Monday, 27 February 2012

Try a New Hairstyle Day!

Time for my annual haircut, I went for the same as usual but, as it's so long between cuts it always looks very different!

I went for the same but that's not quite what I got - in fact I ended up with something very different to what I went for.  I also followed my hairdressers advice and stopped dying it red, instead I've got for a cappuccino golden brown colour.

Unfortunately I don't like the cut at all at the moment, I'm now very bobbed in a similar way to when I was a teen (I'm hoping it'll grow on me!) and I'm undecided about the colour!

So. There are no photo's on this one - once I become more accustomed to my new 'do' and don't feel like crying every time I look in the mirror (ok, it's not actually THAT bad) I'll stick a photo up!

The long term plan is to wait for my hair to grow a bit longer and go back to have it layered and looking more like I had planned!

Still, I suppose, as it was Try a New Hairstyle Day at least I can say I definitely achieved it!


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Chips We Love You and National Wear Red Day!

Ah, it was only as I was getting dressed (in all grey) on Friday morning listening to the radio that I was reminded that it was also National Wear Red Day! 

Quick wardrobe change and ready for off!

Well it's Friday so it's chips on the menu at work (or yellow food day as we affectionately call it!) and the addition of a bit of sauce ensured that my chips also wore red!

Then I joined the 3 muskateers (Kevin, Ray and Ken) for Friday takeaway where we had chips again - chips, today, we do love you!

Next year I'm going to have a go at making my own in the oven again!


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Old School Day!

As I had one of my oldest friends visiting this week I decided to make it 'Old School Day' for her visit!

She arrived with a gift for me from my favourite jewellery place (thank god there's not a shop in Harrogate!) which really cheered me up!

As we were both feeling a little fed up we decided to go out on the town, Nadine almost changed her mind when I threatened to wear this.................

(I told you I'd put a photo on soon of the bear hat thingy!)
We had a great time (although it was utterly deserted in town) starting with an example of my usual clumsiness when I walked smack into a parking ticket machine - I am considering complaining to the council though, I think they put it right next to a cash machine on purpose and someone is having a right laugh watching the CCTV of people walking into it as they turn away from the cash point, or maybe it's just me?!)

When Nadine went she left something at my place by accident so sent me her new address so I could post it to her, I couldn't believe it when I read it - Old School Avenue!!


Friday, 24 February 2012

Bake a Cake Day!

I should really have saved this one for another day - I feel like I've spent the entire weekend (and last weekend with the Valentine buns) in the kitchen!

I should also have really been paying more attention to what I was doing!  What I was planning to do was bake a dual purpose cake - for Ray's birthday and also for Boss visiting Harrogate (he always seems to miss any baked goods that are on the go in the office!), and I kind of did - just not quite as planned.

I stuck to the old favourite Victoria Sandwich, I only have one cake tin so usually do half the recipe and use the same tin twice.  Oooops - because I wasn't fully concentrating on what I was doing I ended up halving the ingredients I'd already halved and produced a very thin sandwich!  So I had to use the same tin three times and go with a triple layered cake!

Then I remembered that I've left my cake container at Kevin and Rays so had to improvise!  I decided to transport the cake to work in the only other airtight container it would fit in!

Which meant I also had to take the jam and icing sugar to work and assemble the cake once I got there!

Yes, I know, I also forgot the blummin cream!!


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Experimental Cooking Day!

Last year after Experimental Cooking Day a few suggestions were made as to what I could do this year - I decided to go with the 'Batter and deep fry things which shouldn't be battered and deep fried' suggestion!

So, I employed the assistance of a chef - Webby (well, to be honest he was in charge and I was doing the assisting!), put together a shopping list and got stuck in.

Always conscious of health and safety I made sure we were covered in case anything went wrong........

