Thursday, March 31, 2005

Decorating the lounge

Did I mention the wedding? Thought not, I must be slipping into my dotage! No seriously, we have decide to have the wedding reception at home - it'll be a small affair honestly Simon! So we are busy "tarting" up bits of the house ready for said event! I am very much of the opinion "if they think my house needs decorating and look down their noses at me because of this - they don't deserve to have me as a friend!" But nevertheless we are finishing the kitchen, doing something about the lounge & tidying the garden!

There's not a lot to do in the kitchen - friend's Jo and Georges (well mostly Georges as he owns the tile business - Stonehouse Tiles) gave us some lovely gray and white mosaic tiles to finish the kitchen. We've sweated blood and guts in the garden (see previous post Gardening Hell!) So that just leaves the lounge!

So a week ago Simon and I started pulling at pieces of wallpaper whenever we passed! You know how it is .... "I see an edge lets just give that a yank and see what happens!"

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Mark's checklists (v. tongue in cheek Mark!!)

Mark and I were chatting on line last Sunday and he asked me to add to the checklist section of his website.

"Well I know you said you don't do / like checklists so this is why it's okay to say no.. but you are a teacher and I'm sure you have one inside you.. maybe just one checklist you can be queen of... so recently I updated alwaysme and added checklists but need someone to try it out, to create a checklist to kick it off and, well, kind of queen maintainer or something."

So, I pondered! For a little while and then thought ............

Me - so have you added a checklist yet?
Mark - nope, I figured everyone is an expert in their own area
Me - to give people an idea as to what kind of checklist it should be
Me - or what it should look like
Mark - I honestly think a teacher has the right mentality to create a super one
Me - brown-noser
Mark - what's that?
Mark - oh you think I was crawling?
Mark - noooo!

So I jumped right in there and had a go at a travel checklist
- just for my mate Mark!

And then I got an email!! Title = travelling thoughts!

I was just looking at my old checklist for traveling and thought I'd pass these thoughts, pick and mix accordingly: I had 3 lists; a 7 day list, a 3 day list, a 24 hour list.

The 7 day list had things like; change foreign currency.

The 3 day list had things like; buy water and inform credit card company (they might block international transactions as suspected fraud).

The 24 hour list had things like; charge camera + phone + mp3 player etc, lock all windows, forward phone to email.

Maybe I'm too pedantic. :-)

And at this point I have to give in I cannot be the Queen of checklists (on knees bowing a la Wayne's World) in terms of checklists "I'm not worthy!"

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Shopped 'til he drooped! Yes, I know it doesn't rhyme but it is so much more apt!

Simon had to go to the hospital today for some blood tests, so on the way home I persuaded him to pop into our local shopping centre to see some patio furniture I like - that my mum and dad will hopefully (if Simon likes it) be buying us for a wedding present!

Let me explain about Simon and shopping ............. he doesn't! He hates it! Food shopping is ok - he'd rather not go, but if needs must! But any other kind of shopping he just loathes. We do "work clothes" shopping once a year, he does Ikea bi-annually and in fact bought himself a PDA as a reward last time he went!!

So with some trepidation off we went to the Dockside. Breakfast at Thornton's was a good start ..... who says chocolate isn't a breakfast food? Table and chairs were a complete hit, ordered and paid for now waiting for delivery! Even the visit to Cotton Traders went well - a pair of trainers and 3 t-shirts! And then I noticed a suit shop (in case you hadn't realised, we have a wedding coming up!) and in we went!

Simon doesn't buy suits very often - he/I didn't even know what size he was. When an assistant asked us if we needed any help ..... we nodded eagerly and the suit he got simon to try on wouldn't go over hi shoulders! Dejected we left the shop and walked arond the corner to go home!

On the way out we ambled past "Suits You" and get this, Simon said "shall we try here?" Well what a difference - the member of staff who served us was wonderful! 45 minutes later we left with a Pierre Cardin suit, shoes, belt, new socks and a lilac shirt (Simon said yes to a lilac shirt!) So I have to say - thanks guys and (of course) Suits You Sir!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Last paddle @ Waterbeach

So after 13 years or so my brother has left the army. I still remember the day he went in .... I hobbled along the station platform (broken ankle) to say goodbye, met an ex-boyfriend who was joining up on the same day and cried all the way home in the car! I don't know why .... as I then got months/years of fun - sending him letters on CND or Amnesty International headed paper! Eventually he asked my mother to tell me to stop .... oh well! He was sent all over the world with the army and all over the UK and I know that the past years have been hard for both of them and their boys!!

Another era ends this week, he and my sister-in-law have left army married quarters (from Tidworth, to Brompton, to Church Crookham, to Waterbeach) for the final time and are going back to Wales! They have a new house to move into in the village where we 3 (me, Andrew and Sharon) grew up! I wish them and all the children love, luck and huge amounts of happiness in their new life! Llawer o gariad a sws i chi!

p.s. I never got to paddle at the beach!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Gardening hell! Or should that be .... gardening? .... Hell!!

Why did we leave it so long since we last power washed the patio?

