Thursday, 24 November 2016


Good Afternoon to you,

I am always excited to receive a birthday gift, an anniversary gift or a Christmas gift, but do you know, I am even more excited, when I receive an unexpected gift.

.... and this is exactly what happened a few weeks ago, when I received,

this vintage Harris Sewing Machine.

Firstly I was thrilled, that our friend Nick, even thought about me and secondly that he would take the time to drive, a couple of hundred miles, to our house, to deliver this vintage sewing machine right to my door.... how kind was that.

When it arrived, it came with this beautiful wooden cover. As you can see the handle is missing, but I am going to see if I can find a replacement.

I have never heard of a Harris Sewing Machine, and as yet, I have not had the time to do any research. When I have a spare 5 minutes, I will begin to look into the history of this sewing machine.... which I am looking forward to doing.

I'm not even sure if Harris is an English make, of course there is the possibility that this Harris sewing machine could have been made in America. I will let you know when I find out.

I am intrigued to discover this machines history, because when you take a closer look at the gold and orange design around the base of the machine, it looks more like an Indian design.  I do know, the previous owner of this machine, travelled the world, but whether this machine was bought in India or made for the export market, I'm not sure.

I am intrigued by the bobbin, because I have never seen this design before.  I have left the thread hanging so that you can see the position of the bobbin. 

I love that the needle size required for this machine is etched on the little plate.... a great idea isn't it. I know it will be of no use to me now, but back in the day, when this machine was being used, if the handbook was ever lost, the owner would always have the needle size to hand. 

.... and look at this little bobbin case, it looks more like a shuttle. It took a little getting used to, because at first I found it difficult to slot the case into the machine, but after a little practice I was fine.

.... and take a closer look at the stamped design. You can see how vibrant  the colours are, it's as if the design had only recently been stamped onto the machine.... can you tell I'm a tad excited by this sewing machine.

This beautiful machine, does need some tender loving care, as it has been put away for many years and not used. Do you know, I am so pleased to be the one to administer the tender loving care this machine needs.

I do have a friend who knows of someone who repairs vintage sewing machines.  So after Christmas, I will be paying the gentleman a visit, to see what can be done, to bring this lovely machine back to full working order.

....and what do you think of,

my Christmas Cactus?  

Isn't it just fabulous.

This little plant lies dormant for the whole year, not looking particularly attractive, but when late November arrives, it flowers and it flowers and it flowers. It  changes from a mundane plant into the most spectacular plant.

The position in the port hole is perfect as the cactus has plenty of light.  Once a month, I very carefully, turn the plant, because apparently if you move the plant too much, it will not flower so well, that year. I also water it just a little, not too much, but enough that the plant can drink. One word of advice would be, if your not sure whether or not to water your plant, my recommendation would be, touch the top soil, if it is dry, then it is time to water, but the one thing you must never do, is over water, they hate waterlogged soil.

Oh yes and when you see the tips of the cactus turning red, it is time to feed the plant.

I am so thrilled to say, I have been doing the right thing, because this flowering Christmas Cactus looks amazing.

Don't you agree?

Before I leave you, I would like to wish all my American friends, 

'A Happy Thanksgiving'.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,

As Always,

Sunday, 20 November 2016


Good Morning to you,


It is Sunday afternoon and normally I would not be writing to you, but as today is 'Stir It Up Sunday' I thought I would pop by, to see if you are busy making your Christmas puddings today.

Christmas puddings are very traditional in my home and I make them most years, and the amount I make, depends on who is coming to stay for Christmas. 

At this time of year, when I am baking my Christmas cakes and puddings, my father is uppermost in my mind, because I can hear him say, 'Lovely mince pies, but I  think the pastry could have been a little thinner'. When it came to mince pies my father loved thin crumbly pastry, the thinner the better. I have to tell you, I never knew if I ever made the pastry thin enough, I think, after years of making mince pies, it just became a joke between the two of us. Having said that, he always ate the mince pies I baked and he always enjoyed them. So I think secretly he loved them.

So I wondered.  Are you making your Christmas pudding today.... and if so, are you looking for a recipe? 

Are you checking your cookery books to find a recipe you like? Now if you have your own family recipe, I would love to hear how you make your Christmas pudding, but if you are in need of a recipe, why not give my recipe a try.  I promise you, if you are a lover of Christmas pudding, you will not be disappointed with this recipe. I have provided step by step instructions which will make it much easier to follow the recipe. 

