Monday, 17 November 2014

Me on Monday

These Monday's are coming around quickly aren't they? 
Here is a snap of what I was doing first thing this morning
Remember the Dress a Girl around the World project I mentioned a while back? Well I made the body of the dress ages ago and it was just waiting for the pocket to be added and as we all know, it's the finishing off bits that get left behind until someone finds your UFO (unfinished object) and says "are you ever going to send that off?" So here I am, when my finished dress, ready to put it in a bag to hand over to the teacher in charge of the project - finally!
So, it was a busy old weekend here. Pockets were made, and sewn on, threads were snipped, rugby was watched, as was football, Indian take aways were eaten with friends, a few Christmas presents were bought, a new living room floor lamp was ordered, a moving around of furniture in the lounge was discussed, and hours of Internet searching took place to find a new chair to put in the space that the reshuffle would make, and finally much relief was felt when the voting on Strictly Come Dancing was announced. 
Giving up a big wave to Sian whose idea it was to share our photos on Mondays.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Catching two birds with one stone

Catching up with Abi's idea of One photo and Twenty words:
My son's quirky t-shirts make the hated job of ironing more bearable  The Queen wearing a moustache? Must be Movember!

Which also ticks the box for Me on Monday. Half day working, then catching up on chores.  Oh but I dislike ironing.  You spend hours doing it, then a few days later there's another batch waiting.  
Nothing very exciting on the agenda here this weekend. It was a Tesco shopping, big Sunday lunch cooking, book reading, buying a top in the Joules 25% off sale, turning the central hearing up a notch on Saturday, then switching it back down again on Sunday,dog walking over the park followed by dog bathing as soon as she was home and everyone running for cover before she shakes the water off kind of weekend. 

The younger members of the families are nursing sore throats and earaches, so I am keeping my distance before they share the germs around. Hope everyone is well in your household. Now let's all pop over and give a big wave to Sian while we find out why she spent the weekend in protective clothing!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Hey ho, hey ho

It's off to work we go ... So with that image of 7 dwarfs on their way to work in the mines, little old me went back to work after half term.  It seemed like I had been away a long time and spent all morning just dealing with emails.  Back in the old routine! 
How's your Monday?  I'm trying to stop myself from doing this ...
... too often.  We only had one batch of trick or treaters round on Friday and we had a surplus of sweets.  I don't seem to be able to resist taking something out of the bowl every time I walk past it!
The weekend was literally a 'game of two halves' here.  Saturday was glorious and Sunday was cold, wet and miserable.  Once again we extended the weekend by starting it on Friday with a lovely day in sunny Cambridge, receiving another friendship quilt block, amusing the postman by receiving a package for my son labelled 'To the Master of Everything and Fool to no one' and then it was a weekend of trying out a new Italian restaurant in town, drinks at friends to christen their new conservatory, trying to decide on paint colours for redecorating the dining room, eating left over halloween sweets, cooking a full on roast beef Sunday lunch with all the trimmings, snoozing in the armchair after dinner while the men of the family watched the football (Spurs won, so happy faces in our household), being relieved that the right person got voted off Strictly Come Dancing, reading books and mentally preparing myself for returning to work after 10 days off.
So that's Me on Monday.  An idea from Sian.  Pop over to see her and try and work out why someone who's the same height as me is going shopping for extra long jeans!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Me on Monday

What's the worst way to start a half term holiday?  With a 9.15am dentist appointment.  What was I thinking?  I don't like dentists and that dislike goes back a long way.  In fact the first time I ever remember really getting told off related to the dentist. 
When I was little, the local dentist operated out of an old house near to where we lived.  The ground floor was a surgery and he lived upstairs.  It was old and it was cold and it was creepy.  He had an assistant called 'Miss Lawrence'.  She wore a long white lab coat and had crepe soled sensible shoes that squeaked on the linoleum as she walked down the hallway to take you from the waiting room to the surgery.  You sat there in the silent waiting room and you heard the squeak, squeak, squeak of her approaching.  The door would open and you would hear 'Deborah ...'  She was Scottish and she pronounced it 'Dee Bore Ah' it still gives me the creeps!  The dentist, Mr Holdsworth, was (in a small girl's eyes) ancient and scary.  He didn't really speak to you and just called things out to Miss Lawrence as he poked around in your mouth with a very sharp instrument.  His policy towards teeth was 'if in doubt - fill it' and therefore all the local children ended up with a lot of fillings!  It wasn't until I got married and moved out of town that I discovered that most other dentists gave injections to numb your mouth when they did treatments - we had to 'grin and bear it' at our surgery.  
So how did I get into trouble?  Well, my mum used to have a small wallhanging in the kitchen that you could write on and then wipe off and she used to use it as a memo board/shopping list.  I can still see it, there was a Mabel Lucy Attwell picture and a short poem:
When you're going shopping
You really should insist
That when you're running short of things
They're put down on this list.
'Twill save a lot of time in town
If everything is jotted down.
Well, one day I saw something awful written on that board.  Can't remember the date but it was something like 3 April - Dentist.  Now I knew that I would NOT want to spend the 3rd of April at the dentist so I changed it.  I added a '1' to the front so it said 13 April - Dentist.  So when Miss Lawrence rang Mum on the 4th of April to find out why we hadn't turned up, my little freckled face glowed bright red as I had to admit what I'd done.  Oh boy was I in trouble! REAL trouble because not only had I embarrassed my mum, she said I would have to apologise in person to Mr Holdsworth myself.  Talk to that scary man?  That big man with the deep scary voice and the pointy sharp things?  I was so scared.  Fortunately Miss Lawrence saw the funny side of it but I learnt a valuable lesson that day, no matter how scared you are of the dentist, you do HAVE to go! Anyhow, I've escaped unscathed from my appointment and don't have to go through that stress for another 6 months so all is good.  But talking of scary things ...

It's halloween this week and the lady who runs my Fitsteps class has decided we should dress up for a spooky exercise class - so I've been thinking about what I'm going to wear and my Me on Monday photo looks like this  
Not sure how long the hat will stay on but it's a start!
We managed to extend our weekend again by starting on Friday night with a family gathering with my sister and brother in law so it was a homemade curry night, sorting out who's going where for Christmas, quilt sewing, Strictly Come Dancing watching, extra hour in bed as we left British Summer Time for Greenwich Mean Time, delicious Sunday lunch at a friend's house, sorting out problems with the TV and saying goodbye to our neighbours opposite as they prepared to move out today. 
Me on Monday - a brilliant idea from Sian

Monday, 20 October 2014

Me on Monday

It was a homes and gardens projects weekend here. A plan to cut the lawn for the last time this year was scuppered when the lawn mower decided that it had had enough, fizzled and died. A plan to redecorate the downstairs toilet (2 years after the first 'shall we redo the loo' thought was voiced) ended up with a couple of trips to the local Homebase store. It was a wallpaper ordering, paint purchasing,  lawnmower buying, wallpaper stripping, tile removing, patchwork quilt squares cutting, dog walking, slow roast shoulder of pork cooking, panettone bread and butter pudding baking kind of weekend. 

So I've done my half day at work, and have to go back again later for 'safeguarding' training (which always upsets me when we have to discuss true case studies of at risk children) and just to make this Monday even less enjoyable, I have an afternoon with this ...

Because I cannot put off the evil task of clearing the ironing pile any longer. Unless I look to see if there's a puppy that's in need of a walk ... 

