Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

Every year we have my parents and the in-laws over for a movie watching fest. This year, the plan is to watch both of the modern Sherlock Holmes movies which I was given for my birthday. I've been making some food for the evening. I've made some breadsticks using the pizza dough recipe. These aren't like the breadsticks you'll find in the supermarket. As my dd says, they're more like bread than sticks but they're great for dipping into hummus.

I made the hummus last night and I also made some baba ganoush which is a tasty aubergine dip. I had some aubergines that didn't look very happy in the fridge so I cut off the sad bits and roasted the rest of the aubergine. It was the equivalent to two aubergines. When they were soft, I took them out of the oven and allowed to cool. I then scraped the flesh out from inside and put in a food processor with 2 cloves of garlic (peeled), juice of half a lemon and 3-4 spoons of tahini. I used a spoon that wasn't quite as big as a tablespoon. I whizzed all the ingredients together adding salt and pepper to taste. The plan is to eat this with the breadsticks. I'll also serve my homemade marinated olives so it should be quite a feast with chocolate brownies for dessert.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve and that all your wishes come true (and you manage to stick to your resolutions). I'd love to hear what you've been up to and what resolutions you have set yourself. I'm planning to cook more healthy food and get fitter this year. Plenty of walking and cycling in the local countryside. Who needs a gym when it's all on my front door.

Saturday, 29 December 2012


When we went for a walk at the beginning of the holiday, I saw a lovely window display in a local village with the cutest penguins.

They were my inspiration for today's crafting. I've made some penguin key rings in a variety of different colours. Here's the first one

And here are the rest of the family

All made while watching back to back NCIS. Now that's what I call a perfect afternoon. How did y spend yours?

Macaroni Cheese

With ds not having eaten very much during the day, you can imagine he wasn't in the best of moods when we returned home from our family trip to London. He started with getting all his favourite foods from the freezer but then he decided to return them all again. Sometimes, you just have to let your children work through their own moods. The next I knew, he was asking me how long it takes to cook macaroni cheese and he had started to weight out the ingredients. He decided that it wouldn't take much longer than cooking the frozen food and it would be much tastier. So this is what he made...

He was only cooking for himself but decided to make enough so he could eat it today as well. I just let him get on with it under the strict instructions that he would have to wash the cheese sauce pan (I hate that job as I normally have to scrape some burnt bits off the bottom).

He cooked 400g of rigatoni. While this was cooking, he made the cheese sauce. He melted 100g of margarine (Pure) and added 100g of plain flour and cooked these together for a couple of minutes. He then added 2 pints of semi-skimmed milk a bit at a time, making a roux. When all the milk had been added, he boiled the mixture, stirring all the time. Once the mixture had thickened, he to it off the heat and added grated cheese, enough to make a cheesy sauce. He divided the mixture between two dishes and mixed with the cheese sauce. He then sprinkled cheese on top and baked in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 20 minutes. Ds might have thought he was making it for himself but dd and I got in on the act and it was delicious. We had some peas with it which was a nice addition (ds only had 2 peas as the macaroni cheese is the star act as far as he's concerned). How crazy, ds was completely exhausted and hungry but chose to make this for dinner which is not the quickest thing to make. 

A day out in London

We spent a lovely day in London yesterday walking and seeing the sites. We started off at Borough Market, the food market which can be found underneath the railway arches next to Southwark cathedral. It always reminds of the first Harry Potter movie when Hagrid takes Harry to Diagon Alley. We walked to the market from Waterloo station along the south bank of the river Thames. it was a lovely walk and we saw St Paul's cathedral and the city skyline in the distance.

when we arrived at the market it was full of tasting opportunities and ideas for making. There were some beautiful vegetable and fruit displays which just make you want to eat fresh food all the time.

There were various bakeries at the market and for the first time ever I was able to look at their wares and say 'I've made that'. To be honest, it only really happened with the bread sticks - the rest of the bread is beyond my capabilities at the moment. I also saw a fudge stall that really did look like the fudge that I made for Christmas presents. There were some lovely olive oil and cheeses to try which I took full advantage of. The only slight fly in the ointment was that ds and dd were also with me and they really didn't want to be there. You can't have it all. At least I had my mum and dad there and they were happy to come along on the tasting ride.

