Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Its A Snow Day!

Schools were closed...


It's officially a Snow Day!



Loopy Lu has the right idea!

Baby Its Cold Outside!


Sunday, 28 November 2010

List Day

I was visiting Libby over at Life is a journey not a destination today, She writes one of my favourite blogs that I love to read...very inspiring. Anyway Libby had been reading Little Tin Bird's blog and got the idea to write a List week post detailing what she had been up to all week and I thought I'd join in too.


1. Firstly this week we have been helping our Son Master N decorate his new place. The colour theme he has gone for is black, red & white. All the rooms will have one wall wallpapered in a black paper. He has gone for light painted walls and will accessorize with items of red, curtains, bedding & cushions etc.

2. Then I made some Apple & Chilli Chutney to have with our hot & cold meats over Crimbo.

3. I decorated all my homemade pickles & Chutneys ready to give as Christmas gifts. I have really enjoyed the act of pickling and will definitely be doing it again next year.

4. I spent a day baking with Miss C and our neighbour Miss D...Lots of Yummy mince pies.



5. I spent my evenings crocheting a granny square blanket for our Granddaughters Birthday.

6. Friday night was consumed with finishing off Miss E's blanket...I was in a panic to get it completed and was determined to get it done even if it meant I had to stay up all night!
Miss E always shows interest in all my crafts and loves watching me sew & Crochet. When she gets a little older I'll teach her how to crochet....I've been crocheting since I was 11 and for most of that time it was considered an old fashioned craft...However, recently it seems to have become really popular...Yay!

7. Miss E celebrated her 5th Birthday and had a lovely party with all her friends (post to follow).
We all had a wonderful time...Hope she likes her Blankie.



8. It has been a really cold week and a lot of the UK has snow...Here in Essex we are waiting to get it. For now it is just really frosty & foggy....Brrrr and very very Cold!


Friday, 26 November 2010

Festive Friday - On The Spot Mince Pies

I've recently stumbled across Chris over at Thinly Spread.

She has a Fab blog and a few weeks ago began a Festive Friday where you can post anything christmassy you may have done that week.

I think its a lovely idea and the other entries are so inspiring.
There is also a chance to win a gorgeous hamper.

So for my first entry...
This week the girls made some mince pies...




Our neighbour Miss D gave me a knock on the door laden with a handful of ingredients

and said "I fancy baking...What can we cook with this lot?"

She had...

a packet of ready made filo pastry,

a bag of dried mixed fruit,

a couple of tubs of chopped pineapple.

"Hmmmmm"

I replied

"Hows about we get all christmassy and make some mince pies?"



The girls liked that idea and began rolling out the pastry


cutting out circle & Heart shapes

We mixed the dried fruit with melted butter, fruit juice, mixed spice & cinamon


Used the circle shapes as the pie base
and topped with hearts.



Popped in the oven (gas mk 4) for 20 mins
And hey presto
Yummy On The Spot mince pies

Christmas baking is so much fun!
And perhaps a little messy :/


Will be lovely later on with a dollop of whipped cream
and a nice cuppa


Thursday, 25 November 2010

Writing Workshop - I AM

I am Happy.
I am a Mummy to four beautiful healthy children.
I am a Grandmother to an adorable 5 yr old.
I am a wife to a wonderful husband who I love more & more as every year passes.
I am an older sister...to five Brothers.
I am a Daughter to a Mum who loved me and a Dad who doesn't.
I am positive in attitude...life is Good.
I am passionate...about arts, crafts, sewing, crochet, blogging & homemaking.
I am obsessive...about anything & everything.
I am a photographer...My camera goes everywhere with me as memories are precious.
I am in love with Christmas...and dream of a white one.
I am different...and have always strived to be.
I am old fashioned with old fashioned values.
I am a worrier.
I am sentimental...and remember most people from my past with fondness.
I am a Mormon...An in-active one for the past 20 yrs but a baptised Mormon all the same.
I am analytical...and question everything.
I am compassionate... I care.
I am now practically a recluse...And I like it that way.
I am opinionated...But try not to offend.
I am empathic...and feel your pain.
I am entertaining when drunk.
I am a dreadful singer...But pretend I think I'm fantastic (to annoy the kids).
I am happiest in the garden with the birds, bee's, bugs & Mud.
I am eager to keep my family together and my marriage happy.
I am hungry for second hand, vintage and retro stuff.
I am thirsty for coffee & wine.
I am a Geek.
I am content.
I am Lucky.

