Monday, 28 December 2009
We had a good Christmas. The first success was choosing to spend Christmas Eve at the pantomime at Theatr Mwldan in Cardigan. Puss in Boots, an amateur production, three hours long (with a ten minute interval during which some audience members were able to flee) but a delight from start to finish (if not always for the right reasons). Puss herself was great, a proper actress. Jack was a little self conscious (H7: Mummy why is Jack a girl?) and there were a couple of sulky teenage cast members seemingly dragged off the street against their will. And there was a very good baddie. He was so good at being bad that he often couldn't perform his lines to all the booing and hissing from the audience. At one point they did the Timewarp from Rocky Horror, complete with basques and stockings. We boggled. But it got rid of an afternoon otherwise spent at home with over excited bickering children and we're going to do it again next year.
Food wise this year we did pork cooked overnight for 12 hours following Jamie Oliver's recipe. It was delicious. The meat was meltingly tender and it was so much easier than having to spend hours in the kitchen on Christmas day. Dessert was sticky toffee pudding (M&S) and a Duchy Originals Christmas pudding which we had been given and turned out to be delicious (although I've never seen a pud drink so much brandy. I flamed it, but the pud drank all the brandy before I could get it to the table! No wonder it tasted so nice...)
Best kids' presents? Bath Bomb Factory and Luxury Soap Science, both from Father Christmas, made two children very happy having created a bath bomb and some soap shapes before lunch. Also Cella Sticker and Magnet makers, as recommended by Silverpebble. These were a huge hit, again with both adults and children. Simple, durable and refillable. We now have stickers everywhere! Other well received things for two girls aged seven and six were: Paddington and Water Horse audio books, Paddington and Olga da Polga reading books (a real Michael Bond Christmas this one!), handwriting pens and paper.
They didn't get everything they asked for which led to anxious parental moments, but it didn't matter. I think that sometimes before Christmas children are bombarded with so many advertisements of 'must haves' that they get overwhelmed. Mine had a day of asking for iPods, laptops and mobile phones, but in the end they were happiest with the simplest things (like a pen, piece of paper and their imagination).
Another hit was Rapidough where you have to guess what your team mate is modelling out of dough before the other team guesses theirs. If you don't guess quick enough the other team takes away chunks of your dough, until the loser runs out. Brilliant fun. It's supposed to be for eights and over, but R6 just about managed (with a bit of a sulk every time the other team took our dough!)
What wasn't successful? Firstly Brian working on Christmas Day. It was only half a shift, plus an hour's commute either way, but it meant we couldn't just relax and let our hair down. There was a deadline and Christmas Day shouldn't have deadlines. Then there was the electric kettle which died on Christmas Day (we weren't sad; none of us liked it) and thirdly the flare up of my old war wound necessitating too many pain killers, no running (except for the odd two and a half miler, which isn't nearly enough) and a visit to the doctor on January 5th (exactly the same as last year. Winter doesn't agree with me.)
So that's it for another year. Phew.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Monday, 14 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Monday, 9 November 2009
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Where have all the flowers gone?Long time passingWhere have all the flowers gone?Long time agoWhere have all the flowers gone?Girls have picked them every oneWhen will they ever learn?When will they ever learn?
Where have all the young girls gone?Long time passingWhere have all the young girls gone?Long time agoWhere have all the young girls gone?Taken husbands every oneWhen will they ever learn?When will they ever learn?
Where have all the young men gone?Long time passingWhere have all the young men gone?Long time agoWhere have all the young men gone?Gone for soldiers every oneWhen will they ever learn?When will they ever learn?
Where have all the soldiers gone?Long time passingWhere have all the soldiers gone?Long time agoWhere have all the soldiers gone?Gone to graveyards every oneWhen will they ever learn?When will they ever learn?
Where have all the graveyards gone?Long time passingWhere have all the graveyards gone?Long time agoWhere have all the graveyards gone?Covered with flowers every oneWhen will we ever learn?When will we ever learn?
by Pete Seeger
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
We had a half term film festival last week. The weather was iffy and, between Halloween themed dances and other things the occasional space popped up in which we could watch a film in its entirety rather than in bite-sized installments bounded by dinner and bedtime.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
Back in July I was lucky enough to be treated to a fabulous trip to London where I took part - in my role as one of Disney's Blu-ray ambassadors - in the filming of three Disney adverts promoting the wonders of Blu-ray.
