Menu Plan - 29/6 to 5/7

Its official. A heat wave has hit the UK and the heat health level is at Alert, whatever that means.

In this house it means salads and as much liquid as possible. No mean feat consider I'm married to the guy who got "bored" of water while we were in Egypt. Still, he learned his lesson the hard way.

I'm a day late this week. My broadband connection has been iffy to say the these lately, but I'm happy to say that I'm back up and running and you might notice that I've already had a little fiddle with the layout here. If it looks weird or a bit skew, please let me know.

So, back to the food...


Poached chicken, cooked in the crockpot with stock, rosemary and onion, out in the garage (whoever came up with that idea first is a Saint IMO) with salad, a couple of varieties of lettuce, shredded red cabbage, tomatoes, roasted yellow peppers and raw red peppers and some cucumber for me seeing as I'm the only person in the house that likes it.


Barbecue. I grabbed some pork chops and sausages out of the freezer and dumped the chops in a bowl with hoi sin sauce, plus I've a big bowl of leftover salad from yesterday.


Chicken noodle soup for Toots and I, I added some vegetables and some of the chicken shredded to the stock in the crockpot and I'll add the udon noodles in when I reheat it. The husband wants chicken curry, go figure!


Whole trout on the BBQ (the brother's been fishing again) and I'll either put a salad together or I'll stir fry some vegetables with sesame oil.


Barbecue Pizza. Honestly everything just tastes better when cooked outside, even a tin of beans. I made 8 part baked pizza bases last week and I made two of them thinner than the rest so that I can just lay some foil on the bars, set the base on the foil and add whatever toppings they feel like at the time.


The temperature is to peak by Friday which in Northern Ireland means that it could very well rain on Saturday, but if the weather holds and I think it might, we'll head to Cairn Wood with the camp stove. Its so much cooler in the forest and it'll be a nice end to the day.


Again we'll be at my mum's house on Sunday. We had a great time last week and its nice to just spend time with family rather than the sometimes flying visits we tend to have. I have to make a trifle for the boys.


I honestly can't see there being much baking here this week, I can't even stomach the thought of bread in this heat beyond the couple of part baked things in the freezer that I might dig out for the husband's lunches.

I did bake a lemon and coconut cake very late last night, but I just really needed a slice of cake!

Paddling Pools and Panic Shopping

I can't believe its almost July already.

And just because a) I was always THAT girl in the office and, b) its a little bit funny, I provide you with the following information;

It is exactly 26 weeks to Christmas!

We'll just let that one sit there for a second while I hide behind this scatter cushion.

Anyway, that means I have now been at home, looking after Toots full time for half a year. Its been a hell of a half year. Mostly good, occasionally a handful, sometimes a hair pulling situation.

My own hair obviously, don't even go there.

I know I haven't been around a lot lately but I have been busy elsewhere. I needed to finish a custom order which is finally complete, absolutely gorgeous (if I do say so myself) and sent off in the post. I also had a couple of other surprise projects to finish up and I'll hopefully have them done and ready to go by the end of the weekend.

And I've been spending a lot of time with the family outdoors. The weather here has been fabulous and its set to reach 30C next week so I'll have to prepare myself and everyone else for that. We don't do that kind of heat here, there's something very unnatural about 30C and there not being a plane ride involved.

The Irish melt in that kind of heat.

We've been to Stormont Park, the beach, where Toots fell face first into a huge wave and didn't freak out, and we enjoyed a nice day in Bangor for the husband's birthday.

Well nice until it turned frantic as I had to run off from the Pickie Fun Park into the centre of town to try and find a new outfit for Toots after she assumed I was my usual organised self and had packed her a change of clothes and she belly flopped, shoes and all, into the paddling pool.

Such a pity I wasn't organised that day. And that's why you should always pack a change of clothes for your kid, cause you never know.

And you might want to chuck a clean t shirt in the boot of the car for your husband while you're at it because while you're running like a headless chicken through a packed town with your mobile phone tucked safely out of earshot in your bum pocket, your daughter will climb (saturated) from the paddling pool and give your husband his big drippy birthday hug.

