Sunday, 26 February 2012

Feeling better...

My children are sooooo thoughtful, they love to share everything with me.

But can I just say "please don't, I really, really don't want your sickie germs - on this occasion you REALLY don't have to share".

Too late.

Miss Bucket and myself have been hit with the lurgy, all day Saturday we suffered.

But today seems ok. It seems that after a good sleep, all signs of lurgy have disappeared.

I have survived with lots of hot, sweet, tea and reading some really great blogs that have made me laugh in spite of myself; some gorgeous pictures - yes I mean you Lucy at Attic 24; and some great crafts.

Thank you. Sam xx

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Give me caffeine...

 source: Google Images

Aaahhh coffee, today coffee is my best friend.

We've had a very rough night, Bucket jnr is sick. A nasty little bug has taken hold and literally showered my sitting room in a rainbow hue.

Sorry for being graphic - blame it on not much sleep and not enough caffeine. Sam xx

Thursday, 16 February 2012

New glasses...

My birthday passed recently (40th if you must know) and as I'm practical about some things my present from Mr Bucket was some new glasses.

Now I know that this doesn't sound that exciting but when you are totally blind as a bat and haven't changed glasses for about 3 years, it was time for a change.

Also, they are really, really expensive. I tried to let Mr Bucket know that the price on the label is not the final price but I don't think he really believed me.

I did get sunglasses as well in a 2for1 deal but, wait for it, the total came to ...... drumroll please..... £179.
I'll wait for a little bit until your jaw picks up from the floor.
Anyone who wears glasses will not even blink an eye at this and I know that this sounds a lot but compared to some glasses (the designer ones with extra bling) this is a drop in the ocean.

I think my new glasses are pretty and the green matches my eyes (girly moment, sorry).

The only thing is, I had to pay extra to make the lenses thinner and lighter. The opticians tried to get me to pay an extra £50 to make the lenses in the sunglasses thin and light as well, but surely if the standard lenses are that bad (i.e. heavier and thicker) why do they still sell them. I said no, I don't think we get enough sun to worry about the lenses. Also tried to flog me glasses insurance for another £25.

See how the money is made??!!!

I really wish that all this was included in glasses and the real price given instead of 'from this amount', they are a necessity for some people and not just a fashion statement.

Gripe over. Now I'd better start saving for when I want to change them again in about 3-4 years time. Sam xx

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines...

I was woken up this morning (steady there) with a gorgeous card and chocolates from Mr Bucket - Thorntons chocolates, of course (although wouldn't have minded the Belgian seashells).

They're not going to do the diet much good but nevermind, we all have to make sacrifices. Although, I've already sacrificed some chocs already this morning to two chocolate-loving monsters.

I promise, it wasn't all me. Honest!!!

On a crafty note, if anyone gets Molly Makes magazine you would have seen the cover showing the mug cozies on the front. They seem to be a favourite make at the moment and as I was in a crochet mood at the weekend, I thought I'd give one a go. TAA-DAA!!

I also finished the lovely, chunky purple scarf for Miss Bucket as well. TAA-DAA (again)!! It came out really soft and warm and I didn't want to part with it when it was finished.

The mug cozy was really easy to do and I must admit that I had fun and it looked really cute when it was on the cup. There is just one teeny, tiny problem with it - I'm a DRIBBLER. There, I said it.

No matter how carefully I drink a cup of tea/coffee/anything really, I always have a little dribble of drink slide down the side of the cup and usually landing on me. In fact I think my next project should be a bib.

Maybe that's what the mug cozies are really for, not to make the cups look sweet and cute and cuddly - they are to catch the dribbles from plopping onto your nice, clean clothes.

I'd better make a whole lot more of them then or that mug cozy is going to be washed loads and loads of times. Sam xx

Friday, 10 February 2012

Some cooking...

Source: Good Food  

This week has had a couple of firsts, cooking-wise, and it's amazing I haven't made them before.

The other day I did my first ever Paella and I must say it tasted delicious although it stunk out our kitchen for the next few days and if/when I make it again I'll probably make half the amount, as we had loads left over. I would have used the leftovers up but after reading lots of advice on the internet, most erred on the side of caution because of the rice and seafood. 

There were only a couple of problems; I bought some frozen fish mix and in my bags I had huge prawns but they had shells on. Now most people would know what to do but I had no clue whether to take the shells off or leave them on.  We left them on but would take them off next time as it was such a FAFF and really messy when all you want to do is eat your tea.

The second problem was that the kids had different tastes - Miss Bucket liked the seafood but didn't like the chorizo sausage and Bucket jnr loved the sausage but wasn't a fan of the mussels, although he loved the prawns and I had to sit there and peel loads for him (he was like a hoover).

But definitely easy to do and if anyone's interested, I got my recipe from the BBC Good Food site and it is called 'Easy Paella'.

Sorry about the picture but completely forgot to take one of my paella.

