Thursday, 28 February 2013

Things I Loved This Month...February...

This month I've loved...

* finding out my best friend and her husband, who live in Brazil, are coming for a 3 week visit in April! * finding £5 on the bus * buying 2 new dresses * compliments on my new dresses * nice work people * buying new seeds for spring * chocolate fridge cake and chocolate waffles * coming out of work at night and it still being light * sunshine * buying and obsessively watching the Sabrina the Teenage Witch complete DVD box set * listening to radio 2 * playing with a smiley baby * crocheting * clean clothes, toasty warm of the radiator * pancake day * lots of nice phone calls and messages from lots of nice friends * making my balcony pretty * eating my lunch on the balcony in the sunshine * listening to The Beatles, Freaky Friday soundtrack, Joseph soundtrack, Fall Out Boy * funny, spotty 'apache' potatoes * robins bobbing about * new knickers * payday *

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on Penelope's blog L is for Love, which arrived in the post today...I never win anything, so I was super-duper excited!  I got some beautiful fabric, thread, pins, chocolate and a lovely knitted apple pin cushion (I can't knit for the life of me, so I always appreciate hand knitted stuff...even though the post man didn' apple arrived flat and I've been squidging it back into shape!).  Thank you Penelope, you made my day!

What have you loved this month?  Hope it's been a lovely one for you!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Easy, Cheap, Vegan Meals...Spring Onion Tart, Mushroom Pilau Rice, Vegan Sausage and Veg Stir Fry...

I love cooking for myself now I'm living on my are some of my recent ideas for easy, cheap vegan meals...

Spring Onion Tart - puff pastry (on offer 88p a pack, this is about 1/9th of a pack), covered in sliced sping onions, brushed with oil, in the oven for 20 mins.  Recipe (veganised, Hugh's has cheese) from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls 'River Cottage Veg Every Day'.

Mushroom Pilau Rice - mushrooms, onion, garlic, ginger, cardamom and garam massala  - yummy!  I also put in the green tops of the spring onions that I had to cut off for the tart - waste not want not!  Recipe from the side dishes section of 'Vegan Recipes' by Nicola Graime, I like it as a main with whatever other veg I happen to have in the fridge.  It makes for nice left overs the next day too.

Sausage Curry Stir Fry - onions, garlic, whatever veg you have hanging round in the fridge (this time it was half a carrot that had gone all bendy, some bean sprouts and some frozen peas) and a Linda McCartney sausage, fried in a little curry powder.  Add some rice noodles and away we go!

What have you been eating?  Any simple, vegan recipes you can recommend to me, now I'm fending for myself?

PS. 'scuse my photos, I cook in the evenings when it's dark...I don't know how food bloggers do it.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Library Love...The Weight of Water, The Library of Unrequited Love, Bed, Homespun Vintage...

This month I've loved reading...

The Weight of Water - Sarah Crossan
This is a really sweet children's book, about a girl and her mother who emigrate to England to find their missing father/husband.  It's written in verse, but it's not gimmicky, it's really clever and lovely.

The Library of Unrequited Love - Sophie Divry
I thought this book would be interesting because it's about the one sided conversation a Librarian has with a customer who has been locked in overnight.  Maybe it's because it's set in France, but there seems to be a big difference between how this Librarian spends her days (mostly alone, with the occasional borrower, in the geography section of the library) and how I do (running round like a maniac, processing bus passes and parking passes, wrestling with self service machines, helping people on computers, getting severe hair frizz from the static off the plastic book jackets...).  I found myself wondering if the author had ever spent any time working in Libraries, or if this is just a romanticised, old fashioned view.  I did sympathise with the Librarians desire to make all the books straight though!

Bed - David Whitehouse
When Mal is a child he causes much embarrassment by taking his clothes off in inappropriate places, when Mal is an adult he takes to his bed and becomes an 100 stone man.  This was an interesting book about how his family deal with the scenario...but it's full of Really Bad metaphors and similes, which really got on my nerves after a while.

Homespun Vintage - Jane Crowfoot
A really pretty crochet and knitting book.  There's lots of lovely projects in here, mostly of the shabby chic variety.  I especially like things in the 'folk tales' and 'time for tea' chapters.

What have you been reading?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Garden Update...February...Balcony Garden Progress...

There was a break in the weather today (it snowed yesterday, but today it's sunshine and showers) so I decided to make my balcony prettier (and a bit more private, it's very visible from the busy road and I want to sit on it in the mornings in the summer in my PJs eating my breakfast, without all the morning commuters seeing me!).

I got some reed screening from wilkinsons (£7.99 a pack), some green bendy garden wire (89p) and some bunting I bought in the Christmas sales (£2.50) and set to wrapping it round the railings...this is how far I got before it started to REALLY rain...

But it stopped after about 20 minutes, and an hour or so later I'd finished....ta-dah!

Spring is coming in my pots too...

And then I went outside with my camera, to take a photo from the outside, did a big grumble 'cos it started to rain, looked up and there was a big, beautiful double rainbow in the sky :) 

Can't wait for the weather to be a bit nicer so I can start growing stuff on my balcony.  I have a little water feature planned too!  

Do you have any exciting garden plans this year?

Linking up with Lakota at Ta-dah Tuesday (Thursday!).

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Charity Shop Treasure...Vintage Plant Pots, Tea Tray and Embroidery...

 Some of the treasures I've found recently...

Pink poodle-y plant pot holder, £1.50, local charity shop.

Snail plant pot holder, 50p, second hand shop in Aberystwyth.

Vintage tray, £1.20, local charity shop.

Retro tapestry, £8, Ebay.  I love this, it reminds me of Aberystwyth (where I used to live), with the castle and the cove.  I'm going to hang it in my living room somewhere but until then it's leaning against my cupboard.

Have you bought yourself anything marvellous recently?

Vegan Pancake Recipe...


Happy Pancake Day!

Just wanted to re-share my vegan pancake recipe, and tips, in case you're in dire need of vegan pancakes today!

Hope you have a ponkonculous day!

Friday, 8 February 2013

National Libraries Day...

Tomorrow is National Libraries Day...

See if there's anything going on in your area, or just visit your local library for lovely free books, internet access, newspapers, magazines, kids and adults activities and general larks!!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Vegan Chocolate Fridge Cake Recipe...

This is my go to recipe when I have to quickly make a dish to take to a party or meeting.  This one is to cheer up an 8.30am staff meeting tomorrow.  It's super easy to make.

This recipe makes enough mix to fill one square dish sized 22cm by 22cm AND one round dish measuring 16cm across (I didn't have a dish big enough!) 

vegan fridge cake, or tiffin. Chocolate no cook cake. second hand susie blog.

400g packet of vegan digestive biscuits
3 dessert spoons cocoa powder
4 dessert spoons vegan margarine
3 dessert spoons golden syrup
pinch of salt
200g vegan chocolate
Sprinkles and edible glitter (optional)

Put the digestives in a bowl and crush using the end of a rolling pin, add the cocoa powder and pinch of salt.

Put the margarine and syrup in a bowl in the microwave and blast for 30 seconds, then remove and stir, repeat until it's melted, then tip onto the biscuit mix.

Stir together and pour into a foil lined container.  Push it firmly down into the corners and make sure it's packed tightly.

Break the chocolate and put into a bowl, melt in the microwave for 30 seconds, remove and stir, repeat until it's melted.

Pour the melted chocolate onto the biscuit mix and spread out to cover it all.  Add sprinkles now if you want them!

Put in the fridge for a couple of hours (or overnight) then cut into squares.  Keep in the fridge.
vegan fridge cake, or tiffin. Chocolate no cook cake. second hand susie blog.

P.S. 'Scuse my badly lit photos, I cook in the evenings, so it's hard to get a decent photo!

Linking up with Lakota at Ta-dah Tuesday and Frugally Sustainable.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Easy Green Things To Do This Month...February 2013...

Here's this months round up of easy eco actions and activities...

The 9th of February is National Libraries Day, see if there's something exciting happening at a library near you, or just check out your local library...sharing books is eco friendly and free!

I like this petition for Crayola to take back and recycle their plastic pens.

Do these online actions from Greenpeace to ask tech. companies to use cleaner energy  and to ask your MEP to fix fishing laws and protect the ocean.

Use this website to generate a letter to your MP asking them to tackle pesticides that harm bees.

Sign up to the RSPBs Homes for Wildlife scheme for tips on making your garden more wildlife-friendly.

Sign up here to get a free fact sheet and email tips on growing in small spaces using containers - just in time to start daydreaming about spring planting!

If you have any ideas to be added to this months list, then let me know in the comments section and if I like it, I'll add it!  And feel free to share any of this info (or the whole post) wherever and with whoever you like! 

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Things I Loved This Month...January...

This month I've loved...

* New Years sparklers in the garden with mum * windowsill gardening * planning my balcony garden * New laptop * Ikea * spicy bean burgers * getting post * putting all my pictures and shelves and knick-knacks up * finally getting round to putting a shower curtain up - soo much easier! * David Tennant in Spies of Warsaw (swoon!) * snail baths * chips * peanut * watching 'The Magistrate' at the cinema, and 'I Love you Phillip Morris', 'The House Bunny' and loads of episodes of Daria on the TV * Dancing about to Mcfly, The Smiths, Belle and Sebastian and the Joseph soundtrack * Snow * Icicles * booking tickets to see Phantom of the Opera when it comes to Birmingham * payday * ordering a waffle making machine * 

What have you loved this month?