Thursday, November 01, 2018


This is my reading pile for the next few weeks. 

I am intrigued by the title 'Your Second Life Begins When You Realise You Only Have One', so I treated myself on our recent holiday. 

Gillian McAllister is someone whose blog I read for years, who then became a bestselling author a couple of years ago. This is her third book. I really enjoyed the first two, so I'm looking forward to reading this one. 

I'm hoping the Mindful Walking book might motivate me to go for a daily walk. I've also discovered the Health app on my iphone (that I've had for three years, and never noticed it before!), which apparently can count my steps. I'm always planning to go for a walk and never do. I find it difficult to motivate myself to walk without a destination, and the cake shop kind of defeats the object.....

I love this time of year. Dark evenings, curtains drawn and lights on early, cosy blankets on the sofa, hot chocolate and piles of books. Bliss. What could be better than Christmas books? 

I'm looking for different ways with vegetables, as I'm vegetarian and I want to try a low carb diet. Without meat and carbs, those veggies have got to work hard to be interesting! The Lisa Riley book was a bargain buy from the Oxfam book shop, it looks ok at first glance so we'll see. I was so looking forward to the Veggiestan book arriving. I ordered it used from Amazon so it was cheap, and having already borrowed it from the library I know it has some recipes in it that I'd like to make. Guess who ordered the wrong version? I need to either send it back or learn German. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


While I'm waiting for the kettle to boil for my coffee in the mornings, I often look out at the bird table to see if we've any little visitors. Today I saw an almost empty bird table, despite the huge amount of seed/mealworms/suet I put out last night. We have to do something to stop the pigeons hogging everything before the little birds get a look in! Modifications to the bird table coming up, I think. 

One visitor I do enjoy welcoming to the garden is this little chap. We put nuts out for him, but when they are gone he pinches them from the bird feeder and is gradually ruining it, it will fall to pieces soon. I'm thinking of getting a squirrel-proof feeder for the birds' nuts and a squirrel feeder for Cyril.  

You may notice the coconut shell filled with suet is tied on with an elastic band. I have to do this and twist it around the hooks to secure it or the whole shell gets taken. I'm not sure who the thief is! 

Monday, September 03, 2018

Parade of Adventures for September

Autumn is here! Well, officially I think autumn starts on 23rd September, but we're definitely heading that way. 

Here's a quick round up of how I did with August's Parade of Adventures. 

Organise the kitchen. I threw out some out of date things, filled up a couple of bags for the food bank, and rearranged things. I now know what's we've got and where it is.

Make curry buns. Not yet...

Finish my book club book. I finished it when I was halfway through, does that count? Now passed on to my friend.  

Work on a Christmas project. I did, but I now think I might keep it. 

Declutter 30 things. 18 things decluttered. 
I'm so glad it's September! I'm looking forward to all things autumnal, except Halloween.

September's Parade of Adventures, in lovely autumnal colours.

Walk through fallen leaves. Unless they don't fall until October, I'm not sure about these things!

Collect conkers. Apparently they deter spiders. 

Have a great day out in Ely for my Dad's birthday.

Take more photographs. Might even bust out the nice camera. Since I first got my iphone I am lazy and just use that mostly, as it takes a pretty good picture, but I would like to use my good camera more.

Declutter 50 things. Forever a work in progress. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018


Looking out my window....two doves and two pigeons sitting on the fence and eyeing the bird table laden with treats. The big birds eat so much! I'm going to start making a note of how much we spend on bird stuff, they go through it so quickly! I wish I knew a way to stop the big birds hogging at all. Maybe Philip can customise the bird table a bit so only the little ones fit. 

I am thinking a tomato sandwich would be nice for lunch. Philip just got back from the farm with some lovely organic bits and pieces. 

I am thankful for things to look forward to. A new volunteering opportunity, a family barbecue, a visit to an exhibition, a holiday.

One of my favourite things Coffee with cream, currently in my mug.

I am creating a cross stitched Christmas present, and just about to start a new knitting project. 