This post is for Josies writing workshop.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Gallery - Black & White

I Love it over at The Gallery
I love looking at the entries
Its like wandering around a virtual art gallery...
Lots of Lovely pieces of work to admire.
This weeks theme is Black & White.
So I decided to share some of mine from My Favourite place in the whole world...
North Devon



A Beautiful place for Peaceful Contemplation



Sunday, 21 November 2010

A Christmas Giveaway

Dont ya just Love Giveaways!
Especially Christmas ones...
Pop over to Vintage Lifestyle for a chance to win this lovely prize.
Its a Gorgeous Blog Full of all things Vintage!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Feeding The Cake

Ok So its been a week since making the Christmas cake...Its been wrapped and stored in an airtight container now its time to feed it. Feed it with booze for an extra christmassy taste... any booze will do, Whisky, Brandy, Rum etc.
Or for a non alcholic cake you could make some spiced apple juice (tasty Waitrose recipe here)
Start by pricking the top of the cake with a cocktail stick. Each week you will need to turn the cake so one week feed the top then the following week turn it over and feed the bottom.

I use the little minitures you can buy...
they are cheap and convenient to use.

Pour over very gently over the cake...No need to saturate it as it wont give the cake extra flavour it will just make the cake soggy. You just want to slowly feed it for a yummy boozy flavour.


Then wrapped all back up and store untill next week when you will repeat the whole process!


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Royal Wedding

What an exciting Buzz in the air...The Adorable Prince William has announced his engagement to the Beautiful Kate Middleton. I am a Huge fan of William and think eventually he will make a Fantastic King. I personally can not wait for the wedding. Apparently the streets will be lined with parties...How exciting.
I watched an interview on Sky news and William said he gave Kate his Mothers engagement ring as a way of making sure she would be a big part of his marriage and wedding. I felt a lump in my throat as I watched him, knowing exactly what he was feeling. He has been criticised a bit by some people for giving his mothers ring to his fiance but I really 'get' why he did it. Even though I was lucky enough to have my Mum still around for My wedding day I still understood his yearning...A yearning to have his Mum there for his special day. To William the ring guarantee's her presence on his big day. You can watch the interview here.
How Happy they look together and I am wishing them all the Happiness in the World!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Gallery - Before & After


The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers was another meme that I had started taking part in before my blogging break.
I love this weeks theme: Before & After.
The idea is to recreate an old photo of oneself.
It doesn't have to be exactly the same...It is open to interpretation.
So here goes...
What I've realised is I still use the same pose as I always have...
I pout!
The Before photo is My 16th birthday in my bedroom...
The After photo is me at 39.
What would that 16 yr old have thought if she had seen her 39yr old photo...
Would she have laughed or cringed?
I really do not know...
Probally have laughed her head off!
But hey...
What I do know for sure is that...
Some things never do change...
Although slightly (ok... MUCH) chubbier,
a few wrinkles, tattoo's and longer hair...
I still love to pout...
Oh and that I still wear black nail varnish!!!

