Thursday, 31 December 2015

So that was 2015

It's been a bit of a mixed year.  Low points all to do with the health of loved ones - my mother's continuing ill health, the probable cancer diagnosis of another much loved family member....still to be confirmed via a biopsy and further scan.  OH and I have both had (relatively minor but painful and ongoing) medical conditions.  And then there was MiL's death after a short illness, and the subsequent nastiness and problems caused by a member of OH's family - that family member we've cut ties with for good.

But there have been loads more good things this year.  We had a wonderful holiday following MiL's funeral, a lovely place and great weather, it really recharged our batteries.  We've managed to acquire and cross off lots of items on our wish list of furniture and furnishings for our house, all second hand good quality things that will last us (hopefully) a lifetime.  We've decorated the hall, stairs and landing, and our bedroom - I just love our bedroom, it's definitely my most favourite d├ęcor ever.  We've bought paint for the next 2 rooms we'll be decorating (kitchen/diner and 2nd bedroom), got it in sales, so we're all ready to go in the Spring.  After a slow start, we had pretty good results growing produce, especially soft fruit which we were inundated with. 

We acquired extra storage and began stockpiling dry food goods and toiletries, getting ready for when OH starts cutting down his working days in the run up to retirement.  We've formulated plans for how we're going to cope with reduced income.  We're making plans for days out and things to do when we have more time when husband reduces his hours.

So on balance, it's been a pretty good year, and we're hopeful that next year will be even better, despite the ongoing health problems. 

I'm glad the new year is almost here, I'm looking forward to it a lot. 

Wishing you all a fabulous 2016, I hope it's everything you want it to be.  Thanks so much for reading and commenting, it means a lot to me.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Being ruthless

Ha - we'll see how long that lasts!  What I'm referring to is decluttering.

One of the things I really want to focus on next year is decluttering our house.  It's odd really.....when I worked as a secretary, I was quite scarily organised - my desktop was completely uncluttered, the drawers, desk trays, in/out boxes, even stationary pot and tray were ruthlessly tidy.  Everything was organised and in its rightful place.  Files were in strict order, even the contents of the files were neat and in proper order.  I was quite OCD about it all actually.

But I'm not like that at home.  I AM organised.....sort of - but it's a kind of organised chaos.  If we need to lay our hands on a particular piece of paper, e.g., I generally know where it can be found....but it'll be in a pile of other paperwork in a certain section of the desk/filing cabinet, which means I have to spend half an hour sorting through the pile before I can get hold of the relevant thing.

It's the same with clothes, cook books (I have a bit of a thing for those), kitchen equipment and other stuff.  I guess the trouble is, when we acquire something new, we don't automatically throw out the old, or at least put it away somewhere else, like the loft or the shed.

I do have a bit of a declutter every few weeks, but have hoarder tendencies (inherited from my mother, I think.....although she's far worse).  Well, I need to curb that, before it gets any worse - I'd hate to think that relatives would have a nightmare house crammed with stuff to sort through and get rid of when we pop our clogs. 

So I want to be quite ruthless in decluttering, and train myself to practise the 'one thing in, one thing out' philosophy.  Wish me luck!!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Hurry up!

28th.....my word, seems like we're absolutely crawling on hands and knees towards the end of December, will it never end?!  I'm SO eager for the new year to start - yes I know it seems like I'm wishing my life away, but I just want to get this year over and done with and the new one started.

I've got so many ideas buzzing round my head, plans for next year, the remaining things we want to buy for the house, things we want to get done, places we want to go, different things I want to do.  I must start writing them down or I'll just forget!  We're going away in a couple of weeks (OH's 65th birthday treat), the idea was that we'd sit whilst we're away with a couple of notebooks and formulate our plans for the year, but I think I'll have to make a rough draft before then, just to keep the ideas fresh in my mind and start the ball rolling.

We're off out in a bit, I'm being taken to Hobbycraft (it's a trip out, as the nearest one is about 25 miles away from us).  I've got an idea about starting a different craft, it's about time I did something other than crochet, so want to look in there for ideas and possible supplies.  Also, there's a big charity shop nearby which sells furniture as well as bric a brac, which we've just been told about, so may have a look in there too.....if it's open today.  I may have a look at a couple of sales, but not intending to actually buy anything.....unless it's something we use and is an amazing bargain!

Friday, 25 December 2015

Happy day all

Trifle made, veggies all prepped, gammon in the oven.  Rain has just about stopped and it's brightening up outside, so we're off out for our walk on the beach.  We've had a lovely quiet calm couple of days, just what we hoped for.

Hope you're all having a lovely time and just the kind of day you hoped for too.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

The calm after the storm!

The past few weeks haven't been the best for us, and to cap it all I lost my temper and had 'words' with our landlord yesterday, over a problem that's been ongoing, without any resolution whatsoever, for the past 3 months and which finally pushed me over the limit.  And I did it in front of witnesses - 2 clerks in his office, bet that went down a storm after we'd left.  Funnily enough, 30 mins after we returned home he rang to say he'd (finally) set the ball rolling to get the problem resolved.  Why do I have to get to the point of boiling up and exploding just to get someone to do what I've asked, repeatedly and politely, for weeks and weeks?  I am so fed up with being walked over and ignored, and not only by him.  Seems it doesn't pay to be nice anymore, you only get results if you're a bitch.

Anyway, we are determined to put everything behind us for the 2 days that OH is off work, and just relax, listen to cheesy Christmas songs, watch feel good rubbish on the TV, and eat and drink the yummy things I've made (and no turkey!!!  don't like it so not having it).

I wish everyone what I (very selfishly, which is how I think i'm going to be from now on) wish for myself and OH - a peaceful, calm, contented and healthy time for you and yours.  Happy Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Isn't it here yet?

New year, that is.  I can't wait for all this madness to be over and for the new year to arrive.  We want to spend an hour or two sitting with a couple of notebooks, looking back at our Big Master Plan for this year and redoing it for next year.  Some of it we won't be able to make firm plans for until April, when OH starts cutting back his working shifts, but we should be able to get a general plan in place.  There are certainly things we want to get done before April - before OH's wage drops due to him dropping a shift. 

The dreadful wind has calmed down today.....we've had so much wind this year, it's frequently windy here (I guess because the Bristol channel is only a couple of miles away as the crow flies, and it's flat open fields between there and here), but this year seems to have been our windiest yet.  Still, we've suffered virtually no damage because of it, and have had no flooding, unlike some poor people.  The local lanes are very muddy, but that's normal when you live in very rural farming country, and is the reason why we have a (dirty!) 4x4.....not much point in washing the car when it gets plastered in mud again the minute you go out in it. 

