to do as it tends to slow me down not that I am a rocket but there is a noticeable difference and a lot of the time this is what slows me up.  Never mind we can only do what we can do when all said and done; but next year will be different again.  I must make the time to do what I want to do and get better organised.  There is just too much I want to do at the moment and not enough time to do it in. 

My embroidery machine is going to be used over the Christmas holiday and I also hope to get cracking with the patchwork on my all purpose Janome and cutting out more pieces with the Accuquilt.  I have been accumulating dies for quite some time and still have a few more on the wish list.  There is also the recycled men's shirts quilt in reds, blues and whites to do; which is the original idea I had for doing my first quilt.

Then there is a project that I have in mind using men's recycled shirts again for the fabric using the embroidery machine and patchwork techniques.  We will see how we get on first.  Another recycling project on the cards though along with the others I already have stacked up. 

Come New Year though I intend to work on these and get them out of the way with.  The beauty of the embroidery machine is that it will be working whilst I am sewing on the other machine and I will just have to sort out once there is a colour change or if there is a problem.

Then there are my embroidery kits, the second hand part worked pieces, my needlepoint kits, my crochet. Recycling damaged linens into something new. So ideally the first part of the year needs to be centred on getting things like this done and making presents for next Christmas.  As I have said before I think it is going to get expensive on the thread and fabric fronts and then there will be the software patterns as well but I am looking forward to it -its been a long time coming and having to wait just that little bit longer to play with it and to get it set up properly will be worth the wait.  Then when OH goes fishing again I really will be able to give up time and play. I really need to be crafting to relax now that I have lost my partner in crime to the rainbow bridge who used to make me sit and relax.  As usual I have so many ideas and not enough time to do it.

Over the Christmas period I also have a stack of DVDs to watch so a time to put my feet up as well.  I am looking forward to simply just being and hopefully flopping a bit which I do not normally get the chance to do.  

We have been out for a meal tonight.  OH did not really want to go but even so he has enjoyed what he has had to eat.  He had roast turkey and I had roast beef.  I just needed to get out of the house for a little while.  We bought a doggy bag back for Missy as I could not eat all the meat that they gave to me. Shame to waste it so we bought it back for Missy.  That has soon gone.

Right upwards and onwards much more to do.

Catch you soon.



Saturday, 2 December 2017

Thank you

Thank you for all the love and support you have shown on my recent loss of Squeak.  It is very much appreciated.

Despite having the other cats, and this is no reflection on them, the house seems so empty without her as she was always the first to greet me in the morning and when I came home from work and using me as a climbing post not minding whether I had clothing on at all or not.  Ouch! And then curling around my neck in her preferred spot as I went through the house or sitting on the top of the dining room door when it was ajar.  At least she is not suffering, she had been showing signs of a cold but it did not seem to be as bad as the one she had had earlier in the year.

We have buried her in the garden under the Cherry tree with my other fur babies.  She was such a special placid cat.  Even when we introduced new members to the fur baby family she was always sweet natured and welcoming with them and especially with the kittens and then she became Aunty Squeak, chief baby sitters when they got too much for Molly and Molly needed time out.  The kittens are not really kittens anymore as they are now four years old, but I still refer to them so.

She will be forever in my heart.

Thank you once again.



Friday, 1 December 2017


 I was supposed to have gone out this evening to a Christmas party however that has not happened because when I got in and went to check on Squeak my old lady; she was not very good and passed over the Rainbow bridge whilst I held her.  I have had her since she was a wee kitten.  She came with her brother Bubble.  Unfortunately Bubble got run over outside of the house at about 8 months old.

I have had quite a few years of love from an incredible and lovely natured cat.  I shall miss her dreadfully.  Even though I have five other cats there will only ever be one Squeak

Squeak in the window boxes outside of the house one of her favourite places.

Rest in peace sweetheart.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Its very cold here Peterborough and has been for most of the day.  We have even had news that out Wisbech way there was a flurry of snow -that was this morning.  It turns out that we had a flurry of slow this morning in Peterborough.  We have also had a few flakes of snow whilst I have been in town.  I think the snow looks pretty but on a practical basis it makes it difficult getting around.  We shall see if we have any overnight.  Those of you who have the snow just take it steady and keep safe.

I have a lovely thick jacket that OH bought me to keep me warm but today because of the biting wind it seemed to go straight through me.  I took my shawl that I keep at work out with me to try and keep the wind blowing through me when I finished work as I needed to go into town to look for a present for a friend.  

