Thursday, 3 October 2013

Summer Update!

Have enjoyed a busy summer!

Lots of sun, cooking and dejunking!

Black Bean Salsa/Salad

black beans 400 gram Carton
red onion
red pepper
red and green chillies
lemon juice
lime juice
ground black pepper

Dice all the vegetables and mix in with the carton of black beans
Add the lemon and lime juice, season.

Baba Ganoush (Aubergine Dip)

Aubergines 2-3
Tahini 1-2 tsp
Greek yogurt 1000 ml
olive oil
cumin tsp
lemon juice
salt and ground black pepper
pomegranate seeds to garnish

Hold the aubergines over a naked flame if you access to one.
If not just put them on a roasting tray in the oven for about 45 minutres or until the skin is wrinkled.
Peel of the skin or cut in half and scoop out the fles.
Mash the aubergine or use a blender to get a nice smooth consistancy.
Add the cumin, lemon juice, tahini and yogurt and stir together.
Add a dash of olive oil  so not too thick a mixture.
Season and scatter with pomegranate seeds for a beautiful pink colour.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Long time no blog!

Has been busy recently cant believe how long since I last posted!

Beautiful bluebells during a walk in the woods at the Vyne a National Trust place near Basingstoke. Great new kids play area.

De junked, A washing line to neighbours. Our back garden gets minimal sunshine.

Beetroot Hummus for a bring and share church lunch, loved the pink colour.

 De junked more of the kids old school workbooks a few pieces chosen for a special works folder

Made Sweet potato chips seasoned with Peri Peri seasoning for a Friday night treat.

Took the boys to Minet Country park in Southall, was great they enjoyed seeing the butterflies and we did an impromptu litter pick!

Helped a lady start to empty her loft out as building works in progress and the roof was coming off the next day! I am always amazed at people's lack of organisation.  Despite six months of warning it was very full! We did what we could in a limited time.  Always a good way to be kept on your toes though. She has boxes of kids work that she never looks at as she is too busy wading through the rest of her possessions.

De junked a lovely gym top to a friend who teaches Pilate's, perfect for her but not for me as the thick fabric a bad option for cardio junkies!

Returned a free swimming hat to my older sons old swimming club.

The lovely sunny weather has enabled me to help elderly neighbours with their garden and to also get an early start on my suntan!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Contentment Rhythm Take it Personally

I am working through the IF contentment rhythm

One action is to reflect on the verses below:

Philippians chapter 4 verse 11-12 

"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with  whatever I have.
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little."

I enjoy eating yummy healthy food and I don't think I would like to go hungry! However, the verses remind us that we can be content with very little. Lots of things don't cause happiness or contentment, on the contry they are often a distraction from the things in life that are more important, people and relationships.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Raspberry and Lemon Curd Roulade

I made and adapted James Dugans clean and lean raspberry and lemon curd roulade for Sunday lunch pud!

My first attempt at making meringues and the results were epic!

Whisk 4 egg whites until white.

Add 250 grammes of caster sugar a spoon at a time until mix is stiff.

On a baking tray lined with baking paper spread the egg white mixture and sprinkle with almonds.

Bake at 180C for 20 minutes remove from oven.

Mix 200 grammes of lemon curd and 200 grammes of Greek yogurt together. The original recipe uses double cream.

Flip the cooled meringue onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with icing sugar. 

Spread the lemon curd and yogurt mix over it.

Scatter with raspberries.

Roll the roulade up!

It was eaten up instantly!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

God doesn't do waste

Just finished reading Dave Bookless' book God doesn't do waste.

An amazing story about their transformation of a 90 acre landfill site in west London into a country park exploding with wildlife!  I am really looking forward to visiting Minet park in Southall soon as near us.


Easter Egg Flapjacks!