We like to go for a walk on the beach on Christmas day, it's sort of a tradition of ours.....one of the few Christmas traditions we have, being the pair of bah humbug heathens we are! (said winking and with tongue in cheek).  We didn't think we'd be able to do it this year though, the weather forecast didn't look very promising, but I've just checked it again and reckon we might be able to in the morning, before the rain arrives and the wind picks up again in the afternoon.  Looking forward to that.....we generally see quite a few people on the beach on Xmas day, and everyone's very jolly and cheerful (probably full of mince pies and sherry).

I must say, reading some blogs and the vast amount of prep some people put into getting everything done in these few days prior to Xmas, I'm quite glad we don't go in for it in the way that so many people do.....it gives me a stress headache just reading about it!  But each to their own, and I hope everyone enjoys Christmas in whatever way they want to.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The dreaded shopping trip, and a couple of photos

Firstly, thank you all for the lovely comments on my previous post, I do appreciate them and your kind thoughts.  I was over the moon with the gifts from the talented Angie and Pam.

We went supermarket shopping this morning, it wasn't very nice at all (as if food shopping ever is!).  The shop was absolutely heaving, loads of kids there as well - to be expected of course.  I should have got myself organised to do it online, but didn't....I will make sure I do next year though.  OH's shifts are all over the place for the next 3 weeks, his firm change them all around at this time of year for 'operational reasons'.....sigh.  It just means basically that I don't know whether I'm coming or going, and have to keep consulting the calendar where I've written all his shifts down, before I can make any decisions about when we can go shopping or to town or doctor etc - or even when I have to shift myself to cook him a lunch before he goes to work (when he's working we have a cooked meal at lunchtime, when he's off we have it in the evening).  It's all a great big pain in the bum at the mo....thank goodness it's only for 3 weeks.  Although, having said that, management are having a shift reorganisation sometime in the new year, apparently.  Grrr.

Here's a pic of the gorgeous sunrise we had a couple of mornings ago:-


Beautiful isn't it?

And this was this morning:-


A huge great full rainbow (we often get partial ones) in dazzling sunshine, followed by a downpour - still in dazzling sunshine!  It did turn cloudy quite quickly, though, and then it was a mixture of sunshine and showers all day.

And finally (didn't they used to say that on the news?!), here's my version of a Christmas jumper:-


Tee hee  ;-)





Friday, 18 December 2015

Gifts

Thank you for all the lovely comments, things are a little better, no news yet on the biopsy and scan which probably won't now be until after Xmas.  I have managed to sleep a little better the last couple of nights, so feel a bit more human and more able to cope with things.

This week I have received 2 gorgeous gifts through the post, from absolutely lovely blogging buddies.  Angie of Pensive Pensioner had a draw recently for a set of gorgeous suedette covered notebooks, and I was lucky enough to win them, here they are:-


They were accompanied by a stunning handmade Christmas card, it is beautiful.  Handmade cards knock spots off mass produced commercial ones, thank you so much Angie, you're very talented.

I'd mentioned on here a few weeks ago that I'd been looking for a patchwork craft bag to keep my current crochet project and yarn in.....the lovely Pam of A New Life in Wales offered to make me one.  I was happy to pay her but she suggested a craft swap, so that's what we will be doing.  This is what she made:-


Isn't it lovely?  As I mainly make throws, it's a good roomy size for holding a throw-sized project and yarn.  But that's not all, have a look at the back, and the pocket she made to hold my scissors and hook:-



She made a sewing machine patch.....how clever is that?! 

And yet another thing, which was a complete surprise as I hadn't asked for it:-


Pam made me a storage bag for all my hooks, it's lovely and so welcome as I'd previously been keeping them in a plastic bag.

Sorry for the usual poor quality photos, the colours aren't particularly good and the detail doesn't show up very well, I expect you can see better if you enlarge them. 

These beautiful gifts from Angie and Pam have come at just the right time and have really lifted my spirits this week.  I've only been blogging for a few months and never cease to be amazed and pleased at the kindness, helpfulness and ingenuity of fellow bloggers.  Thank you all, with special thanks to Angie and Pam.





Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Taking a break

Everything seems to be one difficulty or upset after another at the moment - a family member is unwell and facing the likelihood of cancer, my first acupuncture session for today has been cancelled as the therapist is ill (she didn't let me know until gone 6 pm last night, and says she can't reschedule until 5 January).  I am averaging about 3 or 4 hours sleep a night and am so tired I can barely function.  Our broadband signal is playing up and I just haven't got the energy or will to ring up and have a frustrating battle with someone from India who is working from a script.  I woke up with such bloody painfully strong pins & needles in my hand in the early hours of this morning that I could have cried.  My laptop is playing silly buggers, I don't know what's wrong with it and can't be arsed to find out (I suspect its something to do with Windows 10 and the latest update).

So i'm just bowing out for a while.  Sorry about that.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Health stuff

My damaged nerve problems are driving me absolutely crackers, it's actually painful now, I'm having pain in a different area up my forearm which I think might be due to me overcompensating for the lack of feeling and grip in the affected fingers and using/placing more strain on my fore- and middle fingers and thumb.  The pain and pins & needles are bad at night and keep waking me up, and I am constantly dropping things and having trouble opening jars etc.  The thought that this could go on for months and months, even years as my GP suggested, fills me with horror.  And this is a minor thing really - how people with serious illnesses and serious amounts of pain cope I do not know.

Anyway, a lovely friend of mine suggested I try looking at alternative therapies.  So I spent some time googling this morning....surprisingly, there are lots of osteopaths, chiropractors, reflexologists, holistic therapy practitioners in our area....who knew?!  The upshot of this is that I've booked my first ever session of acupuncture for next week....the lady practitioner sounded lovely on the phone and was sure she could help me.  I can't wait, I'm actually quite excited and looking forward to it.  OH has had acupuncture a few times in the past and found it helpful, I don't know why it didn't occur to me before.

Thanks for the comments on my post yesterday.  To answer Irene more fully here than a short comment would allow....I do use spelt flour a lot, some months ago we bought a sack of wholemeal spelt flour from a local flour mill, I decanted it into a food grade bin and have generally used it half and half with ordinary flour.  However, as ordinary wheat flour was giving me more and more problems, I no longer use that at all.  I have been convinced for some considerable time that our health nowadays is affected quite a lot by the amount of chemicals and drugs that farmers/food producers use - it stands to reason, in my opinion, that chemical sprays, growth accelerator drugs and antibiotics, artificial flavourings and preservatives and all the other chemical stuff they put into manufactured foods nowadays is going to affect us all eventually.  It's just not natural, is it? 

