Recommendations: Superdrug Intensive Moisture Hand Cream

I like hand cream, in my flat, there is one in every room and always one in my handbag. I just don’t like the feeling of dry hands after I’ve washed them.

This is the one that I use most often. It’s not expensive, works well and sinks in fast.

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Friday Links: A Day Early

Happy Thursday! So it’s seems to me that Good Friday is not a day I want to be annoyed by the state of the world, it’s also a Bank Holiday in the UK so technically today is my Friday. So links go out today because that feels better. In case you missed  them;

Now that we have an extension to 31 October, we’ve had a couple of Brexit free days on the news but lots of coverage about Notre Dame. I’m about to express an unpopular opinion because as the news coverage came in, I kept waiting to hear about the casualties but there were none, thank goodness but as everyone keeps talking about loss and tragedy, I keep thinking that buildings can be rebuilt, people can’t. I walk past one of the world’s great cathedrals every morning on the way to work. It’s cornerstone is from the original building burnt down in 1666. They’ll restore the Notre Dame and this fire and the restoration will become part of its history and the history of Paris. That’s how it works but I hope in all the hullabaloo, they remember that it’s not the buildings in a country that represent it, it’s the people.

If you believe in human rights, Madonna, don’t play Tel Aviv. This. Israel keeps saying that it’s a democratic oasis in the Middle East. Israeli Arabs were filmed voting in a blatant effort to frighten them into not voting. If it wants to boast about a higher standard than the other Middle Eastern countries, then it needs to be held to that standard. Speaking of which….Israel is deporting a human rights activist over his BDS support. Tell me again about your democracy…

“Israel portrays itself as the region’s only democracy, but is set to deport a rights defender over his peaceful advocacy,” Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch, wrote in a statement about the Shakir ruling.

“The decision sends the chilling message that those who criticize the involvement of businesses in serious abuses in Israeli settlements risk being barred from Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank,” he continued.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is dead. An expert explains why.

Theresa May’s successor will be a crucial choice. Are the Tories capable of making it? Cheap digs at Labour aside, this makes a lot of sense. Here’s the thing, the Tories haven’t been fit for this kind of hard truth in over 20 years. This is who they are, who they’ve been since Thatcher. They care only for themselves and not for the country. When I find people talking of John Major and Ken Clarke as the reasonable Tories, I just remember that both of them served in Thatcher’s cabinet. None of them are truly capable of putting the country first, they’d have to care about it and they patently don’t.

Of course the Tories dread Euro elections. They will be marmalised

Flexible working for parents is great. But child-free people need it, too. Of course I agree with this. But some of the comments on this are horrendous. I’m ok with paying tax for services that I won’t use (although the council tax does sting a bit) but there’s a middle ground between ‘we deserve everything because we’re raising children selflessly’ and ‘children are a lifestyle choice you shouldn’t get anything’.

The cheap and shady business of taking selfies with tigers

What a Year in Space Did to Scott Kelly

2019 is shaping up to be a very bad year for measles. I heard this on the World Service this week, worldwide this is a bad year for measles. I wasn’t vaccinated against measles. When I was a kid, you had to be over a year old and I caught measles, it was a pretty mild case, I was lucky, measles kills babies, vaccinate them….

Why I’m boycotting TurboTax this year. Wow, I knew tax in the US was complicated but seriously that’s ridiculous….

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Allotment Adventures: What I sow direct

About this time of year, I get itchy, all the amazing gardeners I follow on social media have amazing plants growing and I’m a tiny bit jealous and feel behind and like I’ll never catch up. But the harsh truth is that I  don’t have the space or the windowsills to be growing everything in doors. Just looking at the list of things I do sow indoors (tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and, summer and winter squash, I’m looking at 100 odd pots of plants that will probably end up slightly too leggy anyway.

The first year I had an allotment, I sowed French beans indoors and planted them out, it was a disaster and everything died. To avoid this I now so a lot of things directly and find that for me it works better. What about them being eaten? Well to be honest it hasn’t happened yet. I do have to cover my beds with nets or fleece to stop the foxes digging them up but I haven’t found (well not yet anyway) that they get eaten by slugs or mice…

So here’s the list of what I direct sow.

1)      Peas

I know that I could plant them earlier to eat sooner but for the effort it takes, it’s easier to sow them straight in and not worry too much about my poor attempt at spacing them out.2)      Beetroot

I did think about multi sowing them indoors as suggested by Charles Dowding but I missed the boat and just sowed them direct last weekend. The dis-advantage of sowing them like this is that you do have to thin them but as we use beetroot tops in the same way we eat spinach or chard, it’s extra greens at a time when the overwintered chard is usually finished.3)      Carrots

Carrots don’t really like being moved so why move them? This is the other crop that I have difficultly sowing directly but the thinning aren’t wasted, they usually make the first batch of pesto, which we either eat or freeze for the winter

4)      Spring Onions

Because I sow these with the carrots, they get sowed at the same time!

5)      Salad leaves

I’ve never sown these in pots but always straight in, I just eat the thinnings when they need to be thinned

6)      French beans

I usually sow these at the end of May, by July normally a week or two after we’d done with peas, we’ll drowning in beans…

7)      Sweetcorn and borlotto beans

I grew sweetcorn and borlotto beans for the first time last year in a three sisters bed. I sowed the sweetcorn in late May by itself and then about 4 weeks later sowed the beans. The beans use the sweetcorn as a growing support so they need to be a little behind the corn. It was a great success last year so let’s see if I can’t repeat the feat!

8)      Chard

We sow in July/August, to overwinter, usually on an old pea or bean bed. This year it’s been phenomenal and we still eating it.

9)      Coriander / Dill / Parsley/Borage

These all go straight in the ground. The coriander seeds all over the place and this year I just left it alone and it’s still growing. I’ll probably sow some for harvesting for the freezer (I make up the required amount of coriander/garlic/ginger for chana masala and freeze it for the winter!), the Parsley usually grows straight through to January and freezes pretty well too. The dill is grown in the cucumber bed. The borage more or less sows itself nowadays but I do sow some in a tiny bed

10)   Marigolds

I love marigolds and I sow them in one of the tomato beds when I plant out the tomatoes in May.

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Allotment Adventures: Finally some work…

Hello, it’s been a while since there has been an allotment update. So let’s get to it with some really good news, Pathways, the charity that own the allotment site and have withdrawn their plans to develop the site. This doesn’t meant that they won’t enter plans ever again but for the moment, we are safe. This is really good news. The committee has worked really hard, especially our chair, Christina but overall I think the previous CEO at Pathways underestimated how much the allotments are loved not just by the plot owners but by the community, even if they don’t have time for an allotment, people love the idea of them and appreciate the work that we do in preserving green space and wildlife.So let’s get to my little piece of allotment and how things are going. Let’s start with the bad things, something has been attacking my rhubarb, I’m blaming the fox. Because it’s not insect damage, so it’s birds or foxes (we don’t have deer wondering about in Ealing and while there may be rabbits, I’ve never seen them. Also on Saturday while I was on the plot, the blasted fox strolled across my plot and used it for a toilet. Yes I did chase him off…..Mangled rhubarb aside, it’s all looking pretty good on the plot. The broad beans are flowering and, so far, aphid free (someone else on the site has it already!), all the soft fruit seems on track or a little early. I finally have all six blueberry plants in buckets. It’s interesting though, the two I bought from Morrisons are the smallest and it’ll be a while before they’re big enough for fruit, so sometimes nurseries are the way to go!We did actually get some work done on Saturday. To start with we collected water. The mains water doesn’t come on until May but fortunately for us, the plot has 4 wells on site so we went to the nearest and pumped water.Then we got the potatoes into bags. The offer from Grow Your Own didn’t arrive, so was cancelled and I got my money back. This leaves us with 7 bags of potatoes (1 anya, 2 sharpes express and 4 nicola), I need to buy another bag so the last three seed potatoes will go in next week. Now I’m thinking about it, the bags come in twos so I may end up with 9 bags for completeness!After that and watering the garlic, blueberries and gooseberries, we collected more water and built frames for the sweetpeas. I got on with planting some of them out. I have more in the cloche, so if they don’t survive the frost, I have more that can go in or I can build more frames in other beds. Ma uncovered some of the beds, one of them had a raspberry problem! This bed was next to where the old raspberries were and it had taken advantage of it. We’ll have to keep our eye on that bed but meanwhile behold the size of that root….mother used for scaleSweetpeas in, I also sowed peas and beetroot, but this point we’d been on the plot nearly 5 hours and it was raining. So I covered the bed with fox deterring net and chickenwire and stopped. I picked chard and mint and some rhubarb and we went home.Next week, I need to sow carrots, spring onion, salad leaves, borage and parsley outdoors. The whole plot needs a good weed and the shed needs painting, the shed also needs sorting out inside. I need to turn out the compost heap and see what we have but we also have plans  to buy more compost to finally fill up the new beds.

Indoors I need to pot on the celery and the leeks need taking outside and putting in the cloche, I also need to sow tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes and winter squash.

Then it’s just a case of waiting for the weather and the end of May when it all gets crazy…

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Monday Miscellany: Nearly at Easter

Happy Monday!

Today is marks the 70th anniversary of the Polo mint going on sale in the UK. How’s that for trivial?

It’s a four day week here and I’m off work all of the week after Easter, so it’s going to be a long short week but also quite a slow one! It’s also the last week of Lent, so on Sunday, there will be chocolate!

All good things.

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Sunday Music: Tupelo – Jason Isbell

On the very rare occasions that Ma and I are in the car and I get to be in charge of the music, if Ma isn’t sure about what I’m playing she goes through a list, Turnpike Troubadours or Jason Isbell are two of her first guesses (if it’s Chris Stapleton or the Hamilton soundtrack, she knows!). This is just gorgeous..

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Recommendations: Spiced Ginger Tea

I drink a lot of herbal tea, right now on the shelf at home, I have mint tea, lemon and ginger tea, licorice tea, fennel tea, night-time tea, green mint tea and recently, spiced ginger tea.It’s starts off like gingerbread and ends up very gingery which I love and it’s good for sore stomaches when mint tea won’t help (reflux) and it’s supposed to be good for all sorts of other things like sore throats and colds but mostly I just like how it tastes.

I don’t know that I can tell you much more about it, it’s tea, it’s not going to change the world but I like it.

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