Monday Miscellany

Happy Monday!

This weekend there was more snow, winter needs to end soon. I have a cold and didn’t leave the house all weekend.

This morning I am going to attempt to get to work, both my usual train routes have issues, some days would be better spend indoors but I need to work or I don’t get paid!

In other news, my brother called at the weekend to ask how to make Yorkshire puddings and sent me a photo! Proud sister moment right there!

But as they all have a cold, I think I’ve identified the source of mine…

We didn’t make it to the allotment this weekend but instead sowed some seed, although I’m worried that the downturn in temperature may have done for them. Fingers crossed!

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Friday Links

Happy Friday! I seem to have a cold, I’m taking extra elderberry syrup, drinking lots of ginger with lemon and honey and ginger shots, taking extra vitamin C (it’s supposed to help shorten the length of a cold) and as much sleep as I can manage! Hopefully, I can stave of the worst of it.

This week from me, there was miscellany, a post about what the boys and I did for Mother’s Day for mummy and grandma, a brief post about the plot and a snapshot of what I’ve been eating recently.

Here are this week’s links from elsewhere…

Should we avoid Mother’s Day because it’s hard? This is something I was thinking about on Monday and is worth reading.

Childhood misconceptions Funny

Farm Girl Café, Chelsea: ‘We don’t stay for dessert, because we have suffered enough’ – restaurant review

Delusions of stadium grandeur haunt West Ham and club’s owners I’m not all that keen on West Ham, but no fan deserves this!

Austerity really has hit poor people hardest – the figures prove it

If we truly cared about poor people, low-wage Britain wouldn’t exist

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Food Lately

Spring is on it’s way, it’s lighter in the morning and I’m feeling it in an uptick of energy, which means that I’m cooking a bit more than usual. Most of my cooking right now seems to be about using up the freezer, I’m keen to clear it out in preparation for the summer produce glut I’m hoping for.

Chicken and roasted vegetables, (onions, tomatoes, garlic and my last butternut squash from last season)

Leftover vegetables were used in a pasta dish and a puff pastry tart that I didn’t photograph.

Plum cake to use up the plums also in the freezer

Overnight oat breakfast pots with rhubarb compote.

Today I realised that I might be coming down with cold, so I’ll make a batch of boiled chicken as that is easy in the slow cooker and comforting and makes loads. The ultimate food for when you’re under the weather and for the cold snap we’re predicted at the weekend!

What are you eating right now?



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Allotment Adventures: Signs of Spring

I was away last weekend so there wasn’t a lot of allotmenting happening. On Friday morning, I went up to refill the bird feeders and collect the raspberry canes I’d dug up for my sister in law. I also saw a couple of people and had a chat and found out that my allotment neighbour was responsible for the mystery roll of edging left on my plot!

The plot is in pretty much the same state it was in last week, minus the snow.The broad beans look ok, although there are some gaps! As we haven’t planted anything else out and the cavolo nero and chard aren’t up to much, it’s all pretty much as it was.

The rhubarb is starting to push through and the chives and tarragon I planted last year seemed to have survived the winter and are pushing up.It doesn’t look like much but it makes me happy. I was comparing this time last year to now and everything is further behind this year thanks to the beast from the east. Every year is different, although every year Ma tells me to remember that we might not have a good year this time but every year I feel that, eventually, we do alright!

Also so far this year, I haven’t sowed a seed, witness my restraint! That all changes this weekend. The work list for April looks like this.

  • bonfire
  • paint the shed
  • start sowing seeds indoors (leeks, tomatoes, cucumbers, cucamelons, peppers, kale, chard, cauliflowers)
  • start sowing seeds outdoors (beetroot, carrots, radishes, peas, salad, herbs)
  • plant out potatoes
  • buy compost and fill remaining beds
  • plant out mint

What that actually looks like for this weekend!


  • Sow wildflowers
  • Sow peas and sweet peas
  • dig over top of plot where the squash are going
  • dig over area were sweet corn is going
  • plant out gypsophila
  • plant out two bags of potatoes
  • set up cloche
  • sort out mint


  • sow tomatoes
  • sow peppers
  • sow leeks
  • sow some cucumbers and cucamelons

I’m going to wait and sow the summer squash in April along with the basil and more cucumbers, although I love the idea of planting the potatoes on St Patrick’s Day, I’m not sure about the weather, the BBC tells me that the forecast for the weekend is light snow, which means that there will be no sowing of anything and the sweet peas will be sown indoors, assuming the weather is fine, my current working plan is to do 2 this weekend and the rest over Easter weekend.


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Crafting with the nephews

So a weekend with the boys. Activities for them are tricky because one is 8 (going on 15) and the other is 2 and a half (and into everything except having dirty hands!). I make them sound awful but actually they are lovely but it’s difficult to find one thing that they both can do.

Last weekend was Mothers Day and I wanted to do something with them for Laura, we could have cooked something and that would have worked with O, but it’s not something they can do together. Also other than food, often Mother’s Day crafts are rubbish and there is no point to the tat that poor mums get given on Mother’s Day.

So if we were going to do something it had to be quick-ish to deal with attention spans, easy for a toddler and interesting for an 8 year old and had to result in something useful!

Fortunately for me, Laura has a garden and she and O did some growing of things last year. Here come the flowerpots. I bought the pots from Wilko, primed them with a spray primer and then encouraged O to hand print them. I did try with J but he really doesn’t like having yucky hands and just wiped his hands on the pot rather than printing. O wrote the names of the herbs on some of the pots and I did the others.

