Sunday, 30 October 2011

Netbook October

This month has been an expensive month for the Power household. Ellie went to camp and had a brilliant time but it cost money and as we all know money is tight, then it was Ellie's birthday and at the grand old age of 11 she needed (yes needed) a net book, as somebody at school decided that it was a good idea to put year 6's homework on line. We don't have a computer at home and really didn't think that we needed one as we had the office and we can go up there but honestly is the office the best place to take the children when we have had a hard day at work and just want to go home, so our only option was to get her a netbook and join the revolution of home computing.
Neither me nor Mr P know anything about netbooks so which one is best? Who can we ask to find out? Then it hit me I have a nephew who is 21 and must know a thing or two about computers and what we would need (sorry what Ellie would need). So off I went in search of said nephew. I had never before realised how hard nephews are to track down, was he in the pub? Nope as he doesn't drink. Was he at work? Nope as he hasn't got a job. Was he in his bedroom? Nope although I only stood outside his room and knocked as I was to scared to go in. Eventually I found him at Grandma's house eating all her homemade biscuits.(See where I get it from now). He looked at me and took in my request then said "get whichever one you like it doesn't matter much and she doesn't need it to loads" Thanks for the advice nephew dearest. Next step was to order it on line and go to that lovely shop Argos to pick it up £189.99 later we are now the proud owners of a purple msi wind netbook and hopefully one happy little girl.
Ellie was away at camp for her birthday (sob snivel sob) such a strange day, no excited little girl waking me up by jumping on my bed screaming "its my birthday" while I tried to pretend that I didn't know. No bouncy child running around ordering her traditional bacon sandwich to be made now before she opens her pressies. Crickey I missed her. On the Friday when we picked her up she threw herself into my arms dropping her suitcase on the ground and squeezed me so hard I thought she might break me, she even gave Lewis a big hug which shocked us all. Once we got home she ripped her pressies open laid on the floor and started playing with her netbook, now if its not under her nose she panics that it is lost and when it is under her nose all we get is grunts of acknowledgements that she has heard us and might see fit to do as asked. Can't wait till Tuesday when the Netbook laws are passed in this house.
That's all for now
See you soon
Jo xx

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Great British Bake Off

I think I am addicted. What to I hear you cry. Baking, watching baking programs and baking cookbooks. I have settled down every Tuesday evening for the last 8 weeks and watched Great British Bake off and just wanted to be there (although I don't think my baking is up to scratch yet) I have routed for and wanted to cry with Jo Wheatley. She has been amazing all the way through and all though she didn't get it right every time she was amazing. Her passion for baking just shone out of her, the obvious joy that baking brings to her life is seen in every bake she took part in. The idea of Limoncello and White Chocolate Croquembouche was brilliant and although it did collapse looked lovely.
The strangest thing is on Tuesday this week my hubby asked me to make a Victoria sponge and I kept thinking about making them small so that I didn't over fill the big one which is a bad habit of mine. Jo made small Victoria sponges for the final of GBBO and know I am going to do the same, although mine will not look anything like Jo's as hers were light and fluffy and just made to make your mouth water.
All the contestants where amazing but for me Jo outshone them all and deserved to win.

I have been baking this week, I have decided to work on scones as normally when I bake them they come out like little biscuits. I never get a rise out of them, until now that is and my mum gave me her recipe for scones. So last night I made (with Ellie's help) cheese and Bacon Scones that were light and very tasty. Below is the recipe.

2 Cups of plain flour
1/4 cup of oil
1 egg
4 tsps Baking powder
pinch of Salt
2 cups of strong cheese
1 cup of chopped and cooked Bacon
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Heat oven to 180Fan /gas mark 6/200 electric
In a bowl mix together the flour and the baking powder. Put the 1/4 cup of oil into the 1 cup and add the egg top up to 1 cup with milk. Mix the cheese and Cayenne Pepper with the flour then add the wet ingredients mix well. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and gently press out with your hand cut out using a number 5 cutter and place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Enjoy with butter and a nice cup of tea.

