Wednesday, 30 November 2016

How do you eat yours?

  I saw this on Rachel's blog and thought - why not!  So I am.

How do you eat yours?

Maltesers - Hold it carefully and delicately, gently, bite into the chocolate.  It should come off into your mouth.  Turn it round and bit off the rest.  That might not go so well.  Then suck the middle so it sticks to the roof of your mouth!
(or you can try the above with it in your mouth - great skill needed)

Yogurts - peel off the lid, lick all the yogurt off the lid, then dive in with a teaspoon!  Finish off the corners with a finger.

Crisps - wolf them down and look for another packet!

Fry's Turkish Delight - bite off the chocolate, then enjoy the gooey inside.

Sunday Dinner - hmmm - it depends what.  Generally I eat the least liked first, favourite last!

Kitkats - chisel off the chocolate with teeth from all the top and sides but never the bottom. Then, dissect, lengthways each layer of wafer and fondant. I just lol-ed at myself then, imagining being described in a David Attenborough documentary about the skills and dexterity I'm using to extract the goodness from the kit Kat.
(This is what Rachel wrote but as I do it exactly the same, no need to re-write)

Crunchies - Take a bite, try to suck out the honeycomb inside first (it never works because the chocolate melts but that never stops me trying)

Chips - hot, crunchy and fluffy, add salt and dip in mayo.  Fingers work best.  NEVER add vinegar!

Toast - nibble round the crust, then enjoy the middle.

Pasta - slightly overcooked so I can 'bite' it with my tongue, especially the spirally shaped ones.

Soup served with bread - yes, please, smothered with Breton butter (the sort with salf crystals in)

Bacon butties - bacon crunchy, bread fried just on one side (the inside) in the bacon fat.  If there's not enough bacon fat, butter one side of the bread and then fry it.  Gorgeous!


Good morning, everyone.  Apologies for the silence yesterday - I was travelling home and didn't really have the time.  Today is frantically busy too, so I am up early to make time.  It's cold too, so the heating is up!

I got the curtains on Monday - or, rather, I have chosen the fabric and they are being made.  They will be posted to me when they are ready.

I have to move back into my bedroom today as the guest room is in use so I hurriedly washed one of the old curtains yesterday (I am doing them one at a time) and when I got it out of the machine, some of the lining had disintegrated, darn it.  That window does get a lot of sunlight so I guess the linings are a bit rotten.  The other is in the machine at the moment so I await the outcome with interest.

The tear goes straight from top to bottom so I can put them up again just for the few weeks they are needed as I have no time today to unpick linings, etc.  Fortunately, they will not be drawn until dark, so no-one will see.  :-)

They are also terribly faded which I hadn't noticed, so I suspect all my grand plans for using them in another room will come to naught!  I also suspect I will be going back to Chelford Fabrics to get some curtains for the guest room too at some point.

I need to stop now and get going with other stuff.  Today is very busy so fingers crossed, please.  There seem to be days when everything happens at once, don't there?  Well, that's today!

Have a great day.

Monday, 28 November 2016


Just a quick one today.

I really got to grips with the Jean Greenhowe nativity set that I have been knitting and am now on the last lap.  One king to finish sewing up, one Mary to sew up, two lambs and a Joseph to knit.  Nearly there and it will definitely be ready for handing over on Wednesday.  I'll try and remember to take a photo.
It's very cute and, if I didn't already have a gorgeous wooden set, I'd be making one for myself.

That took most of yesterday on and off.

Today I'm off to look at curtain material. Yay!

Have a wonderful day, one and all.

Sunday, 27 November 2016


Good morning, gentle readers, and I hope you have all slept well.  I haven't looked but it feels pretty mild this morning (although that might be the heating, of course).

Yesterday was a lazy day so there's not a lot to say about it.  However, on a blog I follow (The Frugal Family), Cassie posted a fudge recipe that uses Nutella.  Now, I don't think I have bought a jar of Nutella (or it's cheaper own brand equivalent) is my life but it is easy found so I thought I might give it a whirl at some point this coming week but using Thermione rather than by hand - saves a lot of stirring that way!
Here's a link to the relevant entry.

My bedroom is now finished and drying out.  It does look lovely, very clean and fresh.  I looked at the curtains which were, frankly, grubby - a lot grubbier than I expected, especially along the lining at the top.  I realised then that, of course, they would be as I often have the window open on tilt and turn so that's the part that would catch any dust blown in.

Anyway, I shall pull out the pleats and give them a good and gentle wash.  I did check that they were washable when I bought them.

However, a new bedroom (sort of) isn't something that happens very often so I started pondering and thought wouldn't it be lovely if I could treat myself to new curtains.
There's a problem, of course, which is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the old curtains.  However, the curtains in the other two bedrooms are not particularly wonderful, especially in the blue room so I could replace those curtains with my curtains (assuming they wash properly).  It wouldn't then be the 'blue' room any more, of course.

So, tomorrow, I am off to a curtain place.  I've used Chelford fabrics in Gamlingay for ages now, it's like an Aladdin's cave, a wonderful place.  Not being sure whether they open on Mondays, I googled and discovered that they closed down in July.  Oh, no!

But then it said that they have another shop in Harpenden which is actually closer so guess what - fingers crossed, that's where I'm going tomorrow.

I have no idea what colour, pattern, anything I want and I have an open mind as everything else is white or ivory, even the bedding.  I just know I want it to be pretty and restful (and washable).  If I don't find anything that shrieks 'here I am, get me' I am no worse off, am I?  I shall be taking the window measurements with me in hopes though!
So fingers crossed for me, please.

Today is knitting day.  I have to knit and knit and sew and get things finished.  Luckily I have some fudge to keep me going - it is so rich, you can't have very much at a go.

Better get going then . . . have a great day, whatever you are doing.

Saturday, 26 November 2016


Hi, everyone.  It's a crisp, chilly Saturday morning here at Teacher Towers.  The house has stopped smelling like a pickled onion factory and instead has a faint whiff of paint about it, thank goodness.  I know which I prefer.

Yesterday the decorator, Paul, finished my bedroom and it does look lovely.  Clean and fresh.  Also unusually tidy as I haven't moved back in yet.  I'll give it chance to properly dry and de-pong for a few days.

I was impressed both with his work and with him.  Quiet, polite, unobtrusive and very hard working.  I have asked him to quote for decorating the living room (huge), all the way up the stairs and the landing with a view to having it done next summer which gives me a chance to save.  I know I have savings but I'd rather save up first and leave the money in the pot for genuine emergencies.
I have to say it will be nice to get rid of 'settlement' cracks from when the extension was built and I know it should have been decorated years ago really.

I have also asked him about the hall which is a right mess but small so shouldn't cost too much - he will quote separately!  😃

On the same lines, I think I will ask Steve, the plasterer, to quote me on getting rid of the remaining artex ceilings - small bedroom, bathroom, hall and downstairs loo.
It all adds value, doesn't it?

While Paul was decorating, I plucked up courage and had a go at making that fudge I mentioned yesterday.  Well, all I can say is that I shall be making more for Christmas gifts as it is absolutely delicious.  Creamy rather than grainy and reminiscent of the really expensive stuff you get in posh shops.  I took a photo but it was already in bags so you can't see it all that clearly.

The bag in the middle is the bits I cut off the edges - no way was I going to waste them!  The rest is in two bags because I promised Beth some and she's picking it up today.
I've posted the recipe (which is a thermo one) in Teacher's Recipes.

