Sunday, 31 January 2016

Progress of a Kind

Well that is the dining room nearly done and dusted and it has been washed out within an inch of its life.  I still have the dressers to wash and polish and to rearrange the contents on the shelves but I am pleased to report we are slowly getting there.  I love it when everywhere is lovely and clean and it smells "clean".  I have been using a Dettol cleaner (blue in colour) but it smells lovely and fresh and none too harsh like bleach can.

OH has also started to decorate and paint out the computer/craft room and I am chuffed with the colour scheme which is called "Putting Green" by Dulux and I like it.  It suits the room in question together with white paintwork it should look lovely and fresh.   It is only small so we wanted nothing too light or too dark.  Also seriously impressed with the paint - no pong and no chemical pong either.  Once he has finished in there it will be time to wash everything down including the floor and arranging things how we want them.  I would quite like some shelves above the desk so that I can pop up some of my craft and needlework magazines into magazine holders in order that I can access them more readily.  I might be able to put my craft drawers in here too with a bit of luck.  The one that holds all my dies and embossing folders.

We also popped some more stuff in the attic.  Am going to have to look at putting a floor down here so that we can pop some more stuff up safely.  I was thinking along the lines of putting some boards down with screws in so that if we ever left we could take it with us, and could potentially be used elsewhere but that it gives us safe storage space in the meantime.  I do have quite a lot of sorting to do not something that can be done just like that - this is going to take some time.  I am hoping once the craft room/computer room is done that I will be able to start focusing on getting some of those UFOs out of the way and also start making some little presents or the home made Christmas stash as well as the patchwork

I am hoping to get quite a bit of decorating done this year to freshen everywhere up - its been a while since it has been done.  I also want to get the garden sorted out as well so that we can use it for family barbecues etc. and I also want to grow a little veg.  I always do my own herbs in the border outside the back door.  Might get some fruit bushes - thinking specifically Raspberries here.  There is nothing more lovely than having a wander down the garden picking a few fresh raspberries and then having them with your breakfast cereal; that to me is a lovely start to the day.

We have had a lovely tea tonight a Steak and Onion Pie from the Brampton Pie shop for tea this evening served with Mashed potato put through the ricer and then mashed with the masher and it came up buttery light and tasty.  I always add a little butter and milk as well.  We also had crushed carrot and swede broccoli and cauliflower and peas with lots of gravy and it was just what the Doctor ordered  as it is absolutely bitter out.  Now that the lock on the back door has been replaced although still a little draughty the door is fitting much better and the house is warmer.  OH still has dining room door to sort out then once that is done I can lock the cats in the dining room for the night and keep the house and them reasonably warm.

Right upwards and onwards still an awful lot to do but at least I am starting to feel as though I am starting to get there a bit.

Catch you soon.



Thursday, 28 January 2016

Followers are up and down like a yo yo

On Blogger that is - I think its down to them changing the rules to suit themselves which involves everyone having to have a google account to access blogs that you follow easily and readily in order that the posts slip into your inbox seamlessly.  Why do they have to mess with things.

At first I thought it was something I said or did not say but after reading this it sort of explains quite a lot!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Well its the Dining Room now

That is getting my serious attention in the cleaning department but needs must and all that.  Or perhaps it should be called the dumping room where everyone pops something down and then forgets to put it away. Guess who gets to clear it up!   Its the middle room between front room/lounge and the small galley kitchen the main thoroughfare through the house.  Everything is getting washed down the walls and the furniture and it if stands still it will get washed too. Quick evacuation of the premises by OH and the cats!

Mind you its starting to smell lovely and clean.  Guess you could say I have started my spring cleaning early but needs must.  Cleaning is an important task in any home.  My house may be a tad untidy to most people's eyes but I live in it, and for the best part it is always clean.  With working full time I tend to worry that things are building up and so that's when the intensive deep cleaning starts.  If I were at home all the time it would be a different kettle of fish  be able to keep better tabs on it but as a greater part of my life is spent at work with the best will in the world you cannot always keep your eye on the ball especially when you are juggling so many others at the same time; take your eye off one and they all come crashing down.

And then of course there are periods where I have absolutely had enough of working working and working so I down tools and have some me play time.  This will happen at the weekend for me.  I have a birthday card to make OH is 61 next week on 1 February and I have determined to have a go at making him a card.  We are out for a meal on Sunday lunch.  So not all work but some play time too and with good food and good company you cannot really ask for more.

I have also determined that once everything is lovely and clean again that I am going to start experimenting with making home made cheese.  I have ordered a couple of books of Amazon  - not new books second hand ones at reasonable prices.  Both are Artisan style cheese books and one in particular from the write up seems to be more in line with my feelings in respect of this.  Oh and I have also ordered some Veggie Ren - vegetarian rennet.  I had not been aware that rennet is actually an enzyme from the inside of a cow's stomach; but when I  found out that young calves were slaughtered just to produce this it did not sit well with me and I have since been looking into alternative methods of making the milk coagulate and split from the liquid part, known as the whey; you can use herbs and nettles to do this and also fruit juices but I am very much researching this and then will experiment - playing around a bit - as the natural ingredient of milk is readily available; and you know me I go for the raw ingredients half the time as it works out cheaper.   So last night before going to sleep I did a little cheese reading -  However I did sleep well it did not give me bad dreams.

One of the books I was waiting for a beginners cheese book did turn up today and that is going to make interesting reading when I eventually get sat down to have a good read.

Right upwards and onwards  a scrubbing brush, and a bucket of hot water complete with the essential Marigolds are calling.

Catch you soon.



Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Hello I am still alive - honest

Well that's the kitchen and Pantry well and truly bottomed out  and scrubbed within an inch of its life - and its official my Pantry just is not big enough;  I have a very large plastic box full of stuff as well and I suspect that is not the end of it but at least I am well and truly stocked up only buying of essentials over the next few months to save up so that I can then do a big meat shop for the freezer.  It will be mainly the veggies and the fresh fruit that I will have to buy.  The tinned and dry store goods are certainly full.  I have some jam to do and also some marmalade - I have not checked to see if they have the Sevilles over at the veg shop yet but as soon as I see them I shall buy as I have the Vin de Orange to make as well.  So far four bottles of Cotes de Rhone purchased with plans for a white and a rose version also.

I must do something about the fridge situation though but it is going to be a game of tactics and shuffle to get things how I want them.  I need a new shed for the bottom of the garden or sheds and the plan has always been to relocate the freezers into said shed out of the dining room once shed or sheds were acquired.  If and when that happens this will free up room in the dining room I can get that decorated and then get the fridge in the dining room.  As I say it is very much a game of save and shuffle but that is the plan at the moment its the only way I Can see of doing it.  Then perhaps the fridge in the pantry can go into use as a cheese/charcuterie fridge.  We will have to wait and see what happens but that is the plan as it stands at the moment.  That would then mean I can relocate the CD Chest back under the shelf dresser.

I am having a wee break whilst waiting for my tea to cook.  We are having toad in the hole carrots, flowering broccoli (purple) and mashed potato with onion gravy.  I am hungry and very much looking forward to it and then we are or should I say I am having a sticky toffee pudding with custard.  This one I have bought and if I like it well enough I shall make some up and pop into the freezer so that I can have some if I fancy it.  OH is diabetic and so there is always fresh fruit or some other option available to him.  I am careful to make sure he does not miss out.

Next is the bathroom and then the dining room.

I have made enquiries about getting the garden cleared and am waiting for a quote that will help an awful lot.  Lot of work to do over the next few months.

Weather gone very cold and windy nearly knocks you over if you pop out - have had to turn the heating down as I was getting too warm

Right must go check on tea.

Catch you later on.



Monday, 25 January 2016

Sunday Roundup On a Monday Morning

Trust me to be a little behind - truth is I have toothache which is not assisting matters in the slightest.  So I have a Doctors appointment to try and squeeze in somewhere this week and also a Dentist Appointment as well as trying to sort the house out in readiness for the Gas Service Engineer next Saturday morning at 10:00am.  He is quite something else we suspect he has undiagnosed Tourette's syndrome and he can be quite appalling but the truth of the matter is I don't think he has any inkling just how bad he is.  We or should I say I tolerate him just about (OH is not quite so tolerant ) but he can be quite obnoxious.  We have to let him in for the service once a year.  He has a date to come in by and yet despite coming to the house ever since we have lived in it he still manages to call a few days before the appointment and expect to be let in there and then.  He reckons has phoned to make appointments (we have no voicemail messages) but if he did why is he phoning me at home when he knows to phone me either on my work number or mobile which are much easier to get me on.  Funny when he did get hold of me he rang on the works phone  - so he does know.  Nothing is ever his fault its always someone else's.  Trouble is his kind of attitude really gets me down and smacks of bullying.  Why is it other people always assume you are not busy and that they can drop in and when they like?

Still hard at it in the kitchen we are getting there very slowly.  We did not get out to get the kitchen flooring or the shelving for under the unit but might nobble the OH tomorrow.  He has not been very well today so I did not hassle him.  However he has some work to do when he gets home from work this week.  He still has the doors to fix in the dining room and in the bathroom  - I bought the new inner bits last weekend.  I want to be able to keep the cats out of the kitchen as I have a repaint to do and I do not want them furring up everything I have painted nor a cream stripe to remove from their fur.  Back door needs a new lock, but really could do with a brand new door.  That is something that can be raised on the inspection.

The washing machine has also been cleaned as has the dishwasher to de-gunk them so that they work more efficiently and I have been tidying and washing the cupboards out as I go.  I have the horror cupboard to face next being as I am just a short shrimp I cannot reach the cupboards on the wall without a step stool so cannot always get right into the back of the wall cupboard.  That is about to be rectified though.

I have nearly seen the bottom of the washing pile as well which is a good thing.  Now its out of the washing pile its into the ironing pile so I will work at that where I can.  That can be worked at early mornings or late night when you have things to do but cannot go about noisy jobs etc. because of the neighbours.

I do not know whether I am having a hot flush but it seems to have gone very mild today - I do not have the heating on a present as a result.

I cheated tonight for a meal we have had a Chinese with me being busy it has been the easiest option so that we got fed.  The Largest Slow cooker is coming out tomorrow as I have some stewing steak and am going to make a stew so all that have to do when OH comes in from work is to do some mashed potato and serve with some bread and that should be a nice filling meal to keep us going.  If there is plenty left which I hope there will be OH can take some to work for himself and step-son to have warmed up in the microwave at work.  Should keep them both fed.

Although I have a lot of work to do this week whilst I am off  - I do intend to have a bit of a play here and there all work and no play.....

Catch you later.



Sunday, 24 January 2016

On the subject of Cheese

...This is something I have wanted to do for a long time but I am hindered as I do not have room for the fridge I would like or everyday use let alone a cave fridge or two - for cheese making and charcuterie which are about the same size.

But never mind.  I do so oh want to play with the bigger things and somewehere along the line something will present itself so I can and will be able to.  Having said that in a previous post its about making the most of what you do have and celebrating and using that fact to its full potential. 

After all doing a little bit is better than doing none of it and I have a dream - may not get there maybe will but at least I am having a go.  Sometimes you are certain and sure what you are aiming for but have no idea how to get there apart from following the road to see where it takes you to.  I am one of those people but somehow I am sure I will find my way eventually.  It is not the destination that is the life changing event its the journey that takes you to it where you learn the most.

