Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas is on it's way Stage 5: Christmas Tree Time!

Now I only have one photo of me and the tree and that's in the dark and after an hour and a half of decoration. There will be a better photo soon but at the moment I'm performing at the weekends and I leave the house when it's dark and arrive home in the dark so it'll have to do. 

Our tree is magnificent. We again did the old "shall we just get a smaller tree this year?" thing and then opted for the biggest one. 

Excuse the extremely tired face...I was, erm, tired. 

This was all Tim could see of me in the car as we had to squish the tree in and put the eats down in the back.

 It's 7ft. We live in a terrace. It's pretty much taking up a third of our living room BUT it's blummin gorgeous!

I bought some gold baubles and sparkly snowflakes to add this year as last year Tim decorated it and went with just red and green and I like a little extra sparkle. 

Can you tell how excited I am? 

I'll get some proper pics nearer to the day, I'm off to visit my Nana this weekend in Sunderland and next weekend I'm performing in Torquay on Friday and Chester on Saturday! A little whirlwind of fun for me this year!

And one last photo, I am actually being a christmas tree at the moment. Here is me in my costume (minus star hat and without the lights switched on). Gangsta Treepin' (yep...I did just say that).

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas is on its way Stage 4: Bake something suitably Christmassy!

Sorry for the non posting of late, I've been a bit poorly but I'm ship shape and ready to go again and I've been baking.

I decided I'd give gingerbread a bash. I am disastrous when it comes to baking any sort of remotely biscuity based thing so I was very surprised when it all turned out extremely yummy and tasty!

If you're after an excellent recipe try the Hummingbird Bakery book (I love this book so much I can't even begin to put it into words!). Everything I have ever baked from this book has turned out perfect and absolutely delicious.

Next time I think I'll cut them a little bigger, they were more of a ginger cookie than gingerbread as they weren't very soft in the middle, but you live and learn.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Christmas is on it's way: Stage 3: Gawp at Weird/Amazing Food

It's always an odd one isn't it? Things you normally wouldn't even begin to believe anyone would put together start to come alive in the aisles of local shops.

I know I'll look at something and think ewwww..... but if it looks remotely Christmassy before I have time to think it's in the trolley and being carted away to the checkout or I spend my days puzzling over what it would be like (even if the thought is disgusting) only to buy some just to see...of course.

Take the following two for example:

Mince Pie popcorn, yup, I can see how that could work. 

Christmas pudding and brandy butter crisps. I have no idea why this seems apetising. 

Yet along with the odd things there is always the old favorites coming back into play, such as (drumroll please): 

Pork, pickle and cheddar pies. This to me is a sign that Christmas is coming. I will not be able to stop myself from stuffing my face with these until Christmas. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Slow Cooking: Spicy Beef Stew

As you might remember, or maybe not, I mentioned a few blogs ago that I'd bought a slow cooker. I was keen to get to grips it and thought I'd make something quite simple, filling, spicy and tasty as the winter is drawing in.

Based a little on a goulash of sorts, I added the following copped ingredients to the pot, left it for 9 hours on low and voila, lovely stew.

3 onions
3 potatoes
2 green peppers
2 carrots
600g casserole steak
2 cans chopped tomatoes
500ml beef stock
1 tbsp squeezy garlic
3 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp hot chilli powder
1 tbsp mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Although I make the rookie mistake of not par boiling the potatoes before so they were a little hard but as I was taking this into work each day and re heating in the microwave it meant that it softened them up a little. Just something to note for next time.


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Filmfest

Last Saturday saw our Halloween filmfest where, as I'm sure you have guessed from the snappy title, we cerebrated Halloween a little bit early in suitably scary fashion but watching back to back horror and stuffing our faces.

I dressed up (ish) in my new Shaun of the Dead inspired t-shirt from Qwertee
 We laid on a little food some of it Halloween themed (such as the snake sandwich below!) and I made swamp water punch which pretty much tasted like lilt.

Everyone carved pumpkins (mine and Tim's in the middle) and a prize went to Joe and Chelle for the best - second from left in the below photo.

