Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year's Eve 2011 - My 100th Post.

Hello beautiful people.

Ooh I'm so cross - I had prepared a long post ready to add some minor ramblings to this evening, only to find that it has vanished into the ether.  How very frustrating.

Ah well, no use crying over spilt milk. 

Our New Year's Eve has been a quiet one spent with loved ones.  My parents came 'round for supper.  We had prepared Yuk Sung in our new food processor.  It was SO easy we'll definitely do it again. 

Quick recipe for you!

3 large chicken boobies.. erm... breasts
2 bunches spring onions
4 carrots
2 onions
2 cloves garlic
1inch piece of ginger - peeled.
2 packets of stir fry sauce (Aldi do a fabulous spring onion and ginger one for about 30p per packet).
Soy sauce
Seasoning
Iceberg or Little Gem Lettuce, separated into single leaves.

Whack the chicken into a food processor and mince finely  (I mean mince the chicken.  Not walk in an effeminate way around the kitchen).

Once chicken is well and truly mincerated, remove from the processor and stir fry in a large wok until you're happy that it's cooked through.

Whilst the chicken is frying, using the same knife blade in the processor, whizz up the onions, spring onions, garlic, ginger and carrots.  Again, allow the veg to be chopped very finely.

Remove lid from processor and wince a little as the pungent garlic and oniony fumes dissolve the retinas from your eyeballs.  Stir fry the paste, then add the chicken, stir until the mixture is well combined, add the sauces, soy sauce, and seasoning to your taste.   Serve piled onto lettuce leaves which can then be wrapped around the meaty filling, scoff and enjoy.  Yummers!!  N.B.  You could of course add chillis if you like them but we had to leave them out this time as we were cooking for the oldies!  bless em!

Just call me Delia.

Actually don't.  I'd prefer Nigella.  Thanks.

After the 'rents left, Paula popped for 30mins respite from a party she was at down the road.  My daughter is out with her boyfriend at a local pub with his family.  So it's just me, ma boy and wondrous man.  I'm blogging, they're wii-ing!   I've never been much for New Year celebrations really.  I always find them a little flat and, sometimes a little over-emotional.  This quiet family time is suiting me just fine this evening.

2011 has been good.  Incredibly fast mind you - hasn't it fled by?! - but good.  The only downsides have been work related frustrations and exasperations, and minor health niggles which both need to be addressed in the New Year. I know that on a personal level, (discounting the births of my two beautiful babes), I'm the happiest and most content I've been in the whole of my adult life. I know that I live in a house filled completely with love, respect and understanding. That means more to me than anything.  We don't have much money but we have a truly blessed life.  To have someone tell me on a very regular basis that they love me and love our life means far more than having money in the bank.

And so to 2012.  I'm hoping for more of the same.  I don't 'do' resolutions apart from the one that's rolled out every year like a cheap carpet - the one where I state that this will be the year I lose weight once and for all.   

Instead of resolutions, I'm making promises to myself and setting challenges.

1.  This will be the year I lose weight once and for all (!)
2.  I will find a new job.  One that is satisfying and worthwhile and not one that is mind numbingly boring and thankless and saps my spirit and stamps over my soul.
3.  I will find more time to be creative.  I want to make soap.  I want to make those dear little teacup candles.
4.  I will remember my friends' birthdays and will post their cards and gifts on time.  This is HUGE!  I am crap!
5.  I will try very hard to be as frugal as possible.
6.  I will learn something new, whether this is at a night class or by distance learning.
7.  I will end 2012 with a perfectly tidy bedroom and will have absolutley NO clothesies lining the circumference of the room as I will have completed declutteration of the place by then!!
8.  I will continue to teach myself the Pagan way and will continue to follow my solitary path in my own quiet way,
9.  I really REAAAAAAAAAAALLY want to do some volunteer work at something like Shelter or Foodbank or similar.

That will do for now I think!

My loves - tis nearly upon us. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog posts this year.  I look forward to sharing more silliness with you next year.