Happy Birthday Hubs

I won't be around a whole lot today.

It's the husband's birthday and he's taken the day off work to be with us (and not come home in a grump after a stinking day on his b'day), so we'll be making the day all about him.

He's 41 this year folks so wish him a happy birthday please! In saying that though, he doesn't look 41 and he most certainly does NOT act 41.


Happy Birthday Husband.

Menu Plan - 22/6 to 28/6

Last week was a bit of a right off. I ended up mostly using up the bits and pieces in the fridge and clearing out the freezer but hopefully I can get my act back together again this week.


Paella. Its the husband's birthday today and he's asked for seafood paella. I'll add some chicken in too to fill in for the bits and pieces that Toots isn't too keen on like mussels.


Fajitas. I'll be able to chuck any leftover paella into the fajita mix to use it up. Precious little else I can think to do with paella leftovers apart from reheat them.


Spaghetti bolognese. The husband's back to work today after having Monday and Tuesday off, plus he's on call and I can throw this together in a few minutes so that at least he's something warm in his belly if he winds up having to go out again.


Baked potatoes. I haven't had them in ages and I've really been craving a baked potato. I like mine with coleslaw and I have everything handy to make my own, Toots likes cheese which is easy and the hubs will want chili so I'll lift one of the smaller packs out of the freezer.


Homemade fish fingers and potato wedges, I'll add a little bit of spice to some of the wedges before baking them for the husband.


Burgers and salad. I made beef and lamb burgers last week and froze a pile of them and as much as I hate to blow my own horn, they're bloody good just the right amount of herb and heat and really tender and juicy when they're cooked. I was able to get hold of scrag end of lamb (not easy to come by in most butchers) and I have a mincer attachment for my kitchen aid so I ran it through that. The flavour is amazing.


We'll be at mum's house today so I'm not really sure what we'll be having to eat yet, but I might roast a pickin chicken anyway to use next week.


Pavlova. I have to make a huge strawberry pavlova for the husband's birthday (tradition) and I'll make a couple of little tiny ones for Toots because she prefers a higher crunch to mallowy ratio, she's also not bonkers on fresh cream but she'll eat plenty of strawberries.

Cookies, I really need to make the peanut butter cookies again for the freezer, I've been meaning to do this for weeks now and I really have to get my finger out.

If I can find the time I'll try to make a couple of extra batched of bread dough and part bake a pile of pizza bases. I've run out of the ones I had in the freezer and it's a pain in the bum remembering to make one from scratch.

And husband I know you don't go in for it in a big way because you're a great dad 365 days of the year and I tell you that every day anyway but, Happy Father's Day. You're an absolute star and we all love you.

Over the moon

I'm an incredibly happy bunny today.

First of all I got a parcel of gorgeous buttons in the post from Here Pretty Kitty along with a pack of Haribo Tangfastics which Toots promptly ran off with and came straight back again with her head practically sucked inside out so I got to eat the whole pack myself, hee hee. She's not a big fan of the sours.

Not only that, but my letter finally came through from the bank with my offer of settlement in relation to the claim for bank charges which has been ongoing for what seems like a lifetime now. Not only will I be reimbursed for every last charge, but I'm also being compensated as well!!!!

Just to be clear, claims against banks for unlawful bank charges are currently stayed in the UK while the Court of Appeal makes their final decision however I was able to make my claim under my bank's financial hardship policy because I left gainful employment in January. I will give the bank credit though, they were professional and pleasant to deal with and didn't drag the claim out unnecessarily in any way.

Still I will admit that I haven't slept particularly well the last few months because of money worries, but this is like a weight lifted off my chest. I'll definitely rest easy tonight.

We'll finally be able to get a few essential repairs made around here with some of the money. The garage roof definitely needs to be replaced this year, it really is hanging on by a thread out there and it'll give us a ton of extra storage space once dryness is guaranteed. I can't wait, the house will feel so much bigger once that's sorted out.

And I'll be able to take my sewing machine to my local guy and get her a good service, I don't think she's seen more than a quick dust and a drop of oil in years.

