Thursday, September 25, 2008

The return of the interwebs


We finally have home broadband connected - it's only been a week and a half but it feels like an eternity. I didn't realise I was so reliant on it but when you can't just drop an email to someone or use the Vision box to keep up to date with Out of the can all get too much!

The people in the house prior to us had cable for everything and we were surprised to see that both the phone line and the TV aerial to the roof had been severed! But all connected now and I'm just working my way through a few websites I need to catch up on (and yes, Lolcats is one!) before facing the inevitable torrent of Freecycle emails - having not yet been able to disconnect myself from the mailing list.

Well, it's been chaotic and tiring and busy but I think we're just about there now - all stuff moved in and unpacked, 2 hectic trips to IKEA have provided us with much more storage space, and there have been visitors galore. Today was the first 'proper' quiet day with L back at work...except that the new fridge we ordered arrived and couldn't get through the door. Fortunately L's dad was able to pop over and one door removal later the f/f is now safely esconsed in the kitchen.

New doctor and dentist have been discovered, along with church for me and Wiggles & Giggles for Zachary. Off to find a swimming pool tomorrow. Hopefully.

Finally, Z has moved to stage 2 for his weaning which kind of means the introduction of meat and dairy. He's on 3 meals a day now but I'm still having to make sure he gets enough breast milk as well. I am loving Annabel Karmel - made chicken with sweet potato and apple, and courgette and pea souper today. Both so tasty Z nearly lost most of his lunch and dinner to the parent feeding him. Whoooops!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eating breakfast with a teaspoon

The house still looks like a bomb site but it feels a lot more packed up and sorted out. I think all the big stuff's been done now (apart from one or two loft boxes left) and there's just the niggling last minute jobs to sort out today before the movers arrive at 7am (!) tomorrow - disconnect washing machine, dismantle bed and cot, pack last lot of clothes and lamps, defrost freezer, clean kitchen cupboards, pack the cars, go to the tip, pack toiletries, vacuum and make sure we've taken everything with us! Zachary...where are you???

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Black Box

Since I got back from Lowestoft at just gone 4 I have spoken to our solicitors (finally exchanged contracts - hurrah!), tried to pack another box and failed when I remembered I'm supposed to be doing dinner tonight, got as far as partially defrosting the sausages when Z decided he was incredibly hungry (not surprising since he last ate at 1), fed Z half a papaya and boobed him, and now I'm being shown exciting things on my husband's blog... namely this

(I knoo it snoo cos I driv there)

and this

Thank goodness L's on the ball - sausages now in ... but I still need to go into the loft tonight...clearing 6 years worth of hoarded goodies. Freecycle is my saviour.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Oh dearie, dear

Now that I've finally set myself up on Flickr, I'm obsessing a bit about photos I can upload. I've already got my Postcrossing cards sorted and am beginning the slightly mind-numbingness of scanning in the stamps too...(don't ask why)

I'm thinking of adding my baking endeavours to the next set and including the recipes in the description of the photo. Pulled out some photos of the birthday cake I made L this year and the 'really impressive' icing...ho hum. I had visions of creating a wonderful cake covered with hundreds of lovely purples rosettes. Two things conspired against me - using butter straight from the fridge meant that none of the rosettes actually stuck to the top of the cake and I was forced to do lines of piping instead, and the icing bag leaks fat from the butter. Makes your hands lovely and slippery!

But with that in mind I was pleased to find this website - Cake Wrecks - I'm sure mine wasn't quite as awful as some of these!

And this is another site I keep returning to - It's Lovely I'll Take It. Damn you Foster for pointing it out!!

Yesterday's moral dilemma

Is it wrong to eat an entire batch of Millionaire's shortbread in 2 days??

I thought probably yes so have slowed down my consumption of it! After neither of my last two attempts at cakey stuff (a variation of this recipe with real banana [not great - they come out too much like mini sponge cakes!] and banana and peanut butter muffins) turned out to be particularly sweet L asked for something a bit more indulgent.

So I had a go at a Mary Berry millionaire's shortbread recipe - it is soooo good! I suspect this has something to do with the 2 tins of condensed milk in the caramel (I was very restrained and most of the tins made it into the mix, although I did end up scraping them out with a spoon when realistically there was no need for the last little bits to go in the bowl....). The caramel came out quite soft (I may not have let it boil enough before simmering) so we've kept the tub in the fridge and this has worked marvellously.

L was quite amused by the scare-mongering directions given at the start of the recipe - "Do make sure you stir the caramel mixture continuously. If you leave it for even a second it will catch on the bottom of the pan and burn (see photograph on pages 154-5)" - note to self, not an easy part of the recipe when Z is in a grumpy, needing to be held kind of mood...

Sadly the photo was of the finished article, not a burnt pan! I had a go at marbling the chocolate topping - not entirely successfully! It's just a weird melange of the 3 chocolates. Still can't really go wrong with that!

For the shortbread :
9 oz (250g) plain flour
3 oz (75g) caster sugar
6 oz (175g) butter, softened

For the caramel :
4 oz (100g) butter or margarine
4 oz (100g) light muscavado sugar
2 x 14 oz (397g) tins of condensed milk

For the topping :
7 oz (200g) plain or milk chocolate, melted

Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Lightly grease a 13" x 9" (33 x 23 cm) swiss roll tin.

Shortbread - mix the flour and caster sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Knead the mixture together until it forms a dough, then press into the base of the prepared tin. Prick the shortbread lightly with a fork (I forgot this bit and L was highly amused when I leapt from my seat out of the room screaming "I forgot to prick it!"). Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and very lightly browned. Cool in the tin.

Caramel - measure the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool.

Chocolate - pour over the cold caramel and leave to set.

Cut into squares.

Those of a nervous disposition look away now

This post is about poo.

I don't know if it the fate of all new mums, or just peculiar to me but I have become obsessed by poo. Zachary's, not mine! Colour, consistency, smell, frequency and quantity have all become little mini obsessions since birth. I suspect it could be because quite often a baby's poo/wee can reveal if they're not very well - so if they don't wee enough they're poo can mean they're unwell...constipation is not good etc etc.

A baby's poo changes quite rapidly after birth when they're getting rid of all the nasty stuff that's built up in there during the pregnancy (black tar-like stuff) to when feeding settles in and you know what you should be expecting to appear (bright yellow - nice!). We knew when to expect lake of poo (early every morning) but now that we're weaning Zachary, it's all changing again along with the return of my preoccupation with all things poo! Let's just say we're fairly sure that his system appears to be digesting the solid food effectively.

Today's ineptitude

Had a busy day today - needed to be out of the house by about quarter to twelve to meet friends from work for lunch, then called in to see my Mum in Stokesby for a cuppa before heading home. Had a complete mare getting out of Norwich which was entirely my own fault!

First turned the wrong way out of the carpark so headed into town instead of back the way I had come in. Then took the wrong lane coming out onto Prince of Wales Road and again managed to get myself headed back towards town instead of the station and the A47. Decided to try and get out via the law courts rather than just go all the way round the next roundabout and back on myself...this would be fine if I hadn't ignored the 'no through road' sign thinking that it looked as though I would be able to get through (why did I think that??!!). And guess what. It was a no through road so came back on myself again. I should know better.

But it was a great day - capped off by the fact that as I was driving back into Ipswich this evening I noticed my flies were undone. I didn't use the toilet at the restaurant at lunch. Or at my Mum's. Whooops!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A 4th Ending?

So there I am beggaring about in Facebook looking at all the groups/shows etc my friends have recently become 'fans' of. I wonder if there's a group for Clue fans - yes there is! And in the group I find tell of a fabled 4th ending. Intrigued I follow the link - and there it is! Sadly no video version (apparently they never finished filming it) but here is the rundown...

(snaffled from here is a another link for the movie)

"Clue : The Movie - The Fourth Ending
The ending appears in the Movie Storybook and in Clue : The Novel.

Here's the run down of the ending as provided by Michael Akers (HUGE thanks to him!):

Wadsworth reveals that the murder is none other than... Professor Plum. He starts off telling in the same way as the "everybody didit" ending that Professor Plum knew that Mr. Boddy was still alive, etc. But how could he kill the cook? Well! Professor Plum was in league with Mrs. Peacock and they both killed everybody together.

Or did they? The gun is missing, as Professor Plum who has proclaimed his innocence figures out. Whoever has the gun is the murderer.

The murderer is revealed to be... Wadsworth, the butler. He did it all. He goes into a confession about how he always tried to be perfect. He tried to be the perfect husband, but his wife killed herself. He tried to be the perfect butler, but was driven to killing his boss... So, in doing so, he resolved to commit the perfect murder... but that can't be, because there are six witnesses to his confession.

Wrong, he points out. The champagne was poisoned, and all of the suspects will die in a matter of hours unless they get to a hospital. He then runs to the various rooms ripping out the phone cords. He then tells how he is going to lock them in to die... but the doorbell rings. It's the elderly evangelist again.

The evangelist lunges for Wadsworth's gun, and wrestles him to the ground as the other police come in. The police ask whodunit, and wadsworth begins to retell the whole story (as he did at the beginning of the murder revelations).

The cops are watching mesmerized as he tells the story. But when he gets to the part where he opens the door to find colonel mustard, he steps outside, closes, and locks the door. The cops and guests are locked in, but eventually bust out of the conservatory to escape.

Meanwhile, wadsworth has jumped into the car and speeds away... but not totally, because he then hear the "grrrrr" of the german shepard in the backseat.

Fade out. The End."


Tuesday, September 02, 2008


What government announcement (effective Wednesday) will save us nearly £2,000 in one fell swoop??

Answer here.