Monday 15 December 2014


Well, I know you've all been hanging out to know what happened with my fudge disaster and how (not to mention IF) I managed to turn it around.

Last week I decided to make fudge, I thought  that seeing as the blog is more than 3 years old now it was about time I made some in it's honour so I set to with the sugar, butter, condensed milk (or maybe it was evaporated, I don't remember) and it was a TOTAL disaster.

As you know if you saw my last post, my fudge didn't set.  It looked great in the pan:

But the next morning it was still only semi solid.

My first brain wave was to reheat it and re beat it and hope that would save it and turn it into lovely, crumbly fudge.

I ended up with toffee!

Undaunted I rolled the toffee into balls, dusted with a mixture of icing sugar and coco and voila!

Ok, they don't LOOK great but they tasted pretty good !

Unfortunately they were still really soft and by the next day they had all melded together to make one sticky inedible mass.

Plan C ...

Dig out the silicone ice cube tray, melt some chocolate, roll out some fudge/toffee into a sausage shape and cut small pieces.  Half fill the ice cube tray with melted chocolate, drop in a piece of fudge toffee and top up with chocolate.

When set, turn them out and ...

Yay - chocolate covered fudge/toffee chocolate strawberries!!!

They actually tasted really good and Miss Mac took them to school to sell to raise money for their prom next year.  Apparently they went down a storm and I was detailed to make more!!!

The only problem was that these used the tiniest bit of fudge/toffee each as they were mostly chocolate so I still had shed loads left and it would have taken several hundred weight of chocolates to use it up.

I also wasn't sure how long this fudge/toffee would keep so I had to think of something to finish it up or throw the rest in the bin.

Plan D was to invite Big D and the Lovely L over for dinner and make:

Bannoffee Pie!!

Miss Mac helped me with this one.  We decided to go for a flan base of sponge rather than pastry.  She took the rest of the fudge/toffee, dusted it in icing sugar so it was less sticky, rolled it out to fit the base of the flan case and then decorated with whipped cream and some of the fudge/toffee crumbled over the top.

We looked at it proudly before turning to put it in the fridge and then noticed, on the kitchen counter, FECKING BANANAS - what we had ACTUALLY made was a bloody OFFEE Pie!!

We carefully scrapped off the cream, sliced the bananas and put them in the pie - re-spread the cream and grated a shed load of chocolate on top and you know what?

It was bloody LOVELY (but I may never attempt fudge making again ...)

Wednesday 10 December 2014

It's Fudge Guys (but not as we know it...)

So, TWO momentous things!!

One is (that according to blogger) this is my 600th post!!!

Wow, who'd have thought it?

The second is that I realised the other day that in the entire time I've been writing this blog I haven't actually made any fudge!

Again, who'd have thought it?

We used to make fudge quite often when I was growing up especially at Christmas along with coconut ice and peppermint cremes and as Christmas is fast approaching I thought I'd give the fudge a whirl.

I shoved a heart attack inducing amount of sugar into a pan along with some milk, a can of evaporated milk and a dash of vanilla essence a bit of butter and boiled it to buggery.

Bloody scary stuff fudge!  It reaches temperatures that can strip flesh and burn a hole right through your kitchen work surface (don't worry, I didn't do either ...).

It looked an smelt great as I tipped it into the tray to cool.  A lovely golden mass of thick golden syrup.

Now I only recently realised that the stuff of my childhood isn't actually fudge in the tradition sense.  Tradition fudge is soft and chewy and doesn't really do much for me.  The stuff I like is Scottish tablet.

Tablet is much harder and has a crumblier texture than fudge and I believe it was originally used in the same way as Kendle mint cake, an energy boost for climber and walkers giving them a huge sugar rush.

Anyway, my fudge looked FAB!!

After it had cooled I stuck it in the fridge over night to fully set and harden and the next morning I took it out ready to cut it into squares but ...

It was still a runny mass of sugar syrup ...

I turned to the internet for advice ...

Perhaps I hadn't boiled it for long enough - maybe it hadn't got hot enough - I may have skimped on the beating process as it cooled ...


BUT - it COULD be rescued.  All I needed to do was reboil it and beat it hard.

It seemed to be working, the fudge thickened in the pan, I beat the bejesus out of it and bunged it back in the fridge.

Two hours later I had toffee ...

Soft, chewy, unctuous toffee but NOT fudge!

I could work with that!!

I pulled off bits of toffee, rolled them into balls and dusted them in icing sugar and coco to give them a chocolate coating and to stop them being so sticky.  Stuck them back in the fridge and congratulated myself on a good save.

As I mentioned to a friend, what with these balls and my cock cakes I could, with my continuing baking disaster (which would be TOTALLY saved if those Thermomix people would get on the case and send me my freebee!!) soon have a complete, anatomically accurate man!

Anyway, when I opened the fridge this morning I was met with DISATER number two!!

All my balls have spread and melded together but I will NOT down hearted (well, maybe a little ...) - I REFUSE to be defeated!

I have a PLAN!!!

Stay tuned ...

Friday 5 December 2014

Things I Know

 Linking up with Ann from Help!! I'm Stuck!! for Things I Know this week.

This week I know (as I do every week) that I'm so proud and so blessed to have my beautiful daughter Miss Mac.

The last few weeks have been a tough round of mock exams in preparation for her GCSE's next year.

She's taken English early and hopefully in January we will find that she has achieved the predicted A* meaning that she can focus on other subjects knowing that this one is in the bag.

I know that I'm still terrible at French and that no matter how much I try to help her commit to memory the 5 paragraphs she needs to learn by Tuesday for her speaking exam, I'm actually probably more of a hindrance but it's still important to her to know that I will do my best to help her so she humours me as I stumble through it with my atrocious accent and mispronounce words.

I know that I was incredibly proud to count 11 A's and 12 B's on her recent report and to have her form tutor tell me how pleased she was with both her progress and her attitude.

I know that every time I visit Miss Mac school I'm struck by the relaxed and happy atmosphere.  The way the students and teacher interact.  The very clear affection and concern the teacher have for the students which isn't entirely driven by the need to succeed in league tables but is also a genuine desire to see the students succeed for themselves.

This week I also know that my lap is just the right size for one cat and two kittens.  We have brought the kittens with two Mums home from the farm to get them used to people before finding them permanent homes and, after several days they have finally decided that I am to be trusted and lie curled up on my lap along with Squishy (the cat who has no name because we are NOT keeping her - and yet, 6 months later she is still here ...).

I know that I've taken my oven for granted until I tried to turn it on a couple of days ago and ....  NOTHING - I'm hoping it's something simple like a fuse and have someone looking at it this weekend but if it's terminal then what a crap time for it to give up on me just before Christmas!

I know that 4 cats and Christmas decorations are not an ideal mix and I also know that the actual pleasure of decorating for Christmas is about 20% of the anticipated pleasure.  Miss Mac and I fell out within 5 minutes of untangling yards of tinsel, lights and beads and almost packed the whole lot up again.  fortunately we got over it and my dream of a tastefully decorated, colour coordinating, gently lit front room have once more descended into a chaotic, gaudy jumble of every decoration we have ever owned pinned around every picture frame, light fitting and doorway but Miss Mac loves it and after a day or two, so do I.

I know that today's chocolate in my Marvel Comics advent calendar looked like an elf on a pogo stick (a very small elf on a very small pogo stick) and if it wasn't such a cool calendar I might be a little disappointed in the size of the chocolate.