 May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2012.  Love and Light.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Of Besties and Fun and Games

Hello Lovelies

Thank you to all 91 of you who dropped by to view my little blog yesterday.   I'm having real issues with Blogger lately.  Many people can't leave comments - even if they wanted to(!) and Blogger itself tells me that my browser no longer supports 'Blogger' and that I may encounter problems posting.  The only way I can post is via Google Chrome.  It therefore seems that I may have to move my little blog to another host at some point as I'm a bit of a technophobe and don't really understand what I need to do. It's very frustrating.

Anyway, moving on.  I've had a lovely day today.  My best friend text me earlier this morning to see if I fancied popping out for a coffee.  Well - it would be rude not to eh?!  We went to our usual little Garden Centre coffee shop and sat with a 'mini breakfast' and a large coffee and gassed away a good couple of hours.  It was absolutely blissful!

Paula and I met around 12 years ago when our eldest girls were at school.  We had both signed up for the Parent Teacher Association and didn't know each other prior to the first meeting.  Paula, in her inimitable style, walked into the staffroom, thrust a bright green D&G plimsoll with bright pink laces at me and said - "I can't undo ruddy knots - can you help?"  We've been best mates ever since.

We lived in each other's pockets in the early years, particularly when our littlies were at pre-school; more often than not we would drop them off at school then go out on an adventure somewhere or other, even when we had promised that 'today we absolutely and definitely should get some housework done'.   We've laughed, cried, partied, been on Thelma and Louise road trips, drunk endless cups of coffee in each other's kitchens, shared confidences, sold candles, wrapped three million presents for Santa's grotto, sorted jumble, dressed up in the most ridiculous outfits known to man, sung on stage in front of 100 people at a candle product launch, hunted for mice in the PTA shed, moaning our heads off at the damage done by such a small rodent, then, upon finding it, saying "awwwwww bless"!!  and promptly released it into the field outside the shed only for it to no-doubt return shortly afterwards.

We've both gone through sticky marriage break-ups but have both come out the other side of them and have  both in turn found our forever loves.   We might go for a couple of weeks at a time without communicating but when we do get in touch we can yap for hours and hours without a break.

I miss her a lot as we both work full time and don't get to spend as much time together as we used to but today has just underlined how strong our friendship is and probably (hopefully) always will be.

Love you matey!!

This afternoon lovely man and I went to my parents for late lunch/early dinner.  We had a great time being plied with homemade lasagne and knickerbocker glories and then played a couple of games before we came home.  If you're into playing games with the fam., then these two are brilliant fun!   Motor Mouth (which is like an electronic version of Give Us a Clue, and Say What  - remember the electronic 'Simon' game?  well this one is similar but you have to rearrange a mixed up phrase or lyric by moving coloured balls in to the correct order - check them out - I can thoroughly recommend them!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

No Turkey Required

Hello darlings

Christmas is such a ridiculously over-indulgent time isn't it?  We've managed to avoid food overload this year and were more than satisfied with one decent meal on Christmas Day at around 3pm and then a couple of sweet treats of a chocolate nature as we watched tv in the evening.   If we're at home, that's the norm for us though.  We may have something like a bacon sarnie if we get up early enough at the weekends, but tend to eat our main meal around 5.30 and that's enough for us.

My son and my other half are real carnivores and for them, a meal is not a meal unless at least a third of the plate is covered with meat!  I can honestly take it or leave it and my daughter would live off jacket potatoes if she could.  Indeed I was a vegetarian for a number of years in my youth and quite often still choose the veggie options if I'm eating out.

One of my very favourite veggie recipes at the moment, which is perfect for these cool winter evenings, is a vegetable tagine.  It's a hearty winter vegetable stew, flavoured with just the right amount of warming spice, yet not too hot so as to blow your head off. 

I found this recipe in one of my Slimming World cook books and they suggest to look out for a Moroccan spice mix called Ras -El- Hanout to replace the cumin, coriander, cinnamon and turmeric.  I'd never heard of it before but found a packet of the spice in the 'world foods' aisle and I have to say it's A.Mazing!  Such a fragrant mix of spices which actually includes ground rose petals.  I would certainly recommend that you give it a try if you don't have it in your spice rack.  It usually comprises Black Pepper, Coriander, Ginger, Paprika, Allspice, Cardamom, Mace, Nutmeg, Turmeric, Cayenne, Cloves and Rose Petals although I would hazard a guess that each proprietory brand has it's own special mixture and having done a bit of Google investigating, the mixture can comprise between ten and one hundred different spices!  Lliterally translated, Ras El Hanout means "top of the shop" and can also be used as a marinade when added to a couple of tablespoons of oil and rubbed into fish or meat.

Anyways - here's the tagine recipe - You can adapt the veggies to your own preference, but here's what I use:-

2 x large Carrots
1/2 a medium Butternut Squash
2 x Sweet Potatoes
2 x average sized normal Potatoes
Tin of chopped Tomatoes
1 large Onion
2 x garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon finely grated root ginger
1/2 teaspoon of artificial sweetener or sugar
1 teaspoons each of ground coriander, turmeric and dried chilli flakes
2 teaspoons each of ground cumin and ground cinnamon
Salt and Black Pepper
250ml vegetable stock

**if you do manage to find the ras el hanout, then use one and a half teaspoons of the spice, but you can then leave out the cumin, coriander, cinnamon and turmeric.

Chop the veggies into bite size pieces.  Literally stick everything into a large pan, bring to the boil, cover, and simmer until the veggies are tender - or to your taste, the butternut squash may take a little longer but the stew will not suffer for extra cooking time. (Indeed it's as is usual with spiced recipes - this improves over time and is even more wondrous next day!).   Season to your taste and serve with couscous or rice.  You could sprinkle over some fresh chopped coriander if you like.  I also like a big blob of natural yoghurt on the top of it too.  YUM!!

This is a wonderful meal on it's own but for the ardent carnivores amongst us it could also be used as a tasty side dish alongside your haunch of venison or suckling pig!!

Enjoy!!

N.B.  I've been advised that the commenting malarkey is a bit hit and miss right now - and here I was thinking you'd all deserted me!!    I'm not sure why this should be - I've tweaked the settings and hopefully this has rectified the problem but if not - then I'm not sure what else to do. Answers on ... erm... well - it'll have to be a postcard I guess!!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

It's ....Tuesday!

Imaginative blog title eh?!  Yup - I thought so!

I do hope all of my lovely readers, followers, lurkers and blogging buddies have had the most peaceful, restful and cosy of festive periods.

I relish the period of calm between Christmas and New Year. I know that some people find it flat and uneventful but I'm happy with that.   I'm lucky to say that I don't have to go back to work for another whole, blessed, scrumptious week.  Whilst I have much decluttering planned (for our bedroom in particular) for the latter part of the week, I'm using the next couple of days to simply hibernate. It's a time to recharge and regroup.  Both my body and my spirit crave some homely, snuggly down time and I'm going to enjoy it without one ounce of guilt.  So there!  I'm going to camp on the sofa tomorrow and read Jamie, Sophie, the Hairy Bikers and Nigel from cover to cover!

I was thoroughly spoilt at Christmas and the man has been banned from buying me ANYTHING for the next twelve months at least!  

My favourite gifts, however, were these:-


This charm bracelet holds lots of gorgeous little Wiccan charms.  It jangles delightfully so any operations of a stealthy nature are well and truly thwarted whilst wearing it!

 
I was absolutely delighted to receive this little lady  - particularly as she was the very witchy doll I had missed out on in THIS post!  Him indoors is a sneaky devil!!!


Harvey's present was to run riot through the discarded paper!


The Kissing Ball referred to in a previous post
 We had a foray into town this afternoon as I had to go to the opticians to order new specs.  We didn't really need anything else (apart from something technical to do with the kids' new televisions - which I helpfully left to him indoors!) and so our purchases today amounted to:-

Some marg reduced to 49p for 500g in the Co-op - perfect for our baking.



and some fresh cranberries - two packs for a quid - not quite sure what we'll do with those but we'll freeze them down initially and look for nice recipes in which to use them.  Any ideas peeps?


Last of the big spenders we are!! 

Did you find anything of worth in the sales?

See you soon!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Solstice Blues and Winter Greens

Hello Bloglies

It's Christmas Eve Eve!!  

Unfortunately I've spent the last couple of days in the worst pain I've ever experienced having had both an infection in my mouth and an abscess.  It felt like someone was stabbing a red hot skewer down my ear.  Although it's still throbbing then it's nowhere near as violent a pain as it was so the anti-biotics must be starting to kick in.  What a way to spend Winter Solstice - I was hardly in celebrating mood I can tell you.

However, in an attempt to take my mind off the pain, the Hooligan and I went for a yomp over the fields in THE most glorious sunshine and beneath crystal clear blue skies.  It was a truly beautiful day.   My posh new (early and very unexpected Christmas present) walking boots have been well and truly christened as the tracks are currently extremely muddy and in some places it was like walking through a particularly glutinous porridge!  Yuk!  My boots did me proud though and my feet remained dry and toasty.  I now have absolutely no excuse not to get out there in any weather! 

Whilst out there I gathered some greenery from the hedgerows in my foraging bag.  I already had a feed sack half full with holly which Charl had appropriated for me earlier this week and so, when I got back from my yomp, I was ready to create my kissing ball to hang outside the front door. 

I haven't attempted one of these previously, and as I'm not the most talented of people where anything remotely creative is concerned, I hadn't a clue where to begin!   I scoured the t'interweb for ideas and after watching a couple of You Tube tutorials I gave it a go.

Whilst the florists amongst you will probably be shuddering in horror, I'm actually quite pleased with my efforts.  A few hydrangea heads from the front garden were added as last minute fillers and a spritz of silver paint has given it a 'frosty' look.  It took sooooo much stuff to fill the ball of oasis though and it's surprisingly heavy.  In the gloom of the late afternoon, I had to nip out into the garden and the field again to pick more ivy sprigs, and leylandii fronds.

I've been trying to take a decent pic all day - but by contrast today's weather has been howling winds and lashing rain and the kissing ball is looking rather like it's been snogged to death.   "Rustic" I think we'll call it.  Yes.  Truly "Rustic".

Enjoy your evenings!!!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Frugal (ish) Pigs in Blankets

My lot absolutely love pigs in blankets (for the uninitiated - cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon) - a traditional accompaniment to Christmas dinner.

For some reason, they always seem to be ridiculously expensive.  The cheapest tray I found on Saturday was in Aldi in the chiller section - at £1.99 for what was, in effect, 12 diddly sausages with a scant bit of bacon clinging on for dear life but guaranteed to shrink away to lardon size once cooked.  Well to be honest - I wasn't feeling the love!   A little further up the chiller were a couple of packs of sausages which had been reduced to around 40p for 12 and a pack of streaky bacon for £1.29.

Bit of a no brainer really.

Here they are, prepared, wrapped, adorned lovingly with sage leaves and frozen down ready for C-word lunch (and probably C-word supper too as there will be plenty of leftovers,) and far more economical than the ready prepared ones. 


Monday, 19 December 2011

"Oh I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth"



Many moons ago Pam Ayres was a real favourite of mine and her ode to not-so-pearly-whites has always stuck in my head.


Well - I have looked after them.... I guess to get to aged 44 with only one filling is a plus these days... but in the last 3 or 4 years they've really started to deteriorate. And I'm absolutely terrified of dentists. Unfortunately I've had 2 teeth break off in the last couple of months and I've had to do something about it. Friday saw me shaking like a shaking thing in the dentist's chair, where I had:-

A scale and polish
6 injections
4 fillings
2 extractions.

My mouth is soooo sore and I'm feeling very un-festive right now. But at least it's done now and I can say that I put my brave girl pants on and went through with it.

Still ruddy hurt tho. And I still cried my eyes out like a big baby when I saw my Mum who'd come to pick me up from my ordeal.

And I still hate dentists.

So there.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!! (photo heavy!)



Shall we take a look at the Christmas tree then?

Looks fairly innocuous doesn't it?

Shall we take a closer look to see what's nestling in it's black tinsely branches?  Oh go on then!!

There's......


Jack Skellington!  Sally's in there too somewhere!


Well - you know how rock'n'roll we are right?!


SID!!  You're such a diva!!

Aww hello Witchy lady - don't be sad - it's nearly Christmas!!

Yummy red and black beaded hearts, silver sprayed cones and sparkly snowflakes

My favourite little acorn - this was from Liberty's don't cha know!

As was this black heart.  Probably the only things in the whole shop I could afford but hey - I think I made a good choice!

And beneath the tree live the snowman family.....aww they's very cute!  Assorted woolly cuddlies.  I have a bit of a thing about snowmen! 


And my adorable ickle penguin which hopped in to my basket when I wasn't looking whilst I was doing very important business shopping at the floristry warehouse.  Tsk. 

How cute?!


I love green cloaked Santas.  And the little tin one was a prezzie from a dear friend some years ago. 


Do you change your Yuletide colour theme year upon year?  Or do you tend to stick with the same colours and treasured ornaments? 

Enquiring minds wanna know!!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Bad BAD Blogger

Oh my poor little neglected blog, sitting on the shelf getting all careworn and dusty.  How I've missed you whilst I've been up to me ear'oles in Ferrero bliddy Rochers and Lindor choccies!    Never mind - I have returned - armed with a feather duster (a special sparkly one in keeping with the season) to dust off your corners and a tray of mince pies by way of a peace offering.

Whilst it is of course a good thing that my little business has had some interest on the lead up to Christmas, it's verrrry hard to fit much else in to my evenings when I work full time as this is the only time I can create the bouquets - which take up to around 3 hours each.  The kitchen table has been bowed down with my card making crafty stuff for the last three weeks yet I haven't had a chance to make a single one!  

Ah well - needs must when the devil holds yer purse strings eh folks?

We're off out for a family meal shortly at a local hostelry but I shall be back tomorrow with a few festive fripperies to share with you.

Have a wonderful X-Factor free Saturday evening!! ;)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Today I shall mostly NOT be Making Scones

I'm sulking.

It's a big pouty-thumb-in-the-mouth-sulk too. 

I like to think that I'm a decent enough cook.  I can follow a recipe. I can make up my own and produce something presentable and palatable at a push.  I can make a mean Vicky Sponge.  Puddings, pies, muffins, brownies - they all turn out ok.   So why can't I make that simplest of fare - that most elementary of cakes - the humble scone?

I've tried.  Lawwwwwd how I've tried.  (cue plaintive Billie Holliday background vocals)  Probably at least 37 (and a half) different recipes.  I've followed allegedly fail safe recipes from friends.  I've attempted those from all of the new young bucks in the culinary world.  I've consulted  the revered tomes of High Priestesses Nigella, Delia and Mary.  And, more latterly, i.e. this morning, I've used the holy grail of all sconish recipes from Richard Hunt, the scone baker extraordinaire who has allegedly made 150,000 of these doughy delicacies in his lifetime and who recently disclosed his top secret method on La Allsop's new programme. 

Well. All I have to say is ...

PAH!!!!  it doesn't ruddy well work!!!

I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  I measure accurately to the very last grain of whatever is required, I handle the dough as little as possible - hey I even hide behind cupboards and merely surprise it a little with a fork rather than over work it. My ingredients are fresh. My oven is correctly set.  I whisper loving incantations to it as the dough comes together.  I offer up silent prayers to the Kitchen Witch as the tray slides into the hot oven.

My culinary nerves are frayed as I chew my nails in anticipation at opening the oven to billowy, well risen pillows of sconishness... only to find what can probably be best described as fat biscuits which sit there in a huddle and snigger at me as if to say... HAHHHH you STILL CAN'T MAKE SCONES!!

Sigh.

Well, scones, you have finally defeated me. My Kitchen Witch has flown out through the cat flap in despair and embarrassment and I'm about to launch another dozen projectiles into the garden for the dog to do with what he will.  I'd throw them to the birds but the RSPB know where I live.

Do you have a fail-safe recipe for the little buggers you'd like to share?   Is there a recipe which constantly defeats you?   I'd love to know!

Thanks to all of you who read my blog and a very warm welcome to my new follower. It's lovely to see you here x

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Making Winter - Location, Location, Location ...


When there's a strong cool breeze whipping the fallen leaves around the garden, you simply need to choose your snoozing space  v e r y carefully....

A sunny windowsill conveniently situated above a radiator.


Or a furry, snuggly, throw on a squashy sofa where you can fade chameleon like into the background and pretend you're not really there.

It's all about the perfect location for winter snoozing.



Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Making Winter Blog-hop - Winter Warmington

Happy November blogging lovelies - or Bloglies as you're affectionately known on my blog!

A lovely idea for some Wintery themed blog posts has been hatched between Emma and her good friend Mrs TH.   I love this idea - I'm not a big fan of the long gloomy nights to be honest.  I'd rather be outside listening to the chattering of the chickens, pottering around the garden and watching the shadows lengthen across the field.  However as we have absolutely no influence over the seasons then instead of grumbling about the onset of the darker months, I shall attempt to embrace it instead.

My first Making Winter post, therefore, features something I've mentioned a couple of time over the last couple of blog post... a hot toddy - or, as I've re-christened it -  Kim's Winter Warmington.

It's soooo simple, but oh so comforting - particularly when the seasonal sniffle symptoms are beginning to take hold. 

  • Take 2 Pints of cider (any kind - dry/sweet - your preference)
  • 1 pint of Lemonade
  • 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar (or to your taste)
  • 1 Orange (sliced)
  • 1 Eating Apple (peeled, cored and cut into chunks)
  • 1 Schwartz Mulled Wine sachet  (find in the herbs & spices aisle of your local supermarket)

Add all of the ingredients to a large pan and allow to simmer away for at least 30 minutes for the spices to infuse into the liquid - the longer the better really - before ladling into your favourite mug.  Lock the door, settle down in your big comfy armchair, put your feet up and sip your drink whilst it's still warm.  This is a two hand job mind, both hands need to be around that mug to savour the full effect!

And there you have it - a veritable hug in a mug, a soother for your sore throat and a thaw for frozen fingers all in one.

If you're planning a long walk on a frosty afternoon, why not put the infusion into your slow cooker and allow it to brew away whilst you're out?  What a wonderful welcome home it will be.

If you can't find the sachets, try your own combination of cloves, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.  I guess you could use apple juice if you don't care for cider, but most of the alcohol will be simmered out of the brew anyway.  No scented candle can compete with the aroma this brew gives off!

Now sod's law dictates that my camera batteries ran out this evening.  Gurt big sigh of exasperation!!  So here's a repeat pic from yesterday - sorry bout that!!

Sunlight on the fruit bowl!
Sunshine in the saucepan!


Enoy!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Blessed Samhain


After the greasepaint and malarkey of Saturday evening, I'm spending Samhain in quiet reflection. The house is quiet, the children are out doing their respective things, and I'm happy that they're happy doing just that. 

Our home smells of cinnamon and orange and nutmeg, which emanates from the cider mulling gently on the stove.  I chose to take today as my last day's holiday from work and Mr B and I have enjoyed a few precious hours out and about together with my parents; delighting in the beauty of the dying landscape, sampling a free (and most delicious) Crispin apple from the apple barns, browsing in garden centres and drinking coffee.  Those simplest of pleasures in which I delight all the more because my days are spent endlessly behind a grey desk in a grey office.  Simple pleasures such as these lift my spirit and let the colour back in.

We'd left a hearty beef stew bubbling away in the slow cooker; its welcoming scent enticing us back into the warm fug of the kitchen when we returned home.  We'd bought some fresh crusty bread from the farm shop and this alongside a bowl of stew was both warming and comforting.  

Now the candles are lit and I'm happy just to be; thinking with fondness of my beloved Nan who passed some years ago but who is with me always.  I'm eternally grateful for what I now have - a home full of love and contentment.  That may sound twee to those who take it for granted.  After 20 odd years of turmoil, it's all I have ever wanted and I celebrate the fact every single day.

I'm in hibernation mode.  An early Winter virus is laying me very low right now and I crave calm cosiness and quiet whilst my body fights off the lurgy. 

Blessed Samhain to you all and a Happy New Year.  May the gentleness of the season cleanse your spirit and and bring you peace.

I found this image on Photobucket - I can't say it any better really!

Blesses Samhain

Sunday, 30 October 2011

"This is Halloween...This is Halloween"

... well nearly anyway.

Some pics from our little pre-Halloween soiree.   I adore this time of year so it was a very good excuse for me to do some spookifying!!!

I love the trees so much tho I can see them staying a while longer!!!

This is a very photo heavy post I'm afraid.

Buffet!!  - the gingham basket is awaiting jacket potatoes to go with the huge vats of beef stew and chicken curry which had been bubbling away all day.

