Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Not a cloud in the sky.

Quite literally, not a single cloud in the sky today. That's the sky I've been toiling under. It's been scorching too. I've cut the back grass. Not that I've a front grass, but my beloved Nanna used to say, " Play ont back grass!" And not the Front Lawn, which was my Grandad's pride and joy. FRONT LAWN LOL. It was actually of a Bowling Green standard. Really soft to do roly posys and cartwheels on - oops!  I also say 'back kitchen' to mean the kitchen! Again, because of my beloved Nanna. She, like me, had one kitchen! She also had a pantry. A big walk in one with its own door. Sometimes she called it the larder.  I don't have either. But I wish I did! 

Here she is at about 90 years of age. I love this photo as she is flanked by a young Mr 19 and Miss 21. 
Born in 1914 and died sadly in 2007. Not a day goes by without me thinking of her. She was only teeny and uber petite. But she was feisty. And she was loved. I'm getting all emotional just writing about her. 

I thought I'd quickly show you the bargainous fabrics I looked at on Saturday. 

This lot I got from a fantastic little shop in Shipley called The Shuttle. 
A lovely lightweight cotton that needs an iron, although I quite like it creased! This will become a summer frock for me. Not saying which Summer.... Hehehe
This took me back to my youth. At £5 a metre I'll hem the top and the bottom, insert elastic in the top hem et voilĂ  two tube skirts for work. £10 . Bargain. I used to buy this stuff on the way home from school to make skirts at will! 

This is a lovely soft jersey which is all drapey and probably a pig to sew! However this was the one for £2.20!! Enough for two tunics for me and then some! 

This is a heavier jersey  which was only £1m that I bought with obviously last week's bird poo v car incident in my subconscious!  I'm thinking a bit of a fit n flare skirt with this. Think there's 3m in this piece. 

Then the next lot was from Samuel Taylor's mill in Embsay just outside Skipton. 
I bought 3m of this good quality cotton reduced from £12m to £5m. Mainly because I liked it! It'll be a dress I think. 

These two were also reduced to £2.50m so I bought them because I thought they'd make a nice tote bag! 
I also had a rummage and found these. I adore the metallic thread, it's for my machine to try some embroidery on it. I bought some grey cotton because I read it's quite a good neutral for blending when sewing patchwork. I also bought some invisible thread to try it and I absolutely swear I had to go to the shop lady to help me find it because I couldn't see it! 

The ribbon was half price. It's adorable. I'm planning on using it as trimming on some baby knits. 

And that's yer lot for today. I'm off to slap some aloe vera on my sunburn. Despite factor 50, the sneaky breeze kept me cool and I didn't realise I was so pink! 

I caught sight of myself in the mirror in my sun dress and thought bloody hell, I know who I remind me of...

Oh here are the frocks I bought on Saturday, because if I wait to wear the ones I m going to make, I'd not have any to wear! 

A one size fits all/hides all type of frock. Soooo pretty. My photo does them no justice! And a fiver! I couldn't make them for that! 

Right that's me off to get someone - anyone,  to rub some Atfersun on my back! Off to see Miss 21 tomorrow and then one of my favourite things to do, which won't cost us a bean. Castling! Expect photos of ruins tomorrow! Might wear one of my new frocks! 

Lots of love from 

Rachel *Bubbles from Little Britain* Radiostar xxx 

Monday, 30 May 2016

Who did it?

Not I said the boy
Not I said the HG

I know it was not me. It must have been the lodger. He's lived here rent free for years. I think you might know him. He's really clumsy, breaking numerous things when no one is looking. He's really greedy too, famous for eating the last biscuit, the last piece of flapjack, the last packet of crisps.  He's the one who  uses the last of everything then doesn't  replace it - soap, milk, loo roll etc.  His name? 

He's called Mr Nobody.

Yesterday morning started off beautifully. Stripped the bed. Glorious sunshine. Walked by the sea putting the world to rights with my friend. Got home. Was about to start the serious job of relaxing in the garden with a bit of knitting when the dulcit tones of the HG shattered my peace.


Now then. Let's look at the evidence. It was the freezer in the cellar. My overflow fridge freezer. I rarely go in the cellar. I have not been down there in a week. Mr 19 said he hadn't been down there. Step forward Mr Hunter 'up and down the cellar steps like a bride's nighty putting his MAGGOTS IN MY FREEZER' Gatherer. Nope, not him either. How odd.