Re carbs.....I'm not saying they're all bad, of course they're not.  But I know, from my own personal experience, that carbs (and I'm talking especially about simple carbs like potatoes, white pasta and rice and bread and cakes) not only bloat me and give me bowel problems, but also make my joints ache and make me feel generally sluggish.  So that's why we have chosen to cut back on carbs quite drastically, and we are both feeling much better for it....the bloating has largely disappeared, as have the bowel problems, and my joints aren't nearly so achey.  Oh, and every single time I've cut down on carbs, I've lost about half a stone within the first week, practically effortlessly.  Plenty of good reasons to carry on doing it.

Other than my hand and arm problems and subsequent lack of sleep, I am actually feeling better than I have done in months and months.  I'm hoping the acupuncture will help with that too.



Not a lot....

Sorry, not much to write about at the moment.  Having trouble sleeping lately, hence why I'm writing this at some unearthly hour.  Been doing a lot of crochet, made a few bits for my sister to let her know I'm thinking of her and posted them off yesterday, have now started on another throw.

Had to go to town yesterday for a few things....it was crazily busy, shan't be going again until all the madness is over.  Supermarket shopping afterwards, which was strangely quiet (clearly everyone was in town buying all the Christmas stuff).  We've managed to reduce our shopping bill by £10 or £15 a week for the last few weeks, simply by menu planning using what we already have and then buying only what's necessary.  If only I'd done that years ago, we could be millionaires by now.....hahaha.  Ok, so not millionaires, but you get the idea.

OH has been moaning about the lack of cake....I haven't made any cake or bread for weeks since we've been eating low carb/gluten free.  So, since there were a couple of manky bananas, I made him a banana, walnut and choc chip cake, at his request. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Lovely weather!

2 December.....it's a gloriously bright sunny morning and no need for the heating to go on - how great is that?!  We certainly can't complain about our weather, we've had a few days recently of strong winds and a bit of rain, but nothing drastic.  And days like this (in December!!!) make up for the off days anyhow.  And it's only 19 days until the shortest day....and then I know that Spring will soon be here (once the madness of December is over).

I'm cracking on with my sofa throw, it's looking lovely and I can't wait to finish it.  It does make my hand and fingers a lot worse, but I find that if I just stop for a couple of minutes every so often, shake my arm to get some feeling back into the hand and hang my arm down straight over the side of the armchair, it enables me to carry on crocheting for a while.

I've got ideas for another 2 throws.....a ripple one also for the sofa (haven't done ripple for years) with a couple of contrasting colours as well as the matching red, navy and cream of the current one, followed by a throw made up of random stripes of the oddments I have left from previous projects....a stashbuster.  It will be taken with us on holidays, or used as a picnic blanket on days out.

Have decided I must must must make sure I go on my exercise bike every day, it's so easy to put weight on over winter without even noticing it.  The bike is on the landing and I just walk past it several times a day, I don't even see it!  Perhaps I ought to hang a big sign saying RIDE ME!!! on it, with some battery operated flashing Christmas lights attached.



Monday, 30 November 2015

A productive morning

Thanks for your comments.....always welcome, it's lovely to read them.  Sarah (Fishcake_random) has solved the mystery of why I keep being mistaken for a blogger called Leisha (at least three times now, perhaps I ought to consider changing my name!  teehee).  Upon looking at Leisha's profile, the only thing she has listed is my blog (how flattering, thank you!), so I guess people automatically assume that I am Leisha, or this blog is hers.  So, just to finally clear up any confusion.....I am NOT Leisha, I am Sooze, and Her Indoors, Him Outdoors is MY blog.  I can't seem to find a blog for Leisha....I know she reads here, do you actually have a blog, Leisha?

I got up early and have had a productive morning so far.  Put washing on, did the washing up from last night's dinner (OH usually does it but was overcome by tiredness last night, having got in at 05.00 am from work yesterday morning and not had much sleep due to being woken up by next door's 3 noisy dogs barking their heads off, grrr!!  8 o'clock on a bloody Sunday morning and they didn't really attempt to shut them up, why are some people so bloody inconsiderate?).  I've prepared a big tub of muesli.....oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sultanas, chopped dried apricots, chopped mixed nuts.  I was looking at all the supermarket ones yesterday, they all contain stuff I don't really want to eat, like wheat or barley flakes, sugar, or various preservatives and chemicals.  So easy to make my own, and just include what I like in it.

I've made a start on sorting out some unwanted stuff for the charity shop.....got a bagful of clothes so far.  Just stopped for a coffee and blog browse, then I'm going to turf out the kitchen cupboards and get rid of some unused mugs and other assorted crockery, glasses, pans etc. 

Making cauli, broccoli and blue cheese soup for lunch, and the first trayful of mince pies.....husband was dropping big hints earlier about how nice a mince pie would go down with his afternoon cuppa!  He's outside washing the car (must be its birthday, hehe) whilst the sun is shining.....rain and winds forecast again for this afternoon. 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Random pictures

Welcome to Fishcake_random, who has just started following after thanking me for visiting her blog......some confusion here, as I hadn't actually done that!  I have now though, and you are welcome even if you did get here by accident!

Thought I'd post a few pics, seeing as I haven't posted any lately.  Things that I've made recently:-

I've done Limoncello for the first time.....it's dead simple, it's just vodka with thinly pared lemon rind steeped in it for a couple of weeks.  You then strain it and add sugar and water, keep stirring/shaking for a few days to dissolve the sugar, and apparently it's ready to drink after a couple of weeks.  Now, I'm not really a fan of vodka (I prefer gin), but I do like anything lemony and a few bloggers were making it and the simplicity of it appealed to me, so here it is:-





After stirring it this morning, I licked the spoon.....oh it's yum!  Have to say though it looks like a big, erm, urine specimen in that photo.....the colours in pics taken with my phone aren't very good, it's actually a much prettier lemony colour than that (thank goodness!  teehee).

I made a pie for lunch today, I'm experimenting with different sorts of flour as we're still doing low carb/wheat free as much as possible.  I used half and half gram flour/wholemeal spelt (spelt has less gluten than normal flour and is supposedly easier to digest), it made a perfectly decent pastry, although it cooks up quite dark.  Tasted nice though, and having eaten it about an hour ago, I have no bloating or other gut effects which I would have had it been ordinary flour.  The filling was kidney, smoked bacon, leek and mushroom, which I chopped and cooked lightly first, adding tomato puree, herbs and a little stock:-




We had it with French beans, peas and roasted Brussels sprouts, it was lovely.

