How to throw a “wicked” children’s hallowe’en party

As previously featured on isthatyoudarling.wordpress.com/ I can’t recall how old I was, but while at primary school I had a close knit group of friends and to compliment us, our parents all became close friends too. We attended summer BBQs, school … Continue reading

Update for Hubby – includes top tip on preserving chillies for future use, as requested.

ahumblehousewife

As the weekly shop cripples more families and fuel bills continue to rise, where possible housewives are having to look for new areas to save a few pennies. Funnily enough, it’s reverting back to grandma’s cook book.

This is how to be leftover savvy (and I’ll keep updating this as I discover more tips . . . so check back when you have a moment)

Leftover: Roast Chicken

The options for this are endless. Firstly. Straight after your roast dinner, don’t be throwing away that carcass. Instead turn it into stock or a filling, wholesome Chicken Broth.

The leftover meat can be a wonderful addition to weekday lunchboxes in sandwiches or salads. Knock up the perfect 10 minute monday night tea: Thai green stir fry with noodles – our favourite is Sainsbury’s stir fry sauce, meaning you can feed 2 for £2.50. Or how about a classic chicken risotto

View original post 574 more words

Anniversaries

This year is our first wedding anniversary.  So much so, it needs to be a good one.  Luckily it also coincides with May Bank Holiday so we will probably do something nice, plus our wedding venue was also an English Heritage site so we’ll be calling in there on the Sunday before for afternoon tea, a stroll in the grounds and a reminice with the wedding organiser Carol.  But when it comes to gifts.  What is suitable?  In the same month I also have Andy’s birthday so I have double bubble in a period of a couple of weeks . . . I need some ideas.

Being a traditionalist, I’m thinking it will be nice to keep to the “list.”  Year after year, I will therefore try to think of an item which relates to the following. . . first year being – Paper!  Oh dear. 

  British American Modern Gemstones
1st Paper Paper Clocks Gold
2nd Cotton Cotton China Garnet
3rd Leather Leather Crystal, Glass Pearl
4th Jewellery Fruit Appliances Blue Topaz
5th Wood Wood Silverware Sapphire
6th Plate Iron Wood Amethyst
7th Wool Wool Desk sets Onyx
8th Bronze Bronze Linens, Lace Tourmaline  
9th Watch Pottery Leather goods Lapis Lazuli
10th Tin Tin Diamond jewellery Diamond
11th Scent Steel Fashion jewellery Turquoise
12th Silk Silk Pearls Jade
13th Barometer Lace Textiles, Furs Citrine
14th Clock Ivory Gold jewellery Opal
15th Crystal Crystal Watches Ruby
16th Hollowware   Silver Hollowware  
17th Accessories   Furniture  
18th Coloured Gems   Porcelain  
19th Furniture   Bronze  
20th China China Platinum Emerald
21st     Brass, Nickel  
22nd     Copper  
23rd     Silver plate  
24th     Musical instruments  
25th Silver Silver Silver Silver Jubilee
26th     Original pictures  
27th     Sculpture  
28th     Orchids  
29th     Furniture  
30th Pearl Pearl Diamond Pearl Jubilee
31st     Timepieces  
32nd        
33rd     Amethyst  
34th     Opal  
35th Jade Coral Emerald  
36th     Bone china  
37th     Alabaster  
38th     Beryl, Tourmaline  
39th     Lace  
40th Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby
41st     Land  
42nd        
43rd     Travel  
44th     Groceries  
45th Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire
46th     poetry  
47th     Books  
48th     Optical  
49th     Luxuries  
50th Gold Gold Gold Gold
55th Emerald Emerald Emerald  
60th Diamond   Diamond Diamond
65th Star Sapphire       
70th Platinum Diamond   Diamonds
75th Gold or Diamond Diamonds    
80th     Diamond, Pearl  
85th     Diamond, Sapphire  
90th     Diamond, Emerald  
95th     Diamond, Ruby  
100th     10-carat Diamond  
         

My Bouquet (Photo by Simon Carr Photography)

And, just in case there are any fellas reading, here’s a list of the flowers you should consider buying, although I personally think it would be nice to buy your wife flowers that were featured in her bouquet – just a little hint there for you Andy (Avalanche Roses, Daisies and Lily of the Valley if you’re wondering by Lily and May!)

Year Flower
1st Carnation
2nd Lily of the valley
3rd Sunflower
4th Hydrangea
5th Daisy
6th Calla
7th Freesia
8th Lilac
9th Bird of paradise
10th Daffodil
11th Tulip
12th Peony
13th Chrysanthemum
14th Dahlia
15th Rose
20th Aster
25th Iris
28th Orchid
30th Lily
40th Gladiolus
50th Yellow rose, violet

The One-Stop Gift Shop

I don’t know about you, but as I look ahead to each month, I flick through my diary and see certain birthdays coming up, I know I’m going to have to deal with that dreaded problem.  The present shop!

It’s not because I don’t want to. Anything but. I love giving gifts. I wish I had more money so I could give more. My problem is finding the perfect present.  I stress over it, probably unnecessarily.  I always want to find something meaningful and perfect for that certain person.  And sometimes I stress over it so long, it’s the day before their birthday and out come the Boots vouchers again. 

This year, I’m determined to be organised and share some of my favourite shops and websites with you out there – whoever may be reading!

So. I have found some lovely websites to help as a starting point. And if you’re lucky enough to live in Essex here are a few of my favourite shops. You never know, you might find something for yourself too.

Shenfield

They do not have a website, but they’re a delightful little find.  And as I work in Shenfield, ideal for me for that last-minute gift for a female friend (Shenfield is not a male gift orientated high street – unless you need a spanner or a bag of hay).  The shop in question is Clair Gallery (148 Hutton Rd, Shenfield, CM15 8NL – 01277 211 238).  They stock a range of shabby chic accessories, some lovely jewellery, Sophie Allport items, and more. 

Leigh-on-Sea

One of our favourites, IV (41 Elm Road, SS9 1SW – 01702 719 782) host a range of wonderful gifts or items for your home.  From ornaments, to jewellery to art/prints.  You can pretty much guarantee you’ll find something for a friend or family member and certainly yourself!

Scape (79 Broadway, SS9 1PE – 01702 719 253) stocks a lovely range of furniture and decorations for the home, plus a lovely range of ornate flowers. We recently bought a lovely shabby chic mug set, platter and jug from here and at the most reasonable of prices. 

 

 

WebDecorative Gesso Boards

Cox and Cox – I love this website and I love the fact that they still send out seasonal catalogues.  (love these platters on the right!)http://www.coxandcox.co.uk/

Handpicked Collection – Another lovely website crampacked full of ideas and they also send out a seasonal catalogue – which is just great when you’re lazing around watching telly.  http://www.handpickedcollection.com/

Melody Maison – I purchased a number of items from this website for my wedding.  They have a divine list of vintage style items.  Check them out – they have great sales as well.   http://www.melodymaison.co.uk/

Magpie Vintage jewellery – For that special someone, checkout the stunning vintage jewellery collection here: http://www.magpievintage.co.uk/index.html.  I am lucky enough to own one of their vintage bracelets, which was given to me on my wedding day by my lovely, now, husband.

Waste not, Want not

As the weekly shop cripples more families and fuel bills continue to rise, where possible housewives are having to look for new areas to save a few pennies. Funnily enough, it’s reverting back to grandma’s cook book.

This is how to be leftover savvy (and I’ll keep updating this as I discover more tips . . . so check back when you have a moment)

Leftover: Roast Chicken

The options for this are endless. Firstly. Straight after your roast dinner, don’t be throwing away that carcass. Instead turn it into stock or a filling, wholesome Chicken Broth.

The leftover meat can be a wonderful addition to weekday lunchboxes in sandwiches or salads. Knock up the perfect 10 minute monday night tea: Thai green stir fry with noodles – our favourite is Sainsbury’s stir fry sauce, meaning you can feed 2 for £2.50. Or how about a classic chicken risotto?

Leftover: Bananas
Firstly. Here’s a tip. Don’t throw away browning bananas. Instead, pop them in the freezer, whole and with their skins on. They will turn black on the outside, but when they’re defrosted and you have removed the skins, they will be perfect. They are then ideal for banana steamed pudding with toffee sauce; good ol’ fashioned banana bread; breakfast muffins.

 

Leftover: Lemons
Don’t throw away your lemons. Chop them up and add to an ice-cube tray, top up with water and freeze. never again will your G&T go without a lemon again!

Leftover: Whisked Eggs
Every time I glaze a pie, I always think it’s a hideous waste that the whisked egg goes in the bin. Thank you hairy bikers for this tip. Freeze your leftover egg in an ice-cube tray. One block is perfect for one pie. And it only takes about 15 minutes to defrost.

Leftover: Pastry
All the odds and ends from making pies etc, roll up into a ball and pop in the freezer. Perfect for adhoc jam tarts.

Leftover: Ham
Again. So many options. But we love ham and pea pasta. Or our Shrove Tuesday tradition of cheesy pancakes with ham and leeks.

Leftover: Red Wine
Similar to the eggs, get another ice-cube tray on the go, but this time fill it up with leftover red wine (which is very rare in our house).  When you’re rustling up a spag bol or some gravy, pop in a couple of wine cubes to fancy it up a bit without opening up a whole new bottle or wasting that Chateauneuf-du-pape!  Fabulous.

Leftover: Green Chillis (or any colour for that matter)
I think this humble housewife lark is finally becoming useful.  Hubby makes a mean Thai Green Curry, he’s cooking one tonight, but he hates, hates, hates that when you buy green chillis, whether it’s from the supermarket of the greengrocer, you can never just buy one.  It’s always a bag of half a dozen or so.  Unfortunately, we don’t eat that much hot food, so they normally end up sitting in the fridge and then I find them all furry when I do the monthly fridge clean out.  Nice!

So, this time, hubby actually asked me to research how to preserve chillies.  And therefore, this is dedicated to you oh hubby-of-mine.  I found various recipes for chilli oil and vinegar etc.  But we wouldn’t really use those.  Instead, we just want chillies to use in curry or similar.  I don’t want to fanny around drying them either.  So, how happy was I to discover you can simply freeze them?  Here’s how (apparently good for all chilli types):

  1. First prep the chilli.  Prepare them like you would for your food.  So in our case it would be to de-seed them and chop them – this makes them already prepared for when you’ll need them next.
  2. Once prepped, pop them in an ice-cube tray with a dash of water until frozen.
  3. When they’ve solidified, tip them into a freezer bag.
  4. Now, here’s the important bit, obviously you don’t want the rest of your food in the fridge getting chillified, so make sure you double, if not triple bag the chilli ice cubes.   This also stops them getting freezer burn and losing their flavour.

Triple bagged, they should last 6 months to a year. 

To use them, just thaw them 30 minutes or so before you cook.  Or just chuck them in frozen – whatever your cooking will thaw them out.