Friday 30 June 2017

Doing my bit

I heard on the news yesterday, that more trees need to be planted to help air quality.
A few weeks ago it was announced that the country needs more hedges planted, both for air quality and for wildlife.

Well I am happy to say that since moving into this house I have planted 8 fruiting trees that are all doing well. I have also planted a new hedge, albeit small, of blackthorn this has edible fruits known as Sloes.

There are 2 honeyberries which the birds are enjoying though they are too sour for my taste.

I leave all the dropped fruit for the creatures that want them and my  resident hedgehog dines well on some of the visitors. Nature is cruel but well balanced.

I am currently looking for a place to plant a crab apple, a John Downie, of course I will want some of the fruit but there will be enough to share.

There are some spindly hawthorns and an elder tree at the very back of the garden, these were festooned with Ivy, that has been removed to give the trees a boost. I do have some of the fruit but the birds have a good feast from the high branches.

I see gardens  around with manicured lawns and regimented flower borders, no wildlife welcome there. On the whole though most of the gardens have a wild area, some shrubs are left to grow up and out providing shelter and possibly food. 

The council have the verges cut but leave swathes to grow and allow wild plants to flower and set seed.

I am more than happy to be contributing, even though it is in a small way.

Now for the knitty pretty bit.

The beginning of my Reyna Shawl, a free pattern on Ravelry by Noora Laivola. I love the colours in the Sugar Loaf yarn from Stylecrafts Head over Heels collection and this pattern was written specifically for yarn dyed  in this way.

I have stretched this section out slightly to show the mesh section, once finished and blocked it will look amazing.
I am already planning to make another using 2 complimentary skeins and making it larger for cool weather wear.

I will knit on this tonight and then will go back to my cardigan over the weekend. The fronts should not take too long as it is a deep v neck and cropped to waist level. I want this to wear with dresses when it gets cooler and as I generally wear a scarf will not need a round neck, it would make me far too warm.

The new meal arrangement worked very well, eating that hour later meant that I did not feel peckish in the evening. 
The rice salad was glorious, just adding the garlic, ginger and spices lifted it to another level. I will be doing this again, possibly as a hot dish and maybe with pasta as well.

I sweated off the garlic and ginger with  finely sliced leek and red onion in a little coconut oil, then added 1 tsp each of ground cumin and turmeric, stirred them through and cooked for another few minutes. I added them to the rice when cold and then stirred in diced orange and red peppers, celery, cucumber and some baby plum tomatoes just quartered lengthwise. A grinding of salt and pepper and a rinsed and drained can of mixed bean salad and dinner was done. No cooking, minimal washing up and a very tasty dinner. Winner Winner no Chicken Dinner.

Now it is time for me to have a coffee and then get the days chores done.

Have a great weekend, whatever the weather brings.

                 TTFN                                                  Pam

Thursday 29 June 2017

Hop, Skip and Jump

I did that and landed on a new cast on. The Reyna Shawl by Noora Laivola, a free pattern on Ravelry. It has been on my list for ages and today it insisted on being started.
I finished the cardigan back and had the yarn out ready to cast on the fronts and my hands just sat there, empty and idle, refusing to obey my brain (possibly it was because I slept late and the brain was in a state of catatonic shock).

Anyhow, I found myself in the sewing/dining room with a skein of Stylecraft Head over Heels (Sugar Loaf) in one hand and the appropriate needle in the other.
I will post a picture in a couple of days so you can see the pattern developing.
It is a single skein project and the pattern is simple to follow and written to make it even easier. There is even a row tracker to cross off as you go, and a stitch count at the end of each section. How cool is that.

Dinner last night ended up as spinach and ricotta cannelloni in a tomato sauce with new potatoes and leeks and cabbage steamed together.
 I wouldn't normally have pasta and potatoes together but did just 1 pasta tube and a few potatoes each. The biggest part was the veg and very tasty it was too.

This 3 meals a day is proving a bit ott for me, I have to take my meds with food, hence breakfast toast. Then by 12 ish I want something else. After consulting the oracle I can change to late breakfast/early lunch and then dinner a bit later than usual.
As I have had 2 decent walks today "brunch" was a small roll with some crisp bacon and a splosh of HP sauce.
Dinner tonight will be a bean and rice salad, I will dice up peppers, celery and red onions to stir through and possible some jalapeno chilli to give it a boost. I may well sliver up some ginger root as well and sweat it off with a little lot of garlic before stirring it through. I will also sprinkle some turmeric and cumin in there as well, all of these spices are very good for general health and I like to add them where ever I can.

The weather is still a little on the damp side but not at all cold.

Lots of telly watching happened last night, there was a double bill of The Blacklist and it was the season finale. I had guessed the "secret" almost from the beginning but did not see the twist at the end coming. No spoiler alert needed here folks.

I had a little look around on Netflix and downloaded a selection of things to try, most of them were deleted within the first 20 minutes, but I have a few more to look at later.

I thought that Riviera was going to be a keeper but about 3/4 of the way through the first episode realised that I wasn't paying attention and didn't care if they all got blown up so that went as well.