This is my latest crochet throw, it's Lucy of Attic24's cozy stripe pattern done in random stripes of claret, navy and cream to match the decor in our lounge:-





I'm aiming to do 2 rows a day, more if my fingers and hands will let me.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was having trouble with constant pins & needles/numbness in the little and ring fingers and part of my right hand.  It's no better, so I went to the doctor this week....he says I've damaged the ulnar nerve, probably by banging my elbow, which has resulted in the nerve being 'stunned' (his words) all the way down to the tips of my fingers.  He says it will heal itself in time, but it heals very slowly.....at the rate of about 1cm a month!  So I'm looking at many months of this constant and sometimes painful irritation.  Oh well, could be worse I suppose....at least it's only damaged and not severed!  It does mean though that I can't crochet for very long periods....the action of keeping my arm bent makes the pins & needles unbearable quite quickly, I have to keep stopping and hanging my arm down straight and shaking my hand to get some feeling back into it.  

I see Scotland is once again in for some awful weather....it's windy, damp and cold here (that also makes my hand worse) but is not going to be anything like as bad as up North.  Hope everyone stays safe.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Anybody know?

We've been to Taunton today, it's our nearest large town/shopping centre, there were a few things we were after.  OH had given me some birthday money and I knew exactly what I wanted.....a new stick blender for soups (I've had my present one for several years, at least 5 or 6, which isn't bad considering it was a supermarket value one, but is now giving up the ghost), and a bag to keep my current crochet project in.  I got the blender, no luck on the bag though.

Now, I know exactly what I want.....a pretty fabric patchwork tote bag, quite wide (i.e. with a gusset), with short fabric handles.  Couldn't find one anywhere....I did see a couple with wooden handles, and some in PVC instead of fabric.  But that's not what I want, and I'm not getting something that is a compromise....I want what I want!

It occurred to me that some of you very talented ladies who do patchwork may well make and sell some of your wares, or you may know of people who do.  So does anyone know?  I like the idea of buying something handmade from a fellow blogger.

I've had a look on ebay and amazon.....plenty of bags, but again not really what I want - lots of zippered ones that look like weekend bags (too big, and I want an open topped one), or the wooden handled ones, or PVC.

We got a thermal curtain for the front door too....all our windows are double glazed, but the front (glass) door is only single glazed, so it lets the heat out and the cold in.  OH has just put it up, he's good like that :-)



Friday, 20 November 2015

Chilli cheese cornbread

Making this today, to go with our slow cooker chilli.  It's not completely GF, so isn't suitable for coeliacs (unless you substitute a GF flour, which I would have done except I haven't got any, other than some rice flour which i'm not really keen on, till I go shopping).  But it is certainly low in gluten and is a good substitute if you're craving some bread-type thing.

300g polenta
100g plain flour (or a GF flour)
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, or baking powder if you have none
1 heaped tsp (or to taste) chilli powder or smoked paprika....I use paprika
Salt & pepper
A large handful grated strong Cheddar

Mix all these together in a large bowl.

300ml natural yogurt or buttermilk (if you have none, use all milk with lemon juice added to sour it, I've done this often)
150ml milk
1 egg

Whisk together well in a large jug, then pour into the dry mixture and quickly mix in together, just until it's all combined with no dry bits lurking.  If it's too dry or stiff, add a bit more milk.

Don't expect this to be like bread dough or cake mix - it isn't, it's much more liquid and loose.....think Yorkshire pudding batter.

Pour it into a greased and/or lined deep square/oblong tin (mine's about 9"x12" I think).  Bake in a medium hot oven for about 15 mins, take out and sprinkle over some extra grated cheese, put back in for another 15 or 20 mins, until it's well risen and feels firm and springy.

It's probably not like an authentic American cornbread, I adapted it from a British recipe I found online somewhere ages ago (sorry, can't remember where).  There are one or two other recipes I've tried occasionally, but I always come back to this one.....I've made it several times now and we really like it.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Pizza fail

Well, the GF pizza dough wasn't a success.  When I went to make it, I found I didn't have any gram flour left (note to self....write on shopping list when I run out of something!).  However, I did have a full bag of rice flour, plus opened bags of spelt and soya flours from previous GF baking attempts (yes I know the spelt flour isn't GF, but does have less gluten than normal wheat flour), so I decided to use a mix of all three.  Just winging it really, I used a total of about 400g of the 3 flours and grated into it about 175g very cold lard.  Rubbed it in, then added tsp salt and 2 tsp mixed herbs.  Mixed in some natural yogurt and water, until it all came together, gave it a quick knead in the bowl, put it in the fridge for 30 mins to rest.  Then I half rolled, half patted it out on a sheet of greaseproof paper cut to the size of the baking tray.  Baked it for 15 mins, before leaving it to cool slightly prior to adding the toppings.

Whilst it was pre-cooking, I did notice it had quite a strong, slightly sour smell, but as it's been ages since I used any GF flours I couldn't remember if that was normal. 

The topped and baked pizza did look nice, it even cut quite well although was a bit crumbly (as I expected)....definitely a knife and fork job, it wouldn't hold together enough to pick it up with your hands, the pastry was too fragile and crumbly for that. 

But the taste.....it wasn't good at all, a strange sour and bitter taste.  On reflection, I reckon it was the soya flour, I think it had gone off/rancid (I'd thrown the packet away so don't know what the use by date was....the rice and spelt flours were in date and smelt fine in the packets).  We scraped the (lovely) topping off and chucked the base into the recycling bin.  Oh well, that'll teach me not to smell things first before using them!

I shan't be defeated though, I'll buy some more gram flour when we next go shopping and have another go. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Wind and fingers being a pain

Phew, it's windy out there!!  Been in the front garden for just half an hour, and I feel like I've been sandblasted in a wind tunnel.  At least it's sunny, dry and not cold at all.....in fact, I was wearing a fleece sweatshirt and was actually sweating in it (you really wanted to know that, didn't you).  Sorted out the tubs, got rid of the petunias that have been in them since Spring.....they're still actually flowering, although dying off now of course, it's been so mild here.  Put in Spring bulbs (I know, a bit overdue, they should have gone in a month ago but the petunias were still looking so nice) and winter-flowering pansies.  Got more bulbs to put in the wall baskets, but the wind has defeated me for today, they'll have to wait another couple of days.

