Friday, 30 October 2009


It's the end of the week.Well not quite there yet, but almost!!! How's your week been? Are you all doing something for Halloween? I expect people in the US are a lot more into it that we are here in the UK, but I guess if you have children you've probably been planning for this for a few weeks already, wherever you are. As I've mentionned before, we're off to Bath tomorrow and we'll be going to a Halloween party. Neither of us are really into fancy dress, but we're going to make an effort and buy something tomorrow like fake teeth or something!

Anyway, sooooooooo many things to do before then! I started the Christmas cake last night by soaking all my nuts and dried fruit in the juice of an orange and lemon and some sweet sherry. It'll all going to get cooked this afternoon. Yes you read right, I did say afternoon. It's the last Friday of the month so I get to go home early! We call it POETS day. Does anyone else have the pleasure of doing this? We haven't had it for long - I think they put it in place to smooth the fact that we've taken such a hard blow with redundancies and the pay cut. So anyway, it means I've got a few hours to cook my cake before we go out for a meal tonight for Boyfriend's birthday. His family's coming over for that so it should be really nice.

Back to the cake. If you're interested (let me know!), I can give you my recipe. It's a mix between several I've found in different places and made to my taste, so I guess it's slightly different but it's definitely very nice. While it's in the oven, I've also got to finish Boyfriend's birthday cake but I can't say anymore about this at present because he's one of my regular readers!! So there, I'm going to be busy busy busy.

Right. That's it for the news. Now onto something crafty. I thought I'd mention this today. It's pretty random I know, but I felt like showing you, I hope you don't mind! A while  back, I bought myself a little folder to store knitting patterns I'd found either on Ravelry or on the internet. I wanted something different, that I could put my stamp on, so I bought a plain cardboard folder . I then went on to decorate it with various types of ribbon.

What do you reckon? Of course, I had to find somewhere to put my little 'seal'. Everything I make (such as cards) always gets this little stamp on the back. Here it made more sense to have it on the inside. Can you see it?

I looooooove cats you see, so it made sense to pick this as a trademark. Don't you think it's really cute?

Well, have a lovely weekend everyone, see you next week! xx

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Thursday's better

Hello dear readers!! How are you today? I have to say, I'm feeling better today. Much better actually. And that's partly down to you. I'd like to say a big thank you to the lovely three ladies who left me messages yesterday, they were GREATLY appreciated. Honestly, you put a smile on my face, so thank you very much !!! It's funny how comforting words from a stranger can cheer you up, because even though they are indeed from an absolute stranger, they are com-for-ting. And that is priceless. So once again, thank you.

Now, onto colourful and cheerful things. I reckoned you deserved a little bit of that today after yesterday's post!! You may remember this little hearts needlepoint thing I made a little while ago. Well, after having looked in countless shops (and I mean countless), I finally found a perfect little frame for it the other day. So here it is, waiting to be hung somewhere in the kitchen/ living room:

Honestly, you won't believe how hard it was to find 1/ a square frame and 2/ one that was remotely the right size. So when I saw this one, I pounced on it. Literally. I'm planning on giving it a neighbour on my wall, one I received as a birthday present and never got round to showing off. It's a wooden chopping board with a little leather string.

But let's face it, it's waaayyyyyyyyy too cute to be used as a chopping board, I think it's more likely to be used to present things on, like little nibbles, don't you agree? While we're on the topic of birthday presents, I don't think I mentionned I got a couple of cookery books.

The first one is James Martin's Desserts and the second Pam Corbin's Preserves. Those two books are simply scrumptious. The recipes all seem fabulous and have given me so many ideas, I can't wait to try them out. In the meantime, tonight I've got to start on 2 cakes, equally important. The first one is Boyfriend's birthday cake. The second is the Christmas cake. Oh yes. I feel slightly guilty because it means I can't go to one of my colleague's leaving do tonight, but I can't delay the start of either of those cakes (due to weekend to be spent away from home, and funnily, a birthday date which is most definitely set in time). I won't be able to say why I can't come though, I'll just have to say I'm really really busy, because otherwise she's going to think I'm a right nutter. Oops.

ps: I have just been told by Boyfriend to add something to today's post. He wants you all to know that last night's dinner was amazing. Now, not that I want to take all the credit, well maybe I can!! To be fair, it was really tasty!! So if you want to give it a go, here's what you have to do:

  1. Fry a chopped onion, some cauliflower, some red pepper, some garlic and some chopped ginger in a pan.
  2. When the veg is soft, add the leftover meat (roast duck in our case) and stir.
  3. Add a couple of tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce (or a mixture of honey and chilli).
  4. A couple of minutes before the end (ie a couple of minutes before your rice or noodles are cooked), add a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, some freshly chopped parsley and a little bit of lemon juice.
  5. Serve up and enjoy!!!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Mid-week rant

Wednesday. Just two days till the weekend. Can you tell I'm tired of my job??! I just have to deal with so much rubbish, it's just not fun. Not that a job has to be fun, but it's actually making me quite angry at the moment. We were talking about this only this morning with Boyfriend. You end up wishing your life away and that's just not cool. I spend all day thinking about what I want to do in the evenings and at the weekend. That's not right is it?! And then there's the million dollar question: what else can I do with my life? If only money was no object or the way our society is organised were different, I could do a thousand things. I'd love to be self sufficient, live in the country side, have a dog and a cat and a chipmunk, a great big garden. Throw in an orchard and you'll be close to perfection. But let's face it, that's not about to happen any time soon. So in the meantime, I'm stuck doing something that I don't really enjoy. Which is a little bit of a waste really, since I spent 4 years at university studying for this. The thing is, I actually enjoyed my job until the end of last year. That is, until we were told there would have to be some redundancies. Since then, there's been a second round of redundancies. And a 15% paycut. Let me tell you, it's very VERY unpleasant. The money is one thing, but seing your office empty of people you use to get on with, having to attend numerous meetings about how the business should go forward etc etc, it's just plain demoralising. So there. I guess the rubbish weather isn't helping. And I've got to attend a meeting over my lunchbreak which means no walking around Paperchase or the yarn section of John Lewis. Poo.

So back to the start. It's Wednesday. Let's try and focus on the positives shall we? The positives for today are:
  • no gym tonight
  • nice dinner planned (leftover roast duck to be put to good use with noodles and a homemade chinese type sauce with veg, should be really tasty)
  • an official French lesson, we haven't had one of those for a while - tonight's all about the present tense!!! Hey, we're making sentences (albeit short ones), that's massive progress!
  • Waterloo Road is back on tv - it's fair to say I'm obsessed with this programme, absolutely love it - even if it does make me cry nearly every time, I love it love it love it!!!
  • tomorrow's Thursday and that means Never Mind the Buzzcocks, another great programme (although it'll never be the same without Simon Amstell)
Right, until all these good things take place tonight, I'm having a rubbish day. And I've got to talk to the council about being late paying for council tax. Argh. If only I'd set up the direct debit like Boyfriend suggested. Stupid stupid me.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Last of the cards?

For xmas that is. I guess I might have enough for this year. If I make some more, I might be building up a collection for next year! Which in a way might not be a bad idea, but it kind of takes away the fun of crafting doesn't it?! So, I promised to show you the new cards I made at the weekend. Firstly, let me give credit where it is due. This lady's post last week inspired me to make them. I went to Hobbycraft, got myself the sticker making device, a couple of new punches, and ta-dah, the trick was done!!! I only realised once I'd got home that the flower punch I'd bought made pieces larger than could go through the machine, so I ended up stitching those to the card with gorgeous little buttons I purchase from this lady last week. A lot of purchases I know, but last Friday was pay day you see!!!! Oh, and you'll have realised by now, but those aren't xmas cards!! They could be used as anything really, but probably best as birthday cards, as they are so colourful.

I did however use the sticker machine with a little xmas tree punch I got. And I love the result. I guess I got a little punch happy though, and most magazines in the house now have holes in various pages!! I'm sure you won't mind though! ;-)

These are Boyfriend's favourites. Little trees making up larger trees.