I know that I read a  blog post that I found so opinionated it made my teeth itch (none of my regular reads, just one I'd chanced upon).  I know that I formed replies over and over in my head but didn't actually comment and I'm not sure if it's because I didn't want to be shot down in flames by the post writer (and I did see them do it to someone who didn't agree with them) or because I just don't have to courage of my own convictions ...  I'd like to say it's more my live and let live attitude and the fact that I don't feel the need for everyone else to share my opinion but I'm a little worried that it might be because I just found it easier to walk by on the other side.

I know that it's COLD!!  Ok, it's December and it's supposed to be cold here in England and it's not even as cold as you might expect it to be but I don't deal with the cold very well.  I also don't care that SD laughs at me for taking my hot water bottle with me when I walk the dog.  I don't care if people think I'm either pregnant or have put on weight when I stuff that hot water bottle under my jumper - I just DON'T CARE!!

I probably know loads of other stuff too this week but I think that covers the important things ...

Thursday 4 December 2014

Christmas Cheer - A Re-run

Linking up with Robo and the Lounge

There are lots of Christmas posts around at the moment and it's lovely to hear about everyone's Christmas traditions etc.

I wrote this post a couple of years ago and it's still one of my favourites giving me a warm glow each time I read it remembering how it used to be.

The dynamic of my Christmas has changed over the years.  This year different to last and last year different to the previous year ...

But there was a time where I remember the familiar fabric of this time of year, so well worn that it could have been the same comforter brought out time and time again wrapping me in a blanket of contentment and happiness.

My childhood wasn't perfect but there were times it was perfection and Christmas was always such a time.

Christmas began at the end of October when, in a steamy fug my Grandmother gathered together the ingredients for the Christmas cake, homemade mincemeat and the Christmas pudding.

Great bowlfuls of shiny dates, plump raisins and currents, oranges and lemons ready for zesting and squeezing.  Huge heavy based pans and long wooden spoons, walnuts to crack and glace cherries sticky and sweet ....

We each took a turn in stirring the pudding mix and making a wish, usually a hint whispered out loud as to what we would most like to find under the tree on Christmas morning.

Once cooked the cake was wrapped in greaseproof paper ready for feeding drip by drip from the large bottle of brandy.  The pudding swaddled in a muslin cloth and circles of waxed paper sealed the jars of mincemeat before their lids were given a jaunty bonnet of red and white checked cloth secured with an elastic band.

Everything carefully labelled with the date was then stored in the huge wardrobe built into the alcove next to the fireplace in the large bedroom at the front of the house where it sat glowing richly one the dark wooden shelves amongst the fruits of the summer which had been made into pickles and chutneys and jam.

I used to open the door occasionally just to wonder at the array of goodies lined up and breath in the scent of cinnamon and spices.  Sometimes it would seem like Christmas would never come ...

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Five Truths and One Lie - The Reveal

Yesterday I published a post with six statements five of which were true and one which was a lie.

Thank you to Angela from Sanity Waiting To Happen for the idea.

Today I am going to reveal which answers were true and which was the lie.

1)  When I was young my sister convinced me that I was not only adopted but also Chinese by telling me that one in every four people in the world is Chinese and therefore, as the youngest of four girls it must be me!

Absolutely true Ann, my sisters were sometimes very mean to me and I was very gullible trusting.  All four of us look so different that it wouldn't be hard to believe that we weren't related by blood.

2) I was once knocked flying by Roger Daltry from The Who as he raced up the steps out of an underground station in London.

Also true.  I was in London for work and was walking to the top of the stairs with a colleague when he came tearing up the stairs and ran full pelt into me knocking me sideways.  He was very apologetic and I didn't realise who it was until my colleague said 'did you realise that was Roger Daltry' - and I said 'Who ... '

4)  I once rode a sheep for for 12 miles.

Joe and BP - I'm disappointed in you!  I thought you read my blog?? - You MUST remember this post?  Ok, I MAY have used a little poetic licence but I DID ride that bloody sheep!

5)  Rather embarrassingly I once went to A&E with a broken finger nail.

Yes I did!  Many years ago I was invited to play 10 pin bowling.  My nails were rather long at the time and as I threw the ball it caught my finger nail and ripped it across more than half way down.  There was blood EVERYWHERE!  The nail was half hanging off and no one had the stomach to trim it for me so I ended up in A&E where a nurse cut it and dressed my finger AND gave me a tetanus - I haven't bowled since - FAR too dangerous!

6)  I can make excellent paper boats - I was taught by the vicar during choir practise using hymn sheets.

True - I was in the church choir from the age of 8 until 13 and Mr Davis, our vicar, often used to liven up choir practise in various ways.  When I was much younger he came round for tea and let me put my pink plastic dolly curlers in his hair - unfortunately we forgot to take them out and so he went off to visit other parishioners still wearing them - I was very upset when I realised but he did return them later in the day. Apparently everyone was far to polite to mention it so he didn't know until he got home and his wife saw them.

Voila - a paper boat

3) I had to call my friend one morning to come round to my house to cut a hairbrush out of my fringe because I'd got it so tangled.

Lie - this didn't happen to me but it DID happen to my friend Claire (although she had to drive through town with the brush dangling in front of her eyes to get to me) - Claire is almost as famed as me for making an arse of herself.  As well as this she has also glued her hand to the toilet cistern and once seriously said to me 'I'm not sure exactly where my placenta is' (and no, she wasn't pregnant at the time ...).

I had fun with this post and I could have written so many more statement - in fact, maybe I WILL.

Maybe it could be the start of a new series or something (you KNOW how much I love them!).

Please do give it a go yourself and let me (and Angela) know if you do.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Five Truths and One Lie

Last week Angela from Sanity Waiting To Happen participated in a game with her Nablo blogging group.  I'm far too lazy to do Nablo (although I did do it a couple of years ago) but I AM giving you TWO posts in one day!

Angela invited anyone who wanted to to play along with the Five Truths and One Lie game on their own blog and I'm doing the same - feel free if you want to play too and let me know so I can visit.

I'm going to post five statements about me and you decide which you think is the lie and post it in the comments and tomorrow (or when I've recovered from writing TWO POSTS IN ONE DAY) I'll post the answers and see who was right.

Ok, here are the statements:

1)  When I was young my sister convinced me that I was not only adopted but also Chinese by telling me that one in every four people in the world is Chinese and therefore, as the youngest of four girls it must be me!

2) I was once knocked flying by Roger Daltry from The Who as he raced up the steps out of an underground station in London.

3) I had to call my friend one morning to come round to my house to cut a hairbrush out of my fringe because I'd got it so tangled.

4)  I once rode a sheep for for 12 miles.

5)  Rather embarrassingly I once went to A&E with a broken finger nail.

6)  I can make excellent paper boats - I was taught by the vicar during choir practise using hymn sheets.

So, there you have it, my five truths and one lie.

But which is the lie?

Christmas Cheer (not really ...)

I'm not a morning person.

That is somewhat at odds with the fact that I tend to wake early and I'm not really one to lie in once I'm awake.

It does mean that I like a bit of quiet time in the morning and I really don't do conversation until I've had at least one (preferably two) cups of tea.

So this morning when Miss Mac came bounding down the stairs with the request that I French plait her hair on one side put it in a high ponytail and finish the plait in a fishtail I was probably less than enthusiastic due to the fact that my eyes weren't actually open yet!

