Monday, 31 March 2008

Billy, Simon and Sunday!

Ds turn to cook today - i got him some "yellow labled" beef from the supermarket yesterday (by yellow labled, I mean reduced for quick sale) so he coated it with honey and mustard for a slow roast.

Whilst he was busy in the kitchen, he made Billy (on of our cats, for those of you who didnt know) a very happy little boy, by opening the back door and giving him his freedom. Lilly, whilst progressing nicely still shys away when we try to touch her. She will sniff our hands and rub her head on our hands if we keep them very still, but stroking or picking up is months away!!

Douglas told me Billy was going out, and because I'm a Nervous Nelly when it comes to my little boy going out, so I decided to stay upstairs, and distract myself with Runescape. There is some soppy quote about if you love something enough, give it its freedom, and if it loves you enough, it will return. Well.. after an hour of presumably glorious hunting and exploring, he stolled back in, a very cat!! When Douglas told me he had returned, I rushed down and gave him lots of love and strokes to tell him what a good boy he was.

Douglas got love and strokes for making a wonderful job of cleaning the kitchen too.. ;-) hes a good cat erm I mean husband lol

All the tidying and cooking we did on Saturday and Sunday (over and above what we would normally do, that is) was in honour of a visit by D's brother Simon, and his friends Sarah and Tom. Tom is a bit like Silent Bob, as in Jay and Silent Bob. We like both of these friends very much, and its always nice to have them to visit (Simon too, of course!!)

Douglas made some sushi rice, and prepared some salmon and veg before they arrived, and after handing out the booze, gave them a hands on Sushi making lesson. They enjoyed making then eating!!

We filled them up with home made soup, dips and crisps, then they decided to watch Hot Fuzz on DVD. Its a very funny cop film. I washed up, and made some lamb burgers for Douglas (for later in the week) then went and updated my other lovely birthday pressie, my Sat Nav.

I browsed the various voices available for download, and found that I could turn my Sat Nav voice into that of a Darlek!!

Being a nice person, I gave the posse a lift home, as it would take them ages to get back via tram (which, as we drove past it was obvious they would have missed) They found the Darlek directions very funny, and so did I, but they were pretty incomprehensionable, so when I got home, I changed it back to the one I had before.

Got home, bed, sleep zzzzzzz

Apple tree and Saturday

My brother John and his wife Gill wanted to get me a fruit tree for my birthday, so on Saturday Douglas and I went out to a nursery recommended by my parents, to choose an apple tree.

When Douglas was little, his dad had a James Greive apple tree, and since its good for both eating and cooking it seemed like a good choice. The nursery grows all its own trees, and its quite high up on the very edge of town, so we know it will be a good strong tree, and cope with life in our garden!

We also got some wallflowers and three good pots of Irises.. a yellow flag… a purple flag.. and one which will be purple with white bits in! (or the other way round). I love Irises and hope to add a few more to my collection in due course.

After plant shopping, we went food shopping. Douglas felt a bit wobbly so we had a cuppa first. We decided to make lemon cheesecake for visitors tomorrow, and I phoned my mum for some recipie ideas. Mum said use a packet mix. Humph didnt want to do that..wanted to make a real one.

Just before starting the shop, Douglas and I both looked at each other at the same time.. I said "I have a cunning plan! (Brits might already know this reference, but see link if you don't) " strange.. Douglas had had exactly the same cunning plan as me. As one person, we walked towards the book section of the supermarket, and leafed through some of their books until we found a rather nice recipie for a lemon cheescake!!

I got home and made a rather nice leek and potato soup, then a bit later made the cheesecake!

I thought I would give you the outlines of the recipie.. but be warned.. its not for Skinnifers!

Lemon Cheescake

(Best made the day before you need it)

1 tub Marsapone cheese
2 tubs Ricotta cheese
4 lemons (grate their rinds very finely)
Icing sugar
Digestive Biscuits

Break about one small packet of digestive biscuits up into little bits. (If you are lucky enough to have a super dooper mixer, throw them all in, and it will do this for you)
Put in the juice and rind of one lemon
Melt the butter and pour it into the bowl and let your mixer (or your wooden spoon, with arm attached) bash them all up and mix it in.

If you have a flan dish with a loose base it would be ideal, but I used a normal dish and lined it with cling film first.

Tip the mixture into your flan dish, and with the back of a large spoon, squash it firmly into the base and sides of the dish. Put it in a cold fridge (I turned ours down a bit to ensure it set well) I would leave the base an hour or so before continuing.