I had an amazing halloumi cheese bap for lunch which was amazing value at £4.80. It was full to bursting  with salad, halloumi and sauces and I was served by a lovely cheeky chappy. It was so big that I remained full for the rest of the day. We ate it sitting next to the cathedral on some lovely pink seats. Unfortunately, dd and ds didn't find anything to eat which didn't help their good humour. Note to self, bring along plenty of food that they like on a trip to London to avoid any grumpiness.

After the trip to the market, we walked over the river, viewing Tower Bridge and the Tower of London on the way.

It was definitely a day for seeing the sites. We also walked past the Monument. They say if you lay it down it will take you to the starting point of the Great Fire of London. We then decided to wait for a bus but we had just missed it so decided to keep on walking. Ds wanted to go to a bike shop in Holburn, so we had a lovely 2 mile walk through the city. We even walked through Smithfield meat market which I had never visited before. Luckily, it wasn't in full swing so we could just enjoy the architecture.

By this time, our feet were hurting and we were still hunting for food for ds and dd. Anything that was offered was not good enough (can you see the theme here. Ds didn't eat until we returned home). We took a bus back to Trafalgar Square to see the Christmas tree donated by Norway.

It looked beautiful all lit up in the twilight. We then moved onto the lights of regents street and oxford street. The regent street lights were based on the 12 days of Christmas so mum and I sand the song as we travelled down the street on the bus. I'm not sure what the other people thought of that. Dh and ds stayed downstairs I'm sure to avoid the singing.

Thursday, 27 December 2012


Well, the season of goodwill is over for another year. It takes me all year to build up my stock of presents and then a few days for them all to be given to the right recipient. Yesterday was our traditional family get together with my dad's sisters and their children (and their children). We were supposed to be heading for Essex for the afternoon but the sickness bug struck that side of the family down. I hope they start to feel better soon. Instead, we travelled to Kent to my cousin's house as she agreed to host at the last mint. What a star. Even though it was a last minute change, there was still loads of food (thank you to the local pizza takeaway) and laughs. I made some more muffins for the party (way too many this time). I added a mincemeat muffin to my repertoire which proved just as yummy as the rest. As I had run out of muffin cases before Christmas Day, I used my silicone cases and some cup cake cases which meant that I managed to get 24 small muffins out of a 12 muffin recipe. To make the muffins you need to mix all the dry ingredients together...

280g self raising flour (you can use plain flour and add a tsp of baking powder but I had run out)
Half tsp bicarbonate of soda
Half tsp salt
85g caster sugar

Add all the wet ingredients...

8oz milk
3oz vegetable oil
1 egg
A jar of mincemeat (I used a jar of homemade mincemeat that I found at the back of my preserves cupboard).

Mix so that you can't see any flour but the batter should look lumpy. Don't over mix. Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 20-25 minutes.

They didn't go as quickly as the Christmas Day muffins so now I'll need to reorganise the freezer so I can find a space for them. Also lurking in the freezer is the bread that we got on Christmas Eve for 10p - I think Christmas Day is now the only day of the year that the supermarkets aren't open. That's a bit of a sobering thought.

I hope you all have a restful rest of the week after the exertions of the last couple of days. I have managed to fit in watching Dowton Abbey between putting and taking it the muffins so at least I've had some time on the sofa. The wonderful thing about I-player is at you can pause when things need to be taken from the oven. We have also managed to fit in a couple of walks.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to everyone. I hope it brings you peace and goodwill. I've been up since 6.30am this morning to cook the muffins for Christmas morning. We celebrate Christmas with my in-laws each year so baking in the morning is the least that I can do. So far, I've made chocolate chip muffins and raspberry muffins. This is the recipe that I used...

225g plain flour
110g caster sugar
3tsps baking powder
Half tsp salt

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients...

8 fl oz milk
3 fl oz vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla essence

You need to make sure you don't over mix as the muffins then become quite heavy. For chocolate chip muffins, cut up a 100g bar of milk chocolate and mix in with the dry ingredients. For the raspberry muffins, add 100g frozen or fresh muffins to the dry ingredients. Spoon into the cases and then sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Each batch makes 12 muffins. Bake in an oven at 200 degrees centigrade for 20-25 minutes and then enjoy.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Key Rings

I just wanted to show you what I have been working on over the weekend. It started as this...

and here is one of the finished key rings....