Anyway, I gave it my best shot and she seemed happy enough which, given that she is a very discerning 15 year old means I must have done a pretty good job.

Of course I should have taken a photo to show you but well ...


Have I ever told you how obsessed with eBay SD is?

He is totally and  I really don't get it ...  He's got loads of stuff on his watch list that he got no intention of ever bidding on but he just wants to keep an eye on it.

I don't get it ...

I mean, I understand wanting something and looking for it etc and I understand selling stuff but I have no idea why you would spend hours looking at stuff that you're never going to buy.

With SD it's mostly cars.  Cars and tyres ...  Cars, tyres and wheels ...  Cars, tyres, wheels,beach buggys and bikes ...

And he know weird stuff too!

He was looking at this car the other night.  To be honest, it looked like a heap of shit to me but apparently it was a rare '76 something or other.  I think most people agreed with me as it didn't have any bids but SD was fascinated.

'There's something not quite right about it' he said.

'There A LOT not right with it' I agreed.  Mostly that would be that it's a heap of rusty crap that looks like chickens have been nesting in it.

'It's not that' he said.  'It's the wheels.  It wouldn't have had those 13" 27/34/65's (I just made that figure up by the way just in case you think I was actually listening ...) - those wheels were only made between '82 and '83 in deepest darkest Peru for the long wheel base Snafflehousen with the hatchback rather than the four door which had the bigger wheels with low profile tyres ...'

Or something like that anyway ...

WHO KNOWS THAT STUFF and what's more - WHO CARES???

'Me' said SD, 'I care - and Saw Mill Jim, he cares oh, and Kinky Mick although he's now changed his name to Titty-Twister (the name of the vampire truck stop in the Dusk to Dawn films if you were wondering ...) to try to give himself more credibility but everyone knows it's still Kinky Mick ...'

And then I gave up.  After all, who am I to argue with Saw Mill Jim and Kinky Mick the Titty-Twister - clearly there is something lacking in me that I really don't give a flying whatsit about such stuff.

It's cold and wet and miserable here today and I am struggling with the anomoly that is my bathroom.

Obviously it isn't finished.

My problem is that so far I've given the white stripes 2 coats of paint and the blue bits 3 coats.  When I come down in the morning I'm practically blinded by the whiteness that is my bathroom but, by the time I've had my shower the blue stripes have started to reappear ...  I really cant be arsed to give all the blue a 3rd coat but I'm not sure if the final coat (which will be a vinal silk or something) will properly cover the blue and I won't know until it's too late so I really SHOULD give it another coat.

But I don't want to ...

I'm also being loved to death by Eddie my small black cat as I try to type this.  Eddie is often very standoffish so I feel I should make the most of her being loved up but she keeps climbing up my arm to rub her face against mine and, as she has one tooth that is slightly overhanging, it really hurts!

We will be bring the kittens home from the farm this week.  I've tried really hard to get a photo of the two of them with their two Mums but the black cat (who is the real mum) is very jumpy and every time I get near them she runs away.   Anyway, expect lots of cute kitten pics very soon!

Other than that I'd like to report that I'm all sorted for Christmas!

All present bought and wrapped, all cards written and over seas ones posted, all food in the freezer and decorations sorted and ready to go up ....

I'd like to - but I'd be lying ...

I've bought a couple of presents for Miss Mac so far - I DO have my cards though which I bought back in October from the Whistlefish shop in Newquay.  I hardly send any cards at all but the ones that I do are really pretty.  My freezer is so full of fruit that there's no room for festive treats and, well actually, last year, for the very first time, I put my decorations away properly rather than shoving them all into carrier bags and boxes in a jumbled, tangled heap so they are all in the shed boxed and wrapped and ready to go which will not be until DECEMBER!

The house over the road from me has a  balcony which they have decorated with blue and white flashing lights that I thought was very pretty until I went to bed and realised that the constant flashing was lighting up my bedroom every 3 seconds all bloody night - I'm hoping that they get a seriously large electric bill very soon and turn the damned things off!

I do love Christmas though and I will get into the spirit of it at the appropriate time (that would be in the 2 weeks before the 25th not before!).

Miss Mac is visiting her Dad this year ...  Hmmm ...  Not really looking forward to that but never mind.  SD and I will have lazy days and long walks on the beach and she will be back for New Year when we shall party!

Ok, enough procrastinating - I'm going to go and give that bloody bathroom another coat of paint ...

Wednesday 19 November 2014

A Bit Of A Bodger

I was going to give you the dictionary definition of a bodger here but it's a bit boring and, if there's one thing being a bodger ISN'T, it boring!

A bodger, contrary to common belief is not necessarily  lazy, often a bodger will actually spend far more time on a job than they would have had they done it properly in the first place due to the fact that almost everything they do doesn't work properly and so they have to devise a different bodge  to cover up their mistakes.

Point in question:

I live in a mid terrace Victorian house.  Now, there are many things to like about my house.  The rooms are fairly spacious.  It's not huge, in Victorian times it would have been a workers house so there's nothing posh about it and there are very few Victorian features to redeem it but by modern standards the rooms are a decent size.

It also comes with a huge host of Victorian problems.  Plaster that crumbles when you try to remove wallpaper.  There isn't a single floor, door frame or wall that is square or level and damp is an ongoing problem.

My bathroom is downstairs which, in the middle of the night can be a pain but the only other option is to move it upstairs and to loose a bedroom so we put up with it.

The main problem with my bathroom is the damp.  It's a single skin room built on to the back of the house which means that it's freezing in the winter.  When we bought the house it was also half tiled and the rest of it was papered with a hideous paper that was padded presumably for insulation with a tiled effect covered in little rainbows.  We also had an avocado bathroom suite with a matching avocado carpet that you could have grown mustard and cress on.


Having taken advice regarding the damp we discovered that the only way to eliminate the damp (other than knocking the thing down and rebuilding, NOT an option) was to install an extractor fan the size of the back wall.  Failing that we had to find a bodge.

Putting in central heating (I KNOW, can you believe we didn't have it for YEARS!) and upgrading the extractor fan helped and then ripping out the tiles which just aggravated the condensation problem.  Putting in double glazing to replace the horrible metal framed windows that poured water down the glass and onto the floor and finally, cladding the whole room in tongue and groove so it resembled a sauna from a porn film.

Well, all of that helped enormously although I still fanatically wipe down all the windows and walls after Miss Macs has her marathon hour and a half showers and I regularly have to clean the mildew from around the windows and door.

And that is how it stayed for several years.  We did replace the hideous bathroom suite with a white enamel bath etc and we also installed a shower cubicle.  One of the GOOD things about my bathroom is that, like the other rooms, it's a decent size so there was room for a separate shower which is just as well as it has a sloping ceiling so, at 6ft tall, one over the bath would possibly only clean me from the chest down ...

My first job when my marriage broke down was to tackle the bathroom, now I didn't have anyone else to consider I could do it how I liked and so it became my beach hut bathroom as seen here.

Of COURSE I bodged it a little.  I didn't seal the nails holding the tongue and groove up so, after a few months the room was covered in lots of little rust spots which I then had to go over several times a year and the room was never quite finished due to lack of funds but it was a huge improvement.

Until recently the toilet wobbled which caused untold consternation to the uninitiated because it hadn't been fixed to the floor properly.  A job that WAS going to be done once new flooring was laid (Still waiting on that one ...).  It has been fixed now and I get endless pleasure from sitting on it and not rocking to an fro ...