I like them too. So, what's next? Well, it's Boyfriend's bday at the end of the week, and we're off to Bath at the weekend. I know, I know, it's only Tuesday, but to be fair, I need all I can get to get me through this week! Hope you're all well xx

ps: I can wholeheartedly recommend the spiced apple cake I blogged about yesterday (Good Food recipe), it's absolutely delicious!!! The recipe calls for grated nutmeg which I didn't have, so I just used cinnamon, and it's so so good! I've put some slices in the freezer so that we don't scoff it all down within 2 days!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Organic party

I have to say, it's not often that we eat organic. It's just not within our price range. But last week, we received a mixed fruit and veg box from Abel and Cole. So this weekend, I tried to make the most of it. And oh boy was there a lot of food being cooked!!! First, I made a batch of soup to be had as a dinner later on in the week. For that I used leeks, broccoli, carrot and potato. Looks absolutely yum. Will be lovely with a slice of homemade bread. Well that's if I find time to make some!!

Then I followed Felix's advice, and made some parsnip and apple soup!! I tried a little bit and I have to say it was pretty unusual!! That's now gone in the freezer. There's only so much soup we can have in a week!!!

I used the rest of the cooking apples (but some surplus eating apples I had) to make an apple and cinnamon cake. The recipe called for a 20cm round tin, but I don't have one of those, so I improvised and divided the dough between two tins. I've got a slice with me today (a girl needs something to cheer her up on a Monday morning!!), so I'll let you know how it is!

To go with our roast duck yesterday, I roasted some of the veg. I have to say, all of it was delicious. The parnisps and carrots came out lovely and sweet, and the potatoes were perfect and crisp!!

You might be able to spot some butternut squash in the tray. I had one I'd forgotten to use the week before and there was no way I was going to let it go to waste. I absolutely LOVE butternut squash. So guess what I'm having for my lunch today?

Roasted butternut squash!! Well not just that, I've also got some roasted carrots, feta and pine nuts with it all, it should be really tasty!!! Gosh, I can't believe I'm already taking about lunch, it's not even 9.00am!!! Anyway, one last foody photo. I love butternut squash, I know I've said it already. But I don't know which part I like the most, the flesh, or the seeds. Because you see, roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of freshly grinded salt, the seeds are absolutely divine.

So, it's Monday morning. I've probably put you off food for a few hours. Well at least until lunch!!! So sorry about the colour of my first soup, I know it doesn't look terribly appetising, but we're all in the same boat aren't we, trying to make do with the little light that we get. And I wasn't about to risk taking my soup outside just to get a better photo. Sorry folks!!!

Now onto crafty things. I'm ever so grateful and happy for the comments you left me regarding my xmas cards. It makes me really happy to think you like them!! I'm looking forward to seeing your own versions as well!! I was inspired by another blog and made some more cards at the weekend, but you know what, I'll keep you guessing for a little longer. Come back tomorrow to see some more!! xx

Friday, 23 October 2009

Muddy goodness

Hello!! Now, what was that all about blogger hey??? Don't know if any of you noticed this morning, but the whole thing was down!! I couldn't do my usual early morning update or check out other blogger blogs!!! But fear not, it seems to be all ok now! Phew! ;-)

Anyway, it's Friday, thank goodness! Any exciting plans for the weekend anyone? Not much here really. I'm planning on meeting up with a friend who's coming over from France for a few days, that should be really nice. And there's an Apple Festival in my town tomorrow too, so that's definitely on my list of things to do.

Also on my list is the planning of meals. Not normal meals though. Organic meals. Now before you think I'm all posh and have more money than sense (well that's not quite true, I wish I could buy everything organic but let's face it, in such hard times, we can't splash out on such luxuries very regularly), let me tell you what I'm talking about. Have you heard of Abel and Cole? They're a company that delivery veg/ fruit/ meat boxes to your door, everything being organic and most things being locally produced. I've always wanted to order one of their boxes, but last week, Christmas came early (not as early as my cards though!!). I was reading this lovely blog and got in touch with Rachel, the author of the blog. She then put me in touch with someone at Abel and Cole who very kindly got a mixed fruit and veg box delivery to us yesterday - and all for free!!!

The fruit and veg looks amazing to be fair. I'm going to have a look at some of their recipes to find what I could do with the green cabbage, something I very rarely buy. Any suggestions welcome!! The carrots, parsnips and potatoes will be put to good use on Sunday for a roast - I can't wait!!! And the onions have come perfectly on time, we'd just run out, so I used one in last night's curry (by the way, this was a delicious vegetarian curry, made with onion, carrot, cauliflower and celery - delicious even for meat eater Boyfriend who loved it!!).