I must have been more industrious than it felt yesterday because I also got all the washing, drying and ironing done.

Today I'm not sure what I'm doing so we shall just have to wait and see.  I'm sure it will be good, whatever I do.

Friday, 25 November 2016


End of the working week and nearly the weekend.  A reason for thankfulness for many although not for all.

It's turned chilly again although there's no frost this morning.  The sun is shining and it looks as if it is going to be really lovely.  Fingers crossed.

It's an in day today.  There's washing to do, cleaning and tidying and, later on, ironing too.  I am going to have a go at making Thermomix fudge, having researched recipes.  Lovely, healthy fudge, packed with butter, condensed milk, sugar, golden syrup and chocolate.  Ooops!

Have a wonderful day, everyone.

Thursday, 24 November 2016


Good morning, everyone.  I have no idea of the weather because I haven't looked but it can't be too cold as the heating isn't on yet and it's comfortable!

Yesterday was lazier than I expected.  My tax helper friend couldn't come so we have rescheduled for next week.  The decorator got on without any bother, only needing coffee now and again!  It was all very gentle and easy.

I couldn't resist it - I had to watch the BFG DVD yesterday evening.  Oh, how it brought back some fond memories.  Many years ago, before today's over-strict and rigid curriculum, this was my long text for my year 1 class.  I remember that they produced some absolutely wonderful dream stories that, combined with bubble printing, made an eye catching display.  Most of all, I remember reading the book to my class.  I couldn't help it - the Frobscottle section reduced me to hysterical laughter and the children followed my example.  I tried to re-read it three times and each time we ended up in uncontrollable giggles.  I so hope their memories are as clear as mine because it was such fun.

Today I have the decorator again, I'm off to school in the afternoon and then it is tuition for a couple of hours.  I have some washing to do too.  Just an ordinary day, in fact!

Have a good 'un, everybody!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.

I came into Blogger this morning to find it all different.  Everything is still there, just not all visible on the main page so needing more clicks to get to what you want.  I don'ero action and zero communication.t like it!  Seems to me that they'd do better to sort out problems such as the link there seems to be between my blog and less pleasant sites so that when one clicks on this page, another page opens.  I told them about it and what did they do?  Absolutely nothing!

Fix what's broke first, Blogger!

End of rant!

As expected, yesterday was a pleasant and busy day.

I took the fabric books back, all except for one.  I think I have chosen my fabric for the chairs but just wanted to ponder a bit more.  At the moment it is on the floor with the most likely choice against the carpet so I can see how it looks in all lights.  Fussy, I know, but it is a big expense and not one I can afford to remedy if I make the wrong choice now.  I hope I will have to live with it for the rest of my life so I want to get it right!

A big thing yesterday was trying to get rid of the onion pong throughout the house.  It didn't half whiff and the elegantly scented White Company room wouldn't even start to touch it so, when I went shopping, I got some Febrese room spray which is less delicate and packs quite a punch.  After several sprays in the evening and again this morning, it seems to have taken the worst away, thank goodness.  Lesson learnt!

Mind you, as I have a tea loaf baking right now, after soaking the fruit for a day and a night, it's smelling gorgeous anyway!

I didn't do a big shop yesterday but it didn't half cost.  I got some stuff for Christmas and, unfortunately, fell for a DVD of the film the BFG.  I love that story!  It will be perfect viewing over Christmas.

Today is also busy.  Apart from the usual things, it is finally bedroom decorating day.  Woohoo.  I have to be up and ready by eight.  Then, the daughter of a good friend is coming round to help me fill in my tax form.  It'll be a relief to see that done as I know I owe them something relating to my Funding Circle investments.  Later on it will be tuition and that's all ready.

Also, when shopping, I bought a chicken which roasted yesterday so today I need to deal with it.  It yielded a lovely stock too which is good.  My meals for the rest of the week will be based around that chicken, one way or another!

So, today's food
B:  granola with yogurt and fruit
L:  chicken paste with toast, apple
D:  chicken and bacon pasta bake, yogurt

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's a bit later than usual this morning because - fanfare of trumpets - I woke at the uncharacteristically late time of just past seven.  I have no idea where that came from as I wasn't particularly lively yesterday, but it feels great!

The shower engineer chap came beautifully early yesterday.  I was dressed and ready for him at seven, as requested and it wasn't that long before I got a phone call to say I was next on the list  and about three quarters of an hour after that, there he was, at the door.

He replaced  things, checked things, said extremely positive things about Matt's workmanship (Matt is my plumber who does all this sort of stuff for me and the only reason he wasn't sorting the shower was because it is under guarantee) and under an hour later he had gone, I had a working shower again and a clear day!  No complaints there.
(I passed the nice comments on to Matt who was very pleased)

Beth arrived while he was still working and after a coffee and a chat we headed off to the charity shop with four big bags of books.  They dealt with them while we had a look round and spotted a few of my previous donations on the shelves.  I looked longingly at some books but, really, it isn't sensible to buy more books just when you're getting rid of some because of space restrictions, now is it?

Beth had a look at the books I had retained and was sorely tempted by a few but she has less room than I do and has inherited my hoarding instincts so she was strong and resisted.

We got out the sewing, set to and finished off the machine part of some Christmas bags, some of which are tiny and intended to go on the tree with little sweets inside while some are bigger.  Later on, I finished the hand sewing and now they just need ironing.

We then popped off to B & M to get some choccy stuff to go in the little bags for the school fair and also to see if there were any more of those hair slides.  The former was fine but we couldn't see the latter and there was just a space where they had been so we resigned ourselves to not making any more Christmas slides.  However, sharp eyed Beth spotted something as we walked past a free standing display and, sure enough, mostly hidden behind it were some more slides.  So that was good.

We then went on to Pizza Hut.  Yes, we succumbed to lunch out.  Bad us!  We had the buffet and very good it was too.

Then it was over to Hobbycraft which is in the same precinct to get some shiny silver ribbon for the little bags.  While we were there, Beth spotted a lovely, rustic, wooden tree, flat packed and perfect for display on our stall.
Here it is more or less flat . . .
. . . and you turn the branches round to get this (photo is from Google so we won't have those decorations, thank goodness!).
The white 'branch' to the left is what I was considering before but, apart from being much more expensive, it isn't as nice.
I shall also use it as a decoration over Christmas.  It will look lovely in the corner of the dining area, on the sideboard.

So that was good.

Earlier on in the day I made some caramelised red onion chutney.  I saw the recipe in a Facebook group I help to admin and it looked so good and so easy that I had a go as I had all the ingredients to hand.  I also used Thermione as it was simply adapted and meant I didn't have to hover over it, stirring regularly.
It is delicious and I intend to make more as gifts but there's one problem - it stinks the house out.  It's gradually fading but right at the moment I have one of the French windows open at the back and the stair window open at the front to get a bit of a through draft, thanking my stars that it is unseasonably mind today!
Note to self.  Next time, open the kitchen windows and close the kitchen door!

I shall pop the recipe on Teacher's Recipes later on because it really is very good.

On to today.  I have to take the fabric sample books back today but I will ask if I can keep one for a bit longer as I can't quite decide.  Either would be nice but, as I want these covers to last me out, I want to be absolutely sure (if that is possible).

