Tuesday, 28 August 2012

hairy huh

Last week I watched hairy dieters. I haven't watched these dudes before, I have flicked through a cookbook in sainsbury. Forumers were talking about the show, I wanted to join in......4 hours later.

Anyway, the show was nice, the guys are lovely, I thought it was good to have a programme where some folks trying to get healthy by cooking real food. We found it a bit inspiring, to be less liberal with cooking oil and just generally think a bit before starting dinner. Maybe get some scales? For us?

Linked to this is a new initiative in our  house to have two vegan days, to see how our bodies like it. We started on thursday and it was great, hummous for dinner, beetroot mega daal for tea, no milk in coffee.

I was interesred to see what the enegry added up to for that day (as a kind of version of 600cal fasting) so I got a little calorie counter gizmo app for my phone. Kinda nifty, you tell it your stats and tell it you dinner and it can give you targets for looseng weight etc etc. Brilliant. Here comes the problem, it has a gazillion foods in it, you search for what you ate, or even *scan the barcode* and enter it in. But wait, my dinner doesn't have a barcode because it wasn't made in a massive factory in belgium by machines and brought to my house in a massive refrigerated lorry. I made it from some *vegetables* and some *dried pulses*. I found one hummous in the list that appeared to be a recipe and used that. See the picture below.

It is this type of nonsense that says "you can only do a good thing if you let us set it out for you" us being a corporate and you get to pay them and if you don't it's not possible, it does not exist. How are you meant to know that your mega daal won't kill you unless you buy it from Sainsbury's?

Monday, 27 August 2012

noooo snooood

Starting this, and faffing about with social media, photo nicely into ravelry? Dunno about that, off to check if there is an app yet.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

ok, so we'll see

So I just wrote a post talking about how this new app on my phone might make doing the blog a better part of a routine rather than a big mission to sit down at the computer. It lost my post.

So we will see how this turns out.


Where did my post go?

Monday, 26 March 2012

wash your mouth out


Have made this, am using it.

The tincture blend is, I didn't weigh or measure, I marked lines on the bottle I was going to use and filled to those marks.

1/2 Echinacea tincture 
1/4 Oregon Grape Root tincture 
1/8 Plantain tincture 
1/8 Propolis tincture

A photo might follow, the lines looked nice on the bottle.

buying things and the world






In an effort to post the pending posts I'll just put this out without comment. I can't remember what these were going to be about but thought them linked enough to put them together. I'll have a read and get back to you.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

hay box

I came across this a while ago and saw a couple of other videos about using a haybox to cook with. I'm impressed with it. I really like how things can be cooked with just a fist burst of heat. Ideally I'd like to make neat wooden box of the proportions of a microwave, front loading probably so the space on the top can be put to use or have it built into the end of our kitchen table. Haven't gotten around to it yet though. Here is the inspiration.

I mentioned it to Ranger Alan and he said he has used this for cooking whilst camping but I think it could be of use in the home.

At the weekend I gave it a mini-go, for Ranger Time.

I used what I had in the ranger office, bucket, change-for-life promotional fleecy blankets, thingy that is usually in the microwave. The tallow, in a plastic jug, was heated up to all melted in the microwave. This was then put into the nest made of blankets inside the bucket, lid on, covered up. Then this sat in the unheated stone church stairwell for bout 40 minutes until we were ready to make seed cakes. Then out it came, into the park and unveiled to the *excited* folks. Nobody really seemed too bothered at the contraption despite my enthusing. So we poured and stirred and covered it up again, poured etc. The jug was left out once all the mixing was done and it set quite quicky.

So very good I thought. I was worried that this would be an activity that we wouldn't be able to do without direct access to the kitchen. Great. Shame I forgot to take nice photos of it outside.

More haybox.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

quilt one

I've made a quilt. I'm so proud. I keep asking ralph if he likes my quilt. I fold it up carfully so the furry buggers can't claim it. I made a quilt I say! Here is ralph decidedly uninterested in my quilt, and adne cat not complaining whilst she got a bit covered up. And a photo to show the working conditions with adne, wu and DOGLAS sleeping at the back of the work table.

Here are the actual pictures of the quilt. Made with half a roll of moda strips, I cant remember which collection, using the more sober colours, saving the pinky ones for other things (maybe you can see in the cat shot). And some random plumy fabric from the cupboard that I think is a poly-cotton mix, it's quite silky but not really unpleasant, good to get it used up. Pattern was done with the help of this, mine is not as big, or as 'weeny. I was worried it wouldn't all match up but it's not bad and only rumpled a bit as I layered and sewed it up.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

sushi lesson

I was in westfield to go to a sushi lesson organised by the japan centre's shop there. The lesson was free and it turned out that there was only 5 of us that had booked places that turned up. It had been promoted as a japanese cooking lesson but actually was just sushi, nice to have an expert show us though.