I have The Kettering Incident, Mad Dogs and The Last Panthers to try, I did see the first episode of The Kettering Incident and am undecided, one more episode and it will be save or sink.
Likewise I have downloaded Broadchurch and will be looking at season 2 over the weekend.

I will be having a weigh in on Sunday and will share the good or bad news. I have kept up with the nail treatment so far but will not bother with photo's till after 2 weeks treatment.

Now I have a date with a cuppa and my shawl, I am excited to see it finished and am already planning another using 2 different skeins to make it bigger. There is a big gap in my wardrobe that needs a few shawls.

                   TTFN                                          Pam

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Much Ado about Nothing.

Yesterday was gloriously sunny, none of the promised rain until late in the evening. 
I left early and scooped up Chrissie to go to knit and natter, lots of chatting, about very little really, but all the better for that.

Knit and natter was loud and lively, I think that was encouraged by a drop in visitor who first of all brought cakes and secondly made us an early cuppa. We voted him in as an honorary member, well wouldn't you have done the same.

I finished the rib on my cardigan back and did 2 rows of the pattern, it could have been more but as I said it was a lively session and I spent a fair amount of time joining in the general melee, I also had a good drool over some yarn that Kate brought in.

I am so impatient to finish the yarn diet but have a way to go yet. I want to finish this cardigan and make another and knit at least 4 more pairs of socks. If we get a cool spell I also have the Flax sweater to finish off.

I made a batch of ginger in syrup, not over impressed but haven't tried it yet, it took a very long time to soften. I found another recipe and method to try so for the next batch I will freeze the ginger first to help break the fibres down.
I will try some in a cookie recipe at the weekend and see how it turned out.

I made  rhubarb jam for the SO, just a couple of jars and will make more a bit later in the season.

Still picking strawberries but eating them fresh, I may make another batch of mixed berry jam as it does set well, and I love it.

I have new potatoes ready and will be cooking some this evening, not sure as to what will go with them yet. I will be cooking a generous amount of mint with them but will not drown them in butter.

The June drop has thinned my apples out, dramatically on one of the trees, so I will have very few to remove next month. The Honeyberries need to be renamed Vinegarberries they are so sharp. I am very put out by this as I tasted some when I bought the plants and they were sweet. Perhaps it is the soil here, they will have another year to prove themselves and if still sour they will be composted and something else put in.

Ben went out for his walk and was so not happy with the weather, he really is a fair weather walker in his old age.

I did well on the food front, my usual slice of wholemeal toast for breakfast, a tuna and red onion roll for lunch and a small doughnut at knit and natter. Then dinner last night was a sweet potato, baked in it's skin and topped with bacon, mushroom and red onion mix sauted in the juice from the mushrooms. It was very tasty, I did have a small scoop of coffee ice cream, but that was a one off.

I am having a lazy day today, knit and natter leaves me quite drained when it is very lively and I had to water the whole garden yesterday evening. Of course that is why the rain came, DUH.
It takes well over an hour and I do a fair amount of walking up and down. An early night and a lazy day was called for. Everything is up to date, I was intending to sew but will knit instead, I want this cardigan to wear. soon, very soon.

I just had notice that the lovely Mandy, stitching for sanity, has uploaded another video on You Tube so I am off to enjoy that with a cuppa.

Why don't you join me?

                    TTFN                                                 Pam

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Keeping up Appearances

No buckets or bouquets here though.

Now that I have settled in to my eating plan I want to see some other issues resolved. 10 of them to be exact.
I have whinged about my shocking nails on several occasions. I have tried sweet almond oil, nail treatments that cost £!**! and cheap and cheerful stuff from Poundland.
None of it has worked, probably definitely because I just let it slide after the first few days and then 3 weeks later have another whine about the state of them.

I have resurrected this desire for neat nails and made it number 2 on my list of priorities, number 1 will be my eating plan.
I have unearthed a bottle of clear nail treatment and cleaned up the ragged edges, as best I could,without chopping the ends of my fingers off.

Left hand.

Right hand.

Not the best of photos, but you can see the state of them. I will be applying this stuff daily for 7 days and then cleaning it all off and repeating once more. I do not expect a miracle and am convinced that it will take at least a month. We will see and I will keep you posted.

Yesterday was a good drying day and all the laundry was done and line dried, ironed and put away. Lovely, it seems so much easier to get it all done on the one day.

I had to make myself eat a slice of toast at 9:30 so that I could take my meds. 
I did quite a bit of walking during the morning, not just back and forth from washing machine to whirlygig.
After Ben had his walk and the washing was all out I got the bed made and didn't feel like doing anything constructive.
So I opted for a solo walk, I had planned on going as far as the turn to the library but met up with a friend walking her dogs. Of course I joined up with her and around halfway through the village she turned left and I turned right and popped in to see Jess and Ivy. Ivy is walking now and played happily with her toys. A cuppa, a chat and a tour of the garden later I left for home with an invitation to Ivy's first birthday party.

