Saturday, 23 April 2011

Four in a bed for me.

 

Well, actually I like 1 in a bed.

But I love watching the programme, four in a bed on TV. The majority of B & B’s they show I wouldn’t want to stay in. We find it very hard to find anywhere that we’d like to sleep at, more than our own home.

But there was one property that really caught my fancy. The Manor House Farm.  I really liked the couple and their garden looked to die for. So Hubby has booked us a stay there in Norfolk this weekend.

The only problem is, I remembered a bit late that Libby had a problem with one of the obnoxious guests, as he wanted Wi-Fi. It’s a lovely rural retreat and so it’s very unnecessary.

But of course Wi-Fi is exactly what I usually need at 3am, when I am stood for hours waiting for the pain from my back to go. I’ll have to take with me my heat pad and 2 wheat bags and hope, fingers crossed, Libby has a microwave.

( Click on the image to see the TV clip. )

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Hopefully, long walks along Holkum beach will knacker me enough to knock me out.

The black sheep

Are you a follower? By that I mean do you go along with other people are you influenced by other people or do you want to be like other people.

A prompt I received from Shilmelles latest class, was about us developing our blogging style. We were to look at peoples blogs we admire and like.

This was one of the only times I have ever received a prompt from one of  Shimelles  classes and not really acted on it.  In fact I deleted it as I knew it was unnecessary for me.

I have NEVER been a follower. I am always my own person. When friends around me took drugs, I always refused. When people around me drank themselves silly, I remained sober. When I used to go for Dior product training everyone around me would be like robots, oohing and aahing over the new releases. I used to think what a load of bullshit. Just another way to get money out of punters.

So while I got what Shimelle was trying to say in her prompt about developing a character, ultimately I want my blog to just reflect me. I want people to hear my voice when they read my posts.  If I make changes it will be just as a natural reflection of me.  At where I am at at that time. Nothing else.

Yes, I LOVE The Pioneer Woman blog. I LOVE Amanda's blog.

For me it was more a case  of knowing what I don’t want my blog to include.i.e. music. HATE it. It’s not a good thing for people to have on a blog for someone who has to read them at 3am. It wakes the whole house up!

I like that I NEVER plan a blog, they just happen. That’s why sometimes mine are like buses. None for a while and then 3 at once.

So I felt so strongly about this prompt and the comments made about it on the forum, that I wrote a reply contradicting everyone else's. I was a bit worried that it might have been a bit strong, and that it wouldn’t go down to well. But as I said I am not a follower, or a sheep so I posted it.

Unlike you lot, I struggled with this prompt.
I don't want to be like anyone elses blog.I just want to be me.
I love the fact that I NEVER know what I am going to post about.I LOVE the fact that each week in my Project Life album something unexpected always happens.
I ultimately write my blog for me, not other people, but they are welcome along for the ride.
I started my blog to showcase my scrapbook layouts.Then Photography took over my life.Then sadly a prolapsed disc in my spine a year ago changed my life.I find it hard to do my passions now,so my blog content has had to change along with me.

So when I checked this morning to check the reactions to my post.I was a wee bit surprised to find this posting from Shimelle.

Karen: I was hoping some of you would discover *exactly* that.

Now weirdly, I wouldn’t probably read this blog posting on someone else's blog. I hate just written blogs and I usually just bypass them. LOL. So sorry about that.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Hummingbird bakery cake

 

I believe anyone can cook.

I get very frustrated when I hear people say they can’t cook. Often the problem is they don’t have recipe books or the right equipment.

Take my nieces as an example. Whenever I look after them, I always do a cooking session. In our last session we made a Pavlova ,a lemon curd and Oreo brownies.

2011 Jan 22 taya jade

As a child I loved to bake. Luckily even though my mum wasn’t into cooking, she had all the essential equipment necessary. She had an entire collection of Good Cooking bound magazines. I used to spend hours flicking through them, choosing recipes to make.