Having cleaned the bowl of your sooper dooper mixer, throw in the juice of 3 lemons, their rinds (grated, of course) the three tubs of cheese, and a tablespoon of icing sugar. Give it a good mix, but don't mix it for too long because the mixture might split. Add icing sugar to taste.

Pour the mixture over the base, spread it out and pop it back into the fridge to set.

Before we served ours, we turned it out onto a clean baking sheet (so it was upside down) then turned it the right way up onto a nice plate. It didnt crumble at all because it was so cold.. but beware! If you leave it to warm a little before you serve it, it may be pretty crumbly. Our first slice was a disaster, the rest not so bad :-)

Thursday, 27 March 2008


Yesterday Douglas and I went round to my parents house to celebrate the 23rd birthday of my cousin Margaretta.

It was quite a family gathering - Margarettas dad, my Uncle Bill had come over from Germany where he lives. My cousins Michael and Chris, Bills other offspring also came to visit for the celebration.

Bill moved to Germany many years ago, and all his children have dual nationality, and speak both languages. Margaretta lives down South and is training to be a nurse, Michael has lived in our city for a few years, doing his A levels and hoping for a place at Medical School or something similar, and Chris (whom I last saw when I as 7!) is an articulated truck driver - those huuge ones that do long distances!

We all had curry, which Chris took great delight in organising, and telling us how to eat our poppadoms etc as if we had never had curry before :-) hes a very interesting character, and I hope that it won't be 33 years until I see him again!!

It was a lovely evening, with all the males in the family cracking jokes, being witty and generally being their normal selves :-)

Tomrorow we go round to Thomases, to see everyone again!

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Comments :-)

Thank you for all your comments.. indeed I am a very lucky girl having such generous relations, and relations in law ;-) and I appreciate the wonderul cards and pressies I got!

My three best cards... an extremley naughty funny one from Anti.. the promise of a stripper on the front.. and inside a rather bulgy naked cartoon man with a willy that whizzed round and round to music!! I, and the various kids thought it was great but I think my mum was (or pretended to be) a bit shocked. Sadly Ive left it at my mums house (had to hide it to prevent the kids wearing the battery out) but I will get it back soon, and scan it in :-)

Other best card was a very cheeful rainbow one from Dreaded Mum in Law.. I think she must know I have had a passion for rainbows for many years so its bright cheerful ness was just perfect :-)

My mum and dad got me a card that was a bit plain on the front, but inside mum had stuck a photo of me, aged 10 months walking around with a little trolley of bricks - very cute.. and whats more.. she still has the dress I was wearing!! Ahhhh :-) Will scan that in too :-)

As for Jaks comment.. Brits tend to think that Americans over do the "ahhh factor" but then they probably think we all have stiff upper lips :-)

Monday, 24 March 2008

Phase 4... and the Real Birthday!

Well it was my actual birthday today!!

I got up and fed the cats, had some toast and went back to bed for a bit. Later, when Douglas woke, we went downstairs and he ordered me to sit on the settee, close my eyes, and hold my hands out.

I held my hands out fairly close to each other but Douglas kept telling me to put them wider apart!! He has been teasing me for several days that he had got me a Poodle, and that it was being kept in the spare room wardrobe for my birthday.

Douglas put a huuuuge box into my arms, and I opened my eyes to see the most fantastic professional looking Kenwood Chef!!!!!!!!! (see below)

This turns out to be a joint present between Douglas, Dreaded Mum in law, Dreaded Aunt in law, and Dreaded (not to leave her out) sister in law!!!

The mixer has two beaters, a balloon whisk (for cream etc) and a glass liquidizer that fits on the top once you have taken the cap off (see top right of machine)

My mum has had a Kenwood like this all my life, and for years and years Ive wanted one too.. and now, Im such a lucky girl to have got one!!! I will take this opportunity to send huuuuge love and thanks to DMIL, DAIL and DSIL and Dreaded Husband ;-) for chipping in and getting me such a fantastic machine!! THANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!

I will now freecycle a grotty plastic mixer, and a grotty liquidiser thing.. both rather beaten up, parts missing and not a patch on what I have now :-)


After another snooze for both of us (because we could) we got up and had lunch in town.

My work colleagues gave me £20 in book tokens and a 20% off all books voucher, so I went into WH Smith and blew the lot!! I managed to get 7 paperbacks and only went a little over budget ;-) The receipt said I saved £17 by choosing buy one get one frees.. and buy one get one half price books (they were the ones I wanted anyway) They will keep me quiet for a few evenings!!

Douglas had a £25 M&S voucher from work, so we blew that on food.. then dragged it and the books back to the car!

For a final celebration, we went out to the movies to see a film we have had our eye on for a while.. the Spiderwick Chronicles. It was OK.. and probably great for kids of about 10, but I found it a bit disappointing (too corny and full of American schmaltz) but it was nice to go out.

