Sunday 31 January 2016


Andy Murray on being the runner up in the Australian Open Tennis. To be frank, I'm getting just a tad bored of Novak winning everything! If you were to go by rankings only, he should win every time but as in the Pete Sampras era, amongst others, no one else gets a look in.

Everyone has a poke at Andy saying he has a blip when playing Novak, but seem to forget, so does everyone else!

Maybe number 2 should be the new number one, as the points difference is insurmountable for everyone including Andy. Novak is the only top 4 player to have not had to take a long time out due to injury! Whilst I don't wish him ill, it would make a change for him to have an injury to level the playing field just a bit.

Have a good down time Andy and I hope all goes well for the birth of your first child.

Saturday 30 January 2016


Firstly to Gordon Reid for winning the wheelchair tennis singles at The Australian Open. Then to Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares for winning their first Grand Slam together as well as it being Jamie's first Grand Slam title!

He will move to doubles world number 2 on Monday.

Friday 29 January 2016

Watching my cholesterol

Welcome to Debi via Bloglovin.

Although my overall cholesterol is 5.7, which for me apparently is good, I would like to lower the LDL element of it.

We already eat oats plus oatbran for breakfast, 5 days a week. I shall also begin using oatbran for thickening soups, stews, curries etc.

Plant stenol based margarine is a new introduction for us. 2 teaspoons of this a day, where able to, seems to provide 1/2 to 1/3 of those a day. For now, we will not be using the little bottles of plant stenols that you can take once a day, as we want to gradually change over.
Also, they are very expensive!

The main GF bread we cook, also has 50% of oat flour as its base, which will also up the beta glucon element, again, helpful.

A new part for us will be to mix equal amounts of semi skimmed milk with skimmed milk. We absolutely hate skimmed milk and have no intention of using it on its own. However, if we can bear the mixture, especially in tea/coffee, then that will reduce the fat content of our milk by anothrt 1%.

If not, we will return to semi skimmed, which we have drunk for the past 27 years! Onwards and upwards.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 28 January 2016

New Flour Order

First of all, well done to Johanna Konta, Jamie Murray and Andy Murray for all reaching the semi finals of the Australian Open. Even though you went out in the semi final Johanna, overall, it was a wonderful event for you.

The first time I ordered gluten free products, I used this company. This time around, I found another one, Shipton Mill, which can be found here. Their prices are lower for larger packs, which are all organic, but they do primarily, only sell flour. If you require other foods, try the first company.

As I didn't know first time around, which flours I would use more, which we would prefer, I took pot luck on ordering. After nearly 2 months, we know what we like. This order reflected our tastes.

Ordered on Sunday, they arrived by carrier on Tuesday. We got an email from the carrier to let us know what hour they would deliver, which is very useful!

 I ordered - 2.25kg brown teff flour, 2.25kg brown rice flour, 2.25kg tapioca starch, 1.5kg buckwheat flour, 1kg chestnut flour, .75kg millet flour and .75kg potato starch.

We still have quite a few small bags of the previous order of flours, but hardly any of the above which shows what we are using.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

Garden Bin

Normally, this time of year, our fortnightly collection of the garden bin often remains empty for weeks at a time. This year however, with the milder weather, things are still growing, only to be cut back by frost, then grow again. Most odd!

We have been out, cutting back dead/dying things in the front garden. It certainly looks better for it, although DB got a twinge in his back so we stopped. Now I/we need to get out and do the same in the back garden.

Some of the fruit trees could also do with a winter wash, using a home made product. I normally end up having to use it during the growing season to hit back at the old woolly aphids!

It is nothing special, just a bit of washing up liquid, tea tree or eucalyptus oil and a touch of powdered organic insecticide powder. These are mixed with enough water to form into a paste, similar in texture to double cream. It is mixed up into an old mug, then painted on with an old art paintbrush.

This hasn't yet been done and now I need to wait until no rain is forecast for a while to do it.

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Sorting cupboards

Welcome to Louisa Chantler via Bloglovin.

Since we started eating GF foods, I had stuffed various things into various cupboards, which quite frankly was driving me nuts!

Most were in a small cupboard with the spare/open packets, on the top shelf of a larger one. Seemed common sense to swap them over:

After sorting out:

Now I just have to remember where I have moved vinegar, sauces and stock cubes to!

