Friday, 23 December 2011

I’m a bit nuts

at the moment.

I can’t help myself…..

It’s caused me to come out in huge spots, but I can’t resist.

I’ve been making caramelised nuts ready for a salad, I’m making as a starter for Christmas Day. The only problem is they are so delicious, I keep eating them.

So I thought I would share with you how they are made, in case you’d like to be spotty for Christmas like me !

Grab yourselves some nuts that you fancy. The pecans are particularly yummy cooked in this way.


I was using pecans and walnuts for my salad and I added some cashews to be made up separately.


Roast your nuts in a moderate oven for about 7 minutes, but keep an eye on them, as they easily burn. The slight roasting really changes the flavour and texture of the nuts.

Then add about half a cup full of granulated sugar to a saucepan. Grab a wooden spoon.


Now you need to heat your sugar and watch it like a hawk. Don’t answer the phone ,stop to break up fights between your screaming brats.

You can whack them later…..



It will start to liquify before your eyes.




Then it will start to turn golden in colour. This is the crucial part and it can easily burn and be ruined.




Just as it starts to turn more golden add your nuts.



Stir around, sprinkle on some sea salt. I added some cinnamon to the cashew nuts  as well.

Tip on to a slightly, oiled tray. Have two forks ready, and a willing slave. I have several here, always willing to help me !



separate the sticky nuts, as much as possible and leave to cool.

and then VOILA….

You can then pop them into little pots ready for adding to salads or just munching.



Thursday, 15 December 2011

The official opening of the Aldrin Grotto !

The red ribbon was kindly cut my Mr Snitch the Elf himself. He was in great demand this year, but we were lucky to get him for the official opening.


and then a right Royal bugle salute, played by Mr Snitch the Elf.


some Christmas music tinkling in the background played by Liberace

( or Mr Snitch the Elf)


The following videos were prompted by a comment left by Kim…..


and there’s more !!

and more


and then………. The End.

Well, nearly the end of Mr Snitch the Elf………


someone got jealous !!!!!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Elf contest

Now if my son thinks I have too much time on my hands, then he should consider himself lucky I occupy my time in other ways.

Why you might ask ,well hop on over to this blog that has a competition running.


I had to share it, it is so funny. Scroll down to the bottom where the entries are. I tell you, you will piss your pants. I am laughing out loud and Teddy is looking at me like I have gone deranged!!

How do these people get so creative ?

Just Added after posting: there is even a Flickr site for fellow saddo’s like me.


and yes, I did also include a link to the urban meaning of saddo. I never know what my American readers understand when I use my ghetto speak !

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Elf on the shelf, hits the UK


Taking a picture of your tree using manual focus and a high aperture, is a great way of finding out all the lights have stopped working in the lower part of the tree.



Well, hubby arrived home, laden down with goodies from over the pond. You would have thought,the amount he moaned, that he’d had to carry the bloody suitcase instead of wheeling it everywhere !

2011 Dec Tasmins work do

Now of course I was most excited to see  my new Elf. Well I was so surprised when I saw the size of him, he was huge.


It would seem Santa has been watching me already, and had told the Elf I had been a VERY, naughty girl this year !


He came equipped with rabbit fur, lined handcuffs !!!!!!!!


He had me handcuffed to the Aga, cooking straight away !!!


                                               HELP, please !!!!!

On his first night here, he settled down with the boys and did what boys do.


My son says I obviously have too much time on my hands.

I have no idea what he means, do you?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Elf on the shelf is coming to the UK


I can’t say how excited I am…….. He’s nearly home…..

Only one sleep and he’ll be here…… from Chicago



Who is he you might say ?………………………..

Check out his very own website with videos to find out, here.

I will actually have someone to photograph over Christmas now, it’s so exciting.

I actually want him for my Grandchildren !!!!!!!

Yep, I said Grandchildren…………..

My elf is going to be sat on the shelf for quite a few years probably.

Checkout my Pinterest board for Christmas inspiration, here. You’ll see there are some great ideas for my little elf………

Monday, 5 December 2011

It’s that time of year again….



Don’t be fooled by his face. He loves to have an advent calendar.

I have been enjoying my rest time immensely. It’s five weeks already since my spine operation. I feel almost normal now. I still wake in the night, but the pain is more a nuisance, than agony like before. In fact I rather like my peaceful hour on the internet. I have been doing more and more around the house. It didn’t help when we saw my surgeon for a check up this weekend. Hubby asked, could I resume the ironing duty? The bloody Dr replied, “ yes, in short 20 minute bursts ".

But on the up side, he said I could start driving again. So today I went out and did a wee bit of Christmas shopping. I am to wean myself of my back brace over the coming weeks and my nerve painkiller drugs. That way we will see if they are just masking any pain.

I wanted a picture at the hospital, for my Project Life and for another photo project I am taking part in. I wanted to cover the gratitude prompt. Because I am eternally, grateful to Mr Lester Wilson for helping in taking my pain away.

No one is ever phased when I ask for a photo. Especially when I explain why. The only problem is I put the camera on idiot proof for hubby. Of course it decided to focus on me only. Oh well ,never mind.


The Dr checked my scar, and I remarked it was a bit wider and higher than I expected. He had previously said it would be 4-5 inches long. So he pulled out a ruler and measured it for a laugh ,and it was spot on. But he did remark he could have done a better job of centering it !

Tasmin has been my taxi lately. She finally passed her driving test ,with no faults ! We bought her a sporty little Renault Clio.


This was me going out for one of her first tries on a motorway. We only nearly got killed once!  I kid you not.

