Sunday, 30 November 2014

Some Christmas Fun With Willie (if you pardon the pun)

Drum roll please......................................................

I have postponed my intended blog post of today, in favour of a rather special guest blog post. Written by a super nice blogging chum of mine Willie. Regular readers will have often seen his funny and at times pertinent comments on my posts. They are always good value. If you want to find out even more about the Wonderful Willie, click on my link above or his below and you will be whisked through to his site, rapidamente. 

                      A Bit Of Ho Ho To Wish A Merry Christmas 

  Happy Christmas!

Firstly l have to say Thankyou..Grazie..Tack..Gracias..Obrigado..
Merci..Danke..To Jean, for asking me to do a guest post on her
When she asked me a couple weeks ago, l thought ‘goodness’.
Never done this before, l’m very much a verbal person, not a
writing one.
So! What to write about...I have a trilogy in my life....’Love Food,
Love Cats, Love Pink’. And of course ‘MY’ music....Goes with out
In the end...I thought l might just ramble on about Christmas.
After all, it started way back on October 1st. And, will soon be
upon us....”Silent Night..Holy Night....”. “No! Not now Willie”...

My memory takes me back to the age of five...We lived in a two
up, two down home..with an outside toilet..HeHe! God! The paper
At that time there were quite a few Italians living here, in our
town, and, we were friends with one family in particular.
In fact, the lady/Mum of that family is still with us to~day, aged
96, and, l still pop round to see her and have coffee. Lovely lady.
So, it was traditional that we all went to midnight mass, on Christmas
Eve. Then early hours we would go home, a Dad would dress up
as Father Christmas, and, give out the prezzies.
I used to think back then, how silly Father Christmas was..With ALL
the windows and doors...Why does he come down the chimney???
I used to get a Christmas stocking to...Every year...Colouring books,
toys, and an orange! As l got older, l used to think, ‘when am l gonna get a stocking, with a leg in it’. :). But, that’s another story!

So, then l moved on, for the next 10~12yrs l was in the
entertainment, business so Christmas then was spent somewhere
on stage...’Do’in ma thang’. So, the festive season, was quite
lengthy then. I worked for the Americans back then, and they
sure know how to party! Oh! Yes!  

In 1976 my daughter was born...Christmas was great. I just went
back to my childhood, and, played with her presents. Well! All except
the dolls! “Com’on Willie..You never stopped playing with Girls World”
“Well, just that one then”. :>).
And, just like any family, it’s great watching kids grow up, and enjoying
themselves, especially at Christmas.
From 1980, it was just the two of us, we spent Christmas with various
families and friends, and, of course new year!
Eat! Drink! And be Mary! HeHe!

 So my daughter is settled now, no children, but they have two
doggies, and three cats. I really look forward in going up there.
l go on the coach...Wells Fargo...! New places to pose about, and
new people to be rude to! Great Fun!
My visits to Cheshire Oaks, and Ikea in Nottingham, l really look
forward to....I~LOVE~TO~SHOP.
And, l get to sleep with Zeeva...She is lovely...In the wee hours of
the morn’in l usually wake up and there she is under the duvet,
licking my ankles...Kinky!
Oh! Sorry! Forgot to say...Zeeva is one of my daughters Staffy’s.
And, pussy~cat Az...Loves to settle on my chest, inches from my
face...And dribble! HeHe! Love Pussy~Cats! 
As you can tell, it’s ALL rather nice really, with cats and dogs, all
over the bed....Rather like the old days!  “Willie”.

 Finally.......Did l hear someone say..’Thank God for that’....
I hope you ALL have a great time this Christmas with family and
And, enjoy the high~light of Christmas...The Christmas cracker
jokes...You know the ones....
“Who hides in a bakery at Christmas”?
“A mince spy”

What is Santa’s favourite Pizza”?
“Deep~pan crisp and even”

“What do Elves learn at school”?
“The Elf~abet”.

May you all have love to share...wealth to spare...and, friends that care.
And remember....
“It’s nice to be important...But it’s important to be nice”.
                            Tanti Cari e affettuosi di Buon Natale,
                                  e Felice Ann Nuovo....