I even badly burnt my hand after doing such a cooking session, when I left some fat on the cooker. It went up in flames and I moved it to the sink and it splashed all over my right hand.

I had to spend weeks having it dressed daily at the Doctors and I had to learn to write with my left hand for school. But it still never put me off cooking.

19983-0Now those girls above were inspired to bake after our session. I said, look how easy this was to do. But it turns out my sister has only one of those pre 1950’s rotary handwisks. You know the type that you turn for hours and nothing much happens apart from you are bloody knackered and your arm feels like it’s going to fall off.

I watch open mouthed the TV programme “Come dine with me”. I see people attempting to make a pavlova with a small, plastic jug and a handwisk !! Why make work difficult for yourself. No wonder they say cooking's not for them. The right tools make it a doddle.

What do you consider your essential tools for cooking ?

Now, I am going to give you one of my most favourite cake recipes. The cake is to die for. Probably for its calories alone. I have an Aga range oven and cakes can be a bit tricky to master.  It has no temperature controls, so it can be a bit hit and miss. But this cake has worked every time. Its delicious and super easy. Even for someone who claims they can’t bake. It’s a cake I shall be making for my Tea Party. It looks very grand on a cake stand.

Now for my family I have to make two versions, as some of them HATE nuts in cakes. I also leave out the pineapple chunks as I don’t eat fruit, and everyone agreed they didn’t like them in the original version I made. But I have included the recipe as it is, in the fantastic original      “the hummingbird bakery cookbook”

the HummingBird Bakery Cupcake

Hummingbird Cake

300g caster sugar

3 eggs

300ml sunflower oil

270g mashed bananas ( about 3 )

I tsp. ground cinnamon

300g plain four

1tsp bicarb of soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

100g tinned pineapple,chopped into small pieces  (yuk !!)

100g shelled pecan nuts chopped (plus extra for decoration)

 

Preheat oven to 170c (325F) Gas 3 or Aga-mid shelf in baking oven

Bung the eggs, sugar, oil, bananas and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add the flour, bicarb, salt and vanilla. Beat until everything is mixed.

Stir in the pineapple ( yuk) and pecans by hand .

pour the mixture into three 20cm cake tins ( or make a two tiered and a batch of nut free cupcakes as I do) smooth with a palette knife and VOILA, easy peasy.

Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until the sponge bounces back when touched.

All you need to add once they have cooled on a rack is some cream cheese frosting.

Hummingbird-Cake

 

Anyone interested in the cream cheese frosting recipe ?…………..

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Oh whoops

As Dawn pointed out my recent poll was a bit of a disaster.
I was doing it in such a rush that I didn't notice that I could check a box for people to do multiple choices.

So as I rushed out of the door to my Pilates class, I checked the poll was working. I went to tick a couple of my choices and I could only do the one. So for me it had to be scones, cream and jam. And not surprisingly 50% of you agreed with me.

Now that I have finally finished all my running about for the day. I have put together another poll, hopefully with a multiple choice option this time.




Of course I will be able to tell from this poll how many alcoholics read my blog................
Or are you all tea total ?
Or are there some sad readers out there like me who don't drink alcohol/tea/coffee.

I have a few questions for you my blog readers

Now I doubt if it has gone unnoticed but you my blog readers that there is a Royal Wedding coming up next week. My lot are going to be very boring and won't be watching the live action on the TV. I have been wanting to organise "something" for the big day for ages. But our weather here in the UK is VERY unpredictable so it had been puttting me off.
But yesterday I realised that we too got married on the very same Bank Holiday weekend 25 years ago. So to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary and the Royal Wedding I have decided to just risk it.I am having a Tea Party in the garden (hopefully).
Unfortunately because it's such short notice I am unsure if the people I would like to invite, can come. My sister is sadly unable to come as I found out she is organising a street party when she lives.
I have been writing lists everywhere about the fare I am going to offer, and what is needed to accomodate people.