I am wearing My nightdress. Gotta love a pyjama day. Bare feet isn't working for me though, it's a bit chilly. Time to get the fluffy socks and slippers out. 

I am reading I've just given up on Keep the Home Fires Burning, that carries on where the series Home Fires left off. I got about halfway through, and lost interest. I think I'd have preferred it if it was shorter, it seems to take a very long time to tell the story. Up next, Paula Hawkins' Into the Water.

I am watching I'm working my way through Gavin and Stacey again, always funny. Last night we watched the first of Rites of Passage, an interesting series presented by Grayson Perry. I'm also loving the third series of This is Us. Oh, and I'm enjoying Fear the Walking Dead. Now there's an eclectic list.  

I am hoping that the heatwave is finally over.

In my kitchen Cold meat for Philip, something else for me, mashed potato, peas, pickle. Keeping it simple today.

In my garden My volunteer tomato plant is doing fantastically. it's full of fruit, though none are red yet. 

Board room I'm liking prayer flags and flower girl wands

goodies from the farm today. 

Linking up with the Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, August 23, 2018


How lovely is my day going to be? I came downstairs this morning to find this little pile of treasure waiting for me in various places - including thrown over the back fence by the postman, fortunately nothing is damaged! 

Jack Monroe's latest cookbook, Cooking on a Bootstrap, which I pre-ordered months ago. I love her first, A Girl Called Jack, which is currently lost in the depths of the house somewhere. It'll turn up. In the meantime, I have this one to peruse. 

I succumbed to ordering some White Hot hair products again. For a long time I used Touch of Silver by Pro:Voke, which I can buy in the shops a lot cheaper than White Hot. Touch of Silver gives a nice slightly darker grey/purple tone to my hair, but I've gone back to White Hot now, which seems to keep the tone lighter, and that's what I'm preferring at the moment. I'd recommend either to fellow crones! That's when I've not got the temporary lavender hair colour on, obviously. Then I use banana shampoo and conditioner from the Body Shop, which smells amazing. I use the shower gel too. If you're in the east London area and a woman walks past smelling strongly of bananas, it's me. 

Philip visited our son and outlaw daughter (soon to be inlaw daughter) last night to watch a film. He came back with The Greatest Showman for me to borrow and a grow-your-own-cucumber kit! I will give that a go in the Spring. 

The local adult education department sent me their Wellbeing prospectus, so I'll have a look at that over a cup of coffee, as well as a lovely little card from my friend Gail in Lancashire and a letter from my penpal. 

What a lovely pile of goodies on a grey Thursday. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cthulhu and what we are (probably) eating this week

I've been making an effort to use up everything, and it's working well. Last night around 11.30 the cavernous emptiness of the fridge finally got to me and I did the fastest-ever online shop with Tesco, as it had to be checked out by a minute past midnight if I wanted it this morning. 

Planning our meals has never been my strong point, but in the interests of being more organised and also simplifying things, I've made a loose list of movable feasts for the next few days. I probably won't stick to it. 

Veggieballs with Ikea-style cream sauce, baby new potatoes, french beans, cranberry sauce.

Roast dinner. Meat for Philip, parsnips, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, stuffing, whatever other veggies are going bendy in the fridge by then. I might have to go and buy some ready made Yorkshire puddings, as mine never come out fit for purpose. 

The elderly vegetable lasagne in the freezer.

Jacket potatoes with something.

Egg and chips, because I haven't had that for ages. A good excuse to try the organic tomato ketchup that we bought from the farm last weekend. 

For Philip's packed lunches and for mine at home, there is an assortment of things. Oatcakes, cheese, Marmite, olives, sandwich meats for P, cucumber, gorgeous tomatoes from the farm, stuffed pasta, the ingredients for curry buns. I'm sure that will keep us going for a bit. 

I also bought the bits to make mousse. The recipe doesn't seem to be where I left it (in my brain), but I'm sure it was jelly crystals, bit of water, yoghurt and quark. I guess it will still taste nice, even if it doesn't set! I shall report back in due course. 

I ordered 'perfectly imperfect' parsnips from Tesco as they were much cheaper. Is it just me, or do they look like Cthulhu? 

