Monday, 29 February 2016

Tefal Vitafruit Jam Machine

I used to have one of these having bought it from new and I still have the faulty machine and its attachments.  Browsing on ebay I found one up for sale and bid and tonight I have won a brand new one.  The only reason I have gone for it is because when it worked my previous machine was a handy little gadget which meant I could get on with other things whilst it was working. Which is a great time saver when one works full time. Will see how I get on with this one.  My original one came from Lakeland and the jam pan locked onto its base.  When it did this though it was well out of its guarantee.  So now I have another one coming I will see if OH can do anything with it otherwise it will be going in the bin apart from the extra bits.  Lakeland have not done this jam pan for some particular length of time but they have a Ball one in now which is £150.   So will see how I get on. I can only try and I have not expended too much money in buying it. Enough but not too much.

I also have my eye on a soup urn for making cheese at home.  I got the idea from the cheese book by Dick and James Strawbridge.

I am quite a fan of Kefir also.  I love Milk Kefir and buy this currently from the Polish Shop round the corner.  Occasionally they also have buttermilk which I use for muffins and scones predominantly.  However you can buy the grains and produce it yourself, so this is something I am looking into at the moment.  Both cultures are meant to help where there are long term medical conditions especially auto immune disease.  I have not tried the water Kefir but it is fizzy and you can add different fruit juices to it.

So really I am starting to amass the equipment I need for doing things myself.  I have the dehydrator the time and temperature controlled hot water bath urn, the jam machine.  I am still hankering after a pressure canner and that is on the list.  I need a couple of meat and cheese caves and a smoker.  I have a small box one that you can pop outside or use on the cooker but I fancy a shed type one.

So I am not doing badly on the equipment front.

There is one more piece of equipment I do have my eye on an embroidery machine - I have been looking at the computerised Janome ones.  Will have to see on this front as this is quite a hefty piece of expenditure.

Hopefully my machine will arrive by the end of the week.

Catch you soon.



Sunday, 28 February 2016

Well I hadn't Planned on It

However I have managed to source, sort and organise meals for more than the whole week.  I only went round to the Co-Op to get a chicken - I forgot to get a joint out of the freezer last night - it happens (must be my age) and I came back with:

2 packs of stewing steak                       
2 large chickens   (2 chickens for £10)
2 Packs of Mince (reduced to £1.50 per pack)
2 packs of pork loin steaks (Reduced to £1.50 pack) 2 packs of sausages                             
2 bags of frozen peas
Steak Pie

The stewing steak is destined for a massive stew which should last us two days theoretically.

The large chickens one we have had tonight the other is destined for the slow cooker.

The mince is destined for a lasagne and a cottage pie.

The pork loin steaks OH will have with some beans or I will put the meat through the mincer and make some individual pork pies (will have to make some pastry of course). The bulk of these can then be frozen and brought out for pack ups as and when.

2 packs of sausages, one has been partially used with the chicken the rest OH will have for sandwiches or breakfasts.  The other will be for toad in the hole.

The peas are destined for pea and ham hock soup or pea and bacon soup. 

There is also a very nice steak pie to have with hot veggies. 

So that's the meals more or less sorted for the week or more.

We still need warm nourishing food especially with the temperatures being very low and it being very cold at night.

However I saw Mary Berry's cooking programme during the week and she made her version of salad nicoise which looked scrummy so that may well be on the cards as well.  I have plenty of tuna in stock and eggs, I have salad but will see how the weather is as this can always be used in sandwiches for pack up etc. so it does not go to waste.  I also have anchovies in (not that I am keen on them but they add a certain je ne sais quoi) to the dish.  Mary Berry also uses advacados and I have a couple of these.  Can use them with salsa and chilli if the salad nicoise does not come to fruition.

Even though the food is planned for more than a week OH is off his food at the moment so it will depend very much on what he fancies to eat.  For tomorrow nights tea might will do cold chicken and bubble n squeak cakes and then bung the rest into a casserole to make chicken stew.  The carcass can go for stock.

So plenty of options and plenty of food - I know I am lucky but I have not paid through the nose for these  making use of bargains where I can.

Tonight's tea was delicious and went down very well.

Right better get a wriggle on.  I have the Hospital Physiotherapist tomorrow for my feet.

Catch you later.



Sunday morning potterings

Well after the Aerial man came yesterday and sorted out the TV, we are again tinkering with the computer/craft room.  OH is still in the throes of decorating the doors, and skirting (the rest of the painting is more or less done).  However we have my mother's 32 inch Panasonic TV currently on the large flat table blocking it up and it needs to be on the wall.  Provision for this was taken into account by the Aerial man yesterday and extra cable was left.  So this morning we have been to B & Q to find a suitable wall rack to hold the TV safely on the wall in order that the desk is clear for working on.  We have found one we like, so later on this will be popped up out of the way.  OHs back is not too clever so he is having to take it a little steady and as a result we have not ended up doing what we were going to do and go down the tip.

No doubt a little later on he will yell that he wants assistance in putting it up.

In passing though it is always the little things that cost the most or you find that you need this or that to complete what you actually want to do.  The hidden costs.  We were also looking at some lamps for the desks. I used to have a green shaded glass cashiers lamp which I used to use until a certain person broke it! I was not best pleased.  I shall have to keep my eyes peeled to see if I can replace it quite cheaply.  I have a needlecraft daylight lamp that I use on my desk, but because it is a small narrow room and because a lot of close work goes on it needs to be reasonably well lit on both my desk and the other table.

