Saturday 30 November 2013

The big pre Christmas clean starts here...

..... Here on the sofa with a cup of tea!

I do the big clean because my Mum did it, probably because my Beloved Nanna did it. Also, I've heard that Father Christmas has standards and will not call at a house where the oven racks are less than sparkly.  So far today ( 7:21am ) the dishwasher and  the washer are on and the oven cleaner is working. This is not a person, by the way, but highly dangerous chemical stuff that's a bit scary!

I'm going to give one of my kitchen cupboards a good scrubbing - you know the one, the baking tin cupboard. The stupid, goes round a corner and it's not fancy enough to have a revolving thingy like what they have these days, that's got all the stuff in you don't use yet don't throw away type of kitchen cupboard.( I have mentioned the fact I might be on Hoarders Extreme one day soon.... )

I'm sure ( I damn well know for a FACT )  in there is my old Turkey tray, which I once bought because the HG HGed the world's biggest turkey ( our children were teeny with bird like appetites). We had turkey coming out of our ears. I did my yearly 'boil the carcass to get the goodness out, use the skimmed stock and the stripped meat to make ten ton of Turkey stew that no one really wants to eat, put it carefully in containers and freeze then throw away the following Christmas in that strange 'must clear the freezer before Christmas' ritual that also happens.  I'm not even sure if the tray fits in this oven! Throw (me ) or keep ( HG)  Let's look at the evidence.

a) this tells you how old the tray is because my new oven is two now and
b) we've just had a turkey crown for the last four years and
c) we are never going to use it on the BBQ ( a HG suggestion, probably to secure its place in the cupboard that no one goes in )
d) it's too good to bin ( HG )
e) I think we could use it as a bird bath ( me )

So there you have it, birds need a shallow tray to drink from. Feeding the birds at my house is costing us more than tuppence a flipping bag. 

Our starlings and sparrows and now sodding pigeons feast on the finest the RSPB have to offer! We ( ok, the HG ) made a bird bath out of an old ikea lamp, it lasted a few winters, but they need a new bath. I have a turkey tray. I hope to them, it doesn't scream TURKEY COFFIN at them. We have a new bird watering station. Oh yes we do HG! He will probably read this later, shake his head at me and tell me how it cost a fortune and it's like new!!

Right, tea drunk. The house is still quiet. I'm off to boil the kettle again and make a start!
Here is a photo of my classroom, well the outside. There are another four windows along side too. Look closely, there's fascia boards too!! 

I'd done the blackout Blitz windows for our WW2 last Friday. Our Christmas theme is Winter Wonderland. So yesterday I added a roof, complete with PVA glue and glitter frosty snow! We are going all WW2 theme so yesterday the children made paper chains and snowflakes from old newspapers. My Nanna told me how my Grandad decorated their window in the war. He used fishing line at different lengths and attached wispy bits of cotton wool and put up so many it looked like snow fall. So that's what I'm going to do at work too. Hopefully it'll look a teeny bit magical :-)

Have a Super Saturday everyone! Do you do a big clean?

Thursday 28 November 2013

Feel good freebies and 'Gooder than God'.

I've been sat here perusing the Kindle store since the Uni one texted to ask could I please order Les Mis for her Kindle. Sure, poppet, Mama will do that for you! It is free at the moment!

Anyway I've also ordered and downloaded a good 6 books for me to read so far - all for free! ( ok, apart from the electric and broadband subscription )
There's a few good stories I fancy and as soon as I hit publish on this, I'm off to look for some more!

Night Owling is going great and I am so ready to be doing Christmas crafts every day from now till the end of term! Today I did the prototype of some really easy but oh so effective Christmas lights art that I saw on someone else's blog on google+.

I need to buy some old fashioned wooden spring pegs for the Christmas decorations I've been making for about a decade and a half - well before this Nordic craze took off. Have you noticed how EVERYTHING is Nordic this year?  Pictures will follow. We are also going to be making our 'Signature Bake'* - little owl cakes, for the Christmas Fair .

