Friday, 29 August 2014

This weekend I want to...........

Bake a cake.  A delicious orange Madeira cake that up until now has been on my wish list, due to the fact that it requires 8 eggs.  Yes EIGHT eggs!  Now the chickens are going great guns with the egg laying I have a huge pile of eggs to use up.  Madeira cake here I come.

Get to work in the vegetable garden.  I need to put down some compost and manure, dig it in and turn the soil.

Head to the garden centre.  Potted colour and vegetable seedlings are on my list.

Finish a small garden project.  Thanks to inspiration from Nicole over at My Garden Diaries, I have a neglected corner of the back yard that needs a bit of a makeover.  Nicole has the most beautiful garden, with lots of interesting things going on.  So I'm going to transform that little corner of the garden into something relaxing and useable.

Go out for dinner.  Mr H and I have family booked in Saturday night to have the kids, so we will head into town for dinner.  I'm hoping cocktails will feature heavily, although I dread it may be my turn to drive.

That's my list for the weekend.  Entertaining children and hanging out mountains of washing will be added to the mix as well.  Things have been a little busy round her lately so I'm really looking forward to the weekend.  If I could have some blue sky thrown in to, that would be just perfect.

What do you have planned?

*photo taken just over a week ago - in our front yard peeking over the hedge towards the hills.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."

A pretty rotten week for our household - we all came down with a vomiting bug, one by one (bar Mr H).  Today we shook off the cabin fever and ventured out for fresh air and open spaces.
Tom - this little man was hardest hit by the bug.  On the mend now, I'm looking forward to fattening him up!
George - to look at him you wouldn't know he has been unwell - he has still been all smiles the entire week albeit a little quieter.
Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Monday, 18 August 2014

You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man!

A couple of weeks ago Tom and I made gingerbread men to take to school for morning tea.  They had been reading a gingerbread man story in class and drawing pictures so we thought it would be fun to take some in.  Tom's class loved them and they went down a real treat.

We didn't ice these - but you can add any kind of edible decoration you want to them.

On the weekend we had my nieces come to stay and on Sunday afternoon we made the recipe again, this time adding butterfly and heart cutters too.

The recipe makes a huge amount of biscuits (around 40) so halving the recipe is good if you are wanting a smaller batch for the pantry tins.

These have a subtle ginger taste so the kids love them.  I add a little milk as the recipe makes quite a dry mixture, although using a blender (I mix by hand) would help bind the ingredients a lot better.  Also giving the dough a good knead after it's been  in the fridge helps too.

Gingerbread Men (and ladies)

You will need:

2 cups plain flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1 cup (220g) firmly packed soft brown sugar or dark cane sugar
150g butter
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Sift flour, baking soda and ginger together and place in a bowl or food processor. Add soft brown sugar or dark cane sugar.

Add butter and rub in with fingertips or pulse in food processor until resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add egg and stir or pulse to mix. (At this stage I add a little milk if the mix is too dry).  Refrigerate for half an hour.

Roll out on lightly floured surface or between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick, using cookie cutters, cut shapes and place on tray. Form leftover dough into a ball and re-roll and repeat cutting out until all the dough is used up.

Bake gingerbread men for 8-10 minutes or until cooked and golden. Remove from oven and cool on baking rack.



Sunday, 17 August 2014


"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."

No mistaking that these two are brothers.  As babies, one was fair, the other darker.  As they have grown they are starting to look more and more alike.  George had a haircut this week and the resemblance is even more noticeable.
Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Friday, 15 August 2014

The kitchenware made me do it!


I was supposed to be out buying new clothes and a pair of shoes, instead I came home with some beautiful homewares for my kitchen......oopps.
I used to have a black belt in shopping - I had a Masters in handbag and shoe shopping.  These days I would rather browse a homewares store.
Mr H and my daughter Bell have mentioned several times in the last couple of months that I need to go clothes shopping.  I had the best of intentions but the kitchenware won me over.
Maybe I'll try again next week?!
And it's Friday - have a wonderful weekend ahead.  We have two of my nieces here for the weekend, so there is huge excitement all round.  So I have a 3, 4,5, 6 and a 14 year old in our house this weekend.  I've prepped, I feel organised......bring it on!
Happy weekending!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

For the garden..........chilli and garlic bug spray

Like most home gardeners I don't like to use chemicals, especially when it comes to growing vegetables.  Below is the recipe I use on my vegetable plot.  I found a similar recipe here - I have added the cayenne pepper for a little more oomph.  I make a fresh batch up as I need it - it's quite potent so you really need to keep it away for little hands.

The bigger the crops get the more I use it.  July was a busy month for me and my garden got a little neglected.  I didn't spray at all and it really showed.  Holes everywhere! 

I've been told it's also good to push a couple of leaves down to the ground to give easy access to any bugs/snails/slugs that want a munch - and this will hopefully keep them happy enough to leave the other juicy leaves of your vegetables alone.  Sneaking around at dusk is also a good time to hand pick off any slugs and snails.  Otherwise go in hard with the chilli and garlic bug spray with some good doses (I spray around the base of the plants) this bug spray should help with keeping the unauthorised munching a little more at bay.

It's not a cure all but it absolutely makes a difference.......I can see the difference when I don't use it.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on or do you have your own spray recipe you would like to share?

Natural chilli and garlic bug spray

3-4 garlic gloves
2 teaspoons of chilli flakes (or fresh chilli peppers if you have them)
1 teaspoon (heaped) of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup of liquid detergent
1/2 cup of boiling water
Water to top up your spray bottle

Steep all the ingredients in the freshly boiled water.  Add to your spray bottle and shake.  Let it settle for about 10 minutes then top up with water and shake a little more.

Happy spraying!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Cocktail hour

This was Mr H and I on Saturday night.  Just the two of us and Cocktails followed by entrees and mains that were of pant splitting room for pudding.

We had a Saturday where EVERYTHING seemed to be on.  An early rugby game, supermarket shopping, Bell's dance rehearsal then her performance - a bit of driving about and the jobs to do at home.  My sister n law Em had phoned the night before to tell us instead of coming to their house for dinner to drop the kids off and for Mr H and I to head out for dinner in town.

I couldn't wait, it seems like ages since just the two of us have been out.  We ended up heading into town in what we had been wearing all day to tired to head home to get changed - we rocked up to the restaurant and realised neither of us had our wallets so it was a quick drive back home then back into town.  We earned those cocktails!!!

We were on a pensioners clock - home by 8.30pm.  But it was great and just what we needed.

Sunday I spent the entire day at home in my pj's - I even gardened in them.  I showered after dinner and put clean ones on before hoping into bed to watch Location UK on the laptop.  Great end to a really good weekend.

Did you have a good weekend? 
Do you have proper date nights?  Where do you like to go?

Sunday, 10 August 2014


"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."
Tom - big weekend for this young man.  Two tries at Rugby, player of the day and a sleepover.  All while the tree pollen is making itself known to him.  Puffy, itchy eyes and a tickly throat.  Seems to have come round a lot earlier this year. 
George - shaggy haired and pouty lipped.
Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".


Friday, 8 August 2014


Marmajam making.  I made this Sunday afternoon after soaking the fruit all day (the recipe says to soak overnight).  It has the consistency of a jam with the tartness and slithers of fruit like a marmalade.

I used oranges and grapefruit from the trees over the fence although you can use any fruit you like.  I was thinking lemon and lime for the next batch.

This recipe is delicious and is perfect on toast with a cup of tea although you will find yourself eating it by the spoonful straight from the jar!

Orange and Grapefruit Marmajam

You will need:

4 lb (1.8kg) fruit - Grapefruit and Orange
Rind of 1 lemon
12 cups water
8 lb (3.6kg) sugar
Pinch of salt


Slice fruit extremely finely.  Put in pot with rind and water and leave to soak overnight. 

Place on heat and bring to the boil, then simmer until the fruit skin is very soft.

Gradually add sugar and bring to the boil again.  Boil only until the mixture sets when  tested (use a cold plate to do this).

Add salt before pouring into sterilised jars.

I removed a lot of the rind before doing the final boil as the mixture seemed really chunky.  I like the marmajam with just a small amount of slithered rind in each jar.


Thursday, 7 August 2014



"Portraits of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014."
 Things have been busy around here, I haven't taken that many photos over the last week either. 
I have lots of things to share with you so expect a bit of a surge in blog posts!
 Jeez I really miss this blogging gig when I have been away from it.  Looking forward to catching up with your blog posts too!  xo

Joining in with Jodi's "52 project".
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