Now, why do I feel so confident about my recipe? 

Well, my father, David,  loved this Christmas pudding.... and that is all the recommendation I need.

Take care and I will see you on Thursday.

As Always,

Thursday, 17 November 2016


Good Morning to you,

I do love my home.

I take great pride in the fact, that during our marriage, with each move, of which there have been many, I have made a comfortable home for George, Natasha and Danielle.

Sometimes, the houses were large, with lots of space, which I loved and sometimes the houses were much smaller, and it was a case of squeezing 2 pints into a pint pot, not an easy thing to do, but with all the moves, I always took comfort, in the fact, that I would be able to pack up our home and transplant it, into another county or another country and that once everything was unpacked, it would feel like home again.

So I thought, today, I would show you a little corner of my home. Are you surprised? A little unusual for me isn't it, because you associate me with cooking and baking, but I do have other 'strings to my bow', I love interior design.

.... and the reason I am sharing my home with you is, I wanted to show you this fabulous throw which I have recently finished. I know, it is very un-English of me, to blow my own trumpet, but do you know, I can't help myself, as I am thrilled with the end result.

It was not complicated, and I did not use a pattern, as I have mentioned to you once or twice before, I start with a germ of an idea and the idea grows as I sew, embroider or crochet, until I end up with the look I want.

Which is what happened with this throw. Are you disappointed? Are you now wondering, what all the fuss is about. I grant you, this throw looks simple enough, a basic treble stitch.

.... but look what I added,

Three rows of fabulous frills.  I love the heather colour of this throw.  

This throw is made up of  treble stitches, which I merrily crocheted, until I reach the length I wanted. When I finished, I knew I wanted to add something else, to make the throw a little more striking and fortunately, when I was visiting a friend a month or so ago, we decided to pop into a local wool shop.  It was there that I discovered this dusky pink wool. It was the perfect colour, there and then I knew I wanted to add some frills to the throw. I have no idea where that idea came from, but I do find ideas pop into my head, if I touch material, or I see a certain colour, they just speak to me and tell me what to do.

To be honest with you, I hadn't a clue where to begin, but I just thought, I know how to increase stitches when I am knitting a sweater,  so I picked up my crochet hook and from there, it was full steam ahead.

First I added the frill to the bottom of the throw using the dusky pink, but I felt it needed a little more 'vava voom' so I crocheted another two frills.

I liked what I had achieved, but it needed a little something extra. So I decided to add another row of the Heather wool to bring the throw together.... and I think it looks fabulous.

This is a corner of my living room, which I love, perfect for the summer months, as it is so light and airy, but I wanted to add some warmer tones for the winter.

So my summery, light living room, went from this,

to this,

to this, and I couldn't be more pleased. I am so happy with this throw that I have decided to make a Christmas version as well, using red and green.

Danielle saw this throw and loved it, so I have made one for her, in grey and dusky pink.... and then Natasha saw my throw and also loved it, so I made another one for Natasha..... which is now sitting on her settee in America, ready and waiting for the colder, winter weather, which I believe, is heading her way this weekend.

.... and if you are thinking that the frills would be a little uncomfortable to sit on.  Don't worry as the throw lives over the arm of the settee when it's not being used.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a little corner of my home.... you never know, it might not be the last.

Take care and I will see you on Thursday.

This week I will be joining,


As Always,

Thursday, 10 November 2016


Good Afternoon to you,

Yesterday, I spent a lovely few hours visiting my hairdresser, where I had a cut and blow dry. I tend to do this every six weeks or so.

....and after my visit, I felt very shuzzy. A little like Rita Hayworth in the 1940's film, Gilda. Do you remember when Rita Hayworth swished those beautiful locks of hers, gosh her hair was fabulous.

Nowadays, my hair is just about long enough, to enjoy a slight swish, although in my mind, it felt more like a Rita Hayworth swish, because I felt so good about my hair.

So why does a visit to the hairdresser cheer me up so much.   I think the reason is, the time I spend in the hairdressers, is just about me.  That sounds a little self centred, doesn't it,  but sometimes my days are so busy that I forget about my needs. I get so caught up with other things. 

Are you the same? 

I have to say, my needs aren't many, but a visit to the hairdresser is something I really enjoy.