I use Pinterest quite a lot for sourcing articles on different things and then going back to them when I have time to read up and then to have a little play.  There is a link on the sidebar but I am under there as "Tricia Ellingford".  I already have lots of links with recipes and articles for a "Charcuterie" or "Cheese Safe" store there

I have some essential kit obtained from Lakeland and a little book about soft cheeses also from Lakeland and a couple of different moulds which I intend to add to.  I have plans for a cheese press which were in the Home Farmer magazine last year which I am hoping OH will put together for me.  However what has set me off again is reading a post from Vera's "Snippets from Labatere" blog and seeing her cheese cave. 

Now that really is impressive.

I have also been trawling through Pinterest and there are lots of posts about making different cheeses but the one that interested me the most was this one all about Medieval cheese making.  You do not have to use rennet to curdle the milk, you can use vinegar and also plant extracts or fruit extracts.  That to me is a much more sustainable way of doing things as you are not forking out for this and that all the time.  From what I understand Yarg, the nettle covered Cornish cheese is prepared using nettle juice/tea to make the milk split between curds and whey (the curd being the solid and the whey being the milky liquid left over).

There are two links: 

 Which is the one I am interested in but there is a second link where there is an article about the Medieval Cheesemaker and a blog of like minded women all about cheese

A supportive blog of like minded women who all make cheese. Full details of how to as well.

I have also succumbed and bought the Paul Peacock book of how to make cheese which I saw on Amazon which I understand is winging its way to me so that will be another book to have a look at and play with.  I tend to gather things together as I can afford them and then when I have everything I need I start experimenting.

At the rate I am going I shall end up with a fermenting shelf before long.  I quite like Kefir milk and am chewing over the idea of getting hold of some of the grains to actually produce my own.  I have been lucky in that the new Polish shop round the corner stocks it but not every one does.  Kefir is meant to be extremely good for you.

As I am at home this week I intend to start the sourdough off again and maybe a ginger beer plant.  They are simple to do but it is remembering to maintain them very day.

Right catch you later.



Oh for a Big One

I mean a Pantry of course. Sorry Dawn I could not resist!

I am lucky in that I have a walk in Pantry small more like a cupboard (more what I would call a dry Pantry or Larder) and before I put the fridge in there I was able to walk in there too.  Fridge in the Pantry - well its logical really after all the Meat Safe used to be in the Pantry so why not the fridge.  My Aunty always did.  My Nan had a Meat Safe cited right at the back of her long narrow Pantry but then they did used to produce their own meat on their "smallholding" always keeping their own pigs - we always used to look forward to the arrival of the new ones and make friends with them.  They also used to keep chickens plenty of them but they had a big enclosed run with apple trees in.

Anyway I diverse we want a big one Dawn and I - I reiterate a big walk in Pantry.  Dawn are you going to have one built or is there room to extend your current arrangement?

On talking to my mum not long before she died she was talking about the Farmer's cottage in the village where my Nan lived which was their first home.  It apparently had a massive big walk in Pantry with room to put a big deal table in the middle.  Apparently there was wall to wall shelving and also cold slabs of slate and marble and lots of hanging hooks.

One of the best kitchen arrangements I have ever seen was at Llanydrock House in Cornwall that was something else.  Yes a big ancestral pile, but my Great Aunt owned one of those and the kitchens there were eventually turned over to my Aunt's flat - I would have loved to have seen them originally but I only knew it as the  Flat.  Next door was the Studio and then the Attic before meeting up with the Manager's House for the Stables.

The dream Pantry for me would be part of a suite of rooms.  The big walk in Pantry something similar to what my mum had at the cottage and then free standing shelving - I would like a big walk in cold fridge off of that (as some foods are better stored even colder) and then a freezer room.  In the main pantry area I would want a big white stone sink just to clean things off as well as a big deal table.  Probably never happen but one can have dreams and in the meantime you make the best of what you have and what's available to us individually.  Then I would want an area for Charcuterie/Meat Caves and Cheese Caves.  I am very intent on having a go with making home made cheese just the simple ones to start with but I would love to have a go at proper cheese too.  Oh and I would also need a store room for all the equipment to be housed and found readily. (Don't want much me!)

Now a few questions would you as individuals want a big one like Dawn and I, do you have a big one currently and would you change things or do you have very little "Pantry" space or storage space and would like more and how do you cope in-between times and make do with what you have.

A couple of things I really would like in the Pantry area are an area specifically for having a go at making home made cheese, yogurt etc and that is a rail/pole in which I can hang the cheese to strain through cheesecloth.  Equally I would like a jelly dripping pole for when I make jellies.  It would be good to have individual areas to keep things clean and also the cats out and away from things

I would love to hear your views. 

Catch you later on.



Still plodding along doing the deep cleaning

...of the kitchen and turfing out the cupboards and washing everything in sight.  Its a long laborious job but someone has to do it; its a slow process but I am little by little gaining ground.  I am not as quick as I used to be either which adds to my frustration a little bit.  Once the kitchen is done it is the turn of the pantry.  I am hoping that OH will take the old fridge to the dump tomorrow so that when I go to get the flooring (also hopefully tomorrow) we can pick up some shelving to put where the fridge once was. fingers crossed toes plauted.  catch u tomorrow pattypan x