After all the walking I decided that a little lunch was needed. A roll was out of the freezer and in to defrost and a little bacon on to griddle, very tasty and it hit the spot without making me feel stuffed.
The SO had 2 filled to overflowing and dripping with brown sauce.

We had a rice salad for dinner with a selection of  salady things from the fridge and a drizzle of the flavoured vinegar from the food festival. Lovely.

My loud salad dinner, not the whole bowl, that was for two.

I love beetroot and with all the green edamame beans and peas decided that a loud salad was the way to go. There are some red jalapeno peppers in there for the bite of heat and green and black olives.

I did polish off a little dish of cultivated and wild strawberries from the garden with just a spoonful of low fat greek yogurt, no sugar the berries are very sweet.
The SO had more chocolate, his diet is a little different to mine.

I have just about caught up with The Loch on TV. I am certain that teenagers in a village with a serial killer on the loose would not behave as some of the characters are. I am not sure whether I will watch it all. I need to believe that it could happen to watch this type of fiction and some of these characters are becoming slightly bizarre.

I have watched the first 2 seasons of Hinterland and am eagerly waiting for season 3 to be free on Netflix. I have no intention of paying for it.

That is about the sum of my telly watching, I have caught a few Counting Cars episodes though. I watch Doctor Who but for how much longer...I am looking forward to the new version.

The sleeves are finished and I want to get the back cast on ready for knit and natter. I like to knit the fronts first but can not cope with the shaping and nattering.

That's me up to date, so I will see you tomorrow.

                          TTFN                                         Pam

PS. How long before we have another general election then?

Monday 26 June 2017

O wad some Power the giftie gie us

With thanks to Mr Burns.
I see myself in the mirror every day, I walk past it regularly. I thought that I knew what I looked like. Then I put these photos on to the laptop. Oh My Word. Those once upon a time muscular arms have turned to flab. I am not impressed with myself.

My posture is doing absolutely nothing to help and hands in pockets are puffing the skirt out making me look elephantine.

I went to the afternoon tea party and over indulged as I said that I would. 
I did not eat till I couldn't move and it was all that I ate for the day.

The sandwiches were absolutely delicious, I had 5 small ones in wholemeal bread. 
There were home made sausage rolls, I had one but could quite easily have eaten more.
There were warm from the oven quiches and the one that I tried was very good, lovey crisp pastry and melting soft filling. No soggy bottoms here.

I am afraid that I shocked everyone when I persuaded the SO to cut into the tall as a mountain and light as a cloud sponge cake. It was filled and topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, along with that I managed a slice of lush cheesecake AND half a scone with cream and strawberries.

It sounds shocking and it was very greedy, BUT I only had a slice of wholemeal toast for breakfast and as I have said it was lunch and dinner and nothing else passed my lips all day. 
Well there were a few cups of tea.

I would not go to a party where the hostess had cooked her socks off and announce that I would not be eating as I was on a diet. That would be plain rude, I would just not go.

I should also add that this was over a 4 hour period, I didn't just stuff it all in in 10 minutes.

It was lovely to sit in the garden with all the knitters, and the odd plus one, the close neighbours were there helping and were just as lovely as Debs had painted them.

The dogs, Oh boy, the dogs are drop dead gorgeous, Willow a large golden retriever and Mabel a gold and white Pyrenean Mountain dog. 
They are so gentle and friendly and know that they have to sit down for a fuss and a cuddle.
Sophie was there and fell in love with them, she squirmed to get as close as possible. She was so tired and determined not to go to sleep but finally had to give in for a little nap.

The weather was not wonderful but the rain held off and the sun popped out to brighten things up for a while. A tour of the garden happened and much oohing and ahhing took place.

I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

The lovely Chrissie, from the wool shop, has  had an accident so I will be on tea making duty this Tuesday. I dare say that there will be help on tap though.

This morning I do not feel at all hungry, once Ben has had his walk I will see if I need a slice of toast. I know all about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, but if I am not hungry I will not eat.

Now for something completely different.

I am nearly up to the shaping on my sleeves and as these are round topped not raglan it will be a quick finish.
I have decided to go for the deep V neck with 3 buttons as I do not have that style in my hand knits. I know that means miles of button band to be picked up and knitted but I can cope with that.

I still have the cream with black spots dress to sew up, that will be on the agenda for Wednesday. Today is for house work and some gentle gardening, there is a fresh flush of weeds and a few things need trimming up.

There is one job that I am looking forward to later though, I will be making some ginger in syrup. I, and many of my friends love the stuff, a few jars of that will be in some festive stockings this year.

I did take my camera yesterday and forgot all about it, never mind the light wasn't wonderful. There may be other days to share photo's of debs glorious garden and gorgeous dogs.

And now, my friends it is time for tea, my first of the day.

                          TTFN                                   Pam.

PS. My one, not so lovely, memory of the day are the 3 drivers who were careering along the elongated roller coaster that serves as a road as if they were at Le Mans.
I have christened them, the

                                Braindead Mindless Wallys.

Guess what brand of car they were all driving.