WW2 day was a SUCCESS. Have I told you this already? I wore a red dress with a black spotesque pattern, I watched tube of you videos on how to apply my make up, do my hair and wear my silk headscarf bought from The Samaritan's Charity shop for 75p! Black beads from the Uni one and a floral pinny from my Ma in Law completed the luck! Everyone thought I looked the part and the children thought I looked fancy!!  The whole class had joined in and a FANTASTIC day was had by all! I'd put masking tape up at our blacked out windows. We made parsnip and leek soup ( onions were scarce in the war ) and homemade chocolate Bourbon biscuits that actually tasted like homemade chocolate Bourbon biscuits!!  We sounded the air raid siren without warning and they dived for cover like pros! We met a dear sweet man who'd been evacuated from Manchester in the war. The children and adults alike sat spellbound by his story. It was something else. The chill I felt as he described looking up one night and seeing a German plane so low he saw the bomb doors open ready to drop their deadly weapons will stay with me a long time. The children were touched by his memoirs and asked some really creative questions!  They made model spitfires and chose popular names of the day. We are off to the Imperial War Museum North soon to complete our Term's topic. I think they've learned a lot. Thankyou to all your lovely suggestions and help for my costume. It meant a lot.

Right, before I go back to my free book shopping I shall tell you about the title of this post.
Last night, my fellow owl and I went shopping for our little owlets' snacks and Christmas DVDs and things. With our hawk eyes we spotted and swooped on some mini doughnuts with chocolate sprinkles for 50p. Two boxes were bought. These were the children's snack tonight along with the drink that they have as soon as we gather together. This humble gift of sugar, flour, yeast and chocolate brought us worship and adoration and I'm sure some y4 boys broke into spontaneous applause. Yet it was the words of a girl in y2 who comes every night,  which will stay with me for ever....
You are gooder than God for giving us these!!

Rachel Gooder than God Radiostar xxx

*absolutely no baking goes on whatsoever.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Planking day 2

I checked my position in the mirror. Didn't look too 'bum sticky uppy' or back too hollow and I didn't collapse till 19seconds today! At this rate I'll be Olympic standard by Sunday! 

In other news... I found a whole new bunch of blogs to read and follow and I'm still on the lookout for my elusive 61st follower! I know it might help if I post interesting stuff but still... Come on people! Follow me and find out how I plank on day 3! 

I woke up at 2:30am. I think a visit to my new dentist to replace a missing filling is on my mind. I listened to all the songs on my iPod that I could before the battery ran out. The HG is working further oop north today and left early. So the beds been stripped and changed, the dishwasher is on. Tea tonight will be christened later. Depending on the butchery in my mouth it might just be Cafe tea ( summat out of t'freezer ) for the men folk. 

It's our WW2 day tomorrow, I'm wearing a red spotty frock, frilly pinny, head scarf n red lipstick. Might get someone to draw up the back of my legs with a sharpie! Things the children will be doing> 
Choose a war name, create a luggage label, make a gas mask box, write letters home, make 'cream' of parsnip soup and ration chocolate biscuits, make a model spitfire, listen to the wireless, hide under shelters when the air raid siren goes off ( they don't know about this!! ) and meet a real life evacuee. Tonight when they've gone the class room windows will be masking taped and blacked out and all electronic equipment us off limits! We've a sharing assembly at the end of the day and the visiting parents will be allowed to 'choose' an evacuee to take home!! Such fun! 

At Night Owls we are celebrating Thanksgiving! American biscuits and treats are being enjoyed and hot dogs and pizza are on the menu for tomorrow's DVD night. Hand print turkeys, leaf painting and pilgrim puppets are our makes! They seem to enjoy it. I cannot wait till December 1st so we can break out the glitter and start Christmassing to the max!!

Busy morning ahead. Then the dentist. Gulp. 

Rachel Abs of steel Radiostar xxx 
( if only you can hear me snigger as I type that!! I must have the flimsiest abs in the world!!! ) 

Wednesday 20 November 2013


No, not the wooden variety that I have around my house and garden, but an exercise gauntlet thrown down by my super fit niece . Have a look at her post - it seems so deceptively easy.

Balance on hands and toes in a straight line. Hmmmmm
The bits I will struggle with are
1. Getting down on the floor in the first place - my dodgy knee and the adjective ungainly springs to mind
2. Getting back up off the floor - you are probably familiar with the image of a darted bull elephant regaining consciousness and getting up to return to the jungle.
3. Holding my belly up off the floor - I'll be using it to lean on!!
4. Not sticking my bum up in the air
5. Breathing whilst doing this

So here goes Bexx ..... I may need medical assistance after this!

I'd also like to thank the lovely people who gave me lots of ideas re dressing up for Friday. I'll let you know how we get on :-) that is, if I survive this morning's adventures!! 

First Plank Time - watch the video she recommended.
Done! Easy. No pain what so ever - no sign of a six pack though.... 