Friday, 22 January 2016

Saturday Operation Kitchen

The kitchen is destined to be bottomed out tomorrow.  I started this evening and have given the breadmaker and my Kenwood a going over  they are out on the worktop full time just have the soup maker and the chip fryer and my Masterchef to go.  This is the big degreasey clean where the steam cleaner comes out as well and the top of the units also get sorted and the walls all washed down.  The door handles are starting to go a bit naff on the kitchen cupboards and so I have been having a recce on line to see if I can find some little ceramic ones that will tart the units up a bit and make them look loved again.  I have pine kitchen units  - me I am a farmhouse traditional kind of girl.   I have seen a couple of designs I like we are just at the mooching stage.  I am also looking at gingham an apple green to do curtains and a sink washing machine skirt.  New flooring has been chosen and I am hoping to go and get that this Sunday.  I have chosen a slate melamine flooring for the kitchen. It also needs a new pantry door and a lick of paint.  I got the paint stripper for the skirting boards today.  Where the fridge that has gone waff was in the kitchen I am going to see if other half will put some shelving in there and yet again have another skirt cover to tidy it all up.  Ceiling needs a lick of paint too, and a new door curtain for the back door. We will have to see what we can come up with.  I thought it would make a good bottled goods store and relieve the main Pantry a little bit. I will have to talk nicely to him/

I then have to sort the Pantry out a bit.  Will have to see how things go.  I thought if the kitchen were all done it would feel loads cleaner. 

Our bathroom is on the end of the kitchen.  The laminate is still good in there. The walls just need the odd bit of filler where cracks have come and then a paint job.  New pedal bins for the loo and the bathroom with some other accessories and a curtain pole to hang a pair of curtains to keep the room warm - it gets really cold in there and that should be the bathroom tidied up.

I got the paint stripper and the filler at dinner when I popped to Wilkinsons and a couple of new bread pans.  I have not forgotten about the bread prover its just that I have to do other things before I can get to that but tit is on the list.

Right upwards and onwards have a lot to achieve and so little time to do it all in.

Catch you sometime tomorrow.



Getting things together

Well since OH bought me the Big Shot Die Cutting Machine I have been busy squirrelling away dies and embossing folders purchased from various sources.  At the moment they are predominantly Christmas orientated although I have been going for flower patterned items and consumables as well and I am slowly building up my stash.  It is not just for paper I am also acquiring the patchwork dies too and knowing me it will go on to all sorts of other things as well. 

I am particularly cross with myself as when I went to Colemans I had the chance of buying two cupcake collar dies but decided to leave them at that time. (I had already spent quite a bit of money by then and was feeling more than a little guilty) so I erred on the side of caution. I am hoping that when I go again they will have some more; I don't think that they would still be there.  I shall have to have a good old nosey.  Cup cake collars usually cost quite a bit to buy so it would be nice if not only I made the cupcakes but made the trimmings as well.  One for the shopping list I think.  This list is a bit like Topsy its starting to grow and grow.

One little tip I have picked up from my friend Margaret though is that where the dies and embossing folders are concerned I should keep a little book to take out with me when I go to craft places so that I can check I have not got a particular die rather than duplicate it. So I now have a little book in the handbag as my memory is not as good as it used to be.

My Internet friend Dawn writes a super little self-sufficiency blog called "Doing it for Ourselves".  The link is here and is well worth a visit.

Dawn in a previous life used to run a Craft Business and she also writes a little blog called

There are some tabs along the top of the page where Dawn has various things crafty for sale if you are interested, but she also pops up some very interesting posts about the crafting she has been doing and also about the different craft "shows" she attends..

Go and take a peek I think both blogs are well worth the look.

Catch you later



Good Evening Ladies - A Site for some Freebies

As you are all aware this year I am determined to make as much as I can by way of Christmas presents and I have already started collating lots of links and patterns together in order that when I do settle down to play and it is not that long off I will have a place or places where the links and patterns are easily accessible and I can start to motor.  It will not be long before OH goes fishing again when the lighter nights really come back which means if I get myself organised with the housework I should be able to play and really start to plough through the things I really want to do.  I have most of the materials collated together - I am a planner that is what I do whenever I have a go at anything and get everything together piecemeal and then start - I am the same with the decorating.

Many of you may have heard of the Craftsy site the link is here if you want to have a look around

They predominantly provide tuition/courses which you pay for although they do freebies and you can create an account and access those freebies as and when.  I have managed to collate quite a few over the past five years or so, but what I had not appreciated until this evening was that they also do free patterns for sewing, knitting and crochet as well as other bits and bobs and providing supplies to make the projects.

I went into the patterns section and it asks you to sort by lowest or highest in range.  If you select lowest price it should bring up the freebies first.  You can then click into the link and it will give you an option to download the pattern.  You can click back and load the next one or you can click individually and load them one at a time but there is a whole host of lovely patterns available lovely things that can be made out of what on the face of it uninspiring combinations but there is some really lovely stuff there.  You can create your own account with them - best to do this it costs nothing and then you can store the patterns there to access anytime you choose.

If you just want to look at the patterns section here is the link to go straight to

If you just want to have a loo at the courses (the ones you have to pay for click here:
If you look on the right hand toolbar it will give you a selection of items available and there is a tab called free mini classes and that is where you will find the free video tutorials.

I thought I would share as it is useful to find providers who offer freebies but sometimes you cannot find them for looking unless someone points you in the right direction.

I hope this helps and will catch up again soon.



Monday, 18 January 2016

Monday Evening Quickie

Its been a long cold day today at work we have been perished. 

Unusually for me there seems to be a method to my madness when it comes to meals this week.  I am a simple plain cook but for me the food has to be all about the flavour and you can make a meal very tasty with just a few bits and bobs.


After the lovely bit of brisket yesterday there was no meat left and I had some stir fry beef strips and some veggies that needed using up.  I had a sweet and sour sauce and did some rice in the microwave and then added some stem ginger in syrup with some extra veggies plus some spiral butternut squash and I must say it went down really well.  There was only a little bit of meat  but the veggies made it go that much further.  It was very tasty and a healthy filling meal and light.  I also added some sesame seeds to the mix.