Case rested. Of course had it been myself or Mr 19 we'd have never heard the end of it. Eventually came plausible explanations of how it happened ( yes love, you didn't shut the door properly )
Anyhoo it had defrosted. Stuff was still icy and some things were still frozen solid. His maggots were fine.
Like I flipping well cared!!!!
Please note they are in well sealed containers in bags in their own drawer. No contamination danger at all. Plus they are dead before they go in there !

BUT we had an interesting  lunch of sausage, pizza and scampi salad. I roasted a turkey on the hottest day of the year so far and luckily I've been using stuff up so it was fairly empty! I threw away some yellow stickered pate, stuffing and bacon that truthfully I'd forgotten I'd slung in there.
I got up at 4.30am today - when Mr 19 was just getting in from a night out ( ! ) and in the oven now on slow cook mode is some shin beef for a stew and a whopping joint of beef. It'll be left to go cold and frozen in packs ready for sandwiches and easy mid week roast beef teas!

It was just one thing I could have done without! The turkey has been stripped - it wasn't a massive one, it was the free range organic bronze one I got from Sainsrobbers at 75% off! A breast has been frozen whole. One will be sliced up and all the leg n thigh meat will go into a turkey leek and ham pie though I might create a quiche too.

It's Monday today, a bank one, but it feels like Sunday! The sun is already hot so I might breakfast in the garden.  On Saturday  we went to Yarkshire. ( sic)  We stopped off in Skipton and I got some good bargains and met a Morris man called Moss. A jolly nice chap he was too. He was out for the day with some friends. 

Much handkerchief waving, dancing in clogs and jingly bells ensued! Oops, I know I showed you these yesterday too! 

I got two lovely frocks off the market - Indian cotton and sequins! £5 each.  Some pies from the award winning pie shop on the bridge were eaten and the we went to visit elderly relatives via Embsay Mill. I only just remembered I was going to take photos to show Pam but I was too busy buying gorgeous fabrics in the sale!
Anyway I also went to the brilliant fabric shop in Shipley called The Shuttle where I got yards and yards of jersey fabric to make dresses and tunics for me at ridiculously low low prices. I got 4 metres of one for £2.20! So at that price it doesn't really matter if I go drastically wrong - it'll be my first attempt at sewing jersey. Photos tomorrow. 

We set off back and called at Keelham Farmer's Market type shop. It has a great produce choice and quality is outstanding. We bought Barnsley Chops which we can't get at home and also bought some mutton leg steaks to try. We bought loads of pies, some pork belly and some strawberries. We had the lamb n sheep last night for tea. Yes, despite all the frozen now defrosted meat on offer, I wanted to eat it fresh! Absolutely divine! Mouth-wateringly juicy.

Well,it's now 7am and I've been up for two and a half hours.  Feeling sleepy. The starlings are very noisy but very non plussed about me watching them. I was laughing yesterday watching the poor scratty knackered looking parent starling frantically feed its noisy fluffy brown bigger than it offspring. I know how it feels! I tried to photograph it but my
iPhone camera isn't that good! I videoed it then took a screen shot. 

Other visitors were goldfinch, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, doves, magpies and Jackie the jackdaw. No sparrers  ( I pinched that spelling off Sheila Teatowel ) though. None that I saw. The starlings are a right maurauding bunch of pirates. Practically divebombed me when I put the mealworms out. They had to do their best hummingbird impression to try to get the mealworms out of the Robin feeder! I think they are brilliant birds. I reckon I could get them taking mealworms from my hand. Might try later!

I've waffled on now for much longer than I was gonna! Enjoy your bank holiday. I intend to.

Lots of love from
Rachel *Half term smiley face* Radiostar xxx

PS. This is for Jenn over at Coffee on the Porch 

Now then, I adore Marrowfat peas. I dislike tinned mushy peas much preferring to make my own using dried Marrowfat peas! But tinned garden peas?? YUK! 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Questions questions...

The last few weeks have seen some of my favourite blogs receiving awards which include setting sets of questions to answer. I've been lucky enough to have been kindly included in people's lists of nominees. As I have the award thingy somewhere on here already from a couple of years ago, rather than do the whole thing, I've been answering the fun questions in comments, but decided to compile a few as a post on its own! I wonder if you'd predict the answers I give? 
If you want to play along feel free to copy n paste n answer at will! 

1.  Weight Watchers or Slimming World?

Neither. I've never ever been to classes. Over the years I must have lost and gained a full person in stones! When successfully left to my own devices I do quite well just by calorie counting and upping the exercise. 

2.  Chocolate:  Milk or Dark?

Milk. Dark gives me a headache and its yakky! Chocolate snobs do my head in. 70% solids this and chocolate with chilli that. They can have it! I'll stick with my current CDM favourite thanks. The HG prefers Galaxy. 

