Wednesday 31 October 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different!

All of this year Shimelle has been running a class/challenge over on UKScrappers called And Now For Something Completely Different.  On the 10th of the month she posts a list of materials and on the 20th of the month she posts a list of instructions along with photos of the different stages.  I was very late to the party and only just got round to joining in.

I had a look at the list of contents, which you can find here.  I liked what I saw so thought I would join in this time.  The instructions were put up here but this month they were just a little bit different, there were no photos! This made me want to join in even more because I love a blind challenge :)

This is how my layout has turned out:
I used papers from Authentique, Dear Lizzy and Echo Park along with some Thickers, gems and twine. The photos are of Maddie on her 18th birthday and I just love the expressions on her face in these photos.

Today is the big reveal for everyone who took part this month so I have no idea what everyone else has come up with for their layouts, I really can't wait to see them.

I don't know how this layout compares to the others but I really am pleased with it:
I will enjoy looking at all the other layouts later on today.

Thank you for stopping by
Jo xx

Monday 29 October 2012

Fall Back

Well the clocks have gone back an hour and I love it.  I love how the nights are drawing in now, how I come home from work, close the curtains on the world and cosy up on the sofa with  the dogs and some crafting.

It also means that Halloween is nearly here.  I love Halloween and look at all the pictures of the decorated American houses with pure envy, it all looks great and so much fun.

When I lived in a flat we didn't get any trick or treaters knocking at the door so, six years ago, when I moved to my current home I really went to town on Halloween.  I had ghosts and ghouls lighting up the windows, pumpkins on the door step and a pumpkin head full of not one but two tins of sweets!  How many people knocked on my door? Zero, zilch, none!

Me and Maddie have a tradition of watching Hocus Pocus on Halloween and that's exactly what we'll be doing this Wednesday.

Before I go I'll share this layout of my own little witch when she dressed up way back in 2002:
She was such a pretty little witch.

I hope you all had a good weekend and have an equally good week.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Friday 26 October 2012

Just Dessert!

I've been sharing lots of recipes for main meals and I thought it was about time I shared something we love to have for pudding.  All of the recipes I've shared are SYN free on Slimming World and this one is no different.

You will need:
Two sachets of Hartley's Sugar Free Jelly and two Muller Light Yogurts, I used raspberry jelly and vanilla yogurt but you can mix it up however you please :)
Make the first sachet up as per the instructions on the packet.
Once it's made up then half fill your dishes with the jelly, I used these little ramekin dishes but you can use whatever you have.  Put the jelly in the fridge to set.
With the second sachet of jelly you make it with half a pint of boiling water and then leave to cool.
Once it's cooled stir in the two yogurts.
Pour the jelly and yogurt mix over the top of the set jellies then place the dishes back in the fridge for the top layer to set.
Finally, enjoy!

I hope you like this little dessert.  If you're pushed for time you can just make the jelly and yogurt mix and leave that to set.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Another Hobby

Well I've started another hobby, it's one I've wanted to do for years but I've never managed to conquer. Finally, fingers crossed, I've got the hang of it. What is this new hobby of mine? Crochet!

When I was a small girl my aunt used to crochet dresses and cardigans for me. I used to watch her fingers flying like shuttles hooking the wool and I was fascinated.

Years later I asked her to teach me and, bless her, she tried. She showed me how to make doilies but mine always ended up looking like bowls! My tension was to tight and I couldn't really work out where to do the stitches. I think the problem was I wanted to be as fast as she was, trying to run before I could walk.

Since then, every few years, I've gone out and bought a hook and some wool thinking I'd be able to master this craft. I never could and just ended up with quite a collection of hooks!

Last year I turned up at my aunt's and asked her to show me again. She looked at the wool, then looked at the hook, then looked at me and laughed. "I've forgotten how to do it" she said! My chance had gone, the master of crochet had lost her skills.

