Tuesday, 30 June 2015

phew - what a scorcher!!

Isn't that the usual headline on a day like today?

I woke up to the alarm at 7 am and it was already hot outside.  Jean and I had planned to go to the Senior Screen in Cleethorpes.  Its not really just for OAP's - anyone can go but its a 10:30am showing - with a choice of three films - for the price of £4 which includes coffee, biscuits and a raffle - can't be sneezed at!!  It was also a nice, air conditioned, setting - just right for today!

Our choice of film was Thomas Hardy's "Far from the madding crowd" - a lovely traditional film with a happy ending - bless!  We then went on to Tesco's for lunch in their new carvery - a roast beef and salad sandwich for me with wholemeal bread and no butter - go me!  In fact we had such a goodtime that we said this should be a regular date - trying a new eating place each time.  Since next week is my "no Meat" challenge week (thanks Mike!) we're planning fish (and chips in Jean's case) on the beach - if the weather holds.  Whilst I was in Tesco's I picked up a recipe card that Happymum might be interested in - Griddled watermelon with lime and mint sugar.

By the time we got home the temperature, according to the car, had risen to 28.5 degrees and it was time for a sit down in the shade - but there were the scones to be made.  Before I could get started there was a knock at the door from Lizzie, my old PA, wanting a signature.  You can never really escape work can you? 

However - back to the scones.  If you recall this week's challenge was to create and trial a new scone recipe - so I came up with the idea of making marzipan and apricot scones.  They look okay but it was strange to see the marzipan oozing out everywhere!  The test will come tonight at the sewing class - I will report back tomorrow but will be interested to see what Margaret says about this cake - she's still raving about the beetroot and seed cake!

Finally it was time to do today's 15 minute tidy up of the sewing room - forgot to mention that I did that yesterday.  Having broken one scone apart for the picture I will admit to tasting it without butter - mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm  (smacking lips!)  Well - I couldn't risk poisoning Margaret now could I?

Monday, 29 June 2015

What goes around comes around .....

Well - after a week of giving random acts of kindness I was on the receiving end this morning.  I had popped into Louth for some more green paint (more of that later) and went to get a parking ticket - only to find that they wanted my registration number and my glasses were in the car - cue a RAK who stepped forward and entered the details for me.  Mind you I then paid it forward by helping an elderly lady get her walking trolley up into a shop - there were a couple of steps.  Whilst in the shop buying paint my eyes alighted on this little sign - not too expensive and, well, there was a gap on the dresser!

Then it was home - although it was only around 10:30am the heat was climbing and the dogs did not know what to do with themselves - so I decided that it would be a productive sitting down day.  First there was a crate to paint - and then while the different sides were drying I nipped out to work on the seating area - cue more sweeping up!  The crate would then be lined with fabric (fabric from my stash - not purchased - note!) - to keep the dust out when storing serving dishes and will live in the conservatory.  Today being Monday, I have to take a picture of the conservatory to prove to ME that its still okay (even though she keeps sending surprise guests around to check up one me!!) so will include a picture of the crate in that picture.  The seating area, however, needed the white "sofa" - which had to be rescued from the end of the garden and cleaned down.

Having bought some cheap bunting and used some spare oil cloth to make a couple of outdoor cushions, I am quite pleased with the area.  I still think that it needs a proper table and chairs but will wait until the end of the season and see what I can pick up.

Whilst tidying away the papers ready for the recycling collection tomorrow I remembered this article that Happymum might like - its about two ladies who have set up a Jam Jar café - initially out of necessity to save money but now its the fashion,

Preparing for the heat wave I also decided to pinch this idea from Pinterest - I don't know what the ice creams will turn out like - but it seems like an easy way to achieve a low cal lolly!

And finally - another relevant t- shirt design- not sure its true in my case - I just seem to move from one project to another without completing them!!

So- to this week's conservatory pictures - complete with first crate completed ta da!! 

Puzzle pages on footstool - had to show that its a new photo!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Once upon a time .......

