Saturday, April 24, 2010

Countdown to Vacation!!!!

Now Big Sis and I are very excited to once again be on our vacation day countdown - YAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!! What with one thing and another since the start of this year we both think we've earned an extra special vacation - our list is on two pages already!!!!! That's OK cos what we don't get to cross off just rolls over to the next vacation!!! Yesterday the UK had a picture-perfect bluesky Spring day and today is almost as good but with a little hazy cloud. Everything is out now - that first shy fresh green that fades all too quickly then when you look about yourself in the dog days of August, the color seems kind of used up and dusty. But right now everything is eager to get on with the business of flowering and bursting out!!!! Birds are singing away and I've shook out lots of crumbs for them cos snacks are appreciated any time of year!!!! My friend Mand visited this morning and I made us fresh lemonade - an old Cranks Restaurant recipe. For my US readers, Cranks was a vegetarian restaurant in London's West End which started in the sixties, managed to make it through to the nineties but I think has now fallen by the wayside. The emphasis was on healthy organic fresh veggie food and I have one of the original recipe books. I visited several times when I worked in London and can attest to the high quality of the food. The lemonade recipe is simple - just lemons, raw dark brown sugar and water. You are meant to steep the mix overnight but I cheated and squeezed the lemon halves hard before straining into my new decorative jug over lots of ice and lemon slices. It sure was good and very refreshing on a hot day!!!! You can of course cut it with sparkling mineral water and it does make a good base for a Pimms or Long Island Ice Tea - for the latter you'd need to add in tea bags with the lemons and boiling water. I also made us blueberry muffins which disappeared in a wink!!!!!! Dinner tonight will be homely - good quality pork sausages baked with a little hard cider and red onions along with mashed potatoes and baked beans - comfort food any time of year!!!!! My grocery store predictably had burgers on sale along with burger buns and salads and all the fixings and I have some of that for weeknight meals. The store also had specials on icecream and chilled drinks and I think they are a little optimistic given we're still in April!!!! I'm whizzing ahead on White Star now and only have one and a half rows left - each row is three whole pages worth of stitching though!!!! The next question of course is framing and where to hang it!!! I'll be taking it across the pond in my carryon for vacation and once pressed it folds nicely into a plastic baggie and sits behind my travel papers folder. I'll also be bringing crumpets for my Big Sis as these freeze very well and even in High Summer a toasted crumpet with some cottage or cream cheese and a scattering of raspberries makes a YUMMMM breakfast!!!! This is a Stitchalong Weekend and happy stitching!!!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Good Easter!!!

Now I sure hope everyone had a great Easter with lots of chocolate eggs and plenty of stitching!!!! Over here it's the first big holiday since Christmas and it marks the start of the UK tourist season - kinda strange when you think the weather is never all that great around this time!!!! Right now it's chilly and overcast - you need a jacket if you're outside!!! But that's the UK for you and it'll start to warm up now *crosses fingers*. We have Good Friday and Easter Monday as public holidays and I happen to get the Tuesday off from work also which is a welcome break!!! I've been stitching up a storm and White Star is progressing very well *looks around and whispers* I might even finish it by Summer!!! Today I plan as a Stitching Day then tomorrow morning early my friend Mandy and I will visit a small market town near us for a little shopping, starting with a good old fashioned English breakfast in the tea rooms there. This little town has lots of good quality old fashioned stores - butcher's, greengrocer's and a very upscale grocery store. If you know where to look you can get some very good stuff at reasonable prices and I'd rather save my pennies and buy just a few good quality treats sometimes cos everyone deserves treats!!!! I'll be stitching in the afternoon too. We'll be getting some Marks & Spencer longlife pouches of Jersey cream custard as I plan on bringing over a couple when I visit my Big Sis in May - M&S food is the most upscale you can get in the grocery store line (we'll leave aside Harrods and Fortnum & Mason in London!!!!) and she's tried a couple of their cakes and cookies before now. Longlife custard may not sound all that gourmet but trust me this stuff is the REAL deal and as it's sealed and longlife, there won't be any tedious questions asked by US Customs!!!! One time a Customs guy did ask just what WERE crumpets and I showed him a pack (I usually bring over about 8 packs and there are 8 crumpets to a pack). He grinned and waved me through!!!! I hope everyone has a peaceful relaxing day and if you have to work then give your boss an extra large smile cos bosses are people too (well most of them, I've known a few where that statement could be highly suspect!!!!!). Happy stitching!!!!!