Saturday, 28 February 2009


Last weekend I decided to master crochet once and for all, so I decided to buy this book from Amazon. I've got to say that I am really impressed. It explains everything in detail - I'm sure a child could learn to crochet from this book. There is only one drawback though - it's American and their crochet terms are completely different to ours!
However, for anyone wanting to convert American crochet patterns to British, these is a conversion chart in the book.


I hope you like my Easter Chick. The pattern is a free pattern from Alan Dart's website. It is supposed to be shaped and sprayed with hairspray to give it a more 'egg' shape', but I have got to buy some in the week. At the moment he looks like he's in a tin bath!

Sunday, 22 February 2009


You are fair, honest, and logical. You are a natural leader, and people respect you.You never give up, and you will succeed... even if it takes you a hundred tries.You are rational enough to see every part of a problem.

You are great at giving other people advice.You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection. You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive. You have the classic "Type A" personality.You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

What Your Name's Hidden meaning?


4OZ (100G) Soft margarine
4oz (100g) Caster Sugar
2 eggs
4oz (100g) Self Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
8oz (225g) Icing Sugar, sifted
2-3 tbs Warm water
Sugar Decorations
Pre-heat oven to 200'c/400'F/Gas 6. Place about 18 paper cases in bun tins.
Measure all ingredients and place in a large mixing bowl and beat well for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is well blended and smooth. Half fill the paper cases with the mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 15-20mins until the cakes are well risen and golden brown. Lift the cakes out of the bun tins and cool on a wire rack.
Place the icing sugar in a bowl and blend in warm water until you have a fairly stiff icing. Spoon over the cakes and decorate with the sugar decorations. Leave to set.


I can't believe I have actually taught myself to crochet - well, kind of. I have been meaning to do it for years, bur have always been baffled by it for some reason. I even hold the crochet hook like a knitting needle for a start. No matter how hard I look at the diagram in the 'how to' books, it just does not feel comfortable when I hold the hook like that!
Anyway, my first two attempts. Neither are particularly good, especially the first, but I can see a little bit of potential. Well you know what they say - practice makes perfect. I think I need to do quite a lot of it.
Now, what was the next thing? Oh yes! Crochet flowers...............................


This is Svetlana - a rather red faced one due to the fact that I did not have any pale pink felt in my stash. She is the largest doll in a set of matryoshka dolls featured in the current addition of 'Let's Knit' magazine. Her two sisters are named Tatyana and Ivana who may be accompanying her soon!

Saturday, 21 February 2009



175g Self Raising Flour

1/2 tsp Salt

75g Softened Unsalted Butter

75g Brown sugar

75g Caster Sugar

1tbs Vanilla Essence

1 Egg

125g Chocolate Chips

Stir together the flour and salt. Do not sift. Beat the butter until creamy, then add the sugars and vanilla and stir them in until combined. Add the beaten egg, mixing well. Stir in the flour mixture. Stop the instant it has been incorporated. Stir in the Chocolate Chips until they are distributed evenly. Form the dough into a log, wrap it in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the oven t0 180'C (350'F/gas mark 4) and grease baking sheets.

Cut the dough into thin rounds, place on baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden.

Monday, 16 February 2009


Cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs rpsoet it. OLNY RSEPOT IF YOU CAN RAED TIHS. CNAHGE THE NMUERBR AT TOP TGOHUH, "ONLY __ PEOPLE IN THE WORLD CAN READ THIS...CAN YOU? " Go up a nmuber if you can raed it...lte's see how hgih we can get!


Mix 2 heaped tablespoons bicarbonate of soda with 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Store in an airtight container.

Make a paste from bicarbonate of soda and water.

Apply white vinegar and salt to a cloth, rub over item to be cleaned, rinse, and buff with soft cloth.

Use a slice of cut lemon to apply salt to the tiles.

Sunday, 15 February 2009


Now I know that Jose-Mary has received her Valentine's Swap Goodies, I can now show you what I made for her.
There were two Valentine Table Favours similar to the one photographed here (I forgot to photo this one!), a Valentine's knitted doll, a beaded heart hanging, a Valentine cushion and a bar of Green and Black chocolate.
I then wrapped each item in tissue paper, enclosed some heart confetti and ribbon and then wrapped them all in heart pattened paper.
I hope she liked everything!