Please let me know if you make these and what you thought of the Great British Bake off and who you wanted to win.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Baking Update

Well after my baking session the other day there is nothing left not even stale crumbs.
I made my little pies which where Chicken, leek, Sweetcorn and Peas and tasted divine and such a nice change for our lunchboxes although Ellie refused to even try them (such a fussy child). I have just realised that I didn't take any pictures of any of this stuff

cut in half so that you can see what its like will remember to do that next time.

I also made a Raspberry Ripple cup cake which was meant to be a proper big cake but I didn't have the right tins or enough time to do so. This recipe was out of my BBC Good Food Magazine and they had taken it from Edd Kimber and his new recipe book The Boy Who Bakes. He won the Great British Bake Off 2010 with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. I liked baking this cake as it was not the normal way I would bake a cake, you had to whisk the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes nothing unusual there but then add the egg yolks and then add the flour and then add the whisked egg whites. The end result of the cake was moist and so light and fluffy just perfect for the frosting which was another thing I hadn't made before. It started with making a syrup of sugar and water and adding it slowly to beaten egg whites then adding a very large amount of butter to the egg whites once they had returned to room temperature and as it was white chocolate and raspberry ripple you mix the chocolate into one half of the mix and add raspberry jam (seedless) into the other half. Unfortunately my icing skills need some work and this didn't come out looking as good
as Edd Kimbers did.
I am not a hundred percent sure I liked the icing as it tasted abit like marge even though it was made out of butter and white chocolate but I think it was the white chocolate that gave it this taste.
Then I went on to bake these little beauties which are Cheese muffins they were lovely. Although half the cheese is grated and half the cheese is cut into cubes i cut my cheese into big
cubes that left huge great big holes in the muffins so late in the week I made some more this time adding ham to the mix as well (I always add double the amount of cheese that the recipe says as I like things to be very cheesy and find that even if I use a strong cheese
it doesn't taste cheesy enough for me). I also cut the cheese into smaller cubes and eliminated the huge holes in the muffins. The children took these to school in their lunchboxes twice last week and have demanded that I make more of them very very soon.
I also made these which are banana and peanut butter muffins. I was in such a rush to make these that I used banana's that weren't over ripe and the peanut butter was meant to be crunchy but I thought the children would notice that so used smooth peanut butter instead. They were a disaster and tasted of nothing although they were quite filling as they had oats in them but you really do need to use over ripe banana's. I don't think it makes much difference to the mix if you use crunch or smooth pb its just a textural thing. I think I will make banana cupcakes next time and put peanut butter icing on them and see what that is like as I really like the idea of banana and peanut butter although I wouldn't eat it in a sandwich. Will have to let you know how it works out the next time I make it which should be soon as I have some bananas turning brown as we speak.

These little nuggets of chocolateness are called Chocolate Kisses and are a childhood favourite of mine and thankfully my children adore them as well. Now I have to be honest here and say I didn't bake these Ellie (10) baked them whilst we were trying to work on her maths so she doubled the recipe and even piped them onto a baking sheet to go into the oven. They have a very short and crumbly texture and simply melt in your mouth. Ellie made 36 of them so we had 18 biscuits in total by Monday morning there were only 4 left which went into the children's Lunchboxes and in their word were very yummy.

That's all for now Thanks for coming by and having a look leave me a comment and I will get back to you.
Love Jo xx