BEFORE - 1986
AFTER - 23yrs later

Monday, 15 November 2010

Mum is always with us

It started a few days ago...
That pang I often get for Mum...The pang that aches...
Aches to speak to her...Speak to her about Anything and Everything.
I guess it was Our wedding Anniversary that started it off.
Any special day just reminds me Mum's not here with us...
Or Maybe just Maybe she is...Maybe she is up there
Sitting in the clouds with Grandad
Looking down watching and...Listening and wishing she could Butt in and tell us What she thinks,Try and Put us on the right track,or praise us for getting it right this time.
Our middle Son moved out today...Another occasion I know she would have been here for. She would have driven over, boot full of knick knacks for Master N's new pad....Or maybe a trip to Ikea (one of her favourite shops)
Just like she did for me & Papa all those years ago when we moved into our first place. Mum & Super Grandad drove up to Peterborough in the family Mini Bus (He was called Super Grandad because the boys thought he was Superman when they were little...But hey thats another post!). They had a mini bus full of bits and bobs and Grandad told Papa all there was to know about Peterborough (Grandad always had a story for everything). Papa would struggle to understand a word he said as he had a very strong Southern Irish accent...
We would giggle and I would tease Papa about Not understanding what Grandad had just said.
They were both there for us...Supporting us and making the move memorable.
It even crossed my mind maybe Mum was up there pulling a few strings to get Master N his lovely little bungalow....if so then Thanks Mum...
He loves it! It is so Fab...and perfect for him...
He is a good lad and deserves a nice home of his own.

We spent the day getting his new pad comfy and warm.
It does need decorating and he will need furniture and white goods...
But it is clean, dry and beautiful.
Just before we left he wanted Papa to give him a lift up
to check the loft for undesirables...
Hehehehe
Been a while since Master N has sat on Papa's shoulders!

Anyway when I got home I switched on my laptop and in one of my album's
I found the last photo's ever taken of Mum...
They were taken during her chemo...
She was losing her Beautiful thick black hair at the time...
Infact I had cut it short for her only a few days before...

It was the last time a lot of our family members saw her
as she passed away only 4 mths later.

We had a picnic that same weekend...

Lots of Cousins and Aunts were there...

Trying to organise everyone for a picture proves tricky...


Smile...



Mum...
I know you are always with us...
I feel you close everyday,
in everything I do x

Sunday, 14 November 2010

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Well Its time to make The Christmas cake and
I decided to use a recipe from the BBC's Food website here

Ingredients
225g/8oz plain flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
200g/7oz Butter
200g/70z Dark Brown Sugar
2tbsp Black Treacle
1 tbsp Marmalade
1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence
4 Free Range Eggs (Lightly beaten)
800g Dried Mixed Fruits
100g Chopped Mixed Peel
150g/5oz Glace Cherries
100g Blanched almonds
Brandy (Optional)
You will also need to buy some string, greased proof paper
And Brown parcel Paper
1. Start by lining your cake tin.
It is important to do this properly to avoid the cake burning during its long cooking process.
Line the inside of the tin completely with the greased proof paper.
Use butter to get the paper to stick together.
Wrap brown parcel paper around the outside of the tin and tie with string.
All these added layers protect the cake from burning.
2. Preheat the oven to 150c/300F/Gas mark 2


3. Sieve The flour, salt, mixed spice and cinnamon into a bowl...Put to one side.
4. Cream the butter and the sugar into a large mixing bowl.
5. Into the sugar & butter mix in the treacle, marmalade and vanilla essence until light & fluffy.
6. Mix in gradually the beaten eggs.
7. Fold in the flour mixture and mix well either by hand or like me with your Food mixer.
8. Switch your mixer off , take the bowl adding in The dried fruits, mixed peel, cherries & almonds.


9. Turn mixture out into your greased caked tin cooking on a low heat for approx 3 hours.
After 3 hrs test every 20 Min's by inserting a clean knife into the centre of the cake.
Once the knife pulls out clean and the top of the cake is springy to touch then it is ready to take out of the oven and leave to cool.


The whole house smells divine during the cooking process...
Very Christmassy!



Once cool make a few holes with a skewer and poor over a few tbsp of brandy...Do this every week until Christmas to give added flavour.
Of course this is optional, the cake is just as delicious without alcohol.

Wrap the cake in tin foil and store in an air tight tin until you are ready to ice.



I actually made double the mixture and made mini christmas cakes baking them in ramekin dishes to give as homemade gifts.

P.S - This BBC recipe is truly scrummy and I will be using it again next year.

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