Right now I have some dough proving so that will need baking soon, and I have set some fruit to steep in cold tea to make a couple of tea loaves.  They are for Christmas so I will add some Christmas spice, probably mixed spice, to the batter before baking tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I'm into school to granny read with Foundation Stage and that's my day!  It should be good and I hope yours is too!

Monday, 21 November 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.  After a very wet day, we've had a wet night too but no very high winds, thank goodness.  I think it's high winds that scare me more than any other kind of weather we get round here.  Blizzards (if only) we can stay cosy through, we don't flood here but wind can be quite frightening when it really gets going so thank goodness it doesn't, all that often.

I forgot to mention yesterday but I got a letter on Saturday from the pensions people, letting me know about the winter fuel payment.  Very nice too.  For decades I have not needed much heating during the day because I've been at work.  Even last year, I was still at school rather a lot for one reason or another around this time and, anyway, it was ridiculously mild.  This year it means that I can turn up the daytime heating a little bit, if needed, without too many worries about the cost.  Reassuring, isn't it?

I really got stuck into the yellow room yesterday.  I'm doing it in three phases.

Phase 1 is sorting the books (so many books!) into keep, chuck, try to sell on Facebook and donate.  That's what I was doing yesterday and it's not finished yet although I've made great inroads into it all.
I have a whole load of lovely hardback craft books that I really am not going to use again.  For a while I belonged to one of these book clubs that sent a book every month, you see.
I also have stacks and stacks of recipe books and tomorrow I will be deciding which to keep.  The classics are staying - the Delias, the Lawsons, etc, but the National Trust shop type books will be scrutinised very carefully.  Some of them I have never used a recipe from at all.  Much better for someone else to benefit.
These quality, good condition hardbacks will go onto our Facebook local selling page.  If I get a bit for them, it will be good and I can give any money to KittyStitches to buy resources.  All the rest can go to the Charity shop.  Beth has offered to help me get them there, an offer I have gratefully accepted, bless her.  Some (the definites) will go tomorrow afternoon and they are stacked in those big, square supermarket bags.

Phase 2 is then sorting the books I want to keep into themes, authors, etc.  I have a lot of Miss Reed, a lot of Dick Frances, a fair number of 'children's' books, cookery books, craft books, etc.
Once all the clutter has gone, that will be comparatively easy and quite a pleasant task.  I've already got a sort of mental list of books I want to read again before Christmas and the Nigella Christmas book is already in the bedroom for this evening's read-to-sleep.

Phase 3 is The Cupboard and anything else.  It's the big, over the stairs cupboard and I dread to think what I will find at the back:  Beth suggested I might find relics from my son't childhood as it was his room, but I do hope not..  Once sorted, it will be a great storage space though!  I know that there's a very old computer monitor - a really, really old one, which will have to go to the dump, plus some manky old pillows that I wouldn't want to use so I wouldn't be giving them to any of my guests.  I have a feeling that right at the back there's a box of photos going right back to my children's childhood and maybe before then.  If that is so, I will take one evening and a bottle of wine to sort them all out and decide which ones should be kept.  Maybe Beth will help with that one.

I may still be in phase 1 but already I can see daylight.  There were a whole load of very, very out of date educational-type books which would be good for nobody and those I gleefully threw out!  It felt great!

That was more or less what I did yesterday, on and off, with computer breaks from time to time.  It wasn't nearly as dusty as I though it would be, I suppose because that room is usually closed off and no-one goes in there much.

So today will be more of the same really.  Beth's coming over and we shall do some stuff for our Christmas stall and someone is coming to repair (or replace???) the shower this morning.  This afternoon we will take a trip to the charity shop and I'm hoping she will help me photograph the books for the Facebook page too.  This evening I will clear a pile of books from the bed and then I can get going sorting out all my so-called 'children's books'.

B:  bacon and something (the bacon needs using), apple
L:  leek and potato soup, fruit
D:  I have some tomato soup left over from yesterday so I shall see if I can find some cooked chicken in the freezer and some veg and make a pasta sauce with it all.

Have a good day, everyone, and I hope you stay warm and dry.

Saturday, 19 November 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's a wet and wild early morning out there although not as wild as I expected it to be after watching the weather forecast yesterday evening.  In fact, right now, it is remarkably still but I don't doubt that will change as the first storm of the season whirls its way up the channel and across southern England.

On Friday evening I developed backache.  I haven't the foggiest how or why but it was a bit ouchy.  Not tablet ouchy, just rather ooh, ooh, ooh going upstairs or turning over in bed.  It was still hanging around yesterday on and off but it's only residual.  Phew!

I'm still slowly plodding through over-full cupboards, trying to be strong enough to throw out or in other ways get rid of stuff I haven't used for a very long time.  Yesterday I dealt with a quite small cupboard over the fridge that had a surprisingly large number of old, battered, mainly unused plastic pots and tubs of various kinds.  I kept a few that I know I do still use, the rest is now in the plastic recycling bag for collection next Thursday and the cupboard looks quite different.  At least I'm not now going to have containers tumbling on my head each time I open the door!
(There's a lot more plastic in the shed but that can wait.)

And my reward?  Right at the back, hidden (because it is a high cupboard), were two rolls of easy-leave.  I use a lot of that for all sorts of things - it is brilliant for separating things to be frozen, for wrapping and covering, etc, so two rolls is a real find and I won't need to add that to my Lakeland shopping list for some time to come.

Beth came round yesterday and we brainstormed stuff for an important form she has to complete.  She didn't stay all that long and then I carried on hand sewing, finishing off some stuff for our Christmas stall - tree decorations, scrunchies and hair slides, all with a Christmas theme.

As she was around yesterday, Beth won't be round today so I have it to myself.  I've done the planning for next week's tuition so I shall start today with a bit more yellow room blitz and then sit and knit all day as I have a project that I really do need to finish, taking time out to make the weekly loaves.  For a few weeks I am making an extra loaf for the freezer, to use at Christmas - I slice them and separate slices with easy-leave.

Today's food:
B:  Toast, natural yogurt and fruit
L:  home made soup, probably tomato as I have enough ripened-on-the-window-ledge garden tomatoes.
D:  Instead of the burgers I had planned yesterday, I finished off the pasta bake so I will have those burgers today instead!


Hello and welcome to the weekend!  Yesterday remained chilly and was mostly dull but we didn't have snow or hail, unlike some who got quite a lot by all accounts.  I'm awake early and there's a heavy frost outside.  It looks gorgeous from this side of the window.

Yesterday happened more or less how I expected.  I made the soup, the pasta bake and the granola early morning before popping off to B and Q where I bought a new curtain track and a light - I'm having some of the lights around the house replaced as they are very old both in style and in fact!!!  I think this one will go either in the downstairs loo or in the hall.  I looked for a ceiling fan light for my bedroom but no luck!  I think it will have to be an online search.  I really do miss Bhs for lights.

I had a look at the paint cards and brought home several, some possibly for the bedroom and also some maybe for the living room - I will see how this decorator does the bedroom before making any decisions.

Then I popped into Wyevale and got some Christmas drink and some festive pot pourri, both of which were BOGOFs.  Thank you, Wyevale.

By the time I got home, the cleaners had left so I did some tidying and so on until Matt came.  Now I have a non-drippy loo and it does flush more easily and smoothly.