'things to be battered'
1) Cheese
2) Bacon
3) Polos
4) Cream Crackers
4) Battenberg Cake
5) Jelly Babies
6) Chocolate Buttons
7) Flying Saucers

First up was battered cheese cubes, we coated them in flour, dipped them in the batter and dropped them in the pan.  The batter was perfect and it all reacted very well in the pan with little leakage.

The results looked very good when removed from the pan.

We gave this a score of 9/10, they tasted really good and I'd actually consider serving this as a starter with some sort of dipping sauce!

Next up was the bacon, no issues with the flouring and battering so straight in the pan it went - another 'successful in pan' item.

Again, the results when removed from the pan were very good (although some pieces did look like prawns!).

This was a 10/10, tasted fantastic and a really good way to stretch a pack of bacon - 1 slice produced about 7 of the 'battered bacon bites'.

Then we decided to do the polos, bit of an issue here with flouring (obviously it wouldn't stick!) so we did our best and dropped them in!  Amazingly they retained their holes in the pan!

They looked much better than we'd hoped when they were done and were still recognisable as polos!

Hmmm, these only got 4/10 and were considered to be something you should never put in your mouth - bizarrely though they tasted of mint choc chip ice cream!?!

Cream Crackers (pieces of) next - same problem with flouring but battered well.    

In no way recognisable as Cream Crackers!

This didn't work that well, only 5/10, it all just tasted very dry.

Time to move on to the messier stuff!

Battenburg Cake - awesome idea, can't remember whose suggestion it was but well done!  Floured and battered well, resembled cheese on toast in the pan although this was the first item that smelt like something burning in the pan!

Looked a little like waffles (burnt ones) when we brought them out, really impressed that they still looked like Battenburg when we cut into them :-)

Looked ok but didn't taste that good, strong taste of Battenburg but so, so wrong with batter!

Jelly Babies!!! No flour required, battered well but didn't really survive the drop in the pan!

Meltdown!!  Jelly Baby blood!

Kind of looked like something from 'Alien' when removed from the pan and especially when I tried to pick one up to eat it and it was stuck to the paper with a translucent gooey mess - ugh.

Not a pleasant experience at all, 1/10 at best - although the longer it was in my mouth the more it started to taste like a strawberry Opal Fruit (or for those born after the '80's...a Starburst)

Chocolate buttons, disaster!  As expected the chocolate just melted in the pan (there wasn't even time to take a photo!) and we were left with little round hollow shells!

Couldn't really give this any more than 0/10 - lightly chocolate flavoured batter shells.

We saved the flying saucers for last (Webby was slightly concerned that they might actually explode when we dropped them in the pan!), apart from sticking to each other these battered really well!!

Looked kind of distrurbing when cut in half and tasted absolutely foul!  8/10 for battering success but 0/10 for taste!

Overall the bacon and cheese were the only total successes, I don't think I'll be rushing to eat any of the rest again in a hurry!

Thinking cap on for next year now!


Monday, 20 February 2012

Meet Someone New Day!

I wasn't sure whether I was going to manage this one but, as it turned out, it was actually very easy!

I got a phone call from my landlord yesterday to advise me that he's bought a new kitchen hood and arranged for it to be fitted tomorrow (Friday - today)!  I've got a few days leave built up (and I always prefer to be here when a stranger is going to be in my home!) so I booked a day off and met the electrician!

Very nice chap, we ranted about the state of the nation over a cuppa while he did a great job fitting the hood (unfortunately it doesn't work as I have to wait for the landlord to order the filters and also to sort out 'making good' around the new hood (which is a couple of inches narrower on either side than the old one) - won't hold my breath for that then!).


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Try Something New Day!


I don't know whether there was something in the air today but it seemed to be a bit of a pants day all round for everyone really!

Being aware that wine/alcohol is the answer (I know this to be true because a Dr told me - hello Dr Clare!) I contacted Bernie and she came over, with wine.  We didn't have a question but sought an answer anyway ;-)

We often order a chinese take away when we have these impromptu get togethers and always order the same thing so it was time to 'try something new' for a change.  Really glad we did, much as I enjoy our usual fare we were both very impressed with everything new we ordered - in fact I'll be finishing the leftovers today!