Once this room is out of the way we can start on the bathroom which needs repainting.  I also need new bathroom rugs, new towels, new waste bins, toilet brush holder and towel rails, which can easily be sorted.  It does not look as though we need new flooring in there but until you get started you do not really know. I really could do with a shower in there too.  Will have to see about that. The loo could really do with a small radiator in there as it gets a bit nippy in the winter months and the wall tends to condense up and go a little mouldy.

The kitchen which needs repainting and new flooring. I also have kitchen curtains to make in green check and also a sink skirt, which should not take too much doing and a new curtain pole for the curtains.  I have my eye on some green china handles as well on ebay but I need 16 of them.  So far they haven't had enough in stock for me to place the order; but it will happen.

Whilst in B & Q I did have a look at the wallpapers but nothing really took my fancy so shall have to really look about for that as I am contemplating the lounge and dining room being done out as well.

Right he has started fiddling with the TV bracket so I sense there will be a can you help me request very shortly.

Hope your day is a nice relaxing one.

Catch you later.



Saturday, 27 February 2016

All Set for the Rugby then and other bits and bobs

At the crack of dawn the TV Aeriel fitter arrived and I think we are in the bad books with the next door neighbour as a result as there was quite a bit of drilling and clambering about going on.  In fairness he arrived at 8:00am but at the weekend it always seems so much earlier than it actually is.  Probably because I don't have to get up but am always alert just before 6:00am if not actually out of bed.

But that is OH all happy he is now able to watch the Rugby, we have had Freeview and Freesat put in as well and now have a whole host of other channels to explore as well.  So if I am missing from the blog - its possible I may be watching something on the TV - however in recent months I have actually not been watching that much. I have been trying to make use of my time in a better fashion and if I have watched TV I have had a catch up session all in one go - it is more time efficient - especially with me working full time.

I even crashed during the week going to bed for what for me is early i.e. 10:00pm an sleeping right through until just before 6:00am.  So I think I am going to have to do what I can when I can with a little bit more moderation with everything; will probably be kinder on my energy levels in the long run.  I now have to try and start to look after myself a little - although I do not find this easy as I tend to look after everyone else.

Can you feel the sap starting to rise and can you see a difference in the light at night now. Its at this time of year I want to be down in Cornwall to see everything coming awake and enjoy the change in the seasons. I do so love it down there. I would move down there if I could but to do something like that you have to be sensible and put things in place a bit at a time.  I like having challenges and having goals to work to when there is nothing much going on I feel in limbo a bit.  I think that is perhaps why I am always on the go doing a bit of this and a bit of that. 

I also want my bees.  I will not feasibly be able to have them here - the next door neighbour is in his late seventies and he and his wife are phobic about insects of any description.  He also has severe angina and she is crippled with Arthritis and I don't really want to finish him or her off despite him being a miserable so and so.  I think he would die of shock if he saw the bees coming back in a trail dive bombing through his garden to get to mine.  He is also the complaining type and as we rent - it really is just not worth the hassle; but if I ever get my own home it is something that I will set up as a priority The garden will need attention before any house and where possible I am keen to do things as naturally as I can.  A house can be done a bit of a time a garden needs to be in production to fee the bees who then as they feed pollinate the plants to provide us with food.  Simples

We all need the bees to pollinate the crops to provide the food we eat.  We should therefore all be making a more concerted effort to plant bee friendly plants that the bees can feed on throughout the year rather than just providing a boost of pollen with the flowering plants earlier in the year all in one fair swoop. If you want to research what plants to provide please check out the following site (the British Beekeepers Association.

Bees very much fit in with my ethos as the honey they produce is good for healing, the honey is a natural sugar and food for us.  It is a natural antibiotic and if you smear some honey on a clean plaster then apply to the wound it will clean out any muck within that wound and help the tissue knit together with minimal healing.  Honey never goes off it crystallises but can be bought back by popping in a pan of water and healing gently.

It's at this time of year that there is so much to do outside.  In the winter months I tend to hibernate more and do things inside whereas with Spring I focus more on growing things and going out and about more.

Yesterday I bought a couple of roots of Horseradish to plant down at the bottom of the garden and two more Rhubarb plants - this time Red Canadian (so that is four Rhubarb plants) I have another variety to get Victoria -  another two plants will probably get them during the week. I intend to have a big Rhubarb patch and may get an additional plant of each.  I can always use Rhubarb up in jams, chutney and bottling as well as in puddings and putting some down in the freezer. I also have my eye on some Asparagus crowns to plant a bed of as I like Asparagus although I know that this will take a couple of years to get established.

I have also bought Bright Lights Chard seeds, Green Globe Artichoke seeds, and  Gold Rush yellow courgette seeds.  I love yellow courgettes and love eating them raw in salads.  I need to get hold of some different sprouting seeds as well as I have a couple of sprout growing stacks which I have had for sometime and want to get these going as I quite like these as well. 