Anyway, 5 years later and I'm bored with the beach hut look and so I've begun to redecorate it.

My first task is to cover the blue and white stripes.  Not as easy as you might think!  So far it had two coats of white and I can still faintly see the blue but I'm sure this will be covered by the final coat when the proper colour is put on.

I say it's had two coats ...  Well, SOME of it has ...

I started with the alcove that houses the bath.  I'd painted the whole of this alcove in blue rather than stripes and stenciled some seashells in white on the walls - I think it actually looked prettier than it sounds ...  I gave the alcove two coats before starting on another wall and then got bored so I started to gloss the window surround and the coving above the bath.  I didn't clear the bathroom like I should have so I've been constantly moving things around and tripping over things.  I haven't used dust sheets so I've spent some time removing gloss drips from the bath (non drip gloss IS an urban myth!) but so far I've only trodden on the upturned lid of the open paint pot once so I'm seeing that as a positive ...

I now have two walls that have had two coats of white, one that has one, one none at all.  One window frame (there are two windows) and some coving that has had one coat of gloss.

And I feel like I'm GETTING THERE ...

I've bodged it, of COURSE I have.

I should have removed these:

Picture hooks

Before painting rather than painting over them but they didn't seem to want to come out of the wall and then I remembered how hard it had been to get them into the wall in the first pace and anyway, I'll just put the picture up again anyway wont I ...

Actually, I have because I'm afraid I'll stand on them if I leave them on the floor ...

And Big D and the lovely L gave me a couple of these and I love them so they will be going back up.
They also gave me this:

A driftwood heart which could do with some new string ..
Notice, not even a proper picture hook this time - the wall behind the cladding must be made of concrete or something, it's almost impossible to get anything into it!

Bodgers are also inventive.

When the bottom part of my shower fittingkept falling off for some unknown reason and I got tired of putting it back on only to have it fall of again the next time I took a shower I fixed bodged it with a bit of blue tack  which worked really well.

So it's still there - yes, that's blue tack NOT dirt!
I was going to wait and write this post once the bathroom was finished but to be honest, it's anyone's guess which decade THAT will be so, in the absence on my thermomix I'm posting this now so that any DIY stores/flooring companies/builders who want to rebuild my bathroom/damp specialist etc (thank you in anticipation ...)  who happen to pick up this post and can't wait to send me free stuff/do work for nothing can contact me in my new guise as a DIY blogger before I get bored with it and move on to something else ...

Friday 14 November 2014

I Am Food Blogger (send me Thermomix!)

I suddenly remembered last night that I'm a food blogger but I haven't written any serious foodie posts for ages ...

Or, well, EVER really ...

How are those lovely, lovely Thermomix bots patrolling tinternet looking for mentions (they DO you know!)  EVER going to find my blog and send me that cake levitator if I don't post the occasional amazing food post?

As I was making that great British classic Toad In The Hole for tea last night I thought I'd document it and take lots of arty type photos and blog about it today.

It started well:

I was going to do a step by step tutorial on making the batter and then move on to caramelised onion gravy and veg (we had ours with roast potatoes and broccoli).

I put the potatoes on to par boil - the secret of really good roast potatoes (and mine are pretty good if I do say so myself) is to boil them for about 5 minutes, shake them around in the pan to roughen up the outside (this makes them extra crispy!) and then importantly, let them go cold!

You want room temperature potatoes to go into really hot seasoned oil or fat - yes, goose fat IS the best but for every day I use vegetable oil - sunflower oil just doesn't work as well for some reason.

If you put hot potatoes into hot oil they just absorb it and end up a little greasy rather than crispy.

So anyway, batter made and in the fridge (it works better if it rests for half an hour), potatoes on to par boil and ...

Shiny Stuff!!!

For the first time EVER I completely forgot the potatoes and by the time I remembered them this is what had happened:

This is the bottom of the pan AFTER I'd removed the potatoes!
Hmmm ...

I am slightly downcast and disheartened by my failure (all of which would easily be remedied by receiving my free Thermomix ...) and, drawing on my recent success at fitting a new bulb fixing the broken bathroom light I have decided to become a DIY blogger instead (but I'd still love a Thermomix!).

Thursday 13 November 2014

Proud Moments

Today The Lounge is being hosted by Musings of the Misguided and the theme is Proud Moments.  It's really supposed to be a list of your 10 most proud moments and I'm sure I could come up with 10 if I thought about it.

In the mean time I did a search on my blog to see what came up when I typed in Proud and this was my favourite:


Miss Mac came bounding in from school yesterday, flung her bag on the floor, kicked off her shoes and headed for the stairs.  On the way up she paused and shouted down:

'Hey Mum, got an A* in English today for my controlled penis assessment'.

??? ........ !!!!

Of course I MUST have misheard mustn't I?

'Ummm, your controlled what??'

'PENIS ASSESSMENT' she shouted back, 'An A* - I was the only one in the class who got and A* for it'.

Now I'd say I'm pretty broad minded but seriously??

A million and one thoughts rushed through my head:

 'An A* - I should be proud of her'.


'In English?  Was the teacher qualified to be teaching that kind of stuff??'


'Just what kind of school IS this?'


And, curiously ...  'Just how the hell DO you control one of those ....?'

She came back downstairs.

'So', I asked, 'just what exactly did that involve ...'

'Oh, just the usual, you know Mum (I most certainly don't!), showing understanding, analysis, that kind of thing.  Did you know he won the Carnegie medal?'

'Who did?'


'Actually, he won it twice.  Once for Monsters of Men and once for A Monster Calls'.

Ahh, that would be the author P (Patrick) NESS then ....

To celebrate I took Miss Mac to have her hair cut.  Now for ME that's almost on a par with visiting the dentist - I LOATH having my hair cut:

As you can see - in dire need of a hair cut (or at least a fringe trim!)

Miss Mac knew exactly what she wanted and she had a picture to show the stylist -  it shouldn't have been too hard to achieve - very similar to her existing cut with a few layers and a long fringe cut in.

It didn't exactly go to plan ...

She is not happy although fortunately the stylist has left it longer than it should be so when she stops sulking about it I will take her somewhere else to get it done again.

Later that evening when Miss Mac had finally stopped telling me how much she hated her hair and we'd practised a few up do's for school today and then plaited her hair after her shower she came over for a cuddle.

Miss Mac is very tactile despite being 15 and dumped herself into my lap.

There was an odd popping sound.


Miss Mac professed innocence (although in that particular department she is often extremely guilty - gets it from her father ....).

A few more pops ....


'I didn't DO anything' she shouted climbing off.  As she did so I noticed ...

The very old leggings she was wearing as pyjama bottoms had given way all the way up the seam (the stitches breaking were obviously the popping sound I had hear) and she stomped off indignantly totally oblivious to the fact that half her bum was hanging out.

I LOVE having a daughter!

Additions to original post

Watching my eldest son (Big D) get married was a hugely proud moment for me.

Seeing Master Mac looking so grown up in his prom attire brings a tear to my eye.

Capturing photos of my daughter painting egg yolk on her face with the pastry brush looking so beautiful.

All of these things make me immensely proud!

ps - I forgot to mention how proud I was of myself for fixing the light over the bath this week.  It hasn't worked for about 2 years and as the bath is in an alcove it's been rather gloomy - I'm decorating the bathroom at the moment and took the light apart and, in the process discovered that it works so much better if you put a bulb in it!

