Tuesday, 31 May 2011

May Scavenger Hunt

We've not been out and about so much this month because of the work being done inside and outside the house plus bad backs for both me and G so photo opportunites have been a bit limited and I actually only finished the last couple of items this morning!

So here we go...
A butterfly- taken on a family walk back at the beginning of the month.

A bicycle- snapped in HomeBase whilst looking for paint tester pots.

An emergency vehicle- a fire engine from the children's carousel in town.

A red door- Salisbury train station.

Texture- tree trunk on a different family walk this month.

Something blue- a rubbish bin in a children's playground.

A black and white portrait- this piece of graffiti has been added to the wall just outside the church where I go and see my dad each week. I think it's Andy Warhol?

Sign of the zodiac- Leo the Lion!

A cartoon character- T modelling his Family Guy t-shirt.

A street light- snapped from inside the train when we stopped at Dean train station yesterday. It's actually in someone's garden, but it's the closest thing I could find.

An interesting local building- just down the road and round the corner this old Public Bath buliding is looking a lot less attractive than it must have once looked what with all the metal grills over it and the big advice centre notice. But at least it's being used.

Think vintage- a favourite brooch.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else have come up with this month too.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Blog Break

I have had a week away from Blogland becuase it's just been too darn difficult to get near the computer for any length of time.
We've had plastering work done.
The hall, stairs and landing and the dining room.
Furniture has been shifted around and it's been a bit cramped in some rooms and also very, very dusty.
But that's stage one complete and we've gone from having yellow walls

to drying plaster walls.
The next stage is patch painting with tester pots. I would really like something as neutral as possible and we are looking at the 'endurance' type ranges as it needs to be able to cope with all our comings and goings in the hall as G has asked we have the same colour leading through from there into the dining room.

With it being half term next week I don't think we're going to get an awful lot done decorating wise so this is going to be a project that's going to take a while. Pretty standard for our house really!

This morning we headed out to the car boot. Not much around for us today. I bought a couple of cookbooks and these 2 items for S. The necklace is for me although it does match S's new top very well.

On the way back we stopped at one of the country parks and spent another hour outside before coming home for lunch and a viewing of Doctor Who Confidential.

I have to admit to becoming slightly obsessed with it this series. I want answers to all the cliffhangers they keep leaving us with.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

What a week!

All week we were waiting for the result of T's senior school appeal and on Friday we finally received a letter with those magical words 'appeal be allowed'.
What a huge relief! Cue cheering and jigging on the spot!
G had attended the hearing on 13th and was told we should have a letter through the post on Tues or Wed. Nothing arrived and so I rang them to be told the letters weren't actually going out until Thursday.
So it was Friday before the verdict was delivered by post. We were on tenterhooks all week!

My back has been giving me a lot of discomfort and a little pain this past week.Sitting down has been the worst position and not helpful for blogging or blog reading. Thankfully I've been and had a couple of sessions with a chiropractor and Oh the difference going to see her has made, although my back felt so sore yesterday. I've been given some simple exercises to do at home and told I need to strengthen my core muscles.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at the fabulous flowers on this post. They are all from a beautiful posy of flowers gathered from the garden of another blogger whom many of you are probably very familiar with. Lou from www.poppy-lou.blogspot.com had very kindly invited me to her home where I had a tour of her incredible garden.

A freshly baked lemon cake was enjoyed as we spent a (very quick) couple of hours chatting about all sorts. All too soon it was time to leave and as well as the flowers Lou gave me some very pretty crochet bunting made by her own fair hand. Is there a craft this clever woman is incapable of?! I shall show it off once I've got it hanging up.

Thank you Lou for a lovely afternoon and for my lovely gifts.

**edited to change link to Lou's blog,it won't let me do a linky thing**

Monday, 16 May 2011

Weekend Wanderings

We haven't ventured far in the last couple of weekends as there have been things needing to be done at home and these past few weeks G has been in a lot of pain and discomfort with his back. For this reason we've not wanted to be too far from home so he's able to rest when he needs it.
Not sure the snail on the face method of pain relieft is a recognised practise but G thought it would be interesting to see what it felt like. Verdict: not entirely unpleasant. I'll just take his word for it!

After a cuppa and a plan of action chat in the garden we decided on a trip to HomeBase for some paint samples and a curtain track.
We bought the paint samples but no curtain track.
However we did buy a picnic bench for the back garden.
What colour should it be painted?

We choose HomeBase as it's near a playground and little walk we've done many times which kept us outside long enough for the children to run around and use up some of that seemingly endless energy

on the compulsory 'sword' fight with branches that look more suitable for jousting.

