Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Shoes, Snow and Santa

Monday was one of the most straightforward days yet.
Wear Brown Shoes Day meant just that.
I had a really lovely day out Christmas shopping with my mum and sisters and these comfy brown flat lace ups were perfect for that excursion.



Tuesday 5th December was the birthday of Christina Rosetti. I don't know much about her other than she wrote the words of the carol In the Bleak Midwinter. I have to say I find the tune of that particular song a bit of a dirge. 
The first verse mentions snow and as it is now December and I am working my way through my stash of festive jewellery I went for the snowflakes earrings and this jolly snowman who looks just the opposite of bleak!


Today is St Nicholas Day and so it was time to change over from using my normal dotty keyring and thread the keys onto this jolly Santa one instead. Little festive touches like him make me happy.



Sunday, 3 December 2017

December 3rd

My advent gift today is a set of chalk board gift tags.
A mix of patterns means I can use some for Christmas and others for birthdays.
Really useful and very cute.


It's been a couple of weeks since I watched a movie as part of my birthday year of activities and after watching Far From Heaven I can tell you it was worth the wait.
This movie was chosen as the lead actress Julianne Moore has her birthday today.
The movie is set in Connecticut in 1957 and concerns the seemingly perfect life of homemaker Cathy Whittaker. 
The film explores issues of sexual and racial discrimination during this era and the film was shot in movie style of this time.
The sets are immaculate and just look at the costumes too. The clothing echos the natural beauty found in the many outdoor scenes.
G and I both enjoyed this movie and it's one we would heartily recommend.




Saturday, 2 December 2017

Advent

A couple of years back my sister's and I began a new tradition.

During the year we gather 18 little gifts and then add to these with 6 more which can either be drunk or eaten.
Making a total of 24, one to be opened each day leading up to Christmas Day.
We have a rule that no gift should cost more than £1.00.
Keeping an eye out all year round means you can pick up some real bargains along the way.
At the end of November we gather together to exchange them all ready for the first of December.
This year I bought gifts for my sister T, T bought for our sister C and C bought for me.

I am going to attempt to share them, if not daily, then as often as I can.

My first gift was this reindeer cake tin.



This morning I opened the first edible gift. 
A packet of Viennese biscuits, the kind that melt in the mouth and once opened don't last very long!!


Snow White


December 1st is another one of those days which was created by food companies to help promote the selling of their produce.
This time though the food they are promoting is on the healthy spectrum as it is Eat a Red Apple Day.
As soon as I read about this day my mind to flew Snow White and the eating of that poisoned apple.
What a rogues gallery of Snow Whites to behold.

December 2nd 1957 saw Sam Cooke's You Send Me reach the number one spot.




If you have never listened to Sam Cooke before then I urge you to. 
He has the most beautiful voic.
The depth of emotion he conveys in is his version of Send Me Some Lovin' is simply marvellous. Check him out on You Tube.

The End Of November

Monday was Lancashire day and I took the opportunity to bake something I have been wanting to attempt making again.
When I made parkin the first time my darling husband, to whom I wasn't as yet married, christened this rope cake because he said that's what the texture was like.
Cheeky boy.
I took the recipe from here and I must admit it was more of a success.
I'm sure I have a recipe where the parkin is made with a combination of golden syrup and treacle as with just treacle it did taste very rich.



Tuesday 28th was the birthday of Saints legend Mick Channon and so I wore my red and white striped cardigan as these are the colours of the Southampton strip.
Although a work colleague did comment on how festive I looked and I realised this would be the ideal thing to wear on Candy Cane day later this month.



I went for a clothing related item on Wednesday for the birthday of CS Lewis. I loved the Narnia books as a child and as an adult I have also enjoyed the movies. I love the costumes the girls wear and so I took a bit of inspiration from Lucy and wore this dark green cardi and floral dress.
You can see them hung on the front of my wardrobe.


Here is a closer look at the floral pattern. I bought this handmade dress at a vintage shop in Bristol last weekend for £1.00.
Yes we've been away and I have a whole post to do about our little trip.


