Sunday, 24 November 2013

Stir It Up Sunday

Ok so I know Stir It Up Sunday is traditionally for Christmas Pud, but I thought I'd make my mincemeat today....

I use Delia's recipe... You can't go wrong with a bit of Delia.  Except I don't use the almonds; I replace them with Glacé Cherries. So yesterday, we had this: 

I left it overnight in the Laundry Room (no radiator in there so nice and cool).  This morning I put it in a barely warm oven and left it.

3 hours later we had this:

I left it to cool completely, as suggested by Queen Delia in her recipe, before stirring in the brandy and dividing between sterilised jars.

Miss Bags and I will make our mincers later in December....  Watch this space!

Happy Stir It Up Sunday to you... I hope all your wishes come true....! xx

For Delia's recipe see here:

Thursday, 21 November 2013

(Today) I'm Obsessed with....

Neal’s Yard Remedies Mascara

Neal’s Yard Remedies of swanky blue bottles, Covent Garden, and Organic products fame have released a Mascara!!! 

It’s certified by the Soil Association and is 78% Organic.  It contains coconut oil, argan oil, aloe vera, white tea extract and other yummy natural ingredients to help nourish and condition your lashes.

I got mine at the weekend, its so lovely.  It glides on easily, the smooth silver packaging is beautiful and the SMELL!  Oh the smell is gorgeous!  I HATE the overly chemical, synthetic smells of mascaras – so this one is a real treat!  It gives me natural  lengthening and a natural curl to my lashes, and its BLACK!  It stays on all day, and comes off easily with eye make up remover.  I love it!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!

Did I also mention that Neal’s Yard Remedies have a whole cosmetics range that is Soil Association Certified?  Well, they DO!  The lipsticks and lip glosses in particular are fabulous…. Conditioning like lip balm, and flavoured with Organic Sweet Orange Peel Oil they taste like orange smarties!!!!!!

**I should mention that I have not received anything from Neal’s Yard Remedies for writing about their mascara or lip products.  I am however an Independent NYROrganic Consultant, and I do sell the products to family and friends.**

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Haunted Castle

It was Hallowe’en last week and for Miss Bags that meant one thing – a trip to the Haunted Castle.

We had been previously in October 2012, and she enjoyed it so much that when we asked her if she’d like to go this year she was beside herself with excitement.  The fact that she had a Hallowe’en party on the same day and that meant travelling to Warwick later with Daddy and she got to go to McDonald's as well was just the icing on the cake!

We stayed at our usual haunt (you see what I did there!) the Holiday Inn Express at Warwick. A no-frills hotel perfect for what we wanted which was somewhere to sleep (and I use that term very loosely with two weans in the same room) after a busy day at the Castle.  It’s safe to say that sleeping in a family room with two children and a sofabed is not for the faint hearted.  Miss Bags and the Wilburbeast decided to treat us to an impromptu Disco Dancing Display at 10pm, that involved bouncing on the sofabed and shrieking!  Nonna and Pops, on their way back to their room after spending time in the bar (not all jealous!) could hear the racket!  In our defence, ours were not the only children in the hotel and were by no means the noisiest/rudest/most badly behaved (delete as appropriate!)  On that note – why do some parents, when they are out in public with their children, steadfastly refuse to deal with or even acknowledge their offspring’s vile behaviour?!

The day at the castle was brilliant… lots to see and do for everyone… Miss Bags painted her own shield, and tried her hand at archery.  Wilburbeast watched the Birds Of Prey display, got scared by the wandering plague victims and generally ran about falling over in the mud a lot.  They ate ice creams, bought lightsabers and swords; and ran through the Haunted Hollows with glee!  We climbed up the ramparts and saw parts of the castle newly opened to the public, and I thoroughly enjoyed re-visiting the Kingmaker exhibition, having watched the White Queen on the BBC over the summer.

We were lucky with the weather and I feel like I have spent the whole weekend eating!  I’ve put on 3lb…. whoops!  Back to eating sensibly I think!

Miss Bags was very upset that her best good friend Bob was not at Warwick Castle this weekend.  So much so, she decided to write to Warwick Castle to tell them of her disappointment.  I dutifully mailed it today,  with a covering letter of my own, so we will see if they reply to her letter!


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Breakfast in the Crummy House

Pippin:  What about Breakfast?
Aragorn: You already had it!
Pippin: We’ve had one, yes.  What about Second Breakfast?
Merry: I don’t think he knows about Second Breakfast, Pip….

The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings Trilogy)

It’s safe to say that Miss Bags and The WilburBeast LOVE their food.  Especially breakfast!  Sometimes I do wonder if I have spawned a tribe of wee hobbits (without the hairy feet!) instead of children.