Ok here I go ....

Bloody hell that's hard! I tried to be as flat as I could. There's a lot of inner trembling and it feels like you can't go on! I think I forgot to breathe but I was concentrating on being butt down, tum up, being still!! I think I must have been doing it wrong though because I didn't collapse till 16 seconds!! Look

I will have another go tomorrow!! ( Then the novelty will probably wear off! ) 

What new things will you try today? 

Rachel Abs of Steel Radiostar xxx 

Tuesday 19 November 2013

I need your help!

On Friday we are having WW2 day and I've to dress up! I was going to go as a land girl but now I'm not for many reasons!
1. Some git outbid me on eBay and I'm not spending a fortune on something I'll never wear again.
2. I'm not built for dungarees at all!
3. Not one charity shop near me has a 40's style frock in it.
4. No army clothes allowed.
5. The children are dressing like evacuees so I can either be a distraught mother or a welcoming farmer's wife!
6. I'm hoping my ma in law will lend me her frilliest pinny.
7. See my dilemma?
8. I know I've left it late - clearly putting my trust in the dressing up fairies was the wrong thing to do!
Over to you!

Saturday 16 November 2013

Cute as a button!

Meet Indie Blossom, wearing her brand new cardigan - you saw it on my last blog post!
It fits her perfectly! Her mama wants me to knit the next sizes up too! In fact I've had a few folk ask me now if I take orders!! Eep! No orders for socks thank goodness, except for Onechunkymama off twitter who is prepared to wait till her autumn years! I've STILL not finished the pair I started some 35 months ago!! 

Yesterday, I made a HB meatloaf for tea which was succulent, juicy and delicious. Only 343 calories for a man sized portion. Good value!  The HG was out HG-ing, so I spent the afternoon with Lisa n our boys as Madeleine was off to a three hour party! (£14.50 a head for the full class - those parents are CRAZY ) 
Harry, (who had an ALL CLEAR VISIT ) was super cute and must have said 'Hanty Reechewl' as opposed to Hanty Raychull like the others do, about a zillion times- but I don't mind one bit, I could hear it all day! We went shopping to Mr Morrisons ( I'm collecting the Christmas voucher things ) and then after collecting a 'partied to the max Mads' we came home! A lovely afternoon. 

On Friday it was 'Come to school in your Onsie' day! I had to buy one - secretly have wanted once since I bought the daughter's Christmas present two years ago! So when I arrived home the night before to a 25% discount card from Matalan, I decided it was fate. I had to have one, it's the second one down. 
- it's pale pink and impossibly fluffy, with my wobbles, I came first in the 'who looks like a blancmange' competition. 
 I have photos. 
If I get 1000 comments on this post I might show you!! ( MUUHAHAHAAAAAA ) 
One colleague told me I looked so cute, like a teletubby, that she wanted to take me home and give me to her dog to play with. Someone else said I looked just like a carebare. I like the carebare colleague better than the teletubby colleague now. 

A fluffy comfy cushion is what a child said! I was stroked and mauled by little hands all day. Plus I was sweating like a pig all day as the heating in school is set to tropical!! I couldn't wait to take the bloody thing off! I had yellow hands from face painting the children and sore hands from decorating Pudsey biscuits! Every single child joined in with the day and every single member of staff. It was a great day and I think we raised a ton of money for Children in Need. 

So here I am on Sunday morning just lazing before the day gets going. There's a whoopsed chicken in the fridge bound for the slow cooker. I've the ingredients to make Millionaire's shortbread. I might knit some sock. I do need to de clutter the bedroom Mantlepiece which I might do first after chicken/slow cooker/washer on type activities. 
But just before I go, here is a photo of Harry, fast asleep in the car seat, on his way to Birmingham. I defy you to find a more gorgeous boy! 

Wednesday 13 November 2013

A quick quickie!

It's 8am. I got back in bed to warm up after my shower! So this is a quick blog post before I finish getting ready for work! I can't fathom out how to get my photos off my phone into the 'from my phone' bit to add on here! The photos are on my iPad automatically, but not where I can access them onto here grrrr. But I simply pop across to my little phone app and add them here!!
I am 100% Northern. The internet told me. I am also 100% Welsh as I checked with the Wales Rugby page on FB. A disappointing result boys at the weekend against the boks, but I still love you. ( because I'm sure the WHOLE TEAM reads this!! )

Quote of the week came from a little Owlet. The grown up owls had been doing the banking, we were £4 up. We each counted and were trying to fathom out where it'd come from to no avail. So I quipped, we'll put it in the Leader's retirement fund.
"But I don't want you to retire!" Piped up this little voice from my now favourite owlet!!