Thursday was St Andrews Day and if there is one thing I love about Scotland then it's the shortbread!
This recipe from the Co-op was just begging to be attempted. We layered the toffee and the chocolate rather than just drizzling and the addition of the popcorn is genius.


Friday, 24 November 2017

Beefy


I was very glad to be wearing this woolly-pully today as there was a definite November chill to the air.
Today is Ian Botham's birthday so my cricket sweater was a must.
Let's hope the England team channel of bit of Beefy spirit and come back home with the Ashes.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

The First Ever...............


.................episode of Doctor Who was broadcast on 23rd November 1963.

Watching Dr Who with the children brings back some very happy memories of the four of us sat together anticipating what perils would befall the Doctor and his companion.

I bought this set of stencils from Lakeland a few years ago and in the past they have been used to dust icing sugar over fairy cakes. 
Tonight the TARDIS was used to top off G's coffee with a sprinkling of chocolate.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Hoagy

I'm very late with today's post as I went into town with S straight from work.
She wanted to buy a pair of black trousers for an upcoming dance competition and I wanted to take the opportunity to pick up a couple of Christmas presents.
A lovely time spent with my (not so) little girl.

But back to today and it's the birthday of Hoagy Carmichael.
I must admit that the only thing I knew about him is that he composed one of my all time favourite songs.



I know I have shared this version of the song before but Robin Sarstedt's cheekbones and cheeky smile definitely deserve another airing.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Peanut Butter Fudge


I think that this is quite probably the brownest photo ever to appear on my blog.

Peanut Butter Fudge Day has seen S busy in the kitchen after school today following this simple recipe and creating what can only be described as a brown splodge of fudge. 
I don't like peanut butter so shall be relying on G and S do the tasting.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

A W O L

It's been a busy old week around here and if I have taken one thing from it then that is I need to be really tip top on the organisational front regarding my daily activity and subsequent blogging.


With that most hectic month of the year creeping ever closer (yay!) I shall need to step it up a bit, making sure I allow time for that all I want to do.

I left you on Tuesday when it was Pickle Day so we shall pick up with Wednesday and the fact it was Anni-Frid Lyngstad's birthday.
I ask you, who doesn't enjoy a bit of ABBA every now and again.
As long as it is not in the form of the movie Mamma Mia, oh my goodness I never want to have to see that again!
We have had some great fun here when warbling along to ABBA on the Sing Star game. 
One of my favourite ABBA songs is Ring Ring and so I went with wearing my dial phone brooch.



Thursday was Button Day. A month or so ago I selected some buttons for a little project with Button Day in mind. I made them into a bracelet for S.
Incredibly easy to make I shall be making one for myself for sure.



I had been looking forward to Friday and Homemade Bread Day.
My plan was to do some prep for it on Thursday as I had friend coming to visit Friday evening. We hadn't seen each other since my birthday in July so with so much catching up to do there wouldn't be a huge amount of time for bread making.
Instead Thursday evening was spent out catching up with another friend who I hadn't seen since May. If he isn't busy with work he's on holiday and when he was last free I couldn't make it due to G's shifts.
It has taken an age to find a date we were both free so when the chance presented itself on Thursday we grabbed it.

Yesterday was Mickey Mouse day. 
Again my plan for the day didn't materialise. I was going to download some sort of template for us to pose with, but for one reason and another it didn't happen.
S had a good day. She had her friend D for a sleepover on Friday and in the morning then took themselves off into town for window shopping, followed by lunch and then the cinema. G went to work.
I had a lovely day. First thing I took myself off to Homebase to buy a new Christmas tree and unexpectedly found a perfect present for my sisters from the children.
Once home there were household jobs to do then I went and picked up my mum and bought her back here for lunch. We then wandered round to the local church hall for their Christmas fete. We always manage to find a few bits and pieces and this year didn't disappoint either.

Today is the birthday of the wonderful Meg Ryan
I love When Harry Met Sally and this would be my first choice for watching but a while ago I found a movie called The Women for 50p in a charity shop and thought I would give that a go instead. 
It was ok but it could have been so much better.
It has gone inside the bag along with my latest batch of donations to the charity shop.