Take this half-term for example…. Now maybe it’s because we are more relaxed in the mornings, and don’t have the “we-MUST-leave-by-08:30-or-we’ll-be-LATE” pandemonium that the school run brings, (or maybe they are just laying down extra fat stores for winter…) but the weans have been EATING.  And then some.

Lately breakfast has consisted of:

Miss Bags:  Innocent Fruit Smoothie, Cheerios, Toast with Jam (and butter Mummy!), Dippy Egg and soldiers…. All on the SAME DAY. (she then went on to eat Roast Chicken for lunch!)  She also is partial to pancakes and crumpets.  All after cereal of course…!

The Wilburbeast:  Milk, Cheerios, Toast, then anything else he can get his hands on (usually Daddy’s breakfast – or he will con “bis-quits” out of whichever one of us is less likely to argue)

Despite having such big breakfasts – they begin clamouring for lunch at 11am – or should that be elevenses?

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The MADNESS of clothes sizing....

Ok, I know I've said this before. I don't even know why I'm surprised.....

Today I am wearing:

Leggings. M&S. Size 10.
Skirt. White Stuff. Size 12.
Vest Top. M&S. Size 12.
Cardi. H&M. Medium
Knickers. M&S. Size 14.
Coat. Joules. Size 14.

IT ALL FITS! Madness. Utter madness.  Anyone else feel like this????

Rant over.  As you were......

Monday, 28 October 2013

Lovely Yarn-y Things!

I do have to feel sorry for Crummy Hubby at times. I have a huge pile of unfinished craft projects (mostly involving yarn, or thread) and I flit from unfinished project to unfinished project, not really making any tangible progress on any of them!  Like my shoe collection, the yarn is taking over the house!

So far I have:

A half finished Happy Happy House Sampler (from the April 2012(!) issue of Cross Stitcher magazine.

An unfinished patchwork quilt – started in September 2012.  It’s all sewn together, just needs quilting (if you see what I mean!)

Many unfinished cross stitch designs – one of which I started before Miss Bags was born in 2008!

Granny Squares that need to be sewn together.

My take on the Attic24 Christmas Wreath (all my bits need sewing on – think I should maybe get on with that!)

Infinity Scarf from Issue 11 of Simply Crochet

And totally not yarn-y at all – Decopatch Christmas Baubles and Paint Your Own Ceramic Decorations (bought to do with Miss Bags – again think I might be up against it with that one!)

Now the weather has closed in and the nights are darker, I’m looking forward to making concrete progress with all of these projects, cosied up in front of the fire after the weans are in bed!


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Batten Down The Hatches

Here on the South Coast, we are no stranger to inclement weather; think the Great Storm of 1987, the Selsey tornadoes, all that snow and more recently the tornado that hit Hayling Island on 20th October.

Here in the Crummy Household we have our fair share of weather experience, from heavy snowfall, ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, electrical storms, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and glorious sunshine - because not all weather is bad weather!

Today we are currently under a Met Office Amber Weather Warning for wind; and we are watching the forecast with mild apprehension to see where this storm will hit, and how bad it might be.

It's being called the St Jude's Day storm, because it will hit tomorrow, St Jude's Day.

We have battened down our hatches..... all garden pots, furniture, toys and things have been safely stowed.  We have candles in case the power goes out, we've set the fire ready - and all we can do now is wait it out and hope its not as bad as the Met Office are predicting.

I shall try to resist the temptation to hide in the cupboard under the stairs - a too close for comfort experience with a tornado when I lived in Charlotte, NC has left me terrified of the wind  - and I sincerely hope everyone here on the South Coast stays safe.... ♥♥♥

The calm before the storm......

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

October Celebrations

What a lovely month we’ve had in the Crummy Household….


We’ve had birthdays and an anniversary.  Miss Bags made a cake for her Nonna and Pops’ birthdays.


We took Nonna and Pops out for a birthday dinner, and Pops had the BIGGEST mixed grill you have EVER seen!  I think he had to lie flat, VERY flat when we got home!

It was our 7th wedding anniversary, I got some lovely flowers and we had a wee bottle to celebrate!


It’s Hallowe’en next week and Miss Bags has a spooky school disco, and a party to go to, and then we are off to the Haunted Castle for some spooky fun!


As the weather turns, and sunny days are few and far between, I was treated to a lovely October rainbow while out walking…. It made getting caught in the rain worth it!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

First Tooth…..

Miss Bags has lost her first tooth!   She is so pleased and can’t wait to show everyone!
This meant the Tooth Fairy had to visit!  How do children find out about the Tooth Fairy anyway?  I am sure Miss Bags informed me that she would be getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy when she lost her tooth, long before we had ever mentioned it!  Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for!

