Tuesday, 29 December 2015

MullBarry Wine!

Mull stuff day - I had some mulled wine at several points this week and also spent a fair amount of time mulling things over!

Listen to Barry White day - believe it or not Barry White never recorded a Christmas song, or not one that I can find anyway. And if it's not Christmas it's not playing in December!

So, you can have this instead...

Monday, 21 December 2015

Believe in horizontal panicking!

Believe in Santa day - I'm no fair-weather part-time believer, I believe every day!

Panic shopping day - This doesn't happen, I finished my Christmas shopping on 5th December!

Be horizontal day - This could have been a couple of days this week, largely due to medication wiping me out and making getting out of bed a challenge at times, luckily when I did make it downstairs to be horizontal on the sofa all day I had my new Amazon fire stick to play with. Otherwise I fear I may have succumbed to a bit of Mr Kyle!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Six Slippers!

Slippers appreciation day - I realised this week that I don't wear my many pairs of slippers enough - not all at the same obviously, I only have 2 feet. So I've made it my mission to wear them more - instead of waiting until I can't feel my feet and notice that they're starting to turn blue!

Tell people you have a six-pack day - The only six pack people would believe I had would be of the alcoholic variety! Which makes me sound like I have a problem - which I don't. Well I do but not with alcohol. Or with any other substance abuse. Never mind - I'll quit while I'm behind haha!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Start Getting Excited About Christmas!


I started this about a month ago when I started watching Christmas movies, some may say it's too early but I stick my tongue out to them! If it makes you feel warm and glowy and more inclined to be less intolerant of the other humans then you should get as much of it as often, and as soon, as you like! 

The excitement really ramped up this week though when we put the tree up - when I say put the tree up it's code for turned the house into a grotto!

That nice Mr Matthews bought me a gingerbread letter to Santa which came with red icing so I could write my own message to him so I got on with that first...

I made sure I was suitably attired, the music came on and the sherry came out and we made a start by decorating the bedroom and the first tree...

Bonnie seemed unimpressed with my striped elf leggings (and really didn't like the jingly elf slippers), she did love her own festive outfit though!

John made an interesting addition to the Nativity...

...and was also in charge of decorating the ceiling!

And I did the shelves....I did have a bit of a wobbly moment when I came across Rosie and Jemima's stockings so I put their stockings with them on the shelf along with a Christmas flower arrangement - and then bought Bonnie (and Clyde - because everyone else had one) a stocking which turned out to be much larger than expected and had to be hung at the side of the fireplace rather than over it with ours!

Next came the fireplace...

...and the coffee table became a candle table!

We put our Christmas Story advent calendar up and the second tree to be decorated was John's Bonsai - I knew if I kept hold of the miniature old-fashioned wooden ornaments they'd come in handy one day! 

And then we came to THE tree, the base finally broke (the tree's from when I when I was a young child so it's done very well for it's age!) so we had to secure it all with string, then we discovered the lights were broken so had to go into town (a 35 minute walk each way in horrendous weather) but it was worth it in the end (and I much prefer the new lights) - despite the fact that whichever way you photograph it the shape of the tree resembled the sorting hat in Harry Potter!

 Apparently most people don't decorate their bathrooms - a missed opportunity if you ask me!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

November Mission - The Results!

Nope, I don't even remember having a biscuit this month and I know I definitely didn't dunk one!

My secret weapon though is this wonderful book which Anna bought me for a previous biscuit related challenge! It has a whole section on dunking, I won't spoil it for you but I will say that if ever I were to feel the urge to dunk I'd definitely go for the Australian Tim Tam Slam method!

Despite the fact that I didn't actually do any dunking I do have the perfect mug for it - thanks again to Anna's thoughtful generosity :-)

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

December Mission!

My final challenge before graduating in the school of greatness is to BTHPARTY

To bring peace, light, fun and board games to every occasion
To remember nibbles, flowers and a bottle of wine
To never be empty-handed and always be full-bodied
To show them all how sherry is drunk and presents are opened with true grace
To be truly grateful for the bath salts and the jumper with dangly bits on the front and not internally grimace at all
To open my heart to all that has been and all that is yet to come


Monday, 30 November 2015

Those were the parties!

