Monday 31 March 2014

Flavour Pots

First of all, welcome to Sally Chalmers and Kerry Marriott, via Bloglovin.

When my monthly shop was delivered this week, it included a free sample of one Knorr flavour pot. It was a Mixed Herbs version.

I was intrigued by the amount of items in said pot because when I use herbs in a dish, I use just the herbs. Intensity of taste can be personalised, as can the herbs, making fresh/dry herbs quite versatile.

Herewith the ingredients: Water, glucose syrup, salt, spirit vinegar, palm oil, sugar, thyme, oregano, citrus fibre, rosemary, basis, gelling agent, natural flavourings!

I try very hard never to use palm oil or palm sugar in anything, rain forests are being decimated to grow the stuff, and lots of wildlife dispersed in the name of farming the stuff.

Each pot contains 23g which is about 1 tablespoon and they are priced at £1.89 for 4 pots (although currently £1 as a starting trial in Mr. T).


Several blog's have written about them in a positive manner but I am afraid we can't.

We used our free pot instead of a stock cube in our favourite risotto. If we had been using it with a stock cube, apparently we would need to use half of it for our quantity of rice. Anyhow, it was stirred in, taste tested and seemed quite mild. So far, so good.

Risotto was duly served up and eaten. We both found it over-powerful, indeed, it was difficult to even taste the risotto ingredients. The taste lingered in our mouths long after eating. We had previously tried a free stock pot - chicken I think it was and we didn't like that either, weird taste and quite greasy.

Sorry Knorr, you can keep your flavour and stock pots, we'll keep using fresh/dried ingredients from our cupboards and garden.

I don't know about you, but I think 46p per pot, a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a short-cut in taste and time.

Saturday 29 March 2014


Earlier in the year I mentioned having a go at quilting? Well, the first thing we needed to do was to get my office/crafting table down from the attic. We worried there might have been a problem as after it was put up there, we changed the attic door.

Nope, DB got it safely down in bits, re-assembled and cleaned ready for inspection:
He is going to fit something on the back foot rest to hide the cable extension and other wires. I don't have a huge amount of cottons but do have enough to start with.

I have decided to practise first by making a cushion cover. 9 squares were chosen and cut to size (with DB helping as the template kept slipping). I am hoping to do a disappearing 9 patch.
I have bought a 1/4" foot as all mine were too big to use and shall begin sewing as soon as I get the time. Meanwhile, I have just finished knitting a monster of a dishcloth - far too big - at 9.5" square. It was however a pattern that I liked - Little Garden Girl, similar to Sunbonnet Sue!
I do have a pattern for Sam as well but it is just too big so shall remain a one off. I got the pattern from here

Don't forget those of us in the UK, clocks go forward overnight. Have a lovely, sunny, productive weekend!

Friday 28 March 2014

Final Pictures...

Poor DB was on his hands and knees (using knee pads) on and off, for the best part of a day, laying the carpet tiles. No matter how much I tried to get him to take his time, he was rather like a dog with a bone.

First few tiles, temporarily held down, with a little square of carpet tape in the middle of each tile:
Once started, he wanted to get it done. Here is the carpet and conservatory nearly finished:

We were just waiting for a new, made to measure, door mat to arrive, to complete the look - it took 27 hours from ordering to delivery - old ones still in use above:
Here is the new one. It is a heavy duty commercial grade carpet, with 1.3cm depth of fibres. You can buy it in made to measure sizes and is far superior to the ones you buy in shops. We got it from here

The quality is great, it is still uncurling from being posted and as you can see, a quick speed of delivery. We thought it would take 3 or 4 days!

Our conservatory use is similar to a cloakroom/utility room. Hats, gloves and shoe cleaning things, are stored in the thin upright cupboard. Shoes in the shoe-shrank (the pine coloured 4 drawer cabinet on the right of the top picture), coats on the coat rail DB manufactured from a pallet.

The long blue seat (with cover made by yours truly), houses all our fire-lighting things such as newspapers, kindling etc. The big plan/map chest of drawers (courtesy of our old school before it closed), contains art things, good paper and card, plus 2 drawers of 'man things' for when DB wants to make/mend/do stuff out there!

Another job done. As you age, well as we do, we both feel the need to get jobs done while we are still able to do them.

Living in a more simple manner, doing what you can in everyday life to save the pennies, helps enormously. Those pennies turn into pounds and before long, you have enough savings to buy what you need to complete jobs, such as the above and the dining room door.

Welcome to Anj Thomas via Bloglovin.