Monday 25 January 2016

Lub dub, lub dub

Welcome to Fast SOS and Laurie M., via here and Greg Matthews via Bloglovin. I see the followers tab is still not correct as the number of followers I have is more than the number it is showing. So apologies if you have joined and not been welcomed!

Thursday we were at the hospital having another visit to the cardiologist. Saw a new one this time, a lovely chap who was amazed I had been previously discharged without treatment.

For those of you who watch Chris Marshall in Death in Paradise, he acted a little like that, peering at results on the computer "ah ha", scrabbling back through previous ECG's 'ah ha" etc.

He then circled several things on other ECG's, pronounced his findings and off I went to have a blood kidney function test and to await a cardiac MRI - I had been given an ECG when I arrived to see him.

I need to wait for 2 weeks for today's report to reach my doctor then go to him to begin a low dose of beta blockers.  I am not looking forward to taking them as some I know who do so, say they are fine, others the opposite. I am not a pill popping kind of person but needs must I suppose!

If they help with my tachycardia I will need to stay on them. If they don't work (after being slowly raised) or make me ill, I must be referred back to him. He will probably then do a catheter ablation, providing they can pick the problem up as it is intermittent if frequent! Depending on how that goes, the final step would involve me being fitted with a pacemaker:(

He hasn't ruled anything out, even Brugada Syndrome or Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome, but doesn't believe I have either of them which is very good! Maybe the MRI will show something. The ECG taken that morning showed a brief electrical misfire that he circled but was otherwise normal - no tachycardia in sight - sod's law isn't it?

Maybe if I had had the implantable loop recorder fitted at the end of my previous consultation, something may have shown up! Onwards and upwards. At least I feel something is happening now.

D, I will chat to you about it this weekend.

Friday 22 January 2016

So then....

According to the Trust Me I"m a Doctor programme the other night, only olive oil (the best or bog standard) really seems to offer good protection for your heart see here.

We might start trying it, especially after my cardiac visit yesterday at the hospital, more about that on Monday!

Certainly neither of us fancy drinking it, but in soup would be fine, even spreading it on toast would be acceptable taken with a savoury meal. Raw is best although they don't say whether cooking it has an adverse reaction, simply that too much of it gets left in the pan - depends what you are cooking I guess:)

Death from sepsis was also another talking point see here.  Although this link doesn't say it, I'm sure I heard them say that more people die in the UK of sepsis each year than of bowel and breast cancer combined - that is an horrendous thought. I certainly didn't know about that number so here are the symptoms to look out for:

Slurred Speech or confusion
Extreme shivering or muscle pain
Passing no urine (in a day)
Severe Breathlessness
I feel like I might die
Skin mottled or discoloured

Unfortunately, not everyone experiences these but most talked about were the second and sixth symptoms.

The final part I found interesting was eating certain types of food when on certain medicines. DB already knew about not eating grapefruit when on statin's, but an example they showed of the adverse reaction was this: If you normally take one statin pill a day, and eat grapefruit, your body can react as though you have taken 13. 13 - good grief!
Other drugs also react with grapefruit.

You can read more about this here!

Now that I have mentioned all that, I hope you take note and have a good weekend:)

Thursday 21 January 2016

Winter Food Box

We had a think on what to store our 2016/2017 winter food in, see this post here. 

DB went up into the attic to bring down this small trunk:
It used to store DS's lego collection, until he filled it and moved onto a larger box!

Here are my few items:
We haven't decided where to store it yet but it is small enough to sit around somewhere without being a trip hazard!

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Yum, yum and yum!

Welcome to David Gibbons via Bloglovin.

I found the recipe for this cake on the site of The Glutenfree Alchemist, the recipe is here.

I have only tasted one other GF cake recipe before, the one for the gingerbread which was a tad dry. This cake is a whole different animal! I also think you could easily use normal flour to make it non GF.

I didn't have the extra 100g of chocolate, towards the end of the recipe, so did without it. I also reduced the sugar by 40g. Other than that, I followed it. This recipe mixes up like a regular cake, very easy once the chocolate and butter/spread is melted. The raw texture and taste was very nice and we couldn't wait to tast it.

