Recommendation: Ironing Water

I’m a known hater of ironing, I iron as little as possible and only do the bare minimum (which includes pillowcases and tea towels – yes I know it’s weird, I blame my mother!).This is relatively easy to do in winter because honestly I don’t have much that needs ironing but in summer I wear a lot of linen and so need to do more ironing. I’ve tried to make it fun, I’ve tried to make it smell better but none of it sticks. I don’t much like ironing and avoid it when I can but sometimes you have to get it done.

You may have noticed that I had goal in September of getting ironing done and not leaving it hanging around for weeks, so I have returned to using ironing water, smells nice.


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Friday Links: To hell in a handcart

Happy Friday!

US embassy apologises after mistakenly sending Cookie Monster cat invitation  The US should have cat-pyjama-jam parties. We’d like them so much more!

You Have to Stop Canceling and Rescheduling Things. Really. This. So much this.

Paddington Bear and the Displaced Child. The great thing about stories is how they can mean completely different things to different people.

Savannah Police Look for Person Who Put Googly Eyes on a Statue: “It’s No Laughing Matter” I’m laughing

Why ‘no surrender’ on Brexit is a bad strategy for the DUP. This is so reasonable and balanced, I’m getting to the stage where I want to bash their (the DUP’s) heads together, which is probably how we got here in the first place.

Invasion of the ‘frankenbees’: the danger of building a better bee

‘Hope has started to grow’: Maxine Peake on Corbyn, people power and Peterloo’s radical legacy

Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick – even the IMF says so

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In my experience, everyone has something they can’t cook. One of the most accomplished cooks I ever knew, could not bake.

I have a epic problem with key lime pie that I really need to deal with at some point. It’s so bad my friends have been known to send me recipes in the post that might work. (yes they do love me and they express that affection with mockery – we’re English, it’s what we do!) Until about 10 years ago, meringue was my nemesis or as we sometimes refer to it in this house ‘that greek chap’ (it’s a Georgette Heyer joke from Friday’s Child).

But eventually I conquered that fear and I made a perfect pavlova. In fact, I make it for family lunches all the time because in my experience if you find something that your family will eat, you just keep doing it. My brother still can’t say pavlova (pavilova) but everyone eats it.

So this is what I made for Ben’s birthday last Sunday. With flakes because went Ben and I were talking about fruit he misheard grape as flake and I may never let him forget it!

The basic rule is 60g of sugar to 1 egg white. You are supposed to use caster sugar but honestly as part of being casual about it now, I just use granulated

So first line your baking sheet with baking parchment and start your oven to preheat to 150C

Then take 3 egg whites and beat them until they form peaks that look like this.

Then add 180g sugar (caster for preference but I use what I have) and beat it some more, the books always say stiff peaks but mine look like this (it’s a poor photo but you get the idea)Put you mixture out on your baking tray, in a circle and in the oven for about 50 minutes You can just turn your oven off at this point and leave it there until it’s cool (don’t do what I did once and turn the oven up not off – I was not joking about it being something I couldn’t do!) or take it out to allow it to cool. Don’t worry about the cracks, your going to cover it with cream and fruit, no one will notice!


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Allotment Adventures: Sprung a Leek

There isn’t an awful lot to do right now, which is good because we didn’t have a lot of time. We picked kale, chard, parsley, coriander, salad leaves and a couple of leeks.We did a bit of weeding and we thought about what we need to do in the next couple of weeks.We really need to buy some compost, manure and some garlic.That done, we need to top up the beds that are going to be growing through winter (so the garlic and broad bean beds) and the beds that we are going to cover. I want to manure the rhubarb and the beds that took a real hammering this summer, so the squash beds and boxes. They are also the beds that aren’t very full at the moment so they also need some extra bulk, so the manure and compost should help with that.All the other beds going to sleep for winter will get chicken pellets and compost and will be covered. Of our 16 beds we’ll have 7/8 growing over winter, which is pretty good.I need to paint the shed and we need to set up decorations for Halloween, we have an enormous spider, solar lights on the edge of the plot, a grave – with bones and a skull that we’re going to put on top of something to make a ghost. We’ve really thought about this!

We also need to sow sweet peas, broad beans and the garlic.All the longer term stuff still needs to be done and at the end of this month the clocks will go back making it so much harder to do it all in the daylight, not that there is much daylight it’s under 12 hours and only going to get darker. Ridiculously, for mid October, there are lots of flowers. We have verbena bonariesis, marigolds, dianthus, Californian poppies, the rosemary is flowering, and the aramanth and nasturtiums are holding on.

It’s all good, I may not get everything done, this year or ever but the plot is productive, even in autumn so I’m going to be happy with that.

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What I’ve Read – August and September 2018

It’s taken me forever to get around to this because I felt like I sort of lost my reading mojo over August and September but 17 books and 1 short story isn’t exactly a slump  although I had to immerse myself in a series before that feeling went away.

All Over But the Shoutin’ – Rick Bragg

This is a memoir of growing up poor and white in the South of the US. It’s not a happy read, Bragg is harder on himself than he is on his parents. I recognise some of that, you try to understand the ‘terrible’ parent, in this case his father and you idolize the one that stays and tries, his mother. He’s a talented writer and the book is worth reading but not very happy.

The Governess Game – Tessa Dare

This was typical Dare and I really enjoyed it and I liked it, but I was more interested in her friends than I was in her love interest!

One and Only (Canton 1) – Viv Daniels

Sweet and Wild (Canton 2) – Viv Daniels

Viv Daniels is another pen name for Diana Peterfreund, who wrote one of my favourite books ‘For the Darkness Shows the Stars’ so I wanted to see what she’d do in a different genre. And it was pretty good, no one is perfect, people are kind enough but the parents, ye gods the parents. I read them both on a lazy afternoon but they haven’t really stayed with me, except for the awfulness of the parent.

Made for Us (The Shaughnessys) – Samantha Chase

I didn’t mind it but it was familiar in a way that series that have big families are. I felt I knew all the beats of this story.

Delicious Temptation – Sabrina Sol

I just wanted to slap both the hero, the heroine and their families. Sorry bossy parents who walk over children isn’t my jam. I have a bossy parent, but I can’t bear overbearing parents.

Vox – Christina Dalcher

This started so well, the premise is extreme but it doesn’t feel that extreme given the trash fire that the world is right now. My discontent was caused by how tidy it was. The government is overturned, democracy is rescued and everything goes back to normal. Also the narrator gets a ridiculous happy ending, with a man who wouldn’t have put up with this treatment of his woman, while the husband dies heroically. It’s all too neat, there’s no damage and there would be damage.

Goody Two Shoes – Janet Elizabeth Henderson

I don’t know when this was written but it felt old fashioned. Another trope I couldn’t deal with is the controlling heroine, who has a heart of gold but just needs the love of a good man to loosen her up. I would have preferred to see the heroine learn or know herself a bit better.

Born to be Wilde – Eloisa James

I loved this, not as much as I loved the first one but Eloisa James is a one click buy for me. She publishes a book and I just give her my money.

A Trail Through Time (The Chronicles of St Mary’s 4) – Jodi Taylor

No Time Like The Past (The Chronicles of St Mary’s  5) – Jodi Taylor

What Could Possibly Go Wrong (The Chronicles of St Mary’s 6) – Jodi Taylor

Lies, Damned Lies, and History (The Chronicles of St Mary’s 7) – Jodi Taylor

And The Rest is History (The Chronicles of St Mary’s 8) – Jodi Taylor

An Argumentation of Historians (The Chronicles of St Mary’s 9) – Jodi Taylor

So I’d read and enjoyed the first three of these and started 4 and just read through all of them. They are funny (though some horrible stuff happened) and I love the idea of mad historians, marauding through history.

The Battersea Barricades: A Chronicles of St Mary’s Short Story – Jodi Taylor

There are short stories, I’m working my way through them.

Wallbanger (The Cocktail Series) – Alice Clayton

I finished this but only just, there was a story I wanted to read in here, but it was buried under nonsense.

Mister Hockey (Hellions Angels) – Lia Riley

Head Coach (Hellions Angels) – Lia Riley

Virgin Territory (Hellions Angels) – Lia Riley

I read all of these one after the other and all of them suffered (for me) with the same issue, it was too easy. Riley set up some nasty issues that the hero and heroine’s just shook off. No it’s not that easy and it annoyed me.


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Monday Miscellany: ‘Aunty Nic, horsie’

Happy Monday!Those of you following along on Instagram, will already see that I was a horsie yesterday. We had played the ‘wrap J in a blanket, put him on the sofa and then ask where he’s gone’ game, several times. But after lunch I was sitting on the floor and found myself being climbed on! He’s at that whirlwind stage, the eldest is at that ‘grown ups are boring’ phase and we hardly saw him!

The rest of last week was standard, the weather was lovely for most of it and my lunchtime walks have been delightful. Also for our emphasis on mental health at work (the Thrive programme), I shared about my SAD and what I do to survive winter. Lot’s of people are telling me I’m brave, I don’t think I am but it’s nice that people think so!

The big news is my walks with Fred and S are soon to be over, so I’ll have to make the most of them between now and ChristmasAlthough they are going somewhere, we don’t stop being friends who are like family and there will be other walks but I will miss these ones…

Finally, my lovely friend Jen, along with some others has launched a kickstarter for their project ‘Out of the Box Cards’. Jen was really tired of only being able to buy girly pink princess cards for her nieces and granddaughters. So she’s doing something about it…

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Sunday Music: Give Me the Night

Today is my brother’s birthday. A couple of years ago he and Mum went to see George Benson. One of the things that all three of us agree on is George and it’s definitely something we both get from our mother!

Happy Birthday B.


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