Plus I'm having a lot of trouble with my right fingers and hand.  For a fortnight now I've had really bad - and constant, it hasn't let up at all - pins and needles in the little and ring fingers, down the side of my hand and an inch or so in from there on both the palm and back of my hand.  Sometimes, my little finger in particular goes white and numb - it's generally like that in the morning when I get up.  Cold and wind makes it worse, as does having my arm bent - which is most of the time really.  Which means I can only sit and crochet for a few minutes at a time, the pins and needles become unbearable after that, I have to then sit with my arm out straight for a while.  Having googled, I think it may be a trapped ulnar nerve....similar thing to carpal tunnel, only that affects the thumb, forefinger and middle finger.  Going to the GP on Monday morning, I hope he can do something for it, it's driving me crackers.

Having been wheat-free and low carb for about a month now, I'm feeling so much better.....weight loss has stayed at 12 lbs (bit of a plateau, I expect it will start to go down again soon) but the bloating and stomach upsets have gone.  However, for some reason today I really fancy a pizza!  I'm going to have a go at making the dough with gram flour, inspired by Pam and Dc's recent experiments.  Ok, so the dough won't be particularly low carb, but it's not like I'm going to eat a whole pizza! (although I probably could - and would - have done in a previous life).  Got some veggies that are looking past their best, so will roast them and use them as the topping, along with some homegrown tomato sauce....and cheese, of course.  Will make a coleslaw to go with it, and some of our lightly pickled cucumbers. 

Thanks for all your comments on my boo to Christmas post....I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Bah humbug to Christmas

Welcome to my new followers lisamaywalters and Monalisa, and thank you for the comments on my carnival pictures, we had a fantastic time.

OH and I don't really 'do' Christmas - we have no children ourselves, OH's children and grandchildren are all grown up, we have no relatives living near us (they're all scattered around the country), we're not religious at all although half of both our families are and don't celebrate Christmas (and I'm not getting into any religious discussions whatsoever!).  Plus OH normally only has Christmas day itself off work, although, unusually, he's also got Xmas Eve off this year.  And I absolutely loathe all the commercialism of it....the pressure the media and shops put people under to spend vast amounts of money - completely unnecessarily in my view - is disgusting, I think.  I loathe all the charity begging letters that drop through our letterbox at this time of year (why can't they just stop sending out all those unwanted and unasked for pens, cards, coasters, gift tags etc that just get dumped in the recycling and save themselves a load of money?!).  I hate being accosted by charity collectors outside the supermarket, or every time we set foot in the high street....for the record, we do give to charities of our choice, and in the way we choose, not to bloody tin rattlers trying to make us feel guilty.

I sound a right miserable old cow, don't I?!

Well I'm not, I just don't agree with it all.  To those of you who do (most of you, I expect).....good on you, that's your choice and I hope you all have a lovely time.

We don't have turkey, for the simple reason that we don't really like it.  I don't make a Christmas cake, as I'm diabetic so hardly eat it, plus OH doesn't like marzipan and icing.  We don't give each other Christmas presents....what for?  We have everything we need at our (relatively!) advanced ages lol.  And if there's something we want, well we go and buy it (assuming we have the money).  We send OH's grandchildren money (although I don't know how long we'll keep that up, seeing as OH will be retiring soon and his grandchildren will soon - if they don't already - be earning more than he does).  We don't give presents to the rest of the family.....we stopped that by mutual agreement some years ago.  We don't even send Christmas cards - a long time ago we decided that the money would be better put to good use being donated to charity, so that's what we do instead.

We just view it as an opportunity to spend time together, eating some nice food (I do make a bit of an effort!), watching a few good programmes on TV - there's usually something decent to watch - and even going for a nice walk on the beach if the weather's ok.  It's surprising how many people do actually go out for a walk on Christmas day, and the ones you meet are always so friendly, smiley and happy (full of booze and mince pies probably hehe).

I do make mince pies, because OH loves them.....I make the mincemeat (will be doing that this weekend, following my usual Saint Delia's recipe) and make a few dozen pies, freezing them and getting out a few at a time.  We have a drink or two (not a lot more than that, seeing as OH has to go to work the next day!), I've made raspberry gin, raspberry & honey whisky and limoncello, which should all be ready to drink around then.

And that's about it for Christmas.....by that time of year, I'm totally fed up with it all and champing at the bit for winter to be over and Spring to arrive.

Oh, there is one thing I do like about Christmas......I absolutely love Christmas songs - carols, pop songs, choirs, you name it.  So I'm not totally bah humbug ;-)



Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Carnival

Warning!  This post is pic heavy!  (Changed browsers and managed to solve the problem of pics not posting).

Every year there's a huge street carnival in Somerset, it easily rivals the Notting Hill or Brazilian ones (but with less trouble!!).  It starts off in Bridgwater, they have the biggest and longest one there, plus a special kind of firework display called squibbing at the end....the carnival procession starts at 7 pm and finishes up with the squibbing around midnight or later.  Over the next fortnight the carnival plays in several other towns....Burnham on Sea, Glastonbury, Weston super Mare, North Petherton, Shepton Mallet, maybe a couple more that I can't remember.  We've been every year since our friends first took us about 8 years ago, I absolutely love it.

This year we didn't go to the Bridgwater one where we usually go (held last Saturday) as we were spending the weekend staying with our friends, so we decided to go to the Burnham one.  It was fabulous, as always.....shorter with fewer carts (the big floats are called carts down here), but that's not such a bad thing as standing still on a pavement for several hours gives me backache!  Well, I wasn't exactly standing still, the really loud music and the whole feel-good spectacle just makes you want to dance....well, it does me anyway!

As well as the big carts (which take each individual carnival club a whole year to plan, build and decorate, as well as making costumes for the performers and learning a new dance routine for the moving ones), there are groups of dancers (mostly children), plus walking performers.  All money raised on the night (it's free to watch, but donations are actively encouraged) goes to local charities.

Some of the dancing children:-



Walking performers:-


The large carts are divided into 2 categories - on the majority, the performers all sing and dance to a set routine and theme....the others, which are called tableaux carts, have a theme and music but the performers all stay still, some of them standing, others sitting, lying down or even hanging off parts of the set! (depending on their theme).  These are some of the tableaux carts:-


My favourites, the big singing and dancing ones:-






Just after this last one passed us, they had a power cut and their music and all their lights went off!  Did feel sorry for them, but their engineers managed to get it all working again within a few minutes:-

It was a brilliant night, as always.  If you're ever down in Somerset in November, try and get to see one of them.....it's an annual event.



Grrr!