Here it fresh from the oven, having been divided into two 7" cakes tins (didn't have 8" ones):


One half was spread with home made strawberry jam, the other half with soured cream to try and offset the sweetness of the jam - worked a treat:
We divided it into quarters and froze two of those individually for another day. We had one quarter with a cup of tea (very rich and moreish) so had the final quarter over two days.

We think next time we make it (and there will be a next time), we will freeze one cake from a tin whole, then use the other one to eat, either plain or with a topping like the author did.

You would have no idea this was GF, give it a try and see what you think.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Stretching a bit of soup for one to two

After having slow cooked some beef the other day, we first of all made two Shepherd's pies for the freezer, then some soup. We enjoyed it the first day but didn't quite have enough for both of us for the next day. DB was willing to find something else to eat but as it was a very cold day, I decided to strertch the soup.

Firstly some hot paprika was added, then a tin of lovely soft chickpeas, another stock cube, a potato and some hot water:
A good tablespoonful of tomato puree was added at the end, along with some black pepper:
We had it with the last of the GF bread - yummy!

Monday 18 January 2016

Trialling Isabel's Baking Fix - Advert?

Welcome to Tracy via here.

It is difficult to know whether this is advertising or not but I certainly have not been paid to write nor given the product free to try!

I probably should have used the recipe from The Glutenfree Alchemist here that uses this ingredient but I did want to try it first, on the adjusted loaf I made the other day here

Here it is cooling - alongside some trial gingerbread:
Once cold and sliced it looked like this:
Certainly a slightly different texture although I can't fold it back on itself which is another test. However next time I shall use her recipe which uses the baking fix and see how that goes.

What changes did I make? As mentioned before, I used 40g of teff and 40g of brown rice flour. I halved the zanthan gum to 1/2 a tablespoon amd then added 2 teaspoons of baking fix. 2 handfuls of pumpkin and sunflowers seeds were added along with 1 tablespoon of ground linseed, as I felt it was a still a little too moist. Another time I shall very slightly reduce the water.

Taste is good, feel is good, texture is better and we were able (from fresh) to spread it with butter without it falling apart. Toasted, still good, still tastes like wholemeal. Similar story from frozen but a little more crumbly.

We then made another type of GF loaf - Jillee's - again adapting a little as we went. This one normally sinks dramitically once cool but this time it didn't sink much at all:

Much better as is its texture. Unfortunately, it still had a tendency to fall apart after being frozen and thawed, so reluctantly, we have decided not to make it again. Onwards and upwards!

Friday 15 January 2016

The hidden dangers of scented products

Trust Me I'm a Doctor this week, had a section that looked at the higher levels of chemicals in our homes in winter. These come from cleaning products, air freshners, scented candles, plug in freshners, spray deoderant, anti-perspirant etc. If you would like to read about it, you can do so here.

We hardly burn candles except in an emergency and very rarely, to lift a smell such as having cooked with fish! Nor do we use bought in cleaning products except a glass cleaning liquid for the wood burner glass in its door. It isn't a necessity as other things can be used but we have some so use it. I use a roll on deoderant, as I used to find the aerosol kind made me cough.

If there are any smells that we think might be eminating from the carpets, we sprinkle them with bicarbonate of soda which is sprinkled on via a flour shaker or small sieve, left for several hours (or overnight), then hoovered up.

If we think smells may be air borne we use our home made spray, the recipe for which can be found here. It seems to take away most smells, indeed DDiL and DS used it to clean up toilet mess from their dogs when they were puppies.

They found that house hold plants are very good at neutralizing some of these chemicals lurking in the house. Plants are so useful but we don't have any at the moment. Anyway,  is it fair to leave plants to sort it out? Are we as a cleaning mad nation not just adding to the overall pollution? Should we be using all these products if they are causing damage to us and our environment?

Who knows but as a household, we make as many cleaning/washing products as we can. We believe it is better for us and our environments. It is also a lot cheaper. If you want to make some more beneficial products, check out the Tutorials tab above.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday 14 January 2016

A winter box of food?

Welcome to some new followers, manic stamper, sammy skint and thrifty.

It occurred to me the other night in bed, waiting to go to sleep (like you do), that our winter larders could be filled up gradually during the year, without us really noticing, to see us through to Spring. For example, we are currently in week 2 of this year, see here.

