Friday, 29 April 2016

Blanket...

I now have enough squares done, except for the outer edge and joining of them, to do half the blanket ready for next winter. After many different patterns of laying out, this is the one I have chosen, which DB also likes:
I still have quite a few outer edges to do before I can join more together. Problem is, after doing edges, I forget how to join up etc so have to check how to do them again. By the time I get around to doing the other half of the blanket, no doubt, I will have forgotten how to do the squares:(

Have a lovely weekend everyone, especially those who also have the Monday off.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

At last...

The fences in the garden are painted black and look lovely. It took a bit of time to persuade the neighbours to have their side black as well but we painted their side, and for the most part, paid for the paint as well. They know they can change their side any time they want but hopefully, they won't. First picture from our window up to the arch with the new gate:
This picture between us and our neighbours:
This one - no fence - showing how much the front gravel garden is waking up:

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

We have bubbles...

Welcome to Barbra Rogers and Sophie via Bloglovin.

One of lifes joys for us is sourdough bread. Although we have often had difficulty getting the recipe started, we have usually persevered and achieved a modicum of success.

Obviously creating a GF version is a little more difficult but we started 4 days ago and here it is on Day 2:
Yes, we have bubbles! I had to stick a small branch of grapes into it to get it to start but it has started.  Hopefully we shall continue along the right path and be able to get a loaf of bread at the end of it:) If not, we shall bake with it and see what it is like!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Square cutters, scones and yorkshire puddings...

I have only really used round biscuit/scone cutters but fancied some square ones for a change. The first thing I made with them, using the second largest cutter, were a half batch of GF cheese scones:
I think the largest one would work really well to create small, individual pizza's!

One of the GF food products I have been wanting to try to make is Yorkshire Puddings. I have had a few unsuccessful attempts from the myriad recipes online. However, using the recipe from my faviourite author The Gluten Free Alchemist, I have succeeded. Her recipe can be found here although we had more than enough mixture to make the 12 I wanted. Next time, I shall try either one third or two thirds of it depending on whether we want Yorkshire pudding and golden syrup for pudding:)

Here they are about halfway through cooking:
And fully cooked ready to serve:
Aren't they beautiful? They tasted lovely. We had 3 each with our casserole followed by 3 each with syrup for pudding. The only problem I had was despite greasing the pan well, adding a good amount of fat into the base, getting it smoking hot etc, they completely stuck:( We got them out in the end though but have now bought a better pan to do them in!

My new River Cottage GF cookery book also has a recipe in it for these, so we shall try those next time and report back.


Friday, 22 April 2016

A new crochet stitch - Updated

First of all welcome to Jonesfoyle and Judyk2310 via Bloglovin.

So far in my crochet I have been learning and working with only one stitch - treble, now I am learning how to add a border in a half treble - go me!

I practised various joins yesterday, using a contrasting wool, for when I want to join all the squares together. They are all different but none looked good without a border around the squares. Anyway, I got to grips with it after a while but no doubt, I will be thrown out completely when I need to make more squares using the treble.

Herewith just two of the squares with a border:
The new colour is called sage although it has more of a blue grey hint to it. It matches the carpet quite well but even if that or the curtains change in the future, I still like all the chosen colours I am working with.

I like this border as on the back (purple) or the front (green), it has a slightly different look to it.

Now the other two colours have borders:

Have a lovely weekend everyone!



Thursday, 21 April 2016

It isn't often ...

I buy a cook book nowadays unless I know I will use it quite a lot. This was greatly reduced on Amazon and had excellent reviews so I bought it:
There are loads of recipes and techniques for me to try such as sourdough breads, puff pastry, crackers, many other bakes as well as recipes for most meals of the day.

The front part goes into good detail about various flours, how they work, their different weights and what each grain has in it regarding vitamins and minerals.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Coming along nicely...

First of all, welcome to Margaret via Bloglovin.

