Homemade or readymade?

Dear Reader,

This year has been the first year I’ve really wondered if homemade Christmas pudding and mincemeat are worth making or easier just to buy. Walking around the supermarkets mincemeat jars and Christmas puddings are just so cheap I just couldn’t decide if I should bother this year. The past few years I’ve still been making apple and mincemeat crumble into the spring to use up lurking jars. Should I just grab one jar which is enough for 24 mince pies and a small pudding just for Christmas Day?

I thought I’d ask Kevin to see what he said and he said just buy readymade. Being frugal but someone who enjoys baking and have dozens of jars stashed away it just racked my brains if it was worth it. In the end I bought all the ingredients and made them yesterday.

Most things like bread making or buiscuits you know you can probably buy them a bit cheaper but it’s worth it. But when you pile dried fruits, suet, citrus fruit and fancy sugar etc. into your basket and then end up with 6 jars of mincemeat and 3 puddings its fingers crossed we don’t get sick of it! 

They are all stored under the kitchen cupboard behind the plinth. If we get bored of it I’m just grabbing a jar next year and getting a life….

Anyway just one last photo of last night when I was watching Victorian bakers I had to quickly photo my cutest father and daughter moment peeling pickling onions in pyjamas.

Until tomorrow.

Emilie xx


Halloween for £10.00

Dear Reader,

We are on the Shropshire Union which itself is quite a spooky river let alone on Halloween, we decided to moor out of any towns and villages due to a incident a few weeks ago with 2 men dressed as killer clowns walking down the towpath and frightening Matilda. They were feeding the ducks which made me laugh but it still scared her.

 So at 5.15am yesterday (thanks to the clock change!) we were up already making masks.  Then a walk in the mist was great for jumping out on each other and frightening the dog. 

For dinner we made pumpkin and chorizo soup and orange spooky rolls. 

We bought her dress in a charity shop and I nipped into morrisons in the morning to get reduced decorations so I think altogether we spent £10.00 including dinner. No sweets or chocolate but lots of games and fun all round. We ended watching Hotel Transilvania and Matilda fell asleep 10 minutes into it exhausted. 

I love Halloween and enjoy making Matilda’s day special with just a little help from Google for ideas and a rummage around charity shops and reduced sections. Now I’ve just got to google how to get stickers off everywhere, wax off the carpet and pumpkin soup out of a witches dress….

Until tomorrow.

Emilie xx


Hello Dear Reader,

This morning I spent ages cleaning the cooker and kitchen thinking it was Saturday. Totally lost a day somewhere on the Oxford Canal. We had planned to go to the National Transport Museum in Coventry on Sunday for a lovely (free) family day out! Oh well I guess it will be quieter on a Monday! It reminds me of a few years ago when we didn’t realise the clocks had gone forward for 4 days. Now my mum phones to remind me.

Apart from not having a lie in and doing housework all morning today has been lovely. The sun is shining and were in another beautiful spot.

We found this beautiful spot with these beautiful horses when Matilda was looking for fairies..

The best bit of motherhood for me is all those little moments of pure innocence like searching for fairies or foxes in the woods or having a pretend pet unicorn who is walking up the towpath.

I’m off to make Saturday Night curry…. 

Until tomorrow.

Emilie xx

On the move again.

Hello Dear Reader,

Sorry for my absence I felt I was on a roundabout and could get off (mother of a 3yr old and wife to a husband with a bad back, too much work and not moving on the boat much). Well im off the roundabout now and we’re heading north for the winter. Currently on the Oxford Canal above Rugby. We are pushing on up to get above some winter stoppages so we can be on the Shropshire Union before Christmas. 

Our fire is lit all the time now and we’re trying to get some things jarred and bottled before the fruits in the hedgerow are all gone. We have already made rose hip syrup, crab apple jelly, rhubarb chutney and blackberry and apple jam (complete disaster it’s like toffee to get out the jar).

We were trying to decide where to stop yesterday and these blackberry bushes made us decide.

When we were out picking I noticed how differently we all pick them. Matilda picks to eat only. Kevin stays put until he’s exhausted the bush and I wander along just picking one or two good ones from each bunch and end up miles away. It just made me chuckle if it might reflect our personality in some way. Whenever im out picking it always makes me think of all of the housewives over the years who would have been out here picking as a staple of their summer diet, getting vitamins into children and preserving for the winter.  

One thing we all agreed with was what we wanted to make which was a apple and blackberry pie.

Matilda’s getting great at painting and her unicorn model kept her busy for an hour. 

It’s nice to be back writing again….

Until tomorrow.

Emilie xx

Charity shops finds..

Dear Reader,

Yesterday I went strictly  into charity shop on the high street and came out with some fab finds. It was a funny cat and mouse game, as women go from one then into the next just like me. The shops were all busy and seemingly very upper class clientel were rummaging through the rails. I did not feel at all shy or embarrassed it was the best shopping trip I’ve had in ages. 

