Tuesday 31 December 2013

Last Post

Of the year 2013.
Today I've had
My last shower
Lit my last fire

Cooked my last party food
Cut my nails for the last time
Emptied the dishwasher for the last time
Washed the last dirty socks
Been to town for the last time. 

I will be *hilariously* saying things like
I've not had a shower/done the washing/shaved my legs since last year!

I'm all about Christmas. I cannot be arsed with New Year. But if you do, please enjoy your celebrations! I will be watching JOOL's Hootenanny in front of a dying fire and I will have a melancholic day as I start dismantling Christmas, sigh. But my tree stays still the 6th! Tea is chips n egg as requested.

Let's be having you 2014!

Sunday 29 December 2013

Mine was magical, yours?

Of course, I am talking about Christmas Day! The run up was hectic. Finishing work so close to the 25th had me running around like the proverbial fly with the blue Netherlands. I only just finished bedecking the house 
by the 23rd and of course did some traditional Christmas Eve wrapping. Although, all finished by midnight. I had planned on going to Church for midnight mass but just ran out of time, and the gale force winds put me off!

Christmas Day was ours. Just the four of us. As usual the HG was the first one awake and woke us all up. I do miss it being two small excited children running in with their stockings to open them on our bed, but the beauty of teenagers is that they like to sleep! So it was a very civilised 8:30am when we went down to see if 'He'd' been.  I do miss buying toys ( through the year in the sales ) for two small children as teenagers are expensive to buy for! We opened presents leisurely and stopped for bacon butties and phone calls before finishing off by 12.  The room was cleared of debris and the teenagers quickly hoovered and set to looking at what they'd got.
These are my new luxury furry slippers! 

During bacon butty break, the HG got the BBQ out and set up for our lovely joint of beef. This beef was a huge piece of prime, organically reared, happy beef. I'm sure I've  written how the animal frolicked in the meadow, in the dappled sunshine, drinking cool, fresh water from the spring,..... And how it  was reduced from £25 to £9....

Well it was done to perfection, and the bonus of cooking it on the BBQ was that we had BBQed sausages too, on Christmas Day!! Win.  Pudding was jam roly poly for them and a marzipan mince pie for me!

Speaking of Mince pies... I'd bought individual foil trays from Poundland to try as I get fed up of trying to clean the tray where the mincemeat invariably boils over, because I like a generous mince pie I do!
The best £1 I ever spent. I've loads of trays left too.
I made orange shortcrust pastry from the Hairy Bikers Christmas book and added marzipan to the middles; the idea I used was Wendi Peters off Corrie, who I chat to on Twitter. My foody hero Nigel Slater likes a marzipan mince pie, I know this, because he tweeted me!!
Step 1. Grate your butter in, so quick then to rub in! 
Generously filled, some have marzipan on the top, and some have discs hidden underneath. 
Some have full lids and some have a snowflake. Egg wash and a sprinkle of demarara. 

I also made gingernuts, some Viennese shortbread biscuits and some cut out biscuits. All of which are far too delicious and I cannot stop eating them!

We were so full that no one wanted anything else to eat for the rest of the day.  A day spent dozing and chatting and just being lovely. Bliss.

I've read about lots of your days already, I'm sorry that for some it's a sad day, illness and bad memories prevail. I'm sad it's all over for another year. My tree will stay up till the 6th as it always does, but I will slowly start dismantling the other things.  Whilst I don't wish for it to be Christmas every day,I do wish I could keep my house bedecked for longer. I HATE January, I do not like the sparseness left behind, I dislike dark mornings and evenings, it's also so long to payday!! Not that I actually need to spend anything as the freezers and cupboards are well stocked. I will buy a sack of potatoes from the farm shop as they are so much cheaper and better ( being local ) than the supermarket.
And, rather brutally I think, I am back at work NEXT FRIDAY. That is ONLY  3rd Jan. It was set as the 2nd but our new saint like head stepped in and changed it. I love her ! Never mind, only 6 weeks till half term - which is when I will do my spring clean! Something to look forward to !

I will not be making resolutions, because I never stick to them! What about you?

Monday 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Well lovely readers, if any of you are still out there! It's been a hectic time here! I've not had time to pass wind let alone blog! I've been reading how you all are getting ready,  baking your various festive goodies and completing lots of lovely crafts.

Work has been relentless in its march towards the end of term. The nativity was adorable, the carol service quietly dignified ans I was overwhelmed with the large pile of presents from the children.  Only yesterday did I finish the festive trimming of my house and I've only really the bathroom left to scrub clean and Hoover through before it passes the 'clean enough for Father Christmas to come' test.