As ever I bought the seeds from Wilkinsons and as I was in a hurry yesterday and really did not have time to have a proper look I intend to pop back during the week.  I am looking to source some more seeds and probably get some more roots to plant up. Thought I might have a go at growing some ginger as well.  I use a lot of fresh ginger in teas and in winemaking and cooking generally. I also need to source fresh herbs for planting to get the herb border up and running.  I may well pop into Waitrose to see what herb plants they have.  This is usually where I get my chives and some of the other herbs from to plant my herb border up.  The plants have always been sturdy and of good quality a decent size and a good price.

Well that brings us in the round back to the Rugby.  The programme has just started OH is happy although he his back is playing up so he has the afternoon to rest.  I have the washing machine on full blast dealing with the bedding.  The sun is out its cheery and it is promising oh so much.

Tomorrow we have a few visits to the tip as the front garden needs sorting out again and I want to get rid of as much rubbish as I can for this trip.  Right must get a wriggle on.  Catch you later.



Thursday, 25 February 2016

What a Pretty Pickle

It had been arranged sometime ago that ,I would cover a Charity Evening to raise funds for Marie Curie in my capacity as a Reader, giving messages and card readings and some mediumship readings.  I had it in my head that the event and venue was tomorrow and purely by chance I found out that I had got my dates wrong.  As a consequence it was a bit of a rush and I forgot half of my stuff including my business cards (I only just had time to sort my recording machine out) before having to rush out.  I did about six 15 minute readings which has raised much needed funds for Marie Curie together with two of my colleagues, Kerrie and Alec and one of Kerrie's Trainees Tracey.  It was a very good evening and I have met some very lovely people.  We all belong to the Psychic and Spiritual Fellowship which meets once a month for an evening of mediumship.  Our Founder Member Jacqueline Lesley is still actively involved.

Please see her website for details here:

The Psychic and Spiritual Fellowship website is here:

We have a meeting on the first Wednesday in the month having a different speaker and some back by popular demand.  The evenings are usually very entertaining and we have met some lovely people over the years.   Our monthly meetings raise much needed funds for local people but also raise awareness of spirit within the community and provide a sociable evening from Mediums from all over the country.  It is basically a win win situation we get to learn and in that learning we are able to help local people who fall through the net where charitable support is concerned.  Full details of where the meeting is held are on the PSF website as mentioned above. So if you are ever in Peterborough on the first Wednesday of every month come and join us.  You are more than welcome.  If you do come to see us come and say hello.  I am usually at the back of the Hall through the evening giving Reiki taster healing sessions.  It would be lovely if you could join us.  The next meeting is next Wednesday.

Hopefully meet you there.

Pattypan (aka Tricia)


A puff of smoke and she was gone

The Flying Scotsman steaming through York today, Tuesday Februray 23.

Not my photo but doesn't she look wonderful!

I always refer to the Flying Scotsman as a she don't know why always have.  I work in a well known Solicitors office in Peterborough for my day job as a legal secretary. Our offices are in old Railway sheds on the side of the railway track that have been converted over the years.  Today we saw the Flying Scotsman go by from  the office windows and she looked magnificent. after her recent lengthy overhaul.  It was lovely to see her after all this time and she looked wonderful, big black and strong. This train of all others is the one I remember from my childhood and is probably the one that is most loved of all trains.

One of the first places I remember living was Gunthorpe near Oakham and we lived in one of the Lodge cottages to Gunthorpe Hall, the shooting lodge to the Duke of Rutland's Estate. The cottage garden ran down to the Railway track - and the Flying Scotsman used to do a run here every so often.  Being proper trains they always used to leave smut on my mum's white washing from the coal and ash and I can still hear her complaining because she had had to wash it all again. Me of course loved it at that time I was well and truly into the Reverend Audry's books so the trains were a big thing in my early life.  My brother was also born at the cottage. 

For further details please see link here:

Apparently we will have a chance to see her again tomorrow morning on the return journey just gone 9:30am.

However there is another link.  My Great Granddad was a Tuber/Boilermaker and there is a photo of him with his colleagues standing outside the Flying Scotsman after having worked on her. His job was one of the muckiest as he used to strip out all the tubes from the engine. My Great Granddad was originally from London and moved his young family up from London to work just outside of Lincoln and the family settled in Lincoln itself with my Great Granddad going on to have a couple of more children after moving to Lincoln itself.  Settling literally around the corner from where my mother's family lived.  Mum knew my Great Granddad first as after retiring from the Railway he went on to work as one of the Keepers at the Usher Gallery on Lindum Hill in Lincoln.  Mum remembers him telling them off for sitting on the grass so she knew him before she met my dad.  Small world when you think about it.

But then I believe that people come into our lives for a reason and a season and serendipity does have a part to play with who arrives when and where.  Otherwise there would be just too many coincidences.

Wonderful though to see the Flying Scotsman again that really made my day as I thought she was due to pass by yesterday and I thought I had missed it, so it made it extra special.



Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Aroma of Freshly Made Bread

Wafting through the house is a difficult one to resist and has always been one of my weaknesses. Last night I made such a loaf and because I was in a hurry I decided to test drive a Co-Op white bread mix.  This time I used my mum's Cookworks bread maker  rather than my Panasonic and I added butter to the bread mix as well - and the loaf has really risen.  Needless to say I had some very perturbed pussy cats who could not quite out what this square thing on top of the big freezer was doing there especially as it was making a very interesting noise.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating so they say and we needed bread for pack ups and this was the easiest way around at very short notice but I went to bed feeling very hungry nonetheless.  Another one will be put on when I get home from work I may do a loaf or I may do some buns.  My Tiger buns will have to wait though until the weekend when I have a little more time to play. 

