Friday, January 31, 2014


There are a few roadworks going on round our way at the moment - one of the diversion signs refers to 'non-Motarway traffic.' It's okay, you'll see it in a minute.

Birthday hijinks

It was my birthday this week - I am now the grand old age of 37... anyhoo... my greatest birthday present this year

a Totoro handbag!!!! I am a very happy 37 year old!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Afternoon tea

We had some friend over this afternoon and put on an afternoon tea spread. As is the way of things with us, what started as just being a few cucumber sandwiches and scones, ended up a far greater and more elaborate affair! Mind you, there was barely anything left over afterwards so perhaps we were not as extravagant as we'd thought...

The scones are under the glass dome!

Dalek cupcakes finally using the skirts and toppers I bought in Lakeland on a mad spending spree when all the Doctor Who bakeware came out...

Mini banoffee and key lime pies with my first attempt at macaroons. Since the Great British Bake-Off, macaroons have held a bit of a mystique about them, but my first attempt seemed to go well. They were crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and had the lacy bottom layer. My only problem seemed to be that they didn't come cleanly off the baking parchment after baking - lots of bottoms got left behind! I am not sure whether this was because they were baked a little too long, not quite enough, or that I didn't take them off the paper soon enough. I expect only further experimenting will tell!!

Cheese and Vegemite pinwheels and some gorgeous sausage rolls. You can also see in the bottom right of the photo Leigh's egg muffins (basically beaten egg baked in a muffin tin with bacon, mushroom, spinach, seasoning.). Delicious!

Finally a wondrous new tea cosy - bought for the teapot of the new teaset we intended to buy today but didn't see one which quite fitted the bill. Off to Denby tomorrow then!

Stop encouraging me...

I have a very real concern that I am going to end up as one of those people who spends all their time writing off letters of complaint or "I thought you would like to know..." to big companies. The problem is, they keep incentivising me with free stuff.

A few months ago I bought a bottle of Coldpress juice from the supermarket. This is usually delicious, but that bottle was awful - it tasted really earthy and off. So I returned it to the supermarket and got a refund. A few weeks later we received a replacement bottle of juice through the post with a nice letter. Great.

Then just after Christmas, Zachary noticed that on a certain box of own brand cereal from a well-known supermarket there was a recipe for some kind of crispy, marshmallowy snack bar using the cereal. The first instruction told you to 'melt the marshmallows' but Zachary noticed that the ingredients list didn't contain marshmallows! Normally I would totally ignore this, but after my result with the juice, I wrote a letter to said supermarket and this morning a letter from them arrived. It contained a £5 giftcard to use in store. Brilliant - bring on the complaining!!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Too much earth!

We're hoping to decorate our downstairs rooms this summer - it has finally reached a time when (fingers crossed) the boys are old enough to not write on the walls! But, before we can actually paint the walls, there are several tasks which need to be done first - fix the skirting boards, sort out lighting in the middle room (our central light causes great 'shine' problems when playing board games so we're trying to think of alternatives), fix the shelves, trunk up the electrical cables and get the electrics checked.

When we moved into the house, the kitchen and bathroom had not long been renovated by the family there before us. We have found several problems with the drainage in the bathroom so thought we should probably get the electrics checked ... and didn't want to decorate and then find that the walls needed to be ripped apart for re-wriring!!!

We had an electrician round today to do a survey - he estimated it would take about 3 hours all in. After 10 minutes he called us in, provided a very comprehensive but totally incomprehensible explanation of our electrical system (with lots of acronyms!) which basically ended with him saying that we have too much earth coming into the mains and he can't continue testing until that's fixed because until it is fixed, all the sockets will fail the test. Hmmm. On the plus side he seemed to be quite positive that we would not need total be confirmed.