I know they say money can't buy happiness, but it'll certainly make things a lot easier around here and a good night's sleep always puts a smile on my face.

Mummy, I love you so much

Now just stop and let those words sit for a second.

Everyone and I mean everyone with kids knows exactly what those words are capable of doing. Mummy, I love you, Daddy, I love you it really doesn't matter they have the same effect.

They cause havoc in your heart. You would cry tears of pure joy in public if only you could stop grinning from ear to ear for a second.

You scoop your child up and squeeze them as tightly as their little bodies can bear while whispering that you love them too into their ear.

Every time your child utters those little words, your heart will melt.

But the first time, the first time is magical.

You'll phone people the first time they say it. The husband at work, the granny, the aunts, uncles and pizza delivery guy will all get a call.

Just to be clear, I don't write this because its cute and precious. I write it as a warning to all those who have not yet experienced the Mummy I love you so much phase or to those in the early stages of the phase.

Take all of those "I love you's" and store them away for the days when your child's love for you might not be just so exclusive.

Because one day and it will happen one day your loving child may very well develop a love for something else altogether.

For mine, its bollards.

Yep, you heard me right, Bollards!

No, you sir, weirdo in the back, you did not hear me right.


These things and I'm not kidding, when we pass them in the street she will tell each and every one of them that she loves it and occasionally.....she'll throw a hug in for good measure.

So take those exclusive I love you's and wrap them carefully around your heart because one day in the not too distant future you may be standing in the street trying to drag your kid off the side of a phone ox or something.

This has been a public service announcement and you're very welcome.


Do you think the place could be doing with a clean and tidy round here?

I know the old girl had a trim not too long ago, but what do you think, could it do with an overhaul.

A good clear out so to speak?

Firstly, I know the "contact me" doowhatsit doesn't work properly, its on the list, but do you think it looks a bit cluttered in general.

Or is it just my projectoholism kicking in!

GO handmade Issue 1

Well, I got there in the end!

There's a little bit of everything in here from crafts to makes (yes there's a difference) to recipes and everything in between.

Go on head over and have a look. Its completely free so you might as well.

Woe is me

I know, you're probably thinking by this stage, "for crying out loud, all this girl does is whinge" but I honestly do have a very good reason this time.

My internet connection at home has went belly up, I'm having a nightmare on my hands trying to get the whole thing sorted. Of course, clever me decided that while I was internetly challenged I'd take advantage and change over to the better package, faster download, less cold hard cash, you get the idea.

So basically, I'll only have very intermittent access to my wonderweb for the next few days. I'll be around occasionally to check emails and what not, but you might notice a distinct lack of comments and you might not see me lurking around forums and such just as often.

I'm also incredibly busy at the minute and I'm taking advantage of the fact that I don't have the lure of the internet (aka totally addictacular time suck) to get a mountain of stuff done.

So all in all, sucky situation means getting life sorted and head wrapped around a few things.

Does that make sense.

Probably not.

Oh well, I'll be back again with my usual brand of random very soon. I promise.

Everyone have a lovely few days.

Quicky Kitty Update

So I'm pretty sure the cat lives here now.

She curls up beside me every evening while I get a bit of work done at the laptop, so yes, she is inside the house now.

It took us a while to figure out that she only likes cat food with turkey in it and I've definitely noticed her looking a bit fuller and healthier since we sorted that. I check her occasionally and I can still feel her ribs although I can't see them so she's clearly a good healthy weight.

It' a cat's life isn't it?

I assumed this cat had a bit of fight in her because of her injuries and if I wasn't completely sure that this is her home now she went ahead a proved it on Wednesday.

Another cat dared venture into her garden and let me tell you, our little kitty kicked seven bells out of that cat. I don't think we'll be seeing it around here for a while.

And I figured, since she seems to be happy here, that we might as well give her a name.

Toots has suggested.......

Wait for it.........


I'm taking suggestions.

Please for the love of all things holy, give me some suggestions.

Because after spending the first few weeks calling her him, then cat, then kitty I will not confuse the poor thing further by calling Bert.

