Tuesday, 30 June 2015


Thank goodness DH managed to sort out the freezer.  I hadn't spotted the wedge of ice that was holding the door open, but DH cleared it.  I am so glad, and grateful that DH sorted it so well.  All the contents had to be thrown.  Looking for a bright side, we didn't have to spend over £100 and I got rid of a lot of stuff that was never going to be used but seemed such a waste to throw out.  It's just frustrating that the stuff had to go.  I can also start a freezer book and keep it up!

That being said, the sandals I dug out from last year definitely needed replacing.  So I need to get something that can cope with the swelling, something that can cope with my loathing of toe posts, something that will be inexpensive as it is likely to be only worn half a dozen times each year and, mainly, something that will make bear say, 'Mother!  You can't wear those!'  I saw these.

They are more expensive than I want to pay, also I would definitely break my neck in them due to iffy ankles, steep steps, bank down to bear's school etc.  But I do love the look of them.   I am getting an Amazon order together, as I can get that delivered to DH at work.  At the moment it contains slippers, as mine have disintegrated and are shameful.  I shall have to put them in someone else's bin, they are so bad.  It also contains a bundle of some inexpensive computer games to keep my sanity over summer.

Bear had his sports day this morning.  He won his race (the hurdles) and was generally lovely.  I am very proud of him.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Darn it to Heck

The freezer door won't shut.

I've been after a new freezer for a while.  This one is eight years old, which is apparently old for a freezer.  I find this hard.  The fridge freezer we got with our wedding present money was over fifteen years old when we got rid and the only reason we changed it was because I wanted more freezer space so got a HUGE upright freezer and a larder fridge.

If I prop a heavy bag against the door then it will probably be okay.  However I know that the freezer door has come open at least four times over the weekend, and was definitely open from Sunday afternoon (bear raiding freezer pops) and 3.30pm today (bear raiding freezer pops).  This begs the question of how safe the stuff in the freezer is.

I think the timing, waiting until the hottest week of the year before having a fail, is worthy of respect.  I'm still not impressed.

We don't need a freezer.  In fact I can make a good argument for hanging fire for a few months.  I've just had a look at AO.com (who rock, their customer service is up there with Lakeland and they are competively priced).  I whimpered at the cost.

I've looked at replacing a freezer seal and it looks beyond my skills.  As the trays are also iffy and I suspect it is on borrowed time anyway I am not sure it is worth the attempt.  Also I may finally be able to get a frost free model.

But darn.

Two Recipes

I spilled the last of my Aldi soap powder over the floor so had to go with the home made stuff earlier than expected.  I had copied the recipe carefully from the magazine - twice the weight of the grated bar of soap in both borax and washing soda.  I had some incredibly inexpensive soap from Approved Food that turned out to be pure vegetable soap, really nice looking stuff.  I decided to double up the recipe as the jar I keep my soap in is quite big.

 However, approximately 250g of grated soap, 500g of washing soda and 500g of Wizzo Oxi Clean look a bit bigger than I thought.

I thought I would try it on my table cloth that after a packed weekend looked like this.

I put the cloth into a 60 degree wash, pre-wash setting, no extra cleaning agents, vinegar as a laundry condition, home made washing powder into the drum and not the drawer.  Actually it came out okay.  There was a faint mark, but nothing that another rinse wouldn't deal with.  The downside is that there was a lot of undissolved grated soap still hanging around in the drum.  I did not expect this after a stern wash at 60 degrees.  It is fine in a table cloth bought second hand from an Indian restaurant for very little money and that is is designed for a boil wash.  It would be no good on our clothes.  I'm currently on steroid cream again for my skin, and soap left in clothes would not do me any good.  I suspect that if I sort of sifted out the grated soap the result would be fine, but I am unsure that I want to risk it.

I have now tried substituting my preferred Ariel with Tesco Everyday Value, Aldi and home made.  I am going to include a pack of Ariel in tomorrow's delivery.  I would consider Aldi if it was slightly easier to get to, and Tesco Everyday Value isn't too bad.  I just think I get a better result from Ariel.  Bear likes playing out in the summer, so I expect I shall have to use something fairly heavy duty.

The second recipe is the 'two ingredient pizza' that I saw on Mumsnet.  There are lots of variations on the web, but I mixed 200g of fat free Greek yogurt with 200g of gluten free self raising flour and stirred, then kneaded, then instead of rolling out thinly I squidged it down in a tin, spread with a gluten free pizza sauce and sprinkled with chopped bell pepper and torn up sandwich ham.  I cooked it at 180 degrees C, Gas 4, moderate oven for fifteen minutes and it was lovely.  Bear loved everything but the sauce.  To be honest, I wasn't that impressed with the sauce, which I had got when on offer during a 'gluten free' sale.  Next time I shall gently fry peppers and onions, stir in tomato puree and herbs and sprinkled over with ham (or whatever meat was left from the joint).  The pizza sauce is actually quite nice used as a pasta sauce, but I shall be sticking to the tomato puree in future with that as well.