I was given my first new 'plastic' banknote in change today.  It's the first time I have seen one and it's intriguing - for a start, it is transparent in places!  It is strong and should last for ever but it feels like toy-town money as it's so much smaller.  The other remain legal tender until next May so I'd better make sure I don't have any tucked away before then.

Today, Beth is coming round for lunch and we have some forms to fill in.  Also I believe she wants to book a holiday for herself.  For six years and more now she has been doing part time study with the OU.  She's now on her last course and she knows her degree classification so this last is just a level one to make up a ridiculously small number of needed points for an honours degree.  This holiday is a little 'congratulations' to herself and quite right too!  Well deserved.

Today's food:
B:  granola with stewed apple and yogurt, pear
L:  leftover pasta bake from yesterday, apple
D:  beefburgers with home made wedges, sprouts and onions with chutney, fruit yogurt

Have a super day, everyone!

Friday, 18 November 2016


Good morning!  At last, a better night's sleep.  I must be getting used to the bed in the guest room.  The ceiling in my room is nice and dry now but I don't see any point in moving back in only to move back out again next week so I'm staying put until my room is finished.

It is decidedly colder this morning.  It's back to dressing gown and slippers for me and, as I woke before five, I turned the heating up too.  There's a lovely clear sky out there so I guess that's why the temperature has dropped.

Yesterday, all went well.  I got most things on my list done and dusted.  I enjoyed my reading time in school although I got caught in a heavy shower as I left school.  We had a bit of hail too so I was glad to get home into the warmth and dry.

I managed, at long, long last, to get the stuff to the charity shop.  Did you know that you can gift aid your donations or items to a registered charity?  I didn't.  All the times I have donated previously, I left stuff on the doorstep out of hours.  All you have to do is fill in the gift aid form and they put bar code stickers on what you have donated.  Then, if/when it is bought, they claim the extra.  What a good scheme!  I now have a little card with my donor ID on so if I donate again, they can use it to gift aid.

I've been thinking about next year's holiday.  Yes, maybe it's a bit early but it's nice to get something sorted.  I was thinking of going back to the Peak District again.  It's been a goodly number of years since I was last there and I do love it so much.  I've located and booked a lovely little cottage in Baslow which is in the national park and very close to Chatsworth.  The cottage is a 'boutique' cottage (whatever that means), very nicely appointed and with a good Wi-fi connection.  Also, because I am going out of school holiday time, it's not terribly expensive.

Mind you, with the wonderful Chatsworth shop close by, I can see myself indulging.  Imagine a nice steak and salad followed by choice cheese and posh crackers, all washed down by a good red, all consumed al fresco in the evening sunshine.  Bliss.

I've ummed and ahed about the pros and cons of renting a cottage vs B and B and I think I prefer the former.
You get lavish breakfasts provided in a B and B but there's no way to cater for yourself  for the other meals and eating out can push the price up considerably.  You're not on your own in a B and B if there are other guests around which can be an advantage but that doesn't mean you have company, quite the opposite.  Everyone wants to do their own thing.
With self catering there's the freedom to eat when you want, organise your day to suit yourself, a little house to make your own rather than knowing that you're in someone else's home . . .
I have decided I prefer the freedom of self catering so that's what I am doing from now on.

I apologise right now for future boring statements about how excited I am and how good it will be.  Please feel free to scroll on by when they appear!

Today is a bit fragmented.  The cleaners are coming in the morning and I do like to give them a free run.  I will probably take a trip to B and Q and choose the paint for my bedroom and buy the new curtain track (note to self: remember to take the curtains down next week).  Then, in the afternoon, Matt is coming to mend my downstairs loo which has been dripping slightly for a while now.  I think I will make the yellow room my big project.  The bins were emptied yesterday so there's plenty of room for rubbish!

On the culinary side, I am out of both yogurt and granola so I will make them.  The granola is quick ( but the yogurt takes around 18 hours so I will start it midday and it will be ready on Saturday morning.

Today's food:
B:  bran flakes, apple
L:  after the disaster with the instant soup, never again, so it is home made mushroom soup again for me today.
D:  vegetable pasta bake, fruit

Enjoy your day.  😊

Thursday, 17 November 2016


Good morning, everyone.
What a weird night - I was so tired yesterday evening that I went to bed at around eight and fell asleep very quickly.  Fine.  What wasn't fine was waking up under three hours later, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready for a new day that hadn't even begun!
I think it's because I'm sleeping in a different bedroom and a different bed while mine is being decorated.  The ceiling is drying out and the room feels a bit damp, not nice to sleep in at the moment.
The spare room beds are lovely, very comfortable, but they're not my bed.  Maybe that's the problem.  Anyway, I went back to bed after a while, managed to get back to sleep and slept the night through.

Yesterday, Beth came round and we knocked up some Christmas tree decorations.  Because we were busy, I made up some instant soup in mugs for us but, oh, dear, it was not nice.  I think I've got so used to home made that the artificial-ness of the packet soup was very obvious.  I shall throw away the opened box and maybe donate the unopened boxes to the food bank.

After lunch, Beth helped me to make up my computer chair.  It wasn't difficult and the instructions were extremely clear (well done, Staples) but I'm glad there were two of us to do it.  It's lovely - far more comfy and supportive than the dining chair!

After that I turned my attention to the telly corner to connect up the DVD player.
First of all I removed the broken DVD/VHS recorder and then tried to make sense of all the leads.  Loads of them, there were, but I got there in the end although there was a problem - two problems really.  One was that I couldn't see how to adjust the volume for the new DVD player and the second one was that there was no telly when I went out of broadband.  I think it was because it used to play through the DVD recorder.

Why worry about it when I have broadband?  Well, two things.  Firstly, it is nice to have a back up for when the broadband connection is flaky and secondly, subtitled can be dodgy in broadband, especially for live programmes and for an old deffie like me, that is quite important.

After pressing a few knobs and buttons and connecting a few things together to no avail, I did the grown up thing and consulted the telly manual, did a re-tune and everything was lovely again.  Phew.  At some point I may consider another recorder but, to be honest, I've hardly used the recording function since the advent of the likes of iPlayer, etc.

I discovered that I could adjust the volume using the old DVD control which was weird but after pressing a few buttons and the re-tuning, the TV control worked.  Phew.  I like the new DVD player remote - you can get subtitles at the press of a button without interrupting the DVD playing.

What I do 'need' now is something that will play my old videos though and they're not so easily (or cheaply) found.

After all that, my pupil arrived and we had fun for an hour, working through various bits of grammar and comprehension together.

So, today I have a list of things I meant to do yesterday but didn't, the first being that run to the charity shop.  There's also shopping, school, a kitchen to keep clean and tidy, a bedroom to blitz and tuition.   For a week with very little in the diary, there's certainly loads to do!

And I must remember to put the bin out - it is full to the brim and it's collection day!

Those of you who use blogger - have you noticed a new function.  W can now do little emotion (and other) thingies.
Like these.
There's a little smiley face at the top where the editing, link, formatting, etc, functions are.

And on that jolly note I will wish you a very good day and sign off!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016


Good morning, everyone.  It is utterly stupid o'clock here in Teacher Towers and I'm hoping that I'll be able to go back up in a little while and have a bit more sleep.  I haven't woken up this early for quite a while and it's not welcome.
I've no idea what it's like outside but it can't be that cold as I don't have a dressing gown on and am fine, even though the thermostat is on night setting.

