Sunday, 5 August 2012

Busy little home-bee

O.K so I've not blogged in a while but have been a picture of domestic bliss...

Tonight I made Jam- Rhubarb & Blackcurrant.

I would like to point out that in order to make jam you need to boil sugar to 104 degrees c. and not burn yourself.

Jam making 101: Do not burn yourself.*

* you might remember I am a bit high risk when it comes to scalds and the like!

One of the guys in our team at work brought in a bag of rhubarb and it was turning fast so on a visit to Craigies (highly recommended) we also picked up some blackberries and logged on to their website to visit their jam recipes.

What it turns out you need to do is to match your fruit with Jam Sugar, which I found in a local high street supermarket.

Drop the fruit, sugar and lemon juice into the pot one night and boil the crap out of it the next night. A handy jam thermometer makes all the difference.

This was the result  ....

Notice the coffee graduals in the tupperware in the container to the right- oh yes I had to use literally every available container including the 1litre Mackies ice-cream tub.

I am happy to report that it tastes like jam, but not sure I am ready to enter the world Jam Making competition in August.

In amongst my Jam making I have rediscovered my long forgotten love of embroidery.

I finished Ella Bean's blanket with balloons and that seemed to open the flood gates.

I am making a second blanket to welcome a new baby that is due in January. It'll make an appearance in due course!!

For a bit of fun I am taking my inspiration from this thank you card we got from Lil B and her husband at their wedding

It's just finished yet and I don't think its too untidy so perhaps I might get it framed as a gift. 

In the mean time I have been practising more satin stitch, french knots and split stitch with this little Daisy and Bee.
On closer inspection you can see the french notes more easily in this earlier picture

Right I now have 3 blankets to get some materials for, decide on the design and actually make them. One at lest before the 18th of October so it can be given in good time for the new arrival. Better get started...

Saturday, 30 June 2012

An argument between a Husband and a Wife (by text)

So on occasion I have to travel to London for my J.O.B and while in the past this has been no big deal because I have had someone who knows the way.

The last two visits I have had to navigate my way from London City airport into the City City bit itself. My geography isn't exactly the strongest and I hate how busy and claustrophobic the tube gets- stressful!

Anyway the first time I forgot to "tap" out of London city so I miraculously appeared in the middle of London and vanished pretty much emptying the money on the card because it though I was trying to blag the system. Husband was not a happy man as pennies that had been loaded had been frivolously wasted.

On the second trip I made a real conscious effort to "tap" the oyster card on every entry and exit in the airport. Seriously if there were gates it would be fool proof.

What follows is a text argument between Husband and me on the tapping incident of my latest visit. I am at the airport furious with myself waiting to go to the gate and hanging around waiting to board the plane.

(Probably worth pointing out that this is an argument and there are a few sweary words)

Tapped out however wasn't sure I heard the beep so tapped again. 
Saw the word "entry" and thought crap it thinks i have tapped in 
again. So I tapped out again and again it said "entry" so I can only 
hope that it picked it up the first time. I will pay to get the card 
topped up properly if I have fucked this up with a phantom in and 
out at City! SORRY I really tapped in and out like I was meant to.

I cant keep adding money to it from my card. Its not fucking hard

Don't add money to it from your card. I tapped left, right and centre 
like fucking Gene Kelly. If we had separate accounts I'd do it 
from my own but we don't so I'll do it from ours. I did my bloody 
best and I'm sorry of an extra in and out at city has gone through. 


Your are forgived

Have a good flight

Husband clearly prepared to leave this discussion for when I get back to Edinburgh

Promise I did my best 

Its easy - tap in ONCE tap out ONCE

Look at the screen and you wont go wrong

I am annoyed by this because that is exactly what I did and don't think Husband understand the situation so I decide to spell it out.

And if there is no corresponding beep then what?

You can load it online so maybe you do that with your card

And if it says "entry" when you re-tap then what?