How's your Monday shaping up? I think that instead of just waving to Sian who organised the Me on Monday idea, I'm going to pop round and visit to see if any of her secret recipe fudge/tablet is left.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bake off memories and a recipe

I'm already missing the Great British Bake Off (for those outside the UK, it's a cookery programme with 12 amateur cooks being challenged to bake cakes, breads and pastries with one person being sent home at the end of each week).  My English teacher at school always told us to never use 'nice' in a story.  We always had to find another word, but 'nice' exactly sums up the ethos of the programme.  There's no back-biting, no one saying anything unpleasant about the other contestants and the worst controversy was somone removing an icecream out of a freezer or using someone else's custard!
So because I am missing it, I've been baking myself.  Let me share what I've been making - my version of Mary Berry's cherry cake.  I can't use her recipe because her cake tin is way bigger than mine and if you do try it, you will end up with an overflowing tin and enough mixture to make a dozen cupcakes too.  Mine involves a 21cm ring tin and it ends up looking like this:
Are you ready?  Then rifle through your cupboards and get your ingredients out:
200g glace cherries
180g self raising flour
100g Stork margarine or similar (Mary will, of course be using butter!)
100g caster sugar
25g ground almonds
2 large eggs
1 lemon
120g icing sugar
Pre-heat your oven to 180C and prepare your tin.  You need to grease the inside of your tin.  As I'm on Slimming World at the moment (yes you are still allowed cake!) I have cans of Fry Light for cooking and they are fab to grease cake tins as you can get a good light spray all over. Just be careful to use the sunflower one or the olive oil one.  BBQ or garlic flavour will not enhance your cake!
Rinse your cherries under water and dry.  Put about 4 aside for decoration and cut the others into quarters.  Put them in a bowl with a tablespoon of flour and make sure they are all coated.  Mary would tell you that this stops them sinking through the cake mixture and all ending up in one end of the cake.
Cream the margarine and sugar together until the mixture is soft, then add the eggs, almonds, flour and grated rind of the lemon.  It will be quite a firm mixture but don't worry, that's how it should be.  Stir in the chopped cherries.  Spoon the mixture into the tin, spread it evenly and put in oven for about 30 mins.  Check it at 25 mins just in case your oven cooks hotter than mine.  At this point you can crouch on the floor, peering into the oven door, watching it gently brown, just like they do in the programme.  If it's golden brown all over, firm to touch and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean, it's done. 
Don't be too keen to remove it from the tin.  Ring cakes need to be treated with respect, or they will refuse to come out in one piece and you're left with a cake of two halves.  (What makes you think this is the voice of experience talking?) So let it cool down for about 5 - 10 mins, gently run a knife around the outer and the inner edge, then cross your fingers, hold your breath and turn it out onto a cooling tray.  And breathe.  It's out and ready to cool down to decorate.
Have you waited until the cake is quite cool?  OK, you're ready to go.  Mix the juice of the lemon into the icing sugar and gently pour the icing over the cooled cake, letting it drip down the sides.  Remember where you put those reserved cherries?  Go and get them, cut them in half and add around the top. 
Stand back and admire your finished work of art.  Can you wait until the icing is properly set?  No, me neither, let's put the kettle on and while the tea's brewing we'll have a slice.  Thank goodness Paul Hollywood can't see the state of my kitchen, he'd be giving me the glare.  You know the one. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Me on Monday - Take Two

Don't you just love blogger? You start a post, you save a post, you edit a post, you save the edits, you open the post again and it's gone.  So, with gritted teeth and a determined smile I bring you Me on Monday - again.

Monday sees two of the family with clean, freshly styled fur. There's me
And there's you know who 

It's really horrible here today, rain, rain and oh look, it's still raining.  How was your weekend? Ours was relaxed. We were out Friday night until 1am and I'm far too old for late nights/early mornings, it took ages to get my act together on Saturday. But then there were hair cuts, shopping trips, Strictly Come Dancing watching, debates about whether or not Donny Osmond has had Botox (probably) and if he either dyes his hair or wears a wig (definitely one, possibly the other), lazy Sunday lunches with prosecco, choosing a design for the next friendship quilt block, making it, realising it was slightly too small and having to make another, and finishing my book. (Until you're mine by Samantha Hayes. Wow! What a page turner!)

Giving a big wave to Sian who had the great idea to share Me on Monday posts. Are you doing one too? Why not? Pah! That's no excuse. Stop what you're doing, take a quick photo, share it on your blog and join in. In the famous words of Take That 'it only takes a minute ...'