Month: April 2010

Mary and Max

This is a wonderful claymation movie.  Two of life’s misfits connect by accident and friendship ensues.  This lovely Australian movie with the gorgeous voices of Barry Humphries, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette made me smile and made me sad.  A lovely way to spend an evening.  I loved the way the characters were so unattractively fabulous and am determined to try a chocolate hotdog!



I was cruising round the blogs and found this cute thing.  It’s a meme, cos it’s been doing the rounds, ages ago I think, but it’s new to me.  You are supposed to use one word to answer the questions, turns out I’m crap at that, so under Bridget rules you have to use three.  I changed the questions to be more me!  Have a go, show me your answers.

Cosy place?  Bed, book, partner

Breakfast today?  Coffee of course

Hair colour?  Salt and Pepper

Your family?  Always good fun

What are you not?  Thin and tall

Where were you last night?  Watching Big Bang

Where will you be tomorrow night?  At Lemon Briefcase

What is on your wish list?  Carpet Kitchen Heatpump

What was the last thing you did? Make macaroni cheese

What are you wearing? Lots of polarfleece!!

Favourite TV programme? Big Bang Theory

Goal for tonight?  Big deep bath!

Literary hero? John Green (sorry only two words and it’s always changing)

What do you hope?  My kids happy

Your mood? Ecstatic, Enthusiastic, Bouncy

Your computer? Lovely Apple Macbook

This year’s goal?  Kitchen nightmare banished

Your car? Karen, Toyota Carib

Favourite place at your place?  My big bath!

Currently reading?  Three Cups of Tea (it’s four words but what can I do!)

3 Favourite belongings? Lesley, Family, Raisin (not really belongings!)

Last CD purchased? Paramore latest cd

Last book purchased?  Waltz with Bashir

Favourite colour? Bright and bold

Favourite sport? Dancing at parties

Current obsession?  Too many cashews

Resolution? Walk to work

Feeling right now? Bewildered, Brilliant, Blind

Thing you need to do this week?  Door draught stopping

That’s enough now!  It would be fun to make a library one I think.  Might do that soon.  Go on, have a go, post it in the comments.

Rosa Penelope

This is Penelope.  She is a gorgeous thing and not just a pretty face.  She smells  delicious, and she grows in exactly the appropriate way for the spot she is growing in.  Penelope is a Hybrid Musk rose and is dated 1924 and therefore officially ‘Old’ which is great, seeing as these are the ones I love the most, the old ones, though casting a eye around the garden this morning, it seems I like pretty much anything as long as it smells good and is a rose!

She is pale porcelain pink, a sprawly creature.  I’m trying to teach her to grow up the fence so that her slightly droopy flowers can be gazed up into (Barbara Lea Taylor would be proud).  The flowers just keep coming and coming and although these last autumn ones aren’t her best, and tend to go a bit pink around the edges, she still looks lovely and I am pleased that I put her near the front door.  When I’m coming and going I can see her still blooming on, even though the weather is becoming colder and there isn’t much else in the garden that isn’t all overblown and had it.  Garden clean-up imminent!

I took delivery of a trailer full of leaves from school.  The caretaker there  had them collected in a trailer, and they have been sitting for about two weeks just getting all manky and perfect for mulch, the ones at the bottom were even really hot, which means they were on their way to compost.  They were distributed yesterday by the beloveds, who don’t understand my fixation with these leaves that everyone else ‘in their right minds’ is raking up and dumping.  Hey people, dump them here, they turn horrible clay into great soil eventually.

Now look here!

If you’ve been here before you will notice that I’ve been having a play with the look of the blog.  Trying for something a bit less bland, a bit more colourful, a bit more me!  Settling for this one at the moment, but well, watch this space who knows what it might evolve into next.  I’m liking the rounded edges and the flowery banner at the top.  Love the brown and green thing – so well – till next time I feel like a change this is it.

Dreadful things did happen on the way here though, I had a gorgeous, tasteful winter theme for about 48 hours, and then went to put a post on, and discovered that the transition phase had swallowed my log in box and I couldn’t get in here.  I knocked politely on the door and there was no way that anybody would let me in.  Had to go right back to my original sign up email and start again, thank god I kept it!  So moral of that little tale is, do not delete your original sign up email folks, you never know when you might need it.  All manner of these Web 2.0 things I belong to, many with different log in and passwords – my, it’s a drama.  I even went to the various forum the WordPress have and couldn’t sign in there.

