Thursday, 31 March 2016

Eiffel Day

Today is Eiffel Tower Day. The day marks he completion of the tower in 1889.
So now you know, what will you do to mark the occasion? Wear an outfit which has a dash of French chic about it, cook coq au vin for tea or croissants for breakfast, maybe even book a trip to Paris ?
Me, I think I'll watch the Maigret episode I recorded on Sunday evening and maybe indulge in eating an eclair.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to one and all.
As you can see the dresser has been given it's Easter makeover.

I've had a busy week. 
 I had to attend a two day training course, learning how to navigate my way around the computer system I'll be using in my new job, which I'll be going to for the first time this coming Tuesday.
S had to go to the breakfast club at school for these two days and thankfully she absolutely loved it.
She particularly enjoyed Wednesday because not only was there the pre-school early morning club but in the afternoon there was a treat of being able to watch a movie as a reward for good work over the term.

T finished on Wednesday and has been spending some extra time volunteering at the charity shop. Yesterday I picked him up after he finished and although I don't normally like listening to music in the car he played the Spice Girls and we sang along to it, very loudly and probably very out of tune!

Yesterday was a glorious day and I spent over 3 hours of it out in the back garden tidying up and cutting back and trying to restore some sort of order out there. Our garden really is a a big old mess, where is the Ground Force team when you need them?
G arrived home mid afternoon. He'd had a night away in Bristol with his mate K as they'd gone to see the Von Hertzen Brothers.
Last night our friends R and S popped round for a catch up. 
It was gone midnight before we got to bed and so the last thing I wanted this morning was to be woken up early.
Melvin the cat had other ideas as selfishly he wanted his breakfast and so around 6.30 he woken me up by gently batting my face with his paw. 
This evening G and I have a date at the opera. I'm just hoping I'll be able to stay awake for the whole performance!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Souper Cheesecake

I've been trying to make a dent in the pile of recipe ideas I have torn out of magazines.
S made this lime and ginger cheesecake and although hers didn't look quite as picture perfect it tasted just as delicious.

I baked some cakes but these weren't quite as tasty.
I picked up this recipe on a World War 2 day out at Manor Farm in 2012.
I shall share the recipe because it is an original one from that time period and if anyone needs to provide a donation to a WW2 event at school then it may be useful.
Put 2 cups of All Bran, half cup of golden syrup and 1 and a half cups of milk in a bowl and leave for about 5 minutes. Add 1 egg. Sift in 1 cup of plain flour and 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and half tsp salt. Mix well and then pour into cake cases. I think I baked 20 cakes with this mix. Cakes were baked at 200c, mine took a bit longer than the 10 minutes quoted in the recipe.

A while back I bought a copy of A Girl Called Jack and decided it was time I actually cooked something from out of it.
This week I made the Carrot, Cumin and Kidney Bean Soup which G took to work on Tuesday. I have to say the colour was awful but he said it was really tasty and his work colleagues all enjoyed dunking a little bread into it too.
Today he took in Simple Spiced Potato Soup pictured below.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Bunny Wreath

I do like a quick and easy craft project.
I was looking on my Easter Pinterest board for something which I could make for decorating our front door.
I bought a styrofoam wreath from a local craft shop, glued on a pair of bunny ears and then wrapped round 2 fluffy scarfs both of which were purchased from a branch of Poundland.
The original idea came from mrs b's hive and a step by step guide for making hers can be found by clicking on the link. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016


There are places we drive past all the time and yet we don't really know them.
With the sun out on Sunday we decided to go for a walk and investigate one such place nearby.
S decided she wanted to bring a tennis ball along and we played catch as we walked.
See the weather vane just above G....

.... here's a close up. I'd love a bushy tailed squirrel like this one in our garden.

We wandered along by the river

and past the White Swan pub. I did have a giggle at the Diamond Club sign reminding G that come October he'll be eligible to sign up!