The screen would have said and there is a kiosk to help

Then you missed tapping in at the start of your journey

I definitely tapped in and definitely heard the beep on arrival. 
Was very careful to make sure that happened - its where I 
fucked up the last time!!

I don't know what you want me to say...I can use the card 
no problem 

Husband clearly loosing the will to live with Wife. Wife now pissed off that Husband thinks she cant do the simplest thing. And annoyed with herself for cocking up the simplest thing.

Your wife must just be an idiot then despite tapping all over 
the place like she was supposed to.

Dont say anything just remember that you forgive me xx

Just about to leave see you soon xx

Sunday, 24 June 2012

A cosy cuddle

I have recently become an aunty for the 2nd time to Mummy L.

Little Ella arrived slightly ahead of schedule but her cute wee button nose and lovely copper locks are now safely snuggled up in with Mummy, Daddy and Big Sister Lilly.

I am in the process of making a welcome gift of a receiving blanket which I hope to send across with my cousin who is visiting in a couple of weeks.

The inspiration of this has come from this fantastic web site. Which has a huge host of different and wonderful ideas for gifts for your loved ones. I highly recommend a visit if you are at all inclined to make a gift rather than buy a gift.

Anyway I plundered John Lewis for the necessary tools- a crochet hook, some midnight blue wool and some white fleece. In doing so I cannot stress enough just how fantastic the customer service of the ladies in the haberdashery section of the Edinburgh John Lewis were. Given it was a busy Saturday morning and I was showing them my plans on a phone they were patient, friendly and did not once suggest that perhaps life would be easier if I just bought something rather than going down the home crafting route!

In making this I have had to teach myself how to crochet and while it is not the most perfect looking finish I think it is pretty neat and tidy given it is my first ever crochet project.

My next plans are to embroider something, to be decided, in the corner. It's a very plan blanket and needs a little something to give it some colour and interest.

Any suggestions are more than welcome!

Thoughts so far include

  • a few hearts in different colours and sizes (satin stitch)
  • one larger butterfly, profiled, with a brightly coloured wing. 

Hopefully it will make the journey and provide a nice cosy long distance cuddle for my niece.

Blondie Explosion

I like to bake and make and all kinds of different things but baking is something that soothes my soul.

Anyway I make blondies, courtesy of The Hummingbird recipe book

150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
125g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 (1/2) teaspoons of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt ( i think this is optional and personally don't bother, never had any complaints either)
120g shelled pecan nuts, chopped

33*23*5cm baking tray, lined with grease proof paper

1.Pre-heat the oven to 170 dg C (325 dg F) Gas 3
2.Put the chocolate and butter into a bowl and sit over a pan of simmering water. DO NOT let the bowl and the water connect. It will be ruined and you might as well give up now and start again! Leave until melted and smooth.
3. Remove from heat
4. Add the sugar and stir until well incorporated
5. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, stirring briskly if the mixture looks like its starting to split. (Personally I always get a hand blender involved at this stage. I have never been able to avoid the splitting but when you do make sure that you wear an apron melted butter will splat everywhere!)
6. Add the flour, salt and pecan nuts and stir until well incorporated.
7. Add the magic- this is where I add my own ingredients to make it my own, dried, sweetened cranberries (200g) are delicious and the specs of red look pretty good too. Other dried fruit will probably go quite well with white chocolate I've yet to try blueberries but there are on my list of experiments to try!
8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and the centre is soft.
9. Leave to cool completely. Instruct your family to leave the home for the next couple of hours, grab a bottle of nice wine and a movie and most importantly

Husband likes them too and has commissioned me on occasion to make them for his team. On this particular occasion however I was busy playing catch up with work and providing support on a consultancy basis. 

Husband and I differ in our approach. I am, I believe, a much tidier baker than he is.

You'll notice that the pecan nuts need to be chopped in the recipe above. Husband came through with his nuts in a bag. I should probably explain that his approach to baking is very much that a recipe is for guideline purposes where as I like to stick to the recipe to get the best result.