Monday 10 November 2014

The Very Inappropriate Post ...

I had a bit of a Eureka moment on Saturday.

I was chatting to a friend who was having a bit of a sort out and it inspired me. So, on impulse, I  decided to paint out the beach hut stripes in my bathroom and go for something more ....

Well, I WANT to say sophisticated ...

I know, I KNOW,  but I'm sure I can pull it off ...

So I  grabbed a tin of paint and a brush and started slapping a bit of paint around.

20 minutes later I was head down in the freezer digging out some frozen plums and a tub of blackberry and apple to make a couple of crumbles and it occurred to me.


I can knock up a sponge cake in 10 minutes and then leave it for 20 or so minutes to cook.  Scones, meringues, bread, pies ...

None of them take more that 30 minutes to make (excluding baking time) and that's about the limit of my shockingly poor attention span!

I am rubbish at long term projects, I get bored, put them off and often start something new before I've finished.

Baking and cooking is something I can do that I actually finish and really makes me feel like I'm achieving something!

Before I DO totally paint out the beach hut bathroom though I thought I'd share some photos with you of how it is now (only the best bits mind, I'm not showing you the crappy unfinished bits ...)

 And here it is

I've loved this room but now it really is time for a change.  I've outgrown the beach hut look (although I may keep some bits around) and I've decided the room would look really good in a very pale grey.

I estimate that at the current rate of progress it might just be finished by Easter!

On the way to the supermarket the other night SD and Miss Mac were cheerfully listing each others annoying qualities.

SD was definitely winning the argument, Miss Mac is indisputably untidy, rather lazy and, in a teenagery way sightly self obsessed.

SD's annoying qualities are rather more subtle and harder to define, something Miss Mac was starting to find frustrating when she suddenly burst out with:

'Well YOU have erectile dysfunction!!!'*

SD looked in the reversing mirror one eyebrow raised - Miss Mac nodded vigorously.

SD glanced my way, I shrugged, shook my head slightly and widened my eyes as though to say, 'of course we don't discuss those kind of things!'

Then I giggled - 'wouldn't that make a GREAT name for a punk band?'**

I mean, can you imagine the endless possibilities for cover songs?

'Rise Above' (Black Flag) -  I Wanna Be Sedated (The Ramones) - Sonic Reducer (Dead Boys) - Last Caress (The Misfits)  and there are some even better ones by X-Ray-Spex and the Buzzcocks.

Talking of which, can you see the marketing potential?

The Erectile Dysfunction supported by The Buzzcocks or, Erectile Dysfunction followed by The Cure ...

Anyway ...

Have I ever told you how much Miss Mac makes me laugh?

We were in the kitchen last night practising our arabesque using the kitchen worktop as a barre while we waited for the kettle to boil for out hot water bottles (I just LOVE my hot water bottle!) and discussing Miss Mac's hair as we often do.

She has beautiful thick, glossy, naturally wavy hair but is always looking at new ways to wear it.

Yesterday she had changed her side parting from the right to the left thinking it gave her hair more lift.

Suddenly she let out a shriek - 'Oh my GOD' she shouted - look at my forehead - it's HUGE!!!

I looked at it - it looked perfectly normal to me - exactly the same as it's always done...

'CAN'T YOU SEE?' she yelled.

'It's practically the size of the Isle of Wight!!!' 'I can't believe I've been walking around like this for my whole life and NO ONES told me!!!!'  'Maybe you couldn't see it before with my hair on the other side.'

She ran into the bathroom to get a better look.  I followed her still not being able to see what all the fuss was about.

She peered at it closely in the mirror.

'Well, you cant see it from THIS angle' she muttered but I caught sight of my reflection in profile in the glass on the back door and its MASSIVE!'

Eventually we went back into the kitchen so I could make her a soothing cup of tea and, as she leaned weakly against the fridge tentatively examining her forehead with her fingers I happened to glance at her reflection in the back door myself.

Bloody hell, she was right!  Her forehead was MONSTROUS - I quickly looked back at her - it looked normal - back to the reflection - MASSIVE.

It seems there may be a slight flaw in the glass on the back door at exactly the height of Miss Macs head that had distorted it in the same way as the hall of mirrors does at a fun fair ...

Yes ... Well OBVIOUSLY that had occurred to me ...

*He doesn't ok and I'd like to say that I thought she didn't really know what this meant but I suspect we both know I'd be lying.

** No offence intended and hopefully none taken - my sense of humour is not always politically correct ...

Sunday 9 November 2014

Time For A Reposting (because I really can't be arsed to finish a post ...)

You Know You're A Domestic Slut When ...

Well, I'm just about recovered from my sopfest of the other day (not that I didn't mean every word of it because I did!) and there may be more of the same to come very soon.

I was casting around for something to write about which is never a good thing.  If it doesn't come organically then it's probably not worth me trying to write it.

Anyway, while I thought about it I decided to do a little cleaning ....


I decided to do some baking and make more mess!!

I set out all the stuff to make banana cake.  Why in gods name I make banana cake I don't know.  I don't really like it much and neither does Miss Mac.  SD likes it but he isn't a big cake eater (I know, still can't get my head round that either!) so I end up giving most of it away

So I decided to make banana flapjacks instead.  Can you believe that in my entire life I've never EVER made flapjacks?  Possibly it's because I don't much like flapjacks either ....

Possibly I was inspired by NS's post on cookery books to try something different.  Not that I actually USED a cook book in the making of said flapjack you understand, I just chucked a load of butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and left it to melt while I checked out the cupboards for other stuff to throw in. A shed load of muesli and for good measure a handful of fruit and fibre and half a pack of mixed fruit, added the banana, poured over the butter/syrup mix and chucked it all in a baking tray and into the oven.


A sticky, gooey, tooth rotting mass that doesn't want to set despite spending the last hour in the fridge where it's slowly dripping through the wire rack onto the shelf below ....

While I'm thinking about what to write about I thought Id write something on how to tell if you are a true domestic slut.

Obviously this is based on observation and not necessarily (although possibly) things that I have done/not done/discovered ....

I was going to make it a 10 point check list but then I started on vacuuming and realised that I could write 10  points about that alone!

So, here it is:

You ARE a domestic slut if at least 3 of the following apply to you! (well, actually probably if ANY of the following apply to you)

1.  When you can't actually remember where you vacuum is.

2.  When you accidentally find the vacuum whilst you are looking for something else and you need to dust it before you can use it.

3. When you DO find the vacuum AND use it and more than two people not only notice that you have vacuumed but also feel that this phenomenon is worthy of commenting on.

4.  When you realise that if you pick up the pile of crap you left at the bottom of the stairs you will leave a clean patch of carpet and therefore be shamed into vacuuming them so you leave it there.

5.  When you move the sofa to vacuum underneath it and you discover a mini egg that must have rolled under there at Easter and it's now July (joking again - who the hell vacuums UNDER the sofa???).

6.  When you use the vacuum and you realise that your carpet doesn't in fact have a fleck in it .......

Ok, enough on vacuuming!

7.  When you get really pissed off with the cat not because he broke you favourite ornament but because you haven't got anything the exact shape or size to sit in the clear space left behind so now you have to dust!

8, When you find a scrubbing brush under the sink and wonder who the fuck bought that!

