Garden Project 2012


In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;


It’s nearly February!!!! So it’s time to think about what crops we want where, to give in to my daughters desire for flowers and get out in the garden and be an Earth Mother.

I quite like the planning bit, given a cup of coffee and a quiet hour to work out what we are planting, where and when it needs to go in.

This year I have been much aided by Sutton Seeds, as a bit of a novice to the gardening world, I have found their seed packaging to have been most helpful. (Yes, it’s all down to the packaging, clever people!) We don’t have an allotment, just some large vegetable boxes and this year we are enlarging one of the side beds for a bit of extra room, plus potatoes & tomatoes in large bags… It’s quite a lot of space when you add it up!  But it is area restrictive, so the fact that Suttons clearly label their seeds so well is a win/win for us.

I am of the attitude that if you can’t eat it, don’t grow it, vegetables have such lovely flowers that I don’t feel I need to cultivate flowers for aesthetic purposes, my 5 year old daughter is of a different mind, she badly wants LOTS of flowers, so we let her choose some seed packets, I told her to look out for the packets that said “Easy To Grow” 😉 but we will see.

We have a bed in the garden that is along the edge of the Koi pond, during the summer we can’t see it from the house due to the mammoth  trampoline, just now it can be seen and will be until after Easter, so we had a bit of fun choosing Spring flowering bulbs; snow drops, crocus, daffs, tulips and the like, all dwarf varieties but in a few weeks we should see a splash of colour.



My hands were shaking from the cold a little there…

So we have begun, right now the potatoes are Chitting. I’ve gone for First Earlies and a Main Crop this year instead of our usual just first earlies, mainly because I love digging up the spuds and they taste so much better!!!

My next job is digging the hell out of the bed!

No Crisps, No Chocolate? Ermm.. HELP!

No crisps, No chocolate or sweets in the school packed lunch.

It shouldn’t be so hard should it? I strongly advocate healthy eating and although once or twice a week I give in to the sausages/fish fingers and oven chips thing just so I can have a dinner where I’m not fighting my son to eat his meal and it is eaten quicker than one and a half hours!  They eat loads of fruit and vegetables and such a variety I’ve always been lucky on that score…  On a recent visit to Morrisons cafe with just my daughter, I gave her free reign to choose what she liked from the counter. She asked “Can I have two things?” I said “It depends what they are!” She was thoughtful while I told her the name of all the cakes and we negotiated the fact I didn’t want her to have crisps. She chose “The fruit salad AND the Strawberries please?” How could I refuse that?

I’ve put chocolate in the small’s lunch box once out of sheer desperation, it was tight month there was no money left and very little in the cupboard so I have them what I had.  Crisps they always had though…

From Monday, the little Lady will be in school full time, school dinners can be provided, bought in from another local school but as a family we eat a cooked dinner in the evening with Daddy.  His working hours usually see him home before 4pm.  Once upon a time I might have been raring to rise to the challenge of the packed lunch, now it just makes me scratch my head…

Head scratching out of the way I have come to the following conclusion,

A sandwich,
A small pot containing cherry tomatoes, cucumber and pepper strips.
A piece of fruit/fruit salad
A Babybel stylie piece of cheese
A carton of juice
Sometimes a yogurt
Sometimes a home made cake

We have other things lurking around in the cupboard like Humzingers – they love those and small pots can always be filled with raisins or sultanas.  I have toyed with the idea of a Bento Box, not every day just now and then, there is a great looking book on Amazon which I have added to my Secret Post Club wish list, although I might not be able to wait. It looks like a really fun idea.


I suppose what I really need is inspiration. What do you do that really works well in your children’s pack lunch? Do you go for simple off the shelf stuff or make things yourself? If so recipes please!!

As from next Monday I’m going to be making 13 packed lunches a week! It’s time to crank up the #notadomesticgoddess mode into #tryingtobeadomesticgoddess and not burn anything…


Summer Diary W2 D2

A slower start today *sighs with relief* the Little Man slept in until 7am!

