Tuesday, 13 October 2009

What's in my lunchbox today?

I planned this entire lunchbox around some over seasoned soup that I was convinced I had in the freezer. Guess what either it's hidden behind a wall of ice or I used it up already. Time to get back to 'what's in the freezer' lists.

Clockwise from top right:

Boiled potatoes - fresh from the allotment.

Sweetcorn (lovely and sweet, and locally grown but not by me) and runner beans (grown by yours truly).

Apple -Local and in season!

Sausage casserole - this was based on a recipe from Quorn leaflet. It was a master of subsitution as I realised that I was either replacing ingredients (mango chutney instead of redcurrant jelly) or missing them out altogether (red wine). However despite it's very brown and solid appearance it's quite tasty. I thought the sausages had melted into the other ingredients but actually they have retained they shape and texture under the other ingredients.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Christmas planning part 2

So you’ve started thinking about presents. Maybe you’ve made a list of two. You might even have started shopping. Of course, there’s plenty more to organise at Christmas then just presents. What about all the other stuff?

Where will you spend Christmas?
Are you staying at home? Are you visiting people? Where do they live? How will you get there? When will you arrive?
Make a decision about where you will be over the festive period. Apart from the need to arrange travel, food and so on it can affect the gifts you choose. Gifts that have to be posted or carried would be better fro being smaller and lighter.

Once you know where you are going to be the rest of your planning can be attempted.

What will you eat?
If you are staying home it’s natural to think about food even if you don’t have the family descending for Christmas dinner. It’s still worth giving the food a thought if you are going elsewhere.

Do you have a particular diet that your hosts would rather know about in advance? As a vegan I prefer to err on the side of caution and always take something with me. Better that it’s not needed than I wish I had taken it.

If you are going to be away ensure that you’ve got food lined up for your return. If I’m visiting my family who are given to preparing mountains of food I pack plastic containers and bring some leftovers home to feast on. Waste not, want not.

What are you going to wear?
I got caught out a few years ago having deciding that I would wear one of the dresses I already own to a big event I paid no attention whatsoever to what the trends where in party wear for that season. I then found myself panic buying the day before. If you are going to wear something you already own it pays to keep half an eye on what’s in fashion. Then you can style your outfit wither with a knowing nod to the latest style or by doing completely the opposite. But you have to know what the rules are before you break them.

Planning this early give you plenty of time to arrange dry cleaning, repairs, find or make accessories and seek out the perfect bargain.

Don’t just plan for parties. If you have to go to work the next day have an outfit planned in advance. Decide what you wear on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. It’s one less thing to worry about.

And back to presents…
How are you going to wrap your gifts? Will you pick up paper in M&S along with your shopping? Or are you game to try something a little bit different?

Over the years I’ve done:
Chinese newspaper
Brown paper and string
Plain coloured paper tied up with loads of ribbon
The recipients name typed over and again on an A4 sheet, printed and then photocopied to A3. It looks very effective and save the need for gift tags.

For the last four or so years I’ve done present bags. These are made from odds and ends of fabric and intended to be reusable. They can be used for the following year’s gifts. Some of my family do this. Other use them for packing groups of items when they travel.

You can see pictures on my old blog - keep scrolling!

If you’re looking for way of planning your Christmas really effectively look no further than the Brocante Christmas planner. No only will it make you organised in areas like budget, decorations and housework but it has suggestions for making Christmas more lovely. and having got yourself all organised early you'll be in prime position to enjoy the loveliness, won't you?

Will there be a part three to this series? Who knows?

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Things I Love Thursday

Smiley faces in my coffee, Service with a smile, moonlit decking, wine deliveries, Heinz ketchup with chilli, amazing gifts from ww.ffirstimpressions.com, necklace repairs, no more toothache, big blocks of henna from Lush, black lace up boots, my sister.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

What's in my lunchbox this week?

I got a bit carried away on friday and staggered home with loads of bags from the market. This then meant I spent Sunday afternoon when I should have been dealing with my toothache trying to cook it all up.

clockwise from top right:


Classic white uncheese - this is supposed to turn out solid but it never does for me. This time it turned out even less solid than usual, hence the cucumber slices on top to keep it in the tub.


Runner beans (home grown) and sweetcorn (not home grown)

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Things I love Thursday

Jacket potatoes with beans and vegan cheese, Ozark heavy plectrums (like playing with a tortilla chip), my secondment (exciting and scary), Indian Head Massage, Vegan curry and root beer at Wetherspoons pubs, great coffee in big white cups with soy milk, Saturday mornings with Dear Heart, new drummers turning up on the doorstep (ask and it shall be given it seems!), space in the freezer, excellent progress on present planning, inspiration from Eithne Farry, ‘please have my free glass of wine’, gossip, chatter and scandal, managing to walk in high heels.