27 August 2015

Apple Tree Disaster and a Question

The weather has been very wet down here in my part of Cornwall and as a result, the ground is saturated and the water table must be really high because the pond in my field has got plenty of water in it which is very unusual for this time of year. My apple trees this year have been really heavy with fruit and I now realise that I should have done something about it, probably by picking some of the fruit to stop the trees getting damaged.

 Sadly, I was too late and one morning last week, I woke up to see this.

One of my poor apple trees had fallen over in the night. It's a Christmas Pippin tree so the fruit is nowhere near ripe enough to pick and eat as eating apples so I'm hoping to use them as filling for crumbles and pies that I can freeze. I'm sure it will be ok but I'm guessing it might take quite a bit of sugar to make them sweet enough to taste ok.

Today, in between the rain showers, I set about the task of lopping off the branches and taking all but the smallest apples off in readiness for a day of apple peeling and stewing tomorrow. I'm certain it's the wrong time of year to prune apple trees but I want to try and save the tree by standing it back up, firming down the roots and re-staking it ..... the stake that was there has snapped in two. 

It was a pretty hazardous task though, taking the apples off the tree, because I have recently discovered a wasp's nest in the low dry stone wall which is the boundary to my property and it seemed as if every one of the little buggers was feasting on the rotting, fermenting apples that have dropped off the tree. There were drunken, angry wasps everywhere and although I'm not allergic to wasp stings, I was tested at the hospital when I had my first bout of spontaneous urticaria, I don't want to push my luck and get stung just in case. 

This is my other apple tree, variety "Katy", which is also heavy with fruit but happily, just about, still standing 

So, my question to you all ......... now that I have a couple of big trays of apples, what am I going to do with them? Does anyone have any good apple recipes, other than pies and crumbles? I don't want to waste the apples but there are only so many apple crumbles a girl can eat!

18 August 2015


This week I haven't done much in the way of painting, I have, however, done a massive amount in the way of scratching! YUK I hear you say and you'd be right!! For some bizarre reason, the allergy I developed this week from my spontaneous urticaria comes in the form of a horrible rash due to a severe allergy to the new laundry detergent I bought. It was on special offer and it's not like I haven't used it before because I have, I have used it many times in the past but I certainly won't be using it again for a while. I am now sitting in my old pyjamas because they are the only things I have that were washed in my old detergent and the only things that don't make me want to scratch like a mutt with fleas!!! It's awful, not even antihistamines are stopping the itching completely and sadly, there is nothing to do except wait for the rash to go and the itchiness to calm down. I am glum! I have washed everything in the house that might have even come in contact with the evil stuff and it's all out on the washing line drying in the sun. It's a good job that my neighbours are used to my bizarre behaviour and thankfully, no one batted an eyelid when they saw me hanging out a load of laundry in my PJ's and 2.30 in the afternoon!

On a brighter note, I have just noticed that I am almost at my 250th blog post. I can't believe it. How on earth did I find so much to waffle on about. Anyway, I was thinking that for my 250th post I would do a giveaway. I have no idea what it will be just yet but I thought as I have never done one before, I might give it a go. So, watch this space :-)

15 August 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy and a Chickeny Update.

This week has been non-stop. I have been nursing a poorly chicken, trying to sort out the house because it is such a mess I can't even bear to look at it and I have had a hundred and one little niggly jobs to do. This morning, I have already been to the vet to collect flea treatment for one of my dogs, mended the fence in the field because the stock fencing wire had pinged off in a couple of places due to half a tonne of fat-ass llama leaning against it, I have filled 3 large black bags with rubbish to be taken to the tip along with the ever-growing pile of junk that I am finding in various cupboards, nooks and crannies and all manner of weird and wonderful places that junk seems to hide, I have filled, washed and emptied two loads of dish-washing and have done 3 loads of washing ....... and it's only 10.56am!! I am now having a cup of tea and re-grouping and I am then going to hoover, do more laundry, clean the carpet and whatever else I come across that needs doing today so tomorrow, I can sit on my behind and do absolutely NOTHING!!!!! 

