Sunday, 31 May 2015

Wedding Day Fun

I'm too tired today to write a proper post after the wonderful weekend we've had so here are a few wedding pics and a video clip of the Bride and bridesmaid rocking out to Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell. Suffice to say, we had a lovely time, and were blessed with a bright sunny day sandwiched between two horrible wet, windy days.

You might be able to tell she is a huge comic book fan and managed to incorporate Batman and Spider-man somewhere into the proceedings.

And tomorrow the bride and my new son-in-law are off to Las Vegas for 5 days and then on to Cancun, Mexico for a further 10 days.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Cupcakes Galore and an Earthquake

I was up before 7 this morning and started baking straight away. 

My first batch of everything-free cupcakes for the Vegans, gluten, rice and just-about-everything-else-under-the-sun intolerants were not a great success. They used millet and tapioca flour as some were allergice to soya and rice, the more usual substitutes, and coconut milk, dairy-free spread, cocoa, and bicarb to raise. 

Unfortunately, they looked awful and frankly tasted worse, although I used a recipe supplied by DD2s vegan friend who knows a thing or two about allergy-free cooking. 

 The first batch looked like mini cowpats and tasted as bad (not that I've ever eaten a cowpat)

I modified the next bake slightly and the second set have turned out better and taste passable after I added extra sugar and filled the cases up more. 

 Second attempt, still a bit cowpatty but larger and sweeter

I'm hoping they will be okay once DD's future mum-in-law ices and decorates them. 

The ordinary vanilla and chocolate ones I made from my usual recipe from an American book. They always dip a little in the middle when cool, but are so amazingly light and fluffy and I know from experience they will freeze well until next week.

 Regular Vanilla

Regular Chocolate

Mixed lot using up the mixtures

It was while I was up to my eyes in flour and eggshells that DD1 texted and asked if I'd heard or felt the earthquake. What earthquake, I replied with floury fingers all over my phone? Well, apparently there was an earthquake in East Kent last night. 4.3 on the Richter scale, it was felt from Margate down to Dover at least, and inland as far as Essex and even East Anglia. 

But not by me! 

After having had a couple of late nights, last night I slept like a log through the whole thing (although it only lasted about 10 seconds anyway). DH hasn't texted or called from work either to say he felt anything, so I guess he didn't, although DS2 said it woke him up. It's not the first one we've had in this area and I did feel the last one that was centred about 8 miles away around Folkestone. It just felt like something had jolted the house for a second or two. 

It makes me think how lucky we are that we only get these minor tremors and not the hugely devastating ones like they've had in Nepal. Still, it is a concern that we've had several small ones in the last 10 years or so.

So, that's my news so far today. Hope all is well with you. Love, Helen xx

Wednesday, 20 May 2015


Just popping in amidst the craziness that is my daughter's final wedding preparations to post a few pics from the hen night last Saturday. 

Fun and games (and drinks and nibbles) at her place first before taking a minibus to Canterbury and the nightclub where we had a specially reserved area. 

I did indulge in a few drinks (wine, awful champagne laid on by the club...but it was free so, of course, had to be drunk...and a couple of Jack Daniels and coke might have slipped down my throat as the evening progressed), but I didn't overdo it and I was fine the next day. I also managed to stay up long after my usual bedtime and didn't get to sleep until nearly 2am.

I did pay for the night with a 2lb weight gain at my slimming club, but I'm working on losing that before the wedding which is now only 10 days away.

So here are the pics of Supermum and her awesome daughters.

Supermum, flexing some muscle

Supermum and Batgirl (aka Bride-to-Be, aka DD2)
Supermum and The (Sexy) Riddler (aka DD3)
Supermum, Sexy Riddler and Batgirl (demonstrating that her superpower is eating a whole cake in one bite). 
 Incredible cake made and decorated by her future mother-in-law.

I have DS2's university final year perfomance to attend tomorrow afternoon, and then Friday I'll be making and freezing the wedding cupcakes (including 'everything-free' ones for the vegans and the gluten-intolerant guests, who also can't tolerate rice which is generally in gluten-free flour). The groom's mum is doing the decoration, thank goodness, so I just have to make the actual cakes. And I have everything printed out ready to make their wedding card and just have to buy some mauve ribbon as DD3 used all mine for the wedding decorations.