We had the lesson at the demonstration kitchen, quite exposed, lots of "oh, its people making sushi" comments from people who weren't interested in that. But actually once we started I didn't even notice if there were many other folk watching. It seems there were a few.

We made rolls with nori on the outside and rice on the outside, and then I ate it all, this photo was after I had been gnomming it and thought I better stop to take evidence. Yum. The teacher was very nice and the people from umai were also lovely (the japan centre folk are sometimes a bit full on). Apparently there may be more lessons in future.

triumph of nastiness

I did my traipse of westfield yesterday. On my own, up and down. This meant I could go methodically around all the shops.

Oddly I mildly enjoy every now and then going shopping. I didn't really want to buy much but I was looking for a couple of bits for christmas presents. I wanted to see if the john lewis had a haberdasher, I was signed up for a sushi making lesson at the japan center, more of that after. I wanted to look in forever 21, new to me you see and with a window full of orange, brown, plum I was a little excited. Bleurrgh.

Pretty much everything was really nasty. And more than I had expected. And I mean actually all of the normal priced stores. I know I'm a grown up but it is sometimes possible to make clothes designed for teenagers work along side frumpdom, I think I'm vaguely stylish. The shops I'm talking about are top shop, newlook, river island (when did that get a makeover, I never went in there when I was 16?), miss selfridge, zara, h&m, *primark* etc etc.

Everything was nasty. Shock horror! Why the surprise I hear you ask? Because it wasn't quite this bad before, there was always a few things that were made in a nicer fabric, something that actually felt quite nice, maybe something with actual wool in it. So many chunky knits and not a sheep in sight. 5n the olden days an occasional suede skirt could be found, maybe a silk-cotton mix. And the worst of this was in forever 21. It is really bad in there, noting was nice, everything felt loose and nasty. So thumbs down to you. I found a mostly wool cardigan in primark, in nice colours so they win. Crikey, this is really scraping the barrel. Topshop, you have really let yourself slip. New look has some nice bras, I saw a blue sequin knee length skirt on a mannequin in zara but couldn't find it anywhere in the rails, h&m have a snazzy range of nail varnish in pretty stylish colours. I have this one which is darker in real, dark orangy red, it's a good red for my skin tone.

So pah to all you stores, it's a shame affordable really does mean cheap. It's all just for children.

In looking for the picture of nail varnish I see h&m now have a little section to click on for the sustainable range. There is still no way to filter or search so I don't know if the entire range comes up or just new/selected. I like this recycled shiny top with buttons down the back (nasty little fetish for shiny things I have).

They have organic cotton and hemp things too. And home things, I do like this runner...

Thursday, 3 November 2011


I still haven't a new bag, I dreamt last night that I pulled the big bow off my worn out bag and magic'd it new. That wouldn't work in real life. I don't know what I want. I know I cant spend two hundred pounds on a bag. I would like a really nice leather bag though.

This one is quite nice, from urban outfitters. I dunno. Too much, or 'spendy' as some say.

building the divide

We have a plan to avoid the plot aggravation with our neighbour. I previously talked about our newly designated 'shared' path which meant our plot got 2 feet smaller and my newly instigated flower edge was in the way and therefore ripe for early removal by our neighbour. As soon as the flowers had finished, but before the seeds had set, the plants were pulled and thrown into our plot. Rude. If you are going to pull something you can at least put it on your compost heap. Rude, particularly if they are not your plants. I really wanted to save seeds so I wont have as much borage as I had hoped for next year. I got the poppies in time though. The shared path was not going to be shared, it would have been down to us to weed or trim, basically it's a bit of our plot that our neighbour can walk along.

I really like to know what is my responsibility and not have others messing with that. So we have put up a defensive wall. Well a permanent row of bean poles that will have climbing things on it. Firstly a big long row of beans for drying, like the old west indian guys do. I figure if they grow well dried beans are a thing you can't have too many of.

Also our new fence will mean that our neighbour won't be able to vocally intrude so easily, it hopefully will reinforce that our plot is ours and not half of a larger plot that she'd like to take over.

We got to use up all the carpet that we have found on the path. We didn't really know how to dispose of this so it's good to have found a use. We have put in breaks, gates, in the fence to we can get to the other side, the shared side, for harvesting. The fence adds some good height on that side and really does make our plot cosier and more private. Lovely.