Once her tooth was definitely loose (and before it fell out)  I canvassed opinion amongst my friends.  What is the going rate for teeth, and indeed the First Tooth?

Some of their answers left me recoiling in horror - £10, £20???  Some were more sensible…. £1, £2…..  I am of the generation where you received 10p!  Crummy Hubby and I settled for two 50 pence pieces…. Miss Bags is still of the age where she thinks more coins  = more value! We also decided that for the First Tooth, we would get her a toy of her choice, from US not the Tooth Fairy.

Given my propensity to “Believe” (Father Christmas, Elf on the Shelf, Easter Bunny etc)  I wanted to make the Tooth Fairy experience “real” for Miss Bags.  I did some searching on the internet and I found this great Tooth Fairy Pillow and this great Tooth Fairy Stationery!

So I set to work.  I made a pillow – its not quite as good – but it does the job. And I printed out and laminated a tooth fairy note.

Well, Miss Bags loved it.  And I love the way we have a record of her teeth coming out.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

My dream house…. Is MY house….

As we drift into October, and the last days of summer really are leaving us, an amazing fact dawned on me one evening.

I was in the kitchen, back doors wide open, food cooking, wine poured, glorious sunset, kids in the garden and then it hit me….

My dream house is actually MY house.  Here.  Right here. With my wee family.

It’s our home, our safe haven, our port in a storm and is generally filled with love, laughter and happiness (but sometimes we all fight and the kids get told off and it’s a huge MESS, but if that didn’t happen it would be WEIRD)

Here are my top 10 things I LOVE about our house:

1 – Who I share it with
2 – Our kitchen is big enough for dancing
3- Our garden is big enough for bike riding, hula hooping and basketball (though not all at once) and its not overlooked
4 – After YEARS of on road parking, damaged wing mirrors and musical cars we have a DRIVEWAY!
5 – We have a front garden complete with fairy ring (well almost!)

6 – Did I mention the bi-folds?!

7 – Our lounge is a family space that quickly becomes a grown-up sanctuary in the evening and is cosy cosy in the winter with the wood burner.
8 – We have an en-suite – no falling over toys in the shower, or Miss Bags stealing my lotions and potions!
9 – The playroom/kids room  - a place they can play and make messes
10 – The kitchen island and wine fridge!

Hoping your home is your sanctuary too......

Monday, 23 September 2013

Hell’s Kitchen (in MY office building!)

WARNING: Gratuitous RANT alert!

The office building I work in is Open Plan.  There are no doors between the desk areas, stairwells, the kitchen or the breakout area. 

While the whole place is light and airy and there is a real feeling of space and working togetherness I have to say that the kitchen where I work really IS hell on earth….  I have the misfortune to sit near it, and the adjacent “breakout area”.  This means I also have the misfortune to hear, see and SMELL everything that goes on in it.

  • There is the slightly damp, detergenty smell when the dishwasher gets opened.
  • There’s the crusted-on, baked on, can-only-be-removed-by-a-nuclear-holocaust food stuck to the inside of the microwave.  Probably caused by the man who has soup every single day for lunch and puts it in the microwave and microwaves it until the pressure builds up and the lid blows off and the microwave is COVERED in soup.  (ie. FAR too long!) It’s only a matter of time before the poor microwave itself explodes and we all get showered with Pea and Ham soup and bits of microwave.
  • There’s the lake of  spilled water, milk and who knows what else on the worktop every morning before 7am.  Without. Fail.  It’s not like we don’t have a GIANT roll of kitchen paper – like they do at petrol stations people!!!!! CLEAN IT UP!
  • There’s the sponge that is most probably a biohazard – I picked it up the other day and my hand smelled of mildew and rotting sponge even after repeated washing and applications of Bee Lovely Hand Cream. 
  • There’s the Klix machine that sounds like it’s trying to escape when its being refilled and it churns out warm wet liquid that might be coffee or it might be tomato soup; whichever button you press seems to give the same result.
  • There are THREE fridges.  Every single one smells.  People keep whole carrier bags full of food in them.  Things are left to rot in them, and heaven help us all if someone’s milk carton leaks!
  • After 3 blockages and some very expensive plumbing work there is now a sign gently reminding people not to put coffee grounds down the sink.  What kind of intelligent person puts coffee grounds down the sink anyway???
  • There is the THEFT!  It’s rife…. You would not think that this is an office kitchen frequented by Engineering Professionals who all take home a decent wage – oh no!  It is more like a kitchen in a Halls of Residence during Fresher’s week!  I have taken to keeping my milk in an Avent baby bottle just so no one nicks any!  One of my colleagues doesn’t even keep him milk in the fridge – he brings in exactly what he needs for his 4 cups of tea and keeps it in his desk drawer so no one nicks it!  What is the world coming to where we have to resort to this sort of fun and games just to make sure we have enough milk for our coffee?
  • There is the noise… and I don’t mean the general hubbub of murmured conversation generated by working in an open plan office, I mean people full on bellowing at one another about their weekend (“oh it was fab-u-lous dahling”).  Laughing like hyenas and making a real drama out of making coffee!  It often sounds like a children’s party is going on.  Then there are the people that haven’t been organised enough to actually book a room for their meeting and have their meeting in the breakout area.  I can play meeting bingo all day listening to phrases like “push the envelope”, “think outside the box” and “get our ducks in a row”….

