Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Trick or Treat!

Yummy cakes and cookies baked by my daughter....

...on a funky new cake stand...

 ...lots of treats for our visitors...


...Im sure they will magically disappear....

... all of this can mean only one thing....

October 31st is here again!!

Have a great time, keep safe and warm!


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Home comforts

Good evening everyone, hope you are keeping well and that my blogger friends in the US are keeping safe and away from harm during the hurricane.

I was really lucky last week to be treated to the new Nigella cookery book, "Nigellisima".  I am a big fan of Ms Lawson, I find her presenting style to be hilarious and really like most of her recipes.

So, the buyers of the book (my kids clubbed together to get it for me, little darlings!!) insisted that I bake something for Sunday tea.

After a lot of browsing through the book, I plumped for a yummy recipe

Cinnamon and Almond cake, two of my most favourite flavours

It worked out beautifully!  Im sure even Nigella herself would have approved!!

My healthy eating habits took a bit of a hammering over the weekend as it was a celebration weekend for my family so we went out to this little eatery in Manchester (all of the following photos are taken from Google images as my husband's relatives were with us and they so dont get this "lets take a photo of every possible thing we can think of" vibe that I have!!


Jaffa is a delightful little Middle Eastern eatery which sells the most authentic Middle Eastern food I have tasted anywhere other than in the Middle East itself.  Its not a fancy place, but the food is superb.

And if that isnt enough, we drove past the McVities factory in Stockport on a baking day - again, doesnt look much from the outside but the smell of baking hobnobs on an industrial scale...nom nom nom

Had better get back on track with some healthy eating soon I suppose....


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Autumns Views Challenge week 5

Hi everyone, hope you are having a good week.  I'm now on holiday for the rest of the week which is fab!

Here is the latest pic for the autumn challenge

That horizontal branch in the foreground has only a few leaves left, and those still clinging on have gone really brown.

The weather was really misty yesterday when I took the picture, it has barely got light all day since Monday, and much the same this morning.  But I quite like it, suits the season!

A couple more compare and contrast pictures:

I took a picture of this lovely grand tree last week

This is how it looked yesterday:

What a difference a week has made!  The heavy, misty weather we have had this week has seen the leaves fall straight from the trees - the weight of the moisture has just brought them tumbling down in heaps.  Usually it would be high winds that take the leaves, and they would be scattered around more, rather than landing straight underneath the trees. 

Well, must away - I have a few errands to run so had better get on!

Have a great day,


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Foto Fungi Forage*

You might have been able to go on a Fungi Photo Forage like I did!!

 Lots of very interesting shapes

Crawling around on the forest floor to get these!!

Beautiful polka dot patterns on this Fly Agaric.  All found and photographed in our local outwoods:

 The outwoods are really looking beautiful - so atmospheric at this time of the year, I really loved our walk today.  Hope you are keeping lovely and cosy this evening.
* apologies for the spelling, especially as Im an English teacher by day....but I just could not resist it!!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cosy Autumn Makes

Hi everyone, hope you are keeping well, and managing to avoid the various bugs and lurgy that seem to be doing the rounds at the moment.

I thought I would just quickly pop by to show what I made for the Cosy Autumn Swap where I was blessed to be teamed up with Tracy from Madaboutbags - I shared my haul of wonderous autumn goodies from Tracy in my blog post a couple of days ago.

As my regular readers know I love making felt hearts, so decided to make one for Tracy in autumnal shades and with a leaf theme

I cut the leaves from cotton fabric and embellished them with a bit of embroidery

I also made a crochet pumpkin

I love making these little pumpkins, they are really fun to do!

And here is the rest of the things I sent:

...some variegated yarn, soap, threads, ribbons, buttons, a little bag and chocs!

Thanks again Tracy for being such a super swap partner, I loved making and collecting things for this swap!

Right, must away, nearly time to eat!

enjoy the weekend, Helenxx

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cosy Autumn Swap

Hi everyone, hope you have had a great day.