I had been leaving this allium flower up to dray and hopefully self seed, I love alliiums.

I pulled it to make way for the potato plot for next year. It wasn't an onion as I had expected, giant garlic.

acho cha chut ney

The achochas were the only thing that grew really well on the allotment this summer. We had loads of them. They are not really that tasty, like a bland slightly bitter green pepper cum courgette.

There were boxes of mangoes reduced in *asda* so we got them and have made some mango and achocha chutney. Nigella seeds, cinnamon, cloves, pepper etc. Fruits salted first. All cooked in the slow cooker, need to get the timing on that right next time. Good with a curry hopefully.


There is an etsy store that sells really interesting jewellery. ISWASANDWILLBE. I like the way they style their pieces and the colours and contrast and the random nature.

I have posted the link to their shop, go and buy some bits. I wanted to but actually I made my own, I didn't really have the money to buy from someone else so I spent a little on some beads and made up my own. They are not quite as nice, I don't have the range of colours or the shiny gold beads. I would like some of the little gold nuggets. But I used some lapis lazuli and tigers eye and made some straight tube earings also.

I've made some more now so the strands all sit together. I like them. The cats like them.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

food gone nuts

Some links here that I put in to post about before the summer but never did. Probably about how proper food should be a thing that everyone values and has access to, that good food should not be 'marketed' as luxury and aimed at foodies. That people should be able to know that good food is just food that is real, not made from bits of old whatever and stabilised with extra bits. You get my drift. I'll check back in with this if needs be and I've remembered it wrongly.






summer is finished, knitting etc is go

It seems that there is nothing to say over the summer, not that really interesting things weren't done just that I have had no will to compile them. They have been small, bitty and it feels like the time was elsewhere.

So now summer is gone it can start up again. I'll probably do a recap of some things as I find the pictures.

I have been knitting sock again. This time with organic british breeds wool, seems bad to be getting any other kind of wool now. The wool is from a specific breed of sheep and it is the natural colour. I won't mention more about that yet. The wool is from garthenor organic pure wool and is brilliant, they have a big selection and I feel good prices, not cheap but I believe it is wool how it should be. Their service was great, very quick.

I'm trying to follow a pattern/instructions this time, rather than the basic step by step instructions that I used before. The pattern is from blacker yarns, they also have nice yarn in sheep colours. I'm making the welly boot socks, with a ribbed cuff and then a straight loose bit to the foot, slouchy.

So far, I'm at the start of the heel, just adding in an extra strand of red yarn to reinforce the heel, red I had already.

I've done alright following the pattern, I think, although I think I might knit backwards, somehow. Had to turn it inside out to get it this way for knitting the heel.

I also got some new needles, the cuff needed a smaller size. I managed to find a bone set but they had to come from america. I also got a tatting shuttle which I have, as yet, no idea how to use. From w m booth draper, with lots more nice things. I didn't manage to find anyone in the uk that had bone needles. The postage looked to be quite high but they refunded some as the true cost came up less, nice of them I thought.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

the one about recycling

Radio 4's from our own correspondent always feels like a joke. To the point when, if any other reporting seems silly, overblown, pompus or immature, it is noted as being "woah, this is a bit from our own correspondent". I don't know who this programme is for, slightly confused middle aged mumsies?

This from 09/06/11 really made me angry, this is not a subject to joke about. Do not make fun of people who are making a concerted effort to do a good thing, a vital thing.

And South Korea's a country which takes recycling very seriously - it's causing our correspondent there, Lucy Williamson, some difficulty.

The bit to listen to is at about 23 minutes.

This person cannot fathom how to separate recycling and even more so feels it is ok to mock something so vital to modern life (where do you think all the rubbish thrown in the regular collections is going and is it ok for your plastic bottle to sit in the ground for years and years?) and yet they are talking to the world in disguise as a serious reporter.

I think it's disgusting to jest at how some funny folks back in london, the really comitted greeneies, manage to trek down to the recycling bins, crikey, ooh, well you know some people. What a change to have an actual serious system! How unusual!

People should take recycling seriously, it's not beyond even the most challenged person. It is only difficult for those that are disgustingly lazy minded. To put a bit of rubbish in a bin is the same amount of effort as to put it in one of 2/3/4 bins. And like I said previously, if it's not recycled it just going to sit somewhere out of your sight. If you do not want it sitting about in your vicinity then why should you be entitled to send it off to some other place to sit for pretty-much-ever. Horrible. We do have some rubbish, the packaging things made of stuff "not currently recycled" and cat litter which in theory could be composted but is not safe to put in our brown bin. But that's about it. 

wormery from wiggly wigglers but also check withyour local council as I got mine from them at a subsidised price of £10, the council seem to like to keep that quiet though.

