Friday, 30 July 2010

I'm not a bad person I swear

But I hate charity street workers. Now, don't get me wrong, but the way they go about their business really gets to me. Is this a rant you can see coming along? Hell yes. Here it goes!!!!

So, first of all, I lost all respect for you, little street rats, when I realised you all share the same patch. Honestly, I can never walk past that church and that supermarket and that train station without being harassed. That's three times on my journey home. Not. Impressed. It gets me all worked up when I'm meant to be relaxing after leaving work.

And the worse thing is, you try and make me feel guilty. It worked the first few times, but I've been doing that same walk for the last three years now, so I can tell you your little tactics fail to have any impact on me whatsoever. I don't want to have to pretend that 1/ I'm in hurry 2/ I'm on the phone 3/ I've already subscribed to your charity. I like to make my own decisions thank-you-very-much, I don't like to be pressurised by a spotty adolescent/ aren't-I-so-cool-I'm-helping-to-save-the-world hippy/ angry person who just wants my money. Those fake smiles, honestly. And don't go on calling me love/ darling/ gorgeous , I know you don't mean it, it gets me even more annoyed. We're not mates. It's not because we were born in the same decade that you can try and be all matey with me. So just back off.

Oh and the way you like to get in my way. Like physically? What's that all about? Not only do I feel like I have to avoid eye contact with you otherwise you will literally pounce on me, but I have to juggle around other people who happen to be walking on the same bit of pavement at that moment, so you're more likely to try and harass them rather than me. I don't like to feel threatened, or feel like I have to change my habits/ behaviour because of you. Just leave it to me yeah? If I want to give money to save/ help the world's ever increasing list of categories at risk (think circus animals, pets, children, women, old people blablabla) I'll do it on my own accord. And don't even think that me saying that makes me a bad person. No way jose. I just like to do what I like, when I like. Not when I'm going home after a full day at work. Last thing I want to do is stand there listening to your sales pitch. Because you're not fooling anyone. I know some of you get paid to do this, you don't just do it out of the goodness of your heart (not that that would make it any better).

Now, how do you feel about this? Actually, I'd say charity street workers are high up there with another type of street rat: those that give out free newspapers. But that's another post in itself.

(ps: rant over - you can breathe now)

Thursday, 29 July 2010

You make all these efforts

And for what? Oh it looks nice alright. And I can tell you it tastes good too.

But unfortunately I was rather too lazy busy and so I didn't take the time to check it had reached setting point. So yes, it's still rather liquid. No proper jam for me yet. So guess what I'll be doing tonight? Putting it all back in the saucepan to have another go.

I will not be defeated by raspberries of all things!!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

My gift to you

Some sunshine to brighten up your day. Because so far, this week has been rather grey and wet (well apart from this morning of course, typical!).

And looking at those sunflowers makes me smile on the inside. I find they help me relax and focus on what's important. And they make me giggle too, they are about the size of my head after all ;-)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Here we go...

The blocking has started. Actually, I'd say it's in full swing. I think I can hear you gasping already. You feel sorry for me right? To be honest, I think I feel sorry for myself too. I mean, we're 12 down at the moment, 84 to go .... Don't wish me luck, wish me patience!!!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Boys, look away now

Or ladies not inclined to read anything about "ladies' things" if you know what I mean. I'm not really sure how to go about this, but I think it's so important, I have to mention it on this little blog. I just hope I don't gross you out in the process.

In all started at the end of last year when I read this post over at Marmalade Kiss. This was written in conjunction with a series run by That Little Bit Greener. Now, before I carry on, I would just like to say this: I'm not an eco warrior. I just care about our planet and what I put in my body (and before you ask, crisps don't count). By making one small change, you can reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill on a monthly basis, and you can adopt a habit which is altogether better for both the environment and your body. THIS is what I'm talking about. I won't do a sales pitch for this, if you have a look, it speaks for itself really. I've been using this for just one month now and it's brilliant. It makes me feel so much better about what I have to go through as a woman, and in the long run it will make my wallet feel a little happier too. I don't really want to go into details about why exactly I've found it to be much better than tampons and sanitary towels, I'm not sure I really want to write about these things, but if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them in the comments section.