Besides, I think she might kick my ass if I tried.

Oh er missus

I've been tagged. By Fabric Nation. And its a doozy.

This one has questions and everything.

The rules are as follows:

1. respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention, add more one question of your own (don't feel obliged as it's quite long already!)

2. tag eight other people

Right, here goes nothing!

What is your current obsession?


No I'm kidding. No really come back again, sit down, put your feet, have a cuppa.

At the minute it's jewellery, well accessories really. There are much, much better people out there toiling away making proper jewellery for you without me chucking something the child could have made into the mix:) I like fabric necklaces and bracelets and I'm itching to get started on a couple of brooches that won't be brooches at the minute.

What is your weirdest obsession?

All of my obsessions are completely and utterly normal. Well unless you class getting my hands on a lathe, tools, extenders and a huge bench when I have absolutely no clue about wood turning or where to even begin weird. I just put it down to a complete lack of self control, besides all of the stuff was completely free. Freecycle Rules!!!

Coffee or tea?

Tea. I almost said coffee considering I drink roughly 20 cups a day, but then its crap coffee and I drink it out of habit more than anything. It certainly isn't for the taste. Nope, it has to be tea. Proper shipyard tea in a big bottomless mug that's so strong you can stand a teaspoon up in it.

High tea's lovely too, but only if its done properly. The Four Seasons in Vegas, where they plonk you on a balcony in the baking desert heat while those spitty mister thingies "baste" you, do not do it properly. I'm just saying.

What’s for dinner?

I've just finished a big plate of lasagna and I'm sorely tempted to go back for another one. Twas nummy!

What have you just made?

Pages 16 and 17 of GO handmade, some new jewellery and I'm currently working on a huge stuffed daisy for a custom order. And when I say huge I mean three feet across, at least.

What are you listening to right now?

My next door neighbour's jack russell and my husband snoring loudly upstairs. It was his turn to "do bedtime" tonight and he's obviously fallen asleep. Bless him.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mullins Turkish Delight. Its made with real Jersey cream and the stuff just doesn't melt, its so thick and creamy and delish. Its flavoured with rose water and has really dark bitter pieces of shaves chocolate through it that are as black as night. Proper grown up ice cream. I will occasionally order it in a teddy bear cone and pretend it's for the child.

What do you think of the person(s) who tagged you?

I love Fabric Nation's work, especially her pieces using vintage fabric. I have her shop squirrelled away in my favourites and if it wasn't for the fact that I am currently stony broke I would already have this Vintage Fabric Puppy. Plus she collects photographs of the locks on loo doors, seriously you can't get much better than that!

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

To bed. No wait, can I be a fly on the wall when I go there? Or no, hang on probably better not get into that. I'll just go to bed.

Which language do you want to learn?

Oh, there are too many. I speak a bit of school French and Spanish and a bit less Dutch, but I'd love to be fluent. Is it strange that I want to be able to read another language more than I want to be able to speak it?

What’s your favorite quote (for now)?

“If I had a large amount of money I should found a hospital for those whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases yet remain completely unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily”. Stephen Fry

What is your favorite colour?

Green. I used to say blue, but its really green.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?

Its a scarf and its ancient and I've no idea where I found it. Its really long and I can wrap it around my neck a bunch of times and it still reaches my knees. I am a short arse, but still.

What is your dream job?

I love what I do at the minute to be honest. I don't think I've ever had a paid job before that I really enjoyed, just varying degrees of pissing me off. I love the things I make and I'd really like to write for a living, although I'm probably hindered by the fact that, well, take a look around you!

What is your worst habit?

Zoning out. I'm extremely good at it and a bomb could go off before I'd notice.

If you had £100 now, what would you spend it on?

Some of Sweetpea4Kids summer dresses for Toots. They're just gorgeous. Actually, I'd probably rob a bank (not my bank, obviously) and buy them all.

Do you admire any one’s style?

No one in particular, but I will occasionally admire someone's clothes if they look vintage or customised in some way i.e. not from Top Shop. Utter the words "I bought one of those little tops everyone's wearing at the minute" and you've lost me. Sorry.