                                                 Willie....!    =(^..^)= 


To close, huge thanks to Willie for writing this heartfelt and humorous post. 

And as a footnote, a gentle reminder from me about voting for my blog in the UK Blog Awards 2015. The voting closes on December 3rd, that's this Wednesday. So if you would like to vote for me just click on the Blog Awards logo top right of this blog and you will be taken, quick sticks, straight through to my personal page. 

Many thanks to all of you lovely folk who have already voted. I will discover on December 15th whether or not I have gone through to the final round. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Perfect No Crust Quiche Recipe

You don't need me to tell you that the weather has changed and it's getting mighty cold. Problem is I'm already a bit fed up of having soup for lunch to warm me up. So I had a quick shifty at some quick, easy and of course economical recipes to whip up a hot lunch yesterday.

So here's a slightly clipped image of what I made. A crustless quiche. I know I've gone a bit Waitrosey with this, but it's easy on the purse and the hips.

Plus there is hardly any measuring out of ingredients, so it's super speedy and easy. Did I say that already? EASY.

Preheat your oven  to 200 C, get it nice and hot and you'll have a crisp base.

Lightly oil a 9 inch tin, I used one of my Victoria Sandwich tins as I don't have a tart tin. Layer the bottom with some grated cheese, enough to cover it. Then in a separate pan cook off some sliced onions in a little oil. I also added some sliced herbed olives that I had in the fridge. But you could really add anything else you fancy or need to use up. 

Cook until soft, then layer over the grated cheese. Slice some tomatoes and lightly coat them with a little seasoned flour. I added some Italian herbs to my flour. Saute the tomato slices about 1 minute on each side. Then layer them on top of your onions.

In a bowl whisk together 3 eggs and 4 fl oz of skimmed milk and pour over the ingredients, sprinkle a little grated cheese on top and pop in the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes at 200C then reduce down to 180C for about another 10 minutes. It is puffed and golden brown when cooked. Once cooked leave it to cool, and serve warm.

It came out of the tin perfectly cooked and was easy to serve. We had ours with a green salad.

Can I also introduce you to my latest most favourite hot beverage, Twinings Ginger Bread Green Tea? Oh my it's good. Just the smell of it warms me up.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

"You Used To Be Much More......Muchier. You've Lost Your Muchness".

Plenty of Alice in Wonderland muchness at Chatsworth last week when the Mister and I popped up to see the house decorated for Christmas and to visit their Christmas market. Like you do.

This little door was about two feet high, positioned along one of the main corridors.

Ah Chatsworth, how I love thee.

And how I loved your Christmas market too.

I've always wanted to have a word with this man !
It's extraordinary the amount of work that goes into transforming Chatsworth for the festive season. It never fails to disappoint. Everyone we saw on the day had a huge smile on their face. And as always the staff were a complete delight. We found gorgeous Christmas presents for some of the family and had the most enjoyable day.

If you have never been to Chatsworth I would urge you to go. Click on the link at the top and you can see what's still to come this year.

Welcome to my latest Google Friend Connect follower, Marielle Collins who blogs here about her artistic work.

Only one more week before the voting closes for the UK Blog Awards 2015. If you haven't voted for me yet and you want to, just click on the Awards logo top right and you'll be whisked through to my personal page on their site. Thanking you kindly.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

We're Off To Wales

I haven't been to Wales since I was a child. Our family spent many days there holidaying in the late 1960s. My overriding memory is rain. Tons of it.

But dear readers because so many of my blogging chums have set up home there and are loving it, I have decided to pop back and re-visit. Thankfully I won't be staying in a leaky tent this time.

The mister is taking me away for my birthday which is coming up soon, to stay in Bernard Ashley's old country house, Llangoed Hall. It's very close to Hay-on-Wye, which we've been longing to visit, but haven't managed to thus far.

During my holiday research I stumbled upon this little film of rural Powys made in the 1960s when electricity was introduced to Ystradfellte. I thought you might like to see it. The film has been digitised by experts at the National Library of Wales. The dear little old lady at the end of the film is my favourite.