Well, I was going to post a load of pictures today, only I can't.  I recently downloaded and installed Win10 (well, to be completely truthful, OH's son in law did it for me!) and now I cannot post pictures.  I can get the box, click on upload, find the pic and load it.....but then when I click to select and add it, it won't!!  And I can't even close the Insert Image window, it just won't let me, I have to close down all windows to get out of it.

Sometimes, I just loathe technology *runs around screaming and stamping feet*

Any ideas? (in words of one syllable suitable for a blonde menopausal technophobe please!).  Has anyone else had this problem?

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Exploding breakfast

We're having a lazy morning.....OH is still in bed after his night shift, he got in a bit earlier than normal this morning, around 03.45, and plans on getting up about 10.00.  Got a bit of shopping to do when he's up and ready, then we're off to stay overnight with our friends later on.

I was sitting here quietly reading the paper online about half an hour ago, when there was this almighty great bang coming from the kitchen....I went to have a look, thinking it was probably a bird (albeit a large one) having crashed into the window (they do that quite often, kamikaze birds round here, although it usually happens when it's sunny and the birds are dazzled by the sunshine and can't see the window, not when it's hurling it down with rain like it is right now).

Looked out of the window - nope, no imprint on the window (they leave a perfect imprint of their shape on the glass) and no dazed bird on the grass outside.  Then I noticed it, on the table, the reason for the bang.  I'd bought a can of those Jus-Rol bake at home croissants the other day, it was on its sell by date and reduced to 45p, never tried them before but thought might as well at that price (although how they get 6 croissants in such a small can is beyond me ;-) hehe).  Well, it had exploded open, with dough bursting out like, well, yeasty dough left to prove in a too-small bowl.

I guess we'll be having croissants for brunch then, with ham and Swiss cheese....yum.  Well, it was my birthday yesterday after all, so a carby yeasty treat is allowed :-))

Thank you for all your lovely comments yesterday.....I'm over the attack of the maudlin miseries.





Friday, 6 November 2015

Reflective

Thanks for all your comments on my menu and eating plan, I am still doing it and feel happy to continue with it indefinitely, as I feel so much better on it.

It's my birthday today, I'm getting ever nearer the dreaded *whispers it* 60 and wish I could turn back time.....or at least make it stand still.  I can't quite believe I've reached the age of 56, it just doesn't seem possible, I feel perpetually 39 (if only!).

A very dear school friend died of leukemia when we were 17, my cousin died at age 19, my beloved Nan who I adored died aged 62 and OH's dad, who was more of a father to me than mine ever was, was 61 when he died.  Over the past year or two we've had several other deaths amongst our family and friends, it's been a bad and sad time.

All this reminds me of my own mortality, particularly since I have a disease/illness that could shorten my life anyway.  Birthdays are not something that I really look forward to nowadays....other than being grateful that I've had another year on this planet, something that many don't.

Sorry to be so morbid, it won't last!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

My eating plan

I'm doing very well on this low carb/no wheat plan, I'm feeling so much better in every way, and the weight loss is a welcome bonus.  I've been a yo-yo dieter my entire life.....start off ok on various weight loss diets (Slimming World, WW, Atkins, F-Plan, Rosemary Conley, Harcombe, 5:2 - you name it, I've tried it), but after a few weeks (few days in some cases) I get totally fed up with it and hurl myself off the wagon.  Somehow, my outlook this time has changed.....I'm actually enjoying eating this way and am happy to carry on indefinitely.  I think it's possibly to do with the fact that I'd really begun to feel very unwell indeed, with almost constant bloating, indigestion, stomach upsets, bowel completely out of kilter, aching joints, tired all the time.  I've always firmly believed that the way we eat has a massive effect on our health, so knew it was time to do something about it.  And, more importantly, to stick to it.

I'm not following any commercial or 'proper' diet, I'm just being very sensible and cutting out all the things that I know affect my health.  Luckily, OH is happy to go along with whatever I choose (well, he wouldn't get fed otherwise teehee), with the addition of some carbs for him.

Here's what I've eaten the past 3 days, just to give you an idea:-

Thurs
Breakfast - Greek full fat yogurt
Lunch - GF sausages (89% meat), mashed swede, buttered savoy cabbage and broccoli, GF gravy
Tea - A chunk of Cheddar, an apple and handful of almonds

Fri
Breakfast - yogurt
Lunch - Coconut prawn curry,  Brussel sprouts (OH had rice with his)
Tea - Chunk of Red Leicester, apple and almonds

Sat
Breakfast - yogurt
Lunch - Grilled bacon, scrambled eggs with cream cheese added, a whole tin of tomatoes (OH had chips and beans instead of toms)
Tea - Tinned tuna and grated cheese with salad leaves and cucumber and a dollop of mayo, followed by an apple

I have 1 coffee and 1 tea per day, both with milk but no sugar, the rest of the time I drink water

So you can see I'm not starving myself, not feeling hungry at all, and am having a varied diet with plenty of protein, veg and fat.  I'm not one of those who runs shrieking at the mention of butter or cheese!  Nor do I think that eating sausages or bacon once a week is going to kill me anytime soon.

Had no breakfast today (got up late and didn't fancy anything), had cheese and apple for lunch.  Having pork chops for dinner, which husband is cooking.....no roast spuds (and oddly I don't even want them!), he's doing roasted butternut squash, courgette and sprouts with it.

Friday, 30 October 2015

It's working

The v.low carb/wheat free eating, that is.  My digestive system is feeling the benefits now, uncomfortable bloating gone, bowels back to normal (ok I know, too much information).  My joints don't ache anything like they were before.  I am, amazingly, not craving carbs anymore - made a granary loaf today, at OH's request, and I haven't touched it, not so much as a slice......normally, I'd barely give it time to cool down before I'd cut a slice and devoured it, slathered with butter.

Made a coconut prawn curry today, I did basmati rice for OH and put a dessertspoonful on my plate....didn't even eat that. 

Oh, and I've lost 8lbs.....losing weight wasn't the focus of the eating plan, my very upset stomach and aching joints were, but weight loss is a very big bonus.  I'll be carrying on with the plan at least until next weekend, it's doing me such a lot of good.

The new computer chair arrived today.....oh it's lovely, as comfy as an armchair.  In fact, it's actually MORE comfy than my old recliner armchair!

An armchair to replace said old recliner, and a wardrobe for the twin spare room are next on the list.  That'll be about it then regarding furniture.  We would like a Welsh dresser or a sideboard at some point, but that's way off in the future.

The Bond film was fab.u.lous.....I won't say anymore about it in case anyone else is about to go and see it.  The only problem was the bloke sitting next to me, who absolutely stank of fags and booze (no, not husband haha.....the bloke on the other side of me).  Still, at least he was quiet.