Describe your personal style?

Comfy McComfortable, but I do have an awesome collection of vintage sky high heels.

What are you going to do after this?

A few more pages of GO handmade and hopefully a few more petals for that big ass daisy.

What is your favorite fruit?

Peaches, the really soft, tender late season ones.

What inspires you?

The things I see, the things I find, the people I meet and the conversations I have. Basically I find inspiration in just about everything.

Your favorite book?

Ooh, good one. I don't really have an all time favourite book. At least I don't think I do off the top of my head, although some will float in and out. I keep them all and they're their when I need them. The one I seem to be going back and forward to lately is "The New StMichael Book of Handicrafts". It was published in 1980, so its older than I am.

Do you collect something?

Memories, stories, bits and bobs....

What is your favorite smell?

Home. I could also say baked goods, like cakes and bread since more often than not my home smells of those things.

What are you most proud of?



How many times do you press the snooze button before you get up?

I usually wake up in my own time, sometimes I lie in bed and work out what needs to be done during the day until Toots wakes up and sometimes I head downstairs to make a start.

Cats or dogs?

I can't say dogs, the cat's lying here beside me and she'd know. Cats.

What’s your biggest fashion mistake?

A perm. Let's leave it at that.

Complete the following:

Love is… often confused with other things.

What would you like to make next?

Nope, you're not getting me that way. I said I was going to work on 93 one thing at a time and you're not starting me thinking about new projects.

So there.

And now I get to tag everyone....

Mwha ha ha ha ha ha .....


Sew Scrumptious
Hip Chick
Forever Foxed
The 6 o'clock stitch
Cap'n Skullduggery

I'm so old...

We had our first day in school on Monday.

Well not a full day, not even a half day. Ok, we had our first half hour in school yesterday. Alright, fair enough, Toots had her first half hour in school yesterday.

I was convinced it wasn't going to go well at all.

For starters, I managed to get the idea in my head that her school visit was at the end of June. Then yesterday, I was cleaning up after lunch and I was putting a few things away in the larder. I came back out again and closed the door and caught sight of the letter from the school attached to the notice board. I walked on past and headed back out to the garden again, but something about that letter jarred and I pelted back into the kitchen at break neck speed, very nearly falling over the child's scooter in the process, and grabbed the letter.

I looked at the letter, school visit - 8 June 2009 2.15-2.45pm, I looked at the clock 2.10pm.

"Frick, frick, frick, crap, Toots get in here quickly, you're supposed to be in school today."


"You're supposed to be in...... Where are your shoes?"

"I don't have any shoes."

"You have shoes, you had shoes, you went outside ten minutes ago with shoes."

"No I didn't."

Oh joy!

So now we're running down the street, well I'm running down the street with a 4 year old under my arm like a rugby ball gleefully reacquainting herself with her long lost shoes.

The shoes were located in a tree and now my arms are covered with scratches from trying to get them back out again. Turns out the four year old can fit into much smaller places than I can. Who knew!

We were ten feet from the school gates and only a minute or two late. I figured we were good since I doubted all the children walked into the classroom, sat down quickly and quietly and were ready to begin at bang on 2.15pm. Then Toots decides that its "too bouncy" being carried. She wants down to run herself.

Fair enough sweetheart, you're not exactly light as a feather anymore.

Three steps she managed.

Three steps at full speed.

Then she went flying onto her face.

Her knees were cut, her hands were cut, she missed her face, thank god.

The wallop of her hitting the ground was deafening and then came the screaming.

High pitched wails echoed around the otherwise completely noiseless street.

I rubbed her knees, I rubbed her hands, I rubbed her elbows and still she screamed.

I asked if she wanted to go home, I'd phone the school and explain, but no she insisted she wanted to go.

We continued to the school gates, still wailing.

We walked across the school grounds, still wailing.

We walked into the P1 courtyard and knocked on the door, still wailing.