I ran out in the garden in my dressing gown and put together an setting to suggest an Afternoon Tea scenario.Then with a bit of photoshop and digi scrapbook supplies I put together an invite. The only problem was I am always so drugged up or in pain I find concentrating a challenge. So although I am happy with the invite the sizing of its content is all wrong. Plus I can't find envelopes to fit the finished article.
So large ugly envelopes had to do and the  invites are all winging there way to all my guests.

Now I would LOVE some help from you guys. What would you consider the absolute essential fare I should be offering my party goers. I would appreciate it if you could complete the poll,that fingers crossed ,should be at the end of this post.
I am new to this sort of way of blogging. It isn't help by the fact I am writing this blog directly on my  blog site. I use Google Livewriter normally. Which even an idiot like me can use.
So here goes fingers crossed deep breath.
Ta da..................................


Monday, 18 April 2011

Did you miss me?

As usual the time has flown.

I don’t know where all the hours go at the moment.Weird as I have a couple of extra ones during the night compared to most people.I’m like clockwork at the moment ,my painkillers wear off at 3am (if I’m lucky)I have to wait an hour before I can take anymore and then at least another 30 minutes standing waiting for them to hit home.

So how comes I still never seem to have enough time?

I have joined Shimelles latest blogging class,so that should give me something other than the newspaper to read during the night. Hopefully, it will kick start my blogging and scrapbooking again. It usually does the trick.

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Well, we headed out to Dublin last week.

As everyone in the UK knows.We had been spoilt with beautiful warm sunny weather.

So stupid me had a false sense of what I needed on the break. I went without a proper jacket/coat!!!!!!!

 

 

IMG_3175This is what I ended up looking like.

A refugee.

I started wearing every piece of clothing I had taken, whether it matched or not.I was freezing.

Thank God for my new Avoca long socks.They were so snuggly and kept the cold wind out.

But OMG what a sight I looked.

Someone nearly tripped over after staring at me. It was very funny.

Our hotel was part of an amazing deal we got on Travelzoo. The only downside was it’s about a 30 minute walk into the centre of Dublin. I love exploring a new City by foot, so this suited us fine.

IMG_3078The only problem is, like all Cities now. It seemed like we had landed in Poland/China or Africa. There didn’t seem to be any Irish left in the City.

Everyone who served us food anywhere over the three days was Polish!! We asked several taxi drivers about it and they said the number was now down 3/4 compared to a few years ago. We heard even the newspaper used to print a huge section in Polish .

To get our bearings and get a proper glimpse of the City we walked from our hotel at Croke Park in the North all the way to The Guinness Storehouse.We had free tickets as part of our deal. All I can say is, it’s a bloody long way for a free pint of Guinness.

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I still have my ticket for mine.

Yukkkkkkkk

It was worth it for the views over the City from the bar though.

2011 April 11-13th Dublin2

The City was a bit seedy, and we kept my camera firmly tucked away in my bag. That’s is one of the problems of exploring a City by foot, you have little idea that you could be walking into a dodgy area. Our taxi driver had already told us not to walk back to our hotel at night, through the surrounding streets.

IMG_3077-2Just outside The Guinness Factory we both noticed a man in a doorway acting suspiciously.

We were a tad shocked to finally notice what he was up to, in broad daylight.

Yep, a junkie.

Nice……….

Made me tell Hubby to hang on to my camera even harder.

 

 

After exploring every sight by foot on the second day, and a wee bit of shopping and lunch in Avoca, we returned to our hotel for our 3 course dinner, all part of our package. I had bought some delicious lemon meringue pies at a cake shop that was recommended  and I tucked into them over the three days at all hours of the night.

2011 April 11-13th Dublin3

My nights were very hard. If I stand and walk all day I am fine, but the moment I sit or lay down the pain creeps in. I spent many hours walking around a dimly, lit hotel room.