Friday, 16 September 2011

Baking Time

After the best summer holidays ever and losing a friend during the summer (stupidly rowed over how we felt about the summer holidays) we have now returned to normality, if you can call it that.  We have had hundreds of letters home already and this is only the second week back, none of them begging for money but it wont be long lol.  We have received letters regarding Ellie (who's 10) moving up to secondary school (sorry it will never be high school to me) which has me scared beyond belief, how can that little baby I brought home wrapped up in a white blanket wearing a Winnie the Pooh fleecy all in one be ready to go to the next stage in her life.
Therefore I have decided to bake my blues away and come up with some interesting cakes, biscuits, pies and lunchbox things this weekend just so that she knows that no matter what home is where mummy loves her the best.  OK I didn't say this was going to be a sloppy post but I am feeling that being a mummy is slowly crawling away and soon I shall just be a mum and I don't like that as I feel they might not need me like they have done for the last 10 years.  I am not a mum who doesn't want her children to grow up but them growing up must mean that I am getting old and old I do not feel or want to be.  Cake is the only answer to this I feel as if  I stay the size I am then the extra weight I carry can pad out those wrinkles.
 So the great bake is on for this weekend I am going to make Banana and Peanut Butter muffins, a Raspberry Ripple Cake, Chicken and Sweetcorn mini pies so that the children can take them to school for lunch and my mums Chocolate kisses which are light and crumbly and resemble something along the lines of Viennese biscuits that are sandwiched together with a vanilla butter cream and are so yummy that they never last very long in our house.
I will bring you pictures of the great bake and any recipes that I think are any good to you next week, but in the mean time what is your favorite way to banish the blues and what is your favorite things to bake.

That's all for now see you all soon
Love Jo xx

Monday, 18 July 2011

Oh What A Month

Well its been a really busy month this month, weight loss isn't going well as we have had a few reasons to celebrate so I have put on about 6lbs in the last month never mind I am sure I can get rid of it again maybe I should give up eating for the summer holidays. OK reality check it really doesn't matter but I have a problem with food and that is I like it and find that I get stuck in a rut then panic because I don't want to eat the same food every week. I am a bit of a cook and like trying out new recipes and making cakes and biscuits for my family so I have been struggling a bit. This last week I was really good all week and then along came the weekend and Ellie had a ballet show on Friday, 2 on Saturday and another 1 on Sunday so eating went out the window as I was a helper and usher at every show. On Friday I had a fried egg sandwich for tea (quick and easy) Saturday morning knowing I was going to be at the venue for 8 to 9 hours I went out for breakfast then at 10pm we came home and had a Chinese (Beef curry and egg fried rice YUMMY) on Sunday we had bacon and mushroom sandwiches then went out for tea and instead of having a jacket potato or a salad I had lamb chops and chips. Well that's another couple of pounds on then never mind I will manage to lose it again but maybe not till September.

We have also had a birth in the family my brother in law and his girlfriend had a baby boy on Tuesday the 5Th July called Dominic Jayden he is very sweet as all new babies are and I even got a couple of cuddles and didn't feel broody. There was a moment of jealousy with Lewis as he isn't the baby of the family anymore but when we went to visit them at home he was a very proud big cousin. Ellie was a little scared of holding him but uncle D and C helped her and she was fine in the end just very excited.

Mr P and I have also celebrated our 10Th wedding anniversary although celebrated might be the wrong word. We went out on the 7Th July just the two of us as my parents had the children over night. We went to a lovely restaurant called Mussel Row in Pei r Road Littlehampton and had a fabulous meal which was rather romantic. Then on the Sunday we had family round at my mums house to celebrate my dads Th birthday and our wedding anniversary but it turned into a bit of a nightmare as Mr P went missing and then got a call out for work. By the time he had finished eating he had to go and do the job (1 very cross wife) he dropped me and the children at home where I proceeded to sulk like a child. When he got back from the job I had got myself so angry that I probably could have killed him so not a good day really lots of shouting from me and lots of appologising from him but we are still married and hope that the next 10 years are just better than the first 10 have been.
Thanks for dropping by
Love Jo xx

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Why Me!!

