Friday 30 December 2016

Arise! Updated

Sir Andy Murray! Well done my dear.

After an unexpected defeat to David Goffin, Andy has just beaten Milos Raonic to take 3rd place.

All packed away

That is it for this year. All decorations have been put away.We have run the vacuum around and will dust tomorrow. Granola has been made and a crock pot of stew is on the go.

For the New Year we shall be calm and quiet, seeing in 2017 as the noise of all the fireworks will wake us up or keep us awake. It is quite odd how all the excitement seems to fizzle out, either due to age or being on your own.

Our food, barring milk and a few fresh things will see us through for another week and so far, the sausage rolls and mince pies remain in the freezer. We have enjoyed two trifles though:)

Have a great celebration and see you in 2017.

Thursday 29 December 2016

Visitors ...

Hoorah - DS and DDiL managed to visit for a couple of nights and brought presents with them. Due to family health circumstances we thought they might not be able to make it but they have.

One of the things they bought us as a joint present was a board game:
Ww will keep it here and play whenever they come down. We have played and enjoyed Pandemic with them, it is one of my favourite games that they have. This like other games that have been adapted, is a completely different beast.

As the game progresses, decisions are made for you and the board gradually gets permanently altered, which doesn't happen in the normal game.

At the end of each game, whether you win or lose, stickers are added to the board and cards, which again, change the dynamic of the game. Other cards are dispensed with and have to be torn in half and discarded:
That feels really odd and goes against the grain!

After two practices (not using the new rules) to remind ourselves how to play it, we did the first game in the new style and just won - with only 3 cards remaining which would have meant we would have lost. Are you confused?

I think in normal Pandemic you can play with or against each other. This version really needs everyone to play as a team. You really do need to discuss strategic moves before each player plays in order to stand a chance of winning.

Wednesday 28 December 2016

14 and a bit!

For some reason, we had less gf bread in the freezer than I thought so ran out of it over the festive days. Yesterday I made a loaf plus 14 and a bit gf cheese (Boursin & Cheddar) scones. A few of them here - they always look pale as I use white cheddar:
I made soup from leftover lamb, gravy, pepper, onion, carrot and a tin of tomatoes:
It and the scones were good if I say so myself and there is enough left over for another day.

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Christmas for Two...

Just another day really apart from listening to carols and themed music whilst preparing lunch. Herewith table set:
The advent centerpiece was a gift many years ago from a German friend of ours, Martin. We forgot to get it down in time to light for Advent so it went on the table for lunch. We each have a little glass of St. John Commandaria, a little like a very strong sherry!

Herewith lunch:
Cooked for two days so Boxing Day meal as well:
We should have had a clementine sponge and custard for afters but were full. Still didn't fancy it on Boxing Day so we are having it for lunch today!

Some cold days and even colder nights coming now folks so stay warm.

Monday 26 December 2016

Postal Presents for this year

I created two types of presents for posting to family and friends for this year. Two crocheted lime green 100% cotton dishcloths:
or two 100% reversible, cotton fabric bowl covers. One started at 10" and the other 8":
The larger one covering a cereal bowl:
For our own use I made three of them, including a larger one (with blue inside) that started as a 12" circle:
I must start making a list of what I give to whom so I don't repeat them too often! I hope everybody liked them.

Sunday 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas Everyone!

When we are our own, it doesn't take us too long to open our presents. Here is what I received from DB and a few others:

The apron front left is from our walking buddy E. The walking socks second in from the right are from T., and the heart shaped slate coasters are from R. In the envelope, also from DB is a gift voucher.

I love Ellie Dean and these are probably her 8th and 9th books, most of which are woven around one family with other people walking in and out of the picture. The Code Girls is by a new writer to me so I hope I like her as well. I love all the presents.

We are having roast lamb for dinner. I shall make enough to plate up 4 meals (2 each), then I don't need to cook another day. Pudding will be individual clementine sponges, reheated. These were made a few weeks ago and frozen.

We started the trifle last night - yummy - and the GF Christmas Cake, or fruity Genoa slice as it was called, not so nice so another year I shall make our own:)

Weather permitting, we will also get in a walk each day, usually just 1 mile but one of those each day plus our weekly 4 mile walk, adds up to a good bit of health. It also helps to keep DB's bp levels reasonable.