We used up a lot of leftover chocolate eggs to make very yummy, gooey, sticky, moist and chocolaty flapjacks

12 oz oats
6 oz brown sugar
6 oz golden syrup 
6 oz butter 
a lot of broken up chocolate

Melt butter, stir in syrup and sugar.
Stir in the oats and chocolate 
Put into a baking tin about 20x20 square
Cook at 180 for 40 minutes 
Leave to cool in tin or will break up
Tip out, cool briefly 
Top with more melted chocolate
Cut into pieces before set solid

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Recycled Beaver Jumper

Older son J is now in cubs and had a beaver jumper covered in badges he had received.

We pondered what to do with it for a while. We decided to remove all the badges and re sew them onto a piece of fabric which he can frame and hang on his bedroom wall. There is also lots of space for future badges he receives.

We had wondered about the scout badge blanket idea but were concerned that it may get damaged or badges lost at camps.

He has no attachment to the jumper but he worked hard to receive the badges.

I was able to give the empty jumper to a fellow beaver leader for a new beaver.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Promise of Life

Because life is a gift we live thankfully,
Savour what we have,
Pray for what we need.
No longer hurried, distracted or worried,
We walk through each moment with God.

Because everything is a gift, we live with open hands,
Tread lightly on the earth,
Share freely our homes and our things.
No longer restlessly chasing identity,
We'll be known by our love not our logos.

Because giving is a gift, we give generously,
Give ourselves deeply to family and community,
Give joyfully to those in need.
No longer caught in the consumer dream,
We'll invest in the kingdom of love.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Enough food for everyone IF we live differently

The world produces enough food for everyone, but not everyone has enough to eat.  One in eight people across the globe are hungry.

But IF Wilberforce could end the slave trade, why can't we be the generation to confront the big IF of hunger?

Check out the intro video and others from the campaign.

So, I am joining with Spring Harvest, Tearfund and over 150 churches and charities as part of the IF campaign to call on you to do all that you can to fight the injustice of hunger.

Contact your MP to represent our views and pressure David Cameron to use the opportunity of the G8 UK meeting in June to push for progress on aid, climate finance, transparency, tax and land grabs.

Another campaign is Rhythms, which is a Tearfund initiative that helps you explore how to live a life of justice every day.

There are four rhythms each with a group of actions for you to follow over 30 days to change the way you live.
  1. Connection
  2. Advocacy
  3. Generosity 
  4. Contentment
I have started on the contentment  rhythm and am enjoying reading the book Consumer Detox by Mark Powley.  Will keep you updated with my progress!

I also emailed my MP Zac Goldsmith and received an email back of support and involvement in the IF campaign.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Good Good News

Photo taken last year when it was much warmer
Spent the last six days in a very cold and blustery Butlins resort in Minehead but leaving with a warm heart.

Butlins might seem like a strange place to spend Easter but it hosts Spring Harvest an annual Christian event.  Spring Harvest exists to equip the church for action and create opportunities for people of all ages to encounter God, be changed by that encounter, then go and change the world.

This year's theme was The Source: Encountering Jesus Today and focussed on what Jesus being the Good News means in today’s world.  Over the course of a few days we were encouraged to discover how we embody the good news and what it means to Be, Say and Do the gospel.

Each day started in a very large circus-style tent called the big top which hosted the big start an all age interactive worship, drama and prayer to intorduce the theme for the day.  This year they re-worked Pkays gangam style song into Good News Style.
I'll say good news, its good for sharing
Makes me feel so brave and daring
I can shout about his caring

Jesus is the source of the good news, the good news
He made us and he calls us to be it too, to be it too
So we'll be and say and do the good good news, news, news, news....
Good News Style!

Perfect Love video

I am very excited about how as a family we can implement Be, Say and Do within our simple lifestyle within our community.   Will keep you posted...

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

See you Slippers




Slippers to a friends younger son. They live in a similar house to us with lots of stairs and wooden floors.  They are wool uppers so very toasty for toes!

Also some children's melamine plastic crockery to a friends daughter. She was thrilled to receive a Thomas the tank engine cereal bowl!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Organising Lego

Having donated some Lego to a friend of my boys I have made more efforts to organise what Lego we have.

A toolbox designed for hardware fixings is perfect for those little bits like people and their accessories and some of the smaller building elements.

I also bought a set of plastic takeaway containers (8 for £1) for storing the seperate colours in.