It was enormous fun and quite bonkers. We had hair and make-up done, then sat on a sofa and chatted about Blu-ray while they shone big shiny lights at us, stuffed microphones down our cleavages and pointed cameras in our direction. There were two groups - one in the morning which was three female bloggers (sorry I don't know who they were), and one in the afternoon which was (left to right as you look at the screen) Jo Beaufoix, Dan of All That Comes With It, Linda's lovely twins and me.
I honestly thought I'd end up on the cutting room floor, but there I am waving my hands around and saying: "Are you mad?" in 'Picture and Sound'. I thought I'd hate seeing myself on screen, but I find it absolutely hilarious for some reason. The best laugh I've had in ages. I loved every minute of it and I'd do it again tomorrow. Oh, and by the way, Blu-ray really is fabulous, you know, and Christmas is coming...
So, if you've got a few minutes to spare, here are the adverts:
Friday, 23 October 2009
Monday, 19 October 2009
- I can comfortably run ten miles on a flat course. I should probably have decided sooner than eight weeks ago that I was going to run a half marathon. Before then I had been training for Swansea 10k, but was busy that weekend, so changed to Cardiff's half marathon instead. Eight weeks of Smartcoach took me from 6.5 miles to ten, but not quite to the full 13.1. The last three miles hurt like a very hurty thing.
- Don't get stuck in traffic and end up with the dilemma of going to the toilet or starting the race.
- Don't be so bloody nervous. It's fun.
- Save up and stay at the Cardiff Hilton next year. It's right by the start. Start saving right now.
- Lose that last stone. Fourteen pounds is too much excess lard to lug around a half marathon. (Mind you it's not nearly as heavy as the three and a half stones I've lost over the past five years.)
- Watch out for dragons.
- Always have a fitter, faster friend in front of you. You probably won't catch her, but it gives you something to chase.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Monday, 12 October 2009
Thursday, 8 October 2009
The sweet peas are still going strong too after not flowering in June or July, making a bit of a feeble effort in August and then, finally, blooming in September.
This is my current experiment. These are three of our lovely organic sheep's fleeces all snuggled around the raspberries as a mulch. At the moment the jury is out on the aesthetics of this. This experiment is the result of Granny in the Annexe deciding that the meagre wool cheque was not worth the cost of getting the wool to the depot. So we decided to keep our fleeces and find a use for them. After a bit of Googling the consensus was to use them in the garden as a mulch. I'll report back on their progress.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Monday, 28 September 2009
In the car on the way home from school. H7 has been learning English (at her Welsh school).
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Holidaymakers flock to the beach in the morning. Locals know it's better to wait. The best time on Newport is in the afternoon when everything's had the chance to warm up a bit and the sea is that much more benign.
The tide was out too, so there were loads of rock pools filled with anemones, teeny fish, shrimps and lots of little crabs like this one, below, sitting on Brian's hand. The rocks were crammed with mussels too - not big enough to pick, yet - and there were interesting holes in the sand betraying the presence of razor clams. We made a mental note to go back with a bucket of and pot of salt, for a spot of clam 'fishing'.
Back to this week and yesterday saw the the Brownies Centenary launch party for which I was asked to provide cakes. I remembered KittyB's recipe for buttercream on her Eggshell Diary blog and this is my best effort at copying her delicious-looking cupcakes.
Yesterday was Narberth Food Fair too, but having had a quick, horrified, peek at my bank balance, I had to cry off and instead Granny in the Annexe went and collected a basket of apples for me. This saved me from the many temptations of its lovely stalls and the likelihood of throwing caution, diet and overdraft to the wind!
This is two-thirds of the black pack, Mitch in the foreground and Toby in what has now, originally, been named (if only by me), Toby's Pot. It has a cat-bottom shaped dent in it as he spends much of the day gazing adoringly through the glass into the Granny Annexe. Yesterday he was actually inside the GA in a daring fit of bravery during which he stole Calico the GA cat's breakfast. Wild cat? Yeah, right.
Back to this morning and to a Sunday family tradition. Nearly every Sunday I cook pancakes of some sort or another. These are my version of Nigella's banana buttermilk pancakes. See Cooking is A Game You Can Eat for my recipe.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Saturday, 19 September 2009
The garden filled with butterflies, mostly freshly hatched tortoiseshells, peacocks and a speckled wood or two.
The first tooth fell out. (R5's first anyway. Technically it's the third she's lost, but the other two were under general anaesthetic.)
Monday, 31 August 2009
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
In which this has nothing to do with Shakespeare. But the story goes like this....
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Friday, 7 August 2009