One night was funny though. At 5am the hotel fire alarms started. I was up dressed and raring to go in seconds. Hubby was naked, half asleep trying to work out what was going on . He thought it was his mobile going off. Sadly for me, it was a false alarm and went off. So I was stuck stood back up for another hour, waiting for the pain to subside again.

Our last day was forecast to be heavy rain, so we thought we’d stay at the hotel. But when we woke it was a glorious day. In fact the best weather whilst we were there.

So we decided to risk the forecast and join a complimentary walking tour of the City Highlights and then grab an open topped bus tour. The timing worked out perfect for our flight home and we got to see some of the places we couldn’t have possibly walked to.

I was particularly chuffed to find we could sit right at the front of the bus, upstairs under the shelter. Perfect.

This was one of my favourite images from the break.

Hubby sat with “the hags with the bags.”

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Hubby said he was glad to get back to work for the rest. He’s not used to being on his feet all day like me.

I have already done a full double page photo spread for my Project Life album. I just need to add all the journaling. Don’t I always ?

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Who knew

that ladybirds are considered lucky ? I mean I knew about a rabbit’s foot , horseshoes and four leaf clover.

But I didn’t know until I took part in a online photography inspiration course, linked to St Patricks day about symbols of luck.

It would seem our house has a good share of lucky symbols linked to it. We found three old horseshoes in the garden when we moved in. They have until today sat together on a outside windowsill. But I think we will put them up on the walls of the house after reading this.

The Ladybird is considered a harbinger of good luck and prosperity. Well our house is FULL of ladybirds all year around. I have never lived in a house that has so many. They swarm on all the windowsills on a warm day. Even when I venture outside the front of the house is crawling with them. I have always wondered what attracts them to our house.

It would seem they have bought us some good luck.

Yesterday, Hubby sealed the deal on a beautiful new apartment for our son, here

We have what is considered the best plot on the small development of 14 apartments. Its original purchaser had to pull out due to the recent changes to Govt employment. So it unexpectedly went back up for sale. My sons best friend from Junior School is moving in to the one below him, along with another old football friend. The three of them played in the same football team since they were tiny.

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Hubby had to do the deal as our son had to rush off for a football match. We had decided what we were going to pay and that we wanted to push for two car park spaces as a bonus. I disappeared into the show home, while the negotiation went on. Well all I can say is we came away VERY happy. We got everything we asked for. She asked afterwards was Hubby in sales as he is a real negotiator. I mean little did she know what she was up against, someone who negotiates massive deals as part of his job. I mean this was easy for him, she had no chance .

I mean he even got  a discount once on two sofas from Laura Ashley ! It would seem if you don’t ask you don’t get. But I do have to walk away when he is doing it, as I get the giggles.

The weirdest thing for us all is that our Son is just feet away from our first home. He has the same view I looked out on to 25 years ago. We know he will be very happy there, as it’s such a lovely place to live.

I was full of pride when the saleswomen said it was extremely rare for someone of our sons age, to have such a huge amount of money saved as a deposit. See, he is just like me. We find it hard to part with money. Our daughter should be in the same position if she continues to save almost all her wages, as she currently does.

Ryan asked me to make all the choices for flooring etc., that had to be made. He told the saleswoman I would be designing the entire apartment.

So I am all excited, especially that he should be in within 6 weeks.

Those ladybugs bought us some more good fortune yesterday. This was waiting for us in the post when we got home.

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My head is buzzing with ideas, for the apartment.

Oh and for our garden.

I was in the middle of having a massive cooking session last week. The house stunk of fish from the fish pie I was making and there was debris everywhere from the two desserts I was putting together. The doorbell went. I thought it must be one of my brood, so I went to the door in my pinney, wafting of fish. There stood an older gentlemen. In that spilt second I was trying to establish if he was likely to be a serial killer or robber. But no, he was there  to ask if we would open our garden to the public for charity, as part of the Towns May festival.