I'm not a quitter though, I knew I'd learn one day, then I saw this post on Katherine's blog. Time to buy another hook and some more wool and try, try, try again!

This time, though, it clicked! I was crocheting, slowly at first but speeding up the more I did it. I started on the Wednesday and by Friday I had made this:

I had managed to crochet something I could wear, something I was proud to wear:

Now I'm just a little bit addicted. So I've made one cowl, I've nearly finished another and I want to do a Granny Stripe blanket. I've done a practice piece for the blanket:

Just needs a little more practice. But…I finally feel I've cracked the art of crochet.

Now that's something crossed off my bucket so what next? :)

I hope you're having a good week.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Monday 22 October 2012

A Dreary Day

Today is dark, foggy and downright dreary!  I love when the weather is like this but only if I don't have to venture outdoors, I love to snuggle :)

I had a great weekend because I managed to spend a day in London with Paul on Saturday.  I haven't seen him for a month so it was lovely to spend a few hours with him.  On Sunday I scrapped and I really enjoyed myself.

The weekly challenge over at UKScrappers had a baking theme so I thought it was perfect for my pictures from Frieda's.  Part of the challenge was to use this sketch which was great because I had a lot of pictures to scrap!  The other elements to use were washi tape (not that I need an excuse to use washi tape!) and numbers.
The dreary weather has no consideration for the fact I have layouts to photograph, I guess I'll have to get used to that over the coming months. Maybe I need to get a daylight bulb for my lamp.

Tonight I plan to snuggle on the sofa with my new hobby, I'll be sharing that soon :)

I hope life is being kind to you
Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Friday 19 October 2012

Colourful Carbonara

I'm back with another low fat, easy recipe for you...carbonara.

You will need:
11oz dried pasta, 6oz smoked back bacon, 2 garlic cloves, 1 green chilli, 3.5oz closed cup mushrooms, 7oz frozen peas (defrosted), 2 medium tomatoes (I left these out because Maddie doesn't like them), 3 large eggs, 3.5oz quark.
Roughly chop the bacon, finely chop the garlic, deseed and finely chop the chilli and slice the mushrooms.

Boil the pasta as per the packet instructions.  While that's doing dry fry the bacon for 3-4 minutes then add the garlic, chilli and mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes before adding the peas and tomatoes.
Separate the eggs and discard the whites.
Then combine the quark with the yolks.
Reserve some of the water from the pasta before draining it.  Put the pasta in with the bacon and vegetable mixture and give it a good stir.  Remove from the heat and add the egg and quark mixture, adding some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce a little.
Then serve!

I always take any leftovers to work with me the next day and they always taste great.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, next week I have an super easy dessert to share.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Time For Tea!

At the end of the summer I spent almost a week down at Paul's, it was lovely. Although I had already started my diet I knew I wanted a treat and I knew I wanted that treat to be a cream tea. My favourite place for cream teas in that neck of the woods is at Portland Bill but we really didn't want to trek that far out so it was over to Google!

I have to say that finding a tea room in Bournemouth is almost as rare as hen's teeth, almost. I managed to find a real gem of a tearoom called Frieda's.

I was like a kid in a sweet shop when I got inside and couldn't stop snapping away!

It was my dream tea shop.

Unmatched chairs and tables that went so perfectly together.

Bunting…who doesn't love bunting?

And a perfect afternoon tea.

With homemade cakes.

And scones!

The staff (Frieda's son and daughter) were so welcoming and friendly. They told me how the tearoom had always been there Mum's dream and she baked everything they sold.

Afternoon tea for two was only £15 so a complete bargain too!

If you're in the Bournemouth area then I can't recommend Frieda's enough.

Incidentally, I got back from my time away and lost 3lbs :)

I hope your week is being kind.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Sunday 14 October 2012

Another Great Weekend

This has been such a lovely, great weekend for me.  It started off with my monthly crop and, as I missed the last couple, it was great to catch up with all the girls.  I managed to be quite productive and get a couple of layouts done.