Thursday 27 March 2014


I reckon it took us both not much more than an hour and a half to complete the first coat. We tried to be careful in the hope there wouldn't need to be a second coat as the paint was rapidly disappearing!

In the end, one coat sufficed with touch-ups and there was just enough paint leftover to put into a cleaned out paint sampler pot for touching up the dining room door should it need it:

We both feel this colour picks up the hue of the roof and also helps make it feel like sky. I know blue is supposed to be a cold colour but we used silk emulsion and the slight shine picks up all sorts of reflections. Can you see the orange boxes?

They are the new carpet tiles. We managed to get the 10% pension discount. Also, instead of going for the 5 for the price of 4, we bought boxes so each tile worked out at £1.86 instead of £2.36. We have yet to decide about a door mat as we think a large one is needed, especially when visitors are here and we go walking in muddy areas.

Again, as in the kitchen, we have budgeted for spares, for replacement, if individual tiles cannot be cleaned up for some reason.

More next time!

Tuesday 25 March 2014


There is no stopping DB. I happened to mention that the conservatory is looking a little drab (it was last decorated 2002) and as we thought we'd have some paint leftover from the dining room door, wouldn't it be nice to use it up in the conservatory. I meant sometime!

A test patch was painted and left to dry overnight to check for colour:

Next morning he was off! I quickly grabbed the camera to take some shots of the old conservatory but he had already started moving things:

Next thing I know, he had taken up both old carpets, the largest of which is destined for the sleeping quarter's of our grand-dogs at night. He was putting painter's masking tape and newspaper up in strategic places. It felt a little like winding him up and pointing him in the right direction.


The next day, I donned painting clothes and he his overalls, and we both set to painting. More next time!

Welcome to another follower via Bloglovin - Anj Thomas.

Monday 24 March 2014

Did you know that a Bratwurst...

Can be treated as a normal sausage in a meal, rather than just having it in a roll!

I didn't know this until I read it somewhere recently. We love these, cooked on a B-B-Q, and served in a bread roll. Now however, we also eat them in a normal meal.

A Bratwurst is already cooked (but I wouldn't recommend eating them straight from the packet!), so you only need to cook it for a short while to brown and get hot. We prefer to do this on our George Foreman grill, as it makes the skin nice and brown and splits wonderfully:
Some onion and tomato gravy was thawed and we served the Bratwurst with mash and vegetables, plus a spoonful of mustard. Lovely:)
Welcome to Christine Moorwood via Bloglovin.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Frost Warning!

For all of us in the UK, tonight is going to be the coldest night for the whole of Winter. Anywhere from -2C to -6C in the cities and towns. Lower for those of us in the countryside!

Cover up your plants folks, especially those young seedlings or anything in blossom, if you can:)

Saturday 22 March 2014

New Door Part II

Welcome to a new follower via Bloglovin - Maria.

DB has been busy on and off for a few days now, priming and painting the new door to the archway. I was busy doing similar things in the garden. Gluttons for punishments we must both be.

The door frame painted and the outer rim of the door, plus the door itself with undercoat:
I know, I know, I show you such interesting things don't I - who else would show paint drying:)

Anyway, here it is, all finished:

The picture on the right, is another piece of my work from my BA course. I did a large project on the Titanic. The picture is a photographic mosaic made from the flags (as in 1912) of the nationality of each person who died. The image was sent away to a firm who printed it onto silver, before mounting it onto its backing board and applying a laminated film over the top of the whole thing. Not cheap, but we will have it forever, so not a bad price in the end.

Friday 21 March 2014

A new door...

Welcome to Anne C. Simpson via Bloglovin.

When we moved into this house years ago, this archway didn't have a door. We have lived with it, like that, for many years. Now that I am finding it difficult to sleep, all manner of noises emanating from the rest of the house, particularly the kitchen, are keeping me awake. The updated, six panelled bedroom door is next to useless at keeping noise out. It is a non-folding version of the one you can see in the first photograph!

Also, when we have visitors, we tend to wake them up when we start boiling a kettle, or using the microwave first thing in the morning. The time had come to do something about it.

We asked around for recommendations but not many were forthcoming, so off I went on an internet search and chose, after much consideration and a good perusal of the web site, the following company - Bespoke Norfolk Joinery and Carpentry

A polite and friendly chap - Stuart, came out to see what we needed (and more importantly what we could afford), measured up, then gave us a quote a few days later by email. I already had a figure in my head, it was a little more but not massively so! We accepted and his business partner returned after a few more days to take a template of the shape of the arch, ready to form mdf to fit the door too, as well as help them create the matching shape of a door. Yes we could have had all wood, but didn't need it as it is going to be painted. Anyway, all wood would have been far more expensive!

