Yuk, what a way to end half term. It is literally bucketing outside plus of course it's cold and grey too. But never mind we've all had a great week and seem to be happily occupied at the moment. Amber is upstairs doing her homework - having left it till now of course:
The boys spent the morning making London out of lego:
that's canary wharf on the left and Big Ben on the right I believe:
then they got bored and decided to decorate my 'to do' list for today. Why do boys get so much pleasure out of the word poo!
and now they've decamped to the (overcrowded) shed to do some woodwork. Tom meanwhile, is trying to finish the porch by putting up some skirting board and I've just baked some soda bread for lunch (recipe coming up if you want to make some yourself):
All is quiet for a while. What bliss. And the house is clean too which helps with the blissful feeling. Gosh you should have seen how dirty this place was when we got back from London. Months of no proper dusting and building work going on had made the place look worse than a pigsty. OK at first glance it was fine but if you got anything off a shelf it left a lovely dust print behind. The floor was all gritty when you walked without slippers and reaching for a bottle of wine meant you had to bring it out with some cobwebs sticking to your hand. Gruesome.
So, on Friday morning I donned my scruffy clothes, stuck my i-pod in Amber's dock and went for it. Everything came off the shelves, they were wiped down and then I washed everything before it went back. I must admit I toyed with the idea of just giving things a quick wipe but even I, the Queen of slap-dash knew that those darned things really needed a good wash. Oh well the music kept me going. After a quick hoover and mop of the floor the place was sparkling - and I was a happy bunny. The sitting room got a similar treatment as did the bathroom the next day. Tom went around with the hoover and the place is clean enough to invite some friends over now. So come and visit folks.
Yesterday also saw us making our annual batch of autumn chutney:
This is the one chutney that everyone in the family really loves and we get through it so quickly. The recipe is here if you want to try it. This year it's come out a bit gooey because the pears were a bit on the ripe side but it still tastes nice:
As I said we've had such a great week. It was so nice being at my sister's. We didn't do much - the children played, we went to her local library which being in greater London is fantastic compared with our country town one (I got about a dozen craft and interiors books), we sat and chatted, ate too much as usual. We did manage to get into London on the Wednesday with great plans but you try getting out of the house with six children who went to bed too late the night before.
By the time we got into London it was 11 o'clock. First off it was a quick visit to Tom's office which we'd never seen before. Then my lot clamoured for Japanese and we went to the Japan Centre on Picadilly which does the best, reasonably priced food I know of. By the time we'd stuffed out faces on Miso Ramen it was 1. So then we split up and I took the two girls to Oxford Street and then down to the Bead Shop in Covent Garden (quick stop at Cath Kidston of course) and by half three I was cream crackered I'm afraid. I managed to get to Patisserie Valerie on Old Compton Street for a coffee but home was beckoning after that. I didn't have the energy to go to the V&A sad to say.
I can't believe that I used to live, work and play in this city. Now I can't manage five hours. Mind you it was blooming busy being half term. Oh well. Maybe we'll try and get back there before the exhibition ends in January.
Well, I'm off to have some lunch - here's the recipe for Soda Bread if you want to make some:
- 8 oz wholemeal strong flour (I sometimes use spelt)
- 2oz strong white flour
- 2oz medium oatmeal
- 1/2 tsp each of bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and sugar
- 1oz butter
- 1 small egg
- 1 carton of buttermilk - this is the one I use
Mix all the dry ingredients together and rub in the butter. Add the egg and about half a pint of buttermilk. Mix and then bring together the sticky mass and put it on a baking tray in a round. Score the top into quarters and bake at Gas mark 6, 200C, 400F for thirty minutes. It's scrummy with cheese and chutney and with jam too.