Having the Lego more organised makes it a much more pleasant experience to play with and to put away

Chocolate Biscuit cake made for mothers day today!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

eBay part 2!

As I wrote in my last post I am not a big fan of eBay!  But after my recent success selling Lego I decided to sell some more.  As a result I have wasted my time photographing and listing items to have more of my time wasted by people who don't pay and are rude when challenged.

A waste of my evening and a good reminder to just donate toys that were donated to me in the first place!

A toad in our garden today!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Ebay, Roald Dahl and Bye Bye Bikes

I am not really a big fan of selling on eBay I am quite happy to give most things away. However, some things are worth putting on there so that they can find a new home.  I sold 4 Lego star wars ships that we were given but which are all missing a minor piece or a figure. There are people who collect these and someone will be able to use them and be very happy to take them of my hands.  I put a low buy it now price and free P&P to attract interest.  I put the Lego on at £10 and they were sold within a couple of hours.

D is doing Roald Dahl at school this half term and we are enjoying reading his stories at bedtime. I took the boys to the Roald Dahl museum in Great Missenden at the weekend.  It is a fantastic place and we enjoyed touring the galleries, making crafts and dressing up etc.  The interactive story telling was excellent with a reading from Revolting Rhymes, little red riding hood pulling a pistol from her knickers to kill the wolf was enjoyed by all! We indulged in a piece of bog trotter cake in the cafe afterwards! I enjoyed Roald Dahl as a child and it is fun to revisit his writings with my own children.

We were able to combine the trip with visiting my sister.  I took Dan's bike for her step child as its too small for D. It has had very little use as D still hasn't learnt to cycle on 2 wheels. This is common for children with Dyspraxia.  I feel very sad about this and D's difficulties break my heart. When my sisters step child visited he was thrilled with it!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Half Term and Window Cleaning

We have enjoyed a chilly half term term week with my boys at gym camp in the morning and trips out in the afternoon. We visited the South Bank centre for the Imagine children's Literary festival, the POD a soft play area at the YMCA and Mercedes Benz World at Brooklands.  Quite fancy a smart car although they only have 2 seats so not very practical for me!

Had the windows cleaned by a different man and he was very enthusiastic about our house! He loved the big white uncluttered space and couldn't believe how different it looked compared to the other houses despite them being the same footprint! 

Dejunked outgrown swimming shorts and a bin to my sister!

  Cooked sweet potato and chickpea with roasted cumin soup

Read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. A beautifully writen story about the occupation of Guernsey during the second world war and what happens once the war is over for my book club group.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Happy Husband

New bike stand came out today due to good weather!  Earlier in the day R and J had been to the local bicycle maintenance workshop. This is a great opportunity to learn a bit more about bike maintenance and benefit from their selection of specialist tools. They replaced J's rear derailleur which had seized up after only 18 months.  Then later R cleaned and adjusted his bike using the new bike stand at home. He was very happy!


Older son J had a bedroom tidy up and sorted out some bits for the bin, art projects etc
He donated a couple of science games to the local Beaver colony for their experiment badge.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Friday Funeral

Friday was my grandpa's funeral.  It is a relief that it is over. It has been a very long, tiring and emotional two weeks since he died.

The service at the crematorium went really well and lots of the people who attended congratulated us on a lovely service.  At the wake we ran a slide show of photographs of my grandpa through the years from boyhood until recent months which people enjoyed watching.

My gran who was anxious and nervous in the morning was really pleased with how the day went too.


Extendable baby hangers to my pregnant sister. My boys have outgown them and graduated to adult sized hangers.

A half tin of white paint also to my sister to decorate her newly skimmed porch.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Bicycle stand purchases and umbrellas



A black umbrella to my mother as I have a duplicate which doesn't get much use either!

Husband has been dealing with grief in his own way! We all love cycling and it is a major source of transportation for our family. He and my older son go to a local youth club some Saturday mornings to a bike maintenance workshop. They enjoy tinkering with their gears and cogs etc!