Perfect a party trick day - I confess that I didn't get around to doing this one, however I was impressed at Kevin's party trick of matching the Le Bistrot Pierre cheeses to people at Bernie's birthday celebration!

Apparently Kevin himself is the Fourme d'Ambert (rich and creamy apparently!) and I'm the St Marcellin (nutty - although personally I think it's more to do with young and tender) and Ray's the Tomme de Savoire (I daren't even comment on this!) - Ray did get his revenge by saying that the Saint Maure could apply equally to either Kevin or myself as we both seem to be companions to many white wines!

How very rude! And totally unfounded of course...

Those were the days day - Some day these will be the days we'll look back on and remember as the 'good old days' - a scary thought lately!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Parsnip Appreciation!

Parsnip appreciation day - I used to really, really dislike parsnips. 

But then I also couldn't stand bacon until my Dad made me bacon sandwiches when I was about 5 or 6 and was really poorly having just come out of hospital - I can still picture him walking in the room with the plate of quartered butties, I don't think I've every tasted anything so good (except maybe cream crackers smothered with Primula (ham or prawn) and then topped with thinly sliced cheddar)! And I used to refuse to eat spaghetti so while everyone else was tucking into spag bol I just had the sauce with cream crackers, I also wouldn't eat any of the tuna kedgeree type dish we used to have except for the tuna so used to sit for ages picking tuna flakes out of rice!

Happily I grew out of all these strange dislikes and now enjoy bacon, spaghetti and all of the tuna, egg and rice dish!

Anyway, I digress. Back to parsnips...

Rather than doing the usual roast parsnips I made some crisp honey mustard ones which were delicious and also some parsnip hash browns which were surprisingly very good (thanks to John's grating skills!)!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Don't worry, get mashed!

Mashed foods day - I didn't even manage any all week! The BBC have some good ideas though and it is getting to the time of year for good old comfort food...

BBC Good Food top 10 ways to use up mashed potatoes!

Don't worry about anything day - This goes against my nature but I really did try! This reminded me though of the time Bernie and I were leaving a concert (Billy Ocean or Michael Bolton I think) and, rather than get caught up in the crazy rush of cars trying to get out of the car park at the same time and getting nowhere fast, we just sat comfortably waiting with the windows rolled down and 'Don't worry, be happy' belting out at full blast - much to the amusement of the other vehicle owners in our proximity :-)

Monday, 9 November 2015

Powerful Excitement!

Get excited about fireworks day - I was in Eastbourne for fireworks day so I was excited about seeing something different but sad to be missing the Stray fireworks, I wonder if we'd have attempted another hot dog picnic if we'd been here!

Powerballad day - I was quite surprised at John's powerballad skills this week. 

No, I don't mean singing - although that would have been very entertaining! After incorrectly guessing Peter Cetera as the singer for every single end-of-movie theme we've seen recently (I think he's seen Karate Kid ll too many times - interesting fact time though...Glory of Love was originally written as the closing theme to Rocky lV apparently) he was finally right when it turned out to be Peter Cetera and Cher at the end of 'Chances Are'. 

The recent viewing of 'Only You' sparked a nostalgic journey through cheesy 80's movies including 'Chances Are' and 'Maid to Order'. Oh dear.

But seriously, how on earth could you confuse the Powerballad King (Mr Bolton himself) with Peter Cetera? Having said that, there's no denying Mr Cetera's skill either - in fact I think I need to stay away from YouTube, I've just spent an inordinate amount of time unintentionally listening to one 80's powerballad after another!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

October Mission - The Results!

So, in the pursuit of a fabulous tomorrow I did indeed look into the tea leaves and the cards!

I found an "authentic" online tarot card reading at tarot4me.com, which sounded exactly like the sort of reliable and credible source I was looking for...

I particularly liked that my card to "describe situations that are currently helping or interfering with my progress" was 'The Fool' and the advice was to "look out for those that think they know what they are doing but really have no idea." I don't need to look out for them, they seek me out with little or no encouragement. On a daily basis.

It seems my 'Present' card is 'Judgement', "If I get things right then everything will turn out in my favour, if not then there may be problems ahead." Well duh. Apparently the 'Future', being 'The Sun' card means a happy period for me though so I guess maybe that means I'll get things right?