Clearly he is more creative than I am when it comes to baking and cooking.

I could tell where he was going with this. By smashing the bag off of our cheap Ikea coffee table he was hoping that this would be a quick and effective route to the chopping exercise. 

I let him hit the table once, hard. As he raised the bag to strike it a second time I opened my mouth to warm him that it probably wasn't a good idea when this happened:

Leaving us with a living room that looked like this:

While I find baking therapeutic Husband finds it frustrating, especially after showering both of us in Pecans. 

When I asked if he was going to clean the mess up. He quickly said "No- have too much to do" and went back into the kitchen leaving me to clean it up.

I think he hopes that in making a huge mess and leaving me to clean it up that I will do less consultancy and be more hands on. 

I can only laugh. 

In fact I nearly cried when re-reading it to Husband.

Conversations with a Graduate (1)

me: "Can you see the number? It's in the middle of the excel sheet"

graduate: "No"

me: "Do you have the right file open"

graduate: "Yes, I am in it as read only because you are in it"

me: "What tab are you on?"

graduate: "Sheet 1"

me: "Yes, me too"


Me thinking of how to navigate the graduate to the middle of the screen

me: "O.k What do you see in the top left of the spreadsheet"

graduate: "January"

me: "O.K so we are looking for May, can you see it now, in the middle of the spreadsheet"


A very long one as I wait for the graduate to find the number and not completely loose the will to live.

graduate: "YES, found it. Gosh that took a long time to get to"

me: "Yes, did you have a big night out last night?"

graduate: "Yes"


I now move into anger management mode.

me: "Maybe not such a good idea on a school night"

A Chill Wind

You may remember that in a previous update that I am not very green fingered with respect to keeping house plants alive. I am untested in the garden areana. But lets just say that I am not holding my hopes up that I will be any better in an out door environment that I am indoors!

Well I have some news.

About a month ago Husband came to my desk at work (yes we work in the same office but in different departments and different teams) with a very luscious looking small plant which he had been given by one of his charges. It was a chilli plant.

Rather it is a chilli plant.

At the time I looked at him and we shared one of those "oh dear another one for the green genocide that is our flat"
(this is not my plant but it is very similar- my photography skills aren't quite doing Cass any justice at the moment)

Can you be an accidental horticultural serial killer? It is only not genocide I think because I am not doing it on a mass scale... I am doing it reluctantly one small victim at a time.

For the record I am not actively buying plants, they are simply being acquired/gifted.

It has been a month. I have kept Cass the Chilli plant on the kitchen window sill, with plenty of light and warmth and am regularly making sure that she doesn't dry out. Very egotistical you might think naming a plant after myself but I am feeling rather guilty about the plant kill rate and am hoping that in naming this one after me that I will some how subconsciously try not to kill myself.

Yes, I did psychology at University.

Anyway over the course of the last 4/5 weeks this tiny green plant has shot up in a straight line. It leans towards the sun so I have, in my excitement at having a stronger green to brown ratio of leaves, have been moving her along the sill and turning her around so she doesn't develop a hump and ends up growing into an unbalanced individual like her namesake.

We have had some small blossoms appear. I was very sad to see these small vulnerable white petals start to wither and turn brown but HUGELY uplifted by the fact they were making way for a chilli.

(This is my plant)

An acutal Chill.
(This is my first ever chilli and the harvest above that might follow)

I am not killing Cass.

She is harvestable.

In fact having just checked there are a potential 22 buds to blossoms on route. I am terrified of the next stage. Re-potting...

Should I show her this and give her some aspirations ???

(this is not my plant but what it could become!)

If I get it right then there is possibly not end of my potential...

Could this signal a change to my plant killing ways, lets hope so.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Pedal Power

So I am trying to get fit at the moment and with battling long days at work I am struggling to find the time or motivation.

I do however own a bike and I do live a "commutable" cycle distance away from work. So we have collected my mountain bike from the garage at my grandparents and I have participated in some all important bike maintenance lessons from Husband.

