Thursday, 30 September 2010

Mini Giveaway Winner!

Good evening, it's a bit later than planned but we have a mini giveaway winner! Thank you for leaving your comments. Each comment was read and noted and I think I have decided on my mixer colour. I'm afraid I am going to play it safe and go for the cream. A bit boring I know, but I won't tire of cream and knowing me I will soon get fed up with the shocking pink.

So without further ado, lets pick a winner. Names all folded up in the little green glass bowl.

Daisy dips in and makes her selection.

Drum roll please.....and the winner is

Well done Vicki, please email me your address and I will pop this little package of goodies in the post.

I am so tired tonight, I stupidly stayed up until 12.45 am yesterday as I was trying to complete Mr P's VAT return. I got all the accounts up to date and for the first time had to use the on-line VAT submission. I merrily entered all the figures and then read "your VAT return for the period ending August 2010 is due by 7 October 2010" The normal deadline is the 30th September but for some reason when you submit on line they allow you an extra seven days. Now had I have realised this then I blooming well wouldn't have sat up half the night trying to get it finished. I have felt like a zombie today!

I did make a start on my new ripple blankie at the weekend and I am loving it already. The Stylecraft is lovely to work with and although there are a few iffy colours in the 17 I ordered, on the whole I think it's going to be a really colourful and snuggly blanket, perfect for a chilly winters evening snuggled up on the sofa. I love the ripple pattern, it is so lovely to work, therapeutic even. Here is the start of my blanket, do you like?

I did manage a band of blue as well but somewhere in the pattern I had made a mistake and had to undo it all.
I will leave you with some pictures I took this morning. Did anyone else wake up to an Autumnal wonderland? It was fairly chilly an misty in my part of Bucks and there was a very heavy dew on the ground.
It was quite magical, spider webs everywhere and another mass of toadstools all over the lawn. It was the sort of morning that was straight out of a flower fairy book. I could just imagine those little fairies flying around and having a rest on a toadstool. Anyone else love the flower fairy books? Daisy has loads of them and I used to love reading them to her.

It's Friday tomorrow already, this week has been busy and I am really ready for the weekend. We don't have anything special planned for the weekend and I don't think the weather is supposed to be that great. Hopefully I should get my mixer tomorrow, my lovely friend is getting it for me using her staff discount.
I must make a start on my letter to my new penpal courtesy of Becki at "the ramblings of an everyday mummy" who arranged the penpals. I am also taking part in the advent swap, so I must contact Pene my swap partner and sort out likes and dislikes. So much to do and not enough time once again!
I think a weekend of playing with my new toy, a bit of rippling and very little housework would suit me just fine.
Have a lovely weekend whatever you do.
Till next time.
Alison x

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The "Please help me decide" mini giveaway!

Can you help me please? I am having a job deciding on the colour of my mixer. Should I go cream or bright bubblegum pink? Safe and boring or loud and proud?
Here it is in nice safe cream, it goes perfectly in my kitchen and would match my mixer and toaster and would sit there blending in happily for the rest of its life.
Or how about bright bubblegum (think dark pink hubba bubba). It would blend in like a glowing zit on the end of your nose but you would definitely know it was there. Will I tire of its brightness?. Will I grow to loath its shocking exterior?
I am sort of veering towards the loud and proud pink but my play it safe head is shouting go cream.
I know its not a life or death decision but humour me anyway.
I have until Thursday to decide. So please leave a comment that will hopefully help me make up my mind. I could turn this into a little giveaway I suppose and send a small pressie to the owner of a randomly picked comment drawn from a hat.
Please play along and make a very sad (as in saddo not upset) person very happy.
Till next time

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Cake Disaster

This is going to be a short and sweet post, its only 7.34 am, I should really be asleep. Naughty old Pepe woke us up early this morning as she seemed desperate for her breakfast. She has this annoying habit of walking all over us until we get up and feed her. Bloody cat, does she not know that Saturday is a lie in day?