When it comes to my 'Goal' it appears that 'The Moon' means that there are forces working against me. Would that be all 43 of them or just the usual "treachery, deception, and unknown danger."  it portents?

When it comes to 'Myself' my card is 'The Star', basically I'm awesome and the future is bright. No surprise to anyone that one then.

My 'Outside Influences' over which I have no control are represented by 'The Tower' card, apparently "this is not a very nice card when associated with the devil or death" - I only have 2 cards left to turn over at this point...

And wouldn't you just know it - my 'Inner Self' card is indeed 'The Devil'. It represents that my "actions are motivated by negative influences such as temptation, addiction, greed, lust or power. Alternatively, I may be the victim and suffer from lack of control, subordination, weakness, and now find myself trapped in a situation I never intended to get into." Yep, that sounds like me, all of it ;-)

My final card 'The Outcome' is 'Temperance', which seems to imply that "with patience and moderation my future will stabilise and I can look forward to a time of happiness and harmony." It does also warn though to avoid friends or family upsetting this harmony with their problems.

So all in all as long as I avoid the forces working against me, treachery, deception, unknown danger, those who don't know what they're doing and friends or family with problems then everything should come up smelling of roses. Simples.

Moving swiftly on to the tea leaves....

...you too can teach yourself to read tea leaves here. I say "too" but perhaps this is misleading - my attempt was such an abomination that I couldn't even bring myself to photograph the resulting mushy mess. If my cards are anything to go by I may have just sealed my fate by not doing this right as per the 'Judgement' card presiding over my 'Present'. Bring forth the forces of treachery, deception and unknown dangers - not quite the fabulous tomorrow I was seeking!

And I'm still waiting to get my email from Alisha who claimed she was going to "get to work right away and send my revelations that nobody has ever been capable of revealing to me before now"...

Call me a cynic but I strongly suspect that every single person using this completely free service may find that they've arrived at just the right time as she was right in the middle of a Numerology session. In fact a number probably appeared when they arrived.Number 7. Immediately, she may see a brunette whose name starts with the letter M...

In keeping with the destiny/fate type theme (and the fact that it's Halloween) I also watched the one and only film featuring a ouji board which you're ever likely to get me to see (I cannot believe this film is 21 years old!!)!

And I'd totally forgotten that the theme song is by Mr Bolton!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Scary possibilities!

Make the impossible possible Day - I actually did this last week! For the last several months it's been absolutely impossible to arrange a get together with a certain couple of friends (you know who you are!).

No joke, between all our diaries (social butterflies that we are - haha, I wish, it's mainly been because of work!) it's taken literally months to sort something out. However, last week I was absolutely determined so gave a list of dates and suggested that we either consider a night we wouldn't usually socialise on (Monday) or give up altogether!

The impossible became a reality last Monday when we all had a lovely evening together over lamb stew, a few bottles of red, Trivial Pursuits and several hands of Scabby Bitch (it's a card game!)

Halloween - we really wanted to try this but it'll have to wait til next year or the year after, so this year we had our annual pumpkin carving competition...

and the 'loser' was sacrificed for the best pumpkin soup I've ever had (my own recipe too!)!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 large garlic gloves crushed/finely diced
300g white potatoes
1kg pumpkin peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
handful fresh coriander chopped
1 litre chicken stock (I made using 2 knorr chicken stock pots)
1/2 cup double cream
100g spicy chorizo sliced, quartered, fried (no oil required) and then drained on kitchen roll

Heat oil in large (very large!) pan and add onion and garlic. Cook stirring for 3 minutes or until onion has softened, add potato and pumpkin. Cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until potato starts to brown. Add chilli flakes, ground cumin and ground coriander. Stir well and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, cover, bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes then set aside for a couple of minutes to cool. Use a hand blender to blend it in batches then return it all to the pan on a low heat, add the cream, chopped fresh coriander and chorizo, season with pepper and serve with toasted bread!

And then we decided to take ourselves off to the Pine Woods for the Halloween walk! 