I finally finished the sweet little cardigan and it's not in the safe hands of the Royal Mail on its way to Indie Blossom born a week early to my lovely friend Laura. You've seen her little boy Alfie, modelling his Aran jumper I knit when he was 1!

I entered an online giveaway thingy by email. I'd offered my opinion on what mixer people should invest in! So me and Beryl had a go!

That's me waving and Beryl is my Boysenberry Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer - my Christmas present last year from the HG :-)
We had a go at using the new cake pop moulds I had. 
An easy all in one vanilla sponge
They came out without sticking! 
TA daaah! 

Now then.
Mmmm!! ( new toy in the kitchen! )
*adopts posh voice! aka my mum's phone voice*

The HG and I are orf to the theatre this fine evening! How verry verry cultured of us!

It's a charity fundraiser for the Children's ward at our hospital, which has looked after both of my children and Harry. Paul Akister ( you know, the really good singer from the X Factor this year, who Louis didn't take through at judges houses, in preference to the pretty young can't sing for toffee boy ) is singing with the extremely fabulous local band 24seven who we've seen lots of times! In fact I see the guitarist every week now - he looks like Noddy Holder - and is teaching the kids at school how to play!  The theatre is ancient and therefore more adorable than a modern concert place!!
I know I had a self imposed 12 month gig ban which, quite frankly, has KILLED me, not going to Muse.... But this IS for chariddee mate!!

Speaking of Harry, after his longest gap between exams ever, spare a thought for him and Lisa off to Birmingham tomorrow  for his EUA on Friday. Please no new tumour growth xx

Oops, look at the time!!  ( 8:20am )Have a great Wednesday folks, for I intend to!

Rachel ( & Beryl ) xx 

Sunday 10 November 2013

At the going down of the sun...

We will remember them.

This is my Great Grandad on my Mum's side. My Mum never knew her Grandad. 
My Mum's mum,  my Nanna,  was only two years old when her dad died. She never knew her dad. His wife ( who I called Grandma ) was left with three children to bring up on her own. Total hardship. We talk about struggling these days and being hard up. We know nothing. We are mollycoddled and spoilt and quite pathetic really when you take a step back and consider what we do all have.  My Nanna used to spend hours telling me about her childhood spent with my Great Uncle Arthur, her brother and  Great Aunty Clare,  her sister. I remember my Grandma well.She was a darling lady. Very gentle. In my mind she is frail with soft snowy white hair. She was blind at the end.  She lived to 94 and I'd spend hours in her company. My heart swells with love when I think of her.  I have photographs somewhere, given to me by my  Beloved Nanna, of Lance Corporal Ramsey. A handsome man, brought down in his prime, doing his duty.

The author of this poem was born in my hometown and I've walked by his birthplace too many times to mention. The poem was written two years before my great grandfather's death, but it was as relevant then as now. This is a really good biography if you have a minute or two

  We will remember them x 

Wednesday 6 November 2013

My week so far...

Monday was inset day, though how anyone could concentrate on the ' World Class Teaching and Learning seminar' when this was the view out of the window..... 

Tuesday brought the first day back after half term. I am sure the children have grown a foot each. The classroom seemed jam packed! I caught up with a little bit of my Y4 RE marking. 
"Dayvide slinged a stone at gullyiaff and that was the end of the Phlintstones." 
At night owls we had glitter, fluorescent paints, chalk and black paper. Can you guess what this week's theme is?! 
Finally, the baby girl for which my latest knit is for arrived a week early, so I do need to crack on with this! 
Nearly finished...

Saw this on Facetwit or something and it made me laugh! 

Sunday 3 November 2013

A Sunny Sunday

Hello again!
I know I'm not normally back so soon! I've had a lovely day out with the HG and my mum. The teenage boy declined the offer of a visit to a swanky pants garden centre!
The Christmas section is to die for. I like to just stand and stare! If FrugalMummy ever makes it oop north, I will take her and watch her spontaneously combust with glee!! Of course, it is rare I ever buy anything* - it's FAR too spendy!

We went to the much better, family run nurseries round the corner. I bought some winter plants for a fraction of the price! Of course they were all blues and purples! Except for a dear little crimson thing, bought because it was 40p! It will probably be dead by the morning!!
Here's my wee haul.