All I could think was, I'm buggered, she's going to go in here and cry for the entire half hour and disrupt everyone and her first experience with school will be crying her eyes out and me having to take her out of the room away from everyone.

And then the door opened, the tears dried, a smile appeared and off she ran, yelling something about me going home for coffee and she'd see me later.

Have you ever taken an appliance back to the shop because it wasn't working only for the 12 year old behind the counter to try it and have it work perfectly thereby making a complete liar out of you?

It felt a bit like that.

I went to get her some strawberries from the shop and then headed back again to collect her.

I've spent weeks now telling her all the lovely things about school and do you know that when she got into that classroom she only remembered one thing. Her teacher informed me that she'd barely sat down on her seat when she piped up "You don't have a blackboard. My mummy said if I was a good girl you'd let me clean the blackboard".

Well, my primary school did that. Does anyone else remember getting to clean the blackboard and it not being a punishment for something?

Turns out schools don't have blackboards anymore. They have "interactive whiteboards". Wha???

So I'm old.

I remember blackboards and real chalk and sandpits and reading corners at the back of the classroom. I remember getting to have a nap in the afternoon. I remember those little miniature versions of the full sized glass bottles of milk with the proper foil cap and the little blue straw we were given to push through the lid.

I remember non nutritionally balanced school dinners. I remember huge shortbread biscuits I needed two hands to hold and big metal jugs filled with strawberry milkshake. I remember chips on Friday and tinned fruit cocktail and semolina. I remember sausage pie and the cornflake buns that were a layer of shortbread, a layer of strawberry jam and a layer of cornflakes bound together with golden syrup and probably MSG, but oh they were good.

I remember kids weren't overweight either. And I never met anyone with an allergy until I was in my 20s.

Maybe I am getting old.

Maybe I can only be truly nostalgic and remember how good it used to be now that I am old and everything has become "safe" and "portion controlled" and "monitored" and, and clinical.

I don't know.

My back's killing me though.

What's your favourite memory from your school days?

I love me some giveaways

Kristen is very kindly hosting a giveaway for me today over at We are THAT Family, but you'll need to be quick, the giveaway ends on Thursday.

I'll be giving away one of two identical bags. The bags have been designed exclusively for the giveaway and won't be available in the shop.

All you have to do to enter is have a look in my folksy shop and head over to tell Kristen what your favourite item is.

Easy eh?

Now GO, RUN, QUICKLY. You'll kick yourself for missing the opportunity.

Folksy Button

Menu Plan - 8/6 to 14/6

I'm still trying to process the fact that its June already. I really need to get my finger out and sort something for the Husband's birthday, not to mention Father's Day. I just don't even know what to get him this year, I really don't.

Still, once I get my food sorted for the week, its one less thing floating around in my head.

Last week's plan went to the dogs I'm afraid. The couple of times we did cook, we cooked outside to cut down on the heat in the house. It really was hot last week and after a bit of a stormy weekend the sunshine is back again today. I did do my roast chicken on Sunday though, it had cooled down a good bit here by that stage. It also means I have a good load of chicken to start my week off.


Fajitas. Toots is starting to eat more vegetables, she was always good with the basics like peas and carrots and would eat fruit until it came out of her ears but now she'll happily eat peppers and onions and a load of other things, so I'll make the fajitas heavy on the veg with a bit of chicken thrown in there too.


Crockpot lasagna. We'll be out on Tuesday from first thing in the morning so I can put this on beforehand and not have to worry about starting something when we arrive back home.


Toots will be at my mum's house this evening so I'll make a spicy chicken curry with chapatis. Toots still isn't a huge fan of curry, but she's getting there.


Fish pie with steamed veg. I have smoked white fish in the freezer which didn't get used last week so I'll defrost that and use in the pie.


Burgers and chips for a wee Friday treat.


I'm really hoping the weather will be good this weekend and we can get down to the beach again or off to the forest for the day. I may just throw all the bits and pieces for an omelette in a bag along with some bread for toast and I'll make it on the camp stove. Failing that I can just make the same thing at home if the weather isn't great.


I haven't a clue yet. I'll be going shopping on Saturday at some stage so I'll sort something out then.