3.  Prosecco:  Overrated, overpriced fizz or new favourite tipple?

It's ok, for fizzy wine. I only like pink champagne. I don't like real champagne at all. I don't actually drink that much, but when I do, I go for drinks that are like desserts - cocktails etc but my new favourite drink is a very sophisticated Bombay blue sapphire gin, ice,  slimline tonic and lime! 

4. Gerard Butler or Tom Hardy? 
Easy, both! But I'd be cheating on my number one TV/FILM husband Ray Winstone and I'm sure he'd win in the ensuing fight over me. 

5.  New James Bond:  Idris Elba or Tom Hiddleston?

I don't care either way. I hate all James Bond films with a passion, so I'd not be watching it anyway. Unless one of the above three were chosen. I then might reconsider. 

6.  Holidaying abroad or in the UK?

UK every time for me. Besides, Wales IS abroad!! 

7.  Farm shop or Supermarket?

Farm shops annoy me when they want to charge three quid for a cauliflower. But I do like a wander around one every now and then, to stroke the over priced produce and to indulge in a little local economy support! Actually the ones I go to offer really good value for money and the produce is excellent. However, until I win the lottery, the main weekly shop is done in the supermarkets. 

8.  Europe: Are you an Inny or an Outty?!

I'm voting out. The main reason is, a change is as good as a rest! 

9. Favourite month? 

I've got three. December - for Christmas reasons, August for A WHOLE MONTH OFF SCHOOL REASONS and June - for birthday reasons. I'm so shallow! 

10.  Favourite outfit?

I've a black sleeveless dress, Indian embroidered cotton, with a laced bodice top and a layered handkerchief hemmed long full skirt which I adore. It cost me £3 from a charity shop in Windermere about ten years ago, it fits me if I'm big or small thanks to the lace tie at the back. It's a very forgiving piece. People always admire it when I wear it, which is all the time in summer. I've re dyed it black twice, I've taken it in, I've repaired it. I love it. It's my dress for my coffin if it lasts that long. If it disintegrates before then, I shall mourn for it. 

And here's another set! 

1. What is your favourite meal?

Ummm I think it depends on the season. Currently, it's jersey Royal spuds, boiled, with salad n summat. The summat can be anything from cooked meat to prawns to coleslaw to fish fingers! 
In Winter it's got to be roast beef and Yorkshire puddings and in between, I do love the Thai coconut chicken curry I make. It's too hard to choose just one. Last meal on death row if I absolutely had to choose? Beans on toast with a glass of ice cold milk. Mmmmmmmmm

2. Do you have a party piece? If so, what can you do?

can play the trumpet. I can play the guitar. I cannot do these things together! Party piece, if on cocktails is getting outrageously hilarious ( I think so! ) and extremely sing songy - in fact I've just cringed at a few corkers  that just flash backed! 

3. Do you sing in or out of tune? 

I'd say in, others might disagree! I can hold a tune and thoroughly enjoy a good singsong.

4. What was your 'best bit' today?

As its only 6am, I've not had any best bits! Best bit yesterday was 'looking at loads of fabric at knock down prices and meeting a morris dancer called Moss. 

5. What was your last 'good turn'?

Errrrrm not sure I want to say without it sounding like bragging and then I'd feel like it wasn't a good turn, which is done for selfless reasons. 

6. Are you social or anti-social?

Wrote a deep answer and deleted it! I will say I don't leave litter, I'm not a vandal, I've never been arrested, I don't have an ABSO so I guess that makes me social. And I'll leave it there! 

7. What is your most annoying habit?

None of my habits are annoying! Others who live with me/ know me might have a different opinion but it's my blog question so they can bog off!! 

8. What is your least favourite food?

Stewed fruit. Warm or cold. Also, tinned garden peas. Interestingly I do love a tinned marrowfat pea though. 

9. Dieting or not dieting? 

Constantly striving to eat healthily and lose weight. I'm the type that if I say I'm on a diet, then I'm constantly STARVING and see food everywhere and become obsessed with it. So no, not dieting ever again. 

10. Name one form of relaxation that you enjoy.


And because I'm enjoying this so much, here are some more! 

1.  How many different homes have you lived in?

Three. My ma n pa's first marital home until I was two. Then they moved to what I class as my childhood home and lived there until I moved in with the HG a whopping not very far round the corner from my childhood home! I'm never moving again. It's too traumatic and I've got far too much stuff. Even if I win the lottery. I'm not moving. I love my house! 