Lesson 1: Changing a Tyre
This was a bit of a hard lesson for me. Well to be honest it was starting to feel like we were being given a sign from above that this was a very bad idea.

On our first attempt we filled the flat tyres only to discover a slow leak which caused them to be flat the next morning.

Our second attempt didn't go much better. We sought out the leak with a basin of water and repaired and reflated the tyre. Only to discover it was flat again the next morning.

On our third attempt we had some success. First of all though we exploded the inner tube rendering it utterly useless. Inner tubes make a really loud BANG when they blow up. Apparently not having the tyre fully fitted to the rim will cause the inner tube to start making an appearance and from then on, if you haven't caught it in time, its like a massive black swelling worm!

We didn't have another inner tyre so re-tested the patched inner tube from our second attempt. There was no leak to be found. So we re inserted and re-inflated.

It was fine the next morning. Neither of us can explain why it didn't work originally.

See what I mean about a sign from above?

Lesson 2: Wheels, Gears and Speed
On a mountain bike I have a heavier frame and a much smaller set of wheel gear thingies (the rings where the gears are rather than the actual wheels of the bike) than Husbands road bike which is much lighter and faster than my bike.

For every one rotation of Husband's pedals I am having to do about 4 to cover the same distance!

So I can't carry any speed and just about every 5 minutes I have to change gear to maintain some kind of steady rhythm. I believe those in the know would call it a cadence.

We went for a test ride to assess the route between the flat and the office. Every 5 minutes I would get a shout telling me to change gears and make like easier for myself.

We also realised that my knobbly tyres weren't helping either so tonight we changed them to slicks i.e less knobbly.

Husband reckons this will take 10 minutes off my current time.

I have to do 13miles in the morning and at the end of the day and have done this twice so far. It has taken me an hour and a quarter. In order to do this and miss most of the traffic I leave the flat at 5.45am and have the best nights sleep that night.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The not so many joys of selling a property- Viewers

Don't get me wrong, you clearly need viewers to inspect your pad and see whether or not they think they can live there before they spend their hard earned pennies and put an offer in.

But seriously there are some real time wasters out there.

Our first viewing was introduced to us by the estate agent with a sigh and after she had wandered around with Husband and I trying to keep thoughts of how we would respond to her offer at bay she started to ask some fairly banal questions.

After she left we were left with the distinct impression that she calls the estate agent up every time a new property appears so she can have a nosey around someone else's joint!

And she is not alone in the time wasting department.

We had another woman say with utter disgust and a hint of annoyance "I don't like storage heaters" as if we had somehow mis-led her about their very presence in the flat. They appear in the pictures of the living room and are detailed in the particulars.

We are hiding nothing lady!

Another couple didn't seem to understand that they were viewing a property in a block of flats, we are the ground floor of 3, and so there would be factoring, no garage and clearly no drying green- as it was not included in the particulars.

One couple I had very high hopes for as hey reminded me of Husband and I when we first viewed this place. It was to be our first step onto the property ladder as a couple. Mentioned that they thought they new the couple on the top floor.

Oh dear, presumably my top floor neighbours were/are as rude to them as they are to us. No please, thank you or door holding as you approach and they leave/arrive. Very awkward.

We never heard from them again.

Seriously though you cannot lie in particulars or photo shop the pictures. All you can do is make sure your property is clean, tidy and had a wash behind its ears before the photos are taken and the viewers arrive. I have done my bit and if you are viewing a flat, do your bit and read the particulars and don't be offended when you are confronted with storage heaters that are quite clearly in both the photos and the particulars.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The kindness of strangers

Tonight it was quarter past seven in the evening and I was in Aldi getting dinner.

It was wet, I had walked a mile in the pouring rain and was soaked.

Did I mention that I had done a full days work and some?

In a busy local Aldi with families filling their trollies I was there searching for something quick and easy. A pizza and a glass of wine.

An end to a long day.

Did I mention that Husband was in London ?

