Friday 30 April 2021

Not keeping this new recipe - pork and fennel meatballs!

It feels like winter has almost returned. Cold weather, a biting wind and for some, rain.We will be having soup for lunch for the next few days, hopefully by then, spring will reappear and we can have lighter meals.

The reading of this recipe gave us hope it would be lovely. Whilst I enjoyed making it, we didn't enjoy it. The meatballs were bone dry, DB hated the garlic element even though I cut the amount in half. Both of us felt there was no need for the florence fennel. Luckily, I had an over ripe avocade to use as a dipping sauce:

On a different note, after four abortive attempts to worm Ruby, we have finally gotten something else into her and hope it will stay there. All the last occasions, she has been very sick after all of them:(


Thursday 29 April 2021


We decided to go clothes shopping, what a disappointment. DB managed to find some dog walking shoes but no trousers, shirts or slippers appealed to him.

I went for jeans (on my last pair now), maxi skirts and a few tops - no luck either. We went in all our usual haunts but couldn't work out what season their clothes were! I am not fully convinced they have summer clothing in although it would normally be in by now. Maybe they are waiting to see if they can clear the winter/spring items.

If summer clothing is indeed in, I will be stumped! We came home with two freshly baked cheese scones from our favourite Deli.

Welcome to Lorie Mck.

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Cashew Nut Milk

Trying a different nut milk this week - cashew nut. I soaked 1/4 of a cup of nuts overnight, rinsing the next morning until the water was clean. These were drained and put in my whizzer machine with 2 cups of water:

Whizzed for about 20 seconds they turned into this:

Quite a creamy blend with a pleasant taste (once a bit of maple syrup was added). I used it in my smoothie. Again, if my diet required it, or cow's were no longer allowed, I would use this, alongside the previously made hemp milk but I do really prefer cow's milk.


Monday 26 April 2021

Bulk buying when possible - my 5L storage area

In the spare bedroom, sitting alongside the bed settee, is my 5L storage container area.

For washing up, hand washing and making my own laundry liquid, we use Ecover. It works out slightly cheaper to buy them in bulk and uses less plastic. Another thing we buy in these 5l containers is white vinegar. This is used for household cleaning, preserving, fabric conditioner and if necessary, hair conditioner (I normally use apple cider vinegar):

There is another washing up liquid around the corner. I wish we had the kind of place nearby where we could get these and other items refilled, but alas, we don't.

Sunday 25 April 2021

Tuna Salad - yum!

I have never bought tuna in water before, always preferring it in oil. Not anymore after trying this gorgeous recipe - here.

Even substituting red onion for spring onion (was all I had), plus adding some 'needing to be used up' radishes, it was light and extrememly tasty.

We had a quarter each of it like this:

The rest we had another day. It would make a fantastic sandwich filler. She used her portion on half an avocado.


Saturday 24 April 2021

New dog lead for Ruby

We received a lovely new lead for Ruby after ordering from this British small leather company here:

She is very talented, repairs and makes lots of things, quite a lot associated with Saddlery and dog items but also takes on custom orders for other items. She creates leads, collars, knife sheafs (for those pesky sharp implements), belts etc. No job is too large or too small and if you would like anything making that is different to the above, give her a check out! Like most small businesses, she could do with some orders...

Some of her work is plain leather but she has a great talent for carved and stamped leather goods and has produced some gorgeous very intricate work. If you need anything making, give her a check out.

Another business I like, this time American, is the artwork of this fantastic artist Paola, see here.

She posts quite a lot of her work free to the UK. The jewellery is hand made by her boyfriend Luke.

Friday 23 April 2021

New breakfast for me

 Here was my breakfast for today:

One banana mashed into plain yoghurt, topped with a few raspberries, blueberries and 1/2 tsp nettle powder, plus a dribble of maple syrup.
Stirred in and woofed down!

Thursday 22 April 2021

At 5:40pm

I was resting after tea when the phone rang. It was the medical centre. Ah, thought I, going to book my 2nd jab, so as I answered it, I was walking towards the kitchen to check the calendar for dates.