The Macmillan coffee morning went well yesterday and I think we raised nearly £90, which isn't bad considering only a handful of people came along.

I made three cakes to take along, a carrot cake, a lemon drizzle and my favourite Nigella chocolate cake. Normally I can make a cake with no problems at all. This time it was disaster after disaster! My first chocolate cakes (you cook them in two sandwich tins) stuck in their non stick silicone "tins", so they were both dumped in the bin in disgust. I had to pop to the shop to buy some more sour cream to them attempt chocolate cake number two. All was going well until about 15 minutes into their cooking I could smell the faint waft of burning chocolate. I checked the cakes through the oven door and all looked well apart from the fact that I could only see one cake. The cake at the back of the oven had been pushed too far back and had fallen off the back of the oven shelf and was happily cooking all down the back of the oven. I managed to salvage one cake, the other was a burnt gooey mess stuck all over my newly cleaned oven! Well lets just say the air turned blue in my kitchen, it was a good job the kids were in bed.

Whilst all of this was going on, I had made my carrot and sultana cake. I popped it into the oven and crossed my fingers. Well this buggar also decided to stick in places. Luckily it was salvageable as I always ice my carrot cakes with a soft cheese type frosting. A nice thick layer of frosting and a few orange sugar sprinkles and the cake didn't look too bad.

The lemon drizzle behaved itself and came out of its tin beautifully. Lastly I had to knock up a half quantity of chocolate cake to go with the one half that wasn't a disaster.

It was almost 10pm by this time and to say I was cheesed off was an understatement. I took it very personally that the cakes were not up to scratch and was thoroughly cheesed off . To top it all it took a good 45 minutes to clean up the kitchen. There was cake mix everywhere!

When people were commenting on my lovely cakes yesterday, I smiled sweetly and thought "if only you knew the hassle involved".

I can't believe it's the weekend already, this week has flown by. Very exciting news, I nearly have enough money for my mixer. My eBay stuff went through the roof and I have almost £300 towards it. So I think the ginger cat kitchen will be sporting a shiny new mixer very soon.

I treated my self to the new Nigella cook book yesterday, I think it's called Nigella's Kitchen. It was a bargain 1/2 price in Tesco so I couldn't so no really. I did have a quick flick through last night and there seems some really nice recipes.

Right, I am going to drink my cuppa and then get my lazy bum out of bed. Alex needs to go to football and Mr P has to work this morning. We haven't too much planned for the weekend, but I am definitely going to start my new ripple blanket at some point this.

Have a lovely weekend.

Till next time.


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Blue Blanket Reveal

Good evening, how are we all tonight, good I hope? All is good and well in the gingercat household. I have just sat and watched the final of the Great British Bake Off and sat blubbing at the end when Ed won! How sad am I. I thought their afternoon tea looked fabulous, they can come and cook for me any time.

I am currently obsessing about this little beauty. I have been admiring them from afar for years. However, the obsession reached fever pitch when my mother in-law announced that she had bought a candy apple red one. After much admiring and oohing and ahhing I have decided that a cream one would be perfect in my kitchen. There is just one small problem - the price! I have a birthday coming up at the beginning of November so have decided to ask for money to put towards the cost of the mixer. I have also listed lots of outgrown clothes and a very nice Nespresso coffee machine on eBay, so with all the proceeds from that along with birthday money I should be well on the way towards my target.

I keep on looking at them on the Internet and sit thinking about all the lovely things I could make with it. I am truly sad sometimes.

Are you ready for my blue blankie reveal, are you sure? Well here it is

Please take a better look close up, you can see all the lovely blues and cream in this picture.

Do you like the little picot edging? Its the first time I have done picot, it was easy peasy.

It isn't the biggest blanket in the world but it's just the right size for a small 6 year old boy. He takes it to bed with him each night and then drags it down to breakfast every morning. I lovingly lay it across his bed during the day. Alex is very pleased with it and so am I. The Rowan wool was lovely to work with and is really soft and not at all itchy.