On Sunday G suggested we went to Netley Common as although it is a 10 minute drive away we hadn't been there before.

Near the entrance is this little mound

and without this information board near it we wouldn't have looked twice it. But on reading we discovered it's actually 3,500 years old.

Also the board stated that somewhere behind us was a Roman road which when excavated had wheel ruts running along the side of it. Signs of life here so long ago which G and I found so fascinating.

Whilst my 3 were busy searching out suitable sticks for fighting I kept busy with the camera.

Just before the end of our walk we rounded a corner and were greeted by this cottage. What a perfect looking place to live.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Thrify Friday

A hic-cup with blogger has made posts disappear so here's my offering for yesterday reposted.

These are the fabulous buys from the charity shop a couple of doors down from the one I volunteer in.

A pretty pale blue coffee creamer for 30p.

A lidded glass dish. I don't know for sure what this would have been used for originally but I see it on a posh breakfast table housing either jam or butter curls. For £1.00 it seemed a snip.

Best buy of the day were these mugs. They were 3 of them and one still had the original Laura Ashley price ticket on the bottom showing they were £6.95 each. I paid 25p each!

A few weeks ago I had a very thorough sort out of S's wardrobe. She was 6 in Feb but most of her clothes now need to be for a 7 year old. The now too small items were donated to my sister for her car boot sale and since the clear out I've been keeping an eye out for bits and bobs for the summer months to come. These are a few of my favourites. The jeans were the most expensive at 79p, just love the embroidery around the bottoms, the rest ranged from 20p to 50p an item. A very economical way of keeping up with my ever growing daughter!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

All You Need Is

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, 9 May 2011


I think pottering sums up our weekend.
First thing Saturday morning my mum and C joined me at one of the local church halls for a plant sale. Between us we bought a variety of flowers and foods including runner beans, strawberries, cucumber, sweet williams, geraniums and tomatoes.

In the afternoon I took the children to a family fun day being held at one of the City's parks, except when we got there we found it had been cancelled due to the heavy overnight rainfall. Nothing on the website indicating it was cancelled though. We decided to have a stroll through the park anyway as it's been a while since we were there last.

Sunday was spent pottering in the garden. S was very keen to help with the plants we had bought the day before, in between jumping on the trampoline or counting how many skips she could do.

We did have a quick whirl around the car boot sale in the morning but it was so cold and windy there we didn'twant to hang around, although so much nicer once we were home again, just a mile or two down the road. There wasn't much on offer that caught our fancy but I did find this Swedish enamel tin for £1.00. I've been looking for a new container for the cat biscuits and this fits the bill perfectly.

I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post. I don't think I've ever had so many messages left on a post before! It was so interesting to read other people's experiences (or those had by people close to them) concerning food or how experiences with food in childhood has shaped their eating habits as adults. Thank you all for sharing.

As requested by a couple people I will now post the recipe for Chocolate Puddle Pudding. I cooked this for us to eat after our meal last night and remembered to take a quick snap of it just before I tucked into it. I won't win any prizes for presentation but it sure was scrummy!

Grease a 2 pint pie dish. I cook mine in a Pyrex casserole dish.

Preheat oven to 190c/375f/gas 5.

In a bowl combine 6oz self raising flour, 2oz cocoa powder, quarter pint of milk, 2oz melted butter or marg, 5oz caster sugar and half a tsp vanilla essence. Mix together.

In a saucepan gently bring to the boil 3oz soft brown sugar, 2 tbsp cocoa powder and three quarters of a pint of water. Pour over the pudding mix. Cook for 40-45 mins. I find that I need to cover the top of mine with foil for the last 10 mins or so.

When cooked the chocolate sauce will be in a puddle in the bottom of the dish.


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Fussy Eater

After my post the other day about my cooking and eating habits I thought I should another to explain a bit further.

Apparently up until the age of around 5 I ate anything and everything and became fussier and fussier the older I grew. I was taken to the doctor by my very worried mum and he assured her I was perfectly fine and if I was hungry I would eat and not to make a fuss as it would worsen the situation.
At my primary school there are 2 very clear memories I have around food.
The first was in the school hall where we were being told about arrangments for a trip. Lunch was being provided by the school and the headmistress singled me out in front of everyone asking me with a great sigh if I would eat the cheese and tomato sandwiches being taken. I remember I tried to answer her as confidently as possible that I would just take the tomato out. But oh the embarrassment.