Sunday 25 June 2017

A Dress is Born

Yup, she's finished and the fit is almost spot on, bad me I didn't make a toile. I used this as a wearable toile and am happy with it.
The next one will have half an inch off the strap length and a little smaller (woo hoo) waist.
I didn't follow Tilly's method of construction at all, but on the next one I will, I just jumped in and used my own method. 
I am happy with the result but it is good to learn new things so the next one will be "by the book".
I suppose that the main difference was that I used the old way of zip insertion. You sew the complete back seam but use a basting stitch in the zip area. Then place the zip face down, centred over the basted seam.  Rather than tack I used wonder tape to hold it in place while I stitched it in, in hindsight I could have left a wider allowance but it is fine.
I do like a lapped zip but only for side zips and I didn't have an invisible zip in the right colour. I still haven't found the foot for that either, I must have a concerted search.

Front view, you will notice that I am considerably larger than my dummy. Mind you this dress is a loose fit so it is not as bad as it seems.

Back view, the waist seems to dip when I wear it, purely down to the extra length in the straps, but I will be measuring very carefully on the next one.

The centred zip insertion, back in the day all zips were put in like this, very straightforward and simple. It doesn't even require a zipper foot and no faffing about opening and closing the zip.
I could put a hook and eye on the very top but will not as I find that they dig in. 

It is a bit damp here this morning, that fine drizzle that soaks you before it registers. No matter I will still be out to tea later.

Ben has ventured out into the garden and shot back in record time, he doesn't want to walk today. 

My breakfast was a slice of wholemeal toast with some me made peanut butter, with 2 cups of Assam tea. Black and strong mmmmm.

Lunch will be ......a big fat nothing. I will be enjoying my afternoon tea with no guilt that way. Dinner may well be a simple salad with fig balsamic vinegar, love that stuff. I do believe that I could drink it.

I have coffee to drink, my one cup of the day, before I insist that Ben does go out for a walk, like me he will not dissolve.

Happy Sunday.

                   TTFN                                                    Pam

Saturday 24 June 2017

On My Way

Last Wednesday morning I hopped on the scales and was not totally shocked to see the needle stop on 80 Kg.
This morning I was pleased to see that it had dropped by 2 Kg(ish).
I have to say ish as my cataracts prevent me from seeing exactly. Next Saturday I will get the SO to read the scales for me.
So I have lost a little, I have not gone on a punishing regime that will have me dreaming about marshmallows and trying to eat the pillow.
I am just cutting back and having sensible portions. I will be eating much more raw food as these take longer to digest.
Tonight we are having pasta with a leek, bacon and tomato sauce. There will be garlic and ginger in there, but I will be cooking half the amount of both pasta and sauce that I usually would. I don't want any leftovers to tempt me into having second helpings.
I will be serving it with another salad, good job that I love it.

Enough of that for now.

I have started to sew my version of the Lilou dress together, just having a little tea break, and am about to press the lined bodice and turn it right side out. That is all the fiddly bits done, I am not a fan of sewing darts.
The skirt will have side seam pockets and is a simple gathered skirt, no pattern needed. once bodice and skirt are married the zip will be the last challenge.

I will share it tomorrow as long as I get it finished.

I have another dress cut out but have not decided on the lining yet. No rush, I want to enjoy the process not just aim for the finished product.

We are going to an afternoon tea party tomorrow, I don't want to abandon my new food regime but will be relaxing it slightly. If temptation proves irresistible I will just count it as lunch and dinner. I have to be honest with myself and I will let you know how I fared. 
The sensible action would be to stay away, but this is a knit and natter group afternoon and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

I have nearly finished the sleeve increases on my cardigan and hope that a TV knitting evening tonight should get me well on the way to casting them off.
I am thinking of making the front a very low V neck rather than rounded as this would make a change for me. The option is in the pattern, I will decide once I get to the point in the pattern where I have to get off the fence.

I am back to my sewing, enjoy your weekend no matter the weather.

                        TTFN                                                Pam

Friday 23 June 2017

The BIG Issue

I have followed Sooze, Her indoors, Him outdoors, since the beginning, and joined in the drooling over Betty.
Yesterday she blogged about that big issue.....WEIGHT.

So many of us struggle with weight issues, for many years I was super thin bony and I wore cover up clothes. You know the drill, high necks, long sleeves, long skirts or loose trousers.

Then I got married and had a baby WOO HOO lots of bulges and rolls that was obviously not "baby fat"as it was still there a year later.

I suffered and hid behind the trite "big is beautiful" and " not fat but luxury model" sayings, meanwhile avoiding mirrors and shop windows like the plague. 
Then slowly I began to believe the lies and became happy in my well stretched skin.
Until, that is, the day I was walking through a shop and saw myself in one of those mirrored columns, instantly my mind said "look at the state of her" then as I stepped aside to let "her" pass the penny dropped. 
I grabbed a dress off the rail and scuttled off to the changing rooms.

Not to try the dress on but to strip down to undies and look at myself in those unforgiving all round mirrors under the stark lighting.