Yesterday I managed to get done quite a lot of what I planned but not all of it.  I didn't get to the charity shop, for a start, but that will keep for another day.

There was a bit of low key drama when my shower refused to turn off after I used it to dampen my hair for my cut and dry.  This shower has been a bit of a nuisance really.  Last time it wouldn't turn on.  This time I had to set the temperature to cold and just leave it until Matt was able to come and fiddle with something in the loft so it turned off.  I was so glad I'm not on a water meter.  Someone is coming on Monday to, hopefully, sort it out (please excuse the split infinitive).
It's just as well I prefer baths, isn't it?

The jam jars are now all in the garage and I have enough to keep me preserving for a while to come.  I tried the cranberry chutney and it really is rather nice.  Good-oh!

Then, later on, Beth sent me some fantastic news.  It's Application for Uni time for Alex.  Alex, at five year old the virtual non-verbal autist with a statement, who attended a special school and who transferred to mainstream to take his GCSEs just over four years ago, smashing his GCSEs despite not having covered very much of the curriculum until he transferred.  He got his first uni offer today!  Three cheers.  I am so, so delighted for him.  What a star!

Today Beth is coming round, we are sewing, she is helping me put my new computer chair together and, fingers crossed, the DVD player is arriving.  It is also tuition later on in the afternoon.  Other plans include carrying on with the yellow room, making sure the kitchen stays lovely and clear and tidy and doing a bit more washing.  I might get to the charity shop (which supports our local hospice) as well, it all depends on how everything else goes really.

Have a super day, everyone!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


Good morning, gentle readers, welcome to Tuesday and half way through November.  It's dull outside and rather mild.  I'm up before the heating and, with dressing gown and slippers on, do not feel the need to turn it up.  It's still on night setting, of course.

Well, despite needing to stay in yesterday, it was quite a busy and productive day.

I made bread.  Nice, half and half granary and wholemeal.  One for my customer and one for the freezer!  Baking bread does make the house smell so lovely.

I used up some pastry that I had made on Friday and of which I didn't need all.  I have no idea whether I ought to have or not but never mind, it made another six mince pies and now I have so many mince pies I shall probably still be eating them at Easter!
The pastry was delicious!

I made cranberry chutney.  Last week Morrisons had fresh cranberries reduced quite a lot which seemed too good to miss.  I have a nice, simple recipe with not too many ingredients and I had everything in already so that was good.  It made very easily and tastes good.  It'll go well with the turkey and, as I have seven jars-full, will make nice presents for friends.  I'm going to have some in a bacon sarnie for breakfast, I think.

I did a fair amount of washing, dried it AND ironed it.  How's that for efficiency, eh?   There's some more ironing now as the last load on the drying rack wasn't dry in time.  I did give in and used the tumble dryer for the sheets and duvet covers - apart from the ease, they don't need much ironing if you take them out quickly and fold them.

I did some more cupboard sorting.  I do find chucking stuff out (whether to the bin or the charity shop) really difficult but I am doing my very best to follow the advice of the Perfect Housewife (remember her?) and only keep that which is seriously beautiful, seriously useful or seriously sentimental.  It's very hard.  My reward is space to put other things away properly.  That has to be good, doesn't it?

I found stuff I had forgotten I had.  Some of it will go to the charity shop but I shall keep some.  I found a set of hand made soup bowls and saucers.  I shall keep three green ones as they go perfectly with my decor and aren't too huge but I shall get rid of the four over-large bowls and five saucers - I must have broken a bowl at some point.

I also found a stack of individual plates of various sizes.  Again, I shall keep some which are Christmas plates and also a couple of Wedgwood bone china plates from 'The Baby Owls' collection by Dick Twinney.  They're not valuable - I looked online and they seem to be fetching around a tenner each although I couldn't find the two I have anywhere so maybe there's a rarity value or maybe nobody wants them but they are seriously sweet (I think) and I am keeping them.  I might even get round to displaying them at some point, if I can get some plate stands.
Elf Owl chicks

African Wood Owl chicks
The other plates will go to the local charity shop.

I had already done my tuition planning so I researched resources and printed some stuff off, including some helpful assessment resources.  I do like Twinkl.  Also, it's nice not to have to think 'must get the planning done'.

And while I was getting on with that, my bee-yoo-ti-ful (not) artexed bedroom ceiling was being dealt with accompanied by bangs and clatters.  He finished by mid afternoon and it does look so much better although I shall sleep in the guest room while it is drying out and all the stuff I moved in there will stay there until all the decorating is finished as I don't see any point in yoyoing it in and out, in and out.  Life's too short!

And I had one unnecessary spend - I treated myself to this year's Jacquie Lawson Advent calendar.  It's a tradition now and they are so lovely, even if the activities are the same each year!  I have already played with the snowflake maker, decorated the Christmas tree and created a wreath for one of the doors.  I wish it was that easy in real life.
Her calendars are brilliant - take a look for yourself.  Excellent value and great entertainment.

So, you see, a really profitable day in which I did everything on my list.  I'm definitely improving!  😃

Today I shall be popping down to the upholsterers to see if I can find a fabric for recovering the suite.  Then the lovely Sharon is round to do my hair (and Beth's too), I need to make a trip to the charity shop and after that I want to make inroads into the yellow room as all my bedroom stuff is higgledy-piggledy and I want it to be neat and pleasant.  I have a stack of jam jars and lids which need to go down to the garage and the kitchen then needs a finish off.   I am quite determined to have a completely tidy home by Christmas, rather than just the bits that show with everything else piled into my bedroom which is what usually happens.  I am sick and tired of living in clutter - it has been dragging me down and it's time to deal with it.

B:  bacon sandwich with cranberry chutney, apple
L:  not sure because it will be in the middle of the hair cutting, etc.
D:  I think I shall steam a salmon fillet and have it with some really nice sprouts (no, that is NOT an oxymoron) and maybe some mushrooms.

Monday, 14 November 2016


Good morning.  It seems to be comparatively mild at the moment but I gather it's due to get quite chilly again towards the end of the week,  Yesterday was a gloriously sunny day, very cheering, with wonderful Autumnal colours everywhere.

Mum and Dad left yesterday morning after breakfast and had a good journey home.  I was rather lazy and might have slept once or twice through the day.  I caught up on QI and Strictly (I will never forget Ed and Katya's salsa) and I finished off the day watching 'The Day After Tomorrow' before a quick bedroom sort out (it was very tidy anyway) so that the room is now clear for the plasterer who is due to arrive at around nine this morning.

After a comment from Dad over the weekend about me using a dining chair at the computer for so long, I went online to Staples and ordered a computer chair.  He's right, I do spend quite a lot of time working at the PC one way and another and I ought to have a proper chair with back support, etc.  The chair I use is just a dining chair and doesn't support all that well.  A good use of all the money I am saving by using up food in the freezer!

Then I thought 'in for a penny, in for a pound' and, as my DVD played died several months ago and Christmas is coming up when we will want to watch Christmas movies, I bought a little DVD player that you can connect to the TV via a scart lead which I already have.  It doesn't record, it just plays, but I haven't missed the recording facility at all.  It should be here on Wednesday.
At some point I ought to sort out all the old videos I still have.  I don't want to get rid of them.  For example, I have a full set of the Forsyte Saga - the original, better version - and now I don't have any way of watching them.  I wonder if I could buy a simple VHS player that just connects up to the telly and plays.  I must hunt.

