Monday, 23 November 2015

Stovies - a simple slow cooker recipe

One of our favourite winter recipes is for Stovies. Quick, easy, warming, filling and more to the point cheap. So I give you

Stovies-a simple slow cooker recipe.

The joy of this recipe is you can use what you have to hand. The staples for me in this recipe are potatoes, carrots and onions. But you can add any others that you have, I often ass turnips, butternut squash, leeks, broccoli, sweet potatoes. I often add sweetcorn and peas an hour before the end of the cooking time. It is also an easy to make meal, thrown it in the slow cooker before you leave home and it is ready when you get back.

I peeled onions, carrots. butternut squash and potatoes.

and chopped

I then added the chopped veg to the slow cooker, potatoes first as I feel they cook better on the bottom, added some herbs and seasoning.

Then poured over a tin of tomatoes and a tin of water.

I then layered the slice sausage on top of the vegetables, I appreciate not every where can you get slice sausage but cut up links will work in much the same way.

 put the lid on and left it.  An hour before serving add frozen peas and sweetcorn

I cook enough that this does more than one night, tastes even better on day two and freezes well.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Project 365 week 47

It has been a week of feeling crap and four birthdays.


Still feeling really awful so another day in bed sleeping and gazing blankly at daft things on the tv.
Daughter No2 was down to see her sister and the children for the weekend, and look -  she brought me back some screen wash, this made me laugh.


Today is DD No3 birthday. She was away to Glasgow with a friend for the day.

My peak flow has been terrible this last 24 hours, the cough is getting sorer and the sleep has been none existent. Even hubby abandoned me and went and slept in the spare bed. So I phoned the doctor and got an appointment. Hubby drove me there despite the fact he had to change beds. Gave me an antibiotic to stop it settling into the chest. Also bought some more throat pastilles and paracetamol, plenty of juice and headed back home to my bed, .


Have got three birthday cakes to make this week, and really have no notion. Feel like a washed out dish cloth. Have to admit had it been the gruesome twosome's birthday first they would have go a shop bought cake with a bit of icing on the top and a few chocolate buttons on as they would be none the wiser, but Fifi was expecting me to make a cake for her. So here is the stuff for all three cakes as well as some Minions to put on top of Bob's cake.


Fifi turned thirteen today. Seems no time. So I had made her cake, covered in chocolate butter icing ( dairy free of course). I then broke three different colours of kitkat into single pieces and stood them up round the cake alternating the colours. Tied a red ribbon round the cake and then topped it with a box of maltesers. She seemed to like it. Made Bob a few that got the butter icing on and topped with a few minions.


Once a year round about his birthday hubby changes the batteries in the five smoke detectors we have. So this week the batteries were changed. Here are the old ones.


A bit of a hectic day. Had BT out just after 7am to changed over the tv box, Made the twins cakes before I went out, and decorated them while tea was cooking. Also had to go and help out daughter who gave me a tearful phone call as she was trying to get stuff done but Minky was not well and Dinky was doing her usual drama queen act. So sent daughter upstairs to get some peace, bunged stroppy Dinky into her buggy and ignored her mood and dared either of the older two to give into her. Cuddled into Minky till he settled then he went to Bob for a cuddle while I made tea for them. Bob lovingly made his mummy a plate of snacks and asked me to make her a sandwich and got Fifi to make her a coffee. thought that was lovely of him, Mummy appreciated it.

Once calm had been restored, daughter calmed down and fed I went home to decorate the cakes for the twins birthday, and took it down while my tea was cooking. It is actually two separate cakes.


The twins turn two today, no longer babies, but opinionated stroppy greeting faced temper tantruming little people.  Oh boy can Dinky strop when she wants to!! But we all love them to bits and  adore the little people they are turning into. 
Back to work today, and woke up to our first snow of the year. It had snowed, thawed a bit and frozen again. The car was solid ( this is next doors car as the scattering of snow shows better) the pavements and roads sheets of pure ice. My lovely hubby got up and went out and defrosted my car for me. I thought I would go along the bus route rather than the road I usually use out of the village hoping it had been gritted but it hadn't, thought I did pass the gritted heading towards the village. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Dreams of fast cars and space ships

A guest post written by my husband.
As a young boy growing up in the early 1960s like many others I had many dreams and ideas about what I was going to be when I grew up. The ideas ranged from many things (changing almost daily) such as a cowboy, a spaceman, well the space race was going on at the time, and even at one point and for some strange unknown reason a pantomime horse.