All I want to say is this. If you care about your body and what you put in/ on it, then this will be a no-brainer. If you care about the waste mountains we create every day, then this will be a no-brainer. If you care about our impact on the environment, then this will be a no-brainer. And please, don't tell me that what one isolated person does has no impact. We all have to chip in to get things moving, to get things to change. Our planet and our bodies deserve better.

ps I hope you don't think I'm being all preachy here. I'm only trying to convert more women out there to use this. I can't believe I didn't know about it before and that it took me so long to get round to using it.

Friday, 23 July 2010


Here we are again. It's Friday and goodness me I can't say this one has come quickly enough. Friday means happy me. This particular Friday also means pay day, which let's face it, means an even more happy me. Peter Rabbit is oh-so-nearly there, the flat is looking tidy-ish after a week of trying to sort things out (visitors tomorrow you see!), I even managed to squeeze in a bit of ironing this morning before work (honestly, the pile is bigger than me and I can't handle the thought of doing it all in one go - so little by little I'm making a dent in it). So there, no news really, but I'm just feeling content. Although I may not feel the same way at the end of today, I can feel a load of annoying stuff coming my way at work today..... grrrr I should have stayed in bed and enjoyed the day at home instead!!!!

Happy Friday to you all xx

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Nearly there...

The cross stitch Peter Rabbit that is... Check him out, he's coming along quite nicely!

Although I must admit it would have been finished earlier had I not temporarily lost my needle on the train into work this morning!! Imagine me trying to look on the side of my seat and underneath it with people around, they must have thought I was mental!!!

Anyway, next step is deciding how I'm going to frame this, whether I'll get it done professionally with a bespoke frame (more expensive option) or whether I try doing it myself (cheaper but not necessarily the best!). The problem with doing it myself is finding a frame that's the right shape. I always find it really hard to find nice square frames, so I'm not sure what to do yet. Any ideas welcome!!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Recipe organisation

This is a really special project for me. Something I've been thinking about for some time. Something which I hope will be in my possession for years to come. Hopefully something which will be treasured by my children and their children. Not that I like to put pressure on myself or anything ;-)

Basically, since my final year at university, it is fair to say I've been obsessed with cooking and all things food-related. I have a massive folder full of printed out recipes and magazine tear outs. It looked neat at first, but I can't say it's aged very well. It barely ever sees the light of day. It's become too massive, too bulky, too messy. I had it organised with alphabet dividers (A to Z), with the main ingredient being used for filing purposes. Only things can get a little complicated when you speak more than one language. It's not all apricot/ abricot you see. What happens to the likes of strawberry/ fraise? What happens there? Do I just put it all under S, or F? Seems a bit of a waste of time to have to trawl through two sections of the folder when I'm only after one ingredient. Anyway, you get the idea, it wasn't working. And then there's the other folder. The one where I've put in lots of random magazine cut outs. Calling this one a mess is the understatement of the century.

So I did a bit of thinking. Quite a bit actually. I think I even enjoyed having my little thinking cap on, made me feel Arty you see. I can't draw to save my life. But in this instance, I've been able to scribble down how I'd like things to look. I've even got a little notebook out of our ridiculously large stationery collection, and declared it The Inspiration Notebook. Somewhere for me to jot things down, make notes of ideas, possibilities, inspirations. But I'm digressing, back to my recipe dilemma and new found solution. I wanted to work with an easy concept, something cute, something easy to use in the kitchen (no point having a great big old folder that takes up all the space on the working surface), something that I would look forward to flicking through.

So, want to see what I came up with?Well, I prepared 5 little notebooks. Why five? One for each season plus one for miscellaneous recipes (those that are season-less) of course! And I've got a rule for those recipes that do make it into the notebooks. They have to be tried, tasted and liked by me. None of those "ooh this looks nice I'll keep it for a rainy day". No no no. It has to have convinced Boyfriend and I that it is indeed yummy, and made it into the I-want-to-eat-this-every-day-for-the-next-month category. Ok I'm exaggerating a little here, but you get the idea!