So I was going to be heading back to an empty flat and wet washing that needed hanging, dirty washing that needed washing and plates that needed cleaning. And that was just to keep the flat under control- its really not., its in deperate need of a good hoovering.

I prowled, grabbed my pizza and white wine and went to stand patiently in the now long queues. An elderly couple in front of me with a trolly full of shopping nudged me in front with a "Go on, you only have a couple of things, you wont take long"

I thanked them for their kindness and stood and waited. 5 minutes later the other cashier called and suggested that people at the end of the 1 queue we were all standing in to move towards her newly opened till.

Again encouraged by the elderly couple now behind me to go head and get to the other till I made a move only to be beaten there by a young family with well organised Mum in tow who on seeing me called out - "Let the lady past, she only have 2 wee things"

Two sets of strangers both showed me such kindness that I couldn't not share this with you.

Thank you to my surprising Aldi Angels who truly rescued my day.

I got the wet washing hung, the dirty washing washed and the plates are soaking. Well you can't have everything can you???

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Have you ever lost something and known that it is just gone?

Fundamentally you will never have it back, a unique piece of you gone. It is irreplaceable. And it is no longer in your possession.

Recently my heart has sustained two of the tiniest hair line fractures. 2. So small and so tiny that you'd hardly notice if you were to look at them on an x-ray.

They hurt the most.

There is no way to describe them.

They are truly unique.

It has prompted me to re-think some things.

Maybe my too little unique fractures will help with that.

These tiny fractures are mirrored identically on Husbands heart too. 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

To one side please madam . . .

On occasion I have to travel as part of my J. O. B. (a topic that has never featured on this blog, I do have to work for a living unfortunately- still working on my money trees idea though).

An early morning flight to Birmingham International airport leaves me shattered by the time I get back about 10pm that night. But regardless of the time of day, lack of sleep and longing for my nice warm bed, a little bit of my brain doesn't ever switch off.

It's what I think is responsible for my ability to laugh at the ridiculous.

It is also responsible for activating my mouth without ever engaging my brain until my ears have heard what has been said out loud and then it can be a case of serious back peddling.

Back to the airport, and this particular journey in February 2012.

I inevitability get pulled to the side and asked to remove shoes, belt, jacket etc. As if I am somehow as a result of the long wait going to end it all with my accessories. Like technology when it fails the sight of a long security queue can take me to the edge of reason.

Unfortunately I still somehow manage to set the alarms off. So off to one side I go and ready to assume the scarecrow position for the hand held metal detector. On my way though the burly security guard raises one eyebrow and looks pointedly at my feet with a "Oh dear, could have made more of an effort"

He would have been referring to my odd socks. I was pre caffeine and had been up since 4.30am at this stage and literally had to bite my tongue from saying something quite rude and sarcastic; my brain engaging just slightly faster than my tongue.

The female security guard them approached with her scanner and started her sweep as I assumed the position. On her knees scanning the odd socks she asked my what I did for a living. An innocent enough question but the way it was delivered surprised me and left me thinking that they were taking the security screening processes to new levels.

I responded with a very vague, slow response incase it was clearly going to get me into trouble, it was something like "I work for a bank".  I was pretty satisfied with a safe and truthful response. Terrified of what could follow. Depending on the institution was I about to be taken out to a private room and strip searched I had no idea. This woman was taking her job very seriously, next time I fly I'm going to have to pack a CV just to get to Birmingham.

Might take the train the next time.

She then seemed to relaxed and followed up with "I'm always just a bit curious about the jobs people do that see them flying so early on a Friday morning"

With that I breathed I disappointed sigh of relief.

Not disappointed that I wasn't going to be take to The Other Room for further interogation. But that I didn't let my mouth run away with me and say that I was something more interesting.

An international taxidermist on my way to a photo shoot in Paris. . .

The possibilities were endless.

P.S. As a remedy to my previous blog I am officially booked into The Scotsman with a friend for a mid week act of truancy.