On a happier note, Amelia Pond, my poorly chicken, who I found slumped in the run unable to stand up and looking as if she was about to breath her last, is back to normal and running around with her sister, Pepper Potts, like a totally mad thing. After a week of pampering, being in her own little run during the day and coming inside into a nice cosy box stuffed with hay at night, being fed deliciously enticing meals like porridge mixed with layers pellets and a little bit of grated cheese on top, she has gone from deaths door to mad clucky chicken and she is looking great. I did have one hiccup though, when it started raining and I wanted to keep her dry. All I can say is, it's a good job I'm inventive. She is now back with her sister in the big run, cuddling up together at night in their cosy house and the make-shift chicken hospital has been dismantled.

Keeping Amelia Pond cosy and dry in the makeshift chicken hospital:-)

12 August 2015

Nutty Chocolate Pinwheels

In the past I have made some yummy nibbles using puff pastry sheets and I'm not one to put off trying new recipes by people telling me I shouldn't. I even once made a sweet focaccia using Mars Bars and sea salt .... it was totally delicious. (check it out HERE). Last year, I made some savoury sausage and cheese pinwheels and they were so good that I made various combinations of sausage, bacon, herbs, cheese and tomatoes. All a big hit with the market stall holders and my family alike and I got to thinking, maybe I could do a sweet version as well. 

Cue the chocolate hazelnut spread, chopped nuts, puff pastry and flaked almonds.

Unroll your puff pastry, spread it with chocolate spread ...... plenty of chocolate spread, I used almost a whole jar on half a sheet of puff pastry and go right up to the edge, as you can see, I didn't but I definitely will next time, sprinkle with chopped nuts, roll into a big sausage and cut into slices. Bake in a medium/hot oven until puffed up and crispy. When they're cool, drizzle icing over the top .... I always get a bit carried away with the icing, in my opinion, you can never have enough icing (the same goes for fairy lights and glitter!)..... and sprinkle with nuts. Totally delicious. 

11 August 2015

Week one of the Gigantic Painting Project

Well, I have started on my epic house painting job. The first to come under attack was the hallway. I emptied it of all the junk and clutter that seems to get deposited in there. Then, I was really naughty and I ripped up the carpet and took the coat hook thing off the wall, I've always hated the coat hook. I'm very happy, although I am going to have to find somewhere else to hang the coats ..... and buy a new coat rack ..... and a new carpet ...... hey ho :-) 

Before Photo ... during the clearing out process.

Then I set to with a gigantic bucket full of industrial strength, high opacity, white trade paint and if it didn't move it got painted. I painted the hideous brown doors, the skirting boards, the walls and the beams with coat of white emulsion. 

After I emulsion-ed everything and ripped up the carpet and trashed the coat hooks.

I'm a very messy painter and I seem to end up wearing more paint than goes onto the walls but it's progressing nicely. I am now moving onto the top coat of satinwood paint on the doors, skirting boards and beams. Not a job I enjoy but it has to be done and I'm sure it will look lovely once it's done. I have ordered some floor covering for the bit inside the front door and I will nip off to my local awesome shop Trago Mill and buy a carpet remnant for the bit that is down the step and then I need 4 new door handles, some window latches and a new door curtain.

Well, here is a bit of an update. I'm still tackling the hall, the doors took much more covering than I  anticipated but it's gradually getting there. I cleared out the hall cupboard which hadn't been opened for at least a year. It was gross! full of mouse droppings. This is because the hallway is directly linked to the outside and despite stuffing every hole that I could find with wire wool, they still manage to find their way in. Luckily, they never make it past the hall because although it's linked to the outside, it's a later addition and was a separate building put up about 25 years ago and all the walls are solid so there is nowhere for them to hide inside the walls. The hall cupboard is my tool and paint storage, but lately things just got stuffed in there and it was an absolute disgrace. Now it's tidy, mouse free and everything is neatly stored away in plastic boxes with lids.