We settled ourselves down with lots of popcorn and we watched:
The Sword and the Sorcerer (not strictly a horror, not strictly any good....thanks Tim)
The Blob
The Shining
 The Mist

 The Shining was my choice, I still find it just as scary as when I first watched it as a young teen. There's still something horribly chilling about it and it's a masterpiece in how to shoot a beautiful film.

 The axe swinging shot of Jack it so ridiculously well filmed and the bit of trivia that goes along with it: the fake door originally used was replaced with a real one when Nicholson chopped through the fake one too quickly, having volunteered as a fire marshal. Impressive and terrifying in equal measure.

 Hope whatever you're doing tonight you have a spooktacular Halloween!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Halloween Filmfest: Costume-ish

As you may remember today is the day of the filmfest .

As I thought was appropriate I bought a new tee from Qwertee  added some crappy red eyelashes from Tesco's dubious Halloween section and will be sporting what can only be described as a boufantt hair do.

I'll be blogging fully about our filmfest soon ;D

Christmas is on it's way Stage 2: Bling Up The "Tree"

I realise I may have been a little quite this past week or so. I did have plans for blog but a couple feel through...

1. The Halloween wreath I attempted to make went disastrously wrong, so I gave up on that....and it could have been so pretty....

2. The walk to find sloes to make gin resulted in no sloes whatsoever, but we did have a very lovely long walk in the sunshine.

So that was that. I do have one currently in the process but everything takes a little longer now husband is back at Uni full time as I have no access sat home to the pc as he's usually in the spare room til late working every night.

So what have I been doing with my time? I have in fact been making my Christmas tree costume a lot more bling. I decided it was far too sparse of baubles so spent four nights happily sewing baubles onto it and sleigh bells to make it jingle as I walk. That and adding lots of tiny sleigh bells to the gloves too.

Ta-da - the finished product!

This one is from last year but I will be a lot more baubly and jingly this time round :D 

If you're confused as to why I might have  Christmas Tree costume in the first place, may I direct you here, to my other website. I know it's not something I blog about a lot but I did say I'd update here if I did any kind of craft stuff related to my other part time career!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Christmas is on it's way: Stage 1: Christmas Cakes

I make Christmas cakes for my family every year. This is now a grand total of four.

When I was younger my Great Nana Wilde use to do this and we'd lovingly tuck into a slice of extremely boozy cake every Christmas. I took over the tradition after a long period of shop bought cakes and thought it would be a nice thing to do for the relatives.

I don't see them very often (most are in the North East) and now the family has expended somewhat I wont be spending Christmas at my Aunty Kathleen's as she has an ever expanding number to cook for with four grandchildren, three children plus partners and that's a lot of folk to be running about after on Christmas Day!  It's my way of contributing to a family Christmas without actually having one.

So this week I started on the epic bake-a-thon that has become quite the tradition in our house, although we were leaving it a few weeks late, we usually have it all done by mid-September.

I always use Delia Smith recipe from her Christmas book and I use 3 barrels brandy as it's a good mid range brandy for cooking and feeding the cake (especially with four, it just about wont break the bank).

So here are the pics of the progress of the first three...the fourth will be complete tomorrow evening (i ran out of baking paper last night!).

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Star Wars Card Embroidery: Stormtrooper Birthday Card

Star Wars Stormtrooper card made for my mate Thew! This is actually my favorite card I've made so far out of all of them. 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Telly picks to make those winter weekends more bearable

There are a few things telly wise that are cheering me up at the moment, and promises of more to come. This is the time of wanting to have a bath and stick my pjs on as soon as I get from work, crack open the hot chocolate and stuff my face with popcorn and it seems the lovey people at Sky/BBC/Channel 4/FX know this. A good does of comedy, a healthy splash of zombie thriller and a little gangster drama is just what I need to keep those winter blues away!

Boardwalk Empire has just started it's third season on Sky Atlantic and what a first episode. The horrifying Rosetti is a deliciously evil and has a wicked tongue on him, racially abusing everyone at the table in Nucky's kitchen when he doesn't get his own way. "Bread stick in a bow-tie" has to be the ultimate though! Van Alden is trying to scrape by as an iron door to door salesman stumbling across Al Capone and O'Banion and saving the latter's life, could this be the start of a beautiful friendship?