I had some more strudel and custard to finish off and it all went down very well

Tuesday night

Tomorrow night we have a roast chicken with veggies and mashed potato. I managed to get the chicken reduced to £3 and it is a large chicken. Any chicken left will be used for chicken and salad wraps for work with some chilli sauce.  The carcass can go for making stock for soup and if we get overwhelmed with it, I shall freeze it and make a different variety that way I am creating a stockpile which are easily retrievable mid week to give a nice warming starter or equally yet again can be taken to work and pinged in the microwave.  I am a great believer in having plenty of veggies to hand especially the root vegetables, leeks, onion and garlic but I also like my greens like broccoli, flowering broccoli, spring greens or cabbage, Cavalo nero, kale.  You can use them in so many different ways, Quiches and flans with cheese and peppers the combination is up to you.  I am quite fond of having Quiche or flan served hot with a side salad

Wednesday night

It will be stew in the slow cooker with some hunks of bread for dipping up the juice or gravy served with Champ.

Thursday night

Toad in the Hole - I have some nice sausages and all I have to do is make some gravy, it has to be onion gravy with sausages (and they have to be good sausages with plenty of flavour).  I cook the toad in the hole and serve with mash and shredded cabbage.  Yorkshire pudding is a great filler.  I quite frequently use a sponge flan tin and make large individual toads and then the Yorkshire acts like a bowl (obviously you put it on a plate) but the Yorkshire is filled with the sausage, gravy, mash and veggies with lashings of gravy.

Friday Night

Another Stir fry its a good way of using up bits and bobs and I do not want to be wasteful so whatever I have spare will be used.

Saturday Night

Pasta and Bolognese sauce.  I managed to pick up two trays of reduced mince which I can turn into a Bolognese sauce, make a Lasagne with or make meatballs.  After all I have plenty of Passata and tomato sauce now 


Bubble and Squeak Cakes
I have some sprouting broccoli to cook up and steam and will make up a batch of mashed potato to do bubble and squeak cakes for the freezer. 

Home Made Soup and Stock

I also want to make some different soups and also put some stock down for gravies etc. 

Cauliflower Cheese

Come Saturday I will look to get hold of some reasonably priced cauliflower and then do a couple of batches of cauliflower or cauliflower and broccoli cheese which can instantly be brought out for meals.  I have some little metal trays with lids in which to store them.

Quiches and Flans

Another week I intend to do some Quiches/Flans and batch prepare them so that we have something different for the table.


And another week I intend to make some meat pies and also some fruit pies for pudding.

A quickie pud to make if I have remembered to get out the puff pastry is a  Tarte tatin.  Now that is very tasty especially if served with custard.

Lots of plans now need to get them popped into action.  A Saturday is the best day for me to do things like this as you can really get stuck in.

But every little bit you do yourself keeps the wolf from the door and gives your family the best quality food you can afford.

For the wraps this week I have bought some salad leaves in but once I get mum's heated propagator home I will probably start a kitchen window sill growing section just for leaves as per my Internet Friend Dawn from "Doing It For Ourselves" does.  Dawn can be found here:

Right upwards and onwards.

Take care and keep warm wherever you are its meant to be a real cold one tonight.


Keeping your appetite interested and not boring it half to death is half the battle but colour and taste to me are everything

Cottage Pie served on its own

Well its been a quiet day

here although it has been a cold one.  On speaking with a friend apparently we did have a sprinkling of snow at midnight but when I got up this morning there was not very much of it to be seen.  Fortunately I managed to get the house nice and warm so we have been snug.  Its been a pottering sort of day not really doing anything in particular.  Demetri wanted out earlier on so I obliged.  Left him about an hour he was on the fence but no way was he coming in.  Then when I went upstairs all you could hear was him screaming to come in.  It think it was a tad cold for him because he did not hang around like he had done earlier on.

A lot of washing has been done today, I still have some more to do.  I wear a lot of jumpers and tend to either hand wash them or pop them in the machine then dry them on a coat hanger in the warmth of the house but that is time consuming but it does save my jumpers so I get a reasonable amount of wear out of them.

For tea this evening we have had a small piece of beef; brisket and very tasty it was too.  I picked it up for £7 and we have had mashed potato, carrot and swede crush, mixed veg and some sprouting broccoli with lashings of gravy.  Followed by apple strudel and custard.  It went down very well.  I also picked up a chicken which will come in for  a roast meal, followed by wraps for pack-up during the week or alternatively a chicken stew and soup from the carcass. There is a little bit of beef left from tea if there is enough it will go into a stir fry.  If there is not enough then it will be Hunters Chicken for tea tomorrow evening and maybe Missy and the cats will get a bit of a treat depends on how much is left  - OH did the carving tonight so I do not know.

My mojo still seems to be absent cannot get motivated at the minute and I really need to as too much to do as usual.  Need to get a wriggle on as they say although very gently as my back has been playing up since Thursday night and I cannot lay down for long without putting some ibruprofen on.

Keep well and safe wherever you are.

Catch you soon.



Saturday, 16 January 2016

I have been partying

It was our works Christmas/New Year Party last night a chance for all the girls to dress up (and the fellas of course) and party on down.  We have a lot of younger girls who have all joined the company in the past year or so and there was a definite sense of competition amongst them.  They all looked fantastic and they are on the whole quite a jolly bunch.  However I have been going to these parties for 19 odd years or so - I am now one of the oldies (although I am not if you get what I mean), but the best part of these parties is meeting up with your friends who although we often work together on a daily basis some of us do not so it is nice to play catch up.  Being spread between three Offices Peterborough, Stamford and Nottingham its just one of those  logistical things and the luck of the draw.