When I got home I had a long talk with the then Hubby (who was, of course, the type that could eat as much of anything as he liked without putting on an ounce). Together we agreed to take action and went through the food cupboards. 

We prepared a meal plan (many years before it became the done thing) that would keep him from wasting away while stopping me from turning into the Michelin tyre woman.

It was hard, very hard. At that time I had a massive garden and walked a pair of GSD's twice a day and in good weather cycled everywhere. I should have been thin, or at least much slimmer than I was.
I could not exercise more, there were not enough hours in the day, instead I controlled what and how much that I ate.

S l o w l y, very slowly the weight came off and I went down to what felt comfortable and didn't look too bad. I was very far from the too skinny teenage years and was a bit scared of going too far.

I went out and searched the charity shops that were starting to feature in the high streets. I found a dress that was just a bit too tight and every Sunday morning I put that dress on and looked at myself in the long mirror ( I bought it specially for that reason).

If it was okay I ate normally that week, without adding any more of the treats that I still enjoyed.
If it was most definitely not okay I was extra careful, cutting down on the treats, for the week.
There were the odd weeks when the dress could not be zipped up and then I was back to being very careful, with no treats at all, for a week or two.

The years have flown by since then, I have been far too thin again and far too fat. Now, after several normal years, I am slowly putting the weight on, I say slowly as for several years my weight has fluctuated over half a stone. 
Lately though the top weight has been the norm and a bit more on top, measures must be taken.
Since I have had the heart issue my walking has been severely curtailed, Ben's increasing age has also slowed the speed down, double whammy. 
Then I am so into crafting that I sit for long periods, I do keep the sewing machine, overlocker and iron well apart but that is just a few steps.

Just to stir up the mud my long standing interest in all things food related has escalated. I am finding so much fun in experimenting with new ingredients and new menus. For instance vegan food has gone from every now and then to at least 3 days a week. It may be a healthy option but it is calorie rich.
The SO also likes pudding so I am making them more often and just to put the metaphorical icing on the cake (see what I mean about interest in food) jam season has arrived. 

I am not about to starve myself or embark on a regime of meal substitutes.
No Way Jose, not for this plump bird.

I am going to start making better choices, I made a rhubarb crumble on Wednesday. I replaced half the flour with oats cut the sugar by 1/3rd and used vitalite instead of butter. 
The SO had natural yogurt with his, mine was au naturel.
 I did add the juice of a sweet orange to the rhubarb and added 2 tsp instead of tbsp of sugar. and I served it in the smallest dishes that I have. That way we got 4 portions instead of the greedy 2 that has been the norm.

Dinner that day was  a very healthy salad. I cooked Quinoa and drained it well, then added edamame beans, peppers, celery, red onion, cucumber, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, a few pecan nuts just roughly chopped up and some shredded spinach leaves, this was served on a bed of lettuce and was divine. The SO had some tinned herring fillets with his and I had a slice of crustless quiche. both were in the fridge and needed using up.

Last night we had a repeat of the salad with some chicken and then the last of the crumble.
Tonight will be a new salad and I hope to cook some new potatoes from the garden to have with it. There will be no butter swirling round the plate.
I know about calorie counting and food balancing, cutting back on fats and sugar. I studied all this as part of my HND at college.
 Like many of us I have read reams of diet advice. I have all the information to get to the size that I would like to be and stay there.

Just why I, and all others, cannot do that is the million dollar question.

I call myself greedy, both here and in real life, but in truth I am reasonably careful in the amounts that I eat.

Breakfast is usually one slice of wholemeal toast with spread and marmalade, (today I had homemade peanut butter) lunch will be a sandwich or a bowl of salad. Yesterday I had a small apple, a slice of cheese, matchbox sizeish, the crust of a wholemeal loaf and a dollop of hummus and that was a big lunch.

The evening is my danger zone, dinner done, washing up done and kitchen cleared, I sit down and if my hands and mind are not occupied my mind is off.
I "fancy" cheese and biscuits, chocolate, cake, peanuts, crisps etc etc etc. no matter that I do not have all of these things, I still think that I want them.
Now you may understand why I knit so much, it isn't just because I like to.
I made the rhubarb and strawberry jam yesterday, it just filled 3 jars and I was quite put out that there was not a little "taster dish". I couldn't believe myself when I said this out loud.
I like to think that I was merely joking, but it could stem from my subconscious mind.

I will still be making jam, as I said my family and friends like a jar or three of Pam Jam, I will just make sure that I do not keep very many in the pantry.

Oh my word, I have banged on about this rather a lot.

What I wanted to say is that we are all different. 
We have different lifestyles and different metabolic rates

What works for one will cause another to fail miserably.

Also and most importantly weight should be about health and not about image. If your hips and knees are complaining or you can not run upstairs without turning lobster red and huffing and puffing (not from asthma or similar conditions) and if you can not see your toes, never mind touch them, it is most likely that you are carrying too much weight.

I am going to be blunt here, You Are Probably Fat. 
Not Big Boned.
 Not Carrying Lots Of Water.
 Nothing to do with "glands" 
It is probably because you eat too much and the wrong things.