The pears and bananas will be kept for next week, we like to snack on fruit during the day you see (say NO to muffins and crisps hahaha!!). That way, the bananas will have a bit of time to rippen, there's nothing worse than a green banana is there?! This leaves us with bramley cooking apples, broccoli and leeks. I'm thinking soup (with the veg of course, not the apples!), Boyfriend suggested some sort of pie. Honestly, the possibilities are endless!!! It's just really nice to think all this is local (well apart from the bananas of course!), organic, the veg is still all nice and muddy, and all for free, thanks Abel and Cole!! I'll let you know what I end up making with all these goodies!!! Oh and by the way, so sorry for the crummy photos, I took them last night after my gym class, by which time it was well and truly dark - so enjoy the light from my eco friendly light bulbs!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Little festive presents...

This is it. I put my hands up. I've well and truly started planning for my Christmas presents. I've said it. The C word. I'm sorry for those of you who feel like xmas comes too early every year (and I think it kind of does with all the shop decorations etc), but I also know I'm not the only out there who needs to do a lot of planning. And gets tons of enjoyment out of it too! That's just what you need to do if you're planning on making things by hand. You need Time. So there, I've got my apologies out of the way, so I can now show you what I've been up to!!!

Last weekend, I finished a small batch of decorations which will be added to Christmas hampers. I got the idea from a needlecraft book and adapted it with my own design. I think they don't look too bad, what's you opinion on them?

They could be put up on the xmas tree, or anywhere else for that matter.

And now, for xmas cards. Now I have to say, I'm quite ashamed about this, but I made those back in August. No, it's not a typo, you're not reading wrong, I did write August. I started my blog before that, so you might be wondering why I didn't tell you about them before. Well, we're going back to the shame bit you see. I thought you might laugh of me. Or think that I'm a really sad person. Who starts to think about xmas in summer?!! So I feel that showing you these at the end of October is a lot more acceptable ;-)

I really like these and will definitely be making some more. I've got a few more spare beads to use up (from a childhood collection!). I'm also quite fond of the less traditional colour coordinations, kind of a modern twist on xmas traditions. I'm eager to hear what you think of them!!! The pink card on the photo above is actually a lot stronger, nothing like the pastel colour that's come out on this photo - so little good light at the moment! And the cards below (can you see the shadow of my hand on the right?!) - well there's no hiding I didn't do the ones on either side of the bird, but that's ok, I like them too and they definitely give me inspiration to do my own little stickers!

Hope you have a nice Thursday all - hey, it's only one more day before the weekend, we're not doing too bad this week are we? One day to go, one day to go!!! x

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Putting charity shop finds to good use...

A while back, I bought a large glass bottle like thing. I'm calling it 'thing' not because I have a restricted vocabulary ;-), but because I have no idea what it was used for originally.

But to be honest, I'm not too bothered. I would have liked to find out, but I like it anyway. And this weekend, for the first time, I used it. I thought it would be perfect to use as a quirky vase. What do you reckon?

And those flowers!!! It would be an understatement to say I think they are the cutest things ever. They are slowly opening up. Thank you market flower man!

ps: you can tell these photos were obviously taken at the weekend when we had a little sunshine here around London. Hopefully looking at them will help me (and you!) get through this miserable grey day! x

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Smiling dog

Now you know I mentionned a long awaited addition to our home yesterday? Well, finally, on Sunday, he was ready. Ready to be put at the bottom of a door. But oh not forgotten in the slightest, far from it. At the bottom of a door, there to be enjoyed and keep us warm. To be fair, we don't live in a drafty house, but goodness does he look cute. You may think I'm going completely bonkers now, so please let me show you what I'm talking about. Those of you who have been with me from the start may remember me mentioning him... Anyway, enough talking!! There he is - TA-DAH!!!!

Isn't he really cute? I don't know why it's a 'he', he just looked like a 'he'. Hence the blue ribbon!

I mostly struggled with the eyes. To be more precise, the second one. I was so worried I'd never manage to make them both identical, I just put it to the back of my mind for weeks on end.

I got the pattern for this on the Hobbycraft website. But be warned!!! They say this project takes 4 hours to complete. Four. Hours. Yeah right!!! There's quite a bit of knitting to do (especially the main body) and all the sewing up. If anyone can do this in 4 hours, then they must have super knitting powers!!!

