Friday, 30 December 2011

Treasures in St Margaret's

I met Suzanne yesterday for tea - she loved the candle-in-a-teacup!- and snapped these beauties when I was waiting.

This lovely French shop next door always has beautiful displays to match the seasons.


These beautiful finger plates belong to this stylish shop

And I finished decorating the cake, the other half I iced as a gift for Susan .

Thursday, 29 December 2011


I made this candle for Suzanne's Christmas present - we're having tea at Zoran's in St Margarets this afternoon. I found the cup and saucer on Ebay, and I chopped up half a church pillar candle, saving the wick and melted it in a jug over simmering water (like melting chocolate) and carefully poured in the wax. I was pleased with the result for my first attempt. Next time I'll experiment with colour and fragrance. We saw some when we were in Canterbury in the summer and Suzanne said she liked them, so I hope she likes this one!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


It's amazing what people throw away. This elegant teapot (or perhaps coffeepot, it's more of that shape) I found on the pavement put out with the recycling. The handle was a bit wobbly, but a little application of superglue did the trick. It goes beautifully with this cup and saucer (with 2 others) previously rescued from the rubbish!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Swapsie

Look at my lovely swapsie gifts from Mama Syder! All beautifully wrapped in festive cellophane, and all carefully chosen: she knows me really well just from my blog!

Some piano music, (complete with choreography instructions!), seasonal tissues and a hanging pomander combining my twin loves of hearts and flowers!

Sweet crocheted tree bunting (now adorning the sofa like anti-macassars) and a lustre-glass bowl of pine cones that smell of Christmas - cloves and star anise.

And this dainty teacup candle - cinnamon scented. Thankyou so much Mama - I am thoroughly spoilt! Many thanks too to Lakota at for setting up the swap; a fantastic idea and great fun. Have a look at her blog and you can see other swapsie gifting.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Silent night, Holy night....

 ....All is bright

Just off to Midnight Mass

O Star of Wonder....

Stars seem to be the theme for the tree this year. The red one was my present from Siobhan; I was allowed to open it early to get maximum use! The tin star was from Wisteria on Thursday, and the blue/silver one from Julia's House Hospice charity shop.

Just off out to get my vegetables for tomorrow, then make the mince pies listening to Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College Cambridge.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Winter warmth

Auntie Janet's birthday today - I customised these plain gloves from Marks and Spencer with crocheted flowers, and then made a matching brooch for a scarf / coat / bag. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Edible Christmas Gifts: part 4

Some more gifts from the kitchen for Mummie's hamper; a little cake,( heavy with rum!) and some festive mincemeat for mince pies. I'm going down for the day tomorrow.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Edible Christmas Gifts: part 3

I made another Christmas cake this year to make tiny ones for presents for the other members of the Senior Leadership team at school, and packaged them in cellophane bags. They went down well!

Last day of term today; we finished with a lovely Service in St George's cathedral and a celebratory lunch at the Slug and Lettuce by the London Eye.

Edible Christmas Gifts: part 2

Here is the Summer fruits vodka. This one is for Teresa, and I also made a bottle for Julie, to say thanks for all their typing, phone calls to parents etc. Enough for a small bottle for us, too - it's very fruity, and not too strong, a bit like sloe gin. Very simple and quick to make with frozen summer fruit, equal amount of sugar, and half a bottle of vodka. Heat the fruit gently till defrosted and the juices run, add the sugar and mash till dissolved. Strain and add the vodka, shake up and decant into bottles. From The Scrimpers Guide to Christmas on Channel 4. (Mrs Thrifty's stained glass Christmas biscuits featured too!)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Edible Christmas Gifts: part 1

Time has flown by in a whirl of concerts, carol services, special assemblies, pantomime Peter Pan and rushing to finish units of work, and still 2 days to go! Plus writing cards to beat the last posting deadline. I spent the weekend catching up with myself, and making some Christmas gifts from the kitchen. This Cranberry and Juniper sauce is for Teresa - together with some summer fruits vodka which I shall decant and show you tomorrow. Saucer from a charity shop, jam spoon from an Ebay job lot of fancy spoons, recycled jar and label and hat from Morrisons.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Nice finds

Mummie and I went to Winchester for our usual December visit and I found these treasures: the little hearts in Age UK and the others in Oxfam.Found some other lovelies, but they'll have to remain secret for a while! The kilt-pin brooch I love, and will make something similar, and the tartan taffeta will become something pretty. I have been after a tartan kilt/skirt for a while - seems everyone else who trawls the charity shops is too; can't find anything! We went to the German market in Cathedral Close too - always so lovely and festive, and fun to watch the ice-skaters.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Advent Sunday - time to make the cake

Cake day - Thankyou Mama Syder for the recipe! It's in the oven now, smelling lovely! I made a big square one from which I'll make two baby square ones and an oblong. Marzipanned but not iced; with nuts and apricot glaze, fed with rum once a week. I'll show you when they are ready.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Jungle Meme

Mama Syder tagged me with this meme - I haven't done one on my blog before; so here goes, for a bit of fun!

The Mission:
1) Answer the 10 questions and consider the mission.
2) Tag a blogger or two or more to do the same
3) Come back to my original blog post and tell me you have done the questions and answers.
The questions are OK for those who watch the television programme and those that don’t.

1. What one thing about being a parent makes you scream “Get me out of here!”
Answer: Not a parent, but substitute the word "teacher" as we are in loco parentis at school:

Dinner duty in the dark and dingy basement dining room - how they can enjoy eating their lunch there I don't know! It's the worst half hour of the week!