We had arranged to meet a friend and her smalls in the park and so set about bundling our needs into a blue ikea bag, I did think twice about taking the wave boards but the Little Lady was insistent, I do a fairly good impression of a pack horse it has to be said.

After a mad couple of hours splashing around and a game of spot our friends in the supermarket, during which the Little Lady convinced me we needed to have a BBQ this evening, sausages were chosen (the ones Daddy likes) and finger buns, I managed to convince the Little Man we already had plenty of Ketchup, we got home in time for lunch.

Once home they did some ‘quiet drawing’…

and had lunch.

and then Mummy got brave and allowed finger painting!

A quick trip to the shops with Dad to buy coals gave me a breathing space, they came home with a new game of Connect 4, we found this in a pub recently and the smalls adored it.

The BBQ was lovely, the smalls love ‘sausage ina bun’ with the last of the home grown potatoes in a potato salad, the Little Lady diligently cut some chives for it from the pot in the garden and then snipped them like Katy does with Mummy’s big scissors.

So another day successfully negotiated, I find myself sitting quietly this evening as the OH has crashed out asleep, feeling quite calm. It’s been a good day.

The Gallery; Simple Pleasures

Simple pleasures…  a few things spring to mind… like my daughter saying to me earlier this week “Mummy my bum is eating my pants!” or the feeling when I get to put my spoon through the seal of a new jar of coffee, knowing it will make ‘that’ popping sound and then the smell reaches my nose… yum….

Can’t easily take a photo of those though…  There is something I do enjoy (very much) that is very simple and very indulgent…  A plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a smattering of italian herbs and if I’m feeling frisky, some garlic salt too; then rip up some crusty bread and mop it all up.

Very simple, very pleasurable…

Please do pop over to Tara’s blog at Sticky Fingers by clicking the cup to see all the other entries.

Silent Sunday – Hot Dog!

Silent Sunday

I Heart Me in 2011…

So here we are with week two of I heart Me and to be honest I should not be even attempting to write anything at all! In the last 4 days I have had approximately 12 hours sleep, none of which was more than two hours in length due to my lovely smalls having the most awful dry tickly coughs and runny nose sneezes, my son has also been having nightmares which interrupt my sleep as if he  was physically jumping up and down on me.  This is part of my job as Mummy, yes I bitch about it on twitter and to anyone who listens but that is life. So I’m unfocused and have a tendency to ramble – sorry and all that but I have come to realize since I wrote the last “Me” post that this journey is very important and I need to take it….

So this weeks question, What do I want for Me in 2011?

Simple and yet complicated…  I want to Recapture an Essence of Me

Me in my 20’s working hard (bah not that bit) and clubbing often and late (eeek – not that either) used to also spend a fair bit of time voraciously reading a vast volume of books, dependent on their size of course; it wasn’t unusual to get through 2 maybe 3 novels a week, I can remember my house mates taking the michael out of me for cooking whilst reading.  Now I’m lucky if I get through one a month. Why is this important? Apart from my love of getting lost in fiction to the point it overtakes my every waking though and my enjoyment of a carefully crafted sentence, I have very early memories which continued over the years of my Mum sitting on the sofa with a book in front of her reading for hours, perhaps it is a learned behaviour? If so, then it is one that I am determined to pass on to my children.

Now that woman, the 20 something with every minute of her life filled with some now seemingly selfish pursuit also loved going to the theatre.  A live performance is rapture. The hushed anticipation of the crowd, the lights dimming, curtain swishing, hanging onto every enunciated word and action even the binoculars have their own delight. I love it and I miss it and I want that back…  Not so hard you would think? Well, one thing I knew about my husband before marriage is that he has no interest in going to the theatre, it’s one of those things I chose to take on board at the time as something we wouldn’t do together, he’s probably go if I nagged him but his reluctance to go would mar my experience… *sigh* that we could choose who we love 😉

And now it’s confession time….  That girl, the 20 something… yeah her. She spent 4 years at catering college  (not my original plan for my life, that was to study English at A level and then some form of degree, fate cocked that plan up good and proper at 17 but that will have to be some other post…) So whilst I stand by my claims to be #notadomesticgoddess I can cook, I used to cook pretty well. I also have a “new” audience to cook for, not just the husband with his need for plain fuel but two untrained palettes that could do with something more interesting.  What about me? I love good tasting food and yearn for better flavours and more interesting meals….

