Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Another recipe from the Slimming World Sauces book

This time I made red onion gravy. I forgot to take photos of the process, but it was very simple, and the resulting gravy was delicious - we had it over pork ribs.

Friday, 27 March 2015

New chairs for old?

Well, not quite. GM and I both have the same desk chairs, his in his office, mine in my studio.

This is what GM's chair looked like,

and mine,

not quite as worn as his, but well on the way.

Basically the chairs are still sound, and comfortable, and replacing them seemed to be a bit of an extravagance, so he asked me if it was possible for me to cover them, and, always willing to rise to a challenge, I agreed to give it a go.

I sorted through my fabric stash to see if I had anything that would be suitable. I found some stripy fabric that I had bought, probably in the early 90s, to make some kitchen blinds - which clearly didn't happen. By a process of pinning and stitching I came up with this back cover.

Nice, he said, but too bright. Did we have anything darker? No, I said, but I can dye it any colour you like. Brown? Why not?

One week later and we now have chairs which look like this.

Yes, I know I could have ironed them a bit better than I did, but heyho, no-one's going to see them except us, are they?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Week Twelve

Day 78

Today was a browsing Charity Shops sort of day, I wasn't looking for anything in particular, more just a general looksee, but then I came across our local Age Concern branch, which just happened to be about to close for a refit, and EVERYTHING in the shop was priced at 49p, to clear as much stock as they could in the remaining time (about two hours!), so naturally I wasn't going to leave the shop empty-handed. Look what I picked up for the grand sum of 98p - a Monsoon cardi and an M&S brown cord jacket.

Day 79

Today was not only the spring equinox, the first official day of spring and a new moon, but also the closest thing since the mid-nineties to a lunar eclipse. We were very fortunate here, the weather was dull and cloudy, with the occasional burst of full sunshine and some periods of light cloud, which meant, for the most part, that when we could see the eclipse we could actually look at it without eye protection, as it appeared through a veil of thin cloud. This is the closest it got to a full eclipse in our part of the country.

Day 80

A lovely warm, sunny day, and time for the grass to have its first cut of the season. (No, he's not cutting the crazy paving, just wheeling the mower up the path to put it away in the coach-house {read bike shed} - the open door to the left of the chalet {read garden shed})

Day 81

Tiny pockets of colour are starting to appear in the garden, we have quite a few self-seeded clumps of Soldiers and Sailors (pulmonaria).

Day 82

The climbing hydrangea is showing signs of imminent growth.

Day 83

White hyacinths about to burst into flower.

Day 84

Honeysuckle on the pergola outside the kitchen door - we are hoping for a good show this year after giving it a pretty severe "haircut" last spring.

How was your week?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Today's the day

. . . that our Winter Scavenger Hunt ends. I've enjoyed doing it, but sadly haven't given it as much attention as I would have liked, for reasons you will already be aware of if you are a regular reader.

However, although I didn't quite manage to finish, I've got a couple of alternatives, so here are my final photos.

14. Partly built new building.
A block of four houses being built on a tiny plot (smaller than my back garden) right on a busy corner opposite the Lidl car park on one side and a row of unused police houses (which, in all probability, will be demolished soon and possibly become part of the proposed site for a new library) on another. No doubt though, someone will want to live there.

18. A shadow . . .

My final two photos are the alternative options.
Alternative B. A decorated tree
I came across this in the park the other day, no indication of what or why, but it really made me smile.

and alternative A, new life.
The latest addition to my dynasty, GD4 (who is now almost 4 weeks old, feeding properly and gaining weight).

A very big "THANK YOU" to everyone who has taken part in the hunt, I hope you enjoyed collecting your photos as much as I have enjoyed seeing them.

Please add your final submissions to our linky

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Week Eleven

Day 71

I got this letter the other day, it really made me laugh. "You will still be able to use your pass in the rest of England, including Swindon, as before." They must be aware that I am not keen on Swindon, and fully intend never to go there again! (p.s. this image has been photoshopped to highlight the funny bit, it didn't arrive like this)

Day 72

Two pictures for the price of one today. I received these lovely papers in the post from Fiona (sorry Fiona, I cant find a link to your blog, perhaps you could leave one in the comments, please), so I set to and followed her instructions, not that my picture is beautiful, but I had fun doing it.

Day 73

GO and EG popped in on their way home from their holiday to collect the rats, who had been staying with us, and they left me a nice bottle of wine for Mothers Day

Day 74

One of my Mothers Day cards had a nice picture of Cassie and me inside it, drawn by the lovely GD1

Day 75

I bought some tomato seeds from Lidl, packaged in their own mini propogator

Day 76

I love my pincushion, it's just like a cupcake, but with zero calories.

Day 77

I started knitting this sweater in the autumn of 2013, got about halfway through it, then put it to one side for a while and started something else. I re-engaged with it a couple of months ago and now, at long last, it's finished, and will be put away for next winter.

How was your week?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Winter Scavenger Hunt

Only a few days left, we finish on 21st March.

Firstly I want to say a big thank you to all those of you who have joined in with Eileen and myself in doing this challenge, I've enjoyed doing it, despite being mostly otherwise engaged, I hope you have too.

Secondly, I want to apologise for not being very pro-active during this period, I have had a couple of distractions. My 90 year old Mum was having a few problems in her digestive system and needed to visit a couple of specialists and have some tests, I think she was feeling worse than she actually was because of the fear of the unknown. It transpires that she has a hiatus hernia and some (benign) polyps, she has been given medication and has been told that they don't need to see her again for 5 years - which has put her mind at rest. Also, my latest grandchild, due mid-April, was delivered late Feb by induction at 34 weeks for medical reasons, and as she was very tiny (4lb 12oz) she spent the first two and a half weeks of her life in the neo-natal unit of the local hospital. However, she was allowed home last Friday, just in time for Mother's Day, so FO and CH's little family are now all together at last.

I'm hoping that I've got enough time, now that I'm not pre-occupied, to finish the challenge, 6 subjects in 6 days, should be doable.

In the mean time, here's one I took earlier, another Street Musician. He's often at the entrance to our small shopping mall, and I love his repertoire as I can sing along with most of his offerings.

Friday, 13 March 2015


Another recipe from the lovely Slimming World sauces recipe book that I tried this week is spaghetti bolognese

I've been making my own version of this lovely meal for several years now from a recipe in a cookery book that we had when we were first married, and which, I think, is now in the hands of GO, as we certainly don't have it at home. However, as I've made it so many times, I no longer need to refer to the actual book. This SW version differs only in that there is no alcohol added (boo hoo), instead using a bovril stock and artificial sweetener (which I dont generally approve of, but having won some in a recent SW raffle I just happened to have some available, otherwise I would leave it out).

All the vegetables are chopped into a pan with half of the bovril stock and cooked for a while

I had partially cooked the mince beforehand to sweat off any extra fat, then added it to the vegetables

then finally bunged in all the rest of the ingredients,

simmered for a while to steam off some of the excess moisture, then served with spaghetti, delicious and totally syn-free.

As with the various other recipes that I've tried from this handy little book, I have halved all the quantities so as to make just enough for two, however, now that we have at long last installed a new fridge-freezer in the kitchen, which doubles our capacity, I shall in future make the full amount and freeze the extra two portions.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Week Ten

Day 64

I thought this was going to be a crocosmia that couldn't read a calendar, I'd completely forgotten that I'd planted some freesia bulbs

Day 65

Slimming World recipe for Rogan Josh (see this post), it was delicious

Day 66

Someone has been decorating trees in our park, this really made me smile

Day 67

We have house guests. GO and EG have gone away for a few days, so Chomsky and Sioux are staying here with us

Day 68

I decided that I would put £1.00 in a cup for every 1lb that my weight decreases. So far this year my weight has decreased by 5lb, so there is a five-pound-note in the cup. My aim is to have roughly £40 to spend on new clothes by midsummer.

Day 69

GM had a significant birthday (I find it hard to believe that I'm now married to a pensioner!). It was a gloriously sunny day and he wanted to take a walk to the top of Cley Hill, so here we are together, both still young at heart even if a bit older than we would choose to be. (The walking sticks are for decoration purposes only - but are pretty useful when hill-climbing)

Day 70

Another Slimming World recipe, this time for spag/bol - watch out for my next blogpost for the recipe in full - again, quite delicious.

How was your week?