"Hello, medical centre here, we have a few vaccinations leftover from today, can you come now if you want one?"

"Certainly can" I said and within a short space of time, I was there, in, had it done and was back home. Would have been week 10 today since my first one.

How's that for service?

Yesterday afternoon, I also gathered my 4th, and probably, final lot of nettles for drying. I could detect the smell wasn't so fresh as the first few whilst they were drying. These so far are crumbled and stored in an airtight jar, unlike the first two which were turned into powder.

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Visiting at last!

Under guidance published early December, which allows us to form a support bubble with DS and family, we were able to meet everyone at last. DDiL was on a course, DS was working and we got to look after DGD for 2 days. Boy, did we sleep well.

First day went well, just a bit of crying around 4pm, hunger probably but we didn't pick up on it. Next day, 5 or 6 crying bouts and eventually she allowed us to cuddle and distract her. Teething still ongoing, so red cheeks, recovering from a sore bottom and wind didn't help but we got through until tea time when DS came in and started to look after her. Phew!

We really enjoyed our visit, it was lovely to interact with her and have conversation with someone other than ourselves and E. Ruby was a bit perplexed but very gentle with her.

She is so happy, plays on her own quite a bit before needing interaction from us, smiles all the time, babbles, is walking around the furniture and pushing her little trolley. She had her first walk outside pushing it and managed about 230 metres. We reckon she may well be walking next time we see her. 

Granddad started whistling at her when she was having a bath and she duly pursed her lips and blew air. She does hand washing action when prompted as she watched her parents clean their hands after changing her nappy.Other grannie is visiting next then we hope to go again in June.

Monday 19 April 2021

Wednesday 14 April 2021


We thought we had gone through a travel and time warp yesterday when we came across 3 large fields of rhubarb - very ususal for us:

It looked a bit sparse in places but the rhubarb crowns were just starting to push through to fully through in other bits - a lovely sight.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Hemp Seed Milk

Hulled hemp seeds (hearts) are readily available in most health food shops and online. Bought milk, which sits on the shelf, has additives to keep it safe such as Acidity Regulator (Dipotassium Phosphate), Emulsifier (Sunflower Lecithin), Stabiliser (Gellan Gum), Sea Salt.). The rest, which is the base of the milk, = water and hemp seed base (4%).

If you make it yourself, it doesn't have these as it is stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. It is so easy to make so I had a go. There are various recipes 1/2 cup hulled hearts to 2 or 4 cups of water or 1 cup of seeds to 3 cups of water. I decided to try 1/2 cup hearts to 2 cups of water. Some add vanilla extract and/or maple syrup/one date, a pinch of salt. Just the hearts and water were put into the large container of my blitzer:

Blitzed for 15 seconds, rested and blitzed for the same time gave me this:
I added 2 teaspoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract but forgot about the pinch of salt. This is the sweetened version, some like it without these additions. I am storing it in an ex coconut oil jar in the door of the fridge:
It splits a little overnight but a quick shake and it is good to go. My smoothie this morning used one banana, 3/4 of an apple, 2 spoons of pumpkin seeds, 2 spoons rolled oats and this milk. It was different but nice.

Next time I make it might try 2/3rds cup of hearts to 2 cups of water. Alternatively cashew nut milk might  get made.

I love cows milk but like to try alternatives, especially in my smoothies, porridge etc. All part of my better healthy eating regime!

Monday 12 April 2021

One of those days ...

Going to wash the pots this morning, the kitchen tap had been left on and all the hot water was gone. That also put paid to washing my hair first thing.

Get the washing on I thought, no DB was out walking Ruby in a pair of trousers (I thought) he wanted washing so that too was put on hold.

Change the covers on Ruby's beds - done but she was filthy when back from her walk, so needed a hose down - now got one damp bed - ah well.