I'm really pleased with the way they have turned out. They have some home grown lavender inside them as well so they smell as good as they look. Off now to sort out the last bits of Christmas baking. Have a lovely, relaxing Christmas Eve.

Sunday, 23 December 2012


Today is fudge making day. I only make this at Christmas time as it takes continual stirring and it drives me mad but the end result is always worth it. I use Rachel Allen's recipe which is 1 tin of condensed milk, 450g caster sugar and 100g of sugar. Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to the boil. To make vanilla fudge, add 1tsp of vanilla essence at this point. Stir continually for about 10 minutes until the mixture reaches the soft boil stage. You can test this by dropping half a teaspoon of the mixture into a glass of cold water. If it forms a boil but is still malleable, then it is time to take it off the heat. This is what it should look like.

Once off the heat, keep stirring as the mixture cools down. To cool it down more quickly, you can put the saucepan into a bowl of cold water as you stir. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes more granular. Pour into a tray and leave it to set.

I made double the mixture for this amount. I then made a chocolate version. Once the fudge reaches the soft ball stage, take off he heat and add 150g - 200g of chopped dark chocolate. I used the value chocolate which you can find in any of the major supermarkets. Looks and tastes great. Now I just need to package it up for presents.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Happy Holidays

Well, I've made it until the end of the week. I managed to do a little bit of crafting on Monday and I finished the brooches I was working on but I haven't done anything else since.

Here they are all packaged up. I've been wearing some to work this week to jazz up my jackets. Now that the holiday has arrived I can start thinking about all the things I still want to make. I've made some dough this evening which I will make into breadsticks tomorrow. I'm planning to top some with salt and pepper, some with sesame seeds and leave some plain. I might even get creative and make some plaited sticks. We'll have to wait and see how they turn out.

I'm also planning to make some vanilla and chocolate fudge and some peppermint creams. These might have to wait until Sunday as I'm planning to take the family out walking tomorrow. So, a busy weekend planned. I'm now off to have some well deserved rest after a very busy week. Enjoy your evening.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Christmas Tree

Chanukah is over for another year and it was a lovely festival filled with candlelight and song. There wasn't even time to draw a breath today as it was the day to decorate the in-laws christmas tree. Dd had a lovely time deciding where everything went and we even hung some Leah Makes decorations. See of you can spot them...

This evening, I made some more chocolate fruit and nut gingerbread men for my work colleagues - I hope they enjoy eating them as much as I enjoyed making them. They only took a couple of hours to set in the fridge.

I put them in some cellophane bags (purchased from the lovely Lakeland) and finished off with ribbon and labels. All the work presents are ready to be taken in tomorrow and I'm gradually getting back the floor space in my house. It always amazes me how much planning goes into the holiday season and the how quickly it's over. I hope you all have some nice things planned this week. Forgive  me if you don't hear from me until next weekend. The week days at always extremely hectic for me. At some point I hope I will be able to finish my latest batch of brooches. I've been wearing this one on various items of clothing all week (jackets and my favourite cardigan) and I've had quite a few positive comments which is always nice.

And here are all my partly finished brooches.

I'm trying out some new shapes - what do you think? Have a great week. 

Photos part two

For some reason, blogger just went funny and wouldn't let me finish the previous post. I'm not having much luck this weekend. So here is the rest of the post. If you saw the dolls on the previous post you would know that they were ready to go to their me home. The present opening commenced after we had lit the candles.

As the weather had turned milder we were able to light them in the window so all passers by could see them (also so my youngest nephew couldn't reach them!). It was a lovely sight especially as we had four chanukiahs to lights. My nieces opened their dolls and fell in love with them. On he way home, my nephew turned to my brother and asked for a boy doll for so a birthday. I think that might be the higher form of flattery. I'll have to start thinking about what I will dress him in and how I will model his hair. Ooh, something different to get my creative juices running. I can't wait. I hope you all had a lovely evening las night - I certainly did. It was topped off by Back to the Future II, a little bit of strictly and a lot of Merlin whilst eating homemade pizzas with the family. I'm not sure it can get better than that (maybe if Watford had won rather than drawn that would have bee the icing on the cake).


For whatever reason, I couldn't load the photographs last night but it's working again today. Here are my chocolate goodies. The chocolate spoon mould cost £2.99 and the other mould cost £1 and the chocolate I used cost 60p for two bars so this is a really cheap way of making chocolate spoons and gingerbread men. My dd used one of the spoons in her hot chocolate and she gave it favourable reviews. I think these would be lovely packaged up as presents. Everything is sorted for this year but maybe next year.....