Well everyone is back at school including the nits, which my lovely daughter Ellie managed to bring home for a home visit again this week. The poor thing was itching like mad so I got out the nit comb and out came the screams of "I can run faster than you mum so you can't get me with that." as she stomped off to her room for what felt like the one hundredth time on Sunday. After screaming and flouncing and threats of holding her down or tying her to a chair (honestly I didn't) she let me comb through her hair. Tears streaming down her face and her brother Lewis laughing as loudly as he could (me worrying what the neighbours must think) we found the little blighters hiding amongst her shoulder length hair. After only 5 minutes she suddenly flounces off again as I had pulled to hard on a knot and the screaming starts again "Why me mum. I don't cuddle anyone or put my head near anyone else's".
"Well you must do Ellie they can't fly and although I always thought they could jump they can't so you must be near somebody who has them"
Back to the chair we go under a dark cloud and lots of swearing from me, we take our positions and the race is on can the nits and their parents run faster than me and the comb of doom, yes they can. After 10 minutes of coaxing Ellie's hair through the comb I give up and throw the comb across the room and demand that the nit killing solution be found. Frantic searching high and low reveals that the solution is where it should be in the medicine cupboard. Who would have thought to put it there I mean there is Calpol at the side of my bed for those nights when little visitors come knocking on my door, the pain killers are hidden inside my chest a drawers and the cough medicine is in the food cupboard.
Coaxing Ellie back to the chair for the next round of nit destruction I finally try a bit of bribery and offer chocolate if she is good and sits still while I put the glop onto her hair. Bargaining now seems a real good option now for Ellie as she pipes up "How much chocolate to I get for sitting here bored out of my brain"
"One small bar"
"Not a chance mum I want at least 2 or 1 medium sized one"
"But Ellie if I don't put this stuff on your hair you will give everyone nits"
"How when they gave them to me first. Can you get nits if you already have them? I want chocolate."
As she makes another dash for her bedroom where Lewis is hiding behind her door to call her Nitty Nora and make her jump. I slump in the chair and wonder where my handbook on how to get children to behave has gone. I still have dinner to cook and get their stuff ready for tomorrow, as I sit in the chair a huge scream goes up (we live in a flat so I worry what the neighbours must think again) as Lewis jumps from behind the door Ellie is a wreck sitting on the floor her head in her hands sobbing, seeing my chance I pick up the bottle of nit killer and go to her pouring said glop on her head whilst soothing her with "wait till her next goes to the toilet then you can get him" (not very motherly I admit).
Job done glop on head nits slowly dieing Lewis laughing on the floor at Ellie's hysteria and me rushing to the bathroom to wash my hands so that I am ready for the next battle to begin.
Love Jo xx

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Bluethroat Morning

<span class=
Genre/Form:Psychological fiction
luethroat Morning (Bloomsbury paperbacks)">A literary mystery that explores the troubled relationship between women and their writing.

Alison Bliss, world-famous model and author of critically acclaimed Sweet Susan, walks into the sea on a "bluethroat morning". She becomes a greater icon in death than in life and the Norfolk village of Glaven, where she spent her final days, is soon a place of pilgrimage.

Six years later, her husband Harry, a schoolteacher, is still haunted by her suicide and faithful to her memory-until he meets nineteen-year-old Helen. The two begin an intense affair which is secretly darkened by the past. Harry is attracted by Helen's uncanny resemblance to Arabella-his great-grandfather's second wife-on whom Alison was basing her new book. Little was known about Arabella, except that she had drowned herself in the sea by Glaven. . . where Alison had traveled, only to mysteriously follow in her tragic footsteps.

I have had real trouble reading this book as Harry Bliss just seems to be chasing ghosts. I have to be honest and say I haven't actually finished reading this book as it was such hard work.

Harry is a teacher who's wife was a model who then suffered from anorexia and then becomes a writer but has issues that relate to her mother who was a poet. It seemed to me that she was a confused stranger in her own body and was trying to be what her mother failed to be. Harry is a completely in love with her even though he falls for his best friends daughter. I found it very hard to imagine Harry as anything but needy. He needed to know what happened to his wife in the two weeks before she died, he needed the press to be hot on his heels and he needed Helen to need him.

There are bits in the book which are Alison's notes in a note book that Harry gets from Erne Hingham who is Harry's grandfathers step-brother, although Harry doesn't find out the connection until late in the book and the connection between Erne and Alison. Erne's mother is Arabella the 2ND wife of Harry's great grandfather. Arabella also kills herself just as Alison Bliss does by walking into the sea naked.

The Story seemed disjointed to me one minute we are in a grave yard and Harry is making love to Helen then the next you are in an old house with Erne who is going back in time to when he was a little boy which appears to be a moment of senility normally halfway through him telling Harry about Arabella then you are reading Alison's notebook which is just a lot of how she feels a failure.

I really didn't like this book and would recommend you read something else.

Love Jo xx

Thursday, 9 June 2011

One of those days!

I'm having a moment today when I think I have done something wrong but really I don't think I have, you see it started the week before last when I phoned a friend who runs her own business a nice little shop and told her my plans for the half term. I know she doesn't have much time as the shop takes up a lot of her time and when the children are at school I help out in my husbands business so when he is busy so am I. Any way right from the time Ellie was born I have always been available to see her on her day off no matter what day it is and it used to change quite a bit, nearly 5 years ago she took over the business and has struggled with it. Now most of the time she is very generous and spends a lot of money on the children and takes them out during the holidays but this holiday we had to go shopping for new clothes for the children on the Wednesday and on the Thursday we went out to Worthing with my sister. You see although me and my sister don't live far apart we don't see each other as often as I would like because of her dog. Last November her dog Luna bit my husband quite badly in front of my 2 children and because hubby is a nice man he decided that the dog should live and have training but the children aren't allowed in her house any more.

Now back to the original story. I phoned my friend and told her we would be busy on the Thursday (her day off) and we could meet up with her on the Tuesday if she was free. Unfortunately she kind of stropped and quickly said that was convenient for her and that Thursday was her only day off. I apologised and said that we would have all the summer to do different things and normally I put off things so that we can see her, but she wouldn't really talk to me properly. Its her birthday on Monday and I asked her in the phone call what I could buy for her but she refused to say and quickly put the phone down. Now my dilemma is do I make the first move and phone her and ask again what she wants for her birthday? Or do I wait for her to make the first move? Or do I just except that both of us now have busy life's and are moving in completely different circles and leave it at that?
I am sure that we all have friends that we still get along with but aren't in our social groups or have the same interests as we do. This lady is one of them we use to have things in common but now we don't seem to have. She still lives at home with her parents and doesn't have children or a boyfriend and doesn't go out much really except for aerobics on a Monday and the occasional meal with the people she works with. Let me know what you think I am just not sure what to do. xx

Monday, 6 June 2011

Twilight By Peter James

First off please forgive me as this is my first ever review since I was at school anyway.

Right so here is the blurb from the back:

Three muffled thuds ring from the partially filled grave of the newly wed girl. Only the verger hears them and he dismisses the noise as his imagination. But over the next few days others also hear faint sounds. An exhumation order is granted. Reporter Kate Hemingway sneaks into the small suburban churchyard when the coffin is opened, and the scene she witnesses is so horrific she can never forget it. As she starts work on the story, Kate finds herself caught up in a sinister and macabre cover-up. At the centre is a respected anaesthetist who has a secret obsession. He believes people can exist outside their bodies and that if he can prove it he will provide the answer to the question that has haunted mankind through the ages: is there life after death? Nothing - and no one - is going to stand in the way of his driving ambition . .

I have read Peter James before and love the way he writes so I was really looking forward to this book and the fact it was one of his earlier books pleased me as I have only read his Roy Grace series.
If, like me, you have ever been worried about being buried alive this might not be the book for you. It had me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next page to be turned.
Kate Hemmingway was a believable journalist who knew something was up and was going to find out at any cost what had happened, even breaking in to a Funeral Home to find out the small details but puts her life in jeopardy by being so determined. She consults with a medium who tells her to be careful although the true meaning of the messages don't get through to Kate until near the end when she ends up in hospital.
Harvey Swire is the anaesthetist who after a near death experience of his own, believes that there is life after death. The way Swire goes about trying to prove this is very sinister and seemed to me to be quite plausible.
The book keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, the end is a really good twist that I would never of guest. I would recommend this book to anyone who like to read horror or a good thriller.