Couldn't find my bag of poppers and tool to apply them. Trim Ruby - can't do until she is thoroughly dry:(

So far, not so good. Anyhow, the sun is out, I am alive, so that's good isn't it?

Our meal the other night consisted of steak strips with onions, mushrooms and soy sauce with another new recipe of potato salad:

We made half the recipe which can be found here.
 Yesterdays batch of dried and powdered nettles - above.



Sunday 11 April 2021

Another new meal and more nettles

I went to pick another bowl of nettles this morning which are now in the dehydrator. Whilst I powder mine when dry as I use them in smoothies, if you put gloves on, then crumble, you will get flakes. These can be used as tea in their own right or added to regular tea, or added to baking, cooking, you name it.

The next meal we tried was White Chicken Chilli, the recipe for which can be found here:

Had to use butter beans instead of haricot or other white beans. Also made a bit of a slip up as I forgot to alter the method to take into account using only half the ingredients. This gave less juice but again, a lovely meal which we will do again.

Our lunch was this:

I have just started to use her meal prep ideas for carrots and celery, storing them in jars of water in the fridge. So far so good, still nice and crisp.

Saturday 10 April 2021

Eating more healthily

We feel we eat relatively healthily to begin with but want to increase our healthy meal recipes. I am going off our traditional meals and am need of something lighter and brighter, if that makes sense. I recently began looking at the downshiftology recipes and videos and some look great. 

Last night for tea, we made a half amount of her Ultimate Chicken Salad, see here:

This should have served 3 people on its own but we both felt it needed a bit more so added a hard boiled egg each and divided one avocado between us. I will pare back the amount of dijon mustard as it was a tad too much for me. The recipe didn't call for radishes but we had some so used them.

We both enjoyed it and agreed it would stay in our new menu range. Her way of cooking the chicken breasts and how to shred them in a food mixer was a great idea. We have enough shredded chicken left to do a half recipe amount of her White Chicken Chili. Thanks Lisa!

Friday 9 April 2021

The new style funerals

 Neighbours, friends and family, gathered on the streets to say farewell to our neighbour, it was lovely to see. All would have liked to go to the service but due to Coronavirus restrictions, that is no longer possible. Not even all his family could attend in person, so sad.

We, like many, watched the service online. A quiet, reflective, non religious service, with a celebrant rather than a minister. I found out so much about him and his wife that we didn't know, as most of it happened before we moved in.

A truly wonderful man, kind, simple living, always with a smile on his face. Taken way too soon.

Thursday 8 April 2021


I have recently been reading up on stinging nettles. I picked some for a vegetable soup but wondered what else they could be used for and what they are good for.

Most advocate using fresh nettles but as they aren't young enough for long (top leaves only and before flowering), others suggest freezing or drying them, so I did the latter.

Donning rubber washing up gloves in a lovely shade of pink, I set of to a local patch. Avoiding those close to the track where dogs might have peed on them, I moved further up the ground to fresh newly emerged ones. Now I had my eye in on what to look for, I avoided the new dead nettles (different family, edible but not so tasty).

I picked two bowls worth, came home, rinsed and spun them in my salad spinner:

Their stalks were cut off before laying them into 5 of my dehydrator trays. (Can be done in a cooling oven or on a sunny windowsill). I dried them for 4 hours, the smell was divine for the first hour, not dissimilar to freshly mown grass:
Once dried, I tipped the trays onto my worktop to ease scooping them into my blender. Be warned, they can still sting at this stage as I found out!
Once whizzed up and sieved, this was the final product - about 5 tablespoons:
This precious powder is now stored in an airtight brown jar. There are loads of sites that talk about their benefits so I haven't bothered to link any here.

Tuesday 6 April 2021


I have had problems with my throat since my early twenties. Recently though, things have gotten worse, certainly for the last 15 months or so. Not being able to easily see the G.P. hasn't helped. 

Eventually I got so fed up I wrangled my way through the system to get an actual physical appointment. He recommend an ENT appointment, with a long wait, as it turns out, of 38 weeks minimum.