One of the layouts was for the monthly challenge over at UK Scrappers, the challenge was to use this sketch:
I love sketches, they're great if your mojo has done a runner!  I used the Fancy Pants Be You collection and came up with this:
I think the papers are perfect for this picture of my beautiful niece, Elsie.

After the crop I went to bingo where I was lucky enough to win £15, then a coffee (strange prize!) and then £320.  I went home to celebrate with Maddie and found out I'd won £460 on the lottery.  Having been a single parent for 13 years I can't tell you how grateful I am for this bit of luck, it certainly takes the pressure off of Christmas!

I hope that you've had a great weekend and have blessings to count too.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Friday 12 October 2012

Garlic and Lemon Chicken

Here's another delicious low fat recipe that I've found which is free on the Slimming World plan.

You will need:
2lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs.
1 onion
2-3 carrots
7oz green beans
1 lemon
4-5 sprigs of tarragon
Fry Light
1 bulb of garlic
1 1/4 pint of stock made with chicken Bovril
1tbsp of chicken Bovril
Salt and Pepper

Cut the chicken into chunks.  Peel and chop the onion.  Peel the carrots and cut into thick batons. Halve the green beans and chop the tarragon.
Fry the chicken and onions in a large non-stick pan using Fry Light.  When the chicken is brown add the carrots, garlic bulb, stock and Bovril concentrate.  Season, bring to the boil and reduce heat to medium.  Cover tightly and cook gently for 25 minutes.
Add the green beans and lemon and cook for a further 5-8 minutes.  Remove from heat and discard the garlic bulb and lemon peel.  Serve sprinkled with tarragon.
We had ours with jacket potato and mushrooms and it was the perfect meal for a chilly Autumn night.

I hope you have had a great week and have wonderful plans for the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Got My Mojo Back

I think the two month break must have done me some good because my scrapping mojo has come back with a vengeance!

Last week I actually took part in the weekly challenge over at UKScrappers!  The challenge was to have a Beatles song title on the layout, to use black and white, to have four or more lines of journalling and to include some circles.

I decided to hunt out a black and white photo because I'm not a big fan of black and white on a layout, I like lots of colour.  I found this old black and white picture of me aged five!
It was taken at my infant school and although 35 years have passed since it was taken I remember that the outfit I was wearing was bottle green, I remember my first teacher's name, remember how she reminded me of the wicked witch of the west from The Wizard or Oz and remember how I didn't like her much.  The photo reminded me of how I used to try and escape from school every lunch break and how I just wanted to be at home.  So many memories from one old black and white photo that I didn't even know I had until I went hunting.
I scrapped the original photo and you can see how the middle of the picture has faded compared to the edges that were protected by the frame it was in.  I almost cut the edges off but I'm so glad I left them now.

I've got back into scrapping so much now that I've even started thinking about my Journal Your Christmas album!

I hope your week is going well
Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Sunday 7 October 2012


It's the first Sunday of the month so that means only one thing, it's time for Storytelling Sunday over at Sian's.

This month the storytelling has arrived at the same time I was about to start scrapping some pictures taken at a Halloween event in 2002.

My friend Lynne had stumbled upon a village with a great little pub that was having a Halloween party.  She said it all looked so fantastic that she'd booked us rooms at the local hotel so that we could join in the fun.  This was long before Halloween had really got big in this country so it was a bit unusual but, as it was one of our favourite nights of the year, we were certainly up for it.

On the weekend in question we packed our bags and Maddie's witches costume and headed off to Stockbridge in Hampshire.  The pub was called The White Hart and the efforts the landlord had gone to were amazing. The whole place was decorated with ghosts and goblins, skeletons and witches, giant spiders and cobwebs.  Games were laid on for everyone to join in and my layout shows one of those games:
The game was to turn your partner into a mummy with the aid of a toilet roll.  Maddie stood still while Lynne did all the hard work of wrapping her.  The winners were the first ones to be totally mummified, they were plenty of laughs being had by everyone and in the end Maddie and Lynne won first prize!
Maddie also went on to win the fancy dress competition and some other games so we returned to the hotel weighed down with her prizes! I think the landlord of The White Hart had made sure that all of the children there won lots of prizes :)

It was such a lovely place, so welcoming and so much laid on for us but the funny thing is I've never been back there since.