2. The first record/CD you can remember buying?

CD LOL. I HAD TAPES! But my first single I think was Belouis Some with Imagination. I wish it was way cooler an answer! 

3. A memorable holiday in this country? 

The first one I went on with my friend without my parents to Newquay. A very pleasant time was had by all! 

4. Favourite job if you could choose?

Steward at the MEN Arena. All those concerts! 

5. Worst ever road journey?

blogged about it. Look up Coach trip from hell and you will see why! It was bad, though the people who commented found it hilarious. 

6. Last meal out? 

With the staff, I ordered Caeser salad for the first time. Related: I discovered how vile anchovies are. 

7. The station your radio is usually tuned into?

BBC Radio Lancashire upstairs because any other station is crackly. Though Graham Liver does my head in. He repeats himself all the time and he's not funny. I like waking up in my own time to no radio at the weekends. BBC Radio two everywhere else. In the car, in the kitchen. I love playing Pop Master in the holidays and my number one favourite is listening to Liza Tarbuck's Saturday teatime show. I love it. I love her. It a great show to listen to when I'm making tea. I've emailed in a few times but she's yet to mention me! I dislike it when she's not there and she has stand ins! Last night was Anita Rani, bland and insipid frankly. I like a bit of Paul O'Grady and adore EP on Sunday, especially in the car when I can felt out a few show tunes! Graham Norton is also wickedly funny and I did like Craig Charles last year when he was standing in for Graham Norton

8.The colour most featured in your wardrobe?

Black. It's slimming. ( but you know that's only true if you are slim in the first place! ) but black it is. It's like I can't give up my 16 yo Souxie Soyx/Cure/Cult/Smiths goth child. 

9.The oldest thing in your house?

The house itself. A Victorian terrace built in 1800s. There are some alabaster cherubs in the walls/ceilings in the hall that are original to the house. So it's them. I would show you but they are so dusty, I'm ashamed!  You've also seen the original slate fireplace in my bedroom in another post. And I've the mangle in the garden from the original kitchen. This house was the HG's Grandma's. Then I found out that my favourite Aunty ever ( who wasn't my Aunty really, she was my Nanna's cousin , but we called her Aunty even though she was more like a second Nanna and we were her surrogate Grandchildren ) was born in the house nextdoor! Another reason for never moving! 

10. Best boot sale/jumble sale/charity shop bargain recently.

I was in Skipton yesterday and went in every charity shop! I wasn't looking for anything in particular though I always look on the dress rail first. I'm also looking for copies of Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo for Y6 as they read it as a class every year with work included as High School Transition work. But yesterday something caught my eye. I ummed n aaaahed and checked with my workchums 
but bought it anyway. It's a Silver cross doll's prom, like new £10! Not one of the coach built ones mind, because I'd have bought that for myself! No, this one is destined for Night Owls as the ones we already have are in high demand and this new one will ease the pressure! Had a quick look on eBay and people are selling them around the same price I paid but I'm glad Night Owl's money went to help Scope. 

And finally a last set of questions to answer...

1. Most hated domestic task.

All of them. Current mood is lazy. Minimum effort in cleaning and tidying right now. 

2. Knitting or Crochet.

Knitting. Crochet is still foreign to my fingers, despite constantly trying! I can do it but can only produce long strands! Cannot fathom out the patterns. 

3. Favourite Film genre.

I adore films like The Day after Tomorrow, where a natural disaster is about to end the world. I like true stories too. If it's a true story about a disaster then I'm in my element! 

4.  Best place that you have been.

Think I answered this as a comment on someone's blog, but The Tower of London is one of the best places on earth to go. The Beefeater tour is a must. I can't get enough of the Crown Jewels. Tourists and extortionate prices for drinks are the downside. But other people melt away when I'm in there and taking your own cancels out the other! 

5. Jewellery  wearer or not.

Not every day. My earrings are hurting my ears at the moment. I've them pierced three times. My gold ones hurt. My white gold ones hurt. Silver hurts. It must be what my Dad said all those years ago. If we were meant to have holes in our ears, we'd be born with them like that! I've tons of gorgeous Pilgrim jewellery bought for me by the HG and a Troll bead bracelet made up of blue beads. I don't even wear my diamonds! My engagement ring is very precious and after all these years ( LAUGH OUT LOUD ) is an antique! True story, I lost a diamond out of it ( it's three diamonds on a twist ) years ago and I was heartbroken. I searched everywhere. I couldn't afford to buy a replacement diamond and have it repaired. ( quoted £500 ) I found it WEEKS later on the morning if my sister's wedding. It was right in the bottom of my pushchair's padded cosy toes cover. Now that pram had seen a12 month old or thereabouts Mr 19 in and out of it everyday, it'd been collapsed for the bus a few times etc. But there, glinting at me, right in the crease was my diamond! Cost me £80 to have it reset! So I have been extra careful with it ever since!   I do wear jewellery on the rare nights  out  and special occasions though. 