Today I have to be in all day so it is fortunate that there is absolutely nothing in the diary apart from the plastering.  Last week I cleared out some drawers in the living room and yesterday I sorted out some more drawers in the kitchen and slowly I am finding space for things that have had to sit on the work surface and look messy.  I'll carry on with that today, seeing as I have to be in.  There's also a fair bit of washing and some ironing too.
I've made a little list so there's a better chance of getting it all done.

Food today:
B:  bacon sarnie
L:  tomato soup
D:  the Chinese from Saturday that I didn't have yesterday.

Have a super day and take care of yourself.

Sunday, 13 November 2016


Well, the stars must be shining down on me at the moment.  As well as seemingly having mastered shortcrust pastry after goofing up with it all my life, I also get exactly the right amount of Chinese takeaway - enough for everyone with just a little bit left over (that's tomorrow's tea sorted!).  Normally I get way, way too much.

As predicted, yesterday was wall to wall rain all day, far too much wetness to go anywhere so we didn't.  We stayed inside, chatted, read, snoozed and then had a very pleasant evening.  It was all good.  The comparatively simple pleasures of life are the very best, I think.

This morning my guests leave and I have the rest of the day to myself.  Very nice too.  What shall I do?  Well, tomorrow the plasterer is coming to remove the artex and then re-plaster my bedroom ceiling so I have to clear the surfaces, etc, and move the bedding into the guest room.  Then I have bedding to wash and, maybe, dry outside.  Well, one can hope anyway!  I also have to catch up on missed telly  such as QI, Would I Lie to You and Strictly.  Good old iPlayer.

B: bran flakes, apple
L:  Friday leftovers - chicken pie with broccoli
D: Saturday leftovers - Chinese - just enough left for one portion.
I also have a portion of very delicious home made tomato soup, made with the last of the giulietta tomatoes that have been ripening on the window ledge, but that will keep until Monday.
Tasty food for very little work.  Not bad, eh?  Not bad at all.

Also not bad is that I bought a ham for this weekend but it wasn't needed and I didn't cook it so it is heading for the freezer and I shall use it for Christmas!

Have a good day!

Saturday, 12 November 2016


Yesterday was the most gorgeous Autumnal day.  Not all that warm but bright and sunny and colourful.  Shame about the rain that is forecast for today but one can't have everything!

After a leisurely breakfast, we headed off into town, parking in the multistory car park with the market directly underneath.  Sadly, the market stall didn't have anything like what we were looking for, any more than it did when I was looking for myself some weeks ago.  It used to have loads of handbags but now only a quarter of its space is devoted to bags - a shame but there must be a financial reason for that.

So we headed off down the High Chelmer retail park and out the other side to try Debenhams first and then M&S.  I didn't realise Debenhams had such a large handbag department - wish I had looked there when I needed a new one and I will have to remember when I need a new bag.  There was certainly plenty to look at there.  M&S only had a small number of bags so back we went to Debenhams.

After a coffee and a shared pecan and something tartlet (I forget what the something was but it was very delicious, as was the coffee), we bought a bag and headed off back to the car park, buying some freesias on the way, which are now gently perfuming the living room.

After lunch (Welsh rarebit), we all headed off into town for a gentle stroll in Admirals Park and very nice it was too.  I wish I had taken my camera as the colours were just amazing.  So vivid.

For dinner I made a chicken pie with genuine home made short crust pastry and you know what?  It was lovely (pie and pastry).  I honestly think I have cracked pastry making now - well, that sort of pastry, anyway.  I ought to start trying puff (of quick puff) next.

Today the forecast isn't great.  If it does stay dry we are probably heading back to Cressing Temple but if it pours we will have a stay at home day.  This evening we're having a take away Chinese.  Very nice.

Should be a good day!

Friday, 11 November 2016


Two days in a row is almost unique.  Hardly ever do I manage to get done everything I have planned and two day in succession is a bit wow (for me).

There are now three of us for a few days.  Today we are going to the market on a handbag hunt and after that I have no idea.

The house is fairly clean and tidy and there's food galore.

We will be fine.

Thursday, 10 November 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.  Outside it's chilly, it's dark and inside it is light and cosy.  Bliss.  Simple things give great pleasure, don't they - or maybe they are not all that simple.

Well, I am proud to announce that yesterday, for the first time in ages, I did everything I had planned to do and a bit more.
The bit more was sorting out a little filing cabinet that is part of my work desk and which I haven't opened for years - well, I have but not to use what's inside.
I reckoned that I could just about clear it and I did, more or less.  So all the clutter of paper, printed recipes, etc, went into files in that cupboard and now my work station is way less cluttered, thank goodness.  It was getting on my nerves!

It's nice to have got the washing and ironing all done and sorted apart from a few T shirts that needed to go back in because I'd splashed oil on them.  I have this terrible habit of cooking/baking without an apron so, of course, I get splashed and splattered!

Today's list is not quite as long but there's still plenty:
tidy living room (it's very superficial but . . . )
school (I've been asked to judge the International Song Contest!)
tuition x 2
guests arriving

There's plenty of time for all that so there's no panic.

And today's food:
B:  toast with marmite
L:  home made soup
D:  lasagne and peas

Better go and get on with something!  :-)

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


Good morning, everyone.  It's cold and wet here but no snow as far as I am aware.

I did feel silly yesterday.
I had been getting quite worried about the heating, pretty noticeable in this cold snap.  The radiators weren't on when they should have been on as the thermostat showed that they were on and I had a  new boiler fitted not that long ago.

I checked the boiler knobs using the manual and it all seemed to be fine.  So why was the house so cold at times?

I rechecked the thermostat which is quite a clever one, designed to control the boiler with four setting per day and also a weekday/weekend setting.  The idea is to keep the central heating on all the time, from the boiler and completely control it from the thermostat.


I went to look at the boiler control more carefully.  That's also quite clever with several different settings and time zones and the heating bit was supposed to be set to continuous.  Was it?  Was it heck!  It was set to auto and the on/off times coincided with the cold periods, hence the house getting really cold at specific times - well, colder than comfort would wish anyway.

It is fine now and I will need to go back to the thermostat settings and make sure they're not set too hot as I reset them the other day because it was feeling cold!

All's well now, but I do feel a wally.  I really should have checked after the boiler was replaced, shouldn't I?

The upholsterer chap came round, looked at the suite and proclaimed it good and worth recovering.  He's left a quote which I shall accept but none of the fabrics in the books he brought with him were really right so I shall go down to their shop next week, armed with a cushion (made with the curtain fabric), a knitted cushion and an arm cover because they all go in the room and what I choose needs to go with them.
They are busy (reassuring) and won't be able to do them until next March which gives me time to save a bit more.  All good!

Today I have a day at home, packed with Things to Do!
making bread
planning tuition
sorting out the guest room for some visitors arriving tomorrow
washing and ironing
making the last lot of mince pies
cleaning, tidying and generally sorting out the house

Food will be:
B:  beans on toast and an apple
L:  the last of the broccoli soup, an orange
D:  roast chicken (from the freezer) with sprouts and broccoli

Have a good day and stay warm.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016


Good morning.  It's another cold morning out there but no frost because the skies are clouded over.  I hope that doesn't mean rain.