Home made Biscuits,marzipan  mince pies, bacon,( old fashioned cure !)  ham in cherry coke, a piece of top rib for the BBQ and a turkey which were both  free range -  'had a happy life frolicking in the fresh air, drinking  filtered through volcanic rock spring water from a babbling brook at the bottom of the meadow bathed in dappled sunshine' is stuffed into my fridge along with enough fruit and veg to make sure you have 55 a day let alone 5!  I'd saved vouchers and reward points etc so it didn't all break the bank! Let the feasting commence!

This makes me chuckle!

Anyway, I hope you all have a peaceful few days doing exactly as you please! Don't worry, it'll all soon be back to normal xx

Happy Christmas folks x

Saturday 14 December 2013


My beloved HG bought these for me! I am absolutely tickled pink with them! They have kept me amused for hours! I love the name, I love the idea, I just love them!

So instead of doing the ironing I whipped up a batch of gingerbread dough and faffed about in the kitchen for a few hours! I used some white chocolate on the ninjas and will use red for their belts and masks! I finally had a go as using upside down gingerbread men to make reindeers and found a random Christmas tree cutter! 
Today I have sorted around the rest of my cupboards, and although the rest of the house looks like a bomb went off, the inside of my kitchen cupboards are sparkly and clean and tidy! I'm coughing as I type due to the plaster dust from the Uni one's bedroom. The ceiling will be papered tomorrow as I put my tree up ( finally ) in the afternoon. I was going to tell you something else....but I've forgotten!!! It may have involved Cauliflower soup and my new neighbours, but I don't think that was it!! Back soon :-) 
Rachel Gingerbread Artiste Radiostar! 

Friday 6 December 2013

Nearly 300!

I've just noticed that this is my 294th post or thereabouts! I can't believe I've had that much to waffle on about. Yet here I am again!

I've had a very busy week at work. We had the Christmas Fair - I made snowflake topped fairy buns for the cake stall. I am very thrilled to announce they made it to the 50p section.

 The WW2 topic is topped off today with an Educational Visit to the Imperial War Museum North with Year 6. I've been before. It is an amazing place - I find it at times, uncomfortably emotional, I must not break down into a blubbing wreck in front of the children!
( late night add in - it was a great day and I surprised myself with a climb of 161 steps to the top of a very very high tower but I got to see the top of the new Corrie set! )

Friday at Night Owls = DVD and treat night. Last week 'we' all sat enthralled at Sponge Bob's Christmas Efforts. Tonight it's Scooby Doo's turn to entertain us.

Then tomorrow, we are off to see the Uni one ( and Fenwick's Christmas Windows!) We are taking my Mum and Dad, who celebrated his 65th Birthday yesterday - Happy Retirement Dad! Except he's carrying on working! Cannot afford to pack in work. I wish for a lottery win this weekend, so he can.

Sunday will be a shopping/housework/pre Christmas Clean type of day. Then my tree will go up next week! Bargain Beef ( heavily reduced quality joints ) ( to be cooked on the BBQ at Christmas ) was secured at Sainsbury's last night after a successful Parent's Evening for the Teen. Well, it was eventually successful when we finally managed to see the teachers. They have the children make a timed appointment and are supposed to stick to slots five minutes long. Our first appointment was at 6:15pm, then 6:25 , 6:35 and 6:40. We arrived for maths at 6:10. And we waited.

And waited. At 6:17pm I started doing the 'shuffling from one foot to the other and glaring' angry waiting person dance.  I may have tweeted using bad swear words.  The parents who were hogging the teacher were, quite frankly, getting on my nerves.... The pushy parents eventually got up and we were poised to strike when some woman and her brat walked straight to the chair and sat down! Being British of course, I didn't want to make a fuss, so instead I just seethed silently.  At 6:25 we gave up and went to see the Business Teacher. She  had someone with her. After a few minutes, they left... We stood up....she called SOMEONE ELSE. I may have audibly growled. She apologised for running late and suggested we went to see other appointments. (!!!!!!) so now five minutes late for the IT teacher,, we tramped through the school to find a packed corridor of equally pissed off parents and their bratty offsprings waiting. We peered in the room but the IT man was occupied. So we left to go see Mr Chemistry. It was out last appointment booked. .he was waiting for us! We were warmly welcomed and thanked for being on time. He was already on the top of our favourite teacher list before he gave us a glowing report about our seemingly talented scientist son. ( how would we know? He only comes out of his lair to feed. Mostly at night. ) we left feeling smug! We then back tracked to Miss Business, who pissed me off because she spoke exclusively to the teen it was almost as if we were not there!  It was PARENT'S Evening for goodness sake. She did say it was nice to meet us. I did not believe her.
Mr IT had come out of his room now to look for us and took us in and shared some work, went through what went wrong,how to improve, how he expected the boy to exceed his ALPS target and then we went back to see Mr Maths.  He was with someone. They left. Another woman just queue jumped. I was almost at boiling point. I fact I was dangerously like that pan of milk frothing up the pan about to go over the top. I stood very close so I could tell you how her child was struggling with algebra.  Then it was us.
He looked at his list. Looked at the boy. Looked at his list and said we were late!!! He was told, bluntly, we'd been there at 6:10pm and ignored. He did back track and apologised several times and it turns out he likes to talk. Properly, to the teen and us about the work, the results, detailed feedback from class work, exam technique, extra clinics on offer and everything else you can think of! Mr Maths was thorough. He never stood a chance of being on time. I nodded politely as he took us through an exam question that had gone wrong. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about! I work in Y6 with the Red Group. We are still using tiddlywinks to share out for division questions! Anyway, the upshot was, we didn't get to go late night shopping as planned, but the boy is doing well and is broadly on track for success.

Have a great weekend whatever you are doing x just doing my Christmas Cards - if you want one - let me have your address!! Fun! 

Monday 2 December 2013


Hey folks, it's December the 2nd. I've written some cards, ordered more stuff via Quidco and drooled at the telly Christmas Food adverts. Especially the M&S ones.
Anyway, at Night Owls, we are going all out Christmas Craft Crazy. Well, I am, and I'm dragging my fellow Owl ladies and Owlets with me. We, ok I, played our brand new Christmas CD 1 out of 3 and I forged ahead with the proto type. The children will have a go tomorrow. In small groups. The rest can make merry with the glitter and create Christmas Owl pictures to festoon the walls!

Swedish Snowflakes.
I first made these about a decade ago. Before all things Nordic were fashionable. It's EVERYWHERE!! Have you noticed? Or is it just me? 
Anyway you will need some old fashioned spring wooden pegs.
I found these wee darling ones to play with too!

You need to pull them apart. 
 My cowlleague,  ( ba da boom tish! ) started to fashion little Christmas shapes from the springs- these are still under wraps right now! 
You need to apply some glue to the flat side of the peg. 

And stick the two halves firmly together. 
 Here is where I made my mistake. I 'remembered' you need 6 pegs for each snowflake. My memory is shocking. Actually, and you'll see, the magic number is SEVEN! 

The tricky bit now is to glue the pegs into shape. You can get away with 6 for the smaller ones, but the larger one didn't look quite right. I used a glue gun to stick them into shape. It is quite fiddly, but stick with it. 

It might be easier to stick them in twos or threes first. 
I'm cross I didn't see the obvious missing seventh peg till I'd run out of time but I wanted a finished one to show the children. We have metallic paints and glitter. I can't wait till the children make them! I'm going to make some teeny ones for my own tree! 
Hang them with thread for a really thrifty, easy yet stylish and up to the minute Christmas Decoration. 
What is your favourite Christmas craft? Could I do it with my Owlets? Do please let me know! 
Rachel *Nordic* Radiostar xx 

Sunday 1 December 2013

One pack of mince, twice the Hairy Bikers!

Hello! I'm blogging today, bum firmly plonked on sofa, dodgy disaster movie on the TV, HG gently snoozing in the corner, fire just lit and getting going, tea already prepared thanks to the title of this post and some Christmas shopping done this morning.

So I made two of my favourite Hairy Biker recipes for mince yesterday.  One from each of their books.

One is for meat n potato pies and the other for Tumble pie - a kind of cottage pie. They are both tasty and delicious and a good portion comes in at less than 400calories each! I used Morrison's extra lean minced steak at less than 5%fat. My pack was 450g. I made the full quantity of pies but halved the Tumble pie. I simply halved the pack, so each recipe had slightly less meat than they list. The pastry for the pies, is actually packet pizza dough mix! Very easy to make and very easy to handle. 

You roll it out just as you would pastry. Easy as pie! 
The meat and potato pie contains mince, onion, carrot, celery and potato. I told you they gave good portions! 
Lids on and a milk glaze and into the oven with them, for 15 minutes. Then a further 15 minutes with a foil lid on and 
TA daaaah! Lovely with a tin of beans. 

We have three in the freezer for a midweek meal and it's the tumble pie with some veg for tea tonight. Yummy! 

How was your weekend?