If you buy one extra thing on top of your normal weekly shop (more if you shop only monthly), put them away so they can't be touched, come the 1st November, for example,  when winter may be getting started (or another date if you prefer), you would have at least 42 items put to one side.

Of course you could start to add Christmas things into the equation as that time draws nearer. If 1st November is your chosen date, you could also back track and get the items each week you have missed going back to 1st November 2015. Then you would have 52 items ready by that date.

Items could be tinned goods such as fruit, beans, tomatoes, legumes, soup, milk etc. Packages could be flour (which can be frozen), pasta, rice, soup ingredients, milk, dried fruit, herbs, spices, cereals etc.You just have to remember to check the dates go through to April 2017.

This sort of idea could also be used for donating to a food bank. One extra thing to your winter box, a second extra thing (or the only extra thing) to a food bank. They would receive 52 items from you over the year. Not bad if you can afford to do so and if 100 people did this, the food bank would get 5200 items over the year etc. It all adds up.

Of course you are not limited to one item, 2 every week would give you 104 items etc. I have added a new link on my tabs above to show what I will be putting into my box.

What do you think? What would you put in your winter box?

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Explanation for loss of followers - I have just received this!

This link may explain our sudden drop in followers and there may well be more to follow. Basically Google wants everyone to have a Google account and then follow us again, in order to be able to read, follow and comment. I have no idea if Bloglovin followers will be effected. See Here

Getting rid...

Sorry new followers, my numbers are still messing about. Welcome to sumdayiwillc, fiona murray and val, via here.

Well, I have finally bitten the bullet regarding getting rid of more things, especially my fabric stash. It is no good me keeping it when 2 years down the line, I have hardly used any. I am intending, sometime, to make at least one quilt for the bed, maybe another for guests. Everything that isn't for that has now being put aside to give away/go into a fabric bank or sell.

I plan on sending some new knickers to a charity mentioned previously by the lovely Scarlet:

Smalls For All
108 Buchanan Crescent,
Eliburn, Livingston, EH54 7EF.

You can read about it here

On top of all that, is a bag of good clothing to the charity shop along with some others things. I haven't totted up the figures yet but it is an excellent start to another year of clearing out.

Monday 11 January 2016

Are you a gambler? UPDATED

Do you do the national lottery? We did it for its first year but stopped after that, having not won anything. We have just worked out that not doing it, has saved us £1168.

Okay, you could argue that we might, in all that time, have won something but prefer the money in our rather than their pocket. We know quite a few people who do it every week, who still haven't won, except for the odd free play, then they didn't win anything from that. One or two have won the odd £10 once or twice!

We are often amazed to see people, often far older than us, hand over at least £10 to buy tickets, we have even seen one person hand over £25. As we don't know if they have ever won, it is difficult to predict but if you had played the lottery since its inception, at £10 every week, you may well have forked out £11,680 and that is just once a week until 3rd October 2013 when each ticket went up to £2.

If you stuck at the same £10 spent from there, the total will be what is written above. If however, you felt you needed to then spend £20 every week, to buy the same amount of 'tickets', another £2,360 would have been spent, bringing the grand total to £14,040. Such a sum doesn't include those who buy the scratch cards, or even take part in the Health Lottery.

So then, have you ever won? Do you still play?

On a similar theme, on the odd occasion we find ourselves in M & S food market, looking for something we need that only they produce, have you noticed how many people in there are pensioners?

Are they on private pensions? The mind boggles!

Back on the lottery, here is a link to where the money goes. 

Saturday 9 January 2016

Gluten Free Cream Cracker comparison

I have gotten rid of most of my non-gf food items to the food bank, along with tinned goods. Still have flour to deal with but as DS isn't eating like this, might freeze it to keep it in date.

DB and I both love cheese and crackers and gf crackers can be a bit of a disappointment, not only in taste and texture, but also size and usability!

Take this make of crackers for example:
Now wouldn't you be full of anticipation!

What about this version:
Here are their sizes for real:
The one on the right, made by Schar, is a normal cream cracker size, bit of a difference isn't there? It is a little fragile but if you are careful, can have soft things on it but doesn't work overwell with cheese on it. The top and left one are by Asda - very small, still fragile but a bit pasty on taste and it lingers.