We painted our new garden gate yesterday, managing to get both coats done in the day. The first picture is from the street into the garden:
This one from the garden looking out:
The front garden, now it has had some sun to go with the rain, is bursting into life. The first picture is the temporary cover for the pond as a local cat keeps drinking out of it and fishing for the tadpoles:
Bottom right to top left of the garden:
Bottom left side to top right of the garden:
The pond gets more camuflaged as the season progresses.

We want to start painting the fence as soon as possible but it is now a shared fence and for some reason, they don't want their side black but are not sure if they want it brown. Well, we shall do our side black and have offered to paint their side when they make up their minds.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Squares

I have just finished crocheting my 16th square:

which will eventually form 4 of these although I haven't yet decided on the pattern:
I reckon once they are joined together and have a nice border put around them, they will form a lovely, thick and warm, lap blanket for next winter - yeah!

Whilst I was watching tennis, I decided every time the players sat down, to do some crochet. I think I managed to get about  8 squares completed doing so. With it being continutally picked up and put down, it didn't seem to make my joints ache quite so much:)

Monday, 18 April 2016

I am temporarily ....

Tennised out! Yes, I know that is not a 'proper' word but it describes how I feel.

The last week has been full of highs and lows regarding the lovely game. Andy started off in a slumped state of affairs before getting himself together towards the end of the week even if he slumped again in the semi-final. Both he and Dom played well in doubles tennis.

Jamie and Bruno did well in the doubles and at one stage, I thought they might win, before they too, slumped to a sliding halt.

Never mind, for at least another week, they both hold onto their respective number 1 and 2 slots.

I don't know about you, but I am so pleased not to be famous or married to someone who is. I can't imagine how hard it is to live a life full of media invasion.

Andy had a lovely response written here, about the criticisms aimed at him, on whether or not, parenthood is having a detrimental effect on his tennis. Gee guys, give them both a break and let them experience and enjoy the overwhelming awe and wonder of being first time parents! I am also glad they are, for now, chosing to keep Sophia out of the spotlight, despite people also moaning about that!

I concur with what he says but as you are all aware, social media has a lot of negativity spouted from 'trolls' who haven't got anything better to say and who, in similar circumstances, would like the world to think that becoming a parent would overnight, miraculously change them into Djokovic.

I was pleased for Rafa to win, as it shows he is at last, coming back into full fitness which again, defeats the shouts of the trolls that he was finished.

Today started off sunny with a blue sky but that rapidly changed into light grey clouds and a chilly wind - again. The washing is out on the line though and hopefully, it will get mostly dry to be finished off inside later on.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Slippers...

The other morning, we watched out neighbour see his partner off to work, wearing his slippers. It got me wondering how we all different when it comes to wearing them - if indeed you do!

Ever since we married, we have tried to make sure we don't wear our slippers outside, working on the principle of clean soles equals clean carpets. It helps enormously to keep the carpets clean as well. We also like them as for the most part, they are comfortable and a change from being in shoes all day.

Sometimes, I don't wear any but double sock instead, especially if I have knitted myself some slippers for the winter. DB has had a habit of stepping on the back of his full slippers, almost turning them into mules. I am pleased to say, he is trying hard with the latest pair to not do it, as quite frankly, it is becoming a trip over hazard:(

Do you wear slippers, if so do you keep them just for the house to help keep your carpets clean or do you just wear them for comfort and wander outside in them for a quick trip such as putting rubbish out, letting the dog outside to go to the toilet etc?

Have a lovely if wet slipper filled weekend.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Just when you thought you had finished....

The gate and final lot of picket fencing gets put up!
Now we have to wait for it to dry out - which may take a bit of time as rain is still forecast on and off for a few days. Never mind, it will get done and look lovely. The archway looks a bit of a mess due to having some of it removed to fit the gate but hey ho!

Well done to Andy Murray, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares for getting through their rounds of tennis but to be honest, the scores don't reflect just how hard a job it was for all of them.





Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Gardening...