Monday, 26 March 2012

I need something and I am not sure where to find it . . .

In a big giant batch of brownies?

In a 40 minute run up and down hills?

In a climbing session?

In my work?

In a cathartic blog?

A note on friendship

Friendship is a funny thing.

Or maybe I am a funny thing.

I once had a friend who was a close friend for a long time but she had a very bad habit.

She would pick me up and put me down when it suited her. For years it was like this and I would quietly put up with it.

She was a lot of fun, but not very loyal. Ironically though she once invited me out as an "example" of what a good friend looked like to someone who had picked her up and put her down a couple of times. She actually told me this, as if I should be happy and pleased. That I had been picked up again.

This I think says more about me. What it says about me I am not sure. Yet.

I put her down and haven't been in touch with her since we went for lunch and she suggested that my unhappiness was being caused by my then boyfriend.

Not recognising that she was criticising my shield.

The man protecting me from the source of the pain, teaching me how to stand up for myself, teaching me to believe in myself and teaching me to respect myself. None of that was to do with my relationship with her for the record.

So I stood up for myself and I walked away.

My friends know they hold a special place in my heart and I wont pick them up or put them down as and when it suits me.

I think relationships do change, some you need more than others. Life changes and circumstances change that make your friends either stand up to be counted or quietly blend into the background and disappear at the hardest parts in your life.

I think that's normal and I think its natural.

I am pleased that we were friends for such a long time. I just wish I had learned to stand up for myself earlier though.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Bikes + Cass = Disaster

I'd saw we were a fairly active family.

One day Husband and visiting brother in law N. took their respective wives out for a bike ride to Glen Tress.

This is a story of how myself and sister in law V. let the adventuring family side down in style.

I should point out that V. is a very fit and active person and has cycled across China and Mexico raising money for charity so she is not unfamiliar with the movement and balance required on a bike. Be that mountain, road or hybrid. 

I however to this point have my expertise areas in being able to put one foot in front of the other without falling over. Some people call this jogging, I like to think of it more as sprinting or running if I am going to be negotiated down closer to the truth!!

Anyway back to my story.

Husband and N. went venturing around Glen Tress to find a route or area that they could comfortably take their lady wives out on. Lady wives were effectively left at the children's "playground"- fine for practising our mountain biking skills.  We were getting pretty good and when the men folk came back convinced them that we were ready for the big boy bike ride routes.

Perhaps our confidence was misplaced.

We cycled up our first hill with the boys in front showing the way. At the top I said to V. " On you go, I'm going to take a bit longer to come down" The truth is I was nervous of having anyone behind me and being responsible for their coming off because I was going too slowly. 

Half way down I hear Vicky V. wail "Oh NO!" and look up, just as I am pushing off, to see her veer off the path and into a bush where she landed in a graceful heap.

I get no more than 3 feet further before shouting "forget it!" and steering the bike back up hill and jumping off- insisting that I am fine to walk down the hill.

There was a shared look of desperation between the men.

We hadn't got more than 500 yards from the children's practice area!!

We've not been back to Glen Tress since. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Introducing your lobster sir

I might have mentioned this once or twice but I like food.

A lot.

You might remember reading such incidents as the skirt splitting discussion: motivator

It has resulted in some drastic steps:



and other various running related incidents, I'll let you plunder your way through this little blog space of mine for them if you can be bothered.

Anyway this love for food I have has introduced us to some delicious restaurants. One in particular is in the fabulous West Coast village in Scotland called Oban. It's sea food based, a fantastically simple set up and highly, highly recommended.

The owner has a small boat and a smokery. He catches and smokes all his own catch and serves it very simply and deliciously.

We dove in feet first and went for the seafood platter, which started with an introduction.

I should probably do a better job of setting the scene. The restaurant is small, very small, taking 2 sittings on a Friday and Saturday night only during the week. Each sitting takes 12 covers.

As I said it's small but perfectly formed with an unassuming front and glass back overlooking the coast and islands.

