Monday, 28 December 2015

Another one done

And it's all over for another year.  It doesn't seem five minutes since I left work last Wednesday and now here I am in bed with that familiar sense of dread lying in the pit of my stomach as I'm back at work tomorrow.

We've had a lovely family time though.  Lots of laughs and fun, as well as lots of down time for me and the fella, hibernating in the living room, cat on one sofa, dog on the other, fella watching endless drivel and me catching up on some crochet. I had chronic lurgy the week before Christmas which still has me in its clutches. My son had it at the same time as me, and now man has it. Horrid germs!

My current WIP together with a crafty gift from the kids 

Another crafty gift 

Gratuitous shot of a very unusually clean looking hooligan hound

"I am taking no responsibility at all for this mess"

Gerald in festive attire.  He was not best pleased 

After a blogging break and several busy life events hopefully I can get back to blogging again.  Fingers crossed!

Hope you have all had a splendid festive period.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Seasons of mists...

Or gurt big thick peasoupers more like!!

The fog only lifted for a short while this morning giving us a brief hour or two of weak autumnal sunshine before it rolled back in; enveloping the fields and the top of the garden.  By 5pm it had thickened and now we can barely see to the other side of the road.  Proper November weather.  I'm hoping it will have cleared by morning as British Rail don't need much excuse to cancel the trains!

We have been happy at home today. Man has been stripping pallets and making frames for some rustic planters for outside the front door which I will fill with spring flowering bulbs.

I have pottered in the kitchen, making apple crumble with some windfalls from mom's allotment and making a roast pork dinner.

We had a quick walk to the shop this afternoon and I spotted this tree. It was still foggy but the weak sunshine behind it illuminated the last of it's leaves which were clinging on like a halo.

You may need to click on the pic to see what I mean. 

What a very grey picture!

Have some colour to brighten things up. My lovely autumn planted pots make me happy and are a real splash of colour on a dismal day. 

Hope your weekend was a good one!

See you soon xx

Saturday, 31 October 2015

I'm back again

Hello bloglies!!

I made it back!

Blessed Samhain to those of a similar mind. 
If not then happy pumpkin carving and mugging the neighbours for Haribo day!

I took a bit of a blogging respite over the summer as, basically, my head was a shed. As appears to be the new saying!

I've lost the plot with my diet but am still hanging on to a weight loss, albeit a smaller one than last time I posted but I'm taking the positive. I'm hoping now that my life is back on track I can kick start it again.  

I have a new job!  Yep. After 18 years in a job I was beginning to despise because of cynical management I finally decided that I was not a tree. I could actually stop whining about the fact that someone else in the department was being paid more than me for doing the same job and do something positive.  So after a couple of non starters I secured a job in the big bad city. My salary has increased more than I could have achieved in ten years at my previous firm and I have taken on a semi-supervisory role. I've been there a week and although daunting it hasn't gone too badly at all. It will be a huge learning curve but I'm up for the challenge. 

We went to Glastonbury for a few days in September and had the best time. As envisaged we absolutely adored it. We climbed the Tor (almost to the top but the light faded too quickly for us to get up to the very top), we visited the Chalice Well where I lit candles, hid offerings and had a little cry, visited the Abbey where The fella dropped his very expensive sunnies in the fishpond!  Bad luck there but I'm sure there's a very cool looking carp swimming around in them now!  

We gained six gorgeous chickies for our coop. They were just babies when we got them but they're growing into lovely hens now.  Sadly we had to get rid of our beautiful lavender pekin which turned out to be a cockerel and not the hen we had specifically requested rather than potentially incur the wrath of our spiteful neighbour. Sad but necessary as he was far too noisy for a terraced house garden. 

 My son left school and has gone to college to study music tech. Hes also secured a job at a big supermarket and has just started this past week.  How can this be?  He's only 3!!

I have lots of pics to share but can't access them from my phone. Another day maybe? 

See you soon

Friday, 3 July 2015

Jolly Green Giants

Remember me mentioning that my brother was trying his hand at growing some giant veg this year?   Well these are his cabbages so far.  They're bloody hewoooooge! There is no photoshopping involved in these photographs - that really is a garden fork put there for scale!!

In other news, I have 6 ikkle chicks being delivered on Monday.  They'll be about 8 weeks old and will consist of 2 black marans, 2 chocolate orpingtons, 1 lavender pekin and a mille fleur.

I can't wait to have a little flock back in the garden.

See you soon!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Back again

Hello all

I've had a bit of a blogging respite these last few weeks.  Life has been a bit mental to say the least and my feet haven't touched the floor.  I do miss my blog though and still do catch up with all of you even if I may not post a comment at each visit.

Weight loss now stands at 45lbs.  I'm struggling though.  I've had about four weeks where I'm at a complete standstill and am sick of the sight of bloody yoghurts and quark!  I have to kick myself very sharply up the backside now because I can feel myself starting to slip back into bad old ways.

The lottie is looking rather stunning.  We've had pickings of beautiful broad beans and lots of strawberries.

The flag Iris have been stunning this year - and huge to boot!

The redcurrants are beginning to turn

The foxgloves are rife and encouraging bees to visit

I think this one might be a bit of a hybrid!!  A foxglove crossed with a lavatera perhaps?!  Who knows?!

OI! Stop doing that and get eating those ruddy blackflly on my beans!

My brother is growing giant veg this year.  His cabbages are nearly as big as me already!!   I'll try to take some pics this week so you can see their progress.  He's also growing giant swede, leeks, sunflowers, tomatoes and pumpkins!

We've had a busy few weekends too.  Zara and I did a summer fayre stall - me selling my weightloss boards and count down boards and she was selling her jewellery.  It was very wet unfortunately so the attendance was very poor.

Later the same day the family gathered and took Mum on the Severn Valley Railway evening fish and chip supper tour.  It was lovely and the weather was stunning - brilliant after such a soggy day.

This is Mum and her two babies (my brother and I!) at Bridgnorth.

What else?  Oh yes - I completed the "Legal Walk" around Birmingham! 8km if you please!  I certainly couldn't have done that when I was 45lbs heavier!

The dog has been shorn!  His coat was sooooo thick and itchy, and quite matted beneath where he gets silly and doesn't let us brush him out, so we took him to the doggydressers and they clipped him.  He looks about half the dog he was!  It's a little drastic I know but he really did need sorting out and it won't be this close a crop in future.  I think he'll appreciate it in the predicted warmer weather.  He looks sooo funny and his ears are HUGE!

Right - that's me all caught up with my news I think.  I'm off to catch up with all of yours now! 

Toodle pip!!

Friday, 1 May 2015

Lottie time

Had a stint down at the Lottie today.  She's looking rather fetching in her spring finery.

I've sown butternut squash, sunflowers, broccoli and cucamelons today and they're all slumbering in the shed.

The potatoes have been mounded up. The peas are showing now so will need protecting against the marauding pigeons. The raspberries have gone mental so need thinning out drastically and the strawberries are already in flower.  The rhubarb patch is looking like a small prehistoric jungle. As you can imagine there is lots to be done as always.

A froth of forget me nots!

My brother's plot is over the way from mine and mom's and is a complete show piece. He lives, breathes and sleeps gardening and this year is growing some monster veg as well as his usual crops.   He is experimenting with hydroponics and poly tunnels and soil vitamins and all manner of chemistry and witchcraft. I'll take some more pics next time as my phone died, but nestling safely behind the cage within a cage is the first of his giant cabbages!

More Lottie updates soon.

 Blessed Beltane. 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Spring is Springing

For some reason I'm just not able to sleep past 5am  of late.  It's a bit of a annoying really as I'm on holiday! 

I gave up trying to force my eyelids to stay shut at 6am and ventured out over the fields and far away with the doglet. 

It was so beautiful.  The clear skies and eye-wincingly bright sunshine belied a breeze cold enough to rival a blast freezer though and so my extremities were all but dropping off by the time we came back.  

Harvey ran off at 100mph as usual and at some point, hidden from my view, rolled in something unspeakable.  Vile hound.  I predict a much needed bath tomorrow - he won't be happy!  We spotted the mobile dog groomer visiting a neighbour this afternoon and our hopes were raised - however he had no available slots until June! He's obviously a very busy man!

Just to prove the sun was shining here today - here's a couple of pics.  

See you soon!!

No filters on these pics - this was as blue as it was

Ooops - dodgy panorama shot with a wobbly bit!

See you soon


Friday, 24 April 2015

Since I saw you last ...

I've now lost 37.5lbs

I've registered for a 10 km sponsored walk. (I'm still looking askance at myself for that one!)

I've become a bit obsessed with Instagram

The bathroom has been gutted and is undergoing a revamp

We started watching Breaking Bad and are now two thirds of the way through season 3.

We booked a holiday to Glastonbury in September. This makes me soooo happy!

I've bought three pairs of shoes

I've read four brilliant books. I can't remember finishing one in the last three years!

I've made a decision to look for another job

The man and I celebrated our five year anniversary of getting together today

My decree nisi is imminent.

We've booked tickets to see old favourites Def Leppard and Whitesnake tour in December. This too makes me very happy!

I'm just going to catch up on what you've all been up to!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Comforting Cauli Cheese

Hello lovelies.  And a special hello to Cocojayne a new follower.  Thank you for stopping by.

One of my favourite comfort food dishes is cauliflower cheese, although these days such creamy cheesy goodness is out of the question as it leaps out of the dish and slathers two inches onto my already ample hips.

I was, therefore, intrigued to find that Slimming World had concocted a low syn version of it so today I've given it a try.

You will need:-

One large (as big as your head) cauliflower or two smaller ones. Or a bag of frozen if that's your thing.
One 500ml pot of fat free natural yoghurt
2 eggs - beaten
2 cloves of garlic
One bunch of spring onions
90g low fat cheddar-grated
1 teaspoon of English mustard
Low fat cooking spray such as Frylight

So.  Break the cauliflower up into small florets and boil or steam until tender.

Whilst the cauliflower is cooking chop up the spring onions and garlic quite and spray a frying pan with Fry Light.  Fry the onions and garlic until transparent. I didn't have spring onions (well actually I did. Or they may have been Torontonians onions once)  Sigh.  I used a finely chopped red onion instead as it was more easily identifiable in the bottom of the fridge!

ANY way.

Drain the cauliflower and leave to dry off for a short while before transferring into a ovenproof dish.

Into a bowl transfer the yoghurt, the mustard, and the beaten egg and stir well until combined.

Add the cooked onions and garlic and also three quarters of the cheese. Mix until well combined.  Add seasoning to taste. I use a fab cheapie seasoning which is basically garlic, salt and pepper. It's about a pound for the grindy bottle and I use it over everything, particularly veggies.  Because I'm a rebel I also added a shake of smoked paprika.

Pour the mixture over the cooled cauliflower and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake until golden and bubbling

I was sceptical about the use of yoghurt  but I was very pleasantly surprised.   Next time I may chop up some grilled bacon to mix in for a bit of a twist. I reckon the sauce would also work well with par boiled sliced potatoes for a low fat version of daupinoise potatoes.

This will be served with some lean pork loin, carrots, broccoli and sprouts. No potatoes as I'm avoiding carbs  right now.

For those of you following Slimming World then the syn value is 3.5.  It stares that this is a four person serving but I reckon our huge dish will be divided into at least six portions. I guess you could make the appropriate alteration for your healthy extra A choice.

Weight loss update - 24.5 lbs gone so far. It's the tip of the ice berg really but I've made a good start since 5 January.

Do you have a low fat version of a favourite comfort food?

See you soon xx

Saturday, 7 March 2015

There be Gargoyles in Gloucester ...

Hello lovely blogging people.  A very warm welcome to my little bloglet and a smiley, wavy hello to new followers Rachel and Froogs.  

Forgive my bloggy absence - there's been a pale and wan six foot two 16 year old to attend to.  Poor KTG has had an awful bout of tonsilitis and he's still not 100% a couple of weeks later. 

Prior to this however,  Man and I took ourselves away for a night in Gloucester for Valentines Day.  Well.  It wasn't really for Valentines Day at all - we just fancied a night away and it just happened to fall on that weekend.   We stayed at the New Inn in Gloucester town centre, a delightful galleried inn which dates back to Medieval times, and, reportedly, haunted.  Well we saw no sign of ghostly goings on but from my point of view saw plenty of spirits. Tee hee.   You could tell the building was old - the modern wardrobe was leaning about 10 inches from the wall in our room!  We loved it!  Particularly when you walked up the stairs and pigeons were roosting on the landings!

We were peckish and so stopped for a spot of light lunch.  Because we are both 12 years old, we had milkshakes so deliciously thick you could stand your straw (and probably a telegraph pole actually) up in at Ed's Diner - a fabulously retro 50s diner chain establishment.  Shakes were fab.  Food was overpriced and nothing to write home about really. (my skinny chicken and salad was, in fact, half a tomato, a butterflied chicken breast in a pesto type marinade and approximately 3.5 romaine lettuce leaves - £7.70.  Grrr!).   We fared better at our evening meal which was an Indian/Thai fusion buffet style restaurant on the Quays.  

We couldn't believe the weather.  It was actually too warm for coats as we strolled around Gloucester docks.  The sky on these pics shows what a beautiful day it was. 

As the man hadn't slept after his night shift on Friday night, I left him to sleep on Saturday afternoon and took myself off exploring.  I meandered down a little alleyway where I found the shop purported to be inspiration for Beatrix Potter's The Tailor of Gloucester.  

I continued on through that arch way and then there was the Cathedral looming in front of me.  I'll have to do a couple of posts about this I'm afraid cos I took tons of pics.

I'll show you my favourites first though.  The Gargoyles, !  I stood for ages painstakingly photographing them before I went in (yes they allowed me in. And no, when I left it was still intact and the roof had not come crashing down on my head).  

These two are new additions

Aren't they all fab?

What I hadn't realised is there are about 40 Green Men in Gloucester Cathedral.  I found a leaflet about them just as we were coming away on the Sunday so I didn't have time to go in search of them.  Gutted!! 

More photographs of inside the Cathedral coming soon.  Don't touch that dial!

As an aside, if ever you are missing my inane drivel inspirational writing and photographs, you can also find me on Instagram. Chocobomb1.  That's me.  

See you soon! 

Working from home

I've taken a precious day of annual leave today.  I've really struggled this week with feeling so yuk and I needed the restorative ...