Well done to Aljaz Bedene on winning his first round singles match and to Andy Murray and Dom Inglot on winning their first round doubles. Andy plays his first singles today and Jamie his first doubles, so you can guess where I will be this afternoon:)

The past few days of nice weather, have seen DB emptying the compost bin, and me sieving through two sieves to remove stones, lumps etc. We never have much in the bin, maybe 18" or so but is is in lovely condition once sieves and a great boost to the garden.

Each raised bed received about 1/2" - 1", the tomato and bean bed down the drive had a good dollop of the coarser compost, the fruit trees around the garden also received some, as well as all the plants in the fruit cage.

The still in use bin will now be tossed into the empty bin, along with loads of shredded paper then closed down until next spring. The freshly emptied bin will then be used until next Spring, when the cycle begins again.

It is a good job we shall soon be having chiropratic treatment as I for sure, feel some very tight muscles in my spine area, shoulders and neck. I really could do with my massage but that has had to be pushed a few weeks back:(

I have my first blossom on the relatively new greengage tree so hope I might get a few fruit, if they stay on. A couple of apple trees that have sulked for a few years also have a good amount of blossom, as do most of the fruit, a sure sign that for the most part, winter has hopefully finished and spring is truly sprung!

Whatever your weather today, I hope you get done what you want to do and if possible, have a lovely day to get on with some gardening.




Monday, 11 April 2016

Vertical Blinds...

I am pleased that we only have one set of vertical blinds, and they are in our north facing lounge window. Why, you might ask do we have a set there?

One of our neighbours has a large bright van which when the sun strikes it, sends a glare so bright into our lounge that it prevents us from comfortably sitting in there, watching tv, gaming or reading, all made difficult, such is the intensity of it.

As summer approaches, the sun also moves into a position that gives the same blinding glare from about 2pm until 7pm, when it moves far enough around to be hidden by a house.

Yesterday, DB took them down to give the rail and all its runners a clean and polish as the string was getting difficult to pull without feeling it was going to snap.

Not an easy job as all the fabric slats have to be removed, then the rail turned upside down, whilst numerous bits of polishing cloths and instruments are poked inside to clean it.

Once as good as we can get it, the rail is put back up, all slats added and it is given a couple of pulls to get it running relatively smoothly again.

We haven't yet washed the fabric slats as we know they can start to shred at their edges. When DS and DDiL moved, the conservatory blinds needed washing, what a mess that produced, Shredded fabric everywhere and quite a few of the bottom 'glued' hems fell down, necessitating re-gluing!

Our hems and tops are sewn but we think the shredding down the slides might happen, hence them not getting washed!

Friday, 8 April 2016

Butterless coffee and walnut cake - testing again!

Moving on from the last time I made this cake, see here

I made another single Victoria sponge layer of this cake again, this time deliberately missing out the butter and guess what - it still worked. We have decided this is how we will make it from now onwards.

I was feeling a little lazy and couldn't be bothered to toast the walnuts and you can still taste them. I also reduced the sugar again (10g for 1/2, 20g for the full amount) and for us, it is just right. Not wanting to use butter or other icing, this time we just finely grated some chocolate mini eggs over the top.

The only other differences were I had no natural yoghurt but did have some sour cream so substituted that instead - it still worked. I also used medium rather than large eggs - it still worked.

Here it is:

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Visiting...

Yesterday saw us on the train down to London, visiting our family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. Other than the shock of the diagnosis, and a whirlwind of appointments, scans and tests, they are remarkably well. Operation should take place next Tuesday. We say should as they have been told if it looks worse once they open them up, no operation will take place, so we are keeping our fingers crossed that is not the case.

We spent a few hours with them, had some lunch, saw another family member and generally had a lovely time. The journey down was good. We had to use the underground to get to another major station, then onward from there.

The journey back was not so good. We were afterall, returning in the rush hour so stood from where they live to said major station. Back on a heaving underground to the station we needed to leave from. Managed to catch a train that we thought stopped halfway (we were willing to wait for the connection back home).