All I can say it thank heavens for part-time working, the quiet, serene sanctuary of the test lab, and earphones!  I feel better now – thanks for listening…..

I’m off to make a coffee (and clean up a spill, remove whatever it is that STINKS in the fridge and tut loudly because there are coffee grounds in the sink again!)

Friday, 20 September 2013

What a happy day!

Yesterday was a LOVELY day....

I shopped - well weekly food shopping - but I go with Mum and we have a natter and a giggle and it makes it somehow more social.  Barbara our FAVE checkout lady wasn't there as she had the day off.  but if you are ever in the vicinity of Sainsbury's at Hedge End, seek out Barbara on the tills - she is a legend!

In the afternoon I had a cuppa and thought about crochet...

Then the Wilburbeast and I went to buy wool (in our local Post Office no less...!) and stopped for a coffee and cake.  I had a Chocolate Orange Mocha Latte - scrummy....!  (oh and TOTALLY free on SW - NOT!)

Then, when the rain had mostly stopped we decided a spot of puddlejumping was in order!  So it was on with the wellies and out to find BIG puddles..... 

This puddle on our driveway just didn't cut it for the Wilburbeast, luckily there were bigger puddles to be had around the corner.  Lots of screaming, running, jumping, laughing and one VERY wet pair of jeans later we got home in time for Miss Bags to arrive home after Art & Crafts Club with her fantastic name bunting she had made.

After feeding time at the zoo, and bedtime.... I spent the evening attempting to crochet wrist warmers from Attic 24..... Mine don't look as good as hers but it is early days yet....  I also enjoyed a spot of red wine with Crummy Hubby.  Lovely....

I am a very happy Crummy Mummy...... x

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Don't touch the hair!

Yesterday the Wilburbeast reached that milestone that all mummies of little boys dread. 

The First Haircut.  
The Cutting Off Of The Baby Hair. 
The Shearing Of The Baby Curls.
Call it what you will, and I know it applies to girls as well, and I KNOW some mothers HAVE to cut their precious wee one's hair early on but it's a rite of passage that I was not looking forward to....
The Wilburbeast is 2 years and 4 months old.  He had beautiful, soft blond baby curls, that curled around his ears and and well over his collar.  His wispy fringe was in his eyes..... and he was mistaken for a girl.  Twice.  In the same hour!  (Yep, in a T-Shirt with his NAME emblazoned on it FGS!)  Well, that was the last straw especially as Crummy Hubby has been on at me for well over a year to get the Wilburbeast's hair cut, even threatening to take him himself!

With a family photoshoot looming on the horizon, and after the girl incident I realised I needed to man-up about the hair cutting business.

Luckily I have a fab, brilliant and VERY understanding friend, Emily.  She mentioned she was taking her girls to get their hair cut before aforementioned photoshoot, and would we like to join them.  Miss Bags had her first haircut with Emily and her girls too so it seemed fitting.

The hairdressers we go to is called Cuts n Clobber and it is BRILLIANT.  They have cars and bikes and big girl/boy seats for the children to sit in with DVD players and TVs at every seat so the children can watch Peppa, Fireman Sam or whatever takes their fancy while they get their hair cut.  Did I mention the clips, sparkle spray and biscuits???  Brilliant.

We arrived and settled in to watch 4 children get their hair cut. The Wilburbeast didn't seem overly concerned until it actually came to his turn.  He cried, he struggled and he yelled.  Then we realied he didn't want to wear the gown..... Clearly a bit TOO girlie!  The hairdresser was excellent, despite his wriggling, and his constant twisting round to see what Miss Bags was up to she gave him a beautful haircut.  They collected up all of his beautiful curls, took his picture and give me a certificate for posterity.

My baby boy (for they are BOTH my babies) still has, I am pleased to report, beautiful, soft blond baby hair, with just a wee hint of a curl!

This morning when we got up and I attempted to brush his hair he said "No Mummy, don't touch the hair!"