I also ordered so gorgeous new light shades for the hall and downstairs loo. Metal dome shaped things that were such a bargain that I just couldn't pass them up. They were reduced to £8.22 each!

I popped one up to see what they looked like ...... I think they look lovely. 

Anyway, that's the progress so far. Today, I'm having a day off from painting. I don;t know why but no matter how hard I try, the house always looks like a total disaster area when I decorate so I'm going to give it a bit of a clean and a tidy before I finish off the hall. There is only so much mess I can live with before it drives me insane!

3 August 2015

Car Booty and a Mammouth Task

Yesterday, I finally managed to get to my first car boot sale of this year. I love car boot sales. I love finding bargains and things that people don't want any more and turning them into them into things I can use in my house but, what with the weather being so awful lately, most of them have been cancelled. Yesterday I was in luck. Unfortunately I didn't find much but that's how it is sometimes but it was still nice to get out of the house for a couple of hours. 

This is all I found today, it cost a whole 20p :-) a true bargain. I can't decide whether to paint it or leave looking rustic. In fact I'm having a bit of a dither all round just now because I have embarked on the EPIC task of decorating the house ....... from top to bottom. Well, technically from bottom to top but lets not quibble. I have started in the hall and I will be going from room to room, painting, finishing jobs that have been left for way too long and finally getting my house looking nice and how I want it.

I have a plan. The plan is this ........ everything that doesn't move is going to be painted white. Once everything is painted white, doors, walls, ceilings, beams ........ everything, I can then decide what colours I am going to introduce into the rooms. At the moment, things are a real mishmash and I just can't live with it any more. It was like that when we moved in. All the woodwork has been stained dark brown. not a nice brown, just an ugly, dark, depressing brown. Some of the doors have been stained a different brown and the beams are another shade of ...... yep you guessed it ...... brown. I hate brown. The problem is that I just never had the money to do it all and I don't really have the money to do it now but I am determined to do it no matter what and I am going to start painting and I'm not going to stop 'til it's done. 

So watch this space. I will be posting before and after pictures after I finish each room. 

Hopefully :-)

2 August 2015

Cheats Banoffee Pie

My lovely eldest daughter and her husband welcomed their first child, and my first grandchild, 10 weeks ago and she is now the proud mum of an adorable baby boy. While she has been on maternity leave, she has started a lovely blog all about being a new mum with lots of tips and time saving ideas for busy people and a couple of weeks ago she posted a Banoffee Pie. 

The recipe is the simplest recipe ever. It takes hardly any time at all to prepare and tastes totally delicious. After I got back from the car boot sale today, I decided I would have a go at making it and in a moment of rare forward planning, I had already bought the ingredients in anticipation of trying it out. I did have a bit of an issue with the bananas though and I thought the security man in the supermarket was going to chuck me out when he caught me shaking the bananas vigorously while banging them on the side of the box before I put them into the basket ....... I've seen the totally gruesome and hideous videos of spiders erupting from bananas and I wasn't taking any chances!!!

Anyway, you can check out her lovely blog HERE and I have added the recipe below so you can all have a go.


300ml of Double Cream
1 medium sized Banana
1 tin of 397g Carnation Caramel
80g of Butter
200g of Oat Biscuits (I used Aldi Oatie Biscuits)
4 ramekin dishes


Make the biscuits into crumbs either by using a food processor or, as I did, by popping them into a plastic bag and bashing them with a rolling pin. (I dropped my food processor a couple of months ago and the base smashed) 

Melt the butter and mix into the biscuit crumbs.

Press the crumb mix into the base of 4 ramekin dishes or into a pie dish.

Slice the banana over the base and then top with a nice thick layer of Carnation Caramel.

Add a big dollop of whipped cream on top of the pie and stand back and admire your work :-)

Chill before serving ..... or, if you're anything like me ........... scoff immediately :-)

Oh my it was delicious.