I'd like to think I will do better this week.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

In a Pickle


Being the food fuss pot I am meant that for Pickle Day instead of a full on chunky traditional pickle it was just the tangy smooth pickle sauce in my lunchtime cheese rolls.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Nov 13

is World Kindness Day.

On two separate occasions during these past couple of weeks we have been lucky enough to benefit from acts of kindness by both sets of  adjoining neighbours.

G and I had bought a new bed and so the old one was broken up and, to get it out of the way, it was taken out to the front garden.
Our neighbour L saw G as he was piling up the rubbish and told him she would put it all in her works van and take it to the local tip for us as she was going to be doing a run there anyway.

Then last week we had problems with our car.
It needed a new battery.
Very kindly T went out to collect a new one for us and then our neighbour V helped G to install it and offered some advice when the darn car still wouldn't work!
The issue is still rumbling along.
I rang the garage where I took the car for it's MOT and was advised to call someone else who 'knows everything there is to know about electrics in cars.'
I spoke to C who was so incredibly helpful on Friday and he gave me some free advice on a possible 'easy quick fix'.
Alas this didn't work so we are now on to the next step.
I'm hoping this one will prove to be successful as although no cheap it's not the possible hundreds of pounds solution either.

To let them know we appreciated their kindness we bought chocolate and beer for our neighbours.

On a different subject
Having car issues to sort today meant G and I couldn't go out for the day as planned so we went to the cinema and saw Murder on the Orient Express. Oh My Word. What an absolute feast for the eyes that was. Watching the trailers I thought just how ridiculous that moustache was on Kenneth Brannagh and I honestly thought I wouldn't see past it, but I can say I completely forgot about it. It is such a beautifully shot movie and there is so much to drink in and enjoy. We both loved it.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Dorothy Dandridge


This post should have appeared on Thursday 9th November as that's when the actress and singer Dorothy Dandridge was born.

I bought this (made for TV) movieas although I knew her name I knew nothing about the person.
Dorothy Dandridge was the first African American actress to be nominated for an Oscar. 
This was for her performance in the starring role of Carmen Jones, a film I am now very interested to see. 

Saying I enjoyed this movie is a bit strange as it just made me feel intensely sad and so cross.

Ms Dandridge died when she was only 42 and there seems to have been controversy surrounding the circumstances of how she died.
The issues of racial discrimination she had endure are just appalling to watch and then there is how she was mis-treated by the big studios of Hollywood.
The movie is worth watching from a social history point of view alone.




Saturday, 11 November 2017

Origami



Folding an old style £10 note so it looks like the queen is wearing a party hat may not be the first thing you think of doing on Origami Day but I love it and it's provided me with the ideal way of gifting money to the grown up children of friends of ours this Christmas.
All I need to do now is pop a Christmas message on the bottom of the card.
I was thinking 'One is wishing you a Merry Christmas'.
Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

A Wizzard of a Song



Today Mr Wood is 71 years old.

From the first bars of this song I am transported back to my 1970's childhood.
I was mesmerised by the sight of Roy Wood. 
All that hair with it's rainbow of colours.
The glam rock make-up.
He was larger than life.

Then along came I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday and, love it or loathe it, no Christmas compilation CD is complete with out it.
Today I went with this song as the inspiration for my choice of outfit.
I felt a Christmas jumper was probably too much in early November and so went with the more subtle approach of wearing festive colours in red and green especially as I am wearing my poppy this week too.



I did go with these snowflake earrings though, because
when the snowman brings the snow................


I  

Monday, 6 November 2017

Nachos


This was our take on Nachos Day and what a success it was.
Definitely a meal I shall be cooking again.
Part cook chicken breasts, remove from the oven and top each one with a tablespoon of tomato salsa, then a tablespoon of soured cream followed by a good sprinkling of crushed tortilla chips then finally top all that off with a handful of grated cheese. Bake for a further 10-12 minutes. 
I served these with Mexican spiced rice, peas and sweetcorn.
The plates came back clean.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Remember, Remember

Thursday was All Soul's Day.
A day to remember those we have loved and lost.
A candle on the mantle was lit for both mine and G's dad.