I quite enjoy making bread  I am not too good with the old kneading as my hands are not very good and get quite painful so I tend to cheat a bit I use the breadmaker more for mixing the dough and kneading it and then do other things with it. 

My brother gave me a Hotpoint mixer and that has a dough hook so I may well fiddle with that as well.  Might have a go at Croissants.  I am also going to test out my bread prover this weekend as well will be ideal for the Tiger rolls.  A lot is happening.  The TV aerial man is due this weekend hopefully before the Rugby Match is on on Saturday otherwise I will know a very unhappy bunny.

Right must get a wriggle on.

Catch you later on.



Sunday, 21 February 2016

Quick Pop In

The title sounds a bit like a royal fly by.  However its only little old me!

Today's quiet day has continued into the evening apart from the fact that I am now knee deep in washing and ironing in order that we both have clean clothes for the week. A necessary evil; both of us work in offices so its at least one change of clothes a day.  When I get in of an evening I usually change into what I call the housework clothes; clothes that it does not matter if you get in a mess with or spill bleach on etc.  That way I keep my good clothes for best.

I am very interested in recycling fabric where I can particularly old tray cloths, tablecloths, lace mats, knapkins etc. and some of the finishes and articles I have seen made by very talented ladies have been superb.  So much so I have for the best part of a year been collecting said items as and when I can and they are all in a box waiting for a few more items to join them before I start playing.  Today on my Pinterest board I have found ideas for lampshades, cushion/pillow covers, curtains, patchwork embroidered bed covers.   Indeed a lot of food for thought. 

I have also for some years been collecting linen chair back covers with the intention of using waste canvas to embroider over the fabric with small motifs and I intend to re-use the lace that is attached to those as well.   I have some very lovely  cross stitch and needlepoint books by Jane Innes and Melinda Coss with some lovely floral designs in.  In case you had not guessed I really love flowers and I had thought that I would work some of the smaller items on to the linen chair back covers and then use them cut into patchwork sized squares and then use floral fabric in alternate patches in a quilt together with some Trapunto quilted squares worked on calico.

I also have a jeans proddy mat on the go which is one of the UFOs I need to get out of the way but I have a suspicion I will not be able to get on to this until the winter months again.  I need to get the UFOs completed so that it clears some space and then hopefully I will be able to get a bit more organised and find everything.  I need to pull myself up by my braces and get stuck in.  I am hoping to do a little of that this week.  That is what I intend to do but whether real life will let me get to it well that is another matter all together.  Lets hope so.  I need to focus on lots of things.

I have also received my physiotherapy appointment through, so that was quick.  They texted me on Friday to let me know and I got the appointment letter on Saturday morning.  Very quick, but I have to get my feet working properly for the sake of my back.


Right I had better get a wriggle on.  All OHs clothes are ready for the week, just have to get mine sorted.

Catch you during the week.



I cannot settle

I cannot settle at the moment - something is in the wind I can feel the change in my bones and the inner core of me.  When I get like this I cannot settle to anything or focus properly on anything at all.  It is quite annoying from my point of view as I am simply itching to get on with things .  I certainly have a lot to do as usual but I am wondering whether it is because the sap is arising from the ground into the trees.  Birch trees are well routed and the sap is being collected now to make wines to re-energise the spirit and the soul.  Or put quite simply is it just Spring coming.  The change in the wheel.

I am a Spring baby as was my father (both of us born in May)and he always used to be the same.  Equally though it may be an indication that I need to root myself ever more into the earth's energies and step away from the hurley burley of modern life and try and live a simpler way altogether. "Going back to my roots" as they say.  Its funny that the word "roots" and earth energies seem to be an unconscious theme in this post.  Perhaps my Reiki and my inner sixth sense are telling me to root myself more.  Perhaps that is the answer.  Although when I sat down to write this post I did not have a thought in my head and the words have just flowed.  Ironic really as I have had a little writer's block of late.

I have worked full time all my life - not even stopping to have children so fitting everything in can sometimes be a bit like a jigsaw sometimes it fits sometimes it is disastrous.  But to step away I need to have another source of income and to be able to focus and have a little financial backing in order to do the things that I wish to do.  I need that to settle outstanding bills and to buy a property with a bit of land that I can work and feel the soil in my fingers and be more connected through the changes in the seasons and keeping some chickens and some goats and growing my own perhaps with a few fruit trees as well.  Perhaps its the country coming out after all I am a country girl who lives in the city.  My heart is not really where I am although I make the best of it.  Everything has a cycle though -  I trust that I will be taken to where I need to be and that serendipity, chance and fate are all intertwined and will happen when the moment is right.

Yesterday for instance there was a bargain on ebay I would have loved to take advantage of.  A cooker like a Rayburn but it was another make.  Went for £82.50 only catch was  you had to travel, take it out and then transport it home and then refit it where you wanted it.  One heck of a bargain although a little bit of messing about in between.  OH just grunted when I mentioned it.  However I plan little bits and collect bits as I go along.  Everything has a purpose and a place  - bit like a patchwork quilt.  I shall keep my eye out for things that are going to be useful.  Its nice to have new things but I do not like paying through the nose.