I shall also be using the 'greek yogurt and flour' combination to make flat bread type stuff, especially if I want to make fattoush.  Fattoush is a sort of bread salad and there is a recipe here.

So there are two recipes.  It is really important that you do not get them confused.  One of them works and one of them doesn't.  Heaven knows what I am going to do with the rest of the homemade soap powder!

Mountain Ash thank you so much for your kind words.  I took down the White Hart as I wasn't getting anywhere with it.  I had a blast writing it, and I had some great ideas but at the time father was actively stopping me writing.  At the moment I visit him in the early part of the day, look after bear and then DH needs a lot of support at the moment so I am spending lots of time with him in the evening.  Writing is being squeezed in as and when.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Incognito Browsing

If you, like me, use Chrome then at the top right hand corner of the bar there is a little square with three horizontal lines.  If you click on that you get a drop down menu where you can select incognito browsing or you can press Ctrl + Shift + N and get a window where your browsing history isn't tracked.  You get a cute pic in the corner that looks like this

Incognito browsing is apparently sold as 'you can shop for presents and keep them a surprise from your other half.'  In the real world it is frequently used for looking at pictures and videos of 'adult' content.  I have learned to only click on stuff from Mumsnet in an incognito window, as bear sometimes uses my laptop and there is no shame on that site.

However, if you are trying to browse for something that you may end up buying online or you are trying to work out a good price or a better deal, it is worth using incognito browsing.  If you go on a cashback site, it checks to see if you have already been on the site by looking at cookies on your machine.  Usually you can only use a cashback site if you allow cookies.  If you have browsed, for example, M&S directly and then try and go through the cashback site, it could be refused.  I suppose the reasoning is, why should they give you cashback when you were going there anyway?  I don't want to risk getting refused a big amount of cashback because I have clicked through an advert or a link that I didn't realise went through to a different site.  Incognito browsing doesn't allow cookies.

If you do find that you have accidentally gone through direct to a site where you will be making a purchase that will get you a lot of cashback, you can go back and clear cookies.   You go back to the same little three horizontal lines, go down until you find 'settings' then go down again until you find 'advance settings' and then you can find 'clear browsing data'.  This will log you out of everything and you may have to re-enter every password again, but if you are getting a 3% deal on a £500 appliance then it is worth it.  Perhaps not so much so for 1% on a £3 purchase.

As a note, a little warning comes up to say that this doesn't hide your history from your employer or internet provider.  A site you are on can tell that you are on it.  I am confident that it is not a way to hide illegal activity.  As I have found arsenic on ebay, and searched the best place to find slow match for explosives for Digging up the Past, I think I'll just worry about shopping cookies.

Bear is Clear

I didn't realise how relatively close we were to Mother Shipton's Cave.  I went years ago when I was perhaps younger than bear, but I lived in a different part of the country.  I was telling bear all about the cave and the way things hung in the water would turn to stone - even teddy bears and it would be stone right through!  Bear was fascinated.  Then I mentioned that it was a relatively short drive.

"I'm not going." Bear said firmly.

Bear has also advised me that his school shoes are now too small.  He breaks up from school on 21 July.  If he gets shoes this weekend he will scrape maybe three and half weeks' wear out of them - and at £40 for school shoes that is around £10 a week.  I don't believe that they will be fit for September.

But this is the first time bear has actually mentioned that his shoes are too tight.  Normally I have to just guess.  I was looking at his shoes yesterday and thinking I was glad it was coming to the end of term.  They look like he has been working in a quarry - and not a clean one!

I wonder if I could get away with some assertively black trainers for the last few weeks.  I shall study the shoes in the playground and see whether it is worth the risk.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Back to the Basics

Yesterday I bought a bottle of vodka (at 9 in the morning!) for the fennel vodka.  I looked at the vast swathes of fennel still in the garden.  I looked at the fronds in the kitchen.  I thought I would never drink the dratted fennel vodka.  I will be making chilli vodka for a Christmas present so the vodka can keep for that.  I reluctantly got rid of the left over fronds.  The waste grieved me, but the waste of a bottle of vodka flavoured with fennel sitting there being ignored would be just as much a waste and more expensive.

Apparently there was a pub called The Squinting Cat.  It is currently closed due to violence, which doesn't surprise me.  Psycho cat was a devil after catnip. To my delight I found a picture of it on WikiCommons.

The one in Swarcliffe is not to be confused with the one in Harrogate.  I don't think the one at Harrogate ever had a fight at a funeral and the one at Swarcliffe definitely did.  I think the name is awesome, though, and I may well nick it for a novel.