Modern Family is back on Sky 1 tonight. I'm excited to see what the new dynamic will be with Haley at College and Gloria  pregnant, Jay becoming a very much older father. 

Strictly Come Dancing starts tonight too and I will be glued to the set watching the competition as it unfolds. The cast is strong this year with no obvious piss takes, and Louis Smith is there being all hawt. I just hope he can move as well as he can pummel! I'm also looking forward to Johnny Ball and Jerry Hall two people I never thought I'd see on the screen at the same time, but who I adore equally. Plus I get Bruce back on my telly, there's something oh so comforting about his crap jokes, all hail King Bruce!

Friday Night Dinner is back on Channel 4 on Sunday 7th October ( with the awesome comedy legend that is Mark Heap as its guest star - taking nothing away from it's main focus though - the Goodman family and it's brilliant casting). Really, really looking forward to this, although I'm a bit confused as to why it's been moved to a Sunday night slot.

The Walking Dead is back on FX for its third season on 19th October too and judging by the Comic-Con released trailer it looks rather brilliant (read: FUCKING AWESOME!) .

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Winter Is Coming: we’re ready for it!

It’s been quiet of late on my blog I know but here are good (if not so exciting) reasons for this.

The nights are drawing in quickly, my husband is now back at Uni and as such we did the usual and gave the house a thorough top to bottom clean. Everything has been taken apart/pulled out/lifted up and cleaned out/under. We’ve also done a few odd jobs that have been pilling up.

The bathroom light has been replaced (joy to any of our friends who have used our facilities within the last few months). Now it’s getting dark early we thought it best not to have people wee in the dark (I’m thinking of my floors). 

The cabinet now has a full working set of bulbs in it and we have a few spare, and it looks lovely when it's all lit up and we have guests over for dinner. Doesn't it look pretty?


The recipes that I’ve collected have been transferred into my book and the paper counterparts thrown in the recycling. I rediscovered the three versions of the Be-ro cookbooks I have and I’m definitely going to be working my way through them this winter.


We’ve also lived through mouse-gate. Yep, when we pulled out the fridge and freezer to clean behind them we found a hole that Jerry would have been proud of, and evidence (i.e. poo) that mice had been there. So we bought a humane trap, the mice didn’t take the bait. In fact, after scrubbing every inch of the floor they decide they would get on top of the cooker to see what was happening.

Tim found one on the side when he walked into the kitchen, it hastily scrabbled into a teeny hole underneath the kitchen units. It decided about five minutes to make a break for it and Tim (with quite scary cat like reflexes) caught it under a saucepan.

We drove out to the fields and let it free, came back, filled the hole with expanding foam. Tim scrubbed the rest of the kitchen with bleach and went to bed, only to find that we’d managed to trap a mouse in the kitchen when we filled the hole in. This one was again caught by Tim under a colander (Tim and Jerry!) and again let go in the very same fields. The kitchen was again scrubbed down with bleach and we haven’t seen evidence of any mice since.

I’m glad we managed to get them out quick. They are adorable but it’s not nice to think they’re scurrying about your kitchen in the night trampling their waste everywhere. Living in the area we do though it’s not a surprise we’ve had some furry visitors, we’re not far from the curry mile and that amount of food waste about attracts all types of rodents. I’m just glad it wasn’t a huge rat!

We sold a load of stuff on ebay and made a little extra cash to put into appliances for the house to make it a bit of a cheaper winter for us electricity and gas wise.  

I have purchased this fab invention; the heated airer!


Gone are the days of putting washing on the radiators to dry and running up the heating bill. This bad boy costs less than 5 pence an hour to run and you can fit up to three loads of washing on it at once!

It’s pricey at £85 BUT it’s certainly been worth the cash so far. It takes the chill off a room too which is great if you’re trying to save some cash. We've had it on in the bedroom with us at night to keep us toasty warm, and no need for the heating in the morning. Mind you the condensation does build up but we just open the windows in the morning before I leave for work to tackle that problem. 