I am looking forward to my next crochet project which is going to be another blanket made from the Stylecraft acrylic (as per Lucy at Attic 24). I think I might crochet a multi-coloured ripple blanket instead of another granny stripe.

I am holding fire on starting it at the moment as I am trying to complete a bit more of my union jack cross stitch. Its about half way finished now and I have the fabric all ready to back it. I still have my kiss cushion to work on as well. Too much craft and not enough time that's my problem!

Well this week is proving to be a fairly relaxing one, I only have one cleaning job and art club "work" this week. It pretty timely actually as my friend Donna and I are hosting a Macmillan coffee morning on Friday. I have a chocolate, a carrot and a lemon drizzle cake to make before Friday morning. Looks like Thursday evening is going to be a busy one baking.

We have also got to squeeze in a local high school open evening this week as Daisy will be taking her 11+ exam next September/October so we really need to start thinking about schools. She is a bright girl and has a good chance of passing however we really need to find out which school will suit her best whether she passes or not.

I'm still trying to walk each day for 30 minutes but I must admit that trying to be good and watching what I eat has been a bit lapse the last couple of days. I ate a Tunnocks tea cake, you know the marshmallow ones covered in a thin layer of chocolate and that started off the dreaded craving for a bit of chocolate. I must be good, I must be good - repeat after me!

I am off for a walk tomorrow morning with my friend Julia, we plan a little hike through the woods. If only loosing weight was as easy as eating then I really would be an expert!

I am going to a ball at the beginning of October so have spent hours this week trawling the Internet for a dress to wear. I do have a very nice dress, however I have worn it for the past two years and really do fancy a new one. I just don't want to spend a fortune on it. I have ordered two dresses to try from Freemans of all places. I haven't ordered anything from a catalogue since the 80's. I ordered these on line and really hope that one or other looks stunning on! I really can't be bothered to spend any more time looking, so fingers crossed. I did look in all the local charity shops ever hopeful that I would find a beautiful dress at a bargain price, but it wasn't to be.

Right I'm off to check on my eBay, I need to know exactly how much of my Kitchen Aid mixer I can afford!

Take care all.


PS Julia and I are off to the Stiching and Knitting show at Alexandra Palace in a few weeks, can't wait.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A Taste of Autumn

Hello, I hope you are all having a good week. It's not been a bad one here, a bit unpredictable but on the whole fairly good. Is anyone else noticing the change in the season? There are so many signs that Autumn is well and truly on it's way. We seem to be inundated with spiders at the moment. They seem to be coming inside which is definitely a sign the evenings are turning chilly. I keep walking into spider webs when I go out in the garden. We had the most enormous spider in the bath the other morning. It was a real job to find a glass wide enough to accommodate its huge long legs.

Anyone else got toadstools on their grass? The mould spores must be rife this time of year.

Autumn is most definitely my favourite season, I love the chilly evenings sat in front of our open fire. I love the food that comes with Autumn, warm comforting food. On Sunday we went blackberry picking and were given a big bag of cooking apples which I turned into a crumble.

This week our oven conked out, just as I was about to cook the fish pie for tea - blinking typical, it's a good job I have friendly neighbours who saved the day and cooked it for me. I decided to dig out the slow cooker and make a lovely warming stew. I even made dumplings, now that is real comfort food. The oven is now mended and was put through its paces today. Daisy has been feeling poorly all week with a really sore throat, this morning she looked really under the weather and felt hot, so a day of r&r was in order. She snuggled under her duvet on the sofa whilst I pottered and cooked. I made a Nigella old fashioned chocolate cake, a pumpkin pie (first one this year) and some broccoli and Stilton soup. I love days spent at home just pottering and doing what ever takes my fancy, it's a shame they don't happen as often as I would like. Daisy watched the film Marley and Me twice this afternoon and cried both times at the ending! I think she will be back at school tomorrow, she is looking better this evening.

Here are a few pics taken this week, not that exciting I'm afraid.