2. What skills, if any, do you have that would be useful in the jungle?
Answer: Everything would come down to many years as a teacher: I'd get everyone singing to keep our spirits up, I'd encourage negotiation and good team work, reward those who do really well with gold stars, elect a new team leader every day in the spirit of democracy, and ask everyone to work on a presentation / performance for a Talent Show! Also, I don't mind spiders and bugs and I'm calm in  a crisis.

3. How are you likely to annoy people in your were stuck with them for 3 weeks?
Answer: Probably by being too cheerful and optimistic.

4. What is the worst thing you have ever eaten?
Answer: A Spam fritter many years ago that was just oozing oil when you bit into it. I was at a party and didn't know what it was. Being polite, I didn't spit it into a napkin, but kept eating it.

5. What luxury item would you take into the jungle with you?
Answer: knitting

6. What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
Answer: Abseiling down a 100ft cliff in a howling gale and pouring rain was for me quite a daring thing to do.

7. Who would you miss most if you went into the jungle with a bunch of strangers?
Answer: Sean

8. What celebrity alive or dead would you like to have with you in the jungle?
Answer: Stephen Fry for his elegant wit and sparkling conversation, Oscar Wilde for the same reasons

9. What would scare you about being in the jungle?
Answer: The noises at night when you can't see. I don't sleep well at the best of times!

10. After leaving the jungle, you go to a luxury hotel. What would be the first thing you did on reaching your hotel?
Answer:  Hot bubble bath and a cup of Earl Grey.

11th mission should you choose to accept it is to tell us why the person who tagged you is a star. (For the uninitiated, stars play a big party in the television programme) 
Answer: I always enjoy reading Mama's blog and  hearing about her and her lovely family - I don't know how she finds the time to post daily. Being a girl who loves a bargain and her vintage, just like me, I know we'd get on really well if we met in the flesh!

Pippa - I tag you to have a go - I know you'll have great answers; and enjoy the fun. Any one else who passes by - you are more than welcome!

Wishing you lots of love, flowers and rainbows in this dreary weather - yes,  found these on the pavement too!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Stir-up Sunday 2011

This post is more or less identical to last year's corresponding one! I sang for the Patronal festival of Christ the King at Peter's church, and had a delicious shared lunch afterwards. This year I stopped by the Ideal Home Christmas Exhibition at Earl's Court (I had a comp. ticket - Thankyou Sarah at ReVampt - ) and bought some more gifts.

Then home to make the puddings. A slightly different recipe this year, that involved soaking the fruit in the Guinness and rum overnight - it smells scrummy!

Also, added a carrot and banana, so we'll see how it turns out.

 Three puddings steaming away on the stove now and the kitchen smells lovely! Nest Sunday I'll make the cakes (again with a new recipe thanks to Mama Syder at  and will make some Christmas Pudding vodka as well.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Teddy Axtell goes to school again

Teddy Axtell came to school with me yesterday for Children in Need. He's been following the adventures of Grayson Perry's Alan Measles in Germany enviously and is looking forward to seeing the exhibition at the British Museum.!
We had some enormous ones as big as the children themselves, and some dressed up for the Best Dressed Teddy competition. We raised 300 pounds - a great effort.

Ready for school

Studying and enriching his vocabulary!

Teddy enjoyed all the attention - he's quite tired today! He is over 70 after all.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Thankyou flowers

I played the piano for Bernadette Farrell (composer of lots of the music we sing for Mass at school) last Wednesday evening at an Assembly at Battersea Arts Centre, for London Citizens, in which some of girls are involved, as the person she had asked pulled out at the last minute. I had this beautiful bouquet as a Thankyou!

Lovely colours too!

Monday, 7 November 2011


This handsome pumpkin became a cassarole with lentils and sour cream from a recipe by Nigel Slater, and also a Pumpkin and Coconut Loaf - lovely with a cup of tea!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Gunpowder .....

.......but no treason and plot!

Lorna and Richard hosted a great November 5th party last night. Wonderful food and mulled wine and good company, with plenty of fireworks to make the evening go with a bang!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

Did you go trick or treating this evening?! Whoooo! We used to have such fun Halloween eves as children; not trick or treat, because it wasn't really done, but teddy ghosts, apple bobbing, gingerbread, toffee apples and pumpkin pie at home, and parties for our friends at St Mary's Hall - good job there wasn't a graveyard at the church - that would have been TOO spooky!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

En France pour le shopping

I hopped across the channel to Calais yesterday, and did a wee bit of Christmas food shopping. I didn't have long owing to time-table changes on the coach and SeaFrance on strike congesting the ports, but had a good day none the less.


Rodin's The Burghers of Calais

To honour those killed in the Wars

Bijou et si joli !

Beautiful wrought ironwork on doorways

Even the coal-hole is so pretty!

Lovely selection of squashes

Getting into the Halloween spirit

100th Blog!

I've just looked at my stats, and see that up till this one, I have posted 99 blogs! So to bring up my century at the crease, here are some images of Christchurch local schools were commissioned to design in 2009, in the railway station.I had noticed them before, but never photographed them, until Monday, when I had a whole 10 minutes to spare before the train came to go back to London. The brief was "What does Christchurch mean to you?"

The Grange (my Almer Mater) brought the Priory, the monastery ruins and the Avon and Stour to the fore.

Twynham looked at individuals' impressions as a collage.

Highcliffe represented the beach at Mudeford

             Makes waiting for the train very pleasant!