9. When the gourmet chutney you bough last Christmas has welded itself to the fridge shelf and you leave it there.

10.  When you have unexpected guest arrive and you rush into the bathroom and give the sink a quick wipe over with the pair of socks you discarded on the floor last night.

11.  When you consider giving the loo a quick wipe with the same socks ....

12. When you can get enough crumbs out of your toaster to make you own stuffing.

13 When you pick up a book from your bedside table and the back cover rips off because it's stuck down with the coffee you spilled several weeks ago.

14. When you have to scrape a little viewing hole on the glass door of your oven before you can see the stuff cooking in it.

15. When you have cupboards you cant open because you might be buried alive by an avalanche.

16.  When you wedge said cupboard shut with the washing basket which you then cant empty as the weight of it keeps the cupboard shut.

17. When your horror at finding the remains of your wedding cake at the back of a cupboard 7 years on is tempered by the joy at finding the Sabatier knife you thought you had lost in the box (umm, guilty of that one ....).

18. When you can't be sure if you actually OWN an iron but you do know you own an ironing board because you use it for pasting wallpaper.

19. When you have products in your bathroom cupboard that are older than your children.

20. When you have food items in your cupboard that are older than your children ....

21. When ....

You know what?  I could probably go on and on but to be honest, if you've said yes to even ONE of the above you probably already know that you are a true domestic slut.

To be continued (probably  ...)

Disclaimer - NONE of the above actually apply to me OBVIOUSLY  (well, maybe one or two but I promise I haven't cleaned my sink or loo with a pair of sock!  At least, not my own .... ;)

Friday 7 November 2014


I don't know if it's just me but I find that teenagers are so much more open and confident these days.

Miss Mac and I discuss almost everything, things I certainly would never have talked to my own mother about (and still wouldn't) and many of her friends seem to share the same kind of relationship with their mothers too.

It's a good thing, in fact, it's a GREAT thing and I love the fact that she feels she can talk to me about anything, I like that as well as being mother and daughter we really are friends, that we can laugh together and be silly, that we can discuss the deeper issues that trouble her.  That I can give (although she doesn't always accept) advice, help her think things through, give her the benefit of my own experiences that hopefully help her to make informed decisions.

I love it!

Today Miss Mac is sitting her English GCSE early.  She is going into the exam knowing that she only needs 8 points to secure a C grade, she can practically do that by just writing her name at the top of the paper.  She is predicted to achieve an A* and I'm fairly confident that she will but, if for whatever reason, she doesn't get the grade she wants then she will have the opportunity to retake it again in June.

I like this exam system, I think it's far better than when I took my exams and EVERYTHING depended on that 2 hour slot when if you had a bad day, well, TOUGH!

I have many thought and opinions on the exam system and perhaps one day I will write a post on them but today I wanted to share a conversation that SD, Miss Mac and I had last night and a conversation I saw on Facebook.

Miss Mac came out to the farm with us last night to see the kittens.

YES, there are two more kittens at the farm!  Gorgeous little black bundles of fluff with blue eyes.  In a few weeks they will come home to us and we will find them new families but for now they snuggle up in their newspaper lined box in the porch of the farmhouse with their two Mums.

Yes I did say TWO Mums!

The kittens belong to the black cat.  She disappeared for a few weeks presumably to give birth.  I don't know if there were any more kittens, two is a very small litter so who knows.  Anyway, she reappeared a couple of weeks ago and brought her two babies with her.  She was looking very thin and tired and one of the tabby females took her kittens.  Now the tabby cat has been spayed (as the black one will be soon) so obviously we were worried.  The black cat kept her distance for a few days, hanging around but not trying to take the kittens back.  We kept a close eye on them hoping that from time to time she would be able to get to them to feed them.

We were amazed to see that the tabby cat seemed to be nursing the kittens.  Given that she had been spayed it didn't seem possible but it WAS, she had started to produce milk and was feeding the kittens as though they were her own.

Obviously we were pleased that the kittens were being looked after but it seemed so sad the the mother (who was still spending a lot of time hanging around) had effectively been usurped until last night when we got to the farm to discover both the black mother cat and the tabby AND the two kittens all curled up in the box together.

It seems like the two cats have decided to share the kittens.

I don't know, maybe the tabby sensed that the black cat wasn't able to care for her kittens properly at first.  maybe the black cat had brought the kittens to the farm door looking for help and found it in an unexpected way.

I really don't know ...

But I do know that the kittens are thriving.  They are clean and warm and putting on weight and both the tabby and the black cat seem perfectly happy with their arrangement.

So far, due to it being dark when we got to the farm, I haven't managed to get any photos of this unusual little family all together but hopefully I will at the weekend so that I can share them with you.

And now this post has been taken over by kitten talk so I think our conversation will have to wait until another day but I WILL share the FB one with you.

Someone had posted on a selling site that they had bought something and it turned out not to be as described.  They had lost £80 and were, understandably, very unhappy and, as they had not had any joy getting their money back decided to 'name and shame' the seller on the site.

Reading down through the comments I came across one that said (roughly, it looks like the post has been removed so I can directly quote from it).

'I bought a horse from this woman - it turned out to have Aids and I had to have it destroyed!'

Very sad but I couldn't help thinking that FB was a very odd place to buy a horse and wouldn't you have it fully health checked first ....

The next comment said:

'Do you want a horse Simon?'

Don't know if they actually HAD a horse or were just curious

Simon replied:

'Not one that has an incurable disease I don't!'

And then he commented again:

'But I don't mind if it just has a heavy cold or something'

I was possibly totally inappropriate of me to find this quite as funny as I did ..

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Clovelly (a proper grown up post ...)

"Suddenly a hot gleam of sunlight fell upon the white cottages, with their grey steaming roofs and little scraps of garden courtyard, and lighting up the wings of the gorgeous butterflies which fluttered from the woodland down to the garden."

Is a quote about Clovelly  from the author and social reformer Charles Kingsley who wrote The Water Babies and Westwood Ho from over 150 years ago and since then the village has hardly changed.

In the summer SD and I were at an event which had a charity auction.  One of the lots was for entry to Clovelly village in North Devon.

My first visit to Clovelly was about 4 years ago and I loved it so I persuaded SD to bid for the tickets and on Saturday we headed up the Atlantic Highway from our holiday in Cornwall and spent the day in this beautiful place.

Kingsley came to the village in 1831 at the age of 11 where his father was curate and then rector until 1836.

Clovelly is set deep into the  North Devon hillside with a single cobbled high street  edged with traditional whitewashed cottages festooned with fuchsias and geraniums.

The High Street known as Up-along or Down-along wends its way dropping 122m (400ft) in 0.8km (half a mile) to the impressive 14th century quay and harbour.

Traffic is banned from the high street and visitors park at the top of the hill by the Heritage Centre but there is, for those who find the walk back up too steep, a landrover service to ferry visitors back up via the back road.

Clovelly was once a busy fishing port famed for it's mackerel and herring  and although fishing has declined it's still a part of village life.  In the past this coastline was rife with smuggling and piracy and notorious for shipwrecks and so, since 1870 Clovelly has had it's own lifeboat.

As the high street it too steep for motor vehicles donkeys were used for centuries as the main form of transport to ferry everything by sledge.  The donkeys are no longer used for heavy loads but they are still an integral part of life in Clovelly and children can enjoy rides in the summer.

When you get down to the harbour you can stroll along the pebbly beach past the lifeboat house and along the shore to the waterfall pouring out of the cliff face.