Off I went to a major supplier of all things stationary, purchased 5 little notebooks (don't you love the little ribbons to tie them up?!) and some photo corner things. I had this idea of making simple paintings of symbols representing the seasons. It soon became obvious that using coloured pencils would be a lot easier. I still managed to preserve the idea of a cycle of the seasons by positioning said symbols in a circle. I'm aware this may not make much sense, so have a look!

These can be removed and changed as I please, and I quite like that. Some I've embelished, others have been left plain. I wasn't too sure what to draw for the miscellaneous book, and I can't say I like what I did very much, but it'll do for the moment, until I come up with something better (maybe you have an idea or two?).

A page in the Inspiration Notebook is currently full of recipes that need to make it into the recipe books. Easy things, it doesn't have to be something fancy. Take for example mackerel pate. My life just wouldn't be the same without it. All you need is a smoked mackerel fillet, some cream cheese and lemon juice and BANG, magic happens. Trust me, it's true. But it's not necessarily obvious you see, fashions come and go, and this is definitely one thing I want my children and grandchildren to be enjoying. I love food, it brings such joy, such happiness. I can't imagine such moments being lost and wasted. Now's the time to get recording.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Swan rescue

Now, don't get all excited, the isn't a repeat of my recent duck saving mission I'm afraid. Equally as good though. Although I can't guarantee a happy ending. Let me explain.

A couple of weekends ago, we went away to the countryside, we were practically in Wales basically. We stopped overnight in Stratford-upon-Avon to break up the journey home. We had a lovely weekend, saw some friends which I don't see often enough, did a bit of camping, compensated by staying in a plush b&b in Stratford after that, and all in all, it was rather pleasant.

On the day we were meant to drive home, we strolled around Stratford and ended up by the river. We witnessed something rather peculiar. After talking to some locals, we figured out what was going on. Two people were aiming to catch a couple of ill swans. One was feeding them, trying to get them all in one place, and another was on a boat trying to catch the poorly ones. Can you see it in the little boat, in its cute green coat? It seemed quite content to be honest!

And do you want to know what was wrong with this one? Lead poisoning. Apparently, the entire river is badly contaminated and all the birds that live on it are leaded. Some get affected worse than others. This one had severe lead poisoning, and you can tell by looking at its neck. Can you see how it's all crooked, not nice and straight? That means it can't put its head under the water, it can't feed. And if it can't eat, well, there's no happy ending let's put it that way. So these wonderful people (volunteers by the way), catch the birds and take them to a local sanctuary where they are treated. Only lead accumulates in the body and once it's there, you can't get rid of it. So there's no guarantee these birds will indeed survive, but the fact that some people care enough for them to do this, at least try and save them, I find it rather amazing, don't you?

Sunday, 18 July 2010


Is coming along slowly. I finished making the squares a while ago, I guess it must be a few weeks now at least. And since then, things have pretty much grinded to a halt. My excuse? The weather. The mentalissimo weather we've had until this week, the heat, the stickiness, the grubbiness. And the last thing I wanted to do on my commute home in that hot air-less train was to get my crochet out. That wool, man it's hot. You may be wondering what I was doing on my commute into work? Hmmm... resting my eyes! The heat, I tell you, it knocks me out!! So at the moment, I'm working my way through these neatly organised little piles, sewing the ends in... There's a lot of ends to sew, that's for sure... so it's taking me some time.

Organised little piles? What's that all about hey? No, I promise, I haven't suddenly developed an OCD, they're just organised in rows you see. I had the squares all laid out on our bed and spent about 30min arranging them, and re-arranging them, and re-arranging them again. And when I was happy with the layout, I took a snappy snap of it all (I'm afraid that one is for my eyes only, you really don't want to see the result of me standing on tip toes, arms as high as I can reach, trying to photograph something - hey I know, I could have reached for a chair, but I was waayyyyy too lazy for that!). After that, they got piled up in rows, ready for the neating up process to commence.

Next step? Blocking all these little buggers. But this might have to wait. All this crochet malarkey has made me forget one now-super-urgent project: this little fellow. Because this needs to be ready in... 3 1/2 weeks. Better get cracking then!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Lately I have...