Berries from the bouquet of flowers that my lovely sister in-law gave me for our wedding anniversary. I think these are hypericum berries, I had these in my wedding bouquet along with Leonardis roses and white freesias. My wedding bouquet was gorgeous, I haven't seen flowers as lovely since my wedding eleven years ago.

Chrysanthemums just shout out Autumn to me, they remind me of harvest festivals. They might not be an overly fashionable flower but they do last for ever.

Veggies all chopped ready to be added to a beef stew. Lots of lovely autumn flavours and colours in one meal.

A slice of pumpkin pie. It was delicious even if I say so myself. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and all spice in a pumpkiny eggy custard.

A Nigella chocolate feast, her old fashioned chocolate cake. It's very moist and not too sickly, its a real winner in our house.

My little treat for today a Jamie magazine, full of tasty treats. I enjoyed having a flick through this with a cuppa this afternoon.

Do you want to see some fairies? I bought this little poppy fairy last year at a local craft fair that is held over the August bank holiday weekend. She has sat on my mantelpiece, safely secured with a big dollop of blue tack under her bottom! She looks lovely sat there if not a little lonely. I though a companion might cheer her up.

My very generous mother in-law treated me to her little friend at this year's craft fair. I think she might be a forget-me-not fairy. Whilst browsing the fairy stall, I set my eyes on these two and fell in love. Before I could control the urge, I had handed over a cheque and they were coming home too.

There is something about golliwogs that I just love. I think it may be because they are such an iconic toy from the past, they really do symbolise a bygone era. Anyway, these two are sat on the mantelpiece keeping a watch over the fairy sisters. The girl golli, has such a surprised look on her face!

We had a lovely time in London on Saturday and the Lion King was excellent, I would definitely recommend it. Alex was a bit fidgety, so maybe recommended for children over 8 rather than small 6 year old boys!

Daisy had a field day in Cath Kidston and managed to spend most of her birthday money in there. She treated herself to an ipod touch case, some pins in a tin for her sewing basket, a very cute teddy bear and the most lovely dressing gown with little ducks on.

Mr P was very naughty on our wedding anniversary and bought me a Cath Kidston Iphone case. I had been admiring it for ages, and it was a lovely if not naughty surprise. We weren't doing presents this year!

Well I'm off to make a much needed brew. Have a great weekend, we have nothing planned, which after the past few very busy weekends is a welcome relief.

Till next time.

Alison x

Thursday, 9 September 2010

I need my bed!

Good evening, just a quick little update before I turn of the light and get some much needed shut eye.

Feeling very tired tonight, which might have something to do with the fact that I have spent the day cleaning a very dirty house (not mine I hasten to add),
followed by 2 hours of ironing, two hours at the after school art club and then diner making and lastly pudding making for a lunch party that I'm going to tomorrow. I finally sat down at 9.30 this evening!

I am still trying to keep up my 30 minutes of power walking each day, but tonight I decided was my night off as I had too much to do and my legs were aching already. I have managed to loose the 4IBs that I put on whilst on holiday and also another 1IB. So I am fairly pleased. I just wish this whole loosing weight and getting fit was more of an instant thing. They do say its better to loose a few pounds each week rather than crash dieting.

Daisy enjoyed her birthday on Tuesday, and was very pleased with her little sewing machine that we gave her. She hasn't used it yet but maybe we will find some time at the weekend.

I am off to a 70th birthday lunch tomorrow. Its a bring and share lunch being held at the local church. I know this lady from the church coffee stop which I normally go to on a Friday morning. To be honest I'm not really that religious, but I do enjoy meeting a couple of friends there each Friday. The coffee stop is very welcoming and the coffee and biscuits plentiful and all for a small donation. I have made a trifle, a tiramisu and also some meringues to take as my contribution. I think my diet may well and truly be stuffed tomorrow.