Back home for a left overs tea, and a quiet evening before work tomorrow :-)

A wonderful birthday weekend!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Phase 3

We went round to my parents at about 10am ish, laden with lemon meringue pie (thanks waitrose) the ingredients of a banoffee pie, a nut loaf that Sis in law Gill could eat, bottles of wine and fizzy pop.. and a spare bag for any goodies!! (read presents!) Oh also took the bbq ribs D made :-)

My mum, bless her had created a board of photos (featuring me) from age dot upwards :-) she had hung up two of my dresses from when I was about 10 months old.. and my very first pair of shoes!! Apart from the colour (pink) they look just like the shoes I wear now :-) My mum also made me a really lovely birthday cake from choc brownie mix with little nuts in..yummmm!

My older brother John, his wife Gill and their two kids were already there. We got busy - I made the banoffee pie, Douglas got busy with the spare ribs.

When Thomas (little brother) and his wife Katy and 3 kids arrived, things got a bit hectic, as it would with 5 kids making kids noises and having fun :D

My dad made pizzas for everyone, but got a bit flustered and gave John a meat pizza, which he being veggie for even longer than I, did not go down well :( Despite this, food was good, and everyone got fed something they liked :-)

Some of my friends showed up yay! My friend Travelling John from my folk dancing days and his girl/friend Carol... then my dear friend Shelly from north Notts, and her friend Stewart who ive met a couple of times. They fed, and then I got to open the lots of lovely cards and pressies from people!!!

My biggest and most amazing pressie was a sat nav!! this was from Thos, Kt and my parents. I also got the promise of a fruit tree (of our choice) from my brother John and his wife Gill! We have decided to get a Bramley Apple tree for the middle of our lawn :-)

I got a box of choccies.. a wine stopper with a 40 on.. a lovely 40 mug, a tile with some tea lights in.. a ceramic hot plate holder with a lovely picture on.. oh and other lovely things I cant remember cause its late :-)

It must have been about 5.30pm when Shelly, Stewart, then John and Carol left.. we packed up having said our goodbyes soon after and wended our merry way home too :-)

It was a lovely gathering.. just the right number of people for the space and my mum, whose blood pressure normally rises way above its normal limit at parties.. managed very well :-)

Ive spent quite a while putting friends and family addresses into my lovely new toy.. now time for bed.. after all a 39 year old needs her sleep, my last day of my 30 somethings.. tomrorow I shall become naughty 40!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Birthday Phase 3!! (wow Im lucky!)

Woke up this morning at about 6.30am (thank goodness D had shut the adorable but persistant cats out of our room, or they would have been yowling and trampling on us at 5am)

After a quick drink to prevent any hangover from happening, I wrote up Saturdays blog. There is snow on the ground, and I hope it will not prevent the few friends who are coming from turning up!

Douglas came in, and... in next doors garden.. noticed a very beautiful ginger fox!! He looked extra gingery because of the snow :-) This is the first time we have seen a fox round here, and he was a pleasure to behold! He got through into our garden, and wandered off in front of us (well in front of our house and window, anyway!)

More later.. or tomorrow.

Birthday Phase 2! (Saturday)

We had a relaxing day - didn't really do anything blog - worthy until the evening.

Oh - I made a nut loaf for Sunday... I normally make them with breadcrumbs in, but because my Sis in law Gill is more or less vegan, and bread has milk and butter in it, I cooked some risotto rice (its more sticky than normal rice) and put that in instead.

I put in... chopped mixed nuts, cooked rice, mustard powder, a bit of veg stock powder and bashed it all together with a couple of eggs (Gill can eat them) Once in its loaf tin, it cooked for about 3/4 an hour and is now ready to eat!


Douglas took me into town yesterday evening, to a very nice, and fairly new Italian restaurant for a meal. We put our glad rags on, and I put my shoes with little heels on (wow! Yes! Anna in heels!) and went down for the Tram.

We walked through town to the restaurant, got there just on time, and on request they very kindly gave us a window seat :-) D ordered two cocktails for us.. both long ones.. mine was a lovely fresh lemon lime one, and Ds was a fruity berry one. I've no idea what was in mine, but it was very alcoholic, so before my starter had arrived I was already feeling rather cheerful!!


Anna : Brushetta (a little bit of toasted bread, garlicised, with chopped fresh tomatoes on, some herbs and some more garlic) .. very nice fresh tasty tomatoes.. the whole thing was wonderful.