Thanks for your comments, I do appreciate them all. 



Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Next purchase on the plan

As I have a laptop, I rarely sit at the desk....OH uses the desktop computer, so he sits there.  Over the past couple of days, I've been sitting there on and off....my laptop was knackered (fixed now by husband's very clever techie son in law) so I had to use the desktop, plus we've had visitors (OH's daughter and said SIL) and needed an extra chair.  Boy, is it uncomfortable!  It's skew whiff, it leans to one side, both the seat and the back are achingly uncomfortable.  After just 2 days of sitting in it occasionally, I have terrible backache.  How OH has never complained about it, I do not know, he must be a hero (or he's so engrossed in his ongoing battle with trying to get one over the computer in online chess that he just hasn't noticed). 

Anyway, I decided that a new computer chair was a bigger priority than saving for a new leather armchair.....I reckon our current recliner armchair still has a few months' life left in it, even if it does look tatty (no IF about it, it IS tatty).  And, for once, we haven't bought second hand....we reckoned that in this instance a new one was probably better.  Having searched online, we've found what looks to be a good one at a good price (a price we're willing and able to pay, in other words) on ebay....ordered and arriving next Monday.  Sorted - another thing to cross off the list.

Thanks for your comments, I was feeling a lot better after eating v.low carb/wheat free for a few days.  Had a bit of a setback after having visitors for a couple of days....not easy to do a slightly strange diet when you have to feed visitors!  Am back on it from today though, so am sure I'll be feeling better again soon.

All excited today.....we're off to the pictures tonight to see the staggeringly gorgeous Daniel Craig in the new Bond film, it's my 2 or 3 yearly birthday treat! (my birthday is next week and the new Bond films always come out around the time of my birthday.....how thoughtful of them).

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Low carbing

For years, since I was a teenager, I have suffered occasionally with IBS.....I also have a few food intolerances, 1 or 2 I knew about already, others were identified following tests I had when I was referred by my GP to a senior dietician.  Most of the time these intolerances are manageable and have little impact on my day to day life - they're only intolerances, after all, not allergies, although I do have a mild allergy to tomatoes and citrus fruits.  Even that doesn't present much of a problem, it just makes my mouth and lips tingle, with a little bit of swelling sometimes.

However, if I'm stressed, anxious or a bit down, the IBS and intolerances become a big problem, as they are now.  Starchy carbs and anything with wheat cause me massive gut problems (erm quite literally - I get a (more) massive gut due to terrible bloating, with pain and alternate diarrhoea/constipation too....you really wanted to know that, didn't you!).  All my joints ache, and I feel totally sluggish and irritable.  At times like this, it feels like almost anything I eat makes me feel ill. 

I don't want to go back to the GP - I don't want to be given a load of drugs, sent for yet more tests, or be put on a ridiculously strict and virtually unmanageable exclusion diet again (I had to do that before, and it was hell....to be fair, it did work, but that was probably due to the fact that there was hardly anything I was actually allowed to eat!).  All that makes me feel like I'm handing myself over to the medical profession and losing control of my body, which just makes me feel worse.  So this week I've taken control myself - I've been cutting out ALL starchy carbs and wheat products, eating more fish and above-ground veggies (rather than carby root veg), eating yogurt, drinking more water and fennel & peppermint tea.  I've also started taking acidophilus tablets to help sort out my gut, and St. Johns Wort to help with my low mood.

It's now beginning to work.....the bloating is disappearing and my gut & bowels are starting to settle down, my joints are aching less and I'm feeling less irritable.  Plus I've lost 4lbs since Monday!  Bonus!  I'm determined to keep up with this regime for another couple of weeks at least, longer if I can.  I hate feeling so ill.

OH brought in the remaining green tomatoes and peppers from the polytunnel this morning.....it's getting colder, the plants are dying off and the stuff is just not ripening.  A big trugful, so will have to make chutney or do something else with them over the next few days.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Free day

OH has just gone out to take the car to be fixed - new clutch being fitted today - so I've got an extra day to myself.....his mate who's a mechanic (luckily!) is doing it, and he lives right over the other side of town and OH is staying over there to help out, to hopefully get it done quicker.  Or hinder, as the case may be. 

So what am I going to do with myself today?  You know what.....nothing!  I'm having stomach troubles (IBS, it flares up occasionally when I'm a bit under the weather or stressed) and haven't slept very well the past few nights.  So today I'm just going to sit and crochet and watch trashy daytime TV.  Or a film, if I can find one. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Brrr! Lovely!

It's felt decidedly chilly today.....well, in comparison to the past few weeks.  I've had the heating on low since just after lunch, to take the chill off.  Not that I really mind it being cooler - being menopausal, I have my own inbuilt central heating system and can't bear it when the weather is hot.....I feel like I'm in a sauna.  God only knows what I'd be like without HRT!  Night times are the worst, OH has the duvet pulled up to his ears almost, whilst I'm throwing it off.  And I can't bear my feet being hot in bed, keeps me awake.  Oh, the joys of getting older!  About the only thing I like about winter is the fact that it's cooler.

Nothing much done today.....one load of washing, a granary loaf made, crustless quiche made for lunch (we had it with chips and salad.....quiche made without pastry in an effort to cut the carbs, we're trying to go low carb(ish) for a couple of weeks, before winter sets in and we start eating stodge.  And yes I know chips are carbs ;-).....but I didn't have many).

This afternoon I've been valiantly pressing on with the cushion cover, which seems to be (well, is) taking far longer than I'd anticipated.  I'm just doing a plain and simple envelope shape in double crochet, for simplicity and quickness(!!) - I'll crochet a few flowers for the front.  The trouble is, I'm doing it in chunky yarn with quite a large hook, and being such a close design (as opposed to a lacy one, e.g.) it's actually quite hard going.  Why make things easy for myself?!?!!  Oh well, I'm sure it will be worth it in the end (whenever the end FINALLY comes!).  Note to self.....just do things in DK from now on, far easier to work.

Oh, and a message for YORKSHIRE PUDDING - a couple of times now in comments you've referred to me as Leishy.  Forgive me for being a bit blonde (well, I am blonde), but I don't understand this reference.....are you actually getting me confused with someone else?  Or does Leishy mean something I don't know about?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

WIP's

Work in progress......I've got too many of them.  A blanket which is 3/4 finished, a poncho about a third done, shawl for my mother only a quarter done.  Last week I started on a tasselled waistcoat for myself, just 6 rows into it.  And today I've started a cushion cover. 