I’ve been trying to sign up to TokBox so that I can have an alternative to Skype with multiple chatty types at once, and I have never been there before.  I sign up for a new account, enter my email and the password of my choosing and I get the message “incorrect password” What The!  I’ve now tried every email address I have and it won’t let me sign in, I always get incorrect password error.  So, fun and games, new technology is not my friend this weekend, and here was I going to try some other things I’ve been saving up but two experiences of being locked out in one weekend and I’m so not going to try again.  Might just slope off and watch some series 1 of Big Bang Theory, or even read a book, no password required there!

Brides Farewell by Meg Rosoff

I have loved every book that Meg Rosoff has published.  The totally gorgeous and tensely gripping How I Live Now, Just In Case which was quirky, funny, slightly snarky and sexy, and What I Was which has a great twist at the end and an old fashioned feel.  I like the way Meg Rosoff envelops you with her characters, and I get totally caught up in her books and do nothing else but read them till they are done.

The Brides Farewell I read in a day, it is the story of Pell who runs away on the morning of her wedding, she ends up taking her mute little brother with her unwillingly, but he is determined to come.  She cannot face marrying Birdie, the boy who has loved her for years, and her home is a miserable place.  Poverty, squallor and with marriage and the constant production of children not seeming like a great option, she is out of there.

So Pell begins her journey, she is a fighter, she is tough, resilient and I adored her.  I actually didn’t think I was going to like this book as much as I did, and I was delighted with it.  If you have loved her other books then do read this, if you haven’t ever read her and you want a book with a gutsy girl, burly blokes and sensitive children, horses, and gypsy fortune tellers go and get hold of this.   There is a great interview with Meg Rosoff here.  Crikey, she is just really hot actually.  Quick Meg write me another book.

Sweet Peas – perfect plants

Sweet PeasFence covered in sweet peasWhen you walk past a fence which is adorned with sweet peas, and has been in the sun for a while the perfume is just divine.  It smells like summer, it smells like old fashioned gardens and old ladies and the colours are riotous, the perfect plant really.

I’ve never understood why you can’t buy a perfume that has the essence of sweet pea infused into it.  I’d buy it!  I adore Sweet Peas for me they have no negatives at all, everything about them is relaxed, easy, and perfect for the sort of gardener I am.  They pop up when you haven’t planted them, in the middle of nowhere, they come in different heights, they will grow almost anywhere with something to lean on and twine through and they don’t need spraying or nurturing or have any special needy characteristics.  Chuck em in the ground and wait for them to produce smelly, colourful and pick-able yumminess.  I think I will grow them for all my days.  I grew two types this year but the only label I can find is Bijou.  There are some modern varieties which I grew once but they had little or no smell, you want the scent then grow old fashioned ones.

Pastitso (Baked Maraconi Greek Style)

I have a lovely cookbook called Mum’s Favourite Recipes compiled by Bill Tikos.  It is a different edition to this one.  I don’t make many things out of it, I really need to make a pact with myself to make more recipes from all of my gazillions of recipe books, I have an addition to them.  Anyway, from this gorgeous book I make 4 recipes regularly and one of them is Pastitso.  I have a couple of recipes for this dish in other places, but this is the one I like the most.  I  add a tsp of cinnamon to the meat.

This makes a really big meal.

Meat Sauce:  1 onion finely chopped, 1tblsp olive oil, 1tblsp butter, 500g minced beef (I actually use a bit less) 1 x 400g tin of tomatoes, 1 tblsp tomato paste, 1/2 tsp oregano (I use a bit more), salt and pepper.

Bechamel sauce:  150g butter, 125g plain flour, 5 cups of milk, 2 egg yolks, salt and pepper.

And you need 500g macaroni or penne, 1/4 – 1/2 cup Parmesan – cheapskates use a mix of parmesan and tasty cheese.

First make the meat sauce – in the usual way.  I add 1 tsp of cinnamon.  Then make the Bechamel – I do it in the microwave.  At the same time cook the pasta when done mix in the Parmesan.

Assemble it by putting half the cooked pasta in a greased lasagna or rectangular dish, top with meat sauce and then put in the rest of the pasta.  Pour the sauce over the top, throw the rest of the Parmesan over the top and bake in the oven for 45 min.  You end up with a lovely baked pasta dish that you can serve in big slices with a green salad.  Yum!