I turned up at school yesterday morning and came home again.
To clarify, I've always gone in on Tuesday mornings to help in FS but another lady wanted to help too and could only do Tuesday mornings so I said I would change.  However, we have found that Mondays won't work for various reasons, so I will go in this afternoon instead.  To be honest, afternoons work better anyway and, with all the morning interruptions such as assembly, fruit time, etc, I may even have more time with the children too.

Instead of hearing reading I decided to pop over to Morrisons and do my weekly shop.  I'm trying to share the Christmas load by getting extras in drips and drabs so yesterday I got some nuts which are now in my Christmas-do-not-touch cupboard!

Then I made the labels to go on the card kits.  I converted one to a jpg to show Beth and here is it.  The picture is our logo.

Maybe I should have made it more Christmassy but it's too late now!

After tuition, I settled down and stitched away at the Christmas hair slides and they are now nearly finished.

They will brighten up our stall anyway!

Today I am at home for the morning and then into school after lunch.  Then I will be waiting for a local upholsterer to come and look at my suite.
It's an old-ish suite but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it apart from the covers, it is still strong and firm.  However, having new covers made is very expensive, perhaps as much as a new suite.  I don't want a new suite though, unless the old one isn't worth the covering because it has problems (which I don't think it has).  This may sound daft, but I think it's wrong to discard something when it is still perfectly good and I like it, when the only problem is shabby covers.  It's the ethics of it as well as the practicalities, you see.

Anyway, this local company has an excellent reputation so I am hoping for good advice.

After that it will be telly, making the few remaining hair slides and finishing off the scrunchies.  A nice, busy, fulfilling day, I hope.

Today's food
B:  bran flakes and an apple
L:  broccoli soup and an orange
D:  flat iron steak, broccoli, sweet potato wedges, yogurt

Stay warm!

Monday, 7 November 2016


Good morning, everyone.   Brrrr - another cold morning here with clear skies and a stiff breeze which is going to make everything feel colder than it really is.

It was so cold yesterday too.  I was a bit concerned about the heating so I checked the thermostat and noticed that the 'needs new battery' light was flashing.  Only one problem - no batteries that size, so I zoomed off to Morrisons and got some, replaced the battery and after that the house warmed up nicely.  While I was at it, I changed some of the settings to match my life of leisure and, given that us golden oldies get a winter fuel payment, decided to hitch up the daytime temperature a bit.

You see, while I was at work, there was absolutely no point keeping my home warm during the week days, it would have been a waste of heat (and money) and last year I was pretty often at school so didn't bother to change it but it's different now.  I spend the greater part of each day at home (very nice too) and there's no point being cold if I don't have to be.

It was lovely having both Beth and Alex over for dinner.  When Al comes, I do a proper dinner whereas if it is only Beth we're just as likely to have something like home made soup or beans on toast.  So I roasted some chicken pieces with roast potatoes and parsnips and some broccoli and I cracked open one of the jars of spiced cranberry jelly (which was lovely).  We all enjoyed it and there were precious few leftovers!

After lunch, Al made his way home to study and Beth and I settled down to getting something ready for our stall.

Ages ago, we both used to make cards.  As a result we both had loads of bits and bobs, especially Christmas based, taking up rather a lot of space that could be very usefully used for other storage.  And that's when I had the idea of pick 'n' mix cards.

It's very simple.

You start with a card and an envelope in a bag.

You pick your bag of backing paper (those silver things are stickers).

Then you choose your bag of bits and bobs (apologies for the reflected light).

Finally, you can have something free from the lucky dip basket (all the bits that didn't go into bags - no photo).

So you end up with these - only all in the Christmas bag on the left.  Take them home and make your card (and, probably, another card too as there's loads of stuff in the bits and bobs bag).

I think the children are going to love it!  They loved our sock cat kits, our Christmas tree decoration kits and our fridge magnet kits and they will go for these too, I sincerely hope!  We're happy because it's used up a lot of stuff we'd never use again, having moved away from cards now.

Moving on!  The mince pie saga continues (see yesterday's entry).  I made some just ordinary pastry - just a bit - and it was fine.  So that was OK.  I then had a think and a ponder and adapted that ordinary recipe by adding some sugar, making the fats 70% trex and 30% butter (because the butter flavour is so good) and using a beaten egg to bind.  I then chilled it for five hours, then made the mince pies and chilled them again while the oven heated - and I used the other oven, not the fan oven.

You know what - it only went and worked, despite me letting them cook a bit too long (what a wally!).  Lovely short, melt-in-the-mouth pastry.  So tomorrow I shall be making the Christmas mince pies (again!) because today's effort, being a trial, only made a few pies and by the end of tomorrow there won't be any left!
It had better work!

Today Beth is over, I shall be nanny helping at school in the morning and I'm doing an extra tuition session late afternoon.  Oh, and I'm making bread and mince pies, Christmas slides and Christmas scrunchies!
Should be a great day!

Today's food:
B:  boiled egg and toast, apple
L:  broccoli soup orange
D:  pork curry and rice

Sunday, 6 November 2016


Brrrrr - it's an extremely chilly morning again today and a frost as well.  Time to put the cotton dressing gown away and get out the fluffy one instead, I think.

Yesterday got colder and colder as the day progressed and, with quite a strong wind, it found all the nooks and crannies, making inside the house feel cooler than it should.  I guess that must have died down anyway or there wouldn't be a frost.

Yesterday was quite frustrating.  I'm blogged before about my uselessness with pastry.  Well, I made mince pies and attempted a sweet pastry with butter, sugar and egg and - let's just say it wasn't all I would have liked it to be.  The taste was fine but it was hard instead of crumbly and I really didn't overwork it!  It's very frustrating to be bad at pastry.

I froze what I made and they're not terrible.  After all, the mincemeat is delicious!  They're just not what I wanted to produce.  I shall have another go today, small amounts and try using mostly Trex instead of butter, as that seems to work best for the ordinary short crust.  I suspect my hands are too warm but I don't see what I can do about that - if you have warm hands, you have warm hands!

Today, Beth and Alex are round for dinner so I'm roasting a couple of chicken leg joints for me and Alex while Beth has a nice veggie thing.  I'll do roasties, broccoli, parsnips and maybe carrots and I do have some packet stuffing which I may roll into patties and fry.  Mince pies and custard for dessert and that's a nice dinner for not too much trouble and, with any luck, there will be vegetable leftovers for tomorrow!

I still have fridge stuff to use up so I shall concoct something out of what's left for the other meal and breakfast will be egg based.

At one point in the late afternoon, there was quite a dramatic sky, so I risked the chilly wind and snapped a few photos.

Have a great day and stay warm!

Saturday, 5 November 2016


It was another 'wake at half past six' morning this morning which is fantastic.  I'm not sure what's started this later waking thing but long may it continue as I am liking it!

There's no frost again although it's pretty chilly and the sky looks promising for a lovely late autumnal day, fingers crossed.  It rained a lot yesterday afternoon and evening which was a bit dismal, but there you go!

When the cleaners came yesterday I got myself out of their way, first of all to Hobbycraft to get some sparkly thread for the gold and silver ribbon and then on to Wyevale to look at their Christmas decorations.  I like to buy one new tree decoration each year if I see one I like enough.  It's a bit of a tradition for me, one of those little things that make Christmas special to an individual, and certainly Wyevale had plenty of them but nothing quite special enough although a few came close.  I might take a look on Liberty's site - several years ago I got a gorgeous set of owl decorations that I really treasure, so much so that I still have their original; boxes and they go carefully back in them at the end of each festive season.