Just round the corner we came to Mansbridge cottages. We have driven past these so many times and even visited them a couple of times. This is because there is an animal rescue charity run from one of them and each summer they have a fund raising open day which we try and pop along to. When we go we tend to leave our car at the park and take a short pleasant walk along by the river to get there. Running alongside the cottages is a narrow road and we have seen cars driving down here to park on the open days. I mentioned to G that I wanted to know where it was they were going to. 
We walked down the road and it led us to....

a huge and unattractive car park. This was fenced off and full of Ford made cars.
In the far corner was the end of a strip of land allocated for local allotments and this was right next to land which belongs to the airport.
It was all extremely boring, apart from when a plane came in to land and we realised how incredibly close we were!
S still had her tennis ball and as the car park was such a wide open space she and G began kicking it to each other as we began to walk back to where we had come in.
Of course the inevitable happened and it trickled underneath the fenced off area with the cars in but with a bit of maneuvering with a long stick G managed to retrieve it.
That's when we became aware of a chap who had suddenly appeared and was walking behind us.
'I think he's come to escort us away from here' G said.
There hadn't been any signs to say we were going onto private land and we were so close to the exit anyway we just carried on in the direction we were already headed. 
G glimpsed back once we had walked through the gates and were a little down the road an sure enough he had turned around and was walking back to wherever he had come from.

The piece of land on the other side of this narrow road is South Stoneham Cemetery and was the other reason for us to visit the area.
Walking into the cemetery the first grave I saw belonged to someone I knew back when I was about 15 years old. It was a bit of a shock. I knew this person had died many years ago in a tragic accident but I had not idea that this was where he had been buried.
We walked through the cemetery and found the South Stoneham Chapel

and just a short walk away from here we came across the grave for R.J.Mitchell, the man who designed the Spitfire.

It was lovely to be outside again, being able to stretch our legs and enjoy the sunshine and have the odd sit down too.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

About time

This is what happens every time.
Whenever life gets busy or there is something which is playing on my mind I become so wrapped up and distracted and it's always blogging, reading and posting, which takes a back seat.
I'm pleased to say though that this time the reason I have been preoccupied is because of something good.
I have been offered and have accepted a new job.
I'm in the last week of my time at the surgery and from next week I shall be employed elsewhere doing something very similar and I'm thoroughly looking forward to the new challenge.

This post is a mish mash from the last couple of weeks when my time and  energy have been diverted elsewhere.
There have only been a couple of clothing purchases.
 Apart, that is, from a bit of a splurge when in town recently.
We stumbled across the Cancer Research shop which was having a mega sale offering 10 items for £5.00. 
S and I rifled through the rails and between us found a nice collection of bits and pieces.
My favourite item though has to be this badger jumper.
Our local branch of Barnardos sell all items for £1.99 and so I snaffled this beauty for that bargainous price.

Over a couple of evenings G and I, with a tiny amount of help from S, put together this wonderful jigsaw.

All the sweets are in their 1980s packaging and we spent a lot of time saying 'oh I remember that!' Somethings haven't changed much whilst others have disappeared completely.

One Saturday we took the train down to Boscombe where we met G's brother P and his partner S for lunch. S had her birthday in February and we took her gifts with us. 
As you know I like a bit of a theme and this collection of presents is no different. We gave her an Avon Milk and Honey gift set, a Cathy Kelly book The Honey Queen and a bar of milk chocolate.

G and I have also managed to squeeze in an afternoon at the theatre. I haven't read Madame Bovary although I have heard it dramatised on the radio. G wasn't familiar with the story but after seeing this funny and clever adaptation we both want to read the original.

We have another trip to the theatre booked for May when we will be seeing The 39 Steps. Again neither of us are overly familiar with the details to this story and so for Mothers Day I was given a copy of Alfred Hitchcock's film version to help get us better acquainted.