Mine picked up considerably when the postie bought me a fab swap parcel - I was partnered with Tracy for the Cosy Autum Swap.  Oh my goodness, what a wonderful swap partner to have!  Are you ready for some cosy autumn loveliness?  OK, I shall begin!!

First up were these yummy smartie pumpkins - how cute are they??!!

Then some hot chocolate - delish!

Next up a lovely fabric pumpkin - I just love pumpkins and collect anything I can get my hands on that has a pumpkin theme!! 
Tracy had really done her research as she went for a pumpkin theme for the swap which is just so perfect
The time and care that went into this stunning crochet wreath had me gob-smacked!!

This scented wax tart is in the kind of perfume that I love, fruity and spicy at the same time!

I have never had such a posh box of tissues in my life!!  Makes my sniffles seem much more bearable....

I cant wait to wear this corsage with my new autumnal coloured dress, it will look so good!

This cheery fat quarter and autumnal ribbon will be put to very good use!

Finally, a pic of the whole haul of autumnal goodies:

Can you spot the pumpkin themed card?

 Im one very lucky girl - thanks so much Tracy for being such a fab and generous swap partner and for restoring my faith in swaps.  I say this because the last swap I was involved in during the summer  I sent off my parcel but then never heard anything back from my partner which was a shame, especially as it was one I was involved in organising!

If you ever join in a swap and get partnered with Tracy you sure are in for a treat!!

Have a cosy evening everyone - I have to say I quite like the darker evenings (yes, I know!!) as its nice to cosy up with the lamps on and candles lit.


PS will blog soon about what I sent to Tracy as I know she has received her parcel!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Nice and Cosy Treats

Hi everyone hope you are enjoying the weekend!

As the weather gets more and more autumnal my thoughts always turn to one dish - Pumpkin Pie!  It is quite difficult to get hold of canned pumpkin here in the UK (and lets face it, who wants to be struggling with carving a pumpkin up for cooking??) so I stock up with it when I see it.  I managed to snap up a few cans (together with Marshmallow Fluff) at one of those American style sweet shops that seem to be springing up in many city centres these days.

So, yesterday, we had visitors so I made the first pumpkin pie of the season:

I always add a bit of extra cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg than the recipe on the can suggests as we really love our spices in this house! 

My daughter set to and baked a delicious victoria sponge as well (these particular visitors are always very very hungry) and she filled it with raspberry jam and whipped cream

 It was so light and fluffy.  The visitors declared both pie and cake very delicious and not a scrap is left of either!!

But before the visitors arrived my daughter had an opticians appointment.  So after that we had a nice browse around the shops and then decided to go to a lovely little chocolate shop and cafe for a little treat.

I had a lovely hot chocolate and she enjoyed a milk shake made with belgian chocolate

And then as a final treat we had some hand made chocolates

the one in the foreground is pistachio cup and the other is chocolate brownie (we each got a little bar of complimentary chocolate with each drink).  The other two chocolates which had already been devoured were eaton mess and sea salt caramel.  All made on the premises by the shop owners.  So, in total we had

  • hot chocolate
  • belgian chocolate milk shake
  • 2 mini bars of dark chocolate
  • 4 hand made chocolates
and the price for all this lusciousness?  £4.93!!!!!!  I have paid almost that for just a coffee at one of those faceless world-wide chain coffee shops.  I know where I will go next time when I need a little pick-me-up when out in town!!

Well, must away, I need to do a bit more research for an assignment Im writing - Im getting towards the end of my MSc course so the end is gradually beginning to come into sight, but Im feeling slightly snuffly and under the weather so we will just have to see how much my brain can take in today!  At least dinner is sorted - Ive made a huge veggie stew and popped it into the slow cooker - it is making the house smell lovely and cosy!

Have a great day!


Friday, 12 October 2012

Autumn Views Challenge Week 4 and some thrifty finds

Hi everyone - Friday at last, hurrah!!!!

Lets start off with the latest photo for the Autumn Views Challenge

Definitely less leaves, with the remaining ones on the branch in the foreground beginning to curl up at the edges.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is a photo taken from a footbridge over the many brooks in our town.  The next photo shows the bridge where I take the Autumn View from as there are 2 bridges parellel to each other:

The looks, dear readers, that I get from other on-foot or on-cycle commuters when Im taking pics on my travels into work cause me a great deal of amusement...Im sure you know the kind of looks I mean....