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Put the World to Rights Day!

Ah, Mr Matthews!

Beautiful warming casserole, red wine, excellent company, Ray snoring in the corner, whiskey and good conversation - situation normal!

I'm not sure we put the world to rights but I am sure we gave it our usual fine effort!


Friday, 17 February 2012

Send Lots of Valentine's! (or I Love Me Day!)

Or send none!

For the first year I can remember I didn't send any at all, and I think I was actually much happier for it!

I did, however, take in the Valentine buns I'd made for the office - and here are the promised photos.....

Then when I got home I settled down to watch Valentine's Day with a glass (or two) of red wine, flatbread, pate, Dolcetta, olives, pickled onions, beetroot and sundried tomatoes!
Happy (Valentine's) Days!


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pottering Only Sunday!

I cheated a little with this one and started a day early!

I decided to treat myself for Valentine's Day this year (on the grounds that I wouldn't be doing anything too disimilar to what I normally do every year except that this year I'd be doing it for me instead (and without the tinge of disappointment that no effort is ever made in return!)!  In fact, I think I'd recommend to most couples that Valentine's Day should really be spent alone!), and I started on Saturday (I'm having two Valentine's this year!).  So, I put on a face mask, then jumped in the shower to use my very nice St. Ives body scrub, then ran a hot deep bath and got in with a large glass of red wine, a few chocolates (in a little dish) and a Dragon's Egg bath ballistic from Lush!

Then I settled down to some romantic drivel on the telly with my Dolcetta, pate, flatbread, olives, pickled onions, beetroot and sundried tomatoes - and another glass of red (of course)!

This well and truly put me in the mood for pottering only on Sunday so I decided to spend pretty much the whole day baking!  I tried a recipe for vanilla/custard buns with jam in the middle from the recipe book LMS and Boss bought me for Christmas - the first batch were um, to put this............, pretty disastrous.  The next two went much better (although the jam that's supposed to be in the middle of each bun may not be quite in the middle of each.........) but it was the decorating that took the longest amount of time.  I made two lots of glace icing (1 white, 1 red) and went crazy with white chocolate curls, dark chocolate hearts, red shimmer sugar, silver chocolate hearts, pink glimmer sugar, hundreds and thousands etc etc!

Pictures will follow when I post for 'Send Lots of Valentine's Day'.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Most Wardrobe Malfunctions in a Week!

I seem to have been having more than usual issues with my clothing/accessories this week for some reason!

It started on Thursday when I got on the bus, sat down, put my change in my bag and then panicked about where my fingerless mittens were!  I knew I'd had them on when I was standing at the bus stop and couldn't remember taking them off to pay the driver etc.  I looked all around my seat and up and down the aisle before realising that they were still on my blummin hands!

Returning home in the early hours of Friday it then stands to reason that I couldn't get my boots off - I'd double knotted them (as I usually do) so pulled on the end of one lace expecting the whole lot to nicely unravel (as it usually does).  No, of course it couldn't possibly be that simple could it?  Instead the whole lot knotted up even further (seriously, you'd think I'd been reading up on bondage techniques - oh,, never mind!) prompting me to start tugging on any piece of bootlace I could get hold of (by now starting to panic slightly - it happens whenever I can't get something off me!).  By now the whole thing has tightened up considerably and it's difficult to see which bit of knot belongs to which end of bootlace so I do the only sensible thing in this situation (at 3.30am with a few alcoholic beverages in me) and take a screwdriver to it.  After stabbing ineffectually at the knot for several frustration releasing seconds I took a few deep calming breaths and started the long labourious task of working the screwdriver through the knots.  10 minutes later I was able to free my foot - RESULT!