He has purchased a bike stand to enable them to tinker in our back garden with more ease than they currently have which involves hanging bikes off the fence! It folds up into a tripod so not massive but I was a bit mmmm about this purchase.  He promises me it will get lots of use.  If it doesn't I can always donate it to the youth club bike maintenance workshop!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Funeral Arrangements and Clean and Lean Cookery!

My grandpa died on Saturday after a long illness of Vascular Dementia.

Were all very sad but glad that he is no longer suffering from such a very cruel illness.

We have been looking after my grandmother and busying ourselves with funeral arrangements. Because my grandmother is so organised and has spent many years organising financial affairs and downsizing possessions and property this process has been painless

My lovely friend Lizzie has been looking after me!

She has been cooking lunch for me. Kedgeree yesterday and Beluga Lentil salad today both so good and from James Duigan's Clean and Lean Cookery Book.


Crock Pot slow cooker to a friend with a red meat eating husband as its perfect for slow cooking red meat something which I no longer do.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Chicken Ratatouille

Aubergine, courgette, red onion, red pepper and cherry tomatoes diced tossed in olive oil and peri peri seasoning then roasted in the oven. Chicken fillets tossed in peri peri sauce oil and peri peri seasoning griddled on the hob



Some out of date food colouring and herbs from my kitchen cupboard, shock horror I thought I was pure on the kitchen food front!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Music in our ears

Not much to dejunk at the mo just a couple of pairs of holey socks and underwear!

When we bought our house and refurbished it we had it rewired. At the time we ran some speaker cable in the ceiling.

A lovely fit and healthy dad at school with a sudden diagnosis of cancer gave me a kick up the ass. This weekend after two years we bit the bullet and purchased a Sonos music system.  This enables us to listen to any music we like over an Internet connection for a monthly fee of £10.  We have put 4 speakers in the lounge ceiling and four in the kitchen ceiling.  I am looking forward to being able to listen to a much wider range of music.  Me and R enjoyed a cuddle on the sofa while listening to Lawson. Looking forward to more of the same!

The boys especially J love it too, J is getting to that age when he is starting to get into music.

My mantra of living life in the moment continues!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Red Velvet Cake for Lizzie's Birthday

My lovely friends birthday meant we made a Hummingbirds Bakery Red Velvet Cake.

The kids loved doing it with us and I enjoyed giving the Kenwood Food Mixer a blast!

It gets little use and has been on a dejunking hit list recently but has had a reprieve!

Junk Bunkers

Junk Bunkers are things you buy etc to store things in that you could do without!

A certain amount of paperwork needs to be kept.  I am not someone who scans everything!

But I am always trying to reduce it so was able to say goodbye to this archive box!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Christmas is over!

Christmas is over J told me about 10 days ago but yesterday we took down our decorations.

The nativity set and decorations are packed away until next year, the tree taken to compost recycling and festive artwork photographed and downloaded into a photo album.

The space at the bottom of my stairs is once again free for school bags, boxes and bags leaving our house for the charity shop etc.  I sometimes use this space to display cut flowers on the odd occasion I get some.  I realised that the two vases I have are almost identical so I passed one onto a friend.

I also passed on a duplicate T-shirt to a friend of J's. He went for a play date and took some remaining Christmas chocolate for pudding. Although neighbours gave the boys chocolate coins so I continue to have something to dip in a cup of tea!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy Birthday to me!

Not a big fan of getting older!

Enjoyed a New Years Eve of paperwork sorting and recycling.

Cooked Roasted Vegetables with Puy Lentils and Greens.

Aubergine, red pepper and mini tomatoes chopped and roasted in olive oil, black pepper and chili flakes.  A merchant gourmet packet of puy lentils, cook in 1 minute in the microwave. Mixed together with a dollop of cream cheese. Served with broccoli and green beans.

Made a chocolate pudding for dessert from a Nigella recipe. We all felt over full after eating it.

Was an interesting recipe as wet ingredients added to dry ingredients with more dry on top. Then water poured on top of the batter and cooked.  It looked very impressive as it rose like a souffle.  Tasted very yummy but obviously too rich for our healthy tummies!