Lemon and coconut cake. Its just a nice, plain slab cake that I can cut into squares and the husband can take for his lunches at work.

Flapjacks, because they're really handy for a quick breakfast in morning if we need to get out the door. Toots is perfectly happy to eat them because she thinks she's getting biscuits for breakfast.

I think that might do it actually, we've been eating too much baked stuff around here and besides we'll overload on the stuff later in the month. I'll need to do cake for the husband and my dad on Father's Day and then I always make the hubs a strawberry pavlova for his birthday when the local strawberries really come in to their own.

What about you, any nice foodie plans this week or do you have something special planned for Father's Day? Don't worry I won't tell anyone.

Fun in the Sun

We're just not cut out for this kind of weather in Northern Ireland. Don't get me wrong we appreciate it and are very grateful (if anyone in particular is listening) we're just not used to it. Especially when it sneaks up on us. The rain just stopped one day last week and the temperature rocketed and hasn't dropped since.

The poor child is suffering from a bit of heat exhaustion. She spent Saturday playing in the above ground swimming pool my mum mistook for a paddling pool. She woke at my mum's house on Sunday, stripped off her jammies and ran nekid out to the pool again. My mum just about managed to wiggle her into a swimming costume and force feed her some breakfast.

for some dinner. I know, we actually ate out for a change, but I just couldn't face the thought of cooking. I've cooked outside all week because its enough of a headache to cool the house at the minute without adding any more heat to it. So fish on the We then had a gorgeous afternoon at Knockinelder and Quintin Bay, before heading to Kircubbinbarby, salad and bread has been the order of the day, every single day.

Monday we played in the garden and took a few short walks and on Tuesday we spent over four hours at the duck pond and then on the way home Toots bought herself a petite stitch junior sewing machine in a charity shop so that she "could be like mummy". Sometimes she's almost too cute.

I did have photos planned for this post but my micro drive has gone walkabout. I will deliver as soon as it turns up though.

Wednesday was another day for running around. We had to go food shopping in the morning and with a very active four year and the obvious lack of a driving license it turned to be a nightmare, but we managed.

Yesterday we vegged in front of the TV in the morning and replanted all of the seeds destroyed by frost earlier in the year in the afternoon. Toots even planted up a little kit garden my mum bought her a couple of months ago. Its the type with a few packets of seeds, a little seeds tray and cover and a rock hard block of "magic" compost which needs to be reconstituted with water. She had a lot of fun with it to. The whole kit only cost £2.99 and had a pirate theme so inside the box, along with the necessary bits and pieces were a pirates eye patch, three flags to mark the position of her seeds and a treasure map so that she could mark an X at the spot she planted each seed. Even the seeds are themed. She planted monster sea gourd, some money plants and sea holly. I really hope something grows because she checked on it countless times yesterday and she's been outside twice this morning already to see if anything has grown yet.

She's also learnt how to open the side gate which is amazing because even I have trouble opening that gate at times. It weighs a ton and the lock is really stiff. It does mean that there has been no shortage of chase scenes around here lately because the side gate leads to the driveway which leads to a pretty busy street.

Guess what I'm doing today?

Yep, adding another lock to the bloody gate. I'm all for independence, but I'll be damned if she's going to play in the street like some little four year old urchin. When she's older fair enough, but not yet.

My house, my rules kid!

So we're a bit tired and worn out round here. I can already feel the sun burning the back of my neck through the window and it's not even 9.00am yet.

Its going to be another long, hot day.

The Man Room

You've heard me mention The Man Room before. Well now I'll show you the deep dark recesses only a man left to his own devices can create.

Now I'm perfectly willing to admit that not every man will suffer from the same affliction as my husband, but in my defence every man I know does.

They are all sufferers of CMS. Crap Magnet Syndrome.

They accumulate the stuff sometimes over many, many years. It clings and sticks to them and can't be removed.

Now my husband lived alone for ten years before I met him, so he was bound to have gathered up a certain amount of tat and rubbish in that time. There really wasn't any point in trying to separate it from him. Sometimes you just have to be satisfied that you can't have everything your own way.