I’ve never enjoyed shopping for clothes having always longed to grab a 8 or 10 and felt a disappointment when you have to get a 12 to 14 and having to try everything on so I didn’t waste £20ish on a top which didn’t fit. Well charity shop is liberating you just start rummaging around the size 10 and continue to the end. The sizes system becomes void as you flick through until something catches you eye then pull it out look to see if it will fit, check for too much wear and tear then revel at the few pounds it’s going to cost.

Here is yesterday’s haul.

A Hobbs dress for a fiver.

Two brand new gap tshirts for £3.75 each and a superdry tshirt for £2.99.

A brand new pair of linen trousers for £3.00 and a m & s coat for £5.95.

I also got 2 kids dresses for £2.99 each and a tshirt for me for £1.25.

The total was £30.67 for 9 items. 

Afterwards I went to Tesco to grab some food and had to dodge 2 bucket shakers but this time I had a clear conscious as I’d just spent about £30.00  charity shops.

Until tomorrow. 

Emilie xx

Pie, Mash and liqueur. 

Dear Reader,

Just a quick post today as I’m babysitting my 10 week old nephew. Just wanted to show you my pie, mash and liqueur I made last night.

With a little help from Matilda….

I also made a sugar free date loaf…

Which is to tested by my mum shortly. Right I’m off already as this little treasure is awake from his nap.

Until tomorrow.

Emilie xx

Homeschooling afloat.

Dear Reader,

This week has been the beginning of homeschooling for us.  I’m starting with pen control and flash cards. Matilda is loving it a whole hour sat down with my full attention followed by a cake and reading for half an hour. She surprised me by counting to 16 when counting eggs in one book. I know she can count but if you push her into it she just counts completely wrong and gives me that stare of leave me alone! 

I’m extremely nervous about homeschooling but also really excited. The thought I could teach her everything she knows will be such an achievement. 

The weather this week is driving me mad. Washing won’t dry and I can’t light the fire as Kevin has replaced the hearth and made it bigger and we’re waiting for our local boatyard to replaced the flue. I didn’t expect to need it in June!

The wellies are back out and jumpers on.

This afternoon me and this little princess will be playing toy kitchen and hopefully I can sneak off about 4pm to make pie, mash and liqueur for dinner!

Until tomorrow.

Emilie xx

Elderflowers.. blink and you’ll miss them.

Dear Reader.

It’s that time of the year when Elderflowers are everywhere here. After collecting a basketfull I set about patching up my 3 year old eager helper with sting cream and plasters on various grazes then attempted making Elderflower Champagne. We have had mixed results over the years but this recipe seems foolproof (I hope….)

So far I’ve bought 6 X 1.5 litre Evian water bottles and emptied them into these saucepans (keeping the empty bottles to fill back up). Sliced 4 lemons and put lots of elder flowers in them. Next I’m leaving for 36 hours. 

Yesterday I went shopping with my mum. She is on a diet called lighter life fast which they sell in super drug. As she spent over £15.00 she got a free shaker which she gave to me for my juices (found a bargain last week in Dunhelm a manual juicer reduced to only £3.24 instead of £12.99) but when we got home Matilda demanded it for a juice cup…..

Do I dare the frowns from mums who think she’s overweight and on a diet…..

Until tomorrow.

Emilie xx

Holidaying with allergies.

Dear Reader,

Thought I’d mention some feelings when we left all safety of our egg/nut free home and went on holiday. Firstly the thought of going abroad was out of the question, the thought of trusting anyone and labels I might not be able to understand is out of the question for us. We chose a self catering holiday in England so we can cook indoors.

Firstly I washed some plates, bowls, cutlery and cups to use just I case they hadn’t been washed properly.

Then we left all what we have washed out on the side all week so we can just grab it. The cooking equipment was really grimy  and there wasn’t a baking tray so I had to improvise with tin foil. 

We went shopping so we always had food for breakfast and picnics. Then two evenings we had fish and chips as the man in the chip shop was extremely helpful and reassuring it was safe for her to eat. I still refrained from having any wine until an hour after she’d eaten it just to be doubly sure. Most days she had a strawberry corneto which I still check the ingredients every time in the silly fear that maybe they might have changed the recipe which I know sounds absurd.

It was a test of nerves but we came home with 3 unused epi pens so well worth it. 

Until tomorrow.

Emilie xx

Fun in the sun.

Dear Reader,
We’re all back from our Skegness. When we were arrived we had been upgraded to a bigger and much better caravan. After being in the queue hearing most the people in front complaining about their caravans we were anxious. We only booked the cheapest standard one so we’re chuffed when they told us about the upgrade. The first evening we went straight to the beach.

It was the best beach we have ever been on in England. When the tide is out there are streams of water flowing through the middle of the beach. We were catching shrimps in them which Matilda loved.

There was a train running on the beach up to Mablethorpe. To our surprise it went into the sea at the end.

Were buried Kevin and made the most of the beach when the sun shone.

Matilda rode what she thought was a unicorn.

And we went to Grimsby for some fresh fish.

We’re all back with summer colds so I’m off to dose us up for the afternoon.

Until tomorrow.

Emilie xx