.


Friday was Fountain Pen Day. 
Last year I bought one of these disposable fountain pens in Peacock Green for writing out my Christmas cards.
I like to make card writing into it's own little occasion.
There should be nibbles and a Bailey's to hand and Christmas music playing, all helping to create the right kind of atmosphere.
I have a set of alphabet stamps and some festive stamps for addressing and decorating the envelopes and for this year I have chosen a new pink ink pen. 




Saturday was the birthday of Marguerite Patten. My brother-in-law bought me this set of cookbooks for Christmas a few years ago and they really make for interesting reading. I have made a few things from them and they really came in useful when both the children needed to take in food for a WW2 tea party when at junior school.
My plan had been to do a spot of baking yesterday but I'm trying to do some decorating as well as everything else and, well, something had to give and in the end it was the baking.


Talking of decorating I was painting our bedroom floor today and in the background I had on the movie Leap Year, which I know I have mentioned on here before.
Today is Love Your Red Hair Day and as Amy Adams is a natural red head and I love this movie it seemed like a good choice to go with.


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Empress of India


On 1st November 1858 Queen Victoria's government issued a proclamation citing that

Following the 1857 Rebellion, the East India Company's rule in India would come to an end, thereafter India would be governed by and in the name of the British Monarch through a Secretary of State.

It wasn't until July 1947 that India gained it's independence from Great Britain, nearly 90 years later.

I took India as my theme for today and decided it would be a good idea to try one of the recipes from my Pinterest board. I chose Indian Sticky Chicken for it's simplicity, an essential requirement for a midweek evening meal.
S gave this a thumbs up. G is yet to try it as he is still at work.


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Halloween


Compared to recent years this Halloween has been a much quieter affair.

With T no longer living at home, G on a late shift and S out for an hour trick or treating with a gaggle of girlie friends from school it was just me left at home handing out sweets.
We had in the region of 80 callers this evening.
Most arrived in groups of 5, 6 or 7 at a time and the last lone caller was just before 7.30.
This was ideal as it gave me plenty of time to be sorted and sat down in time to watch The GBBO final.

I didn't put up many decorations this year.
Although we did have pumpkins, which as tradition dictates were all carved by G, I don't have photos as by the time I came home from work it was already too dark.

Instead this post will just have to make do with the dress I wore today. 
To my way of thinking the black and white pattern is very reminiscent of spiders and so I thought it would be ideal attire for Halloween, teamed with my pumpkin brooch.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Making A List

And checking it twice.
And then many more times after that.
For this is the book which contains my Christmas present to buy list.
I have updated it today because today is my kind of day.
It's Checklist Day.
Oh how I love a list.
I don't always like having to do all of the things on my list and very rarely does a to do list get completed.
The undone things just make it onto another list.
I need a list to give me structure, otherwise I get side tracked and then frustrated that nothing is achieved.
Also I have a dreadful memory and if I don't write things down when I think of them they slip my mind.
Being a list addict also allows me to indulge in my love of pretty stationery,
And I know I'm not alone in this.


Seeing as I have already mentioned Christmas in this post I thought I would also share this new bedding I bought in Asda recently. 
Of course I hadn't gone in to this store with the intention of buying any bedding but this Scandi Winter Scene design had been reduced to half price. It will be perfect to use in the winter and during the lead up to Christmas as it isn't overly festive. I bought three sets, one for me and G, one for S and one for T's old room in case we have overnight guests over the holidays.