So off I pootled phone in hand  - then it died.  The arrangement was that OH would come and collect me when I was ready and all I had to do was phone.  Trouble is with the phone dying on me I did not have his number so when I had finished my shopping I went and caught a taxi home. Not before I had been to M & S and bought some food for tea.  I also treated myself to a bottle of "Mulberry Gin".  It was on offer.  I don't think I have ever had Mulberries before, but then again I am not sure.  I seem to have a faint memory of them featuring in my early years but do not know why; just seems to be a memory that is slipping bit by bit through my fingers like quicksilver.

Oh it was so good to come into a lovely warm home.  One thing I do not skimp on is heat  as without it my medical conditions get a lot worse if I do.  I would rather cut corners elsewhere.  I then set too and cooked tea.  An M & S Steak pie with Old Peculiar Ale in the mix.  Delicious served with mashed potatoes, stringed beans, mixed veg and mashed carrot and swede crush with lots of onion gravy.  It has gone down very well especially with it being so cold.  But at least we now have insulation on the inside so to speak.  The cold makes me hurt on the inside - that is the only way I can describe I and sometimes its like toothache in your bones.

Talking of heat though I would be happier if I had a couple of log burners to help heat the house.  I think you should have a couple of options at least when it comes to cooking and heating your home; whereas in reality this house at least is heated via a gas boiler and that is it.  That bothers me but there is not a great deal I can do about that here.

OH apparently was late up this morning in any event - unusually for him he switched his alarm off and ended up going back to sleep and then waking up in a panic.  I was completely oblivious as I was out for the count too and then nearly did not make getting up at regular time anyway.  I am very tired and I know he is.  However lots to do over the next week so I do have to get stuck in.

We have a works party (his) to go to over the weekend as well so that should be interesting. I like good company but I also hope that we will not be massively late either.

Right had better get a wriggle on things to do still before I get to bed.

Catch you soon.



P.S.  Nearly forgot would like to welcome a new follower Kate from Oregon who is very welcome.  Put the kettle on, make a brew, pull up a chair get yourself comfy and then start reading.  There are lots of ramblings to go back on.  Hope you finds something useful and of interest and a lot of like-minded ladies.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Good Evening Everyone

Since the Sunday shennagins (when indeed I did cut my leg) things have been a bit quieter I hasten to add. Phew!

I am still very busy here at home as I am at work but that is par for the course.  I am on holiday next week and I really have a heck of a lot to do to the house prior to Christmas and prior to an inspection which is due to take place on 18 December, when again I am off for the week before Christmas yay!  I also need to lick the first part of the back garden into shape.  I have plans to get a couple of small Christmas trees, some more bay trees - standards, and probably some outdoor cyclamen if I can as well as a couple of holly standards.  I have Ivy hanging baskets already although I could do with another couple of box.  I have two large white lanterns which I intend to pop some pillar candles into - to set the scene.  I also have the shed to stain - I chose Seagrass colour which should show up nicely if it snows but also go with the small cafeteria table for two I bought in the summer.  I also bought some solar lamps inn the shape of Victorian lanterns during the summer months so I may well put those out as well.  The pavements are going to be cleaned with the pressure washer I bought the other week.  The garden will certainly be tidied this weekend and the shed will be stained during the course of the week a little at a time when I can spare a few moments.

When the house is all sorted then I might be able to get to play properly with my new toys, do some patchwork and some embroidery as well as anything else that takes my fancy.  I am so ready for a nice long break where for once I will be able to chill.  That is if I get the house sorted out in good time.  So a week off next week but no lay ins and plenty to do.  Sorting the house out also means sorting the garden - the chap wants to come and fit the new fence after nearly two years without it!  Maybe I will get the new bathroom suite and the new double glazing for the back of the house after all.  Fingers crossed and toes plaited!

Fortunately I have the second week off as well (week before Christmas) so I will be able to do a lot of the cooking, wrapping etc. and get stuff delivered as well as any last minute shopping sorted then.

Also on the cards is a massive sort out of my clothes - some are far too big for me now and so will be going round to the Charity shop.  I need the space in the wardrobes in any event to get some of my newer clothing in.  Some of it will hit the rag bin.  I need some new trousers so I will be looking out for some of them or alternatively I may well make some.  Will see how it goes.

It will be nice to play no matter what.

I am also picking up the odd decorations here and there (more on that later) and also items for the house; I have bought another rug, red and creamy white with reindeers on which goes with two fleece blankets bought last year and also a couple of throws which were bought a few years ago.  It also goes with the red and green throws bought last week so I am confident that we have something warm and soft to curl up under whilst watching the TV or films over Christmas.  Makes all the difference on a cold winter afternoon to be nice and cosy.  Now if I had that Aga/Rayburn or indeed a couple of log burners I would be in seventh heaven.  However I do not think that is going to happen here.  Maybe somewhere else but not here.  I also need some new cushion pads for the front room. I have bought several seasonal Christmas cushions which are only cheapies but they will look better if filled out with a proper pad.    I also intended bringing home half a dozen decorated glasses in champagne flutes and a smaller flute from TK Maxx.  However the fell of my basket and broke before I had paid for them.  I told the Shop Assistant who took them off to stop anyone getting hurt. I was a little upset at this as I really liked the glasses.

I have also picked up a single large white pottery cake stand -  I am hoping the large glass cloche I picked up last week will fit nicely on it - If not nothing lost.  It will be ideal for a cake or indeed for putting candles on to create a central display on the table.  There is always a way that you can use them to create a display or show something off.

I also picked up a deep rounded mince pie tray in a cream enamel. Should have been £20 picked it up for £4.99.  That is what I call a bargain. Nice and deep so that I can snaffle away some mince pies into the freezer and then just bring them out and cook them as we need them.  Talking of which I need to sort the freezers.

I also collect jelly moulds; just recently I have found three different glass moulds with different patterns in the base.  I pick them up from the Charity shops for next to nothing and then give them a good scrub and use them.  Ideal for Christmas when traditionally home made jellies from fresh or frozen juices were made.

Today I managed to find a large green glass bottle which will be ideal for vinegar or oil just need to find a closure to fit it.  I always check the charity shops out for things like this as it is satisfying to reuse something time and time again that has been discarded by someone else.  There is nothing sadder than an empty bottle.

I also managed to find four gold decorated tumblers.  They are large and they are decorated in gold script. If I remember correctly Woolworths had this type of glass in many years ago.  I did not buy the tumblers but I think I bought some Irish Coffee glasses or similar.  As many of you regular readers probably already know I collect different types of vintage glassware with gold accents and then I mix and match them for the Christmas table.

Right had better get a wriggle on.

Catch you all later on.


Sunday, 26 November 2017

If it wasn't so funny I could cry

About four months ago we had a house inspection where I gave the person who inspected the house a whole list of items that needed doing including that we needed a new toilet pan/bathroom as the toilet pan was cracked and the bath is rusty in the bottom (it was when we moved in and the Landlady the current Landlord's mum chose to do nothing about it - that was 30 years ago.

Nothing has happened at all since that inspection and another one is shortly due.

This morning I nipped to the loo, sat down there was a hell of a clatter and I sank looked to see what had happened and there was a large chunk of porcelain on the floor from the toilet pan.  The toilet pan had broken so that we could not flush it.  Major problem.  Sunday morning panic (late Sunday morning).  I came up stairs to report to OH  told him what had happened and tried to resist the need to bust into fits of giggles, but it was very clear he was  not at all happy!  I simply had not done it on purpose.  (Please no jokes about me being overweight I am just not going to live this one down).  I think I must have accident waiting to happen tattooed on my forehead!

So off we went to B & Q.  Have managed to find a replacement pan and cistern at not too exorbitant price, but ours was an old style loo like the porcelain ones that you used to get in public toilets.  The hole goes straight into the floor rather than at an angle like the newer versions.  Picked the brains of an Assistant who did his best in the circumstances and we found what we needed to make it work with our set up.  However OH needs daylight to see what he is doing and it was by the time we got back losing the light. Our loo room is tacked onto the end of the main bathroom and does not get much light anyway.

I have stripped everything out and washed everything down for him to hopefully get it replaced soon I have made sure it is hygienic.  In the meantime some silicon and monster gaffa tape are holding it together so that we can go in the meantime.  I am just praying it does not go on me again as that I would never live down!

I do hope everyone else has had a lovely Sunday.

We have had a very nice Sunday dinner a little roast pork and crackling, with mashed potato, mixed veg (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower), and then peas and shredded cabbage with lots of gravy and apple sauce.

Me I am off to carry on.  Have a programme to watch at 9:00am and then some ironing for our clothes tomorrow.  I have a feeling it is going to be a really busy week.

Catch you soon.



Thick Sterilised Cream

I have been searching for this for yonks and as I had not found any I thought that with the take over of the company that I had sourced it from originally i.e. Fussells and there was another supplier as well, that with so many useful products that was it.

However I was talking to a friend at work who completely out of the blue mentioned it and I remarked that I had not seen it for years and she said that her mum had got her it recently from B & M, but it is called something slightly different to what it used to be.  Knowing that some of you will also remember this very useful little product I thought I would share.

So a trip to B & M was in order.  I subsequently went and I found it and snaffled seven tins for the pantry shelf as this is something that we always used to have with jelly and fruit for Sunday evening tea.  I am so pleased to have found it again, thanks to a friend at work.

I had some last night with pudding the rest is in the fridge just "chillin" for me to have with pudding tonight.  I can also categorically state that its the same as it always used to be.

This is what it looks like now:

I remember as a child that everything either used to be bottled, came from a tin or came fresh from the veg market, fishmonger or the Butcher. No supermarkets.  People today do not seem to keep a tin store like they used to but this is something that I regularly do or have done to date as a quick meal or pudding can be obtained quite quickly or they can be cooked and turned into something else.  Do any of you also keep a tin store and is there an ingredient/blast from the past that you have not seen for years.

Love to hear from you.



Stir up Sunday

For this year is today. The first Sunday in advent, the time to light the first Christmas candle and the day when Christmas puddings are traditionally made.  So if you have not made them yet now is the time to get cracking if you can and get them made so that they are matured in time for Christmas.  Do not forget to get the family all lined up to give a stir of the pudding (and make a wish) for good luck for the coming year (whenever you make it). There is nothing quite like a home made Christmas pudding. Full spicy, tasty and then there is the ceremony of pouring spirt over the pudding and flaming it on Christmas Day.

Below are two previous posts I have written re the Christmas pudding including the recipe I use which is a Delia one.  The only real amendments I make are that  I use a combination of Guinnes and Cider to mix the pudding and I also add a grated carrot and and a grated apple.

If you have already made your puddings (I have) then well done, and to those of you who have not had a go I would urge you to try the same.  They are not complicated (as many of you will know).  I use greasproof paper to top the pudding and then wrap with foil to steam the pudding not a pudding cloth.  Once the pudding has cooked the greaseproof on top can get a little greasy so I do sometimes replace the foil only and then overwrap with a muslin pudding cloth to store it cleanly in the pantry.

Right I am off to get on with some other bits and bobs.

Catch you soon.



Saturday, 25 November 2017

Very cold here and Tales from the kitchen

Just a quick pop in.  Bitterly cold here today.  Very much soup weather.  So rather than making my own like I usually do I gave in and bought some from the Co-Op. The only reason being I was so cold I did not want to end up with a cold and good warming food usually ensures that you keep healthy.  I bought Minestrone but we were not keen.  Even OH tried because it was Minestrone, but its not what he thinks of as Minestrone.  So I will not be buying that again and will be making my own from now on in.  The only reason I bought was that I needed a solution to an immediate problem.  OH informed me that I should carry on with my usual practice of adding in what I think rather than following a specific recipe as he thinks it is more flavourful that way on. (Back-handed compliment?  Not sure).

Never mind I have bought two chickens; they will be roasted together. One will be for dinner the other together with the pickings from the first chicken will go towards some individual pies and also soup/stew and stock and if enough meat left over will go towards Coronation chicken for pack ups.  I would emphasise that they are the larger chickens.  The stock of course at this time of year is always useful and gives more flavour.

I have also bought a joint of pork for roasting for dinner tomorrow with home made stuffing that should make a good meal with home made apple sauce as well and then any left overs for serving cold on Monday night with some bubble n squeak.  Goes very well with cold cuts.

I may if I get the time also make a Treacle sponge pudding with custard and a crumble for OH.  (Too much sugar in the Treacle one for him).

I have a few bay leaves drying at the moment.  Not many but enough to put into a jar to go into soups and stews and gravies and sauces.  You can also grind them down into bay leaf powder and just add a little here and there.  You do not require much.