Much weeding and pruning and planting later ......

On Twitter you find some real gems, and here is a magnificent shot of the City Fireworks I told you about yesterday. Pam and my Dad would get along famously I think!! Anyway, hopefully this link will take you directly to his Flickr site and I have his full permission so share this shot. It really is a lovely part of the country to live in and this night is magical! Ack I don't think his site is public. Hang  on!
 Nope, blogger won't let me do it. I'll post a screen shot!
Anyway the photographer is Richard Gibbons

Photo (c) Richard Gibbens

Link might not work still!! 
I've tried to add it properly via blogger to no avail. Le sigh. 

Anyway it's back to work tomorrow. That week off has zoomed by! Enjoy your Sunday evenings folks ! 

*Outrageous lie alert

A soggy Saturday

Well, my Saturday started early, as I still naturally wake up at 5am after being woken at 6am by the radio for the last 6 months!

Today I have been to town. I spent a fortune keeping the local economy afloat at the Pie stall. My HG and his sidekick love the little whist pies, and the traditional pork pies, and the pork n Stilton, pork n rhubarb, pork n black pudding, pork n pickle pies etc etc !!
 I had a quick shifty in the Chazza shops. My almost buy today was a gorgeous full length black suede coat from Next. However, the giant who donated it must have been laughing as I tried it on and looked like a child in the dressing up box! It trailed on the floor. At £4.99 I was considering buying it to take up. But I walked away as I've already too many coats!! It's a 1940s dress I'm after for our WW11 day at school in a couple of weeks. If anyone can help me out here - drop me a comment x

I walked home from town ( about a mile and a half ), my 'trusty' walking app informed me that, even with two big bags of shopping, I'd done this in 7.4 minutes! You did not know I was such an athlete. Best book my seat for Brazil!

Thanks to my Olympic Championesque journey I made it in JUST as the Heaven's opened. The weather has since gone back and forth from being beautifully sunny to violent thunderstorms  complete with hail! I was safe inside my kitchen. First off I stewed some slightly Manky eating apples to be used at Christmas. The Uni one adores apple sauce and this mixture of English apples produced a good batch. I then started churning out some more of Aunty Olive's  biscuits; a bit, ahem darker, than last week! They still taste good! I then had a go at using the stevia/brown sugar blend I'd picked up in Tesco reduced.

The reason I was interested in this was because I've treated myself to another cookbook with low calorie desserts in it. Most of the recipes call for this Stevia stuff.  I nearly died when I saw how much a bag of  this pure stevia stuff was. 
Are you sitting down? 

FOUR ENGLISH POUNDS AND NINETY NINE PENCE!!! £4.99!!!!! The reason anyone who buys this would lose weight is because they would not be able to afford owt else to eat! £4.99

My opinion? It is VERY sweet. I'd half or even quarter the sugar in the recipe next time! 
I also made some chocolate fudge brownies. I licked the bowl. I may have left more mixture than usual in the bowl........

I ironed whilst watching the Rugby ; England v Australia. Rugby Union girl here, none of this league nonsense thank you very much. Anyway, with the Six Nations just round the corner, I don't think my Beloved Wales have anything to worry about! 
I've scrubbed the kitchen walls, put new flannelette sheets on the bed ( the highlight of my day will be getting in it! ), done some paperwork and hoovered. 
It's our City's firework spectacular day and we wrapped up warm and hiked up to the top of a clear vantage point to watch. My Dad will share his strong views annually about how our City Council fires his £20 notes up in the air, and that he is not in favour of this. That's the polite version! 
Thanks to the gale force winds, the sounds of the music and crowds cheering  at the Castle site where I normally like to go and watch carried across to our lovely viewing platform. 
Here are some pictures google brought up - my boy took his camera and tripod but he's yet to upload them. 

Just look how pretty my Dad's money looks!! 
Have you had a productive Saturday? 

Friday 1 November 2013


Just claiming my own blog
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Money Saving Tips from 1990

Well,  much to my disgust, it's Friday of Half Term al-flipping-ready!