DH now has a new suit but at the weekend we need to get him a shirt, tie and shoes. Thankfully I now have my entire outfit...just have to make sure I can still fit into it without too many visible bulges on show!

That's all for now folks. If I don't manage to write again before the big day the next post will be all wedding pics. 

Hope you are all well. Love and hugs, Helen xx

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Junk Food Night

A foody blog today. 

Once a week we have a junk food type dinner. It's not always all that junky, sometimes its quite healthy such as homemade soup with homemade bread sandwiches and salad. 

Tonight it's a less healthy meal of burgers and chips with salad leaves and cherry tomatoes, and homemade lemon cake and custard. I bought the burgers and buns from Farm Foods at £2.95 for 6 mega beef burgers and £1.25 for 12 seeded burger buns. I'll only use half the bag of buns as DS 1&2 will have 2 burgers each and DH and I will have one. The picture below shows the burgers already grilled so I just have to reheat them later.

The boys and I will also have an Aldi Mature Cheese Slice on our burgers; 10 slices are £1.49 and we'll use 5. 

DH will have some fried onions on his (1/4 pack of FarmFoods frozen sliced onions at 69p, although it says £1 on the bag). 

 The chips are Aldi's crinkle cut at 89p for 1.5kg and we'll have two-thirds of a bag. 

The salad was bought yellow stickered for 75p and half a pack of Aldi cherry tomatoes is about 40p. 

The cake and custard ingredients came to about £1.50 and will make at least 8 portions. 
Allowing for extras like ketchup and salad cream, the total cost of the main meal is around £6 (average £1.50 a person) and 4 portions of the dessert comes to 75p (around 19p a person). So for around £1.70 each we'll have main meal and dessert...a lot cheaper than if we ate the same meal at a restaurant, pub or McDonalds or had a take away. Of course the cost is even less if you don't have 2 piggy 20-something sons who eat 2 burgers each. 

It's been lovely weather here today, but I haven't ventured very far from home, just to Aldi in one direction (DS2 and I popped in and voted on our way there), then back home to unload the shopping before going to Farm Foods and Morrisons in the other direction. I'm now having a lazy afternoon catching up on programmes recorded on our Tivo box.  

Talking of TV, did anyone catch the first episode of Home Fires on Sunday evening? I have the book Jambusters that inspired the series. I absolutely love anything WW2 homefront related and have a huge collection of knitting patterns, cookbooks and women's magazines from the era, plus loads of dvds and books such as Coal House at War, 1940s House and Nella Last's War. I particularly enjoy women's diaries of the period and love Nella Last's as she's an ordinary woman and also we lived in Barrow-in- Furness for over two years when my oldest girls were little. I did enjoy the programme and hope it continues being as good.

That's all for now, back to vegging out and watching too much TV. Love to you all, Helen xx

Friday, 1 May 2015

Instant Herb Garden

Firstly I want to say how overwhelmed I am by the lovely comments people have left me after my last post. Thank you all so much for missing me and welcoming me back.

This is a quick post just to show you the lovely potted herbs I bought today in Aldi and Morrisons. 

There are 6 small pots from Aldi for £2.99 containing chives, oregano, mint, parsley, thyme and sage. As there was no coriander, which I use a lot of in soups, I bought a lovely big plant from Morrisons for 99p. The only other herb I now need that I use regularly is rosemary so I'll keep a look out for one of those. I love using fresh herbs - although I'm not a purist and think dried can be just as good in most cases - but I'm rubbish at growing them from seed, so I'm hoping I can manage to keep these plants alive.

I'm off to Margate tomorrow (well, the Westwood Cross shopping centre just outside Margate). We're going to be looking for a suit for DH for the wedding. I finally have my entire outfit (except tights), having bought a cheap set of stud earrings and nose stud from Primark when I was in Canterbury yesterday. They look the part and that's all that matters. Only 4 weeks to go now.

I hope everyone has a lovely bank holiday weekend, whatever the weather. Love, Helen x