Saturday, 14 February 2009


For a simple Valentines Cake use a basic Victoria Sandwich recipe and bake in a heart shaped tin. You can either make two cakes and sandwich together with jam or make one and use butter cream as a topping (or you could make two cakes AND use butter cream for the topping!).

Decorate with sugar hearts.



Happy Valentine's Day!

My Valentine's Swap arrived from Jose-Mary on Thursday and this is what arrived:

A Beautiful Wall Hanging with my name on!

A Cupcake candle.

A Lovely Hand Made Book Mark and Book.

A Yummy Chocolate Lolly

And a gorgeous hand knitted heart!
A big thank you To Jose-Mary for all the lovely gifts and also thank you to A Thrifty Mrs for organising the swap. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely do it again.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


A couple of years ago, I bought this lovely little folder to put all the recipes that I wanted to keep from magazines etc. I was handed a recipe for a Toblerone Cake in W.H. Smith of all places. I have never made it but I thought it looked interesting:
200g Toblerone
60z Digestive Biscuits
3oz Butter or margarine
10fl oz Double Cream
Flake or White Chocolate
Melt butter in pan. Pour over crumbled biscuits. Mix and use to line an 8" tin. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Melt the Toblerone. Whisk the cream (not stiff). When the chocolate has started to cool, fold in cream. Pour the mixture over the base. Return cake to fridge for 1 hour. Decorate with flake or white chocolate.

Monday, 9 February 2009


I work weird hours - 12 midday to 8 at night to be precise. I also get the last bus home, which picks me up in the hospital grounds.

Last week I was the only one in the bus shelter when a man appeared with all his hospital belongings and was not in a very good mood with the nursing staff on his ward. He was calling this poor nurse for everything he could lay his tongue to.

"One of the nurses in there is a real battle axe," he said "they promised they would let me out today and I've got my daughters wedding tomorrow. Do you know where the nearest 'phone is. I need to ring my sister so that she can pick me up." I replied that it was in the foyer. He then said he wasn't sure he wanted to go back indoors as the staff would probably find him. After routing through his pockets he wasn't sure if he had enough money to make a call anyway. The poor man seemed desperate.

After giving him a lecture about leaving I eventually said he could use my mobile. He looked down at himself and realised that he still had his pyjama trousers on and said he'd made a dash for it and had just put an outdoor jacket on over the top. He also told me that he was in hospital because of a fall. I believed his story and was just about to hand over my 'phone when my bus arrived. I apologised, but said I would have to go. As he still looked desparate I decided to give him some extra money for him to make a 'phone call, and told him not to worry about the change.

What happened next I could not quite believe - he said he was getting the bus and going to his sisters anyway. She lived miles away and the bus was not going that way. He did not have enough money anyway. The furthest he could go was to Abergele where I lived.

Once on the bus he gave me his sisters number. I managed to get through and said I had her brother with me and handed him over. After a couple of minutes he handed the 'phone back to me "she wants a word with you" he said.

"Oh my God where is he?" I told her what had happened and that we were heading for Abergele, telling her about the money I had given him for a 'phone call, his hospital belongings and the fact that he had got his daughters wedding the next day. "He's not of sound mind. His daughter is not getting married tomorrow and he has no clothes with him."

It was agreed that I would wait with him at the bus stop in Abergele while his brother-in-law came to pick him up and take him back to hospital. At this point he was still only wearing his pyjama trousers and it was freezing cold. I was trying to get him to put his trousers on in the middle of town at the bus stop only yards from the police station - I was just waiting to get arrested!

His brother-in-law arrived and the first thing he said was "You are an absolute ...." I was waiting for the words fool, idiot - anything derogatory for giving him some money (it was only £1), but then he said "angel" "Thank God you stayed with him, anything could have happened to him" Hospital security had no idea he had gone missing and were only alerted after his sister alerted them after our telephone call. While I was looking in his bag for his trousers I noticed a lot of drugs in there from the pharmacy. It turned out that all the clothes and the drugs belong to someone else - he had stolen them! It was also revealed that he had not had a fall but had recently had a colostomy operation!