We popped out for milkshakes and hot chocolate.



A couple of hours later Tasmin was £250 pounds lighter. We found a little boutique that had just opened. Oh, and one of her eyes is a bit dodgy and has been for the last month. So she’s not great model material at the moment

It’s the time of year, when a lot of scrapbookers take part in one of Shimelles most popular classes. I have put my Journal Your Christmas album out as part of our Christmas decorations.


If you would like to check out my completed album it’s all here.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

to everyone at Woodward MPC and all you people over the pond.

We had our own little celebration here in the UK and went for dinner at our favourite Indian restaurant, Yuva

2011 Nov 24th Thanksgiving

Not a very American equivalent I admit, but delicious all the same.


Chris sends his love !!! ( I told him he would regret that pose )

We are truly, thankful for the wonderful people he gets to work with on a daily basis.

We also took the opportunity to look for a little run around for Tasmin now that she has passed her driving test. We don’t want anything too fancy or new, as we have a feeling it may get a few scrapes and bumps along the way.

So, we thought this could be a contender ?


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Project Life

Somehow I have managed to keep up with my Project Life. It has been hard going the last few weeks. Because I was stuck confined to a  hospital bed for 3 days and on strict rest on my return home. I have been cross with myself on numerous occasions, when I have forgotten to pick up my camera when I’ve had visitors. So I have had to use a bit of poetic license to fill my slots.

Sorry, the images are a bit dark and the white balance is crap. But I couldn’t carry the album downstairs to shoot it in natural light.  I had to make do with a dark lit room.

Week forty One



some extra inserts from a photo shoot of my nieces .

I have one more to add to this collection of my friends Sandra and Hilary.











Week forty two



Yep, I even took my camera to the chiropodists ! I can’t tell you what bliss it was having my feet looked after. I haven’t been able to reach them for a year and a half. It was £30 well spent.

Week forty three



extra insets for the week.



Week forty four



Week forty five


Week forty six


So, that’s it so far. But I have lots of recent photos I’ve taken to share at a later date. I am so well, I am raring to go with some new photographic shoots. I’ve just got to wait for this dingy, grey weather to disappear.

poor girl

at 25 Beautiful Homes magazine has just spent the last couple of hours, asking me questions for the feature on our house.

She sent me the jpegs from the shoot. I was pleased to see, the house looked like our HOME. Readers of my blog will know I was concerned on the day as a lot of my “stuff” was removed, making some of the rooms look soul less to us.( original blog here )

Here's some of the pictures that were taken on the day.


I had written eight A4 sheets of answers to her questions!!

Eight !

You know me, I talk a bit….. I have a lot to say…….always…….


The magazine wanted to know, where I had bought all the items in my home. I was surprised at how many came from Dunelm Mill and Matalan ( they are like a Target ,to you Americans reading this ) I hope it proves that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a unique looking home. I like to mix, one off pieces, with cheap sale items and I keep my eyes open wherever I am. Even in Tesco's.

I do the same with my own personal, fashion style. An expensive bag (here), jewellery with a Sainsbury top with a fur collar added, and a pair of  £4 pumps from Primark. That look is actually harder to achieve, than buying everything out of Next. That goes for your home as well as your own personal style. Mix it up a bit, open your eyes to lots of other places that offer something different and unique to you.

Now my penny pinching doesn't stop there. I do the same with food. I LOVE to cook, I rarely just reheat a pre-made meal. I always check out one of the cheaper supermarkets first to see what they have on offer. i.e Aldi or Lidls. Then I do a larger shop in one of the big supermarkets, always just keeping to what is on offer. Morrisons is my current favourite place to shop. I wait and bide my time until something I want goes on sale. Then I do an expensive shop in Waitrose or M & S every so often.  Again, keeping to their offers.

I spend about half the amount on food as my friends and family. But I always have a freezer and larder full of food . There are always homemade cakes, Ben & Jerry's ice cream in the freezer and fresh vegetables and meat to hand. I have cupboards full of ingredients to put a Thai meal, pasta dish or cupcakes together at a moments notice.

I remember being shocked once, years ago ,when talking to a friend about the price of chicken. We were living on a VERY tight budget with two young children. I once had, at that time just £8.00 to feed us four, for a week!! But I did it ,with the help of a calculator in my handbag and the knack for putting meals together from very little.

My friend had no idea how much chicken cost. Not a clue. She said she just grabbed something from the shelf, with not a care in the world. At that time I was buying the £1.99 Tesco Value chicken to feed us for a week!! But do you know what I felt sorry for her, not for myself. I could be a lottery winner and I would still be canny with what I buy. I guess it’s just inbuilt. And luckily both of my children seem to have inherited that gene…..

I couldn’t resist including a picture at this point, of my friend Judith when I took her shopping in Aldi this week. A very funny experience, she was a cheap supermarket Virgin.


I popped her cherry good and proper and I think she will be making a repeat visit , but maybe in camouflage next time…..

At, bloody last !!!

Tasmin had her FOURTH driving test today. She is always so nervous ,her thinking goes out of the window and she fluffs at the last moment of the test.


So for this one she literally drank a bottle of Rescue remedy.  And it obviously did the trick as she PASSED. With no majors or minors.


Apparently the examiner said that only happens 1/15,000.

He sounded great. Tasmin had, had him before and he remembered her. He chatted to her  for the entire test,as he could  see she was very nervous. He even joked with her whether she had been unfaithful to him and had a test with someone else !!


She did really well seeing's, she has an eye infection and her eye is all swollen.


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