I have also invested in a slow cooker. I bought it along with two slow cooker recipe books from Lakeland and I was quite surprised at how versatile slow cookers are. I am very much looking forward to experimenting with it over the next few months. I shall update my progress as I go. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Glossybox: September 2012


This months' Glossybox was all about rising stars and it was designed by Maggie Li. I have to say it is much prettier than other Glossyboxes and will now house my stockings in my lingerie drawer.




This cream smells beautiful and is designed fro sensitive skin. I found it applied and absorbed easily without leaving my skin greasy. I don't know if I'd buy it as it is as good as other, cheaper, creams I've tried but I have certainly enjoyed using this product and would recommend it to others for the smell alone. 


Now I'm not one for buying celebrities perfumes, in act I usually run a mile from anyone with them in hand in department stores, but there is something lovely about this fragrance. It's a lot stronger than other perfumes I wear but it still retains a strong floral smell rather than something horribly musky. 

I am completely in love with this and I will be purchasing when I next get paid. I like saying I smell of Gaga. 


I am terrified by using nay type of oil on my hair, being a person who spent their teenage years with the greasiest hair I have spent most of my adult life with beautiful flowing locks that have been well treated, so put oil near it on a regular basis again. Not on your life. I did the right thing though,  and I approached this hair oil with much trepidation.

It has made my hair a lot more silky and smooth but being someone with fine hair its results haven't made me want to rush out and buy it, my hair is in pretty good condition anyhow. If I had thicker hair maybe it would be a different outcome. 


I expect something to be wonderful when it has the word wonder in the title. Unfortunately I was let down, I have tried this a few times and it really doesn't make a blind bit of difference to my eyes, even when I am completely shattered after a weekend of performing and travelling. I really don't think it's worth the £20 price tag. 


This promised to plump fine lines and wrinkles and it delivered. I thought it wouldn't, having used similar things which promised the world and you ended up with crap results.  By 11am though I was back to looking tired, so quick fix yes....not no long lasting results. I don't think 'll be purchasing.

This five minute facial promised to exfoliate and smooth which it did, but not up to a standard of other products I've used, especially the dermalogica thermfoliant, which I think gives a more impressive outcome. Again this is very expensive for results that don't compare next to other brands. 


A good box, but nothing I would purchase apart from the Fame Fragrance. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Birthday Embroidery for my Da and Step Ma


Card for my Dad, a lovely tie pattern free from Wild Olive. 


And for my Step-Ma a flapper gal. Design from Sublime Stitching.

Sorry for the crap pics, had to take them in car as I only finished stitching just before I left the house to drive over there!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Why I love the Rain

Yesterday I joined hitREcord, which is an open collaborative online production company. 

And I wrote a little bit of poetry about the rain and why I love it. Up for 24 hours, I have 8 recommendations, which is lovely and it's giving me a little bit of confidence that my writing isn't all that bad!

Why I love the Rain
I think about the time that we danced in the street, rain lashed my face and wind whipped my hair into and unending tangled mass of brown but you didn’t care.
You grabbed me tight around my waist and pulled me off the kerb, you held me in a dance embrace, my pavement path perturbed.
You pulled me close and twirled me round, you picked me up right off the ground and here, here in this wet and cold dismal street I saw rainbows reflected in the puddles that our feet went tippety tapping through to an imagined beat.
Forgotten was the nights missed sleep.
And it rained, and it poured, and my heart was an unending flutter of excitement as I knew this was what love really was. And ten years on still is.

Low Greenside Farm Campsite

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ben Folds Five

I have a huge soft spot for Ben Folds Five.

I remember hearing Underground for the first time, how could you not fall in love with the upbeat piano (I’m a sucker for a good piano tune). Hand me my nose ring, show me the mosh pit…..

It’s Whatever and Ever Amen that is one of my top three albums of all time, I listened to it on repeat for years, and it was the soundtrack to the start of my relationship with Tim. I recorded it onto tape for him (showing my age here) and he’d listen to it walking about and I’d listen to it at home when we were separate. 10 years on we still only go a few months in between listens.