What they did have at Wyevale though was some non-alcoholic mulled winter punch and, as they were BOGOFs' I did!

Once I had done all my stuff yesterday, I sat down and worked at the Christmas hair slides.  They're simple but fiddly - shiny, glittery Christmas ribbon (red, gold or silver) sewn into a bow and stitched onto a simple hair slide.  They do look pretty and should go well at the school fair.

Today is, I think, another day by myself.  Goodness, that sounded a bit pathetic and pity partyish but it shouldn't - I like solitude.  Apart from crafting, I'm enjoying thinking about what I can fill it with.

Then, of course, it is Strictly this evening, a programme that I really do enjoy.  No bonfire parties for me, thank you - I will hear plenty, I'm sure, and worry about people's safety, but I don't like fireworks much and am happier keeping away.

I have no idea about today's food yet except that it will be bits and bobs from the fridge.

Friday, 4 November 2016


How has this week passed by so quickly.  After the slow, achey, high temperature half term, this week has been a 'blink and you miss it' experience.  It is Friday already!  Incredible.

Yesterday was, like most of my days now, good.  I made the sausage rolls that were then open frozen and are now snuggling in an old ice cream tub.  I finished the tuition planning and everything fell nicely into place.  I went to school and enjoyed the chatter of the children I share books with.  They are now confiding in me their hopes and excitements and I'm loving it so much.  It take time when you see them just once a week but it's worth the effort.

Tuition also flowed nicely and it is another thing I truly love doing.  It helps fill the gap in my soul that appeared when I stopped teaching.

It's been another cold night, although nowhere near as chilly as the previous two, and I'm appreciating my new duvet.  It doesn't overheat me but it does hold the warmth so if (when!) I go along the landing in the middle of the night, when I get back into bed it is delightfully warm.  My old quilt used to lose heat so quickly.  Generally, I'm sleeping later too - today it was half past six before I woke which, for me, is incredible!

Today I don't think I have any real plans.  I will be getting on with KittyStitches stuff for our Christmas stall and will pop out when the cleaners come (I get in their way, you see).  I'll probably go back to Hobbycraft, partly because it's a lovely place to stroll around and partly because I had a brainwave of something for the stall which has worked quite well so want to get a bit more stuff for it.  More about that later!

Today's food.
B:  I know this is going to sound daft but I didn't have the planned dinner yesterday so, rather than waste the stuff I thawed, I shall have the ham and roasties this morning for breakfast.
L:  corn on the cob, fruit
D:  flat iron steak with some veg

Thursday, 3 November 2016


Oh, my goodness, it was cold yesterday morning.  When I posted yesterday's entry, I hadn't looked out - it was too dark anyhow.  When I did venture out to go to the freezer I got a shock - frost, the first frost of this season and it was flippin' cold!  It warmed up, of course, but it was cold come the evening too, after a gloriously sunny Autumn day, full of colour.  It's exactly the same this morning with a harder frost that yesterday.  There will be some car scraping this morning, that's for sure!

I managed to get loads done and, really nice, I have a clean and tidy (tidy for me anyway) downstairs.  Upstairs is fine apart from the small room which is due a real blitz!  The Christmas parsnips are now in the freezer, as are the pigs in blankets.  I didn't get the sausage rolls done so that's on today's list!  Dinner was delicious - I peeled two potatoes that didn't look that big but by the time I had partitioned them there was more than enough so guess what - leftovers for tonight.  Three cheers!

Tuition happened and was lovely.  I'm getting very fond of my pupil and we are getting on a real treat.  Yesterday's session threw up a few gaps which I can work to fill, which is great.
One of the things about living alone is that I don't have to talk much so, from that point of view, my cold didn't inconvenience me.  However, chatting to said pupil started the cough and reminded me that I may be much better but . . .

So, on to today.

What I thought was happening this morning isn't, so I have a sort of free morning which I will fill with finishing off stuff for our Christmas stall, finishing off the planning and making the sausage rolls which will be frozen uncooked so as many as I want can be cooked when I need them.  Convenient!
The afternoon is in school, granny helping in Y2 and then it is my other two tuition sessions.

So, quite a busy day, all in all.   Enough to keep me out of mischief, for sure!

Today's food:
B:  bacon and tomatoes (I have bacon left over from the pigs in blankets and my green tomatoes are ripening rapidly on the window ledge); apple.
L: It was going to be beans on toast to use up the other half of the baked beans from yesterday, but as I changed that to marmite on toast, it shall be home made soup!  I'm working through my store of frozen soups quite nicely now.
D:  ham, corn on the cob, leftover roasties and a BBQ sauce

Wednesday, 2 November 2016


Good morning.  I'm up at normal (for me) time after a long night's sleep.  I was so weary yesterday evening, I went up well before eight, expecting I'd be wide awake by two but I wasn't!  I feel a lot better for it too.  Happy!

Yesterday was lovely with Beth round to stitch and natter.  In between sewing and chatting I made two loaves of wholemeal and the spiced cranberry jelly which is now in two largish jars.  It didn't come out totally smooth, presumably because I had used a fairly coarse muslin instead of that elusive jelly bag, but it's delicious, really scrummy.  The spices were cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise and I added a good slug of port too.

Beth and I started some owls, made a few decisions and just got on with stuff.

As I dropped off one of the loaves at school for my 'customer', on the way home I noticed that a neighbour's wall was looking rather lovely so I took a few photos.

Today I have a downstairs to clean, pigs in blankets and sausage rolls to make, tuition planning to do and one tuition session.  I have this feeling at the back of my mind that there's somethings else as well but I daresay it will come to me later if I stop trying to remember now.
Anyway, remember or not, that is enough to keep me out of trouble and 'gainfully employed' for the day!

Today's food:
B:  beans on toast
L:  I have to finish last year's turkey before this year's needs saving, so turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce (there's a bit that didn't fit in the jar) followed by an orange.
D:  sausages, broad beans, onion gravy, maybe some spuds, yogurt and fruit

Enjoy the day and may it go well for you.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Tuesday - and November . . .

. . . so, pinch and punch!  New month, new budget.  I've spend some time going over October's figures and was somewhat and briefly worried about them until I remembered that I've popped a fair amount into savings this month as well as buying the Christmas turkey AND some new bedding.  Now I am pleased instead!

Yesterday I was out for much of the morning.  I have been searching for white glue (the PVA sort) and haven't been able to find any locally.  I went to a shop that someone suggested but no luck.  So I went on to B&Q and on the way thought I would take a detour to Hobbycraft once more and, lo and behold, they had some.  Cheers!  Almost next to Hobbycraft there is a Boots and I remembered that I will soon need some more hearing aid batteries so I popped in and got enough to last me around three months.

Then I went in to B&Q and got the granular salt for the water softener.  It's the sort of thing I run out of.  Actually, ages ago I investigated having some delivered, in bags, but discounted the idea because of not being at home when they came.  Those bags are very heavy, you see.  I must explore that possibility again.

Finally it was Morrisons and I got what I needed there too so I'm all set up for the week and maybe longer.

Today Beth is coming round and we are going to stitch.  We have five owls to make and stuff to finish off for our Christmas stall.

Today's food:
B: bran flakes and apple
L:  soup - home made - and orange
D:  not-meatballs with a tomato and veg sauce and pasta, yogurt and fruit