So here it is, a pledge if you like… Start it slow and two by two…

I will attempt to read and enjoy 2 books a month making sure some of this reading time is infront of the small people (with a cuppa for preference).

I will cajole, bribe and drag a theatre enjoying friend to at least 2 performances this year (all free tickets will be rewarded by a blog review).

and I will make 2 “new” dishes per month, regardless to the whinging and unappreciativeness of the consumers, I need variety and twice a month is not a lot to ask at all!!!

So there we are, what I want for 2011, for me…



Pizza and Chick Flicks

A night out is always to be relished when you are a SAHM and often the simple pleasures like making and sharing dinner and watching a film together are the best!

The mulled wine was most welcome too! Yum!

The goats cheese, sundried tomato and pineapple pizza was the winner for me even if I did have to pull off all the chillies (woos!)

Sex in the City 2 was fun as well, even though I have never seen the series or the first film it made me giggle, thanks to Annemarie for her hospitality!

Tis the Season…. to be 40 #thegallery

Thinking of the Gallery theme for this week didn’t bring to mind the yearly season changes for me, rather with my brain fixated on last weekend it reminded me of how in years past my birthday always signified the start of the festive season of sorts.

I’d celebrate my birthday, then Guy Fawkes, by which time the shops are brimming with goodies to eat and drink on the month long diet crisis that has become Christmas, there is the shopping and the parties (not so many now sadly) the ferrying around to the various outreaches of the family to make sure everyone gets their gifts.  Then the day itself cramming in booze rich food and Triv. Boxing day slumber, smoked salmon and scrambled egg, a walk somewhere in the chilled air, New Years Eve and more booze followed by a bleary start to the new year.

Some of this still happens, other bits have lessened, we now have the nursery party and a nativity to enjoy, the Santa Train is a highlight for me, this will be our third year in a row (I’m so excited!)

Christmas with the smalls is a sheer enjoyment that I revel in much more than booze and rich food and it all starts with November the 1st, so I thought I would share with you the photo’s from Saturday night. (Because it’s my blog and I can…  LOL!)

As always, don’t forget to pop over to Sticky Fingers for some much more sensible entries….

Food! Nonononononono…. #The Gallery

Just over 4 weeks to go until my birthday and I’m doing well, 14 tiny weeny little pounds left until I hit the target weight I set for myself and I’m beginning to think of food in a good, nurturing my body is a temple kind of way that will make this journey easier for me…

So dear blogging community please forgive me if I don’t visit your bacon sandwiches or blueberry muffins this week…..

This food is truly mine, one of my favourites that I grew myself from seed.

I expect this month to be a droolathon for all the foodies out there so pop along to Sticky Fingers to get your fix 🙂


I’m keeping it simple with Chez Chelle this week.  I was pleased to see the ingredient is Spinach as it is a vegetable I use most weeks in season.  I like to stir baby leaves in with pasta or in a mixed salad, or just warm it through until it is bright green with a teaspoon of vinegar and eat as a vegetable (my Nana used to boil spinach with a little vinegar and give the water to my Gramp to drink, it is lovely and full of iron 🙂 )

This is a recipe I have used for a few years and was pleased to see was on the weightwatchers website, although they put creme fraiche in with the spinach, I’m not sure why I prefer it without.

Spinach and Poached Egg Muffins

1 English Muffin

1 Egg

a handful of spinach or two

a tbpn malt vinegar

Butter if desired

Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the vinegar and lightly poach the egg (I have a silicone poaching ring from Lakeland, it’s fab!).

Cut the muffin in half and butter if desired.

Place the spinach in a microwaveable dish and warm until limp and bright green, drain well, place the spinach on the bottom of the muffin and put the egg ontop of the spinach.

Put the top of the muffin on the egg and enjoy, remembering to keep a napkin handy as the egg will drip everywhere – yum!