image by TAW4 from

Towards the end of the decade as I was getting a little older, and somewhat wiser, and more than likely because by this time I was reading the plethora of adventure comics that were around at that time such as The Hotspur, Valiant and Tiger to name a few my aspirations changed somewhat and I decided I wanted to be either a Spitfire Pilot, a Racing Car Driver or a Power Boat Racer, not quite the same I  am sure you will agree as a pantomime horse.

image by Aleks Melmik from

Anyway those were my dreams and as the decades progressed unrelentingly onwards it became more apparent that those dreams were not going to be realised. First came the sensible job followed by marriage and then the children. My sense of adventure was curtailed to getting dizzy on the roundabout at the local park or occasionally trying to show the kids that I could still ride a bicycle without falling off.

image by Stuart Miles from

Now  heading quicker than I would like towards my twilight years I have resigned those dreams to that region of my brain where such things reside when someone pointed out that it was never too late for adventure and indeed they were correct when I discovered this fantastic company.
I suddenly realised that maybe I could fly a plane, drive a fast car, or indeed power a fast boat along a lake, dreams of being the next Douglas Bader, Jackie Stewart or Malcolm Campbell started to reassert themselves in my brain. This is a hint to the family if they are looking for something for my Christmas. However the Spaceman may remain a little trickier to achieve.

PR Collaboration

Monday, 16 November 2015

Win £30 to spend at Party Bags and Supplies

 We all have parties in the family, from a baby shower, to first birthdays, to teenage parties, hen nights not to mention retirement. One thing all parties have in common is decorations, from themed cups and plates to party poppers, confetti, games, banners and party bags to name but a few items. Well I have a great competition here for you, to win £30 worth of products of your choice from Party Bags and Supplies. 

I have had a look at their site, we have five more birthdays to come this month, from  Auntie H on the 16th, now she would love some of the Avengers Range

Then there is Fifi, she will be thirteen on the 18th and she is still into pink and glittery and loves cup cakes, this would look great as the centre piece on the table. 

Then of course there is the gruesome twosome, they will be two ( yes already for my regular readers) on the 21st. If I was picking for them I would pick The Winnie the Pooh and Piglet items for them, how cute are these spoons? I just love Winnie the Pooh and my favourite is Eeyore.

But then it is my birthday on the 28th so I like the Polka Dot range but then I might just fight the twins for the Pooh items. 

But then we have Christmas coming up, and as per usual I will be hosting Christmas No2, it will not be until Monday 28th as I am working on Boxing Day. Christmas No2 by our tradition is having the now adult children and the grandchildren over and we open all the presents to and from each other then. This spreads Christmas out and makes it less overwhelming for the grandchildren on Christmas Day. I will need to speak to the other set of Grandparents and see if they want to join us as well this year.

Love the Make your own Christmas Sock Puppets these would be great for the children to make before hand to decorate the house.

Anyway enough of my wishes and desires, over to you now.

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Saturday, 14 November 2015

We went to the park

Not a very exciting post, but just a few pictures as these two are growing so quick. I am sure family will appreciate them if nobody else does. I took the twins and Bob to the park the other day to give their mum a break from them. It turned quite cold while we were out so did not manage much more than an hour. Bob requested not to have his picture taken so I respected that.

Minky, the wee boy in the red, is such a climber and explorer and is into everything, Dinky on the other hand runs about but only goes on the swing willingly and will slide down the slide if you lift her onto it and let her slide, but will not go up the steps or sit right up the top, and goes on nothing else if it involves above ground height.

The mirror provided lots of fun, I did try and put Dinky up but she was for none of it

look it is Minky

look it is Grandma as well 

He spent ages backwards and forwards across this. Bob also spent a while trying to work out if he would get from one side of the green railings to the other without touching the green base. His arms were not quite long enough, so he put his legs up and shuffles across. Then banged his head at the other side as he forgot to duck.
shouting over at me

This was as high as she went, then straight back down again

look her feet are off the floor

This provided her with quite a bit of fun for some reason

sitting on the chain

See saw see saw says Dinky as she pushes her brother

Minky gets rocked

Project 365 week 46


On the spur of the moment I bought two lucky dip lottery tickets. When they they change to more than fifty numbers? Having said that you only need two numbers to win a free lucky dip ticket, but sadly I could not even manage that.

losing tickets


Son in law is on days at the moment so is home to either take Bob to gymnastics or for daughter to take him in his car, but Fifi also had time trials at swimming so I was needed to do the gymnastics run. Cold wet horrible evening and it did not appeal to walk for an hour, so I took my kindle ( well tablet with a kindle app) and a thick jacket and sat in the car reading.