Now we've walked through the pine woods before in almost dark conditions (against my better judgement) and I swore I'd never do it again - not to mention the bizarre things I've seen in the daytime - yet, at my suggestion, we found ourselves wandering over to see what it was all about! It wasn't quite what either of us was expecting, we thought it would be a group walk through the pine woods and that there'd be spooky things along the way (like when they did the scarecrows along the path) but it was nothing like that and we left, having walked 'the walk' in just over 5 minutes. 

After a look around the gift shop at Harlow Carr John gave me the option of heading to Charlie's via the safe and well lit main road or to take the eerie and terrifying route through the pine woods proper (by now it was approaching true darkness). In a fit of what can only be described as madness I opted for the latter. By the time we were halfway through it was pitch black, my death grip on John's hand had cut off the circulation to his fingers, and by the time some idiot on a bike, with no lights, came up behind us I was ready to drop to the floor, curl up in a ball and scream my lungs out (which wouldn't take long)!

After a couple of much needed drinks at Charlie's it was time to head home (via the safe and well lit main road) to watch suitable Halloween entertainment with plenty of trick or treat goodies (I always buy some and no-one ever knocks - waste not want not haha!).

And then I spent half the night awake and terrified just waiting for it to get light so I could get up!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

November Mission!

November's mission is all about ninja-dom!

Oh dear.

It looks like, despite the title which had me raring to impress with my, as yet undiscovered, karate chopping moves, this months challenge revolves around more biscuits. 

And to make matters worse it appears the to achieve success I must perfect the art of dunking (on the rare occasions I consume a biscuit I am not a dunker).

However, in my quest for extreme success, complete happiness and global world domination needs must! 

Fortunately I have a secret weapon in my ninja arsenal...

...watch this space...

Monday, 26 October 2015

Feed the ducks!

Feed some ducks Day - I dutifully intended to set off in search of them at the Valley Gardens with a bag of bread crusts I've been saving (I've been freezing them - I wasn't going to feed them mouldy bread!) but unfortunately it absolutely tipped it down the one day I was free and, whilst I have a healthy degree of commitment to many of the challenges, I just wasn't prepared to venture out in torrential rain!

In fact there's only one thing the weather was good for - ducks!

At least I did better than last year when I ate duck instead of feeding it.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Take up hats!

Give up one thing and take up another thing Day - I didn't give anything up but John has - he's done fantastically well at giving up smoking so far this month :-) And I took up his corner in helping to support him!

Be ridiculously nice to your partner Day - I've been much nicer than usual (not that I'm not usually nice to him though!) since he's stopping smoking this month and I don't want to drive him to taking it back up again! So, he's had more texts than usual and a sandwich and drink waiting for him (with a supportive post-it!) when he's got home from each late shift!

Wear a hat Day - I have quite a few hats and would probably have already started wearing some by this time but as it's been unseasonably warm so far this month they've stayed where there are! However, it's been very cold indoors of an evening so...

Monday, 12 October 2015

Panda Pride!

Be proud of yourself Day - ?

Flirt Outrageously Day - ??

Jump out of something Day - ???

Learn about Pandas Day - This!

4 challenges in one week and, let's face it, the other 3 didn't stand a chance when one of them involved learning about pandas!

I already know a lot about them (like the fact that they have S shaped penises - which may well explain the reproduction difficulties ha!) so decided to use this day as the perfect excuse to hop on a train to Edinburgh (as you do) and go and see a live one for the first time!!

Now anyone who knows me will know that I have a huge collection of panda themed 'stuff' (a large amount of which is regrettably packed away at present), and there's not a room in our home where at least one panda can't be found. Not to mention the 2 small, and discreetly placed, panda tattoos I have.

I took a few photos of some of the pandas round the house (after just doing the lounge and kitchen I thought it best to stop!)...

Eventually I'd like to go to China to visit a panda sanctuary but in the meantime this is the next best thing, and was something there was no way Bernie was going to let me do without her being there to witness it! So off we trotted to Edinburgh Zoo to see the Ailuropoda Melanoleuca.

We couldn't have picked a better day, it was ridiculously hot and sunny, the views were incredible and we timed our panda viewing slot perfectly!

Apparently the male (Yang Guang (meaning Sunlight)) tends to get restless towards the end of the day so he kept coming in and out of the indoor enclosure to see us!

I added to my panda collection with a few bits and bobs...

...and I did learn that there's a panda tartan!