Hopefully I'll get myself up to date with everything and manage to get a couple more posts done by the weekend.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

International Womens Day

Last year I shared a couple of books about the lives of some fascinating and inspiring women.
This year I'm sharing some names with you.
Lizzie Siddal, Janey Morris, Fanny Cornforth and Annie Miller.
If you don't recognise their names you'll recognise their faces.
These women, talented in their own right, were models, wives and lovers to Pre-Raphaelite artists and their images were captured forever more in the art the Brotherhood produced.
The images shown here come from this book. A birthday gift from G, purchased after we had gone to a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition held at our local art gallery many years ago.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Children's TV

On the first weekend of half term G, S and I took the train to Portsmouth.
There was a reason we went there which I shall get to in just a mo.
However our first stop, as it so often is, was for lunch.
In the summer lunch is usually a picnic, but in cold and wet February it was in a family friendly pub.
The building was once the offices for a local gas company and so before we go any further there's a couple of things to share from there.
Whilst waiting for S outside the ladies I took a photo of the old window directly above me

and the one directly in front of me. Looks like it and the banister next to it could do with a bit of a dust off!

Flanking the main entrance are two plaques dedicated to the men of the Portsea Island Gas Company who gave their lives during WW1.
Only right and proper these remained in place.

So to the reason for our trip. 
An exhibition of children's TV through the ages was being held and the chance to see it was drawing to an end as it was due to close within the next week.
I'm so glad we went.
Greeting us on arrival is the costume worn by the actor who played Fizz in the Tweenies. Fizz was S's favourite character.

Situated in another part of the museum was Jake, T's favourite Tweenie. He won't thank me for sharing that I'm sure!

There wasn't too much within the exhibition that S was familiar with, but she has always liked a bit of Rastamouse

and I found it amusing when she pointed to this little fellow and said 'Mum do you recognise who this one is?' She thought he was a recent creation of her TV children's TV generation and hadn't realised that Morph goes way back.

Another recent addition to children's TV is a new series of the old favourites The Clangers and this is a model of one of the new ones.

T was on a school trip in Madrid that weekend and even if he had been home I know he wouldn't have accompanied us but there was so much he would have recognised. 
All his favourites.
When we became a family his most favourite thing was Bob the Builder and his machines.
T had such poor speech delay back then and he couldn't say any of these words correctly and so it was more like Bo ye Builyer.
This machine is called Scoop, for obvious reasons.

Oh my word how many times did we hear the theme tune played for these next two. T had videos of Brum

and Rosie and Jim which we watched countless times.
Happy, happy memories.

G was very excited to see the original Pob puppet, this is one I don't remember at all.

Another highlight for him was this piece of original artwork from Captain Pugwash. Can you see the strips of paper coming out from the left side and the bottom? These work the arms and such to make the characters move.

For me there were 4 stand out items which I have to say really made my day.
First up two annuals. One for Mary, Mungo and Midge and the fantastic Camberwick Green. Two programmes which I loved.

And just look who it is...... Humpty!!!!
An original Humpty.
So, so exciting.

And if that wasn't enough there was an original Little Ted too.

To be honest my day was complete after seeing these two but it was taken up a notch further when the next thing I saw was an original Fingermouse.
What a treat it was to see these familiar objects from my childhood.

I've been to the museum a couple of times, the last time the children came with me during the school hols but G has never been so we made our way around the rest of the museum.
Should you ever be in Portsmouth I recommend a visit as they have lots of different permanent exhibitions which are well worth a look.
You can also get married here and as the door was open we had a peek and this beautiful painting was on the wall.

I've shared parts of the museum before but here's a few more from this trip.
I loved this decorative thistle light fitting which hung at the sea front during the mid 50's.

Part of a 1950's room set

Cosmetics from the 1950s and 1940s 

There is also a small art gallery in the building and within it we found this painting of a train approaching Fareham along the Wallington viaduct. A scene familiar to us as you can see from this post and it was a treat to see too.