Douglas: Calamari (deep fried squid rings with some ?mayo in a pot to dip them in) D said it was really nice but the Calamari was a tiny bit too chewy but even so, jolly nice. D says it was roasted garlic mayo - mild but garlicy, just as he likes it!!

Main Course

Anna: Pizza with goats cheese. Again, very tasty, and the cheese had been melted on.. not just dumped on like some places do :-) I was a happy bunny, it was soo tasty, and the pizza base had been hand made and baked in their special oven.

Douglas: Roast Halibut on a bed of seafood risotto. He says that it was excellently cooked, if a little cool, but the lump of fish looked a pretty good size and D was very happy with it.. one of the best meals out hes had!


(are you all salivating madly by now?)

Anna : Chocolate fudge pudding (with, bless them a candle for me to blow out on top) The outside was crunchy, and the middle was nice and soft.. choc sauce and real home made vanilla ice cream was bliss too..

Douglas: (pushing the boat out, and ignoring his dietary restrictions, for a change) had Double Chocolate Torte.. with chocolate sauce, white chocolate ice cream (home made and very delicate) and a couple of raspberries to finish it off!

Well we were full after that lot.. and as Douglas had ordered a very nice bottle of Chardonnay to go with it, I was not quite as steady on my feet as usual!!!

The service at this place was 2nd to none.. the waitress was attentive without hovering over us.. very smiley and (as Douglas noticed) as quite pretty.. and the general manager was just lovely. very cheerful and also (as I noticed very quickly.. was handsome and had a very pinch able bum!!) .. no dear readers.. I didn't!! lol

We very happily wibbled back to a taxi rank, and from there, home to a quiet rest of evening and an extremely solid nights sleep!

Saturday, 22 March 2008


Woke up quite early as usual, had breakfast and watched TV (grand designs revisited) but fell asleep during it! Went back to bed, and my dear darling husband did an amazing job of cleaning the house whilst I snozzed.. he even brought the hoover upstairs and vaccumed our carpet.. I vaguely remember him being up there and doing it, but fell asleep again before he had finished!!

We went to Waitrose and did a shop, then Douglas made a lamb curry and some BBQ Spare Ribs (pork) for Sunday. They have had their first cook, and are marinading in the fridge. On sunday they will get their dark sticky sauce and get baked in the oven :-)

At about 7.15pm we went round to my little brothers house - he and Katy had been invited out for a meal, so we "sat" on the kids. Martha and Leo (Carlo was already fast asleep) were delighted to see us, which is always gratifying! We had a peaceful evening, I read, and Douglas watched TV until Thos and Kt came back at about 11.30pm.

Now home, and time for bed!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Work, and Birthday, Phase 1!

Normal day at work.. phones.. application forms.. more phones.. but I took some rather nice home made Sushi and some shop made buns etc as a birthday celebration for them.

About 4 people said how lovely the Sushi was, and was it really home made?? I felt very proud of having such a wonderful cook-husband :-) I have been asked to provide a recipe for the internal newspaper!

Later in the day, my team surrounded me with a sotto - voche (sp?) rendition of Happy Birthday, and gave me a lovely card, a funny mug and £20 WHS voucher.. yay hay! books!! It was very nice of them all, and I was very grateful.

I did more applications etc and called a few customers who need to pay some money, and rushed (as traffic allowed) home, picking up a very tired and sore footed Douglas on route.


Went bowling with my team (from work) !! I've not been for years, and was amazed to see the pins and the bowls were all luminous under ultra violet light! Sadly, despite my best efforts, I came last.. but it didnt really matter - I and my team had fun :-)

Its very windy tonight.. lets hope the weekend isnt too cold and 'orrible!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Udate on health

Just a quick note.. back at work, voice still a bit croakey but most of yesterday and today Ive not been on the phones - just been processing more and more applications for waste carriers licences!

Looking forward to the weekend... Hmm anyone guess why?

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The lurgey continues

Well.. I spent last weekend in bed feeling rotten.. and now I feel fine.

Im left with a nasty cough (thanks surley GP for giving me some antibiotics and a sick note till Tuesday). I asked (whispered) to the GP asking him if there was anything I could do to prevent my voice going when I get a cough.. he said no, but as its gone, rest it by not even whispering for a few days to help it get better.

So..... Im doing my best to be silent..Im gesturing and writing things down when Douglas is home, and just not talking to the cats.

This morning someone is coming round to pick up my mums old printer, then on Friday someone else is coming for the computer, monitor etc.

Both of these people, and many more saw the message that the old pc free to anyone who wanted it on Freecycle. Its great to be able to get rid of things you don't want without increasing the amount of landfill.

The idea, for those who don't know, is to post a comment saying "Offered, old computer (or whatever) please collect from (then the general area where you live)"

I got about 10 replies within an hour or so! Personally, I choose the person who is polite, and tells me why they would like what I have, not just the first to say "can I have it please" Douglas and I have shifted tables and all sorts via Freecycle to grateful recipients.

So.. I have a mum coming from the printer, so her son can print his schoolwork.. and a cheerful sounding student who wants to write his essays up.

I put some books on Freecycle once, and a lady from just down the road emailed to say could she come look. She emailed to say she hoped my voice got better soon..... we chatted, and the result is that this afternoon I'm going to pop round to see her! She sells old glass, and we are going to have a look at some shes had in storage for a while and sort out what would go nicely in her cabinet in an antiques stall.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Good news!

Friday was a good day for Douglas.. he finally became accredited at work!

This meant he had been listened into on the 20 or so different types of Health Insurance his company offers, and had got 20 perfect calls!!!

He no longer has to ask permission for every little decision he makes :-)

This is no mean feat.. so to celebrate I took him to Wasabi Sabi, a Japanese thats worth travelling to. I had tempura veg and thin noodles stir fried with veg.. D had some chicken soup with noodles and some sushi, which he absolutely adores :-)

His little Sis sent him some Sushi making materials for his solstice gift which he has used - he makes pretty good sushi when the creative burst is on him!

The not so good news is that Ive gone down with a heavy cold, cough and headache (with temperature too) so Im feeling pretty rough. Douglas has it too, but luckily not to such a degree.

Monday, 3 March 2008


Went down to John Lewis (for those who don't know its the nicest chain of department stores in the uk) met my mum and purchased a nice simple waistcoat pattern, some green cotton and some shiny dark green lining and backing stuff.. guess who im making a waistcoat for ??

We went back to my mums and spent the rest of the day cutting the peices out, and sewing it up. (Well she did most of it, but I helped, and sorted a few things out on her computer in exchange)

Before we sewed it all together, I summoned Douglas with my magic skill (a spell called mobile phone lol) so he could try the waistcoat on for size, and take me home.

It will fit beautifully! Now Im carefully sewing the patchwork on to the front, then I can join the sides.

Photo when its done.


Quite a busy day, so I got up early (having been pinned one one position for too long by the cats - one happy black and white cushion on the bed each side of me!)

My little brother had invited us for lunch, so I wanted to make an apple crumble to go with it. Douglas made the crumble whilst I went shopping.

I got back to a rather urgent call from my mum. The earthquake damage to my soon to be let house had got worse due to the high winds last night. The neighbours house has also been damaged by some flying tiles.

Crumble making went on hold.

I had got hold of the loss adjusters phone number and persuaded him to go take a look, even though he told me he didnt work weekends! He came back to me an hour or so later to say the chimney will need removing and replacing :-( Glad we have insurance, but hes going to haggle for not paying the whole lot due to nail fatigue (rusty nails on roof) He is not aware hes in for a fight on that one!

Crumble making continued, then we went to Thomases for a very nice lunch. Crumble could have been cooked more - and I should not have listened to Ds advice about putting the apples in raw. Normally I cook the apples, then mix in blackcurrants (I put in raspberries this time) then once its all cooked put it in a dish with the crumble topping. I will continue doing that next time!!

After lunch we went round to the local Methodist Church - as Thos, Martha and Leo were all starring in "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" Panto, which they have been rehearsing for months and months and months!!! Katy had made a lovely job of a screen, with a river and some hills as her contribution.

The two hour Panto shot by.. I hardly recognised my darling little brother for reasons that will become clear if you look at the photo. Martha was "the little girl who got left behind" and Leo was a bionic rat (yeah slightly off the original story but what the heck.. it was great!)

My brother is on the left (he was the Mayors Wife, the person in the pink wig is another "dad" and M&L are in the middle. Martha has hurt her leg again, so shes on crutches poor thing!

Sunday, 2 March 2008


Had a normal Thursday at work, had tea then.. (drum roll please) we went to an evening class!!!

A note had been posted through our door saying there was a Tai Chi class starting locally on Thursdays.. so I persuaded Douglas it would be a good idea to go. Hes done Tai Chi in the past and enjoyed it, so was happy to do some more.

We got there early, and soon the hall had about 20 people in it. The teacher was a broad Yorkshire bloke, probably about 65 or so. His diminuitive wife helped the class too (I liked her, she was very smiley!)

The hall looks rather like this. The movements are slow and gentle - no straining allowed. Its a bit like Kung Fu in slow motion!!

We concentrated on the moves rather than on the moves and breathing, and although it was a bit confusing at times, we both enjoyed it, and look forward to next week.