Once upon a time ...............................  Well the weather is beginning to feel like some sort of fairytale -last night it was almost too hot to sleep, today finds me sitting in church with a jumper and a fleece on!!  However church gave me the opportunity to complete the RAK challenge - day 7 and I gave two people some Bayliss and Harding body lotion.  Linda is our church warden who always seems to have too much on her plate and needs some de-stressing "me" time whilst Beryl is an elderly lady who always askes after me and urges me to take care of myself - particularly when the headaches were at their worst.  Both were a little surprised with their gifts but were extremely pleased.  I have to say I get more from these RAK moments that the recipients!

This now means that I have completed 5 challenges so far with this week's being "Make and trial a new scone recipe".  with the weather forecast suggesting tropical conditions by Wednesday I think that the baking should be kept to a minimum!!

After a quick lunch of a feta cheese salad and a snooze (rudely awakened by someone daring to mow their lawn - who would have thought that sunday afternoon is a good day to do that!!).  It was time to complete a few jobs. 

Firstly there is the freezer problem.  I have a small, under the counter, freezer and a large upright one.  In order to make more sense of the utility room I have decided to down size and give away the upright freezer (I have a new owner lined up ) and so needed to rejig the small freezer to make room for the contents of the large freezer.  Cue a lot of rationalisation - including opening packets of SW meatballs and putting them in a single ziplock bag.  There is still some food left in the large freezer but I think, by the end of the week, I will be ready to defrost and clean.  Freezer lottery for tea it is!!

Next it was on to the sewing room.  ME mentioned several days ago that she wondered what the rest of the house looked like with the conservatory completed.  She was right - the sewing room, in particular , is a mess!  So this week I am spending at least 15 minutes per day sorting it out - by the end of the week it should be a workable space again.

After some general tidying around, and a dinner of roast chicken plus the last frozen jkt potato (see what I did there?), it was time to pop up to the hospital to visit Tanya.  Luckily she has been moved closer to home but it must be nearly 4 weeks since she was at home and she must be yearning just to see her dog, let alone be in the comfort of her own home!!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Quilt with friends

I was accused, today, of posting around 5pm and never saying what I had got up to in the evening.  Truthfully there's no fun simply saying that  I had watched tv every day but I will make an exception today.  Last night was the monthly meeting of North Somercotes Book Club and we both enjoyed a meal and had a lively discussion.  The book had the holocaust at the centre of the story and was a harrowing read - but it lead to a lengthy discussion.  The book club even won the quiz (well joint winners - we were pipped at the post by the tie break question - How long is the river Thames ?   Answer is at the end of the blog).  My RAK last night was to give Wendy a pack of fabric - when we arrived home she had lost it so we had to make an emergency dash back to the pub - only to find that it was on the floor of the car - duh!!

Today was a quilting day - and with a drive like this to get through first - the day promised, and delivered much.  We are a group of likeminded women who have been sewing together long enough to call ourselves friends and able to pull each others legs.  I managed to resist the temptation of cake - but the evidence was "cakebombed!"  Our current project is a quilt block per month.  We all have different colour themes but I am theming my block to the month - hence tennis and strawberries for June.  When the quilt is finished we will have to play guess the month!  Today's RAK was to give Ev the collapsible thread catcher that she wanted - she was over the moon.  Terry had asked for fabric but I pointed out that asking was not then Random - I gave her some patterns instead!

The discussion at lunchtime led to this blog, and to the weekly challenges.  Before lunch was finished more challenges were added and may be seen at the end of June when I report on the challenge update.  Terry had bought a book that I know Wendy also has.  We have agreed to make everything in the book (apart from the punch projects) by the end of 2020 - care to join us Wendy?

After returning home, writing the blog, feeding the dogs and having tea it was then time to turn around and head into Louth.  I help out once a month at the Riverhead Theatre - selling ice creams etc.  I like to think that its my community service!

By the way the length of the Thames is 215 miles - I was astonished about how long it was - we only guessed 50!!

Friday, 26 June 2015

I am a mole and I live in a hole

Today has felt as if I ought to be doing something but have forgotten what it was.  I woke up at 8am having had a terrible nights sleep - it was so hot here that for long periods of time I was wide awake - even reading at one point to induce sleep.  Perhaps that was the reason why it took me so long to get going and why, in reality, I have achieved little today.

As the church treasurer I was paying a few cheques when I noticed that one of them was due by the end of June - and the postal address just happened to be near to the strawberry farm.  Cue hand delivery with a quick and totally justified stop off for another couple of punnets - that's six so far in just over a week!! None of them have been thrown away however - and they're good for you!!

Taken from the base of an old look out station
The sea goes out quite a long way!!
Playing hide and seek!
Then I decided to set off for a long walk.  What with the suspected sciatica and toothache I've neglected these long walks and am behind schedule - by now the ticker should be reading 26 km!!  The weather forecast suggested that it would be cooler in the morning and rise in the afternoon.  However as soon as I started the car engine, the sunshine came out and it was a pleasant, hot and tiring walk - as you can tell from my not so glamorous selfie!

This can't be good for you!!

After a simple lunch of steamed salmon followed by strawberries and yoghurt it was time to make the RAK for tomorrow - clearly more details tomorrow.  I am not sure about the RAK today but I am picking up a couple of people for our monthly book club meetings and taking them home - since its not my turn I guess that it should count as a RAK but I am hoping that there will be another opportunity before the evening is out.

Next on the agenda was a quick visit to the Nurse practitioner at the doctors.  My cocktail of drugs are on repeat prescription and is due for renewal in august but I will run out of one of them before then so I just need the repeat prescription sorted.  Since the headaches appear to have gone I am hoping that I can soon stop taking the cocktail.  In fact the Nurse Practitioner was so impressed about the lack of headaches so soon after retiring that I may just have talked her into retiring as well - she says she's thinking of it.  (RAK???)

After continuing my crafting the final event is the aforementioned meeting of the book club.  We meet and enjoy a meal whilst discussing this months book - the harrowing "The Storyteller" by Jodie Picoult.

By the way I came across this the other day  - thinks it sums my life up!!

and the title of today's blog - no connection whatsoever - I just liked the song!!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

All is well in my world / RAK number 4

Do you ever have one of those moments where you feel completely at peace with yourself and your lot?  I don't have them that often but experienced one this morning.  I had woken up early - around 6am - and got out of bed - lots to do etc.  After the normal morning routine I sat down to breakfast in the conservatory and turned round to see this sight!  What could be wrong in my world when I have these two, my health, my family and lovely weather?

I then set off for some shopping.  First stop was to B & Q to explore my options re this outdoor seating area.  There were a number of lovely, and affordable, options but I had my sensible head on this morning.  That "all weather bistro set" was lovely but it was £87 - what if I don't use it that much - is it worth paying that much for a garden ornament.  Instead I have opted for my old white seat that I mentioned yesterday - but needed somewhere to put my cup - haha - the brain cells are ringing.  I have two large pots out there not being used - perhaps I could put a nice paving stone on top - cheaper and it would serve this summer and I could perhaps pick up a bargain at the end of summer if I want some thing more permanent.  So off I toddled to the building materials and spied two nice looking slabs at £4.32 each.  I then went to pay - as usual they were encouraging us to use the self service but the slabs had no bar code so the junior work experience  guy (sorry - but he seemed sooooo young) tried to find the correct slab in his catalogue.  He found one but that came up as £5.35.  I kept saying that I thought is was £4.32 but it could be £4 something.  However the computer said no - instead he put it through as a pink slab (mine was dark grey) and charged me £2.24 each???  I tried but still got a bargain!

Next stop was Iceland for one of today's Random Acts of Kindness (there are 3!!).  I had been asked if I was going to Iceland and could  pick her up some slimming world meals and take them to class tonight.  Normally ready meals aren't that appetising but I can certainly vouch for the ones that I have tried in this range.  By the way - talking about slimming world - I weighed myself this morning.  the darn scales had gone up by one pound since yesterday morning but I can still declare a 6 pounds loss - goes to show what you can do if you actually try!!!!  So - one month into the year's challenge I have lost 9.5lbs and am nearly 10% of the way through.

The final call was to Tesco's for the weekly shop before coming home, unpacking and taking a much needed breather.  I came across this new range of hula hoops which are puffed and lower in calories - mmmmm very nice and my second Random Act of Kindness.  We were talking about these at last week's meeting and Sally happened to say how much she likes the taste of salt - so I am taking her a packet tonight.

After lunch it was onto making two beetroot and chocolate cakes for my third RAK.  The beetroots were from last week and needed using up and my brother, Phillip, loves his beetroot and chocolate cake so, in his 50th birthday honour, I though I would make two.  Sadly he lives too far away for me to give him one so instead I am giving them to the SW leader whose husband is a fireman - I am sure that the firemen of Louth will appreciate them - they certainly like their cakes from what she tells me.

Then it was out into the seating area to try and tame the weeds before going off to class - hopefully their scales will say the same as mine! I don't if you can make it out but a very brave little bird joined me - I say brave because Millie and Katie were there as well!  In terms of the clearing lets just say that a run to the tip is in order tomorrow and the green bin is full again - it was emptied at 6:30 this morning and they come every two weeks!!  I am getting a reddish glow with all his outdoor work - phew - time for a lie down now!!

NB - seven of the challenges this year focus on charity makes.  I came across this today and am thinking of trying to put together some complete packs.  Whilst we are not all sewers, perhaps some readers would like to offer some of the components?

Tooth watch - what tooth?

Stepping stone watch - I have uncovered three so far - all north of ME's stake.  They look to have sunk down about 4 inches so I guess that I need to lift them and add some sand underneath to raise them.  The lawn is quite bouncy and I have had trouble with moles this year.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Take time to smell the roses

Today started rather later than usual - work up at 8:15am!!  Mind you I had stayed up to watch a Channel 4 documentary on the shopworkers taking over the shop to help secure its future.  The programme featured a local shop in Louth - if ME hadn't have reminded me to record it then their clever marketing flyer that I received last week might have done - notice the "As seen on tv"?

After breakfast etc I then popped round to see Jean and complete my 3rd RAK - I took her a fabric pack, a set of fabric and paper hexagons and one of yesterday's cakes.  Whilst I am talking about cakes  should say that Margaret was very pleased with hers last night - I told her that she was famous now and she blushed!!  BEFORE Jean opened her gift she showed me her sewing room and declared that she was never buying fabric again - oops!!  After she had opened it I apologised - and then got right royally told off - never say sorry for giving me fabric she said!!

Then it as home for lunch - by now the sun had come put and it was beginning to be too hot to sit I the conservatory  (although it didn't stop me having a nap later in the afternoon!) and so I sat outside - putting the umbrella up for the first time this summer (carefully just in case a spider had taken up home over the winter!)  whilst I was sat outside, and later when I mowed the lawn, I wondered about this patch by the side of the house - the large fuchsia bush provides shelter and privacy - but the area has become a bit of a dumping ground.  Given that I cannot start to decorate the utility room until the freezer has gone (oh you will laugh when you see how tiny the space actually is) I am thinking that this area will become my next project.  I have a plastic white seat not doing anything so with some tidying, pruning, cleaning and titivating there could be a nice spot created here for a cuppa in the morning.  It would also start to make the front of the house look better.  Bunting, cushions ...........

Now - back to the lawn.  As I said I mowed it this afternoon and it has been a looooong time since it was mown - with all the rain we've had - so it was more like a bad hair cut but I have taken a picture so that those of us who are old enough to remember spot the ball can play "spot the stepping stones"  Somewhere in this area of lawn are about 7 stepping stones that will need to be cut out!!  If you want to play then print off this picture and place your crosses - I will dig them out and post a picture in a few days!!

Foodwise - today has been another good day and (I am whispering now you understand) the scales are looking remarkably good - fingers crossed for tomorrow!

Toothwatch - might have spoken too soon yesterday - had to take two sets of painkillers today.  Much better than before, however - I was taking four sets on Saturday and Sunday!