I not sure what the mp's who are pushing to bring back weekly landfill collections for those that have collections reduced to every other week are thinking. There is no need. Our 'normal' bin gets taken every week and barely ever has more than a foot of rubbish in the bottom. We have a fair bit of recycling, two boxes full maybe and maybe a foot worth in the brown bin, more if we have pruned something in the garden. Most of the food peelings goes into the wormery (that is still not filled enough to get back to the first tray after 3 ish years of use, yes I moved a wormery and contents when we moved house) and we do eat a lot of vegetable. I just don't understand what the excuse for so much waste is. I believe it is inexcusable and morally abhorrent. Friends of the earth commented on the review that's out dealing with this but I can't help think it's a bit wet or rather that it could be worded with more gusto.

Could we not do it the Koren way and make people buy the bags to put their landfill rubbish and give us the privelidge of using our various recycling bins for free? Maybe £5 per black sack, £10 even? I estimate we would do one per month if that, and we could introduce somewhere for stinky cat pooh to be taken probably one bag every quarter.

stinky buggers

Thursday, 9 June 2011


We don't buy bacon any more, it's too expensive, most often it's from sad pigs and I'm sure it's full of extra things that don't need to be there.

In the name of experimentation we are having a go at curing a bit of pork belly. The pork is still from the supermarket as we are yet to find a sensible butcher however it's british and it's a cheaper cut.

It looks like an interesting sandwich here, but checking on it today its drawn out a lot of water and is now sitting in a 'lovely' juice. It's in a box in the fridge and will stay there for a few more days.

I'm excited.

The instructions are from tim hayward. I hope it works.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

surprise snazzie snake shoooos

I came across these whilst looking for smart dresses. I think these are nifty.

LK bennett

dear jaeger....

....could I have one of your ric rac satchels please? I see they are in the sale so maybe you could spare one as a present? Thank you very much, kind regards to you.


doing the spuds

Busy busy, keeping things watered. I got sunburnt and then caught in the brilliant rain. I've put in the main potatoes. We'd prepared for doing them no dig, as I mentioned before, but then the deliveries of compost finished and I couldn't find anywhere to get straw bales from so I was a bit behind. In the end I made do with comfrey, straw from wilkos and the manure that we get at the plot.

Chitted spuds down, a layer of cut comfrey leaves, a layer of straw and then all covered with manure. Please note my nice spiral design. You can see the layers quite well below. Fingers crossed that they grow. We'll see.


The sourdough starter has been plodding along, it's really quite exciting to have the beast in the corner, to chuck it some food and experience the stink go from bad to pleasantly odd.

In this picture the beast is hungry.

I made the first loaves and they worked really well, I was surprised so well. Unfortunately we ate most of them (yes, two big bloomers) before I took a photo. This is the tiny end that is left. The bread is definitely a sour one, it has the twang. I think it will take a bit of experimenting to find the best things to eat it with. It was really nice as toast. But definitely sour.

weiging in, having a big go

I have new scales that weigh tiny amounts, down to 0.01g. This is good when one is trying to make small amounts of moisturiser for example as it will only need tiny amounts of some ingredients. It seems to get such scales you have to buy them from ebay or amazon from places where 'folks who also purchased this item also bought" tiny zip lock baggies or herb grinders. It's quite funny, I guess the market to people hand making face cream or toner is a small one, compared to teenage boys with a "supply business".

Anyweigh (ha ha) I had great fun finding really small things to measure on my new scale before getting on with proper business.

New face cream, cleansing bar and a tester hair clay for ralph.

Cleanser is a bit of a mis-match version of the ones I like from lush, it's good to know I can make something for myself though. It seems to work well so for a first attempt I'm really pleased. The hair clay is too solid so will have another go with that.

Monday, 9 May 2011

leggings again

Great, frontier, hair metal, tie dye.

I reckons they are too expensive but I suppose that's not a surprise.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

eat more herbs

I have been getting the mentor emails from learning herbs after reading a bit from them and watching some videos about getting more nourishing herbs into your meals.

Today I watched 'way of the herbal ninja', ha! Stealthy use of herbs, I like it. It's a nice video, I guess I didn't learn anything I didn't already know but I think the more bit and pieces you watch the more the wisdom becomes second nature and assured.

Apparently if I link to it, so others can go see I get some books to download. So here goes.

herb nija!

I'm fond of tumeric, currently trying to get some roots to grow.


Finally I've conquered one of the last processed food mountain. The dilemma at the supermarket will be no more. We have struck crackers in the kitchen.