The door itself consists of 3 layers of various woods, so it better at keeping the noise out.

Just a few days later, back came Stuart, one of the joint-owners, a most polite and friendly chap. He took off his shoes, then laid protective layers from the front door to where he was working. He made the mess he needed to, to complete the job, then hoovered up! He had to leave as it was getting a little late. He returned the next day to fit the handles, and a door stop attached to the skirting board.

Here is the archway before starting, we had to take down pictures either side and move the Welse dresser elsewhere:
Halfway through - minus handle and door stop:
Almost finished, still no handle or door stop - also, will need cleaning up ready for painting:
I'll post more pictures as it gets painted by DB!

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Bold as Brass!

Welcome to my new followers via Bloglovin - Claire Gatton, Natalie Lashbrook and Jane Tunley. You are all most welcome.

The boldness of shoplifters never ceases to amaze me. The last time I saw someone being chased by security guards was at Matalan, 20 or so years ago. We had just pulled up into the car park, out shot a youth, with an armful of stuff, closely followed by two chaps. They pursued him out of the car park, across a main road and caught him half way up the next street. He was duly frog-marched back to the store!

This week, we had been to Emneth for chiropractic treatment and thought we would pop along to Dunelm for a light lunch. We bought some new tea towels and was paying at the till. Two women pushing trollies joined at the next till, except the second of the two, carried on walking. Past the tills, out the shops (security alarms never went off). The two checkout 'girls' asked each other if she had paid, before sounded the alarm.

The woman by then was stacking said goods into her 2013 registered car boot, (could have been stolen who knows), when the chaps caught her. Made her get everything back out and into the trolley. We heard the words 'you will be interviewed..., the police have been called'. She just stood there smiling the whole time!!

She was still smiling whilst being escorted back to the store.

On the way home, we saw an ambulance whizzing towards us, got to a big roundabout where 30 or so metres down the road was another ambulance and a lot of traffic. I think it involved one or more motorcycles as several of the bikes were laying on their sides.

All in all, an interesting day!

Monday 17 March 2014


Hello Kelly and thrift deluxe, welcome to my blog via Bloglovin!

The only problem with all this sunny weather - is you don't know when to stop!

All raised beds are now painted except for one alpine bed - which is black. It has to wait until I finish all brown paint jobs to do black painting. The bird protection nets are half way through being painted brown.

The compost from bin 2 (closed down last Spring) has been sieved and saved in bags for later use. I know you don't really need to sieve it but we compost old envelopes and it helps to remove plastic and stones etc from the composted material.

The 'still to complete composting' stuff in bin (1), has been turned over and placed into the now empty bin 2. It has a brick on its lid to remind us not to put any more into it. It will be emptied and sieved next Spring!

How much compost we end up with varies due to how much can be composted in the first place. Our composting bins are around 4' high, and are anywhere between 1/2 to 3/4 full when turned and left to finish rotting down. Once it has finished, we end up with around 1/4 to 1/2 a bin of compost to be sieved; beautiful and wonderful smelling goodness. My bins work on the 'cold' composting system so it takes them a full year to do their thing! Experience has taught me that I cannot compost thick, woody material so that goes into my brown council compost bin.

The raised trays for the strawberries has been put back together and the troughs of plants moved back onto it. When the next lot of frosts come (and they will come), we shall cover them with a thick layer of fleece just to keep the troughs from freezing and damaging the roots:

The trellis for the bramble is up and the plant tied in:
All canes in the fruit cage are tied back in after the winter storms and old bits of blueberry that have died, have been snipped off. All leaf buds are well developed on all the plants in there, and the gooseberries have already started to unfurl their leaves:
The flowers on my red pear tree are also close to opening:
Here is my working space for all these mucky jobs:
Once finished our 'winter' seat goes here and the larger summer table and chairs come out onto the patio. Finally, a view of behind the garage where the water butts live, winter storage of nets (under blue tarpaulin, and bags of sieved compost:
This morning, when opening the bedroom curtains, I was very pleased to see Great Tits going in and out of the nest box (built by DS when he was a Cub Scout) attached to our apple tree down near the back fence. We only remembered to empty it a few days ago, they must have been very busy creating a nest in there! I do hope it wasn't their current nest DB turfed out:)

Saturday 15 March 2014

Fish Pies

Welcome to 3 new followers via Bloglovin - Paidinchickens, Jane Staveley and Karen Hyman. You are all most welcome.