When I lived in Cyprus, I grew my hair longer and tied it into a bun.  Now that might sound odd, you would imagine that a shorter hair style would be much better in such a hot climate, but I found the reverse to be true. Due to the heat and swimming in the sea, I needed to wash my hair every other day. I found it so easy, to wash my hair, then whilst it was still wet, tie it back into a loose bun..... no shuzzing for me.  I still looked smart, but with much less fuss.

When I arrived back in England, I wanted a more stylish hair cut, so the shoulder length hair was cut into a bob.... and I love it. I can style it in all sorts of ways, I can straighten it, I can curl it, I can clip my hair from my face.... perfect for gardening. There are so many options.

.... and don't you find, when your hair is out of sorts and not looking as you would like it to, whatever outfit you are wearing, just does not feel as good. On the other hand, if my hair is looking fabulous, I can wear a pair of slouchy trousers, a t-shirt and some pumps and I feel fabulous.... it's all about the hair.

.... can I also include a manicure and pedicure to the list.  Now this does not happen very often, because I cook, I sew using a thimble and I am also a keen gardener.  All these loves, are not conducive to prettily painted nails, but when I am with my daughters, we love nothing better than a little nail therapy.... and because I do this once, or twice a year, when my nails are painted, I can't stop looking at them, because they are so pretty.

So how about you, what makes you feel shuzzy?

Your list is probably totally different to mine. It would be fun to compare.... maybe I could add one or two things from your list onto mine.

So what else was on my list yesterday?  

I made this Spicy Vegetable dish and served it with Bulgur Wheat. It was just the ticket. After being poorly, I really had a craving for vegetables.  I often make this dish with left over vegetables.... you know the one or two vegetables languishing in the bottom of the vegetable basket.  It really is such a versatile dish. Now please don't look at the list of ingredients and think there are a lot, because I have included quite a few spices.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to is,

the 1965 Rubber Soul Album by The Beatles. My word it still sounds good.

The reason I am listening to this album is,  last week, Phyllis took a trip, with her friends, to Liverpool. Whilst there, they could not miss the opportunity to visit The Cavern Club, where The Beatles used to play in the 1960's. She said it was a really nostalgic visit, because both Phyllis and my father loved The Beatles music when they were younger. So I thought it would be fun to find my Beatles albums and transport myself back to the '60's.... do you want to come along?

So while I am listening to, and thoroughly enjoying this album, especially the song 'In My Life',  it is time to organise my ingredients.


l large onion or 2 red onions
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of turmeric
3 large cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 large carrots
1 small squash (300g)
1 sweet potato (approx 300g)
1 x 400g tin of tomatoes
1 x 400g tin of chick peas
1/2 pint of chicken stock
1 teaspoon of salt
ground black pepper

250g Bulgur Wheat
1 level teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 180C

Peel the skin from the squash, remove the seeds and chop into medium sized pieces.  

Peel the skin from the sweet potato and chop into medium sized pieces.

Peel the skin from the carrots and again chop into medium sized pieces and set aside for the moment.

Place the squash and sweet potato on to a large baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss the vegetables to make sure they are covered with olive oil.

Place in the pre-heated 180C oven and roast for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.  

Remove from the oven half way through the roasting time and turn the vegetables over.  Return to the oven. You want the vegetables to be dark in colour.

Whilst the vegetables are roasting.

Peel and finely slice the onions.

Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a wide pan and add the sliced onions.

Cook until golden brown.

Grate the garlic and add to the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes.

Then add the chilli flakes, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric and tomato paste. Mix together and stir for a further 2 minutes.

Add the chopped raw carrots and stir.

Add the tin tomatoes and stir.

Pour the stock into the pan, place a lid on the pan and simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots are just tender.  You don't want them to be soggy.

While the carrots are cooking.

Cook the Bulgur wheat as per the manufacturer's instructions ~ I add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil before cooking the Bulgar wheat.

Whilst the Bulgur wheat is cooking, remove the squash and sweet potato from the oven and place into the pan with the carrots.

Drain the chickpeas and add to the pan.

Stir gently for 5 minutes.  There is not a lot of liquid in this dish, but if you feel that the dish is becoming a little dry, add a little water to loosen the mixture.

Add freshly ground pepper, then check for to see if you need to add anymore salt.

