Sunday, 26 July 2015


There are strawberries in here somewhere
Last weekend we went PYO or Pick You Own and got ourselves some lovely strawberry, raspberries and redcurrants.  I'd never been PYO before as we had plenty of fruit in the garden as I was growing up, blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberries bushes, apples and plums.  No real need for any more then.  I know a huge number of ways to get rid of piles of apples and plums; jam, crumble, pies etc.

Although we do grow our own fruit and veg at this house, it's only in very small quantities  so no jam making so far.  But with the PYO we put a end to that.  The strawberries were to consume as is - so sweet and tasty so I started with the raspberries.  Weighed then smashed and boiled we ended up with 4 1/2 jars of really deep red jam.  I can't wait to try it out.

Next the redcurrants.  These were to be turned into a jelly.  First they are cooked, then strained then the juices cooked again with sugar.  The kilo of berries made three jars of jelly.  Again I can't wait to try it out.  A satisfying weekend's work.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

July Writers Group

A small meeting today, it is after all the start of the holidays, but still very interesting.
Some homework was read, then we had time for a quick 5 minute writing exercise on the subject of 'What he hadn't expected to find was...'  My poor chap found tigers on the London underground of all places.

Homework: Use the following as the starting point or inspiration for a story of poem: Why I love the coast…

(Inspired by the National Trust celebrating 50 years of the Neptune Coastline Campaign) 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Granny Squares

After last weeks beginner crochet class I've been practicing.  We were given the patterns for a couple of tiny shapes and of course my favourite is the star.  If I'm not careful I will have many stars and no idea what to do with them all.

Today I went back to Stitched By You for a 2 hour session on Granny Squares.  These are the base for most crocheted blankets and other things so I thought it might be a good place to start now I know the stitches.  I bought some lovely pastel wool from the wool shop in town (I like to share the love) and think it will make a really nice blanket.  I think it might be fun to play with the colour combinations to make a pattern too.

Then we started making circles.  These can also be used to make blankets.  Again different colours can be used for each section, or just the one - the possibilities are amazing.  Helen the tutor then showed us how you would go about joining your circles together - in a more elegant way then just stitching them together but we ran out of time to try for ourselves.  I was really pleased with the end result and now feel very much ready to make something for myself.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Beginners crochet

Today I had a day off work - holiday to use up, so visited Stitched By You for a beginners class in crochet.  I have friends who knit and friends who crochet, but none who do both.  So as a very happy knitter would I be a happy crocheter? 

We started by working out how to hold the hook and wool.  I felt all fingers and thumbs but thought I'd got it as we made a worm out of chain stitch, only to be told that I'd been picking up the wool wrong. Whoops.  Second attempt went much better.

This time we made another worm of chain stitch, then turned the worm and added single crochet stitches (I'm using american terms here as that was what we were taught).
Turning again we added double crochet stitches and then turn and treble crochet stitches.  The bigger the stitch the faster your work grows - it was like magic.

Then to bring it all together we attempted to make butterflies, using all the stitches we'd just been taught.  I'm not sure where I went wrong, but I think I need to try this again with no-one around to distract me.
It was a fun couple of hours and I look forward to doing more.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Allergy and Free From Show

Following on from the last post about gluten free cooking, yesterday we went to The Allergy and Free From Show to find ourselves some gluten free goodies. This was at Olympia in London so very easy to get to and jam packed full of stalls with products to help anyone with any allergy.
At the same time there was also the Just V Show and the Love Natural, Love Organic show so lots of interesting things to look at.
We were there just after it opened which meant we got to see quite a lot of it before it got really busy, by the time we left it was getting hard to move around.
But the best bit was that there were loads of food samples and many of them were gluten free, so 'im outdoors quite happily stuffed his face.  There was bread, sweets, burgers, sausages, biscuits, crisps, cake, donuts, energy bars, ice cream and much much more.  Its all very well seeing these products online, but until you've tried them you just don't know if they will be any good or not (gluten free seems to be very hit and miss).  This was our chance to try lots of products, some of which we were aware of, and see if they made the cut.
Some of these things we will end up buying.  I really liked the lentil crisps, and Asda's 'jammy dodger' type biscuits were pretty good but things like the cake mixes I think I can do better myself.
It was a really nice event to attend and although I'm not sure we'd go every year, I think its something you'd want to check out on a regular basis just to see what new things are coming out.