A dark village walk was undertaken last night to view the lights and I gathered some eucalyptus leaves to decorate the picture frames.

Friday 23 December 2016

Not a lot happening here ...

I am glad we went shopping yesterday rather than today so we can just chill and take things easy from today.

We went out last night for our Christmas meal with the girls. Food not too bad, place okay as well, other than around 50 or so people pouring in halfway through our meal.

You forget how much noise lots of people make when vying for each others attention. We had to keep curbing our conversation until their meals were brought out when the din reduced enough for us to talk and actually hear each other. I think we were both glad to get home.

Viewing items have been marked in the television magazine, food is in, little jobs continue to be done such as making ice cream, trifle etc. All in all, we are ready.

Hope you all have a good time and remain healthy. Sending hugs out to those who find themselves on their own or are not in a happy place right now.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Poor DB

It seems that once a year, almost every year, his blood pressure starts messing about. It is usually in Winter when it happens and often, but not always, when the surgery is going to be closed! He is one of the most laid back people I know so why it kicks off in Winter we and the doctor don't know.

The worry it causes both of us adds stress so it becomes a bit more of a job to sort out. We have ended up in A & E before now and hope that won't be the case this time.

As you can imagine, he has felt wretched, hardly slept or eaten properly for many days. We hope we have now turned a corner else he will end up in hospital over Christmas:(

It is at these times that I am very grateful for my nurse training. It helps me deal with it, hopefully helps him remain a little calmer but is still a worry nonetheless. Fears of a stroke or sudden death are very real and also need addressing. Just when my sleepless nights were begining to sort themselves out, they have gone to pot again.

Ah well, all part of the mystery of life.

On a brighter note, all Christmas stuff is now finished and we are looking forward to a quiet Christmas and hope DS and DDiL get time off  from work to visit for New Year.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Goose Crown

Welcome to Saves Nine via Bloglovin.

A few weeks ago, we purchased a Goose Crown and decided to cook it for lunch on Sunday. Having never cooked one before I looked for a recipe and chose this one.

Here is said crown sitting on the fruit prior to cooking:
After it came out the oven, ready for a rest:
We ate one breast, cut the other one off to make goose bolognaise for Monday tea, then froze the breast carcass to make soup later in the week.

We found the gravy far to lemony for our taste. The goose was okay and tasted like lamb as it happens. We got loads of fat to roast some potatoes later in the week. We both thought goose okay but would have preferred it braised rather than roasted and probably won't bother again.

Anyhow, it cost £7.99 and for that we got two roast dinners, two bolognaise teas and some soup.

Monday 19 December 2016

By a country mile...

Well done Andy for winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, for the 3rd time:

I wondered why he was holding his trophy close to him, maybe thinking it was very heavy, which it probably is. Turns out, it was broken in transit and the camera part was hanging down and in danger of falling off:(

Hope he gets a new one when he returns.

Friday 16 December 2016

Aye up!

We shall bring the decorations down this weekend which might help us feel a little more festive. We spend every other Christmas on our own (this year) so tend not to celebrate it until visitors arrive for the New Year.

Present buying is complete, menu is worked out and a relatively normal shop done this week. We have treated ourselves to a non gf pork pie and bought some extra special cheese which we only eat this time of year.

My exercising on the climber is going well. I can now do up to 5 minutes per session. I misread the instructions which were to do 3 to 4 10 minute sessions each week for a month. I couldn't do 1 minute to begin with! Anyhow, I have been doing 3 sessions a day totalling about 12-15 minues per day, 7 days a week so not too bad.

Short and sweet today. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Chocolate Cherry Cake - Gluten Free

Welcome to Danielle Oliver via Bloglovin.

Starting with Kate's recipe for Chocolate Kiss Cake from here,  I adapted it to make a slightly less chocolately cake with some fruit powders added.  Using half her recipe, my adpations are in italics:

140g Flour mix A (from this post), or a commercial gluten free blend          
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda                   
1 teaspoon GF baking powder                    
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (1/4 teaspoon less if using bought flour with xanthan added)                   
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt                                 
20g cocoa                                                
50 ml hot water                                             
180 ml milk
3/4 tablespoon white wine vinegar
80g unsalted butter (room temperature)
180g caster sugar
1 1/2 large eggs (room temperature)
80g ground almonds
10g freeze dried cherry powder (or freeze dried fruit powder of your choice).

Here are all the dry ingredients (deviating slightly from Kate's method), including the cherry powder:

For some reason, I couldn't get the butter and sugar to cream properly so whisked it once I had added some egg. Like Kate, I made 2 cup cakes with some of the mixture and baked my single layer sponge in the oven for about 40 minutes. Here it is cooling down:

Once cooled, I mixed together 100g mascapone, 50g plain yoghurt, 50g icing sugar - sifted and enough fruit powder to taste, maybe 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons. Some was put onto the muffins and the rest used to top the single layer of chocolate and cherry sponge:

The cream taste wonderful, a subtle taste rather than full on. Thanks again Kate for another lovely recipe!

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Crochet blanket finished - yeah!

I see the Russian viewing figures are through the roof again!

At long last, my blanket is finished. This is the back of it draped over an armchair:
Here is its front:
It is 6 x 8 squares in size. It was going to be larger but as we are in the process of changing over from two settee's to four armchairs (settee's no longer offer us decent support) and it would have been too large.

I think the final colour added in really picks up the colour of the new fabric. The rest of the colours are picking up the colours from the curtains.

Monday 12 December 2016

Health Investment

Our walking buddy E., like myself, feels not as fit as we should be. Yes we walk 4 -5 miles every week, plus she walks her dog twice a day and DB and myself usually add another 2 -3 miles a week on top. Not too bad really but both E. and myself felt something was missing and we should be doing more.

As we age, our muscles and skeleton, don't remain as strong as they once were, plus we are slowly gaining a little weight despite not generally eating more than usual - Christmas notwithstanding! I think my heart medicine has something to do with some of my gain as well.

She has joined a relatively local swimming and gym place. Indeed, she wanted me to go as well but swimming is not my thing and I don't have a costume. Besides, to be honest, getting ready, driving to a venue, swimming, showering, getting redressed and driving back home just does not do it for me.

I have been looking around for some form of alternative that I can do at home that allows me to quickly change into shorts and get going and I have found it. I blame Andy Murray, he has a very posh and expensive resistance machine to help him but the principle appealed to me.

One of the goods things about being careful with money is that we don't generally spend much. I have my own tiny pension and monthly allowance from DB's pension, coming in every month which rarely gets spent so it is easy to save.

Due to the price of this piece of equipment, I thought long and hard about buying it but for myself, it feels the right piece of equipment to exercise every muscle in my body, give me a good cardio workout and has a low impact on my joints. What's not to like.

It was ordered on Sunday and arrived Wednesday. We shopped around and got it with free 3 year warranty. Most sites you have to pay a little extra but it is p & p free - a bargain.

DB assembled it for me - it took him 12 minutes. There is a video online showing how to do it plus a booklet comes with it. It also comes with basic workout instructions and menu planning should you also wish to lose weight. I want to tighten up my flabby bits. If I lose a little weight into the bargain, excellent! It comes semi assembled, just legs, handles and a bit of tightening up to do:

The final photograph is from their web site, see link above. It is quite high (but easily height adjustable for each person) and is currently living in the front room to make sure I use it every day. When you stand on it, with both feet level to begin, the top handles should be around chin level, just to let you know. It can be folded down to about the height of an ironing board if required. There are many video's online showing excersing on it. One that I like to watch is from Rosalie!

It recommends doing 10 minutes a time for 3 - 4 workouts  a day in the first week! I barely managed 1 minute for the first few attempts. However, after a few days, I am  around the 4 minute mark, 3 - 4 times a day and I can most certainly feel it!

I have chosen to do just do a few minutes each session, as I want to slowly get fit not injure myself. Mind you, a few minutes at a time is all I can manage! People who moan about this machine are either very fit or not using it correctly.

You can listen to music whilst exercising (I am in the process of getting some music organised) and if it is pointing the right direction, I could watch television! Here is a link to climbers in general including the maxi climber here.

Have a good weekend. 

Friday 9 December 2016

Protect your car!

An awful lot of modern cars nowadays, use an electronic key fob to start their car, i.e. the key simply has to be in the car (though not necessarily in the key slot) for you to be able to push the ignition button and start your car.

Thieves are getting more wise to this and a whole host of electronic car thefts are taking place. Rather than me list all the possible scams currently taking place, read this. Also, this may not be completely up to date but it is a start. We simply have to start thinking and acting differently.

Don't just walk away from your car pushing your key fob, watch for the lights, listen for the click, even then, you can't be sure your car is safe. When you are getting petrol, lock your car when you leave it to go and pay, or if possible, pay at the pump.

The link has some ideas on how to try and prevent this happening to you.

Forearmed is forewarned:) Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday 8 December 2016


Eating gluten free is a choice for me not a necessity. It started when I was having guests last Christmas, one of whom had stopped eating gluten and I needed to bake things for them that were GF. A year down the line, DB, myself and both members of that family are now predominently GF. Our guest since going gf has rid herself of some debilitating abdomen pains and all of us feel fit and well.

I am trying to remember to make and bake a few things at a time to save turning my small oven on too often - I don't always remember. This week I baked our weekly loaf of GF bread - no photo as I am sure you have seen them often enough.

I also made a GF quiche and a GF Jamacian Gingerbread from here:

Kate's also slumped a little in the middle but I think mine went a little further down (about 1/2"), due to opening the oven 10 mins before the 1 hour to check it (my oven usually runs a little hot).

Anyway, I reduced the sugar by 30g and it is still sweet enough for us and I needed to bake mine for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

We tested a small slice on the first day - lovely. On the second it was sticky like a good gingerbread should be and truly delicious. We have frozen half for future use. Thanks again Kate, another winner.

Oh, we also had some with custard and banana - decadent!

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Gordon Reid and Phew!

First off all, well done to Gordon on reaching World Number One in Wheelchair Tennis!

We feel very lucky to arrive home in one piece!!!

We had been further afield to do some shopping and were returning along a main A route. When either of us drive we try to maintain a route down the middle/left of our side of the carriageway, unless getting ready to overtake, as we drive on the left over here! Luckily for us, we were not ready to overtake.

There we were, driving merrily along when a lorry on the other side of the road, suddenly veered over the central white line, onto our side of the road:(

DB took evasive action, swerving to our left. He quickly glanced in the rear view mirror to see that the car behind, almost veered off the road to avoid said lorry who was being rather slow to respond and bring his vehicle back onto his own side of the road.

As he was so slow, we wondered if he was falling asleep at the wheel. Unfortunately, it all happened so quickly, neither of us had time to get his number plate details or even the firm he was driving for.

I really hope he didn't make the same mistake further down the road and actually cause a serious accident!

Such little margins.

Monday 5 December 2016

Postal presents finished

I have been working for a while now on getting my postal Christmas presents finished and ready to post. Obviously I can't divulge at the moment what they are!

Criteria is homemade, re-using where possible and able to fit into an envelope to use 'large' posting stamps. That last bit will make more sense to UK readers. This weekend, I finished the last ones and they have been posted today.

I still have one or two of the same things to make for myself and family that will be with us in the New Year, but they should be finished this week at the latest. Onwards and upwards!

Sunday 4 December 2016

Happy Birthday Sage!

It is our eldest Grand-dogs birthday today. She is 6 years old. Wow, darling dog, where does the time go. Hope you have a lovely day.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Third successive night of frost

It wasn't forecast for last night but it came nonetheless. Maybe the garden will get the hint and start closing down!

We had a beautiful frosty but sunny walk this week. It was wonderful but so odd to be wrapped up and wearing sunglasses! We estimated that the sun for us, this time of year, is at an angle of about 35 degrees. Any warmth from it is always welcome but it is also annoyingly dazzling being so low.

I bought some new full slippers this week, I don't normally wear full ones and after a while took them off as my heel was getting sore. It eventually impinged on our walk and I had to tuck a tissue down my boot, blooming feet.

More knitting, crochet and family history today as we received some photographs and information yesterday for me to investigate- exciting.