Morrison's had some cod half price so I bought a chunk priced £3.50. We rarely eat fish meals (other than the odd fish and chips, and the occasional fish finger!), so I thought it about time I made some fish pies.

Adapting the chicken and vegetable cobbler recipe from my recipe tab above, I doubled everything on the sauce side, using milk that the fish had been poached in. I have noticed in the recipe that it makes a sauce that needs extra thickening, so I used more flour and less liquid to get it to the consistency I wanted!

The fish was divided between two dishes - not a lot considering the size it was pre-poached:
Once the sauce was cooked, I added some cooked carrots and frozen French beans and poured it over the fish:
Then I made a big pan of mashed potato and topped the sauce with it:
Ah, as if by magic, a third dish has arrived. Yes, I had some leftover sauce and as it wasn't too fishy, stirred some grated cheese into it, then topped it with mash that also had cheese stirred in. We had that one for tea with sweetcorn. The other two were frozen for future use.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Painting and Gardening

Welcome to my new follower, Shirley McLaurin via Bloglovin.

Apart from a few cold blustery periods, these last few days have seen me in the back garden, painting the raised vegetable beds. I do these every year. They don't need it from a 'saving the wood' point of view, but look so much nicer when done:

Bed 1 before being painted - still got one side to do but need more paint!
Bed Two after being done - it has house most of my strawberry containers over the winter:
Bed Three (a few more strawberries) is also done and here is Bed Four:
The table seat combo behind lives there during winter but moves into shade during the warmer months. Then our larger metal table and chairs go there.

This raised bed, has had a bag of potting compost dug into it to bring it to the level needed and also give it a bit of food. It has been covered all winter and I had to remove a bit of moss growing on its surface. After titivating it, the soil was very disturbed the next morning (cat or bird, am not sure). I had just enough paint to redo the wood on its net covered top.

All the beds have net covers and as you can see from the two photographs at the top, the soil in these is low enough for most vegetables to grow without needing to remove them. Bed Four however, has its net cover raised up on wooded blocks as the vegetables grow, then eventually, when the vegetables are getting too big, it is removed.

Bet you are wondering what the tin can is for near the leg? DB inserts a hook between the planks and hangs wet but cleaned paintbrushes there - the can catches the drips so they don't stain the gravel!

Despite an annual cutback, the mistletoe keeps on growing:
I gather as a parasite, it looks after its host! I do hope so, as the apple tree is not very big!!

Tuesday 11 March 2014


March has now been added to our War Diary Year IV. Hope you enjoy reading it!

Monday 10 March 2014

Busy busy...

After my faggot making the other week, I have now done some more meatballs. They still taste great but the texture is not so soft this time. It seems to make a difference depending on how much meat is in the sausage!
DB has been busy laying carpet tiles in the kitchen. I know, I know, carpet in the kitchen. Unless you are in there with the cooker on, it is not the warmest of rooms. After 28 years or so living here, we have finally had enough of standing on a cold floor.

The other night, I trudged through to get myself some Tia Maria (in a little milk!), to help me sleep - works a treat for me:) It was so nice to just be able to toddle in there without having to bother putting socks or slippers on.

B & Q have a special offer on, 5 for the price of 4. We bought 30 to give us 5 spares for future use in case of a mega accident or something needing scrubbing, or too much wear and tear in one place.

It is difficult to show you the proper colour but here it is anyway:

It took DB 3 days, on and off to lay them, as we needed to move the washing machine out and fully carpet behind. This should stop it rucking up if we ever need to pull it out, which the lino was want to do and kept ripping. Good job we decided to do this, as we discovered a long term, slow leak out the back of the inlet hose. Didn't have a spare washer so did the old trick of turning it back to front and for now, it has stopped dripping!

Then the fridge freezer needed moving out and finally, the cooker. Both of these two items also have the carpet fitted fully underneath for the same reason.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Hello and goodbye to ...

Young Master L!

He was picked up on Saturday, brought home to see us for a few minutes, before being whisked off home with his new sisters, S and M.

S. took him all in her stride, M. wasn't at all sure and quickly, if rather harshly, put him in his place when he tried clambering up her. Herewith a few photographs:

In the arms of his mama!
Brave enough to wander around:

Ain't he cute!