We had pizzas last night and the bases were really good. I used to just add enough water to bring the dough together but I've found if I stick to the three quarters of a pint in the recipe that the dough is much better quality. Here it is rising in its bowl.

It's in my favourite bowl which is part of a set of three and was made by Tupperware when they were still in business and I was hosting my one and only Tupperware party (15 years ago). I love things that stand the test of time and keep on being useful.

The doughnuts I made were really yummy and the recipe was really easy to follow. It came with the ugh nut time that I bought from Lakeland years ago. I really love that shop. Whenever I buy something, they always ask "did you find everything you were looking for" and my reply is always along the lines of I wasn't looking for anything but this was so lovely I couldn't resist. This was one of those times. The pan is a bit of a pain to get clean and the doughnuts don't always come out very easily  (mainly because life is too short to oil the tin) but the end result is always fun. I covered half of them with melted milk chocolate (another 30p value bar) and the other half with glacé icing.

I use the recipe that came with the baking pan. Here it is...

Mix together 225g plain flour, 2tsps baking powder, 1tsp salt and 175g of caster sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together 6 fl oz milk, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla essence and 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well so you end up with a smooth batter. I use a little mini whisk for this. This amount will make 36 mini doughnuts and my baking pan only makes 12 at a time so you can imagine how messy the pan gets by the third batch. Bake in an oven heated at 160 degrees centigrade for 8 minutes. Take out and cool and repeat with the rest of the mixture. I think this would work equally as well in a bun tin but let me know if you try it this way.

To,let the chocolate, I stopped using,me boiling pan of water a long time ago. Now I break the chocolate up into a microwaveable proof bowl and put night he microwave for 5 minutes on defrost. Stir after 5 minutes then it may need another 3 minutes on defrost after that. To coat the doughnuts, you can either spoon on the chocolate or dunk one side into the chocolate (my preferred method as it's fun).

Do you remember the felt dolls I made for my nieces? Here they are before they were wrapped up.


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Relaxing Day

After a very hectic week, it's lovely to have a day without many plans. While the kids are at judo, I've spent the morning pottering around the kitchen. Whilst there had been some tidying up, I've also been doing a bit of making. I was given some new silicone moulds for my Chanukah presents. One is a spoon mould from Lakeland and the other is a gingerbread man mould from a new pound shop I found in Watford. I melted some milk chocolate and filled the spoon mould. The plan is to use them to stir hot chocolate - yum. I then mixed the remainder of the melted chocolate with a dried fruit and nut mix and filled some of the gingerbread man mould. Two bars of value milk chocolate at 30p each made this amount quite a lot. When I stop having trouble with my pictures, I'll post what I made.

I've also made some pizza dough for tonight. Mix 600g strong plain flour with a 7g sachet of yeast and 1tsp of salt. Add 4tbsp of olive oil and three quarters of a pint of warm water. I make it in a mixer but it can be done by hand, it will just take a bit longer. Mix the dough until it is springy to the touch. Pt in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to double in size. I'll make the tomato sauce later when I get the toppings ready - roasted aubergines, mushrooms, and mozzarella. I use the value mozzarella from Sainsburys (don't get the value one from Asda as it doesn't taste very nice).

We had the family over tonight for the last night of Chanukah so I made some donuts that don't have to be deep fried. Not quite like the jammy ones from the supermarket but they still taste good.

Hopefully, the picture problem will resolve itself tomorrow and I'll be able to show you what I made. Have a lovely evening.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

What a day

It was all going well this morning. Children waved off to school, car scraped of ice and on my to work. And that's when it happened. I was driving along one of the rural roads with hedgerows either side and there must have been a tree branch that I didn't see sticking out. The next thing I knew there was an almighty thump and I thought something was about to fly through my passenger window. Instead it smashed off my side mirror. To be honest, the day just went downhill from there. You know when the day is so bad that all you want to do is go back to bed, wake up and start all over again? Well, that was my day today. All topped off with my car booked in for a new side mirror at the cost of £170. I thought it was going so well this month having bought all the Chanukah and Christmas presents and still having enough to live on. Ho hum, I suppose these things are sent to try us and at least no one was hurt. I hope you had a better day. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a significant improvement. At least we spent time tonight lighting the candles for the fourth night of Chanukah and we even had time to sit together as a family for the evening meal. Sometimes, you just have to be thankful for the small things.