Once they had dried, Oli and I lined the pots with coffee filters and then filled them with compost and sowed the right seeds for the pots and put them on the windowsill covered with a clear bag. Grandma got the same set of pots and all the stuff she needed to sow them when she got home!

Like us, and the weekend, it was a little haphazard but it was fun and filled an hour. There are lots of options for this. You could use herbs from the supermarket and pot them up, paint in all sorts of ways, depending the age of the children, it can be more or less complicated.


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Monday Miscellany

The week begins again…

The good news is that I had just over six hours sleep last night, I usually get four to five hours, so six feels amazing! The bad is that I’m starting the week behind because I wasn’t home this weekend but it was in a good cause and the boys were mostly delightful, J is the most straightforward toddler going, he was heartbroken on Friday night bedtime but happy otherwise and Oli is a fairly typical football obsessed 8 year old.Family time was good but I missed Friday at work so it feels like I’m going to spend all week catching up at home and at work…

Sunday was Mother’s Day and I do want to speak about it a bit. It can be a complicated day for some people, it’s not for me because I have a great mother and I know lots of good mothers. Although not having children is sometimes painful for me (and there is an irony that I spent this weekend looking after someone else’s children) but not everything has to be put aside because of my pain. I think that we need to give ourselves space to see and celebrate joy even, maybe especially, when it’s painful personally. I’ve seen a lot of posts and comments from people who don’t or didn’t have great relationships with their mothers or weren’t mothered well. I do understand because I don’t really do Father’s Day, my Dad wasn’t a particularly good father AND he’s been dead for years. This doesn’t mean that people who have/had good Dad’s shouldn’t celebrate them and that I can’t be happy for them, even though sometimes that can be painful for me. I’m disturbed by the trend towards thinking that because we can’t celebrate something, no one should. Yes, we need to be mindful that we don’t cause pain but we also need to understand that no one sets out to cause pain. We all need to work to being inclusive and thoughtful and thicker skinned.

In other news, I had a whiskey related injury this weekend, in a supermarket and I wasn’t drinking. I picked up a bottle of whiskey, which knocked another off the shelf, hit me in the leg as I was trying to stop it falling and then fell to the floor. Whiskey everywhere and an embarrassed and bruised Nic!

My goal this week is to find some balance, I’ve been feeling that work is all consuming. Which I think is because it’s still a temporary job. I took it on as a temp to perm role but three months in, it shows no sign of permanency and so it feels precarious. This is having an impact on me, in that I’m a bit more worried generally, it’s a constant, low level stress and I’m sure that my recent issues with my back are connected to this. So I need to make sure that I’m playing attention to the other parts of my life. We’ll see how that goes.



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Friday Links

Happy Friday! Today I am not at work but this week, it’s not because of a bad back, it’s because Ma and I have been drafted for nephew-sitting over the weekend, while my sister-in-law has a well deserved weekend away with work. (My brother works nights at the weekends so he’ll be around some of the time but trying to sleep!)We have plans for swimming, crafting and Sunday lunch for Mother’s Day but you never know how it will go when toddlers are part of the mix!

In case you missed them here is a round up of my posts this week. Miscellany, allotment, morning photos. And here are some links from other people…

Are you sitting comfortably: the myth of good posture. It feels that this was published for me for this week.

Hate Washing Dishes? Try the “One Soapy Sponge” Trick. Or grow up and do the washing up as you go! Unless you can’t walk or stand, like me last weekend and my solution was to ask my mum to do it! But I did do my own washing up when I was recovering from foot surgery and the trick was to do it and leave it to dry and put it away later. It’s not perfect but it works…

Don’t cry for Theresa May. This Brexit crisis is her fault. True

How to prevent a Brexit food crisis? Dig deep for fair pay on farms.

Type 1 Diabetes Is No Longer Just for Kids

The unspoken sexual politics of “sorting yourself out” Who are these women, why aren’t they waking their partners up and making them do it again properly!

Dorm living for professionals. It’s an interesting idea but is this now the housing crisis going to change living, with only rich people able to live in self contained units?

Vitamin D may offer protection against cancers, study says. I started taking Vitamin D for the first time this year, mainly because the NHS recommends taking it in Autumn and Winter and there has been some research that suggests it helps with SAD and after Christmas, with going back to work I felt I could use all the help I could get! Overall, I do feel better for it, although I do take it alongside a daily folic acid and multi vitamin pill and elderberry syrup, so it could be the cumulative affect of all of them or just the vitamin d. I don’t know but I’m going to carry on until this packet runs out and pick it up in September and if it lowers my risk of liver cancer, so much the better!

So, Theresa May, renters are human beings too? It doesn’t feel like it. I rent a decent flat from a decent landlord, so I don’t suffer the worst of this. Yes my rent will probably increase this year (and yes it’s over half my monthly income) but the increases have been reasonable and have not gone up in line with the market and in nearly nine years my landlord has fixed the roof, a window, taps that wouldn’t turn, replaced the boiler and the washing machine when they broke down, replaced radiators to make the flat warmer and had work done to the front of the house to prevent damp. He doesn’t treat me like a cash cow and I in turn make sure that the house is well cared for and let him know when things that effect the fabric of the house happen, most of which I had nothing to do with or are functions of wear and tear. But the idea that the PM has to state that renters aren’t money machines, points up the rarity of my landlord’s treatment of me.

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