One final point, before you bury or cremate me make sure I am dead first!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Half Term Week

I have had a strange kind of memory this week and thought I would share it with you and wondered if any of you had similar experiences.
It must have been about 3 years ago (Ellie who is 10 was about 7 and Lewis now 9 was 6) We had been to my parents on a Saturday which is somewhat of a tradition in our family. I should explain that we do see them during the week but Saturdays used to be when all the grandchildren got together and could talk and chat with each other, now out of 6 grandchildren it is normally only my two that go and have lunch with Grandma and Grandad as the other 4 are aged 21, 20, 16 and 15 next month don't want to hang out with the babies of the family or the oldies. Anyway back to the point we had been to the grandparents for Saturday lunch and had started talking about old wives tales as I had an itchy nose and mum had said that meant I was going to have a row with someone. When we got home the children sat down and Ellie said "What does each feet mean mum"
I said "it means you are going to move or travel somewhere soon"
"how about itchy hands then mum"
"Well that means you are going to receive money on the right hand and the left means give money away."
"What about an itchy head mum what does that mean"
Lewis without batting an eyelid said "That means you've got nits" I still can't stop laughing when I think about it he was all so Innocent and I don't think he understood what we were talking about bless him.

Anyway what have I been reading this last week? Twilight by Peter James and what a great book it was too. Later this week I will give you my review of it if that's OK. I am now reading Bluethroat Morning by Jacqui Lofthouse. It has been described as a thriller and as of yet not sure what it thrills but I will preserver.

As for the diet I think I have gone into melt down (actually that would be quite good that means all the fat I have and there is lots of it would melt) I seem to have hit a brick wall and anything food wise that sits on that wall keeps falling into my mouth. I know that I should just keep my big mouth shut but all that chocolate and cheese and bread my body is crying out for so as I have had such a bad week I refused to go to weigh in last night cos I don't want the scales to laugh at me and tell me I have put on 5 stone and that I am useless. So starting a new week today and intend to stick to it. Oh except that I am going out for lunch with my sister to an all you can eat Chinese and taking the children clothes shopping in Brighton on Wednesday (must remember fruit and my HiFi bars) wish me good luck as a wave goodbye to at least 2lbs this week.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of the ramblings of a mad woman and let me know what you are reading.
Love Jo xx

Monday, 23 May 2011


This is my first post on here and I guess you might be wondering what to expect, well basically this is for me to rant about the children in my life, fill you in on what I'm doing, what I'm reading and generally what is happening in my life. OK so doesn't sound interesting but I'm sure at some point in your life you have had children hassles and thought "am I the only parent to feel like this" rest assured that at some point or another we all feel like things are too much and that life can't get any harder. I can't offer any advice as I am only talking from my experiences but we might have a laugh and a cry along the way.
I am also a great reader or should that be a lover of books, well either way I like to read and when I am not shouting at the children to tidy up or get dressed I am normally sitting down reading whatever is at hand. I will give any book a try whether its got a pretty cover or is very tatty, if the blurb on the back of the book takes my fancy and transports me to another time and place I am generally happy. I encourage my children to read although with one of them I always feel I am fighting a losing battle although I do believe that she would read if it was about Justin Bieber. My son on the other hand likes reading and reads quite a lot although Beast Quests seems to be the only things at the moment with my small little hints to try something else being tossed to the ground in disgust.
I am also a crafter and love to scrapbook although that seems to be a fight that I am not winning as I have started helping my husband with his business and have very little time to get the stuff out the cupboard and set it all up only to have to put it away again at teatime. I go to a group once a month without the children to scrap but to be honest its more about the talking then the actual scrapping.
I am a member of slimming world and to date have lost 11/2 stone although this week has been a very bad week as food has been top of my list and every time I have past by the fridge its door opens its little light goes on and shines like a spotlight on to the one thing I know I shouldn't eat lots of, but it lays there all creamy and cheesy and demands my attention now, so without hesitation I grab the sharp knife and slice myself off a chunk then think better of it only for it to say "You know you want to one little piece wont hurt go on take a bite". How can I refuse I slowly and joyfully sink my teeth into the lump of cheese and my heart skips a beat. Why do I do this every time when I have set myself a goal. I have decided that it doesn't matter because if I put on weight then I can lose it again can't I?
Well enough of the chatter from me I hope if you have popped by that you like what you have read and will leave me a lovely comment. I intend to come back at least once a week to have a chat moan or groan and if you have any books that you love and think I should read leave the name and the author and I will try read it and let you know what I think.
Thanks for stopping by
Love Jo xx