I've very nearly eaten them all now. Wow, I made crackers. They are quite firm but not so much it hurts your teeth, a bit curvy so they snap if you butter them but I'm happy to know I will now never be without a cracker. Unless we run out of flour.

I used this recipe from 101 cookbooks but added some sesame and poppy seeds in honour of the sainsbury's ones I shall no longer be buying. Mine are thicker I think than the originals but I did plan that. I see now an oatmeal (is that just porridge in english?) cracker recipe that is next on the list. To be fair oatmeal cracker sounds nicer than porridge cracker.

I was just looking at mightyfoods following mention of the midnight hummus. Looks to be some nice food one there. I do love hummus.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

hat needs

After having to lay down with my head in the shed, it being too hot and me getting all warm in the brain, I think I'll get a sun hat.

I'm not convinced that I like hats, I don't like having a hot head so I have to see if the hat or the sun does the most warming. I like this one from topshop.

bee lodgers

There are bees in the belfry. There are bees in the compost bin.

Big bumbler mamma bee came out and buzzed around cross that I had disturbed everyone. Sorry guys. So I'll have to get the compost later, more carefully from the other side of the heap.

salwars done

I've made the salwars. It took me a while to get around to it, silly really as they were pretty easy to put together. I think they might need ironing now I've washed them.

I'm pleased with my big pleats, more at the back than the front, but went a little bit funny working theses out...now if I know how big I want the waist to be and it is now this big.....I put little buttons on the ankle cuffs, it's possible I'm too fond of buttoned cuffs.

The pattern worked out well, I think they are a bit too full but not in an unwearable way. Also they fall a little stiffly due to the volume of fabric and look a little bunch at the back but wearing and washing might relax this. I'll be using a lighter fabric or making the legs less full next time I think. Fabric is organic cotton from here, aubergine crossweave.

Not bad.

path to trouble

We are doing well with the allotment. We had some purple sprouting broccoli which was so exciting I had been trying to hoard it in the fridge to show to ralph's mum when she visits. Seeds have been going in on time and we have been making progress with the works to fix the years of neglect, dealing with the huge bramble hedge and working through the patches of bindweed roots. The bindweed grows everywhere so we have been working in patches to fork over and remove as much of the root as we can. It's a really crap job, no fun at all and made even more frustrating by the knowledge that we have to do it because the people who had our plot before were neglectful and had no consideration for the future people who would take over the plot.

The broad beans overwintered really well and I'm in love with the peas.

As part of the our progression through the plot, clearing areas and establishing a layout, we have been pulling up the carpet-matted roots-soil-weeds 'weed suppressant' that has been left to become one with the earth. There's nothing quite like attempting to dig a hole only to find that several inches into your stride, under what you think is earth, is a size indeterminable layer of matted plastic that is impossible to break through. We have been finding the edge and pulling it up. One of these areas is the main path onto out plot, we pulled it all up, cleared out the roots and set out a new edge bed for flowers and crops and put clover seed for a new path.

And then..... we are told that all is not well with this. The lady next door is worried.

She has contacted the secretary to find out what we are doing/complain/fuss. Apparently she needs to walk on this area of our plot, because she has ME, to water her plants and now our plants are in her way. We were told that our plot came up to the edge of her raised beds, we checked with her and yes, "that is yours, do what you want there" etc etc. We had a meeting with the secretary and explained this and asked to confirm where our plot ends, which actually is all that matters in this discussion. Off the top of her head, there and then she appointed our boundary about a foot into out plot, you know, the width of a path for our neighbour. We can't argue with this, we don't know where it's meant to be as we can only go on what we are told but it doesn't half seem like a haphazard way to divvy up the plots. Just tell people whatever with no offer to check plans or anything. To argue about this would be painful and to ask for clarification would be seen as us being difficult and unfeeling. But now we know the 'official' boundary we'll just have to establish some kind of stompy-footed-sneaky-selfish-fag butt dropping-neighbour protection. I'm annoyed that she made it all our problem rather than looking at her own bed layout but hey, she wants all she can get. All she needed was to leave a walkway down the middle of the bed she needs to water. And maybe not build her greenhouse right up to the edges of her plot (another part of her argument as to why she needed access). Bah to her.

Our crimson clover is lovely.

I've been working on the potato experiment, no-dig potatosie planting. With a think layer of newspaper and card, manure then a compost well-trench. Spuds in, a layer of cut comfrey and then compost over the top.

Seedlings in the bed of contention. Calendula, spinach, love-in-a-mist, borage etc.

Ralph likes to do the digging with the adz.