We are off to see the Lion King on Saturday, with the in-laws and the little ones. It is also our 11th wedding anniversary on Saturday. We have decided that the lion king tickets will be our anniversary present. Our wedding day was the most gloriously hot day. We had a fabulous time and all went according to plan. We spent our wedding night in the hotel where four weddings and a funeral was filmed, it was a lovely treat kindly paid for by my sister in-law.

I think Daisy and I will catch the train up to London first thing Saturday morning and spend the morning looking around Covent Garden. Mr P is taking Alex to football training and will drive up afterwards and meet us at the theatre. I hope the show lives up to our expectations!
I have managed a few rows of crochet this week, and the blue blanket is nearly ready for its edging. I can then start on my multi-coloured granny stripe blanket, the yarn is sat there waiting for me.

I have two needle cases that I must make before Sunday, one is part of Daisy's best friends birthday present. I really must get my act together, I always have a to do list as long as my arm. Oh to be organised!!

My bed is calling my name, so enjoy the weekend whatever you do.

Till next time.

Alison x

PS have you entered Kelly's Happy Monday big giveaway?

Sunday, 5 September 2010

10 Years Older

Hello, what a busy weekend, hope you have all had a good one. This weekend we celebrated Daisy's forthcoming 10th birthday with a party for 12 of her girl friends and of course Alex.

I am really struggling to accept that my tiny 6lb 9 1/2 oz baby girl will be turning 10 on Tuesday. I just cannot believe 10 years has passed so quickly.

Daisy was born at 5.20pm on Thursday the 7th of September 2000, she arrived four days early. I could not get over just how beautiful she was, she really was the most beautiful baby (I know I'm biased). I worried that I wouldn't bond with her as most expectant mothers do but it was total love at first sight and for three and half years (until Alex arrived) she became our whole world. She was such an easy baby, she took to breastfeeding like a duck to water, she was very placid and content and to be honest she has never really given us any trouble in all of her 10 years. She has her moments and is by no means perfect but she really is a very good and sweet girl.

She is kind and considerate, sensitive to others and has a great if not very silly sense of humour. Alex has always adored Daisy and he would be totally lost without her. We found this out when she went on a weekend Brownie camp, it was as if his right arm was missing, he just didn't know what to do with himself.

So have a very happy birthday Daisy, we love you very much and wish you all the happiness in the world and more.

Here are some pictures of our special very nearly 10 year old.

Here she is aged 5 years.

Daisy aged nearly 10 taken on holiday in Cornwall.
Months ago Daisy decided that she wanted a vintage tea party for her birthday with lots of traditional and silly party games. We spent yesterday baking cakes and this morning we set up the gazebo as the weather was looking rather iffy to say the least. Up went the bunting and balloons, chairs with cozy cushions and a table with a crisp white table cloth turned a boring old gazebo into a vintage party den. Mr P even found some funky rope lighting in the shed to jazz up the gazebo (that's one perk of being married to an electrician).

The girls (and Alex) played pass the parcel, who am I (the game where you stick a name on one persons back and they have to ask questions and try to guess who they are supposed to be) and the mars bar game to name but a few. They had great fun trying to pick up maltesers with a pair of chop sticks!

After a busy hour or so playing games they all sat down and were reminded that at a vintage tea party all the guests were expected to act like ladies when eating their tea. Home made lemonade was served from tea pots into china tea cups, and the girls all found it hilarious when trying to drink with the obligatory little finger up in the air. They all put on very posh accents and pretended that they were at a very posh garden party! Dainty sandwiches, crisps, sausage rolls, cakes and jelly (served in traditional fluted paper jelly bowls) were consumed with much enthusiasm. Then finally the birthday cake and singing time.

Daisy's very lovely birthday cake made by the fabulous Jill (down the road), she comes up trumps every year without fail.

So that was our weekend, we also managed to squeeze in a football tournament, football training and a meal out to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary (next weekend) the in-laws wedding anniversary and sister in-laws birthday. Looking forward to a bit of a rest tomorrow!

Till next time.

Alison x