6. Book or E Reader.

I have both. But I do like a book. Real pages to turn. 

7. Adventurous cook or plain and simple.

Current mood regarding all domestic chores is lazy, so at the minute it's simple! Last night was rib eye steak, grilled on my optigrill. Plain boiled jersey royals and leaves. Simple! But oh so good! The HG did fanny about making a salad dressing with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin rapeseed oil, mustard and fresh garlic. That was delicious! 

8. Walking or Gym.

Walking. It's free! 

9. Pets or not.

Currently not. Still swithering over getting a dog. Of course I do have an abundance of garden pets!
10. Fresh Oysters or no way Jose.

Did it once. On a French Cuisine course I went on in the lower sixth for a week. This is us! I am on this photo! It is so 80's and I'm very pre goth!!! 
 We had to try one else we'd fail the course. It was like trying to slither someone else's giant bogey down my throat. The rankest thing I've ever tried. Yak. 

So there you go. If you want to, you can copy or paste them for your own blog, you can copy, paste and answer in my comments. It's a fun easy blog post though some of the above questions were a little bit soul searchy! 

Lots of love from 

Rachel * thoroughly interrogated and sang like a canary* Radiostar xxx 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Well and truly splatted!

So, picture the scene....
We'd driven Oop North to Carlisle, to pick Miss 21 up from the train station. The HG and I were treating  our offspring to full on car karaoke - our weapon of choice was Jimmy Sommerville and his greatest hits with Bronski Beat and the Communards. We knew they were enjoying it. Mr 19 was just pretending not to listen with his headphones on. Our tuneful falsettos filled the car. We were on our way to a posh garden centre for brunch. We drove down the dual carriage way. When suddenly.


It pwas literally just as if someone had hurled a can of creamy white emulsion at the car. The roof surely had a dent in it from the level of noise of something dropping from a great height only can produce. The full windscreen was covered. The side windows were splatted and the HG furiously applied screen wash and windscreen wipers! We were on a busy road! We couldn't see a thing for about three seconds which is a really long time to be sightless at 60mph on a busy road! 
It also stank. And you know what I'm like with smells. I was dry heaving. The kids were LAUGHING THEIR HEADS OFF. The HG was still effing and jeffing. He'd only just cleaned his number one love the day before. ( That's how we rank at out house. His car, then us! We know our place.) I can not convey enough how much bird crap was on our car. The full windscreen, the roof, the back window, the doors and windows too. A lot. 

I swear it MUST have been a teradactyl or an albatross. We've a big car. That was a copius amount of shit! 
The HG suggested it was more than one and must have been a flock of swans or something. I wondered if they flew in formations and then all decided on a target and 'bombs awayyyy'!! 

We were hysterical with laughing!! We rapidly found a car wash and a handsome young polish chappie serviced us well. He was laughing at our car as we drove up! We gave him £6 for the works. We finished up in an automated car wash that I've not been in since I were a lass! The photo is of the pretty soap suds in the machine. We emerged, blinking into the sunshine, all shiny again and drove off on our way. It was so so funny! 

Anyhow, after a lovely brunch and a perusal of the goods - they also have a large pet section - they sell SKINNYPIGS! Super cute hairless Guinea pigs, we then drove back into Carlisle to drop Mr 19 off at his Karate appointment. He was Grading. We then took Miss 21 off to Gretna for a 'look' around the shops. We 'looked' at lots of things for her, had a very nice coffee stop and enjoyed her company. We then set off back to drop her at the train station, which we did and after a traffic jam stopped us in our tracks, she got out of the car and ran to catch her train with literally no minutes to spare! I'm glad she caught it as it'd have meant a 57 minute wait for the next one. 

We then went to collect an extremely tired Mr 19. Four hours of Katas, sparring and discipline yielded this 

I'm now the proud ( so so proud ) owner of a Black Belt boy! The dedication he has put in has been immense. It's taken nine years. I could have been a black belt by now had I gone with him instead of sitting chatting with the other Karate parents!! I'm also a bit 'sigh' as I feel like my parenting is done! I know this isn't really true mind! 