You can see and hear the chefs and the solitary waitress can just about turn around the tables serving without interrupting your meal.

So when the introduction to our first ever lobster happened I was fractionally more ready for it than either the lobster, which was blatantly trying to look inconspicuous on an unforgiving very reflective silver platter by trying to hide behind his bound claws, or Husband.

Whose first sight of it was eye ball to eye ball as it tried to desperately curl its legs under it and crawl away to the far corner of the platter.

He got half way through a loud exclamation that would have had mothers covering their small children's ears and certainly got the waitress to step backwards as the two assessed each other (the lobster and the Husband that is).

When we next met Larry he was pink and he tasted amazing.

Sorry if this story has upset any vegetarians who have stumbled across this but I cannot apologise because he tasted delicious I am just sorry you might have been upset by it!

(It's called The Seafood Temple)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Couscous Rage

According to Wikipedia Couscous

is a Berber pasta dish of semolina traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it. Couscous is a staple food throughout AlgeriaMoroccoTunisia and west of Libya.

And nutritionally good for you:

 Couscous is among the healthiest grain-based products. It has a glycemic load per gram 25% below that of pasta. It has a superior vitamin profile to pasta, containing twice as much riboflavinniacin,vitamin B6, and folate, and containing four times as much thiamine and pantothenic acid.[10][11][12]

In terms of protein, couscous has 3.6 g for every 100 calories, equivalent to pasta, and well above the 2.6 g for every 100 calories of white rice. Furthermore, couscous contains a 1% fat-to-calorie ratio, compared to 3% for white rice, 5% for pasta, and 11.3% for rice pilaf.

To me it is a nice alternative, easy to make and generally pretty inoffensive. And yet how it can create such frustration in one individual is a mystery to me.

We don't have it that often and not because of his attitude to it just because we don't.

This week we had it with grilled fish and steamed garden peas. Yummy.

Husband hoovered up all of his dinner with the except of most of his couscous. 

"it tastes like dust"

"oh. Sorry, it tastes like what?"


"Really? and you know this because you have eaten dust?"

"... that is not the point. If dust had to taste of anything it would be of this"

I don't get it- it doesn't have an overly strong flavour of anything, moist enough and goes with anything.

To be honest I didn't really give it much more thought than that. 

Husband clearly had though. 

In the car on the way home tonight he raised it again along the lines of ...

"Please, can we NEVER have dust again!"

We think the reason he hates it so much is its inoffensiveness. . .

ps After reading this to Husband he responded with "you can't trust anything that has the same name twice. I mean its not like you get pastpasta. Its just pasta" Hmmm.... COUS?!!!! 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Holy McHomous

I have in under 5 minutes made the most delicious homous ever.

This is blog worthy because it is not the first time I have tried this.

The first time was a disaster. You could have used it to build a wall with.

So here is my success story recipe for homous.

- 1 small can of chickpeas.
- 1 table spoon of lazy crushed garlic
-1 table spoon of olive oil
-1/2 a table spoon of lime juice (o.k it is meant to be lemon but hey it is what we had left in the fridge so we worked with it.)
- dash of salt
-Half a can of the water/juice that the chickpeas came in (DO NOT DRAIN THIS MAGIC STUFF AWAY)

Throw all of it in, except the chickpea juice, and blitz until its looking a bit rough and ready but smooth-ish. Add the chickpeas juice and re blitz- it will go from nearly smooth to completely smooth and delicious!!!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Ian McShane

Last night I had a dream about Lovejoy.

It was not a good dream.

We were at a formal, black tie event and he sneakily unzipped the back of my dress. 

I spent the rest of the evening struggling to keep my dress up not understanding why it wasn't staying on.

Ian McShane surely wouldn't do a sneaky thing like that?

With a face like his?


An insight into the mind of a disturbed woman.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Respect The Cheese

Husband and I have been skiing together for 4 years this year. The deal is that he can ski where and when he likes while I go to ski school, then we can ski together later on in the day if I have any energy left.