We much prefer the one on the right but unfortunately, the supermarket had run out of it:(

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday 7 January 2016

Shopping, hair and weather...

We went to do our weekly shop this morning, it was pouring with rain. We were back home to a hot cup of tea and a biscuit. I sat to play on the PS4 as my side is still hurting after a pre- Christmas strain. For us, it is a 5 week shopping month so will be expensive. Warmed up some lamb and vegetable soup for lunch.

I need to oil my scalp as it is very dry. This is nothing new and I know it is not my new shampoo. Some members in our family suffer with a scalp condition, mine is mild but flared up before Christmas. It has taken a while to get rid of the 'cradle cap' element, but using the shampoo needed to clear it, has resulted in a snow storm!

Now is the relief from flakiness and itching phase and no, I don't use anti dandruff shampoo for it as it doesn't work for me. Warm oil, a few drops of essential oil, left on for a few hours, then washed off. A few sessions usually sort it out.

The rain has stopped for now but the wind is still gusting. We shall be lighting the wood burner for a few days with the cold evenings due.

Tomorrow I hope to bake using the baking fix.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Like gold dust... (Advert?)

I have uploaded Year VI of the war diary. It covers the first three months of the year so quite a bit to read!

The product mentioned below seems to be as rare to find as hen's teeth:
I remember seeing some in a supermarket a few weeks before Christmas but as I didn't know what it was for, didn't buy any. It contains modified tapioca starch which seems to be different to tapioca starch. I think in the U.S.A., it is referred to as Expandex.

Almost everywhere online seemed to have sold out, including Isabel's web site, which seemed odd. Anyhow, I managed to find some on a large well known internet site and ordered two, especially as the postage was cheaper than buying just one!

I shall report back eventually and let you know if it makes a difference.

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Adapting GF oat bread recipe

We seem to have settled on making this bread, the recipe for which is under the Gluten Free tab above. As we needed another loaf, I decided to exchange 40g of the brown rice flour for brown teff flour, also adding 1/2 tablespoon psyllium husk, plus 1/4 cup of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

I am attempting to make a brown seeded bread version of a loaf. Here it is fresh from the oven:
Here it is sliced:
So, how does it taste, what is its texture and does it hold together:

Colour is good, texture is near normal but it does feel slightly damp. That might be because teff doesn't soak up the same amount of liquid as brown rice flour? Could also be the addition of some psyllium husks? Again, I don't know.

We both thought, especially when toasted, that it smelt and tasted like wholemeal bread. Next time around, I'll leave out the psyllium husk and maybe use just a smidge less water and see what happens. I love experimenting.

It has a large air gap about 1/4 of the way down from the top which so far, hasn't affected how it holds together.

I do find though that home made GF bread, so far, seems to not hold together as well after being frozen, again, that might just be me?

For those of you eating shop bought GF bread, they can be very small and often dry. I found this interesting post the other day - here

What I like about it is the honesty, the pro's and cons etc. There are many other comparisons out there but this is for the British market, which is relative to me and mine.

I know not everyone has the time or energy to bake their own bread, especially if you are working full time. However if you can, do try as there are a lot less ingredients in home made versions. Though I do have to say, there are some pretty lousy recipes out there.

Take from that, what you will.

Monday 4 January 2016

Back to basics...

First of all, welcome to Tracy Cottis via Bloglovin.

Over the festive period, I managed to only add 1lb to my weight so that should be easy to shift. Despite eating mainly gluten free, some of our usual food crept back in. The result - one of my long time problems has re-emerged. Whilst I don't need to eat gluten free, I am going to get back onto it, as this is a problem I can do without!

DB is of a similar mind even though I have let him know he can eat as he wishes. We still have some 'normal' food to get through but shall do so gradually. Here is our usual tomato and split red lentil soup, alongside some home made GF oat bread:

Last year, I mentioned on my blog, that we were going to try and get rid of more excessive 'things' in the house. We didn't manage the 1000 items but did remove from the house, and our lives, a total of 380 items. Probably didn't help that we forgot to do it for 3 months!

They were either given to charity, sold or thrown away where not suitable to either give or sell. We shall carry on this year - must be more ruthless.