Saturday was finished off by a quick visit to the supermarket to let the Victor choose his tea. The honed athlete weighed up his options and went for..... A box of Cookie Crisp cereal! I indulged him. He deserved it! After his sumptuous feast, he went to bed! 
We watched a bit of telly and then too went to bed! Tired out. 

Lots of love from 

Rachel *didnt win the lottery despite the giant bird poo incident* Radiostar xxx 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Skinny Toes

I've been trying and succeeding in making the scales go a little way in the right direction. Not much to shout home about. Nowhere near enough to get my BMI even close to my Blog Title but slowly but surely it's going down. Not that you can tell. Except yesterday, I had to take my shoes in! 
Clearly any weight I'm losing is going off my feet! Doesn't matter I need it off my triple chins and massive hippo tummy. My feet. Slender toes, that's me! Oh and I had to take my watch in a notch too! I'm all about the wrists and the feet. 

Quick search on good old google images found this recent photo of myself. 
 See, look how slender my wrists and feet are!! 

Quick look at my pretty flowers! 

This year, for the first time I can recall, these two peonies are in flower together. I've wrote about these before. They are allowed to stay in my blue/purple garden because they were the HG's Grandmother's. I've three varieties. The cerise pink one is traditionally the first one out. It then tends to bloom for a day and then get smashed to smithereens by storms! Next to flower is the big double pinky red ball one you see. Like I say, I've NEVER seen them bloom together before. Also I seem to have double the bloomage! The last of the three is the biggest both in stature and bloom. They are still in tight bud and weeks off. They will be at least 5ft tall and need staking. Really big football sized palest of pink frilly petalled balls of beauty! 

Yesterday, I did five loads of washing as we were out all day Saturday and I cleaned the bird feeders. 
You know that song from Mary Poppins..Feed the birds, tuppence a bag. 
More like a week's wages round here!! 
And before you comment on the amount of fat balls and suet, please remember that these are Northern birds - they likes their lard! They also likes their Niger seed, black sunflower seed, Sunflower hearts, peanuts, mixed seed, meal worms and Robin food! 
I've also got another feeder station at the other side of my garden and ground feeders and wall feeders! Lately though my arm is aching from all the saluting I'm doing as Mr n Mrs Magpie are often frolicking around the feast! I think I need to quit this superstition! They really are beautiful birds. 

Anyhow, what was I doing on Saturday? I'll have to tell you tomorrow! It's mad busy at work, I've barely got the time to hit 'publish'! 

I'll be back! 

Lots of love from

Rachel *Terminator* Radiostar xxx 

Friday, 20 May 2016

Not much to show, not much to tell!

I do not know where this week has gone. I never seem to have time to do anything in the week. 
Here's last weekend's efforts. 
I had a go at making my own naan breads. I say 'mine', I used a recipe from my Ma in laws TV Crush, James Martin. Into Beryl I tipped plain flour, yeast, salt, sugar, natural yogurt, an egg and some milk. Mixed it. Left it for an hour. Not much proving went on really. The above photo shows the rather wet dough after this hour. 

You then have to roll them into balls and cover and leave for another hour. The dough is so soft they collapse into baps as soon as you put them on the tray. 

This is them after an hour. 

Then you attempt to shape them into naan bread shape. Mine are atrocious! 
Have you ever seen naans like these?! I was in a hurry, because the curry I had made was ready and it was past 7.30pm. We were all ravenous!  Next time, I will take longer over shaping and cook one at a time.  Anyway, you put them on a tray that is baking hot that's been in the oven at its hottest temperature for ages. In the oven for five minutes. 
The first lot, I only just got out in time. 
James told me to brush them with melted butter, which I did. Next time I wouldn't bother! 
Here's the second batch, the middle one probably a little underdone, that's it's bottom you can see. If I did the butter thing next time I'd definitely add some garlic and fresh coriander and parsley to it. Plain butter on its own. Nah, not bothered. But I shouldn't be surprised, because James Martin is a bit famous for his use of butter. 
The curry was a Hairy Dieters Low Calories Chicken Tikka Masala and it was bloody good! 
Ta daaaa! 

Right, now for some garden updates...
My first peonies are out. The alliums are almost as tall as me and some sweet little violas put in a surprise appearance! 

Just a teaser shot of my first ever cut on my cutting board! It's an old pillowcase. 

Cutting is SOOOOO addictive! I made approximately 9000 strips out of whatever I could lay my hands on! 

Right me darlins, amoff twerk. 

Lots of love from

Rachel *needs 36 hours in a day* Radiostar xxx 

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Here we go!