Sunday, 9 December 2012


I've been wondering for a while what to do with the material that my grandparents left to me. It's been sitting in the corner of the room, nicely packaged up in the plastic bags that you can suck all the air out of so it seems smaller. Of course, once you open the bags the air comes rushing back in but luckily, we left a small bit of material out. Before she died, my granny was making a suit. She was a very clever woman and could just cut out the pieces by eye but she left behind a pattern for this one. I didn't want to cut into the partly finished suit as it's still a memory but she had left behind some off cuts. When I was at school on Friday, the textiles teacher was wearing a badge and I thought to myself, I can make that. And I have. Here are the finished badges with granny's material as the back fabric. The buttons are from my box of heirloom buttons left by both sets of grandparents so all in all, these brooches are full of memories.


And here are all the different colour combinations I made.

I plan to wear one to the Chanukah celebrations this evening and give one as a birthday present.

Today's marking has been done, brooches crafted and flapjack made. Now I just need to make a macaroni cheese for the synagogue Chanukah celebrations this evening and tidy up the kitchen (again). I hope you're all having a restful day.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

First night of Chanukah

It always amazes me how much you can pack into one day. I managed to visit the Italian shop to stock up on pasta (both large and small) and hobbycraft for some more grosgrain ribbon supplies. I also bought some plastic head pins which I'm going to add to my heart pin cushions. Dd and I had vegetable soup with mini pasta for lunch which we always enjoy and then I spent the afternoon finishing off my Chanukah garlands. They're now displayed around the lounge and look like this....

I also have them hanging on the piano and on the curtain rail. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. We lit the candles tonight for the first night of Chanukah.

Doesn't it look pretty. We're supposed to light them in the window so they can be seem by passers by but it is so cold at the moment that I didn't want to keep our curtains open as the house is only just starting to warm up. Maybe tomorrow. I hope you all had a lovely day.

Chanukah preparations

Chanukah is the Jewish Festival of Lights which is celebrated on the 25th of Kislev every year. As the Jewish calendar is lunar, that means that sometimes Chanukah starts as early as the end of November and at other times it starts as late as the end of December. This year is starts tonight - 8 December. Chanukah celebrates the time in history when the Maccabees led a revolution against the assimilation of the Jews. According to tradition, at the time of the rededication of the temple, there was very little oil left to light the everlasting light above the ark (something that you'll see in all synagogues but now it runs on electricity!). By some miracle, the oil that was found lasted for 8 days instead of 1 and so we celebrate this festival of 8 days.

On the 25th of Kislev are the days of Chanukkah, which are eight... these were appointed a Festival with Hallel [prayers of praise] and thanksgiving. -Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud

This is a lovely festival and really adds a bit of joy and light to this dark time of the year. In our family, we light the candles every night, adding another candle each night so on the last night we will have 8 candles to light plus the servant candle (that does all the lighting). The tradition is to give a small present each night and to have Chanukah gelt (Yiddish for money). We also play the dreidel game and eat fried food (no one said that this is a healthy festival). The traditional fried foods are doughnuts and latkes (fried potato cakes). I'm really looking forward to this tonight.

I've been working on some Chanukah decorations for the mantelpiece. My plan is that they will be finished in time for tonight. I've been making some felt dreidels and some stars of David.

Here are the dreidels. They have a נ on the red ones and a ג on the purple ones. In the game, you spin the dreidel and if it lands on נ you win nothing and if it lands on ג you win all the money in the pot. There is also a ש and a ה on the real dreidel but I couldn't fit everything onto the felt ones. What do you think? I'm planning to make a garland with the dreidels and the stars of David below....

I haven't finished these yet so I have a bit of sewing to do this afternoon in between some marathon marking sessions. I hope I managed to finish them in time.

Here is one our chanukiahs ready to light and our stash of candles (as everyone has their own chanukiah). My dd got them all ready at the beginning of the week. As you can see we have one candle in as it's day one and we also have the relevant candle for the lighting.

Do you have any special traditions in your family? I'd love to hear about them. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


I got up this morning and it was like any other morning. I had my shower and was then greeted with a winter wonderland.