Freaky Face Cup-Cakes - My son and I had fun decorating these!

A cauldron full of popcorn - you can never have too much!


Spooky Trees!




Chris (My daughter's bf!) and my daughter (aka Jack and Sally!), and my not so little any more, boy!

My loony best mate!

Devilish Dad

Mommy!





Bless em - they worked SO hard on their home made costumes - I think they looked fabulous!

Me and my man - gorgeous even with gangrenous skin and scabs!!
HTH went on his holidays for the evening as we knew he'd get ridiculously over excited with so many people around.  It was nice to have the cats roaming around without a care.  Cassie joined in with the festivities1

It's lovely having people around but it's also lovely when the house is clean, tidy and quiet too.  We worked so hard yesterday that today has been declared a day of hibernation.  We're snuggled in the house; HTH is back, Charl is planning a bakeathon (that's if he makes it into the kitchen as he's looking decidedly heavy eyed at the moment!) and me.... well I'm going to partake of a glass of left over mulled cider and an afternoon of blog tangling.

Have a relaxing afternoon xx

Monday, 24 October 2011

Random Monday

How was your weekend?

We had a relatively busy one.  Food shopping on Saturday, followed by the dreaded "putting it all away" when we got home.  I hate that job!!   We had a Chinese meal out on Saturday evening to celebrate a family birthday which was very nice and then home to snuggle up in bed with a film - which as usual we saw about twenty minutes of before waking again to the closing credits!!  We're so rock'n'roll y'know!!

We went to a Christmas Gifts Fayre during the early afternoon of Sunday.  It was held HERE in a small marquee which also spilled over in to some of the state rooms of the house.  It was a nice way to spend an hour or so, browsing some pretty little gifts.  I think that I must have been feeling a little jaded however, as none of the stalls seemed to have anything which completely bowled me over in excitement.  There was a stall selling cup cakes and brownies (£1.50 each!!),  There seemed to be a bit of a jewellery stall overload - and as much as I like jewellery, again there was nothing really spectacular.

Out of the mediocre - there was an amazing assortment of twisty scarves which almost looked like knitted sparkly cobwebs.  They looked like they would be very challenging to make - however as I can't knit for toffee then anything remotely resembling knitting would be challenging to me!! 

I did see a little hand made witch that after some deliberation I decided that I wanted - but when I went back to get it, it had gone.  Sniff. 

During the afternoon we cut out some pumpkin stencils ready for the seven pumpkins which have to be cut in time for the weekend.

We're having a pre-Halloween get together - just for a small number of family - and have mucho big plans for decorating the house!  I usually do a display in the lounge window in time for Samhain and I can't wait to go to town on the rest of the place!   We've found some lopped tree branches out in the field which are going to make fantastic spooky trees!! Watch this space.... all shall be revealed very soon!!  

I'm sorry that I haven't got any photographs which slot into this very random post - so I'll just share more randomness with you instead!!




Cheery Sunflowers - Sunshine on a Stem
(and a jar of home made chilli jam from my friend, Paula!)


An embroidered chicken! You can't get more random than that can you?!   This work of art was purchased when I was down in Woodstock for a weekend a couple of years ago.  It features freeform embroidery on to heavy art paper and finished with pen and ink and each picture is one of a kind.   The picture is signed by J Cooper - I have googled her to no avail.


Now that the veggie planters have been harvested of spring onions, carrots and runner beans, I thought I could inject a little much needed colour into my otherwise very drab garden. 

I chose a  few Erica heathers, some winter pansies, variegated ivy, little Goldcrest conifers and some skimmia dotted between some pretty miniature cyclamen.  I've underplanted these with a load of mixed daffy bulbs, some hyacinths and some alliums.

The cyclamen really are the prettiest little plants - they were two for a pound from our local Big Apple discount store.




It looks a little sparse at the moment but hopefully the plants will find their own space and bloom for a while over autumn and early winter at least.  I was really pleased with it - needless to say HTH had been warned on pain of death not to dig them up.  Didn't work tho.  Sigh.    The poor plants have been squished and moved around so many times that I doubt they'll see the end of next week!!!

Random Monday - over and out!!