Also just to remind all you folk who drop by my site, if you haven't voted for me yet in the UK Blog Awards, please do. It only takes about 30 seconds. Just click on the awards logo top right and it will take you through to my page. Thanking you kindly.

Friday, 21 November 2014

A Little of What You Fancy

I've always been an independent, some would say, strong willed kind of a girl. Right from the word go. As a baby, at primary school, through secondary, well you get the picture.

I know my own mind, can't be swayed, leader not follower etc

On the odd occasion I have even been known not to take the advice of someone, when It's pretty clear what they're saying is sound. (You can probably hear my husband howling with laughter at that last understatement).

About a week ago I was reading Sue's post here, she pointed out, quite rightly, how silly it would be to buy 'Christmas' bed linen to dress your room for the festivities. I concurred, a complete waste of money, a right con from the marketing bods who get us to part with our hard earned cash. Yes, yes I thought, how ridiculous.

That thought lasted for all of a nanosecond when I suddenly spied the frivolous example she had posted on her blog.

Instantly smitten.

Straight over to the website to take a closer look.

Then of course I started reasoning with myself. We do need some new bedlinen, one of the sets we use is mighty ancient. And, if I decommission that one, and give it to my chum Ann she will recycle the fabric into something wonderfully crafty like a rag rug. So no waste. 

I had recently said to the Mister that any bedlinen we buy in the future should really be white so it will fit in with any colour scheme. But our bedroom at the moment is mainly cream and grey, so wouldn't a nice red bed set make the room warm and cosy? Why yes, and doesn't this set have a lot of my favourite things printed on it? Yes again.

Now the tricky bit, to get a discount on my purchase. This is essential when buying something new instead of pre-loved. First thing, sign up to the Marks and Spencer site for details of any offers. Also check with Top Cashback to see if they offer a percentage on M&S purchases. Then sit back and wait.

I arrived back from a trip up North yesterday. Whilst away I had popped into the huge M&S store in Manchester to check the bed linen out, just to make sure I loved it as much as I thought. I did.

Checking my emails last night, a little message from M&S offering 20% off a wide range of products. I quickly double checked our duvet size, then placed the order via my Top Cashback account. As it was free P&P with orders over £50.00 I also ordered another two small presents that I needed and got 20% off them too.

In total I saved over £17.00. And the duvet set is now out of stock and no longer on their site. That was a close call, phew.

If you think you would like to make a few essential purchases at M&S the discount code is NOV14EM and is valid on clothing, homeware and beauty, until November 24th.  Not that I'm encouraging you, you understand.

Friday, 14 November 2014

John Betjeman, Poet of the Suburbs?

"Betjeman has a mind of extraordinary originality." Sir Maurice Bowra.

"In other words he is not a nature poet, like Wordsworth, but a landscape poet like Crabbe and, like Crabbe, he is a painter of the particular, the recognisable landscape; his trees are not merely real trees with their roots in the earth, they are conifers with their roots in the red sand of Camberley, feathery ash in leathery Lambourne, or forsythia in the Banbury road." John Sparrow.

Upper Lambourne

Up the ash-tree climbs the ivy,
Up the ivy climbs the sun,
With a twenty-thousand pattering
Has a valley breeze begun,
Feathery ash, neglected elder, 
Shift the Shade and make it run----

Shift the shade toward the nettles,
And the nettles set it free
To streak the stained Carrara headstone
Where, in nineteen-twenty-three,
He who trained a hundred winners
paid the Final Entrance Fee.

Leathery limbs of upper Lambourne,
Leathery skin from sun and wind,
Leathery breeches, spreading stables,
Shining saddles left behind----
To the down the string of horses
Moving out of sight and mind.

Feathery ash in leathery Lambourne
Waves above the sarsen stone,
And Edwardian plantations
So coniferously moan
As to make the swelling downland,
Far-surrounding, seem their own.

I adore the whole notion of  John Betjeman. His earnestness and delight in the everyday. Championing the small churches and the railways, whilst journeying through a warm and comfortable bygone era.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Can I Have Your Vote Please?

Hopefully that's got just about every body's attention. Move a little closer to the screen as I have some exciting news to share. Well a bit exciting, to me anyway.