Monday, August 20, 2018

I want

sweet peas in our garden a few years ago

I want sweet peas all year round. 

I want hot chocolate with marshmallows.

I want to discover a new and amazing box set to watch on Netflix.

I want a tree.

I want a magic fairy to paint the garden fence overnight.

I want the world to be a better place for everyone.

I want the King to not die at the end of The King and I. 

I want a chef to cook me lovely vegetarian meals. 

I want it to be autumn.

What do you want? 

Inspired by Going Gently

Sunday, August 19, 2018

seeing things in a new way....

Nadia Sawalha has been defaced, but the recipes survived the pen

....a blurred round the edges kind of way. I picked up my first pair of varifocal glasses yesterday. Ostensibly to test them, we walked around a few charity shops, and here is my haul. Not bad for £2.50. The children's books are for my niece. I've not been in the charity shops in this particular area for years and I was surprised how low the prices are. In one shop all books and DVDs were three for a pound. We are more used to the Oxfam bookshop in Wanstead, where books can be a couple of pounds or so each, still a bargain. This is a poorer area, perhaps that's why. 

I'm not sure about the varifocals. My optician has a policy whereby I have 3 months to decide if I like them, then can change to single vision glasses or have a refund. There are just a few times when the varifocals would be really useful to me - mostly crafting related. I'm not sure the fuzzy-around-the-edges-all-day effect on my distance vision is going to be worth it, just to improve vision for my odd bit of crafting here and there. Still, I have 2 months and thirty days left to decide. I do love the new frames though.  

We had dinner later on with the Young Philosopher, who since I started this blog eight years ago went on to abandon philosophy in favour of anthropology and is now working in a bank. Maybe he should have a new nickname? I think I'll call him Joe, as that's his name. Joe and Sarah cooked a lovely roast dinner for us (no meat for me, of course) and afterwards we played Cards Against Humanity, which is aptly subtitled 'The party game for horrible people'. We had to remove some of the cards that were in too bad taste even for us! but we had fun.  

Today we're planning a quiet day. A trip to the Growing Community site to pick up some veg as usual. If it doesn't rain, I might do some washing. I'd like to work on my cross stitch project. It's all go around here. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Parade of Adventures for August

When I used to blog here regularly, a looong time ago, I used to do these posts so I thought I'd have another go. Things I'd like to get to doing this month. Just a few to be written here, because if I wrote down all the things that need doing, (and I have done that before! Don't ask to see my Master To-Do List, it's simultaneously awe-inspiring and depressing), we would be here for for hours.  

We're 18 days into August already, so this won't be a very long list. 

Organise the kitchen. I'm cheating slightly here, as I've made a start. Our tiny kitchen is crammed with stuff, so much so that part of the, also tiny, worktop permanently contains groceries that don't fit into the cupboards. This week I had an epiphany that has resulted in me deciding that keeping half a dozen tins of every conceivable foodstuff I might need is unnecessary. Who knew? So I've started sorting out. Two carrier bags of food are going to the food bank this weekend, and I have a clearer worktop and a bit of space in the cupboards. Result. I still have a bit to do, like find a home for fifteen spice jars that don't fit on the spice rack. 

Make curry buns. I found all the ingredients in the cupboard. I don't like making them, mainly due to the cleaning of the mucky pans afterwards, but Philip really likes them in his lunches for work. I'm not even sure I can remember the recipe. Chickpea dhal, onion, rice, an assortment of spices and a number of eggs, I'm just not sure which number. What could go wrong?

Finish my book club book. We're reading Keep the Home Fires Burning by S Block, the book that continues where the series Home Fires left off a couple of years ago. I need to get it finished to lend to my friend in time for her to read it too, before the next book club session. 

Work on a Christmas project. I'm making a couple of gifts and I know from experience what it's like to be sewing/knitting like mad at the last minute! Not this year. 

Declutter 30 things. This should be incredibly easy as I've not had a serious sort out for a couple of years. I should be able to identify 30 things to go in a couple of hours, easy. Watch this space. 