I watch Ebay on a regular basis. Mostly for ideas on pricing which is very up and down, sometimes for inspiration, sometimes because I am collecting things.  I am slowly collecting Cornishware blue and white containers and anything related a piece at a time.  I look at some of the larger collections and think if only  I was able to afford that; but I am confident that moment will come in time. So far I have paid no more than £20 apiece but some of the larger storage like the bread crock you need an awful lot of pennies for. I already have the pine dressers on which to site the storage jars.  I have been looking at individual pieces of furniture as well as meat safes and other storage items for the pantry.  So really the Internet is a wonderful thing in that it brings us into contact with things or people or places that we were otherwise unconnected to.

I am very interested at the moment in trying to obtain charts or patterns for traditional Berlin wool work patterns or reproductions or even modern day charts.  I like doing Needlepoint and I have a theme for my "fairy tale" lounge/best room/front room whatever you want to call it which consists of pinks, greens, creams, roses and flowers.  I am slowly working Needlepoint panels as I can.  Some have had their backings already sewn on using the colour palate mentioned above and the Berlin wool patterns are ideal for what I would like to achieve.

I am also rather taken with crewel work patterns of flowers but I have not seen any charts for them or would not know where to go either.  I have seen some available for sale mass produced but I do not want to buy I want to be able to make my own.  Make my home my own.

I am interested in sourcing the charts so that I am prepared for when I eventually do get all my UFOs completed and out of the way which may be sometime if I carry on with no focus at the moment when the inner me is stamping her foot and wanting to get on.

So its been a bit of a quiet dreamy day here; the wind has been howling like a good un, the cat was not interested in staying out he was howling to be let in big wuss but darling cat that he is.  I have not done much have not had the energy or the focus to do things but I really need to get cracking.  I have so much to do and so little time to achieve it. 

Ah well such is life you have to dream; one day though it will be a reality.

Catch you later.



Saturday, 20 February 2016

Predominantly Food

I am quite sad (not literally) when I do not have anything to do of a dinner time as I tend to wander round the shops and have a really good nosey.  Yesterday is a prime example.  I was in M & S and I had no intention of buying anything at all.  Until I spotted their meal deal of the week for £10 was a wood fired pizza.   I have had my eyes on these pizzas for a few weeks and at £6 each the jury was still out until I spotted the meal deal.  They have about four different options. The one I chose was full of mozzarella, salami, sweet chillis, red sweet pepper,and the sides were a loaded bread, a bag of salad and a bottle of wine.  For £10 not bad.  The sweet chillis were interesting they had sight heat but were the size of the top of my little finger.   However they are very sweet.  Interesting nonetheless.

We had this for tea last night and it really was delicious (although both of us were not quite keen on the loaded bread) but everything else went down very well.  The wine was also from about 4 different choices.  I chose a white Frizzante a light sparkling wine  - I had a glass and enjoyed it - it has been a very busy week at work.  So both of us enjoyed last night's tea very much.  In fact we both said that we would have this again.  It served two of us very nicely and was a nice light tea that was very tasty. It was lovey to have salad for a change. OH went to the Doctors this week and it would appear that his blood sugar is a bit high again at the moment so I am watching his diet whilst he is at home like a hawk.

There are a lot of new items on the shelves in M & S.  As I have said I  tend to go navigating the shelves and the fridges to see what is in.  I am the same at Waitrose but I do not usually buy prepared food I normally just buy the ingredients, but because I was tired and we needed a sensible meal that was not too heavy that is what we ended up having.  However I do keep an eye on price.  I will not pay through the notes at all,  Especially if I can get the same or near enough for a cheaper price; mostly depends on the quality in the first place.  For the best part though I usually do things from scratch.

I also bought one of their larger chickens (an Oakham chicken) which had been stuffed.  That cost £7 and we have had that for tea this evening served with the broccoli I put in the freezer the other week, fresh carrots, frozen peas, and mashed potatoes and gravy.  That was very tasty indeed and because it was a larger chicken we still have half the chicken, the pickings and the skeleton to make into stock to use up; and it was already stuffed and that was tasty too.  I am not sure whether we will have a roast tomorrow - I suspect not probably will be a case of using up the chicken probably with some home made chips - neither of us are keen on bought frozen chips and some bread and butter but then again it could be with veggies.  So we have not done too badly for the past couple of days where meals are concerned  I will probably buy both items again.

Please note that the above is my subjective view and is not subject to any influence from any third party.  I tend to speak as I find.

I also bought a small gammon joint which will do for some sarnies for work for both of us and (then if there is any left- I hope there will be) I will make some pea soup and serve the shredded gammon on the top served with some buttered toast to dunk in the pea soup which is delicious.

Other things in the pipeline for this week include making some cranberry and apple jelly (frozen cranberries), some cranberry and apple cheese, bottling some apples, making some swede and carrot crush, starting the sourdough starter off again - I have some grapes.  The starter needs to be going for about ten days before I can use it.  So I have a fair bit to do.  Next weekend I hope to make some pastry and make some pies for the freezer so during the week we are going to have to do a bit of eating as both freezers are full, but I want to get some meat pies and fruit pies into the freezer.  Trouble is one you have one or even two freezers you can always fill more.  Especially if I start growing things again.

Right upwards and onwards hope you are all enjoying your weekend.

Take care.



Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Bit of a Bargain

I had tea all planned it had been taken out of the freezer awaiting my tender ministrations when I got in from work and OH didn't fancy it.  I had planned on Steak pie with mashed potatoes and veggies and quite frankly he did not fancy it.  He has however treated us to a Chinese so I am not complaining.  So it looks as though it will be steak pie tomorrow night.

Well I have had a bit of a midweek bargain in that I have purchased 15 trays of Blueberries normally £2 a tray for 50pence per tray that would have been £30 under normal circumstances but with the mark down to 50p well that has saved me £22.50.  I only paid £7.50.  So that to me is a bargain.  But did you know that blueberries are good for you.  They are full of what are known as free radicals which is an integral part of the fruit that actually helps you fight any kind of infection.  A bit like cranberries.

What am I going to do with the blueberries.  Well they are destined for the freezer.  I will use them in blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes. (both are favourites)  If I find some more along the way I will have a go at dehydrating them for storage in glass jars.  So it just goes to show that you should not be too proud to turn your nose up at the reductions; it could save you an awful lot of money.  I intend to really get stuck in with the dehydrator and intend to raid the reductions on a regular basis in order to put some goodies down for use in my cooking repertoire and give me selection of items that you would not normally have access to.  Once dried, the fruits can be used in a variety of ways and one of the chief ones on my list is to start making my own breakfast cereals again.  I used to have a couple of old sweet jars and used to make it in bulk when my step-children were at home.  Although I like bought cereal sometimes there are hidden sugars in things that you just do not need.  I am quite partial to Granola.  Home made.

One of the cheapest ways to get fruit on to your table is to buy ready frozen fruit.  Co-Op have a mixed selection of berries for £2.  If you were buying them fresh you would pay anything upwards of £2 just for one particular fruit and     M & S sometimes £3 a tub.  Iceland is a good place to look too.

So I am rather chuffed at the saving.  So if you get an offer like this where you live then do not leave it - it is too much of a bargain.

I will be after some veggies to dry soon so that I can make my own soup mixes.  Will be ideal for Oh when he goes fishing or adding more flavour to meals.

Right must got a wriggle on.  Things to do including getting those blueberries into the freezer.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 15 February 2016

Its been a long day today

Its been a long day today - I was awake at 6:00am and got up about 6:30pm.  I asked OH to make sure I got up as I needed to be at the Hospital for 9:15am and left to my own devices especially with an increase in the epilepsy medication I was not risking anything.  I am also taking the meds differently.  My doctor suggested that I take the larger dose before I went to bed and that the smaller dose would top me up in the morning. They want to increase meds up to 100ml which is double what I was taking (now on 75mg) but I have to get used to it and until I do this will be a vulnerable time.  A lot of epilepsy medication is actually sedative based and used to slow down the system.  So I do have to be careful.  I also make sure that people around me know what is going on.  Fortunately a work colleague has two of the same conditions as me i.e. the Raynauds and the epilepsy so I tend to tell her as she knows what to do if there is any difficulty.

I wrapped up well before walking to the Hospital  - it was bitterly cold and was head wind all the way and I got there in plenty of time.  (However I did get a taxi to take me back to work).

This time I saw the Consultant last time I saw his Registrar.  He has got to the bottom of why my back is playing up and it is all down to my feet. 

Apparently the inner arch of my foot has gone flatter which means that I have (as he put it) lost the spring in my step.  I need to have some special insoles made - not the NH ones as they only last six months.  He uses these particular insoles and he was able to show me what they were like and also said that he runs 5 miles every two days.  They are a thin silicone rubber and he says they should last for life as he put it. 

One of the problems I have had of late is that I have had a lot of pain when walking too far.  It would seem that my feet have caused me to go forward and it is also knocking my hips out of alignment and that is what is causing the problems with my back at the moment irrespective of the disc being out of alignment. He has indicated that these insoles will enable me to carry on getting the exercise I have been and will probably be able to do more.  I have been told that I need to keep moving no matter what.  That is imperative. 

My back was bad today when I saw him so he was able to see how it affected me.  Thankfully he has got to the bottom of what is going on - with so many conditions all giving off similar symptoms it is a bit of a minefield but this is not related to my existing conditions.  This is a separate issue entirely which does need dealing with.  I was beginning to feel old, on the scrap heap and a bit of a has been resigned to being like this, but from talking to him I should feasibly be able to turn this round which I am pleased about as I am a young 50 something who still has a lot of living to do.  There's still lots of things I would love to do;

The nasty problem with the Scleroderma appears to be under control still which is good. 

He is referring me back to physio again because of the foot situation and he wants to see me again in six months.  If I can exercise more it might help me to lose some more weight.  I cannot really afford to put any more weight on now I have lost it - would cause too much of an issue on my frame and on my clothes as I have bought smaller sizes since losing the weight after mum passed.

I am going to go to bed early  to get some sleep hopefully - get the rest of my meds.  OH is under instructions to get me up when he comes back from walking the dog.  If he doesn't I will still be there when I shouldn't  be, I tend to sleep through alarms.

Its been bitterly cold here today despite me being wrapped up to the nines.  Just take care keep snug and warm.

So a positive note on which to end the day things are salvageable and hopefully will help me  in the long run.  I must do better.

Catch you soon.