Sunday, 29 October 2017

I was Sabrina

Let me explain.
When we were little girls my sisters and I would play at being Charlie's Angels
C on the left being blonde was the Cheryl Ladd character Kris, T was Jaclyn Smith's Kelly and I was Sabrina played by.Kate Jackson. Ms Jackson's birthday is 29th October.
I think this was due to the fact she was the one who seemed to be the most senior angel and seeing as I was the eldest sister I got to be in charge!
This photo was taken at C's on her birthday. 
As a first attempt it's fine but I'm not 100% happy with it and there is room for improvement.
After placing C and T (see there's me still being in charge after all these years) I took my position and I haven't quite got the stance right, my elbow needed to be more at an angle for one and I should have been looking straight on to the right more.
We are due to meet up again at the end of November at my house and I'm hoping we can have another go at getting it right.
As you can see in the original show logo Kelly and Sabrina are holding guns but I asked T to bring something which said something about her. She chose a Snickers bar! I went for the notebook I am using for jotting down all of this year's challenges in.
It gave us a laugh though.




Saturday, 28 October 2017

Caroline's Presents

It was my sister's birthday on 24th and so you know what that means.
A post showing all the items I managed to buy for her with our budget of £10.

I am going to start off with my favourite buy of the lot, a grey sweater with robin motif.
One of the cutest things ever.


As well as wishing the robin sweater had been in my size I would have been happy if this old fashioned rose print top had been too.


My sister has to wear a company issue blouse to work which can be teamed with black, grey or navy. This grey jumper will be an ideal addition to her winter working wardrobe.



If you are a long time reader then you know the presents we buy are all from the charity shop/jumble/car boot. 
Well, just occasionally, we do stray from these rules when the perfect gift is found in a 'proper shop'.
I saw these Bella and Boo gift boxes in TK Maxx reduced to £3 for the set and I know she loves these illustrations so they had to be bought.



To make up for this breaking of the rules I made sure the gifts I placed inside were all pre-loved.
I popped in the (unused) candle in a tin and two polka dot mugs. As well as the brown and cream one pictured there was another in red and white. The glass candleholder was the least expensive of my buys at just 10p.
The polka dot jar is something I could have easily found a home for.


As well as the boxes this item was also bought brand new. This fleecy cushion was £2 from Poundland and it's actually a lot bigger than the photo suggests.




There were 3 of this glasses, my sister liked the shape and thought they would make pretty miniature vases.



The next two gifts she knew about as she was with me when I bought them.
Both were spied as we ambled around the car boot sale on different Sunday mornings.




I wouldn't normally buy her black clothing but the floral band on this top caught my attention and I'm glad I did pick it up as she really liked it.



My least favourite buy are these trousers. They really aren't my thing but I was pretty sure they were hers. They are originally from Monsoon and cost me 30p at a jumble sale.


The final item is this simple photo frame with an added length of twine and two wooden pegs. My sister has a number of postcards and photos she likes to display and so this will be put to good use.


I can't remember the price of each individual item but the combined cost of the set of 3 boxes and the cushion was £5.00 and so everything else was purchased for an additional £5.00, making £10 in total.

Now none of that has got anything to do with today's occasion of No Day in Greece but I needed to slot the post in somewhere!
I could have gone down the food route with a Greek salad or maybe a moussaka or souvlaki but I am pretty sure none of these would have been very well received and so I took the easy route and decided to wear a blue and white jumper as these are the two colours of the Greek flag. I'm glad I went for this clothing option as although the sun was out there was definitely the need for wearing something a little chunkier.


Friday, 27 October 2017

A Day For Malcolm

I can't tell you how chuffed I was when at a Sunday car boot sale a couple of months back I found this little felt finger puppet.
I bought the cat, a lion and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
They were all in their original packaging and cost 30p for the lot.
I passed Goldilocks and the Bears on to a friend who teaches Reception aged children so they have gone to good home.

With a clasp glued to the back he became the perfect brooch accessory for black cat day.




Malcolm may not be a totally black cat but I couldn't let the day pass without including a photo of him and Melvin.


Yesterday  I blogged about my attempt at baking a pumpkin pie. I am pleased to report that it was delicious. When I opened the tin of puree there was certainly a vegetabley aroma about it but this turned into a very subtle taste once the sugar and spice was added. 
I would say if you've ever wondered what it's like then definitely give it a whirl.