Anyway here are a few more autumnal scenes captured this week on my walk into work:

Anyway, now onto my thrifty finds!  I often read about bloggers who are fortunate enough to find absolutely wonderful and cheap things when nosing around flea markets or charity shops.  Up until recently I had not been so fortunate myself.  But, I very happy to report that my fortunes seem to be changing!

This morning, at 8.15 I happened upon our local flea market just as the stall holders were setting up shop and I spotted this little treasure

Its a Midwinter Sugar Bowl in the Cornfield design - Im so chuffed with it as it appeals to my Autumnal Nature!!

So there I was, happy with myself over this little treasure.  Tootled along to work "well chuffed".  Well, they say lightening doesnt strike twice, but my luck was certainly in twice today... at lunch time I just happened to look in the window of a little charity shop near my workplace and guess what? Another Midwinter find - this time a Biscuit Barrel with Autumnal Rudbeckia flowers as the motif!!

So I was pretty much doing the Snoopy Dance - metaphorically speaking of course, I wouldnt do that in the street....

Anyway, I have used up all my dancing allowance for this week as we had a dance session with our students at work - I now have got the hang of the Macarena and Cha Cha Slide, and have added another routine to my skills portfolio - the Gangnam Style.. oh dear oh dear oh dear, Im getting a bit old for all this....they do say though that you are only as old as you feel...most days thats 26!

Well, after all this excitement I should be putting my feet up with a mug of cocoa and a biccie, but Ive got to do the weekly shop so better sign off for now!

Have a great weekend!


Saturday, 6 October 2012

Autumn Views Challenge Week 3 and some birthday makes

Hi everyone, weekend is here at last!  What a long week.....

First off, I dropped my laptop and cracked the lid on the outside edge.  Thankfully it still works and DH says he paid for accidental damage cover when he bought it for my birthday.  Yes, dear readers, I did confess the truth and didnt blame a cat or a teenager.  Then I got completely soaked to the skin on return from work and didnt get warmed up for an entire evening :(  Then yesterday I was due to have a few hours out after work to go out with my bestest friend Sue from @home but sadly she has caught the dreaded lurgy so we couldnt go - it is not like her to take to her bed with illness so its pretty yukky - get well soon Sue, we can go out another day.

However, the week started off really well, on Sunday evening it was the aforementioned Sue's birthday.  We met a few years ago (!!) at art college, a week or so before her birthday.  I remember that birthday so well - she got a new bike, a pair of Levi's and an LP of "Year of the Cat" by Al Stewart.  A few (!!) years down the line and we get together at her house each year on her birthday for a lovely evening of friendship, chat and Sue's lovely food.

This year I made her a few things for her birthday.  First up we have the Zpaghetti bag I made - it is in Sue's favourite colour, purple

It is surprisingly heavy, the yarn is recycled jersey fabric from the fashion industry.  She seemed rather pleased with it!

Next, a frilly scarf, another latest crafty craze of mine, and a technique I learned at the Zpaghetti workshop

Sue loves these colours, I have to admit I rather liked them as well!

Now I spotted this cushion and thought she would like it

so I personalised it for Sue by adding the @ sign - the yarn I used to embroider with was bought from a lovely little shop in Darley Dale - more on that another day

Here are the other bits I added to the parcel

We had a lovely evening at Sue's - somewhat foolishly I didnt take any pics of the fab spread of food she put on for us, (too busy eating!!)  but Im sure she will post some pics she took when she feels better.  Get well soon Sue!xx

Right, now on to the Autumn Views Challenge week 3.  Thanks so much to all of you who have joined in, its super to see your photos.  This week, colours pretty much the same at my chosen view, but much less in the way of leaves on the branch in the foreground

Here are a few pics of favourite autumn scenes I have spotted this week on my walks around town

Have a wonderful weekend!  Im hoping to get out to the woods with the camera, I rather feel a photo fungi forage on the horizon!