Today as I looked out onto the frozen street, I promised the kids that I would make brownies for them for after school - I've made flapjacks (a first last week - sorry forgot to mention, they tasted gorgeous), cakes, cupcakes, fairy cakes, big cakes, small cakes and even some cakes that came out looking sorry for themselves but tasted great.

I looked in a favourite book "BBC Good Food - 52 Cakes, Bakes and Chocolate" - yep, a really healthy book then. And there is a recipe for Toffee Brownies which sounded yummy, although mine won't necessarily taste of toffee as you're meant to use dark muscovado sugar and I only had light brown sugar, nevermind.

Toffee Brownies

350g/12oz dark chocolate
250g/9oz unsalted butter
3 large eggs
250g/9oz dark muscovado sugar
85g/3oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and line the base of a shallow square cake tin. Melt the chocolate and butter together, then stir well and cool.

2. Whisk the eggs until pale, then whisk in the sugar until thick and glossy and well combined. Gently fold in the melted chocolate mixture, then sift in the flour and baking powder and gently stir until smooth.

looks lovely - forget the brownies and get my spoon

3. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-35 mins or until firm to the touch. Test by inserting a wooden cocktail stick into the middle - there should be a few moist crumbs sticking to it. The mixture will still be soft in the centre but will firm up on cooling.

4. Cool in the tin for at least 1 hr then cut into 16 squares and finish cooling on a wire rack.

5. Try and eat one before the gannets pile in and demolish the lot.

And the almost failure.  I have a feeling that my tray might have been a bit small so my brownies had a thick middle (a bit like me, hey ho) and that's why I had to cook it for an extra 15 mins. When I took it out, the middle then sunk down and it's a bit too gooey inside.

 Bucket jnr and I tried some and it tastes delicious so maybe add it to a dollop of ice cream instead. Not a complete failure then. Sam xx

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Busy, busy morning...

I've been a bit of a speed demon today. Lately I've felt a bit slugglish and haven't done too much but now I'm TOTALLY fed up with the mess (we're a bunch of collectors and clutterers).

So I wrote a list and I've only got 2 more things to do (there were more than 2 to start with, just in case you were wondering).

I've been whizzing round tidying, cleaning, even adding a couple of extra things to the list - one of them was tidying up Miss Bucket's bedroom (only tidying, we have a big day of chucking coming up soon I think). After all my nagging to tidy her room, she finally asked if I could help.

Although in the middle of this I had to do something else...

Has anyone heard of Hama beads? If you haven't, they are little beads (come in several sizes but ours are quite small) that you put on a board template which could be in the shape of a flower, dragon, frog. This is then ironed and it all sticks together.

Well, in the course of tidying I knudged the board with the beads on and I hadn't yet ironed them.......yes, a load of them went flying and I had to spend a long little time putting them back.

Miss Bucket's beads are small and my hands are big - not a good combination and I had to resort to the tweezers to try and pick them up, one by one. I very carefully took them downstairs and ironed them, although I think my iron was a bit hot and some look a little crazy.

I'm hoping she'll accept my idea that it makes him look a little more scaly.

A cup of tea is now called for before my next job, which I'll be doing this afternoon - PIZZA, homemade of course. Sam xx

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Thank You...


I've been nominated by Emma at The Log Cabin for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Thank you very much Emma, I'm glad you like my blog...I'm just amazed that anyone wants to read my ramblings.

From what I can see, the rules are that you:

1. Acknowledge the giver of the award. Done!
2. Award the award (I know, sounds silly) to 15 other stupendous bloggers that you like to read. Hmmmm, 15???            
3. Give 7 facts about yourself that noone knows. Okay, let me think.....

Ok, so first I'll list the bloggers I like to read and I'll apologise now if you've already been nominated before and are probably thinking "what, this again?". Also, I don't think I can quite manage 15 (cutting and pasting links take a long time, especially when my feet are being tickled by Bucket jnr and his singing microphone is in French mode).

Attic 24
The Beetle Shack
Annaboo's House
Little Cotton Rabbits
michele made me
At Second Street
Frugal Queen
Monkey Beans

I would have nominated Anne at Marmalade and Catmint and Emma at The Log Cabin as I love their blogs but they've been nominated already and you never know I might just introduce a new blog to you.

I hope ten will be enough, my head is currently swimming with the tinny singing of elephants and trumpets, biscuits and apples (all from that blasted lovely microphone which Bucket jnr has to play with right next to my head).

Now, some facts about me....

1. I had blue eyes until I was 6, then they changed to green. I know, weird right???
2. I used to play the clarinet at school.
3. I've eaten tripe, snails and trotters and 2 out of 3 of them weren't too bad.
4. Both my eyebrows can lift independently (remember the two kids on the advert - just not as fast and not as freaky).
5. I was stupid enough to take my dog for a walk when I was on rollerskates (just in case anyone's wondering, this is NOT a recent thing, I was about 5/6 at the time and can remember the start, but not the ending).

I think that's enough to embarrass myself for the moment. Now to let people know that I've nominated them.

And just for your enjoyment, here are those two cute kiddies with their wriggling eyebrows....

Sam xx