Sunday, 30 October 2011


Tomorrow it is Halloween- what do you mean you didn't know that?? OK so I didn't need to tell you. As I am back at work tomorrow we carved our pumpkin after dinner tonight. Well when I say we I mean I supervised the children.

First they drew on their pumpkin face

they each drew a different part

Dylan took the lead in carving it open

Stephanie got in there with both hands to remove the sticky innards

Next the seeds were collected n.b. read ate by Stephanie

I collected the flesh

Then in goes the candle and we have a perfect Halloween pumpkin.

Disclaimer: no parts of the vegetable were wasted in making this pumpkin!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Christmas in a bowl

I have decided that this year I am going to make my own Christmas foods as far as possible, particularly Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mincemeat. I have decided to do these things in particular so that Stephanie can have a try, she can't eat shop bought due to her citrus allergy. I made the Christmas pudding tonight loosely based on a Delia Smith recipe. I made a couple of changes; I left out all the peels and I used only rum and a little apple juice instead of the wine, stout and rum Delia calls for.

The children helped to make the mix, Stephanie was most impressed. We all agree it smells Divine- just like Christmas in a bowl. Stephanie had a little taste of the mix and liked it.

Stephanie mixing

Dylan having a mix

No my kitchen isn't doesn't have doll sized counters- Dylan decided he needs to stand on the stool with Stephanie!

My turn to mix!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A Halloween Costume

This afternoon I made Stephanie's Halloween costume, she chose to be a purple witch this year. She loves it and can not wait for her party she is off to on Saturday with her dad.

A clear picture of the dress and Stephanie's very impressed smile. This picture Strangely shows the fabric as blue, however it is purple. I guess my photographic skills need some work!

This pic shows the colours more truly, but the dress design isn't as clear.

The dress is made from Simplicity 2569 pattern. It was very simple to follow, I made one mistake but suspect that the mistake was all mine and not a reflection on the pattern. I'm not sure on the white ribbon, but Stephanie chose it and loves it, so I guess I need to live with it.

Stephanie has now requested that I make dress A as a Christmas present for her.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A new top

I have been knitting around the clock, whenever I can't sleep making Stephanie's new top. She is a lot more pleased with it than the picture depicts- she is not impressed with having her photo taken. It appears she has not only inherited my fear of spiders, but also my discomfort in front of cameras!

I am really pleased with the top, it seemed at times slow to knit, possibly (OK almost definitely) due to my lack of experience knitting- 200 stitches in one row is the most I have ever knitted with. It was however a very simple and well written pattern I was able to follow it easily. The pattern was this  King Cole top I did not use the recommended yarn from the pattern, Stephanie chose this Teddy soft spot.

Stephanie chose the yarn in a little shop in  Caernafon, North Wales I forget what the shop was called (sorry!). At the time o choosing she wanted me to knit a cardigan which required 2 balls of wool, however by the time we got home she had changed her mind and wanted this top. No problem I think until I got around to beginning the project and realise the pattern calls for 3 balls of wool, I had 2. After a quick Internet search I found the wool in stock at Top Stitch. I was dubious about ordering a third ball as there was a high chance that the dye batches wouldn't match but short of driving the couple of hundred miles back to North Wales I had little choice. I placed the order and  was very impressed by the service, within 2 days I had my yarn and was amazed and very impressed that the dye batches were the same.

I knitted up the top and found I used less than 2 balls of the Teddy yarn, never mind Stephanie has already put me to work knitting her some matching socks.....

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Deans Diner- Dockside review.

Today  (24th October 2011) my sister and our children spent the day doing some more clearing sorting in my Mum's flat. Afterwards we decided that as a treat and because it was late we would go here for dinner- looks fab right?

That's what we thought. As Stephanie put it it looks like on Grease Mummy. We were seated at our table given menus. All normal so far? We ordered our drinks and waited 15 mins for them to arrive. We decided they were very nice milkshakes so didn't grumble. We then waited 30 mins for our food to arrive. I would like to point out that the restaurant was not busy there were 2 tables other than ours occupied. We got our meals; Cajun chicken sandwiches for us adults and chicken and chips for the children. The sandwiches were OK, however not overly nice and somewhat disappointing considering they cost over £6.00. The two girls were not impressed with their meals either with neither of them eating much. We decided never mind we'll get them a dessert anyway. They really wanted pancakes.

We sat for at least 20 minutes with our dirty finished with plates in front of us. I even stacked them up to offer a hint to the staff that we were done. It was not picked up on. Eventually we decided enough was enough and asked for the bill; which took a further 10 minutes to arrive. The girls were disappointed that they didn't get to eat dessert there but were pacified with the promise of me making dessert when we got back to mine.

So all in a all for £30 a very disappointing meal out. I can't say I will go there again.

I am forwarding a copy of this review to the restaurant manager as it seems only fair that they are aware of our disappointing visit and then have the opportunity to rectify any issues for future customers.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

autumn on the allotment

With visiting Mum lots and work I have not had as much time as I would have liked on the allotment, not that I am complaining, considering how things have turned out I wouldn't have had it any other way.

I went down this week for the first time in a fortnight, things are ticking over quite nicely. I have harvested some lovely curly kale, my spring cabbages are growing slowly. The red cabbages and savoy cabbages are doing very nicely to;

I'm really looking forward to eating them once they are ready.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


I have done a lot of thinking the past few months about parenting and ways of doing this. These thoughts began when my Mum was diagnosed with lung cancer. We have not had the easiest of relationships but we get along OK.

Through talking with a childhood friend I have come to realise that as humans we seem to focus on negatives. I remember things which are not necessarily positive aspects of growing up. However talking to my friend has helped me to see there were plenty of good times too, my Mum used to do lots with us, I remember making pies at the dining table, going for walks/picnics, picking blackberries, playing board games, Mum trying to teach me to knit (something which rather frustrated her). There are lots of memories.

I can see how my childhood had influenced me and made me the person I am today. I still have a love of all those things. I have learnt from my Mum ways I want to do things, and naturally some ways I don't want to do things. I'm sure in 20 years time my children will say something very similar.

So I can honestly say I am devastated that my Mum lost her fight to cancer last Sunday. I am going to miss her, whether it is reminiscing about when I was young, moaning about her when I have the hump or phoning to ask her advice when I can't work out what a knitting pattern means.

My Mum makes 3 family members who have died in the past 11 months. So treasure your family, and enjoy everyday with them, you never know how long you have together.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

13th birthday celebrations.

Today it is my son's 13th birthday- where has the time gone?

He is so grown up now, his main present was a Kindle. He has been asking for one for ages. Then in the summer when we stayed at my Dad's he showed me his Kindle. I can see how it is so good, I certainly like the idea. However, for me personally I much prefer a book with real pages. Dylan however loves anything technical and is suitably delighted with it.

For birthday celebrations we had family round for a chip shop tea. It was lovely to catch up with them and the children were so excited to see each other, even cousin Karl who is my cousin (but Dylan's age) who doesn't know Kray-Ashly and Jayden- Dylan and Stephanie's cousins who do not know each other were getting on very well. I couldn't help wondering though wouldn't it be amazing if children had volume controls!

They did quiet down for their fish shop tea and homemade chocolate birthday cake.