Even though Maddie is 18 now we still enjoy Halloween very much and have made it a tradition to watch Hocus Pocus every year on the 31st October.

Head over to Sian's now to tell your story and to read the stories of everyone over there who get together on this day to tell a tale or two.

Thanks for reading mine.
Jo x

Friday 5 October 2012

Diet Coke Chicken!

A couple of months ago I decided enough was enough, I was useless at losing weight alone and I joined Slimming World.  Since then I've lost over one and a half stone and I've been cooking a lot more.  Don't get me wrong, I cooked all the time before but I have always preferred baking cakes and cookies to just making dinner.  Since joining SW that has changed and I love looking for new recipes for dinner.  I found one that I just had to share because it's fun, easy and delicious.

All you need is:
Chicken, I always use thighs because they're more juicy but you can use 4 chicken breast, 6tbs of passata, 1tbs of Worcester Sauce, mushrooms and a can of diet coke.
Roughly chop the onion, mushroom and chicken (I always use scissors to cut the chicken because it's quicker and easier).

Spray a non-stick pan with Fry Light (this stuff is great because it tastes good, it's low in calories and you never end up with a load of greasy washing up!) Add the onion and fry for a minute or two before adding the chicken.  Once the chicken is brown add the mushrooms:
Cook through before adding the passata and Worcester Sauce:
Give it a good stir and then add the whole can of diet coke:
At this point it doesn't look pretty but pop a lid on the pan and leave it to bubble away over a medium heat for about 25 minutes giving it the occasional stir.  The sauce will start to thicken and the more you cook it the thicker it will get until it looks as delicious as this:
I hope you give it a try, if you do then let me know what you think.

I'll be back next Friday to share another great recipe I found.

Have a great weekend.
Jo x

Wednesday 3 October 2012


Thank you for the comments and welcome back on my last post, I'm pleased I took the plunge!

With that in mind I thought I would jump in and join WOYWW again over at Julia's blog.

I've moved a few bits from my craft desk and have currently set up home on the dining table. At the moment it looks like this:

I recently found some great Halloween photos so I treated myself to some Halloween stash, believe it or not in the mountain of stash I have there was nothing Halloween related!

So now I have the photos, the papers and embellishments and I'm hoping to come up with a layout in time for Story Telling Sunday over at Sian's blog this weekend.

Looking forward to visiting your desks later, remember to pop over to Julia's and share yours.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.

Jo x

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday 1 October 2012

Well it's been nearly 2 months since I last posted here and I can't believe how quickly that time has gone!

I can't say that I've been particularly busy, just the normal sort of working mum busy really.  I got so caught up with the Olympics back in August and spent almost all of my time watching it.  I hardly spent any time on the computer and then the time passed and I did wonder if I would come back to blogland.

I missed it, I missed blogging and I especially missed the blogs that I read.  But, you know when you don't talk to a friend for a while and then think you've left it too long and you don't get in touch and you're left wondering, years later, what might have been?  Well I felt a bit like that, a bit like too much time had passed and then I remembered how much I enjoyed blogging, reading back over my memories and learning about other people lives through their blogs.  So here I am :)

My crafting has gone off the boil recently too so I grabbed a sketch:
Found a funny, no pressure picture to scrap:
And grabbed my favourite paper range, Buttercup by Lily Bee, to come up with this:
I loved doing it and it really got my mojo back on track.

I'll be back soon with another crafty project I've been doing.

I hope all is well with everyone in blogland
Jo x