I got really excited and had a big smile pasted on my face until it took me 45 minutes to navigate the 15 minute journey to work. You would have thought that so little snow would have no impact on the morning commute but how wrong you would be. Oh well, at least I enjoyed the first 5 minutes of the snow. Of course, it was all gone by mid morning but maybe it's a taste of things still to come (the snow rather than the longer than normal commute). Here's hoping. Anyway, the festive season is truly starting tonight as I'm at my dd's Christmas musical extravaganza. Hope you've got some fun things planned.

Just returned from the concert and it was amazing. So much talent amongst all the students. I was in awe.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Birthday Cake

So, this is the end result of my birthday cake making escapades. It's not the best picture but I can promise you that it is a dinosaur and was very well received. The cake itself was 'better than the vegan cake' according to my ds and dd and it went really well with the butter icing. I think they mean that the cake has a heavier consistency as the vegan cake is lighter.

We had an amusing moment on Sunday when I was making the icing and completely misread the recipe adding way to much icing sugar. However, with a bit of trial and error, I managed to get the consistency just right. It's amazing how I could get this shape out of a 22cm round cake. I found a wrapped truffle in our chocolate box so used it for the eye (unwrapped of course). I'm very pleased with the result and my ds was too.

We had a lovely day on Sunday baking and creating. I've been working on some new felt creations which I will show you when they're finished. We had a present opening session on Sunday and this was the end result.

It always amazes me that cats will sit anywhere (and sleep anywhere too). Doesn't she look cute.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Birthday Baking

While dd is lying under the duvet trying to shake her virus which has been hanging around for weeks I'm getting on with the week's baking which this week includes a birthday cake for a soon to be 16 year old. This week I made the normal flapjack recipe but I added a fruit and nut mix to half the mixture. Ds loves the plain flapjack but I like to add something a bit different to the mix. This is what it looks like this week. I hope it tastes as nice as the cranberry flapjack I made.

I then moved on to making the birthday cake. I used the chocolate cake recipe from my kid's baking book - 'my first baking book'. I used my new recipe holder which I was given for my birthday. Definitely a useful and lovely addition to our kitchen.

To make the cake you need:

100g softened butter or margarine
250ml milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 large eggs
250g caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g cocoa powder
225g plain flour

Add the lemon juice to the milk and set aside. Set the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Grease and line a 22cm deep cake tin. Cream the butter and half the sugar until pale and fluffy, beat the eggs in one by one (I used medium eggs so we'll see how the cake turns out). Stir in the rest of the sugar.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda together. Add half of this mixture to the wet ingredients and fold in with half the milk mixture. Add the rest of the milk and then the flour. Pour into the tin and cook for one hour.

The plan is to make the cake into a dinosaur! Watch this space. In the mean time I'm going to clean the kitchen while I finish listening to the Archers where Lillian is just about to start a relationship with Matt's brother. If you don't know what I'm talking about then maybe it's time to start listening to radio 4. I'm sure you can access it on the Internet wherever you are in the world.

Birthday treats

We support Watford FC in our family. Well, mainly my children and I and my dh comes along for the ride. The children are lucky enough to have season tickets which my parents get for them every year. We always go and see a match as a birthday treat followed by a meal at L'artista, a lovely Italian restaurant. Yesterday was one of those treat days and it was made even more special as my brother and two of his children joined us.

The only fly in the ointment is everyone isn't 100% well at the moment in our house but we still managed to have a lovely time yesterday.

Here we are at the stadium (we always get there a bit early). I can promise you that it filled out after I took this photo. The exciting news is that we won 4-1 with some beautiful play, especially the second goal which was awesome. Great news for a birthday treat. We walked into town yesterday and had a tour of the local everything costs a pound stores. There are three stores in Watford so we had fun checking out the goods. You have to be careful what you buy as there is some real tat there. I have managed to get some lovely ribbon before (5 metres for a pound) but I haven't seen it since. I did buy a lovely silicon mould yesterday that has lots of little gingerbread men shapes. I'm thinking of using it for jelly or chocolate. I'll let you know when I decide,

I saw my first gold postbox yesterday on the high street. It was painted for Anthony Joshua, who won a gold medal in the men's super heavyweight boxing. A proud moment indeed.

A busy day for everyone which was full of family, football and feasting. It can't get much better than that. I know I'm really lucky but when the bad times hit, these are the memories I keep hold of to get me through. I hope you all had a lovely day yesterday.