Friday 7 March 2014

A change of scenery

As you may have noticed over the last few days, I have been busy re-vamping this blog. I temporarily created another one to trial all these changes. Now that the work is more or less complete, the temporary blog has itself been updated - here is the link to it This Norfolk Life

This new blog now houses anything to do with our lives that I feel no longer suits this blog, such as walking, gardening or anything else that crops up. 

Thursday 6 March 2014

Bank Scam Alert - please read and let your friends know about it!

Conmen are targeting UK bank customers with a dreadful and disgusting telephone scam only previously seen in the US.

This latest deception is know as 'number spoofing' because they call people using an identical phone number to their banks!

See full article here

Potential victims receive calls on their phones - both mobile and land line. If they have caller display, the number will display the name of their bank. People believe it to be their bank and from there, it is a slippery slope to the con.

We should all know by now, to NEVER, EVER tell anyone our bank details even if they say they are from whatever organisation. 

Ofcom has joined forces with US and Canadian regulators to try and crack down on it but is struggling to track down the criminals.

Welcome and still finding...

Welcome to two new followers via Bloglovin - Brandi and Frances, you are both most welcome.

I am still looking for quilts to add to my stash for quilting and found this lovely single one the other day, for £2.50.
You just get so much more material for your money. I was in a craft shop the other day, and they were charging £8 per metre for assorted, and pre-cut squares. Personally, I think that a little too expensive. I have begun to cut squares, invested in a 'square' measuring template and am waiting delivery for a special foot that will make joining them a little easier. With my current selection, I can't actually see the material under the foot to sew the 1/4" seams!

DB got stung on the foot, by a half-asleep bee on Tuesday, whilst he was lying down doing some work in the garden. We applied bicarbonate of soda to it, in the form of a paste, to help take the worst of the pain away. His foot was very red and swollen the next day, so we gave it further first aid. Today is is less swollen but still hot so we shall take a trip to the chemist to ask for their advice and get maybe some anti-histamine pills/cream, whatever he recommends.

The weather looks set to be reasonable fair and dry, and getting warmer into next week. Beware though, with day time temperatures set to get into the high teens by the end of next week, severe frosts are forecast for the nights. Watch those seedlings!

Tuesday 4 March 2014

"French" bread and other things...

No, I haven't actually been making French bread, it just looks like a loaf of bread wearing a beret!
That is what happens when you get distracted, it is well into the night and you remember that you haven't actually baked the bread - again!!

I did remember to put the oven on, then 2 hours later, realised the bread had not gone in. It had risen well above the tins (but not toppled over). In it went and yes, it decided to put on a beret! The droopy sides had to be removed to slice it:
They didn't go to waste, we had them with a bowl of home made tomato, lentil and vegetable soup with a twist:
The 'twist' was the left hand side of a portion of dip left over, but unopened, from our quiz night - sour cream, chive and cheese I think:
It really worked very well and as you can see, we still have the sour cream and chilli to use:)

Monday 3 March 2014

Hello again...

This CSS and HTML malarky is a right royal pain. I tried and tried in vain yesterday on an alternative trial blog to sort things out, especially those blasted boring grey tabs at the top. After nearly 8 hours non-stop (except to eat) I gave up in disgust (much to the relief of DB who was finding the rather heated atmosphere, a little difficult to live with!

This temporary blog will change again as I learn more. Many of the links up the top don't currently work except for those with titles and even then, where they take you is rather limited. I have yet to fathom out how to proceed with them.

Watch this space!

Sunday 2 March 2014

Bye bye...

Just to let you know, I won't be around for a short while.

I am trying to customise my blog to improve its appearance. Thanks to the wonderful Ellie, over here I have this morning, down-loaded my template, archived and downloaded my entire blog and Picasa album - I'll let you know how to do this when I return. Might be useful to Frugal Mummy whose recent blog's keep taking a walk!

If it all goes wrong I may be missing for longer than intended:(

Wish me luck.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Garden walk

Welcome to a new follower via Bloglovin - Caroline Wilson.

Earlier in the week, I went outside to photograph some more flowers beginning to open up in both the front and back garden. Here is the first of my miniature daffodils:
some Lungwort:
some yellow and purple crocus and snowdrops:

The two raised alpine beds have for the first time this year, had open ended poly-tunnel's put on them to protect the plants from too much rain. Mind you, I have had to remember to give them a little water. Some look dead but I know they will re-appear soon:

They both looked beautiful last year as each plant came into bloom, some of them heavily scented.

From a meteorological point of view, today is the first day of Spring but officially, it doesn't happen until the 21st of March.  Until then, have a happy St. David's Day!