2011 April 8

 

 

 

The problem is we have lost hundreds of pounds worth of plants from the severe cold this Winter. We have trees that are struggling to come to back to life and this was going to be the year we concentrated on the garden now the house is finished.

 

 

 

I said he could have a look to see if it was good enough. We are going to be in very esteemed company. Some of the garden open have been on Hubbys wish list for years. He said it was indeed good enough, so we have been busy weeding and restocking the borders, ready for our public d├ębut.

Anyway, I hope you all find some ladybirds scattered around your homes to bring you good luck as well. I am off to the land of Shamrocks tomorrow for a little break.

Monday, 4 April 2011

I’m afraid I've written two posts.

I have so much to catch up with.

I actually managed some scrapping over a week ago. It’s the first I’ve done for yonks'. I didn’t hold out much hope of being able to concentrate or sit down. But although I left the crop early to have a well earned nap I was a amazed I got three layouts almost finished.

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and yet to be finished.

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there was lots of cutting out for the top and bottom one, which I found quite therapeutic.

Of course they have sat unfinished in a pile ever since .

Project Life Week twelve

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Project Life week thirteen

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How about this for Mothers Day.

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Plus I got a day out in London.

2011 April Mothers Day

2011 April Mothers Day1

and lots of flowers.

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Life gets in the way,

of me writing my blog. There seems to be always too much happening for me to have time to stand/sit  at my computer.

So this is a catch up of the last few weeks.

Spring has finally sprung in our house.

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First would you like a couple of chuckles at my expense.

Remember those Winter clothes I was putting away.Well I had a favourite jumper dress. At a size 18, it was a bit too big for me, but I loved it. I thought before I put it away for the next six months, I had better give it a spin in the washing machine. So I popped it in the machine with a few other hand wash items. They were put on a cool hand wash cycle and this was the result.

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Any 4 years olds out there need a dress?

Last Monday I went to my GP for a review of my medication. He thought I should try taking my anti-inflammatory tablets again. So I started taking them 3 times a day, as prescribed. They did indeed help with my pain, and I have felt soooooo much better this week. But there was one little problem, by Wednesday I had a bathroom problem. I was being woken in the night with strong stomach gripes. Every time I ate, resulted in a swift visit to the toilet. I was starting to feel a bit weak by Thursday night. Imagine my horror when I went to take my anti- inflammatory tablet with my dinner. Only to find, somehow another packet had joined them in the box.

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Yep, unbeknown to me, I had been taking laxatives, three times a day!!!!

Spring is indeed in the air here. It looks like one of my chicks is about to flee the nest.

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A house had come up for sale in the street where we first lived, when we married 25 years ago. It was perfect for my Son, just what he had been looking for.We live just around the corner, its perfect for the train to London and the price was right. Imagine my surprise that in less than 24hours. Somehow I was now buying it, and my Son had put in an offer on an amazing, brand new apartment opposite.

How did that happen?

I had been told that my Sons best friend from Junior School had just bought an apartment, in a new small development on the other side of the road. I never gave it a thought for Ryan. New builds are not our style.

So after our viewing of the house, we took Teddy for a walk back down the road and I said lets pop in and give the show home a once over. They were the same sort of price, so it would be good to compare.

We had no idea that we were about to walk into the PERFECT space for my Son. I was blown away, as was he. So over 24 hours, we discussed the pros and cons on both.

The house needs a lot of work. Hubby was extremely keen to get started (again). The apartment is the same price, about the same floor space, comes with a swish electric gated designated parking space. And two breath taking bathrooms !!! A swish trendy kitchen. And is extremely rentable.

But Hubby still wanted to go for the house. He was itching to get his tools out again. So somehow I found myself saying,  “go on then, you can buy it.”

BUT, at 5am in the morning I found myself thinking of the months ahead of him renovating yet another old house, me having to redesign another house full of rooms. And add to that an overgrown garden. As he walked through to the bathroom in the morning, I said “I’ve decided, I don’t want to buy the house.”

Thank God he replied “Me, to”

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