It's getting ridiculous, my attention span seems to be getting shorter the older I get!  It's not that I don't want to finish them all.....I do.  I just get a bit bored doing the same thing for days/weeks on end, I suppose, hence the desire to start something different. 

Well, I'm going to take myself in hand.....or rather, take a crocheted item in hand and bloody well finish it.  The cushion cover I'm determined to finish this week - should be easy enough, it's a plain one in chunky yarn, crocheted in solid DCs, a simple envelope shape with button fastening.  I'll then embellish it with a few crocheted flowers. 

Next I'll get on with the blanket, I reckon there's only about another half dozen or so rows to go, then 2 or 3 rows of edging. 

The shawl I'm not so sure about, I'm not very keen on the way it's looking (which is why I stopped it, I guess).....I might undo it and pick a different pattern. 

I like the idea of the waistcoat, it'll be the first actual clothing item I've ever made for myself - always just made blankets, throws, cushion covers, lacy tablecloth, scarves, cowls and hats before.  I'm using a cream Aran yarn I've had for a couple of years.....if it works out ok then I'll do another in some nice cotton mix yarn I've seen and like the look and feel of.  But before I buy any more yarn I will finish the poncho!  I love the purple flecked yarn I'm doing it in, I guess it's just taking me a bit longer to do than I hoped.....as it's made from the neck down, it's obviously getting bigger with more stitches each round. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one with loads of WIP's or UFO's.....am I?

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Lots of baking

I did quite a bit of baking yesterday.....it's the first time in ages I've done so much, sort of lost my enthusiasm for it a bit recently.

In the morning I made two cakes:-


The bottom one is banana & cinnamon, the top one apricot & ginger (or it may be the other way round!).  One of them has been frozen, the other OH will be having a slice of in his packed lunch every day.  I can't remember which one I froze, so he'll have a surprise. 

I braised some steak mince, onions, grated carrot, mushrooms and lentils in half a bottle of stout and some beef stock.  I then made some Stilton and grainy mustard scones to top the mince, before putting in the oven.



I rolled out a pack of puff pastry and made half a dozen raspberry turnovers - cut out squares of pastry, spread the base with homemade strawberry & raspberry jam, pile on some of our home grown raspberries, sprinkle with a bit of sugar and some ground almonds to soak up some of the juice.  Fold over the pastry, seal, brush with milk and bake.

 
 

Erm, I think I put in too many raspberries and not enough ground almonds, the juice leaked out everywhere.  Never mind, they'll still taste good. 

Squished together and re-rolled the bit of leftover pastry I'd cut off the edges when cutting out the squares.  There was enough to make 4 mini cheese pasties - just grated cheddar and a bit of leftover ham, the tops brushed with milk and sprinkled with smoked paprika.

 
 
 

They're not pretty but who cares, they'll get eaten in minutes.  We're going out today for a picnic by the beach so will take them with us.

Sorry for the usual bad pics and washed out colour - as always, I used my phone and I'm no photographer.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Best laid plans.....

Welcome to my new followers, Angryparsnip and Jo(e), lovely to have you and I hope you enjoy reading.....I'm still always surprised that anyone actually wants to read about our fairly mundane lives, but am happy to see that you do.  I will try not to bore you all to tears too often!

Well, you set your mind on doing something, and isn't it amazing how often something else comes along to bugger it up?!  This week we'd planned on touring a few second hand furniture shops and possibly an auction or two, to see if we could get hold of a nice red leather armchair and a pouffe, having been saving our pennies for weeks (if only things did cost pennies....is there actually anything you can buy for pennies nowadays?).  But.....suddenly, the car needs a new clutch.  Well, it's not exactly sudden, to be honest, it's been a bit dodgy for a while.  However, last week while sis was here, we'd decided to go to Ilfracombe for the day....well, there's a big hill (a VERY big hill) on the way, and the car - well, the clutch to be exact - objected very strongly to it and gave off an absolutely revolting stench and some odd noises.  So that was that.  Obviously, we didn't get to Ilfracombe.....the car was gracious enough to get us home after a suitable cooling off period (we took the opportunity to have a lovely lunch and mooch around in Lynmouth) and has obligingly ferried husband to work and us both to the supermarket since.  OH had one of the mechanics from work have a quick look at the car, he confirmed the clutch is definitely on its way out and needs replacing sharpish.  Oh well.

So obviously the money has to go on that, and the armchair and pouffe will have to wait until we've saved some more pennies.  Never mind, we'll get there in the end.  I'm just glad we've got the money to pay for it, we do have an extra little bit set aside for emergencies, but car stuff always seems to cost an arm and a leg.....

I'm going to do some baking today, a couple of cakes for the freezer and some savoury biscuits.  Have also got 3 or 4 packs of flaky pastry in the freezer (bought a job lot - well, half a dozen - when they were reduced to 25p in the supermarket), as we've got loads of our own frozen raspberries I might also make some sort of tartlets.  Will see how I get on and will try and remember to take photos.

Friday, 9 October 2015

I'll be back....

Apologies for the lack of posts this week.....we've been very busy, out and about every day whilst my sister has been here.  She went home yesterday, so normal service will be resumed once I've recovered from being so knackered....sight seeing, shopping and lunching out every day totally wears you out! (well, it does me, seeing as I'm no longer used to it).

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Recipes

Morning all, thank you for your comments, here are the recipes for the cornbread and soup I made yesterday.

The cornbread was adapted from this recipe , I had no buttermilk so used Greek yogurt thinned with a little milk.  I didn't use fresh chilli or sweet pepper or chilli powder either, I put in a tsp of smoked paprika instead.  Next time I will also sprinkle some extra grated cheese on the top when baking.

To make the soup, I chopped a large red onion and softened it in a little oil in a large saucepan.  Skinned a bowlful of our homegrown tomatoes (probably about 15-20 tomatoes of varying sizes and shapes), roughly chopped them and added them to the pan.  Also roughly chopped half a jar of small round red peppers and put them in, along with some fresh basil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a tsp of sugar and sea salt/black pepper.  Simmered for about 3/4 hour, then left it to cool.  This morning I've whizzed it up with my stick blender thingy, when I heat it up for lunch I'll add a splash of cream.

That reminds me, I need to get a new stick blender.....mine, which was a supermarket cheapo value one bought years ago, is now giving up the ghost, it makes a terrible racket after about a minute of use.  Had a quick look on the Argos website.....they mostly come with various attachments - duh, I just want a stick blender for soups, I don't want all the fancy extras that will never get used and will just clutter up the cupboard gathering dust!!