Since I last posted about my extreme breakfast sport , my week off has been spent doing much of the same ; caught up with lots of jobs on the eternal to do list, baked and cooked wholesome stuff and sorted out a load of stuff that needed sorting! The Uni one and the poor boy left at home switched bedrooms when the Uni one went to Uni. There are boxes upon boxes of cherished childhood stuff that we can not and will not get rid of! We are one box of stuff away from starring on Hoarders, Extreme hoarding, or any  other tv program starring people like Mr Trebus! ( You might have to google him! - He was the first person in Britain to be filmed in a documentary about extreme hoarding! )
I am trying to be brutal, the HG is worse than I am for keeping crap. Please note, the stuff he tends to hoard is useless crap, whereas the precious artefacts I store away like museum pieces are valuable parts of family history. (*nods*).

I have also found a STACK of recipes kept from magazines over the years and ones from food packets etc. I bought two really pretty Lever Arch files ( bargain 99p each from Sainsbury's) and filed them all neatly away. I knew mostly which ones I had but I was thrilled to unearth 'Aunty Olive's Ginger snap biscuits. I made these yesterday ( 53 cals per biscuit ) and they truly are delicious!! 

In amongst the pile of books I found a Dairy Diary homemakers bible book! And the book I am going to thrill you with today..

Mary Rose's 1001 Country Household Hints. First published in 1990, with my copy being published in 1994.
It has sections on cookery, cleaning and stains, laundry time ( I think this makes it sound like a FUN activity!! ), gardening for pleasure, home decorating, knitting and sewing and health and beauty. But it is from her 'Around the house' chapter that I bring you some Money Saving Ideas.
Now I'm trying to remember if 'we' were all wealthy in 1990 as opposed to cash strapped recession weary 2013?

Are these still relevant today. What do you think? For me, 1994 brought the birth of my daughter, the HG was just out of work as the building industry had collapsed and I was working on Supply right up to 38weeks pregnant. So, 'we' were not wealthy. I'm not sure I did any of these mind!

*Disclaimer - I am not advocating ANY of these hints -do them at your own peril - no.2!!!!!!*

1. Pipe tobacco will keep fresh and moist if stored in an airtight tin with a few potato peelings.
2. Wrap apparently dead batteries in tinfoil and leave in a moderate oven when baking and they will be useful again . A small battery should be left in 20 minutes while larger ones need 30minutes. I have NO idea how long they will last after doing this!! Also I'm not sure what makes a small battery small. Is a large one a car battery??!!! 
3. Draw string bags from net curtains make excellent storage bags for vegetables. Do people ( except my mum ) still buy net curtains??!!! 
Note here - with reference to no.3, I think Lisa will back me up here, NET CURTAIN WASHING DAYS WERE THE WORST DAYS OF OUR CHILDHOOD.
4. Keep used oil from the chip pan for greasing your garden tools. Had oven chips been invented then??
5. Before discarding cereal or soap packets, cut out all the large letters. Keep as an educational word-making pastime for children.
6. Coat straw beach hats and bags with clear varnish to stop the straw splitting.
7. A used washing up liquid bottle with the top cut off makes a good utensil holder.
8. Use an old fridge as a cupboard in the garage or shed.

And some that I think I've seen on other frugal blogs, that I've done to be thrifty and that made me think what a good idea!

1. When filling a new hot water bottle for the first time, add a few drops of glycerine. It makes the rubber more supple.
2. Use old hot water bottles as kneelers for the garden. Cut the neck off, fill with rags and seal up again. She suggests sewing it but I can't imagine how easy/difficult that would be!
3. Use plastic bags from supermarkets as bin liners.
4. Save heat and money by putting foil behind radiators.
5. If you are at home all day, fill a flask with boiling water for your hot drinks.
6. Loo roll/kitchen roll tubes make excellent firelighters ( my iPad wanted to write 'firefighters' there! Am chuckling at that mental image.)
These next ones are for FrugalMummy.
They concern her and I's great love - CHRISTMAS
1. Wash holly leaves thoroughly and leave until dry. Dip the leaves in melted margarine and then cover with sugar. < she does not say DO NOT EAT, so I will say it. DO NOT EAT.> dry in front of the fire for lovely frosted holly decorations.
2. Make snow for Christmas declarations by using a large handful of soap flakes, or powdered detergent, add a little water, and whip with a mixer. Put on trees, windows and mirrors etc. when it dries, it looks like real snow and lasts for weeks.

I might try the holly one myself!!

I am pretty sure my nanna told me that my Grandad used to make Christmas snow out of soap flakes though I'm sure I heard her at the time, say snow flakes! That would have made far more sense to a five year old Rachel! Plus my Grandad was the best Grandad on the planet - if he wanted to make inside snow from snowflakes then he could have!

So how many of you have varnished a straw hat then?