It's only right that I should go for the hat trick so I thought I'd try taking my ipod into the sauna with me on Saturday.  I'd walked to Auntie Betty's in the freezing cold which had quite effectively almost killed my ipod battery charge so I put it down my top to re-heat it.  I then somehow managed to get undressed, wrap myself in a towel and sit in the sauna for 20 minutes with my ipod stuck to my body!  It was only discovered towelling off after the sauna when it fell off me - amazingly it still works!!


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Ladies Wot Lunch Day!

Hmm, I suspect this one may not have happened had it been the boozy night we had anticipated the night before!

As it was we had a very nice lunch (the fish finger buttie was great!) and early afternoon at P&P with some wine which we were instructed to drink now while young and fresh - it was refering to us wasn't it?

Then Bernie and I purchased bear type hat things (photo of bear type head thing will appear over the next few days - we probably shouldn't be allowed out together without supervision!) and wondered round getting the bits I wanted for the first half of my Valentine celebrations!

Much as I enjoyed the day I have to admit that it was lovely to get back home again and get an early night!


Monday, 13 February 2012

WI Thursday!

It's that time of month again - and this month it tasting!

We had such big plans for this evening, start off respectably at the WI wine tasting, then move on to less respectable beverage consumption at Debbie's including games devised by Sara which would no doubt entertain and amuse all (and probably also end up being educational in ways you probably never thought possible!)!

Due to Debbie and, to a lesser degree, I being infected with the horrible bug currently doing the rounds plus the fact that the nice chap doing the wine tasting was just a tad waffly so it took longer than we thought (some people even had to leave before it was finished!), it was a 'light' version of planned events.

The WI wine tasting was good fun - here's the wine on offer.......................

I can't say any of the wines particulary stood out for me but I did enjoy the Prosecco, the Picpoul and the Red Muscadel.

There was almost an embarrassing moment for Bernie when she was telling me that she thought her snake was dead so she was blowing him - just as it went quiet in the room!

It was also fun to slip and slide back to Debbie's place after the wine tasting where we all met the lovely Bella!


It was a great and late night but a poor effort at the plans we'd made to get more than a little sloshed!  Still at least it left us all in a better condition for our Ladies Wot Lunch day the next day!


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Totally WOW Wednesday!

Kind of - despite the fact that I have a very sore throat and was up all night feeling like I'd swallowed a pack of razor blades :-(  It appears there's some sort of throat bug thing going around the office, happy days!

Ah well, at least I got a lift home - courtesy of a handbag.  Which Bernie left at mine the night before.  I took it to work with me and got a lift home when she came to pick it up - bonus!

Other than that I think the only other WOW thing about today (which is kind of actually about yesterday - technically) is that one of my Ladybird books sold for £35 on Ebay - woo hoo and WOW and all that!

Settling down to a bowl of soup (due to the fact that the microwave at work broke on Monday I now have 40 tins of soup which I can no longer take for my lunch!) and a bit of mindless telly before an early night rounded of the day nicely.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Must Remember Stuff for This Week!

Must remember.....................

1) use the gold dust spray stuff every day for the cosmetic trial
2) remember you have Thursday and Friday off - DO NOT go to work
3) remember someone's coming to pick all your old clothes up on Thursday
4) Orange Thursday
5) catch up TV to catch up on this week (Call the Midwife, Inside Men)
6) take cash to join WI on Thursday - and bottle of wine
7) transfer ebay earnings
8) shopping list for Friday

That's enough to be going on with for now I reckon!


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Most Unusual Thing Last Week!

This would have to be either the MRI, the fact that I don't breathe properly, the security alert or the 7 hour snowfall on Saturday. It was probably going to be Experimental Cooking Day but, as that's been postponed, it didn't leave much to choose from!                        

Next week I've got to write about the most incredible thing last week (this week) so I'd best make sure there's some incredible stuff occuring!


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Security Alert! Security Alert!

Ok, so I'm all for tight security when it comes to banking and my money etc but why my bank found it necessary to put a block on my card in the early hours of this morning when Asda tried to process payment for my usual bi-monthly online shopping order I have no idea! 