The venue was the William Cecil in Stamford (Years ago used to be the Lady Anne Hotel I believe).  Very lovely surroundings and the room we were in was big enough to party in with a live band (although you could not hear yourself speak at times).  Needless to say most of us were on the dance floor at one time or another.  I am now paying the price for all the wobbling and have had to slap some Ibruprofen on this morning as my muscles are protesting.

Now a real leveller back down to earth - housework - brings you right down to basics.

Its cold here in Peterborough and I have the heating on but at least the sun is out.  I think its about 2 degrees at the moment.

Hopefully catch you later on.



Thursday, 14 January 2016

Well the Cold Snap has arrived

Its absolutely freezing here this morning as no doubt it is elsewhere across the country so it looks like winter has arrived.  It was chucking it down with rain when I went to bed last night and OH when he walked Missy this morning said it was absolutely freezing.  Fortunately I have prepared myself.  I have a lovely quilted gilet that I have taken to wearing at work as the room where I work although not cold because we are sat typing most of the day we get cold and if I get cold on the inside I end up being unwell.  I also have a pair of fur lined boots which I purchased yesterday.  I always wear jumpers and thermals so I am hoping that I am going to be wrapped up enough for the elements.  Fortunately I popped the heating on when OH went out with Missy so it is nice and snug in here at the moment.  Now upwards and onwards I have to walk to work,  I hope you are all warm and snug and that your day is a good one.  Please take care.

Catch you later.



Wednesday, 13 January 2016

This n that

Its been a long day today not helped by the fact that I twisted my ankle on the way to work this morning and managed to split my shoe.  I therefore had to make an emergency stop to buy a new pair of flat shoes as I cannot go around scruffy at work.  I also bought myself a pair of fur lined ankle boots.  With the threat of all the weather to come and temperatures being quite cold I thought I would not take any chances as my tootsies get cold as it is.  They are quite a nice size as my trousers will cover the ankle part of the boot but my feet will keep nice and warm.  I had a lovely pair of thermal gloves bright purple and I managed to lose one of them yesterday which I was quite annoyed about as they kept my hands nice and snug.  So I ended up having to buy some cheapies in town to slip on my hands as I was perished.

I then went up to Wilkinsons and got myself a plastic box which I think is ideal to be turned into my bread prover.  If I am not satisfied when I get it together I always have the option of going to get another box.  I quite frequently make the dough in the bread machine but wanted somewhere nice and cosy for my bread to rise in the bowl or in the tins with a bowl of water and my electric heating pad.  I also wanted somewhere safe where the cats could not interfere as they are quite a nosey bunch and what starts off as mere curiosity ends up in disaster somewhere down the line as they cannot leave things alone. My efforts with my prover will hopefully get dealt with on Saturday as tomorrow night is tidy night and I also want to do a dummy run with a batch of bread.
Friday I am out at the works do (our Christmas do) so feasibly it will be Saturday before I can get OH involved I am a bit cack handed at the best of times.  Saturday I am hoping for a lay in but I have loads to do over the weekend as per usual.

Missy and her Dad are fast asleep curled around one another at the moment so it is nice and peaceful.  She has had a bath as she was getting a bit "pongy" but she is all nice and clean now.  Fortunately she doesn't often fight to get out of the bath just plans her revenge by shaking all over.

I have also done some Family Tree work tonight and one particular branch of the family I have been having severe problems with i.e. my Great Aunt's family on my Nan's side.  My Great Aunt was known as Kit all her life, but her actual name is Clara.  The same as her second husband was always known as Pat.  In actual fact his real name is Samuel James.  I have also managed to track down the Probate details of my Great Aunt's estate as well.  I was only five months old when she passed.  I have also found two of her children from her first marriage but Uncle Billy I haven't been able to track down yet (do you think there may be a theme building here  - ostensibly I have been looking for William but on his parent's tracking I could well and truly be out).  It will turn up.  So I am highly chuffed about that as I have been looking for this for some time.  Its funny how you meet people once or twice when you are little and then do not see them again and it turns out they are family to me which I had not realised before.  This has happened with several second cousins.  My brother did not even meet them and my memories are vague.  I think I can provide quite a few photographs for the names.  Some of the Great Aunts and also Uncles (my Grandad's birth family I never did meet) so when photos turn up its nice to put a face to a name.

I am hoping to play with the Big Shot this weekend as well.

I have had a very nice tea this evening.  OH set too and made a huge cottage pie which went down very well.  There is quite a bit left so he is taking it into work with him tomorrow for his lunch and also for my step-son.  I am not sure what we are having tomorrow there are some Pork chops and stewing meat in there.  I would rather have the chops as I quite fancy  stew but OH has been known to eat a slow cooker full over a couple of meals and I have ended up missing out so I think that will be for Saturday night tea.

Its been a bitterly cold day here in Peterborough but oh it was lovely to see the sun.  Makes you feel as if everything is alright with the world when you see a bit of sunshine.

Right upwards and onwards.

Catch you soon.


p.s.  the box is perfect the heat pad is just the right size.  x

No peace for the wicked

This evening has flown past quickly partly due to the fact that we went to the Vets from work to get Missy some replacement medication and also some cat food for the monsters  So by the time we got in and had some tea steak  (the steak was from Lidl and very nice) and chips the early part of the evening was well and truly over.  I have not even watched any TV this evening.

I have also had to try and cobble OH a new CV together - just in case he ever needs it his last one is on one of the computers that does not work and so I have typed him a new one all nicely sorted out from the scribbled information he has provided me with.  I have then emailed it to him so that he has a copy on his computer as well.  He will lose it so if I keep the master copy it will not take much sorting if required. It has also meant an opportunity for me to get used to the software on the machine Word 2016.  It is not too bad from what little bit I have used this evening. 