The album was recorded in a house Ben Folds was renting and you can hear his phone ringing during one of the songs. It makes for a very special album. Smoke is quite possibly my favourite song of all time, it’s hauntingly beautiful. 

I was super chuffed to discover (being way off the ball here) that they’ve recently released a new album, The Sound of The Life of the Mind,  which from the few songs I’ve heard seems a welcome return to their snappy emotive songs. Cannot wait to purchase when I get paid in a few days. Plus did I mention the awesome video for Do It Anyway? Featuring The Fraggles….something else I adore?!

And there’s a great behind the scences vid with them speaking about them working together again after so many years apart.

Oh and I have tickets, I’ll be off to see them In November at Manchester Apollo and I am so very happy, see you there if you’re going, if not, get your tickets before they sell out!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Late 50s/Early 60s Blouse Pattern

Received in the post last week, and I can't wait to try it out. I am on a mission to make all of my summer clothes next year!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Camping: Newborough, Anglesey, Llanddwyn Island - 7th - 9th September

It was with much excitement (super weather forecast) and much sadness (last camping trip of the year) that we set off for Anglesey on the Friday evening. The Journey was pretty uneventful apart from getting caught in a load of traffic around Queensferry.

We got to White Lodge Caravan Park and were directed to our pitch. It turned out we had one of the allotted ones for a tourer though as the camping field was full, it wasn’t any bother though and we got the tent and everything set up in just under an hour, inclusive of our new tent carpet (ah, the luxury!).

We munched on a supper of tomato soup and mature cheddar sandwiches before polishing off a bottle of wine and bedding down for the night as we knew we’d be up early.

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The next morning we wolfed down an eggy breakfast and packed up a lunch to take with us on the walk we’d found via the BBC to Llanddwyn Island (link to their pdf here). The campsite wasn’t far out of Newborough where the walk began so we headed off in the general direction of the town to get on our way. The sun was dancing through the clouds and it wasn’t too hot, and being 9am it was really nice and quiet on the roads. We set off early due to the tide times, wanting to get a decent stretch of time on the Island itself.
We walked through the village and down to the forest, through the tall trees and made our way to the coastline. It was a lovely surprise at walking over a sand dune to find the most beautiful stretch of beach with Llanddwyn Island at the far right of us.

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Spot the Ecologist. 

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We walked along the beach and watched the waves roll out, down to the Island, crossed over onto it and wandered about the various coves and hills leading to the lighthouse and cottages at the end of the Island.
I took far too many pictures as the island is so beautiful and best of all we pretty much got it to ourselves, it was only when we started wandering back that we saw more and more people arriving and we were happy that we’d had a good few hours in relative peace.

Full set of photos in my camping album on flickr, which can be found here.

We stopped for our lunch in the forest at a little picnic spot that was deserted, most people heading for the beach in such glorious weather but not for us as eating sandwiches covered with sand is not my idea of ideal. Sandwiches, chocolate and squash consumed we headed back for the campsite. It was only when we arrived back we realised we’d been walking for five hours. I can’t recommend this walk enough though, it was absolutely beautiful and not too much of a stretch if, like me, you’re not the fittest of folk!

We spent some time cleaning the tent when we got back, and has showers (shower facilities really good, even though they’re places at the back of the kitchens…I can see the appeal in the winter when the weather’s cold though!) and then went to the restaurant for a couple of ales and then some dinner.

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The food was beautiful and we had a full three courses, knowing it was the last camping trip for 2012 we though we deserved a little treat.

The service was great but, and I know this is somewhat a matter of taste, we really didn’t need to be asked every few minutes if everything was okay. One check back per course is fine. I know they were quiet but it was a little bothersome and we just wanted to relax and have a natter and not be interrupted every few minutes.

We retired to the tent, pooped after our day of walking and we were soon tucked up in bed listening to our audio books and feeling content.

It was a lovely end to a beautiful, sunny weekend. We’ll definitely be going back to Anglesey in the future, it’s gorgeous and great for a not too far away but far enough away camping trip for the weekend.