Friday, 30 March 2012

Flapjacks are just not crunchies

The girlies & I love going out walking with our flasks, cake or biscuits to just enjoy our beautiful Shropshire scenery or to get out & catch up with each others busy lives.

Daughter & I took along a flapjack on a walk but we both said that 'a flapjack is just not a crunchie.'

One of our favourite treats are crunchies - a South African flapjack type biscuit that travels rather well on our walks.

It has a firmer texture than flapjacks & it is something that I remember fondly from my childhood as my mother used to make them for us ...

So it was back to baking our familiar crunchies ...

If you have never tried them, have a go & let me know if you are won over ....

Crunchies by Annette Human
250g butter or margarine
30 ml golden syrup (rinse the measuring spoon in cold water & the syrup won’t stick)
10ml bicarbonate of soda
200g (250ml) of white sugar
160g (500ml) of oats
140g (250ml) cake flour
80g (250ml coconut
2ml salt

Melt the butter or margarine and golden syrup together. Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix. Mix in the white sugar, oats, cake flour, coconut & salt. Add to the syrup mixture.
Press into a swiss roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated 160 C oven until lightly brown. Allow to cool slightly in the pan then cut into squares or your preferred size.

Cut into squares before it cools & hardens or it will not cut easily.

Store in a container & enjoy

Happy baking - please let me know how you like it if it is your first try ♥
Dee ~♥~

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Green Thing

I got this via email & thought I would share it because it contains many truths about being green.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days." The cashier responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the county of Yorkshire. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of demanding a plastic bottle. flown in from another country. We accepted that a lot of food was seasonal and didn't expect that to be
bucked by flying it thousands of air miles around the world. We actually cooked food that didn't come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and we could even wash our own vegetables and chop our own salad.

But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the tram or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad, the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Please link this to any other selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart-ass young person.

Remember: Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to stir us up.

So do you do the 'green thing' with your own bags at the supermarket, by recycling & growing your own bits or are you hoping everyone else is doing your share too?

At home, we installed a water butt in a small side garden which all helps for the pot plants

We also have a small herb garden in containers on our raised wall

and in summer we grow cut & come again lettuce leaves, radish, some tomato plants etc in pots too

Why all the plant pots on the raised wall you might ask ....
We have two very cute house bunnies who just simply love herbs ♥
What are your favourite recycling tips? Do you grow some things for eating?

Saving the planet, one bag at a time
Dee ♥

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Starting the sweet peas ......

I just love the absolute beauty & fragrance of sweet peas in the garden so that is always a priority to get them in - too early & the late frosts kill them off, too late & they are not at their best!

While having the Godsons to sleepover, I thought it was a perfect time to get their willing help with the matter. The young plants were looking good in their planting pots - lots of lovely long shoots & roots so it was time to haul the two large planters out of the back of the flower bed & prepare them with fresh soil & a feed.

The pots have large obelisks in them which is surrounded by fine black mesh for the sweetpeas to cling on as they fill the pot. The clamatis in the pots have been disappointing and have hardly thrown out a handful of branches ... perhaps this year!

Why the haste to get the sweet peas started? Well, they do have to be at their best by Midsummer so they can take centre stage for a Midsummer ladies soiree ....

The pots are perfect for supporting the canopy from the shed - made from a wonderful long sari that just shimmers in the light ...
It is a perfect opportunity for the ladies to just relax in our brightest outfits & to enjoy the height of summer with decadent food, drinks & lots of chatter ...

So preparations for that display of colour has begun ... I hope it will be as good as previous years!

Do you plan ahead for any special gardening events?

Dee ♥

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Desserts ....

We have a favourite local pub that just does fab food - a most wonderful carvery with a massive selection of seasonal vegetables.

It is a favourite place for us girlies to get together and enjoy a relaxed lunch

What is particularly striking is the wall of beautiful gold mirrors in the most stunning gold frames. What do you think?

Fortunately, they also do wonderful puddings & this was our choice - chocolate mousse & a fruit crumble.

Do you have a favourite 'local' place you like to meet at? Why is it special?

Keep looking at those puddings ... yes, they were as good as they look!
Dee ♥

Friday, 23 March 2012

A misty morning on the canals ....

Woke to glorious atmospheric mist today & just knew it was time to grab the camera & head off to the canals for some photos.
Boats in the mist, Brewood, Staffordshire

The Shropshire Union canals wind their way through out pretty county & pass quite close by.  It is always interesting walking along them as canal folk are friendly & often stop to chat as they go about their business.

Misty canals, Brewood, Staffordshire

It was lovely with the mist on the canal - just enough to make it feel interesting, but not enough to be damp.
Some really lively ducks kept us entertained with their antics - flying past us in formation reminded me of the porcelain flying ducks that people used to have on their walls; not my wall, I hasten to add.
Ducks, Brewood, Staffordshire
Lots of signs of life & colours which is really welcome as well as a boat named Mrs B ... which is of course also the name of my friend  Mrs B ....

We had a good chuckle because some months back I found a Mrs D boat & also one called a Shropshire Lass - which is what I am I suppose having made my home in Shropshire nearly 15 years ago ....

and so we found our nemesis in boats .... just have to find a way to make them ours ♥

Do you do canals & boats?

Look in again soon & have a great weekend
Dee ♥

Monday, 19 March 2012

Mixing up your plates ....

Do you mix up your crockery bits or do you tend to stick to sets of plates?

I am a self confessed plate hoarder - there are just so many stunning patterns that I love nothing more than to set a table that people want to sit at ...

While the family were cooking up breakfast on Sunday, I set the table - I decided on something pretty, I then realised that I do mix sets up quite a lot.
Our setting was white Royal Albert Val D'Or plates, with a smaller Ralph Lauren Dylan's Grove flowery set on top, white Wedgwood coffee mugs, two large blue & white Spode serving plates  that are just so versatile & a clear Villeroy & Boch crackle glass salad bowl I am rather fond of as it is a good size.

The setting was complete with a vintage set of coloured knives & forks - each in a different colour; that just lifts the setting.

The colour was provided by bright pink flowers & vibrant fruits  ... Do you like it?
What setting do you favour? Are you a 'set' or random' place setter?
Pop in soon again,
Dee ♥

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's day breakfast ....

We decided on a low key breakfast together today to observe Mother's Day. I am thankful that my daughters are kind, considerate & loving daughters all year so we do not make a massive card & gift bearing fuss of a particular day, especially this year ....

Always brilliant to have daughters home with Andy, the boyfriend who is a fab cook; our choice today was pancakes with lots of stewed & fresh fruit served with a choice of ice-cream or yoghurt; fresh orange juice  & some homemade cinnamon swirls.

Our conservatory sideboard has some oversized pink baubles & I think they go rather well....
 Mother's Day breakfast

I am rather partial to pink & the garden is just coming to life now with beautiful pink hyacinths, tulips, crocuses & other bulbs so we enjoyed those for colour! Aren't they f♥b?

Table setting was some of my favourite bits: white plates with floral Ralph Lauren top plates, large blue Spode platter plates & white servers .... I used coloured crockery & black for my own ones!

A most thoughtful & enjoyable breakfast ... how was your day spent?

Look in again soon
Dee ♥

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Catch up time with the girlies ....

Us 'girlies' , a close group of lady friends, catch up when & where we can as two live in the south of the county, so when they arrive they are usually ready for coffee & a treat.
Morton Corbet with friends
Since they had not visited the lovely Morton Corbet Castle near us, we decided on a visit there - the weather was decided not Spring like with a chill to it so hot chocolate or coffee was needed almost immediately.

I baked my favourite date & banana bread but popped some of the mixture into little muffin cases to make it easier to transport.  Today our morning tea was packed in a little hand woven . made South African basket that my parents bought for me on a trip a few years ago - very handy ....

Morton Corbet was once a stunning Shropshire castle with views of the surrounding countryside. What a house it must have been judging by this frontage ....

and their own beautiful church ....

 Spring blossoms are out now and everything is starting to look a lot less dull

On my last visit, I somehow did not take much notice of the stunning alter with the amazing elephants (which appear in the Cobet family shield)
Morton Corbet Shropshire

The chill of the Shropshire morning was getting to us so we retired to the dungeon steps of the house to enjoy our hot soup - a choice of spicy butternut or roast vegetables, with amazing butternut bread. Truly a good way to catch up with my girlies ...

Dear friend Liz of The Tipsy Tart had her eye on my vintage flask - bought off a vintage market in Bridport

while the other friends were taken by the buzzing helicopters from nearby RAF Shawbury - the training centre for helicopter pilots (Prince William lived & trained here)

Have a great weekend everyone, thanks for stopping by & do look in often
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A splash of colour amongst the greyness

Our misty, grey Shropshire weather has perfectly matched my feelings this week - the mists of time have settled on our beloved Mother as she lost her battle with cancer last week ....
This picture taken on their farm in Africa last year
The mists of time ...

and these roses with Winter dew on them from her garden

Mom's roses ...

Even my walk at my favourite place this week seemed to echo my sadness
Spring has sprung
but the odd bursts of colour were welcome ....
Attingham Park, Shropshire

Some favourite quotes from a favourite film - Out of Africa are appropriate:
"Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road." (and be afraid)
Road through the sugar cane

"If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?"

“We must leave our mark on life while we have it in our power.” Karen Blixen

Seize the moment, every moment, everyday because we do not know what lies down the road ...
Dee ♥

Thursday, 8 March 2012

For all the special women in my family ...

As  "International Women's Day" honours women, I want to honour the women in my family.

My Mother comes from an indomitable line of strong, settler women who knew their own mind & were not afraid to speak it or stand up for themselves & their beliefs ....

Mom was born before WWII; her Mom, my maternal grandmother, was a nurse & later a matron; she was a matter of fact, organised & quite determined woman. She nursed throughout the war, attending to injured soldiers & travelling in ambulances through the blackout then still sewed canvas tents at night as part of the massive South African war effort.  She was awarded a medal by King George VI during his visit of 1947 for saving the lives of people trapped in a train derailment while risking her own life!

My Mother & her brother effectively spent a large part of her early years being doted on by my great-grandparents who tried to make up for both their parents being away at war. We can barely imagine what it must have been like for children growing up at that time …

After the war, life resumed & later the great love story of Mom's life happened - married young to the love of her life, her & Dad have always made a dashing couple with their good looks ...

and style ....

which I don't think I inherited ...

5 lovely children later & they still looked rather dashing ...

Mom & her maternal great-aunt shared a love for the water - great aunt Ivy in the 50's

Mom always teaching everyone to swim or taking us for trips to the seaside.

.... even on a visit a few years ago - my girls running in the waves with her

Oldest daughter lucky to be in a photo of 4 generations of us ladies ...

This past year, our Mom & matriarch has been gravely ill - so we all made our way to their farm in Africa to meet new family members & to gather as one does at such times….

& us girls with Dad - Mom's rock & the great love of her life for over 55 years

So I pay tribute to all the strong ladies in my life - my special daughters, my sister & sisters-in-law, my friends who hold me up when my wings have trouble remembering how to fly;

Edited entry ...
and most especially for my Mom who has now lost her battle with cancer ....

 their love story holding strong to the very end ....

Remember to treasure your strong women ♥
Dee ~♥~