Those five things are enough I think. Let's see how I get on.

Friday, August 17, 2018

making things

One of the most relaxing things I've ever made. Very therapeutic.

I've been going to a new craft group on a Thursday afternoon. It's walking distance from the house, although I did get a bus the day that I took an enormous watermelon to a bring and share lunch (Yes, I carried a watermelon). It's a small gathering of women, with a very laid back feel and we mostly work on the same project. We've made pincushions, had a go at watercolour painting, knitted squares for a communal blanket that we haven't got a use for yet! and a very kind and extremely patient woman is teaching me to use a sewing machine, very brave of her. I really enjoy it.

I've been doing cross stitch for years, but on aida, with smaller and closer-together holes than this. This is more like the fabric we used in primary school, I think it was called binca, I don't know if it still is. I say we used, but everyone else seems to have made a mat for their Mum except me. My brother made one, it sat under our living room waste paper basket for years. Have you still got it Mum? (I know she's lurking). Anyway, I never made one, I must have been off that day.

This project was delightfully simple, and easy to finish at home in front of the TV without having to use much concentration. We decided on our own designs, I chose hearts. I found it so relaxing! The bookmark itself is enormous though, and hangs out a lot at the top and bottom of a novel, I don't know why it didn't occur to me to cut the piece of fabric I was given smaller before I started. It will have to be a bookmark to use in especially big books.

Fortuitously enough, I am currently working my way through an especially big book, River Cottage Veg Every Day. I'm pescetarian (no meat, only fish) but not really a fan of Quorn type fake meat, with a few exceptions such as veggieballs and veggie hot dog sausages, of course. I do a mean Ikea meatball sauce! I use veggie hot dogs for a kind of trailer trash version of spaghetti carbonara. I've dug out a few vegetarian and vegan cookbooks for inspiration. A couple of weeks ago I was given a pattypan squash, and it ended up in this recipe. I was pleased to also be able to use the french beans that we bought at the allotment open day.

Much more attractive than mine.

I tweaked it as always, being incapable of following a recipe. I didn't use garlic - I think the night I made it we were going out and I didn't want us to smell! I also used a tin of sweetcorn because well, buying corn on the cob and having the hassle of cutting it all off? Nah. I think I might have thrown a sad and neglected potato or two and a lonely red pepper in there too. I made enough for a several servings and then basically lived off it for three days. Who wants to cook every day? Answer: not me.

I was given another pattypan squash this week, I might try a different recipe from the big cookbook. Any excuse to use the enormous bookmark.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Oh, hello.....

I popped out for five minutes in August 2016 and forgot to come back. 

Things have happened, as they do. We lost our lovely dog Star just over a year ago. I miss her, especially during the day, when I am mostly here on my own. The house seems very empty without her. 

In October 2016 my brother's baby girl was born and I am loving being an Auntie for the first time. 

We bought our house last April and embarked on decorating throughout. So far we've a new gas fire and sofa, some electrical work done, partially stripped the walls and ripped up the carpet. There's a long way to go...and a lot of money to be saved up to pay for it. We found a 1920 farthing on the floorboards but I don't think that will go far towards it...

I am very proud to say that the Young Philosopher graduated last year - actually in Anthropology, although when I started this blog years ago, his interest was in Philosophy. Maybe I should call him the Young Anthropologist. 

He and Miss Disney got engaged and are hoping to get married fairly soon, which is lovely! I am thrilled for them. She is a lovely young woman and they are so well suited.

Since recovering from ME/CFS in November 2015, I was at a bit of a loose end for a while. Having been unable to do much at all for about seven years, I found myself in the situation of not knowing what I wanted to do. I've been getting involved with more things locally, I joined a second WI, and I've been attending some local craft workshops and learning new things. I'm also considering doing some voluntary work. Or even some paid work, if I could find something suitable - I'm kind of uniquely qualified for nothing - or rather the thing I am qualified in I no longer want to do. 

Oh - and I turned 50 on New Year's Day. I am working on a list of 50 things to do to celebrate. Any ideas?