Beautiful Creamy Mashed potatoes

The more cooking I do, the more I want to do.  It is something that I have always loved and been reasonably good at.  But there have been a few hiccups along the way - as there normally is why you find out what goes with this and what goes with that and how you do this and how you do that.

I must say that I was bought up with how to handle a potato masher - the oval one on a handle with slots in the metal base and I was taught by my mum how to wield this quite effectively. They come in round and square these days as well.  However these days to achieve beautiful creamy mashed potato, I prefer a potato ricer to crush the potatoes and to get rid of any lumps.  Its a lot easier on my hands as well. I run the boiled potatoes once drained through the potato ricer a few at a time pressing them into a bowl and then once all the potato has been processed like this I run the potato masher around it, add a little butter and some milk or cream and pop them under a tea towel on top of the cooker whilst I finish serving up the rest of tea.  It tastes good too and the finish on the potatoes is perfect - not too compacted and not too starchy.

In the winter months I prefer mash it is comfort food of the highest order and if you work full time then you need a slow cooker in which to cook a simple meal that will be more or less ready when you get home.  That is apart from the potatoes which feasibly could be prepared and boiled within 30 minutes.  Lovely hot tasty tea with a lovely accompaniment.

But you can always ring the changes by making champ or colcannon both tasty ways of serving mashed potato.

Do you have a special way in which you process the humble spud or in which you serve it.  Would love to hear from you.

Catch you soon.



First Snow

We seem to have had our first snow  - ever so slight like someone had dusted a load of cakes with fairy dust.

At the minute it is bitter out there  - I have already nipped to the shop. Have had a nice cup of tea and a pain au chocolat.  Have started the extra meds, done battle with the ironing board and now I have to walk to the Hospital.  Will take me about 40  minutes all told. So it will be a case of wrap up well.  To get to work I will get a taxi.  It was so much easier when the Hospital was at the end of the drive.  Took  me 5 minutes to walk down there.

Ah well in the name of progress.

From icing sugar covered Peterborough hope you have a lovely day.

Catch you soon.



Pause for Thought and it depends on your point of view

I saw this on Facebook earlier on and thought to myself

Sometimes it just takes a bit of finding.

Maybe we ought to look at the world like a child does.  There are no barriers, no preconceptions just honest unconditional love and pure simple enjoyment, curiosity and zest for life.  Are we that  world weary that we forget our early lessons and our passions.

But this phrase is very apt when things are not that good. I have been there and in an attempt to make my glass half full instead of half empty I started to look at situations in a different way.  It is not easy but it can be done. So you don't have money, but there is you.  You can help and have something to give which is totally unique and precious.  You don't have to spend money, just helping someone or doing something for another can help someone else and make you feel good about yourself and worthy.  it makes the other person feel cared for.

Instead of saying why when something happens  say why not me!  When things are at their darkest usually there is only one way open and that is back into the light.  For us to know our parameters we have to experience both in equal measure.  It is not what or why this has happened to you but how you as a person cope with it and surmount it that really matters. Please note that I would not wish any harm on anyone but we all have different lessons to learn and different life experiences.  So live your life enjoy it as best you can.  It does not come with an instruction book and what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another.  So just be true to you keep your inner flame alight.



Sunday, 14 February 2016

Today has been a Planning and Research day

I did not get up very early again today, but this time round my back was a bit easier than yesterday which is a blessing; still nipping but at least I can get around easily which was not the case yesterday.

I have been on the computer most of the day.  I had forgotten about You Tube and found several tutorials on there that I am quite interested in.  All items are related to future projects and having a video tutorial helps immensely - I think I am a visual learner more than reading the written word which is strange considering I am a total "bookworm", and once I get to grips with things I never forget; but sometimes the learning can be frustrating which is when I end up taking two or three bites at it and doing things slowly I have no choice.

As a result of getting number 2 edition of the Sew Inspired publication which I referred to yesterday I have managed to download most of Debbie's tutorials which will come in handy when it comes to the making of Christmas and birthday presents.  I have been stockpiling links on my computer so that I can quickly access things when it comes to my play days and I intend to stockpile some fabrics which will be suitable for said items.

I also have a card to make this week for one of my work colleagues I need to have that ready for Thursday so it will be a case of dragging out materials tomorrow night and seeing what I can come up with.  I am not a natural card maker but what you can do with the die cutting machine besides now that I am interested in.

Today has been a chill out one for me being able to indulge in some research and some planning has been invigorating.  As I said to OH why does it take you two days to get over working the week and when just as you get into the weekend its time to go back to work again and unfortunately I need to work unless I am lucky enough to win the Lottery! 

I am just about chilled enough to start things again.  Never mind I can only do what I can do. I do plan to experiment a little more in the coming months.  I have just got to plan out the money side of things a bit, but that can be achieved. First, I have to sort out the order I want to do things then we can plot the ingredients plan.

I have the hospital tomorrow first thing so no doubt there will be blood tests etc.  I am not a fan of injections or blood taking - its been ongoing since I was seven.

We have a piece of roast beef for tea this evening (we tend to have our tea at night so that we can get the most out of the day).  There are also roast potatoes, home made Yorkshire Pudding, peas, carrots, cauliflower broccoli and carrots and mashed potato.  For Pudding we have an Apple Strudel (a bought one - I just fancied it) together with custard.
Probably because its blooming perishing again outside I am into comfort food mode.