I have been awful bold, stuck my head above the parapet and put myself forward to enter the UK Blog Awards 2015, in the Lifestyle category. To my surprise I have been accepted, although they may well accept everybody who enters, I dunno. I'm still basking in the moment regardless.

There are several categories and some folk have entered more than one category. I had a quick look at the list of entrants, and methinks there are about 1.400 individual entrants.

The first phase of the competition is the public vote which started today and will end on December 3rd 2014. Voters can only use 1 vote per email address, and per category.

Phase 2 will be the expert judging panel, who will assess the top 10 individuals and the top 10 companies in each category and then presumably pick their winners. On that basis it is extremely unlikely that I will even get a sniff of an award, as some bloggers have over 2,000 followers or more. But hey, he who dares wins, and all that.

I realise my blog is only a teeny wee unpolished thing with no sponsors or adverts, full of my own musings and such, but my heart is in it and I hope, dear readers, that shines through. That may or may not count for something in the final analysis.

If you read my blog on a regular basis you know that my main preoccupations are all about craft and thrifty ways, with a little bit of a vintage twist. I post about what interests me and what I hope interests others.

Over the last couple of years my blogging community has grown. I love the reciprocity and generosity of it. The shared information and experiences. And I hope my blogging experience continues to grow in much the same vein.

So in that spirit I am posting a link to the site where I hope you will want to vote for my blog. If you could spread the word that would be wonderful too. Just click on the awards logo, top right and you will be whisked through to my page. Overseas readers can vote as well, I'm very pleased to say.

Who knows what positive experiences might come from this?

Oh and here's another public announcement, just for a bit of fun.

Glad to have cleared that ole chestnut up!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Interested in Pinterest?

Today I want to share some of the lovely images on my Pinterest Boards for those of you who have never visited. 

I collect images that are fun, useful, inspiring or so wonderful in their own right they just have to be pinned. I need to pin them and keep them so I can pop back now and then for a little fix.

Using the virtual boards also allows me to keep my real pin boards in my little office space, relatively uncluttered.

I haven't 'worked' at building up a following with my boards but surprisingly have over 2,400 followers. 

Oh to have that many followers on my own dear blog. Which I really do work at, but must work harder on obviously.

Hedy, Iris and India from my STRONG WOMEN BOARD

Mora Clocks, Norwegian Forest Cat and Print from my SCANDI/NORSE BOARD

Angela, Vintage Tot and Father Christmas from my FABULOUS KNITTERS BOARD

I think my collection of Pinterest boards reflect my personality to a degree but perhaps also show where my interests and aspirations lie. So you, my lovely blogging chums may want to take a peek.
(You can visit by clicking the link on the right.)

You only have to look at my 'Must Do Regardless' board though to see I have delusions of grandeur.

A warm welcome to my latest Google Friend Connect Follower, June Holt. I can't see that you have a blog June but do let me know if I have missed it.

(All images in this post were pinned from Pinterest and can be found on my boards with details of where I found them).

Monday, 3 November 2014

Brouges Are Back

I'm not in the habit of accumulating lots of shoes and handbags. I know it's a buzz for some, but not me. I'd say one pair of new Summer sandals and one pair of shoes or boots for Winter suits me fine.

Last year I gave in to the whole Uggs thing and bought a pair for my trip to Reykjavik, they were blinkin marvellous. This Winter I'm lusting after a pair of Brouges, to match up with some tweedy trousers, or tweedy jacket or even tweedy jumper, definitely tweedy.

Hamble Oak by Clarks
 I love that slightly androgynous look perfected by Marlene or indeed Annie Hall.

images via 7

Over the years I've become a big fan of Clarks shoes. Not sure when it started or how it happened, but there it is.

The only fly in the oinkment is I don't like to pay loads of money for shoes, so I always try and wait for a special offer to come through. I've signed up to the Clarks newsletter so I don't miss out. The year before last I bought a pair of very expensive boots from Clarks and missed out on their Winter discount. Still makes me shudder now, paying full price for something.

Anyhow, if like me you are planning a purchase they have a 20% discount on all women's and men's shoes when you spend over £70.00. The code is BOCT14. Pop over to their site for more info. Looks like they still have some sale stock as well.