 I am not being cruel, I had this same conversation with Francesca at the weekend. Too many business lunches and too much London socialising have piled the weight on. Her clothes are straining at the seams and I had to make her some more trousers and pj's, right smartish, as she was running out of things to wear.
I had to be very honest and speak to myself as well, it is only a matter of 7 lbs but the older you get the harder it is to lose the extra weight.
See that "only 7lbs" it is not ONLY anything.
It is half a stone. 
It is 7 bags of sugar. 
It is more than 2 bags of flour. 
It is just about 4 large loaves of bread.

Those stick thin models and actors, pop stars and wags are not thin naturally. At least not very many of them are.

They live on dangerously low nutrition levels, many have admitted to eating tissue to stem hunger pangs, it is all about image.

The Media giant promotes ultra thinness as being the only way. When a size 8 is considered obese there is a serious flaw somewhere.
I am a generous 14, back in my teenage days that was called a size 18, I was wearing an 8 and longed to add at least 1 size. Clothing manufacturers have colluded over the intervening years, in changing the standard sizing to help in the brainwashing and self delusion. 

If I have offended you then I am sorry, but ask yourself why you have reacted in that way and give yourself an honest answer.

                        TTFN                                           Pam

PS. If you found this as boring as paint drying I am sorry, call back tomorrow for something else. xx

PPS I did the walk and had an orange and a cuppa, when what I wanted was a cheese sandwich and a packet of crisps.
Not good, just trying hard. I know that some days I will fail, as long as the fail days do not equal or outnumber the win days I will be happy.

Thursday 22 June 2017

We're Jammin, jammin till the jam is through.

Thank you Bob Marley xxx,

This mornings batch is Strawberry and Rhubarb, another quick setting mix which will maintain as much of the fresh flavour as possible.

There will be a new batch as often as I have fruit to make it. all my friends and family love their jars of  "Pam Jam". 

No doubt a few will find their way to Beckenham but they will be of the seedless variety as Francesca doesn't like bits in her jam.

I am eyeing up the Elderflowers and wondering whether to make another batch of cordial. I discovered yesterday that my neighbours love the stuff. The giveaway was when they started to dribble when I mentioned that I had made a couple of batches. A jar went to each of them, it's good to share.

I am thinking that a batch of scones might be cooked next Tuesday morning, scones with jam and clotted cream would go down a treat at knit and natter. (What do you think Chrissie and Debs)
We can wash them down with Elderflower cordial.

I did a little sewing and then settled down with some sock knitting to watch Hinterland on Netflix.
 A very self indulgent day, but I'm worth it.

We did have rain forecast for this morning but not a drop so far, I had to soak the back garden last night and if the rain doesn't arrive soon will have to do the front.

I fell into bed at around 10:30 and had a long sleep, 5:45 when I woke up, marvellous.

No plans for today, once the kitchen has been put to rights I will settle down to some sewing, a little knitting, possibly some reading.
I have a new book, complete Dressmaking. Apart from Tilly and the Buttons, Love at first stitch, which I bought for the patterns, this is the first "how to" book that I have bought for dressmaking.
 I read a review and ordered it straight away, it arrived yesterday and I flicked through it after dinner.
My granny taught me how to sew (she was fed up with my demands for dolls clothes) and apart from the odd primary school lesson I am self taught.
There are lots of fabrics that I steer clear of as I have no idea how to handle them. There are tutorial videos galore out there, I learnt to put in an invisible zip that way, but they can not help you to feel the way certain fabrics handle.
Neither  can this book but there is a wealth of advice, and lots of helpful tips.
I can not say that I long to sew jersey dresses but there are some gorgeous prints out there in all sorts of stretch fabric. I did a search for some fabric for Francesca, and rapidly lost the will to live, as every single print that I wanted to buy was in stretch fabric of some sort.
There is no excuse for my reluctance, I have an overlocker. I have a modern machine that has a few stretch stitches and I have the correct needles.

I am a scaredy cat. Plain and simple. I am also a bit of a control freak, and the thought of ruining a length of fabric fills me with dread.
Of course I do not have any scraps to play with as I have never sewn with it. Catch 22.

Ooh, A Lightbulb Moment, I ought to look on Ebay, people sell all sorts of fabric bundles there.

That's my next port of call. Some times it is good to have a mind that hops and skips all over the place.

I better skip over there now, before I sidetrack myself to another dimension.

                       TTFN                                              Pam

PS.  Of course I was going to tell you all about the book, tomorrow peeps. xx

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Beating the Heat

I had a reasonably early night last night and thanks to the fan I slept well. I hit the ground running around 5:30 this morning and after a quick cuppa I was out the door.
 Ben was still in bed snoring, I was on the hunt for wild strawberries, they grow in abundance here, I picked a fair amount and then stripped all the ripe ones from the plants in my garden. I had a few when I moved in and have encouraged them to grow. Free ground cover and tasty treats all in one.