kindle app
to keep me company


Had the oven on so popped a cake in the oven. A chocolate Victoria sponge. I used a coconut cream and plain chocolate ganache for the filling and topping. Very yummy it was as well.

rather delicious


Son in law is undergoing management training at the moment, which involves him being away from home for up to forty eight hours occasionally. So being the nice mum/grandma  that I am I went and took Bob and the gruesome twosome out for a while to give daughter a chance to relax for an hour or so. We went up to the small park to play as it is fenced off and much easier for one adult to look after the twins safely. Also if we went to the big park I could not have kept them out of the puddles and it is too cold to get that wet. 

that is Minky


Bob decided he was coming to stay last night. We made pancakes for tea which he enjoys and then played on the wii for over an hour. Thursday morning he helped me with chopping up veg and prepping tea for the slow cooker before we went and played on the wii again. Took him down the road eventually but it was nice to spend some time with him, its been a while since he stayed. 
Minky was not feeling too good and cried when mummy left him with me, didn't cry for long but snuggled in. 

in his Connor Potter sweatshirt


Hurricane Abigail was suppose to hit but we did not get the weather as bad as was predicted for us. Windy but not much more so that can be expected at this time of year. Think we only got the very tail end. The beach still made for a nice picture regardless. 

Abigail storm
a windy beach


The car my daughter bought three months ago that has been off the road for the last four weeks with a faulty gearbox went into pour local garage for an independent report. They say it is too dangerous to have back on the road. So we took our car down to get the twins seats out plus the other stuff. Sadly they are not compatible with my car so we cannot use them to take the twins out. They are now in our loft until she needs them again.

two Britax car seats

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Indesit CAA55K Fridge Freezer review

We were in the market for a new fridge freezer and having used before we decided to go with them again and got an Indesit CAA55K fridge freezer in black from them a few months back.

We looked through their website and chose this one based on the width of the product, we also wanted a taller half and half fridge freezer to get the largest fridge space up the top that we could.  We have a badly designed kitchen with only one small tall gap that an upright product will fit in. Previous to this we had a tall freezer and an under worktop fridge. The fridge was in an awkward corner, difficult to get into despite having turned the door round, and hubby was finding it too sore on his knees to get down to and back up from and a lot of stuff was wasting because he could not see it was there.

in the awkward corner 

So we ordered the product, and as per normal for this company was free delivery. We ordered online and then got a phone call to confirm the order. the delivery was made in the allocated time frame, and the two men that delivered it were polite, efficient and professional. We had opted to unpack and install the product ourselves and had a;ready had our older appliance uplifted so it was not in the way in our rather narrow kitchen.

The product was well packaged but easy to unpack. The packing was minimal, mainly top, bottom and four corners then tightly wrapped in cellophane, and arrived intact. It did take two of us to remove the packaging from the bottom of the product, not a job I would have liked to do alone. It required tipping back and forward to remove the white polystyrene without breaking it.

the freezer arrives

the packaging ready for us to take to recycling

Upon opening the product we found that the shelves, bottle holders and drawers were secured internally to stop any movement. The internal packaging was also very easy to remove and the tape did not leave any sticky marks.

the bottle holders were all taped in secure

as was the two drawers at the bottom
I prefer the idea of the two drawers as this allows for storage of fruit/vegetables as well as dairy products but allows them to be kept separate. For me this was one of the pros.

glass shelves well packaged

I like the modern idea of glass shelves, means if you spill something it stays on the one shelf and does not run right through onto everything else. The shelves are fully height adjustable with six choices of position depending on what you store in your fridge. 

The product also comes with an egg tray and two ice cube trays, we don't keep eggs in the fridge so we did not put it in place. 

The door has a bottle rack at the bottom with two other racks nearer the top. These are both fixed with no choice for adjustment. More than enough to hold 2 litre bottles of milk down the bottom and jars up the top. 

the shelves in the door

This fridge is self defrosting, a god send in my opinion, but the freezer is not. This was not a major down side for me as my other freezer did not require defrosting more than twice a year. Love it in the black colour, think it is very classy and it fits with our cooker, hob and worktops. The freezer also comes in white and silver so should be a colour to suit most people. 

fitted in place

It took us a few weeks to get the fridge set at our ideal temperature. We did buy a thermometer to put inside so we knew when it was at the ideal temperature. I like my fridge kept at 4 oC. It is an A+ rated product so is energy efficient and runs quietly

For being a cheaper end product the product does every thing it needs to do and I am very happy with it. Was a great buy, despite it not having little luxuries like door open warning

Have done a short video review as well if you would like a look.