I need to get to grips with the Excel though and I thought that I would prepare a Schedule of Monthly Outgoings on Excel and then have a meeting with OH to see what expenditure we have and whether anything unexpected is in the offing.  I want to put a stop to and eradicate as much as possible anything unexpected and then maybe then we will be able to have a floating fund for anything for the house and also a Christmas and Holiday Fund.  I am fed up of being caught on the hop and either having to spend more than we wanted to, and then having nothing until the end of the month  so I want to try and create a spreadsheet that covers all eventualities.  It will take a little trial and error but I am determined to do it and get everything under control.  But Rome was not built in a day.  I am being very realistic about that one.

Right upwards and onwards still things to do before I go to bed.

Catch you soon



Monday, 11 January 2016

Well its been a busy day

I am full of cold again but then it is blooming cold outside.  It is snug in here fortunately its not been long since I put the heating on.  It had got a tad chilly. And we have had supper so simple things cannot be bad just some crumpets but they went down well.

I have had a busy day although I have not got into the pantry yet, I ended up doing a detour with something else.  We have also been out to B & Q as well as a couple of door handles have gone naff and we needed new innards and I also need some new kitchen flooring.  Its been down about 20+ years so its due for a change  The kitchen needs a good sorting out so that is what I intend to do during the course of the week. 

Then OH was looking for his CV and being a male and being very impatient could not wait and could not find it and caused bedlam in the process.  I ended up turning everything out looking for it and then it was so out of date that it needs retyping.  However that will be a job for tomorrow evening. 

As my computer is a new one I needed to load Word but I had a bit of a hiccup when it came to loading this as it proved a tad difficult but I think it is done now.  I have also loaded Skype and we nearly had a bit of a moment with that but I think that has loaded too.  Our computers are in the back bedroom and sometimes the signal is a little slow but it gets there eventually.  Slowly things are coming together with the computer and I hope the crafts too.  Still a lot of sorting but Rome was not built in a day and as long as I get there that's all that matters.

The good thing about that was that I had to put some of my crafting stuff away in my drawers so they are tucked away ready for me to use.  Still need organising and I need to get some storage folders but we will get there.  Rome wasn't built in a day, but even though I have only had the Big Shot a little while I am starting to get some nice embossing folders and dies together.  Quite a few are Christmas orientated. 

Dawn am always in the market for considering dies and folders! 

This will be very useful for me in the summer months when OH goes fishing as I will be able to get on in the craft room/computer room without disruption.

The big thing will be getting the kitchen decorated just needs fresh paint and maybe a stencil border, new flooring down and everything back in its place.  The dining room door that leads into the kitchen is one of the offenders where the bar mechanism snapped so hopefully OH can put that right then I can close the kitchen off (as it gets cold) and confine the cats to the dining room overnight to keep them warm as well.

The bathroom could do with some paint also but that will be easily achieved. The flooring is still good in there fortunately. So the paint job should be easily achieved.  There is also a door to the loo where the door handle bar has snapped as well so OH has that to attend to as well.

The dining room floor will need replacing and I will need to redecorate in there to tidy things up.

The stairs will need decorating but the front Lounge will do.  The bedroom and the computer room/craft room will need painting. I have the paint for the computer room/craft room a pretty mint green.

So there is a lot of work to be done to tidy things up in the next few months, but it does need doing.

Right upwards and onwards.

Catch you soon.



Be back soon

Pantry overhaul being undertaken hopefully will be back later this evening.



Tomorrow I am at Home for the Day

Although sadly I will not be crafting.  I have to re-arrange the pantry.  Its my own fault I should not have bought the tins that jumped into my shopping trolley or the large bottles of passata (49p a bottle) some chickpeas at 29p per can,and umpteen other things but when you see things at very cheap prices and the long stop date on them is still viable for another six months or so a girl just does what a girl has to do.  We paid a visit to a store in March called B&M and certainly on the food front I have picked up some bargains - on items that are not the run of the mill sort of stuff even.

I picked up the following:

2 jars Napolina Tomato and Basil sauce at 0.79 per jar = £1.58
2 stacks of 5 tins of Ocean Tuna in brine £2.59 per 5 = £5.18
6 bottles of Passata £0.49 per bottle = £2.94
2 tubs potted beef @ £0.79 per pot = £1.58
1 x 1.5 Heinz tomato ketchup £2.99
Ye Old Oak American style hotdogs 2 £0.99 = £1.98
Chick peas £029 per can = £1.16
4 x tins of strawberries @ £0.55 per tin
2 x 100g bags chocolate chips @ £0.69 per pack
Heinz tomato soup 4 x 0.50 per can = £2.00
250g Marmite £2.29

There was other stuff too but being as I keep a tinned cupboard pantry store I am always on the lookout for useful additions.

They cover not just food, but cleaning stuff, gardening stuff, home stuff, some furniture, gardening stuff etc. etc. 

I shall be going back on the food front and also to look at the gardening stuff.

I have been coveting a proper pair of sheepskin mule slippers for a while but I was not going to pay the going price.  Walked into B & M today and I have found a pair of Love Sheepskin mule slippers that should have been £30 at £14.99 so they found their way into my trolley and I must say they are lovely and warm and comfortable.   I am highly chuffed.  This particular brand had been recommended to me by a friend and colleague at work and I must say they are fantastic.

After that we had a little trip to Lidl as I needed some bread from the bakery and I had a little top up there but only a top up (a basket) not a shopping trolley.

We did not have much for tea this evening, just a cooked gammon sliced, some cheese fresh bread and pickle washed down with a nice glass of squash each lemon and pear Robinsons very nice it is too.

So not a bad day on the food front.  I am conscious of keeping the pantry pretty well stocked as if and when you hit a lean time it means that you do not have to go out and buy stuff but make use of what you have.  I tend to do a really good stock up and then gradually wind things down and then replenish so that I get the best use for the food and for my money.  Lets put it this way we do not do badly.