Together with the strawberries from the garden and some early raspberries I had just under 3 lbs of fruit. Perfect for a small batch, in with 12oz of sugar per 1 lb of fruit ( I still make jam and chutneys in Imperial) and the juice of a large lemon, microwaved for 20 seconds to release more juice, and on to a very low heat to dissolve all the sugar. Then up to a boil, with the jam thermometer stuck in and in around 12 minutes I had setting point.

I now have 4 jars of summer for the pantry and a "bonus" dish to try out.
I made a small batch of scones to try out the jam, well I just had to, I think it is the law.
Oh My Word. it is good. I had to stop myself from spooning it from dish to mouth. (I did scrape round the maslin pan with a spatula. and I am not ashamed to share that) I was being frugal NOT greedy.

Who am I kidding, it was pure unadulterated greed. And ever so good. For a few moments I was 4 years old again.

Now I just have the washing up to do and put the kitchen to rights before I settle down to some sewing fun.

I did put the sofa throws in the wash and they are out on the line, probably completely dry.

                           TTFN                                            Pam

PS. I saved enough raspberries to add to some rhubarb and apple for a crumble for tonight. Naughty but very nice.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Shady Sewing

I spent yesterday afternoon mainly in the shady sewing room, happily stitching, pressing, pinning, cutting and generally playing with fabric.
The morning was taken up with getting Francesca packed and on to the train in Neath. There was a hiccup as the points were playing up along the line, this meant a delay for her train. 
Then of course there was the incident at Paddington which closed the station down, a 2 1/2 hr journey took almost twice that. So instead of arriving home by 4:00 ish she was at Victoria station at 5:30 and finally arrived home around an hour later hot and sticky. All thoughts of unpacking were abandoned for a long cool shower.

I was happy to stay in the sewing room, another pair of Pilates trousers were made (and posted off this morning). I have 2 dresses and another set of thin cotton pj,s for Francesca all cut out and ready to sew. That should keep me happy for the rest of the week.

This is the fabric that I made her second pair of Pilates trousers in, it has been languishing for far too long and deserved to be used.

This cream cotton with a tiny black spot will be another PJ set, not for sleeping in so much as lolling round the house when it is too hot for proper clothes. She took one set made in it back with her and one of my cut out dresses is in this as well. I bought masses of it some time ago when it was at a ridiculously low price.

This lilac print will be a Lilou dress, from Tilly and the Buttons. I am sure that I have said this before, but am too lazy to check.

I have zip and thread ready, just need to wind a bobbin and I will be on a roll.

It is knit and Natter today, and I will need to have a bit of lunch soon, I like to leave fairly early and don't want to drive directly after eating.

On the subject of food, it will be salad all the way during this heat, Nicoise tonight. I can just about stand to boil a few eggs and some green beans but any other cooking is a No Go Zone.

I have enough bread in the freezer for this week and will be able to make the next batch late in the day, if it goes into the oven at 9:00 pm that will be fine.

That, of course, assumes that this heat will last. This is the UK and Wales in particular, so it is not a good assumption to make.

It has just turned mid day so I am off to feed my face.

BTW the lovely Mandy has another You Tube podcast up and a new sock pattern out. 

                      TTFN                                  Pam

Monday 19 June 2017

Wonderful, wonderful day.

I know that is a line from a song from Seven brides for Seven Brothers, I can hear it as I write this, one of my favourite musicals. But it sums up yesterday to a tee.

We woke to a sun blazing out of an azure sky, but with just enough breeze to make it perfect for a leisurely walk with Ben.

Then at around 9:30, after a very skimpy breakfast, (we were going to a food festival) we set off on the 30 or so minute drive.

It proved to be a good idea as we were parked and in the festival site as they were opening up.

A stroll round to "suss" the place out and than we began the serious business of sampling the wares.

I tasted chutneys and relishes, jams, jellies and 7 different types of marmalade. There was a stall with some amazing Welsh cheeses, two of which came home with me along with a jar of Jamaican marmalade and another of "Weapons grade Chilli". That was for the SO. I also picked up 3 bottles of flavoured vinegar, Raspberry, Elderflower and Chilli, they will liven up my salads and make a change from my fig balsamic.
There was a large stand all about honey and the SO had a great time trying the large variety of local ones.
I am not a honey lover, Maple Syrup for me. Unfortunately it is not made in Wales. (come on Dawn, I remember that you planted some maples)
We decided that a cuppa was in order before we found some lunch and duly retired to the tea room.
Then wound our way out to the vendors stalls.

There was not one selling vegetarian or vegan food. It was most disappointing. I settled for a skewer of chicken (most of which the SO ate) with a mountain of salad (all of which I ate)

Then there was a demonstration of a simple dinner party, we got front row seats and started to watch. The meal was canapes followed by Beef Wellington and then a pudding. I have no idea what it was as I had to leave, the heat was unbearable.
There was also the fact that the chef wiped his nose on the back of both hands and then went on to handle the food without washing them. YEUK!!

This is why I do not eat out very much.

I had a little stroll round and took a few pics, none inside as it was so crowded.

Just a few shots of the house and the gardens and views over the grounds.