There is a cave behind the waterfall where legend tells that Merlin the Arthurian magician was born but the source of the waterfall is slightly more prosaic.  A stream used by the village for drinking water once flowed down the village street but when mains water was installed the stream was diverted and emerged further down the cliff as the waterfall.

Clovelly has been associated with just 3 families since the middle of the 13th century and prior to that it was owned by the King.

In 1242 it was acquired by the Giffard family who were of Norman origin.  Walter Giffard came to England as one of Duke Williams closest advisers.

In 1370 ownership passed to Sir William Cary through marriage and purchase and Sir William is best know as reputedly being the builder of the original pier or breakwater.  the Carys continued to live in Clovelly for the next 11 generations until their line died out and Clovelly was sold by the widower of Elizabeth Cary in 1738 to Zachary Hamly who's descendants still own the village and much of the surrounding land.

There is so much more history to Clovelly that I haven't included in this post but really, the best way to experience it is to actually visit if you can.

It is a unique and beautiful place.

Monday 3 November 2014


I've been pondering STUFF lately.

Like - How come the varnish on my finger nails looks like crap within 24 hours of painting them but the same stuff on my toe nails remains unchipped for 3 months ...??

How does SD still manage to have a full head of hair when he sheds EVERYWHERE!

I was going to write a post about our trip to Cornwall last week (and I still am) taking my inspiration from Mike over at A Bit About Britain who writes fascinating and informative posts about his travels around Britain illustrated with beautiful photos, I WAS going to write a proper GROWN UP blog post but there are a few things I need to get off my chest first ...

So, Cornwall ...

I LOVE Cornwall and I'm so lucky that SD shares that love and we escape there as often as possible.  I'm also lucky that Cornwall is so close as is the North Devon coast and Dorset so really are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches!

Last week we packed our bags and headed for Newquay and our first stop was Watergate Bay.

SD is a little sniffy about Watergate, he remembers it from the 80's when it was a beautiful, unspoilt haven for surfers with just a shack on the sand selling dubious coffee.

Since Jamie Oliver 'discovered' the place it has, as SD remarked, become inundated with middle class, padded welly wearing, designer dog walking gobshites.

I stopped to pat a couple of really cute doggies racing along the beach and asked their owner what breed they were.

Cavelier King Charles crossed with Poodles apparently, Cavadoddles she told me although as one proceeded to take a huge dump by my feet I did reflect that maybe King Poo might just be a more appropriate name ...


Photos are a must to document our every adventure so I asked SD to take a pic of me:

Nice one SD!

Let me try again he said - just climb up on to that rock and I'll take a photo of you sitting on it ...

SO much better don't you think?

It was such a beautiful day, hard to believe it was the end of October so we decided to drink our coffee sitting outside on the balcony of the beach hut:

Yes, this really IS a hut - just ask any of the middle class gobshite ;-)
Image credit

Unfortunately the balcony was, for some inexplicable reason, closed and when we asked if we could sit outside we were first met by a slightly perplexed look and then politely directed to the far end of the hut (seen on the right of this photo) to the 'inside/outside' dining area.

We sat down and looked around ...

It was remarkably warm and quiet for an outside seating area by the beach ...

The whole fecking place is enclosed by glass complete with a roof in the winter!

We got a takeaway coffee and sat on the beach ...

We spent our first night high up on the Pentire overlooking Fistral beach in our favourite guest house run by Nicki who is completely mad and unfortunately couldn't have us for more than one night due to the fact that she had new flooring being laid in the dining room the following day and had to kill her cat at 10:30 ...

After a fantastic pizza at Tad and Nicks we wandered around Newquay drinking Doombar in various pubs ending up at the Red Lion before heading back up the hill to bed.

Breakfast the following day was enlivened by a mother and her small son who must have been no more than 2 years old and who with his gorgeous tufts of jet black hair, coffee coloured skin and endless chatter reminded me how special and exciting every moment is when you are small.  After finishing his huge cooked breakfast he slipped down from his seat and toddled over to the table to pick up a jar of marmalade for his toast.  The jar slipped from his fingers and rolled under the table.

'Oh for FUCKS SAKE' he muttered as he crawled under the table to retrieve it ...

It was almost impossible to believe it was the last day of October it was so warm:

Look - SHORTS!!!

We spent the day shopping, drinking coffee, walking on the beach, more coffee, more shopping, drove over to Porth to walk on the beach there and then did a little more shopping before booking into our new guest house on the far side of Newquay.

Walking down to town that evening we passed this:

is it me or is there something a little 1970's pornographic about that sign?  

No?  It's just me ...?

Well, what about THIS then?

I'm not sure why you would have this kind of erection outside of a dental surgery ...

Obviously we HAD to have dinner here after that:

Senor Dicks ...  Seen Your Dicks ...  Geddit ...?

The new Guest house was called The Pines and very nice it was too.  Lovely rooms, great breakfast, heated pool, snoring guest in the next room and surrounded by pine trees hence the name.

SD parked the van under one of them in the car park and the next morning we came out to find this:

Seriously??  What the hell do they have nesting in those pines - bloody ELEPHANTS???

There's more but this post is already getting long and I expect you are ready for a cup of tea or something by now (god know, I am!) so I'll tell you the rest another time.

Friday 24 October 2014

Hippy Chic

Linking up with Maxabella for The Weekend Rewind.

Sometimes I'm like an (almost) adult version of that toddler who, when confronted with the open jar of Nutella shakes their chocolate smeared face in total denial.

I had thought it would be hard to top dyeing my daughter blue but it seems that I am endlessly inventive when it comes to new ways of making a complete arse of myself


Yep, Miss Mac decided she wanted to dye her hair again and this time we thought we'd give natural henna a go.

Off  we to the local hippy shop which is the only place in town you can still buy it and came home and mixed it up.

That stuff is DISGUSTING!!  It's looks and smells like cow shit after the cow has spent several days gorging on new grass.

Obviously I only realised it didn't come with gloves after mixing it up but, I am nothing if not ingenious and pulling out a couple of doggy poo bags from the drawer I popped them over my hands and started work.

That paste not only looks and smells like shit it's actually really hard to get to stick onto hair and every time I tried to smooth it through my emergency 'gloves' slid off so I ditched them.

After all, if I washed my hands straight away after I'd finished it would be FINE .....  Wouldn't it ....

I left Miss Mac in the bathroom proving (or whatever it is henna does) and went into the kitchen to washed the sludge off my hands.  My scream of horror alerted her to the fact that not all was well.

She rushed into the room looking somewhat reminiscent of a conehead due to the fact that I'd also forgotten to buy a showercap to put over her hair while it developed and so instead I'd wound half a roll of clingfilm around her head (I told you I was ingenious didn't I?) to find me waving around hands like an Oompa Loompa.


This photo doesn't even do it justice!  36 hours later and my hands are still a pale tangerine and my nails are (according to a kind 'friend') the colour of old wee!

Miss Mac realised that drastic measures were needed to stop me hyperventilating and, reaching for the cupboard she pulled out a packet and offered me:


While I sat mindlessly shovelling chocolate into my mouth she disappeared back into the bathroom.  After a while I decided that it was (toddler like - she IS my daughter) far too quiet in there so I went to investigate.

Having seen how effectively I'd managed to dye myself she decided to use the left over paste to give herself henna tattoos ALL OVER HER HANDS.  Fortunately there are only a couple of days left of term so she's unlikely to be excluded from school and if anyone questions her hand art well, Diwali started yesterday didn't it ...