I have been suffering very badly this year from the Raynauds my hands are literally freezing up just from going round to the shop from the house with my thermal gloves on and they have just gone.  So I have had the heat on today as it has  been bitter and the forecast for the rest of the week is not good it would seem that winter is well and truly arriving.  Forecasts speak of it being a bad winter in that it will be similar to that of 1962.  I hope not for everyones sake; although the weather has been speaking of it and so has my body and there have been loads of berries in the bushes.  The winter of 1962 that is the winter I developed arthritis as a child and had stiffness and eventually paralysis in my legs.  I have been stiff like that this year already.  Villages were snowed in main roads  between towns were hazardous to say the least and they used to put the snow fences up.  Do you remember them used to go up every autumn to protect drifting on vulnerable roads.  Not something you see often of today.  Just make sure if you are in a vulnerable location that you have stockpiles and emergency supplies to get you through.  On that little note take care and keep safe and warm where you can.

Catch you soon.



Sunday, 10 January 2016

Saturday Roundup

I have been busy in the kitchen and I have had a visit to the local shops as well.  We are having homemade Toad in the Hole with roasted onion and herbs mixed into the Yorkie pudding mix just to make a little change, roasties, mashed potato carrot and swede crush, fresh sprouting broccoli and a few peas and some gravy and I think that will do us for tonight's tea.  Oh and there is an Apple strudel (bought) for pudding which will last us a couple of nights served with home made custard.  With this cold weather you need insulation on the inside.  I use the small cooker on the oven and stuff it as full as I can to keep costs down a little and I do the veggies in a three tier steamer basket. 

I managed to get some reduced goodies of cauliflower cheese for 50p a pot and some prepared potatoes in goose fat for 28p a tray so I snaffled a couple of those each.  A couple of melons at 30p each and couple of trays of carrot and swede crush.  It all helps keep the costs down a little. I also bought a couple of bags of mixed veg for 35p per bag.

I also bought some more apples to pop up will probably bottle now that I have the Monster to bottle them in.

On Monday I think I will be going into town to get my plastic box with lid and probably a rack of some kind to  pop the dough on so that the heat circulates well in the box.  I will pop up some photos once I have things sorted and working to my satisfaction.

Well tea was very tasty and OH soon polished it off - if nothing else he gets fed pretty well.  We are not having a roast tomorrow as I cooked tonight and will have a scratch tea

I have been doing some more family research and the names are popping out of the hat giving me names of relatives even if not the exact dates of birth etc. which I had previously unknown.  Now to prove the links and to order the certificates.  It will be cheaper to go direct to the main Registry to order certificates.  Part of the problems start when you have family members with the same names and perhaps same birth year.  I have found a couple of entries that are actually my family member and they have not got the right photo for.  I on the other hand do have photos so that will be something to put right in due course. 

This evening I have been uploading some photographs to give the names a face after all this time.  I still have loads more to go though and I also have original birth certificates etc., copy Wills there is a lot of information to obtain and I also have to order some certificates although I do not think I will be doing this via Ancestry but will be ordering online direct from the Registry as it works out cheaper.

I have also found that some relatives who I had met as a youngster a couple of times have also passed on.  

So as usual I have too much to do and too little time to do it.

Its been an awfully wet night here in Peterborough - apparently the river is quite up high here to, but I feel so sorry for those who have been doubly hit throughout the country with rain, flooding and then snow.  Poor souls.  I hope things get better for them soon as I would hate to be in that situation.

Right must meander like a river.

Catch you later



Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Flying Scotsman

(this is not my photo it is taken from the article I read and the link is here for the full story)

Isn't it lovely to see the Flying Scotsman all restored and on the tracks again and what a beautiful train.

My Great Granddad was on the Railway and had one of the muckiest but most important jobs on the Railway.  He was a boiler maker by trade and he used to clear out the engine pipes and make the engine safe for travel.  He worked on the Flying Scotsman and we have a photo of him somewhere with colleagues in front of the train.  I as a little girl also used to live on the Railway line.  The Flying Scotsman travelled down that line a few times as well.  The cottage where we lived was on the side of the track and its not every kid that has a railway at the bottom of the garden.  I remember my mother's disgust at having to do all the washing again because of the smut from the engines.  But it was a wonderful place.   Blackberries used to grow down the side of the track and it used to be a frequent place to go and collect them from but the line was only a quiet one then which I do not think it is quiet today.

We lived in one of the lodge cottages to The Duke of Rutland's Shooting Lodge at Gunthorpe Hall Near Oakham.  My father was in the prison service as an Officer and moved from Lincoln to Ashwell Open Prison.  As we were from out of the area it was customary at the time to offer accommodation to help the families settle quickly.  We were offered one of the lodge cottages.  It had a fair sized veggie garden, a few apple trees, rose bushes lots of grass and forget me nots growing in there but the cottage bordered the track.  The cottage also had leaded lights (diamond shaped ones with really old glass in) and a freestanding metal coal stove in the kitchen area and a coal fire in the front room.  Its the first place I really remember as we moved there just after the death of my grandmother when I was 17 months old.  My brother was born in the cottage.  Happy days and happy memories but the best bit was having the railway at the bottom of the garden and we frequently used to go into Oakham and to the station because the bus station was near there at the time.  At that time I was particularly heavy into the Reverend Audrey books about Thomas the Tank Engine etc.  My family over the years has had many connections with the Railway through different family members on both sides of the family.  But it is my Great Grandad Horace Senior who moved the whole family lock stock and barrel up from London to Lincoln who seems to have had the most interesting connections and from the family stories was quite a bit of a character.

Catch you later



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)