This is the dress that I wore, it was lovely and cool and just a bit "garden partyish".
I also wore a simple white hat when outside and lots of sun screen. I did see many people sporting a fiery red glow and shuddered for the pain that they would feel later.

We left around 2:00 and had a warm but uneventful drive home. A cuppa and a fuss with Ben later we prepared a roast dinner for Fran and a salad for ourselves. I know, it was hot, I didn't want to cook, but the only time Fran has a full on roast is when she is here.

While the SO did the washing up I took Ben out for a walk, we were joined by Rufus and his owner for part of the way. Rufus had a paddle in the little stream just over the road but Ben declined to join him. 
Then it was a slow wander back to settle down for the evening.

I did a little knitting, my cardigan sleeves are growing slowly, and I have another dress cut out, Lilou from my Tilly and the Buttons book. I have used some of the stash fabric and this will be a wearable toile (fingers crossed).

Fran liked the Hanging storage thingy that I made and has asked for 2 for her wardrobes. I have some iron in interfacing coming and will get the fabric cut out ready to make a start on them.

Oh yes, I had a play with the laptop and "who'd a thunk it" my camera takes videos, so more playing is booked for later in the week.
I gave the garden a good watering last night and it looks so much better for it, the font garden takes the most time as it is all watering can and rain water. Most of the plants out there do not particularly like tap water.  
Today will be  trip into Neath to get Fran to the station and then home and a normal Monday jobs list. dinner tonight will be a salad based around Quinoa and will include pumpkin and sunflower seeds for crunch and chickpeas because I love them.

Now the time has come for another (only my second) cuppa and then it will be time for Ben,s walk.

                 TTFN                                        Pam

Saturday 17 June 2017

Confused of Cwmgors

I had a little look on google yesterday, I typed in various versions of  "beginners guide to making a video podcast"

Now the words beginner and guide were in every version. so I was  surprised to get page after page of techno babble. All of which assumed that I had a degree in computer science.

If one of you asked me to recommend a baking book for a beginner I would not point you toward one of Eric Lanlard,s books and suggest that you start with a Croquembouche or a 3 tiered fully iced and decorated Genoise sponge.
Of course I wouldn't, I would suggest Mary Berry and a simple all in one tray bake.

In my view a beginner almost needs a "This is a spoon and this is a mixing bowl" book.

I do not understand why the information that I was looking for is not there.

I will have a play on the laptop and with my phone and see what can be done, if anything. I have an idea that my camera will take videos with sound so that needs looking at as well. 

Of course it could just be that I am not over interested in making a podcast, there are many things that figure on my list of things to do and pod casting is not one of them.

Maybe I will get help from Fran, she is quite a whizz on the 'puter.

We were going to the food festival today but have put it off till Sunday. The drivers side window mechanism decided to fail yesterday and the window is stuck half open. The car is at the garage and I should get it back by mid day.

I will use the time to make the slope for Fran and finish my dress. Then we will have a look in the stash for a dress length for Fran.

The Pilates trousers are done and I will probably make another pair as some weeks she goes twice.

I am making progress on the cardigan sleeves, but it is a long haul knitting them both at once. I have to otherwise the first one would be the last one. I do not like knitting long sleeves, but equally I do not like to wear elbow or bracelet length.

Dinner was amazing, if I do say it myself, I never follow a recipe for meatloaf, just rough proportion of 2 beef to 1 pork, some breadcrumbs and an egg, herbs, paprika and a mix of peppers, onion and garlic sweated off in a little oil. I mix it by hand and press into a loaf tin then slather the top with spicy tomato ketchup and cook for 1 - 1 1/4 hrs.

Tonight we are having ribs in a spicy sauce, potato wedges and coleslaw and salad, Fran's request, I have some salad leaves in the garden and will forage for some wild garlic to go with them. It is almost at the end now but I know where there is a late patch.

My front garden is a froth of foliage and blooms, although the Snow on the Mountains needs trimming back to allow a second flush. The ladies mantle will open out even more to fill the gap and there are some ground cover perennials that will lift their flower heads given the space.
There are some flowering shrubs covered with small flowers and the Honeyberries are in full fruit, but they are not particularly sweet as yet.

There is a scrappy bit that faces the house, it is in the shade of said shrubs and honeyberries. I am not sure what to put there, nothing too tall as there are plants against the front wall that need the full sun. I may have to have a wander round a garden centre one day next week and look for inspiration.

My new Blackthorn hedge is looking good, it is starting to fill out and in a couple of years will be quite respectable.

The plum trees have put on a lot of growth and should all fruit next year and the apples are looking promising, fingers crossed that the June drop doesn't decimate them. 
The strawberries are the star of the show though, I am picking a dish full every day and they are beautiful to eat warm from the sun.

There looks to be a bumper blackberry harvest, tons of fruit are forming and new flowers are opening daily. I just have to check out the crab apple trees in a nearby park and stock up on sugar.

Right now a cuppa is in my very close future so I am off to the kitchen.

Enjoy your weekend.

                  TTFN                                             Pam