I'm armed with the gifts the HG bought me last year. 
I'm such a spoil brat!

It says it's self healing, I hope I am if I cut myself!! 

I hope they are ok. 
I've listened to and heeded sage advice from my quilting muse Pam. She is my inspiration, she makes the best quilts I've ever seen. 

 I've watched several quilting for beginners and the stupid on the good old tinternet. The most useful being quilting for the stupid beginner because that's what I am and need! Although the truth is  I made the stupid bit up - just added it for comedy purposes! 

found this one quite easy to follow. If any of you have any more tried and tested ones to recommend, go ahead. I'm all ears! 
As soon as I hit publish I'm off to slice up an old pillowcase to practise! 

The after SATs party was a success. One parent provided us with a bouncy castle which went down a storm. I made cakes, getting up at the crack of dawn to have them ready for school! 

Ooo Suzanne, I tried your top tip about the baking tray. One friend commented on my 'lovely even rise' on my buns! 

Ready to go in...

Best buns I ever made! 

 They were iced with either buttery caramel buttercream and adorned with a real CDM giant button or chocolate buttercream with a MB giant button at a jaunty angle! I didn't have any myself due to feeling sick from the amount of pre 7am cake mix and butter cream I had for breakfast! 

Well, it's a sunny day, I braved it with shorts and had a frothy coffee earlier out in the garden, but it was bloody cold, ( trusty watch says 12C ) so I'm quite content to go slice up fabric ( and hopefully not my fingers ) in my craft room!! 

I still can't get over the fact, I have a craft room! 

Lots of love from 

Rachel *making homemade naan breads later from a James Martin book* Radiostar xxx 

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Next project...

Yes, I know I've loads on the go and I STILL am knitting the HG jumper. It might be ready for Winter 2020 at this rate! But I'm going to have a go at a bit of patchwork creation to then make a cover for my Stanley Tool Box which is massive and houses various sewing stuff! 
It'll have hues and tones to match the room and I plan to use this 
 Although the bottom two fabrics might be saved for something else! The turquiosey 'fabric' is very cheap 1m lengths from The Works. It's not the best quality but I really like the colours and washing them has improved the feel! I'm reckoning that if I balls it up, then it really doesn't matter as its not cost so much to make! The matching velvet ribbon is also from The Works. I'll make a start this weekend! 

The SATs are over today after about this morning's maths reasoning paper. One little soul went into complete meltdown during yesterday's maths papers. I'm not actually allowed or supposed to say meltdown because it offends people ( Who are these easily offended people fgs?? ) I should say 'experienced moments of high anxiety' instead. I was to say thank you for all your comments on my post the other day. I was horrified to read about one person's experience where the school was running classes in the holidays and numerous sessions after school. Now my two attended a few days in their holidays at High School getting ready for GCSE and A Levels and quite rightly! They were working towards life changing exams! No SAT test ever counts towards grown up life and job seeking.  My mum paid for me to have extra maths tuition because I needed it to pass my O'Level and it worked! I got my magic C. I certainly didn't have it to pass my 11plus - the only test I recall sitting at primary school. But intense extra curricular maths and English lessons in order to ensure that particular school hit its targets is absolutely pathetic. I definitely would have made sure Miss 21 and Mr 19, had they not been able to cope, would have been withdrawn from school for the SATs. I don't want to lump all children together, because, unlike the government, I know they are all different and some of them look forward to the challenge, enjoy the quiet ( I SO DO ENJOY THE SILENCE ) and are competitive and that's totally okay! Good luck to them! But making a full class of 30 individuals sit the same test is like me making Barry the school budgie hula hoop, because I can hula hoop. 

Here he is trying a dandelion for the first time at the weekend in my garden. He loved it. Scoffed the lot. But it was a bit like wotsits twenty years ago. His face was all yellow!! 

Tonight will see me baking cakes for my class tomorrow for our Celebration of success! ( aka After SATs party! ) what do you think of that Government - a mad afternoon of NO learning with children eating sugar!! 

I cannot wait**

Lots of love from 

Rachel * Applying factor 50 today and hunting for washing to do because it's going to be glorious* Radiostar 

** I can wait, longer than you might think! ( forever ) 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Houston, we have a problem.

Or rather Blogger did.

I tried again in 30 seconds several times over. Bloody blogger. 

Here's some rather sweet mini white daffodils with gorgeous trumpets that popped up in my tub of random bulbs I shoved in carefully planted last Autumn! They are only mini so I can forgive them their blatant and outrageous disregard for my colour scheme endeavours! 