Our plans for eating during this wait backfired as the train we caught, stopped somewhere else than we were intending, the back 4 coaches were uncoupled so we all had to move into the front 8, which then took us home. We stood for about an hour of this time, no young or old knights were willing to give us their seats:(

Mind you, on the heaving underground, still standing, as a person got up to exit the train, a foreign chap pointed to the seat and we declined as we were shortly due to get off. We thanked him though for his offer and he sat down and fell asleep.

We were away from home 12 hours, more than half of which were travelling. I hate cities, I hate London in particular, my skin felt like it was suffocating, lungs likewise.

Once home, we had a bath, a hot cup of very strong tea and a bowl of cereals. A short time later we were in bed.

Today we are still pooped but have done our weekly shopping, DB is about to tackle the ironing but other than that, we plan on taking it easy.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Fences finished...

At last, all the new picket fence down the drive and the old fences, have been painted black. It has taken a long time due to the rain or showers. Each side of the smaller old panels have had 3 or 4 coats. The larger ones had the same amount but on our side only as it didn't leak through to next door. The picket fence took two coats due to being a better quality but more expensive paint.

We have already bought two tins on special offer of this paint for when the final bit of picket fencing and gate are built. We will need a small tub of the other paint to finish off a panel that needs changing. It is attached to the house and garage and used to be a big gate many years ago. Now it is sealed shut as I grow plants on a bench in the back garden bit and I am on the look out for a long deep trough for the drive side so I can extend some vegetable growing in that area.

Sunday morning, DB and I attached all the cotoneaster horizontalis using metal eyes and black tie wraps. They are now standing upright again, after being pulled forward so we could paint properly behind them. Two new ones have been planted in a large gap to fill it up!

We have put a forsythia in front of the tall panel closest to the garage but don't know how it will fair as it has been used as a liquid (not nice but not toxic) dump. It will grow or die. If the latter, then we shall have to put something into a big tub instead. I think red and green down the driveway plus this flash of bright yellow and green will look lovely:
Here are a few more of the finished panels with more green leaves of the cotoneaster opening:





Monday, 4 April 2016

Changes since trying to be gluten free

Welcome to Anne Christine Simpson via Bloglovin.

Since the beginning of December last year, due to one of our Christmas visitors eating gluten free, I have, for the most part, eaten likewise. It has been quite difficult when out as there are still not many gf sandwiches/cakes/pasta based food in eating establishments. On that score, I feel for those who are coeliacs and must eat gluten free.

At home we are probably 99% gf due to eating normal oats and oat based cereal that has barley extract in it. Other than that, we both try to stick to it.

The biggest immediate changes are in my digestion, no longer feeling bloated (although it still does happen on occasions), and not having so much indigestion.

Recently though I paid some attention to my nails. Now all my life, I have had vertical ridges on them so it came as quite a shock to realise these have reduced by 50%. They are still visible but flatter and my right hand is better than my left. My nails now have a natural sheen to them and seem to be a little stronger altogether.

Whilst reading today about gluten free eating it mentioned headaches and it struck me that these have also reduced greatly. They used to happen very frequently and sometimes on and off for days - not so now.

Interesting!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Food and film night

First of all, welcome to Julie Neale via Bloglovin.

Wednesday evening saw me sneezing and going to bed with a sore throat, hoping it wouldn't develop into anything nasty. Slept okay and Thursday morning, although I was a little sniffy with a mild sore throat nothing untoward developed. It seems whatever it was, I have had it before and my immune system managed to respond quickly!

Last night, was our 'school' get together for a Chinese meal and film. The meal was okay but to be honest, we are finding them rather bland unless you choose something spicy. The Belgian Chocolate cheesecake treat, was nice, but way too sugary. Thank goodness we had some home made ice cream to cut through it.

Once that was all cleared away, we settled down to watch the last James Bond movie, 'Spectre'. It was okay if a little formulaic, I would give it 6.5 - 7 out of 10.

We managed to get the first coat of black paint on our 3 full size fence panels yesterday. One was better than the others and we might get away with just one more coat on that one. The other two will need 3 coats we think.

With the weather forecast to be fine, we should be able to get them all finished this week. Yeah!

Nothing else to report so have a lovely weekend everyone.