Sunday, 4 December 2016

BEDD - December 4th

 My second Christmas cake for 2016.

A new recipe for me, from Eric Lanlard on Food Network.

A chocolate and orange cake with whole roasted hazelnuts, whole cherries, (my fave), and orange liqueur.

I have made 'my' version....more cherries, less walnuts and Southern Comfort instead of the liqueur. I checked out some 'booze' options and didn't fancy spending 12 quid plus on something that would hang around, even if we make cocktails all over Christmas, so I've risked it.

picture from Food Network
It's been in the oven for an hour and a half and is smelling gorgeous!
The picture above is from the website and shows how the finished cake should look.

Not sure if I'll decorate it like this, but it'll be a nice alternative to our regular cake, which I may actually cover in ready made marzipan and icing.
I am not a marzipan fan, so we shall see!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

BEDD - December 3rd

My Christmas Cactus.
This one of those impulse buys. You see it sitting there on shelf and think " Ooh, pretty" and plonk it in your trolley, knowing it'll probably die before you get it home!

I've had this little plant for several years now.
Each year it flowers its' little heart out.

Probably one of the best £1.99s I've ever spent!

Friday, 2 December 2016

BEDD - December 2nd

A very special loo roll holder.

When I went back to college for my final year, after a long illness, the group I was in had been students together for several years and were great friends.

Come Christmas they all pushed the boat out to make wonderful, fun, out-of-the-ordinary 'cards'.

Antony made us all these loo roll holders! (There was about 8 or so in the group).
He is now in charge of the Props Department at The Royal Opera House.
I think we all had an inkling he would go far.

I wonder if it is the only one left in existence?
Just another little tradition.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

BEDD - December 1st

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

a partridge in a pear tree.

This large picture is 50 years old! My dad made it for me to go above the fireplace in my bedroom when I was 6 years old.

It was more a chimney breast with an electric heater as opposed to an open fire, just in case any one is thinking H&S!  We did have open fires in the sitting room and dining room, so I became quite adept at building fires and raking out the ashes and bringing in the coal at a young age.
My mother hated all the work they involved, but I guess it was her left to do all the hard dad went off to work in London daily and I went to school.
It could be a hard life being a housewife in the 60s.

My picture comes out every year and sadly is showing signs of fading and the gold tape around the edges is long gone!

But is still a very important part of my Christmas traditions.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

100 Out; But Not Forgotten

Today my father would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

Daddy, mummy and me
I tried to find some photos from when he was a commercial artist, but to no avail.
But I've several from when he was a Desert Rat in Egypt.

June 1942
Mummy, my aunt, Daddy, his brother, (my uncle) and me
Climbing The Pyramids

Daddy, his mother, (grandma), me and mummy

Happy Birthday Daddy.
Gone but never forgotten, but always missed.
Oh to be able to have one more hug.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

I'm Going To BEDD

I'm going to blog every day in December.
(Or I hope to!)

I have been unravelling faster than I can darn myself up, which doesn't make for interesting blogging in my eyes.

But with BEDD, even if I don't get out of the house, I stand a good chance of having 'all things Christmas' to write about, even if I have to re-use old photos.

So, a month of foodie stuff, fancy outfits even slob-at-home days, deccies, cat photos, anything'll be game for a post.

It would be great if you fancy joining in!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Oh for October

I do hope that October is going to be a positive month!
It hasn't started that well with a miserable, wet and cold day, but tomorrow is supposed to be better. I find that the weather sometimes has a really rough effect on how I feel; think I may be dusting off my Lumie Lamp, one of those SAD-helping lights. It certainly won't do any harm!

It is a bit of a blow that on day one of a new month I am already beating myself up.
It is the Gala Night for The Tempest, a new ballet that Mr B has been working on and I had a ticket to go, but didn't make it. With luck, I'll get to see it in Plymouth at the end of this month, but, oh, the things I have missed out on over the years, with this damned depression.

Also feeling a bit non-plussed about my body pain levels. My GP thought it might be due to a problem with my gallbladder, (which I then had to Google to find where it was!!), causing referred pain. I had an X-ray appointment on Thursday, which caused enough problems and upset just to get there. But I did and for all there is so much knocking of the NHS, my results were there for my GP yesterday morning. She was amazed!

My gallbladder is okay as are my other organs that were ultrasound-ed at the same time. There is some fatty tissue in my liver, which could be caused by anything from my being overweight to my medication.

But they did find an 8cm fibroid. Due to my age, it should start to decrease in size, which is good news. But it could be behind my bladder problems as it could be pressing on it. All in all, good news, but no reason for the pain, so a new prescription is being delivered by my chemist on Monday.

the view from the end of the road where we stay in Plymouth
Not the best start to the month, but my health is better than it could've been and I have a trip to
Plymouth to look forward, so, hurrah!
October...bring it on!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

August Break 3 - Handwriting

So, I'm not putting my handwriting out there to be deciphered.

This is a photo taken 28 years ago, when Mr B and I got together; an old fashioned camera with negatives and real photographs!

ran out of 'O's in this tin, that last word should be lots

Yes kids, I know you are always told not to play with your food, but we're adults and we're allowed!

The really bizarre thing is I don't like tomato sauce and spaghetti makes me retch. So I can safely say that this wasn't my meal!

Can you even still buy Alphabetti Spaghetti?

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

August Break 2 - Leaf

Or, in this case, leaves!

On yet another grey damp day, this is what I can see from my back door. French beans, Virginia Creeper and an unknown tree on the other side of the fence.

Monday, 1 August 2016

August Break 1 - Morning Light

The light this morning was not good.
One of those grey-white skies that makes my eyes hurt!

So I'm choosing a photo of Devils' Point in Plymouth, taken in 2010. As for the light, probably more lunchtime than morning, to be honest.

Just one of my fave photos of my fave places.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Is There Anybody There?


Long time no blog.
Started doing more on Facebook and then found out all the joy I had been missing on Instagram.
But I miss the writing involved in blogging, the composing.

Way back in 2010, a fellow blog friend joined in with 'The August Break', something organised by Sarah Conway. I was going to start my own version, just for me to get myself back into it gently, but found out she is running it again this year.

It's a photo a day and this year there is a list you can follow if you are stumped for ideas.

I must admit, 2010 had quite a few shots of courgettes (!), as it was the first time I'd grown them and I was fascinated by these amazing plants.

So, let's keep our fingers crossed that I manage to get back into the groove! I'm hanging out for
No 31, August was...brilliant!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

BEDM - Day 12, Poetry

Philip Larkin.
Larkin plaque, Belfast - - 596930
Thanks to a very inspirational teacher, Mr Hathaway, when I was 10 or 11 years old, got us to make 'Anthology of Poetry'.
I don't remember what else was in it apart from Larkin.

Image Philip Larkin, Poet & Librarian, Hull University
A family friend went to his memorial service and gave me her Order of Service.
It is one of my treasured possessions.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

BEDM - Day 8, Sandwiches

Give me some bread and butter and a jar of Marmite and I am as happy as a pig in mud!

A strange mix that I only had at breakfast at school...sausage and marmalade. I think we must've been desperate to concoct something more than a sausage for the main course and then bread and marmalade.
Eat your heart out Masterchef!!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

BEDM - Day 4, What's In My Bag?

I have deviated slightly here.
Rather than my handbag, I thought I'd show my little 'important-bits-when-travelling' bag.
It's not very big, 17 x 10 cms, and came as a poppered insert to a larger make-up bag that came with a Clinique Bonus Time many moons ago.
It's what goes in my back-pack when going away.

Working from the top, I have a ball of foot insert and Compeed plasters, 'cos I never know when once comfy footwear becomes a pair of killer shoes!
There's cotton buds, a travel-size nail file that was designed by that bloke off The Apprentice.
A couple of fancy hair slides and a variety of hair elastics and hairgrips and bun pins.
Eyelash glue(!), and a selection of 'lucky charms; lucky pennies, a giant sequin that came off a stage costume, my flying pink pig from Christy, (one of my original blogger mates in the USA), and my ring from Vix. I have this as part lucky charm and part to get it mended (sorry Vix). The ring bit was loose and broke off so I need to find somewhere to solder a new one on. I do believe this was a ring that her mum made, so it is extra special.
Plasters, elastic bands, safety pins, a bit of ribbon, a piece of thin elastic, a wooden hoof stick and a waste bag. It might be one of those waste bags but it'll work on any number of levels!!
Finally, a handy little sewing kit, with threads, a needle and a button.
I am one of those people who is forever swapping my handbag, so depending what I'm doing, the contents change.

At the moment it is my pink skull & crossbones Custard Shop bag. Going for the summery vibe and needed a bag that a long cross-body strap, so I could be hands-free for taking Rene to the vet on Thursday morning as she had been retching and didn't sound too good. The vet said they could put an endoscope down to check there was no obstruction or we could try something to soothe the throat. I went for the latter and she is doing fine.
Will probably keep that bag on the go as I am taking her back for a check-up Monday afternoon.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

BEDM - Day 5, Cinco de Mayo

Received another shoebox-full of eBay winnings today. Rather fittingly, for todays' post, it had a large collection of cacti.

In their very own greenhouse.

OK, this next bit is pure plagiarism!
I saw the picture on Instagram and fell in love with it.
I traced its' home to the blog, Poppytalk.
Aren't they just brilliant?

Butter's Shaped Cookies 
(from Butter Baked Goods, published by Random House)
makes about 24 cookies, using a 3 1/2-inch cutter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 
2. Onto a large piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. 
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again. 
4. Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.
5. Shape the dough into a large disk, about 1 inch thick,  and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
6. Divide the disk in two, and place half the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. 
7. Use the cookie cutter of your choice to cut out about 12 cookies. Carefully transfer to the prepared cookie sheets and place about 1/2 inch apart. You may have to combine the dough scraps and re-roll the dough to cut out enough cookies. Avoid doing this too many times, as the cookies will become tough with over-handling. 
8. Use a rolling pin to roll out the second disk of dough to about 1/4 inch think and repeat step 7. 
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges.
10. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool for about 10 minutes on the sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

Royal Icing 
(Makes 4 cups, enough to coat about 24 cookies)
4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup meringue powder
6 to 8 tablespoons water
1. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the icing sugar and meringue powder. Mix on medium speed until the meringue powder is evenly distributed throughout the icing sugar. 
2. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the water, little by little, until the icing reaches the desired consistency. 
3. Once the water is incorporated, beat the mixture on high to create some volume and lightness in the icing. 

Monday, 2 May 2016

BEDM - Day 2, Monday Musing

Remember to take time to enjoy the little things that Life sends your way.

This little lovely landed on me yesterday and just sat there with its' wings closed, for ages. Then when the camera came out, it very kindly showed off its' delicate markings. 

Today I didn't get to go out in the garden until late on, but just caught the last little bit of sun to hit the willow tree,
So pretty and delicate.
And look at the colour of that sky.

Yep, there's loads of cr*p that we all have to deal with, every day. But every time I see one of those little flutterbys I will think back to that one and smile, and that must be a good thing, right?

Sunday, 1 May 2016

BEDM - Day 1, ECG Whizz

As a starter for 10, for Blog Every Day in May, a little catch up and something that you bloggers don't know about me!!
The other night I was whisked off to NGH, (Northampton General Hospital), with a suspected heart attack!

Don't panic...I'm all OK; just a bit of an achy chest.

I'd put out the big brown wheelie  bin that was full of garden rubbish and although it was on wheels it was still heavy! Then I put out the food refuse bin. Big, big mistake as Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman. Having cleared out the freezer of old out-of-date stuff, the bin was stuffed to the gills. And so much of it still frozen, it was heavier than normal. Thought "ooo" when I picked it up but carried on, as you do. Came back in and the 'ooo' turned to and 'oow'!
"Just a strained muscle", I thought.

I started the dinner and Mr B came home. Still hurty, but OK.
Went to bed and it just wouldn't go away. Mr B was so concerned he called 111 and they sent out a paramedic in a car and an ambulance really fast.

Atal, my wonderful, kind paramedic
(photo by Mr B, not me! Y'know, in case you were wondering...)
An ECG was done, bp checked, a bit high, but that's why I am on meds for that. Other checks were done and although it was probably just a strain, the only way to be sure was to have blood tests done in hospital.

When heart attacks are shown on telly, it always seem to be a gripping pain in the arm and a giant "Arrgh" and a chest clutch as the person hits the floor!
Well, for all we thought it was a strain, the symptoms I had were also pointing to an attack. The fact that I could pinpoint one place for the pain, whereas a pulled muscle would radiate pain even to the back.
So, better safe than sorry!

It was the night after the 'doctors strike'; I was wheeled straight in and dealt with immediately. Fast, efficient and supportive. Kind and caring. I had to wait a couple of hours for the blood tests results but was seen by a doctor prior to them arriving. He checked things out 'manually' so to speak, in my eyes, 'proper doctoring'.
Thank goodness, when they arrived, the results were negative.

I feel a bit of a dope at the moment, even straightening out the bedclothes makes my chest really hurt and I am scared of doing anything in case it causes more pains. I mean, I need to lift things and move stuff and it's not always lightweight!! But it will get better given time.

So, there you go, something you didn't know about me!!
Ha ha!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Mr Blossoms' Blossom

Well, everybody may be celebrating the 90th Birthday of The Queen but here at chez Pennyblossoms we have our own celebration going on.
Mr Blossoms birthday!


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Show Them Your Cross

I tried to find The Vicar of Dibley joke on Youtube, but had no joy.

As mentioned in my previous post, this is the French crucifix that I bought at the Vintage Fair, along with a 'Souvenir de Paris' scarf.

I am intrigued about the skull on it.
Does anyone know why?

Gosh, the weather since we came home has been tremendous, so I 've been a busy bee in the garden. Seeds, re-potting plants and actually planting the rose bushes which I bought in February and just heeled in for the last 2 months. Still, they look okay and are throwing out new shoots, so hopefully there'll be lots of lovely smelling flowers later in the year.

Summer...bring it on!!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Goesy Posey Tiddly Rosey

Well, I seem to have gone from not going out of the house for days (weeks?) on end, to being a super-busy bee!

On Saturday there was our local Vintage Fair at St Matthews. I bought the most beautiful old French crucifix from Bryony, but have yet to photograph it.

Met up with Trevor's, (who organises the fairs), mum, Margaret, aka 'Twinnie' as we share the same birth day. There were vintage tablecloths and the most delicious smelling daffodils on each of the tea room tables. I partook of a particularly yummy slice of homemade chocolate cake.

Sunday we went to our first ever Asian wedding. It was our neighbour, who we have watched grow up from a young boy to a charming, caring man.

His wife was from Luton, so there was a big red double-decker bus laid on to get there, along with a white stretch Hummer and limousine for the groom and his family.

We were allowed to 'break' the rule of segregating the men upstairs and women below as Mr B sat with me on the bus, but for the meal we adhered to the same segregation. We had no idea what to expect and it was all very fluid, no panic over timings or anything!!

The food was great, the bride was stunning and our mate looked great in his groomsman outfit.
It was fabulous.

Monday we travelled down late in the day to Plymouth. It is weird coming down a day later, I seem to be playing catch up since.

blossom trees along the road where we stay
I had a great day in town yesterday and got my hair cut at Toni & Guy. No restyle or anything just a major tidy up which was direly needed.

the view from one end of our road over Plymouth Sound
I met Mr B for lunch and he finished work early enough to has a fish and chip supper, whilst the sky gave us a wonderful display.

view from outside the West Hoe Chippy at the other end of the road
 Tomorrow I am hoping to meet up with a friend and go and see the ballet, Romeo & Juliet, an old classic with amazing music.
Can't wait!

Monday, 28 March 2016

A World Of Kitties

 We may have gone out and left our kitty in the hotel, but I cannot think of a better way to spend an hour than going to The Kitty Café.

These cat cafes started in Japan, I believe,
 and now seem to be infiltrating over in the UK too. There's apparently one due to open in Manchester.

But this seems such a good idea.
There is a cattery at the back and most of the cats are recue cats and if you really fall in love with one you can give it a home!!

Rene did her best to be 'feline non grata' last night, she would not stop mewing, wanting to go out into the hall, not wanting anything, wanting the shower put on so she could drink the water, although she had bottled water already down. She even just sat and yowled at me while I was sitting on the loo!

travel cat and companions
Of course, she just sleeps all through the day, doesn't she!!
Still, she had an exciting journey from the rail station to the hotel on the tram!! And we went on the travellator at Manchester station.

So, it's been an exciting time for a little kitty.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Resurrection Shuffle

Greetings from Nottingham.

We arrived yesterday evening after a bit of an annoying train journey.

Sadly we missed The Nottingham Panthers winning their ice hockey match, but by the time I hit the hotel I was zonked!

We had a little rest and then went to The Cross Keys for a great meal. This was our 'local' the last time we were here and the scene of my 'Bloody Brigadoon' moment, here.

It was that good that we booked in for Sunday lunch today and it was awesome! So good I forgot to take pictures!!

If there is one day of the year to wear my beloved rosaries today is it. I am not majorly religious in any way, but I love these two items and their unknown history. The dark one I bought in Plymouth and was told it was very, very old and the pale one I bought from Briony at the Vintage Fair a while back and is French.

Mr B goes into work tomorrow evening, so we have another 'holiday' day together, which will be lovely.
Hope you all have a great Bank Holiday Monday!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Tea Wars

I think there may be a storm brewing!!

Although I don't drink tea, Mr B seems to have acquired quite a selection!
Yorkshire, Lancashire, West Country and Ty-phoo.
The little bottle green tin on the top shelf is Lady Grey.

If ever you visit, you know you will be assured of a nice cuppa!

Happy Good Friday!