I need to get veggies from the veggie shop.  I bought some chestnuts that had been reduced and intend to have some hot later on as a treat.  I have picked up what would be the equivalent of two nets for £2.  They will come in handy.  I did not tarry as it was so cold and told them that I will be back later on which I will.  When its told you really do need to have nice warming food to keep well no matter how simple or that you do not have loads of vegetables.  I often find that simple is best.

 Right had better get a wriggle on.

Catch you later.



Some Wraps and things

I hate to be cold and you can in an old house get very cold very quickly so on the rare occasions I sit for any length of time I do get cold.  I went to TK Maxx today and found two lovely lightweight wraps to pop over my legs for when I sit.  They are in a beautiful cherry/Christmas red and lovely limey green; both Christmas colours.  I am extremely chuffed with these.

I have also managed to source some white linen napkins with a gold star on each - I could not find anymore plain ones but I will keep my eyes open for those.  I think they will put in an appearance before long and then I will use them to embroider something on.  A good idea for some Christmas presents or a housewarming present once I get to grips with the embroidery machine.

I must admit the more research I am doing the more beautiful designs I am finding and am excited at the prospect of actually doing some of these wonderful things for myself.  But that is for another time.

I have also managed to find another large glass cloche which I think will be perfect for a cheese board that I purchased last year.  I think it will be the ideal size.  There was only the one; I tend to buy things in twos as a rule.

This year I also have a thing about stars.  I have found a wooden Christmas star decoration which will be ideal off one of the garlands or just hung in the window.

I have also purchased some new jumpers today as I was in dire need of them as I do really feel the cold.  A lot of my older ones are getting past their best by date for me  and I have lost weight to what I was when I bought them, and as I have to look smart for work will probably end up in the Charity bag.  There is still a lot of wear in them but I do have to look smart!

It has been a very busy week this week and I am shattered but I do have a lot to do over the weekend.  I am afraid therefore that I will have to catch up when I can as I have an awful lot to achieve.

Catch you soon.



Friday, 24 November 2017

Being Hacked

I have a Paypal account.  

Someone has tried to hack my account this account this week.

It all started with what appears to be a simple email from Paypal. 


We apologise for the inconvenience but we don't recognise the device for your security, we need to confirm your identity.

1.  Download the attached document and open it in a secure browser.
2.  Follow the verification process to protect your account.

If you have bought a new computer or are using one you have not previously used.  You may have changed the settings on your browser or switched to a new browser.  You may have deleted your cookies.

Your Internet Service provider may have changed settings on their system.  And remember you can always log in directly to Paypal in the profile settings areas.

Yours sincerely

I suspected that it was not a legitimate email.  It invited me to download a document in order to contact them.  I have chosen not to do this, preferring to go independently via the Paypal account to see if there was a problem on their message centre.  There was nothing as far as I could see. So I emailed them via their secure account.

I have had some Cyber training at work which chiefly has told us that if we receive an email and we are suspicious even though it may be purporting to come from someone we may know of or an organisation such as Paypal THEN WE ARE NOT TO OPEN IT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. At work we are told to go to straight to IT but at home you are your IT Department.

If your gut instinct is telling you that something is wrong then it normally is.  Do not ever access any attachments to such emails as you will end up losing personal information in effect you are being hacked and then they may be at liberty to use your information as and when they please.

Always check the source address i.e. in the top left hand corner of your screen.  If it is a legitimate email address it will have said details at the top.  Not something else or something that could be related to something or someone personal.  This email even had a logo similar to Paypals.  So be very wary.

When I checked the address instead of Paypal details the source address  was something else completely a persons name plus extra.  (and no or com on the end. (on the particular one I had although this may differ on other scams) DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GIVE ANY PERSONAL DETAILS ETC. VIA EMAIL.  IF NOT SURE CONTACT THE COMPANY DIRECT BY TELEPHONE A legitimate company will not do this. There are also likely to be errors in the letter itself like Dear, instead of your name and the content of the letter might be a little iffy and contradictory. Sometimes the emails seem innocuous but have a hidden sting.  I have reported this to Paypal.  They have come back to me pretty promptly with full details on security and phishing scams and ultimately have confirmed it is a virus and they will follow through with it but with instructions to delete it off my system.

I chose to keep it in my email box until I had heard what they wanted me to do.  I have subsequently emailed it to them and on receipt of their instructions I deleted it.  I have subsequently changed passwords as well on various accounts as well.

I had to look twice; so please be careful as I would hate anything harmful to happen to any of you.




Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)