Now what are we going to have for tea tomorrow night. I will have a think on that but I quite fancy Gammon steaks, home made chips and pineapple with some bread and butter.  That means I will be able to get on a bit tomorrow night.  I need to get a wriggle on again.

Keep warm everyone - and keep an eye on older individuals on their own.  If need be invite them in and let them share your warmth - its about helping each other at the end of the day.

Catch you shortly.



Saturday, 13 February 2016

Saturday Roundup

We had plans for today but sadly they did not come to fruition.

In the craft room/computer room we do not get very good television reception and when we are both watching different things on our computers or on the TV well the signal just dies which is very frustrating and sometimes we miss the end or bits of what we have been watching as a result of the up and down signal.  Part of the problem relates to the fact that there was a TV aerial in situ when we moved here about 28 years ago.  That serves the front part of the house. and we have been mooching about getting a second one put up on the back of the house where the signal is absolutely dire. Even the mobile phone signal dies in the back of the house.

OH had contacted someone to do the installation today but they had to cancel as one of their installers had failed to turn up to work.  So OH rang around and found somebody who could.  However by the time he got here it was dusk and so it has been put off until next week as he would not have been able to see what he was doing by the time he got on the roof.  We were hoping that we would have had it all done and dusted ready to watch the Rugby but never mind.

I woke up with an extremely painful back this morning, so much so I have had to slap a load of Ibruprofen gel on.  Trouble is when I go to sleep I die and if I remain in the same spot most of the night that's when it cripples me. So I have not done as much as I had planned but have sat to ease things off and I must say I am feeling a little better than I did. Never mind these things are sent to try us.  I do have a hospital appointment on Monday though with the Arthritis clinic so I shall mention it then as I am slowly getting a lot stiffer than I was. I still get a lot of exercise as I walk to work every day, but its too much to do the return journey like I used to so OH picks me up. 

Its blooming cold again.  Even the cats are not tarrying very long and are very eager to get back into barracks where its nice and warm. That is a novelty in itself as Demetri in particular will not come in unless he is ready or unless I wrestle him.  He enjoys the cuddle really. 

I had a delivery today from Ideal World of the Debbie Shore Sew Inspired publication. I bought the first one and was very taken with it. I already have a lot of her books, and like the simplicity of her approach and the designs. I had not been able to find the second one anywhere and then I was browsing the other day on the Create and Craft site and noticed that they had it. 

They usually work out pretty good value as you end up with some gifts  approximately £30 worth in this one a free CD Rom  on how to make 5 exclusive purse patterns a free satchel pattern, a little bird stencil, together with loads of other tutorials.  I thought that this might be another good way of obtaining patterns for different things that are not too complicated to make up as presents and Christmas presents.  As usual I am keeping all my options open and stockpiling bits and bobs in anticipation of having a major play. In reality probably when OH goes fishing again but if I can get in before then I will do.

The third one I believe has been aired today on Create and Craft so I am a little behind the times, but I shall get the third one come pay day.

Once the computer room/craft room has been returned to normality I will be able to seriously play. 

OH has been painting the computer room/craft room out.  The walls are painted and look good. He has started the gloss work but it is taking some time to dry and he has to keep working it because it dribbles. (I am not going there just keeping me and the dog away from the paint, mind you keeping Missy away from her window seat is tantamount to setting ourselves up to fail.  We have had two near misses so far today in that respect. We do not fancy removing gloss paint from her either).

Once the aerial has been sorted next week will be able to get the television on the wall as well out of harms way which in turn will clear one of the desks for the sewing machine(s).  Now once I find the rest of my sewing kit - its in there somewhere it will be all systems go.  I have a new foot for my sewing machine and also some new bobbins.

The calico arrived safe and sound the other day so that is the fabric for the embroidered Christmas quilts purchased. That means when I get sorted a bit I can print off the designs and start working them, then all I will have to do is find a nice Christmassy fabric and some wadding to back them.  I intend making two.  The embroidery will be something I will be able to do when watching or listening to the television or some music.   All the outlines are freebies on my Pinterest site which are to be worked all in red embroidery thread on the calico cream background. I shall use the suppliers again as it is quite good quality at £2.66 per metre. 

I need some more for my other quilt for my bedroom the one that is to be worked from lace, pieces of linen, embroidery and patchwork in pinks, creams and greens and also from hand quilted outlines.  The peppermint spot fabric I also ordered off line has also arrived, and I am equally chuffed with that as it is a Rose and Hubble cotton fabric so I am starting to get bits together.

I really do need to go to Kisco in Leicester.  OH has in theory said he would take me but I need to do a little saving first.  Kisco in case you do not know is a warehouse specifically selling cotton fabric mostly for patchwork but the prices are extremely reasonable and when my friend Anne took me there from (Sweet Blondie Blue Eyes blog

- I had never seen so much fabric in all my life or so much choice, but I do hope to get there shortly.)

Going back to the seeds and plants I managed to pick up some cress seed the other day, three packets and two rhubarb plants called "Raspberry Pink".  I intend to get some more as we like rhubarb in this household and it is very useful for puddings, (freezing and bottling), making jam, making wine, making chutney, but I intend to have some other different varieties too.

Right upwards and onwards.

Hope life is treating you fairly and that you are keeping safe and warm.

Catch you soon.



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)