Don't you love his little cheeky smile? I love him! I was considering giving him out as a christmas present, but I have spent so much time working on him, I feel too attached now... :-)

Monday, 19 October 2009

The last one - I promise!!

Well you might have an inkling what this might be... the last post about my holiday!! I'm ever so sorry, I feel like I'm overindulging, but I just want to share one last lot of photos with you. And that's it. Promise. ;-) I've had such lovely comments about my photos, perhaps you won't mind seeing a little bit more? Fingers crossed! I would have done it at the weekend, but I'd left my selection of blog worthy photos on my work computer so there, it's Monday! I don't want to bore you with words, these are just photos which make me smile. I hope they'll make you smile too. And perhaps even make you want to visit this lovely corner of England one day!

Oh this makes me happy!!! Wish I could go back though! I've had enough of being a work monkey!!! But hey, enough of that for the moment! Tomorrow, I'll be showing you what I've been up to craft-wise recently! And there will be a very late arrival. And I mean very late. Someone who's been left half finished for months. Oh yes.

See you tomorrow! Have a lovely Monday x

Friday, 16 October 2009

Plain sailing

Today's all about boats. Don't go, not yet!!! I promise it won't be boring!! Well unless you absolutely can't stand the sight of boats of course. But give me a chance! I wouldn't consider myself a boat person at all. Don't really like being on boats for that matter. But I found myself feeling quite enchanted by the sight of them, peacefully waiting for their owners, lost in the middle of sand banks waiting for the high tide to return, or on the contrary, one amongst several lost in the shallow waters of this spectacular gravity-induced water movement.

I especially like the ones in the top of the mosaic (click to enlarge!). They were all solitary boats, but didn't look out of place in the slightest. Quite magnificient actually. The photos were taken in a variety of places, from Wells-Next-the-Sea through to Sheringham, via Blakeney Point.

By the way, it's not important really, but I tried to post this message automatically and failed miserably!! I knew I'd be out of the office all day and tried to set it for 8am but somehow it didn't happen... has this happened to anyone before? Anyway, it's now Friday evening, so happy weekend to all!!! Hope everyone has a great time, whatever you're up to! xx

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Sea and beaches galore

I've finally done it. Decided which photos will make it onto the blog that is!! I don't know if you feel the same, but even though I've always enjoyed taking photographs, my desire to take nice shots has definitely gone through the roof since starting this blog. I suddenly find myself worried about the lighting and disposition of things. I did care about such things before (a little!), but definitely not as much as I do now. Which brings me onto the topic of the photos-that-deserve-to-appear-on-the-blog!!! I'm far from what I would call a good photographer, but I try and give you the best that I have. So I hope you enjoy these photos!! I also hope you don't find it too boring this week with all these holiday snaps, but aren't they gorgeous? I just love looking at the photos of beaches and the sea that I took, makes me think for a micro-second that I'm still there, scarf tightly wrapped around my neck, wind blowing ferociously in my ears, staring out at the sea trying to spot seals (yes yes we did once!! well Boyfriend did and I did catch a glimpse of its head on two occasions, what an amazing experience!!), picking seashells like a 5 year old (I don't think I'll ever grow out of that habit!). So please, take a moment and open your eyes, enjoy the views and dream!! First, let's have some sea views - yes we did have some rain but those look pretty depressing I can tell you, so please enjoy the sunshine ones!

Now for the pebbly beaches - this is what they were like near where we were staying - East Runton and West Runton - lots of pebbly goodness I say!! The one with the fishermen was taken in Salthouse. So from dawn to dusk...

And now for the sandy beaches - Holkham Nature Reserve and Brancaster beach - you can't really get more sandy than that I reckon!! Absolutely beautiful never-ending expanses of sand, sun high in the sky, what more could you want...

I was left wishing I could be one of them...

And we were definitely wishing we had one of those...

Ripples galore...

And magnificient sand everywhere around us...

Bye bye for now!! Come back tomorrow to see one of my favourite categories - boats!

ps for those of you eager to hear how my gym class went Tuesday night ;-) , let me just let you I'm still aching all over!! I think I look a little like a robot when I walk, my legs hurt so much!! And squatting is a big no no... how am I going to manage tonight?! And it's a 'step' class, goodness, I struggle going up a flight of stairs without wincing!!