The second incident was being made to sit outside the headmistresses office with my, by then very cold, school dinner because I hadn't eaten it. Teachers and other pupils walked passed me and it was a thoroughly shameful experience.Mrs Leyton was the name of the demon dinner lady and made lunch time hell for me. I can't remember what it was but it did contain mashed potato. I have had a phobia of mash ever since. Even now there are times when I can't talk about it, smell it or cook it as it makes me gag. Freaky I know!

When there were the chances of a residential trips with school I didn't go because I couldn't be sure I would be able to eat.

As I grew up my automatic response to anything new was 'I don't like it' as it was easier to keep to the few things I did eat. I have a thing about textures as well as taste and even though it's so embarrassing talking about it that far out weighs the fear of being sick. I have lost count of the amount of times I've tried eating apples and hated the grainy texture.

Getting to the age of having boyfriends and them wanting to take me out for meals were yet more painful situations when I had to go through the whole explantion thing again and wait to see how they reacted. Going out for meals there days is better and as long as there are chips on the menu I won't go hungry.

Over the past decade I have made a real effort to improve my diet. I now eat pickled beetroot, but only in sweet vinegar, I eat broccoli, I eat mushrooms, I eat strawberries and raspberries and there are other new things too.

But I still can't eat roast potatoes unless they are encased in a really crispy skin, all to do with the mash thing, although now my chicken roast dinner includes a green veg where as before it was just a pile of yorkshire puds!

I may try and joke about it, but honestly?

It's so boring and sometimes gets me down. I would love to be able to sit down to meal which contain a variety of tastes, but it really is very difficult when there is so much baggage around trying new food.

I wanted my children to have a varied and healthy diet and so that's why I try and cook from scratch each night and I try desperately hard not to fuss when they say they don't like something! I do like the spaghetti carbonara I cook though. After I've done the evening meal for my 3 my meals tend to be something quick and easy because that is all I like, boiled egg and soldiers, a pizza, bacon sandwichs, chicken fillets.

I don't suppose many of you would be wanting me as a dinner guest now!

Anyone want anything from the chippy?!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Thrifty Thursday

I couldn't share these on Sunday as I accidently left them in my sister's car.

Whilst wandering round the car boot I stopped by these lights and when I enquired how much they were the chap said I could have them for nothing. He said they had worked perfectly well when he packed them away in January from the outside of his house and if I wanted them I could have them.
I thanked him profusely and kept my fingers crossed.
My sister whispered to me as we walked away,'bet they don't work then!'
But lo and behold they do and very pretty they look too.
Can't get thriftier than free!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Thrifty Kitchen

I like to think I am fairly good at being good with money.
I've always had budgets, made lists and shopped with an ever eagle eye for a bargain.

When I left home and started being responsible for bigger bills and bigger budgets one thing I really tried hard with keeping to a minimum was the grocery bill. I remember mornings at work when we used to get out our till receipts and read what each other had bought and see what we'd all spent. Sounds a bit strange but it could actually be very entertaining, honest!

Apart from the usual Home Economics classes at school I never really did much cooking until leaving home, probably because I am so incredibly fussy with food. When I did need to learn I bought the book on the right, Grub on a Grant, as it seemed to offer simplicity and meet my thrifty ways. A few of the recipes do consist of opening various tinned foods and mixing them together, but there are more adventurous dishes included and it really helped me get my confidence going in the kitchen. It's the one cookery book that has stayed with me for nearly 20 years.

The other book I have used a lot is the Eat Well for £1.00 which came to me through bookcrossing. I have never come across this book in charity shops and am very glad to have a copy, especially as it includes the much loved family favourite Chocolate Puddle Pudding.

Most nights I cook from scratch and most nights I still don't eat what I've produced so I still don't know really know what my cooking tastes like but S did tell me the other day that one of the 3 reasons she loves me is because I am a good cooker. Praise indeed.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Bluebell Walk

Last week I received an email from the Woodland Trust with a visit woods link to help find bluebell woods in my local area. So I did a quick search and this place popped up. We haven't been here for a few years despite it being a 5 minute drive away. The reason for this I suppose is that when dad became too ill to walk Tilly we would drive over and pick her up and bring her to this spot, so it was with bittersweet memories we went back today.

We weren't disappointed by the blubell display. Just a few edged the path as we walked into the woods

and then there were more

and more the further we walked in.

T remembered being here with Grandad and found his way back down to the lake. This belongs to a private angling club and there is no admittance but we get to enjoy a good view of it.

One thing we hadn't found in our walks there before was a path which led out into a field where for these 3 playfighting turned into a mass tickling session

and we all went 'ah' when we spotted this foal in the next field.