Were we daft or what?

The moss, the leaves, the spiders and the rose thorns from next door - after 3 hours, 5 bin bags of rubbish and the undescribable stench of the contents of the bottom of the water butt (thank god this is not a scratch and sniff monitor) it looks much better! And hopefully will be finished sometime soon ...... need to sleep now!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Box 2 forever

Mum and I made a dash for Brighton after school this afternoon! After the disaster that was my original wedding outfit (see previous post - Wedding outfit from hell!) we needed to find something else!

So off we bomb in Mum's Citroen Berlingo .... bomb is obviously a relative term!! And arrive in Brighton (phoning 35 mins before estimated ETA as instructed!!) and collect Kevan - from Hove Actually!!

We drove into the centre of town and with no real dramas found Box 2 and in we went! Never has shopping been so easy ..... or so expensive for my father - well he is "father of the bride" and also "husband of the mother of the bride" who also got an outfit!! My mum looked fantastic and I am really pleased with my outfit too; and get this guys - it comes with a skirt! Me, in a skirt!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Dashing to Brighton

Tomorrow Mum and I are off to Brighton to a shop called Box 2 to look for another wedding outfit! The clothes are fabulous but right out of my price range - so Dad is paying!! They have a fantastic outfit - all long flowing trousers in crepe, they call the colour "cashmere" - the richness of that word alone makes me quiver with excitement!! And they have gorgeous shoes in the catalogue!! And Kevan lives in Brighton - so I get to have coffee with my best friend ...... how good is that for one day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wedding outfit from hell!

So I am calmer now. Calm enough to write this sentence before I go off to cry again - my mother hates my wedding outfit, she says it makes my bum look huge! Back to the drawing board ....... ideas anyone please?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

El vino es Aqui!!

Mum and Dad arrived from France this evening bringing the Spanish wine we ordered from Calais with them! (I know, I know - Spanish wine from France ..... a little like going to Newcastle to get some clotted cream!!) But the point is that my favourite supermarket has a wine warehouse in Calais - and you can order your wine by email and they have it waiting for you!! How good is that? You can download the wine list from here.

Anyway, thank goodness no more Cava tastings - that really was a killer of a hangover!! Roll on opening the bubbly at the wedding!

Friday, March 11, 2005

An outfit for the wedding

Simone and I went shopping today for an outfit & shoes for the wedding - our second try (it was snowing last time!!) We knew that success was a necessity - I'm going back to work next Wednesday!!

Anyway, we headed for Lakeside and arrived without a flake of snow in sight and hit the shops! Well, the shop as there are only a handful of shops that women over a size 16 can shop in .... but thats a soap box to climb onto on another day!

I never wanted the long ivory wedding dress thing - we've been living together for 5 years & lets face it my bottom in ivory ........ oh no!! Anyway, Simone and I traipsed around Evans like lemons - not a thing in sight! I try on 6 or 7 different things - hideous! So finally I march up to the desk and say "I'm getting married in May and you have nothing!!" 40 minutes later I leave the shop with a whole outfit including shoes (fab, fab shoes!!) - so personal shopper in Evans at Lakeside, Thurrock whose name I cannot remember - thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Stitches out

I had a little operation a week last Wednesday and yesterday the nurse took my stitches out! Hoorah! I'm mostly glad because this means that tonight I can soak in a long warm bath for the 1st time in 2 weeks ..... not that I haven't washed you understand but it's just a long hot bath, vanilla candles and a glass of Banrock Station is so much better than 5 minutes of pulsing (we need a new shower) luke warm (we so need a new shower) water!

Watch this space - I'm not coming out until I'm like a prune!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Page 123 of the book next to me

Found this at A history teacher.
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.

"Louis swung around the edge of a free table and sat down hard on the lightly padded seat, beaming like a madman as Edson followed suit." From
"Vodka with Chocolate Chasers" by Dan Trelfer a very funny book about a journey on the Trans Siberian railway from Beijing to Moscow.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Where have you been since Sunday Jo?

You might have wondered why I haven't posted and what have I been doing whilst not posting since Sunday and the hangover! Well the honest answer is "html".

It's all new to me - I don't even know what html stands for!! However I manged to alter and add things to the side bar of "Chez laquet!" What next? ...... the world is my lobster!! (Yes I said lobster - blame Kevan!!)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Which Cava?

I am officially hungover!! 3 bottles of Cava ..... what were we thinking? I am only out of bed because it tastes/feels like a camel has set up home in my mouth and a celebration of Riverdance is taking place on my cranium - water and bed!!

By the way - Tesco's Finest 2000 Vintage Cava was the best - will be ordering online later from Tesco! When I can look at a computer screen without my eyes hurting!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

What to eat to soak up all the Cava?

So we need something to eat to soak up the cava - nothing to hide the flavour!!

Simon's making "fish pie" - delicious and here's his recipe!

To serve six you will need:-

500g white fish - cod or icefish
300g smoked fish - haddock etc
250g salmon - about 2 fillets
200g large cooked prawns
200g frozen peas
1 medium onion, finely diced
15g butter
1/2 pint bechamel sauce (- you can cheat and buy a packet or Ed Baines does a fabulous one - see the link to UKTV Food's Great Food live website and his recipe below!)
1 tbsp capers
salt & pepper
Mashed potato to cover (made from Maris Piper potatoes, butter and warm milk!!)

Ok - firstly steam the fish until "just" cooked - all of the fish were still slightly rare, they finish cooking in the pie. Flake the fish - it's up to you how rustic you make this, finely flaked? Some chunks? etc

Soften the onion in the butter - no need to brown it!

Combine fish, onion, frozen peas, capers and bechamel in a oven proof dish - a low long dish works best to allow maximum browning of mashed potato. I don't think this needs a lot of salt due to the smoked haddock but you will need to adjust the seasoning to your taste, he always adds freshly ground pepper.

Finally top the pie with your mashed potato and cook in a moderate oven - 190/gas mark 5 for 35-40 minutes - untitl the mashed potato is golden brown.

Serve with your favourite vegetables or a crisp green salad.

Ed Baines' bechamel sauce is on the UKTV food website -

Saturday night is cava night!

Well Simon and I have some serious drinking to do tonight - we are doing a final taste test on Cava, ready to buy enough fizz for the wedding! Cava is a delicious sparkling Spanish wine made using a "method Champenoise" and (unlike Champagne) doesn't give me a hangover!!! Well unless you drink 3 bottles - which is exactly what we are planning to do!

So the three wines we are tasting are -

Freixnet Cordon Negro

Tesco's Finest 2000 Vintage Cava

Hardy's Pinot Noir Chardonnay

Yes, I agree the third choice is not really a Cava - but what the hell, loved it last time we tasted it!! So with shouts of "courage mon brave" echoing ...... off I go!

Dinner last night - Simon's Killer Chilli Con Carne

Friday night was chilli night - delicious with a glass of Sicilian red or three! Drowning my sorrows after the leg fell off my computer chair - so you all know what I'm going shopping for today!

2 tbsps olive oil
2 large onions
700 g lean stewing beef , cut into chunky cubes
5 garlic cloves , crushed
800 g canned chopped plum tomatoes
2 green peppers , sliced
3 green or red chillies, chopped (he uses fresh jalapeños)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 can red kidney beans
1 tsp sugar
1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped or "artfully torn"

Heat the olive oil in a casserole,or saucepan and fry the meat until lightly brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and stir for a minute or so before tipping in the tinned tomatoes, chillies, peppers, and a good pinch of salt.

Cover the pan and simmer for about an hour, until the meat is tender and the liquid reduced to a thick sauce. If it gets too dry during cooking, pour in a little more water. Add the cumin, kidney beans and the brown sugar.

Simmer for a further 10 mins before serving; at the last possible minute stir in a handful of fresh coriander (cilantro if you're an American!). Simon serves his chilli with rice or warmed tortillas, sour cream and salsa.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Shopping for shoes

I love shopping for shoes and this morning my friend Simone and I were off to Lakeside - looking for shoes and an outfit for the wedding (May 14th - so I'm not panicking yet you understand!!) We got as far as Gravesend and had to turn back because the A2 was covered in snow! Kent is taking a real hammering this winter - pictures to follow as soon as I have downloaded the software (and worked out how to use it!!)

Telling Mark

I am feeling a little nervous this morning - I have just told my friend Mark about my "online mutterings!" Mark is the person I turn to with technical questions / ramblings / problems etc - so I am quaking as to what exactly he'll say ............ however at least I know that one person will be watching this space.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


It started snowing yesterday morning (March 2nd) and didn't stop all day and now - yes you've guessed it, it's started again! Big fat flakes flying past the window - I feel a snow ball coming on!

New - want to see pictures? Click here --> snowing or still snowing

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Dinner tonight - Salmon

I'm not exactly sure how far I can go - can I publish recipes on this blog, or will I be in breach of copyright? I'm sure some kind soul out there will let me know!! We'll start with my own recipes just in case

So tonight for tea we will mostly be eating "Salmon cooked in a bag!" This is an old favourite, cooked in the oven "en papilotte" - tinfoil bags in fact! Very easy recipe!

So for 2 people, you need ........
2 salmon fillets (or steaks if you prefer)
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
couple of sprigs of fresh parsley
1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper

Make an envelope out of tinfoil, double thickness is best for each piece of salmon.
Place salmon on sliced shallots, season with salt, pepper and a squeez of lemon.
Place a sprig of fresh parsley on top of fish and seal tinfoil parcels!
Cook in a medium oven (150 / gas mark 5) for 15-20 mins.
Salmon is moist and slightly pink inside, delicious.

Going to serve it with boiled new (charlotte) potatoes and a watercress and creme fraiche sauce!


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Yahoo games

If you have never played JT Blocks - please don't because of this posting I would hate to be the source of a new addict!!

However if you feel you really must, click here!

I'm not sure how best to describe it - you have to click on links of blocks (just 2 or more) to make them colla ............ hang on why am I explaining? I have to go and play!