Monday, 31 December 2012


I can't remember if I had any New Years Resolutions last year, but I do remember I had some aims.  One of these was to master growing Brasicca's and grow my own sprouts for Christmas dinner.  Which I have done!!  We had lots of sprouting broccoli in the spring, the cabbages are doing well and we ate some sprouts for dinner on Christmas day.
Not sure what my aims are for next year- watch this space

And on to my highlights...

We planted two trees on our allotment, a quince which didn't produce anything and a cherry which did fruit, but the birds got them. (note to self - cover the cherries while they are ripening!)


 First ever time skiing- it was quite challenging!  Went to St Anton in Austria, where Alice was working as a chalet host.


Won the cup for the most points in show at the Horticultural Society Spring Show.


 The arrival of Marjory, Henita and Betty and the first of many eggs


The wonderful Diamond Jubilee, celebrated with afternoon tea and bunting at home.  Followed by music and fireworks at the village playing fields, met up with lots of old friends and drank lots of Prosecco!

 Also time to pick the elderflowers and make elderflower cordial.  Made elderflower champagne as well, but 3 large coke bottles full exploded all over the kitchen one afternoon, which took me hours to clear up.  I will never attempt it again.

The most awaited event of the year, the Olympics.  We booked two weeks holiday from work and made the most of it, watching loads on the telly and.....  our trip to the Olympic Village

 I managed to get tickets to the velodrome and watched world records beaten and medals won
Another day we dressed up and went to London, just to be part of it all, we watched the big screens in Hyde park.   Alice had volunteered and was a games maker, she got to be a reporter for the water polo.


I had an operation on my foot which left me "off my feet" for 4 weeks and off work for 6 weeks in total.  At one point I thought I would never walk or drive again, but it soon healed and now no pain at all which is wonderful.
 The allotment continued to keep us well supplied with raspberries - good job that we love them.
 Thirteen pumpkins!  Two made into lanterns for Halloween, one made into wine and another for pumpkin cakes.  Some left in the shed, but have had a couple go mouldy - uuughh....




Baby Arlo, my nephew was born far away in Hong Kong, I had knitted this blanket for him.  (still waiting to meet him- only two weeks to go now)

A trip to the Good Food Show started the month, two swaps swapped and a crocheted star garland.

Well that was my year and wonder what lies in store for 2013?

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Christmas time

 My living room looking lovely!  Just before we sat down for lunch on Christmas day.
Lunch on Christmas day was roast beef.  Was very proud to have grown some of the vegetables including a handful of brussel sprouts, which I mixed with those I had bought.  Parsnips which had survived the chickens almost digging them up and the potatoes, which wasn't bad!  We also had broccoli, carrots, swede, mashed and roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.  I had a chestnut and parsnip roast.  
We are not smiling as too busy eating!  Everyone said that it tasted good.

Didn't make my usual pudding this year, thought that it was time for a change and made the date and raisin one from the Good Food magazine.  This was served with a salted caramel sauce and brandy butter ice cream  mmmmm....

Here I am looking quite pleased with my efforts and wearing my new chicken apron.

My Dad with their new puppy Lottie.
On Boxing day I cooked again, Roast Turkey this time as the in- laws came to visit.    On Thursday had my 3rd Christmas dinner at my Mums and spent time with my sister and her two children Ashely and Sean.  Sean and Jared cooked the lunch with a Little help!  They did a very good job, with out any stress ( as only two lads of 19 and 20 can)  Yes Chef!
We played cards, as we have done for the last 40? years?? Newmarket and 31's, same games each year and there is always someone who can't remember the rules, how can this be.  One thing that has changed is the amount of the bets.  When we (my sister and me) were young we used to play for pennys, now it has gone up to 5p's for Newmarket and 3 50p's for 31's.  I lost!
I also got a message to say that Alice was on her way home from Russia for a holiday!  Woop woop

So Friday was another busy day, getting ready for the home coming and cooking another Christmas dinner, plus some sausage rolls and mince pies.

After weeks of working, making presents, planning, shopping a cooking we had Christmas! 

But maybe the best bit was yesterday when I did NOTHING!  Just sat and chatted to Alice, did a bit of crochet and went for a walk with Mr HH.  We drank tea, ate leftovers and chocolates- Bliss.


Monday, 24 December 2012


Christmas eve and all's well.

presents are wrapped, house is clean, decorations all up, fridge is full...........

So all there is left to do, is wish everyone who reads my blog 



Saturday, 22 December 2012


 some little crochet stars, inspired byPlanet Penny andAttic 24
 Sprayed then with starch as they curled a bit and then
 sewed them to a chain and pinned them to the fire place.  Ta -da!

Had my nails done last night, little snowmen on the ring fingers and the rest bright red! Very festive.  Hope they last all Christmas - I will be very careful.  

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Nearly ready

I have been counting down the days to Christmas.  Lighting my advent candle each evening.  It is a bit behind as it is such a fat candle it takes ages to burn down.

 Made some mince pies at the weekend.  These have sweet almond pastry which is really crisp and homemade mincemeat (as it comes without nuts or peel).  This year I made the plum mincemeat from the Rivercottage preserves book.  It is very nice........
 Have a beautiful tree.  The decorations are minimal, apparently but I think this shows off the tree!
 A close up of a ceramic snowman and santa that I bought in Germany two years ago and a glass angel.
On the shelf a red heart and two ceramic penguins - old friends- I love unwrap them from the tissue paper each year.
The kitchen window sill, some twigs, which are raspberry canes that I cut down a few weeks ago hung with baubles.  And 3 baked bean tin candle lanterns.
The porch -  little multi coloured twinkly lights all around and a wicker star with little lights.
That is just about it for decorating the house.  Will go out and pick some greeenery to put on the fireplace and pop some of the cards up and then it will be done.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


The weekend before last I made my first visit to Birmingham.  My sister moved there recently so I went to visit her, see her new home and share her birthday treat -  a visit to the BBC Good Food Show.
I took the train from Manningtree, crossed London on the underground to Euston and then took a Virgin train to Birmingham.  These trains are a little smarter than the ones run by Greater Anglia.  I choose to travel a little earlier than I really wanted and saved around £80 on the fare!  This meant that I had a couple of hours wait for my sister to finish work.  
The Bull Ring is a massive shopping centre and it was packed! I have not seen that many people out shopping for a long time - obviously less of a recession in the midlands than the south.
On Saturday we went to NEC or National Exhibition Centre.  Our first stop was the main theatre to watch a cooking demonstration by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood from the Great British Bake Off.  They made 3 things that had been challenges from the programme - the strawberry cake, iced buns and the famous 8 plait loaf which Paul made look so easy.  They were chatty and funny.
We then looked around the stalls.  We some how managed to start with the alcohol stalls, we sipped this and tasted that-  a drop of red wine, white wine, champagne, cocktails, rum this gin and that gin.  I almost had to sit down for a bit.

We then tasted cheeses, biscuits, cakes, fudge, olives, nuts, crisps, yogurt, tea and chocolate.  Quite a mixture and felt a little sick after a bit.  We had planned to have lunch but were too full up!  
We watched another demonstration from the Marks and Spencers kitchen on how to make pop cakes, which also meant a welcome sit down and another goody bag.
We shopped until we dropped and then had to carry it all home.  A very long walk back through the NEC and then two trains and car journey home.
Not very hungry when we got back so had a delicious meal of cheese, bread,crackers, olives and Baklava all purchased from the show.
Home on Sunday- what a lovely weekend, think I have just about recovered!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Over the last couple of years that I have been blogging and reading other peoples blogs I have read about "swaps" and thought it would be fun to take part.  I joined Mad about Bags Christmas Cracker Swap and was partnered with Helen from Moonstruck CreationsThe idea was to create a Christmas cracker from a kitchen roll tube filled with little gifts and then wrapped in a piece of fabric.
And this is what Helen sent me

 A cracker wrapped in a lovely red shiny fabric tied with shiny red ribbons an topped with a crocheted star.
Inside were all these gifts

Two pages of cracker jokes - like "what fish sleep a lot?  Kippers"  haha!!
A Yankee candle, spiced orange flavour
A chocolate bear MMMMmm...
A cupcake lip salve
Candy cane sweet to hang on my tree and then eat of course
Three mulled wine scented tea lights with beautiful sparkly beaded edges
A bird cage keyring
A packet of handy Ho Ho Ho tissues!

Thank you Helen, for such a great cracker!

And this is what I sent to Helen:  a felt owl ornament, sachet of cappuccino coffee, incense sticks, a sparkly lidded box, a tiny ceramic elephant candle, a bar of chocolate, lip salve, a glass angle and a tinkly bell.