Yes, yes, I understand that sometimes people steal cards etc and decide it's fun to get some free household shopping out of it but surely common sense dictates that if suspicious activity is suspected you'd look for similar activity on the account?  Or maybe not.  I don't know how these things work and don't get me wrong I am grateful that someone out there has my back when it comes to this type of fraudulent activity but a simple check and even an idiot would be able to see a regular payment of a similar amount to the same place every 2 months for the last 2 years!!

This simple check might just have prevented Asda sending me a text at 5.45am on a Saturday morning asking me to contact them before 6.45am to avoid cancellation of my shopping order due today.  This would also have avoided me having to get up, call the number provided and then try to contact Asda to verify the validity of this whole thing before giving my card details out over the phone.  In a masterstroke of excellent customer service you can't speak to anyone before 7am - most frustrating when you've been given a deadline of 6.45am to call back with your card details!  A call to the bank and it's all sorted.

But..............I'm wide awake and can't even go back to bed because my blummin shopping order's due this morning!

Saturday, 4 February 2012


Apparently, in addition to not walking properly, I've also been breathing incorrectly all these years - really it's a wonder I've lasted this long!

My physio discovered that the reason I struggle with some exercises is because I'm subconciously holding my breath while I'm doing them - and the reason I'm doing that is because I'm breathing from the wrong place (so I can't do the exercises and breathe at the same time)!

Anyway, so now I find I'm having to learn to breathe all over again - the most important thing to to do when breathing is continue!  Do you know there's actually a Breathing for Dummies thing (from the 'for Dummies' range) - thank God!

Speaking of taking deep breaths (which I was, in a roundabout kind of way) - I've had to do this a few times recently.  Specifically with my local MP (but that's a story for another day) and, bizarrely, charities!!

I'm trying to donate a  lot of unwanted books and assorted bric-a-brac - and no-one seems to want it!  It's not like it's a load of rubbish either (I binned all of that!), I do wonder whether this is just endemic to Harrogate charity shops (being posher than elsewhere - obviously) or whether this phenomena is more widespread.  I remember back when charity shops would take anything - and were grateful for it!  Mind you, I have noticed that Harrogate charity shops do seem to be more expensive than elsewhere which probably explains it, they can no longer shift the stuff they do have so can't make room for more FREE STUFF WHICH PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO GIVE THEM FREE OF CHARGE, GRATIS, FOR FREE, NADA, NO CHARGE!


Am I the only one who now finds themselves in the ludicrous position of having to actually take perfectly good stuff to the bloody tip?!



Thursday, 2 February 2012

Stroke Soft Things* (*ask permission first)

I'm glad this happened today as I didn't really have a day planned in - I was just going to wing it and see what pointless stuff I could write about at the end of the day!

Instead I now have focused pointless stuff to tell you about.

I changed the list of 'things to do this month' on the office door this morning and within minutes Debbie called in closely followed by Elaine wearing a very fetching shrug type thing - a very soft and furry fetching shrug type thing.  Debbie couldn't resist reaching out and having a stroke at which point I realised that stroking soft things (with permission) was on the list I'd just put up.

This may even be the first time we've managed to achieve a list item on the first day of the month (round of applause please).

What a relief it happened so early in the day too - I didn't have to spend the rest of the day desperately trying to think of a way to make anything else about the day sound even remotely interesting enough to scribble about.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

That Was January Then!

It started with a cold, an early spring clean and the loss of the inspirational Kristian Anderson. 

There's been bunting making, powerballads and tea with Pops and Olive.

Early hour cups of tea in taxi offices, Grand National bunnies and rainbow feathered fans.

(All of a sudden I have 'these are a few of my favourite things, lalala lala lala lala la' in my mind)

Satay on Santa, Rufus Sewell, comfort food and Billy Ocean.

MRI's, Barney Blue and books about biscuits and tea!