I couldn't believe I had been taken in by his story, but he seemed so believable. I will definitely not be giving anyone any money for 'phone calls in future, however desperate they seem!

Later that week I had a visit from his sister who gave me a bottle of wine and some chocolates as a thank you for looking after him. But I still feel so guilty for giving him some money. I learned that he is still in hospital but will be OK. Thank God everything worked out OK - I still keep thinking of all sorts of things that could have happened!

Sunday, 8 February 2009


I made a New Year Resolution not to buy any more magazines, however I could not resist the latest issue of Crafts Beautiful Magazine as it has so much in it. First of all it comes with cupcake patterned backing paper and also a little book all about cupcakes (baking and card making).

Inside the magazine are two free patterns for knitted cakes, with a down loadable pattern for doughnuts from their web site. I don't know why I want to knit a cake, but there you go, I just do. When they are finished I will donate them to the League Of Friends at the hospital.

Also on page 23 there is a recipe for a Banana Cheesecake, which looks delicious.

So, I think it was worth breaking my resolution for, don't you ?

P.S. A cupcake I knitted earlier.................

Saturday, 7 February 2009


(for Pixiedust!)

8oz (225g) Soft Margarine
8oz (225g)Caster Sugar
10oz (275g) Self Raising Flour
2tsp Baking Powder
4 eggs
4 tbsp Milk
grated rind of 2 lemons

about 3 tbsp lemon Juice
8oz (225g) Icing Sugar

Preheat oven to 180'C/350'F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 12 x 9 in (30 x 23cm) roasting tin with greaseproof paper. Measure all ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for approx 2mins. Place mixture in tin and level the top. Bake for 35-40mins until cake has shrunk from sides of tin and springs back when pressed in the centre. Leave in tin to cool.

Mix lemon juice with the icing sugar and spread over cake. Leave to set.
Makes about 21 slices. I have halved this recipe before now and it works just as well.


As I have now finished crafting for for my Valentine Swap, I decided to spend the afternoon baking and cooking. As I am trying my best to cut costs I made chocolate cupcakes using cocoa powder for the chocolate flavouring - they taste just as good as using real chocolate. I made 18 about 3hrs ago and there are now 11 left!

I also made a huge Lemon Tray Bake (I bake them in my roasting tin) with a view to them lasting all week. Although this rarely happens with my kids around!

The best money saver today though has to be our supper. I made Tomato Pasta using a Jamie Oliver jar of pasta sauce. These are on offer at the moment at Tesco for only 89p a jar. I added a pack of spaghetti costing 49p and topped it all with a little grated cheese. There was more than enough to feed all 4 of us.

I then made pancakes for afters using ingredients from my store cupboard. This has to be the cheapest meal I've ever cooked - I'm now going to see if I can better this one next week!


I have received an award from Rosanna at La Stanza di Giuggiola. This award, we think, means Your Hand In My Hand, and is a token of friendship and encouragement to others, which I am most honoured to received. I would like to pass this award on to:

Nana Grace
Jose-Mary and

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


The cat on the stone bench is not our cat, it's the neighbourhood stray. We've called him Kitty. However there is no need to feel sorry for him as virtually all the neighbours look after him and give him food. He will come in the back door when opened and meow for food and a warm, which he gets from virtually all the street! After trying to trace the owners unsuccessfully, one of the neighbours has now taken him on permanently. However old habits die hard and he still does the rounds. The photograph does not do him justice as he is in fact rather large!

Sunday, 1 February 2009


I've been tagged by Pixiedust at Faerienuff. I have to show my fourth photo on my fourth file and pass it on to 4 others to do the same. So here goes!

This is my hubby, Graham. It was taken one Saturday afternoon just before we went out (although he does tend to keep his cap on most of the time indoors, and then says it's hot when the rest of us are freezing cold!).

The 4 others I would like to tag are: