Homemade Mini Milks

I have a confession, I have an ice lolly problem. I really, really like them. I didn’t realise it was a problem until the most recent heatwave, when ice lollies were better than dinner. I have a general rule that the majority of food I eat should not be ultra-processed (see here for what I mean by that) and that treats should be homemade, so if I want cake or biscuits, I have to make cake or biscuits. It was not happening with the lollies and I wasn’t about to give them up. 

Then I found this recipe for homemade mini milks.

While I love mini milks, especially the vanilla ones, they are little, and I jumped at the chance to make grown up sized ones. (I have this ice lolly mould). These lollies are simple, to make, two ingredients and 110 calories per lolly. They do have condensed milk which is an ultra-processed ingredient, but this is my compromise and with 400ml of milk, I figure that it’s probably better than a FAB.

Life is about compromise..

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Monday Miscellany: A Year Older, Probably Not Wiser

Happy Monday!

August is the best month of the year, everyone is on holiday so London is a bit emptier than usual, there is a Bank Holiday AND it’s my birthday! Which happened on Saturday. 49 isn’t much different from 48, although last week, my back ached a bit more, but due to the ‘water every day’ schedule on the plot rather than being closer to 50.

The week was pretty standard, my sleep lack of sleep issue is slowly improving, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing (going to bed a set times, getting up at the same time every day, eating well and exercising a bit more) and it will come right, I’m going to add wake up and bedtime yoga to the my routine while I’m on leave this week, to see if that helps. At best it will, at worse, I’ll get some stretches done that’ll help my back! I don’t enjoy who I am when I’m this tired (grumpy, emotional etc) and I can’t work out what’s sparked it this time. It could just be a come down from midsummer and a slide into slightly darker evenings, it’s been pretty dark 9.30pm when I’ve finished watering and I could just be reacting to that. Whatever it is, it’s annoying and I want it to stop! Tired and grumpy as I was last week, I was really happy that I’d spent some time on Sunday, getting myself prepped for the week, just knowing that I had food and clothes all ready to go with minimal effort was a gift I gave myself.

I did three days in the office on the trot, got a walk with Sue and really worked on the flat. There’s nothing actually wrong with the flat, I’m just feeling that it’s a bit cluttered and I’m currently looking at October for the new kitchen, which is going to mean packing everything up, so it feels like the more I can declutter now, the better it’ll be for then. I got all of the cardboard out of the flat, all the paper that needed shredding got shredded and is now turning to compost on the plot, tidied up the stuff lurking under my desk and really cleaned (on my hands and knees getting rid of all the dust in the corners) the bathroom and living room floors.

I’m off work this week until Friday. Ma and I were going to Eltham Palace on Wednesday but we are moving that up to today, because the later half of the week is going to be too hot! The rest of the week, I’m just leaning into middle age, tomorrow Richard is going to replace my shed roof, on Wednesday I need to sort out an outfit for a wedding on Saturday, and on Thursday Sue is taking me to Wisley with her RHS membership. I really feel that I’m in a place where my age has caught up with my interests!

I between all that I need to get the flat a bit more under control and keep the plants at the plot alive! Should be fun!

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Friday Links: Things are not improving…

Happy Friday!

Spiralling inflation, crops left in the field and travel chaos: 10 reasons Brexit has been disastrous for Britain

Rent strikes and bill boycotts in the UK are great in principle – but I’d end up with no electricity and an eviction notice, this sums up the problem with the current government…

You’d think if the government was serious about fighting the climate crisis and reducing emissions, it would make vital energy-saving measures such as insulation mandatory and would dedicate military efficiency to building as many new zero-energy social homes as possible. Fat chance. It feels like the Tories’ whole raison d’etre is to keep people like me as poor as possible.

Boris Johnson isn’t finished. His next move in politics may be even more alarming

Putin is banking on a failure of political will in the west before Russia runs out of firepower

The Kansas Abortion Shocker

Mary the Tower. This is a poke in the eye for people who believe in the inerrancy of scripture. Which I’ve always had a problem with..

Beavers are heat wave heroes

Experience: I look after the world’s oldest pot plant. This is fun and wise “Plants will decide whether or not they want to grow. And there’s nothing we can do about it. We just have to get over it.” True!

Blooming Essex garden points to future of horticulture in a heating UK. Having read this Ma thinks we should adopt some of the techniques here for the plot. We don’t do too badly, obviously my roses and irises are having a bad year but the lavenders are still alive! The verbena is done early but it’ll come back. I think we’re going to go for more mulching next spring on everything and I’m going to mulch the veg with straw when I plant it, I’m also going to put all the pots in drip trays next year and maybe experiment with olias for the tomatoes and squash.

Why is everyone dressing like a whimsical prairie milkmaid? Why indeed? It’s like the 70’s all over again. And to reassure you, I am not wearing this dress, I will never wear this dress, because I would look terrible, really terrible!

The chemical imbalance theory of depression is dead – but that doesn’t mean antidepressants don’t work

The Myth of Independent American Families

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Allotment Adventures: Drought

It’s been a while, I’ve not really had the energy to write about the plot because I’m exhausted by all the watering. We’re in the driest July since 1911, and London and the South East has had just 11% of its average rainfall.

It’s dry, the beds are dry and the paths are cracking. Fruit is small, things are wilting and while I have lots of established plants, the soft fruit is having an amazing year, things are finishing already, we’ve got all the plums we’re going to get (about 4kg) and the leaves are already falling, in July. That’s not normal.

Some of my bigger tomatoes have blossom end rot. It’s caused by a lack of calcium, the fruits can’t get calcium because there isn’t enough water and the RHS says that you shouldn’t let soil dry out. Which is really difficult at the moment. So from the weekend, I’ve committed to daily watering, and will hope that’s enough. We already have a hosepipe ban on the allotment and it’s really difficult to keep everything moist when it never rains and I’m are hand watering with two, 10 litre watering pots. It takes about an hour so it’s a big chunk of time, especially on days when I’m in the office. Anyway I shall persevere because I want tomatoes. We’re nearly there with the gardeners sweetheart, there will definitely be tomatoes for my birthday!

Hang on little tomato

There will also be patty pans and straightneck squash, but there probably won’t be courgettes. There seem to have been some confusion and instead of courgettes, I have some kind of winter squash, the crooknecks seem to be patty pans as well. I have no idea what happened, whether it was labelling (I did it wrong) or the seeds I sowed weren’t what they said they were (someone else’s fault!) but I’m too far along in the season to do anything about it so bonus winter squash!

Not a courgette plant!

There will also be cucumbers, beetroot and potatoes. The potatoes have all been earlier that planned, we’ll replant four pots of potatoes in the hope we get more but this year it feels like we did the perfect amount. The beetroots are having a fantastic year, I think it’s because I didn’t thin them! Cukes are on their way.

We’re not having a great bean year, because of the heat and the drought, I’m going to pull them up next week and sow some more. Harvests have been a bit stop/start this year but we’ve got something every week and I’m still working through our onion harvest! The last of the carrots came up this week too, I sowed some more and we’ll see if I can keep them wet enough to germinate!

I’m glad it’s not my first year, it’s difficult but not as disheartening as last year when it was so wet. Global warming leads to unstable climate, this is where we are!

All things considered, it’s looking pretty good!

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Monday Miscellany: England won something!

Happy Monday!

If you’re English, into football and not sexist, you’re probably feeling quite chuffed about last night’s result. I am, it’s great to see the woman’s team get the kudos they deserve and the football league started this weekend too, with the Premiership starting next weekend – happy birthday to me!

Aside from football related news, last week was a difficult week for me because I’m riding the PMT train, HRT helps even it out but my hormones are still working and they hate me. So migraines, vomiting and general yuck including being ridiculously tired but unable to stay asleep. It’s not been great and it’s not over yet. Which is a problem because I’m on leave next week so I need to be super productive this week because there is a ton to do.

So this weekend, I spent some time getting myself and the flat ready for a working week, when I have to be in office for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I food prepped, I’m up to date on the laundry and most of the housework (I’ve still not hoovered!), so I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Because it’s really dry, I’m also going to water every night, I’m hoping that giving myself some exercise every night before bed, I’ll be tired enough to sleep and let’s face it the plot could do with the attention because it’s so dry.

The only other thing I did this week that wasn’t work, was meet Jo for coffee, always good to catch up but it was short and sweet hopefully, I’ll see her before the end of the year but she might not be able to get back.

Have a good week!

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Sunday Music: Right Said Fred – Bernard Cribbins

Bernard Cribbins died this week. Some people will know him from Doctor Who. But for people my age it was The Wombles and Right Said Fred.

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Friday Links: Summer

Happy Friday!

‘The council tenants weren’t going to be allowed back’: how Britain’s ‘ugliest building’ was gentrified

Today’s Brain of Britain contestants find quiz harder, says host. I consistently win the work team quizzes and I find Brain of Britain hard, but if they remove it from the schedule I will be devastated, I’m still not over Radio 2 axing the Russell Davies music hour on Sunday nights

Edwardian morals, Thatcher and bad design – why Britain’s homes are so hot

Fifth of UK households now have ‘negative disposable income’.

What the absurd class cosplay of Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss tells us about Britain

The most crushing thing about getting Covid so late? Knowing I’m not a medical marvel. I feel a bit like this, I’ve still not had it (that I know of!) I’m the last man standing in my family too.

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Monday Miscellany:

Happy Monday!

This post is a bit belated because I’ve been busy, life is still feeling over full. I’ve been ‘out, out’ every weekend so far in July and I think it’s broken my little introvert brain!

Last week was surprisingly busy, it was hot at the beginning of the week, I’m not built for hot weather but 35C in my living room is too much, when I wasn’t watering the plot, I was working whilst wrapped in wet towels! I know that people in countries where it regularly hits 40C were wondering what the fuss is about but that kind of temperature in England is different, we’re not used to it and so our built environment and infrastructure is designed to cope with temperatures that are below 35C (and when most of it was built 35C was considered to be extreme weather). It’s different.

Back into the office once the weather had cooled and the tube was working, to say goodbye to old boss formally and while I am pretty resilient, I’m really going to miss working with him, so it was a bit sad and I felt a bit flat. I’ve learned to cope with change but I don’t really enjoy it. Even when it’s good change or I’ve instigated the change, it takes me a while to bed in. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) I didn’t really have time to be sad or flats as Thursday and Friday were full of shenanigans, On Thursday, Transport for London, sent an email shutting down the Central Line from 5:30 pm, I and several of my colleagues, rushed home, only to find when I’d got home that they changed their mind! On Thursday evening, I discovered that I wasn’t having my haircut on 29thJuly but the 22nd. Cue my having to re-arrange leave and so on.

So I had Friday off to have my haircut and do some chores. The weekend was allotment and then dinner at Christelle and Mike’s, which was lovely!

And so to this week, which apart from work, which is still crazy to a quieter week. Which I need, I’m very tired and need to get back to a proper routine for work days and generally re-group. I have a list of things I need to sort out at home, and I really want to get on that so my focus is on doing the things I have to do (that mostly involve cleaning and prep) and then having early nights, more doing, less woolgathering.

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Friday Links: Boris still isn’t gone

Happy Friday!

It’s been a while, here are this week’s links, please bear in mind that some of them are a couple of weeks old…

From Thatcher to Johnson: how right to buy has fuelled a 40-year housing crisis

Cancelled flight? Shoddy clothing? Disappointing meal? Blame skimpflation, the hidden curse of 2022

‘Eight arms pulling you down’: octopus boom prompts joy and unease in Cornwall

The Tories should hang their heads in shame: Boris Johnson is the worst leader we have known

Johnson is going – but he won’t leave until he’s dragged everyone down with him

Tory MPs indulge in a mawkish farewell for their poundshop Arnie

Demand for debt services by Lloyds customers jumps 30%. So people who can are consolidating debt and re-organising finances, which is sensible. Most of the people who can are doing this, I have. If everyone at this level is feeling it, then further down it’s going to be really biting.

How a great English city sold itself to Abu Dhabi’s elite – and not even for a good price

England Can’t Take the Heat

Metropolis meltdown: the urgent steps we need to take to cool our sweltering cities

I just moved to a four-day week, without losing any pay. It’s changed everything. I would so love for my company to adopt a 4 day working week!

‘It starts as a line of light, then works its way across my vision’: the disorienting mystery of migraine auras. I sometimes get auras and my are either a massive white circle in the middle of my vision in my right eye or black and white zigzags in my vision. Neither are fun. I did used to get tunnel vision, which was horrific but that hasn’t happened for a while.

‘They couldn’t even scream any more. They were just sobbing’: the amateur investors ruined by the crypto crash. I don’t really understand bitcoin but it was gambling, like the stock market, it’s just like putting your money on the horses.

The Spiders That Choose Death

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Allotment Adventures: Trying to keep everything from getting crispy

It’s still too darn hot.

I feel like all I do at the plot is water. Although we did get some rain yesterday night so I probably won’t water this evening!

Other than the constant watering, we harvested our first beans and the summer squash and cucumbers aren’t far behind. We also have our first teeny, tiny melon!

We’ve also got to planting out kale, cauliflowers, brussels sprouts and some basil that had been languishing in the polytunnel. Next week, we need to plant out the broccoli, extra basil and leeks and then finally, that’s every food bed filled!

I also planted up some of the stray verbena and another self sown rosemary and they are in the polytunnel with the other self sown rosemary and the lavender, the camomile and the plants that Deborah gave me a couple of weeks ago.

This weekend we’re going to buy some shelves for the polytunnel because I’ve got too many plants and plans to grow more! Not big plans but as I have somewhere to put plants that isn’t my house, I’m going to sow some things to replace things that come to an end, I’m thinking of it as autumn prep, although as yet, I’m not sure what to grow, probably pak choi, chard, turnips, radishes and winter salads (the usual winter selection!). I also want to have a go at sowing some flowers, like foxgloves and hollyhocks we’ll see if I actually manage that!

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