I think a few more days scrubbing might get my hands almost back to normal but my nails are a lost cause but, because I like to think of every cloud as having some kind of lining I remembered that they also sell this great mirrored nail varnish in the hippy shop we bought the henna in so I'm just going to have to go and buy some aren't I?

nb  Miss Mac HATES her new hair colour which is just bloody typical isn't it?

Thursday 23 October 2014

The Lounge

The Lounge this week is coming from Musings of the Misguided and the theme is food.  Initially when I saw what the link was going to be it said something about sharing your recipes and, given the events of yesterday I did briefly consider sharing my recipe for disaster (and there will be a blog post to follow on THAT I promise!).

Anyhow, as regular readers will already know I AM A FOOD BLOGGER so HOW bloody fortuitous that The Lounge is all about food this week?

It's practically intuitive of them don't you think?  I mean, last week I became a food blogger and this week they want me to talk about food, it's like we are linked in some inexplicable way.

I'm really hoping that they are linked to those nice Thermomix people too because I haven't received mine in the post yet and I really, really want to make those levitating cakes but after this post I'm fairly confident that one will be winging it way towards me tout sweet!

Ok, down to the business part of things ...

I make a lot of cakes (which is why I NEED a Thermomix).  In my opinion there cannot be enough cake in the world and there should be a cake for every occasion.

For example, here are some I have made previously:

Perfect for those times when someone really pisses you  off and the only solution is to eat cake!


This I fondly call the 'cock cake' - I'm not quite sure HOW this happened, they seem to have gone through some sort of morphing process in the oven.  I made these cakes for Big D's birthday and I have to admit, it did leave me with a bit of a dilemma!

Should I ice them and pretend that I'd planned all along to serve my eldest son tiny penis cakes (and what would that do to his self esteem??).

Should I become the Lorena Bobbitt of the cake world and chop them off??  (I did consider serving the off cuts with a little dipping sauce ...)

The original plan had been to make them into lemon drizzle cakes and the irony of the recipe that told me to 'prick' them all over before soaking in lemon syrup was not lost on me ...

In the end I decided to eat them myself and bake another batch after all, it's one thing to offer your son a cock cake but it's quite another to expect him to take them home and share them with his fiance.

Monday 20 October 2014

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

How does YOUR blog post grow??

Mine's a kind of regurgitation of all the stuff in my head which is why it's often an incoherent stream of conscious (and occasionally unconscious) thoughts that don't necessarily link together.  There's loads of stuff that never makes it on to the blog simply because the thread gets overwritten by yet more stuff.

I often think that I must write about something only to 'loose' it in the maelstrom and so great blog fodder is gone forever.

In an attempt to cling on to these gems I sometimes send myself texts.  Most of which, when I come to re-read them, are complete gibberish and I've got no idea what I was banging on about.

Saturday night was Carnival night in Taunton.  If you've never seen a west country carnival then you really need to get down here some time in October and experience the madness.

I've probably become a little complacent having lived here for so many years and so, despite the fact that the carnival practically passes by my door I completely missed it this year!

I couldn't miss hearing it, the whole house was vibrating with the music and cheers as the floats went passed but I was busy getting ready for a night out.

I probably would have caught some of it if SD hadn't had me painting wheels until 7 o'clock at the farm.  Seriously, before SD I didn't know anyone painted wheels and yet, in the last few years I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time doing just that!

Anyway, if you want to see a little of what you have been missing then take a look here (unfortunately you cant skip the ad).  Given that the video was shot by the local paper I was a bit disappointed by the quality but check out Mr and Mrs potato head at 2 mins 45 seconds - they are GREAT!  The Transformers float right at the end was also well worth seeing I've been told but the video doesn't really show it that well.

I am not going to comment on the quality or inadvisability of the numerous majorettes, you can judge for yourselves ...

Anyway, as usual, I'm digressing ...

So, Saturday night saw SD and I along with a crowd of friends at our local listening to a band.  The others had all spent the previous couple of hours stuffing their faces with an Indian so SD and I got the full benefit of second hand Bhoona with the odd Tikka belch thrown in.  D sat there perspiring gently as he attempted to digest vast quantities of naan bread and pilau rice, N repeatedly tried to untie SD shoe laces for some unknown reason, S sat demurely in a corner giggling to herself at some untold joke and Cornish M stared cross eyed into the middle distance.

Either they had peaked too early or we needed to catch up pretty quick!

Luckily, given the wheel painting and mad rush to get ready I hadn't had time to eat anything other than a sandwich so catching up was no problem on an empty stomach!

You know what?

My friends are HILARIOUS - seriously, I've NO idea why I don't realise this when I'm sober.  The more I drank the funnier they became and I had tears of laughter pouring down my face.  I suspect they probably found me really funny too although they all claimed the next day that I wasn't even there!

Well I WAS and I know I was because I sent myself a few texts ...

Like this ...

'Hot tub, wine glass' and 'Flaming Sambuca, funeral, fire'

Things I couldn't POSSIBLY have know if I wasn't actually there!

Now all I need to do is remember what the hell I was talking about ...

Actually, I can!

D and A have a hot tub in their garden and every now and then they invite friends around for a party and the hot tub is fired up.  Its best to avoid these parties like the plague.  Yes I love my friends, yes I love to party, yes, I even like the odd dip in a hot tub BUT, I really, REALLY don't want to combine all three.

Seriously ,friends half cut is bad enough, I don't need to see them half naked at the same time!

It does mean that I miss out on seeing A completely rat arsed in a hot tub slowly sinking under the water, wine glass in hand and then reappearing gasping for air and looking in wonder at her glass that has magically been refilled.  I also miss that classic moment where she joyfully empties that glass totally unaware that she is drinking a mixture of chlorinated water dubiously carbonated with curry filled noxious gasses and, to be honest, god know WHAT else!

A is a notorious part animal and really shouldn't be allowed out in public and definitely shouldn't be allowed to buy drinks and was entirely responsible for the Baileys and Tia Maria shots that sent me right over the edge on Saturday night.

SD thank god vetoed the Flaming Sambuca, mostly because he still has flash backs to the night he set fire to his face the night before a first date with a girl he was really keen to impress (not me!).  And D managed to dissuade A by reminding her of the last time she knocked over a Flaming Sambuca and the resulting domino reaction that set fire to the table at a WAKE!

Cornish M makes me laugh, he's one of those people who get more distant the more they drink.  By the time we met up on Saturday he was practically in Dorset!  He sat quietly on the edge of the circle occasionally laughing at a joke someone had made 10 minutes before which was GREAT because then we all got to laugh at it (and him) for a second time!

N was completely out of control but then he is when he's sober so it's really hard to tell the difference.  In between trying to untie SD laces he spent some time stroking his leg hair (SD' that is - SD wears shorts for at least 8 months of the year) and then moved on to the hair on his head (SD's again).  Really SD SHOULD know better than to sit opposite N!

'It's really soft' he said, 'how DO you get it so glossy?'

'I'll bet you use Timotei ...'

'No he doesn't' piped up D.

'He only uses the really expensive stuff, PANTENE - geddit?  PANTENE - PAUND TEN'.

D creases up at his own joke ...  Everyone else follows suit ....

Five minutes later Cornish M chuckles softly, 'paund ten' that's a good one ...