Been making waaaayyyy to much of this. Pretty uninspiring photo, I know. And I'm not sure if it's wise of me sharing this recipe with you. Not that it's mine anyway. But it's rather addictive. That is, if you're a crisp munching machine like I am. I've lost count of how many times I've made this over the last few months. Boyfriend said last night that the kitchen constantly smells of coriander. I'm not complaining.

The recipe was found on this US blog (I put my hands up, I got sucked in, I'm a fan - actually I went mental reading the story of how she met her husband - another thing that was addictive! don't say I didn't warn you, once you start, you won't want to stop), so I'm going to be really nice to you and give you the metric equivalent. Actually, forget about that, I'm giving you the easiest recipe in the world.

Tomato salsa

  • tinned tomatoes and chili (if you're not so keen on the chili, a plain tin of tomatoes works just as well)
  • a generous handful of chopped coriander
  • the juice of a lime
  • two fat garlic cloves, chopped
  • half a medium sized onion, chopped
  • a chili, chopped (use however much you want depending on how hot you want it; I like it hot so I use half a home-grown scotch bonnet)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar


  • place all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • mix with a hand blender.
  • place in the fridge for about an hour for the flavours to infuse (or place the tomatoes in the freezer while you get the rest of the ingredients ready so that you can munch on it like a little piglet as soon as it's blended - that's what I do).

I haven't bought ready made salsa from the shops since. It tastes so much better, so much fresher, you can't beat it. Try it and let me know what you think!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

I'm sorry

I'm sorry I've been so rubbish. I think I've been feeling a little sorry for myself but now's time to take control. Still no news on the job front, but I can't say I care too much anymore. Monday might be the big day though. I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, I've been busy. Busy doing lots of thinking but I don't want to bore you with that. Over the next few days, I'll be getting back onto blogger, back on track. Because let's face it, I'm sure you've all been missing me immensely (I am joking by the way, before anyone starts thinking I'm a right idiot!). I think I've missed myself actually (oh my god, do I sound really conceited now?!).

So, want to see some stuff? Something I'm really proud of. Nothing much, it's only about 5cm long after all. But you know what, knowing that I can do it gave me great great pleasure. Satisfaction. Knowing that I have half a brain. Yes yes ladies and gentlemen, she does have one. I promise.

Here goes.

And now a little close up? Yes please!

For those of you who aren't crochet obsessed, this is Attic24's wonderful ripple of magic. I am in love.

And before I go, a really really really big thank you to all of you for your kind words. One of you in particular. You know who you are. I must say, thinking that friendships can exist in blogland can sound a little creepy, but there are some truly wonderful people out there. Thank you  xxx

Friday, 9 July 2010

Simple happiness

Wishing for more moments like this

Happy weekend xx

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Still alive

Hello my dears! Well sorry for the quiet period, I really didn't mean to be gone for that long. Actually I didn't mean to go at all, but that's just how it is sometimes, isn't it? What with a mix of potentially being made redundant (again - I know, third time in 18 months), thinking of taking voluntary redundancy, actually looking into it properly and deciding it's not such a good idea after all (what the hell would I do instead? those bills aren't going to pay themselves unfortunately), not knowing whether I'll have a job for another couple of weeks, and then more fun stuff such as crochet and a recipe project on the go, I just haven't had the time or the inclination to come on to Petit Filoux. Nothing to do with you really, but I guess some depressing stuff I don't always feel like sharing with the world! On the plus side, I have been kept busy with friends visiting, planned weekends away, organising a long awaited holiday... so there, I shall be back, not sure when exactly, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, but there's one thing that's for sure, I love this little space too much to leave it all behind.

And you know what, I read somewhere that bloggers tend to post less during the summer when the weather is nice. Well as we all know, summer definitely does not necessarily equal nice weather in this country, and boy have we had a lot of sunshine recently. So I think there might be some truth to that. Indeed, picnics, bbqs, walks etc have been on the cards. Soaring temperatures have also meant lugging my camera around hasn't been at the top of my list.

So I guess an all round situation of being busy + hot + less exercise (I can't run when it's too hot!) + overeating + stressed at work + life's little ups and downs = one not so chatty Petit Filoux.

I'm sure you'll forgive me, won't you?

Now, I better love you and leave you, I still have some work to do - for now anyway! xx