Well, I thought, what if it is something nasty, that will be too late so we decided I would go private. I sent an online booking form on a Thursday which they immediately acknowledged. Friday they got back to me to let me know due to the current situation there would be a 3 - 6 week delay. Fine thought I, at least that's quicker.

I phoned to book an appointment the following Monday and got one for 8 days later - result!

Today was the day. He was absolutely lovely. Took my history, gave me a thorough ENT check up (wax in ears, yes I know) and palpated my neck which was nice and soft. He then explained he wanted to put a camera up my nose and told me how much that would be. I said okay.

He gowned up, squirted numbing spray up my nostrils, turned the monitor so I could see what was going on up there and off he went.

It was fascinating to say the least, like exploring a giant interconnected cave system. He explained all the structures I could see, asked me to say 'ahh', cough and take a deep breath. I could see my epiglottis move as well as my vocal chords open and close. I could see the entrance to my sinuses and eustachion tubes. 

It was a very strange sensation having such a numb throat. He told me there was no sign of anything nasty, no infection, no polyps, no irritation, nothing lurking anywhere.

He explained what I have, and that basically, it is a flare up of my long term throat problem. He did wonder if acid reflux might be involved but ruled that out once he had seen inside my throat area. He informed me ways to help with it, exercises I could do, throat hygiene products (inhalers, nose sprays and humidifiers etc).

He didn't need to do anymore or see me again unless of course, things changed. Phew, a great deal off my mind.

Saturday 3 April 2021


Well, the weather reports were not inaccurate regarding temperature and wind chill. It is quite cold again today although tomorrow the sun is supposed to come out and give us a relatively warm day (15C) if we are lucky.

Seeds planted a couple of weeks ago have resulted in a nice half row of radish seedlings, a 1/4 row of beetroot and as yet, no lettuce. Probably too cool for them even under cover. As they were all out of date seeds, we shall wait and see what we get.

Ruby scoffed her breakfast as normal but mid morning, I gave her a small spoonful of the treatment given yesterday, which again, she woofed down. However, come lunchtime, she stuck her tongue in her small bowl of lunch twice then walked away. She will go without until tea time and see how she goes. She seems to be drinking a lot at the moment. Gonna be one of those dogs I guess. 

DB brought our last leg of lamb in from the freezer and sawed 2/3rds of it off for tomorrow. The other bit was wrapped and placed back in the freezer for another day, soup or something else small - lamb pasties maybe?

Bed has been fully changed, washed, dried and put to one side for ironing. TV recorder has been set up for the week and we shall look forward to trying to catch a late evening tennis final in Miami featured Dan Evans and Neil Skupski, again the top dogs I believe.

Are you doing anything exciting this weekend or just chilling at home?

Friday 2 April 2021

Cool and breezy

 Soup for lunch with a small amount of baby nettle tops for extra benefits. Washing is blowing on the line. It was so cool I had to put a coat on.

Ruby didn’t finish all her breakfast for some reason, didn’t really want to eat what she managed. Her stomach and guts had that squirty squishy noise going on. So, for the first time, she has had slippery elm, half dose in a small spoon of yogurt. She woofed that down and has eaten a small bowl of her food for lunch. She seems more settled now.

I am checking her poo for worms just in case, as we still haven’t managed to worm her without her vomiting:( Mind you, I did read on an online vet page that proving she kept it down for a minimum of 3 hours, it would have had time to work. Time will tell.

Thursday 1 April 2021

New bulbs are coming up

Chiondoxia and Scillia:

My labels seem to indicate they are the same or very similar in flower type. I have blue, white and pink.

Dog Tooth Violets:

Unsure of their colour until they open. Finally Snake's Head Fritillary:

A bit blurred as they were wafting in the breeze. Hopefully, they will opensoon and I shall be able to see what their colours are as well.

DB took a snap of me applying white spirit to woolly aphids on some of my apple trees. They started on one and are migrating around. Painting them with white spirit seems to either kill them off or at least weaken them: