Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Menu Planning & Batch Cooking

Today i am on holiday....well for the rest of the week actually!. I went to the allotment this morning and despite my neglect have managed to bring home potatoes, beans, tomatoes and 3 blueberries!. oh, and the potatoes are blue!. i'll take a piccie of them later on!.

This afternoon i have been working on a master shopping list and blank monthly menu planner, because i'd like to get to the point of having say 6 monthly menus planned, with accompanying shopping list, so that i just pick a menu, pull off the shopping list, add any extras and away i go. I'm hoping it saves me some money(meal planning usually does) and stops me from having rubbish dinners when i dont know what to cook, havent taken anything out of the freezer, and am to tired to cook. I've used plans before... here we've tried fortnightly and monthly, but didnt stick to it long enough to evaluate.
I'm planning on doing a whole load of batch cooking and put lots of single portion meals into the freezer that are either a meal in their entirity, or just need pasta or rice cooked to go with it.
I'm going to try a new recipe each month to expand what i usually cook, so that i can take a break from a regular recipe one month, cos there is enough variety to choose from. I did this recently with my bolognese- i hadnt made it for a while, and then made some last month and it was yum!. i'm making a double batch for Sept, and resting the chilli recipe!.
I'm thinking this process is going to take me a few months to pull together, but i look forward to it....it feeds the organiser in me!!.
Who menu plans, how do you do it, and any tips?!.

Friday, August 26, 2011

the beauty of nature

took this photo this evening out the back of the house.....if you look closely, theres a second rainbow to the left of the main one. unfortunately i havent captured the intensity of the colours...it was really quite bright.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1st flat.....

I was looking on one of the forums i visit this morning, and came across a thread about 1st homes. i decided to add to it, and also decided to copy what i wrote to here in order to remember....

this flat was in Catford, St London and i lived there from 2003-2005.
its interesting that i read this thread this morning, as i've just finished looking at a mini book i made in 2006 featuring the place i consider my 1st home....where i lived on my own, no flatmate, no housesitting, no parents!.
i rented it for 3 yrs, it was on the 4th floor of a purpose built block along train lines in south London...the kitchen window looked out over the yards. when i moved in, it had been painted an 'attractive' mix of bright blue and neon pink....i have a photo somewhere of a small wall that was badly painted down the middle with the blue on one side and pink on the other!!. I managed to get the landlord to repaint it for me into magnolia!! made a huge difference to the light levels!.
i moved in with hand me downs....a mattress(that i still use) and a tv and my suitcase. over the time, i was given a sofa(long gone!), poof, and dressing table(still got both these items from Amanda)....the sofa had 'roll together!!'. the flat had great storage in the bedroom, so all my clothes were able to be stored properly.
I brought my first piece of UK furniture during that time....which sits beside me now as i type. it is a vintage cane table that i saw from the bus to and from a maternity nursing job i had in 2003. i was in that job for 6 weeks and passed the table twice a week on my 24hrs off. i decided on the way back to work for the last time that if the table was still there when i went home at the end of the job, i would go buy it. it was!. so the next day i got the bus to the shop, negotiated a better price! and then got a cab home with it.
I loved being on the 4th floor....didnt need nets, so lots of light and sun. great memories....the building being hit by lightning in the big storms of 2003...blew all my electricals along one wall only!......computer, tv and dvd player. the computer was covered by insurance, and since the tv and dvd were handme downs, it wasnt so bad, other than i had to fork out for new ones!.
great memories!!.

from this flat i moved to St Albans....another place i really enjoyed living in, even if i was only there for 9mths!. Then onto Enfield, since late 2005.
I will have to try and find some photos to add for this flat, plus write about the one on St Albans to keep the memory alive.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Here it is, in all its glory, my very first ever crochet project, completed thanks to the superb tutorial by Lucy at Attic24
At the bottom is the cushion i brought off ebay for less than £3 inc postage, that i put inside. it turned out to be slightly oval rather than round, so i just did an extra row to make sure it wasnt overly stretched going round the cushion. Next time(!) i do this, i will take the cover off the cushion once i get it, as you can definately see the pink thru the stitches, but it doesn't distract from the piece...i just know its there!.

Thank you Lucy for you brilliant tutorial....you have taught me to crochet thru your excellent pictures and explanations.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First crochet project completed!

I started the bloomin flower cushion on the 23rd of July and finished it this evening. I only worked on it at evenings until today, when i decided to take the back on the bus to see if i could get it nearer to finishing. Thanks to the 'jolly' road works on the north circular, i was able to do 2 rounds, and when i got to work and measured it against the front(that i'd taken for show n tell!!), i realised i only needed to do the final round of petals on the back. Luckily i had taken 3 colours of yarn with me, so on the journey home i got the petals done!. then this evening after dinner, i joined it up....after having a bit of an argument with the slip stitch instructions!. finally understood what i had to do, and joined it up!!.
Sadly its to dark to take completed photos, so i will do that tomorrow night or saturday!!.
I'm so chuffed with myself!!.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm getting the hang of this crochet lark.....

So, since i have cracked the code, i've been crocheting all over the place...on the bus, at the cricket!!. Last week i tried making some granny squares on the bus. At the start of the week i could do 2 rounds of a 3 round granny, and by friday i could do a whole square plus the start of the next one. I did take photos of my pile so far, but the lighting was wrong, so that 'show-n-tell' will have to wait!.

The bloomin flower cushion is almost done....i did 3 more rounds after work tonight, and reckon theres only 3 rounds to go, plus joining the 2 sides together. I have included a somewhat blurry photo as a tease!!.

Then one evening last week, i pulled out a vintage Patons pattern book i brought of ebay a few months back and flicked thru, and came across these flowers and decided to update them with some funky colours. I've only made the 2 so far, cos i dont actually know what i'll do with them yet!.

The sultana cake i made sunday week ago is just about gone, and is still as yummy today as it was when it was first made. will have to do some more baking this weekend!. I'm thinking, in light of this new hobby of crochet, that maybe i'll make some afghans....which will only mean something to the kiwi folk!!. (Afghan is a name for a crochetted throw, as well as being a yummy kiwi choccie biccie....and a war torn country!).

Sunday, August 14, 2011


source EDITED 1/9/11 to link to a home town party over at centsational girl. this is a picture of the Catheral at the heart of my hometown of Christchurch New Zealand. On Feb 22nd this year, my city suffered a devasting earthquake that took the best part of 200 lives and destroyed alot of the historic building, including this beautiful Catheral. It is now being propped up by scaffolding and has lost most its spire and roof. Below is a video i found which shows my town in all her glory before the quakes.

Christchurch-Timelapse from lukaskaupenjohann on Vimeo.

I was blog hoping this evening, and came across this time laspe video of Christchurch. its beautiful....my hometown before the earthquakes and how i remember her.

Friday, August 12, 2011

May i just say.....

That yarn i got is the most snuggliest wool i've ever felt i reckon....its so much nicer than the 100% i had for another project. I'm loving it, and have made 8 squares so far!. yesterday on the bus i only managed 2 rounds of a square, today i managed the whole square and the start of the next one!. i'm getting quicker, have pretty much got the pattern in my head now, and i'm also getting neater!.
I'll show some piccies over the weekend!.
Oh, and the cushion pad is at the post office waiting to be collect, so i hope to finish that this weekend!.
hope i've got the making of my own Lucy Ta Dah post!!.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

new stash!

my new found hobby means i have to buy more stash!!. this is oh so yummy 100% merino wool for a blanket i'm making. i just ordered 7 colours to test how they would be in real life vs the colour on the net....just like i used to do with cardstock!!.
I ordered from yarns4less and am very pleased with the service and speed of the order. I ordered this 4 days ago and got it today!.
on the whole i'm happy with the colours, but would have liked the darker pink and lilac to have been a bit more vibrant. I cant wait to crochet a few more squares with the new colours.

I also won the cushion pad i was after on ebay, so hopefully that will arrive soonish, so i can finish the bloomin flower cushion.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

some Sunday kitchen love!

This morning i planned to mow the lawns, 'cept when i got outside the grass was very wet and the sky getting darker by the minute, so i made the decision not to use an electric mower in those conditions!. I decided to bake instead!.
So i put on my stereo with its 5 CD changer and made a sultana cake from a recipe thats been in my mothers family for donkeys years!.
then i had a small tidy and decided to take a few picces to record the morning!.
so here they are....
my stereo on my lovely freecycle sideboard

the sultana cake

my kitchen bench

my lovely bowl from a pottery fair in St Albans(i have a bowl fetish!)

And finally my first 2 attempts at a crochet granny square!

I have begun the back of the bloomin flower cushion and placed a bid for a cushion pad on ebay. I'm not sure how big i want it to be, and part of me also wants to finish it as i have a history of not finishing projects, so making it smaller than Lucys may be the answer!. So now i wait for the pad so i can then work out how much bigger it needs to be.

new header #2

had another play this morning making a new header, adding in a piccie of the newly cracked hobby of crochet. i had to forgo my lovely tulip photo as its not portrait so have replaced it with a pic of Big Ben, since i currently live in London.
so l-r, (all my own images) my blooming flower cushion as of last weekend; a road in Oxford, North Canterbury, NZ; my dear old lilly puss back in Christchurch; and Big Ben taken from the Thames a year ago when i returned by boat from the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

on the flower cushion front, i have added another colour and begun the back as i'm not sure how big i want the cushion to be. I'd looked on ebay for a second hand pad to go inside and will then decide on the final size based on whichever pad i win.
I also made my first 2 granny squares yesterday...the first one was very tatty, the second one better, but the pattern is easy to understand, so i should be able to churn out a few on the bus or in the evening when i'm to tired to count the flower cushion rounds!.

Last comment goes to England Rugby......why the 'F' are you wearing black, you look ridiculous. everytime i looked at the screen i thought i was watching NZ play wales, not you. You're not the All Blacks, you never will be, go back to your white strip!!. *breathes out* that feels better!.
And didnt the AB's do a fantastic job over Australia.....i do love to watch a good Aussie defeat!.(wouldnt be a true kiwi if i didnt!).