Lots of love from

Rachel *Maths SATs today where I will be screaming answers telepathically at an an 11 year old for most of the morning* Radiostar xx 

Ps. This is what my 11yo cherub at school ( who makes me laugh everyday )said to me yesterday
Child: Miss? 
Me: yes? 
Child: You kill me. You are all about the Lolz! 
Me: !!!!!
Child ( punches me playfully on the upper arm ) You funny! 

Me: ( OUCH!! ) Smiles at child! 

I'm so gonna miss that kid! :-) 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016


It's on the news, it's all we chat about at work. There's no escape. Sigh.

Yet again, I'm blogging about the futility of these sodding tests for the little group of children I work with. The Reading Test was yesterday. I can't share questions or texts with you yet, but it was, in my opinion, very hard. The three texts were super wordy with vocabulary your bog standard Y6 poppet would neither use or understand. The questions were, I think, written extremely ambiguously. The usual ( old style ) L3 simple retrieval questions were absent. These questions gave confidence to the children in my group because they knew they could answer them! Bear in mind, I do work with the children who have made massive progress at our school, yet due to certain issues out of their control they will not reach the Year Six standard for some years, if ever. The Government will fail teachers who do not differentiate work and cater to each and every individual child in their classes. Indeed, their tests do not. How fair is this? 

The child who causes me to smile everyday, and you too sometimes, if I share snippets of our conversation, was a non reader when they arrived at our school in Year 4. Add to this the fact they have an Autistic Spectrum diagnosis. You can see that everyday is challenging before they even get to school. Thanks to the hard work of the staff at our school ( and me last year who listened to them read. Every. Single. Day even though they hated it and resisted at every turn ) this child is now reading books independently. Yes, these books are aimed at those with a reading age a few years below where we'd expect a Y5/6 child to be, however, to go for a non reader to these in a few short 18 months or so, purely in school time only ( home life is tough, not a book in the house ) is massive progress and is to be applauded and celebrated. These tests will say otherwise. 

This child was almost in tears yesterday as they sat staring at the giant chunks of text, saying to me  "It's too hard, I can't do this." All I could do was reply that I knew, but let's keep going and give it a try. 
The cleverest child by far, in our class, who is lucky to find the work comes easy and is naturally academic, declared the test yesterday, really hard. Thanks to the huge amount of work we've done on Building Learning Power and resilience, no child gave up. We've stopped namby pambying them. They are praised less and only for effort. Hard work is celebrated. We don't sticker them up to the eye balls for every little thing. They go into the learning pit. They understand how they are learning now. They don't give up. They know they have to work hard to get noticed. It's stopped a lot of low level disruption and a lot of the Little Prince/Princess syndrome kids! You know, the ones who rule the roost at home and are just little brats! They know their place and the adults have regained 'control' in school. What we say, goes. End of. I make it sound a bit 'North Korean'! But I assure you it really isn't a dictatorship! Sure, we will listen and consider. But ultimately, we have the last say. The children like this. They feel safe, secure and the boundaries are now strong. It's a great school to work in. On the whole, the children are polite and respectful. Ask any of them! Our Y6 were interviewed about the SATs and the visiting journalist commented on how mature and articulate they were and how well behaved they were. I'm proud to work at my school and I'm super proud of our children. 
Then we go and spoil it all by making them sit these tests! 

Today is the much talked about SPAG test. Good luck kids. It'll soon be Friday and AFTER SATs PARTY! Then they can go back to being children that learn interesting things at school. Because believe me, modal verbs, fronted adverbials and subordinating conjunctions are not interesting at all. 

Of course, I do agree with children being assessed and they should be able to demonstrate their progress in tests etc. in Y6. But because of the way the Government keep meddling and changing the curriculum and changing the standards and how they are reported, it's getting impossible to justify it. We all knew where we were with the Levels. The children knew and were happy. 

The message we have given to our Y6 class is do your best and do not worry about what the results are, because they do not matter! If Ofstead is triggered by our 'poor' score and position in a league table, we say bring it on. We were judged to be a good school with some outstanding features in our last report. We didn't blink an eye. We know what we do, makes a difference and every child is celebrated as a success. 

We are opening the classroom early every day this week for toast and juice and guided mediation for the nervous ones, who despite all that we tell them, are nervous and hate the pressure. Some are non plussed and some are relishing the challenge and chance to show off! 

Ooo I'm getting a bit rantypants up here on my soap box! I wouldn't get this stressed working in Marks n Spencer's and I'd get staff discount......

Lots of love from 

Rachel *knows what the past progressive is, do you?* Radiostar xxx