This is done for the sake of our relationship. We both want to enjoy our holiday together and I don't think it would be much fun if we were falling out with each other every 20 minutes for 7 days!

So ski school it is.

And fantastic it is.

In our first year we were in Austria and it was great a good mix of ability and plenty of people who spoke English. The last 2 years we have been to France and I have found myself the only English speaker in a group of French novice skiers. Which in itself has presented challenges for the instructors who aren't necessarily fluent in English themselves.

So the lessons will take the following pattern: there will be a fluent French version with actions and pictures drawn in the snow and plenty of enthusiastic head nodding by the various French students.

Then a shuffling/slide slipping (if you want the technical term!) as the red coated ski instructor makes his way down the line to the short, grinning amatuer. Where we then go through the same series of instructions but with less talking and more animation as they charade their way through how to pole plant (how to use the skiing sticks for any non technical skiers reading this).

Last year there were not enough students available to make up a class so I got some private lessons, some of which were shared with Anton, another French (non English speaking) ski student. It was the perfect relationship for about 3 days- taking the same format as the previous lessons. So I also got a private one on one lesson.

The results of which hugely impressed Husband. My progress as a result of those sessions in his mind was SIGNIFICANTLY improved. Seriously.

So I should tell you about Jo-Jo my jolly giant of a ski instructor. The best instructor I have had to date, and given my 3 weeks worth of lessons I somehow consider myself a kind of expert on these things. Although to be honest I might have to learn French one year so I am less ignorant with the whole language barrier thing!!

Anyway back to Jo-Jo, who taught the French junior ski team and used to be a banker before giving it up to work in the mountains as a ski instructor. Ah the life! He is also a giant, a great big barrel of a man with a loud booming voice to go with it. So no matter if you are next to him or at the top of the hill waiting to ski down its all done at the same volume.

As we started out on our first session he wanted to get the measure of my ability which meant watching me ski and seeing how I took instruction.

In the particular region in France where we were they have a round circular cheese which is fantastic melted with bit of bread to dunk in. Some might call this a fondue! And I was told to turn so that my skis don't cut into the cheese and leave a perfectly clean half circle. . . The shortcut if I was doing badly was to bellow at me


Another wee gem he gave me was to shout:


Which to be fair I am not. A muslim that is. But I was most certainly praying. By straightening up not only was it more comfortable I also felt like I was going faster . . . so I started to pray a bit faster.

The reason, in hind sight, for skiing in a stooped manner is possibly something to do with bringing my body a bit closer to the ground so that in the event that I fall I have less of a distance to go before hitting the ground.

Ever the optimist.

To be fair to me I haven't taken any serious tumbles but then I am a slow and steady skier!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The differences between Men & Women - baths

I have commented previously about some of the domestic differences me and Husband have. I think this could fundamentally lie in our gender.

How foolish that it has taken me this long to realise it?!

Today, Sunday, we went on a nice long walk. All wrapped up and discussing our plans for the future with the more immediate plans for a hot bath when we got back in. These were made even better because I would have a hot bath first while The Husband prepared our dinner and after a munch of food he's get to have the left over hot water.

We're economical like that!

When it comes to out bathing styles, here is where the first gender difference might lie. I can soak for easily up to an hour on my own. Reading a book, supping a glass of cold white wine or just lieing listening to the sounds of husband cooking dinner.

Husband. Totally different story. I will almost always hear a long drawn out wail of:

" will you come and talk to me???????"

If I didn't come through and talk to him he would be out of that tub pretty much as soon as he considered his entire body wet. I think this could be a man definition of what a bath is: I am horizontal and soaked and not in a swimming pool therefor I have finished with my bath.

The second difference is our exit. Husband regularly finished his bath with a pointed demonstration to me on how it is possible to get out of a bath with minimal drippage. His fundamental complaint about my long luxurious bathing is that afterward the tile floor is "soaked".

In my defence I don't think it is...

                                                                                                                        . . . at all!