Place the cooked Bulgur wheat into a bowl and ladle the spicy vegetables on top.

Then, all there is left to do is, find a fork,



This dish serves 4 people, which is too much for George and I.  I place half of the spicy vegetables and half the Bulgur wheat into bowls, pop on the lids and place in the fridge to enjoy the following day.

Do you know, I think the spicy vegetables tasted better the second day, because leaving them overnight, allowed the flavours to develop even further. 

Now, I feel sure you are wondering why I did not say use one whole squash and one whole sweet potato. It would have made life a lot easier.  The reason is I couldn't find the correct weight I wanted, so I bought a large squash and a large sweet potato.  

I roasted them together and divided the vegetables to give me the correct weight for this dish,

and the rest, 

well I added some stock and I blitz the remaining squash and sweet potato and hey presto I had 2 dishes of soup for our lunch.

Nothing was wasted. Now that's my style of cooking.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,


As Always,

Monday, 7 November 2016


Good Morning to you,

I do hate being ill.  

I find when I am lying in bed, I am thinking of all the things I need to do.  I really want to be up and about, doing.... but of course, when your coughing and spluttering and on top of that, you can't decide, whether your hot or cold, there really is, no better place to be, than tucked up in bed.

....also, I received stern words from George last week, after he caught me writing to you. He told me I had to stay in bed until I felt better and that he was keeping an eye on me to make sure I did.

So stay in bed I did.... and now I feel a whole lot better, not 100%, but much, much better.

.... and because I was unwell last week, there are no recipes to share with you today.

So instead, I thought I would show you my creative pleasures.

These little squares are going to be hand sewn together to make a lovely quilt for my friend.

It is a simple 4 patch block, but I love the mix of colours.  I think I am going to add white sashing to the completed squares, but I'll make that decision when I have sewn all the 4 patch blocks.

This bright Christmas project is one I am taking to my sewing group.

I have to say, it took me quite a while before I could reach for my needle and thread, because first  I had to cut out my 2 cardboard hexagon templates. I then cut out the papers using the smaller cardboard template and then I had to cut out the material hexagons using the larger template.... this all took quite some time.  

My friend Avril, is the person who inspired me to make this quilt as she is making a flower garden quilt in different shades of blue and I have to tell you it is stunning.... she is a real talent where patchwork is concerned. 

As you can see the pencil slipped on a number of occasions, I think I need to find my rubber, to tidy up those pencil marks. I'm not sure how many hexagons I will need, because my work tends to be organic.  I start with a germ of an idea and the idea grows as my work progresses, so I might need 500 hexagons or I might need 750 hexagons. I think I need to ask the family to start saving all their white envelopes, because I think I am going to need their help.

However many I need, I have to say, I am really enjoying this project.  I cut the material and paper hexagons at home, but I keep the hand sewing to do at my sewing group.  It is such an easily transportable piece of sewing.... hardly any weight at all.

I won't have the quilt finished for this Christmas, but it will be ready for next Christmas.  I have already made a Christmas quilt for Natasha, so this one will be for Danielle.... I just know, she will love it, as much as I am loving, sewing the pieces together.

.... and I just had to show you how my crochet was getting along.  This is a simple medallion pattern, which is fun to do. I chose this because I have to re-learn how to read a crochet pattern, as I haven't read one for years.  The trouble is, I am a visual learner and the book I am using, has a crochet diagram, so my eyes keep straying over to the diagram, instead of the crochet instructions. I think I need to cover the diagram, to help me learn all the crochet abbreviations. I think this could take some time.

Just before I leave you, I wanted to say, because I was poorly, I was unable to answer the comments which you so kindly wrote, but I promise I will be catching up with you during the week.

Take care and I will see you again on Thursday.

As Always,

Thursday, 3 November 2016


Good Morning to you,

Phyllis asked me last week, if I had received my flu injection this year.  I replied, I didn't think I  needed one, as I have been as fit as a fiddle.

.... but can you believe it, the following day, I became poorly. 

It started on Monday evening, when my throat felt a little sore, then it progressed to a heavy cold. I cannot stop coughing and sneezing. It certainly isn't the flu, but my word I feel poorly.

I am taking medication, so hopefully by the weekend, I will be back to my normal self.

So I am sorry to say,

my kitchen is closed for the moment.

I am hoping to catch up with you again on Sunday.

Until then, take care.

As Always,

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