So I leave him to it. But I did insist on The Man Room.

If I hadn't been so persistent when we first moved here, all of this junk would be spread across my home and there would be precious little I could do about;

The PC repair manuals, photos of boozy weekends, wires and cables and games and the ancient comics and Spiderman annuals he's had since he was ickle.

That gargantuan sound system, not to mention the Star Trek clock

Oh yes, more games and books and dvds and the old VCR, just in case. You never know, those new fangled dvds might never catch on.

That god awful looking arm chair that he won't part with and won't let me recover and paint (mwah ha ha ha). The inversion table (used once) nestled in behind it.

And the PCs because one is never enough. Bear in mind he also has two laptops and a blackberry and countless (literally I couldn't find em all to count em) games consoles. I am officially a tech widow. My daughter was conceived by appointment:)

So if you're at the end of your tether and really can't deal with one more piece of crap being carried into your home accompanied by proclamations such as "but it was on sale" or "they were practically giving them away" or "was I just supposed to let Jimmy just throw it away" then I suggest you get a Man Room.

It works for me!

Sure I could have a toy room for Toots instead but at the end of the day Man Tat is just so much more irritating than beanie babies, don't you think?

Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

It all started after the "incident" in my dentist's office when he may or may not have caught me stuffing business cards inside the magazines in his waiting room.

Shameful I know. What kind of person would actually do that kind of thing? In a dentist's office of all places!

Well after the incident which may or may not have happened and which may or may not have involved me, the dentist said that I was free to leave a stack of business cards or leaflets in his waiting rooms (not just my little room mind you, but all of them).


Still, never one to be satisfied with what I'm offered and possibly due to the fact that I might have been hopped up on anaesthetic (which does funny things to me by the way) I heard a voice not unlike my own enquire "What about a magazine?"

"Sure" he said "as long as it doesn't look like you've got busy with the child's crayons you can leave a few copies of a magazine in the waiting rooms". And the Arts Centre, and the library and the coffee shops and tourist information shop said they would all like to have copies too.

But, and here's the snagging point, there isn't a magazine promoting Folksy. I don't have one. You don't have one. The girl down the street doesn't have one.

There isn't one.

Well, not just yet anyway.

But by hook or by crook there will be. In a couple of weeks the first edition of GO handmade will be available for download.

Can you just feel the excitement?

And it won't be just a catalogue either. It will be packed with features on crafters and makers currently being slaved over by some very wonderful and creative people on Folksy. You'll find out what they do and where they do it. What makes them tick and what inspires them. There'll be crafts for kids and tips and ideas on what to do outside this summer.

You'll just have to stay tuned to find out whether it all comes together in the end.

Can you wait?

Menu Plan 1/6 to 7/6

If this weather holds out and I really hope it does, I'll be having a nice light week, with soups and salads and fish.

I really can't stand the thought of heavy food when its this hot and red meat just gets kicked to one side on the really hot days.


Steamed mussels with butter and parsley and a side salad.


Smoked white fish with tomato salad and crusty bread.


Chicken noodle soup made in the crockpot.


Frittata made with cheese, sauteed onions and potatoes.


Baked cod with Spanish rice.


I bought a pack of frozen wonton wrappers when we went to the Asian supermarket so I'll use those to make crispy chicken wontons and mini prawn and vegetable spring rolls along with some dips, salad and maybe some steamed rice.


Roast chicken, because I'm a creature of habit:)


My freezer supply is running very low so I'll need to make some peanut butter cookies for freezing Toots is going to have to get her fill of them before she starts school in August. I think that will be the hardest thing for her when she starts school because she usually eats nuts of some description at least once a day and she won't be able to have any until she gets home.

Cake, I don't know what kind yet but I want a cake in the house. Probably a nice tangy lemon.

And oh my good flah we went and bought Toots school uniform on Saturday because the place in town had a half price offer on for her primary school.

There is a school uniform for a child old enough to be going to school hanging in my wardrobe.

That can't possibly be for my child, can it?

And is it really June already?